Tuesday, June 29, 2004

System F'ed

I have about two weeks left in this current job. There are a number of petty-shitty details I have to wrap up. This morning I woke up to a number of e-mails stating that something had gone wrong with the logistics on some courses I had set up.

The beautiful thing about my new position is that I don't have to take care of much of the administrative/logistical pieces that I have to do here, because this new group had the common sense to hire someone who could do this work specifically. It's not bad work and I admire the people who can do it consistently and well; I've just come to the conclusion that I am not wired to do such work on a long-term basis. Fortunately, in this new role I will spend more time on development of materials.

I am ready to leave behind working with a large encumbered system (the bureacracy we have here at this company that runs the class management of all or most corporate training). For my purposes I'll call this bureacracy SYSTEM F. SYSTEM F is a monster bureacracy that insists on using old-fashioned manual processes (although they are conducted via e-mail) where automated ones could easily be put into place. I will not miss having to send e-mails for every single change I need to be put into place then having several people e-mail back and forth to clarify the changes. The databases used by SYSTEM F are a hodge-podge of files and applications built from scratch/on the fly/ and with as little budget as possible. The systems have become so unmanageable and complex that they require manual monitoring of all use by us fallable humans who come into contact with it. Can you imagine that opening scene in Brazil where there are endless aisles of file cabinets and paperwork. Think of that image as a visual metaphor for all the e-mail that is sent back and forth between the folks that use SYSTEM F.

It's called an ASP form... use it! I have a 12 year old nephew who can build one. It can't be that hard.

Within SYSTEM F, the common approach to fixing problems is Throwing more human power to monitor it as well as re-visiting the rules of the old processes and revising them instead of looking at newer ways to build these processes.

I can tell you exactly how this particular monster (of an organization) evolved. When a business group is born especially a group aimed at pleasing a wide number different organizations and parties within a corporation, the aim of the game is to gain as many happy customers as possible (on as little budget as possible). Therefore, you will make many promises as to how your services will suit their needs. You have very little time to think out your solutions, so you have to pick the ones that are quick and cheap. Don't spend too much time thinking about how these solutions impact each other, then pretty soon you've got a SYSTEM F on your hands.

Also, I suspect they don't have the kind of people who are competent enough to smash the system and re-build it... or the people who are competent enough leave and find better fields to play in.

Thursday, June 24, 2004

This just in

Someone forwarded me this link... for anyone who wants to quit their job today...

http://www.i-resign.com/uk/workinglife/viewarticle_90.asp

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

FYI

I was just sent an e-mail response copied by my manager. Looks like... I got the job.

I am really amazed... bowled over. I'm pretty psyched.

Here you may be thinking, what is our anti-heroine getting herself into? Shouldn't she be taking other steps. Shouldn't she be searching for opportunities in another world, maybe one less governed by the madness driven by nothing more than 'the bottom line?'

I'm planning, the wheels are churning within. I'm still concocting a plan to leave. If anything I might be able to walk away with experience and plently of material for my writing as Krawdadee pointed out earlier. I will do what I can, learn what I can, and keep plugging on.

I have entertained the fear that I will become one of those people who has been entirely sucked in to this company, perhaps one of those 'lifers' which frightens me because, because I don't want to become so inflexible, so unsuited for life in the REAL WORLD. Really, when comes down to it you don't owe your job any fealty. Company loyalty is a concept that grows more and more obsolete each day. After all, they don't seem to be showing us any loyalty by moving many of our jobs overseas.

Save me, Oh God, please... just SAVE ME! I need a whuppin!

For real!

http://datetosave.com/christian_dating_tips.html

The people who use these tips and successfully mate should all move to Greenland… or some other place that will insure the safety of the sane population.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

On reflection...

I'm still waiting to hear back about that interview I had. I've finally decided that I don't have the personality and fine tuned skills to work in a 'normal' business environment. Here's why:

During the interview, I was asked to explain some of the tools that I use to get my work done. After explaining my experience with an assortment of Macromedia tools, I made the mistake of assuming that the people interviewing me wanted a jack-of-all-trades who was skilled in using different applications and doing other tasks such as (very minor) graphic design projects. So I jokingly referred to myself as the "Wal-mart of Graphic Design." BIG MISTAKE, assuming that the interviewer has a sense of humor or will get yours, but as I've pointed out on countless occasions... I belong in this environment about as much as a shoe belongs on a hippie's foot.

Why did I do this?
Why did I do this?


Probably because I was nervous at the time.

I was once discussing different career possibilities to my supervisor, and I sort of hinted that I could never work in 'legal.' (Number one, because it takes a real Nazi without real balls to work in legal. Number two (no pun intended), it also requires you to tear yourself a new hole and then rip your soul out.) She simply laughed and replied, "Oh no you could never work there, you're such a free spirit."

What the fuck does this mean? How am I supposed to take this? I wasn't sure if it was an insult or could be taken as such in this environment. Is there something wrong with me?

Monday, June 21, 2004

No garden gnomes, please

I've been gardening a lot lately. I started a patch in the back about a month before I moved all my stuff into my new house. The floors have been finished, thanks to j, and we've moved the bulk of our belongings in. It just feels great.

This whole gardening thing is quite new to me. I have to confess that I get some sort of satisfaction from it, from the physical labor to watching things grow. Just think a few months ago I was so adamant about buying a condo so I could skip the yardwork. Am I transforming into something strange, a persona that was so foreign to me six months ago... am I becoming domestic? What happened to my dedication to a life of debauchery, A free life where I had no ties? Was I in denial this entire time. I still refuse to buy that shitty patio furniture from Sears. There's something about the stuffed vinyl chair padding with nutbrown or floral patterns that still makes me feel soiled.

Read something from more than a year ago

I think it's good to see how one's life has progressed even after a bad, bad break-up or any sort of trying life event. I have to remember the last statement in this paragraph below. It's the sort of self-affirmation I need (jeezus, I sound like some bad counseling book). This exerpt is from a piece of cathartic writing dated about one year and 4 months ago. I wrote a resume of all the relationships I had been in. No jokes about mileage, please:

Sam: Tall and Nordic. Once a member of the Marines special forces & Former Nike Analyst-Manager/ once future executive. Now he sits at home playing “Age of Empires” and brewing beer with his last remaining friend. Myers Briggs: he is a Complete ISTJ, and could rationalize his way out of a Turkish prison if he had to. I'm not sure why he did not take the job offered to him by the CIA. He was a big fan of Ayn Rand, Nietszche, Camus, and Sartre. Armed with his looks, some charm & a searingly dry wit, he was very, very good with words- formidable. He is the reason why I don’t think I will allow myself to be attracted to someone solely because of their intelligence (combined with their physical attractiveness). He had a difficult time comprehending things of the heart or empathizing with them. He was very confident, and seemingly sure of himself, but I really think that on some levels he is afraid of who he is or doesn't really know who he is or even like who he is. And I will admit, that for the time that I knew about the ‘infidelity,’ I probably did not like myself because I stayed in a relationship with him. I will never subject myself to this again. I feel terrible that I allowed myself to be stay in a situation where the pain and frustration outweighed the joy. Yet, I admit that I really did love him. Fear is a terrible thing. Love and Fear combined can wreak havoc on a person. I will never again allow the latter to rule over me again this way.


Imparare da ieri,
vivere per oggi,
la speranza per domani.

Learn from yesterday/ Live for today/ Hope for tomorrow.

Age is nothing... for real

http://www.craigslist.org/about/best/phi/33405273.html

I picked this up from a link and posting on Julia's blog... best of craigslist.

Sunday, June 20, 2004

Nothing but a trifling matter

I am not from England, and this is my version of the stuff, so I apologize if this isn't exactly authentic. I actually was having a hankering for a cold dessert as the temperature rose to 90 degrees today. It was so damn hot today, Sunday's dinner was cold chicken salad with pineapple and cashews on a bed of Boston lettuce with cold sauteed squash/zuchini with a basalmic vinegar and truffle oil dressing. Oh, we ate the trifle for dessert.

Custard
8 egg yolks
1 c. sugar
1 1/4 c. whole milk
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 tbsp. flour

Cake
Sponge cake cut into rectangular strips 1" x 2"
(I use sponge cake from the Chinese bakery. Actually, at the one I frequent they sell the little cake trimmings from the jelly rolls for pennies.)

Fruit
Strawberries, raspberriess (golden & red), peaches, and cherries (all sliced or chopped- 4-5 c. total) mixed with 1 tsp. fresh lime juice and 1-2 tbsp. sugar

2-3 tbsp Sherry (acutally, someone drank all the sherry. It was not me - I swear! so I used the Chinese cooking wine and it worked just fine)

Whipping cream with vanilla sugar and stabilzer.


Assembly


1. In s medium sauce pan or top of a double boiler, eat the egg yolks and sugar until the mixture becomes a light lemony color. Combine flour into the mixture. Stir in the milk. Cook over a double boiler or a boiling pan of water on medium-high boil. Stir constantly and cook for about 10-15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool at least 1 hour.

2. Arrange the cake strips in a circular trifle dish. If you don't have one any clear baking dish will do, but make sure you have one that is at least 2-3 inches deep. Cover the bottom of the dish completely. Sprinkle a little bit of the sherry on the cake. Spoon the custard over the cake. It will soak in a little bit (good). Spoon a layer of fruit then repeat with the cake until you've got a few layers. End with a layer of fruit.

Chill for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.

Serve with dollops of whipped creme.

Note if you want thicker custard, use cornstarch (dissolve it in the milk first).

Friday, June 18, 2004

Do you ever wonder?

As you're walking out the front door to get to your car before you go to work, do you wonder whether or not this will be the last day of your life? When we watch a movie the moments before a character's death present the viewer with a a bit of foreshadowing. There's usually a maudlin moment where the characters in the scene pause to reflect, maybe there's deep focus maybe some soft-lighting or even a brief flash-back.

When the character dies, we feel the pain of regret and loss felt by the characters who still live. Sometimes I watch movies (not so much plays anymore because it's been a few years since I've seen a good one), and I realize that we need to feel empathy, fear, disgust and loss. We need to identify with the plight of characters because these feelings affirm our own feelings as well as our own existence. I'm sure you've heard this argument before from your good old professor of the humanities in some college course either that or a special on PBS... I'm sure you, like me, may have thumbed the idea aside at the time thinking, what good is that too me? How can I apply that to my own life in the real world? When I read books, I find myself getting involved with characters far more deeply than I would if I were watching a television show. Maybe it's because I feel that the characters are far more alive to me since I've re-created them in my mind.

This is why literature and stories are important. to me, at least.

Though admittedly I have not spent as much time as others reading for pleasure. Maybe this is why recently I've felt a little bankrupt or poor on the creative side. I made the decision the other day to continue working on my stand up.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Fight Bush, Cheney, and the Empire

Mr. T, Hulk Hogan, and an overweight, washed up Master of the Universe take on THE (bad) MAN... and it's educational too.

http://www.emogame.com/bushgame.html

The best, best part of this game... is the really cheesy pixelated graphics. I feel like I'm back at home in the 80's playing my Odyssey 2000 then kicking back to enjoy the latest episode of Silver Spoons. Poor Ricky Schroeder.

You may have heard of this

I'm just sitting here, refusing to do anymore work, refusing to get into the traffic with the rest of the herd.

This week someone shared a very nice story with me, it was paraphrased in a graduation speech this year (where I have no idea). I guess I will paraphrase the story again, since I couldn't find evidence of it anywhere with Google. The story went something like this:

On the day of the final exam of an undergraduate philsophy course, the professor simply asked all the students to answer one question: "What is the meaning of life." While most of the students began furiously writing out their essays in paragraphs and pages, one student simply looked out the window and saw her classmates on the lawn playing in the sunshine. She wrote one sentence to pass in to her professor, and it simply stated that she was going outside to enjoy the day. The student, Gertrude Stein, received an A.

I know that this is a very simple story and we can marvel at the simplicity of its truth or we can appreciate that Stein's answer belongs in the hall of fame of one line essays, but I need to hear things like this every once and a while so that I don't get sucked into the vortex here at work.

Just one more cigarette... never mind

Yes, I used to be a smoker. And I still have moments when I pine for just one drag like a half-desperate woman might crave a dysfunctional, yet intriguing lover.

For the past two days I've been feeling so close to caving, and I've been personifying my desire for the stick with an imaginary bad-boy. I only have to picture the guy with the devil-may-care, laissez-faire, disheveled hair... the guy who grabs you in the dark corner of some seedy bar while you're lost in a drunken binge. Then I imagine the next morning and I see myself scrambling from his dirty apartment hoping that I remembered all of my personal effects. Suddenly, I don't want that cigarette after all.

Truth be told, I've decided to stop dating guys just because their bathroom as so god awful nasty. I've always said if you really want a decent girl to stay the night... "CLEAN YOUR FUCKING BATHROOM."

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

I love this blog world

Can I just say it? I've been skipping around all these websites including those of the people who have responded here to me. Reading all these words and musings gives me hope again that:

1.) We are not becoming retarded when it comes to the 'word'
2.) We are not becoming retarded when it comes to connecting with others... albeit this social scene is a little lacking in the physical or face to face contact area.

Day 2

I keep on adding posts to this blog... sort of smashing my words into this box here, and often I've been very hap-hazard with my writing. My intention of course is to go back and revise or even scramble up what I've written. Good intentions lie fallow without time and motivation. So what am I doing now? I should be working on editing some documentation, but instead I'm pining for some extra time... who knows maybe I'll get a butt-load of time in a few months when they finally wrap up our program and kick our rears out of this group. Not that I'd miss working here, if you haven't figured that out yet.

Ayyyye, I'm feeling kinda dumpstery right now because I'm not sure what to think of this 2nd interview. I didn't get as many positive affirmatives from the people who were grilling me this time. Maybe I'm just not reading them right. I do think that I did a better job of explaining things... perhaps I was a little too verbose.

Oh, well, it's over. Even if I don't get this job I'll just keep plugging on.

What does it mean to manage people? What does it mean to follow well?

What do you do if you don’t fit in the culture and social structure at your job?

Just as a warning, I’m going to say a few things here that may be seen as having racist undertones. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time or patience right now to run my words through a politically correct ringer. On top of this I may go back and reconstruct my arguments at a later time.

When I first started working here I was truly excited about working in this environment because I actually felt that I was finally working in an environment where I was expected to gain results and more accurately take initiative and bring about innovations and change. I could identify problems or areas where improvement was necessary. I could propose a solution, work with other to build it, and then be rewarded for the results.

I didn’t feel that I was allowed these sorts of opportunities when I was working for a public school district. You were expected to work within the confines of the system. On top of that when you work with a system that is so old, static, and stagnant, you often find yourself working in a system impregnated with political favoritism and encumbered with bureaucracy.

So in my early days of working here, I did receive a great deal of satisfaction in my job, simply because I saw that I was successful and providing results and contributing to improving my workplace. I worked under leadership and tutelage of a number of people who were excellent managers in the sense that they knew how to choose their employees well. They knew how to guide them, and they realized that their job entailed more than just telling their employees what to do and how to do it. In addition to this they encouraged me to use my own judgment instead of second guessing or constantly monitoring what I was doing. On top of this I actually felt that I could address any problems I might have had or things that I felt uncomfortable with.

Maybe it’s because I was raised as an American and in American culture directness is valued over indirectness. This group I work in is managed mainly by people from Eastern or Asian backgrounds. In Asian cultures you are expected to be indirect and understand each other intuitively. More you are expected to follow the hierarchical chain of command. It would be unthinkable to bring a proposal of change directly to your manager without following some indirect way of doing so. I might add that some of the indirect methods I seem to have witnessed here include covert and sneaky action. Now I’m going to state this very plainly here, but I am not making a judgment call on whether my culture is better than another’s, I am simply observing that I there are differences between communication styles in Eastern and Western cultures and that at time these differences cause conflicts.

I've been having difficulties fitting in here, and it's all been very deja vu to my own experience growing up in an Asian family where Father knew best and the rest of us were expected to follow what he mandated... regardless of whether or not it was wrong or a better way could be taken. Both my brother and I spent much of our adolescence balking at our dad's will.

Even here, it seems that there is a guise of 'listening' to employees; however, leadership doesn't always listen with their ears or minds open.


Monday, June 14, 2004

Interview

Aye, being interviewed over the phone has only one advantage. You can wear your scrubbies. Well, I suppose you can wear them if you want. I was feeling a little worn when I woke up this morning so I tried to energize myself with a quick walk around the building before the interview. Despite all of this, my interview went fairly well... at least I walked away from it with a good feeling. I was slightly tongue tied with the first question, but I think my flash work actually appealed to them. And they seemed to respond well to my answers to their questions (behavioral interview questions). We'll see.

-------------

Oy, looks like Courtney Cox named her kid... Coco... Coco Cox Arquette.
What the f? Did she want the other children to confuse her with a Dr. Seuss character?
I mean the name sounds like a fricking cereal.
Just another example of celebrity retardation.

COCO COX ARQUETTE.
Are you cuckoo for Coco cox?

Saturday, June 12, 2004

`

So I have the first in a series of two phone interviews on Monday. I an hour re-writing a friends resume on Friday. He did give me some good advice...that I shouldn't play the victim as I have been doing so here. Not being aggressive enough about pursuing opportunities and simply just doing what I'm told to do.

I'll tell you though. There's something about working with my supervisor that has always made me feel a little uneasy. She's a nice enough person, and she's very successful at what she does, but there's just two things that I have a hard time with with her:

1.) She's pretty damn particular about how she wants things done (hence she tends to micromanage and not give me opportunties to learn and grow). Though I do think that to some extent she's only reacting to the 'culture' and work environment that exists here.
2.) She's incredibly anal retentive.

As someone else pointed out she's got this high-pitched way of speaking... that sort of office-feminine tone of voice when she wants to express her delight at something. She's got that can-do, smily sunny disposition that makes me feel a little unnerved... and I think for the first year or so that I worked there, she really didn't know what to do with my occasionally sardonic behavior. She's nice enough to me, and she's been pretty supportive, but I've watched how she goes about her business and it makes me feel uneasy. Having every single note or packet squirreled away in the appropriate packet or folder. Also, she knows how to fake knowing something... something I've never been able to do extremely successfuly. I've been setting up some really unrealistic expectations for myself. I've often felt that I don't have what it takes to succeed here because I'm not like her.

Nor am I that perky little blonde who wears her banana republic blue broadshirts and ironed linen slacks and when she walks around the Aveda cloud follows her so her crisp cleanliness shines intensely on people's nostrils where ever she goes... She would never understand my jokes. Not that I'd share them at work because someone would eventually bring the subject up to HR. Not that I stink or anything... I just smell like soap.

I've been psyching myself out for this interview.... doing the regular research by scoping out this groups website and their projects. I've been making up questions in my head for the interview... about the group. I usually do well in interviews when I'm happy or just feel good about myself in general. It's good to know where you're going, or at least get a feel for it. I often think that I would like to have the luxury of being able to choose my job, choose whom I work with. Perhaps I do, but maybe what makes this difficult for me is that I just have to admit that I don't fit in with most people... at least the people who try so hard to appear as if their normal here in this place. I know that eventually, when things are better or I've saved up enough cash I'll have to find another environment in which to work. When it comes down to it, I have to make a choice.

Turn myself off when I walk in the door... or walk out the door forever.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

Speaking games from my childhood horrors...

Do you remember that game... pefection?

When I'm trying to learn how to code or absorb the workings of a new application in order to build a tool that I've been comissioned for at work... while smiling like a California republican as I struggle to get my daily job done at the same time. I remember what it was like to play that ridiculous game. This game where all the pieces would explode into your face and the noise would smack your ears like a firecracker.

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Prayer to the Godess of Organizational Psychology

Am I insane?

I was reading through the arguments put forth in the article that explained the existence of PHBs or “Pointy Haired Bosses” (from the Dilbert cartoons), and I was quite impressed by the beautifully framed logic used by the author to explain why bad managers abound in large corporations.

A-quality people tend to hire other A-quality people but B-quality people tend to hire C people or other Bs at the best. A-quality people know to hire people who know more than they do - other As. They will try to hire people who are better than they are. B people are scared of the As they interview being afraid the A will make them look bad or even take over their job if they hire them. So they hire Cs who are no threat. The Bs don’t always recognise the difference between Bs and Cs. A-quality employees recognise Bs and Cs instantly and don’t tend to take jobs where they see such types in upper management positions.

All my life I’ve wondered why there were so many bad managers and someone has finally explained it to me in clear and easy terms that I can understand (because I am simple minded, you know). This author uses the appropriate metaphor of a pod alien invasion to describe the proliferation of bad culture into a group as described above. Now it’s my observation that this has been happening within my own group (but this is just my opinion and not fact, as I’ve maintained countless times before).

Each organization within a corporation or an agency or bureaucracy has a culture. This culture holds properties not unlike the bacterial culture in yogurt as well as the aspects of culture in a tribal society such as the Dogon people of West Africa. Culture is organic and nurturing as the soil that fosters the growth of seedlings. If there is If a rich and fertile culture does not exist within an organization, then the employees cannot grow and the organization or business cannot grow with them. I hate to get biblical here (or even hippiesque) with the metaphors I use, but I think we forget about the importance of understanding and working with organizational culture in a businesses.

The Wikipedia encyclopedia defines culture as “human activity.” This is just my observation, but it seems that there’s a great deal of human activity going on within the normal operations of a corporation.

I know this idea of culture is a difficult concept for us to grasp, especially those of us techheadswho work in the tech industry. Soft and fuzzy concepts like culture and society aren’t really important to us because we prefer to have concrete facts and things that can be proven. Perhaps proving the existence and importance of social culture to scientifically-minded individuals like ourselves is as excessive exercise as Spinoza’s attempt to qualify and quantify the state of love.

When we live the corporate life we are inundated with values that stress that productivity and the logical steps to achieving it are more important that being in tune to the softer and more mysterious aspects of working within a culture or a community. We become more focused on indicators, data, finding or building the tools that work. If you add the factor of poor economy and the notion that spending less is better to this equation you develop a sort of tunnel view of how to manage your organization. When you combine this tunnel vision management with the development of the alien pod culture in corporations you’ve got a recipe for growing a fetid bureaucracy or at the very least a disgruntled workforce.

Suddenly there’s a cry for a more touchy feely sort of management, a return to training programs that embrace the softer side of influencing people. Suddenly the business sees more training and organizational initiatives that encourages teambuilding meetings, role-playing… all things that we techheads deplore and fear. And it also seems to me that under the tunnel vision regime in which we’d been so deprived of the softer side that the pendulum swings too far to the other extreme. The techheads become once again dissatisfied and disenchanted with the soft way of doing things that they ride the pendulum back to the other end. Maybe this is all just my observation of how things work around here.

Please don’t think that I’m placing myself in the type A category. I’m not being humble either. I think rather that I’m a type A in chrysalis phase, waiting to move to another pod culture. I’ve recognized that I cannot flourish within an organization that encourages the monitoring of it’s employees words and communications.

I can no longer be restricted by the notion that I am less than my worth.


http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/columns/pointy-haired_boss.html



Wavy, Dude.

I'm a spirograph... which is kind of ironic because when I was a kid... my nubbly little hands were too uncoordinated to use such a sophisticated toy. I'd get about three or four turns into the drawing I was making then my pen would either get caught in the notches or I'd slip... so my designs would look like an unfinished nuclear symbol where the electron/s got frustrated, threw a tantrum and fizzed out.

spirograph
You're a Spirograph!! You're pretty tripped out,
even though you've been known to be a bit
boring at times. You manage to serve your
purpose in life while expending hardly any
effort (and are probably stoned to the gills
all the while).


What childhood toy from the 80s are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

The American Family

On the drive in to work today I was thinking of all the television families that impacted my life up until this point. I will list them here in order of those whom I could least relate to (sort of my black sheep spectrum if you will... the further up on the list, the more I'd feel like a total outcast):


1. The Cleavers (Leave it to Beaver)
2. The Seavers (Growing Pains)
3. The Keatons (Family Ties)
4. The Osmonds (Wait, wait I forgot about them... can I move them up to number #1?) Any singing family group goes up on that rank including the Von Trappe Family Singers.
5. The Bundys (Married with Children)
6. The Partridge Family (they are the exception to the singing family rule... mainly because of Danny Bonaducci... sort of skanky child actor who rebounds sort of adds points to their status. Not to mention they had to ride in that f'ed up bus with the Mondrian pattern on it)
7. The Jeffersons (I can identify with any family with a 'loud mouth')
8. The Evans Family (Good Times)
9. The Ropers (Three's Company)
10. Sandford and Son
11. The Addams Family - are at the top because everyone in the family was able to be a freak and be comfortable about it. And you have to admit that there must have been some valid reasons why this show/cartoon was so popular despite the mayonaise lovin' era it was spawned in.

Dance little hamster! Dance!

Oy... I could not stop laughing at this... sick, no?

http://streetpizza.blogspot.com/2004/03/dancing-days-are-over.html

Be forewarned the rest of this site is not so Disney... Fuck you, Michael Eisner and all you evil Disney fucks.

I had a sort of a gross thought... well, maybe not so gross depending on your local and culinary tastes, but I could take the recipe I shared below... and make Possum ala Provence...

TAST-EEE!

Monday, June 07, 2004

Sunday Dinner

-Chicken Provence
-Gravy
-Steamed Golden Beets with Carmelized Onions
-Assorted Potates with Rosemary & Garlic
-Collard Greens with bacon

Chicken Provence

-1 5-6 lb. Roasting Chicken
-1/4 c. herbes de Provence
-3 sprigs fresh thyme
-1/4 c. cooking sherry or dry white wine
-10 pepper corns
-Sea salt
-Freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Rub the chicken generously with salt/pepper and 2 tbsps of the herbes de Provence. Shove the sprigs of thyme up it's hole (if you have lemon handy you can cut it in half and shove it up there too). Place your chicken on a wire rack over a broiling pan. Make sure you've lined your pan with some foil (if you're lazy like myself).

Let the chicken roast for about 15 minutes or so. Once you've got it's fat and juices flowing you should add the peppercorns and sherry to the baking pan with the fats. Baste the chicken every 10 minutes or so with the liquid in the pan. Also, after cooking the chicken for about 30 minutes more, turn down the heat to 350. Roast for another 45 minutes or until the meat juices are clear and not BLOODY when you test the breast meat by cutting it with a knife(yum!)

I like to take the fats and juices in the pan an make gravy with it. Move it into a thick saucepan. Add 1/2 c. chicken broth with 1 tbsp. flour mixed in well. Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Add extra herbs, salt, pepper, and sherry or wine.

Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sunday Breakfast - Eggs & Chorizo & Filipino Fried Rice

Serves 2

1/2 lb Chorizo
1 tsp cooking oil
1 red pepper chopped
1/2 med. sweet onion (Vidallia or Walla Walla)
4 eggs (slightly beaten with 1 tbsp of water)
Salt & Pepper
1 tsp. fine quality soy sauce
Fish Sauce
2 c. cooked rice (jasmine or short grain)

Slice the chorizo thinly and fry in a skillet until cooked through. Reserve the oil from skillet and toss in the rice (you may have to add additional cooking oil depending on the fat content of the sausage). Add salt and pepper, and the soy sauce and toss until well seasoned. Add a few dashes of fish sauce and set the rice aside.

In the same skillet add the 1 tsp. cooking oil (canola works fine) cook the onions and red peppers until tender. Add the chorizo then the beaten eggs and cook like a scramble. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm on top of the fried rice.

Friday, June 04, 2004

A final note for today

DO NOT stay in a job (too long) if you're ONLY reason for staying is the paycheck. Always have a plan for something better.

As I sat in my meetings with my supervisor today... as we poured over the details of responsibilities and tasks that are planned for the next quarter, I realized why I'm leaving this job or why I'm planning to leave as soon as possible:
-I don't feel valued.
-I don't feel trusted,
-and I don't feel that my skills and talents are being put to good use.

It's pretty hard to come into work realizing that you have the desire to influence change and make creative contributions to the materials and products being developed and discover that your values lies mainly in scheduling outlook appointments and building tables for content in word (cut and paste baby).

Yes, all you skeptics and fear-mongers... I know AGAIN, I should be happy that I even have a job, but why should I be doomed to feeling depressed when I come into work? Why should I not consider that there are better things out there?

One more thing I've learned recently

Until corporations and their leaders re-learn that people (at home our abroad) are valuable resources, we as employees should no longer view the corporate jobs as vehicles for career advancement or consider loyalty to our jobs and our managers as being key to our career. We should view the job simply as a means to making a pay-check.

Something I've learned lately

If you cannot trust those underneath you to get the job done, you always have to do it yourself. You're not a manager then, you're just someone who does more than one job.

Thursday, June 03, 2004

I haven't had much time for anything lately, but there's a ray of hope here. I received feedback and a reply from someone from the hiring team for the job for which I was placing the feelers out last week. Good news! They encouraged me to apply for the position. So let's see.

Training Hobbits?

I rode the MAX into work today and brought along some professional reading with me... just to get it over with. I've decided that much of this corporate training stuff is about as fascinating as insurance law. Yes, I understand the importance of training, but couldn't the reading material associated with it have a little more depth and maybe some human interest. After reading 1/2 through the training eval book by Kilpatrick, I picked up the Mager book on Instructional objectives. I've reviewed much of this before for my teaching degree, but it's good to scan over things so that you can talk the lingo ( I think I just made myself ill). The thing is I couldn't get past the illustrations in the books... the people looked too much like the saucer-eyed characters in the Rankin Bass production of the Tolkien stories. Funny how artwork can influence your perception and reception of reading material. I am so superficial.

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

A slave to the despot... the HOME DESPOT

I have had to go to H-depoe (Home lately to pick up supplies as we are re-finishing the floors in our new home (yes, that means ripping out stinky boogery carpet, removing or pounding down nails and staples, sanding ... which j, like a saint did most of... mainly because I believe we tacitly agreed that I would most likely hurt myself or the house if I continued to work any of the machinery, and finally staining and varnishing).

I've decided that the DEPOE is a great place for studying the degeneration of American homonid society.

Don't go to the DEPOE on Saturdays, Sundays or National Holidays...not EARLY in the morning, not at all. The best time to shop is between 8-10PM (closing time) on the week-days.
You cannot find a place in this store where you are NOT in someone's way.

Excuse me
pardon me
you're in my way
do you mind... I can't navigate my cart around YOUR BIG ASS.


They only way you can hope to get your questions answered is if you happen to ask some fresh-faced 18 year old who just started working that day.

On top of this you have a countless people who are under the stress of having to fix something in their home... the same pushy people who nearly run over you in the parking lot with their mini-van because their passle of screaming children is making them wish that they were still single and living in a loft apartment downtown.


I have always wanted to be there to see Amish people shopping at Home Depot... I can just imagine what the Despot is like in New York City. People beating each other in the aisles out of frustration with wooden dowels. Do you ever wonder what it would sound like if some mafia crew member was shopping at the Depot?

Uh, yeah, um... can you tell me where I can get a couple of bags of lime and a shovel.

How much uh concrete do you think I will need?

or

Say, ah I was wondering if you could answer my hypothetical-type question... You, see I have a little problem with this dead animal smell... it's not in my house. And I just can't seem to get to it. How easy do you think it would be to, uh break down the wall to get to it? What kind of wall are we talking about here...

Not, that they would ever be that stupid.

Tuesday, June 01, 2004

White food?

Courtesy of Lileks.com ... bone appetite.

White Trash Russian (the drink) and Raffe on Ice

After moving in most of my belongings, I sat on the porch steps of my new home and had me one of these (this is pretty sickly sweet):

1/2 shot Kahula
1 shot Vanilla Stoli
8 oz Diet Coke (or regular Coke... a can of diet was all I had)
Cracked ice

We still have to stain and varnish the floors, but then after that we will unleash the interior desecrator beast. Hopefully I will not do so under the influence. I was flipping through the channels on the radio station and hit 1450 my favorite morning radio show (the kiddie hour) and I almost flipped past it because I mistook it for one of those Christian radio stations. Now sometimes Christian music sounds a little too much like kiddie music... maybe because often times it's trying to 'teach' us something. Then again, as J pointed out a lot of kiddie music sounds like it was written and sung by hippies.