New family car

The time has come to look for a new car. I was out with Katja running some errands. We passed by this truck which of her own volition she pointed out to me. She said as we walked by:” Big truck”. My thought is that this might be a candidate for a new family car. It can fit a 4′ x 8′ sheet of plywood and a car seat in the back seat. Seems to fit our requirements.

Round or oval logos?

On the drive back from Ohio this year, we stopped in Bend for breakfast, well maybe it was more like lunch. And it’s not very often that I get over to bend so I had to stop that I wanted to make. About four years ago my wife got me to taste her glasses from Deshutes brewery. We actually use these glasses as juice glasses, and they’re perfect for a hydrating an airborne tablet.

So since we’ve been using them a little more I thought I might get me another one or two. After stopping by I realized that they change the logo on their glasses. Now I don’t have a matching set. I asked the bartender in the manager if they had any old ones and they said no. But Dunlap the bartender and I had an interesting conversation about logos. It was his point that it’s all the rage right now to have to choose between oval and around logos but I think the greater point is missed.

One logo appears to have a lot of white space around while the other takes up a big physical presence. In logo and marketing design we are trying to get imagery to convey meaning and attitudes of the things they are representing. So I feel the second logo the folder round larger physical presence logo is in someways saying “look we are the brewery trust us our beer/product is good”. Where as the former logo a little oval and a little bit more white space around it is saying “look at the beer”, “it happens to be brewed by us”. It seems that the older logo, the oval one, is a bit more humble. It invites a dialogue, which involves the tasting of the product they want to sell.

KFC and HFCS

Menu ingredients

There are only a few restaurants that I frequent, not because the food is somehow better there, but because the choice of ingredients by corporate chefs. Some businesses choose to use high fructose corn syrup as an additive in menu items (I understand this choice from a cost/profitability perspective, from a sugar/sweetness index perspective, and from an addictiveness perspective). For many years I have avoided fast food restaurants because the ingredient list is difficult to obtain.

In my case I am not part of the “HFCS is the evil in the food industry” crowd. I simply have an allergy where I can not process this sugar, and to consume it makes me physically sick. To give these institutions $5 for a meal, is to give myself a 5 dollar-14 hour illness. This has resulted in a lot of label reading. So when I go to a restaurant I always ask for ingredient lists.

Today I stop by KFC for the first time in 10 years, I asked the clerk behind the counter if they could give me an ingredients list for the traditional and extra crispy chicken, he promptly contacted his manager who came out and told me that they could not give out ingredients list for liability reasons. However, I could go to the website and look at the nutritional information provided by KFC on their website.

In a way this is surprising because at many places like QDoba I can ask at the register (which is no longer just a point of sale, but is a point of service) and receive a printed list of ingredients. Other companies have been able to print off ingredients from their point of service machines for menu items.

Here is the rub: KFC is one of those companies that uses a service to manage the information presentation of their ingredient lists. They use nutritionix.com.

Now the fact that they use a service is not inherently bad, and shows that some management thought has gone into providing customers with access to some ingredients, but the following question should be asked from a services management perspective: is this service meeting the needs of our customers? In this case I would like to suggest it doesn’t. The nutritionix page for KFC starts the user out by having them select the allergens that they would like to avoid.

The problem is that things like high fructose corn syrup are not considered allergens (by this website). A broader approach to information access in this case would solve more use cases. What if the question asked was: what ingredients would you like to avoid?

Asking the question this way would allow users and customers like me to quickly find menu items that fall within our dietary needs.

What is in a soda?

The pictured sign in the KFC, which is also shared with an A & W suggest that the root beer sold by A & W in this particular store is made with real cane sugar. It does not expressly state that there is no high fructose corn syrup in the soda, only that there is also at least some real cane sugar included in the drink. It is often the case with sodas that if they are made with real cane sugar it’s implied that there without high fructose corn syrup. So when my wife ordered me one I was curious what was really in the drink. With this in mind I went to the A & W website (because the staff of this jointly branded store is unlikely to tell me anything about the A & W ingredients either) to find their ingredients list. I found a PDF which shows that their root beer does contain high fructose corn syrup. The disappointing feature of this soda is that there is an apparent disagreement between the corporate messaging in store and their presentation online. I feel the in store messaging is misleading in a physically painful manner.

Sporks

Photo of spork.

As an aside, my 2 year old daughter found eating with the spork difficult. The macaroni and cheese kept falling off. But this is is more about making the eating experience more family friendly, rather than less painful.

And when your kid prays for you

It is really a humbling thing when your kid prays for you. I hope it doesn’t stop or become the mundane. It was really awesome and really quite unbelievable to hear Katja pray for me and mommy. She barely has full sentences. She understands so much more than she can articulate. I mean that who is to say she does not have faith, or understand who she is praying too. So while I wonder what this act is, and is it real, and how deep is the knowledge of God and Jesus in her, there is no reason for me to not take for what it is – a simple prayer.

Color terms

I’m not really sure how my daughter started to learn color terms. How does one learn that the word is not a noun (the name of the object) and is the name of a color? I mean think about it as a parent you point to something and say “blue” or “red”. How does the child know that the parent is talking about color?

For about 4 months Katja has correctly identified and labeled blue objects. This is likely due to blue bear being such a prominent part of her life.

I think it was back in June and May that we started coloring with Crayons and writing with pens. This increases the exposure to color terms.

Somewhere along the line we started talking about the colors of the handholds on her climbing wall. I think her second color term about two months ago was “Black”.

“Black” quickly became overshadowed by “pink”. Katja has a special blanket which is pink. But there is her pink backpack, and shoes, and tonnes of other pink things.

Along the way “yellow” has been identified and pronounced in short sessions, like reading curious George. But as a color term has not been a stable self produced word. This may be in part to the challenge Katja has with pronouncing liquids.

This week “green” became a stable word and within a few hours red did too. Though there is a lot of phonological reduction going on right now.

Getting ready for pumpkin bread season

Pumpkin bread with choclate chips is probably my favorite seasonal food. Katja endorses the making of pumpkin bread. I took opertunity of Becky being out of town to make a double batch. 

Katja still has a little dificulty saying pumpkin but she manages and has known the word for about four months. Too boot, she has liked muffins since Nigeria when Blessing would make them for us.  So i got some silicone muffin cups to make muffins with Katja. As it happened this time she expired before i could make them and she woke up the next morning to a mountain of pumpkin bread.