How to Stifle Creativity

This guide was NOT inspired by “How to Argue like an Idiot” guide. THAT guide is designed to destroy thinking of any and all types. This one targets only creative thought.

“One of the serious problems in planning the fight against American doctrine, is that the Americans do not read their manuals, nor do they feel any obligation to follow their doctrine…”
– From a Soviet Junior Lt’s Notebook

Why Discourage Creativity at Work? The new economy demands it. Global competition and world wide technological stagnancy in fields such as automotive and medicine have left many of us scrambling. If your business is a moneymaker, and profitable, STATUS QUO is the order of the day. DO NOT INNOVATE. STICK WITH WHAT WORKS! After all, things like toilet paper and umbrellas have not changed significantly in thousands of years, and they work great! If people really had a voracious appetite for ideas and innovation , they would change things themselves, not wait for you to do it!
Punish Failure. If anyone dares to try something risky or creative and fails, be sure to let them know you “told them so.” Make them regret it for the rest of their days there, which should be few, because you need to use them to set an example. The biggest success stories result from the one guy that knew absolutely what he was doing and was a super genius without compare. Remember Edison and the light bulb?
Eliminate Ambiguity. Something either works, or doesn’t. You. Are. The. Boss. Stamp out uncertainty. If you think it won’t work, it probably won’t. Why try if failure is even a possibility? FEAR FAILURE! Straight A students didn’t get straight ‘A’s because they were smart, they got them because they were terrified of failure!
Interrupt your Inferiors and pull them away from what they are doing without asking. Don’t ever let them build up enough steam to do anything worthwhile that might improve working conditions or threaten your job.  Periodically, even the best employees begin to work up come creative mind-flow which must be disrupted. Preferably, wait until you see them furiously intent on what they are doing. If they are working with power tools, so much the better because there is nothing better than when the “Days Without An Incident” sign reads “0”. Remember, productivity decreases by as much as 40% when people “multitask”, and if people are 100% productive then that is less productivity for you to steal.
Don’t Pay Attention to Others when they say things you don’t understand. How dare someone have an idea in your magnificent presence? When someone comes to you with an idea, or you hear an idea, interrupt them with an idea of your own, yawn, grimace, frown, sneer, look at your email, look at your blackberry, start a side conversation, do ANYTHING but pay attention to them. And DON’T make eye contact! It will only encourage their rambling. Be sure to write their idea down, though, so that you can claim it as your own later on.
Censor EVERYTHING. Stifle the creative juices by monitoring employee communications. Correct employees on everything from grammar to punctuation. If they send a funny email out to the entire company that is relevant, pertinent, and thought provoking, call them into your office and chew them out. “’Everyone’ is for HR only!” Make sure they understand that all of their ideas must come from you first. The added benefit to this is that if you run across an idea that actually has merit, you can take it.
Sleep During Meetings. If you don’t hear the idea happen, then it didn’t. Long, unnecessary meetings, full of boring graphs and charts that berate and belittle every department, including your own, are fantastic sleep induction devices.
Create Rules and Boundaries. People are supposed to toe the line, not cross it! Punish violators severely. Promote at least 50% of your staff to some sort of management responsibility so that the rules may be enforced most effectively. Post inspiration slogans on the wall like these time honored axioms:
• “Stay Within The Lines”
• “Follow Procedures!”
• “Watch the Bottom Line”,
• “Quarterly Profits are not everything, they are the ONLY thing!”
Remember, a demoralized staff is a hard working, obedient staff.
Don’t Ask Questions. People ask questions when they are interested in something. You can’t maintain conformity and status quo if things are being questioned. Things are going just fine the way they are. Why mess with your perfect world?
Happiness is the Enemy. Foolishness, silliness, storytelling, imagination, etc… these are all things that distract from productivity. Nip them in the bud on sight. Begin your correction of the wayward employee with phrases like :
• “Well THAT won’t work.” (or any variety of “it can’t be done”)
• “Let me tell you what we’re not going to do…”
• “Be Serious”
• “Think before you speak!”
• “Sit down and shutup.”
• Get back in your box?”
• “Who let you off your leash?”
• “We don’t do that here.”
• “Wipe that smile off your face! If you are smiling, you aren’t working!”
Procedures Must be Followed. In the military, there is an entire command of officers and non-com’s who exist for the sole purpose of approving any changes to procedures. It takes months, if not years, to change even a simple procedure. And look at how successful they are! In some countries, they are the ruling body! Establishing a rigid command structure will guarantee your corporation a place in the annals of history.

Some day, I will release a book that is a tell-all about all the shitty bosses I have been plagued with in my life.  For now, though, this will have to do.

P.S. If you have read this far and don’t realize it is satire, then you just might be a shitty boss.  Good luck with that.

Remotely viewing the Internet activity on another computer

As long as you have an account on the computer, and the computer is linux or Mac (unix), and it is an admin account, this is what you can do:

First, you will need to be on the computer and enable remote access. On a mac, it is not enabled by default.

STEP 1 : Enable Remote Login on subject computer

Hit Splat (⌘) -spacebar, type ‘terminal’, and hit enter.  A bash shell will open.  Welcome to command line 🙂  Enter the following command (the ‘>’ denotes a prompt.  Don’t type that):

> systemsetup -setremotelogin on

 

STEP 2 : Figure out its IP address

While you are in terminal, get the IP address:

> ifconfig | grep ‘inet ‘

This will get you the IP address of the machine.  It’s not 127.0.0.1.  It’s the other one 🙂

If it changes later, from your terminal window on your own mac you can scan the network and find it with this:

> sudo nmap -sP 192.168.2.1/24

NOTE: 192.168.2.1 might not be your IP address range.  Whatever the IP address is that you located earlier, change this so it’s right.  

STEP 3 : Access the subject computer remotely

Now, from the terminal window on your mac, open a shell to the other mac, the one you are surveilling, using the ipAddress that you discovered in step 2:

> ssh yourUserNameOnOtherMachine@ipAddress

Next you will be asked for a password.  It won’t see the usual Password: •••••••• where a bullet appears with each keystroke.  You’ll just see Password:•  But don’t worry, your keys strokes are going in.

Monitoring

Now that you are connected, there are a few interesting things you can do.  When it comes to the tcpdump command, these commands are simplistic and just the tip of the iceberg of what it can do.

DNS Requests

This command will get you DNS calls.  Whenever the subject opens a new page or browses to a new website, you will see stuff here:

> tcpdump -vvv -s 0 -l -n port 53

control (^) – c to quit

 

HTTPS Requests

This one will get all HTTPS headers so you can see what websites are being accessed, as they are accessed, and basically every request sent out (somewhat noise).  Since it is HTTPS, you won’t be able to see the exact request, you’ll only see the site being accessed.  Google and Youtube properties all look like they are from 1e100.net.

> sudo tcpdump dst port 443

HTTP Requests

> sudo tcpdump dst port 80

You can open multiple windows and run both.  

Good luck, and don’t forget:  accessing a system that you neither have permission to access nor own is ILLEGAL.  Spy on your SO at your own risk. I won’t go into the morality of spying on your children or employees.  It’s too murky and really depends on the situation.

Key Looe Resort – Florida Keys – Review

Last year, in early June of 2014, my son (12 at the time) and I took a birding expedition to Florida.  We started in Jacksonville, and worked our way all the way down to the Dry Tortugas over a period of 13 days.  One lodging location stood out, beneath all the rest.

After over a year of submitting my initial review to Expedia, I received the notification from them that it was finally published.  I went to the site to see it, but it wasn’t there.  Here is my unabashed, honest review of possibly the shittiest roadside roadhouse roach motel at which I’ve ever been misfortunate enough to be tricked into staying.

In short: Filter flies, ants, a frog and a bar outside my door

I will spare you the narrative and just make a list of all the problems of this “resort.” Make no mistake – this is a motel. It is not a resort by any stretch of the imagination. These items are listed in no particular order:
1. Filter flies in the bathroom
2. We actually woke up one morning to a giant tree frog in the toilet
3. No 24 hr reception
4. ants in the room (the real little ones)
5. bare bulb fixtures
6. Weak security (mechanical key, doorknob based with door swinging outward (hinges on the outside and an easy-pry latch)
7. The “tikki” bar is less than 100 feet from the rooms at the one end of the motel, and it is LOUD.
8. 80 – 99 Db noise from bar until 11:15 PM on the weekends, 10 pM weeknights.
9. If you come in at the wrong time, parking is non-existent because this is a local bar hangout. So you have sit and wait for someone to leave. The only other option is to park illegally on the highway.
10. The bathroom sink had a very, very slow drain,
11. The shower floor had not been cleaned prior to our use of the room. It was slippery, and had a nice big wad of hair in the drain.

The Food:

We didn’t try the food. That seemed like a bad idea.

The overall hotel ambiance:

This hotel is disgusting. It is a pit, and it is NOT a place for children. The band plays music with “F* you” in the lyrics and they play it loud, and repeatedly, and long. Here is the really frightening part: These guys have a SCUBA shop attached to their motel, and offer “resort” dives. If this is how they take care of their rooms, how well do you think they are taking care of their dive equipment?

The room looked nice on the Internet. The Internet is a liar.

The Solution:

The problems I found here could easily be repaired by a few big yellow bulldozers, new ownership and management, and a new building.

Key West is not too far away. The Yankee ferry ride out to the Dry Tortugas was great, and yielded the most awesome snorkeling you could want.

What He Thinks (WHT), What She Thinks (WST)- The Elevator Extrapolation

Scenario:  A man exiting an elevator in an office building and a beautiful woman, entering the same elevator, silently mouths the word “hi” and smiles at him as they pass each other.


 

Part 1: The walk-by

WHT: She’s totally into me. Do I know her?  

WST: Isn’t that John from accounting?   I wonder if he remembers that time he sent my paycheck to the wrong address and it took me three weeks to get paid?  I was so pissed at him.  Did he grow a beard?  It’s kind of hot.  Should I say Hi?  I hate him.

*They walk past each other*

WST : Oh crap, this isn’t John at all.  Why oh why don’t I get my eyes checked? Oh crap, it’s that creep, Steve from IT….but I have to say hi, because he is in IT and you have to be nice to IT people so they will come running when you have a computer problem….maybe I should throw a little flirt in?  Just to…wait, no, then he will cyber-stalk me. Oh crap, my lips already started to move…oh SHIT!, why am I smiling! what have I done??  I hope he doesn’t recognize me…I hope he doesn’t recognize me…oh god, I can  feel his eyes drilling holes into my ass…gotta push the button. *turns around* yep, there it is.  Take a nice long look. *smiles awkwardly at him*

WHT: She’s totally into me. 

Elapsed time:1 second


Part 2: As the doors close

WST: Creep. Thank God these elevator doors will close before he can take that total miscue and jump back in… Think happy thoughts…think happy thoughts…Kittens!” *smiles*  Now let’s see, after work today I need to stop at the grocery store and pick up lettuce, tomato, green onions, hamburger…gosh, will these doors ever close?  Is he really still staring at me??  Oh, and I can’t forget to call mom, and hmm, I wonder if my blue shoes will go with that black dress I bought yesterday *contemplates 311 factorial arrangement of clothes and shoes

*doors close*

Oh thank god, they finally closed!  These doors need a stalker button that closes the doors instantly….

Elapsed time: 3 seconds


 

Part 3, 20 minutes later:  After thoughts.

WHT: She was totally into me.  I should have made some excuse and jumped back in the elevator….

WST: What should I have for lunch? 

 

Brick Pilers strike again.

This is in response to a post on the Lake Bluff Patch.  

http://patch.com/illinois/lake-forest-lake-bluff/daily-grind-loses-lease

I’m not saying that this is necessarily the case here, but my observation has been that there is a highly vocal faction of people in Lake Bluff that seem to want downtown Lake Bluff to be somewhat like a downtown Libertyville, with trendy little shops and bars and lots and lots and lots of people pouring through. What motivates this faction?  Ultimately, this is how the landlords will be able to raise rents and reap serious profits – when their tenants are raking it in.

How did this happen, how did we get here?  It started with the loss of Center Video, included a building collapsing “accidentally,” followed with an erection of what can only be described as (IMHO) a hideous monstrosity (the building that houses Lake Bluff Brewery and Lulu’s), and has transformed Lake Bluff from the quaint, hidden community into a caricature of North Shore suburban life.  Quietude and peacefulness was the reason that so many of us moved here. Loud, blasting music that can be heard from 2 miles away WAS NOT.
I’m not sure that Douglass had anything to do with any of the afore mentioned items, I’m not sure if he owns more buildings than the old Village Market building.  I seem to recall he was involved in the design and building of the Monstrous Brick Pile (again, just my infinitesimal opinion, which I am allowed to freely express).
One thing is certain – “progress” for this brick pile faction in the community (let’s just call them “The Brick Pilers” because that is what they do, and we should call a brick a brick) of Lake Bluff is not about building community and consensus, it’s about getting their way, getting their profits, increasing the tax base, so they can get more money more money more money.  “Let’s cover it all in concrete and asphalt.  Hey, isn’t a bustling community of shoppers and tourists what we want here?” they demand. Not me, no thank you.
The critical mass needed to satisfy the Brick Pile faction is NOT the kind of community of which I would be proud.  It’s not community – it’s just converting Lake Bluff into a beach-side tourist attraction that brings in lots of outsiders, spending money.  That’s it.  At the end of the day, that’s all the residents will see: Lot’s of outsiders, spending money and attracting crime, clogging the streets, and creating a general nuisance to the residents of the town.
Perhaps, the days when kids could leave their backpacks on the ground outside of Village Market, with zero fear they’d be stolen are already gone forever.  Thank you Brick Pilers.  Thank you. (<- that was sarcasm.)

Eulogy for Marilyn Swieck (How to Make Fudge and be a Good Person)

Greetings, and good afternoon.  My name is Scott. I am most honored to be here today, to talk to you about my Aunt Marilyn.

These next few stories are slices from my life, my life with Marilyn and my family’s life with her. I don’t have much time to deliver this message, my cousins have threatened me with an undisclosed punishment should I take too long. So, some of my transitions will seem abrupt, and through it all, I’m going to interject bits and pieces of Aunt Marilyn’s fudge recipe, so please pay attention and keep your pens at ready. This will hopefully not be as all over the place as I am, but it probably will be. I’ll make liberal use of strategic pauses.

A few years ago, Marilyn and I made fudge together, and I captured it in a series of videos.  The first step, she told me, was:

*Get yourself a big, wooden spoon.  Preferably one that says “chocolate only”

I don’t remember a world without my Aunt Marilyn.  She was a familiar motif for me, in my never ending tangled up state, in my rush to understand everything.  Her home always offered a calm, stable place.

*butter just the sides of a heavy, 3 quart saucepan.


Marilyn meant so much to me and my family, that not mentioning the impact on my life that she had would be unfair, so forgive me if I seem to digress – everything here relates to Marilyn, and where and how I saw her in our lives.

*add 4 cups granulated sugar.

For the past few weeks,  I’ve had this song going through my head, and it has this motif, this concept of home, of the moon being in my side, of angels not arriving, and being able to hear the choir. So there’s that, this concept of home that Marilyn understood, and that I learned from her.  I remember her playing Blue Moon.

*Add one 14.5 ounce can of evaporated milk

I did not know what I wanted to be when I grew up.  But every year, at Christmas time and at my birthday, I would receive books.  Books on astronomy, on nature, works of fiction, and then of course there was the penguin mug.  I still have most of these gifts.  That was the thing about Marilyn, she gave thoughtful, helpful gifts, and education was important to her – as a result, it became important to me, and to my children as well.

*Mix it up before you put the margarine in.


My wife’s mother passed away 9 months before we got married, and this created a deep void in our lives. Aunt Marilyn was there for us during the very difficult grieving that followed, and I don’t think I ever thanked her enough

*add 1 cup land-o-lakes. because grandpa didn’t think there was anything else.  Cut it up, 6 or 7 times per bar so that it melts


When my son Ethan was born, Marilyn came and stayed with us for a week. She helped around the house, did laundry, cooked, and taught me that how you fold your towels depends entirely on the shape of the cabinet where you store them. We had just been folding them randomly and stuffing them in. She referred to our dog as her favorite area rug. He was half Great Dane.

*Turn on the stove, setting it to just below medium.  It really shouldn’t take you more than 45 minutes to make the fudge.



*now just let it melt.  Don’t stir it.

It was maybe ten years ago or so, I used my engineering and carpentry skills to install a handrail for Marilyn at her house – she had a short flight of stairs that had no rail. I told her I would take care of it. She gave me no requirements- she didn’t have to. It was Marilyn, and so it would be strong, beautiful, and it would last.  That something could be made better, stronger, and made to last, by these hands, became a standard in my life on that day.

*As the concoction on your stove warms, it boils up.  Let it.  Some recipes say to not stir it, but you can stir it every now and then.

I remember forgetting to return the library books I borrowed from Oak Park library, and my absolute terror that she would find out.Well, she was the head of circulation so I’m thinking she might have known. I don’t even remember if I returned them – if there is anyone here from the Oak Park library, please see me after the service for a donation…

*cook over medium heat to soft ball stage (236 degrees) or maybe a little below medium.  It cooks longer, but you won’t get it [to come out right] as..as much.


When Ethan was 11 months old, we (my wife and I), drove to Ohio with Marilyn. She rode in the back with Ethan the entire way. At this time, he was all “gibahbah*pbbbbbt” he had no words yet

*In the video, Marilyn changes her mind and says, “Ok, stir it more than you have to…and don’t worry if you scorch it a little.  Dark pieces might come up, but they’ll blend in with the chocolate.  Nobody will know.”

On the way back from Ohio, I think my wife was driving, and I looked at Ethan,  point at Marilyn and say “Aunt Marilyn” and he looks right at her, then at me, and he says, as clear as a bell , “no, Nana!” It was his first word, and the name stuck. “Nana.”

*To perform a softball test, take a little bit of the batter into your spoon and pour it into really cold water.  Dump the water out, and see how the fudge is.  Is it fudgy? Does it have substance?

Now, I’m sitting in an Italian Restaurant a couple of nights ago – all the most important events of my life have taken place in Italian Restaurants – and I’m writing this, and trying not to cry into my lasagna, and I’m thinking of my daughter, who left her sweater here, the sweater that she wore the last times she went to see her Nana.

I think it was last Tuesday or Wednesday, not this past one, the one before, that Elaine took Addie to see Marilyn that last time, wearing that wonderful sweater, with all her colors and her twirling, flouncing, bounce, Marilyn awakened, and in a strong voice, says “Oh my goodness gracious, look at you,” and she held out her hand to her. Those would be her last words.


*1 heaping, rounded serving spoon of marshmallow fluff. So that was the secret, a heaping, flouncing, bouncing serving spoon of marshmallow fluff. 

Recently, I was taking a class and the instructor asked me how I felt about being there, and I said, “I’m excited to be here!”  I think a big part of life involves always being excited to see people, and one thing is certain, is Marilyn was always excited to see people. 

*add one 12 ounce package semisweet chocolate pieces and a couple of small Hershey bars.
*1 teaspoon vanilla

For the past few weeks, while this song was going through my head, this entire time, we: Marilyn, my cousins and my children and my wife, and all of us, waited for the angels to come, to carry her Home.

I am thankful for the definition of home that she taught all of us, and I know we will carry it for the rest of our lives in our hearts, and in our minds.

*Once the pour has fully settled, score while warm, let cool, and call for someone to come, and carry it home.

Rules for dating (for women)

Scott’s Theory of Relationship and Social Imminence

1. Never call more often than you see in person

This is a no brainer and it is also a great way to filter out the crap people from the good people. Desperate people call a lot.

2. If your text message goes unanswered, you may only send one additional text per year that you have “known” someone.  By “known”, I mean in the carnal sense.

In  other words, if you have been “knowing” someone for 10 years, firing off ten unanswered texts in a row is perfectly acceptable.  Annoying as hell, but acceptable.

3. If he gave you his phone number, delete it after the first call. You can get it again if he calls back. There is no excuse to call twice with no face-to-face in-between.

4. NEVER DATE A MAN WHO THINKS HE IS PRETTIER THAN YOU ARE!
If he looks in the mirror more than he looks at you…Does this really need an explanation? Clearly a dude that commandeers his rearview mirror while he drives needs to be thrown out of the car (stopping first is optional). As for men that use product and pluck their eyebrows? Or use eyeliner? What the fuck!? I suppose he will want cuddle time, too, right before he runs off with your gay hair dresser.

5. You know everything that he needs to know about being in a relationship with you. Don’t let him tell you differently. If he ever pulls the “We need to talk…” line, walk away.  Don’t hesitate.  Just turn, and walk away.

6. When men do it, they call it “stalking.” When women do it, they call it “marriage.”

The best stalkers stalk their prey silently, from afar, and give up if it is too elusive. Their prey never even know they were stalked.  Ever.

7. There is no problem that a blowjob can’t fix—except a bad blowjob.

8. If something breaks, he’d better get out the tool box. He doesn’t have one? Run. Away. He’d better know how to fix broken things and move heavy objects or he will become the butt of your every joke and you will fuck the pool boy. At least he knows how to handle his pole! After all, if he can’t work a screwdriver, he probably can’t work his built in tools either. This is especially true for men who are fabulously “successful” and have great, white collar jobs. They might be over-compensating.

9. Women fake orgasms, men fake feelings.
Like it or not, deny it, try to defy it, resist it, argue against it, don’t accept it, but when the time comes, you will come to the light and know the truth. Generally, men just don’t have it in them to care about anything for longer than it takes them to kill it and eat it or to try and stick their dicks in it, which is about 15 minutes. Male emotions are pre-programmed battle responses. They are a form of weaponry. Ask a man what he is feeling and immediately he begins to look for the door. Love is not a “feeling”– it is a verb (a wise woman told me this). Love is totally different and is real.

10. At the first sign of trouble, get out.

11. Never make plans further ahead than you’ve known each other.
That is the simple rule for traditional dates, such as going to a movie, going to a party (mutual friends), a concert, etc. When family is involved, it gets complex. Suffice it to say, making plans to meet family members should be weighted by time in relationship and the closeness of the family member (only meet the parents as a last resort!).

Appendix – social media
1. facebook is for friends only, and permanent relationships. End of story. If you decide to begin dating someone that you know through facebook, the best thing you can do for him and you is unfriend him. It would be like friending parents of students. It’s just a bad idea.

NOTE: This guide is based entirely on the experiences of the author and anecdotal evidence. No formal studies have taken place. Nor will they. Now go out there, and “have fun”. Studies have shown that people that fun more are happier and that an increase in fun activity by people who are fun would actually lead to a decrease in the incidences of fun transmitted diseases (always fun responsibly, use a fundom!).

*no actual science of any sort has been cited, quoted, or even ever read by the author of this article, who also happens to believe that oral sex is the solution to all relationship problems in the world today.