Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Why Engineers Should Rule the World (or at least the kitchen)

     I'm not a neat freak or an organizational nazi. I've never invented little household gadgets or gone nuts because I found some socks in the underwear drawer. I'm pretty much a chaotic, disorganized mess at home, and that's the way I like it. The thing is, I *really* like to be efficient. Maybe it's because I'm lazy in an odd sort of way. I'll climb over a brick wall to avoid using the door, if it means that I won't have to do either tomorrow or the next day. That's why so many things in my house drive me nuts.
     For example, I have these closet doors that slide back and forth. You can have the entire closet closed or you can have it half open. How worthless is that? If I'm looking at shirts in the middle, I have to keep moving the stupid doors back and forth to be able to see what I'm looking at!
     And how about buffets, especially at people's houses. Why do people always put the napkins and utensils at the beginning of the line? Do I look like I have a third hand to hold onto them while I'm serving myself some food? Put them at the end of the line where they'll do some good. Besides, you never know whether you'll need a spoon or a knife until the end when you know what you're eating anyway. How many times have you had to go back in line or cut in front of someone to grab a knife or an extra napkin after you already had your food?
     Today, I "borrowed" a co-worker's copy of IIE Magazine, the periodical of the Institute of Industrial Engineers. (Hey, I'm bored at work sometimes. I think we went over that already.) They pointed to a neat blog called Cooking for Engineers. Now, this site is actually not so great. It's really just one guy's way of recording the food that he's made for dinner, and he never meant for it to become public. The recipe selection is mediocre and the navigation is weak, but this guy, Michael Chu, has invented a new way to show recipes. He's even patenting the design.

     This is a recipe for Chicken Marsala. How easy is this to follow? This is 100x better than having to read out a paragraph of directions to try to figure out when you should cut or saute or mix. Bravo to him for actually doing something to make home life more efficient!


Sylvana said...

I always wondered why I am so obsessed with organization even though my house is a mess- I'm lazy! Good to know. Oh and great idea on the buffet thing. That makes so much more sense. Buffets had always seemed a little off rhythm to me and I could never put my finger on it. And drinks & condiments should go at the end too.

Ben said...

People at my office so so many stupid, inefficient things, and they don't even get it. I'll explin to someone how if they do something my way, they'll save half an hour every day. They'll be like, "But it's so much work!" Yeah, but half an hour less work than you usually do, and it will make more sense if someone has to go back and look at what you do.

I know this sounds arrogant (and I am arrogant, so it fits), but after high school with almost all AP or honor's courses, and then Georgia Tech, it's still a constant surprise to me to realize how stupid the average person in my office is. Heck, even some of my bosses many levels up do the dumbest things all the time.

sideshow bob said...

Scott, I really enjoy your blog, couldn't agree more about the buffets.
Calling all engineers: drop everything and begin immediate work on the noise-baffling toilet bowl. Why is it that where the most embarrassing noises in the house occur, we have a recepticle with acoustics that the London Philharmonic would kill to play in?...Hmmm, that's an odd mental picture.
Oh, and all engineers should spend the eternal afterlife using the products they design. That would be sweet, sweet justice for the good engineers as well as the bad.

ORF said...

Haha!! You should read "Cheaper By the Dozen," because the father in that book (NOT the movie) has this obsession with efficiency. That buffet bit is so true, Scott!
And Ben, you are not arrogant. I too have been discovering just how truly idiotic the general American public is and it is a) astonishing b) saddening and c) reassuring that I am actually really fucking smart. (Except when it comes to reading that recipe thing. WHAT?!?! I'm pretty sure the Michelin folks would have something to say about it.)

Sylvana said...

Ben, I try to explain things too, but it doesn't even get as far as any comprehension on my coworkers part. I really hate the line, "Cause that's the way we always do it." If I have a faster, better way of doing things people should just get out of my way and let me do it!I don't care if they do it too, but don't tell me that I have to do things in an idiotic way just because the people that I work with can't understand the concept of improvement.
Believe me, you are not alone.

Ben said...

There's much more to discuss about toilets. I understand the concept of lower pressure toilets. Sure, it makes mine get stuffed up more often, but it does save water. What I want to know is why does lower pressure seem to also mean smaller bowls? The one in my apartment is round, not ovular, and I don't think I need to remind you that men have certain equipment that has to go somewhere (ok, I guess I did remind you), and round toilet bowls are typically too small to accommodate the typical man without having to rub up against the inside of the bowl, which is not very sanitary.

ORF said...

Wow, Ben. Perhaps I should rethink my position on your intelligence. TMI, my friend. T.M.I.

But also, something I would have never considered, being that I'm a female and all. My cousin's house has a low-flow toilet and her dogs really seem to dig it. She has complained about how quickly it can get messy though. I recently posted her email about it on my site if you feel a need for commiseration.

Scott said...

Ben, oval bowls are just more expensive, so apartments install them. I'm in the middle of the renovation project from hell right now at home, retiling and painting my bathroom. Since we had to pull out the toilet anyway, we decided to go ahead and upgrade to the super-suck elongated bowl - the kind that (supposedly) can take down 15 golf balls.
p.s. anybody want a free, albeit slightly used, toilet?

Ben said...

That's awesome, Scott. Now I just need to think of a good reason to flush 15 golf balls :)