Monthly Archives: January 2009

Conference Prep

I’m thinking of pitching a couple ideas to the Agile 2009 conference this year in Chicago.

Since my day job is called “Agile Coach” and not only do I coach but I’m also deeply involved in training other agile coaches, I’m guessing I might have something to say that the folks at the conference would want to hear.

I hope so, anyway.

I went through about 20 topics over the weekend, scoring them and narrowing them down, trying to find something that the most people would want to hear about.

The top two?

Soft Skills: Sales, Negotiation, and Mediation techniques you and your teams can use to turbo-charge your practice.

Specialist Roles and Agile Teams: How to integrate enterprise specialists.

Agile Doesn’t Work for us: Applying Agile in Non-Traditional Teams

Next up: building up some material around both topics so that I can make a presentation. Wish me luck!

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Existential Block Party

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Friedrich Nietzsche

Friedrich Nietzsche, who died suddenly
when a miniature buffalo became glued to his mouth

I’ve been touring the existentialists this month during my morning workouts, and I’ve really enjoyed listening to their perspectives and ideas.

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I got the fever

There are some things in life that you simply do: washing your hands, brushing your teeth, driving to and from work. These things you do mostly on automatic pilot: there’s not much joy in them and sometimes you have a hard time actually remembering them. Can you remember each turn on your way home yesterday? Probably not.

Then there are those things that you fall in love with. Not people — romantic love is an entirely different topic. I’m talking about your passions. These are the things you look forward to, the things you practice, the things you read about, the things you dream of doing. For me, it’s photography, hiking, philosophy, swimming, reading, and flying.

Some passions are easy and cheap. Others are like crack cocaine: easy to get hooked but dang expensive to maintain a habit and impossible to ever quit.

I was thinking about crack-heads Monday morning as I walked into my local airport.

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This Morning’s Temps

Weather channel temperature of Bloomington, Illinois showing minus 14 degrees


Aren’t there any good gigs anyplace else,
like Hawaii, Bermuda, Fiji or somewhere?

As I returned my rental car at 5am today at the airport, the wind was fairly strong. I learned when I worked in Winnipeg that you can tell a really cold day — it’s when your eyeballs immediately begin to hurt because they are freezing. A secondary sign is your mustache freezing. Then there’s the old standby — when the antifreeze de-icer freezes on the windshield, you know it’s cold.

Today is a good day to be flying back home to Virginia. Hopefully when I come back the weather will be something nicer, like 15 degrees and snow.

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How to “get” Philosophy

I see a lot of people who don’t like philosophy. What’s the joke Steve Martin used about philosophy?

“If you’re studying geology, which is all facts, as soon as you get out of school you forget it all, but philosophy you remember just enough to screw you up for the rest of your life.”

That’s even more funny considering that Steve majored in philosophy, liking it so much he seriously considered becoming a professor.

Philosophy to most people seems so dense, so inaccessible. With the current trends in philosophy, there’s a lot of logic and Greek and abstract thinking. On top of that, what the heck useful can you do with a lot of knowledge about philosophy? Reminds me of the History of the World scene with the unemployed philosopher.

Philosophy is seen as a completely useless thing to do — as simple and as pointless as sitting around in togas drinking beer and talking about “what is reality, anyway?” while watching the Matrix. What of value can come of it? Monty Python even had a famous skit that involved trying to take some of the founding fathers of philosophy and make them do something, anything useful — like play soccer or something.

As funny as that is, it really misses the point of why philosophy (to me) is so interesting.

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Four-eared Cats

In my ever-expanding search to provide information that you, the reader, might find interesting, I ran across an interesting story yesterday on Four-Eared Cats. At first, four-eared cats were thought to be totally unique. Now we know that they are just extremely rare.

Cat with four ears

Probably still doesn’t come when you call him

We all know about the zero-tailed cat, or Manx, but I’ve never heard of a four-eared cat. Which led me to the natural question of: Is there such a thing as a two-tailed cat? Seems like a two-tailed cat would be pretty cool — able to climb around on trees upside down, jump on mice backwards with a flip, and all sorts of other neat stuff.

Google is a wonderful thing, and very quickly I found a site dedicated to Polycadual Cats. Alas, having more than one tail does not give cats the super powers I expected, and in fact is just a waste of extra tails.

Cat with two tails

Not as cool as you might think

Of course, it can’t end there.

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Why I Love Modeling

I’ve been a big fan of modeling for almost all of my career.

I’m not talking about wearing a funny green dress and covering yourself in paper Snoopys — not that there’s anything wrong with that, mind you. It’s just not the kind of modeling that I like so much. Plus the wife says I always stretch her dresses when I wear them.

Fashion model wearing a green dress with a large number of paper cutouts in the shape of the cartoon character Snoopy

Hey — at those rates, I’d give it a shot!

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