Double Sikrit Krabby Patty

Bubblebass: I’ll take a double triple bossy deluxe on a raft, 4×4 animal style, extra shingles with a shimmy and a squeeze, light axle grease, make it cry, burn it and let it swim.
Squidward: We serve food here, Sir!

I only understood the reference in this Sopngebob quote after learning about the In-N-Out Burger “secret menu” (thanks for the link, g60). Apparently this west coast burger chain has a special, unwritten menu that includes things like “Flying Dutchman” (two meat patties, two slices of melted cheese and nothing else), x by y (where x is the number of meat patties and y is the number of cheese slices), and the fabled “Animal Style” – which involves frying the mustard into the patties and extra pickles and grilled onions.

The rumor has it that someone actually managed to order 100×100 and even 500×500. This site has a picture of Animal Style buger and the cash register with the item in question rung up. Every food place needs to have a secret menu.

Rank and File

Since a comprehensive list of Microsoft codenames already exists, I would like to move on to another taxonomy project that fascinates me. I would like to collect a list of weird titles so common in many big-name corporations. Here are some notes that I collected already.

Also I am adding a little note about certain not very publicized rules that the company has that might help you get better service, or so to say to hack the system. You’ll see what I mean.

Kinko’s
Every employee carries a title of “Co-worker”. Employees use the term Kinkoid instead.

Kinko’s hacks:
All Kinkoids seem to live in fear of “mystery shoppers”. The corporate mothership sends special agents that pose as customers, and then evaluate the Co-workers. On at least several occasions I asked for some collating and printing jobs and quoted long wait times by Co-workers, which strangely had a change of heart and did the work right away. Your job is to make a Co-worker suspect that you are a “mystery shopper”. How? I don’t know, but apparently I managed to pull it off a couple of times.

McDonald’s:
Generic title: Crew Member. There are special non-management Crew Members with many years of experience called Crew Superstars. Managers carry the title of Crew Leader.

Fast Food Hacks:
This is a little known fact, but almost all soda fountains have a special button that will dispense seltzer. So technically the soda choice include seltzer. Sometimes when I am not in the mood for caramel coloring and phosphoric acid, I buy a medium soda and then ask them to find the button (most employees don’t know about it).

Starbucks:
Barristas are known as Hourly Partners. I’ve seen a title of Coffee Master on a manager’s card.

Starbucks Hacks:
There’s an 8oz cup called “Short” as opposed to the holy trinity of Tall-Grande-Venti. It’s never advertised, but I successfully ordered it on occasion.

I learned a new trick, which I am not planning on using, but which surprised me. I found a tiny sticker which outlined Starbucks refill policy. It reminded me that Spongebob episode where Bubble Bass pointed out to the microscopic print on the Crusty Crab menu that outlined the refund policy. Anyway, it seems like the rule is that if you finish your drink within the hour, you can ask for a refill in the same cup at an unspecified reduced price. How will they know if you consumed your drink in an hour? There’s a label on the cup that records the time when the drink was ordered. You can also apparently bring in your own cup and have it filled at 30 cents off or so.

You can ask for free coffee grinds at any Starbucks store to use as fertilizer for your garden or farm.

Barnes and Noble:
This is a surprising one. All B&N employees carry the title of “bookseller”. Even computer programmers and janitors. Thank you, anonymous tipster for this slice of corporate weirdness.

Disney
Most employees at Disney World are titled “Cast Members”. “Face” characters, like Cinderella and the like are “Union Actors”. Disney weirdness is too huge to discuss here, there are whole sites dedicated to the subject. “No Disney Cast member at the Disney reservation center has the same name. If there are more then two with the same then they are given a name.” Whoa.
Thank you, Merlin!

Pacific Theaters
Ushers and the like carry the title of “Talent”.
Thanks you, Greg!

This calls for a gratuitous Spongebob quote:
“Squidward: Repeat after me. “I have no talent”
Spongebob: I have no talent.
Squidward: “Mr. Tentacles has all the talent”.
Spongebob: Mr. Tentacles has all the talent.
Squidward: “If I’m lucky, some of Mr. Tentacles talent can rub off on me”.
Spongebob: If I’m lucky, Mr. Talent can…rub…his tentacles on my…art… (smiles)”

Toyota Canada
Salesmen carry the title of “New Vehicle Advisor “
Thank you, Aidan R.

WL Gore & Associates
Every employee is – you guessed it – an “Associate”.
Thank you, Joe Grossberg.

NASA
Gouvernment employees are called “Guvvies” and contractors are called “Swaliens” (because they are frequently from Swales Aerospace.

Thank you, anonimous commenter.

IKEA
IKEA employees have the same designation as Kinkos – “Co-worker”. I am not sure if this is a recent development or not.

If you have any information like this, please let me know.

Phi, Spongebob?! Phi !?!

Probably the easiest way to dramatically improve your snapshots is to learn about the rule of thirds. You know, divide what you see in the viewfinder by two lines into thirds horizontally and vertically and try to get more interesting parts to roughly be either where the lines cross or on the lines themselves. If your picture did not come out like that, you can usually fix it later with a crop.

Rule of thirds is actually a rough approximation of the golden ratio which is very well explained at Wolfram’s website. The pictures will look even better if you will use lines that are conforming to the golden section.

Just a crack of a difference: fat lines are thirds, thin lines – golden mean (I did not use the plugin when I cropped the photo).

I was playing around today with a plugin that renders golden rectangles, spirals and triangles. I checked some of my old photos – many seem to follow golden mean rather than the rule of thirds.

I was also thinking about writing my own Photoshop plugin like that (that one does not look like it’s worth 32 bucks to me), but Adobe has draconian new rules about who gets the SDK. So instead I decided to write this post.

I ordered a book about golden mean and related stuff from Amazon. Helpful Amazonian electrobrain is suggesting the movie Pi. The dang thing is pretty smart.

Meanwhile I got kind of curious as to how appealing the golden rectangle actually is. Let’s see.

Things that are strangely appealing. Spongebob Squarepants. Yep, the golden section cuts straight across his weird little belt. It’s also interesting to note that he is almost always drawn kind of sideways – in front projection the proportion would be off.

The Greek cup (about which I wrote at length before and mentioned in probably the only poem which I ever wrote. Yep, it roughly conforms to the proportion and “to serve you” is right at the division.

Now, let’s see. Ugly things. That picture of one of the ugliest buildings in Brooklyn. It’s waaaaay off. And so is the SUV in front of it. The older house on the left is good though.

Cars are tricky though. The most beautiful car that I know is Tucker Torpedo. It does not fit a golden rectangle either. But it roughly fits two. I tried to fit two rectangles onto the SUV in the picture and to the Scion xB, which is jarringly boxy. No go. Let’s see, but Chrysler PT Cruiser, a car which I actually like, fits two rectangles also.

This is all terribly crude and unscientific, but might hopefully be useful to you.

Close To The Machine

While we are on the topic of vending machines, I gotta mention  hacking.

I remember that a trick with a coin with a little hole attached to a string worked on Soviet payphones, but I don’t remember seeing it used on soda machines.  I never tried it. Mr Krabs in a Spongebob cartoon about the origin of Krusty Krab did that, sot it’s probably an international “hack”.

At UGO one bright person tried to cheat the Coke machine out of a dollar by applying a long piece of scotch tape to the bill  and trying to pull it back out once the machine swallowed it. This broke our subsidized 25 cent machine resulting in an office full of pissed off people. That cost the company a few hundred dollars. 

Then there was an interesting machine at iXL – one that dispenses glass bottles of Snapple. There are 5 shelves, and glass bottles fall down and somehow surviving. Somebody figured out that that particular machine checked if the bottle fell to the bottom before taking the money. If one stopped the bottle by holding a flap that swings to protect the dispensing box at the bottom, the machine was tricked into thinking that the bottle did not dispense and let the user make another selection. Everything was fine, but one not very bright individual caught one bottle with the flap and proceeded to drop a second bottle from the top shelf directly overhead. The dispensing bin was immediately filled by glass shards and Snapple.

.

Some American soda machines have a hidden menu that can be activated by pressing drink buttons in the following order : 4 2 3 1. I activated it once by accident (the dang machine was out of everything) and only now found a reference to this online. Some snack food machine can be induced to show its internal temperature, but I don’t know the key combination.

The company where I work now used to have two presidents at the same time. One liked Coca Cola and another liked Pepsi. Because of that we used to have two vending machines. Now they are both gone and we have only one machine.

And last is but not least : a weird “hack” that some of my classmates used to trick a proprietor of a soda kiosk in Odessa. They cracked a  broken fluorescent lamp open and rubbed the white residue found inside on a copper 2 kopek coin. The coin became silvery and could be easily passed off as a 15 kopek coin. What’s that white residue? Deadly mercury.

My Life At Penetrode or Is It Good For The Company?

Every morning the metal handle of the hallway door at work gives me a good ‘ol dose of static shock. This has been happening for the last four years. And only now I realize how “Office Space” this is.

There must be hundreds of other people on my floor who get that same static shock every morning. I wonder how wide spread is it. Do you get a daily dose of static shock from a door handle where you work?

Maybe it’s some form of thought control. Or maybe they generate electricity that way. Who knows..

I am so ordering my red Swingline

I am thinking about starting a protest website GAA – “Geeks Against Annoyances”. The top 4 things on the agenda will be:
1) Wall warts
2) Cheap Ass Go Off Every 10 Minutes Car Alarms
3) Fluorescent Lamps Of Death
4) Door handles that shock you at work.