Changing Gears

There have been a lot of changes in the last year, some of them actually affect this blog directly. My wife and best friend have moved most of their content creation away from their regular blogs. It seems that social media did take a chunk away from the blog world. Like my wife I even consider just moving parts of my blog where it makes sense. Leaving this as more of a professional space and moving the personal elsewhere. The more I thought about it though, the more I thought that the mixing of the topics is what made this space interesting.

Take my friend Barb for example. We have been friends through our blogs for over 5 years, but she has not blogged in over a year. We continued to interact with each other via facebook and go to dinner or the movies. The relationship that started in the blogsphere moved to the social network… but the blogs at that point become secondary.

As most of you know I started a new position. With my previous position I had started a move that I had planned for a while. I wanted to transition from a direct technology driven position to more of a leadership or business role within the organization. My current position while still very much related to technology, is more on the business side. In the almost month I have been here, I have been reminded in a positive way that I don’t have to worry about IT anymore. I am part of the business now. It is a very peculiar feeling specially from a cost perspective. IT is always looked at as overhead (but IT creates ton of value and cost savings) yet the business support roles like mine don’t get looked at that way.

It has been a significant transition to not have to be the one that gets a call when a system is not functioning. I can now see the e-mails flying around and just wait for a status rather than try to track people down to fix it, or have to fix it myself.

The reason this is related to the blog itself is that I now feel free to talk about the challenges of being part of the IT organization in the past. I think most of the people that read me are still interested on some of that perspective. Not to mention that the transition from one to another might be relevant for some too. It does make me think that maybe the blog should become more about that, more “professional.” There are trends now to separate your online life into buckets and in business circle is even recommended. It is tempting to move to another medium completely, specially with google+ now making it a lot easier to create content to share with very specific audiences (or circles).

I hope that blogs like mine that are about everything and nothing at the same time continue to exist. I am surprised that recently going through my RSS reader, all the new blogs that I have added recently have all been not just topic focused but very specific inside that topic. The latest blog that I subscribed to was not just about ECM(Electronic Content Management) but specific to the Documentum product.

The personal blog umbrella has never really fit this blog, and with facebook or google+ sucking that type of daily “I ate a grapefruit” or “visited the local art fair” kind of post, and places like yelp consuming the restaurant reviews, it seems like the content I produce here seems to have dwindled over time. At the same time with over 90 drafts already started, there might be a lot more content to be produced. I do plan to continue writing and hopefully a little more often than before, but I still ponder the question… have general blogs like this one become part of the past to make room for the more topic driven ones?

I guess most people (even me) don’t want to waste time and consume only what is relevant to them.

Presumption of innocence

Bea and I spent the weekend with friends down in Tampa Bay, while we were super busy having more fun that should be allowed in just a long weekend we also followed the Casey Anthony Trial. Every time we had a chance we would watch some of the trial or one of the summaries. It looked like it was going to be a slam dunk and the evidence did not look all that circumstantial… however we were wrong.

When we heard that she was innocent on the greater charges, I was not upset. My wife was a little outraged and we talked about it a bit. In reality, the system is not broken and the more we discussed it the more we realized that in reality there seems to be a lot of information missing. You cannot convict people without due process and specially actual evidence. I am not a judge nor jury so I have no idea… does she seem guilty… yes, but I am not in a position to actually make that call.

Latin Ei incumbit probatio qui dicit, non qui negat

(the principle that one is considered innocent until proven guilty)

My friend Daniel had a similar reaction to the verdict, and even though people try to “call him out” by bringing up a cause he and I support (I actually picked up the cause thanks to him) the WM3. It is a actually an example of what can happen if circumstantial evidence is given more power than it should.

Being a juror is not an easy job, and we should not be outraged at them. Lets not approach this situation like celebrity gossip, but rather like what it is, the loss of a life. I do hope that those responsible are brought to justice CSI style. While that lady might not be the perfect mother, right now there was not enough evidence for her to be put in jail. If she is involved directly or indirectly her own conscience might be the only judge and jury right now. Lets hope that the lessons that come out of this is that the system will do everything it can to find the true perpetrators and not just another celebrity inflation like the OJ Simpson trial debacle.

Self-Reliance

Ideologies, much like the bible are often misquoted. American culture is supposed to be all about the individual and individualism, but if you dig a little to were the term “self-reliance” come from, you will find that it has a lot to do with a speech by Ralph Waldo Emerson where he enunciated the tenets of Transcendentialism. It really cracks me up when people talk about politics and America but know so little about a country that in reality does not have that many years in history. Historically Americans fight the institution, but it seems like as a society they love to live in the now and learn from past mistakes.

I see being selfish as one of the things that hurts this society the most. I also see the misunderstanding of self reliance as kind of a symptom.

I have managed to have a lot of military people in my circle of friends. My first experience with someone that had just left the military was horrible. I worked with a guy who just got out and he seemed to have the maturity of a 16 year old and the work ethic of someone that just got out of a prison camp. While the guy had no authority in the computer lab he wanted to institute new rules and regulations about doing a job that involved simply helping students and delivering cows (computers on wheels).

As I got older I met more and more people that were involved in the military life, and like with any other label this society has I learned that there are varying degrees of what you get out of it or how much it really changes you. One thing that is a common theme is that they understand cooperation and goals better than most people. You would think Corporate America has the concept of “teamwork” on lock-down but it could not be further from the truth… finger-pointing and “CYA” but that is for another day, another post.

I have great conversations with the people that have served this country and another common theme is that they don’t understand why the country is going to the crapper… and I often feel like saying, well its because its all about how much do I have and how much more can I consume. I don’t like arguments that don’t change the situation so I keep it to myself. I do feel a little bit guilty that so many are fighting for “freedom” but in reality this country goes more and more towards the complete consumerism that is satirically displayed in the movie idiocracy.

I am at a point in life that I agree with the sentiment of Emerson that “moral intuition is a better guide to the moral sentiment than religious doctrine.” The truth in morality is always intuitive or there would be no people in position of power with their hands in the cookie jar. I wish that people realized that to help our society we have to help others and quit this rat race that leaves everyone a loser.

Well Done Osama

After the death of Osama Bin Laden was announced there were many emotions floating around. From the sadness of some at the display of disregard for human life, not just of the people that died in the raid but the reminder that so many have lost their life to terrorism, to the joy of many in America for what it feels like a closed chapter.

The most important thing to come out of the story of his death to me was that he had very clear plans on how to further hurt our way of life. That he planned on starting racial tension by making the face of terrorism even more multicultural. Every time I hear the song by the Black Eye Peas, where is the love…

I think the whole world addicted to the drama
Only attracted to things that’ll bring you trauma
Overseas, yeah, we try to stop terrorism
But we still got terrorists here livin’
In the USA, the big CIA
The Bloods and The Crips and the KKK
But if you only have love for your own race
Then you only leave space to discriminate
And to discriminate only generates hate
And when you hate then you’re bound to get irate, yeah

… it truly makes me pause and think of that word, terrorism.

I say good job Osama. He managed to start an economic downturn that snowballed into a recession. I am no economist and I am sure that the bubble with housing, hedge funds and everything else that smells of pure greed would have exploded like the dot com bubble did, but you cannot deny that after 9/11 our economy suffered. He also managed to make it impossible for you to have a good travel experience. I had traved a lot before but since then it feels more and more like caddle herding. He managed to make Islam more known as a religion for all the wrong reasons. Good luck trying to disassociate muslim extremist from terrorist in your head.

Just think of how much life has changed since that horrible day. I know it really changed mine and it made me realize that I was not safe from terrorism at all by living in the US. I also think that our media has become a big propaganda machine thanks to all of this. More and more people are just ruled by fear than ever before. More people are addicted to the drama. I sure hope that Osama being dead is truly going to make us realize that the more we don’t “stand united” the more we will be pray of those that just want a herd full of scared sheep.

The Happy People

While some humans do make me feel like there is no hope, some others make this world an awesome place to live. It seems like it all revolves around not just being happy, but being able to achieve your goals. Accomplishment, whether big or small, gives you joy and that is the essence of happy.

Having a conversation with someone a lot wiser than I am, we came to the fork on the road about loving yourself. No, get your mind out of the gutter, not that kind. The other kind, the one where you wake up and look at the mirror and are happy to see the face staring back at you. The whole self-esteem thing, the whole relationship thing, everything in life and its interactions is about love… loving one another, loving yourself. But how do I do that?

To some people it’s just a simple reaffirmation, hey, I am awesome! To others it’s the thought that God is above them and loves them no matter what; they feel unconditional love from what cynics will call an imaginary friend. Many more rely on family or friends to give them permission to love themselves for who they are, and to some extent some in that group have to see shrinks to help them open that door. In the end its all the same, it’s all about love.

Some years back I realized I could not make anyone but myself happy. Learning that it was not my responsibility to make anyone happy was liberating in many levels. As I get older and more jaded than I would like to admit I am also learning that you have to love yourself too. While the internal part is obviously very different from person to person in not just how they receive love, but how they give themselves that daily affirmation; I have found a common theme amongst the people I have discussed this subject with. That is where the happy people show up.

I am not talking about my way of coping with life either. I am a positive thinker and try very hard to always see the positive out of every situation, but you don’t have to surround yourself with positive people. The happy people are the ones that you are glad to see and interact with. The people that make your day brighter even if is to complain about the same thing you complain about.

The wife and I were calling it magnetism after laughing at a particularly funny fortune cookie. You have to find the people that share your polarity and stop trying to get close to those that just repel it.

Maybe the 30s are when we start going through the culling of relationships in our lives; but it seems like a common theme lately. Most of our close friends have decided to just devote more time to the happy people in their lives rather than waste time on those that don’t bring much positive to it.

To sum it up, besides making sure that you love who you are (or who you are striving to be), it is also very important to your happiness to surround yourself with people that are happy with who they are. The more you see people comfortable on their own skin, the less work on all levels of relationships there will be. I just wish I had figured this out when I was a lot younger and the behavior of those around me seemed so erratic. I guess everyone has to just figure out how to live in their own skin.

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