Monday, March 30, 2009

Trying to keep my head up in down times

The economy, the war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel. This is nuts. What's next, is China going to invade someone?

Companies keep trimming their employees in hopes of staying ahead of the economic curve. But less employees means less people who can afford someone else's product, and it's those people that are buying yours. It creates a chain reaction.

People temporarily stopped buying cars to save money, car companies laid off thousands of workers, which caused lots of other businesses to need to cut back so they could stay open, and that caused people to not be able to buy cars. Next thing you know almost nobody is working for car companies, and nobody is buying cars. I'm not advocating employing people and losing money, but if companies keep trimming their staff to stay ahead of the curve, they are going to keep adding to the curve.

I've been blessed. At my job I've not been laid off. I've been given a nearly impossible deadline to meet, which will cause endless hours, but at least I'm being paid for it, and I'm very grateful for that. I like the challenge, but stress a lot about the outcome. Even now I'm working, I'm just waiting for my server to restart, and it's nearly 10 PM.

Normally I turn to work in stressful times, but when the work is stressful I turn to family. I'm blessed to have a great family with 3 wonderful kids and an awesome wife. Coming home to them makes me feel good.

Do your best to keep your head up.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

What do teachers make?

The dinner guests were sitting around the table discussing life.  One man, a CEO, decided to explain the problem with education.
He argued, 'What's a kid going to learn from someone who decided his best option in life was to become a teacher?'
To emphasize his point he said to another guest;  'You're a teacher, Bonnie. Be honest. What do you make?'

Bonnie, who had a reputation for honesty and frankness replied, 'You want to know what I make?

(She paused for a second, then began...)

Well, I make kids work harder than they ever thought they could.

I make a C+ feel like the Congressional Medal of Honor.

I make kids sit through 40 minutes of class time when their parents
can't make them sit for 5 without an I Pod, Game Cube or movie rental.

You want to know what I make?'  (She paused again and looked at each
and every person at the table.)

I make kids wonder.

I make them question.

I make them apologize and mean it.

I make them have respect and take responsibility for their actions.

I teach them to write and then I make them write.

Keyboarding isn't everything.

I make them read, read, read.

I make them show all their work in math. They use their God-given
brain, not the man-made calculator.

I make my students from other countries learn everything they need to
know in English while preserving their unique cultural identity.

I make my classroom a place where all my students feel safe.

I make my students stand, placing their hand over their heart to say
the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag, One Nation Under God, because we
live in the United States of America .

I make them understand that if they use the gifts they were given,
work hard, and follow their hearts, they can succeed in life.'

(Bonnie paused one last time and then continued.)

'Then, when people try to judge me by what I make, with me knowing
money isn't everything, I can hold my head up high and pay no
attention because they are ignorant... You want to know what I make?

I MAKE A DIFFERENCE.  What do you make Mr. CEO?'

His jaw dropped, he went silent.

Generally I just delete forwards that I get, but with this one I liked it enough that it's worth sharing with more than my contacts.  Everyone should be able to read this.  Enjoy.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Book Review: The Little Book of Ruby gave away the free book The Little Book of Ruby and I took advantage of it. Due to some things I was working on I had to restart the book several times. Now that I've finally finished it I thought I'd write up my thoughts.

The Little Book of Ruby does a decent job of explaining the very basics of Ruby. It does not delve into detail or give best practices on things, however, it's enough that a Ruby Beginner can read through the 85 page eBook and be able to figure out mostly what's happening in Ruby code that they look at.

It's a better start to Ruby than Why the Lucky Stiff's into. Why is an interesting character, but he gets too sidetracked, The Little Book of Ruby is a much better starting place.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

When is enough enough?

McLean County Woman awarded 2.6 Million for asbestos exposure. She died at the age of 93, 44 years after the exposure to asbestos.

I feel bad, but at 93, even with the cause being listed as asbestos related, at some point you have to chalk it up to natural causes.

If I were on that jury I would not have agreed to award anything to them.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Book Review: Shooter

Shooter is a good book talking about the trip that Sgt. Jack Coughlin took on his way to Baghdad during the Iraq War. It's an entertaining book to read, and lets you see through the eyes of a sniper at a very high level.

There are no secrets revealed, and his descriptions of shooting aren't very graphic. I enjoyed reading about the life of someone from the front lines during those first days in Iraq when America went in and removed Saddam Hussein from power and sent him into hiding.

Reading this book is very similar to what you could imagine hearing if you sat around drinking beers and talking with him about it. Not too much detail, but enough to let you know what was happening. Not too much about his emotions, but enough to let you know that he has them.