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  • Michael Krakovskiy 9:00 am on February 8, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , supervisor, Waterfront hotel,   


    When I worked at TV Guide I had a co-worker who frequently used a phrase “couldn’t we just” (pronounced with a whiney way with a New Jersey accent) to drive web developers to the outer reaches of annoyance. The thing is, in software development there are very few things that are “just” and a lot of resons why we couldn’t.

    One of the main reasons is that people tend to abuse just about any feature that you is created for them. This goes doubly for nice features.

    Let’s say you have an understanding boss who lets you have some flexibility in your workday hours. You can safely bet that without frequent admonitions to come in at a reasonable hour your fellow cowokers (and probably yourself) will probe the limits of when to begin a workday to a ridiculous degree.

    When I worked at a clam counter at Nathan’s at Coney Island we used to have a set of one pint containers with horseradish and cocktail sause. My supervisor told me to keep them under the counter and only furnish when requested. After a number of annoyed customers asked me why “couldn’t I just” leave them on the counter, I complied. What could go wrong?

    A day later two homeless gentlemen had an argument over something and used the containers as projectile weapons against each other. My supervisor sent me out to clean the mess with a dose of “I told you so” (apparently this same exact fight happened in the past).

    The thing is, your fantasy is usually not enough to envision the ridiculousnes to which features can be abused. For instance, as a fisherman I’ve always had a fantasy of fishing out of a building’s window. When I was taking a cruise around Seattles’s waterfront with my wife, the boat’s guide pointed out the Waterfront hotel, and mentioned that in the past hotel’s management provided fishing rods and tackle in the rooms.

    The problem turned out to be not that the clients did not catch fish. The problem was that instead, they caught too many, and left their catch to rot in sinks, toilets and bathtubs. Tired of antisanitary fish carcasses they nixed this feature.

    When I came home, I looked up the hotel, and found the bit that the guide left out. This hotel was the place where the infamous Led Zeppelin “mud shark incident” took place. The link is certainly not PG 13, because rockstars, hotel rooms, fish caught out of the window, and groupies is a dangerous mix.

    Has a feature that you created ever been mudsharked?

  • Michael Krakovskiy 11:15 pm on March 16, 2006 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Coder Jones, , food computers, inspector, interstellar travel, jet printing, jet printing method, John van Nostrand, , , , , , Rublev, , space pilot, space travel, supervisor   

    Thinking About the Future 

    My father-in-law once told me about a group of young guys, all from orphanages, that he met when he served in the Soviet Army. Those kids would talk for hours and hours about retiring on the government pension. I am a little bit like that too – I like to plan my retirement.

    One thing that I’ll do then is write a series of science fiction stories, probably in graphic novel format. Since it might very well be that all the things that I squirrel away in my notes might come true by the time I retire, let me share with you some of my world building.

    The protagonist’s name is John van Nostrand (after a Brooklyn street name). He’s a space pilot from future Brooklyn (or alternative past). His antagonists are pilot Naru Nan, underhero Jackson, supervisor Coder Jones and inspector Rublev. I haven’t worked out the characters much yet.

    Some notes about the future/alternative past. A series of technological breakthroughs accomplished the following:

    Sleep is not necessary anymore. Thanks to a wonder drug or a surgical implant of some sort people no longer have to spend 8 hours sleeping. Sleep becomes optional, and a sort of entertainment, as an REM inducing machine can produce vivid and even lucid dreams on demand.

    Total domination of bacteria and viruses through biotechnological means (no nanotech though). This in turn leads to a revolution in cooking (among other things). It becomes perfectly safe to eat all foods raw. Cooking a steak, for instance becomes mechanized. Lasers sear the outside, while inside can stay pretty raw. Overall, a specialized food computers are used. They can laser-sear, microwave, dry out, mince, liquefy and wrap in special membranes and capsules and produce all sorts of futuristic foods. Many techniques involve “jet printing” ingredients.

    Bathing is now optional, a sort of relaxation as well. A special membranous symbiont is genetically engineered to live inside people’s skins and consumes sweat and toxins.

    Buildings are built by the jet printing method with titanium-containing alloy for strength, as well as slew of ceramic and other materials for insulation and decoration. Ridiculously tall and strong skyscrapers result.

    Huge space cities are built out of towed metallic asteroids, again through jet printing. Real estate on Earth and in space is spectacular.

    I still have many things to decide upon, such as the mode of space travel, politics, and a million other things. There will be no aliens or interstellar travel though. I’m pretty sure about that.

  • Michael Krakovskiy 7:26 am on February 9, 2005 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , bookstore chain, Bushido, , champion wrestler, fencing, , food tastes, Geisha, Hai - Yes Beero, , , , Mario Bros., , Office worker, Ringo, , Seaweed, supervisor, ,   

    Domo Arigato Mr. Roboto 

    I am thinking about going to Japan for my next vacation. Time to tally my knowledge of Japanese. Let’s see…

    Nippon – Japan
    Sushi – Raw fish with rice
    Sashimi – Raw fish
    Sake – Alcoholic drink. Some call it Japanese vodka or rice wine, but what do they know. It’s technically a rice beer.
    Yakitori – Kebab
    Tempura – Stuff fried in batter
    Nori – Seaweed for sushi
    Wasabi – Pickled radish
    Agari – Green tea (in sushi restaurants)
    Miso – Soy paste soup
    Mochi – Ice-cream (or other stuff) in a dough shell
    Arigato – Thank you
    So Des – So it is
    Godzilla – Big radioactive lizard
    Sumo – Along with competitive eation, one of the few sports involving a lot of fat people
    Yokozuna – A champion wrestler. Tend to be overweight
    Sarariman – Office worker, formerely a Samurai. Probably.
    Samurai – A Shogun’s report
    Shogun – Samurai’s supervisor
    Bushido – Samurai’s Rules and Regulations Manual
    Geisha – A woman who entertains Yokozunas, Samurais and Shoguns. As well as Sararimen with a good sarary.
    Sensei – Teacher
    Kohai – What Wall Street types call a Rabbi. One who helps out somebody less experienced.
    Sempai – Someone who has a Kohai.
    Karate – Pronounced Kara-tey.
    Something-do – Way of something.
    Kendo – Way of the sword. Somehow really means fencing dressed skirts with bamboo sticks.
    Robot-san – Mechanical human being. Some take Samurai or Geisha form.
    Kinokuniya – Japanese bookstore chain
    Ringo – Apple
    Ringu – Ring
    Waifu – Wife
    Chambara – Japanese movies about Samurai
    Manga – What Americans call Anime
    Jedi – Another word for Chambara; also a person with high midiclorian count
    Terevision – A device for watching Chambara
    Harakiri – A suicide method very popular in Chambara
    Kamikaze – A suicide method not very popular in Chambara. Also a drink
    Kohee – 8 dollar coffee
    Yakuza – Legitimate businessmen with a lot of tattoos and missing pinkies.
    Meiwaku – Trouble, disturbance.
    Kawai – Cute
    Pokemon – A very kawai little critter
    Makdonurado – A fast food place where sometimes you get a toy Pokemon with you meal and your food tastes like it’s made out of Pokemons.
    Katana – A type of Samurai’s cutting sword. Also name of Larry Ellison’s giant boat.
    Katakana – One of sets of Japanese characters. Either the one used for foreign words, or the other one.
    Hiragana – Same as Katakana.
    Hai – Yes
    Beero – Beer.
    Ebisu – God of something good, maybe beer. Also a type of beer.
    Kappa – Demon of some kind, I think lives in water. Also a character in Mario Bros. games.
    Tanuki – A smart shape shifting demon with huge balls.
    Futon – Bed
    Tatami – Rug

    Uh… Yeah, I think I am done.

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