April 30, 2006
Mother Nature is a Sadistic Witch.
We’re home early. Thursday set up went well and the weather was nice. Friday was nice, not too cold, no rain, just a little wind. Saturday morning we woke up the overcast skies and a chilly breeze. Around 1:00 PM the skies opened up and starting spitting on us. It wasn’t a heave rain, but enough to get everything damp. Then the wind started picking up. This made the day not only feel colder, but there was no place to stay dry. The wind would blow the rain under the flies. It also would make the fires throw sparks.
The wind got heavier all day and into the night. During the night the rain started coming down in buckets and the wind picked up enough that it frightened me out of dead sleep thinking the tent was blowing away. Trust me, if you’ve ever been tent camping, strong winds are not your friend. My tent is pretty sturdy and surrounded by other tents. I never took a direct hit from the wind all night, yet one time I woke up to my tent swaying in the wind. Fortunately I can report that there was no damage in my camp. One camp blew a loop, but nothing serious.
This morning we were wakened by the sounds of vehicles and hammering. Pulling myself out of the tent, I looked to see what was going on. There were cars all over camp. I talked with one of my neighbors and they advised that the even was canceled. They were calling for more rain and high winds all day.
I confirmed what I was told with one of the committee members. Thus Ktreva and I packed camp and headed home. It was nice to see some of our friends, but I really wish I had another day to do my re-enacting.
April 26, 2006
Er, yea that's about right.
|Your Famous Last Words Will Be:|
As maliciously stolen from T1G
Give me a break.
We are packed and set. Everything is ready to go. Of course, can you guess what the weather is supposed to be like this weekend? Let me give you a hint:
Yep, that’s right. We are going to be rained on all weekend. That always makes for a fun event. We need the rain so that doesn’t bother me, but can’t it rain during the week and give me my re-enacting weekend just rain-free????
Eh, I guess I should be used to it by now. Over the last two years I’ve only had 5 events that we didn’t get rain. We do 8 events a year, that means only 31.25% of the events we’ve done, we didn’t get wet at.
April 25, 2006
Time to kill some Brits!
It’s officially here! The start of re-enacting season is upon us in the Contagion household. The last couple of days have been a whirlwind of making sure everything is pulled out of storage, inspected, and made ready for the opening weekend.
That is no small feat around here. If it was just me, I’d be able to pack everything I need in the CAB of my truck. When you throw in the family, it then takes my entire truck, the bed overflowing with equipment, and what’s left being packed into Ktreva’s van. It’s hard to tell from pictures, but we have a lot of gear. As the boys get older, we need even more. It also doesn’t help that Ktreva and me purchase more items that we find every year. It’s not because we need it, but because we want it.
To give you an example, this is our camp from two years ago this weekend (April 2004). It includes the smaller wedge tent behind our fly.
Click to Enlarge
This is our camp from the end of last season (October 2005), with out the wedge tent. (Boopie didn’t participate in this event so we didn’t bring his tent.)
Click to Enlarge
Over a year and a half our camp dressing and equipment grew by that much. Since the time of the second picture, we’ve purchased more items to make our camp look nicer. If you’ve ever thought of becoming a re-enactor, let me share some information with you. This is not a cheap hobby. That is why we build our camp gradually, we buy what we want when we find it, and we can afford it. The nice thing is since we are in our ninth season; we rarely are in need of anything anymore. We’re finally in the stages of buying the want items… like the still! Maybe some year Ktreva will break down and let me buy one of those $4,000.00 custom made flintlock rifles I’ve been drooling over for years. What? A guy can dream can’t he?!?!
This weekend we are doing the Gathering at Macktown in Rockton, Illinois. I’ve attended this event for the last 8 years. We didn’t attend this event for the first time until our second year of re-enacting, and it is one of my favorites. Unfortunately there is only one event left on my schedule from my first season, Trail of History. All of the other events we did either folded, we stopped portraying that period of history or are just too far to travel too.
As I stated earlier, this is my ninth season as a re-enactor. That means this is my last rookie season. After this year I’ll actually be considered by some of the long time re-enactors as, “Not a greenhorn”. Ie, “I was over at Seamus MacPhail’s camp checking out his still. He’s come a long way since that first year when he was making people drink his bottle of Jack Daniel’s. He’s definitely not a green horn. Some of my readers who have seen my camp, or known me as a re-enactor might laugh at this and think I’m joking. I’m really not; I was called a “tenderfoot” just six months ago by one of those grizzled re-enactors.
I’m tired from all the lifting, so I’m going to hit the sack. If any of you are in the Rockton, Illinois area and want to experience some history, head on out to the Gathering at Macktown. I think you would definitely have a good time.
April 24, 2006
When my I get to half a tank of gas in my truck, I like to top it off. That way it doesn’t seem like I’m spending as much money. Logically I know that is not the case; I just have to stop more often to fill up. A couple of weeks ago the gas price jumped over night by 14 cents to $2.75 the morning I was going to fill up. Figuring that the price would drop off, I decided that I was going to gamble and wait to see if it drops.
It didn’t drop; the price went up by another 20 cents. Finally the day came that my fuel dummy light came on, and I knew it was time to fill up. When that light comes on, that means I only have a couple of gallons left, and at 10-14 miles to the gallon I didn’t feel like gambling anymore. I pull into the next gas station, they where charging $2.95 a gallon for regular. Knowing this was going to hurt the bank account, I started filling up. $20… $30… $40… $50… $60… $70… And then the pump started to slow down to a crawl, a slow crawl. What the hell?!?!?
Did I drain the tank? Was there a problem with the pump? What is going on here?!?! I’m playing with the handle trying to get it to pump faster. Then it stopped pumping all together. No more gas for me. I couldn’t figure out what the hell happened. That is when I noticed that I had reached $75.00. Walking into the store, I ask the clerk what’s going on. That is when I’m told, “There is a dollar cap on the pumps. The pumps will only dispense $75.00 worth of gas at a time. Most of the gas stations in the area have that on the pumps. It helps prevent loss to drive aways.” I look the guy in the eye and explain; well it doesn’t help me at all. I paid at the pump and I’m only slightly over ¾ of a tank full.
So a valuable lesson was learned: I should never gamble, it never works out for me.
April 22, 2006
I took Ktreva to see the Rock River Raptors play tonight. They won 60 something to 30 something. I ‘d give you exact numbers but I’m a little on the inebriated side. I’m still nurshing my nuts and all.
Ktreva claims to have had a wonderful time. I know I did. I even have an official football that was used in the game now! How cool is that! Trust me people, if you live anywhere near the Rockford, Illinois area, it’s worth going to see them play. And before anyone accuses me of having stakes in the team, I don’t. I just own season tickets.
Did I mention that I have an official football?
April 20, 2006
Rub my nuts.
A couple of weeks ago my parents asked a favor of me. My aunt had a freezer that is about 5 years old she didn’t want anymore. They wanted me to move it from my aunt’s garage to their garage. No steps, no long hauls, just a simple move from one garage to another. Since it was only 5 years old and about the size of an apartment fridge, I knew it wouldn’t be too heavy and said it wasn’t a problem. For the last two weeks they kept telling me it was just moving this freezer from one garage to another.
They asked me if I wanted their old freezer, which is 35 years old and in their basement. I have a small chest freezer that I barely use and had no need for a big one like that. There really is no place in our house to put it and it’s 35 years old. It’s not like it’s very energy efficient. On Monday they asked me for the umpteenth time if I wanted the stupid, aging, decrepit freezer. Again I gave them a resounding “Hell, no!” After confirming I didn’t want it, they said there is a friend of theirs that does want it, and they are going to give it to him. The catch being that HE has to move it out of the basement. They wouldn’t charge him for it if he moves. Okay, that’s not a bad deal.
All of a sudden the deal sweetens for the guy taking the 70’s super freezer of death. This morning my parents tell me that they don’t want the guy moving it out of the basement, they are afraid he might damage the walls, doors, floors and furniture moving it. They want my cousin and me to move it out of the basement for them. BASTICHES! All day at work I had horrible images of being crushed under the 70’s food cryoton 5000. I knew this little favor was going to turn into a big favor, I knew it!
I get to my aunts, and my father is there with an appliance dolly. I look at the freezer there, tip it to the side to check the weight, the thing couldn’t have weighed more then 200 pounds, and was probably closer to 100. (I’m not a good judge of weight when I’m lifting stuff, but I know that my cousin and I had no problem lifting and moving it). We get it into the back of the truck and head off to my parents.
When we get there, we easily unload the freezer and get it into place in minutes. Then we went to move the old 70s freezatronic 5000. This thing is much larger then the new freezer, except on the inside it is about the same size. No good comes from this. Performing the same tilt test I discover that this is much heaver, MUCH HEAVIER. And that is with out the door. My parents had removed it so it would fit easier through the doorways and up the stairs. We strap the Frostinator 5000 to the dolly and start pulling it up the stairs. I am on the top and my cousin pushing from the bottom. People, this thing weighed 2.5 tons! The 5000 was the poundage of the beast, not the model number! All was going okay until the very top step. As I pulled the Frostbiter 5000 up the last step I feel something give in the most sensitive of male regions. I think my balls tried to jump into my lungs. Pain seers in the groinal region as we finally get it in place. The Herniator 5000 is finally at the top of the stairs. My cousin then graciously does the rest of the heaving lifting to get it down three steps into the garage. (Graciously because he didn’t have to suffer breathing around his nuts!).
Now of course I could go to the hospital, but why do that. I have a reputation to protect. Nope, I’m sitting here anesthetizing myself. My drip bag (AKA beer bottle) is being refilled by my private nurse (Ktreva), I have take a crap load of ibuprofen and later I’m going to have my private nurse rub down the area with some Neosporin with pain reliever. Neosporin has fixed just about everything else in my life; it won’t fail me now! Sure some of you might think the whole rubbing of genital regions with Neosporin is for pleasure, but if your crotch felt like mine right now, you’d know that there is no pleasure to it!
Now excuse me, I have to cough, and I don’t like typing with tears in my eyes.
April 19, 2006
More Weird Facts.
Machelle of Quality Weenie tagged me with the 6 weird habits or facts that I have meme. After trying, futility I might add, to get out of doing it by claiming I have done the 5 weird habits or facts that I have meme, I decided that since I blew off the last 9 memes I’ve been tagged with I’d actually do this one. That and I have the day off.
Six Weird Facts or Habits I have:
A) I profile every person I meet or talk with. It’s an old habit from the old days that I just can’t let go.
2) I will talk to myself out loud, and answer myself… when others are around.
D) Contrary to popular belief, I really am shy. I just mask it really well with drinking and being an arsehole.
4) I have Barbie doll knees. Due to an accident when I was younger I can bend my knees up to 45 Degrees in the wrong direction. This makes for great party jokes.
G) When I’m drinking, I like to pretend I’m more intoxicated then I really am. It’s something I started doing when I was in college and now I do it out of habit. This includes slurring and mispronouncing words, pretending to have no coordination and even allowing myself to fall down. If someone calls me on it, or if I’m questioned about my state of mind, I’ll stop doing it… for a while.
6) When I make list I use a funky pattern to number things. IE this list goes A, 2, D, 4, G, 6. And if it weren’t for the fact that it’s supposed to be 6 things, the last one would not be a 6.
And I’m not tagging anyone with this piece of tripe… Well no one except my wife Ktreva, I just want to see how many times I make her list. Like A) I married Contagion, that’s just farkin’ weird!
Some of you may remember that a couple of weeks back I attended a Wrestlemania Party. Let me start off by saying, I do not like wrestling. (Pronounced Rass-lin) Years ago I used to be a fan of the WWF, now the WWE. That was when I was in middle school. As I grew up I realized just how stupid it was. That and it’s not a sport. I don’t care what people say, it is NOT a sport. Sports are not scripted and the participants know who is going to win before the match ever starts. I will concede that the wrestlers are athletes. They do need to know what they are doing and they do keep themselves pretty physically fit. Even the big fat ones have to be pretty damn strong to do some of the stuff they do.
Since I have no love for wrestling, I tried to talk my way out of having to go to this party. I tried everything from “You know I really hate wrestling, you wouldn’t be too pissed if I didn’t show, would you?” to “If I go, I’m just going to make fun of it the whole time.” The two friends of mine hosting it insisted I be there. I think that both of them have it in their head that they will win me over to becoming a wrestling fan. Both of them are pretty damn delusional.
Earlier that day I was supposed to go shooting. The weather didn’t cooperate, and I didn’t get to go. Since I had nothing better to do, I picked up some beer and headed to my friends house early. When I walked through the door Ton-loc (My friend who owns the house) wasn’t there. Our mutual friend J-man was there watching Nascar. J-man and Ton-loc have been friends for a long time, J-man tends to head there when he wants to get away from his wife and kids. Now if there is anything I dislike almost as much as Wrestling, it’s Nascar. The only time I find Nascar remotely interesting is when there is an accident. Any competition (Nascar is not a sport) that only appeals to my sadistic side is not one I want to watch. J-man is a huge Dale Jr. fan, so of course to get myself in the mood for that night's festivities. Cracking open a beer, I sit down and start the conversation with, “So has Dale crashed yet? Ya know he’s going to lose right?” Yea, I’m a good man. He smarted off something about he’s in tenth place. So which I respond with, “That makes him the 9th loser right? Because there is only one winner, every one else lost. They just lost at varying degrees of suck.” J-man looks at me as I finish my first beer and says, “You’ve been here 10 minutes, you’ve already drank one beer and are being a complete arsehole already. It’s going to be a long night, isn’t it?" Of course I respond with, ”Well I asked if could get out of this, both you and ton-loc said no, deal with your bad decision.”
Wrestlemania was as bad, if not worse then I had anticipated. By the time the show started, I was over halfway through the case of beer. Each match I’m sitting there tearing into it, making fun of the whole thing spouting off insults and just laughing at the cheesy acting and script. Now, there was one match that I actually got into. There was some kind of no-holds barred match where the wrestlers could use weapons. One guy comes in with a baseball bat. After a couple of hits he throws it out of the ring. I’m screaming at the TV “What the fark!?!?!?! Don’t throw the bat out, go Babe Ruth on his kidneys!” The other wrestler had barbed wire wrapped around him, and he pulled it out and was cutting the shit out of bat-boy. At one point barbed wire man had the barbed wire around bat-boy like he was choking him. “Pop his farkin’ head off!” came out of my mouth before my sensitivity filter kicked in. The other people in the room are looking at me as if I was the one trying to garrote someone. Barbed wire man jumped out of the ring and picked up a baseball bat… wrapped in barbed wire. I think at this point I actually laughed amusedly. Again, I’m cheering on to use the barbed wire wrapped bat to beat the ever-loving snot out of the other guy. Nope, just a couple of cuts and then they pull out aluminum cookie sheets to hit each other with.
They gave up bats, for aluminum cookie sheets. I sat down in my chair and went off on a tirade that I swear is still hovering over Rockford and causing women to blush and children to plug their ears. C’mon I could smash your skull with a bat, but I’m going to use an aluminum cookie sheet that forms itself to the contours of your face when I hit you with it. It was like a farking cartoon folks!
After the cookie sheets, one of the guys goes and moves the stairs into the ring. There is a pair of brass knuckles and some kind of bag. Of course Mr. Sadist here is screaming for the brass knuckles. The other people in the room are starting to get panicked. One of the guys runs and grabs me a beer thinking he could distract me from my hope of impending violence. Both fail when the idiot grabs the bag instead of the brass knuckles. ”That damn bag better be filled with lead shot.” I mutter under my breath. Nope, no lead shot. Tacks, brass thumbtacks are what are in the bag. What the hell, this sucks. You could be rearranging the other guy’s skull, but no you are going to tack him down. FARK!!!!!
Then the wrestler pours the tacks out all over the ring. The other wrestler grabs him and body slams the guy that dumped the tacks out onto said tacks. When the wrestler got up, his back and arms where covered in tacks. He looked like he was wearing studded leather. That was actually cool. The match went on and there was some fire and some other stuff and the studded bat-boy ended up winning, but that was the only match I enjoyed.
The Losers My friends got all excited about the women wrestling matches. I was less then enthralled by it. Unless they are wrestling in pudding, I just don’t care. Ton-loc asked at one point during one of the matches, ”Do you have to work hard to be that big of an arsehole, or does it just come naturally?” I explained it’s all natural.
As soon as the event was over, I took off and headed home. It was 4 hours of my life I will never get back.
Well Contaminates, I’m home today. Now I’d love to regale you with a tale of how I was boldly standing up for my employees or calling down the inanity of management, thus I received another day off of work. And as much as I’m sure you’d love to read that story, it’s just not the case. Nope, today I’m home… all day because I’m having windows installed in the house. Someone has to be here for the contractor to come in and to pay the balance due.
I’m kind of hoping that the weather holds out and they finish relatively quickly so I can actually make something out of the day. I have start re-enacting in a week and a half and there is a lot of work to do. Well, okay there isn’t that much work to do. We are pretty much set. I do have to do some staining and treatment of a collapsible rifle/musket rack. All the equipment seems to be in good shape, nothing really needs repairs or replacing. However, if these guys take to long or we get the rain they are calling for, there will be no outdoor work for me today.
Part of me was thinking that I could get together with a friend or two and help the local economy by depleting an over abundance of beer. For reasons I just can’t fathom, I have the idea my wife would NOT be happy with that decision.
So if you see me around through out the day, making comments or just leaving tracks on site meters, don’t worry. Nothing happened, I’m just supervising some housework.
April 18, 2006
Hey, it's not that evil swill.
Before I leave on my meeting to Chicago, I thought I would post this little quiz that I found over at One for the Road.
| Bass |
(100% dark & bitter, 33% working class, 100% genuine)
So the deal with this test is that each taker, based on his or her scores, is assigned a beer that fits their personality (Corona, Bud Select, and so on), and along with the personality description, there's a poster or an ad for that beer. As you can imagine, most of the images feature booty models, sports cars, or, maybe even more depressing, retro kitsch.
|My test tracked 3 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:|
|Link: The If You Were A Beer Test written by gwendolynbooks on Ok Cupid, home of the 32-Type Dating Test|
April 17, 2006
Oh never, oh never, oh never again.
We here in the Contagion household had a good weekend, well let me rephrase that. Contagion of the Contagion household had a good weekend. Friday started off with a talented waitress at a local wings joint of the highest renown. (She was artistic. Not in that lesbian sort of way, but in that she drew us our own personalized coasters for our libations.) The redoubtable T1G met with me there for dinner to discuss the local politics and alleviate an overabundance of fine beer that was going to waste on the local alcoholics. After much debate over the correct pronunciation of the word Golgotha, we decided that we should go see how the other half recreates on a Friday night.
That is when we headed to the local hole in the wall that’s by my domicile. Upon arriving T1G noticed right away that this establishment did not have the usual sophisticated selection of malt beverages. The next thing he noticed was the sever lack of quality distilled spirits. He was vocally pondering why I would entertain such an establishment when we overhear the following conversation, Guy 1, “Hey, you have plaster on your pants.” Guy 2, “Trust me, that’s not plaster.” Guy 1, “Dude, you’re supposed to change when you do that!” All was right with the world. That and $1.50 drafts aren’t bad.
On Saturday I packed the family into the truck and invaded the valley in order to visit Tammi. Prior to our embarking on the expedition, we stopped at a local grocer for supplies. Including more malted beverages of exceptional quality, oh and Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager. I had seen this particular beer at the store a couple of times and contemplated purchasing a can to see what it is like. On the can it advertises 9% alcohol by volume, so I figured it would be good for a nice warming at least. It looked sounded like it would taste bad; the packaging didn’t help convince me any differently. On this day, I figured it is time to take the plunge. I purchased two of these 24 oz can behemoths, one for myself and one for T1G. It is far better to drink swill with a friend then by oneself. After dinner T1G and I decided to give the Camo Silver Ice High Gravity Lager a chance. Let me start by saying that this beer by any other name would be pig urine. Nay, that is an insult to pig urine. It was like drinking the vile dregs of 73 kegs (various brands) that were mixed together, left to warm in the sun and served in an old used plastic cup left over from a frat party.
To quote a recent review I’ve read of this unpalatable brew, ”Quite simply the worst beer I’ve ever tried. Three swigs were enough. Then I started gagging. Smells and tastes like gasoline mixed with rotting garbage. Horrifyingly vile swill made by evil people.” T1G’s comment on the taste was, ”It tastes like stomach bile. You know, that stuff you puke up after your done puking.” Yes, my dear contaminants it was that bad. In his review he was kind enough to not repeat those words.
Not to let the vile concoction tarnish our machismo, we both finished them off. There we sat on Tammi’s front porch, the sunlight glinting off the giant aluminum cans, choking down the sick practical joke that is this beer. Scaring the neighbors as the two burly men sat there drinking a product that bums wouldn’t touch.
If you don’t trust my review of this beer, that is fine. Try it yourself, go but a can and choke it down. Just remember the more you swallow the less likely it will come back up. The only thing that could have made the experience worse, was if I had bought the 40 oz. bottles.
April 16, 2006
Hosanna to the highest!
For today he, Jebus, has risen.
(From two days of drunken escapades)
Yes, I know I’m going to burn in the fiery bowels of hell.
April 15, 2006
Firefox no more.
I know many people out there like Firefox as a browser. But I’m getting ready to delete it and scrub my hard drive of any ruminants of it actually being installed on my system. There are some things I like to do on the internet that I can’t see to get to run on Firefox, their support are sucks the sweat off of donkey balls.
My latest complaint is that I need to get something to run on my computer for work, it requires me to install activex on my browser. When I try to do that, Firefox gives me a message that “Software installation is currently disabled. Click Edit Options… to enable it and try again.” Yes that is the complete message. When I click edit options there is no farking option to enable software installation.
Their website gives the following wildly cryptic answer:
How do I enable software installation?
Software installation is enabled by default. In Firefox versions 1.0.7 and earlier (and Thunderbird) there is a preference in the options menu to enable or disable software installation.
In Firefox 1.5 this preference still exists, but it is now accessed through about:config. Find xpinstall.enabled and set it to true by double clicking on it or by right clicking and choosing reset.
If this doesn't enable software installation, or you need more information, please seek support for the program you're trying to install extensions to.
Yes, I have version 1.5 (foolishly I upgraded this POS) Well I’m not sure what the heck they’re talking about in the highlighted section, but it doesn’t match anything on my browser. I don’t have time to fark around with this program anymore it’s already wasted 2 hours of my life. I’m switching back to IE, it might have security issues, but at least it’s more user friendly.
Oh the possibilities.
Originally I had this video sent to me way back in December. I thought it was pretty neat, but I had forgotten about.
Click to watch video
Flash forward 4 months and now we have yet another video of the same thing, except this time it’s done in someone’s bathroom.
All I have to say about the whole thing is that, I wonder what would happen if you where able to get the cap screwed onto the bottle quick enough to keep it from exploding. I’m picturing great practical joke possibilities here people. Yes, they would be messy for everyone around, but funny as hell.
April 13, 2006
The bad dad strikes again!
Example 4,586,948 of why I’m a bad dad. Earlier tonight when I picked Clone up after work, I was talking with my mother. (She runs the day care) While I was standing there, Clone grabbed my hand and started spinning around me. We gradually picked up speed. Not fast enough to pick him up off the ground, but just fast enough that momentum would keep us going. I didn’t have a good grip on him and he let go of my hands…
…crashing face first onto the concrete floor of the garage. He was screaming. When I picked him up, there was blood in his mouth. Clone had cut his top lip on his teeth. After cleaning up the wound and making sure there was no serious injury, I gave him a Popsicle to help numb his lip and bring down the swelling. For all of you potential parents out there, mouth injuries bleed a lot, Popsicles are the best thing to help reduce the swelling and bleed. It’s the only cold thing a young child will keep in their mouths that will do any good. Clone is fine, no real physical damage, and only some minor psychological trauma.
What gets me is that I know better then to do that with him. I should never have done that in the garage and I should have made sure I had a better grip on him. This was a lesson I learned first hand… as a child… when my father did the exact same thing to me. I’m also willing to bet Clone does the same thing to his kid when he gets older.
April 12, 2006
Paying to be taken advantage of.
Allegedly there is a union that is trying to set up shop in our office. The kicker is that they aren’t targeting just any employee. No, they are trying to recruit the white-collar employees in our office. That’s right, they want management.
Now I know I have some readers that are pro-union. I, however, am not. In my life I have
been raped belonged to three different unions. The only thing any of them actually did for me was take a chunk of my paycheck, sell me out, have my work load increased, use my position as a bargaining chip in negations, take a chunk of my paycheck, and prevent me from getting a promotion.
There was a time in this country that unions were needed, under today’s labor laws I just don’t see a need. I’ve gotten further, made more money, and have better benefits with companies that don’t have unions then I ever did when I was in one. Why would I want to bring in an organization that is going to take money away from me, and (based on my experience) probably screw me in the long run?
I also love the strong-arm tactics unions use. If you work in a union office and don’t want to belong to the union, you don’t have to. Yet, you still have to pay dues and they pretty much make sure you get squat for jobs. Oh, and picketing, I love the picketing. Every time I see union employees picketing a business, it just makes me want to buy from that company. Especially when the idiots they get to do it start vandalizing the property or vehicles. Yea, terror tactics to scare people into either joining or using their services really convinces me they are a good organization. Now, not all unions do this, but I’ve seen/experienced enough to know it happens. And if I could have identified which one of those union pricks put a nail in my tire, I’d have pressed charges.
I really hope this is just a rumor, and there is no truth to it. If it is true, I pray that the people in my office have enough common sense to turn them on their heels. If they don’t, I’ll probably end up looking for a new job. There’s no way I want to work in another union office.
April 11, 2006
Okay, the interviewing portion was finished yesterday. I had to make my selection today. This afternoon I offered the position to the individuals that fit the best into the position. That also means I started giving feedback to those I had to turn down. This means I had to tell them why I didn’t select them. When I give feedback of this variety I do not like to just tell someone that I didn’t feel they where the best candidate for the position. I like to tell them why I felt they weren’t the best candidate.
As I’m breaking the bad news to them, I then go over their strengths and their weaknesses. When I was turned down for jobs in the past, this is what I wanted. As part of that feedback I also like to help guide them to fix those weaknesses. Since I haven’t given feedback on a rejection in a long time, ten years if you must know, I was a bit rusty. Thankfully I picked up a phrase from Tammi to help in my process.
Many of these same individuals will put in for the same position the next time it posts, and I really want a strong pool to pull from. At the end of each feedback session I would say, “What I need you to do for me is (insert task here)” Such as, “You where almost perfect for the position. You had all the personal, coaching and technical skills for the job. Unfortunately your production prevents me from offering you the position. If you can improve your production, you will be a serious threat to the competition. What I need you to do for me is to go out there, not let this interview get you down and increase your production. If that means working with your supervisor or peers to learn how to streamline what you do, then that is what you need to do. I really hope that the next time I interview for this position, I want to see you in here and make my decision next time even more difficult.”
Everyone that I gave feedback to today seemed to legitimately appreciate what I had to say. Even the ones that weren’t a strong candidate told me they appreciated my honesty and approach. Next time I have to go through this, I really hope some of these people fix their issues and give me a stronger pool of candidates.
April 10, 2006
More on interviewing.
Well the interviewing process is done. My post of interviewing tips was written after the first day, I really should have waiting until the end of the process before writing them. There are more tips to add.
-Calm down. If you are so nervous that you shake from head to toe during the ENTIRE interview, that does not give the best impression of you. We all know that the person being interviewed is going to be nervous. I take that into consideration, but when you are sitting in your chair shaking so hard that I can feel it through the floor into my chair and it’s vibrating the desk where I’m writing notes, that is NOT good.
-For the love of god, stay on topic. When we ask you a question, we want an answer pertaining to the question, not something that is completely off topic. IE. If the question asked is “As part of the position you will have to give negative feedback, have you ever given negative feedback and if so how did you go about doing it?” Do not answer: That’s a tough question, when I was learning how to do my last job I always had to do this task I wasn’t trained on. In order to do it I would look up the information in the manuals or ask my peers how to get the information. In doing so I taught myself how to do the job correctly.” WHAT?!?!?!?! Where did that answer come from? That’s a decent answer to a completely different question, but for the question asked it sucked!
-If asked what your greatest weakness is, the worst answer you can give is; “I don’t have any” Trust me, everyone has a weakness. When you say I don’t have one, it sounds very arrogant and egotistical. First this is a loaded question; it’s a BS question, it’s a question that interviewers ask to see what kind of personality you have. The best way to answer this is to find something that you aren’t the strongest at, state that and then turn it into a strength. The best answer I received to this question was: “My greatest weakness is that I’m over analytical. I will take extra time to analyze something I’m doing to make sure that it is done correctly. This has caused my production to drop off. At the same time I have near perfect quality. By analyzing every aspect of what I don’t make mistakes. It’s rare that something is returned to me for doing it wrong. However, after over analyzing everything I know exactly what I’m doing and what I’m looking for, so I no longer have to research as much and my production has increased.” My god, that is damn near a textbook answer.
-Do not lie, mislead or give false information. This is so important I shouldn’t have to tell people, yet out of the interviews I did I had no less then two people do exactly that during the interviews. I don’t know if they didn’t think I’d check on what they where telling me or if they were overstating their experience. Either way, when the interviewer finds out that you lied, mislead or gave false information, it’s more then likely going to move your resume to the “not likely” pile.
-Do not chew gum, suck on candy, or pop breath mints during the interview. It’s unprofessional and again gives a poor impression of you.
-Perfume/cologne is okay in moderation. If you wear so much that my eyes start watering, you have too much on. Scents should be subtle and barely noticeable, just hint of scent. Not a club of stink pretty. On the same note, do not drink a gallon of mouthwash before the interview. Sitting across a table from someone that smells like they ate a Christmas tree when they speak is rather distracting.
-Confidence is good, over confidence is bad, arrogance is just wrong. I interviewed a person that came in so over confident/arrogant that the position was theirs that even though they are in the running; it’s what’s keeping them from being a sure thing. I’ve never spoke with this person before; I really don’t know what they are like. If this was just something they did for the interview it can be forgiven, but if this individual is like that on a daily basis I don’t want them working for me. I don’t need a prima donna.
-For the love of all that is good, do not interrupt the interviewer while they are asking a question or speaking. Wait until they are finished, and then ask. Unless it is an emergency, i.e. the room is on fire and for some reason they don’t notice, you can wait until they are done speaking.
-Finally, there may be a thing as too much detail, but I have yet to see it in an interview. Remember, you are trying to convince these people you are the right person for the job. As long as you are on topic, (see above) go into as much detail as possible with your answers. You need to impress the interviewer with your knowledge and skills. I had one person go into so much detail, they where teaching me things. Yes, this person is a finalist.
If any of these tips helps even one person get a job, that’s great. I think some really qualified individuals may not get the job because they had some poor interviewing skills. They may even be the best person for the job, but they did not convince me that they where. That is what the interview is; making sure that the candidate is the best for the job. If you can’t convince me of that, then you aren’t going to get it.
April 08, 2006
Another reason to not use Phones
It’s another spread the urban legends Saturday. Again, I don’t know what if any of this is true; I’m assuming the text is mostly fake. But the video is kind of neat, in that “It’s kind of scary” sort of way. Here is the text that accompanied the video.
If you get asked to test your cell phone at the airport, this is the reason. Because cell phone guns have been discovered. The attached video clip shows how cell phone guns operate. These phones are not in the U.S. yet, but they are in use overseas. Beneath the digital phone face is a 22 caliber handgun capable of firing four rounds in rapid succession using the standard telephone keypad. European law enforcement officials are stunned by the discovery of these deadly decoys. They say phone guns are changing the rules of engagement in Europe . "We find it very alarming," says Wolfgang Dicke ! of the German Police Union . "It means police will have to draw their weapons whenever a person being checked reaches for their cell phone." Although cell phone guns have not reached the U.S. yet, the FBI, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms and the U.S. Customs Service say they have been briefed on the new weapons. All U.S. ports of entry have been alerted. These covert weapons were first discovered in October of 2000 when Dutch police came upon a cache during a dr ug raid in Amsterdam. In another recent incident, a Croatian gun dealer was caught attempting to smuggle a shipment through Slovenia into Western Europe. Police say both shipm! ents are believed to have originated in Yugoslavia! .. Interpol sent a warning to law enforcement agencies around the world. "If you didn't know they were guns, you would think they were cell phones," said Ari Zandbergen, a spokesperson for the Amsterdam police. "Only when you have one in your hand do you realize that they are heavier than a regular cell phone." Be patient if security asks to look at your cell phone or turn it on to show that it works. They have a good reason!
Tell me that isn’t the fakest looking cell phone you’ve seen since the 90’s?
Eh, it couldn't have been Ride On?
|Your Theme Song is Back in Black by AC/DC|
Things sometimes get really crazy for you, and sometimes you have to get away from all the chaos.
As stolen from my wife.
Lazy Saturday post.
It has been a busy week, and even my weekends are filled with work or chores or just being busy. That’s okay, in 4 weeks from today I will be re-enacting and everything will be good. Since I’m about to head out the door I thought you would all like to know that Basil’s interview of me is up. See what kind of person I really am.
April 06, 2006
Do you want the job or not?
I have all my access of today at work. At this point I’m still in shock it only took three weeks. For the first time I had to do direct interviewing for work. I have two open positions I need filling, and I’m the one that has to make the decision. Which leads me to where I’m going here.
DAMMIT PEOPLE! If you are going to interview for a position, internal or external posting, prepare for the damn interview. How hard is it to:
A) Dress nice, or at least as nice as the interviewer? I wear a shirt and tie every day to work. It’s not a secret that I dress nicely. By god, wear something that is business appropriate, not something you would wear to go out drinking or picking up a date!
2) Know something about the position other then you want it. Good lord, how are you going to convince me that you are the best person for the job if you don’t even know what the job is?
D) If you’ve ever been interviewed before, you have an idea of the types of questions they ask. Prepare for these, be honest, but prepare. When asked, “What do you think your greatest weakness is?” or “Give me an example of when you had to sacrifice a personal goal for the betterment of your team.” Don’t say, “I don’t have any” or “I’ve never had to do that.” Trust me you do, and you have! When you are put on the spot it’s better to have an obviously rehearsed answer then not to have any answer. Also it’s a good idea to have multiple examples to use for multiple questions.
5) Just because one person is asking questions and another is writing down answers, that doesn’t mean the one asking the questions is making the decision. Do NOT ignore the second person. I let the person assisting me do all the talking; I’m doing all the writing. The decision is ultimately mine, in 2 of the interviews I had today I swear the people being interviewed didn’t even acknowledge I was in the room. No eye contact, not even looking in my general direction. Okay, so I intentionally didn’t look at them very much. So how did I know? An old interviewer trick I was taught years ago. I had an object on the table in front of me that worked as a mirror; I was trying to observe their reaction and body language with out letting them know. No, I’m not the only one that does this. I’ve had four interviews in my life where I’ve seen others do the same thing. I’m not saying spend time looking for their mirror, just look in their direction and acknowledge their existence. Trust me, it makes an impression. Every time I looked up they where always looking at either my assistant interviewer or the table, yes I took marks off the interview for that.
That’s all I’m going to share with you now. Those are just the observations from today. I have three more days of interviews to complete, I’m sure I’ll find some other tips for you job searchers out there.
Tartan Day 2006
Today is Tartan Day. I wish I could write a larger post for it, stupid time constraints. For now I'm going to link all of my Gathering of the Blogs posts I made last year. Sorry, no orriginallity here. I didn't even wear my kilt to work.
For More Posts regarding Scotland and Tartan Day; follow the fiery cross to these sites:
of the Blogs 2006
Absinthe & Cookies
Not Exactly Rocket Science
The Pirate's Blog
The Bull Speaks!
Blackfive - The Paratrooper of Love
Hilbilly White Trash
The Gun Line
what a sad old goth...
And then I woke up...
April 05, 2006
We couldn't have gotten that lucky.
Well it appears the damage to the van is worse then anticipated. The other driver hit her almost squarely in the rear driver side wheel. Yesterday there was a slight wobble that I noticed, but Ktreva didn’t seem to notice anything while driving the whole 6 blocks home. This morning on her way to work she said that as soon as she hit 25 there was a vibration in the vehicle and a grinding noise.
Yea, this isn’t waiting for the insurance adjuster to investigate. When I called the insurance back I informed them that due to the new information I’m classifying the vehicle as now undriveable and taking it to a repair facility. After work tonight we had to go pick up a rental for her. She needed something to get back and forth to work in. This is going to make life difficult for a while, but nothing we won’t survive.
Now I’m off to answer some questions.
April 04, 2006
I had a post in mind to write tonight… not work related! Unfortunately, that will have to wait. I was on my way home from a very late night at work when I received a call on my cell phone. It was Ktreva, and she was upset. Her and the boys had just been involved in a motor vehicle accident. The other vehicles brakes gave out causing the driver to not be able to stop and hitting her van. No one is hurt, other then the headache associated with an adrenaline dump. The van is still drivable; the surface damage doesn’t appear to be that bad.
After trying to comfort Ktreva and the boys, dealing with the police, the other driver and the insurance company, I’m not really in the mood to write my original post.
More details later, probably from Ktreva, but again no one was injured.
April 03, 2006
Sorry, it’s been an action packed weekend for me. Well at least Saturday was action packed. Sunday was more like a redneck homoerotic gay wrestling fest. That, however, is a separate post. This post is about my Saturday night adventure, the home opener of the Rock River Raptors. Being an avid football fan I’m going to do a complete review of my first arena football game.
As part of football there is a great tradition, a tradition that every football loving human, male or female, participates in. That’s right, tailgating. That is unless you live in Rockford, Illinois where they won’t let you grill in the parking deck, even on the top of it. The only tailgating option you had was to go into the Metro Center and attend their sTailgate party. Anyone that has met me knows that I will shell out $10.00 for a beer at a various events; here it was only $4.50… for a 12 oz plastic bottle of Miller Lite. Which I had to hunt down because the outside sTailgate area only had Bud Light. I’ll drink Bud and Bud light, but not if there’s a choice and I’m paying for it. The only reason this irks me is that I can get a 22 oz Miller Light at Lambeau Field for $5.00. I can get the same 12 oz bottle for $4.00 at Lambeau Field. For those of you that don’t know, Lambeau is where the Green Bay Packers play, you know the NFL. The event food coordinator at the Metro Center thinks really highly of their venue. For clarification, the Raptors have NOTHING to do with the food and beverage service. I’d review the food, but it was also obnoxiously expensive AND from what I heard people saying, small portions and not good. They wanted $4.50 for a bratwurst… dammit, that’s a beer! Thus I didn’t eat. I know for the next game I’m going to a strip club first to do some “tail”-gazing before the game. The beer is cheaper and the entertainment has got to be better.
The tailgating and food was the only down side of my experience. The rest was fantastic. The field is 50 yards long; my seats are right on the 20. I’m 5 yards from mid-field. I was supposed to have seats at the 25, but the person selling tickets didn’t realize the field was going to be 5 yards off center when she sold me them. I’m in the first row, right behind the Raptor bench. During the game I could lean over the glass partition and talk with the players. Okay, let me rephrase that, I did lean over the glass and annoyed the players. Since there are different rules, I would ask one of the players what was going on. It was great! The only problem with my seats was that when the
highway robbers beer vendors would walk down, they wouldn’t go all the way to the bottom, so I didn’t see them when they would walk down the stairs along my section. Yes, the game was that intense that I was more concerned about the game then beer. (Mark that day on your calendar.)
The game itself was fast paced. There are only 8 men on the field at a time, but being a smaller field; if they had more there would be no room for them to do anything. As it was people were being driven into the walls and flipping into the crowds. That reminds me, any balls that are tipped, thrown or kicked into the stands; the fan that catches it gets to keep. No, I didn’t get one, but not for a lack of trying. The fans in the end zones seemed to get a lot of free balls. There’s no net for field goals, point after attempts and kick offs. Some long passes even went into the stands.
With it being indoors, I thought the game wouldn’t be as rough. Was I even wrong. These guys would hit the players so hard you could feel the impact into the walls and carpet covered concrete floors all the way into the stands. On the first play of the game one of the opposing teams players was hit so hard, he laid on the floor sucking air for a good 20 minutes. Later in the game a player was slammed into the wall right in front of me so hard it rattled my seat. I could see the snot bubbles coming out of his nose!
Yes, that is the wall the guy is diving into!
The only down part of the game was that the Raptors lost in a blow out, 46-20. Sure it would have been more fun if they had won, it’s always more fun when your team wins. Either way it was a great game, great time and I can’t wait until the next home game. If anyone lives in the Rockford area and wants to see some good off NFL season football, I’d recommend it. The ticket prices aren’t bad, $27.00, $17.00 and $12.00 depending on the seat location. Trust me, it’s worth the price… just eat before you go.
Oh, and the cheerleaders aren't bad either.
April 01, 2006
A Sequal worth watching?
Click to enlarge
At no point did I ever think to myself, “Hey, I want to go see that Brokeback movie”. However, after seeing this poster I’m thinking of possibly going to see the sequal. I can just picture it now. Jessica Alba and Halle Berry out in the woods, rubbing each other down with sunscreen. One thing leads to another, the next thing you know they are tongue wrestling. Flash to a seen where Eva Longoria is bathing in a lake, Sara Foster comes up and helps her wash her back, her hands drift below the surface of the water. Eva glances over her shoulder, a coy smirk on her face. Sara starts to…
…sorry I got a little carried away there. You get the idea. I think I’m going to go wake my wife up now for some, uh… back washing.
When "I quit" just won't work.
This was sent to me as the “Best Resignation letter on the web.” This is yet another case of my possibly promoting an urban legend. Either way it’s pretty amusing.
Some lessons are hard learned.
We’ve all heard the old adage, don’t poke a caged tiger with a stick. Well apparently that applies to leopards too.
Never poke a leopard with a stick
I just want to know what the hell the park ranger was thinking, of all people that should know better.
And they say cops don't have a sense of humor
The following was sent to me in an e-mail. I guess because I worked in law enforcement for years I found this really amusing. That's also why I can see this being true. After working with many of the cops I have, I can think of at least one seperate cop to say each of the fifteen.
So you thought police officers didn't have a sense of humor.... The following were taken off of actual police car videos around the country.
#15 "Relax, the handcuffs are tight because they're new. They'll stretch out after you wear them awhile."
#14 "Take your hands off the car, and I'll make your birth certificate a worthless document."
#13 "If you run, you'll only go to jail tired."
#12 "Can you run faster than 1,200 feet per second? In case you didn't know, that is the average speed of a 9mm bullet fired from my gun."
#11 "So you don't know how fast you were going. I guess that means I can write anything I want on the ticket, huh?"
#10 "Yes, Sir, you can talk to the shift supervisor, but I don't think it will help. Oh. did I mention that I am the shift supervisor?"
#9 "Warning! You want a warning? O.K., I'm warning you not to do that again or I'll give you another ticket."
#8 "The answer to this last question will determine whether you are drunk or not. Was Mickey Mouse a cat or a dog?"
#7 "Fair? You want me to be fair? Listen, fair is a place where you go to ride on rides, eat cotton candy, and step in monkey $#*!."
#6 "Yeah, we have a quota. Two more tickets and my wife gets a toaster oven."
#5 "In God we trust, all others we run through NCIC.*"
#4 "Just how big were those two beers?"
#3 "No sir, we don't have quotas anymore. We used to have quotas but now we're allowed to write as many tickets as we want."
#2 "I'm glad to hear the Chief of Police is a good personal friend of yours. At least you know someone who can post your bail."
and, ah yes, the best one (although, I really like #8)...
#1 "You didn't think we give pretty women tickets? You're right, we don't...Sign here."
*NCIC: National Crime Information Center. For those of you that don't know this is the national data base that is used to check if someone has a criminal history, is wanted or just a all around douche bag. A lot of states also have their own seperate database that they use in conjunction with this.