Stuff from February, 2013

This is the archive of tumbledry happenings that occurred on February, 2013.


“The antidote to obsolescence is knowledge of the process by which facts are obtained.”

Neil Carlson, Foundations of Physiological Psychology



First Job

Hi kids,

You probably won’t like your first job very much. My first job was at 3M and its only saving grace was that I met a truly great guy named Chris Rupert. Lacking a car, I was taking extremely long bus trips to work and he was nice enough to give me a ride—he’s one of those people who help out, expecting no overblown credit or glory in return. Just a super nice, stand-up guy. I’m lucky to know him. That’s sort of it from that job, though. I’ll be honest, I did a fair amount of sleeping—3M is where I first learned to sleep sitting up. I’d wear my glasses in the morning, and arrive in the empty, recently sold-off Pharm portion of the 3M building. In a nearly-empty farm of cubicles I’d turn on my computer and then… sleep for about an hour. After that I’d go to the bathroom, put in my contacts, and start my day. During the long afternoons, I taught myself object-oriented programming and wrote large chunks of the software behind this website. None of this, not the sleeping, not the programming, was in any way related to my job. But, I learned the ins and outs of corporate email (send a lot of it, be unnecessarily verbose, CC liberally) and the pure, unabashed joy with which folks greeted “free cake in the breakroom.”


Tiny Screens

When people are grocery shopping with headphones on or when they’re totally absorbed in a text message conversation at the gym, I first thought such behavior simply annoyed me. I thought that these people’s disregard for their surroundings bothered me because it put more of what can only be described as dead weight in my path, forcing me to find a passage around inert obstacles that are unaware and unwilling to acknowledge my presence. Then I realized it wasn’t my forced reroute that troubled me but rather that first part—these folk’s lack of awareness.


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Less stuff

I am realizing that I don’t like stuff. Not in a little way, but in a really big way. Having ATVs or a boat sounds like the most awful thing: gas, insurance paperwork, maintenance records, towing trailers… just… yuck. I love to donate things, throw things away, recycle, get rid of worn clothes, throw out stuff I no longer use, and get rid of broken stuff. See, my brain has a tendency to track everything single thing we own and when we get rid of something, it makes that mental list shorter. That’s partly why I want a document scanner. I have giant boxes of school paperwork (literally like over 40 pounds of school papers) that is valuable but unsearchable. Pounds of organized (paid) bills. If I scan all this, it takes up zero space, I recycle of bunch of papers, and all that information is searchable thanks to the magic of optical character recognition.