Quick Roundup 243

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

56 Hours Down the Toilet

Our government is not content merely to monopolize the transportation industry, thereby causing us to lose time and productivity sitting in traffic jams on obsolete highways. It's also wasting (more) of our money by studying the problem it has created.

Houston ranks as our nation's seventh most congested metropolis.

Houston-area commuters spent an average of 56 hours a year in traffic jams in 2005, making this the seventh-most congested metropolis in the nation, according to a Texas Transportation Institute study released Tuesday.
For at least one new Houstonian, there is a potential upside, though. Scott Powell, in an effort to help more potential customers realize that they do probably have time to take his interesting history courses, recommends the productivity management techniques David Allen espouses in Getting Things Done. He could perhaps use this number in selling his courses locally. 56 hours is, after all, more time than all the lectures in Part II of his current course will take, put together!

Of course, this is only the average amount of time lost. Folks who live in his neck of the woods and commute downtown can easily waste close to an hour and a half driving each day. That would be just enough time to squeeze in one of his lectures! (It's about 45 minutes from where I live to his area in weekend traffic!)

If I had such a commute, I'd be happy to learn of creative ways like that to recover some of the time.

Great Moments in ... Failure?

I ran into the personal productivity blog, lifehack.org yesterday while looking for some journal articles. (It appeared as an RSS feed at a professional site.) Stopping to look around, I found a list of "How to Fail at Practically Anything" and was taken aback for a moment by this bullet:
Fail with grace. There's no point failing if you're going to go screaming and crying into the night. When failure is imminent, cut your losses; don't fool yourself into thinking everything's fine, or that you have to "see things through to the bitter end". Don't pull others down with you -- and that means, don't waste time pointing fingers. Own your failure. Take responsibility for the mess you've made, and for cleaning it up.
"Fail with grace?" What? I was expecting to see a list of things to avoid. Obviously, I wasn't thinking enough like Abraham Lincoln -- or Sidney Poitier:
After his first audition, Sidney Poitier was told by the casting director, "Why don't you stop wasting people's time and go out and become a dishwasher or something?" It was at that moment, recalls Poitier, that he decided to devote his life to acting.
Good stuff. I've been too busy to blogroll anything during blogging time lately, but expect to see this blog appear in my sidebar some time in the near future.

Doing My Best Work in Bed

Back in college, I used to take naps after reading mathematical theorems, after which I would wake up to solve them. I'd borrow a famous line from Mae West as I told my friends that "I do my best work in bed."

This NFL season, it seems that I could say the same thing of myself as a fantasy football manager, but for less-flattering reasons. I'm playing in two leagues this year. One is built around friends I made in grad school, and the other includes Jim May (a regular here, whom I played --and lost to -- this weekend) and a few others I know through blogging. In one league, I am 2-0. In the other I am -- um -- not quite 2-0.

So, over email Monday night, in reply to Jim answering some smack talk, I made the following observations about the season so far:
[B]y another coincidence, I happen to know that [Santana Moss] has scored 89 yards' worth of fantasy points because I have him in my other league, where I was winning by 22 points and could have afforded [him having] a lousy night... !

And what REALLY sucks is a third coincidence: In both leagues, I took the conventional wisdom at face value and sat another player common to both teams: Jamal Lewis, who had 216 yards and a TD! Thanks to that fact, I lose today here and fail to be top scorer in my other league.

As testament to what a lousy manager I am this year, I came home exhausted and fell asleep before that league's draft and without even setting a draft order. [I was fully awake for the other league's draft, though.] My starting roster today -- and remember, I've benched Lewis -- is as follows: QB: Trent Green (whom I picked up off of waivers to sub for Vince Young, who scored more), RB: Shaun Alexander and Adrian Peterson, WR: Moss, of course, and Terrell Owens, TE: Jeremy Shockey, K: Neil Rackers, and DEF: Minnesota.

In that league, I am 2-0. Here, I am 0-2.

I guess, as a manager, I do my best work in bed!
The first coincidence? That's strategy, and I'm not blogging strategy. (I make this decision wide awake though. Perhaps that is an error!) And I would have won that game with Jim if Santana Moss had failed to gain enough yards for any fantasy points and fumbled the ball!

-- CAV


Jim May said...

You aren't the only doofus in the JGL... didn't you notice me dump the Miami defense for Houston's, only to reverse it in time to collect Miami's -1 point while Houston scored 16 or so and ended up on the Crowns roster.

If I'd stuck to my first decision, Moss could have fumbled all day and run backwards a bit too, and I'd still be 2-0 so far...

Gus Van Horn said...

No, I didn't notice that, but the question of who the bigger doofus is remains open. After all, in addition to failing to start Jamal Lewis, I could've started Eli Manning and, long-suffering Saints fan that I am, elected to suffer longer and more by starting Drew Brees instead!

Matt F said...

Being the current manager of four teams, I can only sympathize. Although, I'm doing pretty good in three of those four leagues. And it looks like you and I play each other in week four of the league where you're...not quite 2-0.

Gus Van Horn said...

Heh! Regarding my starting lineup, I'll sleep on it.

How's that for smack?