Friday, August 27, 2010

We do less, You pay more- Underthinking

I am sure you have noticed that in today society things are costing more and more money, that just the way capitalism works.
What I don't understand is why  are we paying more for things that have less done to them than the alternative?
Surely the way pricing should work is that the more that has gone into a product the higher the cost.

Probably the next lecture in Levi's series on Economics.

The first item that I don't understand is buying organically grown product? I mean I understand that their are arguments for it being better for environment and safer for you to eat etc.
But why are we paying more for it, the capital outlay on an organic farm is very low.
For example to grow organic meat, you need an animal and a field. If you live in most parts of the world your choice of animals is limited to chicken, pigs, sheep and cows. If you live in weird places like France your choices are more varied.

French Horses have had to adapt due to the French diet.

To grow non-organic meat, you need an animal and the field, but also fertilizer, pesticide, drenches, food supplement, and no soul (according to buyers of organic food)

Non-organic Farmer

So what I want to know is why does organic meat cost twice the price as non-organic meat when about a quarter of the effort to grow the product is going in?
Things seem to be backwards here. The organic farming cost less to do, yet they sell their goods for more money what are they doing with this surplus cash?

Organic Farmers Tractor

You know where else you get this less capital outlay  but higher cost, is Stonegrill restaurants. You know those places you go and they give you a hot rock and the ingredients and you cook your own dinner. Yet the meal cost the same.

How does this work? I pay more for food at a restaurant because a chef can prepare the food better than I can, at a stone grill all the chef is doing is chopping ingredients and cooking rocks. And to be fair cooking rocks is pretty hard to screw up.

You can tell when the rock is done when there are no more juices coming out
At a stone grill I am responsible for the quality of my own food, surely there should be some sort of discount given here. 
Also how safe is it giving a patron a hot rock with out any safety equipment?
There are a lot of idiots out there. And I imagine there has at been at least one person somewhere in the world that has thought
"I wonder how hot the rock actually is"
This is surely a lawsuit waiting to happen, I have never been to a Stonegrill restaurant in America, I wonder if they exist.

At American Stone grills you not only get a hot rock but also this fetching ensemble.

Incidentally whilst researching this article I discovered this photo.

This appears to be a takeaway Stonegrill restaurant, how could this possible work?
Do they give you a hot rock wrapped in newspaper, or in a plastic or styrofoam container?
This is the one place I could see where stone grill would have higher overheads than a traditional methods. The cost of the take home container for the stone is surely cost-prohibitive.

Stone grilled delivery

Monday, August 23, 2010

Passive Aggresive Underthinking

Last night I returned home at 1 am from a less than fruitful ice hockey road trip, I am currently house/dog-sitting so I had continue driving, upon arriving at my car I noticed the following note attached to my car.

This is the classical example of a passive aggressive note, the thing with all passive aggressive notes is that they are always underthought. The corrolary of this that the reciever of this note is left to overthink. First of all let me paint you a picture of where my car was parked, see below the detailed map.
Detailed map of the situation.
Now my car was slightly off the fence, so perhaps I was too close to the middle of the road. But the writer of the note indicated that their perferred spot for me to be parking is nearer the end of the road, not the side of the road. So their concern is not with me obstructing the roadway.

Not their concern

But let us dissect this note from the beginning, the note beings by letting me know the people who are having a problem with the location of my car, are the "people not having a driveway". I am not sure if this is one couple, or  if a group of the neighbours not owning driveways have gotten together to compose this note. I would secretly be stoked if the neighbours were discussing my parking. Perhaps the "people not having a driveway" (PNHD) is some sort of worldwide society standing up for the rights of people who don't own driveways. Apparently its the number 2 contributing factor leading to people writing passive aggresive notes in the western world, it is just behind flatmates not doing the dishes. Some fine examples can be found in this book : Passive Aggressive Notes: Painfully Polite and Hilariously Hostile Writings

Delegates at the 5th annual PNHD fundraising dinner.
This ambiguity of identity is a common trait of the passive-aggressive note. By doing this the writer avoids the confrontation with the receiver of the note they want to cause, but don't want to get involved in. The problem with this approach is that invariably you create a large issue than the original one. The passive act of delivering an anonymous note, is taken as aggresive as you are issuing a demand, and not opening the avenues of communication so compromise can be reached on the issue. In fact the Cuban missile crisis was kicked off by Kennedy leaving an anonymous note under Khrushchev's window screen asking him to remove the missle silos from Cuba.

"It would be appreciated by the democratic nations of this world if you would keep your missiles in Europe rather than the Carribean Ocean. Cheers :)"

In this case they are demanding I park nearer the end of the street. The inference I get is because the house I live in has a driveway I am not allowed to park on the street. For those of you that have never seen my driveway, it is very steep and rocky, so a lot of times by little 2wd car can't make it up it.

People hate coming round to my place for coffee.

The main issue of have with this demand though, is that they have not put any quantifiers with their demand, giving me any reason to believe they deserve to park closer to their house than I do. I have been parking on the street for the last month or so because of renovations going on at thetop of our drive. Sometimes I park close to my drive sometimes I park at the far end of the street, depending on where a park is availiable, its a lottery sometimes I win sometimes I lose. Afterall it is a public road, parking is a case of first in, first served.

I mean if they had given me a "because" to ponder I may have considered their proposal. For example if they had said that they are an elderly couple they can't walk big distances, or they have small children they have carry from their vehicle, or any such similar excuse. But as far as I know they are just as able-bodied as I am, therefore I feel no obligation whatsoever to compile with their request.

I am going to feel really bad if this guy wrote the note.

My only concern however is the smiley face at the end of the note, at first glance I though that's cute a little smiley face, to make the note appear more politely. Then I looked closer and noticed the smiley face had crosses for eyes. Now I have seen enough cartoons to know what that means.

First image on google images for "Dead smiley face"
 Are they sending me a message, if I don't comply with their demand, they will the kill me? What kind of sicko writes notes with these veiled threats in the form of a smiley face?

My neighbour?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bears guarding pot.

So in this story, police in British Colombia found a marijuana plot that was being guarded by well-fed docile bears.
My first thought was these bears aren't guarding the plot rather they had stumbled upon it and were getting stoned.
Woah man, my hands are massive
Lets face it  bears are classic drug-users, always eating and sleeping.
I mean just look at one of the more famous bears, Yogi bear always had the munchies and was totally anti-authority, always getting into fights with the ranger, and always napping. Classic stoner behaviour.

Just look at their pupils.....

I mean who is going to hire bears as guards? Well actually that does sound like the actions of a stoned man/men.

Stoner1 : Hey, how are we going to guard our plot?
Stoner2: I don't know some sort of booby trap
Stoner1: Haha booby sounds like booboo, like Yogi b...
Stoner2: BEARS! we should definitely get bears to guard our plot
Stoner1: Yeah I don't see any problems associated with that.

For frick sake Brian it's me, Fred, your boss.

Except perhaps that to a bear, all people are treated as equal, they all taste good.

Martin stole his speech from his college-roommate, who happened to be a Bear.

This is the major flaw in all plans associated with using animals to do jobs, they aren't doing the job for personal satisfaction or something for their c.v. They do it because someone feeds them, they aren't particularly fussed who feeds them, making headhunting in the animal employment not a particularly difficult job.

I would like to talk to you all, about the benefits of becoming part of the LutherCorp Family

This is more than likely the reason you fail to see many animals at the top of the corporate world.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

When parkers underthink.

Just to clarify, when I am talking parkers I am referring to people who are leave their vehicles on the side of the road or in a building, for the purpose of temporary storage, not Lady Penelope's driver.

Parker loved casual Fridays

Today well helping a friend parallel park into a park he had deemed impossible, a gross exaggeration by the way, I realised that a lot of people put no thought into their parking what so ever. How often do we see this

Better give myself room to get out.
These people deem their car is so important it needs to take up enough space for about 3 average cars. Are they afraid they won't be able to get out of their park, if they park to close to the car in front or behind?
Were they unaware power-steering was invented in 1932? and has been available in most cars built after the 80's. What exactly do they think they are driving that it requires 3 metres either side of the vehicle for them to leave?

I love my Hyundai, but it is really hard to find a park for it around town
These are the same people who feel that angle parking lines are really just a guide and as long as they are pretty much in there, then its fine.

Yeah, I am on an angle it should be fine..
Who are these people and why are they in such a rush that they don't have the time to readjust their vehicle? The thing is with this parking once one person gets out of kilter they put the whole lot out entirely, so please allow 30 seconds - 1 minute in your busy schedule for parking readjustment. Who is scheduling their errands so tightly, they can't afford this? Surely a missed traffic light, or a slow driver would throw you out more than this. My only guess is these people are on the run from the law.

I definitely won't have time to park correctly

The next type of parker I will introduce you too, is the person who takes 5-10 minutes after they have entered the car before they leave their park. What are they doing? Performing pre-drive checks? Having a quick nap? Have they forgotten how to drive and trying to remember what to do?

OMG, I have totally forgotten what to do...

My personal favourite is the double-parker complete with hazard lights. These parkers thought pattern seems to be "I have put my hazard lights on therefore I have the right to block the flow of traffic anywhere I like".
Hazard light don't double as parking spots, and people should kindly refrain from using them as such.

What a sweet parking spot, can't believe no-one has taken it

When these parkers underthinking they are affected others. This reminds us all that Underthinking is not a victimless crime.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

The Video store for the Overthinker, by the Overthinker.

Tonight well renting a movie, I witnessed the customer in front of me inquire to the employee, whether they had Pan's Labyrinth on blue ray. Said employee tapped away at his computer and then asked his co-worker if Pan's Labyrinth is the same as The Labyrinth. What?!!!
Why are you working at a DVD store? Pan's Labyrinth is a brillant 2006 fanasty Spanish language movie by Guillermo del Toro, a man who untill recently was going to make the Hobbit, that gave many people nightmares from its creepy visuals and dark themes.

BOO! That's right try going to sleep now
 The Labyrinth is an equally brillant 1986 fanasty film by Jim Henson (yes the Muppets guy) which also gave people nightmares, but mainly due to David Bowie's ridiculously tight pants and the fact his character is called Jareth.

"Yeah, I think the lady at the store said these are called "Jeggings"?"

So both nightmare inducing fanasty films with Labyrinth in the title, but seperated by 2 decades and a language barrier.This shows poor movie knowledge by this said employee. I hate to think what will happen if a parent looking to entertain a party of children comes in and asks this employee for Monsters Inc.

Disney's Pixar has done it again with the delightful Monsters, Inc.--so sit back, bring the whole family and have a wonderful time.

This little incident reminded me of a little DVD store I frequented while spending time in Buenos Aires Argentina. This store required a lot of thinking to navigate, for example I took it for granted in a DVD store the would be split into categories such as horror, comedy, drama etc. Not in this store no siree bob. This store was split into lead actor/actress sections, this could lead to some very imbalanced sections. For example John Wayne was the leading man in 142 movies, Mark Hamil was the leading man in 3. This raises the question was it just easier to make Westerns than Sci-Fi films?

Even before his career Mark Hamil knew he should have made cowboy films

I mean I am all for changing things up, but didn't this filing lead to all sorts of confusion when the movie has two or more leading roles, I bet the Oceans 11 series caused them all sorts of dramas when they tired to shelve it. Should it go in the Brad Pitt section, or the George Clooney section, or the Matt Damon section, or the Julia Roberts section or the Bernie Mac section etc, it would take some pretty clever possibly, bending the laws of physics, placement to put it in all sections at once. I guess you could just put a copy in each actors section, but this causes a lot of redunacy.

Don Juan is still currently working on where to put Oceans 11 in his store.
This filing system is all well and good when the film you want to find has a famous person as the lead actor, you say why don't you just ask out the counter for films with lesser-known actors. We tried.
Turns out their computer system only let you search for films by last name of the lead actor?
I mean simple right, Indiana Jones - Ford, MiB - Smith, okay smart guy Neverending story - ?????                ( incidentally this was the movie, me and a similarly aged scottish and irish man wished to watch, to relive our childhood okay?)
We stood there for an eternity and could not come up with the kids name. This was kind of ironic, because if you haven't seen Neverending story the crux is that main kid, has to give the Empress a name otherwise the Nothing would consume them all, and he struggles for to do this for ages, but he eventually comes up with a name, although whether it was a good one or not is another question.

"Seriously?! Moonchild, you are calling me Moonchild, why not Rebecca, or Jane, or Emily?"

Barrett Oliver by the way, I know that now because I just googled neverending story, something seemingly impossible in this video store. We didn't come up with that name, which is almost as bad as Moonchild.

"HAHAH can you believe he called her Moonchild? hahah"

We eventually found it, by just wandering around the DVD Store for long enough. Which incidentally is my favourite way to go to a DVD store, I normally allow a good 30 mins to an hour for a trip to the DVD store by myself so that I am not rushed and can wander the aisles of the weekly rentals, and let the DVD's choose me. Sometimes you get dud's but most of the time you can find some really good movies you have never heard of, I recommend it to all of you try it at least once. I try to get 4-5 out at a time as insurance against dud's.

Apparently two of my favourite things Bon Jovi and Ice Hockey combined doesn't necessarily mean success

I find if you go to the DVD store with more than 1 other person you tend to be at the Video store for an hour anyway, while you debate the merits of Drama Vs Action (typically a female/male fight) and weed through all the movies that one person or another in the group has already seen. It normally ends when everyone just gives up, and grabs the new release (which by the time you have made the decision is already a weekly rental) that 1/2 the people have already seen, but you don't care you just want to get out of there.

"We have already been over this Judy, we are not getting Jaws out, Brett, Michael, Kelly and Tina have already seen it."

So there you have it a the video store a place often frequented by underthinkers, but a place where the overthinker can prosper.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Underthinking - Interesting encounter

Last week whilst walking the streets of Dunedin, I was meet by a little old lady. She seemed sweet enough, I said hello, she then asked if I had any spare change?
Now being the generous guy that I am and presuming she wished to catch the bus or play bowls or whatever it is old people do with spare change these days, I starting searching my pockets for change.

You need to go over to that desk and pay 60 cents to play here

I had gotten into my first pocket when she amended her original request to "Do you have 9 dollars?"
This is no longer a request for whatever I could spare, but for a rather specific amount.
Now I know that change is a very ambiguous term, I mean if I had just paid for an $11 item with $20 note, then $9 would have been my change. So she was staying within the confines of her original request.
But the spareness of the change certainly starts to change status when you get anywhere over $3-$4. I mean with the advent of the 1,2,3 dollar store, even lesser change is no longer considered spare.

 A Beggar's worst nightmare

By the time I had gotten to my 5th pocket (I was wearing a large jacket) she had explained to me, she was on her way to the 4-square to buy a bottle of wine. So I presume she left the house forgetting her purse and was now too embarrassed to return to retrieve it. Because I don't believe anyone would head to the store hoping they can collect the money on the way, especially on low pedestrian traffic routes on a rainy day. Although this may explain why she was hoping to get the whole $9 from me.
She was starting to get agitated I didn't have any loose change let alone $9 worth, she started suggesting which pockets I should check for money. Now I am starting to feel guilty for not being able to give her the $9, how did this happen?

You owe me 9 dollars

 Needless to say, I finished searching all my pockets, and being a product of the cashless society I had nothing to give her.

 A Beggar's 2nd worst nightmare

So I continued on my way, secure in the knowledge I had attempted to help, but feeling slightly depressed I wasn't able too.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Fashion for the Underthinker

Today while wandering the streets of Dunedin, a friend (an Underthinking fan, who incidentally suggested my next article was about boxes on the street) pointed out a girl walking on the other side of the street, who was wearing a skirt so short it is probably being kind to it calling it a skirt.
This item of clothing was also elastic so every 3 steps this girl had to tug it down just to avoid arrest.
A topic the readers of Underthinking it are interesting in apparently
This got me thinking when this girl got dressed this morning, she obviously didn't put a lot of thought into this outfit. She had got as far as this outfit looks good when I stand still, but any movement at all is out of the question. Now this kind of outfit is fine is if your job is being a mannequin, but pretty impractical if you are a human.

I wish I had paid attention at school.

To be fair to this young lady, she is not the only person in the world that I feel has under thought their outfit. And to be fair to young ladies they are not the only gender to under think their outfits. Young men have been doing it for years, with the phenomenon known as "sagging" in the US, or low-riding in the Kiwi vernacular.

In some areas these pants are baggy, in other areas also baggy

When your waistband is now around your knees, your gait cycle has to change dramatically. You now have to walk with you feet about 6 times the width of your shoulders apart so your pants stay up. If someone asks you to run you need to grab the front and back of your pants, taking your hands completely out of use, rendering activities such as paintball, sports, and generally carrying things out of the question.
But you know I can live with this, the pants are loose all over, there is no identity crisis here. I like baggy pants, I will wear baggy pants, and I don't need to carry anything today.

I like tight pants but want people to think I like baggy pants.

This latest craze doesn't make any sense to me. These pants aren't too baggy or too tight, they are both!! These people are crying out for help, they don't know who they are anymore.
"Am I wearing pants that are too big for me, or pants that are too small for me? I am so confused, I have my confused face on."

Well gee, I don't know what to make of those trousers....

Do the stores that these people buy these pants not have mirrors? Have the purchasers of these devil trousers got no feeling in their legs so they can't feel something is wrong?
Maybe the wearers of these pants are proud of their calves, but less so of their butts?
What about the sales assistant, is he just bold-face lying to them? or is there some other reason he can't see what is wrong.

"Those pants look great fellas' they fit perfectly."- Ray #1 Salesman

In researching this article (that's right I research these) I have discovered that the wearers of these pants are aware they are doing it wrong. This has lead to a company coming up with a solution, so that they can feel like they are wearing their trousers correctly, but give the impression to other people that they are unaware of the location of their waist.

Anatomy 101: Locate the waist today's youth
Also why are there suspenders?
All I can say is, if you underthink and dress you are a bloody idiot.

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