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.

My Current Favorite Word

My current favorite word is “pejorative”, generally for indicating what I’m not doing. I frequently need to separate a word’s denotations from its connotations. Take the word “manipulate”. Denotatively, it means “to create change by influencing something… in a negative way”. That latter connotation is not inherent to the act of manipulating itself. One could manipulate the world in a strictly positive way, by using ethical means for a purely desirable end. To communicate that, I would say something like, “he manipulates the world around him, but I don’t mean ‘manipulate’ in a pejorative sense” to isolate the facts from the opinions. (Why use “manipulate” at all? It’s the most denotatively-precise word; more direct than “influence” or hands-on than “alter”.) Pejoratives are judging, and I appreciate the ability to remove that opinion.

Traveloog Friday 191101 (Redacted Version)

Start: [Redacted], New Orleans, Louisiana. 

End: [Redacted], New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Exciting Events: 

  • [Redacted] gave me $2 as backpay for [redacted] favors. Hilarious. 
  • Made [redacted] by snapping my fingers. 
  • Dinner with [redacted], wherein we discussed books and ideas and art. I like her. 
  • Cuddled with [redacted] for a long while. Watched her cook dinner, too. Both very intimate. 
  • Lots of [redacted]! Great. YAY! 

Real Realizations: 

  • [Redacted] is not withholding. She does the thing she wants to do irrespective of what someone else wants. That’s self-driven and irrespective of someone else’s desires, but it’s not withholding. 
  • The feeling of something being meaningful is just that—a feeling—and could be wrong. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • [Redacted] talking with me: 
    • “How late are you staying up? I casually need one or two more shots.” 
    • “What?! You alcoholic!” 
    • “Of photos! 
  • The feeling of something being meaningful is just that—a feeling—and could be wrong. E.g. “When I nerd out about something for hours and hours, it’s not necessarily because it’s the most important thing in the world. It’s because I get pleasure out of the feeling of nerding out.” -[Redacted] 
  • “Sometimes I feel like life is just a series of obligations that repeat every day.” -me 
  • “I hate being organized when I don’t remember where I organized things.”-[redacted]

Commonplace occurrences: 

  • [Redacted] work. 37 mins, nothing happened, [redacted]. 
  • Completed my daily writing. 
  • Completed my travelog. 

Delicious Delectables: 

  • Boudin balls at Buffa’s. Delicious! 

Alluring Activities: 

  • Sleeping well! In bed to sleep before 1am.

Travel Log 191025 (Redacted Version)

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

End: Parked on the corner of Marias & Governor Nicholls St, in the Tremé district of New Orleans, Louisiana. 

Exciting Events: 

  • Went to a vampire masquerade party, last minute, on a whim. 
    • Carried a mermaid, because it was having trouble traveling on its own (the feet-together tail-hop was ineffective). 

  • [Redacted]
    • [Redacted]
  • [Redacted], Smidge used her pee pad! Yay! No pee on my bed! 

Real Realizations: 

  • Partiers go [redacted] HARD here. 
  • People in New Orleans put serious effort into their costumes. 

Quotent Quotables: 

  • “It is moister than an oyster.” – partygoer, on the copious amounts of rain. 

Commonplace occurrences:

  • Worked for two hours. [Redacted]. Yay! 
  • Phone calls with lotsa friends.
  • Watched the first four episodes of the final season of Bojack Horseman. 
  • Floofed Smidge in delight. 

Delicious Delectables: 

  • A brisket-stuffed burger. Yum! 
    • The Louisianan cashier asked where I was from. I told him to guess. He guessed Australia. 
  • A [redacted] 4am slice of cheese pizza. SO GOOD. 

[Redacted]


Alluring Activities: 

  • Crazy New Orleans happenings! 
  • Letter to [redacted]. 
  • Outline to the [redacted] guys. 

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]?!?!?!

Musician Needed!

Just cut these lyrics from my first album. The friend I’m recording with prefers making music from sound (not from lyrics or structure), so these shan’t go on the album. Still, when I shared them lyrics with a friend, she said, “There are some absolutely stunning moments,” so I thought I’d put them out in the open. If you’re musically inclined and curious, would love to hear what you might do with them sonically. (And if you have suggestions of how you’d change elements, please let me know!)

Song #1: You’ll Never Be Home Again

Sittin’ out here 
Drinkin’ a beer,
Sky’s become clear,
My fear nearing,
Endearing
That you’ll never be home again.
Rounding that bend
Ended a friend,
Sending us rended and tender, amended
By a problem we’ll never mend.
But I still miss you
Not to kiss you
Simply to list the missed Sisyphus trysts you
Caressed with your wrists.
Undressing the pissed misty mornings of horny,
The warnings I foreswore.
You get what you want.
And never a thought for what ought to be
Safe or unwavering labor.
Controlling your world.
Squeezing that girl
Into a picture
Perfect
hearseless
first verse
that cursed her.
This sunset on hills
Gives me the chills
Missin’ your thrills and your pills
That still make me ill.
But I still miss you.
In distance I list you
As one of the greatest
sadists
I hated.
But I still miss you.
And pissy, I kissed you
I was a weak and meek
seeker that needed
some closure you own.
So you made me moan
Not with delight but a fright of the bright lights
That’s all you’ve done.
Now that you’ve won.
You ruined the son of my father who bothered
To let his dad die.
I must ask why?
Why do you end those around you, add frowns to…
You unholy beast.
I miss you the least
that I could miss anyone I once loved and still do.
I can’t close doors.
I keep wanting more.

Song #2: Untitled Song for College Grads (still being written, 2 verses to go.)

Graduatin’ mainstreet, aimin’ at fame street.

Someone clue me into those celebrities I can’t meet.

I’m an artist, just got out of school.

Lookin’ for a way to make a splash in the pool.

 

Hey there kiddo, can I borrow your soul?

Cause I can get you into the city of gold.

You said you’re a painter? Musician? A writer?

Work with me a few years, your life’ll be brighter.

 

So I got a workin’, sixteen hours a day

For plenty of perks and boatloats of pay.

Bain, BCG, don’t remember the name.

Coulda been ‘banking.’ Whatever, it’s lame.

 

Don’t sell your soul to the devil, friends—

The trouble and the toil ain’t worth the ends

Do what you love and do it for pay,

You’ll be a better person at the end of the day.

 

Been livin’ in the city and don’t love the rent.

Might as well buy. That’s money well spent.

Started seein’ someone, they just moved in.

Now we’re startin’ talkin’ ‘bout poppin’ out kin.

 

I’ll match your retirement and give parental leave.

Send you trav’ling to hotels. There’s nothing up my sleeve.

Your friends all sip champagne, proudly showing comp’ny pride

Come day-drink on my yacht and I’ll take you for a ride.

 

Don’t sell your soul to the devil, friends—

The trouble and the toil ain’t worth the ends

Do what you love and do it for pay,

You’ll be a better person at the end of the day.