Archive for the ‘Gaining Wisdom’ Category

Another step forward

Been a red letter week around here.

I got back from Washington D.C. late last week, but just in time to help my wife plan our daughters first real birthday party with people who weren’t family.

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The adventure begins….

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step – Lao Tzu

ItBegins

Return of the Road Warrior

Think I’m growing feathers.

Was in Washington DC at the beginning of this week. I fly international Sunday. The following week I am back in Atlanta. Then I will either be back in DC or back International. It’s anyone’s guess. Either way keep an eye peeled on the Twitter and Tumblr accounts linked here on the main page as you may get a chance to see some cool places, cocktails and things in the coming days.

I’m trying to find time to wrap up my prospectus but it seems like everytime I sit down to work on it I either fall asleep or the phone rings. My intent right now is to spend some time finishing it on the plane this Sunday since I will be in the air about 13 hours.

Surely I can can get it and my references in to APA in that amount of time.

Otherwise the grind has been in full affect. I had my knee surgery last week, and of course in typical me form had to set off for DC at the start of this week. So I am limping along without any grace whatsoever, completeing the look of an overweight, broken American brought down by his size (although I actually injured the knee on the job). Oh, well.

Got to sit down and shoot the bull with my chair again this week which was good. Is also why I intend to spend Sunday running this thing down.

I start the first of my last 9000 series classes on Monday. I only have 5 of them in theory, but in practice I will be taking the 9000 series until my dissertation is done no matter if its 5 or 25. Granted I want it done in 5, the school wants it done in 5, so that means my already very busy year is about to get a whole lot busier.

Feast or famine around these parts.

What a Weasel!: How Delta damn near destroyed a dream vacation

It’s been a while since we had one, but Delta is officially our Weasel for 2016.

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So we just got back from our vacation. Barely.

I’ve recently been on a screed about Delta. As a long term, medallion member, I used to have a lot of loyalty towards the company. That loyalty has greatly waned, to a point of near despisal. If I did not already have several trips bought and paid for through them I would not be using the company anymore. But for at least two more months I am stuck with them. We booked this one via Delta Vacations, way back in March.

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Still grinding

So as I mentioned earlier my classes for the semester are almost over. In fact this is the last week. I will get a week off, which frankly will be nice, and then I start my last college class I will take. From here on its all research and trying to write a thesis that meets APA and everyone else’s requirements.

So if updates are slow this week, that’s the reason why. I’m just  trying to get through my finals for the week while maintaining my sanity and keeping my job.

Finally getting to kick off my project in Indiana, so I am looking forward to seeing how it will develop. I am also still working with my management to develop a team of people who do what I do. Its nice being the guy in the box but for the last 5 years all I have done is trail blaze, and truth be told its tiring.

Having a team will help. Even then, it will be a year or more before they can get their feet under them well enough to manage on their own.

For now I just need to make it through the week, however.

 

Whew

Hard to believe my stats class is almost over. 2 weeks of it left in fact.

This makes it harder to believe my educational journey likewise is nearing its end. I have 1 elective class remaining, DDBA 8592 – Business Infrastructure Vulnerability Analysis, something that I thought would blend well in what I do for a living now: building facilities and their network infrastructure as a quasi Construction/IT Project Manager.

The only thing left is my dissertation. Hard to believe I have made it this far frankly. I was barely a D student in high school and spent more time partying than I ever did applying myself. I’ve started my educational journey literally decades after my high school peers. I sometimes wonder how it would have been different had I not chosen to see the world first. That’s not a regret, though it may seem like it, more of a whimsy. A muse if you will, of what could have been versus what is, and what I hope will be provided I can write my thesis in something resembling the correct fashion.

Its been a long journey, and to be certain it is not over yet, but I can see the city limit signs anyway on this trip and I’m beginning to count miles.

The biggest question yet remains…..what do I do next, and where do I go from here? Do I stay with my employer? Do I hang my shingle? Do I try to do something new? Do I move, relocate? Or do I hope that something, someone, somewhere notices what I can do and am capable of and has a use for me?

Time will tell.

County Armagh: A look at Bandit Country

(BloodSpite’s Note: I originally wrote this in March of 2011. I’ve republished here for this years Irish Heritage celebration. I hope you enjoy!)

I’ve mentioned before that my family hails from County Armagh. However, my family does not align itself with the Ulsters. It’s one of the reasons we left Ireland in the 1940’s my grandfather having had enough of the frictions between the North and South, “We were all Irish, dammit.” he would often curse in his latter years with a shake of his head.

This post isn’t about politics however, it’s more about a place that politics happened.

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Madness…or why I hate Statistics

Compose an experiment design for the hypothesis you selected for your chosen data set. In your response, address all the factors that potentially jeopardize the validity of your design. Describe the methods, variables, and measures of control as well as the corresponding research statistics that will be employed. Address each design component in 1–2 separate paragraphs

What the actual hell.

I often question my decision to continue my education past my masters degree. I often wonder if I am just a glutton for punishment, am secretly a masochist, or just feel like I need to experience some cerebral variety of self flagellation.  Eric never gets this type of thing in his classes.

Today is especially one of those days. I literally look at this assignment and I am asking myself

“What the flying tee total hell does this even mean?!”

Oh and I have to figure it out by Wednesday. No pressure.

Light Reading

Sometimes I have to step back when reading it and read a stanza a second type to comprehend exactly what the author is trying to present, otherwise it comes across as being over the top. But when you give yourself over to actually imagining what he presents it begins to make more sense. The hardest part of these types of readings is approaching it without bias, and with understanding that you aren’t reading War and Peace.

Its not entertainment, in fact in many ways, its self analyzing.

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Updated my Research area

Did some updating to my Doctoral Reference area. Added a few links and cleaned it up so it wasn’t school centric anymore.

I will try to add more links as I can, and of course if any of you have suggestions please feel free to drop a note and I will add them as I can.

The whole idea of the area is to act as a outside the box resource for fellow students, where ever you are, who are considering or are pursuing a doctorate degree.

Perhaps the efforts of my peer students and our professors will help you in your own endeavor.  That’s my hope anyway.

 

Residency woes

So I have to complete 2 residencies this year for my doctoral program.

That’s a heck of a challenge financially. I not only have to pay for the residencies themselves but the travel to the residencies as well.

Right now based on my figures I’m about 5k short of what I need. That sounds like a lot, and it is, but I have enough to cover the tuition of the residencies: its the travel where it gets squirrely.

See if I drive I have to take an extra 2 days off of work….a days drive to each of my residency locations. Excluding those 2 extra days there is only about $110 savings in driving versus flying and I make more than that per day. So flying makes the most sense. However the hotel cost for the duration, allowing myself $40 per day for food, plus the airfare comes out to the 5k for the two trips, or roughly 2,500 per Residency. That’s actually about 2% over the actual cost but prices change, and eventualities happen (I’m a project manager, give me a break)

In either event I have to come up with the money between now and my time line as the residencies are required for my program, if I want to finish on schedule. Financial Aid wont cover the costs either. I’ve tried doing the social media fund raiser bit and I managed a whole $50 bucks. Not exactly ground breaking.

So I’ll have to come up with another, legal and ethical, method. Just not sure what that is quite yet.

 

Grinding

Spent the last several days sick as a dog. When I first got to CLT I couldnt hold my head up. Yesterday was first day of really feeling almost normal, but after several nights of medicinal induced sleep I couldn’t pass out last night. Don’t know if it works that way for everyone but for as long as I can remember if I take something to go to sleep, if I dont take it the next night I struggle with going.

End result? I got about 4 hours sleep last night and I have a long day ahead. I’d complain but frankly I’ve been working between 60 and 70 hours every week since August short of Thanksgiving and Christmas.

The project I’m on has been a ball buster, but the primary portion is nearly complete. Which means my travel schedule will relax soon and I can spend some time at home. I will stil be travelling until at least June if not July, butnot as much as I have

Have a busy year between residency for school and my reunion. Not sure how I am going to juggle all this.

 

Friday reflection

Like everyone else in the world, I am always looking to improve myself. One thing I do, is I have been a semi practicing stoic for a while. No I’m not trying to resist pain, rather I try to wrest some kind of happiness from anything I can.

It’s hard for me because by nature (or by experience) I’m a cynic. While the two philosophical foundations have some base origins, the two have very different outlooks in the large scheme of things.

Anyway, I try to look back on the week and find solace where I can. When I do it’s sometimes….melancholy, something else I’m prone to upon occasion.

One way I have found that makes it easier is with music. Music has been a big focal for me for many years, so using it as a way to channel thoughts isn’t a stretch.

This one seemed applicable this morning. In many ways I think we are all praying for some form of rain, even if we aren’t necessarily practicing religions. Some want a better life, more money, peace, food, its a sobering reality that we often fail to look past our own doors at what goes on in the rest of the world.

Enjoy

Cat Skinning

Feh.

So my adventures in transcription for my research took a wheel in to the ditch. Turns out the new version I purchased cant be used for transcription. Go figure. Two pieces of the same software in a weeks time and neither of them do what I want despite what it says on the goddamn box.

But never fear. Improvisation is my middle name. Well not really but it will be tonight.

See the software won’t allow transcription, but it will allow dictation. So with the help of a shoe box, an Xbox 360 Rock Band microphone, and my digital audio recorder which can play MP3’s…..

  • I ported my interviews in to a MP3 format from WAV
  • Moved the files on to my digital recorder
  • Placed the recorder in to the shoe box with the microphone
  • Hooked the microphone up to my laptop
  • Closed the lid with just enough room to hit the recorder buttons
  • Then set Dragon to dictation mode and let the recorder do the work.

There were a couple of times the recorder out ran the word processor but over all it did what I needed it to do and turned 3 hours of transcription in to about 40 minutes of editing instead.

Its painful, but I will call it a win.

Residency

As if life weren’t complicated enough I have to try to complete two residencies this year for school.

Thats two weeks time I have to pay for the travel, hotel, food etc to go sit in a room to learn something that by all entire possibilities could be handled in another fashion. Basically its a pain in the ass. I get the fact its supposed to be a motivation builder, but frankly its annoying, inconvenient and problematic when trying to hold down a full time job.

For all attempts this should be my last year in my program provided I don’t either run out of money or burn out. The clock is ticking on all of the above.

Stress? What stress?

To Do list a mile long

Today is another busy day. I actually have to go to my office that I haven’t seen in the last month. I have to take care of my expenses there before my corporate card becomes personal debt.

Also I have to conduct two interviews today, both are for school and are part of a small scale project that is to mimic my dissertation.

I’m doing whats called a phenomenological study, or rather a study of the lived experiences of individuals in this information technology project managers. So I have a very small battery of questions to ask them and get their opinions, thoughts and verbal discourse of their experiences.

I have to record these interviews with the aforementioned digital recorder. Then I get to go home and transcribe all of it in to MS Word. Good times.

Thank god I have my own bar at home.

Can you hear me now?

So I picked up a digital recorder for me to use when doing my dissertation. I have to interview about 20 people in order to fulfill the requirements of my research.

I thought I was being clever. I purchased a Phillips DT2700 that came with Dragon Naturally Speaking software which can be used to transcribe the recordings without a lot of effort from me.

Silly me.

The software is version 13. Which is not compatible with Vista. I found that later. I.E. after I got home. Since because you know the box actually says the software can be used with Vista.

So I had to order the software. Again. I’ll get it Friday. If I’m incredibly lucky and if the manufacturer website is not wrong this version should work.

So basically I got a $50 voice recorder for $90 which I cant take back because I have to start my interviews tomorrow.

Feels like Monday.

 

Green River

Every year since 1962, the Chicago River has been dyed green to celebrate St. Patrick’s day. Nowadays, both the dyeing and a big parade take place the Saturday before the 17th. (Next year, they’ll coincide when the 17th falls on a Saturday.) It’s a uniquely Chicago tradition that tips its hat to the central role the Irish have played in the city’s history.

For a few hours every year, the architectural landmarks that line the Chicago River acquire an aquatic front yard that’s as vibrant as the neon green relish of a genuine Chicago hot dog.

Dying the river

Dying the river

 

The actual dye is orange. It turns green when it’s churned into the water. The discovery of this phenomenom was made by members of Chicago’s pipefitters union back in 1962, and the union has been dyeing the river for St. Pat’s ever since.

The natural green of the river can be seen to the right, awaiting its transformation into the hypergreen to the left.

stpatdayafter

 

1962, over 100 pounds of dye were dumped into the river, leaving it green for days. Now, only 40 pounds are dispersed, but because the river was reversed to run backwards away from the lake, even one day later, the entire river for many blocks to the west remains a single shamrock-colored fairway.

daleyhancock

Chicago’s mania for St. Patrick’s green is pervasive. Above is the fountain in Daley Plaza.

v00d3W

Radio Intercepts

Can't believe we lost John Glenn today. Another legend /sigh

  • photo from Tumblr

    Amontillado Los Arcos Lustau dry sherry as served at the Barcelona Wine Bar in Washington D.C.

    11/15/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    2013 Bodegas y Vinedos Maurodos Toro Prima Tempranillo as served at Barcelona Wine bar on 14th in Washington D.C

    11/14/16

  • photo from Tumblr

    Walking in the capital 15

    11/13/16

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