Saturday, October 18, 2014

Flow in the Office

Kaizen: Japanese for "incremental continuos improvement" or more specifically "good change."

I started learning about Kaizen at work a good six years ago or so. I've been very interested in the Japanese process ever since. I try to apply the process to my work life and home life in the hopes of bettering both. However, since it was born from Toyota's Total Productive Maintenance concept in regards to manufacturing cars, it's always been very manufacturing-oriented. If your job is mostly computer-oriented and you follow a digital task flow, then you have to take the abstract theories and figure out how to apply them to your specific office needs. I don't work on the shop floor, I don't produce widgets, and I don't work in a warehouse environment. So how do I apply a lean process flow to my team at work?

Well, that's why I bought this book. I've always wanted an office-centric take on Kaizen because all of my Kaizen initiatives (not matter how big or small) are always adapted by myself or my team. It's organic. I wanted to see if a book solely about office Kaizen would unlock some secret mysteries I hadn't thought of!


The book was a good primer on Kaizen but I pretty much knew everything they covered. I'd definitely suggest it to Kaizen office n00bs, but it's not going to be revelatory to anyone with a solid lean manufacturing background. I took notes on my phone on a couple topics that caught my attention and I plan on bringing them up to some coworkers. So it wasn't devoid of value to me.

It's an easy read. It's a quick read. Recommended as an introductory to office Kaizen.

Sunday, October 5, 2014


Marie bought me a couple McQueen blu-rays last Christmas. I was very stoked to get the Great Escape and Papillon. Both tremendous films. I hit up Starbucks last night and popped in the three hour Papillon for another viewing. 

God damn, it's good. Steve McQueen and Dustin Hoffman star as two French prisoners sent to a penal colony in French Guyana in the 30's. It's based on an autobiography that has come under much criticism for its authenticity and dubious content. "Papillon", the author, allegedly embellished much of it, straight up stole other prisoners' stories and claimed them as his own, and threw in a dash of what actually happened to him. The result was a wildly successful novel/bio about a wrongly-convited man who escaped from the unescapable. An innocent man fucked by the shitty French penal system. But an innocent man who beat the shitty French penal system, escaped, and lived for a couple decades as a free man and a hero. Vive la France. 

Dustin Hoffman plays a famous counterfeiter and does an excellent job. McQeen is Papillon and is somewhat upstaged by Hoffman if you ask me. But McQueen is still super cool. Probably one of his best moments. This flick is like the 1973 version of Mesrine. If you liked that (which you better have fucking liked) then watch this. This is the clear ancestor and grand-daddy of Mesrine. It's killer, man. So damn good. 

The score does a good job heightening the action, the cinematography is particularly good, and the editing is well-paced and dramatic. It's a very artistic film with plenty of integrity. It really stands the test of time. Hollywood could never churn out a three hour flick like this nowadays. Schaffner does a great job exploiting every last minute of film stock. 

I loved this. Just bought the novel on Amazon for $2 and I'm gonna watch the extras shortly.

My favorite prison break movies are all French. Mesrine, Papillon, and Le Trou. Go figure.

Super Duper Alice Cooper

Alice Cooper is one of those acts who has never grown out of favor with me. I've been a huge fan since '90. That sounds crazy but that's about when Trash came out and that was THE album that got me into him. Then Hey Stoopid came out in '91 and I was singing about "meet my libido, he's such a psycho" and I had no idea what the fuck that meant. I just knew the chorus was about Frankenstein's monster and that was cool when you're 10 or 11.

Anyway, Alice Cooper rules hard and I've been a fan for 25 years now. Of course I'm gonna buy the new doc that Sam Dunn just put out. He's the Canadian hesher responsible for Iron Maiden Flight 666, Metal: A Headbanger's Journey, and Global Metal (all of which I also own). It's all good shit.

This year at work our theme is Nightmares and my team is doing Alice Cooper "Welcome to My Nightmare" as the theme. I watched this flick to help get some ideas for whatever we come up with. I like the idea of dropping panties from a helicopter. I'll have to recreate that at work somehow...

Getting back to the doc...
There are no talking heads. All interviews are done off camera. It's just VO's from the people who were there on top of archival footage. It's woven together in more of a present-tense format instead of a retrospective format. The doc starts with Vincent in high school and ends in 1986, 18 years after "I'm Eighteen." It's somewhat of a rise and fall and rise again story.

I definitely learned a lot. I wonder if Alice has a bio? I should get that if he does...

This doc is good but it didn't get me as psyched as I expected. Flight 666 makes the hair on your arms stand up. Every time. It's electric. It's just more kinetic. For being as crazy as Cooper is, this doc is somehow mellow and subdued. It could have done with some sort of jolt in the storytelling. Maybe some other more animated VO's. It's just kind of mellow. Probably because Alice is in his 60's and he's told these stories a million times.

I'd watch this on Netflix when it comes out unless you're a diehard then go ahead and get the blu-ray.