Complete Lack of Self Control

I recently posted that I am in the middle of reading On the Shoulders of Giants by Stephen Hawking, and I have still not finished it. In my defense, it is over a thousand pages long and includes data, formulas, graphs, and scientific detail. It is a hard read, probably the hardest read I have ever tried. It is still fascinating, but there are some points where I read a paragraph over and over, and I still don’t get it. Some of these people have been dead for hundreds of years, and are still smarter than me. But I am going to force myself to finish this book. It is a mission, though I may take breaks in the middle of it.

Now, if that wasn’t bad enough, the other night I found myself at Barnes and Nobel again. While I didn’t plan on buying another book, because I have plenty in my “to read” pile, there were a couple of books that I just had to have. One was the latest part of a series that I am completely addicted too. And the second was a book on failures of the presidents. Not failure presidents, just some of the president’s greatest failures. And on top of that, I can neither confirm nor deny that I also bought a Doctor Who book.

I couldn’t help myself. I had to have these books. And on top of these two new books, I have about another half dozen that were already in the “to read” pile. I cannot let myself not have a stack of books waiting to be read. It always seems that as I read one book, I am already thinking about the next book. It is never that I am bored with the book I am in the middle of; I just can’t wait to get to the next one. And it makes me impatient. I try not to rush through whatever book I am reading (though I may be rushing through the current book).

As I said earlier, with On the Shoulders of Giants, I may take a break after I finish the portion about Copernicus. All of this math and these formulas and graphs are just burning me out. At least I have another book ready to go. I just have to pick one.

Three Thing Friday

1. Stand-Up Governors  – Give credit where credit is due. The Governor of Arizona vetoed a law that seemed like it was written in the 1960’s. Even if she did take her time vetoing it, she did do the right thing. Allowing businesses to not serve individuals based on their sexual orientation for religious protection. Every time I think of that law, I think of the sit-in at the diner that would only serve whites. I mean, this is 2014, lets accept people for who they are. I wouldn’t want to be judged based on my look. At least, not by others, I just myself for my looks often enough. Others can judge me by my actions, which are usually pretty stupid. And if this law was passed, would a Muslim be allowed to not serve a Christian because he is an infidel? Of course that would be an option.

2. Amazing Views – I know I said in an earlier post that I could gaze at the stars for hours. Well, seeing an amazing view while driving could be lethal. The other morning, while driving to work, I had the pleasure of seeing a view that could only be described as wondrous, amazing, and incredible. Ok, it cannot be described as only anything, but it was a fantastic view. The sky was very cloudy; the sun was just below the horizon, lighting all of the clouds up. But, there was a break in the clouds. And thanks to that break, I got a great view of a sliver of moon. It was nearly a new moon, so not very much of it was showing. It looked incredible. Almost like art. And that why I almost missed that turn and went into oncoming traffic. Screw cell phones, the moon, or at least great views of the moon, should be illegal.

3. Rituals – Every workday has the same pattern. Wake up, feed cats, prepare for work, eat, and go to work. But even when I am at work I seem to have to do certain things to start and end the day. Yes, I have to log onto my computer and check my messages, but the day doesn’t seem to really get started until I have my morning talk with Jeff. It’s not much, just a little bullshitting before the day really gets going. He just stops by on the way to his desk, and we talk for a few minutes, sometimes even about work. Without that, the day doesn’t seem right. If he is out sick, the day just doesn’t seem right. At the end of the day, I leave at the same time as him, so we have a sort of debrief on the way to our vehicles. We don’t always bitch, but it does seem to finish the day.

And of course, the day is not complete unless I read his daily blog. If I miss that, I just feel lost.

http://jeffreytharp.com

Another (boring) Briefing

I managed to avoid it for two months, but today I had to give another briefing to my fellow employees. And I am lucky it was under two minutes long, if it was any longer, not only would they all have fallen asleep, I may have as well. It’s hard to make what I do exciting. I get funding documents, I process funding documents, I get funding documents to contracting.

Granted, my sating that I processed seventeen billion dollars in two months right after the director talks to the staff about budget (and potential job) cuts was probably poorly timed, but it’s what I do. I cannot help the fact that I was scheduled today. I processed over ninety documents with a collective value of over seventeen billion. Think about that for a second. Think of all those funds that are going to a contractor.

Now, while I really appreciate wasting the office’s time with another briefing about what I accomplished. Maybe having briefings that are actually useful and informative would be a better use our time. I will gladly give up my two minutes of sleep inducing speech to hear something informative. I know, that may be asking for a lot, but if you are going to tie me up for an hour, can we make it a productive hour?

And while we are at it, the director promised our office a briefing by the personnel office to cover the rules and regulations about leave. There was a minor fiasco a few months ago, and nobody knew the regulations and got charged leave that we did not realize we were going to be charged. Still waiting on that briefing.

But no, my office has to suffer through briefing about monthly accomplishments. And those poor bastards had to listen to me.

Maybe I should have been more professional and not have added the fact that I went to a wedding of a friend since my last briefing. I probably shouldn’t have also added that the tracking system that we are “required” to log into knew I was on vacation and I still received a phone call at 4 am telling me I did not have to report to work due to a base closure. I got the standard “they are not the same system” speech. However, if they are not the same system, why is the solution to delete my phone numbers from the tracking system next time I am on vacation? The solution I came up with works just as well. I deleted my phone numbers permanently and stopped logging in.

I guess I was expected to buy that line from management. Just like every other line they seem to feed us recently.

But don’t worry about your morale. No one else is.

Religion and Space Exploration

I have no room to talk about religion, but I read this article about how the UAE has declared a fatwa warning Muslims against signing up for the hopeful Mars One mission to Mars. So, while I said I have no room to talk about religion with the whole atheist thing, I am going to anyway.

Things I have never thought about, in terms of mixing religion and space flight, come up in this article. For example, how is a Muslim supposed to do their daily prayers when a day on the space station lasts 90 minutes? Dietary requirements are a little easier, since everything is freeze dried, and you can just take food that fits the requirements up to space with you. And the UAE has supported space travel in the past and Aabar Investments is a financial partner in Virgin Galactic.

So, what is the difference with the mission to Mars? Well, it has been deemed a suicide mission and taking one’s own life is against Muslim principals. And with the success rate of the past missions to mars (50% success rate), I can see where people would consider this a suicide mission.

That being said, I’d go. I think the trip would work. I don’t think I would have an option of coming home, but I would go. And even if it were successful, you would start having other issues that would have to be addressed. What would the Muslim prayer ritual go by, the Martian day or the standard earth day.

Now, I could never be part of a religion that dictated what I ate, not that any religion would want me. But a religion dictating that I could not go on a mission to Mars makes me glad that I am still an Atheist.

Hostile Work Environment

WTF

Wow, that’s all I have to say. Well, I guess it’s not all I have to say since I am going to make an entire blog about that. If you have read some of my previous blogs, you know that my morale at work is low, if I even have morale at all. And I am not the only one suffering, many people in the office are miserable. I have even been told by certain people to write a letter to my local union. The team leaders have been telling the director about how bad morale is, to no avail. The director seems to be totally deaf when it comes to morale. And the above picture is the first thing I saw today at work. “The beatings shall continue until morale improves.” Don’t complain, other people have it worse. And it is not because he is former military. I know of other former military who are now civilian supervisors, and none of them are like this.

Now, while I cannot prove that the director is who posted that image, it is a safe bet since he saw it and didn’t take it down. Also, there are people who know it was not there when they left from work, and he was one of the last people left in the office. So, my best guess is that he is the one who posted this picture. I guess that’s the best way he could have handled the complete lack of morale in the office. And I already know people are complaining to the union and the EEO. I would if I was sure there wouldn’t be retaliation, which I am sure there would be.

Some of the changes that the employees would like to boost morale are changes that I don’t even want. I don’t want to telecommute. I don’t want to work four 10-hour days. But others in the office do. And you know what, you bring up the offices morale; mine will probably go along with it. Although I still think that the setup in the office, and the fact that my back will be to the walkway, was not thought out. And for the record, it is not that people will see what is on my screen, it’s that I hate people at my back.

Now, while I could probably make the argument that the director is creating a hostile work environment, I am not sure I want to fight that fight. Yet. I may write my union. I may write the EEO. I’m not sure what I will do yet. I have looked to lateral out of my job, which is a shame, because I actually like my job. I just hate the toxic environment that has been created.

Meetings just to have meetings. Moving personnel just to make changes.

And I am not going to go into the fact that he had to make sure I was at my desk when I didn’t go to the holiday party.

If you saw the full photo, you would notice that each desk had 4 monitors. Maybe if he gave me that I would stop complaining.

Pushover vs. Non-Combative

The other day I was playing a game of Warhammer and a difference of opinion arose between my opponent and me. Now, I didn’t put up for much of a fight for my side, even though I was pretty sure I knew I was right. Now this could make me a pushover in some people’s views. My opponent may have even thought I was a pushover. Heck, sometimes even I think I am a pushover. But taking this fight to the rulebook and to the FAQ’s just wasn’t worth the time and energy. It really wasn’t worth the fight, and arguing over something like this may have just sucked the fun out of playing the game.

I talked it over with other fellow gamers, and yes, my view on the rules was correct. It shouldn’t even have been in question; the rulebook stated exactly what I thought rules were. However, I still feel the fight was probably not worth it. I still had fun playing the game (even though I lost that match). So, yes, I put my head in the sand, just agreed to play by his perceived rules, and finished the game. Sometimes it is just easier to be non-combatitive.

This is not to say that I won’t get riled up, but I realize you have to pick your fights. If the fight is worth it in my view, I’ll put up a fight. I will go down swinging. Sometimes it even depends on whom I am arguing with. When it comes to some of my friends I have no problem arguing about rules. I will stand up for myself; it just takes a lot to get me going. I will also admit when I am wrong, which happens often enough.

And when it comes to the game, there are just some people and some times that it is just easier to nod and keep the game going.

It is, after all, just a game. As long as you have fun, you won.

And yes, I will probably play him again, and sadly, I will probably play by his rules.

 

My F-ing Mother

I have a very good relationship with my mother. However, if anyone heard the way we talk to each other, they wouldn’t believe that we do actually have a great relationship. The other day for example, my mom dropped the f-bomb, which is nothing special. And she dropped it at me; it wasn’t just a random drop. The F word was directed at me. Now this should be surprising, however, my mom and I do this all the time.

Actually, one of the best phrases my mom uses at me, and I am going to quote this directly, “Who the fuck raised you.” I hear that statement way too often, which probably wouldn’t surprise anyone who knows me. But, my mother is who the fuck raised me. And I know, she says it with love. I don’t know when my mom and I became so relaxed with our language. I really don’t feel comfortable using he F word with my dad, or at least not in the same way I use it with my mom, so it is really only with my mom that I am that at ease.

Most of you probably find this mildly offensive at least. But it’s my mom. When either of us needs to talk, we know we can call each other, and usually get ourselves laughing by the end of the conversation. Sure, we have our arguments. Actually, it’s when we are not swearing at each other that there is a problem. Luckily we seem to swear a lot at each other.

And I know that I can drive her crazy. When I go up to NJ to visit the family, it’s usually by the end of the first day that my mom starts asking, “Are you going home yet?” Hell, it’s usually by the end of the first hour.

Yes, my mother drops the F-bomb at me, and I do the same at her. But we drop these with love. And I believe this proves that what my friends have said about my mom is correct.

My mom is fucking awesome.

World Domination

A thought occurred to me the other day. I believe that George Takei is bent on world domination. Now, before you call me paranoid or a conspiracy theorist, how else can you explain that a supporting actor from a small time science fiction TV show could become the most popular individual on the web.

Let’s look at some facts.

Why would George Takei, or “Uncle George” think about world domination? I’m not a psychologist, so I don’t know the psychology behind those who want to rule the world. Maybe he wants revenge for him and his family being placed in concentration camps during World War II. He might be tired of waiting for the government to correct some perceived inequality. Maybe this is the only way he can think of to get rid of all evidence that he was once a voice over actor for a Godzilla movie. Any one of these could be the motive, or maybe it is something else entirely. I’m sure that his reasons seem noble to him and his legions of followers. And really, deleting all evidence of Godzilla can be considered noble.

How? This is easier. Look at what he uses to gain his popularity. The Internet. Yes, I am proposing that he is using cute cat images, funny pictures and videos, and the most evil of websites, Facebook, to brainwash his the common people to become his legions of followers. And it doesn’t stop at the Internet. He has books and a YouTube show to aide in converting the people. There is even a George Takei cologne called Eau My, so we cannot deny the fact that there may be chemical brainwashing involved. Even his voice, it is possible that the “Oh My” he keeps saying is a code word among his legions. Maybe it is a trigger for those who have already been brainwashed.

We are talking about a man who was a supporting actor on a TV show in the 1960’s, and now he has millions of followers. He has a musical based on his life and experiences during World War II. Millions of his books have been sold. We have to get this under control before a 76-year-old “actor” rules the world. His popularity is already such that he can take roles as himself. We must stop the insanity…

 

All hail Uncle George.

Uncle George

Three Thing Friday

1. Vivid Dreams. Last night I had a very vivid dream. This is not unusual for me, as I seem to have these dreams often. But this one was interesting. I was back working at White Oak Liquor and I was trying to work the register. There was a long line and I just couldn’t get it right. The lady’s bill was $10.55 and I needed to give her change from the $20 she gave me. And I could not get her the change. I could do the math in my head now and in the dream, but I could not even get the register open. I felt so useless. Stupid dream.

2. Self Control. I don’t have it. I wish I did. I’m fine with desserts and sweets. I have absolutely no issues with saying I have had enough. I can easily stop myself from eating too much dessert. But most other things, I just can’t seem to help myself. Last night for example, I ate way too much pizza. It was one of those frozen pizza that I cooked in my oven. And I ate the whole thing. Oh, it was a long night. I felt sick all night long, and I know that I did it to myself.

3. Tax Time. It’s everyone’s favorite time of the year. Time to get all of the tax information together make sure we paid our ineffective government. Thanks to congress, Scottrade and other investment companies do not have to send people their tax information till mid February. So, even though I am getting my info two weeks later, my taxes are still due to the IRS at the same time. Well, today is the day to collect everything and mail it out to my tax guy. Due to still having the house in NJ while I live and work in MD, the already confusing tax law is even more confusing. I’d rather let someone else worry about it.

Slaptastic

I admit it; I am hard on republican politicians. However, they usually make it so easy for someone like me to be hard on them. Passing laws that sound stupid to anyone with half a brain. Making statements that cause you to wonder if they even have an elementary school education. Catering to organizations that would sell the safety of the public for a few more cents of profit. They really do make it easy.

However, it is not only the republican party that comes out with something so stupid you have to wonder why we even try anymore. Maybe a democracy isn’t the best option. Yes, even the democrats can try and pass a law that just makes you scratch your head and wonder WTF?

A Kansas state lawmaker has proposed a bill that would allow teachers and caregivers to spank children up to 10 times, possibly causing redness and bruising. Now, while I have wanted to slap some children, it is not my responsibility. I know that some of my friends who are teachers would probably admit that sometimes their kids drive them to the breaking point. But they would also be the first ones to tell you this law does not pass the common sense test. And if someone else were to spank their kids (other than the parents), my friends would probably kick the crap out of them.

I will not argue if spanking kids is good or bad for the child. I was spanked, and I am sure I deserved it. I think I turned out ok, I mean I know I have my issues, but that is probably because I am a Klebold. Teachers and “caregivers” should not have that power. Only the parents should have the right to punish their kids in that way. It would be nice if some parents today would actually discipline their kids, but again, that is not the responsibility of teachers.

So yes, I am an equal opportunity blogger. If the Democrats pass a law that does not pass the common sense test, I will call them out on it too.

Dumbasses.