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May 18 2009

Me Before Coffee in the morning

Jamie Barrows

before-coffee


Dec 1 2008

How do you treat people?

Jamie Barrows

IMG_5352-1

I read the following quote today.

"The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good."  – Samuel Johnson

Which made me think about my life. Do I treat people who can’t do anything for me the same way I treat people who can do something for me? Or how about those people I don’t really like? Do I treat them the way I should?

The truth is, I don’t. Especially people I don’t like. I’m not talking about people who have given me reason to be cautious about, or people who have mistreated me. I’m talking about the people who have never given me a reason to not like them, and yet I just don’t.

You know the type. The nerd at the party, or the odd person who is just a bit annoying. They are nice people, but not people I like. I have no reason to treat them badly,and yet I find myself avoiding them or ignoring them when they talk to me. It’s not right, and yet I end up doing it anyway.

It’s something I need to work on. Treating others the way I want to be treated is a biblical command. Not just a good idea. 

Matthew 7:12
So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you, for this sums up the Law and the Prophets.


Jun 27 2008

Hot showers

Jamie Barrows

Shower

Today I was surprised by a rather nasty wakeup. I got up from my bed and stumbled over to the showers for my morning wakeup and cleanliness ritual. Now, I wasn’t really awake yet. So needless to say, I wasn’t very observant.

I turned on the shower and got undressed. Still not noticing anything out of the ordinary, I jumped into the shower and immediately became wide awake. Water was ice cold. This isn’t the first time I’ve had to suffer through a cold shower, but in this case, I wasn’t expecting it.

Needless to say, I took a very short shower this morning. So today I’m very thankful for little things. Things, like hot showers, that you take for granted right up until you don’t have them.


Jun 12 2008

Thinking the Best

Jamie Barrows

reaching for the sky

At my current job, I work with a pretty good group of guys. Most of them are easy to get along with, and all of them work pretty hard. One guy in particular is an extremely hard worker. He does his job without being told, and will even go out of his way to find work to do when his normal duties are completed.

You’re probably thinking that this guy sounds like a model employee. Someone who works without supervision. An employee that goes above and beyond what is required. The thing is that he has one big glaring fault. A fault that negates most of the good qualities I mentioned above. He literally can’t work with anyone.

The reason he can’t work with anyone is that he always assumes the worst about his fellow employees. By that, I don’t mean that he thinks all of his fellow employees are evil. What I mean is that whenever something comes up (good or bad), he assumes the worst possible motives of those involved.

So advice or critiques of his work (which is actually pretty good) is taken as a personal attack by the person giving the advice. And praise for his work is taken as an attempt to suck up to him for some future gain. If one of us is falling behind, he automatically assumes that the person falling behind was slacking off and not working. Any mistakes other employees make are taken as evidence that that person is stupid or doesn’t listen to instructions. Even in normal conversation, he assumes attacks on him whenever something is said that offends him.

With an attitude like that, you can understand why he can’t work with anyone. He claims that everyone he has ever worked with has “stabbed him in the back” at some time. If you always assume the worst of everyone around you, then it has to seem that way. You end up angry at everyone around you all the time. Which can’t be fun or even healthy.

The thing is, that most of the time he is completely wrong about people’s motives. But because he always assumes the worst, he always feels let down. Wouldn’t it be better to assume the best of someone? At least until the person has proved you wrong several times.

There are plenty of bad people in the world, who do have bad motives for what they do. But there are plenty of people out there who are just normal and don’t have an ulterior motive. If you just give them the benefit of the doubt sometimes, you will be surprised at how often you are right. And in the end you’ll be a lot happier and have more friends.


May 10 2008

Church Attendance

Jamie Barrows

Recently I’ve been overseas working at my new job. (By the way, the new job is for a governent contractor doing IT work) I’ve been over here for about a month now, and I have about two months to go before I get back home.
For the most part I haven’t minded being over here. There isn’t all that much to do, but while I’m here I work 12-14 hour days 7 days a week. So I really don’t have time to get bored or homesick. Even better is that I don’t have time to spend any of the money I’m making. And with my living expenses paid for by the company, I can save all the money I make.
About the only thing I really miss is regular church attendance. You wouldn’t think that church attendance would be the one thing that I would miss the most. After all I’m missing almost everything else that I have made a regular part of my life. But other than my church, most of the other stuff I hardly think about.
I tried to find a church around here, but I couldn’t really find anything except a Catholic Mass. There was a Protestant service, but it was basically a Unitarian service. So since I’m not Catholic, and Unitarian services are really nothing more than feel good clubs, I’m stuck with nothing in terms of church.
So anyway, when I get home I’ll be pretty excited to be back at my church.

(My church does have a podcast of it’s messages, but the Internet access here is pretty slow and blocks downloads. So I wasn’t able to download any of the messages. I’ll be sure to catch up on them when I get back though)


Jan 31 2008

True life

Jamie Barrows
My Life on the Internet



When I saw this pic, I just had to post it. It was too much like my real life. I spend all day at work at my computer and then come home andv spend more time on a computer


Jan 24 2008

Life is so fragile

Jamie Barrows
Train



Yesterday my sister in law got in a car accident. She was only a few miles from home when her car spun out of control and smashed into a guard rail. Thankfully she came away from it with only a gash in her forehead and a mild concussion. The gash required a trip to the emergency room for some stitches, but that is minimal compared to how bad it could have been.

All of that just reminded me how fragile life is. Every day we get up and take our trains, buses, and cars to work. And each time could be our last time. We get so caught up in our daily lives that we forget how quickly it could all be taken away. I know I don’t think about it until something like this happens.


Dec 14 2007

Masks

Jamie Barrows

Phantom MaskWe all wear them. We all hate them.
We try to look like we aren’t.
We say things we don’t mean.
We do things we don’t like.
All to maintain an image of ourselves that isn’t really us.
An image of ourselves that we don’t even like!

I hate masks and fakeness in people. And yet no matter how much I hate it in others, I find myself wearing masks all the time. I hate it in others and I’m one of the worst offenders.


Dec 7 2007

Roadblocks

Jamie Barrows
Cross Walk

Sometimes when you have spent all day working on something and you haven’t managed to get anywhere, it’s time to give up. Not permanently, after all you still want to get it done. But temporarily. Just to catch your breath and come back fresh.

Yesterday, I spent all day working on a project. And for most of the day, I was stuck on a small section of the code. At most 20 lines of code. But I couldn’t find what was wrong with it. No matter what I tried it wouldn’t work. I went over and over the same little section of code. But no matter how many times I looked at it, it still looked right to me.

Bunny with head against wallSo I decided that the problem must be data related. I re-worked and went over every step of code leading up to the function that didn’t work. Followed the data through the entire chain. I even rewrote some of it to make it a little more efficient and to ensure that I wasn’t corrupting the data. Nothing. The same function still didn’t work. At about 5:15, I decided to give up for the day. I had spent all day working, but I really hadn’t accomplished much of anything.

I headed home for a much needed break and some dinner. I can tell you I was really frustrated and extraordinarily tired from beating my head against this issue all day. But as I was driving home, a possible solution occurred to me. I dismissed it as too simple, but still kept it in the back of my mind. Slept on it, and when I got up this morning, it still seemed like a good idea. It was only a small change, and it was in the function I had originally thought it was in. So I tried it. And it worked!

I had spent all day yesterday working on this issue and had gotten nowhere. But when I finally gave up and went home for the day, the answer came to me. All I needed was to take a break. Sometimes when you feel like you are getting nowhere, it’s just time to take a break.


Oct 29 2007

Stuck in between

Jamie Barrows

Traffic Blur

I’ve been a little depressed lately. And the reason is that I feel stuck. My entire life feels like it is stuck in between being a mature adult, and being an immature young adult who is still trying to find out what to do with his life. And being stuck in between, I don’t feel like I can really relate to the people around me who are in one phase or another.

On one side, I have my mature friends. The people I graduated from college with. I don’t really feel like they are more mature than me, but at the same time I do. The problem is that they are all in a different place in their lives than I am. Most of them are married and well established in their careers. A lot of them even have multiple kids. Whereas I’m not married, and I don’t feel all that well established in my career. While they are all building their families and advancing in their chosen careers, I’m still single and still at the bottom of my chosen career path. And as we all get older, I find that I have less and less in common with most of them.

On the other side I have my relatively immature friends. They are mostly younger than me, and haven’t reached the point where they are really working on their future. Mostly they are single and for the most part are still in college. They live from paycheck to paycheck and don’t really worry too much about what they are going to do with their lives. They aren’t really immature, they just haven’t moved past the college phase yet. And the truth is that I really don’t relate to them either. Because I am past the college phase.

My problem is that I’m stuck in between. I’m past the friends who are still in school and are still finding out who they are, but I’m behind the ones who are out their building their lives. And I feel like I’m stuck. I’m too old to go back, but I somehow can’t go forward either. It’s like my life is in a permanent holding pattern. Since I graduated from college, about 4 years ago, almost nothing has changed in my life. Which is depressing. Mainly because I have no idea what I did wrong to be left behind, and I find I have less and less in common with everyone around me. So, I’m feeling a little down right now.