Archive for July, 2010



July 31, 2010

I was back in the Deep South this week – Mobile, AL to be exact. As expected, it was full of delicious food and heat. I’ve decided it is one of my favorite places to travel for work. I stay in a beautiful hotel, the Renaissance Riverview. My favorite part – the elevator. The glass back gives you an amazing view of the city and bay. It drops so quickly, you get that feeling in your stomach like when you’re on a ferris wheel. And it’s electronic voice says “we’re delighted to welcome you to deck X” at every floor it stops.

Trip highlights include:

  • Dinner at the River Shack. Right on the water. I had grilled catfish, fried okra, fried pickles, slaw, hush puppies and sweet tea.
  • Trivia and dinner at Hopjack’s. You’d never guess, but this place has good pizza and an amazing selection in beer.
  • Being compared to Sharon (aka Boomer) from Battlestar Galactica again.
  • Working in a room with computer monitors set in the desks under glass. What a blast from the past.
  • Southern friendliness = fun elevator conversations
  • My customer telling me I talk funny when they recognized I have a Wisconsin accent.


July 20, 2010

I analyzed my blog yesterday with the website Typealyzer. The basic idea is that it analyzes any particular website and assigns it a “personality” – using the same conventions as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator assessment. So, for those who’ve never done that kind of test, it assesses you on four different levels – Introverted/Extroverted, Sensing/iNtuition, Feeling/Thinking, and Judgment/Perception. It assigned this blog to the ESFP type (The Performers). What exactly does that mean?

The entertaining and friendly type. They are especially attuned to pleasure and beauty and like to fill their surroundings with soft fabrics, bright colors and sweet smells. They live in the present moment and don´t like to plan ahead – they are always in risk of exhausting themselves.

They enjoy work that makes them able to help other people in a concrete and visible way. They tend to avoid conflicts and rarely initiate confrontation – qualities that can make it hard for them in management positions.

Now, anytime I take this kind of test, I end up as ISTJ. It’s interesting to me that three out of four of the dichotomies are different between me and my blog. And the one dichotomy that remains the same is the one I express the least through the questionnaire. Unusual? Probably not. The website even comments on the fact that it’s not meant to have the same results as the MBTI.
But it does make me wonder where this disconnect happens. Is it that I write a certain way that’s somewhat different from how I am? If that’s the case, I’m really good at staying consistent. I put in various other blogs that I’ve kept up, and it’s the same result. It’s a little uncanny. Or is it that my writing is a much more objective point of view? Maybe I really am more extroverted and just don’t know it. It’s pretty impossible to be unbiased while filling in a personality test. I’m tempted to think it’s more the latter

2 x 2.

July 16, 2010

New Moon – should I even comment on this one? I had heard the second movie was better than the first. Lies! I had forgotten that absolutely nothing happens in the second book – Bella’s depressed for six months and there’s no climax of any kind (no battle, no tragedy, no happy ending). It’s all “meaningful” glances and pauses in sentences.

Time Traveler’s Wife – yep, I was just on a roll with the bad movies. As far as romantic chick flicks go, this was not a good one. I mean, the plot is focused on a girl and her often absent husband. How this ended up as a cute romantic movie is beyond me. Take the same plot and substitute time traveling with some real – like work, or drinking, or cheating, or just being a bum – pretty much the same movie, but definitely not cute.

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest – I liked the first two books, so it was almost guaranteed I’d like this one. It was a little slower than the first two, but with a very similar plot and all the same  I was hoping for a more stand-alone story. But upon reading it, the second book seems much more like a filler. So if you’re going to read them – do it in order.

How Doctors Think – not a book I would ever have picked up if I didn’t work in the healthcare industry. But, surprisingly, I really liked it. It discusses, well, how doctors think – how they make cognitive mistakes like the rest of us. Somewhat enlightening. Though I think I’d rather be ignorant and have complete faith in my doctor that s/he won’t make mistakes.



July 13, 2010

I’ve had a couple of people point me to the recent NY Times article on the American Dream being more out of reach for the newer generations.

My major annoyance at this article is their subject of choice. The article chooses to focus on a recent liberal arts grad who just turned down a $40,000 salaried job and lives in a major metropolitan area without debt. This guy has nothing to complain about in this economy. Presented as an example of our generation, he makes us seem like a bunch of selfish, entitled brats who can’t be blamed because the we’re in a recession and that’s not our fault. Find a recent grad who has loads of student debt, who hasn’t even been able to get an interview, who can’t live at home because home is a small town with absolutely no job prospects.

Sure, there’s some good reason for the recent grads to be unhappy about their position. When you do everything you’re supposed to and it doesn’t work out, that sucks. But we were following the rules of 2 or 3 decades ago. It’s not really the same playing field anymore. College education (and a graduate degree) isn’t what it used to be. And I’m sure that’s not the only thing that’s changed. The article points out that the kid turns down his job offer because he thinks it’ll be a dead-end – a waste of time – but his father thinks that it would work out over time and hard work. Mobility upwards in a company might not be the same in the current situation, but it seems to me the older generations are more about the working hard and moving up, while we’re about moving up and how fast.

Second, the American Dream – hasn’t it always been somewhat elusive? That’s what makes it a dream. I remember discussing in a class how people’s perception of how easy it is to move between social classes in the US is significantly skewed by the media. We continue to see lifestyle stories about people moving up in society through hard work and perseverance. The sad truth is, it just doesn’t happen as often as we want to believe. You don’t always get what you deserve and you can’t always get what you want.



July 9, 2010

Everyone knows I’m addicted to personality tests and their ability to tell me something new about myself. And after some hunting through old blogs, I rediscovered the ultimate tool for helping me learn more about me (y’all better do this for me, even if you’ve done it before). See, I had a chat this past week and realized that my view of myself is not always in line with how others see me.

It’s strange – having someone mention a characteristic about myself that I never even considered. I guess as long as it’s not bad, I can let it slide without too much of a problem. But it does make me wonder how oblivious I am to parts of my personality. Or rather how much can’t I control because I don’t even realize it’s happening.  And vice versa – if I comment on myself and my friend has no idea what I’m talking about. In this case it tends to be a more negative characteristic. So am I just being unnecessarily insecure? Is my friend just being nice? Am I just getting better at toning down my bad qualities?

Then factor in time. If you ask me, I haven’t changed at all. Or rather, I’m of the opinion that I’ve always been the same and over time, I’ve just  become more accepting of who that is (which is change itself I guess). It’s kinda like how chili tastes better the next day. It’s all the same ingredients, but time helps them mesh in a  way that you can’t quite verbalize. But while I’m too biased to realize the change, it can be so obvious to someone else. Again, it’s the idea that someone else can tell me more about me than I can. It’s unsettling – and clearly illustrates I have some control issues.

Just for fun, for anyone who’s wondering how I’ve changed over time – you can see for youself. This is the same exercise from almost five years ago!



July 8, 2010

This year, I spent the Fourth of July away from home for only the second time ever. I believe my family celebrates more on the Fourth than any other holiday, and I like the small town celebrations with parades and picnics and fireworks so close they pound in your chest. But the first of my friends were getting married in Pennsylvania on July 2, so it seemed the ideal opportunity to spend the holiday in my favorite city – D.C. And really, what better city would there be to celebrate Independence Day?

I spent the early afternoon at my first baseball game – Nationals vs Mets. So exciting. My friend is crazy about baseball. And I just get excited whenever anyone else is excited. We didn’t stay the whole game; after 4 innings, the Nats hadn’t scored any. Still, I got to watch the Presidents race and got my picture taken with them. We ate the biggest pretzel I’ve ever seen in my life (ps. soft pretzel + whipped cream = amazing). Then the National Zoo! I always wanted to go, but it’s so far from the museums and I never knew how to get there. I’m completely in love with free zoos. All the standard animals were there – lions, tigers, zebras, small mammals, and apes. Plus, the National Zoo has pandas! It’s pretty much guaranteed I’ll be back there in future visits.

Then dinner near Dupont Circle at a cute little Greek cafe. I’ve realized Dupont Circle has become my go-to area when I’m in D.C. and need to find a restaurant or a coffee shop to hang out at. After dinner, we headed toward the Mall to watch the fireworks. Stopped for frozen yogurt on the way. Since my last trip to New York, I’ve been craving frozen yogurt, and Wisconsin – unsurprisingly – doesn’t really do fro-yo (we do this instead). I’ve now decided all frozen yogurt shops look pretentious and my standard fare is vanilla and strawberry yogurt with blueberries and almonds.

Fireworks at the Washington Monument were fun – as all fireworks are. It wasn’t nearly as crowded as I was expecting. The thing I just couldn’t get used to was the distance. Having a delay between the firework and the boom completely threw me off.  And I couldn’t help but think that the monument kinda just got in the way of the fireworks. I’m all about the clear open space. But I guess that’s the whole point. For anyone who didn’t know, at night, the Washington Monument has two red lights near the top that look like the angry eyes of a monster. And once I noticed, I couldn’t get over it for the rest of the night. But it was an absolutely beautiful night.



July 2, 2010

With the opening of some new buildings, my company’s shuffled around almost half the offices. The goal is for everyone to have their own office. The obstacle, of course, is still not having enough space and needing to plan for record numbers of new employees. So for the last week, I’ve had a new office to myself. Because of the crunch on space, my new office-mate moved in this week.

My new office is nice. Smaller than my last, but it has a window – with quite a nice view. I’m similarly placed in relation to break rooms, bathrooms, and the copy rooms. But being on the second floor instead of the first makes it feel like a lot more effort to walk to another building.

Most upsetting is that I lost my former office-mate. Personally, I prefer sharing an office. Despite having to deal with small meetings and phone calls with another person in the room, it was still better the majority of the time. We started together almost two years ago and discuss ideas and double check our logic with each other. Plus, she specializes in a slightly different area than me – and that definitely helps with certain points of integration. But with the office reorganization, because of her different specialty, she had to move to a different building.

It’s been weird not having to share space with someone for 8 hours a day. Discussing what we did over the weekend or the previous night was a nice routine while we started to sort emails and get our schedules worked out. I think it throws a wrench in my day.