Friday, April 27, 2007

Geek Humour

I found this pic here on John Battelle's Searchblog and had to repost it. I work in the tech sector so when something like this comes along I am almost obliged to make note of it. Not to mention I am a huge Giants fan, so this is like a double whammy, or just a double, if you will.

UPDATE:: If you don't get it, please go here.

Not Interested, Part 2

I hear the phrase "Not Interested" many times every day. More often than not it's before I even get into what we do here and how it's going to benefit their business. I think people believe that by telling me this that I will stop calling them.

Wanna know a secret? I don't. The only way I'll know you are truly not interested is if you give me a logical reason that you are not interested (after I've talked to you about our product), and/or you explain to me why. Otherwise I know you just don't wanna talk ... for now. Thus, you'll keep getting called. Same thing goes for folks that just slam the phone down on me before I get into my schpiel.

On a philosophical note, this job has taught me something: Be Nice. If you're not nice then bad things will keep happening to you. You wouldn't believe the data trafficking that goes on in the world today. People can know a lot about you very easily. Thus, be nice and you'll likely be treated the way you would want to be treated.

I've Already Got One, Part 2

Today I had the pleasure of calling up a CPA firm to offer our services to them. The secretary was doing her job and sniffed me out before letting me get to her bosses. But, being the professional that I am, I went ahead and spoke to her in a courteous fashion, detailing what we do over here. She used the old "We're set, we've already got one," defense against me, which prompted my reply of "Great! I like to know what my competition does, what's the address?"

Almost on cue she backed up and began fumbling over her words, first telling me she didn't know the address and then reversing course to tell me that she knew but was going to tell it to me. At this point I decided ot have some fun with her and I told her straight tout that I suspected she didn't have a website. She responded that in fact they did, and before she could go on I asked her a simple question: "Then why won't you tell me the address?" Simple question, should merit a simple answer, you would think. You would think wrong.

Lori (her name) goes on to tell me that "I don't have to answer any of your questions," which is true, but Jeezus, why are you getting so confrontational? I told her that's true, but I'm just gonna Google you anyway, so why not just tell me? She hangs up.

So then I do, in fact, Google her firm name. What comes up? A few local chamber of commerce type listings but no firm website. I scroll down the page and what do I see? Someone has the firm name listed as one of their companies on MySpace, and what's that person's name? Lori! Ha ha ha! I clicked on it and saw the woman, saw her page.

She seemed nice enough. She likes hockey and the Mets. It was kind of funny to see the face of this woman who had just shut me down (and probably lied to me about the firm having a site) on the phone. I was suddenly peering into her life via MySpace. Kind of weird.

Those Wacky Japanese

I saw this story from, and it made me chuckle. Firstly, I don't know how someone would mistake a sheep for a dog. I mean, when you went to pick it up you should have seen the thing was very much not a dog. Not even close. But then again, urban dwellers in Japan may not have much contact with sheep, so it's plausible that they would make this mistake.

A tip of my hat to the scam artists that pulled this off, though. It's a ballsy move to scam people in such a brazen manner. The jig is now up, and these guys are likely long gone, but it was a good graft. With poodles going for so much in that country this was both enterprising and very cunning (if not a great deal dishonest).

Japanese fooled in poodle scam

Friday April 27, 2007
Japanese poodle (AAP)

Thousands of Japanese have been swindled in a scam in which they were sold Australian and British sheep and told they were poodles.

Flocks of sheep were imported to Japan and then sold by a company called Poodles as Pets, marketed as fashionable accessories, available at $1,600 each.

That is a snip compared to a real poodle which retails for twice that much in Japan.

The scam was uncovered when Japanese moviestar Maiko Kawamaki went on a talk-show and wondered why her new pet would not bark or eat dog food.

She was crestfallen when told it was a sheep.

Then hundreds of other women got in touch with police to say they feared their new "poodle" was also a sheep.

One couple said they became suspicious when they took their "dog" to have its claws trimmed and were told it had hooves.

Japanese police believe there could be 2,000 people affected by the scam, which operated in Sapporo and capitalised on the fact that sheep are rare in Japan, so many do not know what they look like.

"We launched an investigation after we were made aware that a company were selling sheep as poodles," Japanese police said, the The Sun reported.

"Sadly we think there is more than one company operating in this way.

"The sheep are believed to have been imported from overseas - Britain, Australia."

Many of the sheep have now been donated to zoos and farms.

Virginia Tech and The Blame Game

Saw this clip on the Daily Show, and thought it was funny. But everyone knows that the Daily Show is funny, so that comes as no surprise.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I <3 KOL

If you don't know what KOL is, then go here.

Sales Motivation

When numbers are down, Sales Managers get angry. That's Sales, and that's working in a Sales position. I understand this.

From time to time we'll get little 'motivational' talks from our manager when the numbers dip below expectations. These typically consist of criticisms of our efforts and/or enthusiasm at the job.

The first one is valid from time to time, and it can easily be charted by comparing the number of dials we've made, the number of leads we've generated, the close ratio et alia. and then you work to rectify the situation by dialing more, working on your pitch and what not.

The second one is more subjective and thus more difficult to pin down. I don't know how to show more enthusiasm at work; would he like me to walk into work with an erection? That's hyperbole, but I think the point is valid. I don't sleep on the job, I get my dialing numbers where they need to be (quantifiable effort indicator), and I do the best I can. I'm typically here before anyone else, and I'm the last one out the door most days.

I guess what it comes down to is that I don't like these little speeches so much. If nothing else they are far from motivational. I understand their purpose, I understand the message and the intended result, but there's only so much we can do. Sometimes people are not willing to talk to you. Sometimes people don't have the money to afford your product. Sometimes your product is not suitable to their needs. You can try to screen these non-buyers out as best you can (and we've been trained to do that), but at some point there's just an economic/market "X factor" that you can't combat.

Often times we'll have this year's performance compared to last year's. I understand the quantitative value of this act, and it makes sense on some level. However, this year is not last year on so many levels (in terms of staff, product, etc.) and thus the comparison is not entirely apt. Beyond that, when you see glaring holes in the logic it makes you take less seriously the message delivered.

Of course, I could be just bitching (check) and finding rationalizations for why my performance is not on par with neither the company's nor my personal expectations (double check).

The Cartographer & The Tourist

I just discovered Google Sightseeing, and it is AWESOME. I love maps, and I like to find little anomalous things in Google Earth whenever I can. This site speaks to me on that level since it is a community of people devoted to mapping and sharing interesting things they find around the globe via satellite imagery. Love it.

No Doggystyle in Oz

Did you hear about this? Snoop Dogg has not been allowed into Australia on the grounds that he is not "the sort of bloke we want in this country", the immigration minister said Thursday. I found the story on RawStory, and have posted it in it's entirety below. There was a similar row with Sylvester Stallone involving his detention at the airport for some sort of drug (presumably legal here, but not so there) he had in his baggage. Apparently Oz is tired of people getting over on it. Oi!

Snoop Dogg has been barred from Australia because he is not "the sort of bloke we want in this country", the immigration minister said Thursday.

The 35-year-old rapper and hip-hop icon -- real name Calvin Broadus -- had been due to attend the MTV Australian Video Music Awards this weekend.

But Snoop failed the character test required to enter Australia and his visa was cancelled, Immigration Minister Kevin Andrews said.

"He has a whole string of convictions and just two weeks ago he was convicted of a number of charges again, sentenced to three years jail, two on another, with five years probation and a suspended sentence," Andrews said.

"He has been denied entry into the United Kingdom because he was caught with others causing affray at Heathrow Airport," the minister told Australian radio.

"He doesn't seem the sort of bloke we want in this country."

Andrews said Snoop's reputed gang ties were also taken into consideration.

"This man has been a member of a Los Angeles gang -- and is still associated with it apparently -- that's been involved in murder, robberies and drug dealing in the LA area," he said.

Australia, a former penal colony which was largely populated by criminals in the early days of European settlement, has adopted tough immigration controls under conservative Prime Minister John Howard.

Not My Office

This clip below isn't my office, but I can relate. However, I still think this video is a fake.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Google Yourself

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Rush Limbaugh is a douche bag

I know that this point has been commented on elsewhere, and much more eloquently, but I have to put my 2 cents in here.

I read from Raw Story that Rush said Cho (of VT killing-fields infamy) was a liberal and that this had caused him to commit the acts he is now infamous for (namely, killing innocent students).

Reading that I nearly gagged. I'm not into the whole Liberal/Conservative debate, as I feel it's much too simplistic, and frankly, a little cheap. But for Rush Limbaugh to come on the air and say that liberal politics are what inspired a clearly insane man to go on a shooting spree is just stupid. Any sane person should hear that statement or read it (like I did) and presumably balk. Rush, the Oxycontin has rotted your brain, my fat friend.

The rush quote is below, and the link to a full screen cap from his page is here.

"If this Virginia Tech shooter had an ideology, what do you think it was? " Limbaugh queried. "This guy had to be a liberal. You start railing against the rich and all this other -- this guy's a liberal. He was turned into a liberal somewhere along the line. So it's a liberal that committed this act."

Monday, April 23, 2007

300 Fun

Saw this pic on this website, had to steal and repost it here. He he ...

Friday, April 20, 2007

Bush Doesn't Use Email

This fact doesn't really surprise me, but it scares the bejesus out of me at the same time. How, in this day and age, can the leader of the free world, the head of the most powerful country on the face of the earth, not use a common communication system?

I understand his reasoning for not wanting to use email. It makes sense, to a degree. However, wanting to cover your own back side rather than run the country in an efficient manner (i.e., communicate quickly -- wonder when that might have come in handy?) seems like something of a dereliction of duty. your job is to serve the people, not protect yourself from people subpoenaing records of your potentially criminal acts.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Cybersquatter Humor

Please direct your browser to this link:

For those not familiar with why this is in any way humorous please go here.

Scared Yet?

A coworker sent me this, a more or less real time map of Global Incidents taking place. Scary news, as it happens across the globe! Yay!

Eva & Wes Go To White Castle

Another part of my trip to New York was an adventure to White Castle. For those of you not familiar with this particular burger chain, their claim to fame is .59 cent steamed hamburgers which are about an inch all around. Said little burgers are delicious.

Originally I had not really planned on going to the WC, as it is good, but nothing I really crave (fast food is not really my schtick). Turns out though, that my description of White Castle on the way into Manhattan piqued the girl's interest and she set upon me to take her there one night to sample some of their fine fare.

My first order was to find a White Castle, which I did through Google's SMS service on my cell. After that had been accomplished we ventured forth on a rainy Monday night and picked up a bag of 18 along with a sixer of Bud.

As you might imagine, the rest of the night was bloated pickle and onion breath fest. But, all in all, a very good time. The girl did her best to keep pace with me, but I bested her easily (my stomach reign supreme!) with a grand total of 4 beers and 7 burgers to my credit. Next time, dragam.

Not Ready For Broadway

This past Friday I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to fly out to New York City for a little weekend with The Magyar. She knew that I wanted to see Point Break Live!, and that this week was purportedly the final week of it playing. That information, and being long over due for some time away from San Francisco was all we needed to get out and play in New York for awhile.

Of course, the best laid plans of men are nothing for the ever revolving machinations of the heavens.

Saturday we woke up in New York to nice weather and went to a lunch with the girl's friend. Very nice. We ate a lovely vegetarian meal at Zen Palate on Union Square. This place was a fave of mine when I lived in New York, and I was glad to see that it is still alive and well in that location.

That night we made our way to the L.E.S. for the actual show. It was at some crazy little art space cum theatre on Suffolk St. I'll spare you the details, but suffice to say that we had a blast there. Point Break Live! is a live action rendition of the film Point Break, starring Keanu Reeves and Patrick Swayze (it also has Gary Busey in a fine role as an older, drunken cop).

The real fun thing about the show is that they choose a random Keanu from the crowd each performance. I didn't travel all the way from San Francisco to not at least get on stage and try to be Johnny Utah, so of course I hauled myself down to the stage to be subject to the cruel appraisal of a drunken hipster crowd.

Turns out that for me standing in front of 75 (or so) of these folks was a little intimidating. I don't really have any theatre experience, but I gave it my best (which is to say, not much!). I guess I was hoping that my vague resemblance to Keanu might swing the crowd somewhat in my favor (since the Keanu is chosen by audience applause). Alas, I was wrong. There were 4 of us up on stage, and the guy to the far left of me won out, although I think that this was partially attributable to the fact that he had a posse in the house (hence, more applause for him) and I think he knew some, if not all, of the cast. Damn you, Indian Johnny Utah.

However, this experience worked out in two ways: for starters, by not being selected I was able to sit back, drink Pabst and watch this hilarious show unwind before me. Truly entertaining stuff. Secondly, I now know exactly how to play this Johnny Utah thing if/when Point Break Live! comes to a San Francisco theatre. I'll know to bring a group of friends and to totally play up the character (as in, use the surfer dude accent).

Friday, April 13, 2007

Gogol Bordello

Gogol Bordello is one of the most awesome bands I've heard in a long time. I initially discovered them from the film Everything Is Illuminated. The film has the band front man, Eugene Hutz, in it as a Ukrainian hip hop aficionado. I advise you to see the film and check out the band, as they are both premium.

Video for the band's single "Start Wearing Purple" is posted below for your listening and viewing pleasure.

Nancy Grace Is a Hack

I've always held that Nancy Grace was a hack and shameless self promoter. There has been a lot of attention to the way she handles her stories, not to mention her account of own personal history. Simple mistakes are not reasons to discredit a person's logical argument in and of themselves, but her arguments are not logical and in fact quite contrary to established legal protocol. She's a talking head, plain and simple.

The way the Duke case was handled by Nancy and other media figures has been particularly atrocious. I'm glad that these guys have finally been cleared, but if I were them I'd be looking to get some settlement money from somebody for all the hell I'd been put through. Poor schmucks were railroaded out of town for something they didn't do. However, we should note that the fact that these guys are NOT in jail and have been exculpated (albeit after a year of heavy presumption of guilt) is something of an accomplishment for the American judicial system.

Found the below clip on Comedy Central, from The Daily Show. John Stuart is great.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris is a god. I have to post this.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Google Earth & Darfur

Google Earth, already a great application, has now added a new feature to it that allows you to show the atrocities that are taking place in Darfur. I checked this out last night and was mightily impressed. The interactive content is pretty amazing.

Article from Reuter's here.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Annoying Things

What's worse than having your VoIP lines go cattywhompus throughout the day? When they test the damn fire alarms in the building for 2 hours straight during work hours on a Tuesday.

The A's Game

Went to the season home opener of the A's last night against the White Sox. We lost. :( It happens. The game was good, though, and I had some excellent company at the ballpark. Koszonet, dragam.

Sobering Reality

Yesterday an ex-employee of the firm came in to retrieve some tax forms he needed. This guy was working here when I started, and had been there for about 3 months or so prior to my arrival. Shortly after I showed up he was shown the door, not due in any part to my performance, but rather the lack of performance on his side.

Anyway, he comes in to get these forms and says hello to those of us he knows, including my manager. It should be noted that this guy didn't make the best impression on people as he was a little crass and rough around the edges, but he was a decent enough fellow. Anyway, he gets the forms he needs and before he's even out the door of our office my manager looks over at another coworker and mimes "What was his name again?"

Granted, it was kind of funny given the character of both my manager and the individual getting the forms, but it also revealed something about the perspective of our manager in relation to his employees. Here's a guy who trained someone, worked with them for at least 4 months in a small office (10 people or so), and now 4 months later has completely forgotten their name.

OK maybe the guy has a bad memory (which I wouldn't doubt) and we DO work in sales, so there's a ton of names flying around at any given moment, but it was a little disheartening to hear him say this in such a jokey manner. It made me feel really unimportant to this firm, aside from the numbers I put up on the board.

I've never worked in a pure sales environment like this before, so this is kind of a new gig for me. To be nothing more to a firm than what you give them (basically you are not human capital at all) is kind of cold and brutal. I suppose on the one hand that's capitalism, but it's a little jarring. I've always been sort of brainy, which firms utilize to their advantage in various ways, and thus keep me around. Here, if I don't get the #s on the up and up I'm out the door and no one will give a g*ddamn, so it seems. Am I in the wrong place? Maybe, but I DO enjoy the work, and the firm overall.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Art Is Dead

Can Joshua Bell, a concert violinist of international renown stop crowds at a DC Metro station? The results are a little sad.

To Hell In A Handbasket

I feel like an old man for posting things like this, and although people have told me I was "old man-ish" many times over the course of my 25 years on this planet, previously they were for things like going to bed at 8:30 PM, and not necessarily decrying the state of affairs in this fair land.

If the last post about 6 year olds being treated like felons in Florida wasn't enough, take a look at what is posted below. I'll give you gist here: Mr. Walter F. Murphy, the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence, Emeritus, at Princeton University,was added to the Terrorist Watch list presumably after he "in September, 2006, [gave] a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution."

The entirety of his post on the matter can be found below. I have also linked it here.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Another Enemy of the People?

Mark Graber

I am posting the below with the permission of Professor Walter F. Murphy, emeritus of Princeton University. For those who do not know, Professor Murphy is easily the most distinguished scholar of public law in political science. His works on both constitutional theory and judicial behavior are classics in the field. Bluntly, legal scholarship that does not engage many themes in his book, briefly noted below, Constitutional Democracy, may be legal, but cannot be said to be scholarship. As interesting, for present purposes, readers of the book will discover that Murphy is hardly a conventional political or legal liberal. While he holds some opinions, most notably on welfare, similar to opinions held on the political left, he is a sharp critic of ROE V. WADE, and supported the Alito nomination. Apparently these credentials and others noted below are no longer sufficient to prevent one from becoming an enemy of the people.

"On 1 March 07, I was scheduled to fly on American Airlines to Newark, NJ, to attend an academic conference at Princeton University, designed to focus on my latest scholarly book, Constitutional Democracy, published by Johns Hopkins University Press this past Thanksgiving."

"When I tried to use the curb-side check in at the Sunport, I was denied a boarding pass because I was on the Terrorist Watch list. I was instructed to go inside and talk to a clerk. At this point, I should note that I am not only the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence (emeritus) but also a retired Marine colonel. I fought in the Korean War as a young lieutenant, was wounded, and decorated for heroism. I remained a professional soldier for more than five years and then accepted a commission as a reserve office, serving for an additional 19 years."

"I presented my credentials from the Marine Corps to a very polite clerk for American Airlines. One of the two people to whom I talked asked a question and offered a frightening comment: "Have you been in any peace marches? We ban a lot of people from flying because of that." I explained that I had not so marched but had, in September, 2006, given a lecture at Princeton, televised and put on the Web, highly critical of George Bush for his many violations of the Constitution. "That'll do it," the man said. "

"After carefully examining my credentials, the clerk asked if he could take them to TSA officials. I agreed. He returned about ten minutes later and said I could have a boarding pass, but added: "I must warn you, they=re going to ransack your luggage." On my return flight, I had no problem with obtaining a boarding pass, but my luggage was "lost." Airlines do lose a lot of luggage and this "loss" could have been a mere coincidence. In light of previous events, however, I'm a tad skeptical."

"I confess to having been furious that any American citizen would be singled out for governmental harassment because he or she criticized any elected official, Democrat or Republican. That harassment is, in and of itself, a flagrant violation not only of the First Amendment but also of our entire scheme of constitutional government. This effort to punish a critic states my lecture's argument far more eloquently and forcefully than I ever could. Further, that an administration headed by two men who had "had other priorities" than to risk their own lives when their turn to fight for their country came up, should brand as a threat to the United States a person who did not run away but stood up and fought for his country and was wounded in battle, goes beyond the outrageous. Although less lethal, it is of the same evil ilk as punishing Ambassador Joseph Wilson for criticizing Bush's false claims by "outing" his wife, Valerie Plaime, thereby putting at risk her life as well as the lives of many people with whom she had had contact as an agent of the CIA. ..."

"I have a personal stake here, but so do all Americans who take their political system seriously. Thus I hope you and your colleagues will take some positive action to bring the Administration's conduct to the attention of a far larger, and more influential, audience than I could hope to reach. "

In Communist Russia 6 Year Old Arrests YOU!

This really is absurd.

Bob Herbert: 6-Year-Olds Under Arrest

When 6-year-old Desre’e Watson threw a tantrum in her kindergarten class a couple of weeks ago she could not have known that the full force of the law would be brought down on her and that she would be carted off by the police as a felon.

But that’s what happened in this small, backward city in central Florida. According to the authorities, there were no other options.

“The student became violent,” said Frank Mercurio, the no-nonsense chief of the Avon Park police. “She was yelling, screaming — just being uncontrollable. Defiant.”

“But she was 6,” I said.

The chief’s reply came faster than a speeding bullet: “Do you think this is the first 6-year-old we’ve arrested?”

The child’s tantrum occurred on the morning of March 28 at the Avon Elementary School. According to the police report, “Watson was upset and crying and wailing and would not leave the classroom to let them study, causing a disruption of the normal class activities.”

After a few minutes, Desre’e was, in fact, taken to another room. She was “isolated,” the chief said. But she would not calm down. She flailed away at the teachers who tried to control her. She pulled one woman’s hair. She was kicking.

I asked the chief if anyone had been hurt. “Yes,” he said. At least one woman reported “some redness.”

After 20 minutes of this “uncontrollable” behavior, the police were called in. At the sight of the two officers, Chief Mercurio said, Desre’e “tried to take flight.”

She went under a table. One of the police officers went after her. Each time the officer tried to grab her to drag her out, Desre’e would pull her legs away, the chief said.

Ultimately the child was no match for Avon Park’s finest. The cops pulled her from under the table and handcuffed her. The officers were not fooling around. In the eyes of the cops the 6-year-old was a criminal, and in Avon Park she would be treated like any other felon.

There was a problem, though. The handcuffs were not manufactured with kindergarten kids in mind. The chief explained: “You can’t handcuff them on their wrists because their wrists are too small, so you have to handcuff them up by their biceps.”

As I sat listening to Chief Mercurio in a spotless, air-conditioned conference room at the Avon Park police headquarters, I had the feeling that I had somehow stumbled into the middle of a skit on “Saturday Night Live.” The chief seemed like the most reasonable of men, but what was coming out of his mouth was madness.

He handed me a copy of the police report: black female. Six years old. Thin build. Dark complexion.

Desre’e was put in the back of a patrol car and driven to the police station. “Then,” said Chief Mercurio, “she was transported to central booking, which is the county jail.”

The child was fingerprinted and a mug shot was taken. “Those are the normal procedures for anyone who is arrested,” the chief said.

Desre’e was charged with battery on a school official, which is a felony, and two misdemeanors: disruption of a school function and resisting a law enforcement officer. After a brief stay at the county jail, she was released to the custody of her mother.

The arrest of this child, who should have been placed in the care of competent, comforting professionals rather than being hauled off to jail, is part of an outlandish trend of criminalizing very young children that has spread to many school districts and law enforcement agencies across the country.

A highly disproportionate number of those youngsters, like Desre’e, are black. In Baltimore last month, the police arrested, handcuffed and hauled away a 7-year-old black boy for allegedly riding a dirt bike on the sidewalk. The youngster was released and the mayor, Sheila Dixon, apologized for the incident, saying the arrest was inappropriate.

Last spring a number of civil rights organizations collaborated on a study of disciplinary practices in Florida schools and concluded that many of them, “like many districts in other states, have turned away from traditional education-based disciplinary methods — such as counseling, after-school detention, or extra homework assignments — and are looking to the legal system to handle even the most minor transgressions.”

Once you adopt the mindset that ordinary childhood misbehavior is criminal behavior, it’s easy to start seeing young children as somehow monstrous.

“Believe me when I tell you,” said Chief Mercurio, “a 6-year-old can inflict injury to you just as much as any other person.”

Texters Of The World, Unite!

I am a texting fool, preferring it over regular phone calls. When I saw this article I was a little surprised. Who knew?

Dreamed up phone number leads man to a bride

LONDON (Reuters) - A British man has met and married a 22-year-old woman after, by his own account, dreaming of her phone number and then sending her a text message.

David Brown, 24, says he woke up one morning after a night out with friends with a telephone number constantly running through his head. He decided to contact it, sending a message saying "Did I meet you last night?."

Random recipient Michelle Kitson was confused and wary at first but decided to reply and the two began exchanging messages. Eventually they met and fell in love.

"It was really weird but I was absolutely hooked," Kitson told the Daily Mail newspaper. "My mum and dad kept saying 'But he could be an axe murderer', but I knew there was something special about it."

After a long courtship, the oddly matched couple -- he's six foot seven inches tall and she's five foot four -- have just returned from their honeymoon in the Indian resort of Goa.

A love-struck Brown said: "I've no idea how I ended up with her number in my head -- it's only a few digits different from mine."

Sunday, April 08, 2007

More Justin.TV

Because I realized recently that he has an embed function on the video. Watch Justin here.

Half Moon Bay, Part 2

Another day, same beach. The beach after a long Sunday at Cameron's ... what more could you ask for? We set up a horse shoe game on this afternoon; with the sun setting in the background it was a very laid back "California" time.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Half Moon Bay, Part 1

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Places I'm Not About To Visit Any Time Soon

After seeing the film Blood Diamond last night, I am adding Sierra Leone to the list of countries I am not about to visit any time soon. It joins Brazil, Somalia, Iran, Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan and Uganda.

All of these places have made my personal "do not visit" list for various reasons, not all of them sensible (and I acknowledge that right off the bat). For instance, the film City of God made me think twice about going to Brazil. I'm sure there's a lot of the film that's exaggerated and there's more to Brazil than favelas and 10 year olds wielding 9mms, but I'm not in any hurry to find that other stuff out. Call it minimalization of risk.

Of course, some of the other ones I am just avoiding because, well, there's a general Anti-American sentiment prevalent there (Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan) not to mention a concerted military effort either overtly or otherwise in the works (same). It's not generally wise to put one's self into a conflict zone unless you've got a gun and a reason to be there.

UPDATE: And if you needed one more reason not to visit Brazil, apparently they are cruel to fat, er, obese, people.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Ridonk Buzzer Beater -- Go Pistons!

Quote Of The Day

Ronald Reagan

"The best minds are not in government. If any were, business would hire them away."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Hiding In Plain Sight

How Management Can Make A Bad Situation Worse

If part of management's job is to help the staff get along and keep a company running smoothly, then implicitly there should be an understanding of intra-office politics inside each manager's head. This will allow them to understand who is who in the office pecking order (because offices, like life, have their orders) and how best to navigate these waters. When a situation arises that involves multiple personnel a wise manager will be able to see how the group as a unit is and will be affected which allows them to make the best decision as to what actions need be taken to rectify that situation.

It should go without saying that to divide the office into separate camps is not good policy. People are clique-ish enough, they don't need much encouragement to break into warring factions. Yet, when a manager lauds an employee or group of employees for doing exemplary work it immediately does just that. Of course, this can't be helped and the manager may just be trying to motivate people to follow what they feel is a good example. Fair enough.

This is all fine and well until we factor in office politics. As a general rule birds of a feather flock together, that is to say: water finds it's own level. If you've got an office of similarly capable folks and you throw accolades at one person over the other it is only natural for the others to inspect this individual to see what they are doing differently to receive such praise. When the group as a whole fails to see the same things as management does (ie., they can't figure out why Frank gets so much positive feedback) then management has a problem of credibility. What you're then left with is an authority figure without the respect of his underlings.

For instance, in my office we have an individual that came onto the floor not too long ago and almost automatically alienated their self from the rest of the floor through their social backwardsness. If that wasn't enough, this individual immediately began to have management close their accounts, and because it was best for the firm my manager more or less had to do it, but what angered everyone else on the floor was that this individual began to receive monetary benefits from the deals they had failed to close (the deals a manager had to close for them). Normally this would not ruffle feathers so much if the individual in question had any tact or humility in them by at least acknowledging the fact that they were not doing much work at all in not securing the accounts. Instead, this person took it upon themselves to strut around the office with even more bravado as if they actually had done the work themselves. (This is where things start going bad)

Flash forward a month, and now this individual has managed to close only a third of the accounts they have on the board but they're still getting full commission and their ego has grown by at least that amount. To make a bad situation worse, at the next Sales meeting management holds this person up as a model that everyone else should aspire to be. If their inability to function socially in the group wasn't bad enough, now they're ineptitude at their job is being held up as something the others should strive for.

You can only imagine how many people were steamed at this. In effect management has just slapped the rest of the employees in the face by rewarding what is essentially inability on the job. Then, as if on cue, this would-be employee of the month proceeds to take a nap for an hour and a half in the back of the office, and then take his lunch upon waking. Mind you, if that's not crazy in and of itself, you should know that it's not the first time: they have actually fallen asleep at their desk in front of management.

What you're left with is a demoralized rest of the crew who is still angry at and disrespecting of their coworker and now questions management's decisions as well.

Monday, April 02, 2007

"I've Already Got One"

Sometimes when I call someone, give them the build up, and ask them if they currently have a website up they come back with what they think is the endgame to my questions: the old "I've already got a website" line.

This inevitably invites me to parry with: "Oh yeah? Are you happy with it? Is it doing everything you want it to?" The standard return is with the thrust that "it is." At this point you should all know that I saw this coming from a long way back. The whole scenario is one I've run through many times before.

What gets me is the way these guys cling to their defense. You poor, poor fools. You think because you went to law school you've now outwitted me with this very simple ploy? C'mon pal, I wasn't born yesterday.

"Oh yeah?" I reply. "Look, that's great, and I don't want to sell you anything you've already got, but I'd love to see what my competition is up to, what's your web address?"

Two things happen at this point. Either 1) the guy goes ahead and tells me his URL (because he actually has a website up) or 2) the guy gets huffy and defensive and doesn't tell me his URL (because likely he has no website to begin with).

Final result? I've caught you in a lie. If you have a website you would just tell me the address. There's no reason not to. That's why you have the thing up in the first place, isn't it? Besides, I can always just Google you and find it that way. You've just lied to a stranger over the phone rather than leveling with me like a respectable man and saying that you don't want what I have to offer. Lies beget lies, I suppose. A great moral tale in all of this ...