Rules of Life: Instant Messaging

I haven’t done a Rules of Life in a while, but we just got an email from Accenture about “IM Etiquette” so I couldn’t resist re-posting it here.  I’ve paraphrased a bit to protect the innocent, but I do think our CIO has been reading my past posts on Rules of Life … cause this one fits here way too well.

Instant messaging is often the most effective way to communicate. Unfortunately, it’s also the most intrusive. Having a text box pop-up on your screen at an inopportune moment can be frustrating (or embarrassing). So how do you make sure it is OK to send your colleague an instant message (IM)?  Office Communicator, AOL IM, MSN, and most other programs have a presence indicator that can tell you whether your contact is free or busy. But that’s the simplest rule, here are the rest of the Rules of Life to Instant Messaging (courtesy of the good people at Accenture):

  • Write short – IM is conversational. Don’t get into huge specifics that are best saved for a presentation or e-mail
  • Turn off caps lock – stop screaming! Typing in all caps can come across as you yelling at your colleague
  • Don’t engage in idle chatter instead of getting down to business. Since it takes seconds to type in a response, make sure you are focused on what you need to say
  • Be sure to ask the person if he or she has time to chat before you launch into a conversation
  • If a contact’s presence status is set to Busy, refrain from sending a message to the contact unless it is urgent
  • If a contact’s presence status is In a Call, they may be slow to respond or may not respond at all. Responses will vary by person and by the nature of the call
  • If a contact’s status is set to Do Not Disturb, do not send the contact a message unless it is an emergency
  • Unlike e-mail, IM is conversational, similar to a face-to-face discussion. Do not worry about strictly taking turns or that spelling and grammar are perfect as this will artificially slow conversation
  • If you are initiating the IM, your first message should state the topic and ask the other person if they have time to IM with you (e.g., “Got a moment to discuss the Generic account?”). This may not be necessary with someone you work with frequently and when the question is quick and simple (e.g., “Are you going to join us for the meeting?”)
  • Do not take offense if your contact doesn’t respond immediately as the contact may be unable to do so, even if the contact’s presence status is Available. Assume the contact will respond when free. Avoid messaging someone repeatedly when you do not get a response
  • If you receive a terse IM response (e.g., “in a meeting – talk later”), do not be offended. While this may be considered a rude response in person, it is a perfectly acceptable way for a contact to let you know they’re unavailable to IM at that time
  • Use of emoticons (graphical representations of facial expressions) can be useful in providing context around the text of your messages, as they can help support a more natural form of communication
  • Avoid having too many “goodbyes” as you attempt to end the conversation. The first person to indicate an end to the conversation is usually enough
  • If you are in a meeting, call, or Web conference, it is best to turn off the sound of your IM to ensure the sound of incoming IMs won’t be disturbing to others who might be meeting with you
  • Do not invite someone to join a multiparty IM session in progress without first asking the others in the session if it is OK to do so

Rules of Life: Family Vacation

Manta Ray Inn, Hollywood Beach, FL

Well, Lindsey and I are off to Florida for a weekend of sun, surf, babies, and retirees … who could ask for anything better than that??  Sure the weather is supposed to be 50 degrees warmer than Minneapolis, Lindsey’s root canal diet has her looking excellent in a swimsuit, and I need a vacation to recover from my last vacation … but things could still go horrible wrong.  In order to survive a week vacation together with your girlfriend and your family, there are certain Rules of Life that need to be made.  So here’s my advice to survive…

  • Don’t do or say ANYTHING in front of your family that would be normal with your girlfriend
  • Don’t do or say ANYTHING in front of your girlfriend that would be normal with your family

And with that, I am off.  Enjoy the first ghostblogger post tomorrow and have a fantastic weekend!

Rules of Life: Sin City

Image result for las vegas

Now that I have made it out alive from my 6th trip to Las Vegas, I can look back and reflect on how I have managed to work the system well enough to survive.  And by “the system”, I don’t mean the casinos.  You can’t work them, they always win!  But rather all the other torturous tools Vegas utilizes to try and suck the life out of its visitors.  Don’t be fooled, its a city full of constant temptation, 24-hour booze, loose women, flashy lights, and all night entertainment with one goal in mind … get your money, or get your dignity.  So how do you survive?  Follow the simple Rules of Life.

  • What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas.  It really is that simple.  Don’t talk about it, don’t fantasize about it, don’t get nostalgic about it.  The more you do, the quicker you’ll be on a plane back and willing to lose it all over again.
  • The longer you stay, the more money they get.  Whether its card games, bars, clubs … art galleries … don’t linger and get out as soon as you are can or pay the consequences!
  • Every girl between the ages of 18 and 30 walking alone, at night, down the Las Vegas strip, wearing any sort of leather or short skirt, is for hire.  This is not meant to be degrading, its the simple honest truth.  Stay away and you’ll stay clean … unless you’re in to that sort of thing.
  • Do not go to Vegas with a significant other unless you have extreme control NOT to gamble.  No one enjoys watching their future washed down the toilet unless done by themselves.
  • Oh, you sat down to play blackjack and got a 21 on the first hand?  WALK AWAY!
  • Don’t pretend to make plans, you won’t stick to them.  Don’t buy any show tickets until last minute, because when the shooter has hit 4 points in a row, you aren’t leaving and you know it.
  • Although they look to be in walking distance, the Luxor is NOT just a couple blocks from the Venetian
  • If you visit Vegas, you must spend at least one night dowtown.  Everything is cheaper … the tables, the drinks, the hotels, the women, the souvenirs, the entertainment, everything.
  • Standing in front of the Bellagio to relive the final scene of Ocean’s 11 is as cool as you thought it would be.
  • Pack sleeping pills, ear plugs, and a mask  if you plan on sharing a room.  When you go to bed at 5am, its hard to stay sleeping when everyone begins to stir.
  • Visit the Ferrarri show room at the new Encore Hotel, its as good as it sounds.  And they sell hats.
  • It is legal to carry drinks on the street, however, not if its a 4 ft Yard that needs to be worn with a strap around your neck for support.
  • Don’t bring a car to vegas.  Don’t try to drive down Las Vegas Blvd.  Don’t pretend to be a regular, you just piss off the people stuck in cabs in traffic.
  • Don’t blame other players for your loss.  So what if they hit a 12 against a 16.  It really doesn’t change what you do and half the time they help you as much as hinder.
  • Every club has a huge line pouring out into the casino floor.  The only purpose of this is to get you to lose money at the tables before being let in.  Don’t be tempted, the drinks are expensive enough inside without the added loss.
  • Treasure Island is neither a treasure, nor an island.
  • Cirque de Soleil is awesome … for about 7 minutes, then its just a really really expensive nap.
  • Drinks are free if you gamble.  So if you are broke and really want to get wasted … hello penny slots!
  • And last but not least.  Don’t get mad at the dealers, they want you to win.  The more you win, the more you tip them.  Getting mad at them is not the answer.  However, throwing ashtrays at the pit boss for laughing when your K,J loses to a 4,2,2,3,4,6 is more than acceptable.

Thus ends all Las Vegas posts until we return for the Summer 2009 trip.  Anyone interested in a May 29-31 rendezvous?

Rules of Life: St. Patrick’s Day

Image result for st patrick's day cartoon cuteAh, St. Patrick’s Day.  The one day a year we all can legitimately get away with being a drunken disorderly stain on society.  One may think that a day officially slated as an excuse to drink whiskey and green beer starting at 8am would come with no rules or regulations.  But do not be caught on St. Pat’s this year with your pants down (literally), heed the rules of life on this glorious day, and you’ll be sure to make enough friends to hold your head back after the 18th Irish Car Bomb.


  • It is ok to proclaim your love for Ireland one day a year, but don’t mock the good people of Hibernia by introducing yourself with a humorous O or Mac.  There never was an O’Smith or MacJohnson and there never will be.
  • Yes, Hibernia is the Latin name for Ireland, and although fitting for a blog, don’t try to use it at the pubs.  It has no place when green beer is involved.
  • Beer tastes better if served green.  I don’t care if you only order Sam Adams Utopias when you go out, you’ll drink a green Miller Lite, and you will like it.
  • For one day a year (hangover remedies excluded) drinking as soon as you wake up is allowed.  But to be fair, start with an Irish Coffee.
  • If you are not Irish, and you are wearing a “Kiss Me I’m Irish” shirt, you deserve to be hit.
  • Don’t plan on going to the parade, you aren’t going to make it.  You waited all morning to finally get that table, and then the bar-wide rendition of “Danny Boy” is more entertaining anyway.
  • Riverdancing is never allowed, period.
  • Either leave it at home or give your phone to a friend.  When you start drinking at the crack of dawn, it’s only a matter of time before you start texting your Ex and saying something stupid.
  • Additionally, never invite your Ex to the pub with you, it’s only a matter of time before something worse happens.
  • Good Irish music has a fiddle, not a synthesizer.
  • Unless you’ve actually risked life and limb to kiss The Blarney Stone, don’t pretend you did just to get away with saying “how would you like to banish the snake from my pants?”
  • I know the Irish are known for their willingness to drop everything for a good fist-fight, but please don’t start fights at the bar, you might spill my Guinness.

And last but not least:  Although St. Patrick’s Day is officially March 17th, much like Halloween, it can be celebrated on any weekend before or after the 17th.  So, if you are a true loyalist, I’ll see you at the bar every night between today and the 21st.

“An Irishman is never drunk as long as he can hold onto one blade of grass to keep from falling off the earth.”   Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Rules of Life: Email

Rules of Life: Email

  • Email is immediate.  Which means you better be damn sure you want to send it before you do.
  • If you are a “premature sender”, and always look back questioning “why did I say that?” … add an outlook rule that puts a 1-minute delay to sending all messages.  Trust me, you’ll thank me later.
  • Create a computer shortcut key to recall a message, otherwise pay the price for sending your supervisor the email meant to your idiot friends.
  • Themes/backgrounds/heavy-HTML has no place in business email templates.
  • If the focus of the email has changed, for g-d’s sake, change the subject line.
  • If you BCC people, send them a follow-up to let them know.  Nothing is more embarrassing than “replying all” when you weren’t supposed to be on the distribution list
  • Spell check.  Spell check.  Spell check.  Spell check.  Almost every email program does it FOR YOU.  If for some crazy reason your program doesn’t, CHECK IT IN MICROSOFT WORD!  These days, there’s really no excuse to spell it “ridiculous”.
  • Spell Check.  Yes, worth mentioning again.  And again and again and again…
  • Do not forward me your chain letters.  It’s my work email address.  I don’t care, and now you are blocked.
  • Gmail is awesome … until you try to IMAP it to outlook.  Then all those folders are just annoying.
  • If your email address domain is your name, don’t make me write it twice by having it be the first part too.  There’s no need for that level of arrogance in cyberspace.

Rules of Life: Driving

Image result for ludicrous speed

Ludicrous speed, go

  • Rules of Life #6: The speed limit always comes with a 10% contingency
  • Rules of Life #7: If you have cruise control on, you have the right of way.
  • Rules of Life #8: When stop signs are every block, rolling through is justified
  • Rules of Life #9: Flashing brights once means one of your headlights is out. Flashing twice means your lights are off completely.
  • Rules of Life #10: If I can hear your loud music through your closed doors, my closed doors, and over my loud music … your music is too damn loud.
  • Rules of Life #11: In-dash DVD players should never have been allowed and are hereby banned from the road.
  • Rules of Life #12:  The spoiler is NEVER allowed to be higher than the car itself.  Additionally, spoilers have no place on pickup trucks.
  • Rules of Life #13: Spinning hubcaps on a hummer are cool.  Spinning hubcaps on an oldsmobile are not.

Rules of Life

Image result for 10 items or less checkout

Every once in a while I untangle the mysteries of the universe enough to identify and legitimize a decree of things to be and the ways of existence.  I call these my “Rules of Life”.  Below are a few examples, as I uncover more, it is only right I declare them to the world here.  Here are some Rules of Life:

  • Whoever was responsible for the cell phone call being dropped is the one that has to call back
  • Whoever was responsible for the cell phone call being dropped is the one that has to call back
  • If someone calls twice in a row without leaving a message, it is an emergency
  • One long honk of the horn means I’m pissed off, but two short honks just mean “hey friend, I see you”
  • It is never ok to pass all the cars waiting in line for the exit ramp and then try to squeeze in last minute. However, in case of emergency, you can always beat out a slow-accelerating semi truck
  • Dress shirts should never be worn twice in the same week, but pants can be worn M-F without concern
  • 10 items or less really means anything that fits in a small hand-cart