Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Siege Mentality

Sunset, Chirichua Mountains, Southern Arizona

I was listening to a 60 Minutes interview on my iPad while driving to a job today. The recent story was about how Chicago Police led the nation in wrongful conviction of teenagers. Specifically, their ability to get teens to confess to crimes they did not commit. Crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, etc. The staff at 60 Minutes did not delve into the reasons why the Chicago PD could intimidate and billy-club kids into admitting to these crimes. But, I know exactly why. It is something that I have seen over and over again in the last 20 years. Not the beating up of children by police, but the breakdown in governmental agencies, due to the publics unwillingness to fund, support and supervise them.

Additionally, later that same day, I came across a Phoenix newspaper article about how Child Protective Services (CPS) was cutting more services to youth and families due to budget cuts. This is the arena that I used to work in when I was employed with the state and I certainly don't miss it.

While things are tight all over regarding the economy, wages, jobs and the like. The situation in the public sector is much worse than many people realize. When I worked for the State, the CPS workers had a siege mentality. This is inevitable when you are required to do a job that you don't have the resources to address. Many folks would assume that you can quit and look for a better job if your current position becomes untenable. But this isn't the case in today's economy.

The case managers that are assigned to care for these abused children are almost impossible to get ahold of anymore. You would be to if you received 80 phone calls a day, 200 e-mails, had to attend court hearing and visit with all your assigned children on a daily basis. The caseloads per case managers in Arizona are three times the national average. How long do you think you would be a 'Team Player' under those sorts of conditions?

If you were hired 10 years ago to handle a case load of 100 cases a month you could probably keep up with the work load. If over the next 10 years you see your case load jump to 800 a month with no additional resources to help you out, you are going to start to find ways to cut corners.

The cops in Chicago started doing that years ago. Crime was going up, they were not getting an increase in resources but they still had to maintain a certain arrest quota to show the public that they were doing their jobs. Guess what? Out the window goes due process, and you start coercing kids to admit to violent crimes they did not commit.

At the office where I used to work, this same senecio occurred. The case loads more than doubled over 10 years with little to know increase in the resources to handle the increase. The mantra was to try and work 'smarter', but this will only get you an extra 10% to 20% in efficiency, not nearly enough to address the 100% case load increase. So what did my coworkers do? They learned to cut corners, just like the Chicago cops.

There is the assumption that anyone that is 'professional', that works in an office environment (white collar), can be trusted to do their job in a proficient and professional manner. When pushed far enough by increasing caseloads, anyone will find ways to cut corners. This includes management turning a blind eye as long as the machinery keeps humming along.

I know this, because I used to run the numbers for the state division I worked in. I knew what people where doing (or not doing) regarding the children they were tasked to oversee in foster care.

I started to see that my co-workers were no longer taking the time to input tedious data entry in the state database. When I ran the reports that showed this missing data, management ignored it. I assume, because they were so overwhelmed trying to cover caseloads that they were not paying attention to the details and also, because they had questionable management skills, they really didn't understand the reports I was giving them.

The job process involved the review of foster care cases that were handled by the state. Management looked at the reviews assigned and the reviews completed and ignored the details about what each review contained.

Then, as caseloads continued to escalate, I noticed that some of my co-workers stopped doing the reviews all together. The hearings were held, but no reports or data were generated, they just re-shelved the files and ignored the end product that they were supposed to be doing. This is akin to a judge holding a hearing and then forgetting to publish the minute entries, finding and orders for the case. Again, management was oblivious. No one was complaining, because no one was actually reading the reports that the division produced. CPS and the Courts were as overloaded as my division was. The wheels were turning, but nothing was actually happening.

In essence, my coworkers had entered into siege mentality, just like those Chicago cops. They ignored the reason they were doing the job and cut corners to make it look like they were working, when in fact they were breaking the law in order to keep their jobs.

I have to state, that not ALL my co-workers were doing this. Some of them were sharp and on-task workers that went WAY beyond what they should have been required to do in order to get the job done. Sadly, these usually were the first ones to leave, since they either burned out, or found better jobs in the private sector. Unfortunately, these are the people that should have been promoted to help and train others, but they never were.

My point in all this, is that any organization wants and needs to ride the wave of the 'Bell Curve'. You need to stay ahead of the caseloads and resource drain. If you don't you fall BEHIND on the 'Bell Curve', and at that point, the cost to regain the initiative and stay productive starts to go up exponentially.

I have become sickened by the spin doctoring of politicians and civil servants that can't admit this. When times were tough back in the 70s and 80s and we started cutting all of the school programs and job training curriculum to balance budgets, no one seems to have questioned what the effect would be 10 years into the future. What was going to be the result of those budget cuts when teenagers started having babies and no one could find work. If we want to cut the teen pregnancy rate and keep children out of foster care now, it will cost us three times as much as the money we saved by cutting the programs three decades ago.

How much will it cost to hire and 'retrain' police officers in Chicago who will investigate crimes instead of coercing confessions? Hopefully, you start to see my point and my frustration.

Most social services and public agencies exist now in name only. They actually perform no function and cannot even be trusted to perform the tasks that they were assigned three decades ago, much less deal with the problems of today.

My plea here is that we stop accepting the excuses and spin doctoring that our leaders and our civil servants keep telling us. Someone needs to start fessing up to the mistakes of the past and making the hard decisions that will be needed to solve these problems in the future. If we want the elderly looked after, if we want to keep children out of foster care, if we want our streets safe and our prisons less populated, we are going to have to start paying for it. Paying a lot for it. Some might call that socialism, some might call it big government. If we don't address it, we will all be calling it anarchy. If we don't want to fund the entitlements that we have written into law over the past half century (and many Tea Party Right Wing Radicals don't), then we had better be prepared to arm ourselves, defend our own property, ignore the old, the sick and the dying infants in the streets and just look out for Number One.

Either way, I don't really have a preference. What I can't stand is to have folks saying that we are doing a 'great job' and 'serving the citizens of the state'. It is a lie. It is spin doctoring to the Nth degree, and I just can't take it anymore.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

The Hardest Part

Back Yard Marbles - Lytro Light Field Camera

Sitting with my wife on a Saturday night at the Bisbee Coffee company in old downtown Bisbee. It is a cool December evening with the street lite with colored lights, as if a scene right out of "Its A Wonderful Life". Coffee never tasted so good. Turmoil swirls all around us, but right here and right now, life seems good.

I am dealing with a lack of focus without the frustration that came with my past life working for the state. I used the blogging arena to focus my frustration and used it as an outlet to deal with that frustration.

That part of my life is now over, but there is frustration of a different sort that I now have to deal with. Not the organized and institutionalized incompetency of the public sector, but the incompetency of the general public and culture. It is not as overwhelming as was the state, but it exists never the less.

Where Ever I Go - The resistance to change...

In the rural world that we live in now, there are two types. Those who have escaped from the perils of the big city and those that have never left the small town. The latter have some issues. They don't see or understand the change that is taking place in the rest of the world. They don't really understand the Internet, they don't watch cable news and in general, they just want to be left alone. These people don't usually have a lot of ambition, which is a dual edged sword. If society does have something better to offer in the form of a better quality of life, they don't tend to embrace it. Case in point. Paper Checks. Since I have moved down here, the number of times that I have waited behind someone at a check- out line that is writing a check is astounding. They will not embrace the concept of a debit card, regardless of how much more convenient and simple it is. Now mind you, they may be paranoid about big brother tracking every purchase they make. But really, do you really think the feds want to know where you buy your kerosene and 6-packs?

The addiction to media and our loss of self....

I have often railed against the media culture that has grown like a cancer in our society since the late 1950s. Madison Ave melded the idea of Propaganda and Consumer Capitalism into a twisted economic engine that makes us long to go into debt to acquire things that we don't need nor should be have has become worse and worse. This is born out in vivid detail when moving to a small town such as this. With the exception of owning a really nice Harley-Davidson motorcycle, folks down here are not very materialistic. They don't like franchises, and newer is definitely not better. It isn't a game where you strive to collect the most toys, it is an experience where you seek to understand others and the world you live in. Owning a McMansion in the burbs and commuting 2 hours each day to work is considered insane here. The fact that it isn't considered insane in Phoenix, Arizona is even more amazing.

The slow creep to acceptance of the norm, and the assumption of entitlement.....

My final observation here is the concept of acceptance and comfort with the norms that we live in. When we lived in Phoenix, crime and corruption were a given thing. You expect to be burglarized once or twice a year. You expect to see several roll-over accidents / car chases every month on the local news. Officer involved shooting and rapes are just background noise on the television. We accept them. Moving to the smaller town, this isn't the case. EVERYONE knows what everyone else is doing. Not in the sense that they spy on each other. In the sense, that there are fewer of us down here and their isn't as much anonymity and there is more law enforcement per capita. In the past 12 months our home in Phoenix has been robbed three times. We don't even lock our doors where we live now. There is still crime her. But it is a rarity as opposed to a common occurrence. In Phoenix, the police indicate that you should be greatful that you weren't injured when someone broke into your house while sleeping...that it was a GOOD thing. The concept of preventing the crime or catching the perpetrator isn't even on the radar anymore.

So there has been a shift in my frustration and anxiety of late. While living in the big city and working for the corrupt government has slowly faded into the past, there is now the problem of dealing with them from a distance. Like any addiction, it is not easy to free yourself of the trappings that you have become accustomed to, even though they are bad for you. If you have eaten nothing but Big Macs from McDonald's your whole life, it is hard to go vegetarian and organic.

Trying to divest ourselves of all the trappings of the media / anxiety society takes time, and they sure don't make it easy for you. Few corporations want to lose a cash cow. So we are still struggling to sell our house in Phoenix, and pay off all the debt that we incurred so that we could live in the big city. We are selling or giving away all those things that aren't necessary to live a healthy life....and this all take time and effort. Like withdrawn from a drug, it isn't easy or painless. Hopefully, it will all be over in the next couple of months and then we can finally start working on the rest of the items in the bucket list, unencumbered by the distractions and falsehoods of modern society.

But as I have said before, the waiting is the hardest part. Waiting on other (less competent) individuals to get their jobs done before we can move on.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Waiting, Between Worlds

Sitting at the Toyota Dealer waiting for our truck to finish up in the service department. I don't live here anymore. I drove 200 miles to get here today to close some bank accounts and fix up some things on the house we have on the market. I don't really own a home right now, have no full time job, don't even have a car at the moment. So I feel adrift these days. The waiting is the hardest part.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

What I Really Want To Win


I have changed my perspective on a lot of things since passing through the pearly gates of retirement.  When your value is in the form of a paycheck and you have benefits coming in every two weeks, the rest of the issues that swirl around us don't have the same urgency until you are no longer working. 

Issues such as health care, the economy and what is right, wrong, good and bad take on a new tint.  If you have had health care coverage through your employer and then have them taken away, you start taking it much more seriously.

It is with this new found perspective, that I find myself watching some of the commericals for various fast food outlets in which 'contests' are offered where you can win 'fabulous' prizes, like money, or a new car or a new Sony PS3 Gaming System.  Ohhh, Goodie. 

Are we really that stupid?  Is McDonald's or Jack in the Box really going to get me to eat more Tacos or Fish Sandwiches by offereing me a new Ford Explorer?  That is the last thing I want. 

If you want me to eat your fast food or shop at your supermarket, offer me these types of prizes;

Free Health Care for 5 years....I will shop at your store a LOT for that!

How about a free 4 year scholarship so I can go back to school and get retrained for a new career.

Maybe a free monitored security system to take up the slack left by the minimal coverage of the police force where I live. 

Friday, August 17, 2012

Why We Are Leaving.....

My wife and I are in the process of moving. We are leaving the big city and moving to much more rural town about 200 miles away. Moving is a bitch, especially the older you get. But we are dead set on getting out of here. Here is just a few of the reasons why.

Sometime last month, someone grafettied out alley-way wall and then came into our backyard and ransacked our garage. Stolen were a Laptop, iPod, Segway and an adult tricycle. All this, even though we leave near downtown where police precense is supposed to higher and we have private security in our neighborhood.  The best part about this, is that the Segway had no keys and no batteries attached to it, so it is effectively an 80lb paperweight.  It can never be made runable.  Apparently, the folks that stole it have a very low IQ.  

Then...... I tried to re-register my motorcycle that I had in storage for the past year so I could ride it down to our new house, 200 miles away. This took a total of 6+ hours waiting at the DMV, only to be told by three different state workers that I didn't have all the correct paperwork to complete the process. Instead of telling me up front what I needed (their website was no help at all), I had to find out peice-meal over a 3 day period and 4 seperate trips to the DMV office. To add insult to injury, I was penilized $50 for letting the previous registration lapse.

THEN.......... Sometime last week, we had a ceramic cat statue stolen from our front porch. Which means someone just walked up to our house and walked off with it in the middle of the night. Value? Maybe $20. Worth stealing? Priceless.

T H E N . . . . . . After going to Kinko's to make some copies of the sale documents for our new house (did I mention that it is 200 miles away?), I walked across the street to McDonald's to get some breakfast. After ordering and giving them $6 for my receipt, I waited, and waited, and waited for over 10 minutes. No food showed up. When I went to the counter to inquire about it, they admitted that they had failed to create the order. I put the recipt down on the counter, told them to keep it, and walked out of the place. This same scenerio has happened to me on numerous occassions at McDonald's, so why I keep going there is a mystery to me. The fact that none of the counter staff could speak a word of English may have had something to do with it.

Sue and I have come to the conclusion, long ago, that there is no competency in the society where we live. It may not be much better in the town where we are moving to, but one thing is for sure. There will be a lot less theives and incompetent people there to deal with.

To all the friends that we are leaving behind in Phoenix, Arizona.  Good Luck.  Hope you all have better luck than we did in the Valley of the Sun!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Phase - 3

All of those Erector Sets I played with as a kid are now starting to make a lot of sense.


If you have followed this blog for any length of time (including my old Blog - Hypocrisy), you have no doubt heard me speak about Burning Man. I didn't go to Burning Man last year because life just got to busy. I regretted that decision. This year my wife and I are going, come hell or high water.


Burning Man is a type of event that you have to strive for. It isn't a walk in the meadow, it is the climb to a summit. From that summit, you can see all the meadows for miles. You have to push yourself to get there, which is one of the reasons I love to go. You have to challenge yourself, and the other 55,000 people that also show up have challenged themselves in the same way.


Since the first time I went, the goal of building a shelter in the wilderness has become my goal. I have always dreamed of building my own home somwhere with my own two hands. Burning Man has given me an avenue to that great experiment. My first trip to 'The Man' was with a small tent. Not a great idea. Too many dust storms turned it into a sandbox. My second attempt was my first Geodesic dome. It was made of cardboard and wood and it was sweet. Rugged, carpeted, air-conditioned. I love that dome. My third attempt was another dome made from drywall. Didn't turn out as well as I had hoped, but pushed the envelope on what I could build and new construction technics.


So with 2012, I have developed dome #3. A radical departure. My past domes have been 'plate' domes made from triangles. This is a strut dome, made from different lengths of steel conduit. I constructed the frame and my wife is designing and sewing the covering for it.


After 2 months of fabrication and 2 days of construction, it now sits erected in my driveway for the neighbors to gawk at. Still can't beleive that it fits all together, with a total of 96 different struts.

The Man Burns in about 50 days. This is going to be interesting.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

America, Where are you now?

Arizona Memorial

This will fall under that category of me being an old gizer, but I have to stop and wonder about something regarding the current generation.

The world is in turmoil. There are a lot things going on that are on the lips everyone. Things such as healthcare, the world economy, the Arab Spring, natural disasters, politics, gay/lesbian rights, the list goes on and on.

If you have been around long enough, you realize that this is nothing new. There have been issues and concerns going back generations. The only difference now, is that there seem to be more of them and they are more immediate. I will attribute this to the fact that there are more of us (population increase) and global automation brings it all to our ipad or smartphone 24/7.

But what I don’t see is the activism that addresses and steers these concerns and debates from the grass roots level. Sure, there was the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ movement last year, but it took almost 5 years of financial miss-management in the private sector for people to wake up and yell, “Hey, you guys are screwing us”. How long was it between the collapse of Enron and the first squatters on Wall Street?

My point here is that the younger generation does not seem very interested in their future nor are they willing to lay themselves on the line to make the world a better place for their friends and their family.

This all sort of struck me a month back when I was driving our truck. It has a CD player that is also capable of playing MP3 CD-ROMS.

I have a huge archive of music that I burned onto CD several years ago that has been collecting dust in my garage since converting everything to iTunes. The CD’s became just backups for this music. So I was sliding these CD’s into the car audio player and listening to various albums that I have not heard since I was in grade school back in the 1960s.

Songs that have long since passed from my immediate memory, but upon hearing them again, they all came flooding back.

These were songs of protest, anger and revolution against, what was perceived then, as a system out of control. Issues such as the Vietnam War (Four Dead in Ohio – Crosby, Stills & Nash), segregation (Living for the City – Stevie Wonder), big government (Monster – Steppenwolf) and corporate greed (Won’t Get Fooled Again – The Who).

Where are these songs today? I don’t know if Lady Gaga is singing about corporate greed or if Katy Perry is crooning about late term abortion, but my assumption is that they are not. But I could be wrong. One thing is for sure, if they are, they don’t have the same impact.

I have this fear that we are in the middle of an apathetic generation, and that few of the younger generation would be willing to stare down a column of tanks if Exxon Mobil declared marshall law in Galveston, Texas, or put daisies in the barrel of National Guard rifles as they locked down a college campus.

Steppenwolf - Monster (Lyric Out-take)

America, where are you now
Don't you care about your sons and daughters
Don't you know we need you now
We can't fight alone against the monster

Friday, June 29, 2012

Ending of an Era / New Blog

Girl on a Merry-Go-Round

Things have changed. Boy have they changed.

Welcome to my new Blog.

It is essentially a continuation of my old Blog known as Hypocrisy. That blog is now gone, deleted from Blogger, as is my old Flickr account where all of my photos were stored.

I had to start over because things have changed dramatically in the last few weeks. I am no longer looking forward to retirement. I AM retired. I was let go from my job of 18+ years on June 26, 2012. No reason was given and no explaination was requested. It was time to go and I really don’t miss it much. I feel badly for all my ex-coworkers who will be left in the lurch by my departure, but it is now something that management will have to deal with.

While this was unexpected (I was planning on retiring in 2014) this does move the dates up a little, which means that my wife and I have to scramble a bit to get our ducks in a row. However, overall, the future looks bright Much better than it did when I was working for my last employer.

One important lesson that I have learned over the past few years, is that you never know who you can trust in this world. With the exception of family and possibly your pets, everyone else looks out for their own best interest. There is no real sense of community where we live here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Which is why my old Blog and Flickr account had to be deleted. Even though these accounts were only viewable by specific individuals, certain people managed to hack into them or find out about their contents. I often used these internet outlets as a release point to channel my frustration and confusion about various aspects of my life so that others could read and comment on them. But beware! There are lurkers out there that will use almost anything you say online against you. While I never named specific individuals or locations in my writings, various people put two and two together and complained about what I had written.

As I have stated in past blogs, everything that I wrote was open to disucussion and feedback. I welcome the critiques from others and the open exchange of ideas. If I write something and you think and am an idiot, tell me so, I curious to know why you think that way. However, much to my horror, there are legions of lurkers out there that have no such desire. Their mind-set is to hide in the shadows and throw rocks. It would appear that society isn’t ready for an honest discussion and open therapy. They prefer to peer through closed blinds and call the police whenever they see your dog marking their tree.

So it has been a tumultious month, and our future is now totally different, but it is a much brighter future. One where, for the first time in a long time, there are boundless possibilities as opposed to waiting in frustration.

Hopefully, this will allow me a bit more time to get back to writing and reading what others have to say. For those of you out there that have commented and given me feedback in the past, you have been a god-send. We are all each other’s therapist in that vein and as long as the comments are constructive (or funny) they can never be bad.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What Have You Been Up To?

Obviously not a lot of blogging. I am in the home stretch these days, counting down the hours until retirement. Contrary to popular belief, things get more hectic as that day approaches, so I don't have a lot of free time to read or write these days. My dog Maximus still keeps me level headed in the mornings, as does my wife in the evenings.

I still hope to get back to it all and delve into some serialized fiction and comment on other blogs, but not during the home stretch. I can almost see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Best Practices

The new paradigm. I have written about this before, the new catch phrases that define the new crop of people in charge. Proactive, Adminisphere, etc.

The new term appears to be "Evidence Based Best Practices". Which is another way of saying, 'we only do things that have been proven to succeed. That way, when they don't, we can't be held responsible.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Living in Fear

I received an e-mail recently from a friend that had a graphic video attached. The video shows a man standing on a beach that is attacked and eaten by killer whales (Orcas) and is dragged out to sea.

It is pretty graphic.....when taken out of context. The end of the video has some wording along the bottom of the screen in Spanish. Translating the text informs the viewer that this is in fact a South American Television commercial that sells school supplies. Really, I am not kidding. The link to it on Snopes.com is here:


The wording in the e-mail that accompanied the video, which had been cut and pasted repeatedly along with the commercial, stated the following:

"The Orcas mistook this guy for a seal, but still, one minute you're
here, the next you're not. This guy was just walking into the water,
not even ankle deep, and two killer whales just snatched him. No
blood. No guts, No mess, just gone!! Very graphic! He happened to be
waving at a friend taking a film of him, and it was his last wave!
Suppose his friend hadn't been filming, or even looking in that
direction..... He was just gone in less than a heartbeat. Too scary.
He disappeared."

I have seen countless e-mails like this over the years that contain 'shock' value, or list half truths about political parties or candidates, or fuel the underlying anxiety in certain people.....and this has me worried.

There are only two things that can come out of this sort of e-mail. Some will dismiss it as bunk, while others will take it as fact and live in fear of ever going near water again. So what is the point of distributing it? There isn't any profit involved here (unless you speak Spanish and realize that it is a commercial, which most don't), and there isn't a message about beach safety, it is just fear spreading itself like a cancer through unknowing hosts.

Michael Moore touched on this subject in his excellent documentary "Bowling for Columbine", in which he canvassed two cities, one in Michigan and one in Canada, separated by a bridge. The Michigan city had over 100 murders in a year, the Canadian city had 2. The Americans all owned guns and locked their doors at night; the Canadians owned no guns and never locked their doors. The American lived in fear, the Canadians all thought we were nuts. All that physically separated them was a bridge, but what really separated them was a state of mind.

As I have aged, I have realized this. The greatest killer of our spirit, our drive and our love for life, is the fear that we spread amongst ourselves. There are unscrupulous individuals out there that feed on people with uncontrolled fear. They sell us alarm system, extra health care polices and plan out our vacations so that nothing 'bad' will happen to us. I can't help but wonder that somewhere out there in cyberspace, these people are pushing videos and emails such as these to drive the hordes of fearful and afraid people into locking their doors and buying sugar pills that will keep them from getting sick.

It all comes back to one of the reasons I created this blog....look at the title: "Hypocrisy - Question Everything"

Monday, March 26, 2012

Failure is Normal, Don't be alarmed.

We ended an experiment this past weekend. We disconnected television, internet access and our phone about 8 months ago, cutting the cord with Cox Cable and throwing all our eggs in with Verizon wireless and using one of their 4G wireless hotspots to provide connectivity to our home.

That didn't work too well. The connectivity of the hotspot was horrible, and forget 4G speed, we were lucky to get 56K baud rate out of the thing. So we bit the bullet and I ordered up Cox High Speed internet only (no TV or Phone) on line and waited for the install. I received an e-mail two days later stating that my service was on, but there was nothing about when my Broadband modem would show up. I waited two more days and then called them up. After being transferred 3 times and being put on hold for 10 minutes, I was finally told, they have forgotten to ship the modem to me. They offered to overnight it, or I could go pick one up at a local Cox outlet.

I chose to pick it up that day, and went down to pick it up on Saturday. When we got to the store, they stated they didn't have the modem I ordered so they could not give me one. But they could reverse the charges and sell me a different one, which I opted for.

We got the modem home and I hooked it up (which I have done countless times before) and there was no connectivity. Being suspicious, I went outside to check the cable box on the side of the house. Sure enough, while the service was 'on', they had neglected to actually 'connect the coax cable to the house, which I had to do as well. After a delay of 4 days, and about 4 hours of my time (which I won't get reimbursed for), we now have Boardband back in the house. My wife thinks I am a God for being able to make her iPad superfast now.


We went to purchase a new bed at Sleep America on Sunday. We moved up from a Queen to a King and got a memory foam matress....owwww, so firm.....so big, heavenly. Only problem is, they delivered it the next day, and it was the wrong one. Instead of a king, it is a California King, instead of being firm, it is extra firm (like a rock). So now we have to call them up and have them come out and exchange it, after we went through the whole process of setting it up in our bedroom and found out that it didn't fit the frame.

Which brings us to Monday......what do you think is going to happen today?

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Starring Vic Morrow.....

Every once in a while I browse through NetFlix and find some old television shows from my youth. I slip them into my que to see if there is still any of that old childhood magic left by re-watching these shows. I have watched 'Fireball XL5' and 'Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea' and was somewhat disappointed. They really didn't regenerate that gee-whiz effect that they had in my youth. Recently, the DVD version of the 60s television show 'Combat!' (starring Vic Morrow and Rick Jason) was dropped in our mailbox and I popped it into the BlueRay player not expecting too much.

I was surprised. This was a really good show. Much better than I remember. As a child in my teens, I only remembered Vic Morrow and the fact that he was super cool and had a Thompson sub-machine gun. As an adult, the dialogue, story lines, lighting, camera work, soundtrack and direction all work very well. These are things I would not have noticed as a child. As adults, we are used to the slick Hollywood glamorization of war. The likes of 'Saving Private Ryan', or 'Red Tails', where everything is based on action and fast pacing. "Combat!" shows a different type of war, the human side of a world in chaos. Sort of like an early version of 'Band of Brothers'. This show might be the NetFlix exception, I actually might add Disc-2 to my que.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Super Sheet

I finished a project at my office last week. It is a statistical spreadsheet that breaks down some of the data that my program collects. This spreadsheet is actually an Excel Workbook that consists of over 30 individual spreadsheets and 150 graphs of the data. The workbook can be loaded with 24 different data pulls, and automatically organizes the data and graphs it. It took me about 40 hours to put this all together. It is so overwhelming that I doubt it will actually be used by my office, but I am glad I made the effort, because if you take the time to read the numbers and graphs, it points the way to the future, whether we like it or not.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Locker Room

Let me give you women a peek into a place you never go. The men's locker room at the YMCA. I go to the 'Y' to relax. I work out, take long showers and sit in the steam room with my thoughts. This is the place where I am alone with all the memories and collected wisdom of my life. It is a place where I think and ponder, where I ask myself questions. However, I often seem alone in this endeavor. Because much to my surprise, my fellow men don't share this mindset. Most of the other male members of the 'Y' are downtown professionals, such as lawyers, judges, managers and the like. Yet, their conversations in the locker room are anything but deep or thought provoking. Most of what I hear is sports talk about recent games, stories about court cases (In my last case I had a juror that was soo fat....) or puns about fellow members abilities or sexual prowess. In essence, it is the high school locker room populated by 55 year old men. As I search for the meaning of life in the swirling clouds of the steam room, I realize just how out of place I am when another member asks his racquetball buddy, "Did you fart?"

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Politically Incorrect?

During the course of my employment I get to deal with individuals that have large families that are enrolled in state sponsored services. I have been trained in cultural diversity as a result of having to deal with these individuals. What might be considered a normal family environment for a Caucasian family of 2.5 children is going to be totally different than an Hispanic family of 8.2 children. I get that. What I don't get is the naming conventions that some minorities have regarding their brood. What does it tell you when the names of the children in a family are as follows; Tonisha, Taniqua, Tonosha, Tiquain, Toeneal, Tanque, Timaul? It tells me that the parents (usually the mother) think this is cute, and that they are completing a set or collection of children. The children probably don't really care, because they are individuals, but anyone having to deal with this family as a group is just going to roll their eyes and think to themselves, "Not again.". Then there are the families that name all their children after automobiles...I am just saying, there should be a law against giving out bizarre names to children.

Monday, February 6, 2012

My Space ! ! !

Not the social network site. The area around me. It is a crowded world where I live, but most folks don't seem to understand this. When I am out training my dog to fetch, how often does some moron decide to walk their little poodle right past me, distracting my dog? When I return to my parked car, how often does the idiot who parked next to me leave 2 feet between the vehicles? when I am walking through a crowded grocery store, how many people really have stop right in front of me to check a list or answer their cell phone? Do you really have to cit-chat with the cashier when there are 10 people waiting in line behind you to check out? This may all seem pretty trivial, until you find it happening to you 20 times a day. The allure of the metropolitan lifestyle has definitely lost its luster.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Things Desi Hates............

This is a YouTube video created by my step-grand daughter whose name is Desirae. While some of her past videos have been a little bit on the irritating side (I mean lets face it, I am 40 years older than her and she sees the world totally different than I do), this video is worth watching, if only for the entertainment value. It is funny and I have to agree with most of it. Obviously her frustration is genuine. I can only wonder what she will add to the list over the next 40 years. Most excellent Desi!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Not A Resolution

...more of an experiment. Since most New Years resolutions have already faded from memory along with most of the 2011 Holiday season, now is the time for me to make a commitment. It will just be a test. A trial if you will. Since going off the grid a few months back (the wife and I don't watch broadcast media anymore) life has improved somewhat. Gone are the stress and anxiety causing commercials and news stories that were brainwashing us. Well, almost. Even online, the media reaches out to warp my sense of normalcy and correctness (I am still seeing pictures of the cruise ship Costa Concordia over a week after it happened!)

So I am going to try a 30 day experiment. NO NEWS. I am not going to read it, watch it, or listen to it until February 20th. This may be a bit of a challenge, considering how hard they try to get into our heads thru every possible medium. If I can make it, I think I will find the world in just about the same place that I left it. I'll let you know.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Tipping Point

I am struggling with this concept. When does working for my security (health benefits) start to degrade my health to the point that my job is doing me more harm than good? When is the correct time to say, enough is enough and just walk away to enjoy what remains of your time on earth? It seems that what remains of my most productive years is being squandered chasing something I no longer desire.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Impulse Buy!

I find myself more and more with online purchasing anxiety. This occurs when you hover your mouse pointer over the buy button on a website.

I have found that I am much more likely to make an impulse purchase online than if I have to pull out my wallet and physically pay for something.

Marketers and web designers must love this.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Pulling Staples

I am now writing this blog on an iPad. For the most part it is going to be short and sweet from now on. Not so much long winded rambling. That said, this device is making almost everything paperless. I am starting to see Steve Jobs vision of the future. Simplify everything. With that said, I find myself becoming more and more frustrated pulling staples and using paper clips. Let go of the paper people. The forest and the landfills will thank you for it.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Life Too Short

A coworker of mine passed away yesterday. She was in her mid-thirties, cancer, the aggressive kind. She had been going through treatment for the past 2 years. We all knew this day was coming, she wouldn't be coming back. In the end, I wonder if she regretted not doing more reports and answering more office phone calls, or if she wished for more walks on a beach or holding hands with some she loved. It makes you stop and think.

Jefferson Would Not Be Pleased....

He feared the accumulation of riches and the growth of a large urban working class. The mobs of great cities, he said, are sores on the body politic; artisans are usually the dangerous element that make revolutions; workshops should be kept in Europe and with them the artisans with their insidious morals and manners. The only substantial foundation for a republic, Jefferson believed to be agriculture. The spirit of independence could be kept alive only by free farmers, owning the land they tilled and looking to the sun in heaven and the labor of their hands for their sustenance. Trusting as he did in the innate goodness of human nature when nourished on a free soil, Jefferson advocated those measures calculated to favor agriculture and to enlarge the rights of persons rather than the powers of government. Thus he became the champion of the individual against the interference of the government, and an ardent advocate of freedom of the press, freedom of speech, and freedom of scientific

"from The History of the United States"

A Different Tack

...and now for something completely different. It is a new year and things continue to change, as does this blog. I will be back on here catching up on things but with a different twist. Stay tuned for more details.