Away, as at home, I have a default greeting: howzitgoin.
Away, as at home, the mental wheels slip a little when the default doesn't match with the situation in reality.
Here in Italy, buon giorno—"good day"—works for just about every hello from good morning until some fuzzy part of the late afternoon. So I get in the habit of buon giorno-ing everyone. Buon giorno. Buon giorno. Ciao. Arrivederci. &c.
In the evening it's a little different: buona sera—"good evening". It's not difficult to hear or say. But in that moment when the taxi driver or the waitress says buona sera there is a little bit of scrambling internally to hear something different than buon giorno and say something different than buon giorno in return. I have been in Italy for eight days of my entire life, so the rut isn't that deep, but the rut is comfortable and easy and takes some energy to leave nonetheless.
This song popped up on a random play of my entire music library today, and it surfaced some memories with it: Radiohead, "Let Down", OK Computer (1997).
Mostly I remember it because I would sing the lead part during the bridge, and Sunil would sing the harmonies—although I only specifically remember playing it at The Embassy in Urbana in 2003, we might have played it elsewhere.
I also remember it because of a few recurring lines that have always stuck with me, for whatever reason:
I am gonna grow wings
A chemical reaction
Hysterical and useless
Hysterical and useless
I don't know what Thom Yorke intended with that. I don't always know what I take from it. "Hysterical and useless" sounds bad, in isolation—but isn't that how you could describe all of our flights from who we are and what we are? To some extent, don't you really have to reach beyond your grasp to become something new, something different?
John Herrman, Slack Wants to Replace Email. Is That What We Want?, The New York Times (2019-06-19). For employees raised online, Slack looks and feels like a place to socialize. I grew up chatting with friends online and still do, sometimes in scattered Slack rooms. I have also spent the last 10 years at companies where work chat was the norm and observed the arrival of Slack with both relief and suspicion. Finally, a better work chat app. Then: Oh god, this is really how people are going to work, now?
Konstantin Kakaes, What Neil Armstrong Got Wrong, MIT Technology Review (2019-06-26). The Apollo program failed to make such a leap. Its success was in taking the technology of the time as far as it could go, just as the pharaohs built the absolute biggest pyramids they could. It was a monument to ingenuity and to determination. But monuments are, by design and by definition, ends and not beginnings.
Steve Demming, Understanding Fake Agile, Forbes (2019-05-23). Judging from the examples, it appears that "Agile lite" means the adoption of tools and practices of Agile without necessarily deploying them with an Agile mindset. Without an Agile mindset, Agile remains an inert, lifeless set of ceremonies.
Neil Thomas, The Politics of History: Why Anniversaries Matter in China, MacroPolo (2019-06-18). Placing symbolic weight on historical anniversaries is a double-edged sword, however. In non-democratic polities where the government dominates public discourse, political activists often appropriate official commemorations to express dissent or mobilize protest, as such events provide a sanctioned veneer that can restrain or delay government responses. Historical anniversaries also serve as "focal points" for collective action because they help protestors overcome the coordination problem posed by state gags on unapproved information.