I've also been told I have little tact, so if this offends you simply ride on.

Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Not hanging on the wall this year

Well, it looks as though the Warwick Rowers will not be gracing my calendar wall after all.  I ordered the calendar back on 12/3 with a delivery date between 12/8 and 12/26.  When it had still not arrived on 12/29 I contacted the seller through Amazon.  It took about 12 hours to get a response, which asked me what product I had ordered and my 'ship to' address.  This I thought odd since all of that information had been included in the initial email Amazon had forwarded.  I complied, including the DHL Global tracking number provided with the order.  That tracking number, by the way, came up as invalid when keyed into the DHL Global tracking system.  The response I received was that the seller was going to assume my package was 'lost in the mail.'  They gave me the option of having it reshipped to the "exact address to which it was initially shipped" or getting a credit.  I took the credit.

After I had first contacted the seller I had a funny feeling was going to get a 'lost in the mail' response.  So I went online to see about possibly order the calendar from someone else.  The cost on Amazon was $86 plus change.  My seller had charged me $19.50.  I then went to the Warwick Rowers website.  Wow!  Their cost was more then twice what I had originally paid.. and that was in Pounds Sterling.  Hhhmm, I thought, something's a little screwy here.  Wasn't it odd that I got such a great deal on a calendar which just happened to get lost in the mail?  Which is why I took the credit.  I received an email from Amazon this morning advising me that it had been processed.

I don't know what would have happened had I asked for the calendar to be reshipped.  Perhaps I would have received it at some point in the future.  Perhaps it would have gotten lost in the mail again.  Perhaps I would have received an email notifying me they were now out of stock, giving me a choice of a different calendar.  I will never know.   What I do know is that the Warwick Rowers will not be hanging on my wall this year.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Disney defangs Into The Woods

I saw Into The Woods the other night.  It was okay.  I saw it a long time ago on Broadway, and have seen it twice since then in regional theater, so I'm somewhat familiar.  Disney is fairly true to Act I, just a couple snips here and there, but nothing is really changed.  Like just about everybody else, I feel Depp and his zoot suit should be been replaced, but that's another story, isn't it?  Anyway, if you've ever seen the show you will know that Act II has a bit of a bite.  Disney, in their attempt to maintain a PG rating pulled most of its teeth.  That was a mistake.  What the audience is left with is something which meanders without much purpose.  Warning, here come what some might consider spoilers.

In the show Rapunzel is crushed to death by the giant, not so in the movie where she rides off with her prince.  In the show the Town Crier kills Jack's mother by hitting her over the head with his staff.  In the movie he pushes her and she has a heart attack... yeah, that's right.  In the show the witch shoves the Town Crier to the giant telling her it's Jack.  When the giant finds out it isn't, she hurls him away... through the air... but not in the movie.  That's 3 deaths which didn't make it to the silver screen.  Don't forget the Baker's wife, who seems to step out of frame in the movie.  You find out late she has actually fallen off a cliff.  Believe me, that's not how it happened in the show.  And then there's the Agony reprise, in which the two princes lament on how they've both found two more beautiful maidens, unfortunately they have to go back to their wives.  That's not in the movie, either.

What's funny is that for years I've been reading how Disney desperately wants to win a Best Picture Oscar... hell they're desperate to have a live action film nominated.  They might get a nomination this year, but they won't get a win.  The Best Picture Oscar tends to go to movies which have a little bit of a bite.  Into the Woods, unfortunately, was defanged by Disney in order to get a PG rating.  Those extractions will cost them.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

With a thong in my heart

Even though Christmas was 3 days ago, there is still time for some surprising presents.  Take today, for example.  I had to go in to the store to give one of my associates her review.  As always, I checked out the paint desk just to see how things were going since it is my responsibility, even on my days off.  I was quite surprised, after giving the review, to find a present waiting for me by one of the tinters.  It looked to be a box of Whitman's chocolates - I love candy, however the cellophane wrapping had been removed.  Ah well, one of my associates had gotten the box for Christmas and was sharing it with me.  I was totally floored to find no candies inside.  Rather, there was a very funny gag gift.  You see I have an associate who looks quite a lot like Santa.  Occasionally, on days when business is slow, I'll suggest that he might want to go out and dance at the highway wearing a Santa thong.  It's all in fun.  Anyway, that's what they gave me for Christmas,a scarlet thong.

Actually, it's a before and after present:  what the thong looks like before Christmas and what it looks like after Christmas (as represented by some tasty, red licorice).
Needless to say, I turned as red as the thong, because it was a bit embarrassing.  I also laughed really, really loud because it was also very, very funny.  It also demonstrates the great rapport I have with my associates, that they could give me something like this knowing I would find it hysterical.

Friday, December 26, 2014

A plushless Christmas

Well, Christmas is over.  My family doesn't really celebrate.  What we do is gather at my 81 year old mother's house for cookies, coffee and chat.  Mostly we like to say this is because all of the grandkids are grown up.  More likely it's because nobody knows what to get each other.  For years my sister-in-law thought she was the equivalent of a gift giving guru, even though she consistently failed.  I don't have one single present left that was given to me by her, they've all been given away to people who might better put them to use, or who just might find a use for that fancy shmancy pepper mill.  The only thing I buy for now are the dogs, and love everything they get.  You can give them a tennis ball and they think you've given them the world.  This year they also got matching red collars - really spiffy.  And some toys, of course.

Here's Lilly with a Brett Michaels rope toy.  I don't know if he knows anything about rope toys, but the girls love this one.  They also got a number of toys without plush.  They tear plush toys apart and then run around the house with little wisps of plush pinched tightly between their lips.  They look funny, a little rabid but in a plushy funny way.  Still, in the end I'm the one who picks up the wisps.  So, no plush toys.  Squeakers yes.  They love things that go squeak, the louder the better.  So, I do celebrate Christmas, but I have more fun doing it with the dogs then with my family.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The new Green Machine

Well the new PC is here and set up and running.  Moved a bunch of stuff over the the old Dell.  Nothing from the iMac could be saved - that happens when your hard drive goes bad.  Still, because I'd saved a lot of my pics and writings in various places, not a lot was lost.  Well, the music on my iPod is gone.  Bad thing about Apple. they're like Sony and Microsoft and just about everybody who's anybody in Tech.  They want you to be brand specific. and I am anything but that.  Anyway, because my iPod was only authorized on the iMac, I had to deauthorize and then reauthorize it.  All of the music I had not purchased through iTunes and had not stored in the cloud was lost.  Of course, it's not completely gone, it, like so many other things, is store in various other places.

I did some re-arranging in the weight / computer room and the new green machine is sitting on a 70 year old kitchen chair, since I'm not going to sit on it, I figured I might as well use it for something.  The new computer is built to do a lot of things, though it's main purpose is gaming.  As a result, it has two fans you can actually see through the green panels.  In fact, the whole computer lights up green.  Neat, huh? 

Sunday, December 21, 2014

China's North Korean Problem

There are a lot of people who believe Sony Entertainment should have released "The Interview."  Me?  I think they probably played it smart.  Except for some serious hacker groups, everybody seems to believe North Korea was behind the Sony hack.  I'm one of them.  The operative word is 'behind.'  This doesn't mean they, themselves, did it, much more probable it means they were the force behind the hackers.  In other words, they most likely paid more talented people to hack Sony.  This being said, one needs to understand they could also pay for violence.
Interestingly enough, the US has reached out to China.  Whether they want to admit to it or not, China is the parent of North Korea.  It was through Chinese aid that North Korea managed to remain communist.  That was, however, a long time ago.  Where as China has grown more mature in the ways of the world, North Korea has gone from a spoiled brat, through a juvenile delinquent stage, and ended up as a common criminal.  And China is still maintains parentage.

Geographically they are linked, but philosophically the distance has grown wide.  Every time North Korea pulls some stunt, the world looks at China in a negative way.  They are, whether they like it or not, the responsible party.  When their little satellite country jumps into a pile of shit, it's the Chinese who end up cleaning up the mess.  They may not do it publicly, but they are the ones in charge of the smack back.  North Korea is China's problem.  One of these days they are going to have to deal with it if they really want to achieve and great status in the world.  

Saturday, December 20, 2014

The New Computer arrives on Tuesday!

Well, it's Saturday.  I get to close the store tonight.  I get to close tomorrow night, too.  I don't mind closings.  I hate opening the store since it means getting up around 3:30 AM.  On those days, when I get home from work, I pretty much wallow away the hours until it's time to go to bed.

I have ordered another computer to replace the iMac which is not sitting silent up in the attic.  The replacement is a Cyberpower Zeus Mini, green and black.  The only sad thing is that it runs Windows 8.1.  Still, it is fully loaded: massive hard drive, 1 TB of memory and an Nvida 760 video card.

No more Apples for me.

Anyway, it's being delivered on Tuesday, which is great because I'm off work.  The original window for delivery was Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday.  When I told the scheduler at work I might have to take some time off if it got delivered on Monday or Wednesday she kind of fritzed out.  "You're not going to call off are you?" she asked in a bit of a huff.  So close to Christmas, with so many people already taking time off, there are times when I'm the only coverage in the department.  On the other hand, it's not as though customers are lined up to buy paint.

I shrugged her off.  Even though she doesn't want to acknowledge it, her job is going to be changing in 2015.  At some point in time we're going to go to either fully fixed schedules or rotating fixed schedules for all full time associates.  This means she's not going to be able to doodle away 3 days a week under the pretense of writing store schedules.  I have no idea what's going to fill up her hours.  She used to work at the Service Desk, which means she might just end up back there.  Either that, or she'll become the store secretary. 

Anyway, I don't really care.  The new computer comes on Tuesday!  And it's green!  One of my most favorite colors.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Death of an iMac

That's right, my iMac is dying.  One of the pissers about this is that it's only 3 years and 10 months old.  That's rather a short life for a computer.  I spent 2 hours on the phone yesterday with an Apple tech and the conversation pretty much came to an end when he said "you have a serious hardware issue."
The first indicator that there was a problem was when a postage stamp sized page of script attached itself to the tip of the mouse pointer.  I could move the pointer but couldn't click on anything.  So, I called Apple Support.  Kevin was very helpful, however turning the computer on and off using several different combinations of keys failed to change anything.  I managed to access the Apple servers, but only after connecting the computer directly to the modem.  And... I got into Utilities... and the Maverick OS seemed to have disappeared.  That's when he told me a serious crash was taking place.  There was nothing on it that was irreplaceable, so I loaded the Yosemite.  And I still  had the little postage stamp of script hanging from the tip of the mouse pointer.  I thanked Kevin for his help and ended the phone call.  And it turned off the iMac and went downstairs to look for a new upstairs computer (I have a gaming laptop downstairs).  Before I went to bed I turned the iMac back on and, to my surprise, it worked.
This morning I woke up, turned on the iMac and started to reload my bookmarks and got this:

As you can see there are 5 stripes running down the screen, and in the upper left hand corner the mouse pointer with a postage stamp size page of script attached.  And, of course, nothing works.  Well, that's not exactly true.  If you turn it off for about 4 hours it works for a while.  The fan is working, so it's not that.  What ever is going on  is happening in the Hard Drive and it's not a good thing..  I did ask the Tech if he thought I'd been hacked and he said "no, your Hard Drive is going bad."
This was an expensive iMac, and as I said, it's not even 4 years old.  I expected more from Apple.  Were I an Applehead I suppose I would be grief stricken, as it is, I'm chalking it up to an expensive lesson learned.  I guess one bad Apple can ruin the bunch.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Avoiding gift card hell

I have off today and, of course, it's supposed to rain.  That seems to have become the norm for me.  What I have is about a 2 hour window before it starts which is when I'm going to do my running around.  It's Christmas, remember, and there's a lot of crazy traffic out there on the roads.  People rushing from store to store in search of that perfect gift.  Hey, everybody on my list gets candy and that pretty much means 'one stop' shopping.  And nobody complains!  I used to give a lot of gift cards, but then little activation fees started being attached.  My local Giant sells a vast variety.  Hey, we even sell them at the store.  Another problem with gift cards is that they begin to lose value after a certain point in time.  The $50 gift card you buy today may only be worth $40 six months from now.

Why would anybody want to spend $55 for something that's going to lose value?

Retail stores love for you to give gift cards because those people who get them tend to spend more then the face value of the card.  That $50 dollar gift card quite will probably end up netting a retailer $85, or more, in sales.  There is this rationalization among those who get gift cards where-in it's good to use it for the discounting of a more expensive purchase.  What ever happened to giving a gift that was just a gift?  When did the dollar value become more important then that?  I just don't understand that at all.  So, even though it's going to rain today, I will run out and purchase the rest of the candy.  And I will bring it home and wrap it, and tie it up with cute purple ribbons.  Isn't that much nicer then giving someone an envelope with a gift card tucked inside?

Monday, December 15, 2014

The Louvre - and how to visit

I saw in the NYT this AM that the director of the Louvre is being revamped to make it more tourist friendly.  Several years ago, when I wandered through the museum, I didn't really have much of a problem.  But then I will have to admit I'm not your average tourist.  Seeing the Mona Lisa was not my soul purpose for being there.  That painting is, unfortunately, one of the main reasons attendance is so high.  Everybody wants to see the Mona Lisa.  I saw it and took a couple of pictures.  Surprisingly, there was a small crowd, but it wasn't at all bad.  Of course, as I'd said earlier, I'm not your average tourist.  I went to Paris to celebrate my birthday, which is November 8, not a peak tourist time.

Above is one of the pictures I took of the Mona Lisa... and there were not a lot of people in the room.

Don't get me wrong, there were a lot of people there, but there were no long lines.  I bought my ticket and walked in.  My plan was just to wander around the museum.  That's what I did.  Here are my hints for a hassle free visit to the Louvre.  Go in an off season.  Visit on a week day rather then a weekend.  Be there in the morning when it opens, the earlier the better.  Have a good map, I bought a detailed book - it was well worth the money.  And, most important, plan on spending the entire day there.  I did.  If the only reason you go is to see one painting, you're going for the wrong reason and you're most likely going to end up being disappointed.

Sunday, December 14, 2014

The bad taste of Christmas cookies

This is the time of year when a lot of people, who wouldn't normally bring food into work, bring in Christmas cookies.  Some bake the goodies themselves.  Others have their wives do it.  Yesterday afternoon one of my associates came back from break and said "Barry brought Christmas cookies in and there's something wrong with them."  She said they tasted the Natural Gas smells.  This I couldn't believe.  Nobody bakes that bad and takes it to work.  So, curious as to what these cookies actually tasted like, I went to the break room for a sample.  Bad idea.

I had just picked up one of the cookies and... Barry walks in.  "Oh, my wife baked those," he said smiling.  "They look good," I said, and took a bite.  My associate was horribly wrong.  They didn't taste like Natural Gas at all.  The thing in my mouth was worse then that.  And because Barry was standing there, I couldn't spit it out.  Believe me, I would have.  And, horror upon horror, I still had half a cookie left in my hand.

"Good," I muttered as I shoved the rest of the cookie into my mouth and swallowed.  "Yeah," he said, picking one up and eating it.  He seemed to have no problem with the taste.  I was actually feeling a bit nauseous.  In fact, I'm still feeling a bit queasy.  Just what did they taste like?  This is disgusting so you may want to stop reading.  They actually tasted like there was a bit of vomit in them.  I suspect one her ingredients had gone bad and she used it anyway.  Or, as my associate suggested, maybe she was trying to poison us.  What ever it was, it took hours for that taste to finally get out of my mouth.  What's really weird is that he didn't seem to notice.  Maybe that's what everything she cooks tastes like.  Wouldn't that be hell?

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Kim Kardashian - Pop Slut

I did want to comment on this picture I'd seen recently on Towleroad with Kim Kardashian (I suppose her last name is spelled correctly) and Larry Kramer.  There were a number of negative comments because, well let's face it, she isn't exactly know for her AIDS activism.  In fact, as far as I can tell, the only thing she's really known for is her own self promotion.  Looking at this picture, the first thing I noticed is that neither of them is looking at the person taking the picture.  No doubt they are looking at a photographer to their left.  In fact the person taking this picture seems to be more interested in zooming in on her tits.  Larry Kramer may be in the front but it's the cleavage that's centered.  How this particular picture made it to Towleroad is beyond me.  Indeed, why she was even at the event gives one reason to pause.  Maybe she was supposed to be the scheduled entertainment.  We all know she can balance a champagne flute on her ass, maybe she does that stunt publicly.

Wouldn't that have been something to see live?

I don't understand this fascination some people have with this Pop Slut, I mean let's face it, that's all she is.  She can't act.  She can't sing.  I do believe she was exposed in a sex tape at one time.  Now, isn't that something to add to your resume?  Still, when I went out looking for a watchband last week I saw that she actually has product endorsements.  Who in their right mind would buy something endorsed by Kim Kardashian?  Why would you want to spend good money on something that's guaranteed to be cheap?

Friday, December 12, 2014

Christmas Schedule / Returns

They finally posted my Christmas week schedule.  Yippy!  It's okay.  I'm scheduled to work 32 hours.  That's sounds normal, except I always work more hours.  It goes with the job.  I always work more then 40 hours in a 40 hour work week.  This is what's expected.  Anyway, this is what it looks like.

You'll notice I have 3 scheduled days off, one of them being Christmas Day.  It would have been nice to have at least two of those days consecutive.  Alas, that was not to be.  Because kids are home from school, a lot of people take vacation at this time of year.  The store closes at 5 PM on Christmas Eve, and since nobody wants to work it, I'm there.  I manage the paint department which will be completely devoid of customers.  Nobody paints Christmas Eve.  No one's going to paint on Christmas Day, either.  And that 5:30 AM start on 12/26 is a booger.  We will have 2 types of customers:  those looking for dirt cheap Christmas decorations, and those returning unwanted presents.  Mostly we see the latter bringing back things like the Electric Bottle opener that takes 5 minutes to open a bottle of wine, and the Illuminated Toilet Seat.  That's right, we sell one of those just to make sure when you go for that middle of the night whiz you don't hit the floor.  We're not allowed to resell toilet seats, so every one of those gets written off.  And nobody is going to buy paint.  

Thursday, December 11, 2014

The GOP declares war on Sony!

When I first heard this I went "woah!  what are Ted Cruz and Sarah Palin up to now!"  I know their far, far right ideas about  conservatism enable them to stand tall among the outlandish, but what do they have against the PS4?  Did they own a Trinitron that failed?  Then I discovered that it wasn't the Grand Old Party after all, which meant Ted and Sarah weren't involved, which, I will admit, was rather disappointing.  It turns out the GOP in the headline is really the Guardians of Peace.  Never heard of them.  What they did doesn't seem too peaceful, either.  Evidently they hacked into Sony's computers because they're pissed off about "The Interview."  In case you didn't know, it's a comedy with James Franco and Seth Rogan.  I saw the trailer for it.  While it looked like it might be interesting, it wasn't on my "go to list..." until the GOP saw fit to declare war.  In fact, since the attack on Sony, I know a lot of people who will now be sitting in the audience.  Everybody wants to know what's in this movie which royally pisses off the Guardians of Peace.  This, I'm almost positive, was not their intention.

And speaking of the Guardians of Peace, no one quite knows who they are, though many think they might be, indeed, the North Korean government.  If that's true then it would mean that the North Korean government is the one who has declared war.  Wouldn't that be rather rinky dink?  For a government to attack an entertainment company?

And that name?  Guardians of Peace?  One can only wonder if this group has, perhaps, seen Guardians of the Galaxy a few too many times.  Or do the Guardians of Peace look like this, only with different uniforms?

And is there a raccoon in their ranks?  While they may wear funny uniforms, I'm sure the answer to the last question is negative.  Doesn't it really sound a lot like an attempt at censorship.  In fact, there's nothing peaceful about their actions.  They've released sensitive information about people who had absolutely nothing to do with this film.  Maybe they should change their name to the Guardians of Shit.  Of course, GOP sounds far more Republican then GOS.  

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Antiques Roadshow - sentiment and failure

I was talking to my friend Betsy the other evening and, during the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I'd thrown out some books - old college textbooks, Psychology, Anthropology, that sort of stuff, things I'm never, ever going to read again.  There was a slight pause because she thinks every book has value and hence should be saved forever.  She's wrong, of course, but then she is hung up on the sentimental value.  I have read very few books with which I've connected on a personal level and none of them have been textbooks.  She also believes that the older a book is the more worth it has in the book market.  Age does not create value.  And it's not only books.  Anything that's been stashed away up in the attic for over 100 years is worth money, right?  Wrong.  This is one of the problems with things like the Antiques Roadshow.  Only a small few of the thousands and thousands of people who go to the Antiques Roadshow have anything of value. 

This show fails in that it only provides an appraised value.  I've seen the show maybe 6 or 7 times and I'm always surprised when something is appraised for a high dollar amount.  When this does happen, there is almost always a niche group of collectors identified:  someone who collects German Bibles bound in red leather, for example.   And these are just appraisals.  Another dealer might assign a lower value.  An appraised value does not guarantee a sale price at auction.  Just because something is appraised at $1000 doesn't mean it's going to sell for $1000.  It might sell for $1200, or might only sell for $300.  Still, this doesn't keep people from thinking their attics are filled with priceless treasures.   The truth is that a lot of old stuff is just old stuff, not an antique.  Books are just books.  A personal library has no value unless it's used.  Antiques Roadshow fails because it fails to recognize the value in sentiment.  Of course, it also shows that people will sell anything if they think they can get enough money for it. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The not so lofty flight of Peter Pan

From what I've read, I have to guess that NBC's live version of Peter Pan didn't fly as high as they were hoping it would.  Ratings were down something like 11%.  I'm not surprised.  While I had originally planned on watching it, I completely forgot about it until I saw headlines the next day.  I'll be honest, it's not really the kind of show I have any desire to see.  NBC actually put themselves into a bit of a bind after the success of The Sound of Music.  Even though a lot of people didn't like Carrie Underwood's performance, a lot of people watched it.  Then, instead of just saying they were planning on doing more Broadway shoes, NBC limited themselves to "Family" shows.  Very few musicals make it to Broadway which can be designated "Family" shows.  Take Oliver.  It's got lots of kids and a ton of sing-able songs.  Lots of kids went to see Oliver.  Of course, Bill does stab Nancy to death in Act II, and then falls to his own death while being chased by the police.  And let's not forget that adorable pederast Fagan, who loves his little boys.  Definitely not "Family" entertainment.

Annie has oodles of adorable little girls - and that drunkard Miss Hannigan.  Oh, and it also takes place during the depression and a lot of homeless people living in a shanty town under a bridge sing that wonderful "We'd Like to Thank You, Herbert Hoover."  I really do like that song, but it really isn't "Family" fare, is it?  There are a lot of shows out there with kids in them, that doesn't mean little kids should watch them.  So, instead of giving us a Broadway Show a lot of us would like to see, NBC gave us a kid show.  Give me something I want to watch, other wise I'm always going to forget it.

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Fail for Red Beacon

There's a service out there called Red Beacon which lets people connect with a Handyman should they need one.  What they do is list the project they need to have completed and choose 3 legitimate Handymen who have been thoroughly security checked.  The customer gets an idea as to how much it's going to cost, which is nice, and is contacted, hopefully by all three with various bids, within a certain period of time.  The people I've talked to who have used it are impressed with how speedily they receive replies.  So, last evening I downloaded the app onto my tablet.  Everything was fine until I keyed in my address.  I was a little leery about that.  Shouldn't they only need a zip code?  Anyway, I gave them my address.  I watched as the little location balloon moved from the center of the Atlantic Ocean into Central Pennsylvania and voila, within about 7 seconds I was looking at the front of my house.  Do you have any idea how disconcerting that is?  I was not looking at list of services, but my lawn, my driveway, my front porch... that's my house.

Do the really need show my house?  Believe me, it's a bit creepy.  If I signed up for it using your address I could see what your house looked like... well, maybe not all of you.  Now I realize that if you use Google Maps you can zero in on just about any place on Earth, but those pictures were taken by a satellite.  Seeing the front of my house means that someone actually drove down my street with a camera taking pictures.  I'm not a tourist attraction, so that should not have been necessary.  There is a certain point where the information some feel they need becomes invasive.  I think this is one of those cases.  As far as I'm concerned, it's a fail for Red Beacon.  

Saturday, December 6, 2014


Yesterday, while I was trying to find a watchband, I purchased some white socks for work.  They are always a name brand, I learned a long time ago that the elastic in cheap, generic socks tears apart in a couple of weeks.  At that point I roll them into balls and they become dog toys.  When I went to open the bag I discovered the socks were in a resealable package.  Excuse me, but isn't that a bit odd?

Socks don't go stale, so it's not like you're trying to keep them fresh.  I keep my socks in a sock drawer, so there's no need for me to put them back in the package.  This isn't to say that there isn't anybody out there who wouldn't wash their socks, fold them up, and put them back in package for storage.  Or perhaps there is some individual out there who only takes a pair out when they're needed.  I know I wouldn't.  There is also the possibility of repurposing the bag...  Or, maybe it's just one of life's little absurdities.  Socks in a resealable bag, now that's different.

Friday, December 5, 2014

Dilemma of the band

This is my watch.

As you can see, there's a slight problem.  Yep, there's only half of a watch band.  The part that's missing?  Well, Lilly, the 60 lb Boxer thought it was a chew toy and, well, chewed it up.  Swallowed it she did... and... of course, threw it back up.  Dog's stomachs are not designed to digest leather.

Now I have a watch I can't wear and a bit of a dilemma.  Since I had today off, I thought I'd get my hair cut and run a few errands, one of which was to get a new watch band.  You can't imagine how surprised I was to discover they are a rare commodity these days.  No one carries them.  No, Littman's Jewelers carries watch bands, however their bands are all leather.  I don't want leather.  It's because the old band was leather that Lilly thought it was a chew toy.  I spent 2 hours going from store to store and getting told the same thing: "we don't carry them."

It's a sad thing, isn't it?  The fact that they want you to buy a new watch rather then fix the old?

I did check on line but it would cast me between $20 and $25 or more for a band that would hold up to my work environment.  So, I'm in a bit of dilemma since I don't really want to go out and buy a new watch.  This one works.  All I need is a band that a dog isn't going to find tasty.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Calendar Days - whimsical skin

Well, it's that time of year when I need to take a couple of minutes and decide what type of calendar is going to be hanging on the wall by my desk for the next 12 months.  Last year I opted for the East Pennsboro Town Planner because I putzed around and didn't think about buying one until the first week of January.  It had nondescript photos, an unbelievable amount of local advertising, and it gets mailed to everybody in East Pennsboro for free.  Once was enough.

This  year I'm doing what I did in every other year, choosing the one I want to hang on the wall.  The selection is not as difficult as some might think.  Puppies and kittens and all things whimsical aren't on the list.  I don't do cute well.

For a number of years I bought the Cycling magazine calendar with photographs by Graham Watson.  If you like cycling it is well worth the money.  But not this year.

I thought maybe I'd put up a little skin, not porn mind you.  I did that one year, it was nice, but every now and then I get a comment which was more like a snigger then a comment.  Anyway, Dieux de Stade puts out a very classy calendar, skin but not porn.  I thought I might buy one until I saw the $50 price tag.  While I do tend to save my calendars, I do think that's a little too pricey for something I'm going to file away next January.

I ended up going with the Warwick Rowers.  It's skin but not porn and more humorous then serious.  When I have to get up at 3:30 AM to go open the store, this is something is something I won't mind looking at when I sit down at my desk to check my email.  After I'd placed my order I realized I had actually bought some whimsical skin.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

The Comcast Curse

Just wanted to toss out a couple of thoughts before I dash off to work about Comcast.  I don't subscribe to their service, however, they do, unfortunately effect my life.  How?  They own NBC News, which is one of the websites I look at for my news updates.  What is the problem?  Commercials.  Articles which don't require a video always have a video attached.  And, of course, every video needs to have a commercial.  Stories regarding the incidents in Ferguson had poppy Coca Cola commercials and Swiffer commercials preceding the clip.  What makes this even more terrible is that the clips, themselves, are usually not that informative.  Everything you need to know is already noted in a paragraph below.  Of course that doesn't make a difference because the second you click on the ad the commercial begins to load.

What do I do?  I either pause the commercial and read the article or I mute out the sound.  You see, I don't drink soft drink.  I'm never going to use a Swiffer because I own a Miele vacuum cleaner which does a much, much better job.  I just purchased a Honda CRV and have absolutely no intention of ever buying a Toyota.  Right now, I don't need to rely on Depends, of course that may change when I get to be elderly.  Commercials in no way influence my buying habits, yet Comcast, in search of the never ending profit, feels they need to curse me with commercials.  In fact, they curse everybody.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Stealing the deal

Well, Black Friday's come and gone.  Was it worth it?  Nah, it never is.  Sure, like every other retailer out there, we had a good day, one of the best dollars and cents days I can remember.  Analysts say, however, that sales were a bit light, most likely because buyers are still wary of the economy.  What jello heads they are!  Most retailers have been swamping their customer base with Pre-Black Friday deals for the past 2 weeks.  And now we're in the Post-Black Friday deals, which are quite similar to the Pre-Black Friday deals.  Consumers learn fast!  This year our in-store specials were also available online so there was no need to deal with the crowds or the cold weather.  Also, this year the crowd waiting at the door wasn't nearly as large in previous years, however we did have a much, much larger crowd 4 hours after the doors had opened then we'd ever had on past Black Fridays.  And, as I said earlier, it was one of the best, if not "the best," as far as the dollars and cents go.

And, as far as the steals go, someone is always trying to 'five finger discount' the merchandise.  Most of the time we don't know about it until after the fact.  This year we had a woman, middle-aged, go to Self-Checkout with a rather full cart.  The cashier started to ring her through (we do this with full carts, it keeps things moving) when all of sudden the woman complained that a price was wrong.  While the cashier went back to her station to get the ad, the woman pushed her full cart past, and out the door.  $84 had been rung up, but there was much more merchandise in the cart, including some fairly large ticket items.  This is how it goes sometimes.  For some people there is nothing like stealing a little deal on Black Friday.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Black Friday VS the Winter Storm Warning

Winter Storm Warning!

Yep, and we're right in the middle of it with the forecasters predicting 4 -8 inches of snow.  In fact, it's snowing right now, however the flakes are the size of golf balls and melting as soon as they hit.  I suspect, in the end, we'll get about 2 inches of slush.  That'll suit me just fine since I'm supposed to go to work this afternoon.  Don't know how long I'll stay since the Winter Storm Warning! will insure the only retailers busy today are going to be the supermarkets.  You know, Thanksgiving is tomorrow and nearly everybody who's cooking has waited until the last minute to do their shopping.  Grocery stores will be packed and by 6 or 7 this evening their shelves will be picked clean.  Also, don't forget, there is this Winter Storm Warning!  There is that group of people who hear those 3 words and feel compelled to stock up on bread and milk.  Me?  I went to the store yesterday and bought milk because I was running low.  I didn't buy bread because I rarely eat it.  If I get a craving for it, I can always whip up a batch of drop biscuits.

Anyway, I am scheduled to working from 4 - 10 PM, mostly to place signage for Friday morning.  I already know that when I walk in the front door, this is what I'll see:

lots and lots of black plastic.  Normally it stays on until black Friday morning, and then it gets trashed just before they open the doors.  They keep it covered because prices for all of the special deals will not get loaded into the system until sometime Thursday night.  You don't want to deal with an irate customer who feels he should get the discounted price early.  So everything is kept wrapped up. 

Hopefully, most of what I'm expected to do this evening will be done by the time I get there, or at least be well on the way to being completed.  I don't really want to stay until 10.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Black Friday VS Dragon Age Inquisition

So, what have I been doing for the past couple of days besides getting up at 0300?  Going to work to prepare for Black Friday.  Last year, for some odd reason, set-up was not slated until the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  That's a lot of work to do in one day.  This year, for example, we dropped 174 full pallets of "stuff" and placed them all over the store.  That's a lot of pallets.  It's a lot of "stuff." What kind of "stuff?"  Well, there are 3.6 cubic foot Roper Washers and Roper Dryers (electric and gas).  I've never heard of that name brand.  And 3.6 cubic feet?  That's tiny.  But they're cheap, which means they'll sell.  On Friday morning customers can choose from several colors of Sherpa Throws, and neck warms, and AKC certified dog beds.  There are mushroom farms... bet that will be a hot ticket item.  Imagine the lucky child finding one of those under the tree.  The Electric Cork Screw, which sold out really,  really fast last year, is returning.  I might get one of those if there are any left by the time I go on break.

I'm scheduled in Garden on Friday morning, thought that doesn't mean I'll actually be spending time in the Garden Department.  What that means is that I'll be wondering around the store with a map helping customers find that odd present they want to purchase.  It doesn't make a difference if it's a Butter Cookie (yes, they'll be there) or a 3 foot tall 'build it yourself' dollhouse (they never sell).

And what I'd really rather be doing is playing Dragon Age Inquisition... on a PC of course.

What kind of hero will I be?  Why a great one, of course.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Saying "no" to your Vet

I took Lilly to the Vet today for her inoculations, rabies and distemper.  In the process I also managed to aggravate my Vet, which is okay, you see I don't really like the one I had to deal with today.  A while back I had written about managing your Vet, well she's one who needs to be managed.  She will fill your cart with far too many expensive charges if you give her the chance.

Take the fecal parasite exam, that's a $30 charge just to see if your dog has worms.  My dogs have both been wormed.  Yet my Vet wants to do this exam every year.  They also feel it's necessary to test for Lyme Disease every year.  I don't let them.  This morning my Vet arrived prepared to vaccinate Lilly for Lyme disease.  Today, when I said "no," my Vet became a little nonplussed.  When I pointed out that Lyme Disease in dogs can be cured with simple antibiotics, she fumbled.  "Not always," she said, "if you wait too long and it's well advanced antibiotics may not work."  Then I added "and 90% of all dogs infected with Lyme Disease never develop symptoms."  And her retort was "but people are finding ticks everyday.  And deer ticks are very tiny."  You will notice she did not correct me, nor even deny what I said because most people just nod and say "yes."


Educate yourself.  Don't ever take what they say for granted.  Never forget that they are running a business.  Laura, the Vet I dealt with today, drives a Mercedes.  There's a reason she can afford to drive one.  I am not part of that reason.  Today's visit cost me $107.  Had I not educated myself well enough to know I could say "no" it would have cost me $215.  What's sad is that as I was leaving a gentleman was arriving with a cat in a carrier and I felt bad for him.  You see, even though I had the temerity to say "no," he will most likely say "yes."  While not all Vets will take advantage of the feelings you have for your pet, there are many who will.  And they will do so by hiding behind the mask of a caring individual.  Once you learn how to say "no," you will find they drop the baby talk real fast and get down to doing their job.  Oh, and they'll be very efficient at it too since they don't want to lose you as a customer.  They also know that as you walk out the door some other sucker will be walking in.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Fitness in one and two syllables

I had the 15 months service done on my car this morning.  Originally I planned to have it done last week, and had made the appointment for early in the morning.  However, when I showed up there were 7 other cars there already.  Still, I was early, and I did have an appointment.  When I told this to the attendant he said "all of these people are here for service."  So I repeated "I have an appointment."  And he repeated "all of these people are here for service," to which I replied, "I can't sit here and wait for 2 hours."  His response was "I can open the garage door so you can leave," which is what I did.  I don't make appointments so I can sit and wait.  Making customers wait defeats the purpose of having the make appointments.  So... I complained to the Honda Dealer.  I learned a long time ago that complaining to anybody else accomplishes nothing.  And I made another appointment for this morning at 7:00 AM.  And, of course, I got express service and was in and out in 35 minutes.

Anyway, they provide certain amenities for the customers who wait, like free coffee, and popcorn, and, of course, magazines to read.  This was the selection on the table in front of where I sat.

I did not pick the Deer Hunter magazine, nor did I pick the Cosmo.  I did, however, take the Fitness and started leafing through the pages.  For those who've never looked at one, at least 90% of the content is Supplement ads; page after page after page.  The articles are written with simple one and two syllable words.  One that caught my eye was "Cycling causes Erectile Dysfunction."  I ride bicycle and have never had this problem.  And, of course, the article actually said that some men, over 50 years of age, who go on bicycle rides over 50 miles in length, have occasionally reported this problem, but that there was no substantial proof that this was true. That's when I realized it was only filler taking up space between Supplement ads.   The headline should have been enough to warn me it was just fluff, it included the word 'dysfunction' and that's 3 syllables.    

Sunday, November 16, 2014

How many $ would Comcast lose with Net Neutrality?

I thought I'd post a little something about Net Neutrality since it seems to be a bit of a hot button topic.  Of course Comcast, and Verizon, are both totally against it and even though their publicity machines are spouting all sorts of negative impacts, their real motive is related to dollars and cents.  Evidently there are those who feel Internet services should be defined as a utility.  Comcast views this idea with abject horror.  How do I know this?  Several reasons, the first of which is they've evidently put Ted Cruz on their payroll.  The second is their financial statement released on January 28, 2014 for the previous year.  Believe it or not, they posted an increase of revenue for 2013 of 5.8%, that is billions of dollars.  They earned that from several sources, but quite a tidy bit came from subscriber rates.  My neighbor, Eileen just dropped them because, as she said, "every year their rates go up and they're just too expensive."  As a utility, Comcast could not arbitrarily raise it's rates every year.  They would need to prove that these increases are necessary.

Ensuring you make your 5% forecasted profit for the year is not a valid reason.  This doesn't mean they're not going to hit their goal, they'll just have to gouge it out of some other revenue source.  So how much revenue would lose with Net Neutrality?  Probably not much, they'd just have to say "bend over buddy" to someone else.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Tooling towards Black Friday

My Black Friday schedule was posted yesterday.  Actually, it's not that bad - all morning shifts, except for Wednesday when I have this odd 4 PM till 10 PM shift.  Of course, that doesn't mean I won't be at the store until 11 or 12.  I had the same shift last year and didn't get out until after 11 PM.  After the store closes on Wednesday is when we go around pulling off all of the black plastic which has been swathed around the "surprise" deals and make sure the signage is correct.

One thing that is different this year is my start time on Black Friday.  Last year I was in at 4 AM because I was in charge of the coffee and donuts.  I put a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood on a drywall cart, loaded it up with hot coffee and donuts and patrolled up and down the line of people waiting to get into the store.  That's right, we get a line.  Last year it was over 150 people long.  Of course, we don't get the same type of crowd Walmart or Target get because we're a home improvement store.  This means every one is well behaved and orderly, no eye gouging or knife pulling at our store.  No one has ever been trampled to death on Black Friday at a Home Depot, or a Lowe's.

And why do we get such a crowd?  For a long, long time wives and children had no idea what to get Dad for Christmas, so he either got a tie or cologne.  Now he gets a DeWalt drill, or a Ryobi impact hammer.  He may only use his new tools once or twice, but at least they'll add to the clutter he calls a work bench.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The unanimous dis-satisfaction with Unity

Back on Tuesday, Ubisoft, a French game developer, released Assassin's Creed - Unity.  I've enjoyed the Assassin's Creed franchise and was looking forward to this installment.  Previous games have dealt with the American Revolution and Pirates in the Caribbean.  This one deals with the French Revolution and centers on Paris and Versailles.  The trailers were amazing so I pre-ordered it for PC.
I started the download on early on Tuesday morning (yes, it was one of those work days) knowing it would be finished when I got home.  Of course I already read about all of the troubles that came with the release, but I was still hopeful my game would be playable.

This was not the case.  When I went to verify the game I discovered that some of the files had failed to download, which meant more time fixing the download.  And then, of course, when I did finally start to play the game there were more problems.  The screen was teeny, weeny, and neither my game controller nor the keyboard with that did that wonderful mouse I just got, the which fits so nicely in my hand, worked.  I could pause the game, but I couldn't get to any menus.  In fact I need to use the Task Manager just to stop the game.  I tried rebooting the game and rebooting the laptop and each time needed to use the Task Manager.  So I deleted the game and downloaded it a second time, which is time consuming since it's over 41 thousand MB.  And this is what a got:

Yep, that's my laptop.  Nice keyboard, eh?  And that teeny, weeny screen in the center is the game.  When it's that size this game looks damn good.  However, now I have a menu which allows me  to change the size of the game - I got rid of the black boarders and it fills the screen.  And it doesn't look as good.  Now I can see all of the issues people were complaining about.  Faces disappear, you try and climb a scaffold and your in the scaffold, or you turn and you're in a wall.  On occasion, Parisians float horizontally down the street.   Things that are crisp and sharp when it's teeny weeny are flawed - hair sometimes looks like it was drawn by a 4 year-old.  

Because there were so many complaints, Ubisoft's stock took a big hit.  The lesson to be learned is you don't release a game that's not polished.  If you have to spend money putting out patches to fix problems, then the game should have been delayed.  The only unity in Unity seems to be complete dis-satisfaction.  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Day Off with mouse lust

So what do I do when I have a day off?  Well, today I took the dogs to the park.  There's no telling how much nice weather we're going to have so I get them there as often as I can.  Then I spent some time cleaning up the yard... dogs, you know?  That and the leaves which need to be racked.

This is actually the first of 2 days off in a row, so mostly I relax, nothing too strenuous.  Tomorrow I'll get on the bike (which is on the CycleOps trainer) and try and put in about 25 miles.  Cardio, you know?  Until we start getting snow.

I made an appointment for Lilly to get her second year rabies shot, after that she'll be good for 2 more years.  My Vet sends me postcards listing all the things they want to charge me for which aren't necessary, like a 'fecal parasite test.'  They will run that test every year unless politely put a stop to it - she has been wormed after all.

My new gaming mouse arrived today - actually the postman dropped it off while I was out cleaning up the yard.

I play games on both a large laptop and an aging Xbox 360.  I've owned 3 laptops and have always bought a regular mouse.  I hate those little pads you're supposed to finger.  Give me something I can grip in my hand!  And if it has 14 programmable buttons?  It's almost mouse lust.


Thursday, November 6, 2014

Seven days and counting and Black Friday looms

Yepper, this is the last day in one of my 7 day weeks.  Except for Monday I've had closing shifts.  This suits me find.  I get many more chores done on this shift.  I hate the opening shifts because I have to get up around 0330.  That's right.  I usually don't feel like doing much of anything when I get home, except for taking a nap.  The nap bit isn't always successful since I have two Boxers who've been sleeping most of the day, so they're well rested and ready to play.

The big political news is that the Republican Party is once again has the majority in the House and the Senate.  I chortled when I saw the headlines "for the first time in 8 years."  That sounds better then saying since Bush was in the White House.  Isn't it interesting they didn't try and make that connection.  Now let's hope that they learned something in those 8 years.

For all of you gamers and Mass Effect fans out there, tomorrow is N7 day.  The Bioware Forums are a flutter with expectations.  Me, I'm going to sit back and wait.  The game will probably not be out until sometime in 2016.  Mean while, Assassin's Creed Unity gets released on 11/11, three days after my birthday - think French Revolution in Paris.  I'm excited.

Work has been pretty much the same.  We set our Pre-Black Friday - that's right, there's not only a Black Friday sale, there's a Pre-Black Friday and a Post-Black Friday.  I actually don't mind working on Black Friday.  You haven't seen anything until you've seen big, burly men with beards, running like 12 year-old girls towards the 'half off' Shop Vacs.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Silly Questions

Working at a paint desk which is centrally located in the store, a lot of people stop by and ask questions.  Some of them are in regard to product location.  Many of these we can answer.  Some of them are fix-it questions, such as 'how do you fix the broken slat on a futon?'  People with these questions are usually directed to a specific department.  And then we get the silly questions.  Now I'm not talking about uninformed paint questions - we get a lot of those and have no problem both answering and educating.  I'm talking about just plain stupid questions.  Here's an example from yesterday.  This large woman came up to the paint desk and asked "are your restrooms still in the back of the store?"

We all stood silent for a few seconds,smart ass answers dashing through our heads.  Now I know department stores will occasionally move departments, but we're a big box home improvement store.  And she wasn't asking about departments, she was asking about restrooms.  And evidently she'd been to the store before, and had used the restrooms before, since she knew they were located in the back of the building.  I was the first to respond and all I said was "yepper."  What else could I say?  

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Surprising comment

As I'd said earlier, I went to see "Fury" the other night.  One of the things I like to do after I see a movie is go into Rotten Tomatoes to check out what other people are saying.  Sometimes their comments are interestingly right on and other times they are not.  Anyway, there is always a cast list which I find helpful since I'm not familiar with every actor out there and I click on those I don't know.  I wasn't familiar with Logan Lerman so I thought I would enlighten myself.  Interestingly enough, I've actually seen him in several other movies, though had no idea who he was.  I scanned down the page to the comment section and was surprised to see some individual had added the note "He is Jewish."  Now, why would someone need to write that?  As far as I'm concerned a person's religion is their own business.  Yet someone did feel the need to put a label there.  But then I remembered there really are quite a lot of idiots out there.

I once worked with a Catholic gentleman who told me he had some evangelical neighbors who completely ignored his family, as well as the other Catholic families in neighborhood.  Evidently this family had let it be known they believed Catholics to be heathens because they worshiped idols.  When I heard this I was stunned.  If you ask me, there's a big disconnect going on there, an embarrassing failure.  Just like the comment about Logan Lerman.  Who cares about his religion?  If that type of information is important to you, your priorities just my skewing in the wrong direction.  Of course no one is going to listen to me because that would mean they'd need to honestly re-evaluate, and to do that they'd need to question.  Of  course we all know that's never going to happen.

Friday, October 31, 2014

The Teeny Weeny Truth (about male frontal nudity in films)

Recently there was a big commotion  about the possibility of seeing Ben Afleck's penis in "Gone Girl."  Of course, it was nothing but commotion.  At the same time there was an undercurrent of murmurings about the lack of frontal male nudity in films.  Why is it so many women do the money shots and men don't?  I would think the answer to be fairly obvious, (or maybe not).  Not all men are created equal, some are more equal then others.  Unfortunately a lot of things effect that equality, sometimes on a minute to minute basis.  Let me use women's breasts to make my point.  If you have an actress who wears a 38 D cup bra, and you put her in a cool room, she doesn't need to change to a 32 A cup.  However, if your average actor takes off his pants in a cool room, things minimize rather quickly.  And it's not just temperature which can effect these changes; all sorts of variables suddenly come in to play.  Even someone well endowed has times when all he seems to have are short comings.

Take Chris Evans, there are a lot of people who would love to see him doing full frontal on the silver screen.  Is it ever going to happen?  While 'never' is a terrible word to use, I'd say the possibilities of it happening are very, very unlikely. For him to do so, I suspect the scene would need to be the lynch pin of the film, that integral part holding it together.  Of course, then there is fan expectation.  What if it's a cold day on the set?  Would you really want fans to ask "is that all there is?"  In spite of what people may want, something like that can ruin a career, especially if that's the only reason they go see a film.  Sometimes the smartest move is not to give fans what they want.  If some things didn't seem to have a mind of their own, if they weren't fickle about the temperature, or who's looking at them.  If, in general, things were more equal, you might see more male frontal nudity.  As I said, however, there really are too many variables and, unfortunately, that is the teeny weeny truth.   

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Furiously aiming away from the Bulls-eye

Inside the tank there is order, outside the world is surreal and chaotic.

That's right, I saw Fury last evening.  In some respects it was very good, however, there is a however - meaning in some respects it didn't do so good.  The combat scenes were great, I had no problem with them.  They were quite well done, except for the colored tracer bullets - they reminded me too much of one of the games I play.  It was those surreal and chaotic scenes outside of the tank with which I had problems.  Why?  Because, even though they were surreal and chaotic, I knew how they were going to end.  In other words, they were predictable.  Which is a problem.  In fact, the whole film was fairly predictable.

I really did like the combat scenes though.  Perhaps this is because they were dynamic, they were fast paced with super slick edits, and, most important, they kept me from thinking about those minutes of surreal and chaotic drama that really did nothing more then waste my time.  And they kept me from thinking about the predictability of the whole thing.  Like thinking about which character is going to die next, and die they do.  This is war, after all, and that means characters are going to get killed off, not all of them, mind you, but enough to make you understand that "war is hell."

I really wanted to like this movie and, sadly, in the end all I can say is that it was okay.  I don't know if it was the director / writer, or what, but for some reason it kept furiously aiming  away from the bulls-eye.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Team building in a corn field

This past Sunday the stores complete management team when on a Team Building exercise - we wondered around through a Corn Maze.  There were to be other activities besides the Maze, but that was to be the centerpiece of the day.   This was where we were to be separate in to teams that were clique free.  Hhmm.  Anyway, since I'd never gone through a maze I was looking forward to that part of the day.  Sadly, it's fairly late in October and as a result the corn stalks were quite dry.

 So there was very little suspense because when you reached a turn or intersection you could see which way to go.  Still, we picked a flag bearer for our team and headed off into the almost unknown.  The maze, itself, was 7 acres in size and the estimated time to complete it in its entirety was estimated to be about an hour and a half - more then enough time for teams to bond.  However, the maze was also broken down into sections which could be completed in much less time.  No one had the foresight to tell the teams they needed to complete the entire maze, so we all went in...and then we all came out twenty minutes later.

Of course this played havoc with the schedule since now all of us had an hour of free time.  This is where the team building thing tended to fall apart.

There was a zipline, however it was closed because of 30 mph gusts of wind.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't a bad day.  I had fun.  It's just that it was not the most successful team building exercise I've been on.  Still, now I can say I have been in a maze, and I would do it again if asked.  

Friday, October 24, 2014

HRM logistics

It's a beautiful day in Pennsylvania and, as usual on beautiful days, I have to work.

What makes this more crappy then usual is that my new HRM is due to be delivered today.  Originally it was supposed to arrive tomorrow so it'll be here a day early, which is nice.  Of course, I won't get to play around with it until I get home from work.

Currently I have a Garmin 405CX which suited me just fine, until a couple of months ago when problems began cropping up.  The GPS had issues connecting to satellites even outside on a clear sunny day.  I could deal with that.  But then it started locking up and the only way to fix it was to do a reset which meant losing a lot of data.  You changed screens by sliding your finger around the bezel and... well, stopped working.  And there were other little problems which just started to become aggravating so I said "enough," and ordered a new one.  It's a Garmin 220 Forerunner.

The old HRM... still woks as a watch

The logistics on how the new one is arriving are rather amusing.  It was shipped FedEx Smartpost from Allentown, PA, which is 89 miles, north east, of where I live.  It's route took it through Harrisburg (5 miles away) down to St. Martinsburg, WV, which is 91 miles to my south west.  It was then transferred to a truck which brought it back to Enola, the suburb in which I live, where it was... put on a truck to take it to the Post Office in Camp Hill, (again about 5 miles away).  In Camp Hill, the new HRM was put on a delivery truck which is, as I type, on its way back to Enola.  A little convoluted if you ask me.