Archive for October, 2005


I’ve added a new music list:
 
Country Music That Doesn’t Suck
 
Surprisingly, to those who know me, it’s not empty.
 
[Late Edit]  This is HUMOR folks.  If you’ve been offended here, step back, breathe deeply and count to ten.  And please accept my deepest sympathies for the loss of your dog.  It’s terrible when your girlfriend leaves you.  But to take the pickup truck with her and run over man’s best friend on the way out is inexcusable.
Ok, so you’re not only driving an SUV or a Limo, you’ve got an SUV Limo.  Do you REALLY need a trailer?  How much did you PACK for this trip????
 
This was taken with total disregard for my own safety while driving down I-4 (note the road sign that says "Epcot’).
OK, well I mentioned it, I suppose I should continue with the second of the computer geek’s favorite chemicals… 
 
capsaicin
 
It’s what makes hot foods hot.  While I don’t have any physical tributes to it, it’s even available on a tee shirt!!  Yeah, you read that right.  It’s from a website called "thinkgeek", which I frequent when I need a gadget fix.
 
I am not the master of the spicy foods.  That has to go to my friend Drew (who always gets the last laugh when someone gives him the "that’s really hot…are you sure?" warning).  However, there are very few in my office (department? vocation?) who can resist the allure of painfully hot wings and beer.  When we go for nice food, it’s generally Thai (Ayothaya in Orlando, FL), Cajun (Voodoo Rouge, recently discovered in the Norfolk, VA area), or Mexican/Southwestern (OK, best I got right now is Moe’s, but they’re really good!).
 
I don’t understand the need for this stuff.  I don’t know what the ability to communicate with inanimate objects has to do with burning the upper layers off of every surface within your mouth.  Michelle laughs at me as I sweat through dinner.  I just love it.
 
If I have a cold, I need my spicy food and a good supply of tissues (too much info, I know, but it would be wrong to hold back now).  By the time dinner’s done, I’m clearer than any box of Sudafed can deliver.
 
Anyone want me to post on the topic of spicy-food-aftermath?  I didn’t think so.  I’ve heard chocolate ice cream is the cure (eaten after dinner… not applied to the affected area!).
There are two chemical joys in the life of a computer programmer.  They are:
  • capsaicin 
  • caffeine

I could never see combining the two.  Habanero coffee?  Doesn’t sound appealing.  Anything not on the above list is at the discretion of the individual geek.

So I’ll dedicate this post to STARBUCKS COFFEE®

Every day I run into our local Starbucks, and I have to express my appreciation to the staff.  Every other day, I get a piece of marble loaf, which I break in half and eat over two days.  It’s entertaining because the baristas politely try to figure out which day it is.  Generally, Monday, Wednesday and Friday are cake days.  But things like sick days, holidays, and someone bringing bagels to work throw it off.  The beauty of this super-trivial little routine is that this small group of near-strangers behind the counter can remember the details of an individual among hundreds (thousands?) of daily customers (I stand in line with as many as 15 people in the 5 minutes I spend there – but that’s during the 8:30am rush so the math is not that simple). 

There’s a new lady working there, and this is another interesting thing to see.  Anytime someone new joins the staff, you can see the daily increase in knowledge and confidence.  As a purist, I know coffee, espresso, and cappucino.  I listen to the extended language but don’t speak it ("half-caf", "caramel macchiato", "soy latte", any number of variations on chai teas).  I write computer programs and track data in huge databases, and yet this coffee stuff perplexes me.  Anyway, each day, you can see the confidence increase in the newbies until they’re taking and calling out orders like old pros.

Of the regulars behind the counter, I know only a few names, and this is my shortcoming because all of them are so friendly.  Margeau is a displaced Long Islander like myself.  Michelle’s teenage daughters recently had a try-out for ballet and I need to ask how it turned out (I’m not sure if it was a professional try-out or amatuer, but it was a significant one, and Mom was excited for her girls).  James, whom I haven’t seen lately, has not missed a call on the cake/no-cake day dilemma.  Erin reminds me of Anna Faris from Scary Movie (just looks… not behavior that I know of). 

And then come the ones I’m embarrassed not to know by name… The big bald guy reminds me a tiny bit of Anthony Edwards but bigger and tougher looking.  The big not-bald guy doesn’t look like anyone I can name, but, like James, is pretty dead-on about what I’ll order and often has it ready before I get to the counter.  I should also know the name of the other displaced Long Islander, since we’ve talked about home.  She reminds me of Minnie Driver in Return to Me (i.e. I get the sense she was raised around old Italian guys, and I can’t think of a better influence).  Then there are a couple more who I rarely deal with because they pretty much handle just the drinks that I don’t know how to order.
(Disclaimer: I am known for relating people to movie stars on some unknown little nuance that no one else can see, so don’t be surprised if you can’t figure out the commonality between anyone above and the actor to whom I related them)

In any case, stopping for coffee sounds like such a trivial thing, but a few minutes every day for at least three years really adds up.  And considering that this is my first transaction of the day after dropping off the kids (the shift to "adult mode"), it’s impactful to the rest of my day.  These people deserve a full length tribute like this, not a simple "Starbucks Rocks!"-style comment.

Thank you Starbucks!  You caffeinate my world!

I’d love to see video of one of these things in action… they made both Time magazine and Popular Science.  Where was Wired through all of this???
 
 
Edit:  I found the video… it’s on their own company site…
High Cholesterol?  Eat More Chocolate!
 
Yes, that’s right.  I will be adding a daily chocolate bar to my "no fries/no coke" diet.  The caveat?  It has to be a single, 3.5 oz, DARK chocolate candy bar.  With all that fat and sugar removed from my diet, I’m hoping this little bit added back in won’t slow me down in my weight loss.
 
Cilck here to find out more.

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Click here for Heather’s Pictures from Dry Dock. 
Added the list of people I believe think like me.  This does not mean I compare to them on scale, just ideas and thought processes (i.e. Douglas Adams was far and away more artistic and driven than I am, but people who read his work say they can see right away why I like it).
 
Please note:  no last name?  no links?  Probably someone I know and choose not to splay all over the internet.  Don’t fret over it.
I’m at home now.  But, yesterday, I didn’t have a chance to post, so here’s some pictures (just two) of the new game in the Ocean Quest room.  This thing is incredible. I’m just sad I didn’t get a chance to play.
 
Dry dock is over… and I’m home only two full days late.  I’ll pick back up on the random stuff from now on…
 
Bye.