Wednesday, November 10, 2010

News in a Ramble

I am going through something of a blogging slump, when I can't seem to produce a well-written post on an interesting* topic, complete with a series of explanatory photos. So instead, here is the latest version of quick and dirty.

Did you know that "quick and dirty" is a computer phrase? I thought it originated in NASA, in the context of the space race, communicating the idea that there wasn't time to do a task "right," there was only time to get it done without worrying too much about the details. An effective solution at the expense of the "best" solution, you know?

Wikipedia agrees with my definition but doesn't link it to NASA. I grew up around the space program (now there's an idea for a post someday) but I think my source for this particular phrase is Tom Wolfe's The Right Stuff. A great book and a great movie, by the way, if they aren't on your radar yet.

Okay, so what's news? I had two more radishes in the garden, and two string beans, which I ate on the spot. They were bright purple, just as promised by their name, Royal Burgundy, and deliciously crunchy. Vegetables just don't get any fresher.

Meanwhile, I am coming to the conclusion that the plot doesn't get enough sun. The plants seem happy, but they aren't growing very much. Even the zucchini isn't doing a whole lot, so you KNOW there's a problem. Guess I will be lobbying for another location when another gardener drops out.

What else? C.S. is chained to a desk this week, as part of a new rotational scheme at work. Normally he has the kind of job everyone dreams about:

1. There is no dress code to speak of. The only rule seems to be that he really isn't supposed to wear shorts. (Unless he absolutely needs to, say, because it's really hot or he forgot to do laundry. In which case, it's okay.)

2. It takes him to exotic cities all over the U.S. and sometimes in other countries.

3. It doesn't usually begin until 3:00 p.m., so he has most of the day to do whatever he likes.

4. There is something to produce every day, with hardly any carryover to the next day. Meaning, no lingering guilt about what he didn't finish, and no cumulative effect of left-over projects.

5. It requires regular conversation with people that many other people would give their right arm to talk to for 5 minutes.

6. His "office" is his laptop, his cellphone, and his Twitter account. If he has 'em, he's there.

And these are just the perks I can think of off the top of my head.

This week, though, C.S. is getting a taste of how the rest of the world lives. He has to get up early, drive to the office through rush hour traffic, sit at a desk, hurry out for lunch with a definite return time, stay all afternoon even if there's nothing to do, and drive home in the dark through rush hour traffic, only to do it all over again the next day.

Fortunately this pattern will only last a week, until his shift at the desk is over. One week out of the year he gets to live like the rest of us. All I can say is, thank goodness the shift isn't any longer. His complaining is killing me!

Oh, and then he goes on vacation for the rest of the year.

*From my law school days, I still use Eugene Volokh's criteria for a good topic: Novel, non-obvious, useful, and sound. Sometimes "useful" is very loosely interpreted. It's blogging, after all.

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