January 7th, 2016


Wednesday Hodgepodge: 6-7 January 2016

The Wednesday Hodgepodge appears courtesy of From This Side Of The Pond.

1. Are you ready for new? Is 2016 likely to be very different than 2015? Do you want it to be?

As Yoda said: "Difficult to see.   Always in motion is the future."

I'd like 2016 to be different from 2015.   Mostly because 2015 seemed an awful lot like 2014.   I feel like I'm stuck in a loop.

2. January 6th is National Technology Day. Currently, what is your single biggest struggle or frustration when it comes to technology?

I don't know that I have a single frustration.   Grant, I'm in the "technology business" as a professor of computer science.   That doesn't mean that I'm a master of all forms of technology --- far from it --- but it does mean that I can usually defeat any problem after enough time and energy have been wasted expended.

3. It's that time again...time for Lake Superior University to present a list of words (or phrases) they'd like to see banished (for over-use, mis-use, and general uselessness) in 2016. You can read more about the decision making process here, but this year's top vote getters are-
So (at the start of every single sentence), conversation (as in hotly debated topics where we're invited to 'join the conversation'), problematic, stakeholder, price point, secret sauce, break the Internet, walk it back, presser, manspreading (common in larger cities where some men take up the entire bus or train seat by sitting wide), vape, giving me life (refers to anything that may excite a person or make them laugh), and physicality
Which of these words/phrases would you most like to see banished from everyday speech and why? Is there a word not on the list you'd like to add?

The one that jumps out at me is "stakeholder".    But that's because I've sat on too many strategic planning and assessment committees, which are all concerned with identifying and listening to "stakeholders".   Of course, "stakeholder" then comes to mean "any yutz who thinks they know how to do your job better than you do, but are unwilling to help you do it".

4. Share one of your current health related goals.

I don't have a goal.   Don't get me wrong ... I need to lose weight.   But having a goal would imply that I've put a plan in place to do something about it.

5. Let's talk fifty shades of gray. As in the color. Gray is currently a popular color in home decor, paint, wardrobes, hair, wedding party attire, and more. Are you a fan? Do you have the color in some variation in your home or wardrobe?  Gray hair, the old gray mare, gray matter, gray area...which gray idiom can you most relate to right now?

Gray can work.   I have a gray blazer that my ex-sister-in-law found for me on a garage sale shopping trip once that is really quite nice (though so woolen that I tend to wear it only during the cold months).

As for idioms ... I think "gray area" is the one that appeals the most right now.   I'm so tired of reading political attacks on my Facebook wall from partisans on one side or the other of issue, who can't seem to acknowledge that many issues do have legitimate shades of gray.

6. Certain foods are considered 'lucky' if eaten on New Year's Eve or New Year's Day. Cooked greens to bring economic fortune, black-eyed peas or lentils also symbolize money, pork which symbolizes progress, fish for good luck, and if you're in Spain 12 grapes at the stroke of midnight. Did you eat any lucky foods on the first day of the year? Is that a tradition in your home? Of the foods listed, which most appeals to you?

I don't think we had any of those on New Year's Day ... of course, we were traveling that day, and eating leftovers before we left on our travels.   My wife (who comes from Pennsylvania German stock) has a grand tradition of eating sausage and sauerkraut on New Year's Day.   (We had it on January 2nd.)

7. What's the single biggest time waster in your life and what, if anything, will you do about it this year?

Probably Facebook, if I was honest.   Not sure if I'll do anything about it.

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

Due to an unexpected cleaning project at home, a copy of the classic devotion book My Utmost For His Highest randomly moved to the top of a pile.   I've decided to try reading through it this year.   I've never been a fan of these sorts of devotion books --- taking a single verse and riffing on it goes against the way I was taught to study the Bible.   But the essays have been remarkably thought-provoking so far.   We'll see how long this lasts.