fighting the lack of good ideas

it’s a great start

Today the Supreme Court of the United States struck down Washington DC’s handgun ban, by upholding the plain text of the Second Amendment to our Constitution stating that gun ownership is a personal right.

CNN story: The full text of the decision: 07-290.pdf.

Hopefully this will start a trend across all of our courts of looking at the precise wording of laws and applying them directly, without attempting to add flavors of nuanced interpretation.

’tis a sad day :(

A ‘Modern Man’ has passed from our midst (

I’m a modern man,
A man for the millennium,
Digital and smoke free.

A diversified multicultural postmodern deconstructionist,
Politically anatomically and ecologically incorrect.

I’ve been uplinked and downloaded.
I’ve been inputted and outsourced.
I know the upside of downsizing.
I know the downside of upgrading.

I’m a high tech lowlife.
A cutting edge state-of-the-art bicoastal multitasker,
And I can give you a gigabyte in a nanosecond.

I’m new wave, but I’m old school,
And my inner child is outward bound.

I’m a hot wired heat seeking warm hearted cool customer,
Voice activated and biodegradable.

I interface from a database,
And my database is in cyberspace,
So I’m interactive,
I’m hyperactive,
And from time-to-time,
I’m radioactive.

Behind the eight ball,
Ahead of the curve,
Riding the wave,
Dodging a bullet,
Pushing the envelope.

I’m on point,
On task,
On message,
And off drugs.
I got no need for coke and speed,
I got no urge to binge and purge.

I’m in the moment,
On the edge,
Over the top,
But under the radar.

A high concept,
Low profile,
Medium range ballistic missionary.
A street-wise smart bomb.
A top gun bottom feeder.

I wear power ties,
I tell power lies,
I take power naps,
I run victory laps.

I’m a totally ongoing bigfoot slam dunk rainmaker with a proactive outreach.
A raging workaholic.
A working rageaholic.
Out of rehab,
And in denial.

I got a personal trainer,
A personal shopper,
A personal assistant,
And a personal agenda.

You can’t shut me up,
You can’t dumb me down.
‘Cause I’m tireless,
And I’m wireless.
I’m an alpha male on beta blockers.

I’m a non-believer and an over-achiever.
Laid back but fashion forward.

Up front,
Down home,
Low rent,
High maintenance.

Super size,
Long lasting,
High definition,
Fast acting,
Oven ready,
And built to last.

I’m a hands on,
Foot loose,
Knee jerk,
Head case.

Prematurely post traumatic,
And I have a love child who sends me hate mail.

But I’m feeling,
I’m caring,
I’m healing,
I’m sharing.
A supportive bonding nurturing primary care giver.

My output is down,
But my income is up.
I take a short position on the long bond,
And my revenue stream has its own cash flow.

I read junk mail,
I eat junk food,
I buy junk bonds,
I watch trash sports.

I’m gender specific,
Capital intensive,
User friendly,
And lactose intolerant.

I like rough sex.
I like tough love.
I use the f word in my email,
And the software on my hard drive is hard core, no soft porn.

I bought a microwave at a mini mall.
I bought a mini van in a mega store.
I eat fast food in the slow lane.

I’m toll free,
Bite sized,
Ready to wear,
And I come in all sizes.

A fully equipped,
Factory authorized,
Hospital tested,
Clinically proven,
Scientifically formulated medical miracle.

I’ve been pre-washed,
And I have an unlimited broadband capacity.

I’m a rude dude,
But I’m the real deal.
Lean and mean.
Cocked, locked, and ready to rock.
Rough, tough, and hard to bluff.

I take it slow.
I go with the flow.
I ride with the tide.
I got glide in my stride.

Drivin’ and movin’,
Sailin’ and spinnin’,
Jivin’ and groovin’,
Wailin’ and winnin’.

I don’t snooze,
So I don’t lose.
I keep the pedal to the metal,
And the rubber on the road.

I party hearty,
And lunch time is crunch time.

I’m hanging in,
There ain’t no doubt.
And I’m hanging tough,
Over and out.

Mr Carlin, we will all miss you.

growler’s pub

I’ll be coming back to Growler’s Pub next week (the one at 783 Old Ballas Road). To date (and I haven’t been to S’Mac in Manhattan, yet), Growler’s has the best macaroni and cheese I’ve had out.

Yesterday afternoon I was discussing where to go for food with Mike, and started searching for pubs near 63017. Growler’s jumped out due to its proximity to the customer we’re working on this week, and the glowing reviews when doing a local search on Google didn’t hurt 😉

When we rolled-in at about 6p, a scant 12 minutes after leaving our customer site, we were seated, and had menus – both for food and beer – and set to scouring them for what we wanted. Mike found a steak, and the corn-on-the-cob that came with it looked mighty tasty. We do have slightly differing tastes in how moo-ey we like our meat, so I can’t say that the steak looked all that great to me, but I like mine hot, whereas he likes his towards charcoal.

I don’t even know what kind of soup I had last night, because the mac & cheese was so good. My cohort in crime had seconds on the macaroni. I should have, but was feeling a little off due to allergies here in St Louis 🙁

Their beer selection isn’t as large as that of the Flying Saucer, but they still have about 130 to pick from. As I’ve mentioned previously, I love a good Scotch. Scotch whisky is a drink you respect – you can’t slam it, and why would you want to? They  have such rich flavor contours that you savor it. Growler’s Single Malt Scotch list has about 30 choices, from all over Scotland. They have a few blended Scotches available, too – but I wouldn’t order any of them, personally.

Our waitress, Courtney, was very friendly – acting like she actually appreciated having customers, whereas some places I’ve been recently acted like they didn’t care if you were there or not. Places such as the latter I tend to not give repeat business to. Growler’s has an overall friendly, neighborhood feel to it, and has menu choices ranging down to kid-size portions.

Oh, and one more thing. Growler’s has a Bathtub Dessert option.

For the low low price of only $1500, they’ll come fill your bathtub with any of their dessert items.

So far no one has ordered said item, that Courtney knew of, but maybe you could be the first! 😀

what’s your business strategy?

There only seem to be about two strategies that work: you can try for growth (like most companies seem to do), or you can try for the niche that will consistently pay for your product. I don’t know if there are other models out there that work, but these two do.

The growth, aka ‘monopoly’, model is what most companies pick because they think it’s easy: just keep selling products to more and more people. The issue with this growth model is that eventually you reach [almost] everyone, and then you can only continue to grow by acquisition. Another problem I can see with it is that if you are trying to reach *everyone*, you will make many of them very unhappy.

The niche model, which far fewer mid-large companies seem to aim for, only goes after a small segment of the population. But they go aggressively for that small segment. Niche providers might ‘accidentally’ reach a large population segment (eg Apple with their iPod), but they thrive because they have customers who will only come to them (perhaps a good neighborhood salon or barber shop), and those customers are fiercely loyal – as long as the business doesn’t screw them over.

When’s the last time you heard of “loyal” Wal*Mart customers? Wal*Mart doesn’t really care if somebody leaves them and goes to KMart. I suppose they might exist, but it seems unlikely.

Compare that, though, to regulars at a local restaurant: where the waitstaff recognizes them, and goes a little (or a lot) out of their way to make their visit better than some new person who happens to stroll in.

Personally, I prefer the niche approach. It’s the Unix theory: do one thing, do it well.

If that one thing turns out to appeal to a lot of people, that’s great.

I’d prefer a strong, consistent, even if small, customer base to a huge one that constantly bitches, changes their mind, and doesn’t care about me.


Dishdash is a small mediterranean restaurant on Murphy Avenue in downtown Sunnyvale California.

I went there last week with some of my coworkers at our bootcamp. Their menu offers a wide variety of choices, though I only sampled their lentil soup and mohmoh.

Their lentil soup was very filling – the medium-sized bowl really was enough for a light dinner, which is what I had in mind.

The mohmoh, a mushroom appetizer, was also very filling for such a small plate of food.

My coworkers all tried something different: lamb, kebab, hummus, and more, and we all left full. We didn’t try anything too unusual, but there are plenty of choices from plain to exotic on their menu for any taste.

The entree prices range up to $28, but most are well under $20. If you’re looking for a quick, friendly place to eat in Sunnyvale, this is one spot you should put on your list to try.

i love traveling

I hate not being home.

I travel for a living now, performing site installations, upgrades, customizations, and on-site support for our customers. The travel’s a blast – see new places, try new food, drive different car. But not being home except weekends does kinda cut into one’s social activities.

At this point, I wouldn’t trade the type of work I’m doing, unless someone offered me large piles of green paper, but I’d like a little more notice than just a few days (sometimes less!) before hopping on a plane and heading out to another customer.

Even 2 weeks would be nice (which is supposedly the minimum time we’re allowed to book travel etc for work anyways). That’s happened once so far, in 3 months of being in the job.

On the other hand, you all get to find about great places to eat all over the country 🙂 .

mysql auto-changes data types

I was making a change to a small table today: adding a field that wanted to be a varchar. The other fields that were of type char all magically changed to varchar when I was done with the alter statement that added one field.

I don’t know if that’s supposed to happen, but it was serendipitous for me, as I wanted to change the char fields to varchar anyway.

And, interestingly enough, if you have a table full of varchar fields and you try to add a char field, it will automatically switch it to match the varchar form, and not switch the varchars back to char.

I didn’t see anything in a quick search on mysql’s website about this behavior, so it’s either undocumented, my google-fu is weak, or it’s a bug.