Showing posts from February, 2009

Intuition and Refrigerators

Typically in my life when I've paid attention to my intuition, things have come out right. When I have ignored it, sometimes there was hell to pay. I made a mistake and believe I've made the right decision now. Things didn't feel right they do.

What I am going on about is the job in Birmingham. After three days on the job at the job site in Birmingham, I realized that I violated my intuition rule. I had second thoughts about the job from the start. Ultimately, it fell on me to make the right decision.

I only want a job where I can be successful...not just a pay check. This job was not it. I only made the final decision this afternoon after lots of thought and prayer. The learning curve was too steep (in a complex industry in which I had no prior experience), the deadlines were too fast (my first deliverables were to be in two more weeks), and the development process was one to which I was not accustomed. Add to this, working a long distance from home, and you…

Georgia Pork Sausage

Taxpayers for Common Sense have listed the many Congressional earmarks, commonly known as "pork," in the 2009 spending bill. Of course, you will find many Republican earmarks in the bill, not just Democratic ones. This is happening even while Republicans posture themselves against government spending. Here are just a few Georgia examples from the Agricultural section of the bill:
Southeastern Poultry Research Laboratory, Athens, GA (Senator Chambliss, R-GA) - $2,427,000
Hormonal Control of Growth/Reproduction, Athens, GA (Senators Chambliss and Isakson, R-GA) - $643,000
Quality and Safety Assessment Researeh, Athens, GA (Senators Chambliss and Isakson, R-GA) - $531,000Southern Piedmont Conservation Researeh, Athens, GA (Senator Chambliss, R-GA) - $2,908,000
Add the rest of the Georgia earmarks and keep multiplying by all the other members of Congress. Makes my head spin. Some of these may be worthy projects, but we will never know. They are earmarked, and therefore are not subje…

Employment Update

I went into Atlanta on Monday to begin my work. I'd been having second thoughts about the whole working out of state bit, but decided to go forward. I only spent about 2 1/2 hours in Atlanta, getting some paperwork completed and receiving a high level overview of the project, documentation standards, etc. After returning home and making some contacts in Alabama, it is arranged that I leave for Birmingham on Wednesday morning and arrive there around lunchtime.

I think I have a hotel room reserved, but I have not received final confirmation yet. Now, I'm off to do some packing.

Fun Saturday: Viral Video


Smells Good Too

I don't know if you've seen this ad on TV, but I saw it today for the first time and had to laugh. Clean coal is a myth, as I have blogged about before, and it is really no laughing matter.

Even the Bush administration halted a "clean coal" plant in Illinois because it proved too expensive. However, in the final version of the stimulus bill, which President Obama signed Tuesday, there is a provision for $3.4 billion for "carbon capture and sequestration demonstration projects" (otherwise known as “clean coal”).

While this project may indeed put people to work as is the law's intent, IMHO it is not the best way to spend our money for future energy needs. Can such a demonstration plant be built for $3.4 billion? Maybe, but it is not worth that huge expense for a single demonstration project that may end up producing little energy.

More information is available here: and

Watch this video …

Good News to Share

I have some good news to share. I got a phone call today that I am to begin the 3-month contract training development job that I was seeking. It is expected that I will begin work one day next week, probably on Monday. Given the current state of the economy, I am delighted and surprised to find a position so soon. I have a drug test and some paperwork to complete on Friday. I will be driving home on weekends unless overtime is required.

Flaming Object Over Texas Confirmed

Despite what other news media have reported, Many Things has confirmed the identity of the flaming object seen this weekend in the Texas sky.
The fireball that streaked across the Texas sky and appeared to dive toward earth over the weekend remained a mystery on Monday after the military said the event had nothing to do with a collision of satellites last week and did not seem to involve an artificial satellite coming down. [NY Times]
In fact, the flame was none other than Miss Dee Flaytable, pictured here in an earlier photo, who was just having a bad hair day. She hopes you enjoyed the show.

Now the Wait

I had a pretty extensive phone interview with some of the folks in Birmingham Tuesday morning. I wasn't sure how well it went. After all, I was talking to five people on a conference call and four of them were talking on speaker phone. And I had to clarify the meaning of some of the industry jargon that was coming up during the interview. Yikes!! You may call a tomato a tomato. I may have worked where we called it a love apple.

Anyway late Tuesday afternoon the recruiter called me to say that, while it is not a done deal yet, the company is moving forward to get the requisition signed. He said he should know something and call me late Wednesday afternoon.

Adventures in Job Hunting

Boy and howdy, am I glad today is a holiday. Otherwise, I would have been in traffic hell all day. I started this morning driving to downtown Atlanta (think Five Points...not Little Five Points) and interviewing for the contract job in Birmingham. The drive is about 30 miles one way. I allowed extra time since I wasn't 100% sure where the building was located, but it was an easy find off the Downtown Connector and I had time to relax and prepare myself.

The interview went well and I have a follow-up conference call interview Tuesday morning at 9:30 with the folks in Birmingham and Atlanta. If that goes well, I may get the job, which should start next week. I think it is a good fit. I've never been a technical writer for a utility company, but I would be doing what I have done for almost 20 years. Only the technology and some of the methodology would be different.

I stopped for a quick lunch on the way home. I have mostly been eating at home since the layoff. Fortunately, I know …

Phelps Wins by a Toke

The Richland County, SC sheriff obviously is a publicity nut...nah, just a plain nut IMHO. What person in law enforcement believes that adult marijuana users should be the focus of a lengthy and costly criminal investigation? Aren't first responders all across the US having to lay off people, not hire, and even not respond to all calls? I guess Richland County, SC has not had any downturn in its economy. In fact, I also heard that the SC governor might refuse federal stimulus money. Fine by me. More for the rest of the country, where the need is real.
Richland County Sheriff Leon Lott announced this afternoon he will not charge Olympic champion Michael Phelps with any drug offense but defended his investigation of the matter.
Lott, a former narcotics investigator, said he would investigate whether Phelps had used marijuana after a photo was published Feb. 1 in a British tabloid showing Phelps holding what appeared to be a marijuana pipe at a Columbia house party last November. Phelp…

Pope Infallibility Cracks Open

Oh they say the Pope wasn't aware of the holocaust denier. Which is it? Infallibile or not? I say NOT. After all, he is so wrong about so "Many Things." Emphasis mine below.
Pope Benedict told Jewish leaders Thursday it’s unacceptable for anyone to deny the Holocaust, a message aimed at easing widespread rancour over a bishop’s claim that the Nazis did not kill six million Jews. And the Vatican announced the pontiff will go ahead with his first visit to Israel in May. The Pope met with about 60 American Jewish leaders Thursday and assured them the Catholic Church was “profoundly and irrevocably committed to reject all anti-Semitism,” issuing his strongest condemnation yet of Holocaust denial.

The furor blew up after Benedict lifted the excommunication of a traditionalist bishop who denied the Holocaust, sparking outrage among Jews and Catholics alike. The Vatican said Benedict did not know about the views of Bishop Richard Williamson when he agreed to lift the …

Out of Stupor Monday

Monday I will have to pull myself out of the unemployment stupor and be on the road. Good thing it is Presidents Day, so traffic should be somewhat lighter in Atlanta. I have a 10:30 AM appointment to interview for the 3-month contract position in Birmingham. Pay is good and includes travel and a generous per diem. The only thing I'm concerned about is the street where this interview takes place is not listed in my GPS, so I will have to wing it a bit. I did Google the directions, and there was a photo of the building. Gotta love Google.

If I get/take this job, it may require me starting this week, maybe even as early as Tuesday. I would prefer to have Tuesday to find a place to stay, drive over Tuesday evening, and then start work on Wednesday, but I am open to whatever needs to happen.

Monday afternoon at 3:oo PM, I have to take this test thingy for this permanent job in Atlanta. I'm not expecting to do well on it, so I doubt anything will come of the job. But it gets me out o…

Lessons From Japan: A Lost Decade

The NY Times this week had an interesting article on Japan's 1990s economic woes, often called a "lost decade." If I understand the economics lesson correctly, President Obama's victory in Congress with the economic stimulus bill is just the beginning of more targeted spending that will be necessary, despite what Republicans would have you believe.

In fact, the Obama administration is likely loathe to tell us how much the economic rescue will eventually cost, if they even know. We would all be in shock. However, to not do enough and to not do it soon enough could ultimately doom us to a very dark future.

I know Obama is smart and has smart people working with him who understand what could happen. The lessons from Japan in the 1990s are very instructive. However, given that Obama needed three Republicans on the current stimulus bill indicates to me that bipartisanship remains an elusive if not impossible goal and that Republicans will do their best to block future econo…

What the Hell?

Many of my memories of the last time I was unemployed are rapidly returning. You would not believe all of the crap that goes on sometimes. I get these calls from recruiters for really "hot" jobs, and then after they submit my resume, they fall off the grid. I write this as I wait to hear from a recruiter about a 3-month job in Bombingham, AL that includes a per diem. In this job market? Are they kidding? Aren't there tech writers already living in AL?

I expect the holiday weekend perhaps got in the way of me being actually interviewed by the employer. And then maybe not. Perhaps the connection just fell into that giant pothole east of the state line. If I sound cynical, I am. Sometimes I feel as if I am only being manipulated by recruiters. "I'm your puppet." That is why I intentionally did not post my resume on very many job boards. I'd rather find real jobs first. BTW, most of the jobs on job boards have been filled already. Staffing companies just wan…

RIP: Molly Bee

Many of you have probably never heard of Molly Bee. I guess you have to be of "a certain age," which means "old." It was published today that the country singer and teen TV star died at age 69.

When I was a little kid, I remember my mother loving to watch The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show on television. While I had long since forgotten about Molly Bee, the news of her death evoked memories of watching her on that black and white TV (in our family's living room) connected to an outside antenna. Never mind HD, DISH, and color. We were just glad to have a television and to listen to Ernie Ford and Molly Bee.
Molly Bee, a country singer popular in the 1950s and 1960s who was a teenage star on television's "Hometown Jamboree" and "The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show," has died. She was 69. Ms. Bee, who lived in Carlsbad (San Diego County), died Saturday of complications related to a stroke in an Oceanside (San Diego County), hospital, said Michael Allen,…

Obama Set to Nominate Seattle Police Chief as Drug Czar

I would much prefer that the White House Drug Czar position and most of the DEA be completely eliminated. Let's face it folks, the so-called "War on Drugs" is an absolute and very expensive failure. We need to be working on how to regulate and tax a free market in drugs, while providing free access to drug rehabilitation and increasing funds to educate the public not to use drugs. All that being said, Obama's apparent choice of Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske for the Drug Czar position could be much worse:
In 2003, Kerlikowske opposed a city ballot measure, approved by voters, to make marijuana possession the lowest law-enforcement priority, saying it would create confusion. But in doing so, he noted that arresting people for possessing marijuana for personal use was already not a priority."Oh God bless us," said Joanna McKee, co-founder and director of Green Cross Patient Co-Op, a medical-marijuana patient-advocacy group. "What a blessing — the ka…

Sunday Laugh: Durex Get It On

My friends Martin and Mark in the Netherlands sent me the link to this YouTube video. It is too funny not to share.

Got Jobs?

Nobel economics laureate Paul Krugman believes America is far worse off than most politicians will admit. In my limited study of economics in college, I even learned that deflation is one thing a nation must avoid. While right wing economists and stupid clown naysayers like Rush go on about government debt and spending, we are on the verge of sinking into a very large hole. I urge you to read all of Krugman's column. Here is just a bit of it:
...a number of economists, myself included, think the plan falls short and should be substantially bigger. But the Obama plan would certainly improve our odds. And that’s why the efforts of Republicans to make the plan smaller and less effective — to turn it into little more than another round of Bush-style tax cuts — are so destructive.So what should Mr. Obama do? Count me among those who think that the president made a big mistake in his initial approach, that his attempts to transcend partisanship ended up empowering politicians who take th…

Funny: Dog Training - How Well Did That Work For You?


Revolutionary Road

Sam Mendes' Revolutionary Road is about how dreams for a good life are often thrust aside for the illusionary security of the moment and with unknown and unexpected consequences. Set in post-WWII America, the film is about a young woman struggling with dreams to get out of a stiffling suburban life she can no longer stand. Kate Winslet plays April Wheeler, a former amateur actress who now finds herself the mother of two boys and dreams of a fresh start for herself as a secretary in post-war Paris and for her husband, Frank, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, to get out of the rat race and "find himself." April convinces Frank and plans are made.

All goes according to plan until two unexpected events change everything, and then their life becomes a runaway train. If I reveal more, I would have to give a spoiler alert, and this review does not contain spoilers. Kate Winslet gives an excellent performance, for which she won a Golden Globe. However, I have to agree with her Best Fe…