Today's topic: lawyers and legal language. Lately I've had some stress over a certain contract for a certain event and today I reached the boiling point. The whole issue is that writing a contract invites each party to the contract to be punitive. Lost is the good faith effort - the punctilio of an honor the most sensitive - upon which we'd prefer to operate; because a contract sets to writing what we cannot do, our innately human response is to charge back with what we can do. Without a bitter and binding contract, I think two parties can work towards middle ground. With said contract the same two parties become vengeful and eager to recover perceived damages. The one in question here explicitly states that it does not create a partnership, when in point of fact that is exactly what everyone desires. It is a single document simultaneously creating and destroying a relationship between two reasonable parties.
posted at 2:14 PM - comments
Thursday, June 29, 2006
Five day weeks are for the birds. That's my thesis for today. We're making headway and pilot projects are coming together, but when you aren't actually doing the pilot it doesn't really make you super busy. I'm finding that not having a half-dozen drawings due for some big sportfisherman or the latest cruiser for this builder or that one means that slow days are really slow. After work I headed out on the T2k, looping around Alburtis on an 18 mile jaunt. The roads around here are really pleasant to ride because if you can find your right or your left and have been near a map of the area it is possible just to turn at this road then that one and pretty soon see something familiar and then be home again. Plus, wheat and corn are in full, uh, bloom so it's impossible not to feel like a rider on Le Tour cruising through farm fields wearing spandex shorts.
posted at 10:08 PM - comments
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
Macungie isn't a big town, especially on rainy evening like last night. Jenelle made a crazy delicious polenta for dinner, we played park frisbee, then we walked down to Rita's for some custard to put under the fresh strawberries we sliced up.
Rita's is a strange place; it is famous beyond words in the mid Atlantic region for a mix of products that includes several misnomers and other oddities: water ice, frozen custard, and gelati that is really a parfait of the previous two. Every town - even Macungie-sized ones - has a Rita's or two, but they close early (10 pm) and have no other traditional ice cream products. They do have one thing going for them, though, and that is a rainy day discount of $0.50. Saving fifty cents is a psychological thing, for sure, but somehow it just feels good to get a 'large' anything for less than three bones these days.
At work, in between online tracking of the rising waters everywhere around us, people keep commenting about our internship. "You guys sure work for your money." "Usually interns just stand around talking." "What year are you guys, anyway?" I think it would be better to just have interns but not actually tell anybody about it... thus alleviating the preconceived notion that interns are useless.
The last of a string of four mid-project presentations went off at high noon today in the Florence Knoll conference room. The people in attendance weren't really directly involved, but their peripheral buy-in could be critical down the road and there were catered sandwiches to eat.
With the Fourth of July holiday and associated trip to the beach looming over this week like a fun-covered Colossus of Rhoades it has been a little hard to concentrate. It is feeling like maybe we outworked ourselves over the first month of the project because now we're cruising towards implementations and recommendations without doing that much additional work. Say what you want about Paretto analysis and the 80/20 rule, it is really true and I feel like we've gotten over that hump a bit ahead of schedule, allowing for depth (not scope! NOT scope!) creep and more definition in the particular areas we're focusing on.
Ollie was going to blog, but instead he jumped down. What a sissy. The blogosphere is no place for wimps.
Today has been a steady rain, which isn't that big of a deal while I'm at work but afterwards it is a pretty big deal - no biking, no frisbee in the park, no roundball shoot around. Instead Jenelle and I went to the store, got some provisions, and proceeded to make a pretty tasty noodle/asparagus/sprouts/soy sauce/garlic stir fry thing. Then we hunkered down and got serious about talking about honeymoon plans. If there was ever a rainy-night activity, planning an extended vacation somewhere exotic is certainly a good place to start.
This summer, as with last, is tough on the blog. Somehow in days littered with clothes sweaty from two hours of frisbee in the park, when evening stretches into night cooking burgers on the balcony, and Rita's closing at 10 is the most important event of the day, blogging slides. Friday night Jenelle and I headed down to Conshohocken for sporting goods and a lamp. The lamp came from Ikea, always a pleasure, and we realized that that particular merchant could come in handy now that there's one in Canton. Saturday we had intended to go to Dorney Park, but rainy weather and the alleged threat of thunderstorms led us to bail and hang loose around Macungie. In the rainy afternoon yesterday we went over to Emmaus to visit a bridal shop to get started on the invitation/save-the-date. Lots of thinking, lots of colors blending together, lots of time to finalize the exact appearance.
posted at 12:13 PM - comments
Thursday, June 22, 2006
We're making stirfry and the veggies are steaming - time to blog. When I got home we hit the grocery, put the chicken up to marinate, then headed over to the basketball court. When we got back, dinner time.
Interesting day at work. Ryan and I presented to the President of Knoll, who wasn't able to make our Monday meeting. She was very receptive to what we had to say, asked insightful questions, and was eager for us to have our recommended projects reach a critical mass before we leave in August. Other than that, just a normal day. You know, cake and fruit and cream-filled cupcakes, present to the President, write a page or two of the report, blah blah blah. Yeah, normal.
Last night we drove over to Allentown for a movie: A Prairie Home Companion. It was a little weird to see the show in video for a change, but the movie was good. It had the same folksy, homey air that the show does and left you with that same, satisfied, 'let's do that again next week' feeling.
Boooyah! I found some cake. Come on, you know how it is… quiet Tuesday after a busy Monday, big evening plans, nothing knocking down your door, and a little bit of something to nible after lunch is what you need to keep going. Somebody in credit had a birthday and Ryan and I went over and poached some cake - chocolate with peanut butter frosting.
Weird evening last night; I got home from work and simply collapsed. It was a busy day of presenting and guiding TMI folks onsite that wore me down, sure, but there is no logical explanation for the drooling coma of a nap I took in the late afternoon back in Macungie. Very odd indeed. Then I woke up, talked on the phone, watched bits of a great last hockey game of 2005-6, and was back to bed. What?
In the rush of post-realist musing yesterday I forgot to mention the awesome dinner I has with Drew and Kim aboard Moshulu in Philadelphia Friday evening. We were only together for about four hours, but it really was a great time - lots to catch up about and plenty of sharing of the road ahead. They are both doing very well professionally and continue to be the fun, hip couple they've always been.
Today was, without question, a day. I watched some more World Cup action. Then shot some hoops in the hot hot heat of the late afternoon. Then I ate four carrots with dip, followed by a shower. After that I tried to clean the apartment, which is not something that I've got any particular skill at. Now evening is setting in and I'm trying to recover some productivity by doing MTrek correspondence and getting wedding correspondence ideas on epaper.
Life is a collection of little vignettes in which we are either the protagonist, antagonist, or untagonist. Apparently I took on all three roles today, cheering the US in World Cup action, wandering an antique commercial truck show in the park, terrorizing drivers by riding my bicycle around the flat bit of land to the northwest of Macungie, waxing the truck while listening to APHC, cooking shish kebabs, eating said kebabs, and watching the Stanley Cup Finals. There must have been a ton of other stuff, but it's only the highlights of each activity that stick out, not the transitions or ramps-up or any setup or takedown time.
posted at 10:30 PM - comments
Thursday, June 15, 2006
Another day. I got paid today, which is more fun as an MBA intern than it was as a yacht design intern. There's also direct deposit, which takes some of the fun surplus back because there's no juicy check to carry anywhere.
I realized, talking with Ryan tonight, that I'm a pretty big webmaster guy. NAME's Quarterdeck Society, MTrek, Art on View (which I revisited this evening after way too long), Webb C|02, and this site with its three modules (Robin, Corey, Jenelle and Corey) are all my creations. Ryan asked why I get into this stuff and I really don't know, but for whatever reason it is fun for me. <heavy thoughts>It's one of those rare chances in life when you get to really create something, from scratch, to your own exacting personal ideals. Then you can use zany words and put up odd pictures of aerialist felines and boldy copy ideas that you see elsewhere and use them for your own devices. Having a web page and/or a blog leaves me something short of a thespian but on that course; it's a repressed gene that looses itself only in this most virtual media. </heavy thoughts>
Wrapped up the advisor visit today with the Wednesday morning CPD meeting and lunch with the big(ger) boss man. Everybody seemed intrigued and optimistic about our findings and recommendations to this point, which bodes well for our dry run with CPD on Friday and the mid project presentation on Monday next.
In the afternoon it rained and Ryan didn't feel so hot so it was a quiet evening around 312. I made pizza and watched "Spellbound," the documentary in which future Wolverine Nupur Fala won the 1999 Scripps-Howard National Spelling Bee.
It's a rare double photo feature on BrownCow, symbolizing the second and third greatest things on earth (acting weird and pretending you can fly) as well as my poetic apathy today.
Nick and Bonnie also depart for their honeymoon today. I'm jealous because they are going to Alaska, flying, and not at work all at the same time. Those are greatest things numbers ninety one, seven, and thirty point six.
posted at 8:24 PM - comments
Monday, June 12, 2006
Good to be back after a long drive home from Boston at the tail end of a great weekend. Friday after work it was around the horn to Newark Liberty Airport by way of downtown Philadelphia. The waters parted and everything went smoothly; I collected Jenelle and we blazed through New York and north through Connecticut in the rain. In New Rochelle (or thereabouts) Anthony called and wondered about a jog north to Bradley Airport in Hartford - my MAP stomping grounds - so we picked up he and Elisabeta there and then went to Mystic.
Saturday was wedding day: continental breakfast, wandering around Mystic, ceremony, driving tour through Groton Long Point past the Atlantic Drive house where I lived for a few months, reception at Shennecossett Yacht Club on the Thames, and after party at Margaritas in Mystic.
Sunday was a day for Jenelle and I; we brunched with everybody in Mystic before departing from Providence. Providence is one of those cities that you might not get to unless you make a point to, so we made a point and walked the river and downtown areas and drove up to Brown and RISD. It's amazing to see where the city was and where they are now with respect to the treatment of the rivers that run through town. From downtown we had to go straight to the airport for Jenelle's departure... back to Michigan and the last few days of her first year in the classroom.
Sunday evening and this morning were spent in Boston for me, first in the North End with Anthony and Elisabeta going to dinner and getting a great canoli before heading to a house party in Cambridge and then down to Karyn and Rob's for the evening. Today Kyle joined us for more wandering, this time all day in Cambridge before I had to head south.
Big doings in the corporate blogosphere as General Motors' Fastlane attempts to e-rebut the New York Times' Thomas Friedman. Friedman, of The World is Flat fame, recently trashed the General for pretty much a laundry list of evil deeds, including but not limited to being both a 'crack dealer' and a 'terrorist' as well as buying votes in Congress. As was the case in his book, Friedman contributes little to the debate except for some inflammatory remarks with little basis in fact. GM counters with corporate spin, but the really interesting thing to watch here is the way the debate plays out. Think your emails back and forth with a senior communications exec at GM are private? Not so! They'll publish that exchange on their blog. Don't like the way the Times treats you? No worries! Publish your version of the letter on the blog, let a few hundred people comment, and then score a bonus when people like me write parallel blogs like this.
posted at 3:09 PM - comments
Posting has been down for awhile but it hardly mattered - I was in Toronto and wouldn't have posted anyway. The trip from Allentown to 'the big city,' as they call it in CPD, is in a tiny Beech 1900 but offers a pretty great fly-over of the skyline along the north shore of Lake Ontario. We were there on business, though, so the first order of, well, business was to scope out Knoll's Toronto custom product development group. We saw similarities and differences, or at least that is the company line. In point of fact we saw some things that we would have liked to have seen already and some that appeared to us to be previews of coming attractions. In the afternoon we went on a plant tour. Knoll Toronto makes wood office systems and they are awesome. Matched-grain veneers of any wood you can find, literally, processed sequentially so that every vertical drawer front or panel is perfectly aligned with the one directly above it and the one directly below it.
Tuesday evening Ryan and I went downtown. A cab let us out at the base of the CN Tower on Front Street and we wandered the Theater District looking for a restaurant and finding Bandido's, an impressively tasty Mexican joint. We sat on the deck and had a great meal then scouted out the area, stopping at couple of bars and eventually hitting Second City's free improv. Later we walked east, past the Skydome, CN Tower, and Air Canada Centre to the Hockey Hall of Fame (where we peered into the trophy room through first-floor windows) and the market where Anthony and I had dinner when we got to Toronto on Easter of 2001.
Wednesday was kind of a long day despite a little bit of a late start. We wrapped up our exploration in CPD up there then headed to the airport with time allotted for customs, which translates into lots of sitting around waiting. By the time we were back in Macungie it was nearly 10 o'clock and Thursday was an early start as I needed to be into the office by 6 to start our work sample.
First and last day of the week, kind of. We met the President of East Greenville Operations (Knoll co-president, too, not sure how that works) and tracked down some things but mostly we prepped for an upcoming visit by professors to Knoll EG and by us to Knoll Toronto. We're going up to Ontario to survey similarities and differences between the two facilities' processes - two days out of the country but still within the corporation. Feels like business.
posted at 10:31 PM - comments
Saturday, June 03, 2006
Ryan and I were both hoping to get a ride in today, so when the weather looked favorable and the roads dried up in the mid afternoon we set out to the south and east to Nockamixon State Park. We toiled up some big hills and cruised down the other sides on a 57-mile tour of Lehigh Valley. It got pretty exhausting and by the time we got back to Macungie my legs were too tired to haul the bike up the stairs to the apartment.
In the evening, with spaghetti in my belly and marginal amounts of energy in my body, I headed over to Ritas with Ryan and his visiting friend Ellie. We later migrated to the Macungie Pub - where we also watched the Piston's game last night - for a round. It's a fun little place with live music tonight and is clearly in a rural area where bars are cheap.
Since those fateful days in high school business class with a copy of theNet magazine (Vol I Issue 3) that had "Learn HTML" on the cover, this site has chronicled the things that are relevant to me. From those early days the site has been a diversion for me and a novel virtual portal for everyone else. An intermediate adaptation has been partially lost in the name of technological continuity that led to the latest version. Even though their new logo says I power them, Blogger has enabled the web logging features on this site and done so for free. This brings me to my thesis statement: the internet should be free; so long as there is commerce to back it up and personal interest to generate fresh content the internet must not be for sale or rent.
I use Google every day, but I do so using a free public domain browser (You need FireFox. Seriously.) which defines the internet perfectly - as the ultimate convergence of free services that I pay for indirectly. As a high school graduation present, back when browncow v2.0 was up, I purchased a PC over the internet. I did it again two years ago. If my brick-and-mortar purchases support the enormous bulky commercial infrastructure offline why can't my online purchases support this amazing world wide web? Copyright issues, protectionist policies, and predatory behavior are all issues that will have to be resolved. The proliferation of spam and virus must be confronted. However, these issues are technically small yet actually contribute in no small way to the enormous potential that is represented here. When Nicholas Negroponte develops his $100 laptop, what would we say to the billion children who couldn't access the internet because it costs more than they see in a year to log on to facebook? A resource of this magnitude, towering over every center of knowledge ever imagined, must be free and accessible to all.
Business took me to New Jersey today for a meeting with Arenson Office Furnishings. It's funny how in some situations you want your ideas to be met with rave reviews and in others it really is fine if they get shot down; we got some of both today and it was all good. There's also a less-than-subtle difference in the attitudes and demeanors of dealer reps in Baltimore and dealer reps in New Jersey. These days of alternating low and high and low energy make drives back to Knoll very difficult as lunch and sun and winding roads all conspire to make me very drowsy. It's hard to fight years of programming and millenia of biology in the name of professionalism, but that's what I did this afternoon. Back in Macungie, a trip to Radio Shack provided new batteries for my bike computer so that I can, as in so many blogs from 2002-2004, record distances and average speeds. Now I'm faced with an evening devoid of much direction and I'm really enjoying that prospect.
posted at 7:23 PM - comments