Saturday, November 20, 2010

Saturday, June 19, 2010

On Drive & Motivation

Came across this terrific animation bit on drive, incentives, and motivation. It is hilariously spot-on. If you find yourself on the hiring side of the interview table, you should view this animated presentation first.

Grover Does Dama Dam Mast Qalandar

I don't quite know what to say, except... Grover still rocks my world.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

A Funny Thing Happened on my Train to Work This Morning

I've been in Japan so long, maybe I'm going native.

I just hopped on the subway this morning, finding a well-positioned seat on the right-hand side of car number 8, and was enjoying a nice article on how to read a balance sheet in my favorite business magazine. I had Audioslave's Cochise on my iPhone, and I was looking forward to finishing the article before getting off at Otemachi. I normally get on at the station where the subway begins, so the seats fill up fast.

The subway lurches forward, and soon I am deep into my magazine. After a stop or two, I look up and notice a woman standing in front of me. All the seats by now are taking, standing-room only. And then I notice that she could be... well, she might be pregnant.

Now, Boy Scout that I am, I was just about ready to jump up and offer my seat. But I hesitated. Yeah, she sort of had that wonderful, baby's-four-months-along-now bulge in her tummy. But was that bulge real, or was I just imagining it for her bulky and loose outfit?

I bit my lip and tried to determine the situation. But it is rude to look to hard at a person in Japan, so I tried to be nonchalant about it. Urgh, couldn't tell. I glanced nervously sideways. The guy sitting next to me was fast asleep. The people sitting on the other side of the car were just staring vacantly forward out the windows. Didn't they notice this pregnant woman standing? Why couldn't any one of them stand and offer their seat, and save me the trouble of making a hard decision?

I continued to discreetly assess this woman. Yeah, she sort of had a large, pear-shaped frame. Could be pregnant. Or was it just the cut of her clothes? Another station comes and goes, and I am still deep in debate. Back Stateside, I would offer my seat without hesitation, and so what if I was wrong and she wasn't pregnant? We'd both laugh it off, and maybe I would get to sit back down and and continue reading.

But this is Japan. Appearances and saving face counts, and I sure would not want to cause this woman any embarrassment for mistaking her to be pregnant when she might only have been just packing a bit of a beer belly. Oh, the predicament! A bead of imaginary sweat rolled down my forehead.

So two more stations pass, no one around me is budging, this woman in still standing solidly right in front of me, and I am still pretending to be engrossed in my magazine. Ah! What a great column on the classic Monty Hall problem on conditional probability! But the situation does not change a bit... another station comes and goes... and I am still struggling at the impasse. Do I stand or continue to politely pretend oblivious ignorance?

Finally, the man sitting next to me gets up and disembarks at the next station. I breathe a sigh of relief, thinking that I don't have to make a hideous gaffe (embarrassing for both of us?) now that a seat has opened up. Joy!

...

But the woman doesn't sit. Nope. Doesn't even make a move towards the empty seat, just huddles up against the door next to me. A whole lot of other people get on the train, and someone else sits down next to me. But Ms. Beer Belly gets off a station later, when I finally see that she is not in the family way, just merely pleasingly pear-shaped.

I am such a wiener.