Friday, January 30, 2009

Meet The New Boss

Same as the old boss?

In case you don’t follow the US political news the former governor of Illinois, Rod Blagobitch was removed from office last night for gross corruption.

As my regular readers know I have been doing work for the state of Illinois so look what I found in my State of Illinois mailbox this morning… I thought it was worth sharing with you!

State of Illinois
Office of The Governor

Governor Pat Quinn
January 29, 2009

Dear State Employees,

I want to express my sincere thanks and appreciation for your exceptional work during this difficult time. The everyday workers of state government deserve a salute - because you are the true embodiment of public service.

In the coming days, we will face some tough choices. I am confident that by working together we will meet these challenges to emerge a much stronger and vibrant state.

As most of you are aware, it’s annual performance review and raise time here in the state.

For your convenience please note that I have attached an automated campaign contribution form so that your contributions to my campaign for reelection can be direct deposited to my fund from your pay check each month. Since I care so deeply about your welfare that is just one less check you have to write each month. Did I mention it’s annual performance review and raise time here in the state?

I believe our state’s best days are ahead. I welcome your help and support as we work together in behalf of the people of Illinois.


Pat Quinn

For the culturally ignorant
Lyrics- "Meet the NewBoss"
The Who, 1971

Meet the new boss

Same as the old boss

And the world looks just the same

And history ain't changed'Cause the banners,
they all flown in the last war

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
No, no!

I'll move myself and my family aside
If we happen to be left half alive
I'll get all my papers and smile at the sky
For I know that the hypnotized never lie
Do ya?

There's nothing in the street
Looks any different to me
And the slogans are replaced, by-the-bye
And the parting on the left
Is now the parting on the right
And the beards have all grown longer overnight

I'll tip my hat to the new constitution
Take a bow for the new revolution
Smile and grin at the change all around me
Pick up my guitar and play
Just like yesterday
Then I'll get on my knees and pray
We don't get fooled again
Don't get fooled againNo, no!


Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Thursday, January 29, 2009


Does your job and or life suck?

Well then use this as perspective!

To add a bit of philosophical twist I have often said I don’t care what the job is I just love to watch a true professional work. In my life I have dabbled in many different things and it always amazes me how much there is to know about any little given thing. Heck, even my little stint with telemarketing after college simply amazed me at what a finely tuned science something as mundane and annoying as telemarketing can be.

So with that little blurb, see how much enjoyment you can derive from watching *this* professional at work.

And remember, as long as you are not doing this for 12 hours a day, your life is not so bad eh? :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cows Are Not Cold eh?

For many years I have felt bad for the poor animals stuck outside in the winter!

I mean I was bundled up in 6 layers of clothing and by the time the car warmed up I was shivering. Those poor cows are out in that field with no shelter and no source of heat 24 hours a day! That used to make me feel sorry for them!

Not anymore though! Who knew cow skin was impervious to cold?

Since I do not officially live in Illinois for the past two winters I have steadfastly refused to buy a big heavy coat that I will never wear again when I go back home. Such a waste!

As winter approached this year and after much, uh, encouragement, yeah that’s a good word, from friends I actually went to the store and looked at coats and even tried a few on. I did not find anything I liked in about 20 minutes, then I realized I was violating man-law #16 as I was shopping and not buying and beat a hasty retreat from the store. Man law nothing, 20 minutes in one store looking at stuff was all I could take!

Well, I did find one coat I really, really, REALLY liked but it was clear man-law violation in and of itself! It was a fur lined leather jacket and it was Awesomely warm and oh so comfortable. I tried it on and I was like, “Yeah, this is the Illinois ticket!!” Then I looked in the mirror! Hmmmmm, the fur lining extended out the collars, cuffs and bottom so they were all big and fluffy and as I looked in the mirror I thought, “Hmmmm, this looks awfully feminine! Is this really a man’s coat?” After a double check yeah, it is *supposed* to be a man’s coat. Am I just being too harsh though? Let’s get a second opinion.

A mother and her teen age daughter were in the next aisle so I asked them, does this coat look girly? I saw the hesitation on Mom’s face and I said, it’s OK, that is why I asked! She was like, “Oh yeah! That is way girly!” and daughter is nodding vigorously as well! Crap!

So the one thing I liked shot down in flames so I quit! I mean even nerdy rednecks have to have some standards!

So, guess what I got for Christmas this year from my girlfriend? A really awesome leather coat! Not only does it look really good but it is totally impervious to cold! Air simply does not penetrate that cow hide! It is the warmest thing I have ever owned! It even looks so good that several *men* have overcome their inherant homophobia and told me how good it looks. (Men so very rarely compliment other men on apparel, I mean cool car, cool boat, cool bike, hot girl friend are all very acceptable compliments but to compliment another man’s appearance is pretty rare! )

So I don’t feel bad for cows anymore and nether should you, cold does not penetrate their skin and to top it all off they just taste so damned good! Such lucky animals!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Recent History

I don’t talk about stuff like this too often and I was NOT caught up in all the hoopla surrounding this event, in fact I grew quite tired of it but I thought really, I should take a moment to talk about it. It is a big moment after all.

Recently, an African American man moved from his private residence into a much larger and infinitely more expensive one owned not by him but by the taxpayers. A vast yard, a perimeter fence and many well trained security specialists will insulate him from the rest of us but the mere fact that this man will be residing in this house should make us all stop and count our blessings - because it proves that we live in a nation where anything is possible.

Many believed this day would never come. Most of us hoped and prayed that it would, but few of us actually believed we would live to see it. Racism is such an ugly thing in all of its forms and there is little doubt that if this man had moved into this house even fifteen years ago, there would have been a great outcry and much anger and most likely even rioting in the streets!

Today, we can all be both grateful and proud that no such mayhem took place when this man took up residency in this house.

So let us all be thankful we live in a country where OJ'S GOING TO PRISON!

(HA! Got ya!)

Friday, January 23, 2009

Gainfully Unemployed (part III)

After the carpets and shrubs I tackled the garage. At this point though motivation was running out big time so I did a half ass job of it and just concentrated on getting the junk out versus full blown cleaning.

Frankly I was tired of cleaning! I was done!

However, I promised to lend someone some books that are out of print and no longer available that I have stashed away. After a lifetime of collecting I have many boxes of books packed away (someday I hope to have a library so they can be all on shelves instead of in boxes in closets!) So I had to dig the books out to keep my promise. Oh was that a mistake because that got me started digging in the master closet. Once I started digging I had to to get rid of the junk I just HAD too!

Oh what a black hole a master closet becomes over time! :( A black hole that pulls everything in the universe into the master closet. As I dug into the closet working my way down to my book boxes layer by layer I could feel time slowing as I got closer and closer to the quantum singularity. (black hole) In fact, as I was working I thought I was getting sick or that something was wrong with my eyes because things kept going in and out of focus as I worked. That is when I realized I was getting dangerously close to the event horizon and light was just bending around my closet making things look blurry! Eeeep!

So I created another pile for the dump including three, yes three, broken VCRs, another three outdoor garbage bags of CRAP and approximately 30 *empty* shoe boxes! {sigh} However I did uncover treasure as well! I found a shoebox full of 20 year old photos that I thought were long lost and some other forgotten keep sakes!

Amongst the treasure I found articles of clothing that nicely illustrate this blogs title! As you check out these items ladies I want to warn you now, prepare to swoon! I can’t be held responsible for the overwhelming sexual urges that may come over you as you gaze upon these photos of 80’s apparel!

Oh yeah, that’s my name over the pocket! I know, I know! Dead sexy huh? But wait until you see the backside!

OOoooOOOOooo- See? I knew you would lose all control but relax, relax! There is enough Rob to go around!

Now contrast my nerdy t-shirts with that icon of blue collar masculinity!

Clever no? Ah yes, Dungeons and Dragons and other Role Playing Games (RPG's)- the last refuge of the nerd on Saturday night!

The next one is my favorite though!

Now the deal with nerd shirts is to be obscure enough to be creative and 'original' but to not be so obscure that no one gets the reference. For example anything referencing "the force" is mainstream and therefore uncool, see? Now the reference on this shirt here may be lost on most of you but amongst geekdom this one is about the perfect amount of obscure! Even though many of you may not get this shirt I feel sure that at *least* two of my regular readers will get it.
I would love to know how many of you can name the movie/book this quote is a parody of. Just how nerdy are my readers?

Anyway, how is that for summing up the contrast of a nerdy redneck?

Back on topic though- All in all I got about half the house whipped into shape. I hope I get enough work in Illinois that I have lots of recuperation time before I have to tackle the other half! I also hope my new maid lives up to his solemn promises.
And no more boring cleaning stories- I promise!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

The Real Story!

Here's why U.S. Airways Flt 1549 really went down!

Yes, I am aware how politically incorrect this is!

a) I don't really care.
b) It's still funny! (perhaps exactly because it is so un-PC?)

But in the interest of "equal time" won't someone please think of the OTHER families?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Gainfully Unemployed (part II)

One long neglected job was carpet cleaning! This one is a two-fer! Since your carpet actually changes color after it's first shampooing in half a decade it's like getting new carpet! The other part is you don't have to go to the gym, it's a GREAT workout.

As an extra bonus you sleep well afterwards too!

Step one, move all the furniture to "The boy's" former room... A few notes here on furniture moving…

If you all are not familiar with Freecycle it's a great program where basically you list anything that may have *some* value even though you do not want it anymore and before you throw it away you list it and maybe someone else wants it and can use it. Then they come pick it up.

Basically it’s like an internet garage sale where instead of selling the bike for a dollar you just give it away free and you don’t have to put signs up all over then stand in the front yard all weekend. :)

So, I was a Freecycle maniac on my break! I listed over a dozen items that otherwise were going to the dump and people came and picked up all but one item. (Sadly that one item was the one I most wanted to keep out of the dump but say la vie)

So I did not move ALL the furniture! :)

Then this is the point where a little surprise entered the old game plan...

All this massive cleaning and remodeling was based on the concept that this was my house now. No one else to mess it up while I was gone so all of this effort was going to be worth it. This is when I hear those words that will make any father's heart sag, "Dad, would it be OK if I moved back in?"

Ugh! After all this work, NOW he wants to move back in!? Sigh.

Well, I can’t say no so after a LONG hard talk about how this house will REMAIN clean and not revert to the state I found it in we agreed that he would be my maid in exchange for rent. The job started immediately!

Clean those carpets boy-o! lol! Some guys my age have much cuter maids with far less facial hair. I need to work on that.

Oh yeah- those curtains are next are the "gone list". I never liked them and they will not last much longer. (BTW- that was a HUGE fight back in the day- "Maroon valances with off white curtains????? Are they slipping crack into your coffee or what?" he asked ever so lovingly )

I would also point out to all my northern friends that this picture was taken in January and if you will look past the "so-ugly-they-should-be-crimes-against-humanity" curtains you will notice the windows are open and we were in shorts and barefooted! It was in the 80's that day.

After the carpets were done I tackled all the shrubbery. Due to neglect on my part many of the shrubs were so overgrown I actually broke out the chain saw and trimmed them way back so they can grow out properly again. They look really horrible now but when they grow back out it will be worth it.

Even after all my fevered freelisting I ended up taking two truckloads of crap to the dump! I do mean CRAP. The majority of this stuff should have gone into the trash can a little at a time over the last decade but I was dealing with a horder/pack rack rat type personality.

I swear I could feel the foundation of the house quiver a bit as the loading was removed and it reached a new equilibrium!

And yeah, if you can take the excitement there will be a part III! :(

Gainfully Unemployed (part 1)

Welp, I was "between contracts" from Christmas until Jan 20th.

So for an odd change of pace I was actually living in my own house in the Dallas area for a few weeks! :) I have not been in my house in Dallas this many days in a row since July of 07.

I thought I would get a lot of blogging in while I was home and unemployed but it did not turn out that way.

I have been working in Illinois for 2 1/2 years now. My adult son has lived in the house off and on during that two years mostly unsupervised. He has not lived there for the last 6 months and I figured he was gone for good this time so I thought it was time to get serious and and whip the house into shape during my "vacation"!

The first thing I tackled that has annoyed me for a long time is my crappy old sink.

So off I go to Lowes and after much browsing of the 250 sinks and 4,821 faucets they have on display this is what I went with. 10 1/2 inches deep, commercial grade 18 gauge stainless steel with all commercial fittings. This sink, Twinkies and cockroaches are all that will survive the holocaust!

Waaaaaaaay better eh? :)

The next step was a new dishwasher. I did not start that way. I tried to fix the old one then I actually went and paid $71 for an appliance repairman to come to the house and tell me to just get a new one- I would be way better off!

So off I go to Lowes again! Oh the salesperson was gooooooood!

You see- I am a Wal-Mart man. I always buy cheap and then often regret it. This sharp sales lady saw a single man looking at the cheap dishwashers then gracefully steered me right over to the expensive ones- My shields immediately went up when I saw what price neighborhood we were in on that row but she started showing me all the cool GADGETS on this miracle of modern engineering and she hooked me! Then she just reeled me in! I realize this is a terribly unmanly thing to say but my new dishwasher is just totally cool! Yeah, she was that good!

It has triple filtration with easily removable and cleanable filter elements, three, count them, three spray arms, there is a digital readout on the rinse agent level (no more guessing!), all the racks are adjustable and/or removable so you can fold everything flat and have one BIG rack or... Oh, I will just stop now and just emphasize again how cool and manly my stainless STEEL (inside and out!) dishwasher is and leave it at that! (and just in case you did not know, STEEL always rates very high on the manly scale!)

Now to top it all off I also bought a new stove. I will NOT show you the before picture this time! That one is just way to embarrassing even for a single man but here is the new one...

So back to Lowes and the same sales lady and she already knew what worked on me! :) Sealed cook top with 5 variable sized burners and even though they are electric the heat is nearly instantaneous. The oven has a recirculation fan so this is either a convection or fast cook oven. The oven also has multiple temperature sensors so the top heating element and the bottom heating element work independently to maintain a constant temperature through out the oven!

Oh, and yes, it has a lot of stainless STEEL! Weeeeee!

It was funny, the day after my three major purchases in less than a week I walked in the door of Lowes just to get some new light bulbs and the manager is at my side going, "How are you doing today Mr. Johnson? What can we help you with today sir? Light bulbs? Let me help you with that Mr. Johnson!"

Funny how much attention you can get during an economic downturn when you have a credit card and you are not afraid to use it!

On that note, how many people are crazy enough to remodel their kitchen while they are unemployed? At least one! :(

Oh, that microwave over the stove is not new but I spent several hours working on that one! There is an inner metal door to stop the radiation but the outer door panel is plastic. Being over the stove it was awfully grease encrusted and the plastic outer door was broken in several places and hanging crooked- the broken door looked really horrible. I spent a day rebuilding the outer door and well over an hour with three different "grease cutting" cleaners before I finally got it to my definition of clean. Looks pretty good in this picture here after all that work huh?!

After all these pictures were taken I attacked all the back washes with a big nylon brush and Comet soft scrub (I came to really love Comet Soft Scrub (with lemon!) durign my cleaning adventures!) Then I ended up stripping and replacing all that old cracked silicone caulking. Then I scrubbed and pine oiled all the cabinets.

The last kitchen task was to empty out the fridge, tilt it over and to clean all the gunk out from the machinery under it so it would run better and last longer then of course, I scrubbed the living crap out of it inside and out too!

For the week and a half I was at home after I got the kitchen done every morning was a joy! I would sit at the kitchen table, eat breakfast and drink coffee while my kitchen just sparkled and gleamed. Ahhhhhhh, you can't get that kind of satisfaction at a keyboard!

That is enough for now- more on this exciting topic later! ;)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Creative Marketing!

I just heard an ad on the radio in Dallas that cracked me up! It actually took me a few seconds to process it and 'get it' then when it finally clicked for me I laughed out loud.

It's seems that in honor of the impending inauguration of Obama a local laser hair removal outfit is having a big "farewell to bush" sales event.

I admit it, it did not click for me for a bit so maybe that is why I enjoyed it so much once I finally did get it! :)

Good marketing!

Monday, January 12, 2009

Movie reviews

Movie reviews are not my bit here but I have recently seen two movies that were certainly blog worthy each in their own way.

The Saturday before last I saw the remake of "The Day the Earth Stood Still".

Since the original is an absolute classic I KNEW I would be disappointed but I had to follow the Jennifer Connelly rule - I see anything with Jennifer Connelly in it. :)

So I was ready to be disappointed but WOW! This thing was a total stink fest. This thing was "StarGate" bad! What am I saying? This was seeing your grandma naked bad!

Since I knew my perceptions were warped by my low expectations I asked other people in the lobby afterwards what they thought. The kindest answer I got was "It could of been better". The unkindest answer I got was "That was so bad I am offended!"

After I saw the movie I checked the tomato meter. 17% - wow!

You know, there was not even a day when the Earth 'stood still' in the stupid remake. So the title does not even makes sense in the context of this movie! Gah!

It was soooo bad it actually made me sad. All the money and effort of so many people that go into a major movie and to have all of that money and labor turn into such a total piece of crap is a sad thing not to mention what it does to the legacy of such a classic movie.

Very sad.

On a better note I saw "Gran Torino" this Saturday. I don't want to give much away but like another Eastwood flick, "Million Dollar Baby", this one does not end how you think it will.

It is very rare to hear applause in a movie theater when the end credits roll but that is what I heard Saturday.

The other thing I liked about this movie is that it brought back some fond memories of my blue collar "working man" days. The easy camaraderie and back and forth of loving insults amongst men who work for a living. I have been a white collar "professional" for so long now I almost forgot how much fun it used to be to go to work and be crude- and it was OK.

Our world has become so very PC now and that movie reminded me of how things were when non-PC things could be said as long as they were not maliciously intended. (Of course, don't get me wrong, Clint Eastwood's character was mostly malicious! :) )

Anyway, to sum this post up, DON'T see "The Day the Earth Stood Still" and DO see "Gran Torino"

Monday, January 5, 2009

Road Ranting!

As opposed to road rage so this is a healthy vent!

I came home to Dallas from Springfield on Christmas day. I don't have any signed contracts in Springfield so I am going to be here at home for a little while so I drove home instead of flying so I have something to drive at home.

Ok, this is a two part rant...

1) What ever happened to slower traffic keep right? When did we lose the concept that the left lane on the interstate was a PASSING lane? I mean every one loses focus now and then so it's understandable that you forget and pace the car in the right lane for a while but seriously, I had to pass many people on the right on the trip home and not only is that horrible etiquette it's against the law.

I think some people appoint themselves traffic monitors and deliberately try to block traffic with the rationale that if "I'm doing the speed limit then they should not pass me"

The irony there is that little Miss (or Mister) self appointed law enforcer is breaking two laws by trying to enforce the speed limit law.

"Slower traffic keep right" is an absolute, not a relative or even an IF condition! It's not, "Slower traffic keep right unless you are going the speed limit" it's just KEEP RIGHT- period- end of discussion.

When I was a kid in Missouri cops used to actually write tickets if you were passed on the right. You got a "obstructing traffic" ticket. I have spent enough time in St. Louis to know Missouri cops do not write this ticket any more. I travel quite a bit and I think it is safe to say Missourians are the absolute worse group for ignoring this bit of driving etiquette.

On to the next topic...

2) People, use your freaking cruise control on the interstate huh?

I only know of one individual car built in the last 20 years that does not have one and how Erika managed to find a modern car without one boggles me a little.

If you are NOT going to use your cruise control or have one of the six cars in the known universe without one then please, follow one of the 99.9999% of the cars on the road with one!

This little rant comes about because of people who slowly pass you then (properly) move into the right lane in front of you then slow down! So then I have to pass them again then they will pass me again! Rinse and repeat!

This happened several times during the trip but there was one person I swear I passed 5 or 6 times on the Oklahoma turnpike before I got so sick of it I tromped on the gas and went extra fast for about 10 minutes to get him out of sight behind me. Then I let the cruise control take over again at the same speed where he had been pacing me. It took him about 15 minutes to catch up to me, get in front of me and slow down again. GAH! WTF??!!

It's a good thing I don't have telekinesis because I swear I would have mentally ruptured several small blood vessels in his forehead, hopefully leaving a scarlet LAL! on his forehead for a few weeks. (LAL=Lame Ass Loser!)

Ah what a sweet Christmas day memory! :)

Isn't it amazing how just the little things that can make you completely crazy on a 13 hour 800 mile drive?

Ok, thanks, I feel better now! :)