Thursday, June 16, 2011

How I Learned to Ululate for My Dog

Instead of pointlessly screaming my dog's name throughout a dog park, whilst hiking, etc., I ululate for her.

The story of how this came about is: one day, we were in an urban creek – this means that it's a small creek just off a road in a residential area; the road frequently has cars driving on it. She'd met another dog in this creek and the other dog turned out to be a runner – he was younger and so happened to be in the flight instinct stage of his development. He decided it was time to jump out of the creek and run as fast as lightning (he was a border collie mix) out into the street; my dog followed. I had intended on calling her name, or saying something else that would prove equally ineffective, but my tongue got twisted in a moment of frustration and nervousness and a sort of ululation came out instead. And, as soon as I'd done it, two dogs appeared in sight, happily bounding back to me.

So, despite the fact that it makes me sound like the crazy dog lady (or a relatively old, short, brown, non-breastplate-clad poor man's version of Xena), I now ululate whenever my dog goes out of sight and I want to recall her - and it works. Sometimes it works so well that I get an extra dog or two: bonus.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Resume Writing is Not Fun

I've been working this weekend on re-doing my resume; this not fun.

First, there is the big question I have to ask myself: functional? or chronological?

For the longest time, I'd used a functional format. Then, a couple of years ago, on the advice of a recruiter (who never did find me a job), I changed it to chronological. The thing is about as fun to read as it was to write: first I did this, then I did that, then I did it again..  It pretty much reads like I wrote it for the "And then.." lady at the drive-thru from Dude, Where's My Car?

There are other questions, too, that I'll have to answer for myself before I commit it to resume: what, other than the obvious (i.e., getting a job), is my objective?

Then there are the multitude of formatting questions: bulleted or not bulleted? headers in the left margin, or at the top of each new section? and are those same headers bolded or underlined – or both? Do I use a serif (more traditional) or sans serif (more contemporary?) typeface?

Whatever typeface I use, it'll be one designed by Hermann Zapf, whose work I consider beautiful. I had the great honor of meeting him years ago in a class at my alma mater, where he demonstrated his amazing calligraphy skills for us.

Even with the prospect of selecting a new typeface, resume writing still is not fun.


Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Steve Jobs His Own Doppelganger? published a gallery of photos of Steve Jobs Over the Years today. I was struck by the contract between an image from 1997..

and one from 1998, about eight months after he was named interim CEO.

Does this look like the same guy to you? He looks like two completely different people to me.

Personally, I prefer his black- mock turtleneck-and-dad-jeans look to the stodgy executive thing.

It just goes to show: sometimes, being a CEO ain't pretty.

Friday, June 3, 2011

A cool job I have never heard of before

I recently met someone who has a cool job I'd never heard of before: he's a Mitigation Specialist. As he explained it, his job is to take detailed life history of a criminal in preparation for a criminal proceeding -- specifically which I didn't remember, so I Googled it. As it turns out, it's for capital cases; mitigation specialists come into play during the penalty phase of a capital trial.

One famous - or infamous - example where the role of mitigation specialist was critical was in the trial of  Zacarias Moussaoui.

The mitigation specialist is an investigator and historian rolled into one: he/she digs deep to uncover all the details, however unpleasant or disturbing, in the person's life that will be presented as mitigating evidence.

Whether or not one agrees with the idea, it's the law in the United States of America:
US Code Title 18 / Part II / Chapter 228 / § 3592
§ 3592. Mitigating and aggravating factors to be considered in determining whether a sentence of death is justified
(a) Mitigating Factors.— In determining whether a sentence of death is to be imposed on a defendant, the finder of fact shall consider any mitigating factor [...]*
I can only imagine how intense a job this must be, and I thoroughly appreciate the folks who do this for a living (thus my attributing the job as "cool"). But no, I am not contemplating a career change.
*brackets mine