Wednesday, May 26, 2010

johari and nohari

Fascinating: the Johari Window was invented by Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham in the 1950s as a model for mapping personality awareness. By describing yourself from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of overlap and difference can be built up.

Even more fascinating: the Nohari Window is a challenging inversion of the Johari Window, using antonyms of the original words. By describing your failings from a fixed list of adjectives, then asking your friends and colleagues to describe you from the same list, a grid of perceived and unrecognised weaknesses can be explored.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I've been compiling random shit from the Internet in a email folder labeled "ideas," but they're actually just random shit, not ideas. Nothing is happening to them in my mailbox, so maybe here they will help your workday go by:


Corporate Catch Phrases I've Recently Overheard
"we'll have to swim against the stream"
"we'll have to climb some mountains"
"X really dropped a bomb on us"
"get up to speed"
"first item on the agenda is whether we fish or cut bait on X"
"reverse engineer"
"kill these changes"
"i'll ping you" or "i'll buzz you"
"low hanging fruit"
"things to think about going forward"
"aim ahead of the puck"
"shoot for the duck"

Berzerker = Vikings on Mushrooms
This fury, which was called berserkergang, occurred not only in the heat of battle, but also during laborious work. Men who were thus seized performed things which otherwise seemed impossible for human power. This condition is said to have begun with shivering, chattering of the teeth, and chill in the body, and then the face swelled and changed its colour. With this was connected a great hot-headedness, which at last gave over into a great rage, under which they howled as wild animals, bit the edge of their shields, and cut down everything they met without discriminating between friend or foe. When this condition ceased, a great dulling of the mind and feebleness followed, which could last for one or several days.

Mussolini on War
War alone brings up to its highest tension all human energy and puts the stamp of nobility upon the peoples who have courage to meet it. All other trials are substitutes, which never really put men into the position where they have to make the great decision -- the alternative of life or death A doctrine, therefore, which begins with a prejudice in favour of peace is foreign to Fascism; as are foreign to the spirit of Fascism, even though acceptable by reason of the utility which they might have in given political situations, all internationalistic and socialistic systems which, as history proves, can be blown to the winds when emotional, idealistic and practical movements storm the hearts of peoples. Fascism carries over this anti-pacifist spirit even into the lives of individuals. The proud motto of the Squadrista, "Me ne frego," written on the bandages of a wound is an act of philosophy which is not only stoical, it is the epitome of a doctrine that is not only political: it is education for combat, the acceptance of the risks which it brings; it is a new way of life for Italy. Thus the Fascist accepts and loves life, he knows nothing of suicide and despises it; he looks on life as duty, ascent, conquest: life which must be noble and full: lived for oneself, but above all for those others near and far away, present and future.

Eating Ortolans
For centuries, a rite of passage for French gourmets has been the eating of the Ortolan. These tiny birds—captured alive, force-fed, then drowned in Armagnac—were roasted whole and eaten that way, bones and all, while the diner draped his head with a linen napkin to preserve the precious aromas and, some believe, to hide from God.

N's Train of Thought Leading to The Temperature of Ricky Martin
  • M sends N picture of Hritik Roshan
  • N determines Hritik Roshan does not meet the ideal man phenotype because his face is too narrow
  • M declares she has spent a fair amount of time looking at photos of Ricky Martin, and he is very good looking
  • N wants to know why Ricky Martin
  • M explains that Ricky Martin came out of the closet today
  • N declares "if he didn't have that stupid hair, he is very attractive!"
  • M and N debate the hotness of Ricky Martin
  • N discovers that between 1 and 2pm, "Ricky Martin" became the most popular search on Google
  • N notes that Google says "Ricky Martin" is a search of "volcanic" hotness
  • N writes, "this settles our query re: how hot is Ricky Martin"
  • N writes, "LAVA HOT"
  • N Googles "temperature of lava"
  • N changes status message to "Ricky Martin = 1300-2400 degrees Farenheit"
  • N writes, "i should be a Google spokesperson, really"

Mystery shopping or mystery consumer is a tool used by market research companies to measure quality of retail service or gather specific information about products and services. Mystery shoppers posing as normal customers perform specific tasks—such as purchasing a product, asking questions, registering complaints or behaving in a certain way – and then provide detailed reports or feedback about their experiences.

Mystery shopping was standard practice by the early 1940s as a way to measure employee integrity. Tools used for mystery shopping assessments range from simple questionnaires to complete audio and video recordings. Many mystery shopping companies are completely administered through the Internet, allowing potential mystery shoppers to use the Internet to register for participation, find mystery shopping jobs and receive payment.

. . . The escalation continued in 1882 when Ellison Hatfield, brother of "Devil Anse" Hatfield, was killed by three of Roseanna McCoy's young brothers: Tolbert, Pharmer, and Bud. Ellison was stabbed 26 times and finished off with a shot during an election day fight that took place in Kentucky. The McCoy brothers were initially arrested by Hatfield constables and were being taken to Pikeville for trial. Devil Anse Hatfield organized a large group of followers and cut off the constables with McCoy prisoners in tow before they reached Pikeville. The brothers were taken by force to West Virginia to await the fate of mortally wounded Ellison Hatfield. When Ellison finally died from his injuries the McCoy brothers were themselves murdered in turn as the vendetta escalated. They were tied to pawpaw bushes, where each was shot numerous times. Their bodies were described as "bullet-riddled."

"And now, the always enjoyable giant inflatable beaver."
Something Bob Costas said during the closing ceremonies of the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.

The Rule of the Pure Heart and Empty Head
In order to qualify as a holder in due course, the person to whom a negotiable instrument is transferred must act in good faith. Good faith is a subjective test. This is referred to as a the rule of the pure heart and empty head.

Friday, May 14, 2010

qt with dad

Dad has been teaching himself piano very, very slowly for three years without any particular method. He finds free sheet music on the Internet that is horribly transcribed or is arranged for a thirty-piece string section and a French horn, and he can't understand why the sheet music asks him to play 12-note chords. Despite these obstacles, he is very enthusiastic about practicing. On any given night I will hear a gavotte or a waltz played extremely slowly for half an hour to an hour. He plays through the sheet music the way a dental hygienist polishes teeth, sweeping through a region over and over, in any given four-measure phrase playing measures 1, then 1 again, then 1-2, then 1-3, then 2-3, then 3 four times, then 2-4, etc. It is the kind of slow, repetitive, dissonant ivory tickling that directors of horror films choose for the telekinetic-flesh-peeling-by-pupilless-child sequences of their movies.

Yesterday I sat down with him and suggested that he learn to play the left-hand and right-hand parts separately, and to stick to the rhythm. He'd never tried the latter. He understood mathematically that a quarter note comprises two eighth notes, but could not divide the duration of a beat into even halves. Each time he played two notes in sequence, they fell into heartbeat rhythm, or a sixteenth note followed by a dotted eighth:

I got him away from the piano and had him tap a steady beat on the kitchen counter with his left hand and instructed him to tap the counter with his right hand when his left hand was up and when it was down. He found this exceedingly difficult. I told him to think about the steady rhythm of his pace when he walked. I said, Music is like C++. It's just another language. I'm not sure this advice was helpful in any way.

Tonight he burst into my room and started pounding on the door. "Look!" he said. He pounded quarter notes with his left hand and eighth notes with his right hand. He was hitting the hollow door about twice as hard as it is advisible to hit hollow doors. But the rhythm was right on. Then he went to the piano and played quarter notes of middle C with his left hand and C5-D5 with his right. Over and over. And then again. Then he switched over to triplets on the right hand. C-D-E. C-D-E. C-D-E. So on. Again and again.

I also watched TV with him tonight. First it was the Chinese news reporting on the Shanghai World Expo. I asked if he was planning to go, and he said, "No, the ground there is covered in phlegm." Then he reprimanded Boo for chewing rawhide and drooling on the carpet, and reprimanded me for giving Boo rawhide because he might mistake his tongue for hide and just chew it right off. "Do you want to pay that hospital bill?" Then we watched the last half hour of a pretty boring PBS documentary about the huts and vistas along the Appalachian trail. "This must have been filmed in the 1970s," said Dad. "People now don't have beards like this." I noted that thru-hikers often grew beards because it was inconvenient to shave. One bald young man with a wild goatee gave an interview to the camera. "Terrorist," said Dad. "Just kidding. If he were upside down, he'd look just fine." A woman in pigtails gave an interview. "This person's beard is underdeveloped." He overenunciated words he heard in the documentary in an effort to learn them. "Ka TAH din. Mooselookmeguntic." Regarding windspeeds on Mt. Washington, he said, "I stood in a 100 mph wind once." After the documentary finished, he said, "Do you want to watch my favorite show? With music performance?" He was talking about a local weather report channel that simply displays the three-day forecasts for the counties of the Bay Area while muzak plays in the background. He says this is the most relaxing show on TV. He says this show is the best laxative he's found.

Just now, as I was hurriedly typing the above paragraphs, he stopped in my doorway and said, "Dadadadadada! Flying keyboard!"

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

paul revere

C: the british are such idiots

B: the british are coming! the british are coming!
i wish i were british just so i could announce that during sex

C: [bananarchist]!

B: what

Monday, May 03, 2010


So I spent the weekend running that relay that I mentioned last post. I left my house Saturday at 7 a.m. and returned 1 p.m. on Sunday. The race was fun but totally exhausting.

(Passed out in a church gymnasium in Napa, sometime on Saturday.)

Our team was one of three sponsored by Google. Google's competitive team won for the fourth year in a row, in a time that was eight hours faster than ours. Ruth, my Google connection, dropped out on Friday because of a sudden chest cold, so our van was me, Olivia, her work buddies Wilbur and Mark (Ruth's replacement), Googler Chris and his girlfriend Connie, and Googler Kirsten driving us along. I didn't know anybody besides Olivia when we started but you spend twenty hours sweating in a van with any six people and you'll get to know them pretty quick. In contrast, I hardly recognized the people in the other van. We alternated running shifts with van 2, so we ran Calistoga to Napa on Saturday morning, Petaluma to San Francisco on Saturday night, and Atherton to Saratoga on Sunday starting at dawn.

Holy frakking shift Northern California is the most beautiful Hobbiton in Middle Earth, especially one magical pre-twilight stretch of Highway Whatitsface between Sonoma and Petaluma, holy SHIT it's shorts-creamingly beautiful, your shorts-cream will in turn cream its shorts, so on, ad infinitum, the way the fake wildgrass covers the fake hills in the golden hour. WOWZA. It is really too bad you can't eat landscapes!! It wasn't all roly poly grapevine piedmont, either, there was genuine deciduous action in Napa and then the lemon and fig trees and ornamental horticulture of the Norcal suburbs and then the nighttime view of the Golden Gate Bridge and the SF skyline and Alcatraz and Angel Island and the mouth of the bay from Sausalito and then at the very end a steep rise past some reservoirs through the redwood forests of the Santa Cruz mountains right down to the same golden hour, except the next day, on the f-bombing Pacific Ocean. WTH!?!??!! Parse error!!!!

(Olivia running past a winery near Yountville.)

Let me tell you about my lovely long legs, all three of them. For different reasons, they were each very difficult. The first was 4.1 miles on relatively flat ground from St. Helena to Rutherford. It was supposed to be my easy leg but it was 80 degrees and mostly unshaded, and I set a pace too fast too early and had to back off of it after I got a nagging side stitch halfway. Some brain damage there from the sun exposure.

(Trying to cool down in the shade with string cheese and stretching, while awaiting Chris.)

(The second van exchange point, a typical Napa Valley winey and cheesey picnic spot kind of in the middle of nowhere. There's so much more sky you can't see.)

Leg 2 was 6.5 miles from San Anselmo to Corte Madera with a two-mile climb followed by a long descent, and I started it five minutes after throwing up on the grass at the relay point with a splitting headache that miraculously evaporated once I started running. I think it was caffeine withdrawal, because I downed an espresso right before running and that seemed to heal me. I ran this leg around 10:30 p.m. on a lonely country road through foothills, and after the initial clump of runners split up, it was just me, my headlamp, the fog, and occasional relay vans on the road.

The first runner I passed said, "Hope we don't get eaten by mountain lions!" hee hee hee hee as she pushed her headphones back into her ear for more Dance Hits U.S.A. 2. Turns out cars were more likely to attack us - a relay runner was struck by a car a few miles down the road, but we didn't hear anything about it until Monday. (She's okay, it was not life-threatening, but still...eesh.)

(Mark running in the very very dark.)

Our last runner crossed the Golden Gate Bridge at 2 a.m., and we drove down the Peninsula for three hours of rest. The rest of the van opted to pile up in Chris's living room for naps, but since I was so close to home, I just slept in my own bed. In three hours I was back on the side of the road, cradling a cappucino, waiting for Connie to appear. My third leg was 5.6 mostly flat miles straight down Foothill Expressway. It was 8 a.m., but it was already hot, and I was just plain exhausted, so this leg might have been the hardest.

(My helpful water volunteer giving me an unwanted shower.)

All told, I ran 16.2 miles in 2:10.21 for an average of 8:03 minutes per mile. It is two days later and I am still sore as balls, dehydrated, and sleepy, but I would definitely do this again.

(Chris in Saratoga on mile 3 of a 5-mile uphill, with Connie watching.)