Let’s all go to our couches.

lobbyWhat happened to the movie going experience? My wife and I went to the movies with friends on Friday. It starts the moment you sit down. There were commercials for local companies and events as well as TV shows on cable channels. When I was a kid the most you say was a cheesy ad for the concessions stand, you know “let’s all go to the lobby”. I know you just hummed that tune in your head. After enduring that the lights dimmed and then began over twenty-five minutes of movie previews. One after another these previews, for movies I will never go see, tried to catch my attention. My thoughts were that most of them will go straight to DVD. The reason I went to the movies as a kid was that it was a unique experience to what was at home. It had a bit of excitement about the big screen a movie worth seeing and a giant tub of popcorn. Now I have a big screen at home, maybe not as big as the theaters, but I don’t have to watch the commercials or the previews. I can pop the popcorn in the microwave or my air popper and even if I buy the movie it is for less than two tickets at the theater. I know the movie companies say they are struggling, but if they don’t do something to make the experience at the theater any better or at least better than my couch, their fortunes aren’t going to improve.

What’s your Kryptonite?

M&m2Superman had kryptonite, even though it wasn’t from earth it always seemed like people were giving the stuff away to bad guys. Each time he was going to stop them from doing something they pulled the green rock from their pocket and it rendered the man of steel useless. I am no man of steel but when it comes to the things I am trying to do right there is always something that is my Kryptonite. My diet for example, Peanut M&M’s take me down. There has been a bowl of them at someone’s desk all week and I have made really dumb excuses’ to talk to her just so I can get a hand full. I also know of two other spots on other floors where they are there for the taking. I should resist, but they render me powerless. My calorie counting app tells me of their evil yet I palm away at the chocolate and peanut goodness till my bathroom scale calls me a fool. I guess there could be much worse things to be tripped up by but it always seems something is working against me achieving my goals, most of the time it isn’t anything external, most of the time my worst enemy is me.

Farming game question?

organic-farmer-farm-produce-harvest-retro_z1aWev8OI have noticed a lot of the most popular games lately have been farming based games. Either on Facebook or iPad I get requests to play or ads popping up asking me if I want to play. The thing is, I have a little hobby farm and I would not call it fun! The small-scale dealing with animals and all the waste they make has never been discussed at my house as fun. I pay a lot of money for food, shots, vets and other things and in return I get mounds of animal waste. Mine is on a small-scale, I can’t imagine a large-scale farm being anything but hard work. Are we so removed from what it is really like to live on a farm that we romanticize it? I am not saying that farmers don’t love what they do or even that I wouldn’t like to have one. What I want to know is what are farmers playing? After working all day in the fields do they go home and play civilization? I would imagine that the last thing a farmer would do is watch a little meme smile away as rows of food just appear and animals never need to be cleaned up after.

Well ain’t that a Monday!

2015 Calendar Shows Planning Annual ProjectionToday has been a Monday! First thing when I got up this morning I discovered my 14-year-old dog had unleashed a trail of bowel projectiles all over the house. Not just one room but multiple. She had also stepped in it so the first thing I had to do before kicking her out of the house was clean her foot. I then moved on to make coffee, which I cannot function without, only to have the grinder break. I moved on to work where as soon as I got in I was informed of 30 plus guests had arrived for a conference and needed to be hooked up to our network, only to be followed up by my daughter calling saying her car had broken down on her way to school. That was all before 8 am! I am not usually a fan of Mondays but this one takes the cake. I am a little afraid of the rest of this week, but hopefully it can only go up from here, thou I know there are plenty more hours left in the week for me to eat those words.

Google Car shaming.

cartoon-car-shape_X1GpQzI live on a little country two-lane street. Sometimes there are people on horses going by so when I pulled out of my driveway on my way to work I didn’t expect the Mercedes SUV to come flying up on my tail. This person, I don’t know if it was a man or a woman due to the extra dark tinted window, stayed right on my tail to the corner were I turn to head down the hill. This is when the person passed me on the little country road so they could go 25 miles an hour over the speed limit instead of the 15 over I was going. This proved to be a total waste of effort because the only traffic light you have to stop at five miles later this car was still only right in front of me.
I have thought lately about the efforts Google and others have put into driver-less cars. While helping those who possibly need help driving it could also be used by the courts as punishment for stupid drivers as well. I think they should make them some obnoxious bright color with the words “court ordered” on the side so they can be publicly shamed into being a better driver. It would work kind of like the guys on the side of the road picking up trash. We could all point and laugh at them as they go by and hopefully it would make them think before they drive like a nut again.

No really, I don’t work in IT!

Android robot sitting with a Tablet ComputerWhen people ask me what I do for a living I cringe a little and feel like telling them I am a trash truck driver instead of an IT guy. It isn’t that I don’t like what I do, it’s more that when I tell people they feel compelled to tell me their horror stories about the computer they have. I guess they think I will have some great insight into the problems or will tell them some great secret which will allow them to access the knowledge which others do not have. I will share with you now the three secrets I have that the average user does not know, and every IT computer repair guy learns.
1. Google it: There are more error codes than brain cells in my head. I don’t know what most of them are. So what do I do? I look it up. I find an article that tells me what it means and I look through at least the first two pages of search results to see what others did to fix it. I try one and if it doesn’t work I try another until something works. The only ones I remember are the ones I have to do daily so chances are I won’t know yours.
2. Every IT shop is different: Yes something’s are similar but every place I have worked has variations which make my skill set very targeted. Chances are my knowledge of problems is based on my user group which will not translate to yours. There are so many variables, including network, patch level and others that a talk over the chip bowl at a party is not going to solve your problem.
3. I like computers: Yes I do, but I have other interests. I don’t always want to talk about computers, perhaps we can talk about our children, spouses or even football. I don’t have time to play video games and I am not very good at them. Sometimes I sit at home with my computer in my lap because it is warming my legs. I like to discuss music, God, cars, politics. If I tell you I work in IT we can talk about other things I promise it will probably come around to computers at some point, it just doesn’t have to be the only thing.

It’s a Mad Mad world!

Stress. Woman stressedIf you had not seen this story this week, a Planet fitness gym has cancelled a woman’s membership because she complained at the front desk when a man, who apparently “identifies” with women walked into the women’s locker room. They have the slogan of being a no judgment zone and complaining that a man is in the wrong locker room is now considered judging. This is not the only story like this, there have been many lately from all over the country where gender specific bathrooms and locker rooms are now a free for all. This is all because we have become the overly sensitive, politically correct wimps. Nobody is willing to stand up and say anything is wrong, how have become so afraid to tell people what they are doing is just plain stupid! Look, this is not a discussion of gender issues, nor is it bashing those who are confused about who they are. It is however an indictment of our society. We have decided that anarchy with no rules or absolutes is preferential over actually telling people something is wrong. From our government to parents the trend is that telling anyone that they can’t do something is not popular. To me this does not show some kind of new enlightenment, it shows just how weak we are. It is now fun or popular to tell someone they are wrong but it also doesn’t do them any good. If we really care for people, whether it is the easy thing or not, we will tell them when they are wrong. Letting someone continue on a wrong path out of fear of them getting mad with us is the cowards’ way. America, we need to toughen up and start calling things what they are!

Girl Scout cookies and other forms of torture.

cookiesAs a reformed fat guy people always ask me the same question. How did I do it? The answer should be no secret, diet and exercise. The mistake most people make is thinking that I wanted to be thin, I don’t. I want to be able to do the things like being active in my older years and that won’t happen from the seat of a Gerry scooter. The other thing they think is that I no longer want to bury my face in a pile of free office donuts. I want to not only eat all the donuts I want to then go get more and eat them too. The food sitting out on the desks and tables around the office is a torture test for me. People say, “Just have one” Which creates in me a fight for control of my impulses. Someone said “you know you want one” which my reply is that wanting one is not at issue, I want more than one. The most horrific test has been the Girl Scout cookies sitting in the cube across from me. The lady who has the cube was out of town for a week on a business trip and someone delivered the cookies she ordered. They just sat on her desk, untouched. She is not around I could have swiped a box and no one would have known. I could eat a whole box, feel guilty and buy a new one and replace them. But no, they just sat there calling me and all I could do was fight to resist. I am proud that I made it and upon her return she did offer me some, which I politely declined. That moment will replay itself out over and over again every week, for now I remain reformed, but tomorrow could be a different day.

My fair share of DIP!

minimalicon_iphoneYes, I am going to brag on my kid a little. My wife and I went to see his college orchestra play. They were doing Verde’s requiem with the college men’s and women’s coral and a few vocal soloists. He plays cello, and should be first chair in my opinion, but I am his dad so I am bias. The piece is very dramatic in spots and is considered one of the best, thou I wouldn’t know a classic if it kicked me in the rear, but that is what I am told. There are seven or eight parts and in between each part the conductor will reset himself and maybe change the page of his music then look up and start the next section. It is a quiet moment where no one is making any noise or moving. This was the moment last night that someone’s iPhone started ringing! I know it was an iPhone by the default tone, the only other noise heard was the collective forehead slaps of the rest of the auditorium. Nothing says idiot like your phone going off in the middle of an orchestra performance, but I had a bit of a cheek squeezer when the phone went off and did what I always do, checked my iPhone to make sure that it was silenced. As much as I hated it we have all done something dumb in public, from here on referred to as DIP. Ever let some gas go just as everyone stopped talking? Ever tripped on the carpet or missed a step when entering or exiting a crowded theater? Maybe we haven’t done that dumb thing but we have all had our share of DIP. We all thought the guy with the phone was an idiot but I can’t be too hard on him, after all, the next time I am a DIP I would hope to get some of that same grace I am giving him returned.

The New, sort of sick days!

smiley-vector-illustration-ill-smiley_XkRpp-Monday morning as my alarm went off I noticed something was not right. My left eye was covered over with crunchy crud. I remember as a kid a few times when this happened, it seemed more severe back then. It felt as if mortar had been put over my eyes or maybe that was just my reaction as a kid. Pink eye as it is called, seemed to happen a lot more when I was young and getting it now feels like I got some childhood disease that adults never get. The reaction from my co-workers is equally as curious. When I tell them where I was yesterday they either start to slowly back away from me or reach for some hand sanitizer. Some tease, to which I respond that if they are not nice I will rub my eye on their keyboard others tell of their own experience or family member who has had it recently. Nobody likes being sick, we just all want the time off. The problem was if I had sat home and not answered email or phone calls I would have come back to even more of a mess. Sick days have become a work from home so I done infect everyone else day for me. I am not complaining, it is the job I signed up for and with my personality, sitting at home on the couch sick makes me feel worse. I would rather stay connected help put out the fires remotely than come back to surprises, because those surprises are usually worse than whatever made me stay home in the first place.