Sunday, September 30, 2007


I spent the entire day watching a Law and Order:Criminal Intent marathon.It was awesome.I had never seen any of the episodes presented,and the dogs were happy to oblige by spending the day on the bed with dad.And you can't beat non stop cuddles.
My little meat stew turned out el fabulosa,I know stew sounds strange for breakfast,but it ruled.I didn't even bother with the eggs.
back to the show!

Saturday, September 29, 2007

I want to be "Closed for the Weekend"
Saturdays suck at the office. It's the busiest day of the week at work, but there are far fewer staff to handle the workload. In addition to it being the busiest day, it is also the day I get the most supervisor calls and these customers tend to be far angrier and much harder to placate than the customers I deal with during the week. For those long-term readers that might be confused, I'm not a supervisor anymore but I take supervisor calls as do the other techs at my pay level (which is definitely NOT supervisor pay.) Since many of the techs at my level are former managers just like me, we all know how to handle the calls and it does make some sense that we would take them. Call it a side effect of demotion.

But to get back to the callers, it's unfortunate that they wait until Saturday morning to call because 99% of their issues are with other departments that are closed for the weekend and there is little I can do for them other than be their verbal punching bag. And I don't particular enjoy being a punching bag. It's not that I'm unsympathetic to their situation. I know they work all week and have things to do in the evenings so that Saturday is often the first day they feel they have time to call in about their issue. But why would someone think that calling in to demand a supervisor and then verbally abusing that supervisor would get their problem resolved any faster? Do they really think that if they scream and threaten me that I can somehow magically contact someone in the department that is closed for the weekend? Yes, they do. And no, I can't. Though I can occasionally perform miracles, my ability to do so is severely hampered if I can't talk to anyone because that department is CLOSED FOR THE WEEKEND.

I've found that "closed for the weekend" is a phrase that becomes increasing hard for people to understand as more and more services become available 24/7. They seem to think that *they* should be off on the weekend, but no one that provides them any sort of service should have that opportunity. I'm old enough to remember when 24/7 coverage was only provided only for essential services - hospitals, firefighters, police, utilities and the like. In fact, when I was a kid, the sidewalks rolled up at 6 pm in this town except on Thursdays when stores were open until 9 pm. A few places had Saturday hours and virtually no one was open on Sundays, including most restaurants and all the grocery stores. Somehow we managed to survive quite nicely without 24/7 service, it just took a little planning.

I'm not in favor of a rollback to those times, but I think the 24/7 service concept has been stretched a bit far these days. At that rate it's going, we are causing increasingly large numbers of people to work shifts they don't want to work and giving people work hours that displace them from their friends and family. And for what? So a company can make more money being "competitive" while providing services that can hardly be considered essential.

If you call me on a Saturday or Sunday morning and yell at me about your 15 minute hold time, then threaten me when I can't get someone to fix your issue immediately, you'll find me sounding apologetic and sympathetic on the phone, but what I'm really thinking is that you are just one more entitled asshole that I have to deal with on a weekend where I'd rather be spending time with my family. As Rob's mum would say, "Put that in your pipe and smoke it."

I got up early (before 7 am) because Ann's alarm woke me and for a moment I thought I had to go to work.I quickly realized it was saturday and I didn't,but I was awake.I had a cuppa coffay and a smoke,cruised the net for a bit,bid Ann a good day and went back to bed,dogs in tow.I had a nice little nap and then flipped through the channels on the bed for the rest of the day.I ran out of smokes around 2,but couldn't be assed to go get some.I watched an amazing documentary on the history channel about the mount st. Helen eruption in 1980 and the impending eruption of mount Rainier, which is much closer to heavily populated areas and the resulting landslides,ash and soot will annihilate tens of thousands of people.The power of nature is amazing and it doesn't care about you or me,and if I lived there I would
The thought of being crushed and burned by a wall of super heated water full of trees and boulders and clay thirty feet high and moving at 300 feet per second is not my idea of a good time.It's a matter of when...there's no preventing it,and it will make Katrina and Rita look like a sun shower in comparison.
Then I watched the back half of "under cover brother"on comedy attempt to recreate the glory days of blaxploitation movies from the 70's.It's fairly amusing,and the main "plot" thread of adulterated fried chicken making black people slaves to the man was damn funny.
Then Ann came home and Beenzie and I ventured forth to HEB for smokes and something for dinner.These days I shop cheap and on sale,tonight we had chili cheese dogs and I got some more of that pork at 99 cents a pound along with carrots and potatoes that are stewing on low in the crock pot immersed in guisada sauce.Guisada is spanish for stew and the pork cut is called carnitas,which is spanish for little meats.
Little meat should be awesome.Cooked over night.Yum!
I can hardly wait for brunch tomorrow...little meat stew with eggs over medium.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Inner tubes
No, not the kind that go in tires - I'm referring to what a friend of mine calls the "riding on the inner tubes of the web". In other words, surfing the net. I've spent some time taking a look at used RVs to get some ideas of what might be available and how much we may have to spend in 2, 4, 7 or 10 years. I've learned a couple of surprising things. The cheapest used RVs in the US happen to be located in 2 hours or less driving distance from our house - whether for sale by owner or a dealer, Central Texas has very low prices on used RVs. I've also discovered that pink is/was a very popular color choice for interior decorating, ugh. Give me green, blue or brown, but please no pink. Or white - seriously, some folks have WHITE upholstery in their RV which has to be the most impractical choice ever selected for a "recreational vehicle".

I also did some research on the 'net to see what might be our best choice for full-timing it. I didn't really come up with much, but turns out the best advice was given to my by my mom & dad who traveled around with a travel trailer extensively for years (not full-time, but 3 or 4 months at a time.) Also, my mom's younger sister and her husband have been full-timing it in a fifth-wheel for the last eight years and while I didn't talk directly to my aunt, my mom had plenty of info about how well that was working out. Based on their advice, it looks like the best choice for what we want to do is a good-sized fifth-wheel and a 3/4 ton truck. That's not a cheap route to take, even used, so "best" might get redefined as finances are taken into more consideration. And of course, living on the road isn't free - there's gasoline (or diesel) and propane, food and campground fees, repairs to the vehicle/trailer, medical expenses and all kinds of other things. Rob won't be working while we are on the road and he might not be working full-time once we get to our next destination - all that has to be taken into account. It is, no doubt, a very risky proposition and I hope that I don't end up squashing the dream by trying to plan things out somewhat. I should be okay as long as I remember that if plan A doesn't look like it will work out then I need to move to plan B or plan C or even plan Z if that is what it takes.

Fortunately we've got a good amount of time to figure out something. Plus, it gives me something to do while I'm working this mind-numbingly boring job. If I don't get fired and spend two more years doing this, I'm likely to be brain-dead at the end of it.

Rudy Ghouliani says the reason his wife interrupted his speech at the NRA was because of 9/11.Ever since that horrible day,whenever they fly somewhere they call each other to reaffirm their love.Please...if that is the case(snort!)why didn't she call him on the plane?And wasn't he married to someone else and just fucking his current on the side immediately after 9/11?What a shameless asshole.

Apparently some democratic hopefuls are demurring(back pedaling?)on a question regarding bringing the troops home within their first term.If I were a dem hopeful,I would answer the question and it would go something like this.
"Look Tim,the bush administration has spent almost 5 years digging the hole that is Iraq.That has led to our military becoming bogged down in an endless civil war and our country being almost universally hated.They are currently using every trick in the book to ensure it continues until they leave office,effectively door knobbing a mess they created for the next administration to sort out,rather than follow the advice of a growing number of politicians and military people who say diplomacy is the answer.If you honestly think this sort of shit storm can be sorted out with the end result being no US troops in Iraq in four years you are crazier than a shithouse rat".
Which is why I will never be a democratic hopeful.

Mitt Romney is still a shallow conniving shell of a "man" and his 5 sons are still chickenhawk pussies.

In local news...

The tool stealing continues at the T.O.E...yesterday one electrician had his strippers and dykes stolen during lunch.That afternoon,someone broke into a gang box and stole a large amount of another electricians tools.Whoever is doing this is making a big mistake in regard to the aforementioned electricians(or any of us for that matter).If they find you you will pay dearly.If you steal from me and I find you I will be standing before the union board of excellence explaining how my pliers became lodged in your temple and your dick ended up in your mouth.

Austin shitty council member Jennifer Kim(not from here)introduced legislation to ban panhandling within a 1000 feet of schools(presumably to not impinge on the bullies taking wimpy kids lunch money),the police jumped on it and advocated making it illegal everywhere(which they can't do for reasons that mystify me).Panhandling is currently illegal in 3 locations-that's right THREE-in Austin:downtown,I-35 and Cesar Chavez and the drag."Aggressive"panhandling is illegal everywhere.I have been aggressively approached downtown and on the drag,so,so much for that law.
If the shitty council would focus it's energy on meaningful programs to get these people off the street,instead of placating soccer moms who don't like bums panhandling near their kids we might solve the problem eventually.Just like any city,we have our legit homeless and desperate folks and asshole drunkie/crackheads who view it as a lifestyle/career choice.They are the aggressive ones who won't take no for an answer and need to be dealt with criminally.

Have a nice weekend.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


On todays agenda:

On the job injuries...the foreman for the general contractor bloviated about recent injuries,the most significant being someone from another trade trying to kill himself by wiring a 480 volt device incorrectly and then turning it on.Some highlights:
Foreman:"and that's...480 volts...the worse you can get right"?(directed at our foreman)
Our foreman:"Uh...yes".

Next up:Smoking...there is no smoking allowed in the building,but everyone does anyway.Just like the rule about no food or drink allowed on the floors from the last meeting...evryone nods in agreement and then does the fucking opposite.Only this time he's "telling us,not asking"and we should "keep it up and see what happens".
This guy should get into politics.
Really funny moment:when it was the interpreters turn to repeat what was just said,he ENGLISH!He was about 3 sentences into it when he realized he wasn't speaking spanish.HA!

And the best for last...Apparently it is one guy who is pissing in cups and on piles of insulation and in his best CSI:Miami impersonation foreman says "Let's get this guy...get him out of here"...Like it's a serial killer or something.

While waiting for the elevator I commented to a co worker,"man,I can't wait to get to the 12th floor".He asked why and I replied,"I can't wait to have a coke and a smoke and then piss on some insulation".
And so it goes...
Time Flies

I was in the middle of another daydream about how in ten years we are going sell the house and hit the road when I realized we had been saying "in ten years" for quite a while. Somewhere along the line we came up with the idea that it would happen in ten years and even though time has marched on, we never changed the number. Well it turns out it was on Sunday, October 17, 2004 when Rob posted in the blog about selling the house and hitting the road. I've reposted it below:

I have thought about this a lot in our current economy, and considering our current one income/one paycheck away from the dreaded cardboard box's becoming more attractive as the election (our possible impending doom as a culture if bunnypants wins) draws near. Here's the plan:
Put the house on the market.
Sell everything we own with some traveling exceptions.
Sell the house, pay off the loan and have about $125,000 to play with.
Buy a crew cab truck with a camper shell, load it up and hit the road. Bank cards and cell phones in hand.Doggies in the back.
Travel across the land, visiting all the places we want to see...picking up work where we can find it to meet the basic expenses, let most of the house proceeds gain interest and invest.
Live in the truck at KOA campgrounds and the occasional hotel when we want to splurge.
Document everything on a wifi empowered laptop w/ digital camera.
East coast,West coast and everything in between...even Canada.
You could spend a year hitting all the national forests in Colorado alone...on the cheap.
It's escapist I know...but it beats the hell out of what's happening here now.

At the time that post was written, Rob wasn't thinking that he might be a journeyman electrician someday. I still hadn't found a job yet, but I knew we were not in the best position to sell the house at that point in time. I did find a job shortly afterward and it was decided that we would definitely wait. I'm not sure where the ten years came from, but knowing myself I probably crunched some numbers and decided that was a sweet spot in the debt payoff. And so we plodded along with that dream in mind, always ten years away, without thinking about how things had changed or that the clock had been ticking all this time. Well folks, if I stick with my original calculations, it's not ten years away, it's only seven. And it could easily be even less with Rob looking at moving up to a journeyman electrician in another two years. Once he gets his journeyman's license he should probably get another couple of years experience here before we travel, but that still brings it down to just four years from now. In four years, I turn 50 and hitting the road would be a most excellent birthday present for the big five-oh. Or better yet, move it to just a little over two years from now and Rob gets a most excellent birthday present for his big five-oh and decides to blow off getting the extra experience locally in order to get the hell out of here.

Yep, I think we should plan for four years and shoot for two. Hmm... I better get the "sell the house" landscaping established soon!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

The long "weekend" is over
I had four days off in a row this week due to a scheduling snafu (but don't feel too envious since I'm working both Saturday and Sunday.) I spent all four days ripping CDs to the hard drive. I'm not quite finished, but the bulk of it is done. I filled up the big box with CD cases today and it ended up too heavy for me to move safely. Who 'da thunk a box of empty CD cases would weigh so much? I had to wait for Rob to get home to get it out of the dining area and back to the storage room. Of course, Rob moved it by himself with no problem. His job keeps him in shape, something my current job definitely does not do. Although these last four days at home have been filled with all kinds of physical activity so I'm actually looking forward to just sitting in a chair for two hours at a time. Though I'll probably change my mind about that one hour into my shift.

P.S. Words cannot describe the sonic relief of having good speakers again. I am NOT deaf like Rob and when he would turn up the volume with those cheap speakers...aiieee!

Over the years we have accumulated a veritable plethora...nay,more like a virtual miasma of audio equipment.There are the PA's (2),the monitor amp,the Adcom amp and receiver,the Audio Centron power amp,the Phonic 62 channel EQ/booster.Then there's the lower end of the spectrum...the Technics receiver,the Insignia receiver.
And speakers...the PA speakers,the PA monitors,the Polk floor speakers (RIP...but they lasted 10 years),the Insignia bookshelf speakers(cheap,yet quality,temporary replacements for the polks).And some 20/20 studio monitor speakers (high dollar shit for the bands recording efforts).
We lost the right channel on the Insignias a couple weeks ago,which is what prompted me to blast out the living room of all entertainment devices.
After that,I lasted about a week and put together a simple music set up in the living room which prompted Ann to embark on her CD-a-thon mission.
But there was a right channel.No matter what I tried.It was infuriating and confounding.After much cussing and a couple of hours of mix and match and a repair to one of the 20/20 speakers (I had to make up a jumper wire from the cone to the terminal--god damn wire chewing rats) we now have:Ann's laptop patched into the Adcom receiver which is patched into the Audio Centron feeding the 20/20's,giving us the bass response we both like and the volume capability I need because I'm deaf.
My semi long range plan is to replace the fuses in the Adcom amp and rejoin it with the receiver and buy some new bookshelf speakers...maybe at christmas.
On a less technical and certainly more pleasant note,I saw my son,daughter in law and grand daughter at lunch today.Mac is growing like a weed and her eyes are still a brilliant blue!Maybe the recessive gene has taken hold.
I also saw my bud Rusty today,he was at the T.O.E bending some pipe.
And then just a few minutes ago I saw Billy Davis, surviving twin of Mark (Rock star...RIP).
Not a bad day after all.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

I asked Rob the other day which kind of RV he had in mind for our future plans. He said he favored a school bus conversion. That does happen to be a childhood hippie dream of mine, but I think I might be a bit old for the living in a bus thing 10 years from now. Then again, most of the RVs that I've looked at on the internet are way too fancy for my taste so I probably shouldn't rule out a home grown bus conversion. And then there is the issue that Rob plans on continuing to work as an electrician. He will need a way to and from work - motorcycle? Get a fifth wheel or travel trailer so he can take the truck to work? My favorite idea so far is to get a utility trailer to haul around a yurt, stove and furnishings, but there is the part about setting it up and taking it down again each time we wanted to move to another place. And I've heard that a lot of RV parks don't allow tents so they probably wouldn't allow a yurt either. Lots of things to consider, but one thing I know for sure - we are going to have to the spend the next 10 years getting rid of most of the stuff we spent the last 15 years accumulating.

We recently started using charwood instead of charcoal.It burns cleaner,hotter and almost completely,leaving almost no ash.Bills been using it for years,I don't know why it's taken us so long to catch on.
Plus,it gives you a little fireworks display.:)
More CDs and Cheap Breakfast

Hah, Rob posted that I "finished" downloading the CDs. Well, I finished the ones that were in the living room, but that's only HALF of them. Still it's good to have hit that half-way mark. I'm off work today so I'll keep at it, but unfortunately I'm out of the small boxes that were perfect to pack up the empty cases. I guess this next batch will have to go in a big box stacked triple deep. Funny that I'm worried about not being able to find a particular CD case down the road - why on earth would we need to? Everything we could ever want to know about the CD is on the internet these days.

This weekend I cooked up a big batch of breakfast tacos to have for breakfast in the morning. I usually eat a frozen breakfast product like Lean Pockets, Jimmy Dean Omelets, or Pillsbury Breakfast Strudel. Yes, high in calories and fat, but quick and easy and better than no breakfast at all. These products are pretty cheap when on sale, but I thought I might save even more if I whipped up my own. What I didn't realize was just how much cheaper it would be for a little bit of work on a Sunday morning. I ended up with 14 breakfast tacos for under $5.00 (after Rob had some of the eggs and sausage for himself.) Now that's some cheap breakfast! I'm not worried about getting tired of breakfast tacos over the next two weeks because I don't have an appetite first thing in the morning so it doesn't really matter so much what I eat (one reason I was able to eat that frozen crap day after day.) I figure it's probably healthier than whatever they put in that processed stuff so I'm counting this as the first example of "cheaper AND healthier" eating.

Monday, September 24, 2007


When you think about it.Ann finished downloading the CD's and if we played them back to back 24/7 it would take 343 days to play through them all.
Props to Ann for undertaking this task.
Now we just need some new speakers,or an OHM converter.
The other reason for the Magic Computer Thingy-Ma-Jig
Sure the convenience is nice, but another benefit is that are no more stacks of CDs and CD cases. At one point we had racks for them in an attempt to keep them organized, but it didn't really work - they ended up piled all around the stereo anyway. I spent the last two days burning CDs to the hard drive so I could put them in what we call "The Big Book of CDs" which is a portfolio type thing that holds 500. That way they are handy for when Rob want to grab one for the car CD player. The empty cases went into cardboard boxes marked "empty cases" which were then tossed in the back storage area. Good Riddance! When I first moved in with Rob, one of the hardest things to adjust to was the fact that he didn't put albums back in the covers immediately (ya, we still played vinyl back in the day.) As we transitioned to CDs, it got to where it didn't bother me quite as much since CDs are pretty tough. But Rob is a music playing machine and I couldn't ever keep up with the piles that would be generated by a night's music listening which was also aggravated by the fact that a lot of CDs aren't labeled with anything more than some obscure picture. So I'd be wondering if the CD that I was holding which had nothing but a wood print on it was REM or Cracker since both of them have one with a wood print. Damn it, I just wanted to straighten up, not have to pop it in the CD player to see who the hell it was. I eventually just gave into clutter, but I think we have a workable way around it now. I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do with the other CDs that don't fit in the portfolio and we can't afford to buy another one of those right now, but I'll come up with something. Until then, Rob will have to be content with the 500 CD selection currently available for his automotive listening pleasure.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Is really cool,I mean,we can control our stereo from our computers and never have to touch our CD's ever again.I'm thinking about calling it the "I-Pod" or maybe "MP-3".I haven't decided yet.
Last week we blasted out our living room,losing the giant shelf and the giant TV we never watched and some old polk audio speakers that were acting as speaker stands for our newer speakers.Which allowed us to rearrange,giving us lot's more space.
It also allowed us to modernize our music delivery system in a compact,yet powerfully awesome set up.It even has a remote,in case we want to actually sit in the living room and change songs without using our computers!I know that's a hard concept to wrap your head around.I'm considering calling this feature "palm pilot" or maybe "Blackberry/bluetooth enabled technology".But that's only if you disengage the computer and utilize the CD/DVD player.Maybe I'll just call it the "'mote".
All I know is I've heard more music this weekend that I haven't heard in years,that I forgot we had as a result of this change,and that's a very cool thing.
And so is the added space.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Your Saturday, My Friday
Ah, the last day of the work week for me so it's my Friday night. Probably the most annoying thing that happened at work today was the fact that my task "inbox" held more tasks than any one person, including superman, could possibly have done in one day. In fact, it was more than I could have done over three consecutive slow days (and Saturday is not a slow day.) There's no way they can hold me accountable for the 72 tasks left in my box at the end of the day so it's not that I'm worried about getting in trouble, I just find it annoying. Those 72 other things actually needed to get done and no one bothered to find additional resources to make it possible. Ah well, I'm not a manager anymore so I can just let it go without another thought.

Tonight I hooked up the old laptop (no longer used for work) to the stereo so we can play our vast music collection from our various hard drives rather than digging through stacks of CDs looking for that one song that we just have to hear NOW. It's a bit hard to find a specific CD when we have what must be over 1000 CDs by now - not sure how many we actually have since we stopped counting years ago when we hit 800. It didn't turn out to be as easy a task as I anticipated since the versions of i-tunes on the laptop and my desktop weren't compatible. Not a huge problem, just needed to update, but then the update wouldn't install. I eventually got it sorted out, but after spending all day helping people with their recalcitrant computers, I really didn't need to experience an evening of my dealing with my own. But once it was all up and running, much fun was had. Unfortunately not all our music has been ripped to a hard drive yet so it's not quite just a few clicks to hear the exact song what we want, but eventually...

There's this wetback at work that wears a t shirt that says Ireland on it with a shamrock below.He got it at target (I know this because I have the exact same shirt,bought at Target and it came with a ball cap that also says Ireland with a shamrock).
He wears this shirt at least 3 times a week which tells me he is either woefully short of work clothes or he thinks he's fuckin' Irish.Or,probably more to the point,he has no idea the insult he's broadcasting by wearing the damn thing.
He was on the elevator from hell in that shirt the other day with a bunch of us english speaking people and I commented on his choice of apparel in a less than flattering way.
Disgust really,and suggested that I was going to buy one of those "100% Honduran vato" shirt the next time I was at the wetback,I mean flea market just to see how they like it when a white guy subsidizes their cultural iconography.He might pretend that he doesn't understand english,but by the look on his face he knew exactly what I was talking about.
I'm not Irish,but my mom was north country english near Scotland,which is kinda close to Ireland,which,historically makes us all Celtic I think.Or at the very least Teutonic. (HA!My mother was so ironic...).
I love Irish folklore and this wetback has no clue about Ireland and it's history,he just got a deal on a work shirt at fucking target.
So,that's the time I'm at the market I'm buying the most obnoxious wetback pride shirt I can find and I'm wearing it to work.
Fuck those guys.

Friday, September 21, 2007

I came home at lunch which usually means I have about 20 minutes to fix something and eat. Today, however, I couldn't just let the dogs out back to do their thing while I fixed lunch because of the snake. Instead, I spent a good chunk of time taking them out front on the leash which wouldn't have taken so long if they hadn't thought they were going for a walk. They were a bit confused as to why we were just standing in the yard, but they did eventually figure it out. This left me just enough time to stuff some cheese in a pita pocket and wolf it down. I had skipped breakfast earlier so by the time I got home I was starving. Not much in the house to eat, but there was a raw potato. I sliced it thin and pan-fried it in some butter for a snack before I went to the grocery store. Money is tight and I need to keep a good hold on the purse strings so going to the store on an empty stomach is not the way to go. Tonight's shopping trip was all about finding cheap meals. The problem I always run into with cheap is that the cheapest stuff tends to be processed foods such as canned goods, soups, sausage, hot dogs, etc. and they all have way more salt than my body can handle. Not to mention they are usually pretty unhealthy in other ways (too much fat, MSG, and mystery additives.) Fresh meat and veggies are ridiculously expensive in comparison, but I did luck out and find some ground pork and some pork loin strips for $1.99/pound. We'll be eating a lot of eggs since that's another cheap source of protein. I splurged on some fresh carrots to make my carrot/cheese soup. I bought the inevitable jars of peanut butter and jelly along with a cheap loaf of bread for inexpensive sammies. And of course, cheese. As far as I'm concerned, if there's cheese in the house, then I have the makings for a meal since cheese plus most anything (bread, veggies, eggs, leftover meat) makes a meal. Heck, I've been known to make a meal out of just cheese. In fact, that's what I had for lunch on several days of my vacation, but I admit it was expensive Gouda cheese that I bought with the money my parents give me for my birthday. The cheese I bought today was cheap cheese and not so good just by itself. But it would do in a pinch. I bought some other assorted odds and ends, but 1/4 of the $40 I spent went towards a big bag of dry dogfood. And while it might be a bit of a boring diet for the dogs, they'll probably end up with a better balance of nutrition than us humans will. There's bound to be a way to eat cheap *and* healthy - hopefully that's something Rob and I will figure out over these next few months of lean times.
Back to the Grind

I've had two days back at work and this morning I'll be heading that way for day number three. Since coming back, I've been chastised for my performance which is annoying when you consider I had been off the phones for well over a year and never was trained on any of the calls I take now. Ah well, it's par for the course at that company. There are a lot of reasons to not like this job, but I think the biggest one is that I'm very isolated. I talk to customers once, maybe twice if I have to call them back with additional information and then move on to the next stranger. There's no interaction with co-workers, very little interaction with management (and that's usually negative) and no teamwork. I suppose it's not that much different than being a manager, but at least I interacted with my employees and had the opportunity to talk to other managers. I would be much happier working at Jack-in-the-Box, but can't afford the pay cut right now. And so I will slog back into work. I'm so excited... NOT.

Thursday, September 20, 2007


No...not the end result of smoking pot,but the snake, native to Texas,common around this part of Texas.I have dealt with them many times over the years,but this is kind of creepy.
When I got home from work today my neighbor approached me before I could get out of my truck and told me they had seen a moccasin between our houses,a big fat one,and before he could retrieve his pellet gun and shoot it,it slithered into our back yard.
I'm sure they are migrating up from the creek behind our houses(which are dry)in search of water and food...and our back yard is a gold mine.Heavy trees and vegetation,an old turtle pond that still has water in it and a shitload of hoppy toads to feast on.Not to mention my remaining turtles water bowls in the green house.
I loaded up the shotgun with #8 shot and did a reconnoiter of the back yard,I made it to the corner of the greenhouse and considered the considerable canopy that lay before me.I turned around and went back in the house.I don't relish the thought of a "big fat" moccasin dropping out of a tree and biting me on the head.Delivering a serious hemotoxic surprise.
I'm fast,but I'm not that fast...not to mention the whole discharging a fire arm in city limits thing.
I'm pretty sure it is in the old black river turtle pond in the far corner of the yard,nearest my neighbors back yard...ground level water supply near the sub floor of the shed (hoppy toad heaven).
One things for sure,Theo is shitting out front until I figure out how to remove this threat.

No,not the stupid calvary show from the 60's starring Larry Storch,we started an F unit this morning.One bedroom,somewhat bigger than the J unit we finished yesterday but with a more linear design.Less twists and turns.
We had our boxes lined out and mounted and were pulling in mc (wire) in under 2 hours.
By the end of the day we were 60% done.With any luck,we'll be as done as we can be by the end of the day tomorrow.
I'm sure there are many factors contributing to this amazing speed.
1.The basic circuitry is the same for all units,do it a few times and it becomes almost second nature.
2.Problems that present themselves are less confounding because we have trouble shot similar ones in different units,trouble shooting is less time consuming as a result.
3.I am for some reason,thinking more clearly these days and moving faster. (?!:))I am also much more comfortable in giving my crew (down to one) direction.
4.My crew(down to one)has gained confidence,and being 19,has a lot of energy.Did I mention his name is Kyle?Every time I call him by name I think of my son.he's a good kid and has started calling me "boss",which is a good thing.I try to share my knowledge with him and when he makes a mistake I redirect him in an encouraging way and not make him feel like a dumbass.
The other 2 members of my crew were summoned to the hall late last week to swear in.
After all was said and done the local "ambushed" them with a drug screening.They failed and were suspended for 90 days when they can come back and re-test and get re-instated.
I say "ambush" because they weren't told up front about the screening,which I think is kinda shitty/sneaky.
On the other hand,I agree that non-hackers should be weeded out (no pun intended).But these guys were not strung out fuck ups.One was a young kid who still lived at home and was struggling with learning a good work ethic,but in my estimation clearly making progress with common issues of showing up on time and communicating with the foreman when he was going to miss work.He has a bit of an attitude,but nothing gross.
The other is a 30 something guy with a better than decent work ethic.When the younger one was fired first,he told me he had never been fired in his life and resigned before it happened to avoid a blemish on his record.
I knew these guys from work,so I'm not privy to how they live away from the job but based on how they performed on the job,I didn't see a "substance abuse problem".
Admittedly,I still have a very social work approach to issues about job/life and drugs.You addressed it when it became "an issue" on the job and provided treatment and more times than not,they retained employment.
But this is decidedly different.We electricians face the possibility of serious injury and death every day by virtue of what we work with.I agree that the line has to be clearer and more absolute but haven't come to a conclusion to where that line should be.
But door knobbing a screen on new members after they were sworn in strikes me as kind of shitty.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Our new window covers...soothing to look at and full of meaning for us both.
This will be the cover of the next wolves CD,and it's title.
Interconnected and all that.

We've got another hour or so to complete the "j" unit at the's the first one I've taken from zero to 100% as far as rough and my crew in my estimation have done a good job.
Something to be proud of...whatever idiot spends 240,000 dollars on this shitbox,they can be sure if it burns down, the electricians had nothing to do with it.
Th'Rev and his crew wired your condo,person with more money than sense,and you can be assured we wired it step out on your balcony and breath in the smell of homeless urine and grease traps lining the alleys of your downtown paid for it,ENJOY.

Monday, September 17, 2007


Ann and I are like hermits sometimes,just hanging out together at the house with the dogs and approximating social shut ins,which is cool with us.For a time we had the neighborly thing going on,hanging out on the porch regularly with Jen,but she has a boyfriend now so we don't see her so much.
Now that I've shined on the fair weather friends,I mean really,enough is enough.Our social vistas shrunk even more,not that Ann was a big fan to begin with...when we first hooked up with them we had money,the band was going full tilt and we threw parties all the time,generous to a fault on that level...not extravagant (unless cases of orange jubilee count, but somehow I don't think so)we provided the place and the food and beverage and the entertainment.
But when times got hard and we couldn't afford to do that kind of stuff anymore the contact dwindled.To my estimation,and for lack of a better descriptor,we weren't "cool" anymore.
The fact of the matter is we haven't been "cool" for 15 or 20 years (at least)our money and our generosity made it so.
But to the small circle of friends we've had since we were very young,none of that matters.
Sure,they were there for the parties and the jams and the good times.But they were also the ones that hung around to help clean up and put away the ton of gear,and sit around in the living room afterward and visit after everybody else went home.
So...were out in dripping yesterday,hanging out with Bill and Mick and their kids and dogs,and I'm looking at this guy with the gray 'fro and (small for 51) pot belly listening to him tell stories and I'm telling stories while he's looking at my potbellied graying self and it occurs to me the magnitude of what we have been through...a fucking life time of memories that don't always line up the same way,but that's what happens with the passage of time ("Ah,yes,I remember it well").
And I remember thinking this is where I should have been the whole time,and while I was kinda...I know where I want to be from here on out.
To quote a great philosopher..."Blah-blah-blah".

Sunday, September 16, 2007

An assortment of things:

Last fall Rob threw some honeydew melon seeds in a pot. It was a store bought melon from who knows where, but he thought "what the hell." It was fall so I expected nothing to come of this. But it grew a bit, then winter came and since we had a really mild winter it stuck around. Then in February it started growing again and continued growing all through the weird, very wet summer we had here. We gave it absolutely no attention - no watering, no fertilizer, no pest control, no tending at all. And lo and behold the other day I spotted a softball sized melon. The powers of nature are just amazing - to think that we can throw some seeds in a pot, ignore them for a year and end up with a melon...

Yesterday was my birthday. It's the first one where I've ever felt *old*. And for reasons I still haven't figured out entirely, I was sad. I know some of it had to do with my work situation - something I hadn't thought about all week, but was on my mind when I woke up yesterday morning. I'm sure there was more to it than that, but I couldn't put my finger on exactly what was bothering me. Either way, the mood has passed and I'm not going to waste time figuring out what it was all about unless it returns. Maybe one just has to get the blues once in a while, no specific reason needed.

We spent the afternoon today out at Bill's place near Dripping Springs. The weather was perfect, the company fabulous (always a treat to hang out with Micki and Bill) and I felt much more birthday-ish than yesterday. I can't think of a better way to spend an afternoon than hanging out with people you love in an idyllic setting.

My vacation is quickly coming to a close, but it's not entirely over so I was a bit annoyed when work contacted me this morning to see if I would come in today because no one else was scheduled. Jeez, it's not like I needed a reminder of just how utterly clueless this company is. And I'm going back to this place? Well, I suppose it is better than nothing. But just barely. Pizza delivery is staring to look more attractive and I've long suspected I might have a career in dry-cleaning since there's an old radio commercial for a dry cleaners that has been stuck in my head since the 60's. "One hour Martinizing, the world's most popular dry-cleaning..."
Them: "Why are you applying for this job?"
Me: "Because your jingle has been running through my head for 40 years!"

Saturday, September 15, 2007


A hackneyed line from platoon,I know,but watching him dig that hole and wonder about his circumstance has always been a metaphor for me...
People should sometimes evaluate why they are here,and for most of my adult life I always thought I was here to help others,and I did.But somewhere along the line it got fuzzy...why was this helping thing making me so angry and resentful?
I know I've been over this ground before,but bear with me.As I get older the plot thickens,I see things in different lights.
I've been sick recently...nothing major (I hope) just a consequence of the dust and heat and nastiness in the tower of evil,when I first started there I couldn't wait to leave...a couple of days has turned into months,and you know what?If my foreman told me I was being sent to another job I would protest and decline.As bad as it is,we are on a mission.Anyway,my illness has cut into my drinking the point of where sobers not so bad.
You know it's been a long road since I started this electrician thing,somewhere in the neighborhood of 4 years.I embraced the culture as I experienced it...a bunch of drunken yahoos,bent on electrical work and self destruction.I was good at it.Mostly because I had that self destruct gene already,and it was easy to fall into a cycle of work/fucked up.I'm not so fucked up anymore.Recent events have helped me to see that I was on a self destruct path,and while it made for some amusing pictures...that ain't me,despite my attempts to make it so.
I'm bitter,I'm angry,I'm cynical,but I'm not a fool.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Domestic Day
I spent the last four days doing nothing. Well, I suppose you could count playing Sim City 4, listening to Pandora radio and taking naps as doing something, but those are all pretty passive activities. Most people that know me would expect I'd play World of Warcraft or The Sims on my vacation, but those games required more thought and strategy than I was willing to invest. I was more interested in turning my brain off for a while and Sim City 4, when played a certain way, is quite effective in that regard. I also didn't study for my ham radio exam so I won't be taking the test tomorrow. I just wasn't in the mood to study and it didn't make sense to do something I didn't want to do on my vacation. So after four days of downtime, I realized this morning I just how much stress had peeled away when I discovered that I wanted to clean the kitchen. Folks, it's been years since I've wanted to do any sort of housework. So today I cleaned the kitchen, swept the hall, did laundry, cooked dinner and baked bread. Unlike my mother, I have no great passion for housework and I definitely didn't achieve a state of bliss, but it wasn't the chore that it usually seems to be. I have a theory that housework wasn't such a big deal back when my life was more in balance as opposed to the last couple of years when I'd rather be shot than clean the kitchen. I suspect that theory might just have been proven today.

Nicked from Rob below who nicked it from Blue Witch

You scored as Existentialism, Your life is guided by the concept of Existentialism: You choose the meaning and purpose of your life.

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”
“It is up to you to give [life] a meaning.”
--Jean-Paul Sartre

“It is man's natural sickness to believe that he possesses the Truth.”
--Blaise Pascal

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...









Justice (Fairness)


Strong Egoism






Divine Command


What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with

Interesting. I've done a fair amount of reading in my life, but I was never able to slog through Nietzsche or Sartre.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


I got this from blue witch...

You scored as Justice (Fairness), Your life is guided by the concept of Fair Justice: Everyone, yourself included, should be rewarded and punished according to the help or harm they cause.

"He who does not punish evil commands it to be done."

--Leonardo da Vinci

“Though force can protect in emergency, only justice, fairness, consideration and cooperation can finally lead men to the dawn of eternal peace.”

--Dwight D. Eisenhower

More info at Arocoun's Wikipedia User Page...

Justice (Fairness)








Strong Egoism


Divine Command








What philosophy do you follow? (v1.03)
created with

Go figure...

The last time I had quevos ranchero's at the house I used a green chile enchilada sauce and thought this would make an awesome soup.
So I tried it tonight,with mixed results.It a bit too salty.Next time I'll get low sodium chicken broth and that should take care of the problem.Otherwise,it was pretty damn tasty.


1 can hatch green chile enchilada sauce (medium heat)
1 can chicken broth (low sodium)
1 small can corn (no sodium)
1/2 package of diced chicken breast (about 6-8 oz.)
-a can opener-
Open and combine ingredients in a 2 qt. sauce pan
Bring to a boil
Simmer for 20 minutes

And that's it...very simple.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


Catty corner to the job site is the downtown Omni hotel,They have a breakfast buffet and sell it to go by the pound.I've been going there on morning break and the value is amazing.
Today I got half a mini quiche,2 eggs scrambled w/ cheese and 4 slices of bacon for $3.72.Yesterday I got half a breakfast quesadilla,4 slices of bacon and a link of sausage for $2.17.
The weather has been kind to us this week...mid 80's for the highs which makes the tower of evil more like the tower of mischief,I mean,the elevators still suck and all the other elements of suckery are still in place,but we aren't sweating like rats fucking in a wool sock in july.The moss fell off my back this afternoon!I was giddy!
Season finale' of Rescue Me on in less than an hour!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


My local HEB has the features of most grocery stores and practices diverse hiring practices,there are people of all creeds and colors,lots of tattooed men and women,goths,punks,disabled people and deaf people.
One of the cooler aspects of the deaf employees is that they work the registers,which to me is a refreshing sign of a truly equal opportunity employer.
What makes my HEB hell on earth are the customers,"guest workers" wives with their impossibly large gangs of progeny running around and screaming and crying like a whirlwind around moms cart while mom is totally acting like it's normal and socially acceptable...multiply this by 50 and you'll get an idea.Then there are the half way house/retard streamlined crowd...I got out of social work for a reason,and the last thing I want do is run into one of my old patients who lives nearby in a county subsidized apartment and wants to talk about the old days like we went to fucking college together or something.This happens...more than I like.
And then there are the crazy old ladies who, once it's time for them to check out at the register,frequently check out for real and don't recognize items in their carts,deny placing items in the cart or suddenly can't remember if they wanted 5 bananas or just three.
Speaking of the registers,like all groceries,they have regular checkout,express 10 items or less (by the way "guest worker wives" can't count,and after years of putting up with this shit,I too have conveniently forgotten how to count to TEN).I do it with impunity.
I'd like to make a suggestion to my local HEB after tonights crazy old lady episode.
Have regular checkout,eliminate 10 items or less and replace it with 10 to 35 items or less and introduce retard check out and crazy old lady check out.But,NEVER,EVER let your deaf cashiers work the retard/crazy old lady registers.
It's a miracle that poor cashiers head didn't explode as crazy old lady ran her back and forth to the rolling tobacco display no less than SIX times (which also means six ring ups and have to get a manager to do the overrides) Drum in a can...NO WAIT!2 drum in pouches!NO WAIT!Kite in a can!NO WAIT!2 Bugler in pouches!Hey!Where's my chicken?I KNOW I HAD SOME CHICKEN!NO...That AIN'T MY CHICKEN!
And so it went.
I felt sorry for them both,but mostly I wanted to check the fuck out and go home.
When it was finally my turn,I handed the cashier my empty pack and signaled "2"...which got me a warm smile.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

I clocked out at work today at 5:00 PM CST and won't be clocking back in until 8:00 AM September 19th. Because I worked weekends and had a rotating schedule as a manager, I always got screwed on the vacation time and never had the two "weekend days" plus the "five days vacation pay" followed by two more "weekend days" that most people get. My schedule isn't much different with this new position except that now I'm allowed to take the full shebang when it comes to a week's vacation. It's ironic because this position doesn't come anywhere close to the amount of stress and hours of the other one, yet provides better vacation opportunities. Go figure.

I didn't make a whole lot of plans for this week off since part of the appeal is to get up when ever I want and do whatever I want without any structure. I do plan to head down to one of the farmer's markets on Wednesday morning to pick up some real food for a few good home cooked meals. Beyond that, I suspect there will be some bread baking, some video game playing and maybe some green bean planting. And I *might* sew myself a few skirts, though I'd have to drag my sewing machine out of the back storage room and clean it up first (not to mention finding a place to put it.) That might be a bit more "work" than I want to do on my vacation. So tomorrow morning I'm going to wake up and decide what I want to do at that point and go from there. And I may find that I decide to do nothing at all which is quite okay with me.

Oh by the way, I fixed the rear window on my car - not sure exactly how I managed to coax that motor to start working again, but now that the window is back up I just need to be careful not to accidentally hit the switch and roll it down again. And I suppose I should probably put the door panel back on at some point lest I drive it for years that way like my friend LT did with his Chevy Beretta.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Car Repair 101 - Know Your Limitations
Tonight the driver's side rear window on my car decided to not roll up anymore. The car has power windows (not my choice, it came that way) and the driver's side front window had already given up the ghost by refusing to roll down. Now I prefer windows that don't roll down even if it means sweltering in a car without air conditioning and was willing to leave the front window well enough alone until such time as I could afford to get it fixed professionally (appears to need a new regulator/motor assembly.) But a window that doesn't roll up leaves my back seat open to the elements and my car open to theft of contents. That was enough to get me to take off the door panel tonight and see if I could figure out some way to get the window back up. Well, no insights were forthcoming from peering into the openings on the door frame and I ran out of daylight before I could run some jumper wires to the motor to confirm my initial diagnosis that that the motor is fried. Now in my younger days, I would have probably drug out the worklight (oops, don't have one anymore) and started disassembling various components to try and get the damn window up. Most likely I would have stayed up most of the night and accomplished nothing. But I'm older now and a bit wiser and I'd rather throw some plastic over the opening and get a good nights sleep before I go to work tomorrow. And if I have to drive it with plastic on the window and stop using it as an auxiliary storage closet until I can pay to get it fixed, so be it. Although I do think I'll take a spin by the library next week to see if they have a repair manual that could give me a clue on how to get that motor out of there to replace it.

P.S. I just realized we had failed to link to this post by Blue Witch. If you are thinking about buying a MESH computer, read this first.

When I was young,my family hit hard times every once in...fuck it,a lot.My mom had to be creative when it came to meals during those times and she was a master at doing magical things with seemingly unrelated left overs.
My mom also insisted that I learn to cook (among other "wifely" things,because I may not have a wife to "do it for me" provincial:)).Anyway...neither of us could be bothered with a trip to the grocery for dinner,so I improvised with what we had around the house.
I will call this "white trash goulash" regardless of how it turns out.

2 grilled chicken thighs...skinned and cubed
1 1/2 country style grilled pork ribs cubed
1 southside market garlic sausage link thin sliced
1/2 can spiced diced tomato
1 can ranch style beans

2 cups egg noodles

Combine meat,saute.Which is french for reheat.
Add diced tomato...bring to boil then simmer till the Beverly Hillbilly's is over.
Add ranch style beans and bring to a boil again,then half way through The Dukes of Hazard or after Green Acres(depending on which TV land feed you have),simmer..."fer a bit".
At some point boil up some egg noodles...drain them.
Spoon meat sauce stuff over noodles,crack a cheap beer and click over to the NASCAR channel.
Saltines are optional.
Bon appetite'!

Friday, September 07, 2007


We got a day and a half off for labor day so this was a 4 day week...payday comes earlier,the weekend comes earlier and these kinds of weeks generally pass by in the blink of an eye.
Not so this one.It was like 6 days crammed into 4.In addition to the unrelenting pace,the heat,the broken ice machine(= no cold water),the elevators from hell,and the incessant chatter and general feral behavior of our "guest workers",I'll remind you that I cut myself several times,tried to drill a hole in my hand and projectile vomited tuna salad in front of my coworkers...all in 4 days.
To say that 3:30pm friday couldn't get here fast enough is a gross understatement.
Up until today,the big push was to get the bathroom ceilings ready for inspection by today,this involved some can lights(easy),an exhaust fan(also easy) and a disconnect for the air conditioner(a gigantic pain in the ass).This disconnect has to be above the ceiling yet accessible for service through the scuttle (or access) hole.The problem was the units are so small That the ceilings are cram packed with the AC unit and ducts,the sprinkler pipes,and fire alarm shit,leaving precious little room for the disconnect.Being that I am the most experienced person on the crew,it fell on me to suss it out.I took the stance that if I were a service guy,where would I want the disconnect to be located in the less likely place to A:cause you to cut yourself on the razor sharp studs,B:you would be able to fit the needed tools to provide the service,and C:wouldn't cause you to cuss like a salty old sailor the whole time you were doing said service.I've done a dozen or so of these devices,but for this particular unit there were only 4 floors.The first took an hour and a half and by the time the race was done on thursday afternoon,the last one took me less than 45 minutes.The good news this morning was we passed inspection!Hooray me and my crew!!!
Today was spent making up panels in other units,a welcome change from the bathroom ceiling marathon...making up panels gives me the chance to ply my craft,to bend wires artistically,symmetrically and sensibly.So when someone comes along a year or so down the road,they can open up the panel and know without question what's happening and have a clear path to work with.Panels are a matter of pride really...the goal being to have future electricians who have to service them think "whoever terminated this panel had their shit together" rather than "what monkey tried to fuck this football???DAMMIT!"
And with that I bid you good night.

Thursday, September 06, 2007


I was driving a self tapping screw into a metal stud this morning with a drill when the screw shot off north and the drill shot off south,still spinning,right into the web between my thumb and index finger.I was pushing hard so the phillips tip in the drill went all the way into my hand (1/4 inch maybe).It hurt like a mofo.Being a magnetic tip it had little bits of metal it deposited into the hole it made.Thankfully my tetanus is current.The contractor has not replenished the first aid kits on the individual floors like it said it was going to do 2 weeks ago,so I had to descend in the elevator from hell to our staging area to deal with it.
I dug the metal bits out and cleaned it and bandaged it and went back to work.
Thank goodness for nursing school.On my ride back up in the E.F.H I ruminated on how my life would be now had I actually graduated from nursing school and become an RN.And I concluded that I would be in the ER of the city hospital picking metal bits out of some pussies hand that couldn't deal with it himself.
I had a bit of a chuckle on that thought.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007


They are back again,and the timing is interesting to me because back in 2004 the same guy ghosted me at their show that ghosted me for the Slayer show this past weekend,only this time he didn't drink up 20 dollars of my money,got a free ticket,and took my money down the road to buy pizza and after I tracked him down had the audacity to insult me and my kindness.
My only regret is that I didn't have the opportunity to hit him with something more substantial than a poster.
And that is the troubling difference between 2004 and the present.I've been thinking about this for a while,and while all people grow and change through experience,I'm not pleased with the emotional changes I've gone through since my induction into the world of construction.
Had the subhumans thing happened in 06 or 07,I would have been more inclined to shank his ass,or at the very least kicked him out of his chair with a few more for good measure.
And I don't know if that's a sign of regression or an acceptance of reality,the line is so blurred for me at this point that I can't tell you honestly if I'm finally adjusted to the world we live in,or relegated to the base instincts of a populace that has been debased and shit on enough that they are want to rise up and strike out.(you know...the myth of the middle class in america).It's not just about concerts and asshole's about asshole employers and the world politic and the insanity unfolding around us that contributes to my's a breakdown of the basic structure.
In 04 I was able to let it go and amble on as if,but not so much now in 07.
I have no tolerance anymore as far as my personal life is concerned.
The WORLD is in turmoil...and here I am,still dealing with this monkey shit.It's confounding to me and to quote the horse man from Ren and Stimpy,"No sir...I don't like it".
I don't like it at all.

I was just uncomfortable enough to have a hard time going to sleep and woke up about every hour through the night.Ann's picked up my "summer cold" and as a result is doing the benedryl shuffle and snoring like a freight train,between that and Theo chewing on himself almost every time I stirred,it made for a miserable night.
But I $oldiered on into the T.O.E this morning because we need the money.Upon reflection,I should have stayed home.Upon further reflection,I'm glad I didn't.Another crew was trimming out (installing plugs and switches) a condo I had wired over a month ago with a green helper and mistakes were made by us both.Nothing major or glaring,just our thinking about wiring sequence at the time confounded the other crew and we were put on the spot to remember why we did what we did a 1000 miles of wire and plugs ago.
I take mistakes very much to heart,and plus not feeling 100% led to a stress headache and some unneeded embarrassment.In the end,we straightened it out in about an hour and it was all good,but I was glad to get home.
What bothers me about this episode the most though is I have been placed in a position of quasi authority over helpers with a year or less experience.I'm not a journeyman yet and the situation calls for me to make decisions and give direction that weigh heavy on me.I take pride in my work and value my coworkers respect of the same.To look like a dumbass (my perception)in front of them is hard.
But,on the other hand,it's valuable experience and I have learned a great deal since wiring that condo.The concept is clearer to me now.
Rescue Me in an hour!Another great show.
Hot Potato
There was a call I took yesterday that took the hot potato method of customer service to the extreme. This call was transferred to me from the billing department. We had placed a repair ticket for the customer earlier that day, but the customer received a phone call that he didn't have service and "had not been paying for it" so the repair ticket was canceled. The customer was rather upset at being told this when he had, in fact, been paying for the service since 2002 and so he called the billing department who confirmed that he did have service and then transferred the customer to me. Unfortunately, the customer needed to go to the Line Repair department that had canceled the ticket and I suppose I could have transferred him there and been done with the call. However, these sort of calls usually take about 30 to 45 minutes to straighten things out and this customer was definitely ready to cancel service so I decided to make the call myself and call the customer back with the results. It took me TWO HOURS on the phone before I had a new repair ticket issued. The initial call to Line Repair resulted in an emphatic "there is no service on this line and so there will be no ticket" and a transfer back to billing. Billing insisted there was service on the line and transferred me back to Line Repair. Line Repair said billing needed to do something and transferred me back to billing. Billing said they couldn't do anything and Line Repair needed to do something and transferred me back to Line Repair. Line Repair repeated that billing had to do something and transferred me back to billing. Billing this time agreed with Line Repair and suddenly the customer didn't have service. When I point out that billing reps A & B had found service on the line, billing rep C talked to billing rep A and decided that yes, he did have service, but there was still nothing they could do and transferred me back to Line Repair. This Line Repair rep was quite possibly the rudest rep I have ever dealt with and flat out refused to get me to a supervisor stating no supervisors were available. I explained to her that I didn't need a supervisor to make a complaint, but simply needed someone higher up that could take a deeper look at the database to see why the records between the two departments did not agree and perhaps do manual ticket or flag the account or otherwise figure out how to get a repair tech out to the customer's location. Eventually I got a supervisor who did figure out how to place a ticket for a customer that simultaneously had service, but did not have service. I don't know what she did, but I hope it worked. And quite frankly, if I had been a customer, I'm pretty sure I would have canceled service somewhere around the second transfer to billing and not put up with any of it.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007


I went to subway and got lunch today.Initially,I was going for the special,a cold cut combo,but the customer in front of me ordered a tuna salad with provolone and that sounded good to me,so I followed his lead and ordered one as well.
About 45 minutes after lunch I started to feel quite ill,clammy and sweaty.It wasn't the usual blast furnace heat of the T.O.E because it was rainy and didn't break 85 today.
Right around 2 this afternoon I was walking from the living room to the bathroom to finish an installation of a disconnect switch when...BLAMMO!My lunch flew out of my mouth with a ferocity that makes Linda Blair's little exorcist thing pale in comparison.I took three more steps into the bathroom and BLAMMO!It happened again.Much to the grossing out of my co workers.
As much as the general labor force annoy me,I couldn't just leave not one but two puddles of emesis for them to clean up,so I diluted it with water and covered it with this material they use to sweep that holds down dust.
I haven't felt right since and am going to bed to watch damages...a really good show,BTW...
'Cane Watch
A little short on sleep today because I stayed up late watching Hurricane Felix. Of course, I wasn't watching it in person, but thanks to the internet I had all sorts of satellite pictures and charts of T#s and other statistics to view along with interesting commentary from hobbyists and professional meteorologists on assorted blogs and forums. It was almost as fun as the hurricane watches I used to do with my dad, back before the days of computers when we would hand track the path on a paper chart by listening to reports on the ham radio. I say almost as fun because even though there is more information on the internet and the satellite pictures were amazing to see (right as it was happening instead of in grainy black and white photographs days later), it just wasn't the same. Sentences typed in a blog, forum or chat don't carry quit the thrill of hearing the actual voices and personalities of the commentators crackling over the radio and searching for a blog of someone who might live in the affected area that might happen to be writing at the time wasn't near as much fun as figuring out how to make radio contact to that part of the world. But what was missing most of all was the sharing of it in person with a fellow enthusiast, one who was excited as I was about every new update or report from the hurricane hunter aircraft. Ah Dad, you probably have no idea how much fun I had or that I even remember those times so fondly. I'll have to mention it next time we talk.

Sunday, September 02, 2007


Very special things.You don't get them very often,but I have been the recipient of several recently and to that I owe the brush and the leash.I have been going out of my way to give him the life of riley in his twilight time and it's paying off for us both.Theo gets spoiled big time and I get to remember why I love him so much.
And kisses!Gentle caresses from a dog that hates face time as a rule makes me proud,that he loves me so much he would give me a kiss...if you don't get this or think it's weird,that's cool.
I was supposed to go see Slayer yesterday in San Antonio.I was out on my porch at the designated time and no friends...The next thing I know Ann is home from work wondering why I'm still here.I call my friend and they tell me they knocked on my door and called my cell and blah blah blah...they fucking blew me off.
I mean,I was the designated that means sober,and I was.
I don't know what happened,one minute I was on the porch waiting for them,the next I was saying hello to Ann.They said they called me several times,but my phone shows no record of this.My final words to them were "FUCK you guys!"
I was angry,my feelings were hurt,I wasn't sure what had happened,and I'm still not.
Marginal friends,though long term marginal friends,but after yesterday,friends no more.
Which brings me back to Theo,and Sully,and Beenz and Buddy and Cypress and Skeeter and Diamond and Sunday and Murphy and all the strays in between,my best friends have always been canine since I can remember.They would jump off a cliff for me and I for them.
Now that's pals.