Well, I didn't get the promotion that I interviewed for on Oct 5.  I'd like to say it was a complete surprise, but alas, it was not.  In the last week or so, I've become increasingly skeptical of my chances of success...although I can't really point to a specific reason or event that brought me to that conclusion.  As I sat in the Director's office and was given my feedback, I saw this in a long line of successive losses and setbacks.

In the last year and a half or so: I've divorced, lost two grandparents, lost my father, had several relationships fail pretty quickly, had to distance myself from people I care about deeply, and my friends in Denver turned on me severely after I got home for reasons beyond my comprehension.  It feels like anything I'm really interested in is just beyond my grasp.  My heart feels calloused, yet I feel like weeping on a regular basis.  I am a man of mixed emotion.

One of the pieces of feedback I was given was that I build great professional relationships, but I don't have much of a personal relationship with leaders at the center.  That surprised me at first, but the more I think about it the more it makes sense.  At home, I struggle with sadness and the quietness that often surrounds me.  I don't want to drag that to work with me.  Work is the place I go to be among people that care about me and a place I am appreciated.  Coupled with the fact I work late and am off for two days during the week and, well, I guess folks don't have a sense of who I am.  The Director called me a 'best kept secret'.  My shift changes to 6-3 Monday thru Friday in December, so that dilemma will solve itself partially.

Sorry to whoever reads this.  I feel like it's one long complaining session.  I'm healthy.  I have family.  I have friends.  I have a stable job.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  My reaction to this is just as important as anything else, and I'm not going to do anyone any favors by crossing my arms and grousing about it.


Plane Ride

It seems like I hardly sit down to write about my world anymore unless I’m either A) someplace new or B) stuck with nothing else to do.  I am sitting in a chair in the sky en route to Chicago for my employer’s annual Culture Survey meeting.  Every leader in the company flies up to learn how we’re doing and what our game plan is for the next year.  It’s a great time to reconnect with people I don’t see that often.

I thrive in a social environment.  Well, that’s not entirely true.  I can feel very alone and isolated in a crowd, but if I know at least one person I am usually able to use that to catapult myself to a level of comfort and outgoingness and I have a wonderful time.  An event like this is highly enjoyable for me.  I have no problem approaching someone like the CEO of our company and talking for a few minutes.  Even on this flight, Senator Tom Coburn is sitting two seats in front of me.  If I wasn’t surrounded by coworkers (and a few folks above me) I’d really enjoy talking to him and gaining a greater understanding of the political system from his perspective, knowing how vastly different he views many social policies.  But, rather than stir up anything, I just sit quietly and type.

It’s places like this I’m once again struck by the American idea that mass transit means not talking.  One of the little cultural things I picked up on when I returned home from traveling was that people on planes, trains, and buses rarely talk to one another here.  Even on this flight, where the vast majority of the passengers are U.S. Cellular peers, people aren’t talking.  Silence is contagious.
Although I don’t think I’m going to have the time to see downtown, it’ll be nice to be traveling again.  Even on business, I am always excited to board a plane and set down in a new place.  This will be my second time in Chicago for this event and I expect it to be no less exciting than last year.  Though I did catch myself saying ‘at the Con’ when referring to this trip to a friend.  It won’t be nearly THAT exciting.

The drink cart is coming; time for my ritualistic ginger ale.  Maybe I’ll try to strike up a conversation with my neighbor again.  The airline magazine can’t be THAT interesting, after all…



It's popular to hate the Titanic.  Not the ship itself or the historical account of the disaster on April 14, 1912...but the 1997 Hollywood epic motion picture.  So popular, in fact, that it's not a film I often quote when talking about my favorite movies because I know it's inviting a conversation of defense.  However, I am indeed a big fan of the picture, and there are many reasons why.

Whenever folks think about Titanic, most people think of the romantic story between Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet.  It's a familiar construct that recalls the star-crossed story of Romeo and Juliet.  I'm not a big romantic movie fan; although I do enjoy many aspects of that piece of the film, it's not the big draw for me.  The big draw for me are all of the supporting characters, the ones that really existed in history, and the character of the ship itself.

I became fascinated by the Titanic maritime disaster when I first learned about it, which had to be around 1995.  I wrote papers and did my own studying before the Internet existed as it does today.  An adventure game was released for the computer in '96 and I devoured it.  I loved seeing the settings I'd read about and seen in the classic '50s films in fully-realized computer graphics.  I got to interact with the environment and have a part in a story that carried the foreshadowing of knowing how the story ended, but not how we got there.

The film, of course, took those emotions and my sense of wonderment to a completely new level.  I knew how historically accurate the sets were because I knew what the ship had looked like.  I knew the names of the players and, of course, I knew the ship sank.  But that's not the point of this movie.  It's knowing the ship is going to sink and having that color the story beforehand.  It's also a commentary on the social class structure of the time and a look at the world before the horrors of the first World War reached out and changed everything.

I understand why some folks don't like the movie.  That's perfectly fine; I totally get it.  But right now, I'm curled up on my couch with a cup of coffee while the new Blu-Ray plays in the background.  It's a great way to spend a cold Saturday morning.  Even if my eyes water a little just at the special features...