Day 742: Kickball Championships!

This summer, after two years of my roommate encouraging me to join (and a really fun night out Boomeranging around DC), I caved and signed up to play on a kickball team. I was really excited for the reasons I’ll list below but then I went to my first game and remembered exactly why I had stayed away for so long–I’m great at a lot of things but team sports is not one of them… In the end, my first game had me getting on base and getting two outs so I continued coming back… Fast forward 10 weeks and my team is winning our league’s Wednesday night Championships!

Kickball is really popular in DC so I’m glad to have experienced this rite of passage (another check off the DC Bucket List) and would highly recommend it for the following reasons:

1. Get outside your comfort zone!
As I mentioned, I was not born to kickball. Being up at the plate means a thumping heart and shaking hands, but you know what, there’s something satisfying about getting out there, being completing uncomfortable and making it through. I certainly felt like a stronger person after each game. And then it was time to hit the bar. 😉

2. Meet new people!
Joining this team, where I only really knew my roommate, was a great way for me to expand my social circle in DC. A lot of people who decide to join teams do so without knowing anyone – it’s a great way to meet some people in a safe, fun way when moving to a new city.

3. Enjoy the city!
One thing that I really loved was the fact that we played right in front of the US Capitol. Especially now that I’m not working in DC, having a reason to go the National Mall every week and hang out by the Monuments simply makes me happy and grateful to be here.

SO – Have I convinced you yet? Get out there and play! If not kickball, there are lots of other options in the DMV (DC, Maryland, & Virginia area) like bowling, bocce ball and dodgeball.

On Turning Twenty-Five

I turned twenty-five about a week and a half ago and I have to say that I’m not feeling the “quarter-life crisis” that’s typically associated with this birthday. In fact, I’ve experienced quite the opposite; I’ve had a lot of fun this summer and have high hopes for this coming year. I’ve given myself three simple rules to live by (that I guess should be added to the “Five Tenets of Julie”) as I turn another year older:

1. No Secrets: Be true to myself and own my feelings.

2. Build Bridges, Don’t Burn Them: It takes more effort and energy to be negative than it is to welcome someone into my circle of friends. And as Life’s Little Instruction Book points out: “Never burn your bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you’ll have to cross the same river.”

3. Life is Not So Serious: I’ve always been mature for my age and I’m realizing now that  I shouldn’t have rushed so much be grown up. I have a tendency to take things a bit too seriously and this is my reminder to lighten up.

Do you have any mantras that help you take stock of your life?

Photo Credit: _Tophee_

Answers to Common Questions About Gchat

Below, I’ve done my best to answer some common questions about Gchat, Google’s free-of-charge Windows web-based application for instant messaging and voice over internet protocol (VOIP).

Scroll down to see all the answers or click on a specific question:

How are contacts added to Gchat?

Contacts are automatically added based on the number of times e-mail messages are exchanged. Contacts must be using Gmail as their e-mail provider.

Is there a way to receive an alert when a contact signs on to Gchat or becomes “available”?

Unfortunately, there currently is no way to receive an alert when a contact signs on to Gchat or becomes available.

Can my employer (my boss or my company) read my Gchats?

The short answer here is ‘maybe’. It depends on what/how your company is monitoring your computer use. One way to make it a bit harder for someone to track your Gchat conversation is to sign onto Gmail securely which will encrypt any data within (include Gchat). Here’s how to change the setting to make sure you are always signing in securely: Sign in to Gmail. Click Settings at the top of any Gmail page. Set ‘Browser Connection’ to ‘Always use https.’ Click Save Changes. (Note that “Always use https’ is now the default setting in Gmail but it is good to double check this.)

Changing the HTTPS setting in Gmail

However, companies can monitor every keystroke made and even take screenshots of what you are doing on your computer, so it’s best to be careful about how you use your computer at work!

Can I be invisible to some people on Gchat and available to others?

No. The status that you set – Available, Busy or Invisible – will be shown to all your contacts. Currently, there is no way to have different statuses for different contacts. If there are a few people that you’d to not be able to know when you are online, the best alternative is to block them.

Can you recommend an app for signing onto Gchat from an iPhone?

I think Fring and IM+ both work well for this, but I personally use Meebo. All three do the same. (I’ve just had a Meebo account for a few years so I liked that I could easily extend it onto my iPhone.

I have other questions about Gchat that you haven’t answered. Where can I learn more?

Simply leave your question in the form of a comment below and I will do my best to help you.