Facial Hair

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Thursday, July 3. 2008 in Personal

I've had facial hair (a beard and mustache, henceforth just called "a beard") for a long time. A real long time. Something like 30 years. I first started growing it in my senior year of high school. Facial hair of any kind was forbidden at Archbishop Curley (my school), but I was able to convince my dermatologist to write a note excusing me from this rule, due to "skin irritation when shaving". There was some truth to that. But the real truth was, I wanted to grow a beard. The note worked. It also worked when I got a new college job, which also did not allow facial hair. I never understood stupid rules like that so, in addition to simply wanting to have a beard, I also felt like a rebel, and bucking the system. I wanted a beard because, well, I thought (and still do) that I looked better with one. It gave my face that quality called "character." Back then, any sort of facial hair was rare, mostly mustaches if anything, so it made me feel somewhat unique but also helped define my jawline, which I always felt was too weak. Over the last 30 years, I've only shaved it off once. Maybe 15-18 years ago Eileen decided she really wanted to see what I looked like without one. So I shaved it off (such is love!). She liked it. I hated it. I grew it back (love has its limits after all!). Since then I've switched between full beards and goatees (presently I'm in full-beard mode). Sometimes I let it go a little longer, and sometimes I keep it very trimmed, almost like stubble. This reminds me of another good reason for beards: you can skip shaving for a day or so and it still looks OK. Even so, I've never been able to have it fill in as much as I'd like. For example, my cheeks don't fill in much, so I tend to keep my "full beard" focused on around the jawline and chin. When I started going gray (I didn't go gray early, but I did go sooner than I expected... I guess I started in my mid 30s), it took awhile for my beard to catch up. I used to be a light brown (back in the day, it was called "dirty blonde"... I can't recall the last time I heard that phrase, but it used to be a common description), but now am mostly gray, both on top as well as my beard. I don't mind; it gives my face character.
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George Carlin

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, June 24. 2008 in Personal

For most men my age, a rite of passage when young was listening to "Class Clown". Even more so that sneaking a peek at a Playboy or Penthouse, a George Carlin LP signified your transition from being "a kid". Thanks George! We'll miss you.
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MSB

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Tuesday, May 13. 2008 in Personal

One of the many very cool things about being involved in Open Source is that you get to meet and become close to many other people who share a very similar world view with yourself regarding volunteerism. Heck, when you think about it, most of the really successful Open Source projects are based on people sharing their time, energy and talents to create code that is then used by numerous entities to impact the world. If that's not a core concept of volunteerism, I don't know what is. I've known, and been humbled by, people who have expanded their involvement in Open Source to other more "traditional" concepts of volunteering, transplanting themselves (and their families) to remote locations to improve literacy, reduce hunger, or increase the usage of technology to improve living conditions. There is one non-profit which is especially near and dear to my heart: The Maryland State Boychoir. The MSB offers young men the opportunities to grow in their musical ability, but, even more importantly, the opportunity to understand and appreciate the arts (via the boychoir choral tradition) and grow in self-confidence. We have boys and young men from pretty much every social, religious, racial and economic background, and yet despite these "differences", they grow as a team, as a group, as a choir. They create life-long friendships. So more so than the musical training, these incredible young men learn that it's OK to be musical or "artistic" and that you are still masculine, that being "a man" is not just sports (although most of our boys are very successful there as well), and that cultural "differences" aren't divisive at all. I volunteer quite a bit of my time to the MSB; I use vacation time to attend and proctor camps and tours, I volunteer at events and serve as proctor of the Concert Choir and on the board of the MSB, and help out financially. If you are located in the Maryland region, I encourage you to get to know the MSB and attend a concert. And with the economy the way it is, it is getting harder to find people willing and able to financially help out as well. If you can, then that would certainly be most appreciated! But even if the MSB isn't your cup of tea, I encourage to find something to volunteer for. It makes a big difference, not only in your life, but also in lives of the people you touch.
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Amsterdam

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Saturday, March 29. 2008 in Personal

In a little over a week I'll be traveling to Amsterdam to attend ApacheCon EU 2008. I'll be doing 2 sessions but unlike other conferences, none of them will be technical in nature. I was unable to attend last year's conference, so this will be my first time in Amsterdam. Unfortunately, due to other commitments, I won't be able to stay very long, flying in on Monday and then back out on Friday. That's a lot of traveling for just a few days, but it's well worth it.
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Comix

Posted by Jim Jagielski on Friday, March 28. 2008 in Personal

As a comic-book fanboy, let me just say 2 things: 1: Marvel, you have screwed up Spider-Man for the last time. I'm canceling my subscription. 2: I am SO looking forward to The Dark Knight, Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk.
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