Pedigree… you’ve done it again. Dog adoption FTW.

April 27, 2017

These commercials make me wanna go out and buy a bag of Pedigree.

With nearly 4 million dogs entering shelters yearly, there are so many furry friends waiting to find forever homes. Pedigree, a long-standing supporter of dog adoption, developed this film to raise awareness for dog adoption around National Adopt A Shelter Pet Day (April 30th) and National Pet Month (May).

PEDIGREE – ”Pick Me”

PEDIGREE® – A Vote for Good
What’s the one thing supporters of either party can agree on? Watch our social experiment unfold. #AVoteForGood #FeedTheGood

PEDIGREE–A Vote for Good

PEDIGREE® – Rescued
Beautiful and meaningful relationships start at the dog shelter. That’s where Dan, a veteran who was wounded in action, meets his kindred spirit, a dog that’s also been through a lot. This is another example of how Dogs Bring Out The Good In Us.

PEDIGREE® – Rescued

PEDIGREE® – “By My Side”
Dogs bring out the good in us. Not only in good times, when everything in life seems to be going our way, but also during the toughest times. The first film in Pedigree’s Learn From Dog series features Dan Lasko, a wounded warrior whose service dog helped him through PTSD and taught him that “Everything is going to be alright.”

PEDIGREE® – “By My Side”

Why I will never fly American Airlines, i.e. The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

April 24, 2017


Recently, the following story hit the headlines of news outlets:

American Airlines employee allegedly hits woman with stroller, confronts angry passenger

I’ve had many issues with American Airlines.  Their planes were old & dirty, their crews were rude & entitled, their seating was cramped – and I’m a short, small guy, their customer service was atrocious.  But this is the story I tell when people ask me why I refuse to fly American Airlines (& United) and haven’t flown them for more than 15 years.

I used to cover the Walt Disney Company back in the early 2000’s as a client.  I’d just flown on American Airlines into DFW/Dallas Fort Worth from a company sales conference in New Orleans and was taking a connecting flight to MCO/Orlando to get to Disney Imagineering in Florida.

Needless to say, I was pretty tired.

But upon arriving at DFW, we had to get on and subsequently get off 3 different planes at three different terminals.  The reason?  The American Airlines captain announced to the passengers that each of the planes we had boarded had a mysterious & identical “mechanical” issue on each of them – and of course, no details were ever given. We even sat onboard the first plane and were stuck on it for at least 1 hour before deplaning.

Back then you had to take a tram from terminal to terminal and our subsequent “new” planes were all on separate terminals making it an even bigger ordeal for us to drag our hand-carry luggage from gate to gate.  It was such an ordeal that I distinctly remember seeing passengers carrying sleeping children over their shoulders, business men with sweat stains under their dress shirts from dragging their stuff between gates, and elderly folks – frightened that they might miss the new flight try to get to the gates on their own without waiting for wheelchairs.  I also remember seeing kind people helping others with children or the elderly carry their bags to the new gates.

Delayed more than 6 hours, passengers were near riot-level angry at the 3rd gate we’d arrived at, and I saw one of our crew’s flight attendants – with her hair a total mess – quietly handing out pieces of paper to people waiting at the gate, having just been kicked off the 3rd plane. I walked up to her, and asked her what in God’s name was going on. She took me aside and quietly told me a story similar to this:

“Imagine you lived in Dallas but your destination was Orlando and you only had 6 hours left that the FAA allowed you to fly by law. Now say, if you were the captain, your word about the plane’s flight readiness trumps anything else… so you could conceivably hold a flight on the ground by stating it had a “safety problem” until your 6 hours expired, at which point you & the flight crew would be forced to stay in your home town of Dallas per FAA regulations and a new crew would have fly in and take over.”

I blurted out loudly, “Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me.” She said, “This is all hypothetical, of course. Oh, by the way? Here’s a customer feedback form. Our flight is AA407 & in case you’re wondering, our captain’s name is [pilot name here].”  Every passenger in the gateway area was being handed a form.

2 weeks later, I got a written letter signed by the CEO of AA apologizing for the incident and a coupon giving me 25,000 frequent flyer miles, which was the equivalent of a free flight. I tore it up and swore to never flew with them again, if I could manage it.

7 years later, AA was the only choice I had to fly into Dallas.  The price difference was too great between American Airlines and any other carrier that was on our company’s preferred vendors list.

So I got on hoping for the best.  I should have planned for the worst because sure enough the plane was delayed 4 hours and I had to sit in various gate areas because LAX was under construction and there was no concessions.  When we finally got on, I mentioned to the first flight attendant I saw that I was feeling rapidly nauseated and needed to use the bathroom as soon as I boarded.  Her comment was something about needing to expedite for “an on-time departure” and I told her, “What? Y’all are already 4 hours late. What do you mean ‘on-time’?”

And that was the end of that – the bat signal must have gone out one me, because every crew member did their best to ignore me for the rest of the flight.


Personally, after years of terrible customer service, I really don’t believe American Airlines employees have any fear of ever being fired.  I don’t care about how “they’re only human” and all that jazz:  No one with that kind of concern in their mind would ever treat their customers the way they do.

What is a Quantum Computer? How does it work? Why is it so important?

March 19, 2017

I really like this explanation of Quantum Computing and what it’s potential is.

Quantum Computing is a science that has the potential to solve problems at 1000x the speed of today’s fastest supercomputers… search vast amounts of data in 1000x the speed of todays’ fastest searching algorithms.

This explanation is the simplest I’ve found to date:

You don’t know how Quantum Computers work!

Microsoft has had large resources dedicated to this field of research for decades, featuring the leadership of one of the world’s preeminent mathematicians, Michael Freedman.  Michael Freedman is a Fields Medal Award winner, an honor often referred to as the “Nobel Peace Prize of Mathematics”, given to the world’s best mathematicians. Together, with numerous other Quantum Computing Researchers at Microsoft’s “Station Q” research facilities in UC Santa Barbara (and other locations), they are on the forefront of Quantum Computing.

Microsoft Quantum Computing Research have also published a video that has a more high level explanation of Quantum Computing and it’s value.  (Hmm.  Maybe I should have put this video first on this post considering it’s simplicity.  Oh well.):

Quantum Computing 101

Here’s a write up about Station Q, our Quantum Computing headquarters:

Here is the web site for Microsoft’s QC Headquarters:

Fareed’s Zakaria: Trump is a B.S. artist

March 19, 2017

Fareed offers his take on why Donald Trump fits the definition of a B.S. artist.

Fareed’s Zakaria: Trump is a B.S. artist

Do not confuse motion with progress.

March 19, 2017

Fareed Zakaria on Donald Trump:
“Let’s say you’re a Trump voter: An honest hardworking American that put up with Donald Trump’s unusual behavior because you wanted aa president that would stop playing Washington’s political games, bring a business man’s obsession with action and results, and focus on the economy. 

How’s that working out for you?”

Fareed Zakaria’s take on the Trump Presidency

Collecting Legoland California Pop Badges

March 13, 2017

UPDATE 6/5/17:
Looks like in the latest flyer for LEGOLAND California, they are advertising the latest special Pop Badges for July 4th & for July 28-29.

And they provide a bit of information about the mysterious Gold Pop Badge as well.  Looks like they are having as many as 10 park employees wear Mr. Gold pop badges and even providing hints on poster, which seems to be a big jump in help obtaining the badge compared to previous Mr. Gold campaigns.  (Hope it’s not ‘too easy’.)


Our family is pretty loyal to Legoland California.  We’ve been to the other theme parks & resorts in Southern California but the only one we buy an annual pass to is Legoland.

imageMy son in particular loves Lego.  When he was in pre-school, he assembled the LEGO Movie 70810 Metal Beard’s Sea Cow by himself – all 2,741 pieces. I never placed a single brick on the model for him. (For those not aware, the Sea Cow is one of the largest LEGO sets on the market)  He’s since also completed:

  • X Wing Fighter (Pre-school)
  • Millennium Falcon (Kindergarten)
  • Imperial Shuttle (Kindergarten)
  • TIE Fighter (Kindergarten)

And his biggest current accomplishment:

He’s currently working on:

One of the collectibles that LegoLand has that seems to be lesser known is Pop Badges.  These are plastic badges that adhere to your kid’s Legoland lanyard or their shirt and represent some special accomplishment or feat.

First news of the Pop Badge Challenge was on this site:

They actually first started in the LegoLand Park in the UK, where they’ve been handing them out

Since then it’s been a quiet pursuit of Lego fans that visit the parks.  If you go to LegoLand California, you’ll very occasionally notice some kids walking around with badges on their lanyard or their shirts. These are badges of pride as “they know” about the pop badges and collect them aggressively. 

All you have to do is ask the ride operator for one.  Some of the bigger rides have them.  Here’s a few that we’ve obtained:



These are the badges that you can get by asking the Model Citizen (MC) running/hosting the ride.  Here’s the ones for Heartlake City Horse Riding, Ninjago the Ride, FunTown Firefighters, and The Dragon Rollercoaster.

WP_20170221_21_21_10_RawHOTEL BADGE
If you stay at the LegoLand Hotel, you MAY get a pop badge.  This badge lets you and your family into the park at 9:30AM – a half hour earlier than anyone else to ride a small selection of rides.  They usually include Coastersaurus, Lego Technic, Heartlake City Horse Riding, and Safari.

WP_20170221_21_21_19_RawKING’S GOLD
If you go through Castle Hill, you may wander past an area that looks like panning for gold.  That’s exactly what it is.  For $3, you can receive a pan and start go through the river sand looking for a nugget of gold.

It’s a fun activity for the kids and if they find one, they can turn it in to the cashier for a gold medal from the King’s Treasury.  This is what it looks like.  It’s not technically a pop badge but you’ll find kids wearing them with pride nonetheless.

WP_20170312_14_04_42_Pro.jpg (2)These are badges that you can obtain if you visit LegoLand during the month of October SPECIFICALLY during their special “Brick-or-Treat” days, where they had out treats and have other special activities for kids dressed up for Halloween. The photo above is the set from the 2016 Halloween.

There is reportedly someone with a special rare “Gold” pop badge wandering the park.  We’ve never encountered it while there but photos of the supposed-badge look like a gold-colored badge showing a gold mini-figure on it reading, “Take me to guest services”

There is a sign in the Legoland Hotel that briefly talks about it near the elevators and it describes the badge as being very rare and worth something if you turn it into guest services.  At the UK Legoland, it looks a bit different, showing a ‘gold brick’ on the front and it is reportedly worth a free ticket to the park – but it requires that you turn the badge in to guest services, meaning you lose the badge as a collectable.

Examination Day

March 10, 2017

I have never been one to succumb to conspiracy theories or quackish beliefs in extreme subterfuge like that of what some of my “far left” or “far right” friends subscribe to…

…but when I actually see people that celebrate (CELEBRATE!) outlandish propaganda, blatant deception against their own interests, full retraction/negation of citizen’s rights – all based on what can only be called pure ignorance, the inability to comprehend 6th grade logic, and the unverified carrot of “I’ll take care of you & rid all that ails you”, I start to wonder if ‘Keep America Stupid Forever’, really is the long term strategy for this administration.

Many years ago as a 15yo kid, I saw this short 10min episode of the ‘new’ Twilight Zone, and it will be no surprise, once you read it, that after more than 30 years, it suddenly came rushing back to me. At the episode’s conclusion, I remember sitting in the corner of the living room sobbing.

It’s a really good episode about the future. Do me a favor, and watch it.

Twilight Zone “Examination Day”