Monday, September 29, 2008

An Engineer's Guide to Cats

OMG. This guy is the male me.

Sunday, September 28, 2008


I love Sundays. My plan for today is a pot of Millstone Hazelnut Cream coffee, the DVD of Project Runway, Season 1 that a friend lent me, and my sadly neglected cross-stitch.

First though, I need to find handcream - I was cleaning again, and the bleach dried out my hands until they're in danger of cracking as I type. Ouchie.

Well, I went a-hunting yesterday and came up empty*. My stereo and my boombox both died so to listen to CDs, which I do a lot, I have to either use the laptop or my TV, which has a DVD player and a VHS player built in. I thought my needs were simple. All I want is something fairly small with either a 3 or a 5 disk changer. That's it. I've been to 2 Walmarts, Sam's Club, Target, Best Buy AND Circuit City and almost totally struck out.

But, I was quite irritated with Circuit City. If I hadn't been heading into hour 7 of my shopping spree, I'd have kicked up much more of a fuss. First, have you tried to find someone to help you in one of those places? Holy crap. I had to actively discourage probably 7 helpful employees at Best Buy. Circuit City? Total wasteland. The only thing I found even close to what I wanted was an under-cabinent kitchen radio thing with a 3 disk changer. The sample model was displayed with a prominant $79.99 price tag. The only ones they had on the shelf looked exactly the same but rang up at $99.99. When I demanded to know the difference, the cashier called over someone who said something about the more expensive one having a digital tuner - and of course they didn't have the cheaper one. Normally, I'd have left with that one, having paid $79.99 as was displayed. This time I was tired and hungry and my feet hurt so I said, "fine, never mind" and walked out, leaving $200 worth of stuff on the counter. I will not go back to a Circuit City.

* Maybe not exactly empty-handed... I did my heavy, once every other year, stock up on cleansers and such at Sam's Club and I found a jewelry store going out of business (discounted shiny things!) and I hit the bookstore pretty hard (they actually gave me two discount cards free, and comp'd my yummy coffee drink) and - gods help me - I've started my Christmas shopping so not really empty handed, just without a stupid cd player. *growl*

Anyway, coffee's ready and the race is over so I'm going to go immerse myself in Project Runway goodness.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Emptying My Brain...

which probably won't take that long.

I'm on linkedin, and whilst exploring the edges of my network, I discovered that I am only three degrees of separation from Kevin Bacon. This entertained me enormously. I totally win that game!

The plumber came to the house on Wednesday so hopefully my water situation is fixed. And, since I was honest before I thought better of it, they left a message for my landlord, which accomplished more with one call than I've managed in several weeks with several calls - he showed up too. I like how the city said that it was totally my fault, but there is water gushing out onto the street one house down. Quite the coincidence, no?

After a rather dry spell, I have more than 4 hot prospects for jobs anywhere but here. Each of them could work so we'll see. Two of them are through recruiters, who are typically scum of the earth so I'm not holding my breathe but with three friends finding jobs and moving away in about a month, I'm increasingly desperate to get outta here.

Interestingly enough, the idiot (my boss' boss) came into my office earlier this week and went on for quite a while on what an excellent job I was doing. He also said that many people have come to him lately to tell him what a good job I've been doing. I can't help but be suspicious - this is the first time in more than a year and a half that he's had anything good to say to me or about me so I wonder what's up.

A fun little side effect from this: the asshole (my boss) is back from surgery. I've been handling an issue with one of his suppliers since he's been gone, with every intention of dumping this back in his lap the minute he walked in the door. Well, I tried, and he thwarted me. I noticed that he's been a bit bitchy lately, but I figured it was the pain medication. Then I pushed a bit about him taking this mess back and it turns out that the idiot told him that I was doing such a good job with it that he wanted me to keep it and that the asshole was to leave it alone. Nice. THAT made him a pleasure to deal with.

How does one convince a cat not to use the carpet as a pee-pad? The Peanut leaves her droppings in the litter box, but has started peeing on my carpet and as a result, my house stinks of cat pee. She'll stop it or she'll go live (or not, as the case may be) at the pound.

My landlord apparently kept his promise to fog under the house for bugs. I have a weird taste in my mouth, and I've been killing "waterbugs" and escorting others outside all evening. Yay.

If I win the lottery, I am totally getting one of these. Oh, how I want one. Drool. Actually, I want two. One to drive and enjoy and one to take apart. Probably it'll never run right again and I know that I wouldn't be able to stop myself, so I'm better off getting one to play with and one to dissect.

It's twenty after one and I haven't eaten lunch yet, let alone dinner. No wonder I'm dizzy. Must find food... Later!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Huh. This Is Interesting.

This gives you quotes, but doesn't tell you who said them until the end. The thing that gets me is that there are several things that I just don't agree with either one of them. But, I try not to talk politics to friends, if I'd like them to stay friends.

So, just because it's kind of neat...

click here for survey

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

It's Time For Some Campaignin'

This is hilarious.

Now I've got this stuck in my head on a loop - so I thought I'd share.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Arrrg. Polly Want An Explaination?

This is so typically my life... I sucked my whole office into Talk Like A Pirate Day, and so all of my receiving inspectors were zooming around the building today in an eye patch and a big gold plastic hoop earring (Robert looked particularly fetching) and who should decide to spontaneously visit but the global director of quality, straight from Germany... my boss' boss' boss (I don't actually know how much higher he is, but it's a lot.) boss. Scurvy rats that they are, they blamed me. Apparently, they don't celebrate talk like a pirate day in Germany. Weirdos. I attempted to explain my reasoning, which as you know, tends to the obscure and finally just gave up and invited him to join us for lunch. It never occurred to me that he'd say yes. Actually, he seems like a nice enough guy. Now all of the management that were planning on sucking up to him over the lunch they'd planned are not overly happy with me, and the top quality guy thinks I'm really strange. Nice, huh?

I have to say that trying to explain Talk Like A Pirate Day to a German was nearly as enjoyable as attempting to explain Halloween to a Japanese colleague at my last company. "Well, once a year, we put dead people in the yard and send our children out to solicit candy from strangers. Perfectly normal. Wanna cut up a pumpkin?" Speaking of which, it's about that time of year again.

And it's weird - last week, it was summer. Two days ago - POW - it suddenly became fall. Very strange.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Silly Blogroll

So I REALLY need to update my blogroll, but it's apparently been so long that it doesn't know me anymore. I got it to send my password, so I know that I'm still in there somewhere. However, every time I try to sign in, it takes me to the page where it sends new users. Dang it.

I'm going to have to delete and start over, aren't I?

Monday, September 15, 2008

A Glimmer of Hope... Maybe

I'm trying not to get my hopes up. But this has been quirky enough that, given my history, it could actually turn into something.

I applied online (yay for for a job that sounded pretty cool - near Chicago. This was end of July, beginning of August timeframe. An HR guy emailed me with some questions - am I really okay with traveling - that sort of thing. He also mentioned that there wasn't currently a budget for relocation. I replied back and asked if there was any way to negociate a sign on bonus or something. He didn't respond to that, but he did set up a phone interview. I talked to him, and he recommended that I talk to the hiring manager, so we set up another phone interview, this time with the hiring manager.

This phone interview also went very well. He wanted me in the facility for a walk-thru that week, and said that it was rare to find someone as qualified as I am who is still willing to travel. All's sounding great so far, right? I had a couple of concerns about the company, but I was very interested in getting back to Chicago by hook or by crook so I figured I'd go to the interview, arrange to stay for a weekend and if nothing else, I'd have a weekend in Chicago.

I emailed a friend in Chicago and said maybe I could make her Labor Day picnic after all.

Then the HR guy emails me and says that I need to call him so he can "walk me through" the travel reservations. Um. What? When I called him, he said that they did not have a corporate travel so I had to make my own reservations, pay for them and then they'd decide what to reimburse me for, since I was planning on staying a weekend and not flying back right away. Then he reiterated that there were "zero dollars" in the budget for relocation. I took the weekend to think about it and decided to take a pass. Maybe I'm being unreasonable, but at this stage in my career, I'm just not willing to pay for the priviledge of attending an interview... especially if I'm wasting my time. Given the joy of my life lately, even if I was willing, I can't afford to move myself - and wouldn't that just suck eggs? I find the perfect job and can't afford to take it. That'd be just perfect. (That post will probably remain in edit, my life sounded so depressing that I disgusted myself.)

Anywho, I called and left a message for the hiring manager saying "Thanks, but no thanks." A week or so later, he emailed me a really nice letter about how disappointed he was and he hoped I'd let him know what concerns I had. I figured, what the hell? so after I thought about it for a few more days, I emailed back and really laid it on the line. I wasn't willing to pay to attend an interview. I was very leery of a company that wants me to travel 70% of the time but doesn't have a corporate travel office. I wanted a company that would at least help (and by that, I mean pay for) relocation. My experience regarding management from GE is not positive - I actually used the term "slash and burn budget planning" - and so on, figuring I'd never hear from him again.

A week ago, I got another email from him - with a seven paragraph answer to my concerns - point by point. Pretty cool. So I called and left a message for him that I'd like to discuss his email. He called me today and told me that the HR guy was gone and someone else was handling this project, and he thought things would be must smoother now. It turns out he's traveling the east coast next week - Albany to Raleigh. So he's going to drive down and meet me here next week... and then we'll see.

I have to think that he's really interested, considering everything he's already put up with, and I don't mean to be a pain, but I really really don't want to be in this position again. I don't like moving. I just what someplace stable with not-asshole people. Is that so much to ask?

I told him that I was interested but he needed to be aware that if things progressed, the negociation would start with relocation - and he said he was okay with that. So, we'll see. Wish me luck!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hmm. Maybe Not A Bad Thing...

What with various goings on here I've gotten a bit behind in my cleaning. A bit meaning that the place is a sty and I can't stand it anymore. So I woke up from the couch this morning with the TV blaring and all the lights on, stumbled to my feet and started cleaning. Until the cute cable guy showed up, I didn't even remember that I hadn't showered, brushed my teeth, my hair or even changed clothes. The glamor, it's sometimes overwhelming. I'm sure I impressed the hell outta the cute cable guy.

At any rate, it's a good thing I got a bit done before his arrival 'cause I've been glued to my laptop since he left. He didn't actually DO anything - disconnect and reconnect a couple of cords, set up my wireless for me (which I'll deny if the cable people ask 'cause he's supposed to charge me $200 for it) but for the first time since the last cable guy was here, the internet is working.

And the last seven hours are a bit of a blur - no clue what all I've been doing but it occurs to me that perhaps the internet not working was better for me, and my house, than it being operational. Maybe...

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Beachy Keen

We were very lucky - aside from some downed tree branches, Hanna was pretty much just a rainstorm. Here's what today looked like:

Believe it or not, I was up at 7:30 AM this morning to head to Atlantic Beach. We were hoping to find treasures washed up from the storm, but there were hardly any shells at all.

I was somewhat successful at capturing a picture of what I think is a sandpiper, although it took a couple of attempts.

Curses, missed! Hold still, birdie!


And I was fascinated by the play of the sun on the water. I tried to capture it, unsuccessfully - but you can see my tattoo, kinda!

We ended up walking for miles - to the pier and back. The distances always get away from me on the beach - I keep thinking at I've hardly moved, and I'm leauges from where I started.

I was fascinated with patterns made by the pier too. (I'm easily fascinated, but you knew that.)

Last week, a friend and I went up (down? over? I have no clue.) to Beaufort and then took a water taxi to Shackleford Banks, which is a nifty little island. I didn't see any of the horses on the island - my eyes were glued to the ground, and my quest for shells. As I should have expected, I got so wrapped up in the shells that I failed to pay proper attention to the waves. I bent over at the perfect time and was swamped from behind by a sneaky wave. Turns out, when 90% of you is dripping wet, it's not really wading anymore. Anywho, here are most of the shells I found last week:

Also, some of them are broken, but spend enough time tumbling around that they are very smooth and rounded - a lot of them look like guitar picks. I found myself quite fascinated with these as well.

So they live now in a pretty candy dish and the shells live in a glass thing. I still have to figure out what to do with all of my new rocks. Anyway, it was a couple of very good weekends.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Knitting On My Mind...

I talked to my friend T today, and she mentioned that her daughter, the lovely P, is 6 months old now. How quickly time flies. And between that, and dumping all the pictures off my camera and onto my shiny new laptop, it occurred to me that I could start posting pictures of things I said months and months ago that I would.

So, here's the blanket that I knitted for P and also a picture of her using it. I lucked out - the yarn I bought exactly matched the colors of the nursery, in spite of my having only seen it once, several weeks before. Go me!

And without further ado, my first (and so far, only) completed knitting project - there's tons of mistakes in it, but they're hard to see in the pictures.

I'm about a third of the way done with another blanket, this one for my best friend's second daughter, due in October. It's been so hot and humid here that it's been hard to work up with will to do anything under a bunch of hot yarn. Hopefully I'll manage shortly. I'll, one of these days, post pictures of this one too.

Happy stitching all!