21 April 2006

And who will train the trainers?

I was in a particularly boring training meeting at work last week. I spent a good portion of the time wondering why the people who give trainings don't have to sit through trainings of how they can be better trainers.

This line of wondering led nowhere, however, except toward a nodding head. So in order to stay awake, I started making a list of interesting words as they came into my mind. This not only proved to help keep me from nodding off, it also made it look like I was taking notes.

For your enjoyment, here is my list. Some of the words I had heard but I did not actually know the meaning of, so I looked them up later.


"Jared," you say, "some of those words are not nearly as cool as others on the list." Maybe not at first glance. If a word seems less cool, try saying it out loud. Perhaps it's just fun to say. Or, think about it linguisticly: mop, for example, is an extremely labial word. Isn't that interesting?

Also try and catch the flow of words. They appear here in the same order in which I wrote them. Some are connected to the words previous, some are not. Which ones are? What are the connections? You can have fun with this post for hours.

Why did you grow a beard?

It's a valid question; depending on whom you ask, the responses can be extremely varied.

My friend Nick, for example, would simply respond that it's because he doesn't shave three times a day (I believe he had to explain that to BYU ultimate frisbee officials on several occasions). Some will blame it on sloth, others on the need to investigate their own masculinity. Some actually think it looks good. I have my own reasons.

The first beard I grew was for a mediocre, student-written play at BYU called Faking Reality. Personally, I think we were faking quality, but I did have a good time with it. My character was a rebellious BYU drop-out, so of course he had to wear a beard. Incidentally, this role required me to carry around the much-fabled "beard card" (not actually a card, but a form letter from the Honor Code office).

One year later, in the spring of 2004, I was alone in Europe and decided the beard would return. I was hiking around by myself and I decided that the beard fit the Hiking Around Europe lifestyle.

Fast forward one more year and I again found myself in Europe. Again I grew the beard. I had come to associate an extended stay in Europe with the growing of facial hair. It just seemed to fit. I was walking around small countryside towns, riding trains, and eating lots of granola bars.

Now it is spring again, one year later. Ridiculously enough, I feel like tradition mandates a temporary beard on my face. I've done it each spring for the last three years, so why stop now? I feel a little cool with the beard, especially because it's always a rarer chin-strap variety (the real reason for this is that my mustache doesn't connect well). It reaffirms my ability to grow it and allows me to try something different for a while.

Additionally, this year's They Might Be Giants tour is entitled "Why Did You Grow a Beard?" I'll be attending a somewhat intimate concert at a DC club downtown. I'm hoping that John or John will spot me and say, "Hey, why did you grow a beard?" to which I can respond, "Because I was hoping you'd ask."

Reminiscing on a 286

I got to work on 7 April this year and found that my mouse wasn't working.The day before I had to switch offices and I took my CPU with me in order to maintain my Outlook settings, keep the stuff I had on my hard drive, etc. However, I decided to use the other computer components left to me by the previous occupant of my new desk; among other things, he left me an optical mouse. I'm no techie, but I do enjoy the smooth glide of a mouse sans ball. No cleaning, no jerky motion, no troubles.

No troubles, that is, until the day after you get it hooked up and your computer decides that it doesn't remember having the hardware installed. To make matters worse, I don't have the administrative authority on my computer to perform the simple task of installing a mouse. Add to that the fact that our IT guy doesn't get in until 10:00, and you come out with the fact that I spent three hours yesterday operating my computer by keyboard. It took a while for it to come back to me, but slowly I began to remember my family's old 286, which gave the luxury of a mouse only on certain programs. "Alt+F+S = Save! Of course!" Pretty soon I was whizzing around Windows and having a jolly time of it. I felt sort of like a deacon on a youth conference pioneer trek: I was reliving the days of the desktop pioneers! My eyes welled up a little as I thought back even further to the Commodore 64 that used to occupy my brother's room.

Things are all right now. Todd the tech came in around 10:00, failed to negotiate the installation of hardware with my computer, and gave me the consolation prize of a brand-new Dell ball-based mouse, fresh from its wrappings. It may not be an optical mouse, but somehow I'm more grateful for it.

Life imitates art

There's a guy at my work who looks exactly like the Lorax, only taller. Every time I see him I want to pat him on the head and express my deepest regret that his habitat was destroyed. It's seriously all I can do to keep from asking him if he knows he looks like the Lorax.

So I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and it made me think of the Simpsons episode when Homer gets bypass surgery. Dr. Nick isn't fully prepared because he accidentally taped-over the surgery show about bypass operations with a talk show about People Who Look Like Things.
Pumpkinhead: All we ask for is a little dignity and a
little respect.
Host: [sly] And a new candle every now and then?
Pumpkinhead: Yes, and a new -- [realizes] no!
The ironic thing about the people on the Simpsons talk show is that they all could have greatly reduced their likenesses to pumpkins, brooms, etc. by changing superficial things. Which brings me back to Monsieur Lorax. Does he know? Does he realize that if he trimmed his bushy mustache and combed his hair and improved his posture he could look more like a human and less like some fantastic endangered species? Maybe he does know all this. Maybe he maintains his appearance in order to remind us all to be enviro-friendly. I have been recycling more since I met him.

A new creative outlet and a new way to waste time

That's what this is. I'm excited to be one more unknown author in a sea of amateurs that have delusions of a widespread reader base.

In spite of my cynicism: I enjoy writing and I don't do it enough. I also happen to think (this may be a bit presumptuous) that I'm a fairly good writer; at least I can entertain.

Nobody may ever read this. People may read this and then hate it, or think I'm a poor writer and a substandard blogger. It mattereth not. This blog is more for me than anyone else; if somebody likes what I wrote, that will be a bonus.

Read on then and bask in my presumptuousness, or get out.