Brush Your Shoulders Off

If there was dust on the internet, there would be a few centimeters of schmutz here, obscuring the view. Given the current layout and widgets, that might be a blessing in disguise.

So to kick things off, let’s rock the dust off:

Now then, onto the bidness.

There are two competing questions in my head right now:

  • How much hypocrisy is tolerable?
  • What the hell am I doing with my job and my education?

First and foremost, the question of incongruous attitudes and behaviors is one that frequently comes to the fore of my thoughts. I firmly believe that everyone is going to have a little bit of dissonance (or hypocrisy) within. This is simply is part of the human condition: Anyone who says otherwise may not be that introspective. At some point, however, the dissonance is too much and something has to give. For instance, anytime a person with views to the Right of Center begins to speak, I stop listening and begin to formulate arguments. This is despite the fact that I believe I am open minded and willing to listen to people with a variety of view points. One cannot listen and formulate an argument at the same time, therefore, something is going to have to give.

To that end, I typically justify my responses by saying that current political discussions are rehashing the same theories and bogus evidence that have been pulled out over the past thirty years. Furthermore, I find the “White People/Christian Thinkers are so persecuted in America” to be the single most stupid distortion of history I have ever encounter. So if the opinions I hear are based in either a) Same old Supply Side Arguments or b) white people have it so hard the dissonance disappears fairly quickly.

And yet, I will revisit it frequently because I’m not entirely sure that’s the right thing to do.

For the second point, I’m still looking into ways to combine my degree with my job. The fact is that the public sector needs to improve its IT, whether it is knowledge management, computer systems or data policies. This means I have to write proposals for the office and find the journals to read on the topic. While I hope it leads to clarity, I am fairly convinced I’ll leave asking more questions about my direction than when I started.

In the past, blog-as-soundboard has helped out with some of these thoughts. I also know I feel better when I blog regularly. So I guess its a return to form.

On a final note, I leave everyone with the elephant in my brain: The impending release of Mass Effect 3.

Peace out.

Busy? So?


I don’t know many people who say, “Oh yeah, sure! I have all that free time!” I’m pretty sure that everyone I know is balancing work, family, friends, a project of some kind and their own recharge/slack time. I find it far too easy to fall into a pattern where I judge the quality of busy-ness. Thankfully, thoughts thoughts don’t often get the better of me, but it happens…

Take, for instance, my class mates. They frequently say they are too busy to get their part of an assignment completed. They cite their other class (or classes) and a family obligation of some sort, and I do my best to appear clinically neutral.

What i want to do is engage in a futile pissing contest. I want to scream, “oh! I’m just balancing a full class load, a difficult case load and your bullshit files!” That wouldn’t accomplish anything, let alone make me feel better.

I had Hoped that After years of working with difficult clients and families, I would have more resilience that passive-aggressive comebacks, but lately, that’s all I have. And sadly, I don’t think I’m alone.

Busy and just plain out of resilience.

What is there to do?

I have a few ideas, not the least of which is helping people (and myself) learn to cope. First and foremost, I think this:


It’s okay to be overwhelmed, distant, upset or sad. It’s okay to be mad at a friend, coworker or your country. What matters most is how we act. Most of all, we need to be okay with ourselves.

I think that’s key. And I think I have a post for tomorrow.


I’m a full time student this semester, thanks to the county board’s brilliant decision to cut services. These two survey classes, project management and enterprise tech, seem to be right up my alley. I’ll be developing a blog, writing memos and essays, and learning about business processes. I’m going to focus on tech and society, of course, and I’m going to try to spell out all of my concerns about business/consumer culture.

Cross posting is going to happen.

Honors Fraternity? Honors anything…

I was invited to join Phi Kappa Phi, an Honor (Honor’s?) Society, at DePaul. At first I thought it was an error. The first four classes I took were pre-reqs. I was informed that these classes do not count towards honors or distinction. When I received a second invitation–this one addressed to Graduate Students–I figured I should give it a shot. The entrance essay was to “Describe how you have overcome a personal challenge.” There was a 500 word limit. This is what I wrote.

Special thanks to Lauren, my cousin Jack and my beautiful bride Shannon for helping me edit this. An honorable mention to Von because she offered to help me edit (and I’m sure she’d be awesome).

The personal challenge I have faced as an adult is straightforward. When I was 27 years old my father died of chronic lymphocytic leukemia. He was 59. My mother passed away a year later, after a long battle with breast cancer. She had just celebrated her 60th birthday. Their deaths shattered the foundation of the life I had established for myself.

My father was a public defender. He was able to understand the rigors of my job in the juvenile court system without a need for constant explanation. My mother, who was a teacher, was a source of calm and inspiration. She was able to provide an empowering sense of stability regardless of her illness. Their deaths removed the foundation of my support system. Yet more painful than heir passing, I lost the chance to show my parents how their guidance and support led directly to my success. My father was not around to see me buy my condo, nor was my mother alive to see me sell it before the housing market collapsed. My parents did not meet my wife—possibly the only woman they would have ever approved of—and they will not be there if we have any children. All of these losses led me to suffer a through a bout of major clinical depression that lasted nearly three years.
Overcoming depression was not easy. At first I tried to address it myself. I would work one day at a time and channel my grief into my job. This strategy worked, but it was not a perfect solution. My job requires more than just passion for the clients, and grief requires more work than moping at home. So I changed my tactics. I forced myself to expand my social circle. While this worked, my depression made “being social” feel like another full time job. I had made some progress in addressing my grief, but I believed that I needed to do more to overcome it.

I turned to grief therapy, and this proved to be the right step. Therapy changed the way l addressed my grief. I realized that loss does not go away if one just works hard or changes their routine. Loss becomes part of who we are. Instead of overcoming my grief, I made make peace with my grief. I stopped trying to overcome grief. I accepted that I could only cope with it.

By accepting my loss, my coping methods became more effective. In fact, they became effective enough to address every issue that I face today. I know I can tackle any personal challenge, work task or class assignment because I already tackled the biggest personal challenge I will ever face. I need to apply the same methods: Channeling energy to finish grunt work, taking tie off to take care of myself and asking for help when I need it, and changing how I perceive the problem in order to solve it. This is how I learned to accept my grief. It can work to help balance the rigors of school and the demands of working in social service.

I will channel my energy and do the grunt work I need to do. I know when I need to take care of myself, so I can continue to finish what I start. I can work alone or I can ask for help. If I can learn to cope with the loss of my parents, than I can balance the rigors of school with the difficult of working in social service.

I miss my parents still. While they are not alive to witness my success or to support me as I enter a new phase in life, I am positive they would approve of my choices and my dedication to both.