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I published an app!

See that exclamation point? I don’t overuse those puppies. I am truly excited about publishing this app. It was a lot of fun, and I hope, the first of many. Download it from the app store. It will be free until 6/8/2012. I built out a website to support the burgeoning app enterprise: http://ahelms.com/apps

Recruiters Who Can’t Write Good

When I launched ahelms.com I did not realize that posting my résumé would result in the receipt of copious emails from recruiters looking to fill “very urgent” and “critical” positions for “well-respected”, “Fortune 5/10/50/100” companies.

I am not a big fan of recruiters…and not just because they abuse exclamation points!!! One small part of why my dislike of recruiters is growing is the awkward, inappropriate language they use in emails to candidates like me.  A small sampling and my commentary is below.

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Politics that divide

I hate how politics are so polarizing.  On most, if not all, issues we have a common goal – why can’t we start from there?  I heard a wise man once say when discussing divisive issues we should discuss them in terms of “us” rather than “we” and “them”.

Two stupid emails I received recently amused me not because of their content but because they were sent by different people who are on opposite ends of the Democrat/Republican continuum within minutes of each other.  The first is an open letter to “red states” a term I HATE.

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Blog Action Day: Call + Response

Today, October 15, is Blog Action Day, a day that bloggers commit to write posts about a particular issue in order to promote awareness and to force issues into the collective conscience.  Last year, the first year for Blog Action Day, the topic was environmental issues.   This year nearly 10,000 blogs, which reach 10 million readers, have committed to publish posts that discuss poverty.  The topic of my blog post is the documentary Call + Response–a rockumentary really but that term makes me cringe–about human trafficking that was released last week.

The film is the brainchild of Justin Dillon, a musician who learned about human trafficking while traveling in Russia with his band.  As he became more educated about the issue he felt called to respond.  What started as benefit concerts evolved into the musical documentary that features influential activists, statespersons, leaders of non-profit organizations and musicians all committed to raising awareness about the “world’s 27 million most terrifying secrets”.

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Photos from Bicycle Accident

Yesterday morning I flipped over my mountain bike’s handlebars about a half mile from my house as I was making a turn to go up a short, steep hill. I was wearing a helmet. No broken bones, just two broken teeth, a sore neck and some scrapes…and a bruised ego.  I’m not exactly sure how it happened.  The front tire of my bike needs a little air and I felt it wasn’t turning properly as I was rounding the turn so I applied the brakes.  I must’ve braked too hard, especially the front brake because as I was braking I went over the handlebars and face-planted into the pavement.  I was obviously shook up after I hit the pavement but immediately stood up to make sure no cars were coming.  A car did slowly approach and the driver put down his window and asked if I was ok as I stumbled to the side of the road and spit out a couple of broken teeth and a mouthful of blood.  I said “I don’t know” which was all he needed to hear in order to feel it was fine to drive off.  I picked up my bike which seems fine and walked it home.

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Hope for Guatemala

Yesterday I returned from a week-long missions trip to Guatemala.  I went with a group from my church to serve Hope for Guatemala/Esperanza para Guatemala, an organization started by Guatemalan Jose Armas that works to bring life and hope to one of the most dangerous zones in Guatemala City by physically and spiritually nourishing its people, especially its children.  We were supported financially and prayerfully by family, friends, neighbors and our church family.  The team joked that ‘what happens in Guate stays in Guate’ so you will be spared some of the more sordid details of our trip.  Flexibilidad was the theme of the week.  From the first team meeting in April, the team of 11 was told to expect the unexpected and that encouragement continued after our arrival from the Hope staff.

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Can’t miss read

I read a fantastic Reuters article that was picked up by one of my favorite online magazines this morning. It just so happens that my lovely wife was interviewed for it.

Desensitization effective for women with metronidazole hypersensitivity

http://www.sleepreviewmag.com/reuters_article.asp?id=20080430clin005.html

From the article:

“CDC currently recommends either the IV or oral desensitization protocols that are reproduced in the paper,” Donna J. Helms from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia told Reuters Health. “These are both also referenced in the 2006 STD Treatment guidelines (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. MMWR 2006;55:No.RR-11:52-53).”

Helms and her colleagues investigated the effectiveness of the metronidazole desensitization protocols as well as the alternatives to nitroimidazoles for the treatment of trichomonas infection in women with suspected metronidazole hypersensitivity.

The Root Canal Experience

This morning I got a root canal. I slipped and banged one of my front teeth on an icy driveway about 16 years ago; as the result of some endodontical phenomena the tooth has been getting darker and recently had darkened enough for me to feel compelled to get it checked out. I saw a dentist last week and he referred me to a specialist. I learned a little bit about what was to be done before going in for the procedure but was largely ignorant about the process.

After the specialist confirmed that I did indeed need a root canal, he stuck a bite guard in my mouth and told me that often the hardest part about the procedure is keeping the mouth open wide for an extended period of time. He said the procedure was similar to a filling and many patients fall asleep in the middle of it. I haven’t had a filling in about 15 years and the guy who did it my family nicknamed Dr Hurt, so although my dentist today didn’t know it, comparing the impending procedure to a filling was pretty terrifying…and at no time in the past when receiving a filling was I ever close to nodding off. Dr Hurt earned his reputation. He once told me to raise my arm when the pain was getting unbearable and then after I raised my arm the first time proceeded to tell me to put my arm down, that I needed to be willing to bear a little pain. That said, I like to think I’m pretty tough so I played it cool.

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Worst passport photo ever

Yesterday as part of preparation for a summer trip to Guatemala I made three copies of the front page of my passport. While making the copies I realized that as bad as I remember my passport photo to be, the actual photo is worse. I had it taken the week I was getting married, nearly five years ago, at a small studio near the courthouse in Annapolis where I got my marriage license that same day. I was harried and distracted so when the “photographer” gave me my photo and said, “Nobody likes their passport photo”, I simply glanced at it, shrugged and moved on. Little did I know that just a couple of years later the same photograph, now immortalized by an attachment to a US passport, would be passed around for the enjoyment of a bus full of Contiki travelers and unanimously declared the worst passport photo ever.

I am a stereotype

“You are not a beautiful and unique snowflake. You are the same decaying organic matter as everyone else, and we are all part of the same compost pile.” Tyler Durden, Fight Club

Little stings me more than the realization that I am so easily satirized by sites like http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.wordpress.com/, a website just a few months old that boasts nearly 8 million hits. Tyler Durden could be the site’s author or inspiration. Since January it has listed 81 things that white people like and then a brief explanation why or how they came to like them. The 80th thing listed is The Idea of Soccer. I visited the site after hearing it mentioned for the third time in the past week and just after I had set my status on facebook to ‘Andrew loves champions league football’. The 81st and most recent entry is Graduate School; though business school isn’t specifically mentioned, I am in my last semester of graduate school. In skimming the 79 other things that white people like, I found that I was able to split them into three categories: stuff that makes me defensive; salient stuff that I can laugh at other white people for liking; and completely ironic. Do you know which category is which?

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