The intellectual equivalent of a ham sandwich.

Posts tagged ‘not really funny’


Moving is a great teacher. Sometimes it teaches you with general unpleasantness, but that’s ok. And perhaps my opinion is biased by my past of being an Army Brat and moving once every few years – so I’ve grown to like moving. Who knows?

This most recent move from Texas to Colorado made me realize something that I hadn’t before. People are like the game Jenga. When I thought of this analogy I thought it was profound, so I told someone and they said, “yeah, ok.” Perhaps it’s not so profound as I thought – but sometimes you need a blog post and so you go ahead and post about your mildly profound thoughts.

Here we go – people are like Jenga. We are composed of these blocks that are our friends, our family, our hobbies, our work, our own accomplishments, and even our stuff.

Moving is a great way to realize what your tower is composed of. This move took me physically away from a good job and a great set of friends and family, and a tolerable apartment. At work I was a known person, and I believe I was liked and people thought I was ok, and I took a fair amount of pride in that.

Now I am an unknown person at work and I need to work hard to establish myself as someone who is smart and can get things done. That’s fine, it’s good to force yourself into challenges.

Growing up I think my family was at the core of my own personal Jenga tower. And my toys and video games were probably a fairly major block as well. A move was disruptive, sure, but I still had my family (most importantly) and myself. As I’ve gotten older the tower is a little more complex now. My family is not one big block but quite a few smaller blocks with each member of my family being their own block, my in-laws involved, my friends are each blocks, my work is a fair-sized block, my home, etc, etc, etc.

jenga_distortedMoving caused a little disruption of the tower and when my wife and I got here, by necessity, each of us was a pretty darn big block for the other. And our home and our satisfaction with our surroundings became blocks too. We still have our friends and family, of course, but the distance changes things a bit.

To assist ourselves my wife and I have both picked up hobbies. This was a ‘trick’ my parents forced on my siblings and I, we always had to be signed up for after school stuff, usually at least a sport. New blocks come flying in and soon your tumbled tower is reassembled. When I was younger, because my family was so important, it only meant the top of the tower had fallen but the core of the tower had stayed intact, which made moving easier.

Now I have learned that work has become pretty important to me, and my tower took a bit of a hit when we moved (and ditto for my wife). But we’ve managed to start re-stacking the pieces, and introducing new blocks into our lives. It’s certainly a process.

What’s the lesson in all this? I suppose it’s that it’s good to have your personal tower composed of immutable things (or as immutable as possible). Hobbies that can go with you like reading or workout out, people, your own sense of self, and yes work is fine – but just be prepared to experience some growing pains when that changes!

Ok, toodles all. Take care to learn your tower and nurture it with strong blocks at the foundation, eh?


Weekly Wacko (55)

(Note: This is really not that interesting, but the ‘weekly wacko’ section serves as a diary for me and I wanted to write out how I felt about this. Also, I wrote this 11/9/10.)

Hello Again, Feelings …

Today was a fairly big day for me. Since I love telling stories I of course can’t just tell what. I have to tell why.

Last week I came back from my trip to Florida and worked on Friday. I saw that my boss had his door open so I swung by to tell him that since NASA had not launched the shuttle, I needed the Lego Shuttle set to comfort my wounded heart and spirit.

“Ohh! Yeah, I’m surprised I haven’t bought that yet.”

My boss is cool.

He didn’t say he would buy the Lego set for his kid – he’d be buying it for himself. He then pulled up the Lego website and complained that they misrepresented the size of the shuttle. We tried to figure out how big it would be, and decided that it’d be cool, but even cooler if it was 5 feet tall.

After that he asked me to sit down. I am a worrier and a pessimist so this made me nervous. I asked if I should close the door and he said yes. Yikes.

I came to Houston on a one-year contract: January to January. At some point I began working on another project outside the one I was hired into. This project was(/is?) slated to be finished in March so I approached my boss (actually I talked to 3 bosses about this – gooo corporate!) and asked about the idea of extending my contract until March. I got a thumbs up. This was a few weeks ago.

On Friday, I was sitting there and the first question from my boss was, “how do you like working here? Be honest.”

Double yikes.

I told him I enjoyed it, but lately the changing scope of the work (the economy and I are enemies) had sucked the enjoyment out. Currently the feeling is: “you can do that, it doesn’t matter anyway because this project might be trashed, so sure … go do that.”

He told me my name had come up for a new project that is just getting underway. It’s an intense one, it’ll be a big challenge, you know, that old bag of tricks. Nevertheless, it’s exciting and was a boost to my ego to be wanted for this team (though it’ll be a huge team so not that big a boost).

He told me to think the idea over during the weekend. I thought, and talked with my folks, and thought some more. My gut feeling was yes please and Occam’s razor told me go for it – but I felt like there should be some down-sides I was missing.

On Monday I met with another boss who talked with me about it some more. When I said, “this sounds like it’ll be very challenging work,” he laughed at me. An, “oh you poor, ignorant fool,” laugh. My bosses are piloting me across the river Styx.

Today I met with boss number 1 (Lego boss – who informed me that boss number two is a karate whiz and probably sits around thinking of ways to break people’s necks. Again, Lego boss is awesome). Lego boss was being pushed to get an answer from me and I … said yes.


The project may fail, it has a nebulous shape at best, it’ll be very challenging and this worries me because I don’t want to look dumb. But my desire to not look stupid does not outweigh my desire to be a part of this. I emailed my sister and told her that the two downsides to my accepting this offer are: fear of not being good enough/fear of the unknown, and not getting to move to a cooler place or closer to home. Sorry Houston, don’t mean to hate on you.

My sister had a very nice response which was: “Duuuuuude that is so awesome. take a moment to be positive before you start bashing yourself.”

This is my being positive. Congratulations, self. Don’t blow it.

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