Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The World Series

The last week marked the start, and unfortunate end, of a most intriguing World Series matchup.

McCovey Cove

I get to cycle to and from work right next to AT&T Park — home of the San Francisco Giants. This made the Giants' improbable comebacks in both playoff rounds all the more interesting. The Detroit Tigers, my hometown team, also made it to the Fall Classic after winning across the bay in Oakland and making New York look foolish.

World Series @ AT&T Park

The morning commute was different because there were tents and stages everywhere while SportsCenter was broadcasting live on location. The evening commute was different too, as fans packed the stadium, nearby park, and boats filled the cove. And there we were, in the middle of it all.

World Series at McCovey Cove

note a few more photos, including panoramas, available on flickr.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Side of The Bed

I keep my glasses to the side of the bed.

While not the best of ideas, it hasn't been a problem yet.

Surely that would change with just a bit of harm,

which is exactly what caused this morning's general alarm.

General Alarm

With the crunch came an exclaimed "What did I do?!"

Shortly there after, Ginger presented some glue.


Disaster avoided for the second time in two years.

These glasses are ready for Monday. If there was a crowd, I'm sure they'd all cheer.

Glasses Mend

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cycling The Commute

This week marks the fourth month I've had a bicycle in San Francisco. After months of public transit, the occasional cab, and a startling realization of how little I actually move in a day, I headed to Performance Bike in June. I walked out with the second Fuji of my cycling career.

Thanks to the magic of Hipstamatic, here's what it would have looked like in the 1970's —

Fuji Newest 3.0

Early On

Those first few rides were especially difficult. I saved no time at all versus public transit — about 45 minutes for 3.5 miles. I also showed up to the morning meeting with greetings of "Wow, did you swim here?" Fortunately for us all, things have gotten significantly better since then.


Recently, with the help of the iPhone Cycling Application Velocio, I've come to expect making it to the office in less than 20 minutes.

The current records are quite a bit better than those 45-minute rides:

  • To Office — 16:24
  • To Apartment — 14:59

Fun Facts

There are a few things I've picked up cycling in a busy city.

  1. Some sidewalks are shared path, meaning that walking and cycling is allowed
  2. Some sidewalks will ticket cyclists
  3. Pedestrians tend to look right through cyclists while trying to cross the street. When a pedestrian steps in front of you with no time to swerve, you'll both go flying through the air. Really.
  4. Sometimes your spokes will break with no visual indication. Sometimes it'll take a week to notice your brakes are rubbing, and it will cost $20 to fix.
  5. Riding with the brakes rubbing for a week will shave several minutes off your commute when the problem is fixed.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Experiment 1: Traffic Light

These days, I'm very interested in automating things.

As my friend Vic would say, I haven't the foggiest when it comes to electronics. Putting on a positive spin on my relative cluelessness, it's a great opportunity for my girlfriend and I to learn something awesome together. One hour in, I think we are — just look at that focus!

Ginger Programs

For our first experiment, we needed three things:

  • Arduino Uno microcontroller
  • breadboard & jumper wires
  • LEDs (lights) & resistors

30 minutes later, with the help of this makeuseof article for beginners, we had our completed our mini traffic light!

note A breadboard is a way to connect circuits without having to solder.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Timesheets: Travel

In two years I've come to learn the United terminals in a handful of airports like the back of my hand. Curious as to how much time that took, I knocked a spreadsheet together and found myself bewildered. I've missed a few weeks here and there in my timesheet, but I'd say about 90% of the data is there.

Recorded Weeks
with Travel
Total Travel
Los Angeles, CA40462.0011.55
Little Rock, AR19127.756.72
San Francisco, CA33128.753.90

The overall average of 7.81 is, of course, awfully close to an extra full working day per week.

Monday, July 2, 2012

7 Sentences This Evening

  1. You know what would be fun? Let's cut your hair.
  2. This is going really well.
  3. Why is the side so poofy?
  4. I just don't know how I'll blend this.
  5. Okay, okay. Now we've turned the corner.
  6. This poofy-ness is making me look bad.
  7. I didn't like your last haircut at first, either.

The Cut

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The Wolf

Recently, I hit a personal milestone: a piece of software I wrote went out on my office's mailing list. It has been downloaded 17 times.

I've been writing little utilities here and there for years now, but I've never actually gone to the length of releasing something. When you do, a couple questions go through your mind:

  • Is this thing any good?
  • Is it actually useful?

Luckily, the first person I showed it to pushed it out to more people for feedback.


Expense reports are an everyday part of life for traveling consultants. The confirmation that they've been paid is emailed to us every two weeks in a giant Excel file with 3 columns:

  • Employee ID
  • Date Paid
  • Report ID

Most of us can't remember our Employee ID, and having to look that up requires a 2-step login. The noise of everyone else's Report ID can also be difficult to look past.


I really wanted to do two things with this utility:

  1. Not have to look up my Employee ID
  2. Not have to open Excel
I think I succeeded on both accounts. If you tell The Wolf to save your employee id, it writes a simple file to your home directory, and you never have to mention it again. By default, it will output the most recent reports paid with their date. Optionally, you can tell it to show everything of yours in the spreadsheet.

Ultimately time will tell how useful The Wolf is. The early results are good though -- the first person I sent it to loved that it churned through 3 years of expense reports in a manner of seconds, and omitted all the noise. Others have mentioned setting it up and its ease of use. I'm finding myself more and more motivated to release small tools that may help someone out.

Interested in more?

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Mountaintop Scale

Retrospectives, and meetings in general, only really have value when the people involved feel comfortable enough to share what is on his or her mind. That's why we start with a safety check.

Safety checks are typically on a scale of 1-5. The participants write down a number and anonymously put it into a hat. The runner of the retrospective then tallies the results and decides whether it's worthwhile to continue, or something needs to be done to bring up the safety level of the team.

At least, that's how it was until yesterday. Yesterday brought the introduction of the mountaintop scale. Arguably simpler, but undeniably more accurate, the mountaintop scale ranges from 1-6...with 4 being the highest. Here's an ASCII art picture for your enjoyment.

       /\ 5
    3 /  \
     /    \ 6
  2 /
1 /

As our iteration manager so eloquently put it:

It's easy. If you're between a 3 and a 4, you're a 5. If you're between a 2 and a 3, you're a 6.
Happy retrospecting!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Northbound: Golden Gate National Recreation Area

When it comes to above-water transit in the Bay Area, the Golden Gate Bridge and Bay Bridge have more in common than I first suspected.

  • Construction began in 1933
  • Steel suspension (Bay Bridge has a span that is not suspension, weirdly)
  • Toll only for going into San Francisco

So why does the Golden Gate Bridge get all the love when it comes to tremendous paint schemes, state driver's license fame, and general iconic status? My guess — Golden Gate leads to miles of the most beautiful coastline and protected park property I've seen, while the Bay Bridge leads to, well...Oakland (zing!).

Immediately on the other side of the Golden Gate Bridge is a winding mountain road. A road built for scenery with many turnouts, as though the planners knew this path was more about stopping than going. Really, who can blame them for such an assumption?

Golden Gate Bridge

While that road is friendly initially, a driver quickly finds the point of no return; literally. The winding meets a ridiculously steep grade as one gets closer and closer to the ocean.


After the part that would make any fearless cyclist's day, there are plenty of places to get out and walk around. I'd even say it inspires running to the ocean.


Sunday, April 22, 2012

Pier 39 Sea Lions

When I was in elementary school, we took a field trip to the zoo. I remember telling the group I was excited to see the seals, as 8-year-old me imitated the delightful bark. Horrified, a chaperone glared at me and said in a biting tone:

"What would your mother say if she heard that?"
Confused, I thought it best to just wander to another group.

17 years of wandering later, I ended up at Pier 39, where San Francisco is wishing the native sea lions a happy 22nd anniversary.

Happy 22nd Anniversary Sea Lions

We're currently in the off-season, where only the sea lions who live here hang out on the docks. The rest of the docks are full at certain times of the year. I'm not sure why they take off, but my guess is they're the sea lion equivalent of traveling consultants.

There were plenty of people out taking pictures. But for every picture taken, there was a mini-dialog of what the sea lions would say if they were people:

  • "look at that one, he's all like bro, bro get out of my way"
  • "haha, this one's like bro, what bro? napping here, bro"
  • "oh my god! that sea lion goes better not ask me to move"
  • "check him out, he's like don't even try it"

Puzzled at this seemingly universal desire to personify sea lions, I wondered what their mothers would think as we headed back.

note a few more photos await on flickr

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Street Artists & Caricatures

Saturday evening seems to always be a booming time for Fisherman's Wharf in San Francisco. The tourists fill the sidewalks, stopping only for crosswalks and to group around entertainers. We blended right in with the tourists and spotted a caricature artist for $5 a face and went for it.

Try 1

Our first artist was a jokester for sure. An expert at small talk and one truly enjoyed the art of making the subjects of his artwork cringe with nervous laughs in discomfort. The topics of outsourcing, the US's viable industries for employment, and H1-B visas were all discussed. Naturally, computer jokes were also present.

So, if you went on a camping trip in the woods, do you think you'd take your laptop?

The final result? Yikes!

Artist 1

Try 2

Recognizing from the first portrait that taking the long way back home may be a good idea for our health, we stumbled upon another artist. His price was $7/face, 40% more.

This artist's talents were more focused on the canvas than smalltalk, and he knew it. Imitating a creator for some of the session, we were party to some Easter-eve comedy.

We'll just give him some weird, introverted skill like painting, that'll shut him up.

Although we weren't certain he wanted to be there after some comments.

This is cutting into my Miller Time

Amazed at how fast he finished, we commented on the speed as he handed us the finished artwork. His response?

Yah, about as fast as I could drink a quart of beer.

Artist 2

And so went the great 2012 $24 caricature experiment. A recurring thing? Perhaps.

Weird Fact If you've never gotten a caricature before (I hadn't), it's unbelievable how many people will stop to look at what's being done.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

The Underground in Seattle

The Montgomery Muni station in San Francisco is filled with ads touting the joys of 2 Days in Seattle. In the opinion of the many, those worked on me as we packed our bags and flew the friendly skies north for the weekend.

Bill Speidel's Underground Tour was one of the top items on the todo list, and it surely didn't disappoint. The tour was packed. We mitigateg this by showing up early and ordering something from the café, which yields priority seating. Bonus: the cone of fries was quite good.



The tour opens with a 30 minute light-hearted history of Seattle. In this we learn about things like the original settlers' homes being destroyed 3 consecutive years by the weather, and rebuilding in the same location each and every time. It was explained that Seattle's great tradition formed in these moments:

Once we have — beyond a shadow of doubt — realized our idea is stupid, we stick with it.

There was also the enchanting tale of an early sawmill entrepreneur and mayor by the name of Henry Yesler. Yesler's less than honorable qualities include bringing a lawsuit against the town as a private citizen for unfair taxes and settling with himself as the governor out of court for cash...more than once.

But at the top of the comedy list is the city's rivalry with nearby Tacoma, which found itself the butt of several jokes before and during the tour.

In all seriousness though, Tacoma is a lovely place if you're looking to get stabbed.

The Underground

The story of how the underground came to be started with a great fire, just like some other city I know. Oh the olden days, and how they loved to build with wood. A glue fire spread to the next building — full of whiskey — before making its way to a hardware store with dynamite. Jeers from the crowd at the volunteer firefighters prompted the firefighters to produce one of the earliest Cartman responses. The firefighter's packed up and effectively said screw you guys, I'm going home.

The fire took the city.

Rebuilding was smartly only to be done in stone from now on, and on stilts of 10-30 feet. This decision is what created The Underground.

Some of the items recovered during the early days of the tour included the original water system of Seattle, built in...wood. These three pieces were retained for historical purposes while the rest were naturally shipped to Tacoma, as they were upgrading current systems.

Seattle's Original Water System

Interestingly enough, I also learned on this tour what those little glass squares are on sidewalks you sometimes see in cities. They look like this from above.

glass in the sidewalks

glass in the sidewalks by lauren_pressley on Flickr

They actually provide lights for tunnels below them in skylight form. Here's one of them in action.

Sidewalk Skylight from Below

All in all, it's an awesome tour filled with comedy, history, and the smell of whatever building is on top of the place you're currently standing.

Some say you can hear the ghost of an old bass guitarist here from time to time...others say it's just the music store right above this.

Note there's more photos on Flickr

Sunday, March 18, 2012

St. Patrick's Day in San Francisco

Yesterday, wearing festive blue, I stumbled into San Francisco's St. Patrick's Day Parade. It wouldn't be fair to call me a connoisseur of floats or color guard, but the majesty of a few exhibits simply had to be shared.

Naturally, the Sprinkler Fitters Union was well-represented.

Sprinkler Fitters Union

The Union of Glaziers were looking festive with their For Official Use Only Navy truck.

Glaziers, Architectural Metal, and Glass Workers Union

BART was also represented in a Thomas-the-Tank-Engine way. In an unfortunate bit of subliminal advertising, the BART was ahead of me and I still caught up to it on foot.


Proud Iron Workers dawned San Francisco's icon on their float: The Golden Gate Bridge, completed a mere 74 years ago.

Iron Workers Union Float

Finally, Hangar 1 Vodka responsibly demonstrated the ill-effects of alcohol on decision-making by using this ground-only SUV for their blimp tour.

Note There's more on Flickr

Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Trouble with Taxis

I've recently been introduced to über, a car service that is obliterating all the worst aspects of taxis. It works like this:

  1. Send a request for a cab via iPhone app/Android app, which includes location
  2. See the car moving on a map and get a message saying the car has arrived
  3. Don't worry about cash or tip, because that's built into the cost, which is billed to your credit card on file

The Troubles

I'd almost always rather walk or take public transit when I need to be somewhere. Occasionally that just isn't fast enough. Chicago is largely immune to this first problem mentioned below, but San Francisco certainly is not

Impossible to find

You can mostly walk out to any main road in Chicago and within minutes cabs will be stopped on both sides of the street vying for your fare with their horns. Not so in San Francisco, where one can expect to stand on the busiest of streets for 15 minutes without an empty cab passing by.

Exhibiting poor customer service

I've taken cabs a handful of times here in SF, and perhaps it's just my luck...but I'm a perfect 5 for 5. No matter what side of Market Street I get in the cab on, the driver informs me I should have gotten in on the other side. I must be missing why it's such a disaster to have to go one more or fewer block before turning, particularly when you're charging by the distance you've driven.


I wish I never had to carry cash again. I used to be able to put a $10 in my wallet and make it 6 months, because virtually no business requires cash anymore. It was all around better. I spent the same amount of money, got a rewards percentage from American Express, and could easily track where my spending was going.

Dealing with cabs on a weekly basis actually brought me to the point of choosing a bank that doesn't charge ATM fees. The constant disappointment and barrage of "I'll take you to your bank for free. What's your bank? Where is it?" is exhausting.

In fairness to the cab drivers, they're dealing with an outdated model that needs to change. I asked one time what the big deal was. Drivers lease their cabs from a company for something like $700/week. Drivers cover gas. Cash, obviously, goes directly into their pockets. Credit is processed and held by the cab company, and then deducted from the next week's leasing cost.

über to the rescue

Obviously, über takes care of all of these (admittedly minor) problems. Payments are the biggest one. I love not having to carry around cash and fuddle with the awkwardness of a tip.


I have a hunch virtually every consumer-driven market is ripe with opportunities to strip the nonsensical payment systems.

A competitor solving only the problem of locating cabs is the also-excellent cab-finding app Cabulous.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Small World

I've been lucky enough to spend 4+ months in some major cities over the past few years. During this time, I've had some déjà vu when meeting new people.

Let's review, in classic dialogue format.


Me...no, I'm actually from Detroit originally.
Person AHey! Me too. Go Blue!
Person BWow! Did you guys say you're from Detroit? So am I.
6 more people join in as the conversation turns to Michigan vs Michigan State.

Los Angeles

Me...no, I grew up near Detroit.
TeammateReally? I'm from Huntington Woods!

Little Rock

Me...no, I'm actually from Detroit originally.
TeammateWhat! Do you know Eminem? Have you ever been to 8 Mile?

San Francisco

Barber...and people think the tenderloin neighborhood is dangerous, but I'm from Detroit, so...
MeWeird... Me too.

Let's Form a Hypothesis


11-08-09 by idovermani on Flickr

Certainly were I member of the scientist group pictured above, we'd be forming hypotheses about any of the following:

  • Every US city is 90% Michigan-based
  • Eminem has overtaken Henry Ford as the most famous Detroiter
  • Detroit is the planet's toughest city
  • Detroiters tell more people where they're from than persons of other cities

Naturally, there is a photoset.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Well, That's a New One

Last week I was late for our morning meeting.

Ordinarily this wouldn't be any big thing, I'd just take a look at why I was late and figure out how to prevent that from happening again. What was notable, is that to prevent this from happening again, I'd have to take earthquakes into account for each morning commute.

Somewhat comically, I was in a subway tunnel when the small 3.5 magnitude earthquake halted my train last Thursday.

The actual rattling of the earth couldn't be felt over normal train vibration, but it did apparently kick a switch on the tracks. We sat there in silence for what felt like forever. Finally, we began to inch forward into the next station as the conductor informed us that we must remain calm — a small earthquake means that they'll need clearance to proceed manually.

"Well, that's a new one," I thought, as I headed up the stairs in search of a cab.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

de Young

Last weekend das girlfriend and I invested in a trip to the de Young Museum in San Francisco. They were having a special exhibition on Masters of Venice. Being the fine Italian painting connoisseur that I am, it was naturally at this exhibit that I learned Leonard da Vinci wasn't from Venice.

The paintings themselves ranged from Eh, I think I could do that to Whoa. Is that a photo? Which is probably roughly where my explanation of the artistry should end.

Less than thrilled was Ginger when encountering the still life portion of the museum. It seemed that her reaction to the subject of bread could be a work of art all its own, so naturally I pulled out my camera.

Ginger vs Bread Slice

Ginger vs The Slice

Ginger vs Bread Stack

Ginger vs Bread Stack

Fun Fact One of the permanent exhibits features Canadian art that's hundreds of years old. I never knew how popular cribbage was until spotting upwards of 40 boards.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

English to English Translations

Back when I was in Little Rock, there were a few mixups with the local language that I just didn't know how to process. Asking the questions landed us all on the same page. It's from this that I've created a table of English-to-English translations.

y'ort'a you ought to
y'all you or you all

Our current San Francisco team includes an Australian and an Englishman. The phrases they've brought to light for me in two weeks are top notch.

A rather incomplete list of things that mean this is bad

  • This is a bit how's your father
  • This is a bit pants
  • This is a bit ass about face


Finally, I'm throwing my own entry in the ring: cabbage. For my money, there's nothing more subtle in its badness than cabbage.

This is [a bit] cabbage.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Pattern Recognition

In the opinion of some, good programmers can identify patterns almost as soon as they arise.

Not too long ago, I wrote about a tea factory adventure in Boulder, CO. The self-jabbing humor of the area remarked that it was 25 square miles, surrounded by reality. I rather enjoyed the setting.

Fast forward a few weeks to the start of Project 3 (codename: project tres) and I'm now in San Francisco for the first time.

I'm thoroughly enjoying the walkability, especially for January. It was on one of said walks, just off the dock, that I encountered something familiar.

49 Square Miles

Ordinarily I'm not one to go inquiring for Jefferson Airplane's take on things, not that there's anything wrong with that, but they are from San Francisco and would seem to know as well as anyone.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Gas City's Public Service

There are plenty of lessons to be learned, and relearned, on the metaphorical road of life.

Fantastically, on the actual roads of 14-hour drive from Little Rock to Detroit, there are several reminders of lessons as well. Somewhere on the less-than-direct freeway route, which encompassed introduced us to a quite memorable tower.

The Gas City, Indiana water tower isn't quite as prominent as Florence Y'all, but it will catch the eye of most every person who enjoys a font or two. Gas City is shockingly labeled with the oft-hated comic sans.

Gas City: Home of the Comic Sans Water Tower

It somehow just doesn't have the seriousness any water-tower-having town should. Special thanks to Gas City for this selfless act, reminding all freeway-takers to double-check their font choice next time. Designers rejoice.

If you're unfamiliar with the general disdain for the font that often makes light of serious notices, be sure to check out Comic Sans: The Font Everyone Loves to Hate by Six Revisions.

Another good read is the creator's comments on why comic sans was created at all.

Fun Fact Wondering what freeways one can cover on this northbound route?

  • I-630
  • I-30
  • I-40
  • I-55
  • I-57
  • I-70
  • I-69
  • I-94
  • I-75

Friday, January 20, 2012

The Cattle Auction

"Conway is 30 minutes from here" started a sentence nearly every day for three weeks straight. That's how Kyle Kyle opened our eyes to the home of UCA and what would, on one Tuesday, become a historic landmark for me, Ginger, Kyle Kyle, and one of his friends.

Growing up in the rust belt, one doesn't have much of an opportunity to witness a good old-fashioned auctioneer at work. I only know of the quickly spoken craft from the folks at Mecum, but all they auction is cars.

Perhaps that's why during the cold and rainy last Tuesday of my stay in Little Rock, we headed to the great cattle barn of Conway, AR.

Cattle Barn

I had hoped to see a few cowboy hats, and I was certainly not disappointed. Even the auctioneer fancied a Stetson.

Cattle Auctioneer

But if that wasn't exciting enough, the highlight came from Kyle Kyle, as he exclaimed:

Man, I hope a velociraptor comes out of there next. I'd be like... 2000!
Which probably isn't the best of things to yell during a live auction. Fortunately, he wasn't out $2,000 by the end of the night.

Fun Fact this is now a thing: "hey, remember that time we went to the cattle auction?"

Monday, January 16, 2012

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Back when pioneers like George Stephenson were laying the tracks of the first steam-powered railroad, they were making decisions that would have worldwide impact. Not the least of which was how far apart to lay the tracks. Ultimately, what he chose would become standard gauge. Those who had other visions of what the distance between the tracks should be would later be run out of business...in some cases, resurrected as tourist railroads.

Friends of the blog and attendees of my work Christmas party know that I've got a bit of an interest in rail. I rarely pass up the opportunity to ride a train — particularly when it's a narrow gauge model carving its way through the Rockies whilst Mrs. Claus hands out chocolate chip cookies. Needless to say, we made a special stop on my most recent trip to Colorado when exactly the above occasion occurred.

Georgetown Loop Railroad

Georgetown Loop Railroad

After hauling silver ore from Silver Plume in the 1880s, the historic railroad showed up in 2011 to haul people around Georgetown (with maybe a few more things in between)

Devil's Gate Bridge

Mrs. Claus was aboard and handing out cookies

Mrs. Claus Brought Cookies!

And on top of all that, I got this awesome old-timey ticket.

Old Timey Ticket

Fun Fact Santa has a resistance to getting his picture taken with a bearded 24 year old

Fun Fact Several "new" Georgetown Loop Railroad cars were recently purchased from the Alaska Railroad

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Herbal Tea of 25 Square Miles

Unexpected Brew

As it turns out, one of those awesomely-unexpected things I got from my travels to Little Rock was a phenomenal introduction to the variety of joys that come with the varieties of teas. I'm not a connoisseur, but I've now at least heard of Atlanta-based, publicly-traded Teavana.

Loose Tea

Loose Tea by cherylsmith999, on Flickr

Assembly Lines

Maybe it's the Detroit-area youth, but there's something about How It's Made and factories in general I can't get enough of. Knowing these facts, co-worker and friend of the blog Jordan suggested that I visit Boulder's Celestial Seasonings factory tour on a recent weekend trip to Denver with Ginger.

The Tour

Photos are banned within the tour as the equipment is all custom-made, but even several weeks later, I've remembered some of the fun facts one would get by visiting. A surprising amount were of the traditional consulting "it depends" variety.

Free Tour of Celestial Seasonings

Free Tour of Celestial Seasonings by krossbow, on Flickr

The gems among the facts include

  • Tea shipping containers for ingredients carry between 500 and 1300 lbs, depending on the density.
  • Tea leaves must be stored in a separate room, so they don't absorb the scent and flavor of all the other ingredients in the warehouse.
  • Mint must also be stored in a separate room, and if it weren't sealed an area four square miles around the factory would smell like mint. This stuff is shockingly powerful. Several people on the tour had watery eyes upon leaving.

Without a doubt, my favorite moment of the tour was a thoughtful answer to a question by a guest of the tour in the mint room.

GuideDoes anyone have any questions for me?
AskerHow long does all this mint last?
GuideWell...it depends. If we're making a tea with a lot of mint, not very long. If we're making a tea without mint...a long time.

Stunning. It's certainly worth a visit.

Fun Fact Boulder is affectionately known as "25 square miles surrounded by reality"

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Rebsamen Park Golf Course

Back in September when I touched down in Little Rock, one thing was instantly clear: This place has some golf to be played. I'd declare it a requirement for anyone coming in, or through, town; though I was disappointingly the only member of the team who took to the course with any regularity.

Within two weeks I had my clubs in hand as I took to the first tee of Rebsamen Park Golf Course. Of the 15 rounds I'd play over the next month, 13 were at Rebsamen. Just about every one would begin exactly the same way, with the nicest mid-60's starter you'd ever meet — Bill.

Bill had a voice that squeaked and just enough twang to make his name rhyme with "heel." Couple that with my shockingly flat Detroiter accent and we had a frequent routine that's still fresh in my mind, months after it became too dark to golf before or after work.

MeHow's it going today, Bill?
BillOh...I'm hanging in there. Headed out there?
MeDefinitely. I'll walk the twilight rate, please.
*I almost always forgot the scorecard*
MeWhoops, almost forgot my scorecard.
BillOhhh yah, you've got to write that stuff down, now.
MeHave a good night.
BillOkay. You go give 'em hell, now.

View Larger Map

Note It's virtually impossible to find the rates anywhere, but monthly passes were a phenomenally low $100.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Singular y'all

Lunch during the first week is often a troublesome proposition. It's all too easy to get stuck in one's consultant cocoon, never branching out or making new discoveries. I'm glad I didn't get stuck in that trap. Had I never ventured to ZAZA Fine Salad + Wood Oven Co with two client developers, I never would have been introduced to the singular form of "y'all."

Now I'm plenty familiar with y'all, not least because of frequent road trips through Florence, Kentucky; perhaps home of the best watertower ever?

The FLORENCE Y'ALL Water TowerThe FLORENCE Y'ALL Water Tower by J. Stephen Conn on Flickr

Kyle KyleSo what kind of music do y'all like?
MeI think the team probably all likes different kinds of music.
Kyle KyleI know different people like different kinds of music. I'm asking what kind of music y'all like.
MeOh. Uh. What?

DISCLAIMER In the interest of representing both sides of the story, Kyle Kyle claims to have never said the above and that y'all's singular form doesn't exist. That's not how the other two passengers remember it, however, and I now believe the elusive singular form of y'all to exist.

NOTE Our team consists of two Kyles. The project manager differentiated them early on by naming one "Kyle" and the other "Kyle Kyle"

Fun Fact ZAZA's has some tremendous gelato.