Where will I be working next month?

I will never understand people who can embrace change. Perhaps they are like adrenaline junkies who need to live on the edge. Change is very difficult for me. It has become easier and less something to be feared but only to the point where it is now something to be tolerated when absolutely necessary.

One of my bosses approached me last Thursday to discuss a possible change in my job. It would involve switching campuses, as well as leaving the Instruction side of the house for a Community and Economic Development position. It would allow me to go from an 11-month employee to a 12-month but apart from that, I can see no benefit to making this switch.

I can, however, identify several reasons not to want to do this. There’s the moving to the West Campus part. The West Campus has a much smaller population of students right now. It also has fewer staff and faculty. It feels more lifeless over there. The String Orchestra class is during the day and meets on the East Campus. Right now it’s easy to extend my lunch by just a little to walk over to the Music Building for class two days a week. It would take at least an extra half hour out of my day to come over from the other campus. And I have friends here on the East Campus. Not so much over there.

Another reason to not do this is that Work Force Training, where I’d be going, seems so removed from the main work of the college. It’s important, what they do. And it is about delivering instruction but it’s dealing with businesses and such that want to bring instruction to their people. I like working in the Instruction Office. It feels like a hub for the college. WFT would be like being WAY out on one of the spokes of that wheel.

I am comfortable here in this office. I know what I’m doing. I get to interact with all divisions, and with staff, faculty, and administrators. Over there, I’d get to interact with the 5 or 6 other people in my department.

So, why do it if I don’t want to? Well, I’m not sure how much of a choice I have. I need to talk with the VP of Instruction to ask her what her plan for this office is. Will I have a place here in her vision? I may have to take this other job in order to be secure in my continued employment. I hope that’s not the case but I tend to worry a bit sometimes.


Music at St. Stanislaus

I've mentioned before that I am a church musician. Every weekend, I am responsible for providing the music at two of the six English Masses at St. Stanislaus Parish in Modesto. I play guitar and sing on Saturday evenings at 5:30 PM and Sunday mornings at 11:30 AM. Music leaders at the other Masses are: Cathy at 7:00 AM, Mike at 8:30 AM, Kyle with the choir at 10:00 AM, and Jami and the band at the 5:30 PM Life Teen Mass.

Each of the five of us plans our own selections for music with little or no coordination between the Masses. This is not the way I would like things to be. There are two Masses every weekend that have the same music selections. I'll let you reread the first paragraph to figure out why. There is no Music Director at the parish to provide the umbrella of direction for us. I'm told that the pastor, Fr. Arouje, has announced that he intends to hire a Music Director, so we'll see how that goes.

Well, I just heard last night that Mike needs to take an indefinate leave of absence from leading the music at the 8:30 AM Mass. There are some people who play with Mike every week; Jodi plays piano and Joe plays guitar. But Mike's absence leaves them with no singer. So I have proposed that Cathy, Jodi, and I get together to cooperatively plan the song selections for the four Masses we cover, and I will join the 8:30 AM group to sing (and maybe play guitar as well). At the same time, I have asked Kyle to arrange some viola parts for me so that I can join the other string players at the 10:00 AM Mass. I haven't touched my viola in months so this will be good for me as well.

So the question is: How soon will I be exhausted with this schedule?

Stay tuned.

Relationships as a zero-sum game

I was discussing this with a new friend yesterday and she agreed that it was blog-worthy.

I have a particular way of conceptualizing my capacity for relationships. I see it as a zero-sum game. I have a finite amount of attention, energy, and interest in pursuing, improving, and maintaining relationships. If one person’s allocation of my time is to increase, that portion must come from somewhere. And if a new person is to enter my life, other relationships must be downsized in order to make room.

Here’s an illustration.

This graph shows how much of my attention is spent on the various members of the Brady family.
The numbers add up to 100%. Now, when I am forced to add another person to this pie, the numbers have to shift.

In discussing this imagery with friends, I have had some respond by saying that they don't need to reduce what they have in order to add a new person to the mix. Poppycock, I say. I do think that people have differing capacities for relationships. 100% to one person is a different quantity than 100% to another.

Well, enough about that. Thanks, Stacy.


For the last year and a half, I’ve been into playing Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs). The first I played was City of Heroes. In CoH, you create a superhero, choosing from numerous powersets, origins, and costume designs/combinations. Then you sally forth into the game world to right all wrongs and arrest bad guys. I liked this game and played for over a year. I was part of a small group of friends that had met in-game and we always found each other to team with.

But after a time, frictions within (and the subsequent disolution of) this group as well as the limits of the game itself caused me to move on to World of Warcraft. WoW is set in a fantasy genre with dwarves, gnomes, elves, and so forth. Character creation is similar to CoH but one is far more limited in the choice of how a character looks. But WoW has more dimensions of gameplay than City of Heroes. While CoH is pretty straight forward, in WoW, there are numerous things that a player can be working on at once, e.g. questing, crafting, reputation, earning money. These are all valuable pursuits in WoW.

Some of what I don’t like about WoW is that is looks somewhat cartoonish, and the game is full of pop-culture references like an engineer named Scooty and another character named Haris Pilton. Things like this really hamper the sense of immersion that I am looking for.

A few months ago, my cousin, Danny, suggested I check out a new game, Lord of the Rings: Online. I was a bit reluctant but agreed to try it out. LOTRO is also in a fantasy genre; the land of Middle Earth created by J.R.R. Tolkien. As such, it has an incredibly rich back story and anyone familiar with the movies or better yet, the books, already has a sense of what this world is like. Game play is much like WoW, with things like crafting, combat, questing, and so forth but the world has more of a photorealistic look to it. The graphics are just beautiful.

WoW has been around for years and is highly successful. It is still fun for me. LOTRO is new. While I enjoy both games, I am enjoying LOTRO more these days.

No such thing as a dumb question? I beg to differ.

During the summer, MJC is closed on Fridays. To coincide with that, we employees move from a 5 days/8 hours schedule to a 4 days/10 hours. I hate it. At least I used to. I like the structure of going to work everyday and never knew what to do with myself on Fridays. Plus getting up early and coming home late left no time for anything in the evenings. I've softened my position somewhat. Now, instead of working 10 hours a day, I take 1-2 hours of vacation per day and keep a more normal schedule. I still don't know what to do on Fridays but it doesn't bother me as much as it used to.

Begin rant.

So tonight is the annual Summer Sonata fundraiser dinner for the MJC Foundation. It's at a new place this year so I'm looking forward to seeing how it goes. I attended a training Wednesday evening for all of us volunteers to hear what we're going to do and how we'll do it. It was a difficult meeting to sit through. I don't know if there was a single question that needed to be asked. It was like every question was carefully crafted so as not to increase our knowledge or understanding once we heard the answer. For example, consider this question. "Will the serving trays that we use be rectangular or round?" It doesn't matter what the answer is. Knowing the shape of the tray does not help us in the slightest. But the best question was, "What if there's an emergency situation; will someone have a phone to call 911?" I actually think the question dumbfounded the room. There will be 300 people at the event that is being held at a residence in the middle of town. Do we really need to lock down on Wednesday who will have access to a phone? I doubt there was a single person in the room that does not have a mobile phone. I just find these kind of meetings to be such a collossal waste of time.

End rant.

What I watch

I'm a big TiVo fan. I switched from cable to DirecTV because that satellite company had a pre-existing relationship with TiVo. Well, at the time I switched, DirecTV was implementing their own (inferior) dvr. I stuck through the contract but switched back to cable after a year and got a new dual-tuner TiVo box.

All this to say that I record everything I watch and rarely turn on live television except as background noise.

Ok. At this point in the summer, there's not much on that I watch. I am catching up on episodes of Scrubs, a show I only recently started watching. I watch Monk, Dead Zone, Psych, Eureka, and I've recorded, but haven't watched, Burn Notice.

Fall is always a tricky time for me. There are many new shows and I have to decide which, if any, of them to watch. And I got a bit burned this last Spring. A new show debuted on Fox; Drive. So I started watching and thought the show was pretty good. Then the series was cancelled after like 3 episodes. Arrgh! Why did I bother? So I've decided to record new shows that I'm interested in and only watch them if the series is going to last for at least the season.

So, more on tv in the fall when I really have to start organizing my viewing schedule.
In the meantime, I'll talk about how I spend almost all my time at home; MMORPGs.

Sean, in a nutshell


So let's start by sharing some things about me.

My name is Sean. I live in Modesto, CA. I work at Modesto Junior College in the Office of Instruction. I am 37 years old at the time of this posting and I think I'm starting to feel my age. I have an Associate's Degree in Music and hope to complete a BA in History before the turn of the next century.

My Roman Catholic faith is very important to me and I play guitar and sing for church every weekend and have done so (off and on) for almost 20 years.

I have a dog named Chloe who is way smarter than me. I wish I were inclined to be more active, if only for her sake.

Instead, my time is mostly spent playing on the computer and watching television. I play World of Warcraft and Lord of the Rings: Online. In a future post, I will talk about the shows I record every week.


Why even start?

So I've been listening to a lot of podcasts lately and watching several video podcasts. I've really enjoyed one in particular. That's the Women of Warcraft video podcast. The host, Molly, is delightfully quirky and playful and I just love her personality. I think it's a lot like mine so of course I'm drawn to it. She's cute too.

Anyway, she has, over the course of several episodes, mentioned a few web services like Twitter and Lijit. So I signed up on both of those and it made me think that I should have a blog. Why not? I have something to say. I'm interesting, damn it!

So here I go.

But, reality check. Let's be honest. I'm not much into writing and my interest and enthusiasm for things tends to wane over time. So who knows how often or how long I will try to do this.

But today, I'm into it.

What will be incredibly compelling and endlessly facinating is if someone actually reads what I post. If you are reading this, for the love of God, let me know. A simple, "Read your blog" email will floor me.

*Next time: A bit about who I am.