Monday, December 3, 2012

Deceptive Movie Titles

I will readily admit, I judge books by their cover. I have long since learned that I don't have the time to give every book, movie, and album a fair shot.  I would be backlogged for years and never get out of it.  So, I have to judge things by my immediate reaction (quick aside, you should read the book Blink by Malcom Gladwell about that subject. Great stuff.).  This inevitably leads to me missing the boat on some great stuff, but it also leads me to finding things that I thought weren't going to be great and turn out to be fantastic.

One of the great differences between me and my wife is that she will watch anything.  We give Redbox way too much business because she will watch pretty much every DVD that they put out because she just doesn't care.  She just wants to watch something for 2 hours and be done with it.  Movie watching for me is much more personal.  I need to feel involved, like I am part of an experience.  I don't watch movies for watching's sake.  I want to be invested in the experience.  So, I am pretty picky about what I watch.

Both of these points lead up to the next bullet, which is how movie titles can drastically affect which movies I watch.  A great example of this was the movie "Dinner for Schmucks" with Paul Rudd and Steve Carrell.  I knew the basic premise of the movie (rich guys bring morons to dinner and pick a winner) but not much else.  After watching the movie, I was actually a bit upset because the title was flat out wrong for the movie.  The film was about Paul Rudd finding one of these "morons" for the dinner and how he kind of ruined his life.  The "dinner" was the last 20 minutes of the movie.  I felt a bit betrayed.  I truly believe the movie would have been a bigger success if it had been called "A Week with Barry" or something similar.  I judged the movie by its title, and it betrayed me a bit.

Ok, so final point:  One of the movies that has snuck past me for several years is the movie "Donnie Darko". The reason that it got by my finely honed filters is that it sounds like an Italian gangster movie (to me).  I thought it was just another movie like Goodfellas or Carlito's Way, and I can't stand gangster movies.  Seriously, I don't think I have enjoyed one movie like that, save for The Usual Suspects.  So I never watched it.

When I travel, I like to load up on movies, and I often can't think of movies to load up on, so I go online and look for lists.  100 MOVIES EVERY GUY SHOULD SEE,  or 10 BEST MOVIES ABOUT GIANT BUNNY get the idea.  One site mentioned Donnie Darko, but it had one element I hadn't seen before...and it was the picture above.  "Wait a minute!  Italian gangsters don't have demented bunny rabbits with them!"  Turns out, the movie is about a high school boy (Jake Gyllenhal) with some pretty severe dementia, and it has to do with time travel, fate, destiny, insane private school teachers, and the like.  It was a great, great movie.  I really, really enjoyed it. I highly recommend it.  I won't say that it changed my life (there are a lot of people online who say this...just check the IMDB comments), but I was very happy to have found one that slipped through the cracks.

I am a firm believer that movies find you.  If I haven't had some sort of inkling that a movie is going to be good, I usually end up not liking it.  A good example is "Abe Lincoln: Vampire Hunter".  That movie was terrible, and I should have known.  If no one has recommended a movie to me, or I haven't had my interest piqued by something online or on the radio/tv, I almost never like it.  But movies like Donnie Darko will keep that fire alive that tells me to watch a movie in spite of my best efforts to not like it.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Key and Peele: Dueling Hats

If you haven't had the pleasure of watching Key and Peele on Comedy Central, you can thank me later.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Monday, November 12, 2012

The best medicine...

If you had to pick the one video (viral or otherwise) that made you laugh the hardest consistently, what would it be?

This would be mine:

Monday, October 29, 2012

40 Behind The Scenes Photos From Classic Horror Movies | The Roosevelts

40 Behind The Scenes Photos From Classic Horror Movies | The Roosevelts

Great slideshow of some behind the scenes photos of scary movies.  Really takes the sting out of the "horror" to see Pennywise the Clown taking a break on the porch of a house...

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Sir...Can you please stand up?

The next installment of the "travel blog" has to do with a very kind old man taking a weird turn.  On my flight to Chicago, I was seated next to an older gentleman (probably early 70's) who was polite for the entire flight.  No problems whatsoever.  He got up to use the restroom in the middle of the flight, and we shared a cordial laugh when he had trouble locating his seat belt.  Perfectly normal interaction for a flight.

If you have flown on a commercial airliner in the past 10 years, you probably are aware of the etiquette of how to deplane.  When the seatbelt sign turns off, several people immediately stand up (I can't, for the life of me, figure out why, but that is a different story) but most people remain seated.  People start to file out of the plane, row by row, until you get to your row. Then you stand up and get your bag and leave.

Which gets us to me.  I was on the aisle seat, waiting for our row's turn.  There was no room for me to stand up because the aisle was full of other people.  There were still about two rows in front of us that hadn't stood up yet, so it wasn't even close to my turn to stand up. This is where it got a bit odd.  The older gentleman next to me says, "Sir?  Can you please stand up?" as if I could have stood up, but was choosing not to.  He wasn't rude...he actually said it very politely.  I was just floored at what I could have possibly been doing for him to assume I wasn't going to stand up as soon as I could.  Trust me, I wanted to get off the plane as soon as I could.  I turned and looked at him, momentarily stunned while trying to imagine what scenario he was running through to say this to me.  It really took me aback.  I looked at him, and said that I was going as soon as I could, trying very hard not to sound annoyed...but in reality, I was a bit annoyed.

There always seem to be a couple of people on every flight who think that the flight is their own personal vessel, and they can't be bothered with all of these other people. The best example I can think of is the person who is in the row behind you, and uses your seat as a way to pull themselves out of their seat or out of the row...causing your seat to lurch backwards violently as they huff and puff their way towards the restroom.  Or, the person who violently moves their seat back as quickly as they can, launching anything on your tray table on to the floor. It just amazes me how people operate in their own little cocoon, oblivious to the world around them.

Most of the time, people are perfectly gracious.  But every once in a while, you get something that happens to you that just floors you...and I will keep telling you about them. :)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Dave's Travel Blog

I travel a pretty fair amount for work, so I get to spend a lot of time in airports and on airplanes.  If there is a better place to people watch, I don't know what it is.  You get such an amazing cross section of people that it never fails to make me wonder how we survived as a species.  I figure I can start to document some of the things that I have seen, because some of them are just too good not to share.

Flight to Chicago O'Hare:

Seated in the row in front of me are an older couple (probably late 50's) and what appears to be their 10-11 year old grandson.  Gramps is in the aisle seat, Grams is in the middle, and blondie boy is at the window.  It was a pretty uneventful flight, and we were seated near the front of the plane.  Upon arriving at O'Hare, in the two second window between pulling into the gate and the pilot turning off the seat belt light, Grams tears off her seat belt, leaps over Gramps and attempts to make it to the back of the plane (probably 30-35 rows worth of people) to get to the bathroom.  She made it all the way row before realizing that she would never make it back to the bathroom.

Has this person ever flown before?  How could she not know that before the seat belt light even went off that there was no way she was going to make it back there?  Hell, you could be seated three rows in front of the bathroom and have trouble making it back, but she wanted to traverse 30 rows of passengers, 5 to a row in less than .3 of a second?  I could only shake my head in disbelief.

Next blog post...The impatient old man seated next to me...

Friday, September 14, 2012

My Blackberry Trials...

Last November, my work allowed me to purchase an iPhone 4s for my daily use.  It was easily the best phone experience I have ever had.  Everything worked very well. Of course, there was the occasional hiccup, but overall, the experience was as close to perfect as one could get.

Last month, my work (who was purchased by a much larger company) told me that I had to get rid of the iPhone and switch to the generic phone offered to all employees, the Blackberry Curve.  It has been one of the worst months of my life (#firstworldproblems) as far as phones are concerned.  I will skip, for the most part, my displeasure at a multi-million dollar company giving their employees the crappiest phone available.  Having said that, here are some of my observations of note:

  • First of all, I have really small hands for a guy.  Seriously, my hands are only slightly larger than the average woman's hands.  I have an egregiously hard time typing on this sucker. The buttons are too small, they aren't very responsive, and I spend more time going back and correcting words than I do actually typing out the message.
  • Work forces me to have a password on the phone, which I understand.  What I don't understand is that basically, the Blackberry is locked down and you can't do ANYTHING without typing in the password.  You can't set the phone on silent, you can't adjust the volume, you can't even start up the camera without putting in a password.  That is about as far from a good user experience as you can get.
  • The web surfing experience makes me want to shoot myself in the face.  It is terrible.  Nothing loads smoothly, the scroll button is inconsistent at best, and the back button doesn't work consistently.
  • I have dropped the phone three times on accident.  All three times, the back has popped off and the battery fell out, forcing me to restart my phone.
  • For a phone that doesn't do anything, the battery life is pretty bad.  I have unplugged in the morning, and had the battery run out in the evening several times.  What could possibly be draining the battery?  I don't talk on it that much...
  • Bing is the default search engine.  That should tell you enough about the user experience.
  • App support is abysmal, but I can't blame developers.  It is like retrofitting the Titanic.  Spending any significant amount of time on app development for the Blackberry would be counterproductive.
  • One thing that I really miss about the iPhone is the iPod part.  The Blackberry, for lack of a better term, blows in this regard.  I think I have attached a pair of headphones to it once, and it was such a horrible experience that I just gave up.

With all of the attention paid to Steve Jobs in the last 5 years or so, you would think that there would be some attention to detail that would float to the top, but there are so many little things that I notice that I would consider unacceptable in a product design.  For example:

  • The USB cable gets plugged into the side of the phone.  This is a bad choice for a couple of reasons.  One, it makes the phone hard to use when it is plugged in.  The cord sticks out awkwardly and forces you to only use it on one ear.  Second, if you have a desk, you better hope you can plug in in on your left hand side (of the desk), because it won't work on the right hand side.
  • This is a tiny detail, but one that didn't get by me:  The plug has a little Blackberry logo on it.  When you plug the cord in to power up the phone, the logo is on the wrong side of the plug.  Jobs wouldn't have let this happen. :)


It isn't all bad, though.  There are a couple things that are at least useful:

  • Google Voice is somewhat integrated into the OS, so at least that is easy...but the Google Voice app is barely functional, so you trade off a bit.
  • It is a good phone...

I do see why companies still use Blackberries.  People who use BB don't use data, so it saves them a ton of money on data plans.  My data usage has probably dropped 90% since switching.  It is unfortunate, though, because no one I work with likes their phone.  They look at it as a detriment, and in some occasions, feel embarassed to use it when in high-stakes sales situations because it is a bit of a status hit.

It is amazing to me how phone companies haven't tried to steal Apple's business model.  Make one kick ass phone and that is it.  You look around and you see every phone company making tons of devices to fit all different customer types, and none of them are really succeeding.  HTC has taken a nose dive in the last year. Samsung is paying Apple a billion dollars for copying the design of the iPhone, and Motorola still hasn't figured out how they are going to do anything since Google bought their mobile division.  I bet there is enough talent at RIM left to make one really great phone that people will like.  Sure, you aren't going to put a dent in the Apple juggernaut, but you could at least create some forward momentum.  

If you are fortunate enough to have a job that provides you with a phone that you like, make sure to tell them thank you.  It could be much, much worse.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Big Fat Meh

  • All of this recent uproar of "surviving the zombie apocalypse" had me thinking....wouldn't most people in the world have to be zombies for there to be an apocalypse?  Just thinking about the odds of becoming a zombie would deter me from "preparing" for it.  Chances are, all of the people who are super prepared would probably become zombies themselves, making their preparation irrelevant.
  • The Google Nexus 7 tablet looks fascinating, but there seems to be one point that everyone isn't mentioning.  App Sharing.  In my family, there are two iPads, two iPhones, and each of the kids has their own iPod touch.  When I buy an app through iTunes, everyone gets the app for no additional charge.  But with Android, I don't think that is the case.  This will REALLY deter me from buying an Android tablet, unless they address this.
  • Since everything is tied to your Google account, there is too much separation for a family.  I can't believe no one thought of this...or if they did think of it, they certainly don't seem to care.
  • It is funny how different parts of the country are the same, but totally different.  I just got back from a few days in Maryland and Delaware, and everything works the same, but nothing looks the same.  I guess I am just used to the way Texas is laid out, because nothing felt right while I was there.
  • I am nervous about the Cowboys' season this year, because I do have reasonable expectations.  Last year wasn't so bad because I expected them to have a down year.  This year is different from my vantage point.
  • I have noticed that my life is significantly less busy and easier to deal with if my teams are terrible.  I am a wreck if the Cubs are in the hunt.  I haven't had much to worry about for a few years. :)
  • I watched the pilot to the new show, Revolution.  Apparently, something happens that makes electricity not work anymore, and we go back to being farmers and such.  Even though the trailer was directed by Jon Favreau and has Gus Fring from Breaking Bad in it, it gets a big fat meh from me.  Way too much sword fighting and arrow shooting.  It was like the producers watched the Hunger Games right before they filmed it.  Give me STORY, not fighting!  Give me characters, not blood!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Use a Strip of Tape to Help Hang Pictures Perfectly Every Time [Clever Uses]

Brilliant tip...Something that definitely falls into the "Why didn't I think of that" category.

Use a Strip of Tape to Help Hang Pictures Perfectly Every Time [Clever Uses]:
Use a Strip of Tape to Help Hang Pictures Perfectly Every TimeGetting a picture perfectly hung on the wall is already a difficult task, but it's made even harder when the frame requires two screws or nails. To mark the length between the hangers, DIY blog It's Overflowing recommends using a strip of tape so you can measure the distance and drill the holes straight.
Grab a piece of cheap tape (painter's tape or masking tape work fine) and stick the tape between the two holes on a frame. Now you have a good gauge of the distance between the holes. Next, take the tape and stick it on your wall, check to make sure it's straight with a level, and drill your holes. It's an incredibly simple way to ensure your holes are drill right or your nails are in place. Just don't forget our tips for hanging pictures without destroying walls before you start drilling.
Simple DIY: Creating a Window-Pane Mirror | It's Overflowing via Reddit

Friday, April 13, 2012

Like the corner of my mind...

We have all read the posts about the demise of certain things.  One in particular, I enjoyed:

I was thinking about this today as I listened to a song from the past, but I will come back to that.  I recently finished reading "It's So Easy (and other lies" by Duff McKagan, bassist for Guns n' Roses.  GNR was a BIG part of my love of music growing up, so I enjoyed the book, even if it did follow the exact same pattern of every other rock star bio that I have read in the past.  Seriously, they all start out with what they did as a kid, how the band met, and then talk about how much drugs they did.  They get clean, and move on.  They really all follow the same formula...but I digress.

So, I went back and listened to some of my favorite GnR songs from Appetite for Destruction, which is probably the most amazing and complete debut album of any band ever.  I am sure some of you would disagree, but you can start your own blog and talk about it there.  One song in particular that really impacted me was "It's So Easy", which was written by McKagan.  It is a great song, but I remember it more for the amount of "f-words" that littered the song.  As a 7th grader, this kind of stuff sticks with you. :)  I listened to that song, and that song only this morning.

Walking around my house, I noticed that I was humming a different song.  "Nighttrain", which is another great song from the album (who am I kidding, they are all great) was what stuck to my brain.  I realized I hadn't listened to that song in years, but it was the one I was singing to myself.  I thought, "Now, why would that song be the one I am singing?".  Then it hit me...that was the next song on the album after "It's So Easy".  My brain had automatically transitioned from one song to the next because that was the song that played on the cassette that I had. Then I got sad, because I realized that this particular phenomenon is gone forever.  Nobody listens to albums that way after song...we all set our iPods to shuffle and move on.  We are no longer conditioned to hear the next song in the album the way it is intended to be.  My kids will never know what that is like.

Part of the reason I enjoy music as much as I do is how immensely personal it is.  Songs invoke feelings and memories.  I can't hear "Welcome to the Jungle" without thinking about blasting my dad's stereo in our tiny living room and worrying that my neighbors were going to complain.  I can't hear "Look What the Cat Dragged In" by Poison without thinking about riding in the back of my mom's minivan on a long road trip with that tape on repeat.  I am so fascinated thinking about how the digital music and the way we consume it will shape the future of music and how it affects people.  I certainly hope that my kids will have emotional ties to music, and I am pretty sure they will.  It is just a matter of them having life-changing experiences while they listen to music.

It is funny how our brains work.  I would be interested to know what songs are tied to your memories.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

I think we got something here...

About 2 years ago, my family had a dilemma.  We were struggling to find something "athletic" for our daughter to do.  See, her brother has always been a natural athlete.  He played, at one time, baseball, soccer, basketball and football.  He just trasitioned from one to the other with no problems.  our daughter, on the other hand, really struggled with finding a sport. Now, when I say sport, I use that term loosely.  We tried soccer (she HATED it), t-ball (didn't care at all), basketball (tough for a girl to stay focused at her age) and, yes, even cheerleading.  Now, to me, cheering doesn't count as a sport (bring it on) but it was something mildly active where she got out of the house and did something with other people.  She eventually grew tired of it, and we certainly didn't want to deal with the politics of cheerleading for the rest of her life.  So, we thought we were out of options.

Until we found swimming.  We found out there was a small group of swimmers that meets at the high school near our house, and we thought that would be great. Her grandmother was a swimmer, and I was always in the pool growing up, so it seemed like a natural fit.  So, we signed her up.

Let's just say she took to the water like...well, a fish to water.  She loved it.  She enjoyed the people, the swimming, the exercise, pretty much everything about it.  So, we were loving it...and she started doing meets.  We didn't know what to expect with the meets...they can be overwhelming at first, but we stuck it out.  She would swim her three or four events and we would go home.  Her favorite part about swim meets was going to Subway afterwards, which is our "tradition".

Then she started winning...a lot.  I won't say that she was destroying the field, but she was placing in 75% of her events.  And it happened again...and again.  All of the sudden, I am going from "hey, this is a neat hobby" to "she might actually be good at this"!

Her last meet, which is called a "CHAMPS" meet (think of sort of a district meet), was a few weeks ago.  She was competing against some of her strongest competition ever.  There were a million kids there, and it was crazy.  You may recall my previous post about it.  Anyway, she did great.  She won a few of her heats (which is all we ever ask her to do) and we left, knowing that it was a good meet (and yes, we went straight to Subway).

Well, we found out yesterday that she kicked some serious butt.  A first, a fourth, and a fifth place in her division.  So, needless to say that I am extremely proud of her.  Hopefully, she will continue with this attitude and enjoy herself at the same time.  My only goal is to prevent her from burning out on it (which will be tough as she practices 4 nights a week).

Rejected Dilbert Comics

Rejected Dilbert Comics:
Scott Adams of Dilbert comics wrote about this cartoon strip that got
rejected for some reason. I wonder why ... Link
- via Tastefully

Stephen Fry discusses Tourette’s syndrome with a lady who suffers from it

Stephen Fry discusses Tourette’s syndrome with a lady who suffers from it:
Ok, just a quick warning....if you are at work, don't listen to this video.  It is an absolutely fascinating look at a woman who has the rare type of Tourette's Syndrome where they actually swear.  Seriously, there are probably about 100 F-Words in this video, but only one of them counts (you will see what I mean).  A great look into how she is trying to rise above her disability and help others who might be afflicted.

As Chazz Micheal Michealson would say, it is mind-bottling.

(via Reddit)

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Dream Time!

I had the weirdest dream last night, which by itself isn't all that odd. What is weird is that I remember it.  I am usually terrible at remembering my dreams.

I was filling in as baseball coach for a team my son used to play for.  I got there, assumed the third base coach position, and realized that we were playing with a very large van an U-Haul trailer in the middle of the field.  This apparently fazed no one, so the game continued.  With a runner on first, one of the players hit a ball up the middle, which should have scored two runs, but the umpire decided to call them both out. I got into an argument with the umpire and threw steamed rice on him.  This was not odd because there was a very large pile of it at home plate.

This is when I realized that it is hard for me to yell in dreams because you apparently need your lungs to work to yell properly, which I tried to do.  Unfortunately, this also causes one to wake up, realizing that you are yelling to your bedroom, "You are just trying to create an two-out situation". The dream ended there.  Thankfully, no one was in said bedroom to hear me act like a crazy person.

Dreams are fun.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

This is flippin' awesome. Real? Who cares.

4f58d5150a68e Letter from child to local weatherman is insane, awesome

Being a kid, he also included a drawing of the enslaved unicorn, too.
weather letter 640x382 Letter from child to local weatherman is insane, awesome

Explosive grind...

  • My wife types oddly.  She is a hunt and peck type of person, but she complicates it even farther by how she capitalizes letters:  She hits caps lock, types the letter, then hits caps lock again.  I will never succeed in changing that behavior
  • Speaking of typing, my son has to be able to type 40 wpm to pass a class this trimester in school.  I would be happy if he just types out the words "you" and "are" instead of using letters.
  • It is amazing to me to see people on twitter be two absolutely different people without any idea that they are doing it.  I see messages that basically say things like "If this person messes with me, I will seriously beat them up and I don't care about what happens (saltier language is usually used)".  8 hours later, I see "God is great. I love my family. Being a Christian is amazing".  You kind of need to pick one message and stick to it, don't you think?
  • Wife and I are going to try a bed and breakfast this weekend.  I am a bit nervous.  Any thoughts?  I have never been to one, and I am afraid that it will turn out like in every sitcom I have ever watched.
  • Speaking of sitcoms, my wife and I watch an episode of King of Queens every night before bed.  I have seen every episode about 20 times by now, and they are still consistently great.
  • I could tell you that I don't want the new iPad (I am still rocking the first version), but who would I be kidding?  I guarantee that the first time I see that retina screen, I will fall in love.
  • Make sure to watch the second episode of Awake on NBC tonight.  I went to HS with the guy who wrote it.  He needs a successful tv show...too much talent there to waste.
  • I was in Chicago this summer and met a lady from California who worshiped the Casey Donahew band. I went to HS with him too...played little league baseball with him for years.  Good guy.
  • I also went to HS with an Olympic Volleyball star (Stacey Sykora), the fiddle player for Big and Rich (Shawn Bailey) and an American Idol (Kelly Clarkson).  Not a bad run for a little high school in Texas.
  • Shopping for umpire gear sucks.  Hardly anywhere carries it locally, and that is the kind of stuff you need to see before you buy.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Braum's: A 20-year Problem

As time passes, it is clearer and clearer to me that not everyone has read Steve Jobs' biography.  I just don't see how any executive in a large company can read that book and not be inspired to make changes to the way their company does business.

My first case study would be Braum's.  Braum's has long been known for their great milkshakes, premium type groceries and some pretty good food.  In my experience, they have also been known to have the dirtiest, unkempt restaurants in America.  This is not a recent phenomenon, either.  I can remember being a kid in Burleson, TX and thinking that this restaurant needs a good cleaning.  This was only reinforced when we ate at our local Braum's in Euless.

First of all, the design decision to make the floors a dirty shade of brown was most likely the worst decision since the Cue Cat.  I am sure that somewhere someone thought that if they make the floors look dirty all the time, they wouldn't change if they were actually dirty.  So, even the cleanest of restaurants look dirty.  This Braum's was a disaster.  There were no napkins at the station.  Ketchup was EVERYWHERE.  Straw wrappers littered the floor.  Tables were unwiped.  There was melted ice cream on chairs.  This was only the beginning.

I realize that making food, especially liquid food like milkshakes, is dirty work.  It is next to impossible to keep it spotless.  This Braum's took it to a new level...the entire floor behind the counter was wet.  Which means that every time an employee walked out from behind the counter, they tracked dirty water across the restaurant.  There was literally a track of dirty water from the counter exit throughout the entire store.  Both trash cans were overflowing with trash, and on top of the trash cans were dirty towels and a spray bottle of cleaner.  Please don't get me started on the restroom.  There is a difference between a restroom that isn't clean because the trash bin needs to be emptied and when it looks like the bathroom hasn't seen a mop in three days.  Mold stains on the urinal don't exactly inspire confidence in the cleanliness of the kitchen.

The amazing thing is that people just kept coming in, which is a testament to Braum's' food and ice cream.  People love that place.  Imagine the kind of brand that Braum's could be if they would just pay attention to the little things.  I realize you get happens to every business.  But, imagine if you hired someone to work during the busy periods whose only job it was to clean tables, empty the trash, wipe down the ketchup station, etc.  This person would probably make 7 dollars an hour and be glad to work 20 hours a week, and you won't ever have to worry about this kind of problem again.  When was the last time you went into a Braum's and said, "Wow...these people are sitting around doing nothing!"? Probably never.  It seems that they are consistently understaffed, which creates problems.  Our local Taco Bueno employs a special needs teen who does nothing but cleans tables, wipes the salsa bar, and empties trash.  The restaurant is spotless, and it shows their dedication to making their customer's experience a great one. Plus, it creates a much needed job for someone who might have trouble getting one otherwise.

Another frustrating thing about Braum's is that they try to do two things at once...a mini grocery store and a restaurant.  They have a separate checkout counter for the groceries, which consistently pulls someone away from another duty to ring up someone who is just picking up a gallon of milk...which means you always need an extra headcount just to make sure those people don't get pissed.  Why not combine the registers and leave a dedicated person there?  Problem solved.  Even the newer Braum's, which are a little better designed, have this problem.  You will see someone standing at the grocery line, waiting for someone behind the food counter to walk across the restaurant to ring them up.  Insanity.

The final nail in the coffin for me, and this will probably keep me out of Braum's for a while, is the craziest thing I have ever seen. When you walk into this particular Braum's, the first thing you see to your right is the mini-grocery store.  What is the first item, closest to the door?  Is it awesome ice cream?  Nope...Is it Braum's' delicious cheese (Braums has AWESOME cheese)?  Nope.  The first thing you see when you enter Braum's is a 4 pack of toilet paper.  Yep.  Toilet paper.  Some executive in Braum's' hierarchy decided that they couldn't possibly forego the 55 cents of profit that selling TP would bring in.  Never mind that the first thing that your customers think of when they walk in the door is taking a dump.  You are selling toilet paper in a restaurant!!!!!!  Imagine if you walked into a Sprinkles cupcake store and they had tampons on display....that is the same impression that your customers are getting.

The hardest thing about this is that the employees were GREAT!  The girl behind the counter hand delivered our milkshakes to our table. That was awesome.  She was sweet, and it appeared that everyone behind the counter was busy but not unhappy.  The guy ringing up the customers was friendly and professional.  It just seems that there is a lack of management at a local level who is accountable for the cleanliness of the store.

So, back to Jobs' biography.  If you haven't read it, I highly recommend it as you will see why Apple has become the biggest company in the world.  By never compromising what makes them great, Apple has done things that were considered impossible 10 years ago.  It also serves as a pretty good guide to other companies on how to create customer loyalty by doing the things you do well and nothing else.  It is clear that these messages aren't making it to the executives at Braum's headquarters.  It makes me sad, too...because I liked Braum's.  I just don't know how appetizing their food sounds after having such a bad experience.

Monday, March 5, 2012

People...hating people...

This last weekend was swim meet weekend.  My daughter has only been in swim for a little over a year now, and this was the first "Champs" meet that we had been to.  Basically, it is like the big swim meet at the end of the season where everyone tries their best.
Our first indication that this was going to be a trying weekend was that when we got there, on time, we discovered that the meet was running about an hour late.  That sucks, but it is understandable.  These organizations that put on these meets find it very hard to turn away people who want to pay for the meet, as they need the money.  It does create quite the headache when it comes to scheduling all these last minute swimmers, though.
This minor inconvenience set off a chain reaction of craziness for the whole weekend, which is not the focus of this post.  What I really want to focus on is how inconsiderate people can be when they are only worried about themselves.
We have all been in a situation where there are crowds.  I tend to focus on making sure that people all have an equal shot at taking care of themselves, but apparently this is not the overwhelming attitude when it comes to most other people.  I usually sit there in amazement as I watch people do things as if they are the only person in the world.  Before I get into specifics, let me set the stage:
This is just an example of what they considered "leg room"
We were at the Grapevine Colleyville Natatorium, which is a nice, but small, venue.  There were WAY too many people for this little building.  Imagine three or four hundred swimmers, each of them with a mom and/or a dad, and probably siblings, packed into a building about the size of a decent gymnasium, but with a gigantic swimming pool taking up the majority of the floor space.  The bleachers were poorly constructed.  There was about half the normal space to maneuver around between the benches.  Lastly, either the air-conditioning wasn't working or it hadn't been turned for the most of the day, it was a sweltering 85 degrees or so...with 500 people in a small building.  Here are some of the things I witnessed:

  • People parking in fire lanes (there was a perfectly acceptable, HUGE parking lot about a 2 minute walk from the natatorium
  • People saving ENTIRE rows of seats with bags, jackets, etc. and no one sitting in those seats all day long
  • Parents letting their children run wild all day long, with no concern whatsoever (this included one boy who made it his mission to destroy every tree outside of the building, where a lot of people went to get a breath of fresh air from time to time)
  • People putting bags, etc. in the aisle so you had to walk around their bag to get out of the bleachers
  • People setting up folding chairs wherever there was floor space, blocking pretty much every exit down to a single file line that had to turn sideways to get through
  • At one point, a race official came to open a set of doors to let some much needed air in the building.  As soon as he walked away, a woman closed the doors because she was cold. 99.9% of the people in that building were dying, and she couldn't get it through her thick skull that there was anyone else in that building besides herself
  • Parents not telling their kids to towel off before they walked up the entire set of bleachers, dripping water on every single person and thing they came close to on the way up
  • My wife and I actually got a kick out of watching people open the doors to cool the building off, and watching that same woman return and close them.  It probably happened ten times throughout the day
It just seemed to me that if everyone in the building just gave half a crap, it wouldn't have been near as bad, but it seemed as if everyone was only concerned about themselves.  Now, I will say that no one was rude, and there were no incidents, but it just amazed me to sit back and watch how internally selfish people can be.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Teller Reveals His Secrets | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

Teller Reveals His Secrets | Arts & Culture | Smithsonian Magazine

Great article from Teller (of Penn and Teller) where he pulls back the curtain, just a little bit, on his magic tricks and how he uses the human brain to deceive you...

Friday, February 24, 2012

Sheridan's Blog: Caption Contest Winners

Sheridan's Blog: Caption Contest Winners

Hey look! I won the caption contest! This just proves that I am as funny as I think I am, and no further validation is necessary.

Mine is the second caption....I was selected out of TENS of submissions. Please give your proper respect...

Bird lands in a lion cage. Exactly what you’d expect to happen happens.

Bird lands in a lion cage. Exactly what you’d expect to happen happens.:

Neat video...but I can't help but wonder if there was someone shaking the guy's arm the entire time he was filming...

(via Reddit)

Monday, January 30, 2012

For Parents of soon to be high schoolers:

If you have a child that will soon be in high school, I have a very important tip for you.

Before you fill out any paperwork, create an email address that isn't yours or your child's.  Use this email when filling out paperwork for your student. (except for official school paperwork, like emergency contact forms)

Reason being:  You will immediately get added to every single college email list in the country.  I receive 5-10 emails a DAY from every institution of higher learning asking my son to consider their college.  They all use the same email marketing company.  I know this because every email is structured exactly the same. In fact, most of them are exactly the same.  I click unsubscribe. but more and more come every single day.

Also, letters have started showing up too.  Now, I will say that my son (10th grader) made a very high score on his PSAT, which might contribute to the avalanche of communication.  But, for your sake, better to be safe than sorry.  Have your child put this email address down as their email, and have it forwarded to your email if you think that is better. Create a filter to get rid of it...because you will be getting a LOT of it.

T-Rex is a lame house painter

T-Rex is a lame house painter:

From T-Rex Trying

(via Rats Off)

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Guitarist attempts an epic guitar swing…and fails

This is hilarious!

Warning: Turn your speakers down.

(via Reddit)

Mitt and Paul: Cagematch!

I realize this post will come off as a bit hypocritical, but I really needed to get this off of my chest.

Also, this post is NOT directed at any one person.  One look at my timeline and you will understand.

Why, oh why, do people feel the need to air their personal political and religious views?  Why do people spend time and energy telling others who they are going to vote for and why?

Why do people feel like their political view is going to make me change mine?

If you go back to your Facebook posts from 4 years ago, you will probably see the exact same crap that is floating around as there is now.  How this person is the antichrist and this person is the savior...How God wants this person to be President, and Satan wants this person to be President.

If baffles me to think that anyone gives a flying shit.  The only people who are going to respond to you are the people you are calling batshit crazy yourself!  Do you REALLY think that the person in charge of this country should have upstanding christian values?  Last time I checked, we have about 100+ different religions in this country, and the President has to represent them all.

This is what really gets me:  Has ONE person, in the history of time, ever changed their political view because someone else told them to?  Do people who stand on the proverbial rooftops EVER sway another person?

If you fill my timeline with neverending swill, all that will do is make me want to listen to you LESS.

Ok, rant over.  My point is that politics and religion are PERSONAL and should be kept so. The louder you are about those views, the less normal people are going to listen.  Please continue calling Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity....I don't have to listen to them.  All I want to be is left alone when it comes to politics and religion.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Flashback to 1990, if you will. I believe I was a sophomore in high school.  The Stars hadn't moved to Dallas yet, so I hadn't started my hockey my friends and I had other things to do to occupy our time.  ONe of our past times was to make sketch comedy videos.  We thought we were hilarious.  Sometimes we were, most of the time, we were not.

One of the reasons we wanted to do sketch comedy so bad was because we had discovered, deep in the night on HBO, this obsecure Canadian troupe called Kids in the Hall.  I am sure that there are some of you out there who have heard of them, but I am still surprised that people have no idea who they are.  It was a group of 5 guys who started being funny, and didn't stop.  Probably the most well known of the group would be Dave Foley, who starred in the sitcom NewsRadio and was the main ant in Pixar's A Bug's Life.

We LOVED these guys.  Watching KITH was a can't miss opportunity, even if it came on at midnight on Saturday.  They epitomized everything we wanted to be as a sketch comedy group.  I have fond memories of gathering around my friend's TV (he was the only one with HBO) and breathlessly waiting for our Kids to make us laugh.

Flash forward to 2012.  With the new onset of digital streaming devices, we now have a Logitech Revue with GoogleTV in the bedroom.  This allows me to watch Netflix streaming, which gives access to an endless amount of entertainment.  This includes access to every single Kids in the Hall episode made.  So, as the days go by, I have been progressing at a clip about one episode per day.  I just started season 3.

I still have my favorites:

The Eradicator


You Need a Mortician!

Having said that, I do need to get to the overall point of this post:  There were some PHENOMENALLY bad sketches mixed in. Stuff that would make you scratch your head and wonder how an idea like that ever got legs, let alone make it on the show.  It wasn't just was uncomfortable with how bad it was.  Weird thing is, I don't remember it at all.  The good sketches tend to stick with you, and I guess you just forget about the bad ones.  If you have Netflix, watch pretty much any episode from Season 2 and you will see what I am talking about.  The shows were downright terrible.  I guess they can't all be hits, but I was surprised at how bad most of the sketches were.  I think it gets better...maybe they just had a sophomore slump they had to break out of.  Writing and performing a weekly sketch comedy show can be incredibly taxing, and maybe that just caught up with them.

And if you were wondering, my favorite has always been Kevin McDonald.  I wish he had gone on to do better things.  I loved him.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Largest star ever discovered, compared to our Sun

Ok, this kind of stuff makes my head hurt. Not because it is hard to understand, but because the scale of the universe is beyond what any person can comprehend.

I have this great discussion point I like to bring up with people because it gives me insight into their thought processes, so I will present it to you.

Imagine that the Earth was exactly the same. Same weather, same development, same continents, same everything...but it was the size of Jupiter. Would we have ever discovered other continents? How many satellites would it take to communicate around the world? How long would it take to fly to London? Weeks? Months? Would Columbus have ever even left land?

I love hypotheticals like this, because it really makes you think about scenarios and how things could be. Our Earth is SO huge, yet it is cosmically tiny. How could there not be life out there?

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Worst Mom of the Year Toddlers And Tiaras star Alana Holler for a dollar

This just makes me sad. These people do not realize that the whole world is making fun of them by being on this show. This poor girl has no idea how this video will haunt her for the rest of her life.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Sh*t Nobody Says

This really made me laugh. There is one I would have to disagree with...

The "mmm...Captain D's". I say that ALL THE TIME. I love Captain D's. I used to look forward to going to the dentist because there was a Captain D's next door. I grew up down the street from a Captain D's, and it was the best. There are only a couple left in the metroplex, but I take advantage of being around them as much as possible.