Advice for the power hungry

23 03 2007

1.  Count your friends before you make enemies.

2.  Ask more questions than you give answers.

3.  Know your own job best.

4.  Feign attentive disinterest in your objectives, until they are within your grasp.

5.  Naked ambition is, itself, a persuasive argument, but no one wants to watch you disrobe.

Read the rest of this entry »

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If you’re gonna have an evil cat, don’t name it “Forgiveness.”

22 03 2007

The smoothies were good.  Yeah, how was your day?  Yeah, mine was fine.  Driving home.  All of the cross streets turned to schools, and they stood on stage, purple trophies were what they gave.  You held my hand.  You asked me why I wanted to stay.  “But there’s no way to believe all the things I don’t say to you.”–Jim Infantino





When shall we three meet again?

13 09 2006

Perhaps up those steps, just inside the building, in about 42 months?

Circumstance will suffice to make the arrangements, and I’ll take responsibility for remembering it,

both because I’m the teetotaler, and because I’m the hungriest.





Clothing, Cloture

6 04 2006

1. The EB blue jeans are done. Any frayed crotch split larger than a fingerprint is too large for me.

2. The handed-down black fedora is still sitting on the microwave.

3. Lots of bright green "I support teachers" and OEA shirts at the piedmont market.

4. Cleaned the black New Balance shoes, and the yellow need the same.

5. Nice to have the anarchy shirt back in rotation.

6. My belly has grown again, and tugged the blue button down shirt right out the last time I wore it.

7. The french sweater is pilly and has lost its shape, mostly.

8. The blankets are at the cleaners by Lourdes.

9. One of the pillows from Sue is to be tossed, and the other perhaps to be salvaged.

10. The typewriter is still sitting out behind my back door.

11. After sleeping in and then hearing news that threw off my plan for the day, why not take a nap?

12. The tortillas actually went moldy in the bag.

13. The bluetooth earpiece is more than tolerable.

14. The green and blue striped tie with yellow high-light, like the purple and blue striped, and the simple paisley…All need to go. Too thick, too muted, too much "job I've got" rather than "job I want."

15. I miss some of the happy carefree days reflected in the old hotmails I've been going through… And I also see the seeds of future regrets, even there. Is that some kind of 20/20 melancholy?

16. I don't miss the old days of waiting around until the alarm was about to come on in the old building, and then panicking and racing out with no idea how to get done what I hadn't got done… 

17. Outlook Express–keep coming back, it works if you work it.

18. No, seriously, it's been a good night actually after a rocky day after a stupid day but I need to start meetings.

19. Then I'd have somewhere to complain about the trip to LA that's coming up.

20. I have veered off discussion of garments, like the striped blue shirt I'm wearing whose buttoned cuff can be seen at the bottom of one of the xerox sets I made.

21. Leaving all my bags up here in my own space will be a nice change.

22. Actually unloading those bags into honest to goodness file storage will be even nicer.

23. Can the unloading of my belly bloat be far off? 





Rules for meaningful workshop evaluations and other simple home-grown surveys

14 03 2006

Updates: First, if you look over this list, please leave me a comment (whether you love it or loathe it or really didn’t need it…)
Second, feel free to repost giving this url or the general url http://www.itchybiscuit.net as a source. You may email me for specific citation information if you wish.
Third, I seem to have posted a draft of this list, and left it unedited for quite some time. Mea culpa. Many extra spaces and poor word choices are now deleted. Haha, I did not follow my own advice, haha…
Now without further ado:

Rules for meaningful workshop evaluations and other simple home-grown surveys

1. Make your survey clean, well formatted, and uncluttered. If you don’t know how to do this, recruit someone who does.

2. Spell check, proofread, and double up on both. Take serious time to do this. Many people will look over this document carefully, while you are asking them for feedback, and they will react to every error.

3. Use a single, sans-serif font. If you don’t know what that is, you definitely need help with #1.

4. All of side 1 should be agree/disagree prompts. All of side 2 should be open ended prompts and questions.

5. Use a consistent Likert scale. The options should be:
“Agree Strongly…Agree…Neutral/Not sure…Disagree…Disagree Strongly…N/A”

6. Use prompts that skew negative and positive.

7. Use more than one prompt about the same issue. If you have too many single prompt issues, you need to focus down on what you really care about.

8. Use at least a few loaded words and provocative prompts, like “The instructions on text and format seem arrogant.”

9. One sheet, double sided, is all you get, unless your workshop went past 6 hours.

10. Use all of both sides.

11. Ask positive and negative open ended questions. Demonstrate that you value criticism by using set-up prompts like “Please list a few guidelines that are confusing or poorly explained.”

12. Open ended questions fail if they can be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.”

13. When writing any prompt or question, think scientifically/experimentally. First, what do you want to know about the participants’ experiences? Then posit a few possible answers… Finally, craft a question or prompt that might serve to test which of those answers is accurate. This may seem confusing, or poorly explained. If so, you need to recruit someone with a strong social science background.

14. With questions, use all 5 W’s of journalism. 4? 6? Whatever.

15. Consider the data entry when you format your Likert. If the forms will be coded by hand/eye, make sure the bubbles/circles are distinctly visible.

16. Include an email address on the form (preferably tear-off) for further responses.

17. Leave a sufficiently large manila envelope out for collection.

18. Do not collect the evals personally, and don’t look through them until you have left the location!

19. If you code up or otherwise sum the data promptly (and you should), consider emailing a short summary to the participants, and inviting further feedback.

20. Think through common self-reporting behaviors and how they will impact your results.

21. Think ahead of time about what kind of results will influence what kinds of decisions.

22. Pay attention to length of responses on the back side, sloppiness of circles/bubbles on the front side, and your return rate; unless you’re a professional social scientist working with a professional statistician, these “data points” will be just as unscientific, and potentially just as useful for reflection, as the actual response content.

23. Make sure you have writing utensils for everyone.