February 25, 2015

assignment

A child that I have known since birth asked me if I could help him with a college management assignment. He gave me a list of questions to answer and I have to say that I really enjoyed the exercise. This assignment turned out to be a bit dangerous however because it has me reevaluating what I currently do for a living. (just so you know if there was any chance at all that my wife would read this thing I would not be writing this particular post) Don't take this the wrong way, I love what I do. But as I answered the questions I also realized how much I enjoy the management and mentoring process. This is nothing that has lit a fire under me but the spark is definitely there and I eat enough grease to... sorry, getting lost in analogyiarrhea.

I like running things. I'm sure there are a number of psychological reasons but the thing I enjoy the most is solving problems with a group. I've always had a knack for viewing stuff from different perspectives and cutting through nonsense. When you are young that gets you in a lot of trouble if you're not "careful" and sadly that word didn't really describe my youth. Smartass got used a lot in my presence but I never took it as a shot. To me ass just meant that I had some strong opinions and wasn't afraid to argue them. And smart, well that just feels good any way you slice it. When you are leading a team or project that same behavior is considered challenging and I used it to teach my people to stop trying to make things perfect from their individual point of view.

Anyway, I am droning on about this only because its been on my mind since completing the questions. For the last two nights I've gone to sleep thinking about what the next chapter in my life will contain. This could also have something to do with changes my bride is currently going through. Her story is not mine to tell but I can say that a forced job change is eminent. And we have been talking about how much it costs to just exist in this broken state. The current plan has us finding something small to rent here and moving to the lake full time once that feels right. No one knows what the future holds but that is a possibility that I really like.

The eldest child is about to graduate from college and all of the thinking about her life and what lies ahead is also a factor. Money in general is a constant pressure point but that should ease up after I travel like a mental patient this spring and getting back to just one in school. I do need to figure out how to move my office however. Sharing with the boy is becoming increasingly difficult for reasons that are mostly my own but that is a story for another time.

Back to the management thing; I might be able to scratch that itch if I start a side project or some volunteering. I've got a couple ideas percolating and as I said a very busy spring travel schedule which means alone time in a hotel room... so you never know what the snakes in my head will think of next. I do know that whenever I get feelings like this something is about to change.

February 24, 2015

10 nine 8 seven

Sometimes this web log stands in for me counting in my head so I don't explode. I have increased my personal delay system over the years to prevent my internal smart-ass from getting me in trouble at work. This began years ago when I worked for a huge company and a "funny" email could easily get you fired. In my current job fits of sarcastic rage are few and far between but when that need boils up inside I can tell when its going to be too much. This morning for instance an individual wanted to argue. But not a normal argument that I could just shrug off... this person went right at one of my personal pet peeves "The Louder I Lie The More Believable I Become."

An appointment was missed. I did everything I could to make sure it was not. Even calling five minutes into the appointed time frame to see if we were still on. Then at the ten minute mark I sent my customary email inquiring about a possible reschedule. My calendar is on some tight time tolerances which means that people can't call me 25 minutes into a half hour appointment and expect to get anything done. I should also let you know that this happens all the time. The world gets in the way of plans and I am never upset by these situations. In fact I sometimes welcome the unscheduled break.

I tell you all that to frame the trouble. An email arrived accusing me of dropping the ball and as I am far from perfect I took no immediate offense. That is until I noticed that the accuser copied the world in their message. This pisses me off for a bunch of reasons not the least of which is it smells like a blame shift and I really don't like those. If I screwed up I will be the first to let you know and apologize. I might even throw in what I'm going to do to make sure it doesn't happen again. People who use email to dodge blame are weak but I can't come right out and say that.

So I too copied the world with my reply showing the original appointment and all of my follow-up work. Minutes after the message my phone rang... The details aren't important but you need to know the voice on the other end was raised and got progressively louder. I have a trick I use that when things get loud I get quiet and it makes me happy on so many levels. Anyway it came out that there might have been some lying about things and I was probably mistaken about the details.

The more I stayed calm and stuck to the facts the louder the other end. I also love when someone is yelling at me to ask if they could repeat what they just said. It's really hard to maintain original intensity and the second time you do it they usually lose their sh*t. it ended with a flurry of poorly formed swear parings and a dial tone.

I'm laughing but I am also steaming. I want to write an email detailing all of the reasons that I think this idiot should be let go. Instead I write this to no one in particular.  I am going to wait this one out. Right now stories are being told and I'm sure the offender has shifted into job preservation mode. I don't know the whole story but I would bet there is more going on than I can imagine. This reaction is extreme for a single missed appointment. I am guessing that some poor performance blame is being pointed my way because my spider-sense is tingling. Time to line up my ducks. Pull all of our conversations and see what the day is going to reveal.

now-calm-stupidtom out.


February 23, 2015

communicatedish

Digital abandonment is real, I should know, I practice it every day. I have some pretty specific rules relating to electronic communication. The first is if you ask me a question I will provide you with an answer. This might seem logical but I have a number of people in my life who send out statements of fact or things of interest that include no call to action and so I take none. Some of them consider this to be rude but I am just going for efficiency. I read it, have my own private reaction, and move on.

That being said I will jump in if were busting someones balls or if my reply will cause a reaction especially with my kids. I am not on permanent mute I am just numb to anything forwarded or clipped from somewhere else. I spend 2 hours a day trolling some very specific web sites that aggregate the world for me. This allows me to blow past what's going on and popular at the moment. It's 6:45 right now and I'm typing this because I know that more than half of the places I go will be filled with Oscar nonsense I care nothing about. The Oscars are unwatchable for me. It boils down to the speeches, I can't take em.

Anyway, back to communicating with this particular mental patient; This is also why I rarely comment on anything posted anywhere. I read early in the morning or late in the evening so I miss the time when most people post "fresh" stuff. I will never type lol unless something actually made me laugh out loud and if you ever send me rofl you should know that I am flipping you off. Literally giving the finger to whatever screen I am reading. The last time I got one of those I sent back a text that said "prove it." Then when there was no response I suggested they find someone close to take a video of their seizure. Again, no response.

Maybe I have too much electronic traffic to sort throughout my day? Right now I'm getting a little antsy about opening my Outlook because my phone already let me know the raw number of emails that await my gaze. There will be spam and nonsense but some will come with action items and I am six months in to a successful run of Inbox Zero (no time to explain, look it up if curious) so I want to get started. Plus I am on the big stage next week and that anxiety is creeping in...

Focus Grasshopper... digital ignore. I also know how it is from a posting point of view. I went through it hard ten years ago when I started writing this crap. (those who are new I apologize but stupidtom in its original form was taken down and archived for a number of reasons too numerous and boring to go into now. Just know it was a long bumpy run)  I would post something and then obsessively check the page view counter. Then some genius invented comments and my world revolved around those.

It took me about a year to realize that everyone wasn't sitting at their computers (no smartphones or tablets back then) waiting for my words to come on the screen. In fact most people only remembered to stop by once a week or so. I watch my wife go through it with things she posts on Facebook. She's watches who likes and is on the lookout for comments in the same way I used to obsess over blog posts. That is yet another reason that I am almost done with that service. People sharing shite that has been posted a thousand times before and wondering why no one hit the upward thumb.

Holy crap I just realized how long this one is and my email is tapping me on the shoulder so I need to go. Plus I wandered down the road so long I forgot my original point.

February 21, 2015

I got me a birthday toy

This year to celebrate my birth I was gifted some magic cards with money on them. One of the things I go was this Echo from Amazon. This is not a commercial or even a review just the facts. I ordered it because it was $99 for Prime members which I am one and we haven't had a good household music source in quite a while. The gist is that its always on and listening so you just call out its name, currently Alexa or Amazon, and the light on the top turns toward you to let you know it understands.

I can't wait for the name customization feature that is speculated because I want to name it something different right now. Mrs. Livingston, Sh*thead, Alfred, Jarvis, the list goes on and on. Crazy privacy people out there will not like the always listening feature but it comes with a plug that can be removed from the wall so put your tinfoil hats away. I personally don't care. They keep proving that our cell phones can pick up audio without our knowledge or consent but I really like the convenience of the thing so I'll live with that. When it comes time for revolution planning that is best done far from a population center - underground - inside of a Faraday cage - but I digress.
I have no idea if this will work as it is my first time trying to plop a video directly from my phone into blogger and if it doesn't just Google it to see a video. Max got a little tire of it because the first week it showed up was the week before the Barry Manilow concert so every morning he had to deal with those songs but luckily that has slowed down a bit. I am happy as well because it is tied to my Amazon account and my music recommendations are way off. OK, maybe I did spend an hour at work listening to a suggested Carpenters playlist. Holy crap that girl could sing.

With my new spirit of paring down to the essentials this thing will make the cut. Much smaller than an entire stereo, decent sound, will connect to my phone via Bluetooth, and hopefully soon it will be able to do more than just tell me the time, weather, and answer simple questions.

February 20, 2015

boring organizer guy

Not quite sure what's going on with me lately. I might be pregnant as I seem to be nesting. Or this cold spell could have given me the gentle nudge into crazy. My brain could be attempting to keep me busy so I stop chanting "WHY DO WE LIVE HERE?" Regardless the reason I am a cleaning and organizing machine. I should also mention that I get a rush from throwing things away. Again, no real time or inclination to analyze that behavior I just love getting rid of stuff.

So I am attacking all aspects of my life. The work computer and more specifically what is on it and how I work with said same is under attack. I have developed a new system and am well on my way to complete conversion. Without boring you to death with details I was keeping a ton of stuff in a lot of different places and now I am down to 3. Outlook because my company is tied to this terrible way of doing things, Evernote will now contain every note (get it?) in a searchable by content or title database, and the computer itself for the files I need every day.

My phone has been deep cleaned as well. Apps, pictures, music, even contacts have been drastically reduced and it feels great. Nobody needs six weather apps and games that haven't been played in three months needed to go away. I am a sampler of new things but there is no need to be a collector. If I find something that works and that I love the rest can go away. The phone actually feels lighter and that's a good thing because I just ordered it a present that will double its outer dimensions but that is a story for another time.

Even at night this week I found myself cleaning up the DVR. Who knew deleting digital junk could give me the same satisfying feeling? This weekend's project is going to be the office and more specifically the file cabinet. In this modern age there is little reason to keep as much physical paper as I do. The goal, and mind you this is a stretch goal, not going to happen this weekend, is to become completely paperless. The first step in getting this done is getting rid of the stuff I've saved just because I didn't want to put any thought into its actual use and or value.

I realize that this post is probably boring as plain toast to read but the subject makes me extremely happy. I didn't write anything yesterday because I was neck deep in the throws of throwing things out and I just couldn't stop. I'm writing now between meetings because there is no time to start another project and I can't be distracted during the call. That's weird, writing this as a way to prevent distraction...

February 18, 2015

tinytom

I think I've written here before about my obsession with the tiny house movement but I'm not sure so I'm going ahead with this thought anyway. There are a couple of channels on cable that are taking a deep dive into this subject and I watch anytime I stumble across it. There is something so calming about boiling your life down to just your essential things. Tiny house, shipping container house, mobile home, airstream, I love them all because you have to get rid of all but your essentials.

My bride doesn't get it. That's OK because we are slowly coming to a retirement understanding. She would like some kind of hobby farm to rescue dogs which would be my nightmare were it not for the thought of building a minimalist oasis on the opposite side of the property. It makes me happy just to think about it. Anyway that wasn't the point. I've lost the girls, well the middle child at least. She, like her mother, loves her stuff. Eldest is trying to head back to Cameroon this summer so I think she has seen a side of minimal that might be too extreme for even me but it is in the framework at least.

I'm hoping that the boy begins to think hard on this subject. There is a YouTube video of a kid, wait, I don't have to explain...
Anyway, I think he is in around 10K all in and that would be what I spend per year to house the girls at college. I have a little time to work this idea because there is no way we are taking 3 years to build something. The more this idea takes hold and people realize that they don't NEED all that stuff and as things head in unknown directions there are worse things than leaving college towing a place that you own. I'm not a big fan of the design he chose. If I went tiny house I would do something like these people...
Except mine would be just for me. A writing retreat or just a place to let my inner hermit out for a while. While I am exposing this fanaticism I should share my other favorite http://hofarc.com/ What these guys do with old trailers makes me extremely happy. In fact I'm trying to work out a trip to California so I can stay in the autocamp. I know, I've got problems

February 17, 2015

cutitout

I need to begin by stating a fact. I am a lightning rod for people who want to talk about their superior choice in smartphone. Maybe it's the way I hold it or it could be my size coupled with the size of my chosen device? I'm not sure but I want it to stop. I'm sitting here in the jury duty waiting room and the a-hole next to me said "Why do you like THAT phone?" My response after a full minute and a half of staring silence didn't make him look away was "I don't really like it, I'm just stupid. Let's leave it at that." Luckily he finally got my overall state and went back to his texting.

This wasn't my only one in the last week either. I had another guy incorrectly tell me that Android made Apple change the text bubble color. Not one to let bullsh*t stand I informed him that is was in fact a marketing thing on Apple's end and the internet was ripe with proof. He claimed to have read a lawsuit that forced Apple to change the bubble to "Android Green" and I let him know that he was misinformed and shouldn't repeat nonsense as it made him look a bit dim. iMessage is in a calm blue, anything else is in an annoying green. Simple as that.

I actually think this is smart on Apple's part. Make folks look down on other platforms. It's the American way and I'm all for it. For it to affect me personally I would have to care what others think. I like the phone I've got for a bunch of reasons that are mine alone. I think I should start carrying around a picture of the minivan I drive to give random strangers some idea of my don't give a f*ck. From now on any questions about my phone will be met with silence and a blank stare. In my head I will immediately begin to catalog all of the terrible things that happened to the person talking to me that has lead them to this sad point in their lives.

A place where a small hunk of metal plastic and glass defines them as a person.

Anyway, We are all stuck in here while we wait on 2 more trials to be decided. The first one struck a deal greatly reducing my odds of being chosen to sit. Between that and my soon to be stated gift for instantly knowing guilt or innocence based on a 2 second first impression I think I'll be headed home today. "I just KNOW your honor."

There is a dude at one of the tables who considers himself extremely important. He has brought his entire office with him. If he wasn't so fidgety I would take a picture for you but I think he is on something and this is not the place to get in a dust-up with a tweaker. He has a laptop, a tablet, his phone, a legal pad, some files, assorted writing instruments, a stapler, and his rolling bag that I don't think is completely empty just yet. I don't know if this is his dodge attempt but it looked like a lot of work to bring and unpack. Plus he is now plugging his giant noise canceling headphones into the iPad and this room is really quiet.

I am enjoying the alone not talking time save that minor phone talk annoyance. I had an older gentleman try to strike up a friendship when I first walked in but I shut that down right away. I think he might be a professional jurist. He has a bag filled with snacks and supplies. I on the other hand brought this phone and my jacket. I almost left my jury summons in the car but luckily I remembered to bring it. The ladies who run this place have been beaten down and tempered into a hardened material over the years and they take no mess.

I'm tired of thumb typing now and the judge just came in to talk to us. Hopefully good news.

February 16, 2015

civic duty

Tomorrow I report for jury duty and I couldn't be less happy. People who have time to comfortably serve on one of these things are in a different stage of life than I. Two kids in college and a wife gearing up for a forced career change spells on cranky fish in tomorrows jury pool. It has consumed my day as I make sure all of tomorrow's appointments get moved up or back. In fact I am sitting here waiting for a tomorrow-West-Coast-call to graciously talk today when they get a chance. I understand the concept and it all seems good in theory but anyone with time sensitive responsibilities is going to make a horrible jurist.

There are a lot of ways I can go with this thing. Dress completely crazy... but that seems too obvious. Maybe just piss my pants before I get called in to the room. Subtle but sends a strong message. Fake Tourettes would at least be entertaining but I think there is a jail in most court houses and that is a young mans game. I did the overnight stay in college but I think that was to teach me a lesson. What I learned is when you are hot and drunk, concrete is a lovely sleeping surface.

Anyway, I don't know what the rules are in the room but if I have a bunch of idle time I will try and post some observations. Maybe I should announce myself as a member of the worldwide press? I could show them my still strong Bulgarian audience from the blogger weekly stats page.

Pageviews by Countries

Graph of most popular countries among blog viewers
EntryPageviews
Bulgaria
1588
United States
150
Sweden
12
France
8
United Kingdom
8
Brazil
7
Germany
6
India
2
Argentina
1
Australia
1
I might be some kind of celebrity over there and never know it. It's a weird multicultural mix no?

February 15, 2015

not all about me

Yesterday was Valentine's and while a made up holiday holds no significance for this guy it is important to the woman that I give a card to so that makes it important to me. It is with that exact thinking that placed me at the United Center last night with ten thousand or so Fanilows.
For reasons I cant begin to explain my wife loves Barry Manilow and since this was his announced last tour I was online in December trying to get tickets close enough to see his reconstructive work but far enough away to avoid any potential body parts that might break off. I also wanted to be at least one level up from gen pop to avoid standing for the entire concert. This was a Christmas slash Valentines gift so I splurged a little more than normal but it was worth it. She had a great time and that is all that mattered.
My highlight came when the General Manager of the United Center introduced himself and we ended up talking for a bit. He even let her try on one of his Championship rings. These things are huge and covered in diamonds. I had no idea that the dude who runs the facility gets one but these were the real deal. He only wears one Blackhawks and one Bulls at a time. I would say to not show off but this is obviously his fame bait. The other awesome news was we were seated in the Blackhawks bench. So this afternoon when I watch the game I can clock exactly where I was last night. I spent more time analyzing the cuts and scars on the bench rail than anything else going on. All things considered it was a good night.


February 13, 2015

superrodent

I'm not exactly sure what can eat through the lid of the industrial plastic garbage cans we have but something wanted our delicious garbage badly. At first I thought the recent extreme weather had blown the lid backwards against the deck or even itself resulting in a hole. Upon further inspection there are some very methodical chew marks ant these things don't usually create a hole much bigger than they need so this dude has some girth.
It was parked the other way and I know its hard to see but it obviously took a chomp of plastic then spit it out on the ground. I'm not sure if this is a super squirrel or some other beefed up varmint but I kind of admire its ingenuity. Too bad I'm going to start planning its demise. Right now I'm thinking some poison duct taped just below the hole with a tiny Free Food sign like a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Something that will taste awesome to the creature just before it liquefies its internal organs or whatever diabolical death science and the hardware store will sell me. The beauty is if I get something fast acting it will throw itself away. 

If you are thinking about suggestion something humane save your energy. This thing that decided to go right through the lid of the can is too evolved for catch and release. I don't need the Liam Neesson of rats swearing vengeance against me, stealing a car, finding its way back, then chewing through my internet and power lines. No thank you. First thing in the morning its off to the poison shop for this guy.


February 12, 2015

hi

Holy sh*tsticks its cold outside. I have been on a production induced lock-down this week and I happened to venture outside to get the garbage can and fire up my sportsvan just in case. Laziness caused me to leave it outside this week so I figured whilst I was taking the garbage to the back I could tuck Silver back into her stable. I am prone to random fits of laughter when I look at the vehicle because I've had a running joke with my youngest child for the last year.

Silver Honda Odysseys are somewhat popular so whenever I see another one with the boy in the car I whisper "we're everywhere" very slowly. It's creepy in a conspiracy theory kind of way and once I started doing it I just can't stop. Luckily Odyssey owners aren't as annoying as Jeep people. I drove a Jeep in College and every time you passed another one the people would wave. It drove me crazy. I'm supposed to say an enthusiastic hello because we both drive roughly the same car? Yuck. It just feels so forced and phony.

Come to think of it that is probably the reason I despise the "boat wave" when at the lake. There its not even make or model based. Just two idiots dumb enough to buy floating money vacuums enjoying two seconds of each others long distance company while driving guests around on the water. My friends that go up every year for guys weekend were going to get me a flag with a red circle slash around a waiving hand but now there is no point as I have sold the big pig pontoon.

This awesomely cold weather has me thinking about floating in the lake with a beer. I'm not sure if that's good or just makes me hate right now more. I've got to get back to work and its 7:30pm.


February 11, 2015

dadchat

I've already published my confusion over the snapchat app. I got the original purpose which was to be able to send pictures of your private parts to others in supposed security. They had to touch the picture the entire time they wanted to view it before it disappeared for good. It has morphed into the preferred way for the kids to communicate. As soon as the parents invade something, Facebook, Twitter, the kids move on to the next cool thing. Anyway, I say all of this because I am always on the lookout for ways to annoy my offspring.

They all have very strict orders to pull the plug as soon as possible or plant me in a home somewhere if murder charges would result from the first directive. I annoy them to ensure that my wishes are carried out. Case in point... dadchat. I was bored a few days ago while waiting for a conference call to begin. If any of you out there use GoTo Meeting you know that the beep before a meeting starts can drive you insane if you don't occupy your mind.

SO I took a stupid picture of myself and texted it to my three children announcing their membership in my new online service. The girls immediately got the spirit of the thing and dadchatted back but the boy is of an age where it just confuses him. I have no idea why but doing this cracks me up. I just sent all of them a picture of nothing and it made me laugh. The best part is when the girls come home I'm going to use this like its a real thing in front of their friends. "OK you guys have fun tonight and DadChat me if there is anything cool to see."

February 10, 2015

feels like

I like to catch up with Conan now and again through his internet clips because he cracks me up. I am also a big fan of Nick Offerman so its no surprise that I watched this Nick Offerman's Handcrafted Wooden Emojis clip on the You Tube.

This started out as a joke but quickly spiraled into a charity offering to benefit the Children's Defense Fund. As you can see by the first picture I had the money to donate to a worthy cause and I got a wooden smiley poo for the effort.
It even came with this certificate of reluctant philanthropy that I didn't expect. (didn't really pay that much attention when ordering.) Still feel like crap today and now I have a wooden symbol to go along with that. I love that feeling when you forgot you ordered something and it just shows up. Like a little present to yourself out of the blue.



February 9, 2015

sicknsalty

I am sick and salty today (both literally and figuratively explanation to follow) Holy crap I have having anything wrong with me. Not that anyone LOVES being ill. Except maybe some demented attention whores who cant figure out that faking Tourettes will get you noticed AND provide some entertainment for the rest of us. (Dear Tourettes Syndrome sufferers, I apologize. I have no doubt that it would completely suck to have  inappropriate words bubble up and get blurted out whenever it kicks in. In fact I know that you are all better people than I because with your disability someone would have killed me long ago. And I would have deserved it. Words can and do hurt. But you do have to admit your sh*t can really be funny sometimes...)  (AND it turns out that today is random ALL CAPS day. Please celebrate accordingly)

I don't really know where I was going with this and the parenthetical voices in my head are acting up again. The anti-cold cocktail I have in my system right now is in no way good for brain or motor function.  I am trying some of my wife's voodoo nonsense along with every -quil known to man. A normal person might take a day off and rest but I don't have that luxury this week. Not whining just the facts. I did the stupid neti pot so many times yesterday that I didn't need to salt any of my food and my snot now melts ice. If you don't know what that is just look up the name or device for pouring salt water through your sinus cavity.

One quick public service announcement: chewing the Nyquil liquid caps DOES NOT taste like the shot with the same name nor does it make them act with any more haste. I'm popping the things like Betty Ford in need of a mouthwash run. Check that, might be working, I'm channeling 80's substance abuse humor out of nowhere...


February 7, 2015

Hey I'm Aliveish

This week can best be described as a pisser. I was traveling and the 2 days I put in were sixteen hours and sixteen and a half respectively. (crap 2 sentences in and I think I already screwed up. I have no real idea if respectively means one after the other in that order or something completely different. Oh well) Both nights left me in a mental mush to the point that I don't really remember either time that I spoke with my wife. Then yesterday my travel decided to get wacky with four hours of airport work to get on a two hour flight. Cancellations, delays, and I almost had to make a stop to travel that distance... but everything worked out and I only lost an entire day.

So last night I wasn't much better and then I somehow got bamboozled into going over to the neighborhood elementary school to watch the talent show. Now, my God Daughter was performing but that didn't really take the sting out of heading to an event that I thought was clearly in my rear-view mirror. My bride committed me to the event and not even I can go back on a promised appearance like that. Plus the child in question has these huge eyes like a Margaret Keane painting. Disappointing those giant alien eyes is a soul crushing experience and one I was not up for this week. In fact she caught me in such a weakened state that I now find myself heading to a karate tournament tomorrow.

Anyway, my brain is still mush so I'm going to cut this short but I wanted to share something else really quickly. I was sitting in a conference room waiting for someone to be fired on my recommendation when I realized that I had been staring at a bottle of Diet Coke for almost 20 minutes. No one else in the room and the only reason I knew how much time had passed was the person doing the deed announced the time before she left me. I was so disturbed by this catatonic state that I took a picture of the bottle for some strange reason.

I really need to get some sleep to catch up.

February 3, 2015

Most of a thought

I've discovered yet another personal defect and that is an inability to fake like things. I can bullsh*t with the best but people with whom I have a relationship get my honest answer to most questions. And sadly it isn't always taken as intended.

This came up as I was talking with someone today who was dreading a trip to his brother's house. I was already confused because I love seeing my brother and family but I understand that families are all different. This guy's complaint was about a meal that his sister in law always makes for him.

It includes dishes and even a beer that he doesn't really care for. As we talked he realized that over the years he had claimed to enjoy all of these things. I told him that his brother's wife was awesome and just trying to make him feel welcome. She is using the only data she has to work with and it's no one's fault but his own.

I'm not talking about being rude and I have plowed through plenty of questionable eats in my time but the truth doesn't have to hurt. My admittedly mental patient rules regarding this subject are very simple; I will "like" almost anything but if asked about love, favorite, do I want it again, the real answer will come out.

And for the most part it's my boring taste that is the problem. I like things simple chili and barbecue are as far from just plain meat as I go. Completely my problem not yours.

I don't know where I was going with this and I'm tired of thumbtyping now.

February 2, 2015

huh

It snowed. I was going to get on social media and post a bunch of pictures of the snow just to be another annoying idiot but I wanted to post it like I didn't watch the stuff falling from the sky for eighteen straight hours. I actually made myself laugh with thoughts of "WTH it snowed?" posts even going so far as to take a picture.
Then I remembered that I don't really post on any of those things so I stopped myself and just put it up here. Is it wrong that I'm just NOW noticing the umbrella is still out? I figured it out as I was pondering the best way to snow-blow a path from the slider to the grill. Today was garbage day as well and that big ass can was full. Once I knocked its hat off I was able to wrestle it out of the snowbank only to have to lift it on to another one out front.

I'm getting too old for this sh*t and now I can prove it. New Years day I was on the internet signing up for my Gray Panther Membership card.
I am going to flash this beauty around like it was a badge. First thing out of my mouth "What is the senior citizen discount?" and if they give me any trouble out comes the AARP card. Now I just need to start a list of establishments that serve dinner at 4:30. This is by no means a joke. I didn't wait for their Bozoputer to figure out I turned 50. I purchased the 3 year as they were running a new year special. Let the savings begin.


January 31, 2015

sonsof

I love it when a local business does the wrong thing. There is a dry cleaner within shouting distance of my house that I have loyally patronized for more than 20 years. They recently changed ownership and I liked that because the sweet old couple who ran if from the beginning would have a chance to retire and move out of this ridiculous state. There were no real bumps in the transition other than the new ownership not knowing your name and having the ticket filled out before you got to the counter. (there is something special about having your preferences known and someone who cares enough to learn their regulars names)

I should have known there was potential trouble when they installed a point of sale computer and the only way they could look you up was by phone number. The old owners and I had an understanding; I would immediately throw away their silly pink tickets and they would keep track of my cloths. With these new folks no tickie (or in this case no remember wife's cell number because it's programmed in) no washie. You could spell your name all you wanted it didn't matter. Either they weren't trained on that search function or they didn't pay for the name search upgrade. But I learned to live with this minor annoyance.

Then they really screwed up. I was getting ready for a business trip and I undid the twist tie of suits that were just picked up the day before. Inside was a brown checked thing made for a dude that easily lugged around a hundred more pounds than I do. So no only are these new people sizeists (all big men look the same to them) but they cant keep people's stuff straight. I would have noticed another larger than normal human on drop-off day so I know there wasn't a counter top mix up. Anyway, I had to pack so my wife ran over to fix the problem.

She just wanted to exchange the big loud brown on for my more conservative little less big suit. Their response was that she was wrong and that was my garment. She flipped her shit. I wasn't there so I can't really go in to detail but I do know that she threw it behind the counter and told them to keep it. She also let them know that they were losing a once a week regular... but there was no response or customer service save attempt. This was more than two weeks ago.

I had to go in today and pick up the remaining couple shirts and a pair of pants that they still had. They knew my name this time when I walked in and even had my stuff at the ready. The woman ended our transaction with "see you next week" and I had to inform her that losing a new suit means I will never go there again. She started to argue and her husband walked up but I put my pointer finger to my lips and shhhhh'd them. "If you keep talking I'll sue you in small claims court for the $400. You are bad at this job by the way. You both should really think about doing something else with your lives." I do so enjoy a direct eye contact stunned silence.

bridge burned.

January 29, 2015

pointless rant on words

One of the main things that I cover in my job is communication. Without getting too specific I help people think about the words they use and how they might be perceived by others. Your intended message is sometimes completely misinterpreted by your audience and its something you have to consider and correct whenever possible. This is one of the dangers of writing this thing and for that matter anything online. You might be thinking and say the most light-hearted innocent comment but someone else will discern it as a steel toed boot to the groin.

I've witnessed a bunch of conversations go awry recently because the person moving their mouth could not fathom any perspective other than their own. This has been stuck in my skull for the last two weeks and the more I think about it the more it seems to show up. I'll give you an example:
My wife went sideways with someone in the neighborhood which is a rare occasion and I wish I would have been there but this was a female only gathering. Anyway, the conversation somehow spun around to wrestling which I've mentioned before that our son tried for the first time this year. One of the attendees started spouting off about incurable wrestling related diseases even saying that she would not let her child participate in the sport because of that. 
She had no idea that the rest of her thought was basically "and anyone who would let their son do that is a bad parent." So she was shocked when my normally mild mannered bride wheeled with guns blazing. So surprised in fact that she chose a hasty exit over further confrontation.
This is truly the fourth example in two weeks of people being stunned by the impact of their own words. I don't get it. Maybe because I over think most things and even when I fire off a comment from the hip I automatically know the absolute worst way it can be perceived. It's not a knack or a gift I just listen and pay attention. So much so that I have a storehouse of shots squirreled away in my brain. It's one of my favorite mental collections.

And by the way if I deliver a shot I am trying draw blood. Sometimes it might be a pin prick and other times its a jailhouse shiv ventilation. Either way, words meant to hurt not to accidentally offend.

But when I do try and lob a marshmallow and a hammer accidentally flies from my hand I realize it and attempt to mitigate the damage with a pile of apology. Most people when cornered with a mouthful of foot answer with the ever impressive... "what? that's not what I meant. they don't think that." ~quote from actual recent conversation This thing has no point. I can't tell people to think more before they speak because I don't always practice that discipline myself. Maybe I should start advising folks to be more deliberate? no, that's just weird.

January 27, 2015

one legged ass in a man kicking contest

Do you ever get that feeling that you are up to your neck and the water is rising? This is the point at which I currently find myself. There is nowhere I can turn that isn't filled with demands. Maybe water is the wrong mind picture. Drowning is said to be ultimately peaceful. I think I meant to say quicksand because there is nothing peaceful about a deep breath of colloid hydrogel. Lungs packed with liquid sand and clay are right up there on the big list of no thanks.

This pressure is both real and artificial but knowing about the stuff I'm putting on myself doesn't make it go away. I am having that stuck on a treadmill feeling with work for the first time since I started this job and I remember what it feels like to no longer be gruntled. This is probably in part due to things going on around me at home as well but the focus and the reason my brain wont shut off is definitely work.

I have so much to do that anything or anyone getting in the way of that is an annoyance. Petty requests about nonsense immediately burrow deep under my skin but the nature of my job dictates that every problem gets treated like the most important thing that has ever presented itself. It is exhausting.

Now add in a rash of my current verbal foibles and you have a recipe for disaster. If you say the words "needless to say..." my mind automatically thinks THEN DON'T. I am plagued by words that the mutterer knows they do not have to add in to the conversation. I am baffled and this week I have spoken to more on a percentage basis than ever before.

Also if you say the words "you know what I'm sayin?" my brain flips out. YES I UNDERSTAND YOU! WE ARE SPEAKING ENGLISH AND IF I HAVE ANY QUESTIONS I WILL POSE THEM IN THE SAME LANGUAGE WHEN MY NEXT TURN TO SPEAK ROLLS AROUND.  You know what I'm sayin? I have a burning urge to answer that every time. "Yes, I understand completely." or "No, could you elaborate?" holy crapcakes.

Add in this ridiculously names super storm that is hitting the east coast right now and I can't hang up the phone and take a breath before it rings again. I am just two days in to this week and I want nothing more than a nap. I'm only writing this as I wait for some people to call me from the other coast. I keep hearing that music from the old Ed Sullivan Show clip where the dude's talent is spinning plates. I need to find that...



January 25, 2015

Enough with the eye already

Let's talk some more about things. I probably have more "things" than most as I am a classic over-thinker. I can't help but look at almost everything from another point of view and lacking one of those I will make stuff up. But some of these things become hard and fast rules in my head. Take travel as an example.

Flying right now sucks. Airlines over sell most flights and charge you extra whenever possible. They don't understand that if they waived the check bag charge and just included a lower average increase on every ticket they could save themselves a lot of trouble on each flight and make more money. The $25 is so oppressive to some people that they will over-stuff a carry-on bag to the point that it cant be crammed into the bin. And if you have been on a plane lately you know that the loading time just before takeoff has some palpable anxiety.

Folks pulling their trolley behind them down the isle with another bag slung over the shoulder looking up into the bins for any sign of free space. And the stated rule if you find none is to wait until everyone else sits down and then walk your bag back to the front so the stewardesses can do what you should have in the first place.

People boarding the flight after the first two groups have almost no shot at overhead bin space. So most of them are given the option to gate check their bags. This is free and only adds a couple minutes if any time at all to their trip. Those bags are loaded last and unloaded first right in the gangway as you exit. Sure sometimes there is a slight delay but if your trip is down to minutes then you did some piss poor travel planning.

I pay to check a bag. I usually have to go that way anyway as the airport designers wisely placed the ground transportation next to the baggage claim. My average wait time is five minutes at most airports but it has been as long as fifteen. No big deal, I've got plenty of time. In fact I usually find a bathroom and then grab another drink for the ride. Like magic my bag appears and I'm on my way.

The other reason I do this is so my constant leather travel companion can ride up in the bin. He's not as big as a rolling carry-on but when you are six foot four that under seat in front of you real estate is precious. My weak status allows me to board at least second so I almost always find room. Friday night I was comfortably in my seat when a woman who boarded fifth started a ruckus.

She had pulled my bag out so everyone could see what she was talking about while she demanded to know whose bag it was. She said that she would keep that under the seat in front of her for the ride as if stating that out loud granted her permission.  NO said I and she just stared at me so I continued in a stern even tone. "my bag is going to stay right where it is and you will stop touching it." The dude next to me shifted uncomfortably but I was all good.

She started to protest and look around for support but the other passengers were pretending her voice was inaudible. I just kept staring at her until she tucked it back in and glared at me. She even tried to protest to the crew but they just took her bag to the gate check. She sat in front of me and tried to burn me with an exaggerated can you believe that? to the guy next to her but it didn't work. My legs were completely stretched out and I was asleep before they finished pressurizing the cabin.