Stumped

Many of you I'm sure have read my Christmas day comments about one frustrating 1/2 hour in an otherwise wonderful day.

That 1/2 hour has me stuck. That's what I want to talk / write about, but I don't want to be negative. I don't want to be angry, or hurt, or I don't even know what you call it.

Stumped. Yeah, let's go with stumped.

Somehow I have to get this out of my system so I'm going to try something. Hold on a minute...

What follows is a public message for Mom, Dad, Little Sister, niece, and nephew.

I love you. Really I do. I love you enough to let you go regardless of what that means because more than anything in this world I love my family, my wife and my girls. I stand by them 100% and I will not let anything in this world come between them and me. I will not let anything, not the largest, nor even the smallest thing - harm them.

I am all about family, my family.

The rest is just semantics. Who said what, when, where, why? It doesn't matter.

I will always do what is right for my family, and that is what I am doing. Nothing more, nothing less. There is no vendetta.There is no hidden cause. No brainwashing has occurred. There is only what can be seen. There is only what you taught me is right.

I promise I won't address this in my blog again, but I needed this forum today.

I appreciate the reader's patience. If you want to know more about the story, Netter has a very diplomatic, reader's digest version here.

My Girls

Warning - what follows is pure unmitigated bragging by a proud, proud Daddy.

One of my players is visiting tonight. Kel and K have been friends since they started playing b-ball together in the way back and despite the fact that they now go to different schools, rarely see each other, and are lucky to share only the occasional phone call or MySpace communication they are usually thick as thieves within minutes of seeing one another.

This is fine. Netter and I love Kel and we are both really glad that K has such a good friend.

Having Kel here reminds me that I had promised to brag on my girls in an upcoming blog so tonight - here I go.

I want to start with Miss D as her accomplishments haven't been quite as flashy, or jazzy as her older sister - which really just means that D is all about showing up and doing the job. It also means she gets to be first so she knows how important that quality is.

For the better part of the last 2+ years (as detailed in Mommy's blog post in early September) our young lady has garnered nothing but A's on her report card.

D has also been a standout in the band playing the trumpet so well that high school instructors and conductors are already keeping an eye out for her arrival.

video

D has always been an accomplished artist, but I don't know that we've ever shared her award winning water color from The Ohio State Fair which Mommy later used as inspiration to decorate at least one of the rooms in our house (We are waiting for Netter to scan the photo).

Miss D is never far from pad and paper.

D gave up basketball this year and I think she thought I might lose interest, or I would be disappointed in her somehow.

Nothing could be further from the truth. I want my girls to do things for themselves, not for me. As long as D is happy and doing something with her time - I'm a very proud Daddy.




Ms. K also gave up basketball and sports, but of course that was 2 years ago. Well, K did run with the varsity basketball team at her high school for one practice (she had missed tryouts).

When K got in the car the conversation went something like this:

Me: Hey K. How'd it go?

K: Um, pant, pant, gasp, gasp, Daddy pant, gasp, I think pant, gasp I'm going to stay pant, gasp, pant, gasp with pant, choir gasp, pant and pant, drama.

Me: A little tiring eh? Okay K, but I don't ever want you to tell me again that I, (or Coach Scott) ever made you run hard - again. Because now, I think you know that really, we didn't.

K: No, gasp, problem, pant.

LOL!

So, Kailey took off in drama and choir - while also earning excellent grades I might add.

Here are some recent highlights. K was selected to the District Honor Choir. This is their rendition of America the Beautiful.
video

Earlier in the year with her own choir K sang Suo Gân. Unfortunately, our batteries went dead as we were filming, but what we did hear was beautiful and the lullaby is one of my all time favorites.
video

I am extremely proud of both of my girls, and the truth is no matter how many videos or pictures I might post - there would never be enough to show that not only are they very talented young people, they are also fine young ladies.

I love you girls!

Overcoming the Excess of Christmas

I'm the guy who cries - at everything. Movies, TV shows, Hallmark commercials - you name it. If there is even a hint of emotional poignancy in the message - I'm crying. I can't help it, and the truth is, over time I've just accepted it.

My kids get a big kick out of this, and very often I catch them watching me instead of the television show or the movie, or even each other if we happen to be at a choir or band concert. It's just the way I am.

I wear my emotions on my sleeve and I'm not afraid to show them even if there are tears involved. Oh sometimes I hold back until I'm by myself. But once I let loose, I'm not really concerned about who might be watching.

As we know - this is the season for all the types of stories one might expect would make someone like me become a blathering, blithering, emotional wreck.

The reality, however, is that the Christmas season more than anything just pisses me off.

Whew! There I said it. It's out in the open for all to hear (er, um read).

Now, folks who really know me are looking at their computer screens right now going, "Eh Jimmer - none of this is new buddy."

But here's what you don't know...

I love Christmas.

Really I do. I like the decorations, and the songs, the pageantry, and the parades, mistletoe and holly.

I love it all.

Most importantly, I love the fact that every year folks come together to remember the birth of someone so special to so many of us, someone who gave so much, someone who...

Well I'm not going to turn the blog into a pulpit today or any day for that matter.

In a recent entry, I noted the fabulous Christmas decorations my wife Annette dresses our house in each year. This surprised my wife who said she never realized that I liked the decorations so much - and this made me sad.

I've been Santa Claus, and Mr. Tree (now there's a job).


Heck, I proposed to Annette on a carriage ride five days before Christmas 19 years ago this Saturday.

I love the tradition that goes with this very special time of year.

But there is one thing I don't like - one thing that just ruins the fun.

Excess.

Christmas decorations go up in most stores and display windows as soon as Halloween is over. Excess.

Christmas sales that start as early as November 1. Excess.

Black Friday - if you can wait for Thanksgiving to be over - Excess.

Spending minimums for Christmas gifts - usually in the office - Excess.

Worse than anything - forgetting the true meaning, the true spirit of Christmas in favor of the overspending (even in this tough economic climate), and commercialism just because - well you know - it's Christmas.

Excessive - and it pisses me off.

Still every year - just when I'm about to declare myself Scrooge and give up on Christmas something happens that brings it back for me:

-Whether it's an entire office coming together to help a family with no holiday fund, nothing for their five year old girl to open on Christmas morning,

-or one of those sappy commercials on the radio about the station giving Christmas to a family in need.

-Even the miracle $1.00 iPod that there was no way a parent could afford at the time.

-Or the story of the simple white envelope sent to me today by my friend Cat with a warning: "don't read on the (public service) desk."

It's good to know my friends know me so well.

(Thanks for the warning Cat - I'm still a little misty, and fortunately not on the desk.)

Thankful that my Christmas spirit lives on. Grateful to be able to share it with everyone.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

What do you want to be when you grow up?

This time honored question keeps popping into my head today. Yes another thing stuck in my head. Only this time it's not a fun lyric or word. It's not even a movie line which seems to be this week's newest thing. (Good thing there's plenty of room in my head I guess.)

No, this thing, this question is different. We've all heard this question. We've all asked this question.

I am wondering how many of us have answered this question.

I know that we are all something. We have occupations, families, activities, etc... So, in taking the question a step further - I guess I'm wondering if we all are "what we want to be?"

I know there are a few fortunate souls in this world who knew from the jump what they wanted to be, what they wanted to do, and they are blazin' down the trail of success.

Others may not have known when they were younger but discovered something in themselves as they grew older and seized the very first opportunity to make life happen as it were.

Still others were guided along, shown all the things they "should" be doing as they grew up, and maybe are now what they want to be. Perhaps this is some version of happenstance, (Blog word of the week?) or just plain dumb luck.

They say that luck isn't everything, that some skill is required and I believe that, but still I wonder...

As you may have guessed, I'm not one of those mentioned above - I never really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up.

I always had an answer to the question of course. I was going to be a professional hockey player, or play pro ball, maybe even spend some time on the PBA Tour, all the while running some fantastically successful business like a hotel or maybe a chain of hotels.

When I got older I wanted to be an actor, then a comedian, maybe a writer - you know much more realistic goals like that. Sigh!

Before I go further - I want to address all you head shakers. You know who you are. You're the ones thinking, or maybe even saying out loud: "But Jim you've accomplished so much. You have blah, blah, blah..."

Shhh... That's not what I'm talking about today


Yes, I've spent the last 18 years being a husband, the last 15 being a Daddy, the last 8 or more being a coach, and the last 12 being a hockey player, but not a professional hockey player - that's cruel.

Still it's very true that these are all things I want to be. I've had great success, and been fortunate in these areas and I hope to continue to enjoy these very important areas of my life.

These aren't the things I'm talking about today. To clarify further, I'm talking about jobs and careers.

I started working for the library when I was 17 years old. It was a clean building. I loved reading. The work albeit a bit tedious was not really that difficult. It was not Jolly Pirate Donuts where I had been a porter for 1 1/2 years prior. I figured the library was a great starting point for a kid in high school. Perhaps most importantly I found and got the job all by myself. It was the first truly independent thing I had ever done.

I love the library and all that it is, all that it stands for. I love the people I work with and I feel especially fortunate we have had the opportunity recently to reach out and really get to know each other more and more.

As I've written before, I consider that connection to be a huge success for the CML community.

Going forward however - I'm trying to figure out what that success means for me.

I wrote to my Dad some years ago that with no degree or formal training I had somehow managed to make a career for myself at a place where I was mostly happy and decidedly, perhaps even too content.

I still didn't figure the library might be the only place I would ever work.

The truth is I wasn't what I wanted to be then.

From a career perspective - without knowing it really I had no goals, no dreams, no visions beyond the day to day. I had no plan. (You see K and D why I talk about having a plan?)

Some of that came from being happy being a husband, Daddy, coach, hockey player, but not a professional hockey player - that's cruel. Some of it came from not really knowing how - being afraid as it were to venture away from the safety and security of the library.

Now?

Now I don't want to leave, but not because I'm afraid.

I want to stay because I have found something that is telling me who I am, who - no what I want to be.

I started work on a program this week to create a Job Help Class for the library to offer customers in these rough economic times.

I cannot tell you how ironic this is as I have already been hard at work on my own resume, online job profiles, and career prospects.

If you follow this blog with any regularity you know that I love to train, to teach, and to coach. You know how much I have come to admire the rock stars of the Web 2.0 world, and even how I might want their jobs one day.

I have been busy thinking of ways to stay at the library, but increase my involvement in social media and marketing, to reach out, help people, and share my experience for others to learn from. I have been searching for a focus for my life, my career, heck even for my blog.

I think being fortunate enough to help in the creation and delivery of this Job Help Class provides me with that focus, a starting point for helping me be what I want to be when I grow up.

In taking inventory I find that I have almost 11 years experience teaching folks to build their resumes. For better or worse I also have 8 years experience poking around the job markets, learning all the sites, the ins, and the outs.

Pretty much every other week for the last year I have been teaching a resume class, and as my boss will tell you, I've been looking for a way to make my class so much more effective.

I have at least 8 years of experience as a coach, and let's not forget 15 years as a parent.

In this year of reflection I have come to find that what I enjoy most is sharing what I have learned with anyone who will listen.

I suggested to a friend today that maybe throwing all of this together might make me a good "life coach."

He said that "would be a good fit." I trust his opinion. He knows me well. What that's called formally, or how it will look in the future is open to interpretation. That's okay with Jim in Perpetual Beta.

I'm sure my daughters, and my players will tell you that my favorite saying in all the land goes like this.

"This ain't my first rodeo dog."

So now, I have a plan, and at least starting out I am lucky enough to stay at the library, as I begin.

Do you think somewhere there is someone, someone who knows me really well, or a mentor, or maybe even someone who has had a great influence on my life smiling and thinking to themselves.

"Hey Jimmer. This ain't my first rodeo dog."

Saving A Beautiful Day

This has been a great day for my family and me.

And then I almost infected my computer with the dreaded Koobface Facebook video virus. I'll spare you the details, but suffice it to say my day got a little shaky.

To put myself back on track - I'm borrowing from my friend Cat just one more time and sharing three beautiful things about today.

1. In the incredibly simple category, we have a quiet, peaceful home with nice clean sidewalks and driveway. Needless to say, this is not one of my favorite jobs. For some reason however, I don't seem to mind doing it at night. So, last night I took care of most of the shoveling and this morning Miss K. put a bow on the job.


2. Moving into territory that is slightly more fancy. For dinner this evening we had homemade spaghetti. I don't make my own pasta or grow my own vegetables, but I also don't serve spaghetti from a jar. My ladies were all thrilled to have this homemade dish, but only D would jump in front of the camera for me.


Cooking is something I've always enjoyed doing. I also make a mean cheesecake according to Mrs. B. I use my Mom's spaghetti recipe, and I have to give a shout out to former CML and Hilltop staff member Carol Dickerson for the cheesecake. One of my running jokes is that the cheesecake was my "hook" for picking up the ladies. Netter tells me that if I want to keep my lady, I better be making that cheesecake a little more regularly.

3. Speaking of Netter - My lovely wife provides today's biggest highlight with our Christmas decorations including our tree.

Netter pulled out a full 21 boxes of decorations today turning our house into a Christmas wonderland. I'm hoping to shoot some video to capture the entirety of it all, but for today we'll just share the tree.

In the spirit of the season, knowing I won't possibly be fortunate enough to see all of my friends and family, or the casual reader - I'd like to take this opportunity to extend my heartfelt wishes for a beautiful holiday for you and yours. May you know the joy, (saving that word for a special day) of this blessed season and enjoy a prosperous, healthy, and happy New Year.

There now, that feels better doesn't it.

WOTD

Stuff sticks in my head. I can't help it, and I can't stop it. If I hear a song lyric, maybe not even a good song lyric that has some kind of unique refrain, or elicits some kind of emotional response, or brings back a memory - Boom I'm stuck with it all day.

I also often find myself using the same word repeatedly in any given day. Not the usual suspects like - well "like," and - well "and" or "um:" No, I'm talking about words out of the ordinary, words like retrospect, words that carry a jolt because you don't know where they are coming from.

For a long time all I could do is say harrumph and go with the flow instead of being hell-bent on finding some magical way to clear my head, I just tried to make progress each day toward finding a way to deal with the things that were stuck in my head.

Through some kind of happenstance I seemed to have stumbled upon a solution.

Ladies and Gentlemen, especially those of you in my Twitter and Facebook communities I give you WOTD, the big Wahtahdah, (correct pronunciation), or more simply Word Of The Day, and what I call, well I don't have a name for my "song lyric thing." Maybe by the end of this post... Or I'll take suggestions via comments.

*Note those words in bold above were the first few words of the day.

One day, not long after I started using Twitter the word retrospect was stuck in my head. Every other sentence it seemed I was using the word. So, I tweeted that retrospect was apparently the word of the day. In retrospect, I had no idea WOTD would take off like it has. Later that same day, someone asked me if I had a word for the next day. The day after that someone tweeted, "Hey Jim word up. What's the word of the day?" Finally, someone shortened the terminology to WOTD, and it has become a regular thing.

Throughout the day, folks try to use WOTD at least once in a sentence, and then everybody gives them a shout out.

The song lyrics get thrown up as tweets as well, although not as often. Sometimes there are fun results. The day I put up "But not a real green dress that's cruel," almost the whole song was "sung" through comments by the end of the day. Unfortunately, we still don't have a million dollars.

Today, I had a Facebook conversation about the movie The Blues Brothers spurred by the line - Folks here's a story 'bout Minnie the Moocher.

But the regular head clearer if you will, the thing I seem to have become known for is WOTD.

Now, I get that I'm not the only one out there with WOTD. I would venture to guess however that I may be the only one out there with WOTD produced purely through happenstance, and not generated by an automated WOTD generator.

Of course, I don't always use a word from my head. (It doesn't happen every day.) Sometimes I ask for help from my Twitter and Facebook community, and sometimes they change the word on me if they don't like the one I got stuck on originally. No matter - it's all still fun.

Sometimes we don't even use real words. We use creative words like harrumph, wonky, or crap-nasty.

Occasionally we have a word for the weekend. A few times someone has spotted me using a word repeatedly or in a slightly different context and called WOTD for me.

One time we did use a generated word, but I didn't know it until after the fact.

Finally, we have on at least one occasion put WOTD to a vote. It was a monumental day.

We don't force a word every day. Sometimes we're all just too busy to worry about WOTD. Sometimes we're just plain focused on something else. For example there weren't too many WOTD's during the last week or so of Learn and Play @ CML.

I have added a WOTD roll to the blog. I retraced my tweets and found them all, (47) I think. I made notes about the stories behind each word so we can talk more about WOTD in the future.

Tell me what words you remember, what stories about WOTD stick with you - and then

Suggest a word if you'd like. It's bound to get stuck in my head sooner or later.

A B C, Its easy as 1 2 3

RTFM Jim?

I know better. I even have rules.

I broke them all.

As a result, I got to spend the last 13 hours of my Thanksgiving weekend, and 2 more last night rebuilding my PC.

Tech troubleshooting and training is what I do. I enjoy the customer service side of my position, but the real nitty gritty, the core of what I do would be tech troubleshooting and training.

Could have used myself this weekend…

It started with what I thought was a balky jump drive earned from completing the Learn & Play at CML. But as soon as I'd sent a note to L&P telling them about the drive I started to determine that the real issue at hand wasn't the drive, but my PC.

(So Thanks L&P for the generous offer of a new drive, but this one should be fine.)

Now, I'm not gonna break down the entire list of technical issues I was facing in this space today, but I do want to share with the reader the importance of one very big element when troubleshooting PC problems.

You ready?

This one is big.

One of my most profound discoveries ever, ever, ever...

Here 'tis.

PATIENCE!

That's right. Plain ole common sense patience would have saved me hours of work. I always stress to my users at the Library - read the directions, follow along, don't get ahead of yourself, follow the steps, and most importantly - Be patient.

But for myself –

Oh no, I'm the expert. I will make it work. It will work because I want it to. Seriously, the last thing I said to the computer when I turned it off due to lack of response was, "I win."

To which the computer replied upon reboot - "Wanna bet? You needed those files you just corrupted by deleting in bits and pieces Jim. Who wins now fool?"

Sigh, if I had just taken time to read the fine manual, (RTFM) or gone out to the help forums, but oh no...

Have a mirror much Jimmer?

As computer meltdowns go this could have been much worse. I only really lost a (long) day.

Fortunately, I back-up fairly regularly. A week spent re-entering an entire year of Quicken transactions many years ago has made me more than a fair to middlin' "backer upper."

Some things do get lost in the shuffle - like scanner drivers. If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you know the tale.

Making that scanner work again was quite the adventure. With Netter right in the middle of a giant scanning project I was more than a little anxious about restoring functionality. I was finally able to accomplish this yesterday evening.

Sometimes recent updates get lost as well - i.e. all those CD's I put into iTunes just last week. Poof. Thankfully those CD's are all still right there in the cabinet where I left them.

Ah well lesson learned... Maybe. ;-)

If you're interested I took this opportunity to create a checklist for restoring your computer.

Here it is; Jimmer's recipe to a perfect PC – Obviously Software may vary –

Install Windows, Download AVG Free, Firefox, Adobe Reader, Adobe Flash, Install necessary drivers - that I should have backed up previously, (In my case sound, scanner, printers, and copier), Roxio, (or Nero, or whatever CD/DVD burning software you use) Webcam, Office, (although I toyed with trying to get by with just Google docs for awhile) Quicken, Photoshop, iTunes. Download available updates as necessary as you are working.

Replace personal files that you also back-up on a regular basis. Right?