This morning, Alpha, our betta fish who has been with us for several years, went to that great aquarium in the sky. Katie gets the unenviable task of burying him at sea. You’ll be missed, Alpha…at least until we replace you.
Last week, I submitted this photo to KVUE news’ daily weather photo contest. Yesterday I was notified that my photo will be the photo of the day for November 1. So, if you live in Austin, watch KVUE news that evening, or check their web site afterwards to see my photo. I hope this isn’t my allotted 15 minutes of fame. I envisioned something greater.
I currently manage an outsourced team of three QA engineers in Costa Rica, and at a former job we had team members in Bangalore, India. Due to this experience, people often ask me my opinions about outsourcing. Here are some of my thoughts that I usually share:
First, I like to point out that American jobs have been moving overseas for a long time now, decades at least. For the longest time, though, those were all manufacturing jobs. In my opinion, the current concerns about outsourcing are simply due to the fact that it’s moved up the socio-economic ladder to white collar jobs (such as software engineering) and people in those industries are feeling threatened. It’s not a new phenomenon.
As a liberal and someone who has traveled and lived abroad, my opinion is that the moving of jobs, especially higher level ones, from the U.S. to lesser-developed nations is a good thing: it will serve to level out the standard of living world-wide to some degree.
However, as someone who has been personally affected by outsourcing, I see that not only will it raise the standard of living of other countries, it will also lower the standard of living of Americans somewhat. And I don’t like having my job threatened any more than anyone else.
So, how do I reconcile these two views? Well, first of all, I view outsourcing as inevitable; there’s nothing that we Americans can do to stop it, short of major social restructuring. Therefore, I’d be foolish not to try to accommodate myself to the situation. In my case, that has meant getting experience managing outsourced teams.
In addition, I stick by my liberal principles. Outsourcing will be tough on Americans–even, possibly, me and my family–but in general, lesser disparities in standard of living are a good thing for everyone.
Batman just doesn’t look so tough with his front teeth missing
Our first cool front of the fall blew through a couple of days ago. And for the first time in the almost three years we’ve lived in this house, it didn’t bring with it the smell of sewage. There’s a small wastewater treatment plant about two blocks north of us, and it really smells. Due to the stench, the city has been planning for several years to close it. When we moved in, we were told the project was 18 months from completion. The neighbors told us, however, that it had been 18 months from completion for a couple of years already. But the city finally did close the plant a couple of months ago. Big difference!
Jason Lefkowitz’s take on President Bush’s nomination of Harriet Miers as Supreme Court justice:
[T]he nomination sends a message loud and clear to all the conservatives who have supported Bush through it all over the years:
Youâ€™ve been punkâ€™d. Suckers.
This is the moment youâ€™ve been waiting decades for. The moment when an opening on the Supreme Court could be filled by a real, rock-ribbed, hard core True Grit Winger. Someone whoâ€™d put the women back in the kitchen and God back in the classroom and courtroom where he belongs.
O the trials you have endured, waiting for this moment. You gave every spare penny you could find to the Bush campaigns. You wrote letter after letter after letter to the editor. You canvassed and lit-dropped till your feet bled.
You even turned your church over to the GOP â€” allowed the tawdry ambitions of man into the House of God â€” because you believed in George W. Bush. When he said he was born again, you nodded me, too. When he said he wanted a â€œculture of lifeâ€, you said preach it, brother!
And then, after all the years of waiting, the moment came. And George W. Bush looked back at you and said:
Go read the entire post; it continues and gets even better.
A key general principle is to stop self-deceiving and admit to yourself that you don’t just love “art for art’s sake.” You also like art for the role it plays in your life, for its signaling value, and for how it complements other things you value, such as relationships and your self-image. It then becomes possible for you to turn this fact to your advantage, rather than having it work against you. Keeping up the full pretense means that you must impose a high implicit tax on your museum-going. This leads you to restrict your number of visits and ultimately to resent the art and find it boring.
I used to go with Katie to the opera occasionally, but several years ago I put my foot down and refused to go with her. Reading the quote above makes me realize that I thought I was supposed to like it ‘for art’s sake’ and I finally admitted that I didn’t like it, and that I didn’t care whether anyone else thought whether I should like it.
But it also makes me realize that maybe others enjoy something else about opera bedies the ‘art for art’s sake’ angle. I’ll have to re-think whether there’s some other reason why I might find opera interesting.