adrian is rad


well, I did not know that

Filed under: — adrian @ 9:39 am

I wanted to get a more local cap to be my go-to cap (my A’s hat, seen here, is my current go-to). Going through a thrift store I saw a rugby cap that had a good design and was pretty cheap, so I picked it up. Apparently I don’t know the teams very well because Waratahs are actually from Australia. Ooops!

Maybe I should just pick up a Western Province cap, like this one.

Update: Problem solved!


up in the air

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:40 pm

Still no updates on my trip(s), but I did post a lot about the road trip on my photo blog. You can start from the end and check it out if you’d like.

I’m not very good with uncertainty. I know, this is a surprising admission. But if an obsessively clean person can be cured by touching lots of pay phones and door knobs and toilet handles, then maybe I can be cured by having as many things as possible be uncertain. I’m moving this weekend (for which I don’t have movers yet) and I’ll have new flatmates and a new area of town. I started lecturing last week and it’s too early to tell how that’s going to turn out. I don’t really have a way to cover the rest of my living expenses. I’m not sure how long I’m going to stay in South Africa or what I’ll do with myself here or when I get back to the States. This has been the longest period of the most unknowns in my life.

So for just about everything in my life, I have to say, “we’ll see!” But life seems to turn out okay.

japanese automakers inspire me

Filed under: — adrian @ 2:16 pm

Any reasonably class covering manufacturing engineering will talk about Toyota and how they’ve created a process that’s really helped them launch ahead of many other car makers. They’ve long inspired me. This NY Times Magazine profile of Toyota reminded me of that.

Management theorists who study Toyota’s production system tend to say that it is difficult to replicate, insofar as the company’s methods are not simply a series of techniques but a way of thinking about teamwork, products and efficiency. Still, some aspects of the system were clearly visible in San Antonio. In the Tundra plant, there is no real inventory of parts, which is a hallmark of Toyota’s approach. Once a truck chassis begins its run on the factory line, an order goes out to, say, an on-site parts supplier that provides seats for the interior. At Avanzar, an independent company located in a large workroom adjacent to the assembly line, I watched workers build a car seat from scratch. They chose a raw steel frame with springs, put it on their own minifactory assembly line to add padding, then leather, and then they transferred it (via pulley, over a partition wall) to the Tundra assembly line, where it was installed in the truck. If the front seat had not been ordered 85 minutes earlier, it would not exist.

It reminds me of a Forbes profile of Honda I read a couple years ago.

Of all the bizarre subsidiaries that big companies can find themselves with, Harmony Agricultural Products, founded and owned by Honda Motor, is one of the strangest. This small company near Marysville, Ohio produces soybeans for tofu. Soybeans? Honda couldn’t brook the sight of the shipping containers that brought parts from Japan to its nearby auto factories returning empty. So Harmony now ships 33,000 pounds of soybeans to Japan. An inveterate tinkerer, Honda also set up a center nearby to develop better soybean varieties and improve agricultural processes.

Fantastic out-of-the-box thinking!



Filed under: — adrian @ 12:40 am

I’m back ‘home’ after over a month of travels–DC, North Carolina, New Orleans, and a road trip around South Africa and Lesotho. That’s a lot of miles and I’m glad to be in one place for a little while at least.

I saw friends and family. I saw traditional Besotho villages; I learned ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’ in Sesotho. I rode a pony for the first (and second and third and…) time. I saw a New Orleans brass band play till the small hours of the morning. I felt like an extra in a movie about the antebellum South at a New Year’s party in New Orleans. I danced; I know, shocking. I walked through 20 inches of snow; I felt the African sun beating down on me. I crawled through a cave under the Karoo. I saw where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. I changed a tired in a parking lot in Bloemfontein. I skinny dipped in the frigid pool under a remote waterfall. I bowled while listening to a live Zydeco band. I got chills looking at the founding documents of the US America. I saw a herd of over a hundred elephants. I finally spotted the rock monitor after staring in the bush for three minutes. I rode a heritage street car. I hugged and smiled and laughed.

More later, but for now you can see some of my photos on my photo blog.

And how are you? What have you been up to?


ingwavuma video

Filed under: — adrian @ 8:28 pm

ingwavuma from ipickmynose on Vimeo.

I finally put together some of the clips I took on my Flip Mino HD in Ingwavuma into a video. It’s a bit shakey and I was a bit hurried on the editing but overall I feel like it gives an idea of what life in the town is like.

The clips in order are (in Ingwavuma unless noted):
sunrise self portrait
clothes on a clothesline
kids on zipline
store entrance in Bhambanana
roadside between Ndumo and Bhambanana
returning from the pump with washing
Fana and co at Okhayeni school
kids playing soccer
people in town
minibus taxi ride to Okhayeni
cows resting
Bridgie and her daughter Zaza
the road in Bhambanana
Swifty looking over Swaziland
petro station store in Bhambanana
overlooking the valley
driving through Jozini
Andrew and Fana in Bhambanana

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