A Twist Of Fate
November, 2008 Entries
"Did we ever find out who let the dogs out?"

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(11/30/08 - 1:44 PM - BONUS!)
I got bored. I had some time. I thought to myself, "Self!? (that's me) What haven't you tried yet in blog-land?"

And then it hit me.

Ladles and jellyspoons, boils and growls, I humbly submit the very first, in what you will soon hope is not a series, of original MadLib's.

In this instance, I must forewarn you that this particular one deals frankly with the topic of geriatric sexuality. It's funny, unless you think it isn't.

Either way, you've been warned. If you have never felt nor witnessed the full force of my warped sense of humor, my advice would be to simply move on to the next entry as though this one never existed.

If you don't fall into this category, or are Gary, Sr., then this should be right up your alley.

Below, you will find the key. Simply take a sheet of paper, and write down a response to each (or cut and paste that section of code, for you computer geeks out there like me.) When you're done, click the link below to see the Lib itself.

You may then either fill it in as you go by referring to the sheet, or (again, geeks only) cut and paste the code, fill in the blanks and then read it. This is what I would recommend, but that's only because it's me.


1. ) Unpopular Man's Name
2. ) Unpopular Woman's Name
3. ) Pastime Often Associated With Old Individuals
4. ) Country No One In Their Right Mind Would Willfully Visit
5. ) Adverb Of Something Considered Wrinkly
6. ) Brand Of Oral Product For The Aged
7. ) Something Hot And Viscous
8. ) A Tiny Dwelling
9. ) Something Cylindrical In Shape
10.) An Odd, External Part Of The Human Body
11.) Effiminate Male Or Ineffectual President - It's Your Choice!
12.) Plural Of A Measurement Of Time
13.) Large-Scale Medieval Weapon
14.) Upper-Body Clothing Item
15.) Adjective Describing Something As Essentially Half-Full (i.e. - Semi-Inflated)
16.) A High-End Word To Describe Excellent Food
17.) A Kind Of Sack
18.) A Comedy Sit-Com From The 70's-90's
19.) A Funny Word For 'Breast'
20.) A Verb Describing Movement
21.) Obscure Measure Of Linear Measurement
22.) A Childish Or Ridiculous Term Of Endearment
23.) Something Hot
24.) A Soothing Ointment Or Cream Or Product That Tingles
25.) A Feeling That One Has (i.e. - Dread)
26.) A No Longer Common Form Of Legwear/Pants
27.) Something Soft And Fluffy
28.) A Male Singer With An Unusual Name
29.) A Made-Up Word That Sounds Swedish
30.) An Orifice Found On The Human Body
31.) A Word Synonymous With "Split"
32.) A Common Specialty Sandwich At A Major Restaurant Chain
33.) Something Long And Hard
34.) A Noise Ending In 'ing' (i.e. - Banging)
35.) Another Word For Laughing
36.) Internal Organ (Funny Is Good)
37.) A Noise Ending In 'ing' (i.e. - Banging)
38.) Undergarment Designed To Capture Human Waste
39.) An Adverb Referring To Something Large Or Great In Scope
40.) An Unusual Term Of Endearment
41.) A Color That Isn't Black Or White
42.) A Specific Term For A Rank Or Kind Of Soldier
43.) A Large Structure For Holding Or Containing Things
44.) An Internal Organ Once More
45.) An Action Verb
46.) A Seventies Or Eighties Comedian
47.) A Carnival Ride
48.) A Hispanic Mans' Name
49.) An Action Verb Dealing With Forward Motion (i.e. - Walking)
50.) A Major Metropolitan Area That Is Often Thought Of As Either Idyllic Or Scary - It's Your Choice
51.) Noun
52.) A Method Of Fastening (i.e. - Taped)
53.) Something Long And Hard
54.) An Aging Female Starlet
55.) A Category Of Science (i.e. - Botany)
56.) An Action Verb
57.) An Ingestible Product Or Drug Geared Toward The Aged

Click Here For The Ribaldry!

(11/30/08 - 10:48 AM)
My assistant called me on Friday to let me know that she would once more miss work. She also let me know that she was on her way to the hospital, as the initial diagnosis of a 'flu bug' received from her doctor seemed to be in error - due specifically to the phenomenal amount of excruciating pain that she was in.

For her sake (alright, and a little selfishly for my own) I hope she's alright soon. This is not a complication that she and her husband would ever need (who would?) but even moreso now.

I begin to question, more and more, the medical profession and their ability (or oftentimes, inability) to properly diagnose. What seems to occur, in my limited personal and anecdotal experience, is that a doctor seems to latch onto a convenient diagnosis and simply 'see what happens'. The problem with this is that, often, I question whether further pathology is warranted.

As I considered this, I came upon a new conundrum: Perhaps doctors are so pressed for time that they elect to take this route as a convenience to themselves in an effort to 'play the odds', as it were.

Conversely, though less likely, doctors may be tired of patients complaining of unecessary tests (think the big 'Ferretin Test' scandals of the nineties) and the expenses associated with them - especially when one considers the state of medical insurance within the United States. Specifically consumers - if they're insured at all - tend to have higher deductables, higher co-pays, etc. which severely limit their ability to afford testing that might actually be beneficial.

Gone are the days of comprehensive Major Medical coverage for most individuals. Now, many have access only to Catastrophic Hospital or H.S.A. plans - if insurance is even offered at all.

Further, if insurance is not offered, they are forced to attempt to purchase individual coverage. The problem with this is that rate-ups run wild - if an insurer will accept you at all. Without the inherent protection of a 'group insurance umbrella', insurance becomes only a fond memory for a great many individuals. Perhaps these are direct catalysts for the lesser level of health care.

It's interesting to consider, to say the least...

(11/29/08 - 11:44 PM)
I finally got my sorry butt outside today and got the air conditioner all covered up for winter. Then I elected to burn what was in my fire pit, as it was becoming unsightly. This lead to my burning a bunch of other things, and then I raked all of the leaves that had accumulated in the rear of my yard onto the now super-hot fire.

I didn't rake the whole yard (gooooooo LAZY!), but the majority of leaves had coalesced in the little ravine along the treeline that rainwater runs through. This was where 90% of the leaves were, so this was where I concentrated my efforts.

I also cleaned up all the garbage that wasn't mine in my backyard - again - and picked up and burned all the twigs and sticks.

After all these years, my moron neighbors still - apparently - do not believe in garbage bags, cans that are properly packed against wind, and the like. How do I know? Because I find the most interesting things in my backyard that I know aren't mine: tampons, candy package wrappers, grocery bags to beat the band, fast food cups and bags, newspapers, advertising flyers for things I have no need for, and my personal favorite - the ubiquitous gallon milk jug!

I hate to say this, but on some level I understand religious cults that have compounds. Not for their zealotry but rather for their ability to control the influx of stray garbage from thoughtless neighbors.

(11/28/08 - 10:36 PM)
I got to visit with my cousin and his boyfriend yesterday (yes, you read that right - get over it, I can't change it and I still love him as much as before) who live in Japan. They were home for the holiday, and we got on the topic of Anime (who didn't see that coming?) His boyfriend is Japanese, and it gives my wife and I a good opportunity to practice what little we know with a native speaker.

But I'm getting off track...

Anyway, we were discussing our new favorite series, " Death Note", and were inquiring whether the upcoming movie 'finished out' the series, as it had ended after only twenty episodes, and there were a lot of loose ends.

My cousin asked whether we had seen the movies - plural. Movies! Yeeps! I told him that I knew one would be coming out over here on February ninth, but a second movie was something that I was heretofore unaware of.

The problem, I immediately realized, was that the series had wrapped up in 2005, and was only now being dubbed and subtitled into English. As such, it was only available in the States last Tuesday.

So now we not only have to wait until February to find out what in the heck happens, we also have to do so with the notion that there is a second movie on tap which we might need as well to put the whole picture together. It's a mixed blessing at best, but I just can't wait that long.

My poor Aunt, who was hosting the Thanksgiving holiday (and is usually a firecracker on a bad day), was extremely ill and was going to call everyone and call the Holiday off at her house. Her husband, my oftentimes enigmatic Uncle Doug, decided that he could handle it on his own, and made an outstanding showing of it. He's a super nice guy who's very down to Earth, but my brother knows him far better than I as he worked for him over a summer and my contact with him, in contrast, has been much more limited in its scope.

At any rate, my Uncle Doug hosted flawlessly, and we all appreciated his hard work and effort - especially since he could have justiafiably bowed out without anyone blaming him in the slightest.

My Aunt was also attempting to find a home for a very friendly and loving female cat who had been all doctored up and was three years old. I didn't think anything of it when I told my brother and sister-in-law that, now that they had a home of their own, they simply must have a cat.


They took it! Who would'a thunk it? Good for them, though - they won't realize what they were missing until they have had it for a week, and then they'll wonder what they ever did without it. My cat's a total bastard, and I still wonder what life would be like without him.

We also found out that my cousin Sara (who just got married this summer) is pregnant again (yes, you read that correctly also - I still love her as well, and I can't change anything, and she married the first babies' father, so all's well that ends well.) She's such a sweet girl, and her husband is a really great guy. And their first child, Maggie, is probably one of the most amazing kids I've ever crossed paths with. So, good for them! At least one cousin is making grandchildren (my wife and I can't, my brother and his wife haven't, and two of my other cousins are gay - this pretty much thins out the gene pool.)

(11/27/08 - 12:42 PM)
Greetings, all! It is I - Plinky the House Elf!

Mistress Wanda and Master Heath are away for Thanksgiving once more, so I have been tasked with writing the blog entry for the day yet again. Again, I say: You humans have a great many holidays indeed!

Today I would like to speak about a remarkable woman who I have recently watched with great interest on the television machine. Her name is Jessica Fletcher, and she solves crimes.

Eat your heart out, Mattlock!

Ms. Fletcher's program is titled, "Murder, She Wrote" and it chronicles her live solving of crimes each week. A camera crew follows her around her hometown of Cabot Cove, which has a surprisingly statistically high crime rate akin to Detriot or Washington, D.C. - this is probably why she chose this town to operate in, in the spirit of noblesse oblige.

At any rate, the camera crew follows her around as she involves herself in mysteries that the local law enforcement simply cannot cope with. I question the need for the local law enforcement, in truth, due to the fact that they appear to be nothing more than a false-front deterrent to crime. And, with the level of crime in Cabot Cove, they appear to be a poor one at best.

But, I'm sure they know their business there better than I, a causal observer a thousand-plus miles away from the action and activity.

Each week, I am mesmerized as I watch Ms. Fletcher unravel the crime right in front of my very eyes. What astounds me the most, is that she is able to do so in just under one human hour - each and every time. Compounded with the fact that she must be, at the very least, somewhat distracted by the disruptive offers for such amazing products as "Mighty Putty", "The Aqua Globe", "1-800-PET-MEDS" and the like. I personally find myself desirous of these products due specifically to the compelling presentations of individuals such as Billy Mays and Betty White.

I cannot fathom how these individuals can attempt to distract Ms. Fletcher from her work, when they have to comprehend its importance. Could they not just as easily solicit their goods via mail, rather than interrupting her crucial investigation - always at a crucial turning point, no less?

I began to ponder this point, and I have reached some startling conclusions. My first thought is that these individuals are somehow in collusion to keep the crime rate in Cabot Cove high, while thwarting Ms. Fletcher's Herculean efforts. This could potentially benefit them in some way, but I have yet to uncover the benefits of doing so.

Another thought that occured to me was that these individuals were once desirous to solve crimes themselves, but have not gained the noteriety that Ms. Fletcher has. As such, they wish to see her fail so that they may usurp her position as the top solver of crimes in Cabot Cove.

My final thought makes no easily-comprehensible sense at all and involves talking animals and secret codes in the Bible. It's long, and confusing; arcane, esoteric and clandestine to no end. So, I won't bother imparting it. But I'm sure that it's the most correct of the three hypotheses.

I, for one, will not be distracted any more than necessary by these clear threats to Ms. Fletcher's work. I will continue to follow the amazing career of this truly magnificent woman, as I simultaneously continue to petition the current President for a Presidential Gold Medal for this amazing female crimestopper.

Good luck, Ms. Fletcher! Keep up the good work!

Now, where did I put my "Mighty Mend-It"?

(11/26/08 - 11:23 PM - BONUS!)
Welcome to a special sub-installment of the Mr. Phillips Screwdriver chronicles!

Love! More Love! Even More Love! Yet Still More Love! How Much Love Can I Impart? Isn't This Obnoxious? I Mean, Seriously - How Many Of These Do I Need? Oh, What The Heck - One More!

As stated below, our new time clock has proven to be problematic. Specifially, you have to slide your credit-card dealie (yep - that's the technical term, as far as you know) through at just the right speed, at just the right depth, in just the right way on just the right side (it sounds alot like foreplay, I know - but work with me here.)

Mr. Phillips Screwdriver jumped on this immediately with his vast expertise and began the stump speech in near-record time.

He explained to us, what with his apparent vast experience with electronic time clock technology, how this clock was faulty; how it should accept the card more fluidly and was, therefore, faulty.

I, using nothing more than 'logic' and 'reasoning' had had the same potential thought. The difference was that I had reserved judgement for several reasons:

  • The clock is new, and may require a 'working-in' period for the inner mechanics
  • We're simply not used to the clock, and our natural instincts are to treat it like a credit card machine at the local box store
  • The clock is placed at a potentially awkward angle, and perhaps our natural tendancy to move the card through confilicts with the fact that there is about a 10° incline in the slot - it is not straight through.

Of course, there's no point in expressing these viewpoints to a man who, most likely, holds five of the nine patents that went into the design and manufacture of this particular clock, and who could probably strip it down and rebuild it in forty-two seconds flat much like a soldier gains the ability to do with his trusty rifle. Yep - no point (I actually tried, though. Can you imagine the futility?)

This morning, it got all the more interesting. Instead of leaving well enough alone, and comprehending that everyone else in the shop was experiencing the same 'growing pains of newness' with this time clock, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver elected to write a comprehensive, open note to all employees and place it on the bottom of the clock.

The note read:

"Slide your card through slowly because the clock sticks. Otherwise, it won't work." *(Okay, I don't recall the 100% specific wording, but this is 99% of it.)

Are you serious?

*(P.S. - If you haven't noticed by now, whenever you mouse-over a graphic, I always have something witty embedded there. Usually. Try it!)

(11/26/08 - 11:23 PM)
Today is Wednesday, but since I have the rest of the week off it counts as a Friday. Right?

My assistant was ill once more this morning, and it sounds like it's pretty serious. Specifically, because she and her husband are extremely strapped for cash due to the fact that her husband was injured, and was on disability for some time until very recently. Further, they are supposed to be moving this weekend, and missing this day disallows holiday pay based on the company policies. So I know that she's hurting.

It was an interesting day, to say the least. I became painfully aware of how much she had changed the systems I had in place to run the company to suit her own needs, or to make them more efficient. The problem is that it's difficult to follow in her footsepts during her absence, as she is unsing different methods - and sometimes, different software - to achieve the same ends as I was in earlier times.

So, my assistant's assistant and I just struggled through the day as best we could, as the network elected to crash every hour and a half or so (boy, was THAT a good time!)

The upside is that situations such as this one help to point out the shortcomings in both training and internal systems. This allows us to plan for changes and fixes in the near future, so that we may avoid a potentially more serious problem down the line. So, I'll call it a blessing in disguise. Or Pablo - either one works.

The new time clock has proven problematic, at best (more on that in a special installment in a moment) and we're beginning to wonder whether the clock is actually functioning properly, or if we maybe received a slightly wonky one. We're still not sure on that point.

(11/25/08 - 11:12 PM)
Finally got up the nerve to go to the groceteria (It's a Heath-ism - feel free to use it profusely so that it catches on, and then when I'm old I can claim that it was my word, but no one will believe me as they steal my money daily at the home and talk behind my back about all my ear hair.)

My wife and I had been dreading going this late in the Holiday madness, as we were concerned about the crowds. We had intended to go earlier but one or the other of us, for various reasons, simply had not been up to the task.

But today we went! I told my wife to get anything and everything that caught her eye, because I didn't want to go again for at least a month (it sounds rude, but she shares the sentiment, so that makes it not rude. You just have to trust me on this one.)

By the end of the trip, I had Tetris-ed (another Heath-ism that you can feel free to adopt so long as the people at Elorg don't mind) the shopping cart to its limits, and it looked pretty cool.

I asked the checker if he would like me to find him a second cart to pack the groceries in, and he replied, "Do you think I'll need one?"

I looked from him, to the cart, and then to him again. "Uh, I don't think you realize how I've got these groceries precisely Tetris-ed in there - you're going to need it. Trust me."

He seeemd skeptical, but as he began checking my haul, it became evident just what a good job I had done. It resembled a game of Jenga that no one in particular would desire to play - and he was very quickly on the losing end. Item after item proved to be the wrong one to remove at the wrong time, and eventually he simply succumbed to the inevitable avalanche of eclectic grocery goodness.

It was fun to watch, sort of, until I realized that the bagger was being forced to bag at random, rather than bagging similar items of size, shape and type (which had been in perfect order in the cart at one time, and should speed up the bagging process by about 20-30% if removed in a similar fashion.) Why does no one ever realize this fact?

Anyway, after spending >GULP< $480.00 on groceries (this is what happens when you wait 4-6 weeks to go, folks) we finally made our weary way home.

(11/24/08 - 11:36 PM)
Monday, Monday; can't trust that day - wait, isn't that a song? I think it... what the?

Hey... HEY! You there!
What are you doing on my blog?
Oh my goodness... is that... are you... Good Lord, man!

That's so baaaaaad

(11/23/08 - 10:36 AM)

Hooters Girls show it all off!

Click Here To See!

(11/22/08 - 10:21 PM)
I went into work this morning to install a new, computerized time clock. Our old time clock was on the fritz, and it finally became clear that it was on its way out. Enter, the new one.

This new clock has credit-card style timecards, and is connected to a computer via a standard Ethernet cable. This allows for immediate interaction with the clock itself via computer, eliminating the need for tedious physical cards where math and ink are necessary. This is also better for the environment, and our filing cabinets.

I brought way more tools than I thought I would need, and was a little embarassed about it, to tell the truth. But I like to be prepared, and in this instance it turned out to be a prescient decision.

I needed a great many of them as I uninstalled all of the existing timecard infrastructure and then proceeded to install and wire the new time clock and card rack.

What I thought would take thirty minutes took two hours, but in the end I got to run wire, so I was happy (wiring is my new favorite thing, if you hadn't noticed. I think if I didn't have my job, I might seriously consider becoming an electrician.)

I was covered in insulation at the end, which was doubly annoying due to the fact that I was sweating. I managed to run the wire from the shop, through a wall, over the office drop ceiling and down to my Assistant's computer. She was there to help, and my day shift Mazak operator was there to make sure we were laughed at and made fun of as often as possible (to be fair, it's about time he got to give me a hard time - I'm usually giving him one.)

So, the new clock is installed and ready to rock and roll. I just hope that it lasts a good long time.

(11/21/08 - 11:36 PM)
My Boss, who I have known since I was eight, turned fifty today. His hair is greying, he's developing a marsupial-like pouch, and his eyesight and hearing are waning. What scares the hell out of me is that he used to be a strapping guy who never stopped, and now he's clearly aging. This is disconcerting because I realize every time I see him that I am close behind. And I don't really want to be, thank you.

His sisters and his mother hatched a plot to embarass him. Little did I know the lengths to which these individuals would go - I'm so proud!

At 3:30 PM in the afternoon, a large-scale trailer sign was placed in the front yard of the shop. It read, "Davey-Doodles is Nifty at Fifty!"

This would have been enough, but they were just getting started. They decorated his office from top to bottom with the expected, obligatory '50 Years Old' stuff, but then they kicked it up a notch.

They dressed each of his five trophy fish in tu-tu's, tiaras and feather boas. They placed a large-print edition of Reader's Digest in the restroom, as well as a denture cup. The coup de grace, however, were a series of the single most unflattering shots of my Boss that I had ever seen - blown up to 8 1/2" x 11" and placed throughout the office and shop. One had him picking his nose, one had him with his teenage afro in full bloom, one had him bombed out of his skull, and bent over trying to stand and not spill his beer - and on and on and on. Seriously, I have no idea how anyone could top the malicious humor imparted by these folks.

So, to his sisters and his mom I say, "You're my new favorite people - well done!"

(11/20/08 - 11:46 PM)

"Bring me two of every delicious animal!"

- Noah, Before God Clarified His Instructions

(11/19/08 - 11:21 PM)
"Voices Of A Distant Star" is a thirty-minute film produced by one man and his wife on a Macintosh computer. This 30-minute opus is what I term an 'epiphany' movie. Those of you that know me know that very few movies out there cause this kind of response from me. Rarely will I recommend a movie, let alone watch one more than once. The movies that I do both for, I have always dubbed 'epiphany films' - films that offer some sort of life-enhancing or life-changing insight and make you want to stand up proud and pledge allegiance to something. This is one of those films.

The story is simple, and heartbreaking. Two individuals are in love, but never quite get around to telling each other. Their career paths split them apart, and while one remains on Earth, the other is moving further and further away from it. The film predominantly surrounds the long-distance communications between the two, as they become progressively further and further apart.

The scenes were breathtaking in their elegant simplicity and set the tone for the film flawlessly. I really can't say enough good things about it - I just can't.

This film absolutely broke my heart, and made me thankful for my wife all the more. When a film can do that, it's worth watching.

So find this movie: rent it, steal it - or better yet - buy it. You won't regret it.

(11/18/08 - 11:06 PM)
I bought an Anime series called "Jubei-Chan The Ninja Girl" more as a joke for my wife than as a serious series. When we were ready for a new series, I popped it in to the amusement of my wife.

I had little hope that this series would be anything more than a joke, but then something strange happened: It was so ridiculous, and so well written that we both found ourselves pulled in. This series is by no means meant to be serious. Rather, it runs along the same lines of "Those Who Hunt Elves" but without all the seemingly forced effort to be funny.

I recommend this series to anyone who doesn't take themselves seriously, and who enjoy things like old Marx Brothers films. It's just plain fun - now with Ninjas!

(11/17/08 - 11:28 PM)
Today was the first day that we were without the key employee that I mentioned was leaving a few days ago - and it wasn't that bad. I already feel comfortable that his replacement will make a smooth transition. Which is great, because on any given day I have plenty of other things to stress about.

I also got to go to THE MALL yesterday (truthishly!) to pick up a present for my Boss for his upcoming fiftieth birthday. One of my fellow employees took a suggestion that I had made, and found the item. But having just purchased a house forty-eight hours before, I agreed to go and shell out the $500.00, even though she had graciously offered. The upside was that everyone had agreed to pitch in on the gift beforehand, so most of the money was readily available.

It was nice to see everyone participate in purchasing this gift - it's a good sign. Hopefully he likes it.

(11/16/08 - 12:56 PM)
It snowed today - again. By my count, this is the third time this year (the first being in the third week of October.) I can't help but wonder what this bodes for the winter to come. Personally, I would prefer zero snow with dry, dry, dry conditions.

It's not looking like it will shape up that way, though.

(11/15/08 - 11:16 PM)
Finished the "Serial Experiments Lain" series, and was pleasantly surprised.

For the first six episodes, I had a difficult time putting together what I was seeing. Early into episode seven, I had a revelation that turned out to be correct, and my mindset quickly changed from one of disdain to awe. It was a brilliant premise - it really was. The problem was that it was a premise that could be grasped very easily by any devout fan of the Cyberpunk genre (i.e. - moi), but may be entirely lost - even up to the end - by others who did not have the background of having read books by pioneering authors like Gibson, Morgan, Sterling and Brunner.

The series was, at times, hard to watch visually. In the end, I understood the intent, and could at least appreciate that aspect, but that was not enough to change the overall view of the work - it was just a little too ethereal at times.

I actually recommend this series to anyone who is familiar with - and enjoys - the Cyberpunk genre. Anyone else, beware - you may not get it, at no fault of your own.

(11/14/08 - 11:21 PM)
Today was a rare day for me. I lost a key employee. The worst part was, it could have been prevented. In hindsight, I could have managed the situation far better. The problem was, I could not also manage for my manager. Between the two of us, we made several uncalculated errors in dealing with human ego and emotions. Specifically, we elected to listen to our instincts, rather than attempting to further understand the instincts of our employee. This proved to be a fatal error because, while his instincts were flawed, they were his nonetheless. In scenarios such as this, it is incumbent upon the managerial staff to bend their perspective to one that may be skewed in order to understand the needs and desires of their employees - even if these needs and desires could be construed as irrational, it is the task of the manager to parse out these feelings to a mutually beneficial end. This is precisely where we failed.

I've learned from this experience, certainly. But I still feel a bit unheeded in my warnings to my Boss. Specifically, I made every effort to get inside the head of this particular employee. I think the key difference was that my Boss was not as intimately involved with this person, and so missed a number of subtle hints at no fault of his own.

The upside to this situation is that this employee left the right way by giving full notice, and would be willing to return. Further, in his stead, we were able to secure a prior employee once more to replace him, who will be a talent unto himself. Ideally, we find ourselves in a situation in the near future where we can offer the departing employee his desires, and still employ the replacement. This will make our team that much more potent.

Some other bittersweet news on another front: We found out that an employee who was highly prized, but had left for Chrysler during our companies' infancy would soon be losing his position there after just over a decade of service. As such, he has agreed to return to work for us, and will be a huge asset to our group.

So, from despair springs hope. And I fervently hope that, in the end, this will all have been for the best for all parties involved. It may just take some time in getting to that point.

(11/13/08 - 11:38 PM)
Finished the "Noir" series this evening, and was mildly disappointed. The previews seemed to hint at time travel and a deep mystery. Instead what we got was a secret organization (think the Japanese take on the Freemasons) and a pair of girls who were alternately crack shots and Don Knotts (hey! that rhymes!)

Another glaring problem with this series was the CONSTANT recycling of content. I believe that this was done to assist the viewer of the original serial with a remembrance of what they had seen in the last installment. The problem was, in the end, the fact that the show was already one of the most slow in both progression and pacing that I had ever seen. Add to this this gratuitious recycling and it was a recipe for disaster. For the most part, I could not wait to finish this one. And I don't ever see myself watching it again. It was just that disappointing.

(11/12/08 - 11:08 PM)
Broke down and watched "Talladega Nights" today. This is not a movie I would normally seek out, but it was on, so I recorded it on the off chance that I might one day be in the right frame of mind to view it. Today was that day, apparently, and I dragged my wife with me into this film.

Help me, baby Jesus!

It was not a bad film. In fact, at times, it was laugh out loud funny. But there just wasn't enough funny to make it worthwhile. Perhaps if I had been inebriated, it might have been better. I'm not sure.

The strangest thing happened during the outtakes at the very end. For whatever reason, as I watched Will Ferrell laugh and stop acting, I caught a brief glimpse of the man that I had never seen before. For the longest time, I had simply seen him as a moron who managed to get himself noticed by being absurd. What I glimpsed, in fact, was a highly intelligent, normal guy who just wanted to be funny. It was eerie.

So, if nothing else, I now have some new perspective on Will Ferrell. And I don't dislike him as an individual anymore.

(11/11/08 - 11:26 PM)
Greetings, all! It is I, Plinky the House Elf. Master Heath is in his basement doing something with his plumbing and straps (I decided not to inquire further for two reasons: He would probably just hit me, and it sounded perverse.)

Today, dear readers, is Veterinarians Day. My research tells me that this day was established to honor all of our fighting men and women who fought against Veterinarians world-wide during various skirmishes over the years. Personally, I can't quite figure out how someone who sticks needles in Cheyenne the cat (my personal arch-nemesis) can be bad, but apparently they're quite the threat.

In fact, anyone who causes that halitosis-ridden monster even one iota of discomfort, regardless of their Hippopotamus Oath, should be lauded - not fought. What were you people thinking, fighting Veterinarians? For shame!

This Is My Ally

I for one am choosing to buck the trend: I say 'thank you' wholeheartedly to all the Vetrinarians everywhere. I don't care why we're fighting against you - you're alright with me!

(11/10/08 - 11:18 PM)
I added a second light in the office today, and also replaced the single bulb that was awkwardly placed behind a ceiling tile as an apparent afterthought on the prior owners' part. This was the sole light for the office, and it was dark on the best of days. What I needed was an elegant - and cheap - solution to give me more light, while working within the massive constraints of a drop ceiling and a heating duct running smack through the place I needed to work.

My solution was one of both inelegance and necessity: I purchased two, three-socket swiveling lights and a second drop-in ceiling panel. I oriented the lights in six directions to attempt to enlighten the most office possible, and purchased daylight-style bulbs for them.

The result looks wonky if you look up, but is pleasantly illuminating if you don't.

For the price I paid to do this simple project, I'm calling it a win. Plus, I can now see in my office without the aid of lamps. No more cave-like atmosphere for me!

(11/09/08 - 11:26 PM)
Finished the "RahXephon" series. This was touted as "Evangelion with a lot more answers at the end."

I'm going to have to take Paul Lynde for the block and disagree.

While interesting at times, it was very difficult to follow, and one felt as though a key ingredient were missing in the lasagna that was this show - say, the noodles. I can't say it was bad, per se, I just cannot say that it was particularly good either.

(11/08/08 - 11:08 PM)
Went to lunch today with my Wife. I ran into three people I know, which is unheard of - I never run into anyone.

We also went and picked up some new lights for the office, which I'm making tomorrow's project. We walked around Target and The Home Depot, and it was just nice to get out. The weather, the time change, the economy, the stock market, lack of appreciable daylight and our jobs and their current and recent associated situations have really taken their toll. It's nice to know that she's there for me, though. Nothing else seems to matter when she's around.

(11/07/08 - 11:07 PM)

Thank You! Come Again!
Happy inverted Apu Day!

(11/06/08 - 11:26 PM)
So, I'm on my phone today with a customer, when I hear my office door close behind me. I turn to see who it is, but before I can make the revolution, I know: Mr. Phillips Screwdriver has now invaded my sanctum sanctorum. Apparently, he's cool just to wait until I'm done with my phone call. He doesn't mind that maybe I don't want him hovering over me as I complete a phone call of indeterminate length.

As I continue speaking with my customer, I hear the usual assortment of throat clearing, followed by a healthy fart. I'm not kidding.

I wrap up my call minutes later, now really annoyed. Before I can even speak, he's off!

In a voice that is not quite yelling, but is also not conversation over tea, Mr. Phillips Screwdriver begins todays inquisition:

"I don't know what your policy here is, but when I fuck something up, I want to know about it. And when someone runs a part, I think it makes sense for them to run the same part again!"

What he was speaking about, dear readers, was two things:

The first was a component that had been damaged during the deburring process by one of our parts preparation employees. Due to this damage, we had to send the component out for welding so that it could be re-cut to eliminate the damage. When the component returned - one that Mr. P.S. had worked on the day before - I elected to give it to another employee who was extremely competent, efficient, and was between jobs. More on this in a moment.

The second issue was the replacement of one of two components that had been all but completed, but required a sawing operation to remove a large portion of material before finish machining. Our saw operator had mis-cut one of the two items to the point of irreconcilable damage, and a replacement had to be made. I spoke with our Expediting manager, and found that one of our heavier-duty mills was open at the moment. We elected to place it there, rather than with Mr. P.S. because I had a job with an overnight delivery date that had to be completed on the mill. The only mill who could successfully fulfill my immediate need belonged to Mr. Phillips Screwdriver. So, in order to make the delivery and to get everything we needed done as well, we elected to split up the work as stated above.

What makes this even more interesting is the fact that Mr. Phillips Screwdriver is nosy to a fault. I can't even begin to express the number of times that I, or others, have found him pawing through things and areas he has no business in. In fact, my Boss had a long talk with him for a third time to that effect just last week. Yet, somehow, he managed to come across these two items outside of his area - one, in fact, which had been hidden by our Expediter so that Mr. P.S. wouldn't raise a stink. It was, apparently, not hidden well enough.

So, when I explained the situation to him, and explained that I should not have to explain myself, he still didn't think what we had done was right. I felt like telling him to apply for my job, then, because he had no business telling me how to run mine - thank you.

Instead, I agreed with him that - under the RIGHT circumstances - he was correct. But in this case, we had used logic and reason to parse out the situation to its most beneficial end.

He finally left, knowing he was right, but also knowing that I was too stupid to see things his way. As long as he left - that's what's important.

(11/05/08 - 11:06 PM)
The Iranian leader called to congratulate Obama. No Iranian leader has congratulated an incoming U.S. President since 1979. One can't help but hope that this is a step in the right direction. We shall see.

(11/04/08 - 11:58 PM)
Welcome to Super Tuesday! It's now official: We have our first black President. I wouldn't even mention this, but this seems to be all any one of the talking heads of color can point out. To be fair, it's been a long time coming. I personally don't care if he's green, purple, or a gay hermaphrodite (how would that work, anyway?) so long as he can do the job. This - and only this - will be the true test in my mind. Many men have tried. Some have risen to the challenge in near mythic ways, while others have simply faded into history, if they're lucky, or infamy if they're not.

I turned on my TV, and literally - LITERALLY - three seconds after doing so, I saw what I feared: An individual lauding not the merits of our new President, but his color. Give the man credit for his deeds - not his skin color. I personally did not vote for the man, but by the same token I am eager to see anyone who is not the current moron try their hand at leading our country. The upside? I don't think anyone could possibly do a worse job.

Good luck, Barack. I will judge you as I judge others: on your merits. Don't disappoint me.

(11/03/08 - 11:16 PM)
Today we elected to fire our saw operator. Here was a young man who really had his head together. He was smart - really smart - and was working far below his station. Admittedly, because he had resolved that this path of least resistance was what he was destined for.

We really didn't mind, as long as he did his job, and did it well. In fact, we were fairly happy to have someone of his intellect working a position that normally is filled by someone inexperienced.

One day, the owner walked into the saw area, and noticed this young man doing something horribly inefficient. Not only that, but he had been trained in how to do it properly, and we all were keenly aware that he knew what he ought to be doing. The owner inquired into his decision to saw in this manner. His response was enlightening:

"Have you seen my workload? I barely have anything to saw right now."

What he was saying - literally - was, 'I'm working slowly because my saw pile is almost empty.'

Whoops - wrong thing to say. How stupid can you be?

(11/02/08 - 10:18 PM)
I got nothin' here.

(11/01/08 - 10:06 PM)
I changed the switches and outlets in my bathroom today, and did a few other little niggling electrical-ly things. When I got into the box, I realized that I had inadvertantly forgotten that one switch was a three-way, and not a single-pole. No problem, I figured: I had the thing all apart, so I'd just run to the local hardware store.

Now, my local hardware store is one of the last remnants of the small-town hardware store of a bygone era. How it has managed to survive I'll never know, but I have to admit that it's pretty handy at times - even if it does look like the curio shop of the old Chinese guy from "Gremlins".

The Frogurt Is Also Cursed!

So, I finally located a white, three-way switch. Then I figured, while I was there, I would look for some hinged PVC pipe hangers. My house was built with the least possible amount, and as such the pipe spans tend to sag a little in places. This leads to thumping noises when pressure begins flowing through them. Not a big deal, but I figured for ten minutes of my time and five bucks, why not fix it?

I searched high and low for these things, but could not find them. Finally, I broke down and asked the woman working there. I described what I wanted, and when she asked if I could draw it, I complied. She then said that she had no idea what I was talking about. To be fair, maybe these things are newer, but my house if ten years old - so they're not that new.

She asked if I had one with me.


Could I go home and tear one out, and bring it back?

Uh... no.

I explained again how they worked, and she then asked if I meant Cable clips.


H brackets?


J bends?

J bends?! Really?! (A J bend is more commonly called by its misnomer of 'P' trap, and is the thing that you often see under your sink.)

How in the world did we go from a small, one inch square, hinged clip, to a J-bend? How had she even arrived at this, after I sketched the item to scale?

She let me know that she still wasn't sure what I meant, but if I wanted to I could wait twenty minutes for another employee to show up: Maybe he'd know what I required. Or, she could order it for me if I could bring her one.

I appreciated that she was trying to be helpful - I really did. But I still wanted to punch her in the head... a little. In twenty minutes, I could drive to the big box store, buy what I needed, and still be home in a reasonable amount of time.

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