133 Slices
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Medium 9781771870726

Flying Avocados

McKinnon, Neil Thistledown Press ePub

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I HAVE SAVED THE BEST FOR LAST, although the tale is never ending. A number of years have sped by since I began this story on my eightieth birthday. I must tell you that on a more recent birthday Adriana invited me to have breakfast with her. She then suggested that if we were to eat together in the morning that I may as well spend the night. She also said that if past performance gave any indication of future accomplishment, I would probably be ready for breakfast soon after going to bed. She smiled and a strange look came across her face. “Perhaps you would prefer to stay for lunch and dinner as well,” she said.

This sudden turn of events startled me and I came near to being at a loss for words. Fortunately that fate has not yet befallen me. Previously, when I invited Adriana to meander on my mattress, she had scowled and asked, “Have you considered your predicament if I say yes?”

“I’d love to stay,” I said. “But what brings this change of heart?”

“There’s no change. I believe that one is never too old to make a dim-witted decision. Besides, I’ve always maintained a tender spot for you and I thought it was time to raise the stakes on our relationship. Maybe we are like salmon swimming upstream. If we throw ourselves at a waterfall enough times we may get lucky and gain the next level. Otherwise we risk spending the rest of our days swimming alone in a pool we should have jumped over years ago. More to the point, it concerns me that I have a drawer full of sexy underwear that no one has seen.”

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Medium 9781574411836

Reasons for Being a Southern Baptist

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Reasons for Being a Southern Baptist j

You can believe in sole freedom however you feel about soul freedom.

You can have church by yourself, preach at yourself, or anyone else who displeases you.

You can have Communion by yourself; drink real wine if you don’t get caught buying it.

You can suspend or bar from membership anyone who disagrees with you or has skin or money of an inappropriate color.

After baptism, that’s it. No eating fish on Friday or going to confession. No trip to Mecca or praying five times a day. Giving alms is recommended but not required. You can keep the alms in your church if you want.

You can read the Bible for yourself. Written study guides are suspicious if not dangerous and studying the origin of the

Bible is discouraged and should be forbidden.

You can believe the Bible is literally true and that you are born again. That you are dust and will return to dust but that you have a soul. That you are made of clay and that if you cut yourself you will bleed. That God is your shepherd although you didn’t sleep in a pasture last night. That at the Great Judgment the sheep were surprised that they were sheep, the goats that they were goats, and be absolutely certain that you not only have a pass to heaven but also know who has a one-way ticket to hell.

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Medium 9781741795240

Coming to America

Simon Winchester Lonely Planet ePub

Amanda Jones is a travel writer and photographer who lives in northern California. Her work has appeared in Travel & Leisure, Town & Country Travel, the Los Angeles Times, the London Sunday Times, Vogue and Condé Nast Traveller, among other publications. Thanks to a predilection for wandering, she has an embarrassing number of on-the-road tales of woe and misadventure. Amanda was born and raised in Auckland, New Zealand.

In 1982, at the age of twenty, I was still living at home with my parents in Auckland, New Zealand. The product of a spectacularly sheltered and conventional existence, I had graduated from university and had no plans for the future. One day, my father summoned me into his den, accused me of being ‘rudderless’, and presented me with a truly horrible suggestion. He was president of Auckland’s Rotary Club at the time, and he clearly felt the position entitled him to practise the worst kind of nepotism. ‘Rotary’, he announced, ‘is offering a scholarship for an MBA programme in America. I’ve entered your name. I feel quite sure you’ll get it. I think you can rely on the fact that you’ll be off to graduate school in a matter of months.’

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Medium 9781574411836

Questions Secular Humanists Never Ask

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Questions Secular Humanists

Never Ask j

Since there is no God, who is to blame for the bad things done in the name of religion?

If I get my credit card bill and need to express my surprise, whose name do I use? Kurt Vonnegut!

Since we don’t have God-words, how will I know if I speak in a religious way? Do humanists have glossalalia? Is John Kenneth Galbraith an example?

When humanists go to AA meetings, what higher power do they recognize?

Can a humanist be an alcoholic? Why would a humanist be an alcoholic?

If I have to take an oath, to whom do I swear? Ted Turner?

Betty Friedan?

If humanists believe that thinking for one’s self, using reason as a guide, is the best way to serve human interests, why haven’t we tarred and feathered the Supreme Court? The Department of Justice? Congress?

If we don’t have a creed, how do I know that what I believe is okay? What about my wife? She has some really freaky ideas.

If a “Voice of Reason” can save the world from destruction, why is it ignored as thoroughly as the Sermon on the Mount?

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Medium 9780596155407

3. The Itch

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

My expiration date for a gig has, historically, been three years. Strangely, this mirrors what I believe is the development cycle to get a product right—three releases before it’s real. One release per year, the product is done...and so am I.

I say this like there’s a plan, like I know that after three years it’s time to move on, but this is not a science. This is historic observation. As I look at my resumé, it’s obvious. In fact, I often start leaving before I even notice I’m leaving.

Leaving starts with an itch.

I rarely answer my phone at work. There are really only two types of people who call: lawyers and recruiters. The lawyers are calling for good reason. They know that anything that passes through the keyboard is forever, and since their jobs hinge on conversations that we might not want to be forever, they use the phone.

Recruiters, on the other hand, are just cold calling. They’ve got a name and the main number of your company and they’re dialing. They don’t care who you are—you’re just 10% of your first year’s salary. And they’re the main reason I never pick up my phone.

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Medium 9780615928272

Go Big, Go Redwood

Dani Burlison Petals & Bones Press PDF

DANI BURLISON

In the early and mid nineties, I became loosely involved with some regional environmental activism. I attended

Earthfirst! meetings, read Green Anarchy literature, traveled hours to block logging roads, listened to Judi Bari speak and read my first-born The Lorax at least twenty times a day. I boycotted companies that owned stock in Pacific Lumber. I used cloth diapers that I washed myself. I switched my focus from psychology to environmental studies in community college. I started hanging out with a lot of pagans, anarchists and tree sitters. I left nasty notes on business’s garbage bins if I saw recyclables piling over. I wasn’t your typical treehugger, though; I usually sat out of the contact-love, opting instead to observe the misguided hippies embracing trees in the pouring rain, their large paper-mâché tree spirit puppets dissolving at their feet. Through it all, something about threatened old- growth redwoods, my role as a new parent and my disgust with the global corporate entity gave me a sense of purpose: to dismantle the whole system and, of course, to commune with the trees.

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38. Mind the Gap

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

“Everyone is replaceable.”

The first time you’ll hear this rationalization is when someone valuable regrettably leaves the group. The team is off because no one wanted this person to leave, so your manager gets everyone together and lays down the departed’s reasoning: “He’s been here five years, he’s looking for new challenges, blah blah.” The thing is, if any of this reasoning was the actual truth, there would be no reason to have this meeting, and your manager knows this. Which is why he finishes with, “Everyone’s replaceable.”

And he’s right. Nature abhors a vacuum. When someone vital walks out the door, you learn all sorts of interesting things about the folks who remain.

In this chapter, I’m going to walk through an analysis of some individual regrettable departures of someone on your team. You don’t want this person to leave, because they’re adding something unique to the team, and when you learn they’re leaving, you believe that something essential is permanently being lost.

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Medium 9780596155407

1. How to Win

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

You’ve had a small number of career-defining moments.

Small decisions cross your desk, your inbox, all day, but this isn’t a small decision. It’s massive, and once you’ve made this decision, there is absolutely no going back. It is in this moment you make a painful discovery—shit, I’m a geek.

You don’t have an MBA. You know there are HR people in the building somewhere, but you’ve no idea what to do with them. You want to hide in the comforting structure of code, but you know that in this moment, this decision is going to significantly affect your career...if only you knew how.

Can I argue for more money after I received an offer? OK, how? Who do I do when my boss lies to me? What do I need to do to resign? What’s a program manager? Should I apply for a management gig? They make more money doing less, right? Can I get a promotion without talking to a single human being? There isn’t a class in college that teaches any of this. Wikipedia can give you definition, but it can’t help a social introvert who sees much of the world through a keyboard.

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Medium 9780615928272

Katie The Tarot Whisperer

Dani Burlison Petals & Bones Press PDF

DANI BURLISON

therapy is always my first choice, but as my beloved therapist gave me her abracadabra, you’re mostly fixed seal of approval and sent me on my way almost a year ago, some dabbling in the ether from time to time helps me get through the indecision I am often gripped by.

And ether, I did enter.

My intent for this past year was to repair some of my faulty inner wiring, to try new things, to have my perspective shift so radically that rainbows would shoot out of unicorn heads and disintegrated the dark clouds that regularly hover in the periphery–if not directly over–my life. I wanted a glimpse at the mysteries of what drives us to slip out of bed and face each day. I wanted to know why I am here. I wanted to know how to make this life better.

Like a New Age Magnum P.I., I sought answers. My experiences weren’t exactly the stuff of A Fortune Teller Told Me or Eat, Pray, Have Sex with a Hot Brazilian in Bali. I don’t have that kind of world travel in my budget just yet. Instead,

I climbed to an old grove of oaks with David J of Bauhaus one afternoon and asked him all about spirits and God and what can be found in our hearts. I spent a weekend as an apprentice to a 1960’s LSD guru and psychotherapist, exploring my shadow side and discussing the ways in which to come to terms with all that is dark and murky inside of me. I consulted a medicine woman in regards to pains in my chest and she worked her magic, rattling and chanting the spirit of my wounded, dead ex right out of my psychic space. I sent scanned photos of my hands to a palm reader in Australia and read the two-page report over and over and over again, memorizing the clues. I drank enough kombucha to rebalance the friendly flora of an entire village to see if I could

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Medium 9780596155407

26. The Crisis and the Creative

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

If you polled my team about my daily agenda, they’d say, “He’s either running to meetings or in meetings.” Glancing at my calendar confirms this: 14 meetings this coming Monday—double-booked for five of them. Sweet.

Yes, I go to meetings all day, but it’s more than that. I’m also managing a constant, distracting flood of interesting decisions that find me no matter where I’m sitting. When they arrive, I must make an instant prioritization call: Crisis or Creative?

This will be the third chapter where I’ve described prioritization. The Taste of the Day describes how I deal with tactics, identifying and recording tasks that need to be done, as well as a system for punting tasks that are lingering aimlessly. The Trickle List goes strategic and imparts direction for my day: what are the daily investments I want to make in my people and myself?

The Crisis and the Creative is less a system and more a mental model for all of the work on my plate. It’s similar to The Taste of the Day in that it’s a lens by which I look at the health of everything I’m responsible for. The model looks like this:

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Medium 9780596155407

25. The Trickle List

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

There’s a gaping hole in the prior chapter, "The Taste of the Day.” Yes, it’s a handy task management system, but it’s incomplete. It describes a process for constant scrubbing of a task list, as well as a handy place to keep distractions out of your way via the Parking Lot, but at the end of the day, what exactly is it helping you do?

Here are three tasks from my current list:

Headcount Asks

David Lunch

Move Europe Trip

These are tasks for today. They are well-defined, measurable, tactical, and they need to be done today. While it’s professionally terrific that I’m actively making sure nothing is falling through the cracks, these are still just tasks. What am I accomplishing when I complete them? I’m getting things done.

Is that what you want to do all day? Things? Stuff?

No.

You’re a Sr. Development Engineer or an Engineering Manager or a Project Manager, and while things and stuff are part of the gig, if it’s all you’re doing, you’re productive, but you’re vigorously running in place. You’re tactical, but not strategic. Tasks are an incomplete picture of what you do and what you need to do.

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33. The Screw-Me Scenario

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

It had all the signs of a good meeting. And I hate meetings. We were:

Talking about a product we loved

In great shape from a feature, quality, and schedule standpoint

A group that historically did not kick ass

A group that was kicking ass

The slides looked great and the dry run was flawless, so why hadn’t I slept in two nights?

I couldn’t sleep because I couldn’t see the Screw-Me.

There are endless interesting variants of meetings, but the one I want to talk about is the executive cross-pollination communication clusterfuck. The point of this meeting is alignment. Big alignment. You’ve likely got several different groups who don’t normally spend a lot of time together being forced to sit in the same room so the execs can compare stories, measure reality, and figure out who is lying.

Before I explain how to get your head around this meeting, I want to talk about intent behind this meeting. Intent starts with a question: “Why does this meeting exist?” If you’re responsible for the presentation in this particular meeting, it exists because someone hates you.

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Medium 9781574411836

Questions Mormons Never Ask

Robert Flynn University of North Texas Press PDF

Questions Mormons

Never Ask j

When we gave up polygamy did we surrender religious principle to secular humanism?

Was the fear of jail the beginning of monogamy?

Why didn’t Brigham Young keep going until he got to California where polygamy is popular? Mormons would be as entrenched in Hollywood as the Church of Scientology.

If marriages made in the Mormon Temple are not until

“death do us part” but forever, isn’t that a long time to spend with one woman? Is it too late to reinstitute polygamy? Is being a Muslim martyr out of the question?

Do women live longer than men because it takes them longer to get ready for anything, even heaven?

If incest is so bad, why did God choose that way for the children of Adam and Eve to reproduce?

Why did it take Southern Baptists so long to understand what Joseph Smith knew before he talked to the angel Moroni?

Wives are to be submissive. It doesn’t matter whether you are wife number one or wife number ten.

When your husband says you are good in bed, does that mean you are number one or number ten?

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Medium 9781741795240

A Matter of Trust

Simon Winchester Lonely Planet ePub

Michelle Witton is an Australian actor/writer, currently based in London. She studied law in Australia and at Cambridge University, where she wrote and acted with the Footlights comedy revue. A well-travelled backpacker, Michelle’s travel stories and satire have been published in TNT Magazine, the Sydney Morning Herald and Backpacker Essentials. This is the first time her work has appeared in book form. This story is dedicated to the man who assured her, ‘It never hurts to kick your toe on the moon’ – her father, Bill Witton (1932–2004).

My watchband, already old when I started travelling, had served me well in the three months I’d been on the road, but it finally chose the Italian town of Lucca in which to end its short, though eventful, life. Luckily, I’d planned to stay a while in Lucca, visiting my friend Elizabetta and tending to necessary chores such as mending my dog-eared guidebook and spending quality time with a washing machine. Now I added finding a new watchband to the list.

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13. The Impossible

Michael Lopp O'Reilly Media ePub

Right now, there’s a CEO standing in front of his 85-person start-up at an all-hands meeting and he’s saying, “In the next 90 days, we need to do the impossible.”

The particular version of impossible doesn’t matter. What matters is that everyone in the room is shocked when he says it. You can tell by the intensity of the silence.

“We’re going to what in the what?”

What gives this guy the right to ask the impossible? Sure, he’s the CEO, but does that mean he gets to stand in front of the room and ask the team to build a levitation machine?

Yeah, it does.

However, this does not mean the CEO isn’t screwing up.

Asking for the impossible is an advanced management technique, and it’s one that is particularly abhorrent to engineers. Engineers are very clear on what is and isn’t possible because they’re responsible for building and measuring all the possible. When you ask an engineer to do the impossible, they often laugh in your face, not only because they think it’s an absurd, irrational request, but they also have the data to prove it.

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