Los Brazos

09. May 2012 here now 1
We were in Texas. The taxi from the Waco airport pulled up into a summer night full of crickets—crickets hopping slowly outside baggage claim, crickets in the bushes, crickets in the air. The drive to our hotel felt like a different country. I could smell the Brazos river before I saw it. The day’s afterglow ...

walk home

06. April 2012 here now 0
Three women just ahead of me were talking about a t-shirt. “Because my cousin asked everyone what their favorite food was and then before the party she gave us all t-shirts with the name of our food. So yeah. My favorite food is spicy kim chee.” In front of the beauty salon – the one ...

Problems with Authority, Part III

23. March 2012 here now 4
Measurement, and pay, of course, matter very much. I’m not arguing for free work or unmeasured pay… Dan Pink the behavioral economist knows that paying people crap makes them work crappily. The people who perform best at work seem to be those who feel safe and comfortable. But let’s stick with the psych test, the ...

Problems with Authority, Part II

23. March 2012 here now 1
To recap: Eskimo wisdom — “By gifts one makes slaves and by whips one makes dogs.” Intrinsic and extrinsic motivation. Behavioral economists. This is what I’m thinking about, lately. In this talk, the behavioral economist Dan Pink, a behavioral economist, notes that people perform poorly when big money is at stake. Then, as behavioral economists ...

Problems with Authority, Part I

16. March 2012 here now 5
A friend of ours, R., experimented with walking a certain number of steps every day. He said during the experiment he would look at his little device, realize he needed another ninety seven steps, and walk out to get a carton of milk. Keeping track kept him motivated. I find this interesting, not because it ...

hair of the dog

07. March 2012 here now 0
At the Museum of Jurassic Technology, in the section on folk remedies, there’s a little display for “Hair of the Dog”–dog hair was meant to cure the animal’s bite–right next to “Mice on Toast.” I don’t remember what the Mice are meant to cure. I remember what they look like: tiny, grey carcasses, blurry in the ...

Commute

01. March 2012 here now 7
My commute takes fifty minutes when there’s no traffic. Here are the times I’m guaranteed not to have any traffic: Saturday at 7 am. I commute to a college campus, generally speaking, in order to teach composition and writing classes. Composition and writing classes rarely take place at 7am on a Saturday. I have been ...

Mondegreens

23. February 2012 here now 1
A “Mondegreen” is when they play Owner of a Lonely Heart, and you hear “Omar was a lonely horse.” I learned Home, Home on the Range when I was very young. I didn’t know what “seldom” meant when I learned the song: Where seldom is heard a discouraging word and the skies are not cloudy all ...