Thursday, January 31, 2008

Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness

I don't usually write about movies or reviews. I rarely watch them myself. I did happen to watch "The pursuit of happyness" this morning. I can't help but to be touched and inspired by this movie in many respects. If your not aware of the story it is inspired by the life of Christopher Gardner who overcame unbelievable hardship in his pursuit of happiness. Why write about it here? Not only was I very touched by his dedication to his son but he had set goals in his life and he pursued them unrelentingly. I've covered goal setting in this blog so I thought it would be appropriate.

What first got me was his dedication to his son and his reasoning behind it. Apparently he had no father while growing up so he made a vow to always be a part of his son's life which he did. Even when his wife left him and he insisted his son stay with him. I can relate to that in my own life regarding my son. My dad unfortunately was not a part of my life in later childhood. One of my goals in life has been to always be a part of my son's life no matter what may happen.

The main part of what can be learned from his story is his focus on his goals. Despite the many hard ships he and his son endured he remained steadfast in his goals which was to become a stockbroker. I almost feel embarrassed to complain about my own situation compared to what he went through. I highly recommend this movie.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Follow up

I had written here last month how much my "Student Success" teacher liked my final essay and was going to pass it along. It came back yesterday with some positive notes on it. It apparently was shared with someone from the English Department some comments and corrections. "this student is on their way to being a great writer! It's organized, coherent, and more importantly - inspiring." that is a direct quote from the note attached to the essay. If that isn't compliment I don't know what is then. I haven't talked directly with the teacher yet but he did leave his number and I will call him by this weekend. Do I have a hidden skill I didn't even know I had? I'll work on revising it with some corrections that were recommended. I'm actually thinking of taking a summer writing course(at the same school). Something to brush up on my basic writing skills as I'm sure they are a bit rusty. Maybe I can look up some books to help me out. Well got to go. I just thought I'd share that here.

Monday, January 28, 2008

The Ultimate Student Resource

I discovered this list over at I thought it may be of use to some. It's a pretty extensive listing . I've got a few items already but it's a handy reference.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Influence of Stephen Covey

I just started new classes this week and still see the influence of Stephen Covey in at least one of the classes. My instructor for Production Management used phrases such as "proactive", "reactive and "paradigms". Which to me are Covey keywords. I doubt if I hadn't read his "7 Habits" book that I would have even picked up on those. I do have one of his other books "First things First" on order from Amazon coming soon and I can't wait to read it.

Toyota Production

Our teacher for Lean Manufacturing talked about Toyota Production System or TPS. I found this video that kind of explains it. It's kind of interesting.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Lean Manufacturing

Last night was my first class in Lean Manufacturing. It's about waste in the working environment. Not the waste you throw in the trash can per say (though that can be a part of it). It can be wasted time, material, money and etc. Boy do we have a lot of that where I work. It should be an interesting class with a lot of relevance where I work. To give an idea of what it's about the teacher gave an example of the way Toyota manufactures automobiles and such. Well at least I got some reading to do now.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Back to school

Well yesterday was my first day back to school. First up is Production (or Operations) Management BUS 3091. As the course description goes it introduces student to basic concepts and techniques in the manufacturing/service areas of a business. Last night was more or less an introductory session. The teacher was a bit I would say interesting to say the least. It's hard to describe him. The course itself sounds interesting and now I have some reading to do again. Today will be my other class which is Lean Manufacturing. What that is exactly I'm not sure. Nice to be back in the classroom again.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

New Classes

Well it's back to school next week for me. I found out my schedule yesterday. On Wednesday I have Production Management and Thursday I have Lean Manufacturing. Not sure what they have to do with engineering. I'll have to check my course outline again to be sure. My major is suppose to be engineering. I was hoping for Technical Writing or Intro to Computers.In any event I'm actually looking forward to hitting the books again.
I'm still working on my typing skills and finish the Tom Brokaw book I've been reading(The Greatest Generation). I'm about half way finished with it and I'm enjoying it very much.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

SpongeBob Squarepants Typing

While I have a little time between semesters I decided to work on my typing skill's (or lack of is more like it). I had bought a SpongeBob Squarepants Typing software several month's back for my son. It's actually for kids older than he so he didn't show much interest it. I had tried a few online tutorials without much luck or improvement. I decided to give SpongeBob a try. I disciplined myself to do at least 30 minutes a day. I believe after about 10 days my typing has improved dramatically. Granted It's geared for children but it does work for adults too. It puts a little fun into learning typing which can be boring. I'm up to lesson 17 with 96% accuracy at 12 WPM. I watch my wife do it and she's at least 4 times as fast and she's says she's out of practice. I have a way to go but I'm determined to catch her. Anyway if you don't mind SpongeBob it's a fun way to learn typing!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

The Greatest Generation

My Grandmother circa 1942

My Grandparents(on right), Great-Grandmother(left),one of my uncles(being held by my grandfather) and my mother in front. Circa 1944

While reading Tom Brokaw's "The Greatest Generation" I can't help but think of my grandparent's. Maryann Ellis my Grandmother (pictured above) for some reason in particular. She was the last pass to the next world. She wasn't very tall in size nor very loud. Although she could be strong willed and opinionated when she wanted. She was the daughter of Portuguese immigrants born in New England. She married William Ellis (my Grandfather) in 1941 and would go onto have nine children(my mother being one of them) something to this day I still find amazing.

While growing up little did I know they were part of this generation. It was probably something not really spoken of at the time. The full scope of what they had lived through wasn't fully realized yet. I still don't have all the details on what they did during the depression and the second world war. There wasn't a hole lot of evidence around there house to give it away. It was in bits and pieces we would figure things or give us a clue. One was a picture of my Grandfather in a navy uniform. Later we also came across some old uniforms and patch's. No details of what exactly they did though. I don't believe they were thinking in grandiose way we think of that era today. They were just trying to live life without much fanfare.I think that was a trademark of there generation. Were they perfect? No they had there faults for sure but they worked hard for what they had because that's the way they were brought up.

I'm not exactly sure where I was going with this bit. These were just some thoughts that came to mind while reading this book. It has certainly made me wish I had maybe taken the time to know them better.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

The local library

After reading this article on one of my favorite blogs I was inspired to visit the local library. I've been meaning to do this for awhile but for one reason or another I didn't. I signed up for a card and I was off looking around. The one I visited was actually a branch off the local city (Providence,RI) library. I used to love the library when I was younger. Somehow I fell away from them. Libraries are a place where I can lose all track of time. For one year in high school I was a volunteer at the school library so I really feel at home. The first day I went it was full of kids and plus I was running off to work so I just got my card and left. I went back the next day to really look around. I had seen one computer book I had my eye on so I picked up that one. I had a problem with a second one though. I couldn't decide what to pick out. I looked up some Stephen Covey books but they didn't have any but I did ask them if they would get one from another branch so I'm waiting on that one. I wanted another for some casual reading so I did find another. Here's what I ended up getting:

1. Absolute Beginners Guide to Computer Basics(4th Edition) by Michael Miller
2. The Greatest Generation by Tom Brokaw
3. First things first by Stephen Covey (on order from different branch)

These should keep me busy until school starts in a couple of weeks. I had fun I'll be sure and be a regular visitor. I can't wait to go again.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Setting some new goals

This is the time of year most people make resolutions. I'm in the process of reviewing my goals for the new year. Here are some that come to mind first.
1. Finally end the smoking habit.
2. To achieve A's in my college courses I take this year
3. To become closer to my family this year
4. To learn to type which will help in my school work and plus it's a good skill to have.
5. To become a better employee at my work.
6. To read at least one new book a month.(other than school books). Current reading is All the Presidents Men by Woodward and Bernstein.
These are just a few that I could shoot off at the moment. Now I've just got to break them down into achievable and set a date. Wish me luck.