Who is a “real” gamer?

On twitter, that domain of trolls and ne’er-do-wells, the gauntlet was thrown asking “who is a real gamer”. This didn’t sit well with me, but then, I started seeing knee-jerk responses of “everyone is a gamer”, which I say thee nay! Not everyone is a gamer, only everyone who “wants” to be a gamer.

Smashbomb Review

You ever wanted to know how well something is doing by your friends? Well, Smashbomb can do that. Smashbomb is a review website that lets you review just about anything! Movies, books, podcasts (including the ever popular Dorkside News Network), even new tech. You can review everything on this site and it’s amazing. We use this website so we can see your reviews of us! We want to know how we’re doing in your opinions and you can easily do it here. You even get cool little badges to display proudly when you unlock them, for instance, I’m an official Smashbomb reviewer (and everyone knows it). So, head on over to Smashbomb to let us, (everyone else), your opinions on today’s hottest (or not) things we all consume. And while you’re there, look us up. Maybe give us that coveted 10 star!

Help SquirrelGirlLV Save TippyToe and Frito at Salt Lake Comiccon

You can help save TippyToe and Frito at Salt Lake Comiccon!

TippyToe and her buddy Frito have been kidnapped, you can help!


Help SquirrelGirlLV Save TippyToe and Frito at Salt Lake Comiccon

Why I decided to go to College at 38

This weekend I finished up my last assignments for Quantitative Analysis, and as the next term of college comes up (WGU has its terms start February 1st and August 1st), it got me thinking about why I did this to myself.  Not that I’m unhappy, but definitely it was a lot more stress than I needed, so working my way through a video and this post, has helped remind me why I decided to do this.

I’m relatively lucky, the field I was most interested in, rewards passion and hard work more than a piece of paper.  If I had been interested in law, medicine, or any of another variety of paths, I guess I’d have pushed my way through college or still been working as a food server.  But instead, I maneuvered my way into IT and found that I loved it possibly more than even video games or board games.

But still, I’m forcing myself to go, mostly because I want to continue growing and feeling a sense of accomplishment one year to the next.  For the past 9 years, I’ve steadily gotten promotions, but that’s done now that I’m CTO.  Now I have to get degrees, become a speaker, write papers, get recognition for my accomplishments in an IT leadership role, etc.  These types of goals are much more meaningful than simply a replacement title on a business card, but they’re also much more difficult.

My friends and family know I love to work, and know I love doing things the hard way.  Still, despite as stubborn as I am, I’ll still tend to choose a way I know I’ll do well at rather than a way I’m going to face a lot of unknowns.  Over the next few years, I hope to really complete a lot of bucket list items, one of which is to get a degree, and WGU is helping make that happen.

WGU is pretty straight forward.   A purely online college that is accredited and has both a variety of programs.  You pay 3050 a term, take as many classes as possible for no additional fees, and continue each successive term until you graduate.  They’re a non-profit that has a goal of graduating students as quickly as possible, so none of those “trying to get you fail a class so you have to retake it” shenanigans here!  You choose which portions of each class you choose to do, with the only mandatory requirement usually being an exam or a paper.  Most of my classes I just choose to skip to the end, because in my role throughout the years, I’ve already picked up most of the knowledge I need to pass the classes.  This is a lot better than colleges that’ll say that you can test out of a class, as long as you pay…

Every student is assigned a mentor.  My mentor’s name is Sandy.  You talk as often as needed, or at minimum every two weeks.  I always feel like Sandy 1) knows who I am 2) has good advice for which class to take next and 3) brings a level of enthusiasm and support that makes me want to push forward and complete more classes.  Its really a bit ironic that when I went to traditional college for one semester in my 20s, I felt like I had less support and/or advice than I have from an online school with support from my mentor.

In short, WGU is the online college I always wanted.  As much or as little interaction with other people as I need, and a focus on completing the degree that I’ve never gotten the impression of from another college.

So I’ll probably get my degree by next summer.  What is next after that? I don’t know.  I think I’ll take that slice of time and try writing a book or try speaking at a conference or something.

Until next week, post below if you’re at a similar position in life and want to share what you’re doing.


America’s Love Affair With Spices


So I was looking at my spice rack lazy susan thing and I asking myself why I still kept it, even though I stopped using it a long time ago.  Of course, the answer is easy, because it was one of the last gifts from my father before he passed away.

However, just because I keep it, doesn’t mean I have to use it, and neither does anyone else!  I frequently see these sorts of contraptions at Target, and yes, I admit it, I feel this desire to have access to so many herbs without thought or planning!  The idea that I could have any herb I need whenever I need it seems amazing.

But lets face reality, this is the lure of the lazy.   We have multiple choices with how we approach cooking or seasoning in general.

  1. We can think about what we want to make for the next week or so, then buy just the amount and types of spices to make that food as delicious as possible.
  2. We can buy large quantities and/or types of spices so that no matter what we randomly decide to cook, we have the spices we need.

Its the American way to want unlimited everything even if we don’t need it.  But lets think about the cost for a moment.  First, its MORE expensive, not less expensive, to buy those mediocre mega-sized quantities of spices.  No no, I don’t want to hear about the sale price or the price per ounce.  For the majority of people, they’re either going to throw away those mega-spices after six months or so, or they’re putting in the spices despite the fact that they have little flavor left.  Second, those spices are often pre-ground, which means they inherently have less flavor than if you were to buy your spices whole.

So the only advantage of buying large quantities is so we don’t have to think.  I really want to help the world to not define itself by how little they had to think when doing something.  That isn’t something to be proud of.  Its smart to figure out ways to not have as much stress when doing something, but not at the expense of quality or money.


Now some of you may still be thinking about those little yellow tags telling you how much cheaper something is in the mega size, or you’re thinking even in the smallest size, its enough to last a year or more.  You might want quality and a good deal, but you probably don’t want to throw away large quantities of spices every few months, right?

Well here is a big secret!  Most Indian grocery stores sell herbs without a container!  Yes, you scoop how much you need and pay for just that.  Indians love their spices, and where-as Americans (I’m including myself in this category!) are easily lured by convenience, Indians want their spices fragrant, fresh, and whole!

In my video, I talk about what not to do and what to do regarding herbs.  I also talk about my chile powder recipe, which you can read here.

Save the Flavor, Save the… world?  Maybe? At the very least, Save the Flavor, Save your Meal!


Tribute to My Mom

my mom

July 5th, 2016

Today will mark the 26th anniversary of my mother’s death.  This is always the toughest day of the year, as anyone who has lost someone can relate. I was 12 when it happened. This is a tribute to her life and death.  Let me take you to the day she died to start the memory train of her life.

Around 10 am, I rolled out of my sleeping bag and walked over to my mom’s bed area in our air conditioned room.  In 1990, central air was not a thing, you had an air conditioning unit that just sat in the window (at least if you were within the poverty spectrum). Noticing that her bed  was not touched, I knew she was most likely downstairs. Sometimes she would sleep in the living room with a fan on her.

Getting to the last step, I turned right into the living room. I saw her lying on the floor with a blue sheet covering her body and the fan blowing her brown curly hair around.

Happy that she was okay, I decided I was going to make us breakfast as a peace offering.  The night before I argued with her about not wanting to do dishes.

In order to get to the kitchen, I had to go through the dining room. On the dining room table, I noticed my mom’s teddy bear, Snuggles. He was sitting on the table wearing his “I love Mommy” t-shirt.

The bear always made me smile, but this time it made me concerned. See, my mom never went anywhere without that teddy bear.  She would even put the teddy bear in a seat belt when she was in the car. She slept with it every night and when I was sick, she would let me sleep with him so that I would be feel better.

I knew she would be sad if she did not have it, so I picked Snuggles up and brought him to the living room. I walked in the room and noticed that her sheet was soaked and it smelled like urine.  She had a bed wetting issue, so that was not too weird. However, she would want to be woken up to clean it up.  She was embarrassed by it.

I spoke softly in her ear to wake her up and there was no response. I shook her shoulder and there was no response. I lifted her arm thinking she was teasing me, her arm was cold.  Much colder than a fan could make skin feel in 90 degree temperature with high humidity.

I knew something was wrong.

I yelled her name, becoming panicked. I began to swear at her, as I furiously looked for a phone number to my stepdad’s sister’s phone number (no cell phones back then). I could not find the address book.

I ran to my neighbor, who was a nurse. Begged her to come over and check on my mom.  She put on her robe and ran over. She checked my mom’s pulse and told me that there could be a chance she was ok. I knew it was a lie, but I wanted to believe. I called the police.

That was it, that was the events of her death.  She had a brain aneurysm. It was quick-ish. She had suffered from years of headaches, dizziness and mood swings. She was bi-polar but in the 80’s this was not a diagnosis.  It was most likely due to the pressure in her head from the aneurysm, but no one knows for sure.

The real unfortunate part of her death is that on the same day she died, she got a job as a chef. She worked hard all her life as a cleaning woman, but her passion was in cooking.  Without a high school degree, most places would not hire her.

She did the best she could with the cards that were dealt to her. I want to share with you, a little of her story.

Her mom was a bit on the crazy side (like I mean bat a$$ crazy). She made my mom stay in a high chair until she was 8 years old. LaVirgin, was her name. She would yell and scream and beat the children (my mom and her brother). However, my mom’s father, Rollin Sr., always kept her from going too far. When he died, my mom was just 12 years old. And things changed drastically in the household.

LaVirgin got remarried to a new man.  This man was violent and would beat the kids and LaVirgin. One night LaVirgin fell down the stairs and had what was thought to be a concussion, later it turned out to be a brain aneurysm. Little was known about them in the 50’s. LaVirgin could not recall who anyone was, not even her own children. She was blind as well.  My mom’s new stepfather did not want anything to do with the whole situation and refused to take care of the woman.  So, my mom at age 16 dropped out of school and became the caretaker. She forced her little brother to stay in school.

My mother never stated this, but her brother (my uncle) did tell me that their stepfather raped her throughout this time.

My mother met a guy and became pregnant.  She was forced to marry him due to her “condition.” She miscarried the baby soon afterwards.  Her husband was an alcoholic and abusive. He would beat her and force himself on her (back then you could not get convicted of rape, especially if it was your own wife). She had three children with this vial man. One boy and two girls.

She finally got the courage to leave this man and she took her children.  She had to work two jobs and hire babysitters to help take care of the children while she was a way.  Usually the babysitter was her friend Dick, but sometimes it was her brother.

Then she met my father.  A charming, tall, Italian man.  He had the most infectious smile (you all know what I mean by that). He knocked her right off her feet. She fell hard for him.  He moved in with her fairly quickly and began to take care of the kids. Little did she know that he was harming them. She would get home after working a double shift and little John (name changed to protect him) would have new bruises. The girls would also have bruises.

One night a fire was started in the apartment that the children were in.  A space heater with a little green soldier inside had caught on fire. My father, acting like a hero, saved all the children.  Rumor has it though (even my mom thought years later), that he started that fire to make himself the hero.  This is when social services became concerned.

Back in the 70s, it was unusual to have an unrelated man babysit children. Social services started to question the bruises and the fire and began to do check ups. Being that my mom worked two jobs, they would inevitably come when my father was babysitting.  They classified her as an unfit parent and took the children away.

In 1977, after a short while, my father, being the cunning a-hole that he was, received my mother’s mail.  There was a letter that asked for my mother to sign her parental rights away for her three children. My father was a jealous type and did not want to share in her affections, so he forged her signature on the papers and sent them into the courts.

My mother never knew, but my father’s mother did.

My grandmother watched as he did it.  Later on, she told me that this happened.  My grandmother thought it was for the betterment of my mother, that she deserved this for getting involved with her son.

Because, my father did this, social services stopped contacting my mother.  My mom would try to contact them to see the children, but wasn’t allowed to.  She did not understand why and no one ever explained it to her.

As time went on, the families that took the children wanted to adopt them.  My mother was out of state. She was trying to get a stable job in the casinos in Las Vegas, so that she could get her children back. She was also out in Vegas, trying to help her younger brother get out of debt and trouble.

Mom in Vegas

She left a forwarding number for social services to contact her, but she did not expect the type of phone call that occurred. Social services called her to tell her that the children were up for adoption, that the courts wanted to finalize everything. She had no clue how this could happen.  My father said nothing, of course.  Neither did my grandmother.

She and the rest of the group that went out of state, tried to drive back in time for the court date.  Sadly, the car broke down and she was delayed. When she got back to Wisconsin, it was already too late. She missed it.  She cried many nights, she would dream about her babies and want to so desperately be there for them.  She loved them so much.

However, she was given a second chance when she found out she was pregnant with me. She thought God was blessing her again.  She was in a happy marriage, had friends around and was super excited.

However, once my father found out, he changed. He began to hit her and refused to help her out with the whole pregnancy. She was expected to walk 8 miles, no matter the weather, to get groceries. She had to still work two jobs, while in her final term. While my father did nothing but leach off her and take all the money.

me as a babe

Once I was born, he became severely violent.  He would throw her down stairs.  Calling her names and leaving massive bruises on her arms and legs.  He would force her to sleep with other men. Who also beat her, one of them actually punched out four of her teeth.

Finally, after all of this, one night as I was standing in the doorway (all of 4 years old), she bunched up her left hand and upper cutter him in the jaw.  He whimpered and left with a broken jaw and a hurt ego.  He no longer had any power over her. Even at four years old, I was proud of her. I knew a lot of what was going on, I would witness some of it and other times I could hear. Do not be fooled parents, kids can hear everything.

Well, she got a divorce from him and a restraining order. And he seemed to follow the rules.  At least from a distance. He would call and threaten to kidnap me all the time. My mom would get incredibly scared and would stay with me even while I was in classes at school. Eventually, my father got remarried and left my mom alone.  The only time he came around was when he needed money or wanted to take me for lunch and show me off to his friends.


Then my mom met Bob, my stepdad.  He was a playful and happy man.  He would take her out on dates and just treated her with so much respect. His mother really liked her and me.  I remember her calling my mom her daughter and me her grandchild.  There were family dinners and so many happy memories.  My mom was happy and for the first time in her life safe. Yeah, we didn’t have a lot of money and my mom didn’t have a glamorous job, but it was a happy little life we had.

My mom started showing the symptoms of bi-polar when I hit 2nd grade. I remember her slapping me and being seething angry one moment and apologizing the next. She would have bouts of depression so bad, that she couldn’t get up in the morning. She also got horrendous headaches and would vomit. I started skipping school to take care of her during these times.

Little was known about the disorder or why she was having the headaches, she was diagnosed with migraines.

In 1990, my mom was going to the doctors a lot. Various ones. I did not really know what was going on.  Later, I found out she was getting X-rays and what have you.

That same year, My stepfather proposed to her.  They were to get married in October of that year. Also, she got her GED finally and an associate in food preparation. She was so proud and everyone who knew her was proud of her.


Everything was coming together for her. Things couldn’t have been better. Sadly, it was all for naught and she died on July 5th 1990 unexpectedly.

She was a wonderful woman, caring and loving. Sure she had her bad days,  it wasn’t her fault that she was an untreated bi-polar person.

Her life wasn’t easy, but she showed strength and a will to survive.  She passed those qualities on to me and I live with knowing that I come from a woman that over came so many obstacles.  I loved her so much and will always love her.

mom and me




Two Guys Hang out Building a Bench


This week, Lydon and I hung out while he built his new workbench that he bought at Sam’s Club.  He did a lot of research, so he was happy to have it recorded when he finally got to put it together.

I was recording it using this cheap shoulder rig (located here), and I think it worked out pretty well.  We’ll be wandering around a bit more, and this thing should let us have endurance for long shoots.  What it doesn’t really do, is act as a steadycam, so I’ll be buying one of those when we’re going for smoothness more than endurance.

As Lydon and I hung out, we started talking about fame, cosplay, and how we’re all heroes to our dog (kids, nephews/nieces,etc) and how if we just tried to live up to the expectations they have for us, we’d all be doing pretty good!

As we were talking, I realized that we’re in some sort of awesome renaissance where most people can pursue their dreams and passions.  I think the most important thing about the Age we’re living in, is trying to live your life to its fullest, not how many twitter followers you have.  If we’re all doing the best we can, we can all help push each other to do more and be more than our previous generations expected.

Anyways, I hope you enjoy this, I like to think you’re hanging out with us as we ponder life’s mysteries.  Oh, and Lydon also gives a pretty glowing review of the workbench, though he wants to update it in 6 months after he makes sure its everything he expects it to be.

The difficulties women have finding jobs in IT

In December of last year (2015), I had to lay off two employees.  We had expected the loss of one customer (they wanted to migrate to a single system and while my day-job’s software is awesome in many ways, we don’t support all types of insurance so they made the right decision.), but hadn’t expected the loss of another customer as they had unexpectedly merged with another company.  Layoffs are always hard, both for the managers and the employees, but part of being an executive is making those kinds of tough decisions when life throws a curveball at the company.

Of the two employees, I laid off, one of them was my wife.  A lot of people would say it’s hard to lay off your spouse or family member, or say this is why you don’t hire friends & family, or maybe think that to do otherwise would show favoritism; but honestly, you have to make the best decision for everyone involved, and I thought it was the right choice.

How I came to the decision was by calculating a lot of different variables, the two most important of which was who has the most redundant skills at work and who could most easily make it to another job.  That is how I balanced my obligation to the company (removing redundant skills would have minimal effect on what we could accomplish but would limit how much we could accomplish) with my other obligation of the well-being of my employees.

My wife is a highly skilled developer in the arena of business intelligence, project management, and even just plain relational SQL.  She has a Masters Degree in Applied Statistics, four years of developing in a very complex relational database, and extensive experience managing software applications, developing training programs, and customer expectations.   Unfortunately, we didn’t use her for most of those skills, though we often wished we were at the stage in our corporate growth that we could, we just weren’t (and aren’t) there yet.   She probably was the second most advanced SQL developer in a company where EVERYONE knows and uses SQL, but that still meant that her useful skillset was somewhat redundant.   She also, I had assumed, be able to easily walk onto another job.

Unfortunately, here I am, seven months later, watching my wife struggle to find a job.  She did, indeed, find another job nearly immediately.  It was awesome, really an upgrade from working for me in many ways.  More pay, equal benefits, a work environment that was supposed to be more caring about each other.

Unfortunately, the same week that she was hired, her boss was fired and this old-school Italian guy became her manager.  This guy couldn’t stand a woman in his department, and a month later, when “HR” training of the boss didn’t work, they gave her 30 days severence and 2 months of job placement services.  I don’t know how that works, but I guess with both employees being new, she was lucky for what she got, in a right to work state, the manager technically could have just walked her to the door.

Still, its been 5 months without work, what is going on?  A few things.  First, she gets the “you’re over-qualified” a lot.  She is willing to compromise on salary, in fact, has indeed several times applied to positions with low salaries where she would have been rewarded emotionally for being able to be in a good company.  Still, I get it from the perspective of a person who hires people, you see someone so eminently qualified, the last thing you want to do is train them up, then see them be dissatisfied with their pay, and leave.

Second, she is sometimes lacking some random skillset that they’ve decided her position should have.  For example, maybe they post that they want a SQL DBA, but they really want a C# full stack developer.  She could do C#, JavaScript, whatever, but her school, her skillset, it all leads to SQL and data analysis.  If someone would hire her for lower salary as a C# person so she could get up to speed, she’d do it, but that isn’t what they want.

The previous two things happen to anyone right? Male or female, you might lose out on a position for these reasons.  This next reason is more particular to women, and I believe, particular to IT.  What I really started this to write about, is the way people react to a potential female IT employee.

When I thought she could easily get another job, it hadn’t even occurred to me that her gender would have anything to do with how easily or difficult it would be for her to get another position.  But here it is.  I see her apply, be told that she has all the right skillsets and more, only to strike out on the 3rd interview.  The 3rd interview (or sometimes 4th) is usually a personality fit interview.  This is where a bunch of people who often don’t know what you do, decide on whether or not they’d like to work with you.

My wife is a social geek.  Unlike myself, who would prefer to be in a dark room alone, she LIKES to talk.  So these personality interviews, should be good for her. In fact, she is often complimented on her social skills by recruiters, the first couple interviews (usually by the people who are testing her for her technical abilities)..Until the ‘personality’ interviews.  She seems to fumble with two primary types (who often turn out to be the decision makers over the technical people).  Female executives and non-geek male executives  For reference (in case you haven’t seen the rest of her content on this site), her particular type of Geekness is that she likes to bake, edit videos, build Legos, and yes, she likes working on tough data problems.

Here is how the interview goes: Things go well at first.  She chats, gets people chuckling, and the interviews go for a long time, even hours.  But at some point, there is a point where she sees people’s face fall and go from laughing and chatting to serious and end the interview.

“what do you like to do in your spare time?”

Anna, “baking, sewing, playing video games.  I usually bring baked treats in anywhere I work, people say they love my cake pops!”

Male executive 1, “I love treats! he he he.  I watch football”

Male executive 2, “watch basketball and football”

Male engineer 3, “work on SQL…and watch football”

Really?  Work on SQL in your spare time? Really?  I get it that you could be writing a book about SQL, could be learning new versions of SQL, or I don’t know, maybe building an application utilizing SQL.  But SQL is about “doing”, I doubt you’re “working on SQL” in your spare time unless you’re saying you don’t have any spare time and are ‘just working’.

Anyways, so then sometimes alternatively she’ll have interviews with potential female bosses.  I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but women are bitches to each other.  No, I don’t often swear, but if it is appropriate, I won’t hesitate, and in this case, I can’t describe it any other way.

In my opinion, men are hyper-competitive but are team focused.  Women are hyper-competitive, but mostly snipe at direct competitors, and they seem to often view other women as competitors.  When a woman manager interviews a potential employee, there is NO reason to tell the potential employee that they’re better in SQL than that person.  Really, there is no reason to tell ANYONE that you’re better than that person, let your results speak for themselves.

Woman executive, “So, how would you perform this Y task within X deadline?”

Anna, “{Talks about SQL} This is what I would do to focus on performance and efficiency, while still completing it within by the deadline”

Woman executive, “That’s not as good a way as how I would do it, but ok”

Anna, “How would you do it so I can know?”

Woman executive, “I don’t really do that kind of work anymore since becoming a manager”

Anna, “…”  silent thought bubble then what is your point?

Or alternatively, like in the earlier example.

woman executive, “what do you like to do in your spare time?”

Anna, “baking, sewing, playing video games. I usually bring baked treats in anywhere I work, people say they love my cake pops!””

Woman executive, “Everyone likes my baking”

Anna, “…”

Wait, did someone say that Anna’s baking is better?  Or that someone didn’t like your baking?  Did it somehow threaten your femininity by suggesting that Anna brings in baked goodies?

Well… the fact of the matter is, Anna will bake and throw away 5 cheesecakes in one day just to get one perfect one, so yes, her baking probably IS better.  But why argue about it? Why are women bitches to each other?

It isn’t like this for guys, at least not in my experience.  When a guy says he likes to play video games in his spare time, the sports guys just look sadly at the “Geek”.  But actually, in many cases, the extroverts are proud of having a “Geek” in their corner, so they get hired BECAUSE of the sad geek that they are.  They’d proudly show me off like a prized pig, this strange creature that works on fixing the toughest problems and working late nights and weekends.  I was ok that a lot of them were subtly making fun of me even as they relied on me to fix their toughest problems.  The reality is, I make more than most of those people now, by being ME, not by pretending to be something else.

And to be fair, I am similarly hard to get past the culture fit when I interview people for positions.  The fact of the matter is, if someone tells me during the “personality” fit interview, that they don’t do anything technical in their spare time, then I won’t hire them.  Period.

It doesn’t matter if they seem like a good fit, unless they’re the “only” applicant, I just won’t hire them.  If I hire someone who plays sports in his spare time, then that means I probably have to pay to train that person.  I wish I had the budget for training, but I don’t, so I really need to know that everyone is a technical enthusiast that is keeping their skills sharp.

But for women, it doesn’t seem to work that way.  I’ve given her some advice, ways to “frame” the conversation as a “yes”.  My thought process is that I don’t want to do more interviews than I need to, so really, the faster I can say “yes” and hire someone, the better, I just need a reason to, or at least no reason to say “no”.

So here was my advice to her.

“You’re from Wisconsin, you love supporting the Packers, its ok to say Go Packers!, even though you really only watch a few minutes a year”

“Talk about the technical things you do.  You spend more time in Adobe Premiere than anything else, week after week.  Say that.  Don’t just say ‘I make YouTube videos’, at least not until they ask, because visualizing someone working long hours carefully editing video gives a different perception than someone staring into a camera and talking about their day”.  (Yes, ironically I’m the one who stares into the camera and randomly talks about whatever is going on in my life, where-as Anna does focused videos specifically doing something, but I’m cool with this dichotomy).

“If you feel like the crowd is open to it, talk about the props you design, building things with your hands that look like they come from movie sets can resonate with guys”

“Don’t say anything that sounds feminine around a woman, they’re usually bitches and will think its an attack on how good they are at the same things.  Instead, talk about anything they’re likely NOT to do. “

I don’t know if I gave good advice, I hope it was.  I only gave it a few weeks ago, so only time will tell.  Be cautious before applying my advice to your situation, I gave this advice because she regularly makes it to the final interview, THEN is told that everything was great, but they just decided on someone else.  Later discussions will reveal that she was the stronger technical choice, she either was “late” (she is often submitted for a position after someone else was already the favorite) or the CEO or other executive just flat-out preferred a different candidate.  If she wasn’t making it this far, I’d give her different advice related to working on her resume or framing her skillset differently.

I still feel like she is struggling more than any guy would for the same positions.   When I laid her off, I hadn’t even taken her gender into the equation.  I assumed that her being “awesome” would be enough for her to easily find a new job.  And I think she “could” succeed at getting the same job positions in other job markets, just perhaps not easily here in Vegas.   She has been told many times that she would easily find a position in Seattle, and headhunters keep wanting to submit her to jobs there.  The reality is, we may have to look at moving to a more IT-friendly city.  

As a native Las Vegan, that depresses me, because I “wanted” to believe we were growing up as an IT-friendly city, but it feels like its still old.  We’re exploring some other options, perhaps she just isn’t getting in front of the “modern” companies, but four months is a long time, and we’re definitely considering all options.

Be wary of being part owner of a company TLDR How I lost about 30k


In 2004, me and a friend made a lot of money selling our first real house.  In 2007 I got suckered into investing in a Hollywood movie, Dark Honeymoon.

It was on netflix, I’ve since found it isn’t anymore.  Good riddance.  You might be able to find it somewhere, its an absolutely horrible movie.

Here is the IMDB: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0783501/

I love that the writer and director changed his name for this crapfest.  Yes David O’Malley, IMDB knows it was you and I’m spreading the word!  And yes, Alpine Pictures, you screwed people and I hope this post dissuades at least one person from ever investing in anything you guys do.

Watch the video how I not only lost 25k, but then paid taxes on the money I didn’t make to the tune of about another 5k.







Weekly Success List

If you’re like me, you often berate yourself for what you didn’t get accomplished any given week.  Even what you “do” accomplish, you might second guess yourself.  I feel like I ride the edge of depression constantly, only veering upwards of that black pit of despair by constantly reiterating to myself that its mostly just brain chemicals making me feel a certain way.

I can keep going, try to smile and stay productive, by constantly repeating to myself that my feelings of failure are false messages being sent by some darker portion of my psyche that is truly afraid of failure.  But I think there is more to it than just the chemicals.  I think the constant self-criticism that I use to constantly push myself to go further while a powerful driving force, is also what can start the chemical cycle that puts me in a darker mood.

So yes, the ridiculous dark emotions are probably just chemicals, but the trigger for those chemicals aren’t themselves just more chemicals (necessarily).  I’ve decided to start celebrating my successes more, internally, if not necessarily externally.  But even externally, rather than stating what I’ve done as flat accomplishments worried that if I seem too proud I’m bragging, I should be willing to be proud of what I’ve done.

I want to transform the self-criticism that I use to make what I do better into self-evaluation which performs the same role but without the negative self-attacks.

Instead of self-doubt, I want to make lists of valid risks and if appropriate, planned countermeasures so I’m ready to deal with them.

And finally, I want to make a weekly list of items I feel like are accomplishments.  I don’t think I will be posting my list up for everyone to see every week, but to start this process off, here is my first week.

  • I brought some positive business ideas that I felt were valuable to our company weekly tactical meeting
  •  I wired the upstairs guest room and our game computer with physical ethernet instead of wireless and it looks NICE and professional
  • I made a video about wiring the house up
  • I relocated our wireless access point, hiding a bunch of wires and giving all of our devices better coverage
  • While doing stucco patch after the ethernet wiring outside,  I found a deep gouge left by the previous owners that exposed internal insulation and repaired it
  • I made a vlog video I’m very happy with (today, should be live tomorrow, enjoy the butter beer shot recipe!)
  • I rearranged our audio so that the sound recorder-mixer lives attached on top of our camcorder which reduces free floating devices during shoots.
  • I removed over 300 fragments of unused code from work which coincidentally fixed at least a few different issues we were having with iPad compatibility with our application.
  • I cleaned up the wiring underneath our gaming table while I was rerouting the ethernet substantially cleaning it up.
  • I ran a GREAT (IMO) game of tabletop Shadowrun, with a much closer to reasonable level of quality I’m looking forward to uploading for every one.
    • The Best compliment was when one of the players asked if I was running my game out of a module, which, of course, I wasn’t, because I wrote the prequel here on this site.
  • The workbench I built actually proved to be a great area for organizing all of the components for the ethernet wiring.
  • I completed  my popcorn experiment paper (once I resubmit after correcting one source I had left out) which finishes another college class!  22% or so complete for my degree.
  • I finished the design of my first T-shirt, configured it to be produced, connected this site to a shopping cart to allow the t-shirt to be purchased, then purchased it.  The shirt store will be open as soon as we verify the quality is at the level of quality we expect.
  • I got a lot of compliments for the refried beans recipe I put together for the company BBQ
  • I wrote this post!

I was actually surprised how much I had gotten done this week, especially with how much I felt like I was lagging behind what I wanted to accomplish.  I’m always going to push myself to strive for the next level, but if I go through this process regularly, maybe I can be less of a taskmaster fighting my subconscious and more of a partner.

Have you tried doing something like this weekly success list? If not, I’d love to see you post a success list below!  Post whether you were surprised by the items on your list (big or little) that maybe you hadn’t considered an accomplishment.