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Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Important, Big, Ridiculous Request

I am preparing a cover letter and resume for a company who has listed a marketing job that I want. Really want. The thing is that I am only marginally qualified on paper (ridiculously qualified when it comes to capacity to do the job), and, with your help, hoping to shore up one small shortfall: I need some LinkedIn recommends. The company that has posted the listing is hoping to find someone who has been recommended by others--and, like most every other social networking site, I generally ignore LinkedIn unless someone sends me a friend request.

So, back to the point: if those of you who know me, who are in my LinkedIn network, and who genuinely believe I am worth the effort, please do me a favor and give me a recommendation on the site. It’s one of those things that might make the difference between getting an interview and getting a brush-off.

Thanks.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Another Recession Casualty

It isn’t entirely finalized (the story is too specific for me to address it all here in public), but it looks like declining revenue is about to kill off one more job.

Mine, that is.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Zomby Wisdom

Over lunch today, I was talking about relationships with my co-workers. One of them, who had just gotten married about a month ago, went through relationship classes with his beloved before they were married--classes that were offered through their church and that were aimed at making sure that the couples were well-prepared for what marriage would hold for them. He was explaining something that he had learned about the reasons that men and women argue and fight in relationships. It was something about men needing respect and women needing love.

This overcomplicates things.

“I argue,” I explained, “because I’m right. She argues because she hasn’t yet realized that I’m right. Give her time.”

The consensus seems to be that I might need relationship classes.

On an entirely other note, this is the kind of wisdom you might be able to expect if I can manage to find the equipment, knowledge, time, and will-power to pull off a series of podcasts that I would like to put together. I’ll be looking to put that together after I return from vacation in a couple weeks--if you have any ideas or suggestions, let me know. I already have a few themes that I know I want to discuss, but I’m always open to new concepts.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Some Days…

Some days are, indeed, better than others.

On this day, June 14, 2009:

  1. Swiss discovered, unhappily, that another dog was using her sacred pooping grounds. Disappointment was greatly diminished by the gift of a Greenie.
  2. Colorado was blessed with more rain and temperate weather…
  3. ...along with an impressive thunderstorm, a little hail, and, probably another funnel cloud. Since last weekend, we’ve had something on the order of eight tornados touch down around the area.
  4. I spent a beautiful morning driving up to Golden Gate Canyon park near Golden, enjoying the lush scenery. There is a scenic overlook in the park where you have an amazing view of what seems to be the entirety of the Colorado Rockies. If you’ve never been to Colorado, when you do manage to take the trip you should spend half a day hiking some of the paths in the park and then drive up to the overlook. It is, undeniably, one of the most beautiful sights in the world. The pictures on the state site hardly do it justice.
  5. And in the park, in a small, very private ceremony, we were pronounced man and wife. And I kissed the bride.
  6. Wedding bouquet courtesy of the generous and kind MM.

bouquet

Monday, April 27, 2009

The Second Wind Fund

I got an email from a friend today telling me about the Second Wind Fund, an organization that is working to prevent teen suicide by ensuring that at-risk kids have access to counseling and therapy. It’s a great cause backed up by people who are committed to making a positive change in kids’ lives.

Organizations like this exist because of the generosity of folks like you and me. And while I’m not doing a fundraiser for the folks, if you happen to live in the Denver area, I would like you to know about this small organization that could always use volunteers and donors who believe in their cause. I personally prefer to give--both donations and time--to local charities because I trust them to run leaner and more effectively than the bigger charities (and don’t even get me started on the inefficiency of trusting the government for a handout). If you have that same instinct, check out their Web site to get an idea of who they are.

Thanks to BC (The Anonymous Tipster) for pointing the Second Wind Fund out to me. I might never have heard of them otherwise.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Sick Bastard

Shooting up a Unitarian church in the name of demented Christian fundamentalism?

An unemployed truck driver seething over liberalism told police he opened fire in a church last year because it harbored gays and multiracial families and he hoped others would follow his example.

Prosecutors opened their case file Thursday on Jim David Adkisson, 58, who pleaded guilty a month ago to killing two people and wounding six others at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church in Knoxville. The file includes interviews with investigators and a suicide note Adkisson left in his car.
[...]
“They just glory (in) these weirdos and sickos and homos,” he said in an interview recorded by investigators.

He also railed against the Unitarian Church: “That ain’t a church, that’s a damned cult,” Adkisson said.

The Knoxville church said in a statement Thursday that the congregation was still healing and that many hoped Adkisson would also “be healed of whatever motivated his actions.”

Adkisson walked into the church, pulled a sawed-off shotgun from a guitar case and fired into a congregation of about 230 people watching a children’s musical performance.

I suppose that’s Godly behavior if you’re an adherent of the Fred Phelps Church of the Inbred, Homophobic, Asshole, but for the rest of us it more resembles the real face of evil in the world.

Phelps, his followers, and bastards like Adkisson are going to have a lot to answer if God really does exist.

Read the story.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

I Doodle Because I’m Brilliant

Oodles of brainpower. That was almost my freakin’ nickname in high school. Probably. Unless it was “uber doodler,” which seems more likely in retrospect.

Experts said doodling stopped people from daydreaming, which was a more taxing diversion, and so was good at helping people focus on mundane tasks.

During the study, half of the volunteers were asked to colour in shapes on a piece of paper while they listened to a 2.5 minute telephone message.

The other half were left to their own devices while they listened. Both groups were told the message would be dull, the Applied Cognitive Psychology journal reported.

Afterwards, both groups were asked to write down eight specific names and eight places mentioned.

The doodlers on average recalled 7.5, while the non-doodlers only managed 5.8.

Eat my intellectual dust, non-doodlers.

Diggit.

Rocky Mountain News, RIP

I doubt that anyone in Denver--including the journalists and professionals employed by the Rocky--is surprised by the announcement, but the death of the Rocky Mountain News will still be sad to quite a few of us who have read and supported the paper throughout our lives. But today’s announcement of the closure of the Rocky Mountain News was a mere formality: the paper has been struggling for years and on life support for a few months now.

“Today the Rocky Mountain News, long the leading voice in Denver, becomes a victim of changing times in our industry and huge economic challenges,” Rich Boehne, CEO of Cincinnati-based Scripps (NYSE: SSP), said in a statement.

“The Rocky is one of America’s very best examples of what local news organizations need to be in the future. Unfortunately, the partnership’s business model is locked in the past.”

Scripps said that a possible buyer came forward before the Jan. 16 deadline set by Scripps for an offer, but that the buyer was “unable to present a viable plan” for operating the News.

Outside of any dispapointment, though, is the realization that no business plan lasts forever, and a 150 year run is nothing to sneer about. Newspapers have provided a valuable service to us and have been an important part of maintaining our freedoms. I’m a Republican, so seeing the gleefully critical press of the Bush years become the cheerleaders of the Obama years is blunting the sentimental side of me that wants to mourn the Rocky, but it is worth acknowledging the value of having a free press watching over our political class. They have been imperfect guardians and given to their own sometimes-hilarious follies, but that’s just describing people, isn’t it?

If this reads like a Dirge for the Passing of Journalism, there is a reason: freedom of the press has less and less to do with a press or with journalists with every passing month. Much of the old trade of journalism is dying and even the best known syndicated columnists are seeing their opportunities diminish with every newspaper closing, with every report of revenue and circulation drops, and with every regular joe who decides to get his news from somewhere other than nightly news and the morning paper.

And that’s fine. While old journalism dies, opportunities will open for the people smart and clear-eyed enough to see what’s coming next.

Goodbye, Rocky. I’ll miss you (but, then, I’ve been missing you for years).

Read the story.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Are You a Mine Operator?

This will be sticky for the next week.

Is there anyone out there reading this site who is, currently, an operator of a coal or hard rock mining operation (preferably in North America, but I’m willing to talk to people outside of NA, too) with expertise in haulage and loading? This is not aimed at folks working in the aggregates industry and it is not aimed at manufacturers or distributors (although you are invited to leave me a note too, as you might be able to help me in a different way). If you do fit that description, please leave a comment with a good email address as I have very specific set of questions that I need to ask.

I can’t elaborate any more than that here because I’m already perilously close to violating my own set of rules governing how I segment my business life from my blogging life, but this is important.

For regular readers who don’t fit that bill, please link this or pass it on to anyone who you think might fit what I’m looking for.

Thanks.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Stay Safe, Nathan

Our friend Nathan will be spending quality time in Iraq soon.

Stay safe, Nathan, and for your and your family’s sacrifices on behalf of the rest of us, thank you.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Some Weekends are Better Than Others

Darling girl had a bad weekend. A very bad weekend. While I don’t feel comfortable sharing her personal information--and won’t--with the class, I will say that I would appreciate it if those of you who are so inclined would keep her in your prayers and your thoughts.

Personally, I feel like I could use a drink. Which is usually a good sign that I shouldn’t have one.

And Wheels is in a tough spot, too. Keep him in your thoughts, too, and if you have any job leads that would suit him I’m sure that he would appreciate the leads.


Have a Drink

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Giving Thanks

I don’t do this every year, but this year I’m feeling extra thanks-y. For what am I thankful?

I am thankful that the war in Iraq has become something that the newspapers rarely put on the front page. The military and political situation has improved so dramatically over the last year that it is almost unbelievable. Here’s to Iraq and her future; I hope that it is bright, free, and friendly.

I am thankful for the 18 women who turned themselves in after being convinced that suicide bombings are not acceptable expressions of Islamic faith. I am thankful for the lives that have been spared and i hope we see more follow their example.

I am thankful for my darling girl who is patient and kind and wonderful. Even if she does try to bully me into snuggling with her while I’m busy writing my Thanksgiving day post.

I am thankful to be gainfully employed in a difficult economy. And I hope I stay that way.

I am thankful for the fact that I live in America where I have always had opportunities that throughout much of the rest of the world I would never have enjoyed. We are, in large part, a spoiled, pampered, and materially wealthy people--and, in large part, we have earned the wealth that keeps us fat and happy. Hopefully we won’t forget the work, the spirit, and the sacrifice that went into building our national riches and helped create our opportunities.

I am thankful, in the extreme, for my friends and their understanding of my quirks and my frequent silence.

I am thankful for the men and women who serve in our military with honor and dignity and for their families who often sacrifice more than anyone should ever be asked. What they do for the rest of us (and it is hard to explain just how important the term “serve” is to the grand majority of folks that I’ve known in the military--it isn’t just a word, it’s a philosophy of being that accepts that the highest calling is in service to something greater than one’s self) is nothing short of heroic.

I am thankful for the handful of people who still drop by to read this site.

I am thankful that I missed Rosie Live--and I’ll be more thankful still if her new show fails in a dramatic and newsworthy way. Which might be violating the spirit of Thanksgiving, but still…

I am thankful for good music. Of particular note this year are the Gutter Twin’s brilliant little EP, Adorata, Lizz Wright’s gorgeous album, The Orchard, and Wovenhand’s latest gospel gothic masterpiece, Ten Stones.

And, of course, I’m thankful for the extra two days off, the good food, and the extra football. Which almost goes without saying.

Update: I’m also thankful that someone wrote this post. Nicely done.

And more anti-Rosie sentiment hits a hight note for me, too.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Views of Kolkata: Hyatt Regency


Kolkata is overcrowded, filthy, and, sometimes, mighty smelly. It is loud, bustling with life, oddly complacent about its poverty, yet showing a heightened sense of entrepreneurial spirit at that lowest rung. And my first days, after being driven from the airport, were spent in impressive luxury--all of the rest of Kolkata was distant noise beyond the gates and walls.

The Kolkata Hyatt Regency is simply one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever enjoyed. The rooms are beautiful, the food often magnificent, the service irritatingly impeccable.

“Irritatingly?” you might ask. Indeed. While there is something nice about being treated well, I am, at heart, a regular guy. I like my bartenders funny and boisterous, in particular. The bar staff at the KHR were competent, the selection of fine alcohols was admirable, but it took a while to get them to let down a little. The first night was, “What would sir enjoy this evening?” The second night was, “Since sir enjoys vodkas, may I suggest Ciroc?” Which, incidentally, made me happy; I keep a bottle at home and it’s a remarkably smooth little drink. By the end of the second night, though, I had them explaining cricket, drawing me diagrams to punctuate their lessons, and then shocking me with their passion for the soap opera drama of US pro wrestling.

If I make the trip again, I’ll lobby to stay at the Hyatt again. It was a little like heaven, to be honest, even if it hardly conveyed the flavor of Kolkata. I’m not one to wallow in unrelenting trash and poverty, though; for those folks, other accommodations would be in order.

Clicking on the pictures will take you to Picasa. You can see the larger versions there.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Where’s Zomby?

After thinking I had dodged any bacterial or parasitic bullets that might be found in the tremendously clean and hygienic streets of Kolkata, I found that I was wrong. Wrong in a way that I have never been wrong before. Wrong in a way that, were I a smarter man, might have required hospitalization. Wrong in a way that felt a bit like a low grade nuclear weapon exploding in my small intestines and leaving me a mass of strange and disgusting expulsions of bits of me that I never knew existed. Or, at least, would never have guessed at their native colors.

At the peak of pain--perhaps six hours starting late Saturday and ending early Sunday morning--the nearly hourly expulsions from both entry and exit points left me exhausted and with a vivid sense of pain. My joints, eyeballs, stomach, and noggin were begging me for Advil--which I’ve been informed I’m not supposed to have.

The body is a strange and mysterious and brutally vulnerable thing, isn’t it?

After spending all of Friday and Saturday effectively dehydrating myself, I’ve spent the last two days trying to put some sogginess back in my body. With sadly mixed results.

On my last day of taking Zithromax, I’m hoping that I’ve killed off whatever it was that gut punched me over the last four days. If not then I killed off all sorts of good bacteria in a useless effort to make myself feel better.

You probably wanted a point, didn’t you? Here’s the point: sorry for the absence, but if I weren’t weakened from the illness, I would be weary from the lack of sleep. Unfortunately, I can’t seem to go more than three hours without an urgent need overcoming me--and then I find sleep a hard task.

I’ll be back soon with thoughts of India, America’s obtuse energy policy, and how much I look forward to our new Democrat overlords.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

It’ll Take You a Couple of Vodker and Tonics to Set You on Your Feet Again…

I’m off. For the next two weeks I shall be either playing on vacation or playing on a business trip to Kolkata. If you’re lucky, someone like Jerry will post here occasionally but, at least for the next week, I won’t have access to my computer or to my email.

I’ve voted and I’m pleased to say that I will be attending a show in India the night of the election--I will be watching with interest from afar, but glad to be spared the last minute political ads and calls that would otherwise have been bashing my brain about. In case you wondered what I had to say on the subject of voting, this post from way back in 2004 (the comments don’t work anymore, so, yeah...) is something that I still stand behind (except for typos, grammatical errors, and a slight change in the priorities).

I’ll miss you.

But whilst I’m gone, feel free to enjoy the silence.

Remember: 

Friday, September 12, 2008

We’ll Return to Politics Shortly. For Now, Let’s Talk About Ike.

I generally don’t pay too much attention to hurricane news--living in Colorado has left me fairly well insulated from worry. Ike grabbed my attention, though, because the company I work with has two events scheduled for the new future in the region. One, in Texas City, happens about four weeks from now and the other, in Baton Rouge, comes a little more than a month after that one.

No, I’m not mentioning names, industries, or events--I still work to keep my professional life separate from my personal life.

Anyway, watching the news over the last few days I’ve become a little obsessed with the path, the regional reactions, and the potential damage that the storm is going to do. Frankly, the size of the damned thing is terrifying and Brendan Loy’s warnings aren’t making me feel any better.

What is really bizarre to me, seeing the warnings from the National Hurricane Center in particular, is to hear that people are refusing to leave Galveston. Apparently “certain death” isn’t enough of a guaranty.

I’ll be watching the news tomorrow, hoping for a miracle, and hoping that some of our friends in the Gulf region are okay. Hell, I even hope the idiots who chose to ignore the warnings are all okay, too, although a little spanking wouldn’t hurt.

In a grand show of misplaced solidarity, I’ll also be dying into Sean Stewart’s wonderful Galveston. And I’ll be listening to Kenny Roger’s best song, too--although that’s just a personal, current preference and it has absolutely nothing to do with politics or hurricanes. “I just dropped in to see what condition my condition was in...”

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

This Would be Funny if it Weren’t So, You Know, Not Funny

At the request of an interested party I’m removing the bulk of this post. I’d give a long explanation, but that would probably defeat the purpose of pulling the post, wouldn’t it?

So, yeah, anyway…


Blogger Bash: Donkeys Over Denver Edition
August 28, 2008
Official Announcement to Come Tomorrow

In case you were wondering.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

My Sympathies

All I can do is offer my sympathies.

I don’t know why the decision went the way that it did, but I do know that it was a horrible decision.

I still owe you, buddy, but this doesn’t seem like the right time to write that particular post.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Congratulations

Congratulations and best wishes go out to two of my favorite people in the world, Beth and Matt, for the arrival of Lily. I’m sure she’s beautiful and I know she couldn’t have hoped for two better parents.

Friday, March 28, 2008

False Accusations as a Cautionary Tale

There are some takeaways from Think Progress’ discredited accusation of plagiarism against McCain, and they apply to more than just the folks at that site.

The first thing to learn is that searching Google for an answer shouldn’t qualify as due diligence when accusing someone of misdeed. In a comment on the post after it was learned that the accusation was completely wrong, 5th Estate had this to say:

The link provided in the update did not appear to show up in my specific Google search. I didn’t notice any link to McCain’s website in the returns I got from Google–they all appeared to be general blog posts and reiterations of the words relating to the latest Mar 29 2007 speech.

Now if you advance search the phrase, there are 371 links ( I just tried it). I guess I though checking 50 out of a hundred possible source constituted due diligence. Apparently not. I didn’t present my original research as irrefutable fact, but rather a high probaability that deserved further investigation.

I think that anyone who might imagine themselves to be a journalist (citizen or otherwise) might realize that doing a Google search isn’t enough when you’re accusing someone of plagiarism. After doing the initial checks, these folks should have called the McCain campaign and asked for an explanation. That might have saved a good bit of embarrassment.

The second thing to realize is that extreme partisanship and an urge to get the big story before someone else does leads to bad decisions. It was a bad decision to make these accusations before properly exploring the information and that’s a caution to all of us. This isn’t just about bloggers--the New York Times and the LA Times have had similar problems in recent months, which, to its credit, the LA Times owned up to their mistakes.

Drudge makes a living off of linking the “breaking” news before it’s been properly vetted--Edwards’ supposed affair leaps to mind--and writing often mildly misleading headlines for his links. With the exception of the traffic and the money, though, I don’t imagine most of us want to emulate him in the least. Unfortunately, when we try to get that big, shocking story first instead of getting it right, all we’re doing is a sort of long form of precisely the same thing that Drudge is doing. Or, if you prefer, we’re doing precisely what 60 Minutes did when it failed to properly vet the documents and sources of the accusations in the Bush - Texas Air National Guard story that it ran in 2004.

I know I’ve been caught at least once saying something that I later had to retract, but that was during the last presidential election cycle. When I wrote a few articles for publication this year--the ones I actually got paid for, although unfortunately for a publication that doesn’t seem to have survived--I did everything I could to get the story right even to the point of leaving out certain things when I couldn’t find documentary evidence to support what I thought I knew. It weakened my story in one instance, but I knew that I wouldn’t have to apologize for something that proved to be incorrect.

What Think Progress did was to make an easy mistake. To their credit, the people involved have apologized and taken responsibility, but mistakes like this damage credibility. I’m trying to internalize this lesson so that I don’t have to find myself in their place, apologizing for something because I was too eager to get the story up and not eager enough to find out if my words were correct.

As an aside, for the first time in a couple years, I picked up a Sunday Denver Post a few weeks ago. I was shocked at just how slim, just how truly bad, the newspaper had become. All the talk of the demise of newspapers finally hit home and I realized it was true: newspaper journalism is dying a slow death in the United States. This made me wonder a couple things

First, where will people be getting their news ten years from now? Consolidated regional newspapers instead of local papers? Fragmented TV news at the local level? Blogs and talk radio (I shudder at the thought)? News Web sites that don’t carry the same financial burdens as their print counterparts and are able to react more quickly to breaking news? Or do most Americans just want to tune out, go to work, and vote their biases without having to think too much about the process?

Second, where will all the journalists go? The job opportunities in traditional journalism must be shrinking drastically right now. I’d hate to be in that field; it has to be something like being an autoworker in Detroit right now. Ugly.

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