The consulting series – New Moon

Consulting is always full of drama. While you were celebrating the release of the first sprint, you realized you made a small mistake which set Jasper off. His temper got the best of him and lunged at you. It's never good when a team member that is so close comes for your blood. The majority of the team decides to work remote for awhile, for your safety and theirs. Let the tempers settle. You aren't sure how you feel about all of this. Almost betrayed, but you must go on, broken heart or not. Meanwhile, round two with the marketing firm, this time it's Victoria. She's bitter about James' ideas getting squashed. Since most of the team may as well me MIA, you are only left with Jacob to protect you from the wrath of Victoria. Lucky for you, Jacob brings his whole team in where they unleash their wolf like fury. You never knew that they could change so fast and be so aggressive. All to defend you. Somehow in all of this ugly mess with marketing firms and business requirements, you are drawn closer to Jacob. You begin to understand the depth and complexity of the business of Forks. But there is a much larger problem surfacing. You took off an extra day one week and this seemed to make Edward think that you had quit. He over reacts and starts intentionally making mistakes, begging for the CTO to fire him. You and Alice realize what he is doing and jump in just in time to stop the deadly battle. Edward apologizes and everyone returns to working on site. The team has a huge meeting and everyone thinks you should be hired directly, although Edward disagrees. You have come to know too much about the inner workings of the business and team. If you don't become one of them, there could be some huge firm out there ready to hunt you down where you would be stuck forever, or dead. The only catch, though, it the agreement made between the business and IT. The business would stop playing nice if IT had an outsider join their ranks. Coming to a blog near you... Spring 2013 - The consulting series - Eclipse

Just like heaven

It is funny that I think of you tonight. Well. Not funny in the belly laugh sort of way. Funny in what I am about to expose. How I feel. I'm not quite sure why I hang my hat on everything that is you. Be it thought. Be it dream. Be it crush. It will never be so. I will never hold your hand. I will never taste your salty tears. I will never touch your tender lips. You may as well be a ghost. A ghost in my head. Floating. You hold yourself ten feet tall. A height that I cannot reach. You are miles away. I get that. Miles can be broken. I need you. I need your questions. So direct. What do you think of that? It's bold, isn't it. Fuck yeah, it is! What do you think of that? You won't respond, you won't replay the memories that I have made we have shared. It is funny. Like that. Not in a belly laugh sort of way. And we don't have much. Time. I go on. You go on. I dream of hedgehogs. You dream of him. The him is not me. My hedgehog is not you. Or is it? I go to this place. In this place. In the end, it always is you. You are in my place. Because I want you there. I don't know if you want to be there. You laugh, it's funny. The way I slowly draw the knife. The way they would teach you in culinary school. I didn't go there. Or did I. It's not a belly laugh funny moment. Deeper. River of blood. Thick. Crimson. Pain. Lust. I sit here in a pool of tears. I never told you how I felt. I could not tell you. I just swallowed it up. That you would never love me. I laugh. Not the belly laugh. The I'll be OK laugh. And I am. I think. I'm not. Because I'll never touch your tender lips and never taste your salty tears. Tonight, I think of you, ten feet away from my heaven.

Passion (10)

I cannot reveal the details to the Nth degree, but this week I have had a little extra time. A little extra time to focus on something that I haven't focused on in quite some time. That focus has been me. Call it egotistical if you want, I'll quickly tell you to go eff yourself. I needed to figure out me. I determined what it is... It's passion. I have realized that I have passion in every thing that I do. From raising my kids to working 80 hours a week. I don't talk to you, I engage in a conversation with you, with passion. I have an idea, I embrace it with passion. I have a new way to solve a problem, I attack it with passion. It's odd, the crazy hairstyle kid dressed in all black in high school gets this swift kick in the ass at some point in his life and it all changes. I don't know how I got here, I can tell you that it wasn't easy. I know that at some point along the way that I quit saying "I'm sorry." Well, not entirely as my ex wife reminded me this morning after she found a shoebox full of letters and cards where I pleaded and begged for forgiveness, and said, "I'm sorry." Regardless, there comes a point in life where you need to focus on you, what do you want to do, who do you want to be. I'm there. Defining that dream. It's my time to figure out the next 30 years. I recently threw in the red flag and said "What do you want me to do?" My boss quickly picked up that red flag and threw it back at me with a Post-It note attached that read, "What do you want to do?" Huh, tough situation... I want to win the lottery and drop to part time! But in all honesty, he was right. I control my destiny by my actions, and if I'm not in control, then I'm not in the right place. And if I am not passionate about what I do, and what I want to do, he probably will not let me do it! And I'll never get "there," wherever "there" might be. I have passion. I enjoy work, life, relationships. I thrive on conversation, engaging others to converse and feed, feed off of each other. Embrace others in your life, give them the opportunity to share with you things that mean something to them, return the favor by sharing things that matter to you. Beg them to share with passion. And listen! Listening is important, listen with passion. Really bunker down and hear what someone is saying to you. Repeat it back, ensure that you heard it correctly. Conversation is not a one way street. Relationships are an eight lane highway, and if you don't go in with passion, you will end up stuck in traffic giving someone the bird. So now it's time to figure out what I want to do for the next phase of my life, and I'll be just as passionate about it as my current spot in life. I guess that I'm one of the lucky few that can say, "I love what I do," but I want to do more. And we should all want to do more. Now it becomes intimate, that's another topic. Cheers my friends!

Getting lazy on social networks?

I was so close to writing about the presidential election, but everyone was doing it and I just didn't have the energy to get into a big debate over my political views and yours. I decided, instead, to post about something that is starting to annoy me on Facebook. It goes a little something like this... When did we lose our ability to speak our own mind? - I wish I could select all of your clothes and press Delete. - I love you so much that I think of you every time I get married. - I wish you'd make more of an effort to get together and start life (*originally sent circa 3 billion years ago*) - You should know I take my sarcasm very seriously. - Your Starbucks drink order embarrasses me - Always give up your seat to someone pregnant, elderly, handicapped, or really hot - You owe me money - I genuinely care about whatever it is you've been complaining about for the past hour. - Spending two hours getting ready every morning really brings out your natural beauty - When work feels overwhelming, remember that you're going to die

I wrote you a letter today

Yes, some of you are saying, "Yeah, what the *f* ever, you wrote a letter, big honkin' deal." Well, when was the last time you wrote a letter, I mean an honest to goodness pen and paper letter? I thought so! I don't know about you, but I write all the time, emails, documents for work, FaceBook updates, texting, this blog, etc., but never a letter. 1. There was no spell check - I realized how dependent I am on it 2. There was no delete or backspace - no chance to reorganize the thoughts 3. My handwriting sucks 4. It was strange writing with a pen for a purpose other than scribbling notes during a meeting 5. I didn't really say anything earth shattering So what does this all mean? Well, I dunno! In this fast paced world of electronic correspondence, I did something on a whim, out of character, something I have not done in probably 25 years. And all for accidental reasons. I never set out to write you a letter. I was supposed to mail something to you and had already chased down a stamp and an envelope (thanks Mom for lending me these things, I never have them on hand). I had already put your address on it and stuck a stamp on it (when did they start making self stick stamps? Nah, this is good, they used to taste like hell!). It just kinda went from there. 6. I hope my letter finds you well 7. I know you will probably crumble it up and throw it away 8. That's OK, I've stared at the flag on the mailbox all day 9. And wondered if I should put the flag down I sit here listening to Honey Ryder's new album (because the world needs a new band that can write and perform songs that stand the test of time) and popping Licorice Altoids like they are candy (OK, they are candy) and realize that today is a federal holiday. So tomorrow, I will be watching as the faithful postal jeep reaches in my mailbox, puts the flag down and pulls away. That's it. It's out of my hands and into yours. Absolutely no chance for delete now! 10. I hope you are not offended or embarrassed. Not only are you receiving a letter, but this letter has become the subject of something a million people will read (OK, yeah, don't remind me... this site doesn't get that much traffic), and you won't even know for a couple of days, so the suspense will kill me. I won't be able to sleep. I'll drink way too much coffee. I'll have a couple glasses of wine. I'll wonder how you will react to this letter, a letter that really basically just says "Hi."  A letter just for the sake of writing you a letter. It's a lost art, I think I have proven that to myself when I sat down this morning with pen in hand. Pay it forward, maybe you will write someone else a letter, maybe you will even write back. And somehow, I dig out this childhood memory, long before we met, quoting Beverly Cleary's Dear Mr. Henshaw... "Deliver de letter de sooner de better de later de letter de madder I getter." To one undisclosed recipient, check you mailbox in a couple of days! <3

Magical mystical mysterious fantastical – fail

There are times in life, there are times in love, there are times in work. And in all these times, there are decisions you make. And there are times when these decisions are not necessarily the right thing to do. And there are times when you make these decisions for the benefit of someone else. And there are times when you make these decisions for the future and for the better of all. And in these decisions, sometimes you take a blow to the head, sometimes you take a shot below the gut, and sometimes you take one for the team in the most uncomfortable of places. And when this happens, sometimes it will backfire, and sometimes it will hurt. And when it does hurt, sometimes it will hurt bad and you wonder why the hell you did what you did. You wonder if the pieces will be able to be picked up and if glue will really be able to fix the mess you have thrown yourself into. And you analyze the events that have transpired and try to make sense of them. You will say "what if [I had done something]" a million times, you will say "if I only [had done something]" and "should I have [done something]." I lost my positivity today... finding my way in song 1. "It's a cold, and it's a very lonely Hallelujah" as I wander through 2. "These little earthquakes, [it] doesn't take much to rip us into pieces" yet you can 3. "Give me life..." and 4. "Show me show me show me how you do that trick" and I'll be 5. "Spinning on that dizzy edge" I recall a day circa 1996 (ish), I was in Virginia traveling for work. We had a big crew on location remodeling a store. I was up there for a week, but I had to come back home on Thursday morning and return on Friday evening (for reasons since forgotten). The first half of the week, I started to have conversations with a woman on the team, well, at that time in life, she was still a girl to me, and I, a boy. We got along well, we stayed up late after work talking about silly senseless things. We drank wine (underage) by the pool, we went swimming in the pool. On Thursday before I left, she told me that I needed to listen to Fly By Night on the drive. I was a Rush fan at the time (and still am), however, I had not heard that particular album and certainly didn't own it. I think I called my sister on my Motorola Startac phone and asked her to pick up a copy for me and I'd meet up with her, or maybe I stopped at multiple record stores on the way home. Either way, I was heading back to Virginia blasting Rush on the stereo. I was advised to specifically listen to In the End. And I did. I returned to Virginia that Friday night. We smuggled a bottle of wine out of the hotel, destination nowhere. And we found that magical mysterious mystical fantastical place on a dock at the edge of some lake. And we sat there. And we talked until dawn. And we drank the wine. And that's all that happened. I soaked in the warmth of a friendship. And we had moments of silence. We used the silent times to connect the dots and draw pictures in the sky. I do not recall her name, nor where she was from. I do not remember the color of her eyes or the tint of her hair. The only fading memory is from a song - "You can take me, you can make me smile in the end" - and we did smile, I remember that. And when the sun made it's way above the horizon, we stood, in that awkward pre-kiss stance that never came to fruition. And we talked about it. And I hesitated again in the awkward pre-hug stance. And she said "in the end" and vanished. "And I can feel what you feel, It just makes me stronger" Dial back to today... I was lucky enough to enjoy last night with a wonderful friend. I laughed so hard that I had a laugh hangover this morning. I smiled so big that I had a smile headache. And we talked. And we laughed some more. I'm all over the place tonight, and not sure I can tie it all back up and successfully deliver a single message. Nope, probably will not happen! I suppose the message of the crazy week I've had is that there are things that happen in life, and people that float through your life. And they mean something. And you may not see it when it's on the table, you may not see it umpteen years from the event. But in the end, it all comes together. 6. "Itsy bitsy yellow polka dot bikini" and I scream 7. "Ooooh, fire" floating on a 8. "Wave of mutilation," you should join me to 9. "Roll up, roll up, for the mystery tour" where we can 10. Brush off all of life's issues, present and future And in the end...

Social commerce junkie

I'm beginning to feel that I am OCD educated about things I purchase.  Mostly major purchases, but some, not so much.  I spend countless hours researching.  I find myself upset when my eventual choice ends in some crazy mishap such as inflated shipping costs or out of stock. 1. Remodel bathroom, need a new toilet:  Can you believe that I spent 4 months researching toilets online?  I read reviews, I compared features - I wanted to know how exactly the shit went down!  And I wanted to be environmentally conscious.  All these factors weighed in as I found, and unfound, the perfect crapper. 2. Books:  I find 50% of my new reads from friends, 25% from Amazon's "Recommended for You" and 25% from "that's an odd title, I'll give it a try" 3. Clothing: Just feels comfortable in an honest to goodness brick and mortar store when you try it on, with the exception of task specific items such as rain jackets and shoes.  Between the two, time spent researching is probably close to 15 hours 4. Beach paraphernalia: Good gracious, I love the beach, and between beach chairs, beach bags, beach blankets, suntan lotion, and first aid kits, I'd bet I logged 50 hours in research 5. Electronics -> Televisions: I spent 8 months reading reviews a few times a week before finally diving into the flat panel realm, and that was some years ago.  I've been at an upgrade purchase for 2 months now and still no definitive answer 6. Smelly good stuff:  Yeah, so I'm a dude, but I still like my house to smell nice.  Unfortunately, smell is a personal experience and cannot really be portrayed in online reviews and comments.  Even when it's "smells like crap," it is in the nose of the beholder 7. Cleaning things: Those crystal fabric softener things you put in the washer - success!  The gel toilet bowl cleaner thingy - failure!  The dish washer cleaner - failure! 8. Electronics -> Laptops: Hmmm, this is hard.  I do spend time reading reviews, but ultimately, it's about the components that make the deal - and sometimes, it's just the WOW factor 9. Food establishments: Best recommended by friends! 10. Wine: It's a matter of taste So in summary, the social aspects of commerce are sometime beneficial, but sometimes, it just doesn't work.  Overall, though, for things that need thoughts before purchasing, social attached it awesome, and I'm glad we are there in technology.  I can look to many e-commerce websites and drown myself in reviews, I can post potential purchases to social networks and usually get responses.  I love the digital age, I'm thrilled I don't have to make all the choices blindly and can rely on others experience to make my ultimate OCD decision.  

7 clicks to happiness

Facebook, today, decided to unleash a new user interface, and a lot of people are, well, they are pissed off!  An article I stumbled on just a few days ago commented that Facebook was getting ready to release a new front end and new services such as music and video in order to compete with Google+ after months of silence.  Well, that's great, I'm happy for them, but I'm not 100% sold on the Google+ interface yet, nor do I like the Twitter interface notifications that happen magically as my browser sits.  As a matter of fact, I don't care for anything in my browser window that refreshes or updates unless I tell it to.  Period.  Same goes for my phone.  So why change? 1. I like the new Lists feature, it was released a few days, maybe even a week, ago.  This answers Google+ Circles and the seems-to-be-dead Diaspora, but it's too cumbersome.  I now have lists on the left with numbers of unread posts in them, sometimes big numbers, and the only way to get rid of them is to click on the list, even if I have read the associated comment or post that this number is referring to. 2. Painful, it's like your kid that sits in the back seat of a car on a 12 hour trip and every 30 seconds says, "Are we there yet?" 3. The stock exchange ticker tape style thingy on the right top column, I'm sure it has something to do with the fact that my email won't replicate as fast as it used to on a slow hotel connection.  I don't like instant coffee, I don't NEED instant Facebook 4. And this little bugger, , is the most unreliable notification thingy I think I've ever experienced - but that's been going on for some time, and now, to think we got the ticker tape (see #3), do I really expect performance to be better? 5. Ah, performance, do you know how long it took me to "Check In" this evening from my phone with a decent signal?  27 minutes before FB Android App recognized I was in NYC @ Kellarney Rose.  It only took 20 seconds on Monday from the SAME seat.  My email replicated today before I could even get a list of "Nearby Places" on FB 6. SLOW, too many requests going on to update this and update that 7. Clutter.  Makes me feel like I'm in Vegas being bombarded with a million pamphlets for adult entertainment/escort services at every corner (and then some) 8. The fact that some stuff scrolls and some stuff doesn't is annoying 9. I get change, I do.  It is needed, but change for the right reasons, not just to be like the other guys.  Change for what your people need, not what you think they need. 10. Would 750 million and growing still be sticking with it if you sucked? I really think you need to add this to the site (can't promise browser compatibility with HTML marquee): Mowracer just shared a link: 7 clicks to happiness

In response to the social network paradox

Yet another view on social networking, albeit not in the mind of my employer, friends, acquaintances, random people I meet on the street, or anyone else you can think of. I'll try to keep this matter of fact and relate to experience where I can, but generally, it will probably be a bunch of bull. 1. Information overload, I get it. I post on Facebook that my kid just took a shit and then I check in on FourSquare at My House while Tweeting the toilet overflowed 2. Say, for instance, your kid is having problems taking a crap.  At this point, my post that mine did take one of those, er, craps, becomes relevant.  Maybe. 3. So now, I restrict my posts to communities, circles of people that I arbitrarily group by some Darwinian magic.  Maybe I make my circles as follows: Work High School Alumni Lawnmower Racers Family Girls I Would Like To Date 4. I now share my kid crapping post to Family only, because, well, that's a kind of a personal thing - not for me, per se, but I'm a tad embarrassed. 5. What I fail to realize is that in my other communities, there are "friends" that will benefit from the fact that I have concocted a careful combination of bananas, cheese and eggs that aids in kids taking a dump.  Since I have restricted my commentary to a specific community, regardless of how I know them, I am holding back relevant information, as crappy as that sounds. 6. I shouldn't share the fact that my kid poops with the Girls I Would Like To Date community, right, because that would potentially ruin my chances of the "would like to date" clause 7.  When you jump on the social network bandwagon, you are signing up for one of three things when interacting with your "friends" Consume and ignore Consume and acknowledge Consume and interact 8. Which brings me full circle in listing the posts that I typically despise "Going to bed with my honey" "I opened my car door" "I just put chicken noodle soup in the microwave" "My kid just took a shit" 9. But in all honesty, refer to #7, YOU ARE CONSUMING 10. In conclusion (that sounds like a load of bull), to round out the list (that sounds better), if your day to day is limited to a subset of your day to day, are your exercising your social-ness in your social circles, your social presence?  Can you predict what random facts of your life will bring together a whole new stream, a whole new group of people?  Can you predict through communities or social circles, who will benefit from your experiences, random rants and raves?

A day of goodbyes

Once again, it's time to move on.  You land, you meet people, you build relationships, you work your tail off, you network, you leave.  Today, I say goodbye to a little town in mid-Indiana that I had written off before I showed up, and then realized that it's a pretty awesome town. The architecture of Columbus, IN has been "ranked 6th in the nation for architectural innovation and design by the American Institute of Architects" with a population of only 39,000.  Not only does this town deliver on architecture, but is a great destination for the foodie inside.  My favorites: Papa’s Deli | 412 Washington Pieper’s Gourmet Catering | 423 Washington Power House Brewing (The Columbus Bar) | 322 4th St Columbus additionally offers a great downtown communal space, The Commons, that includes a spectacular living statue, Chaos, and an awesome playground that was really hard to resist. Indiana was a pretty friendly place, welcoming you as if it were your home.  This was apparent in the team I interacted with on a daily basis for almost 3 months, it was hard to say goodbye.  This was evident in the hotel staff, the car rental agents, even the flight attendants that I spent a few hours with a couple of times a week.  It was hard to say goodbye.  It was also discovered in a hostess at the airport restaurant once a week when I was promptly directed to a table.  What she didn't realize what that she was also the one responsible for wishing me safe travels home with a smile. I've done this enough times now, sometimes a week, sometimes a month, occasionally 6-9 months, and it's always the same.  You get over the place, but you hold onto the people.  So tonight as I weather out a hurricane on the east coast, I raise a glass to all I have encountered, east coast or not, and hope you have a safe night.  Cheers! Tunes consumed on the last day in town:
  1. Violet Hill by Coldplay
  2. Back to December by Taylor Swift
  3. The Cave by Mumford and Sons
  4. Let It Rain by David Nail
  5. Tough by Kelly Pickler
  6. Baggage Claim by Miranda Lambert
  7. Hello World by Lady Antebellum
  8. You and Tequila by Kenney Chesney
  9. Take a Back Road by Rodney Atkins
  10. One More Drinkin Song by Jerrod Niemann