Friday, November 18, 2011

Nerd Warning: Post contains D&D references

It probably isn't great that I feel the need to define my life as a character in a role-playing game, but I like to look on the bright side and say at least I'm not avoiding my life by pretending to be a character in a game.

I never said as a child "I want to be a paladin when I grow up". I was a practical child not prone to ridiculous statements. But now that I am grown up I have to say. "I have grown-up, and I am a paladin." Its a calling, and I finally understand what that means.

It occurs to me today that in D&D paladins (I'm talking mostly 2nd/3rd edition here) have one thing rather easy. They feel the calling to take up arms and channel all of that righteous energy in the defense of a deity (or, occasionally, in defense of righteousness in general). So what do they do? They go down to the local temple of said deity or the local order of paladins and they sign up. Sure, at that point the real work begins but at least they have structure and purpose.

What do I have? Only the feeling of being lost and confused. I am so done with that. I wish a had a local order of paladins to join. I wish our culture needed that the way the D&D worlds always seem to.

I have decided that even if the world doesn't think it needs paladins there is still a place in the world for those of us who feel called in this way. Maybe some of us go into law enforcement or the military, some probably join churches and non-profits. We find our way. I have swapped my trusty steed for a car and weapons of steel and magic for weapons of words and technology.

I'm still working on what exactly it is I defend as a contemporary paladin (see Mission Statement entry) but I have embraced the paladin calling. It feels right.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Name change!

I know, I'm terrible about changing everything about my blogs. Google Verduranti and you might even find my two old dead ones. Anyway, this time I have a better reason.

I need purpose. It's just the way I am. A conversation with a friend made me realize that I am, effectively, a modern day paladin (and that this is why I can't do marketing). I love this idea. It is so true and it just reals right. So right that I am incorporating it into my "brand", which the Career Center says I need - starting with my blog.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mission Statement!

I decided I need a better idea of what I want from a career and a mission statement is going to help me get there.

Rough Draft Warning!

I want a career that focuses on investigation and problem-solving within a team environment. My technical skills should be used but not to the exclusion of all social interaction. I must have the freedom to be direct and honest. Deadlines must be realistic and meaningful.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blogging 'cause I can't find paper

Another week of readings on sustainability and I'm fed up with them. I just don't care much about trees and waste and completely rethinking the industrial revolution. However, I agree with the following.

1. Life is better when what you do for a living reflects who you are and the impact you would like to have on the world - not just the paycheck you need.

2. People generally want the service of an object more than the object. This is an interesting way of looking at new business.

That's it.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What fruit? I don't see any damn fruit.

I want to be a better person. This doesn't mean I hate who I am, just that I think it is noble and good to pursue something better. I used to think that this meant that I should change my most glaring faults. This makes sense, right? Other people see my faults, I see my faults, they really get in my way.

For examples here are some of my most glaring faults: I'm inconsistent, I'm incredibly reliable/knowledgable/whatever one minute and much less so the next. I'm emotional. This might not be very obvious all the time, but when it comes out, I am over-the-top emotional. I am also a perfectionist. I have trouble seeing the point at which I stop getting a return on my investment of time and energy. It MUST BE PERFECT.

I should fix these things because these are my most glaring faults. Maybe they should be low hanging fruit too, right? After all, if they are so obvious, then I must be able to make simple changes to improve them and make them less obvious.

And right there is my problem. I don't care anymore about obvious. I will always have flaws and these are my flaws. They are an essential part of me. Also, if there were easy steps to mitigate the damage from these flaws, don't you think I would have done them already?

I would like to add that trying to make myself less of a perfectionist, or more consistent, also makes me miserable. I just feel so hopeless. I need a better plan.

Now I look at my life and how to become a better person and I have decided to focus on new things. I will improve myself by doing things I am already good at, better, r by doing new things that give me new experiences and knowledge. I have been working on this for the last year and I am much happier as a result.

Monday, November 7, 2011


I'm really busy. I have a ton to do. But the last few weeks of this quarter look a little dull. Another project, another two quizzes, another "Oxford discussion". Social events are getting more spread out, probably because everyone is busy with school work.

Really, I think my problem is that my rate of learning seems to have leveled out. I have reached a steady-state with my two technical classes and essence of enterprise meets for an hour a week - hardly a rigorous schedule. I discovered a hole in my basic knowledge - I have apparently never actually read anything by Ayn Rand. I will fix that this week, but then its probably back to crafts and video games with me. These things are fun, but a little shallow.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Should be studying... but I'm not!

I'm such a rebel! That accounting test doesn't scare me!

It's midterm time here at Daniels and that means for the last week I have done very little besides study and work on projects. It's time for me to take a deep breath and look at what I hope to accomplish in the second half of this quarter.

1. Continue trying to stay ahead of the readings for each class. This makes my studying much easier later. I am currently most behind in... you guessed it... accounting!
2. I'm doing great attending my BJJ class but I would like to add at least one weight training session and one run to my week. Also, daily push-ups. Its not as miserable as it sounds. :D
3. Stick to my schedule. I made one, and it has everything I need on it (except time to blog! epic failure!) I should at least try to follow it.

Given that last goal... I'm going to get back to studying.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lump of Leadership Fallacy

As I learn more about myself through my regular therapy ses... mean my business classes, I realized that I was guilty of a logical fallacy. It goes beyond a simple logic error. I have been trapped by this fallacy into a harmful way of looking at my life and my future. I have called this the "lump of leadership fallacy". Google this if you want to understand, my explanation sucks.

*waits patiently for you to get back*

Done googling? Ok, cool. I want to talk about leadership, not labor. I believed, until last week, that there was a finite lump of leadership. People are either leaders or not, and positions that need leaders are rare and finite and those people who are leaders ruthlessly compete for them. This is not helpful. Its not even accurate.

There are many kinds of leadership. There are also many opportunities to behave as a leader in unconventional places. Now that I know this, I've stopped worrying about being a leader or being a sheep. Instead, I focus much more on doing the right thing. In this grad school project, I am trying to do the following:

1. Be myself
2. Do useful things
3. Have fun

None of that involves being a better leader. Yet it has made me a better leader anyway because in order to accomplish those things I end up doing the things that leaders do. Maybe I'll never be a rare inspirational leader figure, but I no longer feel like a sheep.

-------- Beware: Below is my attempt to explain a lump of labor fallacy ---------

In economics there is a concept called the "lump of labor fallacy". This refers to the mistaken idea that if a company chooses to replace an employee with another (usually lower cost option), this is a loss for the employee and a win for the new employee (or robot, or whatever).

For example Company X, which I just made up, decides it would be cheaper to replace its five customer service representatives based in Boulder, CO with five call-center operators in India, at a substantial savings. Five people lose expensive jobs, five other people gain jobs. The theory goes that there is only so much labor to go around.

The problem is that even though this sometimes, briefly, works out this way, there's actually no reason why Company X wouldn't reinvest the savings and maybe higher some new people in order to pursue a new business opportunity. The fallacy is a fallacy because even though the threads are complicated to follow, the amount of useful work that people can be paid to do is tied to growth. If companies grow, so does the pool of uses for labor.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Grad School as Therapy

As a teenager I saw a therapist. I'm pretty sure it was a waste of time and money. It wasn't that I was an amazingly healthy, self-aware human that didn't need such deep conversations. Sadly, my poor therapist just had issues determining how screwed up I was (not as much as some people) and what I needed (an intellectual challenge). I was broken, but in all the wrong ways. Eventually I put myself back together and moved on.

This story has a point. College broke me again, in different ways. I lacked self-confidence. Not only was I constantly afraid of screwing up my job, my life, and pretty much anything of value to me, but I also had a poor view of the future. I felt trapped in a life that I could not live up to. So, I made a decision. I quit my job, took some time off, and enrolled in graduate business school.

I could go see a therapist, but I don't want to. I want to go to grad school. I want my masters degree. A completely unexpected side effect is that I feel my broken self getting pieced back together. Everything about grad school is emotionally rewarding. I'm surrounded by other successful, ambitious people who have made similar choices to myself and I am not a weak contributor. It feels right.

I have been assigned a number of readings on the topic of leadership, and these bear a surprising resemblance to various self-help strategies. We are encouraged to talk about these and discuss how we can become better leaders, which is remarkably similar to becoming to becoming better people.

In other words, as a graduate student, I have access to numerous resources on how I can feel less broken. I have a support network starting where I can talk about how my past choices led me to this point. Therapy probably would've been cheaper, but grad school will most likely pay for itself eventually.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Grad school has begun.

I'm going to post more regularly, now that I am back in grad school. I need a place to resolve my business school insights. :D

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Petition for more oxygen in Colorado

Ok, so, I can't run. I can hardly jog. This state just doesn't have enough oxygen! Two minutes of jogging and I'm wheezing like a wounded buffalo.

I have a path around my apartment complex that I measured out with my car. It's roughly 1.5 miles and I need to be able to run it in under 14 minutes. Today, I timed myself for the first time, running when I could and walking when I couldn't. I finished in 23:24. That's a long way to go.

Given how far behind I am, tomorrow, I want to try two things.
1. I want to do two runs, one before my weight training workout and one after.
2. For at least the first run, I want to follow some advice from a friend of mine and try never falling back to a walk, and stay jogging even if walking would be faster.

I'll ease up on the weight training if I need to because I need a week of running, to get my lungs back into working like well-tuned machines.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

A New Spring

So I've been at this physical training phase of my life for a little over a month and though I am now more flexible and stronger and a tiny bit faster, I need to up my game. Starting tomorrow, I will push myself even further. Here's my plan to work on a few of my weaknesses:

1. More running. No excuses, I just need to run more, treadmills, outside, whichever.
2. Learn to jump rope. I have never been able to do this properly, and now is a good time to learn.
3. Better records. Now is the time for documents and benchmarks and real measurements of progress
4. Better planning. I want a plan for my work outs and I want to know how well I keep to the plan.

So, I'll use this blog to help me. First, I plan on at least documenting my achievements here, and maybe a bit of the planning.