Thursday, April 29, 2010

Because Geeks Are the New Cool

Okay, it's hardly a secret that I'm a bit of a geek. It comes with the territory when you're an INTJ. Back in November, I blogged about my favorite INTJ-geek commercial put out by Intel, although most of their commercials get a chuckle out of me.

Well, Intel's done it again and it's running a close second for favorite geek-commercial, but this one resonates for a slightly different reason. A couple of months ago I published an article in P & R Magazine on Social Media in which I joked about how dramatically technology has changed over the years I've been in the workforce. Intel just put my very sentiment into a commercial that I have to laugh at every time I see it.

They stole this from my life (pretty sure):

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Embrace Life

My father worked for General Motors for a third of a century (a tenure unheard of, these days). A design engineer in the safety restraint arena, he earned several patents during the time he worked for GM.

I remember in the 4th grade for career day he came into the class and brought in a seatbelt that he had designed the latch for and explained how the lock and release mechanisms worked. Very cool (for a geek like me).

Long before there were federal or state laws about wearing seatbelts, there was Dad’s Law. There was no way in our household you were going anywhere without your seatbelt on. Sure, I went through a little teenage rebellion (who didn’t) but it only takes one good 55mph rear-ending that throws your car into a poll and the seatbelt kept you in the car to bring that lesson home. Of course the two pizzas sitting on the passenger seat were not wearing their seatbelt. They were not as lucky.

Last week my sister sent me this video and it just really brought me back to the bizarre slow-motion experience of that accident (and one other I experienced as an adult with my babies in the car) and why it’s so important to wear your seatbelt.

Try Me

I have this particular curse. I’ve had it all my life (my mom has it too, so it must be genetic) and I married a man with the same curse, so my kids have no shot at all of avoiding it.

What curse?

Once I have decided I like something – a product, a television show – it immediately goes on some cosmic list to be discontinued or cancelled. I have even killed car models!

In my lifetime, three times I have liked my car model enough to buy it twice in a row but when it came time to get a new car again found that that line had been discontinued (sorry, General Motors).

I have that effect on television shows too. If I watch a new show and decide that I like it enough to neglect one of my old standards in the same time slot, that’s pretty much a guarantee it won’t be picked up for a second season – if it even lasts a full season. (For those of you wondering what happened to Sports Night, Dead Like Me, Firefly, Jouneyman, Thank God You're Here or Accidentally On Purpose, sorry ... that was me)
For the last 10 years, my curse has really targeted my hair products. It’s so long ago that I don’t remember the Genesis product it started with, but it was discontinued and I had to find a replacement before the stock I scooped up from every drugstore in town ran out.

Eventually I would find something that works and within 8 – 15 months it will go off the market and again I’d be back to a new search. I’ve kind of gotten used to it at this point, but here’s the part I feel bad about….

In my quest to find just the right replacement product, I end up with bottles and bottles of perfectly good (sometimes expensive) hair products that have been used once so I can’t return them to the store, but I’ve only used them once so I don’t want to throw them away. They may not be right for me, but they could be perfect for someone else.

I’d love to put them all in a basket somewhere with a big sign that says “Try Me” or “Free to a good home” so someone could get use out of them and they’d stop taking up room under my sink.

I’d add to that basket the 20 tubes of lipstick that looked perfect in the store (through the closed, plastic sealed packaging with a color dot on the bottom that looks nothing like the color inside) but looked horrible on, once I got it home. Again – used once, sitting in a box… exiled to the island of misfit cosmetics.

I’m I alone here? Do you have your own stash? What would you do with your perfectly good rejects?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Who Do You Think You Are?

I’ve always been interested in genealogy and my family’s history. I always enjoyed listening to my elders tell the family stories (even if I’d heard them before) but wish I’d had the presence of mind to write it all down.

My family’s history in this country isn’t that long. Most of my ancestors – on Mom and Dad’s side – came over around the turn of the century. On my mom’s side, they actually still have relatives in Ireland that they know, have connected with and even visit in the mother country fairly regularly.

My husband, on the other hand, has a lengthy American history filled with veterans of the Civil War, the Revolutionary War and, according to a genealogy Edward’s mom had done about 20 years ago, a direct descendent of Daniel Boone.

We’ve been watching that new show on NBC “Who Do You Think You Are?” (Friday nights at 8:00) in which celebrities are tracing their family tree to learn about their roots. It’s been cool to watch and has generated new interest for us in tracing our family tree.

In just the few weeks since we registered with, we’ve been able to find 725 direct ancestors going back more than 14 generations on Edward’s side, tracing many of the lines back to their country of origin.

That may sound like a lot, but not when you do the math. Everyone has:

2 parents
4 grand parents
8 great-grand parents
16 2nd great-grand parents
32 3rd great-grand parents
64 4th great-grand parents
… and so on, and so on, and so on.

So if you look at the one line on Edward’s side that I was able to go back 14 generations to Reverend Henry Dillingham, born in 1568 in Cottesbach, Leicestershire, England. At the 14th generation, you would have 16,384 12th Great-Grandparents in that generation alone. When you add it up from your 2 parents to the 12th great-grands, that’s 32,766 relatives to find (and that doesn’t include brothers, sisters, cousins). So my 725 seems like a drop in the bucket. I don’t expect to find them all – nor will I try – but it’s been an interesting journey.

I’ve teased Edward a few times about some of the things I’ve stumbled on in his “Tree” like a great-grand father in the late 1600’s who was a juror (twice!) in the Salem witch trials and a blood line that leads to the Whites of New Jersey in the 1500-1700s joking that he may be related to his buddy David.

In the bigger picture, of course, because I believe in the word of God as a literal Truth, I believe we’re all direct descendants of only one person, but I don’t think would ever get us back to Noah (I’d say Adam, but Noah and his family were Adam’s only surviving descendants after the flood, right?).

Anybody else out there watching the show or tracing their roots?