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Showing posts from 2016

Well Designed Failure

So last night, while I was out for a social gathering and my partner was out of town, someone appears to have tried to break into our house. They did a moderately good job of disassembling the door handle on our front door, but didn't get any further than that, thanks to the deadbolt lock on the door and the two loud dogs in their beds next to the door. Last night I was pretty upset about it, and I was also being critical of the door handle, but the more I think about it the more I think I'm wrong. I am beginning to think that the door handle itself was really quite brilliantly designed -- it was designed not just to work, but to fail gracefully.

When I got home I found the front door handle had been jimmied somehow, and was loose in the door itself; in addition, the interior handle part had come completely off the door. So I was mildly upset about this, thinking that first, someone had tried to break into my house, and second, that I would have to replace the door handle (at …

Well, there it is.

It's still a little rough, but it's in place and ready to be cataloged: the Brian A. Newman Memorial Boardgame Lending Library. Brian loved boardgames: collecting them, playing them, teaching others to play them, getting new people interested in them. He was a gift, and now that he's gone, I want to try and share that gift with as many people as I can. And this is how I'm going to try and do it. I want to allow people and organizations, like schools and classrooms and shelters and whomever, to check out and try out games. To use them as teaching tools, or just to enjoy playing them, and maybe get people interested in playing and collecting their own games. 
I haven't worked out all the details yet, but when I think about this idea, I feel good, like it's a Good Thing To Do. And so I want to do it up right. I didn't have room for everything, but I made room for as much as I could. And I'm hoping that I'll be able to share as much of these as I can. 

Letting the days go by...

This is probably incredibly shallow and male and white of me, but I have to admit that every so often I just straight-up forget how beautiful my partner is. It has to be at least partly because I can't believe that someone so beautiful would be interested in me, and at least partly because I have a terrible memory, and probably partly because I'm pretty self-involved and self-directed by nature. But yeah, I'll be sitting around and I will just plain forget that my wife is beautiful.

And then I'll see a picture, like this one:

Or she will come home from work and I will get up from my desk and she will take off her scarf and say "Hello, Husband!" in this fantastically posessive way that never fails to make me smile, and I will see her and suddenly remember all over again how beautiful she is, and how amazingly glad I am that she is a part of my life.

I don't want to forget, but sometimes I do. And the best part of that is when I get to learn again how lucky…

The Goodbyes You Don't Get To Say

My friend Brian died today.

He'd been sick for a little while. It'd been tough to see him struggling. Brian was kind, and generous, and fiercely self-reliant (to his detriment, it turns out). He was sharp and wise and while he didn't talk very often, frequently his contributions were the spot-on perfect note for humour or insightful commentary. He was a good host and a good gamemaster, and he convinced me to try more than one thing I never would have tried before, from specific boardgames to specific game engines to specific foods, even to specific music. He was one of the people that convinced me to move to Portland, and who welcomed me when I arrived, and who opened his home and his social circles to me when I was settling in, and who consistently made sure I had a place at his table and his games. He sold me his house, my first house, when I decided I was ready to put down roots here.

We were going to pick back up on our tabletop game next week; we tried to work out som…

Creating the Ladder, and then Climbing

So here's a thing that happened this week: I got promoted at work.

My current organization has had significant growth over the last 12 months, including a pretty significant ramp-up in the team I'm on -- basically doubling the number of people in the team over my tenure at the job -- which has led to some serious conversation about what the layout of the organization should be. And this week, the management team rolled that plan out, including a promotional ladder for both managerial and non-managerial advancement, roles and responsibilities for each level, expectations for time-in-grade, and basically a bunch of stuff that bigger organizations have to worry about and smaller organizations ignore to their peril once they become bigger organizations.

So now I'm technically at least a part-time manager. Finding ways to shoehorn the much-needed time for managing people is going to be exciting given the current workload, but at least there's the intention of giving some of…