January 30, 2011


oakland, CA


oakland, CA


oakland, CA


oakland, CA

man with mannequin

oakland, CA

quote of the moment

"we're basically a rule following group."

-- middle-aged white woman, speaking to a ticket taker; oakland, CA

man in elephant suit

oakland, CA

crowd including man in elephant suit

oakland, CA

quote of the moment


-- highway billboard; mountain view, CA

January 28, 2011

quote of the moment

"the constitution is a shield, not a sword."

-- bumper sticker; SF, CA


mountain view, CA

January 27, 2011


golden gate bridge; marin side

January 26, 2011





wall sign


bust of herb caen

SF chronicle main entrance

January 23, 2011

quote of the moment

END your phone conversation
BEFORE ORDERING at the counter

-- restaurant interior sign; SF, CA

quote of the moment

"billy graham is for the hereafter. i'm for the here and now!"

-- jack lalanne

haiku of the moment

king's boss speaks no more
rowboats sit forever chained
jack lalanne is dead

quote of the moment


-- store sign; SF, CA

quote of the moment

"before 'frankie goes to hollywood,' nobody thought anyone was gay."

-- solid goldstein

January 22, 2011

trivium of the moment

the first album released on CD and offered to the public was billy
joel's "52nd street."

source: cnet

January 20, 2011

quote of the moment

"ladies and gentlemen, i've explained this at least several times, there
are five boarding groups."

-- allegiant air gate agent, LAS

quote of the moment

"do not engage in indecent, profane, loud or otherwise disorderly
conduct that could provoke a disturbance."

-- "bus safety guidelines," rental car shuttle bus; LAS

quote of the moment

"phenomenal use of the triangle by brahms!"

-- some XM station my rental car scanned through

January 16, 2011

quote of the moment

"world's largest pint glass"

-- building sign; las vegas, NV

January 15, 2011

quote of the moment


-- brewery sign; las vegas, NV

quote of the moment

"family charged 'death tax' for baby who lived one hour"

-- king 5 (seattle) web news headline

January 14, 2011

quote of the moment

"seattle officer: i had no 'reasonable alternative' but to shoot

-- seattle post intelligencer headline

January 13, 2011

the legendary stress-free nature of high tech

i ran across this quote in forbes (with my ***emphasis*** added)

Thanks partly to our infatuation with cellphone apps and cloud computing, technical positions have jumped to the top of the [best jobs] lists this year. The No. 1 job, software engineer, requires computer knowledge, skill with numbers† and an ability to design and create software. "We are in a technological revolution right now, and there is heated demand for software engineers," Lee says. *** The profession is considered a low stress one ***
with good pay and a positive hiring outlook.

and wanted to ask my tech pals about it.  good responses all around.  i wanted to hold them here for posterity.  although it's very rare for me to ask for reactions from people many people i wrote to did not respond (e.g. king feddy).  

(i was surprised by the lack of response, if for no other reason than high tech people would much rather talk than listen.)

this one from the instigator, who works at apple

Wow, what an insight.  Being a software engineer requires "an ability to design and create software".  If I had known that, I wouldn't have hired so many idiots over the years.

As to your highlighted comment, I would say that if you work in a large, poorly managed organization with no accountability, any job can be low stress, especially if you're a sociopath.  This isn't unique to programming.  :)

this one from the birdhead, who works for tape library people in the US west

Heh. Speaking as someone who's been through the medical meat grinder for the past 2+ years due to stress-related issues, I would be to differ. My Temporomandibular joint is trashed, I suffer from chronic tension headaches, now I'm recovering from medication overuse syndrome on top of that.

Of course, I also work for people that have turned into nutcases, so I'm not sure it's the job so much as *my* particular job. I didn't have any of these issues for the first 12-13 years of my career.

this one from cap'n happy.  formerly at apple and now marketing mercenary.  deeply political in his thinking, it's worth knowing that he's never actually voted.   mildly incoherent in his writing, it just adds bite to what he's trying to say.


The fact is in the past couple decades the best paying jobs have been in the
public sector.

Working for state or local government earns you a higher salary, better
healthcare, AND a pension.

If you're a programmer, you're working much longer hours and for much less
pay. The public pension alone would earn you more than you make as a
software engineer.

Many of the pension plans are paying out MORE in retirement than the
employee made during their working career.

Consider the broke state of Illinois (which is about to declare bankruptcy),
and specially the broke city of Chicago.

Chicago firemen with 20 years or more of service in 2010 averages more than
$1.3 million.

The average value for retired Chicago policemen exceeds $1.2 million.

The average value of pensions received by Chicago municipal employees with
30 years or more of service reaches almost $1.2 million.

The average value for retired Chicago laborers exceeds $1.4 million.

netflix and the culture of fear

special K forwarded a netflix article to me (http://www.businessinsider.com/netflix-culture-of-fear-2010-12) ... i immediately passed on to a close pal who works there and got the following great response ... although i still haven't read the original article, i wanted to track the response for posterity.



I read at least one of these.  But I really have to disagree.  If you walk around the halls at Netflix, it really seems like any other company.  I think I spent the first couple of months when I got here wondering if I would take a bullet.  I didn't know anything about streaming or security and made the usual NOOB mistakes.  But I didn't get sniped.  Now I am totally secure in my job and really like it.  I make jokes about the sniping, but I don't worry about it.  And I really don't see others worrying about it either.

I think if you are one of the people Netflix let go, it would be easy to claim that there is a culture of fear.  You were probably one of the 10-percenters that was actually worried about getting fired the whole time you were here.  Netflix doesn't go for sitting around.  They want the ones that are a little more OCD than that.  I can name 5 or 10 people from Danger days that would be fired here at Netflix.  At Microsoft, they "manage out" the bottom feeders.  They will spend 6 months or more "managing someone out".  At Netflix, that process is a lot shorter.  But it's really the same process.

It's hard to explain an environment where people get let go on a regular basis.  I have tried several times lately and people always freak out.  "Oh, that sounds draconian" or some response like that.  I guess it's really rare.  But for me it's hard to describe the one shot environment as well.  As in you get one shot to hire someone and then you keep them no matter what.  Whether they fit or not.  Whether they do good work or not.

I would say the Netflix environment is much less likely to produce the Kin.  But we'll see.

it's that time of the month again ...

... which means i'm starting -that's right- another 'blog.  this one, a fanzine dedicated to my favorite fast food place: sonic drive-in.

January 11, 2011

soda 12-packs ...

... done in relief in the shape of an american football (with goal posts
to the sides)

-- las vegas, NV

January 10, 2011

quote of the moment

"'what is the what' lost boy casts sudan vote"

-- NPR web headline

January 08, 2011

quote of the moment

"Biologists have anatomically confirmed that a hairless animal shot by a
man in Nelson County nearly two weeks ago is not a chupacabra."


January 07, 2011

quote of the moment

"it's only an alcohol 'problem' if you let it be. otherwise it's just
alcohol fun!"

-- "gerardo" on a CNN 'blog comment

January 06, 2011

quote of the moment


-- billboard; las vegas, NV

quote of the moment

"I do not believe it is the job of the federal government to *teach* us
anything. It is simply part of the apparatus of compulsion and coercion
whose job it is, at most, to [maintain] the basics of social order. When
we allow it to become our Teacher we are elevating it to a role for
which it has no comparative moral authority. Why should *its* values be
authoritative? Why not *my* values? Why not *your* values?"

-- Mario Rizzo

January 05, 2011

quote of the moment

"don't speak of gambling as though it is a commodity or raw product.
you have to look upon it as a pastime."

-- meyer lansky, page of journal open at the mob museum; las vegas, NV

January 04, 2011

quote of the moment

"loosest ATMs in town

-- billboard; las vegas, NV

quote of the moment

"in the course of a year, about half the birds that are around die --
even under the best of circumstances. the life of a bird is brutish and

-- greg butcher(!), director of bird conservation for the national
audubon society

January 03, 2011

large lava lamp base

summerlin, NV

yucca with snow

red rock canyon national conservation area, NV

quote of the moment

"ingredients: ancient sea salt"

-- label on a bottle of "redmond realsalt -- ancient all natural sea

haiku of the moment

in modern desert
an irregularity
leaf covered snowman

jamms menu item

las vegas, NV

quote of the moment

"Without the truth of the people, politics degenerates into mere
spectacle and democracy declines, leaving demagoguery and cynicism to
fill the void."

-- jerry brown's (3rd) inaugural address as governor of CA

quote of the moment

"at this point in my life, i did not come here to embrace delay and

-- jerry brown's (3rd) inaugural speech as governor of CA

quote of the moment

"i love the intellectual type, they know everything and suspect

-- zsa zsa gabor

January 02, 2011

quote of the moment

"music is more dangerous than motorcycles."

-- bo3b

quote of the moment

"if i can bend over, i'm not done."

-- zz, on the proper way to know when you're finished eating

quote of the moment

"the ipod is a business predicated on piracy."

-- bo3b

quote of the moment

"i'm geetered to hub."

-- zz

quote of the moment

"in nursing homes, two-thirds of the residents have some dementia."

-- NYT

January 01, 2011

quote of the moment

"compromise is always the deal when you're with other humans ... that's
why i live by myself."

-- bo3b

quote of the moment

"las vegas is nothing if not random."

-- zz