28 April 2014

Word of the Day - Technology

It should be no surprise when I tell you I am a software developer. My background is pretty diverse in the field of technology, so I'm sharing with you some reactions to different scenarios in the IT world. Not every technologist will have similar reactions, but I'm willing to bet that the majority of us do.

tech·nol·o·gy  [tek-nol-uh-jee]

the branch of knowledge that deals with the creation and use of technical means and their interrelation with life, society, and the environment, drawing upon such subjects as industrial arts, engineering, applied science, and pure science.

I was recently asked to provide a simple email confirmation for those members registering for an event. Knowing this to be a task I could complete in less than 30 minutes: creation, testing, and implementation, I looked forward to the work. However, after using the Lotus Notes Designer Client on my PC and having experienced several instances of computer seizures and restarts, I was left completely spent and frustrated.

So the years pass. I'm not just a worker, you know. I've applied for promotions into management many times. Yet, many times those opportunities just were not for me or it wasn't my time. No matter which jobs I applied for in hopes to climb out of the restrictive claws of technology in order to make a difference, I have been met with disappointment. Either someone else got the job or it mysteriously disappeared.

Technology is forever changing, so if you're not changing with it, it's easy to get left behind, especially if you keep doing the same job with no opportunity for advancement. Because I refuse to be that person, I learn as much about technology as I can.

As a matter of fact, much of my time is spent learning new technology, new languages, and new development environments. I may not be in a position to use what I've learned at the moment, but it feels good knowing how things work, all the while keeping the current processes from falling apart.

I have a B.S. in Computer Science and 16 years experience and the hardest part of my job is trying to figure out how to answer this basic question, "Can you just tell me how to do it and I'll do it myself?"

Listen, if technology were that simple, everybody would be a developer. Many years ago, you could get away with just showing someone how to operate a tape drive in one of those clunky mainframes. Clearing the telephone queue when it bottlenecks? No problem! Push this button.

But see, technology looks simple today because so much of the complexities are hidden from the average user. They don't see the algorithms, the code, or the architecture involved in the creation and maintenance of a variety of systems. Everything should work just like the stuff on your iPhone, right?

So, whenever a mature IT crowd, and I use that term respectfully because we have a ton of experience and knowledge in the progression of this thing called infrastructure, whenever they get a new boss fresh out of college and he wants to switch to .NET, it's like...

In all honesty, if I didn't love my job and the people I work with, I wouldn't be able to provide this information so freely and without prejudice. If you can relate, don't be afraid to make it known how you feel. Technology isn't just frustration for the average person. I feel it too! We are all making it through life with constant change, whether it's technology or something else. How you deal with it along the way can make you a better person. So, as technology improves, so do you!

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26 April 2014

My Grandson Meme - Caption Contest!

This is our grandson, Levi. My stepson Timmy and his wife Kelly brought Levi with them on a visit to Tallahassee. We had a wonderful time showing them around and we even took Levi on his first boat ride ever!

Here he is, on the boat with Mommy and ready for some action. He's always pointing with the one finger and we couldn't understand what it meant. But will you look at the expression on his face?

I've decided to create a meme and capture the moment. This is what I think is being conveyed here.

Please join me for this caption contest. Simply provide yours in the comments below. The prize? An opportunity to post about your work in progress, an upcoming release, or a guest article here at Are We There Yet? I know, I know! Don't get all excited there. [insert sarcastic emoticon here]

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20 April 2014

The Immersion Excursion

Have you ever picked up a book and read it from front to back in one sitting? Those are the books you discover by surprise.

Maybe you've experienced a story written by an author you'd never heard of, or one who created a one hit wonder and never wrote another word. How sad. I've read a few myself and now I ponder what glued me to my seat long enough to read an entire story without a break, not even for a bite to eat.


One common element shared by the quick reads I've discovered are the dialogue sequences. They're not thrown together simply to provide white space, making the pages less daunting. I recall meaningful dialogue, the kind which delivers progress in character development and plot.

And remember, the importance of dialogue is as much about what is said as it is about what is not said.


The setting is another element which completely immerses me into a story. It must be vividly clear to me where I am while experiencing the story. Recall Middle-earth in Lord of the Rings, Hogwarts in the Harry Potter series, and the land of Oz in The Wizard of Oz. All unique worlds, very distinct and memorable.

Don't be afraid to share your world. It makes the difference in the reader feeling welcome. When a visitor comes to your house, do you give them a tour or do you confine them to one room?

The 8 senses

When I was in high school, there were only 5 senses we were taught in health education and those were: sight, sound, touch, smell, and taste. Today, we include the senses of time, space, and the unknown. I give examples of each in a post I shared back in 2011.

When you use this technique, I am so focused and entertained, I have no interest in being tantalized in the real world with seeing, tasting, smelling, or anything else. It's like magic to me because the words show me what I already know, therefore, I'm relating on a whole different level, entranced!

Detail in Descriptions

When I read something familiarly exquisite, I stick around. That means I feel comforted when I encounter the details of an item in a story such as a Sesame Seed Biscotti or French Vanilla flavored coffee. Don't be lazy. Share the details. 

The added details give me a sense that I belong where I am; therefore, I have no interest in moving away from the story. I'll keep going because the comfort level is more enticing than putting down the book to go and find something general and bland which I hadn't thought of just yet. 

I further share Dialogue, Detail, and Description in an earlier post.


This is an element I don't read about often, but I know what it is and what it does for me. Voice is something that is important when you read a lot of books. It will save time for the reader when they finally discover the one voice which speaks to them like Vincent Price reading "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe. The way he dramatizes the reciting of the poem could be likened to an author's use of words and choice of cadence in the structure of their sentences.

It's difficult to immerse myself to this length these days because I work full time. But, I remember the days of middle school summer when I blazed through tons of Harlequin romances and wondered where the time had gone. I miss those days. I could immerse myself into another world, and these were the very elements which invited me to stay.

So, what keeps you on the page and turning until the very end?

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13 April 2014

When a Writer Questions an Artist

What happens when a writer questions the written words of a truly talented artist? Something completely unexpected and rather embarrassing is the answer.

One thing I would never do is question a literary icon about intent when it comes to his creations. If you don't understand allegories or metaphors, you have no business correcting someone about their artistic work on a technical level. My new hero is Don Henley (Eagles), for his answer to John Soeder in 2009 while being interviewed for The Plain Dealer. This man dared to correct an artist's choice of words.

The interview question?

On "Hotel California," you sing: "So I called up the captain / 'Please bring me my wine' / He said, 'We haven't had that spirit here since 1969.'" I realize I'm probably not the first to bring this to your attention, but wine isn't a spirit. Wine is fermented; spirits are distilled. Do you regret that lyric?

Assuming by "spirit" Henley must be referencing the wine in his written words, Soeder belittles the artist with his obnoxious question about regrets.

I love Henley's response:

Thanks for the tutorial and, no, you're not the first to bring this to my attention—and you're not the first to completely misinterpret the lyric and miss the metaphor. Believe me, I've consumed enough alcoholic beverages in my time to know how they are made and what the proper nomenclature is. But that line in the song has little or nothing to do with alcoholic beverages. It's a sociopolitical statement. My only regret would be having to explain it in detail to you, which would defeat the purpose of using literary devices in songwriting and lower the discussion to some silly and irrelevant argument about chemical processes.[1]


This must have been a memorable moment for Mr. Soeder as he mentioned it while announcing his retirement back in 2012.

Don Henley and I locked horns, too, because I had the nerve to ask him about the wine-spirit confusion in the Eagles hit "Hotel California"; you can read all about it on Wikipedia.[2]

I'm making a correction here. You didn't "lock horns" with Henley, Mr. Soeder. What happened was something of the nature "he ate your lunch."

Let this be a lesson to the critics out there. Don't always assume your corrections mean anything to the Poet/Songwriter/Artist. We all love music, but if you want music to love you back, treat it with the respect it deserves.

1. Soeder, John. "Don Henley gets into the spirit talking about 'Hotel California'" The Plain Dealer March 20, 2009: T14

2. http://www.cleveland.com/pdq/index.ssf/2012/09/pop_music_critic_john_soeder_s.html

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08 April 2014

Righting the Write Words - Part 2

After my last post on Righting the Write Words I received a couple of emails about similar words which were not covered in that post. So, now I have a part two! Thanks for your suggestions. Remember, these are ways I remember how to use the words, and not necessarily the best ways.

These are words we all come across from time to time, and I'm sure, if not for a split second, you question yourself on which word to choose. If you're like me, you skip on over to dictionary.com to look them up.

I'll try to keep them in alphabetical order, so if you made a suggestion and it didn't start with "A", by all means, scroll down! And there you go.

Now, for part 2 of Righting the Write Words!

Advice is a noun and it's what your husband gives to the guy who is getting ready to take your daughter on a date for the first time.

Advise is the verb and it's what your husband does when a guy is getting ready to take your daughter on a date for the first time.

Ades are fruit drinks.

Aides are people who help.

Aids is what someone does when they help.

AIDS is an acronym for Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome

Aisle is a passageway.

I'll is a contraction of "I" and "will".

And, isle is the last four letters of my name! Why is it so hard for people to spell Carlisle? It's the name "Carl" and the word "isle" which means a small island. You don't spell my last name Carlyle or Carlile. It's Carlisle!

Board is a piece of wood or a group of people.

Bored means I'm just not interested in what you're saying right now.

Device is a noun and can be anything from my iPad to this interesting piece of code that's tracking your IP address as you read this text. Just kidding, but that would be a device.

Devise is a verb and it's what I did to create that IP tracking code. I devised the plan and invented that device.

Discreet means careful or confidential.

Discrete means individual or distinct.

Tim just says it's where he parks his car. In discreet. Get it?  

Eh hem, anyway...

Foreword is an introduction to a book written by someone other than the author. I never did get this one. It's like a son writes a foreword on a book his mother wrote and it's about her son who has A.D.D.

This is a story from the point of view of a mother dealing with a son who acquires a condition known as A.D.D Attention Deficit Disorder. The son is deeply sorry for the pain he inflicted upon his parents during these very trying times, but alas, her story is intriguing and you will be emotionally touched, as was I. -- Author's loving son.

Forward is the opposite of backward.

Hangar is a shed or shelter for airplanes.

Hanger is what you use to hang up your clothes.

You hear sounds and you sit here to listen to them.

Lead is a metal element (noun - pronounced "led") and it's confusing because...

Led is the past tense of lead (verb - pronounced "leed"). See? Confusing!

Naval pertains to ships.

Navel is your belly button or a type of orange. But why? I never understood this. What does your belly button have to do with a type of orange?

Ordinance is a law.

Ordnance means military weapons and ammunition.

Peace means calm.

Piece means a portion of something.

I called Farmers & Merchants Bank some time last year to inform them of a grammatical error on a sign outside their branch office. Piece of mind was not what I believed they meant to convey to the public. The next day, a whole different message was up, something about discounted jumbo CDs.

Peak is the top of a mountain.

Peek is a verb and means to glance furtively.

Pique means to wound someone's pride or to excite interest.

Than is used for comparison.

I thought you were smarter than that.

Then is used for everything else. Not really. It's used for time, sequence, and in addition to.

  1. She wasn't home then. (time)
  2. Then I came back. (sequence)
  3. It cost $500.00. And then there's the tax and shipping. Then you need to tip. (in addition to)

A vial is a small container for holding liquids.

Vile is an adjective which describes something or someone as being repulsive or depraved.

And finally, my favorite!

Who vs. Whom

Who refers to the subject and whom refers to the object. Sure, that's confusing, so here's my test to decide which to use.

If you can replace the word with "he" or "she" then who is correct.

If you can replace the word with "him" or "her" then whom is correct.


Who wrote the letter?
She wrote the letter.
Her wrote the letter.

Whom did the principal scold?
The principal scolded her.
The principal scolded she.

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02 April 2014

My Lunch Date with Zaxby's Chicken

Just a quick journal-like note for my friends out there in the blogosphere. Today is a sad day…

It's my half day, so I'm off at 12:30 this afternoon. My husband promised to have lunch with his workout buddies so they're all going to goat balls, which is a nickname I made up for this Greek restaurant they all love and I hate.

Anyway, so I have no friends today. My only option is to grab something on the way home, so I pick up a plate of 5 chicken fingers from Zaxby's. I figure these will go well with the rice Tim made the other day, so I pass on the fries, "Just the fingers, thanks," I answer back at the intercom.

When I arrive home, to my dismay, what little rice is left in the rice cooker is hardened and inedible. So, now I'm left with chicken fingers and nothing else. I contemplate making tomato soup, but I'm too lazy.

I dunk the fingers in Zaxby sauce and Ranch dressing and wolf them down. With some food in my tummy, I figure I will get a good start on the afternoon with a great blog entry for you all. And then it happens.

The voices in my head stop talking. I have nothing to say, therefore nothing to write about. All I can think about is the fact I had nothing to eat but Zaxby's chicken and I'm all alone [insert favorite sad face here]. So I figure, maybe I could share my lunch with you! Here's to having great company.

So, what did YOU have for lunch today?

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