Thursday, January 25, 2007

Feelin' good?

In one of those moments of lucid awareness, apart from the daily 'work' process, I came to realize that people need to feel good.

Well d'uh, Papa?!?! You just beginning to figure that out?

Certainly that are the creature comfort feel-goods. Food, shelter, and clothing are essential. Then come the higher order feel-goods; spouse, family, friends and community. Personal self-worth and respect go a long way as comparison values to promoting feel-goods.

Maslow writes the following of self-actualizing people:

  • They embrace the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them.
  • They are spontaneous in their ideas and actions.
  • They are creative.
  • They are interested in solving problems; this often includes the problems of others. Solving these problems is often a key focus in their lives.
  • They feel a closeness to other people, and generally appreciate life.
  • They have a system of morality that is fully internalized and independent of external authority.
  • They judge others without prejudice, in a way that can be termed objective.

In short, self-actualization is reaching one's fullest potential.

Papa, that sounds pretty complete for an individual. So what is missing?

Maslow speaks of "...[embracing] the facts and realities of the world (including themselves) rather than denying or avoiding them." This offers a clear clinical, intellectual view of the world but it leaves out one important element that I believe people 'need' in order to feel good.

Where is Hope in the value schedule cited above?

In one of those moments of lucid awareness, apart from the daily 'work' process, I came to realize that people need hope to feel good. People need to have a sense of value that extends beyond the "...facts and realities of the world..." A sense that something greater than ourselves will continue beyond the limits of our lives.

Were hope not present then I believe the suicide rate would be dramatically higher. This might well be the reason that according to the World Health Organization, "in the last 45 years suicide rates have increased by 60% worldwide."

I suggest that as we, the world society, move into clinical and intellectual realms that have do not have facilities for accommodating hope we doom ourselves to greater and greater levels of dissatisfaction. When I am dissatisfied then most certainly I am not ... Feelin' good.

Monday, January 22, 2007

My idea of a company party

Wowsers! Whiteboard infinity - Only in China...

SUN's Sin-Yaw Wang makes me envious...

  • 500+ People party
  • two hours of talent show by employees
  • 4 MCs that rival professional show hosts
  • stage with professional grade video, sound, and lighting systems
  • And the foods! All 14 courses that include shrimp, chicken, beef,
    mutton, pork, fish, soup, vegetable, fried rice, noodle, dessert, and a
    cup of tea at the end. I found myself trying to have extra bites even
    way after I was full.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Rent-A-Bum Redux

The old saying goes... Rent-a-Bum, it is cheaper than marrying one.

When last we met little Timmy had fallen down the well at the abandoned farm and Lassie was trying to convince the Department of Social Services to not arrest Timmy's parents for neglect and child endangerment... No, wait that is an entirely different story.

Da Bums, a rag-tag crew of itinerant struggling, starving musicians, strong women, out of work riggers and one Manager of Information Systems were being disbanded, sorta. The Bums management was going to be assimilated by the local Corporate Big Business Consortium. Bums were told that in order to keep working they would need to apply for membership in the CBBC. Some of them did, others didn't. I didn't!

And then I got a call...

...and then another call...

The show must go on.

The contract stipulates that for load-in and load-out there will be a crew of a specified number of people. Some venues fulfill the terms of the contract by hiring day laborers. Others try to get by reassigning busboys and dishwashers. The real merit in hiring the Rent-a-Bums is that we are a highly trained, disciplined, cohesive team. As the saying goes, 'This ain't our first rodeo.'

So it seems that the Bums are officially/unofficially back in business.

Sort of a typical Bum day... (4+ hours the night before assembling the stage.)

08:00 Load in the Lighting Company
Set up trusses, rig chain-fall motors, hang lights, pull cabling
Set up Front-of-House (FOH) control console
Hang black back drop
Set up two follow spots

10:00 Load in the Sound Company
Set and wire bass bins (speakers) 4 per side
Stack and wire Mids 4 per side + 2 side-fills
Set and wire power distribution system
Set drum riser, backup vocal riser
Set monitor speakers
Set and wire microphones (~20+)
Set and wire Monitor World control console
Set and wire FOH control console + Effects racks
Pull FOH snake (64 line wire bundle from Monitor World to FOH)

13:00 Load in Video Company
Set up video display screens

Pipe & Drape (Black for backstage, Red+White+Blue for VIP sections)

14:00 Load in Band Gear
Assist Road Crew in setting up Drums, Keyboards, Peddle Steel, etc.
Assist Road Crew in wiring/mic-ing instruments.
Focus lights

15:00 Headliner Sound Check
Band members tune, check all instruments, play portions of songs
Set sound levels on all microphones, levels on all monitors
Band practices songs, portions of songs.

15:45 Set stage for opening act

16:00 Finish setting the House
Complete Pipe & Drape
Carpet runners taped down over FOH snakes

18:30 DOORS! - the House is open.
Monitor backstage area, insure only authorized personal access
Monitor Bus Parking, insure only authorized personal access

Escort Talent hotel room/bus to Green Room

Fan management during Meet-n-Greet

Escort Talent from Green Room to [back]stage

20:00 Showtime!
Provide stage security (in case fans want to get on stage without permission.)
Provide backstage security

Clear stage of opening act equipment
Set stage for Headline Act

22:30 Shows over...
Escort Talent to Green Room/Bus
Monitor Bus Parking, Fan Management

Pack band gear, load into bus bays (or truck)

23:00 Tear-down
Disassemble all sound equipment, pack into road cases
Disassemble all lighting equipment, pack into road cases

00:00 Load-out
Load Lighting road cases and trusses, spotlights, Geni lifts, etc. into truck
Load Sound road cases into truck

01:00 End of a very long day...
Go home! Well, you don't have to go home but you can't stay here.

(4+ hours later that day disassembling the stage.)

Plate o' Nachos

I woke up this morning... HUNGRY.

Probably had something to do with the fact that I worked hard yesterday for Rent-a-Bum (more on that later) loading in, setting up, crewing/security, tearing down and loading out...

wait for it... Miss Loretta Lynn

So this morning I scanned the pantry and the refrigerator. A little voice whispered, "Nachos".

I asked rhetorically, "For breakfast?"

As I often do in these matters I made a note of it and went back to scanning. I even spent a considerable amount of time straightening out the Pa^2 Linux (old) and the Pa^2 GNU (new) situation ( more on that later as well, or just go and explore.)

Hunger reared its head again.

Re-scanned the pantry. This time the whisper was more like a FREIGHT TRAIN....Wooowooo ... NACHOS!!!

So I began to start to commence to initiate a plate... o' nachos. This, if you don't mind my saying so are the fruits of my labors...

I am not a Pro Blogger, I am a Professional Blog Reader.

Three very good reasons I'm not a Pro Blogger...

  1. If I had to write I would starve!
  2. My current job, my livelihood, doesn't depend on blogging.
  3. I am not engaged in a business that I need to promote or represent via a blog.
I am a Professional Blog reader ( a professional who reads blogs )

Yes, I know that was just a matter of a little linguistic slight of hand (mouth?) but after the smoke clears and the mirrors are removed the import remains: I, as a professional, read blogs. As a Systems Administrator it is essential that I maintain an up-to-the-minutes perspective on the world of technology.

I was the guy at my office that subscribed to every trade journal (slick) that I could find a blow-in card for. They were killing millions of trees just for me. It was normal for me to receive 1 or 2 slicks per business work day. That works out to ~28 trade slicks per month. There was paper-based information overload, not to mention waste basket/recycle box overload.

Then it was e-mailed technical briefing/product/service newsletters. Zettabytes and yattabytes of electrons gave up their little negative charges, figuratively speaking, to over-stuff my e-mail in-box. Now I was receiving weekly newsletters from roughly the same number of sources (e.g. 28 sources times 4 weeks equals 112 newsletters.) I spent more time deleting than I did reading.

Blogs are the answer to information overload. First is the timeliness of the available information. Professional and business blogs, as well as personal blogs, appear to be updated in near-real time. Second it the usual brevity of the information offered. The medium has shaped the message. Blog postings are short, sweet and to the point.

Google Reader Trends indicates...From your 101 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 3,397 items. More correctly I have scanned nearly 34 hundred items. Subscribing to blog feeds has allowed me to manage and process information in a much more efficient manner. I am able to spend less time and have evergreen information on the technology world around me.

...that is why I am a professional blog reader.

. . .