Sunday, November 7, 2010

Inertia, Dreams And Sweater Washing


Apparently I didn't make the cut. I still have a job.

Sweet package deal too - I'd be able to survive for the better part of a year before having to secure new employment.

Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t talk like that in this economy. I'm just really, really fed up, and looking for another position outside the company would probably be a great idea, but I'm not quite ready to give up my length of service. I've got a few leads, so I'm waiting around to see what develops.

If I'd been given the boot, I had it all planned out:

First, I'd do nothing for the first two weeks. Not out of depression, but because I haven't actually done nothing for that length of time.

Complete inertia. I might not even leave bed. Just me, Dorito crumbs, every book I've been trying to finish, and Quincy re-runs.

FYI - Quincy is awesome. For anyone born after 1985, he's was the original CSI. Take note, and go rent it.

After two weeks of marinating, I'd scrape the funk off myself, and work on all the chores I've been neglecting around the house.

For instance, I'd finish the laundry.

I have sweaters that spent the better part of a decade in my hamper. Mostly due to the incredible difficulty involved in cleaning them. There's the Chilean wool monstrosity that requires hand washing in a bathtub, in order to take in it's entire bulk; the angora that pilled up with bunny-sized balls the first time I wore it; and the red Benetton that required washing in fairy dust and unicorn spit because the color ran so easily.

All washed and Downy fresh. It would be like going shopping! In the 1990's!

Then I'd clean the garage, the basement, and maybe repaint the bathrooms. Such mundane things, but right now it sounds simply exhilarating.

It would also mean that for the first time in 10 years, I'd really be able to enjoy the holidays with my family. Thanksgiving and Christmas with no stress - just cookie baking. Lots and lots of cookie baking.

Come January 1st, after all those cookies, I'd work on getting back to the gym. Maybe take up yoga.

I'd finally get to read all those technical manuals and get up to speed on my skills, before searching for a job.

Yeah, I know. You're thinking I'd never do that.

You're thinking I'd never leave the bed after those first two weeks, then you'd be reading about me being craned out of the house thru a window, because I'd become Jabba the Hutt.

Funny, but I don't think so. I've reached that age where if I won the lottery, I'd go back to school and study all the things I was interested in, but never had the time or money to do.

Study Japanese? Sure!

Obscure field of archeology? You bet.

Ancient literature? Definitely.


I can dream, can't I?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010


Got to work around 9am, had meeting, left at 1pm.

Then, a much needed three hour nap.

As a side note: I've noticed that most of the people I work with behave like big babies. Temper tantrums all around. I also noticed the only thing that makes management take notice is no-nonsense straight talk, sprinkled with well placed expletives.

In recent years, when I get handed some real crap, and the frustration overwhelms me - I don't want to cry or scream. I just get really, really angry.

Two points for not being a pushover, but minus a squillion for potentially getting myself into trouble.

3 am

Yeah, it's 3:00am and I'm writing a blog post.

Why, you might ask? Because I'm working, of course! ...but I'll get to that in a moment.

Got up this morning at 5:00am – nearly 24 hours ago, got the teen off to school, then headed to NJ for eight hours of slamming my head against a brick wall.

No project requirements? No design documents? Got a project that was mishandled from the beginning, and need someone to make it look like it works?

That's me. It's what I do.

Currently, my boss is upset that the most recent turd rolled onto my desk isn't ready for install.

It also helpful when he pokes his head into my cube every five minutes to ask: "Is it done yet?".

"Is it done yet?"

"Is it done yet?"

"Is it done yet?"

Is there an echo in here?

We're re-writing an entire business process as a "bug fix" instead of a fully funded project, so there's no actual instructions or direction on to how this needs to work. So it will be fudged together into something closely resembling what the business needs, in an insanely short time frame.

Left NJ at 5:00pm, no traffic issues, thank God. Made dinner, cleaned up, laundry, checked email, spent some quality time with teen and hubby, then caught an hour of sleep between 11:00pm and midnight.

Got up again at midnight to run off-hour testing. We all have to take turns doing this, since there's no night shift team.

So I'll be awake for the remainder of tonight, periodically running tests when needed. Hopefully this will wrap up by 7:00am, because that's when I'll need to leave again to drive to NJ for a "mandatory" meeting.

WoooHooo! Livin' on the edge!

One hour of sleep in 24......I can feel the buzzzzzz. Zzzzzzz.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Big Bad Wolf

I had to work last weekend.

Fifty other dorks and me, babysitting a software release.

They don't let us cover it from home, like a normal 21st century company. Nobody really trusts that new-fangled whooziwotzit called VPN anyway, right?

Either that, or they just don't trust their employees to actually log in and work.

Now that I think about it, that's exactly the reason.

As a silent protest, it's practically an unwritten rule that everyone dresses as grungy and disgusting as possible.

So I crawled into the office around 6am, and Boss was waiting.

"You look like you just rolled out of bed!"

I was sporting my battered Bad Wolf Corporation sweatshirt - hood cut off, and sweatpants. It may also have had mustard stains. At least I think it was mustard.

"Yeah, well...I did. I figure if I have to work over the weekend, you get my makeupless, greasy-haired, unbathed self." I have no shame.

"That's not very professional...."

"Hey, at least I combed my hair. Pradeep's still got his Star Wars jammies on. Seriously, go check it out. I think he's even wearing bunny slippers."

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Got Lemur?

lemur Pictures, Images and Photos

It pissed down rain today. Black skies, no daylight til at least 8:00am. Took three cups of coffee just to get out of the house.

No accidents on the way to New Jersey. The first time in a month without a jam up. I'll take it where I can get it.

Key card. Parkade. Elevator. Home Sweet Cubicle.

Boot pc. Hit the ladies.

Aaaaargh....the bathroom smells like crotch rot.

Not that I have any experience with that – it's what I expect it to smell like: BO and barnyard - with a hint of rotting flesh. Usually it's just pooey, but this was definitely not last night's chicken vindaloo.

Spent an HOUR on the phone with our business people, deciding how to make a screen more user friendly. Bear in mind that our users are also our employees, so they're supposed to be trained, reasonable people with more than just space between their ears.

The offending item causing all the fuss? The “save” button. It was confusing people.

My suggestion was that, at some point, you have to let people make mistakes and they should be held accountable for them. Why are we treating them like idiots?

Or we can make the system completely self sufficient. We wont need humans then.

Maybe we'll just hire lemurs. Evil lemurs.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

In Summer-y

So yeah. Just a bit of blog neglect there.

I guess I slid into a funk. For a while there, I didn't even log in to my home laptop when I came home from work. Too tired, too bored, too depressed. Just didn't feel like it.

One problem though - I need the diversion. Poking around on the internet is better than flopping on the sofa for an evening of House re-runs.

So let's see.....what's been going on?

We had one of the hottest summers on record. More days over 90 than since... FOREVER. Well, maybe. I don't know - but it was a total stinkfest.

Don’t get me wrong, heat is lovely. In Hawaii.

Here in Pennsylvania, the air becomes a sponge. A thick, sweaty, smelly, damp sponge. And it never ends. Just this past week, we had two more days in the nineties. Last Thursday it hit 93 degrees. I'm sorry, but that's just stupid hot for late September.

Anyway, school started. Yay!

To recap, we decided the local, public school was woefully unqualified to impart a reasonable education. The teaching staff was filled with an inordinate number of inexperienced teachers (owing to the population growth in the area), and way too many liberal educators. No dissenting opinions – even politely presented - would be heard. And yes, they had no qualms penalizing any student who didn't think the same.

The school refuses to separate children that want to learn, from the ones that don't give a shit. So they have classrooms they can't control, and end up teaching to the lowest common denominator.

Instead of book reports, they had collages of crayons and glue, representing the theme of a story. Almost all the required reading for the “advanced” Lit class involved only stories of victims – they're the real heroes! No classic literature whatsoever.

What's worse is, every other day I'd see something in the news about gang violence, or kids getting knifed because someone didn't like the way they looked.

So The Teen is going to a different school. This was preceded by several months of hemming and hawing about what a mistake this was, that the uniforms suck, and what if her old friends forget her, and she doesn’t make new ones? What if there's no cute, swooshie-haired boys? What if the girls are bitchy?

So far, the hope of a more serious education looks promising: they had a required summer reading list. Fahrenheit 451, Animal Farm, To Kill A MockingBird and Pride and Prejudice to start. All must be read by the time school began, and there will be tests. Hooo-boy!

Sure, I would've hated that when I was her age - but hey, as an adult I can see the benefits of having been forced to read the classics. Some kids grow up and “get it”. Others blow it off and never pick up anything other than teen angst novels.

And they're reading Orwell. ORWELL. How awesome is that?

Thankfully, now that we're a month into the new school, my daughter's adjusting, friends have been made, and things are finally settling in nicely. Unfortunately, I am told there are no swooshie-haired, Justin Bieber wanna-bees. Sadness.

In other news, work continues to suck loudly and powerfully. I was moved to a failed project that somebody, somewhere up the food chain is attempting to resurrect. It's horrible, and nothing works right. The IT department decided this doesn’t matter, they intend to cram it in anyway.

It's my job to help fix it, with no documentation or resources. Departmental politics prevent me from actually interacting with the other members of my team, because they're technically still tied to other projects. It's a bit of a spy game communicating with one another on bug fixes.

Which leads me to another thing about fixing other people's crap. I'm burnt out on it. I'm not talking about fixing little oddball scenarios where the user right-clicked a field, on a Wednesday, during a full moon, and the web page failed. I'm speaking of the large, gaping holes where someone overlooked an entire business process. I'm tired of trolling through thousands and thousands of lines of code, Scotch-taped together by at least 200 other people, trying to find the mystery exception. Or, in this case, finding whole sections that were apparently not finished – made obvious by all the “add such-n-such here” notations.

I used to think I wanted to just do development work, creating applications from the ground up. Too boring, and a huge personal sacrifice. Our developers put in an average of 60-80 hours a week. Maybe ten years ago I would've had the patience, interest, and extra time, but now I just want to do the best job I can, go home, and take care of my family.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010


"......cuz people out there turn the music into gold...."

This song brings back memories. It's not a great song, just a piece of fluff from the 70's.

And it totally cracks me up.

Some background: The song is by some dude named John Stewart. No, not from the Daily Show. This guy was from the Kingston Trio, and all I know about them is they're probably a band my parents listened to.

Anyhoo, Lindsay Buckingham and Stevie Nicks appeared on the track. Lindsay's guitar work is obviously apparent – and probably a large part of why I like this song - and Stevie Nicks lends her voice. It's not credited as a duet, but it might as well be – you can't miss her vocals.

However, every time I hear this song I get the vague feeling Miss Stevie is singing a completely different song than Stewart.

It's like she's singing along to something in her head, and it doesn't quite match up. Quite possible – it was during her drug addled years.

Still, it works.

I went YouTube-ing hoping to find a live version of them performing this song, but instead found Mr. Stewart's 1979 appearance on Solid Gold.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Hello....McFly ????

Since it was Thursday, I went grocery shopping. This is a weekly trial that's always more difficult than it seems. Mainly because people turn into complete morons there. Maybe it's something they pump into the air conditioning system. Or maybe not.

Aside from the usual aisle-hogs and human speed bumps, there was only one real incident. Allow me to share.

I got lucky and nabbed an empty checkout line. No sooner did I have four items on the conveyor, a woman appears in line behind me, slams down the plasticky divider thingy and begins emptying her cart, using the entire swath of conveyor - including the area I was using.

So, the conveyor keeps rolling. Little Miz Impatient's groceries float past me, all the way down to the checkout clerk, effectively leaving me with a cartful of groceries and nowhere to put them. At this point, I might as well just hand them one by one to the clerk.

I shove the plastic thingy along with some of her crap back up towards her, and she barely takes notice. She's all blurry arms flying, tossing everything from her cart en masse onto the conveyor. Thankfully, the clerk realizes what happened and stops it from rolling.

My initial reaction was that maybe she wasn't paying attention.

“Excuse me, ma'am.....could you wait til I've finished?” I said.

She just stares at me, then goes back to putting her stuff on the conveyor.

Hello.... McFly !! Bonk bonk....

So I try again. “Ma'am, I still have a cart full of groceries, could you wait til I've finished, please?!?

No response.

She's looking at me with irritation. I'm motioning to the conveyor and my cart. I swear something behind her eyes stirred with recognition for a split second.

Then she said, “No habla Ingles”.

Really?, really??

Personally, I don't care what language she said it in, or where she comes from. She could come from Germany, Japan, Iceland - or the moon. I don't care. I'm more than sure she's been in a grocery store before.

Maybe I'm just crabby again, but I'm pretty sure not speaking English is not actually an excuse for being a jerk.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Northeast Pennsylvania has an odd dialect.

Many of us spend the rest of our lives trying to get rid of it.

It's hard to describe.... but I think some of it originates from the Irish coal mining settlers. I hear it mainly in the way locals say "tink" instead of "think", or "tree" instead of "three". But I'm just guessing.

The best one is "heyna" or "henna". Basically, it means "isn't it" or worse, a bastardization of "ain't it".

I don't know why I didn't post this before. A friend sent it to me ages ago - as a joke about where we grew up. The funny thing is, I realized I knew a few of the people from this comedy troupe.

It's quite funny - particularly so if you grew up here.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Brought To You By The Letter Q

A few months ago, I cut several inches off my hair.

Many, many inches.

It was time. I figured if I hated it, it'll grow back. This was inconceivable just a few years ago. I spent most of my life with long hair, and suffered under the delusion that if I cut it, it might never grow again. Or I might die from lack of follicle. Crazy shit like that.


Six inches less later....and I loved it. It felt liberating. So at the next appointment, I had a few more inches knocked off.

I shouldn't have tempted fate.

My hairstylist/hairdresser/hairartist - whatever they're called these days, is great. Really. This is the only salon I've stayed with for more than two years, and I've been completely happy the entire time.

Until now.

I decided to go with one of those neat angled bobs - short in the back, long in the front. The Anti-Mullet.

She cut, dried and straightened my hair. It looked great. Then she used the thinning shears. Who knows why - I thought it looked fine. Afterwards it just looked...wrong.

Stupidly, I figured I needed to style it myself, and it would be fine. Don't we ladies always do that? We convince ourselves it'll be fine once we “fix it” at home.

The full impact didn't hit til I tried to do my hair the next day. Somehow, the angle was lost, and it looked like a standard, straight bob, except for two looooong chunks on either side of my face. They swooped out from my head like tentacles.

From the side, I looked like the letter Q.

I went back in for an emergency appointment, with the excuse I was apparently too hair-challenged to style it like that everyday, and asked if she could just even it up. Which, of course, the only way to fix that is to remove more hair.

So yeah. It's short. It's also pretty. I'm mature enough to handle the new look and still feel damn good about myself.

Still, I think the experiment is over.

It'll grow back.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Got The Fever

I saw this on may way to the grocery store:

Because really, what could be better on Father's Day?

Of course, it had to be a joke. With a little googling, I found it was supposed to be a concert: The Twitty Fever Band.

Someone removed the “W”, consistently, as both sides were done.


Tuesday, June 8, 2010


Blogger is really starting to annoy me. Recently, I find I can't load the site at all or login, yet any other site loads fine. A tracert shows it leaving my network, my ISP, and going out for about 15 hops then dropping into a black hole. Nuthin. Just dead ol' time outs. Then it'll come back a few hours later.

Yesterday, I couldn't even connect thru my phone. I kept getting site overload messages - but that could just be my service.

I hate computers. Heh.

Sunday, June 6, 2010


I'm a bit late to the party on this, but I only just discovered the TV show Supernatural.

It's been running on the CW for years, then TNT picked it up in re-runs. Since they ran it every day, I blew through the first four seasons in about two months. Now I've been waiting for CW to re-run season five from the beginning.

Supernatural reminds me of Buffy The Vampire Slayer, but with two brothers, Sam and Dean, traveling around the country hunting demons, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, shape-shifters, ghouls – you name it. Then there's a whole subplot about how Dean made a bargain with a demon to save his brothers life, and spent forty years (hell-time) in hell. Then he gets pulled out by angel Castiel, only to find out there's a “greater purpose” for the brothers (isn't it always like that though?). In this case, it's to prevent the end of the world. Of course.

The end of last season Sam was tricked into releasing Satan from hell and - you guessed it – brought about the apocalypse. So now they're working with a rogue angel to find out how to stop it, and in the meantime, try to find out where God went - because it would seem he's missing.

The first season wasn't so hot, and the stories a little flimsy, but once the show got going, the writing improved dramatically. And it's quite funny. If you've watched Buffy, it's similar to that. It's all scary stuff, with clever one liners mixed in:

Dean: Where's Cas?
Chuck the Prophet: He's dead... Or gone... The archangel smote the crap out of him, I'm sorry.
Dean: Are you sure? I mean, maybe he just vanished into the light or something.
Chuck the Prophet: Oh, no. He like exploded... Like a water balloon of chunky soup.

The summation at the beginning of every episode is quite cool. It's called “The Road So Far”, a collection of previous clips detailing what's happened in the previous episodes, scored to excellent classic rock music.

This is the opening for season five, which is so neat, to AC/DC's Thunderstruck. I tried to embed the whole video, but the party-poopers are insisting it be viewed thru YouTube. (I can alter the code so it'll play here, but I don't need any copyright grief.) Anyways, you'll get a message, but then click again and it'll take you to the folks at YouTube and it'll run there. It's worth it.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Red Admirals!

There were about fifty of these little guys on a flowering shrub in the garden. Friendly things, I had a few land on me.

They don't stay still for long, so it was difficult getting photos.

Click to enlarge:

Friday, May 14, 2010

And I Was Having Such A Nice Day...

I get to work, check my cell phone. Seven missed calls. One voice mail.

And what did the voice mail have to tell me? NOTHING. Whoever left it was tenacious enough to call SEVEN TIMES, but not considerate enough to actually leave a message.

Then I realize the number looks a bit familiar. Could be the school....after all, they're probably the only ones who'd call me during my morning commute. So I call it. Yep, it's the school.

Being a neurotic mom, all kinds of things are running through my head: bus accident, schoolyard fight, shooting, knifing.......then I wonder, if something really awful happened, wouldn't the school just leave a message, telling me to call asap? Maybe they called her father when they couldn't get me, and he hasn't gotten in touch with me yet? Maybe they didn't want to leave a message that would scare me. Okay that's just silly, NOT leaving a message scares me more.

I have to fight with the school's IVR system, which keeps telling me to dial zero for the office, except it won't accept zero - or any other number - then it disconnects me. I call back, slamming on the ZERO key, until a human being finally picks up the phone. I tell her "I have SEVEN missed calls, and NO voice mail from this number, so can you please tell me what's going on????".

Apparently the office lady noticed the freak out in my voice, and managed to say, "everything is okay...don't worry!".

Whew... no missing limbs, no knife fights or bus problems....yay. Turns out, my daughter wore a pair of khaki shorts that were too short. An inch above the knee too short, not "hiked-up-the-butt" short. So a teacher sent her to the office, and she tried calling me, repeatedly, to see if I can bring her another pair.

Now, bear a few things in mind:

1) I've been having the clothing talk with her for years now, ever since the school went with a uniform dress policy. Her clothes are too tight, too short, and yeah, I know, my parents had the same problem with me when I was a teen. So sue me. We didn't have a school uniform, and the only dress policy was: a) No shorts. Ever. Long pants only - even if it's 95 degrees in June and the school has no air conditioning. Whatever doesn't kill ya makes ya stronger. Also, b) no tube tops or tank tops for obvious boob-spillage reasons.

2) In addition to number one above, it's not like I let her leave the house wearing whatever she wants. I've sent her back upstairs to get changed plenty of times. However, she's been warned that if something gets by me and she gets caught by the school, she's got to take the conduct card, detention, etc. Yeah, I'm a big meanie.

3) I've reminded my daughter, repeatedly, about leaving me voice mail messages. If she's going to call like a stalker, at least give me the courtesy of leaving a message.

The office lady was very kind and understanding. She also sounded exactly like Grace, The Office Lady from Ferris Bueller. They gave her the choice of detention, or using the school's "spare" pair of capris. Apparently they keep extra clothing stashed around for these exact reasons. She opted for the capris, but whined they were too big.

Afterwards, I told my daughter I didn't care if they gave her a Snuggie – she should smile graciously and say “thank you”.

And yes, I'm giving thanks it was just some silly shorts, and not something worse.


It was misty, green and lush this morning. It rained all night, not heavily, but steady. Out here in the country, it leaves everything looking electric green, as if the woods took it's vitamins.

I'm long past my years of worrying about my hair and frizz, and tend to enjoy a day like this, even if the sun isn't shining.

There were four birds in the garden looking for worms. I would've loved to get photos, but I was on my way to the school bus stop, so no camera. Three fat robins and a cardinal that looked SO RED against the intense green backdrop.

I've seen this cardinal in the garden a lot recently. We don't usually have them, so I'm hoping it might build a nest. Often, we have a robin's nest in the hedge and baby bunnies in the snow-in-summer.

I stopped at the grocery store on the way home last night, to pick up milk and few other things, and made the mistake of passing the Tastykake section. We've been so good lately, eating healthy, I broke down and bought a package of the mini chocolate donuts.

I remembered we used to get these as a “treat”, once in a while when I was a kid. My sisters and I would try to be the first to get into the box, and then fight over the ones with the chocolate covered the donut hole - because that meant more chocolate!

Which reminds me, it's time for breakfast. Fiber filled oat/wheat/flaxseed crunch, or a donut?


Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Since I have soooooo much spare time during my commute to (and from) work..... you know, with all the stopping, starting, and stopping again......I've noticed a few strange things.

On the left side of the highway, in the median, there are sticks. Metal sticks. Covered in what appears to be poop.


Not Poohsticks.....that would be cute, and warm, and fuzzy. I-78 is not remotely cute or warm, and definitely not fuzzy.

But it's not really poop. Well, probably not. Maybe. Anyway, that would be really weird, even for Jersey.

However, I've been trying to determine the origin of these sticks, and why they are covered in a substance resembling poop.

Upon further examination, during a particularly nasty traffic jam, I realized these might be metal markers that originally had reflectors on them. A long time ago. Like, maybe in the dark ages. Or 1970.

Now they're all snapped in half, probably due to all the stupid driving going on. Add to that, all the road debris flying around, ready to impale itself on a sharp metal stick: the oil, gasoline, random car parts, body parts, plastic, garbage, blood, and quite possibly, poop.

There you have it.....poopsticks.

As you can see, I've managed to lose what's left of my mind. Four hours of NJ traffic, daily, will do that to you.

Here's a few more fun facts I've learned during my six months of hell:

- It rains rocks. For no apparent reason. Rocks. NOT kicked up from a truck, but falling from the heavens. Like manna. Or bird crap.

- Speaking of rain, it brings out the mentally deficient. Forget snow. Rain turns the PA/NJ commuter into a Tokyo Drifter.

- Under no circumstances should you listen to Motley Crue's Kickstart My Heart while driving. Before you know it, you're buzzing along at 95 mph, inviting a traffic stop and a body cavity search.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Fiber, Fiber And More Fiber

Hi all.

No new job yet. Still working on that.

I'm currently trying to survive working nights – it's amazing how much my internal clock despises this. I just can't get into the swing of it.

This is probably due to the fact that after working 11:00pm til 7:00am, I'm still expected to be back online by late morning.

I'm rocking four hours of sleep, at best. Thankfully, this won't last much longer, then some other poor idiot gets their turn. But that's a story for another day.

Aside from feeling like shit due to lack of sleep, I've felt like shit in general for the better part of two years now, which I've attributed to having gained 20 pounds.

A note to my relatives reading this – yes, I know. You don't think I need to lose weight. I was too skinny before. Appreciated, but it doesn't help the psyche, especially when I can't get my Irish-potato-picking-line-backer shoulders into that knockout dress hubby bought for me six years ago.

Sorry Mom..... you know I love you :-)

Anyway, I found another diet that sounded reasonable and promising. Eating healthier might make me feel better, after all.

I haven't gotten all the way through the diet book part yet, but I can see it involves a buttload (HA!) of fiber, in the form of oats, groats, insane amounts of veggie, and more oats. Apparently I'm expected to poop out all the excess fat.

Yes, I know, it's cleansing. I'm down with the oats. I even like oatmeal. I'm just a little nervous about spending that much time in the toilet.

The main gist of the book appears, so far, to be: cut the crap out of your diet (not literally, as you will be doing a lot of this), eat fresh things, lots of fiber, exercise, and watch meal portions. Duh.

Okay, so the recipe book does have some good info. I've made a few of the dinners, the beef stew and the chicken cassoulet, and they're not bad. Mostly, they just need some bang. Like extra garlic and spices. Blair's Death Sauce is always helpful. Besides, it's all natural – that's what we're going for, right? It's got no calories and no fat. WIN ! Just don't use more than four drops. Hubby refers to it as Wow-wow Sauce (thanks Mr. Pratchett).

I also found most of these recipes make enough for at least eight people, and I need to cut it in half, or I've got leftovers for a month.

The exercise part is difficult to work in due to my current schedule. I'm hoping once I'm off working nights, my daughter and I can go running again.

I'm thinking though.....maybe I should get Leonidas a leash and walk him. Heh. He needs a bit of exercise, he's looking a bit tubby:

Thursday, April 15, 2010

I've Got A Rocket

I've been a Goldfrapp fan since Black Cherry. Their new cd reminds me of every 80's pop song I heard during my teens and twenties.

But in a good way.

Quite frankly, it's a cool slice of awesomeness.

This is the video for the track Rocket. I just love the way Alison Goldfrapp keeps looking over the guy in duct tape, and making those crazy eyes.


You can go to the website here.

It's pretty cool.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Bits O' Things

I've got a few posts half-written: some bits about Gerry Rafferty's Baker Street, an opinion on the liberal nonsense we see in our neck of the woods, as well as something about a local celebrity.

I'd like to say it's coming, but right now it's not even breathing heavy.

Soon though.

I'm finding resume writing to be a bit more of a challenge than I originally thought. This, mostly due to the fact that I haven't written one in ten years. I've just slid into new positions with each company merger.

It also doesn't help that once I finally decided to give it a go, work cranked up the volume, and gave me the "impossible project". It's much like being thrown into a pool of water, filled with sharks, and not knowing how to swim.

You would think the goal would be to simply survive and get out of the pool, but then you're told you're actually going to be tested on your high-dive.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Carded And Crabby

Friday night I stopped at the wine store. Exhausted, I waited patiently in line while the gentleman in front of me figured out how to swipe his debit card at the check out.

After driving back to Pennsylvania from the I-78 circle of hell, all I wanted was to get some wine, hit the grocery store, then go home.

I put my purchases on the counter, the clerk gives me an odd look, then squeaks out: “Ooooooh sorry! Can I see your driver's license pleeeeez?”

“You cannot be serious,” I groaned, while digging back into my bag.

I start wondering if she's just incapable of recognizing someone who's obviously 20 years over the legal age; then I figure the store must've had trouble with young'uns scoring booze, so now they're gone into reactionary mode, carding everyone, including 80 year old grandmothers.

I hand her the license, and then the confusion hits her face. I could tell she's trying to do the math in head and it's not working out the way she expected. She looks at me, then the license, then back again.

“Ummmm.....sorry about that. We have to card everyone under thirty years old. Uh, you really don't look your age.”

“Right. So, can I get a box for those bottles?”

Meh. There was a time when I thought it was great to get carded. Now, not so much.

Hubby and I were discussing this, and came to the conclusion that there's three life stages for getting carded.

First stage. Just after the 21st birthday. You hope the clerk asks for your license so you can proudly show you've reached that magical age.

Second stage. Anywhere from thirty to forty years old. You get carded and think, “Yaaah! I still got it!”.

Third stage. After forty. You haven't been carded in years. You forget it's even relevant to the checkout process at the wine store. When it does happen, it's just another three minutes of your life you'll never get back.

Hmmm? What's that brittle, crunching sound? must be the crustiness taking hold.

Thursday, March 11, 2010


Blogging's been a bit slow this week. Sorry. I love writing, but this week I've loved sleep a bit more.

Seems no matter what time I leave for work in the morning, I still get there around the same time. I-78 is like a slow intestine that only moves once every morning. This is extremely frustrating, as it took me two hours to get to work on Monday.

I'm playing around with leaving earlier and earlier, hoping that if I time things right, I'll hit it just as the highway BM is heaving forward, and maybe - just maybe, can get to work in under an hour.

Along with the exhausting commute, I put in twelve hours on Saturday in support of a project. It's amazing how that can throw off your weekly schedule – and sleep. So I've been hitting the pillow around 8pm every evening, leaving me only two hours to get the dinner made, the teenager crisis worked out, and the rest of the home life straightened.

So, yeah. I've poked around the interwebz locally, and was surprised to find there are jobs. I've updated the resume and plan to get that out there asap.

In other news, I'm shocked to say that most of the snow is actually gone, with the exception of the dirt-glaciers surrounding the driveway. It was so nice this past week, I managed to get Wulfgar, The Gently Used Volvo cleaned up. That lasted til I got home from the car wash. Even though it wasn't raining, there's been so much snow melt that the roads are all mucky anyway.

Oh well. I'll take this over twenty inches of snow any day.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

What A Gorgeous Day!

Had the day off, and went hiking on the trails behind the house.

There's still a considerable amount of snow, but many areas were starting to clear.

Saw lots of deer trails, both muddy and snowy.

Click to enlarge:

Oddly, we found a midden heap we never knew about. After poking around on the internet, it looks like most of these bottles are from the early 1900's. Too bad the jam jar is broken...according to the interwebz, it could be as old as 1895.

Friday, March 5, 2010


I actually saw a rainbow on my way to work yesterday.

A freakin RAINBOW, people!!

So it appears Spring may be on the horizon. Our local wacky weatherman says we'll see up to 50-something degrees this weekend, and the worst might be over.

Here in Pennsylvania, when we go straight from extremely bitter cold and snowy, to warm and sunny, it lasts til the end of April, then we get one last storm that dumps six inches of snow on us. Like Mother Nature throwing us the finger.

Temperatures have been warmer this week, and most places are seeing a lot of snow melt. Our backyard is melting, and has maybe four inches of snow left (down from twenty), but the glaciers along the sides of our driveway may be here til May. They're still at least four feet in height.

In other news, I took my daughter to the soccer sign up at the local high school on Tuesday. This is the school she'll attend next year.

I don't go into "that town" much, and I have to admit, I've never been to that school at night before. I knew it was in a crappy section of town, but I was woefully unprepared to see drug deals going down just outside the parking area.

Around the school itself, there were several bombed-out crack houses. Boarded up windows, garbage in the yards, shady types floating around. The works.

This isn't friggin Philly or NY. It's just a small town that's been overloaded with transient people from the city. Back in the 70's and 80's, people moved from NY, NJ and Philly to the Poconos - many looking for a better life and lower taxes, but many others came to sell drugs, real estate scams, and hide from the police.

It's Bronx-lite.

In light of those facts, along with the general lousy reputation and lack of funding for this particular school, we've been forced to look at other schools.

We'll have to cut back and really budget our money, but if it means she'll be better prepared for college and considerably safer - it's worth it.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Mr. Somebody Needs A Slap

Our school district has the organizational skills of a dead squid.

Most send home information about school sports, and tell us important things like when practice starts, where it's held, if equipment is needed, and if a physical is needed.

Not our school district. Instead, they have a fancy-schmancy, new electronic dialer system that calls us at 3:00am with a recorded message anytime there's a school closing. Or it calls during dinner to tell us there's a bake sale on Friday.

Sports tryouts? PTA meetings? Nope. Nada. Nothing.

Instead, we rely on the teenager grapevine approach:

Mooooom!” whines the teenager living in our household, “I need to get a physical by next week so I can play soccer.”

“I thought you were going to get all the information first, so we could talk about it,” I reminded her.

“But I just found out tryouts are next week!”

“Okay. So what time is soccer practice over?” I asked.

“I don't know,” says child.

“Is there a sports bus that takes the kids home afterwards?”

“I don't know.”

“Who is the coach? I'll just call him.”

“I don't know.”

“How do you know tryouts are next week?”

“My friends told me.”

“Who told them?”


“Okay, so Mr. Somebody came to them in a vision and told them of the impending tryouts? Really? You're not seriously telling me that no one knows when and where practice is, who the coach is, and how long it will be?”

Teenager stomps off.

Until recently, I had a very flexible work schedule. During that time, I encouraged my daughter to do sports or other extra curricular activity. She couldn't have been bothered.

Now that I have ZERO job flexibility, and work an hour away, playing school soccer has become a moral imperative.


To sum up: My job stinks like an old gym sock, and now I've got a pissed off teenager too.

I really need to play the lottery more often.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

And Also...

Yay! Another blizzard!

Last night we got about six inches. That's on top of the ten left over from the storm two weeks ago.

There's two large glaciers at the end of the driveway.

So, to my mother, who is visiting her brother and sister in Hawaii right now - you got out of Dodge just in time!!

Hickory Dickory Dock. No Mouse And No Clock. But We Got Plenty Of Beer.....

The radio is constantly playing this "Tik Tok" song by a young whippersnapper called Kesha. I had to admit it had a hook. I almost liked it 'til I heard the rest of the song. Yeeeeesh:

"Before I leave, brush my teef with a bottle of Jack
'Cause when I leave for the night, I ain't coming back"

Apparently she's not heard of tooth decay or toothpaste. And Jack? Seriously?

"Aint got a care in the world, but got plenty of beer
Aint got no money in my pocket, but I'm already here"

Okay. I can identify.......that's what we used to call freshman year in college.

"And now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger"

Swagger. It just sounds silly. Also, white girls should not use that word. Ever.

But seriously, I laughed out loud at the Mick Jagger reference:

"But we kick em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger"

She wants guys that look like Mick Jagger? Really?? Has she seen Mick lately?

Actually, has she EVER seen Mick? I know he was a heartthrob back in the sixties and seventies, but even the twenty-something Mick is, well......ew.

And the last bit:

"Boys tryin' to touch my junk, junk"

Girls have “junk”? I thought only guys had junk.

I'm so confused.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hot Flash

I woke up at 3:00am this morning. It was like turning on a light. One minute I was asleep, the next I was awake.

Also, massive headache. I go downstairs to grab some ibuprofen and a glass of water.

The bottle was empty. I grumble about why someone thought to put an empty bottle back into the cabinet.

Good news! There's an unopened one. Except, have you ever tried opening one whilst half a asleep and with a pounding head? It goes something like this:

1) Pry open box. The flap won't open along the glue line, so I end up shredding the box. It looks like a giant rat ate through it.

2) Cut finger on plasticky seal around the top of bottle. There's supposed to be a perforated spot to tear it off, but do you really think I can find it at 3:00am?

3) Align arrows, pop lid.

4) Jam finger through foil seal found across the top of bottle. Bleed some more.

5) Grab three of those sweet, sweet ibuprofenz, because at this point, three is the only way to deaden the pain in my head and fingers.

6) Stumble back upstairs.

The cat claimed my warm spot, so he needs to be extracted. I curl back up for that last hour or so of sleep, and the hot flashes start. I feel too young for this, but hey, I'm starting to come to terms with my inner crone.

Toss blankets off me, onto cat. The frosty, fifty degree room starts to cool me off, and I start drifting back to sleep. This is when the cat decides it's a really great time for a bath. A loud, gross bath.





I poke the cat gently with my foot. No change.


Poke again. The bathing pauses for a second, then resumes with gusto.


I slide my foot under the the cat, and start gingerly rolling him over to make him stop. He barely notices until he almost falls off the bed.

Half hour later......

Body temperature back to normal. Blanket back in place. Sleeping cat securely wedged against my bum.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

That Sucker Punch Of Reality

I'm angry. I'm frustrated.

I promised myself I'd cut back on the work-related postings, because: a) it will eventually bore people, and b) I really don't want to be identified.

After all, I still need a steady paycheck.


I've been fuming for a few days now, and writing is theraputic.

Anyway, The Job.

Something happened.... an occurrence that showed me exactly where I stand.

I've never been verbally abused or distrusted at any job in the last twenty years, but at this company it's standard operating procedure. A daily sucker punch in the face.

Some of my coworkers who noticed my appalled reaction tell me I have thin skin. This is the way it's done here. Get used to it.

Nice, huh?

Sunday, February 14, 2010


When did English class become “Language Arts”? Why must there be a separate class for “Reading”?

When I was in school (back in the Dark Ages), it was called “English Class”, and included diagramming sentences, identifying dangling participles, as well as reading literature.

I've voiced my concern about the quality of our schools before. It's not going downhill anymore. It has now crashed, broken at the bottom of the hill, headfirst in a snowpile.

My daughter has an assignment to do a book report. The teacher wants the students to draw several scenes from the book, and put it together in picture-book style. She wanted them to do the picture-book as if they were making it for a first grader. Those were her exact instructions. It was on the assignment handout sheet.

This is junior high school. They're using crayons and glue for book reports. Way to prepare them for college!

I'm not alone here either. The Gormogons did a very nice job summing it up here.

Want to hear the best part??? My daughter came home with a list of vocabulary words to study and use in a sentence. One of these words was “vagabond”. You want to know how the teacher was pronouncing it?


What is that? Super glue for the hoo-hoo?

So, all you ladies out there, have a Happy Valentine's Day, and don't forget your VAJ-a-bond!!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Blizzard Part 2

Well, most of my photos turned out like crap, but here's the ones that were halfway decent. You can click to enlarge....

This ones my favorite:

This used to be a hedge:

More hedge:

The woods behind the house:

The sky was so clear and amazing today:

Blizzard Part 1

We have approximately fifteen inches of snow here in Pennsylvania. Some areas got more, some less. Fifteeen is more than enough.

The governor hasn't reopened the main highway near here. Since I live in the middle of Nowheresville, many of our secondary roads are still unplowed and closed.

We normally have snowy winters here, and the average storm can often bring us four to five inches at a time. However, this is a bit extraordinary.

Here's some preliminary photos from last night. I'll post more later today.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Where's My Shovel?

Yep. Haven't posted in two weeks. Work put me on call - which is so appropriate when you're still new and haven't got a grip on things yet.

My sleep schedule's been reversed because the on call phone only goes off at 2am.

As Murphy's Law would have it, noctural server/application issues always require a minimum of four hours to fix. Before you know it, it's 6am and time to get the kiddo off to school, and you haven't slept yet.

At least the company's reasonable about it. If you worked all night, you're allowed to catch a few zzzz's before heading into the office, or logging in from home.

However, last week was truly the most ludicrous experience to date.

I spent most of my time dealing with the usual problem: getting a straight answer, in English, from several coworkers.

Let me put it this way: if I asked them to give me step by step instructions for shoveling a driveway, they would respond with: "Use a shovel".

While this is technically correct, as well as blaringly obvious, it tells us nothing about where you get the shovel, how you use it, and where you throw the snow.

Speaking of which, we are currently experiencing a blizzard here in the Northeast.

Thankfully, I DO know how to use a shovel.

Monday, January 25, 2010


Today started off with a bang. Well, more like a whoosh.

It took more than two hours to get to work due to a torrential downpour.

I wasn't expecting a problem. I'm used to the drive now, and most people behave on the commute.

Apparently reasonable behavior gets washed away with the rain.

For example, I was tired of being tailgaited by an H3, so I put my turn signal on and waited for a tractor trailer to finish passing me on my right. This was meant to indicate to the dipshit behind me that I planned to get out of his way.

Except Dooshie McTwat took that opportunity to lurch into the right lane, pull up next to me, and slosh back into my lane and cut me off. So apparently he showed me.


Rain. And MORE RAIN. Wet water. Flowing.

After an hour, I realized I wasn't getting to work anywhere near on time. Then my bladder let me know it was unhappy. Very, very unhappy.

Some fun factoids:

The urgency starts with a dull throb, then works up to a prickling pain. Like a sea urchin stabbing it's way out your bellybutton.

Then the sea urchin goes to sleep, and your entire lower abdomen goes numb.

Then you throw up. Well, almost anyway.

Vomit-time hit around the last ten minutes of the trip, and I began praying that I could keep both ends sealed until got to the office. God took pity on me, because I made it to work without soiling my car, or myself.

The other highlight of my day was our weekly staff meeting. One of the developers was burbling on about crappy code. I guess he's not thrilled with everyone else's methods. He went on and on about writing beeYOOtiful code. So elegant. So gorgeous and eclectic.


We're application support. Troubleshooters. Problem solvers. MASH 4077. There's coding involved, but it's not the main part of this job. Most of these guys would rather sit and code all day long. They're happiest in a code tunnel.

That's fine, but personally, I don't enjoy coding. I like the mystery issues. The detective work getting to the bottom of a problem, and the thrill of solving it.

I guess it's just personal preference, but I can't live in a code tunnel all day.

Besides, my code tunnel is dark, smelly and lacking the proper amount of cheese doodles and red wine. I could die of the damp in there.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Ga Ga Gaaaaargle

I'm soooo ashamed. I downloaded a Lady Gaga song.

I don't usually like music from my daughter's generation, but I was lured in by an infectious hook. I'm also a sucker for pop music that goes BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM.

Alas, the chorus is great, but the rest of the song sounds like Madame Gaga is gargling :

"RaaaghraaahOOhhLAlaaaaGAGARomaRomaaaaaaaaagh.....BAD ROMANCE!"

Like she's being throttled by one of her wacky costumes.

Speaking of, I heard a good joke about that:

Didja know Lady Gaga is going to be the new spokesperson for Polaroid? Because you gotta wait a few minutes before you know what the hell your looking at.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam...

Wooo Hooo! Every time I log into Blogger, I get a notification to moderate new comments! Yay!

But no. Not yay. It's sad. So, so sad. My comments are filled with retarded spam and advertisements.

Today's spam came in the form of a hyperlink, which was not even in English, but looked like Kanji characters. However, since I do not read Japanese, I cannot confirm that.

I noticed when I moused over the comment, several links appeared, and since every other word in the links had something to do with sex, I'm assuming it was spam. Either that, or someone in Asia is really excited about this blog.

So spammers, for future reference, I do not read Japanese, Chinese, Vietnamese, Korean, Laosian, or any other Asian language. I can barely read Spanish, despite having four years of it in high school, and living in America for 41 years.

However, owing to a bizarre turn of events during those high school years, I can read Latin. Mostly.

Cicero is my friend.

So, in the future, if you're going to spam me p0rn, at least know which part of the world you're spamming and give it to me in English. Or Latin.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Code Whisperer

Major breakthrough: I finally have a working test environment.

Yep, it only took an entire month of security requests, and then another month of diddling around with what everyone kept telling me was a code problem.

Interrupty Guy insisted I was using the wrong code version, and someone else told me to get the code from another place, because the original code base was screwed up.

Well, THAT really gives me the warm and fuzzies.

When none of these suggestions worked, I started my own investigation and I traced it back to bad data.

So I sent an email to the team, detailing what I found, and asked who can help me get the data fixed.

No response.

Sent same email to Interrupty Guy. He thought I was crazy, and asked me if I received the most recent version of the code. Again.

After subduing The Fist Of Death, I told him the problem is data and explained why.

"But that's impossible." stated Interrupty Guy.

"I'll show you." I said. "Just let me log in to the app and..."

"It won't make a difference, you need to..." interrupted Interrupty.

"Ccchht!" I blurted, invoking my best Cesar Millan.


"Ccchht! Just... Let... Me... Finish!"

So I showed him.

Guess what? It was bad data.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

And Another Thing....

I was going to write a about the second half of Doctor Who, End Of Time, but decided against it. The folks over at Behind The Sofa managed to sum everything up nicely.

Not Dead. Yet.

So yeah. I'm not dead.

Not yet, at least.

Just a bit of blog neglect. Sorry about that.

I took some vacation over the New Year's holiday, and heartily ignored my work laptop as well as my personal one. I couldn't even look at the internet.

I was trying to think things over and get my life organized. It didn't work.

About a month ago, I wrote that this new position could be very rewarding. I was optimistic that I'd make myself a useful member of the new team. Except no work came my way. No training either. I could've sat in my cube and got paid for breathing. Nobody seemed to care.

Well, I figured if the company had no game plan for bringing me up to speed, I'd dive in and ask for work. I requested a few assignments and said if I had questions, I'll flag someone down and ask.

They unloaded on me. Bulldozed and buried.

Now I have fixes for applications I've never seen before, much less have access to (I'll get to that in a moment), crazy deadlines on coding assignments, and no test environment.

Yeah, I know. I did it to myself. So here's another whiny post about how I can't have everything my way.

Like I said, I have assignments for applications I don't even have access to. Obviously, the first course of action is to obtain said access. Easier said than done.

Requesting this can only be done with an online application. Then it's routed to the proper department, ignored, lost, re-routed, and ignored again.

About three weeks later, access is granted.

If the assignment requires any special software - that'll be another request. If it requires any configuration, settings, etc., there will be NO instructions.

So I've been asking lots of questions and generally being a pain in the arse. A necessary thing too, since no one seems to know, much less agree, on anything - except to give out as little information as possible.

For example, don't tell me the server names or the url of the application I'm supporting. When I do finally manage to dig this info out of you, make sure it's piecemeal, doled out in small bits every week. This way, I'll need to open a new request daily. Hey, it'll keep the security guys hopping with plenty of work!

When I ask a specific question about functionality, or where documentation is located, just smile and pretend you don't understand the question. Or better yet, interrupt me halfway through my question – because you read minds and know what I'm asking before I ask it! UGH. The guy that does this, has never let me finish a sentence, and has never been helpful.

The bureaucracy and red tape is mind boggling. Until I learn to navigate the system, it'll be impossible to get anything done.

In the meantime, I guess I'll just do what I can.