The "Gift" of Technology

Technology is a great thing. Heck, without technology I wouldn't have the job I have today. People need it. People need to learn how to use it. People need to be able to fix it without feeling intimidated.

So it is that I am able to come to work each day, or sometimes even go home at night, or to my in-laws, or to a friends, a poker game, to see the baker, the banker, and the cabinet maker and feel valued. (Okay, maybe those last three were a bit of a stretch.)

"Computer guys" or "Tech-Geeks," as we have been known to tag ourselves, do sometimes get together and commiserate (WOTD yesterday) about how it would be nice to just once go someplace and not talk tech, but secretly I think we, at least I, kind of like it that we are often asked for an opinion or a fix (not that kind of fix), or for just some time to look at something that has gone awry.

Lately though I haven't been offering many opinions, or providing many fixes, at least not in the regular sense.

Ordinarily folks who ask me questions need tweaks, tips, tricks and such - They need solutions that aren't obvious to everyone.

The folks I've been helping the most lately - For them just knowing how to use a computer is their solution, and maybe their salvation.

As you know if you are a regular follower (Thank you), or may not know if you are not (Welcome), the library where I work began this year to offer Job Help Centers to folks who need help finding and applying for jobs.

Now, I've been an on and off job hunter for the last 7-8 years since I got my degree in 2001. I've been working on career paths, resumes and the like for most of the last 10-11 or since I had to become our resume software expert when I came to work in the Main Library Media Center in 1998.

If you need to know about WinWay Resume, I'm your man. If you want to use the resume templates provided by Microsoft, you're on your own. But I digress.

Alright, so where are you going with this Jimmer?

Well I'll tell you...

Since diving into the job search effort with a new verve, and a sense of urgency as opposed to just dabbling along the way - I have learned something very important.

Finding a job is a DAMNED hard thing to do.

Every application is online, they are all different, and sometimes pretty darn long. Additionally almost all assume a certain computer knowledge level regardless of the job one is applying for.

"Want to work in Environmental Services (or just clean things), please upload your resume here:"

Never mind that you will most likely never touch a computer again in your time of employment with that company.

And it's not just employers or even the job sites:

Care to collect unemployment?

Well, we realize you're 60+ years old and have never used anything more technical than your television remote, but you've just been laid off from the job you thought you'd retire from and to get any money? Well, welcome to the online world.

Don't have email?

Sorry - that's required.

Oh, you can do it the old fashioned way - there is a toll free number. Be sure to pack a lunch, and dinner, and maybe even the next day's breakfast - Yes, you might be on hold that long.

Yep. Computers are a huge part of the employment world, and something all too many of us take for granted.

I've told many funny stories over the years about customers who thought: "You Have Performed An Illegal Operation" meant the police were coming to their house; or those that swore up and down their keyboard was broken until I showed them "NumLock;" and even my favorite about the gentleman who looked me square in the eye and said:

"I ain't no computer savage Jim!"

Those were all funny and timely, but alternatives still existed and the learning curve for all of us was a little bit more forgiving.

Those aren't the times we are in now. It's not funny now. It's a little more real - for all of us.

So next time you sit down at your keyboard and bring up The Life of Jimmer, or login to Facebook, or Twitter, or calmly sort through your pages upon pages of email - consider that there is somebody out there who lacks that knowledge, lacks that access.

Take a moment to consider what that might mean, and how fortunate we all really are.

Hey, I never said I'd never preach, but I do invite you to make the comment section your pulpit if you'd like to share your thoughts on the rampant rise of technology.

Friday Feature 3 Just Be Yourself

(I think maybe Friday Features might need a new name, mostly because they don't fall on Fridays. I haven't thought of another name yet though. If you have an idea leave me a comment. There is a prize for the winner.)

For today's Friday Feature I want to talk about something very important - being yourself.

As in, "just be yourself and you'll be fine," or "I love you for you," and so on.

It seems lately I've been talking a lot about my Inner Gay, aka my I.G.

A lot of women love me for it, and many men respect me for it. Yes, I've heard some good natured teasing, and I've done some of my own to fellas who seemed a little uncomfortable that something like this could exist.

The best part of the whole thing is that it allowed people to see me for me, and not whoever I was trying to be, fitting in during whatever social situation happened to be occurring.

I spent a long time doing that. When I was hanging with the guys, the fellas, I'd be "one of the fellas." If I was with folks who were intellectuals, I'd be, you know intellectual (Hey, hey - You with the big monitor, stop laughing!). If I was with the jocks, I'd be, well, athletic. (I said stop laughing.) And so on...

You get the picture... I could just fit in.

Now I was never "being someone else," per se. I just wasn't necessarily "being completely me." A lie? No. Maybe an omission.

I went along like this for a long time. The only place I was really "me" was in my home.

It's not like "fitting in" made for some miserable existence. I made a great many friends. We had some incredibly fun times.

One day, I just decided it was time to stop. I am who I am. I do what I do. If you don't like me - well I'd like to say I'm sorry, but really, no apology is necessary. We don't "have to" be friends. Of course, we don't "have to" be enemies either. This goes without saying.

Differences are not bad things. In fact, I think in a lot of ways differences are what makes life interesting.

It all goes back to True Intent. Ultimately, my True Intent is to be the best me I can be.

So yeah, I like chick flicks, figure skating, gymnastics, a slew of stereotypical gay musicians, Project Runway - the list goes on and on. I even think Christian Siriano is fierce - for real. Yes, I said it. (No, I'm not attracted to him. I just think he is fascinating.)

I also love, and in fact play, hockey, and I like to try to throw my weight around on the ice. I watch NASCAR, football, baseball, and golf. I drink beer, play cards, do all the appropriate scratching and such and act very Dad-like whenever I'm given the opportunity. I like to grill. I'm intrigued by auto repair. I like to do construction type work around the house.

So there's a little bit of everything - and that is me.

As you might infer, I'm also not very guarded. For me this is the best way to be. If I live my life as an open book, I am responsible for everything I write, everything I say, and everything I do.

Now of course I could get preachy here and go on for pages about why people aren't themselves, or why they put up fronts and pretend to be something more or less than they actually are, but I'm not going to do that.

Instead I'm going to ask everyone to do something very simple, very easy.

You ready?

Go over to your mirror. Look yourself straight in the eye and say - "I like me."

If you can do that, you're being the best you, you can be.

And you should be proud.

And if you can't - ask yourself if you're really being "you."

The answer really is that simple.

To Brighten The Day

Today I want talk about something fun and shiny and YELLOW!

I own this yellow t-shirt you see. It's bright yellow. No, it's brighter than bright yellow. It's so yellow you can't look at it long enough to decide whether it is that yellow, or maybe might have some green in it. It definitely resembles a high lighter.

Now, I know you're asking: "Where in the world did you get that shirt Jimmer, and why in the world are you talking about it, much less wearing it in public?"

Well the answer to the latter question is because the shirt is fun. It reminds me of spring, and it makes me feel warm.

The answer to the former question? Well, it's also fun.

The shirt comes from an organization called Fishing Has No Boundaries.

This is one of the organizations The MJB Foundation shared our Joy with last year by donating funds for their younger participants to fish in their annual outing.

On the day of their festivities, we visited their outing where we received these beautiful t-shirts given to event sponsors.

Well, who doesn't like swag right? We proudly put our t-shirts on, and took a trip around the lake.

It was an awesome sight. Fishermen and Fisherwomen of all ages were having a great time. There were volunteers helping with the fishing. We probably saw at least 10 boats in different spots on the (Hoover) reservoir.

Afterward, we took some pictures and went to, well we went to visit Grandma & Grandpa.

But we still had the shirts!

K and D wear their shirts to sleep in. (No, they don't glow in the dark.) I don't think Netter has worn her shirt after that first day.

Ah, but I have.

I first broke it out for our annual family trip to The Ohio State Fair. My nieces and nephew LOVED it! Okay, they had fun with it. Well, they laughed at me and said I looked like I could fit in with the fair workers.

They're so mean to their Uncle Jimmy aren't they?

I think the shirt looked great for our race down the giant slide. (Yes, we take over the whole slide - only for one trip though.)

Next I wore the shirt to a poker-party. I don't think I won, but I did create enough distraction to at least win a few hands. - Maybe.

Finally, I wore the shirt to work. I like to wear t-shirts to work, but you can't just wear any old raggedy t-shirt you know?

I think the t-shirt you wear to work, (if you can wear t-shirts to work) has to fit some criteria i.e. it should be new(er), and fit well, and if it has a message emblazoned, (Ooh possible future WOTD?) on it it should be something appropriate and non-offensive.

Well what's offensive about Fishing Has No Boundaries? So one day all of my library shirts were in the laundry, but I wanted to wear a t-shirt to work. As they say in France.

C'est Un Voila (That's all the French I know)

We had a lot of fun that first day. A co-worker told me I was blinding him and wondered aloud aloud why my wife let me out of the house in this shirt. I said something to the effect of, "You know I have four of these in my house. I could wear 4 in a row, a whole weeks worth." He just smirked and said - please don't do that. (That's not an exact quote, but it's close) The humor of the day continued. A customer asked if I was doing some traffic control work on the side.

More than a few folks remarked about how I was brightening their day. As I said - fun!

I waited a few weeks and wore the shirt again. The same co-worker said again that I was blinding him, and again wondered aloud why my wife let me out of the house in this shirt. I repeated what I had said before - "You know I have four of these in my house. I could wear 4 in a row. One for every day we work together next week." Only this time...

My co-worker said, "I dare you to wear that shirt four days in a row."

Ever play the game Truth or Dare as a kid?

Yeah, me too. Of course I was always the kid who thought that the game Truth or Dare was two words too long. The heck with Truth and or...

Give me Dare!

Yeah, that made for some interesting stories, scary experiences, and gruesome tales over the years, but it also showed me along the way that you really never know about something until you actually try it.

Ironically enough, when I think about things I might be dared to do in this day and age, I can tell you right now:

I'm not bungee jumping. I'm not cliff diving. I'm not sky diving, and I sure as heck am not going skiing.

This is me, remember - I am afraid to drive in the snow. Ski on it? Are you crazy?

Still that doesn't mean there aren't some things I won't do, especially if I think I might have a lot of fun in the process.

So I wore the shirt every day that my co-worker and I worked together the next week.

I even made it my Facebook, and Twitter profile picture for the week. What do you think?

I know this - no one's ever gonna call me yellow!

As you might suspect, I too am sick of the yellow shirt. All four have been laundered and sit at the bottom of a basket. My co-workers can safely keep their sun glasses in their cars, and I can look at myself in the mirror without going blind.

That doesn't mean I won't break the shirts out again though.

After all, wearing the yellow shirt is always so much fun!

An Interview with K and D

This has been making the rounds in the blogosphere and on Facebook. It looked like fun, so I thought I'd ask the girls and see what kind of answers they came up with. We had a really good time with this and laughed through almost the entire exercise. It was particularly funny for D who is obviously suffering the ill effects of a bout with strep and is a little punchy.

1. What is something Daddy always says to you?

D:Be a Tigger, not an Eeyore -

K: Yo Kailey - O!

It's true. I try to help D work on her attitude a little bit everyday. She hasn't accused me of being a nag just yet, but I have to admit this is an answer I hope will change.

Kailey's answer is how I say hello to her most evenings.

2. What makes Daddy happy?

I found out here that I'm a little picky about clutter. I'm okay with that. At least they didn't bring up my linen closet, though Netter tried to chime in and add that answer, but I'm not including that. Oh, I guess I just did. Oh well.

D:His computer. No cans on the counter.

K: Clean counters, empty dishwasher.

3. What makes Daddy sad?

D: When I am sick.

K: When one of his girls is sad.

4. How does your Daddy make you laugh?

D: Ummmmmm.... I don't know, Um, When you try and act Gangsta. "Try."

K: When you flail your arms. He's funny when he's angry - sometimes.

5. What was your Daddy like as a child?

D: I don't know. You moved a lot. You were a crazy driver and the police always came after you.

K: You were a womanizer. They put the speed bumps in because of you.

All true. The police in Grove City where I lived when I started driving had my license plate number down pat. I swear to this day that as soon as I hit the city line, an alert went out.

The speed bumps on Binn's Blvd - the side street leading to the old Hilltop Branch Library on Broad Street in Columbus - were put in after I had worked at the branch for about 6 months. I frequently heard they were installed because of that crazy driver who is always flying down the street. Hey, I didn't like getting up early in the a.m then either.

6. How old is your Daddy?

D: 40 Um, 29. I'm not allowed to tell you. It's a secret.

K: 40 The BIG 4 - 0.

Good thing I can take a joke, huh K?

7. How tall is Daddy?

D: I don't know.

K: 5'7"

I am in fact 5'7" having grown exactly one quarter inch since the eighth grade.

8. What is his favorite thing to do?

D: computer

K: sleep

These might not be "my favorite," but they're definitely top 10.

9. What does your Daddy do when you're not around?

D: I do not know. I'm not around.

K: Facebook, Nascar, Such...

10. If your Daddy becomes famous, what will it be for?

D: (Much giggling) I don't know. Your blog.

K: Give me a second. Hmmm. I think he'll write a book.

11. What is your Daddy really good at?

D: A lot of stuff.

K: Computers.

12. What is your Daddy not very good at?

D: Heeheehee - a lot of stuff.

K: Controlling his temper.
(She said imitating my arm flailing - I don't think she's scared or anything.) She laughs an evil laugh upon seeing me type the preceding sentence.

Any guesses on which child was in trouble this week?

13. What does your Daddy do for his job?

D: Computer stuff. He helps people understand computerazization.

K: Nothing he really WANTS to be doing.

That's exactly what D said. K is not technically correct, but she is aware that I have been doing a lot of soul searching about my career path lately, and that I'm working hard to find "the right direction," even if it takes me to where I already am or someplace similar. I'm just trying to be sure. About time I would think.

14. What is your Daddy's favorite food?

D: Ummm I don't remember. Chicken Weeeng!

K: French Onion Soup. With cheese

D's answer came in Sing Song - evidence that she was indeed loopy from the cold medicine. While I do love Wings from Bww, and French onion soup, with cheese from just about anywhere, my favorite food is in fact Netter's meatloaf.

15. What makes you proud of your Daddy?

The silence in the room is deafening for a moment. I was actually a little worried, until I realized that they were really just looking for thoughtful answers.

D: When he notices that he is wrong.

K: Let me think. Come back to me.
- Later...That he's so good at technical stuff.

16. If your Daddy were a cartoon character, who would he be?

D: Marvin the Martian. He's awesome. He has like no face.

K:Tweety Bird. Um, he's a Dude. NO. You know who you'd be. You'd be Daffie Duck.

Kailey and I have frequently discussed whether Tweety Bird is a boy or a girl. I say he's a boy. What do you think?

17. What do you and your Daddy do together?

D: Um, well a long time ago we were working on that planey thing, but that never happened, then we were working on that cupboard thing, but that never happened. We watch movies sometimes. We talk in the car.

K: We listen to AC / DC. We talk in the car.

D and I have been working on an old balsa wood model airplane that was my Grandfather's for quite some time. We also started refinishing an old cupboard a few years ago. These were already on my Spring to do list. I guess I'll have to move them up.

I've talked about listening to the Back in Black album with K before.

Apparently I also do a good job of taking advantage of the time I have with the girls, when we ride together to talk to them and get a gauge on what's going on in their lives. I'm okay with this one.

18. How are you and your Daddy the same?

D: We have the same nose. We like computers. We like Coke.

K: Hmmm... Give me a moment. Don't type give me a moment. DON'T TYPE GIVE ME A MOMENT. Hmmm... Quite a few ways. Lol. We're both pretty artsy.

19. How are you and your Daddy different?

D: A lot of stuff. Ummmm... I don't know. You have brown, (actually hazel) eyes and I have blue eyes. I can't think of anything.

K: He's a Dude. I am not.

20. How do you know your Daddy loves you?

There was quite a bit of discussion back and forth on this one. These are their final answers.

D: He just does. Because he says so. He says it like 3 times a day K. He gives big hugs.

K: You tell us every day. Every is italicized. :-)

Since all of their answers are italicized, I made Every bold instead, and I was instructed to include the smiley face.

21. Where is your Daddy's favorite place to go?

D: Home. Well I thought of The Garage first.

K: Camp Akita - So Ha.

I do like to hang out in the garage, especially when it is warm. I even ran cable out there when we finished the basement. It is the only room in the house that is "mine," including my office.

Home is probably the most accurate answer.

I Hope I'm a Good Parent

I'm thinking a lot about my girls today, probably because one of them is home sick and the other is in trouble. No, I'm not going to get into detail or tell you who is doing what. That's just what's put them on my mind. It's not what's at the crux, (WOTD) of the matter.

In my first post here almost one year ago, I talked about how important it is to me to be a good Daddy, a good parent. It's a question I come back to often.

I made three promises to myself when I became a parent.

1. I will love my children unconditionally.
2. I will never say, "Because I said so."
3. I will tell my children when I am wrong, correct my mistake and ask for their forgiveness.

The first promise is, or at least should be an obvious thing for every parent to do - at least I hope so. Parents who cannot do this should not be parents in my opinion period.

The second promise... well it is, as they say a lot easier said than done. Still, I've found that more often than not I've been able to be creative, think outside the box and give at least viable reasons for doing things, and making or justifying decisions about my daughters.

The third promise is very important to me. I tell my girls all the time that I am learning this as I go along and it's not like they came with a book or a manual telling us "how to." (Various descriptions of said literature perhaps arriving / flying out of Netter after the girls were born have sometimes caused fits of laughter.)

I try to make sure they know that I remember what it was like to be a child, and then a teenager and that while I will always make decisions regarding them from my adult perspective I will also try to take into consideration how they might be affected, and perhaps more importantly - sometimes anyway - how they will feel.

I'll admit I try to be the fun Daddy. I give when I'm sometimes not sure that I should, and I abstain from decision making when I know that my "Daddyness" is kicking in "just because." Thankfully Netter is an awesome Mommy who does very well, probably better without me being involved.

I've told my girls that I know I can sometimes be an idiot for no particularly good reason, given to bouts of yelling and arm flailing that have no earthly explanation, but I will steer clear of them when these things take hold, and I will never harm them, ever.

Secretly I think both girls enjoy my fits as D does a fairly good imitation of my arm flailing and I have seen K's smile from my periphery as she smirks and surely thinks; "Ah, what a fool."

Or maybe not - I think the yell is more effective than that.

I know both girls take it to heart when I yell at them, and I can likely count on one, maybe two hands the number of times I have had to punish them beyond my yell. I was never a big believer in spanking, and I don't do grounding except in extreme circumstances.

I think I'm very lucky to be able to simply raise my voice to be effective, or at least effective in my own mind anyway eh?

We've made our way fairly well so far. At least I'd like to hope so. I still don't have a manual and we certainly don't get a grade card, at least not for a few years anyway.

In a little over two months both D and K will be teenagers, and we are quickly finding out that there are new challenges, new obstacles in our collective paths.

Being a teenager is no easy task, and it doesn't get easier as you go.

I love you girls, and I'll keep trying to do my best.