Friday, November 12, 2010

Toilet Seat Covers

Its time seat covers are changed!

Why is the poke-out tab attached at all? It just rips! There is no quick/easy way to detach the middle portion from the sides and front. If it comes predetached, no problem at all.

That was my beef and solution until I read this: The Oatmeal, Public Toilets. So true.

Sorry for the language.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Wipeout Here We Come!

Heather and went to an open casting call for wipeout today in Burbank. I thought it started at nine and we were going to be late. Fortunately I was wrong and it started at 11 am, so we had a pretty good spot in line. Only about a block down from the front. Considering the first in line got there at 4:30 am, I am glad that we did not get there until 9:30 am.

They may have a few episodes as couples, father/daughters, mother/sons, coworkers, etc. as indicated by the website, so we registered as an engaged couple and wore matching shirts. On the back Heather hand sewed "The Future MRS" on hers and "Hixon" on mine. As we waited in line, Heather finished her shirt like mad. She gained the respect of anyone who had hand-sewn in line and even a few gals said they would by a shirt like it.

The line moved surprisingly fast. I bought a dozen doughnuts to share with people in line and with the Wipeout crew. There were a lot of Halloween costumes including a tennis player, mario, "Bobman" (who had fliers with his in-costume picture on it that he would sign and hand out), a Leprechaun and many more.

The process was to move us through in groups. They told us to have a lot of energy and show our personality. So they asked us a few simple questions and we were supposed to answer. I answered in Chinese first and when the crew member spoke back to me in English with the correct conversational dialogue, I realized that she too spoke Chinese (and looked Chinese). She said, "Did you just guess I was Chinese?" and I told her that no, I was planning on it no matter who it was. What do I plan to do with $50,000? I told her, "I am engaged, so whatever she wants." To introduce humor and Heather simultaneously.

Heather was charming as usual and we showed off our shirts and our crew member liked that she was a future opera singer. Our group of 9 was selected to go inside and upstairs to make an appointment with a casting director. Our appointment is for Thursday Oct. 28th. I do not know what the other possible results were because not everyone went inside and upstairs. I do not know if some people got to audition today or not or if people were sent home, but we think we did pretty good. So our on camera audition will be in 2 weeks! Wish us luck in your hearts! If I get on the show, I will dominate the course. I have my secret strategy planned!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Countercyclical Products

Are movies/tv shows/entertainment creations about economic downturns counter-cyclical?

Is a good way to make money in a recession to make a movie about the recession?

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I was typing a SQL statement and considered how SQL might be different if it was in Chinese. The computer just matches up the text prompt with the call name for the data column. In our database the columns titles are often multiple words with no spaces. I thought, "Well, that wouldn't even be a problem in Mandarin."

Then it struck me for the first time (somewhat depressingly, since I started learning Mandarin 7 years ago) that there are no spaces between characters in written Chinese.

I knew Chinese had very limited grammar rules, and nothing was lost by not having conjugations for verbs based on time, subject or object, as usually this is made redundant by context. I never realized that the language is also without spacing.

Each character is written in the same size square area, and the more simple characters have a lot of room around them, but since each character represents an idea, space is not required to distinguish words.

Sometimes multiple characters are used together to form a larger or more complete idea and sometimes it is confusing if you run into character combinations you do not know, or an idiom you do not know. But for characters that you already know, spaces are not needed. Each character has its own "built in" spaces.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bank Give-aways

ING Direct has a referral program where the person who provides the referral receives $25 per qualifying account opened and the person who opens the account receives $50. I took advantage of this offer about 8 years ago. I forgot about the account for about 4 years and eventually came back to it. I made like 5% back on $70 or something that was in the account. Not bad for a savings account with very low balance.

I am now signing up for an account with Bank of the West. Free ipod touch for signing up by 8/20/2010. I read the fine print and its not too shabby. Just open an account and use it through 10/31/2010.

I am not sure how banks can be profitable doing this kind of sign up promotion. I stuck around with ING. They had less than $100 bucks from me for 4 years but I am a loyal customer now. Maybe they can afford it because they know they have a good product.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Qandy Question

When is the last time you were in a grocery store (or anywhere for that matter)and thought, "Hmmm, I have a strong hankerin' for a tootsie roll."

How is that company still in business? Here are my ideas:

1. Halloween revenue lasts them all year
2. They have no marginal cost and extremely low operational cost. Think about it, same wrapper for years, the candy is always hard and have you ever seen one go bad? No expiration date. Their production could be a fixed cost in 1963 and they have a gigantic warehouse full of pre-made candies. The only operational cost is shipping.
3. Revenue is from royalties of hip-hop music ("Let me see your tootsie roll")
4. They may own other candy brands and have a broader product line than I know off.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Subway again

I have been eating Subway a lot more recently, I find it a good way to get some greens into lunch and it is close and fast.

I had a chicken breast sub the other day that was perfectly filling. Today I had a tuna sub that stuffed me to the point of discomfort. I have chalked it up to the recurring theme of objective and not relative standards of measure.

The chicken breasts come to the store in one size. One breast per 6 inches. Not much variance there from employee to employee. However, the scoop of tuna can be completely manipulated by the employee. While the scoopers are standard, a mounding scoop can be much larger than a flattened scoop. I am pretty sure I got four MOUNDING scoops today.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Lowering the probability of insanity

As I was driving home I wondered if off ramp 1 or 2 would be faster. From off ramp 1 there are two routes, getting off to head North then West or continue on the freeway West, off and North. The distances are probably about the same.

Remaining on the freeway allows for a faster rate of travel West (65-75 mph vs 40-50 mph) but it seems like the trip North is faster if I use off ramp 1. I started counting the non-right turn intersection traffic signals. 1,2,3 both ways. It seems like the 2nd off ramp's signals are longer (due to higher traffic volume). I decided I would begin counting in my head the average time it took both ways then write it down when I arrived.

I got to 23 seconds of the first trial then thought, "Does this sound like something a crazy man would do? I mean, is knowing which route is faster (if one even is significantly faster) on average or if one has a lower standard deviation, how much time would I ultimately save per trip upon gaining this knowledge. (It is about a 2 mile trip from point A to B.)"

I decided that yes, counting in seconds was a bit neurotic and that I would probably be happier not knowing. So I decided to lower my risk of insanity and enjoy the drive home.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Facebook Data

A family member wrote on that he received speeding tickets in the mail some undisclosed time in the past.

A brother of mine asked if his write up qualified as proof of service, that indeed he had received the tickets. Since Spokt provides private communication, the evidence would be somewhat protected.

That got me thinking though, I wonder how many people have convicted themselves due to facebook/twitter/myspace etc. updates or pictures. That is a statistic I would like to see.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


I was watching a flock of birds the other day.

They flew in a synchronized circle, using their wings at the same time on the same turns. It was rhythmic and beautiful.

I was then taken back by how long the birds continued to fly in circles. It lasted for at least 30 minutes. The birds seemed funny, flying around and around, for no apparent reason. Then the thought came, "I bet the birds think we are pretty funny when they watch Nascar."

Thursday, January 7, 2010


I would love to look at some major gym/weight lifting companies entrance data to see the New Year's Resolutions peak in January and slowly decline thereafter.

I imagine the model would not be too surprising, but the rate of attrition would be fun to watch.