Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Didn't You Get My Email?

No. I didn't get your email. And even if I did, don't say, "didn't you get my email?" like sending an email is some sort of act of God. Sending an email is a nudge at best. That being said, I make it a common practice to respond to all emails I get. My job relies on me being responsive to emails, so I'm pretty vigilant. But please don't treat email like it is an end and not a means. If something is so damn important to you, call me. Find me. Talk to me. Otherwise, consider it a privilege that we can communicate via email.

Email is a useful tool, but don't use it as a crutch. Just because you forward information along doesn't mean you are doing your job.

That's it. I'm done.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Mr. Sandman Bring Me A Dream

I was just listening to "Mr Sandman" by the Chordettes and I remember hearing it in a movie, but not Back to the Future like you're probably thinking. I couldn't figure it out, and I was prepared to let it bother me all night. But then I just looked it up on and saw that it was used in Uncle Buck.

Then I got to thinking--is the Internet ruining my brain? Isn't it good for me to think hard and try to remember shit, or is it better that my brain power can be used for something more "productive?" I can't figure it out. I'm not sure whether I'm screwing myself or if I'm just restructuring my brain power.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Defining Space

I was talking to a thin friend of mine about where I prefer to sit on an airplane. "The window seat," I said. "I don't like it when the drink cart bumps my elbow." The thin friend replies, "You know, I had never even thought of that, but I hate when that happens, too." Getting bumped by the drink cart hadn't even crossed the mind of the thin person, but to me, a heavy-set man, this was the very first thing I considered. This led me to the conclusion that fat people have a more keen ability to define space. Why? Because we need more of it. Because it's an issue in our daily life. We wake up and are hyper-aware of how clothes will fit, whether a chair will support our girth, or if we're going to bump into things while battling the banalities of daily life. Fat people live in constant fear that life simply won't fit. And rightfully so.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Culture of Waste

There's a scene in Scent of a Woman where Frank (Pacino) is having a suit tailored and he offers to have a suit fitted for his companion for the weekend, Charles (O'Donnell). Charles tries to reject the offer, but Frank insists. He tells Charles that after the weekend was over, he could simply give the clothes away if he didn't want them.

This idea of giving the clothes away suggests that clothes can endure--that even after being worn, they retain some value. Clothing is meant to be worn many times, and, if made properly, can last multiple generations. I think this idea is lost somewhat in today's current cultural climate. We're constantly craving something new, and we quickly discard that which is old--last season's clothes, the last generation iPod, etc. We're very quick to look down upon things that aren't the latest and even more so on things that are "used." I call it the Culture of Waste--a societal aversion to reuse. We waste water, energy, food, time, and talent. We consume at a rate that we can't sustain. We're trained to constantly buy new shit even when we don't need it. The result: a marketplace that sells products that aren't made to last, but only to satisfy our undying hunger to consume. We sell shitty cars, computers that break too easily, and food that really isn't food at all. We've become perfect consumers where all we do, literally, is consume. We forget about everything else, important things like civic responsibility, community, and even our own health. (I keep saying "we" because I'm a guilty party).

So, let's start demanding better products, and by products I mean everything from vegetables to retail goods to infrastructure. Better clothes, better toys, better food, and better cities. Let's stop wasting so much of our resources, and not because we're giving in to some tree-hugging liberalism, but because we're humans living in a civilized society and we deserve better.

Psuedo-related: For further multimedia fun with the idea of "better," check out this speech.

Deconstructed Places

An office is a shared workspace. When I hear the word "office", however, I think of cubicles, post-it notes, those Herman Miller chairs, legal pads, etc. Social media and wireless tech have me deconstructing what it means to "go to work." The idea of owning a house and a car and commuting two hours a day seems laughable. I'm caught in this cycle where I seem to be serving the process itself. I'm working so that I can afford to work. Nothing I do in my office can't be done remotely. I'm finally realizing what it means to live in a wireless world. No wires, no office necessary.

And do I need to buy a home? Do I need to spend the rest of my life trying to pay for a house? Why can't I rent and be able to move around? Not being tied to an "office" liberates me from that. Home ownership has been established as the end-all-be-all of American citizenship, but technology seems to be redefining the idea of "home." Maybe "home" is not a house, per se, but the United States. The way I conceptualize my home and my office has changed.

*Photo is the first result I got when Googling "deconstructed places."

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Line at Baja Fresh

I eat lunch at Baja Fresh too often. It's terrible for you. But that's a separate issue. What fascinates me are the people you find in line during any given lunch hour. You'll most certainly get the guy ordering for the entire office, which is annoying. That person has been deconstructed by every stand up comic alive, so I'll assume you've heard a rant on that somewhere. The more interesting person is the guy or girl that sees Baja Fresh as a Mexican restaurant and tries to order their food using Spanish inflections such as "burrrrit-tos" and "enchy-lathas." God forbid they order a quesadilla. That person is better than the parent that can't control their kids. He or she is trying to order bean and cheese burritos while the kids are slinging jalapenos at each other. And just yesterday I saw a bone-thin girl order a tostada with no beans, rice, or meat (I live in California). I really love the person that is on the phone explaining the menu to people while they're at the counter. If you're back a few people, this is fine, but not while you're at the front. And, for the love of God, can you please at least pretend you know what kind of food Baja Fresh serves? "Oh, hey, the Baja Burrito sounds good, what's in that?" "Do you have anything besides beef or chicken?" "Does everything come with rice?" "Do you have something that's not wrapped in tortilla?" What the hell? It's a burrito and taco store. If you want a garden salad then go to Panera or something. Go eat a $5 foot long, asshole. Complaining that everything is so unhealthy at the register is useless. Get off your high horse and eat a fucking burrito for once in your life.

I feel for the employees. California is the land of finicky eaters, people allergic to absolutely everything. I can't imagine the requests they get. That is why I have a gameplan going in. I know what I want before I get to the counter. I order quickly and without hesitation. I owe it to them. And I don't want them to spit in my Mahi fish taco.