Everyone needs music

 

YoungMC
My very first CD purchase and the start of a personal addiction to music

I’ve been a music fan ever since I can remember. Music has been the one thing in my life that I could always rely on to be there no matter how I was feeling or what I was doing. I can recall vividly listening to music with my Dad in the living room to Stevie Nicks, Donovan, Creedence Clearwater Revival, The Who, The Beatles, etc. Listening to that period of music always takes me back to that time I spent with my Dad. I have a very varied collection of music that I can literally map from pre-teen (tapes recorded from the radio) to current mid-life adulthood (MP3’s). I remember my first CD I purchased sometime in 1989 or 1990, it was Young MC – Stone Cold Rhymin. That is when it all started for me and my music journey through the years. Despite listening to almost everything, I’ve always returned to one of two genres: Rock (aka alternative, metal, etc.) and Dance (techno, house, club, trance, rave, etc.) While those are very broad genres, I’ll limit myself to what is mostly current right now as music is extremely subjective and what is awesome to one, is absolute crap to another.

 

Sometime when I was around 14 or 15, I spent the majority of a summer vacation listening to my Mom’s complete collection of Mozart. To my knowledge, it contained everything he had ever written and performed in his lifetime and contained 17 volumes with multiple vinyl records in each volume. I listened to the entire thing from front to back over the course of a few weeks using my parents system and a set of old-school over the ear headphones (the kind that you saw in the late 70’s and early 80’s). The headphones produced a near perfect sound even at lower volumes which made them perfect for listening to classical music. Classical music not being anywhere near my favorite, I did find it oddly satisfying and calming to listen to at length. While listening, I took note of the albums that evoked more feeling than normal so that I could go back and listen to them without headphones and on the larger speakers of my parents system. At certain times in my life, I’ve listened to Mozart, Bach, Chopin, etc. Classical music isn’t stuck in the past though. I will never forget the first time I heard John Adams – On the Transmigrations of Souls originally performed in 2002 in New York. This choral work was about 9/11 and in 2002, it was all still painfully fresh in our minds. Listening to the entire 24 minutes, there are multiple parts through the work that you instinctively know what the music is conveying. I’ve yet to visit the New York 9/11 Memorial, however when I do I certainly plan on having this playing while I walk around in remembrance.

Music to me is a universal language that helps us understand others. My belief is that you never really know someone until you know what kind of music like to listen to. My parents have migrated to Country music in the last few years, which is a genre I choose not to listen to often, however its music that is just as important as my rock or someone’s pop. What else can you say transcends time as much as music does? Hundreds of years later, we’re still listening to classical composers like Mozart as if they were written and performed recently. Listing to modern music, if you actually listen closely, you can hear the familiar pace and tones rooted in classical music. This blog post “THE MILLENNIAL WHOOP: A GLORIOUS OBSESSION WITH THE MELODIC ALTERNATION BETWEEN THE FIFTH AND THE THIRD” highlights a modern application on a clever and subliminal inclusion to a lot of the music we’ve listened to for decades. Thinking about it and listening to music pretty much all morning, I find myself saying in my head “there it is” over and over again. Artists know what we like and what makes a song popular, so it’s included somewhere in every song so that even when first listening, it’s somehow familiar.

As I complete this off, I’m listening to The Devil’s Bleeding Crown by Volbeat. A fantastic song that has a tribal beat that you can’t help but pretend you’re a badass drummer on stage at the local arena. I never played drums, rather I played violin, alto and tenor saxophone all through high school. I never found the time or energy to want to keep playing after I didn’t have a real reason to play (like concert band). I’m trying to get my daughter to play an instrument, but she wants to play drums, everyone has their preference. I’m secretly hoping that she sticks with it and becomes a drummer in an all women band and totally rocks out with her badass self.

What kind of music do you find makes all the problems go away? For the cassette/CD generation, how many do you have? Here’s a picture of my current collection (approximately 300) still to be digitized, two more racks are packed and in long-term storage.

CDCollection
Just a few CDs……

Maniacs on the road

What is wrong with drivers on the road lately? I’m reminded of a George Carlin skit where he describes drivers based on your perception that sort of fits the start of this blog post I’m making today. His quote (or question), that I heard so many years ago, goes like this. “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” It makes sense actually if you think about it, as our perception is based on us being at the center, a 360 degree view of the world around us. My experience as of late on the wild roads of Northeast USA has been harrowing and terribly frustrating. It seems that other than the majority of semi-truck drivers and myself, everyone is a maniac.

Let me explain the painting to you in what has brought me to this conclusion. Driving to work today, on a highway where the speed limit is 70, I was in the left lane actually doing 75-ish. A silver Dodge Charger came flying up on my bumper (I saw him coming) and sat there, impatiently, probably contemplating on whether to bump draft and pass me or not. Well, there was traffic, I couldn’t go anywhere and had to endure his impatience in my mirrors. Seeing a large line of trucks in my right lane, more than a few have you, I knew this dude would be sucking my fumes for a while. He was weaving back and forth, peering around me and confirming that yes, in fact, I had cars in front of me. Apparently he had this notion that he could go faster in my spot than I could, and wanted to be here or he would die. A mile or two of this escalated to flashing high beams and beeping his horn, still going 75 or so with trucks on our right. I’m a patient person, and can tolerate a lot of poor behavior on the road, but flashing high beams at me hit a seldom pushed button. I took my foot of the gas and slowed down to the speed limit, which was still 70.

A sizeable gap had formed in front of me as the they continued to go 75 or so. This enraged the dude behind me and if he could have exploded like a volcano, there would have been a crater in the middle of the highway. I had become the driver he hated the most. A driver aware of his horrible behavior and ignoring his escalating anger towards me, not because it wasn’t working, but rather because it *was* working but not with the expected outcome he wanted (me moving over to let him pass). I was coming to the end of the long line of trucks after driving about 5 miles and I slowed down to match the front trucks speed with just a few more MPH to creep past his bumper. The truck driver picked up on what I was doing and could easily see the guy behind me going completely insane trying to get me to move out-of-the-way, which wasn’t his fault. So I accelerated and started to move over slowly with my right blinker on. The Dodge dude practically drove up the middle k-rail to get around me with inches between our cars.

roadrage
I imagine this how he looked.  Makes me feel better to think that.

I’m thinking this is over and all would be well again with the world. Unfortunately I was mistaken as the last 10 minutes had taken a toll on this guys sanity. As there was now no one in front of us for almost a mile, rather than take off like I had expected, he immediately darted half into my lane just ahead of my car. He slammed so hard on his brakes that he locked the tires for a split second and then proceeded to mash the gas and take off. With a loaded semi behind me with a driver I’m sure just pooped his pants a little, I mashed the gas and as I was accelerating, I pulled out my phone. Using the shortcut to the camera, I then held it up just behind the steering wheel prepared to take a picture of his license plate once I caught up. He had been really moving and I did a speed that I have done only two other times in my entire life to get close enough to get a picture, which I did. I backed off immediately and, while I’m not going to say what I had reached, it was certainly 3 digits.

Yeah, I know, going that fast to catch up I’m no better than the maniac in the Dodge and became a maniac to everyone around me to do it. Thankfully I had caught up before we hit the traffic pack and I backed off well before I got close, so I was only a maniac to myself, not better, just less of a maniac (just short of plaid). Once I had arrived at work, I proceeded to call the State Trooper Aggressive Driver Hotline to report the offending Dodge’s behavior and give his license plate number. I was asked by the attendant how I got the license plate, and I said that I caught up to him after he passed to snap a picture. She wasn’t pleased as it was clear I had been speeding to catch him and no better than he had been. Regardless, she appreciated that I reported him and confirmed that it wasn’t the first time the license plate had been called in. He was a maniac by all definitions.

terminator
What I wish I could do sometimes

My observation of drivers in general the last several months is similar to all the negativity in the news. While I’m far from an expert here, I see a correlation between uncertainty, doubt, anger, and fear with our countries direction and the state of people driving on the roads. We all take for granted that a vehicle is in essence a heavy object with power much greater than the average person. It doesn’t take much for the thought of ramming the bumper of the person who cut you off or turning into the side of someone who just flipped you off to enter into your head. I’ve tried very hard to keep myself calm and collected while driving as the last thing I need is to push things too far one day and discover that the other guy had a gun under his seat and is ready to use it. Still can’t shake the damn flashing high beams!!

gotagun
So cute, but she’s a badass!

I’m exposed only to the northeast U.S. and have no clue how drivers are acting in other parts of the country. For all the bad drivers we have in the U.S., I’d gladly take them over having to drive in China. I’ve read articles on the chaos they have on their roads because of drivers with less than 15 years of experience to draw upon. Americans have been driving since the early 1900’s and were afforded the mistakes in a world where the fastest car could only go 30 MPH on a good day. Modern cars can easily reach 130 or more (most US vehicles are limited at 105 or less).

America is broken

After recently ordering a plush toy and an A-line skirt for my daughters Halloween costume this year, I was surprised to see that it would take both over 2 weeks to arrive to my home. Inspecting further on the eBay listing and confirmation, they’re both shipping from China. It got me thinking about how, despite a lot of people claiming America is “first”, in reality we’re not. We actually haven’t been for a number of years. Most countries in the world got a really good lesson in how broken we actually are during the 2008 global market crash that in every way, was started by wealthy and greedy Americans. Sure, you can claim that other countries caused the crisis to worsen through a cascade of crashes, but it started with us. What is scary to think about, is that the system that existed in 2008 is the same system that exists today. Nothing has fundamentally changed to stop it from happening again, banks are still huge, and individuals affected by the crash are now past the 7 year mark when a foreclosure is falling off their credit report and applying for credit and mortgages once again.  Forclosure and bankruptcy didn’t do much in the way of learning from our mistakes.

My wife was watching a movie one evening this week as I arrived home, called The Big Short. I missed the majority of the movie and really only caught the last 30 minutes, however I was aware of all the detail surrounding the crash as I had been personally affected by almost losing my house (even though I had never gone underwater). The crash was a blindingly complicated event that had so many facets that helped contribute to the collapse. The focus of the movie was on a group of individuals that saw the collapse of the credit and housing bubble and took on the banks in their own game of insuring their assets in order to capitalize on the collapse, not the expansion of the bubble.  Seeing this movie coincided with my belief that at least the credit bubble is starting to expand again with the double-digit increase of sub-prime credit lending. Sub-prime, as I understand it, is lending to people with credit scores below 640 (I believe this is the FICO score). I’ve read so much in the past few weeks, there may be other requirements to meet the sub-prime categorization I’m still not aware of. My point here is that we’re heading towards another bubble bursting event that currently has NO compensating controls in the system to correct it. The Fed is powerless right now to correct another downturn event due to the fact that the correction mechanisms are already tapped. The rest of the world isn’t much better either. The end of the movie ended in a joke where there was sweeping legislation, hundreds went to jail, and big banks were broken up. Sadly the truth is that no one went to jail except for one person and Lehman was allowed to go out of business to be used as an example for everyone else that was eventually bailed out.

A really good video capture (link below) from a show called The Newsroom gives a fantastically blunt and factual answer to the question “What makes America the greatest country in the world?” I was amazed at how harsh the answer was delivered despite it being a fictional television show.  Everything that was said was based in true and verifiable facts. I believe this is the kind of rhetoric we need to be having across the country, the rhetoric that scares the crap out of career politicians that are also multi-millionaires and part of the top-tier of society. This resonated with me to the core. The question in the video is being asked by someone in a generation that I admit I have trouble relating to on so many different levels. Relating to the previous generation has been a struggle forever and is often referenced with jokes like “Get off my grass” said by an elder to a young child. I don’t have the proper frame of reference to adequately relate to a generation that has grown up with technology and has a fundamental understanding of its potential that will forever be outside of my grasp.

YouTube Video:  Is America the greatest country?

There are so many problems in our society and we’re all pointing fingers at each other. How immature we are for not holding ourselves accountable for all the hate we’re spewing on others. This is not the first time I’ve written about this topic and I’m unfortunately certain it isn’t the last time either. Global economy arguments aside, we can’t help others if we’re not able to help ourselves. The divide between haves and have-nots is a massive chasm that won’t be closed until the have-nots, with their greater strength in numbers, decides to do something about it. My own way of doing something about it is educating myself on the true system, the system behind the smoke and mirrors of mainstream media, and spreading what I know to others. Not by preaching, not by beating it into them. More along the lines of putting reasonable doubt on the table so that, if they choose to, they can pick up and discover for themselves the truth in all the lies. We need an open dialogue amongst each other where flame throwing puts you into time out. We need to start opening our eyes and seeing the truth that is there for the taking if we only just start scratching at the surface to find out what’s beneath.

This is our call to arms to not elect one man who claims he can “Make America Great Again”. This is our call to arms to not elect one woman who claims there is nothing nefarious about tens of millions of dollars in donations to her “foundation” from countries with laws that oppose all the foundation stands for. This is our call to arms to decide for ourselves, not be mindless sheep, and elect a person that has actually listened to us and is willing to join the fight against the system. It isn’t going to be easy, in fact, it will be damn difficult and seemingly impossible at times. I’m starting this fight personally by choosing to elect a third-party candidate, whomever that may be in my state election. I ask you, my small list of followers, to do your own research and decide for yourselves what the best choice for you should be.

America is broken, and it’s up to us, the have-nots, to fix it!

Year of the third party candidate

Conversations with people over the last several months has consistently floated into politics. I like to consider myself having an open mind and as such, form my opinions based on fact rather than other people’s opinions. I refuse to pander to the mainstream media’s view of “Trump or Clinton” where this is no other choice. My strong opinions and views of both these candidates is barely classified as mediocre at best. The reasons are many, but that isn’t the point of this blog post, rather this blog post is about the rise of the third-party candidate and their strong chances this year to actually affect the elections positively. We have the Libertarian ticket with Johnson/Weld (JW) and the Green ticket with Stein/Baraka (SB). During my research of both, I’ve found a lot more similarity than difference in their positions. The key factor here is if one or both of them can make it to 15% or more on the 6 national polls to allow them an opportunity to participate in the Presidential debates. Without that, I fear that neither will have a major impact on the elections and have a similar impact as Ross Perot and Ron Paul in previous elections.

I’m so frustrated with the back and forth that Trump and Clinton have started. Some of the articles I’ve read make it feel more like two bullies at recess fighting to see who is better, something I’ve had a lot of experience with being on the receiving end of a bully or two. A lesson in how to herd cats, neither the Republican or Democratic party can figure out if they’re looking at their heads or their butts. Media certainly doesn’t make anything better in their obviously filtered decisions on what to cover and what not to cover. Statistics based on polls of males college educated vs. non-college educated, minorities, women college educated vs non-educated, individuals who believe the sky is purple….. the ridiculous list of stats goes on and on. Stats don’t show the true story of what or how people are thinking in my opinion. The stats are the media’s way to justify headlines like “Clinton responds to Trump labeling her a ‘bigot'” and “Clinton see Trump ties to ‘alt-right’ dystopian ideology”. I’m literally shaking my head after typing that last one….. and this comes from the Associated Press of all places. Dystopian ideology indeed. Ask anyone the difference between utopian and dystopian and I’d wager they would need to look it up. I’m a science-fiction fan, so know the different pretty well. Bladerunner = dystopian, The Giver = utopian (but discovered truly dystopian). Star Trek The Next Generation, in essence, is a utopian society in that they eliminated poverty, hunger, war (at least on planets in the Federation). Enough geeking though.

I was close to a decision on a third-party candidate and my choice takes into a lot of factors that technically aren’t relevant to this blog post. The Monster in Your Closet has provided her endorsement and I share a lot of the same viewpoints she does in her support of Jill Stein and the Green Party.  Several of the platform points that I’m behind are:

  • 20 million new jobs by creating WWII-era workforce mobilization to migrate to 100% renewable energy by 2030
  • Label GMOs, and put a moratorium on GMOs and pesticides until they are proven safe
  • Repeal the Taft-Hartley Act which banned secondary boycotts and permitted state “right-to-work” laws. Enact a federal just cause law (to prohibit firing without just cause,) and outlaw scabbing on striking workers
  • Break up “too-big-to-fail” banks and democratize the Federal Reserve
  • Repeal the Patriot Act that violates our constitutional right to privacy and protection against unreasonable search and seizure
  • Abolish the Electoral College and directly elect the President using a national popular vote with ranked-choice voting
  • Restore the right to run for office and eliminate unopposed races by removing ballot access barriers

The above are not in any particular order of importance. A lot of what she is standing for in her platform is what the American public has told her are the problems that need to be corrected. Both the Libertarian and Green parties have listened to the “people” who most politicians have ignored to a large extent. Normal people are not part of the inner circle of greed and therefore, don’t have any leverage to change anything. I’m a normal person and as such, feel powerless to make any change, or so I thought. Both Stein and Johnson have a major battle to not only be part of the debates, but also be listed as a candidate on all 50 state ballots. There are so many rules and blocks to getting on the ballot no wonder we’re stuck in this two-party system rut. Our power as individual voters lies with social media, conversations, and grass-roots efforts of support.

I’ve yet to choose my third-party candidate at this point, however I lean heavily to Stein/Baraka. My decision will most likely come down to who, if any, make enough headway to earn their spot in this years debates. One thing I am certain of though, is that my vote will NOT be for Trump or Clinton, as I feel for me, that is endorsing one of the two school yard bullies. Supporting a bully only results in slightly less attention, but you continue to be bullied regardless. I can no longer support a system that continues to get richer while I struggle to keep myself above water without making any real difference. The difference I’m making this year is in support of the “good Samaritan” that steps in to stop the bully in the schoolyard from picking on me. If one of the third party candidates manage to win the election, it will truly be one for the history books.

Three Things Thursday – 08/25/2016

three-things-thursday-badge

Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

*three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy*

FINsix DARTDart by FinSix

I’m finally getting my Dart!! I supported their Kick Starter campaign in 2014 (no, that’s not a typo) to get a customized blue Dart with 9 universal tips. It’s a universal charger that utilizes a new type of charging technology that allows the “brick” part of the charger to be about the size of a pack of gum. The cord is universally ended to allow you to swap out different tips so that it works with multiple devices. Instead of my laptop taking 3 hours to charge from 10% to 100%, it will only take about 1 hour as much less power is lost in the conversaion of A/C to D/C.

Time to discover new blogs

I had a lot of time this past weekend (and week) to hit the WordPress Discover feature to find some new blogs to read. I’ve followed quite a few of them as well based on their style of writing and what they are writing about. I find myself reading blog posts instead of news lately and rarely run out of content to read during my lunch hour. I’ve also taken the time to read the blog posts of people that have followed me. Overall, I’ve become much more interactive in the WordPress community and am enjoying the time I spend reading about others.

StarryNight

van Gogh TARDIS Exploding

Being a Dr. Who fan doesn’t go unnoticed here at work. Someone who was out at a local store this past weekend saw this poster and immediately thought I would like it. Not only do I love it, but I have it hanging prominentely in my cubicle as the season with The Doctor and Amy that this came from was absolutely amazing. I’ve watched the season through at least 5 times in the last year or so, a few of them with my daughter who has become quite the Dr. Who fan herself.

Racism is easy, Understanding is hard

Inspired by: White Lives Matter group protests outside NAACP in Houston’s Third Ward

I support free speech as much as the next warm-blooded American. I’ve even taken positions that weren’t always popular due to the popular position being against what I stood for or supported. What we have lately is a tragedy of American freedom in that it seems we’re posturing more to antagonize others than to support a position. Protesting for White Lives Matter, Black Lives Matter, whatever is your constitutional right. Using symbols of racism and hate to take a peaceful protest and turn it into something more akin to what we had in our past is crossing a moral line. At the moment that the American Civil War was over, the confederate flag became the symbol of racism and hate. At no point do I see that flag and think to myself “southern heritage” as the man in this article indicates is their reason to have them at the protest. My parents lived in the south for more than 15 years and during visits, I would encounter people who gave the impression the war was never won. Their views of the world were very narrow and I actually felt sorry for them for not having the opportunity to see the world any differently than their ancestors that fought in the war so many years ago.

Black Lives Matter has been warped into a battle cry against racism by whites onto blacks. I’ll let that sink in a little before I continue. The incident in Milwaukee partially proves my statement. The coverage of that was significantly less than coverage of the previous incidents in other cities. Milawaukee has a primarily black government, black police force, and black population. The majority of news coverage was not of the victim drawing a gun on the police officer and refusing to put it down. The majority of news coverage was not of the police officer using deadly force in self-defense against a gun being drawn on them. The majority of news coverage, actually, was the riot that broke out in protest of the police shooting where there was little to no Black Lives Matter protests. Why did everyone riot in the first place? I’ll admit there might be some naivety on my part here and welcome comments of differing points of view. I’m left being very confused at this fact because my understanding of that organization was the protection of all black lives against hate of all kinds.

Now, in Houston, there is a group of white people holding confederate flags protesting in front of an NAACP office with a banner that reads “#WhiteLivesMatter”. I’m disgusted by this display of hate to the point where I *had* to write about it while still at work. I get that the protest was against the NAACP and other black organizations in their failure to speak out about events that took the lives of white police officers. I don’t dispute the fact that every single person in this protest had a right to have said protest. What I am disgusted at and definitely dispute is the blatant display of items that were used in a purposeful manner to incite violence. Up until I read the line in the article where the group held assault rifles, I had an open mind. Assault rifles do not convey anything close to resembling a peaceful protest! I’m pro-gun, have been for a long time, but assault rifles in my opinion cross the protection vs. deadly force line. I see no reason short of fatal collapse of government where an assault rifle would be necessary. Owning one and keeping it in your home is one thing, but carrying it openly at a protest send the wrong message.

Why have we as Americans become so fractured as a society? Where did we go so wrong that guns and violence replaced conversation and mutual respect? Questions I think we all need to find an answer to before escalating posturing on both sides degrades into an all out war. I personally do not treat anyone differently until given a reason to do so, and then when given a reason, I offer my understanding and walk away. The thought of violence to solve problems really never enters into my mind and would absolutely never be an answer to anything I considered productive. One of the reasons I write is to convey my thoughts and feelings in a way that helps me to understand. It isn’t to make anyone upset, mad, or offended. I respect different points of view in that they’re ways I can broaden (not limit) my understanding of the world. Too many people are closed off to anything other than what they know, which in my experience, is often very little and matches what they learned from their parents and grandparents. My father chose to break that cycle and I am further breaking that cycle by being even more open-minded than my father was with us (he definitely has his moments). I’m instilling in my daughter an ability to see the world with an open eyes and an open mind, to see that there are peaceful answers to any problem and given the chance, people can be good.

I’ve had several deep conversations with acquaintances over the last several weeks that have been truly enlightening. They’ve provided a different point of view that in turn expanded my understanding in a way that allowed me to clean my “glasses” a little more. Prejudice, ignorance, racism, and other hate will keep your glasses dirty or foggy. Learning to understand others around you without any of that helps to clean them or provide a clearer picture. It’s easy to lean on anger and hate; it’s a lot harder to fight that reaction and instead lean on respect and understanding. Articles such as this one don’t help the growing problem, they only serve to exacerbate it.

Three Things Thursday – Aug 18, 2016

three-things-thursday-badge

Inspired by Nerd in the Brain

Three things that make me smile: an exercise in gratitude – feel free to steal this idea with wild abandon and fill your blog with the happy.

ITIL Training

Ok, so training isn’t exactly a fun or happy thing to do. I find training to be a bit boring if I’m being honest, however in this case the instructor was a massive bundle of excited energy. It made the class (three days) fly by and I’m happy I got lucky with an instructor that made it seem interesting.

Farmers Markets

My wife and rediscovered the awesomeness that is the local farmers market this past weekend. Entering with a handful of cash, we left with several bags of local fruits and vegetables. There was even some farm raised beef and chicken in there as well that we turned into several cook-now-freeze-for-later dinners. You can bet we’ll be heading back this weekend as having fresh stuff forces you to plan and eat it all in a few days or it goes bad.

Back to School

I’m already getting happy that it’s almost back to school time for my daughter. Her routine, or lack of routine, has started to affect anything we need to do that differs from what she wants to do. Her going back to school effectively forces everyone back onto a routine that keeps everyone, including myself, happy. Not technically something that has happened, but the prospect of it happening is making me happy about it now.

ITIL Training = Eyelid Olympics

My company decided that it was time for me to take ITIL Foundation training.  For those of you not in an IT field, this is essentially an industry best practice of standards on how to efficiently and effectively perform change in the IT organization.  I’ve been in the IT industry pretty much the last 17 years or so and practically live and breath the standards that I’m now learning about.  So I don’t refer to things with proper names or terms like they talk about in the training.  I know the methodology regardless of knowing the names of what I’m doing or not.

I can admit that ITIL is not the most exciting, rather, it is one of the more dry and tedious content subjects in IT.  Not even with CISA did I struggle to keep myself motivated for a mere three day class.  The scary part is that there are several levels of ITIL that you can obtain, each certification test getting harder than the previous one.  I’m wishing that the content as you get more detailed picks up in excitement where I can describe it as more riveting than watching paint dry or catching the latest episode of Bass Masters.

There is one more day of endurance training for my eyelids before I sit down to take the 40 question certification exam.  I’ve taken all the practice tests and online test preps and am averaging well above the 65% passing score required.  For me, this really is common sense and as long as I keep the hundreds of terms straight and not get caught up on tricky questions, I should do just fine.  The person that I’m taking the training with unfortunately is not in the same situation.  He’s younger and has less than 5 years experience and is struggling with understanding the terms and how to apply the standards.  I hope he passes.

I probably won’t have another post until Thursday when I give all of you another installment of Three Things Thursday, one of which will hopefully be a passing score on my ITIL Foundations exam.

How perception defines our view of the world and ourselves

All of the time I’ve spent on self-reflection and inner feelings reminded me of a recent science show on how perception can change drastically with seemingly identical subjects. Take for instance the compelling example of Abraham Lincoln, which most people immediately recognize when they see the below picture. He was the 16th President of the United States and is credited with not only abolishing slavery (that took over 100 years to partially work) and winning the United States Civil War. His amazing ability to manipulate words in such a way so as to evoke emotion and passion in everyone that listened or read was second to none. Several former U.S. Presidents would use his speeches to craft their own speeches so that radio addresses could have the greatest impact in times of need. Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John F Kennedy, the list goes on. Once television came into popular use, the need for powerful words diminished slightly, as now body language and facial expressions could convey what words typically would have trouble doing on their own.

ALincoln_World

Who likes to see a picture of themselves? I sure don’t, and I can bet most people all over the world have trouble or are uncomfortable seeing themselves in pictures. From the day we’re born, we get a sense of self-perception that defines us for our entire lives. That self-perception comes in many forms, such as our own voices, observable interactions with others to our own actions, even our image in a mirror. The reason we have difficulty seeing ourselves in a photograph or listening to our recorded voices, is that it doesn’t match our self-perception. In fact, it will NEVER match our self-perception as the circumstances that defined it just don’t exist. Below is the same picture of Abraham Lincoln as he would have seen himself in the mirror, which is a reverse image of our actual appearance. A camera by design will take a real world representation of how we appear to the world whereas a mirror is, well, a reverse image of how the world sees us.

ALincoln_SelfImage

Having written about introversion lately, this was fresh in my mind especially after I recalled the science show. Perception is in the eye of the beholder. It is a clear and simple truth that self-perception and real-perception, that is the case with physical/auditory appearance, don’t and will never match. Our voices, to us, have added acoustics of our head that add to the sound that exist our mouths. A lower range that others don’t hear that travels to our ears from our throat to our ears on the inside. As I can’t speak to other introverts, my own self-perception in the past was the reason that I avoided contact with others. I was unable to stand up to the potential scrutiny from someone elses perception of me if it were somehow different. What I didn’t understand at the time was that it would always be different. The pictures above show solid evidence of this statement. If you showed anyone the second picture, they’re reaction would be one of confusion as something about the picture is just “off”.

What I had to understand and accept for myself was that perception is subjective and involves more than just outward appearance or home someone sounds. Perception takes body language, actions, meaning of words, and facial expressions as well. The full range of human interactions basically helps us form a perception of the people around us. Knowing that my uneasiness was a result of unsubstantiated emotions was the key to learning to push them aside and rely on all the queues to establish a more logical and truthful perception. I don’t discard them completely, but no longer let the uneasiness stop me in my tracks to work on forming relationships with others. After all is said and done, it’s the intangible thoughts and feelings in our brains that finally decide how we form or don’t form relationships. I think this is the reason that online friendships, like the ones we all form through blogging, are so important to introverts such as myself. It removes the awkwardness of on-the-spot conversation until such a time, finally meeting in person, there is a base of reference to start and hold conversations with greater ease.

I personally have not met anyone yet that I’ve interacted with online through here. If given the opportunity to do so, and given enough online interactions, I would welcome it. That day is almost certainly well into the future though.

3 types of people I tolerate, but would rather avoid

There are some people in this world that really put me in a bad mental space. The types of people who suck your limited energy and demand so much of you that its easier to avoid them rather than engage them. There are all kinds of people in the world that have been shaped by their parents and environment to interact appropriately with others around them. I question the motives such people have and how they’re personalities benefit them in the long-term. Being the type of person I am, I have a lot of time to observe the people around me in most situations. Knowing a little about the person I’m talking to (or going to talk to) in advance provides me the most efficient approach to as not to drain myself too quickly. Once I’m “done” in a social situation, I will and have just decided to leave for quieter surroundings.

An introvert almost always has a smaller “energy tank” than extroverts and what is their energy source is our drain. Meeting or interacting with the three types of people I detail below, to me, is like opening a sinkhole under my lake of energy and it disappearing quickly. In my experience, it takes an hour of solitude or deep thinking to recharge enough to have a 30 minute social interaction. Interacting socially with one of the three people below doubles or triples that drain. Again, this is subjective and based on my own experiences over the last 20 or so years.

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A really good example of the drain an introvert feels in social situations

Topper

This type of person is notoriously going to always have something to that is more interesting, more surprising, more expensive than anything you’re talking about. Not always the truth, they feel the need to validate themselves and stay in the conversation by making sure everyone knows they’ve topped whatever you said. Here are a few examples of what a Topper might say to you in response to a statement you’ve made.

In response to your vacation length: “Well, when I went there it was for 7 days, not 5 like you.”  In most cases, they never went there.

In response to what you’re driving: “Oh, you have a 2014, mine is a 2016 and newer.”  They’re also in more debt than you, a chance to top a topper 🙂

In response to the new house you just purchased: “That sounds like a nice house, but mine is 1,000 sq ft bigger and has a pool in the backyard.”  May or may not be true, but a larger house means more debt.

In response to your new job: “I can’t talk about my job, I’m under a non-compete.”  I added this one as this was an actual response I got. He meant to say NDA, and when I pointed that out, he walked away to start topping someone else, LOL

Interrupter

This person will consistently interrupt a conversation with whatever nugget they have to add. There is no vestige of manners with this person and most find them ultra annoying to be around. Being the type of person that I am, I respect others and don’t like to interrupt, ever. I wait my turn to speak and often with this type of person around I just don’t bother trying. An interrupter is often the person that asks “Why are you so quiet?” and is almost always an extrovert. I get the fact they’re trying to recharge their batteries from the conversation, but the lack of etiquette is inexcusable in my opinion. The only time I find this type of person helpful is when you’re having a debate with a group of people and they’re interrupting the people with a differing opinion other than your own.

“My shit doesn’t stink” (aka Politician)

Probably the most annoying person on my list. This person does no wrong. They continually remind everyone how awesome they are and when pointed out they made a mistake, they have a plausible reason as to why it was someone else’s fault and they’re the unfortunate bystander. In my experience, these people are naturally suited for politics as it takes a certain level of self-centeredness and arrogance to fit this category. This person also sees being labeled in this manner as a crowning achievement in their life.

Compliments to this type of person are usually responded to with a condescending and patronizing comment that reminds you that you couldn’t possibly be better than them. I’ve found in my life that I should avoid these types of people due to the fact they not only suck energy, they also take shots at your self-esteem and self-worth. Any imperfection is pointed out and highlighted in an attempt to make themselves feel better. These types of people are often bullies their entire lives.