Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What goes in must come out

Since that last post was waaaaaaaay too long here is a real quickie.

I am cat setting for someone who is on vacation. As I was cleaning out the litter box it occured to me- If I don't feed them I won't have to clean out the litter box!

Damn! Am I smart or what? ;)

I Owned a $36 Million Jet Once

…for almost an hour.

I used to be a mechanic at a place called Falcon Jet. We customized big expensive luxury business jets. Mechanics are paid by the hour.

I worked on the Falcon 900 line which at the time was the biggest and best Falcon Jet available.

Pretty huh?

Check out the inside...

At one point we were way behind schedule and we were working 12 hours a day 7 days a week. We got time and half over 40 hours and double time on Sunday. So with all the overtime my 40 hour base pay was just over a third of my total pay on that schedule!

So along comes pay day and I have a check for 80 hours of straight time. So I called payroll. I talked to this snotty woman who clearly could not care less that my check was roughly 1/3 of what it should be. She told me that the shortage would be added to the next check. Still, I was insistent that it was payday and I would like my pay now and not in another two weeks. She gave me a snotty song and dance about how the computer can only cut checks on scheduled days and she can not cut another check until next pay day. After a little more debate on my part she told me if I did not like it she heard that McDonalds was hiring and hung up on me.

Grrrrrrr. Boy was I ticked but bureaucrats hold all the power so I grumbled a lot but that was about all I could do.

So the next payday rolls around and this time I should have had a huge check with base pay plus a whole month of overtime. It was straight base pay again! So I called payroll again and got the same snotty lady which immediately made me snotty (which never helps when dealing with petty bureaucrats- live and learn) and keeping the long story short her answer again was “Tough- the computer will not cut a check today even if I wanted to so you’ll get it next payday- end of story{click}”.

Oooooo, I am seriously angry now. I know people can see blood vessels pumping on my forehead as I am sitting in the cafeteria ranting! My buddy tells me I should get a mechanics lien. A what? He explains to me he used to work at a garage and if someone does not pay their repair bill you can put a lien on their car and even repossess it! It was a quick and easy process at the county courthouse and since I was not getting paid I should put a lien on one of the jets!

I still had 45 minutes of lunch left so I headed for the court house!

I paid $4.50 and put a lien on a 36 million dollar jet that I had been working on for the last month. I also knew the customer was coming to pick it up in a few days and we had really been busting butt to have it ready on time. That plane would put the most pressure on them! Bwuh-ha-ha-ha!

So I come back from lunch with a neat little packet of paper that explained I had the right to repossess and auction off the vehicle but I could only keep what I was owed and any proceeds above what I was owed net repo and auction costs must be returned to the original owner. Down at the bottom in bold print it said “For any assistance in repossessing the vehicle call the sheriffs department at 555-1212 ext 1234.”

I got back just as everyone was getting back to work after lunch. I went to the bay “my” plane was in and explained to the lead man (my boss) what I had done and that he needed to get everyone off of “my” plane. Since he had heard me whining about my check for weeks he knew why so he said, “Are you sure you want to do this?”
I tapped that paper work where it told you how to call the sheriff and I said and with a big grin on my face “Bruce, don’t make me call the sheriff!”

Bruce laughed and said “Okay tiger!” and started getting everyone off my plane, he closed and locked the door and handed me the keys with a big ol grin on his face. Then he went and called the plant production manager.

Now, I knew this scheme was going to get some attention- I mean that was the goal after all, I figured that since we were already behind schedule and the customer was going to be there soon the account manager or the salesmen would throw a fit and get me my paycheck before long.

I was right but it turned out I was way too right! Within 10 minutes there were upper-level managers hovering around the dock. These were people I had never even heard of before since they never got around the “dirty people”! This had already gone much higher much faster than I ever thought it would! A couple of theses guys in suits were screaming at me about the schedule! Even though I had an awful feeling in the pit of my stomach I was mad and I stuck to my guns and just kept saying, “Cut me a check and everyone can get back to work.” Finally I said to one guy who was screaming at me, “Hey! I am working in good faith here by not taking the plane out of the hanger, keep screaming at me and I’ll tow the damn thing out of here!” That shut him up!

Then the CEO shows up! Oy Vay! This was NOT what I had in mind when I started this adventure! Until now I had only seen this guy’s picture in the lobby and now he is asking me questions in an unfriendly manner! Not good, not good!

I explained to him what was going on and I could see in his face that he was getting extremely angry and I was thinking oh man- you did it now Rob you have seriously ticked off the head honcho!
He growled, “Come with me.”
Oh crap! We started heading to the front offices where none of us mechanics ever went. I thought “Uh, oh, we are going to HR, I am fired now! Oh well, ya gambled and lost Rob!”

However, we walked right past HR and went in to the accounting area. The CEO says in a loud voice, “Who does payroll here?”
I recognized the snotty voice when she said “I do sir”

The CEO and I walk over to her desk and he asks her in a pleasant tone was she aware that the company owned me a month of overtime pay?
In her snotty tone she replied, “Why yes sir, I heard what he did and there was no need for him to get a lien, I had already explained to him that it would be on his next check since the computer…”
Interrupting her, in a low, controlled but icy tone he asked her, “Do you need help with this job? Is it too much for you?”
“Uh no sir, it’s not too much, I …”
He cut her off again and now he is shouting! “Well obviously it IS too much for you since you have not been able to pay this man for a MONTH now! I agree though it seems pretty simple to me, they turn in their hours and you write them a check. Since he has been coming to work and he has not been getting paid then CLEARLY I do need to hire someone who can handle this job.”, silent lingering pause, “I want this man paid right here, right now or I will find someone who can. Do I need to find someone else?”
“No sir.”, she said without a trace of snottiness in her voice.
He turns to me and says, “Will you trust me for now and let me have the keys so people can get back to work?”
Handing him the keys, “Here you go, thank you sir.”
He said, “If you don’t get a check in 15 minutes let me know.” and walked out

Whew! I had thought I was a goner for sure! I wish I was big enough a person that I did not enjoy watching snotty payroll lady getting raked over the coals but I can admit it, I am not that big because I. Loved. It!!

And hey, what do you know? The system could cut a check after all! Amazing huh?

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Teacher was right!

Jules triggered this memory so gotta give her credit… One time I was flying my plane from New Orleans to Dallas. As usual, I went to the restroom right before take-off which is usually good for at least three hours which is about how far it was so I should have been good to go. For some reason though today I had to go again before I even got out of New Orleans airspace.

Being a man though there was no way in hell I am turning back so I’ll just have to tough it out! By the time I was half way to Dallas though it was bad! I really had to go! I mean we are way beyond the pee-pee dance stage at this point, now it hurts! I need to break the man code and land so I can pee!

Ever look at a map half way between Dallas and New Orleans? Know what is there? NOTHING! There was nowhere to land and I had to GO!

In desperation, I was looking around the cockpit for something to go in. The only thing there was a nearly full bottle of Windex.

To use it though I had to dump the Windex out first, so I cracked the window and started pouring it out the window.
Well, at 160 mph things tend to splash back and it was getting all over the back seats and side panel. So I stopped when about half the bottle was gone figuring that would be enough room and to stop the carnage to my pretty back seats!

Here was challenge #1. Ever try to pee setting down in regular chair? I never had and I figured out real quick that was not going to work! Especially with a half full bottle of Windex! So I set the autopilot and slid the seat all the way back then knelt in front of my seat. Ok, the geometry is better now!

Challenge #2. The neck of the Windex bottle was too small! I did not want my plane to smell like an old folks home or New York City so I was worried about my aim! However, the engineer in me figured out that if I just pressed against the bottle opening that made sure it went in and made a seal against any splash back plus any bumps in the air would not throw off my aim!

I started to let go and thank God because it was hurting pretty bad at this point!

Challenge #3. By pressing against the neck of the bottle I did make a good seal and there was no chance to miss but on the other hand I was making a good seal. I was inflating the bottle! The sides were bulging out! Before long pressure equalized and the flow stopped. Uh oh! With a little trial and error I discovered I could ease up on how hard I was pressing against the neck of the bottle then air could escape! Things started flowing again! Whew!

Oh finally! The pain was starting to ease off! This was working!

Then Challenge #4 reared its ugly head. That bottle was filling up FAST. Turns out that my bladder is bigger than half a Windex bottle after all. After all of that effort I had to pinch it off just as that bottle was getting full!

That was difficult to do! In fact it may well have been the greatest act of self-control I have ever exhibited. Things were feeling goooooood and I did not want to stop! Only thoughts of a “New Yorkey” airplane were enough to get me to stop! It hurt when I stopped too, it was like my bladder was saying, “Dude!? WTF? Why did you do THAT for? Oh yeah, well just for that I think I will STAB you! Take THAT!”

I screwed the lid back on the full again Windex bottle thinking that maybe I had let enough go that now I could make it home now. Turns out I had.

After I landed and got out of the rest room I was throwing my bottle of “Windex” away. Apparently I caught another pilots eye because as I chunked the bottle in the trash he remarked, “Green Windex? When did they start making Green Windex?

I had not really thought about it until then since I had had pressing issues on my mind until then but my kindergarten teacher was right, yellow and blue do indeed make green! I had a bottle of Green “Windex” so I told the guy it was a test product and I did not like it so I was chunking it.

He grabbed it out of the trashcan and said he would give it a try. I was too bashful and embarrassed to say what it really was so I let him.

KIDDING! I am not that bashful!

Monday, March 24, 2008

Oh, He's a Bleeder

Well I had a bizarre incident today. I cut myself shaving this morning. Right where the lower lip turns to skin. I mean I said a bad word but no biggie. I put a little scrap of toilet paper on it and no worries.

An hour later I am at work in the restroom and saw that bloody tissue on my lip and said oh yeah lets get that off. I reached up and peeled that tissue paper off my lip and HOLY CRAP! Blood starts streaming down my chin! I grabbed a paper towel and dabbed at it and it just keeps coming and coming!

Ok, toilet paper worked once, lets get some more. I walked past the urinals to the first stall and grabbed a piece of TP walked back to the mirror and stuck it on. It was instantly saturated and dripping. I also noticed that in that few steps to the stall and back I now had a sliver dollar sized blood spot on my shirt!


I finally left the TP on to act as a clotting membrane and held the paper towel there just to keep from messing up my shirt any more.

Man who would have thunk that a little shaving cut could bleed like that?

I am NOT taking that TP off again! I still have it on right now and it will stay there until it falls off!

So as usual this episode did a memory look up in my organic I-pod and pulled up a tune. Anyone remember Supertramp and the tune Dreamer?

For the rest of the day I was singing:

Such a silly little bleeder!
Put your hands to your mouth- oh no!

Here is the real thing if you don't remember...

Friday, March 21, 2008

Proof at last!

You know ladies, we have been telling you for years that men are just born this way. At best we get a sarcastic eye roll and at worst we get a butt chewing for being such pigs.

Here it though, proof positive that men are just born this way, it's engrained into our DNA. Dang it, we jes' kint hep it!

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

A Sad Day in Nerdville

Sorry, no humorous post from me today. (Well, more accurately I should say no attempt at a humorous post today)

Arthur C. Clarke passed today.

He was the last survivor of "The Big Three" masters of Science Fiction. Most people will recognize "2001: A Space Odyssey" even if they do not understand it! It was a spectacularly mind bending book and it was an utterly terrible movie other than the special effects (which were ground breaking).

When the sequel, 2010, came out I saw Arthur C. Clarke on a talk show pimping 2010 the movie. The host said to him. "Mr. Clark, before we talk about 2010 would you mind quickly going over 2001 because I just did not get that movie."
Without missing a beat and in his British accent Arthur replied, "My dear lady, I wrote the novel 2001 and I don't understand the movie either."

I almost fell off the couch laughing!

I do hope that right about now he is saying, "My God, it's full of stars!"

A brilliant mind and an engaging story teller- the last surviving participant of an era when a new art form came into it's own.

He will be missed.

Blue Skies Arthur, Blue skies.

Read a little more about him HERE

Monday, March 17, 2008

St. Patties Policy Update


TO: All Company Employees

RE: Saint Patrick's Day Company Picnic

We are very glad for the better than expected turnout at the first and last annual Saint Patrick's Day Company Picnic.

While we are thrilled that everyone appeared to have a very good time we, as a group, did not exactly project the sort of public image we would have liked.

Additionally, we are now seeking candidates for the position of "Executive Secretary".

St. Patties Yoga

In the spirit of the day let me share a bit of the international flavor with ya now.

Yoga is an ancient pursuit with many variations developing over the long years. Here is one version of Yoga as it is practiced in India:

And here is yoga as it is practiced after Saint Patrick’s Day! The lineage is clear no?

Sunday, March 16, 2008


It spite of being an alpha-geek sometimes I think new technology is not always a good thing {gasp}. Just one example; It used to be that the cost of film and processing would impose a limit on how many pictures people would snap while on vacation. Now with digital cameras you have to pretend to be interested in thousands of other peoples vacation pictures instead of only having to pretend to be interested in dozens. Bummer!


Today, in Springfield Illinois, there was a flock of seagulls (winged rats, not the alternate rock band) in the parking lot of the grocery store. What the heck are seagulls doing this far inland? Erika surmised it might be a family vacation but why would anyone leave the coast to come to Springfield?

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Humor is Unprofessional.

I was reading a post on Michelle’s blog last night reading about her recent interview and it got me to thinking.

I love to have fun in everything I do. I grew up watching M*A*S*H where Hawkeye and BJ were the very best surgeons around and yet they were always cutting up and having fun even though they did the very best work that could be done.

I think that had a lasting impact on me because I have tried to live my life that way. Be the best I can be but don’t be one of those people who are oh so serious all the time.

Once I worked at an oil company. Most of the people in IT there were like my M*A*S*H model- We had a hell of a lot of fun but did very good work. We had an internal forum set up so instead of having a lot of memo’s floating around we would post them on the forum. You know, important stuff like “Someone left a ring in the 30th floor ladies room, please see Janie if it is yours” kind of stuff. :)

There was also a jokes thread on the forum that was by far the majority of the posts out there.

The old Director retired and we had a youngish new director come in. We all thought he was going to be good at first but he turned out to be a stuffed suit. Before long he was onto me for using humor in the work place. He repeatedly explained to me that there was no room for humor in business and it was very unprofessional and that every time I sent out an e-mail or injected humor in a presentation I made myself look bad and by extension made him look bad which made the whole company look bad.

So I really did try to suck all of life out of anything I typed or said and I did get much more ”professional” and yet I just could not get all of ‘me’ out of my communications. He always found room to criticize my lack of professionalism. Needless to say I was pretty miserable.

Then one day at our weekly staff meeting he said, “Were you people aware that there is a jokes thread on the company forum?” We did not know if that was a trick question or not because all of our names were on many posts. Thankfully he went on, “I want that joke thread off line by close of business today! There is no room in business for that kind of unprofessional behavior; it makes all of us look bad!”

Now Peter Parker, name changed to protect the guilty, was a guy that was VERY proud of being the CFO and Vice President. He enjoyed his power immensely. He liked to see people jump when he barked. However, he did have a good sense of humor and he was on the joke thread quite a bit!

He was our new director’s boss. I thought I ought to warn our new director even though I really did not like him, “Have you mentioned this to Mr. Parker? You know he is pretty active on the joke thread.” Well since he and I had “history” about humor he just tuned me out and pretended he did not even hear me even though we were two foot apart. I shrugged my shoulders. Several of us exchanged meaningful glances in the meeting because we knew it was going to be trouble!

Now, exactly one week to the hour later we were in our next staff meeting again. Mr. Parker stuck his head in the door and said, “Sorry to disturb your meeting but I thought this would be a good time to catch you, I did not want to put in a help desk ticket because it is so minor but for some reason the joke thread disappeared off of the company forum.”

The director replied with just a trace of venom in his voice, “Yes sir, I had that taken down because humor on the job is unprofessional and it makes all of look bad.”

There was a collective gasp in the room because we all knew Parker was pretty active out there. Basically, a priest just called the Cardinal a child molester right out in public! Oh it was GREAT!

You could see the anger cloud his face, Parker’s eyes narrowed and his voice got low and gravely. He did this AWESOME but unintentional Clint Eastwood impersonation when he said, “Well, *I* read that thread and *I* post to it all time and I happen to think I am quite professional and I don’t think my jokes make any of us look bad. Put it back... Now.” His Clint Eastwood was so good I swore he was gonna finish by asking the director if he felt lucky, " well, do ya... punk!"

Ah, mister director is now in "oh no" mode. He knows he just committed a major CLM (Career Limiting Move) and is trying to recover, “Ah, yes sir! Sean, put that back on line. Have it done before you leave today.”
Parker, still in Clint Eastwood mode, growling low and quiet, “I said NOW!”
I swear I could hear the director swallow when he said “Yes, sir! Sean, take care of that right now.”
Sean and Mr. Parker walked out together.

Ooooooo the tension was thick!

Mr. Director immediately said, “Why didn’t you people warn me he posted on there!”
I was righteous, “I did warn you! You were in that very same chair when I warned you and you just blew me off!”
“You should have warned me more!”
After a moment of shocked silence and in a very unprofessional manner, I laughed long and loud right then and there! It was a very satisfying laugh too.


Of course, that laughter was my CLM. I started circulating resumes very shortly thereafter.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Have you saved any daylight today?

You know, I really hate these time changes. I have a hard time getting to sleep then I have a hard time waking up. Then, all day long my sense of time is distorted.

When the seasons change naturally you adapt with it and never really notice it. When they just change it all at once it really screws me up at a subconscious level for a while then as I get used to it they switch it back again!

It's like your big brother tormenting you as a child. "Ha looky little punk, 6:00 is now 5:00 Ha ha ha ha-ha! Oh, so now you are used to it huh? Fine, now 5:00 is 6:00 so there IN YOUR FACE!"

For some reason I have this overwhelming urge to yell, “MOM! He is touching me!”

You know, I really don’t care what time they want it to be, please, just pick a time and stick with it would you, I mean can you just make up your blinking mind?

Who else does this bother?

Monday, March 10, 2008

True Story :)


I was wondering if you would be willing to put in a bid on this contract. It’s not in the states, if you are interested could you quote me a rate?

Project name: Siebel Performance Improvement
Open seat title: Oracle Data Base Administrator
Start date: 03/18/2008
End date: 04/31/2008
Hours per week: 40
Pay travel and lodging: Yes
Position description: {Snipped out boring technical crap}

Eric Weissman
Senior Technical Recruiter
Analyst International
VOIP 8145214

Hello Eric,

While it would be nice to work with you again and London would be fine I can’t see myself in Saudia Arabia.

I mean people in the US barely put up with my views on religion. In Saudi I could stub my toe and say bad things or someone might catch me eyeing passing burkas. In either case they would be cutting things off of me in short order.

Sorry, this one is not for me!


Sunday, March 9, 2008

Things that make you go, hmmmm.

I hear this ad on the radio a lot about how you to can start your Internet business. It goes on and on about how easy it run your own Internet business. Then at the end of the ad it gives a 1-800 phone number.

A business that specializes in helping people do business on the web does not give it's web address?

That cracks me up.


I was in Barnes and Nobles in the magazine section. A few thoughts there....

Have you ever paid attention to all the magazines they have in there? Who in the hell reads all those magazines? There were three magazines dedicated to tattoo's alone. Uh, I really don't think I want to know the person that reads "Giant Robot" magazine. What? Is that the magazine for Jonny Quest's arch-rivals? Is it a must-read for aspiring super-villians ?

I was looking for a aviation magazine. I found them all in the "Men's Interests" section. As many women pilots as there are these days that strikes me as more than a little sexist.

I found it oven odder though that "Vanity Fair" magazine was in the "Men's Interests" section. I know they publish some racey pictures of women celebs from time to time but I did not think that made it a men's magazine? Is this some sort of bizarre attempt at balance for assuming only men are interested in flying airplanes?

I am going to have to Google "Manga" and see just what it is. They had a whole section devoted to that. (Oh, "manga" is Japanese for "comics". However, in Japan "comics" are not just gor kids, they are made for all ages and interests (just like just like they do cartoons) Gotta love that Google!)


Thursday, March 6, 2008

Assume The Position

I used to build up PC’s from scratch and sell them. At one time you could save a lot of money that way but these days prices can not be beat piecemeal.

There used to be a store back home called CompUSA that I really liked, they had a wide variety of computer hardware at really good prices and I went there often, sometimes more than once per day.

As much as I liked them though they had this one really annoying practice; when you left the store they would cross check your receipt to the contents of your bag. Now there are some stores that have cashiers stands as far as the eye can see and who knows what you did between checking out and the door, so the bag checking thing makes sense in those stores, I still don’t like to endure it but at least it makes sense!

However this CompUSA had two, count them two, check out stands and they were both within 10 feet of the door. The guy checking your bag could see you clearly for all five of the steps you took from the cashier stand to the exit.

Ok, rules just for rules sake really, really annoy me. So, being the sharing kind of person that I am I felt the compulsion to share my annoyance with this stupid policy. As usual though, I made my point with humor. So I started with making sure I got the door "guards" attention after I checked out but before I picked up my bag. I would say to him, “Ok the cashier has my bag, I have not touched it yet” then I would pick it up and start walking towards him, I would keep saying, “OK, I have stuck nothing else in the bag; See, I’m not stealing anything… still not stealing…” as I walked towards him. Then when I got there and he started checking the bag I would say “OH man! I can NOT believe you are STILL gonna check my bag! You WATCHED me! How could I steal anything while you WATCHED me?”
“Sorry sir, store policy”

So to escalate the great receipt war I got to where I would just hand him the bag and then assume “the position” by the door.
“Sir, what are you doing?”
“Aren’t you going to frisk me?”
“Uh, no.”
“Why not? I mean only the shadow knows what I may have shoved into my pockets in the six steps between here and the register! I mean why is it that I could only invisibly shove things into my shopping bag and not into my pockets?”
“Uhhhhh, frisking is not store policy sir.”

I only “assumed the position twice”. The next time I came into the store the door guard was gone! I asked why the door was unguarded, I mean any second now a horde of mongels could break through and ransack the place and did they not feel naked with out the mighty door guard?

The cashier who by now knew me all too well told me that no, I had single handedly changed store policy. The local manager had sent security footage of my antics to corporate and they realized they were annoying the hell out of loyal customers for no good reason. Policy cancelled.

I did it! I did it with out anger or malice, without pickets or letter writing campaigns. Just acting out with my warped sense of humor made the world an infinitesimally less stupid place.

I am still proud.