November 2002

I smell irony…and it’s making me hungry!

by Michael Alderete on 11/26/2002

Yesterday I had my first “annual” physical in four years. He told me a few things I already knew, like I need to exercise more and lose a few pounds. We also discussed the somewhat high results of a cholesterol test, including some changes to my diet, including less meat and fatty foods. He singled out pastries in particular.

This is pretty ironic, given that I selected this new doctor based specifically on his office’s close proximity to Boulangerie Bay Bread, the best French bakery in SF.

Personally, I think I should just drink more red wine, instead of cutting back on something else. ;-)

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Open the gold box!

by Michael Alderete on 11/20/2002

So, I recently discovered the subtle danger that is’s Gold Box. If you’ve never heard of or tried it, it’s a gold treasure chest icon in the top right of’s web pages — all of them.

The concept is simple. You click on the Gold Box to get access to 10 special offers. You access the offers serially, that is, one at a time. It’s a special deal on some “random” item, usually not a book, that ranges from a few dollars savings to $50 or more. To see the second offer, you have to “pass forever” on the first. To see the third, you have to give up the second. And so on, a one-way trip through an online coupon book. And you get a new Gold Box every 24 hours.

What’s insideous is that (I believe) they’ve carefully thought about what to show you if you decide to buy; when I decided to save a couple bucks on the Misto Martini Vermouth Sprayer, I was presented with a slew of additional martini-related items. And, uh, I bought something from the list (Riedel martini glasses, if you must know).

And then I saw more “related” items, lots of high-end stemware for other sophisticated adult beverages. And, um, I bought a set of those, too. (Riedel wine glasses…and yes, we’ve proven they do make a difference.)

So, $200+ later, I’ve saved about $20 on’s usual prices — but I only meant to buy a $10 vermouth sprayer!

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Be afraid, be very afraid

by Michael Alderete on 11/16/2002

My wife left for an estate auction at 8:30am this morning. It’s now 3:20pm. It’s time to start worrying…

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The religious right (sic)

by Michael Alderete on 11/10/2002

“You believe in believing in God far more than you believe in God.”

— Episcopalian bishop and author John S. Spong, describing religious fundamentalism

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