Research & Development.

July 28th, 2005

The ability for constant change is an advantage in today's economy. One area that appears to see this most is in fast food. Sure the big players stick to what made them popular, but there is an increasing trend towards product development recently.

For many different "restaurants" in the fast food mold, adopting a new menu item seems to not require much more than buying into a proposal made to them by a supplier. Often times the new item is a different type of chicken in the same way more than using the same chicken in a new and exciting way. Note: Wendy's would be an exception to this, though their new and exciting ways are typically limited time engagements.

One that seems to have nailed the best way to use all of the same ingredients (for the most part) in different ways is Taco Bell. Sure "Mexican" food is based upon using the same four ingredients in different ways to make 7 different dishes, but try to get past that.

Consider the opportunity to work in R & D for Taco Bell. You sit in a "lab" (kitchen) and "run experiments on" (eat) various different "potential menu items" (tacos).

"Is this Jim?"
"Yes, may I ask who is calling?"
"Hi, Jim. This is Steve from Taco Bell. We found your resume online and we would like to set up an interview if you are available."
"What is the position?"
"It is a job in Research & Development. You will be conducting various tests and studies on our products in hopes of providing new products or viable product extensions."
"Oh?"
"Well, Jim. Basically you come in at 8am...or whenever. You get to work at a lab table that is covered in both hard and soft taco shells, marinated chicken, ground beef, lettuce, tomato and cheese. We want you to sit and play around until you can show your supervisor a "different" way to make a taco. You will be required to tell us if it tastes good or not. Unfortunately you will have to eat a lot of tacos...and probably some nachos."
"Steve, may I call you Steve?"
"Go ahead."
"Ok Steve. So you will pay me for this?"
"Well yes, of course."
"You will pay me to play with tacos?"
"We will. And we at Taco Bell like to consider ourselves competitive and we see what you are making currently as it is listed on your resume. If you make it through the interview process we would be willing to at least match your current salary. We feel that would be fair."
"Steve, I love you."

Would the use of illicit drugs be a requirement for such a position? Where do they find people for these vacancies? Do I actually have to be a scientist? Or would "single guy that lives alone" qualify? I know the target market better than some scientist anyway, right?

I need closure.

July 26th, 2005

Yesterday the Detroit Red Wings placed an 11-year veteran and fan FAVORITE Darren McCarty on waivers. No one worked harder on the ice. Mac was not necessarily the most gifted hockey player out there, but I want him on my team every time. Heading into this first season with the new Collective Bargaining Agreement is no different.

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Here is a player that simply made things happen for his team and for this city. He came through. Darren McCarty was a player any coach could count on. And now he and his $1.71 million contract are on waivers.

I need comfort. I need a voice to guide me. There is something I am not seeing here which has made the Re Wings go forward with this move. Where is Mitch Albom when I need him most? He has not written an article in one week. This is unacceptable. The Detroit Free Press got Bill McGraw to write the article. Bill McGraw? This is Albom-time. This is a story worthy of him and he is worthy of this story.

Mitch Albom, through thick and thin, has seen this great sports city flourish. He has been there to put many things into a necessary perspective. He has more than once helped us gain insight into Barry Sanders' retirement. He covers the status of the Pistons coach du jour. Darren McCarty being placed on waivers is a big deal. There are many Red Wings fans that are not happy. We are looking for that comforting perspective to guide us through this, yet another storm to hit Detroit.

If he is going to rant I will rant with him. Let us all storm the Red Wings organization together. If Mitch wants to tell us this is a calculated move that could not be avoided, then I want to hear it. But I do not want to hear it from someone else.

I am calling out Mitch Albom. Where is my story? You know you should have been on this one. I'm waiting...

Outraged.

July 26th, 2005

You may or may not be able to relate to the idea of having a "go to" lunch spot for a particular day of the week. I do not have one for each day of the week, well lately I do not have one at all. For a long time, every Thursday I would go to Cosi for their Chicken Corn Chowder.

An admitted soup lover since confronted by a close friend a few years back, few things in life matched up with Cosi's Chicken Corn Chowder. With their special bread, break off pieces and dip it in the soup...so good. The switch was made that Thursday was no longer the day. Monday was now the day. As Cosi does a "soup of the day", you had to be sure to be there on the right day to get the Chicken Corn Chowder. This was a minor inconvenience at most.

Then a few months ago I became inundated with work and school and luncheons and the like. Every Monday I seemed to have something else going on. My trips to Cosi became nonexistent. How I longed for those days, sitting at my table; book in one hand, soup spoon in the other.

It was time to take charge, which I did yesterday. Yesterday was my triumphant return to Cosi to claim the Chicken Corn Chowder that was rightfully mine. I know what you are expecting and no, they did not change back to Thursdays. They changed the soup! The absolute worst thing that Cosi could have done. They have a new and different Chicken Corn Chowder. This new version of the old favorite is unremarkable. There is nothing that sets this soup apart from other soups. Just when Cosi could count on regaining my business, this happens. I take it personally. This is a slap in the face.

I am outraged.

The Casual Biker.

July 25th, 2005

There is an issue that will probably now become epidemic. With Lance Armstrong in the news again as he won his seventh consecutive Tour de France, bike riding will become the new running.

As under-rated as bike riding is on its own, for exercise or even for fun, there is a serious problem. There are uninformed people in this world. I know, what with the internet and all, it is difficult to imagine people still have a hard time accessing information, but it happens. This relates to the practice of riding one's bike in their attire of choice.

Because you see Lance Armstrong and throngs of other riders on TV wearing Spandex or other compression materials, this does not mean you must do the same.

Because you walk into the sporting goods store or bike shop and see racks of Spandex or other compression materials, this does not mean you must buy them and wear them.

These articles of clothing are for the biking enthusiasts, not the casual biker. Do you honestly need a half a second less friction as you ride? Will the aerodynamicy really help shave time off your ride? The guys (yes, and girls) do it on TV because it actually matters to their plight.

You have no excuses. Stop now before it is too late.

DVD Purchase Update 072405

July 24th, 2005

Vive le Tour! Forever

July 24th, 2005
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"Vive le Tour! Forever," Armstrong said.

Congratulations to Lance Armstrong who won his record setting seventh consecutive Tour de France.

One of many articles on the 33 year-old and his accomplishment here.

Christopher Paolini

July 24th, 2005

Christopher Paolini, author of Eragon, will begin promoting his new book, and second in the Inheritance Trilogy, Eldest in New York and moving on to 22 cities.

A complete list of the tour stops is listed Here. Eldest

Appearance of note:
Michigan
Wednesday, August 31st at 7:00 pm
Borders Bookstore
3527 Washtenaw Avenue
Ann Arbor, Michigan

Eldest comes out on August 23, 2005. Preorder a copy Here.

Alternative cooling.

July 21st, 2005

I am seriously considering the addition of a ceiling fan to my bedroom. I had flirted with the idea when moving in; the determination then was that the ceiling was low. Ok, I apparently was looking at some other ceiling. Unless I am jumping up and down on my bed (I can't even stand straight up on my bed) it may be too low. Guess what...I lay on my bed. Maybe sit up if I'm reading or having a last minute IM-athon prior to catching the late train to slumber land.

Ceiling fans are great. They are a (relatively) quiet way to keep yourself cool on a warm day/night. Directly over my bed, a ceiling fan will serve two purposes (purpii?). The first purpose is that it will keep me cool at night. Having my a/c off during the day means I have to be home long enough before bed that my place can cool down. This is not always as easy as it sounds. Secondly, the fan would be just loud enough to provide some "white noise". I require some gentle, constant noise to relax my mind enough to sleep.

If I have guests sleeping on my couch/floor/popcorn machine I will not necessarily have to freeze them out by keeping my temperature at 65 degrees. I can warm up the thermostat to keep them comfortable and still be cool enough for me to sleep.

Looking at it written out now as I am, it seems silly not to get one.

July 20th, 2005

Behavior is a mirror in which everyone shows his own image.

Book of the Month - August, 2005

July 20th, 2005

High Fidelity by Nick Hornby

High Fidelity by Nick HornbyRob is a pop music junkie who runs his own semi-failing record store. His girlfriend, Laura, has just left him for the guy upstairs, and Rob is both miserable and relieved. After all, could he have spent his life with someone who has a bad record collection? Rob seeks refuge in the company of the offbeat clerks at his store, who endlessly review their top five films (Reservoir Dogs...); top five Elvis Costello songs ("Alison"...); top five episodes of Cheers (the one where Woody sang his stupid song to Kelly...). Rob tries dating a singer whose rendition of "Baby, I Love Your Way" makes him cry. Buy maybe it's just that he's always wanted to sleep with someone who has a record contract. Then he sees Laura again. And Rob begins to think (awful as it sounds) that life as an episode of thirtysomething, with all the kids and marriages and barbecues and k.d. lang CDs that this implies, might not be so bad.

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