Me No Talk Good

As I resign myself to the fact that I will not get a job offer after my last interview, I also resign myself to the fact that my poor interview skills will likely prevent me from ever getting a new job. I’m just not good at speaking in front of other people. It doesn’t matter if it is a large room full of people at a conference or just a couple of people at a table. If it is a formal setting I get nervous, talk too fast and ramble. I could speak in front of a crowd or interview every day and the best I would ever be at it is mediocre. It seems weird considering I have a Communications degree, but it’s just not something I’m good at. That’s why I concentrated on taking classes in mass communications. I was horrible when I did my public speaking course and I’m really not good even in some informal settings unless I know the people well. I’m not good at small talk. I’m not comfortable with mingling at social or business events. I’m probably bad at it even when talking to people I know. They’re just too nice to tell me.

Unfortunately., it doesn’t matter how good I look on paper or how good I am at my job. If I can’t convey that verbally. I will never do anything other than what I am now. That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Most days I like my job. I like my coworkers. I have some good friends at work. I just hate that my lack of communication skills makes me feel like I’m stuck. It’s hard to know that I am completely happy where I am when I know there is no option to leave. It also limits my willingness to pass along my expertise at the MLA/DLA Conference. I might feel like I know a lot about a topic that should be presented at conference, but I would never volunteer to lead a session. I just quietly stay in the background, writing the pub quiz and offering a few suggestions along the way.

20 years in to my career and 46 years old is probably the time to accept my limitations and make the most of where I am and who I am. I’m the quiet guy in the corner who does good work and that should be enough.

The 2015 Fall TV Schedule

Here is my much awaited(by no one) post about the fall 2015 tv schedule. My quick take is that it is kind of boring. My night by night what I will watch is below the grid stolen from tvline.com.

  
Sunday Night: not much exciting here. We will continue watching Madam Secretary and Brooklyn 99 and Last Man on Earth if I catch up on this season over the summer. I don’t think any of the new shows sound like they are worth watching, but the Don Johnson factor might make me give Oil a try. 

Monday Night: I used to watch The Voice regularly, but it’s on way too much and I don’t like it enough to commit to that many hours a week. I know a lot of people don’t like how Gotham is twisting the stories, but since I don’t care about the source material that much, I’m enjoying it and will keep watching. Otherwise, Supergirl is the only show I will watch. Dawn watches Scorpion, but I’m not a fan.

Tuesday Night: this is the busy night for me. Too much stuff in and not enough DVR/time to watch. I lose 2 hours of DVR time recording the NCIS shows for Dawn, so that sucks. I don’t watch either one. Flash and iZombie are two  of my favorite new shows this season. Fresh Off the Boat is the best new comedy this season and I think The Grinder has potential to be very good. We still watch SHIELD even though we are weeks behind right now. I also really want to watch Scream Queens, I guess we will start using On Demand a lot more next season.

Wednesday Night: we still like The Middle and we watch Arrow. We will continue to record them while watching Survivor on another TV. It is one of the few shows I still insist on watching live. We will continue watching Modern Family and I assume Jessica will keep watching Supernatural. I will probably try Code Black. I like hospital shows and this one looks high on medical drama and low on soap opera type story lines.

Thursday Night:  i will follow up on the Code Black lack of soap opera type stores with the admission that I still watch Grey’s Anatomy. Jessica watches Vampire Diaries and I also still watch Bones, so two wlll be recorded and one watched live on another Tv. Otherwise, Blacklist will be what we watch. Though, I love Maggie Lawson, so that might make me watch Angel From Hell even though I think  Jane Lynch is overrated.

Friday Night:  I still love Amazing Race and Jessica and I are fans of Last Man Standing. I will probably try People are Talking because I like Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Tone Bell.  We will watch Grimm and Dawn will watch Hawaii Five-0 and I will continue to watch Blue Bloods.

Saturday Night:  Nothing to see here until BBC shows start.

Midseason: DC Legends of a Tomorrow, The 100 and Night Shift are three I hope start sooner rather than later. 

Redemption Isn’t Just for Coupons

One of the big news stories these days is that doctors are saying John Hinckley’s mental illness is in remission and that he should be released. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity after attempting to assassinate President Reagan in 1981. The government opposes this, and from posts I’ve seen online, apparently a good portion of America feels the same. Now, I’m not Hinckley’s doctor (or anyone’s doctor for that matter) so I can’t say for sure he is no longer exhibiting symptoms of mental illness, but I do have a problem with the idea that he should never be released. There are likely numerous people who were convicted of murder since 1981, were not mentally ill and have since been released. Why is Hinckley different? Is it because he shot famous people? Is it because we don’t believe the mentally ill can be helped? Or is it that we overwhelmingly believe that no one should be released after these crimes and we speak up on this one because it is in the news? I think it is the latter. We don’t believe in rehabilitation and redemption(except in the case of coupons)

Some recent cases:

Large numbers of people believe Michael Vick should never be allowed to play football again because he was arrested on animal cruelty charges. They don’t care if he has changed, knows what he did was wrong and never plans to do it again. He should be punished forever!

Large numbers of people think Ray Lewis should never have been allowed to play football because he was involved in an altercation which resulted in someone being killed(not by him) and he was stupid and ran and tried to protect his friends. It doesn’t matter that everything about his life after that indicated a complete change in the way he lived. He should be punished forever!

I also see some of this in responses to the numerous news reports about people being shot by the police. There are a large number of people who imply that the people shot deserved it for breaking the law. I blogged about that here last year in reference to a police chase gone bad.  The feeling is that they broke the law so they no longer deserve to live.

Of course, this all changes the minute you have a loved one who gets in trouble. Or if you do something wrong. Then we are all about forgiveness and redemption.

I’m not saying Hinckley is cured. I don’t know that. I’m not a doctor, but neither are you. But it’s not really about that. It’s about people not wanting to see Hinckley given a chance at life because he shot a famous person over 30 years ago.

What the Duck?

Yesterday in Facebook trending topics I found articles about the guy from Duck Dynasty speaking at an event. During the speech, he told a story which was basically the plot of a snuff film about an atheist family being raped and murdered. I’m not even sure what point he was trying to make with the story. Non-Christians don’t know that murder and rape is wrong? Non-Christians deserve to be murdered and raped? Christians are safe from murder and rape? If anyone has a clue what exactly his “snuff parable” means, please let me know.

What I do know is that this is not the person Christians should be holding up as an example. We spend so much time talking about doing what Jesus would do. Jesus loved. Jesus healed. Jesus taught us to love our enemies. To do unto others as we would have them do unto us. He ate with sinners. He spread his message without spreading hate. It seems these days that many Christians would prefer to laud the loud and the hateful and/or the modern day Pharisees who care more about rules than people. We won’t reach the world by telling the world stories about murder and rape. We won’t reach the world by telling them what they have to change before we will love them. We will reach the world through love.

Want to do what Jesus did? Love.

The Worst Thing About Sports

There are many things written about what is wrong with sports. I think the worst thing about sports(except maybe people who write about what’s wrong with sports) is  the fans. Most normal people like me(ha) enjoy watching the games and then go on with our lives. We may scream at the TV and the officials when the game is being played. We might post random stuff on Facebook during the game expressing pleasure or displeasure about the results. We might even have players, coaches and officials we don’t like for whatever reason(although I don’t still hate Christian Laettner). What we don’t do, however, is go to the insane level some people do. Below are a few examples:

Ashley Judd(I love her) posted on Twitter after the SEC championship game that she thought Arkansas played dirty. I’m not sure I agree with that, but she has a right to express her opinion. What followed was a stream of replies on Twitter calling her names and threatening her. She has vowed to press charges against these people and I hope she does.

Saturday UK played Cincinnati. Cincinnati has a player with anger management issues stemming from a childhood tragedy. He was ejected from the previous game and many people felt he should not have been allowed to play in the UK game. There were some instance during the UK game when it looked like he might be heading toward another ejection. Some people in the UK fan base couldn’t just let it go after the win. They tweeted insults to the player after the game. I’m embarrassed that they are associated with my school.

It’s not just casual fans either. During the Maryland/WVU game, the WVU coach’s daughters tweeted negative things about Dez Wells and the accusations against him at Xavier. He was accused of sexual assault, kicked out of school, later acquitted and settled out of court in a lawsuit against the school.

Fans have always been fanatical, hence the name, but social media has unfortunately made it easier for fans to directly target players, coaches and other fans. Here are some rules to live by:

1. Remember these players are people. In the above cases they are college kids. They are someone’s kid. Would you want people to say those things to your kid? No? Then don’t say it to others.

2. If you wouldn’t say it to their face, don’t say it on Twitter. Too many people have internet courage. They feel free to do stuff like this because they are somewhat anonymous and don’t expect consequences.

3. Remember it is just a game. It’s supposed to be fun. If you care so much that you are doing the above, re-evaluate your  life priorities.

4. If you do stuff like this in real life and your internet life is just reflecting you seek help.

My Bracket Projections 2015

Here are my projections for March Madness this year:

Upsets: Buffalo  over WVU, BYU over Xavier, UC Irvine over Louisville, SF Austin over Utah, Eastern Washington over Georgetown.

Second round upsets: Wichita St over Kansas, Arkanas over UNC, BYU over Baylor, NC state over Villanova, Michigan State over Virginia.

Final eight: UK, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Michigan State, Duke, Gonzaga

Final Four: UK, Arizona, Northern Iowa, Gonzaga

Championship: UK over Gonzaga

I Have an Author “Type”

There is a study out there that says men like to read male authors and women prefer to read female authors. I have never analyzed my reading habits and author gender. I do know a lot of my favorite authors are male. I do, however, have quite a few female authors I read regularly. I like to joke that I sometimes have the reading habits of a teenage girl. I’m too lazy to do a count, but I could see my total skewing more toward the male authors. I don’t think this study says more than that people like to read what they know and that people feel more comfortable with the voice of someone with whom they relate. That’s why the push for more diverse titles is important, especially for kids. All kids need to be able to find books about someone like them.

I was thinking about this last night after I was working on a list of books for a class I will be leading at work. It is a list of good adult fiction for teens. I took many of the books of the Alex Awards list and added a bunch from my personal experience. As I was asking coworkers for some titles to add to the list, I mentioned that I needed to add some diversity, because although I didn’t know what most of the authors looked like I was pretty sure they were a little too similar. I googled the names of the authors and discovered that they were more alike than I realized. If I just looked at the author photos, I could assume that they were all related. Apparently, I don’t just have a thing for British and Irish authors, I I have thing for British, Irish and ginger authors. It was really weird. I can now add diversity to the list of my reading goals for 2015.