Thursday, September 29, 2005

Pittsburgh, part II

3:35pm EST

You can apparently check out of Pittsburgh, but you can not leave. I arrived early to the airport hoping to change seats on my flight. I hate to be jammed in the middle seat (as most people do I'm sure.) The flight was so full there was no changing seats and the counter hostess (attendant) explained that they cancelled a flight earlier today and thus this flight was full.

I whined a little (internally) about being at the airport too early, but moved leisurely toward the security checkpoint. Pittsburgh is more Spokane than San Francisco in size - and not a terribly busy hub. I walked straight to the front of the security lines and breezed through. I have learned not to wear the sassy blue bra because it sets off the security alarms and results in unwanted touching from the TSA people.

In the terminal I had time to sit down for lunch without a care in the world as to time. Eventually I wandered over to the gate in time to hear my name being butchered by the gate keeper. My work travel profile jams my middle initial next to my first name and thus when read by anyone other than me it looks like it's pronounced Terryl as in Cheryl with a T - what mother would do that to her kid? Anyway - the gate keeper talked me into taking a later flight so some guy could get home to his sick kid. (WHATEVER) He tried to route me through New York and give me a $200 voucher but I asked for first class instead. I've had bad luck with redeeming vouchers, the last two vouchers I was given went unused because I don't fly enough (on my own dime) to make it worthwhile. However, the joy of first class from Pittland to Seattle sounds great! I'll be routed through Atlanta again - but it doesn't matter.

The bummer is that I'm STILL at the airport. They have free wi-fi (thank goodness for the firewall software on my laptop) but they haven't figured out that people need power. The only power I could find is in the gate areas, and while this is a laptop, I don't enjoy the crouching that comes with trying to work on my lap. So, here I sit eating up precious battery in order to sit at a table.

In the grand scheme of things -- none of this makes any difference. I am fully aware of the triteness of my problems. In fact, I'm pretty sure my life is an exercise in trite uselessness.

I know I'm not the only one, so there's no reason to despair. Life is all about finding the things that make you happy and last night the rain woke me up. I love the sound of rain especially when I am in my bed warm and cozy. This was an amazing rainstorm, heavy thick raindrops that sheeted against the windows. Lightening flashes filled the room periodically and it was really comforting.

I am somewhat blue about missing Alias tonight, but I'm sure that Television without Pity will have a complete review to keep me up to date.

Well -- I'm running low on battery and while I'm sure this is riveting I should sign off.

Hopefully I'll make it back to Seattle tonight. Until then - later.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

ah, Pittsburgh

Short post tonight:

Don't be fooled, Pittsburgh PA is not a bad place. It's darn tootin lovely in fact. Traffic is manageable, people seem nice, and the houses in the burbs are practically perfect. I was impressed by the size and distance between houses -- unlike suburban Puget Sound where every house looks the same and are built with a 'generous' 2 foot clearance these homes were on real sized lots. For the price of my little (but loved) condo I could get a 3k square foot craftsman house -- the biggest was a 6 bedroom 1 bath (yikes) or a super cute metropolitan townhouse in a cute neighborhood.

I hear that the weather isn't always this nice (75 and sunny) but how bad could it get?

My meeting today went well and inspired a few new words for the ficitonary:


The definitions haven't been completely formalized but will be entered soon.

Lastly, the Spain countdown is 9 days!!! woohoo

Monday, September 26, 2005

A call to action

Humvee Owners Unite to SAVE THE WORLD!

Cracker Party Photos

Here's the huge cracker har' do.

My cracker dish.

Bobbie-Jo, Bobby-Ray, and Bobbi-Sue take 3rd place. A can of Spam, which is made with: "Ham with pork"

This is the whole motley crew.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Good Morning Starshine

What in the world was that song about? The earth says Hello! The drugs must have been good in the 70's.

I've calmed a bit since the last entry. I'm not quite as fired up as I was. I do feel guilt over expressing frustration that minion is still out of the office.

The re-org is going ok. There isn't a transition plan for this either we're just in a new division. The sad thing is that we have to RE-DO the budget - which as you may have guessed isn't my favorite thing in the world.

However - my little world of control may be growing larger I've got a meeting with someone about the possibility of my taking over governance of a specific function. Hopefully the staff that is involved will come to me too. I won't take anything without staff.

Vacation begins in 15 days... well 14 days and 3 hours if you start counting vacation as the minute you get on the airplane... but really - it's 13 days and 7 hours if you start counting from the minute you walk out the door on your last day. 6 hours and 15 minutes if you count the fact that I'm going to find a way to leave early. Hell - why don't I just go now?

LOST! last night was good brother! Jack's retro wig was a little silly - but I understand the need for him not to have the buzz cut forever. JJ Abrams is playing with our minds because there was a lot of time shifting happening in the bunker. Clearly the opening morning fitness scene happened some years earlier when the Trs80 was state of the art computing equipment. I'm sure the jadded will have complaints - but I enjoyed it which was the plan a along.

Everything is predestined brother!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005


I know it is bad form to bitch about work - but ARG!

This is a small sampling of things that are pissing me off today:

1) I'm the new budget person. Here's the entire training and transitionning information packet: "You're the new budget person." END OF CLASS. WTF!

2) CPS (our crappy property services department) has decided to move people into cubes in my office. Did they tell me? NO Did they tell the contractor who is physically in the space he was moving? NO Are they pissed because there are computers in the space now? YES. (I wish there was a way we could make the cute contractor feel less welcome... We move him without notice to a new space. Let's forget his name and start calling him "Contractor.")

3) We are being re-orged. This isn't the same thing as making an active decision to switch up your department to make things more efficient -- this is a decision that was made without our input -- and it SUCKS.

4) My "MINION" is still out of the office. I hired her and 10 seconds later she leaves because her husband has cancer. WHATEVER - they caught it early. It's been 3 weeks and I'm losing my (somewhat unstable) sense of compassion. I am frick-fracken busy and need my staff person back. (I'm really not that insensitive - I care that he's sick and signed the damn loa form - but for the love of all that is holy - COME BACK TO WORK!)

5) Our division idiot who is in charge of creating useless reports turned my item RED and I can't get him to return my phone calls. Warning -- this is about to get into numbers:

My stat is tracking the number of high risk items -- the threshold is 5% of the total population:

July: 12/520 = 2.31%
August: 12/550 = 2.16%

Hello!? This number is actually getting better - so why IDIOT is it RED? The division executive is breathing down my neck because moron doesn't understand simple math.

When did I become a person who gets fired up about a "KRI" being a color on a report?


Breathe in.... and out....

With a breath in I calm myself and with a breath out I cleanse myself.... (thank you jen for the mantra.)

Finally -- it must be apparent that I am ready for vacation...

17 days!

Monday, September 19, 2005

Movie Review: Just Like Heaven

I am a Reese Witherspoon fan. She's cute, has good hair and seems to be handling the fame, family balance well. However, being a fan isn't enough to make this movie worth the $9 I paid. At most, it's a rainy afternoon HBO movie.

I can't say that there's anything terribly wrong with the plot - it's could so totally happen, a too busy doctor (this is obvious because her hair is messy) gets into a head on collision with a large truck and ends up haunting her apartment (that she should NOT have been able to afford even as a doctor.) This enables her to fall in love with Mark Ruffalo (famous for the Shrug in his tighty whities with Kirsten Dunst in ESSM.) The Mark character (who can be bothered to learn names) is sad for his own unknown reasons and tries to get rid of the cute ghost.

They zip around down performing emergency surgery and other hilarious acts.

The best part of the movie is the kid from Napoleon Dynamite (a movie that I have not *gasp* seen) asking for a Co-La.

I'm not advising you not to see the movie - I'm just saying it is what it is -- MINDLESS FLUFF.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Fictionary, Part II

toxsoil: toxic dirt (MWR)

evaculating: getting out of dodge a little too late. (TPgal)

obeast: as in, overweight - in a scary way. The actual sentence in which it was used: "my son's girlfriend is obeast like you." (the racist hairdresser at Hi-land coiffure in Renton Washington)

disreorgastraction: to reorganize your department to distract attention away from all the work you aren't getting done. (TPgal inspired by my evil work nemisis.)

obfuskate: a fun game where you play hide and seek on roller skates. Alternatively, in the business world it is when a useless colleague barely gets away with hiding the work she is unable to accomplish. These folks are generally really good at PowerPoint. (TPgal, inspired by a useless manager in another department.)

mompliment: the things your mother says to you that she means well, but cuts you to the core. i.e. on your wedding day: "gee, that dress is white" or "I sure liked how your hair looked yesterday."

comprag: to brag by complaining. "Oh man, even though it's first class, my flight to Paris is just going to suck."

topic-bomb: to casually mention in passing something huge, like an engagement, breakup, pregnancy, job change, house buying. (TPgal inspired by... oh you KNOW who you are!)

For example:
re: names

do you think Reilly is too common of a name for a baby? my mom hates it.


bloggle: a posting to a blog that is so obtuse that it is confusing. "It bloggles the mind" (tpgal)

Friday, September 09, 2005

Whoa... now that's a party

It may not be the most beautiful group of people you ever seen - but they are havin' some fun!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Die Comment Spammers Die!

Alright you evil MoFo's! I didn't want to have to turn on the word verification feature - but now that you've spammed my little blog with links to your useless websites I have no choice.

I had been deleting these unrelated comments as they popped up, but it turns out that it's a script rather than a pimply faced kid going from site to site. This does help me understand why my blog (with 15 regular readers) was being targeted. They don't care about my blog...


On a happy note - I am delighted to report our accommodations in Malaga Spain have been worked out. I wired 333.00 euro today to our host - and get this -- we'll be getting 150.00 of that back -- for a 5 night stay this price is amazing. For this price, we should be inviting our distressed folks in New Orleans and Mississippi to vacation in Spain to relax before coming back to dig out.

Speaking of -- the debit card disbursement to the affected folks in the south is going to be a GIGANTIC MESS. I imagine that within a few weeks we will see these people who have been through hell be the victims of ID theft, financial theft and any number of scams. My lesson learned (that I share with you) is to bank at a national bank that has the ability to authenticate you if you do not have photo id. Many local banks can do this - but what happens if the bank of Yakima is buried under 6 feet of goop? At least with the evil Bank of America, US Bank, Washington Mutual, Wells Fargo and the like you've got nationwide coverage (and you can be sure that their disaster recovery plans include multiple sites for data storage.) Normally, I am a HUGE supporter of local businesses - but it just doesn't make sense to bank locally.

These larger banks have the ability to store your signature card on file, so if you have to get funds and you don't have ID they can know who you are not only by the information you provide, but by matching your signature. They also have a copy of your ID somewhere thanks to the Patriot Act - but most companies aren't set up with a digital copy of the id that the bank teller can access.

Well - enough lecture for today.

Lastly, here's a great link to an article published in the National Geographic predicting the aftermath of a hurricane in New Orleans (article published October 2004!)

(sorry no time to spell check or edit - must catch bus or sleep in my office tonight.)

A dog, an ugly woman and a claw hammer

Rick Bowmer/AP

This might be my favorite photo of the Katrina aftermath.
It's nice to know people can still have humor in all the murk.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

My horror movie

The Internet is a great place to goof off. I made a silly "horror" movie at the Old Navy website. Granted the site is aimed at 13 year olds - but I was 13 once....


My little movie only lived for 2 days on the Old Navy website. :(
If you missed it, you can only imagine how great it was. I might be the next Spielberg.

I worked with Stephen Spielberg at a (now dead of course.) He was a cute but nerdy guy in his 20's who was shocked that we didn't give a sh*t about his MBA from Stanford. I'm not dissing higher education -- all I'm saying is if the only thing you can do is take tests don't expect to get very far in the business world. I"m sure now that he's been out in the world a while life if good - although it would be hard to share a name with someone so widely known. But - do you know who I really feel sorry for? George Wesley Bush of Butte Montana. It must suck to be him these days.

Katrina: a native's view (from London)

Jeb is a pal who lives in the UK but whose roots are based in New Orleans - or were:

Jeb's take/rant on Katrina, etc...

Hurricane Katrina - holy hell. My folks didn't see much of the storm, and my aunt in N.O. got out of town OK. No word on what happened to her house.
Her neighbourhood was dry, but who knows if it survived the looting.
The grapevine says some childhood pals still aren't accounted for, but who knows what that means. It should be difficult to contemplate such a catastrophe in a place I know so well, but it's not. You only have to go to New Orleans once to see what a precarious position it is in. I also can't say I'm surprised by anything that happened after the storm - not the flooding, the poor emergency relief, the looting, the murderous brutality, or the bureaucratic incompetence. Louisiana has a pretty poor record of looking after its citizens in normal times, nowhere more so than New Orleans. N.O. isn't a great city in the way of New York or Philadelphia or Chicago, and it isn't part of that white-bread right-wing hypocrisy that rules the nation. It's mean, dirty, poor, and socially moribund. America is a country founded on a cruel system, with only a very tenuous belief in the common welfare, so places like New Orleans will be ignored whenever possible. I suppose now the big question is whether the money and will necessary to rebuild will be forthcoming. You can't help but wonder if there will be a great diaspora of people who won't go back and parts of the city will be abandoned and not rebuilt. That would be a hell of a thing.
It poses the possibility of long-term internal refugee camps and enormous economic dislocations. The final blow is the knowledge that Bush and his gang of chuckleheads won't have learned a thing from this tragedy. The freakish concidence of Rehnquist's death and Katrina was some sort of unholy gift to Bush that will enable him not only to be "presidential" by doing his duty, but also to leave a 30-year legacy on the Supreme Court that could spell all sorts of trouble for America.

The news coverage here must be quite different than in the States. The media here, which has a latent anti-Bush bias anyway, has focused heavily on the incompetence of the government (i.e., Bush), and particularly on the race/class issues supposedly exposed by the disaster. Needless to say, they've missed a few points along the way.
It's not like some great secret has been revealed. American, on the whole, chooses to ignore racial divisions because they generally reflect class divisions as well, and so long as you don't have to live next to the poor black people, you don't think it about it too much. With only 12% of the population being black, and that heavily concentrated in a few large cities and the Mississippi delta, it's easy for most Americans to forget about those divisions. The thing that should attract notice is the unwillingness - and is use that word specifically - of the American government to look after the welfare of its citizens in a crisis. The primary reason to organise a government is for mutual protection. All this neo-con bullshit that we should bomb the fuck out of Iraq and let them eat cake at home and god forbid that government actually assume any duties or powers and yeah it's OK to appoint a horse show manager to head FEMA and umpty other absolutely evil incredible things
- it is all laid bare. And it takes something so horrible to induce the American press to grow some cojones? Man, oh man.

As some idea of the media coverage here, you probably won't see such cartoons in American papers:

Hey Dad, why is the American flag backwards on that ladies uniform?

After an exciting weekend of monitoring CNN's Katrina coverage I walked away with a question unanswered: why is the American flag on the military uniforms backwards? A quick Google search led me to the website and flag rules were found under the Betsy Ross link.

From the site:

What is the proper way to wear a flag patch on one's shoulder sleeve?

Left Flag

Right or "reversed field" flag

To wear our country's flag properly, the field of stars should be worn closest to your heart. Thus, if your patch is to be worn on your LEFT sleeve, use a left flag. For patches worn on your RIGHT sleeve, use a "right" or "reversed field" flag. Since the law does not specifically address the positioning of the patch, a decision is left to the discretion of the organization prescribing the wear. Some elect to use the "left" flag on both sleeves. [Note: many states and cities have ordinances pertaining to the use of the flag; you may wish to contact the Attorney General of your state or the City Attorney's office regarding this matter.] If you are planning to wear only one patch, it is recommended that you wear a "left" flag on your left sleeve. Military guidelines specify that in support of joint or multi-national operations, the "right" flag is worn on the right sleeve, 1/4" below the shoulder seam or 1/8" below any required unit patches.Source: Army Website FAQs

Granted, this probably isn't the most important information you will receive today - but it was of interest to me.

Also interesting to note that according to the Flag Code, it is not acceptable to use the flag as clothing nor as part of advertising. So, Bank of America... you're breaking the rules with your snappy flaggy logo, same to you Mr. Lauren. Technically, the US Flag 37 cent postage stamp also violates the code - but I guess no one is going to mess with the Post Office.

Finally, what is the life of the Vice President worth? 2/3rd less than the President. According to the Flag Code, the flag will be flown at half mast for 30 days after the death of a President or a former President, but for only 10 days after the passing of a VP or a former VP. Sorry Dick.