Last Good Quote: Son's are the seasoning on our lives. - Someone on Facebook

Monday, November 30

What a 10 Year Old Taught Me

Most parents can relate to what I went through last night. The three of us, my wife, my son and I, sat on the couch and were discussing the day, we turned toward a tender spot in my son's mind. I watched his immediate reaction. Body stiffens, huffing and puffing, muttering under his breath, a few tears and some large sighs. I could see that we were not going any where fast.

I thought to use this as a learning opportunity. The first step was to get him committed to being engaged in the conversations. I resorted to a "carrot" of sorts.
"Son, if you talk to Mom and I for 30 min, I'll let you stay up an extra hour tonight...but we have to have a meaning full conversation about this."

It was almost comical. He immediately stopped huffing, sat for a minute then turned and quite calmly said "OK". The next thirty minutes were eye opening for all of us. I figured I must be on the right track...

I proceeded to explain a key concept to almost any conversation to him.

"You know we both have different ideas about this problem. You have to start a conversation by assuming that neither one of us is right or wrong. "

He replies: "But you guys are adults and I have to listen to what you say"

"Yes, We are your parents and when we tell you to do something you have to do it. However, when we sit down to talk, we want to understand your point of view and we want you to understand ours."


I explained to him that during a conversation it was important to sit up straight and say what he really felt. He did not need to shout, cry or plead as we were already intently listening to what he said.

One of the recurring themes was interruptions. And as our children are supposed to do, I learned something from my 10 year old that evening. I tended to interrupt the other party when I was engaged in "verbally sparing".

My son found this especially disturbing as when I interrupted him he felt that he had to defer to me and let me speak, thus shutting his thoughts out or causing him to forget his train of thought.

At certain points he in turn would interrupt my speech as he would attack my arguments. Unfortunately he would do this before I laid out the entire picture so he would miss points in my argument. This lead to a cycle where he would not understand something but I could not finish the thought to explain it to him. Looking back, I wonder how many of my own conversations would have been shorter if I had not "jumped" into the rebuttal.

I helped him understand that he had to let the other person finish their thoughts. If he wanted to address a particular part of what was said, he simply had to repeat that part and then state why he thought it was wrong.

All in all, I found it very interesting and I think we learned a lot about ourselves and each other.

If you have a young child in your house I suggest that you also sit down and teach them the valuable lesson of holding up their end of a conversation. You may be surprised at what you learn.

In case your wondering the topic of discussion was Homework. *grin*

Monday, November 23

Who is this Guy?

My name is Markus Beamer. I was born in Tacoma Washington but was raised in Columbia South Carolina. I come from a family of 4 boys and 2 girls and thus am used to a very hectic environment. “Never a dull moment” is certainly the motto for our home growing up. That’s probably why 11 years ago I turned to technology for a career, “Never a dull moment” sums up its progress quite nicely.

During my college years, at the College of Charleston, my first exploration into technology was as a web developer for a software licensing firm. I started out typing HTML and Javascript into a simple notepad window. Through the years I touched upon CSS, Java, Visual Basic, PHP, mySQL, Photoshop, Access, Oracle and MS SQL Server in that exact order. However, I find it quite amusing that to this day when I want to write a bit of code I reach for my notepad application first…no matter the language. Needless to say, I found a love in technology. No matter how much I knew, I never was bored, as something new was but a day away. Change was always going to come.

Of course change can come when you grow the family. Currently my family is in Charlotte North Carolina. I am the lucky husband to one fine lady and the proud father of two rambunctious boys. I am happy to say that my household carries on the tradition of “Never a dull moment”. My oldest son is crazy for electronics and all things technical. My youngest son is definitely the outdoor, rough and tumble kinda fella. They both attract their fair share of friends and our house has become the “neighborhood” house. (much to my wife’s dismay!)

I currently work at Bank of America as a Business Process Consultant. When asked, I tell friends and family that my role is to help “leadership” make the best use of technology and in truth this is what I do. However the role affords me much more than that, I am at a crucial nexus where the needs, desires and ambitions of the business meet the calculations, formulas and algorithms of technology. It’s a great place to be and I don’t think I’ll change it for some time to come.


At times one gets bored with the day to day. It is in those times that I turn to my hobby of game building. Like most hobbies it is silly yet fulfilling. I build small games that can be played in a browser; my specialty is to build them with JavaScript so they do not require any plug-ins or downloads to play. Sometimes the games are role based, sometimes they are card based, other times they are …different. I have been doing this since 1999. I laugh when I think of the number of games I have written and thrown by the wayside (at last count 24). But that is what a hobby is…a wasted time that allows the mind, body and soul to reset.

I hope that having learned a little more about me, you will reach out and shake my hand. I am always happy to meet new folks.

BDPA Charlotte Chapter President Elect

On Tuesday, 11/17, I was elected as Charlotte Chapter’s President Elect for 2010 and 2011. My first thoughts were around the amount of work that needs to get done. And there is a lot of work that needs to get done.

I have been with the Charlotte chapter for upwards of 8 years. Over the years I have meet many good passionate people through BDPA, participated in numerous events and seen many great things come out of the BDPA chapters.

The upcoming Charlotte President, Julius Clark, has a host of great ideas, projects and people that he is bringing with him into his administration. I want the members, both locally and nationally, to be comfortable with sharing their honest opinions and assessments of what we will be putting into motion.

As President Elect my role requires that I keep track and participate in almost every facet of the local chapter. However a few of my personal goals are to ensure the following takes place during my session:

  • Focus on the long term viability of each project
  • Track the day to day progress of our initiatives
  • Ensure that we are receiving feedback on our initiatives
  • Foster a sense of membership and family for all members involved

I am very much looking forward to my time in a leadership role with the Charlotte Chapter.

If you have any questions, comments or concerns please reach out to me.

Thank You for your Trust,

Markus Beamer

Friday, November 20

What Are Your Feet Trying to Tell Me?

For those that may not know, I like to play poker. I think I'm pretty good at it. I like to play poker because contrary to what you may believe poker, is 70% reading people and 30% playing cards.

I recently read a book called "Read'em and Reap". It's an FBI interrogator's guide to understanding the instinctual moves that people make, specifically how it pertains to the Poker tables. Reading "tells" is what us poker players call it. But reading tells is done in almost every aspect of my life. Anyway, I strongly suggest you read this if you are into poker in any way or are interested in understanding body language.

One interesting fact: Did you know that your feet are the most "honest" part of your body. Your face is the least truthful. Information like this can be used outside of the poker room.

For example: Say you're having a conversation with someone and can't quite tell if they're actually getting it. Look at their feet. If thy're pointed directly at you, the person is engaged and listening and most likely right with you.

However if the feet are at a diagonal, or worse yet pointed away, they are not into the conversation and quite likely want to get out of it.

On the same thought, have you ever walked up to a conversation and wanted to participate but felt shut out? Try aligning your feet with everyone. For some reason you'll be swept right into the mix.

We do a lot of this instinctively, but knowing when to do it purposefully can be a powerful thing.

So get out there and let your feet tell the world all about you.

Thursday, November 19

Java, .NET and PHP Pushers...Who Are They?

I assist in a community program where we introduce and teach high school kids to web development.

We typically teach between 30 and 40 kids each year.

It's always perplexed me why we are not marketed to when in comes to choosing which language to teach. Each year we go through a vote, discussion and rough conversation around teaching Java, PHP or .Net.

Each year the deciding factor is who is going to be conducting the most classes and what is their best language. We then usually go with that person's expertise.

My problem, usually the language you are first taught is the language you "default' to for the rest of your life. (the key word in that sentence is usually)

So if we are introducing these kids to thier first language, why is there not a Java, .NET, or PHP evangelical whispering in my ear...pick me, pick me.

It seems like an excellent way for a particular language to "buy" market share. And the market share would be for life.

Maybe our specific program is not large enough, but this is part of a national organization that teaches more than a few thousand students each year.

For those interested in the program, its called the BDPA HSCC program. It's affiliated with the national BDPA organization. I know of at least 20 different cities with successful programs.

Let me know if you have questions

Monday, November 2

I did some major enhancements to a game that has been sitting on the back burner for quite a while.

I remember when I first worked on this game, it took me about 2 days to write and I wanted to make something quick and addictive to play.

I guess I succeeded as I wasted about 2 hours last night trying to get my "Rare" cardz.

What a time waster.