Tag Archives: rant

Very Basic Steps

I grant you that I am a coffee snob– not of the highest order by any means, but I have a fairly particular set of criteria that need to be met in order for me to truly enjoy a cup.  I understand that for a LOT of people, drinking coffee is less about the enjoyment of the beverage, and more about getting a fix.  That is to say, they couldn’t give a shit what kind of coffee it is or what it tastes like, as long as it resembles coffee.

I have to take issue with this, for the same reason that I would take issue with someone that insists on drinking the milk after its expired– there is NO JUSTIFIABLE REASON to put yourself through that.  Let me go over just a couple basic steps you can take to improve y0ur coffee experience, all of which require virtually no effort, and none of which I routinely observe people doing:

  1. Wash the carafe on a daily basis. Most folks keep the coffeemaker in the kitchen.  The sink is right there, and there is probably dish soap nearby as well.  For those of you at work, if you have running water (and if you’re making coffee, you probably do), there’s no excuse not to as least wipe that mother out every day before you fill it back up.
  2. Wash your cup on a daily basis. Hey, why not take BOTH to the sink at the same time???
  3. Make an effort to clean the coffeemaker itself every 2 months or so. Do I sense a theme here?  Absolutely!  Yes, drinking the rancid remnants of pots gone by is affecting the taste of your beverage.  Mix up a clear vinegar solution (mostly vinegar), drop an empty filter in the basket, and run the vinegar through on a regular brew cycle.  Follow it up with 2 or 3 rounds of fresh water, just to rinse everything out.  I know that this is the hardest of the three steps, and the one least likely to be taken, but it does make a difference.

All right, then, back to my very mediocre cup of work-brewed coffee…

A Small Rant That Won't Fit In a Tweet

Most universities these days OFFICIALLY communicate with students via email– that is to say, electronic communication is every bit as important as the very few items you might get by post.  Oshkosh went as far as to collect signatures from students on a form that said, “yes, I understand how to check my email and that I have to read it.”  Milwaukee does not do that, but it doesn’t change the fact that most departments do not send out mail.

The most common grumpy comment from a student on that front?  “Oh, I don’t check that address; I just have [insert popular webmail app here].”  That is all well and good, because forwarding your campus mail to another address is dead frakking simple, takes 2 minutes, and you NEVER HAVE TO WORRY ABOUT IT AGAIN.  I cannot understand why this is such a huge hurdle for people.  What is it that makes them not do it?  Laziness?  Ignorance?  What?

Sometimes I want to slap people.

What the Hell Is Mind-Mapping?

I mean “what the hell is mind-mapping?” in a”what-the-hell-is-it-good-for” sort of way.  Lifehacker had a write up about mind-mapping software the other day, and the only other reason I thought of it is that they are really hot and bothered about the whole concept at work– to the extent that some outrageously expensive software licenses were purchased and they want us to plot all of our procedures and processes out this way.

I really don’t see the point.  Seems like a lot more work that it’s worth.  Since it’s a “free-form” medium, the first thing you have to do when you look at something like this is figure out what the system (if any) was for the person who made the “map.”  If you are making one yourself, you have to dream up a system.  It seems a lot more straight-forward and easy for collaboration if you work with a commonly-used, easy-to-understand model that people are trained on early in life.  Y’know, like an outline.

If anyone wants to describe to me how or why this is useful, I’m all ears.  But I don’t get it.  I guess I don’t quite get the extent to which we’re moving away from being a society that writes things down into one that draws pictures and puts stuff on TV.  In my mind, this mind-mapping phenomenon is an extension of that.


Folders Are Tags That You Don't Have To Guess At

Crotchety Old Internetter here:

Back in my day, we didn’t have TAGS!  When we bookmarked a website, it got added to a big list and we sorted it out into predefined categories, or FOLDERS, within that hierarchy!  Sometimes we would nest those folders, and sometimes we wouldn’t!  Sometimes we just let those bookmarks pile up until they got unruly, and we’d either sort ’em out into our folders, or we’d just get rid of ’em, and we LIKED IT!

These TAGS don’t seem all that convenient, anyway.  It’s a whole lotta folders you can’t see, the way I look at it.  So if you wanna sit there and dream up a bunch of WORDS to describe that LINK every time you mark one, g’head!  I ain’t gettin’ rid of my FOLDERS, no-HOW, for no-BODY!!

Yet Another Peeve

So I was thinking about how much I hate it when people here in WI bitch about winter, cold, short springs, etc., when they’ve lived here for many, many, many years. You’ve been here, you know about what to expect, if you don’t like it, then do one of two things:
– Move to someplace where you fucking like the weather
– Bitch to somebody who gives a shit
– Just shut the hell up all together
(My preference is for 1 or 3).

But then I was thinking about it some more, I think this peeve is actually a derivative of my abhorrence of small talk in general. Because if you think about it, why do people complain about weather? Because our experience of the weather is something that everyone shares, and so you can have a conversation about it with absolutely anyone who speaks the same language.

But at the same time, I don’t see why we have to complain to one another about the weather when there’s not a lot you can do about it, and since we all have experienced it already, you’re not gonna blow me away with some facinating new insight about weather.
“Did you notice how warm it is out there today?”
“Why no– my dermal layer has recently and mysteriously lost the ability to process external sensory input through nerve endings and relay that information to my brain. I’m sure you can imagine this really complicates processes like driving, holding a fork, and protecting myself from injury. But in addition to all that, it makes me thoroughly and genuinely interested in your experience of atmospheric temperature.
“What? No, I didn’t notice that my elbow is bleeding profusely. Thanks for pointing that out…”

If you know me, you know that I often have times where I don’t have lots to say, particularly to strangers, in large part just because I don’t enjoy/see the point of talking for the singular purpose of filling up silence.

How’s your day?


I was driving down to Milwaukee last night, listening to the Bucks game on the way.

I realized during the first commercial break that I have come to abhor advertising interruptions in all their forms.

I barely watch TV; most of it I catch via the interwebs or DVD. I have junk email accounts to keep any and all wasteful messages out of my inbox. I use extensions for Firefox to block ads of all sorts on webpages. I’ve put a garbage bag just inside the front door of my apartment so that I don’t even have to bring ads and flyers into the house.

Having to deal with commercials on the radio is annoying as hell. But how can you listen to live sports without them? I guess the lack of ads in all the other usual places has really made the ones I hear on the radio more acute.

This post in the “gosh-it-sucks-to-be-me” category… 😛

OK, well– off to a movie. Later, I’m meeting Michelle for some Valentiney good times. Enjoy yours (or don’t, if that’s what you’re in to).

Vista, Word, and the Internet

I had wanted to post something geeky that I was thinking about earlier in the week, and a post at Lifehacker gave me a good reason to jot those ideas down a little more cohesively.

Here’s basically a copy of my comment to the above-linked post:
I don’t really give a crap if Microsoft is evil or not, but by making almost nothing work well with old hardware, Vista seems like little more than a way for MS to cater to hardware vendors…

I’ve been running XP (and/or occasionally some Linux distro) on my desktop machine (a 1.3 Ghz athlon) since I upgraded it from Win 98 over 5 years ago. It still runs everything I need like a top.

It seems to me that new-software development curve has really dropped behind the new-hardware curve since XP has been on the market. Outside of cutting-edge gaming, what is everybody out there doing that you need to replace a computer every 2 years? Surfing the web? Listening to music? Burning a DVD? Writing a paper? Even on my 5-yr-old desktop: Done, done, done, and done.

So, I imagine there are other people in the same sort of boat, and I look around at PC sales plateauing, the only really good reason I can come up with for MS to show us this “new OS” (whose key features it seems could have just been in an XP SP3): force everyone who wants it to upgrade, whether they really need to or not.


After all, all the PC makers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Toshiba, etc., etc.) scratch MS’s back by packaging Windows with every unit they move. Eventually, it just makes sense for the software folk to reciprocate. It’s all about the benjamins, one way or another, and that’s true for every party involved.

Personally, this sort of crap makes me a lot more excited about the next version of Ubuntu, tentatively due in April. If the hardware support for my laptop (which is already pretty damn good) gets even better, it’ll be ‘bye-bye XP’ for the Bocko.

Less than Sane

It’s Wednesday, the 27th of November, 2002.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day.  This is a college campus I’m living on.  At least fifty percent of the student population has vacated the for the weekend already, bound for their parents’ or friends’ homes, their favorite ski destinations, or some other secluded refuge from the bustle of academia.

A PRIME TIME, one would think, to do some last-minute laundry before leaving on an extended weekend away, so that the load when one gets back is a bit lighter.  Ought to be able to go down the stairs, one would think, and find a silent, vacant laundry room, the majority of the kiddies already out the door, and dragging with them the bag of dirty clothes they’ll probably manage to convince Mom to wash for them when they get home.

NOT THE BLOODY CASE.  Nonono, at 9:30 AM on this day, the place is BOOKED SOLID.  ‘Nary a washer to be had!!  Even at 4 on a Saturday afternoon (roughly two hours after your average student will rise) in the heart of the fall, when no one has good reason to be anywhere but SHACKED UP IN THE DORM have I encountered such a high laundry demand.

I am perturbed.  More to come later on, things to do, then the previously-promised “last video.”