Tuesday, December 30, 2008

God I feel old

and I'm not that old, really. 44 is a far cry from being dead. I still feel ancient. Or more aptly, like a dirty old man. And a pathetic one at that.

Here I am, working 200 miles from home. I spend my nights at the hotel bar, eating dinner and drinking. Bad enough, I know. But then there are these cute bartenders (both female). And while they are cute (did I say that already?) and one of them jiggles really nicely, I still can't help but be reminded that I am old enough to be their father. And not any of this barely doing it at 16 either - these girls (ok, technically women, but c'mon, at that age they don't want to be called women, do they?) are both younger than my step-daughter!

I haven't started to lose my memory (yet). I can remember back in high school. Sitting there in math class, and it was like the teacher had erection radar - the only time you I would be called up to the blackboad was when I had a sponaneous woody in my pants - for no other reason than I was 16. Now don't get me wrong, I don't want to go back to that, by any means. I was actually a bit grateful the day I realized that I no longer had to worry about attempting to hide inappropriate bulges in my pants because there was a strong breeze, or a member of the opposite sex within a five mile radius. However, it would be nice to think that I was actually still alive, and could appreciate the assets of a pretty girl, in more than a slightly academic way.


I seem to have missed that 'normal' stage of a sex drive - and gone from the teenage 'WAY TOO MUCH' to the middle age 'where did it go?'. The hardware still works fine, it is the software that doesn't seem to be keeping up.

Honestly, a few years ago it was more of an issue - but now it just seems to be.

I hate feeling old.

Monday, December 22, 2008

If it isn't one thing . . .


Today seemed to start off good. Got to the client and pretty quickly got access to the software I need. Of course then later this morning I finally find out where the actual code is - but do I have access there? Of course not - yet another different request to get that.

I would think that since I seem to be the last team member on this project that they would know what we need alreadyan and would have put all the requests in - if not before I got there then at least as soon as I did. It seems like every day there is one more thing I need that I should already have and I don't.

I also thought we would be working 4 x 10, but apparently not. Which makes me a bit curious about the team members who left thursday afternoon to go home. And travel time is not billable (I could hope but didn't expect it), so did those guys really just lose a day and a half? And what about the on-shore people (the ones they brought over from India to code the project - who aren't going home on the weekends for sure)? Friday I checked several times and never saw any sign that any of them were in at all.

Plus I still don'kt have all the set up from my company yet. I hope it feels a little better once I can put in my time and expense reports, since without those I don't get paid!

Oh well, if I didn't have something to complain about then I'd have to make something up!
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Friday, December 19, 2008

ID-10-T error

We now resume our regularly scheduled rant - hopefully without another pre-mature transmission (we all know how messy and embarrassing those are.)

Two examples, both with my new job. First is the weather. The horrible snowstorm was all over the news last night with another one to follow on Sunday. Should I stay up here or brave the roads to be home - and if I do, will it take 6-8 hours again like it did Tuesday?

The bigger one was simply my own self doubt about this job. Can I do it? Am I the expert that my job title says I am? Do I know enough to not be an idiot here? Yes, I've had a lot of self doubt the past couple of days. And not being able to remember a technical component (JMX) the first day didn't help.

But I feel better now. I have finally found some of the documents I have been looking for - and they make me feel much better about what I know and what I can do / provide here. I don't think the client's use of the technology is nearly as advanced as I first believed - the stuff we did before was much, much more. I still have more to research, but I'm feeling a lot more comfortable, even if I still haven't used JMX.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Realistic expectations

How do I set more reasonable expectations in life? I don't mean goals or projects - just be more accurate in what to ezpect day to day.

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Waiting is the hardest part

Here I sit
Broken hearted
Came to work
And sat there. And sat there. And sat there.

Ok, so it is first thing in the morning - I have to at least wait for people to come in so they can check to see if I have been set up. Unfortunately, knowledge of this does not make me less frustrated about it.

Then the weather. A big storm tomorrow, and another on Sunday. The days I need to drive. Just friggin great. I'm really thinking that I may just have to stay up here through the weekend simply because of the weather. Aarrgh.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Sigh - more waiting

Now it looks like no access unti tomorrow. My role is helping w/ tech design and mentoring the programmers - not really programming myself.

Of course all the documents I need to start wrapping my mind around this are on the share - there is very little paper around here it seems.

Speaking of which - got the rest of the starting paperwork filled out - I'll have to send it from the hotel tonight though.

Oh, and one minor annoyance - the time on the phones is 4 minutes fast, as is the time on the wall clocks. Same with the clock in my hotel room. What, is Michigan in it's own time zone 4 minutes ahead of the rest of the world?
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Hmmm - so far (like half a day) this does not feel like I expected - not that it is bad or good mind you.

To me, when I thought about getting paid double what I was - I just felt like when we had brought in high priced consultants - it was critical to utilize all of their time. The other employees would stop their other projects to make sure they were working with these people. We would prepare as much as possible before they arrived and be working within an hour bringing them up to speed on the project and the issues we were going to be working on.

So far that has not been this - not by a long shot. I get the feeling so far that this is much more like a regular job - just much more focussed (there is no one to interrupt me with other projects after all). Everyone on the project is a contractor from the looks of it (most of them from India).

Also of interest - my badge is set up until the end of next month, and they are already talking about extensions beyond the first of the year (one team member who will be doing the testing was supposed to start next week - but now appears like it will be the first of the year.

I just hate the waiting and attempting to look like I'm worth my pay check.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

More and more waiting

Got a badge and I'd number now - so next step is computer access (which requires the I'd number). I hope all the software is already installed so I can start to look at things before the 3:00 team meeting.

Kind of ironic a bit when you think that here I am working at a huge insurance company - when we don't yet have any ourselves (however this job will either allow me to pay for some, or I will get a permanent position pretty soon.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Day one

Rushing around only to end up sitting and waiting. The mgr had an unezpected meeting - though I did see my half cube on the way in - all the cubes here are tiny, with only half walls - so you look up and see everyone around you. Kind of warm in here as well - will be glad to get started so I can off the suit jacket. Also doesn't look like anyone else is wearing a tie - but then as a consultant I think I should be a bit better dressed than the others.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry


Over 8 friggin hours! For only what - 230 miles or so. And I have to get the drug test done before I get to the client site in the morning - so definitely have to be up early
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Finally creeping along

After only 50 minutes and one more tow truck
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

And now 5

2 tow trucks. 1 snowplow. 1 cop. And 1 that I wasn't really paying attention to. And 30 minutes (I am tracking from when I called Diane to tell her I was stuck)

What sucks is I have probably 3 hours at normal highway speeds to get there!

Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

4 so far

Yep, that is the number of emergency vehicles that have gone by on the shoulder of I-75 as I sit here. 20 minutes so far, and I thought this trip was taking a long time when I was only able to go 35-40 mph. It is taking much longer now that I'm parked waiting. And waiting.

At least my crackberry is able to provide some entertainment while I sit here. I will have to see what other apps are out there since I have nothing else to do.

What a way to start a new job. Oh yeah - I also wasnkt able to do my drug test this afternoon (the interview took longer than expected, the roads sucked, and the paperwork I needed was at home) so I have to start the day by peeing a cup. At least there is a clinic about 2 miles from the client site, and I don't have to be there until 9 (it opens @ 8:15).
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Trying to be patient

and not succeeding very well. I am supposed to report to work at 9 am tomorrow morning. But I still need to get drug tested, and to do that I have to get the paperwork - which is coming by fedex. Plus Lotus Notes is coming fedex as well, as well as the paperwork for me to start working. I HATE this waiting, wondering, and rushing to try and get things done.

I have an orientation call this morning in about 10 minutes - a part of me feels that this is kind of a waste, as I am only scheduled to be an employee for what - two to three weeks? The recruiter did give me the sense of urgency about this project, but it doesn't seem to have spread throughout the organization.

Then this afternoon I have an interview with the same company for a permanent position here in town. The thing that makes it more complicated is last week I interviewed for a position on the same project with another company - and I would be a subcontractor to this one. So I have to make sure I'm clear and upfront about things, so I don't just get tossed out completely, which would be bad. The interview Friday was with a company that has made the top 10 places to work in this area for the past two years, and is the difference between a small company (some 50 or so people) and a giant (what, 90,000+ employees worldwide) company. Could be interesting.

I just wish the stupid paperwork would get here already.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Seven weeks today

since I lost my job. Seven weeks of looking during a recession as well as the end of the year - kind of the making of a perfect storm for not being able to get a new job. I've begun to lose count of the number of interviews I've had (I think about a dozen or so). All went well, but didn't produce anything.

All but one that is. There are a couple that look really good, one that I think would be a really good fit, even if it will be a 30-45 minute drive. Did some of the paperwork for that one, so now I'm waiting again.

It is the waiting that is the absolute worst part. But at least for the next few weeks I won't be waiting. Yep, on Monday I'll be in Detroit (Detroit in December - there's a way to attract anybody). But I'll be working. For a large sum of money. Normally I would not consider anything that was not local, but the dollars simply made me stand up and take notice. It is only a 3-4 week job, but it should give us a couple more months breathing room, and I hope in that time to get a permanent (even if as not as well paying) job.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Letter 2008

December 8th, 2008

Time yet again for that yearly update to all our friends, family, in-laws, out-laws, and that last person that is always on the list but no one remembers who they are related to:

Time keeps marching forward, and hairlines, hemlines, hopes and dreams go with it.  Though we are still struggling in this bleak wasteland of Ohio, they are talking that soon everyone will have a horseless carriage of their own – but that no one will be able to afford the gas to drive it!  At least there is some relief finally at the pump, if not for the rest of the economy.
Once again it seems we were constantly on the move.  A quick weekend back to Colorado for Mom & Dad’s big anniversary, as well as a trip to Minnesota for Mike and Diane (with an extra week up there for Diane) for Becky’s graduation kept us busy in the spring.  It seems that someone was going to some camp or another all the time over the summer, and somehow Matthew managed to get to go to all of them.  Between leadership camp in California for the boys (and a week vacation for Diane visiting friends and relatives), band camp for the boys and myself (as chaperone, cart repairman, and generally lugger of equipment), and scout camp for Matthew, things were always on the move.
Unfortunately, the fall did not hold such good news.  After 17 years working for Reynolds and Reynolds in the Dayton area, I was let go (to put it nicely), and at this point am still searching for work.  This has put a bit of a damper on the holiday season, but Diane is working hard to help out with her real estate business.
Speaking of which, her business has continued to grow.  She added two more investors to her growing entourage, though one company has since pulled back after a tremendous buying spree early in the year.  Still, she is yet again one of the top sellers in her office, even if the dollar amounts of the sales are pretty low.  Both Diane and I continue to work on the Band Booster board, and with as many newsletters as she is now signed up to write, I still can’t see how I end up penning this little note every year.
Becky has had a great year, getting herself a big girl job (with insurance, benefits and everything) after graduating from St. Kate’s in May and completing her internship.  She is working full time at Coon Rapids high school as a sign language interpreter, and she absolutely loves it.  She is still living uptown, but will be moving again in February (ah, the joy of being young and free, and moving every year!)  She will also soon be starting at Sorenson Communications as a video relay interpreter, and is an assistant coach for her old volleyball team.  And for those with inquiring minds, she and Lou are still together.
Jon is in his third year at Bowling Green State University, having changed his major (again, but who is counting?) to Psychology with an art minor. The year has been one of firsts for him since he got his first apartment with three other guys, which has been a lot of fun.  He also joined a comedy improvisational troupe on campus called “Bad Genetics” (I try not to take offense a the title because he isn’t referring to me at all!) which he has really been getting into and having a lot of fun with, performing both live and doing videos that they post on YouTube.  He is still working for the school dining service as a student supervisor,
and hopes to become a manager by the end of the semester.
Katie has been very busy this year.  In July she returned home from Cross Creek after almost three years.  Though she did not graduate the program she has since continued to work her program at home.  She is currently a senior at West Carrollton High School and is very involved in the choir.  Her grades are decent besides the fact that Algebra II is kicking her butt.  She is applying to Sinclair Community College and hopes to attend in the fall so she can be a writer (see – everyone else is a writer but I do the family letter – what gives?).  She has a part time job working at the local Big Boy restaurant which she really enjoys.
Erik has completed his third year of marching band as a junior at WCHS.  Their show was “The Sounds of Sinatra”, and though it is a rebuilding year for the band things are growing and getting better.  He has formed a jazz band with his friends and had a few performances already, though they have yet to come up with a name for it.  He has begun to look at colleges, and is currently thinking about the University of Cincinnati, where he would like to major in physics or engineering.  In addition, he got his drivers permit, so stay off the streets!
            Matthew is a freshman at WCHS and also in the marching band, having loads of fun playing baritone.  He is getting taller every day, and was never happier than when he realized that he was finally as tall as his father, and on a good day even taller.  He is still involved in the boy scouts, acting as the assistant patrol leader for his patrol, and going on lots of campouts.
Scout has recently become upset at all the disturbances that get in the way of his goal of sleeping the entire day away.  In the few minutes that he does open his eyes, he continues to watch over his domain, barking through the window and going nuts when he sees the neighbor walking her three legged Chihuahua (who we affectionately have nicknamed ‘tripod’).
As the year slowly winds to a close, we look forward to 2009 with all of our hopes and dreams.  Times have been tough for everyone, and we hope to turn it around here in Ohio for at least this branch of the Carter clan.  One highlight is sure to be the cruise that Diane and I are going on in February (her annual realtor convention, luckily bought and paid for many months ago).
Our best wishes go out to everyone during this time of year for a great Christmas and an even better New Years.

May love and laughter light your days,
and warm your heart and home.
May good and faithful friends be yours,
wherever you may roam.
May peace and plenty bless your world
with joy that long endures.
May all life's passing seasons
bring the best to you and yours!

Mike, Diane, Becky, Jon, Katlyn, Erik, Matthew and Scout

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving is over . . .

and now it is time for Christmas. And there was much rejoicing. yeah.

I just am not in the holiday mood. I don't know if it is just the holidays, since that seems to be a pretty depressing time of year for alot of folks, or that it seems that so often unhappy things happen then, or I just notice it more.

Thinking back, I haven't enjoyed Christmas for the past 10 years, and this one doesn't look good. And even before that there were a few bad ones. Going to Floriday when Jon was almost two, and having to explain to him why Santa Claus hadn't come yet when he woke up (because his grandfather (his mother's father) wanted to do it, even though we weren't staying with him (we were in a hotel), and when we got there that morning, they still were asleep). And then having peanut butter sandwiches for Christmas dinner (their big dinner was the night before, which was a Columbian chicken/rice dish - whoop dee doo).

Then the one in 1997, before I was kicked out of the house. The one where the wife took the two younger boys down to Florida with her. That was rough. Then the next year, when she had them in New Mexico, and I got to see them for a few hours a few days before Christmas (in nine months that was all I saw them, until I got custody). We took a bus to MN for Christmas that year, which broke down outside of St. Paul, then we got snowed in and stuck in Chicago on the way back. Memorable, but not fun.

Several Christmases where all the kids were at their mothers, and I was up in MN with Diane (before we were married). Those were also hard, not being with any of my family. I can really understand why Diane gets a bit blue on the day now that she is in Ohio for it.

Then the year we sent Katie to the school, and the boys saw their mom for the last time (we currently have had no contact with her for two years, and don't know where she is or have any way to find her). That was really rough.

And now being unemployed for five weeks, and nothing yet in site. I haven't been real thankful this year. I got a notice from the unemployment office that they had matched me with a job - that scares me a bit because I don't know what it is at all - but if I refuse it then I could lose what benefits I get. I'm really concerned that it is like an entry level something - way less than what I need to make to pay the bills.

That is kind of funny, as I don't have the money to pay the bills now. Medical bills for Diane's back surgery are just sitting there for the time being. One of the student loans for Katie's school is in forebearance. And I just keep watching the last of the savings dwindle away.

One thing I did not anticipate is having to switch banks. I had been with the Credit Union for almost as long as I'd been an employee - something like 17 years. But it isn't convienient anymore, and even the thought of going there is a bit painful, since it is at Reynolds. I'd really rather not go back there at all if I don't have to. So that is a bit of a pain.

Diane is helping out tremendously. She has had several closings - all going into the new account so that when the old one runs dry I can then switch - and she should get the second Oak Point one this month, so I hope we are good until next year - though the prospect of Christmas is just filling me with dread.

One thing I have always enjoyed was giving presents - and I know I overspend every year. But this year that isn't an option. I dread spending anything, because I know there is nothing coming in to replace it. Four years ago when it was just Diane and I here for Christmas it was a lot like that - the boys present was the trip to their mothers - and we said we weren't getting each other anything because money was so tight then. It was so depressing seeing a christmas tree with no presents under it. And that is what I fear again.

Diane found some good bargains Friday, and got a few things. I'll have to actually go and get a few myself, and try not to feel guilty about spending the money.

I don't even like leaving the house any more - I feel like I'm wasting money just on gas going anywhere that isn't trying to get a job.

Everyone that I have talked to that used to be at Reynolds says it is so much better not being there. My old boss was canned in August, and got a job at the beginning of November after 9 weeks. He seemed to be doing much better than I feel during that time however - even saying he almost regretted ending his 'retirement' to have to go back to work. For me however I am even more stressed than I was at Reynolds (and I thought that would be difficult to do). I keep telling myself it will be better, and I do believe that is true - but only once I get another job that I like. Until then it is hard, and not getting easier. And hearing that this is the worst time of year to be looking, along with the crappy economy, doesn't make me feel any better.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Do you believe pt 2

It was a good show. Yes, she sure seemed to come up with a lot of stuff that you wouldn't know about these people, at least from the way they were acting.

However, I did notice that twice she told different people to look for pennies and that the year would be significant - almost repeating herself word for word. That was a flag for me at the end.

We managed to get in line early for an autograph, which was good with Dianekas back and all. When she signed her book, she wrote "Healing Hugs" - and I can't help but wonder if that was just for Diane (which is extremely appropriate) or if she writes that for a lot of people. It is easy, after all, to add your own meaning in to these things.

So, do I believe? Seeing her did not change anything for me - so I'll leave it at that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Do you believe?

I got Diane tickets to see Lisa Williams tonight. It wasn't for anything special, but with everything going on she made me promise that they were her Christmas present.

So it is intermission, and if nothing else Lisa is pretty entertaining. Diane and Katie both asked me if I believe now.

Oops - she is back on - finish later.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

From the crackberry

Trying to keep up with the modern world, I have finally gotten a Blackberry. I actually really like it - I keep finding new and better ways to use it - and one of these is the ability to update this from it. Pretty cool if you ask me - and being able to now update this from almost anywhere should mean that I'll do it more often (I actually do have ideas to write about - just never when I'm sitting at the computer. Or at least you can hope :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Not much to say

Yep, pretty boring. Still working at trying to get a job, and even that is slowing down lately. This time of year, and with the economy in the dumper, there just isn't a lot out there. I spend most every morning responding to leads, get a few interviews (with recruiters usually) for the week, and just keep going. The unemployment has started to kick in, so that eases the tension by a tiny bit, though there doesn't look like much to be thankful for next week, and Christmas isn't looking very merry.

I did have one funny thought today. I was filling in an on-line application for a real employer (who wants and interview, so I'm waiting to see when), and they wanted a list of all employers for the past 20 years! Wow! I know them, but I haven't kept the addresses or managers or any of that. I was at Reynolds for 17 years after all.

What was funny though, was as I went through them, I realized that ALL of the place that I used to work at before Reynolds have gone out of business. This is only 4 companies, but still. None of them are still there.

It gives me an evil little thought and bit of comfort to think that the same will befall the fifth place I've worked - without me they will be no more. MWAA-HAA-HAA-HAA-HAA!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Vote Early and Vote Often!!!

Well maybe just the once per election.

Yep, today is huge around here. If for no other reason than we can FINALLY be done with all the fricking political ads - ARRRRRGGGGHHH!!!!!! I am so sick of them. And the phone calls. Ugh!!!!

Here, we have several big issues:
Payday lenders - they are trying to push a law that basically eliminates this industry (cutting the annual interest rate so low that they can't afford the business). I'm against government intervention where it doesn't belong - and this is a huge case where it doesn't belong. The first job of government is to protect the citizens FROM THE GOVERNMENT. The second job is to protect cititzens from each other. It is not the job to protect people from themselves - EVER. People should have the choice to use these if they need to. Period. No on 4.

Casino - hot button for a lot of people because 'gambling is bad'. What gets me most about this one is that nearly everybody spending money on both sides of the issue is from outside of Ohio - the casinos in Indiana don't want it taking their business, and the owner of the proposed casino is not from Ohio. Me, I see jobs, property and income taxes coming into the state, even if there aren't any additional extra 'casino' taxes - which I don't see going away like people are afraid of because of a single worse case scenario. So Yes on 5.

Our mayor is being recalled - and I fully support that. He engineered the recall of the previous mayor and several of the city council - and is just don't like him at all. I think he deserves to be thrown out of office - and in fact I'd then love to have the old mayor run again and get back in office. Then maybe we will stop looking like a bunch of idiots to the rest of the state. So recall Johnson (which takes a 'NO' vote).

For president - well both scare me. I don't actively support either one. I don't trust Obama, and I fear that McCain is just more of the same that has done so poorly the last 8 years. I do wish for an actual candidate I could support (I liked Guilliani myself!).

However the key thing is that if you don't vote, then you have not right to complain about ANYTHING! So vote to keep your right to bitch! And as bad as either candidate seems, we get to do it all over again in only four more years!

Monday, November 03, 2008

So starts the second full week

Two interviews last week, two more already set for this week. It has been so long, I don't remember trying to find a job being such a full time job as it has been.

At least I seem to be over the shock finally - i.e. I actualy feel like eating again, which isn't necessarily a good thing, since I don't have a place to work out any more.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Applications, resumes' and recruiters - oh my

And so it begins.

Sending out applications and resumes'. I already had a recruiter call me about a job in Columbus - an hour and a half drive to Dublin but the job actually sounds pretty good, and as it is a contracting position it wouldn't last forever.

I wish I could make my stomach settle down though. I feel like I'm about to puke constantly. For probably the first time ever (aside from when I'm sick, which is rare) I am not hungry. I had to force myself to eat something earlier, because I was feeling lightheaded. (But I guess beer and peanuts for dinner the night before will do that to you the next morning).

I know I will get through this, and things will be so much better on the other side. It feels so much like my divorce when I think about it. And I repeated the same stupid pattern of trying to make a bad situation work, instead of getting out when I should have. Yes, it is a pattern in my life.

I feel, I guess panicked is the best word. Overwhelmed. Like I don't knwo what to do, where to turn, anything. I'm so far out of my comfort zone that I wonder if it exists at all any more.

I did get my unemployment application in, and several job applications in. I will do some more this afternoon, though I'm already finding that I want to be careful and not send out duplicates because I see the same job on multiple sites.

And I wonder - could I get a security clearance? What are the 'real' requirements (I doubt they are public you know). How badly would my divorce affect it (or my gay ex-father-in-law with the columbian life-partner who lives in Hong Kong?) (Speaking of which, I got yet another call from someone looking for my ex the other day - and she had listed me on something - ignoring the fact that we have been divorced for what - 9 and a half years now?

Ok, enough procrastination - time to get back at it.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

And it is done

Today was the last day of work for me, and not voluntarily.

It all boils down to the politics, and probably that I made too much.

I'm more in shock than anything else.

What grates me the most is the misguided sense of loyalty I have felt toward that place. Including the time as a contractor I was there 19 years.

The biggest mistake was feeling that I could make it work, and not getting out on my own terms. (Yeah, I'm a dumbass that way - I did the same thing in my first marriage).

Eventually, once I get to the other side of all of this, it will be a lot better. Getting to the other side however, is not something I'm looking forward to.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why isn't "good" good enough anymore?

I see this in the stock market still, but in a lot of smaller businesses as well. What ever happened to being able to produce a good product that is successful and accept that success? Why is there a constant need not for good results, but for great results? You can't report earnings - no, you have to report RECORD earnings continually, over and over again.

What has happened to common sense? Why can't people realize that the model of CONSTANT growth at high rates is not sustanable? If you have a living organism, and there is constant record growth - it is called CANCER, and if it keeps up it overwhelms and kills the organism.

In the past month, the DOW has taken a dump - but with my untrained eye I can't help but wonder if it isn't really a correction. Like the housing and tech markets - how overinflated was and is everything. (Speaking of which, how come oil prices have dropped by 50% in the past month, but gas prices have only gone down 25%? Oh yeah - to keep the huge profits and CANCEROUS growth going on in the oil companies.) How long does anyone think this could have gone on bfore reality set in?

I don't believe you can keep focussing on short term gains at the expense of long term investment. Reasonable profits yes. Controlled growth - of course. Reckless abandon - doesn't last.

I don't want to go through another depression, or even the current recession, but I do feel that something fundamental has to change. The unmitigated greed of the past 20 years has got to end, and sanity and rational thought have to return.

Of course the people who did get rich just walked away, leaving the taxpayers to deal with it - and the rich aren't the taxpayers - it is the dumb shmoes who work for a living and have bought reasonably priced houses to LIVE IN and have been paying their mortgages that have to pay for it. When do I get some relief?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The good old days

Why is it that we tend to enhance or glamorize our memories? Things in the past always seem so much better – but is it because they truly were back then and we have changed so that it doesn’t seem so good, or do we only have hindsight via rose colored glasses?

Last week I officially got older, or at least had to admit it, including the new drivers license and car registration. One present I got was an iTunes gift card from my oldest son. I used the card to buy an album (the original Chess soundtrack) that I loved back in college – and listening to it this morning – it is ok, but not nearly as good as I remember (and in fact there were only two songs I directly remembered before listening to them again). And It makes me think of the movie ‘Student Bodies’ back in the early 80’s – I remembered all these funny things about it, and when I finally managed to find it on tv – it really sucked EXCEPT for the few scenes that I remembered – the entire rest of the movie was really, really bad. (No comments about me and liking bad movies – that is something else entirely). Of course now it is out on DVD - I'll have to look for it in the $5.00 rack because the stuff at the beginning is funny, if the last hour isn't.

But back to the point - why do we only seem to remember the good things and not the bad. Or more to the point, why do we (or at least why do I) want to try to recapture these good memories, only to be disappointed time and again because what I remember has no bearing on the whole?

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Another year older and deeper in debt

Yep, time once again to host the annual celebration of the fact that I haven't died yet.

Happy old fart day to me!

Saturday, October 04, 2008

My big movie debut

kind of. At work each year we have Carefest - which is basically our United Way donation drive (we actually have our own private charitable foundation that is funded by our donations, which does the donation to United Way as well as many other smaller ones itself). Last year to promote it they did posters of famous album covers, with employees put in as the musicians. This year it is dvd covers.

Yes, that is me as the Human Torch!

Thursday, September 18, 2008


but only for about 44 hours. Yep, we got his by the remnants of Ike, that apparently pulled down some high velocity winds from the upper atmosphere - so we effectively had a hurricane hit Ohio on Sunday. Wind gusts up to 80 mph - and over 100,000 still without power.

Snow is not unusual. Tornados we expect. But not hurricanes!!!

Luckily we have no damage - a few shingles from the neighbor's garage, a couple of bricks out of our chimney and one fairly small branch in the back yard. Oh, and no power from 2:30 Sunday afternoon until 10:30 on Tuesday morning.

Monday, September 08, 2008

If the world didn't suck, we would all fall off

Yep, my new favorite quote!

Check out this speech from a Canadian school headmaster. He hits on so many good points.

Remember, we are all born naked, wet and hungry. And then things get worse.

Nice way to start a week.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

A rare win

I'd almost given up all hope completely, when I was taken by surprise last week, and actually had the gorillas at work make the decision to do the right thing for once.

The owner is very cost conscious - and since it is his company he has that right. A lot of time it goes to extremes, and many others I feel that he is penny wise and pound foolish. In this case he thinks that the integration with one of our partners is costing too much. We are charged on a per transactions basis - and I don't know how we charge back to our dealers. Each transaction can have a different charge based on the type - so he wants to know how many of which type are going through our integration hub.

Not a big deal - except these transactions all contain personally identifiable and sensitive data - so much be encrypted at all times, and we are not allowed to store the data at all.

For other transactions, we store the data so we can mine this to get the transaction, because there is nothing sensitive stored there. But these we don't. It would be possible to turn on debugging and get the information, but it would be in violation of the contract, and possibly against the law as well.

I stuck to my guns, saying that I could not turn that on. The only way we could obtain this would be a program modification to pull this out as it passed through, and save the non-sensitive data that the boss wanted.

Well, one morning last week I had a couple of managers in my cube, asking for the data. I held firm, but really felt the pressure. It felt like there was an unspoken threat going on to do it, or lose my job.

Well, the next day the VP made the call - to make the program mod so that we don't reveal any of the sensitive data. It took me a day and we ran it for a couple of hours today to check to see if that is what they need, but I feel a bit vindicated. It isn't often that the company makes a decision to do what is right, instead of what is quick or easy.

Just a little victory, but a victory all the same. You have to enjoy the few you get.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Monkeys and weasels and snakes, oh my!

Around and round the Mulberry bush
The monkey chases the weasel
The monkey thought 'twas all in fun
Then POP goes the weasel!

Today it isn't the Monkeys, but the snakes. But then it turns out that weasels are much funnier than snakes, though less nasty, but still gives an image of sneaky, backstabbing, dishonesty and a lack of integrity - just like I have to deal with at work all the time.

I work in a fricking zoo - monkeys and weasels and snakes - oh my.

The search has started, but very slow. A bit of the clue-by-four first to my own head, because I can't afford to be out of work. So that means sit down, shup up and color - and like it! Don't just drink the kool-aid - take this IV of it and live the frickin' dream!!!

What I'm really finding difficult anymore is getting the energy after a day at the zoo to come home and do anything about it - it is so draining that I just want to collapse - oh but first there is dinner and school supplies and church youth group and band practice and board meetings and football concession and band tax returns . . .

At least it is helping that I'm getting a slight glimmer of respect from some of the weasels, though only by working twice as hard to not only share some of the things that I have learned after doing this for almost ten years, but to do it in a way that isn't showing them to be complete and utter idiots.

Man, I am just ranting tonight, not really going anywhere.

Had one interesting example today. Weasels are having a problem sending data with the new system, so they ask me what might be wrong. I spend the next hour writing up, in detail, just the most obvious issues with what they are doing, without accusing them at all or even asking which orifice their heads have been crammed into lately even once. I then talk to the chief weasel, and he has me sit with him as he corrects the code. However, before we get started, I ask if he has the interface document that actually goes into detail on what should be there. He does, and even laughs about the fact that he HAS read it, but doesn't know XML or DTD's, so just glossed over it, not being a detail type of guy.

Can a weasel be a monkey too? I wouldn't have a problem if he were actually doing the role of a manager, but he is coding as much as anyone, and doesn't really seem to be managing much at all. But we walked through the corrections (me knowing what was needed, him knowing where it was in the new code and the exact .net syntax).

So a better day - though that doesn't take much at all at this point to say that.

round and round the mulberry bush . . . .

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I so badly need a change, and have gotten a bit more incentive to make these changes. Things at work are getting exponentially worse. I've pretty much been told to "sit down, shut up and color. Drink the KoolAid. Oh, and like it!"

One of the hardest things for me is to not carry any attitude moving forward, it won't be to my benefit. I need to let things go, focus on work while at work, and on change while not at work. Until that change comes about.

I'm still struggling with weight. Little desire for working out - and when I'm at home I am either eating or drinking, or both. Something else again I keep telling myself I need to do, but can't seem to kick myself in the butt enough to actually do it.

I've been thinking it is time to go back on Welbutrin again - just the general mood and poor sleep. This time it isn't seasonal, being August, but it is probably time. I hate that, but is yet another factor I have to live with.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Jug Nuggets

I just had to share that. My boss used that in reference to some of the code monkeys around here (one specifically), but as soon as he said it, it took on a whole new life of its own, with a completely different meaning. Luckily we were able to pull the meeting back out of the gutter rather quickly, but I think I have a new favorite term.

Reminds me of high school, when we used to try to spot Artesians. They aren't hard to find. They live in women's bras. And when it gets cold, their noses stick out. Yes, we stole the term from the old Olympia beer ads (with the artesian spring water) - check out the story of that here http://www.kelleyad.com/mktcasehist.htm

Jug Nuggets. hehehe.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Read a book

Back from band camp. No more major events, just lots of practice. We had the family picnic afterward, so that meant I got off the bus and headed to the concession stand and started cooking immediately, but it went really well.

One morning they boys played this song to wake everyone up - and I just couldn't help laughing. A hilarious parody of the current trend in rap songs - and all over YouTube

Full Version (explicit):

And a clean version:


Wednesday, August 06, 2008

This one time, at band camp . . .

Day three, and this is the first time I've had any significant free time. So I'm at the library, enjoying the air conditioning, and just surfing webcomics for a bit, before I have to get ready to drive the pit (the percussion line - i.e. drum set, electric bass, electric piano, vibraphone, bongos) back to lock up in the trailer before dinner.

I have to keep reminding myself that I'm on vacation here - yeah right!!! Taking a week of my vacation to be a band camp chaperone. As the treasurer I can at least pay for things that are needed here, instead of just giving a few blank checks.

Ok, Sunday we leave on time. We had 43 students signed up and ready to go, with 4 chaperones and 6 staff (well one of them was only here two days, but we still had to pay for him a full week). But at the last minute, one of the new freshmen boys decides he doesn't want to go, saying he signed up for band, not boot camp. He isn't happy at all about the running and callistenics that the new director is making them do, and even after both directors and his 'big' (all the freshmen ('littles') are assigned a senior ('big') for the year to show them around, take them under their wing, etc. My youngest son Matt's big is Morgan, who just also happens to have been my oldest son Jon's little. I thought that was kind of cool) talked to him he still refused to go. So we left with 42 - exactly 21 boys and 21 girls.

The bus ride was uneventful, and about an hour shorter than expected. I guess they have completed the widening of US-35 between Chilicothe and W. Virginia, so it is now 4 lane divided all the way, making the trip much faster than expected - meaning that we were the first band here, and the dorms weren't ready yet. We get moved in, and all the boys check in. Then Brian and I, the male chaperones, ask for our rooms - and there is a problem. There aren't any rooms left. They had exactly enough space for 21, not 23. We ended up moving 2 boys out of a room, and Brian and I are sharing it, kind of a pain but doable. What is worse though is they only give the kids one key per room - and we still have not managed to get a second one for us. I really hate the college treating us like the students. It is a bit of a royal pain to not be able to get in the room when I want to or need to.

Monday went well. A lot of hauling in the heat. A lot of sitting there watching the band, trying to actually put names with faces - I think I've just about gotten the band done. The color guard is more difficult - especially because we can't separate them by instrument like the band :-). One girls gets sent home with a serious migraine, another is complaining about first a hurt knee, then ankle, and wants to go home, but her parents insist she stick it out. She is doing better by the dance that night. That was fun, as the old man (me) is the one with all the good songs on his iPod that they end up listening to.

Tuesday, at about 5 am, I hear thunder. I guess I slept through the rain that had started about 1 or 2 am. We check at 6:45, and it looks to be clearing up, but at 7:10 it is pouring rain. Gina, the guard consultant, comes up and tells me that the wheel is off the golf cart as well. They cancel the morning practice, and we go to breakfast. There we find out that the girls dorm is flooded - they had been working on the roof and apparently didn't cover it the day before, and all the rooms have water pouring in through the ceiling fixtures, and the smoke alarms were shorting out going off every hour all night long. So they got no sleep.

Brian and I have to go unhook the van from the trailer and unload it to move their stuff from their dorm to a new one. Then I have to work on the golf cart - but it is just a flat, and once I get the right air compressor I get it fixed up pretty quick. Meanwhile, we find out that one of the guard girls sister died that morning, so her mom comes and gets her as well. The rain finally lets up early in the afternoon, and we have our regular 6-9 practice on the field. On the way I'm pulling the pit carts with the golf cart, and going over the curb a wheel breaks on the big cart - all the way off. So we take the drum set off its cart and make two trips to get the rest of the equipment over, and I flip the cart and take a look. Then I find we have NO tools for the band, just a bucket of wrenches for fixing golf cart wheels - but nothing like a drill etc. So I have Christy, one of the other chaperones, drive me and we go looking for a hardware store. We find this small do-it-yourself place and walk it at 6:59 - they close at 7:00. But I do manage to find some liquid nails, some longer bolts and a drill - so we begin to make what will be the eventual band tool box. It isn't the fanciest one, but I get the wheel back on ( better, faster, stronger than it was before ) and cover the exposed screw tips on the top with electrical tape to keep some dumb teenage boy (and aren't they all) from poking his foot on it or something.

Last night then we had the pizza party, and even though Dominoe's was half an hour late it was fun. Today, no rain. Matt, my son, is feeling sick and dry heaving, and a lot of the kids are complaining. He rests for the morning practice. Driving the pit back to the field (and I found a new route that DOESN'T require me to go over a curb) they mention that one wheel on the big cart is wobbly. Not the one I fixed at least. So unload it and flip it again - and the weld on the axle of the wheel has started to split apart - so Christy and I eventually find a tractor supply store that has an entire new wheel (bracket and all), and I replace the wheel with the new one. However the pit has said that a couple of wheels on the set cart look wobbly now - and we are figuring that they are being overloaded - with the equipment and 2 or 3 teenage boys on each cart riding (we need one to hold the equipment and keep it from falling - the others just want to ride) that we are probably way exceeding the 300 lb limit per wheel. But those wheels are half the price of the one I needed today (basically an 8" caster), so not as big of a problem. In fact our props for the show are 4' dice - and each one has a pair of wheels on it. If I have to I can steal the wheels off one of them for the cart until we get home.

The staff had the kids doing a scavenger hunt after lunch, and they are doing music rehersal until 4:30, so I have about another 45 minutes to a hour before I have to be back, a nice chance to relax a tiny bit. Hopefully no more rain, and no more critical break downs, but I seem to be able to fix what is needed so far.

Brian and I did get pranked - after we went to bed last night we hear the most god-awful fart sounds - each of us, of course, assuming it is the other one and trying to ignore it as four blasts echo through the room. By the end I have a tear running down my face as I am trying so hard not to laugh out loud. Then this morning, as I'm making my bed, I find a "Remote Control Fart Master 2" under the bed, just about perfectly between us. Cute. But they won't get it back until I find out who owns it. :-) (That is the kind of harmless prank I find funny - some of the seniors were going to fill the freshmen beds with baby powder - until the RA let them know in no uncertain terms that THEY would be cleaning up the mess it made. And I haven't had to do anything for work aside from one 2 minute call from my boss after lunch yesterday. That at least is a vacation.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Maybe I'm just numb

With everything going on with my daughter, maybe it has just made me numb to everything else. Or maybe I have finally just started to give up and quit caring, I'm not really sure.

I was off work the middle of last week - so I missed the live company monthly meeting. Not a big deal really. The company actually films it and puts up streaming video of it on the internal network. Maybe not being there made it easier to swallow, again I'm not sure.

They have started an 'Employee of the Month' here. I have no idea at all, and even less now, as to what the qualifications for this are, or how it is chosen.

For my faithful reader (you know who you are, sitting there alone at your computer by yourself), you will remember the chief monkey that made my life a living hell through May? The one that was so utterly and completely inept at it's job. Guess who got Employee of the Month for that project? The one that was the worst cluster-f**k I have ever been involved in, and that they had to bring in a director at the end (who I seem to remember running the actual cutover, not the monkey) to get it finished. Who managed to be so incompentent that a minor database issue caused our production to be down for over 13 hours (it should have been resolved in less than an hour with little to no impact).

Yep - Employee of the Month. (Oh, and it comes with a $1000 check as well).

I guess it was my last entry, thinking of a Monkey F*****g a Basketball. I guess it hasn't been a basketball that the monkey has been F*****g.

I really need to find another job, or a maybe just need to drink more. Lots more.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Like a Monkey F****** a Basketball

I don't know where I first heard that expression. I guess it isn't as common as I thought. But boy is sure seems to fit lately.

I haven't talked about the monkeys for a while. But they are back. Ok, they never went away, but things weren't so bad as they were in April and May.

My biggest issue was with one in particular - this monkey was in charge of this project, and did the worst job running a project I have ever seen. Like a Monkey F****** - well you know. So what happened - they promoted the monkey to supervisor. And the monkey became the DBA resource for our group.

In June we had a big fire drill with the database - and the monkey once more proved it's absolute and utter incompetence.

So I talk to the sub-monkeys today, and find out that this monkey was just made their boss. Now instead of having to work with the monkey on a single project, it will be nearly every day.


It is getting harder and harder to tell myself everyday why I should keep this job. I am really worried with the economy in the tank however about changing jobs - being the newest hired is never a comfortable postition, plus giving up vacation etc. And I'll hit my 17 year anniversary here at the end of the month.


Fat Family

Yesterday started off good - 197.8 in the morning, but then quickly spiralled out of control. A pretty bad day at work, a bad call with Katie, didn't work out - going out to lunch instead, pitcher of margaritas (shared with Diane). Yeah - so 199 this morning. But still down from last week. I have to remember to take it a bit at a time. Basically used up most if not all my extra points yesterday, which I didn't want to do, because I always need them on the weekend.

However Matt and I have 5 lawns to mow on Saturday, and I can always use that workout, so maybe things won't be so bad.

Travelling next week, and that is always challenging.

One thing we need to do is get the whole family eating better and exercising more - the younger boys both need it possibly more than I did. I needed to lose 80 at my heaviest - one of the boys currently needs to lose 100 lbs, and I don't think he is the worst in the family. Plus his cholesterol is really bad as well.

I really have only been focusing on myself, and getting the boys what they want from the grocery store - but we need to go through and change it for everyone. I do nearly all the cooking, and have changed a few things, but need to just do it completely. Things like pot pies, pizza rolls and ice cream simply need to not be bought. I would do things like make hamburgers, but have a boca myself. Well the boys need it as much as I do.

Now to get them out of the basement . . .

Wednesday, July 09, 2008


WTF?!? Two posts in one day? And right after each other? Well, I didn't really think that this fit with the other one, so I started another.

I have noticed a pattern in my life that I need to change, though I'm not sure how yet.

Ever since I first met my wife, I noticed that when she is presented with new things in her work life, she is extremely intimidated by them. This usually manifests itself a big bout of self doubt and crying, with me comforting her and telling her that she can do it - which of course she does.

I hadn't realized it before, but I do the same thing, but in just about all aspects of my life. I don't cry, I just procrastinate. I put it off. Like going back on the WW program (see my previous post). Or working on the teddy bears for my Grateful Undead army. Or learning .net for work.

So the question is, now that I've recognized this - how to I change it? How do I get over my own fear, which is so often not based in reality at all.

And in typing this, I hear the words and know the answer - though it isn't easy. I've done it, I know what to do. No No Pig. And with Katie coming home in two weeks, I guess I do need to review all my seminar material.

I guess I deserve it

Ok, WW@work was supposed (ah, and with that one word the entire element of surprise is shot, and everyone can now see where this is heading) today, but apparently they didn't get enough interest and cancelled.

Me, I figured it was the first weigh in, time to start over, take advantage of it. Eat like a pig last night, event stopped at McD's for breakfast (why can I easily pass they by any other time of the day?). And didn't bring in my workout clothes, because the meeting was at lunch.

So now I'm back on my own. However I did it once, I can do it again. one thing I am going to do is recommit to you, dear reader (and you know who you both of you are!) here again.

I'm fat. I wasn't fat for a couple of months last year, but I'm fat again. I worked my butt off (aren't I cute with the puns?) for over a year, lost 83 lbs, and then went and put over 30 back on in six fricking months. It isn't like I didn't notice it - but I never committed myself to do something about it. Just bought a slightly bigger belt - and it isn't big enough - need at least a 38 if not a 40. My pants are all tight - though I still have some fat pants to swap back out again, but the 34's are no where in site (well, maybe under this big belly!).

For now I will try this on my own - at least if I make myself accountable here it will help. I started today at 202.4.

I just have to get over the dislike of measuring and counting every thing that goes into this gaping maw in the front of my face.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Life, or something like it.

I haven't been posting lately - shame on me.

Work sucks - what else is new. It's not like it is called "Happy Fun Time" after all.

Weight sucks - yes, I'm admiting I've put back on 30 lbs, and not mentioned it. Time to get my fat ass back into WW - they are doing an 'at work' one here starting Wednesday at lunch - which would mean skipping my workout for the day ( or doing it before work - which is very hard). I haven't signed up yet (that would be Wednesday) but I really need to - to get me back on track. I have to get this back under control - if not on goal, but at least 20 lbs down (I really need to be under 180). This morning I was 199.8, which has been pretty good for me lately. One thing that doing a weekly meeting will do is set a specific point each week - so that it gives me a chance to mark my progress then start again, instead of constantly worrying every day.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Airlines are stupid

I just can't believe anything else. I don't understand how they can want to charge $600 for a one-way ticket, but only $400 for a round trip. Or the frequent flyer gig - can't give you a free flight when you want it, but you can use your miles and pay the same as another airline instead. Huh? No wonder the airline industry is hurting. So Northwest is not getting my business this trip.

Of course Airtran just ended their nice direct flights from Dayton to Las Vegas - I really liked those. But I can understand the need to cut back. At least their pricing makes more sense. $400 for a round trip, and $200 for a one way. In fact all their prices are based on one-way - a round trip is simply two one way tickets.

I also hate all the reservation systems. I guess they need to hide the information to continue to make their huge profits. Can't just show the flight schedule could they? No, that would be bad business.

Of course their business model isn't working anyway. So they continue to do the same thing over and over and expect to get better results. Einstein called that Insanity.

Instead we will take away peanuts (oh, those are gone anyway because of a few people with alergies - I keep trying to forget that we are now a society ruled by the smallest minorities - who cares what 98 to 99% of the people can have - we have to do everything based on the 1% who can't) or pretzels - that will make the profitable.

It sure seems to me that Airtran is close to doing it right. Still hasn't quite gotten it, but close.

Open schedule - and consistent pricing. Figure out the costs of a given flight - and the expected number of seats to sell on that. Then figure out the price based on this figure - so that you fill the expected seats you are making money on the flight. Fill more you make more. Keep the price the same up to 14 days in advance - the you can raise it to take advantage of people who can't plan ahead - I don't see a problem there. But then IF there are seats left at the last minute, drop the price to put butts in them, and don't fricking oversell. Then nearly all of the flights should be profitable, and the costs should be lower because you don't need the computer programs that adjust the price of a seat 10 times a second or whatever they do.

But then I could be wrong - these are the experts after all - and the industry is doing so well under their guidance, isnt' it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Almost over

The Month from Hell is nearly complete. Things have lightened up quite a bit, but every once in a while I get hit square on by another poo-flinging monkey. At times I am simply astounded how these people can manage to keep their jobs, but then no one EVER asks for my opinion on them - which is probably best all around.

School is almost out, and I had lunch outside today enjoying the beautiful April day. Too bad that it is almost June and we seem to be about a month behind in the weather, but as much as everyone talks about the weather - nobody ever does anything about it.

Well I'm going to see if the ducks are still out (only one duckling :-( ), and if the female is still chasing the male off every time he gets too close (I can just hear them, "Hey baby, how aobut some sugar?" "GET AWAY FROM ME. LOOK AT WHAT YOU DID!!! THE KID HAS KEPT ME UP ALL NIGHT AND YOU WANT SOME??? QUACK QUACK QUACK!!!!!!"

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Just breathe

Finally. It has been the week from hell. And a pretty crappy month before that. What I find really interesting is that the few other blogs I read seem to be as unable to post anything as I am.

So where do I start. I can't jump into anything pleasant, that would simply be too much all at once.

How about this - the chief monkey got a fricking promotion! Yep, the person who was supposed to be managing the worst cluster-f**k of a project I have ever been on (I say supposed to, because this monkey did nothing of the kind) got a promotion. The one saving grace is that she didn't get a raise with it (I know because last year, when my boss got his promotion, he didn't get a raise. The gorillas only give out raises once a year).

But some good news. The project is done and finally working. Tomorrow will be the last status meeting, with a post-mortem sometime next week. (Boy, do I wish I could give some honest feedback there, but I need my job). Of course this wasn't without a price - the stress and poo-flinging kept increasing exponentially. All the planning and testing with a slight lull, then the actual cutover this past weekend. My bosses boss moved four of us into a conference room for the weekend on Friday - this the development staff. We were there starting at 11 pm on Saturday night, and didn't get out of there until 6:30 am on Sunday. Fun night.

Then of course things started to blow up on Monday. I do like the fact that none of these were coding errors - all configuration. But of course the monkeys couldn't find the things they had set up wrong. Yesterday all the issues were finally resolved, and I even got an atta-boy. Of course that was after being purposefully ignored on the one sent out to half the directors and VP's in the company, that listed the other three people who worked this past weekend, and just lumped me in as "the rest of the team". Stupid and trivial, but especially when my boss's boss said that my vp specifically knew I was there as well, so it meant that I was deliberately left off - I was about to tell them all to take this job and shove it on Monday afternoon, but I kept telling myself I need this job, I need this job, I need this job.

To make things even worse, we had to move our offices (cubicles actually) yesterday, in the middle of trying to fix this stuff.

But the project is over. The move is done. Things are running and stable. I'm taking tomorrow as comp time. And the best part, when I turn my chair around in my new third floor cube, this is what I see (taken with my crappy cell phone with a very dirty lense):

Friday, April 04, 2008

Not sure how to handle it

The monkeys seem to have calmed down - and I'm left at a bit of a loss. Though it does feel like the eye of the hurricane. However in a hurricane the back side isn't as bad as the initial blast, and I know that is just the opposite here.

One recent development. In our organization, the new management really wants to have development and operations completely separate. My immediate work group (the zoo keepers) have been on off-hours on-call support rotation for something like four years now, up until Tuesday. They are done, no more cell phone, no more pages in the middle of the night.

Me, I'm in a different situation, and have been for a long time. I'm on call 24-7, as the backup resource for when the regular person can't handle things (so I'm not supposed to get called unless the fecal material has already impacted the rotational cooling device). Well, apparently on Tuesday they said they didn't need me any more.

My management didn't agree, and switched things around. For one, it would have a significant pay impact for me (much more than it did for the rest of the group, who only got it 1 week out of 6 - I get it every day).

So they said they don't need me on Tuesday. But guess who they call on WEDNESDAY night, and has to work for over two hours from home!

I once heard the expression somewhere that it looks like a monkey f*****g a basketball. Less than 48 hours - I had to laugh. Because otherwise I'd have to cry. Fricking monkeys.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Somedays it feels like the monkeys are winning.

While I can't physically use my clue-by-four on the monkeys, just the mental image (monkey baseball anyone?) sure helps my stress level.

And then comes the big monkey. The 800 lb gorilla type. Yep, upper management monkeys (they should have to wear tuxedos, not just tie and jacket (yep, monkey suits)).

I'm a computer programmer. I work for a big company, that a couple of years ago was bought out by a much smaller competitor and taken private. And they seem to be pushing us as hard as they can back into the 1980's - for management, technology, you name it. And proud of it.

Several years ago several of us worked on a project (I was not the chief architect of it, but was a major contributor) that solved a pretty nasty problem very elegantly. The company missed a huge marketing opportunity with it, but the software has been working, and working well, for several years. Gives us several advantages, and has some really neat features. Oh, and did I forget to mention that IT WORKS!!!

But the new 800 lb gorillas don't understand it, because it is based on technology newer than what was available in the 1980's. So they want to scrap it, and go back to what DIDN'T WORK before, because their small company had it working, for a much smaller customer base (like 10% of what we have).

The difference is scale. When we did it their way, we had a person dedicated nearly 100% of his time to fixing issues, and he is not looking forward to going back to that model.

Unfortunately I need my job. And I was feeling good about finally tracking down the latest screwup that the little monkeys had done and getting it fixed.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Some days are just better

Anyone who actually has to work for a living knows that work sucks. Not always, but in general. Sure some people love their jobs, but I believe most of use work to pay the bills, not because we just love what we are doing. As I tell my kids (and stole from "That 70's Show") if it were fun, then it would be called "Happy Fun Time", not "Work".

But, some days are better than others. And at times, you actually get to work with good people, instead of poo-flinging monkeys.

Case in point - my boss, this morning, brought me in my very own Clue-by-4, that he made in his workshop this weekend. (And if I haven't said it before, I do like my current boss!).

Unfortunately I do have to act like a reasonable person, so I can't bring it into the daily status meeting to 'impart' a clue to the team of monkeys, but just knowing it is sitting on my desk gives me a warm feeling inside. And being able to imagine using it just warms the cockles of my heart. And that yellow thing is back in the sky today. It looks like it could be a very good day!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

What is that bright yellow thing . . .

up on the ceiling of the big room. You know the room - it used to be painted blue, but since October has been grey. The one that maintenance refuses to come and fix the leaks in - I swear the last two days there was water everywhere - almost like somebody turned on the sprinkler system. Someone managed to actually switch it back to blue again today, but what is that bright yellow thing?

Yes, today is the first day of spring. We have had a sun sighting. It is still cold, of course. We couldn't actually have a nice day, now could we? Of course after today it looks like more rain and snow for the next week. Since when did we move to Seattle anyway?

I know my SAD is getting worse. I keep hoping for some warm, sunny - dare I say "Spring Like" days - but not getting any. The irony is that if I got on medication to help, by the time it kicked in after 4-6 weeks, then we would actually have some sun which would help to take care of the problem anyway, without drugs. *sigh*

Clue by Four

Boy do I need one lately. Both for myself (occasionally), but more just to keep the monkeys at bay.

As my son pointed out - my name should be Goober DippenDoodle, showing that even I'm an idiot at times (quick hand count of everyone who is surprised. None - thought so!)

What is even scarier is trying to figure out how to use it such that you can 1) give the moron a clue but also 2) encourage them to use it! See, some of the monkeys actually have the capability to evolve. Yes, I have had the experience of them actually using more than one brain cell at a time, as hard as that is to believe, and we all want to encourage any sign of intelligent behavior, no matter how slim.

Otherwise we just have to spend our time behind the rotational cooling device, and hope it isn't pointing at us when the poo flinging starts and the excrement impacts said device.

Friday, March 14, 2008

New Meme: Goober FeatherDoodle

See what your new name is…
We all need a little stress-reliever! This only takes a minute.
Sometimes when you have a stressful day or week, you need some silliness to break up the day. If we are honest, we have a lot more stressful days than not.
Here is your dose of humor, simply follow the instructions to find your new name.
And don't go all adult - my boss is now known far & wide as Crusty Pottyhump!
The following is excerpted from a children's book, Captain Underpants And the Perilous Plot Professor Poopypants, by Dave Pilkey, in which the evil Professor forces everyone to assume new names...
1. Use the third letter of your first name to determine your New first name:

  1. snickle

  2. doombah

  3. goober

  4. cheesey

  5. crusty

  6. greasy

  7. dumbo

  8. farcus

  9. dorky

  10. doofus

  11. funky

  12. boobie

  13. sleezy

  14. sloopy

  15. fluffy

  16. stinky

  17. slimy

  18. dorfus

  19. snooty

  20. tootsie

  21. dipsy

  22. sneezy

  23. liver

  24. skippy

  25. dinky

  26. zippy

2. Use the second letter of your last name to determine the first half of your new last name:

  1. dippin

  2. feather

  3. batty

  4. burger

  5. chicken

  6. barffy

  7. lizard

  8. waffle

  9. farkle

  10. monkey

  11. flippin

  12. fricken

  13. bubble

  14. rhino

  15. potty

  16. hamster

  17. buckle

  18. gizzard

  19. lickin

  20. snickle

  21. chuckle

  22. pickle

  23. hubble

  24. dingle

  25. gorilla

  26. girdle

3. Use the third letter of your last name to determine the second half of your new last name:

  1. butt

  2. boob

  3. face

  4. nose

  5. hump

  6. breath

  7. pants

  8. shorts

  9. lips

  10. honker

  11. head

  12. tush

  13. chunks

  14. dunkin

  15. brains

  16. biscuits

  17. toes

  18. doodle

  19. fanny

  20. sniffer

  21. sprinkles

  22. frack

  23. squirt

  24. humperdinck

  25. hiney

  26. juice

Thus, for example, George W. Bush's new name is: Fluffy Chucklefanny.
And remember that children laugh an average of 146 times a day; adults laugh an average of 4 times a day. Put more laughter in your day
Let me know what you new name is!

BTW, I named all the monkeys I work with:

  • Crusty DippenChunks

  • Goober BattyShorts

  • Crusty ChickenDunkin

  • Doombah SnickleDoodle

  • Snickle PottySquirt

And the zookeepers (those who actually have a brain around here:)

  • Snooty FrickenButt

  • Dipsy FarkleDoodle

  • Farcus GizzardBrains

  • Crusty DippenShorts

  • Dorfus GizzardJuice

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Extra spoonful of stupid on your cornflakes this morning

I swear, some people just heap it on. I'd like to think it can't be natural, evolution should have weeded out anyone that stupid eaons ago. But I think that humans are breeding for it. But I digress.

What gets me the most aren't just the stupid people, the the ones who think you are as idiotic as they are.

Case in point, at work the other day (and why is there such a greater concentration of morons in the work force than in the rest of our life - or do we just notice them there more because we have to interact with them?). One of the monkeys asks for help doing their job (testing an app) in an email. I reply back that I need to know what it is they are working on specifically, not an unreasonable request, though you would think that anyone with a functioning brain stem would have included that information in the first place.

So this monkey sends off an email to another testing group, asking them to get me the information I need to do the monkey's job. And CC's me on the email - perfectly reasonable. I get my copy, as expected, and since I can use more than one brain cell concurrently, I understand that the monkey sent it to both of us (besides, I see my name on the CC line, as well as half the department).

The monkey then sends me an email, telling me that she just emailed this other persone and copied me on it. Because the monkey (and it is very difficult to write these without using pronouns that would reveal the sex of the monkey, which I'm deliberatetly hiding to protect the extremely guilty) somehow doesn't realize that I will get the copy she sent.

I'm going to email you to tell you I emailed you. That is like calling someone to tell them you are going to call them.

At least the monkeys haven't started to fling poo (at least not in the physical sense, though their emails would definitely qualify). Though there is a completely different monkey, who I don't work with but sits in my area, who if he can't learn to take one more step forward at the urinal so that he quits pissing on the floor is definitely going to continue to test my stress level until I do finally choke somebody!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cool Tools

It kind of amazes me how many cool things are out there, and the fact that they are free. For example, Google lets you know all sorts of stuff about how people find your sites etc, including your blogs.

Does it scare me that a major search item on my home site is "teenage boy streaks"? Slightly, but at least that isn't the phrase on the site, I just happen to use those
three words when describing puking down the side of a car.

Of course topless hits it the most :-) I bet those searching for that never expected the pic they find there!

Pretty easy, if a bit hard to find for those not quite inclined.

So, to see how google sees your site, simply follow these instructions:

  1. log in to google.com. If you don't have an account, create one.

  2. click on the My AccountU in the upper right corner.

  3. click on Webmaster Tools under My Products on the right.

  4. you will see a Dashboard, with all your sites. If your site (or blog) is not listed, enter the URL in the box and click Add.

  5. Verify your site. The instructions are simple for sites you actually code up - but how do you verify a blogger site? Click the Verify link, then select the Add a meta tag dropdown.

  6. Open a second browser window, and go to your blogger dashboard.

  7. Click settings for your blog, then choose the layout tab

  8. Click the Edit HTML link

  9. go back to the verify page, and copy the verify meta tag they display.

  10. In the Edit Template box, you should see a tag about 1/3 of the way down. Paste the meta tag on a separate line below this tag.

  11. click the SAVE TEMPLATE button.

  12. back on the verify page, click the Verify button.

If all my instructions made since, it should say you have verified it.

Now got to Statistics on the left, and top search queries, to see what things point to your site!

For February, people found this log all sorts of weird ways:
1 9% nutritional value frickers 8
2 9% twisted minds humble 8
3 9% cub scout pack 840 west carrollton 10
4 6% annette wild clairvoiance 4
5 6% frickers weightwatcher points 4
6 6% inside an egotistic mind 4
7 6% stubborn shit will not wipe up 5
8 6% frickers nutrition information 7
9 6% poems about kindness f0r weakness 9
10 6% wall chair lifting women can men "can t" 9
11 6% mind way 10
12 6% twisted minds lafayette 12
13 6% twisted mind blog adult 16
14 6% keeping it twisted 28
15 6% literary figures who are loyal and generous 53
16 6% nurgle "t shirt" 115

Some of my readers are just as weird as I am!

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

In Memorium

E. Gary Gygax

July 27, 1938 – March 4, 2008

Sometimes even the best of us fail our saving throws eventually. CNN article

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Lazy and Frustrated

Maybe I have an excuse, I'm not sure.

The stress level lately for me has been, if not astronimical, at least attempting valiently to achieve orbit and quickly approaching escape velocity.

At least the IRS stuff is done for now. Finding out that the Band Boosters weren't tax exempt was a big blow, but having to actually file for it (and pay the nice $750 tax to file it (and yes, it is basically a tax) was much, much worse. Trying to make sense (and find) the financial records before I took over was a stressful as filing the information tax return last year which started all of this.

Of course, I wonder if we would have ever been noticed had I not seen the notice saying all organizations now had to file. They had lost our tax id number after all. It was interesting finding out that our bank account was opened on 11/28/1952. Makes me glad we haven't ever switched banks, as the oldest records I have been able to find were in a water damaged box about 10 years old. But I sent that off today - it only took 5 stamps for the thing!

Work, or more specifically a group I work with here at work, are fullfilling the definition of stress to a T - "The confusion caused when the mind overrides the bodies desire to choke the living shit out of some asshole that desperately needs it." And this whole group needs it, every day, over and over and over again. Technically, they aren't stupid. They are ignorant. And apathetic. What is the difference? I don't know and I don't care.
I muttered to my boss that I was feeling like the guy in the commercial who just worked with a bunch of monkeys - except that if you got enough monkeys banging around on keyboards long enough they would eventually produce something profound - and there is no hope at all for these people to do that. So they have been firing the second stage of my stress rocket!

Then of course I can't seem to get back on my diet, and am up like 15 lbs. At this rate I'm going to have to go back up a pant size (and only because I bought some with some give in them.) I know I need to get back on it. I know I can get back on it. I just haven't done it.

And they turned down our loan request for Katie (see my other blog here). That means we either have to get a cosigner, raid either Diane or my 401K, or pull Katie from the program. And if that isn't an Estes E engine strapped to a Mosquito of my stress levels, then I don't know what is. (Does Estes even make the Mosquito any more? This was a tiny (used a 1/2 A engine) rocket that when launched, had no streamer or parachute - instead the engine would pop out and it would just tumble down - so light it wouldn't break. And E engines are the biggest they make - huge mothers).

I had to send my iPod off for new batteries - I never realized how much I depended on that thing at work anymore.

And the Plantar Fasciatitis in my left foot hurts like a m*****f****r!!!!!

Ok, I'm done venting for a while. Time to lock the lid back on - I wouldn't want all this carefully built up pressure to actually get out or anything :-)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Another silly meme tag

The rules of the tag:

- Pick your birth month.

- Bold the 5-10 that best apply to you.

- Copy to your own journal, with all twelve months.

- Tag people from your friends list.

I stole this from Rebecca, and I'm tagging Beanie, bhd and Annette.

My birth Month is October - so scroll down

JANUARY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Ambitious and serious. Loves to teach and be taught. Always looking at people’s flaws and weaknesses. Likes to criticize. Hardworking and productive. Smart, neat and organized. Sensitive and has deep thoughts. Knows how to make others happy. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Rather reserved. Highly attentive. Resistant to illnesses but prone to colds. Romantic but has difficulties expressing love. Loves children. Loyal. Has great social abilities yet easily jealous. Very stubborn and money cautious.

FEBRUARY: Abstract thoughts. Loves reality and abstract. Intelligent and clever. Changing personality. Attractive. Sexy. Temperamental. Quiet, shy and humble. Honest and loyal. Determined to reach goals. Loves freedom. Rebellious when restricted. Loves aggressiveness. Too sensitive and easily hurt. Gets angry really easily but does not show it. Dislikes unnecessary things. Loves making friends but rarely shows it. Daring and stubborn. Ambitious. Realizes dreams and hopes. Sharp. Loves entertainment and leisure. Romantic on the inside not outside. Superstitious and ludicrous. Spendthrift. Tries to learn to show emotions.

MARCH: Attractive personality. Sexy. Affectionate. Shy and reserved. Secretive. Naturally honest, generous and sympathetic. Loves peace and serenity. Sensitive to others. Loves to serve others. Easily angered. Trustworthy. Appreciative and returns kindness. Observant and assesses others. Revengeful. Loves to dream and fantasize. Loves traveling. Loves attention. Hasty decisions in choosing partners. Loves home decors. Musically talented. Loves special things. Moody.

APRIL: Active and dynamic. Decisive and hasty but tends to regret. Attractive and affectionate to oneself. Strong mentality. Loves attention. Diplomatic. Consoling, friendly and solves people’s problems. Brave and fearless. Adventurous. Loving and caring. Suave and generous. Emotional. Aggressive. Hasty. Good memory. Moving. Motivates oneself and others. Sickness usually of the head and chest. Sexy in a way that only their lover can see.

MAY: Stubborn and hard-hearted. Strong-willed and highly motivated. Sharp thoughts. Easily angered. Attracts others and loves attention. Deep feelings. Beautiful physically and mentally. Firm Standpoint. Needs no motivation. Easily consoled. Systematic (left brain). Loves to dream. Strong clairvoyance. Understanding. Sickness usually in the ear and neck. Good imagination. Good physical. Weak breathing. Loves literature and the arts. Loves traveling. Dislike being at home. Restless. Not having many children. Hardworking. High spirited. Spendthrift.

JUNE: Thinks far with vision. Easily influenced by kindness. Polite and soft-spoken. Having ideas. Sensitive. Active mind. Hesitating, tends to delay. Choosy and always wants the best. Temperamental. Funny and humorous. Loves to joke. Good debating skills. Talkative. Daydreamer. Friendly. Knows how to make friends. Able to show character. Easily hurt. Prone to getting colds. Loves to dress up. Easily bored. Fussy. Seldom shows emotions. Takes time to recover when hurt. Brand conscious. Executive. Stubborn.

JULY: Fun to be with. Secretive. Difficult to fathom and to be understood. Quiet unless excited or tensed. Takes pride in oneself. Has reputation. Easily consoled. Honest. Concerned about people’s feelings. Tactful. Friendly. Approachable. Emotional temperamental and unpredictable. Moody and easily hurt. Witty and sparkly. Not revengeful. Forgiving but never forgets. Dislikes nonsensical and unnecessary things. Guides others physically and mentally. Sensitive and forms impressions carefully. Caring and loving. Treats others equally. Strong sense of sympathy. Wary and sharp. Judges people through observations. Hardworking. No difficulties in studying. Loves to be alone. Always broods about the past and the old friends. Likes to be quiet. Homely person. Waits for friends. Never looks for friends. Not aggressive unless provoked. Prone to having stomach and dieting problems. Loves to be loved. Easily hurt but takes long to recover.

AUGUST: Loves to joke. Attractive. Suave and caring. Brave and fearless. Firm and has leadership qualities. Knows how to console others. Too generous and egoistic. Takes high pride in oneself. Thirsty for praises. Extraordinary spirit. Easily angered. Angry when provoked. Easily jealous. Observant. Careful and cautious. Thinks quickly. Independent thoughts. Loves to lead and to be led. Loves to dream. Talented in the arts, music and defense. Sensitive but not petty. Poor resistance against illnesses. Learns to relax. Hasty and trusty. Romantic. Loving and caring. Loves to make friends.

SEPTEMBER: Suave and compromising. Careful, cautious and organized. Likes to point out people’s mistakes. Likes to criticize. Stubborn. Quiet but able to talk well. Calm and cool. Kind and sympathetic. Concerned and detailed. Loyal but not always honest. Does work well. Very confident. Sensitive. Good memory. Clever and knowledgeable. Loves to look for information. Must control oneself when criticizing. Able to motivate oneself. Understanding. Fun to be around. Secretive. Loves leisure and traveling. Hardly shows emotions. Tends to bottle up feelings. Very choosy, especially in relationships. Systematic.

OCTOBER: Loves to chat. Loves those who loves them. Loves to take things at the center. Inner and physical beauty. Lies but doesn’t pretend. Gets angry often. Treats friends importantly. Always making friends. Easily hurt but recovers easily. Daydreamer. Opinionated. Does not care of what others think. Emotional. Decisive. Strong clairvoyance. Loves to travel, the arts and literature. Touchy and easily jealous. Concerned. Loves outdoors. Just and fair. Spendthrift. Easily influenced. Easily loses confidence. Loves children.

NOVEMBER: Has a lot of ideas. Difficult to fathom. Thinks forward. Unique and brilliant. Extraordinary ideas. Sharp thinking. Fine and strong clairvoyance. Can become good doctors. Dynamic in personality. Secretive. Inquisitive. Knows how to dig secrets. Always thinking. Less talkative but amiable. Brave and generous. Patient. Stubborn and hard-hearted. If there is a will, there is a way. Determined. Never give up. Hardly becomes angry unless provoked. Loves to be alone. Thinks differently from others. Sharp-minded. Motivates oneself. Does not appreciate praises. High-spirited. Well-built and tough. Deep love and emotions. Romantic. Uncertain in relationships. Homely. Hardworking. High abilities. Trustworthy. Honest and keeps secrets. Not able to control emotions. Unpredictable.

DECEMBER: Loyal and generous. Sexy. Patriotic. Active in games and interactions. Impatient and hasty. Ambitious. Influential in organizations. Fun to be with. Loves to socialize. Loves praises. Loves attention. Loves to be loved. Honest and trustworthy. Not pretending. Short tempered. Changing personality. Not egotistic. Take high pride in oneself. Hates restrictions. Loves to joke. Good sense of humor. Logical.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Meme's the word

Ok, looks like I got tagged by beanie over at "All Frayed Edges and Shades of Red" to meme about "seven random things about me." The question is which is going to be harder, coming up with seven things, or keeping the randomness to just seven!

1) I still have my tonsils. Never got that many infections as a kid, never came out.

2) I still have my wisdom teeth. I always had good teeth as a kid - only had one cavity EVER before about 30. But for some reason my folks never took us to the dentist much. Did the whole orthodontist thing, but didn't do the regular dentist. I first found out they should come out when I was in my mid twenties - and simply didn't have the money. So I ignored it. Fifteen years later, I find that they are causing problems because they are so severely impacted (thing 90 degrees - they are pointing straight forward) and I find that it is no longer safe to take them out - in adults the roots are too close to the facial nerve, so that I'd have a better than 50% chance of facial paralysis (and not the botox kind that goes away either) if they tried to remove them. Instead eventually I'll have to lose the teeth next to them. For now it is just a constant struggle to keep them healthy until they eventually have to go.

3) I wrote poetry all through high school and most of college. By the end of college I had worked out any poetic muse I had. I've even had some published (if only in the college literary magazine). I've thought about posting some on-line - but so much of it is pretentious teenage crap it isn't worth it.

4) I have very small feet (f0r a man). Even my youngest (13) son now has bigger feet than I do. I wear a 7 or 7 1/2 - the smallest sizes they make in men's shoes.

5) I broke my face the summer after I graduated high school. Took a nose-dive from my bike into the street - had road rash all over the backs of my hands and arms as well as my face - 17 stitches and broke the nose. At least the doctor in the ER manages to snap it back into place when she was checking it, so I didn't get the pleasure of having them rebreak it to set it.

6) I met my wife through the internet. Way back in the day on AOL, I was in a chat room about Colorado (because I missed home), turns out she owned a small piece of land about 20 miles from where I grew up. And now we've been married for almost 5 years.

7) I graduated valedictorian of my high school. Graduating class of about 120 or so. Most of the class resented it, because I only took the top spot the very last semester - and a lot was due to the fact that the other guy had taken Algebra in 8th grade before transfering (it was not offered in 8th grade in our school). It was a weighted class, so I had one more weighted class than he did. During graduation, the gym was packed to overflowing, and when I saw the crowd I was so nervous that even with a microphone no one could hear my speech.

I guess I need to read more blogs though - as all the ones I read have been tagged already!