Saturday, November 10, 2012

Books books books

If you've wondered what business consultants do, here is an excellent summary: (from Follow link to view larger.)

Much though I sometimes complain about work, I do realize I'm part of a company on the FORTUNE 100 Best Companies to Work For list. Flexible hours, telecommuting, all the comforts of home while getting paid. Throw in some laundry while on a conference call. Only go downtown to the office a few times a year. It’s madness to complain. Plus they realize that they need to help bring a sense of belonging to the remote worker bees. Enter another book club. One I am paid to co-lead.

Yes, I’m cheating on Book Club. Yes, we gave Jean-Marie no ends of shit when she joined another one awhile back. This one is different, though! All via VOIP and no wine! That I know of! And I have a little blog on the internal company site as well, so, really, I’m cheating on all of you. I swear less on that one, though, how predictable of me. But all I say there is, this is our book. Come talk about it. Thanks, cheers, xoxoxoxo. So far we have discussed Gretchen Rubin’s The Happiness Project.

Our take-aways from that book, which is sort of a self-help book, is to be sure to be born to rich parents, so you can take a year to write a book about how to increase your happiness quotient. And live in NYC, hire a nanny to watch your kids (but don’t mention her!), and generally obsess about happiness.

She has a blog with some nice quick ideas, like 13 Tips for Dealing with a Really Lousy DayAnd this The Years are Short video is sweet.

In conclusion, splurge a little! Buy something to pamper yourself. And use your nice things. Don’t save them for a rainy day. There. That's probably all you need to know.

In January we will take a little time to ponder Gift from the Sea by Anne Morrow Lindbergh. Wife of Charles. She wrote it awhile back, so she didn't know that she was supposed to call it The Pilot’s Wife. (See also The Senator’s WifeThe Time Traveler’s WifeThe Shoemaker's WifeThe Tiger’s Wife, … I’m sensing a trend.)

And in Real Book Club news, recent picks were: 
  • October: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
  • November: Machine of Death edited by Ryan North, Matthew Bennardo, and David Malki
  • December: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


I enjoy voting. I believe I've voted in every election since I turned 18. Maybe missed the occasional primary. I know I missed the one for Illinois governor when it was between Blago, Vallas, and Burris, because I didn't like any of them. 

I only voted early once, four years ago, and it took much longer than it does at my usual place, where I’m in-and-out in ten minutes. I like being part of the process on the official day, anyway. I like wearing my sticker and being a good example for my kids. Today I was the 454th voter, at 11:30 a.m. Sounds like a good turnout.

However, I am annoyed that my polling place is in a church. My last place (same house, different polling place) was also a church. That one was of the Giant Wooden Cross on the lawn type. The current one is the Big White Pillars in front type.  Either way, annoying. Separation of church and state, anyone? I know they don’t generally get paid for the inconvenience, and there "aren't enough public locations" otherwise, or whatever, blah blah blah. But it’s crap, and I don’t like it.

Back in the olden days, I voted in an elementary school, across the street from my condo. It was great: leave the house, vote, get into car, drive to work. Then they moved it to the middle school 2 blocks away. Grumble.

One of my friends in Chicago voted in a car dealership several times. I think that’s hysterical. Plenty of room, not particularly crowded on a Tuesday. Works great. No, I'm not sure whether it was for an American company.

So. Here’s hoping the disenfranchisement, ballot fraud (Really, Ohio. I hope someone goes to jail for that.), and other assorted bullshit don’t make this country an embarrassment. Because despite the electoral college, voting is still my favorite civic duty.