Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Ambivalence

Tomorrow, around 9:00am, I will set out for Houston to start my new job. Because of the living arrangements that I mentioned in my last post, it will be a life changing event. My wife and I have been married for 38 years. We have had to spend time apart before but nothing like this. It is going to be hard on both of us because we are still crazy about each other.

However, each time I start feeling sorry for myself and my wife, I think of two things:

1. There are a lot of unemployed people out there that would love to have a job, even in another city. It only took me 3 months to find a job. My daughter, a highly skilled scientist with a degree from a top university, has been looking for 8 months. Therefore, I am blessed.

2. In the next few months, 30,000 more young men and women will be leaving their homes to go to Afghanistan. They do not know when they will see their families again or even if they will survive the conflict. Compared to what these people have to face, my situation is nothing. I hope that every one of them comes home safely in 2011, as the President stated, but I fear this will not be the case.

I will be able to come home from time to time since I still have a lot of airmiles. We will survive this challenge just like we have survived all the rest - we will count on love.


Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hi-Ho, Hi-Ho, It's Off to Work I Go

That's right, gentle reader. Just Dave got another job. Yes, it's in another city and yes, I took a 20% pay cut but that's OK. I can snack on dog biscuits (a good source of fiber). The other city part is a bit worrisome as we don't want to sell our Colorado house so Mrs. Dave and I will have to be apart for a while but, thanks to Wilber and Orville Wright, I can get home every few weeks as it's only a 2 hour flight to Houston, where I will be living in my mother-in-law's empty house. She lives with us in Colorado as she cannot take care of herself due to Alzheimers.

I feel very lucky to be getting a job while so many others are still losing theirs. I hope this whole mess gets straightened out soon so people can get back to work and keep their homes. In the meantime, I will be learning new stuff (any remarks about old dogs, etc. will be remembered for later retaliation) and trying to be worthy of the job.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Dave - His Eyes Opened

Sorry, the title is an obscure reference to a Star Trek TNG episode. It would take too long to explain. Suffice it to say that the title is appropriate as looking for a job has been an eye-opening experience for me. Before the current economic situation, I used to get contacted by one headhunter or another with some fabulous job. Why wouldn't they want me? I have over 40 years experience in my field with a good mix of head office and field office jobs. I have the top 3 professional designations, at least one of which is damned hard to get. However, now that I need a job, nobody is knocking at the door.

I am so much better shape than most of the unemployed people today. I am in no immediate danger of losing my home, the pantry and freezer are full and I have a little cash in my pocket. Therefore, I am not whining. I am just surprised. I have found that most HR folks are simply resume screeners and, if yours does not have the right words in the right order, you are gone. I got a phone interview with a company today that had turned me down for the same position a couple of weeks ago. Fortunately, a lady that I have mentored for years and helped to succeed recently joined that company and started harassing the VP to take a look at me. I think that I might actually get a second interview. If I can put myself in front of the hiring manager, I think I will get the job.

Before I lost my job, I felt sympathy for those who were out on the street but felt no real kinship. Now I realize that they are me. We are in this together and we will survive.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I don't usually do memes but this one intrigued me:

1. You are at the store when suddenly 2 men walk in with guns and rob the place. Are you the hero, quiet & follow the rules type, or try to make a run for it? I ask if they need help carrying the loot.
2. Do you like Twizzlers? Hate licorice.
3. Are you a YouTube watcher? Rarely. No porn=waste of time.
4. When an auto glass store calls and asks if you have a chip or crack in your windshield, what do you tell them?That I will see them in court for violating the Federal No-Call Statute.
5. What is the age difference between you and your father?25 years.
6. Have you ever tried to find the end of a rainbow?Yes, when I was much younger and still had hope.
7. Camping – recreational vehicle or tent? Tent. Love the smell of canvas.
8. Have you ever had to call 9-1-1?No
9. Whose is your favorite blog to visit? I have a list of about 10 that I visit every day
10. How long do you think you could live locked in your house on the food that you have on hand right now?Months
11. Pepper – shaker or grinder?Grinder
12. What state is 2 states west of you?Nevada
13. What color do you believe you look best in?Plaid

Monday, August 10, 2009

When you wish upon a star.....


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Thursday, July 16, 2009

Rif-Raff

On Monday, 3 days after my 44th service anniversary with the same company, I was advised that my job had been eliminated due to an overall reduction in force. I can't say that it was a shock because we had not been performing well against our plan and my work, except for projects, was becoming redundent to what others were doing. Still, I did feel a little lost for a couple of days until I absorbed the reality. I did get a very generous severance package-30 days paid notice, 1 years salary and 6 months COBRA as well as some other perks. I really can't complain. I know others that are much worse off in their situations.

I think I should be able to find another position fairly soon as there seem to be a lot of openings at various company's websites. Right now, I am just kicking back. I'm taking the wife and MIL to see the latest Harry Potter epic in a couple of hours and I plan to go fishing tomorrow. If worse comes to worse, we can scale back our lifestyle and I will take early retirement as my prior employer had a funded pension plan in which I am fully vested. I will really miss some of the people I worked with (others-not so much).

One thing that gives me a little comfort is that I was involved in a project that was a royal pain in the ass. Every time I thought it was complete, the project owners kept coming back, wanting to tweak things just a little more. This project was supposed to be complete 3/3/09. I have to smile a little when I thing of my boss, who I really like and respect, having to deal with these idiots to get this project complete. I have a feeling that he is going to burn some butts.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Happy Fourth

233 years ago, a bunch of guys got fed up with King George III's bullshit and told him, basically, hit the road, Jack, and never come back. Here we are now, still not taking any bullshit from folks that give us trouble. There are many problems in this country but I would never consider living anywhere else. I, like the rest of you, will continue to work on the problems we have and enjoy the freedom that this group of guys initially got for us and that millions of patriots have renewed over the years with their lives. Think of them for a minute while you eat your barbecue. Have a safe and happy day.

Monday, June 29, 2009

M-I-C-K-E-Y, oh forget it..

Back from Orlando/Daytona. It was so hot down there. Ok, so it's my fault for going in June. Just like I go to Minnesota in February. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do to make a buck. I stayed as far away from all the Disney/Universal Studios, etc. action as I could. If you go to Orlando and want to have some adult- type fun, go downtown around the Church Street Station. There is an area there that has a bunch of little shops, bars and restaurants that is a fun place. Pretty inexpensive, too.

I finally viewed that temple to the gods of NASCAR, Daytona International Speedway. That place is huge. Looking at the grandstands, I could just smell the rednecks slowing simmering in the sun. It just made me hotter. I gotta find someplace cool to go for a while.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Farrah Fawcett - 2/2/47 - 6/25-09

Farrah, who was diagnosed with cancer in 2006, finally succumbed to the disease this morning at 9:30 PDT. This is kind of a hard one for me to take. We grew up at the same time along the Texas Gulf Coast. Although we didn't really know one another, I felt a connection to her because our backgrounds were very similar. My thoughts go out to Ryan O'Neal, who loved her so much and her son, Scott. I hope they can take some satisfaction in the fact that she is at peace and out of pain. I, for one, will miss her.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Ulm

Ok, ignorant xenophobe that I am, I have to assume that there is a place in Germany named Ulm. I assume this because it seems like wherever a group of German immigrants laid down roots, they named at least one town New Ulm. New Ulm, Texas, New Ulm Minnesota, etc and so on. So I have to figure that this Ulm, Germany is a hell of a place. However, if it's so great, why did they leave? Go figure.

Anyway, New Ulm, TX is the next destination on my seemingly never-ending tour. An old friend and client has a golf tournament there every year to raise money for scholarships for local kids. His son was killed by a drunk driver some years ago and he asks the HS grads to sign a pledge that they will not drink underage or drink and drive. If they do, they are entered in the scholarhip lottery. Good cause. It also gives me a chance to brighten up many peoples lives as they have never seen the brand of golf that I play and many (if not most) find it hilarious. Think Charles Barkley but 10 inches shorter.

The only real problem is that Texas in June is miserable. It will be 90 degrees F with 90% humidity. I will be sweating like Rush Limbaugh at an ACLU meeting. Oh, well, it's for a good cause. And there will be barbeque.

Friday, May 29, 2009

The other city in Tennessee

Spent a few days in Memphis this week. I didn't get anywhere near Graceland or the Big Muddy but I did get a flavor of the town. It seems like a laid-back place where people live and let live. Of course, it has a bit of a bloody history in the annals of civil rights. Hopefully, those days are behind them. I would like to go back and go down along the river (I have absolutely no interest in Graceland). Maybe later this year.

Friday, May 22, 2009

The Puzzle Palace

I got back from Washington, DC Wednesday night. Actually, the meeting I was at was in Alexandria, VA, a very cool and quaint (I hate that word but it fits here) village. Lots of little shops and restaurants, including no fewer than 6 irish pubs where you can get your Guinness on.

I did go to Washington to help lobby with the group I was in. I has never actually gone in to try to see my senators and representatives. It was quite an experience. Of course, the actual politicians were gone elsewhere, allegedly voting or doing important goverment stuff, like helping Cheney wax the waterboards or something so we met with their aides. I have to say that I was fairly impressed with the knowledge of these young men and women. They told us the position of their boss on the issues that we brought up and didn't pull any punches. We were gentle with them as we were mainly looking for information. I'm sure these underpaid staffers have to put up with a lot of bullshit.

We found out the Capitol police are on the ball. One of our party set his canvas briefcase down on a bench and stepped about 10 yards away to take a picture of us with the Capitol dome in the background. When we went back, there were three cops standing around the bench with grim looks on their faces. They advised my collegue not to do that again.

All in all, I enjoyed the visit. I couldn't help thinking that, without the bravery and self-sacrifice of the people on United Flight 93 on 9/11, I might have been looking at a blackened hole instead of the Capitol and White House. God bless all of them and may they rest in eternal peace. On this upcoming Memorial Day weekend, we should take a minute to thank all those who are responsible for maintaining our freedom. Thanks to them all. Stay safe.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Trouble on the Trinity

I fear that something bad is going to happen tonight if the Denver Nuggets sweep their series with the Dallas Mavericks. Therefore, you can be sure that I will be parked in front of the television to make sure that I don't miss a second.

This is the first year in a while that I kept up with the NBA. What is with all of the pushing and shoving? When I played basketball, you would foul out in the first 5 minutes of play if you did that. Now, you have to cause a subdural hematoma to get a flagrant foul. No wonder these guys are in a bad mood all the time. Maybe this activity explains what is wrong with Charles Barkley.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Music City

So I was in Nashville earlier this week. Cool town. If you get over there and you like a good steak, go to Jimmy Kelly's. Not easy to find but, hey, you got Google Maps, right? Make sure you get the corn cake appetizers. These are little corn pancakes about the size of the dollar pancakes you get at IHOP. I could only eat about 75 of the little suckers. They were great.

If you happen to be staying for a few days, take the NashTrash Tour. These are two old gals in a pink schoolbus who take you around Nashville while making outrageous comments. They are hilarious.

One thing, Embassy Suites - Folks don't necessarily want jazz played at nuclear volume levels while they are using the public bathroom. If you don't want folks staying in your crapper long, hire a bouncer.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Somedays, you just don't want a convertible.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Twittering can be expensive

And speaking of basketball ( which I was in case you were not paying attention), Mark Cuban, the intrepid owner of the Dallas Mavericks, was fined $25,000 by the NBA for twittering his criticism of the officials instead of just calling them stupid blind bastards, like he usually does. Isn't technology wonderful?
The Zen of Basketball

At the end of March, there are 63 teams that are sad and 1 team that is happy. There is no fair or unfair about this. It simply is. It has been for 100 years and it shall be for 100 more. One can no more change this fact that you can stop hair from growing inside an old man's ear. So do not try, little cricket.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Just a short funny:

A Polish immigrant went to the DMV to apply for a driver's license. First, of course, he had to take an eye sight test. The optician showed him a card with the letters '

C Z W I X N O S T A C Z.'

'Can you read this?' the optician asked. '

Read it?' the Polish guy replied, 'That guy's my best friend.'

Thursday, March 12, 2009


Blatantly stolen from Diana Prince at Bulletproof Bracelets http://dianaprince.blogspot.com/. Check it out. Class act for sure.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Grandpas

Here's a little Friday funny for us older folks: A little girl went to visit her grandpa. When she saw him, she ran up to him and jumped up into his arms for a hug. While he was holding her, she began to trace out the wrinkles and seams in his face. "Grandpa", she asked, "did God make you?"

"Why, yes, he did," Grandpa answered. "Did he make me, too?", the girl asked. "Yes, he made you, too, honey", Grandpa said.

The little girl replied, "He's finally getting better at it, isn't he?"

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Shanghai Dave's Ginger Chicken

To honor my sweetie on Valentine's Day, I made my world famous chicken. OK, country famous. All right, all right, it's famous around the house. If you want to please your darlin' with something a little different (besides the handcuffs and velvet whip next to the bed), here is the recipe:

2 pounds of chicken breast cut into 1/2-3/4" strips
one medium zuccini
one medium onion
2 cups of sliced mushrooms
2 cans of water chestnuts
1 package bean sprouts
(You can add whatever veggies that flip your switch - tiny corn, snow peas, etc.)
1 small piece of fresh ginger root
4 tablespoons olive oil (or whatever oil you like best).
1 cup soy sauce

Thinly slice the zuke and the onion. In a wok or large heavy skillet, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat. Add one slice of chicken. When it begins to sizzle, add the rest of the chicken. Sprinkle with Nature's Seasonings or just salt and pepper.Stir quickly and evenly, letting the chicken brown on all sides. When brown, grate the ginger root coarsely and sprinkle the chicken evenly with it. Now, add 1/2 of the soy sauce and stir the chicken to coat it. Add the veggies and the remainder of the soy sauce. Stir to evenly mix the soy sauce. Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes over medium low heat. Serve over rice pilaf.

Rice Pilaf

2 tablespoons butter ( and I mean butter, not oleo)
2 cups of rice
4 cups chicken bouillion

Melt butter in heavy pan or dutch oven, over medium heat. Add rice and stir to coat it in the butter. Let sit, stirring occasionally until most of the rice is a light brown. Add the bouillion and bring to a boil, Reduce heat to medium-low and cover. Let it cook unmolested for 10 minutes then check it. If it is still watery, cook longer checking at 3 minute intervals until rice is fluffy,

Don't worry about the butter. The chicken and ginger will cancel out the cholesterol.

I hope you like this as much as I do. With a prep time of about 15 minutes, less if you buy some of the veggies and the chicken precut, and a cooking time of around 20 minutes, it's a fairly quick meal. If you have leftovers, make sure that you save all of the sauce with the rest as it will taste much better the next day. Enjoy.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Don't Mess with Old People

Just a little funny:

The IRS decides to audit Grandpa, and summons him to the IRS office. The IRS auditor was not surprised when Grandpa showed up with his attorney.

The auditor said, 'Well, sir, you have an extravagant lifestyle and no full-time employment, which you explain by saying that you win money gambling. I'm not sure the IRS finds that believable.' I'm a great gambler, and I can prove it,' says Grandpa. 'How about a demonstration?' The auditor thinks for a moment and said, 'Okay. Go ahead.' Grandpa says, 'I'll bet you a thousand dollars that I can bite my own eye.'

The auditor thinks a moment and says, 'It's a bet.'

Grandpa removes his glass eye and bites it. The auditor's jaw drops.

Grandpa says, 'Now, I'll bet you two thousand dollars that I can bite my other eye.' Now the auditor can tell Grandpa isn't blind, so he takes the bet.

Grandpa removes his dentures and bites his good eye.

The stunned auditor now realizes he has wagered and lost three grand, with Grandpa's attorney as a witness. He starts to get nervous.

'Want to go double or nothing?' Grandpa asks 'I'll bet you six thousand dollars that I can stand on one side of your desk, and pee into that wastebasket on the other side, and never get a drop anywhere in between.'

The auditor, twice burned, is cautious now, but he looks carefully and decides there's no way this old guy could possibly manage that stunt, so he agrees again.

Grandpa stands beside the desk and unzips his pants, but although he strains mightily, he can't make the stream reach the wastebasket on the other side, so he pretty much urinates all over the auditor's desk.

The auditor leaps with joy, realizing that he has just turned a major loss into a huge win.

But Grandpa's own attorney moans and puts his head in his hands.

'Are you okay?' the auditor asks.

'Not really,' says the attorney. 'This morning, when Grandpa told me he'd been summoned for an audit, he bet me twenty-five thousand dollars that he could come in here and piss all over your desk and that you'd be happy about it!'

Don't Mess with Old People!!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Looking for that next dynamite investment opportunity? Look no further.


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Monday, January 05, 2009

Thought for the Day

"The only reason that economic forecasting exists is to give credibility to astrology."

John Kenneth Galbraith - renowned economist