Saturday, February 26, 2011

A teen's conceptualization

Erin and Emily were invited to Friend’s house to spend the night. Erin looked at Emily and said, "You think we ought to eat before we go?” Emily nodded, eyes big, "Oh definitely!"  I asked, "What's wrong - Friend has no food at her house?" Both girls started in, “they only eat healthy stuff when they eat; no snacks; lunch is a granola bar, etc.” Erin finished with, "Yeah, Going to Friend's is just like getting a colon cleanse." I busted out laughing! What a funny compliment!  If it were my choice, we would not keep any junk food in the house.

Anyway, Erin doodled a picture and it made me smile. I asked her if I could have it. She autographed it on the spot and gave it to me. My favorite thing about it is the boss’s shirt – it has a patch that says Boss. Just as if Boss is the person’s name. Several years ago, she asked “What do you call your boss? Do you call him Boss?” “No Erin,” says I, “I call him Andy.” She said, “That doesn’t seem very respectful.” I smiled and remembered there are worse things than being called your name. I have nothing against my boss, by the way. This is how my 15-year old conceptializes the world of work (you can click on the picture to enlarge it).

So where does that meaning for “business world” come from?  TV? – it has to be!  She may hear Someone and I talking about our work.  We rarely talk about work but when we do, it‘s because we had a recent victory or defeat experience.  He's in a government law office and I'm in corporate IT hell.  I find her perspective interesting. Notice Boss is humming! 

Thursday, February 24, 2011

UGH - quitting time at last

I did a stupid thing last night..or more accurately, this morning.  Nevermore!!  Hungover all day and I'm totally wiped out, surviving on caffeine pills and Diet Mountain Dew after going to sleep at 4:15 AM (after setting the clock for 6:10 AM).  Going home to crash for a few hours, then continue on Chapter 1.  I'm done drinking for awhile!!!

I will stop being stupid.
I will stop being stupid.
I will stop being stupid. 
I will stop...

Due Diligence

I am writing Chapter 1 of my dissertation again. Modifying the original plan of measuring effect of a safety management system (vPSI) on perceived and actual performance and changing it to correlation of perceived leadership style to intent or willingness to report near miss incidents. Near misses…those are interesting. An incident where if not but for luck, disaster would have resulted. I’ve had a few of those myself, and I learned from them. What is interesting is that near misses represent an opportunity for improvement and learning, but organizations oftentimes cannot take advantage of these opportunities. If the event happens and nobody reports it, learning from it is limited. Typically, people are reluctant to report near miss incidents in industry for numerous reasons. People are afraid they will be blamed, they think their managers don’t care, they think reporting will result in extra work for them, they think they will be punished. In fact, many workers are blamed and punished after they report near misses. It has happened in the company I work for.

The Columbia Space Shuttle disaster is a prime example of the phenomenon. Foam insulation blew off the spacecraft on at least 30 prior missions and nothing bad happened. It became a routine variance – it always happens and nothing bad came of it; people expected it. Then, the foam insulation blew off and hit a critical sensor resulting in disaster. Nobody really recognized the risk until it was too late.

Thanks to Sarbanes-Oxley, I can no longer move changes to production. I must write detailed instructions for somebody else (who knows nothing about my applications) to implement changes. One of the apps I support involves databases at 7 locations; they are structured differently but have some commonalities. Long story short, for a rather significant change, the move-to-production coordinator ran my scripts on the wrong server and parts of the scripts succeeded. He notified me the change was implemented and I began verifying the change only to find nothing worked. THEN…I checked HIS results (he is required to attach these to the change request ticket) and saw a mixture of success and failure, and realized he ran the scripts on the wrong server. SICK FEELING. OH NO!! The blunder was actually not nearly as bad as it could have been. I quickly wrote scripts to back out the mess created by the error. I learned a lesson: Always write the scripts to fail if ran on the wrong server. I assumed the MTP person would be as diligent as I am about verifying the server name, but no more! This is technically not a near miss incident because harm happened. This would likely equate to a first aid incident. It took an hour of my time (start to finish) to undo the harm and accomplish what was supposed to happen. My time is charged to the client at $100 per hour…a band-aid.

Chapter 1 through Chapter 3 represent the proposal for the study. Chapter 1 is a big overview and includes such things as what the study is about, why it’s important, who it involves, what problem it addresses, how it will be done, and a summary of the theoretical framework supporting the study’s methodology. Chapter 2 is a review of the literature. Chapter 3 includes all the details of the methodology. Chapter 2 is the longest but probably the easiest to write. It’s a review of what is relevant [DAMN IT] to this topic.

Excursis: I cannot ever spell relevant right the first time. WHY IS THAT?

Health, Environmental, and Safety (HES) management systems are implemented in layers. A problem is recognized and addressed with a management plan that usually includes an IT solution. Managing HES is a very dynamic set of processes. Many variables are involved – people, place, time, scope, and what else? Season, weather, production variables, leadership tone, government regulations, current events, and even emotion affect what happens in a refinery.

I am not an expert in the HES field, but I know systems. My expertise is mostly in systems, and seeing patterns and relationships. In the current economy where downsizing and tight spending are normal, HES managers have a huge burden that increases daily. The BP Deepwater Horizon case in point: that was a devastating hit to BP’s reputation. BP was celebrating success with HES that very day – the execs had visited just hours before the blow out. How very ironic!

Sunday, February 20, 2011


I lingered too long on Facebook today. DANG! I need to be getting this dissertation act together and I’m screwing around too much! I haven’t started writing and there’s no reason not to be writing. The rich content of FB sucks me right in. I look at pictures – love seeing them. People I don’t or do know – stories and eavesdropping on conversations…crazy stuff. I love it.

Today I researched more on near miss incident theory, high performance organizations, leadership influence on trust, and trust’s influence on near miss reporting.   I learned there is another organizational citizenship behavior theory, or I should say a similar one.  Reviewing notes will be necessary to recover Dutiful notes of references for more extensive reading – a page full.
I realize tonight for, the sake of improved performance, I need to stop researching and start reviewing and outlining. Tomorrow, I’ll review what I’ve done up to now with the prior topic – How does implementing a new safety management system influence perceived safety climate and actual safety performance. Some of the theoretical framework applies to my new topic – evolving - how does leadership style influence near miss reporting and does anonymous reporting mediate intent to report. I like it!!!

I was privileged to sit in on a meeting of the refining safety managers last week. I met in person these men and one woman, and I got to listen to them talk about their struggles to keep people safe while they work. They spoke acronyms, and my wheels were turning the whole time they talked. My research gives me insight into this world, but I can’t pretend to really understand it. This is where the rubber meets the road – for real!

Now, let me tell you what happened in that meeting! The top in hierarchy personal-safety manager walked up to me in the break, apologized, and said “I’m putting you in the spot.” He wanted me to talk about the near miss management project he put me on. My heart leaped! I had nothing prepared but this was an opportunity! Quickly, I pulled out a pad and started jotting notes-to-self to guide me through a brief presentation. I did my spiel, a few questions, and that was that – WHEW! I remember thinking something Erin told me once…”I was so excited I thought I would vomit!” That’s exactly how I felt.

Erin made that comment when she learned she would be writing the final action plan for the future problem solving team in the regional Governor’s Cup Academic Competition. She’s a freshman on the team – the varsity team is four people – a freshman wrote the part that is 40% of total score - and they won!!!   I’m so proud I could explode! – That’s my kid!  I'm proud of all of them!!!  These two are still at home.

Friday, February 18, 2011

So it begins

I am sitting on cloud 9.  I believe it!  I sit much too much these days, and things are going to get worse.   One of my daughters bought me a Snuggie.  It’s nice and warm but it kind of gets in the way if you're moving around too much.  The advertising for the thing is most inane. 

 I was sitting in my work chair one night (at home) with the Snuggie wrapped around me (not really on) and I pushed my chair back from the table. My chair has castors and the Snuggie rolled up into the castor/wheel mechanism and broke the wheel. This was a $75 office chair, two years old…decent, and I sat in it at least 35 hours a week for the past 2+ years. It’s still usable if one is careful to distribute weight so as to be mindful of the missing wheel. Anyway, I bought new chair and it’s AWSOME!  

I selected the new chair from a showroom, but it was out of stock. No problem, they gave me the sale price, ordered it, and had it shipped to my house. The box arrived while I was out of town...of course. So, the chair project was my goal for the evening. Many pieces, and as I was pulling parts from the box, my brain was thinking the store assembly fee was probably reasonable after all. I found an instruction pamphlet inserted in the pastic bag covering the seat back. The small hardware was all bolts and included an allen wrench. No other tools needed. I looked at step 1 and step 2 – my brain said, “oh, you can do this!” Steps 1 and 2, piece of cake. Turn the page….oh shit! Never fear, I got it BUT if I were developing those instructions, I would have named holes with letters and bolts with numbers, or I would have numbered everthing in order of assembly and prefaced with a code of B for bolt or H for hole. It went together very well, took me about 50 minutes, and it feels GREAT. The new dissertational throne is ready for action.

So, good news about my dissertation. My mentor says my new topic is acceptable and actionable. It’s still not fully defined, but I’ve got a few hypotheses. In no particular order… There is a correlation between perceived leadership style and workers’ intent to report near miss incidents in industrial facilities. Perceived leadership style should be pretty easy to measure (I found an affordable instrument). How do I measure intent to report? That needs some thought and research. I expect intent to report will correlate positively to workers’ trust that reports will be anonymous or confidential. Note to self, go back and review 9 dimensions of safety culture. There were two related specifically to leader-member – this needs to use one of those dimensions. I can’t wait to get ON IT. Like, crank out a proposal now in like six to eight weeks – my self-imposed deadline is March 31st. This weekend is serious business!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011


I do NOT want to see pictures of my office anymore.  This post is about what?  Anything NOT work-related. 

Saturday Jerry and I drove out to see that spot of property pictured in a prior post.  It is a lovely place, but I have to know where the boundaries are before I could seriously consider buying the place.  The agent's description of the property didn't fit anything around what could reasonably be positioned with the agency sign.  It's a 50 minute drive in good weather, I hoped to stay within a 35 minute drive.  What I saw were two large fields with a shallow creek running down the middle.  Kinniconick creek runs along the back of the fields.  On the other side of the creek are wooded hills.  We parked just off the road, walked across the field along the small creek, and stepped down on the shore of Kinniconick.  This is the upstream view.

From the same spot, I turned and this is the view downstream.  Happy little rapids, and some interesting creek rocks.  This creek has red sandstone similar to Indian creek in Rowan county.  I bet a person could find some arrowheads in this creek if she had time to look.   

From the looks of the shoreline of both the little creek and big creek, the property has seen some considerable flooding.  I would have to ask neighbors for info about how often the propery floods and how bad.  I look at the fields and see a giant orchard, the creek for my kayak, and the hill on the other side as a campground.  Realistically, I wouldn't camp on the other side of the creek.  I'm also thinking about Kinni's reputation for being a snakey creek.  I'm not at all fond of snakes.  If I were a snake, I'd plan to live up on the hill out of the flood plain. 

Friday, February 11, 2011

My workspace

I should be researching but NO, I’m screwing off this Friday night. I did a search for “leadership style safety culture” in peer-reviewed literature and brought back 28-or-so links. Maybe half were relevant so I downloaded them, and read maybe four of them so far. I’m trying to figure out something about safety culture, leadership style, and intent to report near miss incidents. How does leadership style create a culture that will support near miss reporting? One reasearcher asserted that it doesn’t matter so much about leader personality or style, it’s about leader behavior. I’m not sure I agree with that. So…what just happened is that I was happily writing this blog and slipped into thinking about work. I’m falling behind on my Near Miss project because of other infrastructural changes that are forcing me to make changes with my applications. Not only that, I’m working out of office 4 days next week – for new work…not my currently ongoing work. Next week I am WONDER WOMAN – I sell a vision to people I don’t know.

My lovely daughter requested I post shots from my workspace. I work in a land of cubicles. It is noisy and stark, but at least I have a window. My window wall has lots of plants which makes my space the second-most awesome on the floor. An engineer on the other side of the building has a pineapple plant that bares fruit, orchids, a venus fly trap, etc. But he has an office and twice as much space.  I just have a cube.

This is the row I'm in.  I'm  on the left.

Turn the corner and look into my little corner that's not totally beige, taupe, tan, cream, black, or white.  My plants add a little bit of interest.  

And then this, another 45 degrees counter clockwise - the war zone.

So, you like to play I spy?  I spy with my little eye a buzzard feather, a hawk feather, and a turkey feather, a funny little ceramic rat cup filled with seeds, a pinecone, and a blue jay feather.and a sand dollar.  To my left when I'm sitting in this chair, is a stack of more files and a stack of boxes.  So there you are, nothing magical about where I work.  Let's quit thinking about work!

devil number

I check my blog a few times a week just to see if anybody commented. My life is ordinary and filled with ordinary things, so I rarely have anything interesting to blog about.  I’m pretty sure my kids (maybe even only one of my kids now) are the only people who ever read my blog.  Anyway, I looked at my blog and it said 666 people have looked at my blog in the past month.  My first thought was like “OH!!  It’s a sign from the devil!”  How silly is that!  My brain has been conditioned by movies and books like The Omen.  I loved that movie!  Damien was so cute, but evil to the core.  He had a 666 birthmark hidden by his hair..I wonder how many people got a tattoo of that after the movie was released? 
I found this reference: “Let him who has understanding reckon the number of the beast, for it is a human number, its number is six hundred and sixty-six." (Revelation 13:16-18 KJV). So, 666 is supposed to somehow represent the mark of the devil. Really? It seems like somebody as powerful as Satan could have come up with something more creative than that. But really, I like scary movies as long as they’re not too gory or stupid. Unfortunately, many of them are just plain stupid. The Exorcist..that was a good one. The first time I tried to watch that was from the backseat at a drive-in movie in the winter (with windows fogged up). It was a double-date and I had no interest in the boy I was with. The couple in the front seat were making out (blocking my view) and my date wanted to make out – ugh. I just wanted to watch the movie.
So, I do remember one more 666 story. When vessels are built within a refinery, they are assigned a number. It’s a big deal because that number appears on all the engineering drawings, work orders, certification documentation, etc. So, at one of our refineries, we built four new tanks. These were numbered sequentially, 665, 666, 667, and 668. This was like 20 years ago, and in those days, the gages were installed on the tops of the tanks and we didn’t have automated gages on many tanks back then either. Every morning, a crew of gagers climbed every tank to read the gages. The problem was, nobody wanted to climb tank 666 – the gagers thought it was bad luck.  It became such a problem, that management changed the tank number and paid to have all the drawings referencing that tank to be done over.  I had to make changes to a couple of systems I supported for the new tank number, which is how I learned about the story.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Symbiotic Synergy or Synergistic Symbiosis

The night is very cold and clear – sky just fabulous as always on a clear night here in the lovely state of Kentucky. I stepped away from my work to re-establish blood circulation to my brain...after sitting too long, I’m reading but taking nothing in. The city lights are becoming more (too much) around here. This area is growing more populous quickly. A place in the country is calling…

Yesterday, I was told about a tremendous opportunity. How odd – I didn’t realize the opportunity was even there until tonight. I have been processing the conversation for over 24 hours. Am I really that dense and slow? Anyway, one facet of the giant opportunity involves my leading a work project that is complementary to the direction of my new dissertation topic. It’s the oh-so-magical and wondrous SYNERGY. Work on one benefits the other – is that symbiosis? I vote YES.

Habitual Frugality

No doubt about it, I’m a tightwad. Driving away from the bank today, it struck me that I’m pretty tight with my money most of the time.  Probably the biggest factor for this is because my parents were actually my grandparents and they lived through the Great Depression and WW2 when so many people were poor and things were rationed.  I remember my grandmother talking about during the war when such things as sugar and gas were rationed.  We didn’t waste much when I was growing up, nothing like the way things are in my house now.  My husband is also not a waster, so our kids get reprimanded when they waste something, or leave the lights on, or take too long in the shower.

I deposited a check today - deposited most of it but kept $80 to have some cash on hand. I realized it’s been right around Christmas-time since I’ve had anything but a few odd coins in my purse. This is a great way to spend less money – don’t have any on me!! DUH – why didn’t I think of this before? No cash – I can’t get anything out of a vending machine (the ones in my office building don’t take credit cards). When the kids ask for money, I can honestly tell them I don’t have any. Less impulse buying when you don’t have cash. Now I have $80….I wonder how long it will last? We will see.

Neither my husband nor I waste a lot of money on things. Is that true? Probably not…I buy alcohol (not a lot…but perhaps that’s a judgment call) and he buys a LOT of junk food and lottery tickets every week. I believe he could be some sort of shopping addict, or perhaps a hoarder in his genes. He stockpiles stuff when it goes on sale – laundry soap, toilet paper, crackers, pop, potato chips, etc. Before we were married, it was not uncommon to run out of necessities like paper towels, toilet paper, soap, bread, etc. I would go shopping when there was something I needed to buy. Since I married Jerry, I can’t recall ever running out of anything important. That’s the plus side, but I worry about his hoarding sometimes. We have had 15 boxes of cereal on the shelf at times, and up to 6 gigantic jugs of laundry detergent. Right now, I know we have at least 12 boxes of granola bars on the shelf.

I try not to let his hoarding bother me, but when I open the closet door and see all the stuff, my stomach lurches. When I was growing up, we moved often. I’m not sure why that was. My grandparents use to joke about how often they moved. Packing, unpacking, and scavenging boxes were very familiar activities. My grandmother would hand each of us a box and tell us to pack whatever toys we wanted to keep in the box- everything else was donated when we moved.  This forced us to get rid of our less favorite stuff.  By the time I permanently moved away from home, everything that was mine that I took with me fit in a small box, not much bigger than a shoe box (come to think of it, they also gave me my bedroom furniture, eventually). Compare that to Sarah, who has made many moving trips and still has a room full of stuff.

When I graduate and have a life again, one of my first goals will be to unclutter the house. I live with a bunch of hoarders! Not only that, I have plenty of my own stuff to go through and discard/donate. I look forward to having time to get things back into some kind of reasonable order. We’ve lived in our current house 15 years – it’s the longest I’ve ever lived in one place. I take a look around and think we need to move somewhere else (and leave all this stuff behind).

Sunday, February 6, 2011


OK - I'm on a high - I have a dissertation topic (I THINK) - so I'm in celebration mode!!  Today, I read 19 or so articles specifically on near miss incidents and near miss management.  There was one interesting article about hindsight bias (Barach & Small, 2000).  I had not heard of this before and was unsure of it's meaning in the arena of accident investigation.  Basically - it means like, I should have seen it coming!  After you have all the facts in hand, your thought is that the consequences of a chain of events is a no-brainer = hindsight bias.  Interesting concept.

Anyway - I quit work at 11:15 PM this evening and decided to review my notes from everything I read...only I went back to stuff I read during Winter Break.  Lo - the inspiration came in BOLD REDDED TEXT...  in the work by Zacharatos, Barling, & Iverson (2005).  This is my annotation after reading their work: 
The authors concluded that high performance work systems affect safety and the relationship is mediated by trust in management and perceived safety climate.  Job satisfaction and organizational justice play a mediating role between high performance work systems and organizational performance.  Authors state area for further research is job satisfaction influence on individual and group safety.

So, what role does job satisfaction play on near miss reporting?....this could be doable!!  Occupational safety has so few studies done.  Why is that?  Are companies too paranoid to expose their data?  Maybe the majority of people who know how to control mayhem are too gainfully employed controlling mayhem.  Expertise is a marketable skill.  Near miss incident analysis is supposed to reduce hazards.  Does having job satisfaction increase motivation to risk personal, departmental, and and institutional consequences for reporting near miss incidents?  In theaviation industry, they no longer leave it up to a matter of good citizenship - they use black boxes and surveillence technologies to make people accountable.  The nuclear power industry uses this model to a lesser degree.  I will research more today and get to work on a prospectus.


Barach, P., & Small, S. D. (2000).  Reporting and preventing medical mishaps: Lessons from non-medical near miss reporting systems.  British Medical Journal, 320(7237), 759-763.  Retrieved from

Zacharatos, A., Barling, J., & Iverson, R. D. (2005). High-Performance Work Systems and Occupational Safety. Journal of Applied Psychology, 90(1), 77-93. doi:10.1037/0021-9010.90.1.77

Friday, February 4, 2011

Never let go of hope

Tonight – it’s been good. Things went well at work today, karate class was challenging, AND I made some progress on my dissertation topic selection issue.  Now blogging in the quiet of early evening (11:18 PM currently).  At last, time is mine.

In the prior post, I included a picture of my amazing plant.  The flower stalk grew large in just two days. The blooms resemble clover. Starting yesterday, the bloom pods opened up and the scent was intoxicating – I love it!!! When I came into work this morning, I brought a camera, but guess what! The flowers were curled up into pods again.  I thought maybe my space gets really cold at night because it’s always cold in the morning there.  It was exactly the same time today as yesterday – late afternoon (4:30 PMish) – they popped right open. The plant is very mercurial…it feels like a room-mate. Common name is corn plant (see prior post for a botanical name).  I love my jungle.

Take a whiff of this!

OK - now the big news - I'm narrowed to two topics and I love them both (well, er ...maybe).  One involves social networking and entrepreneurs.  The other involves near miss incidents - I'm not convinced I have access to a population for the latter prospect.  Anyway, I feel like things are moving, my motivation and excitement about it are growing.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Molly Pest

I’m trying to write a blog here!!!! THIS CAT IS ALWAYS IN MY FACE!!! If she’s not in my lap (I have to reach across her to type while she constantly rubs her head against my arms), she’s crowding my mouse space, or climbing my stacks of books and papers and knocking stuff over.  I rub her fur the wrong way but she doesn’t care…she's not normal!  Her big plume tail is swishing across the keyboard, purring loudly, chin resting on the table my mouse space, of course.  She has Stepford eyes in this photo, and she's laying on the notes that I was trying to use...oh, and guarding my pen (while crowding my space). 

So, I posted a reply to my mentor.  My response was civil and honest.  I don't think his job is to help me find a topic, so I didn't ask.  Instead, I told him I'd considered six or so topics since our last chat and none were convincingly suitable.  Perhaps I'll open a dialogue about one of the topics with him tomorrow.  My favorite would be near miss incidents.  These are fascinating to me.  I'm writing specs for a near miss reporting system for my company this week.  Is that an opportunity, or what!  I get to work on something that interests me.  The past nights, safety auditing is what the focus has been.  The literature is pitiful on this topic!  Is this my perception because of deficencies in the library, or is it really that no studies are being done?  Perhaps my mentor will know the answer.  Why are no studies being done??  Companies are very protective of this data.  In the current climate, large corporations are always suspect - what are we doing wrong now???

So tonight, I was also thinking about social networking again.  How much do our local farmers use social networking to attract business?  We have the Farmer's Market Association.  Could I develop a model to increase traffic at Farmer's Markets using social networks?

This reminds me that I want to buy some property...but no time to look.  I want a kayak - I miss water.  This property is for sale...on Kinniconnick in Lewis County.  There's 35 acres of what looks like creek bottoms.  Price is reduced to $56,000.  A campsite and a place to put my kayak in.  Pretty expensive for Lewis County - but flat land and much of it clear...if it doesn't flood, I could plant an orchard there.  I WANT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  An hour away, at most.  :)))))


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Ugly Truth

I checked into my classroom – it’s another 8 week session of one-on-one with my mentor. He’s already posted a greeting to me. I didn’t reply yet. What do I say? I feel sick to think about what I will tell him. The truth? “Hello Dr. Chairman, I quit working on my proposal because no company will give me permission to do this F’ing study. Nobody I’ve talked to has enough balls to make a decision. I didn’t pick another topic because I don’t want to F it up again and I’ve been too busy getting wasted most nights. Not only that, I F’ing hate this field I stuck myself in, and now I forget why I’m here. Sincerely, ….Loser”

I guess I’ll be thinking up something less direct and less truthful, and post it tonight.

If I could have started college thinking I could do whatever I wanted, I would have been a scientist of some sort. How cool was Jane Goodall’s work? I would be content to live in the jungle with gorillas and chimps - FOREVER. Or maybe, a plant geneticist working on a super strain of rice, or gigantic corn plants. Maybe a pyrotechnician!!! So, I got a Bachelor’s degree in a field where I knew I could get a job and make enough money to live on. I thought, OK, business is generic and computer science is kind of like science. I won’t have to work with people and computers are going to be around for awhile –I was half right. I almost dropped out twice because of financial issues. I prostituted myself (sort of), ate out of garbage cans, worked some God-awful jobs, begged, and very nearly joined the military just to get finished. Then what, a master’s degree too? Only because the company paid for it – I pretty much had no interest in any class I took in the MBA program, other than one self-directed research class. I wrote about implementing a Ku-band satellite communication network for a SCADA system – this was a project I was working on for work – so combining school and work was super-convenient. Then what - I started a doctorate in management. I hate managing anything, I don’t want to be a leader, and I’m burnt out on everything related to my job. It’s obviously true, I have sausage for brains. I don’t even want to think about what happens if I finish this mess successfully and then can’t find a job I like doing. Maybe I’ll just move to the jungle and disappear.

So enough of this gloom! Look at my corn plant (more correct name is Dracaena Fragrans). It got a big bloom – I’ve never seen a bloom on one until this one. It’s pretty special, yes? It just sort of sprouted from the end of a stalk…and I wonder how it will die…or what happens to the stalk it sprouted from? Maybe the whole stalk will die. I guess I’ll be finding out eventually.