Delaware Cops

OK, time for a small rant. I don’t intend to rope all of the Delaware cops into this post, because I am sure that most know what they are doing. However, my most recent experiences in Delaware causes me question their training. Of course I am only in Delaware on Interstate 95 (and a little it of 295) for about 9 miles. But I almost hit a police car on two separate occasions. Now, I know, it seems like that would be my fault, but listen to the stories.

On Thursday, while heading in NJ for dinner with the family, there was a car accident near the Delaware rest stop. There were signs warning me and my fellow drivers, but it did not say where the accident was in the road. I decided that the slow lane was probably the safest place for me to be. I saw flashing lights, noticed that they were on the slow lane side of things. I took the first opportunity to move over a lane. The flashing lights were from a wrecker, which was parked on the shoulder. Not 100 feet away from that wrecker was a police car in the slow lane. Parked there. No lights, no flashers, nothing. And since traffic wasn’t slowing down, I would not be surprised if someone hit the car. Now, this was not my closest call. No, that happened a few months ago.

Driving home late at night, I was on 95 again, stuck behind an eighteen-wheeler in the fast lane. No big deal, I wasn’t driving aggressively, and didn’t mind maintain speed behind the truck. Again, it was dark, but I can see signs telling of construction ahead, but again, no signs told where the construction was. All of a sudden, the eighteen-wheeler dives into the next lane over, almost sideswiping someone. Then I saw why. Parked in the fast lane, without lights on again, was a parked Delaware State Trooper. I slammed on the brakes. The only thing louder than my car screeching to a halt was the line of cars behind me doing the same. People were diving out of the lane to avoid the accident. What was this cop thinking parking his car in the fast lane BEFORE the cones closing the lane for construction?

Again, I know not all Delaware cops are this dim. But after 2 bad experiences, I am a little afraid.

In the first case, maybe the accident just happened, and he just arrived. So maybe they haven’t yet put out flares. But the earlier incident? I am at a loss. People could have died. Maybe I would have seen something if I wasn’t behind the truck, but still, a cop would have to consider that when parking in the fast lane before the hazard cones.

Turkey Day

As far back as I can remember, my family met for thanksgiving dinner at my Grandfathers house. The place smelled of turkey, stuffing, and sides. My mom would be the one who would be the one baking pumpkin pies with Mrs. Smith as an aide. It made our entire house smell of pumpkin, and tormented me all day long. Her only other job for Thanksgiving was to get us to my Grandfather’s on time. And with how my sister and I usually behaved, that was a much more difficult task. There is even a story of my mother leaving my sister and me at home because we were not behaving on her birthday. Granted, that was not Thanksgiving, but it gives you a frame of reference for what my mother had to deal with. And while I cannot say I remember this, I can very much believe that it has happened.

I have a lot of fond memories of dinners at my grandfather’s house, and nit just Thanksgiving dinners. Also, while I do not miss much being a vegetarian, I do miss his cooking. Of course, I also miss my grandfather. I can even remember my grandmother being at the dinner table, but I do not remember the seating arragenments other than my grandfather being at the head of the table. When my grandfather died his brother took the place at the head of the table. Had to keep it in with the family.

There are many fond memories at that dinner table. One time I almost called them the F!@#-ing family, but I caught myself, barely. This has become known as the fffffamily incident. One time my sister dropped a potato into her glass, perfect shot. And of course, there are the onions that no one likes but that nearly everyone eats. Once I pointed out that I have my grandfather’s nose, and the looks on everyone’s faces as they realized they missed that through the years.

I am very thankful for the time I spent with my family, and because of my family, thanksgiving has become my favorite holiday.

Black Thursday

After listening to complaints for weeks about how K-Mart, Wal-Mart, and the like are starting their black Friday sales on Thursday night, I thought I would weigh in with my thoughts. Now, I do not plan on discussing if Wal-Mart underpays their employees, that is a different conversation entirely.

However, I cannot fault these stores or their decision makers about opening their stores on Thanksgiving. While I may not agree with their decision, it all comes down to economics and money, much like every decision in this country. Of course these stores are opening on Thursday to make money, they are a business after all. However, can we blame them when we are the ones who have created the demand for them to be open? We are such a sales orientated civilization that we cannot help ourselves when it comes to the sales on black Friday. So, maybe when you are complaining about stores opening on Thursday, and how these companies are requiring their employees to be at work, you should consider your neighbors, and possible yourselves, as the people who have created the demand. Now, you may say that the stores didn’t have to open that early, but if a demand is created, someone will step up to meet that demand.

My complaint over all of this is that stores are requiring people to work these hours and punishing those who won’t. I have to admit that I don’t have a solution, but I do have issues with this policy. The stores need people to man the store, but this is also supposed to be a time to spend with one’s family. Granted, it is not a religious holiday, and maybe that makes it less bad in the eyes of some, but historically, it is a major holiday in this country. Punishing people for wanting to be with their families may not be a policy I can support, but then again, this is a job that usually does not give days off. Look at gas stations, they are opened nearly 365 in most cases. And in the state of New Jersey, that means people have to be working on holidays. I don’t hear people stepping up for gas station attendants or people who work at Wawa. We seem only want to go after major corporations.

If you want to complain about these stores and their hours, how about we take a look at ourselves. Consider that we created the demand, and realize the actual problem.  Personally, my shopping can wait till Black Friday, or even later.

And now, something completely the same.

http://jeffreytharp.com/2013/11/06/misplaced-outrage/

Any plagiarism was completely unintentional. But the idea did originate from Jeffreytharp.com and I would like to thank him for a blog idea.

43 Seconds

Tickets for the Monty Python reunion show sold out in 43 seconds. That’s less time than it takes me to nuke my dinner. I guess I do not have to rush out and finds tickets to London for July. Forty-three seconds. This fantastically funny group put a TV show on the air for 4 entire seasons. Add to that a couple of movies, and you have one fantastic cult hit. My family never got my humor (or my music, or my movies, maybe I am adopted), and they never understood Monty Pythons Flying Circus.

I have one fantastic memory of one of their skits. So, I now bring you story time.

When I was in college, I was lucky enough to take an arts abroad class. It was basically 2 weeks in Europe before the semester started, and was more of a short vacation. On this one trip, I took a bus trip to a few tourist locations including the city of Bath. In Bath, after not eating all day, I decided to skip the tour and run to the pub. I ordered something small and chatted it up with the locals. Behind the bar I noticed a purple Aftershock.

Now, we have aftershock in the states, but it’s red. That’s it. I inquired what it was, and it was a mix of the red and the blue (hey look, it makes purple). Here in the states, we call the blue aftershock “Avalanche.” After almost missing the bus, I returned to London.

Later that night, I joined my friends at a club. Still, having not eaten anything, I went up to the bar and asked if they could make me a purple aftershock. It was good, and it was a double shot. After the first one, I introduced my friend to it and did another double shot. He liked it so much, that he decided to introduce it to his friend, and I did my 3rd double shot.

What does this have to do with Monty Python? Well, one of the few things I can remember from that night is a brief moment of the walk home. All I can remember is talking to one of the women on the trip (and I can’t even remember her name) about the Ministry of Silly Walks. That’s it. I swear. Oh, and she got it! She understood the joke.

Or she was just placating a drunk.

One Good Reason

After putting some thought into it, I have come up with only one good reason to have a kid. That’s right, just one. And it is a purely self-serving reason. When I was married, I was indifferent to having kids. Sure, we tried, but not all that hard. But as I grew older, I realized that I didn’t want the responsibility.

Now, I will admit that I like some “Kids” movies. Like “How to Train a Dragon” or “Ice Age” for example. Now, with a kid, I would be able to get into these movies and not feel like a pedophile. Granted, I don’t go to the movies all that often, so I really don’t have to worry about it, but I could go if I wanted.

Of course, the solution to that is to be a godparent. And I will not question my friend’s decision to choose me as a godparent, but that is the solution I have. Plus, not being the parent, I can give the kid back when I am done.

I have even been told that I am good with kids and that they seem to like me. I took my godchild and her sister to the aquarium once, and we had a great time. I do get alone with children, but only in the short term. I like the option of giving them back to the parents.

Maybe kids are like cats, they go right for the people that are allergic to them.

Thanks Mom

“If I’m up, everyone is up!” That is the saying I grew up with. I heard it nearly every morning, especially on weekends. My mother said it all the time. She was a morning person. I don’t know if that was a choice of hers, or if it was because of how she was raised. Her philosophy was that if you slept till 9, you lost half the day. She was never very good at math, but you do lose an extra couple of hours.

And now, I unwillingly get up at 6am even without an alarm clock. And that is really tough to do when you have late nights. Regardless of the time I to to bed, I will be up at 6 am, and it is not always the cat’s fault, though they do seem to function as alarm cats. So, if I go to bed at 10 pm or 3 am I am up and about at 6. Now, I may try to go take nap at some point during the day, but that morning alarm clock is ingrained into my head.

There is an upside to that though, when I lose power, I don’t always need that alarm clock to get me up for work. I also get some serious stuff done in the morning. It is great going to Shop Rite at 7 am when no one is there. No lines to worry about. In fact, growing up, there was only one day of the year when I would wake up before my parents, and that was Christmas morning. Of course, I couldn’t sleep Christmas Eve, so I have no idea how I functioned on nearly no sleep.

There is now a rule within my family. My mom, my early rising mom, is not allowed to call my Aunt before 9am. At least someone in this crazy family is managing to sleep in.

Talking Cats

I have to admit that I talk to my cats. They very rarely respond, but I do talk to them. And outside of the normal; “Good morning”, “Bless you”, “good girl/boy” and “NO!” I find myself saying certain phrases over and over.

1. “That’s no position for a gentleman/lady” – I find myself saying this to a cat at least once a day. They lie on their backs, stretched out, airing themselves to the world. The comment makes me laugh, and I am sure they they are thinking “leave me alone” or “I don’t see you wearing a full fur coat.” But really, this is not what I want to see, but it still is adorable.

LOKI 1

2. “Can I go to the bathroom alone?” – I am sure most cat owners know this feeling. You go into the bathroom alone, and in moments you have a visitor. Or, if you close the door, you have paws reaching under the door. For some reason, once I am in the bathroom, it becomes the place to be. There is a party there, and everyone is invited.

3. “Loki/Pips/Angel, you are in charge” – I don’t know why I do this, but I always appoint a cat in charge of the house while I am away. Usually it’s Loki, I mean this is his house, but sometimes I leave the other cats in charge. And yes, I acknowledge that the house is no longer mine, I am a guest.

4. “Meow” – Yea, I meow back at my cats. I know this drives them nuts. I mimic their meow back at them. I have no idea what they are saying, for all I know I am swearing at them. But, it’s fun to answer them.

5. “What’s the plan for today?” – Yea, I know that their plan is to sleep with steady interruptions of eating and napping, but I ask anyway.

I know I am not the only one to talk to their cats, I mean, I know the rest of the family does as well. If you are a cat owner, or just a pet owner, think of the phrases you say to them repeatedly. Just think about that and what they may be thinking.

LOKI 2

 

Numbers Addict

My name is Brian, and I am a numberaholic. I know, that’s not a real word, but I have to admit it, I love numbers. I have a spreadsheet that shows my current debt and projects it out till the end of my mortgage. Granted this debt only includes my mortgage and my student loan, but I have a spreadsheet showing a conservative worst case for paying off my loans. Really, those two bills are my only debt since mt credit card is paid off every month. Every time I make an extra payment, I shift all of the numbers to correct for this. Now, this would not be a big deal, except along with this spreadsheet are also a ton of graphs and even a debt ratio. I went all out with this debt spreadsheet, and I think about it all the time.

My love of numbers also crosses over to my blog site. I can’t help but watching the numbers on the blog, watching the amount of people who read the blog, watching the totals for the days, weeks, and months. I get all excited when I get new highs and I am disappointed about my lows. I look into what I posted on those highs and wonder if I can replicate them. I can’t help it; I need to watch these numbers,. I have to check more than once and hour.

Even when it comes to my gaming hobby, I track numbers. I track my win/loss/tie record, I track my record against my friends, my league, and I even track my record by my armies. I have created graphs for this, yet, but I do see it happening.

I follow all numbers that I can think of in my life. I look for patterns, averages, and meanings behind all of these numbers.

Again, Hello, my name is Brian, and I am a numberaholic.

Geek out

This is the blog I was going to post, a blog about a small part of my geekness. Due to a choice I made, and a situation from yesterday, it had to be postponed. Another blog had to take priority.

Tonight, on the 19th of November 2013, I was hanging outside of a Starbucks with a bunch of my friends. I know, I am posting after I wrote it, but deal with it. Anyway, I was hanging with friends and we watched the Air Force’s rocket soar into space. At least, we all assume it was the rocket, cause it wasn’t a plane or a helicopter. It flew in a way that we, all of us in this group, have never seen before. And it was totally awesome.

I once wrote that I have a stargazing mind. And it is still true. I can gaze into space for hours on end. A clear night looking at the constellations, trying to find them and identify them, is relaxing and a lot of fun. I even downloaded an app for just such occasions. Watching a rocket, something designed by man, and what can only be considered a controlled explosion, fly into orbit, or as far as the human eye can see, is awe-inspiring.

I often wonder if we are the only beings in the world. To paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, The thought of other species existing in the universe is extremely terrifying, almost as much as the thought of us being alone in the universe. Maybe one day, far into the future, the children of this planet will meet the children of another. I do not believe I will be alive to witness this, but I can hope I am.

At least I think I do. If the Aliens races are anything like the human race, we are in a lot of trouble. The only reason I can think for an alien race to come here would be for more resources. And if that is the case, we are all going to die. Granted, that’s thinking in very human terms, maybe they will be beyond that.

What Leadership?

I had a blog already prepared for today, but recent events at work have caused me to change my plans. We recently had a training exercise at work, and the exercise was based around a denial of service attack on post. Basically, what would army civilians do if the web went away? And I will admit, I learned some things, but not all of them were good.

1. It seems that if we lose the Internet at work, leadership disappears. I mean, vanishes. They were nowhere to be seen. So, this leads me believe that if the Internet were to actually go down, I, as a government employee, would be on my own. Before most exercises we go over the procedures, in this case, everyone was left on their own to find a way to do their job. And guess what? I wasn’t one of the few to lose Internet, so my day went on as normal, with some extra laughter thrown in.

2. Higher leadership is terrible at keeping secrets. You can tell from the start of this exercise that they knew more than they were letting on. I admit, in the beginning, I couldn’t tell if they knew who was doing the attack, or if it was an exercise, but it was obvious that they knew more than they were telling us. And as time went on, with no real panic, you can tell it was an exercise.

3. Training exercises like this, if it is discovered that it is not real, tend to become just a joke. Nothing more, nothing less. It was actually kind of sad, but since I had the web, I took a perverse pleasure in my friends not having access. I did get most of my normal work done, but we didn’t really learn what we would do if web access ceased to exist.

4. The programmers in the army are pretty impressive. The can actually deny access to the web based on the time you come into work. That is pretty awesome to a non-programmer like me. At least that’s how it seemed. If you logged off your computer the night before, and came in after 8ish, you had no Internet access. We tested this as I left work. I restarted my computer, and lost all access.

5. Again, if this was a real situation, I don’t think leadership would disappear like they did. So, guess what, our real world scenario, wasn’t so real. Unless whatever brought down the internet also killed all of the leadership on post, and in that case, I don’t think doing my job would have been a top priority.