Showing posts from July, 2011

I'll Take The Dry Heat Any Day

My friends and I have been planning a trip to Galveston Bay for the Riddles in The Sand event that's hosted by the Galveston Bay Parrot Head Club for a few months. In anticipation, I've been checking the weather, mostly the humidity.
It had been hovering at around 70% for a while. I started complaining before we even got here and Fictional Donald, who lives in the Houston area, told me it would be just fine. He said the wind would blow the humidity away and it would be nice. Wind? So, then my hair was going to be a mess. Great. His response to my wind comments was that it would give me sexy, windblown hair. Uh huh.
I made an appointment to get a Brazilian Blowout to straighten my hair before we left with the hopes that it would help keep it contained. Good thing I did, too.

As we were driving into Galveston on Friday, we got hit by pouring rain. Enough that it slowed down traffic on the freeway. The rain ended but it left the humidity behind. The water was choppy, the skies were …

Not Cool

With all my flying, I've never had this happen. I was on Southwest and they had the wrong series number for the plane in the system so they let on a bunch of standby people and didn't have seats for them.
They made all of the standby people get off then they seated them first come, first served. At this point, there were only scattered seats left. We were in the third row (and there were three of us) but the middle seats were open in row two on both sides. A guy and his daughter (probably about six years old) got on and he told her they couldn't sit together and asked her to get in one of the middle seats.
She flat out refused. You could tell she was afraid to not sit right next to her Dad. He tried to cajole her to no avail then asked the two guys on the end of the rows if one of them would mind sitting in a middle seat so they could sit together.
They both flat out refused. A couple a few rows behind us offered to split up and gave their adjoining seats up. Nice.
OK, I know…

Sticking It To The Man (And Our Waistlines)

We got a corporate email today that said they're putting healthier snacks in the vending machines and removing soda altogether.
Here's the deal on the machines. They've already gone "healthier" which means there's a bunch of dry and rock like granola bars, no chocolate and an unappealing selection of low-fat food. Pretty much what no one wants to eat.
Because they've gone to low-fat, there's a bunch of stuff with lots of sugar and high fructose corn syrup which is not good for you. I actually complained about it a while ago (Pop-Tarts are not healthy) and was asked to help find better selections. I must confess, I didn't because I keep a candy jar at my desk and really didn't care. I just wanted to make the point that low-fat doesn't always equate to good for you.
However, the fact that the machines' contents were going even "healthier" triggered an animated conversation within our team about how employees are grown-ups and if t…

Ya Gotta Be Smarter Than Your Smart Phone

I've had my share of cell phone butt dialing experiences. Mostly on the receiving end but I'm guilty of making a few outbound calls myself. When I first got my Droid, I called The Rocket Scientist a few times but I've been pretty good since.

Until last Saturday, that is.

A group of us who were enjoying a beautiful afternoon in Lakeside, AZ decided to play a No Limit Texas Hold 'Em tournament. Ten of us put in $5 (and we somehow ended up with $5 extra) with a payout to first and second place.

I used the alarm on my phone to keep track of the rounds. The blinds went up every ten minutes. It was a challenge trying to play at the same time I was resetting the alarm which was compounded by not wearing my old person glasses and the glare of being outside.

While I did OK with the alarm, I somehow managed to call Steven three times. He sent me a text, “stop butt callin me while playin poker”. I missed his text but did manage to hear my phone ring when he called after realizing the…

A Lifetime at Work

We have a board at work that we use to display employees' work anniversaries. It's right as you come in to the door of our building so I look at it every day. Sometimes, I think to myself, "how did that person stick around here so long?" I know, not so rah rah team of me.
Once in a while, I see a notable (to me) anniversary. There are some people who have been there for a decade and doing pretty much the same job as when they started. I couldn't be that person. There are others that have been there for a short time but made a big impact and have moved up the corporate ladder.
Then, there are the long timers.
This week, the display showed 27 years for one woman. 27 years! It's not her first job by far but certainly the one with the longest tenure.
My first thought at seeing that number was, "That's an entire lifetime!" Then, I started wondering how many of our employees haven't even been alive that long. Since we have a lot of warehouse and call…

Book Review - Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I think I've lost my love for Dan Brown's books. Lost Symbol was just OK. More of the Masons and this time the action is in Washington DC. Langdon once again gets thrown in to a dire mystery and the only way out is to solve linguistic puzzles. Most of the book takes place in one day and it's pretty dense reading coming in at 500 pages. The reviews on this were not stellar so I think I'll take them into account before reading whatever he puts out next.

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Oh, Those Crazy Iowa State Fair People

The 2010 Butter Cow
This year's Iowa State Fair will be celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the Butter Cow. Whoa, Nellie, they've got some fun lined up for that.
1oo tribute cows will be all over the fairgrounds.Battle of the Butter - Daily at 4 p.m. - Riley Stage. Watch teams go head to head in competitive butter sculpting with Battle of the Butter. Teams of two to four people will have 30 minutes to create a masterpiece from a 55 lb. block of butter.Fried Butter on a Stick – The ultimate Butter Cow tribute, butter dipped in a honey flavored batter and fried golden brown on a stick. But wait, the Fried Butter on a Stick isn't the only new stick food:
Chocolate Covered Fried Ice Cream on a Stick Peanut Butter and Jelly on a Stick – A tasty skewered version of this childhood favorite. BBQ Ribs at The Rib Shack – A new Fair food and a new concession. Chicken Philly Sandwich.Red Velvet Funnel Cake – A chocolate-flavored version of a Fair favorite, complete with a cream cheese g…

Another Night At The Ballpark

I didn't see this many Brewers games in the entire time I lived in Milwaukee as I have this week! OK, granted I only lived there from birth to age 5 but still. Two baseball games in one week is a lot for me.
Our seats this time were courtesy of old family friends from Port Washington. They have great seats in the front row in right field. They're really close to the visitor's bullpen and you get a great view of the right fielder's butt. Of course, sometimes that's not a good thing depending on whose out there.
In addition to our two old friends, my parents and Steven went to the game, too. I came straight from work and timed it perfectly for a 6:40 start. Shorty made Steven leave for the game at 5 and, let's just say, after that much time shepherding my parents to the game and their seats, Steven was damn glad to have me there for company and support.

Our view.
Corey Hart
Of course, every time I heard Hart's name or saw his jersey (and not bad butt), the song I …

You Want To Be On My Team

We have a group of managers and supervisors who meet monthly for training, discussion, support and projects. There are a few of us who are the leadership committee for that group and we meet every month to put together the agenda. That’s supposed to be a quick meeting but we always end up off point somehow. I blame one guy for that - the guy who started the whole group. Since I'm allegedly in charge of the committee, I should blame myself but that's how I roll.

In addition to that working meeting, we’ve had a few Happy Hours for the leadership committee. I scheduled one up for Tuesday night at Teakwoods. Nothing like beer and unshelled peanuts!

During the day on Tuesday, I sent out a proposed August agenda with the comment, “Anything else for the agenda? (Trying to save us a meeting but it's probably a futile attempt.)”

I got back a question. “So are we not meeting this afternoon?”

My reply: “We are still meeting but not to talk about the agenda!”

I appended an animated gif of…

Cube Life - Surprisingly Noisy

We're several weeks into our new area at work where everyone is in cubes. No offices for anyone, not even the big boss. They're pretty low cubes but you can barely see the top of the heads of the tall people so when you're sitting down you feel alone. Until someone stands up in a cube near you then you feel like they're peering over you.
The first week I was a total noise Nazi. Sound really carries and it's funny how work conversations blend in to the background but personal ones intrude. And, can be annoying if you don't want to hear someone's business.
Everyone settled down so there's not that much noise. From us, anyway. It's our neighbors who are surprisingly loud.
The print manufacturing area is right below us. Our floor is really their suspension ceiling which means it moves as people walk on it. A little unnerving until you get used to it. It's also not very good at blocking noise.
As a safety measure, our big printing press plays music when …

Danger Zone!

I went to the Diamonbacks - Brewers game on Monday night. My buddy and I decided to splurge on good seats so we were in section 120 which is just two over from home plate on the first base side.

I can’t remember the last time I was so nervous! There were foul balls galore. They were raining down in the sections all around us and bouncing off the upper deck back into those sections. Every crack of the bat made me flinch.

One thing I consistently do is tell my baseball companion that it’s his/her obligation catch or deflect the foul balls before they can injure me. I should also tell them to remember where I parked the car but, just like I can’t remember where the car is, I can’t remember to tell them that.

My buddy, Tim, is a hockey goalie so I felt pretty good that he would keep me safe. We had one near miss to the left of us that was close but not close enough to catch.

But, just as he was coming back from getting beers, one came right down the aisle to his left. He reached out to get it…

The Hullabaloo About Haboob

We had a huge dust storm a few weeks ago that I wrote about. That post was about the storm watch via social media.

This post is about the word haboob. For some reason, haboob hit its tipping point with that storm. Every newsperson was using it and trying not to giggle while doing so. The guys especially seemed to like it. Silly but they can't seem to help themselves.

It even made the Rachel Maddow show. Check out the video of TV personalities saying haboob. It's amusing.

Sugar Daddy and I had lunch and he commented that he'd never heard the word before. I said that I had and got an "of course, you know-it-all" like response. Same thing happened last night with Jello-Shot Prince. Can I help it if I'm literate?

The reason the topic came up is that we had another dust storm last night. It wasn't too bad but it was a little nasty outside as we were trying to drink our pre-Diamondbacks game beers. Fortunately, we were pretty well sheltered. Our friend Scooter coul…

Blogging - Be Authentic

The Rocket Scientist was at a conference this past weekend and went to a session on blogging. From what he told me, and what I saw on Twitter from others, there wasn’t a lot of good advice given. Bummer.

The thing that struck me as the worst advice was that one of the panel members said you should keep your blog to a G or PG level. To that, I say felgercarb. Oh, maybe I should update that BSG reference to frak.

Here’s what I would advise. Be authentic.

If you’re a G or PG person, or representing an entity that is so, then it’s understandable that you’d leave out the swear words and adult subject matter. That’s cool.

But, if you’re the drunken sailor type who uses frak as a verb, noun and adjective and talks about sex, drugs and rock and roll then go for the R. (The X, not so much unless you’re actually trying to promote porn.)

Because, people are going to be attracted to your writing if they feel it’s really “you”. They’ll sense your passion and sincerity and that will make your writing mo…

Attitude Is A Lot But It Ain't Everything

Change Your Thinking by Maryellen Smith“If you can’t change your fate, change your attitude.” – Ralph Waldo EmersonAt any given point in time, you’re only one thought away from changing your thinking. What thought can you change today?(Author: Maryellen Smith)
This was timely considering the morning I've had so far.
I was lying awake waiting for the alarm to go off when my cell phone rang at 5:39. It was someone from my team saying that the users were having login issues but she'd gotten a hold of someone to work on it. What a bummer for a Monday morning. Actually, it's a bummer for any morning.She then told me that she'd already called and left me a message. WTH? I was right next to my phone and didn't hear it. That was more irritating to me than the issue.I got up and tried to log in to work to see if everything was OK. It was for me but then I followed up with two other people to see how others were going.All that threw off my morning routine. I showered and put o…

It Tasted Better Than It Looks

The larder is quite bare here at the Cheesehead's home. I had two oranges for breakfast then heated up a can of baked beans for lunch. That was about all there was and I still had dinner to worry about. Because I'm going to be out almost every night this week, I didn't want to go to the grocery store for just one meal.

So, creativity was called for.

I had a whole organic chicken in the freezer and assorted organic veggies and fruits. After browsing the web for some recipes, I formulated my own based on available ingredients.

You know what? It turned out pretty damn good.

Here's my recipe:

Jumbled together in a roasting pan:
4 red apples, quartered and cored
1 full head of garlic, peeled (which should go without saying, don't you think?)
4 small red onions, quartered
2 green onions, finely diced
a bunch of dried Rosemary (wish I'd had fresh but oh well)

Place full roasting chicken with Kosher salt and cracked pepper on the outside and on top of the fruit/veggie mix. (My ch…

Book Review - Kitchen Confidential

Kitchen Confidential: Adventures in the Culinary Underbelly by Anthony Bourdain

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was our book club selection this month. I put the wrong date on my calendar so I missed the meeting. Doh! So, I don't know how the others liked this but I thought it was an interesting read.

I'm far from a foodie so most of the dishes Bourdain talked about were unfamiliar to me. But, the stories of the people he's worked with over the years made it an interesting tale. As did Bourdain's personal history.

It's a sordid tale of drugs, alcohol, sexual misconduct, theft, envy and avarice. I couldn't tell if Bourdain truly regretted his own behavior or if he was actually proud of it.

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Movie Review - Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part Two

Alas, poor Severus, we hardly knew ye.

Well, it's officially a complete experience for me. I just got home from the final movie and it was worth the 2 plus hour wait in line. We got third row behind the rail in the center. Perfect!

Wow, where to start with the praise on this one? The pathos as favorite characters died, the fantastic destruction of Hogwarts, the sweetness of Hermione and Ron (I'm still looking for a Ron), the heroics of Neville and Harry, the awesomesauce that is Professor McGonagall, the opportunity for Ralph Fiennes to finally show his acting chops in the series, the cameos from most of the great actors who've appeared in previous movies, the fine bits of comedy that lightened the darkness of the plot? Too many fine moments to choose from.

It was all very well done. Even the scene I absolutely hated in the book (Harry and Dumbledore talking in Harry's head which was a lazy way to explain the story) was nicely presented. And, seemed much shorter than in t…

The End of the Harry Potter Era

I'm going to miss these crazy kids

Today (actually this morning) is the official U.S. release day of the last Harry Potter movie, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2.

What a wonderful experience it's been! I'm both excited to see the movie tonight and saddened to know it's the last event. Because they are events. Both the book and movie releases have been much anticipated by Potter fans around the globe and within my circle of friends.

I didn't start reading the books until before the first movie came out in 2001. But, I read all that were available at that time within a week as they were all at the library (in the Youth section).

After that, I tried the Amazon release day delivery route once. That killed me because I could have gone to the store and gotten it before it came. I don't know how many times I went to my mailbox that morning but it was a lot.

I then discovered the grocery store route. Loiter until midnight when they bring out the books and, boom…

Surrounding Beauty

Ordinary Things by Ana Guardia“Every artist was first an amateur.”To be an artist one has to find beauty in ordinary things. Find 10 things of great beauty in the landscape that surrounds you. For example, crumple sheets on your bed in the morning, the smell of coffee making its way around a busy office.(Author: Ana Guardia)
I live in Arizona - there’s a lot of beauty to be had.

From what I experienced today:

1. The green Ocotillos that line our work parking lot. They look so fresh (at least most of them do).
2. The new Hyundai Sonata. It’s so pretty. And, it haunts me. I see it on the road all the time and I stare and drool.
3. The wallpaper on my Mac. It’s one of their standard pictures but I think it’s just lovely. It’s a ladybug sitting on the edge of a leaf.
4. Camelback Mountain. We have a great view of it from our receptionist area that I see every time I leave the building. It’s always magnificent.
5. My group work photos. There are three that I’ve put together on my wall:…

Emmy Nominations

The 2011 Emmy Award nominations came out today. I would be remiss as a psuedo-TV reviewer to not comment on some of the nominations (or lack thereof for some of my faves).

Outstanding Lead Actress In A Drama Series
Friday Night Lights • DirecTV • Imagine Entertainment in association with Universal Media Studios and Film 44
Connie Britton as Tami Taylor

The Good Wife • CBS • CBS Productions
Julianna Margulies as Alicia Florrick

Harry's Law • NBC • Bonanza Productions, Inc. in association with David E. Kelley Productions and Warner Bros. Television
Kathy Bates as Harriet "Harry" Korn

The Killing • AMC • Fox Television Studios
Mireille Enos as Sarah Linden

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit • NBC • Wolf Films in association with Universal Media Studios
Mariska Hargitay as Detective Olivia Benson

Mad Men • AMC • Lionsgate Television
Elisabeth Moss as Peggy Olson

Mireille Enos, really? Was she nominated for her gum chewing abilities? Most of the time, she was expressionless to the …