check out Cavendish’s cappuccino foam

Screenshot 2015-09-13 10.29.35

I was looking up details about a new shoe from Specialized- yeah, I’m weird- and stumbled upon their “5 Minutes” series of videos.

There’s a nice video from Gordon Ramsay about time and he makes a salad niçoise during the video. But in Mark Cavendish’s video, he and the crew are in a cafe in Italy. They cut to his cup with the thickest and most luxurious foam I’ve seen in a long time. Very old school. Go check out the vids here (you have to scroll down all the way)

Productivity Recharge and Question

I periodically re-read David Allen’s GTD book(s), blog posts or videos and I recently re-listened to Brian Tracy’s Eat That Frog on Audible. Maybe it was an end-of-summer timing funk, but revisiting those authors seemed to help me reorganize things and get kickstarted with some stalled projects.

Do any of you periodically review favorite books or blogs or other material when you’re feeling un-productive of in a funk? Let me know in the comments if so- I’m curious about it all- bullet journals, your Evernote techniques, podcasts, etc.


Interesting Read about Unlimited PTO

I’m not saying I like or hate unlimited PTO (vacation days), but I find this article interesting because the company where I work recently switched over to a similar system. I don’t think we have the same problems in this article- but who knows, we’ll find out in a year. But this post below shows how a company in the UK had their unlimited holiday allowance policy backfire on them.

Article on Medium Via Evan:
View story at

The only problems I’ve seen – either at my company or at friends’ companies- have been the following:

1. When the company in question switched, staff (especially junior staff, or people in one of their first corporate gigs) weren’t explained what was happening very well so they felt like they were being ripped off in a way. Basically keeping PTO/Vacation on the books is a liability, going to unlimited clears this off the books. Yes, I’m oversimplifying this a lot, but at least I’m giving an example that some workers weren’t given. And there are valid reasons for clearing things off the books. Maybe they don’t have good supervisors? I’m not sure, but that’s another problem.

2. The psychological issues when the “number” on the paycheck is gone. Like in the article on Medium (and it’s follow-up), there’s mention of always knowing how many hours you have left in a year for vacation. It’s printed on every paycheck usually. You even know an upper limit if your company has a rollover policy (usually companies in the US do, although they’ll set an upper limit). The post goes into what happens when you remove that metric for people. –This is what affects me the most.

3. A third thing I’ve heard- again from a certain type of worker each time- is that they feel that having unlimited PTO prevents them from taking vacation. But when I’ve asked for more detail, my questions usually uncover a bad relationship between the person and their manager (I mean this in both directions- the manager’s communication skills are called into place here too). I think the only solution to this problem is more frequent talks, maybe more regular 1:1 meetings and or HR involvement.

The key is that you own your time, don’t let someone else try to take it from you or run it for you. Don’t ask to take vacation- say when you’re taking vacation. That said- be smart about it, don’t assume that your whole team can all be gone during the holidays, or other popular windows. Get your shift/clients/releases covered with your backups and get your dates on your shared calendars.

More About the Inhotim

inhotimAfter friends saw my pics from the museum I was asked a few similar questions so I thought I’d try to collect them here:

  1. What’s the story behind the Inhotim?
  2. How do I get there?
  3. Can I get there if I don’t speak Portuguese?
  4. Was it worth the trip?
  5. What if I can’t walk around all day?
  6. Do they have food there or should I take stuff with me?

1 The background – I’m not sure and need to re-read the official story because I heard variations of it when I was traveling. But the About Page on their site has the story. Basically a wealthy businessman had a ton of land and made it into an art park.

2 How to get there. Well, you basically need to get to Belo Horizonte and then take a bus from the downtown bus terminal. Or you could rent a car and drive from BH. My recommendation is to get to Brazil and then take a cheap flight from São Paulo or Rio to Belo Horizonte (BH) and stay there for a few days and use one full day at the Inhotim.

The tricky part is taking the bus from BH to the museum/park. You need to get to the bus station the day before or early in the morning of the day you want to get there and buy a round-trip ticket to/from the park. The bus leaves early, it takes about an hour/hour and a half to get there. Then you can walk around the park all day and catch your bus back to BH in the early evening (5:30pm). The sun was going down early for me because it was “winter” so it’s not like I could have stayed until 7:30 anyway- I wouldn’t be able to see anything.

3. Yes you can get there if you don’t speak Portuguese, but it REALLY helps when you go to buy your bus ticket. I’ve been taking classes for a while and it was still hard for me to understand what the ticket counter people were telling me, but everyone there was super nice so it worked out. Just be patient.

To elaborate about my “difficulties”- the bus I wanted to take was sold out, and the staff was trying to explain to me to just wait, they’d open up and add a 2nd 8:15 bus because a bunch of people wanted to go at the same time and they’d let me know, and then I could buy the ticket. But at first all I heard was “sold out” and my brain froze- but I got it.

4. Was it worth it? Hell yeah it was worth it. One of the coolest parks and set of art galleries I’ve seen.

5. If you can’t walk around all day it may not be for you. OR- you could pay a little extra to ride on the intra-park golf carts that roll around and pick people up to take them from building to building. But you’ll still need to be able to walk around. It was warm when I was there and it was winter. Just keep that in mind.

6. I took some water for the bus ride, but no, you don’t need to take anything. In fact, I don’t think you’re supposed to take food in to the park- but that’s okay, they have a bunch of restaurants in the park. They have quite a few “snack bars” and at least two sit down restaurants and a few cafes. I was able to keep myself fed and refreshed (yes, I ate a bunch of coxinhas and drank a lot of guarana).

The Inhotim Is A Great Museum

Inhotim Kaleidoscope I owe a bigger update than just this post, but I wanted to throw something up on the blog about my recent trip to Brazil.

I went to Brazil for a work trip, but I went two days early so I could go to an art museum/park about an hour and a half away from the city of Belo Horizonte. The museum is called O Inhotim (the een-yo-cheem). It’s a huge park that has multiple galleries and a lot of sculptures and installations on the grounds.

InhotimI only found out about the place through my Portuguese classes at Street Smart Brazil in SF. It was well worth seeking it out and it was probably my favorite part of my trip. I wish more people knew about the place so I’m going to try to make as much noise about it as I can until more of you go.

I’ll add a follow-up about the park and some of the art I saw and tips for travelers on how to get there if you’re interested in visiting.

Inhotim KaleidescopeFlickr Gallery: