Musings on the future of work (or, why you should be excited–not concerned–that I’m currently nocturnal)

Individuals (and small teams) have always been the ones acting, but now they’re more movable (you could imagine the Google phone team basically “stealing” the Apple phone team by wooing them over. This seems unlikely 20-100 years ago). The game for corporations, therefore, becomes more along the lines of “make an environment that’s attractive to the right sort of individuals/teams”. Now, this is probably obvious for anyone who asks the question “why does every startup have pingpong tables and free lunch?” but let’s take it a step further:

The top performers have always been eccentrics. Weirdos. I live in a van and drive around the country. (Not that I’m necessarily a top performer, but I’m certainly working with more successful people than most people who have the job title “writer”.) These are people who will form their own unique strategy for working (I’ve been nocturnal for the last week because it seems to help my novel writing).

This is mainly interesting to me because it creates opportunities for people to create highly-specialized products/services that assist very specific (i.e. unusual) people with very specific needs.

If an individual is such a great, high, top performer, they often have an assistant. I bet the assistants for top performers in many fields have similar jobs, though, and there wasn’t previously enough value created by these oddballs to warrant tools to help them.

Now, we’re recognizing that (a) no number of Walmart greeters could equate to one Sam Walton (just as no number of gazelles would ever hunt a lion [it’s a bad analogy but you get the point]), and (b) we can see how much value Sam Walton created (he built Walmart!) as compared to your average joe, so we’re able to create tools that will help, say, the 10 Sam Waltons in the world be 1% better, which is huge value but would previously be uncapturable. (Or, more accurately, provide tools to make the 1000 people in the world who are 2 orders of magnitude lower than Sam Walton be 5% more effective.)

I guess, what I’m saying is: could someone please make me a business-casual onesie that I could wear in public?

I put the punctuation outside the quotes.

I put the punctuation outside the quotes. I also hyphenate adverbial constructions ending in -ly. I know these are “wrong”. I understand they’re conventions. The conventions are stupid.

A sentence ends with a mark of punctuation. A quotation may include a mark of punctuation in the quote: 

  • David said, “Where are we going?”
  • Did David say, “Where are we going?” 
  • Did David say, “We are going north?” 

Oh shit. You see the problem? It’s that third sentence. The one where your English teacher would demand the question mark go inside the quotes, but putting it inside the quotes is misleading. 

An English sentence starts with a capital letter and ends with a punctuation mark. This system works. It doesn’t need to change when it’s in a fucking quote. 

I’d punctuate that last, dastardly question like this: 

  • “Did David say, “We are going north.”? 

Why? Because David spoke a fucking sentence.

Let’s reverse it. What if the sentence is a statement and the quotation’s a question? 

  • David asked, “Where are we going?”. 

See what I did there? I tossed a period into the sentence, after the quotation marks. Why? Because “David asked, __________” is a sentence. It should end with a punctuation mark. Omitting the punctuation makes us assume it’s a question… and David’s quoted query doesn’t make my statement an inquisition. 

Some will be uncomfortable with these ideas. “But my English teacher taught me…” Well, tough titties. Language lives. We grow and improve it. Did you know the word “okay” comes from a mid-1800s comedic misspelling of “all correct” as “oll korrect”? Is it stupid that old-timey people misspelled words for humorous effect? Yep. But aren’t you glad we now have that damn valuable word? Language is for communication. If it works, use it. 

Maybe punctuating outside the quotes “looks ugly” or “feels weird”… but think of our children! They’ll live in a much clearer grammatical world. They’ll inherit a world where the sentence is the sentence and the quote is the quote, where you can tell whether the person said a full sentence or not by checking the quote itself. 

  • Kennedy said, “We choose to go to the moon…”.

Without the ellipses in the quote, you’d assume that as his whole sentence. With the ellipses, you know he continued. 

  • He finished the speech, “… in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”. 

Grammar should make writing clearer, not hold onto outdated structures. 

Join the resistance. Punctuate proper.

Travelog 191024 (Redacted Version)

Start: [Redacted], Pflugerville, TX 

End: Parked on a public street outside Walmart, West Houston, TX 

Real Realizations: 

  • I hear men jiggle the handle before removing gas from cars and women don’t. HILARIOUS. Must research further. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “It’s hard to mend the relationship after being brutally honest to someone with low self-esteem.” -[Redacted]. 

Exciting Events: 

  • Worked for three hours. [Redacted]. Yay! 
  • Left Austin, heading toward New Orleans. 
  • Call with [redacted] today. Love talking to him. 

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Ham & pepperjack & mayo roll-ups. Yum! 
  • A glass of white moscato. Also yum! 

[Redacted]

  • [Redacted]. 
  • [Redacted]. 

Alluring Activities: 

  • Traveling to New Orleans. Seeing [redacted] & his crazy parties.  
  • Making t-shirts with [redacted]?!?!?!

Travel Log 191017 (Redacted Version)

Start: Guest Room in [redacted]’s house, Austin, TX

End: [Redacted]’s house, South Austin, TX

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Sous vided a steak for [redacted] and myself; seared it at the end. Was TO DIE FOR. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “Is the opposite of ‘pee-shy’ ‘pee-proud’? ‘Cause I’m pee-proud.” -Me 

Real Realizations: 

  • It’s not how fast you move; it’s hitting all the right steps. Some steps take time. Others can zoom. 
  • I don’t want to [redacted]. That would be complex. Complex is bad. 

Exciting Events: 

  • [Redacted] with [redacted]. Very comfortable very fast. [Redacted]. 
    • [Redacted] made a funny face. I teased her [redacted]. 
  • Completed much work, including over an hour for [redacted]. 
  • Got lost on a walk with Smidge. If you plan to turn right at each chance you get, you can retrace by making each left. This only works if you don’t find a cool path that you decide to take, because, “Look! A cool path!” 
    • Called [redacted] via Apple Watch, for directions when lost. Grateful he helped. He’s a good friend.
  • Chatted with [redacted] about his life & his work. Suggested he get a sleep doc, do a sleep study, reshape his life. 
  • Texted [redacted] that I loved our chat last week. That was delightful. She called back, too. 
  • Texted [redacted] that I wasn’t happy [redacted]. Just not the relationship I want to have. She said, “all good” and “no skin off my back” (paraphrased). “Still,” I said, “Wanted you to know.” 
  • Wrote a very good section for my [redacted] story. Very, very good. About [redacted]. 
  • Cleared out my notebook from Myschevia. Notes moved, friends made!

Alluring Activities: 

  • [Redacted] tomorrow with [redacted]?!?!?!

Travel Log 191016 (Redacted Version)

Start: Outside E Bar Tex-Mex Restaurant, Dallas, TX 

End: Guest Room in [redacted]’s house, Austin, TX

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Shared my moscato with [redacted]. 

Real Realizations: 

  • Sex with complicated people is, well, complicated. 
  • You can live like a king in the outskirts of Austin (two-story house, 4 bedrooms, hot tub with a projector) for the same price as a solo studio apartment in San Francisco. 

Exciting Events: 

  • Walked Smidge through Dallas. Got lost, got directions from a helpful guy outside a convenience store. 
  • Hot tubbed with [redacted]. 
  • Arrived to Austin. 
  • Called the three groups I want to meet in Austin: 
    • [Redacted]
    • [Redacted]
    • [Redacted]
  • Called dad, told him about the burn and that I plan to [redacted]. He said, “be safe, whatever that means.” 
  • Called [redacted], told her stories about the burn. 
  • Spoke with [redacted] about his relationships & his life. 
  • Called [redacted]; she’s [redacted], not super happy with her life. 

Alluring Activities: 

  • [Redacted] tomorrow? 

Travel Log 191014 (Redacted Version)

Start: Myschevia Festival, Armadillo Acres, Hughes Springs, TX. 

End: Outside the Town Square, Downtown Hughes Springs, TX

Notent Notables: 

  • Drove from Hughes Springs to Gilmer to retrieve Smidge. 
    • Smidge did well at the sitter. No accidents, no fights. Nothing to report. Great. 
  • Drove back to Hughes Springs so I can pick up my letter from [redacted] when the post office opens tomorrow. 
  • Met all sorts of great people during my last ranger shift at the burn, during teardown/exodus.
    • Helped the Fairy Tale camp remove their tent stakes. 
    • Hugged many people. 
    • Discussed fireworks with [redacted], the firework designer at Myschevia; he invited me to help design them next year. (He designed the greatest fireworks show I’ve ever seen, even better than the 6 years I’ve seen them at Burning Man). 
    • Received a new art to hang on my wall.
    • The North Texas Regional Burn’s walkie talkies are crap. They still run a very well-organized burn. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “In a culture so steeped in toxic masculinity, any emotional expression must come out through machismo.” -A Guy at the Burn, on why the North Texas Regional Burn is so Punk Rock.

Next stop: Austin. (Tomorrow?)

  • The poly pod I met last night wants me to visit them. 
    • They have “three dogs and a driveway.”  I want to [redacted]. 
  • [Redacted], the dude with the [redacted] tattoos invited me to [redacted]. 

My Dog Gets Catcalled

“Little boy or little girl?” yelled the toothless man from his garage across the street.

“She’s a little girl,” I hollered back. It’s 9:30am on a Thursday as I walk Smidge, my 5lb chihuahua.

“Well, I got a little boy about the same size. Does she wanna be a momma?”

“I don’t think she can.”

“Well, thought I might give it a try.”

My thoughts, in retrospect: 

  • What?
  • What?!
  • WHAT?!?!