Adonis Diaries

Archive for July 11th, 2009

Toxic Instinct


He is running after her.

He is big, fat and ugly.

She is smaller,

Quicker and much cuter.

He is running fast.

She climbs a tree.  He follows her.

Round and round

The trunk of the tree they turn.

He stops. 

      Squirrel girl stops.

She knows his moves. 

      She smiles:  All is planned out.

He starts. 

      She climbs higher and higher.

Branches are now thinner and narrower

      But she keeps her pace, undaunted.

Squirrel guy is now more cautious.

      He is not smiling, never did, the grouch.

She reaches the edge of the branch.

      He is waiting;

He is thinking:

      “She won’t dare!  She’ll be back to me.”

She jumps to the next tree.

      He shakes his head and backtracks.

Men would jump and fall.

            They would.  The toxic instinct would.

Article 36

“Who should be in charge of workspace design?”

There is a perception that designing workspaces is mainly hardware oriented to providing adequate environmental conditions in the work area in order to maintaining a certain level of performance from workers and employees that satisfies the requirements of management and shareholders of a company.

The previous perception is ingrained enough in the mind of engineers that the social and psychological conditions are belittled and considered not worth discussing or factoring them in their designs.  Engineers who are not initiated to the discipline of human factors view the latter profession as a redundant engineering field because they have the tendency to restrict this field to the design problems of workspace physical environment that protect the workers from extreme variations such as indoor climate, heat, cold, humidity, fresh air inlet, exhaust of noxious gases, noise, vibration and acceleration of machines and equipments, lighting and glare, radiation hazards, and electrical shock hazards within a functional working spaces.

Mechanical, electrical, HVAC engineers, separately or as a team, rely on the specifications of the head architect to study the proper hardware requirements and their locations based on the appropriate standards.  It is assumed that the architect following the specifications of the owner as to the number of workers or employees, the functions and general tasks in the manufacturing process or any other transformation processes, the dimensions and volumes of the work departments has designed an ideal workspace for a uniform mass of individuals confined in closed spaces.

The study of the physical environment variables and conditions in workspaces and the knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of the targeted employees form at best one fourth of the body of knowledge and practical design guidelines of the human factors field of study.

Beside the physical environment there are a variety of work environments that are no less practical for the employees to holding a continuous and stable level of performance. The working conditions such as the monotony and repetitive nature of the tasks, the work shifts allocations whether day or evening or night shifts, the frequency and duration of shifts variations, the characteristics of employees in gender differences, age, attitudes, temperament, skill levels, and organizational structure of the enterprise can affect performance in a greater amount than just the physical conditions of the workplace.

The social environment such as conformity in the organization, sense of opportunity for privacy, territoriality, perception of crowding, and social facilitation when under the weather or feeling of anxiety can affect performance, turnover, and production.

The example of the president of a knitting mill who reduced the overhead costs of the physical conditions by saving on the comfort level of the workers and who discovered that performance deteriorated because the workforce resented to be treated as indifferently as any machine or equipment in order to save a little more on the expense of running an enterprise can shed some light on the complex nature of the social and psychological demands of human in an environment.

The performance support system of safe, healthy, and comfortable working environment is as intrinsic in the design of a system as any other parts and it cannot be regarded as a static and mechanical process.  For example, what social environments are better suited individual/private spaces, or a design that promote interactions among the workers and encourage close proximity?  What organizational structure and image should be adopted so that the design of the meeting atmosphere in furniture, window covering, and spacing among the hierarchical levels is reflected accordingly? What learning support system are designed in the workplace to enhance knowledge, skills, and attitudes such as training facilities, corporate libraries, safety posters, flip charts, bulletin boards, and blackboards?

Designing workspaces include decisions on the human-environment interaction, adaptation, and control such as how much control the workforce can have over changing the level of comfort in lighting, temperature and noise background.

The design of workspace environment should not be focused just on the physical conditions necessary for a productive level but envelop the social, psychological and organizational environments as well, and they are as practical and essential for performance of the workforce.

The human factors engineers should and are trained to foresee the many problems inherent in workspace design from the physical to the human behavior and are well oriented to ask the right questions in the expected errors, hazards, health, safety and comfort for a sustainable working environment.

“Marie”, She Said


It was a time when I was about seventeen or less.

By early dawn, I was on the balcony, the first floor of a ten-story building, facing Main Street. By early dawn, I was reading or studying on that balcony, but my heart was looking out for this young girl soon to show up on the front steps of her building.


She was olive skinned, large dark-eyed and hair done in two pony tails. I was waiting for her to step out of her apartment building, opposite mine. She would wait for her school bus with another schoolmate girl.


By early dawn, I am sitting or standing on that balcony, but my heart is leaning down on that school girl about fifteen. She is in her school dress, white shirt and blue short skirt.

Her blond and chubby schoolmate waited with her for the school bus.


Within two years, that blonde blue-eyed chubby girl metamorphosed into a blonde Nordic beauty, a svelte Prussian tall. My dark-eyed girl used to lower her head then raise her cunning eyes up toward me.


It was a game for her.  I was to her that stupid bookish young male. In that game, she was the Beauty Queen and she was pleased.


She must have got used to me.  Maybe she started to like me, or she appreciated the attention that I generously bestowed upon her.


Her errands increased in the neighborhood so did my heart beats.


For a year, I could never muster enough courage to step down this one ridiculous floor, cross the street and chat with her.


One day she was waiting for a taxi. I rushed down the stairs and waited by her side for a taxi. I could not speak, my mind went blank and I barely was breathing.


Taxis made themselves scarce for an eternity. I clumsily blurted out with a dry, unfamiliar voice: “What’s your name?”  “Marie” she said.


That is how it started.  From then on, “what’s your name” is all the conversation

I could have with a girl I like.


Returning from a long stay overseas, I was told that the local militia ganged up on her. 

They used her as their love slave.  She got married.


It was a time when this womanhood was blossoming in roses and rainbow colors.

Fluttering in front of that manhood, shy and dazed with pallor.

It was a time when this womanhood was leaping in bounds, raw.

Looking at that degenerative manhood, crawling and craning his neck in awe.

I came back from the dead for you (July 8, 2009)

I read a couple of days ago a French novel “What after” by Guillaume Musso.  The setting is invariably in the USA, more specifically in New York City, and four hours drive from the center; excluding a plane flight to San Diego.  It is about the existence of  living “messengers” who have the gift or the plight of forecasting the near death of people they encounter.

These messengers can see white aura “aureole” surrounding the head of the next victims of random killings, accidents, suicides, or incurable illnesses.  Nathan is the hero; he got through a near death experience at the age of eight; he was given a choice to resume living and decided reluctantly to accept the invitation:  He saw the love of his life suffering from terminal illness in the future, and she needed his presence to sooth the passage in her last hours among the living.

Reality is not probably what we could sense by our five senses; there are a whole lot of pseudo-realities, simply because scientists told us so, using indirect measurements, and we are ready to believe that they are facts and part of reality.  So why we always need consensus to claim facts when many people witness facts that not many of us are not endowed to sense?

I noticed recently that authors insist on including a quote at the beginning of a new chapter.  I like reading quotes:  it confirms that people have the same thoughts and wisdom in variations of their period. It is excellent to repeat what has been written centuries ago:  New generations have got to read from scratch anyway.   It is good to amaze new generations that people were not as dumb as the new technologies lead them to assume about the elder generations.  I like quotes; more importantly, I love to re-phrase them: it is my contribution to the older generations that I appreciate their efforts of reflection and study by offering mine.

When I am short on ideas, I can work on the style and forms.  The lovely novel of Guilaume Musso includes quotes that each of the chapters exhibited at the beginning. The following quotes are of my own re-phrasing.

“How can we ever be human without faults?” (The question will always remain: what are considered faults and who has the legitimacy of identifying, describing, and judging faults?)

“You are born an aristocrat; another conquers his greatness.” (Question: what is greatness and who is legitimate to define and judge what is great?)

“We cannot cuddle at night with our celebrity” (Marlyn Monroe)

“We are slow to believe what gives us great pain to believe in” (Ovid)

“The dead are invisible; they are not absent” (St. Augustin)

“Events don’t necessarily arrive as you wish; learn to watch events as they come” (Epictetus)

“In reality we know nothing; truth is in the bottom of the abyss” (Democritus)

“The time to learn to live; it is already too late” (Aragon)

“We are young once: we have an entire life to recall our youth” (Barry Levinson)

“Love is the folly of friendship” (Seneque)

“From death, our cities are totally defenseless” (Epicure)

“It is of love that we are always suffering” (Christian Bobin)

“Nothing is lost: it has been returned” (Epictetus).  (The trick to return whatever is lost, in grace as gift)

“A bungled job at the end of life is worse than death”

There are a few other lovely ideas that I pick up here and there such as my own quotes:

“The center of the universe is constantly shifting; it does not venture far away: the center is the detail in a task that focuses all your attention”

“Not many tasks are boring routines: all you need to do is attaching a metaphor to the task.  When you wash the dishes in the evening, it could mean washing off the dregs of the day that you had to endure. Have good dreams.”




July 2009

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