Saturday, February 28, 2009
Friday, February 27, 2009
From the ad:
Single hook-and-loop strap secures a sporty mary jane walking shoe outfitted with a patented Masai Sensor sole that has a soft surface similar to walking on a sandy beach. The natural instability this creates activates the supporting muscle system and conditions the body simply by walking. With continued wear, benefits can include improved circulation and posture; reduced stress and pressure on the back, feet and joints; and an overall toned appearance.
Thursday, February 26, 2009
At first in the interview, I spoke with two women. They seemed pleased with me, and I felt very comfortable. I started thinking this was going very well. They asked me to stay there and then the women left the room. A couple minutes later, the director came back and said that they were going to re-interview the top three candidates and that since I was there, they'd go ahead and re-interview me then, that I was in the top 3 of the 11 interviewed. Naturally, I was pleased. Three more panelists came in to ask me more questions. Some of my answers were recapitulations of earlier answers, and again, I felt comfortable and that I was holding my own.
The job would involve marketing and promotional work, albeit in an industry completely different from my own. I do a lot of event planning and promotional and advertising type tasks, so it seemed to me this would not be that much of a stretch. Clearly they liked me, I liked them, and this seemed a good fit. I started really feeling they would choose me.
The second group of panelists left me alone with the director again, and she asked if I had any further questions. I said I felt we'd covered my questions, and then she began talking, sort of riffing to perhaps fill the time. She said this would be the first time she alone had trained someone for this position and that she was concerned about how it would go. IF the wheels fell off at all in this process, THIS is where it happened: I said "I'm composing a procedures manual for the person who will follow me in my current position, and if you'd like, if I'm in this marketing position, I can compose the procedures documents as we go along."
*cue record scratch*
Came the response "oh, we have a procedures manual," and I think she may have taken umbrage at my suggestion.
Y'see, if I were hiring someone, I would take such an offer as the mark of someone interested in using their time and skills to help others to do an equally good job. I would see that as a mark of initiative and intelligence. I would want that person working in my organization.
She went on to say another person who'd been hired once wrote a computer program to enter and maintain their filing system, but that they had always used a paper system devised by the company's founder, and that they were not interested in changing their system, thank you very much. *cautionary tale, much?*
She said they'd make the decision in about 4 days. This was a Thursday. On Monday, I called Fraulein Direktor and thanked her for the opportunity to interview and expressing my continued interest in the position. She bluntly told me they'd filled the position. I thanked her and hung up the phone. A few minutes later in my mailbox, I found a poorly written form letter [Dear Applicant - seriously - it said Dear Applicant] which had been mailed to me on Friday, the day after the interview. The letter contained a list of bullet points, any one or combination of which may have been the reason the job was not extended to me. Criminal History? SRSLY? Lack of References? Untrue. Why could they not simply say someone else was more appropriate to the task rather than imply that it was in some way unseemly or vulgar for me to have aspired to this position?
Anyway, for the past few weeks I have puzzled over this turn of events, and felt a little sad not to have gotten that job despite the horribly gauche rejection letter. Then Wednesday night I talked to a dear friend on the phone and she expressed horror that I should lament not being chosen for the job. Well, I hadn't thought of it that way. She said how patently ridiculous it was that this company so stalwartly refused to simplify their lives by utilizing computers for their record keeping. She said they were obviously morons for not desperately clutching at the opportunity to have a diamond like me on their staff. Srsly.
This sort of turned my thinking around - I'm smart, capable and damned handy to have around-- what's wrong with them if they don't recognize this? Moreover, the director rattling on at the end of the interview about her own insecurities with regard to training did not bode well for her degree of organization. Perhaps my statement of confidence with regard to organization was intimidating.
After all, I never told her her job would be safe after I arrived. Oh well.
Flying is the worst, because people come back from their flights and they tell you their story, and it's a horror story. They act like their flight was a cattle car in Germany in the '40s-- that's how bad they make it sound... Really? Did you partake in the miracle of flight, you non-contributing zero? You're FLYING! It's amazing!Everybody on every plane should just constantly be going "omigawd! WOW!" You're sitting in a chair in the sky.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
A couple years ago, I went with Mom to visit Mary on her farm in Arkansas. Whaddayaknow if Magic wasn't still alive and kicking? And maiming. And mayhemming and hawing. Mom had warned me about that cat. Magic sat across the room and glowered. Magic made me very uncomfortable, but after a while, I sort of forgot she was there. I reached down at one point to tie my shoe and barreling across the wide open carpet came a bristling furball tipped with poison-tipped fleschettes in the form of one Magic. Damned cat. It's probably still alive, too, being too mean to die...
Someone I used to know had an evil female cat named Rascal. Rascal was known for eviscerating hapless visitors to the home with disembowelment skills to rival those of a sloth. Rascal was apparently bonded to one person only, and everyone else was fair game. You might have guessed Rascal was free to terrorize nature indoors and out. One day Rascal's person was big&pregnant&muy hormonal when some crazy bitch came to her door with the remains of Rascal plastered over the inside of a clear plastic bag, having found Rascal in the road. The woman said "Is this your cat?" Who says there aren't good neighbors around these days???
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
There are some WGers who have registered more than a million individual bills so if you think _I_ am obsessive, well, I'm chump change. Srsly. It's interesting to see where your money goes, and in some cases, how quickly. If I travel, I always try to get a couple straps of ones from the bank and register them to disperse along my path. Yes, this means spending them-- not just throwing them out the window of the hot air balloon.
Monday, February 23, 2009
I remember the first time I set foot in the Alamo about 21 years ago. The place seemed almost too small for the import of what had taken place there. It certainly seems too peaceful. Yet the words and deeds of these men of great mettle will reverberate like ripples on the surface of a pond for the remainder of the days of our civilization. Today I consider this, and I hope you will, too.
William Travis was Lt. Col. of the Texian forces and commander of the Republic of Texas forces, and was 26 when he died at the Alamo.
There is a legend that, one to three days before the final Mexican assault, Travis gathered all of the Alamo's defenders in the main plaza of the fort. Announcing that reinforcements would not be forthcoming, Travis unsheathed his sword and drew a line in the dirt. He then told those men who were willing to stay and die with him to cross the line; those who wanted to leave could do so without shame. Most of the Alamo's defenders subsequently crossed the line, leaving only two men behind. One soldier, Bowie, was confined to a cot with typhoid, but asked to be carried across the line. The other was a French veteran of the Napoleonic Wars named Moses Rose. Rose, who later declared, "By God, I wasn't ready to die," scaled a wall that night and escaped, thus preserving the story of Travis's line in the sand. This account was told by Rose to numerous people later in his life.
Sunday, February 22, 2009
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Sort of last minute, I didn't go out of town as expected for the weekend which left me to knock about on my Friday off. JR of A Keyboard and a .45 graciously invited me to shoot at a range I'd been longing to check out, and I asked if I could put in some time practicing my shotgun. He said yes and so we were off to the races. This range is a neat place, and though I sing the praises of my pistol club every chance I get, I relished the opportunity to blow the cobwebs out of something larger than pistol-size.
JR's Ruger Standard was sweet to shoot, and I think I shot better with it than do I with my MkII, but I'm still getting used to that one. I shot my Mossberg until I felt more comfortable with it, and I think I'm realms beyond where I was with it at first last June. Lately I've been going to batting cages and hitting softballs, and I think improved upper-body strength makes a huge difference in my comfort level with the shotgun. Besides, it's always a good idea to keep a ball bat in the car, imho. Bonus: now I know how to whack the snot out of something with one, too.
Anyway, the afternoon was beautiful and just when it seemed the shooty goodness couldn't get much better, we moved over to a 200 yard range and JR brought out his Savage Econo Scout. I've never shot beyond 115 yards, so the long range was a treat, but the Econo Scout alone was worth the drive. When the gong clanged back at me an instant after I fired the first shot, I was in transports of rapture, oh my darlings. Fun is not a big enough word. I think more than one *squeee!* escaped my lips, and at least one yee-haw.
Thanks, JR! I had a blast. Several blasts, in fact.
Friday, February 20, 2009
[I wrote a great wobbler of an exposition, here, but decided it was distasteful to post even bereft of particulars as it was]
I have a great many residents who are just decent, stand-up folks, and then there are a few who have the same problems over and over and over. I could tell them each in 100 words or less what they need to do to fix their lives permanently, but only they can change the way they live.
I remember a movie where a character referred to someone as a Monet, saying they looked pretty from a distance, but up close they were a big old mess. We're all human. We all have our little screw-ups, but we should have the decency to not make others uncomfortable with excessive information of our failings. Discretion is the better part of valour.
Or is it indiscreet of me to say so?
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Say it ain't so...
It was mere moments ago in a flouish of avenger eyes and his catlike ways he craned down from the stage and braced his hand on my shoulder, leaning out to sing to the crowd at the Gypsy Tea Room. Good times hanging out by the stage with Tracy and RocketGrrl in my hologram platform silver oxfords. I was one of the tame attendees.
Lux Interior is dead.
Viva The Cramps.
Here's to the B-movie fake-leopard splendourous ghoulrock of the Cramps with the killer guitar of Poison Ivy and otherworldly frontman Lux Interior.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
...or a venture.
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Monday, February 16, 2009
The first picture shows I've already made the first bead of the pair and have wrapped the teal transparent core of the second bead onto the mandrel. The glass goes on a little blobby and you have to spin it around evenly so centrifugal force will let it pull into a ball shape.
The second photo shows a wonky saturn ring of colorless transparent glass I've wrapped around the teal core. I could make the whole bead out of the teal, but the light wouldn't travel through it as efficiently, and the bead wouldn't look so pretty, imho.
The third photo shows the clear glass melted in and back into a ball shape around the teal core. At the left of the photo you can see the stainless steel of the mandrel extending beyond the gray bead-release coating. Bead release is a liquid ceramic coating you must put on the mandrel prior to adding the hot glass. The mandrel has to be a similar temp to the glass, or the molten glass will not stick. Also, the mandrel must be coated in bead release or the glass will permanently wed the stainless steel and instead of a bead, you will have a swizzle stick. I use a little routing tool to clean the bead release from the shaft of the bead. I do this underwater, as the bead release in powder form is a carcinogen which hangs around your lungs for-evah.
The final image is of the gold leaf wrapped onto the bead, having been slightly burnished with a graphite marver (a little paddle thingie). The metal on the bead must be gold of a high karat or the metal will just turn black and schmutzy with the heat, or will disappear altogether. You can kind of see at the top of the bead that the colored core is still molten and that deep red lava color. This is a lot more fun to watch than may be conveyed in photographs.
When these beads are out of the kiln tomorrow after annealing, I'll go over the foil-wrapped beads with a little scrubby thing so they won't have any little foil edges sticking out. Will try to remember to show you the finished pair of earrings for which I made these beads.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Praline and Chuy sack out utterly, but I can only snap one photo before they are on to me. Sometimes I don't even get one photo of them in repose before they prick up their ears and wonder what silliness I am up to and whether it may involve food or treats or other good things. After all, I am their benevolent dictator. Or their slave, depending on the situation.
Here there were napping on Saturday, and one click of the phone camera and they perked up enough to watch me. This makes me wonder if they are ever fully asleep. Look how Praline's back right leg is raised, poised to spring into action, suddenly. Also, Chuy's ear is now more cupped to catch soundwaves, as opposed to the floppy sandman-may-care position of his ears in the first photo.
This is kind of cool because you can see how Chuy's chassis is just a smidge longer than Praline's. He's about 12 pounds now, and she's about 15, but her legs are twice as long so it all evens out in the wash.
Praline likes a tiny bit of affection every so often, but Chuy is a total LUV-sponge. He's a dandy boy. Good puppies. Mostly.
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Uh, no. Didn't get her on ValentiMe's day, either. I liked the name, and Jack Russells are stealthy when they are pups, you can't for the life of you believe they'd ever turn into one of those wild Jack Russell adult monsters, so, if you're a dim bulb, you give them a sickeningly sweet name such as Valentine or Praline, when something like Popcorn or Mandible would be more apropos.
Anyhoo, nothing says Valentine's Day like this 1956 classic from Screamin' Jay Hawkins.
I mentioned before how much fun the glass is when it's hot. One surprising thing is the way the various colors react to the heat.
White glass turns clear when hot, cobalt blue transparent turns to an opaque fiery red, red glass turns black to fiery red, then back to black as it cools, and yellows turn red.
If you think about tempered glass and pyrex and the like, you already know there are many different types of glass. I use soft glass which melts in the 1700 degree range. The glass I generally use is Effetre formerly known as Moretti. Another soft glass is Bullseye, and people with a bench burner work in harder types of glass such as borosilicate. Borosilicate is gorgeous stuff, but requires a torch which burns hundreds of degrees hotter than mine. Different types of glass may not be combined because of their coeffecient of expansion. As the glass heats and cools, it expands and contracts. Because of their chemical makeup, these different types of glass will expand and contract at a different rate in identical conditions. Even if you brought a piece of combined types of glass back to room temperature overnight in a kiln, gradually, the piece would crack or even shatter.
Friday, February 13, 2009
Okay, in fairness, some good points have been raised in comments here, but I want to expand on this subject. I don't care about the bikini-clad plane - I think there's a toothsome symmetry to something so ultimately phallic as an airplane being festooned with nekkid-chick-ness, and I think the practice of pinup be-decked bombers from wartimes is a marvelous tradition to follow, actually. Also, someone said the woman was considerably more exposed than she has been presented in the above photo and tv appearances. I also really LIKED the air hostess hotpants outfits, though I'd hate to see males or unfit females got up in same, unless we're talking about a gay disco floor or Las Vegas, where such is to be expected. What really bothered me was a matter of corporate inconsistency. If social mores are touted as reason for being conservative at one hand and yet chucked at the other, they were nothing other than political expedients in the first place.
On the third hand, I celebrate the right of any company whether privately or jointly owned to do its business in the way it sees fit from one day to the next.
Frankly, I think there should be open-smoking airlines for people who want to smoke on planes. Frankly, if my pilot is a smoker, I WANT that mofo smoking his or her brains out. Or slap some nicotine patches on them, at the very least. Please, no jonesing in the cockpit.
But now I'm ranting, aren't I?
Thursday, February 12, 2009
You've gotta get out-- just get away.
Last week the Obamas broke away from the humdrum and had a day of diversion:
"We were just tired of being in the White House," the president candidly told the gleeful second-graders at Capital City Public Charter School.
"We got out! They let us out!" Mrs. Obama said as the kids and their teachers laughed.
Tired? Give a little while.
And south of the isthmus, down Bolivia way...
A Bolivian woman has died from an injection of urine allegedly administered by her friend as a form of health therapy, a prosecutor said Tuesday.
I have nowhere to go with that story- just another pee story in the news. I thought you should know.
h/t to Lin know.
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Goody. Thanks, Mr. Kruschev.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
Monday, February 09, 2009
Sunday, February 08, 2009
Here they are anticipating bathtime, and then longing to be allowed into the bath.
Saturday, February 07, 2009
For the gunblogger wingding, I planned for a limited but (hopefully) popular array of beverages. I had a handful of soft drink varieties, bottled water and bottles of Ramune in case any kiddies showed up. I planned to make iced tea. Folks started arriving and I had a pot of water on the stove which never would boil, and, coincidentally, I couldn't find the teabags. I joked one guest that I would probably find the tea that evening. Sure enough, rummaging around in the pantry some hours later, I found the box of teabags. Oh well. At that point, I had begun brewing the coffee which Old NFO had so obligingly brought. Folks seemed happy, and the only milkish thing in my fridge -- heavy whipping cream -- was the delight of more than one guest. I only had sugar of the brown variety. Still, guests who desired coffee in its various forms did not go wanting.
Not so, tea drinkers.
Among the esteemed gentlemen in attendance, LawDog (dashing, that one is!) decided a nice cup of hot tea was in order. I was across the room and directed him to the tea in the pantry, but offered that I knew there was proper tea up in my office. No, no, he said, this would be fine. I knew a smart fellow such as he could work a kettle, by golly, so I resumed my conversation. The teakettle whistled, and I noted LawDog shifting through the remaining glasses in the cabinet, all the mugs and teacups having been claimed for coffee earlier. The sole remaining glass with a handle was this one:
Yes, such are the spoils of shopping at Oak Cliff's Thrift Town over on Westmoreland. I got 4 or 5 of these for ten cents each. Score!
I watched, bemused, as LawDog pulled this from the cabinet, raised an eyebrow and placed it carefully back on the shelf as he craned to see another mug or teacup. Alas, no other handled vessel was to be found, and with a sigh, he resigned himself to the girlie mug.
The teakettle began to whistle, and I paid the teamaking no mind until I glanced across the room to see Sir Dog grimace full-mouthed and holding his tea-filled mug out, regarding it quizically.
Horrors! A hostess-from-hell moment was erupting before my very eyes. After all my careful preparations a treasured guest was having not-as-advertised results from his beverage. Lawks!
I did not see what happened to the tea in LawDog's mouth, but methinks he did not swallow it, and for good reason. For he'd ladled about a week's worth of sodium into his tea from one salt pig which sat perched atop a jar of matches. Yes, it looked like sugar, but was salt. Apparently Mr. Dog has never heard of salt pork.
*chagrin!* *regret!* *gnashing of teath!*
One giggling attendee rushed over to the salt pig to snap a photo as twitters of recognition and laughter swept the room. Here was a moment for which I had not prepared, or had scarce imagined. Um. Uh. Er.
Please accept my humble apologies. [Blackadder style, pronounced a-po-lo-gees (like geese without the last e)] Next time you darken my doorway, there shall be fine tea in abundance and pure-dee sugar in a well-marked container.
Here's a re-enactment of the whole sordid affair. Note the sinister gaping maw of the salt pig, porthole to blood pressure hell and water retention horrors. See the comely lass casting her eyes away, seemingly innocent of any wrongdoing, her bouffant perfectly preserved for posterity. Actually, I blame the pig. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.
Friday, February 06, 2009
Rivet or no, Holly told me Levi Strauss is anti second amendment. I suppose I won't be buying Levi's, rivet or no.
I sold a house in an historic district once because of the unsavouries who'd rented next door. The owner lived in the big house at the end of the block, and was in the process of snapping up every bit of property in the district she could acquire. She thought it was a good idea to rent the house next door to me to a group of 21 year old men. The porch rail was strewn with gem-like glass bottles - classy! - emerald greens, clears and browns, mostly, labels such as Jack Daniel's weathering to a suede-like white in the harsh Texas sun, wresting free from the bonds of anchoring glue and flapping gently in the wind. These young men would get home from what must have been fine establishments in the neighborhood of 2:30am, and then the party would start.
Have you ever seen how a tuning fork works? One strikes the end of the tines against a hard surface then holds the bulb at the base against a wood surface such as a piano lid, and the wood acts as a sound board and the volume is amplified dramatically. Well, these old houses are much like the case of a piano, the wood acting as an accellerator to the sound, my all-wood house fairly thrumming with the vibrations of their bass. Oh, but they loved their music!
This was irritating to the degree that the prim and proper schoolteacher across the street was driven to cursing. One day, she said to me "I'm just so sick of their-- their-- *sputter* their shit."
Madam! Such language!
One weekend, after something like 12 continuously throbbing hours of party central, I went across the street to the enraged neighbor and asked her if she would join me in complaining to the police-- they said the complaint of one person would have no teeth in having the occupants or owners cited for disturbing the peace. Schoolteacher said "well, I would complain if it bothered me." Spineless.
I walked back into my house andphoned the realtor in town and said "please bring a sign for my yard. Now."
So, anyhoo, now I have this really noisy neighbor again. I hear the tires on the pavement at all hours. I never realized that was the real noise of a roadway-- would always have sworn it was the engines of the vehicles. Occasionally there is a jake-brake (what jerky driver goes fast enough through busy downtown expressways to NEED a jake-brake?) and then the whole din is occasionally punctuated by the ululations of emergency vehicles. What brought the tires thing home to me was last week when the world was enshrouded in ice and things were so starkly quiet. The handful of motorists on the expressway picked their way gingerly along, and I slept SO well...
The traffic begins picking up more heavily at about 5am. It's like a ceaselessly churning artery, pumping vital fluids through the city. I know it's a necessary evil, and there are many legitimate reasons for people to be out driving in wee small hours, but the expressway certainly makes for a very bad neighbor...
Don't worry: I won't burn it down. I'll just move.
Thursday, February 05, 2009
Wednesday, February 04, 2009
Tuesday, February 03, 2009
The property I manage is on the market and I have no promise of continued employment after transition, so the reasonable thing to do is to send out feelers re: the job market. In this economy, I've had many occasions to think of why I left the USPS, and at no time do I feel rueful or wistful about having left. By now I'd have 6 paid weeks of vacay a year, and considering I had some $50K years in my 20s there, I'd probably easily be making that much routinely without trying. Then again, I was hired before I turned 20, and if I felt burned and eaten alive by the machine at the age of 28, how do you think I'd feel now, 15 years later?
Sometime I'll give you my feelings on the APW Union, but I'm not in rant mode so I'll kick that excrescent corpse another time.
I prefer working for a smaller company, even if the money and the benefits aren't on par with top-flight corporate gigs. I prefer handling the reins a little more on my own, and I want to feel that I'm actually contributing to the success of a caring company rather than just another number on a payroll performing duties which could be aptly seen to by anyone who could fog a mirror.
I mean no slight to people who do work at the USPS-- not everyone has the same needs from a job as I. I get bored and restless. I drift. I worked in large mail processing facilities and though I landed some nicely diverting details, I generally found the atmosphere oppressive and depressing. Also, the inherent inequities in the way people are treated in that company make me marvel there are not more homicidal events in those facilities.
I would never have done such a thing. Generally, postal shootings have been a matter of a disgruntled firee coming back to give the supervisor their just desserts. I feared I'd be the first employee to be shot by a supervisor.
Monday, February 02, 2009
Friday, Old NFO and aepilot jim came to Dallas, and we were by-golly going to go have steak for dinner. Turned out Ambulance Driver and Farmgirl were in town already, too, so they met us at Texas de Brazil for dinner. We had a grand time and quite the carnivorous feed. Yummm. Beef! Bacon! Pork! Bacon! Bacon! Better than Spam! Everything the gauchos brought on skewers was a hit, particularly the stuff wrapped in bacon, but I lamented the lack of bacon-wrapped bacon. Oh well, one can't have everything.
Saturday I woke up with a beef-hangover (srsly -had NO booze), and I managed to pull things together before the party, even if all the food and implements weren't out yet. Old NFO and aepilot_jim arrived first with spare ice, and then came JR of A Keyboard and a .45 and his lovely Lady(future spades opponents). Other guests who came soon were Alan of Snarkybytes, JPG, Holly, Peter, 2Amusing, Blackfork and the Redhead(fabulous creature), of course Farmgirl and Ambulance Driver, wry-witted commenter Swamp Rabbit and his darling wife (bearing photos of a freshly minted batch of Siberian Husky pups), LawDog, and Matt G, and at least one other person who doesn't blog but with whom I adored chatting and who pretty much never opens his mouth but to say something profound or clever and really should be delighting us all with a blog...
Sunday, February 01, 2009
Thank you to all the lovely and fabulous folk who honored my home with their attendance. I'm told we were quite the buzz on the gun nuts IRC, and that all the smart and cool kids will be moving to Texas forthwith.