A Twist Of Fate
August, 2007 Entries
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(08/25/07 - 11:22 PM)
Paid off the remaining balance on the Subaru two years early, since we're not doing another house at the moment. We now own all vehicles free and clear, and man - is it liberating!

(08/20/07 - 12:20 PM)

*** Happy 1st Birthday To The Twist Of Fate Blog! ***

(08/19/07 - 04:41 PM)
Painting is losing its charm!

(08/18/07 - 10:32 PM)
How in the world did I go so long without a DVR? This thing makes me almost as happy as my wife. I get to watch what I want, when I want, without commercials and without having to worry about missing this or that, or being too tired to see something that I really want to. Okay, so the one I got was super expensive (but free with my new DishNetwork contract!) - even so, there are much cheaper models available that I'm certain would be just fine for me were it not for the fact that I have this one already. I must admit that I was more than a little annoyed that I had to pay an extra $5.99 per month for the priviledge of DVR service, but now I think that I would pay a heck of a lot more to enjoy this kind of convenience.


(08/16/07 - 10:32 PM)
I finally had my ten-year annual review at work. In recognition of my service, my boss presented me with a fancy certificate. I was touched. Then I read the thing:

"In Recognition Of Ten Years Of Service, This Certificate Is Good For Two Free Rounds Of Golf At Sugar River Greens."

I do not golf. I do not look at golf clubs. My handicap is that I don't play. When we have company picnics, all of the "Worst-so-and-so" awards are signed by me, while my boss signs the ones for the good golfers. There's even been a running joke on the company picnic handouts for as long as I can remember about me being a homicidal golfer. Hmmm...

I read the certificate again. Then I re-read it. Then I looked at my boss and said, "Two free rounds of golf, huh? Well, I suppose I can find someone to use them. Thank you."

I've known this guy since I was eight, and I knew that even he wasn't THAT thick. And while I wondered if something weren't up, I will confess that he got me but good. He handed me a second certificate. This one said:

"In Recognition Of Ten Years Of Service, , This Certificate Is Good For Two Round-trip Airline Tickets To Anywhere In The Continental United States"

Holy shit. So who needs golf, anyway?

(08/15/07 - 07:51 PM)
"You're Not The Person I Hired!" is a long overdue work of genius. Janet Boyd & the gang take what should be common sense with regard to the world of hiring and personnel and twist your arm behind you until your shoulder sears with pain and you finally get it in what can only be equated to an epiphanic experience.

It's amazing how many people blow the hiring process without even knowing it - over and over and over. There is a rather poignant quotation in the book from Benjamin Franklin that says, "Insanity is the process of doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result." And the hiring process is just that - a retarded crap shoot that narrowly anyone ever even truly understands, let alone remotely gets right. I feel like ten times the manager having just read this book, and I also feel that I garnered knowledge that will go a long way toward knocking the socks off of my boss, while being compensated for said sock knocking. Wait, did that sound perverted? It did kind of, didn't it...

Anyway, if you ever:
A.) Will have an interview again in your life
B.) Are or ever will be in a supervisory or human resources position
C.) Want to blow your current employers mind during your next review, potentially driving him or her to practically hand you a blank check and the keys to the company

Then - oh my goodness - read this book! If everyone read this work, the good would be alot better off - and the bad would be out of the jobs that they don't deserve to begin with.

(08/14/07 - 07:13 PM)
I don't normally like to abscond with stories from someone else's annals of stupid. But man, my wife served up a beaut today. So abscond I shall.

She received a piece of mail. The piece of mail said something like:
"We will now be known as StupidCo. from here on out. Please update your records."

Here's the best part - the return address portion also said something akin to:
123 Fake Street
Yourtown, USA

Which begs the question: Who, exactly were you before?

(08/13/07 - 11:18 PM)
Neil Gaiman makes me nuts. His writing seems so hit or miss to me that I almost can't stand it. I finished the first in his duo of new works, "Interworld" - a novel written for children. Now, I've read other authors who translate to the hip toddler and trendy teen set - Haissen, for one - who pull it off marvelously without giving up any of the grandeur of their masterful abilities to tell a story. This book however, just doesn't ever feel right. Perhaps it was written for the pre-teen set, and I missed the memo: I dunno.

If you're a die-hard Gaiman fan, blah blah blah. You know the drill. Otherwise, keep walkin' stranger. Or rather Walking with a capital "W" if you've already read the book - perhaps you'll find the dimension where you haven't yet and all will be well once more.

Recommended Reading If You Enjoyed This Title:
"Pawn's Dream" - Eric S. Nylund
"Dry Water" - Eric S. Nylund

(08/12/07 - 10:22 PM)
Painting Is Fun!

(08/11/07 - 11:54 PM)
Sometimes, I make up jokes. Most times, I forget them. Here's a few for my... er... your enjoyment.

A moron is driving down a prostitute-laden street late at night. He pulls over, and motions one of the girls into his car. She runs down all of the wonders that she can effect upon him. After she is finished however, the moron asks a question that she had not been asked before.

"How much for just your shoes?"

"Oh-ho! A fetishist!", she says.

"A what?", the moron replies, confused.

"You know - a fetishist. Someone who enjoys something offbeat that most other people might find odd."

"Oh, no. No, not me. I just heard that whore's shoes were good luck, so I thought I might want to get me some."

This is where the rimshot would go. Want another? Of course not. Here it is anyway:

A man is invited to a computer-themed Halloween party in Silicon Valley. He arrives on the evening of the big to-do, wearing his normal clothes. He walks in, and whenever anyone speaks to him, he simply returns conversation by spouting a random series of expletives at the speaker. The host sees this happen a few times, and finally can take no more of her rude, unconstumed friend.

"What is wrong with you?", she asks, clearly incensed.

"What do you mean?", asks the uncouth guest.

"I mean, that you're not in costume, and since you've gotten here you've done nothing but imitate a drunken sailor by spouting every expletive in the book. What gives?"

"Oh, that," the man says, "I figured I didn't need a costume - I came as a Curser"

One more, and then I promise I'll stop:

The Mongols were fighting the Tartars in a battle that had worn both sides down to the breaking point. Everything hinged on this final battle for the Mongols, as they made their final stand. They chose the top of a large and protected hill, overlooking a valley to make their last stand and began fortifying it to the very best of their abilities. Soon their enemy was in sight, and then they were upon them in full force. As the battle wore on, it was clear that the Mongols were going to successfully repel their enemies and that all would be well. And in the end it was so.

And on that day, the world was shown the possibilities open to them, if they would only use a Tartar Control Crest.

Thank you, and good night.

(08/10/07 - 10:13 PM)
If you haven't already read yesterday's and August 2nd's entries, read them before this one.

All caught up now? Good! Let's begin, shall we?

Same guy, different day. A little over a week ago, we had to let a fellow go at work for doing something stupid (too bad - he was a nice guy.) Since then, his "That's no toolbox - that's a space station!" toolbox has been haunting his area. Yes, it is large. But no one thus far is occupying his area, either.

So, Mr. Phillips screwdriver pops into my office, leans right into my face and says, "When is so-and-so coming to get his toolbox?" This, ladies and gentlemen and smyzmars is why he came into my office - for this, and this only.

I advised our curious friend that I believed that it was to be this week, as the owner of the company was gone last week and it is customary to go through a toolbox with the individual departing for various reasons.

But he was not finished - oh no, no no no.

"Well," he says, clearly undaunted, "Maybe you ought to call him to see about his coming in to get it."

My state of disbelief could not be more complete. "It's all been arranged already," I said. Here's a guy who JUST had his 90-day review; who has endeared himself to no one and villified himself to everyone; who listens to nought a single breath that I utter and interrupts me as though it were a contractual obligation; who breaks wind whenever he feels the need and clears his throat as though my eardrums had no business being intact. Here stood this adonis of a man, clearly ready to take on the burdens that are my job without thought to self-preservation. Truly, I was in the presence of a saint.

He went on once more, thwarted not in the least bit, "Well, it takes up alot of space, you know?"

What I wanted to say was: "Sweet merciful Lord! It does? I had no idea because I'm a retarded playtpus with ADD who is also half blind. Alot of space, you say? No fooling!"

What I said instead was, "Yes, I am aware of its size. I am certain that the owner of the company is taking care of it, and I believe that it will be removed some time this week."

Could I get a drink here, someone? Oh, anything with the word "proof" on the bottle will be fine for this, thanks. Ah. There we are. On to the thing-de-resistance. He said:

"Well, I guess I'll let him handle it then, if he's got it all arranged."

Oh, truly you are of noble blood sir. To turn the other cheek and allow your patron and benefactor the ability to do as he - rather than you - see fit. A God among men stands amongst us. Bask - bask in his sumptuous glory so that you may know the awe-inspiring goodness that stands before you.

Can I get a refill? No - no ice this time. Just... you know what? Just give me the bottle...

(08/09/07 - 11:37 PM)
Mr. Phillips Screwdriver (see August 2nd's post) strikes again. Imagine if you will that you are a mild-mannered, wildly talented dude working second shift in your area and minding your own business and being extremely productive as usual. You would be one of my favorite employees.

Suddenly, a pall is cast upon you; a shiver traverses your spine; a dog looks at a cat somewhere with lust in its eyes. And there - THERE - he is. Sprung from nothing into full form next to you. And he is brandishing a time card. A time card not his own. A time card ripped from the confines of the rack at the front of this place of business, and toted back to this former place of productivity for one purpose - and one purpose only. That purpose being for him to ask:

"Who's time card is this?"

The time card, dear friends, was mine. Why? Why did this individual feel compelled to remove it from its place, and take it to a co-worker to find out who it belonged to during what should have been working hours? Why did he feel the need to leave his station at the farthest possible point in the shop from the time clock, to go on this mission of mercy; this errand of interrogation?

The world, dear reader, may never know.

(08/05/07 - 11:37 PM)
Same post as yesterday, different author.

Let's talk about Clive Cussler. Cussler is the kind of author who's backstories are AMAZING. I have no idea how he manages to come up with some of these, and they're all so plausible it's mind-boggling. He uses these as a vehicle to catapult his characters into an action-packed, James-Bondian adventure. And it used to be cool.

But now.. oh... I don't know. How many times can you read about a Captain-America-esque leading man and his cynical sidekick cheating death and getting the girl over and over again? Once too many I found, as I read his latest offering, "The Navigator".

With Cussler, I begin to feel like I'm reading the SAME stories over and over and over again. What changes? The girl's name, the featured hard-ass-dude drink du-jour, and the ancient civilization/artifact/society. That's it. And my God, if his backstories could be coupled with the abilities of an author like Douglas Preston or Lincoln Child, let's say, then WOW what books they could be.

But, they're not. And this is a problem. Cussler's skills seem to lie in finding a fantastic hook and explioting it (a great and truly rare talent among prevalent authors today.) Where he falls far short of the mark is when he tried to extrapolate a story from said hook. His prose oftentimes feels all wrong - rhyming, echoes, bland sentence structure, and cliche (and often unbelievably UN-real conversation) seem to plague his work.

I fell in love with Cussler when I first read "Inca Gold". Part of me now wonders if I didn't enjoy the story so much, because I hadn't seen his played-out formula before (I'm thinking so as I sit and write this.) And with his latest novel, I feel a divorce coming on between ol' Clive and myself.

>SIGH< Clive, come on buddy - your storylines are amazing! Break the mold and help your characters live up to the world that you've created for them.

(08/05/07 - 11:44 PM)
Janet Evanovich's latest, "Lean Mean Thirteen", reads like a convoluted recapping of the rest of her previous books in the series. This is both good and bad at the same time (let's be honest - mostly bad.) Good, because Stepahnie Plum is funny as hell at times. Bad, because I can only take so many near-miss romantic entanglements and running gags about Stiva's Funeral Parlour.

While not a particularly gifted author, Evanovich has an eye for what is ludicrous and therefore funny in everyday life. And I respect that a great deal. But her books of late feel like someone telling the same joke over and over and over: Yes, it was hilarious, and then funny, and then I got a giggle out of it - but now it's starting to become almost offensive.

If anyone can understand how difficult it is for an author to re-invent themselves with each new tale, I certainly can. But I can't help but wonder - is this all there is in Stephanie's world? Is she forever doomed to ineptly bounty-hunting low-level criminals while blowing up car after car and taking her pistol toting grandmother to the funeral parlour every night in between dinner with her parents and her inevitable tangle with either Ranger or Morelli?

C'mon Janet, hook us up with something new and exciting - I know you have it in you.

(08/04/07 - 11:23 PM)
I'm not normally a jealous guy. But Friday, my wife got YET ANOTHER unsolicited headhunting call for her employment. And this woman would not take no for an answer.

I continue to be in awe and admiration of her abilities - specifically her ability to have such an impact on people that she has never met. I am still scratching my head trying to figure out what it is about her that is making all of these people so keen to hire her (I'm thrilled for her - I just want to know what in the hell is making these people so mental for her out of an insane curiosity of my own.) I mean, I know her skills and I know she's an employer's fondest wish: but how do these people know this? This will probably remain one of the mysteries of the Universe, but I have some hunches.

I think the reason is three-fold. First, her resumee is well thought out, well structured, and her skillset is extremely high. Second, I believe that if they are calling her references, her references are not only letting these potential employers know how amazing she is: they are also letting them know that they would do anything in their power to have her back. Third, I think the fact that she was the former office manager for an attorney who is notoriously difficult to work for - and didn't leave screaming - speaks volumes. I think the legal world is intrigued by the fact that Wanda not only worked for this woman, but that she was entrusted to run her office and that she did it successfully.

And so, the jealousy (don't worry - it's good jealousy!) I work in a mediocre position with little or no skills and no one beating down my door to hire me. And she keeps getting unsolicited calls with people offering to let her cite her own terms.

WOW. Good for you, babe!

(08/03/07 - 10:17 PM)
It's been a busy week. This week at work, we took on four times the jobs that we normally take on on any given week. I think I topped like 65 hours (which is still a short week, in comparison to some that I used to work - I'm just not used to it this time around.)

I'm excited though, because we hit our summer slowdown late, and that hasn't happened in a while. And it took a bit longer (2 1/2 weeks) to reverse itself.

The good news? My take-home paycheck may finally be more than $120.00 this week (about time, too!)

(08/02/07 - 11:21 PM)
Before I begin, I would like the make it clear that this conversation occured exactly as outlined. I have not embellished, and I cannot make this stuff up. Ready?

It was late. I was at work. I wanted to go home. I was fixing the passage set on my office door. I had a huge Phillips screwdriver hanging out of my pocket in plain sight.

So, I went to look for a flathead with half of the doorknob in my hand. One of my employees shuffles over to me and says:

"What are you doing?"

I said that I was fixing my doorknob, as the Phillips screwdriver practically poked him in the stomach.

"Oh." He said. "I know what you're looking for. You're looking for a Phillips screwdriver, aren't you?"

I said no. That that would be silly, since I already had a huge one right there in my pocket. Yet he was undeterred.

"Oh." He said once more. "Well," he paused and then, "Do you need any advice?"

I once more said no to this guy who should be working and had no business divining what I was doing. No - on the subject of doorknob advice, I figured I was pretty well set.

Amazingly, he seemed both crestfallen and bewildered that a young Turk such as myself would take no sagacious doorknob advice from the likes of his wizened fifty-something self. He then shuffled away in clear disbelief of the gall that I had displayed in rebuking his offer of what was sure to be profound and prudent advice that I simply could not live without.

Yeah - what the hell is wrong with my generation?

(08/01/07 - 11:21 PM)
As mentioned before, we toured the U.S.S. Yorktown while on vacation. I was disappointed to find that a picture I had taken aboard had not turned out as I would have liked. Specifically, there was a sign from the 40's on the machine shop belowdecks that pretty well summarized the day-to-day life at my own machine shop in the modern day. It said:

"The difficult we do right away. The impossible will take a little longer."

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