Prepping: The Third “Axiom of Work”

Axioms of Work?

You really going to write from Work to Sous Vide cooking?” 

Uh, sure!  Read on…

In the event you missed it, one of the joys of UrbanSurvival is our elevating art of algorithmic thinking.  In other words, since we are busily doing exactly what the Bible (and other religious texts) prohibit (making false idols in our own image – the pre processor days way of warning about Robotics and AI) we had better learn from our successes before they turn on us – and wreck the planet.

Not that we can stop anything – why, look how well machine-driven investment trades have done, lol.

So down to work.

The first axiom of work is:

1.  What’s My Payday?

Whenever you face work of any kind, remember the radio station call letters: WIIFM.  OK, FM call signs have four letters, not five, but it’s easy shorthand for “What’s In It For Me?”

Some examples:

  • Elaine is a compulsive vacuumer.  Never a fiber out of place on the carpet.  I feel guilty walking on her handiwork because I leave footprints.  She says its OK…but still, I respect her pride in carpetship (if that’s a word).  She does it because she likes it.
  • George gets a call from a colleague with an exciting new business opportunity who wants me to ante in with some sweat equity in a sure-fire new business venture.  Instead, I hold out for a $100 per hour “placeholder” for anything I do.  I figure the closer I get to the end of the road, the more valuable my remaining time becomes.  So, while I used to toss in for a good story plus a heaping side-order of blue sky, that radio station callsign (WIIFM) rings loudly in my head:  “I’m in…but I’ve switched to 100% cash-based decision-making as part of my commitment to algorithmic thinking.  Hundred an hour plus a piece down the road – in writing.”
  • The Boss says “Can you stay late and help with XYZ?”  Again, the callsign WIIFM should scream in your head… “If I do this for YOU, will you do something for ME in return?”  This opens up a whole assortment of “future draft choices” for you to pull from.  Early getaway on Friday  (which ought to be National Half-Day, anyway) or maybe an extra day of vacation when things are slow.

So that’s our First Axiom of WorkWIIFM.

The Second Axiom of Work

…is one we have talked about many times:  If I was lazy…how would I approach this?

Let’s see how these would apply to the above situations, right?

  • In the case of the fastidiously neat home, what would a lazy person do?  Several answers come to mind, all of which I’ve implemented to one degree, or another:
    • If you like a clean home, marry a clean person.
    • Apply the Windex Index when sorting out dating relationships.  She who sprays most wins. Or, for another gender:  He with the cleanest car wins.
    • After marriage, respect the plan.  I stay in my office (wood floors) and off the carpet as much as possible.  See how this works? 19-years of bliss, shortly.
    • Being lazy involves not making a mess in the first place.  Can it be carried too far?  You mean washing the dinner pots and pans before sitting down to eat?  We all have to make allowances and that ain’t much of a sacrifice, believe me! “Go ahead and eat, I’ll be right there…
  • On the colleagues with the exciting new venture?  Again, laziness steps in, although in my retired corp-geek way, I dress it up as “Time Management.”  Because, understand, Laziness IS TIME Management.  Lazy is not in vogue in B-school curriculum, however.
  • If you take on too much, you’ll never get any “boy time” or “girl time” (which these days is a fill-in your gender/ideology/national origin/ political party or whatever, I s’pose…) Work displaces play like water displaces air.
  • In the case of The Boss wanting another pound of flesh?  Make something up.  “Of, I’d love to stay, but NASA has me lifting off on a Moon Mission right after work today… Gone for the weekend….” OK –  Be creative, not absurd.

“How would a Lazy Person?” is our second axiom.  Think you can remember this and Wiifm?

Not to be missed (and this is useful IRL!) is the Zen saying:  “Sometimes the Most is Done by Doing the Least.”

Spill a glass of water on a tile flood. Do nothing. Come back next day and as if my magic (the magic of doing nothing) it will have cleaned itself up through the process of evaporation.

Similarly, at work “Deadlines” don’t involve Death of any kind.  Bosses make up urgency  (the word “dead” eh?) in order to pretend they are getting more work out of you than is reasonable.  Screw ’em. Remind such a((holes of WIIFM.  And really, unless a report is needed for a scheduled meeting and you get some credit it will still be there in the morning!

All of which gets us wandering from this morning’s topic:  Back to the whole point…

The Third Axiom of Work:  Po’ Boyin’ It

I was delighted over Thanksgiving to get a call from my buddy Jeff in the local ham radio club.  The usual pleasantries and so forth…technical this, soldering that.

And then he asks “Say, are you into sous vide cooking, yet?

I babbled something incomprehensible, so he laid out the story this way:

“Yeah, there’s this new cooking style that’s really taking off called sous vide which is French meaning “vacuum cooking…”

I was hooked.  “Howzzat work?”

“Let’s say you want a steak:  You put the steak and whatever rub you want into a plastic bag and then suck all the air out of it….you’ve got a Seal-A-Meal, right?

Then you let the steak-in-the-bag sit for 3-hours in a water bath that is exactly the temperature you want your finished meat to be.  Say, medium rare is 135F, OK?  When the whole thing is 135F all the way through and through, you just put it on the grill to put some “steak char on it” and it will be the best steak you’ve ever had…”

Anything involving food? I’m a pushover.

“There’s always a catch, right?  Have you priced the sous vide machines on Amazon?”

Being “computerly” I quickly looked over on The ‘Zon and what should appear but a $429 Sous Vide Supreme Water Oven, SVS10LS

Holy crap, Jeff!

“Well, wait… here’s the cool part.  A bunch of us have been “po’ boyin'” it with a crock pot and an electronic temperature sensor. All you need is a cheap crockpot like one I got at Walmart for $17 – you don’t want the microprocessor type because the switching on an off for temp control will screw things up…

OK, next you get over to Amazon and buy a digital temperature switch.  Cost you $35 bucks – and there are lots of videos on Youtube showing how to set it up.  I’ll email you the details…

(He did: At Amazon it’s the  WILLHI WH1436A Temperature Controller 110V Digital Thermostat Switch Sous Vide Controller NTC 10K Sensor Improved Version…)

“We made a roast and prepped it with a 24-hour soak and when it was done, it fell apart in the middle, it was so tender.  Literally, perfectly moist, not dried out…and you just have to remember to set the temperature to whatever you want the meat to be when you’re done.  Like 150 to 155 would be well done beef…”

Yum!  (Hard to write and drool…but somehow I manage…)

So, back to this morning’s Axioms of Work – Jeff (and most ham radio types) are very good at Po’ Boyin’ – sometimes incorrectly called red neckin’ it.

Po Boy’n (Spelt however pleases yous) It is the third axiom of work.  Any damn fool can write a check, for crying out loud.  and while there are cheaper sous vide machines – like the $120 Dash Chef Series Stainless Steel Sous Vide, 8.5 Quart, Temperature Control for Steak/Poultry/Seafood/Vegetables, for example, this is a great example of American expertise at po’ boyin’ at it’s finest.

As such, it is a perfect example of the Third Axiom of Work: Po’ Boyin’

Brilliant people like you have considered this French “water cooking/vacuum” business and have evolved three distinct approaches:  From the high-end to low, it rolls out like this:

I’m pretty sure Jeff’s wife (and I know Elaine) will appreciate that by po; boyin’ this concept, there’s not another Big Appliance to sit out on the counter.

To be sure, we have some upscale friends (anyone with more than 25 lineal feet of kitchen counter is upscale, to our way of thinking) so they could get the high-end sous vide machine and leave it out ready for use.  (Their house has a  touch of “walking into Best Buy ” feel to it with all their food machinery on the counter and that’s before going to the espresso machine nook…seriously, air fryer is ready for use and all that stuff…)

Is this the most delicious discussion of “Work” ever?  Let’s have dessert, then…

Special FREE Bonus:  The Fourth Axiom of Work

< Deny Work’s Existence >

Find some way to turn it all into play.

For then, boys and girls, “…will yee have entered The Kingdom…”

Write when you get full,

7 thoughts on “Prepping: The Third “Axiom of Work””

  1. Great advice, George.

    I would add “The power of positive procrastination”. It’s amazing to see how many problems work themselves out if you can just resist jumping right in.


  2. If you’re going to po’boy a deadly sin, lust seems to have a better ROI than gluttony. The latter kills your chances at the former. I’ve not yet figured out the mechanics though. Substitutes and imitations don’t count.

    A half day Friday still involves a full commute. The only sane way to run a business(if possible) is to have shorter work weeks and longer work days. That and work from home as much as possible.

    • “Work from home” is the best strategy from a businesses point of view. Why let employees use the company heat and bathroom – not to mention electricity and property taxes for the space. Off-load that to the emoloyee’s home.

      • Work from home is great from both a personal and business POV, and doubly so if you own the business. Commuting is an incredible time and money sink and not compensated for by anyone. Other than learning a language or some new field of knowledge while driving, there’s nothing useful about commuting. Using your home office environment and loo is a lot cheaper than paying for gas, tires, and maintenance on a car driving(or idling) for an hour plus each day.

        A progressive employer would provide for the expenses of power, heat, etc. Doing so would be tax free to the employee, since they’re deductible as necessary business expenses by the employer. This would eliminate the need for the employee to deal with the hassle of a home office on his tax return.

  3. Errr … “you don’t want the microprocessor type because the switching on an off for temp control will screw things up”

    Yet the Amazon term control does exactly that …i.e., switching things on and off to control temp.

    I don’t understand how that is different.

    If the temps swing too much with the microprocessor based crock pot – why not add something to the water to stabilize the heat …such as rocks? Anything that hold and slowly releases heat should work fine.

    • Point of distinction here: the microprocessor crock pot will not work because most of them do not come back on when the power is cut off. While the Wilhite turns the power of and on to maintain temps, the key thing with it is that its LOAD – the crock pot – needs to be power cycled to hit the perfect temp. The only way to keep the willhite temping would be with a big-butt UPS – and none of the floofly machines for sous vide’ing are manual so far as I know – so the whole plan blows up under power failing conditions.

      Takeaway: The Willhite cycles a load. BUT the load must be able to handle cycling. the uprocessors don’t play that nicely!

  4. George,
    I don’t know if this is a little bit of woo woo or the universe having a little bit of a chuckle. As I read your piece on the axioms of work, I was reminded the romantic /classical discussions in Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”. I was wondering whether or not to comment on this. Then after dinner the wife is doing whatever she does on her Kindle and out of no where she says “Amazon is featuring “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. We read that years ago.” After which I thought “I ‘ve got to phone this in”. Anyone who has not read this book should/must get a copy and read it! It also occurred to me that great minds run in the same channel.

    Keep up the good work.

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