Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sometimes you feel like a nut and sometimes you don't

I'm feeling kind of low-energy at the moment. I think it's a combination of factors. I've got something at 3:30 that's probably going to go till about 7. So that kind of caps the day a lot earlier than normal. I'm leaving town tomorrow afternoon, so a lot of my attention is focused on that (as well as the fact that I can't start anything really big). Also we're at a decisive point in our fundraising, and there's a lot of things on my list that would be easier if I knew what that decision was. Plus I exercised and then skipped breakfast... (looking back I'm not sure why).

It's not like I haven't accomplished anything. In fact I did some very important things, mostly because they were urgent. But sometimes the mojo to tackle the important, non-urgent stuff just isn't there... Well tomorrow is another day.

Sometimes you're the windshield sometimes you're the fly

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Productivity pr0n

Like many people I have a mild productivity prOn addiction. I'm always hoping that some new system or leather bound notebook, or way of arranging my 3x5 cards will vastly increase my effectiveness. I recently stumbled on to Marc Andresson's confession of his own addiction to PP, along with all of his accumulated list of techniques he uses. A lot of it is stuff that I'm already familiar with, but some of it is new.

I decided to try out his 3x5 card technique, essentially he says that at the end of every day you should write down three things that you want to accomplish the next day. And then of course when the next day rolls around do everything in your power to get those three things done. He further recommends that during the day, on the other side of the card, you write down everything you've done. Today was my first day trying it, and I realize that it's way too early to make any kind of definitive judgment on the utility of this technique, but at least for today I'm really feeling the love.

Often times I get despondent, because at the end of the day I feel like I've been really busy, but I haven't really accomplished that much. I was getting that feeling today, but then I looked at the card, all three of my "Do Today" items were done and and the other side was full of other stuff I had done. He says:

People who have tried lots of productivity porn techniques will tell you that this is one of the most successful techniques they have ever tried.

And I'm cautiously optimistic.

Oh and has shipped all the 4E books early... *sound of grinding teeth*

Monday, May 26, 2008

Playing 4E for the first time

Well I got the family campaign together on Saturday, for the first time in many months (my sister had a baby and my brother-in-law, the one married to my wife's sister was finishing up college) and we played some 4E. It was a little bit rocky as you might imagine, with it being everyone's first time, but overall people seemed to enjoy themselves. When I went around the table asking for peoples opinions after things were over everyone was complimentary and most of them were basically ready to jump right over to 4E. A few people including my #1 daughter thought it played a little bit too much like a video game.

I can see that criticism. But I also think that our little test was skewed by the fact that all we did was combat, and that the little abilities are definitely more prominent when you're just starting to get used to them. Additionally with the concept of skill challenges that have been introduced in 4E I think there's quite a bit more potential to craft interesting non-combat encounters that move things forward in interesting ways... Which is a fancy way of saying I need to see the complete books before I can form a definite opinion on how video-gamey it is.

I will say this however, lots of people have talked about how 4E borrows from WoW, but I don't really see that. What it looks to me like is that it has borrowed a lot from the miniature skirmish games that have been popular recently. There's lots of movement abilities, like getting a free move if one of your enemies moves, or being able to push your enemy back a square, etc. I think overall the learning curve for someone to play a 1st level character is higher, but I think after that abilities and additional stuff comes at a slow enough pace that it's probably easy to pick up.

In any case this is just my preliminary take on things, I think that getting the full books will be required before I can really give my full opinion on it, but for now I'm pretty happy with it and my players are pretty happy.

I know I didn't explicitly warn you that this was another D&D post, but it should have been obvious from the title

Friday, May 23, 2008

Robert Asprin RIP

As I get older more people I know die... One more sucky thing about aging. Of course by know I mean more "know of". It's always sad when people you admire die, but when George Burns dies at 100. It's not quite as sad as when Douglas Adams dies at 49. Well we lost another great. Some of you may take exception to me calling Robert Asprin one of the greats since you've probably never heard of him, but trust me if you're ever looking for some laugh out loud fantasy parody he would definitely be your go to guy. In particular his Myth serious in particular was ridiculously funny.

I was ashamed to find out that after taking most of the 90's off for, as Wikipedia says, "a series of personal and financial problems". That he had restarted writing and that there are 8 Myth books that I haven't read. I'm going to have to pick those up. In any case back to the original topic: Robert was only 61, now I realize that that's not a bad run, but I also realize that my own parents are in that general area (definitely younger, but they can see it from where they are, that's all I'll say, so I don't get in trouble). I guess he was being picked up by another author so that he could be driven to a local SF convention where he was the guest of honor, and the other author found him dead, sitting on his couch with a SF book in his hand.

I guess as these things go there are worst ways to go than sitting in a comfy chair with a good book in your hand... Still, he will be mythed. (yes I know that's not original, but I think it's a pun he would have enjoyed...)

Better my parents than me...

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Obviously at this point, nearly three weeks after the fact the cyclone that hit Myanmar/Burma is old news. But I was reading an article in The Economist the other day that reminded me of it. Of course, it's depressing to observe how fast it became old news, if it was ever really "News" to begin with. At this point estimates of death fall in the 80,000-100,000 range. That in itself is staggering, but The Economist estimates that another TWO MILLION peoples lives may be at risk if more help is not received. They go on to say that if a third of those people died that it would be a death toll to rival the Rwandan Genocide.

I guess in 2005 the UN endorsed the principle of an "international responsibility to protect oppressed people from their persecutors". I think they largely had the idea of armed oppression in mind, but it's hard to see where the junta's refusal to accept almost all foreign aid doesn't fall into this same category. Of course the idea of invading a country is pretty far out of favor among just about all countries at this point and certainly all the countries that could conceivably do it. Which leaves us "confined to air drops", the article says. If you look at the difficulties encountered with the Berlin Air-Lift where the population was presumably smaller, and they could actually land their plans and off-load, I find it hard to imagine that air drops could do much.

Don't get me wrong. I really like the idea of air-drops. I think it'd be great to be doing something, even if it's not entirely effective. I mean what are the other options. A full scale invasion, or just watching as people starve? The article ends up concluding basically the same thing. The final paragraph reads:

More storms are forecast for Myanmar. If thousands more people are to die in the coming weeks, let those who oppose any action now, however modest its effect, then explain why they favoured a policy of doing nothing. And let them try to describe the circumstances in which the new-found responsibility to protect might actually be invoked if it is not just to join the UN's scrapheap of dashed expectations, broken promises and dismal betrayals.

Between Scylla and Charybdis

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Quick Update

Well I managed to sell my extra copy of Keep on the Shadowfell to one of my co-workers. So I didn't have to go through the machinations of returning a different copy to Barnes and Noble. So there is no longer a "rumbly in my tumbly" (I took a fair amount of ripping for using Winnie the Pooh as my go-to when I was feeling guilty...) I ended up selling it to him for the discounted price, so I paid 20% (the pre-order) discount for my ethics, but I guess that's as it should be.

Last night I had heard it was the finale of American Idol. So I thought I'd see who won, since one of the finalist is from Salt Lake City (Actually Murray, but it's all one big metropolis). Well it was one of those things where I didn't really care that much, but where I thought the information should be easy to obtain, once the show was over. I mean the news of who won American Idol is big. Well what I didn't realize is that it's a two night finale and I guess they figured if they announced the winner on the first night that no one would tune in for the second night... ;) So I was googling and using wikipedia, and for some reason I couldn't figure out who won. The point was because of my weirdly OCD curiosity I spent way longer on a piece of information I only dimly cared about...

David Archuleta WILL win

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Keep on the Shadowfell


So today was the street date for Keep on the Shadowfell, the first full 4E product. So as you can imagine I got it. I had to do something that made me really uncomfortable, and still feels me with a certain level of guilt. I'll use you, my readers, as my confessor and you can tell me what my penance should be...

So I pre-ordered the adventure (as I believe I mentioned) from the FLGS, but when I went to pick it up, they didn't have it yet. This was very annoying... This is just one more reason why it's hard to support the local guy, because I knew the minute he said that, that I could drive to the local Barnes and Noble and it would be on the shelf. So that's when I did something bad... I decided to go buy it from Barnes & Noble, open it up, and then when my pre-ordered copy arrives at the FLGS return it unopened to B&N, and get my money back... Okay it's not pre-meditated murder, but it's one of those things that are just unethical enough to give me a rumbly in my tumbly.

As far as the product itself, I've only spent about 30 minutes with it, which was enough to read the entirety of the Quick Start Guide, and get mad that the pencil-draw character portraits they have for the pre-gens don't match the actual description (for example the dwarven fighter is supposedly wielding a two-handed hammer, but the picture is of a fighter with a shield and a sword.) On the other hand as I read about all the different ways people have to force movement, led me to believe that finally D&D could do justice to a true Force Mage (or Telekineticist). That would be the most awesome class ever, and overcome everything else bad about 4E (including the character portraits).

The really nice thing about the adventure is that they include six poster maps for the major encounters. Which should be really handy when it comes time to actually run those combats.

It bothered me and I did it anyway... Such was my BB Gun mania...

Monday, May 19, 2008

Chess Club

You remember that story I told awhile back about the guy who was involved in cryonics? Well I have a similar story. Not anything on the same scale, but the mechanism was similar. So three years ago my daughter transfered to a new elementary to be in the gifted magnet program. When it came time for "Back to School Night" or whatever it was they had a whole list of programs that you could volunteer to help with. One of them was the Chess Club, I thought that sounded okay so I put my name down. I didn't really have any idea what it entailed, but I thought that just volunteering to help couldn't be that involved. I'm sure countless tales of misery start out just this way.

Anyway the first two years were pretty low-key. Someone else was actually in charge, we met every other week we'd get around a dozen kids if we were lucky. During those two years we were aware that there was another elementary chess club going on at the next elementary over, and that they were quite a bit more serious. But it seemed a good match, people who just wanted to have fun came to our club and people who were out for blood went to the other one. Well at the end of last year the other chess club ended, and so all the ultra-competitive kids and their parents joined us, and where there had been two clubs now there was only one.

They (the parents mostly) ended up making lots of changes instead of meeting every other week they wanted us to meet every week; we instituted a ladder; and where before things had been fairly easy going now the we did "touch-move" rules. I'm not complaining about the changes per se I think of lot of the additions were good, but it ended up translating into a lot of additional work and responsibility, not for the people pushing the changes, for me. For one thing the guy who was basically in charge of the chess club worked every other week, which meant I went from being a volunteer to being co-dictator (or something like that). This wasn't too bad during the year, but I found out on Thursday (or maybe it was Wednesday) that there was $300 in the chess club budget and it needed to be spent and we needed trophies and a party, etc.

Well it turns out that the other guy couldn't make it any of the last three times, so in affect that transition was finally complete. Without direct requests, using the time-honored death of a thousand cuts method, I went from being a volunteer to being completely in charge. Which means that I had to figure out and buy all the trophies. My overarching goal was that no children should cry. I don't think I can meet even this modest goal, but I can hope. In any case I had to spend a couple of hours today getting the trophies ordered, and I'll have to spend more at the end of the week getting everything else arranged, but that's how it goes. As they say, and truer words were never spoken, "No good deed goes unpunished".

Some day I'll learn to listen to Nancy Reagen and, "Just, say no!"

Friday, May 16, 2008

D&D on the brain

As the release date gets closer, I'm having a hard time keeping my excitement in check, so I'm going to subject you to another post on the subject. This is your warning, if you don't want to read a post delving into the arcana of the difference between the current transition and past edition transitions. You have been warned. So here we go.

There's a small but very vocal group of current D&D players who are very much opposed to a new edition. They have many complaints, but one of the biggest is that the current designers, started bad mouthing 3rd edition the minute 4th was announced in order make it look better by contrast. This upsets them because they feel like 3rd Edition was really good, and they are annoyed to be told that the game they've been playing for the last 9 years is a sucky inferior imitation.

Now of course that's not quite how I see it. The thing is that anytime you're coming out with a new edition, people are going to want to know "Why? Why was a new edition necessary?" So there's a fine line between extolling the improvements of the new version and pointing out the failings of the previous version. I'm inclined to believe that they intended to do the former, but people took it as the latter. And so I'm a little curious as to why. More particularly I'm wondering what happened with previous versions.

The transition I'm most familiar with is the transition from 2nd Edition to 3rd. And I think that's the transition that most people are familiar with, most people in the D&D community that is. It's somewhat instructive to consider that transition. TSR the original company which published D&D had gone out of business and been acquired, there was a big chunk of time when nothing new was being produced. On top of this 2nd edition just wasn't built to be smoothly expanded on, instead there was a menagerie of busted kits, and classes and powers and options, it was a mess. So when people talked about how much better 3E would be there were no die-hard 2nd edition fans that got offended, people were honestly just glad that D&D was still going to be around.

Just about everything I mentioned about the transition from 2E to 3E is the opposite now. D&D has been going strong, it's a system that expands well. There has been some power creep, but not a ridiculous amount. It's still pretty tight, and on top of all that, since 3E was opened up, you have a huge number of third party publishers who have stepped into fill the gap.

I think a closer analog would be the transition from 1E to 2E. I didn't follow things as closely back then, and of course there was no internet (well there was, but it was exclusively the domain of a few hundred people at a few universities and in the military). So I can't speak to all of the details, but my impression is that the attitude was much closer to the current attitude then the attitude that existed between 2E and 3E. And I think that's part of the problem. People are comparing apples and oranges. They're using the last transition as their reference point when there's almost nothing in common between the two.

Is it possible that 4E came too soon? Sure. I'm pretty excited now, but there was a time when I would have strongly argued that point.

Did designers come down a little hard on the perceived flaws of 3E? Sure I could see that, but they've been working in secret on 4E for a couple of years. I think they can be forgiven for being overly exuberant.

Is 3E a great game? Yeah. I would in fact argue that it's the best role-playing game for the kind of game I want to run, up to this point. Of course it's my hope that 4E will be even better.

Anyway I've droned on long enough, and since no one is actually reading this I'd better wrap it up.

I was hot and I was hungry...

Thursday, May 15, 2008

D&D 4E

From the very beginning it wasn't a question of if I would buy the 4th Edition D&D books, but of where I would buy them. The best price is basically Amazon, but as anyone in the gaming community knows there is a large amount of pressure to support the FLGS (Friendly Local Game Store), I may have already blogged about being torn between buying them off Amazon or buying them from an FLGS. Well I have 4 FLGSs within about about a 10 minute drive of my house, (which is probably more than the area can support). So if I was going to support an FLGS which one would it be?

Well one of the four is on the west side, so it's right out. That's kind of an inside joke. In reality it's just one of those situations where my mental geography of what's close doesn't match the actual geography, so that store has always felt farther away then the other two. Plus it's kind of a chain and one of the outlets is in Provo, so there's one more reason not to frequent it.

The second one is the biggest and most successful, Hastur Hobbies. I like the store, and I considered doing all of my 4E shopping with them, but despite liking the owner Cthulhu Bob, the rest of the staff always seems vaguely annoyed every time I'm there. And after having spent over $1000 there in the last few years that's really off putting.

The third one is where I bought all my Dreamblade minis from. And they're pretty cool, and they always greeted me by name. But for some reason, and I have no idea why, since Dreamblade went away I feel guilty every time I think about going into the store. I'm sure it's some twisted artifact of my puritanical upbringing, but it exists despite it's irrationality.

The fourth one just barely opened. They've got maybe 300 square feet of retail space that they carved out of a haunted house. What's great about that is that as long as it's not October they can use the entire haunted house as their gaming area, so they have a huge open gaming area, and a very tiny retail area. I went in on Monday mostly just to check them out and see what was up, since I'd never been in. But when I mentioned 4E they said they'd give me 20% off if I pre-ordered (if you're curious Amazon was offering 40% off). Well that was what I wanted to hear so I went ahead and put in my order.

One big advantage of going locally is that they're doing a midnight release party, so I can get my books well in advance of even the most optimistic estimate for them shipping from Amazon. The first product, an introductory adventure, comes out on the 20th, so I'll let you know how that is. When I get it next week.

I wonder if they'll do a midnight release for the adventure as well...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Blood Pressure

My blood pressure is always a little bit on the high side. I think it's a combination of genes and stress. Well we decided to look into getting some "Key Man" Life Insurance on the three founders. So of course when you're looking to get life insurance they want to do a whole bunch of medical tests, I guess the first time the Med Tech came by my blood pressure was a little bit on the high side. Presumably it was high enough to raise some eyebrows but not high enough for them to automatically say okay you're higher risk. So I guess I was in kind of a gray area so they decided to recheck it. We scheduled the check for this morning at 8:00 am.

Mornings are obviously the best time to get your blood pressure checked, but this morning was unusual. I have two sick kids. The youngest has been sick on and off for about a month. Most recently she had an ear infection, so they put her on some antibiotics and she seemed to improve, but a couple of days after the last dose suddenly she's got a fever again and is complaining about a headache. And then the next youngest is sick as well. I guess we're taking both of them into the doctor today, so we'll see what they say.

Also while I was checking my e-mail first thing this morning I found out about a big competitor of ours who had just launched. A little competition is good because it shows that there's actually a market, but at a certain point it you'd rather people just stopped coming up with the same idea you did.

The Dude abides...

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

No Country for Old Men

I donated platelets this morning. I watched "No Country for Old Men" I really liked it though I'm hesitant to recommend it, because it's basically about as depressing as movies come. Personally I like depressing movies, and many if not most of the movies in my "Top Ten" are depressing. I should pause here for a moment to talk about my top ten list. I'm sure if I ever sat down and made the list that there would be more like 30 movies on the list. When I say something is in my "Top Ten" it basically means that it would be on the short list to make the top ten list if I ever did make one, and that it's something that if I was making up a core collection of movies to own it would be one I would not hesitate to buy.

Anyway back to the movie. I really like the Coen Brothers, and I'm amazed by how deft they are. I mean they can make a movie like "O Brother Where Art Thou" a comedy with an amazing soundtrack and then a few years later make "No Country" a tragedy that's barely even scored. Now of course in both cases they did borrow from a book, but when you look at all the horrible book adaptations it's still impressive what they've done. At this point I would say, trying to compare apples to apples, that I liked "No Country" better than "Fargo", but it could be just because it's fresher, though I did see Fargo not that long ago.

People talk a lot about "Chick Flicks". This is the opposite, this is a "Man Flick". And by that I don't mean that it's an action movie, like "Die Hard". It's a "Man Flick" in the way that "Fried Green Tomatoes" or "Steel Magnolias" are "Chick Flicks" (If I don't want to get in trouble with my wife I should really use a less pejorative term than "Chicks" or a more pejorative term than "Man" but "Dude Flick" makes it sound like I'm talking about "Dodgeball"). For Tommy Lee Jones' character at least it's all about living up to the standards of his father, and in that sense it actually reminded me of "Quiz Show". I'm sure that something of living up to parental expectations is present in both genders, but there's something unique for men about the quest to make your father proud of you.

Every generation loses a little bit...

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Last Nights Primaries

I had heard reports that Obama was fading so I was hoping that Hillary might pull an upset in North Carolina. As it was she barely squeaked out a victory in Indiana. I would really think that by this point she would have pulled, out. The fact that she hasn't is interesting. Of course since I want to see the first actual contested convention to be held in my lifetime (okay the 1976 Republican convention was contested, but I was only 5 so I don't remember it) I'm glad that Hillary is still in it, but her motives are being increasingly perceived as selfish. But the most damning hypothesis I've heard thus far is one from Orson Scott Card.

Card claims that the key to understanding Hillary's strategy, is that she's not focused on 2008 at this point, she's looking ahead to 2012. He figures that her strategy at this point is to damage Obama enough that when he does get the nomination that he'll be too weak to beat McCain. And that in 2012 McCain will be, "so old and unhealthy he [will] decline to run again, or he will be perceived as having had an unsuccessful presidency." I'm not a big Hillary Clinton supporter, but that seems too callous and calculating for even her. But the fact that she's not dropping out after last night doesn't help out her case in this respect.

Anyway here's the full piece where he outlines his theory:

If you think the primaries are screwed up now...

Tuesday, May 06, 2008


I was going to pull an all-nighter since the wife and kids are up in Park City. But I wimped out around 1:00 am. All-nighters always sound like a good idea when you first think of them. "I'll have 8 additional hours. I'll be done and then I can sleep the sleep of the just." But of course once the wee hours of the morning roll around they no longer sound quite so cool. Also it's not like the project I was working on had to be done by 7:00 am, it's due by Wednesday, sort of. But I really want to get it out of the way so I can take Thursday and Friday off and spend it with the family up in Park City. Other than Sunday's they would be my first days off in... months? a year? I hardly even remember...

Of course even if I do take those days off I'll probably spend the bulk of them reading business books, but reading is such a joy even if it is something like the 10 ways that venture capitalists resemble Freddy from Nightmare on Elm Street (actually that would be a pretty funny piece) that it's still relaxing.

Anyway so I'm back in the office, and the big project still looms so I'd better sign off.

Hasta la victoria siempè!

Monday, May 05, 2008


Well the in-laws got a condo up in Park City (I may have mentioned that already I can't remember). So I spent Saturday night and all day yesterday up there. It was fairly relaxing. They've got it for the whole week, so the plan is to go up there all day Thursday and Friday as well. We'll have to see how it goes. I was supposed to head back up there tonight, but I just have too much to do. In particular I have a big deadline on Wednesday. If that slips then I could very quickly see Thursday and Friday being just another day in the office. I hope not...

We've stayed at this same lodge before, and last time we stayed in a larger model, which was very nice. This time we went from two master suites to just one, and so there's a lot of sleeping on hide-a-beds. Saturday night I was on a hide-a-bed and it was possibly the most uncomfortable bed I've ever slept on. I've slept in a tent on a 3/4" pad when the temperature outside was in the teens and had a much better time of it than on Saturday... Oh well.

Anyway, I don't have a laptop anymore. Which is probably a good thing. It forces me to actually relax a little bit. I spent most of yesterday reading "A Deepness in the Sky". Which has so far been quite good, if somewhat unsettling. I actually had a little bit of a hard time getting to sleep last night because I was still thinking about the book. Fortunately I wasn't on the hide-a-bed (some of the people had gone home) so when I did get to sleep it was pretty restful.

8 hours is enough, assuming that everything is perfect

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Ode to Joy

I don't claim to have an incredibly broad education when it comes to classic music. I've tried to pick up stuff here and there. I'm not adverse to going to the symphony, or even the opera. On the rare occasion when I'm sick of podcasts, or I've listened to them all, I'll turn on the classic station in my car. So I'm not completely uneducated (is there a analog of for illiterate or innumerate only applied to music?), but there's lots of people (just about all of my in-laws) who seriously outclass me. With that caveat out of the way, and acknowledging the fact that real men prefer Schostakovich, I really like Beethoven's 9th.

So the other night I went to my wife's English Handbell concert. Their final piece (not including the encore) was a an uptempo swing, bassa nova, tropical, trumpet driven, etc. etc. arrangement of the 9th. Now don't get me wrong it was a fun song, but when you take a piece that's that good in the original you have to really do something special of your going to do any arrangement other than a traditional one. At least IMHO. I was nervous about bringing this point up with my wife, but as it turns out she didn't like it much either, so I was okay.

Well starting this evening the in-laws have a condo up in Park City. So I'll be taking a little bit of a vacation, though I'll probably end up back in town at the office more than I would like. I mention this just in passing, and also as a caveat that I might miss a couple of days blogging. Yeah I know you're all heartbroken...

Check out this video of Bernstein explaining and performing the 9th

Friday, May 02, 2008


I went to a big marketing event a couple of months ago, and there were a bunch of CEOs there who had anywhere from $30 million a year companies to billion a year companies. And part of what they talked about was tricks they used to be more productive. One of them recommended that you work in two and a half hour blocks, of 50 minutes of work, 10 minute break, repeat and then 30 minute longer break. To help with this he recommended getting a little timer for your desk.

So I've sort of been trying it, though more frequently I use the time as more of a Parkinson's Law device. I decide how long I need to do something, and I try to be optimistic about it (i.e. the minimum amount of time it could take). Then I put that on the timer and then that becomes "the time available". Whereas if there's nothing on the timer, then you get a sense that there's infinite time available...

The reason I mention this is that I gave myself 15 minutes to finish up my morning collect (a Getting Things Done idea) and write my blog. Right now I just passed the four minute to go mark. So, anyway it seemed like as good a topic as any to write about. Overall it's pretty effective, though I think it definitely increases the stress level. As far as the working in two and a half hour blocks, I've had less success with that, but I think that the problem is that I haven't been entirely effective in implementing the zero interruption part of it. What I really need is to close the office door, turn of instance messanger, and most of all have a needle stab me in the leg everytime I try to check my e-mail...

34 seconds left

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Peace, Lunch and Understanding

I don't really have anything to say about Peace. (Except to say that I find the whole concept detestable, but that's a topic for another blog.) I just wanted to riff off that great song by Elvis Costello, since I what I really want to talk about is lunch and understanding. Recently I've tried to be a lot better about eating breakfast. As a result I often skip lunch entirely. Other than the money this may be the biggest change between my old job and the start-up. At the old job I never ate breakfast and so I always ended up going to lunch. For one thing it was the big break, and possibly the only thing keeping me sane.

Anyway so I was out and about running some errands. And I was feeling flush because I'd just cashed my bi-monthly $123.16 paycheck (speaking of money) so I decided to wander over to Harmon's (a local grocery store) and pick up some stuff from there deli. Now here's where the understanding part comes in, because I don't... The deli is amazing... I got a twice-baked potato and a stuffed chicken breast for $6. So here's the part I don't understand. Why isn't everyone doing this? I mean yeah I had to microwave it, and that didn't include a drink, but still it should be very popular, but I was the only person at the counter.

And given that there wasn't anyone other than me there, here's the second part I don't understand, how do they make money? I mean there's rack after rack of food, ribs, chicken, every kind of salad know to man, all of it already prepared. I assume some of it keeps, but that's still seems like a huge amount of overhead. And then there was the 8-10 people working behind the counter. Overall I saw a lot of money going in, but not much coming out (or would it be the other way around? anyway you get the picture). In any case it was delicious. More food than I could eat really.

Probably so cheap because there wasn't any rice or corn in anything I got