Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trash cans

I work in a cube farm. I came in one day this week, and the two of us in the cube, lost a trash can. We had four. Each of us had a trash can for trash and a blue trashcan for things that will recycle, such as paper, plastic bottles and cans. So I came in one day, and one of our recycle bins is missing. But it is probably a good thing, as we can’t really fill it everyday and it just takes up space in a tight, two person cube.

That reminded me of a year I spent at another company, which got sold, merged and about vanished this last year. They almost had a license to print money, being in a “banking” industry. I hope some of those people that ran that place, have not moved here and taken over trash can duty.

I’ll explain. The other company had to be incredibly diligent in protecting their customers’ financial information. They took this WAY over the top. When I first got there, I was assigned another contractor in the next cube over, to show me the ropes. One of the interesting things he told me about was the trash cans. We each had two; one for waste and one for recycle trash. My mentor cautioned me that it was probably best not to use either. And to never put any trash in either, that had any numbers on it. Numbers could be account numbers, and those were not to be compromised. I didn’t listen. I went ahead and dumped my lunch trash into the regular trash. I hardly ever had any trash for the recycle bin. One day I got wind that they finally got staplers in, so I went and got one. Without even thinking, I got out my new stapler and tossed the thin cardboard box it had come in, into my recycle bin.

When I arrived at work the next day, my recycle bin was TAPED to my chair with clear tape and a form letter taped to the bin. The note basically read that I’d violated corporate privacy rules by placing a box with PART NUMBERS on it into my recycle bin. This “breach of security” had been written up, I was instructed to discuss this with my manager and that if even ONE more breach occurred, as a contractor, I’d be shown the door. I could NOT believe it. I still have trouble believing this. My mentor showed up as I was peeling the tape off. He chuckled and said that they LOOKED for any violation and that every contractor had been written up for some real or imagined breach within a few weeks of their start. He said this was done so that they only had to have one more trumped up “strike” against you and they could justify any immediate terminations they needed. I went and talked with my supervisor and explained how absurd this all seemed. He was a social friend of mine and agreed, but said that HIS boss was also notified, so to lay low, stay out of trouble and hope for the best.

I headed back and talked with the other contractors during a coffee break. I found out that almost every one of them didn’t use the trash cans at all. They used the large trash bins in the hall ways. I then began to notice that many employees followed the same rules. At the end of one of our rows of cubes, was a fairly high up manager. I noticed for a few days, that when she would leave, she would pick up her two trash cans and take them down to the common area and transfer all her food trash and recycles to the common bins! This lady probably made six figures, but spent the last ten minutes of her day, sorting trash.

A few months later, we all arrived and they had removed all individual trashcans and also all contractor name tags. We thought we’d all been canned, but no, just part of the dehumanization process.

Well, they found another reason to cut me by the end of the year. They cut ten percent and as the newest contractor with a “breach”, I was one of three let go. My wife told me to never work for the puzzle palace again. The contractors called it the puzzle palace, for lack of any better term.

A few months later, I heard from one of the other contractor friends I’d made there. He had an even better story. He was from Australia. He was working with his wife back home to refinance their home. He had written on a sticky note a FAX number to fax back some documents. He’d kept the documents, but tossed the sticky into the main trash can, not even in his cube, since they had removed all those. Not the “shred” bin, but the regular trash bin. All this sticky had on it was an international fax number, which doesn't look like a sixteen digit credit card number. The next day, he arrived to find the same sticky taped to his chair, the standard form letter, see the boss, blah blah blah.

All of which begs the questions, who was “watching” the common area trash cans (cameras in the ceiling tiles?), who was responsible for dumpster-diving to retrieve the sticky with the fax number on it, and did they keep their shots current.

We called it the puzzle palace for good cause.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Flowers in a car

Back when the new Volkswagen Beetle came out, they made a few advertisements about the flower vase in the car. I think they were trying to attract the throw-back hippies from the 1960’s. Maybe they were trying to instill an environmentally aware image. But then fresh flowers will last about four minutes in a hot parked car. So everyone uses silk flowers or really tacky plastic ones.

My wife has a 1995 Toyota van. It’s falling apart, but has 200,000 miles on it, so that is expected. The plastic cup holders broke some years back. Only a large cup that will wedge into the hole, will fit now, as there is no bottom on the holders. My wife also buys fresh cut flowers to take to her parents and to a nursing home. The broken cup holders are great flower holders.

And you thought VW had this idea first....HA.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Many ancient cultures build mounds. For the most part, it is lost to the ancients, just what the mounds were for. Some were burial mounds for tribal leaders. Some were places of worship, or king’s homes.

I was walking by a vending machine and noticed the Mounds candy bar.
That got me to thinking about other mounds and so I did a Google search for Mounds. Fascinating things can be learned with Google Image searches. I found the photo of an American Indian mound from Virginia. I found a photo of the candy Mounds Bar.

I even found a Mighty Mounds bar that seems to have something to do with enlarging a ladies chest.

On the way to work, I drive past a brand new American made mound.

It’s a mound of trash.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Defining Roles vs Rolls

As in any company, we just went through another management reorganization. This one was interesting, in that no worker-bees changed roles. It was repeatedly stressed that we needed to keep on doing what ever it is we do. Only we reported to new managers. At least some do. My new manager and I were discussing if this is the second or third time he has “been your manager”.
All the meetings took up most of the day. They started with a WEB cast showing the why, what, who stuff and took some questions. That took about an hour and a half. Our upper level manager scheduled an in-the-building lunch to talk with our group. It was nice that they provided lunch.
What got me, was that the WEB cast kept talking about “roles”. This role being needed by the company, that role being filled by that group.
They were talking about these roles.

It can be a universal problem to define roles. While surfing the internet, I found this story about an actress, her “rolls” and roles.

Peter Sellers used multiple roles to his advantage.

All I could keep thinking about were these rolls

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Fun at the DMV - Part Two

We have two classic cars. Mustangs both. A 1969 and a 1970. The state of Texas, is pretty good with classic and antique cars. Once a car is twenty five years old, you can declare it an antique. This does a few things. You can get a Antique Vehicle plate from the state. OR, what I’ve done, is gotten original 1969 and 1970 Texas plates to put on the cars. Just like when they were brand new. What I had to do was purchase a set at a swap meet, take them over to the regional office for inspection. Then, you pay the fee and are good. The neat things are, the plate is good for five years! Not just one. Plus, you don’t have to do the yearly state safety inspection. The downside is, you are not supposed to be using the vehicle every day for work. If you do like I do and have original plates, the state issues you a small galvanized metal tag. On it, they stick on a “trailer” type sticker, which is really their license number. I did this for 10 or 15 years without any issues.

This year, 2008, the antique plates across the state, all expired at the end of March. Around the middle of February, I realized that I’d NOT gotten the renewal notice from the state. Odd, in that I’ve been doing this for years and we have not moved. I called up a friend with an old car, and he had gotten his renewal in January. I called up the main county office and didn’t get half of my question out when the lady told me the steps I’d need to take. I think the state messed up and didn’t mail out all the notices. She tells me to take the VIN number, the old number, my check and head to any of their offices to renew the plates. Translation, welcome to the LINE! I start planning my urban assult on the DMV. I gather up the metal plates, with the STATES numbers on them. I get my proof of insurance and I note the VIN on them. I find that the office is open late on Tuesdays, so plan to leave work and get there before 5 PM, leaving lots of time.

I enter the DMV on a rainy Tuesday and am only the second person in line! I await my turn. When it is my turn, I approach the lady and explain that I’ve got not one, but two antiques. I’m not half way through my speech, and her eyes have widened and are looking to start spinning any minute. She tries to “look this up” for about two minutes and gives up. She starts to gather up all my information and tells me she has to get the supervisor to help. She heads back to the super’s desk and they sit there staring at the computer screen and shuffling papers for about five minutes. She then tells me the classic “well, I’ve got good news and bad”. The short version is, the VIN on the 1970 is good and they can issue a new metal tag and number. The bad news is, the VIN on the 1969 isn’t in the computer, the metal tag number THAT THE STATE ISSUED JUST FIVE YEARS BACK, can’t be used to look up information. And, those 1969 Texas plates? The RRK-nn’s? Plates like those were NEVER ISSUED BY THE STATE. Frightening that this agency is tracking anything. I tell her to do all she can for the 1970 and I’d be back. She completes the transaction for the 1970 and I get a new tag and numbers. She points out that the NEW way, has the expiration on it, March, 2013. One corner of the tag, has a partial VIN, one corner has the original plate number and the other corner has their new tracking number, which is used to tie the car, the original plate, and the new number, to the car and myself. Great, why wasn’t this being done for the last 10 years!

I head home. I take the original 1969 license plates off the car. I check the VIN and realize the problem started with the insurance card! The VIN is one digit off. That explains why they declared the car, which has been in Texas since 1975, didn’t exist. I call up the insurance and they correct the VIN and email over new proof cards. I then run up to our bank and crack into the safety deposit box and get the Texas Title to the car, which they said didn’t exist. So I have in hand, a title to a car they didn’t think existed, the metal 1969 license plates, that they didn’t think existed. Proof of insurance with the correct VIN, the original state issued tag (Not that it did any good, as they’d destroyed all knowledge of that). I present myself back to the DMV, wait in line for just one or two people, and get a new clerk. Again, I get half way through my presentation of the facts, when her eyes DO start rolling around like a slot machine and she stammers out that she needs her supervisor. She gathers up the plates, the title and other bits of paper and heads over to the supervisor. They click on the computer for about two minutes and both return to me. The supervisor remembers me and questions her own sanity at not finding the car. I explain the digit mix up on the proof of insurance. AHH! She says. She tells the clerk how to enter all this information, the plates (yes, they DO exist), the VIN (Yes, the car DOES exist). Once the clerk is busy printing off paper, the supervisor explains that in the last five years, the state has redone the antique plates and most of the old information was trashed.

So after about an hour and a half, I head back to the bank to put the title back into the safety box, I head home with the original plates to put back on, plus a new “tag” good for five more years.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Fun at the DMV - Part One

Don’t you just love dealing with your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? I guess it is what we should get used to if we have government run health care. About ten years back, my state decided to allow us to avoid going in. We just had to add a single dollar to the amount, and they would mail us either the window sticker, or entire new license plates. I thought that was well worth the dollar. They could avoid my presence. I get to bribe a state official and avoid standing in one of their lines. It works great, most of the time.

About two years back, I got notified to renew my truck. It included the statement that my plates were a number of years old, so they would issue me new ones. I mailed in the form, proof of my insurance and the check, plus the dollar. A week or two later, I get an envelope with the form in it and stapled to it is my new window sticker. I think, great, just wait for the bigger envelope with the actual license plates in them. Now I keep the sticker up on my dresser waiting for the month to change over. It changes, and still no plates. I wait another week and call them up. They tell me to bring the sticker by, because something is wrong. So I take the receipt, the proof of insurance, drivers license, the sticker they mailed, and head into the office. The one that I bribed them a buck so I’d not have to stand in their line. I arrive, wait in line and finally get to the window. I explain that they mailed me the sticker, but I never got the physical metal plate. She doesn’t “get” it and has to go get a supervisor. The battle-axe supervisor shows up and tells ME that someone must have stolen the plate. Gee, you think? Then, she tells me that when SHE does this, she mails the plate and sticker together. Gee, you think that would save the cost of dual mailing? She then tells the clerk that she needs to do a “replacement schedule” and get me a new plate and sticker. Supervisor then heads back to her newspaper and cola. Clerk gets all busy typing, stapling, etc. She gets all the paperwork ready and then announces that I just need to pay the $4 for “replacement”. I’m standing there going “what? Either the state didn’t mail them, as your supervisor pointed out, or they got lost or stolen in the mail. I’ve not lost anything and should not have to pay any replacement fee”. She bristles up her back and reiterates that they have to charge me. I then inform her that I’d already paid the $1 bribe and they should at least knock that off. Nope, I need to pay up. After about five minutes of arguing with the robot, I yank out a few dollars and tell her to just give me my plate and sticker and let me out of there. She does so. Except by then, our loud conversation has awaken the supervisor from her nap and she heads over and tells the clerk to run me down and then REFUND the replacement fee! Another transaction! After about thirty minutes, I've paid $4 for something I should not have had to, been refunded said amount, am still out the $1 bribe I had originally paid to avoid this mess. But I do have a new window sticker and don't have to deal with this, on my truck, for another year.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

"IM A 1" - say what???

I was driving home one day last week and saw this nice Mercedes. With a bunch of writing on the back window. The back window is touting some plan to “Get Residual Income” and had a phone number.

What I noted was the license plate. “I AM 1”.

What is this supposed to mean? Well, if it was some stuck-on-herself woman, then she must be blond. Sweetie, the men’s score card for woman, starts at 1 and goes to 10. Ever see the move “10”? Bo Derek was the object of male infatuation and was presented as a “10”, as in “the best”. So sweetie driving the Mercedes, are you some ugly chick? I couldn’t tell from through the blacked out windows, plus, we were doing about 60 MPH.

Or are you declaring “I AM 1”, as in some space alien?

Or are you declaring “I AM 1”, as in “one with the cosmos?

I wish I knew what you were declaring you were one of….

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Sign ups on web site

I get to be an administrator on a Drum Building discussion forum called DrumShed.

We started getting spammer attacks about a year ago. So I installed some changes. To sign up, you must fill in a box about “why do you want to join a DRUM forum?” And all new sign ups, automatically go into a moderation queue. That means that I or one of the other administrators or moderators has to review their sign up information before we OK them. By requiring the text box, the person has to type in something meaningful. All the spam-bots put in a web URL. A few days ago, I started keeping track of some of the more amusing signups. Here are some real usernames, their email and their URL. And some of my comments about this mess.

Looks real. Must be a congress man signing up. And look at that email address. Oh, yes, this must be very important. Goldwarez sounds so close to Goldwater. But then we get to the URL from the text box and find freebiehost and a freaking map??? Deleted.

Looks like Krzamenov from Russia would like to join the drum building community. Yep, even an attempt at a USA name, Jane “Dark”. How secretive! How foreign! How intriguing! Oh, look at the URL. Another drug pusher from Russia wanting to sell us Tramadol! I probably need some tramadol from deleting this crap. Zap.

alberto revolt
Alberto Revolt. Right. Is that you Fidel?!?! Come on, I’m hung over and you are pulling this “workers of the world unite crap on me!” Whoa, dude, that email. How can you even remember shfdgsjhfd?? Guess you either put that in after one tequila too many, OR you did that to keep you from attempting to email the president of the USA after that one-too-many rum drinks. Oh, got to love that URL. Freebie Revolting web site….. Placed into a Gulag.

OK, we have a BUSMANAS signing up. Bush-man? Manna from heaven? What the hey is this? Oh, I need a new car loan from merrychristmas. Like we are supposed to take out a car loan from some loan shark in Turkey….. Sent to the dumpster

FreerHurb. No idea. Free Hurl came to mind. Headoff? Oh, another radical wanting to behead some drummers on a web forum…. Hacked into little bits…

My Rendy Tew? Hey! You must be like a supermodel or something with that name! Oh, another XSECURITY.ORG email. Yeah, that is all official. We all need more security post 9/11. But then we note the URL of amyclark and sex…… Deleted.

Avtomirs. No clue. Anna Junior? Like Junior Bra size? What is Junior about Anna? Auto-Union. Um, no, they formed pre-WWII in Germany and under Hitler, were a force in auto-racing. We know them as AUDI now…. Bump-drafted into the tire barrier.

This idiot has tried about 14 times to get me to download photoshop. Sorry, already have a BOUGHT AND PAID for copy. Get a life.

EngemZet? Someone needs an enema? Someone needs energized? Another AnneT Dark email. Hey, I wasn’t fooled the first time. Another offer of free movies. Place your bets if you think we are talking about Disney flicks…. Downed in a blaze.

This one just cracked me up. Flowermyface!!! I think it was this chick. But we need to go pass her bored quiz first…. Hacheted.

Heams Heve? Dry Heaves? What? And another dizzy JUNIOR. Oh, I see, more Disney flicks for sale…. terminated

Roomociashili. Sounds like either a dinning room at some exotic resort, or some dried beans dish. Roomo Ciashilli, spreadable on dry white toast… Patrick likes to think he’s a cowboy (Tex) when sending this crap. No clue what that URL would head to. Don’t plan to find out. Deleted.

TIPOKOTPU!! Sounds like something the guy in the next toilet passed after 5 shots of tequila, a can of refried beans and some corn chips. Oh, but Rober Yandex sent it to us and it looks from the URL to be a City Roasta BQ. BBQ maybe. Only a malpractice lawyer slime ball would be sending this one out…. Killed

Lois Camponen. Sounds real. Even has a half way decent email. If you are into 300 pound hairy backed Russians doing sex acts to them selves. With pills to stimulate them! What fun this must be…. Please….

Mmodaaaily. Moo daily. Adam Swift is into MOO cows. He needs to team up with PatrickTex and talk about who has the best man-boobs. Stuffed into a warm cow-pie.

What is a VYTBusoma? Russian form of Bite Busoma? Soma the drug? Oh, I see. A web site selling salvage parts off either Lexus , Dawoos, or Camry’s. Clear as mud. Deleted.

This one is classic. I love it. Relax Now! Yes, Ummmm, we are all one…Ummm… And a relax Christmas Gift just for you! How sweet. Give Big Boobs for Christmas for your man to relax with. I should have let this one through, just to see what crap they post on our site. Deflated.

Our friendly neighbors the Klingons sent this one. HYGTHYHUJD is Klingon for “I wish to have sex portals with your golf clubs” Stuck in the sand trap….

IBranofich. Sounds like some new product. Brano Fish will clean your constipation! Or is this a blogge! Trashed.

Jaha Buth Jed. Hello, calling George Lucas! Got your next name for a replacement for Jar-Jar Binks…. Whoops, it’s another “you need a friend” site… Toilet flushed.

Nathan Ialalgkh from Uranus wants to join. By Nathan.

I sent this one up to Rapper-Central. The Pbqimmpz is gonna be a star. Dvoidmusic? Devoid of what? Good taste? Tossed out with the Disco records.

Another attempt by Pimy Gacasa (GAA CASA?!?) to get us all excited about Porsche, Acuras and Hondas. Sent to the Oil recycling tank

Ronald Astens wants to sell us drugs. I sent this to the DEA.

I have no idea what a sel l old malk cle ak is. Maybe they will inform us. Flushed

TWUYGIIC is a new reggae artist in Jamaica-mon. Drowned in his own vomit.

Say What? Vega. Failed Chevy car. Vega Technologies. US? There is technologies still researching Vegas? I thought most of these have been converted into Toyotas by now. This sign up was converted to a soda can....

CONTROL LIST. Patrick Junior is still trying to sell us crap. This is a parental control for all these nasty blogs so little Junior doesn’t read this crap.

Deja VYZZ? Deja Fizz? Public Invasion? Damn Klingon’s again. Set phasers on kill.

JOKES. And just in case you missed it, FUnnnnnnn!!!! I laughed hard when I hit “Delete”

Kohanen is a 12 year old future terrorist. Obama has him attempting to hack into the Pentagon.

Taw Pho Do Thild is from North Korea and wants to sell sex movies of polar bears making more polar bears. Flusher-roo!!!

Usernames listings? For warehouses? I drive by some everyday. I had no idea they could sign up for a Warehouse dating service! Must be how we get Self Storage buildings. Locked up

Marfa Texas is famous for their UFO lights, for being in the movie Giant.
This mess has something to do with pills, delty, dumps, I don’t know. BY!

Sype Slaky. Slap sticky. Hype Slack. And this must be important, what with an admin at a …..squid mail? What the Hey is a squid mail? DING! Squid, You’ve got Mail!. Hotels in Bangkok??? Best hotels in America are being advertised by some squid talking about Banging Kok? Torn off with the “Sanitized” ribbon.

Free K, as in $1000.00?? Free K Attack? Wait, not what it said. Meta PING! Coom Ah Alig. I think I sang that around the campfire once. Torched in the campfire of life.

Let’s not even post the email "at" signs that have spammed us so much, I've permanently banned them.....

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Giant moth

I was driving home one day last week. I drive a Ford F250 Super Duty Crew Cab truck. It has a LARGE interior. I had the windows cracked open a bit, as it was a wonderful spring day. I got up to about 60 MPH at one point over by the lake, where there are not any businesses or cross roads. Somewhere out there, I think MOTHRA wanted a lift.

I get about five miles past the lake, heading back into town, when I get attacked by this giant moth. It’s fluttering all around, scares the cr*p out of me at the start. But mostly, it wants to hang out on the dash, soaking up the sun. After a minute of flight, it would rest on the dash. That’s how I snapped the photo. I had to wait for me to be stopped at a light, and it to be taking its union coffee break. Notice my finger in the photo, for scale. This daddy was about three inches long, with a three inch wingspan. My finger is about 18 inches away from Mothra. About half the distance from the camera to the moth.

I went ahead and put the windows all down half way and moved on to the next light. Mothra got to fluttering around, but didn’t fly out! I had to cup my hand around it while it was fluttering on the side window and nudge it out.

Everything is bigger in Texas.

Monday, April 21, 2008

If you take the last donut, throw the box away

I messed and didn’t get a photograph, yet, of this. Occasionally here at work, someone or group will bring in donuts. It doesn’t have to be donuts, could be left over pizza at lunch. Could be some muffins, or left over birthday cake. Thoughtful people will take that down to one of the break rooms and leave it.

Last week, I went in to heat up my lunch. There was a small box of donuts, with just one glazed left in it. This was one of the small boxes that only hold twelve. Not a big box. Not even a Krispy Kreme box, where they lay them all out so it takes a large box. I get my lunch into the microwave and head to my desk. I return about two minutes later and someone took the last donut and then didn’t toss the box in the trash. Come on people, it is so easy to pick it up and toss it into the trash can, that is two feet away!

And when you Google image search, what does she have to do with Krispy Kreme?

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Long horns

There is an interesting game that companies play. Well, at least they do it here in North Dallas. Maybe they play this everywhere. Texas has cheap land. We rarely build up. Only in the major cities is there anything over about ten stories. It is cheaper to go buy up some land and build a new building. If you need to house a company, they build a campus. Lots of land, spread out building. They started doing that here in North Dallas, a long time ago. About ten or twenty years back, they decided to build up in far North Dallas. Around Plano, Frisco area. Now what was here before, was farm and ranch land. So what these companies figured out was that they could play a tax game. You buy up a big chunk of land. You then parcel out just enough to build your building and parking lot. You then pay a rancher to run some cows on everything that is left. Or hire a farmer, maybe even the guy you bought it from, so plow it and plant something. So you pay about three cent for taxes on agricultural land. As it compared to a “company campus” or commercial use. It leaves a lot of land with trees, green spaces, maybe some crops or some cows. They also do something, like build a walking trail in the area. Meanwhile, the land all around is being slowly bought up for other company campuses or shopping areas or houses and school. And the company sits there laughing all the way to the bank and tax office. One international company even had some buffalo out there for a while.
I drive by one of the pieces of land and snapped a photo. Real Texas Long Horn steers. Taken out the window as I drive down a SIX lane road. Notice over the trees, some corporate HQ. And, off to the right of the photo, is the Dallas North Toll Way. All ten lanes, plus access roads. The long horns look bored. But then all cows look bored.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Multi-tasking in the Men’s room

I’d wished I had seen this guy enter the men’s room at work. I went in after he was already “at his meeting”. I entered and he was standing at a urinal. He had his right hand up on the wall, holding himself at an angle. He already had his one-eyed pants lizard out and was relieving his bladder, I think. With his other hand, he was yammering away in some foreign language on his cell phone! I guess he either doesn’t read English, or chose to ignore the “TURN YOU CELL PHONE OFF IN THE RESTROOM” signs.

So, I take the urinal the farthest away from this guy. He must finish up, as he straightens himself up and proceeds to use his right hand to put things away and zip back up. Still yammering away. He heads to the sink. Now in a prior blog,
I mention the “magic left hand” that usually goes into the pocket, never to be washed. I guess that with your left hand holding your cell phone, you can’t pocket it. So he goes about waving at the sink to get a water flow going. He didn’t use soap. He lets the water dribble on his hand, does the face-splash bit and proceeds to get a towel. All the while, he’s yammering away on the cell phone. Toilets are flushing, people are doing “business”.

I wonder what the person on the other end of that phone, thought about all the back ground noise.

Friday, April 18, 2008

I have seen the Stepford Wives

I remember watching the original Stepford Wives movie.
I remember it as being cheesy. Not scary at all. I remember it should have been subtitled Zombie Housewives. Looking over who all was in it, I think most of them are way over the hill now. I never saw the 2004 remake, but with Christopher Walken, it might be fun to watch.

Now down here in western Texas, we seem to have some real life Stepford Wives. My wife reported this to me. She saw them on Good Morning America. Click on the video link to the interview with the “mothers”. It is a real shame that they won’t answer any questions. Such as “Does your husband have more than you as a wife?”.

They giggle and say “That is pri vate” (Spaces added as that is how they speak. LONG pauses.


Question: “Have children under seventeen been given to have sex with older men?”

Answer: “We…. Don’t know” (giggle).

Other choice phrases “It’s not a com pound”. But then one of them uses that EXACT term later on.

Other phrases “We don t know what is going on” This statement even though they have been in protective care for several days, have been interviewed by police, have access to each other.

Another scary quote:
“I feel like the most free per son in the world!”. Free of what? Free of some husband next to you every night? Free that your children are not your’s? Free that your daughter will share her husband with other wives?
Big time brain washing was going on in that cult. Disregard for societies laws. I wonder why they didn’t just proceed on south of the Rio Grande? No one in Mexico would probably care about some gringo’s with lots of wives and children.

And that blank look on their faces…….

All they needed was some swanky outfits and it could have been a Hollywood movie. Instead, it plays like a bad Amish movie. 1890's Barbie Dolls.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Microphone check at church

About ten years back, I started playing drums in church. Churches have a lot of interesting dynamics. Honestly, they should have a reality show based on church behind-the-scenes goings on. I could write the first ten shows, easy.

Anyway, in any venue that is using sound reinforcement, you have your microphone and instrument checks. This is done so that the sound man can make sure that he is at least getting a signal at the mixing console from each of the instruments and singers. Things happen that can stop the signal. A guitar might need a new battery. On a wireless microphone, the battery could be dead. The antenna unplugged. The sound man might have forgotten to turn on the power to the wireless receiver. A cable from the keyboards might have been stepped on and come unplugged. I’ve even seen things such as someone decided to move the piano but did not unplug the cables. They just pushed the baby grand over the cables, crushing them and rendering them to the trash can. Or my shop where I’d cut them in two, solder on new ends and make two short cables from a long one.

So when the sound man is ready, he will push the un-mute button on the sound mixing console. This brings the signal from the microphone or instrument, to the board. The sound guy will probably have the fader, also called the volume, all the way off, but the board has some lights that will confirm a signal. He can then bring the fader up and you should hear something from the speakers. If he has a person who messes with their instrument all the time, he might mute them again so he can check other signals. "Messes with their instrument"....I need a better term for that. Sounds sort of Kinky when talking about music reinforcement at church. How about, "endlessly playing on their musical instrument". Much better.

On microphones you need someone to speak into the microphone, click their fingers in front of it, make a sound for the microphone to pick up, so the sound board can register the signal and the sound man can bring up a preliminary volume level. People will say different things. Some people get shy and just say one or two words. Sometimes they ask the sound man “what should I say?” He will often say something like “just say anything”. So they sit there going “anything…..anything….anything”. Sometimes, they switch off to “Bueller….Bueller”.

Sometimes people say this:
“Check….Check….Cash, Cash, coins, credit cards, MasterCard, Visa, American Express

Sometimes, someone will say something really funny in church.

This was one such microphone check at church.

“Check….Check. Cash, Diners club, Test….Test….TESTICLES….”
You could hear a pin drop.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Vending machines at a snack food company

I work at a company that produces snack food and drinks. There are a few perks. You can go down to the cafeteria and grab a free bag of chips. They are not big bags. Think “Fun Sized”. You all know that means “small”. In our break room, they put in another snack machine. Most snacks are 65 cents. A few, the pickle, is a buck. They have chips also, the non-Fun-Sized. So people do buy those up.

Here is what the machine looks like when it is stocked.

Now you would think that in this business, they would keep those machines full, making sales. I think they stock it about once a month. Here is what it usually looks like.

Notice anything? Like, that sucker is almost empty. It usually is.

What is really funny to me is the scrolling electronic message, right above where it eats your money at.

“Have a Nice day”. That cracks me up. I’m at WORK! On top of that, I think Forrest. Forrest Gump. People call me Forrest Gump…….

Have a frigging nice day at work...........

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Leaf mess, give it to the city

I like to walk. It does a few things. Clears my head, gets me out of the house, is good exercise, helps my bad back. Our little village put in a nice walking path. They are expanding it also. Currently, I walk about five miles on it, almost everyday. Actually, I walk NEXT to it. They paved it with hard concrete. It wears out my shoes and isn’t too good on ankles and joints. So I truck along next to it.

It always amazes me, the trash people leave. The pathway goes past some baseball diamonds, a bridge, and two areas of soccer fields. It’s very common to find water or sports water bottles, left behind. I figure a lot of that is kids. Or, parents not teaching their kids to police up the area! When my kids were in sports, after we’d pack up and start to the parking lot, I always looked back to see if we’d left anything.

Other people out for exercise also seem to discard stuff. It’s worse on the weekends. Some Monday’s I’ll pick up two or three discarded bottles. And the city even has picnic tables and trashcans at all the roadway intersections! You only need to carry your empty for less than half a mile. You are out for the exercise, use one more calorie up and haul your trash to the trashcan. I guess they all think their moms will follow along behind them and pick up their trash.

Last Sunday was a nice day here and I went for an afternoon walk. I usually walk at 8 PM until about 9:20. So last Sunday afternoon, I truck out 2.5 miles, turn around and head back. I’m sort of surprised that there are not more discards along the way, but that’s good. I don’t have to pick up someone else’s trash. I pass the first set of soccer fields. I cross the road, past the schools. I head towards the second set of soccer fields. I don’t believe what I’m seeing! Now there are houses all along the pathway. But the pathway is really built on a utility right of way. Those huge 4 gillion watt transmission towers. The path meanders all along that right of way. Before the path was built, there wasn’t much along the way. The soccer fields have been there a while. What I see, is in this photo.

This homeowner has decided to rake up his leaves. He was putting them into a trash can, and then DUMPING them off his property, onto the trail way! Hey, on Mondays, the city provides leaf and yard waste pick up! He’s paying for it. He’s going to the trouble of raking it up and putting it into a trash can. All he had to do, was stop off at the grocery store and for a few bucks, you can buy the leaf bags, put the waste in them, put them on the curb and BANG, picked up.

I notified the city. The next day, our tax dollars had gone and picked up his mess. Again. I wonder if his daddy would have approved of his chore of raking up those leaves. Spoiled idiot.

Monday, April 14, 2008

GPS units to drive to work

I drive the same route to work everyday. I drive another route home. I’ve been noticing the number of Global Positioning System units sprouting up on people’s windshields. I think these have replaced the cellular telephone antennas of the 1990’s. Remember when those were such the status symbol? Some bright enterprising person even started selling fake antennas you could stick on your car so people THOUGHT you were a big shot with a cell phone. That really screwed up the thieves. They were breaking into cars trying to steal those body builder bag-phones, but were faked out by the fake antennas.

I wonder if any thieves ever filed a complaint about being faked out.

So now the big deal is to hang a portable GPS unit from your cars windshield. So what are these things used for? They are supposed to help you navigate your way to a destination. Handy thing to have. No more looking up directions, or looking at a map, or calling the place to find out how to get there. Just punch some buttons with your current address, punch in your target address. Wait a moment and the GPS unit then starts up a display of the road path to take. Plus, they start talking to you about when to turn. Most annoying. My friend has one and we used it to go from where we live, to Fort Worth. Except for about 15 miles, we are “straight on the freeway”. Every few minutes, the GPS would come on, interrupt us talking, and tell us “Continue….straight….on Highway 121…”. Shut the **** up! No mute button!!!

So I’ve been watching people’s windshields on the way to work, since it is pretty much bumper to bumper for about five miles. I’ve started to note some distinguishing factor about the cars with the GPS units. There are about three cars that I’ve now identified as taking the same route, at the same time of day, to go to work. I assume they are going to work. I’m not sure. Since they can’t drive the same road, day after day after day, without getting lost on it! They have their GPS unit stuck up in the middle of their windshield, listening and watching it tell them THE SAME ROUTE every stinking day. Gee, look at me!!! I’ve a freaking moron!!

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Halloween Hair in March

It is just amazing the things you will see in a Wal*Mart. We were grocery shopping at our local Wal*Mart neighborhood market. It’s a nice store and we can get about everything we need. We usually don’t see too many out-of-the-ordinary people. But occasionally, there is a walking human mess in there. This happened a few weeks back. In late March. At first, I was thinking it was a get up for an April Fools party. Until I got a closer look at this ladies hair. I’ve been sitting here for an hour counting up the colors this mess was. She needed a scarf to cover up the disaster zone. I’m pretty sure her natural color was a dark brown. Her eyebrows were dark brown. However, she did have a lily white complexion. The first two inches of her hair, from the scalp, was also brown. After that, there had been an attempt to be blond. Blonds have more fun, so they say. This was a failed attempt. This was some shade of blond that went looking for a platinum look and came out looking like a badly done chrome bumper, which had started turning blue. It looks like there might have been an attempt to cover the blond up. There were large areas of tanish brown hair, mostly on the outer ends of the hair. I’m not sure how the brown could have got there. Maybe it wouldn’t stick to the chrome-blond dye.

Sometime in the last few weeks, she must have decided that her multicolored hair didn’t attract enough men, or attention to her. So she had added some streaks. These streaks just screamed out at you. On each side of her face, she had put in four streaks. Each was about half an inch wide. Blue. Day-glo Blue. And Orange. Yes, Day-glo Orange. This had also been growing out some, as up at the roots, was the same original brown trying to grow out.

There had also been some attempts at curling it or straightening it or something. The split ends were at least an inch up from the ends.

Definitely home grown disaster hair.

Thank goodness she was on the opposite side of the store from where they keep the hair dyes, as who knows what disaster she would try next.

Maybe just give up and do a Brittney Spears on it.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Drag Racing in MGB’s

While in college in the late 1970’s, we’d occasionally go drag racing. I had my Mustang, but didn’t race it but a few times.

One friend had a 1966 Mustang, but only raced a few times. Another friend had a 1966 Corvair Corsa.

That Corsa could run like crazy. Great Autocross type car. His family had about eight Corvairs. His dad collected the 1966 to 1969 models. He actually agreed with Ralph Nadar. See the early Corvairs, had drop / Swing rear axles. GM had copied that design from the early Volkswagen Beetle. My friends’ dad agreed that when cornering hard, the axles would swing under the car and literally flip the car. So, he collected the later cars. That Corsa had the four single barrel carburetors, the close ratio four speed transmission. It could scoot! Not a great drag car, but a lot of fun.

We also had a female classmate that drove a nice MGB. She would let us take it and drive it with the top down. Her family collected MGB’s. They had about five or six of them. Her dad and brothers all drove them. I think her mom wanted air conditioning and insisted on having a Buick or Cadillac. So the girl listens to us talking about racing out at the track and agrees to not only go with us, but to drive her car also. And she also will let us drive it down the track. So we get to Green Valley Drag track on a test and tune night. You can make as many runs down the track as you want. You can set it up to race someone, or just practice, tune your car, and have fun. I take the coupe down the track and record the time. The car is an automatic, so I just rev it up and nail the accelerator when the light ticks down from yellow to green. One pass, no major mistakes, and I’m done and happy. My other friends do the same with their Mustang and Corvair. We then take turns with her MGB. It’s a four speed, so there is shifting to deal with and mess us up. She had never been to a drag track and had no idea what to do. We tried to explain it to her. On her first run, she stopped at the “yellow” light, and then went! Never waited for the lights to tick down to green. Yes, she was blond. She admitted she was nervous. No worries, we told her to go try again. She goes to the staging lines. She stages. She waits for the green and takes off. We watch as she goes through the finish line and the scoreboard displays her time. We all look at each other in total disbelief. On her second run on a drag strip, she beat all our times. Had to be a fluke. Something must be wrong with the timing system. One of us goes out and takes another run in her MGB. We get a time close to the first time we ran. She runs it again. Beats our times again! She is calm cool and collected about this. She says how much fun it is and how many more times can she run it. We are drowning in young male testosterone fuel humiliation. No matter what we try, she beats our times.

The next weekend, I’m working at the auto store and another drag racer I know stops in. I question him about this novice “girl” beating our collective hineys into the pavement. He chuckles and informs me that it is NORMAL. Girls have better reaction times. They also don’t get all caught up in the psychological games and nature of competitive sports. She even told us what she did. Staged, watched for the green light, nailed the accelerator, calmly shifting about 500 Revolutions’ Per Minute (RPM) below the yellow line on the car tachometer. He then said that unless she was a gear-head, she’d also not worry one bit about the car. We’d be all worried about setting timing, putting in colder plugs, messing with this and that. She’d just get in and drive. If it broke, well that’s what dads, husbands and boyfriends are for. Fixing the car!

Drive it like you stole it. She did.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Drag Racing a 1947 Anglia

I worked my way through college by selling automotive parts. One of the last places I worked catered to a lot of the drag racers in the Fort Worth Texas area. I spent two summers, and Sunday’s during the school year, working at the main store on the near east side of Fort Worth. The assistant manager was a drag racer. He was quiet, sort of moody, stood over in the corner of the sales counter with his pad of paper and a rolodex. Let’s call him “Buddy”. He could sell a lot of parts and make it look easy. First, he had his rolodex full of all the racers out at Green Valley Raceway.

Second, he could smooth talk people with deep pockets into buying all sorts of stuff. Some kid with his Christmas money would come in for a new Holley carburetor to make his heap “fast”. Buddy would not try and talk any sense into the kid, he’d go get the biggest carburetor that would mount to the guys car. But then he’d point out that the kid also needed a new intake manifold to “do this right”. So, the kid would wind up with a new aluminum intake, a fresh Holley, new gaskets, and a heap that was probably slower. Buddy could care less. He got the big sale.

Another trick Buddy taught me was over charging the customer. We didn’t call it that, we called it by several other names. Screwing the ashpfat over was one. Giving them what they deserve was another. Buddy taught us to not do this to just anyone. Do it to the customer who was being an “insert slang term for an object of the male anatomy here”. Once, I had to head back into the warehouse, Buddy had me cracking up so. The “customer”, had come in with his Trophy Girl Friend (TGF) and proceeded to talk down to Buddy.

Buddy: “afternoon. How can I help you today?”
Customer: “You could buy me a case of Budweiser at the liquor store next door!” (Sneer over at the TGF and grab her rear.
TGF: Giggle….
Buddy: “Right. What automotive parts do you need today?”
Customer: “Ok SPORT! I need a set of dual points for a Mallory distributor” (squeeze TGF)
TGF: Giggle
Buddy: “OK” (heads off to the back, without even looking up the part)
Upon his arrival back
Customer: “sport. You sure these are the right ones for my 1973 Chevy?”
Buddy: “Sure. All Mallory’s use the same points. The 3111 is the primary. The 3112 is the secondary. If you’d said you’d only needed a set for a single point Mallory, then I’d be selling you a 3111 only, as that is the primary side on a dual point and the only side on a single……What else”

TGF: “Those are a pretty silver color”
Customer: “I’m waiting to give you a silver bullet too!!!” (Grab A** again, and try for the B**B)
TGF: “Giggle!”
Customer: “OK sport. I was just checking to make sure you know what you are doing. I also need a set of spark plugs:
Buddy: “right. For that Chevy Monty you drove up in?”
Customer: “Fastest thing you’ll ever see, what else! Sure”
Buddy: “You want AC, Accel’s, Motorcraft, Champion and I think we have some Holley plugs for it. What is your brand preference?”
Customer: (With a slightly puzzled look, because he had no idea Accel or Holley made plugs for his POS. “Um. Accel’s because they work the best with the Mallory at making my car fast”.

Buddy would then head back to the back for a set of plugs. He’d rarely bother to look them up. This was done for the shock effect. What the customer didn’t know was, we had another set of parts books in the back and could look them up, out of sight of the customer. But by walking off without looking them up, it always gave the customer a pause, thinking we either were morons, or mind readers. Buddy knew all the small block Chery spark plug numbers anyway. If anything, he'd pick up either a "cold" or a "hot" set of plugs for dimb-bulbs like this customer. Help make his POS Chevy to run even worse than it probably already did.

Buddy: “Here you go. What else……sport
Customer: “You sure these are right?”
Buddy: “yep”
TGF: “Ohhh…They have a pointy thing on them!”
Customer: “Yeah. But you know mine is huge!” (try for the b**b-squeeze again)
TGF: “Stop IT….giggle”

By this point, we’ve all decided to watch Buddy mess with this guy. Plus, the TGF was in a revealing tube top.

Customer: “OK. I need an oil filter also”

Buddy was way ticked off by this point: “look, is there anything else you want? I’ve already made two trips to the back, when I could have gotten it all with one trip”
Customer: “no sport. That will be it. I just LIKE TO WATCH YOU WALK”
TGF: “giggle”

Buddy heads to the back one more time. He returns about five minutes later, after using the restroom, getting himself a soda, browsing through some old racers magazine.

Customer: “What took so long there sport?”
Buddy: “Well, I knew you wanted the high performance oil filter, so I had to get a ladder and get up to the top shelf for it”
Customer: “right-o there sport. Good choice. How much is the damage for all this?”

Now back then, a set of the Mallory points was probably about $2.50 each, the Accel plugs were about $2. If numb-nuts customer had gone with the Champion, AC or Motorcraft, they were about a buck each. The filter was about $3. So, the bill should have been about $24, plus tax. Buddy cranked up the hassle factor and charged about $5 for the points (each), $3 for each plug and something like $6.23 for the high-performance oil filter. I think he changed the guy $40.23, plus tax, for $24 dollars worth of parts.

Customer: “Um, that seems a little high for these parts”
Buddy: “Well you’re a racer man. You know how these high-performance parts are. Beside, you want to give this nice lady a great ride……”
Customer: “You know that’s right!!” (try the B**B grab one more time)
TGF: “Giggle. I hope you aren’t TOO fast! Giggle”
The guy shelled out the bucks. We were in awe, and hiding in the back laughing…..

So, Buddy is also a drag racer. Big time drag racer. He has a 1947 British built Anglia. His was the color and body of the plain car at the top of this blog, but with the motor of the bottom, blue, Anglia. Buddy has a 454 cubic inch Chevy monster motor in it. Think something that weigh's about what a Volswagon Beetle does. It has the two speed Lenco transmission, the purpose built rear gears, most of the interior is aluminum panels. The motor is also built with nothing but going fast in mind. It probably is putting out about 600 horse power. When it runs, he can cover the quarter mile in about 9.5 seconds. One of the fastest at the race track. He likes me crewing for him. I know when to hand him the Budweiser. We go to the track anytime the car is running. Just riding it to the staging lanes was an experience. I could hardly put my feet on the sheet metal floor due to the vibrations of the race motor. One race weekend, Buddy broke the motor. In fact, he cracked one of the cylinders in the block. That is not a good thing. It lets the coolant into where the exploding fuel should be. This put Buddy in a bad mood for a while. Over charging and harassing almost every customer. His sales numbers were fantastic. I guess they would be when you jack up the prices to everyone. So for a few weeks, we are not going racing. The next Friday, Buddy leaves his corner of the sales counter, where he would lurk, and picks up a tape measure and heads over to me. He asks me for the keys to my Ford Mustang, the one I still own.

I shoot him a questioning look. He says, “OK. Just the trunk key. I need to measure something”. Relieved, I hand them over. Buddy heads out, opens the trunk and takes some measurements of the trunk. He walks in and says “It will fit. You will need to move the spare tire into the back seat. On your way home to Arlington (where I lived), stop by this address. Look for the door that has this number over it. Tell them you are Ray, you are there for Buddy’s motor. It’s all set up”. At this point, I’m wondering what I’m in for and what is up with all this secrecy and “how about a PLEASE”. Buddy informs me that his motor has been fixed, and I need to pick it up in Arlington. Go by my place, change into work clothes, drive to his house, unload the motor and help build it. So we could go racing. Hey, I was young, I go for it.

So I arrive at this business warehouse looking place. I find the locked and bolted door. There is only the number on it, no sign, nothing. I hear some banging around behind the doors, so I knock loud. A minute later, the door opens about three inches and a voice says “what do you want”. I give my name and Buddy’s name. I half expect the door to slam, as I’d not been told any secret code word. Either that or a shot gun blast through the door. Nope, the door opens up just enough for me to slip in and I’m told to get inside. Once in, it all becomes clear. This is a Pro-Stock NHRA race shop! Specifically, Reher - Morison racing. Hence, all the cloak and dagger secrecy. They don’t want any competitors spying out their tricks. The Voice shows me the pristine 454 Chevy block and asks what I’m loading it into. He looks a bit skeptical with “A Mustang trunk”. He points to another bay door, and instructs me to back into it, when he opens it. By the time I pull around, he has the block up on a hoist, ready to lower into my trunk. Sure enough, it fit! The car is dragging its tail on the ground, but I make it home, change clothes and eat. I head over to Buddy’s house.

We get the engine block out of my trunk and start cleaning and doing the preparation work on it and the parts. I get to install the piston rings and the top half of the rod bearing. Buddy is installing the crank bearings and the bottom rod bearings. We get the cam in by midnight, and Buddy has three of four beers in him. I head on home. I get up the next day, Saturday, and head to work by 8:45 AM for our opening. About 10 or 10:30, the manager asks me where Buddy is. I fill him in on the prior night’s activity. About noon, Buddy pulls into the parking lot, with the Anglia up on the trailer. Buddy walks in all bleary eyed. I asked him if he’d gone to bed. Buddy: “Yep. The sun was coming up as I bolted the radiator in. I opened another Bud, and went to bed”. I asked if he’d started it. Nope. First time will be tonight at the track. We work the rest of the day and head to the track after closing up at 6 PM. Buddy stops off to fill his extra large ice chest up with Budweiser and ice. And loads two MORE cases into the back of the truck with all the spare parts and tools. We get out to the track and roll the car off the trailer. I go filling up the radiator and checking bolts. Buddy puts in the spark plugs and continues hooking up wires. After an hour of checking things, Buddy finishes off his second beer and states “time to fire up”. I stand by as Buddy gets in the car and cranks. Wonder of wonders, it fires right up! Making a huge racket and rattling my teeth. Sounding good! We start to draw a crowd, including a few friends who had hung around. The engine starts getting rougher and rougher. Then, it belches fire out the carburetor and dies. Buddy doesn’t look very good. I ask if he had shut it down. Nope, it shut itself down. This isn’t good. I wonder aloud if maybe it isn’t the timing that is off. Buddy opens his third Budweiser. He asks me to hand him his spark plug socket and goes about removing a plug. I go ahead and pull off the rest of the spark plug wires. Buddy takes out one plug, looks at it and hands it to me. I look at it and it looks like the motor was running rich, which would explain the back fire. Mean while, Buddy has moved on to the second and third spark plug. That third one was the killer. He removes the plus and out comes a stream of water! Yes, the sleeved repair has split or another cylinder has split. People start moving on to the next car, as we won’t be doing any drag racing this week either. Buddy downs his Budweiser and walks over to his truck, looks in the back at two cases of Budweiser and states, “I need more beer” and hands me a ten dollar bill! I try and convince him that two cases are enough, but he’s not listening. So I head back down the road to buy as much beer as I can and return. Buddy has started drinking with both hands and looking for other people to get drunk with him. I watch a few rounds of racing, talk to some of Buddy’s racing friends and head on home. I had to work on Sunday, but Buddy had Sundays off.

Monday, Buddy arrived looking pretty bleary eyed still! He is moody, but I ask him how the car is. He’s gone ahead and pulled it apart again, but is thinking to look for a new block this time. Later that afternoon, one of the other racers stops by. Out of earshot of Buddy, I take the opportunity to ask how the rest of Saturday night had gone. Seems Buddy got ripping drunk but his friends had hidden his truck keys! He’d wound up sleeping, passed out, in the bed of his truck. The track night watchman had his keys and once Buddy had sobered up, he gave him his keys to let him drive home.