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Bowl selection algorithm

In our household certain things have very ritualistic protocols. For example, we have five cereal bowls and the scheme is that washed ones are placed at the bottom of the pile so that they all get a fair chance at being used; which wouldn't happen if they were placed on the top of the pile. What messes this up is that we have three black ones, one red one, and one blue one. I bought them many years ago and there were six, but one of the red ones broke. Robert thinks that I mistakenly picked a black one instead of a blue one, and that is probably a correct explanation since having the same number of each one is clearly the right way to go.

Now here is the big problem. I believe that one should just put the two bowls at the bottom in at random, whereas Robert thinks that they should be placed with the black one underneath so that the top two pairs each have different colors and thus we are never subject to eating cereal from the same color bowls. I didn't realize how serious this was until a few days ago I discovered that he had reversed the order of the two bottom bowls because for some odd reason I remembered the order that I had put them in.

What is completely revolting is that I seemed to have succumbed to his methodology, having at least twice recently placed them specifically in his preferred order.

Now, the major flaw to this method is that the usage of each of the 5 bowls is not even, since the black bowls get lower precedence. Each black one gets two uses for each three uses of the red or blue. If the two bowls were placed at random, then they'd get even usage over time.

This is a matter that may have to be seriously dealt with.

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Why not arrange an accident and buy new bowls that better suits your eccentricities?

Well, I know what would happen if you were still living here.

Meanwhile, there are some slight inaccuracies in jwg's explanation, but I don't have time to explain them right now.

I'm glad someone else is obsessed with their dishes :-)

I do the same thing with my plates and bowls.

Now that I have a little more leisure, let me explain that jwg seems to have misunderstood the rule slightly. It is not the case that it is never appropriate to use two black bowls, but only that such occasions should be minimized, and therefore when putting the bowls away one should avoid arranging them so that all three blacks are together. They all still get used in regular rotation.

Robert thinks that I mistakenly picked a black one instead of a blue one

My recollection is that you came home with six bowls (three black, two red, and one blue), and upon unpacking them and seeing them by the light of day, it was you who said you had thought you were getting two of each color. Under the circumstances, it's especially unfortunate that the one that got broken was one of the reds.

A feature of placing three black bowls at the bottom is that you get to have a red and blue pair together. My so-called false interpretation of your system doesn't allow this. I think I'll go back to my previous system (and easiest to implement since it requires no thinking) of random placement at the bottom of the pair of bowls.

The dishes I use regularly are in the cabinets above the sink (as opposed to the bulk of the Fiestaware, which is in the glass-fronted cabinet on the back wall), and they are varied and I move them around at random. Most are from the 1930s. This arrangement is not notable.

But I do sometimes like to pull out one of the Fiesta dishes from the glass-fronted cabinet, or go to the dining room and use a dish from a variety of depression glass sets, or go back to the pantry where there are full or partial sets of, oh, I don't know, ten different patterns? I'll have to count. No, on second thought, I won't count.

I rarely go to the storeroom in the basement, where there are a few other sets. Or into the high cabinets over the refrigerator, where there are three huge sets of 1940s and 50s dinnerware (plus more Fiesta), which I have earmarked to give my niece should she ever decide her life is stable enough to receive the sets of vintage dishes I have for her.

I do not recommend this method to anybody.

I think I envy you the space to house all of your dishes.

John took a picture of my kitchen once:


You can't really see the cabinets above the sink, but you can see (some of) the Fiestaware along the back wall, and you can see the high cabinets above the refrigerator, which are very deep and filled with dishes. Through the back door there is a hallway with a small room off the side, which is my pantry, which has many many dishes. There's a built-in in the dining room.

It's really no bigger than a standard Boston triple-decker, but it was recently renovated (with goal of getting me to move in) with as much cabinet space as could be managed in the kitchen.

The braid is mine. The balding man with the formerly-red hair is my upstairs landlord, who wanted me as a tenant. The other two singers are Jim and Denise.

Edited at 2008-02-17 12:24 am (UTC)

A standard Boston triple-decker's kitchen has more room than mine, even without maximizing storage space. I remain envious, especially because I use more dishes than most (I keep kosher).

What is completely revolting is that I seemed to have succumbed to his methodology, having at least twice recently placed them specifically in his preferred order.

The horror.

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