Lots of feelings today, as it’s my last with DXC/Hewlett-Packard after 23 years with the company. I was a 16y/o intern when I started, my after-school job was to update a division’s jobs listing website using MS FrontPage. Fast-forward two decades, 3 company splits (Agilent, HP Inc, Hewlett Packard Enterprise), 3 major mergers (Compaq, EDS, CSC), and 7 CEOs, it’s been quite a ride! Here are my first two computers I used when I arrived at the company.
I am grateful for all of the great friends I met along the way. I appreciate their kindness, patience, support, and generosity. I got the opportunity to work with many incredible people, learn valuable lessons, build awesome tools, and move technological mountains. I’m always going to look back fondly on my time here, and because of many of you, those memories are joyful ones.
My next adventure starts in a week, but first some time to play with my kids while they’re on Spring Break. Despite having no income, right now I feel very rich, showered with so many blessings!
One year ago this week, the world changed. Looking back over the last year, it’s astonishing to realize just how different things have been and how we had no idea just how long things were going to be this way.
I’m now thinking of March 10 and 11, in the same way, I think of September 10, 2021 – a contrasting barometer for just how much life changed in a matter of days. Hearing the news that the WHO declared a Pandemic didn’t really resonate with me right away. My friend Matt and I met up for dinner that night and went to a minor league hockey game.
I started to feel a little bit of the tension as our phones were lighting up with the news about Tom Hanks, the Utah Jazz game being canceled right before tip-off, then the President addressing the nation that night. I experienced all that news second-hand during a sparsely-attended hockey game. As we were walking back to our cars after the game, someone proclaimed that it’s probably going to be the last game for a while – but I never realized that would be the last time I’d be at a live event or eating dinner indoors for over a year.
Two days later, we got an email halfway through the day (on Friday the 13th, no less) that the kids were going to be home for the next two weeks, followed by spring break. At the time, it seemed like it was going to be daunting having the kids home while we were working. We shifted around our basement to make it an indoor play area. Being stuck inside (because the weather was also cold), hours seemed like days. The two weeks went and we were trying to do remote schooling for Clara through independent assignments. Everyone was trying their best, but life was definitely disrupted.
As we look back and reflect on the last year, there’s so much that has changed. We haven’t traveled further than one hour away from home. We haven’t seen the dining room of a restaurant, or the inside of a coffee shop. It’s a big deal when all four of our nuclear family go to the store or run errands. There are many friends that we haven’t seen in person. We have a niece and nephew that we haven’t met yet.
Watching our community respond to this virus has been a mixed bag. It’s been inspiring to watch our health care workers, educators, and the countless number of unsung heroes turn the cogs of our society display their resiliency and determination. However, it’s sad to witness some who I’ve really respected fall prey to cynicism, distrust, and suspicion. People who espouse themselves as fiercely protective of life being unwilling to perform an act of charity to their community by wearing a mask. They shout that people are living in fear while masking their own denial that we are living out history, with the fact that our lives are disrupted by unseen forces. I suppose it’s easier berating a straw man rather than coming to terms that there really isn’t a single person or group that’s responsible for this.
Yet, there is reason to be hopeful. We have thankfully avoided the virus and the concerns that go along with getting others sick. Bethany and I have both received our second doses of vaccine and are looking forward to unlocking many activities that we previously haven’t been able to do. We’ve been thankful that our girls have been able to go to in-person school and daycare throughout this time. They’ve definitely had to make adjustments – especially Clara – but it’s amazing how resilient the kids have been. Optimism is in the air and is becoming contagious, hopefully much more than this awful virus.
We’re in the waning hours of the Trump Presidency, closing a tumultuous chapter of our country’s history. If you follow me on Twitter, you know that there’s no shortage of my opinions of Donald Trump. His (lack of) leadership and virtue has driven me out of the Republican party, rendering the conservative movement into a caricature of moral hypocrisy.
During the Trump era, I refrained from blogging much about him – partly because my blogging output isn’t what it used to be – but also in large part that I used Twitter as a release value for my political frustrations. I also felt that national politics weren’t as pertinent to our everyday lives, and would much rather debate local issues and policies that affect my community.
In our immediate family, we largely avoided political conversations. My daughters were 3 & 1 when Trump’s term began and throughout his Presidency we were careful to shield them from political discourse. We didn’t see any need to expose our kids to that level of tribalism and negativity. Rather than have to explain Trump’s immoral, incompetent, and unethical behavior, we just didn’t discuss him with our kids. It worked pretty well over the years, up until last fall.
Windsor is a largely conservative town, and with the election in full swing last fall, Clara started to notice all of the Trump flags and yard signs on our way to school. Combined with the second-grade social studies curriculum, she became aware that the election was coming and started to ask questions on the way to school.
“Dad, are you going to vote for Donald Trump?”
Oh crap. “No, I won’t be sweetie.”
“It seems like a lot of people are going to be voting for Donald Trump.”
“Yes, it looks like it.”
“Why won’t you vote for him?”
“Well, sweetie, Donald Trump is a bully. He does do a lot of things that people like, but he also likes to say mean things about people he doesn’t like, and treats those that don’t agree with him very poorly.”
“Do you like Joe Biden?”
“Yes. I might not agree with everything Joe Biden thinks, but I don’t think that he thinks people who don’t agree with him are bad. Sometimes people just have different ideas about what’s the best way to do things, and it’s okay to disagree.”
Since the election we’ve seen Trump’s darkest tendencies play out, perpetuating the lie that the election was stolen from him, culminating in the tragic events at the US Capitol. This has led to more conversations with my kids about the importance of accepting the truth and being gracious in the loss. I’m counting my blessings that I was able to still filter this conversation for my kids, and hope that they didn’t pick up on my own fear about this dangerous rhetoric.
I’m not naive enough to expect our politicians to be saints. I realize that every President says things that enrage and galvanize their political opponents, but the toxicity that has seeped into our political system is not sustainable. Trump’s unique superpower is his lack of shame. The ambition of most people is kept in check by their fear of being shamed for their behavior, but this never impacted Trump. Whether that makes him a unique figure or a harbinger of darker times in our nation, remains to be seen. For the sake of my children, I hope that it’s not the latter.
Back in 2006, after hearing about it on a podcast, I installed a music-tracking service known as Last.FM, using an iTunes (later MediaMonkey) plugin to “scrobble” my music into analytics that I’ve tracked over the years. In the nearly 16 years that have passed, the service never seemed to catch on, but I’ve remained a stalwart user, feeding my Spotify listening habits into the service. A few weeks ago, I finally scrobbled my 100,000th song and wanted to use that as an opportunity to reflect on my listening habits.
This is a follow up to my previous posts over the years
In my previous posts, I listed out these categories and gave a summary of my listening history with each artist. Rather than do that this time, I just wanted to give a reflection on anything that surprised me.