Friday, February 6, 2015

Dreaded February

I have trouble with my birthday and I have thought about why.  Every year, February rolls around and I get antsy.  As I have said I am not a fan of February but my birthday in particular really sets me on edge.  It is not because I am another year older or that I do not like the attention.  I think I have broken it down into two reasons.

First Reason:  I have had a lot of disappointment on my birthday.  Having a birthday in an area that tends to get snow in winter can be a blessing for some as they love snow and enjoy snow days.  For me, I hated snow because it was often bad enough that I had several bday plans postponed or canceled because of inclement weather.  I remember birthday mornings where I bounced out of bed excited for the plans we had made.  I look out my see three to five foot snow drifts.  I moved to Texas thinking 'Ha!  Come and get me here snow!'.  I had a couple of iced out days but as an adult, you have more abilities to celebrate the way you want than as a kid so it wasn't too bad.  After getting married, my expectations changed and I am not sure why they did.  I guess I expected my immediate family to do more.  My 40th birthday was more disappointing than any as a kid.  It fucking sucked.

Second Reason:  Employment.  Looking back over my resume, I have lost three jobs and changed jobs twice on that dreaded month.  I am getting shell shocked to the point where the month draws near and I start to freak out.  It is distressing to hate an entire month of the year.

I realize this is all in my head.  I have complete control on whether or not I want this to affect me.  Like thousands of other things in life, we have total control on how they affect us.  I am ready to drop this stress but it is hard when it is reinforced almost every year.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Lonely Road of a Single Worker

For about five years now, I have slowly grown my skills with Microsoft SharePoint, my chosen career.  In my various jobs, I have been in an autonomous position directing my own time without peers and very little supervision.  This is already a condition I do not thrive in as I have challenges with time management and focus.  Being alone has other problems such as no one with which to collaborate.  When it comes to tasks, I have to generate, research, develop, debug and maintain them pretty much single handedly.  I have next to no support save my patient wife and my keen ability to Google solutions.  So for five years now I have been virtually alone doing a job that while I enjoy, is freaking hard.

I have been using SharePoint almost completely out of the box, meaning I have not developed any custom code or solutions; pretty much grab components and duct tape them together.  It is impressive what can be done with out of the box SharePoint but lately I have started to become dissatisfied with my results.  My ideas were out growing what SharePoint could do without customization so I started learning (again, pretty much no support) so I could generate more sophisticated solutions.  Today I can say I have achieved a milestone.  I developed a completely custom solution.  It is small and horribly written but it works and the results are pretty damn fancy.  I know I will be rebuilding it over the next few months but at least I have something that I can say I built from scratch and that feels pretty damn good.

What I need to do now is remember this victory.  There is so much to learn and I have no one but myself to support me but if I keep in mind that I CAN do it, I think the future could be easier.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Relearning and Abstraction

Through out my technical career, I have had many successes and rarely do I repeat failures.  Even so, there are two personal tendencies I have struggled with as far back as I can remember and that is Relearning (learning something I had forgotten) and Abstraction (divining new conclusions with existing data).

This one is quite frustrating because I unnecessarily spend time learning something I had already spent time on but just forgot, often due to not using the knowledge regularly.  Just the other day I spent several hours struggling with a technical issue that once I realized the failure, I remembered going through the same exercise a few months prior.

This is to be expected as human brains are fallible and memories entropy just like anything else.  Even so, it would be nice to mitigate this issue.

The skill to calculate new solutions and divine data from existing data is a powerful ability.  Classically Sherlock Holms is iconically realized as the master of deduction.  I certainly do not need to be this clever nor do I have the time to train myself to be, however there are times when I come up with a solution that I look at and think "I should have gotten there sooner".  For me, I believe the best way to combat this issue is to stop making things harder than they need to be.  Also, I tend to be a bit myopic when running down a line of thought.  I need to expand my thoughts when researching to connect data which could lead to finding solutions faster.

I believe getting past or mitigating these issues could help me become a better IT professional and certainly would reduce stress in my life.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Temporary permanence

Like anyone, I have wondered, studied and explored why the world is the way it is, specifically why people are the way they are.  It's one of those topics that is just too big.  Even so, I have an idea on why people are the way they are.


It is a matter of what we value.  Shelter, food, clothing.  We value these things as necessities.  We also have less tangible values such as wealth, social standing and fame.  All of this has been discussed before and I am sure you all have read very similar statements.  What is different about my idea then?

When was the last time you valued a Monday?  How about a cow?  What about that banana you had for a snack?  How about the person walking next to you in the cross walk?  Right now you might be wondering why I am asking about such mundane things and the fact that they appear mundane is the exact reason I am bringing them up.  Monday will come like it has since the creation of the calendar and because of its incessant nature, it has become noise in the background of our lives; something to make jokes about or to bemoan.  But if you think about it, that Monday had never been before and will never be again.  Everything that happened during that Monday will never happen again.  You will not see that Monday again, ever. That Monday is entirely and completely unique.  However, due to the repetition, it has been devalued.  Just another day.

Much can be said for the cow, the banana or the random person.  We no longer value these things because they appear ubiquitous, eternal, everywhere.  We see a cow and think it is the same cow even though it had never been and soon will never be again.  Same as the banana and sadly same as the person in the cross walk.

We believe in the permanence of temporary things and concepts.  We think that it will always be there.  We believe the world is immutable.  The only immutable concept is entropy which I suppose is ironic as that is what has happened to our ability value anything.  Entropy is the way of value in the eyes of humans.

Perhaps we have lost our ability to value the mundane.  Perhaps we never had it and still need to learn.  Perhaps we never questioned it because we believe we are immortal and it is only later in life that we realize we have missed the chance to appreciate.  Whatever the reason, people need to value other people, not because they are family, or a person that employees them, but because that person has never been and soon, never shall be.  Let us help make their existence a good one.

Rationally irrational

As I have aged, I have recognized times in my life where I have been loud, impulsive and irrational.  As I identify those moments, I keep them in mind because while I want to be passionate, I do not want to be ineffective with me ability to communicate or being believed.

That being said, what the hell is wrong with oil companies?!  Over the last few months, gas prices have slowly dropped.  Each week, drivers were delighted to see the price had dropped a penny or two.  If economists are to be believed, this is because demand has decreased, refineries do not have to work as hard and it takes time for the 'savings' to trickle down to the little people.

If that is the case, why can gas jump from $2.82 yesterday to $2.99 today.  It takes a week for the price to drop two cents but less than 24 hours for it to jump up 19 cents.  That is not economy, that is oil companies not being considerate enough to buy us dinner and give us a kiss on the lips before bending us over and giving us the shaft.

I have never argued that Capitalism should be fair but it damn well should be afraid of the masses getting tired of it's BS.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Revenant post

Rise!  Rise again, my pretty!  Shake off the clotted soil and expand into the nether beyond.  Muwahaha!

In an attempt to organize my thoughts, I have decided to revive this blog.  I hope to keep this lite, informative and entertaining but in the end, this is a place to spill my neurosis, observations and maybe the occasional rant.

I have also created a new blog for all things related to my current career of choice, SharePoint Architect.  The new blog can be found here.  My SharePoint blog will be technical and dry so if you are into that, cool otherwise feel free to skip it.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Yellowstone - late

Here are a few more pictures. These are completely unmodified so lighting and color balance may not be correct but they still look pretty good.

I learned much about taking pictures on this trip. As you can see I played with exposure timing and long range pictures. So much fun.