Mike Becvar
Mike’s Take on the World

May 27, 2011

Time for a new phone?

Filed under: Life in General — Mike @ 7:38 am

For the past several months, I have considered upgrading my cell phone to a smart phone. Really, the only thing that has been stopping me is the fact that I would have to pay more each month for the data plan.

When I graduated from college, I didn’t have to pay for cable, I didn’t have a cell phone, and internet access was relatively cheap. Now, my monthly bill for telecommunications is close to $200/month. The thought of paying an extra $30/month has been too much.

I have had a PDA for the past 6 or 7 years. I don’t have access to the Internet or email, but I use it extensively as a calendar and note taker. I also will use it to entertain myself with a game of cards when dining alone. But, for the past several months, I have been having problems with its battery. Actually, the battery is fine, the problem is the battery cover cracked and from time to time lets the battery loose contact causing it to shutdown. For a while, I was able to keep it taped closed, but that seems to be failing. I just can’t imagine not having access to my calendar.

The PDA of years ago have been replaced by the smartphone. I can’t justify buying a device that does not have access to the internet and think that being able to have just a smart phone instead of both phone and PDA to carry around will be a good thing.

May 19, 2011

One and two year anniversaries

Filed under: Life in General, Friends — Mike @ 8:17 am

Tuesday marked my one year anniversary back to work for Pal-Tech and today marks the two year anniversary of Buddy’s passing. The last year flew by quickly.

Between work and the various clown/balloon events, I am not home nearly as much as I used to be. When I am home, I am usually tired and not really in the mood to clean up my many messes. When Buddy was alive, I wasn’t the neatest person, but I took care to keep anything that I didn’t want him getting into picked up, but since I no longer need to worry about that, it seems way to easy to toss the newspaper, a bag, or other item on the floor with plans to put it away later. The problem is that later doesn’t come until it has many neighboring items on the floor.

Buddy may be gone, but there are many signs that remain. I still have Buddy’s picture on my desk at work and on my cell phone. The other day, I found one of his chew treats under the couch in the living room. There are other items in various places around the house.

I first joined Pal-Tech in 2003 and stayed for a little less than four years. I returned to my former employer and even my old desk on May 17, 2010. During my initial time with Pal-Tech, it was a close knit team and very stable with few people leaving. When I returned, most of the people I had worked with were still there. In many ways, it was as if the previous two years didn’t exist and I was just picking up where I left off.

May 10, 2011

Advantages of an early lunch

Filed under: Life in General, Friends — Mike @ 11:24 am

What time is lunch time? When going out for lunch, either to the cafeteria or out to a restaurant/fast food place, timing is everything. Arrive too early, the staff and food aren’t ready. Go right at noon and get caught in the crowds. Arrive too late and the best foods are gone.

Many years ago, I would go out to lunch with friends and usually we would leave the office right around 11:55. We discovered that by leaving before noon, we beat the lunch rush and spent less time waiting in line and could spend more time eating. At another job, 11:35 was the perfect time for lunch. The cafeteria staff took their lunch at 11:00 and were usually all back to work by the time we arrived.

At my current job, parking is limited. I get to work by 7:15, so I have plenty of parking spaces available, but some of my co-workers who arrive after 9:00 are forced to look for parking in the overflow lot. When I leave for lunch, I usually check the parking lot to see how many open spaces are available and how many cars are illegally parked. I normally leave between 11:20 and 11:30 which means I will be getting back just before noon. Normally, when I get back from lunch, there are a few parking spaces open from the people who left before noon, but getting back from lunch a few minutes later would mean more parking options. Unfortunately, it requires me to leave a little later and face longer lines.

There are two places in walking distance that don’t require me to get in the car and risk loosing my parking space. I have consdered bringing a kick scooter in my trunk that I could use to go a little further without adding the extra time of walking, but I am not sure about that plan just yet.

May 4, 2011

Fast Food

Filed under: entertainment, Life in General — Mike @ 8:10 am

I know that I eat fast food way too often. During the week, I have three options for lunch: bring something from home, eat at the cafeteria, or go out.

I have never been good at bringing lunch from home. From time to time, I would bring in some leftovers, but never got into the routine of making a lunch on a daily basis. The truth is, I am not a big fan of sandwiches which would be the easiest thing to bring from home.

I used to go to the cafeteria on a daily basis. Most of my jobs have been at places that had a cafeteria either in the building or close enough that I could easily walk there. At several of my past employers, I used to have a group of friends that would get together on a daily basis and visit the cafeteria together. But for one reason or another, the groups always seemed to fall apart. Sometimes it was caused by the workload of my friends and other times it was caused by a feeling that the cafeteria service had gone downhill. Either way, I would eventually start to find other places to get lunch. I must say that having an excuse to get away from work, even for just 30 minutes, is a positive aspect of not eating at the cafeteria.

At my current job, McDonald’s and KFC are both a walkable distance (5-7 minutes) on a good day. There are a handful of other places the I can get to by car. I have fallen into a rut where I visit the same few places week after week. I try to keep my lunch down to 30 minutes which means that between the time it takes to get there, order food, and eat, I have to stick to fast food. There are a few carryout places that I have considered, but I would then have to eat in the car or eat at my desk.

Since I visit fast food places on a regular basis, I tend to notice various details. Very few fast food places seem to provide plates to customers who plan to eat at the restaurant. KFC used to serve its meals on a plate, but recently switched to boxes. Boston Market is probably the only place I visit on a regular basis that uses plates. I suppose plates are more expensive than other ways to serve the food.

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