March 31, 2007

zepost with red

I find it terribly dissapointing that I did not hear about zefrank’s year long project, in which he shared tightly cut 3-5 minute humorous videos with viewers every week day for a year, until it was canceled. It’s damn funny and had quite a wide reach of influence, as can be seen from the fact that Jack Black has a cameo in his second to last broadcast.

I recommend you watch this video followed by this one. Let’s watch the monkey dance…

…then bake me a pie

On the last day of my psychology class we had a career counselor speak to us; One of the first things she did was write the word “career” on the board and ask for the first word that came to our mind upon reading career. Many words concerning the perceived drudgery of work came out initially including stress, repetition, and boredom. I got the conversation swinging the other way by throwing opportunity up on the board.

The only word that really surprised was from a young woman whose first response to the word “career” was “husband”.

March 30, 2007

phrase of the moment

Today I learned:

“To be ‘three sheets to the wind’ is to be drunk. The sheet is the line that controls the sails on a ship. If the line is not secured, the sail flops in the wind, and the ship loses headway and control. If all three sails are loose, the ship is out of control.”

From here.

It doesn’t take an expert on culture to realize this reference is horribly out of date. A recent Gallup poll revealed that no more than 60% of Americans use wind propelled vehicles as their main source of transportation. It’s past time for a new metaphor which dignified peoples may use to divulge their insobriety.

Friend: How you feelin’?
Me: My portfolio’s entirely undeversified.
Friend: I’m sorry?
Me: I’m practicing Dianetics.
Friend: What?!
Me: I’m runnin’ Windows 98 without virus protection.
Friend: Give me your keys.

March 29, 2007

cruel, cruel world

When I registered for this recently completed Winter quarter, I chose to take a general education course which I had no interest in, mainly due to my inexplainable urge to graduate. As such, I decided to take advantage of the “credit/no credit” (CR/NC) option in the interest of putting forth as little effort as possible.

One might be surprised that it is common to hear, “I took class X CR/NC and received an A”; such a result is undesirable and so I went to great lengths to avoid it, using the following methods:

  • I did none of the reading.
  • I failed all of the quizzes (According to the syllabus, this was to be included in our participation grade, which made up a full quarter of our final grade.)
  • Studied 1 hour for the midterm and got a C- (right on track!)
  • For our 5-6 page final, I turned in a 3.5 page document which was barely spell checked.

Above and beyond the tactics listed above, the professor at least feigned dislike for me while in the classroom. It would be difficult to imagine the shock and disdain felt when I received a 92.5% in the class; I received not just an A, but a solid, highest grade I could have possibly gotten, A.

Our world is one without justice.

March 21, 2007

quote of the moment

“If a woman has to choose between catching a fly ball and saving an infant’s life, she will choose to save the infant’s life without even considering if there are men on base.”
– Dave Barry

March 17, 2007

the little engine that could had it right

This article on memory and the minds of experts is intriguing for a number of reasons, and I encourage you to check out the full article here. However, the bit I found most relevant is as follows:

“Thus, motivation appears to be a more important factor than innate ability in the development of expertise.”
– Phillip E. Ross

Of course, there’s a motivation for any person to want to believe that expertise (and Ross is referring to performance, not just “knowledge”) is related to effort and I recommend a healthy dose of cynicism when people come up with conclusions which are in their best interest.

March 14, 2007

quote of the moment

“Eternity is a very long time, especially towards the end.”
– Stephen Hawking, from this webcast of a talk at UC Berkeley.

March 10, 2007

say attitudinal three times fast

According to some guy on the Internet, Lawyers not only make a #$@%-ton of money, they’re making way more than they did even a year ago, to the tune of around 15k per associate lawyer for one large firm. However, I barely skimmed the article and lawyers making money wasn’t the part I found worthwhile.

What I found fascinating was the problem of partner/associate generational gap. As Mr. MacEwen relates:

From both sides, the attitude of the other is perceived to be highly unattractive:

  • Partners think (and I paraphrase, here as below): “Associates make so much ____’ing money, and they think new matters just fall out of the sky. You ask them to work over the weekend and they say they have plans. I never ‘had plans’ when I was in their position. Who do they think they are?”
  • Associates: “Partners make so much ______’ing money, and they want us to do all the work, particularly the scut-work. I never see clients, I never go to court, I never get any real experience, the work is mind-numbing, and they keep tacking on another 50 hours to their ‘expectations’ almost every year. Besides, everyone knows institutional loyalty died a long time ago; if I don’t manage my own career, and try to have some semblance of a life on the side, the firm sure isn’t going to do it for me.”

I bet several people in the tech industry were nodding along with this. A lot of companies seem to expect what MacEwen terms “institutional loyalty” without supplying the job security which made them worth being loyal to in the first place.

I’ve been lucky enough to secure a job at a company I like doing work I find interesting for good pay and decent benefits, but at the same time I know that the likelihood of being employed at any given company for more than 5-10 years in the tech industry is no better than a 50/50 proposition regardless of skill.

I’m curious what others think about this attitudinal gap. Am I way off base here?

i’ve written the better part of a novel

I’ve been using the phrase “the better part of a ____” recently, it’s an excellent aide for exaggeration, since in most usages you’re just implying that something has been occurring for more than half of a given time period, which can easily be abused.

Example usages:

  • I’ve been going to college for the better part of a decade.
  • My Dad’s been alive for the better part of a century.
  • Dynamic typing is responsible for the better part of the Holocaust.

Do you have any good “Better part of a blank” usages?

quote of the moment

“I’m really not a fan of Sigmund Freud as his theories aren’t testicle.”

Richard Wiseman

March 9, 2007

i’m going to use your head as a tripod

Lauren’s looking into getting a digital SLR camera and a couple decent lenses, so I’ve been reading an article on doing exactly that when I was reminded that I will never be a decent photographer:

“You need to learn how to stick a camera 12 inches from your subject. Remember that the ruder your personality, the better a photojournalist you will make.”

I’m just not that rude or fearless. My hope remains that these are qualities which can be learned.

Powered by WordPress