Also today in link round-ups, a new Things I'm Verbing: Cultural memory, peanut stew and how to be a better gentrifier.
Also related to Wonder Woman, if you've heard all kinds of Jew-hating bullshit about Gal Gadot "notching her rifle for Palestinians she's killed" and the like, this is a good rebuttal and full explanation of what Gadot's ~support for the IDF actually entails. See also. Yes, I'm still cranky about the Chicago Dyke March bullshit. This op-ed has a quite harsh take on intersectionality itself, but the basic point, that intersectionality as practiced is often antagonistic or indifferent to Jewish issues, is true to my experience. UGH. Okay. Gonna go draft that essay on Jewishness and who gets to be beautiful that I've been mulling over ever since Jenny Slate got together with Captain America.
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Teyla, Rodney, John, and Ronon
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Medium: digital painting
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: Randommindtime's art on tumblr
Why this piece is awesome: These are portraits for a New York-based detective (Law and Order) AU where the team are in law enforcement - John and Ronon are cops and Teyla and Rodney are lawyers. They all look very cool and determined! It's really lovely work with nifty details, excellent likenesses and great colouring.
Link: Depart and Act Conceptual Portraits
The Hot Springs KOA is an extremely nice place. It's built into the side of a hill and the campsites are terraced. There are several large pull-through sites, which is exactly what I wanted. They sent a person on a golf cart to pilot me into the spot & make sure we could reach the sewer/water/electricity hookups. The campground was super close to the downtown area; it only took 8 minutes to drive Bryan over to the school. Really it was QUITE awesome. I loved the whole experience & I feel like getting a KOA membership was a great idea.
Where there was once a heavy, small-screened CRT television, there is now an empty cabinet with a nice flat screen mounted to it. All thanks to my incredibly creative parents and my dad who just sort of happens to carry a table saw in the back of his truck. Not a joke. The empty cabinet now contains wiring for the Apple TV and any video game systems we want to bring along. My mom said we're supposed to go on vacation to "get away from that stuff," but I disagree. You go to get away from work & stress!
More pictures of the campground & our trip in here!
( Read more... )
I will say this, though: best way to become my favorite patient? I was in a room with a very nice lady I'd just diagnosed with a very annoying injury. She told the friend with her "Doesn't she look like someone?" Indicating me. "Not someone in particular, I don't think. I think she just looks like a 1940s movie star. She just has that kind of face." Oh yeah. INSTANT favorite patient. I was also told on Sunday that I looked like Adele (I've gotten that once before), Penelope Garcia from Criminal Minds (I've gotten that one A LOT and I've still never watched the show), and told that I was "kinda woke for a white lady" and "See, she's real. I told you she was cool." So it's not like it was all bad.
This morning there's no milk in the house, and while I can forego the sweetener in my coffee, I've got to have milk or cream. I really should start keeping a stash of those little shelf-stable creamers for just such occasions.
Tomorrow is going to be a hard day, I fear. As many of you know, we have 3 dogs: Pete, Sam, & Harry. Sam & Pete are quite old for rat terriers; they're 15 years old this year. Last year, a tumor began to show up in Sam's groin area. It didn't seem to bother him; it wasn't painful or bleeding, but recently it's gotten much, much larger. At this point it appears to cause him difficulty in movement, and while he doesn't help or cry, he doesn't move much and I think the sheer weight of it is causing him back pain. Bryan & I have long since come to terms with the mortality of our dogs; we've been feeling like they were living on borrowed time almost for the last 4-5 years. Ganon, though, bless him. Ganon is almost 11, and he has never lost anything that he's loved. This will be very much a first for him. He cries when we talk about it. Last night I asked if he wanted to go with us & said we were thinking of this afternoon, but he requested one more day. I imagine Sam will probably be fed bacon & be very petted & made over tonight. Hospice patient doggie & all that. :( In honor of Sam, have a pic of my doggos:
"Why Do So Few Hollywood Movies Take Place During WWI?" - Pacific Standard (a very big deal!!)
Going to the movies became a ubiquitous means of participating in patriotic culture closer to World War II. The Great Depression halted most memorial-building in its tracks, as memorials required huge local investments. In the 1910s, when movie palaces were still new, they became sites of moral panic for civic and community leaders concerned about sexual looseness and the corruption of American youth, even as only about one-third of the total population attended each week. However, by the 1920s, that number rose to half, and, by the 1930s, two-thirds of Americans took weekly trips to the movies. During WWII, studios supplied hundreds of fictional films torn from the headlines.There's so much more! I got to talk to some amazing people! My job doesn't pay bupkis but the work can be so good!! (And if you feel inclined to share, you can credit me at ejbergdahl.)
Simple, hagiographic narratives about the war predominated. In titles like So Proudly We Hail! (1943), Hell Is for Heroes (1962), and Saving Private Ryan (1999), WWII was "the good war," waged by the U.S. to crush fascism and imperialism. Hollywood did work closely with the War Department to produce pro-war documentaries during the war. But, historically, even films that are not government-funded, or those that have questioned American wars, have largely refused to condemn those who fight it. It is perhaps easier for film studios to sell a vision of Americans as principled heroes fending off all-threatening evil, rather than naïve young men fighting in a conflict of ambiguous nobility.
It was supposed to be a simple web project. Our client needed a site that would allow users to create, deploy and review survey results. Aside from some APIs that weren’t done, I wasn’t very worried about the project. I was surprised that my product manager was spending so much time at the client’s office.
Then, she explained the problem. It seemed that the leaders of product, UX and engineering didn’t speak to each other and, as a result, she had to walk from office to office getting information and decisions.
The conflicts probably started small. One bad interaction, then another, then people don’t like each other, then teams don’t work together well. The small scrape becomes a festering wound that slows things down, limits creativity and lowers morale.
Somehow as a kid working my way through school I discovered I had a knack for getting around individuals or groups that were fighting with each other. I simply figured out who I needed to help me accomplish a task, and I learned how to convince, cajole or charm them into doing it. I went on to teach these skills to my teams.
That sufficed for a while. But as I became a department head and an adviser to my clients, I realized it’s not enough to make it work. I needed to learn how to make it better. I needed to find a way to stop the infighting I’ve seen plague organizations my entire career. I needed to put aside my tendency to make the quick fix and have hard conversations.
It’s messy, awkward and hard for team leaders to resolve conflict but the results are absolutely worth it. You don’t need a big training program, a touchy-feely retreat or an expensive consultant. Team members or team leads don’t have to like each other. What they have to do is find common ground, a measure of respect for one another, and a willingness to work together to benefit the project.
Here are four ways to approach the problem.
Resist the urge to wait for the perfect time to address team conflict. There’s no such thing. There will always be another deadline, another rollout, another challenge to be met.
In our office, a UX designer and product manager were having trouble getting along. Rather than take responsibility, they each blamed our “process” and said we needed to clarify roles and procedures. In other words, they each wanted to be deemed “in charge” of the project. Certainly I could have taken that bullet and begun a full-on assessment of our processes and structure. By taking the blame for a bad company framework, I could have dodged some difficult conversations. But I knew our process wasn’t the problem.
First, I coached the product manager to be vulnerable, not an easy thing for him to do. I asked him to share his concerns and his desire to have a more productive relationship with the UX designer. The PM’s willingness to be uncomfortable and open about his concerns lifted the tension. Once he acknowledged the elephant in the room—namely that the UX designer was not happy working with him—the designer became more willing to risk being honest. Eventually, they were able to find a solution to their disagreements on the project, largely because they were willing to give each other a measure of respect.
The worst thing I’ve seen is when leaders move people from team to team hoping that they will magically find a group of people that work well together, and work well with them. Sometimes the relocated team members have no idea that their behavior or performance isn’t acceptable. Instead of solving the problem, this just spreads the dissatisfaction.
Instead, be clear right from the beginning that you want teams that will be open about challenges, feel safe discussing conflicts, and be accountable for solving them.
Have a clear purpose
I was working on an enterprise CMS re-design and re-platform. Our weekly review and estimation sessions were some of the most painful meetings of my career. There was no trust or shared purpose—even estimating a simple task was a big fight.
When purpose and priorities are murky you are likely to find conflict. When the team doesn’t know what mountain they are trying to climb, they tend to focus on the parts of the project that are most relevant to them. With each team member jealously guarding his or her little ledge, it’s almost impossible to have cooperation.
This assault on productivity is likely because the project objective is non-existent, or muddled nonsense, or so broad the team doesn’t see how it can have an impact. Or, maybe the objective is a moving target, constantly shifting.
Size can be a factor. I’ve seen enterprise teams with clear missions and startups with such world-changing objectives they can’t figure out how to ship something that costs less than a million dollars.
When I’m meeting with prospects or new clients I look at three areas to see if they are having this problem:
- What language do they use to describe each other? Disconnected teams say “UX thinks,” “The dev team” or “product wants.” Unified teams say “we.”
- How easy or hard is task estimation? Disconnected teams fight about the level of difficulty. United teams talk about tradeoffs and argue about what’s best for the product or customers.
- Can they easily and consistently describe their purpose? Disconnected teams don’t have a crisp and consistent answer. Unified teams nod their heads when one of their members shares a concise answer.
If a team is disconnected, it’s likely because you haven’t given them a common goal. A single email or a fancy deck isn’t enough. Make your objectives simple and repeat them so much that the team groans every time you start.
Years ago I was frustrated to tears by a manager who, I felt, took from me the product I spent two years building. I knew I needed to talk with him but I struggled to find a productive way to tell him why I was upset. (Telling someone he is being a jackass is not productive.)
A good friend in HR helped me script the conversation. It had three parts:
- I really work well when…
- This situation is bothering me because…
- What I’d like to see happen is…
Leaders have an important role to play in resolving issues. When a leader decides that their person is right and another person is wrong it turns a team problem into an organization problem. Instead we should should provide perspective, context and show how actions could be misunderstood.
Leaders also need to quickly, clearly and strongly call about bad behavior. When I found out one of my people raised their voice at a colleague, I made it clear that wasn’t acceptable and shouldn’t happen again. He admitted that he lost his cool, apologized and then we started working on the resolving the situation.
If you have a problem and you go to Holly Paul, an inspiring HR leader, you can expect that she will listen. You can also expect that she’ll work with you on a plan to resolve it. Most importantly you can expect she will make sure you are doing what you said you’d do when you said you would do it.
Before I met Holly I would listen to problems then try to go solve them. Now I work with the person and tell them that I will be checking back with them, often putting the reminder in my calendar during the conversation so I don’t forget.
Since I started focusing on fixing conflict, I’ve seen great changes on my team. Many of them have started for the first time dealing with the people, fixing their issues and forging much stronger relationships. Our team is stronger and having a greater influence on the organization.
It’s messy, awkward and hard. I’ve been working on this for a long time and I still make mistakes. I still don’t always want to push when I meet resistance. This will never be easy, but it will be worth it and it’s your responsibility as a leader. For however long these people are with you, you need to make them better as individuals and a unit.
You don’t need a big training, a touchy-feely retreat or an expensive consultant. You just need to start doing the work every day. The rest will come.
Which means I have a couple of decisions to make, and they're hard, so I'm putting it to a vote. Help me out, friends -- there are no bad options, so which one should I get?
( A bunch of pictures, some of which are new )
Which two (2) win for you?
Good Motel at Sunset
Deshi - magenta/blue wrench
Oyola - cream wrench
Coakley - '40s planes
* Hannibal (dreamkist)
* The Raven Cycle (delacourtings)
So while we already have a few recs to look forward to in July, it would of course be awesome if we had some more recs. There is still plenty of opportunity for you to jump in and volunteer to rec next month (or to convince your friends to do some reccing). And many cheers for all of our members who volunteer to rec, especially if you rec regularly. Your valiant repeat efforts keep the comm alive.
Looking even further ahead so far only NO reccer has volunteered for August, so that month definitely still needs some love (and recs! *g*) too. So please consider reccing in a fandom of your choice, whether small or huge, and comment on the sign-up post and volunteer for July, August or even further ahead if you are so well organized, that you know your fannish interests and time commitments in advance. It's only four recs as a minimum, and you can rec any genre or rating. Or promote us to your friends or in your favorite communities so others do the work.
Open Rec Posting
The monthly open reccing period for all members starts now and lasts until the end of June. Since the general prompts don't seem to work as inspiration, I've decided to stop adding them, but to keep the open reccing period in case anyone wants to slip a rec in, without having to come up with three others for a fandom. However the recs do still have to conform to the usual rec format and follow the rules for what is allowed to be recced here.
(Comments here are disabled, because I want to bundle volunteering in the sign-up post so that nothing gets lost, and you can see the list of claimed slots there too.)
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinkski
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Artist on DW/LJ:n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: DA
Why this piece is awesome: Roncheg has two amazing styles, loose yet detailed animated style and stuff like this, heavy and intense yet minimalist. The line work is wonderful and the piece is sexy without being explicit
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: Lydia Martin
Content Notes/Warnings: none
Artist on DW/LJ:n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: tumblr
Why this piece is awesome: normally I don't do the same artist twice in a month but I couldn't resist reccing this piece it's so gorgeous. How the artist makes these colors work I'll never know but it's a vibrantly alive portrait of Lydia that smacked me in the face enough to get me off my Sterek kick for a moment.
Link: lydia martin
Characters/Pairing/Other Subject: The White Witch / Jadis & wolves & dwarf
Content Notes/Warnings: n/a
Medium: acrylic & digital
Artist on DW/LJ: n/a
Artist Website/Gallery: goldendaniel
Why this piece is awesome: This is such a fantastic portrait of Jadis. Very different from almost every depiction I've seen before, but very fitting both to her incarnation as the White Witch and as the Empress of Charn. Here she's both beautiful and scary and also looks very, very powerful.