Wednesday, December 06, 2006


Tina and I visited San Francisco this past week. In the lobby of the Hyatt Regency Embarcadero Center was a display with those ceramic town buildings you can buy at a variety of shops all over. There were McDonalds, a Krispy Kreme, standard houses, storefronts, social services (such a police and fire station).

But boy were there Starbucks'. Several, in fact. More than 3, actually! It was incredible. In one instance, two of the Starbuck's locations were only one building apart. We thought it was someone's social commentary on the proliferation of Starbuck's stores in the world.

Little did we realize that it was merely a true representation of the number of Starbuck's locations within the city of San Francisco. They were EVERYWHERE! Every block seemed to have one. Sometimes they were really only one or two stores apart. We even found a few locations literally across the street from each other.

Most humorous, though, was the fact that this carried over to other geographic regions, too. Such as Terminal A at the DFW airport. They were no more than 100 feet from each other.

Totally insane. :)

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

what is this world coming to?

Has anyone else recognized the similarity between Stephen King's The Running Man (and the Richard Dawson host on the fictional gameshow) and William Shatner and his new gameshow Show Me the Money?


Thursday, October 19, 2006

Wireless Devices

I've been using a Palm-powered device for years. I started with a Palm III.

It was a cute little Palm, monochrome screen and I bought it at Fry's in Palo Alto, CA on my first business trip of my life.

It's predecessor was a Sharp Wizard that I'd been using all throughout law school.

It was filled with calendar and contact information. I thus taught myself Graffiti by manually entering the data into the Palm III in the hotel room and while riding in the car.

The III lasted from about 1998 until almost 2000, when I got a Palm V.
When I saw the Palm TungstenT in 2002, though, all bets were off. The T was so cool, with a sliding mechanism that allowed the screen to become larger when needed.

I finally upgraded to the Tungsten T3, a slimmer, more powerful version of the same concept.

But I've been lusting after the Handspring (now Palm again) Treo for a long time. The Treo was one of the first "converged" devices, one that combined the Palm organizer with the benefits of a cell phone. EVERYTHING was finally on one device. But the original Treo was a bit bulky. I had the chance to play with one early on in their release, so I knew that this would eventually be great... it just wasn't quite what I wanted (besides, it had a monochrome screen again).

The Treo kept a pretty brisk release schedule.
First the 180,

then the 270

(and in keeping with a "degrees" theme, they released a 90 that didn't have the phone capabilities).

And when they released the 600, I KNEW it was ready. By the time of that release, however, the Blackberry had taken the world by storm, and I had already owned two Blackberries by the time Nextel and Cingular both combined the Blackberry wireless e-mail system with phone features. Now there's the 650.

So now anyone that wants a converged device has a dilemma... Treo or Blackberry. Of course, in the last 2 years, Microsoft has added their $.02 worth, too - with a slew of Windows Mobile (remember its predecessor, WindowsCE?) powered devices by Sanyo, Samsung, Nokia, Motorola, etc. So the dilemma is compounded by these Windows-based devices, too.

But I've been using the Palm for a long time and like that OS. It's been completely designed as an organizer - which is exactly what I use it for. Easy to use, cleanly defined... almost simplistic. Perfect for me. Thus, even the addition of all these extra players really didn't cloud my judgement.

What IS a problem, though, is the wireless CARRIER differences. And all of this has been setup to talk about these differences. THIS is where the real decisions need to be made - THIS is where you can make a deal or go broke - THIS is where you need to pay attention. So let's look at the carriers for the Treo devices (there are 2, almost 3, now available: the 650, the 700 and now the 680 - not yet quite released). Know in advance that the 700 has about 4x the memory of the 650, a faster data transmission capability (EVDO rather than 1XRTT) and a little bit better camera. Everything else is about the same, but you can read a lot of reviews elsewhere. The 680 will be out soon, but it's not yet available, so we'll not really talk about it here.

There are 4 carriers in my market that supply the Treo. In alpha order: Alltel, Cingular, Sprint/Nextel and Verizon. First, forget who your current carrier is (mine's Alltel) and look just at device costs and wireless plans.

Alltel is selling the 650 for $249 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You then can pick any of their national freedom plans for voice, and you pay $29.99/mo for unlimited data. The limiting factor here is slower data speed (the 1XRTT standard rather than EVDO), but as a CDMA phone, it's good almost everywhere.

Cingular is selling the 650 for $299 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You then can pick any of their voice plans and you pay $39.99/mo for unlimited data. Cingular offers XPress Mail (similar to the Good Technology product) to connect you with your office e-mail system. Cingular has a decent network, but their data network isn't as robust as others.

Sprint/Nextel has the 700 for $399 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan. You pick any of their voice plans and pay $39.99/mo for unlimited data. The trouble here is that you're limited to Sprint/Nextel's network. If you walk off their network, you lose connection.

Verizon also has the 700 for $399 (after all discounts) with a 2-year service plan and you pick a voice and data bundle. Verizon's data network isn't super, either... and they aren't able to do anything with data separately from voice (although the bundles are a good idea).

All in all, given the fact that I'm with Alltel, I decided to take the slower device and stay with Alltel. Got one for Tina, too.

God I love my Treo. The lust was worth the wait.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Book 1, Email 0

Well, I finally get the book completed, uploaded... ready to print and start to send messages to folks letting them know about it. And my e-mail host decides to throw a rod.

I don't know what's going on right now... but if you are trying to send me e-mail and you get a delay, please send it to jigordon at gmail dot com. I'll respond as soon as I can.

[OK... everything's better now. Sorry for the inconvenience!]

In any event, however, go check out the book! ;)

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

MBA factories

I decided several years ago that I wanted to get an MBA. I researched schools, looked into various programs... found one I liked and went through the process.

I'm now 2/9ths done with my chosen program and I feel that every day I walk out of class, I've learned something that I can immediately take back to my work environment. But class is not easy and class doesn't come quickly. In fact, it's 2 days per week, almost every week of the year, for at least 3 hours, sometimes a bit more.

What I am now trying to figure out is how an "institution" can offer the same accredited degree program that I'm in... but do it in 2 years instead of three... and do it remotely with only 5, 4-day weekends per year? It just seems impossible to me.

Or maybe it's the fact that, as the Presidio School of Management so clearly shows on their website, that virtually NONE of the faculty at the "school" have a business background or an MBA themselves. Ph.D's are good... but I would think that they need to be in a related field. But hey, that's just me and my JD speaking (where 99% of all law school professors MUST BE lawyers themselves).

So it really ticks me off to realize that MY degree is going to be less valuable because these Degree Factories are pumping out unqualified people with the same degree that I'm trying to earn.

Who's in charge of this mess?

Friday, August 18, 2006

Keys to the Beandom?

It's no secret that Tina and I visit Disney on a regular basis. One of the tours we took while we were there was "Keys to the Kingdom" which is essentially a behind-the-scenes look at the Magic Kingdom. It lasts for about 4 hours, includes lots of notable trivia bits and looks at the most secretive of places in the entire park (including the underground tunnels that traverse the entire property).

Two days ago, we were passing through Freeport, Maine, home to L.L. Bean. Tina's had a purple pullover from there that was bought back in her freshman year of college... and in a manner similar to me going to the Apple Computer Headquarters in Cuppertino, CA, going to L.L. Bean was like coming home for Tina. The pullover itself has acquired almost mythical status... known simply as her "Bean". It embodies all of the possible Beanness one item could have. She loves it and it loves her back, I suppose.

It's almost hard to express in words the look on her face and her state of excitement when she realized that there were FOUR buildings that comprise the L.L. Bean flagship location... and that the main one is open 24/7/365! She simply was in awe of trying to figure out what would require a run to the "Bean" to buy a "Bean" at 3am.

I wasn't willing to find out who visited at 3am, though, so we had to go at a more normal 1pm. After walking through all of the buildings and taking pictures of Tina wearing a giant backpack

(and getting in an even LARGER backpack),

we were ready to go. But not before getting the boot.

And as we walked away from the Bean, Tina simply inquired why they didn't offer tours of their facilities (including their full warehouse a few miles down the road) just like Disney. "They should have 'Keys to the Beandom'!"

All I could do was smile.

Friday, August 11, 2006


I watch a lot of TV and movies. More than I should, I suppose. TiVo will go down as one of the best inventions of my lifetime.

But I'm curious.

Who actually has those perfect TV/movie moments in their life?

You know the ones I'm talking about. Where the guy and girl are sitting together having that instant karmic connection. Where the athlete runs faster, jumps higher, plays longer or through the pain to win the gold. Where the worker gets the big career move that they actually deserve. Any of those.

Because I don't know where or when they happen. I don't know anyone who has them - but I know that I don't get them.

Or... maybe I do.

Maybe the moments in my life are the TV/movie moments for someone else's life.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Treasure Hunting

I'll admit that I love contests, game shows, puzzles and any other form of semi-intellectual test that might result in winning some sort of prize. Today's adventure is the NBC show "Treasure Hunters".

Over the course of several weeks, real people on real teams are running all over the planet trying to solve clues and determine where to go next to find a series of clues. When they have all the clues, they're supposed to be able to figure out where to go to win a treasure chest of cash/gold/dubloon or some other similar reward. And, to make things more interesting for those of us "at home", NBC has added an online component where they've been offering a contest to also win a cash prize.

Now, the online puzzles are sometimes fun, sometimes a bit challenging (because there aren't that many instructions/directions or other clues). But overall, it's not extremely difficult... and if you do this long enough, you should be able to answer a question they ask at the end of every week's clue.

I didn't realize until today, however, that there are folks blogging with the exact step-by-step instructions of how to "solve" each clue. And I just don't get it. If you were trying to win $250,000, and the entrance "fee" is based on your ability to solve the weekly puzzles, would YOU tell other people how to solve them?

Mind boggling. More so than the puzzles themselves.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Comparisons are tricky

When people don't understand what I'm trying to tell them in a negotiation, I often resort to the use of an analogy. The idea is that if I can't gain understanding on the actual words, let's shoot for understanding on the concepts. Once we get to that point, we'll go back to the language and work out the details.

These types of comparisons can become quite difficult and quite involved, especially when you're dealing with discussions on technologies that are new or not fully realized yet. But yesterday, I realized that comparisons, even at a very fundamental level, can be just as sticky.

Guy Kawasaki, the original Mac Evangelist, has become an incredible business person. He's well known, well respected, and like many others, writes a blog where he usually discusses various business topics. The other day, he linked to the TED conference presentations that are available for online viewing. Admitedly, these are some of the world's brightest people talking about many of the world's most pressing problems.

Guy's post, however, was specifically about one of the presenters, whom he compared to Steve Jobs in terms of presentation abilities. Now, I don't know Steve. Guy, however, does. Personally. So, when I read that headline and the article, I went back to the TED page to view this presenter (whom I hadn't gotten to quite yet), because Steve's pretty good.

And to be fair, I was impressed by her passion and said so in a comment on Guy's blog - but her presentation style left much to be desired. The other commentors also were split about how they felt. Some had similar feelings as I did, some agreed with Guy. I finally realized the danger of comparison (and was reminded of the danger of having serious conversations in an online format) while reading the comments again this morning to see what had been posted overnight.

One person, Splashman, stated: "I must again point out that Guy's comparison of Majora to Steve is unqualified. That means he didn't say, "Majora is better in a couple of areas." He didn't say, "Majora would be better than Steve if she had the same support and 20 years' practice." The title of his post is "As good as Steve Jobs." And nothing in the body of the post gives the impression that he is qualifying the comparison."

So, it wasn't so much that the comparison was made, but the weight given to the comparison by the original author as well as by the reader of the comparison. Had it been me making the comparison, would readers have reacted in the same way? I don't think so. Since I don't know Steve. Since I wasn't at TED. Since I'm not Guy.

I personally went to listen to the presentation because Guy said it was good. In my opinion, it wasn't, regardless of whether the topic was relevant, important and the speaker was passionate. My opinion of Guy's opinion won't be tarnished because of this difference. But I can see where it could happen that some people would decrease the level of credence they give to Guy based on this difference.

The lesson here is that while analogies or other comparisons are good, negative weighted opinions can block understanding at best, and at worst, sway things in an opposite direction than what was desired. I gave Guy's opinion the benefit of the doubt I had about the presenter because I trusted his opinion. The fact that I now disagree with his opinion could have caused me to discount other opinions he holds or shares. If this was a negotiation, this becomes a trust issue - which is never a good problem to have.

So I'll continue to read Guy's blog. If for no other reason than the fact that my respect for Guy isn't based on his opinions, it's based on his actions... and the fact that someone says something that I personally disagree with doesn't mean that I discount their opinion (even if I think it's wrong ).

Saturday, July 22, 2006


Today was the day that we finally got rid of all of the duplicate, triplicate or other items that we had but no longer had use for.

It's been a long time coming, actually, and Tina's been more in favor of the sale and getting the stuff out of our garage. But I agree that having boxes and boxes of unused stuff just sitting around made no sense. So with some advertisements placed in online and in the local paper... and some free signs obtained at Office Max (in fact, check your local Office Max now to see if they still have Avery signs for free - 1 per customer per visit)... and a lot of effort to sort and tag our stuff... we were ready for our first YardSale(TM).

I guess I'm not really clear on the YardSale(TM) rules. We were pretty clear that the sale was going to run from 8am-noon. It said so in the ads. It said so on the signs. We got up at 6am. Almost immediately, we were outside, moving the cars, getting stuff moved to the lawn and out of the garage.

It wasn't more than 30 minutes later that the first car came slowly crusing by, scouting the situation. And about 4 minutes after that, we had our first buyer. She went poking around and we weren't event getting the stuff out fast enough. We simply couldn't believe it! I wonder if these are the same people that show up to a Wal-Mart hours before the store opens (those that aren't already open 24 hours/day, I suppose) when a new toy is being released. I dunno.

The next thing I don't understand is about pricing. Now, I'm no stranger to negotiation... and I'm no stranger to wanting to save a buck (see the previous post, for example). But who negotiates over a DOLLAR? Yes, that's right... a SINGLE DOLLAR. And not just a dollar, but over fifty cents. And over twenty-five cents. And over the smallest amounts of money for decent stuff!

I couldn't believe this, either. I was so stunned that in many cases, I simply accepted the buyers offer simply because in my head, I didn't see $.50 as a huge decrease in price. And it would only hit me later that I was cutting 50% off the price... and not just taking fifty cents off a thousand-dollar transaction. It was totally surreal at times. So I started just calling for Tina every time people wanted to know if we'd accept a lower price.

But, as Tina just reminded me, this wasn't about ME, it was about the buyer. They come to these sales just looking for a bargain... and they're determined to get one, too. Maybe, if this is the only place where they can find a "deal", this is how they can feel better about things. Again, I dunno'. The simple question on this is whether people are just looking to save money off the listed price or whether they actually are looking for cheap stuff. In other words, if we priced things higher, would they have settled for the price WE wanted and not on a bargain-basement price? I suggest to the next person having a YardSale(TM) that they price things closer to retail... you can always lower your price later. :)

Late in the morning, we were talking with a neighbor who very succinctly stated that some people are simply addicted to the YardSale(TM). And I suppose she might be right. Because at the very end of the sale hours, right about 11:55a, we had our last customer arrive. Driving up in a nice vehicle and looking like any other average 40-something male, this gentleman proceeded to review EVERYTHING we still had out on the lawn.

I don't mean to say that he just perused. He was ACTIVELY looking for something. Anything. Everything. And about 30 minutes later, as he was leaving with a light fixture, several pieces of women's clothing, shirts, shoes and a picture frame, did I get the courage to ask him what he was going to do with all of his purchases. Now, understand that I hadn't asked anyone else this type of invasive question. But I was really curious and it just got the best of me.

His response? He was taking these items to a consignment store for resale. Wow. I simply hadn't considered that people would buy stuff from us to resell it later somewhere else. Well... I guess everyone wants to make money and this was his way. Far be it from me to slam it. I just don't understand. Add it to the list, I guess.

Friday, July 21, 2006

While I love Apple...

... I'm really kinda' sad about a recent experience I had with getting a repair on my PowerBook.

I own a Titanium G4 PowerBook - initially released in 2000/2001 and I purchased it brand new, directly from Apple.

I've used it every day since then and have had virtually no problems with it. In fact, I like to boast that I've very rarely even had to reboot the machine (which is a credit to the stability of the operating system) except when new software so demanded. I even frequently don't even close the lid, preferring to just leave it open overnight so that e-mail is waiting for me when I get up in the morning.

But just the other day, I needed to close the lid. And as I did, using an even amount of pressure (not forcing anything or feeling any feedback that anything wasn't 100% "right"), the right-side hinge simply snapped. It looked like this:

Holy crap! I almost started crying. Tina just looked at me and started to comfort me. But then I got pissed. Why did the hinge snap? How did this happen? Why didn't I feel any feedback or resistance? The portion of the hinge that was still attached to the base was frozen in place. It's like the hinge seized up mid-close, and I simply pulled it beyond it's means.

OK. I took a deep breath. The machine still worked... the screen still worked... it was just a broken hinge. Apple, I was SURE, would cover this even though the machine was out of warranty. You could tell, just by looking at the machine, that it was in pristine condition - well maintained by someone who took VERY good care of their equipment. I knew, based on past history with AppleCare that I would need to send the laptop into their facility for support. I figured, however, that I could start at our local Apple Retail Store to see if they could at least handle many of the details.

I scheduled time at the store using the online scheduler - really slick, actually. And after only waiting for a few minutes after I got there, a Mac Genius was ready to listen to my problem. It didn't take much listening, however, for him to understand the problem. But after a conference or two outside of my earshot, he "regrets to inform me that there was nothing that Apple could do as this was out of warranty."

WHAT? I've got a GREAT machine... in almost PERFECT condition. It wasn't dropped, hit, mistreated or otherwise abused to cause the hinge to snap. For what other reason than a manufacturing or design defect could this have happened? The Mac Genius wasn't sure about that, only that he couldn't actually help me.

What he offered to do was to type my problem into their system so that when/if I called AppleCare's 800#, they would have a case number and would be able to read about the problem from someone who actually saw the machine firsthand. He was actually kind enough to include a comment that the machine WAS in perfect condition. But again, there was nothing they could do because there was no longer a valid warranty.

OK. I figured I could call the 800# and get to someone who had the power to make an exception. I called. No luck. I called again and asked for someone a bit higher. Still no luck. In fact, they told me that they had NO RECORD of these types of problems with this model PowerBook but that the repair would run me about $700!

At this point, I went online. It didn't take me long to find And in about 30 seconds, my eyes settled on the link that led me here. (Yes, that's where I got the picture used above.)

I couldn't believe it! Not only was this a KNOWN problem, Apple would also have to know about it because they, at some point, MAKE THE FRIGGIN' HINGE used by powerbookresq to fix other Powerbooks! Not to mention the fact that PBresQ fixes this problem for $269, including shipping. WAY less than what Apple would charge to fix a problem that should NEVER have happened!

Now, I need to fully disclose that I absolutely love the company and love the products. This experience, while frustrating and possibly not very cool, won't change any of that. And I'm guessing that Apple knows this, too, if by no other means than my purchase history. But I would have hoped that this would increase the probability of a little rule bending to fix a problem with a product that they made and wasn't caused by me.

About two weeks ago, I found this little blog, After Apple. As you can see from this article, Adam clearly details Apple's intimate knowledge of the problem I had: "The PowerBook Titanium was the king of the road, until you opened it the 333rd time and the hinge decided it was time to move on in life."

So now I am doubly sad... first that my PB sputtered and second that its creator knew it would and didn't care.


But I forked over the money to PBResQ. They fixed my baby up and I was back using it in no time. According to them, the glue used by Apple during the manufacturing process isn't that great. So they use an epoxy that should outlast the rest of machine. So far, so good. Thanks, PowerbookResQ!

Monday, June 12, 2006

Addiction to Logic Games

I used to hate logic games. You know... there are 4 puppets, each is a different animal and each has a different name. Each puppet also has a chief puppeteer and an assistant puppeteer. Based on the sketchy following information, you now need to be able to know which puppet is which and is controlled by which puppeteers.

Man I hated those things. Then, during preparation for my LSAT, I discovered that I needed to learn how to do them successfully if I wanted a prayer of attending law school. So I learned how to do them. But that didn't mean I was going to LIKE them!

Flash forward 12 years. I do Sudokus almost every day. I love puzzles (well, ok, I love almost all puzzles) and solving them gives me a great deal of satisfaction.

But logic puzzles still bother me. I never really liked them then and now they bring LSAT flashbacks. But tonight, Tina decided to play an online logic puzzle. Grabbing a pen and paper, I quickly decided that I wanted to join in and see if I could still do them.

And wadda' know? I can still do them.

That one was enough to last me another 12 years.

See ya' again in 2018. :)

Saturday, June 10, 2006

MTV VH1 ... Friday Night Videos

Does anyone else remember Friday Night Videos? I believe it was on NBC... but maybe it was even a UHF channel (heck, does anyone remember UHF anymore?). In any event, FNV was pre-MTV, definitely pre-VH1 ... and it was the start of music videos.

Yeah, most of them sucked. Artists didn't know what was going to work in this medium, so they tried everything. And even as MTV came online with their first video of "Video Killed the Radio Star" by the Buggles (anyone who didn't know of FNV ever think of how that song was the first one played on MTV if MTV was the first music video offering?), artists were still trying to figure out how to get their music across to listeners in a format other than pure sound.

The result was, as I said, less than great. People who had never seen their favorite bands other than on album cover art were sometimes shocked to discover the "face behind the song". Boy George, Adam Ant and other "gender benders" enjoyed the first round of being able to be themselves on national television while pressing conservative buttons everywhere. Cyndi Lauper, with her high voice and tule skirts, also started a fashion revolution ... along with, lest we forget, Madonna... who could be counted upon to raise the lust level in young men around the world.

But faster than might be expected, bands turned the videos into something more than the song. They used the video as a way to tell a story, share related images, even attack social crises like homelessness, HIV/AIDS, missing children, etc. And they also expanded the art of the video... such as with my favorite song, A-Ha's "Take on Me", which was the first video to combine live action and animation.

However, over 20 years later, there are still good videos and bad videos. And while you would think that certain things would have become "standard" in a video, it appears that they haven't. For today, on MTV, I happened across the video for "Where'd You Go" by Fort Minor featuring Holly Brook.

Now, the song is ok... but it does contain profanity. You and I both know that MTV isn't going to let that slip through, just like the radio stations won't. And I've gotta' believe that even if the artist themselves don't understand that, their manager should.

So, when they're recording the video, why wouldn't they RECORD A VIDEO WITHOUT THE FRIGGIN' PROFANITY? Because we already know that songs played on the radio sound really stupid when they blank out the audio for a swear word. So guess how stupid it looks when they blank out the audio and YOUR LIPS KEEP MOVING?

I mean, really. Are you kidding me? If you like your song so much that you want to use profanity in it, fine... but either record a clean version, or understand that your song/video can't play. Cuz it just sounds stupid. And it looks even MORE stupid on the video.

Monday, April 24, 2006


In general I love a good box. Well constructed, made of a sturdy material, designed to hold my crap. Simple. Elegant. Cardboard, plastic, metal. Big, small, other. Doesn't really matter. Add a cool lid (like the ones that have the interlocking tops to make them stackable) and it's even better.

Maybe I just love the organization factor. It's my anal-retentive nature, I suppose.

But then there are other boxes. Like Pandora's.

And as a place to store your "music preferences" is about as cool as it gets. Now, I'm not one to just link to tell you where to visit (especially since I have a readership of like, um, nothing). But this is WAY too cool!

Put in your favorite artist... hear a song by them to start... then move onto simliar things recommended by the music genome project. I could be here for days.

I probably will.

Friday, April 14, 2006

nothing like a good friend to smack you upside your head

I shared my recent news with a really good friend yesterday. I was lamenting about how this was going to affect the whole family and that it was a lot to deal with. I basically said I didn't know how to handle this and what I should do.

It took her all of about 30 seconds to say "it's not about you."

Well, no kidding... I know/knew that. But the reminder was very important to hear.

Thanks, C.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

the aftermath

So it's T-cell+1 (sorry, bad joke, but that's about all I'm capable of at the moment). I have now had a single day to digest the facts about what might happen to my family member. I feel no closer to any kind of conclusion than I did yesterday at this time. Which really sucks.

But here's what I know. I know that HIV can kill quickly if not taken care of. And while this family member, in their heart, believes that they'll live 10-15 years with the virus, the truth is that I don't think they have the responsibility level necessary to stay on the drug therapies and do the required acts necessary to prolong your life that long.

First, they are already an addict... and additional medications will wreak havoc with their social playtime. In fact, they currently don't take the required meds for their other medical maladies because it intereferes with the high. Which means that even if they were OPEN to the idea of taking the cocktails, they simply won't do it.

Second, if they were willing to take the meds, they are also the type of person to believe they are impervious to the badness that would come with an overabundance of the meds. They would think that they are somehow super-person and that they could beat the virus simply by taking ALL of the meds all at one time. So they would, in essence, survive the virus only to be eliminated by the meds.

Third, there's always the chance that they'll get the meds (which, btw, will come through Medicaid as they don't have health insurance), and then sell them on the street because they're not the exact same meds that their friends have or that they believe will work best.

Fourth, I also believe that they will simply not want to be on the meds, or will forget to take them... or will somehow otherwise not take them.

All in all, I don't think that this person is going to make the 10-15 year lifespan they believe they will. And in talking with experts on the subject, there's a pretty good chance that they'll be dead in a year. :(


Wednesday, April 12, 2006

afternoon phone calls

So I'm riding with Tina back to work after having lunch together and my phone beeps with a message that I need to call back a number I've never seen before.

But I'm a sucker... so I call. And it's a close family member calling.

I know, based on prior behavior, that the fact of the call means that it's bad news. And I'm right.

I am now related to someone with HIV.

To my afflicted family member: I'm really sorry. :( I love you more than you'll ever know and I wish there was something I could do to make this go away.

Monday, March 27, 2006

Teaching and Learning

Regardless of where you are in the world, you've had some form of education. It could be as complex as grad school, or it could be as basic as your dad smacking your hand when you reached for the hot stove. You learned early on that someone would teach you a lesson and then you would be expected to carry that knowledge forward to the next opportunity.

If you're lucky and make it through high school (sorry, non-US readers, this is going to be somewhat biased for a moment as I don't know non-US education hierarchies, but for reference, we're talking about steady school through about age 17), you have probably experienced the spoon-feeding education theory. This is where your instructor walks you through each and every logic point. They slowly and patiently explain the itty-bitty steps from no-knowledge and knowledge. For example, if you've ever taken Speech in school, you probably had to give an instructional speech where you explained something simple but in great detail... like making a Peanutbutter and Jelly sandwitch.

By the time you reach college-level courses, the instructors/professors assume that you have a certain baseline set of information already stored in your head. So rather than spoon feeding you, they try to move faster... driving your thought process, but always doing something of the "read this, then we'll talk about it, then I'll assign something for you to practice on with your new information" type process. You see this by reading assignments, followed by class lecture/discussion, followed by a graded exam.

If you're really masochistic, you decide you want to go to grad school. And if you're REALLY hell-bent on killing yourself, you choose law school (mostly because you realize that MD's have a lot more school than law and may/may not have as much earning potential. Law school is usually taught in the Socratic Method... designed to inspire terror a greater learning curve. The method is based on a question/answer format where the professor guides the "student" to discovery of the miniscule point of law a specific case is trying to illustrate.

So, as you might have guessed by now, I survived all of this so far. But thought, what the hell, I want MORE... and enrolled in a local MBA program.

My first two courses are Stats and Marketing. Stats has its own challenges (perhaps the topic of another post on another day). Marketing is my focus today. Specifically, we have to do case studies... also individually geared towards a particular marketing point (such as defining your target market, pricing, etc). However, in each and every case, we get the lesson AFTER we have to turn in the case assignment! I've considered that I was missing something. But no, the reading still was done before class... as well as the particular case. The case is turned in first thing when we arrive... and then we are taught the lesson for the day.


Thursday, March 23, 2006

March Madness

I'm sure that if you're reading the title, you've thought that I would write about how much I like one team or another... or how I am doing well/poor in my office bracket gambling event.

But no. I'm writing to say that I hate college and professional sports. Not because I hate the players, because I don't. I think many of them are incredible athletes and I'm glad that they have a way to do something that they love to do (and be paid well for it).

What I can't stand are the fans.

Especially now that I live in ACC country, I am simply amazed at the quantity of time people spend thinking about basketball, dreaming about basketball, watching basketball... and getting completely over-worked about their team(s). And yes, I'm probably talking about you, too.

What amazes me most, however, is the level of seriousness taken on by the fans. It's like their own personal lives hinge on the outcome of the game! Really! They take it as a personal affront if their team doesn't win... and as a personal "win" if the team does well. And what I really think annoying is when the fans get sad ON BEHALF OF the players.


I have to believe that they realize that the players are going to (or already do) make more money in a single year than many do in a lifetime. I have to also believe that the players don't really care about the fans... (you wouldn't have things like a hockey strike if fans were the reason for playing). And to top it off, fans PAY MONEY to see the various teams play.

Don't fans realize that they're taken advantage of? Don't they realize that their hard-earned money is going to pay for it, too? And that when they get emotional, they're paying for that, too?


Tuesday, March 21, 2006


Jim Crow laws were wrong. They are wrong today and they were wrong 50 years ago. Arrests made under those laws were just as wrong. Rosa Parks (and the many men and women who came before and after her) are heros because they stood up and announced to the world that those laws were wrong.

Today, some folks are still looking to apologize in some way (as we should - and oh, btw, as long as we're talking about this... let's just say it all... we have to start with a very obviously missing "We're SORRY!"). And the latest attempt is pardoning those people who were wrongly arrested, starting with Parks. For those folks who are still alive and for whom the pardon would erase their "criminal" history, that's great and they should receive one. In many cases, however, the pardon comes 50+ years TOO DAMN LATE!

For example, Lillie Mae Bradford (now 75) has suffered the effects of an arrest record since 1951. Yes, she wants a pardon and should be granted one. But that's still not going to undo the injustice suffered for the last 55 years. It's not going to make her career better now (she had trouble landing government jobs because of the record). All we (and I'm speaking for the average white citizen here) are doing is trying to appease our conscience.

And if that's what "we" want to do... start with a sincere apology. Then fix the friggin' problem (which STILL exists in many parts of this country).

For an "advanced" society, we're still pretty messed up.

Monday, March 20, 2006


I don't want to make a habit of complaining... it just doesn't ever seem to solve the underlying problem.

But why in the world do people think that being pissy is going to somehow be manageable, especially in the workplace?

I had a thought today at work... researched it, had a possible methodology... and then took it to the person who was responsible for maintaining the existing process (keeping in mind that this person doesn't actually own the relationship... they're merely a middleman).

This person then proceeded to rain on the parade. It won't work because... We've already looked at things similar to that... If we ever did anything different than what we are currently doing, it wouldn't be that...

I just don't get it. Why wouldn't you just listen?

Friday, March 17, 2006

time to change

"Today, we celebrate the first glorious anniversary of the Information Purification Directives. We have created, for the first time in all history, a garden of pure ideology. Where each worker may bloom, secure from the pests purveying contradictory thoughts. Our Unification of Thought is more powerful a weapon than any fleet or army on earth. We are one people. With one will, one resolve, one cause. Our enemies shall talk themselves to death and we will bury them with their own confusion. We shall prevail!"

So I've moved my domain to just be a blog. About time, I know. And to mark the occasion, I'm going to try to attach a photo for the first time, too.

Thursday, March 16, 2006


Well... we did it! We finally bought a house. And in the last few weeks, I have actually cataloged ALL of my books.

This might seem trivial to most people, but I needed library-quality software to accomplish the task... and Delicious Monster did the trick. Granted, I'm still waiting to get the barcode scanner (which would've made the initial upload faster), but overall it's a really cool tool.

Boxing 20 boxes of books and hauling these heavy suckers up into the attic, however, was no easy task. My back hurts, I have trouble breathing from the stuff in the attic, and Tina's afraid that the stuff is going to tumble down on top of us. But it's all up there. And anytime I need to go get one, the boxes (thanks to my extreme anal retentiveness) are numbered so I can go right to the box that contains the book I'm seeking.

Then we had the toilet in our bathroom decide to not really flush. And the toilet downstairs run constantly. Oh, and the heating system had a bad blower wheel which wasn't covered under the home warranty purchased at the time of sale because it was improperly maintained. But hey... the joys of homeownership.

Next up? Fixing the automated sprinkler system that the prior owners said didn't work (but we're pretty sure they are idiots)... reseeding the lawn (cuz' they didn't do any yardwork either)... and cleaning the carpets (because they let their two full-sized goldens run rampant through the house).

God I love my house.