Saturday, February 24, 2007

Work on the Brain

Life over the course of the last month and a half, in regards to corporate life, has been extremely exhausting for me. There are so many projects that I've been working on lately. There are so many overlapping deadlines that it seems I haven't had a moment of peace.

I noticed that I'm taking lunch much later. I managed to start eating breakfast or at least grab some green tea or something along those lines. I started to drink a lot more water, which certainly makes my body feel better.

So basically when I start working on these projects tunnel vision takes over. Something has to suffer in order to meet deadlines. It's funny because people can give you advice on time management, but it really doesn't help. In an ideal world you can say I'm going to work on Project A for 2 hours, then Project B for 2 hours, etc.

This is completely impossible for me. I have to take support calls, occasionally help with support activities, respond to tech correspondence, respond to IT correspondence, work with a wonderful yet demading sales group, and then I have the special projects that become priority over all other things. This makes me go bonkers at time. I feel shackled to my desk lately.

Last night I hung out with some of my coworkers. I had a wonderful time. Told some good stories, heard some good stories, had a few Sam Adams.

I get home at about 10:30. I talk to Al and then fall asleep. I wakeup at 3 and my brain is completely obsessed with all of the deadlines I have for the upcoming week. I couldn't turn it off. It kept racing.

What I usually do at times like these is take some days off. I certainly have the days. I'm going to finish the big projects ASAP. Then I'm going to take a week off for mental recuperation ceteris paribus.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

A Little Humility Goes A Long Way

It's been awhile since my last post. I admit that I don't have anything remarkable to contribute today.

Let's see I had a wonderful President's Day weekend. It was really nice to see Al, Rachel, and Amy. I got to talk a lot to Al's mom, who I truly adore.

I did a ton of driving, if you've read Al's blog: you'll get a pretty good idea of what the weekend entailed.

It's funny, looking back on so many things that I said when I was younger. Like I would never do long distance, date outside my race, etc. I thought I knew so much about the way that life worked.

I don't think most people realize especially when they are younger, that as much as they think they know how the world works--they don't have a clue. Life will challenge your theories every chance that it can. It's important to be open-minded, to take the opportunity to learn from anyone that you come into contact with. That's perhaps even a drunk on the street or a bumbling idiot.

My favorite quote is by Winston Churchill. I'm going to paraphrase it: the wise man knows that even the fool is right sometimes.

Humility goes a long way. I've learned the lesson and I've accepted that I'm one of life's students. I look forward to what further mysteries/lessons it plans to unveil.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Man in the Middle

I'd heard about John Amaechi's book Man in the Middle coming out recently. He literally comes out as one of only four men, to this point, in the major American sports (basketball, baseball, football, hockey) to admit that he is a gay man.

Of course he's been out of basketball for a few years now. I can't imagine the type of scrutiny that he would've suffered if he disclosed his sexuality when he was an active player. Actually I do. Perhaps some players would've stuck by his side, but I'm sure he would have been ostracized.

When his book came out I thought--well we know that there are much more gay men in organized sports. People might not be comfortable with that notion, kind of a don't ask don't tell mentality. I didn't think he was a big enough name to really illicit attention.

A few players have been asked questions, none really taking the bait. Well that is until Tim Hardaway, former Miami Heat/Golden State Warrior, made the statement below Tuesday on a Miami radio broadcast. I'm including an excerpt from a posting I found on ABC News:

"You know, I hate gay people," Hardaway said during an interview on "790 the Ticket."

"You know, I let it be known I don't like gay people. I don't like to be around gay people,"


"First of all, I wouldn't want him on my team," he said. "I think the majority of the players would ask for him to be traded or they would want to get traded."

The show's host said: "You know that what you're saying there though, Timmy, is flatly homophobic."

Hardaway replied, "I am homophobic. So yeah, I don't like it."

When reading the article I learned that Shaquille Oneal has given his support to John Amaechi. Shaq has always been his own man. I'm not surprised by the support from the gentle giant.

Hardaway offered an expected apology after all of the heat he's been taking regarding his comments. I know that Commissioner David Stern issued a statement that the NBA in no way backs the comments made by Tim Hardaway.

"I want to apologize for my comments … regarding gays. My comments were offensive and I regret making them. I'm sorry to anyone I have offended."

The sentiments expressed by Tim Hardaway, though offensive, are probably reflective of how a good percentage of organized athletes would react to having a gay team-mate. Hardaway expressed his opinion in a public forum, with a lack of sensitivity. However, that is his opinion, and though I don't share his sentiments I think he has the right to express it.

Perhaps Tim putting his foot in his mouth will open up dialogue where more players feel comfortable about expressing their reaction to the thought of having a homosexual team-mate. I can only hope that people discussing such an issue, and John being courageous enough to broach this issue, will help people to be more open-minded towards homosexuality.

Finally, I did notice a couple of people took a look at his picture (had this conversation earlier today at work) and I didn't hear anyone say well you could tell he was gay (from how he looked). I haven't heard any of his former team-mates assert anything along those lines either. I think people who might have not been exposed to (or more likely not aware that they were being exposed to)--can see that being gay has little to do with feminine or masculine traits, but with who you'd invite to your bed.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day

I know so many people that get depressed when they don't have a significant lover in their life on Valentine's Day. I've gone many of years without one. I've had one the last two years (she's a good woman)--but we are very far away from each other, currently defying the laws of a long distance relationship.

Still being alone for Valentine's Day is nothing to be depressed about. I can understand if you went out to a restaurant and you saw people sucking each other's tongue's out. That could be pretty sickening.

Valentine's Day really doesn't mean so much to me. I try to express my love year round. That doesn't mean that I totally disregard the day. I try to make Al feel special, because I think she's worth it. I don't need anything special. A card is always nice.

It's a holiday that sees couples go to ridiculous lengths: diamonds, fur coats, perhaps vehicles--to show their love. Valentine's Day to me is about the simple things. I got a chocolate fish that says you're a keeper, cute and funny. I got a card that says I'm the sweetest. I also received a Nalgene bottle filled with chocolate kisses.

I must say when it comes to creativity I'm a distant second to Al. I love to send her flowers, Peruvian Lilies this year (gorgeous), chocolates, and a teddy bear. The last couple of years I've sent them on the 13th so she can feel extra special, because she is.

I say this all to say when I was single I wasn't sad not to have a Valentine. I thought I'll have one--one day. I took my mother out and made her feel special. I went out with my sister and my cousin. I made the holiday work for me, instead of defining me. I hope that I'm able to maintain this even though I have someone very special person in my life.

Happy Valentine's Day Everyone!

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What exactly is a Nerd?

According to Wikipedia:

Nerd, as a stereotypical or archetypal designation, refers to somebody who passionately pursues intellectual or esoteric knowledge or pastimes, rather than engaging in a social life, participating in organized sports, or other mainstream activities. The Merriam-Webster definition is an "unstylish, unattractive, or socially inept person; especially: one slavishly devoted to intellectual or academic pursuits."

I would describe a nerd as someone that is socially awkward. To me this designation doesn't necessarily mean that you are smart. We had a guy at Randolph that was extremely socially inept. His name was Maurice. He had bad skin, huge pink lips, an Urkle-esque voice, and was so willing to be accepted amongst the popular kids that he became a bulls eye for their ridicule and harassment. They'd make him feel like they wanted to bring him into their circle just to bring up a story about his masturbating to one of the attractive girls in his grade. You see Maurice was a nerd, but he wasn't smart. He is what I call unfortunate.

Now I've been called a nerd before, of course not as I've gotten older. The first time was when I was in the fifth grade. I was in an enrichment program. The class just below us, the 1 class--we were 5-E they were 5-1, passed us in the hallway and called us nerds. We laughed because we knew they were jealous, because they were second best. We got all of the attention for being the "gifted" kids.

When I went to Junior High School I was never given this designation. Mostly, because only the smart kids knew that I was smart. I never pretended that I wasn't. People that just knew me from the neighborhood or that just met me might've assumed I was destined to be a juvenile delinquent, LOL. This was far from the case. I stayed in SP classes throughout JHS. So I was separated from most of the other kids except for lunch and gym. I blended well with the smart kids and the delinquents.

I suppose some people might've thought I was a nerd in high school. I was always on the honor roll. However, I always had a lot of friends, who thought I was really crazy. I experienced a bit of an identity crisis during the earlier portion of the 9th grade so perhaps I think the label would've been appropriate at that time.

I remember going to play on a basketball team (not for my high school--a neighborhood team). It was assumed that we were all stupid. We were required to take these retarded classes that a fifth grader should've been able to handle. I quit the team, because I couldn't take the classes.

Other than that I've never been awkward. I've had a very defined personality. People have respected me for who I was.

My older cousin called me a super nerd growing up. He was also very smart. However, I was a straight A student for so much of my life. It was kind of like being called a braniac--which a lot of people used to call me.

Our high school Valedictorian was super smart. I would've never called him a nerd. He was a bit socially awkward (as most genius type personalities are), but he had a lot of friends. He was cool being different. That made us more eager to accept him.

This post isn't about bragging about my intelligence level. You can make that judgment based on knowing me. It is to dispel some of the negative connotation behind the word.

Some times it is a good thing to be called a nerd. That's when the expression is given from some that are jealous or perhaps to signify that you're smart. Lenora Fulani says that we need more nerds in the black community. She wants people that aren't afraid to show how smart they are, people who can avoid the snares of popularity and that acceptance brings. Wouldn't that be wonderful for America at large?

You might ask what brought about my decision to post this. I went to a funeral and one of my former classmates saw me. He played on that basketball team that I mentioned. He was in the 2-E class with me. I fought a bully for him (that was in our class). He sold his condo to my cousin. So both my cousin and I know the guy. Well he told my cousin that I was a nerd in school. I found that kind of funny. I told my cousin that he was in my class and that he was smart. The guy did tell my cousin that he wished that he would've stayed on the path that I followed. He switched schools in the 3rd grade. He took the wrong path, even though he's a good guy. My cousin told him that I'm super smart, that I was never a nerd. It's so funny how differently people use the word nerd.

Okay that's enough rambling.

Monday, February 12, 2007

What's behind this?

I just read an article that was posted in the Metro that describes the Democrats plan to submit a non-binding disapproval of the Bush's administrations plan to deploy 20,000 additional troops in Iraq.

I ask what's the point? We know that many members of the House and of the Senate disapprove of the handling of the war in Iraq, the midterm elections signified that. We also know that the Democrats control the house and have a small majority in the Senate.

Before I go further into my rant I'll supply you with the article so you can see for yourself why I'm irritated:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- House Democratic leaders circulated a nonbinding resolution Monday saying that Congress "disapproves of the decision of President George W. Bush ... to deploy more than 20,000 additional United States combat troops to Iraq."

The measure, expected to come to a vote by Friday, also says that "Congress and the American people will continue to support and protect the members of the United States armed forces who are serving or who have served bravely and honorably in Iraq."

Debate on the resolution is scheduled to begin on Tuesday, with each of the 435 House members allotted five minutes to speak. It will mark the first debate in Congress on the war since Democrats won control of the House and Senate in last November's elections. Opposition to the war figured heavily in the outcome of the election.

Democratic leaders in the House and Senate have vowed to force an end to U.S. participation in the war, and made debate over a nonbinding resolution a symbolic first step.

The House measure was drafted in simple, unadorned terms, an attempt by Democrats to maximize the number of Republicans who would support it and also to emphasize support for the troops. Republican leaders have said they expect at least a few dozen defections when the vote is taken later in the week.

House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, has said the GOP will have an alternative, but it is not clear that majority Democrats will allow it to be offered on the House floor.

"We're going to have Republicans who are skeptical of (Bush's) plan who'll probably vote for this," he said. Asked if he thought House Republicans would lose a third of their members to the Democrats' resolution, he said, "I don't think we'll lose that many."

Boehner complained Sunday that Democrats had backed out of a promise to allow an immediate, wide-ranging debate on Iraq.

On Thursday, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer said Republicans would be permitted to propose an alternative this week to the Democrats' resolution. But on Sunday, Hoyer said that is "not necessarily our plan."

Hoyer, D-Md., said a House vote will be limited to the proposed resolution opposing President Bush's troop escalation and a Republican alternative would be voted on 30 to 45 days from now.

"Live up to your word," Boehner, R-Ohio, told Hoyer. Democrats, Boehner said, "won't even let us have a substitute. ... Give us a vote this week."

Boehner said Republicans want to offer a resolution saying a bipartisan panel should oversee the president's plan, with benchmarks to keep track of whether it is progressing.

"You're going to have that opportunity," Hoyer replied.

The lawmakers appeared together on "Meet the Press" on NBC.

Who is really in control of a war? Congress has the official power to declare war and can set appropriations for a war. The President via an Executive Order also has the power to declare war, though this has rarely been used and if my U.S. History is correct Harry Truman was the first President to exercise such power. The President is Commander in Chief.

I'm not a Bush supporter. I do not approve of his handling in Iraq. I wish the war was over. I hate to see American or any other nation's troops massacred in what I believe is ultimately a fruitless war on terror. However, we have made a commitment in both Iraq and in Afghanistan. The United States pulling out of either country with their tales between their legs would be catastrophic.

What's the answer how to handle this situation? I don't have it. I don't think most people do. John McCain suggested building up the U.S. troops. If I believed such a move would lead to a quicker resolution I'd say I was all for it. Call me a cynic. I can see us in Iraq ten years from now in some capacity.

There's a major pissing contest going on between Congress and the President and frankly in stinks. Ideally the most sound decisions would come from a group of military experts along with the President and his staff. It would be wonderful if Congress and/or the people backed the resolution, but if it brings a quick end to the conflict and we don't agree, who really cares. Being a politician isn't about kowtowing to demands from the public. It's about making the right decision. In this case the right decision is to support a government that U.S. forces along with the help of our allies helped to topple. You can't run away and hide now.

As you can see I still don't have an answer (otherwise maybe I'd seek political office--god help us if that ever happens). I just think Congress could be doing something else like fixing the impending collapse of Social Security, overhauling the Medicare system and health care systems in general, funding alternative forms of fuels such as hydrogen and get my point. I feel like all we are really seeing is posturing for the Democratic and Republican Presidential primaries. Frankly it stinks.

Finally, don't think that I believe dialogue concerning the handling of Iraq is fruitless. I think that if it ultimately leads to a solution its good. If it's just to bitch without coming up with a solution--What's the point?

Sunday, February 11, 2007

My friend Thomas and I engaged in some pretty interesting "experiments" as he deemed them. They were based on images that we picked from and led us into one page pieces. I was looking through some of my writing and thought that I'd like to share a couple of them.

The first is titled Piano Man. It is one of my favorites. The second is entitled Waiting for an Update. It is one of my very few trips into the Science Fiction realm. I hope that you enjoy them.

Please remember that I'm creating stories based on my impression of what the images represent. I place the pictures after the story so that your opinion of what the photo represents doesn't interfere with the picture that I'm painting.

Piano Man
August 4th, 2006

Scott Brown’s eyes showed the effects of three shots of bourbon, or what he affectionately refers to as his medicine, requisite poison before any gig. I’m Cliff Daniels, bartender extraordinaire at a swanky new lounge, Mystique, settled neatly in the confines of Cobble Hill, Brooklyn.

Scott is the biggest attraction here, kind of a local celebrity. The kid has it. That’s it, no if ands or buts about it.

I get the next shot of bourbon lined up for him. It’s like clockwork, three warms him up, the fourth fucks him up, but that’s when his fingers begin to fly. They take over, telling stories of heartbreak, jubilation, and every ounce of the road in between.

On days like today, when there is enough of a breeze, we leave the door open, an open invitation to let Scott’s piano prowess seep out and snare anyone passing by.

“Scott you know you’re not supposed to smoke in here,” I tell him.

He waves me off. “Po-po occupied. You think they have an excuse to come in here aggravating me over a smoke? Man half these people in here would lynch they asses.” He sucks his teeth in that way that you know the argument’s finished.

“Scott man, them fingers warmed up yet or you need this shot here to ease the arthritis?”

“I keep telling ya ass me ain’t got no fuckin’ artrytus. Just pass me my drink Doogie Howser M.D.”

We both laugh. His is a deep almost mad scientist type of chuckle. Mine is a register higher. The blend makes the women at the table nearest to the stage turn towards us. Scott catches their smiles after slamming down his drink. He flirts back with his eyes before telling me, “da one with the big ass going to ride me tonight.”

“That’s what you always say!”

Scott asks, “Have I ever been wrong?”

I laugh, “plenty of times.”

“Not tonight.”

He walks back to the stage and sits down by his piano, takes a swig of water, and then speaks softly into the microphone, “I need a songbird tonight that knows how to take it home.” He overlooked all the hands that shot up until he locked eyes on the woman with the big ass at the table with her girlfriends. “I want you.”

Scott’s finger danced to “At Last” and his songbird snagged the tune and belted as if possessed by Etta James’ spirit. I knew at that moment those fingers would get him anything he wanted tonight.

Piano Man represented a transition for me as a writer. To that point I hadn't given myself completely in attacking dialects. The rhythm of Scott's character's voice made it extremely easy for me to write this. It was one of the best experiments that I have ever completed. Perhaps the Piano Man will need to be resurrected.

Waiting for an Update
August 10th, 2006

Alisha’s massive hands engulfed the gift from her mother, Bianca. Her eyes lit up with excitement, “Momma, what is it?”

“The earth beings call it a snow globe. It’s a city they call Chicago.”

“Chicago, what a strange name for a city. I would like to rename it Xander.”

“Well you can’t just go changing the names of places whenever you’d like to Alisha, things have names for a reason.”

“Momma, why did they call it Chicago? It seems such a boring name for a city with such a beautiful skyline. Look at all the skyscrapers.”

A smile came to Bianca’s face. “Skyscraper…Alisha I see you’ve been doing your galactic studies. Let me scan my brainware for an answer to your question.”

“Please do, my brainware can only scan our domestic databases. I can’t wait until I get updated.”

“Your update will come when your brain is mature enough for it sweetheart. I’ve told you that many times.”

Alisha sat, gift in hand, shifting it from one hand to the other. She giggled. I hope these ones don’t die like the ones in New Orleans. These humans are such terrible pets.

Bianca spoke in a very spiky lifeless voice, indicative of downloading, “Chicago was a name given by a tribe of American Indians known as the Potawatomi. The Potawatomi referred to the marshes Chicago was built on as Checagou. It means wild onion or garlic; it is also referred to as skunk cabbage.”

“Momma is that data corrupt? That’s a funny reason to name something Chicago.”

Bianca’s eyes popped open, download completed. “Alisha be careful.”

Alisha’s mouth gaped open. The once blue sky was turning purple. She could see the ant like beings running for their lives, as they placed their hands over their mouths and ran in terror.

The globe fell from Alisha’s hands, but was scooped up by her mother as if she was the second baseman for the New York Yankees. “Your contempt is poisonous too them. Learn to use your words more carefully.”

“I don’t understand.”

“Their world is not for us to judge. We were only meant to observe. Your opinions can be poisonous.”

“Then can you at least tell me what happened to New Orleans?”

“I’m going to put this up for safe keeping…New Orleans was my mistake…you were too young…I thought you were ready this time.”

“I’m ready.” There goes my update, stupid earth beings!

I don't have the image here, but I will insert it when I get the chance to. This story infers that Alisha (an outside force) was responsible for Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In her innocence and desire to entertain herself--which ultimately redefines whatever she's looking at--Alisha creates havoc and devastation. However, despite such events she believes that she is mature enough to handle more instead of following the natural sequence of events (experiences) that would change her naive outlook on the world.

If you look at the image of Chicago you will see the purple background. I saw some sort of poison being introduced, despite the beautiful skyline, the type of poison that outsiders have inadvertently brought that have destroyed many a cultures throughout history.

Friday, February 09, 2007

Subcompact Car Market Alarming Findings

I was on Business Week's website and I clicked on the article concerning subcompact cars. Now I've been doing a lot of research on cars, getting around to getting my license--especially if I'm planning on going to graduate school in Boston.

So the subcompact market seemed pretty promising to me, especially due to their fuel efficiency and affordability. Now I've already moved on to deciding that the Mazda 6 or if my pockets are stretched too far--the Mazda 3 are my top two picks, with possibly the Civic on the same playing field.

Before that I was considering the Yaris, the Matrix, the Rabbit, the Cobalt, the Pontiac G5, and cars along those lines. They were a bit too compact for me, LOL, and didn't fit my image of a car worthy of my sense of style.

So I click on the Business Week Article:
How Safe is Your Small Car?
By By Matt Vella

I'll give you an excerpt from the article and I'll provide you with a hyperlink to the full article and the slideshow of ratings as well (should you still be interested in subcompact cars).

A new report from the IIHS shows a wide disparity in safety among the popular new crop of fuel-efficient minicars

Rising fuel prices and growing environmental concerns among consumers elicited a new mantra from automakers this year: "Small is good." Honda (HMC), Nissan (NSANY), Toyota (TM), and even General Motors (GM) hit dealers with new or redesigned subcompacts—all imports from other markets—tiny new citizens in a country of much bigger, heavier, and thirstier trucks and sport utility vehicles.

But in a land of giants, these new Lilliputians may be alarmingly vulnerable. Crash test results released on Dec. 18 by the Arlington (Va.)-based Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) show that so-called minicars can leave occupants in serious peril, especially when they collide with much larger vehicles like the ones that populate most American roads.

Optional Equipment Becomes Necessary IIHS reported that driver fatality rates in subcompacts are higher than in any other vehicle category. In fact, death rates in minicars are double those in midsize and large cars. Fatalities in single-vehicle accidents, meanwhile, are higher in smaller vehicles than larger ones.

The new crash results show that passengers in very small cars can suffer serious or even fatal injury in collisions with other vehicles, particularly in side- and rear-impact crashes. Of the eight vehicles tested, all but one earned ratings of "poor" or "marginal" in at least one of the three tests administered. Models from Toyota, Scion, and Hyundai earned scores of "poor" in side-impact tests; the Chevrolet Aveo, a rebadged Daewoo import, earned a "marginal" score.

Side-impact tests conducted by IIHS are designed to mimic collisions with larger vehicles. The crash barrier is lifted to the height of a truck or SUV, pitting it directly against the windows of most minicars. The difference in size puts the barrier at head level for passengers and even direct contact in cars without optional side airbags. The results in poorly designed or poorly equipped vehicles aren't pretty.

The difference between serious injury and death can sometimes be a matter of optional equipment. Adrian Lund, president of the IIHS, says: "It's simple physics; the laws of physics dictate that a larger car has more protection. In small cars, then, the optional safety equipment becomes all the more important."

Now common sense does tell us that a smaller car would be more vulnerable in a collision than most larger vehicles. Fuel efficiency appears to the be the catch phrase of the industry due to rising (though currently stationary) fuel costs. As the article states most of the automobile manufacturers have been rushing to tap into the rising interest by consumers by introducing new/redesigned subcompact and compact vehicles.

Personally, I need a vehicle that I'm going to feel safe in. I've seen enough of those Jetta commercials to see how dangerous collisions are. Automobile manufacturers of the world lets try having safety and fuel efficiency as goals for this burgeoning market. No one wants to be subcompacted in their subcompact.

How Safe is Your Small Car?

Slide Show

Thursday, February 08, 2007

I was just on the New York Times website reviewing the most popular articles. I came across one that I glimpsed in December, but today it struck me in a completely different way than before.

It centered on questions that couples should ask themselves before they get married. I thought the list was really good--and if more oouples dealt with these issues instead of impulses the divorce rate might not be as high in this country as it presently is. Love will only take you so far, communication will take you the rest of the way.

Questions Couples Should Ask (Or Wish They Had) Before Marrying

Relationship experts report that too many couples fail to ask each other critical questions before marrying. Here are a few key ones that couples should consider asking:

1) Have we discussed whether or not to have children, and if the answer is yes, who is going to be the primary care giver?

2) Do we have a clear idea of each other’s financial obligations and goals, and do our ideas about spending and saving mesh?

3) Have we discussed our expectations for how the household will be maintained, and are we in agreement on who will manage the chores?

4) Have we fully disclosed our health histories, both physical and mental?

5) Is my partner affectionate to the degree that I expect?

6) Can we comfortably and openly discuss our sexual needs, preferences and fears?

7) Will there be a television in the bedroom?

8) Do we truly listen to each other and fairly consider one another’s ideas and complaints?

9) Have we reached a clear understanding of each other’s spiritual beliefs and needs, and have we discussed when and how our children will be exposed to religious/moral education?

10) Do we like and respect each other’s friends?

11) Do we value and respect each other’s parents, and is either of us concerned about whether the parents will interfere with the relationship?

12) What does my family do that annoys you?

13) Are there some things that you and I are NOT prepared to give up in the marriage?

14) If one of us were to be offered a career opportunity in a location far from the other’s family, are we prepared to move?

15) Does each of us feel fully confident in the other’s commitment to the marriage and believe that the bond can survive whatever challenges we may face?
The Day We Made Granny Cry

It's been awhile since I've written. This story filled my head this morning as I rode in on the subway. It's 3:30 EST and it has finally overwhelmed me to the point that I gave birth to it. This uses the epistlory format that I'm using to write a novel. The names used here are fictitious as is the story:

The Day We Made Granny Cry
February 8th, 2007

Assorted tulips in a crystal vase sat centered on Granny’s marble dining room table. They rested on top of the clear plastic tablecloth, protector from our spills (AKA accidents), and our grubby little fingerprints. The water in the vase seemed too little to sustain the lovely cut flowers, but who was willing to get in the ring with Grandma and state this to her face?

The room was dim, as brightness generally aggravated her eyes, but the tulips gave the room its own sort of brightness. My sister, 7, and I, 9, watched it from a distance (too afraid that our clumsy hands would tip them over).

We’d saved our allowance to buy them for granny for Valentine’s Day. Who else was going to do it? Grandpa started the tradition the first year they were married. This was the first year without him, but it didn’t mean she didn’t deserve her flowers.

Six months of us secretly pooling our allowance, birthday gifts, etc., and we were able to pull it off.

We walked in the door with our parents on the 14th and handed them over to their rightful owner. Granny took off her glasses. Her eyes watered up and then the tears spilled down her face. She looked over to my parents to see if they’d been responsible for the gesture. The two of them shook their heads and pointed to the two of us.

Granny beckoned us to her. She grabbed us both in a bear hug, suffocating us with her breasts, and thanked us. She’s never gone a Valentine’s Day without her tulips and we were happy to be a part of the tradition.

Granny’s Babies,
Kenneth Adams (28) & Jessica Irons (26)
Queensbury, New York

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Tame the Savage Beast

Anyone that knows me pretty well knows that I'm usually a pretty even person. I don't enjoy getting upset. I don't enjoy conflict. However, there are times that my inner demon emerges looking for its pound of flesh.

Last night I took my nieces, Sierra and Keyanna, to the movies. It was a post-birthday celebration for Sierra--she just turned five on the 23rd. I promised that I would take her out this weekend. She wanted to see Stomp the Yard. So me and Neese, Sierra's mother, headed downtown to catch the 5:20 showing. My nephew was on punishment, long story, and I was not about to ask for him--considering his punishment was deserved (I didn't want to reinforce the behavior that got him into trouble).

The movie was entertaining (and expensive--but anyone that takes children to the movies already knows this). We arrived a few minutes late and had to sit in the front row. However, once we got into the movie it wasn't the cause of any concern. Sierra ate about 85% of a large popcorn (that looked like it was an extra large). She seemed to be a professional eating champion, don't worry we'll prime her for Nathan's. Kobyashi look out.

The movie went by quickly. It followed a similar formula as Drumline or any movies from this genre. I personally love step dancing. I fell in love with it the first time I saw people in our high school step. They had some great fraternities, but I wasn't willing to go through the humiliation that my high school peers went through--for a high school frat. I never quite got myself in position to pledge in college. I had numerous invitations, but I didn't accept any. I even have a comment in my high school yearbook that said they'd better see me in the national step dancing championships, based on my dancing talent.

We called my mother to tell her the movie was out--to see if she was going to be there on time. She wasn't, no big worries. I snuck the kids into Epic Movie for about half an hour and then headed over to TGI Fridays.

There was a huge line. My mother had put us down on the list. We stayed a little too late at the movie, but it was okay because there was supposed to be a 20 minute wait. Twenty minutes passed. Parties of 2 and 3 were seated left and right. We sat by calmly. The hostess came to us about 20 minutes later and said we were going to be seated in ten minutes upstairs. It's not hard to figure out, based on the blog title, that this didn't happen. The hostess basically ignored us for another twenty minutes.

The manager was tucked away in the back, trying to keep the kitchen in order. People were asking to speak to him, the hostess would not let this happen. She was even snotty with one man who asked about the service and speaking to him--and she said tell him yourself.

The manager sent out a sacrificial lamb, the nicest waiter you can ever meet. Now at this point my mother had spoken with the hostess a couple of times. I was trying my best not to be a control freak--and to not explode. I was pacing back and forth, steaming. Well I saw the very educated black men speaking to the lamb. I went over to speak to him as well--wanting the manager to come out to speak to us.

At one point my voice began to carry. I think that prompted the manager to scurry from his hole. He was a bit flustered, overwhelmed by a short-staff, haven't just started eight days ago, and finally with the other manager MIA due to sickness.

He initially brought out a poor attitude. He started working on fixing the situation however, after a few of us threatened to speak to the corporate office. My mother tried to speak to him, especially because she said it was ridiculous that it was over an hour and a half and you had 2 children waiting to eat.

I'll fast forward a bit. My mother was still steaming and so was I. The lamb was really good in letting us vent. He seemed like he should've been the manager. At that point I said to the lamb that his manager was like a turtle that stuck his head out and then popped it back in. He had said he needed to take a breath. My mother had waited and asked if he had, wanting to know what they were going to do about the wait, he said know and had walked away.

After we ordered I told the lamb that I was the one that was paying for this bill and before I signed my name I expected to have the manager back upstairs and to apologize. I said for him to relay that every minute that he took his breath I would continue to get angrier--that he had let the situation escalate instead of dealing with it.

The lamb brought the children's food out first and our very needed drinks. Towards the end of the meal the manager came back upstairs. He had a new tune, probably relaxed by now. We were seated at 10, after being at the restaurant shortly after 8, and left at about 11:30. He was calm and apologetic. He showed me the old bill and then the bill after he applied a 50% discount to compensate. He told us that he had spoken to the hostess about her deplorable behavior, having heard it from multiple parties (all she needed to due was go to him once she'd seen that the situation was getting out of hand). He even gave me a card offering me half off our next meal. That was even better than I had expected.

So the inner beast took a nap--and ultimately we had a wonderful, despite trying moments, night out with the kids.

My niece peed in my bed this morning (circular stain fashion)--which almost brought the beast back out!

I'm even again, after a bout at the laundromat. Still can't put sheets on or a blanket until the stain dries--cleaned it as best as I could. Now I know why people put plastic sheets on their beds when kids are over! I guess I can't even get mad, because just about any kid that has slept in my bed has marked their territory with their urine fingerprint.

Enjoy the SuperBowl! Go Bears.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Microsoft Sucks

This week more than anytime that I can remember, I've joined the bandwagon of people attesting to the demonic nature of this software behometh. One of my responsibilities is to design cds that mirror our binder products. They are basically a compromise between a print binder and an annual database subscription.

So what happens when you get up against a deadline and finally have all the pieces to the puzzle in place? Microsoft's changes to Internet Explorer's security settings blocking active content from not only the cd, but the local hard drive rears its nasty mocking head. I found some websites that spoke of the futility of Internet explorer with dealing with basically a local version of a website on a cd or hard drive. Using a cd isn't too bad, you just choose the option to allow active content to be loaded and your good to go. This I've known of for awhile, as Windows XP Service Pack 2 basically forced cd developers to completely change the way they designed cds, a lot of irrate customers and developers ensued.

So I read all of these sites that told me what code I had to put into these pages to stop those nasty little active x content is trying to be loaded...)*_*(++*+...could be harmful to your machine*_(_*()_* messages from coming up. Guess what? It didn't work. So I basically wasted my day trying to get this to work and it didn't. Microsoft says you can tell the user to alter their security zone, can't see that making anyone happy. The funny thing is you have no problem with Firefox or Netscape. However, we've advertised that the cds work with any browser, pounds head.

I also was sent an email disclosing how Microsoft is basically refusing to deal with updating non-Windows 2003/Vista machines to the revised Daylight Savings Time. So as an administrator I'm responsible for fixing this issue for all of the machines on our Network (that run Windows 2000 Professional). I can't believe that they won't fix the issue using Windows Update. It's completely idiotic. 80% of the PC market has Windows XP installed. In a non-networked environment it's not bad for machines not to properly read the time. However, this has a significant impact on Microsoft Outlook clients and Microsoft Exchange Servers. So we have a month to get a script to fix this problem. I guess I should feel grateful that we were sent an email.

Thanks Axis of Evil for all the aggravation that your causing--when you could actually come up with a patch to fix both problems.

It's kind of ironic that I'm stewing and typing this post using IE 7, but what the hell--I'm shackled to Microsoft like millions of Americans. I'm just voicing my opinion on how much you suck today--knowing how much I'm dependent on your software/browsers/operating systems. Just throw us some crumbs damn it!