Friday Four

Friday, April 26, 2013

1. Calvin and Hobbes creator Bill Watterson on creativity:

We're not really taught how to recreate constructively. We need to do more than find diversions; we need to restore and expand ourselves. Our idea of relaxing is all too often to plop down in front of the television set and let its pandering idiocy liquefy our brains. Shutting off the thought process is not rejuvenating; the mind is like a car battery-it recharges by running. [bold added]
This was taken from Watterson's 1990 commencement address to his alma mater, which I enjoyed and found insightful.

2. And, while we're picking the brains of humorists, here's Steve Martin on success:
Be undeniably good. When people ask me how do you make it in show business or whatever, what I always tell them and nobody ever takes note of it 'cuz it's not the answer they wanted to hear -- what they want to hear is here's how you get an agent, here's how you write a script, here's how you do this -- but I always say, "Be so good they can't ignore you." If somebody's thinking, "How can I be really good?", people are going to come to you. It's much easier doing it that way than going to cocktail parties.
Unfortunately, I can't seem to find a video or a transcript of the entire interview.

3. Here's an idea I am on board with: VSRE. Why?
I get a lot of email: requests for advice, presentations, meetings, new projects/services... In most of these cases, the answer itself could be as simple as "Yes", "No", or "Tuesday", or "I'll be available after July".

But I want to be polite, which adds a considerable overhead to delivering a simple reply.

The "I can't", ends up looking something like "Dear John, thank you ..., I would be happy to ... but right now I'm ... and ... and ... and I won't be able to invest the required amount of time. Please [....] Thank you". Even saying yes, gets more complicated than it should: unless I know the sender really well, I'll go with something more than "Great. Yes. Send me details.".

As a result I find myself delaying replies, until get the time to write "a proper reply", and this takes much more time than it should.
At last, there is a way to cut through the overhead! (And the link offers a way to start using this abbreviation.)

4. Reader Snedcat emails me a link to a very interesting web page about huge internal combustion engines for marine use. No time? Even just skimming the photos is fun.

-- CAV


Today: Corrected list number error. 


pilot said...

Gus, thanks for the link to the engine article / pictures. Amazing.

Gus Van Horn said...

You're welcome, Pilot.