Wednesday, April 30, 2008

It would seem we all have skeletons in our closets


Sen. Barack Obama's forceful denunciation of his former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, earned him praise Tuesday for confronting a searing controversy that has dogged him for weeks.

But on sensitive race issues, the Illinois senator might get no relief. He is being pounded by Republicans who say they'll continue to jab at his "questionable" judgment and by some Democrats who say his condemnation was purely political.

SF Gate

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Excuses for being late to work


While 43 percent of hiring managers say they don't mind if their employees are late as long as their work is completed on time with good quality, others are much stricter, and would consider terminating an employee if he or she arrives late several times a year.

When asked to identify the primary cause for coming in late, more than 32 percent of workers claimed traffic was the culprit. Falling back asleep was the reason cited by 17 percent, while 7 percent pointed to a long commute as the main cause. Other popular reasons included getting kids ready for school and day care, forgetting something at home, and feeling sick.

While the majority of hiring managers believe their employees' reasons for being late to work, more than 27 percent say they are skeptical of the excuses.

Hiring managers provided the following top 10 examples of the most unusual excuses employees offered for arriving late to work:

1. While rowing across the river to work, I got lost in the fog.
2. Someone stole all my daffodils.
3. I had to go audition for American Idol.
4. My ex-husband stole my car so I couldn't drive to work.
5. My route to work was shut down by a Presidential motorcade.
6. I wasn't thinking and accidentally went to my old job.
7. I was indicted for securities fraud this morning.
8. The line was too long at Starbucks.
9. I was trying to get my gun back from the police.
10. I didn't have money for gas because all of the pawn shops were closed.

Source: CareerBuilder survey

Monday, April 28, 2008

Contrarian Mondays with Todd X: Laptops on the Subway

metro laptop

You know who you are. Your space and your time is more valuable than ours. Work never ends. You have chosen to extend your workspace into our public space. You feel the need to be online all the time. You need people to see that you have a laptop, what you're working on, and how ambitious you are. Or your thighs are cold.

I'm here to tell you that the subway is an inappropriate place for you to create your latest PowerPoint presentation for your boss. It's crowded. It may be hot. And I'm sure that I don't need your elbows in my space as you're manipulating pixels or entering sales data into your spreadsheets.

So, for the 30 minutes I'm on the train, please refrain from whipping it out, okay? Thanks.

A Discussion of Race by Berkeley Breathed

Opus April 27, 2008

Friday, April 25, 2008

Real World Debauchery

What has become of the ethics of the Real World producers? Now they're showing a man's uncovered buttocks! For shame!!

Death Cab for Cutie!

Death Cab poster for Fillmore show

I went to see Death Cab at the Fillmore on Wednesday night with Rand, Renee, and Beth. We were a little late, but we still heard several great songs. As always, Ben Gibbard's lyrics are heart-breakingly beautiful. It was just too bad that the sound wasn't great. Oh well. Here's a clip from the performance. It's my favorite song "Transatlanticism." You can hear the crowd singing along.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Contrarian Mondays with Todd X: Sidewalk Etiquette


You've seen them walking down the sidewalk in their phalanx of privilege. Men and women both are equally afflicted by this disease. For some reason, certain types of people (a large percentage of whom work in finance, live in the marina, and belonged to a soro-fraternity) feel the need to occupy the entire width of the sidewalk. Or maybe it's better to say they are psychologically incapable of relinquishing the walkway. They're like an invading army that doesn't want to give up hard-won territory. Or carpetbaggers moving into areas of the city recently ravaged by the home loan crisis.

Nevertheless, these people don't get make room for me, for you, for ME! They think the sidewalk is a "wide lane" built specifically for them and their socioeconomic ilk.

I'm here to remind them that in this country we stay to the right. We drive on the right-hand side and we walk on the right-had side. Don't take your halves out of the middle and DON'T TAKE UP THE WHOLE DAMN SIDEWALK!

Peace is every step.


Sunday, April 20, 2008

Santa Cruz Road Trip

So, Rand and I went on a little road trip to Santa Cruz last weekend. I finally got around to putting them together with some music: "Santa Cruz (You're Not That Far)" by The Thrills. Oh, and I'm using this as a test of Vimeo's video capabilities.

Santa Cruz Road Trip from Todd X. on Vimeo.

Hear them roar

Next stop, the White House?


Danica Patrick became the first female winner in IndyCar history Sunday, taking the Indy Japan 300 after the top contenders were forced to pit for fuel in the final laps.

Patrick finished 5.8594 seconds ahead of pole-sitter Helio Castroneves on the 1.5-mile Twin Ring Motegi oval after leader Scott Dixon pitted with five laps left and Dan Wheldon and Tony Kanaan came in a lap later.

"It's a long time coming. Finally," Patrick said. "It was a fuel strategy race, but my team called it perfectly for me. I knew I was on the same strategy as Helio and when I passed him for the lead, I couldn't believe it. This is fabulous."

The 26-year-old Patrick won in her 50th career IndyCar start, taking the lead from Castroneves on the 198th lap in the 200-lap race.

from the SF Gate

New Project in Blog Form

I started a new project called "Concrete Diaries." If you're interested, go take a look.

Here's a post to get the feel: RMB

Concrete Diaries

Send your photos to Concrete Diaries.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Crash: Accident on Oak Street

oak st crash

This accident just happened about 30 minutes ago near my home. I heard the crash, then the sirens. My trusty camera and I went downstairs to investigate. I hope the driver is okay. I feel bad for the owner of the parked car, though.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay, Interrupted: 300th Post

A photo-montage of some snapshots at the Embarcadero in San Francisco where the Olympic torch relay was supposed to take place. I have to say that the Chinese flags were gorgeous in the wind, like crimson silk.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

But I Want It


I'm patiently waiting for the 3G iPhone. Please note that I have a looser definition for "patient" than most people. If you, too, are interested, I found this interesting tidbit about iPhones in Europe. It may hint at a timeframe for the release of the 3G model:

Right now, the supply/demand balance is off in the other direction in Europe: the supply has exceeded demand, enough that T-Mobile is now offering €99 subsidized iPhones in Germany to entice customers to buy in. The catch: you have to sign up for a 24-month contract—quite a long time to be bound to the current-generation iPhone, right?—and the deal expires June 30, the day after iPhone’s first anniversary. Coincidence? Just wait and see. --By Jeremy Horwitz, iLounge

If you see me outside the Apple store on July 1, say howdy.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Contrarian Mondays with Todd X: Recycling is Evil

I hate recycling. I'm convinced it doesn't work and takes more energy than using new materials. I also believe that human beings exist for one reason: the earth couldn't create plastic on its own, so it created/evolved us. We made plastic--lots of it. Now, we've outlived our usefulness. Get ready to be recycled, Humanity!!

Also, I hate the holier-than-thou attitude that recyclers have. Bite me. Where's the nearest trashcan because I'm tossing my aluminum can into it?

In fact, I hate it so much that I've started throwing all my trash into my regular trashcan at work simply because we have to take our recycling to larger recycling bins which are emptied by the janitors. Regular trash is emptied nightly.

You do the math.

I do, however, get a sick sense of pleasure when Renee sees me toss something "bad" into the regular trash. "That is CLEARLY recyclable," she says. When she says that, I hear a little bell ring. It's as though an anti-recycling angel has gotten his wings.

Go forth and fill the landfills, little angel. We have a lot of space to fill before global warming causes the oceans to rise.

Happy Monday!

Ready for the Torch, San Francisco?

It's going to be passing right by where I work, so of course I'll be there to snap a few photos (and to see if I can grab the torch, of course).

j/k lol bff-cia

Friday, April 4, 2008

Tom Cruise Doesn't Want You to Get High

Tom Cruise's attorneys are looking to take legal action over a new strain of medical marijuana that has been put on the market under the star's name.

The "Tom Cruise Purple" brand, which features a picture of the actor laughing on the vials, is currently being sold in licensed marijuana clubs in Northern California.

The strain is said to be particularly strong and users can experience hallucinations.

But the association has infuriated the anti-drug star, whose Scientology religion opposes any kind of use of psychotropic drugs.

Cruise's lawyers are now seeking to sue the manufacturers, reports the New York Daily News.

Poem-A-Day: Assault to Abjury by Raymond McDaniel

Assault to Abjury
by Raymond McDaniel

Rain commenced, and wind did.

A crippled ship slid ashore.

Our swimmer's limbs went heavy.

The sand had been flattened.

The primary dune, the secondary dune, both leveled.

The maritime forest, extracted.

Every yard of the shore was shocked with jellyfish.

The blue pillow of the man o' war empty in the afterlight.

The threads of the jellyfish, spent.

Disaster weirdly neatened the beach.

We cultivated the debris field.

Castaway trash, our treasure.

Jewel box, spoon ring, sack of rock candy.

A bicycle exoskeleton without wheels, grasshopper green.

Our dead ten speed.

We rested in red mangrove and sheltered in sheets.

Our bruises blushed backwards, our blisters did.

is it true is it true

God help us we tried to stay shattered but we just got better.

We grew adept, we caught the fish as they fled.

We skinned the fish, our knife clicked like an edict.

We were harmed, and then we healed.

It's National Poetry Month

April is National Poetry Month, so start memorizing a new poem. You can also visit to find out more information about National Poetry month and, my favorite, to sign up for a daily poem that will be emailed to you. How cool is that?

Go, find a poem, curl up in its words, swim in its language.

I dare you.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Your April issue of Spin Digital is ready!

If you haven't checked out SPIN Magazine's digital edition yet, I encourage you to do so. I think it's a phenomenal step forward in online publishing. Great work, Spin!


R.E.M. R.E.Born
The indie-rock forefathers reclaim their reputation
with a new attitude and a loud, rocking return to form.

Who Makes What
From managers to roadies, here's how much
members of the music business take home.

The SPIN interview: Kim Deal
The Breeders leader comes clean.


Tuesday, April 1, 2008

My Favorite April Fool's Email of the Day

It's geeky, but I'm a book person. And this email from Shelf Awareness cracked me up.

from Shelf Awareness, April 1, 2008:

Five Questions: The Country's No. 1 Bookseller

Shelf Awareness recently sat down to speak with the most powerful man in American bookselling, who despite his influence and power is little known personally in the book business. In fact, initially he did not even wish to speak with us, citing a long-held disinclination to state his views and plans publicly.

In his tasteful, elegant Manhattan offices, he spoke deliberately and carefully as an aide unobtrusively took notes. He warmed at several points, especially when talking about his personal goals and what he calls misperceptions about himself prevalent in the industry. He was dressed impeccably and at times was even charming.

No, we didn't speak with Barnes & Noble chairman Len Riggio. Instead our partner in conversation was Bill Ackman, founder and managing partner of Pershing Square Capital Management, which is the largest shareholder of Borders and second-largest, next to Riggio himself, at B&N.

Busy times, yes?

First, let me say I'm delighted by the ABA purchase of Borders. As part of the agreement, we retain a stake in the newly formed entity, which will allow us to continue to nudge the powers that be in the right direction for shareholder value.

As for B&N, we have amicable, constructive relations with the management of the company. We will be working together to maximize shareholder value.

According to news reports, half of your hedge fund assets are invested in McDonald's stock, and in the past several years you owned a sizable stake in Wendy's. You seem to dig into certain businesses, as it were.

Indeed, I like fast food--in more ways than one. In the same way, I love books, especially quickly digestible ones--business titles and anything by Sun Tzu and von Clausewitz. Moreover, I value book value, which by definition means I value the value of books. Also I like companies' books, particularly when they carry many underutilized assets. I read companies' books every day.

Pershing Square Capital Management represents exactly what book retailing needs. I'm humbled and honored to provide this service.

Tell me about your investment track record. What can the book industry expect?

At Wendy's, we successfully encouraged management to spin off the Tim Horton subsidiary and at McDonald's we've nudged management to franchise more and own fewer stores. At all the companies we invest in, we have helped management rein in costs, buy back stock when it's low priced and spin off operations that aren't part of the core business.

What plans do you have for B&N?

Several things come to mind. We've noted that B&N and its cafes might appeal to a broader audience were they to serve fare that was more popular than, for example, panini and lattes. In that spirit, we have facilitated initial discussions between McDonald's and B&N for the bookseller to begin converting cafes to McDonald's.

We've also noted areas where B&N could be more profitably run. For example, many of the booksellers make several dollars an hour more than minimum wage, creating an opportunity for improving shareholder values. In addition, a policy of selling only books that sell would help B&N's bottom line.

How is Pershing faring in the current credit crunch?

As you saw from the Borders announcement several weeks ago, very nicely indeed. For the right interest, we're happy to lend any amount to the companies we own. And we're not worried about confidence. We have experience with that--the run on Gotham Partners, Pershing's predecessor, in 2002, for example. All "problems" merely represent more opportunities to increase shareholder value. We make money coming and going, my friend.