Restaurants, Robots, and Political Anachronisms

I’m suddenly so shockingly tired as to contemplate going to bed ten hours early.  Even fifteen minutes ago I’d have gone on about how today is the best I’ve felt in two weeks.  I hope to be singing that same tune fifteen minutes from now, this surprise bout of fatigue having no roots, no cause, and, one hopes, is thus as likely to disappear with the same suddenness of its appearance.

It was a good day so far.  I finally dragged myself to the gym and was able to rid myself of the final few bloating fetters of last night’s meal at “ad Lib.”  Simply put, don’t go there.  The food was underwhelming while the price was nearly over.  It’s a bit like Milworks, and Seasons, and all the other new, trendy farm to table knockoffs that’ve been popping up around Harrisburg.  Ad Lib is in the Hilton.  With the exception of Indian food and the restaurant at the Ritz Carlton, I’ve never had good luck with eateries attached to hotels.  Always over priced, their quality never usually surpasses any given sports bar.  Ad Lib was no different, no matter how they dressed up their fare, regardless of the oversized iPhones as menus (which completely missed the point of technology, see below) their menu selection exceeded the chef’s abilities.  I felt rotten the rest of the evening and most of this morning to boot.

Past the flavor, onto the tech.  Technology is something I have a great many feelings on.  When I was young, I wanted to be a robotics engineer.  I still love gadgets and machines, I love things built merely to test whether they could be made, but I ardently believe that all technological advancement should, and is meant to, serve two purposes: to allow one to do something he already does more easily or to allow one to do something he couldn’t do before.  This is why I was so put off by those god damned stupid menus.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with a digital menu, but those mentioned served no purpose.  Ours were supplied by a seemingly touched and awkward waiter (who then took the menus out of our hands to demonstrate features we’d already discovered on our own, features about which we didn’t care to begin with) and after his tedious explanation and our own early exploration, we found them to nearly exactly replicate a paper menu, the primary difference being that one had to click on each item to get a description of it.  You couldn’t order using the menu (which would have spared us the rest of our interactions with the off-putting waiter), nor did it offer anything a paper menu would not have.  This is the worst way to use technology.  Digital isn’t better merely by it being electric, it must serve a purpose.  Our ordering was made more difficult by the process required to discover the restaurant’s offerings.  The digital menu did not offer anything a paper (or wood, or metal, or papyrus) menu would not have.

Waste on waste.  A waste of the materials inherent to the construction of a computer (the demand for niobium is wreaking havoc in Africa and creating pollution the world over).  A waste of our time, first in learning the menu ourselves, then again in having it improperly and oddly explained.  Finally, all the power required to drive the little devices would have been better suited to nearly anything else.

I’m no Luddite.  I’d go mad without the internet.  I still fantasize about a compound garden tended by autonomous farmer-bots.  Without stem cell research I’d already be dead.  Technological advances are a wondrous series of things, but there is a proper way to use technology, for betterment, to improve, to grow, to learn, and then there’s the other way, the “just cause blinky lights is better” way.

I don’t believe I had a point other than dumb things are dumb.  Sometimes one feels the need to point such out.  Perhaps if more people were more passionate, vocal, and most importantly, educated about said passions we wouldn’t have a morally and financially bankrupt business failure attempting to win the US presidency through bigotry and Hitler-esque rabble-rousing.

In an ideal situation, our hyper-intelligent garden-bots would have turned his copious bullshit to high quality manure by now, and grown a a field of flowers to fade to echoes the worst of his flaccid ego’s sputtering nonsense.