A Zany Hypothesis on How Many People You Want on a Group Trip

Okay, this is one of those “why the hell am I even blogging this?” other than “I need the practice”, but …

So it’s Spring Break time, and it’s over for most everyone.  Some people had a bad time, sure, and let’s look into one small subset of it: the number of people in a group.  One of my friends was talking about a bad experience from a three-person trip that she took a few months ago, and something that I’ve always thought occurred to me, so here is my hypothesis:

When taking a trip with a group of people, you need to have no fewer than five and no more than ten people.

Let’s look at how it breaks down:

  • A two-person trip isn’t a group trip.  Also, two people are gonna bicker.
  • Three people has a huge problem: when the group breaks down.  If all three members agree to do something, it’s great!  But if it’s not unanimous, it’s almost always two people wanting to go one way and one another.  When that breaks down, you either have one unhappy person in the group or two people who go off and leave the third, leaving you with either an unhappy group or a fractured one.
  • Four people is a bad idea, too: if it’s 2-2, that’s fine, but it’s generally going to regularly break down that way, and that’s not a group trip.  A lot of 2-2 comes from romantic relationships — “Let’s go to LA together!” — and, well, that’s not a group trip, nor is that fair to the other couple, at least one of whom wanted to hang out, or the trip never would’ve happened in the first place.  When it’s 3-1, the one is going to feel very, very ganged-up-on.
  • Five people is a good number.  Rarely will it be 4-1; if it is, the one person usually sucks it up and deals.  The other breakdowns are 3-2 and 2-2-1.  While those breakdowns aren’t really great, they’re usually dynamic.  I’ve been on trips with both three other people and four other people, and I love the latter ones way more.
  • Six people is an okay number, but it is going to break down into even numbers more than odd ones.  Having an even number doesn’t make for a lot of churn, and I always find that churn is what makes group trips fun.
  • Seven people is like five: 6-1 is rare, 5-2 is okay, and 4-3 and 3-2-2 work for shorts stints.
  • Eight has the same problems that six does.
  • Nine, being odd, has the same advantages as five and seven.  Also, when you have nine people, you can have one hell of a time if you go to a bar as a group.  All those group churn dynamics can happen in the span of 10-15 minutes.
  • Once you get to ten, you’re really not a group anymore.

And now that I’ve posted something foofy about group dynamics to get it out of my head, I’ll go back to … planning a solo trip halfway across the country.

How to End Daylight Saving Time

I have been on the record since 2003 as a DST hater. Now that my friends have both kids and Twitter, my tweet stream is full of parents lamenting the change:

[blackbirdpie id=”1292474949574657″]

For those who, like me, hate this arbitrary bullshit time change, I’ve decided that there’s a simple answer: the weekend of the change, lock Congresscritters in the House chamber with a bunch of four-year-olds for a sleepover on Saturday night. The Congresscritters’ job would then be to get them to an event on-time. Doesn’t matter which direction the time’s shifting, either. It’ll drive them mad.

It’s either that or zombies.

I Kinda Hope My Doctor Googles Me

Dave Pell, on the excellent Tweetage Wasteland, writes about doctors Googling their patients:

During a recent session, I brought up this topic with my own shrink. He rarely interacts with the web and is as renown for his cynicism about academic essays as he is for being an excellent doctor. I fully expected him to dismiss the issue with a wave of the hand and then gently guide us back to our more prolific and productive conversations about being the child of Holocaust survivors or the upcoming NFL draft.

Instead, he surprised me with this response: “Everyone Googles everyone these days. Why would this be any different?”

He Googles me, he really Googles me.

I actually challenged my therapist about this, and she either 1) has a really good poker face or 2) hadn’t thought to look. But maybe now she’s reading. If so, hi! 🙂

Dave also wrote about the end of privacy being the end of shame, which is, I think, a central theme here. Vis: re-opening my Twitter account, arguing for the (re)presentation of self, or wondering about my friend who ended up in sexual misconduct. I personally feel that privacy is a crutch in life. When I live more transparently, I find myself more free to exhibit my personality in an uninhibited manner. It’s about being comfortable with my flaws.


Most of us have used URL-shortening systems: TinyURL is the canonical one. Twitter, of course, has accelerated this use. I’ve used them, too, but I worry about things like link rot. After all, URL-shortening systems do die. [And yes, I know that tr.im is going to try to live on. That’s beside the point.]

So now on gfmorris.net, I’m using YOURLS. If you see a link from me that’s http://gfmorris.net/urls/[something], it’s generated by YOURLS.

What kind of things am I linking to? Well, lots of things, but … usually, goalie fights.

I could watch goalie fights all day long…

Twitter + BitTorrent = AWESOME …?

I use BitTorrent to legally trade permitted concert bootlegs, including many I record myself and release on IndieRiver for the Square Peg Alliance. Yesterday, I had the idea to snag IndieRiver a Twitter account. Other than the obvious use case of announcing new torrents available, I just had the following brainstorm: what about a use case where a poorly-or-not-at-all torrent is suddenly leeched and is tweeted? “Hey, I need help seeding on $torrent … got peers that need seeds!”


[This is one of those “I blog out loud and hope it makes sense to someone else …” posts.]

How I Roll

Bryan sucks.

1. What time do you usually leave for lunch?

I try to go as close to 1100 as I can. There are a couple places close by that are packed by 1115, so I learned to go early if I wanted a table without a wait. Every Tuesday, I meet with friends for Thai at 1115, but then on Thursdays, I have a telecon at 1100, so … it varies.

2. How long do you usually take for lunch?

It varies depending how busy I am at the office. If I’m covered up, I take a shorter break. The inverse of that is that, if I’m really stressed out, I’ll go a little longer. I’ve taken up to two hours, but that’s very rare. Usually an hour if I leave the office for lunch, a half-hour if I eat at my desk.

3. Ever eat lunch at home?

Yeah, I’ve done it. Not as often now that I live in Madison, though.

4. What are your favorite places to eat out for Work Lunch?

I personally am craving Thai Garden since we didn’t go on Tuesday. Like … I want Thai, and it’s before 0700 on a Saturday.

5. How often do you bring food in from home?

When I was a broke college kid, all the time. Now, not so much. Lazy. Plus, when I bring lunch, I tend to not leave the office, and I’ve found that leaving the office is good for my stress level.

6. Are you a lone ranger or a community eater?

I eat with co-workers or friends 2-3 times a week. Some weeks, it’s every day. Some weeks, it’s not at all.

7. How often does your company pay for your lunch?

Once a quarter or so, if a meeting runs into lunch.

8. What is your favorite lunch meal of all time?

Mmm … three-star chicken Pad Thai.

Consuming Not Creating, Revisited

Back a year ago, John Gruber argued [and I concurred] that the iPhone was designed for consuming and not creating. This has not changed with the iPhone 3G—the only thing that’s changed, really, is that the App Store now means that the iPhone is for play. [Some would argue that play is consumption, but I’m not getting into consumer psychology tonight.]

But even those who once said “I would go raving nuts trying to use the iPhone as my mobile device” are now consuming on their iPhone:

I credit Brent and the excellent NetNewsWire for iPhone for my newfound ability to (almost) keep up with my feeds again.

Mind you, I don’t expect that Alex wrote the post on his iPhone … or his Crackberry. And this is not an argument that Alex should make the switch. He can’t get the hang of the iPhone keyboard, and he’s used to the Blackberry. Arguing that he should switch would be like me arguing that he should drive a manual transmission—just because I love it and think that it’s awesome doesn’t mean that it’s for him. I’d just argue that, well, he should know how in an emergency—and I’m sure that he does.

[Okay, I’ve only ridden with Alex a handful of times, and I can’t remember whether or not his car is an automatic. I’m fairly sure his wife’s is, but I won’t hold that against him.]

[[And Alex, yes, I wrote this so I could tweak you and go all “iPhone FTW!!!” You know you’re laughing.]]