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Lighthouse Thu, Aug 31, 2006
I'm not usually a lighthouse kind of guy, but this is a cool picture.  It was taken in Cape Cod, MA. 

#travel

Working conditions Wed, Aug 30, 2006
I've mentioned my working conditions a few times in the past.  There are constant problems with the temperature and my office area is painfully quiet.  I've complained to a few people at work about the temperature before ("Why do we need air conditioning in the winter?"), but I've consistently gotten the same roundabout excuses:  "You'll need to talk to this person to get something done.  But I wouldn't do that if I were you because that person is notorious for doing blah blah blah, blah blah, yadda, verklempt." 

So I've developed a theory:  Companies intentionally make their working conditions unsatisfactory, uncomfortable, and/or incomplete for the sake of "productivity".  The last thing a company needs is a bunch of satisfied workers, falling asleep in their comfortable chairs in their perfectly temperate offices while they listen to free streaming audio and video on their state-of-the-art computers hooked up to super-high-speed, reliable internet connections.  "Good workers" don't need reasonably-priced, good-tasting food in the cafeteria, sanitary bathrooms, adequate parking, or "human resources".  They also shouldn't mind that the construction workers and landscapers don't do their work on the weekends when the normal office stiffs aren't there to hear the incessant tapping of hammers and the humming of 2-stroke engines, all the while spreading harmful chemical dust and allergens into the air. 

So my advice to myself is this:  Get used to it, loser.  It's never gonna change.  Work will never be comfortable.  And to have a little fun, do your part to make it more uncomfortable for others.  Listen to music in your cubicle.  If you use headphones, turn the volume up really loud and leave them on your desk while you're at lunch.  Turn the lights off when you leave for the day and announce, "Elvis has left the building."  Eat things at your desk and make sure you make loud slurping noises and crinkle the wrapper.  Make obscene phone calls to "ya boy". #business

Blogging the Bible (2) Wed, Aug 30, 2006
A few months ago, a guy from Slate started blogging the Bible.  He asks, "What happens when an ignoramus reads the Good Book? ... My goal is pretty simple.  I want to find out what happens when an ignorant person actually reads the book on which his religion is based."  He's basically doing a chapter by chapter (or in some cases a section by section) analysis, starting (and probably ending) with the Old Testament (because he's Jewish).  Some of his thoughts are pretty interesting.  (via Cynical-C) #religion

Sports stores Wed, Aug 30, 2006
I think it's funny when people go to sporting goods stores and park in the closest spot they can find.  It's just sort of ironic.  Who goes to sports stores?  Usually, it's the people who are relatively young and/or relatively in-shape.  There are the kinds of people who can afford to walk a few extra feet.  It's also funny that these kinds of stores have escalators and elevators.  And if there were stairs, people would go out of their way to use the escalators and elevators.  Once again, the young athletic types should be in good enough shape to climb a few stairs. #sports

Mobile internet usability (1) Tue, Aug 29, 2006
Mobile internet is virtually unusable.  That's really all I need to say, but I'll go on. 

The internet is my best friend, so I'm a huge fan of things like free PC access while traveling and publicly available wifi.  But I can't bring my laptop everywhere I go because it's not that small and I sometimes like to travel light.  Plus, free WiFi isn't available everywhere.  Even though it often costs more to hire some technical people and set up a pay-for-use system than it does to offer it for free, many places charge money for it.  This brings up the option of mobile broadband (with some sort of service through Verizon Wireless, Sprint, etc.).  I haven't had much experience with it, but from what I've seen, it's kind of slow and unreliable.  Hmm, sounds a lot like cell phone service. 

The only other alternative I know of is Blackberry-like internet access.  I used it this past Saturday to look up a few things while walking around NYC.  My opinion is that it stinks. 
1.  It's not very fast, though it claims to operate on some sort of "high-speed network". 
2.  Tons of websites are completely unusable because they use stupid things like Flash. 
3.  Most websites aren't designed for mobile use, so it's difficult and annoying to navigate through them. 
4.  Devices that access mobile internet have tiny, almost unreadable screens and terrible methods of navigating through information (that stupid Blackberry click wheel took about 20 minutes to scroll through all the links at the top of imdb.com -- and then I realized I could scroll faster with ALT+scroll). 
So in the end, I'm not impressed with mobile internet.  Until they come out with an actual high-speed network that's available everywhere and/or a device that's lightweight yet powerful and easy to use (I'm thinking maybe some sort of folding screen), I won't be happy with mobile internet. #technology

Coke (7) Tue, Aug 29, 2006
I'm a Coke addict (Coca-Cola, that is).  Sometimes I crave it like a drug and can't wait to feel it rushing down my throat.  I'm not sure, but it might be a summertime thing.  There's just nothing quite like an ice-cold Coke on a hot day when you're feeling thirsty.  Pepsi isn't the same.  And Sprite is out of the question.  And of course, Coke in a can is infinitely better than Coke in a bottle (this is true for any soda).  By the time you're near the bottom of a 20-oz bottle of soda, it's all warm and flat.  Coke in restaurants is pretty good.  They keep it nice and cold, and the fact that it costs astronomically more than it should means you need to enjoy it all the more.  My Coke problem was nonexistent a few years ago.  Up until recently, I chose Pepsi over Coke because it tasted better.  Pepsi is a difficult drink to love because it's so hard to find.  Coke has such a huge monopoly in the restaurant business, it's almost impossible to get anything other than Coke.  Many years before that, I was big on Sprite.  I would order it at every restaurant and buy it at every store.  Now I can't touch the stuff.  I don't know what changed.  But now Coke is my thing.  I'm sure it's doing irreparable harm to my vital organs, but at least I'm not thirsty. #food

Permalinks Mon, Aug 28, 2006
Permalinks are very simply the URLs that point to specific blog entries on a website.  Usually, when you click on a permalink, you can access other functions and information such as commenting and "intrasite links" (my invention).  Most permalinks have some sort of date structure like "/2006/08/28/nice-wordpress-title/" or "/2006/08/28/ugly_movabletype_title_.html" (mentioned here).  Other permalinks just have a sequential numbering system like "?p=1233" or "/archives/005694.html". 

I'm really not a fan of numbered permalinks because they don't say anything about what they're linking to.  Mental Floss links to other articles on its site quite a bit.  But if you mouse-over the link, you don't learn anything new about where the link will send you.  Boing Boing, on the other hand, uses date-based permalinks.  You can usually get a pretty good idea of where each link will send you, and you also know when the respective articles/posts were written. 

However, I can also see the benefit of having sequential permalinks.  I can even see the benefit of having title-less posts.  Instead of writing concise, organized posts about fairly specific topics (I've pretty much mastered the art of describing a post in 2 words or less), you can write about anything you want with no boundaries or restrictions.  There's no such thing as a side note or an unrelated thought.  It's all freeform and stream of consciousness (sorta).  Personally, I think it's a good idea to have organized thoughts in one location and unorganized thoughts in another.  At times, it's nice to have a structured archive of previous thoughts and opinions.  Other times, it's good to just vent. #technology

Ordering at Subway Mon, Aug 28, 2006
I've mentioned that I like Subway, and I've mentioned that I often have problems when ordering food.  But to be more specific, here's what happens every time I order food at Subway. 
I walk in the door and up to the counter. 
I say, "Can I have ham and turkey on a 6-inch wheat?" 
The person turns around, walks to the bread thing and asks, "What kind of bread?" 
I say, "Wheat.  Six inch." 
The person cuts the bread open and says, "What kind of cheese?" 
I say, "No cheese." 
The person piles some ham on the open roll and says, "Anything else?" 
I say, "Ham and turkey please." 
The person takes some ham off and replaces it with turkey.  The person asks, "Anything else?" 
I say, "Lettuce, tomato, oil, and vinegar please." 
The person puts some lettuce on the sandwich and says, "Onions?" 
I say, "Just lettuce, tomato, oil, and vinegar." 
The person asks, "Mayo?  Salt and pepper?" 
I say, "No thanks." 
The person finishes making my sandwich and asks, "Would you like the drink and the chips?" 
I say, "No thanks.  Just the sandwich." 
Subway could easily save itself some money by replacing the people with machines like the ones at Wawas.  There's no reason for me to repeatedly clarify myself.  That is, unless I'm going about it entirely wrong.  Maybe I should go into Subway and order piecemeal:  Ask for the size and type of bread first; after that's done, ask for the meat and/or cheese; after that's done, ask for the vegetables and other toppings.  Or maybe I'm just not a typical Subway customer.  From the moment I walk into a Subway, I know exactly what I want.  Nothing will change my mind.  They can ask me a thousand times and offer it to me for free.  I won't succumb to their evil schemes. 

On a side note, Subway is horribly unreliable from store to store.  I went to 4 different Subways one weekend and received completely different sandwiches in terms of quality and freshness.  This is completely unlike places like Quizno's, where a sandwich in California is exactly the same as a sandwich in NJ.  The Subway in Wharton, NJ is reliable because they always make my sandwiches great.  Thank you scary guy, quiet lady, and Indian guy. #food

Salad after Mon, Aug 28, 2006
When I eat dinner at my house or my family's house or a friend's house, we never eat salad before the meal.  And for good reason:  Eating something before the main meal ruins (actually it satisfies) your appetite, and eating cold food before hot food means the hot food will cool down before you start eating it (obviously undesirable).  But at restaurants, eating a salad before the meal is the norm.  Why?  Who knows.  Meals at restaurants are oversized as it is.  Why should I half-fill my stomach with leafy vegetables and garlic toasted bread cubes, and then try to fit a meal-for-two in a stomach-of-one?  It's just stupid.  A solution to this problem is to ask for the salad after the meal.  I usually get a weird look from the waiter followed by a "No problem" because waiters know that extra questions mean a smaller tip.  A different solution to this problem would be to offer smaller portions.  Maybe I don't eat quite as much as the average fat American (though I try my hardest).  I wouldn't mind paying 3/4 the price for 3/4 the amount of food.  That sounds like a fair trade to me. #food

Mumble (2) Thu, Aug 24, 2006
A famous person once said, "If you mumble, you don't deserve to be heard."  Although that's kinda mean, I think it's somewhat true.  I just sat through a 2-hour meeting where a guy in the back of the room kept mumbling stuff in response to what was being presented.  He might've had good things to say.  Maybe people should've listened.  But he didn't even try to be heard, so people kept talking over him.  He wasn't a victim though; it's not like he was a quiet little weak guy (like me) who wasn't sure of himself and so got trampled on by the louder, quicker people.  His mumbling was his downfall.  Somebody would be talking and he would say something along the lines of, "Um, but ... the number ... on the slide ... different ... need to redo ... requirements ... huminah huminah ... shrimp scampi ... weaponized plutonium."  In this case, the rule applied:  He mumbled, so he didn't deserve to be heard.  If he had something important to say, he should've spoken up or gotten one of the loud people to say it for him. #business

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