Does The Kitchen Area Look Like This Too?

I went out out for lunch today with friends. I parked on the street side of the restaurant. This side of the restaurant is not the side with the entrance, but it is not obvious when one parks where the entrance is.

The main entrance is to the left of where I parked. This view is to the right of where I parked. This dumpster area is also visible from the street and more the parking area. This is the area for customers who want close parking want to park.

This restaurant is a chain restaurant. There are two of these eateries in town. The other has a door to hide the trash bin. The door at the second location is always closed and the area clean, unless an employee is dumping trash.

Being a chain, one would think there are certain common standards for the business to follow? Standards do not seem to be present for the dumpster area. Management’s focus and concerns do not appear to include the whole customer experience.

My side view as I stepped out of my vehicle was this messy dumpster area with trash laying on the ground next to the dumpster. Being a curious person, the first thought that came into my mind after seeing the dumpster and the trash laying around it was:

“Does the kitchen look like this too?”


No customer of yours should see this. Look at your business with customer eyes.

No customer of yours should see this. Look at your business with customer eyes.


Maybe the kitchen is spotless. I’ll give the restaurant the benefit of doubt.  Neglecting the dumpster area however leaves or creates room for doubt. There is little doubt, this restaurant is the poorer performing of the two in town. Losing the potential revenue of repeat customers, and some first time customers with this area view.

This may be an off day, or this may be business as usual. How many diners are willing to gamble on their stomach?If I were not meeting other people for lunch, I would have gone to one of the other twenty or so restaurants within a few miles of this one.

As it is, I will not be back in the near future. What I will do, is share my observation with you the reader. Then  I will email the restaurant letting them know the dumpster area did not add to my appetite or dining experience.

Focus in business is a good thing. Focus is minding the bottom line and makes a difference between healthy profit and failure for business. Someone in  every business needs to see the business with a wholistic view. See what the customer will see. Hear what the customer may or may not hear. Someone in the business needs to see the business as the competition see the business.

No competitor, and rarely  is going to knock on the door and say, “You know your dumpster are looks pretty gross. Why don’t you clean it up and put a gate up so we don’t have to look at it?” Instead, the competition looks in the cash registers and thinks, “I hope the dumpster are over there stays open and trashy. It sure helps our bottom line!” Customers as in my case usually tell others about their experience and rarely tell the business.

When running a business it is not overly difficult or complex to succeed with a good product. Chains are chains because they have a product customers want. Not looking at the business from a customers perspective damages the bottom line. Myopia and business never make good partners.

Followup: Poor management leads to poor decisions. I went to the website to express my concerns on this matter, and the website was a database canned comment collection type web site which did not address my concerns.

The only email was a gift card email address. I sent my email to them with the picture. Not surprisingly I received a reply back that the gift card department can not manage my email, and perhaps I should address my concerns on the web page response system?

Not appreciating this answer I replied, perhaps they could forward my email much faster than I could find a valid email address. Following this, i went online to find the email of the CEO. It seems the company has filed for bankruptcy.

This is a great example of how poor upper management grows poor management, and poor top level decisions lead to poor decisions down the chain. Perhaps when bought out, the chain will make a comeback. Let’s hope so, it has a very good product.

Driving with Deer

Driving with the possibility of having one or more deer dart out on the road varies by where you are driving. This article applies to driving on a road where the probability of deer being present is high. When driving in deer country, the way you drive should be modified, especially at night or in other poor visibility driving conditions.

Take notice of the landscape you are driving through. What is the terrain around the road you are driving on. Can a deer run out on the road without being seen until the deer is on the road, or do you have  clear view of both sides of the road?

Always heed Deer are present in area signs

Always heed Deer are present in area signs


Is it day or night time? Deer are most active during dawn and dusk, but if they are being bothered by predators such as pack dogs, they will run. Running into the road may be the only direction a deer can escape danger in.

Evening or poor visibility changes your driving options

Evening or poor visibility changes your driving options

What season you are in makes a difference. Deer breed or ‘Rut’ in the late fall. When this happens male deer known as Buck, rounds up as many female deer, known as Does, as he can, hoping to breed with each of his new found harem. Often some of the Doe’s are not in the mood to breed at the moment and try to run off given the chance.

The Buck, herds the Does moving them in front of him in an attempt to keep them together and distance himself from rival Bucks attentions.The Does, are being pushed or herded, so stepping out on the road in front of a moving car is no different for them than moving through the woods.

Your view of the road and sides of the road is much better during the daylight hours. You have a better chance of seeing a deer moving toward the road than you do when the lighting is poor. Deer are adaptably colored. They are difficult to see any time of the day or night.

Look for movement first and the shape of a deer secondly, while scanning both sides of the roadway. Our eyes are better at noticing movement than they are picking out a deer partially hidden by shrubs or grass.

Travel at a reasonable speed. The distance you can slow down, stop or swerve if need be is more important than how long the trip will take. The trip will take much longer if you hit a deer and you are hurt and your car damaged.

If you are driving at night, slow down. You have to observe everything you watch in the daytime when deer may be present. With it being night time, you are now depending on your headlights to light the road for you. Most car headlights do a better job of lighting the road ahead than they do lighting the sides of the road.

If memory serves, about fifty-five miles per hour or eight-eight kilometer per hour is about the fastest one can drive and have a reasonable chance of avoiding hitting a deer with ample visual warning.

Any faster than these speeds and you greatly increase the probability that you are overdriving your headlights. Of course road conditions and visual warning times are the best indicator of the speed you should drive at.

Be careful of overdriving your headlights. Drive too fast in the wrong conditions, and the deer you see becomes the deer you hit.

Overdriving Your Headlights


“Overdriving your headlights means not being able to stop inside the illuminated area ahead. It is difficult to judge other vehicles’ speeds and distances at night. Do not overdrive your headlights—it creates a blind “crash area” in front of your vehicle. You should be able to stop inside the illuminated area ahead.”

When possible, ensure a vehicle is in front of you or on the side a deer is likely to come from

When possible, ensure a vehicle is in front of you or on the side a deer is likely to come from

Whenever possible after you have taken other precautions, get behind a blocker vehicle. A blocker vehicle is any vehicle you can follow that will hit any deer that come onto the road. In the picture below the vehicle, semi-truck in this case is in the far right lane. Any deer venturing on the road is going to be hit by the truck, and not by my vehicle. I have a clear view of the left side of the road giving me plenty of time to stop or swerve if need be.

Common sense rules the road when driving on roads known for having deer in the area. Requirements vary from location to location on signage. When you see a road sign notifying you there are deer in the area for the next xxx miles take heed. Deer warning signs are posted whenever a certain number of deer are hit or killed in a specified time.

I took this picture this morning. I took the picture through my car window. Deer can and will be anywhere.

Unless there are high fences, deer can be anywhere

Unless there are high fences, deer can be anywhere

Hot Air Balloon and Canadian Honker’s Frozen in Time

We are having our Annual Balloon Fiesta here in Albuquerque. I was out walking Saturday morning and took this interesting photo of a Hot Air Balloon that touched down on a drainage ditch road. I wanted to share the picture with you.

The passengers have for the most part left the gondola and are standing around the gondola. The flock of geese is much closer to where I stood.

If you notice in the top left side of the picture, you will see most of a flock of geese heading to the wetlands to winter. I believe they are Canadian Honker’s as they made sure everything within three miles heard them.

The flock had other geese calling out and dogs barking as they flew over the balloon and it’s passengers who where for the most part oblivious to the sight and sounds.

Those are the Sandia Mountains in the background. When it rains in the day time, the mountains take on a reddish hue as the last of the day’s sunlight wash over them at sunset. Sandia is Spanish for Watermelon.

Hot Air Balloon and flying Geese caught in the same picture

Hot Air Balloon and flying Geese caught in the same picture

Fall and the Walking Path

As I walked along during the spring and summer, I was curious if my stopping to pull weeds and pick up trash from the side of the walking path was worth my time. I am happy to write: A spring and summer of pulling weeds along the walking path I take has come to fruition.

Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy from my walking path. Included pictures are of Desert Willow, Wild Aster, Wild Geranium, Sunset.

The Desert Willow, which can be purchased locally, is a volunteer along this path.

Can be purchased locally, but this one is a volunteer,

Can be purchased locally, but this one is a volunteer,


Wild Aster did well this year and are plentiful

Wild Aster did well this year due to the weather.

Wild Aster did well this year due to the weather.


Wild Geranium was not so happy with this years weather, it is not as showy as usual.

Not as showy as previous years, but still pretty

Not as showy as previous years, but still pretty


Finally what is the Southwest, without a sunset?

If you love sunsets, visit New Mexico!

If you love sunsets, visit New Mexico!


I hope you enjoyed these pictures of Albuquerque and New Mexico in general!

Dakota Access Pipeline – Where’s the News Coverage?

This video looked like Kent State in the 60’s & 70’s and the civil rights movement wrapped all into one. Why are we sitting back when people are being treated in this manner? This story should be in every daily newscast, every paper. Attack dogs being forced on people and we do not say a word about it?

Here is a youtube video title. The video is very graphic. Here is the video title if the link changes: “Dakota Access Pipeline Company Attacks Native American Protesters with Dogs & Pepper Spray”

And the citation for the video.

Published on Sep 3, 2016

On September 3, the Dakota Access pipeline company attacked Native Americans with dogs and pepper spray as they protested against the $3.8 billion pipeline’s construction. If completed, the pipeline would carry about 500,000 barrels of crude per day from North Dakota’s Bakken oilfield to Illinois. The project has faced months of resistance from the Standing Rock Sioux tribe and members of nearly 100 more tribes from across the U.S. and Canada.

We have people trying to protect the land and the people. We have a company paying massive amounts of money to farmers and ranchers for access through their land. Who can say no to needed monies when you are struggling?

The oil as I understand it is dirty oil from collected from Fracking Operations. The lifespan of the pipeline is limited to how useful the oil is. Once the dirty oil from the pipeline is no longer profitable, what then? Will the pipeline be left to rot and contaminate the land it was built on?

As I understand the pipeline is slated to go under the Missouri River. Imagine what a break in the pipeline will do downstream?

Finally, who is going to protect this controversial pipeline? Surely it will be the target at least of malcontents who will try to damage the pipeline.

Who will be around to clean up the mess that will surely follow once the pipeline is abandoned? I’m guessing, we the tax payers will have to pick up the financial tab, and our children will live with the environmental destruction.

Hummingbird Feeding in the Fall

When it comes to Humming birds and the fall, people hear things about Hummingbirds they tend to believe. Around here it is a Labor Day event. Well meaning people faithfully feed Hummingbirds starting in the early spring, throughout the summer and into the fall.

Once Labor Day arrives, to many people pull their feeders because it has been passed from mouth to mouth so many times it must be true, “Hummingbirds need to head south for the winter after Labor Day”. Unfortunately, no one has ever told the hummingbirds.

In the fall, first year hummingbirds are still putting on weight for the arduous flight ahead. The parents, who spent the summer feeding their offspring, finally get to keep all their food to themselves. Can you imagine what happens when the Hummingbirds come to their feeders to find they are missing?

Taking in hummingbird feeders too early, is like hauling away your refrigerator on Labor Day. What do the birds do for the energy they need to head south? They are forced to start their migration early, because unlike a natural process where the food supply goes away naturally, the go from feast to famine overnight.

Not only the effect on the local birds, but pulling your feeder from the yard effects any hummingbirds who are looking for food on their flight south. They may remember there was food their last year and head for your feeder. Only to find air where the feeder was last year.

There is a number of weeks between Labor Day and frost. During these weeks, local and traveling hummingbirds need your feeder. Leave it out with fresh syrup. It doesn’t cost much, and the hummingbirds will remember your feeder on the return trip.

I have two pictures here. One about syrup, and the second about cleaning your feeder. I have two feeders, so the process is simple. I fill up the second feeder with a ratio of 1:4 sugar to water. In my case that is 1/2 cup sugar to 2 cups water. Some people use less sugar and others use more. The water needs to be fresh and clean. Try not to get your fingers or other containments in the mix. I use room temperature water, and the sugar dissolves within minutes with steady stirring.

Many people use a 1:4 sugar to water ratio

Many people use a 1:4 sugar to water ratio

This second picture is how I clean the feeders between use. Feeders are community food bowls for Hummingbirds. They get dirty and moldy, so I take care to clean them well. First I wash and rinse them just like any pot or pan. Then I soak the feeder in a bucket of water and bleach. On the third morning I take it out to let the feeder dry out. Later in the day, I make a fresh batch of syrup and put it out in the now cleaned feeder.

It's a good idea to bleach any bird feeder now and then

It’s a good idea to bleach any bird feeder now and then

Nuts About Nuts

Nuts are something I never gave much thought to until recently. I had been buying premium brands of tree nuts for some time now. I eat tree nuts daily. In one of the stores I shop in, tree nuts for baking and cereal are in the same aisle. When I looked at the ingredients of the ‘Premium’ brand I noticed the oils listed are not the nut oils, but other oils used in frying.

What's in your nut?

What’s in your nut?

I went to the bakery section and looked at the oils contained in a package of baking tree nuts. The only oils listed are the natural oil of the nut itself, no other oils listed as ingredients.

Whose nuts are better?

Whose nuts are better?

Being curious I went to the web to find out about the differences. I was surprised by what I discovered. What I discovered made me change from buying premium tree nuts to the less expensive baking brands.

Most people who make nuts a part of their diet, do so for the oils the nuts contain. Nut oil is thought to be healthier than off the shelf oils and a good healthy source of fat in a diet.

Premium nuts as I understood from what I read are generally deep fried. Premium nuts do not really have to be premium in all respects. They do not need to be fresh, or packed with their own oils. Any nut that meets the processor’s requirements, is not too old or rancid, can be a premium nut.

What I did not find out was if the nut oils are intentionally extracted. If the nut oils are extracted, then premium nuts are not premium at all. These nuts are a by product of the nut oil extraction process.

Whether what I understand is true or not, two things are obvious about nuts. Baking nuts are less expensive than premium nuts. Baking nut oils are the better, natural nut oil, not a lower cost oil used for commercial processing.

Important stuff for people who eat nuts on a daily basis. Depending on which type of tree nut you buy, you may be missing, what you think you are getting from the tree nut. As for taste, well that is an individual choice.

Customer Satisfaction and Cleanliness are not Disparate


I dined at…with my wife last week. As usual we had a wonderful meal. My wife had…and I had…. As always, service was superb and the food cooked to perfection. The meal for me however was diminished by my view of the backs of the two booths.

I know with lighting dim, and shift workers in a rush, cleaning flat surfaces is a low priority. I attached a picture as it says more than words. I was facing the cooking area, so the location should be easy to find.

I wanted to bring this to your attention as I know you may wish to do a super clean before booth cleanliness comes to the attention of other customers.

We have been…customers since the eighties, and…has consistently set the standard for…not only in…, but also the state. No reason why…will not continue to lead.

Thank you,

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?

Is cleanliness a lost art for a non fast food business?














I took this picture as I was not happy looking at smeared food and thought perhaps I should share my view with the restaurant. After a week or so I decided I paid enough for the meal and should not have to see smeared food.

I checked to see if the company had a website. They do and have an email address for leaving comments. As you read above, I left a comment. Notice in my email, I did not ask for anything. I was not looking for a free appetizer or free meal after they clean up the premises – thinking they did act on my email.

This is a quality oriented business and they take their product very seriously. So what’s the beef? At the least I expected some sort of non committal reply, stating they received my email/comment and would look into the situation.

Better yet would have been some sort of apology for having a customer, me in this case, looking at smeared food on the booth backs. Maybe we have been spoiled by chain fast food establishment cleanliness standards?

If this were a hamburger stand, or a family restaurant I would understand, stuff happens, and kids are creative. However, this is an adult oriented upscale dining establishment which charges accordingly. This was not fresh food on the booth backs.

On the other side. If I had sent an email saying what a great meal it was, how good the beer tasted, and the whiskey chaser for desert really hit the spot, would I have received a reply?

If you own or run a business, and take pride in your business, give your customers an avenue to provide you comments, you owe your customers who leave a comment the benefit of a reply. Lack of a reply is a disservice to the customer, and a detractor to the business. Much like having a employee bulletin board of policy that no one reads.

Note Taking Apps For Linux

I have been trying out different tree note and wiki notes software for Linux. Below are several software programs with a blip taken from the home page of each. I included links to their home pages  if you wish to check one or all out. They are all in different forms of refinement and style depending on the authors intent. Some are simply a note dumping ground, others are wiki type, tree storage, and one or two may be all types. Most if not all should be in your Linux repository. If not they can be downloaded and installed.

gJots2 –  gjots2(1) is a simple jotter application for your desktop – an outline processor.

Tomboy – Tomboy is a desktop note-taking application for Linux, Unix, Windows, and Mac OS X. Simple and easy to use, but with potential to help you organize the ideas and information you deal with every day. Tomboy has a lot of plugins that may be useful for you.

Gnote – Gnote is a port of Tomboy to C++. It is the same note taking application, including most of the add-ins (more are to come). Synchronization support is being worked on.

Zim – Zim is a graphical text editor used to maintain a collection of wiki pages. Each page can contain links to other pages, simple formatting and images. Pages are stored in a folder structure, like in an outliner, and can have attachments. Creating a new page is as easy as linking to a nonexistent page. All data is stored in plain text files with wiki formatting. Various plugins provide additional functionality, like a task list manager, an equation editor, a tray icon, and support for version control.

Cherrytree – Cherrytree [is] a hierarchical note taking application, featuring rich text and syntax highlighting, storing data in a single xml or sqlite file. If you search on this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on cherrytree.

nvpy – nvpy [is a] Simplenote syncing note-taking application, inspired by Notational Velocity and ResophNotes, but uglier and cross-platformerer. If you search this blog you will find a more in depth previous article on nvpy.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

TreePad for Linux, one of several tree note type software packages for Linux.

Treepad – TreePad Lite for Linux is a freeware personal information manager designed specifically to run on Linux (PC and Raspberry Pi). It supports Unicode, is fully portable, and does not need to be installed.

Plume – Plume Creator helps you to write your stories in chapters and scenes, write fullscreen, edit notes and synopses, export in html and odt formats, edit in rich text, and manage characters, places and items.Are you a writer ? Plume Creator will help you with this hard task! This software gives you an outliner, a distraction-free mode, a note manager and much more!

Kabikaboo is a simple tree-branch note organizer. It is meant to be used to help aid in the writing of a novel. Users can plan out their story, plot, and characters. Created with Python, PyGTK, Geany, and Glade, on Ubuntu Linux.

I did not include KDE Basket notes which many people do use and enjoy, due to the additional programs I would need to run Basket Notes with XFCE. If you use KDE and Basket Notes is not installed you may wish to check the program out.

I gave most of these a test and settled on what works for me. I hope if you are in need of a notes program, one of the above work well for you.

More Words than a picture

A picture may be worth a thousand words. Having an on-top of it Manager overseeing your business is worth much more as seen in the following pictures.

The first picture is of a placard at a local Applebee’s. The business of this Applebee’s at least is customer satisfaction through employee perfection. The greeters, wait staff, cooks, and bus staff are true professionals. They work and maybe live the slogan (below) they walk by going to and from the kitchen area. I only stop in for lunch, and while I am there, I think, “Wow, what a great place this must be to work at!”

What every business should strive for - property of Applebee's

What every business should strive for

This store on the other hand is one store of a national chain. In this case office oriented products from paper to printers. One look at the trash can was enough to catch my attention about the state of the business at this particular store.

The outside grounds between the store and parking lot were filthy. The store itself needed better lighting. It looked like saving on the electric bill was more important than the customer experience. Not one person smiled as I was asked if I needed help.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

It feels dirty and have not even entered the store yet.

The thing is, people notice. A very few people like me look around from the parking lot to the bathroom. For other people it is just a feeling that the business feels sort of icky and they want to get out as quickly as possible even. Customers in this second dingy looking store spend less time pondering whether they should make a purchase. Customers are quicker to leave and spend their money at a place that feels cleaner and fresher.

If you serve the public, and you want to make the best impression, look at your business as your customer’s do. Starting with the parking lot, is everything clean and tidy? Is the lighting appropriate? Do your employees look as if they want to be there? Do you want to be there?

Having a dirty building front, visible smoking employees, old gum and trash near the entrance, poor lighting are some of the things that turn off repeat business. The biggest hit to the bottom line is your customers spending their money somewhere else. Clean up your business so your customers want to stay and return in the future.