Where’s your favorite place to eat?

June 30, 2006

This post almost never came to be. The decision of where to eat lunch turned out to be one of the most divisive yet. Unable to come to a generally accepted suggestion, we strayed uncomfortable long into the lunchtime hour. As the pangs of hunger became almost too much to bear we finally departed to separate destinations. Some last minute negotiations, however, brought four of us together to Cafe Septieme. Dr. Brain was the last holdout, enjoying instead a tasty burrito on his own at Tacos Guaymas.

The focus of the lunch conversation today was favorite places to eat. Josh recounted his disappointment with date night at Cremant. The food was, by his own account, excellent but the service and atmosphere seemed a bit off.

What is it about a restaurant that encourages you to return time and time again. Is it the quality of the food, the variety of the menu, the familiarity of the staff, the type of clientele seated next to you, or the prices of the dishes? Can you look forward to going to a restaurant that consistently delivers lower quality food? Do you find yourself resisting attempts to visit a restaurant even if you know the food will be well prepared and delicious?

Daniel asked me for my favorite restaurant and I didn’t have a ready answer. I didn’t even have an unready answer. I suppose I’m more of a utilitarian eater. Go in, eat food, and get out. I rarely go to fancier restaurants. Sometimes I think this is because I tend to eat alone and the time between when the order is taken and the meal arrives can be uncomfortably awkward without the diversion of talking with friends.

Even more casual restaurants aren’t necessarily any better. The Robot favorite Baguette Box doesn’t hold much fascination for me. It’s small, the seating is relatively uncomfortable, and let’s face it, after all it’s just a sandwich. Todd reeled in disgust at this outrage, but truthfully, I think I actually prefer the less pretentious sandwiches at The Honey Hole. This drew even more shock from Todd. “That’s one of the most wrong things you could ever say” was his only response.

I actually enjoy the quick service and mostly ordinary (although some might argue in actuality rather bad) food of the typical take away fast food from your average food court at the local mall. When I need a bite to eat on my way home from work, I would much rather grab some phad thai or chicken curry at Westlake Center than fancier fare at El Greco or La Spiga.

So where do you like to eat?


Oh, yes, and we also continued the discussion of whether money can make you happy. If happiness is eating at fine (and usually very expensive) restaurants, then maybe yes it can….

Pizza, suffering and money

June 29, 2006

Bob paid for pizza at Piecora’s today where we happened upon some of the folks from Bryght and Raincity in town from Vancouver for a Drupal meetup (as linkalicious a series of shout-outs as I’ve ever written).

Much of today’s conversation revolved around the book Get Out of Your Mind & Into Your Life, the universality of human suffering, and how identifing your personal suffering can help you to move beyond it. Josh has to finish the book before we know the punchline so I steered us to the always fascinating money question—how much would it take to make you happy? Reflecting on the fate of most lottery winners and friends with money we agreed that money can’t make you happy (in fact, often does the opposite). But everyone held up their hand when asked if they’d hold onto the winning lottery ticket given the opportunity. Hair of the dog that hasn’t bit you.

After our meal (they accidentally gave us an extra half pizza for free) Bob said, “pizza is my cryptonite”. We took a lap around Cal Anderson Park to walk it off.

I suppose the lesson here was best summarized by Eric who matter-of-factly claimed that $2,000,000 would make him 10% happier … at most. Pushed to clarify, he claims it would likely make him 2 to 5% happier. I have to agree.

Announcement Lunch

June 27, 2006

One of the rules of Credit Card Roulette’s new blogging amendment is that the person assigned to write a blog post gets punished if they renege. Yesterday, Bob flaked on summarizing our lunch conversation. Today, he paid. My enthusiasm for enforcing this rule earned me yet another blogging assignment. Touché, Bob.

There was no central theme to today’s chatter. We covered the philanthropy of Warren Buffet, the politics of Seattle University, and the exclusivity of Mormon temples. We also discussed life at Development Center Scotland, the Amazon.com subsidiary at which Bob will be leaving the Co-op to work. That’s right, our senior software developer is officially leaving the company this summer. We like to think of it not as losing a robot, but gaining a free place to crash near Edinburgh. Still, just like Bob’s old clothes, his shoes will be hard to fill. If you know any really, really, really smart software developers willing to amplify their own and others’ lives via the code they write, send them our way.

Two Sentences

June 22, 2006

Spils lost the card shuffle today and agreed with Erik that I should post today’s lunch discussion wrap-up because I could probably do it in two sentences. In my opinion, any single war debate is as distinctive and as intellectually fruitful as any single interview with a professional athlete on television after a game.

The Good News

June 21, 2006

The Good News, is, I didn’t lose at Credit Card Roulette today. The bad news is, I do have to type up some summary of what we talked about, because Erik picked me. It was not a very punk conversation (though I did manage to pull Daniel back into that topic on our morning coffee run). Instead, we found ourselves talking about the main navigational issue Jason is in town to help us tackle – how to get around the 5 profile pages on the 5 sites we run.

This, of course, turned into a religious discussion. Before long, we were speaking in terms of the godhead as a similar sort of each individually and the whole greater than the parts sort of thing. Turns out, by the way, that our table had 3 atheists, 3 believers, and 1 agnostic. I asked the non-believers if they had ever had a religious experience, and they all had (well Ivan’s might not have been religious, but it sounded, well, awesome at least). Yet they didn’t make the leap to seeing this as something indicative of a larger realm of human experience than anything we might know simply through science, or something brought on by taking drugs.

Of course, much chatter about quantum physics, sun dresses, peeping tom behavior, and movies ensued. I think we all agreed that we have our own beliefs, which matter, even if they are not beliefs about belief, and only matter.

At the end of lunch, Argentina and the Netherlands were still tied 0 – 0, with about 20 minutes to go in regulation time.

Breaking Bread

June 20, 2006

Last night over beers we decided that each day’s loser of Credit Card Roulette (where we pick a random credit card to determine who pays for lunch) gets hasty revenge on one of their coworkers. The loser is allowed to deem one other person the official notes-keeper of the lunch discussion, having to write a post about it by the end of the day. This is partly to prevent our blog from atrophying, partly to reduce the staggering pace of our product development so y’all can catch your breath, and partly to celebrate the idea that forming a company institutionalizes the act of eating lunch together. (Josh likes to point out that etymologically, your com-pany is the people you share bread with.) We’ll see how long this tradition lasts.

Today Hodel paid for lunch and I have to write about our discussion of punk rock. The conversation can be condensed into this haiku:

Punk is as punk does
Punk was as punk used to do
Josh is teh crazy

The long version is that Josh views “indie rock” as a meaningless marketing term and considers all bands that have punk-like intentions to be punk rock. I heard about Josh and Erik’s debate at the show last night and also disagreed that Tapes ‘n Tapes are punk. I further disagreed that the Crocodile is a punk rock club, even though they often book punk bands, and insisted that the Funhouse is a punk rock club, even though they often book non-punk bands. I suggested that Punk is more of an attitude than a collection of musical ideas, that musicality itself is often considered a liability in punk rock. The cultural basis of the genre is one reason Josh can have a much broader definition of punk, yet simultaneously consider it a more important distinction than me or Erik or Dan. So I totally won.

I had a mediocre hamburger with a fried egg on it, which has become a strange tradition for me at the Coastal Kitchen. Daniel broke with tradition by avoiding the extraordinary Cobb Salad. Jason is in town and got to enjoy (or had to endure) another Robot debate.


June 8, 2006

After a brief test run in SF, NYC and Seattle , we’ve recently expanded the event coverage on 43places.com to nearly 200 cities. The other day, we added nearly 8,000 events thanks to the handy API from upcoming.org. While there is much hype around Web 2.0, one of the best parts of the new breed of web sites/services are the open APIs that keep user contributed data flowing around the internet instead of penned up in proprietary silos. Thanks to Andy, Gordon, and Leonard for all their work on Upcoming, the events that are happening one place get shared around the web.

Stay tuned for some more big changes to 43places.com.