Posted on October 4th, 2023
A couple weeks ago a friend and I were chatting about life and we somehow got around to the worst jobs we've ever had. Mine was easy... picking cherries. His was a bit more complex.
My friend had lost his job when he was in his late 30's. Nowhere was hiring in his field, he needed money to pay the bills, and so he took a job waiting tables. The pay in restaurant work is not great, but when you wait tables you can pick up some fairly good money on tips, so that's where he went.
Then he had to clarify. He actually didn't mind the work at all. It was the job he hated.
Sure it was long hours on your feet spent trying to keep multiple balls in the air... all while trying to serve people who can be less than patient... but there are worse ways to make a living. I understood this perfectly, having had worked in restaurants myself.
The problem could be summed up like this...
One week into the job, he passed a dinner bill off to a couple of guys in nice suits. He was anticipating a good tip, which was money he needed, so he was in a good mood as he picked up the ticket to run their credit card. But when he got to the register, he saw it.
NO TIP! was written on the line that was reserved for it, and he was genuinely puzzled.
He took the receipt back to them to get a signature and said something like "I'm new on the job... can you tell me where I went wrong so I don't make that mistake again?"
The guy who paid the bill looked up at him and said something like "Oh? Were you looking for a tip? Here's a tip... go to college and get a real job if you want more money instead of asking for a handout."
My friend worked at that same restaurant for over a year until he got a job that was profession-adjacent to what his experience was. He eventually used it as a stepping stone to get a job that was better-suited for his training at the same company. Which made the fact that it initially paid less than what he earned at the restaurant entirely worthwhile.
So while the work of waiting tables was okay, the job of having to put up with occasional shitty people was the worst he had ever had.
I wish I could end my friend's story being able to say "Six months later, the guy who treated him so badly showed up asking him for a job, and my friend laughed at him and said HERE'S A TIP: DON'T TREAT PEOPLE LIKE GARBAGE WHO MIGHT BE THE GUY HIRING YOU FOR A JOB ONE DAY! HA HA HA!" But that only happens in internet memes. And in movies, I guess.
A tip is not a handout.
Many states (and all states back then, I believe) pay wait staff something called "cash wage." Which can be something ridiculous like $2 an hour. It was meant to be supplemented by tips so that somebody waiting tables could earn minimum wage. If they did great work and could hustle at a good restaurant, they could do better than minimum wage. Of course now there are states (like my own Washington) where the "cash wage" is the minimum wage... and so a tip is, in fact, a tip. But that's not true everywhere. And it gets worse when you recognize the fact that you don't keep 100% of that tip. You have to "tip out" (share the tip) with cooks, bussers, dishwashers, cleaners, and the like. Some restaurant owners even step in and demand some of the tips you earned.
So, yeah, my friend getting stiffed on a tip by two assholes accusing him of wanting a "handout" might be an amusing anecdote if tips were, in fact, fully additional to minimum wage. But for him it meant something like not being able to put food on the table because he was probably making $2 an hour.
And it wasn't like he wouldn't have rather been working at a "better job," if that was an option, so the "advice" he was given wasn't even helpful. It was just cruel. And can you imagine how cruel it would be if your family didn't have shitloads of money to send you to college so you can "get a real job" and you had to make your way on your own? And I resent the implication that waiting tables isn't a "real job" in the first place. To be a good waiter takes skills that would bury a lot of people. It's an honest job that takes hard work and an ability to be personable and friendly even on your worst days.
In countries like Australia, all wages are living wages. Which actually works out in the end because even though things are more expensive because people can make a living at one job instead of having to work three jobs, it balances out because everybody can do more than just work to live, and they have enough money to do more than just scrape by.
Like eat out at restaurants from time to time.
But here in America? Well, if I can't afford to leave a tip, then I accept that I can't afford to eat out, and instead make meals out of whatever I've got rattling around in my cupboards or stuffed in a corner of my refrigerator somewhere.
Washington State may have a cash wage that's equal to minimum wage, and our minimum wage is pretty good here, but I have no idea what my waiter's circumstances are. They could very well be working to support a family, pay off medical bills, put a parent into a nursing home, or any of a million different things that minimum wage isn't going to touch. Because that's what "entry level, minimum wage jobs" are designed for now-a-days. With the goverment shipping all our "good jobs" overseas, people are doing the best they can with the job they could find.
And I won't tell that person to "get a real job" by writing "NO TIP!" on their ticket.
Posted on July 20th, 2022
I begged my doctor for an appointment to deal with this non-stop cough. His office took pity on me, and worked me in tomorrow. Thank heavens. Because three hours of sleep each night is not sustainable.
Something else that's not sustainable?
I am so busy with work and everything else in my life that finding time to clean up my pit of despair (AKA my home) is almost impossible. Usually this is a task for my weekend, but it just hasn't been possible so I've been doing a little bit here and there when I get home from work during the week.
MY CATS DO NOT LIKE THIS!
Tonight I decided to deep clean my downstairs. That's when I pull out the corded vacuum (which is far more powerful than my cordless) and steam clean everything. This is something I do once a month because I have cats wandering around. And while they are actually very clean animals, they also dig around in a litter box and shed everywhere.
So I turn on the vacuum and the cats go bolting upstairs to flee the noise. I then pull out the steam floor cleaner, which my cats hate even worse because of the hissing sound it makes. I have separate pads that I use on it... one for the kitchen, one for the cat feeding station, one for the living room and guest room, and one for the bathroom. That way I'm assured that I'm actually cleaning instead of transferring filth from one place to another.
In-between changing pads, Jenny comes marching downstairs... meows at me... then runs right back upstairs.
I guess this was her letting me know just how mad she is about my need to have a clean house.
But hey, I'm not exactly thrilled about it. I just wasted hours on housework that I could have spent doing something I enjoy.
Though then I'd be freaking out because I hadn't done a deep clean and probably wouldn't have enjoyed myself much anyway. So I guess it's a wash.
So to speak.
Posted on June 28th, 2022
For the longest time I've been telling people that I haven't traveled for work since September, 2019. And I could have sworn it was true. But it isn't. The last actual work trip I took was the day after Christmas, 2019. Before that I was in New Orleans for work in October, and the work trip before that was to Las Vegas in August. Which is to say I didn't even travel in September of 2019!
I get all confused because, pre-pandemic, I traveled a lot for work. Like a lot a lot. I have no idea why a prime work/travel month like September was a blank slate, but I probably had something personal going on. It happens.
Fast-forward to today, and I have my first work trip in 2-1/2 years. I didn't have to fly, thank heavens, it was just a drive over to Seattle this afternoon where I will be for two nights. I don't think I want to fly now that people don't have to be tested or wear masks and COVID is mutating into some shit that's more serious (which is disappointing, because the new variants were actually getting weaker for a while there).
The weirdest part about this trip is not that I'm actually traveling for work again.
It's that I had forgotten what it's like to be around STUFF again.
Oodles of great restaurants... tons of great stores... loads of great places... and they're all so close! A mall with one of my favorite stores (The Container Store) is a five-minute drive away. A Cheesecake Factory with those frickin' amazing Avocado Eggrolls is a five-minute drive away. Heck, a frickin' Burger King with my beloved Impossible Whopper is just a five-minute drive away! Everything is just so ridiculously close in a big city. Where I live, Burger King is almost a half-hour away.
It's all so... great.
Except I am seriously missing my cats. Leaving them has never been easy, but it's even worse now that I'm with them every day. Poor kitties probably think I've abandoned them.
Posted on May 10th, 2022
Pantone is now charging people to use their color books in Adobe Illustrator.
I wonder if there's an alternative system, because this is fucking absurd. Designers don't buy inks... we specify inks so that printers and fabricators can purchase the inks from Pantone.
Except now we can't specify jack shit because Pantone wants us to pay $60 a year for the privilege.
If anything, Pantone should be paying ME to specify their inks to my printers! Something I've been doing for FREE for them for decades.
I swear, there are days I just want to take a torch to corporate America for the way that they treat people. I sure hope that somebody who isn't a greedy piece of shit develops a new color system replacement for people who are tired of Pantone's bullshit. I am betting that every designer on earth would hop on board.
Having to pay to promote a company's products when we don't even get a cut of the sale? Are you kidding me? Apparently Pantone didn't learn their lesson with Hexachrome and needs to be taught another.
Posted on April 17th, 2020
Usually I work on the weekends so Friday is just another day to me. But given that my charity work has ground to a halt, my travel has ended, and I spend no time hanging out with friends, I'm in this bizarre place where my weekend is actually going to be a weekend without work. At first I was going to do something crazy... like absolutely nothing... but then I decided I would rather catch up on housework. So now Friday is the same sucky day it always is with no weekend to look forward to.
The good news is that Disney released another one of these amazingly adorable Frozen shorts...
I like the baby snowmen better than I like Olaf!
So I guess that's something?
Posted on May 16th, 2018
When I woke up this morning there was an email from the charity I volunteer with and it was not filled with good news. It wasn't even filled with bad news. It was filled with disastrous news. Which meant I had a mad scramble of emails, phone calls, and texts ahead of me trying to get everything sorted. Which is fine, I suppose... that's the job... but it weighs on your spirit when you know that Real People will be worse off if you can't pull things together.
But pull things together I did.
Which was great. Except while I was doing my best to fix things for a lot of people needing help, I missed a text from one person needing help. I didn't notice it until hours later which, believe it or not, weighs even heavier on your spirit.
Fortunately somebody else who didn't miss their text was able to step up and help out... but still.
I'm not saying that I'd jump in line to be cloned if that technology were ever perfected, but I'd sure think hard about it. Problem is, I'd undoubtedly just end up taking on twice the work I have now so I would end up missing twice as many texts.
Technology can't solve everything.
But I live in a house where I can talk to a device and tell it to turn my lights on and off for me, so it certainly seems like it should be able to.
Posted on June 7th, 2017
Work has been killing me as of late, which means I don't have time for anything but working. Part of it is my fault... I volunteered for a project I really shouldn't have with all I've got going on... but blame doesn't much matter when deadlines are looming.
And so. Work. Nothing else.
Well... nothing except trying to get my year-end vacation arranged.
Last night I built the flight itinerary that gets me to Buenos Aires. It was such a long process with so many pro/con decisions to weigh that I ultimately left it so I could take a look with fresh eyes this morning. When I woke up, I was more confused than ever, so I decided to leave it until lunch. At noon I waded through it all again but still couldn't decide what I wanted to do. The plan was to take another look tonight after dinner, but the thought of looking at it again was filling me with dread. So while I was waiting for my computer to run a backup up this afternoon, I logged in, booked the flight as it was, and will just trust it will all work out. If not, I guess I'm stuck in South America for a while...
8,600 miles of flying. Which is not quite as bad as the 10,600 miles it took to get to Johannesburg on my last big vacation.
But, still... quite a lot of flying.
Posted on August 17th, 2015
Originally I had two business meet-ups and a dinner meeting peppered throughout my trip to Los Angeles... plus a birthday party (happy 95th, grandpa!). After landing I ended up with another meeting, which meant I'd be working every day I'm in the city. This was a major bummer, so I arranged to push all my work to Monday (today!) so I could enjoy time with family and friends over the weekend.
Which was a fantastic idea.
Until I woke up this morning and realized I would be dragging my ass from one end of L.A. to the other. Which pretty much means an entire day stuck in traffic between meetings.
But there were bright spots along the way.
I had time to stop at Pink's for a Patt Morrison Baja Vegan Dog, one of my favorite things...
After an unexpected side-quest back to my hotel, I was off to Anaheim for one last meeting and a business dinner.
It was at my final meeting that something amazing happened.
We were discussing our impending dinner when somebody said "I'm surprised we're not going to eat at Earl of Sandwich since Dave's in town." I laughed and then broke the news that I don't eat at Earl of Sandwich anymore because they discontinued their veggie sandwich. A colleague then piped up with "Really? I just had one at Disneyland a couple weeks ago."
Uhhhh... come again?
So I look at their online menu and, sure enough, their veggie sandwich is listed. Thinking it surely has to be an outdated menu, I am nevertheless intrigued. This is my favorite sandwich on earth. For years I obsessed over Earl or Sandwich and moved heaven and earth to eat at their restaurants.
With no choice in the matter, I hop in my car and rush to Downtown Disney so I can check it out. As I walk up to the restaurant, I'm starting to hyperventilate...
Sure enough, their veggie sandwich IS back...
And it is just a glorious as it ever was.
So, even though it spoiled my dinner, a tremendous THANK YOU to Earl of Sandwich for bringing back one of my most favorite things to eat. Amazing. Delicious.
Since I was at Downtown Disney, I decided to use a Disney Dream Dollars gift card that's about to expire. I ended up getting a Disney 60th Anniversary pin and lithograph, which is pretty cool. Also cool? Now that Disney owns Star Wars, they are doing a super-sweet job of integrating their new property into the Disney parks...
BWAH HA HA HA!
The dinner meeting was short & sweet, and I was on my way back to my hotel at 7:00... arriving by 7:30... in bed at 8:00. Not a bad end to a pretty great day... especially food-wise.
Posted on August 12th, 2015
The file restore from my cloud backup after my catastrophic drive failure is taking much, much long than I had anticipated... or hoped. I started the restore July 25th and they're telling me they're not even half-way done collecting the files.
Needless to say, this makes everything I do take far longer than it should.
Partly because I haven't yet received the afore-mentioned backup yet and have to request files to be downloaded from the cloud multiple times for each project I'm working on.
But mostly because those older file on local backup I DO have available are trapped on Apple's "Time Machine" technology.
I used to really love Apple's approach to backup but, now that I am forced to use it for something other than an occasional "oops" moment, it's just so horribly bad. The goofy "space vortex" interface is absolute shit for serious recovery. I finally abandoned it and started restoring directly from the Time Machine file bundle, but this has its problems as well. So many times I get an "ALIAS BROKEN" error and can't even get at the original file. Even worse, every time I get the error, the Finder snaps my search window closed... so instead of choosing an alternative file to restore, I have to start my search all over from the beginning. Like I said... bad.
So... once I get up and running again, Time Machine will be completely abandoned in favor of a more traiditional technology that actually... well, you know... works.
Posted on December 5th, 2014
Well that was a grueling 16-hours.
But any day you get back to your hotel from work before 3:00am is a good one, amiright?
At the tone the time will be 2:56am.
Yep. Good enough.