Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Average day and week

I've been quite distracted by another project recently. I can't go into details, except, well, it's related to the origin of the name fcsuper. Anyone that knows how to interpret that clue might be able to figure out what I've been up to.

In other news, I have a trip to Hong Kong planned. Stay tuned!

Also, in even other news, please note the link to Backblog Awards in my left bar menu. Please check it out. The first winner of the Backblog Awards should be announced this week, for Aug 2005's best post.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Credit Card charge requirements $5 $10

UPDATE: Due to an agreement that the credit card companies made, vendors are now allowed to charge for fees if you use a credit card.

CORRECTION: This post originally stated a falsehood which I thought was fact at the time. California law does not regulate credit card charges, nor can it. This is solely in the realm of the Federal Government. The truth is that the Card Card companies themselves have restrictions on when a fee can be charged. No fee is allowed for amounts greater than $1. If you come across a store that is charging a fee for any amount greater than $1, report that place of business to your credit card companies.

Original Post:

California has a law that makes it illegal for any place that accepts credit or charge cards to either have a minimum charge or to charge a fee for credit card use. Some stores or restaurants owners a dumb enough to actually post this policy (which is also separately illegal, in of itself). But more savvy owners will simply notify you of their fee when you try to use your credit/charge card for an amount below their supposed minimum. Either way, it's still illegal for them to do so.
If these places are encountered, simply refuse to pay the fee or refuse to accept their minimum. Remind then that they are breaking the law. Remind them that you are not in their place of business as a slave, but there as the customer. You don't need their produce, but they need your money. They don't need the trouble you can stir up by contacting the Better Business Bureau or class action lawsuits can come up from this sort of thing.
Ask them if all that is really worth the 25, 50 or 75 cent fee. Don't be afraid to make a big scene out of it.
Some of these store owners are under the strange impression that they deserve your money simply because you come into their store. They just need to be reminded that they have to earn the right to get your money.

Marine World

Last weekend, my closest friends and I set up for Marine World. I made sure I got on all the rides I wanted this time. Roar, Medusa, and Verticle Velocity for sure. Did tons of walking too. It's pretty much the same as last year though, so yeah.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Tipping in American

Something really strange happened a few years ago in the realm of tipping. Over the counter food preparers and cashiers started putting out tip collection jars, baskets, cups, etc. What’s that about? Has it ever been tradition to tip the cook? Not at all. The reason servers (waiters/waitresses) get tips is because they provide a service as the focal point between the customer and restaurant and its staff. When you tip a server, typically a portion is re-tipped to the host/hostess and the busboy separately. If there is no host/hostess, the server usually doubles as the host/hostess. If there is not busboy, the server has to double as a busboy. In these cases, the server keeps the portion that would normally be given to another person fulfilling those roles. In any case, these are the only three positions in a restaurant that can expect tips. Cashier is not tipped. The cook is not tipped. The owner or manager is not tipped. Basically, if there is no server, there is no one to tip.
So, why tip over the counter food preparers? You’re not supposed to. This is even an IRS relevant matter. If a tip is expected, the person receiving the tips must pay tax on 8% of the sales that person handles, whether they receive the tip or not. Comparatively few people tip over the counter, so this means those cashiers and food prepares are required to pay tax on money which they have not hope of receiving. The responsible restaurant owner should not allow tipping jar placed on their counter, and should even have a no tipping policy. This saves the staff from paying extra taxes, and saves the restaurant from the headache of having the paperwork and labor to track tipping for the IRS.
I tip generously. This is because I live in Silicon Valley, were the expected tip is 15 to 20%. Where service is reduced (you take your own bill up to the cashier, or you seat yourself), the tip may be reduced in kind. In those cases, 10% is acceptable. Where there is no service, there is no tip.

A's Game

Tonight's A's game against the Angels was a lot of fun. Dave and I headed up pretty early to make sure we got tickets and I'm glad we did cuz the game sold out! We had a seats in a good spot that allowed us a look down over right field. We tried our best to harass the Angels players, but I'm not really sure they heard anything cuz we where kinda high up, but once in awhile, it kinda seemed to have an impact (ok, sure, over statement). A's did give the crowd something to cheer, and in return, we cheered even more, and the A's scored even more! An Angels batter throw his helm down in disgust after ending their inning with his strike out. That just made all of us fan cheer even more. In the next inning, another Angels player got pissed when he was struck out to end that inning. He throw his bat down in the direction of the ump and got thrown out of the game while all the fans where cheering. Of course, that made all of us go even more crazy. It was a pitch perfect moment. It was a very entertaining game to watch. Oh, and the A's won!

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Original MS Write program

This may be a rarified issue, but I've come across the fact that Windows no longer supports the old Write (.wri) file type at all. Wordpad pretends to open the .wri files, but it doesn't understand Write formatting. Unfortunately, I've also come across the need to open old Write files properly. There's a fake WRITE.EXE file included with Windows, but that program open Wordpad, not Write. Luckily, I was able to find a copy of the old Write program file (write.exe). For anyone that wants it, here it is: Write.
Advice: To open Write files embedded as an icon within another Write document, you will need to associate .wri files with MS Word (default setting is Wordpad). Then, open the other Write document with Write. When you double click on the embedded icons, Word will open the embedded document. If you don't associate .wri with Word, Windows will try to use Wordpad even though you have Write open. If you try to associate .wri files with Write, the embedded iconed Write files will not open at all.

Strange review of Wedding Crashers movie

I've come across this strange review for the Wedding Crashers movie. It may appear that the review's author doesn't understand that their political views have nothing to do with their diminutive funny bone. The review is loaded with a presuppositional subtext suggesting that anyone who is a conservative should have the same sense of humor as the author and that there would be something wrong with conservative who finds this movie very funny. It appears to either be another brainwashed neocon lackey, or one of the brainwashining neocon proponents. Given the limited details in the review, it's likely that the reviewer didn't even see the movie. In fact, that reviewer prolly shouldn't have watched the movie, since it was obvious what it was about from the promo's and title of the movie. Political reviews over non-political movies? I just gotta shake my head.

Anyways, I didn’t go into Wedding Crashers with high expectations. I was pleasantly surprised by the movie’s humor. It’s not in the league of Meet the Parents or Old School, but it is pretty damn funny. When the movie had to move the plot along, it did so without getting overly wishy-washy or at the expense of the overall humor. In other words, although it has the elements of a romantic comedy, it didn’t become a romantic comedy. It’s nice not to be tricked into watching a chick flick. However, I’m on the fence as to whether this one makes it into my DVD collection or not.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Emotional Cheating

This term "Emotional Cheating" is being plastered all over infotainment shows like the Today Show today. They got experts up talking about it as if it is some sort of disease where one person in a relationship forms a strong, unnatural, emotional connection with someone other than their partner. What complete nonsense. One would have to be an emotional infant to consider this as a genuine category of human behavior.

There is not such thang as Emotional Cheating. It's a term that is created to vilify normal human interaction. Emotional attachment between any two people (male/female, male/male, female/female) is a natural part of being human.

Emotional Cheating is a term that hides the true nature of what it's trying to describe. The cause of the issue is a rift between two people in a relationship. However, the term is used by one person to push off blame for the rift onto some third party interaction that is absorbing their partner's attention. It pushes blame from the cause to the effect. It allows the slighted partner a false excuse for their feelings of betrayal. The real cause is that the two partners are allowing themselves to drift apart. For the emotionally immature, the emotional bond which one person is developing outside that relationship is response to that drift. For the emotionally mature person, any emotional bonds developed outside the relationship are irrelevant to what is going on within the relationship. The forming rift must be addressed directly, either to mend or break completely.

Old rules that led into the evolution of the marriage tradition were based on primitive survival needs of those times. Over time, the marriage rules have become more restrictive, and less in touch with human nature. The Old Testament glorifies behavior that is seen as obscene in our time. By contrast, marriage rules today would be considered absurd to the bible's writers. The rules change, but our species hasn't. So, what's going on?

Since the beginning of the 20th Century, we now have the power to understand ourselves in ways that weren't even imagined in previous times. Yet, as a society, we seem to be gravitating more towards emotional immaturity than ever before. We should be trying to move towards emotional maturity. As a society, we have to learn that we are emotional creatures. Emotion is part of who we are. We are going to experience emotion whether we want to or not. Trying to create new ways to vilify our nature is pushing us in the wrong direction.

Two people should be able to have an emotional connection that doesn't interfere with that relationships of which those people are a part. Guys and girls can be close friends without being involved. Where the issues of emotional cheating comes in, is when that close friendship becomes an excuse. Either person in the relationship can use it as an excuse, but it's still only an excuse for the unrelated cause.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Back for the Post-modern

One thing I find amusing is that there are people so caught up in their limited old definitions of our world, they continue to use ridiculous terms like post-modern.  So, I’m going to pick on people that don’t realize the absolute absurdity of the term post-modern.  These people use the term to talk about the period of time in which we live in relation to events previously associated with the word modern.

This is ignorant on two levels.  First, we already have a word that describes the time in which we live. That word is modern!  There is no way to be in post-modern times unless you time travel.  Even then, that doesn’t make sense because if you travel to the future, you are still going to be in the modern times of that period. Secondly, use of the term post-modern shows a complete lack of knowledge about the Industrial Age and our transition into the Information Age.

Since the 1980’s, people understood we were at or nearing the end of the Industrial Age.  But without an obvious understanding of the catalyst that was already in place to usher in a new age, few knew what to call this new period.  Some people rightfully used the term Post-Industrial for a while. That makes sense. We are living in times after the Industrial Age.  Other people didn’t understand this dynamic, and quickly adopted strange words like post-modern.

Of course, these terms do not define all aspects of society.  In art, the term is postmodern.  It is a response to modernism, which itself was a fad during a particular period of time.  Why art would be labelled in any way "modern" is funny, since the art of any period of time will be modern to that time.   Beyond art, the term modernism describes a period of time long past, during the 19th and early 20th Centuries.  How can it be "modern" if it was over a century ago?  This is all very silly.

I think it was people who are caught up in a limited world view that coined terms like post-modern and modernism, without taking into account more aspects of the times in which they live.  Basically, they got so used to using the word modern to describe certain series of events, they didn’t know what word to use once those series of events came to a close.

The catalyst for the new modern age was the establishment and popularization of the Internet, bringing a new understanding of ownership of information, and the resulting technological, cultural and economical shifts.  Once people started understanding the driving force behind this new age, we knew what to call it.  We are now in the Information Age.

There are other terms, such as waves of the Industrial Revolution.  However, the problem with this term is that we are already on the 'fourth' such waves.  This metric is really just tracking ups and downs in manufacturing rather than identifying a significant period of time.  A revolution is a point in time, not a long period.  Long periods of time tend to be identified by trends.  By definition, a revolution is not a trend, but rather specific events of upheaval, overturning an old system.  Industrial Revolution lead to the Industrial Age.  However, these subsequent supposed revolutions aren't really the start or stops of any particular ages, and they aren't responsible for any specific upheaval.

These little revolutions have been happening as a backdrop to the bigger trend, being the rise of importance of information.  Aspects of the Information Age allow for improvements to manufacturing, but manufacturing itself has taken a backseat to the real revolution that happened with the advent of the Internet and new levels of data collection and usage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Shorter Commute

Ok, I really don't understand. I've been taking the same path to work on Lawerance Expressway for 4 years. All this time, my commute ran about 25 to 35 minutes. All of a sudden, over the past few months, my commute as dropped to 15 to 20 minutes. I'm glad. I'm very glad. Its like a gift of 1/2 hr a day. I just don't understand why.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Have we come so far

I give my heartfelt syphathies to England and the victims of today's terrorist attack. This attack is completely senseless. It's not senseless in the terms that any violence is senseless, because that's a given. It is senseless in that it is irrelavant. Causing harm like this no longer serves any purpose. Those with their minds towards commiting terrorist acts are living in a world that no longer exists; a world that they themselves helped destroy. In the past, such acts were seen as grandious. In today's world, such acts come across as feeble.
As a whole, the global threat of terrorist has increase U.S./U.K. power. Before, we projected our power, but with a bit of timidity. Now, our power is projected with bold confidence, whether justified or not.

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Online gaming

Well, I've been hella distracted recently with online gaming. I've been filling up a considerable amount of my time playing Battlefront. I'm also starting to get addicted to the new Pirates! game, though it's not an online game. I'm looking at a monitor at work and at home, and I've noticed that my eyes get more tired now because it. Also, I'm sure my g/f has noticed a bit of a crunch on our shared time too.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

Mind Control works for fun and profit

From a recent AFP story, "A poll last November by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press found that 63 percent of people who attend services more than once a week vote Republican, while 37 percent of regular attendees vote Democrat."

See, mind control works! When someone gets used to being told what to believe, they tend not to question anything regarding what they are being told from their masters.

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Vegas 2005

It was nice to get away in Las Vegas last weekend with some friends. Even though I was there 3.5 days, it felt like a week. Margaritaville at the Flamingo was fun. I got nicely toasted on their Perfect Margaritas. Quark's Bar resturant was great. Miriam even challenged the female Klingon with a dual over her male Klingon mate. Pretty damn funny. I came close to braking even on my gambling efforts as well. I had a good time.