Posts Tagged ‘Life’

Playing to learn

July 30th, 2010

One of the various advertising jingles that takes up memory space in my brain (I often wonder if it wasn’t there-would I now remember something useful) is one that Milton Bradley used to market the board game LIFE-“You can be a winner at the game of LIFE…spin the wheel…” Okay, so maybe I don’t remember the full jingle/song. The point is I remember the basics of how to play the game and some of the messaging attached to the game after a couple of decades.

Things that are catchy, fun or can be experienced tend to stay with us longer. Many brands have recognized that and have gone towards gaming in order to expose customer to their brand in a way that is more memorable and interactive.

Games can also be educational teaching skills and tricking people into learning. About a year or two ago my 7 year old was big into ToonTown-an online Disney game that consists of various missions that can be completed individually but could also be played in groups. He also decided from his experience that he wanted to grow up to create games. So we started him on a website put on by MIT called Scratch.

 It’s a drag and drop object oriented program that allows kids to create animation, games, and whatever else they can think of. They can share their projects with a community of other kids, who can then remix the projects allowing them to download the “code” to see how they did it and add their own touch to it. He’s now running digital Survivor-type contests, recording sound effects, creating interactive projects and working on storylines. It’s been amazing to see how quickly he’s progressed.

For anyone else looking to learn some basic programming skills in a fun way here are a few other similar sites we’ve recently come across:

Work/Life Balance

March 2nd, 2010

Weighing your options?

Work/Life Balance. It is a phrase I’ve heard numerous times and it is something that seems ever elusive. During an entrepreneur discussion panel the question regarding how to keep a work life balance surfaced and one of the answers offered a different way to approach it. Rich Christiansen of CastleWave said, “ I don’t do balance well. I go to extremes.” He’ll work like crazy until something is up and going and then take a month off to hike the Himalayas.

Another approach is to try a flexible work or work from home job. A cool site for that is based out of the UK but has jobs both stateside and abroad.

I think I’ll try to pick up something to finance my “surprise my wife” fund and the occasional frivolous purchase. Check out their own blog post about the myths of this work/life balance and suggestions for addressing the challenge.

On the AAUW Blog they cite a paper presented at the Academy of Human Resource Development International Conference:

 “The concept of the workplace community represents the essence of work-life balance. Work-life balance is not about having equal time every day for work and personal time, as some critics have suggested. It’s about being in an environment that honors both needs and builds in consideration for meeting work and personal needs as appropriate. The western philosophical concept of balance is an either-or proposition; you are either on one side or the other. Rarely are the sides of equal value and in balance. The result of the struggle for balance is usually a win-lose situation. The eastern concept of balance is the yin-yang symbol, representing an acknowledged tension of opposing forces. It’s a both-and proposition rather than an either-or one. Both sides can “win” because day-to-day one or the other side will have greater needs. All this is to say that those organizations that are humane know that caring for employees means the employees will care for the organization. One day the situation may call for everyone pitching in on an important project, another day it may mean covering for a team member whose child is sick, and another day everyone may be going to a company picnic. In the long term, everyone wins.”

I guess one of the great things about working for yourself is that you get to decide how humane of an organization you’re going to be; though it also means you don’t have anyone else to cover in case your absent. As for me and my house we’re going to try a work/life integration approach. Previously I have kept things very separate-separate calendars, different contact numbers, attended minimal work-related social gatherings. I think I may have come across as cold or uninteresting-my apologies to anyone who felt that way in the past. I’m going to take a dive into the psycho-analytic pool and say that I think that has been a function of being a different person at work in order to do things that I didn’t really enjoy. Playing a political role-playing game without the cool power-ups; tasked with constant missions or projects that seemed only vaguely related to anything in the big scope of the storyline. It isn’t that I didn’t make friends or wasn’t sincere but it was just a muted existence. 

So as a warning my future posts are likely to contain less than intellectually stimulating accounts of parenting and personal pet peeves as I make my life not just a combination of my work life and my personal life but my life period.


February 18th, 2010

Changing how I think about things

Well… I did it. I jumped. Yesterday was my last day as a part-time entrepreneur. I have begun the corporate detoxification diet.

It felt a little surreal as I turned in my previous employer’s equipment and said goodbye to co-workers. For the last week I have been having “This the last time I will…” moments and just taking it all in. I’ve learned a lot (in a character building way) and met many wonderful, smart people (thanks everyone!) but it is time to live the dream and get to work. I’ll be taking an intentional pause from the blog to pack up our house and relocate to a more cost-effective situation. =) In the meantime, I would like you consider something…

I’ve been thinking a lot about my life’s mission, what I am meant to do. Just to clarify, I don’t believe in pre-destination (that we are supposed to do something and have no choice in the matter). However, I do believe each of us has a unique set of talents and personality that, if we choose to use, will make a difference in the world and bring you greater happiness/fulfillment.

I would encourage you to look around and see if you are happy or energized (not successful) by what you do or the people you’re with. If you’re not, then I would urge you to find out what your life’s mission is. I’m still discovering mine fully but every time in my life that I’ve taken a step in that direction life gets more exciting. What is your next step?


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