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You are currently viewing archive for January 2010
Posted By Bakari

Now people who couldn't make it can vicariously experience 4 separate components of the party.


Full Contact Spoons - the only existing recording of the greatest full contact sport in the world.  There is only 1 min and 17 sec worth because we are all old and fat and lazy.

Super Smash Bros - I am playing 3 on one (everyone against me) on one TV while simultaneously coaching the people playing Mario Kart on a different TV.
There is also a handicap against me.
And I won.

Dancing - 4 hours worth.  I only wore the shoes for a couple songs

Cake at midnight - my comment at the end refers to the fact that 3 different people made/brought cakes, and they all independently put my signature smiley face on them

Posted By Bakari

On the popular TV show "The Office", the branch manager is a bit of a doofus.  He's not all that bright, he is totally obsessed with having his employees like him on a personal level, and he has very little knowledge of actual business or management theory.
He makes his superiors wring their hands and shake their heads - but the thing is, his office's sales record is the best in the company, so despite his many, many faux pax, he always keeps his job.

Nobody can quite figure out how he manages to do such a good job in spite of himself.

Even though he tells them quite clearly, time and again.

He considers his employees family.
He wants his customers to feel cared for.
He is more interested in making people happy than in making money.

You can't learn to be community based and to value clients as actual people in business school.  You can't use the idea of caring about people and being friendly to increase the bottom line, because if your interest is in the bottom line, you are genuinely interested in people.  You can't fake authenticity. 

Its either about the love, or its about money. Once you start thinking about rate of return ratios, receivables balance fractions, risk-adjusted profitability, or marginal value-added pricing structures, and all the other things one learns in business school, you are far beyond the point of seeing every person you work for and every person you work with as numbers.

From there it is a very slippery slope to the scenario described by "Jack" in Fight Club: If the cost of the average rate of settlement times the expected rate of failure is less than the cost of a recall for a known deadly manufacturing error, we don't do the recall.
In the end it comes down to morality.  Its either being moral, or maximizing profit.  They are mutually exclusive.

No business is going to have as their slogan "All we care about is your money", and a lot of them try in ads to sound like it isn't true; for any public corporation it is actually illegal for them to consider anything else above the bottom line - if they tried the shareholders could sue. 
For the vast majority of companies jumping on the band wagon, being environmentally responsible is a marketing gimmick as much as a catchy jingle.

Thinking in terms of doing productive work for society while earning fair compensation, as opposed to thinking of how to maximize revenue while minimizing costs will not (always) lead to the highest possible profits.

It will, I think, mean that business actually increases while the rest of the country is in an economic downturn.  It means getting so many referrals its necessary to turn jobs down after going a year and a half without any form of advertising.  It means when, inevitably, mistakes are made, no customer ever makes a claim, because they realize they are not just numbers, that every attempt to be careful was made, all actions in good faith. 
It means that quite a few of my customers make me meals while I'm working.

If a job is a paycheck, it will show through to the customer, no matter how you try to hide it.
If I am ever in a position to hire anyone, my first question will not be about education or experience or abilities or references.  My first and most important question is just this: Why do you want the job?  If its about pay and benefits, no matter how qualified, its "next please".

It has to be about the love.

Posted By Bakari

One of the things that happens when you get too old, you spend more time re-telling old stories than generating new ones.
I have a couple new ones now.

Everything went exactly as I had envisioned it, which I find remarkable considering how little planning and prep went into it.  Every portion was filled with participants, and all of you get the credit for that. All in all, not counting guests of guests, and the people who had to attend because it was in their house, about 35 people showed up, which is more people than I would have guessed I even know.

I want to extend a most enthusiastic thanks to everyone who came - however briefly - to my party, helping to make it an unmitigated success.
Most especially I wish to thank Greg for offering his house for the party, and Andy, Peter, Robin, Bret, Vern, and Vern's wife (who's name I don't remember since I met her then for the first time) for tolerating it.
Extra thanks to Peter and Jesse who helped me set up at the mansion and clean up again after, and Laura who helped me clear the field of poop, and to whoever found the 2nd N64.
Much thanks to Beth and Jessica who made 2 desserts each and my mom and Lois who brought one with candles - and all of them with my signature smiley face, "Banana Nose", my trademark since Jr. High.
A special thanks too, to Larry who came early and stayed 'till the end, and Sasha and Irina and Lois and Dajenya and Jesse who participated in each separate stage.
Thanks to Larry for the extensive documentation:







birthday suit






(I broke out the stilettos for the first time since prom for a few songs)

(The very end)

I try not to be too narcissistic, but honestly, I'd have to say last Saturday was the most fun party I've ever been to.  Maybe I shouldn't wait 30 years to have the next one afterall...
(In the meantime, I will have other amtgard/spoons games.  Let me know if you'd like to be on the notification list for future games.)

And now on to other things, being mature and responsible and productive and all that sort of thing.

Posted By Bakari

Occasionally I end up driving other people's cars.

Invariably, I have to adjust the mirrors.
I often question why they were set the way they were, and the answer is usually some variant of "I like it that way".
I realized that probably a whole lot of people probably see it that way.

Setting mirrors is not a matter of personal preference.
There is an absolute right and wrong way to do it.

Before you accuse me of being a mirror nazi, consider that car accidents kill more Americans under 50 than disease and murder combined; 100 every single day.

As someone who rides a bike, skates, rides a motorcycle,  has driven large commercial trucks with large commercial size blindspots, and nearly been run over inside other peoples blindspots, I say again, with emphasis, setting the mirrors on your car is not a subjective exercise.
Doing it wrong can literally mean the difference between life and death.

I have heard on more than one occasion "I don't want to look at the ground."

Actually, the ground is EXACTLY what you want to be able to see.
Cars are on the ground. Bikes, and small children whose heads are no higher than the bottom of the window, and the balls they roll out into the street, all on the ground. When you parallel park, the curb is on the ground.
Even the largest truck has its tires on the ground, so if you can see the ground, you can see the truck.
The chances that you need to be aware of a very low flying airplane, or perhaps a hovercraft coming up behind you as you drive are very close to zero.

Many people set their mirrors so that the horizon is in the exact center of the mirror. This means an entire half of the mirrors area is wasted with sky.
That half of the mirror being wasted means an unnecessary blind spot.
If the horizon were instead at the very top of the mirror, you could still see all the way down the road behind you, and in addition you could see anything right beside you down lower than the window level as well.

The second mistake is setting the side mirrors so that a substantial amount of what you see is your own car. But just like you don't need to worry about the sky when you merge, the chances your rear fender is going to hit you is pretty darn low.

One reason people do this is because at that angle you can use the side mirror to see directly behind. That's what the rear-view mirror attached to the windshield is for.

The other reason is to have a reference point to help determine where what you see in the mirror is in relation to your car.
Of course, with a little time and practice anyone will get used to the new position. And everyone should really know exactly where the edges of their car are anyway (I sure wish the DMV mandated cone tests for everyone). And you can always just move your head a little bit and see the car in the mirror.
But if you really feel you need to see the car you are driving as a reference point, just leave the tiniest sliver of the back of the trunk visible, so you get maximum mirror area for seeing whats out there moving about and potentially colliding with you.

While its still important to double-check by actually turning one's head, with the mirrors set properly it is in fact a double-check, and not a first check of blind spots. Because there are no blind-spots.
Set up properly, you can make it so there is virtually no blind spot at all. So that if a little person were hiding right alongside the door, you'd know it without even having to turn your head. So that a passing car is visible at all times, first in the rear view, then in the sideview, and finally through the window, without any gap along the way.

It will feel a little odd at first. Give it a chance. And when you don't die in a fiery and gory wreck, come back and thank me.