Thoughts (primarily) on the passing of Steve Jobs

First, I am saddened the same as most people to hear of the passing of Steve Jobs. Outside of Steve’s contributions to technology, reason enough to be sad would be the relatively young age at which Steve left us; in modern times, 56 is quite a young age at which to pass on, barely two-thirds of the 78.7 years life expectancy in the US.

I agree in principle with, and in fact admire, many of the advancements in technology and user interfaces which Steve played a part in. It is remarkable that Steve took a company on the verge of failure and transformed it into something that has made even Microsoft sit up and take notice. This is no small feat and Steve has earned his legacy in the history of computing and technology. I also agree with the substance of the statements made by President Barack Obama, Bill Gates, Disney president Bob Iger, and Mark Zuckerberg.

I say all this despite the fact I have been actively boycotting Apple’s products in the recent past up until the present (for reasons that should be obvious to frequent readers of this blog), and this is unlikely to change for the forseeable future.

Will this seem odd to many people? Certainly. But this isn’t the first time.

I once had a copy of the book Winning with the P&G 99 by Charles Decker, purchased in the middle of my active boycott of Procter & Gamble (among others) for their sponsorship of the Jenny Jones talk show, which ended upon the show’s cancellation in 2003 (and, thankfully, predated P&G’s acquisiton of Gillette, thus I never had to quit shaving with Mach3 or Fusion razors as a result of the boycott).

The tactics of a company, including marketing, PR, and basic business strategy, are still relevant to my career as a marketing and PR consultant, whether or not I personally purchase their products. The same general principles apply to Apple now that applied to P&G then (though at the time of purchasing the P&G book I was not actively in marketing consulting then, but in a more general self-directed study of business). And thus the same general principles apply, also, to the work of Steve Jobs as did to the staff of P&G during the time of my active boycott of the company’s products.

I have more to say, but it’ll come in a followup post in about a week or so. Right now is simply not an appropriate time.

Tale from the kitchen: lessons learned from a not-so-successful culinary experiment

This past Saturday was quite the eventful day. Between the photowalk in the morning, and an arts/music event in the evening, I had plenty of time to pass by. I took care of some personal business (okay, renewing and updating the address on my Houston Public Library card, which had been expired for a good 9 months and change), which still left me with a few hours. So, it was off to meet up with my friend Nick at a shared space he was a member of at the time, for my part in helping him out with culinary experiments in exchange for a share of the results.

Nick and I were attempting to reproduce this recipe for Enchiladas De Queso from After a quick trip to a nearby grocery store to get the ingredients, we start the process of getting everything ready.

A bit of a note here: despite the fact I don’t cook that often these days, I’m not a kitchen greenhorn by any sense of the imagination. Granted, most of what I have cooked is Hamburger Helper and simple stove-top concoctions, and of course untold numbers of frozen pizzas and TV dinners. (As a rule, since 2004 or so, I avoid consuming microwaved food whenever possible, to the point of improvising oven heating directions when I don’t notice an item is intended only for microwave oven preparationĀ  until after it’s been bought.) That said, when it comes to cooking, I am still probably the more experienced of the two of us. I wound up doing most of the things like chopping the onions and the actual removal of the dish from the oven. (I had done my fair share of onion chopping from helping my mom make prepackaged red beans and rice in the weeks prior.)

We get to the part where it’s time to dip the tortillas in the oil and salsa. I never found out what the reason was, but we kept having the tortillas rip and/or not dip properly. So after the first few failed attempts to make “proper” enchiladas, I make the command decision to salvage this mess that’s going to culinary hell in a handbasket, and switch to making a Tex-Mex casserole dish. Basically, we just made layers of tortilla, onions, cheese, salsa, and green onions. Twenty minutes later, dinner is served. (Okay, so I originally planned this as lunch and it’s now closer to dinnertime.) There’s definitely something sort of missing (it’s edible, it’s just there’s not much to it). I’d do it all over again knowing the result, though there were things I’d have changed given the opportunity.

I have to give Nick some credit here for being adventurous enough to try cooking of this sort. Of course it is not realistic to expect someone to do a Julia ChildĀ impression the very first time. I am out of practice from cooking, having depended on fast food restaurants to fill the gap more often than I’m proud of (brown bagging it doesn’t really work when spending the entire day out and about).

I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong when we followed the directions as advertised. My first guess is that the oil simply wasn’t hot enough, and even if it was, the sauce was probably not the type really intended for making enchiladas (we used a store brand picante sauce, which is what we thought the recipe called for), so it may not have even mattered if the sauce was hot enough. I’m open to ideas if anyone with more cooking experience has any.