Jan 01

January 1, 2016. Time to once again…

… make a plan to get my collective crap together.

Some days, I’m not sure who I respect more – folks who make elaborate plans for the New Year and freely share their goals or those who keep quiet, make a few simple goals for the year and stick to them.

I have a few goals, personal and professional, that I need to keep track of.

One goal I will follow through on, and this is for both professional and personal reasons. I have never been a Microsoft MVP. I have been nominated, but have never followed through on completing the required documentation to achieve such a goal. I was nominated by a good friend and professional colleague, Enrique Lima. I was flattered that he would go to the trouble of nominating me. What I had always assumed was that Enrique had been a multiple recipient of the MVP honor from Microsoft, given his contributions to the Microsoft Certified Trainer community and the IT community as a whole. Little did I know that while we both were attending the MCT Summit in Bellevue, Washington, Enrique would be awarded his first such recognition. My mind was a bit blown. His first? Say it isn’t so. When Enrique spoke of finally receiving his first MVP, tears welled up in his eyes. It moved me.

Enrique was taken from us at a terribly young age, some time in the night following the last day of the conference. This punched us all in the gut. I owe it to Enrique’s memory to complete the required application, as well as bump up my game as a Microsoft Certified Trainer and IT professional. I’m going to hear his voice in the back of my head, his confidence, his drive, and let that push me this year and in the years to follow.

Another area related to the passing of my friend… I need to focus on my health this year and actually stick to the plan to lose a pound a week. Drink more water, eat smarter, smaller portions. I’m going to wear my pedometer and get back to ten thousand steps a day. Enrique was a wonder when it came to staying on his feet. I need to get off my ass and do more while standing. A few of my friends have gone to walking and/or standing desks. Maybe that’s the direction I need to go. One area that I know will help will be getting back out to the golf course. Somehow I jacked up my right shoulder last spring, and it seems to be getting back where it needs to be just in time for spring golf planning. I have access to some pretty decent golf courses through “The Club“, so I’m optimistic that I’ll have ample chances to get out and lose a few dozen golf balls this year. Even when I use a golf cart, you can get ten thousand steps in easy enough if you simple leave the cart on the cart path and walk to your ball.

I’m going to read more deliberately. I’ve been pretty good about seeking a balance between technical and entertainment reading in the past, with a few motivational books here and there, some technical, with a thick coating of fantasy and science fiction. I even try to spread out my selections in the SF/F genres, with healthy doses of military science fiction, hard sci-fi, fun sci-fi, epic fantasy and urban fantasy. The reading challenge posted on this site does a nice job mixing it up. It’s not outrageous, but it can be challenging and achievable. I’m currently rereading “The Sleeping Dragon” by Joel C. Rosenberg, and am only a few chapters in, so that knocks one off of the list. Let me ponder this for a moment…

  1. A book published this year… might need to wait on that one for awhile.
  2. A book you can finish in a day… there are some short motivational books that are easy to get through, especially if you use Dynamic Reader, Sprint Reader for Chrome or Spritzlet to bone up on your speed reading chops.
  3. A book you’ve been meaning to read… in a recent chat, a friend mentioned Glen Cook’s “The Black Company” series. I’ve had the first book on my bookshelf to the right of my nightstand gathering dust for too long (but I’m going to still try to find the audiobook first). Another option would be the Foundation series. I’ve had that title on the back burner too long.
  4. A book recomended by your local librarian or bookseller… this one might be a little more complicated. I wonder if I can swap out one of the principals over at the Gunn Center for the Study of Science Fiction on KU’s campus. Chris McKitterick is about as knowledgeable a person one will find regarding sci-fi.
  5. A book you should have read in school… I need to think about this one a little more.
  6. A book chosen for you by your spouse, partner, sibling, child, or BFF… my spouse doesn’t read fiction, but I have a couple of kids that regularly have their noses buried in a new title. I will consult with them accordingly.
  7. A book published before you were born… I might have to crawl back into the annals for this one. Old Asimov? Clarke? Heinlein? Maybe an early Hugo or Nebula award winner? Or something from Robert E. Howard or H.P. Lovecraft. This definitely has some possibilities.
  8. A book that was banned at some point… There are several sites that provide info on SFF titles that have been banned at some point. WorldsWithoutEnd has a nice list, and io9 has a short list of 10 banned books most people have heard of. Interesting… I’ve read about half of the books on the io9 list. Maybe I’m more subversive than I previously thought.
  9. A book you previously abandoned… boy, there are plenty of titles on this list. Ugh.
  10. A book you own but have never read… see immediately above. I have no idea how many books I’ve purchased on impulse thinking I’d dive right in and digest a title.
  11. A book that intimidates you… something ridiculously thick perhaps? Maybe a Terry Goodkind or a Brandon Sanderson epic? (No, I’m not going to try to pack the entire Wheel of Time series into one year)
  12. A book you’ve read at least once… covered. I’ve done that a few times of late, as I just finished “Dune” and “Dune Messiah” in the last month or two.

That’s a start. I think it’s interesting how a person can document one set of resolutions while thinking about another set of resolutions. More to come.

More to come.

Dec 31

Closing out 2015, a thought stream

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening where ever you may be.

A couple of years ago, I lost my domain. I had owned the domain piercingblue.com for a number of years, and in a little piece of miscommunication between me and my web-services provider, that domain somehow ended up in the hands of some Chinese squatter trying to peddle my domain to tattoo and body-piercing shops for 35,000 dollars US.

Rather than fork over 35 grrr to get my domain back, I decided to move on, and over the last couple of years, bobsterism.com has been my internet home away from home.. or, at least, my home away from Facebook.

For 2016, I’ve decided to get back on the ball. I’m going to do my best to post something every day, and I hope that something is meaningful to me, the MCT community, Exchange/Skype admins, and my friends that plop down from time to time to wonder what sort of drivel I’m posting that day.

I’ve thought about participating in a Write Chain that focuses on dropping a thousand words per day, whether the grand be blog entries or that ever-elusive short-story or opening scene to a book.

Here’s the deal. I’m a trainer. I work for a fantastic training company in Leawood, Kansas. I focus on Microsoft technologies, specifically Windows Client & Server offerings, Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Skype for Business. I am married with a genius of a wife and three kids that are all smarter than me. I have two dogs that I adore. I’m an old-school, sit-around-the-table-and-roll-dice gamer with two different groups, running a game for my son and his friends, and playing in a game organized by a one-time student of mine that has become a tremendous friend. I dream of writing a great story about mystery and magic, and procrastinate on that goal regularly.

201 is going to be an interesting year. Professionally, I have some goals I have to attain, as Microsoft Certified Trainers have to keep their certs up to date. As Exchange 2016 nears release, I’ll probably seek out an opportunity to work on another book relating to that subject matter. My family will be seeing some interesting changes as well, as my second child graduates from high school and begins pursuing her degree across town at the University of Kansas.

I hope to do a better job of organizing and categorizing parts of my life. I could stand to go through a serious decluttering of my office in the house, as well as the garage. I could also benefit from spending a little more time practicing the guitar, an instrument I fell in love with as a young man.

Today is the last day of 2015. Throughout the day, I’ll make an effort to add some more thoughts. I’ve more to share, and I have to figure out the best way to approach certain topics. I guess I think a little too much about trying to be diplomatic in the presentation of my ideas. I recall an old maxim, “I’m too old to fight and too fat to run… I’m a diplomat!”.

More to come…

My last professional submission for the year, unless something better comes along. Step-By-Step: Skype for Business 2015 Hybrid Configuration

I added this because I know it’s going to come up in conversation as I prepare to teach my first Skype for Business class in the coming weeks.

Here in Lawrence, it’s almost 1:00. About time for me to pack up my eldest and head off to our annual birthday lunch. She’s 19 years old today, and it seems like yesterday when she was spewing the most vulgar substance out of her bottom before we checked out of the hospital. Today, she’s an honors student in Chemical Engineering at the University of Kansas, and rocking the post-secondary world. I’m proud of her, and quite grateful that she takes after her mother more so than the old man.

Ramen Bowls is a solid place to have lunch in downtown Larry. Their yelp reviews attest to the quality of their food. You will get filled up, trust me.

My goal is a thousand words per day… now looking at about three hundred more words to go on the day. I’m feeling more confident, and that leads to my mind spewing out more drivel.

Wish I had more time to watch bowl games today. My responsibilities today include driving people here and there, but first, lunch with the Bonnie monster!

More later…

Well, it’s now lter. A scant 23 minutes until 2016 falls across Central Standard Time. I’ve had a full day with family and any number of strangers that needed a ride (that’s another story).

The teams I was pulling for fell by the wayside in their pursuit of a national championship in football, but I’m more of a college basketball fan than football these days (such is the life of a University of Kansas sports fan).

I may not make it all the way to tone thousand words in this maiden voyage, but I’ve enjoyed dropping these thoughts onto my blog. As we get further into the year, I hope to find new nuggets for my Exchange and Skype friends, and any number of folks that work with the client and server operating systems from Microsoft.

May your 2016 be filled with wonder, and may all of your goals be within reach… but not too easy, right? If your goals are too easily attained, it might be an indicator that they were too easy to start with. I guess that whole “baby steps” thing can come in to play at some point. If you reach a goal, make a new one, and keep on keepin’ on. Happy New Year everybody!.

May 06

Live from Ignite 2015

First of all, I want to thank all of the people that attended my Exam Prep session yesterday. It was a great crowd, with energizing enthusiasm, and y’all made it a lot of fun for me.

My presentation deck, with HIDDEN slides can be found HERE.

Once again, thanks, and I hope everyone has

Feb 19

Brain Fry

Study, study, study. Research, research, research. Such can be the life of a technical trainer. I do love my job, and I love (!) my employer, but I gotta tell, sometimes the amount of time and level of concentration one has to commit to learning technology and prepare for a continuous barrage of certification exams can just about do you in.

And I love it.

One of the things we all do is try to figure out what we’re good at. Doesn’t really matter if it’s professional or personal, we all embrace our skills. It’s always struck me as odd when people discover something they’re good at, but for one reason or another they don’t seem to have as much enjoyment in the activity. The reverse can be said as well – I can think of any number of things that I’m bad at, but continue to pursue anyway… but enough about my golf game.

I’ll keep slogging away. Read a lot, break for a bit, read a bunch more, and do my best to integrate what I’m reading into a memory, a piece of information that one day, in one conversation, or asking a single question on a topic, I’ll reach back into the cobwebbed extents of my cerebellum and go, “Hey, I recall reading something about that one time… try this…”

And there’s the payoff.

Feb 18

A complete lack of motivation

I don’t feel like doing this. It’s 8:00 on a Wednesday night, and I have about as much motivation to right as I have to go skinny dipping in a frozen lake. But if that’s what I feel like, I’ll use that as my prompt.  Every now and then we all get in the doldrums, that place on the high seas where there is no wind, nothing there to give you a push to write, express, unload.

I need to document that things that do help me get my butt in gear. Music, good conversation, good food, an sometimes it doesn’t hurt to have something to laugh about.

I’m just not feeling it, but it’s of the end of the world. A little more than a 130 words or thereabouts. I can live with that for now.

Feb 17

Feb 17, Mardi Gras, and I’m counting my blessings…

19 years ago, everything changed for me. I made a vow, to love, honor, cherish, in sickness and in health. My wonderful girlfriend became my wonderful fiance and then became my wonderful wife. It’s been an absolutely incredible journey sharing my life with her, and together we’ve become the proud parents of three kids who have taught us perhaps more than we have taught them.

I guess that’s what it’s about. The journey. A journey where I’m pretty confident I’ve let her down a whole bunch more than she has ever let me down, and she still loves me.  I think she’s pretty damn awesome.

Wish we could be together tonight, but alas, we have to go a couple of different directions. I’m already in KC, so I’m going to attend our youngest daughter’s basketball games, and she’s going to hang with the Bonnie monster and help her prep for an upcoming interview for a big time fellowship at the university.

We’ll get to hang a little bit late in the evening and decompress, and later we’ll fall asleep together as we have thousands of nights before. Then we embark on our twentieth year together as man and wife.

I am blessed.

Feb 16

I’m not a scientist, but…

I love it when anyone in some position of authority/oversight uses that phrase, “I’m not a scientist, but…”, then goes off on some ridiculous rant about a scientific conclusion that may very well be the accepted position of a vast majority of scientists in a particular field.

If you’re not a scientist, then shutup. Your observation might have tremendous value to one person and one person only, but if you aren’t trained in a field, your casual observations don’t mean jack.

I know what I’m qualified to discuss, and I know what I’m qualified to to read and listen to. Leave the science to the people that know what the hell they’re talking about.

If you aren’t gay, don’t talk about why gay people are gay, or at least get an advanced degree in Human Sexuality or Sociology or some other related science before opening your trap. Are you male? Great. Don’t talk about rape, unless you have been raped.

Rant over. I’ll get my blood up about something else tomorrow.

As always,

The Bobster

Feb 15

2/15/2015 – Almost missed another one

OK, time to get this thing done. Almost let another day slip by without making a post, and that cannot stand.

A couple of points.

I wish idiot male politicians would stop trying to define rape. They sound stupid. You get some jackhammer out of Utah arguing that sex without the consent with a sleeping female isn’t rape, and my first reaction is going to be one of two things – A: This guy must be hiding a little indiscretion in his past if he sincerely feels this way and B: He would definitely change his perspective if it were his daughter ‘sleeping’.
I have to wonder how his wife feels about that.

I think maybe I ought to stop there. I can get my blood worked up a little bit, and that isn’t always a good thing. I have a tendency to say or write things in anger that I may later regret.

Feb 14

Valentine’s Day

Having (had?) a pretty solid Valentine’s Day. Got up early to see the boy ff, he’s heading to Washington, DC with his Future City team to participate in the national competition. Both of my daughters are over at the high school for the winter formal, Gracie with her boyfriend, Bonnie with half a dozen friends all decked out to the nines.

Lisa and I played things pretty close to the vest, ordering some Indian take-out, and kicking it with a little TV. I have found myself a fan of the series ‘Orphan Black’. With season 3 looming on the horizon, I thought it might be a good idea to revisit the series. Tatiana Maslany is one of the most talented actors I’ve seen on television in a very long time.

I might add a little more later. I have to stay up until my daughters and their friends return, so I might have a bit of time.

Feb 13

Back to creating the habit

Missed a couple of days this week. Backsliding. I need to learn to do better.

This has been a pretty crazy week. Certification exams, kids activities, and lots of running around.

I really don;t have any excuses. Hell, I even have my browser configured to open right to my blog page, and last night I think I had almost a hundred words written, but I just failed to post the damned thing. I need to become more…


Others rely on me. I need to be able to rely on myself. It’s a flaw in my personality, my character, my life that I am not as reliable as I should be. The job? No worries. I’m there everyday well before the appointed time for my workday.

It’s not the job.

It’s the other stuff I need to improve upon. Doing all of the things I say I’ll do, not 8 or 9 out of 10.

Once again, I need to create better habits. Getting back to daily entries of my blog is one way to do it.

I owe myself two more blog entries. I need to keep track, and fulfill this commitment.

One day at a time, one entry at a time, one better habit at a time.

I’m worth the effort. My family deserves the best me I can be, and I’m not going to become that person without a commitment.

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