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Ok, so I was standing outside work on my lunch break smoking a caged cigarette, when I was assaulted by a mob of 19-year-old girls.

I don't know about you, but this does not normally happen to me. Actually, this has never happened to me.

Turns out as I'm surrounded by this bouncing sea of (mostly) blonde (mostly) hottness, that it had nothing to do with me. Like any of us didn't see that coming.

Down the block came a flatbed truck. On the back of this truck was U2 in all their glory. It was a publicity stunt for one of the NBC afternoon news-type shows. They were trailed by another truck loaded to the brim with cameramen.

Man. And here I was thinking I had become a celebrity in my sleep. I mean, I spent the morning running interference for Jerry Seinfeld - it could've happened. Maybe.

So it has started once again.

A performance that was once spectacular will be yet again revived, but not in the same way. We plan on reaching our goal this time.

We were inspired in the Sheraton Fallsview in Niagara Falls. Jim Janz was speaking his heart to us, telling his story about counselling a best friend of his, serving other people while driving to a meeting with a third party in the backseat. As he shared with us, a tear nearly left his eyes. They were glimmering in the spotlight behind his glasses.

His income exceeded that of $19 million/year and it was apparent why that was. During his talk, our hearts lept out and up, attracted to his sincere gestures and smile.

Others had said "It won't work", but time proved them wrong since he joined at the age of 22 years. Now everyone wants what he's got.

We made a promise to ourselves that day. And as we thought more about it, it felt more real to be coming true.

"Big decisions are made at big meetings."

So be it.

Yesterday for me was one hell of a day. It hadn't been the greatest weekend in fact. I found out on Thursday that I'd failed one of my university courses meaning that I would have to take a summer course. This isn't the greatest news considering I was Dux of my school last year and know that its utterly my fault for not bothering to go to lectures for about a semester. I knew I wasn't going to get the greatest mark but was hoping that I would still scrap through.

That was Thursday, the day my parents drove to Christchurch so that they could fly to Sydney for The Eagles. I don't think that they too thrilled by my news. They were driving back yesterday.

About 1:30pm I was sitting at the computer browsing the internet when I heard the sound of a bag russling in the house. Strange I thought as I looked out the window noting that I could see my sister was outside mowing the lawn. So I went to investigate.

I get into our hallway and suddenly a man comes out of my sister's room. I'm not sure who was more surprised to another person in the house. He was the first to react, punching me in the side of the head. Now I'm not the most physical person, never having played any contact sports so I was stunned by this and fell to the floor. He ran out the backdoor of our house.

Still stunned by what has just happened I go outside to find my sister, who couldn't quite work out why I was coming outside. After explaining what had just happened, she decided we should go to the Community Police Station three houses down after locking the house.

We get to the police station to find that there aren't actually any officers there so the receptionists call the Communications Centre for us and we tell them what has just happened. They dispatch a Crime Scene Investigator, Police cars and even some dogs.

Unfortunately they were unable to find him but the CSI was able to get some good fingerprints off the door where he probably entered and definitely left. Stupidly he also pushed shut an internal door as he was fleeing giving some more prints.

As for me I just ended up with a lump just above my temple. And all that he got in the end was a $10 note that was lying on a cabinet.

"Uno, dos, tres, catorce."

I stayed up to be entertained by SNL last week-end. I'll watch the first skit and then endure Don Pardo's introduction of the cast until I find out who the guest host is and the musical artist. This alone can be the deciding factor for continuing to watch. The host was Luke Wilson and the musical guest was U2. I was certain they would play that new song, the one that's been on the iPod TV commercials for the past two months.

The song is called Vertigo. At first it sounded like Welcome To The fold by Filter but it has now acquired a life of it's own. I saw the video for it on VH1. I know I didn't see it on MTV. I haven't seen a music video on MTV in years. In the video the band members appear in a desert or salt flat with the wind blowing about 60 mph. Thick black smoke is coming off of each band member through most of the song. Then the ground breaks up into concentric circles which slide up and down like a giant wave. Then they begin to spin and tilt from one side to the other. Very fitting special effects. The album is to be officially released today.

"Hello, hello... Hola!"
"I'm at a place called Vertigo."

I want to get my son an iPod for Christmas. He lost KaZaA when we got our computer cleaned out last month. Damn you Spyware. I experienced sticker shock when I looked up the prices of these digital devices. Apple has a 40GB & 20GB version, along with the iPod mini. The 40GB version seems like overkill and the iPod mini is a bit feminine. So I guess its the 20GB version. There are quite a few accessories available and some car stereo manufacturers have adapted their products to be compatible with the iPod. Bose has a new sounddock designed to accept it too. Looks like they are headed for the mainstream.

To get something on your iPod you may need to access iTunes. We don't use P2P sharing anymore so we don't have to worry about being sued by the record industry. However, I did buy a Motörhead and Ringworm CD after hearing some stuff I liked "online". I've noticed some other brands of digital recorders popping up but iPod seems to have the edge on a bonafied product.

"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah..."
"Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah!"

The Courteous Robots of the Fast Food Industry

At my Taco Bell, I try to be extra friendly to customers. Why? Because I dislike the stereotype for fast food staff, somber-faced apathetic youngsters who couldn't give a damn about the job. It's not just a stereotype either; several people at my place are like that. I think it looks bad and gives the place a terrible image. Not that we have to lie and put on a false Ronald McDonald smile, but a little friendliness is in order. Even if the customers don't return the same politeness and manners, I still must give it to them. Why do I do it? Because I want to show them I'm human, and that I recognize that they're human too. Otherwise it might as well be robots lining up to deposit scrap metal in return for organized heaps of organic matter, and robots behind the cash register taking the metal and giving the food.

This philosophy, I don't only apply to front cash and drive-thru. I also apply it when I'm doing the dining room checks. I ask the customers how their food is, or simply if they're having a good day. Sometimes I can't interact with them on this simple level. They might be in a bad mood and unapproachable, or very frequently they have no manners whatsoever, or the one fellow that was reading a book with funny looking plugs in his ears. I asked him how he was doing without noticing his "implements", and he didn't bat an eye. I carried on wiping the table. And then there was the lady and her two kids that looked so sad and forlorn I thought they'd just come from a funeral. They probably did. But sometimes the customers even make conversation, which is great. It makes me feel good and I'm sure they appreciate not being treated like robots, by other robots.

The truth is that it really is like that. We are robots and the customers are robots too, but it's not very polite to make it obvious. People come in to the place and stuff themselves and their kids full of unhealthy food, it's actually quite dehumanizing to watch it happen.

And us? We're no better in our purple shirts and baseball caps. It is actually in our rules to upsell, that is, to offer drinks or desserts when the customer does not ask for it.

The question:

Would you like any drinks or desserts with that?
should be interpreted as:
Would you like to gain ten pounds for just a dollar six more?

The menu is engineered so that newbies to Taco Bell can't tell that combo items can be purchased on their own. The combo menu is 70% of the width of the menu above our heads, and the prices of individual items take up a miniscule area in the corner of each pane of the combo menu. Quite honestly, I have to tell many fooled customers that combo items can be purchased alone. It would be like a burger joint refusing to sell a hamburger without fries and a drink accompanying it.

I saw Supersize Me last night. Holy damn. What are we doing to ourselves? I want whole wheat tortillas at our place now. I consider Taco Bell's food to be much healthier than McDonald's or Wendy's, but nonetheless I have gained 5 pounds in a month without working out.

I leave you with a question to ponder. We know it's bad for us, so why do we keep on coming back? Morgan Spurlock's documentary suggests that fast food is filling and addictive. Combine that with fast and you have a sociological recipe for disaster.

If I can give this writeup some coherent flow, maybe it can have a place outside of daylog.

I heard five words today that I haven't heard since I was 7. "Will you be my friend?"

It wouldn't have been as bizarre if it had been a seven-year-old asking me, but it was a person just as old as I am. I almost laughed at them, thinking it was a joke. I looked down at my shoes, embarassed because I thought I might be getting hit on, but I couldn't look them in the face, because I was worried they might be mocking me. She was absolutely serious.

We had been talking about mundane things. I had dropped an egg on the floor this morning while making breakfast, and she sympathized with me over the clean up. It takes forever to get the last bit of that egg-whitey slickness off of linoleum, and she understood. We were waiting for the ten-minute timer to run out on the radiation counter we were using for an experiment in our junior physics class. We had been lab partners since the beginning of the school year, but the other experiments didn't have as much waiting time as this one, so casual conversation was a little sparse until now. After I'd finished my egg story, she described the wonderful bagel she had had that day for lunch. There was a short silence after she finished describing how she liked to pick the sesame seeds off the bagel. She'd obviously passed the ball to me, but I'd dropped it and we both ended up staring at it as it sat on the ground.

Then she looked up from her notes, looked at me with an expression that was too serious to be serious, and asked me "Would you be my friend?" I was shocked into shoe-gazing, but after I recovered from that, I looked back at her and realized she was waiting for me to answer. I didn't even know people asked that question. I always thought friendships began in crises, not mutual agreement. One of my best friends became a friend after she asked me to go with her to the doctor for an electrocardiogram. She was terrified of doctors, and I sat there holding her hand as the nurse wired her up and switched on the machine. I became close with another friend after he was bashed in the head with a beer mug by an angry Brazilian at a gaijin bar.

I didn't exactly know how to answer her. Was this how she asked people on dates? Did she just want to break the awkward silence? If I took her question seriously, was she going to break out in giggles and tell me she was kidding? Does she have no friends? This has got to be some sort of joke, I thought.

I just ended up saying "sure", as though I got asked it all the time.

The only conversation we had for the rest of the lab was about radiation counts and assignment due dates.

I suppose she was serious, but I just couldn't accept that people asked such innocent, naive questions. I wish I were innocent enough to have answered her honestly. I kept thinking there was something more to her question than she was saying, but there more I think about it, the more I think she just wanted to be friends. I'm still amazed by her question. I don't think I could ever ask the same thing to anyone. I wouldn't feel ok opening a door that wide. It's just asking for someone to walk in and rip some stuff off.

I don't know what I'll say to her next week in the lab.

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