Archive for the ‘Random’ Category

Finish What I Started

March 22nd, 2011 No comments

I graduated high school in 1992. I had desire, passion and a goal. I wanted to be a college professor. The only thing I considered was where I’d teach. Graduating, getting a few advanced degrees and becoming a professor were all forgone conclusions. If only life had played out as it did in my head.

The list of schools I applied to was very short. I remember getting into all of them, but that could be hindsight and hubris talking. I’m pretty sure it isn’t though. My first choice was DePaul University in Chicago. I loved their computer science program. I loved the idea of living downtown. I loved the idea of being in the city. To say I was excited would be a gross understatement of how happy I was.

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Categories: Random, Uncategorized Tags: , , ,

When I Grow Up

February 21st, 2011 3 comments

Recently, I mentioned on Twitter that I’ve figured out what I want to be when I grow up. A few people asked for more detail about that particular tweet. One hundred forty characters isn’t nearly enough room to clarify.

For the vast majority of my life, I’ve maintained a singular goal that I want to be a college professor. I have gone back and forth on which subject I wanted to pursue. Would it be math or physics? Maybe I’d teach computer science. I’d be completely satisfied with any of those choices. I took a few years away from school to live life and pay bills. A few years ago, I went back to school online to restart my computer science degree. While going through the motions, I didn’t have a passion about the process. I was studying computer science because it relates tangentially to my profession. Beyond that, I didn’t care and I stopped taking classes.

A week and a half ago, I was talking with Marie when Imentioned in passing that I should study sociology. I was being flippant. Who on Earth wants to spend their days teaching in the Liberal Arts wing of a university and how silly would it be for someone that professes a general loathing for people to study sociology? We had a good giggle and carried on about our day.

Turns out that the idea has stuck with me. I’ve been thinking about it constantly. I think I now know what I want to do when I grow up and actually start living life. My attitude about people in general is less about them and more about my social anxieties. I really enjoy thinking about why people do things. In my corporate life, I’ve always been more interested in the dynamics of a meeting more than the outcome of the meeting. The more I think about this life path, the more I like the idea.

Incidentally, it also means I can go back to DePaul and finish the degree I started 20 years ago. I love the idea of coming full circle and finishing what I started. As I go through the process, I’ll make sure to write about the journey here. In a few years, I’ll be able to write the blog entry announcing I am graduating. I look forward to that.

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ABCs of Me

February 18th, 2011 No comments

The ABC’s of Me (My second try, first was a copy/paste fail!)

A) Age: 36

(B) Bed Size: California King

(C) Chore You Hate: Yes

(D) Dogs? Jack – Border Collie

(E) Essential Start Your Day Item: waking up (i have no ritual)

(F) Favorite Color: Red

(G) Gold or Silver? ugh.. Gold. (my wedding band is titanium)

(H) Height: 5’8”

(I) Instruments You Play: I can play Guitar Hero, not well.. but I can.

(J) Job Title: Mentoring Consulting Engineer

(K) Kids: 3ish – 16 yr old niece that lives with us, 5 year old step daughter, 9 month old daughter.

(L) Live: Oswego, IL

(M) Mom’s Name: Kathie

(N) Nicknames: Sam, Hey Guy, Hey You

(O) Overnight Hospital Stays? Tonsilectomy when I was 8 or 9

℗ Pet Peeve: There aren’t enough words.. so I’ll go with chewing with your mouth open.

(Q) Quote from a Movie: “I don’t know what your situation is but I wanted you to know what mine is not just to explain some rude behavior, but because we’re on a little boat for a while and… I’m soul sick. And you’re going to see that.” ~ Joe Versus The Volcano

(R) Right or Left Handed? Right.

(S) Siblings: 1 Older sister.

(T) Time You Wake Up? Depends on the day and the gig. Between 6 and 830am.

(U) Underwear: Boxers

(V) Vegetable You Dislike: Asparagus

(W) What Makes You Run Late: My eternal desire to procrastinate

(X) X-Rays You’ve Had Done: My wrists have been x-ray’ed more times than I can remember

(Y) Yummy Food You Make: A stuffed pork loin.

(Z) Zoo, Favorite Animal: Meerkat

Categories: Random Tags:

Lots of thoughts.

February 8th, 2011 No comments

In the past 48 hours, I’ve started quite a few blog posts. Most of them ended up being rambling messes. Some shifted focus pretty severely. None of them felt like the should be posted anywhere. I have a million thoughts in my head. No matter how many times I edit the entries, I’m still critical of them.

Of course, I could just post the pile of mostly edited unfinished blog entries.

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No.. We could really do without the funk.

February 7th, 2011 No comments

Woke up this morning in a funk. Slept a bit later than I have been recently. Wandered down to my office and said good morning to the kids on the way.  Thought I had a mid-morning call which would leave me plenty of time to finish a document I had been working on. Turns out, the call was scheduled for 10 minutes after I woke up.

2 hours later, I emerged from my office. Definitely in a funk.

I’ve spent quite a number of days at home over the past few weeks. Between a local engagement and weather problems causing me to avoid Dallas last week, I’ve been enjoying being a stay-at-home dad. Waking up in the morning when the wife heads off to work to snuggle with the baby. Being home at night to give the baby her bottle while she passes out. Being able to play Wii with the 5 year old from time to time. All of the creature comforts of my office.

Today? I go back to the reality of my job. The car service picks me up in an hour. I’ll spend the afternoon and evening travelling to Austin, TX. (Which according to American Airlines wasn’t part of the U.S. this morning.) Three nights in a hotel before flying home Thursday evening. My job affords me wonderful flexibility, great opportunities to travel and the cash doesn’t hurt bad. Some days, I’d rather stay home and see my little ones learn something new.

Categories: Family, On the Road, Random, Work Tags:


February 4th, 2011 3 comments

I should be writing a document for work, but I’m not. I’m writing a blog post which will largely be about nothing. I put a new shrinking me post up yesterday and resolved to wake up every day committed to being better. Two days in, I’m doing well. Two days is far better than I’ve recently been.

I’ve also been thinking quite a bit about readership and blog stats. With any given post, I post a link on twitter, tumblr and sometimes FB. My readership peaked at 35 eyeballs a month or two ago. Between posts, my readership dwindles to nothing, as expected. I have a few hundred followers on twitter and a hundred more unique followers on facebook. 35 is pretty sad and makes me wonder why I do this. I appreciate the comments on my blog when they appear, I truly do.

I think where this post is headed is that I’m going to play a quick game. Between tumblr and rss readers, I’m going to see where my blog stats end up tomorrow. I’m not cross posting this to twitter or facebook. I predict that my blog will see 5-10 visitors tomorrow. We’ll see how my prediction holds.

Back to procrastinating. I think my next blog post will deal with my obsession with Google Analytics.

Categories: Random, Shrinking Me Tags:

Snow Day!!

February 2nd, 2011 No comments

For kids, it means no school. For a homeowner? It means digging out and moving tons of snow.  The blizzard of 2011 was pretty impressive. 50+ MPH winds. THUNDERSNOW!!! Snow drifts that are taller than nearly everyone in the house. I really enjoyed this snow storm. It managed to keep me from flying to Texas on Tuesday morning, which worked for me. I was able to be home with the family during the snow storm.  Here are a few pics of the day after around the house.

40 Bucks

January 18th, 2011 1 comment

If you don’t have time to invest in reading this, come back later. I’ll warn you now, it’s a long read.

If you believe there are infinite universes, one of them is exactly like Joss Whedon’s Firefly universe. This means somewhere, Shepherd Book said “I don’t care what you believe in, just believe in something.” It’s also written on the back of my iPod Touch in this universe. It’s simple, to the point and i full agree with it. Each of us believes something a little different. There’s nuance to faith. Sometimes that includes having no faith and choosing to be very literal about the world around us and our place in it. Whatever your understanding of our place in this world is, pick a lane and follow a few simple rules.

I choose to believe there’s a purpose behind all of this and I choose to play my part in it. A random event is just that. Random. Multiple events that have a common thread could be random but I find that highly unlikely. Let me take you back to Saturday in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

Marie (@dylissia) and I had a bit of cash left over from our shore excursion we took while on our cruise. This money was spoken for. We were going to spend it on trinkety crap or some novelty item on our tours to bring home to the kids. Maybe we were going to spend it all on post cards for our crazy family and friends. Maybe we’d find a massage parlor in Puerto Vallarta. Who knows? The point is that we anticipated this money having been spent. For whatever reason, it was still in our pocket after our last day in port. It was burning a hole there.

Saturday morning, we decided to blow $60 of what we had left in the casino on the ship. I’d take $40 to the roulette table with our coupons that gave me an extra $5 dollars on any $5 or more bet if I were to win. Marie decided that the slot machines were a good place to make her $20 donation.

I sat down with $40 and worked my way up to $60 after a few carefully placed (read: entirely random) bets. I was feeling pretty good about myself and decided to be a bit more adventurous with my winnings. Stop me if you’ve heard this before. Next thing I know, I’m down to $26 from my original $40. Apparently my skill at random guessing games wasn’t crisp anymore.

I took a stab at making my money back and put $13 on black. Next thing I know, I doubled my $13 and made it back to $39. I sat out a few spins to study the table and take the opportunity to calculate how the numbers were coming up. This board seemed to have a pattern. Thirteen came up three times in nine spins. Three!! After careful consideration and calculation, I placed another $13 on black. Winner Winner Chicken Dinner, I was up to $52. I was on a roll. I’d doubled my money in two bets. I was high. I was going to beat the house and earn back all the money we’d spent on the cruise. So, I cashed out and left the table lady a $2 tip.

After piling all of our remaining cash together, we doled out tips to the ship staff that helped us throughout the week and Marie put the remaining $43 in my wallet. We were leaving the ship and needed some cash for the porters at the dock and the cabbie for the ride back to the airport.

Our ship departure was a bit odd compared to what we’re used to. The port at San Pedro had an issue with Customs which caused a delay in getting off the ship. This led to the port terminal and luggage area being nearly completely empty by the time we made our way off the ship. We didn’t need a porter. No tip required. The money remained in my wallet.

We intended on splitting cab fare to the airport with Scott and Marc but it was easier to put the cab fare on a credit card. Again, no cash tip was required. The money remained in my wallet.

This post is already long so I’ll spare you the complaints about lunch at the airport. Suffice it to say, we spent nearly 80 minutes getting food at On The Border in LAX. Chips, Salsa, Queso, a pair of Diet Cokes, a burrito and an enchilada. Most of the time, we can’t catch a breath when they’re bringing our drinks, appetizer and meal. Their goal is to shuttle people in and out. Not Sunday at LAX. We waited. Seemingly, we waited forever.

At one point, Marie asked if i just wanted to drop the $40 in the jacket and leave. The bill was $39.80 something and I didn’t feel like leaving a tip because of the service. We waited a while longer for old man waiter to retrieve my credit card and return with the slip. Again, the $40 remained in my wallet.

This money should have been gone. This money was spent at least five times over. On shore. In the casino. At the pier. In the cab. At the airport. For whatever reason, I found a reason to pass on buying more souvenirs, tip a porter or cabbie, walk away from the table or find a different way to pay.

Fast forward five hours. We’re nearly home. We’re standing at O’Hare with our bags. We’ve called our car service to come pick us up at the baggage claim area. While waiting for our car, a woman walked by and asked if we were going to Rockford, IL. We weren’t. It is a few hours in the wrong direction. I watched as she walked down the length of the baggage claim area asking people as she went.

I asked Marie to ask her if she’d considered the bus to Rockford while I waited with the bags for our car. It seems she tried but her card was declined. So I sent Marie back again to find out how much the bus service to Rockford was. $22. So, we wandered over to find her a third time and since it was sitting in my wallet, I handed her $22, told her to get home and be safe. She thanked us for the money, cried a bit and then walked back to the bus terminal. Marie and I turned around to see our car service pulling up.

I have no idea if she made the bus. I hope so. If she just wanted money, she’d have asked for five bucks. She asked for a ride. I have faith that she needed a way home, not a collection of cash. She needed a way home. We didn’t exchange information or provide any way of following up with each other. I didn’t quite care to do that. I wasn’t loaning her money. I was giving her money. Marie and I hopped in our car and headed home. I’m hopeful the woman made it home safely too.

Being away from home sucks. Being close to home with no way of getting there sucks even more. If any of the chances I’d been given to spend the money worked out differently, I wouldn’t have had any money to help. I’d have spent the evening wondering if the woman made it home.

As I said, I choose to believe there is a purpose in this life. I believe there is a reason for what happens in our life. Good, bad or ugly. Sunday night, someone needed to get home.

Categories: On the Road, Random Tags:

It’s been a while

January 16th, 2011 No comments

Loaded the wordpress app on my iPad and realized I hadn’t posted anything since before the new year. Big surprise, I’ve been slacking. If I thought new years resolutions mattered, I might make one about posting more often. Since i think they’re silly, I’ll simply resolve to post this entry and try to post again soon.

Waiting at lax to board a flight home to chicago. Really loved the 7 night Mexican cruise and the wife has already put a deposit down on our next cruise. A 7 night itinerary to the western Carribean. That should be a bunch of fun, even though the sea day starts the cruise. I like having a day of relaxation before returning to port. Island hopping will have to suffice.

Had more fun than expected with my brother-in-law and his partner. Taught everyone how to play spades. Took tons of pictures, most of which are not for public consumption. Had great food every night. Made 12 bucks in the casino a roulette. Went whale watching and got a number of excellent pictures of the whales. Saw sunset over the pacific a few times and can’t wait to do it again.

I’ll save critiques for the week for another day. On the bright side there a only a few.

Categories: On the Road, Random Tags:


December 23rd, 2010 3 comments

Over the past few months, I’ve written blog entries more often than I ever have. Most of the time, they’re random stories about things I observe in the world or they’re about my family. Sometimes they’re nonsense entries that make me laugh or they come from realizing something about myself. Regardless how the entries come into being, I recently noticed a trend in my blog entries that can’t be said of bloggers I know around the internet.

With great anonymity and limitless publishing power, blogs have become increasingly negative. It seems the more blogs I read, the more I find bitter and angry thoughts. From time to time, these angry posts are well written. More often than not, it’s just angry and frustrated rambling about nonsense. I suppose everyone needs an outlet.

Beyond blog entries, the internet is a vile and foul place. I’m surprised I’ve survived for so long living in it. I may be slightly off and I may have a dark side, but it isn’t on display all over the internet. My tweets and my status updates aren’t nasty or virtiolic. They’re just things I’d normally say out loud in public. More to the point, they’re things I’d be willing to actually say to another human being.

All of these words to say that I’ve finally figured out what my Christmas wish is this year. I’d wish that people find a place a peace inside themselves and stop living bitter or angry lives.

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