Archive for the ‘work’ tag
Do you remember the movie “UHF“? Remember that part where Stanley congratulates the kid who won some game on his show “Stanley Spadowski’s Playhouse” and tells him that the prize is that he “gets to drink from the firehose”? And then the firehose is turned on and the kid gets blasted across the room by the jet of water?
Between all of the news sites, all of the industry and personal sites and blogs that I follow, twitter, skype, instant messages, email, texts, RSS feeds, the online video conference room that I “hang out in” with remotely located colleagues during the workdays, and all of the rest… most days I feel like that kid, getting blasted across the room by the deluge of information that is always on and always flowing. Every day there is more of it. Every day is a struggle to keep up with it all. Every day I worry that I am slipping behind.
Do I have a solution for that? Not really. Do I have any ideas for how to even begin to deal with the information overload? Again, not really. I just deal with everything as it comes, try to concentrate on the stuff that seems most interesting and/or important, and try not to fret about the rest.
I also write a lot of notes to myself and stick them all over my workspace.
If you have any better ideas, I would love to hear them.
Of all of the things that I have done in connection with my work at Elsevier, learning how to tango is probably one of the most unusual.
By “learning to tango”, I mean “had two, half-hour, lessons from a co-worker on the basics of Argentinean and Vintage tango”.
Every year LexisNexis puts on a day’s worth of presentations, workshops, speakers, demos, etc etc etc for World Usability Day. I have always been involved in the organization committee to some degree or another, and have generally enjoyed it. Last year at the end of the event, the guy who had been spearheading the event announced that he was stepping down from that position, and that someone else would have to take up the banner. I volunteered.
Organizing and running an event is tough and takes a lot of time. You need to find people who are willing to run presentations and workshops. You need to find a keynote speaker. You need to find someone to run the panel discussion, as well as people to be on the panel and discuss stuff. You need to find people who want to run demos or do posters. You need to organize food and drinks and posters and programs, and audio-visual equipment, and a location for everything to take place in… and then on the day of you need to run around and worry about everything going smoothly and whether or not attendance is “good enough” and if everyone is having a good time.
But seeing something like that come together really well, and be an event that everyone seems to really enjoy and appreciate is pretty addictive. I will be doing this again next year.
Oh, the tango? Well one of the workshops for World Usability Day was on using tango to learn how to do ethnography. The workshop organizer wanted to have several couples of dancers to dance and be observed by the rest of the workshop participants. She had plenty of male dancers, but not enough female dancers. Being a dedicated event organizer, I told her that if it wouldn’t matter if the dancers were inexperienced or not then I would be willing to give it a whirl. Which is how I ended up getting “private” tango lessons in the lobby of the office building at 7am, for two days running.
I enjoyed it. Yes, I was nervous about stepping on his feet (which I didn’t actually do) or messing up (which I did, several times, but it turns out the one of the keys is to pretend that you know exactly what you are doing, and no one will notice) or looking like an idiot (which apparently I did not… to the extent that several people disbelieved that I was a complete novice) but I had a lot of fun.
Maybe I can convince John to try some ballroom dance lessons.
… and so forth.
No, not me.
One of my co-workers, a fellow webdev-type person with interests in standards and mobile applications, had his last day today, and is leaving the green pastures of Elsevier UCD and Dayton for the even greener pastures of a cool new job in Indianapolis. (I know a lot of people who have gone there for job-related reasons lately…)
I “took charge” (in a very slacktastic sort of way) of arranging his going-away gift. I collected donations, got his gift (an Amazon gift certificate, which I printed out this morning), and passed around a card (which I ran out to CVS to purchase about mid-morning) for signatures and messages.
I admit that I was not terribly motivated to do a lot in advance as far as getting ready for his departure. It is a good opportunity for him, but I am not happy that he is leaving our group. Se la vie, I suppose.
Our group took him out to lunch and presented the card and certificate, final items of business were wrapped up, and then, after he took his final leave, we looted his cubicle. Hey… you never know what you might need more pushpins, post-it notes, and other assorted office supplies.
Anyway, in these days of online connectedness, I guess that he is not really “gone”. He is still around, just virtually, rather then tangibly.
My free hammock arrived yesterday.
My office is migrating from one (not so great) Oracle-based back-office system to another (not so great) Oracle-based back-office system and a little while ago I got an email warning me that my “reward points” would not be rolled over into the new system, and that, in essence, I needed to use them or lose them. I had no idea that I had any “reward points” floating out there in intranet limbo, and for the life of me couldn’t remember what I might have done to get them in the first place. So when I logged in to the Reward Site to see what was what, it it turned out that I had somehow amassed quite a lot of points indeed.
Ever since John and I got back from Maui last year I have been talking about wanting to get a hammock, but hadn’t yet taken the plunge as far as actually getting it rather then just talking about it.
So I redeemed my “reward points” to obtain a hammock and a hammock stand. And a couple of DVDs.
And I am looking forward to layout on in the sun on it, book in hand.