book types & parts design & typography production & publishing

Fast food transformation

An operations manual is a 24/7 reference tool. It helps guide someone unfamiliar with your business through the day-to-day operating procedures. In 1958 McDonald’s Corporation created a 75-page operations and training manual. It specified how each menu item should look—french fries cut exactly 0.28 inches thick, hamburgers placed on the grill in six neat rows.

Fast forward fifty-plus years where fast food cooking instructions are designed into kitchen equipment. Crew members rely on panels of images. Instructions that must be printed are written at a fifth grade reading level in English and a second language.

Your operation functions without you

To transform the production-line prototype, redesigned kitchen equipment had to be intuitive. R&D obliged by developing cookers that work only one way. The easier equipment is to use, the easier it is for global fast-food restaurants not to have to train workers. Recognizing high turnover within fast food establishments, fast food execs aimed for “zero training” as documented in Fast Food Nation.

book types & parts design & typography tech light

Mission operations report

This month marked the 40th anniversary of the Apollo 13 mission. Whether you watched the PBS documentary or the Hollywood version, the story was gripping. Yet, the life-saving manual seemed easy enough to use. Nothing fancy. The neatly typed document included handmade graphs, penciled in symbols, and annotations by James Lovell, Jack Swigert, and Fred Haise. The crew journeyed to the moon, almost, and back using less computing power than an iPhone. The 345 page Mission Operations Report compiles reports from a dozen mission officers.

language & style terms & abbreviations

English as a second language

The Immigration and Refugee Protection Act is legislation respecting immigration to Canada and granting refugee protection to persons who are displaced, persecuted or in danger.

The term “foreign national” refers to any person other than a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. Oddly, the word “immigrant” doesn’t appear in the Act.

I was happy to read that the 2001 Act used simpler language and fewer cross-references. However, I had to chew on a 112-word clause before it made any sense.

Sole provincial responsibility — appeals
If a federal-provincial agreement gives a province sole responsibility to establish and apply financial criteria with respect to undertakings that sponsors living in that province may make in respect of a foreign national who applies to become a permanent resident, then, unless the agreement provides otherwise, the existence of a right of appeal under the law of that province respecting rejections by provincial officials of applications for sponsorship, for reasons of failing to meet financial criteria or failing to comply with a prior undertaking, prevents the sponsor, except on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, from appealing under this Act against a refusal, based on those reasons, of a visa or permanent resident status.

My take on sole provincial responsibility appeals is this:

The province can impose financial responsibility on the sponsor of a foreign national, and if refused for financial reasons the sponsor can appeal to the province or apply under the Act for a humanitarian and compassionate exception.

My hat goes off to ESL classmates who had to deal with breaking down and making sense of this provision.

language & style terms & abbreviations

The wisdom of skipping an exam you’re going to fail

the boss will see you now

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery on

Recently, Vancouver awoke to news that centered on obscure legal terms. The media spent the next news cycle explaining prorogue and in camera.

Oh to be a fly on the wall during the conversation between the Governor-General and the Prime Minister whose request was granted to suspend, or prorogue, Parliament rather than face a vote of no confidence. Over 300 comments accompany the prorogue article in The Globe and Mail.

One wonders why politicians meet privately. Our city councilors did just that to approve $100-million for completing the 2010 Olympic Athletes Village. Word leaked and days later taxpayers voted in a different council.