Last weekend while I sat in Church, a little girl behind me spent her time slowly tearing the bulletin into tiny pieces. I am sure that her parents thought that this at least kept her quiet, but the sound of it over and over again made the hairs on the back of my neck stand up for most of the service. I wasn’t annoyed with her it is just that sound does something to me. Similarly, I was in a long meeting today and had brought my protein bar with me to make sure I could make it through the meeting. I was trying to open it very slowly as to not make a bunch of noises or be distracting when the guy sitting next to me whispers, “just open the thing”! Sorry, I thought I was being kind when what I was really doing was annoying everyone around me! We all have those blind spots, the things we do, not maliciously but because we don’t know they bug others. Some of them we do to our mates. Hopefully, your most annoying habits are ones that don’t annoy the ones closest to you! That way you can keep on doing them without much consequence, otherwise they are going to have to go!
Now that all my children are off in college, I don’t get to use all my favorite “Dad” jokes. You know what I am talking about, all the jokes you use every time your kids say something some or the repetitive things they say like, I’m hungry. My reply would be “nice to meet you I am Bob. At a minimum, it would be met with an eye roll and a drawn out “Daddddd”! I love that response, it was one of my joys. I am having to figure out different scenarios in which I can use them. So far I haven’t found any good ones for my favorite about the difference between a pizza and (put whatever profession or college degree you want here). The answer, of course, is “a pizza can feed a family of five” This only works if your children are going for degrees in physiology or something equally as unemployable. This does not work however for my daughter who is working toward an engineering degree. The only one I can use would be about having her choice of men who have no idea how to talk to her. None of these work on fellow employees, which means my whole repertoire needs to be revamped. Perhaps I can move on to computer or food jokes!
I am one of the frozen chosen! When the music leader at church asks for us to raise our hands mine do not make it above my midsection. I am uncomfortable with some of the outward displays at church and don’t even get me started about when they bring out dancers during the service. I am not saying any of it is wrong, I know this says more about me than it does about others who partake. When I was in high school at the Catholic Church we went to an older woman who would dress up with multicolored scarves on her head and would beat on a tambourine adorned with the same scarves during the worship. While I was mortified by her in my youth and I am sure others felt similar but she was never removed from a service like the lady in the story I read this morning. In Edmond, Oklahoma a woman was tased and pepper sprayed because she was playing the tambourine too loud during a church service. She was asked to stop when she wouldn’t cops were called and when she tried to run away from the cops back into the service she was taken down by the cops. I’m sorry that this makes me laugh, I would have loved to have been there. Somehow tasing the tambourine lady seems justified or maybe just satisfying to my mind. I think of her as taking one for the team of all the fellow tambourine enthusiast I have ever seen. Now if we can figure out how to pay back the cowbell crowd my smile will be complete!
When you look at technology advancements you don’t always see all the questions that have to be answered. It isn’t always known what will happen when people start using new tech or that all the issues that arise once a product is in the market are thought of. Some are unintended but very positive. Take for example the iPad. No one foresaw how people with special needs would be able to use these for therapy and communication tools. Before the iPad communication devices cost thousands of dollars and had very few apps. Now you can do just about anything. I just saw an article which blew my mind around self-driving cars and what is a scenario which has to be figured out before they can really be let loose on the roads. http://www.technologyreview.com/view/542626/why-self-driving-cars-must-be-programmed-to-kill/
The dilemma is if the car is met with a no win scenario how does it choose the least damaging option. The thought of this is mind boggling! The car much be programmed to figure out the least loss of life. Within the scenario must be some consideration for the both those in the car and those outside of it. What if killing the people in the car is the better choice? This is where in my mind futuristic stories of artificial intelligence gone haywire come up. For pure logic to be applied to this worst case scenario the owners safety must be only one of the options not the primary one. I would have never thought about this but I am glad I am not in charge of figuring this out.
Like the book 1984 trying to predict the future is always a crap shoot. Obviously they took a guess as to what the future would look like thinking that it was so far ahead that most of the things would never be looked at for real accuracy. It was a movie not soothsayers predicting what would happen. Funny thing is some science fiction has influenced the future. The original star trek had the auto open doors and we have them today. Something’s we wish we had. Hover boards and time machines would be awesome but everyone going back in time and taking selfies with famous people would give up the secret pretty quick. Somethings could never have been predicted, like buying an almanac? You would just google the results. Besides if he had invested in Apple, HP or Microsoft he would have gotten richer and been able to sustain his income over a long period of time. Building a casino over building office space in some big city where you could charge massive amounts for rent. Casinos are losing money these days. It is fun today to look back and see what we thought the future would look like. Too bad we don’t have the time machine to go back and change some of the not so bright things we have done since the movie came out. Unfortunately we are stuck with our choices!
A few days ago I had a huge hankering for a Sausage McMuffin with egg. These things are one of my weaknesses, they taste so good and are so greasy, nothing says fat like one of those except maybe two. So before work I drove to the local McDonald’s. This is one of the really busy ones so the drive through is always packed. It is one where you get in one line but as you get close you have to decide which line to get into. So I looked at the people in front of me and figured out which line was moving faster. After you order you get back in one line to go pay and pick up your order. I am amazed that most of the time they get the order right even after all the car shuffling and posturing to get back in line. Just to make sure you get the right order I always check before I pull out so I don’t have to stop and go inside or go around in that line again. So I inched my way around paid at the first window and then inched more till I was up to front. I was fiddling with my wallet so I didn’t notice the girl at the window until I heard the window open for her to hand me my food. When I turned I was surprised that in her hand was a large vanilla ice cream cone she was trying to hand to me. I was faced with a dilemma, it wasn’t what I ordered, but it looked good. Ice cream at seven am? It must have been the look on my face that told her that wasn’t what I ordered, she pulled back and said. “You must be this one” and handed me a small bag with my breakfast inside. As I pulled out I could not help but look in my rear view at the person behind me pulling up to the window and admire their breakfast choices. Perhaps it wasn’t the most healthy breakfast choice for them but I sure liked their style.
Have you seen those “where are they now” ads on websites. They usually are for child stars from shows when I was a kid or one hit wonders who we watched on MTV and then never heard of again. Some of them are entertaining some are really sad. You find out a beloved character was played by someone who is now dead or in jail. Some of them are a surprise that they are doing well but it seems they are the few that make it into adulthood without totally losing their mind. Their story gets told because a lot of us wonder what happened to them. There are people from my past that are not famous that I wonder where they are now? Some like the kids who used to live on my block when I was young. We ran in a pack from house to house getting chased out by mom’s who all told us the same thing to “go play outside”. Or when we moved the two neighbor brothers who collected baseball card from every player on all the teams every year and put them in shoeboxes. Are they multimillionaires now? How about the guy who would ride a bicycle doing a wheelie for miles, is he still able to do that in his fifties? I guess I could look them up on Facebook but I don’t want to friend them just a little light stocking to curb my curiosity. If they are or were famous it is OK, if they are not it seems a little creepy!
I have worn a Fitbit HR for the past year. I love this thing at any time I can look over and get the time or my heart rate, even check on my steps for the day. The problem is when I see others with one, the first thing I want to do is see if I am beating them in any of the things it shows. It starts by asking if they like their Fitbit. Next I say, how many steps you got today? If they are beating me I move on. What’s your heart rate? Ha, I think in my head, mine is lower I win! I will keep going until I find something which I can win at including the price they paid. In the evening it can be a shaming band if I have not gotten a lot of steps that day. I even feel bad if I didn’t wear it. I was working on the trees in my yard with a chain saw so I left it inside. My wife had 17,000 plus steps all I could say is, “I probably would have more”! Another good thing about it is it syncs up with my works wellness website so I get credit for all the running I do. I get to go on the site and see how I am doing against everyone else in the company. There is always one or two people who are superman and woman who must run a marathon every day. Their point totals are off the chart, I made it into the top ten but I am never going to catch those guys. I will just make sure I know who they are and not play my Fitbit game if I am in a meeting with them.
Let’s be honest, there are tasks we just don’t want to do. So we make up more important things or personal distractions to avoid doing those tasks. For myself it is cutting down all the burnt trees in my yard. I bought a welder, which I need for several projects. I have to practice right? Another way to avoid it is to schedule trips to the mountains to see the fall colors. They are beautiful and they do get me out of cutting down more trees. Got to spend time with my wife right? Someone keeps posting on Facebook these awesome pictures of logging equipment which would finish my project in a matter of hours but cost more than I make in a lifetime. I have to say thanks for that, it is a real motivator to see a machine work way faster and harder than I can. Another favorite is buying more tools to do the job with just for the setup and learning time. If I sharpen the blades it will go faster but it will also cut down on cutting time today! Well if I can’t get out of it this weekend there is always car repairs, I didn’t buy an old jeep just to look cool!
I am responsible for all the computers at our company. Maybe not all of them but I manage the nine hundred plus users computers making sure they are running and when they are old that they are replaced. While I enjoy this there are a few things I can count on from users that always make me scratch my head.
1. How does someone always manage to run over a computer with a car? Every few years I get someone who accidentally run over a computer. This amazes me, I can never figure out from their explanations how this could have happened.
2. We have software which allows us to know what is loaded on the computers. We have to make sure we have licenses for the software we run so we run reports every so often. We always find kids games and illegal copies of software on someone’s computer. I asked a guy why he had Dora the explorer on his computer and he told me he let his kid use his computer when they went on road trips. Perhaps this is related to point one above but get you kid their own computer. We didn’t give this to you for your kid’s entertainment.
3. Whatever the latest gadget or new hardware to come out someone will try to tell me they really need it. We never buy the latest and greatest, work is for the tried and true. If you want the computer with all the neon lights and the processor that will melt the skin off of your legs while in your lap. You better save your pennies. It won’t become a standard in our office until the squirrel running ones we have now are in the landfill.