The “Fan”

June 26th, 2007

chinese fan

As you may know we regularly eat lunch together and play Credit Card Roulette when the bill comes round. Quick recap: we shuffle our credit cards and randomly pick one. The “winner” pays the bill. Over the years we’ve played this game folks have had losing streaks. Painful streaks where you secretly wish you’d lose just to not see Todd lose for the 4th time in a week. But until now the longest straight losing streak has been 4 times in a row. Here’s what we call it when you lose …

  • 2 times in a row = 2 times in a row
  • 3 times in a row = a Turkey
  • 4 times in a row = an Ostrich
  • 5 times in a row? Inconceivable!

Until now. Losing 5 times in a row is no longer an inconceivable truth. Thanks to Laurel’s loss today we’ve now coined the “Fan” or losing 5 times in a row. Congratulations, Laurel Fan. Lunch was delicious.

Picnik’s Piecoras pizza party proves particularly pleasing (plus Picnik paid)

March 21st, 2007


P for Picnik! We had the gents from picnik over to the Co-op for pizza and conversation. Not only is this a razor smart bunch but the app they’ve developed is super duper fun and intuitive. I was able to whip Buster’s cameraphone photo into shape in a few short moments. As I’m artistically impaired with visual stuff, this photo example does not represent the true power of picnik. It was, however, fun to make. I even used the new “gooify” effect to stretch John’s stomach (in the red sweater). Picnik = free website for manipulating, saving and sharing your photos. Think simplified Photoshop for cheapskates and you’ll get the picture … or just give it a try.

Perhaps the best part of the lunch was that Picnik graciously won in credit card roulette and picked up the Piecoras’ pizza tab.

Secret lunch guest

October 12th, 2006

Josh won today. Additionally we had a secret lunch guest named Russell Dicker. It was great to see the Dickertator (as we affectionately call him) and chaw the chew.

I’m looking forward to Olympic Sculpture Park opening in 2007.

P.S. we didn’t talk about mulch at unch

I’m all out of love, I’m so lost without you

October 11th, 2006

The briefest lunch today resulted in drbrain winning1 at CCR2 (he wins the least) and him giving me the gift of blog. Here goes.

There was talk of stale object errors, one of a few complicated issues which have been impacting the sites of late. In our journey to make it up and make it happen we have arrived at an inflection point in our travels. It’s time for us to temporarily lay down our bindle stick3 and pause by the tracks to contemplate stale object errors, memory leaks, bugs and other puzzles of our own creation with the hope of improving site stability and performance. We know it’s been frustrating at times but we’re happy to have you along with us on our collective journey. We’ve made some great progress the last two days – thanks for all your help reporting issues to us. We couldn’t do it without you, our fellow 43T hobos, leaving us easy marks4 along the way.

So, that was lunch talk. I split early to attend a memorial service in Gig Harbor which reminded me that there is sad comfort in celebrating a friend’s life. But when the love is gone we are truly lost. Tell someone you love them and find your way again.

1 In CCR “winning” is actually losing (or loosing5). So, if someone wins at CCR that means they actually lost and had to pay the bill.

2 CCR = credit card roulette. CCR is a game whereby everyone at lunch hands in their credit card to one person called the “shuffler”. The shuffler then shuffles the credit cards under the table and the “picker” picks the winning credit card. The “winner” wins and pays the entire bill and is granted the privledge of assigning the act of blogging to any of the “loosers”. CCR was brought to us by Jason at 37 Signals.

3 Bindle stick is a collection of belongings wrapped in cloth and tied around a stick.

4 Easy mark is a hobo sign or mark that identifies a person or place where one can get food and a place to stay overnight.

5 “loosing” is a reference to the most popular mispelled goal on 43 Things, loose weight (it’s actually supposed to be lose weight). Sadly, these same people are known to pull over near Reno, NV for “lose slots”. Thankfully there are about 2,000+ people on 43T that want to loose weight and 14,000+ people that want to lose weight.

The Gambler’s Fallacy

September 29th, 2006

I can’t remember what we talked about at lunch today. That’s either because we didn’t sustain a single subject long enough for it to matter, or because I daydreamed about regaining my financial footing after this string of Credit Card Roulette losses. The problem with a serious losing streak is giving up the gambler’s fallacy and accepting that randomness has no memory. There is no mathematical fairness to CCR unless we play the game an infinite number of times. Randomness does not “owe me” a string of winning, free lunches to make everything even. Instead, we start from statistical scratch every time we play the game.

This problem, the vanishing past, is a sticking point for some, and a liberating opportunity for others. Some say that what we think of as The Past is just an assemblage of memories, evidence, and the stories we tell, and that those things are just aspects of the present – malleable ones at that. The past ceases to exist but leaves behind a plastic residue. I have a sense that Josh, our resident historian, rails against this notion. As for me, I like that we are always starting from scratch. I’m heeding the bumper sticker that states “forgiveness is giving up hope for a better past.” Lady Luck didn’t owe me anything due to our past, but she still let me win CCR today. Now, how does that past victory continue to exist? I have a memory of Josh’s card being picked, I have evidence in my wallet that I got lunch for free, and I have completed my assignment to add a story to our blog.

Crazy Train

September 29th, 2006

Todd is on a crazy losing streak. He lost again at Ballet yesterday. He even lost out on the opportunity to make Daniel pay for failing to pick someone to write the blog post after Daniel bought us all delicious Pizza. Thanks for lunch Daniel and Todd!

What else is going on at the Robot Co-op this week? We had a great conversation about habits and habit forming. Todd & I have both been experimenting with taking the bus and walking to work. Daniel has been rehearsing with his new band. Eric swam in a volcano. Buster got sick. Ivan told us a crazy story about a cherry tree. And Geoffrey Grosenbach is hanging out at the Co-op to help us with some graphs.

Not the best bet I’ve ever made

September 22nd, 2006

coin flip

There’s this article that talks about the role of emotions in risk taking. As an example, they have this experiment where they ask people whether or not they’d like to risk losing $100 for an opportunity to win $150 on a coin flip. Personally, I don’t think I’d ever turn that down unless I didn’t have $100 in the bank. Any takers? However, when I asked my coworkers about it they said no more often than yes. In the article, most people also said no.

The explanation for this is that most people are more sensitive to failure than success. Losing hurts more than winning feels good. It sort of makes sense. We posted about it a bit on our other blog.

Today, we went to this new restaurant in Cascade called Feierabend and Josh and I ended up drinking a German liter of beer each. The topics had already covered the difference between alcoholics and drunks, the whiskey diet, celebrity sightings, what exactly makes a goal acheivable, and Russian spas, so it was time to start making bets. Josh challenged me to the bet where we’d flip a coin and if it was heads I would give him $150 and if it was tails he would give me $100. Because whatever mechanism that keeps most people from making even safe bets was left out of my brain, I accepted, Daniel flipped, the coin rolled off the table onto the bench, and came up heads.

Now I owe Josh 50-75 coffees. That’s randomness for you.

Holding hands

September 22nd, 2006

Yesterday Ivan called me on my way to work and told me to meet him at Cafe Vita. He gave me a couple movie gift cards, hugged me and wished me a belated happy birthday. We talked about Ivan’s home in Slovakia. This felt great.

At lunch I lost at credit card roulette at Piroshky on Broadway and that felt great, too, as I haven’t lost in a while. So Todd, Erik, Ivan and I all ate the lunch special. The Russian lady that took our order told me that Ivan’s Russian was excellent and even better than her own English (which was very good in my opinion). The special was reliably delicious.

Late last night I cranked the electric guitar in the basement. This truly felt great. I remember when I was 14 my parents took a trip to Los Angeles, California (we’re from Anchorage). They asked me if I wanted anything. California was an exotic place to me as a kid—so I asked for an electric guitar not knowing much about them. Sure enough my Dad returned from LA with a used 1976 sunburst Fender Lead II. Somehow I got my hands on a torn up Fender Bassman amp head and speaker cab from a friend. I painted it brown with leftover paint from the house and thus began my habit of playing loud, shabby instruments.

At lunch we talked about the food—specifically about the delicious potatoes. A while back when trying to describe his passion for potatoes, Ivan caught us all off guard by ending his description of potatoes as his favorite food with, “I LOVE potatoes! Me and potato holding hands … walking down the street together”.

If I could hold hands with a couple things it may be that California guitar on my left and the brown painted amp on my right. Me and guitar and amp holding hands … walking down the street together.

The return of lunch posts

September 20th, 2006

Todd pulled a turkey yesterday. That is when you lose credit card roulette 3 days in row. He’s trying to assuage his losses today by picking a self service place where the credit card game can’t be played.

We’ve been busy blogging on Mutual Improvement, trying to distill some wisdom about how to live worthy lives. We’ve also started some earnest work on Cupcake, the latest release we are working on. For now, plans are still very formative and rough—but we’ll start sharing some details soon.


A quick lunch with villagers

August 29th, 2006

A good friend was in town yesterday and had lunch with us at Ballet. He spoke of recent travels to India, Thailand, Providence, and Ballard. Along with the Pork Special, I was still digesting the madness of Foo Camp from this last weekend.