Three Thing Friday

I’m just going to write (a.k.a complain) about a couple of things from this week.

1. I am being forcibly moved from my desk at work. And the new desk location is much worse. I actually like where I currently sit. However, I decided to ask for a different option from where I was being told I have to move. Outside of the offices of the big bosses is this really nice large desk. I assume it is supposed to be for a secretary or an admin person but it has sat unused for months, possibly even years. On the new format, I put my name there. That’s right, I asked to be sat right outside their offices. No one else is using that space, why should that pristine desk go to waste. Well, they turned me down. I don’t know their logic; they wouldn’t explain it to me. I would guess that they wouldn’t want a messy desk as the first thing guests see (not that we ever have any guests come in from that door). And, little protests like these, causing them little issues like this, has done more for my morale than anything that they have done in three years.

2. The Australian “not a cull” cull is obviously something I do not support. Sharks should be studied while they are alive. But, if they are going to do it, can they hire people who know what they are doing? There is a picture of a shark that was killed by the lines, and by killed, I mean tortured till they finally shot it four times. And both the government and the hired murderers claim that it is a bull shark. I hate to say it, but even my goddaughter could probably tell that it was a tiger shark. Stripes on a shark? Not a bull, though the government is full of it.

3. Early this week my Microwave oven broke. Again. I would never recommend a GE product, but that is not the point. I already miss how easy it was to cook a quick meal. I am a single bachelor living home alone. Of course my refrigerator (also made by GE) is full of food in the freezer and beer and wine in the refrigerator. That’s what I do. Having to actually cook food this week made me realize that it isn’t all that hard, but I still miss the ease of the microwave. And me being a guy, I’ll buy a cheap replacement just so I can go back to that ease.

Scheduled

Well, It happened. I finally booked my next date with the friendly Great Whites of Guadeloupe. Next October, I will be leaving on my second cruise to dive with these magnificent creatures. At least this time I will not have to go through diver certification during the summer, and I will not have to buy much as far as equipment since I have done all that two summers ago. Basically, I am getting my money’s worth out of this certification.

There are other places I would like to dive. The Bahamas have Tiger beach. I would also love to dive the Great Barrier Reef in Australia and South Africa as well. But I have been told that Guadeloupe is THE place to dive with great whites. Granted, I will not go to Australia until they stop the shark cull, even if I could easily afford it, but it will remain on my dive list.

Last time I was in Guadeloupe, the water was cool and clear. Crystal clear. So clear in fact, that even the seals were not afraid on the sharks. Other than some seasickness on the way there and back, I had absolutely no issues. And, sleeping for the entire trip is a decent diet plan, making fitting in a wetsuit slightly easier. On that trip I made some good friends, two of which will be there on this trip. It will be great to see them again, and the sharks. Jimmi, TJ, Bella, Tzitzimitl, I only wish the Nardinis could make it.

Now I have to pay for this trip, and count down the days. With the last few days I have had at work, October is going to take a very long time to get here.

Truth

A few years ago a coworker of mine once told me certain information that I kept with me. At the time, I didn’t believe it was true, but the longer I am a government employee, the more I agree with the statement. In fact, if it wasn’t for two or three people, I would say it was a law, not just a rule of thumb. “Staff organizations do not care about the staff.” And yes, I work for a staff organization.

A few weeks ago, I was forced to make a briefing on what I do. It wasn’t that bad; I was told that it should only be a few minutes. And I did that, admittedly with some complaint. Well, I have been told now that I have to brief again. This time covering what I have done since I briefed just over a month ago. Are you kidding me? Why don’t you just admit it and say you are looking for an excuse to keep these weekly meetings going, wasting a half hour of my life each week. My basic tasks do not change from week to week.

And now there is discussion of moving my desk. I like my desk since the setup you chose for the office sucks. The way it is set up a good portion of the desks are situated so that the employees sit with their back to the walkway. Nothing like people sneaking up on you all the time to make you happy. Where I sit now, I face the walkway. I still don’t like it, I would like higher cubical walls, but I am ok with people not being able to sneak up on me. Well, my new seat will put my back to the walkway. Again, not helping my morale.

And how about the rumor about CECOM moving to AMC headquarters? How about charging employees for a full day’s leave when the base was closed for half a day and it was unsafe for them to come in. How about when employees leave 1 hour before the early release, making it home safely, and charging them leave too. How about forcing people to get ten-year certificates when they don’t care and would rather not get that publicly. How about making people go to training that hasn’t been updated in 10 years.

I have so many complaints about the office and the wonderful things they do to my morale, but maybe that is the point. Maybe they do have a plan about the RIF and it is to make people so miserable that they quit, making it so they don’t have to fire anyone.

Introduction

I started reading this new book today; it’s a collection of science fiction stories that are supposed to be a mix of sci-fi and horror. Now, I bought it because one of the stories is from Arthur C. Clark even though I probably already read this particular story, and I am always up for reading the writings of new authors. To be truthful, at this moment, I have not even gotten past the introduction. And in this introduction, the editor takes the time to make fun of those who actually read them. Saying things like the reader (me) is too afraid to go further. The reader is afraid to be scared. However, the editor did bring up some good points, like how Science Fiction and Horror used to be the same thing in some peoples eyes. Look at how they are linked in some cases. Doctor Frankenstein was very much science fiction and horror, though we do seem to be getting closer and closer to science fact and horror nowadays. War of the Worlds could be science fiction and horror. The Day the Earth Stood Still would be science fiction, though in the new version the acting could be considered horror.

However, him making fun of the introduction readers got me thinking about all of the introductions I skipped over the years. I didn’t always read the introductions; in fact I hardly ever read them back in the day. I used to go right to the story; the story was the whole reason for purchasing the book. What was the point of the introduction anyway? It used to be just a waste of space before the story. I guess as I get older, I have settled into reading the introductions. I guess I am getting moer bang for my buck.

Brief Venting

1. I absolutely love it when I am watching TV and the information bar says I am watching “Through the Wormhole” but what I am actually watching is “Heavy Metal Task Force.” Wait, I’m sorry, it’s not love, I mean loathe. I mean these shows are not even close to being similar. I know, this isn’t exactly a world-stopping problem, but in this age, you would think that they could get this minor thing corrected. And the fact that it was wrong all day on that one specific channel is even worse.

2. Having a handicap driver license plate does not give you the right to drive like an idiot, unless of course you are mentally handicapped. Yes, I know it snowed a few days ago, and it is still brutally cold, but the roads are very clear right now. That white stuff on the road isn’t snow or ice; it’s tons of salt. And that salt is the reason your red car is now and ugly white. Also, you do not need to change lanes at 5 miles an hour without a blinker, cutting me off twice (which was actually a little impressive). Stop driving like it’s you first time behind the wheel, and may drive a car that is appropriately sized, not the battleship you were driving.

3. People who complain about the excessive cold now, and who were also complaining about the excessive heat during the summer need to be punched. Often. If will give you one or the other. I tend to not complain about the cold, I actually like it. I hate heat and humidity. I reserve the right to complain about the summer weather. If I could, I would live at the north pole, I’d like to retire in Canada, if it is still cold in 30 years. However, people just like to complain, so they complain about the cold winters, the hot summers, the rainy spring, and the windy autumns. Those people should have their mouths shown shut, or maybe move someplace else. I hear Mars would welcome complainers.

4. Finally, back to drivers. Turning on your left turn blinker to make a right turn from the left lane. Wow. Now you need a mentally handicapped sticker on your car. The rest of us would appreciate the warning.

Addictive Personality

I prefer to call it a collective personality, but to be truthful to myself; I really do have an addictive personality. Even when I was a kid, if I went into a hobby, I went all in. I would get everything I wanted and keep going. Sure, at some point in time I may lose interest and stop, but that would be after I spent a large portion of my money, or my parents money, on the things I was collecting.

It started with baseball cards. I would always ask my mom if I could borrow a couple of dollars (with no intention of paying her back) and I would go to the B&B pharmacy and pick up a couple of packs of Topps baseball cards. This was before Upper Deck was even an option. And I would do this throughout the summer. I didn’t even watch all that much baseball on TV, but I had to complete the set. I came close a couple of times, but I never did complete the set on my own. However, for Christmas I always seemed to get a complete set from someone. And, thanks to my parents, I even have sets from before I was collecting, from when I was too young to collect. For example, I have the 1978 set because I wanted the set from the year I was born. And then I drifted away from baseball cards.

Another collection I started was die-cast stock car collectibles. To be honest, these were just expensive matchbox cars. At least in this case I actually watched NASCAR at the time. But the collection was massive. On the larger scale cars I kept myself to drivers that I was a fan of, but I can’t say the same for my fathers collection. I had easily over a thousand of the small-scale cars. Some of them looked exactly the same as the ones next to it, but if they were from a different year and had minor changes, I had to have both. Heck, in at least one case I know I had 2 cars from the same year and same paint scheme, but one had a hood that opened.

Even at the age of nearly 36, I still have this addictive personality. For example, my warhammer gaming, I own hundreds of models for 5 armies. Some of which I will probably never use, but I had to have just in case. Until recently, I had probably near a thousand DVDs, but thanks to digitizing, I am down to a couple hundred. I have swords all over the house, that’s right, swords. Some swords are replicas from movies, others are just standard swords. Even wine has become a collection, granted it is a collection that keeps changing.

I still have almost everything I have ever collected throughout my life. Well, my friends and I have consumed most of the wine. And at least these more recent addictions have been paid for with my own money instead of money taken from my parents. But I really need to prevent myself from getting into another hobby or collection.

Oh, and thanks to my parents who have funded these collections over the years. I don’t even want to think of the money that has been spent on these hobbies.

So Tired

From what I understand, most normal people catch up on their sleep on their day’s off, weekend for example. Well, I know I’m not normal, and thanks to my Mother and my Alarm Cats, I don’t. On a night when I am out till 2 am, I still get up early in the morning, which makes the next day very long.

I’ll start with the cats. Cats do not have a snooze button, especially if they are hungry cats. Now, cats do have a weird behavior, as least every cat I have had the experience of dealing with. If a cat’s food dish is half empty, the cat sees it as empty. So this morning, at 7:30, my wakeup call was Loki sitting next to my bed. When I started waking up, he put his front paws on the bed, and stuck his nose into my face, purring loudly. Sounds like a nice way to be woken up, but it really isn’t. My cats apparently are used to a schedule. And their schedule is to be fed by 8 am.

Now to my Mother, I’ve said before that my mother is and has always been a morning person. She has actually been banned from calling my Aunt before 8 o’clock in the morning. My aunt actually had to tell her to stop calling so early. You can’t do that when you live with her. She would make as much noise as possible, or at least that’s how it seemed when I was trying to sleep in. And I know it is a family trait. My grandfather would be up early in the morning, riding his bike on the boardwalk with his girlfriends, every morning. The early morning gene must not be passed down to everyone, but my evil mother gave it to me.

This is why I go to bed at 9 on work nights, on weekends, I go to sleep late and I need to catch up on my sleep.

Road Trip

I took a road trip today with a friend from the area. It was a blast and it got me to thinking about the road trips I took in college with those friends. We took some classic road trips, and nearly all of them were an adventure.

There was the road trip we took to Minneapolis for a national fraternity meeting. We took my friend’s father’s Jeep and drove out to Minnesota, starting either on Christmas night or the morning after. All of this driving for a three day meeting. On the way back, as I was driving through Pennsylvania, the heater in the Jeep died. And Pennsylvania is a wide state, a very wide state. The passengers in the back seat were able to bundle under a blanket. The navigator was even able to sit under a nice warm blanket. The Driver, me, was able to freeze as I drove through the hills of PA. Probably drove through PA in record time.

Another trip, planned at the last minute, was a weekend trip to Florida. I tossed out the idea of going to Disney for spring break weekend on a Monday, by that Wednesday the hotel was booked, and on Friday we left. We were driving my Ford Thunderbird (which had the worst CD shuffle ever made) and just drove. Sure, we ran into other cars with the Rider parking permits on the road, but that wasn’t planned. We just went. Sure, the day we left Disney to come home the two drivers were too drunk to drive so we had to rely on the third person that didn’t want to drive. Sure Pete hit something with my car, and we still don’t know what it was. Sure the shuffle played the same song every third song. But it was a blast.

One road trip we took was from Rider, near Trenton, to Dover, Delaware for breakfast. We drove hours to go to one diner across from the racetrack. It wasn’t about the food, which was excellent, it was about the drive. Another road trip to Delaware involved a friend who spent the previous night drinking gallons of alcohol puking into her purse. There was the time I hit an already dead deer. There was the three-minute Taco Bell run. There was the trip to Gettysburg where the T-bird’s lights kept randomly turning off.

There were so many good memories; I really do miss those road trips.

Homemade

A not so long while ago, I decided to take it upon my self to try and make my own wine. Not an easy task, but one I really wanted to try. I ordered a kit from amazon that included everything one would need excluding the grapes and the bottles. It even came with corks and a corker. Ok, I admit, the “oak” barrel was a giant plastic bucket, but the fermenter was a large glass bottle.

After taking a few months to think about what type of wine I wanted to make, I settled on Riesling. It is one of my favorite wines, and it works as both a dry and a sweet wine. I figured if I screwed it up, maybe it would make a decent sweet wine. I ordered a box of already squeezed grapes (concentrate) from the Internet. I was aiming for a dry wine, and actually succeeded. It was a decent wine. It wasn’t great, but it was pretty good. Very drinkable, like most wines.

Now, as I said, the set didn’t come with bottles. Now, I could have ordered a couple of cases of bottles as they are easily available on Amazon.com, but I drink a lot of wine myself. Why would I want to waste all those bottles? I got plenty of chemicals to clean bottles, so why not reuse these bottles? And excluding a few issues with getting the wine into the bottles, they worked wonderfully. I probably would have had fewer issues has I used all of the tools that my kit came with, but I only found the last piece after the bottling was done.

I am now drinking one of those bottles after letting it age for a while. It’s still decent. It’s something I would consider giving out as a gift, if I had real bottles, and not these reused ones.

Now, what am I going to make next…
This blog was brought to you buy writers block.

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Embarrassing

First, I want to take back anything bad I said about the Affordable Healthcare Website. After what transpired in the last few hours, the Obamacare Website failing should not have been a surprise. In less than ten hours, the over 10,000 workers at Aberdeen Proving Ground were given multiple conflicting status updates about when the post would be open today. I work for the Communication and Electronics COMmand, also known as CECOM. It turns out that CECOM actually stands for Cannot Electronically COMmunicate.

First, it was posted on the official APG Facebook page that the post would have a four-hour delayed opening and that liberal leave is NOT in effect, which soon corrected that liberal leave was in effect. Then I received a text that said it was a two-hour delay on Wednesday the 21st. What? This, of course, was immediately corrected to say Wednesday the 22nd we would have two-hour delayed opening. We also received two phone calls, which I assume say the same things, but I never bothered to listen to them. Of course, this now conflicts with the official Facebook page. So that was then updated to two-hour delay. It was a complete mess.

Of course, after all of that, this morning I got the text and call that APG was actually opening with a four-hour delayed opening. So, after a flurry of activity, everything was back where we started.

I don’t know why, but I would have expected more from leadership, but I must remember, all of this was taken care of by the government. So, is it any wonder that the Obamacare website didn’t work? Sure, it was contracted out, but it is still managed by the mess that is the U.S. Government.

Of course, for an accurate timeline, check out this blog.

http://jeffreytharp.com/2014/01/22/indecisive-much/