August 2007 Archives

On Closet Maintenance

As a general rule, I like the concept behind this much-linked trick for managing your wardrobe:

After you've done a major purge of your closet, remove all the remaining clothes that live on hangers, and put them back in backwards, such that the open end of each hanger now faces you. Got it?

Then, mark your calendar for six months (or whatever) from today, and go back to your business as usual. Except that after every time you wear a shirt or a jacket or a skirt or what have you, when you replace the item, make sure the hanger faces the opposite/usual way (with the opening in the back).

When your n months have passed, and your calendar reminds you that it's time, open your closet and remove every piece of clothing on a backward hanger; the chances are good you can give it away without the slightest pain, because you just clearly demonstrated that you don't wear it.

http://www.43folders.com/2007/08/13/hanger-trick/
Only a couple of problems, especially for those of us living in places with actual, you know, seasons. That is, there's a great deal of hanger-only clothes that I almost never wear in the summer. Long-sleeve oxfords (and sweaters) are neglected in favor of short-sleeve polo shirts. I'm also of the firm opinion that Tommy Bahama shirts should seldom, if ever, be worn in northern states. Jeans are hardly ever broken out on the weekends -- shorts are the order of the day. I might very well go six months without wearing something that I still want for the following season.

The other issue is that a good half of the clothes in my wardrobe are only accessible on casual Fridays and weekends. Just because I don't wear a shirt for six months in the summer doesn't mean I won't ever wear it. It might just as well mean that I need to break out of the rut of wearing my few favorites all the time. Maybe the end of summer and the end of winter would be good times to purge seasonal clothing -- I'm just not convinced that using backwards hangers would be the best method.

Going Green

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We've been talking about this for at least a couple of years now -- getting rid of our bulky, gas-belching lawn mower. Earlier in the season I'd used some duck tape on one of the handles to secure it. Last summer the drive train had stopped working, so we needed to push the behemoth across our yard. Today the wheels literally fell off the thing. Something had to be done.
Push Mower
The jury is still out on this highly-recommended mower that I picked up at our local hardware store. Love that it's not going to need gas or oil. Love that it's quiet, lightweight, and inexpensive. Still not sure about the actual cut of the lawn -- seems a little rougher than what we're used to -- but overall I think this will be a very good investment.

Blue Skies

Blue Skies

The Hacks of Life

Via Lifehacker, a brief article that echoes much of how I've felt about GTD for quite some time now. A little cultish. A little overly dogmatic. An incredibly far-reaching "system" that essentially boils down to an endless loop of "write stuff down so you don't forget it, and then don't forget to follow up on the stuff you've already written down."

Efficiency is great, but it can only get you so far. I recommend Getting Things Done, as long as you don't treat every word as immutable and inarguable.
http://radar.oreilly.com/archives/2007/08/the_limits_of_e.html

I've been patching together my own system -- primarily Outlook-based -- that's a hybrid of the best pieces I've seen in David Allen's work, as well as a few others. I try to keep it as simple as possible, this constant juggling of e-mail and tasks and deliverables and demands on my time. At some future point I expect to write more about that system in these recently refurbished pages. Screen shots and examples and everything. Stay tuned.

Almost Done. Just A Little Longer.

Great timeline from Think Progress (although I don't know how much it really matters what Thomas Friedman has to say, other than the fact that he's said "six more months" so many times that he gets to own the FU):

The Bush administration and its supporters have pledged to Americans time and again during the past four years that the "next few months" in Iraq will be the "decisive, critical period" of the war. The implication has always been that U.S. forces just need to hold on a little while longer for things to get better. Using an interactive timeline tool, the Center for American Progress has catalogued the broken record of false claims we've been hearing.

http://thinkprogress.org/2007/08/08/friedman-unit-interactive-timeline/

Reality

Product placement is getting more than a little oppressive -- ColdStone, Glad, Rav4, Fresh Market, Kenmore, Bertolli, Bombay Sapphire -- but I'm still totally enamored with Top Chef (Tre wins it all ... or CJ). Great season. Between that and So You Think You Can Dance (Sabra wins ... or Neil) the DVR is a very happy device.

Ctrl-Alt-Delete

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Been planning this for a few months now. Call it what you will: a reset, a reboot, a change of direction, a new beginning. Whatever the case, it's long overdue. I'm not sure when I first noticed; probably began when I started to review the couple two-three thousand archive entries I'd posted since 2002 (as well as a similar number of comments). Couple that with some Google Analytics that showed I'm averaging almost 6,000 hits/month -- the vast majority of them coming via some search engine or another -- and I realized that I wasn't happy with a good chunk of the content I'd published. Oddly, the longer I've been doing this, the less I'm looking for a wider audience. I don't necessarily want PageRank. I don't want to be the number one search result for this that or the other arcane topic I happened to write about in the fall of 2003, maybe, some one off comment I'd made that now generates gobs of nearly useless traffic to deep archive pages.

This, along with a few other things in my life, has needed a good de-cluttering. So I deleted everything.

awip.jpgCheck that. I copied everything to my local PC, and then deleted it from www.robertkbrown.com. Kept all the entries and comments in my original MovableType database, and have created this brand-spanking new one for future use. I'll maintain a personal record of this past five years of history -- both good and bad -- while Google's bots will eventually figure out that the trail of broken links I've just littered across their results pages no longer exist. Their cache, too, will eventually be cleared out. And the next couple of weeks before the end of summer, then, will allow me to put together a more focused plan for these pages.

It's a fresh start.

It's a good thing.


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