Philosophy, Psychology, Nerdisms, Writing from the Trenches

Posts tagged “starbucks

The Non-Adopters

I have a problem.

I’m not sure if it’s a generational thing. I mean, I’m friends with people from many generations, and it doesn’t strike me as a generational thing. Here it is:

Why doesn’t everyone use Google (or, God forbid, “The Google”)?

There seems to be a subset of humanity that actively refuses to embrace technology. And the thing that really gets me is that technology is supposed to make our lives easier. If it isn’t helping you, don’t use it.

Hitchhiker's Guide to the GalaxyPerhaps this has something to do with our gadget-obsessed society. It’s enough to own the bright, shiny toy. You don’t need to know how to use it. As long as you have it, your position in society is assured. We’ve replaced technological knowledge for the appearance of technological knowledge. “I have a smartphone, but I don’t know how to use it.”

I was so excited when Apple announced the iPad, because it was like someone announcing a Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Here was a handheld device (okay, maybe not palm size, but still reasonable) that had an almost guaranteed connection to the Internet. The Internet. The most complete compiling of human information so far. You want it? You can find it. Science fiction became science fact. Grab your towels.

Another thing about the iPad is that it has nearly limitless potential. Want to use it as a gaming device? Go for it. How about a medical aid for nurses and doctors? It can do that, too. I’ve been asked what an iPad does, which baffles me. You can use it as a musical instrument. You can use it to send text messages or talk on Skype. You can use it to create graphs and set up visual aids for meetings. You can use it to scan credit cards for your business. It can’t make you a cup of coffee, but it can tell you where to find some, and it get you one at Starbucks if you add money to the app.

The iPad, while a technological advancement, is also hailing back to the cave man. Here’s a stick. What does it do? It does whatever you can make it do.

Now, not everyone is ready for an iPad. I understand that. If it doesn’t somehow make life easier (again), you don’t need it.

I believe technology is the one of the foundations of human evolution. Before “I have a smartphone, and I don’t know how to use it” was “I have a rock, and I know how to use it.” Those must have been exciting times, when Caveman Jobs held an event with his turtleneck (made out of actual turtle?), and announced the rock. Maybe he was even responsible for the slingshot. Ridiculous scenario or not, human innovation cannot be denied as a major component of our development.

There’s this aspect of my personality that makes me undauntingly curious. If I want to know something, nothing will keep me from it. I will read the books, I will take the classes. If I had more time, I would study everything from Accounting to Yiddish Studies (yeah, it’s a thing) and everything in between. I understand on an intellectual level that not everyone shares this insatiable thirst for knowledge. Fortunately, I’m not related to any of those people. My parents, my siblings, my aunts, uncles, and more, all share my desire to learn.

The Internet is a portal into the garnering of information. (I don’t believe everything I read on the Internet; I’m just saying you can find factual pieces if you know where/how to look).

If I don’t know how to do something, my first instinct is to turn to Google.

Why doesn’t everyone do this?facepalm

You know another thing that’s great about Google? You can just type in your question, right into the box, and it gleans your meaning. How? They employ linguists who seem to have the ability to read minds. Their algorithms incorporate data from your history of searches. They look at the way other people have reacted who have performed similar searches. Google is trying to make your life easier. Embrace it.

I think these non-adopters are going to have a problem very shortly. Human technology is evolving alarmingly fast (not that you need to read any books on it). If you can’t keep up now, what happens when everyone is wearing Google Glass? What happens when we develop a way to store our thoughts instantaneously to the cloud?

Human evolution is so closely linked with our development of better tools, it’s possible the swift development of technology could lead to species directed evolution. Yes, our tools now could determine the future of the human race.

So, get on board. The spaceship is leaving without you.

P.S. I’m ready for my nanite injection, Mr. DeMille.

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Wanted: Evil Lair

Well, I did it.

I found the location of my secret evil lair.

It’s in New Mexico.

While barreling down the road at 80 miles an hour, you start to notice that vast expanses of New Mexico are apparently uninhabited. Everything has a rusted, used feel to it, and one wonders, “Did it ever look new?”

But, here are the good things:

  1. Sparse population means not as many people to ask questions about what I’m doing at the Evil Lair of Dastardly Doings.
  2. I’m not sure about the structural integrity of these hills are, but they have flat tops, which is perfect for helicopter landings.
  3. The climate is pretty predictable. If any weird weather stuff is happening, it’s probably just me testing my weather machine.
  4. Uranium mining.
  5. It’s sunny all the time and windy some of the time. Renewable energy can give me a cover story and the ability to go off the grid.

This was all looking very fine and good. When I do finally turn to the dark side, I know where to go after I get that boost from my Kickstarter.

But, I soon found a problem.

A big problem.

There aren’t any Starbucks in this whole freaking state.

Okay, that’s an exaggeration. There is an indication on the map of Albuquerque that such a thing exists, but, geez, that would be two hours away. Hence the problem with a sparse population. You are denied the comforts of more traditional population centers.

I suppose this is always an option:

What better way to hide your evil empire than behind a popular franchise? Isn’t that what everyone assumes anyway? Each minion would be required to work a morning and an evening shift once a week. They’d be able to keep their tips, too. I’m not that evil.

But, then again, maybe it’s too much work. I can’t bother with trying to please the man while I’m also trying to take over the world.

So the journey continues.

In the meantime, the next time you’re driving across New Mexico, remember there aren’t any Starbucks. And, if there are, be weary of the minion behind the counter.


Aside

They’re Everywhere (who is ‘they’, again?)

Do you know there are 7 guns for every 1 person in the United States?

I have no idea if that’s true. But, someone told me about it this weekend. I’m pretty sure he was a cult recruiter.

I sat at Starbucks, catching up with a friend. We do this once a month, usually Sunday afternoons, a nice leisurely chat. We talk about everything. Culture, books, politics, movies. She was my AP US History teacher and, damn, if I don’t love history. It’s amazing, speaking with someone who holds 30+ years of knowledge and education in her head.

As time wound down, I caught the eye of a stranger sitting at a nearby table. He adjusted his wireless headphones a few times and sucked on his pen, occasionally clicking a few keys on his keyboard.

Middle-age, hair graying at the temples, and astonishingly alert for someone who should have a head bent over their laptop.

He was listening.

At the time, I’m sure we were waxing philosophic (I’m still paying good money for my education, dammit).

He stood and approached our table, pulling the headphones down around his neck.

“I’m sorry,” he said. “But, I couldn’t help but overhear that last part of your conversation.”

My eyebrow cocked of its own accord, as it is wont to do when it hears crazy. You could help it. Turn up the headphones. Stumble across a cat video. Stand closer to the steam wand.

I couldn’t help but overhear means I was eavesdropping because you mentioned buzzwords.

“And?” I asked.

“I’m in charge of an organization…”

My eyebrow lifts higher.

“That is interested in protecting the American Constitution by bringing lawsuits against the government.”

“Mmhm.” By now, skepticism and suspicion oozed out of my voice.

“(gun statistic)”

“That’s interesting.”

The conversation continued, citing statistics of questionable origin. Keep in mind, I was talking to a US History teacher. US History often comes up in our conversations. I’m a writer, she’s a brilliant educator. Creativity loves to hang out with us.

“Have you heard of the Georgia guidestones?”

My eyebrows were back under my control, and I lowered them to a glare. “No.” (They exist, by the way, check them out here)

“They were written by a group you would know as the Illuminati.”

Jackpot. Crackpot jackpot. I love conspiracy theories.

Anyway, by promising to visit his website, I was able to save both myself and my mentor. Keep your eyes open. The Illuminati were more than just a plot point in a Dan Brown novel. If I join, does that make me a Templar…or how does that work, exactly?

Not sure. And that’s not even the craziest thing I’ve heard at Starbucks…

Besides joining a grassroots conspiracy organization, what can I bring to these maybe Templars? Not sure about that one, either, but if I remember anything from Lara Croft, the Illuminati want to control time for NO REASON IN PARTICULAR!!

Maybe next week, I’ll be updating my tumblr from my iPhone on a quest for the Holy Grail. I’m taking a fedora. And a whip.


Aside

Six Degrees

Six degrees of Kevin Bacon: fun game or way of life?

Well, its turning into a way of life.

I’m booking my social calendar for the next few weeks (I know, who’d have thought a poor little introvert like me could be so popular?), and you’d be surprised at how many people I know have someone in LA. 

I’ve got the one who knows the neighborhoods (Starbucks, Tuesday evening), the one who was out there to do improv (Starbucks, Monday evening), the one who lives there and might have a job if I can’t find anything in entertainment (phone call, next Thursday). I know a guy who knows a guy who can do a thing or two.

Nice to know things work that way. I’m looking at jobs and should start applying soon. The NBC West Coast Page Program sounds exciting, a good job with networking opportunities. Unlike the NBC East Coast Page Program (Kenneth Parcell), the West Coast focuses more on entertainment rather than broadcast news. I could be seating people for Jay Leno. (If you know Jay Leno, you can send me his email and we can skip the middle man.)

There’s an internship at Screen Gems I have my eye on. It’s a development position, much like the one I had at Sony Television, which means I’m sure to love it. I have to make the dream list now. I’ll start on the sad, not ideal existence list probably next week.

Starbucks is on it.

There will always be Starbucks.

Next time, you find out how my parents react to the announcement.

Stay tuned…