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Exit ArchiveArchive for the "My Life" Category

Many moons ago, our building instituted a policy where the trash cans in people’s offices or cubicles were not longer to be used for trash, only for recyclables. If you have any trash to throw away, you have to walk it to a common area.

Now, think about that: every time you use a Kleenex, every time you have a small piece of food or a wad of tape or a soiled napkin or bloody gauze, you have to walk that trash to some common area. For some people, that means walking across the building to a kitchen or copier room.

A thoughtful building management company would have thought to do both: empty your trash and empty your recycling. But not our building.

For a long time, the janitorial staff has been just emptying our garbage anyway. But a while back, that stopped. I didn’t even realize it until about a week later. By then, my can was filled with apple cores and tissues and those gross parts of the mini carrot you have to bite off because it’ll taste like stem if you don’t. So I decided that I’d try it out. Maybe I can put my trash can in the kitchen every night to be emptied. Of course, that didn’t work well. My trash can is my last thought as I leave here every day.

So I came in today and had the following polite but infuriating note placed on my keyboard:

Well, that’s it, you jokers. Time for one of my patented rant letters. Here it is. It won’t affect change, but at least they have no doubt that one more person here hates the stupid policy.

Hello.

I know that the Tower’s poorly-thought-out “no trash in trash cans” effort has been more strictly enforced in recent weeks. I was going to try to be okay with the new crack-down and empty my own trash can myself whenever I remembered to do so. However, I found one of the “Oops!” notices this morning on my keyboard, and so I have to get this off my chest.

Recycling pick-up is not an every-day need. Trash pick-up is.

I already walk to the kitchen to rinse out things like bottles, cans, lunch containers, frozen meal trays, yogurt cups, etc., so they can be properly recycled in the blue or green bins. I will not also be walking to the kitchen every time I blow my nose or pull off the non-recyclable top to a food container or dispose of leaves that have fallen from my plants or when a napkin has been soiled or when a piece of gaff tape has been pulled off a box or when a raisin or a cashew or a piece of lettuce from a sandwich has fallen on the floor etc. etc. etc.

Dry recycling—which I assume is really just clean paper, clean cardboard, and non-soiled plastics/glass/metal—does not need to be emptied every day. It does not rot, does not pose a threat of vermin or mold, does not smell. Trash, however, is another matter. It should be picked up and disposed of every single day. Office buildings have been doing this as a courtesy to their tenants for countless decades. (Citation needed, of course, but I think you get the gist.)

The “let’s all recycle!” message The Tower is trying to use for this program comes off as insincere, just some marketing speak wrapped up in a desire to get some kind of tax-incentive building accreditation and to, perhaps, cut costs. If The Tower really wants to “save our planet,” then they should have added an in-office and in-cubicle recycling program to the standard trash service. Two containers would be swell—most of us had two containers anyway! Why not empty the trash every evening, then empty trash and recycling once a week? Say on Fridays? Still a bump in cost, but then the program is truly about the tenants and making our lives here better and not just about other, building-selfish concerns.

Perhaps it’s petty to complain about something that, in the end, takes only a few more moments out of the day. But that could be said about The Tower, too, asking us to do what has been their job. The flawed logic of this program is what gets me so riled. So is the lack of input from the people who actually have to live here every day. So is the inequality of people of a higher pay grade and with nicer offices having their trash emptied without complaint.

So I will not be walking every single piece of trash to the kitchen. I will continue to throw it into my trash can, because that’s what it’s for. If I forget to then walk that receptacle to the kitchen every night before I leave for home, and continue to do so for a week or more, then so be it. I’ll get to it when I remember to do so. If it’s now my job to be a janitor for my office trash, then I’ll get to it when I can, and I’ll thank The Tower for not meddling in what is now my personal business.

Thanks for listening.

–Steve

Here’s a blast from… er, a time long ago.

In 1991, I got to act in a few sketches for a Bridgewater, Massachusetts cable access show called The Cutting Room Floor, created by Bob Caron and David Almeida. Christian Roman wrote most of the episode. My B.U. friends Catherine, Synneve, Karl, and Seth were in the show as well. I did improv in college and then professionally in Boston with Seth and Chris, and professionally in L.A. with Seth after 1994. Catherine, Karl and I made A Pound of Flesh in 1993, in which Seth had a part. None of us had anything to do with Mr. Belvedere: The Golden Years in 1997.

Enjoy this ridiculous but often rather funny piece of local cable access TV history and read more about it on the official Vimeo page. You can also see the other episodes there.

Watching this now for the first time since 1991, I remember how Chris and I both loved Monty Python. We had re-created a couple of their sketches at the coffee house nights in Claflin Hall. You can see the Monty Python influence in the above, with props and themes that weave through the episode, and segues between skits.

Boy, it’s good to see this again!

UPDATE: David reminded me that a skit we shot was included in episode 2 as well. Here it is! Look for “Sleeping Through the Movies with Philip & Bean” at 13:05. And here’s the Vimeo link, also with interesting tidbits about the episode.

There are these half-inch-long flat bits of something that I have been finding in my apartment for years. I thought they were just some kind of odd “leftover”… bug shells or carcasses, or maybe a flattened droppings. I don’t have vermin in my apartment, no mice or rats, so it couldn’t really be droppings. No roaches, thank God. But I do have silverfish. Lots and lots of silverfish.

One day, some time ago, I saw one of these flat things moving. It surprised and mystified me. I could not tell how the thing was moving. It was so slow and ponderous, and I didn’t see any legs. Grabbing it in a Kleenex didn’t show me anything; it just sat there, like a piece of nothing, and I threw it away. Just last week, I found one crawling slowly up my bedroom wall, and saw a tiny something at the front, though I could not really discern what it was. Grabbing it again didn’t show me anything.

Finally, today, I saw one in the kitchen sink and got to examine it. It had a head poking out one end. Then the head went away and poked out the other end. Odd! I picked the thing out of the sink and put it on my counter. After a minute, it poked its head out again, then started crawling, slowly and ponderously. I took pictures and a movie.


What the hell? What was this thing?

As I was pondering the mystery with Derrick tonight, I decided to randomly search something: “silverfish larvae.” What if these were, somehow, the larval stage of the silverfish? It didn’t make much sense because I’ve seen very tiny silverfish, much smaller than this hermit worm.

The answer was easier to find than I thought. Someone else out there had thought the same thing, but we were both wrong about the silverfish connection. Here it is, the larva of the household casebearer moth. Now I also know what to call those tiny little moths I sometimes see around.

It turns out that the little larva fella can turn around in that silk-lined house of his! That explains the “double heads.”

Well, now that I know these are just moth larvae, I’m not nearly as creeped out by them as I am by the silverfish. Silverfish are always spooking me by writhing out from under things… Gads!

Household Casebearer Moth Larva

Red Flowers

I took my day-old iPhone 3G S out for a hike today, and had lots of fun testing out the camera. It’s pretty impressive for something on a “phone.” I use the quotes because, really, the iPhone is maybe only 10% phone.

I posted stuff live to Twitter during the hike. I’d send you to Twitpic to see how they posted, but it’s really not worth the effort. There are no forward or back buttons on Twitpic (or Yfrog), so I’d have to post the individual link for each picture. No thanky.

But wonder awaits! I have a collection of full-res pictures and movies lovingly posted to Steve’s Snapshots for you to examine. Here’s a sample:


Being able to take that movie was pretty exciting. Not only did the butterfly behave, but I shot it with a phone! Well, okay, a 10% phone. Really, I shot it with a pocket Mac. (The movie in my gallery is larger.)

Go see the rest of the hike stuff now! Hurry! Before it’s too late!

Here it is:

My New iPhone 3G S

See actual glamor shots of the phone in my gallery.

I waited a whole day to order the phone following the WWDC keynote, mostly because my 3G works just fine, and also mostly because it was gonna cost me $499! But I ordered it anyway. Luckily, this week, AT&T gave the lower price, $299, to early adopters of the 3G. Whew.

Activation has not happened yet because, as usual, AT&T was “surprised by the response” (not an actual quote). Whatever. Guess I’ll have two iPhones for the day.

Derrick and I figured this would be the iconic photo of my visit. It pretty much captures it all.

Hot Dogs

(Click to see larger, bien sûr.)

This was taken in front of the Smithsonian castle. Fortunately, you can not tell how unbearably hot and disgusting it was outside.

Oh, and yes, that’s an exploded Mac shirt. Thanks for asking.

This is how Derrick greeted me at the airport in D.C.:

Derrick greeting me at the D.C. airport.

(Click for bigger, of course.)

The trip only got better after this.

Left, Right, and Center

We played a fun game tonight: Left, Right, and Center. (The actual game container called it Left, Center, Right, but who the hell cares?) Everyone around the table has $3 in singles. We take turns rolling the dice, one per dollar you have, up to three. For every L you roll, you pass a buck to the person on your left. For every R, you pass a buck to the person on your right. For every C, a dollar goes into the pot. The person with the last dollar wins the pot.

Amazingly, though the stakes aren’t huge, it’s enough to get everyone incredibly rambunctious. Take a look for yourself at this, the last few minutes of the game. I won’t tell you who wins.

Forget that last picture. That was nothing.

I slept through the flight, and so before I knew it, it was NatkinWexler Madness time! I was so warmly greeted. My week is gonna be awesome.

UPDATE: I fixed the title of the post. My French is a bit rusty.

It’s off to NYC and DC for the next week and change. The most exciting part? I’m flying Virgin America! I mean, who has a check-in counter like that? And gate desks like those, separate from the gate to prevent crowding? Keen!

Also, this isn’t really the most exciting part of my trip. The trip is filled with exciting parts.

I’ll probably be tweeting more than posting, but I hope to get most of the pictures here on the Forum. We’ll see how well that works in practice.

Click the pics to see them bigger.

Read this amazing piece by John Siracusa at Ars Technica. This is the latest in a recent series of articles that has given me hope that the standards I put on myself and on others are not unreasonable or impossible, but useful. Am I equating myself with either Jobs or Siracusa? God, no! But in my own brand of criticism, I have some faith.

I could spend my time talking about my “standards” as they relate to the sitcom, but I’m very comfortable with my talents and abilities in that realm, so I’m going to talk about a different project, something that’s a bit of a departure for me.

I have been steeped in the design of a website for work, a vast and daring undertaking of a site that will hopefully make most people’s lives at the company better. This is the third site I’ve been charged with overseeing in some way, and I have come to learn that the standards to which I hold the things I create is much higher than the standards of others.

The first site was an employee portal, a place for the exchange of ideas and documents. I simply had to design the look of the site. To me, that meant pondering a bit of the UI as well. I came up with an idea that people were sold on, and I did my best to get my design vendors and the site programmers to work toward creating that idea. The site was doomed, however, for a few reasons. First, it was being built in SharePoint, a Microsoft solution. “Uh-oh.” Yup. Microsoft. The site tools were limited, and any cool or interesting look or behavior I wanted was going to require re-programming modules and pages and other such nonsense. This is the second reason for its doomage: No one wanted or had the time to complete the extra programming it took to get the site looking really great.

I gave up on the site, since it was out of my control—I was only the designer. The site does not have the traffic it should today because, I believe, it’s ugly and difficult to use.

The second site was to be a subset of the first, a place to discuss and share anti-piracy policies and projects. Knowing what our limitations were, I did not expend any sweat on this one. I spent some time discussing UI ideas and how the site would be used, but I was not passionate about the outcome. I had a vendor design it, made sure the client was happy, and let it go. It’s a bit better than the portal, but not as good as it could have been.

The third site is the big one, a huge chance to get something up and running that people all over the world will not only find helpful, but great. This one I was allowed to design from the ground up, including the UI. The UI is much more important to me on one level than the design because without a great UI, the design would just be lipstick on a Sarah Palin.

We have had long meetings discussing esoterica such as button looks, fonts, drop-down tab bar functionality, and destination indications (huh?). Our SVP even threw a wrench into the works a while back requesting a “simple” interface option which, of course, is much more complicated to design and execute than anything else on the site.

I’m sticking to my guns on this one. I have argued my vision over and over, even to the smallest detail, and have changed my position only if someone has been able to show me that another way is better. (I’m usually that someone. Oh, the arguments I’ve had with myself in my head, and oh, the number of times I’ve talked myself out of one method or style and into another. And oh, the times I’ve talked myself back!)

We are still a very, very long way from any kind of functioning site, but I’m finding its creation to be a new and fun bit o’ business. I also am getting more comfortable with my critical ideas and putting those into a tangible design. I have been adamant that we find new or alternate ways to do the same things other sites do inelegantly. I have been forcing myself and others to make sure nothing on our site is overly complicated or difficult to use. The brainpower and long meetings seemingly wasted on the tiniest of details are, to me, necessity.

Of course, if it ever gets to the point where we’re not making any progress on the site because I’m too stubborn in my demands, I have to hope I recognize such, and move on or fix the problem later. But there can be very little of this. Fixing problems later usually means never fixing them at all, so getting them as right as possible from the get-go is one of my big goals.

If you don’t believe in the idea that how something looks is an important aspect of how it functions, I leave you with this link. We design OCDers are very good at selling our passion, aren’t we?

Sorry for the punny headline. But not as sorry as I was to see this when I got home from work today:

Bathroom Sink Sludge

What exactly that is, I can’t say. I can say what it looks like, but I will not. Why bother? A picture’s worth one yucky word.

Aside from the ________ in my sink, my floor was covered with water. Luckily, my bathroom seems to have sunk into the floor over the years, so none of the water ran out of the bathroom; it just pooled around the sink and toilet.

The sludge did not smell nasty, just loamy. Yes, loamy. I said “loamy.” Do I get points?

The upside of this is that, since I was going to clean my bathroom anyway for my parents’ overnight stay Sunday, I just had to clean it a little better than I was planning to.

Sorry I have not posted in a while (except on Twitter). This post will be sad for many of you, because I’m revealing some of my Los Angeles driving habits. These are sad habits. Trust me, I could fill a book with my observations on driving in L.A., and I’ve been meaning to do some nice, long, hopefully funny posts about it here on The Wren Forum. I doubt that will happen anytime soon. Consider the below to be but a glimpse into my world of L.A. driving.

The moment I first hit the L.A. freeways in my little green Civic, September, 1994, I’d just driven from Colorado, and could not believe the chaos and congestion in my new city. I got my Disney job not long after, and I have been doing the 34-mile round-trip commute for over 13 years. That’s plenty of time to learn I had to become a different kind of driver if I were to survive.

On the 101 East this morning, as I was coming into work, I saw a big, red Cadillac with the license plate DR AGAPE (license plate holder: “Motion Picture and Television Fund: We Protect Our Own”) ease from the right lane into my lane, cutting off the car in front of me. They practically scraped bumpers. Now, the car I was behind was one of those annoying “maintain 40 car lengths” kind of drivers, and I do my best to not to stay behind these types. Keeping a gap is safe, sure, but there’s a difference between safe and paranoid, in my book. I understand another driver’s need to get in front of such a driver, trust me. But not like this. DR AGAPE did not need to cut so close to this guy, he just did because, well, obviously, he’s the only driver on the road.

So nearing the 134, I had to do my usual lane change to make it to the far left lane. And wouldn’t you know it, there was DR AGAPE, just behind me in the lane I needed. He was an older man, of course, and it turns out he’s one of those inconsistent drivers, leaving tons of space in front of his car, then closing the gap, then dropping back again. So I took the opportunity to change lanes in front of him during one of his gappy moments.

Here’s a truism that all L.A. drivers know, or at least should know: If you signal for a lane change as early as you’re supposed to, you will not be let in. I learned long ago to watch for a space, then signal just as I start the lane change. I know not to try to cram myself into a space where there is no space, so I try to change lanes into a gap where there’s enough room for my car. It does not matter when you signal, early or late; often the person behind will see your blinker and rush to close the gap, so best to already be half-way done with your maneuver.

Since I was trying to make a point to myself, I made sure I had just enough space to get in front of DR AGAPE, but not tons. I was nowhere near as close to him as he’d been to the guy he cut off, but that was my test, and DR AGAPE took the bait. As soon as I started to make my lane change and turned on my signal, he sped up, and then honked his big, blasting Cadillac horn at me. He was justified because, of course, DR AGAPE is the only driver on the road.

I raised my hand up when I’d finished changing lanes, and gave him a nice, long, languid hand wave, a thank you for his participation in my social experiment.

I have to be honest here; I am someone who will not always let another driver get in the lane in front of me. Horrible, I know. I have very complicated rules for when not to let someone change lanes in front of me. Are they heading for an exit or a freeway split, or just changing lanes for fun? Are they already going way, way too slow? Are they a “maintain 40 car lengths” kind of driver? Are they polite driver or an asshole driver? What kind of car are they driving? There’s lots to factor in. I learned that if I let that old mini-van, that Jaguar, that Prius, or that tiny truck with a lawn mower in the bed and three guys in the cab get in front of me, I’ll be behind their slow ass for miles, and as other cars fill the lane in front of them, they will maintain that huge gap, letting even more cars in front, and so on. It’s less about the minimal time I’m wasting behind such a driver, and more about how incredibly stupid such driving is in a region with over 10 million people. If everyone drove with huge gaps in front of them, no one would get anywhere. It’s incredibly sad, but true, and I hate it.

There was the chance that DR AGAPE had cut that guy off because he has similar rules of the road, and wanted to make sure he was not caught behind the slow guy. I guessed that was not the case, based on his car, his age, and the really self-absorbed way he changed lanes, slowly, ignoring the guy he was cutting off. He had no reason to cut so close to the other driver. But maybe. Maybe he doesn’t like getting caught behind slow drivers.

Once DR AGAPE and I were both on the 134, where traffic was flowing, I expected him to change lanes and speed by me. But he did no such thing. Instead, now that we were out of bumper-to-bumper traffic, he drove slowly, holding up his lane, and I was a quarter mile ahead of him by the time I hit my exit. And thus was my experiment a success. I had proven that DR AGAPE is a shitty driver, a clueless driver, and, without a doubt, the only driver on the road.

I took place in my first demonstration Saturday, meeting downtown with about 11,999 others to protest the passage of Prop 8 in the recent election. I just now got to reading coverage in the Los Angeles Times, and I can’t believe how Prop 8 supporters have gotten even more hateful. Take this, for instance, reprinted from the Times:

“They can protest all they like, and it doesn’t change the fact that Prop. 8 has passed and the election is now over,” said Frank Schubert, manager for the Yes on Proposition 8 campaign.

There were many religious signs at the protest, most of them being held by people who were obviously religious themselves. “The same Bible was used to justify slavery.” “I was born gay. You were taught religion.” Even some “Mormon Against 8″ signs. There was a lot of humor, as well.

Again, from the Times: “It’s unfortunate that the ‘No on 8′ campaign has devolved into personal attacks and statements of religious bigotry. If they think this is going to help their cause long term, they might want to consider a new strategy.”

It’s unfortunate? Hypocrite! The Yes on 8 campaign was nothing but personal attacks and statements of religious bigotry. Oh, such a twister of words. It’s devious, untrue, and bordering on evil. It’s definitely hate. It makes my skin crawl. Well, when these supporters of segregation end up burning in their hell with those who strung up black people in trees and those kept women from being able to vote, perhaps then they’ll think twice about their treatment of their fellow man.

(Click the pictures to see larger versions. I’ll be putting more pictures of the protest in my gallery soon.) (UPDATE: I did not!)

“When men lose a sense of wonder, there will be disaster.”
—Laozi, 6th Century BC

Space and its vastness, its denizens of rock and ice and gas, its rings and spheres and smudges and wisps, have forever inhabited my mind, creating wonder, taunting, daring me to comprehend the impossible distances, sizes, existences of the universe.

I have not been awed by space much lately, meaning in the last decade or so. I have taken a moment or two here and there to marvel at the Hubble Ultra Deep Field snapshot, or look at the surface of Mars, but the luxury of time to spend imagining space has slipped away from me.

Thanks simultaneously to Sven and VSL, I have discovered The Big Picture, a part of The Boston Globe‘s website. Today, VSL sent a link to these pictures of the Sun. In the midst of a mind-numbing, boring work day, the pictures were a great surprise, and I pored over them for some time.

After subscribing to The Big Picture RSS feed, I saw another space-themed photo set, Enceladus Up Close.

Saturn's moon Enceladus in a false color image by NASA

This is a false color image of one of Saturn’s moons, Enceladus, as captured by Cassini. (Click the pictures to see it in a larger size.)

When I was a kid and making up scenarios in my head about space, traveling there, and the adventures to be had, there were no pictures of this clarity. Well, okay, the moon was pretty well photographed, and we had some great shots from the Voyagers and Vikings, sure, but the most detail to be found of anything beyond this limited scope was in movies or paintings or our imaginations. The picture above? Reality! This is a real place. You can imagine actually setting foot onto that surface, exploring those ridges and craters.

In the last 8 years, people’s minds have gotten smaller, and their influence has stunted the imaginations of the world. To me, Enceladus as a creation of a God is such a let-down, a cop-out compared to the magnificent thought that this small world is a product of the universe itself. I think it’s time for me, and for everyone else, to turn out from themselves, shake off the selfishness of recent history, and wake up the boundless, infinite wonders of everything around us, from a micron off our own skins to billions of light years away.

The quote at the top of this post is something I wrote down from a bulletin board at Imagineering one lunch hour maybe 13 years ago, and have carried it in my wallet since. I never guessed it would resonate with me more now than it did then.

Ah, I love shooting! Specifically, I love how creative you have to be when you have no budget when you’re shooting.

Also, I have problems typing “would,” “could,” and “should.”

Read all about it at the LFTI blog!

I wrote the following on September 28 while waiting in the first class lounge for my flight from Sydney to Australia. I never posted it because the lounge WiFi I was so excited about was completely overwhelmed, and I kept getting kicked off. So my waxing wonderful about finally having free WiFi was premature. I forgot I had written it, but I think this is interesting, so I’m going to post it now, over a month later.

* * * * * *

My vacation is nearly over, and I am here in the Air New Zealand lounge waiting to get on my United plane back to L.A. Sadly, the flight is about 2 hours delayed. I imagine that was what the mysterious calls to my iPhone were in the middle of the night that I did not answer, and what certain unretrievable voicemails must be telling me.

Here are some items of (even less important) note so far.

The United people expressed grave concern that I, as a first class passenger, did not receive any calls about the flight being delayed. Explaining that the call was too early for me to bother answering was not worth going into, so I let them be concerned.

They definitely don’t care how heavy my bag is. The scale was flashing “30kg” and “OVER” and the woman gave it no mind.

International lounges still kick the asses of domestic lounges. I have so far enjoyed some cold antipasto nummies, vegetable frittata, chicken korma, cream of tomato soup, and chocolate black-out cake. there is power near most seats, unlike in the U.S. United lounge.

Internet in hotels is simply non-existent in Australia. I had no Internet access at all until we visited an Internet café two nights ago. The Travelodge we stayed at last night charged AU$11 per half-hour of in-room Internet. I did not partake. Many hotels had for-hire Internet stations in their lobbies, which were often busy. Aside from the Apple Store I visited in Sydney, this signal I’m using now is the only other free WiFi access I’ve had.

The Singapore Air A380 is always here. My guess is it never really travels anywhere. They simply tow it around the tarmac to show it off and get people like me all excited that they’re seeing one.

I hope you have been following my progress via Twitter. (http://twitter.com/lekowicz.) Twitter used very little bandwidth, so I could keep within my included 20MB overseas data limit. Thanks, AT&T, for making overseas plans so exorbitantly expensive that my iPhone was 90% crippled.

* * * * * *

Pack to the present. Out of curiosity, I priced my first class ticket for the exact same flights next year. Had I not used miles, I would have paid over $24,000. Well, actually, I would not have paid $24,000, but you get what I mean. Who can drop that kind of cash just for a flight somewhere? Crazy!

I am now officially on my vacation! I’m sitting in the International First lounge in Terminal 7. Here are some items of (not very important) note so far.

Apparently, when you fly first class, they don’t really give a crap if your suitcase is over the weight limit. Nor do they ask you to take it to the X-ray machine yourself.

On Wednesday, the TSA was wearing their usual Love-Boat-White shirts. Today, they all have on brand-new, brilliant blue shirts. I wonder how much that cost us all? I guess the price of freedom knows no budget.

My huge-ass chariot awaits! The 747 is already at gate 77. International flights seem to be the only ones where the planes aren’t flipped in 6 minutes.

LAX is freakishly empty. It’s unsettling.

The lounge lady was incredibly friendly. She loved my passport photo. She has to be paid to say so, because it’s not what I’d call supremely flattering.

I am currently enjoying cheese and crackers, a nut assortment, some tasty olives, mini quiches, sautéed mushrooms, spinach and feta cheese filo dough triangles, and free Wi-Fi. I will then proceed to enjoy a fine selection of sweets. I will not be enjoying the array of complimentary boozes, but I’m sure others are.

Sarah Palin is a power-hungry fanatic. Too bad she’s sitting only 10 feet from me. She smells like fresh-cut ragweed.

The in-lounge DJ will start spinning in 10 minutes. I understand the exotic dancers take the stage at 9:30. They even provided me with a stack of singles with which to tip.

And that is all for now. Aussie Lek signing off.

I am on my way to Australia later tonight. I’m flying first class. Yes, I used miles. To be honest, this has been one of the most exciting things about the trip… that I get to fly first class overseas! In the top of a 747! The 747 to me is the greatest passenger jet in the universe. It’s so iconic. Any other jet, you look at it and go, “It’s a jet.” A 747, you go, “It’s a 747!”

So I will be flying in the lap of luxury. I get to use the First Class International lounge before I board (I’m getting to the airport early so I can milk the hell out of that privilege); I’ll get a 47-course meal on the plane; my seat will lie flat for comfy comfy rest. Luxury, I tell you!

Here are two guys who are probably used to this kind of thing:

Click here for the high res version.

Now, you know I’m a fan of Apple and a huge UN-fan of Microsoft. Some of the Get a Mac ads are really great (for example). But I have to give props to Microsoft for this one. Well, not to Microsoft, but their ad agency. I was watching this on my iPhone, ironically, at the car wash this morning, and laughing out loud (LOL to you youngsters who can’t speak real English). There is a lot to like about this “ad.”

I’m not sure how effective these ads will be in making Microsoft appear less crappy a company with less crappy products, but at least it looks like we’re in for some really funny attempts at doing so.

So me, the lap of luxury. These two, slumming it. My, how our world has changed!