bentangle

Tag: musings

Popeye’s Maxim

by on Dec.26, 2009, under family, philosophy

Sometimes, we just are who we are.  Popeye was never apologetic on this point.  We can struggle against it, but our strengths and our flaws together define us as individuals.  Tonight I learned even more than I should embrace this fact and just be me.

This evening we were at a dinner party with my in-laws and, as is not uncommon at such events, various topics of conversation swirled around the table.  The subjects ranged from what defines moonshine to the finer points on making a successful risotto.  Among the non sequitur  topics my sister-in-law brought up a story involving a song – Dream Weaver – which naturally rolled into a conversation about who sung it.  Unfortunately no one at the table actually knew, but several hazarded off-based guesses.  My natural inclination was to whip out my iPhone and Google it, but I resisted being ‘that guy’.  As the conversation wound down and slowly morphed on, I had noted that it would simple enough to find the information online.  My wife responds with “Don’t you have your iPhone right in your pocket?”  So in the end I conceded and was ‘that guy – I AM ‘that guy’.  There is little point in trying to evade it.

Unfortunately my sister-in-law seems to live in one of those clear areas so frequently seen in Verizon’s advertisements as of late on AT&T’s 3G coverage.  So the information remained tenuous (it was Gary Wright, by the way – I’m also that guy who will keep things like that in his head to look into at a more opportune time).  But my reputation as a trivia nut precedes me.  I guess I should expect as much – I’ve never hid it well (who do you think ended up spewing information on what defined moonshine when it came up).

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Unexpected Morals

by on Nov.05, 2009, under About Me, philosophy, TV

In the immortal words of Douglas Adams, “Human beings, who are almost unique in having the ability to learn from the experience of others, are also remarkable for their apparent disinclination to do so.” I, however, have found that in some instances I have gleaned some life lessons from the actions of others (even when it seems that the others haven’t). Here are some examples:

  • For as long as can remember, my father has quested to top himself each year with his Christmas gifts for my mother – always looking to get her some new gadget or equipment that she would have never realized she always wanted. Sometimes he has succeeded, but often the hype in his head is greater than the real reaction. He has also always had a trend of uniquely labeling his gifts to her (e.g., From: XY/To: XX). To these, my mother has always had a positive reaction (even when they were bordering on inappropriate).
    Moral: Sometimes the giving is more important than the gift.
  • Both my father and my sister have always been very ‘tell it like it is’ types of people … but in slightly different ways. My dad in such that he does not sugar-coat much of anything (except perhaps in his business – he IS a salesman after all). My sister in such that should tends to be very curtly honest to the extent that she doesn’t always know what she shouldn’t likely be straight with people about. On more than one occasion this combination led to someone being offended by something that my dad probably shouldn’t have said around my sister and that my sister definitely shouldn’t have relayed on to the subject matter.
    Moral: Whenever opening your mouth, beware of feet.
  • Growing up, I saw my father primarily on the weekends. When my wife and I first were seriously dating, I ended up moving in with her and her family for a year – I didn’t see her father for the first 3 months I was there. With my dad, I know how he felt about the situation because when he was home he tried to make up for the time he wasn’t. Now I’ve got 2 kids of my own and I find myself working long hours on occasion when I’d rather be at home with them.
    Moral: If you don’t understand work-life balance, don’t expect your kids to get it either.

I can’t claim to have it all worked out – I don’t even always get these things right a lot of the time. But the foundation is there leading my intentions (and hopefully leading my actions more often than not).

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Verbal Abuse (and Nounal)

by on Aug.27, 2009, under philosophy

A colleague of mine has been using his whiteboard to catalog a number of improperly formed turns of phases.  Several are common mistakes (e.g., moot/mute, tack/tact), but others are legitimate faux pas’s (can you pluralize that?).  Here are five of my favorites:

  1. Hedge Case:  This one I have to admit is my own (edge case being the valid phrase referring to scenarios that would happen very infrequently).  In my defense, I think it makes sense on its own – such rare happenstances make up the periphery of the majority (much like a hedge around the yard).  Maybe not.
  2. Defiantly:  Granted this is a real word and has its place … but not as a substitute for the word definitely.  My suspicion is that the co-worker who often uses this in his emails has been getting screwed by his own spell checker.  I think he is likely typing definately which Outlook decidedly thinks is more similar to the topical misnomer than the intended adverb.
  3. Gambit:  Working in a development department, testing is inevitable.  But not matter how many times it comes up, ‘I’ll run it through the whole gamut of test cases’ is never what seems to come out of people’s mouths.
  4. Raft/Rash of Shit:  To be honest, I don’t even know which of these is right – I’ve heard it both ways and I’ve attempted to research it to declare a clear winner, but to know avail.  I cannot find a reliable source and either argument is an equally supportable.
  5. For All Intensive Purposes:  This also is a phrase that I know I’ve used but have since learned otherwise (in case you were not aware, it should be ‘for all intents and purposes’).  But it is hard not to say it the wrong way – it rolls off the tongue more easily and few people fault you for the error.

Feel free to share your favorite misuses of words or phrases.  And for additional fun, check out this old FedEx commercial (this topic always reminds me of this):

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Home Alone

by on Apr.10, 2009, under family, home & stuff

It’s quiet.  Maybe eerily quiet.  I’m sitting here in silence at my laptop – my only noise accompaniment besides the clicking of the keys and the slow cadence of my own breath is the sound of the washing machine wooshing upstairs.  At this time of the night, that isn’t really that unusual – if my wife is still up, she will often also be sitting at her laptop typing away.  But tonight I type alone.

The reason for this is simple:  I AM alone.  From basement to attic, the current head count in my house is one (counting me).  This has been the population peak since Monday afternoon and will not likely be surpassed again until Saturday night.  Why, you ask?  My family has taken to the road. (continue reading…)

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Coming to Terms

by on Mar.10, 2009, under About Me, career, family

I’m feeling rather introspective at the moment.  Life is full of change and complication and agendas that could care less how well you keep up.  If you don’t take time to reflect on where you have been and where you are going, the journey loses a lot of its meaning.  These words feel somewhat ironic as most of the time I find myself giving my wife the opposite advice – she has a tendancy to let the past and the future overwhelm her so I ground her by telling her to focus on the present.  In truth, we need balance; we need to live in the moment while not losing sight of the past or losing focus on the future.  But no matter how much it is preached, it is a difficult lesson to embrace. (continue reading…)

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