Talking to Zoe about the stabbing in Pittsburgh today, and she mentioned that there was an earlier stabbing spree last year at a Target (3 people). Just noting this for later, as mass stabbings are pretty rare (and often considered one of the highest-emotional-threshhold forms of murder).
So we had this huge rutabaga. Much discussion of what to do with it. Looking up of recipes…despite having about 800 pounds of cookbooks, we drew a blank and had to hit the internet. Made rutabaga oven fries. Watched a video on Youtube about rutabagas. Talked about Sandburg’s book Rutabaga Stories. Talked about how to pronounce rutabaga. Looked it up. Ate rutabaga fries with paprika and rosemary. Cajoled Jonathan into almost trying some. Shared them with extended family. Etc.
At about three AM, Susannah wakes up like she’s seen a ghost and says: “that was a kohlrabi.”
I am solidly impressed by the things that can clog my sink. Like, if you gave me a peanut and some little onion chunks and said: “Make these into a watertight seal”, no way. But my sink knows how to do that.
A lot of people have said that they preferred band X’s “early stuff”. But because of math, somewhere out there in the world is the guy who said that _soonest_…perhaps only a few hours after band X’s debut in a Newark dive bar.
I don’t really object to a pickle if I see it coming, but when I get in the car with a sandwich and I unwrap it and BAM there’s a surprise pickle, I don’t know how to handle that, because I don’t want to throw it out the window and get ticketed for littering, but if it stays in the car the whole car winds up with pickle smell and so basically the only thing I can do is eat it, and it feels like I’m being ambushed into eating the pickle.
Way back when the dude I reblogged this from was in kindergarten, we used to sing this at parties. From a paper print-out, like we were caroling, with someone playing along on guitar. Until today, I’d never heard the original…
I have spent the last few weeks looking mournfully at the weather reports and hoping it would start trending warmer. Now I have an igloo, I am looking mournfully at the weather reports hoping it stays cold.
Conclusion: should have built the igloo a month ago.
A question for East Coast NBTSC folks and your friends, minions, etc.:
I’m interested in setting up something roughly along the lines of a barter network, if there’s enough interest in doing so. Details later, but it could be pretty awesome. If you reblog or “like” this, I’ll email you, assuming of course I can figure out who you are. You can email me at trelevenfarm at the G.
The Valentine’s Day surge is over and I am back to doing things that are actually meaningful. Some final thoughts:
There are many things that screw up the ergonomics of even a nice Taylorized factory, but what I find most interesting is the way that a sort of capitalist / propertarian ethos works against productivity. Workers tend to hoard tools and raw materials, and are reluctant to share them even if that means other workers are idle. A whole series of management decisions tends to reinforce this culture.
It is also interesting that division of labor allows everyone to blame everyone else for damaged or shitty products. Obviously DOL is much more efficient on average than old-school craft production, but it does create new types of inefficiency, and I would imagine these increase as you try to reach a higher quality level.
Finally…I’ve worked lots of different kinds of jobs, but this was my first time doing traditional assembly-line factory work. Radical literature on schooling often asserts that compulsory high schools were designed to create docile factory workers. I know that that’s true historically, but I am a little stunned at how true it feels today. The dynamics in the factory felt exactly like high school, right down to little details. Huh.
Bob V asked me on why there’s a rational incentive for factory workers to tell each other to slow down. Here goes:
In classical economic theory, it is assumed that people generally want to do or get things that make them happy (“utility”) and avoid things that make them less happy (“disutility”). It is also generally assumed that getting money is a form of utility, and doing work is a form of disutility.
The exceptions to those two assumptions, and the way that different economists have dealt with them, are very interesting. But they are, after all, exceptions. Most people want to get paid as much as possible for doing as little work as possible. You feel me? Because we can talk all day about people who work as wine tasters and live like nuns, but that isn’t the reality of most of the world.
OK, so this sets up several very different motivational schemes in a factory situation:
If you own the factory (which is basically the classical definition of the term “capitalist”, as a noun), then you want everyone to work as hard as possible for as little money as possible. Even if your best option on that curve involves setting up massage breaks and stock options and whatever, that’s your basic motive.
If you are doing piecework (as I believe the people who cut out some of the teddy bear elements are), then your motivation is to work as fast as you possibly can, because you get paid by the unit. Obviously, you need to meet some kind of quality standard or you risk losing your job, but you are motivated to produce the lowest quality work you can get away with, as fast as possible.
If you are doing wage work (like most workers on earth), you are getting paid rent for your time, not your productivity. So your primary motivation is to work at whatever speed you find most enjoyable, which might be zero or casual, but probably is not warp nine.
OK, but the managers know all that, so they are going to be setting up other systems of disutility to bust you if you’re working slowly. The most obvious is that they’ll fire you.
But now comes a problem for them: “working slowly” compared to whom? If everyone on the floor is working equally slowly, and the managers can’t or don’t want to fire everyone, then the most they can do is bitch and moan.
When this is done intentionally for political reasons, it’s called a “slowdown strike”. But the point here is that it’s happening unintentionally all the time. In a wage-work environment, all the workers have a good economic reason to work more slowly, and a good social reason not to be the dick who’s working faster than everyone else. The result is that the whole floor tends to synchronize to the lowest speed that the managers will tolerate without firing everyone.
And that is, Imma guess, about one-third of what the same group of people could achieve under a different motivational structure.
God I love really long night shifts where everyone goes crazy and the standard deviation of my time perception spools out to 30%. It reminds me of before I was born.
Above a certain rather low minimum, the more people that are on the floor, the less productive everyone is. I remember this from other jobs, but WTF?
Even though we are in the middle of the Valentine’s Day “surge”, I got told to slow down last night, which of course; I was surprised it hadn’t happened sooner. Locally, I don’t care either way. The world is not much of a better or worse place because someone’s girlfriend’s monogrammed pajamas with the secret boob-grabbing bottomless pockets get there a day late. But this stuff always makes me wonder, because it is happening across the entire universe of capitalist production. It’s why co-operatives are so incredibly much more efficient in ROI terms. Imagine the shit we could have built by now if workers had not spent the last 600 years telling each other to slow down.
Let me rephrase for anyone who read that last point as some kind of Calvinism: imagine the shit we could have built by now if workers had not had a rational economic incentive to tell each other to slow down.
So, OK, this is a factory that sells bondage-themed teddy-bears and the aforementioned boob-grabbing pajamas, and it’s all getting personalized in various ways. Of course there’s a lot of sexual content along the lines of “babydoll these pajamas will look even better on the floor.” Which is all completely cool with me, unless those motherfuckers don’t know how to use apostrophes.
The orders center complains a good deal about guys who call in their order for twenty-five silk pajamas embroidered with “cum slut vixen”, “big tits”, etc., and then just hang up. These dudes think the whole world is their toll-free phone sex line. Ugh. There’s an app for that, assholes…
A few things that I would call pajamas. Not that I’m an expert…
The Chinese factory that ships us the pajamas no doubt hand-packs them, but woah do they do a good a job. It looks like were folded by a master butler in a room with no static electricity or air currents, and then magically teleported inside the plastic bags. When we repack them into those same bags, it is a very different scene.
At any given moment there are about 15 people in the room not working because of one sort of bottleneck or another.
I am teaching a class on time on Monday (like, a class about time, not a correctly scheduled class) and I’m very interested in the work done by Eagleman and Libet, etc., on time perception. I’ve been tracking my own perceived minutes all day, and so far the averages are:
Just after waking up: 57.7 seconds.
After two cups of coffee: 51.7 seconds.
On factory floor: 69.2 seconds.
This is all completely consistent with the literature.
Very much like the census, it looks like the orientation-and-training process pretty much goes to hell when an organization needs to temporarily increase its workforce at an exponential rate. You inevitably have a situation where people without much experience are in a training role.
A lot more people are willing to buy a six-foot-tall teddy bear than I would have guessed.
Nicotine addiction is still considered a basic parameter for human resources planning; I guess I’m surprised by that.
"Daddy / Little Girl" dynamics show up more frequently in customer requests than I would have expected.
I love assembly lines. No surprise there. But I don’t like having to stand up for hours for jobs that I could be doing seated.
No one does any work during the last five minutes of a factory shift, which has to affect considerations about shift length.
I am methodically working my way through every resource listed in The Millennium Whole Earth Catalog. Amazing that it’s 20 years old now—I remember when it came out. Anyway, it is striking to see how well the books have held up vis-a-vis the other media formats. Even video…we watch plenty of video today, but who wants to watch some grainy digitized version of an old PBS special from the 80s?
And all the internet resources and CD-Roms and interactive whatnots from the early ’90s, which seemed so high tech at the time, are in the dumpster.
But the books, and to a lesser extent the journals, are still solid.
This is going to become a little recursive, but….one of the oddest things to me about Tumblr is the number of people on Tumblr who refer to “people on Tumblr” as some sort of coherent community, when what they actually mean is “the people whom I happen to follow on Tumblr”. This would be a classic sort of selection bias, except it gets weirder in that people on Tumblr, like myself, tend to refer to “people on Tumblr” mainly in order to disparage their opinions, as a I am doing now.
This leaves me with the odd impression that we are all following people whose opinions we disagree with, in order to complain about that fact. More specifically, it creates moments like my current experience, where (as seen from my dashboard), all the people on Tumblr are complaining that all the people on Tumblr are hating on the Superbowl, but (as seen from my dashboard) none of the people on Tumblr are actually hating on the Superbowl.
• The ancient Egyptians used electric catfish (c.f. electric eels, p.s. 400 volts) as medical aids.
• Tiffany is basically my age.
• It is possible to buy pants in my hometown for less than $1, but they don’t fit.
ethan do you know anything about color? the color wheel? art etc.. the same principles of color apply to clothing too, think colors that complement each other
you might hear people talk about “neutrals”; they mean a base color that can kinda work as a base for other things, like those bright blue earrings you’ve got on, or a shirt that you want people to notice. Usually neutral colors are things like black, brown, white, etc, but other colors can work too.
things that are clean and not wrinkled are good, of course.
Too many patterns makes things look busy, and confuses the eye. where do you look when there’s so much excitement? if you want people to notice, say, those really nice tie dye pants you have, wear them with a shirt that’s more boring. Maybe a white shirt, or a green shirt that matches the pretty flecks of green in the pants. Something like that. [If your fashion preferences don’t tend toward tie dye pants, don’t freak out, it’s just an example.]
did i help?
Thanks, Nola, this is helpful. As it happens, I don’t have any tie-dyed pants, though I did have some bright red paisley pants that I loved, but sadly they caught on fire. I think that in general I probably did not wear them with a “neutral” top.
At the moment, my problem is more about trying to understand the social history of clothing than about trying to decide what to wear, but I also have a strong intention to be properly dressed some day.