Profiling

I am fascinated by the data websites collect when you simply visit once, for however short a time period. One little click and they build your profile. And, when you use sites regularly they gather an all-out tome of information on you.

Facebook makes suggestions for friends you may know via your other friends (the VAST majority of which I do not) or groups you may be interested in following.

Amazon suggests products you may be interested in, not just from what you’ve purchased in the past but also from any number of products you’ve simply browsed.

Yahoo sends out E-mail alerts on any number of topics based on your searches. This one really had me tripping the other day. Sure, seeing a message from Yahoo! Sports or Yahoo! Finance or other topics is normal for me. But the other day Yahoo! Fashion popped up in my inbox. What? Clearly it’s time for me to update my profile with a picture of myself instead of the generic one – then I’m sure they’ll learn that fashion is the furthest thing from my mind.

Advertisements

My Problem With The Internet Culture

I thoroughly enjoy all the information and entertainment I can get on the internet. It really is a wonderful invention. To be able to pull up-to-the-minute information with some clicks, or research any number of topics or opinions is, a few screwy exceptions aside, good for our society. It is an essential skill to learn to use and navigate the internet so you can get the most out of it in this day and age.

But the youthful internet culture has some growing up to do. They have little frame of reference other than the here and now. Hopefully, the internet can give those of us with more experience the chance to further educate our young people. (Yes, not all of them are young, but demographics show a higher use of certain internet platforms and sites than older generations.)

What’s the problem, you ask?

Let’s start with a survey by Yahoo a few years back. Users were asked to rank the greatest science-fiction movies of all-time. Do you know which movie won? Iron Man! What the heck? Sure, I enjoyed it, and Robert Downey, Jr.’s  portrayal of Tony Stark was excellent, but best of all-time?! What about Blade Runner, Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, The Day the Earth Stood Still, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn, Alien? Seriously, Iron Man won because it was in the young crowd’s collective conscious at the time. Like I said, I enjoyed Iron Man but it wouldn’t crack my top 20.

I was reminded of this today when my daughter was on her Google+. Users were asked King Kong or Indominus Rex. Indominus was winning 82-percent to 18-percent. You gotta be kidding me!

Sure, Indominus is wickedly bad ass, but we’re talking King Kong. Barney’s psycho cousin was, what, 40 feet from nose to tail while RKO Studios listed King Kong at 50 feet tall in promotional materials. At 40 feet long, Indominus doesn’t also stand that tall, she leans forward. Given apes have longer arms, proportionally, than humans all Kong would have to do is slap his big hand on Indie’s head Lonestar vs. Dark Helmet style and keep her at bay. Then, before she can reach up with those claws, he can just push her head down to the ground and go to work on her spine with his other hand.

Granted, I’m not exactly sure where the genitals of King Kong would be in relation to Indie’s jaws. So, if she got in a good chomp on Kong’s privates the fight would drastically change. But still, he’s got the reach advantage and leverage thanks to a more erect skeletal structure – even if he’s less erect after a nutcracker move.

Overall, I just think the advantage belongs to Kong. But, once again, Indominus Rex is in the modern collective conscious, and therefore our youth vote for her.

Numbers, Man

I’ve always considered myself kind of a numbers guy. When I look back, I think I should’ve studied to become an accountant. (Heck, had I just STUDIED things might be different.) I just love the stories numbers tell. That’s why I run some of the best inventories in the company…I see the story behind the numbers and know how to get the best metric results. (Sure, my people skills SUCK, which make me a terrible manager; but when you’re adding THAT MUCH to the company’s bottom line they are happy to look the other way.)

I was thinking about a neat little number fact recently. I was born in ’73 and my dad in ’42. This year I will turn 42 while he turns 73. How cool is that!

Well, if you look at the numbers (and, yes, I did almost immediately) it’s not that unique. My oldest brother turned 42 the same year my dad turned 69. Guess when that brother was born. My other brother turned 42 the same year my dad turned 71. Guess which year he was born. It works out the same for our mother as well.

There may be a whole mathematical formula explaining this phenomenon. But I’m not going to subject myself to further geek jokes, just the ones I’ve already earned by noticing this sort of thing.

And speaking of inventories, my monthly inventory was last week. I have to spend a fair amount of time in the freezer counting product. I accomplish this in two steps: first, I go in fully bundled and wearing gloves. For this step I count all items and write the number on the box. Second, I go back in fully bundled but not wearing gloves as I have about 14 pages of paperwork to record those numbers and gloved hands aren’t the ideal gear for turning pages.

When I got to the cupcakes (vanilla, chocolate and red velvet) I noticed what I wrote on the boxes in the following order: 36 – 24 – 36, what a winning hand! She’s a brick—-house. Yup, I was singing in the freezer. Totally freaked out the sushi guy who barely speaks English when he came to get some of his product.

Umm, how did I get from being a numbers guy to the Commodores? Yeah, time for bed.

Identity

I’ve always been a little touchy about my identity. I was the younger brother of two, popular older brothers. In elementary school this was no big deal. Come high school it became a nightmare. That’s the age I, like other high-schoolers, was trying to find and assert my own, unique identity. And it was darn near impossible to do so as the third one in my family.

Teachers largely assumed I was pretty much like either of my older brothers. This did come in handy come grading time; they figured I was smart, too, and I’d get good grades. But I’m surprised I didn’t get detention for the number of times I sported attitude. When asked if I was “his brother” I’d sometimes reply, with venom, “No, he’s MY brother!”

In fact, one of my brothers was paged to the office when I was in high school. A few seconds after that page the school official corrected herself and paged me. That was 1992, my senior year. The brother paged graduated in 1989! The teacher whose room I was in looked up at me, still sitting at my desk without any indication of moving.

“You’re not going because they got your name wrong?” he asked.

“You got that right.” I answered.

“Fair enough, Jason.”

As an adult I largely don’t care anymore, especially since the paths we’ve followed, the communities we live in and the people we know are all different between the three of us. However, I felt a little wronged by Coca-Cola last year.

In case you haven’t noticed, Coca-Cola puts names on their bottles during the summer. Share a Coke with John or Share a Coke with Jessica or other names decorate their labels. Last year, I looked for my name. I could never find it. However, I found my brothers’ names! C’mon, Coke! I checked a website which ranked names by popularity; type in your name and see where you rank. Jason is 24th for US males. One of my brothers is ranked 76th. Sure, found his name. The other is ranked 226th – and I found his name TWICE! What the heck!

I wasn’t going to bother looking for my name this summer. But, when my wife and I went to the cafeteria at the hospital today I saw sitting there a Coke labelled, “Share a Coke with Jason.” It almost brought a tear to my eye…finally some recognition!

Now, having suffered from kidney stones I’m really not supposed to drink Coke. But I couldn’t resist. After all, it had my name on it!

Finding Common Ground

I’m a pretty conservative guy, politically speaking. I do not see eye-to-eye with President Obama on many issues; and I don’t agree with his handling on issues we may, upon the surface, appear to be in agreement. But we, voters and politicians alike, must learn to find common ground upon which we can agree.

I found that moment recently. Interestingly enough, I would’ve noticed it about six years ago had I been paying closer attention.

In 2009, Kanye West went on stage and took the microphone from Taylor Swift during her acceptance speech for Best Female Video at the Video Music Awards. He just had to get up there and rain on her parade by commenting how Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” was one of the greatest videos of all time; all because he was upset his beloved Beyonce was beaten out by Swift. (He showed similar disrespect to Beck recently, if memory serves.)

When preparing for an interview, perhaps even part of the interview, President Obama was asked why Kanye would do something so disrespectful and immature. President Obama replied, “He’s a jackass.”

See, if President Obama and I can agree on something…we can all find something to agree upon.

(If you’re interested, I learned about President Obama’s quote through Watch Mojo’s Top 10 Awkward Things on Live TV – I recommend watching all ten and not just the aforementioned section.)

Fireworks with the kids

The older kids asked me to take them to see the fireworks about 1,000 times over the past week. With a wife suffering from constant nausea and vomiting during this pregnancy I didn’t know whether or not we’d be able to go while leaving the 2-year-old with her. Fortunately the toddler didn’t nap all day and went to bed early, thereby allowing the wife to go to bed early and me to take the kids to the fireworks. Here’s how some of the conversation went…

6-year-old: Daddy, when’s it gonna start?

11-year-old: I’m bored.

15-year-old (Pretends her iPod is a cell phone and talks to Ross Lynch about how boring it is waiting for the fireworks to start.)

Repeat for 30 minutes…then the fireworks begin.

6-year-old (while covering her ears): It’s too loud. When’s it gonna stop, Daddy?

11-year-old (covers ears the whole time)

15-year-old (watches without any expression)

Upon the walk home only one thing was said…

THAT WAS AWESOME!

Proper Food Storage

I’ve worked in food service for the past seven-plus years (the longest temp job I ever had) and had also managed a cafe for two-plus at the turn of the millennium. I was, at one point, Serve-Safe Certified but have since let that certification expire as I am not required to maintain it in my current position. (The store management team must do that.) So, I know a thing or two about proper food storage.

This past Father’s Day gave a good example of proper food storage. We had enjoyed a lovely dinner at my parent’s apartment, finished nicely by my all-time favorite dessert. (On a side note, my two-year-old asked for broccoli for dessert. Good thing I know of my wife’s absolute fidelity otherwise I’d question it.) Mom had made nine of the chocolate wafer/cream cookies. Oh, yeah! Dad ate two and I managed to put away three – quite an accomplishment given that their sweetness may induce diabetic coma. Yeah, three little cakes of heavenly goodness and a BIG HONKING GLASS OF WATER to keep me from attaining a debilitating sugar high. ‘Twas a good meal.

However, there were still four of the little buggers left over. Dad let me take them all home. Whoa, that’s a bit much for a man who really does need to take a few pounds off the midsection. Are you sure you don’t want them, Dad? But, he wouldn’t let me leave without taking them. So, he put them on a styro-foam plate and covered them with plastic wrap.

Once putting them in our fridge I realized this was not the ideal food storage container. It was not air-tight, causing an increase risk for faster spoilage. The plastic wrap cover offered no protection from interference, specifically the aforementioned two-year-old who likes to grab at anything she can get her hands on when her big sister opens the fridge door to get a snack. Clearly, I needed to find a new food storage compartment for my beloved treats.

So I ate all four of ’em. Yup-yup-yup…big Daddy got a little bigger in the midsection. At least I could rest secure in the knowledge that my tasty treats were no longer exposed to the dangers of improperly stored food.