I just stumbled across a list of books I was reading in June of 2003:
- A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
- American Gods by Neil Gaiman
- Perfume by Patrick Suskind
- Master and Commander by Patrick O’Brian
- Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
I have finished only Perfume (very good book). Sad.
To be fair, I’ve read a few books that aren’t on the list since June 2003, too. In the interest of full disclosure, however, I will admit that I could probably add at least another half-dozen books to the “started but not finished” list.
In other news, the bill acceptor on the vending machine that dispenses Starbucks® Vanilla Frappuccino® is on the fritz. My encounter with the vending machines downstairs just now seemed like a bad rerun of a show I didn’t want to see in the first place. In fact, it was also in June of 2003 that I had a similar problem…
[cue wavy flashback lines and “deedle-deedle-dee” sound]
(Reprinted from 12 June 2003)
One of the vending machines (the one that vends candy and popcorn and cherry pies) downstairs takes $1, $5, or $10 bills, and can be used as a change machine. Insert five dollar bill. Zzzzt. Press the coin return button. Plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk, plunk. Five golden dollar coins (unless it’s out of dollar coins, in which case the sound is more like “chunkitachunkitachunkita…” as the thing vomits quarters). So handy!
Except that the damned thing might as well be dispensing Euros or Yen or Whiskas Shrimp and Chicken Flavored Kitty Treats, for all the good they’ll do me. Because the machine that vends the life-giving SoBe doesn’t accept the golden dollar as valid currency. What is the point of that? It doesn’t even make good business sense!
Back in the days before the new dollar coin, and before these dispensers of junk food could be used to obtain change, the vending machine racket worked like this: the beverage vending machine never, ever accepted your dollar bill. Ever. You could take a pristine, fresh, unblemished single directly off the sheet at the mint, feed it into the bill acceptor (such a laughable term) and the beverage machine would still spit it back out at you. The candy and chip machine, though, would accept just about anything that used to resemble a dollar bill. Short of passing it through a dog, there was little you could do to a dollar bill to make the candy and chip machine regurgitate it.
This was, of course, entirely intentional on the part of the vending machine manufacturer. When you’re in kind of a snacky mood, it’s no big deal if you can’t grab a bag of Doritos right away. Ah, but when you’re thirsty it’s a different story. The need to consume a cool beverage supersedes all others, save perhaps breathing and (in the case of men) staring at boobies.
When the beverage machine won’t take your wrinkle-free dollar, your only option is to buy a forty cent bag of chips and use the change dispensed by the candy and chip machine to buy that all-important can of Coke. Sheer brilliance on the part of the machine manufacturers, really.
Now, though, it’s all about 20 oz. bottles of Coke and SoBe (or 3.5 oz. bottles of Starbucks Double Shot Mocha Latte Cafe Espressaccino), and they all cost at least a buck and a half. The beverage machine won’t take the change dispensed by the candy and chip machine, and your only option is to buy five bags of chips to get enough quarters, dimes and nickels in change to be able to purchase a beverage. Well, that’s just not going to happen. My tongue could shrivel up and fall out before I do that. Hell, I might even drink water.