Category Archives: Personal

Day 8 – What Are You Worrying About?

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I’m more prone to denial than worrying,  but if you pinned me down… I worry about global supply chains collapsing, about the increasing loss of trade knowledge (since it’s not being passed from master to apprentice these days because no one wants to do “blue collar work”)…   I worry that things will get really tough and most of the skills I and my peers have gained will be useless…  I worry that our crops will have no bees to pollinate them, and that people will become desperate for food and clean water- that desperate people will commit desperate acts and that few will be able to live in safety, let alone comfort.

I worry that we’re not saving enough for our kid’s education, and that even if we did, college will not be of much value to the employers when they join the workforce.

I worry that everyone will figure out if have no idea what I’m doing and I’ll be unemployable myself (or at least my imposter syndrome monkey worries about that).

I worry my loved ones will get sick or be involved in accidents, and that they’re spending too much time in front of the TV  (where ironically they’re less likely to fall in a volcano or step on a rattlesnake).

I worry i spent too long in some jobs and that I migot regret leaving others. I worry that my daughter is too much like me and that she won’t be enough like me (yes, at the same time).

I worry that I worry too much, sometimes.

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Day 6 – The Person You Like and Why You Like Them

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What an inspiring topic… (insert dry sarcasm here).  So, assuming I only like one person, and that there is only one reason I like them…

I will pick the obvious – I like my wife, Pattie. I have in fact for many years – though i didn’t pick up on how much she liked ME when we hung out before and during our college years… it wasn’t until I came home from college that we began seeing each other.

There are a lot of reasons I like her, but I don’t have enough room for all that… (brownie points?!?)   So just a few then:

She’s really organized… This may seem dry, but trust me – it keeps us from ruin. Left to my own devices I’d probably live in a mud hut with no power… I’m not good about paying bills on time. (ask the library).  She knows where everything is, and when things are due to be paid, returned, renewed, replaced. etc.

She’s kind of hot. Given that we pledged to a life together, it’s rather a good thing that I find her attractive 🙂   Dark hair, slender build mmm.

She’s well-read and intelligent: I can have conversations with this gal – over books we’ve read or mean to read, movies, tv shows, places we’ve been or wish to visit, and of course our kid… (duh)

She’s faithful: I have no fear of her straying.  A: that’s just not her B: she’d have to train up someone new from scratch, and she’s too practical for that.

She’s funny, and we’ve modified each other’s sense of humor over the years… this is funny in and of itself, but even moreso now that we see the edges of our daughter’s own sense of humor peaking out as it forms… wee bit sarcastic, wee bit dry, but with a super enthusiastic frivolity all her own.

 

 

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5 Things That Annoy You About Other Men

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1. Assuming that every single dude in the planet loves televised sports. And totally want to talk about it. Ad nauseum.

2. Behavior of bullies that never outgrew their need to put people down and convince themselves they’re macho.  Chumps.

3. I see more guys in trucks and Trans-Am type cars doing this than anyone else: flicking cigarette butts out the window while driving, or stopped at a light.  Keep it classy.

4. Abusive behavior of any kind. Verbal, mental, physical – it’s all unacceptable.

5. Stinky. Guys, let’s all take a shower.  Hot water and soap are our friends. Unless you’re in the outdoors for an extended period, read: camping etc.   Then the grime is a natural protective barrier and must not be removed.

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Day 3 – What Kind of Person Attracts You

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Well, I guess I can share about this – provided I’m not forced to choose “It’s complicated” for my relationship status soon after publishing…

Being a man, the easy answer is ‘females‘.   Being neither a teen or a grandfather, I’d narrow that down to women that aren’t children themselves or in the nursing home.

The truth though is that while my tastes have changed over the years, just as I have myself – there are some constants:

Humor:
I’m sorry – if someone can’t be bothered to smile, laugh, giggle, or transmit deadpan glee with a straight face – then I’m not going to find them very attractive.  Sure a picture might paint them that way, but in person.. or even in video – one’s sense of humor and self of self come through and the lack thereof is a big turnoff.

Wit:
The smarter someone is, the more attractive they are – as a general rule. I’m not talking book learning only here, note.  Living a tough life, and having to work hard to make it… traveling widely… having tons of interesting jobs or hobbies – these things tend to smarten ya up too.  Having things to talk about, showing that you are engaged in the world and observant of the world happening around you – these things are attractive to me.

Fitness:
As an artist, I appreciate anatomy. As a dude, I appreciate some more than others. But more than the latest trends, more than what the advertising of the world would have me think – I find simple fitness to be attractive… meaning someone that takes care of themselves and who strives to stay in good enough shape to enjoy the world around them to its fullest.

Confidence:
You’re not full of yourself, but also not super needy. You know you’re worth knowing, and worth working for

Beyond all that, I find few women that are SUPER tall or SUPER short to be all that attractive,  and tend to lean towards darker hair and colorfully-hued eyes.

Wifey got a pass on the brown eyes, but despite being the most pale Hispanic woman I’ve ever met, she checks off quite a few boxes: Funny, smart, fit, and dark hair 🙂   Sorry girls, I’m already spoken for.

 

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Day 2 – How Have You Changed In the Past Two Years

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I suppose I HAVE changed in the past couple years. Lots of things have changed around me, and to a degree we are what we do, what we surround ourselves with and what we spend time thinking about.

I have changed jobs and employers twice over the past two years.

in 2014 I was learning to be a dedicated software developer – reluctantly learning the basics of JAVA, a couple different fairly robust modern content management systems (CMS), an aging database and more decrepit CMS , and basically figuring out how to tread water among a large team of seriously talented developers who could breath underwater.

In 2015 I became a UX designer for a company  in the healthcare B2B space, applying what I’d been learning the last couple years through reading, conferences, writing, schooling and outright leaps of faith. I was learning a new domain (Healthcare/hospitals), suffering withdrawal from leaving a great company with fun people with whom i had significant investment and learning to make do with a much smaller company’s practices.

I was learning to get over my fear of public speaking

I’ve never been fond of public speaking – to put it mildly. You could measure my pulse, temperature and degree of perspiration before and after being asked to contemplate getting up in front of people and saying something meaningful – and it would be obvious which was which.

A couple years ago I became aware of an opportunity for any old schmoe off the street to talk at CodeStock, a local developer conference in Knoxville.  I signed up for a lightning talk – a 15 minute stretch to talk about whatever you want and see what kind of interest was garnered by how many showed up.   No pressure, right? HA!  Getting prepared for that, and fighting through a sinus infection & sore throat to deliver the talk was one of the hardest things I’ve done… but guess what? The next time I had a chance to talk, it was easier to convince myself I could do it, and I was a TINY BIT less anxious about it.

So now that I know that treating public speaking like a vaccine is effective (small dose to trigger my natural defenses, capiche?), I’ve jumped at chances to talk in front of people since…

  • I’ve MC’d and help run conference events
  • I’ve led training events within several companies
  • I’ve presented project summaries and strategic plans to executive boards
  • I’ve given a 1-hour presentation to several hundred people (omg)
  • I’m doing more of the same later this year – glutton for punishment I guess

My daughter is 2 years older

I enjoy spending time with my kid.  Earlier in her life we had to keep the activities pretty simple, playing blocks or dolls or engaging in epic tickle fights… But now she’s getting pretty darned smart, and her creativity and attention span are growing in leaps and bounds.

I’ve really enjoyed teaching her the basics of art, now days she’s taken to joining me in the studio for some father/daughter drawing board time…

We have fun talks in the car – almost a Mr. Wizard experience… One of us will notice something and point it out – and I’ll provide some context for her and ask if she knows what something means, or why it is the way it is…. “No!” she’ll say – and we’re off to the races with questions and answers until we’ve reached the point at which a 5 year old or 42 year old will bail and change the subject or grow quiet.

I’ve become my preparation-centric parents

I’ve always been the type to say ‘we’ll be ok, bad stuff never happens anyway’ or ‘I’m careful, accidents won’t happen’ – throwing caution to the wind and just going about my days with minimal.

I suppose it’s partly a function of having farming/rural living in my family background, partly just getting older a smidge of healthy paranoia…. but in the last couple years I undertook to learn more about how we could become more prepared for a wide variety of circumstances.  Be it a power outage, contamination of the public water supply, or just bad weather.  Safety at home, in our vehicles and whilst out enjoying the natural world camping or hiking… these things have been on my mind the last couple years and not much beforehand.

I won’t say we’re 100% prepared for everything all the time, but we’re a good bit MORE prepared now than in previous years, and that’s something.

 

Enough for now…

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Day 1 – Weird Things You Do When You’re Alone

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As my lovely wife likes to say, I’m somewhat codependent. She works on cleaning out her office, I find myself drawn to tidying up as well, and so on. In this spirit I embark on a 30 day challenge to blog (just like she did), based on this list. Since I’ve never done that many entries in a row I suspect I’m doomed to failure – but it should be interesting nonetheless.


 

Day 1 – Weird Things You Do When You’re Alone

When I’m alone at home, I go one of two ways:

  1. I treat the house like my own personal Fortress of Solitude. I’m sensitive to noises, distractions, etc. and so sometimes when the house is empty I find myself able to focus more effectively.  Be it reading a book (particularly ones that take serious mental effort to follow), working on a project, or even just relaxing with television on the DVR or Netflix queue – the silence makes it easier to keep a higher fidelity mental model intact in my head and more fulfilling to experience.
  2. I dive into a frenzy of activity with no concern for potentially falling ladders, wet paint, sharp tools and implements lying around, hot beverages perched in inadvisable locations and music blaring loudly.  A fly on the wall might see me sprinting up and down the stairs, from one project to another in rapid fashion…(because who works on one project at a time, really?!? – ADD sufferer)

I always enjoy time alone at home, but after a while the quiet becomes TOO quiet.  The space becomes TOO empty, and I miss my gals.

When they come back though, I end up having to be all civilized – wearing pants and speaking out loud in complete sentences. Some days that’s asking a lot.

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