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Remainders 07.25.2008

It has been a while since I did a remainders post (or any post for that matter) and have a lot of stuff saved up. That being said, due to aforementioned time passage, you may have seen some of these already. Yet, into the breach I go…
Stepcase Lifehack has been doing a good series called Back to Basics about getting back to the bare bones of GTD. Here is a sampling:
* Back to Basics: Capture Your Ideas
* Back to Basics: Your Inbox
* Back to Basics: Processing
I personally find these sorts of little refreshers helpful in staying on the right path. I never tire of reading them.
I also will never tire of Merlin Mann dropping the mad science on the troubles with e-mail overload as he does in the post NYT: Businesses Fight the Email Monster They Helped Create.
Here is a post that resonated with me from Unclutterer… What to do if you are organized and your partner isn’t. Luckily, Princess Bethany and I deal pretty well with this issue (and I will leave it to you dear reader to decide whom is who in this equation).
Kelly Forrister of DavidCo recommends using that too-late-to-start-anything 4pm Friday slot in your workday for a context she calls @BrainToast. That is, regular maintenance type things that we all seem to forget way too often.
Linda Stone asks – Is it Time to Retire the Never-Ending List? Hmmm…. Princess Bethany has regular fantasies about completing everything on her “Big List”.
Perhaps you are stuck getting through that list. Well, here is a good primer on How to Jump Start a Listless Action List at Tool for Thought.
By now, I am sure you are aware of my affinity for the simple daily todo list. Here is one take on how to format such a list.
Finally, my beautiful and brilliant wife, Princess Bethany, offers up her Top Ten List of How to be Productive With a New Baby.

People are allowed to have their own opinions… But they are NOT allowed to have their own facts.

Overheard on the radio today.

The most unfair thing about life is the way it ends. I mean, life is tough. It takes up a lot of your time. What do you get at the end of it? A Death! What’s that, a bonus? I think the life cycle is all backwards. You should die first, get it out of the way. Then you live in an old age home. You get kicked out when you’re too young, you get a gold watch, you go to work. You work forty years until you’re young enough to enjoy your retirement. You do drugs, alcohol, you party, you get ready for high school. You go to grade school, you become a kid, you play, you have no responsibilities, you become a little baby, you go back into the womb, you spend your last nine months floating …and you finish off as an orgasm.

George Carlin

Guest Post at Black Belt Productivity

I was recently approached by my friends at Black Belt Productivity to offer some thoughts on metrics in the realm of Getting Things Done – how to measure productivity and ensure that it is driving you to specific goals. Those who have read my work here for a while may already know what my answer is going to be. All the same, it may be worth while to check out my guest post on their excellent site. If you do not already follow Black Belt Productivity you really should. Excellent writing and a bunch of mighty fine guys who are deep in the Org-fu:
Patrick Rhone: Metrics and GTD? It’s Baked Right In

Remembering Rodney

I will never forget our last conversation. It was only a few days beyond six years ago. He called me up to see if I wanted to “hang out, have some brew, see some girls” in that sly way he regularly did. We had both worked for a time for the same employer and had become fast friends. I enjoyed his irreverent style and his unabashed fanboy advocacy of all things Macintosh. He even went so far as always keeping a weekend job selling Macs at a largely PC retailer. There was nothing he loved more than “converting sinners on the floor” by introducing those coming in looking to by yet another Compaq to the Macintosh, thus, he felt, changing the rest of their lives for the better.
I also loved his writing. As a freelancer, he wrote for a number of the Macintosh related web sites that I followed. I loved his confrontational style. He really enjoyed pushing peoples buttons. Not because he wanted to piss people off but because he knew it caused them to think. Perhaps, for even a second, they would be introduced to something they had thought themselves but never had the balls to say. I mean, this is the guy who had the balls to write an article called “Macintosh Is the ‘Nigger’ of the Computer Industry“. He took a lot of flack for simply using “The ‘N’ word” and he ate it up. I loved the passion that he poured into every word, thought and action. This was a guy who really wanted to suck the marrow from the bones of life and did so with a big impish smile on his face.
He also had problems, heck who doesn’t. He had long suffered from manic depression. I had as well. Yet another thing we had in common to make us such fast friends. We often shared our struggles with staying on medication. Medication that, in an effort to keep you from “feeling down” or “feeling crazy” mostly makes you not able to feel anything very deeply at all. Psychiatry in this area is a “true science” in that there are no right answers or perfect drug combinations. Everyone is different and even then things can change. It is all a matter of constant playing with dosage levels and trial and error until a person is lucky enough to stumble upon the right mix for them. The trip to not being crazy is a rollercoaster ride of emotions so severe and intense for so long that one feels… Crazy. He and I commiserated on these subjects often – usually while having some brew and seeing some girls at the local gentleman establishments. He seemed to be managing the ride as well as can be expected.
This time, when he called to hang out, I was too busy. Between trying to manage being a full time single dad, my consulting business, and way too many other seemingly important things, I had to decline. “Give me a call in a couple of weeks,” I said, “I’ll even buy.” Looking back, I still feel like that was the worst decision of my life.
Rodney O. Lain passed away a few days later on June 15th, 2002 – six years ago yesterday. He took his own life with a gun to the head sometime in the late night/early morning of the 15th and lived for one day more (I imagine just as a final “Fuck you” to the gun – He was that type of guy). There is rarely a day or two that goes by that I do not think of Rodney. He was my friend. I miss him. I miss being able to share my life as it is today with him. My beautiful wife, the strong lovely young men my sons are becoming, my beautiful baby girl… I often think about how much fun he would be having right now with Apple enjoying such great success (I can imagine him writing “The iPhone is the Whitey of the mobile phone industry”). Not to mention the strong possibility of having a “Brotha” in the White House. What kind of writing about it all we are missing. Words that might make us laugh, or piss us off or bother to think.
Those words are hard to find now. Six years on the internet is a long time. Some of the sites he wrote for are now gone and his writing along with them. I even tried to do my part by reviving his old site a few years back but many behind the scenes complications kept it from staying live. Do a search on Google for him and you will find a number of loving tributes and obituaries and even still find an article or two written by him…
As for me, I still grieve. There is a hole in the world now that will never be filled. A friend that will never be replaced.
Update – Many of Rodney’s articles can be found archived at Low End Mac.

Necessary Self Promotion

Things have been crazy busy here in Patrickland. Lot’s of travel. Lots of busy work. Lots of taking care of The Duchess. Who is The Duchess you ask? For those new around here, she is my little girl Beatrix and she has a blog – Team Trixie. The blog is a comedic outlet for me and I write it from her perspective. Of course, her perspective is that she is a Duchess from a mythical land called Heckofalot, her mommy is Princess Bethany and her daddy is The Butler. As I said, it is mostly a fun creative outlet for me and a unique way to share her with the world.
Well, that blog and it’s author (that would be me, The Butler) were featured in the June 15th edition of The Saint Paul Pioneer Press newspaper. They did a feature on Dad’s who blog and The Duchess and I were included. Check it out:
TwinCities.com: Daddy bloggers have stories to tell