I’m exhausted. I spent the entire weekend (from Thursday through Sunday) embracing my inner nerd, surrounded by tens of thousands of other nerds doing nerdy things. At the invitation of Adam Baker (who writes at Man vs. Debt and used to be a staff writer here), I flew to Indianapolis to spend four days at GenCon, an enormous gaming convention.

I woke early each morning to spend all day with Adam and Courtney (and their family and friends). We played games all morning, all afternoon, and all evening, often not getting to bed until 2am. It was a blast.

Adam, learning a new game at GenCon
Adam Baker, learning a new game at GenCon

You can read more about GenCon 2011 at my new travel blog.

After several days of abuse, my body’s a wreck. I’ve averaged less than four hours of sleep each night over the past week, and my writing is beginning to suffer. I’m working on a post for Tuesday morning, but I may go to bed early instead. That’s okay. There are posts from Sierra Black and Robert Brokamp ready to go!

In the meantime, here are some other recent personal-finance stories from around the web:

First up, a couple of Get Rich Slowly readers posted follow-ups to the recent reader question about how much people spend on food. Cassie Featherston graphed our grocery budgets to see if there’s a pattern to our spending. The folks at the BuckTrak Budget Planner blog also harvested the data to get a feel for our spending. These views offer a little more enlightenment. It looks like there’s absolutely a per-person cost savings on groceries to having a bigger family. (Maybe that’s the way to cut your food costs: have more kids!)

Note: The “what’s your food budget?” question was very popular, and I’ve received a ton of responses to turn this into a series of sorts. So, once per month, I’ll post a question about how much members of the GRS community spend on various things, from mortgages to hobbies to transportation to entertainment. We won’t get scientific results, but we’ll have fun.

In March, I wrote that the lottery is an investment for fools. But for some folks, the Massachusetts State Lottery may be an exception. The Boston Globe reports that because of glitches in the lottery’s algorithm, this lottery is a game with a windfall for a knowing few. The catch? You have to be able to pump about $100,000 into the system to make a profit. I’ve always wondered if this sort of thing were possible. But it’s not the sort of risk I’d take, even if I thought my math were correct (and I could risk that much money!).

Over at Organize My Affairs, Mark G. wrote about how much his car cost over time. We talk a lot about the theoretical costs of owning a car over time, but it’s rare to see somebody actually crunch the numbers. In Mark’s case, holding onto the car for eleven years (and nearly 180,000 miles) has made it almost cost effective. Almost.

Next, via the Matador Network, here’s an awesome story about some people who bought everything from a struggling store with $20,000 cash. Here’s a three-minute YouTube video documenting the event:

You can read more at StoreBuyout.com.

Finally, here’s something that’s not related to money at all. My wife recently discovered The Bloggess, and she loves this recent post about why you should pick your battles. The story involves hot pink beach towels, a shopping trip…and a giant metal chicken. It’s pretty darn funny.

More in the morning — if I can stay awake long enough to finish my post.

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