Another Storm

The latest and greatest “storm of the century” caused the commanders of the base I work at to send non-essential personnel home at noon today. The reason for the commander to make this decision makes perfect sense, although I am sure that not all of these facts were taken into consideration.

1. Everyone get to take extra time to make it home. It is snowing, which causes 99% of the population to forget how to drive. Yes, a driver should take his time and drive carefully, but this does not mean you should be doing 35 miles per hour under the speed limit when the limit is 40 to start with. You will die. An idiot in a MINI will run you over or just push you out of the way.

2. The storm is only going to get worse. By sending people home early, in theory you get the people off the road for the cleaning crews. The problem with this is that not everyone stays home. Frankly, it’s boring. I want to go out, and I may still go out. When I was working at Fort Monmouth and they closed the base due to a bad snowstorm, I actually grabbed my skis and drove past the post to get to the mountain. I’m not doing that today, but I did consider it.

3. It clears the parking lot. This makes it much easier on the garrison to actually clear the lot for tomorrow. The plow drivers are less likely to hit the employee’s parked cars. However, someone was driving a plow on the sidewalk today. He seemed to be going pretty fast, and he might have forgotten that to plow, you have to put the plow on the ground. Though, that might have been planned to save the sidewalk, as they did salt the area.

4. Less lawsuits. By closing early, the employees are less likely to slip and sue the government. And this is probably the only reason they closed the post.

Now, do I go out or do I stay home.

Little Careless

My first car was a green 1991 Volkswagen Golf that I bought from my grandfather for one dollar. It was heavy, slow, and ugly. It sounded like a go-kart or an over sized lawnmower, and handled even worse. I upgraded the stereo and I still treated the car like crap. In fact, I didn’t even care about either of my first cars, the VW or the Thunderbird. I left the windows open during rainstorms, I barely checked the oil, let alone change it. I let the tires wear down before changing them. I just didn’t care. While my friends were heavily interested their cars, working on them almost daily, I was just glad I had one even though I didn’t act like it.

However, since I have bought the MINI, I have become more interested in my car. I change the oil on time; sometimes ever a little early, and I do it myself. I wash the car often. My friends helped me install a supercharger reduction pulley, adding a little more horsepower to the car. I even change the air filters myself. Yes, the Coopers has some dents, dings, and scratches, but each one of those is a story.

However, one thing I keep forgetting to do is check my tire pressure. The MINI does have a sensor to tell me when one of my tires suddenly lose air pressure. However, the sensor works by comparing one tire to the rest of the tires, so if they all lose pressure, the sensor will not go off. And since I have run flat tires, it is very hard to tell if one of the tires is going flat. So, today I checked the pressure of all four tires, and they were low. And when I say low, I mean less than twenty PSI. I knew they were low since my gas mileage dropped, but I never realized they were that low. I know that’s dangerous to me and to the other drivers on the road.

So to my friends, today is a message of safety. Please check your tire pressure. You may save your own life, and more importantly, you may save a few dollars.

Conflicted

Recently, while I was watching TV one morning, I saw an interesting commercial. It was for a company that someone could hire to post positive reviews about their store or company. That’s right, someone created a company whose sole purpose is to log onto review sites and post positive reviews about companies that pay them. That’s ingenious. I do have a couple of issues with it, but it is a smart business plan.

Now, I understand that there are people out there with nothing better to do with their lives than to log onto review websites and post bad reviews of products or services that they have never used. And yes, I can see where this would hurt a company’s bottom line. It is sad that some people would toy with people’s lives like that, and this service would be of some help. These are probably the same people who had nothing better to do than to hack my server.

However, some businesses deserve the bad reviews that they get. This review posting company, having never been to or used the products of the business that they are reviewing is now blindly posting positive reviews. This causes an issue in that a lot of people actually read reviews and make choices based on those reviews. Now, the reviews posted are even less trustworthy. I know that some posts were not all that trustworthy to begin with, but now they are even less so. This company is going to flood sites with positive reviews.

I am really conflicted about companies having the ability to hire people to just make positive posts. I do read reviews, and I have made some decisions based on those reviews.

I realize that these companies have been out there for a while, but this is the first time I have seen it advertised.

Too Stubborn

I have easily over four hundred books in my collection. Mostly science fiction and biographies, but I also have books on physics, mysteries, history, I really do have books in almost every genera. Again, most of them are science fiction, and most of those are Star Wars. I’m even proud of the fact that I have more books by Arthur C. Clarke than most libraries.

And I read them all. That’s right, over the years I have read every book that is on any of my bookshelves. And in some cases, I have read them more than once. The I have just finished reading the X-wing series  and I can’t even tell you how many times I have read the books in that series. I have read them so often that the bindings are being held together by tape.

Now, I’m not saying I enjoyed all of the books I have read. Some were downright awful. But I finished them. And that’s just because I am stubborn. I know that if I leave the book on the shelf unread, it will annoy me, so I have to power through and finish the book. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” for example, the original is a tough read, adding zombies to the story didn’t help it at all. Well, maybe it did, I never actually read the original. “Moby Dick” would have been a fantastic book if I read every other chapter. The alternating chapters were like reading marine science book, and that’s not what I wanted to read.

And speaking of books, a few Christmases ago, my family bought me the first four books in the Harry Potter series. They were wrapped and waiting under the tree, tormenting me since I knew exactly what they were. Well, my impatience won out and I opened the first book, read it rewrapped it and moved onto the next book. I actually finished all four books before Christmas, rewrapping them when I was finished. And I believe I did that in the span of five days.

Heck, I even spent one night reading a Tom Clancy book, finally falling asleep when I was finished, at about 7 am.

Again, sometimes, I am too stubborn.

I don’t understand

I don’t get it. Actually, I don’t think I ever got it. Why would people race to get to work? Why would someone weave in and out of traffic, nearly get into an accident, just to get to work? I get driving like to get out of work, that makes total sense. But going to work where you will spend the next 8 to 10 hours of your day, that’s what I do not get. Believe me, I race home.

Ok, possibility number one. The driver is late for work. Well, driving like that could make you even later when you are pulled over or involved in an accident. If you are a few minutes late, most bosses understand that. I know that there may be a case when I boss is a hard ass and it doesn’t matter.

Possibility number two. Maybe the driver is always late and the boss won’t understand. In that case the idiot driver should either leave freaking earlier or change his schedule. He’d still get to work. And the roads may be safer that he no longer has to race into work.

Possibility two, the driver is just an ass. Ok, I have nothing for that. That driver should be warned though, right now there are a lot of driver who use their Jersey Brake. You know, slam the brakes for that deer they thought they saw. Granted, that could be bad for both drivers, but I pretty sure that if you run into someone, you are the one at fault.

When I was younger, I would be the guy that would drive in a way just to tick off these types of drivers. You are going to ride my bumper? Well, I guess I can slow down when there is no passing lane. And hey, I find that I could speed up when there is. Yes, I was that guy. However, as I got older, I realized it just wasn’t worth it. Now, when there is an aggressive driver near me, I just let them by. And I laugh loudly when I end up passing them a few miles later and they seem to be having a discussion with an officer.

Changing Tastes

Just over a year ago, a friend of mine dragged me kicking and screaming to a Barenaked Ladies concert in Philadelphia. Ok, to be truthful, I actually was willing to go, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They put on one of the best live shows I have ever seen. They were good, but they are not a band I would normally go to see, let alone put them on my iPod.

But, as one of my oldest friends said, they are a band that I would have listened to all the time back when I was in high school. And that comment got me thinking about how much music tastes have changed over the years. In high school, my favorite band was The Moody Blues. Beatles was a close second, but I listen to the Moody Blues all of the time. I liked rock music. Yes, I listened to classic, jazz, swing, and many other types of music, but softer rock was what I typically listened to.

When I got into college, my music tastes took a dramatic shift. Suddenly I was listening to ska and punk all of the time. I still appreciated the classic rock, but when I would play some music, it was going to be punk or ska. This is about the same time I started working at the liquor store and met my friend Joel, who was also a punk and ska fan. I blame him for introducing me to this type of music.

I still think the Moody Blues and the Beatles are great bands who played amazing music, but I would rather listen to Bad Religion or NoFX than most other bands.

And Bad Religion still put on the best concert I have ever seen, Barenaked Ladies, as good as they were, couldn’t beat them. Bad Religion, Peal Jam, Flogging Molly, Barenaked Ladies, and Dropkick Murphys. If you get the chance, go see these bands., and who knows where my music tastes will be in another 10 years.

And as much as I listen to almost all types of music, Country and Western should be banned.

Non promotable

I am never going to get my next promotion. I am not being fatalist on this, I know myself well enough to know that I am not going to get another promotion. I work hard, well, relatively hard, but work is not my top concern in life. Getting through the day and trying to make it as stress free as possible is my top concern, as well as just trying to have fun. I would rather stay at my pay grade and have some fun with my job than get a pay increase and increase my stress.

And today was a perfect example. I had to brief the boss’s boss on what I do. I stressed about it until the first briefer came out of his office and told everyone how it was actually a relaxed setting. And I hated stressing about it. Mind you, it was a relatively low level of stress, but I hated it anyway. However, my briefing also showed why I would never get promoted. One should not end a briefing, after being asked, “what else do you do?” with “I sit at my desk and listen to you swearing in your office.” It was a relaxed setting, but I am not sure that was the best way to end the briefing.

And how I apply for jobs, when I actually do apply, isn’t helping either. When I log on and find a new job that I apply for, I use the resume I already have created, I might update some of the information, but I don’t tailor to whatever job I am applying for at that time. And that means I never get onto any interview lists. I couldn’t even make a list that was basically upgrading my current position. I guess, when it comes to new jobs, I am lazy and unmotivated. Again, a sign I will never move up in this job. And I can’t really complain, I like my current job and I am usually not stressing over it.

Still, more money would be nice… maybe one day I will get motivated.

Odd Training

A few years ago, a friend of mine was in training for her new job with the State Department. Her first assignment was in the Bahamas and who would complain about that? Well, she did, but that is not the point of this blog. One part of her training was how to handle calling someone’s family to notify him or her that a family member was killed by wildlife. For example, say an American was diving and was killed by a tiger shark. Apparently, if someone were killed in that scenario, she would have to call the family and inform that that the individual was killed by “aggressive wildlife.”

I always made a joke about this, and like a lot of jokes, there is some truth behind the joke. If my friend had to make that call to my mom, my friend probably wouldn’t even get to the “aggressive wildlife” statement. As soon as she said she was from the State Department, my mom’s response would be “What did he do now?” And if she finally did to the wildlife portion of the call, my mom wouldn’t be surprised. She’d probably say something like “He probably provoked it” or “I’m sure he did something stupid.” My mom knows me all to well.

I respect nature, and I hope I wouldn’t do something to provoke a shark attack, but if I do, I would die enjoying myself. Well, probably not at the moment of the attack, but right up until that point I probably would have a smile on my face.

Now, onto my friend complaining about being stationed in the Bahamas. It seems that after you hit the beach and the bars there isn’t much else to do. Now if I were there, I would go diving every day, though hopefully not alone. I would dive tiger beach and swim with the tiger sharks. I would dive the reefs. Aggressive wildlife would definitely kill me.

And if I am ever killed by aggressive wildlife, I hope that my family wouldn’t blame the wildlife. I couldn’t live knowing they called for a cull. Well, I wouldn’t want a cull; it’s not the sharks fault that I am an idiot.

Busy (and Rough) Day

Today started rough, and it never really got any better. I woke up at 3am, almost 2 hours before my alarm goes off, and I spent the next hour and a half trying to fall back to sleep before I finally gave up and started my day. During my morning breakfast TV watching, I saw Honey Boo Boo commercials, and they made me want to cry. The fact that those people have their own TV show proves that there is something wrong with this country. And why do they have to advertise the show on Discovery Science? The commercial brings down the entire channel. Hell, the show brings down the I.Q. of anyone who watches it.

Now, at work, my day didn’t get any better. First, I thought we had people to collect our trash. It feels like mine hasn’t been picked up in over a week, but it’s probably only been since last Wednesday. This is a relatively mild complaint since I can throw my own trash out, but we have contractors for this. We are paying someone to collect our trash, and I assume they are still getting paid if I throw my trash out in their place. And who planned on washing and waxing the kitchen floor during lunchtime? That was an incredibly bad plan.

Apparently, someone else thought it August was a good time to change some policy that affects my contract. I have no issues with policies being changed; in theory the change is making things better and safer. I do realize, as a 10-year government employee, that the policy is probably just going to make more red tape, and actually make things worse, but I know the policy makers are trying. But if you are going to change policy, can you please inform those that need to enforce said policy? We got questions all day on if we were adhering to the current policy. Everyone in my office thought we were, and then we were finally informed that in August, the policy was changed.

Asking us if we are enforcing a policy that we didn’t know about is like asking me why I haven’t processed a funding document that I haven’t received yet. Which, by the way, also happened today.

I am so glad that today is over.

All Over the Place

Today’s blog is all over the place, which reflects my thoughts. I’ve been battling a cold for almost a week now. And when I get sick, I become a whiny bitch. Well, more whiny than usual. I hate being sick and locked inside my house. It’s so boring. This week I cancelled plans to go out and game with my friends. All I did was rest, watch TV, and play with my cats.

Now, I have to admit that I didn’t take anything for this cold. I don’t know if taking something would have helped speed up my recovery, but I feel that this country is already over medicated. And if I can keep extra drugs out of my system and recover naturally, I would rather do that. Sure, I may be out of it for a week, but I feel that keeping drugs out of the body, even over the counter medication, is better for the body.

And I must be getting older. I remember recovering much quicker than this. I remember feeling better in a day or two. But much like recovering from a hangover, recovering from a cold seems to take longer as I get older. And that is depressing.

Speaking of alcohol, when I get sick I avoid beer and wine and other forms of alcohol. I miss wine. I can’t wait to feel better so I can have a glass.

Yes, I am whining about wine.