I was trying to find an important email in my inbox this morning. The problem is I don’t ever throw any emails away so my inbox had ballooned up to over fifteen thousand emails. That is just in my primary email account. I have five different email accounts so it has become unruly. So I decided it was time for a cleaning. The oldest email was from 2008, it was a receipt for something I bought. I started just going down the list but found this way too slow. I then had a thought to sort them by whom they were from. Just the emails from twitter and Facebook took me down to under ten thousand. Next newsletters from electronics stores a book club and iTunes took another fifteen hundred or so. Slowly but surely taking out all the mass mailings and updates from old jobs or companies I used to do business with got me down to under six thousand. The problem is now I need to go through those and figure out just what really needs to be kept. I hate to throw any of those away because I know once I get rid of one I am gonna need it! I tell you this as a cautionary tale, as I wait here for the over eight thousand emails to delete from the trash. I am tempting fate. The last time I let it get this bad I spent a week recovering the box because it crashed before I could get it done. Let me be a warning to you, clean it up before you lose it all!
I just had an interesting talk with an Ultra marathoner. You know, these people must really hate themselves! I am training for a marathon and I know my body is about to revolt. My knees haven’t stopped screaming at me since I began and I think my kidneys have an ad on Craigslist for a new host. That is for twenty-six miles, the ultra-folks do fifty to one hundred miles. I cannot even fathom riding a bicycle that far let alone making my body go that far on my own feet! Fifty miles at a rate of six miles an hour is eight and a third hours, that would be if, and that is a big if, I could run the whole way. Walking at a three-mile an hour pace would be sixteen hours forty minutes. I am not sure what it would be if you crawled but I am sure that would be my time. All the race officials would have gone home by the time I came across the finish line, assuming I actually cross the line. It is more likely you would find me in the fetal position in a gutter choking on some runners GU way before the twenty-sixth mile! I have to admire the shear craziness that they must have to do this to themselves, maybe if they had pie or In n Out burgers every two miles I might attempt it, I would at least sign up thou I might not get past the first food stations.
I now refer to myself as a fat guy in a skinny guys’ body. The reason is I still have to fight daily to not gain weight. I look at food and I gain weight, all the things I love, burgers, fries, ice cream all of them conspire to make me eat them. So every day I count my calories and I exercise every other day trying to keep all the fat clothes in the back of my closet on the hanger. I see people who can eat anything they want and I hate them, they eat and eat and what happens? Nothing, I had a friend when I was younger who couldn’t gain weight, he would drink protein powder in gallons of milk, eat steak and potatoes every night for dinner and his great accomplishment was five pounds. I can gain that by dinner tonight even if I skip breakfast! I see people doing the cleanse or some other healthy thing and I cringe, I just can’t get myself to do those, all that work to eat my lawn in a blender or spend a week within arm’s reach of the restroom seems less appealing than having my toenails torn off with pliers! I guess we all have our own way of keeping healthy or at least attempting something close to healthy. So to all my friends out there trying all those things to get back into a shape other than the one you are, I raise my sixteen ounces of water in a non-PABA plastic bottle!
This week is the Holy Grail for advertising, the Super Bowl! While millions will be spent on slick production and product placement, I can’t help but compare that with what I hear and see on local outlets to the millions that spent on national TV. There is a commercial playing now for an eye surgery clinic which tries to tell you that you will find true love, get in shape and run faster if you have your eye’s sliced up by their laser. I am sure we all believe it takes perfect vision for us to find love! Not commitment, not integrity, but lasers to the eyes. It is downright stupid to believe that eye surgery would change your prospects, unless shallow self-absorption is the goal. I especially like the small talk at the end of the commercial that has to explain that the surgery will actually give you none of those things. Like the car commercial that has to state that you can’t jump your car on to a moving train, we have to make sure the lawyers have kept us from any possible litigation. As ridiculous as this commercial is, why should spending millions more to tell us our life would be complete if we just drink a specific soda or beer be any less ridiculous? Better actors, better scripts, funnier cartoon characters and cute animals will be pranced in front of us all in the name of telling us we are unhappy unless we get our hands on said product. So as I watch the Super Bowl and enjoy the game and the commercials, I will keep it in perspective, which team wins and what commercials I like will not affect who I am and if I am happy!
Florida seems to have a bit of a snail problem. Someone has introduced giant African snails into the environment and they are destroying natural habitat like nothing else. As if Florida doesn’t have enough problems already. You have natural predators already then people started releasing pythons now giant snails. If you add in all the retired North Easters I would say Florida has all the problems it can handle. Apparently back in the sixties they had this problem and it took them a decade to get rid of these things, now someone has reintroduced them and they have to go through it all over again. Just to be clear these things eat plants, stucco, small creatures and all other snails so getting rid of them is a priority. These snails according to reports have been taken all over the world by people making issues for countries all over the map. The global nature of our world today is making it less possible for local economies and environments to stay “Local”. I watch those epidemic movies on TV and I cringe at the fact that we are a cruise ships and an international flight away from any germ anywhere in the world, Just ask all the people on the Royal Caribbean cruise on its way back to Jersey.
In 1982 I graduated from High school and got a job at a print shop as a driver. The company was new and thanks to the business climate they grew real fast. I was able to move up really quickly and they gave me opportunities to learn a trade. I did a three and a half-year apprenticeship in film assembly, known in the business as a stripper. (No jokes about the other version of a stripper) Just as I was completing my time a big shift was coming in the business, the owner started buying computers and image setters to output what some people were sending us on disk. Until that time what I had done was all done by hand, yet within a few years all of that business changed over to computers. I sold a jet ski to pay for the purchase of a Macintosh computer a “CI” and I enrolled at the community college to take computer classes at night. I watched the business go from taking weeks and hundreds of dollars to produce a brochure to taking a few hours. The company I worked for struggled like many companies did until it closed as more and more of this work consolidated into new faster smaller shops that could produce the jobs cheaper. Today the entire Pre-press industry is gone. Mine is just one story, there are many more stories of how the last thirty years of computers changed the business landscape. Not just some of business has changed, every aspect of how we now do business has changed accounting to shipping there isn’t a department that isn’t using computers and other tech to do things faster, cheaper and better! As Apple celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the Macintosh, I am grateful I was able to grow and learn my way into a new field of work, and I can’t help but wonder what the next thirty will look like?
There are certain times when my youth comes up and slaps me in the face. Some of it is dumb things I did as a kid, like taking a nap after getting my head split open with a rock (I found out you aren’t supposed to take a nap after a concussion) or when my brother and sister pushed me into the coffee table and I started having a seizure. Those things make me shake my head and wonder how I am still alive. Other things make me wonder how the world has survived. Today I heard Captain and Tennille are getting divorced. How did we survive the seventies? This was the time of horrible music like these guys mixed in with bands like Led Zeppelin. The spectrum of music on the radio was never wider and a lot of it should have never made it past the first round of Star Search! (Star Search was the American Idol of its day, only much worse!) The clothes, the music all of it was in need of a giant bonfire to rid the earth of it but instead it was shown on our TV every night. Other than my poster of Farrah Fawcett I cannot think of many redeeming things from the whole decade! I know I am generalizing about a whole decade, I am sure good things came out of it, I just wish I could remember those things over the musk-rat lovers!
I did it again this year! I waited until it later in this month to look for the tax forms I need. I have to file a couple of 1099-misc for people who did work for our Non-Profit ministry. I have to file just two but the smallest pack they sell at the store is a ten pack. And like every year they are out of them. So my choices are getting down to having to buy a pack of twenty-four or at some stores they only have the fifty packs left. Our library doesn’t carry the forms so the only other place to get them is at the IRS office on the other side of town. I always wait and then I always scramble to get them done. The annoying thing is that nothing changed on the forms from last year except the year printed in the corner. I still have eight from last year I could use if they would just allow me to print the year in the upper left corner. But no, I will end up with a stack of leftovers once again just because we can’t figure out how to do these electronically unless we have a hundred people working for us.
For those of you who are fans of “The Princess Bride” you know the line about classic blunders. For those who don’t click on the photo for a YouTube link. I love this movie and the classic blunder line is one of my favorites. While getting into a land war in Asia is not advised I was reading about some of the classic blunders in the tech business. There are some giant goofs to be sure but there are a few that are my favorite.
1. Hiring a soda company exec to run your computer company. Apple made one of the biggest, and it almost killed the company. While he may have been a good business man he had no idea how Apple was run or its business model. One thing I think Apple has finally learned is that it is not like any other computer company, maybe it will get them to the future without all the drama of the nineties!
2. Choosing a Lawyer to run your computer company. Microsoft is now trying to replace its CEO with someone new. I saw an article showing some of the top candidates. One is from Ford, another from a Venture capital firm. They all look like good business men and that is the problem, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs lived and breathed technology. For all I know they could have been lousy at business. They loved what they were creating and drove others around them hard to make it better. It will be tough for someone to just look at the bottom line and fix what is wrong at Microsoft.
3. Xerox PARC. This research facility had the first networking, graphical user interface using a mouse, WYSIWYG text processing and printing all created by its own people and had no idea what to do with it. So it let them all slip away to other companies and they create the computing world we know today. Imagine how different the tech world would look today if Xerox had taken what it had and produced it. Many will say that it would have been difficult for Xerox to have done all the things the other companies who took this tech did with it, but it is staggering to even think about what might have been!
Ever have one of those days when you get to work and the next thing you know it is the afternoon? You wonder where the day went. Why is it that those days can’t happen more often? It never seems to be on a Friday when I want to get out of work. Those drag on and on. They always seem to happen when I have too much to do and not enough hours in the day to get them all done. Some days I can sympathize with coal miners they grind on and on and no matter how much I shovel the pile never gets any smaller. I wish I could spread it all out so every day was even in the amount I need to get done, but I know that will never happen. The work flows downhill, among other things, when my boss gets a request to get something done it isn’t like I will get to sit at my desk and day-dream. Hey I have no hate for work, let’s face it, I have a lot of friends who are out of work right now. I am glad to be gainfully employed and working for an organization that is doing good around the world. It could be much worse, so complaining isn’t what I am going to do. I just thought I would muse about the rate of which work flows. But really who care today, its Friday!