Flash Fiction: Skippy & Mrs. Kribshaw

I wrote this piece of Flash Fiction in 2012 from the 25-Dec-2012 Write Now Prompt posted at Today’s Author.

There was a knock at the door and suddenly the Christmas lights went out…


IMG_7500 by chapman_photography is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)
IMG_7500 by chapman_photography is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-ND 2.0)

There was a knock at the door and suddenly the Christmas lights went out.

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Flash Fiction: Rose Brand Curtains

Back in November 2010 a friend e-mailed me the message below.  The note struck me as being funny; it seemed random and perhaps intended for another recipient. Here’s the original e-mail and the quick response I cranked out to him. I made a couple edits to protect the innocent and make the posting blog-friendly.

Thanh's S2k01unmarked by joenguyen112 is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Thanh’s S2k01unmarked by joenguyen112 is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

—–Original Message—–

From: Brice

Sent: Monday, November 01, 2010 7:20 PM

To: Matt

Subject: Rose brand curtains?

Have you ever heard of rose brand curtains? I ended up sitting next to one of their salesmen today on the plane to Atlanta. Seemed like a good guy.


Do not believe him. He is not who he says he is. I’m surprised he had the audacity to reveal himself to you.

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Flash Fiction: The Smuggler

“Good evening, Mr. Stock.  Please step over here so we may have a look in that backpack, please,” bellowed the school’s vice principal, Mr. Stuckley.  “Planning to do homework at the homecoming dance, are we?”

Trophies by Mr.Fink's Finest Photos is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC-BY-NC-SA 2.0)
Trophies by Mr.Fink’s Finest Photos is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

I turned my head to see who Mr. Stuckley was speaking to.  So did the two volunteer mothers manning the ticket table, and I found amusement as both their facial expressions drew noticeably uncomfortable once seeing the target of Mr. Stuckley’s attention.  It was Adam Stock, another sophomore in my class who was dressed-to-impress this evening wearing black jeans, a tuxedo-printed t-shirt, polished cowboy boots, and a top hat that would make Slash envious.

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Disney or DMV: Our colleagues view us as a brand

Like it or not, our colleagues view their daily interactions with us similar to a corporate brand.  Here are five intentional behaviors I use to actively manage my personal brand.

Plan Ahead by Oregon Department of Transportation is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Plan Ahead by Oregon Department of Transportation is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

Several weeks ago I participated in multiple concurrent assignments where none ran smoothly according to my standards. I found myself frustrated with what was shaping up to be my new normal—my days consisting largely of redundant throwaway work and a greatly reduced operating efficiency.

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Goals and objectives can be strengthened with cross-functional peer reviews

The yearly goals and objectives (G&O) process in most organizations is often perceived by staff as a mundane HR activity required solely to support year-end performance appraisals. Here’s my thoughts as to how directors and managers can strengthen the process with cross-functional peer reviews.

Goals and Objectives. Climbers by Jaroslav Kuba is licenses under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
Climbers by Jaroslav Kuba is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic

In my experience, the goals and objectives process is typically structured and communicated as a vertically-siloed exercise held between a supervisor and employee. Staff are asked to create tactical objectives to help achieve broader goals that cascade down from executives within a single department like I.T. or Finance.

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It’s possible to purchase 1 terabyte of online backup for $20

By no means am I a data pack-rat requiring vast needs of online backup. I’ve accumulated only 600 gigabytes of data over the past twenty years that consists mostly of photographs, edited home video projects, and miscellaneous Microsoft Office documents.

Blank USB Thumbdrives by Matt Robb is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)
Blank USB Thumbdrives by Matt Robb is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

For years I shuffled these digital assets across multiple storage devices in my home. At some point I started to wonder, “What happens if my home catches fire or my external drive fails? This data is surely gone forever.  Should I investigate an online backup subscription?”

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Frequent Agile SaaS deployments are disrupting end-user value

Like most, I spent the recent year-end holidays reconnecting with family and friends over a tin of homemade Toll House chocolate chip cookies and non-fat cappuccinos. We laughed. We cried. We debated the merits of Agile SaaS deployments and Minimum Viable Product (MVP) delivery.

SML Books by See-ming Lee is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic
SML Books by See-ming Lee is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic

It began as an innocuous statement:

“Drive-thru windows at coffee shops. Call-ahead seating at chain restaurants. Online order pickup at big-box stores. Clearly we’re an impatient society. We know what we want. And even if we don’t, we want it now, anyway.”

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Change Management Training: Selecting the right employees to attend

Not every employee is the ideal candidate to attend formal change management training. This article presents a few considerations organized by role.

Change Management Training. Change by Conal Gallagher is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic
Change by Conal Gallagher is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution 2.0 Generic

I’ll always remember my first experience being on the receiving end of an enterprise software replacement project that occurred without a formal change management strategy. I had just returned from a week’s vacation and discovered the introduction, rollout, and three (and only three) software training sessions for the new system all occurred the week I was away. The system adoption results were abysmal.

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Calling Web Services within Microsoft Office via the SOAP protocol in the year 2013

In the early to mid-2000s Microsoft Corp. painted the world a beautiful picture of the ease at which one could exchange information across disparate systems, whether across the LAN or across the Internet.  The company simultaneously eased both Office users and professional developers into unfamiliar terminology like Web Services, Simple Object Access Protocol (SOAP), and XML.

A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic
A bubble by Jeff Kubina is licensed under Creative Commons | Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic

Don’t worry about the new terminology, Microsoft told Office users (paraphrased).  With a few drag-and-drops and mouse clicks, we made it simple for you to call a web service with little to no coding experience.  You’re going to love how easy it is to push and pull data using Visual Basic for Applications (VBA) within your Office files—namely Excel (paraphrased).

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New illustrated book touches on family blending, love, and loss of loved ones

 

Screen capture of how book appears on Amazon.com website.
Screen capture of how book appears on Amazon.com website.

A new illustrated book was released this week on Amazon.com by an author-friend of mine, J.A. Zaremski, with illustrations by Lauren Scott.  The book is titled, How Brady & Deucey Became Buster & Lucy To Get Princess Autumn Home.

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