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Posts Tagged ‘puppieskittensrainbowsunicorns’

Below you will find an exhaustive list of rules for office-related coffee etiquette.

  1. If the coffee pot has this much coffee or less…

make another damned pot.

That’s it. Feel free to print this out and post it in your office kitchen.

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In St. Louis, MO there are few things we do well. However, this isn’t a post about my city and the poverty, crime, or education. Nay, this is a post about stuff St. Louis does well. Well, 1 thing in particular. No, I’m not goint to talk about Toasted Ravioli, Washers, or Gooey Butter Cake. I am going to talk about Cardinals baseball.

As a kid growing up in the 80’s & 90’s I can remember as far back as my mind allows being a Cardinal fan. I had all their baseball cards, could mimic their batting stances, and pretty much ate, drank, slept baseball during the summer. After my formative years however, I moved away from the city and lost a bit of touch with the team. I could no longer recite stats of the 2nd string catcher or for that matter go to a game without it being a big ordeal. When I was in college however, I regained that passion for the game, thanks no other to the drug induced slug-fest that was the 1998 season and Mark McGwire ripped off 70 HRs. While he and others were essentially ruining the game, they were saving it at the same time (well at least for me they were saving it). From that season on, I had regained my love for Cardinal baseball and carried it out through my 20’s. As of the last 4 or 5 years however having kids and all that goes along with that has taken precident over Cards baseball. I will gladly give up the TV now so my 3 year old can watch a show for the 30th time as long as it keeps her happy. With this, I am steadily missing more and more games per year. This is also the case with going to games. It was not unusual for me to go to 10 – 15 games a season when I was in my 20s. But as mentioned above my attendence is declining. So much this year that I didn’t think I was going to make a single game. A Cardinal sin? (yes that was terrible)

Well, that all changed Sunday when my daughter got tickets through her school to go to the game. At first, I was a little weary of it since my wife wouldn’t be going and I was dragging along my Sister-in-Law’s boyfriend. He’s a good dude but what 26 year old wants to go to a baseball game with a guy way past his prime and 2 kids that can scream bloody hell at a moment’s notice? But excitement struck me when I loaded up the car with the girls on our way to the game. You see, this wasn’t just an insignificant Sunday game in late August against the Pirates. No this was both of my kid’s first baseball game. Ever. It is a historic day in their lives.

This is excitement

So with this sudden excitement on my part coupled with the fact that my kids think they are going to see actual Pirates, this made to be an amazing day for them (and me). The game was actually pretty sloppy in the first few innings but therere were a ton of runs and the girls were well on their way to a sugar induced coma. To my surprise they made it until the 7th inning stretch. However, the wheels were falling off pretty quickly. So we decicded to get while the gettin was good. A quick side note, the Cards ended up winning 7-4.

 
This is somewhere around mid-sugar high

Today was an awesome day at the ballpark with my kids (and sister-in-laws boyfriend). I remembered why I loved baseball when I was a kid and I can only hope my kids love it growing up and possibly marry a player so I am set for life.

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School is once again in the air, and just like every year I’m completely flummoxed by something my son is learning. This year’s irritation is caused by language.

I should start this off by saying that I love where my kids go to school. It’s private (and expensive) but I like that they get special attention and they go to school with a lot of other good kids whose parents really value education (involved parents — provided they aren’t of the “My baby would never do anything wrong!” variety — are the single greatest indicators of educational success for a school). Most importantly, I feel that they do a good job teaching the kids responsibility and integrity and lots of other things.  And this year, for my fifth-grader, those lots of other things include both Spanish and French.

Let me say that I’ve got no qualms with Spanish. Business is booming in South America and regardless of your feelings on immigration, speaking Spanish isn’t exactly going to be a hindrance around the US anytime soon.

I don’t necessarily have a problem with French (in spite of a couple of Parisian trips that confirmed every single stereotype), but I think it’s a very suboptimal choice to teach American school kids generally and my son specifically. He isn’t going to major, much less work, in French Literature and he doesn’t own a beret. If he ever travels to France, everyone there speaks English, which would only be relevant if people there would talk to him in ANY language. It isn’t (just) that I’ve had (largely) bad experiences with French people (sorry Laure): I just think it’s only about the 10th most valuable language my boy could be learning.

So, what languages would I have my fifth-grader learn? Mandarin and Objective C.

Mandarin is the most spoken language in China and would provide him insight into communicating in a country with far lower rates of English speakers than anywhere in Europe. It would also open him up to other Asian languages, and people often say that learning any language is good because it makes your brain grow and makes you better able to learn other languages (I largely don’t buy that — I don’t want to “practice” learning Language A so I can eventually learn Language B; I’d rather just learn Language B — but if you are going down that route, it makes sense to learn languages in multiple families rather than two in the same family).

Objective C is the computer software language that you can use to develop apps for Apple devices (Macs, iPads, iPhones, etc.). That isn’t me being an Apple fanboy by any means, but I think a computer language would be useful and with this one it would at least be fun. And there is a lot more money in Angry Birds than in farting in your general direction.

Not sure this helps my point, but its cool.

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It started innocently enough on the way to dropping off Lucas to his first (half) day of kindergarten.

“I want to go fishing.”

Pause.

“Because I want to try raw fish.”

Pause.

“It’s called sushi.”

I like to expose the kids to things outside of their ever-shrinking-as-they-age comfort zones, and sushi had been on my list. Probably wouldn’t have started with Junior #2 on this one (#3 is actually the braver soul – you should see him tear up some Pad Thai swimming in Sriracha), but he brought it up and I decided to commit a crime of opportunity.

I picked him up from his half day, and we headed straight to Crazy Sushi and ordered, well, pretty much everything. I’m not that familiar with sushi (I started with it a few years ago but don’t eat it very often), but I knew that we wanted some raw stuff AND some backups for when he wouldn’t eat it. So I got a St. Louis roll (tuna, avocado, takuan, green onion), some mixed raw stuff (and some of the cold shrimps), and some tempura. Yes, I spent way too much money, but I wanted to make sure he left having eaten something that he really liked. And since I refuse to ever order anything that I won’t eat, I knew nothing would go to waste.

To my boy’s credit, he tried everything. His favorite things were the miso soup, the tempura shrimp, and the hamachi (yellow tail) and the only thing he didn’t like was the roll and the ginger salad dressing. Everything else fell somewhere in between those categories. Which I’m actually pretty thrilled with.

The St. Louis roll did not go over well.

 

He actually asked if he could take the bowl home.

Because only barbarians eat the rice at the same time as the sushi.

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I think you all remember my old post on how family-oriented restaurants should handle families based on a non-stellar visit to a Red Robin. I’m happy to report that we’ve had a couple of visits there since then, and they’ve all been fantastic. Yesterday was especially awesome. Our server, we’ll call him “James F.”, because that’s what was on his nametag, was super attentive but not overly in-our-faces, kept our waters full, showed us some menu shortcuts, dropped napkins by the gross on our table, and had us checked out an on our way in record time. Just an awesome, awesome experience.

The manager, (Mike, I think), was also great, swinging by the table to check on us, then going out of his way to hook the wee ones with balloons on our way out the door.

Our kids were actually not great (even by their standards), but because the service was so impeccable my wife and I had an enjoyable and largely stress-free lunch. Thanks, Red Robin!

Really wanted to find a Robin giving the Buddy Jesus, but alas.

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Dear Qdoba,

I’ve been a big fan of yours ever since I was first handed a burrito the size of my face and told that it constituted a “serving.” Sure, there are those on Team Chipotle, but I’m fairly certain all of those people liked the Twilight movies (personally I gave up when I realized this was a satire and not a trailer) so I don’t care. I’ve been down with you since day one.

That’s what made it so exciting when I got this in my email.

Free guac is just another word for nothing left to lose.

After talking my work lunch crew into walking over we waited in line for a solid five minutes while the person who appeared to be in charge aggravated her entire team whilst in the midst of preparing some enormous faxed-in order. Eventually (and professionally) I was built a pork-filled, aluminum-wrapped happiness torpedo and at the end of the line I produced my coupon, my Club Card, and my cash.

Things quickly went south when I was told that the coupon wouldn’t ring up. The person who appeared to be in charge descended on the helplessly polite cashier, looked at it for a minute, told her there wasn’t anything she could do about it, gave the cashier a dirty look, looked up at me and said “Yeah, this promotion is all screwed up. You’ll have to call the helpline.” and then immediately went back to being an a-hole to her subordinates.

 The cashier to her credit (who was VERY obviously not allowed to, you know, not charge me for the buttery green ambrosia that I was supposed to be getting for free, was super nice about charging me for it but went out of her way to print an extra receipt and get my phone number so SHE could call the helpline on my behalf. She (and everyone but the person who appeared to be in charge) were super nice and professional during my whole visit.
 
I guess what I really want to get at, though, is what the f’ was that? I’m sure you guys lose the avocado-equivalent of the Greek national debt every day in people stealing flatware and picante sauce from over near the soda fountain, but would it seriously cause investors to start shuttering locations if you had some sort of policy where you accept the coupons you send to people? Could we just make that money up by only offering lemons or limes when I grab my napkins?
 
I’m definitely still not into Chipotle (they’re a little too pretentious about only using organic tin foil to wrap up their burritos), but this did shake my commitment to Team Qdoba. Can you work on this? I don’t want to have to use the nuclear option and start going to Moe’s.
 
Fajita vegetably yours,
Jamie Oswald

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With very little ballyhoo and even less fanfare I deleted my Tumblr account last week. I actually deleted both of them. Bet you didn’t even know that I had one.

And how would you? I never really talked it up. And why didn’t I talk it up? Because I didn’t have time.

Between updating my status on Facebook and Twitter and Google+, checking in on Foursquare and Yelp, putting pictures up on Flickr and videos on YouTube, logging what will no doubt eventually become admissible evidence on Untappd, keeping my resume semi-up-to-date on LinkedIn, blogging for work on the SAP Community Network and ASUG (login required)  and my work intranet site (and don’t forget my work-related podcast), I found a lot of my evenings gone. My wife and I agreed that I should probably spend the rest of my non-work time on things like writing this blog and mowing the lawn and making sure my kids can recognize me when I pick them up from daycare. So my Tumblr account(s) had fallen by the wayside, and I decided to kill it off.

But I really feel like that should just be the first step. I should be able to wittle it down to a handful of places that will let me update my status, check in to places, review things I like, and read the statuses, updates, and reviews of those people I like. The problem with that is coverage. I am on 25 different social sites because I HAVE 25 different social networks. Some people are my friend on Facebook but not on Twitter (it’s largely a work/personal line, but that line gets blurrier every day). Some people are on Google +, which I kind of like, but it isn’t like my Aunt Betty is gonna hop over there anytime soon. If I want to track certain people down, I need a specific checkin site — and God forbid they’d all use the same one.

The bottom line is that no one social network right now lets me do everything I need to do, and they definitely don’t let me do it with all of the people I need to do those things with. Facebook comes closest but has too much Farmville for me to take it seriously, and without hashtagging its too hard to keep up with certain things. Google + has a lot to offer, but its Circles concept is totally upside down right now, and very few people are on it. Twitter hasn’t developed anything new since it first came out (besides of course “the new twitter”, which is irrelevant since nobody actually uses the Twitter website), so it isn’t much of a threat to either Facebook or Google.

In the long run, I’d like to see one unified social messaging system developed, so that I create one message (it could be a blog, a tweet, a check-in, a review, and it could be tagged by me and others for context and relevancy) and have people subscribe to my notes (by tags) and view and interact with them wherever they want. Then I’d like to be able to see all of the engagement for my messages in one place, so that its one big conversation. Right now it’s really frustrating to see one message from one person on 5 different networks because they have to blast it out — worse yet is that any conversation the message starts is then spread out over 5 networks.

In the short run, you’ll still be able to find me everywhere. Except of course on Tumblr.

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