“Reduction in Force” = get lost

30 05 2008

You\'re fired!Today was an interesting day at the office to say the least.  First of all, at 5:09 yesterday afternoon, I received an invitation to a mandatory meeting for all IT employees this morning at 10am.  The invitation instructed people to reschedule any conflicting meeting to make sure to attend this meeting.  I knew immediately when I saw the invite that there was going to be some bombshell announcement made.  I thought it very clever of them to send out the invitation just after 5 the day before the meeting.

You would have thought they were giving free t-shirts to the first 50 people because people started herding themselves to the meeting about 10 minutes early.

I walked in right at about 10 and found an empty seat.

And the announcement was…drum roll please…

“Our company has signed an agreement with another company to take over much of the IT roles and responsibilities.  There will be a ‘reduction in force’ as a result of this transition.  Direct all your questions to your immediate supervisor or to an HR representative.  No questions at this time, please.”

Then my group was moved to another mandatory meeting with our VP to tell us how our group will be affected by the announcement.  Basically, it’s not…for now.

Lame-ass moments of the day:

CIO says he has come out to our office because he wants to deliver the message to us in person and then…immediately turns it over to one of his VPs to read a written statement.  Very personal, I thought.  Everytime I want to deliver a message to someone in person, I usually write it down and give it to someone else to read to them while I sit there watching.

In the second meeting with just our group, someone asked our VP if he knew what percentage of people would be retained and what percentage would be let go.  His response: “I am sure there will be quite a number of people retained….or let go.”  I almost started laughing right there in the meeting.  What a classic response.  He went on to remind us that “situations like this are not easy on my side of the fence either.”  Thanks, that makes us all feel a lot better.

 Well, I guess I better get my resume updated…

In honor of the events of the last 24 hours, I am posting this at 5:09 pm.


Boys bedtime

29 05 2008

On the nights I put my boys to bed, I pray this prayer with them:

Dear Lord Jesus,

Thank you for this day.  Thank you so much for all your many many blessings.  Thank you so much for little (4yrold) and little (2yrold) and little (babydueinaugust).  We love our kids soooo much…help them to know how much we love them, Lord.  Help them to know how much you love them, Lord.  Help them to grow and meet their milestones, Lord, on time.  I pray that they would remain happy, healthy, and strong.  And, Lord, above everything else, I pray that they would learn to love you and follow you and know you as their personal Lord and Savior.  And help them to show others around them your love.  Lord, I pray that they would have a good night’s sleep tonight.  Help us to all get the rest that our bodies need.  Help our boys to know that they are safe in their beds tonight.  Amen

At some point during the prayer my 4 yr old always reminds me to pray for his uncle and for whoever else may be on his mind that day and I do that or I pause while he does it himself.  And, my 2 year old usually bows his head and prays “Jesus….food….Amen”.

When I tuck my 4 yr old in bed, I always ask him the following three questions:

Do you know I love you?

Are you going to sleep tight tonight?

Are you going to have sweet dreams?

When I tuck my 2 yr old in, I always say, “You know you got a daddy who loves you?….and, I mean, I love you biiiig time, dude”.

I don’t know why this has become our routine.  But, it has, and I think we all like it.  I know I do.

The problem with the NBA

28 05 2008

NBAIn my opinion, the biggest problem with the NBA is the subjectivity of the referees.  This was on full display last night in game 4 of the Lakers vs. Spurs Western Conference finals series.  Brent Barry got the ball with just a couple seconds left, pump faked and got Derek Fisher to bite and jump into the air.  As Fisher came down, there was obvious contact between him and Barry.  Barry’s mistake was in seemingly trying to avoid contact instead of leaning into Fisher which would have almost certainly forced the ref to blow the whistle.  But, since he appeared to try to elude contact, the ref opted for the non-call.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I am not a Spurs apologist.  In fact the best thing about this series is that either the Lakers or the Spurs are going to lose!

But, this play just illustrates what is in my opinion the biggest problem that the NBA has.  There is just too much subjectivity on the part of the officials.  They call the game based on the context of the game.  There is something inehently wrong with that.  In other words, early in the game, the contact between Fisher and Barry would have almost certainly been a foul, but at this point, in this context, it was not.  It’s either a foul or it’s not a foul….right?  Apparently not.

And, this modus operandi is just commonly accepted among everyone associated with the game including players, coaches, analysts, beat writers, broadcasters, etc etc…

On every single possession, there is one or more calls that could be made and it is left entirely up to the three officials on the court to make a subjective decision on whether or not to blow the whistle.

One classic situation that happens all the time in the NBA is the late whistle foul.  In this situation, a player drives to the basket and takes some contact in the act of shooting a lay-up.  The ball bounces around the rim and eventually falls out.  It isn’t until that point that the referee blows the whistle.  Clearly, the referee is waiting to see if the ball went before making the decision to blow the whistle.  So, if the ball had gone in, this would not have been a foul, but since it bouced out, the whistle blows.  This situation drives me insane everytime I see it.  Do they think we are idiots?  Either it’s a foul or it’s not a foul.  Whether or not the ball goes through the basket should not make any difference.  But, everyone knows that it does.  And, we all just accept this as part of the game.

So, what can be done to address this problem?  Well, that’s why it is the NBA’s biggest problem in my opinion…because there is absolutely nothing that can be done about it.  It will constantly lead to consipiracy theories, to outcomes such as last night’s game where the ref basically dictated the result, to star players getting the benefit of the doubt calls, to rookies getting the rookie calls, to floppers, to whiney players, to dirty players (ie – Ginoble, Duncan, Bowen, and oh yeah….Derek Fisher), etc etc.

So, what am I trying to say?  Well, mostly that I love the NBA, but I hate this aspect of it and it frustrates me to no end season after season.

Just here for the perks

26 05 2008

RetreadOn Saturday, I got the chance to go with my two year old to the Samaritan Inn to help our friends at Retread hand out new shoes and socks to the children living there.  What an experience.  To see all those faces light up when they opened their boxes was an incredible treat.  Then, to top it off, I wore my knees out bending down to pick up passengers for piggy back rides through the dining hall.  I must have given 50 piggy back rides.  The only one not laughing and having a great time was my two year old who thought it should be his turn the entire time!

But, what a great experience.  One of the staff at Samaritan Inn started asking me questions related to the shoes.  I told her to talk to my friend Kyle because I was only here for the perks!  And, that is exactly what it was.  Each child that came in the room perked up when we found the shoe box with their name on it.  It was so fun watching each expectant set of eyes melt into extreme delight.  And the giggles that came with the piggy back rides (which I am still paying for two days later) were worth the time, the sweat, and the wear and tear on my body.

My friend who lives at the Inn got a call while we were there that she and her kids had gotten the house that they were hoping for.  It was such a happy moment for her.  She has been burned in the past, so she maintained a cautious optimism, but I could see the twinkle in her eyes that told me she thought it was for real this time.  My family has formed a special bond with her and her kids.  My wife picked out all the shoes for the kids for the day, but she took special care to pick out just the right shoes for the 4 kids in this family.  Someone told her about that and she told me to give my wife a special hug for her.

I’ll see you on the beach.

25 05 2008

What\'s the rallying point, sir?  Anywhere but here.

I have a tradition of watching my favorite movie every Memorial Day weekend.  My favorite movie is Saving Private Ryan.  I think it is just an excellent film.  The first 20 minutes or so are so riveting.  It makes you feel like you are really on the beach with those men that June day in Normandy.  But, even as real as that footage feels, I am sure that what those men experienced that day was a million times worse.  Even after watching that footage just now for probably the 20th time, I still can’t really imagine what it must have been like to be there on that day. 

“What’s the rallying point, sir?”  … “Anywhere but here!”

Here’s a big thank you to all you veterans out there.  Thanks for your service and sacrifice.  And for all those men and women who have laid down their lives for this country, we honor you on this Memorial Day.

Levi’s help

25 05 2008

At lunch we were quizzing our 4 year old on what his Bible verse was in Sunday School today.  It was John 15:12 where Jesus said:

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”

Levi\'s Help

After lunch, we had a great chance to live out that verse in front of our 4 year old.  We noticed a man straggling along the road side in the hot sun near the hospital today.  It was hard to tell what he needed, but it wasn’t hard to tell that he needed something.  He looked like he may have just been discharged from the hospital because he had a hospital bracelet around his wrist.  It was possible he was drunk or high or both.  He walked with a noticable limp and seemed to be drifting aimlessly.


We stopped and asked him if he needed anything.  He mumbled that he was fine.  I offered to get him some lunch and he agreed.  I was a little nervous about taking him the car with us, so I asked him where he was going to be for the next few minutes while I went to get him lunch.  He said he would be right there.  So, we ran to McDonald’s and got him a chicken sandwich, a coke, and a large ice water.  We took it back over to him, and by this time I had decided he was harmless (or more accurately, that it was worth the risk to help this man), so I asked him if I could give him a lift somewhere.  He said no.  I asked him what else he needed.  He said he was just waiting it out for 5 days until he got his next check.  I wished him well and we were on our way.

As we pulled away, our 4 year old said, “That was weird.”  My wife and I immediately used this situation as a lesson.  We told him there were countless people that had passed him by just today that could have stopped to help.   We told him that we did what we did because it was the right thing to do and because it is what Jesus would have done.  We told him that Jesus would have already known exactly what that man needed.  We don’t always have that luxury but we can pray and give it our best shot…which is exactly what we had done.  We told him that it may have felt a little weird, but each time we do it, it will feel less weird. And of course, we reminded him of his Bible verse today and showed him how we were living that verse out.

We decided going forward, we would continue to pray for the man.  Though we didn’t know his name, we decided to call him Levi because that was the word written on his shirt.  And we told our son that Jesus would know who we meant when we prayed for Levi.

Looking back now, I realize this is a situation where someone needed help and God placed just the right person in the just the right place at the just the right time to provide that help.

I just pray that we were able to help Levi as much as he helped us.  God knew that our son needed that lesson today and Levi was there to help deliver the message.  God knew that we needed that lesson today, too.

My 4 year old

24 05 2008

Don\'t leave me in here forever!

My 4 year old had a few nuggets today.

First, my wife took him to an out of town birthday party for a friend of his that used to live here.  When he got back after being away several hours, he walked right in and handed me a bag of candy from the party.  He said, “Here you go, daddy.  I want you to have this.  You deserve it.”  Isn’t that awesome??

Secondly, on the way home from the party, he was his normal happy self.  Then, all of a sudden, he must have gotten tired because he said to my wife, “Good night, mom”.  She looked back and he was asleep immediately after saying that!

Lastly, this evening I took the boys over to my aunt and uncle’s lake house north of Aubrey.  After announcing to the family that he needed to go poo-poo, he exited stage left to do his business.  After he was in there for a few minutes, I wondered back there to check on him.  I asked him if he was ok, if he needed any help, if he had cleaned up good, if he had washed his hands.  Yes, no, yes, yes were his responses.  As I started to walk away, I heard “WELL DON’T LEAVE ME IN HERE FOREVER!!”.  I turned back and asked him why he didn’t just turn the doorknob and come out and he said “I washed my hands and their wet” (as in duh, daddy, can’t you see that my hands are wet and I can’t turn the knob).