Monday, August 31, 2009

Video Countdown to the Holiday Weekend - #4

I love ELO and even more I love really weird, cheaply made, early 80's music shows (with lip synced performances). Here is the best of both combined for your listening and viewing entertainment. "Twilight" is a song which should have been more popular - it's one of ELO's best and rarely heard today.


Thursday, August 27, 2009

Fair

The library had a summer reading program this year and the goal was to win a fair midway pass and admission. Sara made it and saved us about $25. The bad thing is that the passes are only good on Thursday night! So, we crammed as much into 4 and a half hours as we could.
The odd, corn loving, rotating monkeys
The peace-loving bee

The angry farm animal

The post-rain rainbow

This is part of the Big Aerial Show which is the best fair stunt show I have seen.

Since I have a weird fear of heights, I could barely watch this. I was freaked out just sitting there.
Dude. You're killing me.
He has plenty of reasons to smile. We keep him in business.
Here is Ronald and his top customer for the years 1975 until present. (I ate peas and "real food" until I was 2. McDonalds turned me into a man - a pudgy man.)
One final spin on the carousel and we were off! We'll be dragging tomorrow but it was fun and it's amazing how big this fair is getting. Nintendo had a huge area set up for Wii Sports Resort and Ford Motors is the top sponsor. They are expecting around 500,000 people in all this year. We're getting big time!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Tuesday in Tampa


Everytime I drive past this at 6AM on the way to Tampa, I want to veer off and go directly to the Magic Kingdom. I could spend days in there riding the same stuff over and over. Maybe when I am finally declared insane, I can do just that.


It is unbelievable hot and humid here in Tampa today. I feel like a hot wet cotton ball. Other than the weather, I am in the groove. I am zipping through stuff here and I will have accomplished everything I wanted to and more by the time we drive off. It feels good when things just click.


Tomorrow at 11:45, the plane takes off and I head home. I am ready but I will miss coming to Tampa now that they are closed. This is a great area and my work connection to here will be lost.


Adeiu, auf weiderschen, gesundheit, farewell Tampa. It has been a fun ride.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday


I can see the end of this trip in the hazy close future now (if I look real careful through all of the humidity). It's quite the sticky and stuffy day in Tampa. It was OK until about 10AM and now it is a full on oven in here. I am going through old equipment seeing what makes the cut for keep vs. ending up on the liquidation/recycle pallet. 1 pallet full so far.
Not much to update today. I'm just glad that there is only one more day. I think I am fully tired to sleep adequately tonight and this morning was the first morning that the alarm was able to serve its purpose. So far on this trip I had beaten it to the punch every morning.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Sunday

Too much free time today. We are running inventory today but the inventory company comes in and does all of the counts. We wait and verify counts once they are ready. They are almost finished and we are about to start the verifying. I'm been here since 7AM. I've tried to keep busy. I even verified entire sections that they finished first. I could have spot checked them but I counted all of it. Anything to stop my mind from wandering.

My hang up today is wishing that I no longer had to travel all the time for work. My father never travelled for work. He was in at 7:30AM and home by 6. Yet, even with no travel, I can't say I really knew him at the time (or do now for that matter). I wonder if I do my kids a disservice by being gone and then I wonder if I do them a disservice by being too busy with the mundane chores of house running (like the yard) when I am there. Do they really know me?

This is why it is best to stay busy. There is a lot that can run through your mind in a 90 degree warehouse. I know there are changes that need to be made. I just have no idea where to start.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

WWPD! (The rally cry and title of my forth-coming self help book)

The forecast is for even more rain today here in Orlando. Our sunny morning appears to be short-lived as the rain is supposed to move in by 11AM or so. As I tweeted yesterday, I arrived on time but my luggage was held hostage by a lightning storm for just under two hours.
The rain and drear puts me in a cruddy mood and I did not sleep well at all last night. I kept running through cruddy thoughts in my cruddy head and woke up at 5AM unable to go back to sleep. It was then and there that I told myself that I needed to follow Patti LaBelle's advice (WWPD? What would Patti do?) and have a new attitude for the rest of the trip. So far, so good. I hate getting stuck in these ruts and I've really been in one for the past few weeks.

Everyone at the house has been sick (including me) plus the closing happening at work among other things has made for a lousy few weeks. I need to harness the energy to brighten up and stop letting it get me down.

That's my goal. Patti and I will start working toward that goal immediately. I will embrace today's rain and will jump in puddles.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Rainy days and Wednesdays...


Not much to report on this week. I was out in Lavergne today where I wear a groove in the road driving from the huge empty building to the small remaining building and back and forth. There is so much equipment left to be dealt with that it is a tad overwhelming and I am just trying to not think about it now.



I did get my Sony Reader this week and I have a BookArmor case on order (so no travelling with the Reader just yet) . So far, I'm really liking it. I've downloaded about 10 books and I've been playing with the Calibre software and it's amazing how much money you can save on books and other types of content (magazines, newspapers, etc.). I go "in depth" sometime next week with good pics and more. I was concerned that I might be getting on board before all the kinks were out of the ebook thing but I am impressed so far.



Speaking of travel, I am off to Orlando Friday afternoon. I'll be attending inventory there and then heading to Tampa Monday/Tuesday to go through some equipment. I already have a list of to-do's for the trip - lots of PC problems to resolve. Should be a busy trip, which is good because the busier it is, the faster it goes by.



In other fun, the little stomach bug that got me a bit ago seems to have worked through the entire house (except for the dog - luckily). Feeling like crud when it is 95 degrees is a hoot. Watching your 6 year old feel like crud when it is 95 degrees out just plain blows.



Finally, I was reading The New Yorker on my Sony Reader last night and the movie reviewer there seems to just love Funny People and thought (500) Days of Summer completely stunk. It appears that I am not in tune with "the hip" or at least the version of hip that The New Yorker is trying to morph into.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lock the Taskbar

I had to get this out of my head, so I now present my contribution to the collection of "Lock the Taskbar" lyrics bouncing around the internet.

(No, I did not make this video. The person who did rocks.)



Now the user told the help desk men
I just let my taskbar flip
Now it’s stuck over sideways
I can’t even move it to the top
I’m gonna have a heart attack
And stomp and scream and yell
I’m ready to haul this evil PC
Right to the landfill

CHORUS
You won’t have to fix it
Lockin the taskbar
Lock the taskbar
You won’t mess up and move it
Lockin the Taskbar
Lock the Taskbar

I don’t know how I did it
I know how that makes me sound
Irritating the office
With my Taskbar sideways bound
It makes me shout and scream out
And feel a little dumb
Our help desk fixer
Had his help desk fixin’ thumb
Remoted in to my screen
Had fixed the snare
In the phone he did wail

CHORUS
You won’t have to fix it
Lockin the taskbar
Lock the taskbar
You won’t mess up and move it
Lockin the Taskbar
Lock the Taskbar

Now it sounds fairly simple
But it really makes em mad
Bill Gates will say it’s real cool
To move that taskbar thing
But it can mess up its direction
It’s like it comes alive
My tech guy fixes it in a jiff
With his crazy Taskbar jive

CHORUS
You won’t have to fix it
Lockin the taskbar
Lock the taskbar
You won’t mess up and move it
Lockin the Taskbar
Lock the Taskbar

The tech guy uses his mouse pointers
He finally fixes your day
Don’t throw your mouse in a parking lot fit
Just groove the Taskbar way

As soon as the taskbar is
Fixed back down there
The office workers returned to
An email pile up nightmare

As soon as the taskbar is
Fixed back down there
The office workers wailed

CHORUS
You won’t have to fix it
Lockin the taskbar
Lock the taskbar
You won’t mess up and move it
Lockin the Taskbar
Lock the Taskbar

You won’t have to fix it
Lock the taskbar
(It won’t get jammed far over)
Lock the taskbar
You won’t have to fix it
Lock the Taskbar
(Fundamentally we can't break it.)
Lock the Taskbar
You won’t have to fix it
Lock the Taskbar
(Now you will not throw it.)
Lock the Taskbar

Friday, August 14, 2009

Retail Pics

Great Canadian Gang Member name:

I love this at Wal-Mart : "Kitchen Essentials" and you get a toaster, a coffee maker, and...an iron? Maybe that's for toasting bagels.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

- 30 -

There they go - the last two totes of product picked in our Nashville operation.

It's odd to stop what you are doing to watch totes roll down a belt and probably a bit weird to capture it on film.

To me, it's much more than two old blue totes. I have long been proud of our Nashville operation and I've learned quite a lot there. I am still processing the fact that tomorrow begins the take down and one day in the not so distant future I will be locking the doors on an empty building.

But, much worse will be no longer seeing many of the people I've seen pretty much daily since 2001. I am lucky job-wise - I am so far unaffected by all of this. I have many responsibilities outside of our local building (which is probably obvious due to all the travel I talk about on here).

Tomorrow will be bittersweet. It is our farewell dinner. Boxes will be packed. Goodbyes will be said.

It will be a tough day.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

My thoughts on "Julie & Julia"

What is it with the two-part movies this summer? "Funny People" suffered greatly by being divided equally in half by a good Part One and a not so good Part Two. "Julie & Julia" suffers from a somewhat similar fate but the end result is much better.

The main difference in "Julie & Julia" is that the movie is split up via two dueling storylines throughout the entire movie and you won't be able to get up halfway through and leave.

In storyline #1, Amy Adams is Julie - modern day blogger (like me but much cuter). Her performance is decent considering what she has to work with. Her story is just not that interesting - she is writing a blog about cooking all of the recipes in Julia Child's 'Mastering the Art of French Cooking' in just 365 days. She is doing this to get herself out of the rut of her government job and her nagging mother. You will get annoyed with her because she seems to value getting a book contract more than doing all of this to actually have some sort of life-changing and positive experience.

The 365 days of recipes fly by because you really don't pay attention to her storyline. Yes, she has "meltdowns" and snobby friends and several cooking accidents. That's all interesting (kinda? maybe?) but you lose track of what she is doing while waiting for the movie to move back to Julia's story. I will give a thumbs up to Chris Messina who plays her extremely patient husband. In real life, this marriage nearly ended not long after she published her book but none of this is discussed in the movie.

The payoff is in storyline #2. Meryl Streep makes Julia Child real to a generation that has most of their memories of her based on a caricature (For those of you not really old enough to remember Julia Child at her heyday but only know the Dan Aykroyd skit - you'll be totally blown away) and she is Oscar-caliber good.

We start with Julia going to cooking school in Paris and we follow her and her husband (played absolutely perfectly by Stanley Tucci - an Oscar supporting actor nomination will have to come from this or the Academy is full of idiots) and co-writer Simone Beck (played by Linda Edmond - this is also a wonderful nomination-worthy performance) from Julia's first day at cooking school up through the publishing of 'Mastering the Art...'.

The Julia Child story is so well done that it makes the Julie Powell story look worse than it actually is. Julie's blogging storyline is really uneventful. Am I supposed to feel sorry for her having a good job and a loving spouse? However, Amy Adams and Chris Messina do as much as they can with what is in the script. They are strong actors trapped in a not so strong story.

I wish the whole movie was all about Julia Child - it was that good. Who knew she was so awesome? That's the feeling you have watching this and after leaving the theater. She conquered so many stereotypes and did it with such incredible grace. It's a movie I want my daughters to watch when they are older because I want them to believe in themselves at her level.

You'll find yourself drifting through the storyline #1 scenes but it is worth it. This is a great movie that I highly recommend. If the movie ended at the moment when Julia's husband opened her newly published cookbook instead of Julie's anti-climactic visit to Julia's kitchen at the Smithsonian, it would be just about perfect.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

My thoughts on "(500) Days of Summer"

Spoiler alert! Do not read this unless you want to read something key to the plot!!!

I feel like I have been reading about or hearing about this movie for months and I finally got to see it this weekend.

I'll start off letting you know that it lives up to the reviews. It is one of the most brilliantly written and acted movies I have seen in years. I found myself getting incredible buy-in with these characters. You find out right at the start (through the magic of narration) that Tom (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) and Summer (Zooey Deschanel) do not end up together but you can't help but hope that this is a lie. It is not.

Summer's reasons for ending up married to someone else before day 500 even arrives is never completely made clear and that's just like real life. Some relationships just end. You wake up one day and it's over for you and that's exactly what happens here. There is no real explaining it but there also is no turning back. Once you've hit that point with someone (and you know, dear reader, that you too have been there), it's over.

Zooey Deschanel was brilliant as Summer but it is Joseph Gordon-Levitt's performance that lingered with me as I left the theater. His pain at what was happening and his complete lack of control over the situation was haunting and I felt like I was back in time watching relationships implode again and again. Some of those memories played over in my head as I watched this. It was raw and emotional and definitely will be a hallmark performance for him.

This all said, this is not the movie you would want to take a date to. You will find yourself analyzing your entire relationship afterwards. It was bad enough going with the person I have been married to for 13 years. It made me rehash all kinds of old memories and made me question every dumb thing I did relationship-wise (and I could write volumes on that subject). Not only did I wonder about all the screw ups I made in the past but I wondered what I was doing now that was screwing things up without me even knowing it.
It was quite a downer - a brilliant movie - but a downer.

I will not buy the DVD. I don't want to put myself through that sort of self-introspection again. I did buy the soundtrack which is quite good. It's a must see but consider yourself thoroughly warned.

And, we're back

I've been under the weather for the past couple of days. I got hold of some stomach bug Sunday (I did wonder about H1N1 at first. The propaganda got hold of me.) and then I couldn't get my blood sugar regulated (I've had hypoglycemia bouts since I was 5. My mother has this also. Thanks Mom!) so I drug through Monday. It took me until supper tonight to feel like I was back at 100%. Ugh. I hate getting sick since it takes me forever to build my energy back up. If you "sugar it up" to get back on track, you crash. There is no winning. The bad thing was that I had just bragged to my mom about how I had regulated it perfectly for at least the last 8 months. Never say that stuff out loud!!

We did get to two movies Saturday - "(500) Days of Summer" and "Julie and Julia". I'm working on posting my thoughts on those. (I originally thought I felt bad Saturday night due to all the popcorn and crap I ate Saturday. I was proven wrong - the hard way! Sadly, I had no Chicness Bags.)

In other news, I ordered the Sony Reader (model PRS-505) today on the eBAY and I put my white Asus EEE netbook up for sale on there. One toy in - one toy out - that's my personal rule. It will arrive next week and it is partially an early birthday gift from my mother (Thanks Mom! This makes up for the hypoglycemia!!) I was thinking of holding out for one of the new models or even the Kindle but the deal was too good to pass up.

The kids are well. No one here has H1N1 yet, so that's a good thing. I have to go back to Florida for work next Friday. It's going to be a short trip but probably long hours. Hmmmm. My office here closes Friday of this week. It's going to be weird starting to pack things up.

Over and out for now.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Hands Up Annoying


What's the deal with Sally Forth? Can't any of these characters say anything without adding in an annoying mannequin-like hand motion?

If I always jammed my hand out at people while I was talking (which normally translates to "I'm right about what I am saying here, you dummy"), I'd probably get rightfully slapped by my wife and co-workers.

No wonder Ted keeps this weird relationship going on with Aria at the office. He's sick of Sally's hand being in his face for the last 27 years. It's the same thing that we all saw happen with Jon and Kate!!!
Here is today's comic with hand translation:


How many times can they use Sally's mother to bring tension into the other-wise normal lives of Sally and Ted? (This storyline rotates with Hilary's softball team, her goth friend, and Sally's immature sister. Nothing else appears to ever happen.) This has been going on for years and years. They just need to push Sally's mom down the basement stairs and be done with it.
**all images are © 2009 King Features Syndicate, Inc.**

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Housekeeping

Warning: Lots of old technology geek reminiscing in this entry.

Still suffering from my all-day headache, I have stayed home from church tonight and I decided to do some much needed "laptop housekeeping". I have orphan files all over the house on multiple laptops. Each laptop represents a portion of my life - the old IBM Thinkpad I use at work for printer upgrades is home to all of my DOS files from the good 'ol days. My barely running and much abused old work laptop houses all the files from my 8 years working for the old company and my netbook is my main personal toy.

I love this netbook. It is an Acer with a 10 inch screen and it is the perfect size to throw in the bag and go. I use it as a work backup, blog reader, streaming audio player, etc. Acer has to be making a mint off of these.

Any-who, I decided to move files from the other laptops to this guy tonight and I found a copy of the word processor I had on my old old old IBM clone (called an Amstrad), circa 1988. It had no hard drive and dual floppy disk drives - the big old floppies. Through a stroke of luck I kept "Easy Writer" (Wonder why there is no "Easy Writer" today? They were probably sued by Peter Fonda back in the day.)

In these files I found a short story I wrote in 1989 (and yes - Easy Writer still works in XP via DOS). It's peppered with fictional references of people and places I knew back then. It's far too embarrassing to even post an excerpt - we're not talking high class literature here. But, there are brief "flashes" of writing that make me go "I really should have stuck with writing". I'm not saying it is great or even good but there was potential there. There was one passage that was incredibly similar to one I just read in another book this summer and it was the key tagline of the book. Maybe I should sue like those guys suing over Harry Potter and Twilight.

It amazes me how I have forgotten who I was growing up. I guess everyone does in time. I was obviously enthusiastic about what I was writing. Where did that enthusiasm go? Why I didn't pursue writing? What was 1991 me thinking when he took that major in music? Was it scholarship $$ or was I just lost? I would still like to find 1991 me and give him a good slap.

I would also like to ask him what was going to happen on page 14 of the story I wrote. 2009 me is just not the right person to finish it.

Monday, August 3, 2009

First Day of School!

I wonder what happened to starting back to school at the end of August. Maybe there is so much more to teach now? Maybe the federal government thinks time means quality? Whatever the dumb reason (and starting to school at the start of August is DUMB), today was the first day of school!

Lindsay and Sara being forced to pose for Dad in front of the school. It will be a lot tougher to get them cooperate like this when they are in high school.

Lindsay is started first grade today. I started first grade in 1979. It's amazing to think that I did anything 30 years ago. Where has the time and disco music gone?

Not sure what we are pointing at but everyone is looking.

Lindsay does her best Gene Simmons to start first grade off right.

Sara has a big kid desk in second grade. Your work surface just continues to get bigger and bigger until you finally move into your own cubicle.

So, we're back in the grind. I'll sneeze and Christmas will be here.

I'm driving 150 miles south to Alabama tomorrow to install an invoice printer. When I'm done I'm turning right back around and coming back home. I like the Hampton points but I like the comfort of my own house even more.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My thoughts on "Funny People"

The kids were off doing other stuff last night, so we caught "Funny People".

As most of the reviewers have done, we can divide this movie into two parts. Part one is "Comedian finds out he is sick". Part one is the best Adam Sandler performance I have seen. Wow. And Seth Rogen does a great job as the faithful paid companion though he does not show the same level of depth as Sandler does. I tell you - you may not believe it - but Adam Sandler may get a best actor nomination out of this. I was quite impressed. And, if he gets this nomination, it is because the Oscar people only watched part one.

If the movie stopped after part one, it would be close to perfect. But, part two is "I am healed but I I will still be a jerk until I destroy a few more lives. You see, Adam Sandler's character (George) has to nearly derail the life of his ex and her entire family before having the "Hey - I might be a jerk" epiphany at the very very last scene of a 136 minute movie.

Part two pretty much ruins the connection we get with his character in part one.

It is painful to watch. You wonder how many people actually live life in such a constant train wreck. And it is not just George - Seth's character does some shady stuff to his roommate and has an almost girlfriend that sleeps with his other roommate (yet he really is the hero of Part Two).

There is "drama" (the ninth grade self created kind) peppering the entire movie that takes it in a soapy direction when they could have left well enough alone and had a phenomenal movie. There must be someone paid by the studio to screen this stuff that would tell them "Look, this could be Oscar gold if you would drop this, this, and this".

Side note - if obscenities burn your ears, this is not your movie. I haven't heard the F word so many times since I saw "Beverly Hills Cop" in the theater in 1984. I'm not a prude but I even got tired of it. I mean, come on. People really talk like this all day? Hey, people - it's 2009 - the F word is no longer funny. We have the internets. We are far too smart to laugh at just hearing the F word.

In summary, it's worth seeing. Once George is healed, get up and go to the bathroom. You won't miss anything. The mess he is about to cause will disgust you as much as it disgusts Seth's character.