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 bytes of Wa Conner… A bit at a time.

 



 

Wednesday
Apr042007

12 of the Most Memorable Music Performances I've Witnessed Live

A tough question to answer. Here are a few of my top choices.


1) David Bowie and Nine Inch Nails performing together @ the Rose Garden in October of 1995.

2) Rammstein at the Roseland Theater (Portland, Oregon) in July of 2001.

3) Depeche Mode @ the Rose Garden in November 1998

4) Nine Inch Nails in Ridgefield, Washington in May, 2006

5) Nine Inch Nails in Portland and Seattle in September of 2005

6) Tori Amos at the Rose Garden - Theatre of the Clouds in 1998

7) Nine Inch Nails at the Gorge Amphitheater and the Rose Garden in June of 2000.

8) Ozzy Osbourne @ Key Arena in June of 1992

9)   Imogen Heap @ Arlene Schitzer Concert Hall on June 16th, 2010

10)  Ministry @ Roseland Theater on March 19th, 2003.

11) Billy Idol @ Roseland Theater in 2005.

12) Depeche Mode @ Gorge Ampitheater in August, 2002.

Wednesday
Apr042007

NIN - Year Zero

Listen to the new NIN album in its entirety at nin.com….


:)

Year Zero


Operation Swamp
Wednesday
Mar282007

Blogging Ethics

Tuesday
Mar272007

Kathy Sierra and Robert Scoble Have Very Good Points



Monday
Mar262007

Over Tipped.

A few years back a character actress friend of mine confessed that she was finding it nearly impossible to survive on her wages earned as a waitress at her local Olive Garden in Texas. At the time I was perplexed because up here in Oregon waitresses can and do regularly earn a comfortable living on their wages and tips. I asked her to further clarify her problem. This is how she explained it to me.

At the time that she was employed the minimum wage in Texas was a paltry $3.35 per hour. She was working at least 40 hours a week which put her weekly wages at a mere $134 per week. This amount earned was of course before the deduction of federal and state withholding. This meant that she not only desired tips, her survival was dependent upon them. Fortunately she had some regulars who enjoyed her charismatic banter and prompt service enough to keep her head barely above water with their 15% -20% tips. Her cause was also helped a bit by the fact that she was fortunate enough to work at what is considered a premium restaurant and as such charges a fairly hefty price for meals which yielded her a fair amount in tips. The reason she was struggling it seemed was because there had been a subtle shift in tipping by the diners that had resulted in her receiving half of the tips than she was accustomed.

I bring this up because I was reminded this morning while listening to the second act in the  This American Life podcast, episode #245 that all servers have an expectation of receiving
a gratuity, that is they expect to receive a tip of 15%-20% for services rendered. At least that was the expectation of the servers featured in this episode.

I found myself aghast, because frankly tipping feels to me like bribery. Why should I have to bribe a servant to bring me food that I’ve paid for to my table within a reasonable time? Why should I have to bribe an employee to fill my cup of coffee? I’ll tell you right now, if they would let me fill my own cup whenever I wished by sauntering over to their station, or grab that bottle of green tabasco that I want to splash on my omelet, on my own, I would, but as it is food service regulations in most places will not allow such behavior, thus I am stuck with this scam known as tipping. When I heard that the polite amount
to tip for a food server is 15%  I was dumbstruck because frankly I think that amount is, particularly where I live, extremely high. Before you think I am a complete curmudgeon let me explain for a moment how I came to this conclusion.

Here in Oregon  the minimum wage is currently $7.80,  which is up 30 cents from the $7.50 that had been the minimum wage in 2006. That means that a server at my local restaurant working 40 hours a week should receive a minimum of  $312 per week or $1048 dollars per month in earnings solely from wages without including the hefty tips.

Now lets examine those tips. Some of my favorite haunts, which I can say confidently are jam packed with customers for a good 6 hours of each day often charge a minimum of $6.00 for a simple sandwich. A real meal, say a dinner meal, generally costs between  $9.00 and $12.00. Now if every server can handle a minimum of three tables per hour and work all of the 6 heavy hours, they’re 15% commission on each meal generates around $24-$26 in tip income for
each shift. And that is only on a slow day with one person at each table served, ordering only 1 meal. As well all know, generally people do not go to restaurants and order a meal by themselves, thus  lets at least double that amount to $48 to $ 52 with a potential for far more. That amounts to a bonus of $240 to $260 per week. After figuring out the resulting hourly compensation I’ve discovered that my servers, who are often no more than a high school graduate, or worse, a high school student, are earning around $13 to $14 per hour! I find that ridiculous when you take into account
that there are plenty of professionals in this area who cannot earn more than $10 to $12 per hour in their chosen field.

This has led to a justified stinginess on my part when it comes to tipping. No way am I going to tip someone enough that they are earning a higher wage than my professional friends who sank themselves into college loan debt and gave up a minimum  of four years of study to enhance and sharpen their skills. It also comes down to this, realistically they don’t deserve a tip.

 A tip is a gratuity. A gratuity is defined by Webster’s Dictionary as a “something given voluntarily or beyond obligation, usually for some service”. We’ve arrived at a point in this country’s societal evolution where tipping is no longer considered something beyond obligation. Tipping is now, for all intents and purposes, MANDATORY, and if you don’t believe me, try not tipping someone consistently and watch their mood sour and your service descend into behaviors that look like they came straight from Fight Club, or observe how your fellow dining companions will begin berating you ala Reservoir Dog style for not tipping at all.

Scrooge or not, I’ve decided that I’m not going to tip as much as I have been accustomed to tipping. In all honesty I would rid myself of tipping altogether but I recognize that is simply not going to be possible for the reasons outlined above.  Please, recognize that I do not have it out for the service industry! I just want to preserve some of those hard earned dollars for my own future for something as inane as say… healthcare. So in that vein,  I’ve decided that  5% sounds reasonable. If any service person needs more than that perhaps they should be investing any excess may receive, or perhaps they should lay off of the shopping sprees and try studying and training more in their off time to secure a higher paying career.

Or do what my actress friend did, move to California where the minimum wage was practically double that of Texas and secure a better paying job.
Tuesday
Mar202007

Where do we eat?

When you go out to eat, how do you pick where to go?
Submitted by Kristine.

 We live in an area with limited choice, thus, we must restaurant rotate much like farmers rotate crops.

Friday
Mar162007

Around this date in 1993...

I was performing a gig with my band Wymsikal Triod at Cloran Aid, on the University of Oregon campus.

The gems featured in our set were a spoken word/jazz interpretation of Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel and a progressive rock cover of Yes’s “Owner of a Lonely Heart”, Steve Ray Vaughn’s “Crossfire”, Cream’s “Sunshine of Your Love” and a tune that Paul and I had collaborated on called “Discover”.

I believe the gig was recorded, but unfortunately I don’t have a copy of the performance. I wish I did. Frog and Toad turned out very nice. At the time we had Jason Kamrass on vocals, Paul Walker on bass and myself on drums and percussion. lol. I remember having the Neil Peart setup at the time. There was another guy whose name I cannot seem to recall that we borrowed from another band who used to share our rehearsal space with us. The group he primarily performed with was this Billy Joel and Stryper combination called Without a Prayer. You had to hear it to believe it!

Yep, those certainly were THE days. Raves, concerts, champagne, girls, road trips, hot springs, and a class here and there.

Tuesday
Mar062007

Wise Words

What’s one of your favorite quotes?   


“And if we cannot end now our differences, at least we can help make the world safe for diversity. For, in the final analysis, our most basic common link is that we all inhabit this small planet. We all breathe the same air. We all cherish our children’s future. And we are all mortal.”

—John F. Kennedy


and one more for the road…


“My brother need not be idealized, or enlarged in death beyond what he was in life, but to be remembered simply as a good and decent man, who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it. Some men see things as they are and say ‘Why?’ I dream things that never were and say, ‘Why not?”

— Edward Kennedy (also citing George Bernard Shaw)
Friday
Mar022007

Alea Iacta Est (AIE)

I’d neglected to mention that I’ve joined the Alea Iacta Est role-playing guild on the Earthen Ring server of World of Warcraft this past week.

“Alea Iacta Est” is Latin for “The die has been cast”. These words were reportedly uttered by Caesar when he crossed the Rubicon river with his troops on January 10th, of 49 BC on his return to Rome in complete defiance of the Roman Senate by refusing to disband his army outside of the city limits.  The Roman Senate had warned that such an action would be cause for War, thus the phrase.

The guild was founded by Scott Johnson host of the podcasts The Instance, Extra Life Radio, as well as his webcomic My Extra Life, and co-hosts Randy Deluxe and Andrew.

Other podcast founders and/or members
 include Veronica Belmont from CNET ( most notably the Buzz Out Loud Podcast), Len and Nora of Jawbone Radio, Brian Ibbot of the Coverville Podcast, members from the WoW Add-ons Podcast, and Leo Laporte of  TWiT.tv podcast network fame.

The guild is exploding in size. It has been loads of fun hanging out with similar minded, crazy and fun people who treat each other with respect and share incredibly sharp sense of intelligence and wit.

If you are a fan of our band or any of these podcasts/podcasters  feel free to drop by and check out the guild sometime.


Tuesday
Feb272007

Ghost Writer

I was asked if I could successfully emulate another writer’s voice, who would it be?

I say, damn these “narrow it down to one (fill in the blank here)”sorts of questions!

I wouldn’t, no, I couldn’t restrict myself  to emulating only one of author. By my standards I could not except less than the ability to emulate AT LEAST these four authors (if not many more):

 

James Clavell

 

Michael Crichton

 

Chuck Palahniuk

Pat Cadigan