Sunday, April 26, 2009

Order, Office Depot, and Vertical Storage

Those of you who have been following my twitter or Facebook updates may have noticed that in the past three days I was in a cleaning spree, transforming my room from an unpassable mess (literally) to a reasonably clean and spacious environment. In addition to the detailed sorting and throwing away of junk, I made some reforms to the order in my room. The goal is to hopefully have maintainable order, instead of just temporary order.

One of the things I've realized is that I do not have enough storage space for all my stuff when all my clothes are clean. That leads to extreme clutter in the clothes drawers and clothes being stored on the floor. My soultion was to use vertical storage. I went to Target (retail) and purchased a vertical storage device. This device allowed me to make use of unused room volume for storage while keeping floor area clear. Amazing!

Similarly, I used a 99L storage tub to store all my unused boardgames and empty boxes, instead of keeping several volotile stacks around the room.

Another great solution was to puchase two additional garbage containers to allow for pre-sorting of paper and recycleable trash. No more keeping unneeded paper or empty water bottles on the floor or desk. Now I can trash them immediately and do not need to collect during cleanup time.

While I was at Office Depot, I also found a better solution than envelopes for paper storage. It's called a "file folder", and not in the standard sense of a directory for digital storage, but rather a physical object that stores paper.

Hopefully this new room order will actually last.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Missed flight, business class

Greetings from over the Atlantic Ocean. I'm writing this blog post from KLM Flight 0605 from Amsterdam to San Francisco in Business class! But, before I write about my business class experience, I should explain my tweet about "missing my flight".

It all started with me booking a one-way award ticket in business class from Tel Aviv to San Francisco via Amsterdam. The ticket was booked for April 16th at 5:05 am local time. Those with a keen eye will notice that that's exactly when I posted my tweet about missing the flight. I did not make the flight for the simple reason I was sure I was booked on the April 17th flight, the one I'm on board right now.

The mix-up occurred due to an "off by one" error in copying the ticket information into Google Calendar. Since I was in the Pacific time zone I had to enter all time information in PDT, which is 10 hours earlier than Tel Aviv time, and 9 hours earlier than Amsterdam time. I did the math correctly, but neglected to adjust the date, thus adding the flight on Apr 16th at 7:05pm PDT instead of Apr 15th.

From that point onward, I did not look at my ticket until I was about to check in, what I believed was 26 hours before departure. I went to KLM's check-in site, selected the flight path and the date and was surprised to see my ticket was not found. After looking up the ticket itself I realized that my booked flight is departing in two hours, while I'm at least a two hour drive from the airport, and my bags are not packed.

I called KLM Platinum reservations and they said that I'd have to book a new ticket, but they could cancel my existing ticket (and hopefully refund the miles and taxes paid). They recommended I call Flying Blue the next morning when they are available.

I didn't want to wait till the next morning and tried calling the local airport, which was checking in my flight at that time. I got no answer. Then, I decided to try to call the US Flying Blue line, but it was already after 8pm on the east coast, so they too were not available. 5 am passed, and I didn't have a ticket.

Then I came across the idea to call the Flying Blue center in a different timezone. I called Flying Blue Japan and they were happy to assist me. It turns out there was one award ticket left, in Business class, for the flight on the 17th. I booked that ticket.

Fast forward to the next day, and I boarded the first flight (TLV-AMS). It seems I would have been upgraded if I had an economy ticket as economy was full (as usual). The flight had a slight delay but my connection was fine. At Amsterdam, I went to the new lounge, took a shower, went online, and made a few phone calls.

About an hour later, I got tricked again by the flight information screens displaying my flight as ``Boarding''. I went to the gate, quickly passed security and realized no one has yet boarded the aircraft. After nervously waiting for about 20 minutes, a delay was announced, then another one, and we finally started boarding 30 minutes after the scheduled departure time, and departed over an hour late. We should make up for some of the lost time in the air.

Now, for the business class experience. I'm seated at row 77, which is the upper deck exit row on the 747. It's about 4 hours into the flight and I haven't yet left the upper deck, and rarely left my seat, which turns into an almost flat bed that's pretty comfy and sleepable. I spent the beginning of the flight sleeping (and eating the pretty good food) and then watched some shows on the IFE system, which is kinda old, but reasonable. I'm writing this on my laptop connected to the in-flight AC power.

Arrived safely at SFO, and posting this from the airport hotel.  That's all for now. Sorry for not blogging more, but you can always follow me on Twitter!

Friday, April 10, 2009

I don’t do human babies

Double baby freak out!As I have posted before, my brother has recently had twin daughters, which made me a new uncle. As many of you know, babies and I don't get along very well. I mean, they like me, but I'm very much afraid of them and have no idea what to do with them.

Well, for some obscure reason, I guess mostly to laugh at my feeble attempts, they have placed one of these 3-month-old babies on me. Within a few minutes, she has already has vomited some kind of white substance on my clean t-shirt. I decided to learn more about these weird creatures, so I did what I usually do.Used Google.

Well, I made a series of web searches, but none returned any useful results. I am usually pretty good at web searching. I wasn't sure where I went wrong. Many searches resulted in google scholar papers, but none included detailed enough instructions for beginners. Not to mention the fact that the product itself is not user-friendly. More about that below.
Me and human infant Shaharhuman baby "user's guide"
human infant "user's guide"
human infant manual
human infant safety
human infant care
human infant maintenance
human infant maintanence
human infant upkeep
baby uncle guide
new uncle guide
human baby care
human offspring care
human offspring maintenance
human offspring maintenence
human baby upkeep
human baby maintenance
human baby maintenence

Never mind Google's failure here, the product itself is a UI nightmare. No manual included, no labels of any kind on the very delicate parts. No warnings. No warranty (except as required by the state), and it's not even eligible for return or replacement.

It seems that human infants have a significant negative influence on humans, rivaled only by that of cats:


I, for one, seem to be immune to that negative effect (of cats too). However, I still cannot overcome the effect of two babies in my vicinity on all other humans, making having fun, such as playing board games, or having meaningful conversations, virtually impossible.

This post is a public service announcement: Use birth control. Because most STDs are manageable, babies aren't!

As for me, I'm considering a vasectomy...