You know, I really only do two things…

You know, I really only do two things for Novell. I mean, there’s the research, the meetings, the email, and all that stuff that I lump under “preparation,” but through it all I’m really only preparing for two things:

1) Presenting to the public
2) Negotiating with Engineers

I’ll liken these activities to the martial arts.

Presenting to the public is like performing the katas. You study the forms, you rehearse them slowly, and then you perform them at speed. It’s physically draining, as you’re supposed to be putting every bit as much power into those moves as you would be if you’re sparring. Ultimately, though, you’re in control. Sure, sometimes when I present to the public there’s a hostile out in the crowd, but I’ve prepared for this, and it’s in the context of my “show,” so it’s never a real threat.

Negotiating with engineers is like a street-fight. All those katas, all that rehearsing, all the study of the forms… it all comes down to surviving for the next thirty seconds. It’s just as physically demanding as kata performance (obviously), but there’s also a mental aspect to it that is completely exhausting, as you act and react real-time with your opponent, knowing that the stakes are a lot higher than missing a jump, pulling a muscle, or falling down during tricky footwork.

I have a two-hour street-fight scheduled to begin in forty-five minutes, and I’m currently sick. I need the martial-arts metaphorical equivalent of a handgun, so I can give all that exhausting stuff a wide miss and just FINISH HIM!


17 thoughts on “You know, I really only do two things…”

      1. Re: One-trick pony

        Well, I’d noticed that tends to be your specialty. But you do it very, very well. You’re also particularly effective at making the ultimate break-down of an overextended metaphor have meaning in itself.

        A meta-metaphor, perhaps?

      2. Re: One-trick pony

        You do a heck of a job with silliness and irony, too, which is why <insert kissup comment here>.


  1. I can’t help but think of that scene in the first Indiana Jones movie where the guy starts waving his sword at Jones, and he gets this disgusted look and just shoots him.

    1. There’s a story behind that one. They had been shooting action scene after action scene, and the scene was supposed to be another sword fight. Harrison Ford was a bit tired of all that, and also pointed out that it’s rather illogical of Indy to go fighting everyone and everything when he’s got an objective that seems rather urgent, so he said “can’t I just shoot the b-d”, or something to the same effect.

      So he did.

      And it’s one of the best moments of the whole movie.

        1. Ah, I never heard that variety. But then, I heard this back in … uh … nineteeneightysomething, so I may have gotten the details wrong.

          Either way, what I find ironic is that it wasn’t in the script, or intended by the director, or anyone else, and yet it is one of the absolutely best moments in the whole film.

          1. I had heard that Mr. Ford was sick at that point. Sick enough that he really didn’t want to spend another couple days shooting a complicated, tightly-coreographed fight sequence in the broiling tropical heat. So he suggested the quick pistol shot to end the fight. They all realized that it was better. Except for the poor guy with the sword who’d spent all that time learning the fight moves, who got his big scene cut down to a sight gag.

            Unfortunately, I’m not sure where I heard that. I think it was from either Ford or Steven Speilberg, but again, I can neither confirm or deny.

          2. I’ve heard that version too…

            And I’m pretty sure it was some Indiana Jones movie documentary…

            And I think it was Spielberg who said it…

  2. UPDATE! The Fight Went Well For Me!

    I prevailed. Or at least I got in and out with all my skin, and we got our work done. Whether that’s me prevailing, or me over-preparing for something lightweight could be argued ad nauseum.


    1. Re: UPDATE! The Fight Went Well For Me!

      As a former engineer (one of those people like you would negotiate with), I think I can safely say that you weren’t over preparing … there is no such thing.

      “There is no overkill, ju ..” *bang*

      Okay, okay, I get the hint!

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