Too long

I have been working in government contracting for far too long. It has been about 8 years now, and it is just getting weird. Today, a mass email was sent out about “The Day of Obligation”.

Now, as an atheist, I am not going to even go into if using government email to promote a religious function is proper. I don’t agree with it, but hey, that’s what the delete button is for. I have a coworker who is also an atheist who actually gets verbally upset when it happens. The “Is this a joke?” statement kind of tells that story. But much like when there is something on TV I don’t like, I have the ability to ignore this email.

However, today, I actually laughed out loud. I read that, and it took me a minute to realize that they are not talking about a day when Contracting obligates a lot of documents. That would have been September 30th. No, and I am a little embarrassed to say that it took me a few moments to pick up on that fact. Must be getting old.

A Few Days Early

So, with Halloween almost here, I have been thinking about my costumes through the years. I have seen pictures of me as a pumpkin (I think), I have really vague memories of me being a clown, one Christmas play I was a snowman, which has nothing to do with Halloween. But this is Halloween, October 31st, the nigh of all the candy. And while I honestly can’t remember all of my costumes, I do remember some.

I do remember being a headless monster. I wore a very large shirt, arms were stuffed, and one arm was holding my “head.” I had to peer out of a whole between the buttons of a shirt. I have no idea how I got candy, or carried the bag.

I remember dressing up as a woman; I even have pictures of that. I must remember to thank my mother for letting me out in public like that. I will not name names, but a friend of mine did the same, and that is even more disturbing. We were wearing our mothers close, had the wig, and both of us would like to pretend this never happened.

The worst costume I ever wore that I can actually remember was a mummy. This was a bad idea from start to finish, especially since this was a homemade mummy. I don’t remember what the costume was made out of, but I do remember that as I walked down the street, the darn thing fell apart. I didn’t even make it to the end of my street before I walked home, costume pieces being dragged behind me. It was a mess.

And, of course, there is the Star Trek uniform. I wore that so long ago I am surprised I can remember it. Ok, I wore it to a friend’s party during my college years, and the reason I would forget about it is because I was blitzed. Actually, I still have that shirt, and no, I am not wearing it this year.

Bite yer tongue

A strange thing has happened since I started this blog. I have started taking time to gather my thoughts, not just react to a situation. For example, over the last few weeks many things have been said to me, emailed to me, texted to me. Statements have been said that have just ticked me off. Angered me. Frustrated me. Pissed me off. Now, Old me would have just reacted, spoke what was on my mind, and I probably would have said things that I may have regretted later.

Lately though, I have managed to bite my tongue, and believe me, that hurts. I have learned to take time in gathering my thoughts. Pondered things and evaluated if what I wanted to say at that moment would have made things better or worse.  I think about what I want to say and how it would be perceived. Would I regret saying these things? In most cases, I know I would. And the ability to blog those thoughts, and then never have the ability to take them, it’s a very scary thought.  It’s a very scary ability.

Instead, I have backed off. Sat back, thought. Take my time. Not react. I have yet to respond to any of the issues. I am still pondering, still waiting. Still thinking.

Blackfish

I have yet to watch “Blackfish”. I want to, I just can’t bring myself to watch it. I have a hard enough time watching “Seas of Life” when the killer whales are hunting a baby humpback whale. Apparently, I am too much of a softie. Yet, I have no issues watching great whites hunting seals, odd.

I remember my parents bringing me to Sea World when I was younger. And it worked; I was fascinated with sea life. I didn’t learn much, but I was hooked. As I got older, I started wondering if aquariums are a fit place for large sea creatures. I know, some adapt excellently, but maybe it is not the best place for all sea creatures. Great Whites don’t last long in aquariums; I believe the longest one lived was 1 year in captivity.

Is a fish tank the best place to squeeze in whale sharks? Is training animals we call killer whales a good idea? Is cramming a bunch of dolphins into a tank to put them on display for us to ogle best for the dolphin? We can learn so much from them, but are we learning enough to justify the cost?

Like I said, some animals adept fine, but not all. After diving with white sharks, I don’t even know how I feel about nurse sharks being trapped inside a small tank. Now, their tanks may not seem small to us, but we are talking about animal that had the oceans and reefs to roam, and now have a small circular tank to swim around and around an around. Maybe we, as a species, need to look at how we would feel being put in a cage. Wait, we do that to, and we do it as a punishment.

62 degrees

Apparently, 62 degrees is my limit, at least indoors. This morning my heat kicked on for the first time. I wasn’t paying attention, actually, I didn’t even notice. But when I was eating breakfast I noticed it actually running. I was a little cold, I’ll admit that, but it was nice. I went to the thermostat, and I had them temp set for 62.

I’m not one of those people who complains about the cold. I love the cold. Snow, Sleet, Ice, I love it all. I have repeatedly complained about heat. I hate heat. I use up all my weather complaints during the summer. All that humidity? I’d rather live at the north pole. You can keep adding clothes, but you can only take so much off before you get arrested.

In fact, when I retire, I would love to retire in Canada. NORTH Canada. But with climate change, I’ll probably have to choose a new location when I actually retire.

Forced Fun Day!

Oh, the complaints I have today.

1. Forced Fun Day. I understand management needs to keep morale up, however, forcing us to have fun is not the way to do it. Today, there was a “Hail/Farewell/Teambuilding” event where I work. They decided to have a pinewood derby race to build morale and work on teambuilding. But since no one was signing up to go, they decided to make it mandatory. And that is just stupid. Sadly, I was unable to attend, I happened to make a chiropractor appointment at that exact time. It was the “earliest” I was able to get an appointment. And what does that say about these events? People would rather use leave that go to it. And if you have to force people to go in order to get people to go, maybe common sense should prevail and these things should no longer be held. Think of the money that could be saved when I actually sit at my desk and work.

2. Earlier this week the building I work in got some new decorations. We have some new etched glass panels hanging on the walls and these panels are backlit with LED lights. I will admit, they look good. However, who had the bright idea of hanging these up after two recent furloughs. You can sign a contract and pay for these but you can’t afford to pay me and my fellow workers? As far as I can tell, these had to be paid with O&M dollars, the same dollars that pay civilian and military. Unles they were researching new ways to etch glass. And who are you trying to impress? It’s not like I seem them more than when I walk into and out of the building. All the U.S. Army did was show me that decorations are more important than their employees. And I don’t even want to think of the hundreds of thousands of dollars spent to make the lobby of a build look nice when the rest of the building looks like it is falling apart.

More or less productive

Today’s blog is brought to you by boredom.

I would love to thank the government for actually doing all they can to reduce my productivity. My team used to be nearly self-sufficient. Last year, some new systems that we are required to use, slowed us down. We now had to deal with another organization for at least one of our tasks. Well, thanks to another new policy, more than one of my normal tasks have been taken over by another office.

Now, you would think that this would make my job easier. But this is the government, so of course it doesn’t. It’s actually reduces productivity. By a lot. It now takes longer to get funding onto contract. And because of this delay, I may have to pull contractors out of theater. This wouldn’t be so bad, except, that in a few days, when I actually get the money onto contract, I have to send them back to theater. Which, of course, will cost the government even more money, since it costs more to pull them back and resend them then it would to just keep them there.

We, as a team, used to be able to receive money, process money, and get money onto contract alone. Now we have to keep involving this other office because they “know” what they are doing. Well, how about the fact that others in that organization keep coming to me since I know how to use the systems. How about the fact that since we went to them for other services everything has slowed down. The “help” we have been getting has been noticeably worse then when we were self-sufficient. So, that’s you tax dollars not at work.

Wandering

Walking into work today, well, walking in from where I parked, I found myself gazing up at the stars, and I realized two things. First, I get into work way too early. Before the sun even rises. Roosters are not even up when I am at work. But that is not the point of today’s blog.

I also realized that my mind wonders to wandering. I would love to travel in space. I would love to go to the stars and see what is there. I think that’s why I read so much science fiction and science fantasy. It allows me to go to where I will never have the chance. It allows me to actually use my imagination, and use the imagination of others to travel where I can’t go in reality.

Now, some may ask what the difference between science fantasy and science fiction is. Well, to paraphrase Arthur C. Clarke, Science Fiction is what you do not want to happen, but there is a good chance that it will, like most of his writings. And Science Fantasy is what you want to happen, but probably won’t, like Star Wars.

I would love to walk on another world. I would love to travel among the stars. And yes, I would even go to Mars knowing it was a one-way trip. It would be amazing.  Besides, the human race has already started to ruin this planet, I think we should spread to other planets, and ruin them.

What you like

I love wine. Almost all wine, except for the fake wine, Blush. But red, white, dry, sweet, and even dessert wine. I am a wine snob. Well, sort of a wine snob.

I never recommend wines based on price, only on tastes. Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy an expensive wine, but you can get a great tasting wine for fewer than fifteen dollars. Just comparing my two favorite wineries, Va La and Heritage, you can tell that prices are not going to change my opinions.

Va La, a micro-vineyard in southern PA is a fantastic winery, but their wines are on the expensive side. Even the tastings are expensive. They make only dry wines, and almost only red. They do have one white, a dry white, which is pretty good. But they excel at their reds. However, you are going to pay for it. Their cheapest bottle sells for $25, while their most expensive is $45. And, of course, I love that red. I once dropped a grand at Va La in one trip. I always recommend them to people who like reds. I admit, not all of my friends agree with me, but they don’t have to, I like them. They also serve some food with their tastings, and I cannot recommend their wine infused truffles enough.

Now Heritage is on the other end of the spectrum. They make a larger variety of wines, more whites, some blushes (yuck), and some red. The wine that I get the most there is their Jersey White. It is fantastic. It is a sweet white wine with just a hint of peach, and it costs less than $15. I drink it almost throughout the summer, sitting outside listening to music with my friends on Thursday nights. But it’s not only that wine I like there; I like almost all of their wine. Their Syrah, Chambourcin, Merlot, Chardonnay, all of them good.

In short, if you find a wine that you like, you shouldn’t care what others think, including the “professionals”. If you like it, drink it.

Unless it’s a blush, then you are un-American.

Cross Pollination

I have a lot of friends. Actually, I have a lot of great friends. But they all seem to fall into specific categories. I have my old high school friends. I have my college friends. I have my work friends. And I have my gaming friends. Now, some of these groups interact with each other, but there is always a part of me that feels weird when this happens. My HS friends and my College friends interact the most, and I am mostly comfortable with that, but it’s when some of these other friends interact I feel weird. It’s like worlds are colliding.

For example, a few months ago I was enjoying my usual Tuesday down in White Marsh. I was playing my usual warhammer game with my gaming friends. I was thoroughly enjoying myself. Then it happened. Two of my best friends from the work friend group found out I was there and stopped by. These people are close friends. I was in one of their weddings. But it made me uncomfortable. It’s not like I am embarrassed I am a gaming geek, every one knows it. Heck, I brag about that fact. They know I am a geek; they knew I would be there. But they invaded my gaming world.

These worlds were never meant to collide!

I know, it’s weird. But it’s who I am.