January 24th, 2007

Brian and Anne

Gas less than $2!

This morning Speedway was advertising regular unleaded at $1.99 per gallon.

Seeing that, I found myself trying to remember the gas prices I was comparing to each other in the mini-essay I wrote while on my 1996 road trip with my sister:

One thing to know if you're going to be driving across the Northwest is this: gas is really expensive in the mountains. Just think: they have to truck it all the way up there, and once you're up there they know you've got nowhere else to go. The names and the grades often vary too. You're thinking to yourself, "wow, Supreme Unleaded, only $1.43 per gallon," but the grade is only 85. We finally called home to find out what we could get away with. "Stay above 87? Good, 'cause 92 is a dollar sixty-nine per gallon."

Mom had heard gas was real pricey in the West but hadn't said anything because she didn't want to depress us. That's okay, we adapted. In fact, judging whether or not we were getting the best price in the next 200 miles became a fine-tuned skill.

Coming out of Spokane, Washington, headed for the Cascades by way of scenic highway 20, we stop to place a phone call and decide to fill up the tank at $1.43 (and nine tenths) per gallon. Just four blocks later the price is $1.44(.9). Five miles further it goes up another cent, and once we're actually in sight of mountains it's already up to $1.59(.9) per.

And don't you just love the way they add that extra 9/10? It's usually in the tiniest lettering, so it almost looks like a degree mark floating at the upper right corner of the price, like it was indicating a temperature. Either that or the type is exceedingly narrow. We've gotten pretty cynical about it and estimate gas will cost us nearly $450.00 from Montana to the end of the road.

But there's our tip for you: consider how remote will be your area of travel. Then stock up on gas.

Bit of a change from then. :)
Brian and Anne

Current favored distraction at work

I have not yet played with it, but the engineers at work are competing at Armadillo Run, a physics-based puzzle game where you use different construction materials to move a little armadillo ball into an interdimensional vortex (by getting it to stop moving for long enough *over* the vortex). It looks like a lot of fun, possibly a good thing to leave running around Penguicon (though it currently doesn't run on linux)...

UPDATED TO ADD: ok, now I've made up a solution to this week's challenge, and learned a bit about optimizing, and I can confirm what the others say: this thing is really fun. I just dropped an hour on watching demos and working on solutions (other people's as well as mine) and I scarcely even noticed the time passing.