A Look Back at Milo's Meadow

While reading some posts about the recent passing of Caspar Weinberger, I stumbled across this article from 2003 about my favorite county from the 80s.

Even though I was a staunch Reagan supporter in the day, Bloom County never failed to bring a smile to my face.

The More You Know

Check out these PSAs from the employees at "The Office." There are some real gems in there.

Some of my favorites inlcude Relationships, Bears, Smell, Jelly Beans, and Invite. Please note -- these are separate PSAs.

It's not the Ricky Gervais Office; it's different. And it's funny.

Windows Users Vs Mac Users

Windows user with Computer hardware trouble:

"Huh. Just restart it. That will fix it."

Apple user with Computer hardware trouble:

"What's going on? It's broken?! Do I need a new one? This has never happened to me before."



How did I not do this in college?


The site owner appears to be in a legal dispute with FedEx over this. It is quite an engineering feat, however.


Apprentice Week 05: Listen to Trump

The Apprentice episode that aired on 2006-03-27 got some early press last summer. Remember the ship that sailed through a storm, only to take damage from a freak 70 foot wave? That ship was slated to appear on the Apprentice. The ship in this episode must have been a last minute substitute. That would also explain the extremely tight time frame the contestants had, and the frazzled look on the Norwegian Cruise Line officials.

For some background on the storm, visit the Seattle Times or CNN. Or any of the other sites Google serves up.

My favorite lines from this show were when Trump was touring the cruise liner, he asked the Captain, "How many propellers does this thing have?" The Captain explained that it had two. "Two propellers? Wow. They must be big," responded Trump.

I now take notes while I watch the Apprentice. Why? So I can write articles like this.

Before I go any further, beware of spoilers below.


Lessons Learned This Week

  1. Listen to Trump. If you don't, he will fire you.
  2. Keep your message simple. If you have to explain a commercial you made, it's probably not very good.
  3. Delegate tasks. If you're busy, and your team isn't doing anything, then something is wrong.

The Task

This week's task was to create a 30-second commercial for Norwegian Cruise Lines and freestyle cruising. The final commercials are on the Yahoo! Site. When Trump describes the task, he tells the teams that the "most original" ad will win. That, however, appears to contradict the actual task descriptions.

Synergy won. Gold Rush lost. Trump fired Dan, the Gold Rush project manager.

Team Synergy

Synergy came up with a solid ad, but there is trouble on the horizon. Roxanne, the Project Manager, seemed to be in a bit over her head and clashed with Andrea. This clash started the previous week in the boardroom, carried over into the suite, and spilled over on the ship.

The camera film crew for the project commercial complained to Roxanne that too many people were giving direction and no one appeared to be in charge. There needed to be "one voice", but there wasn't.

Synergy seemed to struggle with their organization. Roxanne tried to lead, but didn't seem to have the strength for it. At one point, she ranted at her team about how she supported all the previous PMs, and they weren't doing the same for her. She complained they didn't respect her. That outburst may not have helped her much.

There is some truth to her accusations, though. While they were shooting some footage in a restaurant, Roxanne gave direction to the actors and crew, and they began shooting. Then Roxanne had to take a call, Andrea over road her bosses decision and gave contradictory direction to the talent, something that was completely unacceptable.

They got off to a rough start. It seemed like Roxanne did not establish her authority and leadership early on. They had a hard deadline of three hours, but Roxanne did not have everything organized tightly at the start. That may be why her team sensed weakness.

I don't expect Andrea to last much longer. In the Chevy episode, she puts Tarek in charge of creative efforts, but then shoots down all his ideas, including his idea to get actual turf for a putting green. That's the same episode where she locked herself in the bathroom after Brent came back from the previous task's boardroom. In the Post Cereal episode, Andrea was in charge of the graphics for the losing banner. In this episode, she wouldn't listen to her project manager. Given this track record, she won't make the final four, and would be lucky to make the final eight.

Team Gold Rush

They lost because their ad started too negatively and was confusing. The executives didn't understand the beginning of the ad so they chose Synergy as the winner.

Gold Rush with Project Manager Dan seemed to be off to a good start. Dan took control delegated tasks in a rapid and intense manner. Team members objected, but he did get the team moving toward an idea quickly. Then he had the team focus on execution. With a time limit of three hours, promptly moving to the execution stage was critical.

The team chose Lenny's idea for the commercial but did not communicate it well. It didn't seem like a terrible idea. They executed fairly well. There were two major flaws in it, however.

First, the concept wasn't clear. The team had to explain it a couple times. When the NCL folks asked them to describe the commercial, they began by saying, "Ours is a metaphor..."

When you have to describe your commercial as a metaphor, that means it failed.

The second major mistake the NCL official, Trump, and Carolyn keyed in on was the lack of voice over. During the editing, Tarek opposed the voiceover, while Lenny favored it. Dan sided with Tarek, and that was his mistake.

Why Trump Fired Dan

If Dan had brought Lenny into the boardroom, he would probably still have a job. Lenny, or more likely, Tarek, would have been fired instead.

Granted, it's a tough choice for Dan. I don't think Lenny should have been fired, but he should have had the opportunity to defend himself. True, the initial concept was Lenny's. It was also the only concept. And the team jumped on the idea.

The team tried to put together the commercial with just images and text on the bottom. Tarek was certain that was the best way. Lenny said they had to include voice over because text was not enough. Tarek shouted him down.

While Lenny's idea wasn't the best, he had better ideas for execution. He tried the fix the very thing that the NCL folks objected to.

Sure, Lenny is tough to deal with, but he was the only one with an idea, and his ideas on execution were right.

Trump fired Dan for the same reason he fired Theresa in week 3. Dan brought the wrong people into the board room. The losing commercial was Lenny's concept, and Trump hated the concept. Trump doesn't care for Lenny. Whe Trump asked Dan who he was bringing into the boardroom, Dan chose Tarek and Lee. Trump asked Dan if he wanted to bring in anyone else. Dan thought about Lenny but said no. Trump checked again, but Dan was sure he did not want to bring Lenny into the board room. As soon as Dan made his choice to not bring Lenny in, he sealed his fate.

Random Thoughts

Parallel Structure

Lack of ideas, lack of punctuation, choosing not to write in parallel structure, and lack of coherence are four things that annoy me about writing.

The text on the Gold Rush ad did not follow a parallel structure.

The text was this:

  1. Freedom
  2. Welcome Anytime
  3. Unwind Anytime
  4. Dine Anytime
  5. Entertainment Anytime
  6. Relax Anytime
  7. Indulge Anytime
  8. Go On Your Own Way Anytime

We can probably ignore items 1 and 2 because of the their introductory nature. 3, 4, 6, 7, and 8 begin with verbs. 5, however, is a noun. It shouldn't be.

Yes, I know, it's petty. It's just one of those things that annoy me, however.

Learning Styles

Different learning or communication styles may help explain the debate between Lenny and Tarek. People, for whatever reason, respond differently to ways or presenting information. Tarek may simply not respond to audio cues; Lenny may not respond to visual cues.

One of the interesting things about learning styles, is that people tend to think their personal learning style is how everyone else learns as well. Combine that tendency with the ego required to get on the Apprentice, and it's not surprise that Lenny and Tarek couldn't agree.


If the leader is executing all the tasks, then that person isn't demonstrating leadership. A leader, especially in a busy and hectic environment must assign tasks to team members. It's not the leaders job to do the work; it's the leaders job to get the work done.

Dan relied on his team member at the very beginning, but quickly seemed to take on the operational tasks himself.

There are lots of reasons why this can happen. Perhaps it was ego. Dan may have felt only he could do the job. Perhaps he felt intimidated giving instructions, and was afraid of handling rejection. Perhaps he simply didn't know how.

Delegation, like most aspects of leadership takes practice. You have to be confident that your team will get it done. You have to be comfortable letting go of tasks. You have to be confident enough in your own abilities that you're happy when your team member perform a task better than you might have. You have to learn to delegate, and then you have to actually delegate to learn how to do it.


Signs Posted in Yellowstone

One of my favorite warning signs ever.

New York Daily News - Home - Loses to train & wins big

New York Daily News - Home - Loses to train & wins big: "Loses to train & wins big "

This guy should be sued for the damage he did to the train and the ensuing delay in service.

Play Cole Rolls On

Thursday night was the second ever Play Cole Screening at the Den of Cin in Manhattan, and apparently it was quite the party. Look for new Play Cole videos over the coming weeks. There are exciting things on the horizon.

This is the latest one on the internet. Of the videos I am not in, this is one of my favorites. And, it is Safe For Work.

C'mon C'mon

After you watch the video, be sure to Flag this video by clicking the "Feature This" link at the bottom of the page.


C'mon C'mon is now also available at www.playcole.com


That's the Problem

CNN cites a document on The Smoking Gun that allegedly lists Vice President Cheney's hotel demands. And it explains a lot.

Sure, there's bottled water, TV tuned to Fox News, temperature at 68 degrees, etc.

But if ever wondered, "What is wrong with that man?" Or, "Why is Cheney so cranky?" Or "Why did he shoot his lawyer friend?" Or "Why did he outsource the capture of Bin Laden to the Pakistanis?" now we have the answer.

Decaf. He drinks decaf coffee and Decaf Diet Sprite. Why any one would voluntarily drink that is beyond me, but it has to mess you up. Badly.

Seriously, Mr. Vice President, go to Starbucks. Have a cup of the good stuff. The headaches will go away. The mind will clear. And the world will seem like a nicer place.


Vista on the Horizon...A distant Horizon

The big, breaking business news of the day is that Microsoft is delaying the much anticipated Windows Vista until 2007. This successor to Windows XP was expected to ship later this year but has been pushed back.

Naturally, the Microsoft haters are having a field day (see the Talk Back section). They do anytime something remotely negative happens with Microsoft.

Actually, I'm okay with the decision.

Developing a new operating system is complex and time consuming. Microsoft is putting together software that will run and work with hundreds of thousands of hardware combination, and even more combinations of software. Plus, everything they develop is under constant, detailed scrutiny by analysts, competitors, and most intensely -- hackers. They are expected to be near perfect. And if they are not perfect, they will be vilified.

It's more important that they get it right than that get it out on time. If the delay helps them build a better product, that's better for the consumers and the nation's IT infrastructure.

Microsoft cites testing as the reason for the delay:
Microsoft's Allchin announced the postponement Tuesday, saying quality-related
testing for the new PC operating system would take it longer than expected,
missing the holiday distribution schedules of some PC makers and retailers.

Others in the industry are not pleased. CompUSA expects it to hurt holiday sales.

And the chief executive of CompUSA Inc., Larry Mondry, expressed concern in an
interview about the possible effects of Microsoft's January release plans. PC sales tend to wane in the two months before a new Windows version, as people hold off on PC purchases in anticipation of getting computers with the updated operating system.
Under Microsoft's new schedule, that advance lull would come at the peak shopping season. If Microsoft can't deliver Windows Vista before the 2006 holidays, Mondry said, he would rather the company wait until somewhat later in 2007 than it's currently planning.
"We're probably going to have a significant uptick in business when it comes out," Mondry said of Vista. "The problem is, frankly, if it comes out in January, that means those 60 preceding days are in November and December. Kind of important months from my perspective."
Mondry said he hopes Microsoft will revisit the issue and adjust the release schedule again to "come up with a better date," slightly later in 2007.

As I recall, Intel did this once, too. Remember the late-90s Intel commercials? The featured technicians in a boring clean room wearing boring white sterile clean room suits. Then to emphasize the multimedia benefits of MMX technology, they brought in people in multi-colored, iridiscent clean room suits, dancing around to music, while the injected new life and capability into the processor. Thus MMX was born.

Of course, they released the MMX processors in January of 1997 and completely missed the 2006 holiday sales season. I recall this being a fairly big deal at the time when I worked for CompUSA.

Of course at that time, computers were still a lot more costly, and not as many people were buying them for Christmas.

Regardless, I want Microsoft to get Vista right. If it takes a couple months, so be it.


The best thing abou flying in the northwest...

...is views like this.

I shot this picture from the window of an Alasaka Airlines jet on a flight from Seattle of Phoenix.

Additional information about Mt. Rainier, Washington State's largest inactive (hopefully) volcano.


Apprentice Week 04: Why did people insist on getting themselves fired?

If you haven't watched this week's Apprentice, yet, you know the drill. Spoilers ahead.

So Synergy finally succeeded in running Brent off the show. Actually Brent did it to himself. He spoke too much.

In the board room, everyone was supportive of the Tammy, the PM. Brent however, complained that she stunk so bad, he could still smell her. He went on the attack when the focus wasn't even on him. That of course turned him into a target. Perhaps that would have happened anyway since the team really did not like him, but it happened a lot earlier than if Brent had just kept his mouth shut.

It seems that Brent's ego got the better of him this week. Early on, he seemed to do okay. He tossed out ideas for the billboard, but once the Tammy laid down the law and said it was time to move on, he backed off. Tammy did assign him to do basically nothing this task. His responsibility was to organize the clothing for the presentation. That was it.

Now, of course, Brent wasn't happy, and he learned an important lesson from the first week. He spoke to Tammy in private, and he gave her more personal space. He also did not point. He raised his concerns, and she did not agree with them. He let it go. That's the right way to handle it. It was good to have the discussion in private, good to let Tammy know he thought she was mistaken, and good to accept it when the PM laid down the rule.

Now, Brent has the potential for a free pass. He just needs to execute his assigned task well. Then he should ask Tammy twice more for additional responsibilities. If she doesn't assign any, he should just slip into the background. If the team wins, great. He doesn't get fired. If the team loses, it's not his fault, and he is unlikely to get fired. He can say, "Mr. Trump, I completed my assigned tasks perfectly. No one disputes that. On three separate occasions, I asked Tammy for additional tasks. I even offered suggestions. I didn't try to slip into the background or avoid work The PM turned me down each time, and told me to do nothing. She's the boss. I complied with her final, flawed decisions."

Instead, however, Brent tried to force his way into the task. Andrea was in charge of the graphics and working with the graphics designer. Brent kept jumping in and telling the graphics designer to do stuff, even after the PM told him to back off. I suppose his ego wouldn't let him do that.

It's too bad, because Brent is weird, doesn't quite fit in with the "popular" kids, and is not afraid to look silly. That made him interesting to watch. I really wanted to see him succeed. The underdog is always entertaining. However, he couldn't keep his mouth shut.

That still stands as the most important lesson on The Apprentice. Shut up. Just shut up.

This boardroom was also interesting. Trump was actually complimentary of the losing team. He said they did a good jump and didn't lose by much. He appears to have not agreed with the Post executives who chose Gold Rush as the winner. The Post people though Gold Rush was the big winner by far.

I have to agree with the Post executives. Synergy's billboard was way too complex. There were at least 6 fonts on it. There were a ton of words and the concept was not something a user could grasp in several seconds. For a magazine ad, it might have been okay, but for a billboard, it simply wouldn't work.

When Trump asked one of the Synergy team members what there slogan was, she went on for a about 15-20 words. That's not a slogan. That's a paragraph.

Overall, Brent left Trump no choice to fire him. If he hadn't, I would have expected Trump to fire Tammy or Andrea. Andrea was in charge of the graphics, and should have done a better job. It was too complex; too busy. There were too many fonts. A basic graphics no-no. She works in the graphics industry. She should know better.

Finally, I'll go back to the beginning. When Lenny and Tarek came back to the suite after last week's boardroom, after Theresa was fired, they explained that Trump fired her, in part, for note bringing Charmaine into the boardroom. Charmaine retreated to the bedroom to cry over this. Because she felt guilty.

There seems to be a lot more crying on The Apprentice this season than in prior ones. I know people have different ways of dealing with stress, and this is undoubtedly a stressful environment. At the same time it seems like these things should be easier for the contestants to deal with. These aren't beg surprises. If they can't handle this stress, then I can't imagine them being too successful in the long run.

NBC has a great deal of information about the show on its website, but for deeper look, visit the Yahoo! Site they shill every week.

The detailed instructions for the task are also on that site.


Is it Really America's Past Time?

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a book I've been reading, called Faster. I'm only halfway through it at this point. I suppose it's ironic that I haven't had the time to finish it yet, but that discussion would seem a bit trite.

In discussing the concept of the pause, an how unnatural it is for many people, the author states:

It is characteristic of baseball that in a "perfect" game, no one gets anywhere.

It is so simple. The best pitchers allow nothing to happen.

With the focus our country seems to have on going faster, being stronger, accomplishing more, going further, and generally pushing the boundaries, the quintessential American sport is about doing nothing.

Is that why we see the stories about steroids in the game? People pushing for more hits and homeruns? Is that why we here stories of owners making sure home field is a "hitters park"? All these things which seem to increase excitement in the game, are directly aimed at making sure there isn't a "perfect" game. People may go to a game to see hits, but does anyone leave disappointed when they see that rare "perfect" game?

Basketball and Hockey are all about speed and constant motion. But they are the third and fourth most popular sports, after Baseball and Football.

Football itself is another plodding game. While a shut out isn't referred to as a perfect game, it nonetheless appears to conflict with the normal pace of the modern American lifestyle. Football in many cases is about careful strategy and planning. It's about taking an action and then stopping and evaluating that action. It's about taking careful steps to the ultimate goal. From the defensive side, it's about holding back the competition. Just try to the stop them. Then, when you succeed, bring in your planners.

It seems like a very methodical approach that is far from the way many business and organizations operate.

So why is baseball so popular? Why is the "nothingness" of the perfect game so honored?

Perhaps it is a safety valve for the culture. Sort of a pressure release. Perhaps it is some simplified concept of nothingness that is though provoking.

Or maybe it's that with a baseball game, for 3-4 hours, a fan can simply stop and enjoy.


Why Cats are better than Dogs: Part 1

And Seaworld in San Diego, CA, they have a show called Pets Rule. It's basically a stunt show featuring a lot of dogs, come cats, a couple pigs, and a parrot.

I have no idea why this is part of Seaworld.

It's a fun show, in a stadium that accommodates several hundred people. It features dogs running obstacle courses and catching frisbees. There are a few other stunts the dogs do, too.

They also have trained cats. Now, you cat own-ees out there area already laughing at the concept. They had cats run particular routes and go to specific places on the set. They climb a little bit.

But while the dogs did stunts, pressed buttons, jumped in the pool, fetched frisbees, operated switches, and did other stunts, all the cats were willing to do was run someplace else on stage. They left the embarrassing tricks to the lesser animals.

That's why cats are better.

I'm talking about you, 2C

When sitting in the bulkhead row of an airplane (the one with the wall in front of you), you can't have anything at your seat for take off and landing. You have no underseat storage, so everything has to go in the overhead.

If you are not sitting in the road, you should put something under the seat in front of you and don't complain about the complete lack of space in the over head.

Once the plane takes off, and the bulkhead passenger takes down their bag form the overhead to work on their notebook, that space is not suddenly up for grabs. You should not go back to row 8 in coach, take your bag out of that overhead, and then stow it in that new space, just vacated by the bulkhead passenger, just so you can be closer to it. The bulkhead passenger is going to put there own stuff back there for landing. They least you can do is put that relatively small notebook bag under the seat in front of you. You have the space. And you're not 7 feet tall.

And, by the way, do not take off your shoes and then put your sweaty feet on the armrest of the person in front of you. That's rude, and the other passenger shouldn't have to put up with that.


Who am I?

What do Batman, Krusty the Clown, a college text book, Javert, the Beast, and Goofy have in common?

They are me.

When I recently pondered the question of "Who am I?" I decided to turn thto the same place I go for most of the questions I need answers to. I asked the Internet. There are dozens of sites with personatlity, IQ, and other tests that will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about yourself.

After all the tests, I'm not sure what they seem to be telling me. There are a lot of supporting characters in the list, who just seem to make things happen without being the star. Perhaps that means I am destined to be Chief of Staff, or the man behind the curtain, rather than President.

Some of the results appear below. Feel free to take some tests yourself and post the results to the Comments section.

Tests I took:

  1. Which X-Man am I?
    The Beast
  2. Which Sci-Fi Crew do I belong on?
    Deep Space 9
  3. Which Action Hero am I?
  4. Which Sci-Fi/Fantasy character am I?
  5. Which Lord of the Rings character am I?
    Gandalf the Grey
  6. Which Buffy the Vampire Slayer character am I?
  7. Which Princess Bride character am I?
  8. Which Simpsons character am I?
    Krusty the Clown
  9. Which Battlestar Galactica character am I?
    CPO Galen Tyrol
  10. Which Harry Potter character am I?
  11. Which Disney character am I?
  12. Which Les Miserables character am I?
  13. Which famous robot am I?
    Al Gore
  14. Which CSI character am I?
    Greg Sanders
  15. What literary product am I?
    A college text book
  16. Which Tim Burton movie do I belong in?
    The Nightmare Before Christmas

Which X-Man am I?

You scored as Beast. Beast is an intelligent, politcal spokesman for the X-Men. He has a Ph.D in Genetics and is well versed in literature. He may look like a blue fuzzy monster, but deep down he's very benevolent and logical. Powers: Enhanced strength and agility



Jean Grey










Emma Frost










Most Comprehensive X-Men Personality Quiz 2.0
created with

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Which Sci-Fi space ship crew do I belong on?

You scored as Deep Space Nine (Star Trek). You have entered the dark side of the Star Trek universe. The paradise of Earth is far from you and you must survive despite having enemies on all fronts. But you wouldnâ??t have it any other way because you thrive in conflict and will know what needs to be done to take care of those around you. Now if only the Founders would quit trying to take over the galaxy.

Deep Space Nine (Star Trek)


Moya (Farscape)


Nebuchadnezzar (The Matrix)


Babylon 5 (Babylon 5)


Andromeda Ascendant (Andromeda)


Galactica (Battlestar: Galactica)


Millennium Falcon (Star Wars)


Serenity (Firefly)


SG-1 (Stargate)


Bebop (Cowboy Bebop)


Enterprise D (Star Trek)


FBI's X-Files Division (The X-Files)


Your Ultimate Sci-Fi Profile II: which sci-fi crew would you best fit in? (pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Action Hero am I?

You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight. As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight


Captain Jack Sparrow


Indiana Jones


The Terminator


William Wallace


Lara Croft


Neo, the "One"


James Bond, Agent 007


The Amazing Spider-Man




El Zorro


Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Sci-Fi Character am I?

Which Fantasy/SciFi Character Are You?

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Which Lord of the Rings Character am I?

Known as Gandalf the Grey as a result of his long grey robes and hat, Gandalf was the wise and powerful wizard who initiated the quest to destroy the Ring. After travelling with the Fellowship for much of the way, he fell in battle in the Mines of Moria where he encountered a Balrog... or so it seemed!

Back to list of my tests.

Which Buffy the Vampire Slayer Character am I?

You scored as Tara. You're shy but loving. You're a witch and you love Willow very dearly.



















What character from Buffy the Vampire Slayer are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Princess Bride Character am I?


Which Princess Bride Character are You?
this quiz was made by mysti

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Which Simpsons Character am I?

You are Krusty the Clown

"I heartily endorse this event or product."

Take is quiz

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Which Battlestar Galactica character am I?

You scored as CPO Galen Tyrol. You never wanted to be a glamorous Viper pilot. You are happy knowing that without you to fix their birds, they cannot fly. You fell in love with the wrong girl, but is that so wrong? Maybe, but you don't really care.

CPO Galen Tyrol


Commander William Adama


Capt. Lee Adama (Apollo)


Dr Gaius Baltar


Col. Saul Tigh


Tom Zarek


President Laura Roslin


Number 6


Lt. Sharon Valerii (Boomer)


Lt. Kara Thrace (Starbuck)


What New Battlestar Galactica character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Harry Potter Character am I?

Pirate Monkey's Harry Potter Personality Quiz
Harry Potter Personality Quiz
by Pirate Monkeys Inc.

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Which Disney character am I?

You scored as Goofy. Your alter ego is Goofy! You are fun and great to be around, and you are always willing to help others. You arn't worried about embarrassing yourself, so you are one who is more willing to try new things.



Peter Pan




Sleeping Beauty




The Beast


Donald Duck




Cruella De



Snow White


Which Disney Character is your Alter Ego?
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Les Miserables Character am I?

You scored as Javert. Yay! Javert is clever, conflicted, and dedicated. He's is often described as evil, but really, he's just mislead. He is dark, mysterious, and lawful. Too bad he had to jump into the Seine.

Jean Valjean










What Les Miserables Character are You? (With Pics)
created with QuizFarm.com

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What type of Robot am I?

Click   here to find out what robot you really are

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Which CSI character am I?

You scored as Greg Sanders. You are Greg!

Greg Sanders


Jim Brass


Sara Sidle


Gil Grissom


Warrick Brown


Al Robbins





Nick Stokes


Which CSI character are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

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What type of Literary Product am I?

You scored as A college textbook. You're an authority on something, you just know it. Everyone else does, too, but that doesn't mean they like you. Since you think very highly of everything you say, you charge a pretty penny to entertain your listeners. Those forced to pay do so grudgingly and try to defray the costs of learning from you by selling portions of their access to your charms to others. As a result of this speedy dissemination of your knowledge, you constantly add to your repertoire--and then hike your price. Despite your usefullness, which is rarely in doubt, nobody likes you. They find you didactic, boring and irrelevant--but still necessary.

A college textbook


A classic



The back of a froot loops



A coloring book


A paperback romance





An electronics user's



Your Literary Personality
created with QuizFarm.com

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Which Tim Burton movie do I belong in?

You scored as The Nightmare Before Christmas.

The Nightmare Before Christmas


The Corpse






Charlie and The Chocolate



Pee Wee's Big



What Tim Burton movie do you belong in?
created with QuizFarm.com

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Apprentice Week 03: They Should have Hired Play Cole (or at least screened better)

Tonight's assignment on The Apprentice was to stage a retreat for Chevy dealers to introduce them to the new Tahoes. If it's still on your TiVo and you don't want to know what happened, you can turn away now.

Okay. Trump fired Theresa tonight because she failed the final test of a losing project manager. She didn't bring the right person into the boardroom. She broad Lenny and Tarek. She complained that Lenny was too independent and screwed up the generator issue. She took Tarek in because of the nasty golf course he built, and she already smelled the blood in water when Carolyn , who runs Trump's golf businesses, criticized him for it.

But Trump felt Charmaine should have been brought in. She hired and paid the offensive comedian. She hired the models to talk about the Tahoe, but didn't get them trained. Since Theresa didn't bring Charmaine back to the boardroom, Trump fired Theresa.

Overall, it wasn't a terribly exciting episode, but there are some lessons to be learned.

First, keep your cool in business. Theresa let her anger at Lenny and Tarek get the better of her. She was so upset with them, she didn't see Trump and Carolyn turn against Charmaine. In fact, Theresa was so focused on Lenny and Tarek, she didn't seem to notice Charmaine's failures.

Second, as Trump said in his "business lesson" segment, have a plan B. Theresa was stubborn and didn't have one.

Third, again, don't interrupt and argue with Trump. Trump was trying to be funny suggesting that since Lenny is a funny guy, he should have been the comic rather than the outsider. Theresa kept arguing this point, and rather unconvincingly. Let Trump rant about silly things like that. Arguing with him on the little things like this will not help you.

Fourth, who is the insurance carrier for this show? They had sales people climbing a rock wall, (planning to) shoot skeet, and racing golf carts. They must have given their underwriter a heart attack.

Fifth, screen your talent. Know who you are hiring. It seams Charmaine either didn't hear a sample of the comedian's work, or lay down the ground rules very quickly. The comedian certainly Wasn't appropriate for this type of event. Charmaine should have known this. If she at least had laid down some rules in the begin with, maybe she could have withheld some of the fee. ***Warning Waring Warning ** Shameless plug ahead*** She should have just hired Play Cole. Play Cole can keep it clean, unlike the comic bits the editors chose to show.

I have some other thoughts after watching this episode.

There has either been some very clever editing, or Andrea really has no place in the hard nosed business world Trump works in. When Brent walked in the door, and they saw he didn't get fired last week, lots of folks were disappointed (I of course was not one of them). Andrea, however, ran away, locked herself in the bathroom and cried. Now, Brent may not be easy to get along with, but if that's how she deals with him, she is gonna be in big trouble down the road because it is going to be a lot tougher than selling stickers in California.

In many organization, Lenny would have earned a quick trip to HR. Two member of his team had to sit out the competition today because they were observing a Jewish holiday. Lenny criticized them and called for them to be fired because he claimed they took the easy way out. Lenny is also Jewish, and chose to compete, so he saw no reason why they shouldn't. Trump defended them however, saying simply, "That's life." Of course, George Ross was also not working due to the holiday. At that point Lenny should have gotten the hint and stopped.

Carolyn and Donald went after Tarek in the boardroom for the horrible putting green. Tarak failed to mention, however, that he tried to order actual turf to have a much better set up, but in early clips, it appears Andre shut him down.

Andrea frequently shot down Tarak's approach and ideas, despite putting him in charge of the creative development process.

NBC is really pushing the shows closer together. Years ago, TV stations scrunched the credits off to the side to make room for more promos. This week, however, as Deal or No Deal was ending and starting to roll credits, they actuallly begin The Apprentice underneath the credits. That way they can reserve more time for ads.

The most brilliant campaign this season is Excedrin. They run a contest where they ask viewers to choose the biggest pain of the week on The Apprentice. How can you choose just one?

When did a retreat become a few hours in a city park?

Keep your cool.
Have a backup plan.
Screen your performers.


All Your Coffees are Belong to Us

If you're a fan of the Food Network, catch the special "Food Network Unwrapped." It's a behind the scenes look at what it take to make Rachael Ray, Mario Battali, Marc Summers, Giada De Laurentiis, and Emeril Lagassee look good. They talk with the food buyers, the production assistants, food stylists, and graphic artists.

I learned that all the labels on the food in Rachael Ray's kitchen are fake. To avoid showing logos, they have a designer whose job it is to invent labels for the jars, bottles, cartons and boxes.

What I found most interesting, however, is the chefs' affinity for Starbucks. While she's going through the walk through and reviewing her notes, we see Rachael Ray with a big Starbucks cup in her hand. Of course the logo was mostly covered by that insulating cardboard band, but enough of it showed through to be recognizable.

I would have thought there would be a good coffee or espresso machine somewhere at the Food Network studios. Or that downstairs from the studios, in the gourmet shopping center of Chelsea Market, there would be a coffee alternative -- an independent specialist better than anyone else in the city. And maybe there is. But Rachael must love her Starbucks, and I appreciate that.

Later in the show, they take us out to the west coast to see Giada's kitchen. They film the show in an actual residence. The garage is the prep kitchen. They took us on a tour of the garage and showed us the wide variety of stove top and other espresso machines -- essential tools for any italian kitchen, as Giada said. Of course, a few moments later, we see her meeting with her staff, with a nice big Starbucks cup in her hand.

West coast or East, Giada or Rachael, Food Network Chefs love their Starbucks.

Hotel Room Rituals

If you are looking to develop a new set of neuroses regarding hotel rooms, there are some good ideas here:


As much time as I spend in hotel rooms, I really don't worry about this stuff. I sometimes even leave the bed spread on the bed.


A Wall of Books Part 1

I'm a book junkie. There's nothing quite like a good bookstore -- especially an independent one. In Seattle, it's tough to beat the Elliott Bay Book Company. It's in an old brick building in Pioneer Square, above Seattle's famous Underground Tour.

The store is spread across multiple rooms, with uneven wooden floors, that creek when you walk around. Footsteps echo through the room. The air is thick with the smell of paper and quiet crowds filter through the aisle.

The bargain bin is in a loft and features a wide array of fiction, poetry, coffee table and other books. It was up there, that Jon and I uncovered one of the classic finds. A 16-CD audio book of Johnny Cash reading the New Testament. There's no witnessing quite like listening to the Man in Black reading the Book of Revelation in the Wisconsin night.

At this point, I figure I have somewhere between 500 and 1000 books at least. Plus 200-300 CDs. Amateurish compared to many, but I have lost track.

That's why I'm thinking of moving to a bar code scanner. Collectorz.com sells a book, movie, and CD inventory program that inlcudes a handheld scanner that reads ISBNs and UPCs and logs them into my system. I can download book information then, and maybe get a handle on library.

Then the next step will be to rearrange the shelves in some logical order. Most of my books are still where they ended up when I moved to Seattle from Mountlake Terrace. Of course in MLT, they were on the same shelves they ended up when I moved there from Boise. And when I was in Boise...well, you get the picture.

And maybe one day I'll finish reading them. For now, though, there are few things as comfortable as being in a room filled with books.

Political bloggers may get federal protection | Tech News on ZDNet

Political bloggers may get federal protection Tech News on ZDNet

I'll address this in greater detail at a later date, since I prefer not to rely on ZDNet for my political news, and something like this requires greater analysis, but the idea that by posting my thoughts I can run afoul of campaign finace laws is abhorrent.


As the intrepid settlers crossed the daunting Rocky Mountains, they had Penguins to lead the way

Early on I commented that Penguins had become trendy. That now continues.

Today at the San Francisco Airport (SFO), I saw this Frontier Airlines Airbus A319 parked at the gate.

Frontier paints different animal on the tails of all their jets. Typically, they are wolves, bears, rabbits, deer, and other iconic representations of the spirit of the American West.

I don't recall Lewis and Clark writing about penguins.


SeaTac (SEA) Becomes Passenger Friendly

Good news, everybody!

Starbucks is building a new location in the Seattle-Tacoma airport.

Those who hunt desperately for that caffeine hit in the C-Concourse have had a tough time of it. Sure they could have gone to the SBUX outside of security. Or the Tully's on the A-Concourse. Or the SBUX next to the A-Concourse security check point. Or the SBUX in the new Central Concourse. Or the Cafe Dilettante in the Central Concourse. Or the SBC in the D-Concourse. Or whatever is in the B-Concourse.

But that's not the point.

The only coffee option in the C-Concourse was the SBUX at the very end of it. There would often be a line out the door. It was not uncommon to see more than 30 people waiting to buy coffee, and hoping to have the opportunity before they need to abandon the line to go jump on an airplane. It's not that the service was slow -- there was just a lot of business and not enough room for more staff or espresso machines.

Now, however, the authorities are fixing this problem. The new location is right across from Gate C-10. It's a much larger facility in a less cramped area of the concourse.

Forget the third runway. Forget the baggage screening center. This is what matters.

No longer will passengers have to jump out of line to get on a flight. No longer will Alaska and Horizon flight attendants have to contend with caffeine deprived passengers. We will now have our coffee.


Apprentice Week 02: Dork Power!

*****Apprentice Spoiler Alert*****

If you do not want to know what happened on The Apprentice tonight, skip this post for today. That's it. Move along. Nothing to see here.
I was fairly please with tonight's result. Brent survived the boardroom, though most predicted he wouldn't survive for many more weeks. Brent doesn't really fit in with the rest of the candidates. He's kind of a dork. He's got a wackiness about him that the other candidates don't appreciate. So far, the other candidates seem to be like the "popular" kids in school, and Brent doesn't fit their image.

In his Bio on NBC has says the person he would most like to play him in a movie is Chevy Chase. Planes, Trains, and Automobiles is one of his favorite movies, and Green Eggs and Ham is one of his favorite books. So already I like this guy.

He is very good at coming up with ideas. That's one of his biggest assets and one of his biggest liabilities. In last week's show, he initially suggested a karaoke machine to get people into Sam's Club. The idea was quickly rejected by the group. Eventually, though, he did hit on the massage idea and things worked out well for his team.

He wasn't so lucky this week.

He continued trying to throw out ideas this week. According to the editing, Stacy, a criminal defense attorney kept interrupting him because she had no interest in his ideas.

So he decides to discuss it with her away from the other candidates. That in itself was a smart move. An important skill for managers that can apply to coworkers, too, is Praise in Public, Criticize in Private.

unfortunately, he did not do it well. He approached her outside the room in a narrow hallway and committed the cardinal communication sin of pointing his finger. She got upset and everyone else jumped all over Brent.

So the lesson is don't confront people in a small space. And never wag a finger in their face. Brent could have handled that better and kept it from blowing up like it did.

She claimed he threatened her, and that she was afraid. It seems a ridiculous accusation that Trump saw right through it. He did not believe that a criminal defense attorney would feel intimidated by Brent.

The team lost because of a failure of leadership. They ganged up on Brent, however. In the end, however, Trump saw that poor planning, poor management, and a poor location, and fired the appropriate people.

In past seasons, he responded when candidates ganged up on one member. When team members in season 2 said they were afraid of Staci J, because she was a little unusual, Trump fired her. This time, he dug a little deeper and fired the right people.

Brent is definitely a dork, a bit eccentric, and willing to make a fool of himself to win. He may not be as polished and "cool" as some of the other candidates, but he's got ideas. And he has a great work ethic. That's why he should stay.


The Seattle PI has a nice weekly wrap up of The Apprentice.

Earl not Reviled?

I just watched the recent episode of "My Name is Earl." I'm surprised it didn't make more news.
Without going deep into the plot, Earl and Randy climb a water tower hoping to get arrested for trespassing. They start waving the flag around on top of the tower and jumping up and down. They fall through the top, into the empty tank. They tied ropes around their waists so they didn't fall far, and ended up hanging in mid air inside the tank.

When they fell through, however, they dropped the US flag, and it spent several scenes crumpled on the floor of the water tank. Due to a continuity error, Earl is holding the flag as they lift him out at the end.

Overall, the flag contributed to a nice visual at the end, and a moonlanding/MTV guy joke earlier on, but it wasn't central to the plot. If it hadn't been a part of the show, it wouldn't have made any difference.

If this episode had aired in 1991, however, there would have been protests and letters to NBC demanding an apology and that the show be cancelled.

Back then, the far right was willing to go after a fictional character for becoming pregnant. They surely would have gone after a fictional character for dropping the flag.

There would have been hearings in Congress highlighting Hollywood's desecration of the flag as one more example of its complete disregard for and disattachment from the American Heartland. There would have been veteran's marches, and pundits would have swarmed the airwaves.

Then, there would have been the anti-censorship rallies, driving support for free speech and the rights of sitcoms to use the flag for whatever purpose was needed to suit the artistic vision.

There would have been renewed the debate about what the flag means.

But that hasn't happened today, and I find that interesting. In the era of the War On Terror (WOT) and accusations that those critical of the government are giving aide and comfort to America's enemies, this dropped flag seems to have escaped criticism. The desecration of the flag movement seems almost to have fallen out of fashion.

There is still an amendment to the Constitution pending in Congress right now that would allow Congress to ban desecration, but it has been stuck in sib-committee since last summer. A brief look back through congressional records indicates this movement is losing steam. Throughout the 90s, the proposed amendment would easily pass in the House, but then get stuck in the Senate because proponents were short a few votes. Now, however, it can't even get out of a sub-committee in the House.


The Nigerians have become Iraqis

I found this in my email today. It's always nice to see a new spin on an old scam.

83, Des Voeux Road.,
HK, Hong Kong.

Let me start by introducing myself. I am Mr. Ming Yang director
of operations of the Hang Seng Bank Ltd. I have an obscured
business suggestion for you. Before the U.S and Iraqi war our client Gen.
Hemood A. Hemood who was with the Iraqi forces and also businessman made a
numbered fixed deposit for 18 calendar months, with a value of Twenty Four
million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars only in my branch.

Upon maturity several notices was sent to him, even during the war which
began in 2003. Again after the war another notification was sent and still
no response came from him.

We later find out that the General along with his wife and only daughter had been killed during the war in a bomb blast that hit their home. After further investigation it was also discovered
that Gen. Hemood A. Hemood did not declare any next of kin in his official papers including the paper work of his bank deposit. And he also confided in me the last time he was at my office that no one except me knew of his deposit in my bank. So, Twenty Four million Five Hundred Thousand United State Dollars is still lying in my bank and no one willknow of it.

What bothers me most is that according to the laws of my country at
the expiration of 3 years and 6 months the funds will revert to the
ownership of the Hong Kong Government if nobody applies to claim the funds.

Against this backdrop, my suggestion to you is that I will like you as a
foreigner to stand as the next of kin to Gen. Hemood A. Hemood so that you
will be able to receive his funds.


I want you to know that I have had everything planned out so that we
shall come out successful. I have an attorney that will prepare the
necessary document that will back you up as the next of kin to Gen. Hemood
A. Hemood, all that is required from you at this stage is for you to
provide me with your Full Names and Address so that the attorney can commence
his job.

After you have been made the next of kin, the attorney will also
fill in for claims on your behalf and secure the necessary approval and
letter of probate in your favour for the move of the funds to an account
that will be provided by you.

There is no risk involved at all in this matter, as we are going adopt
a legalized method and the attorney will prepare all the necessary
documents. Please endeavor to observe utmost discretion in all
matters concerning this issue.

Should you be interested please send me your full names, private phone/fax and current residential address and finally after that I shall provide you with more details of this operation.

Your earliest response to this letter will be appreciated.

Kind Regards,
Mr. Ming Yang.

Always Wear a Helmet When Swimming

I'm sure this statue makes more sense when the fountain is running. I took these shots at about 8:00 one morning in May 2005. The statue is on Huntington Beach, CA, a short walk from Duke's, a great casual seafood restaurant on the beach.


Members Only Still Fashionable

I like Costco. They have a lot of great stuff, at some decent prices. I also like the bizarre nature of shopping for clothes, Plasma TVs, contact lenses, Dom Perignon, bulk soap, and giant boxes of Hot Pockets. Costco also has a great reputation for taking care of their employees, in stark contrast the Walmarts reputation.

The store is frightening because I can never seem to get out of there spending less than $200.

But there's that membership fee. I used to wonder why Costco charged it. Perhaps they could do more business by dropping it. It turns out, hower, that membership fees are Costcto's profits.

Here is an abbreviated version of the earnings report Costco released today.

(dollars in thousands, except per share data)

12 Weeks Ended 24 Weeks Ended
------------------------- -------------------------
February 12, February 13, February 12, February 13,
2006 2005 2006 2005
------------ ------------ ------------ ------------

Net sales $13,784,810 $12,412,578 $26,449,609 $23,752,522
Membership fees 269,766 245,499 532,320 483,558
------------ ------------ ------------ ------------
Total revenue 14,054,576 12,658,077 26,981,929 24,236,080

------------ ------------ ------------ ------------
NET INCOME $ 296,203 $ 305,452 $ 512,021 $ 498,605
============ ============ ============ ============


Net income for each of the periods reported correlates closely with net membership fees. In other words, without the membership fee, Costco just breaks even.

It makes it difficult for Walmart to compete with Costco on price, since Costco only needs to cover their costs with merchandise prices, rather get profit from them, as well.