Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Discover your strengths

I read the book Now, Discover Your Strengths a couple of years ago with my mentor at work. As part of that, you actually take a test to help reveal your strengths. The results have come up in discussions at work and with friends (I guess a lot of people are reading the book now), so I thought I would post my top five characteristics.

Input People strong in the Input theme have a craving to know more. Often they like to collect and archive all kinds of information.

Learner People strong in the Learner theme have a great desire to learn and want to continuously improve. In particular, the process of learning, rather than the outcome, excites them.

Command People strong in the Command theme have presence. They can take control of a situation and make decisions.

Context People strong in the Context theme enjoy thinking about the past. They understand the present by researching its history.

Strategic People strong in the Strategic theme create alternative ways to proceed. Faced with any given scenario, they can quickly spot the relevant patterns and issues.

The in-depth descriptions line up even more with me. This is one of the few tests I've taken where it wasn't more of a feeling of "That kind of describes me, I guess. Couldn't anybody say they felt that way at least some of the time." Nope, this is right on. As proof, the top two results have to do with learning. No surprise, as I have long said that if I won the lottery, I would just go to school full-time and get a bunch of degrees in a variety of subjects that I enjoy. That would be a lot of fun to me.


My right wrist recently really (secretly I enjoy alliteration) started to hurt with the dreaded signs of Carpal Tunnel syndrome, the nemesis of computer workers everywhere. Since I already use a natural keyboard, my next step was to switch to using my mouse left handed for the past two or three weeks. While this does seem to be helping, I think it makes me more tired at the end of the day, because I am just left hand stupid. It's not a problem for reading e-mail or that kind of thing, but any highlighting or dragging and dropping just becomes a chore.

Public service announcement: I am not a Cystic Fibrosis carrier.

We have had about four days of rain since arriving in Texas in March 2005. This drought has forced McKinney to Level Three Water Restrictions. Essentially this means you can only water your lawn on trash day, and any water bill going over 10,000 gallons a month will be hit with a 25% surcharge. In our house, we've taken it a step or two beyond that, however. For example, we (and here "we" is more correctly used to indicate something my wife is really excited about and I go along with) now use a bucket to collect the water that runs through the shower while you are waiting for it to warm up and use that to water flowers and plants in the front yard. With something satisfying twin goals of cheapness AND environmental friendliness, my wife is an unstoppable force.

Bumper sticker I saw on the way to work a few days ago: God Bless John Wayne

Number of days I helped people move in the last week: 3
Items broken or banged up:0
Injuries to my person: 3 (scraped up hand, bruised shoulder, re-re-sprained my ankle - I actually did the first re-sprain by running into the wall playing racquetball. Similar to how I separated my shoulder in college. Walls are dangerous.)

Nights I got together with friends to watch the Mavs play only to realize there was no game that night:1 - Although I had seen about 400 statements that the game was on Sunday, apparently every time my brain translated that into Saturday. Oh well.

We've made the decision to put granite in our kitchen, to replace the lovely Formica that you've seen featured in several pictures (see here and here) on this blog, as I like to use part of our counter as my display area.

Days between my initially starting this post and actually publishing it online: 14

Thursday, June 08, 2006

Who feels like bursting into song?

Those of us who feel like a lonely voice in the wilderness crying out against grammatical sins can find friendly solace in this list of the 10 Flagrant Grammar Mistakes That Make You Look Stupid. I could not agree more, and they listed one of my top pet peeves at number 1! Here is the complete list from the article.

#1: Loose for lose
No: I always loose the product key.

Yes: I always lose the product key.

#2: It's for its (or god forbid, its')
No: Download the HTA, along with it's readme file.

Yes: Download the HTA, along with its readme file.

No: The laptop is overheating and its making that funny noise again.

Yes: The laptop is overheating and it's making that funny noise again.

#3: They're for their for there
No: The managers are in they're weekly planning meeting.

Yes: The managers are in their weekly planning meeting.

No: The techs have to check there cell phones at the door, and their not happy about it.

Yes: The techs have to check their cell phones at the door, and they're not happy about it.

#4: i.e. for e.g.
No: Use an anti-spyware program (i.e., Ad-Aware).

Yes: Use an anti-spyware program (e.g., Ad-Aware).

Note: The term i.e. means "that is"; e.g. means "for example". And a comma follows both of them.

#5: Effect for affect
No: The outage shouldn't effect any users during work hours.

Yes: The outage shouldn't affect any users during work hours.

Yes: The outage shouldn't have any effect on users.

Yes: We will effect several changes during the downtime.

Note: Impact is not a verb. Purists, at least, beg you to use affect instead:

No: The outage shouldn't impact any users during work hours.

Yes: The outage shouldn't affect any users during work hours.

Yes: The outage should have no impact on users during work hours.

#6: You're for your
No: Remember to defrag you're machine on a regular basis.

Yes: Remember to defrag your machine on a regular basis.

No: Your right about the changes.

Yes: You're right about the changes.

#7: Different than for different from
No: This setup is different than the one at the main office.

Yes: This setup is different from the one at the main office.

Yes: This setup is better than the one at the main office.

#8 Lay for lie
No: I got dizzy and had to lay down.

Yes: I got dizzy and had to lie down.

Yes: Just lay those books over there.

#9: Then for than
No: The accounting department had more problems then we did.

Yes: The accounting department had more problems than we did.

Note: Here's a sub-peeve. When a sentence construction begins with If, you don't need a then. Then is implicit, so it's superfluous and wordy:

No: If you can't get Windows to boot, then you'll need to call Ted.

Yes: If you can't get Windows to boot, you'll need to call Ted.

#10: Could of, would of for could have, would have
No: I could of installed that app by mistake.

Yes: I could have installed that app by mistake.

No: I would of sent you a meeting notice, but you were out of town.

Yes: I would have sent you a meeting notice, but you were out of town.

Saturday, June 03, 2006


This is exactly the kind of cheesy thing we don't need! I left off the name of the church, because I'm sure they are well intentioned so I don't want to smear their good name, but FRANtastik "God Power"??? Come on! This is along the same lines as the t-shirts from a few years ago that twisted brand names into fun Christian slogans. Oh great, a little Internet search has revealed that the t-shirts live on.

The top one, where they've taken the "Budweiser, King of Beers" slogan and turned it into "GodWiser, King of Kings", is the one that really stood out in my memory as an egregious example, but Saviorade is running neck and neck it with now. Augh! I just want to note that this is not a diatribe against Christian t-shirts or fliers in general, but rather ones that are cheesy, uncool knockoffs of pop culture. Maybe I'm overly sensitive on this, but if we really believe in an all-powerful, omniscient, omnipresent God, doesn't it seem almost demeaning to be reducing Him to fitting into a copied advertising slogan? Not to mention saying very little for our creativity as Christians.

While looking for these t-shirts, I actually found an article making a similar point to mine. This not to say I agree with everything in the article, but I think the selection below is stated well.
The problem with these carbon-copied Christian acts is the problem that plagues all Christian versions of "secular" products: they'’re copying something that isn't any good to begin with. A Christian boy band aping the showy banality of 'N Sync is only doing Christianity and Christ a disservice by placing his message in a soulless, superficial context. A shirt that uses Mountain Dew'’s logo to advertise Jesus is, in essence, selling out one of the few people in the history of existence who would never sell out. Perhaps Christian marketers will eventually give it up and start trying to do things differently than the rest of the industry does. Changing the word "Pepsi" to the word "Jesus" doesn'’t count as "in the world, not of the world." Maybe someday instead of parodies or trite slogans, we'’ll see more straightforward Christian T-shirts with nothing but plainly inscribed Bible verses and no colorful fanfare.
I think I'm going to be working the phrase "showy banality" into my everyday usage.


Probably not a surprise to most readers of this blog, but I'm going to be a Dad. We had the first ultrasound today. It's hard to make too much out at this point; we're still pretty early here at 9 weeks. I was impressed by the ultrasound lady's ability to identify head and bottom in the pic above. On the other hand, how would we know if she were wrong? Anyway, until now it felt sort of dreamlike that we were having a baby, because there wasn't anything tangible to latch onto, other than a slight bulge in my wife's belly and her needing to sleep 12+ hours a day. Now it feels more real to actually see the pic and especially to hear the heartbeat. There's definitely somebody in there. Wonderful and terrifying at the same time. Being a Dad is a big responsibility, and I'm just a couple of years removed from making random trips to Reno at 3 AM on a Tuesday and keeping myself awake at work the next day via intravenous Mountain Dew. I guess maybe the times won't change so much, only the reason I'm up at such a weird hour. I can only really compare my feelings to when I first left school and started working at HP - excited about the new opportunity and because you know you will learn and grow, but wondering on the inside if you're really up to the task. Only multiply that times one thousand.

Thursday, June 01, 2006


I just saw someone walk out of a stall in the restroom after pooping and NOT WASH HIS HANDS. Straight out the door! Isn't this the one thing left in the world that everyone can agree is wrong? Slowly...losing....all...hope....