Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I never thought I'd say this

But I have a problem with cookies. (Thank goodness it's only the computer kind!!)

Here's the problem...Mrs. A and I have to share. Now, normally, this is ok, but since I don't blog from work anymore, it's becoming more of a problem. (I haven't told her yet, so let's just keep this between us, ok?) Specifically, I'm talking about comment cookies. All the cookies on the home computer are set to Mrs. A's information. So, whenever I want to leave a comment, I either have to change all THAT info over to the good info (mine, of course), which creates the problem if her having to switch everything back when she wants to comment (not real user- or wife-friendly), or piggyback on her name by signing my name in the body of the comment (which could get confusing if I "accidentally" forget - I am passive-aggressive, you know), or just post as her (which could be fun...at least until I got caught), or just skip it. So far, I've mostly just skipped it.

Anyway, until I figure out a work-around, my commenting may be sporadic.

(Like it wasn't already?)
(I said sporadic, not spastic.)
(Sporadic, spastic, whatever.)
(Don't start with me, me.)
(Don't start with me, me...)
(Right, that's it!)
(Bring it on, fat boy!)

Uh, y'all may want to move on, this in-infighting could get ugly.

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    As You Wish

    Here are my two favorite pictures:



    (aka Spiderguy).

    I'd actually just show the pictures here, but since I'm doing all my blogging from home nowadays, it'd be pretty hard to explain why the EAC's artwork was on the internet without giving away this whole gig. So, for the foreseeable future (4 to 5 minutes max), you'll have to click over.

    Sorry for the poor quality of the shots. Eowyn is too dark and Spidey is too fuzzy. I'll try to edit them as I have time. But since I have dial-up access, it took 25 minutes to upload these two. Editing will have to wait for another day.

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    Friday, April 15, 2005

    Tres chic, daaahling

    We went to an art show last night.

    Of course, it was at the high school, and had selected pieces from Kindergarten students on up, but it was an art show nonetheless. The Eldest Aardvark Child had half a dozen pieces on display, several of which drew first place awards. She won a first place ribbon for her still life, her pastel and her paper piece.

    Her pencil drawing (which literally is a drawing where everything is made out of pencils, and the colorings are mostly pinks and yellows with some tan and black) came in 2nd. The title was "When Pencils Attack" and had a pencil dragon fighting a pencil warrior. Think St. George and the Dragon and you're about there.

    We were told that the District Superintendent had been there when they were doing the judging and said that he'd pay (money even!) to have the paper piece. It's title is "Eowyn" (LoTR, naturally) and it's a womans face made with layers of paper (cut out of course) done in different shades of gray (or grey for you more sophisticated types). Next to the 2 foot tall spider man panel (markers) hanging in our bedroom, this is one of MY favorite pieces too. It's a good thing the EAC didn't hear about the money comment or she'd be likely to sell it. Time enough for that later...you know, when she's famous and it's worth more.

    Her oil painting of a woman standing in a lake (which for SOME reason I can't look at without saying, "Some watery tart flips you a sword and that's your basis for governing?"...though she swears that's not what the piece is "about") only got an "Honorable Mention". And of course that bothered her the most. This is the piece she took to the Area competition. She got a '3' on it ('4' is top honors and advances you to State) and everyone else from her school received '2's, so she was sure this would be the piece that would get top honors at the art show. We had to remind her that art is subjective and that the folks judging this show obviously (were flaming idiots that wouldn't know good art if it...) liked different things.

    There were pieces by several other people there too, I think...

    The Middle School pieces were mostly just ok. The technique I though was clever was to take a coloring book picture of an animal, cut it out, paste it to a large piece of paper and have the kids draw the "rest" of the picture to put it in context. The group I was most impressed with were the 3rd and 4th graders. The art teacher at their school made them do pieces in the styles of different artists and then grouped them together with the name of the artist they were imitating. The Kindergarten to 2nd grade art pieces looked like, well, Kindergarten to 2nd grade art pieces. They were the kind of things you would normally see showcased prominently on a refrigerator.

    The comment of the night came from one of the High School counselors. The EAC has been the top student in her grade from day one, and this particular counselor just realized who she was about a month ago when the EAC happened to speak to her one day. "EAC? You mean THE EAC?" "Yeah, that's me." Anyway, the counselor was checking out the art and after seeing the EAC's paper piece said, "I thought she was just smart."

    Well, I guess that's enough bragging for one day. (At least on-line...)

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    Wednesday, April 13, 2005

    Where was I?

    Oh, yeah. The new job.

    I think the part of the new job that I'm going to appreciate the most, and certainly the part my family will like best, is the lack of working weekends. If, for some reason, I DID need to work on Saturday, the building is only open from 9-3. And not at all on Sunday. It's been nice being able to get things done (well, really just a FEW things, 'cause I'm not nearly as ambitious as SOME folks (or as Mrs. a would like for that matter)) on the weekends. Two weeks ago I took a couple of hours Saturday morning to go and practice bells at church. (We were playing the next day and the bell choir is short a person so I'm playing 7-8 bells instead of the normal 3-4. And I needed the extra practice on picking up and throwing down - well not really throwing - more like dropping - with prejudice - bells. I'm told I look like a three armed gibbon on speed - whatever that means...) This past Saturday we washed the cars, trimmed the trees, mowed the yards, put out the weed-n-feed, and watered it in all before lunch. Which still left plenty of time for me to get my hairs cut.

    There are problems at the new job, though. But that's one of the big reasons they hired me. Everywhere you look there's a problem. Mostly for two reasons. One is that the company has never really changed into the information age. They still have processes in place to do things the way they did 20 and 30 years ago. The good news on that is that the processes can be performed by people with minimal skills, since everyone only has a little piece of the whole. The bad news is that it takes twice as many low-skilled folks to do the work as it would having folks with higher skills (who you could pay at 1.5 times the rate of the low-skilled folk and wind up saving both time AND money). The second problem is that the supposedly "skilled professionals" they had minding the store were neither skilled nor professional. Everything they touched smells. Not of anything shady, though. Just your run-'o-the mill, everyday incompetence. Squared and then squared again. It's as if their motto was "anything worth doing is worth attempting half-a-dozen times before sweeping the botched mess behind the door where we hope no one will ever find it." The Big Dog (my boss) and I have an expression that is probably said three to four times a day, and it's best delivered while shaking your head in disbelief at what your eyes are seeing, "This ain't rocket surgery." It's all job security, though, since it'll take at least a year to straighten everything out.

    Add to that the new software they installed last year (which looks good but was obviously designed by people who never actually DID what the software is supposed to do) and the lack of any checks and balances and you get a picture of why I don't have any time to blog at work anymore. Every day is a new adventure. Which is why I love going to work! (No, really.) This is the sort of thing that I like to do. It's like working a big puzzle with a kajillion pieces.

    Oh, and every so often there's free food involved. (Now it's starting to make sense!)

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    Saturday, April 09, 2005

    Who are you???

    I really want to know!

    Wow. Has it really been over three weeks since I last posted? It's almost been that long since I've read anybody elses blog. What's really more shocking is that I haven't been going through withdrawals or anything, and I was sure I would. Either I'm more stable than I suspected or I've gone completely over the edge. I'll let the reader decide.

    Let me see if I can put the last three weeks into a few sentences...the short version goes something like this:

    3 Weeks ago - I'm leaving and I have a ton of stuff to finish...AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

    2 Weeks ago - I started my new job and don't know anything...AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

    Last week - New industry, new software, problems everywhere and nothing is documented...AAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

    The longer version is...well, LONGER.

    I had a good two week exit experience with my previous employer. We parted on good terms and should I ever need to look for a job, I told them I would look there first, and from every indication I received (and have been receiving), they would be glad to have me back. Of course, I left at a bad time for them...but pick any day in the last year or the next year and it would have been a bad time and they know it, so they aren't holding that against me. My last two weeks were chock full of "I need you to finish 'X' before you go" moments. I got most everything done, but didn't have a whole lot of time left to do any detailed training on what I did. Which was ok, because no one else had time to be trained. Fortunately, I left most things in pretty good shape and anybody who can think (which is a subset of most companies) should be able to follow what I did and at least duplicate it...and they know how to get in touch with me should the need arise. I did find it ironic that several precious hours of my last week were spent in meetings talking about what I needed to complete before I left. The first meeting was important because it got everyone on the same page (of the same book no less!). The subsequent meetings just chewed through time I could have spent COMPLETING things...sigh. Anyway, my stress level fell dramatically the moment I left. Go figure.

    My NEW job is interesting...for a variety of reasons. One is that I went from the insurance industry to the food service industry, which surprisingly enough dovetails nicely with my retail industry background. It's like slipping on an old pair of jeans and finding they still fit. Another is that I'm working for an old buddy of mine. I realized the other day that I've known him for close to 20 years. Man, I'm old. Prior to now, we'd always been coworkers so it's a little different working for him, but not significantly. I called him up as I was driving to work that first Monday and told him I wasn't coming. Of course, he knew better, but I just wanted to hear him sputter a little. Oh, yeah, this is going to be fun. And then there's that drive to work...it's 15 miles ROUND TRIP to my new job. It takes me 12 minutes to get there. SWEET!!! I'm close enough I can even go home for lunch if I want to! And I drove to work all week and still have 3/4 of a tank of gas left!!!! I'm saving $60 (or more) a month in gas.

    Well, I'm going to cut it off here and pick it up later, 'cause the Youngest Aardvark Child just got up to watch her cartoons. (Funny that she can get herself up at 6:30 on Saturday but not Sunday. Well, no. It's not really funny at all, come to think of it.) Anyway, I'll try to be a little more regular with my posting, but my new job does not lend itself to daytime internet usage, and even if it did I don't have time. Sometimes being an adult is really dull.

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