The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘Du Jour of the Week’

Mother’s Iced Oatmeal Cookies

Mom: Did you hear my big news?

Child: Uh … yeah … Dad told me …

IMG_20190331_194006607Mom: Well!? Isn’t it just such a wonderful idea!?

Child: Uh … yeah … it’s exciting, mom.

Mom: Everyone has just always had such wonderful things to say about my cookies! And now everyone in the world can have them since I’m going into business!

Child: Yeah, your cookies …

Mom: Yes?

Child: They … keep. They keep better than any other cookie. Fresh or three weeks old, you can’t tell a difference.

Mom: Well, what an unusual compliment!

Child: I mean they’re good … It’s just like … Every time you have one you’re like, ‘oh yeah. This flavor.’

Mom: Now everyone will know that same delightful experience!

Child: Maybe you could have a recipe on the back to make something else with the cookies.

Mom: Like a cookie pie?

Child: No I was thinking like … a shed. Or the hull of a shipping vessel.

Mom: Hmm. Your dad said skyscrapers.

Child: Oh yeah! That’s a good one, dad.

Mom: Well. You can’t have any of these that are about to come out of the oven.

Child: All right! Thanks mom!

Mom: …

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Sports Complex Names so Tasty You’ll Say Mmm-mmm, No Thanks

I was reading about upcoming March Madness fun when I saw this: Louisville’s KFC Yum Center. That’s real. That’s a real place and that is the name they chose. I read that and without thinking said ‘blech.’ People, lots and lots of theoretically smart marketing people … chose that. Probably after deliberation. There were names worse than the KFC Yum Center!

close up photo of a cheese burger

Your seat could be covered in this!

Here now for your consideration are otheer places for young, talented athletes to sport it up.

  • The Citadel’s White Castle Impenetrable Burger Fortress Arena
  • Boise State’s Taco Bell Tasty Laxative Station
  • Georgia Tech’s Hardee’s’ll Do (I Guess) Stadium
  • University of Alabama’s McDonald’s Grease Bag of Goodies Center
  • University of Arizona’s Arby’s We Have the (Track) Meats Stadium

Looking v Staring

You know what’s interesting is looking vs staring. Staring is always a more intense version of looking. It amplifies the mood. But generally in a bad way.

Like if someone says ‘I like to look at girls’ you’d think: That’s creepy. I’m not sure about this person. If instead they say: ‘I like to stare at girls’. No no. Buh uh. The word stare has made me someone you don’t want to be around.

‘I was looking at the report’. Ok. Sure. You were mildly reading a report. ‘I was starting at the report.’ Dude. You weren’t even trying to read that report at all.

In both cases staring brought a certain intensity, and both times it did no favors.

Maybe just avoid the word stare.

man in black full zip jacket

Take it easy, creepy romeo.

What’s Next?

Here is an interesting way to think about what businesses will die in our lifetime.

Instead of trying to think about what is next in a ‘disruptive’ sort of way, think about what you don’t like about a current business. And then, that might be the key that some other company uses (or the company itself will use) to change that business. A business ‘dying’ is loose, then, because Shell may die in its current form but still exist as Shell. Ok, let’s jump in.

Oh wait. Amazon is an interesting one. I worry about how powerful Bezos is, and his company, but my worry doesn’t exceed the amount of saved effort that company provides. Same goes for Google. I don’t like a number of things about Google, but BOY do they make life easier. My thinking is to discount moral objections, because laziness is the key here. What don’t you like about a current company / service?

empty gray metal shopping card near assorted plastic bottles

When the grocery store notices how much candy and sugary cereal I buy the staff will pitch in and buy me a self-help book.

Know what I don’t think is worth it? Going to an NFL game regularly.

  • What if there were more trains that took me to/from the game without effort. No traffic, no wasted hours of getting in and out of the game.
  • If the NFL was smart, when they are pumping a city for tax dollars to make you pay for someone else’s thing, they’d also get some money for mass transit.
  • That cost is harsh, and then you tack on any food or drinks? Brutal. AND the annoyance of getting up to go get stuff and missing some of the game.
  • This one is something the NFL itself will have to fix, and right now they have no reason to … But if they saw a drop in attendance, I bet some changes might come along here.

Know what is prime for AI and a better experience? Grocery stores.

  • The grocery store involves a lot more thinking, walking, and repetition than is necessary. You go to the grocery store and let’s say 50% of your list is the same every time.
  • Why do you need to go pick all these things out, if you have a grocery store membership card your store already knows exactly what your habits are.
  • Why should you have to bother with finding a new recipe that aligns with what you like when the grocery store can do this for you? Again, they track everything you buy (assuming you have one of those cards) so they can see that you’re trying to eat healthier based on your trends, they can see that you’re into whole wheat pasta, lemons, and chicken, so why not have the grocery store propose a new recipe for you? AND, while you’re at it grocery store, why don’t you go ahead and just have a little robot put together my common things in one container, and your suggested items in another container, and have that waiting in a cart for me. (You could ping the grocery store via their to be built app and then boom, their little robots will run off and compile your cart.)

Know what everyone is sick of? Washing their hands.

  • Poop particles, are they really so harmful?
  • Nah I’m just kidding.
  • But what would really be nice is a tiny robot who would pop out of my desk and put some lotion on my knuckles so that my hands don’t hurt AND I don’t have greasy lotion fingers (and keyboard).

So back to you, dear reader. What’s next?

Taking Advantage of Your Local Dumb Dumbs!

I read an article called “China’s AI Awakening” because I find AI technology amazing (side-note: I fear for humanity, seriously) but here was a funny paragraph in the article.

Across the capital, in fact, I notice a remarkable amount of interest in artificial intelligence. In one restaurant, for instance, I find a machine that takes my picture and then supposedly uses AI to determine how healthy I am. This seems completely impossible, but the machine says I’m in great shape before suggesting that I have plenty to eat.

I think the world is RIPE for a new variation on magic elixirs, and the new-fangled magic elixir is technology as a whole, but AI, deep learning, machine learning, whatever label you want to slap on something that isn’t actually any of those things.

I remember hearing on the radio a thing about this automaton that played chess, and was incredible at it. And this was around 1790. It turns out that there was actually a person hidden underneath this automaton and it was controlling the machine. There was actual intelligence and craftiness put into the design, but only about 10% was that … and then it was 90% smoke and mirrors. I think the new age charlatan will come to your house (electronically or otherwise) telling you that here’s this special $10,000 toilet that’ll tell you how your diet is based on monitoring your … um, output. And really all it will do is make beeping noises and light up some little buttons and then say something which is OF COURSE true like, ‘you should probably eat more veggies, dude.’

woman holding teacup

Psst. Smoke and mirrors is corporate speak for bullshit.

Or maybe it’ll be a smart watch for $5,000 which is really just a Garmin but with some apps loaded on it that do things like say, ‘Based on your heart rate we have detected that your genetic history is … mixed.’ And you’ll go, ‘oh wow, thanks watch, tell me more!’ and it’ll say some bland stuff that applies to that 70% that’s in the middle of the bell curve and someone who’s actually FROM Africa, and their whole ancestry is straight up Africa will go, ‘the hell? What’re you saying, watch?’

My point in all of this is … technology is cool, and terrifying, and be afraid of it when wielded by corporations or governments, but be skeptical of anything you as an individual can afford that tells you it can do wonderful things.

But anyway while you’re here I’ve got this app I created where you take a few quizzes and it’ll match you up with your soulmate. It’s just $99 a month to have the app and the only reason it’s not like one shot and you’re done is because, well it’s pretty technical I’d hate to bore you with the details. But just imagine that soulmate. Pretty great, right?

Toastmasters Entertaining Speaker #5

The idea for this speech is ‘Speaking After Dinner.’ It’s an 8-10 minute speech. So uh … enjoy?

The Precise Moment

Who here has a hobby that they love?

(Wait for answers.)

Ok, what is it? Are you good at it? Does it take work?

Who here has someone that you love?

(Wait for answers.)

Are you good at loving that person? Does it take work?

I think the idea of ‘love at first sight’ is silly. SILLY! You can look at someone and at first sight know the answers to some pretty simple questions like, ‘do I like looking at this person?’ Yes, this is great, I’m soon going to be entering creepily staring territory. Or maybe it’s a no, not so much, how can one person look so creepy?

But LOVE at first sight? Love can’t be reached so easily. That’s diminishing what love is, in my opinion. Love is work. Love is enjoyable work, but it is work. You have to KNOW something to love it, and you can’t know something with a look. I’ve heard that you can’t know if you love someone until you experience the four seasons with that person. Those aren’t literal seasons but emotional ones. Have you gone through ecstatic highs, or heart-wrenching lows? Some people could be easy to love when they’re in a certain place, but people don’t stay in one place.

Now, switching from my emotional side talking to my engineering side – here is an interesting question! What was the exact moment you fell in love? Because there WAS an exact moment. You probably didn’t catch it, though. There you were, however many months into knowing this person and they grab a straw and pretend to be a unicorn and boop – there it went, the switch flipped from ‘not in love’ to ‘in love.’ That unicorn impression was the straw that broke the camel’s back. Yes, there were many long conversations, many rounds of putt-putt, maybe a vacation where you joined his or her family that preceded that unicorn impression but all of that stuff just got you 99% toward in love. And now here you are, officially, actually, really and truly IN. LOVE.

And maybe some of us are wise, and intuitive, and forward thinking and we can see things quickly and say things to ourselves like, “I’m going to marry this person.” But I would suggest that people think or say that BEFORE they’re in love, they’re just looking at their emotional histogram.

(Draw histogram)

And saying ok, yep, the results are clear, I will eventually end up in love with this person so I’m all clear to say something to my best friend like ‘hey this person and I are gonna get married.’

BUT, say you have only uncovered two of the four seasons at that point and you are soon going through one of those seasons, we’ll call it fall, and it turns out this person only eats Cinnamon Toast Crunch. WOAH. RED FLAG. Not cool. You broach the topic, ‘hey sweetie, hey darling, hey potential love of my life, you’re 30 now … so I bought you a cereal that is just a teensy bit less unhealthy because I don’t want you dead at 40.’ And the person throws a table over and then consumes a whole family size box of Cinnamon Toast Crunch as a coping mechanism.

Yikes. Marriage daydream cancelled.

But I posed a question that I like. What was the MOMENT you fell in love? Does anyone care to share?

(Wait for answers)

Or, perhaps an easier question, what was the moment you realized you loved someone?

(Wait for answers)

I can tell you the moment I realized I loved my wife, and it is definitely indicative of my engineering side. I think it was early in the year, maybe around this time of year even, and I was thinking about what I’d be doing. SxSW? A music festival in Houston in June? California with my family in July? And then I realized. Wait. A. Minute. Lauren’s not a conditional! Previously when I thought about plans in the future I would think, ‘if Lauren and I are together then this will be the plan … if we’re not, this will be the plan.’ Sounds cold, but I was factoring in when she would or wouldn’t join me on trips. But here I was thinking about all of these plans and Lauren was there, there was no question in my mind. I HAD to conclude that I was in love. Woah. Unexpected. And then, of course, the next natural step was to ask her to marry me because there was no sense delaying the tax advantages.

Now you have to figure out … did I really think that? Am I that kind of person? I’ll leave that to you.

In college I actually asked my family one of the questions I’ve asked you – what was the EXACT moment you fell in love? I was fascinated by the idea that there was some particular moment in time where you went from 99% to 100% … My mom tried to answer but said she remembered realizing when she was in love, but not the exact moment. My sister and brother-in-law both talked about moments when they realized things. My dad walked in the room at that point and I asked him the same question. And I’ll add, my dad is not a touchy-feely type, he is much more of a smart alec type. Remember that when you hear this answer. When asked, ‘do you know the exact moment you fell in love with mom?’ He replied without missing a beat, ‘it was the first time I saw her topless.’

Ah. Cherish these family memories.

Today is Valentine’s Day. Tonight, find someone or something that you love and think about how good and nice it is to have something to love. Cherish that, work at that, and that hard work will only pay dividends.

The Sliding Scale of Old

Recently I was reading about things that are happening from 12 to 24 months when I read something crazy in the book. Apparently kids don’t fully grasp the concepts of yesterday and tomorrow until age six! SIX! Isn’t that nuts! That means for six years of your life you were running around and you were confined to now or not now.

At age two kids do get yesterday and tomorrow on some scale. For example, if you had a bath yesterday and ice cream two weeks ago they may as well have happened in the same otherworldly concept of ‘yesterday.’ Because it’s all just past.

When talking to this toddler aged set about time I read a suggestion that you make it more relatable by saying things in their terms. ‘Christmas is 300 bedtimes away.’ (Or whatever it is.) Of course that wouldn’t float because 300 is just some random set of words. But if you said you’ll go to bed tonight, and then you’ll go to bed one more night, and then it’s Christmas! Then a kid can sort of get on board with that.

assorted silver colored pocket watch lot selective focus photo

Photo by Giallo on Pexels.com

My wife and sister both just had their birthdays which also brought up conversations of time. My sister’s age to me feels so GROWN UP even though I am just 3.5 years younger than her. But then I think about my age and my gut reaction is usually to think, ‘oh no, I’m old!’ but my rational mind has already begun to undo my youth and construct new concepts around ‘old.’ You see … it’s a sliding scale.

When you’re young enough someone just one year older than you is ‘old.’ As you get older, maybe you’re a freshman in high school and the seniors seem ‘old.’ Keep getting older, say you’re thirty, and now you really have to approach this logically. Thirty approached AWFULLY fast, you think to yourself, so I can’t call forty old because I’ll be there in no time and really … it’s not old. How about fifty? (See, your brain doesn’t even let you increment in small numbers any more! Going up by tens!) I mean … fifty does seem kinda old but … I don’t know … retirement isn’t til 65 (I hope) so maybe 65 is old? Is 65 old?

It gets confusing negotiating with yourself to not feel ‘old’.

All of this sums up to one important conclusion. Self, you’re old. So buckle up, oldie, because you’ll only get older and older until (hopefully) you reach ancient status, and then if you’re lucky, decrepit. Then, at that age, 1 year will equal 1 minute in toddler time, or something along those lines. It’s a complex formula and I forgot it because, you guessed it, old age.

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