Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm no hero...

Several weeks ago, I made the observation that working in desktop support is like playing Whack-a-Mole. You spend all day knocking out problems, but they keep popping up, usually at a pace quicker than you can hit them with your mallet.

Well, yesterday, my buddy Chris popped up out of his hole a little before 11:30, sending me two e-mails in three minutes about an issue he was having with one of his applications. Shortly after the program opened up and appeared on his screen, it would max out his processor and become unresponsive. He needed it fixed right away, as it was an urgent issue (aren't they all...).

I went over to his desk, hoping I could resolve it right away. Not because he's my friend; I just wanted to go to lunch. As we're sitting there, uninstalling and reinstalling it, he makes the causal remark that I'm his hero (he may have even called me a "superhero") for dropping everything I was working on and coming over to help him right away.

This comment has greatly disturbed me since then, because it's so true. It makes me want to retreat to my fortress of solitude and never come out again. My users, my customers, my co-workers just see me as this guy in a cape that will come to their rescue when things look bleak. I fly in and resolve the issue, and although they are usually very thankful of it, they'll think nothing more of it and proceed with their lives.

This is why I have to get out of desktop support. I'd much rather have a job where I can work behind the scenes and go unnoticed. Where I can walk by someone's desk or pass them in the halls, and they ask me about last night's ball game, not the error message they get when launching PowerPoint. Where I can focus on one or two tasks all day, instead of twenty. And without interruptions or having to save somebody's life.

I don't want to be Superman anymore. I just want to be Clark Kent.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

It's a... A... What the heck do you call it?

What do you call a horse with wings and a horn?

Seriously, what is it? A horned pegasus? A flying unicorn? Pegacorn? Unisus? Unipegacornsus?

We really should come up with a name for that...

Sunday, April 18, 2010

What I'm looking for in a girl...

I know I said I'm not looking for a girl in 2010, but at the recommendation of a friend, the amazing Amybeth "Research Goddess" Hale, I've made a list of what I'd be looking for in a girl.

Please note, this is a work-in-progress. I will be adding to this list as I come up with more.

Items listed in bold are non-negotiable. Order of items does not imply any type of priority over any other.

** No elective plastic surgery (breast implants, liposuction, nose jobs, tummy tucks, etc.). Vehemently opposed to putting herself under the knife for such shallow physical changes to her body.

** Someone who doesn't need me, but wants me. Totally independent and can take care of herself, but wants me by her side supporting her.
** Fiscally conservative, yet socially liberal (both in a practical and a political sense). Open to all types of people, regardless of gender, sexual orientation, creed, race, nationality.
** Sports fan. Knows a fair amount about the major sports, and always wanting to learn more. Team doesn't matter, as long as it's not Dallas Cowboys or New York Yankees. Would love a Twins and Gophers fan. Loyal to her teams and doesn't constantly jump on and off bandwagons.
** Takes care of her body. Physically active, prefers outdoor activities to indoor ones on most days. Also prefers games/sports as an exercise activity over conditioning (running/jogging/biking/hiking/rollerblading would be fine).
** Open to a wide range of activities for a date night. Doesn't always want dinner and a movie, would accept things like bowling or going for a drive.
** Intelligent. Not necessarily book smart, but also common sense smart. Wise. Always wanting to learn new things, and not against getting her hands dirty to do so. Some college education (but does not need a degree).
** Into music (rock preferred). Open to different types of music, and willing to share her tastes with me and to try out some of my favorites. Likes to get into heated discussions over which albums by specific bands are better than others (for example: Continuum is John Mayer's worst album, but has some of his best songs ("Gravity" and "Bold as Love")).
** Grateful. Both happy for what she has and thankful for what I can do for her.
** Religion: Protestant preferred, but accepting of all other faiths/practices. Willing to have a reasonable discussion on the pros/cons of some choices. Not fanatical or blindly obedient either; does not let her devotion cloud her personal judgement. Believes in things by her own will and can make her own decisions. Not going to convert me; shows patience with me coming to my own decision on my own timetable (encouragement is OK).
** Tech-capable. Not totally clueless when it comes to determining a hardware/software issue. Able to convey an issue in a manner that's easily to understand. Doesn't hit the panic button each time something doesn't work the way she thinks it should. Easy to train, so she won't have to be dependent on me for help.
** Wants to have kids. 2-3, with at least one boy and one girl. Understands that I need to have my son and I get to name him without any objection. If she already has kids, these rules go into effect.
** Animal lover. Prefers dogs over cats, but willing to have both as pets. Understands that animals are just animals and shouldn't have to be treated like people (No PETA fanatics).
** Cares for the environment, but realizes we have a personal responsibility to do (doesn't/won't rely on the government to do so).
** Great sense of humor. Can detect my sarcasm. Understands some of my usually vague references. Asks for clarification if something doesn't make sense. Doesn't always have to laugh, but reacts to most things in a way that she gets it.
** Accepting of who I am. Won't try to change me, allows me to be myself, lets me do my own thing.
** Casual/social video game player. Enjoys the classics (NES/SNES). Likes Wii games and rhythm music games (Guitar Hero/Rock Band).
** Willing to try new things/go new places. Sometimes do crazy things (like skydiving). Likes to adventure (defined as going places we maybe shouldn't be going).
** Physical appearance - Height of 5'2" to 5'10" preferred, but willing to go two inches in either direction. Prefer a few extra pounds as opposed to a too thin girl. Minimal tattoos and piercings (ears and belly button OK, anything beyond that is a likely "no").
** Not crazy. Does let her emotions show, but doesn't constantly fly off the handle. Can look at situations rationally. Not a problem if she's taking medication for a condition as long as she's responsible about it.
** Enjoys the activity of cooking and doesn't see it as a chore.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Forget the Wedding

If you're thinking about getting married, I highly recommend eloping, instead of a wedding. Eloping is FAR superior, and here's why...

Weddings may be romantic for the attendees, but how about for the bride and groom? It's a formal ceremony to confirm to the world what they already know: these two people love each other. Does/did your own wedding put you in the mood? Maybe later that night, and the next morning, but... Do you really need that to validate your love? A wedding is too structured and planned out. You work yourself into a frenzy doing everything possible to make sure it goes off perfectly. And it doesn't. Sure, you'll try to tell me your wedding went off without a hitch, but if you think about it, you can find a couple things that did not go as expected. And you know it.

Conversely, there's something magical about eloping. The spontaneity, the running away together, the tabooedness of it. The two of you against the world, throwing caution to the wind and ignoring what everyone else thinks (which is how you should treat the situation to begin with; if you two love each other, it doesn't fuckin' matter what anyone else says or thinks). It's more like real love, and the more romantic experiences, in your life. You can't plan it out, it just happens. It's also more like the proposal. It comes out of nowhere (true, a guy will plan a big showy display when he does go to propose, but he'll do it in a way that it comes out of left field for his girl). And she when is surprised with that ring, she'll be overcome with delight.

I understand the argument that the wedding is the girl's day. The one day where she's the center of attention, the queen, the star. But shouldn't every day be hers? Before she's the bride, and after she becomes the wife, the guy should shower her with love and affection every moment of every day for the rest of their lives.

The two of you may look back on the fond memories of that special day, but if given the choice between a perfect wedding and a perfect marriage, which one are you going to choose? I'd hate for anyone to look back at their life in 20 years and say, "You know, it didn't really work out for us, but man, what a wedding!!" It'd be better to look back and say "That was a disaster, but we got through it, just like every other obstacle on our journey together."

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Arguments for Wind Energy

Driving back to Fargo from my parents' place in Minot this afternoon, I passed two wind farms (one about 10 miles south of Minot, another 20 miles north of Bismarck). I took this picture of one of the wind turbines, and mentioned that we should build more in America. Here are my arguments for more wind power:

  • It'd create manufacturing jobs that are needed in this type of economy. It would also create engineering jobs as we develop more efficient turbines, transportation jobs to move the components to the construction sites, and construction jobs to erect the towers once they are on-site.
  • It's clean. There are no greenhouse gases produced by harnessing the power of the wind (though, I admit it may indirectly create greenhouses gases in the manufacture, transportation, and assembly of the turbines).
  • Becoming more energy-independent, we can decrease our reliance on foreign oil, which in turn would help our national security (since we'd be giving less money to the countries that have the oil, but generally hate us).

We can't rule out any type of energy source. We need to use any and all sources at our disposal for our ever-increasing energy needs.
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