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."