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Showing posts from June, 2003
Thoughts From the Road

This morning was my first sunny morning bike commute, and it made a difference. From my average speed (16.2 mph) to my general attitude to my water intake, everything was up from last week's gray trudge. I was soaked again when I got to the office, but at least it was my own sweat and not rain and road goo.

It's still not the most exciting ride, though, so I have to find ways to keep myself entertained and stop the first three lines of "Unwell" from endlessly repeating in my head. Today's game was "What was that before it was roadkill?" the game where you try to identify the original owner of the various chunks of fur and goop on the side of the road. Hey, I figure that I have to look at them to dodge them anyway. I might as well make it fun. Here's an excerpt from today's game:

Squirrel.... Squirrel.... Opossum?... Frog. Hey, little guy, what were you doing so far from water? Besides getting squished, I mean....…
"Why ask why?" I'm glad you asked. I'll tell you.
I read a blog by a former coworker of mine, and it started me thinking about the different faces we put up to the world. This guy's a decent guy at work who clearly likes to have fun in the office, but he can also be a real -- how to put this nicely? -- hardass. He scared the heck out of almost everyone when he first started at our company, and has a reputation -- self-proclaimed, I might add -- for cleaning house as the first order of business in every new job. But when you read his blog you see a tender-hearted dad who's concerned about how nervous his girl will be at the recital and who has picnics after church. Is this the same guy?

Men are famous for compartmentalizing their lives. Work goes here, home over there, and ne'er the twain shall meet. I have been accused of forgetting that I have a family when I am at the office, so I know whereof I speak. But why do we do that? I can understand trying to put on a good face to the world, but the faces that we put on…
Did another ride the other day. It's hard to get up at 6:00 knowing you have a 90-minute ride before spending the day at work, but it's not so bad once you're on the road for a while, especially when the sun is (finally) shining. The afternoon ride was glorious, though, and far better than sitting in the Mass Pike for 45 minutes.

I have more proof on the "Massachussets tilts" theory, too:

My average speed going east in the afternoon: 18.8 mph
My average speed going west the next morning: 15.2 mph

And no, I don't believe that this can solely be attributed to the fact that I hate mornings, though it certainly feeds that sentiment.

My century comes up in four weeks, so I have to amp up the mileage, morning blues or not.
Pennsylvania Gazette: Alumni Voices (The Deluxe Edition)

Today I posted a memory of my time at the University of Pennsylvania. I'll put it here, too, for posterity's sake:

My memories of my time at Penn are a collection of sensations: the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells (oh, the smells!) of Penn:

My first sight of Hill House when the taxi dropped me and my huge boxes off in front. It took me five minutes to figure out where the front entrance was.

The sound of someone saying who-knew-what in Irvine Auditorium. The acoustics in that place were so bad, you could be 20 feet from someone and not be able to understand them, never mind catching a word of Dennis Miller's rants from the top of the balcony.

The taste of my first Sophie's cheesesteak. I don't care what anyone else says, that truck served the best steaks in town and, therefore, the world.

The slightly sweaty smell of Franklin Field on a hot spring day, the rough feel of the twine on the javelin grip in …
Thought for the day

If everyone in a meeting agrees on a decision, half of them aren't paying attention.
No Regrets

My recent grumpy posts may leave you, gentle reader, with the impression that I regret leaving my old job, or feel I may have made a mistake. While I must admit that I do miss certain aspects of my old company, and I certainly miss my friends there, I have no regrets. In terms of my career, this was the right move to make. I have a much greater ability to make a positive impact now than I did before, both within the small consulting startup that pays my salary and for the clients we serve. I expect that we will someday set the standard for how to get things done, and I want to be in the forefront of that effort. Working at a "grown-up" organization is part of the price of this new reach, as well as part of the learning process. Until I see what it is like to work for a company, I can't effectively suggest improvements in that environment.

This has always been my biggest complaint about consultants: they zoom in, hold a few interviews, then drop a binder…
They paved Paradise and put up a "No Parking" sign

To quote Joni Mitchell (or the Black Crowes now, I suppose): "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone." I can't believe that I ever complained about restrictive policies or things that kept me from getting my job done when I worked at a small company. That was paradise, from a freedom to do my job point of view, compared to large company life. I already mentioned the total lockdown of my desktop, the filtering of "dangerous" Internet sites (profiles.yahoo.com? Watch out!), and the strictly enforced conformity. But did I mention that, unless the computer was ordered by IT, built by the IT-approved vendor, and installed by an IT tech, it's not allowed on the network at all? This in a company where -- by my scientific technique of walking around and looking at the color of everyone's badges -- an estimated 20% of staff are contractors.

My consulting company issued me a laptop,…