Independent Room

I am not sure how far around the internet this has made, but let me recommend Party Ben's "Independent Room" mashup. You can find it down on the linked page. It is a mashup between Destiny's Child's "Independent Women" and Fugazi's "Waiting Room." The combination works surprisingly well. If you didn't know the two original songs, you would probably just think this is the way the song was written in the first place.


Tricks of the Trade

I have been reading this website Tricks of the Trade a lot recently. The premise is that people send in secrets of their job, little tips that you can gain only through experience. A lot of the tips are questionable, a few have even featured some pretty bad physics, but I find a lot of them plausible, even insightful. Take this trick for example:

"Wear a kilt when playing bagpipes on the street. You will make twice as much money than if you wear regular clothes."
There is no way I am giving any change to a plain clothes bagpipe player. I am paying for the whole Scottish experience damn it, and that is what I expect.

What is this World Coming To?

I want to know what it says about our city when a wealthy suburban white kid is shipped off to jail for graffiti and doesn't seem to be completely traumatized by it? I mean, aren't we known for crime? Borf is drawing pictures for inmates in exchange for cookies. I think I did the same thing when I was five for my neighbors. As a DC Taxpayer, I refuse to support any jail where the guards think that Borf is "a bad motherfucker."”


Let's Go Grays!

I love baseball. It is far and away my favorite sport. I could barely contain my excitement when Washington finally got a team again. Well it has been a little over a year and I believe my excitement could fit in the compartment above me or underneath the seat in front of me. While I still look forward to the season and going to games again, the whole stadium debacle has taken a lot of the fun out of having a team. As for the stadium deal, I have avoided comment because I don't know where I stand. I think we can all agree that both sides are filled with jerks.

So today I read that the Nationals apparently do not own the rights to the name Nationals. And while this is no surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the team's management, I think it gives the team an exciting opportunity.

The name Nationals was never that great to begin with. It is time to give the team its rightful name of the Grays. The Homestead Grays were a Negro League team that one 9 Negro League Championships from 1938 to 1948. They were dominating, and one of the best baseball teams of all time. It would be a great tribute to the Negro League and the residents of Washington.

This idea was floated around during the first naming process, but I think it should be seriously considered again. Besides, Gray is a great name. Seriously, who doesn't love the Grays?

In many ways, I partially expect the name of the team to change once the new ownership is determined anyway. There was a lot of money made on Nationals merchandise that didn't go to whoever will own the team. It is similar phenomenon to remastering cds; you can make people buy the same things over and over again.

I realize that I am getting more than a little ahead of myself. The league will probably settle, and the Nats will still be the Nats. I just really want to hear a crowd shout "Let's Go Grays, Let's Go Grays."


We use a document management system at my office. It indexes all of our files, and stores them in on the network such that everyone has access to them. Having worked in offices where people just save documents wherever they feel like, and name them according to whatever indecipherable code they can come up with at the time, I think this program is great. One no longer has to hunt through an endless maze of folders and symbols that would humble Indiana Jones in order to find that letter the person in the office next to you was working on yesterday.

Well, my office is currently upgrading this software and I had to take a 45 minute class on the new interface. This new interface is almost exactly like the old interface. The bulk of the class was spent going over new features in the new version. Most of these new features allow one to do something that took 10 seconds in 1 second. Think about the efficiency. Processes now can take a tenth of the time!

That seems pretty great, but let us take a look at the math. I figure that after the class I will save about 9 seconds on average on various tasks related to this program. I should point out that the old, slow 10 second method still exists in the new version. The class took 45 minutes, or 2700 seconds. In order for this class to have been a good use of mine, and my office's, time, I have to perform this new function 3,000 times. Let's say I use these features about 3 times a day on average. Thus, I will have to be here for 1,000 work days, or 200 weeks in order to justify the class. That is about 4 years, assuming no further upgrades and training, before my company starts reaping the benefits of this class!

I realized that there is no way that my company can derive a benefit from this class. This is partly due to the fact that further upgrades and classes are inevitable. But there is another reason that I think this graph clearly illustrates.

So it is clear that the 9 seconds I have gained will quickly evaporate. Hell, I can even see reaching the point where just turning on the computer becomes a small victory.


Open Letter

Dear Customers of the Potbelly's Located at 17th and L, NW,

Are you all completely insane? The line is at the door. Do you think that the sandwiches are really that good? Seriously? Because there are many fine establishments in the neighborhood, I am sure you walked by a few to get to the Potbelly's. I know you aren't surprised about the line because it is like this every damn day. The only thing that keeps the line out the door is the cold. I have witnessed the insanity that occurs when the weather is nice.

Look, I like their sandwiches also, particularly the use of carrot in the hot peppers, but its just not worth it. I understand that you probably save a dollar or two, but at what cost to your dignity. By standing in that line you are effectively saying 15-20 minutes of your time is only worth about $1.50. That only adds up to between $6.00 to $4.50 an hour. Do you really not think that you are worth more than that, because I do. Hell, you aren't even making minimum wage standing in that line. Maybe you should unionize, you clearly have the time to organize.

So please stop, for your own sake.



Is Your Figure Less Than Greek?

In honor of Valentines day, I am going to engage in self promotion. Here is a link to a recording I did of "My Funny Valentine" by Rodgers and Hart. The song has a lovely melody by Richard Rodgers and fairly mean lyrics by Lorenz Hart. You can read what I originally wrote about the song here.


Attention Readers

Wolf Parade is playing the Black Cat on April 12. While I appreciate that there are others out there in blogland that are not fans, I think they are one of the best bands of the last year or so. You can read my ramblings on them here. I suspect that this concert is going to sell out, so go over to ticketmaster and get your tickets now.


Friday Afternoon Pop Quiz

What does "their" refer to in the following quote?

"To even be placed among their ranks is an honor in itself."
  1. Artists who have won the Record of the Year Grammy?
  2. Nobel Prize Winners?
  3. Best Actress Oscar Nominees?
  4. People Eligible for Sainthood?
  5. Attractive Girls at FSU?
It is a tough call, I know, but you must make your selection.

And the answer is...5! Way to go Jenn Sterger*, congratulations.

*Probably not safe for work, but it is close.

To Pimp or Trick

I love the television show "Pimp My Ride." Seriously. I think Xzibit comes of as genuinely likeable and funny. But really, I love the absurdity of it. The people on the show are clearly very talented at what they do, and what they do is so completely useless that the juxtaposition is hilarious. There is absolutely no reason why they are able to ply their trade, yet they are clearly in such demand that they have been able to perfect it. I really hope this is the type of innovation, wealth, and freedom that Libertarians claim will be created when they champion free markets. They put televisions in cars where only people in other cars can see them, just to make other drivers jealous. If that isn't art, then I don't know what is.

So last night, I was delighted to see that CMT has produced their own show "Trick My Truck." In this show, a team remodels a truck along the lines of 'Pimp My Ride." And we are not talking about F150s, I mean big rigs. In the episode that I saw, the trucker's dream was to be able to take his wife along with him. Apparently September 11th has hurt the trucking industry leaving this man unable to retire when he planned to. The crew heard this story, and decided to "help a brother out." Interesting side note, based on the one episode I have seen, the "Trick My Truck" crew, which is filled with white rednecks, uses considerably more urban slang than the "Pimp My Ride" crew.

So the "Trick My Truck" crew gets their hands on the rig, but a television, a queen size bed, and a fireplace in the sleeper compartment, and everyone is happy. While I welcome another car modding show, I do have some problems with "Trick My Truck." First, the crew doesn't seem to be as talented as the people on "Pimp My Ride," and they didn't put as much stuff into a considerably larger container. It just made me wish I could see what Mad Mike could do with the interiors of a big rig.

My biggest problem with "Trick My Truck" is that one can vaguely justify the additions that the show has made. Sure you don't "need" a barbecue attached to your truck, or a flat screen television, but they guy essentially lives out of this thing, so it kinda makes sense. Sure the fireplace was completely unnecessary, but it can't compare to a standard truck bed filled with 3 flat screen TVs that can only be watched once the bed has been tilted forward by two custom air lifts.

I have only seen one episode of "Trick My Truck" so maybe they can reach the level of absurdity that I am searching for, but until then I am a pimp 'till I die.



I feel that I have done a good job not imitating Waiterrant so far. Unfortunately, that streak is going to end, if only for one post. The creativity will come in making this as google-proof as possible. Let me warn you, this is long and probably only serves my mental health, so read at your own risk.

So the restaurant I work at has a cheap hamburger day every week. Once a month, a large group comes in. They usually call and reserve about 12 seats or so. In addition to having a large group on what is usually one of our busiest nights, they also manage to combine all of the traits of bad customers into an unholy melange concocted for the sole purpose of driving me completely insane. They don't all show up at the same time. They all want separate checks and numerous substitutions. They don't listen to the specials, forcing me to repeat them over and over again. My favorite is that other people at the table will not stop talking while other people are ordering. Also, they only come one our cheap day, and only order items that are reduced in price.

The worst characteristic is that this group exhibits no consideration for the fact that their are other people in the restaurant, and that many of these people are expecting me to bring them food. I have waited on these people numerous times, and had gotten use to their behavior, until their most recent visit.

They called and requested a table for 12 at 7:30. They started straggling in at 7:20 or so. I would take one person's order, bring out their drink, and find two or three waiting for me upon my return. Eventually they all show up, get their drink orders, and I take their food orders. At this point things are going fine, I have their orders in and I can go check on some of my other tables.

Then in about 5-10 minute after I have gotten all of their food orders in, 3 more people in their group show up. I should explain that my restaurant has a large projection screen against one of the walls. The table that the group is sitting at is directly to the right of this screen. Well there is no space at the table for these 3 people to sit, so they decide to plant themselves beneath the screen and wait for me to show up.

I walk up to them and inform them that they cannot sit with the top of their heads obscuring part of our screen. They don't actually have a table in front of them, that table had been moved to clear space for the screen, and to clearly imply that people shouldn't sit in front of it. They ask if they can pull a table up next to the larger table, and I tell them that they would be blocking the screen. They then ask if they can just pull up some chairs next to the table, and I inform them that they would still, in fact, be blocking the screen. They then ask if they can take a table on the other side if the large rectangle that their group is occupying. I inform them that there is not enough space. At this point they just continue to sit in front of the screen. I offer them another table right behind their group's table, granted it will not by physically connected to their group's table, but it is only about 3 feet from the main table. They remain steadfast, this solution is clearly unacceptable. We just look at each other in silence for about 5-10 seconds, and I tell them that I am going to get my manager.

I walk away and take a quick look at my tables. Fortunately, the are politely sipping their drinks and don't need refills, and their food isn't up. I go find my manager and inform her of the situation. She sees that these individuals will not accept my seating authority, and goes over to talk to them. Before she leaves, she tells me not to serve any people who are not at a table. So she goes over and talks to them, and I attend to my other tables. About five minutes later I look over, and the people are still sitting in front of the screen! They are sitting there determined to be served. I have no idea what they think is going to happen. Do they believe that I will come to admire their determination and reward them with a $4.00 hamburger? Or maybe I will realize that I am the one who is being unreasonable? Nevertheless, a cold war as started.

The food for the original group is ready, so I bring it out. While I am bringing out the food, the screen blockers stand up and announce that they are being thrown out and start to dramatically say their goodbyes. Most of the people in the group are unaware of what has been going on, it is nice that they are as insensitive to each other as they are to other people. Some members of the group ask why they are leaving, and the screen blockers explain. Some of the original members tell the people leaving to just sit at the table that I originally offered. Some people even offer to go over and sit with them. This seems to appease the screen blockers, and they sit down.

My manager goes over and takes their order. She wanted to wait on them because, according to her, she doesn't have to put up with them. When she told them that they had to move, or they wouldn't be served, they said that they were leaving. My manager responded by saying goodbye and wishing them a good night. I think they found this surprising.

After this is all finally sorted out, I have been forced to neglect some of my tables and lost two or three tables that the other waiter had to pick up. The result is that he is slammed and I am ready to kill somebody. The sheer insensitivity to the fact that there are other people in the restaurant who are watching the screen astounded me. These people have been selfish in the past, but this really took my breath away. Their actions had an effect on the whole restaurant. I understand that they don't realize that everyone else gets worse service because of them, but I just don't know if they would care.

As a side note, the thing that links this group is that fact that they own fucking boats! They own boats and only go out to eat together when my restaurant is having its cheap burger day. Seriously, we are talking about $10.00 checks after a hamburger, tax and two beers. I am sorry, but people who own boats don't care about what is on special. A few people in the group saw items that looked good, but they didn't get them because they were not on special. So either they are cheap or they can't afford anything else. I suspect the former based on my tips, but if the latter is the case then maybe, and hear me out here, you shouldn't have bought a boat.

So after they have all eaten, gotten their 11 different checks, and had each person pay with a credit card, they just remain in the restaurant. They aren't eating anything, don't want anything, they just think of my restaurant as a shared living room to talk about jibs, or tacking, or knots, or whatever. Although I doubt they would leave as much garbage on the floor in their own living room. They probably stay for about an hour or so after paying, just hanging out.

After they finally leave, my manager tells me that I no longer have to wait on them. She is going to wait on them from now on because she doesn't want to subject her staff to them anymore. That is why I love my manager.

I Saw The Best Minds of My Generation Destroyed...

What type of science do we think goes into a "99.99% jam-free guarantee?" I am particularly curious because, according to my experience, the claim is demonstrably false.


Because No One Likes Work

In an continuing effort to distract you from work let me direct you here. I don't really want to give too much away, but I will tell you that it is a video that is safe for work from a pornography standpoint but not a productivity one. Also, Jon you must check it out. Also, you really should have sound to fully appreciate the video. I must say, you have to admire the commitment to a concept.


The Seahawks For America!

I have held off picking which team I want to win the Superbowl, mainly because I don't particularly care about either team. But I read some news today that leaves me with little choice.

The story of the Superbowl, so far, is that Jerome Bettis is playing in his hometown, in what might be the last game of his career. Everyone loves Jerome Bettis and would love to see him win a championship at home to finish a fantastic career. I get warm and fuzzy just thinking about it.

Detroit, the home of Superbowl XL, is also clearly pulling for Jerome. Forget any notions of the Superbowl being played in a neutral site. Detroit has declared this week to be Jerome Bettis Week. I am sure that the Seahawks love that. The mayor is even going to give Jerome Bettis the key to the city.

It should be noted that Detroit doesn't give out the key to the city all that often. The last time that Detroit gave out the key to the city was in 1980. So clearly this is a big deal. And in 1980 Detroit gave the key to...SADDAM HUSSEIN!. Seriously.

"Earlier this week, Bettis was awarded the key to the city. It should also be mentioned the last person to receive that honor was -- get this -- Saddam Hussein, who got it in 1980." -Bob Kravitz
This really blows the mind. First, if I lived in Detroit I would be terrified. I mean those keys could be anywhere right now. The citizens should be clamoring for President Bush to find those keys. A locked door is no longer enough to keep the terrorists out of Detroit, they could have the key TO THE WHOLE CITY right now.

The other important fact that we learn is that Jerome Bettis = Saddam Hussein. It is as clear as day. I hope the Seahawks appreciate this and are appropriately prepared. Who knows what evil plans and weapons Jerome Bettis might have? In addition, what guarantee do we have the Jerome Bettis will recognize the authority of the Referees?

The only clear thing for all true Americans to do is support the Seahawks. It could be a long, ugly fight, but they have to win. Things may look tough now, but the Seahawks must prevail. On one hand you have a hard working town led by Jerome Bettis, and on the other you have the city of Microsoft and Starbucks. Which do you think is more American? I think that the answer is clear, this key to the city debacle only confirms what I already knew.

Some may say that Jerome Bettis is distracting us from the real evil in the NFL. And I will admit that there is another threat on the horizon that will have to be dealt with eventually. But it doesn't matter how we got to the Superbowl, we are there now and by God we must win. Besides you fight the Superbowl with the team you have, not the team you want.