Sep 30, 2007
LocoPics at the Market Street Plaza
Above, maybe one quarter of the folks who came by the LocoPops 2nd anniversary party in downtown Durham.
Pops, agua frescas and horchatas were all great. Music was great. Weather was perfect.
Sep 29, 2007
Andrew Delbanco and Derek Bok on the Purposes of College
Should the mission of college go beyond imparting skills and handing out a useful credential? In his 2003 book, “Universities in the Marketplace,” Derek Bok, the former Harvard president, made the shocking observation that “faculties currently display scant interest in preparing undergraduates to be democratic citizens, a task once regarded as the principal purpose of a liberal education and one urgently needed at this moment in the United States.” Bok was right on both counts — the neglect and the urgency — but he relegated his statement to a footnote. It should have been a headline.
-- Andrew Delbanco, Academic Business, New York Times, 30 September 2007
Sep 27, 2007
Portrait of the Consultant as a Young Man (with undiagnosed ADD)
In the mid-80s when I was in high school (a decade before my attention deficit disorder diagnosis), there were already clear signs that I would be a frustrated adult -- full of talent, and fully challenged at putting those talents to use. Check out these three quarterly reports from October 1984:
Calculus: Phil is an enthusiastic member of this class. He participates freely in class discussion and has many good ideas. It is enjoyable to have him in class but also a frustration. For although he seems to understand new concepts when presented, he doesn't appear to spend time studying so that these ideas and skills become part of his general knowledge. Until he can discipline himself to do the hard work involved in the education process, he will not be recognized as the talented special person he wants to be. There will be times in Phil's life when this will have a lasting impact on what he can achieve. [Emphasis added]
British Literature: Phil's work is always imaginative and usually insightful. His quiz scores suggest that he might prepare his assignments a little more carefully. Attention to detail is sometimes tedious but always necessary in both analytical and creative writing and thinking.
Philosophy: Phil's quite good performance in both class discussions and written assignments was marred only by his failure to hand in the mid-term exam on time.
So what's changed since then? Many things, thank goodness. Early in my engineering career, my bosses smacked me a few times for sloppy work and poor detail management, so I got serious about improving. Along the way, I actually came to enjoy doing careful work (at least sometimes) for two different reasons.
First, I came to realize how useful and important and rare it was to be a professional who did careful, thorough work. By doing better work, I made myself much more valuable. And by being more valuable, I got to do more interesting work.
Second, I got a lot of satisfaction from learning to do something well that I used to do poorly. Up until then, most of my "wins" came from doing things that came easily. Succeeding at something through hard work and persistence was a new and in some ways deeper pleasure.
These days, colleagues and clients often say they're impressed by how I do things with more care and thoroughness than most professionals they work with. They appreciate how I sweat the details. This is praise I appreciate -- when I hear it, I know I'm making a difference. Sure, many consultants are much more competent and pains-taking than I, but they live in a different world with different kinds of megadollar clients. In my world, I'm happy that I can work with clients and colleagues whose talents and efforts are complementary to my own. No heroes. Just people who like putting their strengths together.
Of course this isn't to say that I've conquered all the problems that my teachers spotted in 12th grade. In particularly, I'm still persistently late: I miss deadlines, I'm late for appointments, and for some damned reason I'm still surprised half of the times when it happens. I'm working on that, though. Working on it.
By the way, if I haven't mentioned it to you: check out my new site, the ADDexecutive: Business Strategy and Management for Executives with Attention Deficit Disorder. It's still in live beta, but worth a look for smart grownups with the ADD bug.
Report card illustration from the Discovery Channel's Educator Resources.
Sep 26, 2007
LocoPops 2nd Anniversary Party -- Sunday, Sep 30, 3-6
Locopops 2nd Anniversary Party
Sunday, September 30th
3 to 6 pm on the new CCB plaza in the heart of Downtown Durham!
Music will be provided by the Ron Hunter Trio.
Non-alcoholic beverages will be provided.
Admission is free.
Pops will be sold with all proceeds donated to Music Maker Relief International, a Durham-based international charity which assists musicians from the South meet basic living needs and gain recognition for their contributions to the Southern musical tradition.
About Music Maker Relief International: "The Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. helps the true pioneers and forgotten heroes of Southern music gain recognition and meet their day to day needs. We present these musical traditions to the world so American culture will flourish and be preserved for future generations. Our criterion for recipients is they be rooted in a Southern musical tradition, be 55 years or older and have an annual income less than $18,000. Music Maker Relief Foundation, Inc. is a tax exempt, public charity under IRS code 501(c)3. Programs Musician Sustenance - grants to meet basic life needs and emergency relief. Musical Development - grants and services for recipient artist professional development and career advancement. Cultural Access - supports the preservation and proliferation of American musical traditions. New Orleans Musician's Fund - assistance to musicians affected by Hurricane Katrina."
Sep 25, 2007
James Blood Ulmer
-- James Blood Ulmer
Pic (and much more) -- the James Blood Ulmer page at Hyena Records
Sep 19, 2007
"Ruined by Reading"
Barry C. wrote a blog on What Single Book is the Best Introduction to Your Field...for Lay People which inspired Chap to mention "my Shelf of Shame (the books I bought but haven't yet read)" which reminded me that I wanted to share this quote with you:
Rarely does the daily paper move me to re-examine my life. But a recent New York Times piece quoted a Chinese scholar whose "belief in Buddhism...has curbed his appetite for books." Mr. Cha says, "To read more is a handicap. It is better to keep your own mind free and to not let the thinking of others interfere with your own free thinking." I clipped his statement and placed it on the bedside table, next to a pile of books I was reading or planned to read or thought I ought to read. The clipping is about two square inches and almost weightless, the pile of books some nine inches high, weighing a few pounds. Yet they face each other in perfect balance. I am the scale on which they rest.
Lying in the shadow of the books, I brood on my reading habit. What is it all about? What am I doing it for? And the classic addict's question, What is it doing for me?
--Lynn Schwartz, Ruined by Reading: A Life in Books
Sep 14, 2007
So here's the question: am I going straight to hell, or do I have to stop by the SAG office on the way?
1. I was at a local psychiatric ward.
2. She laughed.
3. No, not to her knowledge.
Sep 13, 2007
Sudoku - "Durhamite"
I made this Durhamite sudoku while on vacation in bloody hot Phoenix last month. It solves like any other Sudoku but with letters instead of numbers. If you're one of the three living Americans who doesn't know how Sudoku puzzles work, go here.
Click below for printable PDFs:
Sep 12, 2007
xkcd.com -- home of my new favorite writer and artist
If you already knew about this site and didn't tell me, shame on you.
Randall Munroe's xkcd.com A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language
Sep 11, 2007
Durham City Council Zoning Decision Meeting -- Monday 15 October
JUST BE THERE
On Monday, October 15, 2007, the Durham City Council will decide on a Zoning Development Plan (Z06-64) that requests a 308 unit multi-family residential on Garrett Road. As private citizens we want to gather many, many citizens to appear (wearing orange shirts) at City Hall that evening. The presence of so many voters, constituents, will prove to the Council Members that citizens want a better Plan.
We are mainly concerned that the numerous impervious surfaces, of recent and future developments, damage creeks and streams and, of course, further pollute Jordan Lake. Since EPA already lists the Lake as “impaired water” now is the time to challenge the course of heedless construction – residential and commercial. For much building is being done purposely without waiting for the passage of the Standards for Improving the Quality of the Jordan Lake Reservoir.
We realize that development will occur. Nevertheless, it should be committed to the community’s well being. Endangering water, overcrowding schools and increasing traffic does not support the needs of the environment and of the public.
Any suggestions or support is welcome.
Wear orange to the Meeting! We can do this as often as we want to express our views and get results!
Contact - Claire Jentsch or Helen Fischer firstname.lastname@example.org
This editorial notice posted at the Archer Pelican on behalf of Claire Jentsch. Views expressed are of the writers and not the Archer Pelican.
Sep 09, 2007
Sprint Mobile Wireless
I just signed up for Sprint Mobile Wireless. $59.99/mo for moderately-paced broadband anywhere Sprint has coverage. Works for me, especially since my current housesitting gig (Sep through Dec) has no internet.
A nice thing about the Sprint shop at Patterson Place -- the sales guy installed and tested everything on my laptop before I left the store. I really appreciated that. I hate tech installs. I always worry that they're not going to work right, or at least that they're going to be a major PITA.
Sprint Mobile Wireless has funny online tech support. Here is the feedback tool that shows up with your search results:
Find What You Were Looking For?
o Pretty much
o Sort of
o Not really
o Not even close
In other things -- I'm thinking about an extended trip to Guadalajara at the start of 2008.* Apparently Iusacell is already offering their "BAM" high-speed EV/DO-Rev.A mobile wireless in Guadalajara -- long before we're scheduled to get it across medium-metro USA. Rates are about the same for what I'm paying for Sprint's low-speed EV/DO, without the long-term commitment.
*Yes, feel free to remind me how lousy I am about following through with plans for extended trips -- I do feel shame. But I'm actually making progress toward this goal, in part by postponing other travel hoped for in fall 2007.