Highly specific and/or personal generalizations for a new year.

In no specific order.

If you’re going to have 8 dogs in your house, the more of them that are housebroken the better.

Batting .500 really isn’t good enough, and in this case, two out of three IS bad. Don’t ask. 

Software virtualization is only as good as the host application AND the host OS.

Feel free to use that for your Christmas cards next year. You’re welcome. And goodbye, Parallels Desktop, I’ve given you my last weekend if the 28 hour process of exporting my stuff to VMWare Fusion actually works.

I’ve never met a barbecue sauce I didn’t like.

That’s not a challenge. 

If you’re thinking about buying a big American pickup that will later turn out to be a lemon with which you cannot seek remediation through your own state’s Lemon Law because you bought it in a different state to save money and nobody wants to touch your case because of the complexity, it’s easier to just not buy the future lemon. 

It’s hard to not have strong feelings about the auto bailout if you’ve purchased a lemon from one of the Big 3. *cough… Dodge… cough… and Ford… cough*  For me, saving Dodge sounds a little like preserving a vial of polio or smallpox to maintain the noble heritage of polio or smallpox, but I’ve come to realize that my permanent dislike for the company is based largely on my dealership experience and not the manufacturer itself, so I really ought to just let go of it. Maybe one day. I’m not that mad at Ford any more, and for what it’s worth, they started turning themselves around months before the real collapse around election time. And despite their constant strategic gaffes, I actually like GM OK. If they acquire Chrysler, that feeling may change.  

Car insurance is occasionally handy, and your provider may be better than you think they are.

Thanks, GEICO, seriously. I was filled with dread at needing to interact with you after The Big Accident over the summer, and you delivered in every way. Next time I almost die in a spinning, flipping, rolling car accident, I’ll have one less thing to worry about afterwards. It’s truly good to find out that interaction with a giant faceless corporation can actually be  far better than the worst case scenario you’ve imagined – or in my own experience, far better than I would have expected. 

If you’ve been involved with something for years, say, oh, music, that you’re supposed to enjoy, and you suddenly recognize that it has become like this horrible, crushing punishment and you dread every second of your involvement with it, maybe you should either fix it so it’s not so bad or stop doing it altogether, and if you do stop, you might find instant, enlightenment-level relief that affects your every waking moment.

I envision this on a bumper sticker. A dense, nigh-legible bumper sticker. Or something. Anyway, the “fixing it” may provide the same kind of relief, but I may never find out if I’m lucky.  I look forward to trying out tons of new things and filling the music-sized gap in my life, if I even need to. After all, when you remove a bee stinger, do you really worry about the gap that’s left?  

Chinese curses are OK for Christmas cards. 

I’ll be creating a line of them for next year. The first one will be “May you come to the attention of those in authority. Happy Season.”

If you regularly break your toes, try to alternate feet so when you get crippling arthritis in your later years because of earlier repeated toe-mashings, you’ll keep your limping more even.

If I survive, I’m definitely going to have tolio at some point. 

The things you give others can mean far more than you think they do.

Like on Tuesday, this one lady, Natalia, came to our house and it had snowed a lot the night before and the side streets were pretty bad and we were going to meet her at the local grocery store in our pickup and take her and Tyra, my daughter’s best friend, the rest of the way here. But she didn’t bring our phone number so she tried to tough it. Tyra came to the door and came in and started playing, and after about 4 minutes, Anette asked Tyra where her mother was. She said, “Oh yeah, she’s stuck in your driveway. She said she needs your help. She wants you to come out and help her. Both. Both come help.” So I went out first and me and the Fedex guy who just happened to drive by started to push, and we eventually got her partly into my driveway but with the front tire stuck in my drainage culvert and one rear tire 6″ off the ground. The Fedex guy apologized for not being able to help further, and we thanked him and he drove off. Then as we were digging, he came by again with a Christmas gift from one of my clients – the reason he was originally on my street. (He went by the first time because my mailbox had been knocked over again, so he didn’t see the street address.) He offered to loan us a tow strap he had, which we gratefully borrowed. (“Just drop it off at the mail drop at the store, they’ll know me.”) We used our pickup to pull the car out, and everything was good. We don’t have anything that would have worked for towing, so the Fedex guy’s “accidental” or coincidental appearance was actually a direct result of my client’s gift, without the magical appearance of the towing strap, it would have been a whole lot more trouble to get her out. They saved Christmas.

I might post more as I witness the violent transformation of hard, little kernels of experience into the delicious, fluffy popcorn nuggets of wisdom. 

robert muller