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NBA playoffs Thu, Jul 22, 2021
I started watching NBA basketball a few years ago.  More specifically, I started watching the playoffs.  Even more specifically, I sporadically watch the last few rounds of the conference playoffs, then watch the finales religiously.  I skip through the regular season stuff (82 games?!) and just watch the good stuff. 

And I have to say, I really like the 7-game series (a.k.a. best-of-4) format.  Other sports and leagues do this too, so it's not NBA-specific.  As opposed to the NFL playoffs or even the NCAA basketball tournament, having multiple games gives everyone a chance to have an off day without ending their entire season.  It allows for home-court advantage to help and hurt (games are played alternately at both teams' locations).  The refs can make or miss some big calls and not ruin the entire series.  It even allows a little space for injury:  A player sidelined with a muscle strain in one game might come back for a later game.  I feel like if your team can't beat an opposing team in 7 games, you don't deserve to move on.  It's thorough and it's fair. 

Another thing I noticed is a comment on basketball in general:  Basketball is a very balanced sport.  Every player plays both offense and defense.  Every player uses the same general skills to play -- dribbling, passing, shooting, blocking, etc.  Sure, some players tend to do more of the shooting, while other players tend to do more of the blocking.  But there are no single-purpose players on the court; no punters or goalies or designated hitters.  And everyone is expected to be pretty good at all of them -- so much so that certain players' star status is questioned if they're bad at one of those fundamental skills.  Sure, you have to be 6'6" to get on the team, but at least you don't only do one thing. #sports

3116 Mon, Jul 12, 2021
I feel like as a project manager there's a fine line between planning a tight schedule and challenging your team to do more than they think is possible in the allotted time vs. planning poorly and getting mad when your team can't meet your ridiculous timeframe.

Vegetarian diet experiment Fri, Jul 09, 2021
I've had high cholesterol since I was a teenager, and I've tried all kinds of things to lower it.  Everything from the standard "diet and exercise" (thanks doc, I'm glad I paid for that advice) to pills.  Pills work great, but most doctors are hesitant to prescribe them to a person who'll likely be taking them for 50 or more years.  A recent doctor visit presented me with the motivation to try something new:  Become a vegetarian.  I've heard that advice anecdotally from people who think cholesterol only comes from the food you eat (side note:  it doesn't; 80% of the cholesterol in your body comes from your own goddamn body), but I've never taken the plunge.  So I decided to conduct an experiment that would either make me a permanent vegetarian, or prove people wrong so I never have to have this stupid conversation again. 

The first step was to figure out what meals I could eat in place of meat.  It took a little effort, but I found that it's less of a "replace [meat] with [vegetable]" and more of a "replace [meaty meal] with [veg+carb meal]".  Stir-fry meals are essential.  Sometimes tofu (fried and diced) was involved to add a little bulk to the meal, but the idea that you would simply replace a piece of chicken with a piece of tofu is ludicrous.  Final note:  pizza and pasta are vegetarian, so I ate a lot of those. 

I decided to give it a solid six month trial.  One month is way too short (I think) to produce any type of biological change, and three months sounded short as well.  During these six months, I never ate a single piece of animal flesh, and the only animal "product" I consumed was dairy -- not much milk or eggs, but holy hell lots of cheese. 

Eating at restaurants was a little bit of a challenge, but not nearly as much as it likely was 20 or so years ago.  Every place on earth has a vegetarian option.  It's not hard to find.  But don't come at me with some dumbass salad -- I'm a vegetarian, not a rabbit.  It's not that I dislike salads, it's just kind of the most basic vegetarian thing in existence, and it gets old quick. 

One of my biggest pet peeves is catering to other people's absurd preferences and dietary restrictions, so I made sure people didn't cater to mine.  This was sometimes difficult because people are nice.  It helps that I'm totally not a foodie; I'll literally eat snacks and call it a meal.  Regardless, some people went out of their way and made fantastic vegetarian dishes, which was pretty cool. 

Now for the results.  I got a blood test before I started, and then six months later.  My total cholesterol ... stayed almost exactly the same.  The ratio stayed almost exactly the same.  My triglycerides went up, possibly because of all the carbs I was eating. 

In short, a total failure.  Or at least that's what it felt like when I got the results.  But it was an experiment, so there's really no failure or success, just a result.  Either way the result was kind of disappointing, not because I necessarily wanted to be a vegetarian for the rest of my life (which wouldn't be terrible), but because yet another cholesterol-lowering thing produced exactly zero results.  Oh well. #food

Creative philosophy Thu, Jul 01, 2021
I realized my philosophy when creating things is this: 
  1. Make it work.  It doesn't have to be pretty.  There's a lot of trial and error.  Keep trying things until something works.
  2. Make it good.  Clean it up.  Polish the rough edges.  Apply a fresh coat of paint.
  3. Make it right.  Use best practices.  Remember lessons learned.  Don't reinvent the wheel.
I should probably switch the order around, but it is what it is.

Snakebite deaths Thu, Jul 01, 2021
I heard this statistic the other day, and I still can't believe it:  Somewhere around 100,000 people die every year from snake bites.  That's easily more than any other animal on earth, if you ignore things that simply spread disease like mosquitoes and whatnot.  Snakes kill directly by biting and "envenoming".  People are scared of shark attacks and crocodiles.  But snakes kill orders of magnitude more people than pretty much everything else combined. #nature

Bad plumbing and electric Sun, Jun 27, 2021
I'm constantly surprised by how poorly electrical and plumbing projects are done by the average homeowner.  I'm no contractor, and I generally don't know how to do a lot of homeowner things.  But I know the correct way to hook up the hot and cold water supply lines for a faucet.  I know the correct orientation for a standard light switch should be "up = on".  I can tell by looking at an electrical outlet whether it's upside down or rightside up.  These honestly aren't difficult things to know.  It takes the same amount of time and energy to do it right or to do it wrong.  Some people apparently just enjoy doing things wrong.

Different answers Tue, Jun 08, 2021
I asked some coworkers a couple questions today; here are the responses: 

1.  "Let me look into that and get you an answer in a couple days."  This says the person doesn't know, will work on finding out, and will provide an answer.  The person received a request and has taken it upon themselves to do their job. 

2.  "I think that presentation from a meeting last month mentioned it."  This is a guess.  This person doesn't know, and they don't know that they don't know.  They didn't give me the file they were talking about, or even send me a link to it.  This person thinks they answered a question but in fact have done absolutely nothing. 

If you're gonna answer a question, at least answer the damn question.  Don't say something and act like your job is done.

Do not engage Mon, Jun 07, 2021
My new favorite thing to do (or not do) is to not engage with people when they bring up something political.  I guess I sort of got to the point where I realized everyone is probably a little wrong about everything, and no amount of information, discussion, persuasion, or argument will change anything.  So instead of stating a counterfactual when somebody brings up an obvious non-fact, I just don't say anything.  I let the fart hang in the air, as it were. #psychology

Inexperience vs. wisdom Wed, May 19, 2021
I remember being in college and being told that sometimes companies appreciate new hires who lack experience, because sometimes "the way things have been done" isn't always great, and new blood brings new ideas and new approaches to solving problems.  This was especially comforting to a young person who was about to enter the workforce with little to no experience. 

Now that I'm on the other side of the equation, I sort of feel exactly the opposite.  Sure, new people bring new approaches and new skillsets.  And maybe that makes me feel threatened in some way because I'm older.  But I've really developed an appreciation, especially in recent years, for knowing and learning "the way things have been done" because that's literally the foundation of the entire profession.  Just because things used to be done a certain way doesn't mean they need to be done that way in the future.  But at least knowing how they were done can inform you either that they can be done that way or that they should be done that way.  The most valuable resource for large organizations with years of experience is wisdom.  A new person can come in and have all sorts of crazy, exciting ideas, and that's great.  But wisdom says, "Yeah we tried that years ago; here's why it didn't work." #business

Silence in meetings Thu, Apr 29, 2021
One of the consequences of pandemic-induced remote work has been the removal of visual body language from group phone calls.  When there are 10-15 people on a call, it's hard for the leader to keep track of individual people, so there's a lot of communications checks like "Is my mic working?", "Does that make sense?", etc.  One of the weirder examples from my experience was when this one coworker would say something like "I'll move onto the next section unless there are any objections" and after hearing nothing for a few seconds, would say "I'll take your silence as consent."  Thankfully we've moved on in recent weeks to the much less rape-y, "I'll take your silence as concurrence." #business

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