Chez Nerdingham


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My Hamster Ball

Your basic guide to interacting with introverts.


I found this today on FastCompany and it really rings true. And god bless anyone who has to deal with me after I’ve reached my quota of of human interaction for the day!




I remember in college and grad school that I thought it was so unfair when we were put into groups to do papers or projects. What if someone didn’t pull their weight? What if someone never showed up for meetings or didn’t contribute anything? What if they dragged everyone else down and we got…A LOWER GRADE? The response to these concerns was always the same, this was supposed to teach us valuable lessons about working in groups in “the real world.” When we eventually graduated and got jobs, we’d have to work with people and our efforts would be evaluated as a team, and not individually. I thought this was ridiculous at the time!

Of course nearly a decade after my last group project, I do work with others and it’s rare that my work is purely individual. Even more so as a supervisor, I have to trust a team to work together and produce tangible results. And like in school, there’s the gamut of team players:) I’m lucky enough that my current team is extraordinarily high functioning – smart, responsive and creative. We still have to rely on others – and that’s where we occasionally have the stress of waiting (weeks, months) for even a reply to an email. I’ve attended meetings where key players were absent, had not sent anyone else, or even told any of us they weren’t coming.

It happens outside of work too. It’s sadly more common to send an email and get zero replies than to have anyone bother to acknowledge your message. The work tends to fall to the  person that will do it, rather than being distributed in an equitable manner. Often you don’t hear from anyone unless it’s a complaint! 

It makes me wonder why this is OK? When did it become so commonplace to completely ignore each other? When did acknowledging a message from a co-worker, friend, family member become such a monumental task that we simply didn’t do it? When did someone else’s time become so much more valuable that they could ignore you?

I guess these are hypothetical questions since those that could answer are the least likely to respond…

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Growing up, I never really related to the princesses in stories or movies. I didn’t lead a charmed life wherein I spoke to woodland creatures and was dressed by pastel colored birds. A fairy godmother never appeared in the middle of the night to present me with a dress and a carriage. Life was so unfair. I liked the stories, but truth be told I didn’t walk away from them hoping that one day “my prince would come”. The princesses were, well, a bit shallow and uninteresting.  As an adult, I’ve finally found stories that tell the other side of the story.

Some of my favorite reinterpretations of fairy tales are from the author Gregory Maguire. You may be familiar with Wicked (the Broadway show), even if you never picked up “The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West.” He also reimagined Snow White (“Mirror, Mirror”), Cinderella (“Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister”), and more. This was one of the first times I read a book from the antagonists point of view, giving a backstory and even more depth to some of the more interesting characters from Grimm.

If those books are a bit lengthy or you prefer more pictures, then I’d recommend the comic book series Fables. I just recently discovered this gem after playing a video game based on the story.  This reimagines all the fairy tale characters of yore as residents of NYC just trying to get by. Yes, it’s similar to the show Once Upon a Time and was actually being developed as a show itself at one point. I’m still finishing the game, entitled The Wolf Among Us, but so far it’s fun and fast-paced. It’s a darker, crime-noir type of story based game where you play as The Big Bad Wolf who is now the community Sheriff. Hijinks ensue!

Finally, I can’t close without mentioning one of my favorite evil characters, Maleficent. The only character I ever dressed as for Halloween, thanks to my Dad’s law school graduation robe (which saw a lot of Halloween costume action) and some homemade black horns. I was worried that I’d be disappointed by the movie after looking forward to seeing it but it was still amazing. It was still more of a Sleeping Beauty story, but with the background and point of view from Maleficent. It really showed that there is more to an evil queen than curses and a fantastic outfit.