Bubba Ho-tep

bubba-ho-tep.jpg Ariella and I saw Bubba Ho-tep at the Nuart last night. Bruce Campbell is incredible. Don Coscarelli is a genius.

Basically, the plot involves Elvis Presley, JFK, and an undead Egyptian mummy. Brilliant.

Campbell appeared in person to introduce the Friday night show. Too bad he didn’t make it last night. I would’ve liked to shake his hand and asked him to autograph my collection of Jack of all Trades episodes on VHS tapes.

The Goal by Eli Goldratt

0884270610.01.MZZZZZZZ.jpg I finished reading The Goal by Eliyahu M. Goldratt back at the end of July, but only now (at 30,000 feet on my way back to LAX) have I finally found a free moment to sit down and write about it.

Although the book was originally written almost 20 years ago, it does a great job at making the subject of process improvement engaging. Goldratt very cleverly disguises a “business book” in the form of a fiction novel.

It seems that I always enjoy books more if I can relate to one of the characters. Although I don’t run a factory like Alex Rogo does, I am a pretty busy person who struggles to balance personal and professional demands.

Perhaps the most compelling theme in the book is the concept that the journey is more important than the destination. Every time Alex Rogo thinks he has improved how his factory operates, a whole new crop of issues arises, and Alex needs to re-investigate what’s really going on the factory floor so he can find and eliminate the new bottleneck. Goldratt summarizes Alex’s task as a process of ongoing improvement. Bottlenecks can appear anywhere, even where you least expect them. The real challenge in being a manager, Alex discovers, is being able to work through the improvement process no matter what form it may take.

If you’ll allow me to drash it a little bit (perhaps I’m in the mood because we’re right in the middle of the Yamim Noraim), what Goldratt is really getting at is that the process is more important than the outcome. In other words, the journey is its own reward. The struggle is what makes us stronger. That’s not to say that the end isn’t important; Goldratt entitled the book The Goal for a reason. Businesspeople (Goldratt’s audience) know that they need to be profitable or they’ll go out of business (or get replaced by someone who can make a profit).

The truly rewarding part of work (and by extension life in general) isn’t at the moment that you reach the goal. In fact, once I’ve finished a project and declared success there is often a little hint of disappointment that it’s over. Instead, it’s the process itself that is rewarding. It’s through the process that we grow into better people.

Uniden TRU5885-2

We bought a Uniden TRU5885-2 5.8 GHz cordless phone yesterday.

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For the past couple of years we’ve been using a 2.4 GHz phone and have been suffering from interference with our 802.11b Wi-Fi home network. Picking up a phone call would sometimes disrupt the wireless Internet connection and our SSH sessions would terminate. When our old phone finally started to show its age (intermittently would fail to get a dialtone), we decided to try something new as a replacement.

Like most 5.8 GHz phones, the Uniden TRU5885-2 is pricier than comparable 2.4 GHz or 900 MHz models. But it’s got a much greater range throughout the house, and more importantly, it co-exists with our wireless Internet.

This model in particular has an absurdly large number of features. Aside from standard stuff like Caller ID and an integrated digital answering machine, this model gives you a good-sounding speakerphone in the base, and an extra handset. But wait, there’s more! Each handset itself can act as a speakerphone. 3 different speakerphones? Wow.

Sound quality is very crisp. It almost sounds like a wired phone. Plus, each phone has an orange backlight. You’ll see an eerie but beautiful glow when you hit any key on the keypad.

The only drawback we’ve found: you can’t use both handsets simultaneously. There’s only one base station, and apparently only one handset can speak to it at a time. There’s a nifty transfer feature that lets you put the call on hold and pick it up on the other handset, but that’s not the same as being able to have two people on the line at the same time (when we’re talking to our families, for example).

Mesader Kiddushin

greenpea-small.jpg Tomorrow morning we’re heading off to Minneapolis for the wedding of my dear friends Gabriel and Rachel.

I have been given the great kavod (honor) of being the mesader kiddushin, the person who performs the wedding ceremony. I’ve never done this before, but I’ve been reading up on it quite a bit the past couple of months. Words can’t begin to describe how excited I am about being involved in such an important day in my friends’ lives.

It’s going to be a pretty traditional service, but with a couple of twists. I’m tempted to call Nicholas up to the chuppah in the middle of the ceremony and ask him to read some love poetry. :-)

The Baal Shem Tov said, “From every human being there rises a light that reaches straight to heaven. And when two souls that are destined to be together find each other, their streams of light flow together, and a single brighter light goes forth from their united being.”

Cipro to the rescue

cipro.jpg I’m feeling much better after a dose of some broad-spectrum antibiotics. I took 750 mg of Cipro on Friday and kissed Montezuma goodbye.

In related news, the nurse from Kaiser Permanente (“Good people, Good medicine”) said she had no record of my lab results, so perhaps we’ll never know what the cause of the illness was.

Montezuma’s Revenge

Imodium A-D from Amazon.com Ariella and I had a great time in Puerto Vallarta last week. Swimming, strolling along the beach, scuba diving, horesback riding, chips & guacamole, margaritas. The good life.

That is, until we got back home. On Friday morning I had the runs. Saturday brought a 101 degree fever. I’ve been shivering/sweating for the past 6 days, inbetween sleeping on the couch and making a few-too-many trips to the bathroom.

A few interesting things I’ve learned from this experience:

  1. Immobilizer A-D may be available over the counter, but it is not the best product on the market. Lomotil does a better job when you really need the strong stuff.

  2. A 128 oz bottle of Gatorade lasts about a day and a half when it’s the only sustenance you’re consuming.
  3. The medical definition of a fever is 100.4°. Anything between 98.6° and 100.3° is considered a “temperature”, but not a fever.

I’m still waiting for lab results to find out if the cause is viral, bacterial, or parasites. Bleh.

Front Page News

I saw this photo on the front page of Yahoo! today:

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“The MTV Video Music Awards turned into a red-hot, all-girl smooch-fest last night as Madonna, Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera performed a raunchy, bump-and-grind dance routine that ended in explicit, open-mouth kisses.”

I’m glad to see we still have our editorial integrity. :-)