A Pizza Bowl Of Toppings

Over the years, pizza chains have exhausted the list of possibilities of gimmicks to create a new form of pizza. Every few months a restaurant invents some slight modification to lure customers to order your next pizza from them. Pizza Hut is probably the most active player in this practice.

Do you remember the stuffed crust pizza? When it came out, they advertised it as “the pizza that you eat backwards.” I doubt that anyone actually ate it that way. Now that concept has been expanded to cheesy bites pizza, bacon stuffed pizza, and now hot dog crust pizza. I must say, the hot dog infused pizza crust both looks and sounds pretty nasty. I’ve never tried it.

A long time ago, my brother came up with a great new idea. It’s brilliant in its simplicity!

The idea: A bowl of toppings. Yes, a pizza bowl! It could rival the burrito bowl. It would be just a bowl full of toppings! Everything but the bread. I’d order one in a heartbeat.

Imagine sitting down to a bowl filled with a hint of tomato sauce, a hefty wad of cheese, and any toppings that you like on your pizza. Personally, I’d go for pepperoni, sausage, and mushrooms. It sounds delicious!

Sure, such a pizza bowl is going to cost more than your average pizza. After all, it’s everything but the bread. The crust is easily the cheapest and most filling ingredient in making a pizza. If a pizza bowl can be priced reasonably, I say go for it. Why not? They’ve already stretched every other gimmick to the limit.

Somebody bring on the pizza bowl!

Night of the Lanyard

Lanyard is a misguided word.

Two years ago, I donned a neck strap with my company logo that displayed my employee ID badge. I rarely wear it. It is a thick cloth material that is rather warm on my neck in the summer months. These days, I wear my employee ID badge on my waist.

Once upon a time, I was wearing my neck strap, and a co-worker friend of mine walked up to me and said, “Oh, you have a lanyard.” I looked left and right, trying to figure out what he was talking about. I asked him what he meant. He explained that he was referring to the thing that I was wearing around my neck.

I don’t want to come across as being stupid, but I did not know what the word “lanyard” meant until that day, two years ago. I’m sure I’ve heard and read that word before that day, but it did not resonate at the time.

I take issue with the word “lanyard.” I very much dislike it.

It is a stupid word. When I hear the word “lanyard,” I think of an old haunted plantation. That is how the word resonates with me. It sounds like a word from a horror movie. It doesn’t sound like a word to describe something around your neck.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about this on Twitter. I tweeted: “Night of the Lanyard.” I’m sure that came across as completely random. I’m sure that nobody knew what I was talking about, but it was a joke in my own head.

The word is downright creepy.

There has to be another word we can use. If not, let’s create a new word for a strap around your neck. “Lanyard” is the most misguided word I can think of in the English language. I don’t approve of it at all. Let’s dispose of it.

Dishwashing the Keyboard

This is post is long overdue. No one is going to read this, so I’ll give you the short, short version.

I spilled coffee into my keyboard. The right half stopped functioning.

I read blog posts insisting that you can put a keyboard in the dishwasher.

I did.

The left side continued working correctly after the wash, to my amazement, but it did not fix the problem.

The dishwasher miraculously didn’t damage the keyboard, but it didn’t fix the coffee corrupted problem, as I read that it would.

I bought a new one.

The end.

Twitter Pictures Run Amuck

Back in the early days when Twitter created the ability to add photos to tweets, people used it in a useful and meaningful way. I, for one, use it the way it was intended to be used. I’ll take a photo of something, then tweet it and attach the photo.

Over time, news outlets and other organizations have begun abusing the feature as a way to attract attention to their news links, which are usually just click bait, but that’s a topic in and of itself. I can potentially see a little value of including a photo if it is directly related to what they are tweeting about.

For example, a tech site may write an article about a company CEO who has a big announcement coming later that day. They will likely attach a photo to the tweet of that person speaking at a previous announcement, or something along those lines.

Overall, I think it’s fairly useless. If for no other reason, they have to shorten the tweet to make room for the photo URL that Twitter adds at the end. I’ve seen abbreviated or fragmented tweets crafted in order to make room for the address space needed for the photo.

Lately, this entire practice has reached the point of absurdity.

I was scrolling through my Twitter feed today and saw the most ridiculous example that I’ve seen to date. It comes in a tweet from Business Insider.

I took a screenshot of the tweet and have posted it below. Take a look. This is exactly what I’m talking about. There is absolutely no sense in this. What a blatant waste of time and resources this is. This crap needs to stop.

Business Insider Tweet Example

Fast Food Tipping

I have noticed a trend lately among pseudo fast food restaurants adding a tip line to their receipts. I do not care for this.

An argument can be made that tipping should be eliminated entirely, and that the cost should be rolled into the meal from the beginning. That would certainly make for a simpler dining experience. Having said that, I’m not trying to recreate the conversation from the beginning of the movie Reservoir Dogs, so I’ll table that discussion for another day. (See what I did there?)

Traditionally, we are accustomed to tipping servers at restaurants. I consider a “restaurant” to be an establishment where you are seated by a host or hostess. A server then takes your order, brings your food, and fills and refills your drinks.

We do not typically tip employees at fast food restaurants where the customer walks up to a counter, places an order, and walks away with food in their hand. Those people are employees, not servers. I do not believe that these employees need a tip from me for doing their job.

Recently, as I mentioned above, I’ve noticed a trend of fast food places attempting to guilt customers into tipping in addition to the cost of the meal. I’m not talking about a tip jar that they might have near the register. I have no problem with that, as it is entirely optional. I’m referring to a tip line being added to the receipt after a debit or credit card transaction.

I’ve been combating this trend. The easy solution is that I pay with cash at those places. When I pay with cash, all they are expecting from me is the price of the food. There is no forced mechanism that allows them to hint for something more.

I considered listing a few examples of fast food places that have added a tip line, but I figure there is no need to single them out. You get the idea. I’m not playing along.

Fallout Shelter on iOS

I bought an iPad Mini in December, and soon went in search of some great games to play on it. One of the first games that I downloaded was Fallout Shelter. It had excellent user ratings and best of all, it was free. I hadn’t played any of the traditional Fallout games, so the franchise was new to me.

The game is great! Beyond the simple enjoyment of the game play, I’m really impressed with how well the app itself is put together. It is solid. It runs smoothly without any glitches, and it has never crashed on me once. It is a bit slow to load, but it has a lot to think about, so I’ll give it a pass on that.

Fallout Shelter is described as a “mobile simulation” game. You build rooms in your vault and assign dwellers to perform different tasks in those rooms. At the basic level, you begin by building rooms that generate power, food, and water. You are encouraged to assign dwellers to particular rooms based on their skill set. After you’ve played the game for some time, rooms are unlocked that can be added to increase the skills of the dwellers.

You can add new dwellers to the vault in two ways. One is by building a radio room and staffing it with dwellers that have high charisma. Dwellers in the wasteland will detect the radio broadcast and arrive to join the vault. Note: The radio room is not available at the beginning of the game.

That leads me to the second way to add dwellers — making babies. Simply drag a man and a woman into the living quarters and sit back and wait a short while. They’ll begin exchanging small talk, and eventually the couple will run off together. The small talk is quite clever and funny, I might add. The game developers appear to have had some fun with that. After the couple returns from running off-screen, the woman emerges pregnant. There is a waiting period before the child arrives, who after that must grow up to become an adult before they can become productive in the vault. Dwellers that are related cannot do this, which is a clever addition.

Naturally, as dwellers are added to the vault, the need for power, food and water increase. Maintaining the balance of energy resources and keeping everyone happy and productive is the main element of the game. Raiders, attacks, fires, and other destructive forces act to slow down your progress.

There is no actual end to the game, except for the limitation that you cannot have more than 200 dwellers in the vault. It makes sense to impose a cap. It’s probably a limitation of the processing power required to calculate and display that much activity.

My vault currently has 89 dwellers. Once I reach 100, I will be able to unlock the final room, which appears to be a bottling facility of some type. At that point, I will reasonably be able to say that I’ve done pretty much everything you can do in the game. To continue adding dwellers beyond that would simply be a matter of having twice as much of everything that I already have in the vault now. I’m nearing the end of the line, but it’s been a lot of fun along the way.

I highly recommend Fallout Shelter. If you like mobile simulation games, you’ll love it. It’s available for iOS and Android. And it’s free! There are in-app purchases available, but I haven’t needed to use any of them, as the game generously allows you to advance painlessly.

I’ve posted a screenshot of my vault below.

Fallout Shelter vault

New Blitzcraig Site Theme

After more than five years of donning my old WordPress site theme, I’ve decided to change direction and apply a fresh coat of paint.

A few hours of tweaks and graphic edits later, I’ve deployed a new theme on my site. I like the open space and scarcity. The new site has a responsive design, in which all pages display equally as elegant on a desktop computer, tablet or phone screen.

My new theme eliminates the need for a few of my third-party WordPress plugins, which I have used over the years to help prop up the site for modern browsers. For instance, I’d been using WPTouch, an excellent free plugin that displays a mobile-friendly version of my site. It’s a great tool, and I surely recommend it, but I no longer need it now with this new modern theme, which automatically incorporates such functionality. The same is true for a page navigation plugin I had been using, which I no longer need. Nobody enjoys updating WordPress plugins. The fewer, the better.

I hope you like the new layout. I’ll be making some subtle tweaks as I go.

A Decade of Blitzcraig

Happy 10th anniversary to my blog! As of this writing, at the tail end of December 2015, I’ve maintained my blog for ten long years. I wrote my first blog post on December 2, 2005! I truly never imagined this would go the distance.

Five years ago, I commemorated my five-year anniversary, and in what seems like a mere blink of an eye, it has suddenly been a decade.

I wrote more posts in the first five years by far than I have in the last five. I can accurately be accused of phoning it in many times in the past few years. I’ll concede that truth, but at least I still made an effort to publish new material.

Looking ahead, I will continue to make an effort to write a blog post at least once a month. Will my efforts survive another ten long years? I somehow doubt it. Weighing the decline in my interest in the last five years, I will be very surprised if I’m still doing this ten years from now in 2025. (Can you believe that a decade from now will be 2025?!)

As for the visual appearance of my site… I’ve often contemplated changing the visual theme of my blog. I last changed the theme on January 30, 2010. At the time, I purchased a lifetime membership to a design studio that created my design theme for around $30. Since those days, newer, more modern web practices have supplanted the aging design that I am maintaining on this site. That being said, I still enjoy the sturdy fixed-width presentation of my blog. I may consider updating the design in the future. For the time being, I’ll happily keep it the way that it is. If you’re reading this on a mobile device, then you aren’t seeing the traditional theme that I mentioned above. I had implemented a mobile version of my site a couple of years ago that streamlines my posts on a small phone screen.

At the end of the day, I’m not planning to stop doing this any time soon. It has truly been a pleasure to write blog posts for the world to read. Thank you all for reading my posts! This post in particular. Here’s to many more.

I love you all! (Except the scammers that have inundated my site with hundreds of spam comments every week for the last ten years.)

Cheers!

PS – Honorable mention to my friend Hannah, who was the person to suggest the name Blitzcraig way back in the day, years before the existence of this site. I thank you.