It’s time to write a blog post. What to do? What to do?
Unless there’s a burning issue sitting happily on my frontal lobe, step one is usually checking my “blog notes” and finding some scrap of an idea. But wait! It’s not as easy as it sounds.
For one thing, my notes are scattered to the wind across a wide variety of locations. In the physical world this includes sticky notes littered around my desk like dying leaves on an autumn lawn. There’s also two pocket notebooks filled with pages and pages of tiny scrawl. Most of it is not decipherable, even to me, the hand that did the scrawling. And they’ve both been through the laundry so the ink is fuzzy and faint.
In the electronic world I’ve cleverly tried to consolidate my little notes to self. There’s the “Notes” app in my iPad. There’s another app called “Werdsmith” I also use from time to time. And, in an app called “Evernote” there’s probably my biggest library of random thoughts. This one has the advantage of being shared with my computer, too. Lastly there’s a plain text file in the home directory of my computer that I maintain with a command line text editor.
Here’s a sample of what can be found in my notes. I’ve culled these from the herd for your edification of the writer’s process.
Artichoke or Boss?
Tags: smell, rat
As is often the case, my notes are generally useless when I revisit them later. They may seem obvious at the time but usually I don’t breadcrumb enough to lead my brain back to the scene of the crime and grok the point, if there even was one.
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I added an app to my iPod Touch called “Dragon Dictation.” It’s free so at least I know I didn’t overpay. This app converts speech to text. So now I can talk to my iPod (which feels a little weird), have my voice converted to text, then easily send that text as a tweet.
The other night I was at a restaurant and decided to take it for a spin. Let’s see how it did.
Tweet: Hey Twitter this is my voice converted to text. How exciting
Analysis: Not too shabby. That’s what I said, although I’m pretty sure I implied a period at the end of the sentence.
Tweet: Hi text max’s voice tweet from a rest salon marvel at my greatness
Analysis: This is so mangled I can’t remember my exact words. But I do know that “rest salon” was supposed to be “restaurant.”
Tweet: There’s a guy here at the restaurant with the laptop will ask for his e-mail address so I can tweet
Analysis: This one is almost decipherable. It was actually: “There’s a guy here at the restaurant with a laptop. I will ask for his e-mail address so I can tweet him.” I was feeling pretty damn high tech and social at the time.
Test: The quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog
Test: Now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their country
Nailed it again.
Tweet: I sure hope you’ll enjoy the best tweets to you by dragon dictation. Peace out
Analysis: This was the end of my test. It think it was “you’ve enjoyed” but I’m not sure.
Conclusion: The app worked fairly well. I noticed that it works by recording audio then processing it. The longer you talk, the more you record, and the longer the processing time. It was a bit annoying it didn’t keep up in real time.
Overall, I recommend this app at the price of free. It’s a good value for making your tweets look like they came from someone with English as a second language and/or an elementary school dropout.
Boss: “Look at that! We sold two of the XJ-21’s today!”
And they say interpersonal relationships don’t mean much any more. Ha!
You ever met anyone like this? Someone who wants you to hang on every word they say, especially about the excruciating minutia of their day, while they simultaneously take a verbal dump on you every time you speak?
Boss: “Tom, what do you think about adding the XJ-21’s to our web site?”
Me: “Actually, I’ve been working on a template that will…”
Boss: “Cause I think we could sell a few, if only they were up there. Know what I mean?”
Me: “Uh, yeah. Whatever.”
Perhaps the funniest aspect of all of this is how the boss never seems to notice when I’ve checked out of the conversation. I just shut my fuckin’ trap, stare off into space, turn my back on him and return to my computer. Whatever. Whatever!!!
Yep. Hilarious. It’s friggin’ a barrel of laughs to be minimized as a person and stomped on every fucking time you open your mouth. Let’s put on our thinking caps. Do you think there is any possible way treating people like that will have consequences? Think it will encourage them to be the most enthusiastic member of your team? To proactively go out and do things for you? To care about what you have to say when the shoe is on the other foot? Foster bitterness? Loathing? Spite?
Both of the examples above are typical at my job. At no point does anyone ever come back and say, “Eh? Your wife? In urgent care? What’s up with that?” Nope. In one ear and out the other and never to be thought of again, unless, of course, you’re dumb enough to make a second attempt. But I’m usually so fried there is little chance of that.
So yeah, like I alluded to in a recent post, my #1 overriding goal, my prime directive, my mission in life every single time I haul my sorry ass into work is clear and present and always on my mind as I try to go about my duties:
Don’t speak. Don’t attempt to engage enemies in conversation. Speaking only serves to embolden office combatants and facilitates the exchange of power from those who actually care to those who are fucking assholes.
It’s a very worthy goal. One I prostrate myself to continually all day long. I strive to keep it the foremost thing on my mind as I do my job. Even so, I’m only human, so failure is inevitable.
In some ways, it’s more important how you grapple with that failure than striving to meet the goal in the first place. After all, as something that can’t actually be achieved, a goal is little more than a mechanism to getting to your special place. And, at least for me, lovingly embracing failure with self-flagellation is the key.
At last! Only after sweet failure can you come face to face with the one and only persona that will never interrupt or fail to listen. That is, of course, your inner persona. A persona that will truly embrace your thoughts of failure. It’s a persona that’s always there for you.
“Your hubris is especially delicious when it rots.”
“What made you think they’d take interest in that?”
“Why don’t you just offer up your throat next time?”
“You make me sick.”
“Think those bastards give a shit?”
“Please, try that some more. I’m grabbing some popcorn. This will be good!”
Finally, conversations worth having! Even better they don’t have to involve other people who are nothing more than winking assholes.
In the end, the only one you can count on is yourself.
What’s the “take away” here? You have to dig deep to find the goodness, but it’s there. My old friend yin-yang still can be found if we know where to look. The lesson of duality is that if something is especially reaming me out then there must be something else to be learned, too. Right?
It’s like being eviscerated and having your bowels strewn about on the floor in front of you. In that situation you really have two choices. Bitch about the steam or take the opportunity to learn a little something for the future (albeit one that has only a few seconds left).
Instead of bitching about the steam, why not say, “Hey. Thanks for spilling out my entrails. Now I have the chance to practice the art of divination and, just maybe, I can glean my fortune.” Now that’s turning lemons into lemonade!
I guess the flow of a normal workday happens for a reason. It’s the natural order of things. It’s about the daily journey to the place you need to be. You can’t have one without the other. In that respect, I guess the role played by assholes is important after all.