Jul 17, 2012

Tales from the Service Counter pt. 5

The other day, I was talking with a co-worker about a customer who came in one evening while I was in the middle of closing the dept. The customer was looking to have a large amount of steaks cut with a specific thickness. At the time, I apologized to the customer and told him I couldn't do it because the cutting room was cleaned and, furthermore, the dept was technically closed because it was after 9 p.m. As I told this story to my co-worker, he nodded and then said, " I would have cut the order for him." This caught my attention.
"Really?" I asked. He nodded again. "It wouldn't have taken that long and I like cutting besides." He answered. I was stunned into silence. My co-worker took that to mean our conversation was over and walked away.

The rest of my shift I thought on what he had said. Combined with other small details I knew about him I came to the realization that my co-worker had complete job satisfaction. The idea was novel and I had a hard time believing it so I asked him outright. "Yeah," he said. "I like cutting meat, the hours are guaranteed, the customers are generally nice and for the most part, I like my co-workers." I was silent again, but not from shock this time, but jealousy.

I struggled to think of the jobs I'd worked and if any of them gave me complete satisfaction. I thought of three, two in within journalism, one in education, but as I thought of each, a single fact reminded me that while these jobs were great, they did not offer complete satisfaction. Not enough hours, tumultuous workplace, unpaid. There was always something.

While I am envious of my co-worker, his situation give me some hope. Perhaps there is an ideal job out there for everyone. I haven't found mine yet, but I will.

Jul 4, 2012

Jun 14, 2012

My Mom, the Goddess

My mother's birthday was a few days ago and I thought it appropriate to reflect on the effect my mother has had in my life. After careful consideration I came to a startling realization. My mother might be a goddess. I know,  it sounds strange to me too, but the more I think about it, the more it makes sense. Bare with me, dear reader, while I make my case.

My mother is like Isis, the Egyptian goddess who was worshipped as the ideal mother and wife (right, Dad?) Besides the obvious, I must thank my mother for raising me and instilling in me a set of traditional values that have guided me and still guide me to this day. If that is not the ideal of motherhood then I don't know what is. Let me not fail to mention that she has done that job twice. My sister is every bit the strong young woman she is due to our mother's influence. A job well done as a mother might not be enough to convince someone of my mothers "other-worldliness" but there is more.

She is also like Mars, or Ares, depending on which side of the Adriatic and Ionian Sea you live. In this role, she fights for and defends those that are important to her with a ferocity that is unmatched. I recall a time in elememtary school when I watched her, with awe, dress down a teacher who complained to her that I, as a fourth grader, was leaving the class without permission and inciting other students to do the same (even at the age of nine I was a leader of, well, children). I remember being both frightened and excited to watch my mother defend me. The excitement because she was ready to protect me from any and all accusations. Frightening, because I knew later that evening her wrath would be upon me for my poor behavior. It was. With aspects of Isis and Mars already discovered, a third couldn't be far behind, right?

Finally, my mother is like Apollo, or more specifically, the Oracle at Delphi, a human imbued with Apollo's gifts of prophecy. There are countless myths that involve heroes consulting the Oracle for advice about their quest and learning crucial information that helped them succeed. There are just as many stories of others seeking wisdom from the Oracle and misinterpreting or outright ignoring what she says to their detriment. I'd like to say that I fall squarely in the first group but I've spent plenty of time in the latter. I'm just happy and blessed that my mother continues to offer sage counsel. It took me a couple years but I'm starting to understand.

My mother is my personal goddess. I love you and wish you many more happy birthdays.

May 17, 2012

Random Thoughts pt. 6- The Mashup

Another mashup post. I've been working a lot recently which is a good thing and in the process have seen and heard a ton of interesting things that alone aren't worth a full post. Still, these thoughts and idea have been rattling around in my head so I figure I ought to share them. Here are a few, in no particular order...

Annoying Radio Spot
I drive a lot. It's Texas, that sort of goes without saying. While in the car, the radio is a primary souce of entertainment. I don't mind radio commercials, I think a lot of them are silly but generally harmless. However, there is one commercial that I cannot stand. It's a for Briggs and Stratton lawn mower parts and it incites a desire to do violence whenever I hear it.  The premise is that there is a couple who's lawn mower is broken and because of that, their lawn has become overgrown. Here's the rub: Their neighbors have begun to comment on how tall their grass is with derisive comments. To be fair, I don't own a home or have a lawn to mow. But, when I was younger, one of my chores was to mow the lawn. My family never got calls from our neighbors complaining that our lawn needed to be mowed. If I ever lived in a neighborhood where people called my house to complain about the length of my lawn, face-punching would ensue. That's all I have to say about that!

The Most Interesting Man in the World
I'm not really a fan of Dos Equis beer (sorry Eric!) But I have to commend them on their advirtising campaign because it rocks. Not only have they committed to the idea of this person, but they come out with new and cool ways to describe him every few months. He's like the Chuck Norris of beer. The following are a few of things I've heard about the Most Interesting Man in the World that really tickled me:

- His monkey business is his official business with primates
- He never sweats, not even in a sauna
- He has never joined them because he has always beaten them
- He once warned a psychic
- He has won trophies for his game face alone

Props to Dos Equis, and Heineken USA (the owners of the Dos Equis brand) for coming up with a great marketing tool and keeping it a marketing tool. The opportyuity to let the character overshadow the brand is obvious but you don't see the character in anything but the Dos Equis commercials.

TXU is Hot
I watch a fair amount of TV online and invariably have come across this commercial from TXU Energy. They are usually advirtising lower energy rates as the summer approaches, but I'll be honest, I have a difficult time paying attention their offers. Take a look at this commercial:

My goodness, how hot is that spokeman?!?! The first time I saw him I thought he's got fantastic bone structure... Look at that jawline! I don't know who this guy is and I don't care, but damn, he's a handsome dude!

Just my thoughts, random as always.

May 10, 2012

Ended the day watching videos in class. Was a great day to sub!

Field Day!

My class wins at Tug of War! I'm such a great motivator!

They save the best event for last... Tug of War!

Field Day!


Field Day!

In class lunch and video for the kiddies...

Free pizza and water for me!

Just heard that a volunteer parent accused a 3rd grader of attempting to steal her wallet. Really!?!

Field Day!

Water cup races! Just one of the many water-based games today. Second only to soak your teacher with a water gun!

The kids have been eating the ice in the water bottle cooler. Not a big deal except they've also been putting bugs in the same ice... *sigh*
The kids just finished the 50 yard dash. Makes me laugh so watch the way they run with such reckless abandon!

Field Day!

Hippity-Hop races. Intense competition!

There are several events that involve water... Probably should have brought a change of clothes!

Field Day!

The Egg Run! They used wooden eggs. I don't think even boiled ones would have lasted.

There are 12 stations and the other teacher and I have 42 kids, all 3rd graders, to wrangle to from each station... Can you say herding cats??

Field Day!

Students line up for the bouncy slide. Kinda wish I could too!!

Substitute gig today: Field Day at an elementary school. Best. Substitute. Gig. Ever!

Apr 30, 2012

Speech Writing & Mixology

I was working with a student this week to help him improve his writing. He and I wrote from speech prompts to strengthen his ability to write off the cuff.  He wrote a speech about being in a drumline, I wrote a speech about making a drink. Let me know what you think!

As a bartender, I've been trained to make drinks. Any bartender will tell you that making drinks is easy, you simply follow the specific steps and serve the beverage to the customer. A gin and tonic, for example: fill a collins glass with ice, pour in two ounces of gin, fill the rest of the glass with tonic water. Put a lime garnish on the rim. simple. However, the showmanship, presentation and service are what truly make a great cocktail.

I like to make martinis. It's a simple drink that has become synonymous with high class and good taste. Even though its origin is disputed, most historians agree the Prohibition Era is the reason the drink became so popular. During the 1920s the illegal manufacturing of gin was so popular that gin-based drinks were the choice of most underground bars. The simplicity of the beverage only added to its fame and I think James Bond did the rest when he first asked for one "shaken, not stirred."

Making the drink is not difficult. You start with a shaker filled half way with ice. Then, you add an ounce and a half of gin and a half ounce to an ounce of dry vermouth. Here's where the service comes in. Double check with your customer because people like varying degrees of vermouth in their martini. The less vermouth, the "dryer" the martini. Next, cap the shaker and shake (or stir) it up! You want to be able to feel  some of the chill of the ice through the shaker. Then, you pour the mixed concoction into a martini glass. I like to drop the necessary olives in the bottom of the martini glass prior to the pour so that the drink fills up around the garnish. I feel doing that adds to the level of showmanship. I also move the shaker up and down and in a circular motion as I pour to give the sense of an "even pour."

That is how I make a martini to not only create the drink for the customer, but to also make a demonstration of its creation which adds to the overall presentation of the drink.

Apr 22, 2012

Finally clocked out. Long night, but was a lot of fun. More photos to come later. But for now, sleep!
Still here... *sigh*
The guests are gone but my night isn't done because I still have to cash out and count my till. There are always issues with this step. Never fails!
Less than fifteen minutes left...!
Someone just tipped me 26 cents... Just have to laugh I guess.
Suddenly got busy... That's a good thing!

One of our Signature Drinks: Rumor's Drama. Yes, it's smoking!
Look at my cute co-worker!

Apr 21, 2012

10:55pm: women are using the support beams as dance poles...!
Novelty drinks to line the bar. Dry ice makes them smoke!

Got in around 5pm and spent several hours on setup. The club is new so we're still working out all the kinks.

My bar, all set up and ready for business!
I got a job bartending recently. Stay tuned for more info about the interview process. But tonight, come behind the bar and work a shift with me...!

Apr 7, 2012

Things I like to read

I'm an avid reader. So much so, that I find it odd when someone I meet tells me that aren't into reading, or they'd rather wait for the movie to come out than read the book (something I hear from my students more and more often). Along those lines, I also enjoy sharing things I've read or found online with friends and in return, hearing what they are reading or following and checking it out for myself.

This post is just a few things I've found and like and I hope you, dear reader, will enjoy them as much as me.

Blogs are everywhere. These days most sites have a blogging component and Wordpress and Blogger are only getting more popular. I've already talked about some blogs I really like, both of which are run by friends. Sadly,  a few of those blogs have expired due to mental fatigue. Luckily, I've found some other blogs that I like and follow with enough regularity to consider signing up for email updates.

Complex Realities - Written by one of my former students, this blog is an homage to the power of words and the written form. The blogger uses the space to present her poetry, prose and general outlook on life. I like the pleasant mixture of emotions within some of the posts, though, I hope it fictional, art for art's sake, instead of art reflecting her life. All in all it's a great read. It allows me to stay in touch with one of my students even after our time together is completed.

Annals of the Southfarthing - This is a travel blog depicting the adventure a former co-worker went on in New Zealand. His trip has ended but I find myself going back over the various entries that discuss his travels and living them vicariously. The blog uses photos and video superbly to tell the story and it's just a treat to read about what he saw and did.

My friend told me that there is much more of his adventure to tell and there will be new posts and updates added to the blog. Very exciting!

Recently, I've taken to listening to books on tape. I do a fair amount of driving between my jobs and as much as a I love sports talk radio, there is something wholly entertaining about having a book read to you. It reminds me of kindergarten when my teacher would read to the class. I think it's just fun. Specifically, I've been going through the Dresden Files by Jim Butcher. At the suggestions of my friend, Eric, I downloaded the first three books to my phone, listened to them and haven't looked back. They are a quick listen and an enjoyable way to kill a 25-minute drive. If you like fantasy books, check these out.

I'm always up for a good read. If you, dear reader, have come across something cool, let me know. I'll do the same for you.

Apr 4, 2012

Tales from the Service Counter pt. 4


Last Sunday, I cut myself. It didn't hurt nearly as much as I thought it would.

While cutting a special order for a customer, I poked my left palm, just under the pinkie, with the tip of the knife. The sudden shock made me jerk my hand away and stretch it to combat the pain. As I did that, my skin popped and split.
No longer a bloody mess

The laceration didn't seem too deep until I cleaned it under some running water. I was able to see that I had cut all the way through the various layers of skin on my palm to expose some of the muscle beneath.

Lidocaine numbs my hand

I wrapped the cut with paper towels and tape to keep it from bleeding everywhere while I drove myself to the emergency room. Once there, I was informed that I would need stitches to close the wound.

Six stitches

The MD worked deftly on my hand, first applying lidocaine, a local anesthetic which made the side of my palm feel like I had fallen asleep on it. Next, he cleaned the area with water and what I think was iodine. Then, he began the process of stitching my skin closed. It felt like an odd pressure on my palm as he pulled the thread through the gash, sowing it closed. Towards the end of the stitching, it began to hurt as he poked the needle through skin that wasn't numb.

All patched up
The area was cleaned again and wrapped in a enough white gauze to form a pseudo boxing glove over my left hand.

I drove myself back to work and finished my shift.

Mar 14, 2012

A message to my Father


let me take a moment to thank you. For thirty years (twenty-five of which I remember) you have been a role model, a hero and a paradigm of what an upstanding, intelligent, hard-working, patient man and father should be.

From teaching me to ride a bike (speed equals balance, you would say) to taking me out on a summer evening to practice fielding ground balls. Your diligence and patience with me are the things I remember most clearly.

In preschool you would pick me up and take me back to your office. I'd find all your pens and use them to create colorful drawings, wasting precious ink in the process. Yet, you encouraged me to write stories to go along with my drawings. Perhaps you saw, at that early of an age, where my passion would lay...

When I think about all the lessons I've learned from you, both explicit (how to tie a tie, how to iron my pants to maintain a crease) and implicit (watching you interact with Mother and learning how to treat a woman properly), I can't imagine you not being there to not only guide me but also be the end goal on my path.

However, you're not the end goal. As you once told me, it is my job to do better than you, to go farther and achieve more. Lofty aspirations, but not impossible.

I would count it a success to match you but I thank you for instilling in me the drive, determination and the unwillingness to settle.

So, happy birthday. And, again, thank you for everything.

Mar 7, 2012

Paintball or, Battle for Dummies

I went paintballing over the the weekend. It was the activity of choice by one of my cousins for her birthday. She sent out a text message a few days ahead of the event.

"Hey! Finalized Bday plan: this Sunday, we are going paintballing!  They say to wear long sleeves, long pants, stuff you can move in and can get dirty. FYI: getting hit does hurt, but it's all in fun so hopefully we will all be ok! Let me know if you have any questions or concerns, and also that you've received this. Thanks and see you soon!!!"

The calm before the Storm...
When I received the text message, I laughed. The fact that she said getting hit hurts was clue enough about who would be attending this affair.

Some highlights:
- My cousin (the older sister of the birthday girl) saying "Gotcha, bitch!" after shooting an opponent.
-  One of the birthday girl's friends unloading several shots at close range into the facemask and head of an opponent even after he called himself out.
- Me shouting curses at a teammate for taking me out with "friendly fire."
- The birthday girl cowering in a corner, eyes wide behind her facemask, clutching her gun, saying repeatedly "is it okay? Is it okay?"

The aftermath: beaten down and battle-scarred
Suffice to say, we were generally outclassed in terms of equipment, paintballs and fervor for the sport. The photos do a great job of telling our tale. We spent three hours at the place and played two games. Then we went to On the Border for dinner.

I enjoyed the experience even though it was much more intense than the other times I played paintball. I've come to realize that, if I had the time and capital, paintball would be an activity I could really get into. That being said, if I don't play again I'll be okay with that.

Mar 2, 2012

Substitute Stories pt. 2

"Nancy" has been a substitute teacher for three years. "I love the hours, and summers off" she says with a smirk. As a retired teacher, Nancy finds that "subbing," as she calls it, is a great way for her to stay connected to teaching and education. "I can set my own schedule and I don't have to worry about not working if I don't want to" she says.

When she worked as a teacher, Nancy taught freshmen English, both at level and pre-AP. Yet, when she substitutes, she enjoys branching away from her areas of expertise."Subbing can be fun and challenging if you're willing to step outside your comfort zone," she says.

This idea is illustrated best when she tells the story of one of her first substitute jobs. "I signed up for a job subbing in a high school English class" she says. "I figured I knew the material so it would be an easy day." When she got to the school, the administration threw her a curve ball.

"I found out that they [the school] didn't need an English sub, but a math sub," Nancy says chuckling. "I took the job because I didn't feel like driving all the way back home for nothing."

Even though it was a geometry class the morning periods were rough. "The teacher left a worksheet for the class but they didn't understand the information. I ended up having to explain Platonic forms and how to calculate volumes of solid objects with only a few minutes prep between each class" she says.

Luckily, substitute teaching tends to be repetitive. By the afternoon, Nancy knew the information and how best to relay it to her students. "I created a game where the students would get points for their team if they could correctly identify forms and tell me the formula for calculating its volume."

All in all, Nancy appreciated the experience. "Subbing in a class that wasn't in my area of study showed me that it's possible for a sub to step into almost any class room and still be affective" she says.

If nothing else, it demonstrates her versatility. A quality that should be a part of all good Substitute teachers.

Feb 27, 2012

All done! It was a good day. The kids were fairly attentive and I hope they learned something. Stepping up to the high school tomorrow.
Last class of the day, packing up, ready to leave.

Just had a student ask me if I go to church... Kind of random!
Last class of the day. Home stretch, I think I'll make it!
The day is almost over. I'm starting to drag a bit. The kids are getting to me...!
Late lunch... I appreciate the break!

Teaching students how to draft a five paragraph essay today. Right in my wheelhouse!

3rd period done. One of the kids says, "you don't sound like you're from TX." I say, "I'm not." She responds "If you're not from TX then why are you here?"
Ended up going over the info slide by slide. Sure, it's slower but the kids learned the info. That's a win in my book.
First period started poorly. I was supposed to run through a slide show but the students were confused and had questions.
I'm substituting in a 7th grade class today. I'll post periodically during the day. Stay tuned, it should be interesting...!

Feb 25, 2012

Substitute Stories

The other day, while preparing to walk several students out to the afternoon bus, an interesting event took place.

As I watched my charges, I felt a tug in my shirtsleeve. I looked down, a small child, maybe in kindergarten or 1st grade, looked up at me. His eyes were wide, brimming with tears. He gazed up at me forlornly.

"Yes?" I asked, looking down at him.
"I can't f..f..find my jacket and my momma said th..th..that I would be in trouble if if if I don't come home with my jacket" he said. His lower lip began to tremble. Crying was eminent.

Suddenly, I was transported back in time twenty-four years. There I was as a six-year-old crying to my 1st grade teacher about another student who took my Bulls Starter jacket. I bonded with the child immediately.

"Hey, it's okay. We'll find your Bulls jacket. I'm sure it's here somewhere" I said, trying to soothe him.
"It's not a Bulls jacket," he sniffled.
"Oh, right, of course" I said.

Just then, another student walked up to us, dragging a jacket.

"Jeremiah I found your coat, it was in the pile" the second student said.

Jeremiah took his coat and walked away with the second student to line up for their bus.

Disaster averted.

Feb 23, 2012

Potpourri for $1000, Rick

Another mash-up for you. A few events and other things worth mention, but not a full post. I hope you find it as interesting as I did.

D-League basketball
This guy was having too much fun!
I went to a Developmental League game a few weeks ago with my buddy, Eric. The company he works for is a sponsoring partner of the Mavs team, the Texas Legends. Since they were are a sponsor, we watched the game from a box suite, had complimentary catered food and VIP parking. One of the guys we were with was even picked to participate in a halftime "name that tune" competition. The game was forgettable, but it was kind of cool to see Greg Ostertag attempt a comeback.

Best deal since the two hot dog combo!
AMC Movie Theaters
I went and saw Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance last weekend. The movie was "ehh." Admittedly darker than the first and more in line with the graphic novels but I've seen Nic Cage play the tweaking addict (The Bad Lieutenant - Port of Call New Orleans) and I don't think making him a demon besides adds any more to the performance. However, what was really cool is that AMC now has a "smaller portion" combo. Sure, it's just a regular-sized popcorn for an adult and a medium (a real medium) drink. But, it's under $10 and is perfectly filling. I'm certain avid moviegoers, like myself, rejoice at this news!

No epilogue, just a sentence to close out the post.

Feb 22, 2012

Paris, Je t'aime, mais Je suis fatigué!

I spent New Years of 2012 in Paris, France. It was amazing. The City of Lights truely lived up to its name. Unfortunately, it's almost March which makes all of this old news. However, Facebook doesn't really allow for elaboration. Many of those photos have a humorous story attached to them. Below you'll find some of the ones that mean the most to me.

Eiffel Tower from my hotel balcony
 I still can't get over how close my hotel was to one of Paris' most well-recognized landmarks. I might, in fact, be overestimating the distance when I say it was a block away. At night, the tower is lit up and can be seen for miles, it even flashes at the top of every hour... Until 2 am, at which point all the light are shut off until tomorrow night. My cousins and I learned this the hard way on one of our many nights out and about. We were attempting to make our way back to the hotel using GPS on a cell phone but we kept saying, "once we see the Eiffel Tower we'll know we're home." We assumed it would be lit up, it was not. At one point, we stood on a corner trying to figure out which way the GPS was telling us to go when my cousin blurts out, "hey, isn't that the Eiffel Tower over there?" We could just barely make it out in the darkness and fog. Suffice to say, as landmarks go, it's great. Just be home before the lights go out!

L'Arc de Triomphe at 5am
 Paris reminded me of both Chicago and New York City. Like Chicago, the place was open late. My cousins and ended up wandering up the Champs-Élysées around 5 am when I got this picture of the Arc de Triomphe. Even at that hour there were people on the street. Much like New York, Parisien fashion was progressive and it gave the entire city a cosmopolitan feeling that blended well with the "Old World" feel of much of the architecture and historical landmarks. It's a feeling that you can't duplicate living in the States and I really enjoyed it while I was there.

Me and my Chicago cousins.
Guest characters on my BET sitcom!
 Some of my best travel memories involve my family. I am so thankful for this for several reasons. I appreciate and love the fact that I am close enough with my cousins that the idea of vacationing with them is exciting. I look forward to family gatherings where we can sit around and talk about the various trips we've been on together. I also love that we're all old enough to enjoy the nighttime acctractions our vaction spots have to offer. It's no fun when someone gets left out and now that will never happen again. All of our trips are a blessing and I'm happy to be included.

As the title suggests, the vaction was awesome even though I was only there for a short time. The memories generated and the new friends made will last a lifetime, j'espère!

Feb 19, 2012

Teacher sues CPS after suspension for slur during ‘teachable moment’

My friend, Veronica, posted this story in the Chicago Sun-Times on my Facebook timeline recently and I felt it necessary to share. Go ahead and take a quick read.

Teacher sues CPS after suspension for slur during ‘teachable moment’  

I know I did a post on (potential) racism, but I think this brings up some interesting issues surrounding race and the n-word. I have my response and I've called in a favor from my good friend, Gage Norris, as a second opinion to complete the forum. I'd like to hear what you think too. Leave your thoughts in the comment section under the post. FYI, if you leave a comment on Facebook or somewhere else I'll put it in the comment section on the post, so save me the time and effort!


Rick - As a teacher, and a white teacher in a minority environment, that he should have been more aware of how his use of the n-word would play out. The word is so emotionally charged that even though I think the principal's reaction was incorrect, it has to be expected. This reminds me of a debate that took place in one of my U of C classes. A white student used the n-word while quoting and discussing a specific assigned reading passage and I remember there was such an uproar by several black students in the class the original point (which was valid) was lost in the backlash. Obviously there is a double standard insofar as who is saying the word, but I think there is also space for other races to use the term "n-word" during teachable moments or in academic in discussion. Context is key. You can always refer to the word without using it and still make valid points and take advantage of teachable moments. 

GageAs I write this, I’m trying to figure out if this is a case of a decent guy trying to do the right thing but going about it the wrong way – or if it’s case of a guy with a ton of white guilt that’s turned into white anger. Brown has a point when he says we can’t address issues of race if we don’t talk about them. But I don’t think it’s necessary to use the n-word explicitly. At this point I think it’s safe to assume people will know what you mean if you abbreviate out of a sense of respect for a word that carries centuries of racism – by white people against black people, and for a period of time, by white people against anyone who wasn’t white. If our goal is to phase this word out as much as possible (not ignore it, just limit its usage), continuing to use it explicitly can’t be moving us in the right direction. Ultimately, I feel like Brown deserves this suspension. Based on the discrepancies between his account and that of his principal, it’s clear at least one of them is lying about what really went down in that classroom. And my gut tells me it wasn’t a bunch of black students and a principal ganging up on a white teacher – rather, a white guy who let himself get out of line in a professional setting. 

Dash's Apology

Dear Readers,

I want to take a few minutes to chat with you about my (lack of ) posts recently. I've received several emails and text messages asking when I'll have new material and when I'll get back on my regular posting/updating schedule. While a bit shocking at first, I appreciate the questions because it means I have an audience. An audience who deserves to know what's kept me from doing what I normally do. There are, of course, a couple of impedimenta...

1) My laptop stopped working when I came back from Paris. It was bound to happen as the machine was three years old and on its last legs. The timing couldn't have been worse, as I had many photos I wanted to share and talk about. There will be a bit of a recap, but it won't be nearly as in-depth as previous planned since the news is a bit stale at this point.

2) I can be very lethargic at times. The loss of my computer leaves me with a single device that can access the internet and even though my phone is pretty cool, the screen just isn't big enough facilitate writing blog posts so I don't.

These aren't excuses (even though they sound like ones). I am pulling back the curtain to give you an insider's view of what's going on. This post is an "apology" in its truest, most Socratic meaning. I hope the court of my peers and blog audience will not treat me as Socrates was treated by his accusers. I hear hemlock tastes terrible!

Updates will return starting this week. There is a lot going on and I want to share...

Jan 18, 2012

Tales from the Service Counter pt. 3

Another true story about the people I deal with at my retail job...

I had an interesting conversation with Isaac recently. Once again, I was stuck working a closing shift with him and despite the fact that we got done early it was not without the following interaction.

I came back from my break to find Isaac melting the ice in the seafood service case. As I walked up, he looked up and squeezed the hose shut to speak to me.

"I don't know why, but it always takes so long to melt the ice. Like twenty minutes. You know?" He said.
"Well, it's an endothermic reaction..." I replied.
"Yeah... Wait, what?" Isaac said.
"Endothermic, a reaction that draws in heat from its environment," I explained. He furrowed his brow and looked like he was concentrating and it required effort. Then his eyes glazed over. I could almost see "does not compute" scroll across his forehead. I sighed.

"When you spray the ice with the hot water from the hose the ice melts because the water is at a higher temperature than the ice. The ice absorbs the heat from the hot water to find a balance which is the mix of ice and water you get," I said. He began to nod vigorously.
"That's why the water isn't hot when it's done melting the ice because the ice cools it off," he exclaimed. I just looked at him.

Isaac went back to melting the ice as I walked behind the service counter and put my white coat back on.
"Dude, you're smart. You could be, like a teacher or something," he said. "I didn't even know they had scientific words for melting ice!"

I just shook my head.

Jan 9, 2012

A ride of the pantless on the MBTA - Boston.com

I came across this story on Boston.com and decided it needed sharing, especially considering all the MBTA stories I've posted.  Check out the link.
A ride of the pantless on the MBTA - Boston.com

This is something I probably would have participated in with my people were I still in Boston. Some quick questions and observations: 1) Did anyone I know ride pantless? 2) I was impressed by the innovation of some of the riders. No pants doesn't necessarily mean underwear only. 3) I sort of wish the reporter had talked to some pants-wearing spectators to get their opinion of the event.