April 21, 2017

Taboo Suspense Music (extended version)

I love the FX show Taboo and this theme. I couldn't find it anywhere in the internets, so I made this with GarageBand for iOS. 

March 10, 2017

It Still Takes a Village

It’s interesting how humans act and react to each other and situations.  We can be so fickle.  We can get our feeling hurt over seemingly little things.  One minute we can be friends with someone, and the next we can be angry at something said to us or about us.

In my line of work, the Type-A personality is most common; and it’s needed.  I deal with bad people and have to be an authority figure, strong and decisive, almost all the time.  There are opportunities that present themselves to show empathy for a situation my “customers” get themselves into.  (Just the other night, for example, one of them came and explained the death of his son to me.  With tears in his eyes, this guy told me about how he felt responsible for a car accident that injured and ultimately took the life of his 13 year old boy.)  But most of the time, I have to direct and order these “customers” to do particular things to keep the facility running smoothly and on schedule.

And the rest of the people I work with have to lead in the same way, causing the potential for more conflicts among ourselves.  All these strong willed, opinionated, Type-A people, working in close quarters for 12+ hours at a time, will and does cause drama.  One minute everyone is getting along, and in seconds all hell can break loose.  One person may perceive another is not working or is not doing a particular task well.  Other times, someone thinks something is being done completely wrong or in an inefficient way.  Or someone says something about one person that is then spread to others, and then feelings are hurt and defense mechanisms come up.

Now, being in my forties and having managed upwards of 75 employees, I can take a step back and use the conflicts as learning experiences.  I also try and point coworkers to the same mindset.  Don’t get me wrong, I can be overly sensitive and worried about what another person says about me or to me.  But, I don’t want to be that way.  I want to feel secure in who I am and what I do, and to be able to learn from people and situations that typically make me insecure.

It’s about making the best of a situation.  Whether it’s a bad situation to learn from or a misunderstanding to straighten out, it’s important for all involved to stay sane and to take the opportunity to grow and learn and change when needed.  If we get to full of ourselves, we lose.  If we get too judgmental of others, we lose.  If we aren’t honest with others and ourselves, we lose.  It’s important to remember, we are all imperfect creatures.  We all have something to learn from each other.  Just because we are no longer children, it doesn’t mean it no longer "takes a village."

January 5, 2017

It Was A Rough Night In The County Jail

It was a normal night, working in the county jail.  We had a full staff, allowing me to work as a rovering officer for the evening, free to move about the facility to assist in any fashion I deemed needed. I was productive, while not finding the work too strenuous.

As the half way point of my shift approached, with all the inmates off to bed, dreaming of freedom while snoring and relieving bodily pressures, I knew the opportunity had arrived to take advantage of the facility’s gym equipment.  Leg day seemed the best course, as its place in the rotation of my routine had arrived months ago.  First up, sumo squats. One set, then leg lifts. A second and third set, with leg lifts following each. I moved on to lunges. First set down.

Then it happened. It got hot but I couldn't sweat. I got nauseous. I put my cold water bottle on the back of my neck. It didn't result in the desired outcome. Hotter and hotter; I could feel myself getting overheated.  I moved into the locker room to splash cold water on my neck and face. I finally began to sweat; only it wasn't a good sweat. I began to shake. Hotter and still hotter, my core temperature was reaching the all to critical boiling point. Beads of sweat began to pour down my face. Shaking and sweating and nauseous, I moved to the trash can.

I felt my stomach and chest heave as the contents therein began to fill the trash can. The sound of my heaving filled the locker room and moved out into the weight room. My partner, concerned for my well-being, rushed to my rescue only to find me in a state of distress he was not equipped to assist in. Wanting to help, he asked questions to determine a course of action he could take. But I was unable to answer, as still more evacuation of my innards were spilled into the restroom's receptacle.

Minutes went by as my body began to relax back into a state of control. As I slowly recovered, I began to tell him I'd be alright, all the while realizing my pride would not be so quick to relinquish the shame I felt. Okay, yeah. I puked at work. #embarrassing #fatty

December 23, 2016

Tanner Foust Does Gymkhana Better, Quantum Leap Still

I loved the show Quantum Leap.  I loved the American version of Top Gear.  I love cars and driving skills on display.  I think Tanner Foust is talented and funny.

In case you don't know what Quantum Leap was, here's the intro I found:

October 21, 2016

iPhone 7 Plus vs. Google’s Pixel Phone

With the announcement of Google's Pixel phone, I really debated going back to an Android device. And while this would be my third attempt, this time I think Google has the hardware and software dialed in to truly take on the iPhone.

vs. I

Let me first start with a review of my iPhone 7 Plus (and the fact I can review “my” iPhone 7 Plus tells you which phone I went with). Of course, the decision to go with the iPhone was made easier because I’m stuck in the Apple Upgrade Program, and I can't just get out of that contract without waiting two years or paying a bunch of money at once. Also, Google announced the Pixel would be coming out exclusively on the Verizon network, which is not my carrier and cannot become my carrier due to coverage issues. I have; however, read some reviews that the unlocked version of the Pixel can be ported to any carrier, but I have not been able to confirm that through Google’s Pixel phone website. But here's my review of the iPhone 7 Plus:

I went with the jet black iPhone 7 Plus, which is beautiful. I love the look, I love the color, and I love the feel in my hand without a case. As a pianist, I love that it matches my grand piano and the black keys. I'm actually going caseless, because the Apple Upgrade Program comes with Apple Care Plus. Apple Care Plus now has a screen replacement cost of only $29, which is reasonable and cheaper than most cases you can buy. I've also noticed the longer battery life; although, I'm coming from a 6S, not a Plus (smaller phone, smaller battery). I love the new cameras, with its wide angle lens and a 2x optical zoom lens, although I think it should be more like 4x optical zoom. The phone is fast, responsive, and it is a great device.

But, it has its issues. I don't like the new home button. It's not a button anymore. It just a force touch area that works with the tactile feedback mechanism, vibrating to let you know you've pushed hard enough. The button doesn’t actually move, but the tactile feedback it gives is supposed to make it feel like it moved. In my opinion, it doesn't give enough feedback. Another issue I've found involves pulling on my facial hair when I put the phone up to my ear and on my cheek.  To me, this makes it seem like the phone may struggle to be as water resistant as Apple claims. If my facial hair can get caught between the frame and glass, water will be able to seep in. And, another issue…I'm bored with iOS. The software is good, but it’s the same as always. Often, I actually think of this as a good thing because it means they've done a lot to make the phone functional and feature rich, the way we want. But I'm bored with it. One other flaw I see is on the back of the device. There is a camera bump. Why? Because of The Anorexic iPhone Problem. I wish Apple and other phone manufacturers would stop trying to make their devices thinner and thinner.

The thing Google did right with the Pixel phones is to offer the two different models, a 5 inch model and a 5.5 inch model, with the same performance specs. Both have the same processors. Both have the same cameras. Google offers two sizes, but equal performance. The only limitation is battery size, based on overall phone real estate. With Google’s Pixel, you don't have to get the bigger phone just to get all a better feature; unlike Apple, who put the better camera system only in the bigger phone. I went with the iPhone 7 Plus because I wanted the better camera, not because I wanted the bigger screen. In fact, I hate the size of the Plus. I don’t want the bigger phone. After using it for a week, I’m not even sure the camera zoom feature is worth it.

So, here's my wrap-up and recap: The iPhone 7 Plus is a great phone, but for me it’s too big. The 2x zoom doesn’t offset the size for me. The Pixel is Google’s strongest move toward a device that will battle the iPhone’s success. I wish I was able to get out of the Apple Upgrade Program or have the patience to wait it out with a device for two years, so I could move over to the new Google flagship.

October 14, 2016

10 Things I'm Thinking About, and I Want to Return to Blogging

10 things I'm thinking about:

01.  The election: making a case for the lesser of two bad options
02.  Mid-life crisis: what I want vs. what I need
03.  Religion vs. Faith: actions vs. belief
04.  Technology: where it is vs. where it should be
05.  Career choices: enjoyment vs. compensation
06.  Parenting: almost 10 years in
07.  The USA: end times or just a rough patch
08.  Work ethic: is it dead
09.  Morality: is it dying
10.  Truth: perception vs. reality

I want to return to blogging:

I really miss writing my blog.  And, while it's really just for me (because I don't have an established purpose, or audience, or skills in writing), it's good practice for what I do at work.  Writing is a big part of my duties again, and writing a good report about a given incident is crucial.  The reader needs to understand the who, what, when, where, and why, and they need to understand all the resulting actions taken.  I need to "paint the picture" of events that occurred.

The items listed above are some of the things I've been thinking about as topics for the blog.  It's interesting to me that these are not the typical topics I originally wrote about when I used to blog.  Most posts from the decade+ of writing I've done are on the topics of automotive, beverages, technology, the Bible, or random rants about this or that.

Above are some of my ideas for where I may focus in the future, along with my previous post titled: 20 Things Currently Annoying Me.  The latter would be the typical negatively themed topics James Guhn writes about.  I mean, if you look back at my Twitter feed, it's a pretty negative place.  There's some good stuff too, but there is a lot of complaining about how things should be or how they "could be better if..."

Currently with the shift work I do, there is a lot more time I could spend writing about all sorts of things.  I now work 4 days one week and 3 days the next, giving me 3 and 4 days off each week to sit around being lazy.  Instead, I could be using my time to improve my writing style, while giving my opinions with more details and depth that my 140 character tweets allow.  

Previous posts that still excite me are my "If I Were CEO" and "My Bright Ideas" post.  These posts, as examples, give me things to look at years later for implementation in reality.  I get to see how companies take these ideas (probably not from me, but their own research) and implement them.  Microsoft is an example of a company that seems to have read my blogs on what I'd do if I were their CEO (here).

But I digress.  I want to write more.  I'll say, "I'm going to write more."  I just hope I use my time to do this more often.  Stay tuned (he said to himself).