Notes from the Golden Orange
Author Archive: Paul Epps
Henrik Kniberg has a presentation online called “What is Agile?” It includes a method of visualizing risk as the gap between cumulative cost and cumulative value, as well as methods of visualizing risk mitigation strategies.
I found it valuable. Here are some representative slides:
LOS ANGELES (AP) – Geoff Edwards, the hip-looking 1970s and ’80s host of TV game shows including “Jackpot!” and two incarnations of “Treasure Hunt” died Wednesday, his agent said. He was 83.
“Geoff was one of the cleverest, funniest radio and television personalities I’ve worked with,” said fellow game show host Wink Martindale. The two were DJs at pop radio station KMPC in Los Angeles.
Shocking, shocking news . . . Wink Martindale is still alive?!
RIP Geoff Edwards
I dropped Lightning off at the vet for grooming . . .
“Make it like a spa day for him,” I said. “With lots of pampering. Don’t just put him in the sink and soak him down like we do at home. Make it free pampering though, nothing that will cause extra charges to accrue. By the way, where’s Erica?”
Erica is usually at the desk on weekends but today there was a new girl. The new girl, Lauren, said that Erica is moving to Arizona and won’t be working there anymore.
“She will be greatly missed,” Lauren said.
She sure will. People are insane when it comes to their pets and Erica was always extremely patient and attentive — extremely.
I wish I had the kind of personality that makes people miss me when I go away but oh well . . . I guess I have other qualities. Everyone’s different.
Later, when I picked Lightning up, they’d put a bow around his neck, which is a new thing. Usually they don’t decorate the dog.
“Oh that’s nice,” I said. “Is there an extra charge for that?”
“Yeah,” said Lauren, “it’s 50 dollars.”
I miss Erica . . .
We examine predictions and judgments of confidence based on one-sided evidence. Some subjects saw arguments for only one side of a legal dispute while other subjects (called ‘jurors’) saw arguments for both sides. Subjects predicted the number of jurors who favored the plaintiff in each case. Subjects who saw only one side made predictions that were biased in favor of that side. Furthermore, they were more confident but generally less accurate than subjects who saw both sides. The results indicate that people do not compensate sufficiently for missing information even when it is painfully obvious that the information available to them is incomplete.
- Data Structure Visualizations
- Good Tech Lead, Bad Tech Lead
- Google Java Style
- Guide to 12 Disruptive Technologies
- How to Write a Cover Letter
- The Landing Page Optimization Guide You Wish You Always Had
- Selendroid: Selenium for Android
- UX Axioms by Eric Dahl
- Yelp’s got style (and the guide to back it up)
You know who should host the Oscars? BANE. Fucking Bane should host them. No jokes. No attempt at currying the audience’s favor. Just the constant threat of death and hostile takeover.
Former CNN anchor Miles O’Brien revealed Tuesday that his left forearm was amputated this month after a freak accident led to emergency surgery for a potentially life-threatening condition called compartment syndrome. . . .
O’Brien said he’s dealing with phantom pain and getting used to life with one hand. “But I am alive and I’m grateful for that,” he wrote.
“Life is all about playing the hand that is dealt you. Actually, I would love somebody to deal me another hand right about now – in more ways than one.”
“Last time I was here, I decided to have a pink lemonade instead of a soda. Biggest mistake of my life.”
“The biggest mistake of your life was buying a pink lemonade?”
“Yeah. My whole afternoon was ruined.”
Neil Young is playing a couple of solo acoustic shows next month at the Dolby Theater. Tickets went on sale Monday morning, but somehow I missed the fact that they’d been available via “pre-sale” since last Friday and were all gone by Monday morning.
What a heartbreaker. Fortunately, thanks to the wonders of technology and social networks, Mr. Young and his team were able to inform me via Facebook that a third show had been added and I was able to log in and get tickets for that one.
The sold-out shows are on a Saturday and Sunday. The new show is on a Tuesday. Am I looking forward to driving in to LA and back on a Tuesday? No, but on a list of solo acoustic shows for which I’d be most willing to knock over my own mother to get a ticket, Neil Young would be second, behind Bob Dylan.
Unlike some singer-songwriters, Young also has a distinctive style and talent as a musician, plus an almost-50-year portfolio of great songs — not clever lyrics or inventive melodies, but a Neil Young song is as real as the day is long. They get a hold of you, like a meathook.
A solo acoustic performance is like he comes over to your house and picks up a guitar. Can you imagine that? Neil Young is at my house and he just picked up a guitar. ”Do you mind?” he asks.
One more thought on Bob Dylan: Solo acoustic Bob Dylan is part of the iconography of America in the 1960s. I don’t expect Bob Dylan to ever do a solo acoustic show again but if he did, the significance of it I think would be second only to Jimi Hendrix playing a concert after coming back from the dead.
I’m picking up a prescription for Lightning at the vet. He takes 5mg/day of a steroid for his joints, half a tablet in the morning and half at night.
The tablets are scored to make them easier to cut in half, but the vet staff uses a pill cutter, making cutting on the scoring actually a little more difficult because you have to line up each pill.
It’s better to cut them on the scoring, because the pills are small and they can crumble if they’re cut across the scoring, but it’s more time-consuming.
“Are the pills cut on the lines?” I ask the woman at the desk. “Lightning doesn’t like it when they’re not cut on the lines.”
“He doesn’t like it?” she says.
“He feels like it doesn’t show attention to detail.”
Some of the women at our vet’s office have a sense of humor and some don’t. Today we have one of the serious ones.
“I’m just telling you,” I say. “Don’t shoot the messenger.”
I bought this book and read it because it won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. See, it says so right there on the cover: “Winner of the Pulitzer Prize.”
Did you know there was a time in our country’s history when black people were bought and sold as property, sometimes by other black people? And did you also know that 15 minutes could save you 15 percent or more on car insurance?
Human slavery is deplorable, yes, but at this late date, can it be deplored any more than it has been already? If you have new depths of insight into the hearts and minds of the participants, by all means offer them, but Jones doesn’t have them. Reading The Known World is like reading a history book, albeit with a little more authorial contempt for some of the characters.
It’s customary in book reviews to mention authors whose work is called to mind by the volume at hand. The reviews included in my copy of The Known World cite
- William Faulkner (multiple times)
- Charles Frazier
- Gabriel García Márquez
- Cormac McCarthy
- Toni Morrison (multiple times)
- William Styron
If you want to say something nice about a black author writing about the American South, you can’t go wrong with a Morrison or Faulkner comparison, although comparing an author writing his second book to Faulkner (or García Márquez) makes as much sense as comparing a young composer to Beethoven or Mozart. (I can’t comment on the Toni Morrison comparison as I have to admit I haven’t read her work.)
The author that Jones most reminded me of is Kurt Vonnegut, who once wrote
I would write about life. Every person would be exactly as important as any other. All facts would also be given equal weightiness. Nothing would be left out. Let others bring order to chaos. I would bring chaos to order, which I think I have done.
Jones follows the Vonnegut model of introducing a lot of characters of equal importance and weaving their lives together via seemingly insignificant details. Vonnegut has written better books than The Known World — most notably, in my opinion, Breakfast of Champions, although many people prefer Slaughterhouse-Five — but he did not win, nor was he ever a finalist for, a Pulitzer Prize.
So it goes.
If a hiring manager asks, “Would you be willing to perish in my stead?” start looking for the exit . . .
One of my colleagues at work has a son in 6th grade. She’s trying to figure out which math class to put him in for 7th grade.
Working backward, we know that “normal” kids take Algebra I in 9th grade, the smarter kids take Algebra I in 8th grade, and the smartest kids take Algebra I in 7th grade. Placement depends on how a kid scores on the math placement test.
My co-worker’s concern is if her kid gets a top score on the placement test and he’s eligible to take Algebra I in 7th grade, does she want him to do that, or to wait till 8th grade?
If he takes Algebra I in 7th grade, that would mean he’d be taking the hardest math classes all through high school. Would it be better from a college admission standpoint to take easier classes and get all A’s, or take the hardest classes and maybe get a B+?
Our kid has already been through the Irvine schools. He’s in college now so I can answer questions like this with the benefit of experience.
“I like to see kids push themselves to take the hardest challenge available,” I said. “Colleges are not impressed with kids who get A’s in easy classes.”
“But what if he takes hard classes and gets a B+?” she asked.
“My advice is, don’t get a B+.”
If your kid takes hard classes in high school and gets B’s in them, he or she may not be able to attend a top university, but it wasn’t their destiny to attend a top university. Your kid is not that kind of a kid.
That reminds me . . . Olympic figure skating is on TV this week. Are you watching it? Neither am I, but I’ve heard that some of the skaters actually fall down during their program.
They’re supposed to be the best skaters in the world. Even I could go out there and skate around for a few minutes without falling down. Granted, I couldn’t do any spins or jumps or skate backwards or anything like that.
The point is that to be recognized as the best at something, you can’t just do easy things well. You have to risk doing things that are hard to do. In the skating scenario, it’s not enough to say “I didn’t fall on my ass.” No, you didn’t, but you didn’t even try to do anything hard.
In any endeavor, you won’t impress people of discernment simply by avoiding anything that might give you some difficulty. Step up to the challenge.
This movie is getting killed on Rotten Tomatoes — 34 percent as I write this. Granted, it’s not in 3-D, doesn’t have robots or aliens or other really fake-looking bullshit, and despite being set during World War II, has only a minimal amount of violent action.
An unlikely World War II platoon is tasked to rescue art masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their owners.
IMDb rating: 6.3 (18,529 votes)