Rick's Ramblings

You have found Rick's Ramblings, a Web Log.

I have been writing in this space for a few years now. Visit the archives to get a feel for my style.

Thanks for visiting one of my creative outlets! Please send me an e-mail, or add a comment to any post.

More Rick Umali web sites at:

Yahoo! Geocities
Lycos Tripod
The World
My Own Domain

Email: rickumali@gmail.com

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Saturday, May 01, 2004
What's on my mind right now: My commute is a real bear! Mother's Day in one week (and yes, I have gotten gifts already). Really enjoying Train, by Pete Dexter. Missed the Kentucky Derby on television. New England Revolution (soccer) won their first match of the season (2-1 over Los Angeles Galaxy). Really want to get started editing my Jersey City footage. Have only written two letters out of the fifty I resolved to write on New Years. Mia's been having trouble sleeping lately (we think it's my work hours; I'm coming home much later). Haven't yet watched last the two episodes of the Sopranos which I've recorded.

Monday, April 26, 2004
I have spent a few evenings reading Now, Discover Your Strengths, and through the website for this book, I discovered that I had the "Learner" theme. I love to learn. This isn't news to me, but it's comforting having it validated. But the description of this talent contains this: "The subject matter that interests you most will be determined by your other themes and experiences..."

What interests me most? The book doesn't explain how to answer this, but it does state "You will need to find your field ... by listening to the yearnings that pull you and then seeing what moves you." What pulls me? What moves me? It's something that I've thought about because I am reporting this after my first day at a new job. That's right: I switched jobs.

Over the past several months at my previous employer, I slowly began to lose my interest with their "subject matter". Yes, the work involved computers, something that has fascinated and intrigued me since grade school. The work specifically involved multi-computing hardware and software. The problems I faced were multi-faceted. But after a year or so, I was becoming despondent with how difficult the subject matter was. It was an area of computers that ultimately didn't engage or thrill me.

So I stayed in my "comfort zone" amidst all this technology: I focused on software tools, not the hardware that was the mainstay of the company. But even in the comfort zone, I found myself in areas that I wasn't competely comfortable with. More importantly, I was in areas that I didn't find myself desiring to learn.

I was productive, but I was aching to "do more", to "be more". Which leads me to another strength identified by that website. I have the "Maximizer" theme. I have a talent for measuring myself against excellence. I don't want to fix what I lack. I want to increase what I already have.

So over the past few months, I searched the meager market for a position involving technologies that I knew well and technologies that I desired to know well. I networked. I practiced. And now I'm at a new job.

I believe I've found subject matter that greatly interests me at my new job. Now it's time to Learn and Maximize.

Sunday, April 25, 2004
I was blessed with great childhood friendships.

Two weekends ago, I attended the wedding of one such friend, someone I knew since elementary school. He invited a few other childhood friends, so the order of the weekend was nostalgia. Who remembers what happened to whom?

Since I've known some of these people since grade school, the ties are especially strong. In an old diary, I wrote that old childhood friends are like fine leather gloves. Even if you don't wear them for years, they still easily form a natural fit around your hand. The gloves are creased in the right places. They're easy to put on.

I often ponder a theory that as we get older, it's easier to make friends. When you get past college, you've often learned "how to get close" to people. We've learned how to be direct, and how to ask meaningful questions. One long evening of talking is enough to form some good bonds.

Childhood friendships are different from college and post-college friendships. Childhood friendships start out very haphazardly. You're next to someone in homeroom. You live close to them in the neighborhood. These friendships are tested during the high years of peer pressure and puberty. Childhood friendships are formed at an impressionable age, and an age when parents can still be a strong influence. More importantly, they're formed when we all had time; long stretches of time, in which you can learn about your friends playing tag, going over their house, watching movies, or making iced tea.

If you were lucky, you grew up with your childhood friends. You tested one another in your attempts to broaden yourself beyond your comfort zone. You provided checks on one another. And as you made new friends, you "tested" them against your old friends. Before you know it, you pass the mile markers of life with them: school proms, driver's licenses, college, first jobs, marriage, children, baptisms, anniversaries.

I don't often put on the fine gloves that are my childhood friends anymore. But recalling the warmth of those gloves, the warmth of those friendships, is enough to make me smile broadly. I had a great childhood thanks to these friends. I was glad to be in that warmth two weekends ago.