Archives March, 2010

25 March
Chris Arends

Spring is a wonderful time of year. The temperature rises, the days get longer and the annual greening of the world begins.  I have never figured out though why the first thing that comes up in my yard is the weeds instead of the grass? As usual the weeds have come up full force encouraged by the perfect alternation of rain and sun. As usual my wife asks me when I am going to start pulling the weeds so they don’t multiply and slow down the grass.

Most people see weeds as a bad thing,  My wife is one of them.  She hates to see them in the lawn so she gets after me to get rid of them. Since we are trying not to use herbicides this means pulling them.   Normally this is something  I despise. My wife thinks that since I grew up on a farm I have a genetic hatred of  weeds and have a need to have a perfect yard,   She has since learned differently, as I have no real drive to have the immaculate emerald lawn that she thinks all men want. The one thing my wife has figured out is that pulling weeds for me is a bizarre type of therapy – even if I don’t like doing it. So she has been subtly prompting me to get out and pull weeds. Her prompting,  although you could almost call it nagging, is a good thing.

Green Devils

The weeds are her nemesis. So being married to her and a former farm boy she assumes they are naturally mine too. Like most men, I don’t particularly like being told what to do especially in my spare time. I also hate the fact that once I get started pulling weeds I will go till my fingers are sore and bleeding as there always seems to be more weeds than I can pull.  My wife also takes advantage of my obsession for her own personal gain.  Funny how wives learn to get what they want from their husbands.

Man on a mission

This year though the weeds are bringing a new perspective to me.  My urge to control the weeds is particularly strong this year.  It may be the over abundance of them or maybe that I have more time on my hands or maybe it just gives me another excuse to be out side.  What  ever the reason they seem to be making me happy this year.  They have given me  a new goal that I can make progress against every day.  Even though they keep coming I know I can make the yard look better everyday by going out and getting even just a few of  them.  As an added bonus, the cleaner the yard looks,  the happier my wife is,  which as every husband knows is key to a good marriage.

One thing I wish the weeds could do is get my neighbors out in the yard more.  We could get to know them better if they cared about the weeds in their yard as much as my wife.  With as many weeds as they have in their yard, we would be best friends in a matter of days.  Out there in the fresh spring air, fighting a common enemy – the weed.

Come on by

As I said this year is an especially abundant crop of spring weeds.  So if you drive by our house you will likely see one of two things. Either me on my hands and knees with a pile of pulled weeds next to me or a perfect dead grass lawn waiting to be green again with out a weed insight.

22 March
Chris Arends

Just saw a video of Dharmesh Shah at SXSW and online marketing. It is a good video especially for a coder. He brought up a great point. While everyone can keep doing the same thing everyday we all owe it to ourselves to find our super power. He goes into it briefly but I will give you my take.

Everyone is good at something. Maybe not the best in the whole world but better than most people. While some talents can be more valuable than others, to be truly happy we must find our super power and find a way to use that to its full potential.

Why do we all need to know our super power?  Typically when we are good at something we like to do it. Being good at something gives us some measure of success, whether it is money, fame, fortune, or what ever.

Being good at something makes us happy.  I am reading the book “Crowdsourcing” and it talks about how amateurs are doing things better than professionals/academics because they love to do it, not necessarily because they get paid to do it. This love of doing something will make you happier than almost any amount of money. Can I prove that? Yes many studies have shown that money can’t buy happiness but doing what you love can.
What is my super power? Great question. I can’t say that I have just one. I see my self as more of a MacGyver than a . Meaning I have good overall skills, I am comfortable with technology and people and combine both of them to be very good at making good things happen for the companies I work for.

I had a recruiter tell me we live in a world where specialization is key. Which sounds very Adam Smith and may be true in organizations over 100 people. Many organizations can’t afford a superman in every job. They need a Macgyver who can come in an take on different challenges and come up with a smart solution that leverages the resources at hand instead of needing a lot of specialized gadgets.

How do you find your superpower?  I guess the main thing is to ask your self what are you good at?  What makes you happy?  Figure out how that can help someone else solve a problem and you have your super power.

Today’s No Job Joy is that everyone has a super power.

14 March
Chris Arends

Get out of the way!!!

I was out on a ride this weekend when the weather was beautiful.  As it was a nice spring day it was one of those days where you want to go as fast as you can.  The bad thing is when the weather is nice everyone is riding around the lake. On one long stretch of road it is normal for cars to have to slow down for cyclists. This is good for safety but annoying if you are a faster rider. Yesterday though I found a bright side.

Being early in the season my legs can take the distance but probably aren’t really ready for 3 hard laps. These slower riders yesterday served a purpose. Because cars are thankfully cautious when passing these slower riders,  they made me slow down when I would have hammered all the way and been totally burned early in my ride. Them making me slow down was better for my ride as it let me recover to ride hard when I had clear road and go harder longer.

Why are you stopping?

As I was finishing up my third lap of the lake, I was coming up a short but steep hill. In front of me was a an older driver. She drove slowly up the hill. Her speed was okay as I was at the end of my ride and not really going to blow by her anyway.   As she came to an intersection where she didn’t have to stop, she did anyway.  Admittedly I was initially a bit annoyed as I had started cramping up the hill and didn’t  want to have to stop. Another rider coming up the hill yelled at her to get moving.  Then I thought about others who may be on the road with her in front of her.  If she didn’t stop what would happen to them.  So if I was inconvenienced for just a second and it saved someone later because she stops that is okay.

Never Mind

The next week I was once again out on a beautiful day. I came up behind a convertible with the top down.  As I got closer I had to slow down again as the drive either didn’t know where they were going or was unconcerned about other people on the road.  At first I flashed back to my previous ride and thought of the benefits of letting people go slow. As I got closer and realized it was a larger, older man, in a Miata with his shirt off with a hairy back. I have since changed my tune. Get out of the way or at least put a shirt on.

Enjoy the spring.

9 March
Chris Arends

Following the days of the week is just one value of Facebook posts. I have  found another one. TV listings.

By watching your Facebook posts you can see what nights TV shows are on. I now don’t need to look up shows in the guide.  Just check Facebook and either the Fan page ( if I like the show) or my friends will tell me how excited they are for the next episode.You can also find out who everyone likes or hates on Survior, American Idol or what ever reality show you are into.

Not to be out done the fans of Glee, 24, Lost and others will let you know when their show is on.  The funny thing is you can find out some things about people you would have never guessed.  For example the captain of my high school wrestling team is a fan of Desperate Housewives.  Who knew?

One thing to watch out for though is if you are watching the show you can’t post about the show or your friends who are recording it or are in a later time zone will hate you for giving up the ending, especially if it is reality TV or a season finale.

Nielsen ratings has no need to spend time on all those expensive surveys and equipment to monitor viewership. They  just need to monitor Facebook.  Looking at the demographics, these are the people that advertisers want and they are willing to participate in any number of surveys and games to let them know how much they watch and who they like or hate.

So now that it I am done with my post for today it is time to see what’s on.

8 March
Chris Arends

Well its Monday morning. Time to check Facebook and see what all my friends did this weekend and how much they hate Monday.

Facebook is a wonderful thing in that it lets people connect and share what is going on in their lives. The funny thing is that you can know what day of the week it is by the type of posts on Facebook, for example.
-Monday – Great weekend, weekend too short, I hate Mondays,
– Tuesday – Is it Friday yet? Crazy week, how did I get so behind this early in the week.
-Wednesday – Is it Friday yet?, Its only Wednesday, How am I going to survive this week?, I am in conference call/meeting hell
– Thursday – Is it Friday yet?, its almost the weekend, One more day till vacation/holiday/Friday or looking forward to girls night out.
-Friday – TGIF!!, looking forward to busy/relaxing/kids gone/kids home/sporting event/concert
-Saturday Morning – Got up way to early to get kids to sports/work in the yard or relaxing with paper and coffee
-Saturday night – exhausted from working in the yard/kids sports, way to go “name of child here” on great game/competition, date night with significant other, spouse or headed out to party.
– Sunday morning – over slept late for church, that was a great concert/game/date, relaxing with Sunday paper and coffee
– Sunday afternoon – Ready for big game!!, Go “insert favorite team here”,
-Sunday night – What a great weekend, is the weekend over already, Do I have to go to work tomorrow? What happened to my weekend?, the alarm clock is going to go off way too early tomorrow, getting on a plane again.

Have a great week. Don’t worry, the weekend will be here in 5 days.

5 March
Chris Arends

Well today I have reached a blogging milestone.  This the 100th post to my blog.

Originally started as a way to keep me focused on a positive attitude during my job search I have found it has been helpful in other ways.

For those of you struggling in your job search or just needing a better attitude I would recommend blogging.  It will help you get your mind straight.  The process of looking for something worth blogging about which is also positive has helped me focus on the good things that are happening to me and those around me. I’m not sure how many people are even reading it and that doesn’t matter to me. The process of expressing a positive thought is very therapeutic.  As I learned of people reading my blog it has motivated me even more to post regularly and make sure I have good content.

I have recently moved the blog to wordpress in the domain so I can do more with it. It also helps me understand social media better as I continue my job search.

Blogging has also helped with my writing skills. For you job seekers I know you get tired of customizing every resume and cover letter so writing more is the last thing you want to do.  As with any other skill the more you practice the better you get and the more effective you become.  I hope you have found this to be true if you have followed the blog.

With this all said I would like to thank everyone who has read my blog so far and encourage you to tell your friends especially those who need a lift.   I will keep on writing. I hope you keep on reading and please help your friends who don’t have jobs.  They need you for  contacts, leads for jobs and most of all as friends.

4 March
Chris Arends

I have talked several times about the need to get exercise and how it can help you have a more positive attitude. Nowhere is this more obvious than in Dallas this week.

The sun has come out and every one is just happier. Flowers are starting to poke their heads out of the ground and people are smiling at total strangers for no reason.

For me this week with the sun being out not having a job not only gives me the time to ride and get my vitamin D, I also get a jump start on my cycling tan.

Enjoy the sun.

4 March
Chris Arends

I posted earlier this year about how I am going to practice a bit of leave no trace on my bike rides.  So each time I ride I pick up one piece of trash.   I have noticed since I am now on the look out for trash what people leave behind.  You might think of junk food containers but really it isn’t.   I have picked up at least 5 cigarette packs  since the first of the year.

The good news for me is they are lighter and smaller than the beer and soda containers  so they fit in a jersey pocket better.  The bad thing is that people who can’t take care of their bodies apparently can’t pick up after them selves either.  My advice to them – quit smoking, and the world will be a cleaner place,  you will live longer and enjoy it more.

Just to prove how many there are I plan to do a leave no trace ride where I pick up all the cigarette packs I find in the 10 miles around the lake.

Stay tuned.

1 March
Chris Arends

Well, last post I mentioned that some new things were in store for More than Half Full.

This week we start a transition to a new web site. Here you will find the blog and some areas that will have new more than half full content on them.

Why the change? More than half full is a work in progress and a simple blog is too limiting to some of the ideas I have. Also upgrading to WordPress helps for technical reasons.

What to expect? More No Job Joys, links to people who have a great attitude and tips to get your attitude right.