a guy and a bee

a collection of random thoughts and ideas from me, her, and sometimes us

Monthly Archives: February 2012

what is a “diverse perspective?”

As a volunteer for a structured organization, I serve on a lot of committees.  On a conference call last night, I commented that someone could bring a “diverse perspective” to the group (as a new member).  Immediately following, I was questioned why someone’s personal demographics were a part of my comments on that person.  My retort: I did not mention demographics, simply that this individual could bring a unique set of skills and ideas to this group.  This has made me do a lot of thinking though, and a little work on defining my word choice.  Therefore, courtesy of http://www.dictionary.com:

di·verse [dih-vurs, dahy-, dahy-vurs]
adjective

  • of a different kind, form, character, etc.; unlike: a wide range of diverse opinions.
  • of various kinds or forms; multiform.

per·spec·tive [per-spek-tiv]
noun

  • a technique of depicting volumes and spatial relationships on a flat surface. Compare aerial perspective, linear perspective.
  • a picture employing this technique, especially one in which it is prominent: an architect’s perspective of a house.
  • a visible scene, especially one extending to a distance; vista: a perspective on the main axis of an estate.
  • the state of existing in space before the eye: The elevations look all right, but the building’s composition is a failure in perspective.
  • the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc., in having a meaningful interrelationship: You have to live here a few years to see local conditions in perspective.

Diverse is a dynamic word clearly noting “differing” and “different.”  A word that we use to note the individual and what he/she offers.  These days, it seems, the word is confused with “diversity.”  Same root; same general meaning (the state of being different); but, so often used these days to reference demographics that it has seemingly become synonymous.  In any group, it does not matter if you are pink or blue, tall or short, it matters what you bring to the table.  Each person’s background adds to the sum of that person, and therefore the differing view they offer.  This is not relative to demographics (or race) but to the breadth and depth of their experiences as a person and how they articulate those experiences when working in a group.

Perspective, to me, clearly falls in the category of “the state of one’s ideas, the facts known to one, etc.”  I think every person who serves as a volunteer in this particular group brings a shared experience (as the group is about individuals who have something specific in common), but also their own, individual take on that experience.  Every person, even participating in the same activity, will relay the facts and the impact of that activity on themselves differently.

Looking back on my written comments of the individual that we were discussing, I never noted the individual’s demographics, simply the conversation I had with that person and their overall demeanor.  It never would have occurred to me to discuss a person based on demographics.  To the other person, my comments seemed clearly pointed at that aspect.  Makes one take pause and think about the diverse perspectives we all bring to the table, our individual foci, and what hits home for us individually.  I felt a personal affront at the insinuation of my comment and I would venture to guess that the other person felt similarly about my original comment.  How do we get to a place of not assuming and judging, but thinking the best of others?

a trip to the air and space museum

yesterday, bee and i took a trip to the air and space museum, the udvar-hazy air and space museum. bee had never been to this one but she’s always loved the main museum downtown. now that one is her second favorite, haha. if you haven’t been, it’s out by dulles airport and holds tons of different airplanes as well as the enterprise space shuttle (s00n to be replaced by the discovery). if you have been to the other museum, you will know that it has more of the history of planes and aviation where as the udvar hazy museum has lots of planes, many of them military and/or donated by companies or private collectors.

we arrived around noon and started with the space shuttle. they have a separate whole hanger/wing for the the shuttle and lots of the other different NASA paraphernalia as well as the history of space flight and rockets. if you haven’t been to a shuttle launch or seen a shuttle in person, the sheer size of it is incredible. to think they were all built in the ’60s and have flown for years as technology has grown leaps and bounds is amazing. as a child after a trip to key west, we stumbled upon a shuttle launch on the way back and stayed an extra day so we could see. what an incredible experience to see it lift off and take that crazy adventure. anyway, from the picture to the left, you can see the scale of the enterprise and the building itself.

after we wandered around the space shuttle and the different NASA items, we moved through the main portion of the building. when you enter the main part of the facility, you come across an SR-71 blackbird. at over 100 feet long of stealth technology, it’s a sight to see. from there there are lots of war planes and civil aviation items. a whole section of stunt planes and different planes from the early decades of aviation hang from the ceiling. a supersonic, concorde from air france spans across what felt like half of the floor. on the other side there are planes from WWII, both US and German, as well as an F-15 Tomcat and JSF X35B and many more. there was a speech taking place from several members of the tuskegee airmen as part of a black history month celebration. we took a lot of photos of different propellers and hope to do some sort of photo display of them. we did not get a chance to go up in the observation tower because the line was pretty long and decided not to wait as i am sure we will be back. it does cost $15 to park, but to enter the museum it’s free, so there’s that.

we took lots more photos and posted some of them on my flickr page here.

after the museum, we went over to the outlets in leesburg and did a little shopping. we bought some new beach towels, which was entertaining because at one point there were flurries coming down. afterwards, we met a couple of our good friends and fellow elon alumni who live down that way for dinner at dogfish alehouse. after a whole day of hanging out and relaxing, we got home and passed out. surprisingly, bee didn’t even fall asleep on the way home in the car.

casual friday

i don’t know about you guys, but my office has a business casual attire dress code on a regular basis and on friday, most go for the casual friday attire. no ties required at the office, unless you have an important meeting with a customer. and while we have casual friday, it seems like because we have a mix of blue collar and white collar workers, casual friday has been taken to a whole new level. granted, it’s nothing like meredith from the office. LOL.

now, most people during football season or occasionally on baseball season will wear their favorite team and players’ jersey. don’t expect any fashion icons to be showing up out of a group of engineers. maybe some slightly over worn jeans, but the other day, i saw a guy in a cut off sleeve t-shirt and it wasn’t even friday. why has casual friday and business casual attire gone downhill so far? granted, i understand that the blue collar workforce doesn’t really need to wear a pair of khakis and a collared shirt, but let’s at least put on something with sleeves and have a little respect for yourself and the office. some of us didn’t buy tickets to the gun show for a reason.

i am sure someone else had a cut off sleeve shirt one today as well. probably the same guy but i didn’t see him. maybe it’s just me, but i feel like casual friday has really gotten casual in the office. even hooded sweatshirts are making an appearance at the office.

what’s up with maple lawn?

maple lawn, off of rt. 29

anyone else notice that maple lawn doesn’t seem to be catching fire like expected? built in 2005 and publicized as a mixed use community, it seems like maple lawn hasn’t blossomed like many have expected. as the community grows and more and more move into the area, maybe it will thrive more but as of this point many years later it seems to be lackluster at best.

i recently heard that the AAA offices might be moving out of their location there and back to columbia off of snowden river parkway and route 32. if that happens, it will be another company in the long line of companies that tried to have a location there that have failed. granted, it’s not the greatest economy these days, but match that with it’s location, it doesn’t seem to be drawing many people who don’t live close by. trapeze (correction from wordbones, thanks!!) green turtle, maggie moo’s, a pizza place that i can’t recall the name, and several other restaurants have tried to make it over there and have closed. the latest to close up is pita and rye. although it is believed to be temporarily closed per their website, it isn’t drawing customers to the area. one the bright side, a new harris teeter location opened up awhile back and they added a fast food chain, which should do well because there aren’t many options like that in the area. ultimately, i like the area and hope it does well, but it doesn’t seem to be going that way. we haven’t been to the looney’s that replaced the green turtle yet and weren’t impressed with pita and rye so we’ll see what’s next. that end of the county needs more options in my opinion so when facci and kloby’s, at johns hopkins road, are too crowded there is somewhere else to go eat and shop.

do you visit maple lawn? is it too far from traditional columbia for you to visit? just don’t make it to that part of the county?

hocoblogs@@@

double-take on the MARC train

grown man gets on the train holding an old, stained, smelly, gross booster seat (yup, like for a toddler).  no teeny, tiny little person in tow.  picks a seat, sits the booster down, and sits in/on it.  he is not a small man.

oh, and there was also a girl with blue hair.

i love the morning commute.

the house wasn’t so safe: review of safe house

during this time of the year, movies are usually in a little bit of a lull. we are in the middle of awards season and january/february are well known to be not great movie months. you’ll see lots of re-screening of movies that are nominated for an oscar as well as random valentine’s day movies and a handful of others.

anyone who knows me well knows i am big movie fan and going to the theatre is something i enjoy doing on my days off from work.  there are a whole list of pet peeves that i don’t like at the theatre, but that’s for another day. when i go, i make every attempt to get to a screening before noon. matinee prices are always much more affordable, so yesterday i found myself at an 11 am showing of Safe House. from the picture to the left, you know that the film stars denzel washington, but it also stars ryan reynolds. reynolds isn’t really known for his action roles although he has played several lately. everyone remembers him from van wilder and other comedies and romantic comedies but he’s been acting since the early ’90s if you didn’t know. everyone knows denzel. brendan gleeson also plays a nice supporting role in the movies as well.

anyway, with all that being said, i enjoyed this action packed movie. the premise is that a former CIA agent is being chased by bad guys and ends up going back to a US consulate even though he has sold US secrets to the enemy over the years. once he gets to the CIA safe house, the chase ensues as the same bad guys come after him. the CIA housekeeper, matt weston, who is a young inexperienced agent does his best to keep him safe and bring him in. the back drop of the movie is mostly in cape town, south africa, which made for several very exciting car chase scenes. the gritty city streets were busy and crowded with lots of cars and bystanders. it seemed like it was an every day occurance and many of them didn’t flinch and just went the other way. i can only assume it is something like that in that part of africa normally, but don’t know for sure. nonetheless, it made for a nice background scene for the film.

as the movie progresses, denzel’s character, tobin frost, makes weston question what he knows about the CIA and how the enemy found them to begin with. when frost escapes from weston, weston works to recover him even as CIA headquarters tells him to stand down. the movie ends with a few twists as you might guess and alot of bullets flying around. overall, as i said, i enjoyed the movie and would certainly watch it again. as for a rating, i would say a solid B to B+.

orioles, what’s next?

new 2012 logo!

with the ravens season over, it’s time to focus on baseball season. being born and raised in the baltimore area, i was raised as an orioles fan. growing up with the oriole way was great but not being old enough to remember the ’83 world series and not seeing one since has been a tough way to be a fan. as we all  know, the last 14 years have been tough for any orioles fan; however, i can’t give up on them now.

“What? Over? Did you say “over”? Nothing is over until we decide it is! Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!”

having grown up as a baseball fan and playing and umpiring baseball for the vast majority of my life, i always watch the game with a critical eye. i sometimes joke that i’ve forgotten more about the rules of baseball them some people know. we all know this year is going to be a another rough year. there was promise when andy mcphail came in and things went okay and now that he is gone, dan duquette is attempting to put his stamp on this organizations. he’s stirred up things in the front office, but has he done enough? we’ve had a problem developing talent for years now and some of those people that were in charge for the last several years are still around. as far as the talent on the field, i haven’t been blown away. seems like more of the same but on a bigger scale. he’s brought in a lot of decent talent and some older talent as well as a mix of foreign born players. many of these guys are expected to strengthen the organization overall but how many of them will make a splash with the big league club? on the surface, i like some of the deals that they have made.

new oriole, tsuyoshi wada

i would have hoped they showed up and made a splash with a #1 pitcher, especially now that Guthrie has been traded, but there’s two sides to everything and one of those guys would have to want to come here as well. now we have a chance with the guys like wada, ayala, hammel, eveland, and a cast of others who we have signed to bolster up a rotation with guys who hopefully have bright futures like britton, matusz, arrieta, and tillman.

they’ve also worked to bolster up the other position players. when i say worked, we don’t know if they will work or if anyone of the trades/signings are any good. right now, none of them remind me of the hardy trade last year but hopefully they will turn into a nugget as showalter would say. i’ll leave all the advance stats and sabremetrics up to the experts like camden crazies and camden depot, but on my gut feel, and i know many of the others feel the same way, it’s going to be a tough season. last year, i had great hope for the team. at the start of the season , i had them at .500 or better, but this year, i think its going to a struggle to even get there.

this year as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of oriole park at camden yards, i am going to continue to enjoy the team and the stadium. for the second year, bee has gotten us a partial game plan for my birthday. it’s been different the last couple years enjoying the game through the eyes of someone who is new to the game. when we get to the stadium, i enjoy watching the game through her eyes and explaining many of the different aspects of the game to her. having been to at least 150 games, from memorial stadium to camden yards, it’s neat to see someone who is new to the sport. i’ve seen great games, terrible games, games in final week of the streak, the orioles vs. cuba game, fireworks games, and many more. this year, again, we will cheer on her favorite player, nick markakis and many others, and give it the old college try. just like the orioles.

what’s next? who knows what will happen. maybe, for a lost generation of orioles fans who haven’t seen a winning team, we will see a billy beane like season and make a run to better than .500 and make a run at the postseason.

see you at the yard! i’ve met lots of great people there over the years so stop by!

oriole park, photo courtesy of me on flickr

best burgers in HoCo?

if you follow my twitter feed or my check-ins on foursquare, you know i am one for a burger or pizza. easily my top two favorite foods. at lunch today, while sitting at five guys, i was thinking about the best burger in HoCo. we all know that five guys and wendy’s are my favorites for fast food. my love of burgers probably started when i got my head stuck between the rails in the line at the wendy’s on dobbin as a young kid and has continued since then. five guys makes a great burger and has a nice selection of toppings. i usually go with the little cheeseburger. sometimes with bacon, sometimes without. depends on the mood. of course, everyone knows about the bag full of french fries that you get as well.

wendy’s on the other hand has recently changed their burgers to be “hot ‘n juicy” (which they are if you haven’t been lately). i probably end up at wendy’s twice a week. sometimes for a regular meal and sometimes on the weekend for a jr. cheeseburger to go for lunch.

anyway, enough about regular fast food joints. who do you think has the best burger in HoCo? many people would say Victoria’s Gastro Pub, which unfortunately I haven’t been to yet. we’ve tried to go recently but the line was out the door, which isn’t convenient during winter! one of my favorite new burger places is the BGR joint. although it is not a family owned business, they do a make a great burger and have some interesting selections. they are a little pricey though compared to somewhere else you might go. try the sweet potato fries if you go!

(ps… the picture is from Abbey Burger Bistro in Federal Hill. not exactly HoCo, but they have a fantastic burger.)

bee’s first addition to the blog: not a huge burger fan, but with a “guy” who loves them, i have tried to get in the spirit of enjoying them.  my favorite “burger” comes in the form of the sliders at BGR.  perfect for a not burger lover and a lover of miniature foods.

so, what do you think the best burger in HoCo is?

addendum (also from bee):  the BEST side to any burger, in my humble opinion, is the milkshake.  cheeburger cheeburger (which also has great burgers) has the best milkshakes, hands down, in HoCo.  and, if you ask really nicely, they will also do custom orders on their milkshakes.  very nice people they are.

hocofood@@@

food review: always up for pizza

for the last couple of weeks, we’ve been trying to go to coal fire over off of 108. we have been several times and always enjoy it but the last few times we went over there, the wait was over 30 minutes so when we called last night and it was already 25 minutes at 615, we decided to pass. we had decided we were going to go to chicago uno and swing by LL Bean afterwards. bee’s coat got screwed up so she wanted to see if they would fix it. as we left the house, I suggested we try Luna Bella in the hickory ridge village center. we always see it when we go to that village center and hadn’t ever been so we figured now was the time.

luna bella (photo from yelp)

the restaurant is a small and intimate italian place that serves brick oven pizza. it was voted as one of howard county’s best in 2011 for pizza and italian so I was excited to try their brick oven style. after waiting more than the estimated 25 minutes, we finally got seated. I figured it was worth waiting to spend money at a local small business instead of a chain place and the place and line were packed. I saw someone from work who decided to not wait as several others did as well. there were also plenty of people getting carry out.

we started with the fried mozzarella which was a nice size appetizer. it could easily be for 3 or 4, but we just split it for ourselves. haha. bee got the eggplant parmesan and she enjoyed it. I, on the other hand, went for the main attraction, pizza. I’m always one for a meat pizza and went with the Pizza Carne. a nice blend of pepperoni, sausage, salami, and canadian bacon. the crust was a little thicker than I expected for brick oven pizza but it was crispy and held all the toppings nicely. they offer their pizzas in 10 or 12 inch and have several prepaid options as well as the choose your own toppings. the gourmet options as they refer to them had a nice variety and also looked tasty. our friend, steve, pointed out that the pizza finito is also real good. meanwhile, the build your own toppings seemed endless. anyway, the pizza and toppings on the pizza carne worked wonders together and i ate the whole thing!

howchow did a post on luna bella a few years ago and had different thoughts on the crust but my experience was that it held up well.

we certainly enjoyed it and will be back to try the other pizzas and menu options. afterwards, we stumbled over to the meadows original frozen custard. it’s a franchised ice cream place but the proprietor of this one is a fantastic guy. we walked in at 810 and they were actually closed, but “since they were there, they were open.” the frozen custard is made fresh daily and they only make select flavors each day so you know it will be good. we ended up getting a cookies and cream ice cream sandwich, which we split since it was pretty large for just $4. well worth it. we’ve been several times and have their club card. if you are looking for a new ice cream place, check it out!

hocofood@@@

no complaints

it’s funny how some days we complain about little things. last week I had a cold and it seems to be lingering a little. that’s neither here nor there as my point was as I was sitting in the Jerry’s Subs and Pizza in Owen Brown, a lady walked by me and I said “hi, how’s it going?” she said “hi, good” back, walked 2 steps turned around and asked if I really cared because she would sit down and tell me. since I tend to believe half the people I see are criminals, I politely declined and told her “maybe tomorrow.” haha. she hadn’t even met me for more than a split second and was all ready to lay her world of problems on me. a minor interaction that was more of a courtesy and a way being polite.

what did she really have to complain about? who knows and I wasn’t interested in finding out. it didn’t actually make a difference to me as we all have our problems but do we really to talk to complete strangers about them? I guess I won’t be asking random people “how it’s going” again. I know I don’t really have anything to complain about. I could complain that work has been slow but then again I am not unemployed so maybe it’s not bad after all. so since we aren’t complaining, I hope you are doing well. bee got a cold after I did so we are working on getting better and being happy with what we have. so why did I write a post about this or is it I am complaining about having no complaints? guess i’ll let someone else decide because i’m not really sure.

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