Sunday, November 13, 2016

5 Ways to Make Chickfila Great Again

Some might argue that Chick-fil-a is already great. The lines wrap around the building during lunch hours. Double drive-thru lanes are popping up rapidly. But this is America where we expect perfection. I don't mean the America that fancies a sliding
scale menu for the entitled or exorbitant wages for college workers to afford their IKEA furnished apartments and photo-opp drink habits. I mean the America that wants things to be like they used to be when life was slower and priorities were centered around family rather than self(ies). The Chick-fil-a business model epitomizes traditional American values, so let's make this place great again.

  1. Teach employees to count napkins. As a keeper of extras, I have daily appreciation for the colossal stack generously included with each order. However, I can't help but wonder what role this liberality played in my recent meal inflation.
  2. Join hands with tree-huggers. Although hipsters and conservatives don't often unite, Chick-fil-a can conciliate by demonstrating genuine value to human life and God's creation in providing non-toxic and easily degradable packaging. (Want to know more? Read this.)
  3. Implement a bag folding policy. Chick-fil-a employees are highly skilled at bag stuffing. At any point, I expect to see a little yard sign in the drive-thru line boasting, "Yesterday we hoarded 265 extra bags." While I applaud all conservation efforts, I do expect the food I take home to be appetizing by the time I get there. 
  4. Pour tea properly. It is one of the Seven Deadly Southern Sins to serve tepid iced tea. A fountain Coke needs one level of ice. Recently brewed, still-warm tea needs quite another. Iced tea in the South deserves the highest consideration. 
  5. Eliminate the unconventional fry. Like the lone black pea in a can of white acres, this fat, end-fry is loathed by children, discarded by OCD'ers, and drenched in extra sauce by the sacrificial Mikeys. Do us all a favor and upgrade that potato cutter. The fry count is already consistently inconsistent. Annihilating that bothersome chubby guy will make room for a few more of the ones we crave.
Don't be deplorable, Chick-fil-a. Make yourself great again.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

Chicago Airport to Downtown

Taking the train is easy and an excellent way to see more of Chicago. The above ground L train takes about 30 minutes from Midway to downtown, and gives you a glimpse of different neighborhoods and industry in the Windy City.

From the terminal, follow the signs for ground transportation and then CTA, also known as the L. Once inside the small station, buy a one ride ticket via the vending machine. A ride from Midway to State/Lake was $3. 

The State/Lake station requires using a steep staircase. It is right next to the Chicago Theatre and also an underground train station where you can easily transfer to other parts fo the city. I made the 10 minute walk from this station to Emabassy Suites on North State. Walking was safe and another great way to see the city.

Ready to Learn

Dear Students,

Welcome to my class. Notice I said my class. Yes, this is my room and this is how I run it. You will sit. You will not get up without my permission. To be granted permission, you will raise your hand. But do not wave it or I will surely ignore you. If and when I choose to acknowledge you, then and only then may you make your request known. Subsequently I, having the ultimate power, shall determine whether or not you may leave your rigid desk chair. No, I don’t care that your pencil point
broke. Yes, I realize you haven’t been to the bathroom in four hours.

In order to survive this hostile environment there are other essential requirements. First, you must speak only when spoken to. Open, thoughtful discussions are not conducive to my ultimate goal of control. Second, you must never laugh. We are not here to have fun. We are here to listen to my well-prepared lectures. And finally, and certainly most importantly, you must never, ever write on paper with squiggly edges. To do so in the real world will surely result in your demise, thus I must not allow it here.

Alright, students, now it’s time to learn. Aren’t you excited?

Your Uninspiring Educator

Friday, April 8, 2016

Getting Around in NYC

Planning a trip to the city? Here are five things you need to know to make your journey easier.

1. Familiarize yourself with the subway system. You cannot just show up in New York City without first doing some research to understand the basics. Start studying a subway map and also get the app for your phone before going. It is confusing at first. 
Every subway train that runs on a line doesn't necessarily stop at every station on that line, so use Google map's "Get Directions" feature and choose the public transportation mode. The subway is best for going uptown to downtown, but not so easy to go across town. Make sure you look at the signs at the subway entrance to see if the trains are going uptown, downtown, etc. Typically there is one across the street going the other way. You can buy a Metro Card (multiple rides) at vending machines in all the stations. Just walk down the stairs and you’ll find at least one machine. If you aren't from the North, "dip your card" is their way of telling you to insert your credit card into the machine. Don't get on an express train unless you are certain it will stop at your destination. 

2. Make a plan. I map out our trip before we go and create an Excel spreadsheet with addresses and cross streets. I typically work on this over time, so having a document saved is helpful. Close to the trip date, I put it in my phone's calendar with approximate times, and this helps me keep us on track.

3. Get out of the way. When waiting at a subway station and the train stops, use elevator etiquette: let people off, then enter and move quickly to a seat or a standing position. If you have to stand, hold on. If there is no hand bar available, stand with legs apart and be prepared to use your legs to brace the sudden movements. Once out of the way, enjoy the scenery. This is the best people-watching place to see real New Yorkers. They are the ones asleep or reading the paper. When you exit the subway station, you will not know where you are, in terms of heading north or south, etc. Walk out and then move immediately over until you get your bearings or can check a map app.

4. Move with the flow. Your primary means of transportation will be your feet. Crossing the street means paying attention. Get off your phone when on the sidewalks. Cross streets only at cross walks. However, New Yorkers don't wait for the cross signal, but rather watch the traffic and move quickly when it's clear. Don’t just follow people blindly, as you may get run over. If you get confused and need to look at your phone's map, move out of the way. New Yorkers don’t appreciate slow walkers or groups who walk 3-4 abreast. If you ask someone for directions, try to be as general as possible, such as, “Where can we find a subway with a downtown train?” They don't have time for your long explanations.

5. Hail a cab. When going short distances, a taxi may be your best bet. Step out as far as possible and put your hand up very matter-of-factly,as if you know what you are doing, even if you don't. Only hail the ones that have lights on (and not the "Off Duty" light). Taxis turn off their lights when they have passengers. As you enter the taxi, tell the driver the cross streets of where you are going, not the exact address.
You will be let you out somewhere close. Never get in an unmarked car (usually dark sedans). These are not licensed and will overcharge you. If one pulls over and motions to you, shake your head “no.” Be aware that taking a taxi may take you longer than taking the subway, because of traffic.