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Think of the Children
I'm here on "vacation" for a week with 16 adults and 7 children, mostly toddlers. I don't know what my expectations were, but the sheer child-centric-ness of this week weren't amongst them. Here's a typical daily schedule of our vacation:
6:00am - 7:00am Children wake up and start being loud, therefore everyone in the house wakes up. Some adult makes coffee. Remaining adults constantly tell children to stop making noise, stop opening doors, stop knocking over lamps, stop trying to go upstairs. Children fight over toys. Some diapers are changed.
7:30am - 8:30am Breakfast is fixed for children by some adults, while remaining adults herd children into kitchen, get children into seats, coerce children not to refuse cereal. Children fight over food. Some diapers are changed.
8:30am - 9:30am Children are prepared to go to the beach, while two adults clean up earthquake-like aftermath of breakfast for 7 children, wiping up milk, fishing Crispix out of the fireplace. Childrens' clothes are changed for bathing suits, sunscreen is applied, hats are donned. Children fight over towels. Some diapers are changed.
9:30am - 12:00pm All adults take all children to the beach. Adults tend to the children, who do or do not want to dig holes in the sand, do or do not want to walk down the beach, do or do not want to get wet. Adults yell for children not to go back to the house, not to go too far down the beach, not to go too far into the water. Children fight over buckets and shovels. Some diapers are changed.
12:00pm - 1:00pm Children are brought back to the house to play in the pool. Children are scolded not to get into the pool until the sand has been hosed off. Not to run near the pool. Not to get into the hot tub until an adult is watching. Not to push the other children.
1:00pm - 2:00pm Lunch. Children are cleaned up, dried off, and herded into the kitchen where they smear/spread/throw/distribute bologna, Kraft singles, and fistfuls of balled up Wonderbread all over the house. Children are told over and over that they cannot have cookies until they eat their food. Whining ensues, because children are cranky and need naps. Some diapers are changed.
2:00pm - 4:00pm Nap time. Children are dragged screaming into their various bedrooms where they are read stories and then told to go to sleep. Adults come back downstairs, and then go back upstairs to intercept sneaking children who are violating nap time. Finally, all children are napping. All adults, drained of energy, flop into chairs ostensibly to relax but actually to nap themselves.
4:00pm - 6:00pm One or two adults are sent to shop for dinner, while the remaining adults prepare for Nap Aftermath. Children wake up, play and fight, and adults referree the fights, and put on videos which the children ignore, and make snacks that the children demand, which are sometimes eaten and sometimes not. Children tattle on each other to adults regarding the crimes (such as non-sharing, bad-word-saying, etc) that may or may not have actually been committed by the other children.
6:00pm - 7:00pm Some adults, having not seen each other in some cases for up to a decade, attempt to converse but are distracted by constantly being climbed by children or having food smeared on them. Dinner is fixed for the children, after a round of herding into the kitchen that was similar to breakfast. Kitchen is destroyed and must be cleaned up in order to prepare for actual adult dinner to be fixed and served. Drinks are mixed. Stiff drinks. Some diapers are changed.
7:00pm - 8:30pm Actual adult dinner is fixed, served, and eaten in shifts, while adults periodically get up and look in on children in the TV room, where they are not actually watching Wallace and Grommit for the 3rd time, and jumping on the couches as quietly as they can because they are not supposed to, and they know it. In a rare truce, the children do not fight with each other because none of them wants to be busted for couch-jumping, which they all agree transcends their other differences.
8:30pm - 9:30pm All adults prepare the children for bed. Baths are taken, pajamas are zipped, beds are turned back, stories are read. Screaming protests are quelled, dessert status is traded for bath-time cooperation. Lights are turned off, adults return downstairs to finally spend some adults-only time together.
9:38pm Half of adults fall asleep immediately, exhausted from their day of herding children.
9:45pm - 12:00am Remaining adults play board games, drink, read, and talk about their kids, one by one going off to sleep.

Having been the toddler myself at these sort of events, I now see that it's a miracle that I was allowed to survive all the way to adulthood. Thanks, Moms, Dads, Aunts, and Uncles, for not giving into that impulse to smother us all with pillows.
Elegance in Design
This is the Bosch Integra Vision Fully Integrated Dishwasher, retail price $1749.99. It looks like this (see right):

Two of these are elegantly and unobtrusively installed in the expensive vacation house that we are renting this week, and they are lovely, simple, and so quiet that their operating cycle is totally imperceptable. And you barely notice them, because the fronts are completely clean of unsightly controls, lights, labels, and buttons. You can control every aspect of the dishwasher from the top edge of the door, like this:

Unfortunately, they are completely impossible to use.

First, the "clean" light (which of course you can't see without opening the dishwasher) is always illuminated, even after the dishwasher has been emptied and refilled, so in practice it doesn't mean anything. You can reset the "clean" light, but that causes the dishwasher to start running again as soon as you latch it (which is easy to do by accident).

But of course you can't know that, because the sound-proofing makes the dishwasher completely silent, so you don't realize it until the next time you open the dishwasher and see that your clean dishes are now (a) 300 degrees Fahrenheit, and (b) covered in soap.

If you weren't the one to start the dishwasher, the sound-proofing also makes it impossible to tell where the washer is in its cycle, so if you open it to look at the lights, you may or may not have your hand scalded by super-heated steam.

Even if you can somehow manage not to be burned, opening the dishwasher causes it to restart its duty cycle, using more water and making your dishes still dirty by dinner time when you need them again. To date our best solution to this problem is to indicate the running status of the dishwasher by simply taping it shut, like so:

Truly, ingenious industrial design at its finest.
Are YOU important?
In my industry, which I am now coming to refer to as "Bubble 2.0", there is a lot of pretentious wanking. You don't have to look any further than 37 signals for an archtypal example. But then there's an entire other plane of wank brought to you by the people at the "Business 2.0" division of CNN, and their latest article entitled "The 50 people who matter now".

Here's some friendly advice: Although as an editor you might be tempted by the dramatic flare of the device of the "Top-N" list, allow me to caution you against its implications. For example, do you really mean to say Where are we going, and why are we in this handbasket?
My Teeth Itch

After my most recent dental appointment, I've found that my teeth and gums itch for a few hours after brushing each morning. I didn't even think this was possible.

I think it's unreasonable to say that this is the worst feeling ever, but it's definitely got to be up there in the Worst of the Mildly Annoying Feelings Ever.

A Breakfast Haiku

oh Hostess fruit pies---
apple-flavored chemicals---
they are killing me

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