Sunday, December 28, 2008

To A Healthy New Year

What better way to start a new year than with healthy activities and tasty treats? I mean look at those melons, tantalizing, tempting, whispering to your inner being about the passion of life. You can almost feel the sweet caress against your moist lips. And that's what life is about -- being vibrant and sensuous.

Those fruits in the picture from the Persimmon trees look pretty good too, don't they!

Monday, December 22, 2008

Listening To My Tape...worms

Trying to remove weight by simply swallowing pills is nothing new. Over a hundred years ago, one of the fads of the day called for ingesting very effective weight loss pills that contained -- tapeworms! And if certain health risks had not prevailed (such as death), they might be on the market today.

It's not that tapeworms disappeared. They just became more mechanical. In the 70s and 80s, it was Reel-to-Reel, 8-track and cassette tapes that contained wormy music from such "artists" as Vanilla Ice and various boy bands. Repeated listening was pretty much guaranteed to help you lose your appetite. I am pretty certain that Bulimia nervosa would not have become so popular if the music industry hadn't overpromoted music groups that make you gag.

Of course these days, we no longer have tape or tapeworms. One was replaced by shiny discs and the other by shiny pills. Fortunate for us, the pills are the right size to shove in our ears. You might not lose weight, but you are certain to be much happier.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Please Forgive Me ....

I couldn't help myself from doing this post on my other site.

Yet another post with a diet pill name in it

Fentraphen. There! I wrote it! One more diet pill to help you eat more while exercising less. Don't you feel better now?!

Although lately, there has been one diet that has really helped me to shed a few of pounds. I'm sure a lot of you have unintentionally taken part in it. It's called the high price of food! But now that gas is coming down in price, I can't wait for cost of food to follow suit. When it does, I and my wallet are going to abandon this strict diet. You can call me a desserter to the cause if you like. But that's the way I roll ... all fluffy and buttery.

A Special Keyboard for ... Blondes

You've probably realized that we live in a time when there is a niche market for everything. But in this age of making sure we don't hurt each other's feelings, I wasn't expecting to find a keyboard for blondes.

Click on the picture and take a look at those keys!!

Yes I agree that the wording of the keys is very helpful. Who among us -- blonde, brunette, redhead, clear (you bald guys) -- has not found ourselves frantically searching the keyboard for an "any key" to press when prompted by the superior intellect of our computer? I know that blondes have all the fun but shouldn't the rest of us be allowed to have such a keyboard? To limit this kind of joy to those with fair hair is a bit discriminatory, don't you think? The next thing you know only blondes will be allowed to buy books without words in them. (Although I don't think that will stop them from moving their lips while they're reading.)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

My Upcoming Teaching Job

Today my quality manager made a very unexpected request on me. In a couple months, he wants me to teach the quality department and our production technicians the art of ... programming. Actually, it's not really a request. It is a directive that is coming down from our new, benevolent overlords.

I guess if your job consists mainly of skillless tasks such as shouting out commands, belittling lesser level employees, and successfully blaming away your mistakes, then everyone else's job must look just as easy to do. I noticed this ridiculous belief recently when talking with our company's president and a few VPs. Their attitude was that programming is nothing more than writing a few lines of text with incorrect punctuation thrown in for good measure. They wouldn't understand why a complex project takes more than a few hours to do. Hence the directive. Why would you want to hire someone who spent at least four years learning the craft of writing good, effective code? Obviously, if any monkey can be a feces-throwing manager, it's only a step down in being a programmer.

So instead of establishing a team of software engineers, upper management wants to burden my already overworked coworkers with the task of helping me maintain our test programs. These systems range from DOS based C-language to Windows VB and, more recently, LabVIEW. Just to be clear, my friends are more than capable of learning everything I know and then some. But how do I take 25 years of programming experience and condense it down into a few classroom hours of training?

Until today's request, my strategy was to create a database that would allow specific coworkers the ability to change test parameters as required. And I hadn't had a chance to do this effectively until I was able to begin converting our programs into LabVIEW last year. I still think this should be the goal. My quality manager agrees. This way they don't have to worry about the logic flow or how to modify sections of code without introducing bugs into the test program. Clean and effective, right? But this is the result of thinking as a method to solve problems. Anything else is destined to put you into upper management ...

Warning! Bank Under Construction!

On my way to work during these past few months, I've been passing by the construction of yet another Bank of America. There are signs and warnings about the importance of using safety equipment in and around this hazardous site. But what happens when this bank finally opens?

Years ago, BOA was known as NCNB. Back then, NCNB had all sorts of sneaky ways of nickel and diming your account to death. They were such a source of frustration that they lost my business and that of my friends. But now NCNB has matured into a worldwide operation and change the name to Bank of America. Their motto has become ""We help people realize their dreams." Awww, how financial comforting. But which "people" is BOA referring to? My friends? A couple recently told me how they had put money into their account only to discover that they couldn't use it until two or three days later. I've been told stories about checks that bounce even though the money was there, and Bank of America still charged an unrecoverable $35 fee. I get the impression that the motto should read "We help bank presidents and stockholders realize their dreams."

Yes, it is a busy construction site. And it is a good thing that the building company is doing all it can do to guard the safety of its workers. It's too bad we can't put safety equipment on our bank accounts.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Merry Christmas, You're Fired

Our VP of operation has turned to cutting the most costly group in our company. No, not upper management. The way they've been hiring, apparently we are not top-heavy enough. No, my dear reader, he has targeted the women on the assembly line who are close to retirement. These women have the gall to keep on working just so they can rake in three dollars more than the minimum wage. Such excess can not be tolerated.

Today, he started by giving our 30 year, extremely experienced veteran of the production line the choice of taking over the job of our much younger cleaning lady or of leaving. Our as-of-this-moment retiree chose life outside the company instead of remaining on to clean toilets. Please understand that our cleaning lady does excellent work. So when she heard that she was almost terminated without any warning or cause, you can understand that she was a little upset.

Yesterday, you would have thought that morale was bad. But today, once the story of our VP's action got around the plant, you could look down and see snails soaring miles above our employees' morale. Thank goodness the VP did this during this holiday season...

Saturday, December 13, 2008

A rose by any other name ... would be thinner?

What is it about girls named Allie? I've yet to meet a girl named Ally who has more than 2% body fat. I submit to you Ally McBeal as an example. Is there something in their name that makes them skinnier than the 'L' in their name?

My friend is dating such a girl. But instead of spelling her name as Ally or Allie, she uses the same word as the diet medicine, alli. Coincidence? I wonder.

I'm not sure what my friend finds attractive about her. For such a thin woman, she is very loud and boisterous. Sadly, she's also bulimic. I can only imagine him taking her to a restaurant. I wonder if, every few minutes, he has to say, "Shhh! Do you think you could keep it down?"

Friday, December 12, 2008

A Very Special Navitity Scene

I drove by a church marquee this morning that read "drive-through nativity scene". At first I thought it was a reference to last year's incident when a woman lost control of her car and drove through their nativity scene. No one was hurt but she did end up with the figurine of Joseph on her dashboard ... and she wasn't even Catholic.

But, no, this was an actual "drive your car around the back of the church and around the nativity" scene. I can just imagine pulling up to find a speaker on a shepherd staff and having to place an order, "Yeah, I'd like the 'Three Wise Men' special with extra Mary and a cup of Joe. No, I don't want to shepherd-size-it. What? The shepherd size comes with goat -- are you kidding?" You know how they'll do anything for sale. After you place your order, they'll have you follow the bright star in the East to the window of the heavenly hosts. There, you'll be greeted by Mexican kid named Jesus and a surly manager who keeps yelling at Jesus saying, "Close the door! What's the matter with you? Were you raised in a barn?!"

I guarantee this drive-through nativity will make your season.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Multifunctional Furniture

So there I was a few months ago, relaxing at my brother-in-law's home, watching football on a high-definition TV and sampling a few locally brewed beers. It was a beautiful sunny autumn day. And since my brother-in-law lives in the country, we had the windows open to enjoy the flagrantly warm autumn air.

All was going well when we noticed a slight odor of cow manure and a soft but annoying chewing sound. It quickly reached a point where we glanced at the open window behind us. There, sitting on a cow, was his neighbor watching the game along with us. I don't know if straddling a cow is the ideal in leather home theater seating, but at least it pays for itself.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

I Get To Help My Daughter

When I divorced a few years ago, I told my then teenage daughter that she could always come and live with me because of the advantages of school and work in my area. At the time she didn't want to break the bonds of her friends and decided to remain in the area where her mother lived. Since then, my baby girl has come to realize the unpleasant type of person her mother really is. My darling daughter has also become extremely frustrated with the lack of employment opportunities in her area. To remedy this situation, she and her fiancé are going to take me up on my offer and move in with me sometime during this upcoming springtime. I'm very excited about her decision! Of course, this means I've got to immediately begin a major ground-to-roof cleaning project. You know all the clutter that we are "going to get around to organizing someday"? Well, my "someday" has arrived! I also need to make sure I can make as many job and college resources available to my new roommates as possible.

I realize this is going to be a slight disruption in my otherwise quiet home life. And my expenses will go up temporarily. But in the end, all of this will be very much worth while.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Boredom At 30?

I was talking with one of my single friends about our vacation goals for the rest of the year. At my company, you either take all the days that you earned or lose them. There is no compensation from the company for unused days. There is no roll over for your unspent time into the next year. What amazed me though was when my friend complained about having to take time off. He said that after a day or two from work, he was bored. Bored?!

For the most part, you could say that I am single -- when I come home, I can run around naked, drink milk straight from the carton, belch and fart to my heart's content and not worry that somebody is going to complain. But the one thing that I never experience is boredom. I have so many things that I want to research, learn, sketch, write about and just create that I need more days off from my routine of tending to everybody's needs. I know it's one thing when a child or teenager complains of being bored. But I can't understand how a single man in his 30s can achieve a state of boredom.