Visual direction by Ross Warren. Videography by Justin Warren, Cyperus Media.
I am entertained by my own products and skills. We are laughing and doing tricks in the park, wearing jet-boots. I am the artist in residence for NASA, composing a new dance piece for zero gravity. I live in a mountain top, and take a giant high-speed escalator to work each day in an underground cave, where we brainstorm ideas for future cars, and new ways of preparing food, and new hair cuts. I have a digital controller embedded in my neck, so that when I sing, programs are written on the computer. Everything I look at instantly recalls a Wikipedia page overlaid on my retina, and a transceiver embedded in my ear whispers useful calculations as I examine a sample of a new meta-material.
I am harnessed into a giant machine of my own design that simultaneously trains me to dance ballet and butoh while I work. I am at the pinnacle of health, all of my genetic aberrations have been re-transcribed by programmable retro-viruses. All of my needs are met. There is no money, economies have been replaced by trust and good ideas. My friends all live with me in a huge complex of creativity, where everyone is different but everyone loves to eat salad with no dressing and brushes their teeth three times a day. Even the weirdos are loved, they are drinking wine at 1pm and writing poetry, which is read out loud at the daily meeting each evening, which are surprisingly short and not at all boring. Not even a little.
- Performed 1000 consecutive jumps on a pogostick
- Built a complete drum kit out of sheet metal and plastic (didn’t really sound that great but, hey)
- Designed and built the most awesomely lethal pushpin-launching gun, powered by rubber bands
- Set tree-climbing height record on my property, on the redwood tree, which I also rigged and descended via zip-line.
- Performed a Suzuki piano piece in front of a crowd of over 1000 people, age 10 (staccato: ba-da-ba-da-bump-bump!)
- Winner of the “Young Writers Award” in elementary school for my poem on the Loma Prieta earthquake.
- Cultivated an unusually sensitive empathy for yellow-throated songbirds that died by collision with the windows of the house
- Defeated the school bus bully with unusually sharp fingernails
- Top-ranked in math aptitude test-scores in Sonoma county, 5th grade (skipped two years ahead in math and finished AP Calculus in 10th grade, entered UCB as a declared math major).
- In collaboration with my brother Max, built a LEGO space-ship that was over 4 feet long
- Programmed the computer to play Bach preludes in BASIC using BEEP command (these days I am far less productive)
- Performed a simulated high-altitude test flight and discovered that if a plane is flown above 65,535 feet, the ground re-appears from above but no longer produces a crash (my first encounter with the limitations of computational numerics).
- Might have, but didn’t, meet then Vice President Al Gore to show him my computer-simulation of lighting conditions for a solar-power house design.
- Obtained drivers license at age 16 (still perfect record).
- Conducted psychological research on time-deprivation using myself as a subject.
- Is collaboration with friends, collected an entire suitcase of hot-sauce packets from Taco Bell (current status unknown).
- Participated in a walk-out of Physics final exam, senior year (and consequently never properly learned the laws of electromagnetism).
- In collaboration with my brother, crashed the web servers at my local ISP by creating an internet hoax resulting in a massive surge in traffic (evidence is still documented on USENET archives).
- Rebuilt my cheap Fender-copy Strat with a Floyd-Rose locking tremelo bridge, after which it could never be tuned properly because the neck geometry was wrong.
- Operated a BBS that I described as for for those “who think in a slightly different dimension”, and, “the only bbs in 707 area code that i think is neat”, as reported in an issue of Blaster magazine on young SysOps, shortly thereafter an editor accused me of “giving us all a bad name” and urged readers to dial-in and “make death threats or something constructive”.
You might remember my earlier tirade about the wonders of certain special yogurts. Well, this is a new one.
I can’t pronounce any of the words on this carton, other than “drink”. “Mit” means “with” but I can’t tell you what LGG is, but it must be good cuz its in there. This yogurt drink from foreign lands is possibly the greatest incarnation of yogurt ever conceived. It is essentially yogurt in a carton diluted to the perfect consistency for continuous quaffing, and with yummy fruit flavors. I drank about 15 of these things in Amsterdam and didn’t need to eat solid food for 3 days, they are that awesome.
Swanstrom USA Part #324. These are the best needlenose pliers ever created by man. Once I thought I had lost them, and I cried. I was immediately disabled–unable to work, unable to grasp small items, unable to wire breadboards, unable to manipulate machine nuts. That is when I bought a second pair and hid them in a secret location. What is it that makes them so magical? The perfect leverage ratio of handle to nose? The perfect angle of taper? The precision high-carbon steel edges? The smooth-acting and perfectly tensioned spot-welded leaf springs? I’m not sure exactly, but I can tell you every other pair of pliers is vastly inferior. Get ‘em from Digikey here. The #325 has the same dimensions with a serrated jaw.
I like strawberries. You might also. When one buys boxed strawberries care should be taken to consume them in reverse order because the ones at the bottom always go bad first. One solution is to open the box upside down (see Figure 1). Strawberries may be stored in the fridge until called for. They will stay yummy, longer. They are also good with yogurt (uh, for some value of yogurt, that is).
As I sit here on a listless Sunday afternoon making backup-of-backups I am rediscovering some gems from my archives. This graph I drew some years ago to explain what is important in life and how it each component reinforces the other in my world-view.
The core of the graph is the “Better Myself <=> Better Humanity” structure. This is a justification of selfishness. Next we have the basic “operational” requirement, “Happy <=> Healthy” and its supporting web. Finally, note the slightly unusual “Scientific => Good Relationships”
You have no idea how long it took me to figure out that I actually like yogurt. I’ve always been convinced that I should like yogurt, and to that end I would faithfully buy yogurt at the grocery store on a semi-regular basis. But with disturbing regularity it would sit in the fridge and eventually go bad, sometimes completely untouched. This fairly expensive experiment has been running for the last 5 years.
We are talking about plain, ordinary boring yogurt, eaten straight, by the way.
Recently, however, I bought a quart of yogurt, and lo and behold, I just couldn’t get enough of it! Within a week it was completely eaten. WOW! I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long long time.
So, I bought another quart of yogurt, spooned myself a cup of it and… YUCK-O, eww, gross! Suddenly I realized that my experimental data now had a conclusion. I do like yogurt, but not just any yogurt. I like Pavel’s Original Russian Yogurt, made right here in Oakland California. The stuff from TJ’s is just gross. You see, it’s all about texture (I am highly sensitive to food-textures). Yogurt should not be thixotropic. Yogurt should be pourable.
For an amusing article on yogurt, see this one in SFGate.
In other words, start with the biggest and ugliest task on your TODO list — just “get it over with”. This is common advice from the GTD experts. The funny thing is, this is wrong — not only that, we all know intuitively that it’s wrong, but nobody is willing to admit it. Instead we secretly approach our TODOs just nibbling at the smallest frog first!
The good news is that this idealism is simply uninformed. The missing theory is called The Strength Wave, and was first documented by Dyke Naughton (Philosophy: “Strength and speed without bodybuilding”) in a 1991 study, and is noted by sports trainers for excellence in maintaining year-round endurance.
The wave protocol plays a trick on the primitive brain (I just love how easy it is to fool our inner reptile) — the routine starts with at the easiest level, which agrees with our intuition, and then gets slowly more difficult. But before the difficulty increases too much, you suddenly drop back to the easiest level, plus a small increment. Therein lies the trick — as soon as you are about to start feeling like things are getting hard, they get easy again. Next thing you know, you’ve just eaten a HUGE frog without even noticing!
Since we all know that *real* facts are supported by graphs, I’ve made one up to better illustrate how this works:
For the uninitiated, here is a video lecture (and the slides) by CS academic legend Randy Pausch on time management. I like his idea of the 4-quadrant TODO list (may be implemented with post-its), and some suggestions about interruptions and other human factors.
I am a name upon a name itself.
I travel in the direction of the wind,
yet my space is limited.
You hang me from your prosthetic sky
with hooks and string.
My only purpose is to hold your name.
Andy Schmeder, 1991.