Monthly Archives: January 2005

Happy Aniversary

My anniversary with my car was yesterday. I have had it one full year. Woot! The annual mileage is 8030. That includes my normal miles and one trip to LA. For its celebration, it is getting an oil change tomorrow.

Sadly, I only have half of what I planned done to the car. The other stuff takes a lot more work. It will be interesting to see when I get that stuff done if ever.


I have had reason to tell someone recently that I am actually really strong because I am asking and accepting help instead of weak because I am on a path few would dare to take.

There is this image out there that if you need help and can’t depend on just yourself, then you are weak. As jadecat9 said when we were chatting, “There is only strength in asking for help when you need it…and even more in accepting it when offered.”

Depending on others when you don’t need to might be weak but reaching out when you do need it can actually be a sign of strength.

No, my life is not good right now. I am not handling it all that well. But maybe it will be much better than before when I get through this.


lrc posted a link to this interesting essay about Nerds. It has many interesting things in it but a paragraph really stood out for me.

The word I most misunderstood was “tact.” As used by adults, it seemed to mean keeping your mouth shut. I assumed it was derived from the same root as “tacit” and “taciturn,” and that it literally meant being quiet. I vowed that I would never be tactful; they were never going to shut me up. In fact, it’s derived from the same root as “tactile,” and what it means is to have a deft touch. Tactful is the opposite of clumsy. I don’t think I learned this until college.

This is the best explanation of the way I understand tact and how it is misunderstood.

I have a few friends that seem to think tact means keeping their mouth shut and therefore not being honest. Being honest is important to them, so they throw tact to the wind. For me, tact means means being honest in a way that tries to keep the damage to a minimum.

And example:
An honest answer to the dangerous question “Do these pants make my butt look big?” would be “yes they do.” Honesty with tact would be to say, “hmmm, the cut on those pants doesn’t flatter you but that green pair you have look really good.” You are still being honest but in a non-hurtful way.

I am pretty good with honest. I am typically blunt about it as well. I am always trying to learn to be better with tact. I think it is important to know that being honest does mean you have to forgo tact. It is easy to be honest and hurtful when you don’t need to be. If you can apply tact to that honesty and get the same information across, that would be much better. Sometimes all it takes is being careful on how you say something or watching to see if the recipient is ready to hear what you have to say.


The question “How are you?” has been bugging me quite a bit lately for two reasons. I have always had issues with it being used as a statement of greeting and not really a question. One of those, why do you ask if you don’t really want to know type of things. My attitude is that you asked, you are going to get an answer. I usually avoid answering with the placeholder of “Fine.” I have to come up with something unique and something true. For awhile now my answer has been “vertical.”

So, the problem that has been bugging me is when people actually ask you because they want to know.

Lately, I have come up with a new definition for FINE: Functional In Normal Environments. So, if I say “Fine” this is what I mean. It doesn’t indicate things either good or bad. I means I am functional at the time. Things could be really bad in most of my life but if the part that overlaps with others is functional, then FINE works. Things could be really good in other parts of life but if I don’t want to go into it, then FINE works. Admittedly, when things are going good, it is easier for me to find an answer other than FINE so it is less likely to show up on the positive side of things. The hard part now is to overcome my old habits of not saying “fine.”

The other part of my problem with “How are you?” is that it is a much more complex question to answer than before. It used to be that I had about one level of friends. If I liked you, I counted you as a friend. The emotional investment was the same for most everyone. Some friends I spent more time around, some I was much more enchanted with but pretty much I liked everyone a similar amount and would invest similar amounts of energy into each one of my “friends.” Also, my life was also rather homogeneous, everything was involved with everything else. I may have had a lot of different things going on but I was well blended. Now, I have a much larger range to my friends, I have people that are deeply important to me and others that are on the fringes. In 1997, I actually had to prioritize my list of friends because I didn’t have the energy to maintain my old ways. In the last year or two, I have added a lot of depth to some of my relationships. My life is also much more complex. I have many areas that have different levels of success and failure. I am more deeply invested in it as well. So, now when asked by a friend “How are you?” I have to figure out what part of my life they interact with, what the status level of that part of my life is, what they might actually be interested in and figure out how to answer. Most of the time, I don’t have an answer and I need a more defined version of the question. So, if I ask what do you mean or what are you really asking, it just means that I want to give you a real answer and not some pat response.