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Monday, February 27, 2006

A failure to communicate

As a followup to "Managing sucks", I submit the following:
  • Person is told via e-mail, "Here is the updated list of things you need to accomplish within your probationary period. Please indicate your receipt and acceptance of this list."
  • Person responds, "Yes I have received your e-mail."

Friday, February 24, 2006

Puzzled children of low moral character

You may not always agree with him, but Fred Reed is always an entertaining read:
The great fallacy of childhood is the belief that grownups must know what they are doing. There is no evidence for this in the historical record. You would do better by grabbing a government at random from the denizens of a rural high school. Democracy brings us twerps, psychopaths, ambitious ciphers, short men, and well-born drones. They are what they are. They can’t change any more than a leper can change his spots. I need some really strong drugs or someone to hit me on the head with a rubber mallet. Opium is the religion of the masses. Let us pray.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Managing sucks

Being a manager sucks overall. Some people get off on it, but not me. I just want to do my thing and not worry about being responsible for the work of others.

I just had to give one of my staff members the warning letter. I.e., the letter which states you've been screwing up, and you have thirty days to stop it, work effectively, and communicate appropriately, or you're gone. One aspect of "communicating appropriately" means being non-adversarial with your supervisor(s) when being criticized about your work. So upon being given the warning letter, he promptly accused my boss of being incompetent to judge whether he has been taking too long on his issues, and accused me of being a liar for saying his documentation was not up to the level of others on the team. And then he asks my boss if he can have a private conversation with him, without me. My boss said yes and later asked me if I was ok with that. I said yes, because I knew that even though this guy would try his best to trash me, there's very little that he would be able to criticize. The worst that he could get me for is that I'm somewhat disconnected from what he's doing -- I'm not intimately aware of every technical aspect of every issue on his plate. And I shouldn't have to be. They're his issues to complete.


Is he gonna try accusing me of crap like having seen me browsing or IM'ing when I could have been working instead? Please. He takes a half-hour break every morning for breakfast and every afternoon. A bunch of people do. Officially, people are supposed to be allowed to take 15 minute breaks in the AM and PM, but a number of people have let it get stretched out to half an hour each time. Plus lunch is routinely an hour and a quarter, an hour and a half. Do I take AM and PM breaks? No. Guess where I take my lunch 4 days out of 5. That's right, at my desk. And besides, I can't count the number of times I've walked past his desk and saw him running something in his browser down towards the bottom of his screen where most people couldn't see it...

And now I'm here blogging this, because all of this is preventing me from being able to sleep.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

This one time, in band camp...

So I'm in a new band now (I told you about my old band right?), and I'm loving this band. My old one was doing covers of hard rock tunes... mediocrely. After being with them for six or seven months or so, we were still mediocre, and the other guys didn't seem to have any drive to go out and play gigs. I had to push them, and that's not a position I wanted to be in. So I shopped myself around, found a band that played original metal tunes -- though they had been on hiatus for six months or so -- and needed a bassist. A much better band. A much better situation. After four practices we played our first show -- an open mike night at a local bar -- and we were very well received, even tho the audience seemed more like a classic rock crowd. Two days later we played an open mike night at another place. A tiny little place. But, they were our crowd. A bunch of young metal heads. They loved us.

Oh, and after our first gig, the guy running the show grabbed us and insisted on booking us for one of his Saturday night shows next month -- a paying gig. Now we need to write more songs...

It was a good move.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

War is a scam

Lew Rockwell
War is a scam whose foundation is lies. That is why dissenters are so dangerous.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

I have seldom seen such nonsense

Following an odd advertising link on a site I was reading today, I came across the "Crystal Clear electron water/air machine". My eyes widened in shock, surprise, and sadness when I read the following on the page explaining what this machine does:
In the beginning, as the earth cooled down, clusters of water molecules gained Electrons and tremendous energy with every expansion-contraction... explaining Biblical ages! Patents and proprietary secrets show we have duplicated that process with properties so unique we can prove in court it’s our water! These properties can also be used to expose a scam!! Today, water LACKS ENERGY because there is very little expansion-contraction AND THAT’S WHY VITAMIN/MINERAL SUPPLEMENTS PRODUCE NO RESULTS (see below).

Ordinary distilled is the worst because KEEPING WATER AT THE BOILING POINT FOR HOURS DRIVES OFF ELECTRONS NEEDED TO LIVE... it’s biologically dead, nothing will grow, fish die... it’s NOT “distilled like in nature” and yet people drink this water?? To get around the boiling problem, we boil for ONLY SECONDS (expand) and then cool about 80 degrees (contract), repeating several times a minute, GAINING ENERGY WHILE DUPLICATING NATURE’S PROCESS!!

Holy crap. I wonder if Randi knows about this one. I think it's time to notify him.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Man, the universe is pretty, um, big

From The Atlas of the Universe:
* Number of superclusters in the visible universe = 10 million
* Number of galaxy groups in the visible universe = 25 billion
* Number of large galaxies in the visible universe = 350 billion
* Number of dwarf galaxies in the visible universe = 3.5 trillion
* Number of stars in the visible universe = 30 billion trillion (30,000,000,000,000,000,000,000)

So if intelligent life exists around one in a trillion stars (0.0000000001 percent of stars), then there are 30 billion planets with intelligent life in the universe. Is one in a trillion still overestimating the likelihood of intelligent life?

By the way, check out that site -- the map of the large scale structure of the universe is worth the price of admission.