Sunday, July 01, 2007

Fun and games

I spent yesterday in the company of some very smart people playing mind-stretching games. The event was held at the house of occasional commentors Marc and Joy, and I traveled down with local blogger and friend Jennifer D. Wade. (In her car, I should add. It is a rare treat for me to travel in a car as a passenger! This also enabled me to take a cell phone call which may result in future employment.) This was a Mensa event, and while I am not yet a member, I had a great time. The overall conclusions of the day, based on my performance:

- I have some artistic skill. I think we knew that. This may actually be a fundamental source of conflict when it comes to occupations where artistic skill is not considered an asset. On the other hand, being able to tell by inspection what a Control Chart is telling you is a far more valuable skill than wallowing in abstract numbers invalidly derived from that same data. (A note for anyone trying to impress anyone with a Capability study: the Capability of an out-of-control process does not exist. It may be nice to say "based on our CPK this process will only produce four parts in a billion that are out of spec", but if your process is showing unexplained, uncontrolled variation as indicated by its control chart and process-defined control limits, you do not have a controlled process and you cannot predict its future behavior, other than to say it will continue to behave unpredictably.)

- I am quite good at being able to communicate trivial information through clues, and to comprehend trivial information communicated through clues. Yes, I'm a walking trivia encyclopedia - with about 25% of the pages missing. I'm also an oral historian and keeper of institutional memory, both of which should be considered definite assets in any occupation where remembering the past - what worked, what didn't work, when similar problems were encountered, how they were dealt with, what the outcome was - is valued. The loss of institutional memory is one of the most traumatic effects of any reduction in force for a company. On the other hand, some companies prefer to start off with a blank slate periodically. We'll see how my previous employer deals long-term with this loss.

- I am OK at games involving strategic manipulation of three-dimensional abstract symbols.

- I suck at games involving cards and/or livestock. My sheep drowned, I ended up stuck with far too many Blockhead Bulls, and I only had a middling number of little rubber pigs at the end of the night.

All in all it was a great day. Beautiful weather, a nice drive down, a delicious lunch, great games, stimulating and energetic conversation, a delicious dinner, pleasant company, a great view of Venus and Saturn in the night sky, and an uneventful drive back. It's the sort of thing I think I need to do more often! Thanks, Joy, Marc, Jen, and everybody else!


joy said...


Thanks so much for coming! Hope you'll come again (soon!)so we can test your skills at making pizza, working in a fast food restaurant and killing French noblemen! And I'm sure you'd excell at patching holes in the Space-Time Continuum and resolving the resultant paradoxes. Surely there will be job opportunities for you in at least one of those myriad fields. But I do suggest you avoid jobs dealing with livestock :-) joy

Domestic Zookeeper said...

omg! you got back in the passenger seat! That's Brave!! *wink*