Thursday, October 09, 2008

Leaving Home & Madrid

The trip began with a perfect warm up exercise. Rather than riding to the airport in the luxury of an automobile, it seemed far more appropriate to begin a 24 day backpacking trip through Spain and Portugal, during which we would no doubt spend countless hours wearing our backpacks and ride countless kilometers on various Metro systems, by strapping our fully loaded backpacks to our backs and “backpacking” from home to the 19th St BART station in Oakland then BARTing to SFO.

Packs on, ready to depart.

Did I mention we flew business class? We did. All of those long miles flown on two business trips to India, finally put to good use. We quite enjoyed playing cribbage in the Toronto airport’s Maple Leaf Lounge, drinking free booze (Guinness and later The Glenlivet) during the 3 hour layover. The trans-Atlantic accommodations also were especially nice.

Mmm...lay flat seats.

Eat, drink, snooze, watch movies…Hey! We made it to Madrid! Now, where’s the Metro station? Oh, of course, it’s at the opposite end of the airport. After:

- 20 minutes of “backpacking” through the airport

- One consultation with the ever-so-helpful Metro assistance lady (yes, they actually have a staffed Madrid Metro information desk (with maps!), the sole purpose of which is to provide helpful and explicit directions from a human. This, it seemed to me, was a grand departure from the terse, angry, and poorly written hand-scrawled signs adorning the empty agent booths of most San Francisco Muni and BART stations),

- two transfers,

- and three train rides

we finally arrived at the Sevilla Metro station and emerged from underground to be greeted by this building:

The Banco España de Credito Building

Not a bad first glimpse of Madrid, I must say.

Upon arriving in Madrid, the plan called for meeting up with friends, let’s call them Todd and Lauren, who are on an adventure of their own: A whole year of tromping through various parts of the world. After spending August in Morocco (who goes to Morocco in August, anyway? Hot much?), they arrived in Madrid a few days before we did.

We were to meet them at an outdoor café in the Plaza de Santa Ana, near the hotel we’d be sharing with them. “We’ll be at a table outside, eating tapas and drinking cervezas, waiting for you”. A short walk from the Metro station, a quick scan of the tables in the plaza, and there they are sitting, sipping and eating.

Arriving at the Plaza de Santa Ana

(Photo by Lauren Girardin)

After throwing down our packs we get to the business at hand, drinking and eating. It wasn’t until a bit later we noticed the clean up activity near us. I guess the party got a bit out of control the night before and one of the cafes caught fire. But, these Spaniards, they are not easily discouraged. Immediately after the cleanup crews left the workers began restocking the charred bar in anticipation of opening again that evening.

Burned out bar.

(Photo by Lauren Girardin)

Me and Lauren, enoying our tapas.

Todd, deciding on tapas at the Cerveceria Lateral.

(Photo by Lauren Girardin)

We didn’t last too long at the café. The beers went right to our heads and by the time check in opened we were ready for a nap. Sleep, shower, then a tapas crawl through the neighborhood near our hotel. I’m glad Todd and Lauren had a few days in Madrid before us…in my jet lagged state I’m not sure how gracefully I would have handled the crowded tapas bar had they not been there to assist. Hard enough is figuring out what is actually on the menu, yelling out my requests in a foreign language over a noisy bar stacked 3 deep, and eating standing up with a plate in one hand and a beer in the other. Never mind understanding the total bill amount as yelled over the din. Uh, you mean I’m going to actually be expected to USE, in a real world situation, the Spanish I attempted to learn 6 months ago? Ok then, welcome to Spain (and please pardon my blank stares and mispronunciations).

Tuesday, September 30, 2008


How is it, that after eating and drinking my way through Spain and Portugal for 24 days, I have actually LOST 7 pounds?

Pics, words, and the occasional travel horror story to follow over the coming days and weeks.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Famous again

This is old, but this post by the Oakland Trib's beer blogger (how do I apply for that job, btw?) contains a photo. Two photos, actually, but we're interested only in the second photo. In that photo are my lovely wife and me.

This photo was taken at the opening night of The Trappist, a fantastic, albeit narrow, Belgian beer bar in Old Oakland. This bar is dangerously close to my work. Belgian beers and no food served...what could possibly go wrong?

First I'm on the news, now I'm in the paper, and nary a crime committed. Perhaps it's time to hire representation after all.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Jay Cutler, You Handsome Devil

This is a post about the Raiders. If you don't care to read about sports, what is your freakin' problem, anyway? Consider yourself warned.

Here's to the end of several nasty bad streaks. Between beating Kansas City on the road the week before, and Denver at home last week, the Raiders now have:
- A 2-game winning streak (don't laugh, we'll take it)
- A 2-game winning streak within the division (after a record-tying streak of intradivision futility)
- A divisional road win (in Arrowhead, no less!), and
- A divisional home win (against the hated Shanarat).

After enduring the travesty known as the last four seasons, those four accomplishments alone are enough for me to consider naming my first born "Lane".

It's not just that they beat the Broncos, but how they did it. They crushed their spirit. It's not like the sloppy KC game the week before where it seemed the teams took turns handing each other the game until the Raiders finally said, "Fine, Herm, we'll take it! Now, can we please leave?" This game bordered on an ass-kicking. And watching Shanarat's team lose in agonizing Raider-like fashion took the cake.

Extending an opponent's scoring drive with a roughing the punter call? Check.
Gifting opponents points by turning the ball over repeatedly deep in your own territory? Check.
Climbing back to within 4 points of the lead only to squander your chances in heartbreaking fashion via bone-headed plays and crucial turnovers? Check.
Heck, the Raiders' rookie QB made his very first NFL regular season appearance for two possessions and the Raiders still won the game.
Congratulations, Shanarat, your Broncos are the new Raiders, the very team you loathe more than any other.

Mostly, though, this post is an excuse to show the pic above. God, I love that pic. The helmet flying through the air, the befuddled look on Cutler's face (he looks like a stoned frat boy whose girlfriend just found his porn stash), it's perfect. Hey Broncos fans, it's your quarterback of the future! Feel the excitement!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Canadians are Scary

This Canadian PSA is downright frightening. Don't watch it if you're feeling particularly vulnerable or fragile or squeamish or about to eat any fried foods. Seriously, don't. (Found via Deadspin).

Monday, November 26, 2007

Turkey Day

We went up to Portland for Thanksgiving this year. We stayed with my wife's brother, his wife, and their new baby (4 months old). Man, is that kid cute. You may think I say that only because I am biased. But, no, he's actually very cute. Despite the fact our laptop is in what I fear to be its final death throes, here is a pic of the little dude, so you can see for yourself that he is, indeed, very cute.

We flew up to Portland Wednesday afternoon and came back Sunday afternoon. I know, I know, the two busiest travel days of the year, we're asking for it, etc. Well, ya know what? Nothing happened. Nothing. Smooth as silk. I've had far worse travel experiences on random days in the year. Wednesday and Sunday? No biggie.

One complaint about the trip: no turkey. Well, we had turkey, but not A turkey. It was just some turkey-ish loaf-like thing instead. Everything else was good (mashies, yams, stuffing, pie, etc) but to not have the bird...well...I dunno. There's just something very traditional about the bird coming out of the oven and everyone oohing and ahhing over it. It doesn't seem like a big thing to be missing, but try it sometime and see if you don't end up feeling empty and forlorn.

I managed to avoid over-consumption on Thursday, partly due to the fact that, due to late-arriving family, we didn't start eating until 5:30 (Thanksgiving dinner should start at 1 to allow proper grazing and napping the rest of the day. Everyone knows this.) Saturday, however, I nearly killed myself with food. At the Laurelwood Public House and Brewery I really did myself in. I showed up so hungry I ate part of my Nephew's car seat on the way over, even though the recent recall notice warned against doing this due to the choking hazard (I'm serious!). We got a beer sampler (6 oz of 9 or 10 different beers) and I could not resist the lunch special. Penne with chicken, prosciutto, sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus in a smoked Gouda cream sauce with little garlic bread toasts. Oh god yes. And a 16 oz stout. I ingested so many calories my distended belly lasted for hours and I didn't get my appetite back until after my workout this (Monday) morning.

The most exciting thing to happen (besides LSU losing to the Razorbacks) was my bro-in-law taking me for a spin on his new motorcycle. It's a Suzuki 650 something-or-other. I'm not really a motorcycle guy, per se ("per se" meaning "I've ridden a motorcycle, by myself, exactly one time") so I'm not sure of all of the details. It's blue. And has aftermarket fairings on it.

Before we set out he told me that, on a particularly remote and straight section of the road around the lake, he would tap my leg which meant "hold on, I'm going to open 'er up." Uh, ok. Perched on the back, during the mere motions of such daredevil stunts as starting from a stop sign or shifting gears, I felt as if only my death grip on the "sissy bar" prevented me from flying off the back. I grew convinced that I would feel the tap on my leg followed shortly by the pavement on the back of my helmet.

Turns out I survived. This, despite the fact that, after the tap, the front tire lifted off the ground for a bit, a happening I was not aware of until it touched back down on the pavement. My brother-in-law is fortunate I was late in noticing it, as he would still be dealing with the hearing loss caused by my screams of terror had I been aware of it as it was happening.

Indeed, I survived and now I am back at work, dealing with the fact that my product is in the final phases of spinning off from the mothership company and becoming it's own little startup. Um, hello, what do you mean I can't use the main office's sink anymore? I have to wash my dishes in the restroom now? But, does this mean I can no longer use the private, one seater bathroom downstairs in the main office? Stock, schmock. I want my private pooper.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Perspective. Get some.

I can't help but think...what if something horribly tragic happens at these Olympics and this dude is walking around for the rest of his life with the Chinese equivalent of "September 11th, 2001" on his forehead?

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Burning Man

So, as I mentioned in my last post (over four freakin' months ago), we went to Burning Man over Labor Day weekend (and the week prior, too. 8 days in all). It was our fourth year going to "the event" as Burners sometimes call it. This year differed from the others, though, as we were part of an entirely new camp and went with a new group of people. Half of us were veterans of the previous years' Yum Camp, the other half were Burning Man virgins (10 people total in camp). Our camp this year was called The Society. Our overall theme was Steampunk, with the centerpiece being our artcar, The Perambulator. We chronicled the events, discussions, and overall effort of creating our camp's Burning Man experience here. Many photos of our experiences can be found there, so feel free to poke around, look at the photos, take it all in.

There were some phenomenal art pieces there, two of the larger and more impressive being Big Rig Jig, and Crude Awakenings. Crude Awakenings' visual display was just stunning, and when they burned it, well, let's just say it's not often in life one gets to witness a mushroom cloud in person. The heat nearly singed my eyebrows from 250 yards away.

But, as usual, it's the smaller things making up everyday life on the playa that make the event something I return to over and over again: People standing in the middle of the street in 100 degree weather giving away slices of cold fruit to passers by. The Hardware Camp guys helping us rebuild The Perambulator's 5th wheel in the middle of a ferocious dust storm. And just the overwhelming awe that comes over me when I think that, for three quarters of the year, there is nothing there but wind and a bunch of dust. When I stop to look around on Friday night and see all of the individual contributions put together to make the whole of the Burning Man community, it truly amazes me.

Every year, it seems there is one small experience that sticks out for me. Our first year we were coming back from a night out on the playa to our woefully inexperienced and disorganized camp. We're tired, hungry, and really not looking forward to scrounging through the piles and boxes of food in the truck looking for something to eat. I really did not want to eat another Clif Bar. We're nearly back to our camp when Christen grabs my arm, points across the street and says, "Does that say 'Fish and Chips' "? I look to where she is pointing and lo and behold, there is a banner over a rather nondescript camp saying "Jonah's Fish and Chips". Could it be? We wander over and find a couple cutting sweet potatoes with a potato cutter (like they use in In N Out) and dropping them into a generator-powered deep fryer. Are you kidding me? They smile at us, wrap some fries in a sheet of newspaper, sprinkle some seasoning salt on, squirt in some ketchup, and hand the whole glorious thing over. Those fries, still, to this day, are the best I've ever had, and will probably remain the best I ever eat. Salty, soft on the outside but still slightly crunchy in the middle...just, and I mean EXACTLY JUST what the doctor ordered. I learned then and there what is meant by "The Playa Provides".

And the girl who handed me the fries was topless.

This year's stick-out experience is not as exciting, but still resonated with me none-the-less. About a year or so ago my friend, let's call him "Jason", turned me on to the band System of a Down. They are very very good and I enjoy their music greatly. They have a song called "B.Y.O.B." One of the lines is:

Everybody's going to the party have a real good time
Dancing in the desert blowing up the sunshine

I thought that resonated pretty well with Burning Man, and as we were installing the sound system in The Perambulator I imagined playing that song. But, its metaliness is strong and maybe would not be enjoyed by my campmates. Well, Christen and I are out riding our bikes around the playa one day and we end up riding by one of the Burning Man radio stations (yes, people set up radio stations for the event). What song do they happen to be blasting out of their speakers at us as we ride by? You got it, "B.Y.O.B." I made Christen ride around in circles in front of the radio station until the song was over. I mean, really, what are the chances? The VERY song I wanted to hear at Burning Man more than any other and it just so happens to be playing as we ride by? Just fantastic.

It's those types of experiences (and they happen the entire time) that keep me from saying "I will never go back." It is a crapload of work, both in preparation and while there, but there is no vacation I have ever been on that makes me feel further away from my everyday life than Burning Man.

Monday, August 20, 2007

No posts, then no more posts, then, still, no posts

Yeah, no posts for a while, huh? We're busy. Very busy. I even have a hilarious story about my friend Scott's impromptu bachelor party, but that will have to wait.

What are we so busy with? Preparing for Burning Man. Oh, and working on our art car.

So, the tales of debauchery and, yes, even the rest of the snow rescue tale, will have to wait until September.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

4th of July - Update - News Clip Obtained

A few days ago a friend told me she saw my little interview on the news the other day. So, thanks to the wonder of this here new fangled internet thing, here is the news segment. My killer sound bite is around the 1:53 mark.

A few comments:
  • Boy do I sound nervous. Is my voice shaking? Jeez.
  • I'm pretty sure I meant to say "set off", not "set up". Damn stage fright.
  • See, I'm not the only one who thought it sounded like a war zone. The lady around the 0:55 mark felt the same way. I'm not as fragile as you think. Maybe she wasn't cowering behind her loved ones like I was (thanks, honey!), but she was scared, too, damnit.
  • I didn't mention in my post that the camera man looked like he was recovering from a 4 day bender and might vomit on my shoes at any moment. Judging from his camera work, I'd say that diagnosis is not far from the truth. Way to chop of the top of my head in that shot. First time working the camera, dude? So much for using that clip in my portfolio.
  • " random, illegal, 4th of July glory." Work that drama, Leslie, you angry newswoman of the people.
  • I love how the Oakland po-po spokesdude shifts the blame on to the citizens at the end. Sweet. Hey jackass, we're not out there watching and applauding, we're out there making sure they don't throw fireworks on our roof. But, you're right, next time I'll just start busting heads. What could possibly go wrong?

Monday, July 16, 2007

4th of July

The wife and I didn’t do much this 4th of July. No boozy trips to San Diego. No getting married. Rather, in a fit of domesticity, we started the day gardening. My neighbor recently said something to me, as we were both out in our front yards pulling weeds, that stuck with me: “Gardening seems to be more about killing the things you don’t want in your yard, rather than nurturing the things you do want.” Indeed. While I frequently receive compliments from passers-by on the beauty of our garden, the damn thing is more work than I signed up for. Weeds, watering, dead-heading of the 25 or so rose bushes out front, and don’t get me started on the damn Bermuda grass. And that’s just the front yard. As we “inherited” the garden from the previous owner, it’s tempting to just let it all go to hell then use its hellish appearance as an excuse to rip it all out and start over. I don’t know if it’s some deep-seated set of gardening values implanted in my brain via the two summers of landscaping work in college or what, but I just can’t seem to let it go. So I water, and I weed, and I maintain the roses and curse at the Bermuda grass.

While toiling in the yard, we waffled back and forth about whether to go into San Francisco for a BBQ. On one hand, plopping our butts on the couch with season 3 of Deadwood greatly tempted us, but the thought of the 4th without a BBQ started to feel overwhelmingly unpatriotic so off to the city we go.

Ah, the general craziness of mass transit. The BART train into SF was standing room only so we found empty space near the doors in front of the last row of seats. At first I barely noticed the elderly looking lady occupying those seats, until she began talking. To her bag of groceries. I think she was one of those people who carries on conversations with you, without actually looking at you, and regardless of if you acknowledge them or not. She discussed my wife’s shoes, the racists on the train (I could not locate them), the state of the country, etc. All in all, a harmless somewhat crazy person.

At the next station a black dude with a mouth full of teeth desperately needing braces and a snazzy leather jacket got on the train, strutted down the center aisle and grabbed an overhead bar. All the while, jabbering away nonstop on his Bluetooth headset. Shortly, I, and everyone within earshot, became aware of the following facts: He’s going to some 4th of July breakdancing contest a friend is hosting but first has to stop by his house to pick up his old school breakdancing duds. Yes, he’s going to win it, as he has extensive breakdancing props to his name, including:

- Many competition wins. “I went to Chicago, they couldn’t beat me. I went to New York, they couldn’t beat me. I went to LA, they couldn’t beat me.”

- Video creds! “You know the guy with the high-top fade in the 1993 MC Hammer video? You’re lookin’ at him.” You're looking at him? Who says that to someone on the phone? This is our first hint that perhaps he’s a bit crazy.

He also knows many many many people in the music industry. If there was a “playa” name he didn’t drop, I missed it. Snoop, Dre, yes, even Diddy. They all know him and request him in their videos. Because, you know, all of the breakdancing going on in today’s hip hop vids.

At this point he’s been talking nonstop for about 5 straight minutes and we’re seriously beginning to doubt if anyone is actually on the other end of the phone. If they are, they’re either asleep or have put the phone down to go make a sandwich. (Tangential story: In college, my roommate Andy was planning his wedding. His mother-in-law would call ALL THE TIME to blather on and on about the napkins, flowers, and everything and anything having to do with the wedding. One day my other roommates and I were watching TV while poor Andy was stuck in the kitchen talking to her on the phone (none of us were rich enough to have one of those new fangled fancy “cordless” phones). Suddenly, Andy walks in and sits down. “Wow, that was a fast one, Andy, did you hang up on her or something?” “Nah,” he says, “I just put the phone down on the counter. I bet if I go back in there she’ll still be blabbing away and not even know I was gone.” He sits and watches TV with us for another minute or two, after which we all follow him back into the kitchen. He picks up the phone and gives us the thumbs up. We were in awe. Both at his scrotal fortitude in taking the risk of being caught doing that to his mother-in-law, and the absolute completeness of her self-absorbed conversation. I mean, most people at least expect to hear a bored “uh huh” every so often, right?). This guy, he's doing the same thing, so we’re pretty sure this guy is somewhat crazy, although he’s dressed pretty well. Just another harmless crazy person.

In order to cement in our brains his reason for being on the train with us, he once again mentions the 4th of July breakdancing contest, but adds further that he considers it just a warm up for the big contest coming up in LA. He’s going to go down and stay with a friend in LA and “win this thing”.

At this point Ms. “Talks to Her Groceries” chimes in and says, “Well, you better call him first or he’s going to have a real big surprise when you show up.” Wait, is she talking to Mr. Breakdancer? I think she is! I think she’s telling him to call his friend in LA before he goes down there to visit. Now this is getting interesting. We have crazy Bluetooth breakdancer having a conversation with the grocery talker, but neither of them knows it. Ah, the serendipity of public transit.

He continues to blather on into his headset and she continues her end of the “conversation” for another station or two. When we get to West Oakland, he announces, “Ok, I gotta step off. Catchya.” And gets off the train. This “I gotta step off” comment pretty much solidifies our belief his conversation existed solely between him and Ms Groceries. If you’re having a (normal) cell phone conversation, do you really say goodbye to people on the train as you get off? Usually, no. It’s not out of the question he was talking to someone, but I seriously doubt it. Apparently, wearing a Bluetooth headset is the modern way of disguising the fact that you're unbalanced.

The fireworks themselves were exciting. Between BBQing in the Mission district of SF, then going home to Oakland, I think we hit the two places most active in illegal fireworks activity. Both places sounded as if we were in a World War II battle zone. The nearby firecrackers provided the rata-tat-tat-tat of close range small arms fire while the larger, more distant aerial pyrotechnics resembled the mortar fire and bombing runs. Not that I’m AT ALL versed in what a real battle zone sounds like. The closest I’ve come to a true battle zone is watching Band of Brothers in surround sound. But, hey, were I to find myself in an actual battle field, the first thing I might think to myself after I stop whimpering in my foxhole and repeatedly soiling myself is, “Hey, this sounds like the 4th of July in Oakland!” If anything, this is probably a more realistic representation of what the Revolutionary War sounded like, as opposed to sitting in a stadium watching 150 people with painted faces arrange themselves on the field to look like the American flag and sing “Proud to Be an American”.

On the 5th of July, during my lunch break, as I exited my favorite deli, sandwich in hand, a TV reporter and her camera man stopped me. She wanted to ask me “a few questions about the fireworks last night”. Ok, sure. This could be my big break! She was a very angry woman. She tried very hard to goad me into anger regarding the fireworks the previous night. I responded with, “Well, other than setting off my car alarm once or twice, I don’t really mind it so much.” “So, you think they should just be allowed to set off these illegal fireworks whenever they want?” Trapped. “Um…” I sputtered, “no, I, uh, well…good question. I, um, just think that there are other, more serious, crimes the police should be focusing on.” Then she tried to get me to keep talking by not saying anything (the old therapist trick!) but I kept silent and she thanked me, took down my vitals, and I went on my way.

What do I wish I had said? How about what came to me a few hours later: “It’s not so much the fireworks that bother me, it’s the blatant flaunting of the law. Everyone knows they’re illegal, everyone knows it’s illegal to set them off, yet it seems fireworks are going off on every block. It’s not the fireworks themselves, it’s these peoples’ blatant disregard for the law and their complete confidence that they will not be caught. That’s what bothers me the most. It’s not the fireworks. It’s what they say about the state of law and order in our city.”

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friend OK, The Culture Divide

For those of you concerned about my friend, he's fine. For now. He's deathly afraid of another relapse, not that I blame him. Currently, however, he's fine, and has even resumed berating me for not inviting him over to drink my beer.

My haircut the other day differed greatly from any of my past haircuts. Since I chose that day to work from home I decided to check out the place near my house advertised as "Barbershop and Auto Detailing". You read that correctly, yes. In fact, a few weeks ago while waiting for them to complete the detail on our car they showed me around the place. It's quite nice. It's an old brick warehouse with a refurbished balcony. Downstairs is the detail shop and a plush "business center" with dark walls, dark wood furniture, and several computers with flat screen LCDs. The barber chairs are upstairs, with a bar area (they don't serve but you can rent it for a party, which I guess they do frequently), flat screen TVs, the whole works. Definitely not a "salon" but a "barbershop". And, yes, just like the movie of the same name, I was the only white guy in there.

This time, I walked in and asked if the barbershop was open. The first thing asked of me by the large black man standing by the door was, "You like it close and tight, right?". Only after answering "yes" did he tell me they were open and show me upstairs. Turns out Mr. Close and Tight would be my barber. He sat me in the chair and offered his hand, "My name's Aubrey". Taking his hand I introduced myself, and the unspoken culture divide presented itself. As he was standing on my left, I had to twist in the chair and reach across my body to shake his hand. Thinking the common introductory ritual completed I began returning to a normal seated position. Only at this time did I notice the quick movement of his hand turning into a fist. He was going for the post-shake fist bump! Being too far back into the chair already it was far too late for me to lurch forward and bump fists. Realizing the bump was not immediately forthcoming, he withdrew his fist with a slightly awkward smile. Only one option remained for the two of us: proceed as if the fist had never been offered.

How was I to know the bump follows the shake? Alas. The moment, it had passed, never to be recovered.

The cut went well, although it's much shorter than usual. After asking him to leave an inch on the top, the clippers came out, and not 5 seconds later he had run them all over my head. Zip zoom zip zip! Hair = short. In record time. The sides, though, that's where the artistry lie. He spend 18 of the 20 minutes 1. meticulously fading the shorter sides and back into the longer top and 2. shaping my sideburns and hairline. I swear at one point I could hear each individual hair being cut, so fastidious was he.

All in all, I look good, the cut was cheap and fast, and most important of all, the wife likes it.

Thursday, June 21, 2007


Picasa, seriously. If, while using your fine application to browse my library of images, I come across one I really like and want to post to my blog, how nice it is of you to provide a "Blog This!" button. Clicking it with a picture highlighted opens Blogger and automatically adds that picture to a new post. Wonderful. But, seriously, why is the picture not uploaded to the blog itself? Instead, Picasa wants to use my home computer (the location of the picture file) to serve the image to my blog. Meaning, not only would I have to leave my computer on all day, but, even worse, open my computer to the world so the images can be served from it. Puh-lease. This is ridiculous. Just upload the pic to my blog (that's what happens when I upload the pics through Blogger, after all) instead of trying to serve it from its present location.

That's the long and fascinating explanation for why there are still no images on the post below.

While we're here in a somewhat ranting mood...I saw this again today on my walk to work and I just do not understand it: Why do pedestrians in Oakland stand on a street corner, not going anywhere, and only when the traffic light in front of them turns yellow do they begin crossing the street? What is the matter with you? Was the light too green for your crack-addled brain? Are you an anarchist rebelling against "society"? Are you trying to kill yourself? (If so, call the suicide hotline or something. Don't do it in a manner resulting in an innocent person (the driver) having to carry the guilt of killing someone an idiot for the rest of their lives.)

And when the guy attempting to drive his car through the green light skids to a stop and honks his horn at you, you are NOT in a position to yell back at him to "Watch where you goin', muthafucka!". YOU are the idiot in this scenario, not him. Try some self-awareness. Try to consider, for once in your god-forsaken life, how your actions impact others. Oh, that's right, other people don't matter as long as they give you their hard earned money just because you asked for it.

Hey, coworker, sit down, shut up, and get to work. You're already so far behind schedule on your task the sales team completely stopped mentioning it as an "upcoming feature". You make so much more than anyone else this stuff should've been done in record time. And for god's sake, no one wants to hear your unsolicited, inflexible, and "expert" pontifications. I know the low cubicle walls create a communicative environment. In fact, that's why we have them, to foster teamwork. But, when I'm having a conversation with the guy next to me about remodeling our homes, we do NOT want you to wander over and give us a 20 minute lecture on how we're hanging drywall incorrectly. Screw you, buddy. Come over and see my drywall mastery for yourself (in my (somewhat) new laundry room! Woohoo!) then tell me I did it wrong. On second thought, don't.

Have you really not noticed the sudden rapid appearance of headphones from everyone within earshot a mere two minutes after you begin speaking?

We also do not want to hear your soliloquy regarding Apple "shooting themselves in the foot" because they're only selling the new iPhone through their Apple Stores. It's not going to sell because "people will only buy phones in places where they can sign up for the service"? I didn't know you had a marketing degree. Strange, given your current role in the company. I think you may be right though. Apple has, over the past 5 years, proven they have no idea how to sell a product. There is no craze for Apple products. There's no hype around this phone at all. All early-adopters will shun this product because they will have to go to a different store to sign up for service. All the poor iPhones will languish on the shelves, unsold. Steve Jobs, consider yourself warned.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Bedside Manner Tip for All Prospective and Practicing Medical Professionals

Ok, so I'm working on a big long post for your enjoyment, but maybe this will tide all three of my readers over for a bit.

My friend was really sick a few weeks ago. Fever for 5 days, sickness, doctor visits, the whole works. He gets better, we go out drinking, all is well.

I find out yesterday he's sick again, only this time with the added pleasure of vomiting yellow foam and delirious ramblings of hate directed toward his fever at 3am. Off to the doctor again. In the doctor's office Mr. Doctor (Dr. Doctor?) examines my friend's lymph nodes and exclaims, "Jesus! They ARE big!".

Mr. Doctor must have failed his Bedside Manner class in Med School. While examining your patient it is not permissible to exclaim in wonder at the advancement of your patient's symptoms. If you feel the need to marvel at how violently your patient's immune system is responding to the invading organisms, the proper response is, "Hm." Only after you're out in the hall and have closed the exam room door may you say to the nurse, "Be nice to the guy in Exam 2, he's fucked."