Hello, World! By some mistake or odd curiosity, you just found the vanity URL belonging to Scott Baker. I hope you’re doing great — really, really great. All of my random and small contributions to the web can be found here. Thanks for stopping by.
I just finished a full re-watch of The Sopranos and I created the following list of essential episodes. What’s an “essential” episode, you ask? For me, it’s about the character driven episodes, ones that reveal the true nature of our main characters, featuring scenes that are absolutely core to appreciating power dynamics and personal relationships.
*Indicates my favorite episode of each season
Tony makes time for a little mob justice while driving Meadow around Maine to interview at colleges.
I Dream of Jeannie Cusamano
In the Season One finale, Tony is stunned to learn who arranged the attempt on his life.
Full Leather Jacket
Richie makes a peace offering to Tony. Meanwhile, Sean and Matt make a move for acceptance.
The Knight in White Satin Armor*
Engaged lovebirds Richie and Janice have an explosive first quarrel.
Christopher finds that being a ‘made’ man isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
Paulie and Christopher end up on a nightmarish journey when they chase a Russian mobster into the South Jersey woods
Army of One
In the Season Three finale, Tony orders Ralph to deal personally with the Jackie Jr. situation.
A disparaging remark about his wife sets Johnny Sack off on a personal vendetta.
Tony displays a flair for horse racing–and discovers an unexpected affinity for the serene stable life.
Mergers & Acquisitions
Paulie takes pains to integrate his mother into the social world at Green Grove.
In the Season Four finale, Tony and Carmela contemplate purchasing a summer house on the shore, but a voice from the past threatens to put a damper on the deal.
His father’s longtime goomar sheds light on some of Tony’s lingering emotional and financial mysteries.
Tony B. and Christopher unearth some old memories during an otherwise idyllic trip to the country.
All Due Respect*
In the Season Five finale, Tony’s crew circles the wagons as Johnny Sack turns up the heat.
Silvio divides the spoils from Paulie’s latest score, and heads off a territorial impasse between Bobby and Vito.
The Fleshy Part of the Thigh
Tony and Johnny Sack haggle over Barone Sanitation; Paulie is rocked by an aunt’s revelation.
Tony is tempted by a real-estate offer; Vito is wowed by an act of heroism; A.J. looks to diversify.
Christopher makes a surprise announcement; Paulie pays a price for cutting costs at an Italian street fair.
Soprano Home Movies*
After a close call at home, Tony and Carmela head to the Adirondacks for a weekend with Bobby and Janice.
Walk Like a Man
A.J. struggles with depression; Kelli’s dad is the unwitting catalyst of a new feud between Christopher and Paulie.
The Second Coming
Phil turns down Tony’s offer of compromise; A.J. despairs about the world and his future; Tony takes umbrage over an affront to Meadow.
The Blue Comet
The allegiance of those closest to Tony is put to the test; a case of mistaken identity has serious ramifications.
Made in America
Series finale. The final chapter in the saga of the Soprano family.
Note: I originally posted this on Tumblr, I’ve since updated links and info here.
Click here to view all the locations plotted on a custom Google Map
It appears the Brady Bunch never left the island of Oahu during their classic three-part TV series event. In fact, they barely left greater Honolulu. The screen captures, links, and map below showcase all of their tourist activities, real and fictionalized. It’s the Brady Bunch Guide to Hawaii.
This is where the Brady Bunch stayed during their trip, it looks pretty much the same.
Puu Ualakaa Park
The Brady Bunch’s tour guide, David, takes them to this overlook and they all have a good laugh trying to pronounce Puu Ualakaa.
The Brady Bunch’s tour guide, David, points out the ‘Iolani Palace in front of the new state building while they stand in the park that features the King Kamehameha Statue.
King Kamehameha Statue
The Bradys stood in the park and admired the King Kamehameha Statue.
Halona Blow Hole
The Brady Bunch enjoyed a view of Halona Blow Hole during their tour with David.
The Brady Bunch enjoyed a group Outrigger adventure. I’m not sure if they used Waikiki Beach Services back then, but you could.
USS Arizona Memorial
The Brady Bunch took a quiet and respectful tour of the Arizona Memorial.
Pearl Harbor Tour
The Brady Bunch took a boat tour of Pearl Harbor and their tour guide David tells them about the Shark Queen God and the island chief’s warning not to build a military base in the harbor, that bad luck (taboo) would soon follow.
The Taboo Idol
FYI: Tarantulas are not native to Hawaii.
RIP, Don Ho
Bobby and Cindy run into Don Ho outside of the Sheraton Waikiki. For much of Don Ho’s last 30 years, he was, “a steady Waikiki nightclub attraction, appealing largely to tourists. In his long-running show at the Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber hotel, he would crack jokes and play familiar songs.” [Source: NYTimes]
Note: Ohana Waikiki Beachcomber has since been renamed Holiday Inn Waikiki Beachcomber Resort.
If you want to take an outdoor Hula lesson, try not to hurt your back like Alice. Some beachfront hotels offer weekly outdoor Hula lessons. Or consult the Hula Schools Worldwide website to schedule a lesson.
“Rabbit” [Mānana] Island
The Brady girls viewed “Rabbit Island” (actually, it’s named Mānana Island) via coin-operated binoculars while visiting Sea Life Park.
Mrs. Brady, the girls and Alice visited Sea Life Park, where Jan had her picture taken with a Red-footed Booby. They also viewed “Rabbit Island” (i.e. Mānana Island) from that location.
The Koʻolau Range
The Brady boys and their tour guide, David, look out towards Koʻolau Range, probably from somewhere in the vicinity of the Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden. David tells them that according to legend, the deep creases of the Koʻolau Mountains were made by old islanders dragging canoes up the mountains from the beaches.
The Ancient Burial Ground
The Brady boys attempt to return the taboo Tiki idol to an ancient burial ground of Kings situated “on the other side of the island,” all of which was fictionalized and filmed with Vincent Price on a soundstage in LA. If you want to visit a real burial ground of Hawaiian royalty, the Royal Mausoleum of Hawaii is the final resting place of Hawaii’s two prominent royal families: the Kamehameha Dynasty and the Kalākaua Dynasty.
VIncent Price and the Brady Bunch enjoyed a Hawaiian luau, filmed on a soundstage in LA. For a real Polynesian experience, visit Hawaii’s Polynesian Cultural Center, located in Laie, Oahu, about an hour’s drive from Waikiki. http://www.polynesia.com/
Blowing of the Pu
The blowing of the Pu, a deep part of the Hawaiian culture, has multiple uses and communicates various meanings in both Religious and secular traditions.
Ok, that’s not true, but I did create two dumb things that brought me the most Internet attention of my Internet life. I’ve pasted them below for your review — your amusement mileage may vary, I won’t be offended.
My caption: “WOO! I caught a @Lin_Manuel “Linachu” today in the new HamilmonGo game! Rise up and catch ‘em all!”
My caption: “In case you’ve also had it stuck in your head that it would be nice to finally have a SWOT Analysis of “The Power of Love” by Huey Lewis and The News. I’m now free from this thought and can move onto my next absurd mental hang-up. You’re welcome.”
About the post: For some reason, there was a SWOT analysis phase at work and this seemed like a hilarious idea to me. The post was reblogged by I Love Charts which drove lots of views and reblogs.
Methods to Stay Organized and On Task with Google Gmail and GTD®
For your consideration, I’ve outlined my methods for processing emails and staying organized and on task with email — in my case, Gmail for work. If you’re looking for options to stay more organized and your inbox is still the primary source of internal and client communication, this article can help.
First, a little bit about Getting Things Done (GTD®), if you’re not familiar. GTD equips its practitioners with methods to organize and manage all of their personal and professional organization challenges. I’m using the GTD framework for the purposes of managing corporate Gmail and work-related tasks. This article outlines the process that helps me stay organized and on task, and maybe these methods will work for you. Sharing is caring. See the “Related Info” section below for links to related resources.
What you’ll need:
- Gmail Account
- Gmail Labels
- Gmail Tasks
- Gmail Calendar
Note: The following methodology is directly Influenced by David Allen’s, Getting Things Done (GTD). If you’re not familiar with GTD, see the “Related Info” section below for more information. Getting Things Done and GTD are registered trademarks of The David Allen Company and the following recommendations are not endorsed by The David Allen Company.
Before We Get Started
Who wrote this article?
I’m in the software industry and I manage a high volume of internal and external emails with ongoing project management requirements. Email is still the primary communication method across my channels.
Does this article apply to me?
This article applies to Gmail users who manage high volumes of email (primarily from desktop or laptop) and who are looking for a better way to stay organized and/or employ Getting Things Done (GTD) methods to Gmail.
Will this help me if I use some other email service?
Most likely, yes. If your email service allows you to label (or tag), folder and star (or flag) your emails, the same methods can be applied. Not all email services have a Tasks feature built into them, so you might consider creating a “@Tasks” label or folder — or, explore the many task list plugins available for various email services. Ideally, you want the ability to customize the task name from the email and link the task with the email that provides the context. That’s a big bonus of the built-in Gmail Tasks feature.
But what about OmniFocus or other task and project management software options?
Sure, there are lots of great task and project management tools, but my professional communication is anchored by email. On a project by project basis, the choice of project management software is not necessarily up to me. Therefore, I don’t want to duplicate efforts by managing the same tasks or projects in two or more different systems. I would caution against that practice.
What are the goals of this methodology?
My goals are as follows; to avoid surprises lurking in emails, to use the paths of least resistance to stay organized, to use the fewest tools to achieve the most organization, and to have everything in its place and organized by the task required, what comes next and who owns the next action.
When these goals are achieved, it means that all emails and tasks have been “processed” and therefore:
- Emails are responded to, tasks are completed.
- If a task will take more than a couple minutes, the task is delegated or deferred
- When no action is required, the email is either archived, starred, or put in a folder for future reference.
- When you wake up each morning, you know where to begin, what you’re waiting for and what comes next.
Using Gmail Tasks
First, launch Tasks in Gmail and set-up your primary tasks list. You can create more than one list, but I maintain just one tasks list called “TO DO” and it’s home to all my important tasks. For project-based tasks lists, I use a Google Sheet or, more often, the required project management software (e.g. Basecamp, activeCollab).
For all other day-to-day tasks resulting from an email that cannot be handled immediately, I create a task in my TO DO list, which is always anchored to the bottom right of my Gmail window.
My Process is All About Processing
Beyond client and internal email, my Gmail Inbox is where everything work-related goes to be processed (e.g. notes to self, proposals). As emails come in (and when I can get to my inbox), the primary question becomes, is the email actionable?
If the answer is Yes:
Do it: If I can handle the question/task/request in just a couple minutes, I just do it, then I archive the email. If someone has a follow-up question, no problem, the email conversation comes back to the top of my inbox and the process begins again; is the new email actionable?
Delegate it: If the next action or response is owned by someone else, I move the the email conversation to my @Waiting folder/label. If someone responds, the email conversation comes back to the top of my inbox and I determine, once again, is the email response actionable? And the process begins again.
Defer it: If it’s a task or conversation that should happen at a specific place and time, I add it to the calendar. My calendar is a “hard landscape” as David Allen calls it — if something is on the calendar, action is taking place in support of completing a task at that specified time. If it’s a task that does not require a calendar event, but will take time and research, it’s added to my TO DO task list (i.e. using the “More Actions” + “Add to Tasks” function in Gmail). If the email requires a project plan or multiple actions related to a specific project, I use a Google Sheet template or the required project management software (e.g. Basecamp, activeCollab).
If the answer is No:
Do you need this email, does it concern you?
If the answer is no, archive it or delete it.
Is it something that you’d like to read or review later?
Star or flag it to review at a later time.
Is it something you’re unlikely to need in the foreseeable future?
Sort it into a reference folder or apply a contextual label of your choice, or just archive it and use search to find it later.
Your Daily Reviews
TO DO — Your TO DO list is in your face, it’s anchored in your Gmail Inbox browser window, you’re actively working from it and you can click the “Related email” link on any task if you need a reminder of its context.
@Waiting — If you “delegated” an email and you’re waiting on someone else for the next action, simply go to your @Waiting folder/label to see a list of what you’re waiting for, then contact the appropriate people to prompt follow-ups on and keep the ball moving.
Project Management Software — Many of us own and manage projects in Google Sheets, Basecamp, activeCollab, etc. If you have a series of interconnected tasks tied to a project, this is still the best place to manage and prioritize those tasks and to create and track milestones and timelines.
Your Weekly Reviews
Starred or Flagged — This is the information that is not mission critical, you did not delegate it to someone, and there’s no next action planned, but you want to revisit it or dig into it some more in the future. This is a list to review only as time and other priorities allow.
Your Calendar as a Hard Landscape
David Allen writes, “You need to trust your calendar as sacred territory, reflecting the exact hard edges of your day’s commitments…That’ll be much easier if the only things in there are those you absolutely have to get done on that day.”
All calendar items should be considered the hard landscape of your day — that is, more or less immovable objects. Refrain from blocking off recurring calendar time for soft landscape items like “Catching up with Emails” or “Doing Research”. Those are tasks you perform between the hard landscape items in your day. Keeping soft landscape items off your calendar will remove clutter and reduce ambiguity as to whether you may actually be available to join a meeting during those blocked hours.
Note: As you add tasks to and review your TO DO list, you can add a “Due date” to tasks in Google Calendar. Either hold yourself accountable to those dates or don’t put them in your calendar. Again, it’s a matter of ensuring your calendar is a source of truth for you and your colleagues.
The Gmail “Conversation” Challenge
So, you’ve processed all your new email and everything is complete or in its rightful place and you know what’s ahead of you, but then someone else responds to an email conversation and suddenly the processed email conversation is back at the top of your inbox. It might feel like you’re processing the same conversation too often, but it’s as easy clicking the Archive button or choosing Mute from the “More Actions” dropdown menu — i.e. if the email conversation no longer requires your participation.
Processing your emails and getting all of your tasks and next actions planned provides peace of mind and the process itself can feel very rewarding, but avoid complacency. There’s a fine line between knowing exactly what you need to do next and knowing exactly what you’re not doing. Also, the daily review process is critical to your success. Review your task lists and @Waiting emails and request responses and updates as required to maintain momentum.
Remember: “What’s the next action?” is the key question to ask and answer throughout the day and if you’re not delegating or deferring the next action, you’re doing it.
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Note: Getting Things Done and GTD are registered trademarks of The David Allen Company and my recommendations are not endorsed by The David Allen Company.