Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2022

Do You Remember?

  Friends, Ever had an old friend boast on your exploits? They describe the whole misadventure in rich detail. “I remember when this guy showed-up at Alexandra’s formal party at Hotel El Dorado, wearing white sandals and torn jeans and she had to be paged because they wouldn’t let him in...” You smile and nod, unable to recall any of it! You dig through your mental archives. Nothing. It sure sounds like something you’d do, are you losing your marbles? Of all the experiences memory retains, some more trivial than others, why didn’t this one make it through your thick skull? Lately, it seems I retain less than I used to. After some angst, I’ve come to terms with the notion that experience is like a chisel, shaping the marble block of my life into a sculpture. I may not remember every stroke, but everything I do chips away at the old block, revealing my character. All those “lost” moments create the space my true self needs to manifest itself. Memory retains interesting, useful, comfortin

Donut Hole Alignment

Friends, My predawn attempts to watch the planetary alignment have thus far been met with cloudy skies. The weather forecast through the end of the cosmic event suggests I shall not witness it. And yet, my futile attempts have been rewarded in other ways. The chorus of birds, frogs and insects singing in anticipation of the sun’s glorious rising complement the river’s steady churning. The crisp, fresh air in a desolate town whose citizens are still bidding Morpheus “adieu” caresses my skin while the sweet aroma of petrichor fills my lounges. Deep shadows of centenarian eucalyptus trees slowly recede and give way to the imperceptible progress of the brightening skies. Sure, witnessing those tiny bright spots lined-up in the sky would be pretty cool —like sprinkles on a donut. Speaking of donuts, if you’re ever in Cuenca around the feast of Corpus Christi (which ended yesterday) you need to try the Huevos Chilenos (Chilean Eggs) —think of them as less sweet donut holes. And, if like me t

It's The Little Things

  Friends, A small action can have an outsized reaction. A kind word can raise a crestfallen spirit. A tiny seed can grow into a gigantic tree. A handful of trees, strategically felled over the right highways, can cut-off supplies to a region*. Granted, not all words are heard, not all seeds germinate and not all trees have blockade potential. As I ponder my next career move, it occurs to me this phenomenon means every moment is an opportunity waiting to be seized. Take this photo. The miniature chef on this mislabeled salt shaker (or is it white pepper?) inspired my much larger son to strike the same pose. So, be purposeful --choose a destination, start walking and you’ll be surprised how far you can get. Be flexible --if a door is locked, don’t pick the lock, just pick another door. Be optimistic --the biggest roadblock to our success is often our own attitude. And most of all, have a donut. After all, the little things in life add-up –and you never know when the butterfly effect is

Lines About a Line

Friends, Lines come in an assortment of expressions. Border lines separate us while phone lines bring us together. A lifeline might help you meet a deadline. There’s line dancing at parties and party lines at the office. Politicians may sell you a line to line their pockets. And, of course, there’s a fine line between a red line and a line in the sand. Bottom line, when it comes to lines, there is no shortage of line items. I realize I may have crossed a line with my excessive line references, but this week I visited the line where the Northern and Southern Hemispheres come together —the equator. This particular segment commemorates the eighteenth century Spanish-French Geodesic Mission that measured a one degree arc in order to infer the earth’s circumference. They’ve built a theme park of sorts with a nine story monument/museum you can climb, egg-balancing stands, musical events, shops, restaurants and, of course, a long yellow line you can straddle. All in all, a fun little tourist

Donut Inconvenience my Travel

Friends, Travel isn’t inconvenient enough, let’s make it harder! Delta’s Chief Irritation Officer is alleged to have said these exact words as she gathered her minions for a secret brainstorming session in a dark, dank Atlanta room. I understand the meeting went something like this. - Let’s schedule the flight at 6 AM and ask passengers to arrive three hours early. - OK, let's play out the scenario. - We have no one at the counters until 3:30. - I like where this is going... - At 3:30, once the line is 100 people long, we have our two slowest clerks show-up and start calling passengers up. - Good stuff! Keep going... - When passenger angst is at the tipping point we send-out three more clerks. Efficient clerks this time, able to get the line moving. - Why would we do that? - This gives them hope. - Yes! Hopeless passengers cease to care... This way... yes! - Of course when a party of three flying to Ecuador on a three segment trip shows-up, we tell them the la

Donut Dashboard

Friends, Memorial Day weekend is here and, with it, summer season –any purists out there are welcome to wait 25 more days for June 21 st  to come around, but I’m ready! It hit me when I was looking out my airplane window and saw… a dashboard. The river a line chart; the center pivot irrigation fields Harvey balls (or pie charts); the heart-shaped lake a proxy for customer satisfaction. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so I took one for you, and annotated it in Comic Sans (because nothing says business like Comic Sans!). As we all know, no dashboard could be complete without a donut (chart), which mine appears to have. Of course, the only thing better than a donut chart is an actual donut, so, as you prepare for the long weekend, grab yourself a sweet pastry and think of all the carefree summer days ahead. Happy Memorial Day weekend!

One Million

Friends, With the U.S. marking its one millionth covid death this week, I couldn’t help but notice this side of the world has way more than its fair share of the action. The Americas are home to about a billion people (12.7% of the world’s population) yet our hemisphere accounts for 40.5% of deaths. This means we have 3x more covid deaths per capita (3.75x in the U.S.) than the global average. So, what’s driving this disparity? If you look at historical mortality rates, both the global average and the U.S. are about even at 1.2%, so it's not the quality of care that's lacking. The culprit are infection rates. A quarter of Americans have tested positive, way ahead of the 6.6% global number. Bottom line, you’re way more likely to catch it if the Atlantic is to your East and the Pacific to your west. Granted, there may be testing and reporting disparities skewing the data —and recovery rates have drastically improved. Still, food for thought on this grim milestone. Speaking of foo

Donut Burnout on Me

Friends, Burnout. What comes to mind when you hear this word? A poor, tired, unmotivated, self-doubting and cynical soul? (we’ll call her Susan). A conventional lightbulb in need of replacement? A silver Nissan Rogue scorched to a crisp in a trailer park fire? If the latter description fits the bill, you have an oddly specific word association. You’re also envisioning the very vehicle sitting on the bed of the tow truck dispatched to gather my donation of a 2006 Dodge Caravan with a quarter million miles. If, on the other hand, you pictured Susan (or worse, feel like Susan), I’m happy to listen and provide some overly-simplistic—albeit well intentioned—advice. Things like making time for self-care and outdoor physical activity. One great way to do this is to use an app. Sounds stupid, but I must confess I’ve been taking the dogs on longer walks and making my runs a little longer so I can sneak ahead of peers on my employer’s “Step it up” challenge (the ones who don’t appear to be train

Eagles vs. Geese

Friends,  Given the choice, would you rather be an eagle or a goose? Eagles soar, effortlessly surfing thermals, their telescopic vision able to spot small prey from their perch in the sky. Geese fly in impressive "V" formations and can migrate up to 1,500 miles in a day. One is solitary, the other social. Both weigh about the same. Eagles rest on trees, geese on the ground. Of course there are exceptions. This week I saw a goose --we'll call him Eagan --perched high on a cottonwood. While Eagan's motives are unclear (for all I know he may identify as an eagle), the sight brought a smile to my face. Chillin' and looking around from his high perch, Eagan seemed to enjoy his unique perspective. So maybe you don't need to choose... maybe you can have the best of both worlds. Speaking of eagles, I got a chance to watch the Colorado Eagles rout the Henderson Silver Knights 5-2 during game 1 of the AHL playoffs. I also got a chance to savor Lil' Orbits' Donu

Holy Donuts

Friends, This week, my guilty pleasure has been the Apple TV+ show Severance  (spoiler alert: nah, no spoilers here!). The series explores extreme work-life balance. Severance is a voluntary surgical procedure to implant a chip which limits your access to memories based on location. When at work, you can only access work memories. Exit work and you have no clue what you do for a living. Talk about a huge blank canvas to draw viewers in! Setting aside the possibilities and plot twists available (and there are many), some elements of the show have unsettled me. Not the obvious ones, mind you! The company where the characters work is pronounced Lumen (the fourth letter in the logo is a drop, so my spelling may be a tad inaccurate). Lumen , of course, is the current name for Level 3, the former employer, who gave me a generous Severance package in 2015. Whoa! But wait, there’s more! The department where the protagonist works is called MDR (Macrodata Refinement). Coincidentally(?) Nusp

Trash Talk

Friends, Space geeks far and wide have embraced scatological humor this week. The occasion? The planetary science decadal survey ’s recommendation that a flagship mission to the 7 th planet should be NASA’s top priority this decade. That is the 13-ringed sideways ice giant sitting 20 times our distance from the sun. You know, Uranus. A planet about which we know so little. Publications like Wired, The Atlantic and The Verge felt empowered to make infantile puns and jocular references. I will spare your highbrow sensitivities the inuendo, besides, you’ve probably already been exposed. It’s bad enough that the Greek god of heaven’s name is so easily mispronounced, add the word “probe” and it’s nearly impossible to avoid the unintended double entendre. That’s why today I’m steering clear of the topic, choosing instead to focus on a more palatable subject: trash. Did you know my trash is recyclable? Well, the trash itself may not be, but the receptacle is. The big black bin is emblazone

Donut Celebrities

Friends, Matching actor names to faces is a hit-and-miss exercise. Name a celebrity and my eyes may gloss over. Mention roles they’ve played and the odds of recognition improve —of course a picture is worth a thousand roles (thank you Google!). Speaking of which, did you know you can get a celebrity to record a personalized video message at Cameo.com? Want a pep talk from Brent Spiner (Data from Star Trek)? $299. How about a threatening birthday message from Danny Trejo (Machete)? $140. You may not be able to get Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe), but Lucius Malfoy (Tom Felton) and Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) are $599 and $250 respectively. So, the next time you’re at a loss as to what to give that special person who has everything, why not have Newman from Sinefeld (Wayne Knight) creep them out? It’s probably worth the $330 price. And, if that’s too rich for your blood, Dunkin’ Ducks is only $15. Better yet, a dozen Dunkin’ Donuts is always a welcome treat. Happy Friday!

What a Deal!

Friends, Ever been offered a discount on your donation? Silly as it sounds, it happens. Why, just last week National Geographic made me such an offer. Their "member survey” (a not-so-subtly disguised fundraiser) had a crossed-out $35 with a $25 next to the smallest suggested donation (“a $10 savings!” it read). One must admire their cojones. In case you're wondering, there was no gift, incentive or even prepaid return envelope to justify a minimum donation size. So... I checked the “other” checkbox and donated $1 —a $34 savings!!! Now if only I could give myself such a discount on donuts. When the clerk rings me up for $18, I wonder what would happen if I hand her a $5 bill. On second thought, I think I will round it up to $20. Happy Friday!

Donut Cred

Friends, Gaining street cred can be elusive. Sometimes it just happens. Take the new Omicron variant: BA.D*… Hello?!? How B.A.D. is that? I mean, the name says it all. How are things going to turn-out, you ask? Well, BA.D, of course! Or Earendel. Located 12.9 billion light years from Earth, it’s the most distant star ever observed! And, as if that were not enough the planets surrounding it (Elros and Elrond*) are also named after J.R.R. Tolkien characters. Props! That said, being evil and distant hasn’t worked for Vladimir Putin. The west can’t sanction his invasion, so they’ve imposed sanctions on the invaders. Ukrainians wonder whether to hold fast or leave fast. Only the ones that haven’t left are left. The winner of the POO-TIN award* deserves no street cred for his narcissistic land grab. On the other hand, the name that does get street cred is Tim Horton’s. I had a chance to sample some of their delicious donuts this week (and that’s no April Fool’s)   Happy Friday. *April Fools!

Asimov's Donuts

Friends, Our future traditions will be guided by society and framed by technology. As society prioritizes the technology it develops, technology changes society in sometimes unforeseeable ways. Granted, technology is limited by our creativity –and the laws of physics. It’s fun to see where science fiction writers like Isaac Asimov got it right and where they got it wrong (and where the jury is still out). Asimov’s smoker-filled world (wrong) has very powerful computers (right) that are miles-long (wrong, although you might argue datacenters can reach the size of Supervac ). His bureaucracies often make fatal mistakes but, surprisingly, also get it right (hey, even a broken clock is right twice a day!). His short stories are a though-provoking commentary on society and what might happen. Disappointingly (but perhaps not surprisingly), his writings are silent on donuts. You’d think these torus-shaped beauties lend themselves to be portrayed as the food of the future. I believe the reas

Faith and Donuts

Friends, Faith is like pulling into a new parking structure for the first time. Driving into the building’s bowels, you trust the architect accounted for your scenario. As your eyes adjust to the light, the headlights in the rear view mirror say the only way out is through. Ceiling must be high enough. Turns can’t be too tight. Ventilation better work. Rates should be affordable. And don’t get me started on structural stability — I hope you’re not claustrophobic! Kind of like stopping at a new donut shop on your way to that important meeting. That dozen will probably be delicious — have faith! Faith is also trusting this sign will make a difference (Be cultured, don't turn this spot into a urinal) Happy Friday!

Things that make you go... wait, what?

Friends, It happens more than I care to admit. Lost in thought, watching the ordinary world pass me by. Then, cue the random event, followed by a double-take and an inward chuckle. What sort of random events? I’m glad you asked! Here are a few examples I found particularly amusing. A ladder leaning on power lines. Wait, what? Never mind, those are actually cable and phone lines. Safe? Probably not. Then again, I suppose that might explain your next internet outage. An ancient vampire-squid named after Joe Biden . Wait, what? Ancient… check! Vampire… that would explain a lot. Squid… maybe! An honor? An insult? Both? I suppose only Joe and the Squid can answer those questions. Olive Garden has rotisserie… guinea pig. Wait, what? Sure, they do! Of course, given Ecuador’s lassez-faire approach to trademarks I seriously doubt this Olive Garden has any relation to those in the U.S. Krispy Kreme has a donut filled with

Wet Donut

Friends, Water permeated my thoughts this week, proverbial cloud bubbles over my head precipitating a range of possibilities --does that make me a wet noodle? There's colorful water balloon projectiles soaking bystanders as people celebrated the carnival holiday. Rain refracting light to paint a rainbow just for me. Ice on the moon vaporized when a rogue rocket stage slammed into Hertzsprung crater just a few minutes ago. And let's not forget Lamborghini Aventadors resting at the bottom of the Atlantic. Water makes life possible and water fills tears cried over innocent lives lost in Ukraine. Of course, water is also a key ingredient in donuts. So, grab one and, maybe, listen to the Talking Heads’  Once in a Lifetime  —"water dissolving, and water removing..." Happy Friday! There's electricity at the end of that rainbow  -such a... powerful experience!

One Donut to Rule Them All

Friends, Fitness trackers have a long history of raising privacy concerns. Whether it’s Strava giving away secret army base locations, or bad actors sniffing your smart watch’s Bluetooth connection to guess your smartphone PIN, these devices exude Big Brother vibes. While most go out of their way to allay fears, Ōura has apparently decided to embrace this dark legacy. Marketing their device as “the one ring to track it all,” they echo a stanza from JRR Tolkien’s Ring Verse –referencing Sauron’s one ring. If you’re going that direction, don’t just tease, embrace! Amazon Prime’s new series set in Middle Earth, The Rings of Power, feels like a great co-marketing opportunity. They could also name their premium models Narya, Nenya and Vilya —the three elven rings of power— and create a cheap model, the Nazgul —for Ringwraiths. Of course, we all know the only ring capable of conferring power —or at least a short-lived sugar high— is the donut. So, grab a deep fried dough ring and harness the

Donut MQ

Friends, Industry analysts are fond of 2x2 matrices. From ability to execute vs. vision (Gartner Magic Quadrant) to current offering vs. strength of strategy (Forester Wave) to capability vs. customer experience (Omdia —FKA Ovum—Universe), a simple two variable graph is a great way to compare products, services, and companies. Lately, I’ve been wondering how one might rate donut providers on one of these matrices. Unfortunately, borrowing variables used to compare tech products is like trying to fit a round donut in a square quadrant. Vision and strategy are somewhat rarified variables for a deep-fried pastry and, while ability to execute and customer experience matter, these should be table stakes for a mature offering. So, what variables would you use? Convenience? (a scale from “what a drag” to “that was easy!”). Taste? (“dull” to “delicious”). I believe that when it comes to donut shops, whether it be a national chain or a local mom-and-pop, the two variables that matter most are q

Life is Smiling!

Friends, You know life is good when even dinner smiles at you. That said, digging into smiley soup can pose a dilemma. At a conscious level, you know it’s just inert food. Inanimate, unsentient, incapable of emotion or feeling. Still, those cute cross eyed egg eyes and that little pepper smile are saying ”I’m your friend” —and friends don’t eat friends. Naming your anthropomorphic dish only makes matters worse. Eventually, being the monster I am, hunger wins. Mmmm, delicious! (Sorry, Sally). Speaking of which, maybe skip the smiley faces on that next dozen donuts. Happy Friday! ;-)

What Color are your Shades?

Friends, State of mind is a big part of experience. It’s the difference between exercise (a leisurely run) and torture (a forced march). The way I see it, fifteen minutes can be a fleeting moment or an endless purgatory. “Are we there yet?” and “Wow, check that out!” carpool. Dreadful and delightful share a beginning and end; it’s what happens in between your eardrums that colors the experience. One man’s eye sore is another’s modern art. So, where’s your head at? Is that donut a calorie laden health risk or a delicious part of a varied diet? You decide. "Why did I have to choose the red eye?" or "Look, a beautiful sunrise!" Happy Friday!

Ashes to Ashes

  Friends, I don’t know about you, but my household tends to use things a tad beyond their reasonably useful life. Cars, razors, pillows... heck, we squeezed the last BTU out of our home’s 25 year old thermostat —15 years is for rookies. This week we bid our fire pit farewell. Structurally unstable and rusted to the core, this contrivance was well on its way to returning to the soil. Memories of s’mores, cigars and shared spirits come rushing back, as does the six foot tall cardboard peach burned atop it, which caused the first stress fractures in the waning days of 2019. Good times! I suppose nothing lasts forever, but memories can add a sense of permanence to the fleeting. So go, grab a donut and make some new memories!! Happy Friday!

Objects in the Frozen Windshield

Friends, Predicting the future is like driving in the freezing rain with a malfunctioning defrost. It’s possible to follow the car in front of you, but further objects appear blurry (and, of course, objects in the rear view mirror may appear closer than they are — RIP Meatloaf!). While this harrowing experience is often reactive, there’s hopefully a reason you’re on the road. Could your eleven year old self have guessed your path? Perhaps not. Would they approve of your current station? If so, that’s awesome! If not, you can always switch lanes (or get off the freeway to scrape some ice off the windshield). If you’re lucky there may even be a donut shop at the exit! Happy Friday!   P.S. Any resemblance between driving metaphors used in this note and my Wednesday commute is purely intentional

Great Expectations

Friends, Expectations and reality don’t always align. When I noticed the layered salt deposits forming on the brim of my running cap I envisioned a pleasing texture and patina would eventually cover the whole article --if only I resisted the urge to wash it. A few months later, it’s clear the experiment has failed and the unsanitary results should be burned. Or, take these words emblazoned on a commercial vehicle: “FIRE WATER SMOKE MOLD”. I half-expected an itinerant shaman promoting alcohol and smoking fungi as tools for a vision quest. The disappointing truth, it turns out, the company specializes in damage restoration. I find the best way to overcome such cognitive dissonances is to take a breath, bite into a donut and laugh your unreasonable expectations out of the room. Happy Friday! The Well Aged Cap The Itinerant Shaman

The Right Words

Friends, The English language has over 170 thousand words, not counting obsolete and derivative words. With so many words to choose from, selecting the right one can be challenging. The choice between a ten-cent and a fifty-cent word often comes down to the writer’s intent. Informing (or disinforming) the reader vs. amusing (or aggrandizing) the writer. Striking the right balance between clarity and elegance is hard enough without the allure of highfalutin, unnecessary words tempting us to literary lechery (apologies for succumbing to temptation). While the writer’s word choice can hint at their motivation, whether a word is right or not comes down to legibility. If the reader enjoys an article, who cares how much the writer paid for their words. Kind of like a good donut: if it tastes great, who cares about the ingredients. Happy New Year!      The wrong photo ;-)