Whew – Let’s Catch Up!

I have this terrible habit of arranging my schedule so that everything important comes due at the same time.  I guess that’s why I’ve been mostly absent around here lately.  This week, I had to deliver a prototype for a major system we’re working on, and I discovered it is much more high profile than I thought.  I had another certification test to take today, and I’ve been furiously studying (got a 960, which means I missed 2 out of 42).  One more, and I’m an MCAD (Microsoft Certified Application Developer)

On that front, it would appear I’m being wooed.  I can’t say much, I shouldn’t say anything, but I’m a blabber-mouth. I might be facing a choice soon.  When you’re a young man, the security-pay dichotomy is a no-brainer, you take the risk and go with the pay.  It’s not so simple when you’re not a young man anymore.  Being 43, I believe my company is going to see me as a greater and greater target for downsizing.  Not that my company sucks – they have had many retirements lately, and that means that, in general, they let people stay around long enough TO retire.

But it’s a high-risk situation.  I make really good money for a man of my educational background, and a younger man could probably do the same work for less pay.  It’s just the way things are.  I have talent, and, if living in Nashville has taught me anything, it’s that talent ain’t that rare.

So, there’s something out there that I know for a fact offers more security.  I don’t know if it’s less pay or not, I’m guessing it is.  But, with each passing year, I run a higher and higher risk of losing it all.

On the other hand, I’ve never played not to lose.  But, I’d like to see what the other side is offering, at the least.

But enough generalities about work.  The band’s kept me busy lately, too.  We have two, count ’em, two gigs this Sunday, one in Cookville!  Good thing it’s a Titans bye week. 

Also, this is your first notice: X-Alt (including Ginger) will be playing another community coffeehouse at New Beginnings Fellowship on October 13th.  Y’all have to come out, we’ve prepared a rockin’ set.  I’ll bug you about it quite a bit more in the coming days.

I had an interesting parental situation come up yesterday, but I think I’ll put it in its own post.  I’ve always had a fear that putting my kids in surrounings where their peers come from families with greater household incomes would haunt us.  Never in my wildest dreams, though, did I imagine my nine year old daughter would one day be sobbing in the backseat of the car, grieving the general unfairness of life.  Nine.  I thought it would at least wait till middle school.  The only good thing is that I went through this before they did, and I can guide them through these troubled waters.

I’ll give you a hint: it was a fundraising contest, and my daughter worked her butt off.  But another kid’s parents simply wrote a thousand dollar check and bought the victory for their kid.  Trillian knows I can’t do that. Her class would have won the contest, had it not been for the cheating-shortcut-takers.  My kids’ school is chock full of kids of doctors and music industry types.  I’m just a corporate code-slinger, and Lintilla does her job out of a sense of service, rather than for the measly pay.

Sorry, I don’t mean to unload this on y’all, but I’m just mad at myself (because I put my kids in this situation), and mad at the world.  I’m taking the kids out to eat tonight, though, to celebrate their hard work, and my genius in passing another exam!

On a happier note, things are going well at the paid blogging gig, I’m getting more page views than I ever dreamed I would.  And I’m only about a third of the way to where they want me to be.  But, I’ve only been at it a little over a month, so I’d say I’m doing pretty well.

I’m really enjoying working with the smaller kids at church.  I had put that gentle daddy role on the shelf long ago, and it’s good to get it out and try it on again.  Not a single rolled eye or sarcastic remark.  They are actually starting to trustme now.  Their parents still look at me with suspicion.  A man?  Teaching small children?  How do we know he isn’t a pedophile? (That’s the vibe I get, at least.  Dang matriarchy).

Thanks for all the encouraging words about Lintilla’s upcoming surgery.  I feel much less scared about it after reading your comments.

Well, that’s enough for now.  I should have separated it into different posts, but it’s been so long, I figured I owed you a catch-up post.

Seeing Double

Holy crap!  Not long ago, I hit my head pretty danged hard on the towel rack in the locker room here at work.  I’ve got a big ole bump on my forehead that’s going to bruise quite nicely, for a short time my vision was blurred, and right now, my whole head hurts something awful.

And I’ve got a big meeting in a few minutes.

 It’s never boring around here.

7 Years On, I Still Quote This Ad

I just realised that a comment I made at MCB might seem like it came out of nowhere and made no sense at all.  However, it is based on this commercial, which is still one of my favorites of all time:

Posted in Humor. 1 Comment »

I Am NOT Smarter Than A 5th Grader

I knew this day would come, I just didn’t think it would come so soon.  Zaphod has been spotty on his math assignments; some, he’s in the 80′ and 90’s, some, he gets a failing grade on.  We had been trusting him to complete his homework on his own, because he had always done so well in the past.  Recently, he’d been getting more frequent failing grades, so we told him that he had to have us check his homework every night.

Last night was my first night of checking his math homework.  I found several errors and worked him through the proper analysis to correct them.  I made sure every answer was correct.

He got his worst grade of the year on that one.  A couple of questions were ones he HAD right, and I made him change them.  How embarrassing.

I’m afraid he’s almost beyond my help, and that’s scary.  He’s in 5th grade, learning concepts I swear I was taught in the 9th grade, and that was almost 30 years ago.  I work with algebraic problems every day, but in the programming language I use, I tell the computer what order of operations I want by manipulating parentheses.  I’ve plum forgotten how they work without them. 

I’m afraid if I try to help my son, I’ll do more harm than good.  I have to totally leave him at the mercy of the teacher.  She’s a great teacher, but I’ve always had the philosophy that Lintilla and I are the ones in charge of our children’s education, and the teachers were subcontractors.  Now, we are almost totally out of the picture.  It’s really, really hard to let go.

However, Zaphod is absolutely knocking English and Literature out of the park.  He’s excelling in French, and has a perfect score for the year in science.  He’s a GREAT student.  I just don’t know if he’s as advanced in math as they think he is.  And, I’ve learned I’m not as good at math as I thought I was.

Trillian is the exact opposite.  The girl is an absolute math whiz.  She’s taking advanced math, and has a 99 for the year.  I watch her doing her homework, and math seems effortless for her.  I think her problem last year is that they weren’t challenging her enough. 

You know the cliche: girls are supposed to be more verbal?  Well, Trillian struggles (if you can call scoring in the 80’s struggling) in English and Reading – the exact opposite of her brother.  She DOES however, excel in science, as well as math.  We’re working to help her with her verbal skills (her mom was an English major).  We’ll get her somewhat proficient, and that’s OK.  But with math and science, she has a gift.  It’s a joy to watch.

Maybe Zaphod could help her with English, and she could help him with math.  But first, I’d have to get them to quit fighting long enough to get their homework done.

However, I just can’t get over the fact that I, in effect, turned in 5th grade homework, and failed miserably.

Lintilla Update

Just got off the phone with Lintilla.  I am not a medical person, and she was throwing out all these medical terms, but from what I gather, she’s going to have to go under the knife.  They found an endro-something-or-another-ic polyp that needs to be gotten rid of, they are going to have to do a “DNC” (which she described as a “pipe cleaning”), and they found a fibroid (she didn’t say where).

On top of that, according to the Dr’s DRs, none of this has anything to do with the pain she’s been having.  They found all of this while they were looking for something else (which they didn’t find).

Lintilla was quite cheerful over the phone, but I can tell when she’s doing that to keep me calm.  Sometimes I think she forgets that I’ve been married to her for over 20 years.

I’ll let her help me with a post tonight that explains all of this more correctly.  She said the word “surgery” and my heart almost stopped.

We appreciate the prayers more than you know.  I’ll try to keep you filled in on this as we go.  The surgery is scheduled for Nov 7.

The Lord Giveth…

This is weird, and it’s neat at the same time.

Aside from a little white-ness, I have the exact same hair I had at 17.  It’s my saving grace.  In the locker room, men make little self comparisons (no ladies, believe it or not we don’t make that comparison – you know the one.  Men just don’t roll that way).  Back on topic:  I see men in their 30’s who still have bodies like they did in their 20’s.  I see men older than me, who, based on wardrobe, are far richer than I.

But, I do not fret.  I have more hair on the top of my head than they do.  All of them, younger and older.  I giggle at the men who panic in the face of a receding hairline, and shave their heads, like PeeWee Herman: “I meant to do that!” 

In my mind, this makes everything even.

Now, the bad part.  God, in his infinite wisdom, decided that if He was going to bless me with a lifelong head full of hair, there would be a price to pay.

I also have skin like I was 17.  I’m 43 years old.  My mother told me, when I was in my early 20’s and my skin still hadn’t cleared up, “Don’t worry, it’ll clear up by the time you’re 30”. 

But, at this point in my life, it’s cool.  I’m not so self-conscious about it anymore.   If I had to choose between having a headful of hair and adolescent skin or being bald and having clear skin, it’s not even a contest.

I’m beginning to think that hair is tied to the self worth of men the way breasts are to women.  But then again, I could be wrong.  Most seem obsessed with being so skinny they no longer have breasts, which IMHO is a shame.  But maybe “skininess” is the physical characteristic women tie to self worth, as men do hair.

And in both genders, the tying of the biological to self worth is probably a societal construct.  I’ve had many women tell me that, although they’d never say so publicly, bald (not shaved) heads are turnoffs.  And men aren’t stupid, we pick up on this. 

The same probably goes for the women/weight connection.  Or the women/breast connection.  Men cannot help what they are attracted to, and women pick up on this.  But, I need to give it more thought.

I just think it’s weird that the two things I had always thought would change the most drastically with my body since adolescence never happened (at least not yet).

Screaming The Right Way

I went to the Colts/Titans game with Warrior, frequent Shoot The Moose commentor and musician extrodinare.  Here’s the funny thing.  The first time Diva Manning gets the ball, I start my usual screaming.  I mean, it’s what we do at LP field – we make a lot of noise and make the life of the opposing QB miserable.

Well, Warrior is not only an accomplished musician, he’s a voice coach.  It was the strangest thing: he corrected my form.  “From the top of the throat!” he says.  “Use your diaphram!” 

It reminded me of the Monty Python’s Holy Grail, when Arthur corrected Bedevere on his “Nee” technique.

I can tell you, we were the best sounding screamers in all of LP Field Sunday.

Happy Sanity Day!

A few weeks ago, I looked at my upcoming schedule, and I saw “Colts game” and “Emmys” on the same day. 

At that point, I was already near frazzled.  I’ve been basically working one full time and two part time jobs, along with keeping my house sort-of clean and cooking dinner.  I knew that another 16-hour day, on a Sunday no less, would probably be too much (yes, I know the Titans part is leisure, but it still involves having to be somewhere, and having to plan tailgating, etc).  I knew I’d be up late, the night before a work day.

So, I scheduled a sanity day today.

I’m the kind of guy that doesn’t take time off from work unless he’s taking a vacation.  I’ve been extremely fortunate that I don’t get sick very often.  So, I’m always at the maximum of accrued paid time off days. (My company, like most, combines sick and vacation time).  Needless to say, I’ve never taken a sanity day before.

I could get used to this.

I slept late.  I did some extra Ugly Betty blogging.  I cleaned the kitchen, while listening to the morning sports boys on 104.5 – I never get to hear them.  I went to the grocery store, and stayed under budget because there was no one there to impulse buy for.  I made lasagne.  La-freakin-sangne, on a Monday!  With homemade sauce. 

I got caught up.  It sure is nice.

Deep breath.  Now, I’m ready to do it again for another six weeks.  Back to the grind.  Work, church responsibilities, band responsibilities, blogging responsibilities are all calling, all at once.  Let the insanity begin anew!

Because I took a sanity day, I think Im ready to face it.  I highly recommend them.

Here We Go


Titans  vs Colts.

Emmy Awards.  I’ll be live blogging from about 4 – midnight over at Ugly Betty News.   Y’all come by tonight, and come by often – I’m going to have lots of pics, news, and commentary.  It’ll be a party!

I’ll rest tomorrow.

The A-Team

I absolutely love the A-team.  No, it wasn’t very good television (how can NOBODY get shot when machine guns are going off?).  But I love the idea of the A-Team.   I love the idea that you had a Mastermind, a Charmer, a Strongman Tinkerer, and an Impulsive Genius, tolerating each other, and using their strengths for the common good.  I was reminded of this recently.

you see, Ginger posted a rant that really spoke to me.  Recently, starting the day before 9/11/2007, there were preemptive mockings of what has become the “routine” for many of us on anniversaries of 9/11/01.  I won’t repeat her arguments here, it’s such a good read, it stands on its own.

But it reminded me of a truth I have discovered.  We humans have a really hard time comprehending people whose thinking/feeling process is different from our own.  Not the thoughts themselves, but the process to get there.  I am convinced that at least 70% of the worlds wars, crimes, abuses and subjugations come from our predisposition to say to The Different From Us: “Stop being like that!  Be like ME!”

Have you ever taken one of those quadrant personality tests?  You know Myers/Briggs, that sort of thing?  If you’ll remember, there are 8 “preferences”:

  • ISTJ – Introverted, Sensing, Thinking, Judging
  • ENFP – Extraverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Perceiving  
  • There are sixteen possible combinations of these. 

    Full disclosure (as if you didn’t already know): I am off the charts in the Sensing and Feeling functions.  In the Kiersey Temperments, I am a “Teacher” (Extroverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging) .

    One thing these tests tell us, especially when taken in a group setting, is that we all have trouble “getting” someone in an opposite quadrant.  We have a tendency to invalidate other ways of thinking/feeling.  For instance, we emoters sometimes will accuse those who lean more towards INTJ (“Mastermind”) as unfeeling cynics.  Conversely, those who are INTP (“Architect”), have a tendency to mock emoters like me as unthinking and immature or impulsive.  Most importantly, we have a tendency to look at an opposite personality and call it “wrong”.

    This is what happened last week, IMHO.

    Something they teach you in corporate management classes is something along these lines:

    There are only three ways to change the human personality: surgery, deep psychotherapy, and religious conversion.  Therefore, the personality you bring with you is the one and only one you have.  You are what you are.  This goes for your employees.  Therefore, do NOT judge/rate them on personality traits, but on specific behavior.

    In other words, when writing performance reviews, never say “Karen is too grouchy”; instead list specific occasions when Karen sewed dissension in the ranks.  You can’t do anything about Karen’s grouchiness.  She is what she is.  All you can control as a manager are specific actions.

    Now, management classes can teach this concept, and that goes a long way.  But I am convinced that this concept of “letting people be themselves” does not really set in until one has a second child.  Not that parents of one child, or those who are childless don’t understand the concept.  But it isn’t until you have a second child, totally different from the “baseline” you thought you had figured out for child behavior, and you discover over the years that the second child is not going to change magically into the other one, that you not only understand the concept, you feel it in its full force.

    But, I understand the temptation to try to force the world into our own personlity quadrant.  Take Aunt B, for example.  Sometimes she drives me crazy.  Not in being a liberal, or a feminist, or all those other things “left” of my own position.  I can understand how someone could inject their own education and life experience into analyzing life, and come away a political liberal.  Yet, sometmes, I want to grab her by her virtual shoulders, give her a little shake, and yell, “Stop overanlayzing EVERYTHING!!!!  You could overthink a ham sandwich!”.  As a backdrop, you must know that I try to forge through life without thinking too much.  This has served me well, because, like Forrest Gump, I jump into endeavors that scare other people to death because I just don’t it much thought.

    Yet, upon reflection I know it is that overthinking that makes Aunt B unique and wonderful.  She looks at issues and life in general from angles that never would have occured to me.  And although I might not come out of the analysis agreeing with her, am I not I better off for having the opportunity to think about something in an entirely new way?

    I know that many get irritated with me.  Many of my fellow emoters have no idea how on earth I could be a Republican.  Many more logical market-economy conservatives don’t quite know what to do with those of us of the “bleeding heart” variety.  I know I irritate many because, when looking at an issue, I’ll filter it through the prism of my own life.  I say “I” and “me” far too often for some.  I analyze things on how they make me “feel”.

    I do this when I look at things.  Including 9/11 .

    And it may be different from how you view things, but I don’t see how you could call it “wrong”.

    I only go into this in such depth, and I know I took an uncharacteristic scholarly tone (and not a very good one at that), for a reason.  I can see great things ahead for us all, if we could only look at others as the gifts they are.  Together, we could make an incredible team, supplementing each other’s strengths with our own.  Different ways of looking at the world within a team are strengths, not weaknesses.

    There is so much we could learn from th A-Team