Monthly Archives: July 2011

Storyboard – Benton Harbor, Michigan – 7/23/2011

Every time that I leave the state, I’m convinced at some point that next time I absolutely MUST plan something.  Invariably, we leap into the car and surge forth into the unknown asking at the first turn… “OK, Left or Right?” and from there the die is cast.  A semi-random selection of turns later and we have arrived at our destination of…. who the fuck knows.  We have yet to have to sleep in the car and have yet to be bored.  It is approximately at this point that I say, let’s just leave our vacations as they are.  Random assortments of who the hell knows what are, after all, what Tiggers do best… or something.

So, Benton Harbor, in no particular order.  And, not necessarily really having much to do with Benton Harbor anyway.

It’s a very beachy sort of place.  It struck me walking through that it’s a different sort of beach than one is normally used to.  In California or Florida, it’s hot and beachy all year long.  Sun, sun, sun and maybe, on their worst day, a bit of rain.  But Michigan is a WHOLE other kettle of kippers.  This place is gloriously sun-baked one part of the year and a hell-hole of ice and snow and wind the other part.  So when the summer hits Michigan, I can’t help but imagine that the denizens of that fine state appreciate it in a manner vastly unparalleled by any of their more southern cohorts.  Anyway, I digress, this is supposed to be about pictures.

We start with an image that doesn’t have a ton to say for itself except that I love the layout.  This kid looks like he feels REALLY fast.

This is your standard cliche ocean pic, notable only because I’m not really sure about the purpose of the fence. It seems like all beaches have this. Perhaps it’s just to keep people off the vegetation that’s trying hard to keep the beach together.

It was, as I recall, a bit of an overcast day. I like how vegetable, mineral, sky and sea all live together in this shot with all having something to say.

Yeah, I know, cliche lighthouse pic. I can’t help think of the lonely lighthouse keeper when I see such things but I’m fairly certain those days are long gone. The keeper has gone home to nurse his family of 57 cats while a computer keeps the light on.

In case you can’t tell from the album contents, I was just FASCINATED by this bit of clover. In the midst of this quarter-mile long slab of concrete, this fluff of clover gave the proverbial middle-finger to all that man-made schlock and made its home right in the middle of a thousand tons of rock. If this doesn’t say nature can kick your ass for you, I’m not sure what does.

Yeah, too many things to say about this picture. Make up your own commentary.

Laura: “It looks like that guy’s sitting there naked.”
Sorry, no such luck… maybe if you ask nicely…

So, as we walked past this on our way back to the car, we heard several women talking nervously about this fountain as if it were about to erupt into a torrent of magma. As it turned out, it did erupt, but not into magma so much as a soul-scraping deluge of water.

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Random Bits and Pieces for 7/31/2011

I started this particular ‘bits and pieces’ feature under the advice of some wise person or other that if you don’t make note of what you learn in a day then you’re likely just to forget it again. While this is good advice to be sure, the sad result is the grim realization that I just don’t learn nearly enough interesting things in a day. This is tribute either to my rather uninformative lifestyle or else my poor note-taking abilities. Either way, here’s what I have in my log of bits and pieces since last I wrote on the topic.

As anyone who knows me is well aware, I have a fairly incestuous relationship with the English language and I pick up new words and utterances like the average person picks up loose change on the street. That is to say that I ignore everything under $.25 but covet the rest as if it were a foundling kitten. This past week while tromping through the last remaining bits of “Lost in Translation” I was reminded of a couple of old favorites. The first is abecedarian, a very nearly self-explanatory word meaning arranged alphabetically (as you might note from the a-be-ce-d prefix). It also serves to describe something which is elementary in nature. Next we have a word from that long list of German words that describe the world more succinctly and accurately than any of their English counterparts. Weltanschauung (the entire worldview of an individual or group) joins leitmotiv (a dominant or central theme), Schadenfreude (enjoyment of the suffering of others) and Zeitgeist (spirit of a particular time in history) in my list of delightfully useful utterances inherited from a close linguistic cousin.

Moving onward, this weekend I found myself doing some lighter reading than I’m normally accustomed to in the form of the “Julie and Julia” book which somewhat recently found its way into movie form. The author does tend to be much easier to digest than my previous book choice, but still doesn’t leave one totally without items of note. Specifically, I was made acquainted with the potato ricer, a device that I can only describe as a very large garlic press for a potato. Those louvered glass windows you crank open and closed and that are generally reserved for locations on lakes and other bodies of water apparently bear the more formal moniker of “jalousie windows.” And lastly, I was read about, though still remain nauseated by, the delightfully meaty flavor of bone marrow. This last serves only all the more to fortify my growing vegetarian tendencies but one cannot help but notice when someone describes a dish as having the flavor of “life itself”. Her comparison of the experience to a cannibal eating the heart of his rival to gain his strength is convincing, but not exactly in the direction that was probably intended. Oh, and her brief discussion of Samuel Pepys did cause me to go and obtain his unabridged diaries on the Kindle for the ripe and reasonable sum of absolutely nothing. If nothing else, it is my sincere hope that the Kindle will make us all read more classics.

Leaving the literary world behind, I was reminded this weekend of a small fact that I tend to forget in the world of personal interactions. In general, when a person in my acquaintance leaves the realm of my daily interaction, I quickly get wrapped up in the day-to-day and they pass into history. From time to time I realize just how regrettable that is because it is those old relationships that are the most valuable, the most well formed. To use an unflattering analogy, an old friend is like an old cheese or a well-fermented wine. Not only do you know them best but they know you best and when they pass on into history and are forgotten, they take a piece of you with them. As much as we like to be independent and stand on our own, those around us really do help to define us. All of our best times are spent in the company of others and if we let them trickle away then a part of those good times goes with them. At any rate, that’s my observation on the matter.

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What I Learned on one of my Summer Vacations

Last weekend Laura and I made haste unto the north in search of milder climes and more amusing locales. I will not deny that we found both but nonetheless there were certain lessons learned from this trip unto the random unknown. I will enumerate them here for the benefit of those who are unfamiliar in no particular order.

Always eat somewhere that you’ve never heard of before. While there is great benefit in knowing what you’re getting, the unknown by far promises greater reward. Our first stop of the weekend was at a known chain only because I was desperate for calories but thereafter we kept fairly truly to the random and unheard of. In almost every case, we were pleasantly surprised though it has called to mind a few simple rules.

* If the place is almost empty when you get there, don’t break their streak by helping make it less empty. The wisdom of the masses applies. If no one else is there, you shouldn’t be either.
* Any place that says “Casual Attire is Welcome” is too damn pretentious to eat at. In fact, any time a restaurant says that anything is “welcome”, if you ARE that anything, don’t bother. You’re clearly at the fringe. It’s much easier to walk away while you’re still in the parking lot than it is to get up after they’ve started fluffing the napkins. Follow your gut.
* Never order anything ethnic at a place that isn’t itself ethnic. If you’re ordering the stir fry or fajitas at a place that isn’t either Chinese or Mexican exclusively, then you are, very likely, fucked. You wouldn’t have a TV repairman take out your appendix so don’t ask a cook at Chez Steve’s to make you pot stickers. If most of the menu is grilled meats, don’t order something sitting out on the fringe. Stick to what the cook’s good at.

The rule here seems to be that most places are good at one or two things. If you deviate from that thing, you’re just asking for it. As the saying goes, dance with who brung ya. Don’t ask a sushi chef to make you a hamburger.

This weekend we ventured into the unknown without so much as a single personal computer betwixt us. It seems in retrospect that this was a mistake. Don’t get me wrong here. Disconnecting is a good thing. No work emails. No outside worries. Those are all benefits. However, I couldn’t help but feel that I could have benefited from some good time to simply sit down and vomit out the day’s happenings onto paper. I have a great deal of difficulty relaxing on vacation and spending a couple of hours sitting somewhere quiet writing about the day would have been exceptionally beneficial. The additional connectedness would have doubtless had a down side but it would have also allowed me to purge myself of any lingering thoughts in a permanent form and would have also left a much better textual record of the trip. So I think it’s important to disconnect, but not disconnect TOO much.

I still remain undecided on the overall strategy for travel. Part of me nags loudly that one should completely explore a given location. That the best goal is to find a spot and get to know it for an extended period. The other nagging belief tells me that it’s best to widen one’s experience as broadly as possible. That every single brown sign bearing an arrow should be explored and that one should miss no opportunity because it’s unlikely that one will be back again. As usual, it is the eternal argument between vacationing broadly and vacationing deeply. I don’t claim to have an answer but I do recognize the difficulty.

One thing that occurs to me is the importance of using the opening day of enthusiasm to one’s advantage. Our last trip didn’t quite make it as far north as I would have liked and I attribute that at least in part to failure to seize upon the enthusiasm of the first day. Rather than punching manfully through to the far north of the state, we somewhat lazily drifted northward and by the time we’d reached the northern extremity of our trip, the enthusiasm had drained somewhat from both of us. This makes me believe in the importance of choosing an aggressive destination on the first day and making sure to achieve it so that the more indolent days of recreation which follow can flow more naturally and more relaxedly without any concerns or regrets.

Lastly, I have been made mindful of the depth of small towns in America. When we stopped in Chesterton, Indiana for breakfast, I expected a small and lazy town, not overly filled with great ideas or personal depth of feeling. Upon exit, however, I was forced to remark to Laura that I was rightly astonished. Whether it is the amazing lilies of Douglas, Michigan or the simple wisdom of Chesteron, Indiana, I will admit that I have a new respect for the simple value of small-town America. These simple realizations make me want to hop from town to town across the state and experience all there is to be had, to listen to the simple, homey conversations and draw firmly and satisfyingly on all they have to contribute to life. I would very nearly argue that the true value of a vacation “away” is not to be had only in the far-flung reaches of a neighboring state, but probably living right around the corner.

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Random Bits and Pieces for 7/18/2011

I recently decided that I needed to round out my education a bit… well, strike that. I decided a couple decades ago that I needed to round out my education a bit. Pursuant to this goal, I did a quick search to find a reading list to provide a grounding in the classics and humanities. One particularly helpful website not only provided a list but also suggested that the very first thing one should read before reading anything is the somewhat circularly titled, “How to Read a Book.” So of course I immediately purchased a copy…. For my Kindle. It promises to have a lot to say on the seemingly simple topic.

Something in my day jogged a recollection of something I’d read in a book a few weeks ago. The author was describing the origin of the Mafia. My source on this is not entirely credible on this topic or any other, but he described the mob as starting out as a simple group of inventive individuals who did little else but “run numbers.” These simple lotteries were easy and profitable and nobody got hurt. It wasn’t until the state decided to outlaw the numbers racket and replace it with a state-run lottery system that the mob turned to other more violent practices to support themselves. This could be utter garbage, but the story appeals to the cynical part of my brain that thinks most of the problems of society are in fact caused by the greed and ignorance of those in charge.

For some long while I’d had the sense that the process of adoption was tough. That position was fortified in my mind upon learning that it requires a significant course of self-improvement equivalent to two semesters at college. It is a vastly cliché statement to make, but it boggles my mind that the process of bringing an otherwise unwanted child into your home to care for it is so many orders of magnitude more difficult than the almost careless manner in which you can have a new child of your own.

I’m a man of many potential hobbies and I learned today that a simple model rocket can be had for a mere pittance at $20. For $100 you can purchase a nose-cone with a video camera in it. I’m hopeful (as is my wallet) that if I put this nugget of information down in this blog and then never refer to it again that I can shove this fact far enough from the forefront of my mind that I won’t go drop a few hundred dollars on rocketry equipment on a whim. So much to do, so little time.

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Storyboard – The Celery Bog 7/14/11

I will have to say that the celery bog in West Lafayette Indiana was one of the most prolific photo locations I’ve been to in a long time. To this point….

The bees were absolutely fruitful beyond reason.

From 2011-07-14

I have trouble with movement in nature. The apparent motion of this bee’s wings both makes me happy and sad. I know, however, that if I’d managed to set the shutter to catch this fully that it would have looked like any other still photo.

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This one makes me wonder…. which was yellow first? The bee or the flower? Either way, intense color.

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It’s not clear to me what the relationship is between the ants and the aphids here.

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Spring is the season when young minds turn to…

From 2011-07-14

This is one of my favorites. It’s so simple yet so filled with potential. No clue what this will hatch into, but I love the picture in its contrast and its symbolism.

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The contrasts here are marvelous.

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One of my favorite photos ever. Nature is amazing in that it provides that long, slender proboscis so that the butterfly can seek out the deepest bits of sweetness from the flower. Amazing.

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Oh, those eyes.

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This is a pretty standard photographer’s shot, but I still love the contrasts here.

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Another of nature’s marvels. The monarch larvae is provided with two heads complete with antennae to confuse potential predators.

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Random Bits and Pieces for 7/17/11

As I look back on my previous blog entries, I realize that they fall into two general categories. The first, and most abundant, is the vast personal outpouring of emotion or opinion. I’m fairly certain that the majority of people who might stumble upon this site see those as utter garbage. Despite that, I’ll continue to provide those just because I enjoy looking back to see what silliness I put forth in months or years past. This entry, and all those with similar titles, will be of the second variety that provide possibly interesting tidbits that have absolutely nothing to do with me; those vapid and industrious pieces and parts of human experience that constitute our shared experiences on this Earth. (or my warped view of same, at least)

The most recent text through which I slog on a semi-regular basis is Eva Hoffman’s “Lost in Translation.” This dense tome is a lot to consume. The author is one of those writers who executes her craft at a level that will delight the literature professors among us and befuddle the common reader. Her prose is more Dickensian than is generally palatable but hidden in this spacious detail we can find a lot of strong concepts. The one that occurs to me most potently is one from a few days ago in which she points out her strong aversion to the phrase “you’re welcome.” Her objection does not arise from a refusal to show gratitude but from the idea that the phrase itself implies, most distastefully, that there was actually something to be grateful for. It strikes me that this is not an uncommon tendency in the Western World. We want to feel good about whatever it is that we’ve done. In Europe the preferred statement seems to be one that implies that whatever was done was a mere nothing. A trifle. This invites the receiver to ask again. For, after all, if it was really nothing, then why shouldn’t I ask again? The competing phrase, “you’re welcome” seems to imply the opposite. That the giver has actually given something but that that should not impede you from asking again for this non-trivial something. It’s funny the power that simple and oft-repeated words wield.

My second observation for this day is more timely in that it occurred to me mere hours ago. As I was letting the remaining hours of the weekend wash over me like so many waves from an angry and impatient ocean, I stumbled upon something in my Netflix queue. The 1960 series, Thriller, is hosted by Boris Karloff but until today that was the only thing I had found to recommend it. I’d watched enough of the first episode to come to a somewhat negative conclusion but before I deleted it I determined that I should watch the last episode just to see how things had progressed. Like most shows of this timeframe and subject, the cast consists of a host and a series of guest stars. Who should I find in the last episode but James T. Kirk and Mrs. Howell of Gilligan’s Island fame? Suddenly my entire outlook on the series had changed. Here were the same predictable stories but with these familiar typecast actors. They were comforting. They were a rock upon which to base my credulity or suspension thereof. And what is more impressive, they were playing basically the same roles for which we know them today: Mrs. Howell, the rich woman, though an author, and Shatner the overly-dramatic young accessory to the story. Perhaps this is the foundation of 60s television. We look back today and see the stories as static and predictable but an assiduous observer will find the same characters in the same role in series after series. Is it possible that the compensation for story and technical execution in the early decades of television was familiar actors in familiar roles that helped us to attune ourselves to what was being shown to us?

Since it’s been a long time since I’ve written an entry that collects my random thoughts, we’re forced to play a bit of catch-up. Several months ago, I heard an NPR story that recollected a woman of Middle-Eastern descent. She was telling the listeners of a tradition in her native… Iran(?) in which visitors to her parent’s home were pounded by requests to drink, eat or take something after their visit. The bit that stands out to me most notably is that if a visitor admired something in the home then the hosts would practically demand that they take it home with them. Can you imagine that if you said to a someone, “Oh, what a wonderful painting!” that they’d spend the next 20 minutes absolutely INSISTING that you take it home with you? Such is life in the Middle-East.

Lastly, I’ve been asked repeatedly about the camera equipment that I use and my recommendations for same. I’ll start by saying that I am the furthest thing possible from a name-brand snob. I will absolutely NOT regale you with reasons why Canon is better than Nikon or vice versa. I fundamentally believe that the absolute most important piece of photographic equipment you possess is your own eye. Your photos are as good as your ability to envision something unique and the patience to capture it. So first of all, don’t get hung up by equipment. YOU are the most important part of your photos.

So, now that you know that the equipment isn’t important, let’s talk about equipment. The camera I use is a Canon 60D. At 18 megapixel, it’s just a brilliant camera but the pricetag is nothing to sneeze at ($1200). The benefits of newer technology are several including insane resolution and very fast recording speed. This thing can rattle off 5 maximum resolution photos in a second. So even if you don’t QUITE get the picture you want, you can get close and crop or just hold the button down and rattle off photos. In the grand scale of things though, you do NOT need this. Save your money for a lens or some sort.

The most common lens that I use is a Tamron 18-270mm. This thing will cost you about $600 but is the most functional and versatile lens I’ve used. As I understand it, the Tamron brand is fairly close to being considered a ‘generic’ but it’s much less expensive than the name brand equivalent and from what I’ve seen there are no drawbacks. A few caveats, however. This thing is HEAVY (as I suspect most zooms of this power are). If you’re walking through the forest looking for shots, be prepared for this. I generally start with it around my neck and by the end of a stroll the strap is wrapped around my wrist. This thing is powerful but nothing to sneeze at as an item to be carried about. That said, it’s a lot less weighty than the lenses it replaces. It is NOT a macro, so you can’t do crazy close-ups but the zoom-from-afar makes up for most of that. Also, if you are a fan of manual focus, then forget it. This lens is beastly to try to handle manually. Just let the auto-focus do its work. Failing that, I’ve found you have to pull outward on the focus ring and THEN focus.

The other lens I sport about is a 60mm macro Tamron lens. At another $600, this one isn’t really worth it unless you really love the detail-oriented shots. If you’re planning to use this or any macro, it had better be on something that you can be sure is going to sit still. The Tamron lens is brilliant but the mechanics of the whole prospect are relatively impossible. Any movement makes focus impossible and the focal length is tiny. This is a fun lens to play with but you’d better have a LOT of patience.

So, in short and in order. First of all, don’t bother with new equipment. Figure out how to take photos first. Second, when you think you have that down… like REALLY down… buy a nice zoom. Remember that you get what you pay for. It’s going to cost you some serious money to buy something nice. Don’t be surprised. After you get a zoom, you can upgrade your camera and when you’re ready to just play around, then you can buy more specialty lenses. Make sense? I should say also that I’m a fairly determined advocate of such things. Want an opinion or advice on your shots? Want someone to come and shoot your event (I work for free) then drop me a line. This is art, not science. I’m ready to serve and help out as you advance your own work. ‘nuff said.

Lastly, a feature of these posts is a listing of new words I’ve picked up or determined definitions for in the past few days. I’m a big believer in words. They do, after all, represent the entire world.

deracination – to uproot or figuratively to remove one from one’s natural environment

Immigrants resented the deracination that learning the English language represented.

jeune-fille – an unmarried girl or woman

Laura gave her best jeune-fille smile as she greeted Rob from across the room.

mot juste – the exactly appropriate word

Grant, though not known for his tact, had a tendency to provide the mot juste when anyone seemed at a loss for words.

puissant – mighty, potent or potent

The Japanese soccer team, while far from puissant, managed to win the world cup by assiduity rather than dominance: a trademark of their cultural heritage.

inimical – adverse in effect or unfriendly

Rob’s delight in the failure of team USA to win the world cup proved inimical to his popularity with his friends and co-workers.

congeries – a collection of pieces and parts in one aggregation

Blogs, some have posited, are mere congeries of the thoughts of random anonymous people with nothing better to do than to write.

foursquare – firm, steady, unswerving, frank or blunt

John’s foursquare and outspoken determination that the management at his company was composed primarily of idiots was the eventual cause of his termination.

Sobriquet – a nickname

Rob impatiently assigned that windows update that demanded repeatedly to reboot his computer the sobriquet of “that fucking stupid-ass thing” and hoped that it would silence its request for at least 10 minutes so he could finish his blog entry.

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On Personal Martyrdom and Pretending to be Something that you are Not

I think that sometimes the world, and by the world, I mean the people in the world, think that I’m not paying attention to them.  That the words they so effortlessly spout bounce off the thick and callous exterior of my head and fall unheeded into the gutter.  I haven’t written in quite a while, but for some reason, I’m driven to write today.  Perhaps it’s because someone was so kind as to offer me the voluminous praise of referring to me as a “journalist.”  Whatever the case, here I am.
Two things have caught my attention over the past few months that I’ve not taken time to write down.  The first is that someone quite correctly referred to me as a “martyr” when it comes to work.  Since that time I can’t really do much without thinking quietly to myself… yeah, I’ll be fucked, but they’re right.  It just oozes from everything I do.  Some terribly shitty job to do?  Something idiotic and redundant and no fun whatsoever?  Well hell, Slaven’s practically jumping up and down to volunteer.  What the hell?  While this *SEEMS* like the attitude of a real team player, someone who will do whatever it takes to get shit done, really it’s the attitude of an ass who doesn’t really take proper care of the rest of the team.  While I’m off doing the shit work the rest of the team is flailing for leadership.  Overall, they fucking suffer MORE because I’m not delegating properly and letting the shit work fall where the shit work belongs: with the junior members of the team.  Further, it puts a hell of a lot of pressure on the people at the bottom.  There is a strange solace to the low-level work of any job.  You know quite clearly what is expected and you can measure your results.  Just because it’s crap doesn’t mean it doesn’t have value.  It’s an ass-move on my part to take that away from the position where it belongs.  That’s how you prove yourself and work up.  If senior leadership takes all the garbage work then, surprise surprise, junior members of the team are forced to perform at levels they’re not prepared for and feel like shit because they’re not excelling.  They would have excelled if they’d been able to start at the right level of work.  But they couldn’t.  Because someone had to be a fucking martyr and do the job for them.
So the first lesson is, ironically, to be selfish.  Stand up for what you want.  Not just because it’s good for you but ultimately because it’s good for everyone.  There is a natural pecking order to things and on some levels it seems completely unfair.  Why the hell should someone have to do the shit work in whatever it is you do?  You know why?  Because it’s how you learn to do the real work.  I am often harkened back to the tattoo parlor.  There, they have an “intern” who does nothing but absolute garbage work.  He makes people fill out forms.  He sanitizes instruments.  He does all the crap work that nobody else wants to do.  But you know what?  When he finally graduates from that position he’s going to know that shit backwards and forwards.  He’s going to know about hygiene and he’s going to know about the mechanics of not getting the place sued because some drunk guy got stars tattooed on his face.  Add to that the fact that when he finally gets to put ink-to-skin he’s going to appreciate it so fucking much.  In playing the martyr I’ve denied the natural order of things fucked up someone’s career path in the process.  That sucks.  Speaking of tattoo artists though, I need to call Roger.  It’s about time. 
The second thing that’s echoed about my head is a reference to the “Imposter Complex.”  This little tidbit was posited by my gf/fiancée and her father.  I’d long suffered from this affliction but never quite realized it had a name.  Overall, I consider myself good at my job.  I’m fairly in tune with what’s going on at both a low level and a high level but part of me still fears that someone’s going to dig in and determine that I’m actually a total dumbass and have no clue what I’m talking about.  This is, in a nutshell, the imposter complex.  The feeling that you’ll be discovered as not knowing nearly as much as you think you do.  To remedy this, perhaps it’s appropriate that I just come clean and say what I think that I am with no pretense whatsoever.
So let’s start at the beginning.  As a programmer, I’m fair.  I’m the sort of person who would rather write 20 lines of code that absolutely everybody understands than three lines that were effusively elegant.  If you look at the body of my work at my current job you will probably understand it all immediately.  While some programmers will revel in the succinctness of the C# delegate, I’d quietly say that a simple for loop is more than sufficient.  My work is plodding, mundane and uninspiring.  But for the most part it gets the job done.  When I have the chance, I like to cover all the bases and test the reasonable cases for any bit of code but I’m also impatient.  I want the thing to work.  I’m focused on nuts and bolts.  Appearance and presentation are secondary and often so dependent on the browser that I’d prefer that it look like shit than write it once for IE, once for Firefox and once for Opera.  I’m a Luddite in every sense of the word.  At least to the extent that preferring to omit client-side code constitutes a Luddite.
As a product manager, I’m a bit better than fair.  I try to focus on the big picture, am more than willing to say “no” when it doesn’t serve the product direction as a whole and tend to be fairly good at taking product requests and stretching them out to cover not only the current requests but a fair number of future ones.  I could be significantly more limber in this area, but one is only granted so many development hours.  I yearn for a day when development of a product is driven by the developers rather than the sales team but I fear this will never happen.  Such is the sad state of the revenue-driven world.  I understand and only seek to gain a balance.
As a people manger… well, I’m not qualified to say.  Technically speaking, I’m not really the manager of anyone but I hope that those who work with me understand that I really only have their interests at heart.  Perhaps it’s the martyr talking again, but it’s fairly typical for me to suggest that anyone in my group might be happier somewhere else even if it promises to make my life a living hell after they leave.  Ultimately, I want people to be happy in their work.  Even if it totally screws me over.  There was a time when I thought I could offer an environment that provided an optimum mix of product freedom and stability.  That time has passed.  I think I understand what people look for in a job and I hope that I’m able to convey that to them so they can find the best outcome for themselves.  I’m hopeful that I can foster not only some level of contentment in the current jobs of those under me but also help them look beyond the here and now, a facility that I sadly lack.

To summarize, I think the lesson here is that I need to be more selfish.  I need to focus on my needs and my desires and not get nearly so bound up in what the company wants or what my co-workers need.  They’ll sort that out for themselves and the company will certainly look out for itself.  Ultimately one gets only a single life to live.  If one lives it with too many others in mind, one is simply giving away the only thing you truly have.  Martyrdom must cease.  It is time to reclaim again what one has duly earned.

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