Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Bluffing The Time Ninja

My new time management trick: pretend I'm already an expert at choosing what to do. That I always know the optimum way to spend time; and I'm always doing exactly that until inventing the next optimal task. I appreciate the positive-feedback, self-reinforcing-illusion loop:

  1. The better I do it, the more I believe in it.
  2. The more I believe it, the better I do at it.
Even while playing some bit role, of a sucker doing something I couldn't argue my way out of fast enough, I tell myself "The Ninja Knows" and pretend it's what I decided to do. Gullibility is a boon sometimes. Another example, the ninja says writing this blog entry will invest more ownership in the tactic. Rationalizations, party of two or more, your circular table is ready.

This is now the leading candidate for displacing the time management strategy I've been using for decades:

  1. Berate myself for wasting time until I work harder (at something blameless)
  2. Blame others for distractions and for not helping, or for helping poorly, at least until they leave me alone (this works eventually)
  3. Avoid and agonize over unfun undones, then do them with inner melodrama, then seek sympathies and distractions as if deserving them
The best part of bluffing the time ninja is I no longer have use for stress or resentment. I'm actually kinda serious, I've been practicing this for about forty-eight hours now, and it is actually kinda working. Use your inner ninja.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Questions That Time Out

Question Timeout Default Answer
Do you want coffee this morning? 12 sec Yes
Anybody here? 10 sec No
Hey, how about we watch *this* movie? 7 sec No
(in a horror movie) Honey are you all right? 6 sec No, I'm dead
Need help with that? 5 sec Yes
Do you want the last piece of pie? 4.5 sec Yes
Are you going to eat that? 4.2 sec Yes, or No but I'm disgusted you want to eat after me, but by letting you know that I'm vaguely insulting myself
(after being struck by a car) Are you ok? 4 sec No
(from mother) Is there a new girl / boy in your life? 3.9 sec Yes but you would not approve of her / him, or No but I'm afraid you'll help, or Maybe except how to tell you it's a boy / girl
So, did you like my casserole? 3.8 sec No
(from mother) Are you happy in your life? 3.6 sec No but if I let you know I'll never get off the ph... Darn it.
Who farted?!? 3.5 sec Me
Are you choking? 3.2 sec Yes
You didn't eat the last piece of pie did you? 3.1 sec Yes
I didn't offend you, did I? 3 sec Yes
Do you like my new dress / haircut / nose job? 2.8 sec No
Do you love me? 2.5 sec No
Are you happy I'm pregnant? 2.2 sec No
Are you having an affair? 0.64 sec Yes
(implicit with all unconcluded email exchanges) Do you still like me, or foresee any advantage at all to association with me? 72 hours, or 3 times median response time No*
* or Yes, I'm still composing an eloquent, original, charming way to get it across
or No, I'm still composing a face-saving way to avoid saying so
or Yes, but not enough to notice your last email had a question in it
or No, and I can't believe you haven't picked up on it yet
or Maybe, but something more interesting is happening in my life
or Don't know either, but other neglected emails have scrolled yours out of view

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Double Irony

Making fun of people who ridicule is at least intellectually dangerous. If you care about being mistaken for the wrong team, that is.

PunditMom raises some interesting questions about the, shall we say conversation-stimulating new cover of the New Yorker. (I call it a double-irony because it makes you ask, 1, are they making fun of the Obamas, Muslims, or Black Panthers? Or, 2, of the people who infer an association?) Mocking the number one team is highly fashionable. The interesting observation PunditMom makes is that it's not only unfashionable to mock the number two or three team, but those who do are passionately censured. It's unfashionable *not* to censure said mockers.

Ethnically mixed societies at uneasy peace are nothing new of course. And so there must also be a long precedent to the effect PunditMom illuminates. Some sound reason for the rigid byzantine rules of political correctness. Here's a try at answering her question. Once ethnic groups begin commercial integration, insulting the disadvantaged groups must be stifled. Otherwise you got your insurrection. So when someone says "whatever you do, don't disrespect Muslims" they may be channeling subconscious instincts "don't encourage Muslim revolt". Think it's sincere? The best way to appear sincere is to believe it yourself. Just notice how rarely westerners get passionate about anything else Muslim. But hey, I'm really very content with selfishness doing more good than evil.

Back to the complexities of double-irony. After Obama is elected, I look forward to the doubly-ironic political cartoon (here and now I predict it) where U.S. Christians parade Obama as a conspicuous human shield on display for the benefit of the Muslim world, wearing a sandwich board "Lookit his name, will you? Now PLEASE don't hurt us!" I think it might be the shrewdest ever phantom campaign platform. Not for duping Muslims, but Christian voters.

Speaking of double-irony, reminds me of Nellie McCay. Is she mocking feminists? Or feminist bashers? Probably the latter, but I revel in not being sure. I adore ambiguous people because I think the rest are just up to something that will ultimately confuse me more.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Things I like whether they cause cancer or not

Inspired by Gwen:
  • breathing
  • focused conversation when at least one party tries to understand more
  • Matryoshka dolls nest, one inside another, etc...failing to find the end of a conversation for good reasons, e.g.
    • spawning new converations
    • matryoshka-doll-like complexity
  • music and other art soul-to-soul
  • how big my home planet is
  • brevity
  • clarity
  • accuracy
  • trying for all three no matter how impossible
  • five senses
  • ten fingers
  • two hands
  • the company of children
  • the company of women
  • I like my coffee:
    • strong and creamy
    • great smelling
    • savored patiently
    • at time very hot, at times very chilled
    • the option to bottle for later
  • making a person laugh
  • making a person think
  • making a woman come
  • the universe's patience
  • discovering new delusions
  • irony
  • meditation
  • building
  • figuring things out
  • inventing memes
  • Arrowhead Mills brand tahini doesn't turn to concrete on the shelftahini
  • rivers
  • mountain tops
  • hard physical labor, followed by
  • hot shower, followed by
  • healthy food, followed by
  • movie that changes, followed by
  • verbal analysis, followed by
  • cuddling, snuggling, kissing, etc., followed by
  • nap
  • silence
  • solitude
  • cosmology
  • blue skies with cool air with white sunshine
  • hot water
  • cold air
  • any change in weather
  • first light
  • thwarting waste, decay, misunderstanding, filchery
  • useful originality
  • smiles
  • brushing her clean, healthy, dry hair
  • skin
  • eye contact
  • patience
  • persistence
  • birdfeeders
  • uncluttered, light, airy workspace
  • starting something
  • finishing something
  • purpose
  • inspiring people