Getting comfortable talking with people because of oysters, tipping and toilets, beach puddles
All the family vacationing is done. With three kids, and one a two and half year old, the principal that a “vacation” is much different than a “family trip” is certainly true. On a family trip, you must take advantage of the ad hoc vacation as it presents itself. Kim and I found many such moments. Renting a house with a pool helps, having your mother along to help with the kids helps too, making sure to wake up early to have an hour of two on your own helps…but it difficult to achieve when you wake up at 6am and think “I am on vacation, so I will sleep in.”
(This is a habit to build up: waking up early, before everyone else. It can be hard to keep up as sleeping in is considered a great achievement in life. Life can be too much work to get time to work.)
We traveled to the beaches just west of Bordeaux, which were great. Atlantic beaches in France and The Netherlands are massive, wide and long stretches of sand. They’re so unlike Texas and Gulf Coast beaches. You get, of course, all of the weird and interesting French food, open air markets (“farmer’s markets,” we’d call them in the US). I’ve been in Europe almost four years now and haven’t developed the habit of shopping at markets.
I don’t know! I really, really don’t like talking with people and prefer the personless self-checkout. Perhaps selecting better looking produce, having a dozen oysters on the half shell, and fresh-made pasta for later is a good motivation. I too often treat everyday life as a series of final exams I haven’t studied enough, or at all for. “They were studying for a test that never came,” I recall someone saying in reference to the 60’s and 70’s intellectuals that Susan Sontag clustered with. We’ll see.
We are back now, still with unpacked bags, that pile of recycling that I should finally take out, the needs of tax accountants lingering, and going back to school looming. But, with more French salt than we know what to do with, and some and a few blocks of fleur de sel butter waiting to expand my waistline.
Oh, and I’m headed to the states for a two week work trip giving the keynote at DevOpsDays Dallas, then a quick layover in Austin, then to San Francisco for VMware Explore for two talks, hosting some video interviews with my old pal Alex Williams, and even, it appears, some analyst meetings(?!).
Five ways managers and executives can make sure they’re transforming as much as they’re asking their developer to. That’s a crappy description. Just watch it and you’ll see. Read more for free: https://t.co/G8TFgJbtvl pic.twitter.com/VVS8WxEUff
— Michael Coté (@cote) August 17, 2022
Looking at my travel schedule (well, not actually looking at it, just thinking about it), I have a few trips coming up and then no travel until SpringOne in early December. This means I should do more streaming, videos, webinars! I could bunker down and actually write more things.
How does one measure “productivity” in this role? I have tried to look at views, percent viewed of videos, CTA and lead-gen, number of blog posts or papers, a book(let) a year…even just staying employed and compensation increases. They all are unsatisfying - because they’re inaccurate, or because I am always unsatisfied.
I think what I come back to is: did I do something I enjoyed doing and will enjoy sharing?
The best way to fix unhelpful bureaucracy is to give all of the executive assistants a six month vacation, requiring every executive to do all of their own admin work like purchasing, expenses, scheduling meetings, and so forth.
Free advice from dad: the sooner we leave, the sooner we’ll get there; if you haven’t found something yet, look somewhere you haven’t looked yet - after that, look everywhere again.
In real life, one negative doesn’t prove all negatives.
I like a big dinner with lots of different dishes, many small, many large, many types of meats, beans, and green things. Spicy sauces, and Sun low on the earth-line. Outside, where the kids can run around and not need to be watched is preferable.
For AirBnB’s: always bring your own chef knife, salt and pepper, oil, and measuring spoons and cups. The rest you can buy when you get there. Also, from Kim: detergent (laundry and dishwasher), dish soap, and toilet paper.
An American in Europe is confused, almost insulted the lack of public and free to use toilets. A European in America has a similar reaction to the odd custom of tipping waiters 15% to 20%. To Insure Peeing.
I’ll likely remember all the complaining, but hopefully they’ll only remember all the fun.
What if something like Moviedrome, but with tech conference videos. A watch party, but more scripted with commentary from me throughout. I did a couple things like this in the first round of Tanzu Talk streaming, back when I insanely did multiple streams as week. They were (a) fun to do, (b) productive in that I was learning and watching myself, and, (c) easy content. It could be like the weekly, weekend movie nights I enjoyed so much.
I’ve read or listened to a lot in the past few weeks. As already mentioned, The Sympathizer , but then I added the sequel, The Committed. Here is the author, Viet Thanh Nguyen on kid’s books:
For these conversations to be robust, children have to be interested enough to want to pick up the book in the first place. Children’s literature is increasingly diverse and many books now raise these issues, but some of them are hopelessly ruined by good intentions. I don’t find piousness and pedagogy interesting in art, and neither do children. Hergé’s work is deeply flawed, and yet riveting narratively and aesthetically. I have forgotten all the well-intentioned, moralistic children’s literature that I have read, but I haven’t forgotten Hergé.
Also, quoting one of his students on their memories of reading The Sympathizer in high school English class: “Honestly,” she said, “all I remember is when the sympathizer has sex with a squid.”
While driving, I listened to Caffeine, which was worth the time - I never know with those short, Audible non-fiction booklets. We also listened to The Accidental Alchemist which my mother, also in the car on these trips, enjoyed a great deal.
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