Category Archives: Thoughts

2008 & 2009

2008 was a good year for me.  Got married, business is great, and overall Sara and I worked towards setting up a future together.  2009 will be a year of many changes.  Hopefully before the year is done we’ll be in our own home, with a car that doesn’t break down constantly, and be working on getting little munchkins of our own.  Well, one at least.

In 2010 I expect my life will be just black and white different than it is today.

My big goal for the short term is getting stress under control.  I have noticed a link between getting sick and under a lot of pressure at work.  I think I’m managing my time pretty well, and I get a lot done and in good timeframes, but my to-do system is terrible.  Don’t let me fool you I still get most everything done, but the ones I miss really kill me.  Put another way, it bothers me when I call someone in business and they don’t call me back, ask a question and get no response.  Usually not a lot but still – I never want to be on the non-response side of that!

Ideally I would provide a mention-it-and-it’s-done service i.e. anything no matter how big or small which gets pointed my way I would follow up on until completion, presenting decision-makers with clear information and executing directions as efficiently as possible.  Right now I get all the big stuff done in this manner, but I do lose small bits of info and occasionally get significantly sidetracked by an emergency, even on larger projects.

To sum up, I do pretty well with my “terrible” to-do system but I know there’s a lot of room for improvement.  I see nothing wrong with aiming for perfect and if I fall a little short, hey, I’m human.

Good luck in 2009!

Multiple choice tests

Was reading an article (wall of text crits you for 9000) on the effect of telling your kids they’re smart versus emphasizing effort, and came across this: “we assessed the students’ mind-sets by asking them to agree or disagree with statements such as ‘Your intelligence is something very basic about you that you can’t really change.’ We then assessed their beliefs about other aspects of learning and looked to see what happened to their grades.”

That kind of question kills me! I know the question is aimed at finding self-imposed caps on learning, but that’s not what’s asked! Even though I know the “right” answer I cannot go against my basic understanding that some people are in fact smarter than others. Later in the same damn article they state “People do differ in intelligence, talent and ability.” In a test I would definitely agree with the statement, even though I knew it was ultimately incorrect.

But Mark! you say, you knew the right answer why didn’t you choose it!? Because I’m a stubborn ass, that’s why. So if you ever wonder about my dislike of school, you now have part of the answer. I can literally take a test where my knowledge is equal or superior to that of the teachers and get a C, because I just cannot help myself. Apply this to a subject where I’m learning (as is typically the case) and you have recipe for disaster. Written test, a chance to explain the answer? Yes please! But being that both my parents are teachers I know using written tests for everything is nowhere near practical.

Still, I found the linked article fascinating, just beware it really. is. just. text. with basic formatting.
(if you want the easier to read version you have to click through the pages one by one.)

not sick

Since late September I have been almost getting sick. Every time I take large doses of vitamin D (2 grams,) vitamin C (2 grams,) and echinacea/golden seal. Combined with a small amount of rest and I end up fending the sickness off.

But see, about every week or two this process repeats itself because I haven’t actually gotten sick and created an immunity to this particular strain. So today when it happened I thought, hey, maybe I shouldn’t try to prevent it and let it happen? You know how hard that is?!? To willingly get sick. I couldn’t do it.

The alternative, I think, is to start taking vitamin D and C regularly so my immune system stays at top operating capacity. I also don’t want to do that because I don’t want my body to get used it and become lazy. So I’d prefer to get sick in that regard. Only problem is I believe I am most vulnerable (in my immune-system) when I am super busy and stressed out, which is a terrible time to get sick. Bah!

New Response

Not sure I’m going to dive into in length like this, but I do have a new response for those who ask the most popular post-wedding question: Does it feel different?

My initial answer was that aside from the exhilaration from having just been married & honeymooned, and a bit of pride, no. Not really. (Oh and I also felt legitimized vs boyfriend and girlfriend, which can be so much but also so little.) I was and am happy that we have stayed pretty much the same in our day-to-day lives.

I am now cognizant of another small change: I feel good about planning for the future because it feels like we’re laying a foundation. Little corny, perhaps, but it’s kinda cool.

teh happy

I’ve recently realized I need to make a pretty fundamental change in my thought processes. I need to aim towards a positive view whenever possible. Some parts of life are going to always be there and you can go through it grudgingly or pick the parts of it you enjoy and focus on those. I can’t help but think as I write this, that I sound preachy or I don’t know… new age? Not really sure how to put it without offending some group out there.

Let me put it this way, I don’t believe in the mantra “think of good things and good things will happen.” Replacing “think of” with “do” is more accurate. As outlined above my goal is not even so advanced. Doesn’t mean it will be easy! If I’m able to accomplish even a small part of this it will help with a larger problem of mine, procrastination. (I don’t procrastinate with everything, just some, but man am I good at it 😉

By default my analytical mind tends to break things down which makes it all too easy to focus on what could be better i.e. the parts that suck. Can’t stop breaking things down but I can choose to refocus. Instead of being annoyed I have to do dishes yet again, I think of how nice it’ll be to have the counter clean. Taking out the trash? No chance for bad smells to accumulate. A bunch of laundry? Nice to have clean clothes and sheets.

I hope to fit this in wherever I can. I should say though, I’ve been trying to do this for years with driving and have had pretty limited success. At a root level I just can’t convince myself that many people have legitimate excuses for the way they drive (such as, on the way to the emergency room, major life event distracting them, new to the city, etc.) I drive around town too much to overcome the overwhelming evidence supporting the idea people just don’t f*cking pay attention when they’re driving. …. hrrm I should save this topic for another post. Too much to put here!

Point being, I am trying to be more positive in as many ways as I can, in ways I haven’t tried before, and that can only help.

present and future

As Sara and I talk about our future, I increasingly get the idea I am currently in probably one of the easiest phases of my life. I’m not saying I or we don’t have challenges, just relatively speaking, add it up:
– no kids
– no roommates
– no yard work
– no house work beyond the ever-present dishes/laundry/etc, i.e. no home improvement projects ’cause I’m renting
– saving for a home, so financially comfortable.
– stable jobs
– Past the major parts of Sara’s eye issues so no health issues

Next few years are gonna be quite different. Hopefully within 12-24 months we can get a house, and then shortly after that we are planning to have kids. We talked a bit about Sara getting her masters, but to maintain health coverage she would need to work full time. But her masters (all masters programs? no idea) is only offered full time; her work would craft her schedule around it and pay 75% of the school bill to top it off…. but that’s two full time jobs. zomg. We think it’s gonna have to wait until later. Money just isn’t that big of a priority. It’s nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a distant second to having our own little smarmy munchkins. 😀

two (three?) curiosities

Generally I don’t want to get too political here, but these are party-agnostic:

1. Why do we let companies essentially put political figures in their debt? Money wins elections, a major source of cash is from companies, and companies want some kind of return on investment. This makes no sense and we voters have no one to blame but ourselves.
Personally I would be fine with a % of my taxes paying for a way for the candidates to be heard, although not so much if they spend it on smear campaigns. Though, even if they did, at least they wouldn’t owe favors.

2. Why don’t more states use mail in voting? It’s resistant to fraud, it allows me time to think and weigh my choices, not to mention I don’t have to spend a day (or any time) waiting in line. I have this general notion that only the people who care about the issues would remember to send it in (I may be full of crap on this.)

I’ve also wondered if we could vote by issue-weight-candidate, i.e. have a top 40 issue list picked by an independent group using a fully transparent process, then vote on each issue and weigh it accordingly. This would constitute part of your vote (I don’t know, 40-60%), another part would be on subjective merits such as crisis handling or even, well, just how much you like the candidate. I believe in the last part because in the nearest primaries I used one of those issue & weight surveys, and my 2nd choice came out first by 1%, yet I far preferred my first choice based on my prior research. Although it would be a real bear to balance the percentages well, the goal of having candidates win who reflect the public’s actual will is highly appealing.

First thought

So I just got married, people keep asking “Does it feel different?”  Why, no, not really.  Frankly I think that’s a good thing.  Don’t get me wrong, I am happy to be married and our honeymoon was great, but what we already had was really good so I’m glad it’s not changing.

In fact of the people I’ve known who did feel different, they ended up getting divorced.  So: go us!!