"So there are Oliphaunts. But no one at home will ever believe me."
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Posts from — October 2009

The Tides of Bore

Well, I forgot to take pictures today, but the salon, or Café Grace as some call it, was popular enough to merit two pots of espresso today.

I don’t believe anything eventful happened all day. The problem with work like this is, it’s so hard to account for the time. I’m not sure what I accomplished at the end of the day but by all accounts it was productive and I feel tired. These three things stand out: I wrote a lengthy and sarcastic email about some ridiculous bookkeeping requirement imposed on us (at least one person affirmed that it was hilarious); I spent about an hour drinking coffee; and two prominent persons in my organization almost got into a fist fight right outside my office over something petty. The latter was resolved without fisticuffs, as far as I know. Maybe they went somewhere else. I’m sure tomorrow there will be cryptic admonitions and oblique scoldings.

Even though I have a staff (supposed to be four or five people, but at this time it is exactly one), I’ve been doing everything my job entails by myself. I’m currently undertaking the project of forcing job duties onto my subordinate. It’s so hard to turn things over to people in whose will and ability you don’t have full confidence. But the job really entails more than one person can do, and the little things are keeping me from the big things. That will have to change. So I’m learning a little more about effective management.

October 20, 2009   Comments Off

The Salon

I badgered my wife into sending me a complete stove top espresso set, starting with a stainless steel moka pot, and including stainless steel demitasse cups, with saucers, little stainless steel spoons, a stainless steel sugar and cream set, and a stainless steel milk frother. Oh and two stainless steel cappuccino cups. With stainless steel saucers.

So, there is a bit of a theme here. Not only is stainless steel awesome, its pretty much essential in this environment that all your nice things be either extremely durable or entirely disposable. There are a surprising number of clumsy, careless people here.

I’ve been in the habit of making a pot of espresso (four shots) every morning and inviting a few discriminating individuals to sit in my office and relax with a small cup of straight espresso (sweetened with one spoonful of demerara). Word has spread and now people poke their head in around that time, looking for some friendly conversation and a touch of civilization.

I’m glad I went to the expense of getting it here, and I have to thank my wife for going through the trouble to get it to me so quickly after the idea formed in my head.

Tomorrow I will post pictures of my little salon.

October 19, 2009   Comments Off

An ear miss

Kirsten tells me that Nicholas fell down the stairs and through the door at the bottom, striking his head on the corner of the Ikea bookcase. I guess the corner punched a neat hole right through the upper ear and bruised his head.

Apparently it is healing marvelously well. Initially I was quite angry that she didn’t take him to the hospital.

The best part of the story is how Christopher, who caused the incident by trying to block Nicholas on the way down the stairs and precipitated the struggle that caused the precipitous fall, believed he had killed Nicholas and hid under the bed.

My day has been uneventful. I helped a friend upgrade the memory and hard drive in his 2006 MacBook Pro. I nearly killed his hard drive when, in a frenzy of screw removal (those early MacBooks are torturously designed) I took out the Torx screws that hold the drive together. I didn’t think anything of it, just replaced the screws and put the old drive in an enclosure. When we tried to read it to migrate his data over it made a hideous chirping sound. A quick search of the Internet suggested making a frisbee-throwing motion with it, and then jerking it back to re-align the platter. I tried this, but nothing happened. Then I realized that you were supposed to do that with the drive plugged in and spinning. It fixed it immediately. Awesome. Although, strangely, it comes up fine on my computer but his computer won’t recognize it.

October 18, 2009   Comments Off