Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Socially Inept Yet Social

Turns out there are actually 4 or 5 blog posts I need to write.  Here goes another.  If I get multiple written tonight I will pre-date the other's for publishing later.

I have always been somewhat socially awkward and introverted.  It can take some time for me warm up to people but once I do I can be social.  If I am at a party with people I don't know where I can't easily fit myself into the conversation, I will drift to the fringes and sit off on my own.  Lately, I have been more social though.  Almost too social.  Actually, in the last 6 months I have been more socially active than I probably was the previous 6 years.  It has actually been nice.  I have met a lot of people that I have only known virtually for a couple of years.

A couple things have made this possible.  Mostly due to more energy and more self confidence from having lost as much weight as I did.  While I certainly hadn't been completely missing out on life, I hadn't been living it as fully as I have been lately.  It has certainly be nice.  I hope to continue enjoying life this way!

Amusing Quotes from Work

On twitter, I mentioned that there were some blog posts I needed to write.  This will be the first of those.

"Why are they being so stupid" - Coworker 1, about customers IIRC

"Utilize is like use with a top hat and a monocle" - Me
We just finished going through our self-appraisal performance review documentation that contributes to if we receive promotions.  People throw a ton of manager speak and buzzwords into them because you need to if you want a chance of promotion.  'Utilize' is one that is often thrown in that doesn't really add anything though.

"[Coworker 2], your build is failing harder than Lindsey Lohan at a sobriety checkpoint" - Coworker 3
Some automated application builds were failing over and over and over again.

"You can't argue with crazy" - Coworker 4 regarding their spouse.  Enough said.

These are just the gems that managed to make it on our dry-erase boards at work.  There have been plenty more.  I will also give a shout out to or office mascot, Humphrey the Dog.  Coworker 1 accidentally set him off in the middle of the office around lunch time.  There was much scrambling to muffle the sound.  We also have a Tribble in the office that makes noise when touched/moved.  We have toyed with the idea of strapping Humphrey to the Tribble and then setting him off.  Obviously, we wouldn't be able to do that with other people in the office.

Other blog posts I need to write:
Tragedy and Gun Control Part II
Annual Performance Reviews or How I Learned to Hate Myself by Using Buzzwords (working title)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

To Blog or Not to Blog, That is the Question

I recently had a conversation with someone about what I post here and how that might affect my ability to get different jobs in the future.  Part of that conversation revolved around a generational difference, and partially personality difference.  Do I realize a potential employer could read my blog and make decisions about me based on that?  Yes.  Am I concerned about that? No.

Most of the comments I receive, either publicly or privately about my blog posts retaining to work and life are positive.  Despite my never ending bout with impostor syndrome, there are many people who value the work I can accomplish and the insight I can provide to solve problems.  Those people often share my views regarding what is "broken" in the workplace in general, and some have even tried to recruit me for other positions DESPITE my blog postings.  Why?  They are of the opinion that most of the problems I encounter are fixable and they would rather have the use of my abilities then have another person walk away to find another job.

There are also many posts I consider writing that never make it here and probably never will.  Through self-discovery, I think I have discovered the origins of my impostor syndrome, but blogging about that might make me seem spiteful to a portion of the (small) audience that reads this blog.  Part of me really wants to share those details so other's don't make the same mistakes, but at the very least I cannot due so here at this time.  If I do ever share that story with the world, it will be through another venue such as an anonymous contribution blog.

So where do I draw the line?  Why do I blog at all?

I blog because it is therapeutic for me.  It lets me get out my thoughts and is a lot cheaper than therapy, lol. By writing it in a public venue rather than keeping a personal journal offline, it also allows me to make connections to both people I know, and don't know, on a deeper level.  It may even help someone else who is going through a rough time if they stumble across my blog and see that I have gone through similar troubles in the past.  The drawing of the line is what is difficult.

I generally try not to call out specific people, just actions and ideas.  While specific people may have triggered the blog post to occur, I am generally addressing the concept and not the person because through observation I believe many people in that same position would take similar action due to the norms of society.  The "Stormed Out of My Performance Review" and "Modern Amish" blog posts were inspired by the actions of a particular person, but both blog posts can at least partially apply to many people I have worked with or for in the past.  My "Facebook, Land of the Free, Home of the Stupid" blog post was about the specific posting of one individual on Facebook, but also addressed why posts such as that are problematic as a whole both in the global view of American's and the fact it provides propaganda material to extremists.

There are times when writing a blog post really only can be related to the actions or words of a single person.  This is what is preventing me from writing my "Origins of my Impostor Syndrome" blog post.  At the heart of it, I think it is rooted in the actions of one person and there isn't any way to abstract those actions so that the identity of the person isn't known.  Many, MANY times, I have come very close to writing blog posts about those actions, but in this venue, attributable to me, I think it would cause more difficulty than any positive result of getting it out of my system.

As a closing thought I will leave you with this.  My blog is just but a glimpse into who I am.  Those who are able to get to know me in person know this.  You are free to make whatever decisions you wish about me from these posts, because  I know I have made similar decisions about people who post items that I perceive to be completely insane or ignorant. If you do end up meeting me in person, just remember that you don't know me.  You only know a portion of me.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Where's the Gas Door Part II

When I made my original post, I had no idea how deep of a rabbit hole I was going down.  I have seen arguments from the economy of fuel pump availability to it being easier for American's to get next to the pump if it is on the driver's side.  I decided to go to the source for at least one manufacturer, and I sent the following tweet to VW:
@VW excluding the built by Chrysler Routon, is there a reason all VWs have the gas door on passenger side?
Well, VW was kind enough to get back to me with their response:
@crutchmc The main reason is that if you run out of gas and have to refill on the side of the road, you are not standing in traffic.
Another +Volkswagen USA enthusiast on twitter (@HumbleMechanicagreed with one of my thoughts in my original blog post:
@crutchmc @vw and no worries about opening your door into the gas pump if you pull up too close :) #vwlove
So, while this doesn't explain the reasoning for all car manufacturers, at least one has a reason to choose which side it does, which is a good one. I may explore the reasons for other manufacturers in the future. I also like the background image on VW's twitter feed, so here is a nice screen shot.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Where's The Gas Door?

Ever wonder why your gas door is on the side of the car it is on?  I have.  Why?  Because I think about all sorts of random shit and I love cars, that's why.  I am going to write down my own thoughts and observations and then go do some research to prove/disprove my ideas in a later blog post.  I am only going to address "cars" in detail in this post, not trucks/suvs/crossovers.  I have noticed it is more common then not that those types of vehicles, especially the full size variety, are more likely to have the tank on the drivers-side.

Domestic Market Passenger's Side:

All 5 European cars I have owned have had the gas door on the "domestic market" passenger-side.  That appears to be the case across the board too. BMW, VW/Audi, Mercedes, and Volvo are on the driver's right, and Mini is on the driver's left (since it is "British").  The same appears to be true for Japanese car brands.  Toyota/Lexus and Honda/Acura place their tanks on the driver's left.  Ford tends to adhere to this train of thought as well on it's "world" models but the Crown Vic/Town Car/Grand Marque were on the opposite side.  (I think that is so the older and professional drivers that drive them don't have to walk around the car to fill up).

I have a couple theories on this, but the most likely is so that when you pull into a gas station, you stay to the same side of the lanes of pumps that you would while driving on the road.  It has the added benefit of allowing you to pull closer to the pump and not worry about banging your door into the pump when you get out to fuel up.

Copy Cats:

Hyundai and Kia aimed for their near-by neighbors from Japan as a target for success.  They have developed loftier goals now (Aiming for Mercedes, BMW, and Lexus) but seem to still follow the Japanese brands on gas tank door location opting for the Driver's left even though Korea is a Left-Hand-Drive nation.

Cluster Fuck:

GM is a cluster fuck.  Some on one side, some on the other.  It isn't even a clean break between the imported from overseas models vs built in North America.  I think GM did it to cater to the fat lazy American's so we wouldn't have to walk around the car to fill up.  Just a guess.  As for the ones on the passenger-side, they might be more world-car type models geared to be sold outside the US.

I don't have any idea about Dodge because I don't pay enough attention.

So, in a future blog post, I will look into how wrong I was at least about the convention of which side the gas door is on.