2023 Week 19 – Giddy Up
I Spent most of last week on PTO in the Texas Hill Country and loved every minute of it. I flew down to San Antonio, picked up my better half, who was down there for work, and drove north to Comfort, TX, about 45 minutes northwest of the city.
When I booked the Trip, Enterprise had some very affordable options, including several premium models for just a little more than a full-sized car. I ended up with an Audi Q3 SUV for the trip and really enjoyed driving around the Texas roads. You’ll first notice the speed limits if you’ve never driven in Texas. On a 2-lane curvy road, the posted speed limit is often 10-20 MPH higher than in Indiana (70MPH +), and on the highway, it can be as high as 85 MPH. The little Audi was a champ and got surprisingly good gas mileage as we traveled between locations at speeds that sometimes felt too fast!
Our B&B (Hotel Giles) was an old hotel built in the late 1800s and was very nice, with covered porches and a gazebo in the back. Our host was very gracious and had a wonderful breakfast ready for us at 9 am sharp every morning. The town also had an amazing little wood-fired pizza shop in an old gas station down the street with delicious pizza and homemade gelato that was some of the best we had ever had.
Fredericksburg, TX, is often referred to as the Napa Valley of the South because of the number of wineries in the area (over 100), and it was our destination of choice for several days of the trip. Their Main Street was full of specialty shops, restaurants, breweries, and several wineries.
While this was the first time I’ve gotten out of San Antonio and visited TX Hill Country, it will NOT be the last. So many things to do, and in typical Texas fashion, the people are as nice as can be and openly welcome visitors to their great state.
SlapFish opened a new location in the Fishers District a few months ago, and we finally made our way over there for dinner. We ordered a Shrimp Roll and Fish and Chips. Both meals were very fresh and fairly priced (under $20 each) for the portion size. We don’t have any dedicated seafood restaurants in Fishers, so SlapFish is a welcome addition to which we will be returning soon!
And finally… I’m a pretty observant person, and I see a lot of crazy stuff on my daily travels to and from work in Indianapolis. Expired license plates are seen daily, and their sheer number makes me wonder how people are getting away with it. A quick search turned up a 2019 report from local TV station WRTV titled “Parking a car with expired tags or no license plate is illegal in Indianapolis.” It’s not a local issue, as a TV station out of Oregon reported something similar last May:
And Colorado less than a year ago:
2023 Week 14 – #83: Go on, take the last bite
One of the nice things about switching jobs is that fresh new email address that only your coworkers know. That usually only lasts a month or so, and in my case, it was even shorter as we put all of your contact info on the company website. Although we have “anti-scraping” turned on via Cloudflare, it didn’t take long for the email marketers to find me.
I’m pretty heavy-handed with the mark as junk and block functions in Outlook, and I have no problem banishing email marketing messages to keep my inbox clean. A new (to me, at least) tactic I’ve started seeing is the triple email marketing campaign. If your company uses this, let me assure you it’s not working and is even more annoying than usual.
The solicitation starts with an email from “Gabby” attempting to set up an introduction, then a follow-up email from “Gabby” the next day at roughly the same time you read the first one (the email address is slightly different so it gets past the block you set the day before). Within 5 minutes of deleting/blocking the follow-up email, you get an email from “Aira,” referencing the “email conversation” you’ve been having with “Gabby.” So in a span of 24 hours, I’ve received three emails from the same company.
I understand how they do it (spy pixels or tracker pixels). Still, it’s annoying enough that even if I were interested in your offerings, I’d probably not reply because of the aggressive marketing. (End of Rant)
Covid changed a lot in our world. It changed how people interacted with each other, and it also had an impact on modern etiquette. The Cut published a list of 194 Modern Etiquette Rules for Life After Covid. Some are silly, and others are thought-provoking. As the title implies, these are rules, and rules are meant to be bent and sometimes broken. There’s also a sub-section all about The New Rules of Tipping!
Some of my favorites:
2 – You may callously cancel almost any plans up until 2 p.m.
20 – Don’t describe TikToks. It’s more boring than describing dreams.
47 – Listening is not the time for you to silently rehearse what you want to say next.
76 – If your host is doing the dishes, it means you’re supposed to leave.
104 – If you’re in the office, you’re wearing shoes.194 Modern Etiquette Rules for Life After Covid
And finally… The Cell Phone will be 50 years old in April. Smithsonian Magazine has an excellent article, and CBS Sunday Morning interviewed Marty Cooper, the man who made the first call on a portable Cell Phone.
2022 Week 11 – We Were Robbed
It’s been nice being out of the house this week after isolating for a week with Covid. There are weekends when I don’t leave the house but an entire week was tough. On the plus side I was super productive working remotely and actually enjoyed working from the house this time as opposed to when I did in 2021 because everything was closed.
Microsoft FINALLY released their award-winning Flight Simulator last week on their Cloud Gaming platform and it’s even better than I expected.
I’m a huge Flight Sim fan and used to play for hours when I was younger. The latest version takes its imagery from Bing Maps and can replicate real-time weather conditions in your current location. So it’s about as real as you can get while staying firmly planted on the couch. The Bing maps are a little out of date but it’s pretty easy to visually navigate around town and fly to various landmarks in the area.
And finally… I was robbed last night. Robbed of an hour due to Daylight Saving Time (DST). I had JUST gotten used to the sun rising at 7 am and now we’re back to 8 am for a while. I miss the days when Indiana didn’t change times twice a year. We even had a special Time Zone on computers called “Indiana (East)”. It’s still there last time I checked even though it’s not used anymore.
That’s it for this week. I have a camping & disc golf trip scheduled in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be nice playing outside again.
Local Starbucks Fights the Ghetto Latte
Now that it’s getting cold outside hot coffee is starting to sound good to me again. I usually only drink hot drinks in the winter while preferring cold any other time. I’ve enjoyed iced coffee all summer since its easy to make using a concentrate I get at the local store.
Remembering I had some money on my Starbucks account I stopped at the location near my office. It’s been a while since I’ve been in here because the service is well below average. They seem to dedicate all of their staff activity to the drive-thru and, even today, they were serving 3-4 people in the drive-thru to every one person in the store.
After I ordered my plain coffee & walked over to the condiment bar for a splash of half-and-half. Wait a minute, the stainless steel thermos is missing! The guy standing next to me saw what I was looking for and said “you have to ask them for it”.
So back to the pickup counter I go and I waited to get someone’s attention. The employees were too busy tripping over each other to get the orders out the little window to notice me standing there. After a few moments I got one of the worker bees attention. “Cream?” I asked. She was already reading my mind and grabbed a little paper cup and proceeded to pour out a couple of ounces of the heavy moo juice. I asked, “do you have one you’d like me to put out on the station”, thinking I would be a nice guy and do them a favor. “No” she said. “We keep it back here now so it doesn’t run out as fast”.
Then it hit me. The Ghetto Latte has gotten so bad they have to ration out the dairy to keep people from cheating the system. I assure you this is a real thing. I’ve seen it time and time again where people turn a couple of shots of espresso over ice into one (or in some cases when they ask for an extra cup) two Lattes saving themselves a few dollars in the process.
Way to stick it to the man cheap skate. I’d be willing to bet that’s your idling car parked crooked in the handicapped spot too. Bonus points if you’re talking on your speaker phone while oblivious to everyones personal space the entire time you’re in the store.
So once again, those who take advantage of things make it inconvenient for others who go with the flow. Say what you want about Starbucks. I know it’s over priced and there are better options out there. In this case it was a choice between office coffee (usually empty), a small Keurig we have in our area (meh, I don’t get the pod thing), or something slightly better.
I’m curious if this practice of keeping the half-and-half behind the counter is a isolated thing at this particular Starbucks or if this is a common practice at other coffee shops too. Anyone else witness a Ghetto Latte in the making? I’d love to hear your stories!
No Saturday Mail delivery? Fine by me!
Earlier this week the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced it would stop Saturday mail delivery in August and that’s just fine by me. I say cut it down to 2-3 days a week.
I go to my mailbox a few times a week and it’s full of advertising inserts, credit card offers and stuff I never even look at. I pay my bills online and I rarely, if ever, send any kind of written correspondence, and I’m sure I’m not alone. As a matter of fact, I hate all of the waste generated by direct mail marketing. I didn’t ask for this stuff but I have to take care of getting rid of it…
The USPS is supposed to be able to pay for itself with the fees it charges to use its service but after being “forced” to take a HUGE loan to pre-fund its union pension program it’s become under water to a tune of $15-billion. Yet another example of how unions are not good for business anymore (that’s another post all together).
So far I have not read a lot of complaints about the USPS decision. I think it’s just a sign of the times and probably not the first reduction of service we’ll see in our lifetime.