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Archive for February, 2009

Hide it under a bushel? No!

Saturday, February 28th, 2009

Had a chat with someone online this week asking me what I find to be a disturbing question (and she wasn’t the first to ask it, so I thought I’d blog about it a little here).  Apparently, this person has been going on several job interviews and is finding that people think she is ‘overqualified’ for the positions she is applying for.  So, she asked me if she should or how she should ‘cover up’ her talents, as people are seemingly intimidated by her and her qualifications.


Didn’t we all bust our butts in school to GET qualified for good jobs and good careers in the first place?  Why, then, would we cover up and/or mask our talents to get the job?  This to me seems totally counterintuitive.

As I’ve stated before, I think in this year of reality (kind of slapping us all in the face, granted) I think it is more important now than ever to be true to ourselves, and be 100% authentic.  We should all be proud of our accomplishments (but not rub them in the faces of others).  Aren’t our skills, experience and talents exactly what employers desperately need?

Hide that talent?  I say, no way!  To do so is to compromise and undermine all your previous hard work and toil.   Employers should welcome you with open arms and be grateful they are attracting top notch talent.  Besides, do you really want to work for someone who doesn’t appreciate your talents in the first place?

The Wall of Fame

Friday, February 27th, 2009

In my first book, I elude to my office “Wall of Fame”.  A couple of people have asked me about it, so I thought I’d share a picture of it, as pictures are supposedly worth a thousand words, right?  Here goes:



This is what I face every day when I’m up in my office – the wall.  I intentionally set up my desk to face it, because there is a story behind every picture, poem, drawing, card, fortune cookie insert, or joke on the wall.  It is great, because it inspires me in so many ways.  Although it is nearly full, I always look forward to finding other little tiny gems and bits of inspiration to keep sticking to it.  (Yes, it is definitely wrecking my drywall, but such as the entropy of life!)

…and if you’re wondering, I don’t have a wall of shame.  If I did, the goal would be to keep the wall of fame bigger!

The Smell of Fertilizer

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Here’s what I love about Thursdays:  after class in the evening, I can actually do what normal human beings do, like go to the grocery store.  This Thursday I had no choice, I had to go…out of food, and out of major staples in the house, with family visitors this weekend.  Anyway, I’m strolling through the store (Target…oui) and all of a sudden…what’s that I smell?  Why, it’s fertilizer!  And that smell means only one thing to me: that spring is almost here!

While I grew up in Indiana, I did not grow up on a farm; however, my grandparents were farmers, and the family had a large strain of gardeners within it.  My grandma on my dad’s side had a huge garden at both of her homes when I grew up, and gardened well into her 80s.  The older she seemed to get, the less vegetables she seemed to plant, but instead more flowers.  I think she had every seed and bulb catalog known to man, and every rose bush and flower that could grow in zones 5-6.  (She, too, was a writer.  She even wrote poetry.  I’m in hopes that is where I got my writing bug.)

Many fond memories of gardening come rushing back to me at the start of spring.  If you get lucky enough to catch the whiff, stroll down the garden aisles for a moment, check out the seed packets, the gnomes, and the tools, and I hope it does for you what it did for me this evening: provide the realization that the promise of spring is just around the corner!

150% Failure

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

My Lent idea worked until 1 pm…when I looked down at the handheld and saw 60 emails in my inbox.

Great ideas are only great if they actually make your life BETTER rather than creating more of a NIGHTMARE!

What I’m Giving Up

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

The Lenten season is upon us.  If you are giving up something bad for you, good luck!  Disclaimer: I am not, nor ever was Catholic.  However, I certainly grew up around a lot of Catholics, so every year about this time I am inclined to give something up….tis the season.

So, here’s what I’m going to try until April 11th, in Tim Ferriss fashion (a la his four hour work week).  Now, before I state this, let it be known that I am providing the guts to put it out here publicly, in an effort for you all to keep me honest…here goes….

From now until April 11th, I am going to check email ONLY 2 times a day: once at 9 am, and once at 3 pm. This includes ALL of my email accounts (yes, all half a dozen or so of them).  

That’s it.  While some of you are probably thinking – what’s the big hairy deal…?  Trust me, for an email addict like me, this is a HUGE deal.  In fact, I think if I can stick to it, I might just hit rock star level productivity that I achieved back in the P.E. era (P.E.=pre-email, which I’m not certain what A.D. year that is equivalent to, maybe 1990?) Anyway, I’m looking forward to the acceleration of my productivity skyrocketing to the next level!

In conclusion, three things: 1. wish me luck (I’ll need it), 2. if you get my auto response when you email me, I’ll get back to you…sometime around 9 am or 3 pm…. 3. if I don’t (or if I do outside of those times), remind me that I’m being naughty.  I could use the backup!


Sunday, February 22nd, 2009

In my effort to understand words, I find the word ‘interesting’ used in several different contexts. defines the word as: “1. engaging or exciting and holding the attention or curiosity: an interesting book.  2.  arousing a feeling of interest: an interesting face. and 3. in an interesting condition (of a woman) pregnant.”

Ok, I buy these, but I’m finding more and more that people use the word under a 4th context.  I find that some people use the word as a substitute for “messed up like channel 40″.  As in, “His book was interesting.”  Which could mean, engaging and exciting, or bad, as in messed up like channel 40.  So, I’ve noticed that there is an “interesting” good, and an “interesting” bad.  You can usually figure out which context the word is being used by HOW the word interesting is used and the look on the person’s face when they’re saying it.

If you find someone you know describing your work as ‘interesting’, you might want to ask for further clarification.

The Future of Books

Saturday, February 21st, 2009

I heart books, and I heart futuristic stuff, so putting them together is a beautiful thing!

While I agree with Cory Doctorow for the most part in his blog about transformation of media, I have to say, as an avid reader, I truly hope the old school form of the book never goes away.  Blog posts come and go. Media readers are just a little too a. expensive and b. Atari 2600 looking for me to spend multiple hundreds of dollars to purchase JUST so I can read a book.

I can check good old fashioned books out of the library, or if I really love them, I can buy one and place it on my bookshelf, and keep it as a reference to use at work, which in turn can give me “psychic compensation that money can’t buy” as I just read this weekend in Bloomberg by Bloomberg, which yes, is a book I checked out of the library, and in good old fashioned hard backed paper form. (Mr. Bloomberg is referring to practicing his profession and doing work he loves.)

As I’ve blogged before, some things just shouldn’t be messed with, and I believe that the product of a good old fashioned, paper book is a really difficult thing to improve, because it is already near perfection*.  

*(I never use the P word, but I’ll drag it out for my defense of the book today.)

New & Exciting

Friday, February 20th, 2009

One of my high school/college friends used to mock me when I said something was “new & exciting” in my chipper tone, but it was always in good fun.  But tonight, I finally had a chance to leave one library (the law library) and head to the OTHER library (where I can get fun stuff, the public library) and picked up my on reservation copy of Friendly Fires, which is a newer album I love, love, love!

Then I became perplexed.  I could not for the life of me remember how I even found this album to put it on reserve at the library in the first place!  The way I find music now (randomly and usually via the internet) is totally and radically different from how I used to discover it.  Anyone growing up in the 80s can recall waiting in line to buy an album or cassette on the first day it debuted.  (I recall one specific time in college for a midnight madness run with one of my roommates to get Guns & Roses new album…which dates me, but I digress…)  

My point is: there used to be some kind of giddy excitement around going to the music store, hunting down the perfect rare import copy or the new obscure artist that no one had or no one knew about…but now, I just download music I like from iTunes.  No real hunting anymore.  And that is kind of sad.  I loved going to the music store–checking out the used section, the new bands, listening to the new album of the week playing in the store, etc.  I miss the thrill of the hunt.  I guess now when I do find that new off the wall track or album, I am excited, but just not as much as I used to be.  The silver lining in all this is now we have more options than ever to find that perfect tune, which in turn will feed our soul and mark another point in time or phase in our lives.  

Tracks, (my college music store), however, will always live on in my head!

Where do I start on my first book?

Friday, February 20th, 2009

I hear frequently that a lot of people want to write their first book…soon.  Other than my previous advice (“just write it”), I think the best book I’ve found thus far on self publishing (and a description of the traditional publishing process) for first time authors is Dan Poynter’s Self-Publishing Manual, 16th Edition: How to Write, Print and Sell Your Own Book (Self Publishing Manual).  It is the best basic, I-don’t-know-where-to-begin book on publishing.  If you’ve been on the fence on where to start, you might want to check Mr. Poynter’s book.

The (Dreaded) Grosse Point Blank Moment

Thursday, February 19th, 2009

I knew it would be coming this year, but not until I actually received the invite did it materialize.  Yes, today I received my 20th high school anniversary notification.  

I have mixed feelings about it.  Has it REALLY been 20 years? It feels sometimes just like yesterday.

Will I go?  Probably not – too many other things going on in my life right now (like, the fact that I’m STILL in school and have summer school).  But it is definitely a wake up call…as in, “hello, this is your life calling–what have you been doing with yourself for the past 20 years? We’re waiting for a good story or two…p.s. you are that much closer to the end…so get on with living if you’ve been a slacker!”

You can never really go home…as Mr. Cusak so eloquently states in the movie…but you can shop there.