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johnsu01

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Questioning Productivity [25 Jul 2005|07:34pm]

When I consider what it means to be productive, I need to think about the people I work with, and not just myself.

Though I might get something off my desk and to-do list more quickly by sending an e-mail or walking across the office, I should keep in mind that such isn't necessarily better for the people I'm working with. Though it might be more challenging for me, sometimes the best thing to do is to wait till tomorrow or longer to send the e-mail about the lower priority item that needs to be addressed sometime down the road. At its basic level, this means evaluating whether I am just passing things on to others in order to get them off my plate, or whether I honestly think that it is time for them to consider the issue in their own planning.

On the other hand, some people might want to know about ideas as soon as possible, so they can plan far into the future. If I don't send them my idea now, they may be resistant to reprioritizing their already planned schedule to work it in.

It really makes me wonder, what does it mean to discuss all of these productivity enhancing systems in isolation, with a focus on the individual, and on what the individual can get done in a day? It seems like a repeat of what I consider to be a mistake in much Western (and other) philosophy, the focus on the atomistic individual, accompanied by negligence toward the effective consideration of social relationships.

This applies to more than work in the office; it applies to artistic collaboration as well. I need to "honor the process" when pushing collaborations with others; do a better job of listening and finding different ways to work with people. I've not been a very popular partner in these kinds of projects, and maybe this has something to do with it. It's a very difficult thing.

(By the way, the sought-after way to bring all these different communication methods together is called Emacs as far as I'm concerned. It manages my e-mail, newsgroups, some RSS, IM, IRC, music, writing, files, planning, bookmarks, appointments, etc. All completely scriptable, scorable, sortable, lovable.)

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Getting Crazy with the Canned Air [25 Jul 2005|11:28pm]

"Teens once inhaled nitrous oxide from cans of whipped cream, but now many are inhaling compressed air from cans of computer dusting products and the results can be deadly."

I always wondered, who the first kids brave enough to try stupid things like this are. I mean, to just put a can up to your mouth and pull the trigger is pretty risky, if you ask me. This kind of courage is powerful stuff, and somehow we need to recognize it and channel it elsewhere. I guess for now, the solution is to require ID to buy air. Hm.

This brought back a few fond barista memories. Because we made the whipped cream by hand, there were always boxes and boxes and boxes of chargers around. The cafe was very busy, so it was not uncommon for me to be pouring damn fine drinks or steaming velvety milk or pulling buttery shots with one hand while shaking the whipped cream cannister and then whipping drinks with the other, especially during the winter when all the kneebiters sledded in screaming for hot chocolate --- and then for admission to the burn unit after tasting it.

So one time things got a little slippery with all the fluids flowing around, and I clocked myself right on the chin with the bottom of the thing at the top of a vigorous shake, right in front of the morning zombie rush. There was some blood, there was some coffee, there was some blood in some coffee. I had to tag out to the busser and apply some direct pressure in the men's room.

At least the sympathy tips were good.

Then there was the exploding cannister. Bad gasket. After applying the second charge, BOOM. Nascent whipped cream all over me and all over the kitchen; dripping from the coffee, the glasses, the syrups, the urns, the timecards, the walk-in, the sinks, the teas, and me. Not to mention the sudden transformation of the floor into a wet banana with a lawsuit instead of a kiddie pool at the end. Again, during the rush. And I'm a vegan.

I wish those days could come back once more
Why did those days ev-er have to go
I wish those days could come back once more
Why did those days ev-er have to go
Cause I love them so

-- Stevie Wonder

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