Rob's World

How does anyone decide? (Or “Life needs a manual”)

by on Aug.01, 2013, under Uncategorized

In grade school.. everyone asks what you want to be when you grow up. I never had an answer.. I figured I’d have a better idea once I was in college.

In college, everyone asks what you want to study to be.. I had no idea.. I studied everything that was even slightly interesting (math, physics, chemistry, biology, music, mythology, computation.. among others).. finally, when forced to choose, I ended up in computer science because I was naturally good at it. I never really had to study it or think about it too much.. it just came naturally to me.

Now.. I look back.. and I have spent 15 or so years in the job of “computers” (as I like to say) and I still have NO idea what I want to do. What do I currently do? I am the global expert/resource for an enterprise collaboration tool. Partners/Customers/Product Management/Sales folks/etc all come to me to learn how to best utilize the tool, how to extend it, to teach other show to use and customize it and how to sell it. It’s kind of neat being the one guy in the world who gets emails from all over Europe/Asia/Australia/the America’s.. but it’s not something that inspires me or that I find truly compelling. (Possibly as it comes so easy to me).

Outside of work.. I have a myriad of hobbies and larger time sinks.. on the hobby side are skiing and scuba diving. More time consuming than those is automotive endeavors (I have a 99 Miata that is track prepped for Track days/PDX events that I take to various race tracks, and I do all my own wrenching (sometimes with help from a friend or two) including suspension, exhaust, safety work to the car in addition to all maintenance. )

In the MUCH larger time sink I have Ultimate Frisbee. I don’t just play the sport (just got back from Master’s Nationals) but I also serve on the board of directors for the local non-profit that runs/supports Ultimate in the DC area.
On top of that I am the “Tournament Director” for 3 large events throughout the year (the smallest is 30 teams of 25 or so individuals from across the country/Canada and the UK; the largest is up to 50 teams from all over the country) These events and the work on the board of directors takes up a ton of my free time as there is always more to do.
If all of that wasn’t enough, I have an AMAZING wife that puts up with all of this (as well as with me), a dog that is only happy if he is attached to my side at all times, and an almost 4 month old son who is absolutely incredible.
With all of this (and trust me, I realize how good i have it) I just can’t stay “happy”. I haven’t found my “calling”. I haven’t figured out what I want to do when I grow up yet.

I wish I knew.. each day I get older, and yet each day it feels less likely that I’ll find what I should do when I grow up other than continue to spread myself as this as possible across all of my obligations/hobbies/etc.
Life needs a manual.

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My thoughts on Lance Armstrong

by on Jan.16, 2013, under Uncategorized

I realize I don’t update this blog anywhere NEAR enough, but with all the hullabaloo around Armstrong, and the thoughts in my head, I figured I should get them down to get them out of my head.
I am sure I am in the minority, but I strongly feel that if you are single minded in your desire to win, and everyone else is doing something that helps them artificially be better than you, then you have a decent case to do what they do to even the playing field. This goes for Armstrong, showing that on an even playing field, he was the best (and i’d argue, if no one doped, he still would have been the best) just as it goes for the Baseball players (who I feel SHOULD be allowed in the Hall, but that’s a separate debate).
Now, distancing ourselves from that is the lying. When telling everyone “I did no such thing” and vehemently attacking anyone who questions you about it when you know you did? That makes you an Ass Hole. Plain and simple. It makes it so that EVERY person who believed in you and wanted to support you feels like they have been cheated. And rightfully so. There is NO apology for that. Had you come out, on day 1 as the allegations were swirling, and it was being made clear that EVERY competitor was doing the same thing and said “Yes, we all did it, we all regret it, but as we were all doing it, it was an even playing field and I feel no remorse for doing what I needed to ensure the playing field was level so I could show how much harder I trained/was physically gifted/etc” then life is grand. We all feel bad that the sport world got to that point, but we respect you for being honest, and understand the mentality that got you there and we move on. But ya didn’t.. so we instead feel like we were lied to/cheated and that you don’t deserve anything but condemnation.
At this point, we step away from the sports side:
Yes.. we should and can still be incredibly proud of the fact that you beat cancer. It wasn’t the doping that beat cancer, it wasn’t the cycling that beat cancer, it was an indomitable will that beat cancer. That’s a will that, if we get the sport side removed completely, we should be able to look up to.
In addition, you did everything you felt you could to increase awareness in Cancer. Working with victims, making their days brighter every chance you could, and becoming a symbol (cue Batman: A symbol is greater than any man etc) for the FIGHT against Cancer. This SHOULD be able to stand on it’s own. I like to think that for me, it does. For others? Well, the decisions made with the lying might make that impossible. Time will tell.
For me though? I read a post like : http://www.fatcyclist.com/2013/01/16/fatty-interviews-fatty/ and see just how powerful something small like holding up a sign, taking a picture and sending it can be to a person in need. How many countless times seeing your name and knowing that you flat out CARED was enough to help keep people fighting for their lives. That’s a HUGE deal. I’d argue it’s a significantly larger deal than the lying, but again.. that’s just me.
It will be up to everyone how they view the “Big Picture”. I choose to view it as the Cancer Survivor, victim supporter, and awareness master-mind beats out the lying cheating cyclist.
Your results may vary.

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Why can’t books be like music?

by on Aug.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

So.. I had stacks of CD’s when I first bought an iPod.. and through the miracle of technology, I was able to get all those hundreds and hundreds of albums onto my iPod. These days, you can even sync your library to the cloud (via iTunes Match) and have “the cloud” know what music you own so that you can access it anywhere!

So.. let’s look at books… I have hundreds of books.. and I bought a Kindle. Now, like those CD’s.. I bought all those books fair and square, but yet.. there is NO way for me to take those legally purchased books and get them onto my Kindle (or whatever e-reader you prefer or even audio-book format)! Why not? Why can’t someone come up with a “Kindle Match” or some-such whereby I could somehow prove that I own the actual book so I could have it in the format I want?
Would be great to be able to take a stack of books I own, scan them into my Kindle so that I could read them on business trips… instead.. I would have to buy them all over again!
There has to be a better way.

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Been too Long!!!

by on Aug.10, 2012, under Uncategorized

Prepare for a mini deluge of things that have been rattling around my head semi-recently.. (Ok.. since I got back from my European travels to the UK and Florence) They run the gamut from better uses of an iPad when touring tourist sites through a way to make reading smarter and end with my having a mini-epiphany of what I would like to do if I lived a different life!
So.. yeah.. some fun ideas.. I’ll try to pound a few of them out today/this weekend.. and then try (for the umpteenth time) to be a bit more active with posting!
Thanks for listening.. even if you aren’t ;)

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Miata Money

by on Apr.09, 2012, under Uncategorized

So.. I’ve been spending a fair mount of money on the Miata recently. I blame Ian.. I guess myself, but mostly Ian ;) I’ve been into cars forever, but he has taken the next step and been taking his car to the track.. so while I own a Miata.. it was decided (by me) that it was FINALLY time that I get the miata out to a track day.
I became a member of the Audi Club, so I could get access to it’s Spring Driver education event at VIR.. which with it, has many rules (many, many rules).
First off, I had to buy and then install a 4 point roll bar (thanks here to Ian for spending most of a weekend with me getting it installed). Then it was purchasing and installing all new brakes (rotors/pads/stainless lines/high temp fluid) which, while I needed new brakes.. I don’t know that I needed track worthy equip that much.. but well, now I have it.
Then it was out to buy myself a Helmet (yes, white.. like the Stig.. though it has a clear visor) as well as 6 point harnesses to help keep me safe.
At the end of the day, it’s a fair amount of one time necessary purchases.. but damn it adds up to an astonishingly large sum..
I guess it’s just best to not think about it.

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Frisbee

by on Feb.29, 2012, under Uncategorized

It’s finally started. I must be getting old.. I am finally getting a bit burned out on playing Ultimate. Granted, I am playing a TON, with 2 nights a week of Outdoor Pickup, one night a week of indoor, Winter league on Saturdays and 3 days a week of “off-season” lifting all taking time up. But I am starting to notice that I just don’t have as much fun. Some of it is standards.. I am trying to learn from some of the folks I played with at Nationals last year and realize that every time I step on the field, I should be working towards being better. That’s easy in the gym, knowing that while all I am currently doing is making myself sore for a few days after every session, the payoffs come tryout/tourney time will be well worth it (at the minimum in injury prevention). But on the field, it gets flat out tiring to try to hold yourself up to a high standard.. and then, (as it’s EARLY in the year) when you of course fail, it just makes it that much harder to consider what’s happening to be fun.
Obvious solution: start to play a bit less, focus on the gym work while cutting back a ton of the shear volume of disc being played. We’ll see if that helps at all.

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Self imposed stress

by on Feb.17, 2012, under Uncategorized

I’m having one of those months thus far where I feel like there are a few dozen different things, all pulling me in different directions, and I can’t seem to nail down any of them.
Each thing on my to do list competes with something else, and instead of making traction on any of them, I get stressed and get no where on any of them. When push comes to shove.. I get items done JUST in time.. so it’s not like anything is impossible, but for some dumb reason, the stress of having so many things on my plate drives me batty.
Gotta fix that.

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Time Management

by on Feb.09, 2012, under Uncategorized

I’ll say it.. I am REALLY horrible at time management. I wish there were more hours in the day, and more days in the week so that I could get done even a subset of the items on my to-do list.. yet in the moment.. there are tons of minutes, and sometimes hours that could be spent accomplishing each item.
I tend to go gung-ho on something as it catches my interest, normally at the expense of anything else, yet I’ll frequently find that I don’t finish that before something else catches my eye. Next thing I know, 10 more items on the to-do list, and none are any where near complete.
Every so often, for work, I need to download a large number of files.. when I do.. I can watch as each file is actively downloading.. the computer/network is able to spread the load out so that each file is being worked at the same time.. and as the smaller files are finished, it frees up more and more cycles for the remaining files.
I want to be able to work like that. Don’t get me wrong, I can multi-task with the best of them.. but when it comes to completing something 100% and getting it fully off of my plate, that is where I struggle. Dozens of items are in semi-completed stages all over the place.. yet very few completed projects.
Maybe one of these days.. I’ll learn.

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Why do we care so much about sports?(even if we don’t think we do)

by on Feb.06, 2012, under Uncategorized

So, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the most rabid fan imaginable and 1 being somehow who doesn’t know which two teams were in the super bowl.. I would peg myself at around a 6. I definitely care/want my team to win, but I don’t follow them religiously.. don’t need to see every single game and don’t know every player’s name on the roster. That said.. after all the food was put away and everyone had left, I felt sort of empty inside knowing that my team had lost. In continued into today, sort of a “meh” attitude to everything. But Why? I have a pretty awesome life. I have a great job with good pay/benefits, I have an amazing wife who loves me and who I love more each day, and a dog that is the epitome of faithful. My family is great, everyone is healthy, doing well (as am I) but still.. something as trivial as a sports team that I follow, losing a game.. and POOF.. melancholy sets in like a fog over everything.
Wish I understood why.

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Lifting

by on Jan.30, 2012, under Uncategorized

I have done various types of workouts for Ultimate.. stupidly, I only started getting really serious in the last few years about getting into truly good shape for playing.. (if only I had done this at age 20 instead of 30!) but this year.. in addition to a planned set of track workouts/speed workouts once the season gets closer I have started an actual “lifting” program. Now, while I have lifted in the past for Ultimate.. it isn’t the same as having a focused plan that someone put together with exact exercises/reps/schedule/etc.. So I am pretty curious to see if this plan gives me any measurable gains. The hardest part, though, is knowing that any major measurable gains likely won’t be felt/noticed until 8-12 weeks through as I work through getting my body used to the work load/build muscle/turn the muscle into explosiveness. I hate waiting.
(For anyone curious, the workouts are coming from theultimatethleteproject.com)

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