I thought, at first, this was whale blood coating an igloo, or some comment on a “self destruct button” under the diminished ozone layer. Nope, it’s just kool-aid. Here’s the story at Neatorama.
Monthly Archives: March 2009
I love this site. Basically, it has visitors telling the whacked out, strange beliefs they had when they were little kids. Very funny.
I recently posted an entry, “Why I No Longer Use Twitter”, and briefly talked about it. And then I saw last Sunday’s FoxTrot comic which included Twitter, which struck me as very funny. So, I figured I’d try it out again, and like before, I post my Twitters on this blog.
Later, when I was looking over my old Twitter postings (the latest one being from something like 628 days before), one said, “Went for a 3 mile run”. It made me want to run again. So I am, everyday, for the last 4 days. It’s weird how things work out, so to speak.
Early this afternoon as I waited in the Taco Bell drive through for my food (that I had chosen at length, trying in vain to find something that wouldn’t contribute to the hardening of my 33-year-old arteries or somehow negate my jog earlier in the day), it occurred to me that Taco Bell workers are probably extremely underpaid. See, I drove up to the window to pay for and receive my food, and I noticed the teller / cashier didn’t return my “Hello.” It was not out of rudeness, but rather because he was helping the next person in line behind me, by taking their order while cashing out mine.
I’m familiar with this type of multi-tasking, since I had done this before years before. At Gateway 2000 Technical Support, for a time, they instituted a level of multi-tasking never before seen in Technical Support call centers on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. See, a person would call in for, say, a problem with his or her modem dialing out (this was the late 1990’s, mind you), so after a few shunting decisions by Gateway’s phone system, you would get directed into a queue of 2-3 others with similar computers and similar modem problems. The tech support representative would, in turn, introduce him/herself, and have you start loading something, reseating the modem, or trying to get online.
We had gotten the idea for this “multi-tap queue” from Gateway 2000 Ireland/Europe, where it had gone over like gangbusters. And it worked out rather well in the United States also.
My favorite queue, by the way, was the erasing of hard drive and reloading of operating systems. This was a special queue, in which you really didn’t do any diagnosis. That was left up to another queue of tech support reps. No, all you did is drop the bombs, wipe out everything, and reload it. With reloads, there’s a lot of waiting. Waiting while Windows loads the next step of the operating system installation, waiting while the computer reboots…and so, there’s a lot of opportunity to help several people at once. It was great, and I really enjoyed working in the multi-tap queues. The call volume went down, and the people’s overall call time was reduced as a result. The only problem was…multi-tap queues were almost universally disliked by our customers, and they only lasted a few months, if memory serves.
Most people who call into a call center, when they talk to a human being, want to be treated like a human being, instead of a cog in a machine. This didn’t tend to happen in the multi-tap as much, since the tech support rep needed to move onto the next person in the queue pretty quick. In the process, there was usually a quick “Thanks for choosing Gateway 2000, have a great day!”, and [CLICK].
One reason why it worked well in greater Europe is that Europeans (at least in the 1990’s) weren’t used to very friendly customer service. They felt lucky to get decent service at all, let alone a friendly attitude to go along with that. The United States was, and is, a bit spoiled by the good customer service skills of many fields of retail, food, and call center facilities.
With that, and my hope that the drive-thru workers at the local Taco Bell are being paid what they deserve, there’s one thing that I rarely attempt to order at fast food drive-thru windows, because it is almost always screwed up. That’s the unsweetened iced tea with no ice.
There’s a triad of items in that one simple beverage. First, there’s the iced tea. I love iced tea, because as I entered my 30’s my body seemed to largely reject caffeine and now upon ingestion I get a muscle spasm somewhere in my face, usually INSIDE my eye. YECH, I cringe just thinking about this. The cure for that is to get something with no caffeine, either an iced tea or a citrus beverage like 7-Up or Sierra Mist. (Sadly, no Slice. I miss you old Pepsi-branded pal.)
Since I’m currently about 50 pounds heavier than I was when I was allowed entry into the Air Force only 8 years ago, I tend to steer away from sugared beverages. Until the fast food joints are smart enough to start offering diet sodas with no cafeine, I’m S.O.L. That steers me back to Iced Tea.
Most places, for some reason, started offering Sweetened Iced Tea. They are sweetened with sugar, something I try to avoid at nearly all costs these days. To differentiate between the two types of Iced Tea, you have to say “Unsweetened”, a long and clumsy word even when you aren’t going through such a suspect aparatus as the drive-thru microphone.
One other pecadillo of mine is ice. I’ve never really liked ice, unless it’s on a very hot day, like 110 in the shade. Otherwise, like greater Europe, I’d actually prefer a hot drink than an iced drink. And it’s not the temperature factor. No, it’s the fact that ice waters down the drink, which is somewhat likely to be watered down a little to begin with since the underpaid Taco Bell workers don’t necessarily tune the soft drink tanks to provide a good mix of soda water and soda syrup. Around here, with Taco Bells and Arby’s and McDonalds and others in that ilk, it’s probably a one-in-three chance the soda isn’t tuned right. When you add the icy watered down taste to that equation, it makes the soft drink much less delectable.
However, when I try to order “unsweetened iced tea with no ice”, the translation is usually lost. I invariably get either a regular iced tea with no ice, or an unsweetened iced tea with ice. Since my chances of getting exactly what I ordered are normally one-in-three, I usually opt for the second-best choice and simply get the unsweetened iced tea with ice and call it a day.
Today I did this, drove home, and proceeded to scoop out the ice with a spoon, being careful to get as little iced tea in the progressive scooping as possible. The result was less than stellar: slightly more than 1/2 a cup of actual liquid. Upon mixing it with an Arnold Palmer Lite Iced Tea, it still went down alright. My disappointment at the overall system remains.
As I drove home earlier, I was listening to Jack-FM as they played their infinite playlist put on shuffle-mode, and I caught Wild Wild West by The Escape Club, 1989. In this song, there’s a lot of excitement about the coming decade, the 1990s. I mean, they were PUMPED in that song, a song that almost grins as it comes out of the radio with it’s catchy beat, overproduced drums and guitars, and a sly-cool voiced lead singer. I have a fond love for this song, and I wish I could locate my tape-cassette single for it…although I don’t think I own anything that can play it anymore. It’s the perfect “almost the next decade” song, better by far than Millenium by Robby Williams ten years later.
That brings me to an interesting thought though…why aren’t we excited about 2010? (And quick question: In your head, did you read that “Twenty-Ten”, or “Two-Thousand-Ten”? I read it the latter way. Curse you Arthur C. Clarke.)
Anyhow, why aren’t we excited? We’re passing out of a really weird decade. we survived the entry into the decade by beating the Y2K bug, the biggest widespread threat to computers, something that had eeked into every conceivable industry. We had the closest presidential election since the 1800’s, over a hundred years before, in a time when that is NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. Technology should have prevented that from happening, instead of hindering the search for the truth by somehting called a Hanging Chad. We had the worst terrorist attack on the United States in over Fifty Years…and all three of these HUGE events were within the first two years of the decade! After that there was the Iraqi War, something that was supposed to end with the capture of Saddam and the quick wrap up after that was over…in what, 2003 or 2004? The next few years after that seem like a blur like what the late 1960’s to early 1970’s must have seemed like to those who lived through it. Kennedy and Vietnam…and then Nixon and Watergate. And not much in-between.
The last time this non-event thing may have happened was 1979 to 1980. I was only 4 years old when that year-flip occurred and I kind of doubt I stayed up to watch the ball drop. I have to wonder if people really cared much about the new decade, or just thought as we seem to today, that it’s just more of the same.
Do we really think that, the meloncholy feeling of “ho-hum, economy sucks, government sucks, blah blah blah”, or am I just putting words into the mouths of the collective conscious? I don’t really know. From the people I spend any time with outside of the home, I think it’s more true than not.
However, I’m excited for the next decade. America’s comfort zone is much less existent than it was 2 years ago. I mean, yes, we have a new President and a new direction in the U.S. government…but even the faithful are wondering if Obama and the Penn-Ave band are going to be able to do much with this cesspool created by these mega-corps and people going after homes much more expensive as what they could afford.
But look at what’s happening: more hybrid cars are being sold. This means that there’s a lowered dependence on oil. Which means less of our money going overseas…and going to Toyota, the biggest maker of Hybrids…which are primarily built in The USA, supplying the paychecks to thousands of auto-workers. Where it all sifts out, who knows. I consider it a PUSH, in poker terms.
(Sure, the long-term effects aren’t really known yet, since that unsold oil has to get sold to someone. Will it go to the poor banana farmers trying to make a living, but unable to afford gas for his trucks? Or will it go to transitional governments that decide they don’t like the next tribe over, and decide to wipe them from the Earth? Plus the Hybrid batteries are a bit toxic, so disposal of them could be a bit tricky…but that’s for the 2020’s and 2030’s, I suppose.)
Also, people are going out to eat less. This may help to turn the tide of obese Americans down significatnly for the first time in many years. It didn’t work on me today, as you can see. On the other hand, I go out to eat maybe 1/4 as often as I did this time last year.
People are spending more wisely. They aren’t buying that $90 shirt when they can find one for $20 that works just the same. They aren’t buying the $60,000 Volvo when they can make due with a $20,000 used Honda.
Things are getting better. And it’s happening really fast, which is a really cool thing to see. I can’t wait for the 2010’s myself. Personally, I can’t think of a time when I felt better about myself and my life. My body is in the worst shape it’s ever been, but it, like the economy, is slowly getting better every day. I just have to get real, and exercise my body, my mind, and my wallet everyday, from now on.
In closing, fast food is bad but the workers are generally good except when trying to fulfill needlessly picky and complex orders, the 2010’s are going to kick ass, and The Escape Club still rocks. Have a great week everyone!
For those of you who don’t get the reference, the movie Gattaca (1997) had a bar-scene where Irene Cassini (played by Uma Thurman) snagged a hair from Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke), and ran a DNA scan on the sample at a kiosk at the same bar. It’s coming, mark my words.
I would have posted this video and details here, but I’d like to send more traffic to this other blog. You can blame me for the extra click.
I love Sweden, and all of it’s weird, wonderful music and movies. Maybe I’m partial on account of my 1/4 Swede status, but who cares. I love the big yellow cross on blue background.
For a class assignment (I’m assuming in a computer animation class or school) a student made this short film filled with infographics about Little Red Riding Hood, including the Volksvagen Bus shown above. This is a fun little video, definitely worth a look.
I had Twitter on here for a couple months. But I never updated it. I figured I would only include the interesting stuff…except that I really don’t do that much interesting stuff from day to day. And by the time I thought to update people on something interesting I had done, days had passed and it was no longer relevant. It’d be like “Went to Watchmen, really enjoyed it.”, when that happened like 10 days ago.
Anyhow, here’s a funny video along those same lines.
These were the commercial bumpers from the late 1980’s. Such nostalgia, for 44 seconds.
What I can’t figure is this…if someone sensed they might be losing their home, how could they not rescue their stuff? And stick it in a storage unit? Were they so blind-sided? I sense that I’m being very naive here, so forgive me for being insensitive. When I was younger, my family was ‘given the boot’ from a home because the owner of this house we were renting decided (on short notice) to sell the house. This led to our family moving in with my grandmother for a few years. I’ve also been in a position where a good share of my worldly possessions were auctioned off, through less than noble means, and it’s something I feel raw about to this day. I hope I don’t sound insensitive, because this is a sensitive matter, to me.
It’s obvious, by watching this video, that these folks get regular business. I wish they would consider donating the furniture to Goodwill or Salvation Army, etc. The stockpile of decent furniture would probably fill up the respective warehouses of those organizations.