Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Only One In The Office

I'm only a day and a few hours into the week and I've already noticed a marked increase in the number of phone calls I'm getting at work. At least I know the reason for this. As we approach the holidays and the end of the year, people have been taking time off for vacation and to use up any comp-time accrued during the year. While we all have roughly the same ammount of vacation time, the other planners in the department have banked a lot more comp-time than me (they have a lot of long night meetings). And since the City only has a limited ammount of money to pay-out on comp-time, the others are (understandibly) using as much of it as they can.

The result, however, is that I'm really the only planner in the department for the rest of the year.

On the one hand, being the only here means that I've been able to work on getting caught up on a few things which have had to be put aside at various points - which is good. On the other hand, since I'm the only one here, any time anyone has a planning related question, guess who gets it.

Yep, me.

Luckily, most of them I have been able to answer or they've been things which can wait until after the first of the year when the others are back.

The real fun thing? I'm going to be gone the rest of this week after today! This, of course, has put our angry, bigotted secretary in a snit. She spent 20 minutes yesterday bitching at me because there weren't going to be any planners around the second half of this week. I tried to explain that if the others used all of their comp-time time right after they get it, they wouldn't be in the office during the day
anyway. She refuses to accept this. She says "Well, when I worked for the non-profit, everyone was saleried and we didn't have this 'comp-time' crap." Well, yes, that's true. Saleried positions do not get comp-time. They also get paid more than us.

Ah well, another 5 hours and 10 minutes and I won't have to hear about it for a few days. In the meantime, I'm thinking I'm about due for another random call - it's been 10 minutes!

Monday, December 07, 2009

We Are Everywhere

I'm sitting watching the Avalanche/Blues hockey game - which makes me very happy by the way, and that's not just because the Avs are currently up 2-0 - and I've noticed something. The Avalanche have become one of those teams that it doesn't matter where they are, if you watch one of their away games you'll see a decent number of people in Avs gear (the only exception, maybe, being Red Wings games).

And yes, I know it's been a long while since I last posted - things have been crazy the last few months. I'm hoping to get back into the habit again soon.

Thursday, October 01, 2009


I'm at a professional conference right now, waiting for the next session to start, so I've been people watching and I've come to a rather unescapable conclusion - a lot of young professionals do not know how to look like professionals.

I've noticed a lot of young people around this conference who apparrently couldn't be bother to take the time or effort to dress appropriately.

Now, I do not expect everyone to wear a suit to this kind of thing. Being a conference, there is some degree of relaxed standards. There are lot of people wearing what is basically considered "business casual" - and that is perfectly fine.

But I've seen several people with shirts untucked, or wearing faded jeans, or wearing sneakers. I can see one guy right now who is wearing slacks, a shirt, and tie, but is also wearing sneakers, had a knit hat with a bill (kind of like Radar used to wear in M*A*S*H) on backwards, and has his tie pulled loose with his collar unbuttoned. It is also clear that he didn't bother to shave this morning. Admittedly, I don't find shaving the funnest activity ever, but for a professional situation, it's kind of important. I really hope for his sake that he already has a job; because if he's looking for one here, he's not going to make a real good impression.

There are really only two things I can think of to explain this lack of professionalism in these kids: (1) they've seen older professionals dressing however they please so these kids think it's okay; or (2) they didn't think it mattered.

With the first situation - those older professionals have put in their time and have earned the right to dress how they choose.

And as far as the second - it does.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Are You Hiding From Me?

I happened to catch a motion out of the corner of my eye today, and glanced out the window to see what it was. It was someone in one of the offices across the way looking out his window. And I think he saw me see him. I say this because I glanced back again a second later, and he was still looking out the window, but had pulled the curtain over enough that most of him was behind it and all you could see of him was his head. I know I'm one of the Freaks, but hiding behind the curtains when you're in a completely different building than me? I didn't think I was that scary!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

The Answer is Four

The question? How many times can I almost be run over crossing the street in one attempt?

I was on my home this evening, and my route necessitates crossing two streets at one intersection. And this isn't exactly the safest intersection in town. I know this, so I actually wait for the crosswalk light before stepping off the curb. Most of the time, this is enough to ensure that I don't end up either on some one's hood or with tire tracks across my back.

Not today.

When I tried to cross the first street, a bus-driver making a right turn to head east clearly wasn't paying attention. I was. There's one.

As I was just about finished crossing this first street when a little black car, complete with teenage driver and pizza delivery sign on the roof, screeched up make a right turn (to head north) when he noticed that I was still in the crosswalk. There's number two.

I waited patiently at the corner for the light to change so I could cross the second street. The light changed, the little walkin' dude light came on so I started across. A soccer mom in a rather large SUV decided she wasn't interested in waiting through another cycle of the light, so she was just going to go ahead. While she didn't honk the horn at me, I could see that she was rather irritated that I had the gall to be in her way while she was running a red light. That makes three.

And then to top it all off, pizza-boy forgot that I was there and finally made his right turn, nearly running over my heals in the process. And that's four.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Guaranteed Failure

I have discovered the absolute best way to get people to completely ignore your commercial. As soon as you do this one thing, I can guarantee that people will stop paying attention to anything you're trying to say or sell.

And the best part? All you have to so is say four little words!

"But wait, there's more!"

Sunday, September 06, 2009


Go Rammies!!!

I am now very glad the Colorado State/Colorado game was being televised here in Upstate NY. I am a CSU alum and have maintained a fanatic loyalty to the Rams ever since I decided to go there.

And it was a good game, which is always a good thing. Not that the W isn't a very good thing, but the fact that the game as a whole was good is a nice bonus.

My friends and I went to a CSU/CU game my freshman year, which was 10 years ago. At that time, CU had dominated the rivalry for a number of years. That year, however, we went to watch the game at Mile High (where the game is usually held), and the Rams destroyed the Buffs. Final score: 41-14. And despite what was said later, however, the CSU fans did not storm the field! That of course, did not stop the Denver PD from firing tear-gas into the stands - or from turning around and firing tear-gas into the CSU Marching Band . . . who were marching away from the police! (Yeah, I'm still a little pissed about the whole thing.)

And tonight was also the first time in (I think) 23 years since CSU has won a game at Folsom Field (the CU stadium - they decided not to have the game in Denver this year). Yeah, you could say I'm a pretty happy Rammie right now!

And if you hadn't figured it out, the CSU colors are Green and Gold, hense the change in font color!)

Friday, September 04, 2009


To quote Jeph Jacques:

Dora - "Maturity is knowing you were an idiot in the past."

Marten - "If that's true, then wisdom is knowing that you'll be an idiot in the future."

Faye - "And common sense is knowing you should try not to be an idiot NOW."

From this Questionable Content strip. Seriously, if you haven't read Questionable Content, you need to check it out!

Thursday, September 03, 2009


I have just discovered that our cable company here in upstate NY is going be showing the Colorado State/Colorado game Sunday night! I had a hard time getting it when we were in Arizona, which is a hell of a lot closer to Colorado than upstate NY.

I'm obviously NOT complaining about this, however!

And I have Monday off from work for Labor Day. I wonder if Journey will let me spend the evening at the bar?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Weird Goings On

I'm having a slightly weird electronics day. Given my and my family's history with electrical 'incidents' this is slightly ominous.

So far, it's just little things today. For example, I found my computer on when I came into my office today. I shut it off every day when I leave work, and I wait for it finish shutting down before I walk out the door, so there's no chance I simply left it on over night. This isn't the first time I've had this particular thing happen, so I didn't really think much of it.

But then I went to flip off the power strip where the coffee pot is a little later this morning (I bought my coffee from the shop today). Nothing happened - the clock on the coffee pot showed it was still getting power. I flipped the switch again, and still nothing. I tried a couple times with no luck. Then, a few minutes later, I saw one of my coworkers walk by and flip the switch - and the damn thing turned right off.

And most recently, I had left my office for about 45 minutes, so my monitor had gone into sleep mode, as it's supposed to. I came back into my office, saw it was sleeping, set down my sunglasses on the other table, and when I looked back up, the screen was on and it was waiting for me to enter my password - as in it was acting like I had already hit Ctrl-Alt-Del. I hadn't even touched the keyboard or mouse yet!

I always get a little nervous when things involving electricity start acting strange. We have kind of odd history with electricity in my family. I've lost count of the number of times I've electrocuted myself over the years, some of them my fault, some not so much. My dad was holding on the tailgate of a car when it was struck my ball-lighting (think massive static discharge from the sky). He was fine, but it fried the rear-defroster pretty good. And my brother just being killed when an undergrad at his school lab pulled the safety tag and flipped a breaker back on while my brother was working on installing a junction box about 30 feet off the ground. So, when I say we have a healthy respect for electricity, you know I mean it. And when things which use electricity start acting strange around me, I take notice. For example, I am currently keeping myself well grounded through the metal frame of my desk while I'm working on the computer. It took me long enough to get this new machine, I'm NOT going to fry it if I can avoid it!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Sign of the Times, Pt. II

About 10 days ago, I posted about a Des Moines bus company who pulled ads for an atheist group because they had received complaints about the signs.

Well, a few days later, the company reversed their decision and offered to replace the signs at the company's expense. While I'm still annoyed that they caved-in in the first place, I am glad to see that they came to their senses and replaced the ads.

In the latest development, however, a driver for the company has been suspended because she refused to drive a bus with the signs on it. Here's the story. She said the message was against her Christian faith. As I pointed in my previous post on this, the ads was NOT against Christianity - it was an ad for an atheist group.

What I really want to know is if she would have refused to drive a bus with ads for a Jewish group or an Islamic group. Not that I'm implying that either of those groups are anti-Christian - in fact, as much as some people try to claim otherwise, those three groups share a very close history and all grow out of a shared past. No, I'm interested if she is offended by the idea that there are people who don't believe in "God" or if she is actually offended that those people don't have the decency to hide the fact that they don't believe in "God." Or maybe she's just one of those people who think if you don't share their beliefs then you're actively out to destroy those beliefs; a "you're with us or you're against us" mentality. Yeah, that's what I call "compassion."

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Deep Thoughts While Watching Football

Yes, I'm watching pre-season on a Thursday night, no I'm not drinking (got work tomorrow).

And while watching this game, I have come to an important realization. If your beer has to be ice cold to be drunk, you're drinking shit beer. Real, good beer is often best at just below room temperature. If you can take it out of a cool, dark cupboard and it's ready to drink, it's good beer.

This is because being just a little warm means that the beer is going to release more of its flavor and aroma. There's a reason they serve Guinness warm in the UK.

If, on the other hand, you have chill the beer until it's cold enough the label is changing colors, it's because you have deaden the flavor and smell in order to get it down.

Okay, so it's not really a deep thought. Give me a break; it's almost the end of the week, I'm tired, and I'm watching football. You're probably lucky I'm thinking at all!

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Kick Off!

In just a few minutes here, another pro football season will start (or at least, the pre-season will)!

And one of the things I'm looking forward to the most this season? Madden is gone! Curious as to my reasons for thoroughly enjoying this? Check out this post from a few month's ago or this one from 2006. It should clear that my dislike of Madden is nothing new. I am pleased with his replacement, however. Chris Collinsworth is a great commentator and actually has a brain (unlike his predecessor).

There is one thing I'm not looking forward to, however. Since we're now in Up-State NY, we're in Bills country. Now, I have absolutely nothing against the Bills. Unfortunately, they acquired one of my least favorite and most dis-liked players: T.O. And now I'm going to be exposed to his shit on a regular basis.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Sign of the Times*

Another news story found on CNN.com. An atheist group adverised themselves on bus signs. These signs got pulled by the bus company got some complaints.

Why is it perfectly acceptable for church's or church-based groups to advertise in public spaces, but it's not accepatble for an atheist group to do the same?

I could understanding if the signs had said something like "God is a lie" or "Church's are just out get your money." Sure, that kind of thing would be ofensive. But all the sign said was "Don't Belive in God? You're Not Alone." How the is that offensive?

And I will freely admit that I'm a pagan, and I will also freely admit that I'm a little unusual even amongst pagans in that I do not subsribe to any one particular pantheon or set of rituals. I am a spiritual person - it's not very often that I display that spirituality, but it's there. I think that having a belief in something/someone bigger than yourself can be a very good thing. But I'm also a very firm beleiver in freedom of speach and freedom of religion - which includes the freedom to not have a religion.

The bus company says they pulled the signs because they were never approved. But the atheist group claims that they were told that the signs had been approved. So either someone lied, or the bus company is trying to get out of an embarassing situation. Naturally, the cyncial side of me says it's that second one.

* And yes, I do appologize for the bad pun.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Oh, Grow Up

I know times are tough - but suing your college because you haven't gotten a job? You have to be kidding me!

And, no, I'm not joking. Here's the CNN.com story.

Here are the highlights - a woman is suing her college because she hasn't found a job since graduating with a BA in Business Admin with an IT focus. She graduated in April. She's claiming the "Office of Career Advancement" didn't do enough to find her a job. She accuses them of putting more effort into helping those with higher GPAs than her. And what was her GPA? 2.7.

I'm sorry, but this whole thing is ridiculous. You're mad because you haven't found a job in 3 months, in a field that's really hurting right now (just ask my wife, one of our real good friends who got three day's notice that he was going to be laid off, or any number of other IT folks who are having trouble finding work), with only a BA and a rather mediocure GPA. Have you ever considered that those with 4.0 GPAs have had more sucess getting a job because they've shown they hard working and intelligent people, rather than because the College is giving them more help?

Another question for you, young lady (and I call you "young" despite the fact that you're only about 2 years younger than me because you've clearly shown you have some real growing up to do) - do you really think you're going to win this? I'm thinking it's going to be pretty hard to showing that it's the College's fault you haven't been able to find a job in 3 months. And regardless of the case's outcome, have you considered that taking this action might, in fact, make it harder for you to find a job? You're going to come off looking really bad. What company is going to want to hire someone with a track record of suing when things don't go their way? You've openly stated that people should sue their college if they don't get a job in their field. You said, and I quote from the CNN story, "It doesn't make any sense: They went to school for four years, and then they come out working at McDonald's and Payless. That's not what they planned." You have admitted that other college gradautes are having trouble finding work, which means you're situation is nothing special, which means you now have to prove that the College careers office systamatically fails to help people find employment. But you have already admitted that they have helped others do just that.

Congratulations, you've just successfully defeted your own case!

Saturday, July 11, 2009


I've spent a good portion of this afternoon, evening, and now night watching classic movies. It all started when we were in Squall-mart today and I saw Cool Hand Luke in the $3.00 rack. Cool Hand Luke is one of my favorite films and I've been wanting to buy it for a while. So, when I saw it for $3.00, it promptly went in the cart. It's one of the cinematic forefathers for films like The Shawshank Redemption (yes, I know Shawshank is based on a Stephen King short story, but the film itself draws quite a bit on Cool Hand Luke).

Well, once that finished, I was casting around for something else to watch and I spotted The Sting on our shelf. "It's been a while since I've watched that," I thought. So I did. To this day, The Sting is one of the all time great films.

And now, I've just put in The Magnificent Seven, one of the classic westerns, based on a classic early Japanese film.

And well see how late I'm up tonight, but I'm kind of suspecting the next film on the list might just be The Great Escape.

Friday, July 10, 2009

I Had Forgotten . . .

. . . just what a fucking great film Ghostbusters is.

Here are a couple of my favorite bits.

Amazingly, I was not able to find a clip of this: "I think this building should be condemned. There's serious metal fatigue in all the load-bearing members, the wiring is substandard, it's completely inadequate for our power needs, and the neighborhood is like a demilitarized zone."

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

A Little Tired and More Than A Little Pissed Off

I am running real short on sleep today. I think all told, I got maybe four or four and a half hours of sleep last night - and not all of that at one time.

First there were the bubbly, chipper girls next door who came outside several times (I'm assuming for a smoke) and proceeded to talk and laugh quite loudly as they were deciding to go ahead and head out to the bars for one of their birthdays at about 12:30 AM (why anyone would wait until 12:30 to head for the bar when they close at 2:00 is beyond me, but then again I do tend to take my drinking more seriously than some people). And since the first time they did this was just as I was starting to fall asleep, it woke me up - as it did the second time I was starting to go under. Only this second time, there were a couple of guys who noticed the girls and decided to try and "communicate" with them. Unfortunately for me, this included the guys shouting things to girls and then trying to impress them with left over fireworks. Despite sounding like empty-headed soccer-momlettes, these girls appear to have at least some sense because the they did shoot the guys down and went off to drink without them.

At last, I could sleep.

Or, at least, I could until about 2:00 or 2:30 when a fight started up outside the house next door. I'm pretty sure it was different guys from early, not I'm not certain. And really, I couldn't care less. Whomever it was this time, they were drunk and getting into it with another couple of drunk guys. I have no idea what the problem was except for it somehow involved someone trying to find their glasses. Whatever the cause, there was a lot of "Don't fuck with me, man!" and "I'll fuck you up!" going back and forth. There was even one shout of "I'm fuckin' Northside, bitch, I'll fuckin' kill you!"

Even in my tired, sleep deprived state at that point, I thought "Did he really just say that?" The only time people say that kind of shit is in bad movies or TV shows, or when they're drunk posers who are trying to look tough. Real gangs don't say that shit. I've known guys in gangs, and they called phrases like that "Hollywood crap" and would mock anyone who used such things.

Eventually, this fight broke up and the groups started to go their separate ways, allowing me to once again seek the comforts of unconsciousness. I should have known better. Apparently as a parting shot, one of the groups decided set off a couple of fireworks in the hopes that they would sound like gunshots to encourage the others on their way. Apparently it worked in at least getting their attention before they left.

How do I know this? I could hear the assholes laughing and bragging about it as they came back near our house. It sure as shit worked for getting my attention, I can tell you that. This last salvo (fuck, I must be tired to make a pun like that - I apologize) finished waking me up. It's now about 3:30 in the morning and I've had maybe an hour or an hour and half of real sleep and I've got to be up a little before 6:30. Fuck.

Needless to say, I was little tired this morning and more than a little pissed off. Unfortunately, we don't have any coffee in the office this morning. Even if we did, since it's a communal pot, I can't really get away with making my preferred plastic-melting, metal-etching type of coffee which is what I really needed today - but at least having a normal person's pot on hand would have been nice. So I had to stop at the coffee shop to get some on my way in. But that means only one cup, which proved to not be enough.

And I fully blame this on the drunk assholes. Yeah, the girls and their "suitors" were not real conducive to sleeping, but at least they were fairly early in the night and it was just mundane, if annoying, crap. The "fighters" however, are another matter. I will admit that a part of me would like to have a go at them with my cricket bat, but given that there were at least four of them, I have a feeling that might have resulting in me doing some serious damage to the bat before I was done.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Nearly Impossible . . .

. . . trying to move a 12-15 pound cat out of your lap when she has decided to go boneless.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Starting To Get Annoyed

For whatever reason, there are a couple of commercial campaigns right now which really play up the Scottish stereotype. First there's that motor oil one with a guy with a bad Scottish accent running around smacking people with a dip-stick and calling them all "Jimmy." I've never known any Scotsman to go around calling everyone "Jimmy."

And now there's one for a candy implying that it's a contradiction for the characters to be Scottish-Korean. Is that really any stranger than being Hawai'ian/Norwegian on one side and Scot on the other?

Is there some reason that the Scots are currently the fashionable ones to make fun of?

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Only Way You're 'Special' Is 'Special Ed'

Yesterday as I was leaving work I encountered a most impressive pair of idiots.

At City Hall, there are two sets of doors. One is the general entrance, the other is the emergency/staff entrance. These entrances are on opposite sides of the building. Now, it's quite understandable that people occasionally go to the emergency/staff side when they're trying to enter the building. Since they can't actually get in there, they realize pretty quick that they have to go to the other door.

Coming out, however, there are big red and white signs which say "Emergency Exit Only - Alarm Will Sound". There is another door there with a black and white sign reading "Employee Exit Only". You have to use your ID badge with the little microchip in it to get the door to actually open, so it's pretty rare that other people even try to use that door.

Well, yesterday, I encountered a couple who clearly could not understand the afore mentioned simple signs. I walked out the employee door and carefully shut it behind me. Not five steps later, I hear - over the volume of my MP3 player - a klaxon type alarm going off. I turn back and there are two people walking out of one of the emergency doors. They look at me, with these kind of confused expressions, and promptly ask "Can we come out these doors?"

I carefully explain to them that, no, those are emergency and staff exits and that the public exit is on the other side of the building. As a I finish explaining this, she says "Oh, you mean the door we came in through, right?" And all the while, I'm thinking "How the fuck did you miss the big signs about 'Emergency Exit Only' and 'Alarm Will Sound'? Even if you missed the eye-level signs, you had to have seen the red and white striped stickers on the panic bar which also reads 'Emergency Exit Only - Alarm Will Sound.'"

Seriously, these are not exactly small signs on the doors - and there's a sign on each of the doors and each of the panic bars. If you can't understand these signs, how the fuck did you make to adulthood? And please tell me you haven't procreated - there are enough stupid people as it is; we don't need you actively adding to that number - it clear you're already doing more than your share on that count.

Friday, June 19, 2009

It's All A Conspiracy

They all plotted against me - I know it.

Somehow, I ended being the only planner in the department most of this afternoon. One took the whole day off, another was only in from 10 to 12, and last left about 12:30, leaving just me there to handle all the planning related calls. Considering I'm a historian and preservationist, this is not the best situation. Nevertheless, I managed fine.

Then we had a fire drill.

And that's when I knew it was a conspiracy. They knew we were going to have a fire drill and they didn't tell me!

No, I'm not paranoid, why do you ask? You're only paranoid if they're not out to get you!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Voice In My Head

So, it has been decided that my author wife is rubbing off on me. Since I made that comment a few days back about smelling the stale beer coming up from the sidewalk, I've had the voice of a hard-boiled detective going around in my head. And, as if often the case with Journey when characters are talking in her head, this will keeping going on until I put it down on paper - or in this case, on screen. So here we go (and please remember, most of my writing is non-fiction or personal rants, so this kind of thing is not exactly my forte).

It was one of those mornings that just makes you wish you had never bothered getting out of bed. Or, it would have been if you had ever actually made to your bed instead of passing out on top of the desk in your office with a mostly empty glass and an even emptier bottle of whiskey right beside you. I probably wouldn't have bothered waking up at all if it weren't for that damned phone and the voice on the other end.

"The Commissioner wants you down at 1st and Jefferson. Now." Detective Michael Bennett - the asshole.

"Mrph - why? What doya need me fer? I quit the force and went freelance. 'member?"

"Look, if it were up to me, the only contact you'd have with the Department would be when we haul your sorry drunk ass out of the gutter and throw it in a cell for the night. But it's not up to me, and it's not up to you either. Just get here." Like I said, an asshole. Must be bad though; usually he takes the time to enjoy telling me just how worthless he thinks I am. If he was distracted to the point that he kept it to a single "sorry drunk" reference and only threatened me with a night in the Tank, it meant that something serious had gone down last night - real serious.

Needless to say, I wasn't in the best of moods when I walked out the door. And the weather sure as shit wasn't helping. Not even eight o'clock in the morning it was already getting hot. And on top of that, it was humid, making you're clothes cling to you as soon as you walk out the door and you're sweating before you've gone half a block. It was the kind of humid that seems to make the city itself sweat and ooze. Walking past the basement dive a couple blocks from my office, you could smell years' worth of stale beer oozing out of the concrete.


The young, rich, and trendy have always taken a certain amount of pleasure slumming - they come to those places where the hard, broke, and broken seek to hide from the rest of the world and congratulate themselves on being "real" and "average". Of course, they congratulate themselves while drinking all of whatever passes for "top shelf" in the place, all the while taking great pains to remind everyone else in the place that they're only visiting. Everyone knows that when these kids have had their fill, they'll head back to the clubs or their pricey condos in the heart of town, leaving behind the dark smoke filled corners and sullen expressions. Is really any wonder than every so often one of these yuppie spawn says or does something to get shown the door - conscious or not.

So maybe a cliched, I know, but I had to write it down just to shut up the voice in my head. And while it's quite at the moment, I'm fairly sure it'll come back at some point and I'll have go through all this again.

Friday, June 12, 2009

No Class

I'm watching the NHL awards ceremony - and a bunch of the fuckin' Red Wings' fan are fucking booing! I'm sorry your team lost (only in a very generic sense, I'm always happy when the Red Wings lose), but this was game 7 of the Stanley Cup finals. Get over it, and give the Pens the respect they deserve.

Congratulations Boys

And thank you, oh so much, for doing it over the Red Wings. Enjoy Lord Stanley's Cup, Pens, you've earned it!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


"It is wiser, before offering you mind to anyone, to make sure you have enough to spare."

From a particularly demented web comic I read.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

No, This Is What I Hate

I walk to work everyday. We live less than a mile from my job, and walking is good exercise (I've dropped 40-50 pounds since moving here) so walking to work makes far more sense than driving. Normally, I don't mind the walk as it gives me a bit of time to listen to music and just let my mind wander.

Every so often, when I get into the office and am waiting for the crappy elevators, someone will make some comment to me about the weather and walking in. It's usually something along the lines of "Boy, it's a bit chilly out there, isn't it?" They say this when it's in the low- to mid-50s. No, see, low- to mid-50s is perfect for walking to work. I walk fast enough that the cooler temperatures are really very nice.

It's days like today that I hate walking in. It was already in the high-60s, approaching 70, and was 98% humidity when I left the house. That sucks!

Yeah, I'll admit that walking in when it's below zero and windy isn't exactly a joy either, but in some ways I prefer that to days like this. At least one the really cold days, you're bundled up and you warm up as you move. Today, the only way to make it more bearable to be outside would have been to strip down completely - unfortunately, there are those annoying "public decency" laws. Thankfully, I followed through with my promise from a couple weeks back and actually did get a hair cut, so I don't have to worry about looking like someone from a 1970s disco. Unfortunately, that's not the only problem with humidity - there's also the whole showing up to work sweaty thing.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Joys of Humidity

This is the first time in a very long time that I've lived someplace which actually has humidity on any kind of regular basis. Previously, I was living in Arizona, which if you've ever been there you know is barely even aware that there is such a thing as "humidity." And prior to that, I lived in Colorado, which is aware of humidity, but usually keeps it at arm's length the majority of the time. And, yeah, before being in Colorado I was in Hawai'i and Seattle, which are admittedly very familiar with it, but I was a real little kid then and didn't really pay attention to that kind of thing, so that doesn't really count.

Now, however, I'm getting used to living someplace with humidity. This is important and noticeable in a few different ways. First, the sticking of wooden doors. Doors which normally open and close without a problem currently require a sledgehammer-sized rubber mallet to operate. There's also the fact that breathing is somewhat akin to trying to breath through a wet rag. Breathing through a wet rag might be useful in a fire, but not so good when your walking the mile home at a pretty good pace. And let's not forget my favorite sign of humidity - my head looking like I'm from the 1970s and have just gotten a perm. Normally, my hair is very straight; when there's humidity, however, that changes. It's especially bad when I haven't gotten my hair cut in a while and it's a little long - like it is right now. You ever seen "That '70s Show"? Yeah, I kind of look like I could be an extra on it right now.

I am getting a hair cut tomorrow . . . even if I have to do it myself with my jack-knife.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

That Explains A Lot

I knew there had be an explanation.

Saturday, May 16, 2009


There are these commercials right now of McDonald's new McCafé. If you haven't seen these, it shows people doing various activities which aren't exactly considered "fun." Things like ironing or washing the car. The voice over says what the person is doing - for example "chore". Then the person drinks one of these new trendy coffee things that McD's is offering, called a "McCafé". They add the "aye" like in café, and magically, things become far better. So "chore" becomes "choré" and it's no longer a pain in the ass but something you would forgo sex to take part in. All because of a McCafé!

These are really fucking annoying. And pretentious - really fucking pretentious. The implication is that McD's coffees are somehow better than others; and you know this because it has an accented "e". Do they seriously think people are going to think "Well, I normally wouldn't have an iced coffee from McDonalds, but you know, it's 'McCafé' so it has to be something special."

It the same kind of mentality which originally prompted places like Star-fucks to start calling their drinks things like "tall," "grande," and "venti". Naturally, I'm not the first to rant of this particular piece of idiocy - check out one of my favorite Foamy rants. At least I know I'm not the only person out there who realizes that this kind of pseudo-intellectually crap is just that - crap.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Not My Favorite Meeting

I sometimes hate dealing with people who simply cannot move on from things. Obviously, there are somethings in life which are so life-changing that moving on isn't an easy thing. But in this case, I'm talking about everyday failures and disappointments. I was in a meeting today which was focused on developing and refining a management plan for a particular collection of heritage related sites and programs in the area. And one of the people went off on a 15 or 20 moan-fest about how it was never going to work in their town because a past government administration had done some stupid shit.

I wanted to say "Are you fucking kidding me?!?" You're honestly saying that your present government administration isn't going to support this because a past one didn't, and so it's not even worth trying? Yes, government administrations do some dumb shit and they make mistakes. But to refuse to even consider trying this plan because something similar - similar, not the same - had been axed about 10 years ago is just being a whiny little bitch.

I really doesn't do any good to just bemoan the failures of the past. Remember them, learn from them, but don't just sit there and whine about it. Situations change, people come and go, and you need to shift with those changes. To do otherwise is to throw your hands up and embrace defeat without ever even walking onto the field.

On a similar note, I hate trying to deal with people who are only going to hear what they have already convinced themselves of. Yeah, had one of those at this same meeting.

Just to back up a little, one of the things this particular management plan we're working on seeks to do is provide a group of themes, each with various subthemes, upon which individual communities can tell their stories. The consultants who have been developing this management plan evaluated the various communities and have provided recommendations on which theme is the strongest in each community. Community A has a particularly rich history in Theme 1, while community B is strongest in Theme 3, and community C is strongest in Theme 2, etc. Pretty straight forward, right? Of course, each of these communities also has stories to tell in each of the other themes, but they are particularly strong in one, or maybe two, specific themes.

Well this person heard all of this as "Because A is strongest in 1, A and only A will be telling the stories related to Theme 1, and they will only tell stories from Theme 1." They were convinced that this was the case, even after the consultants explaining several times that just because C was strongest in Theme 2 they couldn't (or shouldn't) tell stories related to other themes; and likewise, just because A was strongest in Theme 1 that other communities couldn't tell those stories.

I was watching other people around the table as the consultants tried to explain this, and it was clear that everyone else got this, but this particular person could not let go of what they had already convinced themselves of. I even jumped in and tried to help explain it - didn't work - and only received a "how can you be so young and stupid" look from the person in question. Yes, I'm quite a bit younger that them, but that doesn't mean I'm stupid. I'm actually quite intelligent (a few notable occasions aside, I will admit), and I happen to be very good at grasping organizational frameworks, which is essentially what these themes are intended to be - a way of organizing the management of a particular community's heritage resources.

What it really comes down to is this person had decided that they needed to "save" us from making some horrible mistake and then couldn't get beyond the idea that we were the ones in the wrong. They never stopped to consider that they might be wrong in their understanding of the situation. Had they done so, they might have been able to actually listen to what was being said. But we all know those who are the most zealous are the ones least likely to listen.

New Book

I started a new book today - Storm Front, by Jim Butcher. It's one of the Dresden File books. I don't know if you've heard of this series before, but they actually turned it into a SciFi channel show a few years back. Didn't last too long, but there it is. Anyway, I enjoyed the show and when I saw one of the books on the library shelf, I decided to give them a try. And I think I'm going to like them. Here's a couple of quotes from the first few chapters:

"Science, the largest religion of the twentieth century, had become somewhat tarnished by images of exploding space shuttles, crack babies, and a generation of complacent Americans who had allowed the television to raise their children. People were looking for something - I think they just don't know what."

"Paranoid? Probably. But just because you're paranoid doesn't mean that there isn't an invisible demon about to eat your face."

"I shook my head, bewildered. They say we wizards are subtle. But you believe you me, we've got nothing, nothing at all, on women."

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Definition of Irony

I was just messing around Addicting Games.com. They currently have Pandemic 2, which given the current Swine Flu situation, is highly ironic to begin with.

Not that that didn't stop me from playing the game (I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and actually managed to kill everyone in the world as a virus!). No, the really irony was the ad that ran before the game. Lysol disinfectant.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Pot, Kettle. Kettle, Pot.

From CNN.com: "RNC chairman Michael Steele issued the following statement regarding filling Justice Souter's seat on the Supreme Court:

'President Obama campaigned as a moderate yet he and Congressional Democrats are pushing our nation further and faster to the left than voters bargained for.

The next Supreme Court justice will hold a lifetime appointment, and the president should take his time and search for a nominee whose legal views are consistent with and reflective of mainstream America. He should not use this as an opportunity to impose his liberal legacy on America or give political payback to the far left of his party by nominating someone who makes judicial decisions through an ideological rather than legal lens.

Republicans will reserve judgment until the president makes an appointment.'"

Really, Mr Steele? What's that saying about glass houses and trowing rocks? Despite the fact that Justice Souter only announced today that he's going to step down in a few months, you're already accusing the President of trying to appoint someone to "impose a liberal legacy" or "give political pay back to the far left of his party." Funny, two of the reasons Mr. Bush picked Samuel Alito was specifically because he would swing the Court further Right and appease the far Right after the whole Harriet Miers fiasco.

As for making "judicial decisions through an ideological rather than legal lens," what do think Antonin Scalia has been doing for the last nearly quarter century?

If you're really going to do what you say and reserve comment until you know who Mr. Obama is actually, shut up already!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

No, You're Not Special

One of the most frustrating parts of my job is dealing with people who feel they should be an exception to the rules. Or worse, assume the rules were put in place specifically to inconvenience them and them alone. The first become indigent when you say "no" and the second often become zealous and demand to be treated special.

I am very well aware of the fact that the business of government has the potential to be annoying and tiresome. There's red tape on the red tape, so to speak. Things don't happen as quickly or smoothly as it seems they should, and there are often a lot of forms and paperwork to filled out for what otherwise might be a simple task. Believe me, I know - I often have to deal with some of those forms and I have plenty of paperwork to complete myself. Unfortunately, much of this red tape is necessary to help ensure a level playing field. In many ways, a lot of what we do in government is about trying our damnedest to make sure that things are as much the same from one case to the next. Yes, things change over time and details will vary, but the idea is make is so each person has as equal a chance as possible. That's why there are so many rules and regulations.

But there are people out there who simple can't or won't try to understand this fact. They want what they want and they want it now! And damnit, it's your job as a public servant to make sure that it happens right away! I often want to look at these people and say, quite calmly, "I'm sorry you fucked up and didn't start this process sooner, but it's not my fault you have the all personality and ability for rational thought of a crack-adled chihuahua on PCP." I will do what I can, but this job is one of those where the old adage it true: a lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on mine.

Naturally, these people aren't just this way with those of us who work in government. They have this same additude in any situation where someone else is doing something for them. Cashiers, folks in retail, wait-staff, doesn't matter. Basically, if the job includes the words "customer" and "service" in any form, these people will pull this crap. I've seen (and experienced) it time and again. It's like these people replace the work "service" with "slave." You are to be at their beck and call, to give them anything they want right away, without question. And heaven help you if you happen to be in their line of sight when a mistake happens.

Personally, I think it should be manditory for everyone to have a customer service job at some point relatively early on in their lives. And I don't mean a job at some upscale, posh place where staff are expected to act superior to everyone around them (you know the places and people I'm talking about). No, I mean a job at someplace like a convenience store, a regular restaraunt (greasy-spoon would be best), a big-box store (but probably not a computer one, too much of a culture where staff are supposed to be supieror to the customers), or some kind of enterianment venue - movie theater, amusement park, etc.

Believe me, after a few months working in one of these jobs, you'll gain a whole new appreciation for what "customer service" really means.

Don't Let The Door Hit You On The Way Out!

At long last, one of my greatest complaints agianst pro football is going away. Yes, that's right, that pompous, drivel-spouting annoyance, John Madden, is retiring! For years, I have railed against Madden - I have even had posts with titles such as "Fuckin' John Madden".

I'm reasonably sure that Madden isn't force of evil or anything like that (although, one can never be completely sure). And I am willing to acknowledge that he has played an important role in the world of American Football. But this doesn't excuse the fact that a great deal of what he said as a "color commentator" was pure and utter shit. He would constantly be either stating the completely obvious ("If the quaterback overthrows his receiver, it's going be hard for the guy to catch it.") or going off on these long, nearly unintellegible rants on a particular play. And many of these rants included the over-use of the "screen pen" which resulted in the screen being covered with little yellow arrows and lines and X's and circles. By the time he done with pen and rant, another two or three plays could have happened while you're stuck looking at screen which has more yellow lines than green grass.

I've often wondered how Al Michaels has been able to go so many years without taking one of his golf clubs to the back of Madden's head.

Here's the CNN announcement.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Why Didn't You Fucking Tell Me This Sooner?!?

I fucking hate when fucking idiots don't give me all the fucking information the first fucking time!

Yes, I'm a little pissed off at the moment.

I had someone one stop by my office today about one of the major projects we have going on right now. She asked me about how I was going about my part of the project. I informed her that I was doing exactly what she told I was supposed to be doing. She stops and says, "Oh. No, I'm sorry, you need to be doing this instead."

She had this information right from the very beginning! Instead of giving me that information (which is slightly different from the way this particular part of the project is usually done) at the time, she said go about it in the usual way. So I did! Now, I've done a bunch of extra work which I didn't need to!

. . .

Luckily, the not-so-usual way things are to be done this time is not too hard to do. But the point is that because she couldn't take the time to give me all the information (which could have been accomplished by emailing me a single document!), I now have a bunch of extra work which could have easily been avoided. I hate when people do this kind of shit!

Saturday, April 04, 2009

On The Subject Of . . .

. . . being a bastard, I recently came across a new webcomic. Appropriately enough, it's actually called "On the Subject Of" - it's a simple one panel comic, which usually aren't interesting enough for me to bother with. This one, however, focuses on an angry midget of indeterminate age, who goes off on various things which annoy and/or bother him. The most recent, on what he calls "Vegemarians," especially amuses me. See it here.

At Least I'm Not The Only One

I just did a hit check on my blog. One of the things that I look at every now and then is the word hits that are triggering the most often. Despite my lack of reliable updates - which I keep meaning to improve, I swear! - I'm still getting hits (if not visits) on a regular basis.

Of particular amusement to me at the moment, the words which are triggering the most hits in the past few weeks are "hate" and "clip art." It seams that I'm not the only person with an undying hatred of clip art. And frankly, this is a good thing. The more of us who hate it, the less likely other people will quit using it.

Just as a side note, the other phrases which triggers a lot of hits are "being a bastard" and "driving in Phoenix." My posts on three these topics have accounted for maybe a third of my overall hits. Yes yes, I'm a geek and find this kind of thing interesting. Fuck off - I'm sure you've got your own little quirks!

Friday, April 03, 2009

Did You Really Just Compare Yourself to MLK Jr?

Okay - I wrote this much earlier today, and had planned on posting it when I got home. But obviously, things changed a bit with the shootings (if you haven't heard about this, you've obviously been hiding under a rock somewhere - check any major news site for the events in Binghamton, NY, or look at my post from earlier today). Anyway, here is the rant that was originally intended for today.

I came across this story on CNN today. As a quick run-down, a woman in California is upset because her kid's school district cancelled graduation - for eighth graders! So, as a form of protest, she's encouraging people to keep their kids out of school today. Apparently, the way things work there is the school district loses money for each day a student is absent. Her idea is to cost the district as much money as possible to draw attention to this action by the school district.

Fine. I personally think it's a rather stupid to get worked up over a "graduation" ceremony for fucking eighth graders, but she has every right to be an idiot.

My problem is how she justified this. According to the article, she said, "Peaceful civil disobedience has moved mountains in this country in the past, and the kids learn about Martin Luther King each year and this is exactly the example he set." WHAT THE FUCK!?! She's comparing making a petty protest about a fucking eighth grade graduation to Dr. King's work for racial equality and civil rights? I'm sorry lady, you're not honoring Dr. King's legacy with this shit; you're cheapening it. Let's face it, if your precious little yuppie larva doesn't get to sit in a hot auditorium for an hour only to receive a little slip of paper saying "Congratulations for finishing Middle School," the world isn't going to end. They will still go to high school. It's not like they're going to be checking for eighth grade graduation certificates at the door next year at the high school.

In my opinion, lady, you're not upset at the fact that they cancelled the graduation. Your upset at the fact that you no longer will have the chance to stand on display and brag about your kid and get the chance to say "Look at me! Look at how great I am because my kid finished middle school!" If you were really concerned about the impact the lack of a graduation ceremony is going to have on you kid, get together with a bunch of your kid's friend's parents and arrange a trip for this group of friends go out to a restaurant of their choice; maybe someplace like Dave and Busters.* I'm sure if you asked the kids, they would probably prefer a Saturday afternoon playing video games and hanging out with friends over sitting in that hot auditorium.

* For those of you who haven't heard of Dave and Busters, it's kind of like Chuck E. Cheeses, only not for little kids. It has real food and better games. Oh, and after 9:00 PM, they serve alcohol.

We're Okay

If you've been watching the news today, you probably know that there has been a multiple shooting here in town. If you haven't, here's the quick rundown: Starting at about 10:30-10:45 AM, a man walked into a building where a number of people were in the process of becoming American citizens and opened fire. This took place about 4 blocks from our apartment and close to my route to work. We have just recently heard the confirmation that the shooter is dead from a self-inflicted gun shot. Including the shooter, a total of 13 people are dead and another 5 wounded. They closed down City Hall at 2:30 today and sent us all home. Both Journey and I are now home and safe and staying here.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Fuckin' Daylight Savings

I hate daylight savings. Always have. It was nice living in Arizona, where they don't do daylight savings. Yeah, it was a pain having to adjust twice a year to everyone else resetting their clocks, but I didn't have to worry about it.

Now that we're not in Arizona, we are once again part of this daylight savings crap. And it's not the losing an hour of sleep last night that annoys me. It's the fact that it's really a useless hold over that doesn't really do any good any more.

Daylight savings was useful when people were working and living based on daylight hours. Now, we work and live based on the clock. I've heard people say "Well, you know, it means you don't turn your lights on until later in the evening, which saves you money." Yes, it's true that you now won't turn on your lights until later - but your turning them on longer in the morning! Any savings you might have gained by turning the lights on later in the evening are used up by having them on in the morning as you're getting ready.

And this crap about moving even earlier in the year is just that - crap.

Monday, February 23, 2009

I Didn't Need to See That

I saw a woman on my walk home tonight - she had so much silicon in her lips and so much bright red lipstick that it looked like she was wearing one of those cheesy wax lips things. This was even beyond the opening singer from Rockey Horror. Seriously, who thinks this is an attractive look for themselves?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The Fun Things I'm Learning At My New Job

Needless to say, things have been a little busy since moving from Arizona to New York, and I've been blogging much lately. Often, it's simply that I'm tired and want to relax and not think about anything too hard. I'm going to try to be better about that in the future, and I think it will get easier as I continue to settle in and I spend less time simply trying to get my feet under me at work. Work has provided me with some interesting lessons in the first six weeks or so. Here are some of the work-related things I've learned in that time:

The documentation around this place sucks. There are binders upon binders of slides and photos, but only about 1 in 10 binders and 1 in 20 slides/photos are labeled at all. When you're trying to go back and track down old photos of a particular place, the lack of organization makes it a little hard to accomplish.

The woman who had this job before had been here more than 20 years. While this means that that she was pretty good at it, it also means that toward the end she was getting really burned out. It also means that she simply had all of the institutional knowledge in her head, hence part of the reason for the lack of documentation and organization as stated above.

The elevators are all kinds of messed up. On any given day, one or more of the elevators may decide its simply not going to work that day. Or sometimes it will only acknowledge people wanting to go down, so if you're headed up you may have actually hop on one going down and take a detour. And there's fact that doors start to open before the elevator stops - as in there's often a foot difference between the elevator and the floor.

The temp pool in this city is a little pathetic. We have one in particular, doing transcriptions, who likes to talk - a lot, and very loud. She seems incapable of understanding that she's shouting when she doesn't bother to talk off her headphones. And she talks about things that she probably really shouldn't be talking about at work, especially when "work" is as City Hall. We get all the gory details about her divorce and debt troubles. Luckily for me, her desk is NOT right outside MY office - the guy next door to me isn't so lucky.

The thermostat in my office is in the worst possible location. It's right next to the door, on the far side of the room from the windows. And I suspect that the weather stripping around these windows is the original 1972 weather stripping. This means that on days like today, when it's cold and rainy with high winds (weather channel said 30-40 mph with gusts up to 50 mph), my office is damn cold. And I'm thinking that in the summer when it gets warm outside, it's going to get warm inside. If the thermostat had been placed in the middle of the room it would work a little better. The problem is that it picks up on the warmer air coming in from the general work space. So right by the door, where the thermostat is, it's a pleasant 70 degrees. By my desk, it's more like 65 with a draft.

My computer sucks. My work one, not this one. This one's only real problem is that is has Vista. No, my work one takes about 10 minutes to finish booting enough that I can launch Outlook and actually have it load (relatively) promptly. At least they're working on getting me a new one. It's just taking a while.

I wonder what I'm going to learn tomorrow. And, yes, I will try to be better about posting more often.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Damn That's Cold

Yeah yeah yeah - I know I just said that my posts may be a little sporadic and here I am with another post immediately. Shut up - it's my blog and I can do anything I want, damnit! (I work in government now, so I have today off.)

And no, that's not what I mean by the title of this post. I actually am referring to the weather. I knew that it would be cold here in Upstate New York, but the second half of last week was a little more than I had bargained for. We had several days in a row with highs in the single digits - and then a wind chill on top of that. And I walk to work! Not very far, mind you, but even as little as a mile feels like a long walk when it's -15 with wind chill.

It was cold enough that the moisture from my breath was condensing and freezing on my facial hair. You want to know what cold looks like? Check this out:

That's the partially frozen river I cross over everyday on my walk to work. The water is enough warmer than the air that it's actually fogging. And this is at about 8:45 in the morning (yeah, that's right, my work day doesn't start until 9:00!). I'm looking forward to this week when we're supposed to have highs in the mid-20s - it means I'll have a pleasant walk to work!

We've Made It!

I know it's been a long while since my last post, but in my defense, we have been a little busy.

So, Journey have made it Upstate New York and I've started work. The drive out from Tucson when well enough. We only had one day of bad weather and that was the very last one. Still can't say that I'd want to drive a 22 foot moving truck again anytime soon, but all things considered, it was fine.

It was once we got here that we hit problems. I had arranged a place for us when I came out here for visit in November, but we get got here we found that the place was absolutely trashed and full of black mold (yeah, the kind that has been known to cause all kinds of health problems, including death). Journey documented the whole sordid tale on her blog if you want to read it. Long story short, we told the landlady we were not going to move in to a house that was unsafe to live in and we would find another place to live. She said fine, but I'm only going to give half your deposit back (this despite the fact that neither she or we signed the lease). So, we did just that - found another place which is quite a bit better. And we continue to fight with her over getting the rest of our deposit back.

And I've started work. It's taking a little bit of time to get into the swing of things, but that's always the case with a new job. Everyone, myself included, is excited about my being here. I don't have the whole story, but apparently the woman who was responsible for historic preservation before me had been in the job for more than 20 years before she burned out and left. And the position was more or less vacant for more than a year before I started. Other people in the department were covering some of the those responsibilities, but that was in addition to their regular duties. So, needless to say, the program needs some updating and revamping. Which is actually just fine by me. And which seems to be just fine by a lot of people associated with preservation in the area. They're excited that I'm here and that I've got some new and different ideas. Hopefully I'll be able to do everything I want to do and make the program a real solid one.

And then there's the fun of getting settled in a new city which is so different from where we've come from. We're working on finding stores and restaurants and things to do. So, if my posts continue to be spotty for a little bit, hopefully you can forgive me, given how busy we are right now!