No idea how to title this one

I once heard it said that a if the owner of a loyal dog dies, the dog will starve waiting for its owner to feed it, but loyal cat does not exist. I think my cats would wait about an hour before using my dead body as food, which is a good thing because my dead body is probably the only think Pips could catch.

But this random thought got me thinking about how long it would take for people to notice that I died. Honestly, the fact that I work a set schedule would cause people to become concerned pretty quickly. At most, if I died at the start of a long weekend (and wouldn’t that be depressing), at most it would take four days for people to know that something is wrong. The more likely scenario is that work would notice in one day.

However, if it weren’t for work, it would take much longer for my dead body to be discovered. No one is surprised when I go off the grid for a little while. I could go months without talking to some of my friends, and weeks without talking to my family. I sometimes just disappear from the world. But, it should be noted that I play the same group of friends in warhammer almost every week. I am pretty sure that they would notice that something was wrong when I didn’t show up for a game. The down side to that is that only one of them knows where I live and has actually been to my house. So, it would be a mission to find out what was wrong. The only other sign that something was wrong would be if I didn’t post a blog every day. I think after two missed posts, people would wonder, but it may only be a passing thought.

So, I think that it would actually take about a week for people to realize something was wrong, maybe two if it were not for work. I wouldn’t be one of those people who are discovered months after my death. I guess that is pretty good for someone who lives alone. And I believe that the three cats can survive for a week, even if it is on me.

Three Thing Friday

1. Future Management – I have been told that I have to take a management course and some other course that will increase my knowledge about the Army. I am all for taking classes, as long as they actually teach something. Every time I have been enrolled in a government course, nothing new was learned. Everything that I learned from my internship is taught again. And to top all of that off, I forget what I was taught because I have no need to use it. Writing information papers for example, I have never written one, and will probably never have to. So, the U.S. Government is going to pay for me to take classes that will be forgotten in a week, two weeks tops. And one of those courses is taught in Kansas, now that is a great use of taxpayer dollars.

And on top of that, how about we train the current management in how to manage? For example, one lesson I haven’t forgotten in prior classes is that everyone is different (which I did not actually need to be taught), and you have to manage them differently (again, I knew that already). My management could use that knowledge since they do not seem to have it now. Management wants everyone to fit into a mold, one size fits all, and it is not going to ever happen.

2. Timing – My timing sucks. It has never been good, and it seems that as I get older it just gets worse. For example, I wanted to order something from a company, but I kept holding off hoping that they would release something new that I wanted for Warhammer. Finally, my impatience won. I couldn’t wait any longer and I placed my order. One week later, those items I wanted to be released were available for pre-order. If I waited one week I could have added that to my order and received free shipping on them. If I order them now, I’ll have to pay 15% more for shipping and handling. Since I am so cheap, I guess I’ll have to wait till someone else places an order and tag along with that.

3. Not quite intelligent – Some people should learn to keep their mouths shut. Especially when they are comment on something they are not fully informed about, in most cases, not even close knowledgeable. People who have no financial background should not be telling other people that something they are doing is against fiscal law when they have no knowledge on that fact. It actually just makes that person sound stupid, and in this case, they actually are stupid. When the analysts, KOs, Auditors, specialists, and lawyers tell you that it is legal, they are probably right. They have much more training and knowledge and experience than you do. Please, shut the hell up.

A weekday cleaning

I should clean my house every weekend. With three cats living here, and the warm weather, I should vacuum every weekend. The cat hair here is inches think. You almost have to wade through it. But alas, I am a very lazy individual. I prefer to be out with my friends. And cleaning takes so much time.

But there are days when even I have to say enough is enough. These poor cats are not going to learn to vacuum, which would be both cool and scary. So today, a weekday, I had enough. I broke out the vacuum and scared the cats. The rugs were cleaned and so was the hardwood floor.

The sad part of this whole story is not that the cats hid for the rest of the night, because they didn’t. They have already covered the recently cleaned rugs with their hair again. Rolling on the clean rugs, and the shedding! It really needs to stop. I have even thought about shaving them. That would be interesting…

Confessional

Bless me father, for I have sinned, it has been about 10 years since my last confession.

No, I have not suddenly found religion, and if I did, I don’t think I would be confession on a blog. Today at work, when talking to a friend, the topic of the confessional came up. She knows I am an atheist and was very surprised that I could still remember the “proper” confessional procedure. I actually even surprised myself when I was able to site the Lord’s Prayer as I was taught. I did need some prodding, but overall, I remembered it. It has been about ten years since I went to church and confession, not counting weddings and funerals. And the only reason I went ten years ago was because the person I was marrying wanted a church wedding. It has been at least another ten years for the next most recent trip to the confessional.

I was never very religious. My mother did make me go to church every Sunday; I was even an altar boy (no molestation involved).  I even went to the Midnight Mass on Christmas Eve. As I grew older, I drifted away from the church and religion. By college, I never went at all.

The real surprise in all of this was that I could remember the actual confessional statement. I can’t remember what I had for breakfast. I have issues remembering people’s names. Sometimes cannot even remember why I entered a room. But something that was drilled into me twenty-five plus years ago, that I can remember. It actually scares me a little.

But no, I have not found religion and I have learned that my long-term memory has not been completely destroyed by alcohol.

A good day

I admit it; I have very few good days at work anymore. I used to have good days. I remember them. They did exist. But recently, I’d rather get the plague than go into the office. I even bought my first lottery ticket just for the hope of getting away. I used to like my job. I can’t say that I loved it, but it was never this hard to show up. Poor managers. Low, truly non-existent morale. Miserable moods. Stupid customers (not all of them). People who have no clue. Everything and everyone is getting to me lately.

And the funny part of it all is that it really doesn’t take much to make a day at work tolerable. Today, for example, was actually a decent day. I didn’t have a ton of emails from being out for two days, and the one’s I did have were actually important. Ok, the invite to “like” Aberdeen on Facebook was pretty stupid, but easily ignored. Sure I wish people who have no clue about fiscal law would keep their opinions to themselves, but even that one email didn’t get to me. But receiving funding documents that are actually correct and requests for important information that I can get, those are actually nice emails.

Even the phone conversation I had with the contractor went well. I hate dealing with people on the phone; email is so much more detached and much more enjoyable. But sometimes everything just goes right. Even when our numbers didn’t match, we knew why they didn’t and had a way forward. Actually, it was kind of odd.

Sure, morale was still low, and management didn’t make my day by magically disappearing, but it was a simple productive day. Nothing bad really happened, people still pissed me off, but good things happened, and the day wasn’t a total waste.

It was a good day.

Go With Your Gut

Today I had the honor (and bad luck) to have to attend a meeting in McLean, Virginia with the contractor from the contract I manage. Of course, I did not want to go, who would? However, since I am the analyst for the Army portion of this contract, I sort of had to. I really did have no choice.

I was the designated driver for the ride to McLean, but was lucky in that my boss offered to drive us back. I should have gone with my gut and called in dead. On the way down to VA, I was driving in the fast lane (of course). I suddenly got this uncomfortable feeling. Something just didn’t feel right. So, I went with my gut and switched into the next lane over. As soon as I did that, the fast lane stopped. I don’t mean slowed to a stop, I mean came to a sudden, almost crashing halt. Actually, that is not exactly true. One of the cars in the fast lane locked his brakes and proceeded to have an accident. The car started sliding sideways, down the grassy embankment, and finally slid back up the other side and on to other side of the highway. He was lucky no one was in the northbound lanes. He was lucky he didn’t roll. We were lucky I had gone with my gut. And he was able to continue driving away.

Once we got to the meeting, I had the chance to tune out the entire briefing. Most of the briefings were far too technical for me. I am a budget guy; I have no knowledge of or interest in the technical aspects of what was briefed. Hell, if the enemy took me hostage and demanded that I give them information; I couldn’t even tell them who was at the meeting. And my boss’s briefing, which I did understand, did not make any friends. It was rough for both the government and the contractor. And of course, it did not make my life any easier.

At least I can say that we left the briefing early and got home at a reasonable time. I really should have gone with my gut and called in dead and stayed home.

Star Wars Day

I used to always get excited when the movie Star Wars would start. The 20th Century Fox opening, those first opening lines, the first battle scene, it always brought me such joy. Without a doubt, the original Star Wars films were my favorite movies when I was growing up. I would watch them all the time. There was even a time when I could quote the first movie from start to finish. And of the three, I still believe that “The Empire Strikes Back” was the best of the three. The storyline is the best of the entire series. And provided you watch it in the order that the movies were released, you still get the surprise of “Luke, I am your father.” Oh, sorry, spoiler alert.

However, since the new trilogy was released and since the original trilogy was re-edited, I have lost interest in all of the films. I loved the original movies and I wish that George Lucas never made any of his changes. But I also understand that these are Lucas’s films, not mine. I will not fault him for making changes he thought would improve the film. And while I feel that most of his “improvements” made the films worse, there were some changes that did improve the films. Yes, Han shot first. No, Annie (ugh) did not suddenly get younger in spirit after he died (Yoda and Obi-wan stayed old). Most of the changes were not improvements at all. But again, these are his films, not mine.

While I have not really enjoyed the films in a long while, I do want to give the Machete way to view the films a shot. This is where you watch the films in a different order.

1. Episode IV
2. Episode V
3. Episode II (as a flash back)
4. Episode III (as a flash back)
5. Episode VI

And you do not watch Episode I. If you watch it in the Machete order you still get the surprise of Vader being Luke father, you lose most scenes with that annoying Jar-Jar, and you lose the mentioning of the midichlorians.

Maybe on Star Wars day I will actually try and watch the films again. But probably not.

Perfect Vacation

I have been thinking about taking a vacation a lot lately. Now, I already have a trip in October planned, but I feel like taking a long weekend somewhere. After all, October is so far away. I’d want to go someplace cheap, since the October trip is so expensive. However, All of these thoughts about a vacation have got me to thinking about what my perfect vacation would be.

If costs were no issue, I have three vacations I would love to take. One of them is greatly unrealistic, but the other two are doable. I would love to take a vacation to Mars, but we, as a species, don’t have the ability to do that, not to mention the fact that I don’t have that much leave built up yet. So, ignoring that fantastic voyage, there are a few other trips I would consider the perfect vacation for me.

The first trip would be a two-week excursion with friends to California. The trip would start with a cage diving trip to Guadeloupe Island in Mexico that leaves from San Diego (the one I normally take). I know a few friends who would love to take the trip with me, even if they didn’t step into the cage. After a week at sea, we would return to California and go spend a week at the wineries. That trip would combine two of my favorite hobbies, and if I could find a way to add kayaking to the trip, which shouldn’t be that hard, it would be the perfect vacation for me while staying in the U.S.

The third perfect vacation would be a trip to Australia. Again, the trip would combine my favorite hobbies of SCUBA diving and Wine drinking… I mean, wine tasting. I would love to have the chance to dive the Great Barrier Reef. That is probably on top of most divers bucket list, and I know it is on top of my bucket list. And Australian wine is some of the best wine in the world. Plus the scenery and all of the other touristy things to do in Australia would force me to make this a three-week trip at least. Sadly, besides the costs, there are other things holding me back from taking this vacation. I refuse to go to Australia as long as they keep bait lines to make the beaches “safer.”

Dreaming about these vacations is fun, but since I have already paid for most of my October excursion, I will not be taking any of these trips soon. I really do have to look into cheaper vacations that I could take between now and October. Even a long weekend to the Fingerlakes would be enjoyable, and possibly doable.

Three Thing Friday

1. 15% – I’m not talking about an amount you can save on car insurance. I am talking about an ingenious add on to shipping and handling. I wanted to place and order for a book yesterday for Warhammer. The book itself was expensive, but the company adds on 15% for S&H. They do offer free shipping and handling if you spend enough money. For weeks I was debating just ordering the book or adding on some more items which I wanted, but did not need at the moment.

Well, I did save 15% by spending so much more.

2. Lottery – I used to think that the lottery system was a tax on the stupid. Why would you spend any money on a lottery ticket when you have better odds of being struck by lightning and eaten by a shark in the same day? Of course, I have better odds of being eaten by a shark than most of my friends, but that’s not the point. Even buying two tickets does not significantly improve your odds of winning. However, recently I realized that by purchasing those tickets, you do get something. You get hope. And to steal a line from one of my favorite movies, “Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things.” And with how badly I want to get out of the hell I call work, maybe paying a dollar or two a week for that hope is not a bad thing.

3. Satanic Monument – A group of individuals are building a satanic monument for the Oklahoma statehouse. Now, while I can see this as being offensive to some, I find it highly entertaining. The Oklahoma statehouse already has erected a statue of the Ten Commandments. I firmly believe that there should be a separation of church and state, so that statue should never have been built. However, if they are going to have a statue representing the Ten Commandments and place it on public display, they have to allow this statue (which does actually look really cool). Now, speaking as an atheist, I would prefer something more useful to these religious statues. Maybe the government could have spent the money on a bench so I could sit my lazy ass down. At least then the taxpayer dollars could have been put to something useful.

And, it must be said; private donations funded the satanic statue. And I know people are going to be offended, but the Ten Commandment statue can be considered just as offensive.

Weird Fear

I don’t know if it would actually be a fear, but I avoid doing something like it is the plague. I have gone diving with sharks, and was calm and comfortable with them. Sure, I was in a cage, but I think I would have been fine outside of the cage as well. I have gone sky diving, jumping out of a “perfectly good” airplane. The free fall was one heck of an adrenaline rush, and I would highly recommend everyone to give it a try. I want to try mountain climbing, roller coasters, and if I could, I would take a flight into space.

And yes, I admit I do have some weird fears. I have an odd fear of anything with more than 4 legs. I am fine with mice, bats, iguanas, and even snakes (no legs, I am good).  But when it comes to insects and spiders and the like, I am totally phobic. And yes, I am a little afraid of talking to attractive women; I am the real life version of Raj from The Big Bang Theory. Ladybugs render me catatonic. (Cue the Bill Laugh)

However, one of the stranger fears I have is that of driving big vehicles. The largest car I ever owned was a Ford Thunderbird. The door of that car was the size of the MINI cooper. My unwillingness to drive bigger vehicles is so bad that I will actively avoid driving the Government vehicle if it is one of the vans. If it is the smaller sedan, I am fine driving, but I will make others drive if it is the official van, going so far as making a boss drive in my place. Even when I have the opportunity drive new SUVs or even my sister’s SUV, I actually get nervous.

You can’t drive most vehicles the way I drive the MINI. Ask my mom; she won’t even let me drive her anywhere. I enjoy the small cars. The VW Golfs I had were a blast and even the Thunderbird was fun to drive. Rear wheel drive is something I miss. I had that car sideways more often than I should admit. Get me in a van or an SUV and I may have to break down and cry.