Friday, July 30, 2004

Vote for me

I had a good couple of months back when I was 7.  I did my homework, kept my room clean, and helped with the dishes.  I was kind to little old ladies, didn't talk back to my parents and went to church every Wednesday night and twice on Sunday.  I didn't fight with my sisters and ate all my cauliflower without complaint.

Pay no attention to what I've done in the 35 years since then.  Any and all impressions and judgments of me should be based on those few months back when I was 7. 

I'm LittleA and I approve of this message.

  • |

    Dodging bullets

    Last night the Aardvarks were all sitting around watching reruns of Early Edition and Diagnosis Murder.   (convention?  what convention?)   I noticed that Mrs. A was wearing a shirt I hadn't seen much and so I took the opportunity to comment.

    "That's a nice looking shirt, sweetheart.  Is that one of your new ones?"

    "Yes, it is." 

    "I thought it was the YAC's," said the Eldest Aardvark Child.

    "Mom doesn't wear my clothes," said the Youngest Aardvark Child.

    "I did that once," says Mrs. A, "and I could if I wanted, since all the YAC's shirts are adult smalls."

    "Adult smalls," says I.  "You used to wear shirts from the boys department."

    I leaned aside to the YAC and EAC and said, "Your mother was about 'this' big around when I married her." (making a circle with finger and thumb)

    "And what am I NOW?" says Mrs. A with a glint in her eye.

    ...

    ::gulp::

    ...

    "Now?  Why, now you're ...  VA - VA - VOOM!"  says I.  (giving the universal oscillating hand motion for women)

    (Whew.  That was close!)

    Mrs. A laughed and said, "Nice recovery."

  • |

    Edgukashunal TV

    I don't normally turn on the TV in the morning.  But since my mother-in-law is visiting and we're sleeping on the hide-a-bed in the living room, the normal routines are thrown off anyway.

    So, with Mrs. A hogging the computer playing Pharaoh (and kicking some serious Egyptian butt, I might add), I picked up the remote and flipped on the TV.  I mostly switched between the four local news programs.  I refuse to watch the weather if I can help it.  They take 10 minutes to tell you what should take 15 seconds.  I only want to know TWO things - Is it going to rain and will I need a jacket?  Everything else is just mind-numbing filler.  I just tune it out.  In fact, more often than not, when they're done I can't tell you a thing they said.  (Which is frustrating for those rare times I actually CARE what the weather report is.)

    Once all four stations started their weather (and it's always at the same time ... grrr!) I flipped around the dial.  Wound up watching a little bit of Teletubbies on PBS.  It's like a train wreck, I HAVE to watch just to wonder why it ever was made in the first place.  This morning Dipsy and Laa-Laa were going for a walk.  I mentioned this to Mrs. A, who looked up from her game long enough to ask, "What's Po doing?"

    All I said was, "They can't show that on TV."  And for some reason Mrs. A called me a sick man.  (Hmmm.  Go figure.)

    Anyway, you know how TV stations have to offer a certain amount of "Educational" programming in order to keep their license?  The SOP is to claim all sorts of lame programs (usually cartoons) are "educational" and therefore meet this requirement.  So, right before I turn off the TV, this message appears (I may not have the EXACT words, but the gist is there)
    The following program is designed to educate and inform teenagers from 9 to 13.
    Wow, teenagers get younger every year, don't they?  Must be the new math.

  • |

    Thursday, July 29, 2004

    Three things on a Thursday

    Jordana was kind enough to allow the rest of us to railroad her into hosting this week's Thursday Three®

    As payback, she chose questions that involve thinking.  Worse than just thinking, we have to think about ::shudder:: Democrats!

    "What a revoltin' development this is!" - Riley  (I should be too young to know that reference, but somehow I do.)

    So, I guess I'll have to suck it up and get on with the questions.

    1.  Name three good things about Democrats (if possible consider this from a Republican's perspective).

    Democrats are more likely to offer second chances,  they have a strong sense of justice, they tend to look for the "greater good".  Basically, everything I can think of can really be boiled down to this one idea:  most Democrats are genuine in their concern for the less fortunate in society.

    2.  Name three bad things about Democrats (if possible consider this from a Democrat's perspective).

    Democrats believe so strongly in the goodness of their fellow man that they are many times blind to the potential consequences of their policies when implemented by normal, not-so-noble people.

    Democrats are sometimes lulled into accepting evil to advance a "good" cause.  (Al Sharpton, anyone?)  To be fair, Republicans fall prey to this as well, but in my mind, not as often.

    Democrats believe in the goodness and rightness of their cause to the extent that those who disagree with them must do so because they are evil.

    Now there are some   b r o a d   generalizations.  Please note, I don't think Democrats are bad people.  Misguided and altruistic, yes.  But not bad.   I think that they deal too much with the way the world "should" work and not enough with the way it does.

     
    3.  If you are a Republican/Conservative, what would it take to make you vote for a Democrat? If you are a Democrat/Liberal, what would it take to make you vote for a Republican?

    I have voted for Democrats in local/state elections before.  Typically it's because they are conservative enough that in any other state they'd be a Republican.  Sometimes it's because the Republican running is just a good-ol'-Bubba who is interested in lining his own pockets more than representing the people.  And sometimes it's because the Democrat running is the incumbent and I am perfectly happy with the way they've performed in office.

    So there you go.

  • |

    And a good time was had by all

    I left work on schedule and actually got downtown just a few minutes after five.  The rain that had been threatening most of the afternoon had finally decided to fall.  But not steadily - more like a kid playing with a faucet - a few drips, a gush, a drizzle, off, gush, drip, off, repeat the rest of the evening.  Since I had made good time and didn't want to show up TOO early, I did what any good Aardvark would do - went to Barnes & Noble to kill a few minutes.  Got there just as the rain changed from drips to drizzle.  Stepped out to head for Riscky's Bar-B-Q Emporium with no rain, but plenty of wind.  (There's a reason I'm talking so much about the weather.  Give me a minute.  I'll get to it.)  Got the the restaurant at 5:20 and sure enough The Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady and her friend Eleanor were already there.

    Introductions were made and drinks were ordered and we moved to a table in the back room.  Francesca had brought along her digital camera and had already taken a picture or two when the batteries went pffft (a technical term indicating an advanced state of inoperability).  Since I already knew what I was getting (Ribs!) I said I'd just pop down the block to the store and pick up some more.  Be back in a flash.  Or not.

    Down the street to the store - which closed at 5:00.  Drat.  The rain had started again.  Haul my lard encumbered body back down the street and pop into the hotel.  The gift shop is right...here.  Only right here was now a restaurant.  Ok.  This is a big place.  No telling where they moved the gift shop to, and since I'm of the male persuasion, far be it from me to, like, ASK somebody.  There was a copy place across the street!  Maybe they had batteries.  Back out into the elements which by this time were dashing themselves against the ground rather insistently.  Into the copy place only to find out they didn't sell batteries.  Double drat!  "You might try RadioShack in Tandy Center or there's the hotel gift shop on the second floor."  Aha!  So that's where they put it.  RadioShack was three blocks away and by this time the rain was pouring.  Zip, in a big hefty guy sort of way, back across the street to the hotel.  Up the steps.  Wait for a slow moving group of people to get out of the way.  Hit the gap and make it past.  Round the corner to the gift shop.  Ok, batteries...batteries...ah!  Here they are.  Pick up a couple of packs and head to the counter to stand behind a couple of gals with all the time in the world.  Stand on one foot.  Then the other.  Suppress the internal monologue of, "c'mon, c'mon, c'mon already.  Pick a candy bar and get it over with" successfully.  Finally get to the counter and buy two four-packs of AA batteries for $12.  Yikes!  Must've used gold plated electrons in these puppies.  Whatever.

    By this time my "pop down the block" has taken at least 15 minutes if not more.  Back down to the first floor and out the door into a monsoon.  Dash across the street and make it back to the table where dinner is already sitting.  (I don't think it had been there too long, but if it had Francesca and Eleanor were kind enough to wait on me.)  I'm still wet, but surprisingly enough not soaked.  Seems that everyone had ordered the All-You-Can-Eat ribs.  Mmmm...

    I hope Francesca and Eleanor had as good a time as I did.  I suspect so.  We talked about kids, spouses, jobs, church, a certain Possum Papa, and other bits of flotsam and jetsam (including a Monty Python reference or two!).  The conversation was punctuated by drink refills and the arrival of ... MORE RIBS.  I didn't count at the time, but if I recall correctly my final count was still in the single digits.  Barely.  I ate all of my ribs (4+3), one of Eleanor's and then, since I had promised and all, one of Francesca's which I dedicated to Jim.  I 'm pretty sure everyone had their fill and then some.

    Pictures were taken, including one of our "Miller Girl" waitress (for Terry's benefit I think, or maybe Jim's ... or Nate's).  She was sweet, but seemed to have fallen into a vat of collagen face first.  That and the tattoo on her lower back just didn't do anything for me.  She was sweet and perky though, and Miss Francesca did offer her some words of encouragement about pursuing her dreams.  Seems that they had struck up quite a conversation whilst I was "oot and aboot" chasing down "battries".

    It seemed like just a few minutes had passed, but before I knew it, it was after 7:30.  My phone rang and it was Mrs. A wondering which of us was going to pick up the EAC from work.  The Grouchy (although I saw no signs of it) Old Yorkie Lady had a brief conversation with Mrs. A and then it was time to wind the party down.  Francesca wouldn't let me arm wrestle her over who got to buy dinner, so I wouldn't let her pay me back for the batteries either.  A gift bag was presented for me to take home to Mrs. A with, "just a little something" for her for giving me a kitchen pass to be out with the girls.

    One of the goodies in the bag was Francesca's demo CD.  I listened to it this morning and can affirm what others already know:  that woman can sing!

    It's funny how easily and quickly we went from the "friendly but you're still a stranger" stage to having a "we go way back" vibe.  I am sorry that Mrs. A wasn't there to experience it as well.  But Francesca is coming back next year (not to mention moving closer) and she promises to bring her husband along too.  She seems to think that Nick and I share some of the same traits.  (I love it when women recognize quality!)

    On the way out, we realized that that odd "live music" we'd been hearing from the front of the restaurant was really karaoke!  You could see the gleam in Francesca's eye.  There was an older guy up there singing Elvis, and Eleanor and I could tell she wanted to get up there and show 'em how it's done, but we managed to get her outside without her laying a musical smackdown on the crowd.  (I regret it now ...  but I did have to go pick up my daughter, after all)

    And then after I left to go pick up the EAC, I kicked myself because I couldn't remember if I had thanked Francesca for my meal.  (Short-term memory loss...now what was I saying?) 

    So, just in case I didn't, THANK YOU FRANCESCA!

  • |

    Wednesday, July 28, 2004

    Almost time!

    Well, the phone rang a minute ago and it was Francesca!  She and her friend Eleanor have arrived safely and things are all set.  I leave work in about 20 15 10 minutes to head downtown for some BBQ ribs and a whole lot of gabbing.  That is unless Francesca turns out to be shy and reticent, in which case we'll spend the next little bit in an awkward silence interrupted only by the arrival of the waiter/waitress asking if we'd like some more ribs. 

    (Something tells me that won't be the case.)

    It looks like we picked the right restaurant, since it's right across the street from the hotel.  The thunder is rolling outside my window and it looks mighty dark.  If it does wind up raining, at least she and Eleanor won't have to slog six or eight blocks in a downpour.

    I'll have a full report tomorrow.  (And Jim, I'm eating a rib for you, bud!)


  • |

    Going "post"-al

    I've undergone somewhat of a metamorphosis since starting this blog.  I look at things with a different eye.  LittleA has really become an alter-ego, if you will.  I see something or have a conversation and find myself thinking, "This would make a great post."  (Although, there is STILL some debate on whether I've EVER had a "great post", but that's a different topic altogether.)  Kind of like the comics where Clark Kent whips off his glasses and says, "This looks like a job for ... SUPERMAN!"  Well, except that Superman has super-powers and all and LittleA has, well ... something. 

    (Though we're not sure what ... but last we heard it wasn't contagious) 

    Maybe we could all agree that LittleA has "stupor" powers?
    stupor  A condition of greatly dulled or completely suspended sense or sensibility.
    Yep.  That pretty well fits the bill.

    Anyway, I had one of those "moments" yesterday as I was driving to pick the EAC (Eldest Aardvark Child) up from work.  I wound up following a Ford Escort which had it's back end completely plastered with bumper stickers.  My first thought was, "Thank goodness the Big Armed Woman isn't here to see this."  (She has such an ... enthusiasm for bumper stickers.  Let's just say that there's a reason Detroit doesn't make rocket launchers standard equipment, OK?)

    As I pulled up behind this car at a stoplight, I was able to read all the gems of wisdom affixed thereon.

    FAIR trade not FREE trade (Although, there was no indication of who got to decide what was fair)

    Close the School of the Americas (SOA) - (I'm sure that the contradiction of this one with the next one never occurred to the driver)

    As long as one person is oppressed it's impossible to truly live free (Though, surprisingly there was no indication of support for the Iraq war or the elimination of the Taliban to be seen.  Not to mention stopping the spread of communism in South America.)

    No WTO (WTO with the red circle/slash) (Keep third-world countries where they belong.)

    Want peace?  Work for justice.  (Though not by actually holding people accountable for their own actions, I'm sure)

    I'll stop being pro-feminist in the post-patriarchy  ('Cause those are the only alternatives, don'tcha know)

    Support the right to keep and arm bears - accompanied by a picture of a Teddy Bear holding a rifle (Something from the "more puns, less guns" school of philosophy)

    Live simply that others may simply live (It's a zero sum game after all.  How dare I buy that ice cream for my daughter!  Some poor kid in the Sudan just starved as a result)

    Also a TCU and a UTA parking pass.

    I think it's fair to say that whoever owned/drove this car was going to be a teensy bit to the left of me.  The only thing that surprised me was that there were no PETA, Vegan, NOW or Planned Parenthood slogans.  I expected the driver to be a woman and I was right, but she was much younger (and prettier too) than I had pictured.  (The parking passes should have tipped me off, but they looked old.)  That would explain the lack of the other slogans - she just hasn't had time to embrace those causes yet.  

    I was just thankful I wouldn't have to engage this young lady in conversation.  I doubt that we would be able to find much to agree on other than we both think the other is blind to the truth.

  • |

    Tuesday, July 27, 2004

    Who you callin' stupid?

    I hate it when advertisers think their target audience is stupid.  What's worse is when the target audience really IS stupid.  Take car commercials for instance.  The little weasel-word disclaimers that the attorneys insist on now appear in every car commercial where the car is moving, EVEN if the car shown is just driving sedately down a normal city street.
    Professional driver on a closed course
    Yeah.  Whatever, dude.  You know that the only reason they have to put that in there is that some cretin, who buys shoes with Velcro 'cause laces are too complex, will get behind the wheel and act naturally and then blame the automaker for his own stupidity.

    Anyway, the commercial that's been getting under my skin lately is a radio spot for Accountemps.  Normally, their spots focus on the reliability and expertise of their temps by using a fictional temp named "Bob".  I'm sure you've heard the ads.  And I think the ads with Bob are effective.  I know they consistently make me smile.  I'll even wait to channel surf when the commercial break starts if it's a Bob spot. 

    But the ads they're running this week are focusing on their cost effectiveness.

    Cost effectiveness?  Say what?

    There are a lot of reasons companies use temps, but in MY experience saving money is not the deciding factor.  More often than not, TIME is the driving factor.  We need X job completed by Y date and we can't get it done with our existing staff.  That's when you start talking temps.  Price is only a factor in deciding WHICH temps to use.

    The new Accountemps ad starts out by saying that many companies are not hiring but making more demands on their existing staff, so when that new project comes along and the budget won't cover hiring more people, Accountemps is a cost-effective solution.

    Right, and I'm really George W. Bush.

    Here's a clue.  It's ALWAYS cheaper to hire a new employee.  I've seen companies pay the equivalent of two or three ANNUAL salaries to bring in ONE temp for three months.  The reason companies DON'T hire employees and use temp agencies is that a) it takes too long to find and screen candidates - usually by the time you're talking temps, you needed them yesterday and b) there is nothing for the person to do once the job they were used on is done - and there are all sorts of legal risks that go along with firing/laying off employees - not to mention the effect on morale.  Saving money is NOT a reason to hire temps.  (And yes, I know to factor in the cost of benefits when comparing costs)

    I've even seen companies INTENTIONALLY pay more for a temp rather than hire an employee (when an employee was justified) because a) "there's a hiring freeze" - a move that always SOUNDS good, but in practice is the business-world equivalent of self-mutilation and b) "there's no more budget for salaries, but we still have budget for temps" - so to enforce an arbitrary line-item discipline, we'll sacrifice the bottom line?  And this makes sense how exactly?

    Anyway, I'd have to be (more) stupid to buy the Accountemps latest spiel.  And I find it especially idiotic that they would use this spin since, after all,  their services are targeted at ACCOUNTING folks who (should) know better. 

    (Now, MARKETING guys might fall for the cost-effective line...)

  • |

    Monday, July 26, 2004

    Q. What do you get when you cross a Yorkie and an Aardvark?

    A.  I don't know, but we're fixin' to find out!

    Yeah!  The Grouchy (or so I've heard) Old Yorkie Lady is heading to town.  We have dinner plans for Wednesday night.  I can't wait. 

    According to her latest missive, she and her friend have narrowed the choices down to The Reata or Riscky's.   And I get to pick! 

    Oooh.  Decisions, decisions...

    ...

    ...

    Ok, I've decided...

    ...

    ...

    Riscky's it is!  Mmmm.  All-you-can-eat ribs (beef, of course).  I think the operative phrase might be something along the lines of "keep 'em coming."

    See you Wednesday, Francesca!

  • |

    A use of the Force?

    There are certain scripture references that intersect with popular culture.  Like Luke 1:3 which can be taken as proof that Bill and Ted actually DID travel back in time.
    It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus (Ted?)
    This past Sunday, I think we discovered the first recorded use of a Jedi mind trick.  The Syrians had come to capture/kill Elisha in the town of Dothan.  Elisha prayed that God would strike them blind (which He did) and then this is recorded in 2 Kings 6:19:
    And Elisha said unto them, This is not the way, neither is this the city: follow me, and I will bring you to the man whom ye seek. But he led them to Samaria.
    Seems pretty conclusive to me.

  • |

    A future politician?

    Mrs. A and I were watching the news Saturday evening.  One of the stories was about a local T-Ball team that is going to the state tournament.  The sports guy was a little bit amazed that there was such a thing as a state tournament for T-Ball - after all, these are four, five and six-year-olds.  But then again, this is Texas, and no sport is too insignificant to overemphasize.

    They asked one of the kids why they were going to the tournament and his answer was priceless:
    'Cause we've won all our games and we've only lost two.
    Makes perfect sense to me.  And he said it with a straight face.  I predict this kid will go far.

  • |

    Why yes, she IS a hottie. Why do you ask?

    On Saturday, while I was at home resting after donating platelets, Mrs. A was out working the streets...


  • |

    Friday, July 23, 2004

    One of life's little mysterys

    Why is it that when you're playing Minesweeper and you've cleared the board except for two spaces (one of which is a mine and one of which is not) and you should have a 50/50 chance of winning, that at least four times out of five you select the mine?

    I've even tried to out-guess myself by picking the OPPOSITE of my gut instinct (and that's one big instinct, let me tell you) with no perceivable improvement.

    I blame the Carlyle Group and the Trilateral Commission.

    Oh, and Sandy Berger's pants.

  • |

    More linkage

    I should have done this the other day, but for some reason I didn't.  I blame global warming.

    Anyway, the latest addition to the blogroll is Angie from (surprisingly enough) All About Angie. Angie is the proud mom of three adorable children and (according to her answers to the latest Thursday Three) spouse of Mr. Wonderful.  She has been an occasional commenter on ALANHA for some time now, and I've been keeping my eye on her blog as a result.  Now that Luke (her youngest) is sleeping a little more at night, she's finally getting back into the swing of blogging again.  Please go over and tell her "Hey" when you get a chance.

    (Have I told you I went to school with George Lindsay, Jr. or "Goober, Jr" as we called him?  Poor guy.  Whenever he left the room, someone would always say, "When you see him, tell Gomer I said 'Hey'."  It's a wonder he didn't go on a killing spree.)

  • |

    Thursday, July 22, 2004

    Just another hot day in a summer of love

    Already sixteen? They grow up so fast - weekly word-fests that is. So, if it's Thursday, it must be time for the latest installment of The Axis of Weevil Thursday Three®. This week's theme - LUV ... Oooh. I'm giddy.

    1) Who was your first sweetheart? (Names may be changed to protect the innocent, although we do want to know all the other details.)

    My FIRST sweetheart was one of those May-September romances. Actually given that I was only four and she was 19, it was more like a January-March romance, but it was LOVE nonetheless. Her name is Kathy, and I still love her, just not the way I once imagined. She's my sister-in-law now. Back then, she was just my brother's fiancee. I begged her not to marry my brother, pleading with her to wait for me. But our love was not to be. She and my brother are celebrating their 38th anniversary this year.

    My first sweetheart my own age was in 2nd grade. Linda Freisen. I chased her all over the playground. Once I actually caught her and I'm not sure which of us was more surprised. Though, not knowing what to do once I caught her, I promptly let her get away. (It would be YEARS before I caught another one. )

    2) Of the person you love the very most, which of their character traits of do you find most appealing?

    Well, first I think we should clear up who this person is. I should say Mrs. A, and that's the RIGHT answer, but I can't say for sure it's the most ACCURATE answer. There are times when I act as if it really IS all about ME...

    But, for the sake of argument, let's assume the question is really:
    Other than yourself, of the person you love the very most, which of their character traits do you find the most appealing.
    That would be Mrs. A for sure. And the obvious answer is that she puts up with me. The not-so-obvious answer is that she is the most tender hearted person I know. She truly does care about other people and spends a good deal of her time devoted to helping folks who need it. Yesterday, she didn't get home until after midnight, driving a seriously sick friend to a doctor's appointment (scheduled for 5 PM, which is weird) and then waiting with her the extra 5 hours it took to see him (which is REALLY weird, but it's a chemo doctor and I have no experience there to determine what's normal). Today, she is driving the same friend to yet another doctor's visit (in Dallas this time). And if she weren't doing something for these folks, she'd be doing something for someone else. (and no, she doesn't neglect us Aardvarks either) Let's just say, when it's time to separate the sheep from the goats, I have no doubt which side she'll be on.

    3) Of all the inanimate objects in your possession, are there any for which you have--if not love--then at least a powerful affection?

    As a child, this would have been my stuffed dog pillow. Somewhere my Mom found a peice of material that had the pattern for a dog pillow stamped on it. You just cut out the front and back views of the dog, stuffed it with whatever was handy and then sewed it up. Voila, instant pillow. I think I slept with that pillow until I was well into my teens. I still have it, but it's stored in a box with other 'mementos' from over the years.

    As an eighth grader, it would have been my red gym shorts. I lived in those shorts - only taking them off long enough to bathe or to have them washed. Once out of the dryer I put them right back on. I even got to the point where I wouldn't take them off to put on my jeans, just wearing my jeans over the top. It made dressing out for PE a snap. Especially since I had a pair of my brother-in-law's bell bottomed Navy pants so I didn't even have to take off my shoes. My sisters got so sick of seeing me in those red shorts that one day they tackled me, held me down and took them off of me. I still wore them some after that, but I recall being a little more careful when they were around.

    As an adult (or at least what passes for one), I don't think I have anything that qualifies. My computer is probably the closest thing to it. Mrs. A might say some of my old T-shirts would qualify.

    Oh, wait.

    Now that I think about it, I do have one thing: a mechanical toy that was my mothers. It's a bear about seven inches high. It's got a metal frame covered by felt. The arms are metal. The stationary one holds a metal book that's stamped with a simple picture and a word - CAT, DOG- that sort of thing. The arm that moves has a magnet in it. When you wind it, the arm with the magnet grabs the top page of the metal book and flips it to the next page. I always liked this toy as a kid, but wasn't allowed to play with it too much since it was so old. It sits in one of the shadow boxes in the dining room now, safely up from little hands. Or big hands as the case may be.

    Heh. All hail Google. Here is a picture of one. And it looks like it's worth about $225.

     (I wouldn't take 100 times that for mine.)


  • |

    Wednesday, July 21, 2004

    What have I become?

    I freely admit to being anal-retentive.  But my anal-retentiveness is selective. 
     
    Sock drawer?  Not so much. 
    Bathroom hand towel folded neatly?  Yep. 
    Old paperwork that needs to be filed laying around in piles?  No problem. 
    Bank statement/check book don't balance to the penny?  You betcha.
     
    I've always been persnickety when it came to producing documents/reports.  Headings, margins, font, spacing, white space - all important to the overall look.  One of my current employees has a penchant for typing in ALL CAPS - she learned about computers in the 70s with mainframes and that's how everything was done in those days.  For those of us who got most of our computer skills in the 80's or after, the all caps thing seems rude or at best, ignorant.  She doesn't hate me.  Yet.  But I'm going to give her back some reports she created yesterday with format changes, so that may change.
     
    You'd never know it by reading this stream-of-consciousness drivel, but I'm also very fussy about spelling, and wording and, to the best of my limited knowledge, punctuation (easily my weakest area).  A previous employee would bring me memos to review and then get mad when I consistently made major changes.  "If you don't like the way I write, why don't you just write them yourself?" he said one day.  He really got mad when I told him, "I'm hoping you'll start to pay attention to what I'm changing and learn to write better."  Hey, don't ask if you don't want an answer.
     
    Anyway, what brought all this on was my realization the other day that I had started to channel Lileks.
     
    Back when my department had their annual outing, I managed to bowl the best game and as a result won a $20 gift card to Target.  Rather than use it for something practical (like Diet Pepsi or Diet Dr. Pepper or bubblegum) I splurged and bought two $10 movies:  Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (which I had never seen, but had always wanted to) and The Fifth Element (had seen it several times and loved it - Chris Tucker is over the top, as is Gary Oldham, and I've always kind of liked Bruce Willis and then there's Milla Jovovich ... ahem).
     
    So the other day we watched Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (I liked it, the EAC was just confused by the ending), and as the closing credits ran, the main actors names appear in BIG YELLOW letters on a solid red background.  My first comment?  "Ugh.  I hate the font they're using!  It's ugly."
     
    For those of you who read Lileks regularly, you know EXACTLY why this reminds me of him.  (For those of you who don't, why not?)

  • |

    Tuesday, July 20, 2004

    New links

    I'm adding a couple of folks to the sidebar that I've been reading for a while, but never got around to linking.
     
    First up is Jeff G. of Protein Wisdom fame.  He can be rude, crude and socially unacceptable, but I find him consistently funny.  The man is seriously demented - a certified evil genius of the first order.  I expect him to one day rule the world.  Caveat lector.   (And naturally, the day I link him he drops an F-Bomb in the latest post...I did warn you.)
     
    Next up is Nathan over at Brain Fertilizer: Proud owner of a cat-in-a-cup.  Stop by for a regular dose of pun-ishment - if you like that sort of thing.  I haven't been reading Nathan for that long, but I knew pretty quickly he was a keeper. 
     

  • |

    How long until "Talk Like A Pirate Day?"

    Nothing like recycling humor, but just in case you missed it over at Terry's place, he commented in this post that they're doing VBS this week and the theme is
    ''Discovering the Treasures in God's Word," and there's all sorts of treasure chests and maps and pirate images to interest the little kids. Sort of an odd juxtaposition, I must say, but I think they get the tie-in, however tenuous it might be.
    Naturally, this got my pea-brain working and I posted this in the comments,

    Heh. Imagine if Moses was a pirate. The Ten Commandments would have turned out a little different, no?

    1. Avast on ye other gods.

    2. Avast on them graven images too.

    3. Don't be using My name unless you mean it. Or I'll 'ave ye walk the plank.

    4. Remember who provides your swag and booty and show your gratitude.

    5. Don't be disrespecting your Mum and Da you mutinous whelps.

    6. Avast on killing you scurvy knaves.

    7. Stow your oar where it belongs.

    8. Keep your grubby mitts off of swag that isn't yours.

    9. Tell the truth or I'll 'ave ye keelhauled.

    10. Don't be wanting someone else's booty.


    Technically, it wouldn't really have mattered if MOSES was a pirate, since GOD is the one who wrote them, but the general idea is there.  In hindsight, I should have added a "belay" or two ... and as I said in Terry's comments
    Stand back in case of lightning strikes.
    (Ok, actually it took me TWO THREE comments to say that since I can't seem to spell lightning correctly.  Terry finally set me strate...) 



  • |

    Monday, July 19, 2004

    Office space

    Well, the move went off without a hitch.  I am now the proud owner of a new window cube.  The good news is that there are trees right outside the window that provide shade.  My old cube had windows but no trees, so I could never open the blinds as they were the only thing between me and the Texas sun/heat.  The bad news is that the new cubes all have walls that I can see over when I'm sitting down.  It brings a sense of "togetherness" that I think will grow old quickly.  Not to mention I'm easily distracted so every movement draws my eye.  (Another reason the Aardvarks sit in the front pew at church)  The lower walls also mean much more noise.  I have my CD/radio aimed away from everyone on the lowest volume setting available.  I can hear it fine, but there's no way I could ever turn it up.
     
    We're not supposed to eat at our desks in this building.  That's a major adjustment for me, since I'm used to eating at my desk almost every day.  So, what's the FIRST thing that happens this morning?  Why, a couple of the HR folks stop in (from our home office) and bring BREAKFAST.  For us to eat AT OUR DESKS, naturally.  It's not for me to question why...
     
    Most of my stuff translates well to my new space.  Except there is no little drawer in this cube to keep my office supplies in.  And being a recovering office supply addict, the idea of leaving my pens, pencils and highlighters out for other people to eyeball makes me just a little bit nervous.  I came in Saturday and discovered that even after making a point of SPECIFICALLY seeking out the IT guys responsible for the move and telling them SPECIFICALLY how I wanted my computer and printer set up in the new location, instead they set it up exactly where I DIDN'T want it.  ::sigh::  Fortunately hooking up computers (and electronics in general) is not something that intimidates me.  (since I used to sell the stuff back when I was in college)  So it's under the desk to unplug and replug and it didn't take long before everything was where it belonged.
     
    We're supposed to have picture IDs made so the first floor security guards know we belong.  Maybe that'll be this afternoon sometime.  Just what the world needs - another picture of me.
     

  • |

    Friday, July 16, 2004

    Say WHAT!?!

    I got a search yesterday for "racism hornstine nj valedictorian".
     
    If you remember last year, Blair Hornstine was the girl (who had a judge for a Daddy) who sued to be the Valedictorian.  It wound up being a royal mess, dividing the school into competing factions, and then wound up getting ugly when some idiots started making physical threats.  (she missed graduation as a result)  I wrote about it here.
     
    Also, as with any case of "be careful what you wish for", it was discovered that Blair had appropriated large chunks of other people's work for some articles she wrote for a local paper - without any attribution.  Can you spell plagiarism?  She claimed she didn't know that was wrong - and she wanted to be Valedictorian?  Hello?
     
    Anyway, in all of the articles I remember reading, I don't ONCE remember any mention of Blair's race.  She could be green for all I know.  So when I got the search for "racism hornstine nj valedictorian," my first thought was, "where'd THAT come from?"  Followed closely by, "I should have known."
     

  • |

    Living well is the best revenge

    The EAC has a new job!
     
    She had previously applied at the Hallmark shop in the upscale shopping center (just down the way from the Barnes & Noble!) and noticed earlier this week that they had a "Help Wanted" sign in the window.  She went in and asked about it and reminded them that they already had her application.  She went in for an interview yesterday afternoon and they called last night to tell her she starts on Wednesday.
     
    It's only $6.50 an hour instead of the $7.00 she was making at the snow cone stand, but that's still pretty good.  They also told her she'd have to FILL OUT PAPERWORK when she came in on Wednesday and believe it or not, that made her happy!
     
    Heh.
     

  • |

    Party, party, party

    I'm home alone from now until Tuesday.
     
    So come on over, we'll play the music loud and stay up all hours (or until 9PM, whichever is later).
     
    Mrs. A has taken the Aardvark children and gone to see my Dad.  Just 'cause I couldn't go is no reason for them not to.
     
    They left early this morning and are stopping in Tulsa to have lunch with some old friends.  Then it's on to Missouri.
     
    I have to work tomorrow - mostly to go to the new office and make sure I'm good to go for Monday morning - but after that who knows what I'll do!  (Besides play Nintendo, play on the computer, work crossword puzzles, jigsaw puzzles and read, that is)
     
    Mrs. A asked if I'd remember to feed the fish and the turtles.  I told her I would if I wasn't too drunk.  
     
    In case you're new around here, that was a joke ... hey, SHE laughed.  (Then again, she has to, doesn't she?)
     

  • |

    Moving day at work

    Yuck.
     
    No, make that double yuck.
     
    So, I have to pack up my desk and stick labels on everything and then wait.  Of course, it wouldn't be so bad, but in order to PACK my desk, I first have to SEE my desk.  There's a lateral surface here somewhere - so I've been told.  Actually, I did some major filing about a month ago, knowing this was coming, so my desk is ok.  It's my overhead bins that are full of stuff just crammed in there willy-nilly that I have to sort out today.  And of course, most of the stuff that I cram into my overhead bins is stuff I normally keep under lock and key for a reason, so it can't just be thrown away or recycled.  No, it has to be shredded.
     
    Part of my problem is that I'm a packrat and tend to save everything, even if it's for a project long dead or completed.  I've had more than one conversation with my boss that started out, "Do you remember the piece of paper you gave me that I wrote some notes on..."  And most of the time, I can dive in a pile and retrieve it.  I know that it's not worth hanging onto ALL this junk just for the two times a year I MIGHT need something, but it goes against my nature to throw it away.  And sending it to storage is just as bad, because in order to retrieve it you have to recall what you NAMED the box in the first place.  After you've sent three boxes out labeled "LittleA's desk junk", well ... you get the idea.
     
    When I worked at Marconi Hut (or something like that), there was one VP who had an immaculate desk.  If there was paper on it, it was only for what he was working on right then.  Otherwise he filed it, or more often threw it away.  His logic when he threw stuff away was that he could always get another copy from whoever sent it to him in the first place.  I've tried that, but I can't get past throwing GOOD information in the garbage can.
     
    Anyway, packing will be most of my day, and then I have to make sure I still, at a minimum, LOOK busy.  And try to keep my employees looking busy too.  Even though almost everything we have to do is packed away.
     
    Is it 4 PM yet?
     

  • |

    Thursday, July 15, 2004

    Fast times at Weevil State

    This week's Thursday Three® finds a Possum acting like a Goose (or was that Maverick? - both actually).

    1) What is the fastest you have ever traveled on land? On water? In the air?

    I've had my car up to 100 on some back roads in Missouri, but it's been a while. It could have gone faster, but I couldn't. The fastest I ever felt like I was traveling was on the back of my brother's motorcycle. He was only going 90, but I'd swear it felt like 190. Something about being out in the open (you cagers just wouldn't understand ... or something like that in cycle-speak).

    I can't think of any exceptional cases on the water. I'm not much of a boat person - no skiing, surfing or personal watercrafting or anything like that to speak of. I have slipped in the tub before - does that count?

    In the air? Well there's the commercial jets I've flown (actually, I rode in 'em - I didn't fly 'em), but nothing extraordinarily fast there either.

    Slow and steady, that's me.

    2) Which would you rather attend: Bonneville Speed Week, the Daytona 500 Speedweek, or a private screening of Speed with Sandra Bullock?

    No contest - Daytona. Or Indy. Can't leave our IRL friends out of this.

    3) Which would you rather have as a pet: Speedy Gonzales, Speedy, the Kitten Born Without a Pelvis, or Flipper? (Who happens to be "faster than lightning," at
    least according to his theme song.)


    Speedy, the Kitten Born Without a Pelvis is right out. I wouldn't be able to get within 20 feet of her(?) without having an eye-watering, sneezing, snot-fest. (sorry if that's too graphic)

    Flipper? Aside from the fact that I'd have to dig up the back yard and put in a tank to hold him(?) in, I'd have to buy fish to feed him and let me tell you, nothing says "home" quite like the smell of dead fish. Kind of like the time Mrs. A decided to fertilize the yard with a fish emulsion. Let's just say that some prizes aren't worth eating the CrackerJacks® for.

    So, I guess I'll have to go with Speedy Gonzales. I'm not allergic, he requires no stinky food source and he's a cartoon. And as an added bonus, he's not politically correct. Works for me.

  • |

    Wednesday, July 14, 2004

    Big news

    At the Aardvark house this weekend. I got home Friday and the Eldest Aardvark Child was jumping up and down to show me what she got in the mail: a HUGE insulated cup from the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. AND a letter telling her they had received her latest SAT scores and she was eligible to receive the President's Scholarship of $4,000 per year (approximately 1/4 of the cost).

    And there was much rejoicing.

    THEN, on Saturday, she got another letter from UMHB (Oombah, as it's known at our house), this one informing her that they had received her application and welcoming her as an ACCEPTED student. (With an assigned student ID number and everything!)

    And there was more rejoicing. Accompanied by a happy dance or two.

    We are making her apply to a couple of other schools, but Oombah is where she has wanted to go ever since she visited their campus. Never hurts to look, though. And I need to make sure she doesn't coast (like her father would) her last year, since she's already been accepted.

    Now, if I can just figure out how to pay for the other 3/4...

    (I've already borrowed as much as I can against my good looks ... it WAS a good piece of bubble-gum, though)

  • |

    Not that I'm anal-retentive or anything

    I just spent the better part of the last hour tracking down a signed agreement that everyone here at work knows about, but nobody seems to have read. This agreement supposedly covers X, Y & Z, but not A, B or C. Naturally we had something in the J-K-L range and someone was questioning the way I had handled it.

    So I tracked the agreement down in the legal files and I have to say it was highly illuminating. Nowhere in the short, 2 page, document is there ANY reference to X, Y, Z, A, B or C! It is very UNspecific. In fact, if my supposition is correct, it's INTENTIONALLY unspecific. It certainly doesn't read the way I had been led to believe the last five years.

    Needless to say, based on this, I think my original treatment of the item in question was correct, and there is certainly nothing in the agreement that says it is not. And, since I the final disposition of this item is well within my scope of responsibility, we're going to leave it done the way I did it.

    It's good to be King.

  • |

    Tuesday, July 13, 2004

    Little time for original content today

    Meetings and all that. Plus regular duties are rearing their ugly head. I may post later if I have time, then again maybe not. You'll have to check back to make sure.

    (Don't do it, it's just a ploy to generate traffic)

  • |

    Not so curmudgeonry after all

    As you may, or may not know, Miss Jordana has a new address. Please adjust your bookmarks/links accordingly.

    (And don't let the Curmudgeonry name fool you, she's really a cream puff.)

  • |

    Monday, July 12, 2004

    NEXT!

    The Grouchy Old Yorkie Lady is coming to Fort Worth on the 28th! Sweet!

    This is getting to be a lot of fun. Who's next? Don't be shy.

    What's that behind my back you say? Why, nothing, nothing at all, just a limited edition Lizzie Borden commemorative hatchet. Why do you ask? Mwuahahahahahahaha!

    (Actually, truth be told, you have nothing to fear ... I try not to handle sharp objects as I tend to hurt myself.)

  • |

    Mmmm...enchiladas

    Mrs. A and I got downtown and parked (finally, after waiting for a too large truck to navigate a narrow parking lot aisle). A short block and a half to the restaurant and hoo boy, look at all these people! This place looks packed! Fortunately it was just a large party that was waiting for their table to be prepped, not the back-up that I dreaded it being. In fact, we'd be first in line once the rest of our party showed up.

    And in just a minute or two they did! Miss Janis and her brother Charles and sister Patricia, fresh from getting all cultured up in the museum district. It's funny how people never look like what you expect them to. Miss Janis is a little taller than I expected - I don't know why (maybe she writes short?), but I think it's because one of my employees hails from Cajun country and she literally has trouble getting her feet to touch the ground. Well, at least when she sits. Anyway, that expectation thing works both ways 'cause Miss Janis told me she didn't realize I was so tall. I told her, "Yep. I'm a big fella. We grow 'em big in Texas." (My father says you can always tell a Texan, but you can't tell him much.)

    Everyone was introduced and after that first brief (inevitable) awkward pause, I managed a, "Well, at least nobody LOOKS like an axe murderer!" or something close to it. I hope they were thinking the same thing.

    It took just a minute or two before we were seated - in the main room, which architecturally speaking was pretty cool with lots of curves and round stuff (I'm still talking about the building here, stay with me) some of it black and some of it white which made for good visual contrast. But it could be no mistake that acoustically, it was like standing next to a wood-chipper choking on a hickory log. Gives the place an atmosphere, an ambiance, a "buzz". Whatever. Also makes it hard to hear what's being said by the person next to you. At least if you can see their mouth, you can (mostly) figure out the gist of what they are tying to say.

    We took our time looking over the menu and then went straight to the usual fare. Mrs. A said "I'll have the enchiladas, one beef, one cheese and one chicken." I'm so original, I said, "Me too." Miss Janis ordered something that had a little bit of this and a little bit of that, Charles had shrimp with whatever he ordered and Patricia, though she sat right next to me, I'm ashamed to say I have no idea what she ordered. But when it came, it all looked good. Tasted good to. (Mine, that is. I didn't sample anyone else's food ... maybe next time.)

    We talked about this and that, how modern art was an acquired taste, how Mrs. A and I met, how Miss Janis found herself in Louisiana, how Lucy was a Mama's girl, how I intentionally have never posted about what I do for a living (Either super-secret hush-hush stuff that I'd have to hunt each one of you down and kill you if you knew, or something so incredibly dull that people's eyes normally glaze over after talking about it for just a few seconds. You pick.), how the blog world was filled with interesting people, and other bits of this and that. Interestingly enough, Miss Janis had to give a brief explanation to her siblings on just what a blog was. I figured they might read hers, but after that, I guess not. Anyway, I realized how much I had been talking when Mrs. A finished her plate before I did. That never happens.

    The check arrived and after a brief, but animated "discussion" on who would be allowed to pay what (I still think if you're on my turf, I should get to pay! 'Specially since it was my idea. Hmph.), Miss Janis took control. Mrs. A wisely just leaned back to be out of the fray. Once I realized I was not going to win this one, I leaned over to Patricia and asked, "Is she always like this?" I don't recall Patricia's exact words, but I think a fair interpretation would be something along the lines of, "You think?"

    We made our way outside and goodbyes were tendered. Miss Janis' group left to find their car and Mrs. A and I headed across the street to the ... TOBACCO SHOP. Just to by un-gummed cigarette paper, though. (IT'S NOT WHAT YOU THINK!) The YAC plays the oboe and her private lesson instructor told her to use un-gummed cigarette paper to clean the pads if they get sticky. (Dude, like, sure man. Whatever.) No, really.

    Anyway, I'd say the evening was a success. Mrs. A and I both enjoyed ourselves, and I think the others did as well. If not, they were nice enough to do a convincing job of pretending. I warned Miss Janis that since she's not home until tomorrow, I'd have first shot at establishing what went on. I told her that I'd think of something to say or just make something up like always. (I'm not telling which)

    That's my story, and I'm sticking to it.

  • |

    Friday, July 09, 2004

    Sweating with the oldies

    First let me start by saying, I live in Texas - you know, where the average temperature from early June to late September is somewhere in the neighborhood of a kajillion degrees. Well, ok, that may be an exaggeration ... but only slightly.

    So, it always amazes me to see people driving around with their windows rolled down. Hello? Something wrong with your A/C? And it's not just the old rambling wrecks that might not have A/C installed, either. You see lots of newer cars and trucks with people's elbows sticking out of the window. Yesterday, about 5 PM (and 92 degrees), I pulled up alongside a late model Lincoln Towncar with a middle-aged woman behind the wheel. Don't tell me that boat didn't come with A/C standard.

    I can understand the folks driving around with a cigarette in their hand. I wouldn't want that stinky thing in my car either. But the majority of folks I see with their windows down aren't smoking.

    Maybe some folks just LIKE to sweat?

    Now, I do understand why the guys in the "boom" cars have their windows rolled down - it keeps the air pressure from shattering their eardrums. All I can say is, "Thanks for sharing guys."

    I keep telling the girls that someday I'm going to drive through the neighborhood and all over town blasting WRR just to see what kind of reaction I'll get. They like the idea. I think it's probably a good way to get shot.

  • |

    Thursday, July 08, 2004

    Haloscan

    I don't know what the deal is lately with Haloscan, but if you enter a comment, it may show up immediately, or it may take several hours before it shows up. All without (seemingly, anyway) rhyme or reason. The comment counter is incremented properly and the comments are there when I log into Haloscan, but they don't show up when I open the comments from my page. I'm not really complaining (since it's not a service I'm paying for, it's hard to be too up in arms about it), but just making you aware of what's going on.

    At least I haven't been getting the Blogger 404 page this week. (but I think Jim has)

    ...

    I blame Terry.



    UPDATE:

    I think it's just not showing the most recent comment. Once someone else comments (on ANY post), the missing comment appears and the new comment is missing. I still don't know why, but at least there is a pattern.

  • |

    It's NEW and yet the same OLD thing!

    Well, I doubt that anything I can come up with will match that marsupial goodness we've all come to know and love, but that never stopped me (shoot, or even slowed me down any) before, so here goes nothing.

    Since SOMEone we know is down at the beach, singeing his delicate underbelly and playing melanoma roulette, Jim and I decided that the theme for this week's questions should be ... vacations! So, without further dissembling, I am proud to present the FOURTEENTH (I counted) installment of the

    Possumblog Thursday Three®*
    * Now with 100% less Possum!

    1. Describe the BEST vacation you've ever taken, either as a child or as an adult, and tell us WHY it was so splendiferous.

    2. Describe the WORST vacation you've even taken, either as a child or as an adult, and tell us WHY it stunk like a funky drunk monkey.

    3. Describe the vacation you've always WISHED you could take, but for some reason, never have.

    As always, you can either leave your answers in the comments, or answer them on your own blog and leave a link in the comments. Or I suppose if neither or those suits you, you can email me your answers and I'll append them below.






    And now for my answers.

    1. Describe the BEST vacation you've ever taken, either as a child or as an adult, and tell us WHY it was so splendiferous.

    I think the best all around vacation I've ever taken was last year. My family has a bi-annual reunion, usually at my oldest brother's house. We are the furthest away and so usually get first shot at staying at his house. Last year, in order to get the cheapest fares possible, we flew to Portland (OR) from Oklahoma City, and had to leave on a Tuesday and get back on Monday. So I took the Monday and Tuesday of both weeks as vacation. Which meant vacation really started on the Friday night prior - over 11 days off! And since we didn't leave town until Tuesday (to drive the 3.5 hours to Oklahoma City), we acted like tourists in Fort Worth. We found Nemo, we visited ancient Egypt at the Kimbell (touring exhibit), we toured the Movie Studios at Las Colinas, we discovered pirates in the Caribbean. And we didn't cook a single meal at home.

    When we got to my brother's house in Washington, we made a trip to the Oregon coast and visited Fort Clatsop (where Lewis and Clark wintered) and took an afternoon to visit OMSI and the planetarium. I took a day trip to Scio with my other brother and visited my Mom's grave. We watched movies, worked puzzles, played games and paid absolutely no attention to our diets. On Friday night, I was able to sneak away with Mrs. A to catch the opening night of Seabiscuit. We spent Monday in Vancouver (WA) with my best friend and his wife (and their new baby). All in all, the best extended time off I've ever had.

    2. Describe the WORST vacation you've even taken, either as a child or as an adult, and tell us WHY it stunk like a funky drunk monkey.

    The worst vacation was the one we took before the EAC was born to visit my folks in Missouri. It wasn't the vacation itself that was so bad, it was the fact that the last lunch we ate (at a restaurant, not at home) before we left gave me food poisoning. We left in the evening and drove the hour or so to Springfield and spent the night. Somewhere in the middle of the night I became very familiar with the bathroom. I'll bet we stopped at every McDonalds between Springfield and Fort Worth on the way home. When we got home and called the folks to let them know we made it, the first thing my Mom said was, "When did you get sick?" Needless to say, I don't remember anything else about that trip.

    3. Describe the vacation you've always WISHED you could take, but for some reason, never have.

    Taking the kids to Disneyworld. We have always gone to see relatives any time I have time off and have never really had a family vacation where that wasn't the case (which is why last year's was my favorite). Every year I think that "next year" will be the one where we can do something just for us. And when it gets time to plan, there either isn't enough money to do anything but stay with family or someone is getting married and so we're obligated, or some other reason why it just never works out. I haven't given up hope yet, though. Someday.

  • |

    Wednesday, July 07, 2004

    It's a party!

    A dinner party anyway. Miss Janis is coming to town this week to visit with her kin and one of their agenda items is a trip to Fort Worth to see The Modern. Mrs. A and I will be meeting them downtown for dinner Friday evening! I am so excited to see my second blogger (ok, technically my third, since Mrs. A has a blog) in the flesh. If you recall, I had dinner with Nate back in January. Friday's dinner is planned for Mi Cocina - a nice Mexican restaurant. My guess is that we'll be sitting inside, since the outside temperature will still be in the 90s.

    I am just a little nervous, though, since I'm not nearly the sparkling conversationalist (aka blabbermouth) in person as I am here - Mrs. A usually does the heavy lifting in social situations. Good thing she's coming along. Plus, there'll be enchiladas. I mean, how can you not have a good time when there are enchiladas? Anyway, I expect that we'll all hit it off just fine.

    Give you a run-down next week. Hmmm...maybe I should take my Palm along and take notes! Or I could just make stuff up like I normally do.


    UPDATE:
    After I typed this up, I popped over to Gone South and sure enough Miss Janis also has a little something about her trip posted.

  • |

    Public Service Announcement

    For both of you who may care, tomorrow's installment of the

    Possumblog Thursday Three®

    will be hosted by yours truly. So check back tomorrow for ... something.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    The original nefarious plan was to railroad Jordana into hosting the Thursday Three®, but she says that she has to ... floss the dog or something. Oh, she CLAIMS to have been out of town until today, but for all I know she may have spent the last five days in the Nashville hoosegow for unpaid jaywalking tickets. And then, oh so coincidentally, her blog has gone ... KABLOOIE! (I believe that's the technical term she used. Looks like SOMEone is a Calvin and Hobbes fan) I bet it's really there and she's just switched it to the OTHER internet (You know, the one y'all use to talk about me behind my back) so I wouldn't be able to see it.

    Now, I'm not saying she's running a counter-conspiracy to the one Jim and I cooked up, but it sure seems CONVENIENT that everything happened to work out the way ... Hey! Did you hear that?

    Me neither! Must be one of those silent black helicopters. Gotta go.

  • |

    Tuesday, July 06, 2004

    The Snow Cone Queen called me ignorant!

    I hate when that happens.

    So, the Eldest Aardvark Child has been working at the snow cone stand for two weeks. The owner (aka The Snow Cone Queen - TSCQ for short) is pregnant and has not been around very much. Between that, and the EAC's propensity for gathering as little information as possible and then only understanding half of whatever she's been told, we've been waiting to get her I-9 and W-4 turned in. At the beginning of last week, the EAC understood TSCQ to say that if she'd get the forms and fill them out, she would accept them and start withholding the appropriate taxes.

    This year the Willie Nelson Fourth of July Picnic/Concert was held in the Stockyards. Which coincidentally, is where the snow cone stand is located. The EAC was on-call to go to work Sunday. Sure enough, after church, she called and they wanted her to come in. And finally, she and the owner were there together. When she tried to give her the paperwork, TSCQ looked at them and said no, she wasn't going to "do all the paperwork. You don't make enough money to qualify." Then TSCQ turns to the other "contract labor" employee she has working and asks, "Did you have to file any tax forms last year?" And naturally, he said, "No." (Nothing like asking 18-year-olds tax advice, eh?)

    I told her when she got home Sunday night that she had worked her last at the snow cone stand. She was disappointed (and so was I - it was easy work and good money), but I think she understands. It's not that I'm such a big fan of paying taxes, but I'm sure not a proponent of defrauding the government.

    So, Monday morning I called TSCQ to tell her the EAC would not be coming back to work.

    She was not happy at all when I responded to "Why?" with, "You aren't handling your payroll legally and I don't want her to be a part of that. She should be classified as an employee and have payroll taxes withheld and not be classified as contract labor."

    To summarize her response
    1. The EAC doesn't earn enough.
    2. The EAC doesn't work enough hours.
    3. The EAC isn't entitled to 'benefits'. (Since when are payroll taxes a benefit?)
    4. TSCQ has been doing her taxes this way for three years.
    5. It's a shame the EAC has to lose a good job because her father doesn't know what he's talking about.
    And then she hung up on me.

    I don't think she's knowingly violating the law. Maybe she is, but I'm willing to bet she just doesn't know any better. And because no one has ever brought it up before, she's convinced that she's right. (I'm not even going to get it to the pregnancy/hormonal thing...oops, ignore that last comment) I'm debating whether or not to send her a copy of IRS Publication 15-A.
    Under common-law rules, anyone who performs services for you is your employee if you can control what will be done and how it will be done. This is so even when you give the employee freedom of action. What matters is that you have the right to control the details of how the services are performed.

    and

    If you have an employer-employee relationship, it makes no difference how it is labeled. The substance of the relationship, not the label, governs the worker’s status. Nor does it matter whether the individual is employed full time or part time. (emphasis in the original)
    Then again, I'm not sure that I shouldn't just let the whole thing drop, since I think that my motivation is because I just want her to recognize that I'm not the one who doesn't know what I'm talking about.

    (Whenever the subject of Spiritual Gifts comes up, I tell Mrs. A I have the Gift of Being Right.)

    It's a character flaw, I know.

  • |

    Friday, July 02, 2004

    Ch-ch-ch-changes...

    My days of lunch-time frivolity may be drawing to a close.

    The building that we are in is once again filled to capacity. The last time we were this full, we were able to do some remodeling and convert closets and file rooms into workspaces. This time, we're all out of closets and file rooms.

    So, the company is going to build a two-story addition and is planning to break ground around the end of July (or as soon as the ground dries out enough thereafter). Naturally this new addition is going up right outside my window - which means that by the time it's done I won't HAVE a window. (not to worry, this won't be my spot then either) Needless to say, the building process will be very noisy and very ::cough::cough:: dusty.

    The solution? Two of the deparments (mine being one of them) on this side of the building will be moving to an off-site location in mid July! Yippee skippy. It's only about five miles down the road, but in the wrong direction. And the traffic from here to there is notoriously bad. I figure it will add between 40 minutes to an hour a day to my commute time. (But the job is good, so it's still worth it)

    So what does this have to do with lunch, you ask? Good question. I'm getting there.

    The new building we'll be in has much different rules from this one (which we own). One of the new rules is that you can't eat at your desk. Oh, you can have a small snack if you must, but nothing resembling real food. There is a cafeteria several floors up that you can eat in, or you can go out to eat.

    Now, me being cheap means that I'll be taking my lunch up to the cafeteria more days than not. But there are no computers in the cafeteria, which means that I'll not be able to surf and blog my lunch hour away. ::pout::

    The good news is that I do now own a Palm, and so I can take that with me and do some off-line blogging and just upload it later, so I won't have to go cold turkey (which coincidentally is what I normally eat for lunch). But I think you will notice a change in the overall volume and frequency of posts. Another positive is that moving to and being in a new building will probably provide plenty of fodder for new posts.

    Anyway, thought I should warn you. Move date is the 17th.

  • |

    Thursday, July 01, 2004

    From the referral logs

    It's been a while since I trolled the referral logs for material, but this morning I had somebody asking, do possum's hurt people? Of course, the first thing that comes to my mind is, "What's Terry done now?" On further reflection, I realized that (unlike all those other times) this time it had nothing to do with Terry.

    So, the answer is, "Yes, but only by jumping in front of cars hoping to make them crash."

    Next on the search list is, Vandy "Nicknames". And I have to assume that since "Nicknames" is in quotes that we're not looking for REAL nicknames like The Commodores, but for snotty, sarcastic nicknames. Well, you're in luck. I happen to know that the Vandyites are also known as "boogerheads", "ridiculously dressed English fop persons" and "Tim". (No need to thank me, really. It's common knowledge.)

    Then someone came along looking for a wizbang popcorn machine. All I know is that if your popcorn machine starts making those kind of noises, you need to ask JoeBob where exactly his "secret hiding place" for the ammunition really is. Oh! And you might want to duck in the mean time.

    Finally, somebody came here looking for mammas cleavage. Always happy to help. It looks something like this. Don't stand too close or you're liable to get hurt.

  • |

    A Thursday without questions

    Is like a Thursday without sunshine ... Oh, wait. Nevermind.

    Anyway it's the something'er'other installment of Alabama's fastest growing inquisition - The Thursday Three®

    ('course ain't much of an inquisition without the threat of the rack, but you mention "rack" in 'Bama and most folks think of a) barbequed pig b) guns c) pool d) deer antlers or e) er...uh...well, nevermind)

    Anyway, without further ado, here are my answers to this week's questions

    1) Have you ever been a cast member or extra in a movie or television show about our beloved South?

    No, but in junior high I was a hillbilly in the school play. Does that count? If I recall correctly (always doubtful), the character's name was Chiz Upslagger.

    2) Knowing that all of you are screenwriting wannabes, give us the outline of the movie or television show you've got on perking away on the back burner.

    New York bigot moves South and becomes the chief of police in a racially divided Southern town. What?

    Ok, how about small-town sherriff, tired of seeing perps walk due to incompetent prosecution, becomes a lawyer, but something happens while he's in lawschool (mainly his trusty deputy being railroaded on drug charges when the Fed's bust up a cocaine ring operating out of one of the deputies rental properties...They didn't believe he was NATURALLY that jittery.) and he becomes a DEFENSE attorney instead. No?

    Ok, then what about an ex-marine who after being dishonorably discharged for accidentally shooting his DS in a live ammo exercise (he got distracted by a skunk that wandered into the fray and forgot to take his finger off the trigger when he turned to tell the DS about it) discovers that he sounds 'differnt' when he sings, makes it big on Broadway and then goes on to host his own prime-time variety show? Too far fetched?

    ...

    Ok, how about ... ah, I got nothin'.

    3) Who do you think is the best actor ever to come from your state? (International readers may substitute province, canton, prefecture, special military district, diocese, etc., as necessary in lieu of state.)

    Dan Rather - for pretending to be unbiased.

    ...

    Oh, I'm sorry. You said BEST actor. Ok, that'd be Betty Buckley (I know, technically an actRESS, but I never have been good at following directions.)

  • |