Influence

I got an email from an old co-worker the other day: I was thinking about you and how you are a person I see as not being particularly embroiled in office politics, but also as having a lot of influence and knowing how and where to leverage it. I was curious if you had any words of advice for how you got to that place. Of course I was happy to hear that I come off this way, and as I thought about how to reply, I found myself writing an essay.
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Lucky

We went through layoffs at work recently. Like a lot of companies, the belt is tightening, and the bathtub drain is getting blugged. I’m lucky to have not been laid off. Lucky again - this is the third “surprise” layoff where I’ve kept my job. I’m batting 1.000 but I know my number has to come up sometime. I graduated from college in 2009, 9 months into the Great Financial Crisis.
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Fast is a Feature

We all use dozens of pieces of software a day - email clients, web browser, email clients inside web browsers. Cameras and chat, digital art tools and spreadsheets. We switch between them dozens of times, and when we really get into a task, when can sometimes achieve a state of flow, a state of satisfying and effective effort that lets us accomplish more than we thought and enjoy it all the way.
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Beef Barley Mushroom Soup

This is adapted from Tom Lacalamita’s Pressure Cookers for Dummies, but you should use the Serious Eats method of browning stew beef in one large piece, then cubing it before cooking, for better results. Ingredients 1/2 lb stew meat 3 carrots, thinly sliced 3 stalks of celery, sliced 1/2 lb of mixed mushrooms, trimmed and quartered 1 cup barley 2 or 3 bay leaves 8 cups of liquid, stock preferred Chopped parsley Steps Cook onion in oil until fragrant Add the meat and cook until browned.
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Ricotta Chicken

The secret here is that you can replace the Butter in Butter Chicken with just about any high-fat dairy product. Ricotta, sour cream, greek yogurt will all work. They change the flavor of the dish, but they’re all good variations. This is adapted from a recipe in Tom Lacalamita’s Pressure Cookers for Dummies Ingredients 1.5 lbs chicken, cubed 1 onion, minced 1 Tbsp minced ginger 2 tsp garam masala 1 small chili, minced 6 oz tomato paste 2 cups chicken broth 2 Tbsp minced cilantro or parsley 1/2 - 2/3 cup high-fat dairy.
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