Another Day, Another Disabled Escalator

Another day, another disabled escalator at Copley Place.

Aside from several MBTA stations, I can think of no other place on my travels around the city of Boston that has broken down escalators more often than those in the Copley Mall. Considering this is supposed to be the ‘trendy’ mall for the city, you’d think it would be quite the opposite. There are three main sets of escalators that are the usual suspects for needing to find a detour around. The set by Louis Vuitton (pictured above with blurry cam!), the short set by the Gap, and the long set at the entrance to the Westin hotel area. Admittedly, I’m not even sure the Westin set falls under the Copley Mall, but the Mall is connected and this set is by far the biggest hassle when not working. There is no alternative stairwell nearby. One actually needs to walk into the hotel to use their escalator (which is always working) to get to the second floor that connects directly to the Mall.

That being said, escalators that are not workiong are such a common site everywhere that noone gives it a second look. These things have been around since the very late 1800‘s. You’d think that the technology would have progressed over a 100 years to a point where they were at least somewhat reliable.

Cheerios Super-Fast Pull Back Racer

I opened a new box of Cheerios today at work and to my surprise it contained a super-fast pull back racer inside. This is especially cool to me because as a child, I never ate much in the morning, nevermind a normal cereal that had free stuff inside. It came with a sticker sheet and directions for where to put the stickers. I spent the better part of an hour carefully applying each decal using a paperclip to properly align the design to its appropriate place on the car before permanently affixing it.

I might add, it is indeed super fast.

Initial Impressions: Cross Ion Lunar Gray

Well I got lots of packages and mail recently and my new Cross Ion Lunar Gray pen was included. Unfortunately, I had ordered two and there was only one in the package, yet 2 on the invoice. I’ve sent an email to the amazon reseller to try and get my second pen or a refund.

Initial impressions:

  • The pen opens and retracts smoother than my old one.
  • The keychain topper still fits over the writing end of the pen, so when you put the pen on your keyring, the ink drains to the top of the pen. This reduces the longevity of the ink refill.
  • The rubber grip is a dust magnet
  • This pen is not nearly the fingerprint magnet the old one was.
  • Gel inks write smoothly and fluidly with little smudging because they dry so fast (great for lefties!)

So far so good. I haven’t really had a chance to use it for an extended writing session yet, but I expect that to change with work soon.

Styrofoam Cup

Styrofoam Cups

The soda vending machine at work has been broken since Monday.

Most know that I do not drink anything carbonated (except beer, as infrequent as that is). This still holds true, but occasionally I will buy a bottle of water from the machine.

This is where you chime in and say ‘Water? From a vending machine? Use the tap, you arrogant jerk!’

We actually have a filtered water tap in the kitchen. The problem lies in the container. Normally I would buy a bottle of water from the vending machine and then use that to refill with the filtered water. Unfortunately, I was sick all last week. For that reason, I threw out my water bottle with the intention of buying a new fresh one. Naturally, I put my dollar in only to discover the machine said ‘Not in Service’ in its frustratingly mute block letters as it proceeded to eat my dollar. Talk about being a day late and a dollar short.

The only other containers I could use to fill with water were paper bowls and styrofoam cups. I’m normally not open to open containers of any liquid. I’m clumsy only at the worst possible times. I make myself so neurotically stressed out over stupid things like that, I get over precautious and end up making myself clumsy at, once again, the worst possible times. Styrofoam cups in a work environment are a symbol of neurotic stress to me because I’m petrified I’m going to spill whatever liquid it contains all over my computer, mp3 player, phone, monitor, network switch, paperwork, crotchular area of my pants and anything else in the immediate area that may cause me to lose work or draw otherwise undue attention.

With little other choice in site, I filled a styrofoam cup with filtered water and brought it back to my desk. I did not put it down. Instead I cleared an area of my desk. Not an area near my computer or anywhere close to anything, but literally a spot on my desk that is behind me when i face my computer. I blockaded one side of the space with an empty cardboard keyboard box and the other side has over a foot of clear space before a large dam of old specifications has been placed so no spilt water may damage my working livelihood. I placed the styrofoam cup in the center of this quaratined area of my desk.

Despite my neurotic precautions, I continue to look back throughout the day to make certain I have not somehow mentally forced the water to spill all over that area of my desk, all the while thinking to myself, ‘Is the vending machine fixed yet?’


This weekend I made a conscious decision about what I want to be doing.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like what I’m doing right now, but I’m being pulled in multiple directions right now and I feel like I’m starting to come apart at the seams. I need some ‘synergy’.

When I was a system administrator at my last job, I was usually working on some sort of webpage to help me out or on this blog. And I did spend a significant amount of time on this blog. Then I started my current job, which works mostly in Java, which I do not know. I work mostly in VB. We do have several intranet webpages that help automate tasks and streamline processes. I’ve really taken to working on those quite a bit. Since I’ve been here, I’ve also started Powet.TV with Zac.

You can see the pattern here. Web programming.

This is an area I am very interested in, but have let my skill set become stagnant. I need to improve and read up on several areas of technology and devlopment, but I think concentrating in this area at this time is the most beneficial option to me and hopefully I can leverage it at work, Powet, and right here on my blog.

So that being said, I went shopping on for some new books. Here’s what I ordered:

Hopefully, these won’t come in and then sit on a shelf for 3 years before I pick one up …because that never happens….

Fighting the clutter

I’ve been making a determined effort as of late to clean my room. Some may think that just a matter of fact and not of much relevance. Its important to note, however, that I film all my Powet.TV videos from the confines of this space and presentation is very important in the filming process. Not only that, but I have a lot of things. These things are becoming harder and harder to keep track of. Lately, I’ve actually considered starting yet another blog to help me document the cataloging process of many of my possessions (toys!). Whether I do this or not is still to be determined, but I find it extremely comforting to know people of all levels of success suffer the same problem.

Tina Fey for example:

Al Gore certainly fits this category as well, but man does he have a sweet monitor setup.

Also, note how Tina uses post-it notes to organize!

From an American Express ad via


I have just watched what has to be one of the most inspiring lectures I will ever listen to in my life.

Randy Pausch is a professor at Carnegie-Mellon University. He has done a lot in his life. He was recently diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He has somewhere between 11 to 15 tumors in his liver. He was told he has about three months to live and this lecture is one month into that timespan.

To view the entire lecture go here. If that link doesn’t work, here’s the actual address you need to open in your media player. (mms://

The lecture covered his dream goals in life and how he attained them, or not and how each achievement and rejection affected his life.

He marked out several specific well defined goals to achieve that for some are a far reach. Some of the goals included:

  • being in zero gravity
  • being Captain Kirk
  • playing in the NFL
  • becoming a Disney Imagineer
  • get published in the World Book Encyclopedia

Along the way, he hit many brick walls. From being rejected to Carnegie-Mellon to being denied by a Dean to become an Imagineer. He talked about each obstacle he faced and what he took away from it, successful or not.

“Brick walls are there for a reason: They let us prove how badly we want things” while keeping everyone else away. This was a key idea that he continued to bring back up throughout the lecture.

When he spoke about the Dean blockading his acceptance to be an Imagineer at Disney, he jokingly said that some brick walls are made of flesh. Joking aside, that is something that is true far more often, in my experience, than I’d care to admit. Another nugget he shared from this event was that “its important to know when you’re in a pissing match and to back out of it as soon as possible”.

Some other advice he shared included:

  • Decide if you are a Tigger or an Eeyore
  • Never lose that child-like wonder
  • Help others
  • Get a feedback loop and listen to it
  • Show gratitude
  • Don’t complain; just work harder
  • Be good at something; it makes you valuable
  • Work hard
  • Find the best in everybody

He also suggested what to do to get people to help you:

  • Apologize when you screw up
  • Focus on other people, not yourself
  • Be earnest
  • Tell the truth

The lecture was on the long side, but entirely worth every minute. I recommend everyone taking some time and sitting down to watch it.

“The brick walls let us show our dedication.”

Found on Digg.