So those of you that follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram know this - but last week, I was lucky enough to attend ProgPower 2014 in Atlanta. I made the first ProgPower 15 years ago here in Chicago, but this year's line-up really was a no brainer for me. So we all have our own musical tastes. Mine have shifted in the past 15 years or so. I used to really love the power metal style - think Helloween, Stratovarius, etc. along with progressive - my readers know how much of a Dream Theater fan I am. The past few years have seen me drift from power to metalcore and technical metal/djent. Think Killswitch Engage, Periphery, and the likes. But when I saw the line-up for ProgPower 2014, I had to attend. Here was the line-up: ProgPower XV Country of Origin Need Greece Orden Ogan Germany Leprous Norway Overkill USA Seventh Wonder (playing Mercy Falls in its entirety) Sweden Stratovarius (playing Visions in its entirety) Finland Withem Norway Divided Multitude Norway Voo
Archive for Personal
So my blog turns 11 today. [add comments about number of blog entries]
As you probably guessed, I turn 40 today. Not sure if I should look at this as an accomplishment or milestone or a warning - but it's a good day. No longer 'a kid' - but still 'the kid' to many. With June being such a rough month for me, and this June being even harder, this July is special. That number '40' I was never sure I would make. But at 40, I find contentment with who I am. I have a great family, especially those closest. Wonderful friends. Awesome coworkers. I am part of many wonderful communities - IBM, Shacknews, YRs, Chicago. I find myself happy with the man I have become. Confident in my abilities. Proud of my accomplishments. Challenged by my work. A real future to strive for. I accept that I am emotional. Layered. Complex. Passionate. Focused. Driven. It has taken many events in the past year for me to embrace all of those words. They are who I am. I no longer shrink from being called any of them. I stand proudly and own them. Life is about accepting who you are. Wh
In my world, June has been renamed Suckuary. With the anniversary of my father's death, Father's Day, his birthday - it's a hard month. My Uncle (father's brother) had the same heart attack as my father this month. Luckily, he survived and is on the mend. Add in end of quarter/end of year for a lot of companies, licensing deals that barely closed, and a bunch of other personal stuff. Damn. I am glad June is done. July is a brighter month. Mom's birthday. My Birthday. Holiday. Vacation. and much more. So next year, I propose we change the name of the month of June. And I might take the entire month off. I am glad today is the last day of the month. Bring on July.
Today is Memorial Day in the states, the day we remember and honor all of those that have fought and served this country in our military. I thought I would share a few stories of my grandfather. John "Jack" William Head was a veteran of World War 2. A marine who fought in the battle for the Pacific. He was on Guam. He was part of the 3rd marine Division assault. Unfortunately the Marines were dropped on a beach at surrounded by a high ridge. Japanese soldiers opened fire immediately and the Marine casualties were high. Your grandfather was the Master Sergeant and every one of higher rank was killed on the landing. Dad's men were pinned down by rifle and machine gun fire from on top of the ridge, so Dad took two men with him and started up the ill to try and open a path for the men on the beach. The Japanese saw them coming and began to roll live grenades and mortar shells down the hill. The two men with Dad were killed. He was badly injured and rolled back down the hill. He was place
Today the news tells us that one of the Lotus/XPages community has let us, much to early. Tim Tripcony was one of the good guys. No,Tim was one of the best guys. Besides being smart and talented, Tim was a gentle soul who loved to share knowledge. I remember many chats with Tim talking about XPages, something new he was working on, or music. I will always remember seeing Tim at the first MWLUG in Chicago - just after he cut his long hair. I didn't recognize him at first. We laughed at my confusion. Tim's response at the time was 'well, I might have cut off my hair, but my technical skills weren't because of my hair!' ... Tim, you might have left us, but your technical skills aren't all we will remember. Rest in peace my friend - I will miss you.
I have talked about my transition from consultant to business development (sales) on the blog before, even sharing the results of my first full year in 2011. As all salespeople do, goal planning is an important part of the 4th quarter of every year. Salespeople have a goal set that is very specific and very measurable - it's your quota. I have been very lucky to be part of an amazing organization and having a great boss who have set that quota in steps. Those steps were always a reach, but never so big that I could not make them. This year, that quota was set at two million dollars. Divide that by the number of weeks in a year (52), and that means that I needed to have PSC consultants billing $38,500 a week. I also have quarterly quotas that help measure my level of success in smaller increments. After crossing my first million dollar year in sales last year, I was not really sure how this year was going to play out. I am excited that my hard work and planning worked out better tha
I am very happy that 2012 is here. I don't know about many of you, but 2011 is a year I am glad to put behind me. Professionally, 2011 was amazing. Speaking at Lotusphere 2011, BLUG, UKLUG, IamLUG, and MWLUG on topics that were brand new for me. 2011 was also the year I fully embraced that I am in a sales role, not a delivery role. It has been a difficult mental transition but the results were pretty amazing. It was also the year I fully detached myself from any software brand loyalty war. I have clients equally on both the IBM and Microsoft sides and working to add in new clients in areas I have not been hands-on with delivery. PSC grew quite a bit last year, with over 20 hires in our Schaumburg branch - and equally in all areas. Our collaboration team is working on what many inside IBM consider to be the largest XPages project undertaken to date. Can't wait until we are further along so we can begin to show some of the highlights of what we are doing. Of course, 2011 will be remembe
I love this time of year. The air is crisp. The food changes to be more hearty. The memories of my youth come back. Thanksgiving leads into the holiday season that becomes Christmas. My favorite time of the year ... well, after college football falls. The difference is that this year there is an emotional weight attached to the holidays. The first without my father. A Thanksgiving without my father yelling at the Lions to play better. It then leads into the 6 month anniversary and another trip to Orlando. The memorial bench has finally arrived and much of the family is coming together to intern Dad's ashes. That leads us into Christmas - my father's favorite holiday. It's more than just not going to his house this year to dine and open gifts together. It's his presence of overdoing everything about Christmas that is missing. His four Christmas trees with boxes of ornaments. His Christmas houses display that took over rooms. The outdoor decorations. I plan on carrying on many of those
As this holiday season is going to be many firsts for me without Dad around, Halloween was the beginning. My Dad loved Halloween. He decorated the house, dressed up, and loved to give out toys and treats. His collection of Department 56 houses for Halloween was larger than his Christmas collection - which says something. My uncle, my father's brother, lives in Playa del Carmen and runs a hotel he owns with my aunt. One of the traditions in Mexico around Halloween is the Day of the Dead celebration. My uncle blogged about his Day of the Dead activities: People visiting Mexico at this time of year will undoubtedly see references to Dia de Los Muertos, or Day of the Dead. The colorful iconic figures of decorated skulls and dancing skeletons may lead some to believe that it is part of the American/European tradition of Halloween. It is not. Day of the Dead is a pre-Christian, multi-cultural tradition which took root in Mexico centuries ago, possibly as early as the Aztec civilization
I got an amazing letter in the mail today that I wanted to share. But first some background. I don't remember when this happened, but just after my father passed, I got a phone call from the Lions Eye Institute. It was just hours after and I remember being a bit annoyed at getting the phone call. But after a quick chat with the family, we thought this is something Dad would have approved of. Since Dad was cremated, putting Dad's eyes to good use seemed like the right thing to do. Today I got a letter thanking the family. Dad's eyes were used in a transplant to help save someone's sight. After a bit of sadness a big smile and a very proud feeling set in. I am so happy would go do something good.
What you see above is the last can of soda that I will ever drink. Please bear with me while I explain. One of the things about my father's passing I have not shared is some of the medical history leading up to the heart attack. Turns out that my father was an untreated diabetic. He was told many times that he was in need of diabetes treatment, but he rejected the fact he even had it the disease. I love my father greatly, but he was the most stubborn person I have ever met. If he didn't believe something, there was nothing that any person could say that would change his mind. So you can imagine that when we saw my father in the hospital and saw how damaged his body was from the diabetes, the effect it had on me mentally. My grandfather Jack, my father's father, also had diabetes. It seems to run in the family. I know I am need of being a bit more healthy, so losing my Dad this way might be just the kick in the ass I need. So the first step is to get rid of soda. My father drank a
My social media breakthrough: How my father’s passing shaped my feelings on Facebook, Twitter, and Google PlusJuly 8 2011
As I process everything that has happened in June, I am starting to pick out a few lessons learned that I can remember and apply to my life. One of those lessons is around social media engagement. It just happens that I identified the lesson just as Google Plus was launching. Actually, the first 48 hours of my usage of Google Plus really hammered it home. Let me explain. On June 1st, the day my father has his heart attack, I posted a single note on Twitter about it. That posting made it to Facebook (because I auto-populate my tweets to Facebook). My uncle, while I was in the air, posted a note to my father's Facebook page directly. I didn't do anything else until I tweeted he passed, which also went to Facebook. I then wrote the blog entry and it made it's way to Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIN, and all of the other social networks I barely use (Buzz, FriendFeed, etc). I then posted that blog entry on my Dad's page. Outside of Facebook, Twitter, and that blog entry, the only other communi
The immediate impact of my father's death is days away from being officially complete. The estate sale is over, the house is being cleaned, and the entire family has returned home. As many of you know, I drove a rental truck back from Orlando with help. Why? there were a few personal items that I wanted. A chest my dad bought in San Francisco that matches mine. Artwork he collected and many family items from up to six generations of Head's and the other families. But what filled most of the truck was the entire Department 56 collection that he had picked up over the years. He loved the Christmas and Halloween houses. He loved them so much he made his own landscaping for them. How much was his love (i.e. addiction)? In the realm of 250 houses. Here is what the houses look like loaded into a storage locker in Chicago: I will be keeping a few of my favorites, but there are way too many to be kept and loved as much as my father did. So they are going to be sold. The reason for bringing
So while this will not be a morbid blog entry, I wanted to capture some thoughts and lessons learned in the past month of dealing with my father's death. Hopefully what I have gone thru will help others. 1. Paperwork is either your saving grace or your worse nightmare. My father passed away in the state of Florida, which has some of the strictest laws on death, so some of this might not apply. But I found that every person needs four legal documents when they die. They are: 1. Last Will and Testament 2. Living Will with life support directions 3. Personal Instructions for Burial 4. Power of Attorney I think everyone understands why the will matters. The Living Will is important if a person does not want to be kept on life support. The Living Will, once given to the hospital or doctor, literally acts as a trump card. Without that, the next of kin has to make the decision. I never felt any pressure to make the decision to not keep my father on life support - he ma
Today my Dad would have been 64. As you can probably tell, my Dad LOVED this week - he got attention twice! Here are some of the last photos of my Dad that we had. He hated his picture taken - like father like son. My father's 50th high school reunion in October, 2010 My sister's wedding Today is also the memorial for my dad in Orlando. Emotional day. Happy Birthday Dad!
Happy Father's Day to all the fathers out there, and special Happy Father's Day to my Dad. He loved this day - it meant I had to call him, he could give me advice, and I could not argue :-) Some photos of my Dad with his kids and his father. My Father and I just weeks after I was born in 1974 My dad with my siblings in 1994ish My father with his brother and his father Love you Dad. Happy Father's Day.
I have been quiet since my father passed away, but slowly trying to get back to a normal life. That won't happen until after the 4th of July, as I return to my father's home next week for the clean-up process. I wanted to say thank you to everyone who has offered prayers, condolences, support, and love in the past couple weeks. I can not express in words how amazing everyone has been. By the time we get to IamLUG, I should be somewhat back to my normal self. Lots of stuff to do in July in reaction to losing Dad, but more about that next month. I want to say a special thanks to Gab Davis for organizing an amazing memorial in honor of my dad. I know Gab is a major reader, just like my father. She came up with the idea for a donation in his name to Reading is Fundamental. My father would be so honored that people are doing this. If you would like to place a donation in his name, please contact me directly or leave a comment here and I can pass along the info you need for the donation. A
It is with love that I wish to celebrate the amazing years that John Vernon Head was a larger than life man on this earth. My dad lived live on his own terms. I have never known anyone who loved or spoiled those he cared about more. While we often disagreed on the path that our day to day lives should follow, his impact on my life can never be measured. Dad treated all four of his children, those by blood and those by marriage, as the most important four people in his life. I will miss our talks on the phone daily about sports, about how he knew what was best for the world (politically), and his excitement of our next visit. My Dad as he graduated law school My father and I during Christmas 1976 My father's wishes was for no funeral or memorial, so the family is going to throw a party on his birthday later this month. My father would far prefer that those that loved him had a shot of tequila in his name verse shed any tears. Sorry Dad, I broke the tear promise. Many of you have
It is hard to put into words how thankful I am for everyone in my life that reached out with support and thoughts this week. I don't want to talk about the specifics of what happened - google caching and all that - due to some privacy concerns. Things are greatly improving and while it will be a long road of recovery, the worst is behind us. I want to thank everyone for your support. I had such an outpouring of offers of help I can not even describe. People in every corner of the globe offering to help in any way. Words fail me. Thank you - everyone - thank you so much. It's events like this that make me cherish this thing we call the Lotus community. Most of us only see each other once a year at Lotusphere, but we interact on such a regular basis. Twitter, Facebook, Planet Lotus, Skype, Blogs, and more. We bicker, disagree, sometimes even get into heated arguments. But we have been doing it together for close to twenty years. People leave to do other things and new people join. Yet t
With 2010 coming to a close, I am looking back on the year and figuring out how to measure the success and/or failures of the year. I am also curious on how others measure their yearly success. For me, 2010 is the first year I am measuring myself not using billable hours as a consultant. I think most people who read my blog know that I switched into a business development role 'officially' for 2010. So my measuring stick at PSC starts with my sales quota. Now, PSC is a privately owned company and we do not share our financials, so I will just talk generally. I had what I considered a challenging quota for my first year in sales and I did better than I expected I would do at the beginning of the year. Read into that as you will :-) The second way that I get measured at PSC is thru a yearly performance review. Our review cycle is that we do our self reviews in early May and reviews with our managers later in the month. I went back and looked at both the self and management reviews and
Heads up: this will be a very personal and rambling post. You have been warned. The past 24 hours has been an interesting emotional roller coaster. Last night, PSC had our yearly holiday party and a very major milestone in my life was recognized and honored. I don't want to share much of that yet - come back on 12/18/2010 for that story - but it has made me reflect on my career path and choices quite a bit recently. As I think back to my path that got me to where I am today, I realize that the people who really made an impact on my career have been educators. People dedicated to the profession of educating others. In my life, I have had three great teachers. The first was my mother. While I never had her as my direct teacher in a school, she instilled a sense of wonder and excitement about science and the arts. As a kid in the suburbs of Detroit and Chicago, she took me to all sorts of classes. I fondly remember spending time at Cranbrook Institute of Science in the student classes
While this entry covers a topic specific to my musical tastes, that is not the focus of this entry. Background: On Wednesday evening, Mike Portnoy quit the band Dream Theater. For anyone who has read my blog or followed me on-line knows that Dream Theater is my favorite band. I don't have a DT tattoo or anything permanent, but otherwise some might call my fandom obsessive. Yes, my birthday gift to myself was a trip to Columbus, OH to see DT perform a one off headlining show during their summer tour with Iron Maiden (and good thing I did). What happened Wednesday was more than just the end of a chapter in Dream Theater. It was a wake up call that what I considered a unpopular passion being far more than I ever realized. I never felt that Dream Theater was popular. It was an edge taste that I shared with many of the geeks of the world. Dream Theater is a geeks band for sure. Musicians loved them, but so did the geeks of the world. I can't tell you how many times I would be chatting wit
If you follow me on Twitter, you know that this week has been crazy as there has been a move taking place. The move is only about a mile down Michigan Avenue ... but any move is a real pain in the ass. Packing, moving, unpacking ... and realizing just how much crap you own. Multiple car loads of books, movies, house wares, and clothes are going to the resale shop and donated - all sparked on the move. I am also completely updating the home theater : new TV, components, speakers, component rack, and a few other pieces. The TV, which is a Sony Bravia 480 hz 50 inch, is mounted above the fireplace. I have the new receiver (it is a Denon AVR-1910 - 5 HDMI, iPod/iPhone Dock, upscaling to HDMI, etc) and a few speakers hooked up. Once I get back from the UKLUG trip, I have the Comcast appointment (yeah, don't ask) and then the custom installer. He will be bringing a new center chanel, subwoofer, and remote. He is going to do the entire setup and get me ready for Sonos. So October will be a
To all of those of you in the United States, I hope you are enjoying your Memorial Day weekend. Everyone loves the three day weekend that is the unofficial start to the summer season around here. Pools open, BBQ's fire up, and air conditioning gets turned on. I love this weekend - one of the rare 3 day weekends where I do almost no work. But this weekend is far more than grilling and relaxing. Monday is about remembering those that fought to protect our country and the citizens who live here. Memorial Day is about honoring the living and the dead - from all wars since the Revolutionary War. With U.S. soldiers in harms way in two wars today - a new wave of memorials are happening every year. Please, along side that cold beverage and whatever you put on your grill, take time to remember those that have fought for us, defended our way of life, and for some - made the ultimate sacrifice. This is the time to remember them.
I know what you are thinking ... what the heck can one learn from the mosh pit that would have any relevance in the workplace or general life. Well, you would be surprised. I was thinking about how to solve some issues recently and when I came up with the solution, I figured out how to explain it using my experiences in the mosh pit as the description. This was the best way: For those of you that have never been in the middle of a mosh pit, a bit of background. Mosh pits are typically viewed as violent and potentially dangerous parts of a rock concert. Having spent many concerts engaged in the mosh pit, I disagree. Many times, they are the safest place in the concert - and are not about violence. Sure, the activity that takes place can be viewed as violent, but they are really just a group of people who are finding a way to experience the music - and channel their agression. You will find that people are looking out for each other, helping those that fall, and most people enjoying the
Saying Goodbye to Wheaton Community High School / Wheaton Central High School / Hubble Middle SchoolMay 17 2009
On Saturday I made a trip back to the building where I went to high school for the first time since I graduated in June of 1992. Back then, it was called Wheaton Central High School. It was the building that hosted the original Wheaton Community High School On Saturday, they held a good bye to the building as a new middle school is being built. The building will come down and something new, probably condos, will be put in its place. A sad day for a school that has served the community so well. It was erie to walk thru the halls again. See my old lockers and the rooms of good and bad memories. I was able to see the room where I took drafting and architecture with Mr. Ken Holland - the room where my dream that lead me to University of New Mexico began. It might have been all purple - not the orange of my Tigers - but it was still my building. Wheaton Central from the front My Senor Year locker - the open one Mr Holland's classroom Every high school has it's famous alumni