May 20th, 2006

buzzed, B&W

Race for the Cure

Tomorrow (well, since I'm awake past midnight, I guess today) is the Montana Race for the Cure. Last year my pre-race routine include the Art Walk, closing down the bar, a late night meal at Perkins, and about 5 hours of sleep. This year I did the Art Walk again, but doesn't include the rest.

On the other hand, my ankle is a bit tender - I got kicked in the ankle blocking a shot on Wednesday night, so it's a bit tender. While I do plan on running tomorrow, my main goal is to finish w/o walking. I'm guessing my time will be closer to 40 minutes than 30 minutes with how slow I've been lately.

Depending on how things go, I might try and do some speed training in the afternoon.
buzzed, B&W

Horrible handiwork

I got motivated today, and decided to finally get around to re-caulking part of my bathtub. I've put this off for quite a while, thinking it's a lost cause. Whoever originally installed the shower/tub did a piss-poor job. There's probably a good 3/4" gap between the enclosure and the rim of the tub, and there's no backing on the enclosure - in other words, if you push on the enclosure, it's flexible and it'll give upwards of an inch.

So, even if you can put down a good 3/4" bead of caulk (which is ridiculous), over time, the flex in the enclosure is going to cause a gap to form between the caulk and the tub, or the caulk and the enclosure. Then, you get trapped water, which leads to mildew and rotting . . . bleh . . . talk about shoddy work.
buzzed, B&W

Four-day weeks

Interesting read from A List Apart - The Four-Day Week Challenge. The author describes how he shifted to a four-day workweek, because he found that "working more is actually counter-productive," mainly because there's always work to be done, and often, knowing that he had a week, he'd stretch tasks out to fill the time. By switching to a four-day week, he forced himself to work more efficiently.

In my life, I don't think there's a significant difference in the amount of work I accomplish during a 40 hour week, vs. a 32 hour week. You hear about companies allowing employees to work four, 10-hour days (and I've even heard of four 9-hour days) because they find out there isn't a difference in productivity. Some of this is probably due to the fact that Mondays and Fridays often end up with large blocks of time wasted, whether it be people trying to psyche themselves back up for the weekly grind, or people counting down the hours, having already checked-out mentally, and just waiting to get out of the office physically.

He's listed some good practical tips that he's using as he's switched over - avoid IM, only check e-mail twice a day, stick to what matters, ask for alone time, limit blog-reading time, make lists, and restrict meetings.

I already do most of these things - I've written about how distracting email is, I don't really socialize at work (which keeps people from dropping into my office), I make to-do lists on legal pads, and I try to dodge meetings. The big sink for me is probably blog-reading - I'll start reading some programming or design stuff, and before I know it, I've lost an hour of my day.

The author's underlying reasons for the change are similar to why I work a 32 hour week as well - "when you work less, it gives you more time to experience life and think."
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    Troubled Hubble - Migraine ( [24k aac+])
buzzed, B&W


An Australian research team recently wrote a paper entitled Caffeine, cognition and persuasion: Further evidence for caffeine increasing the systematic processing of persuasive messages. I read about this first on ABC Australia.

I haven't read the 37 page research paper in detail, but their conclusion is interesting. ABC of course sensationalized it a bit, with the title Coffee makes us say 'yes'. The researchers mainly say that this study further supports the idea that moderate caffeine increases "central route processing" but they don't go so far as to say that there's cause and effect between increased central route processing and persuasion. In fact, they point out that the difference could be due to the mood enhancing effects of caffeine, as people in good moods tend to be more agreeable (and therefore easier to persuade).
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    The Long Winters - More Than Shapes (Lounge Act) ( [24k aac+])