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Sunday, April 11, 2010


  Confident advice from an accomplished opera-singer to an up-and-coming opera singer about the pacing of a song:
Make the conductor wait for you.
I'm pretty sure that only works if you 'win' some sort of cosmic ego battle. But one should aspire to being someone the conductor waits for.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)12:22 AM

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Have your people call my people

  My current co-workers are great in many ways. One of the best ways is that they are socially decisive when it comes to going out. A typical conversation goes like this:
Awesome coworker: I want to go out for a drink! Are you free Thursday?
Me: Yes!
AC: Let's go out to [Bar X]. I'll see you there at 7!

You know this impresses me. I am pretty good at facilitating outings, but I love it when other people facilitate, or when the people I'm working with make it easy. I LOVE how easy my co-workers make it. I'm also impressed by the decisiveness they use in picking a date and sticking to it. It means I get to go out often!

I've written in the past about how some of my other social groups propose social events, but actually scheduling them is like playing a one way version the game Battleship: they will tell you when they CANNOT go out if you propose a specific time, but they will not tell you when they CAN go out:
Gamma Squadron: I miss you gals! I have lots of news! We need to get together next week!
[Agreement from Alpha, Beta, and Delta Squadrons]
Me: How about Thursday?
GS: Miss.
Me: Wednesday?
BS: I have an exercise off the coast of Japan that night.
Me: Well, when are you free?
AS: I can't wait to see you all! You should know that I'll be busy Saturday evening with cooperative drills off the coast of Madagascar.
Me: With who? Madagascar doesn't have a navy, does it? What about Tuesday?
DS: Miss.
Despite this, we still get together quarterly, and have a GREAT time when we do.

This week's event challenge with a non-co-worker peer group involves something like a 'punch line.' It's when everyone is cooperating to move an event forward, and someone who ignored the discussion until the last minute suddenly jumps in to express disappointment on whatever has been agreed to. (This is similar to the "seagull manager:" an absentee superior who unexpectedly swoops in, poops all over everything, and then leaves.) I have declined invitations for other events to hang out with this group, but sometimes that just doesn't pay off, as the event doesn't come together. This week, It took FIVE CALENDAR DAYS to schedule a three person movie event, with one 'punch line' abstention. I will parody this here, for my amusement, if not for yours:
Day 1
Me: [message to five person social group] I want to see Vampire Robot Foreign Drama with Zombie Female Lead this week or weekend! Well, okay, let's just work with the weekend.

Cooperative1: Count me in! I'm free this weekend.

Day 2
Cooperative2: Count me in also! Both days this weekend work!

Day 3

Day 4

Day 5
Me: I guess that's everyone? Here is a list of possible times on Day6. I propose Time4 followed by dinner, with Time1 preceded by brunch as a backup.

Cooperative1: I endorse both of these plans, with Time4 taking precedence because you proposed it as the plan, and I am very cooperative.

Cooperative2: I also endorse Time4, though I wish to endorse the other plan if it draws in additional participants, such as PunchLine, who may not be available at some point over the 24 hour period that is Sunday. PunchLine?

Cooperative3: I will be away all weekend, but that's for thinking of me!

Me: [110 hours after sending the initial proposal] Great! I have another invitation for Time1, so Time4 it is!

PunchLine: [Half an hour later, about 111 hours after the proposal went out] Oh. I guess that doesn't work for me.
The lesson: decisive people are considerate people, cooperative people are considerate people, and everyone else can sit on the floor playing with tinker toys (<- cool) ALONE (<-less cool), because I'm done with them.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)10:20 AM

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Morning songs

  I spent about two and a half hours this morning listening to birdsong while watching the shadows of clouds pass over my neighbors' yards.

This was the best investment of time I have made all week.

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posted by Arlene (Beth)11:08 AM

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