Three Thing Friday

1. 5 Reasons – Apparently, there are five reasons that I would willingly put on a suit, and most of the time, it’s not even willingly. These reasons are for a wedding, for a funeral, for an interview for a new job, for a meeting with the contractors, and finally for a dive with sharks.

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Those are the only reasons I believe that would get me in a suit. And yes, this week I had to suit up, and I was not all that happy about it. But sometimes, you just have to what you do not want to do.

2. Timing – Sometimes, the timing of certain news articles just has to make you laugh. Yesterday, for example, we were in a meeting where we were told about what the commander of CECOM and the commander of AMC (the higher command) said about furloughs, layoffs, current employments levels, and a few other things. Nothing new was covered, but still, it was probably a good thing that this information was covered.

Then, when I got back to my desk, a co-worker pointed out an article on CNN that stated “U.S. Army Officers Lie Routinely.” Wow. That was perfect.

Now, I am not saying that the leaders of CECOM and AMC were lying, but I am saying that seeing that article right after the meeting… made me laugh, and wonder. Maybe I should be a little more concerned.

3. Bloody Cold – Ok, I admit it, it is damn cold here. Not as cold as it could be, but it is damn cold. And while I love the cold, I like to be prepared for it. This week, sadly, I wasn’t. I forgot to dress in layers. I only wore my one coat, and it wasn’t even my good winter coat. I was just not prepared.

Now, while a co-worker of mine changed his mind about moving to Alaska, where his neighbors would be a good distance away, this cold snap actually made me want to move to Alaska even more. Sure, I would prefer my own little island, but I believe Alaska would be a little more affordable.

So yes, I still love the cold.

Ash Wednesday

Last night I got my standard Ash Wednesday message from my mother. My loving, caring mother take times out of her day every year to send me a reminder to not eat meat on Ash Wednesday or on any Friday throughout the weeks of lent.

This has become a yearly exercise that even my friends find entertaining. My mother knows I am a vegetarian and that I am an atheist, but she still takes the time.

Well, this will be another lent that I do not eat meat on Fridays. It’s no longer hard to remember this.

First Delayed Opening

So, today I got my first delayed opening of the year due to “extreme weather conditions.” And looking outside my window, that is now wrong. We got 4 hours, which I have already spent a good portion shoveling snow (which is still falling as I type this), hurting my back, and not enjoying the morning.

Now, I keep pondering if I should go into work or not. If I go in, I have to trek the 6-mile drive that normally takes 12 minutes, but today will probably take 30 and work my five hours that are remaining in the day. However, if I decide to not to go in and use some of my leave, I have to take the whole day. That’s right, even though the post was not even opened for some of my normal hours; I have to use up 9 hours to take the rest of the day off.

Tough decision.

Three Thing Friday

1. How I spent my birthday – I did nothing exciting. I spent some time cleaning the house. I vacuumed up another cat’s worth of cat hair. And by that, I mean I could have built a clone of Loki if I felt inclined to do so.

I spent time doing taxes. I gathered everything I could for this new tax season. I cannot wait for the house that causes all my tax problems to finally be sold. Plus, even though it is mid-February, I still do not have everything I need. I am still waiting for the information on my stocks. What I really want is to get all my information to my tax guy.

I spent time watching a lot of X-files. Hey, I had to do something for myself.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad day.

2. X-Files – Speaking of X-files, this has to be at least the 4th time I have watched the complete series. I plan on getting my moneys worth out of these DVDs. But something that I realized on this viewing of the series is that I actually am beginning to understand the Cigarette Smoking Man. Anyone who knows anything about this show knows that the CSM is the leading “villain”. But this is the first time I ever really understood what he was doing, and why.

I do not know what that says about me. I know that he was trying to do the right things. Or maybe he was doing the wrong things, for the right reasons.

Either way, I finally understand him in a way I never have before. After Scully, and the Smoking Gunmen, he may be my favorite character.

3. Shark Attacks – So, while a recent death in Australia is making the news, what isn’t making the new are the statics from 2014.

Recently, a Japanese surfer was killed by what might have been (probably was) a great white shark. The man was surfing early in the morning and had his legs ripped off by what is being called a massive shark. And while I truly feel sorry for the man’s family, he could have prevented this. Sharks tend to hunt early in the morning as well as late at night, and this man went surfing in the early morning. Also, the man’s legs were taken, which implies that it is another case of mistaken identity. The Great White would hit hard and fast in order to disable a seal. If the shark truly wanted to, he could have finished off this man in the water. It didn’t do that.

As I said before, what is not making the news are the shark statistics from 2014. Deadly shark attacks in 2014 are down from 2013. In 2013 there were 10 deaths due to shark attacks while in 2014 there were only 3. Granted, this is only counting unprovoked shark attacks, but honestly, anyone who provokes a shark attack deserves what they get. The total unprovoked shark attacks has remained about the same between the two years. So, maybe we are learning to respect the sharks. Maybe we are having better response times to those attacked. Maybe the sharks just made fewer lethal mistakes.

But for all of the shark attacks that are covered in the news, you would think that they would be more successful at killing their victims.

Thank you ISIS

Well, ISIS finally turned an admitted pacifist into someone who hopes that this country steps up and drops enough bombs to double our deficit. I hope this country drops enough bombs to turn every city that they currently occupy into a giant crater.

Ok, maybe that is too far. I know innocents would be killed, but innocents are already being killed.

I was actually starting to lean away from my pacifism when ISIS posted the video of them burning the pilot from the Jordan military. I still have not been able to bring myself to actually watch it, but just the fact that this is how they treated the man; I began to shift away from my pacifism. And now they murdered someone who was just trying to help. Yes, maybe she should not have been there, and if it was me, I would not want this country to risk the lives of others to save my life, but enough is enough.

I’m sure they think that they are scaring people like me, but they have failed. I am not afraid of them. What they have accomplished it angering me. Angering me to a point that if someone turned the entire city to glass, I would not have any regrets.

Hell, if it came to it, I would push the button myself, just so some other person wouldn’t have to live with that on their conscience.

Right now, I know I could live with it.

So thank you ISIS, you pushed me over the edge.

I hope every one of you experiences a very painful death.

Three Thing Friday

1. More Cameras! – So, a couple of days ago another pod of orcas was caught on film killing a great white shark. Apparently they did this using the shark’s weakness of catatonic immobility. The flipped the great white upside down, and then killed it. This seems to be fairly easy for a pack of killer whales. Obviously this is not the first time that this has been caught on film. A few years ago, off an island near Mexico, the same thing was caught on film and the scientific community was awash with glee.

On the page that posted the video, at least the one I was looking at, there were some interesting comments about the attack. Some people were talking about how this, while being an act of nature, made them sad. Others said that it was exciting. Some people made the comments about how the killer whales are teach each other how to kill the sharks, and may even push the great whites to extinction.

Now, after some discussion with a friend, he brought up a good point. Is this actually a new occurrence? Is this something the orcas have only recently learned to do? Maybe, as my friend said, humans are now spending more time on the water and we all have cameras on our phones so it is easier to document something like this. It was only recently that a shark giving live birth for the first time, and it’s not like this is something the sharks just learned how to do.

Maybe, with people finally taking an interest in life under water we are beginning to see nature in all of it’s true beauty, and horror.

2. More Time! – Today, on my day off, I have an appointment with someone to look at putting solar panels on my house. Now it is not the normal solar panel setup, I will not actually own them. It’s more like I will be renting them, and will get a discount on my electrical bill. I’m not sure if it is worth it, or if I will even qualify for the solar panels. This is how my morning will be spent, waiting.

I was given a 4-hour window for this appointment. I have to wait for this guy to show up, look around my attic and at my fuse box, then leave. Finally, after all of that, I may get my day started.

At least I can get some good X-files in.

3. More Focus! – I still want to go to the Bahamas in January of next year. I still want to go diving with tiger sharks, but I am having a hard time finding exactly what I want. I found a highly recommended “tour guide” but he only does trips where you live aboard the boat for the week. Since I have friends who I want to go with me who do not dive, this does not make sense on any level. I found an option where I could rent a boat for a day, but this could get expensive if I do not have other divers, say about ten of them. I have limited funds for this trip. I guess I should lock down on a number of divers who are actually interested in going, maybe then I can make more firm plans. But, those same people will want to know exact costs before they decide if they want or can afford to go.

I still want to go, I still want to have a fun vacation with friends, but I am losing my focus on booking this trip.

I may just give up, but not yet. I still have a little under a year for this trip to come together. And I still have the hope of going back to Guadeloupe at the end of 2016, because I love diving with those great whites.

Jurassic World Predictions

So, now that I have seen the trailer that premiered during the Super Bowl, which I still say was the funniest commercial of the night, I decided to make some predictions about the movie. And while I think the movie will be bad, I admit that I will still go and see it.

And on to my predictions…

  1. There will be a raptor named Fido, since the raptors seem to be house trained in this film, Fido seems as good of a name as any.
  2. The two child characters will be put in peril after peril after peril (which I admit you can see in the trailer) but both will survive the entire move.
  3. The lead female scientist, the one who genetically engineered the new and improved dinosaur, will be killed. She will realize that she was wrong, and she will die. Possibly saving the kids.
  4. B.D. Wong, who returns in this film, will die. And he will probably die early on in the film.
  5. Since this is a Legendary film… Godzilla or something from Pacific Rim will save the day. (I don’t actually believe this one).
  6. At some point in the film, the raptors, which will fight the new dinosaur, will lose one to the fight. There will be a moment where they mourn the dead raptor, making them seem more human.
  7. There will be gaping plot holes, and there will be an opening for a sequel. This is obvious.
  8. This movie will make a profit, but its ratings will only be average. It will have awesome special effects, not much of a plot. Like most of the Jurassic Park films.
  9. Star-Lord will survive the film.
  10. There will be some lame references to the prior movies. Something like “You asked if you could, but you never stopped to think if you should” or something to that effect.

That’s it. Those are my 10 predictions for the movie. I hope I am wrong, I hope there are some surprises. Who knows, maybe Godzilla will show up.

Three Thing Friday

Three Thing Friday

1. Do Not Call – I am not a big fan of talking on the phone. Actually, unless I have to, I prefer to not even answer the phone. If someone needs to get in touch with me, they can email me, Facebook me, or text me. Even at work I try to avoid answering the phone, that’s what emails are for. There is only one person I talk to frequently on the phone, and I don’t plan on increasing that list any time soon.

What does this all mean? I have no idea. Maybe I am becoming more and more anti-social. Maybe I don’t want to deal with people.

Maybe people just annoy me.

2. More Muslimphobia – So, there is a Texas politician who decided that any Muslim who enters her office has to recite the “Pledge of Allegiance” and renounce Islamic Terrorism. And this is just stupid. Not because she is requiring people to recite the pledge, but because she decided to target on specific category of people. I think she should make all white people renounce the KKK up entering. Make everyone who enters the office recite the pledge.

No, this woman is just crazy. She doesn’t care about the illegality of this. I would like to believe when politicians this wacked out come up for reelection, they would lose, but history shows that the crazies are the one’s who are running this sinking ship.

3. Super Bowl Weekend – Well, it is that time of year again. It is time for the Super Bowl. It is time for the funniest commercials. It is time for a terrible half time show that makes more news that the game (ok, that hasn’t happened in a while). It is time for two teams that I don’t care about to play a game that will be talked about for a couple of months, and then forgotten.

I may watch the game. I may turn it on. Odds are I will not. Odds are I will watch some Top Gear and work on some of my hobbies.

I’ll probably be better entertained than those who actually watch the game.

A Plethora of Bad Decisions

Today I found myself telling a tale to a friend that happened a few years ago. I swear it was like I was still in college, but this took place about five years ago. It all started when I wanted to go to a NY Rangers game. I decided that I would see them play the Flyers in Philly. I bought a couple of tickets and offered to two of my friends. Here is mistake number two, number one going to Philly to see the Rangers play. Number two is that I decided to go with my two friends who are Philly fans. One at least said that they wouldn’t kill me at the game. The wife… yea, she couldn’t promise that.

And now we come up to Bad Decision number three. The day of the game called for a terrible snowstorm, a little like the one that was predicted to hit this past weekend that turned out to be nothing. Except, this storm was something. Well, a little snow wouldn’t stop me, so I drove to my friend’s house and they drove the rest of the way to the game. The game was fun, I had a good time, and everyone gave me a hard time, as I was crazy enough to wear my Rangers jersey in enemy territory. Especially those children who were under the age of eight. There were no real bad decisions made at the game, but after the game is a different story.

After the game, we drove back to my friend’s house in a slowly building storm. It so happened that my friends were throwing a party that night. We decided to make the drive to the party house, which was only a few miles away from my house. And there is another bad decision (4?). We left my car at the first house. Plus, there was an incident that was another bad decision; I was actually hanging onto the back of my friend’s car, being dragged in the snow. I have no idea what I was thinking. Again, it was like a bad (or good) college road trip.

The trip to the party should have taken about an hour. It took us about three, maybe even four. We could have made it to Virginia in the time it took to cross the great state of New Jersey. We should have turned around, which should count as another bad decision. We passed snowplows that slid off the road. Like, actual snowplows. Trucks designed to handle these storms, and we kept driving.

We did make it to the party. We had a blast. Lots of alcohol was consumed. And it is sad when consuming lethal amounts of wine is the least bad decision you make in a night.

Too Much Money

I never though I would see the day where I was told I couldn’t do something because an account has too much money. No, it’s not my money; it’s the government, which makes this tale a little more entertaining.

How things work in the Army is that I send a request someone (let’s call her Martha) to set up an account in this new and worse system we are required to use. Once it is set up, I inform my customer (Let’s call her Pat) and they fund the account and fill out a form telling me that they have done so, and with what amount. There are a few other things on said form, but they don’t matter for the story. Once I get that form, I plug the financial information into two other systems (that’s three so far), and then send the signed form back to the Martha. Martha is not a member of my team; she has nothing to do with my contract, other than to set up accounts for bills to be paid.

Here where things got a little weird in my tale. I split the money into to “checks” to go onto contract. Don’t ask why, I have a good reason for the money to have been separated and all of those reasons are legal, legitimate, and have the blessings of Pat, since it is her money. So, for ease and because I don’t know the exact amounts, I am going to use round numbers.

Let’s say Pat sent me $200,000 a few months ago. I put $100,000 on one check and a month later I put another $100,000 on a different check. Later in the year (today) Pat sends me another $100,000 and I try to put it on the second check (all of the correct forms are signed and say $200,000 plus $100,000 equals a new total of $300,000).

Well, Martha looked at the form, then looked at the amount I was trying to add to the check, noticed that the new check total would equal $200,000, $100,000 less than the form. So, according to her, I have too much money in the account to put money onto contract. Which is wrong, since she forgot the original check that she approved.

But still, there is too much money in the account for the check to be approved and sent to contract. WHAT?!?!?!? Only in the government.