Archive for October, 2009

H1N1 spells “hiney”

Swine flu makes you feel like ass. As such, I haven’t posted anything, recently. I would say I am back to full health. My wife, my child, and I all had this illness. While I had the worst symptoms, having the entire family go down with this was trying. Uninspired to do much else other than to feel normal again, blogging was the last thing on my mind. Obviously, it’s not anymore.

I think I saw this swine flu in a dream.

I think I saw this swine flu in a dream.

I survived the Swine Flu! I didn’t get a pulmonary embolism or pneumonia! Now that all the symptoms are gone, like the headaches, oh my god the headaches, look for more intriguing articles coming soon to Full-a-Schmidt!

Got the t-shirt!

Got the t-shirt!

October 26, 2009 at 4:17 PM 1 comment

9 lives

Today I celebrate my 9 year anniversary at Rackspace.  In October 2000, I was starting a “job” at an upstart company that had this crazy idea of turning server hosting into a service.  Having been in the customer service industry for 3 years prior at Sears Home Central, I had actually planned a career at Sears since my then diminishing music career seemed to be wrapping up.  I generally liked working for Sears, at the time.  It was horribly corporate, but a large company like Sears seemed to hold a lot of opportunity for someone like me.  I had already been the youngest service manager they ever had.  I had won numerous national Sears accolades for my service delivery.  However, it seems there were some folks at Sears that were not so fond of my rising success, and made me choose between completing my university degree or Sears by forcing a schedule change.  I chose to finish college.

Education.  A smart choice.

Education. A smart choice.

Picking up a quick job to help pay bills, and mere months away from graduation, I began sending my resume all over the country and searching the fledgling internet for every opportunity I could find.  I felt the boom in the tech industry was coming to and end and I wanted to get my foot in the door some place.  I received numerous rejection letters, lots of calls, but nothing seemed to be coming together.  I didn’t think I could make it in San Antonio.  Growing up here, going to school here, and graduating here, there weren’t many large companies that were interested in anything but application developers.  Certainly not much in the tech world, which was where I was focusing my education.  Despite my managerial experience, I wasn’t sure that’s what I wanted to do forever.  Leaving class one day, the university was having a career fair.  I went home, changed clothes, and returned with some resumes.  That’s when I stumbled upon Rackspace at a career fair at UTSA.  Scoring an interview on the spot, they invited me to headquarters for a real interview.  Charles Riley and Heather Barko interviewed me.  From a technical standpoint, I didn’t do that well.  I know that looking back, but damn did I have me some customer service skills.  On my birthday, October 4th, I got a call that I was hired and to report in to the office the following Monday.  SCORE!

Top of Weston Center - circa 2001

Top of Weston Center - circa 2001

Weston Center - San Antonio, TX

Weston Center - San Antonio, TX

My first "Tear It Up!" Award

My first "Tear It Up!" Award

Rackspace offices circa 2001

Rackspace offices circa 2001

After nine years, as with any journey, it’s not always been easy.  It’s not always been smooth.  While I’ve not had a lot of first-hand experience for which to compare it, I’ve certainly paid attention to my friend’s and family’s experiences.  I think I can say that Rackspace is one of the best places to work I could have found.  Rackspace is challenging.  Rackspace is a fun place to work.  At this point, Rackspace is much more a part of me as I am a part of it.  But, to be fair, I’ve offered a fair share of myself.  Besides my day-to-day job, I get to play my music on my weekly radio show on the internal radio station we lovingly call K-RACK on Fridays.  I’m a part of our rookie orientation class we call Rookie-O, where my alter ego Harry Longshanks comes out when I dress in a wig and glasses.  I’m 1/2 trainer, 1/4 game show host, and 1/4 comedian.  The rest of the time, I get to dress in a way that makes me comfortable, where a serious meeting can have folks wearing button-downs and slacks, and the person next to them wearing shorts and flip flops — that’s the culture here.  It is in this I hope I’ve helped flourish, set an example, and stands as a testament to doing what we do best. Being ourselves to do our jobs.

Harry Longshanks - DJ and Game Show host extraordinaire

Harry Longshanks - DJ and Game Show host extraordinaire

It’s been a helluva ride.  I’ve had to reinvent myself many times.  I’ve worn many hats.  I’ve made a career.  I wouldn’t change one second of it.  I’ve met great people.  I’ve been offered many opportunities.  I’ve grown personally and professionally.  My experiences have made me not only good at what I do, but stronger in who I am for every strength I’ve been allowed to grow in the fertile ground at Rackspace.

nathan-025_std

For all of my “Friends and Family” at Rackspace, thanks for giving me a chance, and thank you for continuing to make this journey nothing short of an adventure.

October 9, 2009 at 11:33 AM Leave a comment

Art imitating Life imitating Art

I suppose it’s nothing new.  When I think back through the ages, I think of Shakespeare recounting star-crossed lovers in Romeo and Juliet, King Richard III, and Julius Caesar.  I’m thinking that people have kind of always been doing the same things for quite some time, and how often the mere reemergence or “modernized” view of some concept revitalizes it to imitation.  Charles Caleb Colton once said that “Imitation is the sincerest of flattery.”  But what happens when people choose to imitate insincere and petty things?  What happens when we start mocking reality?  Oh, how our culture has turned to perpetuation of thoughts, ideals, and behaviors completely unbecoming of them, and their victims, and how often this is venerated and imitated for entertainment purposes.  What happens when reality shows become reality.  Can we still tell our children “That’s make-believe” when our entertainment culture destroys our real lives?

The Land of Make Believe

The Land of Make Believe

I’m a huge advocate of freedom.  I’m never going to tell you what you can and cannot watch, nor do I believe anyone should tell you what is entertainment you should or shouldn’t experience.  The fact is, it is you and I that are driving this sick ship.  It’s our choice!  The public has spoken.  We choose to sit and watch people in mock reality.  Confusing ourselves of information and entertainment.  Choice is our one gift that makes us who we are.  Everything is about choice.  Every decision you make comes with a responsibility of cause and effect.  Even your mood is based on choice.  You have the power to choose to be happy.  No one can make you angry.  No one can offend you.  That is not to say that those people who choose to say offensive things, or choose to try and anger you aren’t making poor choices, but ultimately, you have the power of choice in how you react.  It is probably your single most powerful thing you as a human being could ever posses.

Two stories really brought this to mind:

Jon and Kate plus 8 (now: Kate plus 8?)

The beginning of the end

Far be it from me to interject any real opinion about what happened with their marriage.  To say I don’t care is too crass.  It is very inconsequential to my life.  However, I can only imagine the strain that eight children place on a marriage to begin with, then with added pressures of a show, with ratings, it was all probably too much.  I empathize with a young couple trying to make ends meet thinking this was a good idea.  I can understand how fame can fan the flames of an ego to burn a desire for more and more.  Was it worth it?  That’s what we have to ask ourselves.

David Letterman’s Blackmail

David Letterman is blackmailed

David Letterman is blackmailed

I bet he didn’t see this one coming in his mailbag!  I bet this will make his Top Ten list of nightmares!  All joking aside, I know David Letterman isn’t “reality TV” but here we have a CBS News producer Robert “Joe” Halderman using an entertainment medium to push an agenda for blackmail.  48 Hours was always using real life to make entertainment.  But as media and entertainment permeate our lives in new and inventive ways, the victims and the ripples this makes impart real damage.  As much as people enjoy watching train wrecks, literal and figurative, are we really no different than the Mayans or the Romans watching people get torn apart and lives destroyed in the rings?

Our egos attempt to strengthen itself with power by balancing and bolstering the side of a triangle, to become equilateral.  The three sides of the Power Pyramid are Fame, Wealth, and Sex

Pyramid of Power:  The building-block of human ego

Pyramid of Power: The building-block of human ego

The larger the pyramid, and the more equal the triangle, the more fun and exciting it is to see it deflate.  There’s a certain satisfaction in watching people fail because, while we may not be growing our pyramid of power, our egos become bigger in relation to the fallen.  We see them more human and this in turn makes us feel better, but what are we really saying about ourselves?  When we as a society start blending entertainment with reality, what are we saying?  Are we feeding the desires of our egos?  Are we saying that our reality has to be entertaining or that our entertainment has to be real?  If one begins to expect entertainment for existence, when that becomes reality, where will you go to escape?  What are you escaping from?  Our entertainers become purveyors of life.  Our life becomes a medium, scripted for maximum effect, playing 24 hours a day, stripping us of our unique essences.  Here’s to hoping that we make the best choices and recognize when we’re becoming the train wrecks.

Tell me what you think!

October 2, 2009 at 4:29 PM 5 comments

The menace of the public option

Check it out in I Second right here in Full-a-Schmidt for the latest post.

October 2, 2009 at 11:21 AM Leave a comment


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