And So It Begins…

MSN: Devouring a McDonald’s Big Mac or a Chipotle burrito is on a fast-track to becoming a luxury for many U.S. consumers. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, given the surging costs for beef and, above all else, hourly workers.

In May, San Francisco joined the city of Oakland in having the highest minimum wage in the nation at $12.25 an hour. Minimum wages in San Francisco will reach $15 per hour by 2018. These hikes have led to recent price increases at Chipotle of 10% in San Francisco and 7% in Oakland.

“In San Francisco, our occupancy costs are about double the Chipotle average as a percentage of sales, and our menu prices there [were] right around the average for Chipotle restaurants around the country, so increases to wages can have a greater impact than they might elsewhere,” Chipotle spokesman Chris Arnold said in an email. Occupancy costs are the expenses related to doing business in a location, including charges for rent, electricity and water.

Surprised? You shouldn’t be. This post is over a year old.

Rush’s 40th Anniversary Tour at KeyArena

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It’s not often that I put this much media in a blog post, so call this a special occasion. You see, it’s not every day you get to see Rush live. In fact, it’s been almost 20 years since I last saw them in concert. I always knew they couldn’t tour forever. I always said that I had to somehow get into the front row for one of their concerts. When I heard that this might be The Last Tour of this size for the Canadian Trio, I grabbed a fist full of cash and ran to Ticketmaster.

I stood in front of Geddy from the second row for the entire show. And it was worth every. Single. Fuckin’. Penny.

My only regret has been not going to see them in Portland two nights later but I have no way to get these kinds of tickets again.

Videos – and there are 33 of them! – are on YouTube and unlisted, so you’ll only find them from here.

You still here? Thanks! It gives me a chance to put a bow on this geekout I’m having, a full 24 hours after the show.

You see, the very first time I heard about Rush, it was from my mother. She was teaching at a middle school in 1980 and a group of “burn outs” walked by. My mother took me aside and said, “Don’t you be like those boys!” and pointed to a couple of the long haired boys that were wearing a jean jacket that had a red star in a circle and a naked man, painted on the back of it.

Moth, meet flame.

During high school a couple of friends and I started listening to the 70’s incarnation of Rush, with our interest stopping with Signals. In fact, I recall lamenting that “Spew Your Fire” was a waste of their talents. Of course, it was a poster from the Grace Under Pressure tour that educated me on the fact that there are just three guys in the band. And have only been three guys in the band. Oh and that guitar riff I love so much in YYZ? That’s from the bass player.

I don’t think I’ve ever recovered.

Sometime during high school, I moved up on from the heavier and artsy rock and moved into the 80’s version of the band, realizing that every four albums there’s a live one which somehow magically reboots the band. And now – as poor Geddy can likely attest to after standing in front of him for 3 hours – the entire catalog is forever percolating in my brain with pretty accurate recall of every fill, lyric, and standing out riff or bass slap. After college, I stuck with them through the re-mastering of the catalog and new discs as they came out.

I saw them for Presto, twice for Roll the Bones, twice for Counterparts, once for Test For Echo; two of those tours were kicked off in Connecticut so I saw them in the raw and again when they had tightened the show up. As I got older old I found that optical discs and streaming HD got me closer to the band compared to when I actually went to a show…

Until this show.

Boys, if you never tour again, enjoy the retirement and thanks for the memories.

Business as Usual

“We live in an age where mass communication has counterintuitively turned all attempts of verbal debate into a basketball game where the teams are on different courts and stand around the baskets racking up meaningless points and throwing shit over the dividing wall.”
– Ben “Yahtzee” Crowshaw, Zero Punctuation

Kinda scary when you can lift something so profound and accurate from a blog-based video game review. Especially when you consider the author lives in Australia and likely doesn’t follow American politics or want to. Yet it accurately captures what I’ve been feeling lately about politics, Facebook, and – sadly – my fellow citizens.

And it’s likely going to continue to be accurate, as I don’t see an end in sight.

You see, the conservative GOP supporters continue to get religion confused with government and the liberal Democrats supporters keep telling me “you have freedom to think what you like, so long as you agree with us; if you don’t you must change your mind” and the seemingly inability of either side being capable of fixing things that they themselves fucked up in the first place. Both sides suck and neither side wants to fix problems; the invisible third party has little to no traction either. The supporters of seemingly every party sides mindlessly preach what they are told to say and are just as fast to prove that the “other side” is wrong… the only hope left is that a party wakes up to it’s botched marketing message and reboots.

Meanwhile, the nation obsesses over whether a woman in a relatively small city in eastern Washington lied on her job application when she was asked to proclaim her race.

I think I’ll go play some Viva Piñata for a few hours – better use of time.

One Tap Too Many

IT these days is an interesting beast. With the general acceptance of Bring Your Own Box (BYOB) to work, I’m free to choose whatever devices I want to use and be able to use them to access my enterprise services. Net effect companies get more of my time while I’m not in the office doing work for them and they don’t have to buy me a device to use. While this sounds dreary, I’m happy to buy into this because it also means I can get to work from home more often which is nice.

That said, it feels like IT has gone out of its way to make the process so painful – under the guise of security – to make me opt out of this. You see, to get to these services, IT says I have to have a device PIN. iOS loves 4-digit PIN’s so this isn’t bad. Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap and it’s unlocked. On my iPad, I used to open my SmartCover tapped four times, and I was in. The IT changed the required length to something longer than four digits. Not a big deal right? Except now I have to tap in the code and then OK, since iOS doesn’t know how long the new code is. Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-Tap-OK.

Um.

One of the best feature of my iPad Mini is that I can open the cover and the device comes awake. If I don’t have a PIN at all, it’s on the screen I last had on. It’s seamless. Makes me choose between getting my work email on my device or having the device respond that much faster when I want it to…

Tough decision: I don’t think I’ve opened the Mail app on the iPad in weeks.

Fun with Numbers!

CNN: Harriet Tubman should be the first woman on the $20 bill, according to a new online poll.

In all honesty, I struggled to remember who was on the $20 because I have dealt with paper money so infrequently over the last five years. In fact, if I have to have cash, it has to be something really, really good – like coffee or festival food – or else I’m moving to the next store and using my plastic there. And of course, no one blinks an eye that the majority of the faces on our cash were presidents – the only standout I can think of being Ben Franklin who was simply an Ambassador – and Jackson had a strong hand in working to create more than one national banks.

What I find offensive in this article is how media and people are reacting to it, both the people that say we must do this and the people that are against doing this. Someone ran an Internet poll, ya? Harriet beat everyone else in the list of 15 people and after three rounds of voting, there were 609,090 people that voted with 118,328 people opting for Harriet. Lets be polite and make a case that this was a huge poll and we add up all of the people that participated and say that 1,218,180 weighed in on this and all of them want Harriet.

There are over 320 million people in America right now. How can the media or people promoting this cause take 1.2 million people and say that a majority of Americans want to see someone new on the $20 bill? That is 0.375% of the populous. If you stick to how many people want Harriet and it drops to 0.037%.

Shame on you, mass media, for yet another set of misrepresenting results to sell papers clicks. Shame on you, Americans, for blindly believing headlines without reading articles and using logic before making conclusions.

Unless, of course, we are believe the theory that the wealthiest 1% of the country is running things behind the scenes; in that case, the majority of citizens has spoken on changing the $20 bill.

Right On, Principal Kelley

MSN: Principal explains decision to disallow varsity jacket for special needs hooper

Oddly I missed the original story that called out the school last week of being “horrible” for prevent a special needs student from wearing a varsity jacket but I’m thrilled that I saw the rebuttal by the principal. The righteous bumper-sticker rabble rousers have risen again to torment the school and the principal yet they screwed the pooch on the facts:

“Suggesting that our school doesn’t support and embrace special needs students is simply not reflective or indicative of the culture we have in our building. Our administrators, our teachers and staff, as well as our entire student body value ALL of our students. This is continually demonstrated in our activities, our celebrations, our honors and the daily way our school conducts itself.

For those of you who don’t know East High, please take an opportunity to learn about us before you judge us based on one story that originated approximately a year ago.”

Props to the media and the CauseHeads for creating a tempest in a teacup and slapping the self righteous paint brush around yet again.

I love it when people put blind principles before facts, even if it abuses a principal and his school.

Chick-fil-a Comes to Bellevue

Chick-fil-a’s Bellevue location opens in only a couple of weeks, which I call I triumphant return. Most people didn’t know – or forgot – that there was a university based Chick-fil-a up near Bellingham up until a few years ago, but since they were closed on Sunday, I never got up there. The Bellevue store is more convenient by far.

I can’t wait to see how long it takes me to get in there as I expect an Issaquah style Krispy Kreme mob scene on Day 1. Of course, I also expect half of that crowd to be protesting the privately owned business that model their beliefs based off their religion. Make no never mind to me. People have the constitutional right to protest and I support that. A private company’s owner has the constitutional right to guide their business based off religious beliefs, provided they aren’t breaking the law in doing so, and I’m happy to support the local franchise owner and the jobs she/he has created. But of course, not everyone sees it that way. Most people that fancy themselves to be freedom-loving liberals, which is funny because the same people cannot tolerate people that disagree with them… I guess the freedom to disagree isn’t available to everyone.

Either way, there’s a chicken sammich in my not so distant future and that’s good times.

Why I Could Never be a Justice

NPR: Is A Confederate Flag License Plate Free Speech?

Citing free speech, this has made it’s way up to the Supreme Court. And it should have. But at the same time, celebrating the Confederacy in 2015 feels… dumb. I don’t care if it’s offensive. If you are a person and you have a problem with what you see, why do you expect someone else to change their behavior to please you? Get a thicker skin, for feck’s sake.

But why do I think this case is clear evidence that I shouldn’t be on the big bench? Unable to weigh evidence? Too hard to evaluate the law? Constitution is too vague? Can’t be unbiased?

No, that’s the easy part – it’s because I would send Texas an eight-figure bill for legal services, for sending this to the highest court in the land and clogging the docket.

Call it a consulting fee.

Old Habits Die Hard

Over the last few years, I’ve been toying with the idea of changing my blog engine. It’s not a change I’d take on lightly: SharpMT is still my primary blog writer and that’s tightly coupled with MovableType… yet, I’ve had a less than happy feeling with MT over the last few years, mostly because SixApart keeps talking about their new hotness that I won’t be offered on my MT5 instance. Sure, they continue to update MT5 with security updates, but their updates are a nuke-reinstall-in-place which makes my feet itch, and I wasn’t keen on having to shell out Enterprise pricing for my little corner of the intertubes.

Simply put, the biggest challenge is that my blog is… old.
Continue reading Old Habits Die Hard

GTA V in the news. Again

Business Insider Australia: Target And Kmart Have Taken Grand Theft Auto V Off The Shelf Over Violence Against Women Claims […] Two of Australia’s major retailers, Target, and now Kmart, have pulled the controversial game from their stores in the wake of claims of misogyny and violence against women, including the ability to have first-person sex with prostitutes and even watch it. In one example, a sex worker was killed with an axe in the game. A Charge.org petition bearing 40,000 signatures on it was sent to Target and yesterday, the company announced it was pulling the game.

I am appalled.
Continue reading GTA V in the news. Again

Randy No Arms' ongoing commentary on life, gaming, and the rest of the world