Starbucks serves up fine white whine

When I started working at my current employer, I attended a full day diversity training session. It covered race, gender, sexuality, religion — all the things people often shy away from talking about. It was interesting, and at the end almost everyone thought it had been worthwhile. When I heard about the Starbucks #RaceTogether campaign, however, I suspected it wouldn’t go well, for several reasons. First of all, context. Someone going to a work-mandated training session is hopefully going to be at least willing to listen to things they may not want to hear, and will have prepared themselves accordingly.

Serious about coffee

Now that I’m married to a professional barista, it became time to upgrade our coffee machine. Our Starbucks pump espressio machine had offered loyal service for several years, but rothko wanted something with a full size brewhead, like you’d find on a professional machine in an Italian espresso bar. Fortunately her job, plus a tax refund and bonus from work, meant we could afford to spend a bit. After a ton of research, we settled on the Expobar Brewtus II.

Happy medium needed

In Chicago, the police are asking loyal citizens to report anyone seen using a map or binoculars, or taking photographs. Meanwhile in California, police are stopping drivers who have done nothing wrong in order to compliment their driving and give them $5 gift vouchers. Both of these seem to me to be misguided. The former is obviously nutty; do they really want the 911 dispatchers bothered by some paranoid who just saw someone take a picture of Chicago’s art deco architecture?


Apparently Sunday was a bit of a slow news day for the Dallas/Fort Worth Star-Telegram. I have to wonder how their graphic artist reacted when asked to draw the all-important inset map. Monday was somewhat more exciting, for me at least. I went to put on the usual “I’m a responsible adult with a job” clothes, and discovered that the pair of khakis I had grabbed and stuffed into my case were too small.


Number of Starbucks stores today: 12,440. Number the company is aiming to have: 40,000. Relevant quote: “Going to the other side of the street can be a barrier,” said Launi Skinner, senior vice president in charge of Starbucks’ store development. Annual GDP of the United Arab Emirates: $98.1 billion. Annual GDP of Kuwait: $52.76 billion. Exxon Mobile revenue, 3Q2006: $99.59 billion. Costs per gallon: Crude oil: $1.32.1 Starbucks coffee: $40.2


Idiocracy is Mike Judge’s new live action movie. Well, I say “new”; I gather it was pretty much finished in 2004, and since then he has been battling with 20th Century Fox to get it released. Right now, it’s showing in a handful of cities, probably a contractual obligation release before it gets shuffled off to DVD or buried outright. One of the cities is Austin, so we went to see it last night.

Four fried chickens and a Coke

I’m in Chicago to put signs on doors. No, really. IBM is setting up a swanky new customer briefing center, where major customers are given custom presentations, attend hands-on technical demonstrations, and are shown proof-of-concept systems. Outside each room will be a video screen. The plan is for each screen to show the room number and name, the title of whatever event is happening at that moment (or starting soon), the times of the event, and the name and e-mail address of the IBM contact responsible for the event.

The acceptable face of gentrification?

Done so far: Curtains, rods, holdbacks fitted in living room. Books unpacked onto bookshelves in office. Partial repair to drywall around coax socket in living room, to be completed during the week. Two sets of vertical blinds fitted in office. Today we had a guy spec out a home security system. We’re in what they call a ‘transitional’ neighborhood–while it’s all families immediately around us, a block away is one of Austin’s housing projects, and the kids get the bus from the stop at the end of the street.

Austin thoughts

We spent a week in the city, staying with the gracious Gavin. Here are some ways in which Austin is a better place than Cambridge/Somerville: People are friendly. Example: We were looking at some new houses, and suddenly found ourselves talking to one of the builders—a native Texan—about how he got into the trade after his time in the military, how they constructed the houses, why they did things the way they did, trade-offs of different kinds of construction, and so on.

Another rant about crappy software

For a while now I’ve been plagued by mysterious e-mail sync problems. I’d read something and delete it on one machine, and then I’d log in on another machine and it would be back. This wouldn’t be unexpected, except that I use IMAP for my mail, which is supposed to fix such problems. I eventually deduced that the real problem, which IMAP had been unable to solve, was that mail was being held on the server in mbox format.