Featured, Sundry

Week of 24 January, 2010

Sunday, January 24

1.5h Up the Yangtze

Monday, January 25

Just at the end of my work day my manager called a team meeting to tell us he was quitting. Quitting to write full-time. The guy we had added to the team most recently would take over as manager. I think that we were all extremely pleased and proud of our boss for taking this brave new step in his life, and any worries of change were quickly smoothed over because our new manager has had a good deal more management experience, and is generally just a likable guy. We’ll see.

2.0h Daily Show
Pushups: 40

In the evening I participated in an annual survey of New York’s homeless population called Project HOPE. We gathered at a training site, which was a public school two blocks from the apartment, at 10:30pm. At midnight after we had been fully trained, we struck out to various survey sites, walking our assigned blocks in teams of 4-6, escorted by pairs of beat cops. The rule is anyone you encounter you ask them to participate in a brief survey:

“Hello my name is Danny and I’m a volunteer with the New York Department of Homeless Services. We’re conducting a survey tonight and we would like to ask you a few brief questions. Your answers are strictly confidential, would you like to participate?”

“Do you have a place to sleep tonight that you would consider your home?”

“What sort of place is it?”

“Has someone else asked you these questions this evening?”

Tuesday, January 26

We had been worried because earlier Monday the weather forecast was for rain and high winds, but when we got together it was 50F and occasionally drizzly, though the lows were upper 30s. Walking the streets in the cold drizzle we encountered few people at all. I think our team encountered maybe 6 people total, and none of them were homeless. The last guy was in transitional housing, and seemed proud to be paying rent and also glad to see us walking the streets, caring enough to help study the homeless population.

We also noted that, walking through some sketchy neighborhoods in a large group with cops in tow, that a fair number of would-be respondents crossed the street to avoid us.

I was home I think around 3:30. Mei got up three hours later and I slept in, starting work at 11am. One nice thing about telecommuting to the West Coast is that if I get a late start on my day, that puts me on a less-early schedule compared to my coworkers.

I think it is more that we are pack animals looking for leaders. A charismatic leader who is supremely self confident and has an answer for everything can be appealing in a politician, a boss, or a lover, whatever your gender. Our culture perceives the role of charismatic leader asshole as a male role, but “nice girls” suffer the same frustrations as the “nice boys” because men find bitches to be hot, despite themselves.


0.5h John Oliver’s New York Standup
0.5h Daily Show

Wednesday, January 27

I biked to the Post Office to mail my XO-1 laptop back to the OLPC folks for deployment to Haiti, and picking up a package Mom sent for my birthday. Back at home, I spent too much time scoffing at Apple’s fancy new iPad. Later, I watched the State of the Union Address.

1.5h State of The Union
0.25h Aqua Teen Hunger Force

Thursday, January 28

I spent a little more time futzing with the “live squirrelcam” at ustream.tv.

Pushups: 43 + 36 + 35
Situps: 100

1.0h Daily Show

Friday, January 29

I went off to a co-working event in . . . Williamsburg? It was harshly cold outside but it was nice to work, for a change, at a long table with other people who work from notebook computers . . . there was an entrepreneur who built a social networking website for the music business; some freelance web developers; a lady in finance who was allowed to work remote for her employer in Washington, DC; a guy who is CIO for some part of the state Senate, who is working to champion open access to government information. Around lunch time we walked a few block over to pick up sandwiches, and around 4:30pm some guys brought back some beer and we went around the room making introductions. It was great to “get out” . . .

. . . we did not go out in the evening because it was just way too cold.

0.5h John Oliver’s New York Standup
0.5h Daily Show

Saturday, January 30

We went to the dentist together, then we grabbed lunch nearby . . . “nothing special” . . . then we caught “Fantastic Mr Fox” at a nearby theater, which was pretty good. On the way back we checked out a pet adoption event, and learned of a web site for foster families for pets, which we might go for.

Back at home we played with the squirrels some more, live on Internet TV. We had three come by and the highlight was after the first two climbed up to the can to grab a nut, the third absconded with the can lid, because surely if it smells like nuts it bears further investigation out on the fire escape. Alas, such thinking outside the can didn’t produce any results, but we got a good laugh out of it. Later, I looked down to the pavement and decided that it just wasn’t worth the slight risk to my personal safety to climb down the fire escape to retrieve the lid to the nut can.

I dropped Mei off at the hospital for a night shift, and returned home to engage in laziness.

1.5h Fantastic Mr Fox
1.0h Project Runway
1.0h Dollhouse
2.0h Star Trek
0.75h Aqua Teen Hunger Force

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