When planning a trip to Cambodia I knew I wanted to visit The Killing Fields. They held a strong attraction for me and I wanted to try figure out why that was, it seemed an important thing to understand. I have an appetite for the macabre, and maybe I needed to convince myself that I wasn’t just rubber necking a genocide, so I was determined to find something to say about the experience. Why do I want to see a pile of human skulls and what is the point?
I thought I might contemplate deep fundamental truths about life and translate that into feelings about living in the moment and finding beauty in the small things. Instead, I ended up thinking about the internet. I know. I didn’t see that coming either. Here’s how I got there.read more
I’m looking at huge jungle trees envelope a giant stone monument, like some giant snake swallowing it’s prey. I can’t help but think how the people that built it felt as they stood on these walls. It’s magnificent, even 2000 years later. They must have felt they had created something timeless, something permanent.read more
In North America we don’t like the number 13. It’s bad luck. Best to be avoided. Many buildings house elevators which don’t include the number 13. The floors are numbered sequentially, but the 13th floor is labeled 14, and we pretend like that’s reasonable.read more
This is the second in a series of posts about opportunities in challenging well worn beliefs in the food and beverage industry. I think the people with experience get it wrong sometimes. It’s good to question conventions.
Not all customer complaints are created equal. Some are bad for business, but sometimes negative reviews can be good marketing. Sometimes bad reviews can be good for business.read more
Many travellers revel in the back and forth of bartering, they love the feeling of getting the upper hand, or at least getting a great deal. I’m not a fan of haggling, it’s my least favourite part of Asia.
I either want something or I don’t, price is not the key factor for me, even back home, so when prices fall to Asian standards it means even less. “Mister. Mister. You want? One dollar. One dollar for you. Good Price. Mister. Hey. Hello. Mister. One dollar.” Lady, I don’t want a dried lizard on a stick. I’m sure that’s a great deal, but that’s not the issue.read more
We walk into a building called the Reggae Mansion, it contains a pub prominently advertising Guinness, called O’Marley’s. The place is entirely staffed by Indians, serves Malaysian food, and plays Top 40 Pop at nightclub levels. Our Server suggests a bottle of the house white wine, the quality of which we can be assured of, because he tells us knowingly that it is German, when the bottle arrives it is labelled Santa Carolina. I can’t stop laughing, what the fuck is going on in this place!read more
I learned to skate shortly after I could walk and played hockey well into my teens. I played on a number of teams that won big tournaments but I never took home an award of my own. The fact that my father kept me from winning Most Valuable Player should maybe be a sore point, but I remember it as a time I was really glad he was my Dad.read more
I’m extremely selective about who I’ll share a plate of Nachos with. It comes down to the degrees of separation between me and other people’s genitals. I’m not a germaphobe, not squeamish about cleanliness, but managing a restaurant changed a few of my behaviours.
Many people don’t wash their hands after they use the bathroom. This is not surprising, but the number of people I’ve observed that move from standing at a urinal, directly to sharing a plate of Nachos, without any intermediate step, came as a shock. A plate of Nachos is one degree of separation from a stranger’s penis, and that’s significantly closer than I want to get to a friend’s penis, let alone a stranger’s. Depending on the guy’s sexual schedule and his shower regime, it’s also one degree from his girlfriend’s vagina. And let’s not be discriminatory about sexual preferences, both girlfriend and vagina are optimistic terms in that sentence.read more
I owned and operated a couple of franchise restaurants for five years. Prior to that I had no experience in the food and beverage industry, I’m a Civil Engineer and software designer, so I approached the business with the perspective of a beginner. One of the benefits of having no experience, and of having scientific training, is a tendency to challenge existing conventions. That’s often where the greatest opportunities are.read more
I reach out to caress the fabric of a black T-shirt, because how something feels is always the biggest factor in a clothing purchase for me. This is soft and silky, so I move on to the next criteria, I check the price tag. $500. This is a $500 cotton T-shirt. I’m in a high end clothing store with a friend. We start to have a conversation about designer labels, the cost of things, and wouldn’t it be nice to be able to afford a $500 T-shirt.
“What you can afford has got nothing to do with it”, I offer. “I wouldn’t buy a $500 cotton T-shirt because that makes me an idiot.” It doesn’t matter how much money you have in the bank, a wealthy sucker is still a sucker. I feel the same way about shaving.read more