About Me

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I'm a life-long New Englander, father of 4 challenging kids (I know: I'm supposed to say "wonderful", but while that'd be true, technically speaking, it'd also be misleading), and fortunate husband to my favorite wife of more than 20 years. I've got over 20 years experience breaking things as a test engineer, quality engineer, reliability engineer, and most recently (and most enjoyably) a Product Safety / EMC Compliance Engineer. In the photo, I'm on the left.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Not Quite Random Requests to Link Up

I may be overreacting on this one, but nothing frosts me like requests to connect on Linkedin from total strangers. I get these pretty regularly, and it seems to me that the people sending the requests are completely missing the point of that service.

For those of you who don't use that service, Linkedin is a professional social networking site where you can link up with folks who you know from work, or from professional societies, or from other professional connections that you might have with them. Naturally, there's a certain amount of linking up with friends, but this is not a place where one goes to play with each other.

To me, the idea is that you would link up with people who you know (first and foremost), and for whom you have at least a modicum of respect. You need to have these filters in place, because i'm goign to look in Linkedin to find someone (for instance) who works at a company that you're considering applying to. Or, you might go looking for someone who either currently works with or used to work with a candidate that you're about to interview for a job.

The whole point of Linkedin is to have a network of professional contacts and aquaintences on whom you can count when you need a little insight, or professional advice. Or even to whom you might be able to help in these capacities.

I really hate getting Linkedin requests from people because we're in the same group: "You and I are both in the bird watcher's group...we should totally hook up!"

Or requests based upon the fact that we have mutual contacts: "Hey! You and I both know Dave...we should totally hook up!"

And mostly from headhunters...er...recruiters, who really just want nothing more than to have another contact in their virtual Rolodex and access to a whole other group of contacts. Of course, this one I at least understand, from the point of view of the headhunter.

Ok...headhunters are almost mostly...mostly from people just trying to amass as many connections as they can.

Linkedin is a tool that helps me to maintain contact with professional colleagues who I would really rather not lose track of. It is not a toy, not a popularity contest, not a fishing hole, not speed dating, not farmville (or professionalville).

Leave me and my linkedin account the hell alone if you don't know me. There's a reason I'm not in facefrigginbook.

See what sort of little things can push an otherwise sane man off a cliff?

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day!

Let me first say a genuine "Happy Father's Day" to all the fathers out there.

Now, acknowledging that I have thus far had a very nice Father's Day, in this year of 2012. My lovely wife went pretty far out of her way to treat me extra nice today, and she and I even took three of the kids (the oldest is working) golfing! This is something that we have never done as a family, and she and I, due to medical issues, have not golfed in 4 years. We did have a splendid time, and now I'm bushed!

That all said, I do have a long-standing whine about Father's Day, and I'm going to share that with you fine folks.

It is said that the busiest day of the year for the telephone companies (here in the US, at any rate) is Father’s Day. That is to say that people all over the country are calling their father on that special day to speak with him. On the surface, this seems like a very sweet gesture: reach out and show that you care. When I heard this statistic I thought it odd: Father’s Day gets more attention than Mother’s Day? 

But after some thought and conversations with friends I came to be aware that the reason for this seeming anomaly - this apparent preference for fathers - is that on Father’s Day, offspring call their sires to say “Hi” and “Happy Father’s Day”. On Mother’s day, you’re in a load of trouble if you call. You bloody well had better show up. You need to take that special woman to breakfast, lunch, and/or dinner. Bring her flowers, chocolate, gifts, cards, praise, etc. For dad, you don’t even need to get out of bed. Reach over to the phone, hit the speed dial, and hope that the answering machine picks up. That’s Father’s Day.

Here’s another interesting point: on Mother’s Day, Mom wants to have people around her. She wants everyone to show up and kiss her cheek, and (most importantly and most difficult) get along. On Father’s Day, what does Dad want? Dad wants to be peace and quiet. Some calm. Some tranquility. Get the hell out! Leave me to have a day of peace. Unfortunately, there’s no football on. But a day off is what dad wants.

This, of course, based upon what I've heard at the Father's Support Groups.

"Hi. My name's Dave, and I'm a father."
[collectively] "Hi, Dave."

Fishing comes up quite a bit. Golfing. Usually Father's Day looks very different from a day on the lake, however.

The problem here is in who plans the events for each of these days? Daughters and wives, that’s who plans them. So mom gets to have her family around on Mother’s Day, and on Father’s Day dad gets…the same thing that mom wants: to have his family around.

The other problem with Father’s Day is that it is in the middle of the sunny season. I say that this is a problem because at this time of year there’s a lot of crap to do around the house. Mowing, raking, landscaping, home repairs, home improvements, auto work, you know, that list that never ends. There’s a host of jobs around the house that can only be done in the sunny weather. Also, at this time of year is when people have their weddings, christenings, graduation parties, cook-outs (at which it is usually dad manning the grill).

Not to blow my own anonymity, but we do have a distant family member who had a baby on my very first Father's Day. This in and of itself was not an issue, until a year later when she decided that the little tyke's birthday part was going to be ON Father's Day. This meant, of course, that I was socially obligated on Father's Day, which is exactly what I DON'T want. I was similarly socially obligated on the next 9 Father's Days.

Get that? My first 10 Father's Days were spent at a family party, when all that I wanted was to relax and get away from people (especially being as introverted as I am).

Father’s Day needs to be moved to early January. At least in my neck of the woods, this is the perfect time of the year to have a Sunday whose purpose is for dad to have a day off. There can be no cook-outs. There can be no house painting. Nobody graduates in January, and fewer people want to have weddings in the winter, leading to less opportunity for Dad’s special day to be commandeered by social obligations. Also, there’s no yard work. You don’t work in the driveway on your car unless you really have to. You know what there is on Sunday in January? Football. And not just any football; it’s the playoffs. That’s what dad wants. To top this off, people are just coming off of the holidays, which means that they’re in debt, drunk (or at least hung over) and with luck, snowed in.


I'm hoping that I'm not the only one who wants to move Father's Day into January...anyone else interested?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

People Seem to Prefer to Talk Rather Than Think

As you've no doubt noticed, I have issues with the English (or American) language. Like many of us I have a real problem with things that are said not-quite-right. Of course, a certain amount of this is to be expected since sometimes our tongues don't wrap themselves properly around a word or phrase here or there, but in my thinking, there are a few times where this sort of error just should not happen.

What I'm thinking of at the moment is those times when a thing is said intentionally, but not correctly, and not...uh...intentionally. Hmmm...ok: they meant to use that word, and it's not the right word, and they don't care enough to use the correct word.

For instances:

I know a guy who, no matter how many times he says it, or how many times I've opened the subject (sometimes not too tactfully), insists on saying, "I've got a pension for that". It's 'penchant', not 'pension'.

Things that I've heard on the local network news (which I think is a real problem, since news stories are drafted by (ostensibly) professionals, written by professional writers, edited by professional editors, and re-written by more professionals before airing):

The car halted to a Stop
He spoke verbally (this one could be arguable, since there are other forms of communication)
...was murdered until he was dead.
The victim was murdered and then burned alive.
...where police found a dead carcass.

Other things people say that drive me buggy:

Irregardless -or- Disregardless

Using "eminent" when they mean "imminent"

It's a mute point


And on a related note: why might it be that people will sometimes insist on NOT correcting themselves when they know the difference? It's one thing to intentionally say something a little wrong (like when I say that something is "gooder", or when I refer to that great country looming just north of me as "Canadia"...another fellow with whom I used to work often said "Just shows to go ya."), but that fellow referred to above still has a pension for things, and those things are often mute.

So what, I wonder, is behind this? Do people not care (I do often get the "you know what I meant" argument, but being me - very square, dull, and literal - I usually *don't* know what you meant)? Do they not notice? Is it the further evolution (or de-evolution) of language?

Is it ignorance or apathy?
I don't know, and I don't care!


And: "Hi, Kellie"

Monday, June 4, 2012

A Few Weeks out of Whack

We all know that I haven't been at this for very long, and I'm clearly not the most reliable writer around. But these blogger folks don't exactly make things easy, do they?

Every time that they "improve" or "update" the blogger experience, the experience that I get is aggravation!!

Am I the only one for whom these improvements are anything but? I've lost reading lists, my follower list fluctuates by the click (28...29...28....29....27...most 2nd graders can count better!). And some folks who I know are followers aren't listed there! I got a new follower, and they ran to the hills. Another new visitor came along (Hi, DM!).

My admittedly shallow understanding of computers suggests that they should be able to keep track of things. Like reading lists, for instance.

I can't get used to this new "improved" interface, so if you don't see me loitering around where I used to, it's not personal...it's stupidity. Although I'm not sure who's, exactly. :)

Anyone else have trouble with the updates? Any tips on dealing with them?

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Kids Playing Soccer

I was at my kid's soccer game the other day, and I realized that I could very well be one of those guys that you see on the news for getting overheated at a child's sporting event. In this case, the game was 5th, & 6th graders.

What got me so angry? What could be so bad at a soccer game? What pushes my button that way? Cheating; that's what. There were too many instances of the other team cheating.

  • One kid tried to slap the ball out of our goalie's hands while the goalie was taking the ball up to the top of the box (had he been caught at this, the rules say that he's thrown out of the game);
  • One kid continued to kick the ball while he was on the ground;
  • Many instances of pushing, tripping, and elbows (some of which is expected and accidental...when it's done on purpose and surreptitiously, it's cheating);
  • We had a penalty kick and one of the kids on the other team charged our kicker during approach...he did this in order to draw a penalty and stop game play so that his team would have a chance to get into position (not necessarily cheating, perse, just poor sportsmanship, in my opinion);

I hate cheating. Personally, I'd rather lose a game honorably than win by cheating. I particularly hate that a coach will not only allow their kids to cheat, but will actually *teach* their kids to cheat. I assume that this level of coaching is going on because multiple kids don't get to the point of cheating on this scale without that play behavior being encouraged. They also don't learn by themselves (by this age) to be able to do it in such a manner as to ensure that they routinely don't get caught.

I think that parents and coaches who teach this way should be ashamed of themselves. Is winning really that important to them? Why? How can you enjoy a victory that you know you cheated to get? How can you esteem yourself if you know that you didn't actually earn your victory?

And the kicker (pun intended, I suppose) is that their team was really very good. I was nervous enough when I saw how well they played together...excellent footwork and passing. Why cheat when you've got talent and skills?

I just don't get it.

Friggin' people suck.

On the up side, we won by a LOT.