Does Cup Size Matter?

Every Fast Food Chain I am aware of bundles meals as combo meals. You get main entre, fries, and large soda for so many dollars and cents.

At places that do not sell sandwiches, ordering combo meals you are offered chicken, fish, taco’s, etc, fries, and a soda. Not a bad deal and usually cheaper than ordering ala carte.

Unless you are not a big soda drinker. As I am. When most of a small soda is all I want a large soda cup seems like a waste, not to mention it is bigger to hold. Here is what happens more often than not when I eat a combo meal. I see a meal I want and add up the prices with a small soda instead of the default size soda. The combo of course is generally less expensive.

Not your way, not today

Not your way, not today

The conversation generally goes something like this:

“I would like one number X please.”

“Okay, that is one number X, an entre, fries, and a large soda.”

“Yes, that is correct. I would be happy with a small soda cup as I do not drink much soda.”

“You want a number X combo plus a small soda?”

“No, I would like a number X combo, but I would like to substitue a small soda cup instead of a large soda.”

This makes perfect sense to me. A large cup is a waste as I never fill a large soda cup even half full. This also seems to make sense for the business. Smaller cup = less soda = less money spent on a cup and soda. More profit for the business. Feels like a win, win….

“Sir, the combo only comes with a large soda”

“I understand that, but a small soda cup is all I want in place of a large soda cup. I do not drink much soda so a small cup is fine.”

“I would have to charge you more because you would not be ordering the combo. It would be more expensive”

“Okay, I understand, a large cup is fine.”

Not sure this is an inventory issue, giving away small cups and upsetting the bean count. It may be the store manager refusing to allow any deviation from the menu. Or it may be something totally different. I find it plain old annoying.

Culture or Gender Thinking

I partook in an interesting informal discussion on culture and gender and how it effects our view of ourselves and our world. Afterward I took an informal straw poll. Now my views have changed on why we do what we do when it comes to our gender and culture.

The discussion question was, “Do you think of yourself as your culture first or do you think of yourself as a Woman/Man first?”

On the surface the question seems pretty simple. I was of the opinion that everyone would think of themselves as gender first and culture second. It made sense to me, starting with you and moving out to the world view. What I failed to understand is we are so intertwined in our culture, our culture is is. It is not really all that clear however.

Some people thought of themselves as their culture then gender. Other people thought of themselves as gender then culture. Why this happened in my small informal survey also surprised me.

It appears parental influence, age, and geography play a large part in how we see ourselves and our culture. I found several main differences that set each of us apart from one another once we are away from our home.

If we were raised in a traditional family setting for our culture, and others we have contact with are too, we are more likely to see ourselves as culture first, followed by gender. In many traditional families, gender roles are clearly defined and rarely crossed. The Women tend the home, while the men bring home the money. To someone raised in this type of environment without outside influences, culture and gender are the same thing.

If we live in a rural setting where big city values and culture does not effect us, we are more like to see ourselves as culture and then gender. For example, we may live in a section where our culture is very strong in a big city, so city values have only a minor impact on us. We may be aware that other people like us live in other places differently, but this is how we are.

If we come from a family that has moved from place to place, and perhaps both parents worked, we see ourselves differently again. Other influences that interrupted or disrupted our family structure. We adapted as we changes geography. We are now more likely to see ourselves as gender first and culture second. For example if both Mom and Dad work(ed) outside the home, we are open to the idea that we and our spouse will work outside the home.

Different Cultures

Culture and Gender shape our world and our place in it

Age plays a large role in how we see gender and culture in our world. The older we are, the more likely we are to have lived in a traditional family where Father worked and Mother ran the household. The older we become the less willing we are to change or conform to new ideas. That wasn’t how it was done when we were kids…. We become not so silent rebels.

When I think of situations that previously made little sense to me, it is now easier to understand why this behavior happens. How we perceive our world determines whether culture is first or gender is first. Culture has no gender and between culture and gender, culture binds the largest number of people together.

When I now think of these situations, I understand this is a culture of people who felt they are wronged in some manner. Whether they were male or female is not a concern. They are acting through their cultural beliefs.

Proof Aliens Live Among Us

I have found proof of Alien life here on Earth along with pictures to support my claim! The first picture is of the space ship Aliens used to travel to Earth in. Notice it is subtly disguised so as not to draw attention to the fact is is a real spaceship?

Alien Space Ship hiding in plane sight!

Alien Space Ship hiding in plane sight!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I found not too far away, the outpost these Alien’s  constructed to live in. Obviously our atmosphere is not quite right for them. I am guessing they live where the hands and feet would be and the rest of structure provides energy and other requirements for living on Earth.

Alien are here, this is their outpost

Alien are here, this is their outpost

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I am sure there are solar collectors on the Alien habitat because i=the structure is facing partially north, so it gets sun all day long. I am sure this is advanced technology because both the space ship and the alien habitat look so harmless and innocent. Who would guess they are connected?

I am expecting due to the structure of the habitat, that the aliens are an insect type, and are used to tunneling. For whatever reason earth is not totally their liking. Is it possible this habitat is or was a temporary structure?

Could they have they built their real home into the rock bed below, having shafts cut into the earth below the feet. Is the rocl surrounding the structure from the digging operations that have been performed?

Quite brilliant of these aliens to live right amongst us in a leading technology and cultural area accenting alien pretense as a not only plausible but probable.

Aliens migrate by Terra-forming

This is my theory about life landing on Earth from outer space. Pretend for a few moments that we on Earth have resolved all our differences and have learned to live as one people. Quite a stretch I know, but pretend for a few minutes.

The people of Earth want to travel to other planets and perhaps galaxies, but they are so far away, and our technology is still lacking. The closest planets we want to move to are generations away. We haven’t developed the ability to create and launch multi generations space vehicles yet.

Yet is the key word. We may be able to in the future, but we can not do this yet. We can give ourselves a jump on making new planets habitable. We can do this by launching rockets carrying micro sized pellets of material for planet scape. Let’s make our planet closer. Lets think about getting to Mars and setting up a viable colony of people there. Mars is something we can do in the foreseeable future.

We are getting better at creating designer microbes and designer bacteria. How about we identify or create a microbe here on Earth that can eat some substance on Mars we do not care about or need once we get there.

Let’s create, modify or otherwise produce this microbe to create a waste product we do want. The microbial waste product could be one of the basic components of atmosphere for example. We create some custom microbes and launch them on a rocket ship to Mars.

As our discoveries, technology and knowledge grows so does our microbe creation. We can create ever more meaningful microbes that create as a by product something we need on Mars once we get there.

Aliens Not Attacking

No need to kill life on Earth

Eventually we are in the process of terraforming Mars. Making it closer to something we can inhabit easier. Since we have developed and improved on our microbes and bacteria, there is no sense letting them go to waste.

We package them up and send them off to a further planet we want to someday inhabit. We keep picking out planets further and further away from Earth, but not prohibitively far away from the previous planet we plan on inhabiting some day.

At some point in the process our rockets will be hit by asteroids, or other debris, and our microbes will be dispersed in ever new directions, destined to land on other unknown planets.

Is it possible this has been happening for thousands of years? Projectiles from other civilizations sending out pods of microbes and bacteria with the intent of terraforming planets to their needs for future habitation at some distant point in time?

Some of the pods have been damaged and their contents disbursed landing on barren surfaces starting the process of terraforming? Landing on Earth, most of them benign, but a few not so friendly causing disease and pestilence we had not seen previously?

There does not have to be mal-intent in the actions of sending out projectiles and pods with bacteria and microbes. There just has to be a want to terraform a hostile planet into a planet where future inhabitation may be easier thanks to the efforts of those who lived hundreds or maybe even thousands of generations earlier.

These packages of life terra-forming life may have happened so far in the past the civilizations that sent them do not even know they arrived here on earth.

Alien planet hopping intentions may be lost in time. Only their efforts reamin, lost life forms wandering the galaxies until some planet like mass blocks their path. Some arriving life forms survive and thrive, others perish in a hostile environment.  In the end result, it may even have been ourselves who sent life forms into space eons ago.

How Poker Saved My Life

This true story took place years ago in a European metropolitan city….I am probably the only one to remember it even took place.

There are many advantages in every day life learned from playing poker. One quickly learns the value of sound play. One quickly learns the value of money. One quickly learns the value giving away information, and collecting information.

Having a poker face goes a long way in not giving away information. In my case I believe having a poker face once saved my life.

I was visiting a city where English was not the preferred language. I tried to learn a little of the language before arriving, but there was not enough time, and I am a slow learner of languages. I learned just enough to have a semi-intelligent conversation with a three year old, if they do not try to impress me with their command of the language.

As tourists we tend to wander around and go places where the locals fear to tread. I was one of those wandering tourists, wandering around where no one who has any concern for life and limb would be wandering. Poker does take some amount of risk acceptance, but I unknowingly crossed the risk line as a tourist.

I had wandered into a seedy area of town, to a bar where some really bad people hung out. Not only did they hang out there, but they openly discussed business I unfortunately discovered. Business that was not healthy for anyone else to hear.

In my own ignorance, I did not know the place was seedy, nor did I know it was a haunt of some very serious people of criminal intent. All I wanted was a cold beer, and a break from the heat. It was a rather small bar with only five or six tables. I bought a beer at the bar and sat down at a table. Close by were four men who were in guarded, halted conversation. Two of the men had their backs to me.

Sometimes we make poor decisions

Sometimes we make poor decisions

One of the men with his back to me was angry and impatient, I thought by the tone of his speech. I also understood enough to know this was a conversation I should not be hearing. I was becoming nervous. A lone tourist off the beaten path sitting next to serious men talking about a criminal situation.

After a few minutes of back and forth conversation, one of the men with his back to me realized someone was sitting behind him – in hearing range. From hearing the tone of the talk I knew he was in charge. I also knew this could be the last cold beer of my life.

To say I was nervous was to put it mildly. These were hard men. These were serious men. I realized they could take me outside and I would never be heard from again. Some unfortunate tourist disappeared, and no one saw anything.

I did the only thing I could do. I put on my poker face and acted like it was a hot day outside and I was in the bar having a cold beer, ignorant to the conversation I was hearing and partially understanding.

The Leader inspected me for a good twenty or thirty seconds, which in the moment seemed like a good ten minutes. I did my best to act like I did not have a care in the world and only spoke and understood English, oblivious to the men’s presence.

Suddenly he stood up, and asked the men if they thought I understood their talk, while looking at me intently. I calmly took another drink. Two of the men replied to him saying, “no”. The leader walked behind me, stood quietly for a few seconds, turned and walked to the door. The other men got up and followed. I sat still trying to act as if it was a Sunday morning and I was quietly having milk and cookies.

I felt like Jello inside. I calmly took another drink and breathed a silent sigh of relief. A few minutes later I finished my beer, and walked outside, not sure what to expect.

Mine was the only car present in the parking lot. I got in and drove off, thinking to myself, “What a lucky man I am”. I thanked my lucky stars for poker. Without the skills poker taught me, who knows what the outcome of my misadventure may have been.

Thanks to the skills poker taught me, I am able to relate this story, such as it is. Perhaps without poker, I would have let on through facial expression or body posture that I understood enough of the conversation putting myself in danger. I was a serious threat to the men at the table because of what I heard and understood them discussing.

Without my playing time at the poker table, you would not now be reading this story. No matter what you feel about poker in general, poker, once you get past the basics, poker is all about interacting with people and understanding their actions.

If you are in the workforce you interact with people. If you need to make a high dollar purchase you interact with people. Getting groceries you interact with people. You can not get through your day easily without interacting with people.

You may never be in a situation where how you act effects your very survival, but knowing how to act, and how other people are acting around you, is a very important people skill for success in life. Poker is a only game played using money to keep score. The more you practice and learn, the better you may become. Some day you may need the very skills found in a poker game.

Tagging and Self Esteem

This picture is of a tagging in a bathroom at local eatery.

Is this a statement or cry for recognition of existence?

Is this a statement or cry for recognition of existence?

I find it so sad that some young adult wants and needs the world to know they exist bad enough to settle for putting their work on the bottom of a toilet seat. Along with another tagging of someone putting their work on a pipe near the floor.

Do they feel their lives are so trivial that this is the best they can do to make their mark on the world? They can not look up any higher than the bottom of a toilet seat and the bathroom floor?

I have always viewed tagging as a cry out to the world that the tagger exists. They have nothing but the clothes they wear, a marker or a can of paint.

What could they be doing with their lives if they had a better start on life, or could look a little higher?

Holdem Collusion and You

I read hand posts on a poker forum occasionally to gain insight on how Holdem thinking is changing. Poker is dynamic, and how we play poker, changes with time. What was a breaking edge thought or play a year ago, is likely old hat today.

There was an interesting post I read from a player who was confused about a hand. The stakes were low limit no limit Holdem. Two players were in the hand to see the flop. The poster and a second player (Villain). From the poster’s opinion they were the two best players at the table and had been taking the other players chips.

Pre flop, Poster bets, and all fold except for Villain who calls. So far so good, all is normal. On the Flop Villain is first to act and makes a smallish bet. Poster raises over the size of the pot. Villain is surprised and makes a comment about why Poster is making the large raise. This comment confused Poster.

What was important in this thread was the wording of Villains comment. It reads as if Villain has decided without any verbal agreement between these two players, that implicit collusion was the order of the day between himself and Poster.

When Poster raises the flop bet, Villain realizes his implicit collusion partner doesn’t exist. Now a question is created in Posters mind, “Is this behavior common at the poker tables in live games?”

Collusion though rare does happen.

Collusion though rare does happen.

In my experience, sometimes yes, sometimes no. I have watched (and played this way myself), light betting action when the hand becomes heads up. In most of these hands, both players realize they have no real advantage in the hand.

Each player was hoping to take down the pot uncontested or against a weak player. Now neither player is willing to risk as many chips as if there were weaker players in the hand. This type of action is not in my opinion a fair example of implicit collusion.

What I do see which I identify as implicit or explicit collusion is three or four players always in the pot together playing against a single (perceived weaker) player. A weaker player enters the pot, and by the time it is back to the player, the pot has been raised. The odds are acceptable and the weaker player calls the raise, followed by the other players in the hand. Other weak players may have called too.

The flop is dealt. Play is checked to the weak player. If they check or make small bet, the bet comes back with a healthy raise. Remaining colluding players who are yet to act after the raiser fold.

Generally the raise is enough to drive weaker players out of the hand. The pot is awarded to the raiser. What makes this form of collusion so effective is it looks perfectly normal when viewed as a single hand.

There was a bet or raise, callers, the flop is dealt, there is a bet and raise or a large bet made, everyone folds to the flop bettor. What occurred to arouse suspicion? These same actions happen several times an hour in any Holdem game.

For Neophyte players or weaker players, it looks like the same few people are catching cards while he/she is not. More seasoned players know that as money flows around the table so do the cards. No one catches good cards for extended periods. Better players take action.

To be fair I have never seen this in Las Vegas, and I would not expect to see it in Atlantic City or any where there is major competition for poker players. I have seen types of Collusion in smaller card rooms where there is not a lot of card room competition for players and a generally small player base.

Generally, players participating in this behavior are full time players logging fifty or more hours a week in the card room. In their defense, I think this behavior develops over time, and in many cases there has never been a formal or verbal agreement among these players to collude. It happens over weeks and months of playing together.

There are ways to use players colluding as a weapon against players who are colluding. Generally as soon as they figure out you are on to them, the game changes quickly. You will see tight play, and one or two walking players. The game will change to generally nitty play, and your action dries up.

Unfortunately, if you think collusion is happening at your table, your options are limited. Change tables, the time of day you play, or card rooms. Even if there is no collusion taking place, if the play you see makes you uncomfortable, you are being outplayed. The end result is the same.

Collusion is very hard to prove especially when it is sixty plus hour a week regular players verses a casual player. Management can be a little short sighted and slow to act. These players are their bread and butter. Card Rooms tend to take no action on a single accusation or incident. Eventually Card Rooms do act, but not until it starts to hurt the bottom line.

Collusion in any form is rare in a poker room. If it looks like collusion, it may really be a group of players who sit at the same table every day and know each others playing style as well as their own.

If you are a new Holdem player or new to the card room, you will be put to the test. This is common and should be expected. Have fun and make good decisions, and the rest usually takes care of itself.

You Know it is a Bad Day When

You know it is going to be a bad day for someone when you see Federal Government vehicle parked in a Casino parking lot at 6:40 pm on a Friday evening.

Official Use Vehicle

You know its going to be bad day at work tomorrow

Written on the napkin, “I use your money in gas to go to the Casino. Please take a Picture and share in Facebook”

Its going to be a long weekend for someone.

“Welcome back. What did you do with your weekend? Any gambling?”

Spanglish, the new Spanish

I order a cup of coffee and a plain sundae. A plain sundae means ice cream in a sundae cup with chopped peanuts (sometimes). I look up at the menu. I see an insert advertisement that I read as:

“Extend your vacay.
Ponle sabor a tu diaz.”

As I know just enough Spanish to be dangerous, I do not understand how the top sentence in English, and the bottom sentence in Spanish have the same meaning.

I also think, I do not remember ever hearing or reading the words, extend or vacay used in Spanish. I do not know what Ponle means, but the rest of the sentence is, “flavor in your day.”

As nobody is in line, I ask the man who is waiting on me, “What is Ponle?” He smiles and asks me to repeat what I said. “Ponle, p o n l e”, I say. He holds one hand palm up and makes movements like clapping in slow motion with his other hand. Now I am really confused.

He sees my confusion, and calls over a woman worker. She asks, “What am I asking about?” I point to the advert, and I say, “The word ponle, what does it mean?” She looks up and says, “You want a Mango Smoothie, is that what you are asking?”, a picture of which was on the right side of the advertisement.

“No”, I say, the word ponle, p o n l e, what does it mean?”

The woman laughs over the confusion or over me, and says, “To put, ponle means to put”. I say, “Thank you”, and we laugh and smile.

They both look at me like I am a simpleton. As I take my ice cream and coffee I wonder how the first sentence means the second sentence, and why English and Spanish, one sentence each are on one small sign.

As it is slow, as in I am the only customer, and the man is still in front of me, I ask him, “Could I order a hamburger, and then say, Ponle queso porfavor?” He smiles, and says, “No, hamburger con queso.” I think, ‘I already know that…I am trying to understand Ponle.’ Okay, we have a language barrier, and he has work to do. I thank him and go sit down.

Pondering the word, Ponle

Pondering the word, Ponle

When I leave, I am thinking, “…how strange one sentence in English and one in Spanish, and both sentences saying different things. It must be a play on words that with my two year old level Spanish vocabulary, I do not get.”

I look at the advertisement one last time, so I will remember the words, and I now read, “Extend tu vacay. Ponle sabor a tu diaz.” I had read the words wrong.
The first three words must be Spanish because of the middle word tu which I automatically translated the first time I read the sign into ‘your’. I never heard the words, Extend or Vacay, used in Spanish before. I am also not to sure ‘vacay’ is a word, more like a contraction. How do the two sentences mean the same thing?

I had totally missed the word ‘tu’. “Extend tu vacay”, was English to me, my brain made ‘tu’ into ‘your’. Vacay it turns out is slang, for vacation. The advertisement is really saying in [mostly?] Spanish, “Extend your vacation. Put flavor in your day.”

So now I am wondering, Spanglish is the new Spanish?

Eyes of the Beholder

I believe there are a few lessons in this story. Lessons about buying unique items and our always changing perception. I was in a second hand store looking for a unique coffee cup of all things. A wide base cup. They look like the one in this picture.

Wide Bottom Coffee Mug

This is a hybrid of wide bottom mugs. Many designs have a wider bottom.

As I am looking through the glassware, I spotted this small piece of pottery placed far back from the edge of the shelf. I saw this view of it, and decided on the spot it was in the budget. I turned it around and there was a similar ornate picture on that side too.

The pottery has a crackle finish, and has “C GOLD SATSUMA” written on red on the bottom. The design looks old, and the crackle finish lends itself to the pot looking old. For a five dollar bill I thought it was a great find.

Very Collectible Pottery having a unique design

Very Collectible Pottery having a unique design

When I get home I looked up Satsuma on the Internet as I had never heard the word before. Satsuma is an old territory in Japan with quite a colorful history. How I ended up with a piece of pottery from there was a mystery to me.

I decided to look up “C GOLD SATSUMA” and found pages of information about Satsuma pottery. There was nothing about “C GOLD SATSUMA”, however. None of the pictures looked like the little pot resting on the table. On one of the later web pages I found a reference to fake Satsuma pottery once made in China and sold to Europe and United States.

I looked a little closer at my find. Turning the pottery 1/4 turn instead of 1/2 turn I saw this:

One of the fake Satsuma  pieces probably made in China and sold to the west.

One of the faked Satsuma pieces probably made in China and sold to the west.

This decoration definitely looks Chinese to me. Funny how I missed looking at the whole piece of pottery until it was brought up in the article. How could I not see the other two areas of the pot? From a monetary perspective it is questionable whether I paid too much for this little pot.

From my perspective, I enjoy looking at this little pot and it is money well spent. When I have a find like this I always wonder about the journey it took, and the stories it could tell me if it could speak. All the way from someones hands in a pottery shop in China to a second hand store, where I found it.

The little pots journey is still not done. There will come a time, when it begins a new chapter in its travels. The little pot will hopefully pass from my care on to someone else, who appreciates the piece of pottery for what it is, and not what it could have been.