hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley

It comes in many forms

Painfully and rarely

The best part of flying is overhearing some great comments.

That is, if your hearing permits it.

I don’t enjoy air travel as much as I used to.

Wow.

That’s an understatement.

I don’t enjoy air travel period.

Ever since seating design encroached on every bit of available space between passengers, I have been disgusted with the airline industry.

It doesn’t make it any easier to enjoy traveling when there are really only four major airlines servicing the country, either.

Lack of competition is never a good thing. That’s why mergers and acquisitions can be spun by CEO’s any which way upside down, but the fact remains the resulting lack of competition leaves less for consumers to choose from–regardless of industry.

When you have less to choose from, the overall experience is almost surely to end up being less pleasant.

In the case of the airline passenger, the seating arrangement is best for short people.

You have to pay extra for leg room.

Really?

Thank lack of competition.

You want something besides sugar-coated or salty peanuts for your free snack?

Thank lack of competition.

You want to not have to squeeze yourself horizontally, pulling your shoulders down and in while you fly in the sky?

Thank lack of competition.

When United, American, Southwest and Delta vanquished the competition, they sold this consolidation on the premise it would mean better service and a better experience for passengers.

I call BS.

Not to say it wasn’t an effective argument when they were trying to close their respective conglomeration mergers and acquisitions.

I remember when Randy Newman had a hit with Short People.

I recall some people being offended.

Now, however, short people are having the last word when it comes to air travel.

They are, or must be, who the engineers design the planes’ interiors for.

I know that when I travel, less than tall people will push their seats all the way back.

Tall people can’t do anything about that; they have to grin and bear it.

Except for me, there is no grinning.

It just makes me not like Randy Newman the artist. It’s not like I was a fan in the first place, but Short People really has come back to bite tall people.

You knew short people would have their comeuppance.

Since we are basically sitting on top of each other when we fly these days, the experience tends to lend itself to conversations at high decibel.

The airlines didn’t really consider any of this nor should they have; we have ear buds we can use to play something so it drowns conversation out we’d rather not be part of.

But, people make friends sometimes as a result of this cramped seating arrangement.

I thought about exchanging business cards one time recently when flying, but I couldn’t reach to my back pocket to get one. So, I said, I didn’t think I had any.

That wasn’t exactly a lie, either, because I didn’t have any business cards (that I could get to).

The best recently overheard comment was when passengers were boarding a plane to Denver that I was on. Most everyone was seated and the last passengers were making their way towards their seats.

The chatter had already started and I overheard two passengers who were becoming fast friends say they did not know how tall people were able to fly anymore.

At about this time, a gentleman that had to be at least 6’5″ tall was making his way carefully up the aisle.

He turned and said to the two passengers in conversation, “painfully and rarely” before moving up the aisle and shoe-horning himself into his seat.

On or off the grid, the ostracized hug and the unexplainable path to now

I remember how scatologically incensed I was when I saw how many hits the words digital rectal thermometer had on amazon.com.

My mind was racing with the realization that digital had finally achieved on- and off-the-grid association and fame.

Sometimes when writing online you never know what you’re going to lead with. Often you write and re-write your lead a gazillion times. Sometimes you edit it out entirely and just begin vomiting. No matter whether you disregard the first two sentences of this piece or not, I’ve chosen to leave them in.

For somehow and some way, this will all make just a little bit of sense before the last word of the missive is absorbed by the vast majority of those not looking for meaning to their existence.

If I were truly off the grid I would use a typewriter instead of a word processor, app or some other contraption that involves software born of the digital world.

Being off the grid is admirable, yet also largely unobtainable.

Many of us have established it as a preferred way of life with respect to living healthily.

My dog is off the grid.

Always has been.

And speaking of always, he has been a constant source of inspiration as to how to live.

Currently he is scratching his rear end. In his case, gnawing is a better word than scratching.

But, I get it. It itches. So you scratch it.

How many of us want to scratch our rear ends but can’t or won’t? And it’s not because we live in a digital world. It’s because of who is around at the time, that we don’t just naturally rear back and gnaw on it like man’s best friend does. Well, maybe we wouldn’t be gnawing, but we would reach it to scratch with our hands.

The dog doesn’t care who is around to watch but we do. The gnawing of the dog’s own butt is an example of his version of living off the grid.

For humans, the presence of mixed company is especially treacherous when considering such behavior. Accordingly, it is the prime reason we choose to wait for an opportunity where less scrutiny from others is prevalent.

This human behavior of doing unsavory things out of the public eye predates the digital world of course. But, depending on when manners actually became a thing, we may have been scratching our rear ends and elsewhere no matter who was around. To me, that is evidence of the beauty of life off the grid.

Like a lot of people say about poor behavior today…if you are offended, don’t look.

But we can’t help it. It’s not a matter of our physically looking at the butt scratching of others. It’s that when we’re online, we’re bombarded with digital images and streaming media. It is often upon us before we are able to look away. And this is what I like to call proof positive of life on the grid.

I’m lucky enough to have experienced an upbringing completely off the grid. Unless you consider the general, electric grid that supported such devices as blenders and television sets a grid. It may be technically a grid, but it most certainly does not resemble the digital one of today.

Getting a like is a byproduct of the digital world.

In the off the grid world I grew up in, you could like something or some one could like you, but you couldn’t actually get a like, unless, of course you considered something or someone liking you as receiving, or getting, a like. We, of course, considered no such thing.

Getting a like can cause many of us to experience happy thoughts and feelings. I think somewhere and by some body or entity, corporation or university, it’s been proven via study that someone liking a photo or social media status update can cause the body to emit feel-good hormones–similar to those that flow upon receiving a hug from someone whom you like.

The only thing more complicated than the whole like phenomenon is the physical act of the hug itself.

If new Seinfeld episodes were still being made I would envision Jerry riffing on hugs.

“Do we just go up and hug someone anymore?”

“Or must we pause before following through on the hug until the person intended to be on the receiving end has given some signal they are receptive to the hug?”

“Can hugs ever be an innocuous display of comfort ever again?”

“Will the hug ever come back in style?”

I think not. Especially, if we’re on the grid.

The gift of written gab

No matter what your job is you should know how to speak well, convincingly and effectively.

This ability is otherwise known as the gift of gab.

The gift of gab also sometimes cohabitates with the written word for those lucky enough to possess the talent in both its forms.

Salespeople with just one form may only find limited success. This is because while you should always be closing, your ability to do so is hindered if you follow up great presentations with ugly email communications to your target audience.

People call me out on technicalities because they know I like to identify them just as much as anyone does.

For instance, it might be argued that “gab” concerns only the spoken word. I can see how one could make this error. The implication for gab on the written word, however, is proven several times over when someone tells (or writes) a good story.

If you consider gab to include the entire communication spectrum of both written and spoken word, I would suggest the sky is the limit regarding your ability to always be closing.

Instead of cold calling all the time, if you’re fortunate enough to have someone’s email address, you could easily be in business if your written gab skills are on a par with your spoken ones.

Another reason to communicate by written word is to avoid having someone hear your voice, especially if you’re what I like to call voice-insecure regarding your spoken gab skills.

Voice-insecure is a much better reference than voice-modest or voice-challenged as neither of those characterizations screams non-braggadocio like voice-insecure.

So, let’s say your voice-insecure.

Why would someone be voice-insecure?

Some reasons for this malady would be if you sound like a “get-off-my-lawn-er” or perish the thought and register on the other end of the aural paradigm as juvenile-adolescent.

No matter how you sound, if you can write, even just a little bit, you might be able to corral that lead into a bona fide client by sending a personable email featuring succinct, tantalizing info with razor-sharp focus–qualities that don’t always come across during phone calls–especially if you sound like Betty Boop.

So, now you understand how the gift of gab can work for you other than conversationally and over the phone.

But, I also hear some of you saying, “Well, Bob, I’m going to have to speak with this entity, consortium or person(s) at some point.”

Maybe yes, maybe no.

But, if you must, what would you rather do? Send an email first and then speak over the phone or vice versa?

Depends on whichever is your strong suit, right?

Again, maybe yes, maybe no.

If you always call or speak in person first, you’re losing out on the promise of what an inviting email could bring. Plus, if you are rejected when speaking over the phone, then you’ll appear awkward resorting to a follow-up email–which may very well blast you out of the water entirely with respect to any chance of salvaging the deal in the future.

And a lot depends on what it is the deal entails.

If it’s a speaking engagement, then duh, yeah, lead with your speaking gab strength.

If it’s trying to get a publisher to take on your latest manuscript, then perhaps sending an email first and following up with a phone call will serve you more richly.

When all is said and done, though, it’s best to be good at both types of gab.

Personally, I find written gab more satisfying and rewarding. That is, unless someone appreciates my unintentional get-off-my-lawn tonality when speaking on the phone.

If you’re like me, however, you try to turn a perceived weakness into an actual strength. Add a dose of humor to what you’re trying to convey and it may become a deeply satisfying experience by the time you complete the call.

As always, your mileage may vary. But, you’ll be well on your way to changing your outlook as well as honing another skill in your communication toolbox. And that’s not so bad, is it.

None of this is common sense.

It may have been common sense 100 years ago or maybe even 50, but it no longer is today.

That’s why I do what I do.

From the not-so-common sense files: The art of the plan

A plan is not a plan unless it includes provisions for the unexpected.

I am not one to throw quotes around, especially those from Mike Tyson, but as the former heavyweight champion once shrewdly commented, “everyone has a plan until they get hit in the mouth.”

And it’s the figurative, unexpected punch in the mouth that typically gets left out of most plans.

Whether making plans at work or at home, you should discuss them with all involved parties.

If it’s only a plan for yourself, well then, it’s still worth bouncing the plan off some part of someone other than their mouth, if only for the valued opinion of a person you respect.

If plans don’t have contingencies built-in for things that might occur in the course of carrying them out, they’re really not plans at all.

For what you are doing in these instances is constantly having either, a) meetings with yourself; or b) the previously mentioned affected parties of the plan.

Either of these meetings is undertaken to introduce courses of corrective action to plans gone sideways.

What’s the plan, Stan?

What a real plan does is take into consideration these scenarios ahead of time.

But how many times do we see in our professional and personal lives plans that do no such thing?

Too often.

The problem is that good plan formulation takes time.

You can’t just come up with a decent plan in a matter of minutes.

That’s why so many of us start things and never finish.

Hardly any of what we do is well thought out.

And it’s no wonder.

We’re busy.

We don’t have much time.

So, we fly by the seat of our pants more often than not.

And sadly, when we do so, we conceal our disappointment in the less-than-expected positive outcomes and move on to the next thing for which we’ll have no plan.

It’s a vicious cycle.

It’s also preventable.

But that prevention takes some attention. Focus. And time.

For me, personally, even when I’ve taken longer to think things through on any given subject or potential course of action I might endeavor to take, I do not regret the time used on such efforts.

After all, even if I’m not as successful as I thought I’d be, I take solace knowing whatever didn’t come out exactly right on the first run, ended up as good as could be expected at the end, all considered, because I had a backup plan.

Backup plans are sometimes referred to as Plan B.

I say why stop at a Plan B? Why not Plan C and Plan D? Or even Plan E or Plan F?

Having a half-dozen plans formulated in advance provides the ability to make the most efficient use of all time during the rollout and carrying out of the objective.

Spending more time thinking, studying and considering all of the potential pitfalls to the plan upfront is tantamount to insurance for the bumps in the road even the best-laid plans will encounter.

Unlike any other form of insurance, however, plan insurance in the form of upfront preparation and contingency courses of action, costs only your time and helps mitigate disaster that might befall you.

Will you wing it or invest in yourself?

I trust it will be the latter.

In the weeds

I weeded an ivy bed yesterday.

That’s not a bed you sleep on.

A long time ago, before I weed whacked the ivy bed into semi oblivion, the ivy was growing, well, everywhere in the bed. It had become about a foot tall in spots and was unruly.

No problem, or so I thought upon setting out to curtail some of the height with the aforementioned weed whacker.

Weed whackers are curious creatures.

They can be unwieldy. But when you can keep the twine feeding properly when you need it, there is no better tool for weed whacking efficiently–read that as weeding in the shortest time possible.

Fast forward a couple of years and the weeds had overrun the bed. There is a tree in the middle of the bed that at one time was being choked out by the ivy.

Now, though, the weeds were choking out the ivy that had lessened its grip on the tree trunk by virtue of it being overrun by the weeds.

I practiced ignorance for a bit.

This was the kind of ignorance where instead of not being in the know, I merely chose to ignore the fact the ivy bed had seen better days and the weeds were taking over.

This worked for about a year until my significant other put me on notice.

“Bob, you’ve got some work to do there.”

These are some of the words no man wants to hear, especially when we’re experiencing mid-July temperatures in May.

To be fair, I had gotten about as much mileage as a body can for someone who’s practiced ignorance in this matter. Actually, I was informed I was practicing avoidance by an entity known as Google.

I am very suspect of any intelligence known as artificial.

That said, however, I knew it would not bode well for my short- and long-term peace of mind if I insisted on putting off weeding the bed any longer. I thought about saying I needed to write instead of weed, but quickly thought better of it.

What really would have been more pressing story-wise for me to portray than performing the task at hand which was weeding?

How about telling the story that is the interminable amount of time it takes to update Windows PC’s and Macs compared to Linux machines?

Nah, I didn’t think that’d fly, either.

What about saying I needed to spend quality time with the dog?

Nah, that would have gotten me the stink eye.

There really wasn’t any excuse I could think of, let alone have it sound legitimate coming out of my trap.

I simply nodded after acknowledging the ivy bed was out of control with weeds. And using the weed whacker on the problem would not be tolerated, nor would it be effective.

No, no, no.

What was required was the scourge of weekend gardeners: hand weeding.

Well, maybe not the scourge of all weekend gardeners, but certainly this one, at the least.

I made sure I was hydrated throughout–taking frequent breaks to drink large quantities of water.

I dug out all the weeds by hand.

I tried to leave the good ivy intact as much as possible.

It was tedious, time-consuming work, taking the entire afternoon.

My knees ached.

My fingers were sore but not as sore as they are today.

I really should be on the 15-day blogging disabled list, and I may yet go on it, but I needed to get another post out or risk this site becoming as fallow as the ivy bed.

The ivy bed is probably better called ivy patches now. At least the ivy outnumbers the weeds–which to my tired eyes means there aren’t any traces of weeds, except maybe just a few clover weeds that I can revisit should they grow.

The thing in the bed that there is the most of now is dirt.

It’s kind of like how the oceans swallow the few land masses that exist on the earth. Now, the ivy is like those land masses and the dirt is like the ocean that surrounds the land.

It’s not quite an ivy bed, but hopefully, in time and with some weeding as necessary, it’ll get there again.

Shinzen Friendship Garden photo essay

When visiting the area, the Shinzen Friendship Garden tucked away in Fresno is not to be missed. Peaceful, serene and conducive to meditative states are but a few of the characterizations that come to mind for this zen-like setting. Accordingly, it is my privilege and distinct pleasure to present to our readers one of the rare posts here at hittingthesweetspot by Bob Skelley featuring almost as many photographs as words.

Every picture tells a story don’t it, indeed. Enjoy.

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‘Searching for Sugar Man’ most definitely not a waste of time

Well, that was a waste of time.

Who can be the judge of time that is wasted? After all, we all waste time to some degree or another.

Sometimes the person who says “that” was a waste of time is including a person involved in the experience they deemed a waste of time. If this is the case, the person(s) involved in the experience were all wasting time with one another doing or not doing whatever it was that was deemed a waste.

We sleep half our lives. Isn’t sleeping a “waste” of time? Sure, we need sleep in order to recharge our bodies. Health nuts and gym rats pore over the amount of sleep they get in order to achieve peak performance in their personal and professional lives. That kind of preoccupation is a waste of time–even more so than the actual sleeping itself. Because it’s not enough to just sleep these days. You have to have quality sleep. Obsession much?

Sometimes reading blogs such as this is a waste of time. I admit it. But, if you’re smart, you’ll read through to completion and surely find it time well spent.

I personally don’t read very many blogs. I can only read so much. I don’t have the time to begin with to be choosy with the reading material I avail myself of. And let’s be clear. I am not catering to any one person, group or audience when it comes to subject matter employed in my writing. That, for me, would be the pinnacle of wasting time.

I used to think meetings were a waste of time. Many times they were and are. But, I can’t seem to eliminate them completely from my life. I’ve been told they’re a necessary evil (whatever that means). If they’re not productive, they’re nothing more than a waste of time. If something is evil to begin with I’d hardly find it necessary.

I like it when I am asked to take a survey after doing something, going somewhere, getting my car fixed, flying in an airplane (as George Carlin used to say, “Let the daredevils get on the plane. I’m going in.”), eating ice cream, buying something in the store, filling my car up, etc. Actually, I don’t like it much at all.

Surveys are a waste of time. But it’ll just take five minutes, right? Wrong. By taking surveys you are participating in the paralysis that is gripping the world regarding decision-making.

Surveys are like interviews. They are conducted mostly by businesses and individuals who without them are unable to accurately predict trends that will help them do business effectively moving forward.

One of the problems with surveys is the limited sample size. Something else resembling surveys and interviews are polls. Remember the commanding lead Hillary had in the polls?

We should have stopped using polls, surveys and interviews right then and there. But, of course, we’re gluttons for punishment and just because we have no replacements for them, we decide to keep using them. Pretty much a huge waste of time all considered.

In retrospect I believe going online with a 33.6K/14.4 Modem was a huge waste of time. I should have been smart enough to just stay off the grid until broadband was common.

Which brings us to something that is not a waste of time no matter how you slice it.

I watched the Oscar-winning documentary, “Searching for Sugar Man” recently. This was most definitely not a waste of time. It was one of the most amazing cinematic experiences I have ever had.

And certainly not for its 3D or movie special effects which there were none of.

Unless, that is, you’re able to consider the magic that is the feel good special effect of discovering an artist (Rodriguez) who remained commercially obscure most of his life until being found “alive” in this country by fans in another. No doubt like me you’ll be glad you did.

Since the movie came out six years ago, though, I must have been wasting time for having not discovered Rodriguez until now. Perhaps I was living under a rock. I don’t know.

But, allow me to disclose one of the best ways not to waste three minutes and 25 seconds by having a listen of “I Think of You” by Rodriguez:

 

The one and done horse race dress up

I had the distinct pleasure of attending my first Kentucky Derby a few years back. It was everything I could have expected and then some for such an historic sporting event.

This year I’m attending the Kentucky Oaks Day celebration at Churchill Downs. It is held the day before the Kentucky Derby and is the fourth highest attended horse race in the United States—after the Derby, the Preakness Stakes and the Belmont Stakes.

I’m not much of a gambler, but as at the Derby I was fortunate enough to attend, I will plunk down some of my hard earned money on horse(s) yet to be determined.

Part of the fun, or stress, in my case, and quite possibly for other men attending Oaks and/or Derby days is the wardrobe selection process. I’ve never been a clothes horse (sorry, couldn’t resist), but for galas such as these, you want to do it right.

I opted for a classic pink shirt, blue sports jacket, gray slacks and lightweight, charcoal gray fedora. And may I say it was not easy getting there. Well, it probably was, but choosing attire I wear most likely only once is not something a guy can practice for.

The fact you only get one chance, especially when you order some of your wardrobe online, only adds to the pressure of getting it right come (for me) Oaks Day.

I’m hoping the shirt is the only glitch I have as I just put to bed the online order for a bow tie and fedora.

I had to have my wife measure my head. I know it’s big. If just one person out of a hundred pays me a compliment anytime or place, my head size ends up increasing one whole size, too. Strangest thing.

This would account for the multitude of different hats in my closet ranging from medium to X-L sizes. Really, what other explanation could there be that would justify the variation in size?

Anyway, the hat is scheduled to arrive the day before The Oaks. Good thing I like it when things go down to the wire. Dang, another horse racing reference (I’m enjoying myself here today in case you haven’t noticed).

I have the sports jacket and trousers in tow (not exactly a horse racing reference, but still, if you think about the trailers the horses are transported in…).

The first go ‘round on the pink shirt was an epic fail. It was an online order of course. I selected a slim fit variety of an Alberto VO 5 (not the real designer, name changed to protect the innocent) designed shirt.

I would not characterize myself as broad shouldered but I’m spacious in the chest and my mid section has filled out some over the years.

The last slim fit shirt I purchased was one made by Van Hebarobber (again, not the real shirt company name) and it actually fit perfectly.

pexels-photo-158976.jpegNow, though, fresh on the heels of someone who paid me a compliment by calling me handsome after seeing me dressed up (some) recently, not only did my head swell, but so did my upper body and arms.

The slim fit shirt was not a good fit. It was too tight and the length was too short to keep the shirt tucked in to my slacks every time I bent over to pick a penny off the pavement.

I returned it but not before I gave my better half a fashion show. She gave me her inimitable two thumbs down gesture of disapproval.

I almost flexed, doing my best Lou Ferrigno as the Incredible Bulk, I mean, Hulk, but I was seeking a refund on the shirt, not total destruction of it.

I set out shopping anew online for another pink shirt after sending back Virginia Slim for a refund.

I received the new regular fit shirt in the mail and it couldn’t have fit better. Now, I’m hoping it will survive the “easy wash/dry” experience I’m giving it—gentle cycle all the way as I want the buttons and thread intact after cleaning.

The trousers I already have, so nothing to worry about there.

Same with the sports jacket. Or is it sports coat? Or blazer jacket? Coats sound like they would be heavier and not breathe as well as something called jackets. Now, blazer jacket (or is it blazer for short?) is not on my radar simply due to this air of ambiguity.

Shoes and belt are already accounted for.

The final item that is producing some last minute sweating is my fedora which I just ordered.

I was warming up my gambling feelings as there are no reviews whatsoever for this hat. It was described as black but the pictures most definitely were more on the gray side. To add insult to injury I had to pay $12 extra to have it delivered the day before Oaks.

The least stressful wardrobe work-through was the bow tie.

Again, with the help of my personal wardrobe assistant, I was able to make a color-scheme appropriate choice. I do know how to dress myself, but for special occasions such as these, I like to leave as little as possible to chance.

The bow tie comes one-size fits all. It’s pre-tied, too, (don’t judge), so I won’t have to relive the trauma of watching YouTube videos explaining how to tie a bow tie. I thought I had it down on my dry runs before the Kentucky Derby, but on the day of, it took me a good twenty minutes to get the deed done—including a dastardly finger-numbing bout of carpal tunnel.

If not for the help of my personal wardrobe assistant once more, I would not have made it. I am, however, still emotionally scarred from the self-imposed bow tie tying deadline I endured.

This time, though, my bow tie experience will be much easier (fingers crossed).

If only it wasn’t a one-and-done type of wear affair.

Mythical Worker Bee Hall of Fame serves grinders

The hype machine never ends.

Whether it’s Saquon Barkley or Shohei Ohtani, we have a propensity to anoint current phenoms as once-in-a-lifetime talents before they’ve even completed a season in their respective professional sport.

If you want to be called great, you have to perform at very high levels over long periods of time.

I’ve owned my grindership. I’m not particularly super talented at anything. Like a lot of people I do a lot of things pretty well. To be clear, I said, “pretty well,” and not great.

We do have a need to pass the torch from current greats, as it were, to younger-generation talents. What irks me about it though, is our wanting to do it before any of the rookies have really come into their own in the professional game or sense.

Sometimes injuries cut short the careers of talents like Bo Jackson.

He was undeniably out of this world in two sports—baseball and football, in a relatively small sample size before hip injuries cut short his professional sporting life.

But, while injuries can keep athletes from realizing their full potential, they can still be considered an all-time great if they’ve had at least some career to speak of in the pros.

Gale Sayers is a Pro Football Hall of Famer. His career spanned but from 1965 to 1971. His accomplishments during this period, however, more than justified his selection into the Hall.

pexels-photo-327050.jpegThere is no Worker Bee Hall of Fame.

Workers–whether they’re office, construction, trades, government or working from home–perform tirelessly day in and day out. They’re professionals.

Sadly, there is no hall of fame awaiting them at the end of their working lives.

No enshrinement into the Worker Bee Hall of Fame.

This is mostly because the Worker Bee Hall of Fame doesn’t actually exist.

Imagine being anointed one of the greatest ever on your first day on the job as a data entry clerk.

That’d be ridiculous.

And unlike professional sports, it just doesn’t happen in the working world.

This is why no matter how hyped someone is coming into a position—sporting or otherwise, they still must prove themselves over time to be worthy of the accolades.

Late bloomers often bloom lately on their own.

What I mean by this is that by the time someone like you or I becomes great, there isn’t anyone around that notices that can help get you selected for the Worker Bee Hall of Fame.

They can’t even get you a raise most times, so no way can you expect heady words such as, “He could type for 14 hours at a clip without taking so much as a pee break.”

While impressive, it won’t get you a sniff at a promotion.

So, where does one find their own purpose if they have no shot at the mythical Worker Bee Hall of Fame?

I suppose we just have to have faith, or at the least, be happy in the knowledge that we have done good, and at times exceptional work, over long periods of time. That has to count for something. We helped make production numbers and increased companies’ bottom lines by working through exhaustion and beyond.

The way I’ve always dealt with it is to try and help the rest of my team perform better.

That, along with doing great work over the long haul, is the mark of multi-generational greatness.

I’m personally still swinging for the fences but I just don’t care as much anymore. We’re hidden, disconnected by virtue of our unrecognized, longstanding performance and the fact we’re not the latest thing to come along that’s proven absolutely zilch. I wish it weren’t true, but that’s the world we live in. —Anonymous

Experienced workers like Pentium 4’s still get job done

Don’t be aghast. That was just a headline. Overreact much? Get offended easily? Don’t. Relax and read the story…

Sure, I’m one of those guys. I like to tinker with old computers. Who doesn’t? Well, mostly people who don’t have the time to.

In this case, I had an HP rp5000 POS system (not piece of sh*%#t, but point of sale) that a good friend installed Linux Mint on and bequeathed to me.

I haven’t had much occasion to use it, but since my Windows 10 and Mac boxes have not been behaving well lately, I decided to expand my Linux arsenal.

My daily driver is an external IDE hard drive running Ubuntu Mate attached to an HP Compaq desktop with Core 2 Duo Intel processor. The desktop computer has 4 GB of RAM. The IDE drive is enclosed in a Rosewill case.

One of the cool things about this setup is that it wakes from sleep instantly.

Yes, I mean instantly.

I either shake the mouse or press the space bar on the keyboard and it immediately prompts me for the password to transport me to the desktop for instant access to my applications. I’m on the web in seconds–just like my Chromebook.

This is a system–Ubuntu Mate, running off a USB external hard drive hooked up to a desktop computer. It’s faster than both the Core 2 Duo Windows 10 desktop with 4 GB of ram as well as the 21.5″ iMac Intel Core i5 with 8GB of ram running macOS High Sierra that we have under our roof.

But, while Ubuntu Mate can do no wrong on my unconventional setup in my eyes, I wanted to try writing a post on my newly updated Linux Mint rig.

It features 1 GB of ram and a 120 GB IDE hard drive.

You have to be a certain age to remember IDE drives. These were standard back in the day. Now, SSD are all the rage and rightfully so. But, people are either discarding their old computers or they are collecting dust in closets or store rooms–and unnecessarily so.

Linux is the answer to the question that is, “What do I do with something like a Pentium 4?”

Well, you can either put Ubuntu Mate on it of course, or you can try and run Linux Mint.

Mint is awesome as is Mate. The Pentium 4 processor combined with only 1 GB of ram was my concern.

Sure, in theory and in base system requirements, Mint will run on the Pentium 4. I suspect Mate would run better, though.

With vintage computers, you have to consider the time for installs of this kind to begin with, too.

If you are rushed for time, then projects such as this are really not best initiated.

In the case of my Pentium 4, I already had Linux Mint running. It just hadn’t been updated or even used for quite some time. I wanted to try it to see if it was practical for even something as rudimentary as blogging.

Well, Pentium 4’s can run hot. They always were capable of higher temperatures. But this is a 2 GHz processor. The machine originally ran Windows XP which is nothing but a security liability these days (although it was a rapid performer on a box of these specifications back in the day).

The short answer is that I’m typing fine. I’m navigating fine. And performance is on a par with both Windows 10 and macOS High Sierra for these tasks.

It is not as fast as Ubuntu Mate on the Core 2 Duo, 1.86 GHz Intel processor with 4 GB ram. The hardware is not as capable with only the Pentium 4 2 GHz processor and 1 GB of ram.

That said, it’s getting the job done as I round the turn on the final 1/4 mile of this post.

I get hot running on days when it’s hot outside. I wear less so I don’t get as hot. I cleared off the text book on the top of the side vents of the P4 so it could breathe easier and it’s not letting me down.

I think seniors tend to be discounted like old computers but they shouldn’t. Seniors just need to figure out a way to repurpose themselves in order to remain viable and productive.

They also need a helping hand from hiring chiefs.

Machines are not human beings. Machines are usurped by more powerful machines. Human beings do not similarly scale; they evolve, adapt and realize different missions as they age.

The experience factor plays into how large a role humans assume as they age. Unlike vintage computers that require human intervention for the opportunity to be utilized, human beings can chart their own course–provided the powers that be give them half a chance.

Additionally, while being exponentially less expensive, it also turns the negative that is traditional aging out of the work force, into the positive that is experienced workers confidently completing job assignments well into later life.

 

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