Category Archives: Life

Be Like Spark

ead and shoulders of a cardboard cutout of Spark (Pokemon Go) with a pennant covering his mouth and nose like a bandana.

I walked by the kid’s room during this morning’s online school session and found that he’d set up the Spark standup (the Team Instinct leader) that he and Katie made for Pokémon Go Fest to block the doorway as if standing guard.

Fortunately, Spark is considerate enough to wear a face mask per pandemic recommendations.

Be like Spark. Not like Jessie and James. ‘Cause you know they’re only going to wear masks for disguise purposes.

No Quarter(s)

I went into the bank for quarters the other day, and they’re back to rationing them, only exchanging one roll at a time. Meanwhile, the landlord is finally looking at switching the laundry room to a card system.

A coin shortage seems oddly specific, and the first time I encountered the limit back in… June? July? (I have no idea how much time passes anymore unless I write something down.) I wondered if people were deliberately hoarding coins. Or maybe just quarters. I mean, yeah, I was trying to pick up two to four rolls at a time to reduce the number of physical trips to the bank (planning around reduced hours, and being around *gasp* people!), but I was using them!

Then I saw an article pointing out that it’s simpler than that: people just aren’t out spending cash much — stores have been closed, people aren’t able to work, there have been various levels of stay-at-home orders — so coins aren’t circulating and aren’t making it back to banks. Some fast food places have been doing things like offering a free bag of chips or a free soda instead of change when people pay cash — because it’s easier to restock chips and soda than coins.

I can’t find the specific article I read at the time, but there have been a whole bunch of others since June. Amusingly, I found Forbes back in July saying, Well, actually, it’s not really a coin shortage, it’s a circulation disruption. And yeah, at a high level, you need different strategies to resolve an actual shortage of something vs. a distribution issue. But down at the “I need clean clothes” level it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

Speaking of clothes, I assume the laundry machine service charges more to rent the debit card systems than the quarter boxes. Every big apartment complex I’ve lived in used one, but the small building I live in now has been quarter-based since we moved in. But with the prices climbing, and especially with the ongoing pandemic, I’d much rather recharge a debit card at home than physically walk into the bank every week.

So, who had “rain of chocolate” on their 2020 bingo card?

A broken ventilation system in a Swiss chocolate factory led to cocoa powder raining (or snowing, if you prefer) down on nearby towns.

The company says one car was lightly, and possibly deliciously, coated. It has offered to pay for any cleaning needed but hasn’t yet been taken up on the offer. — AP

I’ve got to say, I’d prefer a light dusting of cocoa to the wildfire smoke we’ve got around here.