Thursday, September 25, 2008

Another Study

So according to this article, in USA Today 45% of women "rule the roost". (I can't believe they call women chickens right there in the headline.) It further declares that their men content themselves with this dominance. My wife tells me I agree with this. I mean... *I* agree with this completely and fully while not under duress of ANY kind. (Did I say it right, honey?)

The article did bring up a few interesting comments, the most notable one (in my mind) being the statement someone made about their needing to be "only 1 decision maker". I will agree and disagree with him on this. As a generalization, I disagree. Across the board that is not true in all cases, and probably not even half. I think there is a direction provider, or one member in the partnership that offers a direction to go with discussion/decision made by all. Some may argue that the offerer is in essence the decision maker by providing the options, but the non-offerer can always reject and offer alternate plans.

As for the times when a decision maker is needed, may or may not be something important. For example where to go to dinner out. If both parties are not overly picky, the plethora of choices (depending on your location) can sometimes be a paralyzing roadblock to progress. In cases like that a decision maker can step forward and declare an option just to move along. (Though that declaration can, and sometimes is rejected.) On a hard choice, the "joint decision" may be made by both partners sharing thoughts/feelings on the topic, and one taking the info and forming a decision based on that data. Again, a mutual decision, but 1 party taking the lead on action. Quibbling with terms, but I think there is a good bit of refinement in the difference between a Neanderthal issuing orders, and a quick discussion with one person taking initiative.

A few people pointed out that many men at work are decision makers all day, and when they get home are all "decided out", and are content to be followers. Clearly these seem to be men that have never stayed home with kids, and dealt with the endless choices, direction, and structure required to have a good routine and happy kids. On this point one woman wrote that she'd rather have a partner than a third child, suggesting her partner possibly abdicated too much authority at home. In the rush to not have to make anymore decisions, he doesn't share his spouse's responsibilities, and creates imbalance. Just as a man that requests no input from anyone in the household, and simply gives orders as to how it will be creates imbalance.

In the end, there is a piece of decision making that can almost be seen as being vulnerable. The decision maker is putting their idea and indeed a part of them self out on the line for judgment, and in opening oneself to that kind of judgment there is a vulnerability to rejection/disappointment. Depending on the person, even a mild fear of being rejected for something as simple as an idea of where to go to dinner can be daunting enough to prevent even voicing an opinion about it, let alone being able to choose. They are plagued by doubts, "What if someone doesn't like what they serve?" "what if we get bad service?" "What if it's too expensive/cheap?" All of these what ifs can mire down even a normally clear thinking person's initiative and result in a "Whatever is fine." response, just so the responsibility for any one's disappointment is redirected.

If when the decision's worst result means that someone didn't enjoy dinner can be that stifling imagine how hard the decision becomes as the consequences increase in severity. Every day decision makers take on the responsibility of projects and assignments, money and investments, and in the strongest cases the very safety and lives of others. Accepting the responsibility for another person's life and safety is something that I hope no one ever takes lightly, whether it be willingly or unwillingly. And in many cases, those leaders that emerge are not leaders by choice, but by necessity.

I don't know how I got here from there, but it was fun for me. Oh and "Yes dear, the article is spot on!"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

He did what?

This story came across my way, and I had to "pass" it on. I couldn't help myself. Normally I wouldn't share this, and I'm sure most people have seen it already since I'm usually "behind" on things like this. Butt, regardless of whether you've seen it or not, take some time to scroll through the comments. They're a gas! (Sorry about the puns, I know they stink.)

***UPDATE 9/25/2008***
They have dropped the bomb... err.. battery charge. That stinks!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Очень хорошо!

So a while back a friend and I had run into a small shop called the Moscow Market, and on a whim decided to go inside to take a look. I was thoroughly pleased to find the interior stocked with all manner of foodstuffs from: Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Poland, The Czech Republic, Israel, and Italy as well as a decent selection of wines.

We both shopped for a bit and wound up with a few treasures in hand, including some sausages, some sweets, and a bottle of yummy dessert wine. I now semi-regularly pop back in to pick up some kabanosy (thin and tasty sausages - great on their own or good to cook with) and like today some half-sour deli-style pickles (sometimes referred to as brine pickles). These are also the same kind that Chutzpah (a sammich shop in Fairfax that has EXCELLENT NY deli style grub) offers to its patrons. ((After checking their site, I am pleased to see that they also have a location in Vienna, VA too!))

If you're wondering what the Russian title said, it translates to "Very Good!"
До свидания (Goodbye)

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Busy Weekend

Wow! Where to start. How about Saturday?
Saturday was some prep work for the dog show Saturday evening, and a quick trip by Circuit City for me to pick up a new memory card for my show filming. I did not realize it, but I was still using a 128MB card! No wonder I could barely fit 2 Rally runs in. For a mere $14 I picked up a 2GB (yes that's an order of magnitude and a factor of 2 better) card. I think I can now record over 80 minutes. Very embarrassing for a geek. At this point, I figured they were cheap enough, I'd pick another one up for going on travel so I wouldn't have to offload pictures at all until I got home, AND I could mix in some video without worrying about space. We'll see how that works out in RI next month.

Then there was the actual dog show itself, but I'll let Da Wife prattle on about that.

We had a lot scheduled for Sunday. First off, our county (well the city we live in) was holding a "Bring out your dead" err... trash day. They haul in about 8-10 huge dumpsters to the nearby park, and you can bring yard waste or large items (old furniture, we saw an old mattress, etc.) of trash. So we loaded up some old pallets I had (nice ones, just found other objects to use for their original intent), old vanity parts from the bathroom remodel (Yep we even took a sink!), leftover bits of tile and scrap from the flooring job, other random pieces of bad wood, an abused trashcan that was "modified" for k9 training purposes, and various other stray bits. Also in the back was the vanity (that we didn't like) for the bathroom remodel. After dropping the debris off at the dumpsters, we took the old vanity that we didn't like back to Lowes. Subsequently we filled my ride up with a big load of wall stones. The cart in the store was so heavy I could barely get it moving. Hopefully Da Wife will enjoy constructing a gravel retaining wall 1 brick high in the back yard under the deck. (The small test section she did looked pretty good, so confidence is high.)

After unloading all the stones (I think it was 46 all told) into the backyard, we gathered up the remaining big trash items to put in the car. Including an old landscape timber, 4 old and busted particle board and glue shelving units, 2 old and busted camp chairs (got new dog show chairs - they may be a post all by themselves), and more miscellaneous stuff. Although the shelving units provided a few minutes of fun to demolish, carrying the resulting multitude of planks proved not to be.

I was glad to see the dumpster attendants under a gazebo watching the game when we returned with the second car full (they had brought a generator and a TV so they could watch - hey I was amused.) After dropping off the second round of junk we headed out to Home Depot(you can do it, they can help.... point out what to buy, it's not like they come to your house for free... Geez.) to pick up the new vanity we wanted for the bathroom. I like this one much better, now to install it. But not today...

All that running around and work built up an appetite, so I decided that I wanted risotto, even though I had never made it before. Quick bit of reading, I chopped up the mushrooms we'd had on hand already, and also an onion and some garlic. Then it was off to the grocery store! We picked up the Arborio rice and some stock (can't believe we ran out! I wasn't watching when I used the last of it!) and a few other items we needed. Once we got home, I resumed my preparations and while also preparing to grill some sausages AND making turkey burgers all at the same time. Without Da Wife's help, many things would have gone very wrong. But in the end the dish turned out perfectly and the turkey burgers were fantastic to boot. A culinary delight, and I was just happy the risotto came out correctly. Here's what it looked like (took the picture after we were done eating dinner that is...).

A long and busy weekend, with good results most of the way around. The house has much more room with all that trash gone, as does the yard (well... aside from all the bricks that is). It will be a good leftovers week too with risotto, natural hot dogs (grilled those too), and turkey burgers (YUM!). Da Wife has even suggested she might take the sausages I grilled and turn them into a delightful soup. I can't wait.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Know when to hold 'em

So for a couple weeks in a row now, I've gone to a free to play poker night out at a place called Mackey's in Manassas. It's hosted by a group called Stars-n-Bars Poker. Basically it's a night of Texas Hold 'em poker with no entry fee, no drink minimum (yet), but the food is tasty there and they have a bunch of choices of beer on tap.

My coworker Nate convinced me to come out and play, and he was right I had a lot of fun there. Placed 4th and 5th in the local tournaments (out of like 14-16 people I think) so not bad. Not good. Definitely not Vegas good, but I've learned a bunch and had a good time. Maybe one of these nights I'll settle in and make it to 1st or 2nd.

I may also head out to the one in Warrenton next week (assuming I can find the place on time!) to play near some other folks we know. Come on out, you might even hear me say...ALL IN! (followed by me saying "He had what?! Dang it!" and walking away from the table with no chips.)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Redecorating continues

Well the tile floor is in and grouted. Who knew? I could do it, Home Depot helped (by allowing me to purchase materials). The toilet is reinstalled, and can I just say if you're going to do this, have good ventilation and keep all ports sealed as long as possible!

We have also finished up the caulking around the shower and the toilet. After installing the light fixture, we're down to just:

  • installing the vanity and sink

  • installing the medicine cabinet

  • reinstalling the wall mirror

  • installing the base trim

  • install 1 piece of the door trim

  • installing towel bars

  • install threshold (although this may wait for final until the other flooring is done)

  • installing the door stop and any final touches

The place is really shaping up from the hole it used to be. And to think, it's all thanks to Roxie for starting to tear up the linoleum when she was penned in there. Thanks Roxie.

Before and after pics will be a separate post when it's all completed...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Not always bad to be a loser?

Today marks day one of an office version of "The Biggest Loser", hopefully with much less drama, and no gigantic sofa-sized scale. Ok, so I've never watched an entire episode of the actual show, and so maybe there won't be contrived games with the office version, and so they really have almost nothing in common. However in future posts when it says loser I will most likely be referring to this activity.

Not planning anything dramatic in terms of strategy, just the plain old "Calories in - calories out <= desired weight daily allowance" and some activity. Sounds easy, right? It really is more of me getting back to my old healthier routines and just being a bit more conscious of food and activity.

Here's to good health, and as our captain said today, "It's ON!"

Saturday, September 13, 2008

5 months off

Well when I said this would be not every day... I didn't mean to let five months go with no entries.

First and most disheartening was the loss of my father. He had been having some issues for a while, but was treating them correctly, and certainly appeared to be thriving. In fact I believe the last 10 years of his life were some of the best for him that I can recall, and that at least gives me some peace. I miss him so, some days more than others, but I know he will always be with me. I carry a spark and merriment I learned from him that cannot be extinguished even in the darkest of hours. Thanks Dad, for being there, and showing me other paths to walk on, I only hope I made you as proud of me as I was of you.

Out of that tragic incident, there was some good. I have met with many of my relatives that I had never really known, and will be seeing them shortly in a mini-reunion of sorts. We're all headed up to Rhode Island for a short stint to hang out and get to know each other and catch up on time missed out on. (Even the dogs are getting a chance to take a side road trip with us, and they *might* even get to meet their K9 loving aunt up in Massachusetts!)

My new job is going well, with finally enough tasking to not make the days drag on. Though there is a new door that has opened, that has some interesting potential. Still security work, just a different facet. At the very least it merits some investigation. As a lateral move the money is the same, but the job duties are fairly different. 1 step closer to workin' fer da man. ;-)

Our (not so) young puppy, Viggo, is coming along. Still headstrong, but affable and goofy (sounds like someone I know). Hopefully he will continue to settle in to himself and become the great dog I see inside him.

With all of these events going on, it provides one with perhaps one of the most important things in life - perspective. I've seen throughout my life that one's perspective, their outlook on both their own actions and the events around them, is perhaps the biggest factor in how happy they are. In general, I try to keep myself open to the possibility of opportunities, and I watch for them. Doing my best to prepare for good things that may come along so that I may snatch them up, and enjoy. Alternatively, I try not to let the bad things that happen (to us all), overwhelm me. I try to maintain perspective on the bad events, not letting them grow to encompass more than they rightly should. This does not mean that I ignore them or don't learn from mistakes or bad events, merely that one small localized event does not gain in measure, scope, or duration. Not one bit. So one small, temporary setback on one project does NOT suddenly become impassable roadblocks on all projects for all time. It's merely a speed bump and not a jersey wall. I believe this has led me down many paths that have offered up several good opportunities that I was in a position to take advantage of, as well as being mostly resistant to frustrations that life has to offer. (Ok... ok... ASIDE from bad drivers in traffic, rude children/people, and the OTHER events that have previously made this the Blog O'Scorn. I'm talking about the things aside my mini-rants. Since they truly do not linger, and writing about them is part of my way of ensuring they are not lasting moments of frustration.) So overall I feel happy and blessed for the chances I have both had and explored.

Conversely, I have watched many people travel down a very different road. One of beleaguered days among long lingering setbacks. I have seen a friend take a very minor and very temporary molehill, and turn it into the proverbial mountain, forever withstanding all attempts at conquest. They constantly battle what appears to them to be a relentless barrage of life, which pounds them with the unfettered crashing waves of failure that this life has to offer.

Yet, in a curious dichotomy, many of them seem to expect that life will simply provide them with anything of their choosing, that the simple act of being requires some payment from the universe. Most of these people I have watched, seem to live in a near constant state of disappointment. Which, as for anyone, occurs when what we expect/desire to happen does not, in fact, meet up with what reality presents us. For them, even good fortune can wear the guise of misfortune, or simply go unnoticed. Good events are at best ephemeral bits of happiness that go as unappreciated as a debt already owed to them, at worst the events are assumed to be an omen of something darker just around the corner.

This perspective problem is more complicated than a simple pessimistic vs optimistic view, though there are many similarities. Perhaps the saddest part of the whole affair remains that the individual holds the ability to change that perspective, and to find a way to not only seek, but also enjoy the happiness that seems just out of reach.

I'll close with a few quotes from famous (well more famous than myself and that's easy) folks:

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.”
--Marcus Aurelius

“The tragic or the humorous is a matter of perspective.”
--Arnold Beisser

"I thank Thee first because I was never robbed before; second, because although they took my purse they did not take my life; third, because although they took my all, it was not much; and fourth because it was I who was robbed, and not I who robbed."
--Matthew Henry

"What we see depends mainly on what we look for."
--John Lubbock

And as Marcus Aurelius says... this is my opinion. This is my perspective.