There’s really no point to this post. Leave. Now. -Ed.
Feed. It’s what’s for dinner. Mmm. That sounds good. I’ll have that! Yeah, I’m a hundred and six years old, and I still make my own bread! (Prideful braggart.)
Well, what do you want to eat? Mmm. Do you have biscuit with a little bit of mustard on it? Mmm.
I don’t know about your family but in my family we have this tradition. Any time we assemble to break break together (or biscuit or whatever) there’s one thing we’ll do for sure: Discuss and speculate about the next meal a comin’.
It’s pretty much the exact opposite of being mindful and appreciative. Someone went to a lot of effort and bother to put this food before us. First, they had to have a vision and plan the damn thing, and that may be the hardest part of all. Then they went to a grocery store and spent money on stuff and brought it home. Then, using recipes and their own skills, prepared, assembled and cooked it all together while we sat on our lazy asses.
Yeah, I think they deserve more appreciation than us talking about the next meal we plan to shove in our face holes.
That said, where do you wanna go? To eat? That’s the conversation my wife and I had last night.
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Hyppo and Critter: Openminded Conflict Bias
This post is proudly sponsored by Nomsatan. It’s what’s in your belly!
Talkin’ ‘Bout Your Degeneration
I have come face to face with the devil. No, it’s not me. Not this time. I can’t talk about myself in every post, can I? Sometimes the devil comes in the form of a sweet little girl.
Why is it that when strangers see a baby, an adorable child, or a cute little dog they feel it’s suddenly socially acceptable to interact with same and/or the adults involved?
I hate that. I’ll thank you very much to stay the hell away.
My wife is one of those people. A toddler in a restaurant stands on a seat and stares at my wife. She’ll smile and wave and stuff like that. The nerve.
So the other day there’s a mom and her cute little girl in a restaurant. I was eating my tacos and minding my own business. My wife saw the little girl and smiled. Then, when the mom wasn’t looking, the girl stuck out her tongue at my wife. Three times!
Mom looked back and the little girl went back to adorable peaches and cream. Mom was none the wiser.
The behavior was calculated. The behavior was deliberate. That little girl knew exactly what she was doing. And it wasn’t an innocent act of cuteness, either. There was something vicious behind that tongue. The Marquis de Sade would have proudly declared she had a bright future.
My wife mentioned something about giving the girl a swat on her tushy. It takes a village to raise a child? Try touching someone else’s kid and you’ll be sued until the cows come home. The bank robber that brandished a firearm the other day? The cops arrested him then he was released due to a lack of jail space. Step in and do a job that a parent isn’t willing to do? The catch-and-release program will suddenly be canceled and you’ll be doing hard time. Don’t even think about trying to tell a parent their business.
Me? I mumbled something about “guns” and suddenly I was the one in trouble. My wife accusingly said, “You always take things too far.”
Hey, lady! I’m not the one sticking out my tongue at strangers, so there!
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He Tasks Me
This post is dedicated to The Boss whoever it* may be. Ed.
It happened on a work day. (Holy fuck. Is that the scariest opening ever or what?)
It was the arrival of a package that prompted the fun. The boss stopped everything he was doing. Ooh, a package had arrived.
Must. Open. Now.
His fleshy, grubby and unwashed digits picked up the box and it rotated in his massive NFL-style steroid-induced mitts. A piece of gooey food substance jiggled in his beard as he moved.
“Oh look,” he said. “I got something for you.”
Inside? You guessed it. New business cards for my department, the department where he always claimed I was in charge and had autonomy.
The cards were emblazoned with his name. Not mine. And underneath, the business title was printed. “Manager.”
Some time later he indicated with an explosion of gas that he had a “task” for me.
All hail the task!
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Project estimating: You want it when?
My boss used to give me projects. Lots of them. That was his specialty. It was pretty much the entire basis of our relationship. Him telling me what he wanted all day long. Delicious.
As a web site programmer, I pretty much had to “invent” a solution for every single thing he asked. No two tasks were ever exactly the same. The process was simple. Imagineer a solution, plan it, then do it making any necessary adjustments along the way.
Of course, the boss wanted to know up front exactly how long it would take. And that is where estimating came in.
Bosses love estimates. They may not understand the magic of what you do or how to do it themselves, but estimates are something they can understand. Then they can make “management decisions” based on what their “gut” tells them. Again, this is done without the luxury of actually knowing how you do what you do.
Let’s take a look at a typical example:
Boss: I want the web site to email customers a different email depending on if they order product A, B, or C.
Programmer: That’s easy enough. We’ll replace the standard order confirmation email with one based on what they order.
B: Great. How long will that take?
P: Unknown. It depends on several things. You need to give me a detailed project specification sheet (AKA “spec”). What will the emails say? What happens if a customer orders two or more of those products?
That’s usually where the process breaks down because, of course, the boss isn’t going to give you any of those damn things. He just wants to know how long it will take. Asking follow-up questions regarding your understanding of the task just makes you a pain in the ass.
Then, once you do give him an estimate, comes the inevitable follow-up question: What day will it be done?
P: It’ll take about an hour.
B: So you’ll have it done by Friday then?
P: That I cannot say.
B: You just said it will take one hour! That’s plenty of time to have it done by Friday!
Sure, but that means absolutely nothing about what day it will be done. For some reason, bosses seem to have a real problem grasping such a simple concept.
It works like this. You, the boss, control my entire day. You pull me off task to produce reports, work on other tasks, answer phone calls, drive downtown to pick up your mail, work the retail counter, ship packages, and attend bullshit staff meetings where you expound on motivational topics like we can all be fired, you make no money, and how you browbeat a poor elderly couple who run a hotel into accepting half their normal rate because times are hard. (True story.)
The math is simple and works like this: A one hour project (assuming that’s a valid estimate) will take three months if I’m given five minutes a week to work on it. Actually, probably longer, since there is overhead associated with switching on and off tasks so much.
A good analogy for illustrating “task switching overhead” is painting a wall. You have to get the color of paint needed, open it, set up your equipment and grab a step ladder.
Which method of painting do you think is more efficient?
- Paint an entire wall one color then move on to the next.
- Paint 5% of a wall one color, then switch to another wall in a different color, paint 5%, then return to the original wall. Repeat ad infinitum. (Add about 10 minutes of “switching” time each time you relocate.) Bingo! A one hour project now takes 10 hours.
For some reason, bosses always seem to think option #2 is the best one. Then, at the end of the project, they always demand to know, “What the hell took so long? What the hell is the problem?”
Indeed. The only problem was you, goddamn Bossholio.