Browse Month: July 2017

PII everywhere

I just called to make a reservation for dinner tonight at a nice Italian restaurant. Kyra’s birthday is coming up, and she really likes a place in Denver. The hostess asked me for a name and I said “Kyra”, and she asked if that was her last name. Nope. “I need a last name.” I said “Can’t you just put ‘Kyra’?” but she was insistent that it’s simply not possible to hold a reservation without a first and last name. Sigh.

Just a few minutes later I logged into my T-Mobile account so I could download my latest bill. I was informed that my profile was incomplete, and I needed to provide a first and last name. Heaven forbid I look at my T-Mobile account without providing my name!

I get increasingly frustrated by all of the companies who demand personally-identifiable information for every transaction. I’m supposed to give my phone number to get “rewards”, my ZIP code to receive “targeted offers”, my email to “link to my account”, and on and on. Of course I’m not ignorant: I’m well aware that my digital footprint is substantial, and all kinds of marketing companies and web providers know a ton of stuff about me (and share it amongst themselves). Still, I feel like I need to take little steps whenever I can to protect that information and avoid the all-too-common problem of identity theft these days.

So, T-Mobile, you may now refer to me as Mr. Grey.

Yum…?

Note to self: Don’t eat at Taco Time.

Another stumper

Last night Zaque was pondering the mysteries of the universe and came up with this one:

Would Jesus ever trip on a rock?

Because of course Jesus knows everything, so he’d know there was a rock on the road about to trip him, right? Hmm.

Why is this better?

One of my clients is a pretty big company, and they just sent an email saying this:

In our effort to increase working capital… we have improved our average Days Payable Outstanding (DPO). However, a recent benchmark study has shown that we have lost ground to our competitors.

Okay, so they’re saying they’re getting better at paying invoices (like the ones I send to them), but they’re still behind other companies. That’s good to know, and I’d expect them to do something to gain back that ground. They go on:

We believe the most critical action we can take to improve our DPO is extending terms, improving our competitive position to invest in growth and make strong financial decisions.

Umm… what?

Because they’re losing ground in the number of days it takes them to pay their suppliers, they’re going to… intentionally increase the number of days it takes them to pay their suppliers.

I’ll never understand big business, I guess.

Great Red Spot

Juno has been orbiting Jupiter for just over a year now.

A couple of days ago, during one of its “perijove” encounters (closest pass to the cloud-tops of the planet), it snapped some photos of the Great Red Spot. NASA released the raw image data to the public, and many people took the opportunity to combine, colorize, and edit the photos into works of art. Here’s one I particularly liked:

It’s amazing to think that this massive storm, which has persisted for hundreds of years (as long as we’ve been able to observe Jupiter through a telescope), is more than twice the size of our entire planet. It’s stunning and humbling and beautiful and scary all at once.

Bug blood

As we were driving through the hinterlands of Wyoming over the past few days, we were remarking on all of the bug splats on the windshield of the van. There were a few “juicy” ones– apparently pretty large bugs. I noticed that all of them had more or less clear liquid, and I commented about that to Laralee, which made us wonder (well, made me wonder, anyway) why bug blood isn’t red.

So last night at dinner I opened Wikipedia to take a look, and learned that insects don’t have hemoglobin like vertebrates do… instead, they have something called hemolymph. It’s a (generally) clear liquid that serves more or less the same purpose of distributing oxygen to the internal organs. I was fascinated to find out that insects don’t have circulatory systems, either: no arteries or veins, just an ocean of internal fluid that sort of washes around inside their exoskeleton and bathes the organs in nutrients. Their hearts slosh the fluid around a bit, and in fact they can push it into certain parts of their bodies as needed.

Science is so cool. And I love learning something new every day.

Stumper

The other day Zaque turned to me and out of the blue asked:

Would you rather have a head the size of a golf ball, or the size of a watermelon?

I thought for a moment and decided that a golf-ball-sized head would be pretty fun simply for practical joke value (Headless Horseman and all that). Zaque told me that he felt like a watermelon head would be much better because you couldn’t possibly eat a burger with a golf-ball-sized one. In fact, you’d pretty much have to drink everything through a straw. Good point.

This is the kind of thing that sloshes around the head of my kid.

Little America

On our trip out to Utah a few days ago, we stopped at Little America in the middle of Wyoming. Why? 75-cent ice cream cones, of course. They advertise for about two hundred miles across the plains, building the tension until you can’t stand it and simply have to pull in to get a helping of soft-serve bliss.

Before heading in, I couldn’t resist a picture of Zaque riding the dinosaur.

He looks a little off-kilter because the dinosaur’s skin was approximately 150 degrees after baking in the hot afternoon sun. I was going to have him take my picture as well, but climbing onto that boiling-hot green didn’t work out.

While we were there, we continued our time-honored tradition of trying on a few hats. There’s nothing quite like over-priced, poor-quality hats sold at a gas station.

And then, to top it all off, I loved this little gadget:

Now I know the secret of those “alluring wind in your hair selfies”. It’s Hollywood magic!

Thrilling

I brought my point-and-shoot camera to pickup ultimate today and took some pictures of the action. When I was on the field I handed it to a bystander and asked her to capture a few shots of me being awesome. This is what came of it:

Wow.

So that’s me throwing to… someone. And my defender, Trevor, apparently strolling up to mark me. And two people in the background, also taking a nice easy walk. I’m sure there were plenty of people running around, and the throw was probably amazing, but boy, in this picture it looks like the most boring sport ever.

I guess I’ll bring a camera next week and see if anything better turns up.

Chicky chicky

Zaque’s been officially working at Chick-fil-A for about a week now, and yesterday we decided to visit and see him in action. Given the choice of working in the kitchen or handling customers, he opted for the latter. It’s perfect, given his outgoing and somewhat goofy personality.

Of course his name tag says “Zaque”– I wonder how many people ask about that. And his hair is… well, enough said. He told me if anyone at the restaurant forgets their name tag for the day, they have to wear the “backup” name tag, which says “Earl”. I think it’s pretty funny that Chick-fil-A has a backup name tag, but even funnier that it’s Earl.

As far as summer jobs go, this is a great fit for Zaque and he’s excited to work. I can’t ask for much more…

A beard? Nah.

At Laralee’s suggestion, I decided to grow out a beard. For about two weeks I trimmed my neck hair and let the rest run wild. This morning, as I evaluated it, I realized that I simply can’t grow a sweet beard: the hair on the side of my face is too sparse, so even though it had grown a reasonable quarter-inch, it looked like it was barely five o’clock shadow.

I took a razor to it, but of course had to experiment with a few options first. Here’s the Amish look:

And the “chin stubble”:

But in the end, I just went back to the clean-shaven look:

Maybe my goatee will make a reappearance someday, but I’m pretty sure the beard won’t.