Excellence in everything we do

October 19th, 2009

A great boss once told me:

I’d rather be the world’s best janitor than the world’s worst CEO.

I think it resonates with the way he viewed the world and what his values were. He didn’t place value on possessions or compensation, but on being excellent at whatever he was doing. This held true even if he was doing a job that was completely transparent to the people around him. One of the things I’ve noticed in most workplaces is that the average person doesn’t share this sentiment. Most people would rather be average or even below average at their jobs as long as it means they get paid.

What a scary thought!

A workplace full of people that hate their jobs and make every effort to sabotage themselves and keep themselves from achieving the true excellence they are capable of. Why would anyone do that?

Let me leave you with this question…

Are you striving for excellence in everything you do? If not, why not?

Life in General

Couldn’t Ask for Anything More

August 14th, 2009

So yesterday was my 29th birthday and I headed into work like normal and had a fairly normal day at the office. I left a few minutes early because I was informed that both of my kids were bursting at the seams with excitement. The kids are funny. They get so worked up regardless of whose birthday it is that they just can’t contain it. Ethan called to tell me that I had been at work long enough and it was time to come home and open presents.

To truly understand why they both were so eager for me to come home, you have to understand what the gifts awaiting me were. Ethan got me this:

Lego Star Wars Echo Base

Lego Star Wars Echo Base

Lauren tried to sway Ethan into picking something a little more… grown up for me to which Ethan said “but MOM, Dad loves Legos and he loves Star Wars and he’ll tell me ‘Oh son, thanks so much. I just want to give you a big hug’”

Ethan is right though. I do love Legos and Star Wars, and Star Wars Legos if it matters. And if anyone has one of these that they are looking to give away, send me an email. ;p

Evie is just like her brother and so I ended up with this:

Mega Bloks

Mega Bloks

Do you see a theme going here? If this theme extended to Lauren, then I might end up with a spa gift certificate. Luckily that didn’t happen, not this year anyway.

So I rushed home so the kids could help me open my/their gifts and we could get ready for dinner. Ah dinner. We had a reservation at El Jarro de Arturo for the whole motley group. The food was great, as always, and we ended up sitting in the same place as last year.

We ended up crashing early, about 11:30, but it was a great day and I’m so glad I got to spend time with my family because they really are the most important thing in life.

Life in General ,

A little bit older

August 13th, 2009

Today I am a little bit older than I was yesterday. 24 hours to be exact, but somehow today is different. Different in the respect that I am now on the last leg of the journey known as my 20s. Today the countdown begins. The countdown to 30.

I’m not afraid of leaving the age of youthful ignorance and in fact I am ready to embrace what is coming in the near future. I’ll admit that I’ve fallen short of completing a few goals that I set for myself, but I also never could have imagined what it was actually going to be like to be a father and a husband. With what I know now, I’ll gladly take the tradeoff.

So here I am, on the doorstep of a life change that so many before me have dreaded and I’m ready. I’m ready to move forward and I’m ready to keep learning and growing and I’m ready to do it with my family at my side. I know I’ve still got a year until the big THREE OH, but I’m prepared. Prepared for what life has to offer in the next stage of life.

Life in General

Oooh the foot hurts

July 23rd, 2009

I woke up Monday morning with a slight pain in my left foot. It had a little bit of swelling, but nothing major. I figured I’d give it 24 hours and see if it subsided. Tuesday morning I glanced down at a massive red and swollen foot and figured it was time to go to the doctor

I couldn’t get in to see a regular doc so I headed over to Texas Medclinic. They gave me a steroid shot and prescription strength Benadryl figuring it was an allergic reaction to a spider bite. They also gave me a prescription for antibiotics in case it wasn’t an allergic reaction.

I gave it 24 more hours and the redness had continued to spread, almost covering the entire top of my foot at this point. I called another doctor who agreed to see me that day. He walked in, took one look and said that it was a Staph infection. Staph can be one nasty infection if not caught early. They gave me a shot of antibiotics and told me to start the antibiotics I got from the Medclinic.

It’s been less than 24 hours since I started the meds and the swelling has gone down drastically. Hopefully it continues to get better over the next 2 days.

The biggest lesson I’ve learned here has nothing to do with going to the doctor, but just how important your feet really are. The swelling and pain made it almost impossible to walk on my left foot. I began compensating by walking on the outside of the foot which really hurt my calf and knee.

I’ve been unable to fully walk for nearly 4 days at this point and I have about had enough. I can’t even imagine what life would be like with chronic foot pain, but I really feel for anyone that has to deal with it.

My old words of advice would be to take care of those feet. Oh and, guys, there is nothing wrong with going to the doctor. I’m not stubborn when it comes to going to the doctor, but if I had been then there is a good chance I could be looking at amputation, something that would be not fun to deal with at age 28.

Life in General

When it rains…

July 21st, 2009

Sometimes it seems like life is full of curveballs and no matter how many you manage to hit, they just keep coming. Recently it’s been a series of events that I just can’t help but laugh about. In the last few weeks the list goes something like this:

  • Grommit, our basset hound, hurts his leg. We think it was some type of dislocation. $450 in vet bills
  • My car overheats due to a leak in the radiator. $$$$
  • I get bit/stung by lord only knows what and my foot swells up in spectacular fashion
  • The sliding door on the van decides to break.

How’s that for a list? I know I am totally forgetting a few things because when I had a long list well before I actually got around to writing this post and now I can’t actually remember them.

Alright LIFE, I’ve had enough! Time to let someone else deal with chaos.

Life in General ,

Offsite Backups – Jungle Disk Rocks

May 26th, 2009

So full disclosure before we go down this road, the company I work for purchased Jungle Disk. Keep that in mind should it matter to you.

I’ve talked in the past about how important offsite backups are. They can be your lifeblood in the event of hardware failure or even a fire in your home. Regardless of the disaster, you should be backing up with an online backup service.

For the last year I’ve used Mozy’s Home service which provided “unlimited” data backups for a flat fee each month. $4.95 or $50 paid annually. I didn’t have any issues with Mozy’s service, but configuring the backup sets using the client was terrible. I don’t know if I just had too much data or what, but it was so cumbersome that I never bothered to change my backup set after the initial configuration.

With my anniversary on the horizon I decided to shop around and see if there was a suitable alternative to Mozy. One of the reasons I had considered moving was I was tossing around the idea of running Windows Server 2008 at home which disqualifies me for use of the Mozy Home service and requires me to use Mozy Pro at a significant price increase. Carbonite was the obvious alternative, but there was something minor that kept Carbonite from being the one. I can’t recall what it was at the present time.

A coworker asked if I had considered using Jungle Disk in conjunction with Cloud Files. The pricing model here is drastically different as you pay $2/month to use the Jungle Disk software and then you pay $.15/GB of data stored for the month. With between 20 and 30GB of files backed up, this could represent an increase in cost each month, but the price can fluctuate if I want it to. Likewise, the Jungle Disk client is AWESOME and it allows my remote data store to be mounted as a network drive ON MULTIPLE COMPUTERS. This allows me to share files across all my computers if I want to.

You can also use Jungle Disk with Amazon’s S3 data storage, but you incur additional costs since Amazon charges for storage as well as bandwidth. Just to clarify, Cloud Files is Rackspace’s competition to the S3 service. I’ve not used S3 so I’m not going to compare those individual services, but I know that the additional cost was going to add up as I backup my files daily.

If you aren’t backing up your data, and we both know that you should be, head on over to the Jungle Disk website and set yourself up an account. You’ll register and then install the software to complete the setup. Be sure to choose Cloud Files as your storage method.

Technobabble ,

I’m a baaaaad blog parent

April 27th, 2009

If blogs were children, then Child Protective Services would have already locked me up for neglect. I’ve just really not been in the mood to sit and write. Work is hectic right now and I’ve really been spending a lot of time really learning to play the bass guitar again. You could say I’ve been a little preoccupied.

Life in General

The Softening of a Hard Heart

March 25th, 2009

I’ve been going to church all my life. As a teenager, I spent most of my free time volunteering in some form or fashion. I lived at church. After I got married I drifted away and spent a good few years being bitter about who knows what at this point. My family and I casually returned to a different church and went there for a while before taking another break. We did this at another large church here in town and it also resulted in a period of non-attendance.

Not too long ago my wife started attending MOPS over at Castle Hills First Baptist, an older, but still quite large church here in San Antonio. After seeing how much the kids enjoyed it, we decided to start attending weekend services there. This was just a few weeks ago. I had been enjoying the new church, just as I had in the past, up until this past weekend. This past Sunday was different.

The message was about obedience and disobedience and the rewards you will reap for being obedient to God versus the curses you will receive for being disobedient. I could tell there was something going on that was different, something I hadn’t experienced in a long time. At the end of the service, there was an altar call to pray for the nation, our state, our city, and our communities and I felt led to go up there. When I hit my knees, a flood of emotion came over me like I’ve never experienced before. I could tell that God was speaking to me. He was telling me that it was time to let him back in control.

You see, I’m a fairly independent person. I’ve always felt confident that I could resolve any issue that came up or fix any problem. This isn’t how God wants us to live. He wants us to trust him to resolve our issues and our problems and I’ve spent the last 6 years hardening my heart against letting God have any say so in my life. It took 6 years to get there and only an hour for him to wipe that away.

I’m not big on discussing feelings and emotions so it’s a miracle that I’m willing to share this with anyone, but I’ve felt different since Sunday. I’m still stressed about the things I was stressed about, but I don’t feel like the burden is mine alone. It’s going to take a while to shift gears from “I can do all things through myself” to “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me”, but I’m confident I can get back to that and let God really use me for something great.

Life in General

WATCHMEN: Tales of the Black Freighter

March 20th, 2009

Let me preface this post by saying that I haven’t seen Watchmen yet and I probably won’t see it until it hits DVD. That is the life of a parent of young children. That being said, I got an email this week to let me know about the upcoming release of WATCHMEN: Tales of the Black Freighter, an animated short film that tells the story within a story of The Black Freighter. The 2 disc set, which is dropping for DVD and BluRay, also features Under the Hood, a live action/CGI flim that tells a the story of Nite Owl’s first-hand account of how the hooded adventurers came into existence.

I’m not a big comic/graphic novel guy so I’m not all too familiar with the Watchmen, but I’ve got a copy of this movie on pre-order and I’m hoping it inspires me to check out the Watchmen movie.

For more information or to order a copy of Tales of the Black Freighter, you can check out Amazon’s product listing.

Full Disclosure: I’m helping promote this for one of the PR firms that I work with. I’m genuinely interested in this flick, but I don’t want anyone thinking my blog is on the take.

Entertainment , ,

Carpe Diem

March 19th, 2009

Carpe Diem is a phrase that many of us equate with the 1989 release of Dead Poets Society starring Robin Williams. Williams uses the phrase to inspire a group of young students and leads them on a journey that has the boys awaken to their true potential. While that  is great and all you may be wondering what the relevance or significance is for that today?

I guess that all depends on your frame of mind. If you are content to float along, blissfully unaware of your own mortality, then the phrase is just something used as a motivation tool for young people. If, however, you consider the fates of people taken from this world far too early, then it may carry a much greater meaning. A co-worker of mine, one who started on the same day as me, tragically passed away in a car accident earlier this week. He was 27. Also consider the fate of Natasha Richardson, the wife of actor Liam Neeson, a 45 year old successful woman who tragically passed away after a minor fall on a beginner ski slope.

Carpe Diem, sieze the day.

Now re-consider the significance of the phrase. At the ripe age of 28 I’ve often taken for granted the idea that I’ll live a long and healthy life. I’m sure those that passed away unexpectedly this week shared that same sentiment, but there were other plans that kept that from coming true. Will that happen to me as well? Only God truly knows that, but how would you live your life differently if you knew you had 35 years on this earth versus 75?

Should the length of your stay change the way in which you live? I can’t say for sure, but my gut tells me the answer should be no. Whether you make it to 22 or 102, shouldn’t we be treating every day as a special and valuable time to embrace life and live it to it’s fullest? I think so.

Far too often we get caught up in the minor details of the world and forget what really is important. It’s so easy to lose sight of this when life is going well, but I think it’s something we should all consider on a regular basis.

Are you seizing the day?

Life in General