August 31, 2011 § 1 Comment

Let it be noted that twice in one day, I did some housework.

…Granted, it was laundry, but still… TWICE! That’s three more minutes than I’d clocked before.

Level 4
XP 138
Tidy 2
Clean 2
Organize 2
Next 190

You know what I hate about laundry? It’s infinite.


Look at me with a system that’s working

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I figured I’d better do something today before running off to play video games with a friend. I am only four XP away from a level up, after all.

So I moved some laundry around. When I checked my timer, I needed 30 more seconds. I could’ve cheated or said “Screw it” and gone in an XP short. But no, I went hunting for dirty clothes and worked for that additional XP!

Level 4
XP 135
Tidy 2
Clean 2
Organize 2
Next 190

Woot! Exactly on target!

Today’s level-up sound-effect is inspired by the game I’m playing now, Folklore.

Dingdinging! Pashcheeeeewwwwwww…..

And, because I’m mature, this folk is called a Boobrie. Tee hee.

Attacking women bloggers

August 31, 2011 § Leave a comment

This isn’t about me. There’s no way enough people know about this itty-bitty pretty boring blog to care. But I ran across the article and thought I’d share. First, an excerpt:

A few years ago, a wonderful woman and prominent tech blogger named Kathy Sierra was driven offline because the the readers of a hate website called MeanKids decided SHE had to die. In a substantial media circus, it was determined that the primary reason the MeanKids site targeted her was because she was too nice. It annoyed them. They threatened to kill her. They posted pictures of her with a noose. They said they were waiting for her at her next conference.

She stopped blogging. Eventually she got rid of her Twitter account. She cancelled speaking engagements because she was afraid she would be murdered. It seems that as soon as a woman is popular enough to be noticed, someone decides it’s time to play dirty.

Disgusting. You can read the entire post at IttyBiz.

Have I mentioned that I hate shopping?

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

So I was out for an hour and 11 minutes. Here’s the breakdown of my time (I’m rounding normally):

– Seven minutes to drive to the store
– 20 minutes shopping and checking out
– Two minutes putting groceries in my car and putting the cart away

Then I decided to wash my car. The only problem was that, apparently, I didn’t know where any car washes were. I thought I did, but it was a do-it-yourself wash and I’m wearing jeans and sneakers with socks today. No can do on that one, Bubba. Also, I’m really lazy. So I wasted…

– 16 minutes looking for a car wash
– Eight minutes waiting in line when I finally found a car wash
– Five minutes to get my car washed
– 11 minutes to drive back home
– Three minutes to bring in the groceries and put the refrigerated ones away

Hey, that rounding got pretty durn close! It said an hour and 12 minutes. I’m not going to go with that number, though, just with the one 11. And like D&D, since I have to cut it in half, I’ll round down. 35 XP it is!

Level 3
XP 131
Tidy 1
Clean 1
Organize 2
Next 135

Gah! Just four points away!

You know, I think I learned three things today:

1. Just use the damn do-it-yourself car wash. Enjoy the sloppiness and change clothes when you get home. Your phone timer with thank you.
2. If the A/C is broken in your car, a car wash will not help cool down your interior.
3. Even being this close, I’m so worn out I don’t care that I only need to do four minutes of housework to catch up. Maybe later.

Would you buy a house with this toilet?

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

So, someday in the middle future, Brit and I are going to have to replace the toilet in the bathroom. This will probably take place during the same time frame as when we replace everything else in the bathroom.

We’ve already bought a sink, got it for $40 on sale at Home Depot, but no shower/tub or toilet yet.

So I was thinking today, what if we got a squat toilet? It’d sure be easier to clean. Plus, I really liked them when I was in Japan, and I would’ve liked them a lot more in Turkey if the ones I came across were cleaner. Like in Japan.

All in all, I really like the Turkish approach to the bathroom.

I couldn’t find an image of exactly what I mean, so this isn’t a Turkish bathroom. (And not a Turkish bathhouse either, though I could go for one of those as well.) See how the shower is almost completely open? Pretend that plate glass that you can barely see isn’t there at all. Yeah, like that. I liked having the shower be open to the entire bathroom. Have you heard of the weird people who brush their teeth in the shower? It would actually make sense in this set-up since you could stand at the sink while the conditioner works through your hair.

I’d just have to tile the entire fucking thing. That’d be a pain.

But ah, to never have to change another shower curtain ever again! Bliss!

Sadly, I don’t think the sink we got will work for that idea. [Cue sad musical overtones.] Also, speaking of shower curtains earlier, I need to head off to the store and do some shopping, including picking up a new shower curtain. [Sad music stops abruptly with a jarring clang.]

I despise shopping, so I’m giving myself XP for it; but it’s really easy, so I’m going to say it’s worth half XP.

I don’t do well with interviews

August 30, 2011 § Leave a comment

I think my interview went pretty OK yesterday. I don’t have the best interview skills, but I’ve been working really hard to improve them. Then, of course, the hiring manager came in and did what he does and threw the rules out the window and I felt almost completely unprepared. Almost.

Which, I guess, is a helluva a lot better than going into an interview feeling completely unprepared from the start.

After the interview yesterday, I saw this post on Indexed:

I suppose that’s what I’ll have to do no matter what I hear back about the interview, eh?

If Javert were lean-thinking

August 29, 2011 § 2 Comments

So I have a job interview today for a process improvement position within my company. (In fact, I’ll be in the interview when this post goes up.) We subscribe to the “lean” method of process improvement: look at the entire value stream and eliminate andy steps that aren’t value adding. If they don’t add value, they’re waste.

I’ve been preparing a lot for this interview, so much that I can’t look around my daily life and not mentally place everything in a value stream map. I go to the doctor’s office, sit in the waiting room for two hours, and think to myself, This is not a very lean process! I wonder where the waste steps are.

Now, some of you may know and a lot of you will not know that I am obsessed with Les Miserables. I’ve read the book a few times but mostly I just listen to the musical over and over. The book takes a while to read and I can’t sing along with it. So recently, my great love of Les Miserables has been clashing with my brain overdoing process improvement and I believe I’ve found the source of Javert’s downfall.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Javert is the nemesis of Jean Valjean. (I’ll be pulling mostly from the musical version of the story, as it’s simply simpler.) He starts out as a prison guard where Jean Valjean is imprisoned and steadily moves up in the world, all the while chasing down and searching out Jean Valjean, who breaks his parole early in the story and who Javert sees as evil and in need of re-imprisonment.

To be fair, I should make my view of Javert clear from the start: I do not believe he is evil. I believe one of the reasons he’s such a compelling character is because he isn’t evil, but a generally good person doing what he sincerely believes is right–finding dangerous criminals such as Jean Valjean and removing them from the streets where they can hurt the innocent.

So he’s doing good work, and is rewarded for it through a series of promotions, but not in a very lean manner. Let’s take a look at it.

1. In prison, as a guard, he fell victim to the power of his position, as demonstrated in the now infamous Stanford prison experiment, and was quite cruel, believing that his cruelty may help to keep the evil criminals in line. This earned him a great dislike from the prisoners, and any who were let go and may have been thinking of breaking parole were sure to remember him. In fact, in the musical, Javert flat out sings to Jean Valjean, “And I’m Javert! Do not forget my name, do not forget me, 24601.” It seems to me that if you’re going to spend the next 20 years chasing down a criminal in hiding, it will only benefit your case for him to not remember what you look like.

1.2 On a slight tangent from that, he insists on calling Jean Valjean by his prison number, 24601. This number has five syllables while Valjean’s full name only has three. That seems like a waste.

2. When Javert has suspicions about Jean Valjean in Montreuil-sur-Mer, he doesn’t report it right away. Because he doesn’t report it right away, another man is accused of being the parolee. Javert didn’t pull when the evidence showed him what was right, and he pushed when someone else announced that, in fact, he hadn’t made a grave mistake in not acting on his instincts. This led not only to a waste of Javert’s time and effort, but also to a waste of court time, and it cost Montreuil-sur-Mer a mayor. (Then again, my first suggestion would’ve done that too.)

3. When Jean Valjean shows himself to the court, Javert doesn’t detain him and Valjean just leaves. This then makes it necessary for Javert to go all the way back to the house where Valjean is comforting Fantine, killing her of fright in the process (in the book). Then he gets his ass kicked by Valjean, and it’s all Javert’s fault for not planning that one better. You see, he knew that Valjean was super-strong. In fact, that was the last piece of evidence that made him write to the central office. You don’t face a man like that by yourself.

4. I’m skipping right over the whole recapture and re-escape that’s in the book, other than to say that, if memory serves me correctly, Javert didn’t investigate the site of the “death” himself and just took others’ word for it. Maybe it’s not so lean to travel all the way out there just to see for yourself, but if you’re going to make this one man your own personal white whale, it’s probably worth that time. Better to do it right than to wait another ten years before you can capture the guy.

5. When Javert saves Valjean from the Thénardiers, he doesn’t pause to take a look at the guy. In the musical, he’s back and forth about how much he knows of the criminals and how he’ll make them pay…so much so that Valjean is able to simply slip away while the policeman’s back is turned. A leaner approach of getting the pertinent information quickly so as to process the thieves wouldn’t’ve allowed Valjean that moment of escape.

6. Now I’m going to skip to the barricade. Javert shouldn’t’ve been there. Didn’t he hear Eponine yell “The police! Disappear! Run for it! It’s Javeeeeeeeeert!!!!” Obviously the poor people on the street know who he is. And when you’re talking poor people on the street, you can’t forget about Gavroche, which is exactly what Javert did. He saw a small person and figured there could be no importance attached to such a child. And that’s what just about got him killed.

7. The last point is, of course, Javert’s biggest downfall since it led to his death. He couldn’t change. A lean thinker needs to be able to look at the box, look outside of the box, turn the box into a penguin, and then teach the penguin how to fly. Javert was so stuck in his ways, so averse to changing who he was, that when the entire world showed him he was wrong, he simply left the world.

To summarize, being nicer and more forgetful would’ve been some easy process changes for Javert to take and wouldn’t eliminated a lot of the waste further down the road. In the case that the story still followed the same arc, Javert should have acted as soon as he saw something was up and not trusted others quite so much. He’s a smart fellow and should’ve relied on his own wits. Lastly, of course, Javert needed to be more amenable to change. Even if everything else stayed the same, this would’ve saved his life.

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