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Showing posts from January, 2011

Book Review - Drive

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Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Daniel Pink is preaching a new management message. The carrot and stick approach of the old days is not effective in our new work environments. His premise, backed up by some impressive research by others, is that when people are engaged in what they're doing, they'll be more productive. To be engaged, people need a sense of purpose, autonomy in achieving goals (choosing who, when and how to work) and a desire to achieve mastery in what they do.

Basically, the common micro-management that many companies still employ are holding them back from achieving more stellar results. We should spend less time worrying about hours in the office and more about actual results.

This is one book that I'll reread to make sure I absorb as much as possible. I truly believe this type of management is the way of the future but it's going to be a struggle to get there. Too many of us are stuck in the …

I Could Do This Every Day

My co-worker and I presented at a Cloud Computing conference on Thursday. For those who don't get what that is, think of cloud computing as you do your gmail or Yahoo mail accounts. Those folks have all the servers and the programming code and all you need is a browser and an internet connection to use it. It's not the BS that Microsoft is selling "To the clouds!" They still want you to install clients on your machines.

Now, think about running your entire business in the clouds. No servers to buy and maintain, no programmers to maintain your software, no server room to keep cool. It's an exciting concept and it's real. Even your phone system can be hosted in the clouds.

Of course, to someone who works in an internal I.T. department, it's a little scary. No servers means no network administrators, no programmers means no project managers and all of it means fewer help desk people. However, I think it's the way of the future so time to adapt and realiz…

Going To The Big Game

In case you didn't know, the Arizona in this blog name is because I live there now, the Cheesehead is because I was born in Wisconsin. I started out as a Packers fan and, since the Cardinals didn't come to AZ for a long time after I moved there (and haven't been that great overall), I've stayed a Packers fan.

This season has been very stressful.

Seriously, before the season even started I was convinced that we would make the Super Bowl. Rodgers is a great QB with a lot of choices at receivers and Ryan Grant is a first tier Running Back. I didn't think anyone in our conference could stand in our way.

Until the first game of the season when Ryan Grant went down.

I'll remember the moment forever. We were sitting in the bar and I was wearing my Grant jersey. He got hurt and I kept telling Woody (who had him on the club fantasy league) that it would be OK and that he would come back. Seriously wishful thinking. His season was over and it hurt me in my work fantasy lea…

Book Review - 206 Bones

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206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really liked this one. Tempe is anonymously accused of incompetence in the investigation of a dead heiress. The atmosphere at the lab in Montreal is poisonous and there may be a serial killer targeting elderly women. Oh, and her new neighbor hates her cat.

Lots of stuff going on in this one and I thought it was very clever how the story starts out with Tempe bound and trapped in the dark then switches back and forth between recounting the events up to that point with her attempts to free herself.

One more book to go then I'm caught up and will have to wait for the next book to be published. I hate when that happens.



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I'd Take A Personal Driver At Any Time

I met some friends after work last night at the Rock Bottom in Ahwatukee. That required a change in my usual freeway route and an earlier drive time.

Oy vey. The traffic sucked.

As I was trapped in my lane behind some yahoo who had to go 10 MPH below everyone else, I had a few thoughts.

1. I’m so glad I don’t live in SE Chandler anymore. I-10 is just as miserable to drive on as I remember.
2. I’m thankful they widened the 202 Red Mountain route. My normal drive home is a breeze.
3. Traffic issues are much more annoying when you know you have friends with beer waiting for you as opposed to a cat who wants to knock your wine glass over.

Nice

I'm putting together a presentation with one of my work buds. We chat here and there at work and have shared a couple of beers over time but don't really know a lot in depth about each other.

Yesterday, we were talking and I said something about having a kid while I was in college. He had no idea I was a parent (because I'm so clearly not maternal?) and asked me if I had a boy or a girl. I told him I had a son. Here's the rest of our conversation:

Him: How old is he? Do you know who the father is?
Me: It's the hooker eyeshadow, isn't it?

You can tell I get a lot of respect in the office, can't you? Sigh.

So, I'm Girly, Sue Me

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Some friends bought me a few Christmas gifts and gave them to Sugar Daddy to deliver to me. He's been on vacation for a few weeks so today was the first chance I had to get them. Among the items was this:


So pretty!

For those who don't recognize it, it's a palette of eye shadows. What's so very cool, to me, is that I almost bought this at Ulta the last time I was there. I explained that to Sugar Daddy and told him I bought a smaller selection that was just in neutrals instead.

His response? "So, you got hooker colors with this one."

Nice.

Once More Unto The Breach

So, when I finished my 144 Books in 2010 goal, I said I wouldn't do that challenge again. I said it often, actually. The Rocket Scientist even point blank told me I wasn't doing it again.

The latter command, I turned into a joke in my holiday letter by saying he told me I couldn't do it again and that I always do what he says. We all had a good laugh at that statement. (I think he laughed, I know everyone else did.)

So, 2011 started and I was getting messages from the new Goodreads group. They renamed it Cover to Cover Challenge and the participants get to pick their goal. There are currently 29,372 people participating with a combined goal of 2,282,550 books.

That's a lot of books!

I thought about quietly signing up because I hate feeling left out. I knew TRS would give me a rash of shit if I publicized then bitched about it like I did last year. He would have been justified.

So, I ignored it until I saw that my friend Dawnie joined the group and set a goal of 75 b…

Book Review - I'm the Vampire, That's Why

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I'm the Vampire, That's Why by Michele Bardsley

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

While this book follows a common theme in these para-normal books (woman gets turned into vampire/werewolf/discovers super powers and meets hottie male), the humor of the main character and the addition of Irish Sidhe folklore made this a really fun read. Yes, there was the usual "no one tells me the new rules" and "stop being so possessive of me, hottie dude" that seems to be in a lot of para-normal romances. But, the author gives us lots of "wink, wink, I know this is ridiculous but isn't it fun?" moments that made it enjoyable. Oh, and the hot sex scenes didn't hurt, either.



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How Do I Get The Job?

My first career post-college was in Accounting. My second was I.T. I think I've found my third...

A frequent question that I field is "Do you really understand and retain all that you read? Because you must just be skimming to read so fast."

As Malcolm Gladwell postulates in Outliers, the key to becoming an expert at something is spending 10,000 hours doing it. I guarantee I've spent more than 10,000 hours of my life reading. So, the answer is, yes, I do remember it. Especially, if it's a recent exposure.

And, if I find something amiss as I'm going along, it stops me in my tracks. I once read a line in a Tom Clancy novel that was exactly the same sentence that he had a different character say a few hundred pages back. It was unique phrasing, not just a "Hey, how are you?" I felt compelled to go back and find the previous sentence to make sure it was word for word. It was.

The most recent example of getting stuck on the verbiage occurred last …

Book Review - American Assassin

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American Assassin by Vince Flynn

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The book Mitch Rapp fans have been asking for! We finally get the details on how Mitch become the lethal and ruthless covert operations dude that he is. Great tale of both espionage and the psyche of a young man drawn into a dangerous world. Loved it!



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Fantasy Football Update - The End

I was down to just my Pick 'Em leagues and things went swimmingly. I managed to score more points this week in the club league than Dave (we were tied for points but he had more correct picks) so I won it on points. I almost feel bad for taking the championship away from The Rocket Scientist who won last year. However, he wasn't as good, or maybe lucky, this year so I'm sure he's happy that I won.

With a one point lead in holding the last money spot in my work league, it was a very stressful week to pick. I was very nervous! I did pretty well, no thanks to New Orleans, so I gained a little ground and made the dough. Seven more points in the season and I would have finished in second place. I blame the stupid Cowboys for their loss to Arizona last week for that. I hate the Cowboys. But, not in the visceral way that I hate He Who Is Dead To Me.

It was fun but it feels great to be able to just kick back and enjoy the playoffs. Hopefully, my Packers can make a run …

Book Review - Packing For Mars

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Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void by Mary Roach

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Mary Roach is very talented. She manages to make a lot of dense, scientific material funny, interesting and memorable. This book is about life in space and included an inordinate amount of detail on bodily functions that a proper girl as I am feels shouldn't be discussed. But, I thought it was great.



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This Can't Be Healthy

The Rocket Scientist turned on the TV for some football watching this morning. He asked me my preference of KC vs. Oakland or Detroit vs. Minnesota. I said I didn't care either way because I have big Pick 'Em points on both games so I was interested in both.

I should have picked the first game.

He stuck with the second one and they showed the coin toss. As soon as I saw the smug face of He Who Is Dead To Me, I involuntarily said, "I frakking hate that guy." No thought to it, it was completely instinctive.

Seriously, I'm not a hater and I've never even met the man so why do I react so strongly? It's not like I considered him a hero because playing professional sports doesn't automatically elevate you to her status. That has to be earned.

I guess I just need to do some deep breathing, meditate on thoughts of puppies and kitties and let it go.

Or, he could just retire for good and never be heard from again. That would work, too.