FastCompany Productivity Questionnaire (as modified by RG)

Now you try it!

Time you wake up: 7 a.m.

First thing you do in the morning: Make my bed, because once it’s made, I can’t get back in.

What you do while commuting: Think about the sequence of the upcoming day. Talk to myself. Sing.

Email strategy: The first thing I do is select all of the messages that have nothing to do with me — or which do not require any action by me — and delete them. Then I respond to emails from my client and chain of command. I have assigned the color red to those individuals, so their emails are easy to spot in a crowded mailbox. Every 30 days, I sort my inbox by sender and dump all but the most recent messages.

Mantra: Save the drama for yo’ mama.

How you handle stress: I do what I can to avoid stressful and/or toxic individuals by limiting their ability to control my time. For repeat offenders, that means blocking them on instant messaging and phone. This forces them to gather their thoughts before reaching out to me via email, versus contacting me first and then burning my time while they figure out what they want. I also have learned (the hard way) only to take employment that interests me, and that I can get behind morally. Once you do that, you never hate going to work, and you’re constantly thinking of ways to improve because you’re excited about what you do.

Productivity tool: I use Google Calendar to schedule work tasks rather than adding them to a To-Do list. Unfortunately, I have been less successful at scheduling personal tasks.

Productivity philosophy: Think first (even if it presses you against your deadline), then act. I’m a writer, and I find that writing something all at once after lengthy periods of thought produces more coherent work. But you have to know how to put a sentence together.

Lunch routine: I usually work at my desk. When I work from home, I try to go outside for a little while.

Most productive space: I can work anywhere, as long as I’m in the zone.

Best habit: Trusting my judgment and saying “no” when necessary.

Worst habit: Wanting things to happen too quickly.

What you let slide: I try to identify things that aren’t worth doing, and then not do them.

Nightly routine: I listen to music late into the night. Lately, I’ve been working on my blog.

Time you go to bed: It varies. Sometime between 11 p.m. and 2 a.m.

Omega Compact ALNICO Monitor (CAM) Loudspeakers

I recently replaced my 16-year-old ATC SCM12 studio monitors with a really interesting pair of new speakers based on classic hi-fi design principles — the Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs). The Omega CAMs harken to the classic days of hi-fi (the 1950s and 1960s) when high-efficiency (lots of volume per watt of amplifier power), single-driver and horn-loaded speakers ruled the market. Think of the enormous classics from Klipsch, Altec Lansing and Electro-Voice. But unlike those monsters — any of which I would have if I had the space and the cash — the Omega CAMS are “bookshelf” sized and utilize a combination of old and new technologies.

The Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs)
The Omega Compact ALNICO Monitors (CAMs)

The heart of any Omega speaker is it’s proprietary driver — a design that covers the entire audible frequency range without the need of a crossover network that typically would connect a separate woofer (for the bass) and tweeter (for the treble). Omitting the crossover circuit eliminates all kinds of problems, including distortion during the “transition” from the woofer to the tweeter, and the inherent “power sucking” characteristics of passive crossover designs. Crossover circuits require amplifier power to activate them, and unless you use a complex (and expensive) design that incorporates multiple active (externally amplified) crossovers, you lose a lot of performance. I’ve heard speakers from Linn and Naim that pulled off the active crossover trick with aplomb, but none has been anywhere close to being financially within reach.

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1968 — the year I was eight — was the shittiest year of my life. On March 22, my family was involved in a horrible car accident that left my father a quadriplegic. On April 4, Martin Luther King was assassinated. And on June 6, Bobby Kennedy was shot. I attended third grade at three different schools that year — never returning to the Los Angeles neighborhood school that I had left on spring break. I also never returned to our Los Angeles home, because after months of hospitalization in Tennessee (where the accident occurred), my father was moved to the VA Hospital in Long Beach. When my sister and I finally went back west from staying with our grandparents in Virginia, it was to a new home and new schools in the new city.

A friend’s comments about the motivations of T**** supporters — along with comments about the emotional softness of college students requiring special care to cope with the trauma of their candidate’s loss — reminded me of my perhaps-too-soon education about class differences in the U.S.

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Teriyaki Burritos and National Service

Ever had a teriyaki burrito? They’re delicious! But I’ll come back to the tastiness of mixed cultural cuisines later.

Okay, now I'm hungry.
Okay, now I’m hungry.

First, let’s talk about National Service — and why we need it. If there’s one thing apparent from recent events, it’s that the U.S. is not simply “divided.” We’re fractured along numerous fault lines. You can name them yourself. And then you can agree with me (see how that works!) that the best way to “heal” these breaks is for them never to have occurred in the first place.

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Dead Cats, Russians and Fake News

Let’s play Connect the Dots. You go first….

Entry for Australian Political Strategist Lynton Crosby

“Crosby is described as favouring what is called a wedge strategy, whereby the party he advises introduces a divisive or controversial social issue into a campaign, aligning its own stance with the dissenting faction of its opponent party, with the goal of causing vitriolic debate inside the opposing party, defection of its supporters, and the legitimising of sentiment which had previously been considered inappropriate. This is also described as “below the radar” or dog-whistle campaigning, with the targeting of marginal constituencies with highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues and personalities. To find such divisive and potentially deflecting issues, Crosby’s business partner Mark Textor runs focus groups to find which groups to target with what questions. Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages, target marginal constituencies and use lots of polls.

In a 2013 article for The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson noted that one of Crosby’s tactics when losing an argument and having the facts against you was to do the equivalent of “throwing a dead cat on the table“: bring up an issue you want to talk about that draws widespread attention from the populace, forcing opponents to also talk about your new issue instead of the previous issue.”

Like this. Except dead.
Like this. Except dead.

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“Alt-right” = White Supremacy

As mentioned earlier, my T**** University “major” is racism/white supremacy. I can’t keep up with everything, but I’m keeping up with that. Even though I’m probably not threatened (as long as I stay in Connecticut), generations of my family have fought for our citizenship and civil rights. The WS contention that they — and only they — “built this country” is absurd, and is particularly insulting for descendants of people who both built it and didn’t get paid.

The new "rainbow coalition?"
The new “rainbow coalition?”

I had hoped that the median age of WS supporters was sufficiently high that we wouldn’t have to worry about them much longer, but there’s a new breed that’s internet-enabled, angrier than ever, and (seemingly) ignorant of even their own history.

News flash, chumps! A disproportionate percentage of black Americans have served in the military, and the Second Amendment that you’re so worried about covers all Americans.

Just some food for thought before you decide to light any fires in my yard….

The Nation:
“Alt-Right” Is Not a Thing. It’s White Supremacy.
The Alt Right is not a thing; it’s a number of things, all with white supremacy at their core. Southern Poverty Law Center categorizes far-right hate groups into 11 different categories: anti-immigration, anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, anti-government, Christian identity, Holocaust denial, Ku Klux Klan, neo-Confederate, neo-Nazi, racist skinhead, and white nationalist.”