Thursday, May 31, 2012

Could I Borrow Your Company?

It is one of those funny facts in life that to make money it really helps to have money.  Even the coolest ideas lead to contracts and offices and phones and things.  There are home offices, but you hate to invite the head widget distributor over to sit on your couch next to your cat.  There are coffee shops, but that grinding noise can interfere with the conference calls.  My dad who went through several small business launches, sometimes made use of office sharing deals where for a fee you could set up a phone line, have access to a conference room even share a receptionist who would answer and forward calls.  But of course, that still costs money.  And that's not even taking into account things like rent.
One of the amazing things about moving from the life of a college student to a working professional was how many things there were that cost money. I knew about food and utilities and gas and car insurance.  But then you add on cable and the fact that daily commuting uses more gas than you thought and then you still want to go to movies or out to dinner and sometimes people want to do those things on the first of the month even though that's also the day 90 percent of your bills are due and wow, that money disappears fast.  As with anything you adjust.  Or get a different job or a cheaper place to live or something.
But what if you didn't have to.  What if you had a great idea for a company.  And what if you could hang out somewhere where there was furniture, food, phones, internet and it was all free.  Or, you know free to you at least.  And no, I don't mean moving back home.  What if you just moved into an office where they had computers, a gym and food.  You know, like AOL for example. One guy did for about two months before being caught.  Now he's gathered enough money for his startup to get a place to live. 

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

7 Things That Make Me Cranky About Websites

1. The 5W's. Didn't we all learn this in elementary school or something?  (Apparently not.)  So, I want to know who you are.  This should be listed under something obvious like who or about or what have you.  If you are a widget maker and I followed this link thinking you were a famous author I should be able to tell the difference.  Quickly.  Without hunting.
2. So, okay fine.  What basically is covered for most websites in the who.  But if you are a thing that is not entirely obvious, say you are called Widget Makers, but really that's only part of your mission, tell me the rest.  Somewhere.  Please.
3. When.  If you have events, I want to know when they are.  If you make me call you or sign up for your newsletter or do some other gymnastics, nine times out of ten, I will assume your event cannot really be that cool and I will click away. 
4.  When (again) are you open?  Are there exceptions to this like certain federal holidays?  There is nothing more sad than showing up somewhere to discover that despite the website saying they were open, they are not.
5. Where.  Where are you?  This should ideally be on the very first page, so that if I am googling for you on my mobile device I do not have to figure out what cleverness you his this info under.  (Directions might be nice too.)
6. Why, fine, why we can skip.  (See four W's.  Even easier.) But let's look at things like what to expect.  So, if I head to your event or show up to buy a widget, what's that like.  (If the answer is come in, grab widget, buy widget, leave, then fine, I probably don't need to know that.)  Should I bring something(s) with me?  What forms of payment do you accept? 
7. And if you don't actually sell the widgets that you make, where (again) can I buy them?  (Don't you dare tell me fine stores everywhere.  Give me specifics.) 

Monday, May 21, 2012

7 Things About TV

This is one of those times when those of us who care a lot about TV are full of news and those who have what might be considered a more balanced level of attention to TV think all the good stuff is ending until the fall. I already did my goodbye to "Chuck" and technically "Eureka" hasn't quite ended, so I'll save those ruminations. But here are some other thoughts about rumblings, cancellations and endings.
1. I have not yet watched the British "Prime Suspect" but the American version proved that it's not just comedies that can find their footing given enough episodes.  It was turning into something really fascinating as it got yanked.
2. I had mostly opted out of "House" but man, those first few seasons are amazing.  I think it's time had come, but it was still a great thing.
3. I was late to the "Once Upon a Time" party, but caught up after the mid-season break, and really enjoyed it.  I think they suffer from an unwillingness to have more than two villains ever, but, appreciated that they managed to progress and yet have that lead to something really interesting. Sometimes it's a little too on the nose, but there is some fabulous acting going on there.
4. "Awake" was such an interesting show.  I wish we had gotten to see more of it.  I thought the looping of the cases in each world back to each other was being used really well.  
5. I rarely watched "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" live anymore, but find it a great comfort.  I also think it's a great example of a spin off show being so completely different in tone and attitude from it's parent show. 
6. I'm happy that "Community" will be returning.  (And many of my other favorite shows.)  I don't know what it means that it will have a new showrunner.  I'm hoping it finds a good stride. 
7. "The Sing Off"  made me happy each year.  I did worry that moving it from holiday season (where everything else is in re-runs) to the fall would kill it, and it appears that might have been it. But I am so glad I got to see a tiny sampling of the a capella that's out there right now.  And I look forward to Pentatonix's album.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Amusing Definitions

I am a little outside the target range for Rookie, but I haven't let that stop me.  You may have heard tell that they recently had Jon Hamm stop by for their "Ask a Man" segment, but I wanted to point you to this amazing fourth grade report* on puberty because in addition to illuminating the difference in response one can get from different sources on puberty, it also has the most amazing definition of nocturnal emission I have ever seen, and that's actually not a sentence I had ever envisioned typing, but there you go.  The world is an amazing place.

*Note the tags on the post. 

Monday, May 07, 2012

7 Things: The University Edition

My lovely alma mater, St. Andrews turns 600 this school year.  And it briefly crossed my mind to attempt to come up with 600 things, but then I remembered that one of the perks of being a college graduate is that I don't have to.  (Ha!  Sorry folks in school. Those of you pointing out that university students are likely not makes lists of six hundred either can shut it.)
1. My freshman dorm overlooked the Old Course.  (Yeah, that's really what they call it.) On Sundays, we could hang out and watch all the tourists take pictures of themselves.  (The course was closed Sundays.)
   1a. I have not ever golfed. People who do golf think it's weird that I went to St. Andrews and don't golf.  Apparently the 600 years of educating folks (okay, so it wasn't quite six hundred when I was there) did not seem like reason enough.
2. Even though I have graduated, I still won't step on Patrick Hamilton's initials.  Even though I know the secret uncursing maneuver, it still seems unwise to toy with such things.
3. My Scottish accent (which I was told was quite good) still slips out if I watch too much Ewan Mcgregor.  (Funnily, two of my classmates were from his same hometown and went to high school with him, so if he does a movie with Kevin Bacon, my number goes to two!) The accent is probably pretty crap these days, and I cannot do it on command.  Unless you make me talk to a Scottish person.  Then weird things happen. 
4. Intriguingly I got my best grade in the worst taught class. I ended up going and getting a textbook and working it out myself. 
5. I was there for the sequicentennial of women being admitted, which was simultaneously awesome and weird.  They've been educating women a long time, but, it's a little sad when you stack it up against the length of time they've been educating people.  I realize this is people like in the book America where there's a little footnotes that says by people we mean white, middle or upper class males from good families, so it's not like everyone on the whole planet except males. Also, they should be commended for doing it that long really. 
6. I was there for the choosing of the Rector which interesting and not just because I had to start with, what is a rector
7. I learned enough about Scottish history that "Braveheart" annoys me.  (My Scottish friend tells me who cares, its a fun movie.  But the battle of Stirling Bridge appeared on three of my history exams, so I am unable to get past the film version which lacks, you know, a bridge.)
So, Happy 600th and here's to 600 more!

Friday, May 04, 2012

April in Review

I sort of knew stuff was stacking up in April, and managed to avoid looking at the whole month until just before it started.  (This is only a wise practice if one small minor freakout will take care of you. And even the, YMMV.)  Crazily, I even added a trip (although only after another trip got shifted and well, I did turn down one that landed on the exact days of another one).
So, just for fun I put together these numbers. 
I was off more days from my day job than I was on.  (This is hilarious in part because I had maxed out my time off accrual at work, and I still have a ton left.   And yes, this calculation does include weekends.)
I was in three different states and DC.  I could add in all the ones I travelled through, but let's move on. 
I took approximately six cab rides, which is so much more than normal.  (In fact, that is often my yearly average.)
I paid my taxes early.  Hate that.  Was worried with travelling I might miss the date.
I used three different metro/subway systems.  (Sorry, PA, it would have been four if you hadn't cut your regional so much.)
I actually utilized planes, trains and automobiles.
Some of these trips I kept the writing mojo going, and some, nope.
My knitting mojo took a huge hit.
My TV watching took a huge hit.  I am so spoiled about the accoutrements that ease my finding and viewing things, I tend to give up and only watch the morning news while travelling, if that.
The reading mojo did well, and not just because two of these trips involved free books.
Saw three movies (which brings my year to four which is already more than last year).
I cannot even begin to count the number of people I saw.  Not all the trips were for happy reason, though most of them were.  And all provided opportunities to catch up with folks and reconnect, even if not quite with everyone I had hoped too.  And now for May I think I shall catch up on my sleep. 

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

Pets Have Long Memories

For some things, at least. 
One year my family gather for Thanksgiving and my cat discovered (as many pets have) that sitting next to my sister's chair led to being snuck little pieces of the people dinner.  Two years later, Thanksgiving was celebrated in the same location and when the people moved to the dinner table my cat pro-actively place herself beside my sister's chair.  (My sister lives a few states away, so there is not a whole lot of between holiday interaction from the cat's perspective.)
I have linked to stories before of pets finding their way home, but sometimes, it takes a little interaction, possibly even from a daytime TV judge.  The link includes the video of the whole segment, so, if you are already sold, feel free to click now. The dog in question disappeared after a day left in the backyard of his person's mom's house.  A few days later a woman bought a dog from a lady in the mall.  A few months later, the sister of the bereft dog owner saw a dog in a woman's car that looked just like the missing dog and responded when she called him by name.  She spoke to the current owner who said it couldn't be the missing dog, she had taken it to a vet who thought it might be mixed breed and older than the missing dog, despite the remarkable similarities in appearance.  So Judge Judy had them bring the dog into the courtroom, and I have to say I found the dog's reaction as heartwarming as you might expect.