Wednesday, December 31, 2008

If I could turn back time...

So, I was bored at work with not really anything to do since there's NOBODY in the office (I think three people in our department). I decided I wanted to get my old MySpace blogs into this blog after reading that Blogger is now allowing importing of blogs. The hitch is you can only do it with other Blogger blogs right now.

I did a quick search and found no real way to get MySpace blogs moved over to Blogger. Apparently there's a way to do it with Wordpress, but I don't have a Wordpress account. I thought about creating one, until I read that the import only works with Blogger.

So I decided to count the MySpace posts I have. Eighteen. One of them doesn't count because it's just a posting saying it's my first posting. Since this blog already has one of those, I decided not to include that, so there are seventeen posts to be copied over. Not really that bad.

So, there you go. You should be able to find all these posts prior to my first Blogger post. Some are fairly amusing. Some not so much. And NO, I will not bring back my way old blog postings from when I first moved to Atlanta and tried to blog. Those are horrible.

Monday, December 29, 2008

'Tis the holi-daze season!

So, it's been a few days since my last posting. Sue me. I've been busy.

First, I need to announce that (thanks to me not opening all my mail) Sis and I tied for X-mas. Maybe next year I'll keep a closer tab for everyone. For those of you who are scratching your heads, it goes back to a Futurama Christmas (X-mas) episode. Hermes is delivering mail and Bender gets the most so he wins. My sister and I have a contest every year to see who gets the most cards. This year and last we both tied. (And for those of you reading this who DIDN'T send a card back, I know who you are......)

Christmas morning, Sis (and her family) and I opened gifts over the phone. See, I refuse to go up north when there's white stuff on the ground. Sis's husband won't fly and a 17 hour trip is too long when she has no vacation time (we'll ignore her getting laid off, but still). I think she, her hubby, and her children liked everything I sent her. From the adult incontinence product so she can Black Friday shop without fear to the gizmo thinggie that she can hook her video camera up to her computer and start making DVDs of her kids being really awesome in school plays and the like. (Psst.. someone tell her she can hook her VCR up to it too and record anything she's already done off).

Her kids were so cool. They each got a DS from Santa. What did they get from their awesome uncle? A game for their DS. Of course, they ask me how I knew they were getting a DS. I told them the truth: I talk with Santa all the time and Santa told me what they were getting.

Her hubby was given a PS3. He thought it was wicked awesome. Of course, she then had to go return the Mamma Mia DVD to buy the BluRay version since it's SO much clearer!

I haven't talked to my grandmother since Christmas, but I have talked to Mother. She's all ecstatic about her 8x10 photo of me, her grandson, and a drag-king Santa.

What did I get, you ask? From my grandmother, I got a JC Penny gift card. Maybe I can buy some of these awesome fashion products! Of course, I'm not a big JC Penny fan, so I'll try to find something. From Sis and her family I got some of my old stuff I had when growing up. And she bought me two really awesome RENT books and a RENT poster. Now, we won't discuss how she hates me because I already have the RENT books and I went and bought the poster while I was up visiting her. But I really liked 'em! She's so thoughtful!

That afternoon, I spent it with a former coworker of mine and his wife (and a bunch of straight people). It was.... weird. I never realized how strange straight people are until you see them congregated like that. I wore my festive Santa hat and had a good time. Until he brought out the Star Wars Holiday Special. I'm trying to figure out which movie was more painful -- that or Freddy Got Fingered.

Of course, Boxing Day and the day after were an adventure. I spent $1000 between those two days. I bought a sewing machine 'cuz I want to learn to quilt with Princess Sparklepants. I need a name for said sewing machine. My home computers are named after rodents. My plant is a RENT character. I need an awesome name for my sewing machine. I also bought a Home Theater Receiver (which BrandsmartUSA refunded the difference between their price with tax and's price... I *HEART* them) and a desk for my new sewing machine, and some sewing materials. And a blender / food processor combination that was incredibly cheap. I can't remember what else I bought off the top of my head though.

Sunday was the best, though. I got to see my sweetie again (traditionally called "date boy" on Twitter -- I'm working on a totally appropriate nickname for him... give it time..). I gave him two Russ bears 'cuz I wanted to make someone happy. I also gave him a key to the house so he can come visit me anytime. He gave me a Sirius-XM Satellite radio and mentioned something about reaching under my dashboard.

I'd say in all it's been a great holi-daze season. I think my sweetie is the best present I got (sorry Sis).

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

My Teeths Are Clean!

Yesterday I took my semi-annual visit to my Hot Gay Periodontist.

I'm not going to go into the full history of my teeths here, but needless to say at one point in my life I was TERRIFIED of dentists (and subsequently anyone who touches my teeths and gums), but decided a few years back that I wasn't going to pay for dental insurance without using it. Now I have an awesome crew of peeps who take care of my teeths.

Anyways, Hot Gay Periodontist was his usual cheerful hot self. He even thanked me for the Christmas card I sent him. But, he was a little too busy to be overly social since they had a cancellation that put them a little behind to fit in a last minute person at the same time.

The hygenist gets me all settled in and as she begins to clean my teeths I hear "Hello? Hello? Hello?" coming very faintly. Almost Horton Hears a Who-ish. I thought it was her cellphone ringing since I've heard some odd ringtones in my life. A minute later, she informs me she accidentally dialed someone and there was someone alive on the other end. Quite amusing.

So, I have the scraping going on (aren't you NOT supposed to have sharp objects in your mouth?), then she does the supersonic waterpic thinggie. I'm not a fan of that since one of my teeths is still quite sensitive (and apparently a few other areas). Plus, I don't like the noise. Bothers my ears.

After I think she's done, she's flossing me. And every few teeths she stops flossing and pulls out scraping thing or supersonic waterpic thing. She kept feeling something. It wasn't bad until the bottom right end of my teeths. She kept feeling something. She scraped and waterpic'd for what seemed like HOURS (ok, it was probably 3-5 minutes, but that's an eternity when that area is getting more and more sensitive). She finally ridded me of whatever she kept feeling.

The best part of the adventure? This is the FIRST dental visit I've had a little bit into the year that insurance paid for (since Extreme Makeover Dental Edition tends to leave my insurance drained within 3 months). One of the advantages of having new insurance!

Now, I'm waiting for the spring when I see my Hot Lesbian Dentist to see about straightening my teeths!

Friday, December 19, 2008

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas....

Ok, I'm not being threatened with twelve inches (and definitely not in a good way), and outside is blah, but when the sky goes dark and all you see are Christmas lights in the neighborhoods, everything evens out. Except for the fact I've had to turn on my air conditioner the past few days.

It's no surprise to my loyal fan base of four (did I mention I have a new reader? No? I have a new reader) that I loathe snow. There's a reason I moved to GA and most of it involves the lack of snow.

Now, Georgia gets a few unexpected twists from Mother Nature, but they're usually short-lived enough to keep me happy. But, I will be honest. Christmas time is the time of year I'd really like a little bit. Just enough to cover the browning grass and make everything a consistent white. (And we have to keep traffic away to keep it from turning a disgusting black sludge)

I have my tree up (Ok, I didn't put ornaments up AGAIN this year. I did buy the hooks, but I lost the motivation to hang the ornaments). I have a few decorations out, but I'm not *quite* in the Christmas spirit. I don't know why. My biggest guess is the shakeup in my life that's happened the past few months.

I've been busy getting settled into the new job. The getting settled process made a huge impact around Thanksgiving. And I never recovered from that. On the other hand, I do feel very blessed. I've been hanging out with this really awesome guy for the past few weeks. He makes me feel all warm and squishy inside (either that, or I need to wear a diaper). I enjoy hanging out with him, and I look forward to where our time together is leading.

There's less than two weeks remaining in 2008. It seems like it just started. A lot has happened, and it's been an amazing year. I have a few plans for 2009. But, based on 2008, I don't know how much I really want to plan them.

Maybe I need to pull out A Charlie Brown Christmas and listen to Linus tell us what Christmas is all about to really get me in the Christmas Spirit.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Perfectly Evil in Farbucks!

The lady at Farbucks thinks I'm insane. See, we're having a gift exchange at The Company today. Our Admin suggested I buy a giftcard. So, I went to the nearest Farbucks and the following conversation took place:
Me: May I purchase a gift card in ANY amount I wish?
Farbucks: As long as that amount is greater than $5.
Me: PERFECT! I'd like a gift card in the amount of six dollars sixty-six cents.
Farbucks: Ok, if you want it for that amount, I need to know why.
Me: Caucasian Pachyderm Gift Exchange.
Farbucks:Um...... What's that?
Me: Oh, in non-PC terms, White Elephant Gift Exchange.
Farbucks: Ok. Would you like anything else with that?
Me: Peppermint Caucasian Hot Chocolate.
I love being crazy!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Six million years in jail!

I'm possibly violating some rules from The Company about posting something like this, but I'm going to stay as a high level about this.

The Brian Nichols case has just come to a verdict.

He was sentenced to a total of a thousand years and 11 life sentences without parole (I could be wrong, I wasn't paying full attention and keeping a tally). Each count he was convicted of was given the maximum sentence served consecutively.

The judge made a comment about how every count is as important as another due to the counts being against different people. Each person wants their count to come to completion. I admire that. But, there's also a point where adding another 20 year sentence becomes moot point. He's only going to live a certain number of years. What's the use in sentencing some obscene amount of time that is incomprehensible?

Friday, December 12, 2008

When Computer Geeks Attack


So, I apparently started at The Company at the right time. A couple weeks into my tenure here, we got new laptops!

Quick sidenote: The chick who apparently had my current laptop was an interesting character, I can tell. There's some weird stuff with the laptop, and the "second" laptop we have started doing something the other day and I managed to see some of the sites she visited. One was xtube. I have issues with people visiting that (and similar) sites on a company laptop, but I digress. I didn't want to touch that machine again for fear of cooties.

So, back to our new laptops. They're cool lappys. And the bonus is we're getting dual 19-inch widescreen monitors!

That being said, software has to be installed on these new laptops. IT has to do that for us. Something about them not wanting to give us the installation locations to install more copies than we have licenses for. I understand that.

My boss (I need a nickname for him at some point) provided IT the list of software to install.

The request was for 15 pieces of software installed. Five of those are completely missing. One is the wrong version. One is missing a component. Two I'm uncertain about (PeopleSoft always confuses me). And one he says he can't find the install for. That means he correctly installed FIVE things. And, one of those five is automatically installed with another of those five. So that means he TECHNICALLY installed 4 correctly out of 15. That is SO not Six Sigma.

I sent an email to him saying he missed a majority of my software. He thought I was playing. Nope. I don't play around like that when it comes to my computer! I informed him of how I ripped the IT people at The Previous Company when they insisted my mouse settings kept getting reset because it was a policy in place "because the mouse has more power than the keyboard." I think he's scared of me now.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Music!

Ok, we've all heard them -- and if you claim you haven't, you're lying -- those pesky holiday songs that are played constantly from Thanksgiving until Christmas.

The problem is I only like them when it's NOT the holiday season for some reason. I think it's more because they're forced on ya. I decided this today when I was working and someone had their speakers turned up to the point where I can BARELY hear it and I was annoyed. Yet I had no problems turning on Pandora to a holiday station and I'm happy.

But, I digress. That's not the reason for this post. I'm confused about a few songs.

First, we'll talk about "Winter Wonderland." The song goes:
In the meadow we can build a snowman,
Then pretend that he is Parson Brown

He'll say: Are you married?
We'll say: No man,
But you can do the job
When you're in town
Now, if you read a little into that, apparently the singer wants Parson Brown to do things that a married person would normally do. Follow my logic here -- one has sexual relations with their marital partner, so we'll jump to the conclusion that the song is talking about extra-marital sex!

Then there's "The Most Wonderful Time of the Year." Follow these lyrics:
There'll be parties for hosting
Marshmallows for toasting
And caroling out in the snow
There'll be scary ghost stories
And tales of the glories of
Christmases long, long ago
Now, where are these "scary ghost stories"? That is VERY Halloweenish! Now, I understand "A Christmas Carol" has ghosts in it, but it's not particularly "scary" -- at least as long as you're not a Scrooge. But, it also is plural... so that infers MORE than just that one. *shrug*

Thursday, December 4, 2008

What Would Jesus Do?

OK, Jesus Chicken people are out of Peppermint Chocolate Chip milkshake mix. I was distraught. I stared blankly at cute dude behind the counter.

I said, "In times like this, I have to think, what would Jesus do? -- I know, he'd turn the chocolate mix into Peppermint Chocolate Chip mix like he did with water and wine... now, you go back there and do that!"

Cute dude behind the counter wasn't particularly amused.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

"I'm sorry, she died in a freak blender accident."

In case I haven't informed my vast three readers (or any future people who may venture across this blog), I'm gay.

Yes, I have just officially come out of the closet! Or something like that.

Now, we'll get to gay marriage. I can't decide which direction I am on the fence regarding this. On one hand, I love the concept and how it could help things in the gay community be more "stable" -- but then there's the idea that some sugar daddy is going to have to pay gay alimony when his twink boy leaves him. That's going to cause a bigger stir.

Anyway, that "marriage" conversation leads into a conversation I got to have yesterday -- not once, but TWICE!
Caller: "Is there a Mrs. ?"
Me: "I'm sorry, no. *Sniffle* She died last month in a freak blender accident. I can't drink margaritas without breaking down anymore."
Now, the caller -- whether they be a salesperson, telemarketer, or whathaveyou -- naturally goes "Oh, I'm sorry." Then you can hear them clicking back and forth wondering "Is he for real? I really want to know how someone could have died in a freak blender accident!" And, of course, they cannot ask for fear of being insensitive.

At dinner, I got a fortune cookie that said something like "Your sense of humor was greatly appreciated today." -- I found great humor in that one!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Blah Blah Black Friday

It's the thrill of the fight, rising up to the challenge of our rival, and the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night, and he's watching us all with the, Eye of the Tiger...

Oh wait, not quite in the Rocky kinda way, but Black Friday is a huge adventure for die-hards.

That is, when there's good sales.

Like a lot of people on the Internets, I wasn't very impressed with this year's sales. But, like any avid Black Friday shopper, I went investigating things out there. Because, obviously, Black Friday is shopping for ME ME ME!

Since my current laptop has some problems with it, my first inkling was that I wanted to buy one of the laptops from Bestus Buyus. They had one for 379, an upgraded model for 479, and a cheaper model with a printer for 350. All appearing decent prices for laptops... Until I did further research... I found these models were just as cheaply made as my current laptop. Not to say it's a bad laptop, but if I'm going to spend that money, I want to have something that may last more than a year or two. I'm seriously lucky I got three years out of my current laptop. So I went around further. I found this pretty cool Acer laptop for 499. Then I had $20 in Best Buy RewardZone certificates, making my final price 479. Same price for the "upgraded" laptop. Except, it wasn't particularly upgraded with memory -- but it DOES have a BluRay player within it! Something all the other lappys didn't have!

Now, forgive me while I go out on a tangent here. The laptop prices didn't sound impressive. Then I realized the deals of $200 laptops came from an AOL instant rebate they gave if you signed up for a year agreement. AOL has since gone free, so they can't quite convince people to pay for their service to give said rebates. And the probability of the high-speed internet providors giving out these discounts is probably minimal -- especially because people probably use said providors and providors aren't interested in giving rebates to keep customers.

Thursday was spent at my friend Dave's for Turkey Day. I had a lot of fun. And I got to go through the physical sale paper ads. Yes, they've all been leaked on the Internets for a while, but there's nothing like the physical looking at the papers to compare. I didn't find a thing.

But, has (had?) Nintendo DS packages for $5 more than just the base console. Brain Age and Mario. I ordered the Brain Age version, along with some BluRays on sale. Completing most of my Black Friday shopping... without staying out all night in the cold.

Then I saw a Sony Home Theater Receiver that I thought I wanted to get. Bestus Buyus for $199. Except I did a little research and found it on Sony Online for the same price.

I understand the concept behind Black Friday doorbuster ads. They're to get customers into the stores and make them buy other things because they stood in line all night and they don't want to have a fruitless endeavor. Retailers get more money in because people go in for one thing, end up buying something else, see something else they want and buy that, too! A win for (almost) everybody.

I don't know what kind of help this years ads are doing for sales yet. I think they sucked, but my opinion of what I want is different from everyone else's ideas. I got my deals online, and saved my buttkus from greuling Black Friday lines. I didn't even go by and see what kind of lines were out there.

I know people went out to battle for things they want for Christmas gifts. I am proud of them. But, as I said before, I'm dissapointed in the sales this year. I think retailers need to start beefing up their ads.

So, what's my advice? Don't assume what's in a Black Friday ad is the cheapest you can get. Shop around still. Spend a couple more dollars and you'll probably get something a LOT better and will last longer.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

How hard can it be?

Famous last words, right?

At some point during my MA escapade (quite possibly the day I returned since the awesome person who watched my house & Bradley while I was gone didn't know anything bout it), my garage door opener decided to stop working. So, I went to the local Sears to buy a new one. I was suggested to buy a Craftsman Belt Opener because they're quiet.

I got to the local Sears and there are two Craftsman belt models -- the more expensive one was on sale for the same price as the cheap one. The only difference I was able to quickly identify was battery backup. Knowing the number of times in the past two years and change I've been stuck outside of my garage because of power outages, I decided I wanted this option. Lo and behold, it's not in stock, so the sales associate helps me locate one in the area.

$220 plus tax later, I have one found for me on the other side of Atlanta. When asked if I wanted it "professionally installed for $110", I said "nnaa -- how hard can it be?" Besides, I knew I wouldn't have been able to get it installed until Saturday and that was too long for me to wait.

Sunday evening I took down the broken opener. What a pain in the butt that was. It was late, so I wasn't about to try to install it.

My week was full of long days of trying to find new clothes for the new job, checking in on cats, and just plain old getting into the hang of things of getting up early, so I didn't get to install it during the week. But manually opening and closing the door was definitely getting old.

Saturday comes and I decide it's definitely time to get this taken care of.

I begin this daunting task at 11am. I laid the parts out and began assembly. "This doesn't seem too hard, although the instructions are poorly designed," I said. Six and a half hours later, I was done. Kinda.

In all fairness, I think my ghost has been messing with me. Some of my tools randomly vanished, so I spent time searching for them. Add into that the fact the brackets for those sensor thinggies that reverse the door if a small child decides to walk under it are too short, so I need to get some extender thinggies. So, right now I have the most unsafest garage door opener in the neighborhood because the two sensors are taped to the ceiling pointing at each other. But it's nice and quiet! Although, I can't store my ID badge for The Company up behind my remote clip. It's blocking the signal or something, apparently.

Oh well, hopefuly I'll update y'all when it's safe again!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I've been bad...

So, I've been informed by some of my vast readership (yes, all three of you) that I've been neglecting you and not updating things.

I'd love to go back over the past two weeks, but the majority of it is summed up in my previous post about heart attacks. My visit to MA was fun, and I almost missed being up there until it decided to start getting cold. It was great seeing friends and family, but I'm totally glad to be back in Atlanta.

I started the new job on Monday. Henceforth, "The Company" will now reference as this new job. I haven't decided if I'm going to like it or not yet. The first couple weeks are always the worst. You're out there learning the stuff you're going to be doing because every company is different. The basic skills are always there, but each company has its own intricacies that cause the learning curve. Thursday was bad because I accidentally deleted some data. I clicked "OK" a little too fast, but in almost fairness, I was following the direction of what my manager was wanting to do. But he misstated something as we were determining what to clear in the system. Before he had a chance to re-look at the selection, I clicked OK. I'm definitely not used to having Production access yet, but I will get in the proper mindset soon.

Right now, I'm fearful of trying to blog from work since I don't know what's being watched. Until I get more comfortable there, you may have to live with spurts of blogs instead of a more constant flow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

How to piss off a GPS

So, yeah, I'm in MA as we all know right now. I leave Saturday.

Now, my experience with Boston proper has always been as a pedestrian, with the exception of my last trip where I flew in and got lost trying to get out of airsport to get to Western Mass. Since I knew I was going to travel inside Boston and knew that I would want to drive around Western Mass with the option of getting lost and needing to find my way home, I bought a GPS prior to my trip. It's worked mostly well, with the exception of Boston having several roads intersect and the GPS getting confused as to whether to turn left or right. Later I found out that 3D mode is better for that so you can really see what's going on where you need to go, but I digress.

I was in the South End visiting a former professor of mine. We talked for a few hours, went out to dinner, talked a little more, then I had to leave to head back to NH to stay with friends.

My GPS told me to go one way (after it took about 2 minutes to calculate the route) and he told me to go another. I decided to take his directions since it kept me off Storrow Drive. As soon as I started on his route, I hear "Recalculating route. Recalculating route. Recalculating route." All while I was on the same road and not crossing over anything.

Now, I've heard GPSs get mad when you don't follow their directions. I've even heard one tell you to make "the next legal U-turn". But NEVER have I heard one have to do three different recalculations in a row without crossing over or missing any turns.

I guess that's one of the cool things about the midst of Boston!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Heart Attacks Times Three!

I know I've been bad and haven't posted in a while. But I have a valid reason! I didn't want to accidentally give a huge clue out on the ginormous surprise I started planning the middle of last week.

Anywho, the surprise was I decided to go up north and visit my family... and NOT tell them I'm coming! But, I dropped subtle hints now and then.

I flew in Thursday. After spending the evening in NH with a friend of mine, I took the drive to Western Mass. When I arrived, I txt'd sis saying, "May I call on you? And, if so, is boss person there?" -- she responded "Sure, but lady boss is here."

Then I opened the door, and she said she thought "Oh crap, man boss is here" -- except the door didn't slam, so she thought it was a customer and thought I would be phoning her any second now.

I get to the top of the stairs and say "My name is Herbie...." -- she's staring in disbelief and somehow manages to jump through her desk, while screaming "oh my god!" the entire time and gives me a huge hug. Then she informs me she was having a bit of a heart attack.

After she started calming down, I decided to go visit Nan. At 84 years old, I knew I had to be a little careful on how I approached that one. I tried calling her to kinda hint I was on my way, but she was on the phone with my uncle and no call waiting. So I walked upstairs and knocked on her door. She stared at me and blinked a few times and I had to nod my head to let her know it really was me. I totally made her day.

Then we hunted down where Mother was (local bar rom). Nan made some pretense as to why she was calling, and after she got off the phone, I drove up to the local bar room and when I walked in the door, Mother looked right at me and continued what she was doing. I stood next to her and put my arm on her shoulder. She looks at me again and goes into total shock. She couldn't say anything for like a minute. She had a mini heart attack and we almost had to call the ambulance on her. It was great!

Sis decided she didn't want to stay 'til 2:30, so we went out to lunch and went grocery shopping for Nan. I bought Nan's groceries for her. We then went to pick up her kids. The little one stared at me and really didn't recognize me. The bigger one came out of the back room and stopped in her tracks and looked at me and was like "Uncle Simply?" -- I nodded. It was cute and funny at the same time.

Went to dinner at "The Forbidden Place" because we don't have them in Georgia. It was as good as I remember. I want to go back again.

Not sure what I'm doing the next few days. Friends want to hang out. Nan wants to monopolize my time. So, I'm going to end up pissing someone off. Oh well. I've seen Nan in the past 4 years a number of times. Haven't seen a few of these other friends. I think they may get priority.

I'll keep y'all posted.

Friday, October 31, 2008

I survived it... barely!

"You're the only person I know who can make an exit interview run long."

That was the guy who hired me -- and his exit interview was after mine.

I managed to not cry today -- mostly because all my really awesome friends will be at my "laid off" party tomorrow. After they begin to leave, on the other hand, I may lose it. I'll try not to, though.

The position I'm REALLY hoping for still hasn't called me back. It's driving me a little batty, but I digress. I'm hoping I have a new place to call The Company soon.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

<insert witty farewell subject line here>

So, instead of some super-witty post about what's going on, I figured I'd post my teary-eyed farewell email I sent out to all my coworkers (some I like, some I don't). I really did get teary-eyed with this.

As you may or may not know, Halloween is my final day here at The Company. It's been great working with everyone for the past 3.75 years, and I'm truly going to miss everyone here. I've been trying to think of something great and witty to say for farewell, but I'm having to revert to a portion of a song in WICKED:
I've heard it said
That people come into our lives for a reason
Bringing something we must learn.
And we are led
To those who help us most to grow
If we let them
And we help them in return
Well, I don't know if I believe that's true
But I know I'm who I am today
Because I knew you

Like a comet pulled from orbit
As it passes a sun
Like a stream that meets a boulder
Halfway through the wood
Who can say if I've been changed for the better?
But because I knew you
I have been changed for good.
I demand everyone to keep in touch! Of course, in order to do that, you need some sort of contact information, so here it is (Just don't call me at 2am as if I'm on call).
      My GMail Address
      404.555.1212 (Cell)

I still won't give out my personal blog unless people REALLY want it. It's probably rated PG-13, and (according to HR), nothing over rated G can be shown in the office. I'm also on Facebook and Myspace if you want to hunt for me (outside of work hours, of course). I'll give you a clue -- you won't find me under the above email address.

And, as always, support Pause for Fun!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Eighteen Again

Dang, I'm exhausted from this past weekend!

Friday, The Company brought us out on some "team building outing". We went to Whirlyball and DDR a local brewery for drinks. I had a couple glasses of wine then came home and went to sleep on the couch. Not a particularly exciting Friday night, but I suppose I needed it. I also determiend I wasn't exactly that into Dancing With the Stars, so it's gone from my DVR.

Saturday, I got up early because Beanie wanted to mow my lawn. It was wet, but it still worked. I also pruned the hollys in my front yard. I HATE hollys. But they look so much better. No, I will not give before and after pics. You should have asked before.

After the lawn was done, I introduced Beanie to DDR. I can't find my copy of DDRMax (which has the songs and interface I started with), so we played some DDRMax2. He started to get the hang of it. Then he wanted to play Guitar Hero, where he totally pwned me. Boy can rock! Finally, we ended it with some Mario Kart Wii where we decided Baby Mario cheats. But, I tell ya, I felt like I was eighteen again!

I brought him back to his house and we geeked out while Princess Sparklepants yelled at the Georgia / LSU game. Then I came home and fell asleep on the couch again.

Sunday, I completed the one task that was on my to-do list for Saturday. I bought a tie. I also did my laundry so I do not have to go to work naked. I even caught up on some of my DVR! Oh, and fell asleep on the couch.

Maybe I've got SAD like Princess Sparklepants does. I had it big time in Boston, but that was mainly because the sun was SET in the winter before I even left the office. But, I'm in the ATL. The sun has to travel to the opposite end of the timezone here to give us a little bit more evening light.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

I need to buy a new tie

I have a second interview on Monday with the company I interviewed with yesterday. It'll be my first lunch interview, but I should be fine. I'm excited. I hate interviewing, but I like working, and the company I'm interviewing with is an awesome company to work for. (That explains the tags of hate and like, for those of you keeping track)

Other than that, things have been pseudo-quiet on the job front. Trying to get out there.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Tag, I'm it?

Apparently Princess Sparklepants decided it would be wicked awesome to tag me.

Clothes: Wear them. Oh.. you were asking what kind? A lot of stuff from GAP

Furniture: Sitting on it. Oh... what kind? Lotsa IKEA stuffs

City: Just outside of Atlanta. In Cobb County -- you know, where The Big Boss Man is from.

Sweets: Love 'em. Oh, what kind? Chocolates... and cheesecake...

Drink: Pepsi. Seriously. I live in a Coke city, but love me Pepsi

Music: Lately a lot of Lady Antebellum.

TV Series: Prison Break, American Idol

Film: That icky layer at the top of the Chattahoochie? Oh... as in movies. All over the place.

Workout: Used to. need to get back into it.

Pastries: Krispy Kreme.

Coffee: yuck.

I'm too lazy to tag someone else right now. We'll see later.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Pro-Choice or Anti-Sex

Conversation Sis and I had:
Sis: Boss just said "Remember this... That Barack Obama approves in abortion & thats all you need to know"
Sis: LOL... *I* am pro-choice
Me: I am anti-sex
Me: therefore there's no choice about it :)
Me: no children, no choice :)
Sis: LMAO!
Kinda amusing. I won't sit and rant about my whole views about the topic.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

It's a small world afterall

Ok, this is all accident. I was tracking where a package of mine was and was wondering where a zip code was. I was doing a little zooming out and I accidentally zoomed all the way out. Then I was like, "Something's odd. I'm seeing doubles!"

I guess that's what happens when you have a lot of real estate room on your screen due to a sharp resolution.

I'm OK -- at least for now

The past few days were very chaotic. As you can imagine from my last post.

I got the news at 2. I spoke with HR for about half an hour. Then I ran into Princess Sparklepants when I got out of the elevator and she asked if I needed to go for a walk. Of course I did. She apologized profusely, even though she had absolutely nothing to do with the situation. I know she felt bad because she knew for a while and wasn't allowed to say anything. I still love her though!

I left the office about 3:15ish or so. I called my chiropractor and asked if she could see me earlier... like "now". She asked if everything was alright. I said no. She asked what was wrong. I said couldn't say and started crying. She said she'd meet me at her office in 20.

I saw her pull in, she asked what was wrong, I gave her a hug, started crying and told her I was getting laid off. Of course, she's not thrilled either. I cried for about 15 mins in her office. We convinced me everything is going to be alright. She adjusted me and I went home and started calling everyone else.

Thursday night, I didn't sleep well. I had a messed up dream where I was saying goodbye to everyone and didn't make it past three rows of cubes before I lost it. I woke up bawling my eyes out.

I didn't do diddly squat on Friday. I wanted to sit and eat a gallon of Ben & Jerry's (shut up. you can buy 8 pints to equal a gallon) and bon bons, but I decided I couldn't afford it. I then decided I was going to be OK and decided I would have a "getting laid.... off" party! As a friend of mine said, "I love that you get laid off & decide to throw a party."

Over the weekend I realized how many contacts I have that I can call on. It's going to be a lot easier this time than when I first moved to Atlanta.

Monday was tough. I came in and acted all cheery. It seemed everybody I talked to knew about me "being a victim" (btw, that's my new phrase -- I'm a victim!). Very though to talk to people. But I decided that I'm gonna make it!

Of course, today I saw the fortune cookie I got a month or so back that made it all make sense:

Heaven bless those fortune cookies!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I'm getting laid...... (off)

I think I'm OK.

At least I feel OK right now.

But we'll find out more in a couple weeks.

I found out today I'm getting laid off as of the end of the month.

It's slowly sinking in. I don't have much to say right now. Maybe I'll have more tomorrow. I'm a little emotionally spent right now.

"Excuse me, sir, where are your Bawls?"

So, Sis and I had this conversation this morning after we were talking about caffeine:
Me: fun to go to Microcenter (or any other geek store that sells it) and say "Excuse me, where are your Bawls?"
Sis: it doesn't taste like cough meds like Red Bull does it?
Me: never tasted red bull, but it tastes GOOD. At least the Blue Bawls does.
What is it with me and these conversations lately?

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Happy Medium

So, last week I got a new laptop here at The Company. I utilized my massive storage space at home to copy my files over because 1) it'd be MUCH faster and B) I didn't feel like clogging up the shared network drives with multiple gigs of data that has a ton of mp3s.

I've been trying to get back in the groove. Then I realized I hadn't copied ALL my files back to my lappy and all my music is sitting in a zip file on my file server at home. And since the zip file is 1.5 gigs (little music music and a TON of documents and the like), I'm not going to try to push it out of my home network to work. Seems WAY out of the way.

So, I complain to Princess Sparklepants with this conversation:
Me: grr... my music is sitting in an extremely large zip file at home. I can't download it 'cuz it's so large. woe is me
PSP: Music is not supposed to be on your work computer, anyway!
Me: and CDs aren't supposed to be left in drives -- so what is the happy medium? utilize network resources to stream? :-)
PSP: Get an iPod
PSP: :-)
PSP: I love my little nanopants.
So, yeah, I like to violate the rules. But it's better than carrying around an MP3 player that The Company will eventually decide confidential information could be put on and forbid them, just like they block web based email because of "increasing security risks" with the fact "The Company doesn’t have the ability to scan for viruses or security concerns as we would with our Company e-mail." (Yes, geeks, you and I know what's wrong with that statement.) Of course, my mp3 player is a little large... since it's a Creative Zen Vision:M. But I love being able to fit my mp3 empire on one device... until that runs out of space.

So, right now, I'm pretty much musicless except the RENT soundtrack (OBC, not OST). But, as much as I love it, I can't listen to it on repeat for eight hours. I'll end up mooing all over the place and wanting to jump over the moon!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My poopoo smells like roses!

So, I have STRANGE conversations with friends.
<zim> so last night Hula and I were having a discussion
<zim> and we were talking about using my rose/sandalwood massage oil
<zim> and we were discussing using it as lube after a massage, but I was thinking that it would make my butthole smell even after a shower
<zim> thoughts?
<me> you have objections to your butthole smelling like roses?
How crazy is that?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

"Who do you think you are? President Bush?"

I was out running errands, and my grandmother called me. Unfortunately, I wasn't around my phone when she called, so she also called my home number. Why she called my home number, I don't really know. I don't answer it EVER. Mostly because there's no caller id, but I digress.

Now, let me rewind for a second. If you've never heard my home answering machine, it's quite a treat. Since I have given my home number to about 5 people in this world, and they all know to call my cellie, I don't consider my home number as "primary." Add in the fact I have a lot of people calling for random people I've never heard of, I got tired of answering it. Lately, there have been a lot of calls that have come in and nobody has left messages. Then there was someone who APPEARED to have known me and left a message against my generic pre-installed answering message. I didn't know them in return, so I didn't return the call. I then changed my outgoing message telling people that they need to leave their name, telephone number, company they are with, and nature of the call and if they fail to leave any of these four, they will not receive a call back.

So, my grandmother called my home number and she heard the outgoing message. Her response to me was "Who do you think you are? President Bush?"

I wanted to come back with some witty reparté, but I know she wouldn't find it amusing. She rarely humor in anything that you'd have to explain the joke with. Very visual, she is.

Anyway, her "this is so important I need to call your home number" call was to let me know my alma mater had an article in the local newspaper about it becoming a university. I guess since I'm 1100 miles away, she think it's impossible for me to get information about it. I had to inform her that my $100,000 of tuition also paid for years of updates, whether it be via snail-mail, or trips Alumni Relations makes to various parts of the country, or email!

She also proceeded to inform me that a movie is being filmed in Northampton, the town next door. My aunt was extatitc that Mel Gibson is the star. Don't quite understand why since she no longer lives in Noho. Maybe it's 'cuz she's uber-religious and he directed Passion of the Christ. Who knows. But it'll be really cool to see some local landmarks on the big screen!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

I declare Gas Crisis 2008 over!

So, I passed by several gas stations today with gas and no lines. I even filled up my tank (at a station that was accepting credit cards). I think it's weird that I put 9 gallons in my 16 gallon tank and my needle was halfway down... but I've seen other weird things.... or the station cheated me out a few dollars.

My fear about this "being over" is that the masses of people haven't been really out. That means they may still freak out when trying to get out. But at least the stations should at least have some fuel out there.

We'll see...

I don't feel like working

I didn't feel like working this morning, so what did I do? This:

It makes me feel real geeky. In all fairness, I used a template found on the 'Net... but I didn't follow exactly... otherwise the Super Mushroom would have been much bigger and looked even funkier.

I've decided that I want to go to the Lego Store and buy more Legos so I can build more. I plan on putting them in my cube.

I'm also hating this whole GAS CRISIS 2008 deal. Today, I went to get lunch at Taco Bell and the Chevron up the street from me had a tanker leaving. With no long insane lines there, I decided I'd hop in for some gas to do my part to help in the freaking out.

First, I was REALLY irked with the fact that people would NOT pull through to allow both pumps on each side to be used, as if someone on the other pump would take their gas.

Then, before I was able to get up to the pump, the employee dude put out signs that said "No Credit Cards."

There went my chance for gas. I don't keep cash on me.

I'm hearing that more and more places are doing that, though. Not exactly sure why except for the idea that they're trying to save the credit card fees off the top because of the lack of sales in the convenience stores and such.

They're saying about two more weeks before we're back to normal. I want things to be back to normal now. I don't mind working from home during this, but it's still crazy.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

How to solve Atlanta's gas crisis -- according to Fox 5

Fox 5's answer to the Gas Crisis is to move Atlanta. I saw that on the news last night and was looking and said "that doesn't look quite right..." -- after the image went off I said "wait a minute..." and rewound. Then I stared in disbelief.

Way to go Fox 5! Not only do you get Obama and Osama mixed up, but you don't know where you're located when superimposing images on each other!

...And we wonder why Georgia has the lowest standardized test scores... it's because the students are TRYING to learn and the news can't even teach them correctly!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

I can identify colors and count!

Went to Microcenter today.

I was very impressed at the knowledge the dude on commission had!

Here's what happened:

Chinchilla's CPU fan decided it wanted to start dying. Not particularly a good thing. So, I brought the dying fan there to ensure I got the correct size. I'm not finding what I need, so I ask dude if he would know where the exact size I'm needing is.

He said I had a "proprietary fan" because the fan I brought in had two wires, one red, one black, and the ones they had had three wires, one red, one black, one yellow.

I had to respond with "Thank you very much for knowing how to count to at least three and how to identify at least three colors. I wouldn't have been able to determine that on my own. What I ASKED for was a fan that size -- I'm sure no matter what type of connector it is, I'd be able to power it up, because... look... all these fans have adapters that I'd be able to use in any case."

Needless to say, I removed his sticker so he didn't get the commission on the 6.99 fan.
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Saturday, September 27, 2008

Only thing to do is jump over the moon!

I got to MOO today!

And I paid less than everyone else, too! Apparently the web site had the price as $8, but if you bought at the theater box office, you paid $20. You take THAT, Clark Howard!

For those of you who are completely lost, RENT Filmed Live on Broadway has a short stint in movie theaters across the country. I went and saw it this afternoon and was FLABBERGASTED!

First, I have to agree with other reviews and say this was MUCH better than the movie. In fact, I'm watching the movie now and the first thing out of my mind was "DAMN this sucks compared to the Broadway show!"

This captured the true essence of the show. Ok, DUH, it was recorded live there, so it should. But the camera action. Yes, I got dizzy at times, but it was TOTALLY worth getting the opportunity to see the show as it was meant to be seen in the Nederlander Theatre.

The thing I loved the most is the set was VERY simple. It was abstract enough that you truly believed you were in Mark and Roger's apartment -- or the Life Cafe -- or anywhere else the cast took you. Truly showing that simple is better!

The water works hit a lot more in this production than the movie also. I knew I shoulda brought a box of Kleenex, but I didn't. And they do acting and music in such a way to keep you from detaching yourself from the situation. Chris Columbus's problem with the movie is he kept the second half so sombre due to the death and sadness going on that you started in a downhill emotional swing and lost it. He cut out a couple songs because the audience was detaching (from feeling alive?).

The theater show, on the other hand, has Collins all somber during the start of the reprise of "I'll Cover You", but brings life out of the situation towards the end to liven everyone up. This brings us out of the emotional landslide enough to not detach by the end of the show.

And "Your Eyes" -- THAT'S the way to do that scene. It was beyond believable. It brought tears to your eyes in ways you never thought could happen. And the rest of the cast with tears running down their faces... Absolutely amazing!

I can't say enough for it.

Sis got to see it also. She LOVED it.

I'm SERIOUSLY hoping they do release this on DVD. I've read rumors, but apparently nothing's been put in writing yet. That will DEFINITELY be the reason for a Blu-Ray player!
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

I hate my sister

She sent me this.

Apparently this is what she thinks was her encounter.


I hate her, I tell ya -- hate her. Although, things may be different tomorrow.

Today, I both WFH'd and WFP'd

Usually, I spend my Work From Home (WFH) day catching up on my DVR stuff.... Then I've found some weird shows (like Trivial Pursuit: America Plays).

But, lately the weather has been WONDERFUL outside. So I decided to Work from Patio (WFP). It was working pretty well for a while... Except Bradley REALLY wanted me to play ball with him. I told him he had to bring me back the ball to throw it for him again. Of course, he didn't listen.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


So, there's this thing called CAPTCHA that some sites use to help prevent bots from signing up and taking all the good things. Specifically, Ticketmaster uses it. At least that's where I found my three cool CAPTCHA images from.

First, we'll discuss the following CAPTCHA image:
I've performed several imaginary acts in my life. A lot of them have to do with nightly activities. But, needless to say, I found that one a little amusing.

Next, we'll talk about:I've heard "bigger isn't always better", but isn't this phrase taking away from the American Way with "I want it BIG and I want it NOW!"? But, then we come to:
Now, CAPTCHA is trying to contradict itself. First it wants things smaller, now it wants an endowment. I'm sorry, but you can't be small and well endowed :)
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Monday, September 22, 2008

Three things I learned I hate

I'd like to share a few tweets from Saturday:
  • I HATE roots, and I don't mean the Kunta Kinte kind. 09:47 AM September 20, 2008
  • And clay. I HATE clay... Especially Red Georgia type.. And sometimes that homo Aiken ;-) 10:00 AM September 20, 2008
  • And bricks... I HATE bricks, too... don't ask me why I'm finding bricks buried in my back yard, but I am. 10:11 AM September 20, 2008
First, I'd like to point out how eerily evenly spaced the three posts are. I just noticed it. Not planned at all!

Basically, what went on was I decided to start digging a trench to bury the cable from my satellite dish to my house. First, I hit a number of roots... then I got tired of digging in my Red Georgia Clay (I'd like to think we have more pressing matters than where that link goes to, but I digress)... Then I hit a brick. I thought it was my imagination at first until I dug out a perfectly shaped brick... then another... and a third... I gave up after I dug out no less than EIGHT bricks. That's right, people -- there's a stockpile of bricks buried in my back yard. I'm' about 2/3 of the way from the satellite dish to the house and I gave up. And it's going to piss me off to finish this trench so I can a) get my back yard looking "closer" to normal and not have a partial moat and b) say I accomplished something that's needed to be done for a while.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Ok. We all know the unfortunate circumstances that caused Hurricane Ike to hit the Galveston area. In the hours leading up to the turmoil, people in the Atlanta area decided to totally freak out -- similar to the way they freak when the word "snow" comes into the forecast. Except instead of buying all the bread and milk off the shelves, they went and bought up as much gas as they could.

Basic price / demand from my Economics class came into play. That, and some gas stations decided to make a few extra bucks on the gas. One station was charging $5.25/gal at one point. They decided to back down to 4.51, but that price was about $1 more than it was the day prior.

Even with the insane gas prices, people still decided they wanted to hoard up as much as they could in the event the Gulf region of Texas decided to not exist anymore after Ike. As if the US's entire gasoline supply comes from Texas. This resulted in several area gas stations running out of gas. There's a BP down the street from where I live that hasn't had gas since Saturday. With it being Thursday, I REALLY feel for them.

My sister lives in MA. Their gas is at least fifty cents cheaper than here. Since they're further away from the carnage, they didn't decide to freak out and are still reveling in "almost decent sounding" gas prices.

Shortly after I moved here, I remember seeing gas at 72 cents a gallon. It cost me less than ten dollars to fill up my tank. It's now more than five times that price, and is REALLY hurting my wallet. I'm all for alternate forms of energy. My next vehicle will be a hybrid. But something has to be done to help alleviate out wallets.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

My Sister Cursed Me!

It's been quiet around here. The Company has kept me busy with their standard BS around processes. So much to the point that it's not even going to be put in the labels today!

Yesterday, Sis and I had HORRIBLE experiences with the most terrifying thing on the earth. In the morning, she sent me a picture message with the following, and BEGGING for someone to kill it.

Now, I'm TERRIFIED of those things as it is. I don't need to see pictures of them. (In other news, this blog entry will NEVER be viewed by me again). She eventually had someone kill it.

I came home and let Bradley out like I normally do. I went and dressed down and decided I'd go outside to play with him also. I happened to look in the middle of the doorway and immediately slammed the door shut. Of course, at this time Bradley decided he wanted in. Since nobody would believe how freaky this incident is, I had to take a picture of it.

I took the ant spray I had and proceeded to spray that deadly animal and it laughed at me. It slid down it's web and finally decided it would try to walk on the patio. That's when I decided to somehow get the balls to KILL IT! Yes! I killed it... by stepping on it... WITH A FLIP FLOP! Of course, NOW I realize that it could have decided to jump up and bite me before the crunch of death came down on it.

But in all, Princess Sparklepants was SO proud of me!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Here's To Yesterday

So, way back in 2001-2002 (and a couple days in 2003), I had another bit of a blog. It wasn't hosted by something like blogger -- it was hosted by me... in an application I created myself. In that time period, I did fifty-two entries. I started out strong, then had months in-between at times.

Of course, during this time period, I was working third shift at Waffle House. I didn't have time come up with witty repertoire. I was too busy making ends meet and trying to find a real job. It was officially removed when I worked with the company prior to The Company. My Canadian Manager there pissed me off because he basically told me it's not OK to spread that link to anyone at work because it says I'm gay and it's not good to be gay at that place of employment. I took it down, but saved all the entries in the event I decided to bring up a blog again.

I found the entries. Initially, I decided it would be cool to throw random "blasts from the past" entries in here if I didn't have time to post... until I started reading them. I needed SERIOUS help way back then. I had forgotten a lot of the things that happened during that time of my life. I had a lot of serious drama in my life that I don't need to be spreading any further. :)

It brought back some retrospect as to how much I've grown in the past *does math* six-plus years. It brought back some good times, some hard times, some sad times, and some fun times. In short, it's one of the many building blocks that makes up my life. I may post portions of the ones I find relevant -- but it would be a lot of work to remove names to protect the guilty.. I mean innocent.

Friday, September 12, 2008

When do I get my super-human powers installed?

So, while working for The Company, every year we're required to take an online course called "Corporate Responsibilities." Ok, it's several online courses called that with different suffix numbers like in college (101, 102, 104.. not sure where 103 went). Anyways, today I took that course.

During the course of the course, there's "mini checkpoints" to make sure you're understanding what's going on. One of them was to identify twenty things wrong with a picture in accordance to the "clear desk policy" The Company has in place. Below is the answer:

Let's start with the #12. A CD is left in the computer. How am I supposed to know that? I'm not Superman with X-Ray vision. Besides, I don't think X-Ray vision works in pictures. And, for that matter, what if it's Duran Duran's Greatest Hits? Is that a violation of the Clean Desk Policy?

Then we'll move up to #3 -- My eyes aren't as great as they used to be, but I can't exactly tell that's a bank statement. Much less a checkbook for #4.

#6 -- That doesn't look like a briefcase. More like a laptop bag. Person has a desktop though (with a CD in the computer). I wonder if there's a CD in the laptop in the laptop bag....

#8 -- I only see one cell phone...

#11 -- Yeah, applications are left open. But, we're supposed to LOCK the computer. That is the real problem with that one. And, is it me, or does it look like they have some sort of chat conversation open? Nice use of The Company's time, dufus. No wonder we had sites like GMail and Facebook and Evite blocked!

#13 -- That sticky note can say anything -- like "Remember to go to the bathroom so you don't wet yourself again."

#15 -- There's a hallway over there? I'm glad we can pan and zoom static images to find all these problems... and interact with the environment. And I can't really see much, but it kinda looks like the window is from a higher floor. Are we protecting our information from window washers? Or maybe Superman....

#16 -- I'll bypass the obvious hallway comment and go onto the window. The contents of the whiteboard are IMPOSSIBLE to see from the window... Unless you're Superman... and can control your X-Ray vision to go JUST far enough in the whiteboard to see the marker on the otherside... then read it backwards.

So, in short, The Company is protecting it's information from super villians! Not sure when I stepped into the world of DC Comics.

That being said, I love our policy on keys:

To protect our keys, we need to lock the keys in a key box or cabinet and take THAT key with us. But, really... shouldn't we be locking THAT key, too? TECHNICALLY that key is a key used to secure assets. Sounds like some sort of endless battle... unless.... COMBINATION LOCKS! (Let me guess... the combination has to be stored inside the case?)

And, apparently I'm supposed to look extremely surprised to know I have some sort of role to maintain a safe workplace. I love that picture.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Just like when James Woods took over Peter Griffin's life

Yesterday, I received the notice that several Countrywide customers received -- that a (now former) employee sold unauthorized personally identifiable information (PII), that could include SSN, Address, Account Information, and other really bad things.

The best part about it -- the IDIOT sold SSN's for approximately 2.5 cents each.

Working for The Company, I have to take regular online courses about things such as that deal with privacy matters. I realize that many companies have sensitive PII, and it scares me. In order to get a financial account, you need to provide your SSN. You also need to provide this to set up a number of your utilities. They perform a credit check to determine your worthiness and how much you pay in fees. The lower your credit score, the higher the fees.

Now, I'm going to take a quick digression on this -- If you have a low credit score, you're going to pay more. Let's think about this for a minute -- Who generally has lower credit scores? The people who don't make enough to pay their bills on time. So, we're going to penalize these people who are already barely making ends meet and charging them more -- providing an endless cycle of debt. God bless the American Way.

So, I've started to determine who has my information -- I've come up with the following:
  • Mortgage Company
  • Gas Company
  • Electric Company (and not in the "HEY YOU GUYS!!" kinda way)
  • My Bank(s)
  • My Credit Card holder(s)
  • Sallie Mae
  • My School(s)
  • US Government
  • Dr. Hottie's Office
  • My Dentist's Office
  • My Chiropractor
  • The Company (and other previous employers)
  • The DMV
  • The Credit Reporting Bureaus
Pretty much anyone I pay on any regular basis. And, I'm pretty sure it's greatly incomplete!

Seems like a larger number of organizations than I realized at first have information that can be used for identity theft. I can't believe it's apparently so easy to take over someone's identity.

So, today, I have the exciting task of contacting the three major credit reporting bureaus and placing Fraud Alerts on my files. I don't know the full impacts this is going to have, but I can imagine it's not going to be a great thing.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Push! Push!

I have a new nephew! His name is Max. I think this was the easiest birthing my sister has ever done... Mainly because he's not the direct fruit of her loins. See, she adopted him. Her family felt like there was this empty void. Instead of trying to fill it with cookies and cakes, they adopted a healthy boy. Below is a picture of him.

In other news, I was starting to get ready for the Atlanta Humane Society's Pictures with Santa. I was extremely disheartened when I read in the AHS newsletter that this year they're taking a break from Pictures with Santa. Now I need to find another way to get our Christmas photos taken. If anyone has any ideas, please let me know!

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm not bad, I was just drawn that way

So, I'm the current head of a "let's do fun things" group at The Company. It's fun, albeit a lot of work trying to get things organized.

Now, for a tangent. I've decided to use "The Company" as the pseudonym of where I work just to keep it a little anonymous. Plus, I'm a huge Prison Break fan, so it fits well.

That being said, we're allotted 40 hours of Volunteer Time Off at work. Yes, people, we're allowed to do a FULL work week of things we enjoy that we wouldn't normally get paid for, and still get paid for it by The Company. A win-win situation, methinks!

In order to rally the troops, we send out fun emails in order to encourage participation. Now, you wouldn't expect a fun organization to send out boring emails, would you? So, I didn't. I made it as fun as possible, with a few probing terms to help encourage participation. I guess my problem was when I added the line "Now, I'm not saying that you'll be in trouble if you don't volunteer, but there's always the chance that your performance review could be impacted by the fact you didn't do any volunteer activities!"

Truth be said, volunteer activities are HIGHLY encouraged at The Company. In fact, upper management likes to see it because it impacts them when it comes to metrics. If you help make them look favorable, they'll look more favorable on you. You scratch their back, they'll scratch yours. It's how Corporate America works.

Apparently somebody had a snizzy with it. Which reminds me of the Family Guy line, "Gentlemen, we got 20 calls about the David Hyde-Pierce incident. And as you know, one call equals a billion people, which means 20 billion people were offended by this. Needless to say, something must be done."

Of course, I think the snizzy was made under the assumption that our Super Admin Princess Sparklepants wrote the email encouraging participation. There's been this Hatfield and McCoy feud going on between Princess Sparklepants and another member of The Company. Except, it's been more one-sided... kinda like itch you have after getting crabs without "earning them."

I was notified of this "offense" and took offense that there was an offense. Especially since I know there was at least ONE other email that went out in the past that inferred this exact same notion. Not to mention the complaint email was CC'd to management without trying to resolve the perceived issue with Princess Sparklepants first, like any grown up would do.

This childish behavior is beyond me. What's next? I can't keep my Happy Meal toys out because the apparent children I work with will want them for their own?

That being said, what's done is done. The volunteer event should be a success. We already have about 10 people who have verbally committed to going. That's more than 10% of our group at The Company, so I would definitely say that's a success! Offense or not!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

When it’s ok to chant "JUMP... JUMP... JUMP..."

For those of you who know me well, you know my first amusement park ride was The Slingshot (This ride for an example) at Riverside Amusement Park (now Six Flags New England) when I was about thirteen. My grandmother, to this day, still laughs about that experience. From the outside, it looks tame and harmless... But from the inside, it was extremely terrifying for me.

Then there's the group of people who witnessed my first roller coaster ride -- Riverside's Black Widow Loop coaster (Wow, a pic!) my sophomore year of college. The anticipation of getting on the ride, I thought, was bad enough. I was wrong. Going forward through the loop wasn't all that bad. I had my eyes closed the entire time. Then we got shot backwards through it all (yes, I knew it was going to happen), and one moment I saw the girl's head in front of me, the next I saw sky, and I freaked OUT! I was demanding to be let out of the car, I ran down the exit ramp, and almost kissed the ground. Yes, I am a wuss!

I worked my way onto coasters... I prefer the coasters where you're hanging as opposed to sitting in a car. It's more of the way I'm built... I'm a bit long-legged to be confined into those tiny cars designed for midgets and other short people. Plus, these modern steel coasters have a much smoother ride, so I don't need a series of chiropractic adjustments afterwards. It's the thrill of being strapped to something and going from 0 to 80 in 3.2 seconds!

Now, before you think I'm off my rocker, I still haven't been on many roller coasters. I could probably count the total coaster rides I've had on my two hands (and maybe have fingers to spare). I'm not generally considered a "thrill seeker."

About four years ago, my boss went skydiving and he was talking about it as if it was the greatest thing in the world and everyone should have on their Bucket List. I never had it on my "Man, I gotta do this" list, but at the same time I never had it on my "No way in hell am I going to do this" list. So, I was begging him for the information and everything, but he never got it for me until basically my last day with them.

On 7/1 I got a text message from my chiropractor saying she needs a headcount for skydiving 7/6. Since I had a mild desire for it, I was all about "SIGN ME UP!"

I got up at 7:16 the morning of the dive. Get myself ready, and wait to be picked up. There was a bit of a problem with my ride not having her cell phone with her due to a bachelorette party she was at the night before. After we all got together, we headed down to the skydiving place. We're driving down I-75 and wondering where the flip we are (other than "somewhere between Atlanta and Macon"). We exit off at exit 201 (BFE), and head west for another like twenty-five miles (seemed like even further). After we passed through a town called "The Rock", we finally get to this REALLY TINY airport like place.

We get into SKYDIVE ATLANTA's hanger and LITERALLY sign our lives away on three separate release forms. This was when I found out I couldn't get a video because there was only one camera person for the jumps. Live and learn. Of course, I start reading through these release forms to realize what I'm signing away (not that my estate would have realized I did this, but I digress). I first found it offensive to Atheists and Buddhists (and other religions that don't believe in the one God) because they didn't cover "Acts of God". I didn't really say anything about that wording because we ARE in the Bible Belt. But, when I was signing the waiver that said my estate wouldn't sue the State of Florida, I piped up.

"Excuse me, why am I signing a waiver to not sue Florida? Last I checked we were still in Georgia." Everyone turns and looks at me with this "HUH?" look. I return with "What, am I the only one reading what I'm signing away?" The resounding return assured me I was the only one who read it. Finally the instructor explained it was the equipment release and the manufacturer is in Florida, and Florida has some of those weird laws.

I finish signing my life away and training begins. Joey was our trainer. He first asks if everyone can get on their knees. Thankfully I wasn't the one who came out with the jokes that came out of that one. He explained when we're on the plane, before we jump we'll be in that position with our tandem guy attached to our back. Then he asked if everyone could get in a squat position. We managed. we were then explained that was the position we needed to be in when we jumped. Then the important instructions came. With our toes out of the door, we would rock forward on one, rock backwards on two, then roll forward on three, and then get into the "Arch position". We then practiced the "Arch position". The easiest way to describe this was you're standing, doing a HUGE yawn stretch, but instead of your hands being extended up, they're in a "praise Jesus" position. We practiced.

Then we were told the ONLY signals we would be getting during our freefall. If our left leg was tapped, it meant get in the Arch position. If our right leg was tapped, it meant get in the Arch position. You can't hear anything during freefall.

Any questions? There weren't any (I didn't even have any stupid questions to ask, oddly enough). We were released to do whatever we wanted in the area, we just had to be immediately around when it was our turn to get suited up and jump. The group was divvied up into four groups of three jumpers each. I find out I'm in the fourth group jumping with someone named "Granim." Lovely. First I have to wait who knows how long to get into this plane and THEN I have someone who sounds like a child's nickname for their grandmother.

The first group of people get suited up and board the plane. We watch in anticipation as we watch the plane take off and disappear into a cloud in the distance. Then we wonder where we're jumping from and one of the diehards says, "The plane will circle around, and they'll jump from overhead."

"COOL!", was everyone's reaction. "We'll get to see them jump!"

We hear the plane approaching and we watch as this TEENY-TINY looking plane travels overhead. Then we see the TINIEST black speck be left behind from the plane. The first reaction I had was "That almost looks like when my molly had babies... except smaller!" We watched as these TINY specks got a little less tiny... then a little less tiny... then a little less tiny... and about a minute later, we saw little tiny parachutes that slowly got bigger and bigger. The diehard dude said that it looked like someone had to be convinced to jump because the plane had to do a second circle. Lo and behold, another tiny dot appeared.

This was where we learned that some diehard jumpers were on the plane with our Tandem peeps. The first person to land came in QUITE fast and hard. Frightened a few people (and we later learned, that was the dude that was tandeming strapped to my back... YAY). We saw the other people landing and it looked kinda fun!

There was about a twenty minute delay after the plane got back before the next group went up. Watched the plane vanish... and appear above, watched dots grow and finally deploy chutes and land.

After everyone came down, we headed back into the hangar to do absolutely nothing and Serene asks, "Are you getting nervous?"

Now, before you continue, think back and imagine what my reaction would be. Yep, that's probably what everyone else would have envisioned.

My response was "Oddly enough, no... and I have no idea why."

I really couldn't figure out why I wasn't nervous. I guess it's because skydiving is better than Six Sigma Quality. Maybe it's because I didn't have any food or anything in my system so I stopped caring. Who knows, but I appeared fine.

When the third plane is up in the air, I start talking around planning my next dive. Apparently I was already addicted before I even jumped the first time. I was accused of being addicted already. I informed them that I come from a family of addicts... and there could be worse things to be addicted to.

Everyone returns from the third trip. Still... no nervousness.

The instructors decide it's time for them to eat lunch. Not sure how I felt about that one... eating then jumping.. but I realized that if they barf, it's going to pretty much go up at terminal velocity (that idea of "If you're driving at the speed of light and turn on your headlights, what would happen?") Then I realized "All these other groups had about fifteen minutes of last minute training and instruction... WHAT AM I GOING TO GET?"

Five minutes before the plane takes off and FINALLY we're given instruction to suit up. FIVE MINUTES FOR CRIPES SAKE! So, I put on a jump suit... which is uncomfortable. Then they put me in a harness... which is uncomfortable. Then he tightens my harness... which is uncomfortable. Then I start sweating in places I shouldn't... WHICH IS UNCOMFORTABLE!

Now, let me digress for a moment. I am all for making sure I'm strapped in well. I'm the first to try to tighten my restraints when I'm on a coaster. But this was ridiculous! My extremities felt like they wanted to go numb... I felt like the harness was trying to turn me into the Hunchback of Notre Dame as tight as things got. I suppose the only comfort I got was knowing I wasn't going to move unless I was meant to move.

So, we go over the training again. Do a little practice of kneeling, squatting, and the "forward-backwards-roll" technique and finally Arch Position. He reminds me the tapping means Arch. It's time to board, so we head out.

Now's where the fun begins (yes, I know this is the part you've been waiting for).

We get in line to board this plane. It's a dual-propeller. And TINY. We were told we'd be seatbelted in. I get in the plane... and there's no seats. Of course, I have to make a comment that you can't be seatbelted without a seat. I'm told to take a seat on the floor in front of my instructor, and I do. A few others board and we close the door. The pilot taxis to the runway, with none of the usual commercial pauses, and we take off flying!

About 1500 feet in the air, they open the door. Of course, I start freaking out. I don't like flying, and I'm sure that flying with a door open is one of those "In case of emergency" situations. Then I realize what's going on.. it was friggin' hot in the plane and they opened the door to cool it off. At about 3500 feet, they close it and we prepare to get in position.

I'm released from the "floorbelt" and get into kneeling position. I then realize the walls are purple velor. How fur-bus like. My instructor attaches himself to me, and things start to set in. We go over the exit plan one final time and I breathe. The door opens again. I don't freak as much this time. We make it to our cruising altitude of 14000 feet and the plane levels off, producing what felt like 4 seconds (even though it was probably 2) of weightlessness. I FREAKED! I reached out and grabbed both walls of the plane (yes, it was THAT SMALL that I could grab both walls at one time). My instructor said "Don't worry, I won't tell anyone about this." I replied smugly, "No need. I have no problem telling everyone I'm a wuss."

The diehards on the plane jump first. I don't really remember much of seeing them exit. But I'm the first of the tandems to leave. Joy, I have NO idea what to expect.

I waddle over to the door with instructor dude attached to me. My toes are hanging over the edge. I remember "1" and I rocked forward. I remember "2" and I rocked backwards. I don't remember "3", but the next thing I DO remember is seeing the plane as I'm in one of my somersaults out of the plane. "ARCH POSITION! ARCH POSITION!" is the only thing going through my head, so I do my best to get into it and we level out, and I see something that looks like this: WAY up high

Now, nobody can really hear anything with all this wind in your face. If I had the ability to yell or scream, it would do no good. But, you physically cannot scream while falling like that. And my instructor decides he wants to do some tricks. I want to yell, "Excuse me, but I can do without these tricks and stunts" but I know it'd do no good with all the wind noise. So I decide it's in my best interest to attempt to enjoy all this chaos. My mouth is opening wide from the wind. Totally dried out. But I'm having a blast!

About 45-60 seconds of freefall, instructor dude opens the parachute. It wasn't a full jerk-motion like I expected with an inverse-wedgie. Instead, it felt more like putting on the brakes while exiting the interstate. I look at my altimeter and realize we dropped 9000 feet in that less than a minute. I'm not going to sit and do the math to determine my Terminal Velocity, but that's DAMN FAST! But, it's now totally quiet and peaceful. Very amazing. We practiced flaring a few times, which is the equivalent of "parachute brakes."

Finally, I'm allowed to steer some. Didn't really know what I was doing. Pretty much following directions. I couldn't tell how high I was. But I was taking in the view. At about 2500 feet or so, the strangest thing occurred. The temperature felt like it went from about 60 to 80 in about ten seconds. I'm enjoying everything I can, though!

Instructor dude tells me, "Now, don't anticipate the flare for the landing. You'll do it too soon and screw it up." He's the professional, so I'm listening to him. With nothing to put things in perspective, I couldn't tell how high I was. So I basically was listening for the cue to flare. Finally, he yelled to flare and I pulled as best as I could and we had a nice soft slide-landing. The first words out of my mouth were "I just jumped out of an airplane." in amazement.

Things didn't really set in at first. I suppose that happens when you're exhausted from the events. When I got home Sunday, I relived the story several times. When I went to bed, every time I relaxed to the point of falling asleep, I was reliving the moment of exiting the plane. It was friggin awesome!

If I had to pick ONE word to decide my experience, I would say "EXHILARATING!" The sensations are truly indescribable, but are very amazing. I may be sore in places I didn't realize you could be sore in, but I REALLY want to go dive again!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So, I now have a new blog

Now, let's see how long it is before I totally drop this one out.

I'll be writing random thoughts -- not sure when they'll occur -- or if anyone will read them. We'll see though. You might get things about work, home, Bradley, family, friends, etc.

The names will be changed to protect the guilty.