Reality and Sanity

July 11, 2007

Calling Captain Nemo

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 6:23 pm

Giant Squid Washes Up on Australia Beach.

HOBART, Australia (AP) – A squid as long as a bus and weighing 550 pounds washed up on an Australian beach, officials said Wednesday. “It is a whopper,” said Genefor Walker-Smith, a zoologist who studies invertebrates at the Tasmanian Museum.

Giant squid live in waters off southern Australia and New Zealand – where a half-ton colossus, believed to be the world’s largest, was caught in February. They attract the sperm whales that feed on them.

The dead squid, measuring 3 feet across at its widest point and 26 feet from the tip of its body to the end of its tentacles, was found early Wednesday by a beachcomber at Ocean Beach on the island state of Tasmania’s west coast, the museum said.

And no, they didn’t cook it up:

For anyone thinking of a calamari feast, Walker-Smith said giant squid contain high levels of ammonia in their bodies as a buoyancy aid.

“It would not taste very nice at all,” she said.

That would be an understatement.

July 6, 2007

I Volunteer!

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 6:59 pm

Company Advertises for Condom Testers.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) – A major condom brand said Friday it expected thousands of applicants for a new unpaid job on offer – condom tester.

Durex said 200 adult Australians – men and women – are wanted to test a range of its condoms.

While the successful applicants will not be paid, each will receive a pack of Durex sex products, a chance to win 1,000 Australian dollars ($857 U.S.), plus professional prestige, the company said in a statement.

“Who wouldn’t want to have a chance with an actual authorized professional?” Durex marketing manager Sam White asked.

Imagine what some of the responses will be:

Hopefuls must explain in their applications why they would make “expert” condom testers.

June 30, 2007

Aw, Darn

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 4:20 pm

They’re covering ’em up in Daytona Beach, says the Court: No Nudes in Daytona.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Erotic dancers in adult bars in most parts of this Spring Break city are going to have to wear as much clothing as most people on the beach.

A federal appeals court upheld municipal zoning and nudity ordinances on Thursday after the city and Lollipops Gentlemen’s Club made their cases before the court on March 23.

“The bottom line is the 11th Circuit Court (of Appeals) upheld the city’s authority to enforce its zoning regulations and public nudity ordinance with regard to the adult entertainment establishments,” City Attorney Bob Brown said.

Here’s the part that made me chuckle:

In other words, dancers at adult clubs that serve liquor are required to wear conservative bikinis. G-strings and pasties won’t be enough to meet that requirement, the court said.

Har far we’ve come…

Bikinis are considered conservative dress. Who knew?

June 22, 2007

Don’t Mess With A Marine

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 3:01 pm

Man Kills Bear With Log at Ga. Camp Site.

HELEN, Ga. (AP) – A 300-pound black bear raided a family’s campsite, and the father saved his sons from harm by throwing a log at the beast, killing it with a single blow.Chris Everhart and his three sons were camping in the Chattahoochee National Forest in northern Georgia when the encounter happened Saturday. The bear took the family’s cooler and was heading back to the woods when the youngest son, 6-year-old Logan, hurled a shovel at it.

The bear then dropped the cooler and started coming at the boy, said his father. Fearing what might happen next, Everhart, an ex-Marine, grabbed the closest thing he could find – a log from their stash of firewood.

“(I) threw it at it and it happened to hit the bear in the head,” Everhart said. “I thought it just knocked it out but it actually ended up killing the bear.”

Update: Laura W over at Ace of Spades also noticed this story. I love this part that one of the commenters pointed out:

Everhart was given a ticket for failing to secure his camp site, said Ken Riddleberger, a region supervisor for game management with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources.

Failing to secure his campsite?!?

He wiped out the enemy, Ken! He certainly did secure his campsite!

June 21, 2007

Headline of the Day

Filed under: General Nonsense, Stupid People Tricks — Paul @ 1:12 pm

Ugly Fish Is Seen As Aphrodisiac.

The hagfish is a bottom feeder so repulsive it had a cameo on TV’s “Fear Factor.” It slimes its enemies, has rows of teeth on its tongue, and feeds on the innards of rotting fish by penetrating any orifice. But cooked and served on a plate, it is considered an aphrodisiac in South Korea.

So how repulsive is it?

The 14- to 18-inch hagfish looks like an eel. In fact, there is debate over whether it is really a fish. The 300 million-year-old creature has no jaws and one nostril. Essentially blind, it dwells in the dark more than 1,000 feet down.

“The average person would be disgusted just by looking at them,” said Mark Crossland, a state Fish and Game warden. “The product is difficult to deal with and handle – it’s a little eel that once it gets stressed it excretes this slime.”

In mass quantities:

As if its looks weren’t enough of a turnoff, hagfish, when agitated, vomit and secrete a protein that reacts with seawater to create a thick mucus.

A single animal can turn a five-gallon bucket of seawater into a pool of goo in a matter of moments, said Eddie Kisfaludy of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. While the slime distracts predators, it also occasionally suffocates the hagfish.

And they use this as an aphrodisiac.

Makes me shrivel up. Gah.

June 20, 2007

Play the Ball Where It Lies

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 7:32 am

When you play golf, you must hit the fairway on every non-green stroke, otherwise you score will go up…and you might start a fire: Rough Shot Sparks Nevada Golf Course Fire.

RENO, Nev. (AP) – A golfer’s attempt to get out of the rough and back on the fairway started a grass fire that burned about 20 acres near a golf course, officials said.The golfer had knocked his ball into dry grass beyond the course on Monday afternoon, officials said. When he tried to play back to the fairway, his club struck something that created a spark.

That’s some mighty dry rough.

Can you imagine if this had happened during the recently completed US Open?

“Play was suspended at the US Open today when Tiger Woods, while playing a rare rough lie, created a flaming spark as he swung his 4-iron, igniting the dry grass around him.”

Back to the story:

About 50 firefighters responded to the blaze as it spread through tinder-dry grass, and engine trucks were brought in to protect nearby homes.

No buildings were damaged and no one was injured, officials said.

That’s great.

But what about the course?

June 19, 2007

A Comedic Masterpiece

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 5:54 pm

Each time I read a new Iowahawk post, I marvel at the creative wit the man possesses.

I can’t imagine how he’ll top this one: The Ratings Always Drop Twice.

He includes every top right-of-center blogger as characters in this Mickey Spillane style narrative skewering Dan Rather and Katie Couric. Just go read it!

June 12, 2007

We Daydreamed of This Fifteen Years Ago

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 5:09 pm

Yup, my buddies and I talked about similar plans: Golfers Play 110 Holes in One Day.

BEATRICE, Neb. (AP) – When a buddy said they couldn’t do it – play six rounds of golf in one day – that was all the challenge they needed. At the Beatrice Country Club on Monday, Beatrice High School golf coach Dick Stuart, middle school teacher Ben Essam and golf pro Joel Brueggemann played 110 holes – two more than six rounds of 18 holes.

“We can’t remember if it was while we were selling fireworks or when we were out here playing golf,” Stuart said, “but we just decided we should get up some morning and see how many holes we could play.”

June 9, 2007

Brickbat Roundup

A few selected stories from Reason’s Brickbats, with my commentary and analysis:

Police in West Midlands, England, say they received numerous complaints about anti-social behavior in one neighborhood. The behavior in question: children playing hopscotch on the sidewalk.

Oh, come on.

Legislation expected to pass in Scotland would require shops selling swords, machetes, and other nondomestic knives to have a special license and to record all sales. The sale of swords—except to museums, historical re-enactors, fencers, and the like—will be banned.

Are they going to ban fabrication also? Swords and machetes, utilizing modern techniques, are not hard to make.

Police in Preston, England, are asking local officials to ban “vertical drinking” in bars. Drinking while standing, they say, contributes to violence and other anti-social behavior.

So sitting down makes all the difference. Apparently these people have never seen any of numerous movies where overturned bar chairs are a prelude to violence and other anti-social behavior.

The Board of Commissioners in Gwinnett County, Georgia, has banned mobile taco stands. Commissioners say the move is aimed at boosting business in shopping centers. “I’m all for capitalism,” Commissioner Bert Nasuti explained. “But there’s a right way and a wrong way.”

And the right way is lining the pockets of your biggest taxpayers. I wouldn’t be surprised to discover that some board members have a vested interest in the shopping malls as member business owners or as mall owners.

If you can’t beat ’em, outlaw them.

In Great Britain, government officials say hospitals are too efficient. At least six of the nation’s health trusts have forced hospitals to create minimum waiting times for patients to receive treatment. Officials say the hospitals have “gotten ahead” of what the National Health Service can afford.

And that, my friends, is why we don’t need HillaryCare.

“My husband’s appendix is about to explode!”

“Sorry. We have a mandatory three-day waiting period for new patients. Come back on Monday.”

Three NYPD officers have pleaded not guilty to breaking into a Brooklyn massage parlor, ripping out a surveillance camera, and stealing a videotape. They apparently were trying to destroy evidence that a previous prostitution bust at the massage parlor was based on lies by one of the officers. But a backup security system caught their break-in, and part of the massage parlor’s security system was reportedly found in the desk of Lt. Stephen Wong. Wong is the vice integrity control officer for the unit, responsible for keeping officers honest.

I smell a new Law and Order episode.

Security guards at the U.S. Air Force Academy’s Air Academy High School handcuffed and detained three cheerleaders before a football game. Guards had allegedly spotted the three putting paper over the first five letters of a sign reading “Douglassville Valley Elementary School.” The girls were released to their parents; no charges were filed.

Heh-heh-heh. To be 17 again…

Four eighth-grade girls in Marion, Indiana, were suspended from school for five days. They say it’s because they all wore matching outfits one day, and school officials thought that if they were dressed alike they must be in a gang. Principal Michael Shaffer told local media the girls were suspended for violating school rules, but he refused to say what rules they broke.

No profiling gong on here.

Margaret Lieder meant to dial 411 for information. She accidentally dialed 911, but she promptly hung up when she realized she’d made a mistake. A dispatcher called her back to say that police were on the way. When the North Vancouver, Canada, officers got there, Lieder tried to explain the mistake. Despite not having a warrant, they insisted on searching the house. Lieder refused, but the officers refused to take no for an answer; five officers broke down the door and arrested Lieder and her partner, Larry Pierce, for obstruction of justice. Pierce says that officers threw him to the floor, twisting his arm behind his back, and that one jumped on him and put a knee into his ribs, breaking two of them.

All this would probably have been avoided if Lieder had simply explained to the dispatcher her mistake before hanging up the first time. Cops have no idea who’s who or what’s what, so if someone dials and hangs up, that could be someone trying to dial for help that an assailant to working to prevent.

That said, the cops did overreact a tad. No warrant? Obstruction of justice arrests?

Early one morning in Newport, England, a speed camera snapped a photo of Tom Matthews’ 12-year-old cab. He later received a notice informing him he’d exceeded the 30-mile-per-hour speed limit—by about 390 miles per hour. “I drive an old Cavalier—not a jumbo jet,” Matthews told the London Sun. “According to this, I’ve broken the land speed record.”

I didn’t realize the Salt Flats were located in Newport, England.

The coaches of many women’s basketball teams believe that practicing against men makes women better competitors. But the NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics says such practices violate the spirit of Title IX, the federal law that mandates equality for school athletics. The committee recommends that the NCAA ban all male practice players from women’s sports.

Title IX is was an idea that is good on paper, but proven disastrous in reality. Throw in the gaggle of fools that is the NCAA, and you get idiot rulings like this one.

One more story, submitted without comment because the jokes write themselves:

British police have almost 3 million DNA profiles on file, covering about 6 percent of the U.K.’s population. But that’s not enough for Dave Johnston, head of the Metropolitan Police’s Homicide and Serious Crimes unit. He wants samples taken from all babies. “We have 300,000 unsolved cases where we have taken a profile at a crime scene but have not yet matched it,” he said. Johnston did not say how many babies he suspects may have committed those crimes.

June 5, 2007

Rachel Lucas, Ranter-For-Hire

Rachel Lucas, returning from a five-year blogging hiatus makes a interesting proposition to those who would like to see her pontificate on Hollywood and DC in the middle of a lengthy blog post:

I am not stupid, and I am a greedy capitalist. So I’ll make you a deal, those of you who really want me to get back to that celeb- and politician-bashing jive: I’ll call it Buy-A-Rant. I’ve put up a Paypal button on the lower right sidebar, and since time is money, I figure for every roughly $35-40 that’s donated with a request for a political rant, I’ll give it my best effort for at least an hour. If that’s too much, that’s too dang bad. I can make that much easy doing my transcription (which doesn’t require me to think, be pissed off, or receive hate mail). The amount doesn’t all have to be from the same person, and it doesn’t have to be for a full hour. You tip me $10 and tell me what you want to hear me bitch about, and I’ll spend 15-20 minutes Googling the subject, forming an opinion, and writing a ranty post with my opinion. I type pretty fast, ya know. I’m just trying to say that I need to maximize my free time, and I can’t justify spending precious minutes or hours investigating a subject I wouldn’t be interested in all on my own, for no payoff other than making someone else happy. I hope that makes sense. I have to get something out of it, too, and if that makes me a greedy jerk, I really don’t care. Would you perform for free? I think not. Hmph.

I just may throw her some cash because her rants are knee-slapping hilarious. Which is why I’ve added her to my blogroll today.

All that’s left is for me to pick the subject (anything that will get the venom going) and ask that she allow me to post her entire rant here also. Heh.

June 3, 2007

The Two-Decade Odyssey

Filed under: General Nonsense, Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 10:36 am

This is a long read; I suggest grabbing a cup of your favorite beverage before starting.

In 1988 I was working for Domino’s Pizza as a driver/assistant manager, and that’s when I first came to know what real hatred of a job is like. I liked the people I worked with in the store, but I hated upper management, I hated that I wasn’t making far more than the minimum wage (if I didn’t drive that night; the minimum back then was $3.25). I hated that no one was helping me advance (Kevin was a good manager, but he ran the store purely by instinct, an unteachable skill.)

Domino’s at the time is like all chain-store fast-growing and fast-paced restaurants: there was plenty of opportunity to rise because the turnover/burnout/manager-screwing ratio was high. Even Kevin, who broke all of our store’s records, got bounced, and within four months proved what a mistake the company made by founding the first of what would be five restaurants owned wholly by him.

Before that happened, I was already on my way out. A 30-second commercial showing an introductory seminar on how to buy and own businesses. The ad posited the tagline: “Live your dreams! Do what you want by doing what you love!” My ears perked up. I thought about how most of my dreams were crushed my senior year of high school and the few years after, leaving me with the sole ambition of simply making enough money to live comfortably…which to me was having my own apartment, a paid-for car, and no debt. My goals were so modest so that they would be easy to reach; I suffered from depression back then, still do. Back then I didn’t have it under control.

That ad gripped my attention and wouldn’t let go. I felt that since the introductory seminar was free, what did I have to lose except for a few hours of time, since I had nothing better to do anyway? No girlfriend, no hobbies except music listening and TV watching. I had become a hermit inside my living quarters. Maybe this would bring a ray of hope to a life utterly ruled by disappointment.

I attended the seminar, where in two hours the presenter touched on all the topics covered by the program he sold. The business method was on leveraged buyouts (which made me uneasy) and it cost $700.

On my just-barely-over minimum wage assistant manager’s money, attending the 2-day workshop was out of the question. (Domino’s Pizza purposely underpaid assistants as an incentive for them to move quickly to manager. Let me tell you, it is simply a joy trying to get drivers that make more than you to respect you.) But I did take away the commercial tagline and used it as a motivator to find a new career. At the time, I had no idea it would take me nearly twenty years to finally realize that goal.

I remembered my old dream of being a photographer in high school, and started to pursue that by attending The School of Communication Arts in Minneapolis, MN, with the goal of getting a Francesco Scavullo Cosmopolitan Magazine Cover job. Who wouldn’t want free reign to select which lovely models to shoot, what $5000 dress they would wear, the exact make-up and hair styling? Especially in the late 1980s, when every Cosmo cover model seemed to have one of two poses. All Scavullo had to do was pick which foot was in front; otherwise it was face forward, hands on hips with fingers delicately arched as one, thumbs facing backward.

But dream got steamrolled when I found how much trouble it is to make it in that field, and how so many few actually break through. Then there’s so many legal hassles concerning issues like copyrights, release forms. It takes someone with extraordinary ability to manage all aspects of a successful photography business so much so that you need an agent…or a wife with business acumen, which I didn’t have. On top of that, you still have to find glam models willing to pose for little or no money. Glamour Photography turned out far beyond my ability (and desire) to deal with, so I moved on to the other unglam side of the business: high-end photolab work.

I found a good job at the place that had processed my film and made contact prints. Why I applied there was because of a backlit display they had made to sell that service; it featured the Customer Service staff and their years of service, most of which came in the 13-18 year range. Only one was under ten, and she was at nine years. That display evoked stability, which after the quick-hire-quick-fire environment of Domino’s Pizza seemed to be a beacon in the darkness.

Once I got over my rookie mistakes, the job was good…for the first few years. That’s when the owner decided he was getting too old to run the operation and started to cede control to his oldest son. The father and son also allowed someone to reassert command as the plant manager who had done a dismal job when he’d previously held the position. Apparently father and son failed to recall why he had been demoted before. I soon found out why first hand.

I had several battles over customer jobs with this plant manager, eventually losing all respect for his authority because of his unreasonable demands and feeble photolab skills. I crossed the tipping point when he actually lied to a customer about a embedded dust problem with his transparencies and expected me to bring forth a miracle and deliver the job perfectly clean. This happened in late 1997; by this time, the career wheels were already turning that would take me to another job.

Sensing that computer programs like Adobe Photoshop would soon overtake the photolab field, I enrolled at the Minnesota School of Business in the fall of 1997, seeking Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator skills. I earned A’s in those classes and proudly showed my report to Owner’s Son, thinking he would consider me since they were looking to expand the fledgling computer department. His response? After complementing me for doing a good job, he then waxed poetic about how “Adobe was a great company and made such great products.”

No mention of how my new skills (which I had obtained without any prompting or help from them, meaning they got virtually free access to them) could help the computer department in their shortage to meet the work demands. None.

I made the plans to finish school, then find another employer that allowed me to use those skills. I started to consider finding one before I finished school when the plant-manager-lying-to-the customer episode occurred. This consideration became an all-out drive and near-necessity on Black Tuesday in the fall of 1998: four people were laid off, one of them being nearly untouchable for 20 years.

After informing the quartet of their employment loss, Ownwer’s Son called a meeting to inform us who were left what had happened. I can still hear the B&W custom printing lead man quietly exclaiming “wwwwhhhhoooooaaaa!” when Mr. Untouchable’s name was mentioned as the fourth layoff. While we were reeling from this shock, Owner’s Son revealed the reason for my immediate need to find employment elsewhere, even though I survived the cut: the delivery drivers were no longer permitted to accumulate overtime.

Think about this: what if it takes longer then the time alloted to do the job? Are customers with firm deadlines (like a book, pamphlet or poster needing to be printed for a event promotion) going to miss said deadlines? In a world where missed deadlines cause the red-ink jars of added expenses to flow freely, jobs are lost when the ire and wrath of bean-counters hits the desk of upper management as a financial report. Companies stop using your services quickly if you fail to deliver in such an environment. The lead driver, noting the same concern I had, asked, “So what happens when we have a rush job that is due that day, and the time is after 3:30?”

Owner’s son replied as if his wife asked him if he wanted the butter dish at the dinner table: “If you don’t have time, bring it back and deliver it the next morning.”

I couldn’t believe my ears. Could he really be that short-sighted?

Yes, he could.

I left in March 1999, to join a small business that also had a computer department, where I was promised to split my time between the photolab and the computer imaging department. Which I soon learned to be a flat-out lie. Once again, I had been disrespected and screwed by the Highest One In The Company.

I gritted my teeth through that experience long enough to finish school and find a graphic artist position laying out grocery ads that also had steady streams of images to color-adjust and manipulate. I thought I had found the motherlode, surfing a riding crest that showed nothing but promise and a long career. That tagline from a decade ago now firmly in my grasp: “Live your dreams! Do what you want by doing what you love!” Or so I thought.

What I saw instead was disdain from the new coworkers who almost immediately considered me scum. I saw rampant management incompetence and my first experience with office politics, negative of course. In short, my initial experiences showed me why Scott Adams is a millionaire for creating Dilbert.

A bit later, the storm subsided, allowing me to work relaxed. This period I recall as the gaunt quiet time; the first storm was over, but a new one was brewing that lasted nearly six years.

Slowly, the responsibilities given to me dealing with images were outsourced to another location in the company. Then I was passed over again and again for anything that would give more skills and training. Worse yet, the machines and software became more outdated, making the possibility of finding other jobs remote, since the skills I had weren’t up-to-date. My employer didn’t want to make any technology updates until a new contract was signed with the client we did the work for, since we worked on-site. Yes again, the spectre of short-sighted thinking. Why did they do this? So that if the account was lost, there would be fewer expenses. That attitude shows high confidence in your sales team.

Finally after five years of haggling and a series of one-year stave-offs, a new contract was in place, new machines and software purchased and we finally made it into the 21st century. That was short-lived, as the client, a large corporation themselves, bought out another large corporation and had to cut some of their retail operations to comply with the anti-trust laws so the U.S. Commerce Department would approve the deal. We served the retail operations sold off, so about a third of our work disappeared overnight, which made layoffs necessary in March 2006. This time, I didn’t make the cut, and I was relieved, because the treatment I had received had completely disillusioned me to any future there.

My disillusionment soon spread to encompass all types of print media, then all jobs in advertising and anything else dealing with computeres at as I found it impossible to land a new position even with an impeccable resume. So many others had my skills that HR directors treated me as a guttersnipe when I contacted them about open positions. Adding insult to injury, the Minnesota School of Business placement director treated me like a pariah when I returned there for help. She didn’t care that I was a past graduate. She didn’t care that I had compiled a 4.0 GPA and won the respect of every instructor that I took a class with. She didn’t care that the school president, her boss, immediately recognized me even thought we met only briefly eight years earlier. She told me the school wasn’t going to honor the lifetime agreement to refresh the skills I learned there.

That’s when I decided “Screw it.” I found some other crap jobs until I decided what the long-term plan was. At one crap job, I learned what it is like to be thought of as an unknowing idiot by people who weren’t even born when I entered the workforce. Another taught me to hate ISO 9000 because it is the ultimate micromanagement experience. Yet another showed me the definition of harassment–creating a hostile work environment. The tagline of “Live your dreams! Do what you want by doing what you love!” nearly evaporated completely as the negative experiences piled up.

I had been hearing for years that the trades were suffering: the workforce getting older, not many new people were coming in to replace the soon-to-be retired. I researched to find out if there was truth to this assessment. I discovered that this was indeed the truth, and enrolled in mig welding and blueprint reading classes. Welding is so short of people that companies are taking to tossing recruits from temp agencies against the wall to see who wears the velcro shirt. The American Welding Society predicts that 200,000 jobs will be available with no one to fill them. Someone with welding or machining skills from a good tech school can almost pick where they want to work. “That’s what I want,” I realized.

During the last three years of my graphic artist position, I developed a serious fetish for hardware stores and power tools. Welding would allow me to embrace that fetish while earning me a good solid income. So I started the classes with vigor, using up dozen of feet of flat bar two inches at a time to work on the fundamentals of making a good weld. I learned it so quickly that I had welds of such quality ready to show a prospective employer. I did just that, boxing and mailing samples of each weld type for their examination. That caught their attention, as they called me within a few days of the package’s arrival.

Seven weeks later, as of June 3rd, 2007, I cannot think of a job that I’ve ever held that I love more. I’m in a large workshop with my own area. My supervisor helps me when I need it, but allows me to work on my own with little supervision. There are no office politics to speak of (at least where I’m at. That does go on in the main office, but my position away from everything else acts as a soundproof, bulletproof buffer.) Sure there are some issues (like how the blueprints are drawn up–worthy of a separate post.) But those are minor.

I look forward every day to getting to work, and am disappointed when the workday is over. If the union would let me, I would skip the ten-minute breaks as I view them as an interruption to a roll. I also volunteer for overtime. The management probably thinks I have rocks in my head because of the zeal I bring to the job each day.

After a two-decade odyssey, I have the peace, serenity and job satisfaction I’ve been searching for all those years. I love it.

June 1, 2007

Hey! That’s Me!

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 8:05 pm

Poll: A Fifth Vacation With Laptops.

May 31, 2007

The Joy of Working Days

Filed under: General Nonsense, Self-Absorbtive Tendencies — Paul @ 8:34 pm

For nearly all of the period between November 1985 and March 2006, I held second or third shift jobs. There were certain advantages: limiting the expense of bar hopping and other (ahem) entertainment. Another was that I could arrange any appointments, do any needed shopping or play golf! during the day hours, completely missing the day crowd after-work rush. I also appreciated not sitting in traffic heading to or leaving from work.

One former coworker joked that we were all vampires and had to race home after a late night to avoid getting dissolved by the sunlight hitting our skin.

I was the quintessential night owl; staying up very late and sleeping late in the morning. I loved it.

There were drawbacks…like missing most Monday Night Football games, missing a whole generation of prime-time shows, and missing beautiful summer and fall sunsets.

Now, I work a job that requires me to arrive at 6am. So I still get to avoid the morning traffic.

I’ve found there are simple pleasures in a daytime shift that are far better than the constant working nights.

First, while I was on nights I noticed that regular workplace employees in general look on second-shift workers as second class: less skilled, more mistake-prone, and generally lazy. That isn’t necessarily true, but often, the perception is the reality to some people.

When I switched to days at some of these jobs, it seemed that I suddenly became smarter, harder working, and more dependable, even though I hadn’t changed inwardly or outwardly not one iota.

So being on days in my current job has been a boon to me among my coworkers.

Second, I can now see what I’ve been missing in televised broadcast media. Unfortunately, except for the NFL, most broadcast media seems to have collapsed on itself in mediocrity and worse. So now my time is devoted to reading, writing and running a small home business (the latter unthinkable during my time on nights.)

Third, I appreciate the silence. When I worked nights, sometimes my sleeping hours were ruined by construction workers, stomping feet pounding my apartment’s ceiling and blasting stereos. Now that I work days, my sleeping hours peace and serenity are enforced by city noise ordinances.

Best of all with the silence, I can fully take in the ambiance of the morning. Cool air lightly scented with fresh blooming lilacs, gently swaying the leaf-growing branches of the trees. The smell of fresh coffee brewing and breakfast sandwiches at the corner convenience stoe a block from my apartment. The nearly-clear freeways as I drive in, which I can now enjoy more because I am energized to get to work, not burned out at the end of another trying shift.

Then there’s fourth, which may be the last in this list, but first in my pleasures of working days. I can spend more time with my wife!

When I was working nights, there were days, even a whole week when I didn’t see her. I may as well have simply had a roommate during that time, we saw each other so rarely. Now I get to see her every evening when I return home, sharing the day’s events with each other in sweet converse. The dearness of having her next to me while I sleep.

The lack of sleeping at the same time in the same bed adversely affected Sweetheart also…there were many nights that she had trouble getting to sleep because I was not there with her, or at least home. Now she gets more rest, and is more energized to face the new day now that I’m home at night.

I can say that for all the years I worked nights, I did love my life as a night owl.

I’ve found that days as an early bird are even better.

July 5, 2006

Hunting Norwegian Whalers Shock Tourists

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 8:13 pm

This is an unfortunate story. Still, a small part of me imagines, “what if this had happened in front of the Save The Whales crowd?”

OSLO, Norway (AP) – Hunters shocked a boatload of tourists on a whale watch off Norway’s Arctic during the weekend, harpooning a whale in front of them.

About 80 tourists were aboard the trawler Reine, which was headed for areas off the Arctic Lofoten Islands known for their abundance of whales, when the incident happened on Saturday, the boat’s skipper Geir Maan said by telephone on Wednesday.

“We were on our way out to the whale watching area when we passed a whaling boat,” Maan, the boat’s skipper, told The Associated Press. Usually, whaling and tour boats maintain a distance between them.

“This time, we got close, and right when they were passing, I realized they had a minke whale in firing range,” he said.

The whaling boat fired, and Maan said he later learned through the hunters that it had made a kill in front of the tourists.

“Some were pretty upset,” he said. “Many thought it was awful to see.”

July 4, 2006

Welcome to the New Townhall

Filed under: General Nonsense — Paul @ 12:42 pm

The new and improved Townhall.com in conjuction with the Salem Radio Network is here, and does it ever look slick! Take a look!

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