As I travel for work and for play I am grateful for the experiences for many reasons. One of the reasons that I enjoy traveling is because it gives me the opportunity to be reminded that human idiocy is prevalent throughout the United States and is not just isolated to the the area that we call home.
I am sitting in a Panera during a training lunch break. This Panera is much like your standard Panera, with one exception: this one has runners that deliver food to your table instead of having to go retrieve your meal yourself. I haven’t encountered this at Panera before.
Now gentle readers of my blog will remember previous entries where I have wretched about customer conduct at Panera: screaming children, the inability to review the menu prior to being asked “what would you like today?” and the ever present question as to why french fries are not included on the menu.
Many of these things are present at this Panera, nearly 3000 miles from our home Panera:
1. There is a child screaming at the top of its lungs. The mother is indifferent to the noise aside from giving the child a very large chocolate chip cookie, because logic would dictate that the child must need more sugar, right?
2. The large family in line in front of me debated the contents of each menu entry after getting to the register. They then wanted to review the baked goods case before making a selection. They did this while alternating between English and Spanish amongst themselves and then, after paying for their transaction, the grandmother asked the cashier, in Spanish, if she spoke Spanish (honestly, the cashier looked like Rosario from “Will and Grace”) and when the cashier responded to the affirmative, they had a conversation about the virtues of speaking Spanish.
3. The screaming child is now standing on the pop dispenser counter and pushing on the pop spigot trigger thingees. Mom is adjusting her makeup.
It is reassuring, in a way, to realize that dumb people everywhere and not just confined to the Mohawk Valley. It helps keep things in perspective for me.
There has also been no requests for French Fries. This makes me happy. To keep this all in perspective, I remember that “this is water”.
So I have been in San Clemente, California since Sunday night. I am here for a training class for work and I am learning lots of nifty things. The class is a mix of in-person and online students. Luckily the teacher is also here in San Clemente. I am looking forward to using these learned skills in the next big project at work.
San Clemente is a beautiful city. I’ve driven through here on Interstate 5, the last time was way back in 1998, but I’ve never spent anytime in San Clemente. I have enjoyed walking the downtown area streets and I have also enjoyed the Pier and the Beach.
Last night I ate at the Fisherman’s Restaurant and Bar on the Pier. Alex was a very friendly waiter and the food was delicious.
Tonight I ate at a downtown restaurant at Nick’s San Clemente. My server was Nicki. She was very sweet.
At both dining experiences, neither Alex nor Nicki made me feel uncomfortable in any way because I was dining alone. I opted not to sit at the bar at either restaurant and just went with my own table. I enjoyed the people watching.
After dinner I walked off the slight beer buzz I had going on and ended up walking about five miles as I made my way around the downtown area. I feel very comfortable here with the mix of different people here. I am looking forward to coming back here on vacation. We have put it on the bucket list.
This very large seagull asked me to tell the seagulls that fly around the Jeep back home at lunch time, “we don’t need handouts from Burger King”. He then flew off in search of fish.
All in all it’s been a lovely trip. Tomorrow I head to San Diego for the night so I can catch an early plane on Thursday.
I am currently sitting aboard Delta flight 1967 headed from Atlanta to San Diego. We are less than an hour into our flight and have about four more hours to go. We are flying through some weather and the pilot has left the seat belt sign illuminated. He has also instructed the flight attendants to remain seated as well.
I’m curious as to why passengers are walking/bouncing up and down the aisles. Do passengers know better than the flight crew?
I am currently sitting in row 12 on this B767-300. Though I am sitting in a window seat, there is no window for this row, just a blank wall. This isn’t a horrible thing as I can seat out of the window that is next to the row in front of me. I like looking out and seeing what’s out there. That’s one of the nifty things about flying.
There is a window behind me that is actually right at my shoulder. The person in the seat behind me closed their window shade before takeoff and began banging on my seat for some reason. It’s not as annoying as the time that a child bounced on the attached tray table for most of a flight, but it’s noticeable. Because of my love of flying, I can’t even begin to imagine why someone would close the window shade when they’re in a window seat. But that’s what a lot of folks do these days; they close themselves off from the rest of the world and exist in their own little silo. I think life is too short to exist within walls. You have to find the horizon and reach for it.
As I have been typing this entry the “rough air” (apparently ‘turbulence’ is too scary a word for Delta) has subsided and the “fasten seat belt” sign has been turned off. Everyone popped up like a jack-in-the-box. I am thankful that they didn’t dance a little jig because honestly I’d find that frightening.
Earl and I are just back from the Humane Society. We went to meet a cat that I had seen online who has lived at the Humane Society for a while.
The very friendly girl working in the cat area introduced us to Tatum, who is almost four years old. He’s a big boy, weighing in at nearly 15 pounds. He was carefree when we stopped by his cage, he looked at us with the air of feline disinterest. I waved to him but he didn’t wave back.
We had to wait for the “meeting room” to be vacated by Theo, who apparently needs to be in there because he is so energetic but he doesn’t like any of the other cats.
Tatum, Earl and I went in and we learned about Tatum’s history and the habits he has exhibited while living at the shelter since January. He is a very nice boy and he liked head-butting my legs and playing with some of the provided toys and the like, but he did not like to be picked up. He’s a sturdy boy and when I tried to pick him up he made a deep, chatter like sound that wasn’t really angry sounding but it was definitely a sound of discontentment. He was fine as long as he was at your feet, but he did not want to be off the floor.
While Tatum is very nice, Earl pointed out that I’m one that likes to cuddle and nap with a feline friend, and while Tatum was purring until I tried to pick him up, there just wasn’t the click that I was expecting. I thanked him for his time, gave him some nice pets on the head and told it was a pleasure to meet him.
We then decided to meet Theo, the cat that was in the meeting room before we met Tatum. Theo was the exact opposite of Tatum, he did not want to be on the floor, he wanted to be on Earl’s head. I picked him up and put him on my lap and he kept going until he was standing on my shoulders. He then walked over to Earl’s shoulders and head and just started rubbing against Earl’s beard. He was very chatty and energetic and we knew if Theo came home with us he would be airborne the majority of the time. I thanked him for the privilege of meeting him and then we picked up a pre-adoption form and made our way for the exit.
Meeting Tatum and Theo was very nice and I enjoyed spending time with them, but it made me realize that I’m not quite ready for a new feline addition to our home yet. I still miss Tom too much and in the same way that Tom did not replace Gideon when Tom moved in with us, I don’t want the next cat to replace Tom, I want them to come in on their own merits and be part of our family, just like Tom was.
I know that we’ll be going back to the Humane Society to visit more cats in the future, but today was not the day. It was great to meet Tatum and Theo though.
In the mood for a dessert I went through the cupboards to see if Old Mother Hubbard was there holding a cake mix. Though the frosting had expired long before healthcare.gov went south the cake mix was still valid for six days. What could go wrong? Right?
So it’s a carrot cake mix and one of the required ingredients is a cup of carrots. Who keeps carrots in their house on a Thursday night? We certainly don’t and it’s all because we can see things in the dark.
Anyways, no carrots but we did have tomato soup in the house and I remember a woman named Peggy that I used to work with saying something about tomato soup and carrots and I thought “whoo-hoo!” I bet a can of condensed tomato soup is the same as a cup of carrots. So I dumped in the mix and then added the two eggs and the can of soup. But the recipe called for water and condensed soup called for water, so I decided to be crazy and I added a 1/2 cup of water instead of the full cup. This made the batter into tomato soup. Ugh. So I added unbleached wheat flour because we didn’t have anything else that resembled flour. Then I figured the flour would be kind of bland so I threw in some nutmeg. Because I think in metric (we were going to switch when I was in elementary school!), I’m pretty sure that I didn’t add a hectare of nutmeg. It was a healthy amount but I didn’t sneeze because I was sure that pepper was not in the question.
The cake batter started looking like cake batter again so I mixed it up good, put it in the greased cake pan and baked this slight foray into experimental cuisine. 50 minutes later, voila! It was time for the big test.
Earl tried the cake. I tried the cake. And it turned out to be quite delicious. We now have a little dessert for the weekend.
Tomato soup cake. Excitement for an otherwise boring Thursday night.
It’s been well over 10 years but I still remember the scene quite well. We were all seated around the conference room table updating the president of the company with the state of various projects that were underway. It was my turn to speak and I was just preparing to give my pitch about moving from Windows Me to Linux when I was interrupted.
“Before you get started, I’d like you to give me a list of the usernames and associated passwords for every employee’s account by the end of the day today”, the owner of the company declared.
I didn’t even need a full second to formulate my reply. I simply stated, in a calm and confident voice, “I’m sorry, but I’m not going to provide you with that information.”
All eyes around the table were on me. I think someone might have groaned or coughed. There was a guttural noise coming from somewhere and I was pretty sure that it had nothing to do with the Chinese food I had eaten earlier. That would have been embarrassing.
“I don’t think you understand, I want the username and password of every account on my desk by the end of the day”. I could see the fire building in his eyes.
“Oh I fully understand that request and I’m sorry but I’m not going to provide that information.” I believe I was clear in my initial reply.
Before an explosion ensued I added on, “and I’m willing to discuss this afterwards in a private meeting if you wish.”
Contrary to folklore, that is not the day of the Huge Explosion at that job in which I resolved to find a new opportunity as soon as possible. The discussion was heated, but once I explained my point of view, the matter was settled.
As children we are taught that we are all unique individuals and that our uniqueness should be celebrated. Some of us are more unique than others and while I believe we all have to conform to social standards in some way, I do not believe that any person, employee or situation can be controlled by some random, blanket edict. That’s just bad management. That’s just being lazy. And when I sense that is going on, I get rebellious. Very rebellious.
Now, I don’t waste my rebellion on stupid stuff. If the sign says “wet paint”, I don’t need to touch the wall to see if it’s true or not. If there are workers on the road and the speed limit is ramped down for their safety, I get that and I comply. But if there’s just a line of cones for miles with no workers in sight and the speed limit is ramped down to something idiotically slow, I might ignore that a bit, unless there’s a cop around.
In order for us to thrive in our jobs and be as beneficial as possible to our employer, I think it’s important that management try to highlight the positive traits in their employees within an established realm of guidelines. This may occasionally require some thought and this will probably result in some being treated differently than others. It could also make for some uncomfortable discussions as to why Person A can do one thing but Person B can’t really do that. Making blanket requests (“I want to access to everyone’s computer because I think only Joe Perv is looking at inappropriate stuff”) is not the way to go and when I see this sort of thing is when my rebellious streak really kicks in.
Some might find it hard to believe that one who strives to always be at the top of his game and the star player on the team would have a rebellious side to him. Maybe I just have an issue with authority. Whatever the reason, I know that who am I is what provides the fuel that fires me up to do what I strive do in the first place.
I have no idea who reads my blog. When you see me in person, I’ll often tell witty anecdotes from my life and it might be something that I have already talked about in my blog. There’s a good chance the story I’m telling will be a word-for-word recount of what you’ve already read. This doesn’t bother me. It shouldn’t bother you.
Since I have no interest in generating revenue from this blog, I don’t bother keeping track of the visitor stats. That being said, I am keen to the fact that I know that people read my blog. I must always keep this in mind when writing something of a personal nature. While I try to be transparent with the way I view the world, sometimes it’s good to heed me mother’s advice and say, “If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” And that is what I’m going to do right now.
So, to maintain a smile for all, let’s dig up an older dance tune and jam out, shall we?
From 1996, here’s “Jellyhead” by Crush. We played this one a LOT on Wow-FM, The Beat of Central New York. We’d probably be playing it a lot today because that’s what we did.
So Earl is going to be out of town one weekend in November. I was originally thinking of going on a Jeep ride and exploring the general area but for some reason that’s not exciting me like it usually does. I wanted to do something different.
Due to a canceled trip earlier this year, I have a credit sitting on my Delta account so I decided that I would use that and go off on another adventure before I lost the credit. The trouble was that I didn’t know where I would want to go. In a way I wanted to go someplace that I had never been before, but in reality I wouldn’t have enjoyed something bright and shiny without Earl. I couldn’t see breathtaking vistas and canyons and the like without the love of my life at my side, so I would have to go somewhere in full geek mode. Leaving the continent was not an option (I got the glare). I didn’t want to spend the bulk of the weekend traveling and I didn’t want to hop so many time zones that I would be a complete zombie when I got back home, so I was at a little bit of a loss as to where to go.
Then I saw a billboard. Delta is now offering non-stop service to Minneapolis.
I’ve never been to Minneapolis but Earl has been there at least once. He says Minneapolis has a nice downtown and there’s light rail transportation and everything. He spoke highly of his experience there. He also said it’s quite cold in the winter. So I’m going to Minneapolis for a long weekend in November.
I’m going to be a complete geek and see about visiting the company that now makes the clocks that I collect. I’ve talked to them on several occasions over the years and I’ve even traded emails with the CEO. I’ll find it interesting to see their setup.
I’ll probably also visit the Mall of America. I hear that’s a big deal. I’ll also see what else there is to see and do in the Twin Cities.
I don’t know if I’ll throw my hat up in the air, though, because that just seems cliché.
The best part of this trip for me is that I’ll just be anonymous in a city that I don’t know for a weekend. Curiosity will be the name of the game. I’ll be off the grid in an on the grid way. And that is very appealing to me.
I’m looking forward to the adventure.