Tap My Mind

A Blog by Scott Isaacs

Tag: Personal Page 3 of 19

Family Pictures

Tomorrow we are having family pictures of sorts.  Actually, we are having an ultrasound.  Hopefully by mid-morning we’ll know if our next child will be a boy or girl.  Hopefully we will have full cooperation.

UPDATE: It looks like we will be having another daughter.  Due to a mix up with scheduling, though, we will get another chance to take a peek in a couple weeks.  Hopefully the ultrasound tech will get a clearer view then and not have to make her "best guess".

Finding Passion

Passion is elusive.  It’s sneaky and slippery.  It hides and taunts you.  For those lucky enough to have found it, you are truly fortunate.  For years now, I’ve been looking for something to be passionate about.  Something I could really devote myself to.  Something I would be willing to do even if I wasn’t being paid.

All this time, I’ve been looking in the wrong place.  I’ve been hunting passion at work; that’s not where it is.  I’ve tried devoting myself to the job, making sacrifices and working hard, but I always felt like something was missing.  It’s been such a struggle for me that I’ve seriously been thinking about finding a new career.  The problem is that I just don’t know what else to do.

As it turns out, the passion has been just off to the side, right in plain view, but not where I was looking.  I’ve always enjoyed working with the WI .NET Users Group and wished that I could do it for a living somehow.  Now while working on GiveCamp MKE, I think I’ve found the passion I’ve been looking for.  There’s something about organizing something with the sole purpose of benefiting someone else that satisfies me.

The really cool thing, though, is that once you find passion, you can take it with you where ever you go.  I can now feel passionate about work as well (working at a great company helps by the way).  Things are different all around once you’ve found passion.

If you are feeling unmotivated and complacent, keep looking.  Passion is there — just maybe not where you think it should be.  Maybe in a few months I’ll have to write about Maintaining Passion?  Let’s see how successful I can be at that.

RTLB #1: Always Assume Good Intentions

"Rules to Live By" (RTLB) is a new series that I will occasionally be writing here on my blog.  Like every other professional, in every other field, over the years I’ve picked up a lot of things that make my life easier, both professionally and personally.  Most of these things can be summarized in a sentence or two, and I’ve decided to call them Rules to Live By (original, I know).  As much as any other reason, they are here to remind myself of things that I’ve decided to believe in, even if I don’t feel like it one day.

Without further ado, I present RTLB #1:

Always assume good intentions.

This one is not always easy, but I’ve found myself doing this for many years, and it has become second nature.  If I find myself in the situation where someone says or does something that could be offensive in some way, I stop and think, "They didn’t mean it the way it came out."

Most people aren’t intentionally mean-spirited.  Sure, some people are just rude, arrogant, selfish morons, but that is rare.  It is unlikely that they meant to offend me with that comment or action.  There is almost definitely some circumstance I am not aware of that is causing this.  Almost always it is a miscommunication somewhere along the way, on my end or theirs, or both. 

Yes, sometimes it’s my own fault.

Realizing this, it helps keep me from getting unnecessarily angry and reacting in a way that makes things worse, or from sitting and grumbling silently to myself or peers.  Staying calm and humble by assuming the problem is very possibly my own fault, I can often approach the person and work through whatever issues there are, and in the end, we are all happy.

So there you have it, Rule to Live By #1.  I welcome any comments or feedback.  If you have your own rules to live by, I’d love to hear about them.

GiveCamp MKE

I’m very excited to announce that we are planning the first ever GiveCamp in the Milwaukee area: GiveCamp MKE.  In fact, it’s one of the first GiveCamps anywhere.

"What’s a GiveCamp?", you ask.  In short, it is an opportunity for developers, designers, DBAs, project managers and anyone else involved in the software development process to give back to the community.  And we do it by doing what we know how to do best — building software.  We will soon be accepting applications from various charities for software that they need.  It could be anything from a website to a data collection app to a mailing list manager or anything else.  For more information about the whole GiveCamp concept, and to see what other communities have had (or are planning) GiveCamps, please visit the official GiveCamp site.

We’ve been putting a lot of time into this over the last couple weeks, but we’re still not quite there.  Please bear with us as we continue to finalize things, including the website itself as well as more info about the GiveCamp MKE event.  Rest assured that we will be making regular updates to the GiveCamp MKE site, so please check it often or subscribe to the RSS feed to make sure you don’t miss anything.  I’m sure I will also post major updates here as well.

I am very excited about this, and how things are shaping up.  Remember that conference call I wrote about a couple weeks ago?  That was about this.  I just wish I could put all of the things I want to say into words tonight before I fall asleep, but that might take me a couple hours.  :)  So keep checking back here and at the GiveCamp MKE site, and I’ll eventually get it all out there.

If you have any questions or comments, please don’t hesitate to let me know, or to use the contact form on the GiveCamp MKE site.

Four Eyes

I’m wearing glasses now and I don’t know how I feel about that.  I have nothing against glasses.  In fact, I prefer when my wife wears her glasses over her contacts.  I just don’t know how I feel about having them on my own face.

I only need to wear them, for the most part, when I’m working (close range, eye strain, etc.).


I should make sure I keep that roll of masking tape nearby, just in case…

Working From Home

As part of my new job, I will be working from home one day per week.  Now that I’ve been there for a couple weeks, my first work from home day will be tomorrow.

Over the next several weeks, I’ll be trying to make improvements to my home office, including deciding which room to use.  We built a den/office in the house, but I’m thinking it might not be ideal.  It’s in the main area of the house, and the doors have windows, making it very easy for Charlize to see Daddy and want to come visit.  So the current thought is to setup a small work area in the spare bedroom, which is in the back part of the house.  It has a heavy, solid core door, which is typically closed throughout the day anyway.  So Charlie will probably never know that I am even in there.  For tomorrow, though, I’ll probably be in "my chair" in the living room.  Charlie and Mommy will be over at Grandma’s house for most of the day.

In the past I’ve worked from home a day or two here and there, but never on a scheduled, regular basis.  If any of you work from home, I welcome your suggestions.

Beginner’s Luck

Last night my in-laws came over to visit for a while and we decided to play Yahtzee.  Of course, Charlie was immediately interested in the dice and the cup, so we let her have a turn rolling.  In one turn (three rolls) she had rolled a Yahtzee (five 6s)!  On her next turn she rolled four 5s in a single roll!  She had a number of other high-point rolls throughout the night (in between playing with a jar of ink pens, some blocks and Little People), but I think the best part for her was when we would all cheer when she rolled something good.  And that seemed to happen a lot. 

Beginner’s luck?

Work Soundtrack

This happens to me on a regular basis — probably every other month or so.  I get tired of the music I have on my iPod.  So I’m looking for suggestions.  What music helps you get your job done?  Sometimes I need something nice and mellow to get myself into the right frame of mind, and sometimes I need something I can turn the volume up to drown out the background noise.  Sometimes vocals are good, sometimes they are distracting.  Unfortunately, streaming sites don’t work from the office, so things like Pandora are out.  Looking forward to your suggestions.

Blog Recategorization

As I mentioned earlier, I was bored tonight.  Rather than visiting MySpace I decided to do a little work on the categories I use in my blog.  I didn’t remove any categories, but I did add a few.  As of right now, all of my posts are tagged as either Personal, Professional or both.  I don’t have any hard fast rules for how I’m going to apply these, but here is the gist of it.  If it’s something my wife, parents, other family or non-techie friends may want to know, it’s Personal.  If it’s something I want to share with coworkers, colleagues, community, or pretty much anyone else, it’s Professional.

So, if by chance you prefer to subscribe to a filtered feed you can use one of the following RSS feeds:

Of course, you can still subscribe to the full feed.

So there you go.  A somewhat-almost-semi-productive use of the last 2 hours.

This Is The Life

I’m sitting in the living room listening to recorded music on our DVR because both tuners are recording right now, so I can’t watch live TV, and of course we have nothing recorded that I want to watch.  So I am playing the recorded chunk of the music station that we record so that we can play it when both tuners are busy and we want to play music as we get our daughter ready for bed.  Yeah, I know.  That’s a long description and it sounds weird, but that’s what I’m doing.

Oh yeah, I also have a petrified scared 15 pound dog in my lap, panting and shaking because someone set of a firecracker outside 45 minutes ago.  I gave her a tranquilizer (she has a prescription — seriously) but it hasn’t done anything.

I’ve read all the blogs I subscribe to.  I’ve checked my e-mail.  I’m caught up on Twitter.  I’ve even read tweets from friends of friends of friends.

I’m sitting here bored, listening to recorded "baby go to sleep" music, with a shaking dog in my lap.

Oh yeah, and it’s 9:45 on a Saturday night.

This is the life.

Maybe I should check out MySpace now.

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