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Showing posts from March, 2009

Peep Abuse

Our friend Tracy gave The Rocket Scientist a bunch of Peeps as a trade for a Landshark Lager Lanyard. Since he's a Peep hater, it was more of a present for me and a joke on him. She did give him something else, too.

I forgot to take the Peeps home so they were still at his house on Friday. He lives on a golf course and someone suggested hitting Peeps out of his backyard on to the course. Total Peep abuse and not acceptable!

The boys (technically men but they act like boys) thought it was a great idea so they took a bunch out there and started trying to hit them over the fence. It's a short fence and part of it is railing so there were lots of spots to allow course access. Several of them went into the bushes but some made it over.

There were two boys on the course with their Dads and they came running as soon as the Peeps hit the grass on their side. "Hey, why are you hitting Peeps over here? That's a waste of Peeps!"

Someone told them to open their mouths and…

Making Plans Is Just Asking For Trouble

My friend Dawnie has come out to visit from Des Moines a couple of times. When we don't have any formal plans for when she arrives, she gets in on time When we have formal plans that revolve around a specific time, bad things happen.

Last year, she was flying in through Denver and was supposed to get in at the end of the workday. We had a big group scheduled to go to Margaritaville for dinner and the plan was to just pick her up on our way there. Her plane in Denver got held up then made repeated return trips to the gate for "fixing" before it finally took off. We ended up picking her up on our way home from dinner at Margaritaville.

She was due in on Friday afternoon at 4:45. We thought it was good that she wasn't going through Denver this time as they were having some bad winter weather. We were wrong. She flew in via Dallas and the Big D had gotten our windy weather from Thursday. Her plane ended up circling for 45 minutes before landing making her 10 minut…

Flashback

We used to get vicious wind/dust storms in Phoenix back when I was a kid. I'm talking wall of dust moving across the sky and cutting visibility to mere feet. It was fun to watch from your patio door, not so much fun if you were stuck outside somewhere.

Last night's wind storm reminded me of those days. Not only did I get a nice coating of dust throughout my house, the wind just howled. I was in my bathroom and the sound of it rushing around my skylight was incredible. It actually made me look up to see if the darn thing was going to come off. It made George look up, too. (Because you can't go into the bathroom without the cat even if you're just cleaning. What up with that?)

My car was absolutely coated in dirt this morning. Good thing I didn't get it washed yesterday like I had planned. I would have been really unhappy.

It was so bad that the airport got shut down for a while and some folks lost electricity. I guess it was Mother Nature's way of remin…

Cleaning and Saving Money - Both Useless!

My friend Dawnie is coming in for the weekend which forced me to clean house. It was borderline too messy for me and definitely not fit for company. So, I dusted, vacuumed, swept, mopped...the whole thing.

Our weather is also borderline. It's almost time to turn on the A/C but I'm trying to save some bucks so I haven't. I come home every night and open the front and back door and let the heat out. It's working so far.

Tonight, it's incredibly windy out. I have the doors open and the wind is whipping through.

Whipping through and carrying dust with it! WTF? Even my laptop has a coating of it.

So, what do I do? Close the doors and turn on the A/C or clean again!?!?!

I Thought Cats Hated Water

George has developed a bad habit of scratching the corner of the couch. Not good. So, I dragged out the old water bottle and started squirting her when she does it.

One problem.

She just lays there and lets me soak her. Doesn't even flinch.

I guess I need to find another discipline method.

Am I The Only One Who Thinks This Is Strange?

We have a guy in our department that goes out to his car to eat his lunch every day. I get the concept of wanting to leave your cube but we have a really nice lunchroom that he could use. I suppose if you don't want company, the car is a good bet.

But, he goes out there regardless of the weather. If it's hot out, he turns on the car and runs the A/C. In winter (which is pretty short), he turns on the car to run the heater. That just seems like a huge waste to me.

Then there are the night shift guys who park next to me. They also sit in their cars and just hang out while playing their radios. That doesn't seem so strange to me but, last night, two of them were parked next to each. One had his radio on and the driver's door open while he was sitting in the other guy's passenger seat with that door open. Huh? They couldn't sit in the same car as the radio? Did the other guy's radio not work?

It's all puzzling to me.

Silent Poker

I had to bring my laptop in for a presentation at work. I don't know why but when I hooked it up to the projector the sound got turned off. Even stranger is that the icon for the sound disappeared from the tool bar.

Of course, I didn't really take notice of this until I played online poker last night. The game I play has the sound of cards shuffling, chips plinking into the pot and it beeps at you if your turn to make a move is expiring. It's surprising how lost I felt without the sounds.

I spent the first half of the game check/folding just trying to get the sound back on to no avail. It was finally down to 5 players out of 10 when I decided to buckle down and just play. I guess the lack of sound didn't hurt me that much because I did win the tournament.

BTW, when your Help Desk people tell you to reboot, there's a reason. I shut down and restarted my computer and voila! Sound was restored and the icon was back on the tool bar.

George's New Friend

It's been so nice here lately that I have just the screen doors closed on my front door and patio door each night. There's actually been a lot of wind so it cools the house down from the 80 degree days pretty well.

George loves to sit at the front door and just stare out at the world. She will be there for an hour or more. I'm not sure what she's looking at as there isn't a lot of traffic on my sidewalk but it keeps her from attacking me so it's all good.

The other night, I heard a loud growl from the front door. Actually, it was somewhere between a growl and a long meow but it was too loud to be George. She's pretty quiet. I looked over and George was standing up against the door peering out.

I investigated and there was a big yellow tabby on the other side of the door. He (or she) backed away a little when he saw me but didn't run away. George didn't seem too disturbed though she was trying hard to get out through the baby proofing but they w…

Not A Lightweight After All

A friend of ours got us tickets to the Beer Festival at Tempe Town Lakes a few weeks ago. Well, to be accurate, she got The Rocket Scientist tickets but all parties assumed he was taking me with him. I got a load of crap for wanting to go since it's assumed that I only drink Miller Lite. Not true. I like lots of different beers but it's easier to control my inebriation level with Miller Lite. And, it's quite tasty.

We got 25 tasting tickets and a small mug when we got in the gate. Looking at the mug, we guessed it held 3 or more likely 4 ounces. How it works is you go up to one of the many booths, give them one of your tickets and they fill your mug with a sample of their brew. The whole event was from 2-6 so you would have to go pretty fast to get through all of your tickets.

We tried several then sat down to watch the light rail for a while then went back to the beer. Of course, I was on a much faster pace than TRS but I still didn't feel like I was drinking …

An Expensive Prize

Our club hosts No Limit Texas Hold 'Em Tournaments in honor of Mom O'Malley. Mom was a club member, friend and the actual Mom of my friends The O'Malley Babes. We donate money to Hospice of the Valley from the tourney so it's fun and a good cause.

The Babes always provide the main portion of our dinner meal (pizza, subs and the like). I always (except for the very first tourney) donate the first place prize. I like to get something engraved so I end up at Things Remembered. We've given away a set of shot glasses, a flask and various mugs that could be used for coffee or beer or a cocktail depending on your desire.

My usual modusoperendi is to run into Things Remembered, order the prize then come back a day or two later to pick it up. I went in after work on Thursday and the store manager threw me a loop when she said, "It's 8 PM, I'll have it ready for you by 8:15."

Really? Um, OK. I had 15 minutes to kill in Fashion Square. I don't thin…

I'm Not An Addict

Bet you thought this was going to be about poker but it's about my heroin arm.

I've been donating blood since I was 17 and that was, well, a bit of time ago. I've only had a couple of bad sticks in that time and usually it's a completely painless process.

My appointment was for 9:30 on Wednesday and I was well hydrated with actual water so my vein popped well and it didn't hurt at all when the tech stuck me. Six minutes later, I was done and it barely bled at all when she took the needle out.

When I got back from lunch, I decided to take off the bandage because it was on pretty tight. There was only a small red dot where the needle had gone in and no bruise at all. From the time it took for me to walk from the bathroom to my office, I felt pain. What the hey?

There was a big bruised bump on my arm all around the needle stick point. It just came out of nowhere. I needed something cold to put on it to reduce the swelling and the only thing on hand was a can of Die…

Baby, It's Hot Out There

Our official high today was 90 degrees. It's actually nice. I likes me the hot stuff.

Guess I'm going to have to turn my A/C on soon, though. So far, my house has topped out at 80 and I'm able to cool it down at night by having the doors open. But, it can't get too much hotter in there because I don't want a cooked demon baby when I get home.

Awesome Spot!

Some of my chums from days long ago (reunited courtesy of Facebook!) and I went out for vino on Tuesday night. I think the wine plan was put in place before we knew it was St. Patrick's Day. Our original thought was to meet at Kazmierz at 5:30 but they didn't open until 6. The party was moved to a new place, Fine's Cellar.

Awesome!

We stumbled on to a great deal - Tuesday nights are 50% off wine (drink/dine in) purchases. Bonus. They also gave us their signature popcorn for free. It's flavored with truffle oil and chives. I didn't love it but one of my companions couldn't stop eating it.

Each of us ordered a different wine flight. I was the only white wine drinker but everyone enjoyed their selections. My favorite was the Riesling, of course. It's as close to soda pop as wine can get (except for White Merlot).

Our food selection was a mix of Mac and Cheese. Not Kraft by any means. There was one with Blue Cheese, another basic with truffle oil and a thi…

More Proof Of Who's The Boss

I confess to not having trimmed George's claws in a while. I guess when she's not gouging me with them, I forget. My bad because the reminder is so very painful.

Last night, I was apparently being punished for coming home late (even though I told her when I left in the morning) and demon behavior was in full swing. She would run over and nip me on the arm then run away. A few minutes later it was a swipe of the paw on the drive by. The killer was the full claw attack from both paws on my leg. She actually got through the denim.

Ouch!

The clippers came out and the beast was captured for the process. We actually got through the first paw without too much angst but a full out cat fight broke out during the second. I managed to get four claws clipped before self-preservation made me release her.

Of course, she managed to dig that one claw into my leg through the comforter last night. I guess I was still being punished but probably now for the indignity of taking away her leth…

Good Luck With That

We're having a blood drive at work tomorrow. There's a big list of things to do and things to avoid.

The first item on the things to avoid list?

Alcohol

Hmmm, if your blood drive is the day after St. Patrick's Day, how many people are really going to avoid alcohol?

It's Not An Addiction, It's Practice!

I've been playing a lot of poker through a Facebook App called Poker Palace. There's another app that I tried but didn't like as much.

It's just so easy to jump into a table and play a tournament. They're pretty fast to get through as the blinds start at $10/20 and go up every 5 minutes. The payoff if you win is good, too. I buy in for $2,200 and first place pays $12K, second $5K and third $3K. I tried one tournament at the $5K buy in but the antes went up too fast for my comfort.

I've learned that there are a lot of idiots who want to go all in in the early rounds. If you get good cards, it's worth calling them or going all in yourself to bust someone out. Or, if you don't have good cards, you can count on someone else clearing out the idiots.

I usually make it to the final four but sometimes suffer a bad beat before I cash. It's poker, those people call anything, so it happens.

The thing is I will just be sitting there on Facebook checking my…

Wine Cooler - RIP

My wine cooler stopped keeping its temperature a while back. I set it for the lowest setting at 55 but it wouldn't go below 60. While I was out of town the last time, it started clicking and the electric display and the inside light went out. Steven heard the clicking but never investigated while he was house sitting. Jeez, it could have been a bomb.

The Rocket Scientist is taking it to the dump for me this weekend. When he picked it up, we found a Jimmie Johnson car under it that George had been using as a toy. Apparently, we uncovered one of the kitty toy burial grounds because when I got home the JJ car had been joined by 5 mouse toys.

My primary mission for going to Costco on Sunday was to activate my new card. The secondary mission was to buy a new cooler. They often have the 12 bottle size there at a decent price.

Not this time. The smallest unit they had was for 52 bottles and cost $500. Surprisingly, for as big of a wino that I am and how easily I spend money, I chose not …

Book Review - Summer Knight

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Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars

Dresden finds himself in a huge mess this time. There's a Fairie war about to break out that will have cataclysmic results for the planet and Harry's in the middle of it. He also ends up on trial with the Wizard Council and the vampires are still out to get him. And, as usual, he's flat broke.

I'm really enjoying this series.

View all my reviews.

Book Review - Cross Country

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Cross Country by James Patterson



My reviewrating: 3 of 5 stars

The latest Alex Cross story has Cross going to Africa to track down a vicious killer called The Tiger who uses troops of boys to commit horrific crimes. Lots of murder and mayhem in this book. More than I like to read but it was critical to the story. Patterson uses the tale to bring attention to the civil wars, widespread corruption and misery that is happening every day in Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Darfur.

View all my reviews.

It's A Jungle Out There

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I don't go out on my back patio very often. About the only time I do, it's to get to my storage shed. However, the weather is getting nice out so I opened up the back door and looked outside for the first time in a while and found that our wet winter has led to a flowering spring.






Man, I hope I don't need to get to the shed any time soon. It may take a while to clear a path through my backyard jungle.

This Early Bird Stuff Is For The Birds

I get a lot of crap for my banker's hours at work. I usually hit the office between 8 and 9 and it's often closer to 9. However, I also work late unless I have a social engagement to go to and there's at least one night a week that I'm there past 7 nearly every week.

With the big project I've got going on and some system issues we've had, I've been going in before 8. It's killer. But, it wouldn't be bad if I wasn't still staying just as late as I always do.

Between training, meetings (have I mentioned I joined another committee at work?) and our project my calendar is full. The only way to get my usual work done is to expand the hours I'm spending in the office. Working at home just isn't my style because I'll just end up finding something else to distract me.

Our email project will finish up in mid-April and I'm looking forward to going back to sleeping in and getting back to me banker's schedule.

A Different Crowd

We have two Parrot Head Clubs in Arizona; one here in Phoenix and the other in Tucson. I've done a bunch of stuff with the Tucson folks in the past so I finally decided to officially join their club this year. I know a lot of people down there but not as many as I used to. They've been collecting new members of late which is very cool.

I'm the ticket coordinator for the May 14thBuffett show in Phoenix and about 30 of the Tucson folks ordered tickets. I got the tickets on Monday and was thinking about how to get the tickets to them when I remembered that there was a Happy Hour scheduled for last night.

Making a round trip to Tucson is something I've done quite a bit but I decided I would be better served by having my driver go with me. I sent The Rocket Scientist a message, "so...wanna see our dear friend tkay on wednesday?" He asked me what Tkay was going to be doing in Phoenix and that's when I spilled that we were going to Tucson. I'm not sure …

I Got Paid To Do This, Too

We had a surprise Wedding Shower for my VP today. I like to call him the Big Kahuna. He doesn't like that too much but he tolerates it. We tried to get his fiancee to come in but she wisely chose to stay away. She did send us answers to our game that we wanted to play, though.

I got to be Bob Eubanks and we did a short version of The Newlywed Game. The funniest part wasn't the questions or answers (although they were pretty good) but that the Bride was played by our CFO. Who is a guy. Lots of laughing ensued.

Afterwards, some of the peeps told me "good job" and the like. Most of them would rather visit the dentist than stand up in front of everyone and MC a game like that. Me? I just wish there had been an actual spotlight and microphone.

Yes, They Pay Me For This Stuff

We had a really fun event at work in our parking lot on Friday - The Forklift Olympics.

Basically, the guys (and they were all guys) drove the forklift through an obstacle course, moved a bucket of water from one pad to another, picked up a basketball and dunked it and some other maneuver that was at the other end of the course. The winner was the one who did it in the best time. They did apply penalties for knocking stuff since one guy pretty much just mowed everything down last year for a fast finish.

It was more than just that, though. We had an MC, official Cheerleaders complete with pom-poms and rehearsed cheers and side betting.

The side betting was well thought out. For $2 a driver, you got his card (think baseball card - we are a printing company so they were really nice) and a chance to win half of the money if he won. The deal was that half of all of the money collected went into our corporate charity fund and the other half went to the person who was randomly picked from…

New Program at Work

We started a new weight management program at work today. Our Kronos rep is leading an hour class each week. The first two weeks are Pre-Diabetes oriented and the next 14 are on weight loss (diet, exercise, lifestyle changes, etc.). We don't have to pay anything extra for it (we did for Weight Watchers and for the previous Kronos program) so that's nice.

In order to participate, we had to sign two documents. The first was to say that we realized that the Kronos rep isn't an MD and that we would get our own MD's approval to participate if it was needed.

The second was to agree that we would not talk about anyone or anything in the class outside of the classroom. Not to each other, not to the instructor, nothing. The idea is to make it a safe environment so people will feel comfortable sharing. If you violate the agreement, you can get kicked out of the class.

I couldn't help but think of:

The first rule of Fight Club is - you do not talk about Fight Club. The sec…

Book Review - A Whole New Mind

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A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future by Daniel H. Pink



My reviewrating: 3 of 5 stars

My big boss suggested I might like this book and he was right. It discusses the differences between Left Brain thinking (logical) and Right Brain thinking (creative) and how we need to use both sides to be successful.

It's especially relevant to computer geeks like me. Coding can be outsourced to the other side of the globe for cheap but design is still a creative process that is better done here. Same thing goes for lawyers and doctors - the ones who will thrive are the ones who are more creative and sensitive.

Interesting ideas with some good facts to back them up.

View all my reviews.

Tools Explained

DRILL PRESS: A tall upright machine useful for suddenly snatching
flat metal bar stock out of your hands so that it smacks you in the
chest and flings your beer across the room, denting the
freshly-painted project which you had carefully set in the corner
where nothing could get to it.

WIRE WHEEL: Cleans paint off bolts and then throws them somewhere
under the workbench with the speed of light. Also removes fingerprints
and hard-earned calluses from fingers in about the time it takes you
to say, 'Oh sh -- '

ELECTRIC HAND DRILL: Normally used for spinning pop rivets in their
holes until you die of old age.

SKILL SAW: A portable cutting tool used to make studs too short.

PLIERS: Used to round off bolt heads. Sometimes used in the creation
of blood-blisters.

BELT SANDER: An electric sanding tool commonly used to convert minor >
touch-up jobs into major refinishing jobs.

HACKSAW: One of a family of cutting tools built on the Ouija board
principle. It transforms human energy into a crooked, unpr…

Mardi Gras Shoe Box Floats

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I sorta conned The Rocket Scientist into making a shoe box float last year for the club's Mardi Gras party. This year, he was like "No effing way - that's too much work". So, we got a gig as Judges for the float contest. Know what? That was too effing hard and I don't want to do it again.

There were just too many awesome floats and it was incredibly difficult to choose between them.

The good thing was that we did get some nice bribes. Jan and Wayners plied us with Tequila shots and specialty beers. Tracey made a huge Jello-Shot for us. Rick and Betty gave us Knob Creek and Sierra Mist drinks. Yummy.

Here are pictures of the floats. The last pic is actually a cake. It was awesome, too.






























There's Something Making Me Smile - How Did I Miss That?

March 02, 2009
Taurus (4/20-5/20)
Your new-found happiness can bring joy to a lot of other people today. They appreciate this good news almost as much as you do, you know! So spread the good word and let everyone in on what has been making you smile lately. You'll be amazed at how supportive they will be. Reaching out to other people like this connects you more closely to them -- and it ensures that there will always be someone there to reach out and share happiness with you some day.

Fighting the Insomnia Beast

I've had insomnia for years. I will wake up in the wee hours of the morning and be wide awake for up to two hours at a time. Finally, I'll fall asleep pretty much right before it's time to get up.

I thought I'd dodged it for a while in the past months. It's been months since I've laid awake like that.

However, I've developed a new version of insomnia. This one has me in an unrestful sleep and tossing and turning most of the night. It started when I was in Mexico. I thought it was a vacation thing brought on by too much alcohol, sleeping in a strange bed and sharing a room with a snorer (albeit a light snorer). It didn't go away when I got home, though.

Home brought a new factor into the process. George sleeps near my legs and every turn wakes her up. If it's remotely close to daylight, she interprets the move as a signal for kitty loving to start. Next thing I know, she's lying on my chest demanding that I pet her. I can do that half asl…

Summer Shoes

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As soon as it gets warm here, I'm out of my dress shoes and into sandals and Rocket Dogs. By the end of the summer (which is like March to October here), my shoes are toast so I have to buy new ones every year. Last year's sandals are pretty much falling apart and my Rocket Dogs are so smelly that even washing them in bleach doesn't help. I will be sad to throw those out.

Today was the day to shop since it may hit 90 this week and I am so done with shoes that require socks.

My first stop was Target with the hopes that I could find a nice sale on some sandals. I didn't find anything there that jumped out at me in the sandal area but I finally gave in to my long time lust for the pink Chuck Taylors. I've been eying them for months and it was amazing I held out as long as I did.

Next stop was Famous Footwear. I've got a rewards card with them and they sent me a 20% off your next purchase coupon. I went down the aisle with the Rocket Dogs and immediately fell in love …

Losing It

The club always makes a donation to the Special Olympics when we work the event. I wrote out the check yesterday morning before I left. I thought I put it in the bag with the badges, my Diet Pepsi supply and my camera. I threw my purse in the trunk since I didn't want to worry about it and headed out.

When I got there, I went to pull the check out to give it to Mike, our guy in charge. But, there was no check. I thought, "How could that have fallen out of the bag in my car?" Then I wondered if I left it in my purse. Since I got there early, there was time to hoof it back to the car to look for the check.

It wasn't on the front seat where the bag had been. It wasn't on the floor. It wasn't in the trunk nor in my purse. What the hell? So, I wrote out another check and put it in my shirt pocket.

When I got back on to the field, I tried to hand it off to Mike but he said to wait and that we would give it to the Special Olympics person afterwards. Of cou…

We're Having a Heat Wave

I debated wearing shorts yesterday to the Special Olympics. I knew it was going to be warm but we were starting out early in the morning and that's still a chilly time here. I compromised with Capris and a sleeveless blouse. The thought of exposing everyone to the full view of my pasty white legs was the deciding factor.

I should have worn the shorts.

It got to 84. I ended up with a sunburned nose, arms and cleavage. The latter was an unfortunately small sunburn. If I'd worn my shorts, I could have gotten a good headstart on some summer color. Not that I get much of it anyway. Damn Irish genes.

It's supposed to hit 90 on Tuesday. Time for the summer wardrobe to come out.

Special Day

The Arizona Parrot Head Club has been volunteering at the Special Olympics for years. It's a great event for us. We spend a couple hours, have some great times with the athletes and know that we're helping out our community. Then, we go drink beer. Pretty much a perfect day.

We were out there yesterday and ran the Shot Put event. The athletes range in age from 11 to senior citizens (I'm guessing the oldest one we saw this year was in his 60s). Some of them are pretty challenged and others are quite functional so we see the whole gamut.

There were a couple of memorable moments. The first one came during the parade of athletes. One of the guys bolted out of the parade and ran over to our table. Everyone had left their drinks on it so we could clap and cheer during the parade. This guy started at one end and worked his way through all of the Starbucks, Einstein's and other coffees. He picked them up, took the lid off, chugged, replaced the lid, set them down and …