Hiring and office culture

Valve's Handbook for New Employees is online for all to see. I love reading stuff like this and the Zappos Culture Book. It's a fascinating peek into how the organization is run and how newcomers are indoctrinated into their culture.

"Hiring well is the most important thing in the universe," according to the Valve handbook, and I agree. Individual employees will make or break your company. You had better be deadly serious about who you invite to join the club, and how they are treated once inside.

Like most people who have to work for a living, I spend more waking hours at my office than anywhere else, so it makes sense to invest in that environment. That's why I created our company's Culture Book last year. I'm really interested in this stuff!

More LEGO Mech Action

Artillery support mecha in dandelion camouflage. Dual shoulder-mounted seed pod missile launchers. Equipped with grass blade hand attachments for clearing away brush.

Flamethrower mecha with fuel tank reservoir. Handy for blazing a trail through tall weeds or toasting your enemies to a crisp!

Rifleman Battlemech. I designed this frame from scratch based on the model RFL-5M. It turned out a bit clunky but was fun to build. Natalie threw a rock at it.

Digital Justice

Our little robot has gotten outstanding media coverage over the past five years, but this feature by Digital Justice is by far the best. From now on, I'm going to send this video to anyone who asks about my work, and why it matters. Enjoy!

Getting to know you

E. McPan is an Internet Friend from many Internets ago, back when I was an aspiring law student with a fresh young wife, and kids were not even on the horizon yet. She has invited me to answer some questions about myself. Normally I don't give in to this type of shenanigans but for my fan, I'll do anything!
  1. Who would play you in a movie about your life? I'd like to pick someone buff and ruggedly handsome, but let's be honest, probably Jon Heder. Also, David Crowder (not an actor) is my celebrity twin, so he might be a good candidate if Jon's not available. 
  2. If you won $10 million in the lottery, what would you do with the money? Whatever I want! No, but seriously, that's impossible because I don't buy lottery tickets. If I had ten million dollars I would probably eat out more often and buy clothes from places other than thrift stores sometimes.
  3. If you were shipwrecked on a deserted island, but all your basic needs (e.g. food and water) were taken care of, what two items would you want to have with you? Rum and ginger beer.
  4. If you had six months with no obligations or financial constraints, what would you do with the time? Travel. Immerse myself in another culture. Learn the language. Meet people. Eat all the food.
  5. If someone wrote a biography about you, what do you think the title should be? Are You Going to Eat That? (subtitle:) one man's brave journey to eat all the food.
  6. If you were a salad, what kind of dressing would you have? Bacon ranch.
  7. What was the last comic book you read? The last full book I read for the first time would have to be Big Questions by Anders Nilsen. I'm also re-reading Johnny Boo with Natalie as often as she wants, which is always. She has it memorized.
  8. What would you do if you had a time machine? Um, I don't know, travel through time I guess??? But only into the future; I don't want to mess anything up. My present timeline is pretty good and I want to make sure I can always go back.
  9. Describe your three greatest accomplishments to date. I thought about this one for a while because it's a pretty good question. Luckily I have a boring answer (phew, close call, almost broke my streak): the Craftstravaganza, MIX, and a successful stint at my day job.
  10. Can I play Draw Something with you? Please do! My username is andykrueger. Go ahead and start a game with me, we will have some fun.

(Random questions pulled from here, except the last one)

Events Time

We're less than a month away from Craftstravaganza. This is traditionally the time I realize how much work we have left to do and give into panic. Then I usually start to do the work, and most of the really important stuff actually gets done, so the pressure is good.

Aric and Andy
Melissa Kaercher just posted up some MIX photos on her Flickr photostream. Here's one of me looking happy. Arms full of books, talking to artists, that's my natural habitat right there.

Twins 10, Angels 9

The Twins played the Angels on Thursday afternoon and I was there to watch them (and eat food). (Mostly to eat food). First it must be said, though, that this game was bananas. From a 0-5 start the Twins managed to tie it up in the seventh inning and then chalk up another four runs in the eighth. The Angels squeaked out one more run before the Twins shut them down, and then everybody went home at once.

It was very exciting! But the highlight for me was--as always--on what I was cramming into my mouth. I declare the Mega Meatball (from Frankie V's Italian) the best new menu item at Target Field this season. It's a ten ounce "blend of meats, herbs and cheeses" topped with marinara sauce and it was quite tasty. At nine bucks a ball, though, I can't recommend it over the Vincent Burger which at only three dollars more is still the most delicious menu item in the park.

On the other hand, the Townball Tavern's new garlic fries did not live up to the hype at all. They were decent and the accompanying sauce was good but there was not nearly enough of it for all the fries. When it ran out, about a third of the way through, I was just eating dry fries and crying with regret. On the third hand,  Townball is the only place in Target Field where you can find Fulton's Sweet Child of Vine on tap. Pick up a tall pour of that one with your burger and you'll be one happy camper.

Daddy Drinks: Commodore

Long hours spent with the Commodore 64 computer were a formational part of my childhood. And so I was saddened to hear this week that Jack Tramiel, the man who brought it to life, has died. In his honor, then, let's lift a glass of the drink bearing the name of his greatest creation.

 The Commodore is a classic cocktail with a bewildering variety of suggested recipes. Some have not a single ingredient in common, which are obviously no longer variations but completely different drinks. As near as I can tell, this is the original recipe from The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book:
  • 2 oz Bacardi rum
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 tsp sugar
  • dash of lemon juice
  • dash of grenadine
  • dash of raspberry syrup or liqueur
As with any drink incorporating eggs, I'd recommend my new trick of breaking up the albumen first before adding whites to the rest of the ingredients. If you don't have a pestle then a whisk will do the job nicely. Shake well, and strain into a martini glass.

My First Mecha

After catching Mobile Frame fever, I called my mom and asked if maybe there was any chance they saved some of my old LEGO blocks. It turned out they kept all their kid's LEGO... that's three boys' worth of play sets. This weekend I sorted through the bins for all the tiny pieces, and made my first mecha based on the way-cool MgN-302 frame designed by Jed September.

It has a shield sometimes. And a gun.

I wasn't sure we would have had enough of the fiddly bits required for the articulation, but there were more claws and joints and nubbins than I remembered. Also I lucked out and found exactly one of the pieces that is absolutely required at the core of this design. I'm excited to make some more, but I have to take this one apart first!

Around the Farm

These tiny blue flowers at the foot of the big oak tree in our back yard are the first things to bloom every year. This year they bloomed in March. Irises are already flowering too. Spring has been crazy early and crazy warm!

Things I have learned about rabbits:
  1. They eat a lot
  2. They poop a lot (possibly more than they eat?)
Four of our chicks survived to their first birthday this month. Along with mother hen Prinny, they are each laying one egg almost every day, which adds up to nearly three dozen weekly. We will be giving away a lot of eggs this year!

Multiply & Divide

I've been studying math for a couple of weeks now. The first part of my book is review of topics I supposedly mastered in high school (i.e. algebra) and it is amazing how much I've forgotten. The author doesn't assume much knowledge but then all of a sudden he's all "just do some long division" and whoops I'm off to Google it because I don't remember how to do long division!

Sure there are some new concepts thrown into the mix--like the dreaded Data Sufficiency questions--but where I consistently make the most mistakes is in basic arithmetic. Of course, this only makes it all the more frustrating! Looks like I need some remedial GMAT preparation: