Life

0 1591

SpellingToday, while writing an email, that little red line showed up under the word “advisor”.

I looked at it.

I looked at it some more.

Hmmmm, that looks right to me.

And then I started to doubt myself and subsequently forgot how to sepll htings ntirley.

So here’s what I found out:

Adviser and advisor are both accepted spellings of the noun meaning one who advises or counsels. There is no difference between them. But adviser, the older version, is listed as the primary spelling in most dictionaries, and it is about five times as common as advisor in current news publications from throughout the English-speaking world.

In the U.S. and Canada, advisor is commonly used in official job titles, but adviser is still generally preferred over advisor in North America, and advisor is only marginally more common in American and Canadian English than in other varieties of English.

Um, okay.

Maybe I’ve been living under a rock or perhaps it’s because I pretty much only see the word used as an “official job title” but I’m all but certain that I’ve never seen it spelled “adviser”.

Like, ever.

And they say it’s the more common spelling?

Please…

I’m going to go ask my walking 6-year old thesaurus.

0 1310

Rubberband BallI’ve never supported the concept of working from home.

I mean, I hold a position where telecommuting is totally do-able — there really isn’t anything that I physically need to be in the building for; it can all be done pretty much anywhere I have a keyboard, monitor (or three), and an internet connection.

I also consider myself responsible and trust-worthy enough not to claim I’m “working” from home when, in reality, I’m doing my weekly grocery shopping.

But I don’t think it’s a wise alternative for companies to be offering — even for me.

First and foremost, face time matters.

In theory, yes, besides making an awesome rubber band ball, I could do pretty much everything required at my job from my PC at home while wearing pajamas.

But would it be efficient?

Absoulutely not.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve “solved” or “side-stepped” an issue of my own or others as a result of overhearing someone in the office.

If everyone’s at home, there is undoubtedly limited communication and zero teamwork.

While that might be great for the individual in their pajama pants ‘working’, cough, cough, grocery shopping, it’s bad for business.

And, no, just having a phone with you doesn’t count as “working” unless your job solely consists of talking on the phone.

Ever tried to modify even the simplest of Excel spreadsheets on your phone? Yeah, good luck with that.

I guess my real stance is that attendance matters.

From the fourth grade on, I never missed a single day of school. Not one.

(Let’s not talk about third grade… It included a two week stint in the hospital for appendicitis, a week off for the chicken pox, and probably 10 other days of just general illness too.)

Now, I may have implied that education isn’t important numerous times on this site and I’m not going to argue any differently here.

Anyone can get an education. It just takes a little time and effort.

So, yeah, education helps in “life” but you know what else counts more?

Just being there.

Consistently. Everyday.

Every office has that person that seems to habitually just not show up 3 or 4 times a month. Or that dude that comes in late, takes long lunches, or leaves super early EVERY SINGLE DAY. You know, that name that makes you roll your eyes?

Pretty frustrating when you need that person and they’re not there, you know, when they should be, right?

As it is, that happens a lot. Multiply the propensity by 100 if you’re talking about tele-commuters.

For real, drives me crazy when the “work from home” folks ask me if I saw the lady trip and fall on the Price is Right yesterday.

Um, no? I was at work. You know, working.

In fact, while I do enjoy the Price is Right, I haven’t seen an episode since 1996 when, well, I wasn’t working yet.

See what I mean?

So, when looking at my son’s report card this past week (he just finished kindergarten), his attendance for the whole year is listed.

0 days absent.
0 days tardy.
0 days dismissed early.

That’s right — 180 days of school and not a minute missed.

Report CardWhile I was never recognized in high school for never missing a day (they stopped acknowledging the feat years earlier as it had apparently turned into something so rare that the school administrators assumed(?) that it was no longer possible), I’ve always kinda wished I had been.

I know for a fact that I was the only one in my graduating class.

But, to my pleasant surprise, my son’s school principal (who reviews and signs all of the final report cards) acknowledged and even wrote a personal message recognizing his attendance record — calling it “amazing“.

Bit of a strong word if you ask me…

So, while I’m proud that my son is following my lead when it comes to “showing up”, I’ve also gained some comfort in knowing that things that seemingly go unnoticed aren’t *always* unrecognized.

Just “showing up” is a more valued asset than it’s given credit for.


– – – – – – – – – – –

Fried EggEgg on my Face

My streak continued in university too…and then in the workplace.

I’ve been at the same company for over 18 years and I’ve called out sick, very reluctantly, once. EVER.

And that was 15 years in…due to a vomiting spell that occurred precisely every 45 minutes.

Oddest and most predictable projectile vomit related illness I’ve ever had.

For real, I’d feel pretty much okay for around 40 minutes… and then puke my guts out for 5 minutes. Went on, like clockwork, for around 16 hours.

Embarrassingly, I hate to admit it now but…I “worked from home” that day.

0 1713

FitBit HR ChargeMy wife received a FitBit HR for her birthday this past weekend and I put it on for around 25 seconds. This is my review.

Pretty solid build — a little like the rubbery material Swatch watches were made of in the 1980’s.

At the same time, while solid, it also kinda looks a bit like a Happy Meal toy giveaway — cheap really.

No one really remembers those days when McDonald’s handed out “tech” things so, apparently, it’s okay to charge $150 for something visually very similar.

On the plus side, while the material feels like a Swatch, they’ve pressed a pattern into it so it’s not arm-hair pulling — think of a really wide and tight elastic on your arm.

Yeah, it’s nothing like that.

It has a couple of flashing lights on the bottom side that touch your wrist that I’m guessing are checking out your blood flow to calculate your pulse — kinda like those one finger clothes-pin style pulse meters.

It also has a real watchband clasp unlike the friction clasp that the regular Charge model has. That alone made it worth $25 more in my book as it can’t just “fall” off.

My wife, though, disagreed and thought the less expensive model would be more comfortable.

The small display bar only lights up with the time when you tap it or press the one button on the side.

I realize that this is a battery saving measure and can totally respect that. However, the trend with most modern devices to have so few buttons is highly annoying.

I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been frustrated trying to turn a tablet on or off. There’s only one button — do you hold it down? Do you not hold it down? Is there some sort of magic pressing pattern required to make it do something?

With a singe button, this “new” wearable technology is akin to the on-board “computer” on my nearly 20-year old car.

You know, where you set the clock using a single button and endlessly frustrating patterns to jump from hour to minute.

Even my current Blu-Ray player only has a couple of buttons. One to turn it on and one to eject the disc. Should I lose or break the remote, well, the whole device becomes a paperweight.

I hate that.

The FitBit HR Charge is also not waterproof. I dunno, if a wearable device is suppose to “track” your daily activities, you’d think they’d ensure that it can be worn in the shower.

I know why it’s not waterproof but whichever company figures out a way to make it that way, well, that’ll be a game changer. Hey, watches are waterproof…and have been for like 30 years, right?

Anyway, in the short time that I wore it (no, I didn’t get a rash), it told me that it was 7:31PM and that my heart was beating 85 beats per minute.

Pretty uninteresting stuff, right there.

It also told me, since my wife had been wearing it pretty much all day, how many steps had been taken (with a little progress bar pushing her towards 10k, I’d assume), how far she’d traveled, and how many calories had been burned.

Now, as a geek, I could tear down the accuracy of all of these number with ease.

I mean, only a moron would think a device like this, straight out of the box, could be accurate with so little to go on and so many variables a strap of rubber with a blinking few lights could never know.

(Yes, I know you can “customize” it to your regular stride length and that sort of thing to make it slightly more accurate but I’m certain that 90% of their owners never even bother.)

That said — I don’t think precise accuracy is the point or purpose of the device.

With the Fibit displaying that she only had about 1200 steps to go until she hit the 10k mark, guess what?

We went on a late evening walk.

At a time when, usually, we’d just be lounging on the couch waiting for the kids to fall asleep.

And, while the numbers are just that, numbers, and essentially meaningless…those tiny numbers got her (and me…and three kids) up and moving at a time when, well, frankly, it was couch potato time.

That’s where the FitBit excels.

And until the current fad of wearable technology wears off, that’s probably a good thing for our society.

Get up, and get moving.


– – – – – – – – –

PIAC Tangent
Hilariously, my kids refer to it as a “Fibbit”.

Somehow I’m pretty sure that their marketing department failed to test the final product name in a focus group of young children.

(Makes you wonder how/why the drug companies approved names like Latuda and Farxiga, doesn’t it? I find both names (and their commercials) hilarious.)

Sure, the FitBit isn’t geared towards that ageset anyway (though the wrist band does get small enough to fit my 6-year old) but I can just imagine people saying to their friends, “Oh, I walked over 14 miles yesterday…” with the group croaking “Fibbit! Fibbit!” in the background.

In Fitbit’s defense, they can always claim that the accuracy is just a “reasonable” guess…so, yeah, feel free to fib a little bit.

For real, though, like with solving money issues, the key is motivation and momentum.

The FitBit Charge HR delivers on both fronts…if you keep wearing it.

But NEVER in the shower.

0 1589

Cap and DiplomaRead an article in the paper today lamenting about how millennials are “coming of age in a harsh economy”.

I swear, they must publish the exact same article during graduation season each year… And have been for at least the last 30 years…

Seriously, I’m all but positive my local paper published the exact same article when I graduated from high school way back in 1994.

“Oh, these kids won’t have jobs waiting for them because the baby boomers aren’t stepping out of the workforce…”

This article, though, gave them a “name” of sorts — NEETs — that I hadn’t seen before.

It stands for Not in Education, Employment, or Training.

Losers. Get off your lazy ass and get a job.

But really, the economic “climate” — for jobs, anyway — is pretty much the same as it’s been since the early 1990’s as far as I’m concerned.

I know more PhD’s than you can imagine.

No, not cause they’re brainy but because they couldn’t find jobs…so they just stayed in school.

No joke, one guy I lived with in University had a commerce degree and an arts degree already…while we were pursuing engineering degrees at the same time.

Nowadays? He has like 5 masters, some sort of fancy MBA title thrown in there and he’s a doctor of something too.

To his credit, now in his 40’s, he continues to refer to himself jokingly as a professional student just as he did when I first met him.

Really, though, his resume consists of 90% education and 10% actual work experience. I mean, he almost has to break the “limit it to one page” resume rule just to list out his higher learning credentials.

I’ve said he should just become part of the system — like a professor or something — but he insists he’s still “looking” for a job.

I guess, since he’s still in education, he’s not a great example of a NEET.

Or maybe people have finally figured out that getting a degree doesn’t magically turn into a job?

Frankly, that’s a nearly 50-year old way of thinking.

My dad had a degree in philosphy and somehow turned that into a 30+ year IT career in the insurance industry. Really?

Yeah, that kinda thing worked 50 years ago… not so much now.

Of course, all of those commericals that you see on television for associate degrees, MBA’s, and online classes from the University of Phoenix would have you thinking differently…

Hey, I can take night classes on my own time and, poof, a few MONTHS down the road with my new certificate, I’ll be placed in a position of leadership — so high that I don’t even really have to ‘work’ because I’m so qualified — at a trendy company.

Um, no.

You’ll still be working where you are now, be a few thousand dollars more in debt, and be no nearer to being handed the job that never truly existed.

So, you rather than go the NEET route (where does that lead?), just start at the bottom somewhere and work hard.

Guess what?

Chances are, your higher education background (or lack of) won’t matter one bit.

0 1132

Hapkido NinjaBuilding off of my earlier post about Johnny Lawrence, at the start of third grade, I began taking hapkido classes through the YMCA, you know, cause wearing a gi was suddenly the cool thing to do on Tuesday nights in the fall of 1984.

The town I lived in didn’t have a YMCA — and still doesn’t — so it was just a program put on by the closest (I’d assume) YMCA and was held in our middle school gym.

As a 3rd grader, I found it *very* cool to be in, let alone the middle school, but the middle school gym! And with older kids too!

Actually, it was a smaller gym adjacent to the “real” gym. Maybe the size of a raquet ball court. Still neat for a third grader.

(By the time I reached middle school, I came to realize that the small gym was for the kids who barely participated in gym class — you know, the shorts over the sweatpants crowd — to “play”, um, games for the less skilled and coordinated. In reality, the small gym was NOT the place to be.)

Now, since it was a regional type of program, I didn’t know most of the kids in the room which, in a way, made it more exciting.

I mean, NONE of the kids from my school would know that I was training to be a ninja. That was kind of important.

Element of surprise.

You know the deal.

Hi-YA!

Didn’t see that coming, did ya?

So, in pretty short order, I went from a white belt to a yellow belt.

Then it was orange.

And then finally a green belt cause they’d run out of blue and puple ones or something. Hey, it was a low end YMCA program, cut them some slack.

But it was at this junction that I thought to myself, “Hey, how come I haven’t chopped someone in half yet?”

I looked at some of the older kids in the class, you know, with the darker belts that got to partipate in “tournaments” and it struck me…

We’re just dancing in here.

Sure, we may have chopped a couple of boards in half (that I’m convinced were already compromised before they even entered the room — the “Don’t Try this at Home” warning was proof of that) but, truthfully, I’d learned little more than to slap my forearm on the ground whenever I was knocked down.

Oh, and how to tie all the little ties inside a gi jacket.

Yeah, real life lessons learned, right there.

So, with that, my dream of becoming a ninja flickered out.

Well, until I saw that commerical the other night.

0 1358

So the Strolling of the Heifers in Brattleboro, Vermont came and went this past weekend.

Big crowd, as always, though it seemed smaller than in years past but was still a good time and still *very* Vermont.

Here are some pictures of the, ahem, Vermont-ness…

The obligatory intro banner.
The obligatory intro banner.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Um… yeah. This is Vermont, alright.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Alright, a real cow. Now that’s what I’m talkin’ about…
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
No, sorry, there isn’t really a way to “look cool” driving a tractor. Nice try, though.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Good god, if those are the Future Business Leaders of America, I’m glad I can legally move back to Canada.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
I’m about 90% certain this is the guy that wanted Indiana Jones to bring his village’s sacred rocks back from the Temple of Doom.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Farmy. Yep, sounds about right.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
You know, I always wanted a unicycle but my parents never got me one. Seeing this, they made the right call.
Strolling of the Heifers 2015
In most of the country, beatniks are all about Beats by Dre. In Vermont, it’s just plain old beets. The kind that grow in the ground and taste terrible.

Further, my arch-nemisis, Miss Vermont was a no-show but her more mature (and far wiser) counterpart, Mrs. Vermont (Ashleigh Ricciarelli), was in attendance and far more appropriately dressed for the event…wearing rollerblades even! Big thumbs up to her.

Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Mrs. Vermont — LOVE the outfit. For real. I mean it. Please don’t send hate mail.

Vermont Senator (and 2016 Presidential Candidate) Bernie Sanders was also in the parade again.

Bernie Sanders
Bernie Sanders marching up Main Street in Brattleboro, Vermont.

He had an entourage of media folks around him documenting the day, and an army of staff handing out bumper stickers to Canadians like me who can’t vote for him anyway, but surprisingly no noticeable security.

As with the last time I saw him in this parade, he appeared totally comfortable in his backyard environment — which is to be expected — but I still thought he’d have a security detail around him this time, you know, possibly being the next President of the United States and all.

The Governor of Vermont, however, had a couple of these guys less than 10 feet away on either side.

Strolling of the Heifers 2015
Member of the Governor’s Brute Squad.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned, those who chose to barricade themselves into an “inner circle” rarely progress or succeed.

And while I would likely never endorse a candidate like Bernie Sanders (though he does understand what universal health care really is and should be), I’ve gotta give him credit… he’s clearly a down to earth people person with appealing “regular people” ideas kinda like Ron Paul…without the loose screws or radical son.

That, and apparently we both shop at the same store as I have the EXACT same shirt.

Yep, I dress like a 72 year old Vermonter.

– – – – – – – –

For the record, while this may all seem like a very harsh criticism of Vermont and the agricultural community in general, it’s all in good fun.

I do enjoy watching this parade however I don’t think I’d ever want to participate in it — not that they’d ever invite me anyway.

I don’t fit in and I guess I don’t really have much of a desire to fit in.

Too rural and, frankly, too artsy for me too. For those that clump all of New England together like we’re all living in small towns with white churches on the town green, well, I have news for you. Only Vermont is like that.

Maybe it’s the agricultural aspect (or maybe just the unusual — to me — people and lifestyles they choose) that turns me off more than the rural setting since I do enjoy getting off the beaten path.

Oddly, I was born in the middle of potato country (ever heard of Miss Vickie’s potato chips?) but would, clearly, never ever never choose to go back and live there. I just don’t like potatoes that much.

I dunno, it’s weird. Like Vermont.

But have no worries, Vermont…

Most of Maine is even weirder.

0 2177

I don’t watch a lot of television so forgive me if you’ve already seen this…

So, I saw this Buffalo Wild Wings commercial for the first time last night and, well, I hit the rewind button to watch it again.

Twice.

Okay, maybe it was three times.

Whatever. I thought it was awesome, obviously, and it’s likely due to the fact that I’m pretty much the exact age required to instantly grasp the reference. (I was heading into the 3rd grade when Karate Kid came out.)

Thankfully, for my sake, I can’t think of a time in my life where I was the prime target of a Johnny Lawrence type.

I got picked on by a prick (a year younger) named Chris Knell in 8th grade briefly but that ended far worse for him than it did for me.

Hope you enjoyed having to switch high schools as a minor-niner, buddy…

And while I may have sported some Johnny Lawrence hair in the early 1990’s I can only think of a single instance, in high school, where I could possibly have been perceived as a Johnny Lawrence.

Man, I was mean to that guy…

He totally deserved it, though.

For real.

I’d bet Chris Knell is still an a-hole.

So, wait, even though I looked like Johnny, I now think that might make me more of a Daniel LaRusso type, you know, when he beat Johnny in the tournament, right?

Yeah, I’m the good guy. High school is confusing.

Anyway, while a nostalgic commercial like this strikes me — nearing 40 years of age (OMG!) — I’m quite certain that the under-30 crowd (which you’d think would be the chain’s main target), you know, having been born AFTER the movie came out, would be like, “Um… I don’t get it…”

And speaking of Buffalo Wild Wings, have you tried their Mango Habanero wings?

Holy crap — my eyes are burning just reliving the time I made the mistake of putting one (or 12) in my mouth…

– – – – – –

PIAC Addendum

And speaking of commericals I’ve just recently seen, I can’t get enough of this Yoplait commercial either.

I mean, I could watch this lady stomp across the screen all day and I have no idea why.

I think I’ll have a yogurt. Or 12.

0 1070

Baseball GameSo tonight I brought my two oldest sons to the inaugural game for a new “futures league” baseball team.

Yeah, I’m not sure what that means either…

I guess it’s like summer camp for college baseball players or something.

Babe Ruth’s grand daughter threw the first pitch which was pretty neat and, for real, she actually looks a lot like Babe Ruth.

Whatever, we only lasted a couple of innings before, well, boredom sunk in… and then we left.

(We took the picture after we’d left the stadium…which is why they’re smiling!)

My feeling for a long time has been that it’s already apparent that baseball is dying. It’s something you go to see with your grandfather — an old man’s game of sorts.

There certainly was a lot of blue hair in the bleachers… I’d bet there’ll be a lot of aching backs in the morning too…

My grandfather died in the 1980’s so, thankfully, I was spared the agony of sitting on some uncomfortable bleachers in the hot sun when short shorts were still in style.

Pretty sure he wasn’t a baseball fan anyway. I’m also pretty sure he hated kids. Or maybe it just seemed that way.

Anyway, I grew up playing soccer as a kid — see the picture — as I’m pretty certain that a majority of those Generation X’ers still under 40, like me, did too.

ayso

The Generation Y kids? Same deal — it’s really no wonder that US Soccer has gotten exponentially better in the past 30 years. It’s why the US women nearly dominate.

Soccer is here. Soccer is big. And soccer is going to get even bigger…

Bigger than hockey (insert unhappy face here), bigger than baseball, bigger than basketball, and likely, in another decade and after a few more scandals, even football.

The under-40 crowd gets it.

We like games that are over in under 2 hours.
We like games that don’t have a commercial break every other minute.
We totally dig announcers with European accents even though we can barely comprehend the Irish and Welsh guys.
We like games where talent is drawn from every inch of the planet.

And speaking of worldwide competitions, young Americans have grown to enjoy cheering on the underdog — like they did last year for the men’s National Team in Brazil — something they’ve rarely had to do since, for the most part, American athletes have historically excelled at games very few other countries even participate in.

usa_duncanIt’s pretty cool to “beat” a team you shouldn’t be able to. Way more fun than leading the medal count at the Olympics…again.

And just observing my own kids and, granted, they’re my kids and share most of my interests, but still… during last year’s World Cup in Brazil, my then 3 and 5-year old sons sat still and quietly (a very, very uncommon occurrence), transfixed to the television watching Germany wipe the floor with Brazil in the semi-finals (on the Spanish channel) and then again when they disposed of Lionel Messi and Argentina to win the World Cup.

All of this before either of them had played a single game of organized soccer themselves.

Clearly, there’s something about soccer that Americans have been blind to for too long. It IS the world’s game.

Now, if only there were some way to financially “invest” in soccer. Sadly, the MLS is a private company.

Among sports, while it’s already grown immensely, it’s going to get a lot BIGGER in the next 20 years.

 

PIAC Addendum:

Yes, there’s more to this post.

For reference, here are photos of my oldest at a baseball game and a basketball game.

Not a fan...

Yep, clearly miserable experiences for him.

We’ll hit a pro soccer “friendly” this summer and see how that goes…

And you know what else is great about soccer? Anyone can play it.

I know I said earlier that one of the great things about the game is that talent can be drawn from the entire planet but soccer takes it to a higher level than any other sport (and most industries too).

It’s not like basketball or football where it’s essential that you’re blessed with having a certain body type.

Really, you can top out at 5-foot-7 and weigh a paltry 130 pounds and earn in excess of $15 million dollars per year playing this game.

And if you’re 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, that isn’t really disadvantageous either.

I mean, you think pro baseball players make a ton of money? Sydney Crosby, Aaron Rogers, or LeBron James, even?

Nope, when it comes to team sports, year-to-year, it’s a bunch of soccer players you’ve likely never even heard of that are making the most.

Cristiano Ronaldo pulls in over $52 million just to play.

Lionel Messi has a $48 million dollar contract…for this year alone. One season. The dude makes over $1.50 every single second. That’s over $130k per day… every day of the year.

That doesn’t include their lucrative shoe deals and all of the other stuff they endorse…world wide.

Income like that makes Lebron look like a hobo from the streets of Akron.

Now, you may have heard of those two (Messi and Ronaldo) but guys named Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Gareth Bale, Radamel Falcao, James Rodriguez, Sergio Aguero, and Luis Suarez all make more than anybody on the New York Yankees.

Just something to think about for those that think soccer isn’t worth a second glance

Can You Dig It?

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