Rants and Raves

I Think I Broke A Rule Last Year

Probably because it’s January, I’m thinking about goals again. I had a good one a few years ago that I added and maintainted for a while. I could have sworn I wrote a post about it, but I can’t find it. But the goal was more raves, fewer rants.

I was reminiscing about that this morning and I think I’ve done a decent job of keeping up with that goal. But I remembered that in early 2023 I broke that rule (slightly) and it was weighing on me a little.

I wrote a less-than-stellar review of a restaurant on Yelp about a year ago. I went back and re-read the review and -fortunately- it’s fair, but it’s not great. But I think it’s weighing on me a little because in the post-pandemic times we’re in it’s not cool to write negative reviews of restaurants. I could have just skipped a negative review altogether.

Yes, Yelp is problematic for many reasons (look up their lawsuits and allegations of review-gaming) – but positive reviews there (and more often on Google – via Maps / Zagat) are still helpful. Yes I feel a little guilty obviously but the point is I’ll try to get back of the goal to only rave.

Random Covid Thoughts 2

preamble/disclaimer- I’ve seen some crappy posts on social media criticizing people for being “lazy” during ‘Rona, or people criticizing others about using food or their couch as a coping mechanism. That’s shitty. I’m not trying to do this or weight-shame anyone. My intention is to write this in the style of a Kedrosky Daily Graph

Like many others in SF, our company switched to WFH in March of 2020. We later made WFH a permanent thing (at least for us… for now).

Unrelated, I happen to track my weight. Sure, it may not be healthy psychologically, but at one point I was interested in the “quantified self and tracking weight (mostly the moving average as described in the Hacker’s Diet) was a part of that.

A nine year old weight tracking chart. Drop off starts with COVID SF Office Closure and SIP

Random Covid Thoughts 1

It’s February and we’re coming up on a year of COVID 19 (in the US). A year of life-altering changes, SIP (shelter-in-place), quarantine, pods, less socializing, work changes and stress. That’s only scratching the surface (I’m not going to touch the political third rail today)

In no order here are some random thoughts I have:

I miss my friends, but I haven’t minded being forced away from a lot of people. I miss seeing my family.

I used to hate working from home, but have gotten used to it. I need certain personal rules in place to follow to tolerate it though. I can’t stand being on Zoom all day (I have a customer facing role and like talking to the customers, but then have tons of internal meetings too).

I love cooking and still do. I haven’t really improved any of my skills though. Cooking almost all meals at home does make me want to reorganize my kitchen -or makes me want to move. Wanting to move will be a different post.

Health and exercise are a lot more important than I realized. Family even more so.

I don’t like bundles

image from SteephillTV - linked to their Fubo Page

I saw some viral marketing for a new online TV service. I was intrigued because they said they’d be showing bike races that I try to follow. It’s hard to buy the rights for those races and get them organized (listen to a podcast of Speedmetal Cycling and they’ll go into it more), so I was impressed. I’m always looking for an excuse to cut the cord and get closer every year.

But then I noticed on Steephill.tv’s page that there’s a wrinkle with the new one I saw (Fubo.tv), in particular related to bundling:

Not all big U.S. media companies are ready to fully embrace the ala-carte nature of online streaming and therefore you’ll notice that all OTT services such as fubo.tv, sling.tv and youtube.tv will have a core bundle of channels which represents the minium service package. In particular, fubo.tv’s network agreements with FOX and NBC prevent them from offering a cycling only package. Any package fubo.tv adds in the U.S. will require the core bundle of channels to be purchased as well. This is the reason for the price increase to watch the Giro d’Italia.

(Emphasis is SteephillTV’s)

TV’s a rough business. But this bundling stuff is why Netflix, Amazon, and the various sports leagues will keep eroding ‘big tv”s viewers more and more (Apple too). Cable companies/media providers/channels need to get with it.


[originally posted Feb 9, 2014 – found via the Wayback Machine]


This one’s a rant.

Two years ago when I started at my current gig a coworker brought in some amazing doughnuts for the group. We devoured them and asked for more. We wanted to know where we had to go to get our own.

He told us that the person who made them had been making the doughnuts from home and various pop-up kitchens but didn’t have a shop yet- but that would be changing soon. He had been consulting with the biz owner (he does small business advice, consulting, etc.) and had helped find possible spots to move in to start the business and had everything else just about ready to start/grow the business- but they needed some capital. They had chosen to go the Kickstarter route to raise their funds.

We all thought this was pretty clever of him to hit us all up with catered doughnuts that morning because most of us signed up to help on Kickstarter by the end of that work day.

In case you’re not aware of how Kickstarter works you can basically find a project you like that is unfunded and read the proposal (they usually have well-made videos and demos of the product or art they’re working on). The creator has a very specific monetary goal to hit and they have a very specific set of events or products they will create/provide/purchase if said goal is reached.

There are also various levels of funds a backer of a project can provide. For example there were two projects I backed from authors for books they were getting published. They both had the books finished and were running Kickstarter projects to aid with publishing costs. One book offered PDF copies of the book at the $10 level, but I selected a hardbound/autographed copy at a higher level.  And I did the same thing for a comic book artist who was publishing a graphic novel. Hey- I like signed copies.

In the case of the Doughnut Dolly project, there were the same types of multiple levels of backing- eg if you backed $5 you would get a hug if the project were successful. Higher levels would mean doughnuts- and if you backed $100 you would get:

A punch card for a dozen doughnuts and three cups of coffee; a 12oz bag of LOLA beans from Catahoula Coffee Co; a Doughnut Dolly mug; a Doughnut Dolly magnet; my heartfelt thanks and a hug. A Doughnut Dolly Lunch Box. Perfect for hauling all those Naughty Doughnuts around!

Okay, by the fact that I’m publishing this you can probably guess what happened. But you’d be wrong.

The Doughnut Dolly did meet its Kickstarter funding goal. This meant the backers would be charged and get their rewards once the business was moved in– scheduled for MAY 2012. Also-

Everyone who contributes to this fundraiser will be invited to an exclusive party at Doughnut Dolly; to show my appreciation and to celebrate a successful group effort!

As most backers waited patiently for their emails for the reward news and just general update about the business some noticed that the store had a Facebook page up and was already open and operating. There had been no updates from the owner on the Kickstarter page and emails weren’t being replied to when sent either directly, through Facebook or via Kickstarter.

Two months later the owner finally started to reply to people on Kickstarter saying the rewards- mugs and magnets- had been ordered and apologized for some of us not getting our email updates.

Riiight- must have gotten caught in the spam filter. And according to her employees – mugs and magnets weren’t ordered – “those aren’t happening”.

It turned out that even our co-worker had been given the cold shoulder and he eventually cut ties with her. He had told her countless times to be sure to answer emails and get the rewards out. I think they had a falling out soon afterwards be cause I don’t think he speaks to her any more.

So eventually three of us just decided to drive over to the shop and pick up the doughnuts. The owner wasn’t there, but the employees treated us really well. They did provide us with doughnuts, and I was lucky enough to get their last bag of coffee beans.

But they apologized to us on behalf of the owner. And as I wrote above, they said the mugs and magnets weren’t happening (in not so many words). They both had the vibe that they had borne the brunt of other backers frustrations and it was obvious that we weren’t the only ones who had shown up to collect and didn’t get what they were owed. I felt bad that the owner would leave her employees in a lurch like that.

If you’ve read this far you’re probably wondering SO WHAT?! Kickstarter campaigns fail at various stages all the time. Why are you writing about this?

I’ll tell you why- all the projects I’ve backed have been successful, with this one exception.  Actually, there  was one that didn’t meet its Kickstarter goal, so it didn’t get started, so I don’t count it.

But you ask- well, according to Kickstarter, it’s successful right? It hit its pledge goal, it got funded, and the shop opened. And according to the page/owner some rewards went out. But obviously I disagree.

Another reason I’m ranting and venting is that one of the vendors in Temescal alley told us that Hannah is planning on using Kickstarter to help open a second location (one with her own kitchen). She couldn’t even use it the first time correctly and now she’s going to use it again?

And the main reason I’m ranting is one of her employees mentioned (before they knew we were there to collect our rewards) that Hannah was going to consult a bagel business on how to use Kickstarter so they could open or expand their own shop.

Ain’t that rich? I wonder if she’ll advise them on how not to answer emails and how to not do it properly?

At least I got my doughnuts (which were really good) and I got to hang out with Steve, his kids, Basile and Ash outside of the office. But no mas.

Steve D and his trooper sons waiting in the rain for Daddy’s Doughnuts. Pic by Basile