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A Jealousy of Respect

If you know me, I am not a performer. I don't particularly like to be the center of attention. I'm not the life of the party, but I'll get people involved in it. The spotlight doesn't have that draw for me, but there is an undeniable draw to the gleam of success and recognition.

I am good at my job. I am not the best. I make mistakes, and there are many shortcomings I could list without even needing an outside observer to inform me. These humbling reminders aside, I am good at what I do. My boss tells me this. Clients tell me this. Coworkers tell me this. But while I can know and be told I have some skill, something in me wants to be recognized and applauded for it.

Somehow, I am a friend or acquaintance of many people who have achieved what I would measure to be some form of success in their life or work, and while I don't want their life, I want their moment. To be the guy who did the thing for one shining moment.

Jealousy is a silly thing. I literally want the r…
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A Million Dollar Question

Every so often, the Powerball gets absurdly rich, and people start pooling money for a chance at winning big. My friends and family are no exception; not the usual suspects who buy in, just lured by the chance at Mega Millions every so often.

One of my good friends always offers to let me buy in to his pool, and I always turn him down. "You can't win if you don't play!" goes the refrain, but I've never really seen the point. Winning hundred of millions of dollars just does not have the allure to me that it does to some.

Certainly, there are attractive things about the potential of not having to worry about budgets or which bills to pay first; but as my dad likes to remind me, "money has it's own problems". Simpler still, money doesn't solve that much for me. It's not my goal to ever be rich. It might be nice to afford better insurance or get a better car or whatever, but the shine wears off quickly, at least in my mind.

I am not a 'zen&#…

A Laptop Love Affair

Earlier today, my shiny nearly-still-new gaming laptop died unexpectedly. Only four months old, it croaked in the middle of a pretty vanilla web browsing session, waiting to play a game with my brother-in-law. After trying my small bag of tricks to fix common laptop crashes, I had to admit defeat and file an RMA with the company I bought it from. No fans, no boot, no post; something died on the motherboard.

Fortunately, I still have my battle-tested Alienware M11X stashed away in my dad-cave, so I trudged home and dropped off the dead laptop and picked up the old warrior. Underpowered since the day I bought it, my little M11X has logged some insane travel miles, and played games on the worst wifi in crappy hotels around the northwest. It's lived through multiple hard drives, a RAM upgrade (which was uncharacteristically tricky), two screen surgeries and then a replacement, and all manner of operating systems.

Not many people have the luxury of multiple gaming laptops from which to…

Being Other People

Around seven years ago, I was waiting for my friend to get off work so we could go camping for the weekend. With a smartphone and nothing better to do, I was browsing the internet, and encountered a blog post or news blurb about "Fake Michael Bay", a Twitter account dedicated to impersonating the director as if he were some explosives-obsessed madman in his day-to-day life. It was a pretty funny account at the time, and with the Transformers movies releasing, it was pretty popular.

The idea of pretending to be an overblown satirical impersonation of somebody famous appealed to me. Being a bit of an internet nerd, I'd heard of Twitter, but never really had a good reason to be on it. Impersonating someone as a joke proved to be exactly the catalyst I needed to kick off my Twitter experience, though, so that afternoon I made an account to parody my university's famously stoic football coach.

Judging by my limited reading of Fake Michael Bay, I quickly determined I neede…

Master of None

"Jack of all trades, master of none" is simultaneously an accolade and an indictment. Having the ability to learn enough to do many things, but lacking the commitment and followthrough to become proficient at any of them.
I would stop short of calling myself ADD or trying to blame my shifting focus on some undiagnosed ailment; I have the capacity to become proficient, I just lack the drive, not the attention span. Unfortunately, when I view myself comparatively with others, this always boomerangs back to me as a negative.
On the flip side of this characterization, it makes me quite good at my job. I am paid to manage projects involving many specialized disciplines, and I need to know enough about each one to verify that they're actually doing their job correctly, but not enough to actually perform the work (in most cases). Therefore, being a "jack of all trades" is quite literally my strength as a manager.
In my personal activities, however, this lack of drive …