Searching for the Moon

Shannon Clark's rambles and conversations on food, geeks, San Francisco and occasionally economics

Archive for April 19th, 2005

Ten really belated things

Posted by shannonclark on April 19, 2005

My friend Jed just posted a list of “Ten Belated Things” to his journel Lorem Ipsum.

The meme is to list 10 things you have done, that at least no one else reading (and possibly no one else period) have done. So here goes my attempt (this is considerably harder than it may look).

Ten things I have done that most people reading this probably have not done

1. Disassembled a particle accellerator. So, it was a smallish one, but the summer after my senior year of high school I was a summer physics intern at Argonne National Lab. One of my first tasks was to take a part a desktop particle accellerator which had been taking up a lab room. Took about a week to take it fully apart.

2. Started a conference on Networks. (MeshForum, registrations still available)

3. Started a science fiction convention which is STILL happening every year 15 years later. (OPCON, a one day science fiction convention I helped start and named which happens every year at my old high school).

4. Related to that, started and ran a science fiction convention BEFORE I ever attended a fan convention. I had attended GENCON (gaming) and at least one for-profit media convention, but hadn’t ever attended a science fiction convention prior to starting one of my own.

5. At my first Worldcon, which I attended as a gopher (since one of the con chairs had attended the convention we had started and she suggested that my friend Dwight and I work as gophers at Worldcon), I spent an hour in the green room entertaining Frederick Pohl and serving him tea. Then at the Hugo awards instead of sitting in the far back of the room, my friend Jennifer insisted that we sit with her dead center of the first row.

6. Also at that Worldcon, witnessed a panel like few others ever in worldcon history – Philip Jose Farmer, Robert Shea, Robert Anton Wilson, Some random guy from Tor, and Timothy Leary. Together in one room for a panel on “high wierdness” – my friend Dwight somewhere had a tape of the panel, one of those long lost items I hope to someday get a copy of…

7. At age 30 I have never once in my life been drunk. Not for religious reasons, just out of personal choice made many, many years ago.

8. Worked for seven weeks on an archeaological dig in Isreal. Best diet ever – bad, kosher food & hard physical labor in the desert (even if on a cliff overlooking the Med.) – lost lots of weight, learned a great deal. Would do it again were it not for the 98 % of the other volunteers who were seemingly evangelical divinity school students (I exagerate only a little).

9. Had something I found during that dig, in a slightly smaller form, make the COVER of Archeaology Magazine. A piece of Corinthian ware I excavated (which as we removed it from the ground split into three pieces) had the largest of those pieces featured on the cover of Archeology Magazine.

10. Broke a timing belt on my Acura Integra 108 miles from nowhere in the middle of Washington State on the Thursday before Labor Day weekend. And then, when AAA asked where to tow it instead of paying a little bit and being towed to Seatle, I chose to go backwards and be towed to Spokane -where I proceeded to have to spend a week, without a car, in the middle of nowwhere….

I could have mentioned “grown up without a TV” but I think that while rare, others reading this probably have done that. Or “gone roofing at the U. of C.” (but I’m sure some people reading this, who were possibly there, have done this as well).

Probably “been on the U. of C. Scavenger Hunt Judging committee twice” would qualify…

A fun exercise…

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A VC: Drowning in Email

Posted by shannonclark on April 19, 2005

I left a very long comment on A VC: Drowning in Email.

The comment:

A few suggestions (I get about 500 emails a day, though a large portion of that is spam and much of the rest is mailing lists not personal emails)

1. If you do not already, use automatic rules to at a minimum pull out mailing lists and other subscriptions into separate folders (I use one folder for each mailing list and some catchall folders like “vendors” to stick general requested but not personal commercial emails, another for event notices/communications etc)

This should help keep your actual “inbox” to just personal emails and non-yet-auto-sorted mass emails.

(and at least much of the time as you get a new form of mass email, assuming it is useful, you should take a few seconds and set up the rule right then)

2. One of the most efficient email people I know uses his own software (Activewords – to give him a set of standard text he can auto-insert with a few simple keystrokes. He uses this for commonly needed replies (such as in his cas a request for a trial license or his fulfilling an offer for a free full license etc).

By using Activewords, or a bit less efficiently by setting up some templates and/or a library to cut and paste from of your commonly needed replies you can make at least faster the process of replying to many emails.

I use something similar as I manage the email communications re MeshForum (, the process of organizing a conference means I am sending the same info to many people, by using rapid text substitution I ensure consistency and save lots of time typing.

3. Another trick a sales person I know and highly respects uses is he blocks of time OFFLINE (very critical) during which he both composes emails to people and works his way through his inbox replying to people. By being offline while he is doing this, he avoids new incomming distractions, and finds he can efficiently and quickly catch up. I do something similar at least once a week (and regret it when I don’t) during which I go through my inbox, file mail I have read and dealt with, and reply to mail which requires a response.

4. Having a series of checks & balances as well as fairly consistent ways of moving mail out of your inbox as you deal with it is very, very helpful. I try to file messages immediately after reading them (assuming I have dealt with them, or I flag them if I have to wait before replying). I have project folders as well as catchall folders for this purpose.

I also make use of Outlook XP’s feature of saved searches to help me monitor for and catch important mail that gets autofiled outside of my inbox, or which gets backed up inside of my inbox (in my case one such search looks for any email with “meshforum” in it that is not sorted into my MeshForum folder already)

5. Some of the people I know who get even more email than me also use multiple email addresses to help manage their email, it all probably shows up into the same tool, but they have “public” and “private” addresses, the private addresses are never published on the web and only given out to family and friends – this can be a simple yet highly efficient way to auto-flag and deal with email from those who are closest to you.

Hope this helps!


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