Category Archives: work

October Ramblin'

One foot in front of the other.

SATURDAY: I took the daughter to the Medieval Faire. She enjoyed the silly magician and the juggler who had an ax, a flaming stick and a rubber chicken in the air at once. She also enjoyed the Punch and Judy show, as much because the puppeteer had me control one of his marionettes for a short time; demented show with the devil showing up and Rensselaer (city across the river from Albany) a linguistic substitute for hell.
I always enjoy the crowning of the boy bishop; it’s all very High Church. Wait, it’s now the “child bishop”, which means the bishop is, for the first tiome in my recollection, a girl! Brava!

Then a brief trip to a pumpkin carving party. Lydia had lots of kids to play with and didn’t want to leave.

Finally, we got a babysitter and went to a friend’s 40th birthday party, which was pleasant enough.

SUNDAY: Choir rehearsal, then church service, then meeting for the Black History Month planning.

Mother of one of the kids at the pumpkin carving party called to note that her son was feeling lethargic; ah, Lydia, too.

Still we all went to the State Museum, mostly because Lydia wanted to go on the carousel. A church group of about 10 saw Through the Eyes of Others: African Americans and Identity in American Art; 1609; This Great Nation Will Endure: Photographs of the Great Depression; and Berenice Abbott’s Changing New York: A Triumph of Public Art. And yes, we all rode the carousel, even only one of us was under 40, and at least one of us was twice 40.

Then ANOTHER choir rehearsal.

MONDAY, TUESDAY: Home with a sick child. Her temperature was up Monday morning, then down Tuesday morning, when I thought she was rallying. But feverish Tuesday afternoon. When she was well was actually more work, keeping her occupied with Sorry, Uno, pick-up-sticks, Candyland… Difficult blogging conditions.

WEDNESDAY: Work, which comparatively speaking, was a vacation; the wife stayed home with the child. Although I got little done the first hour because my computer, and only MY computer, somehow decided to leave the LAN, and I had to wait for a techie to fix it.

There was this cellphone conversation in an elevator. The person standing near me: “Yeah, he was a good father. He never got drunk in the garage every weekend.” I didn’t know this person, but I felt embarrassed on her behalf.

Also, these guys were coming through our offices, only one of whom works there. So I say to the one I know, “Nobody else is here. Just you and me.” And one of the other guys walking by says in this condescending tone, “That’s ‘you and I‘.” “Shut UP! Wasn’t even talking to you; I don’t even KNOW you. Shut UP!” I thought that, but didn’t say it.
And in any case, almost no one would say, “Just we” in casual conversation; one would say say, “just us”, the objective version, at least colloquially. Even my English teacher-wife couldn’t discern for sure.
Old records from 1895-1925 on the original victrolas

Care for Caregivers: Getting the help you need could save your life.

Stop Drowning in Mail: 4-Step System to Manage Mail Overload
Picture above came in the e-mail yesterday with his note: “Eddie Haskell, The Beaver and Wally! HOLY Mackerel!! Are we REALLY that Old???” Yes, an excess of punctuation there.



Tegan had a blogpost, the title and the sole content of which was “Bleah”. I can relate.

The daughter and I both are suffering our seasonal allergies. The ragweed count has been low, but the grass has been moderate, and three days ago, was high. More than anything, this affects the sleep. I might spend nine hours in bed, but the first hour I spend coughing. Then when I DO get up in the morning, I’m logy. Everything aches and the legs feel as though they weigh 1000 pounds apiece.

The wife was so concerned about the daughter that she took her to the doctor, who confirmed that it was allergies, not a cold, that she has been suffering from.

My work computer I’ve had to shut down at least once every single workday for the past week and a half. And Ctrl-Alt-Del doesn’t work; I have to hard boot it. Seems to have something to do with Adobe.

At home, every time I go back to the computer, there is an “unresponsive script”, even when I’m looking at something not very graphical, such as my Gmail. I seem to have downloaded an unauthorized version of Windows somehow; “You may be a victim of software counterfeiting,” I’m told by my computer. I got a replacement printer, but it isn’t recognized by the computer.

And I put air in the bike tire on Thursday, but by Sunday, it was flat; now I need to take it to the shop, because I don’t know what’s wrong.

The good thing about feeling lousy is that I get more work done in the office. I have to concentrate really hard on what I’m doing, lest I lose track, and the bottom line is that I’m more efficient because I’m necessarily more focused.

I’ll miss choir rehearsal tonight, so I can attend this, but that’s not all bad, since my throat’s so scratchy, I can’t sing a thing right now anyway.

So, bleah. Regular blogging will return tomorrow. Guaranteed, actually, since it’s already done. Then Saturday’s done in my head. Sunday, I answer questions.

This too shall pass.


The power is off, on, off

The fact is that I often write a little bit here and there on my blog. Without any computer, though, that becomes tricky. If I don’t get to your site as usual, I will, I will, if/when the problem’s solved.

Yes, the lousy weather came. I decided to write the events of the last couple days in Twitter-sized bits; don’t know why.

I have stuff for tomorrow, but future postings may be disrupted by lack o’ access.

Th 6pm – Bible study xed by forecast, Indian food @ Shalimar. To corner; next walk so slick, need to grab lamppost to not slide into rd.

Th 8:30pm – short choir rehearsal. Friend Deb gives ride to store-rock salt- & home, inc. sleet. Take out trash. Read, sing to daughter.

F 3am – power out, then on. Wife up to reset clock. 2 min. later – power out, then on. Up c 5:30-computer won’t turn on, tho’ monitor is.

F 5:45am – can’t get school closings: computer, cable-attached TV whacked out. Use 7″ set. Most closed, not ALB, day care, wife’s school.

F 6am- ALB, day care closed, wife’s school not. I’ll stay w/Lydia. 6:20-wife’s school finally closed. She’ll stay with Lydia. To Y, work.

F 7:30am- no rball players @Y. Lock missing frm locker, buy new. Paged – wife calls. No power @ work, no one authorized to close office.

F 8:15am-call lib dir from Y @ his cell -no power means no phones. Call 9:15 on MY cell, it died, then pay phone. ALB lib open @ 11. Home.

F 1:15 pm- Go to ALB lib in midst of windstorm. W/ melting, brought down chunks of ice onto cars & people. Write this.
Well, that was going to have to be the post, but I went home, tried to figure out the computer again, and realized I could get it to work if I didn’t run it through the surge protector, but rather plugged it into the power strip directly. Good news – computer operates. Bad news – no less protection, which might fry the computer sometime.

The wife and daughter had taken a nap, but the wife got up. This would have been just the perfect time for us to watch together those programs we planned to watch together (Earl, Office, 30 Rock), except for one little thing: the cable was in this minimalist mode. We had no DVR service and had but five channels to watch : community access, some advertising channel, NASA, TV Guide Channel and, fortunately, the PBS affiliate. so I read and Carol did Christmas stuff.

This also meant I watched the news and JEOPARDY! in a way I’m unaccustomed – in real time, on the 7″ set. Did I mention it was in black & white? I prefer the time shifting.

All in all, a good day.

Could have been worse. Over 200,000 homes in the area were without power in my area, but we weren’t one of them – well, except for an hour around 6 p.m. last night, which seems to have fried (temporarily? permanently?) the DVR.


When we got home from our vacation Friday, I checked the phone messages (only four – two junk and two for an event that’s now past), and turned on the TV (DVR 99% full!) I could delete a few shows we saw during the week, which got it down to 92%, and I thought I’d watch some while unpacking. But then something fell off the back of this humongous piece of furniture where the television resides and unplugged the TV. This meant moving the furniture, which meant removing all the LPs (yes, LPs), VHS tapes and DVDs from the beast, plus photos and other items; fortunately, the two drawers, each with dozens of tapes, pull out. I could plug in the TV, and I recovered my cribbage board which had fallen previously, but this meant that I had to also recover…the Barney DVD that had fallen some months earlier. By accident. Really.
Unlike the Barney cassette, which I don’t mind, the DVD is a game show with an audience of children…and adults. There’s something really creepy about WATCHING grown-ups feign (I think it’s feigning) the same enthusiasm as their kids. I mean, it’s OK for them to BE that enthusiastic; I just don’t want to see it.
Checked my e-mail. 524 new work e-mails. One was a link to this stupid internal Microsoft video for stupid Vista:

I also discovered that the search committee I’m on for the PR position in my office has four interviews on Wednesday and Thursday; so kind of them not to schedule them for Monday. I also found out, in an e-mail that only arrived Friday afternoon, that a presentation that a colleague and I offered to the Association of Small Business Development Centers was selected for us to present at the ASBDC 2008 Annual Conference: Blogging with the SBDC – Implementing Web 2.0 Technologies at Your Center. Which means I’ll be going to Chicago in September. I’ve never actually been to Chicago; being at O’Hare does not count, so that’s rather cool.
I’ve been trying to catch up on reading some blogs. Ken Levine wants people to vote on some komedy kontest. I learned from Mark Evanier that Kelly Bishop was in the original cast of A Chorus Line; she already looks like a younger version of Emily Gilmore from Gilmore Girls. Evanier also has a cat named Lydia, darn those Marx Brothers. And I’ve discovered how Mike Sterling posts every day:

Sometimes, I just love spam. In addition to all those kind offers of getting me free money or increasing the size of…well, you know, there are these:
Dear Gmail Account Users,

We hereby inform you that our system has developed database error so we need to access all accounts in other to save and keep them active even till after a new database is introduced to Gmail .
Gmail Team advices you update your account details to verify and keep them valid and undeleted.
DATE OF BIRTH:…………………………
After the details are given your account will be upgraded and safe for your use.
To reply just “CLICK” on the REPLY tab in your browser.
Please bear with us.

I didn’t need the REAL notice from Gmail – Warning: This message may not be from whom it claims to be. Beware of following any links in it or of providing the sender with any personal information. – to detect it as fraudulent. I’m guessing though that if they actually got native writers/speakers of English, they might fool a few more people. “our system has developed database error”? “we need to access all accounts in other”? “keep them active even till after”? Spammers, thank you for today’s entertainment.


When In Doubt

Steal a meme, this one from GayProf from some weeks ago.

1. Will you be looking for a new job?

Not specifically. But I have been told that one should ALWAYS be looking for a new job, even if one doesn’t end up taking it. The first thing I’d need to do is do a resume, since the last time I looked at it is 1998.

2. Will you be looking for a new relationship?

Well, if you mean romantic, then no. If you mean other types, always.

3. New house?

As GP said, “Oh.My.God.No.” Too much to do on this one.

4. What will you do different in ’08?

Play more.

5. New Year’s resolution?

Floss more.

6. What will you not be doing in ’08?

Running for President. (Swiped from GP, but it works for me).

7. Any trips planned?

Considering I live 150 miles away, I haven’t been to NYC but once this decade, and that was BL (before Lydia). This year, at least two reasons to visit.

8. Wedding plans?

Not mine.

9. Major thing on your calendar?

Yes. Trip to Williamsburg.

10. What can’t you wait for?

February to be over.

11. What would you like to see happen differently?

Religious tolerance actually applied, American people outraged by the loss of civil liberties, Eddie Mitchell blogging more.

12. What about yourself will you be changing?

Promise less, deliver more.

13. Will you better your relationship with your family?

Actually, the relationship with my family is as good as it’s ever been.

14. Will you be nicer to the people you care about?

I’m sweet as hell.

15. Will you dress differently this year than you did in ’07?

Yeah, more hats. Long-sleeve shirts in summer.

16. Will you start or quit drinking?

I drink quite sporadically. Probably won’t decrease.

17. Major lifestyle changes?

I hope not.

18. Will you do charity work?


19. Will you go to bars?

Rarely if ever.

20. Will you be nice to people you don’t know?

I’m ADORABLE to people who don’t know me. People I know, on the other hand…

21. Do you expect ’08 to be a good year for you?

Marginally optimistic.

22. How much did you change from this time last year till now?

I think the skin condition was the big thing.

23. Do you plan on having a child?

I have a child, who just in the last month moved her dolls into her parents’ room to make room for the sister she’s decided she wants. Ain’t gonna happen.

24. Will you still be friends with the same people you are friends with now?

Some of the same, some different ones. Gotta mix it up.

25. What happened in ’07 that you didn’t think would ever happen?

I discovered that two recent Arkansas governors were born in Hope, AR.

26. Will you be moving?

Barring catastrophe, not a chance.

27. What will you make sure doesn’t happen in ’08 that happened in ’07?

Getting on any committees. I don’t like committees.

28. What were your New Year’s Eve plans?

I went to bed at 11 p.m. (midnight, Atlantic time).

29. Did you have someone to kiss at midnight?

She was asleep, too.

30. One wish for ’08?

World peace. You know, the usual.

World of work

Some weeks ago, I read an article about how some (younger) people who go on an interview wearing what few experts would recommend. I might have taken it as a bit of a joke, except a friend of mine told me that a guy showed up to an interview he was conducting wearing shorts. My friend was inclined to dismiss him, except that he was quite intelligent and qualified. During the Q&A, the applicant asked, “Can I wear shorts to work?” The answer was no, but he was hired and he has worked out well.
I came across this list of unusual questions to ask in an interview from a usually reliable source, but at least a couple would never get past most Human Resources departments. One was “How about those Yankees?” (or other sports team), which may be perceived as sexist; an alternative, asking about the hot/cold/wet weather, seemed like a better idea.

Then there was a question about asking a really oddball question, just to see the reaction, and if the answer’s not too long or too short (whatever that means), that’s good. One suggestion: asking how many phone books there are in New York City. Of course, if I were answering it, I’d know there are about 8 million New Yorkers, meaning roughly 3 million households, and about 98% of all households have a phone. There are people with only cellphones that may not have phone books, but then there are offices with multiple phone books. Having no real idea, I’ll surmise that there at least as many business phone books as residential, so I’d say 6 million. I would be one of the people that would go on too long.

An alternate question: how do they get the cream filling in a Twinkie? (If you’re ever asked this, BTW, it’s described in the Wikipedia post for Twinkies.)
When the Job Isn’t What You Expected. As the guide noted: “The thing is, you never really know what a job’s going to be like until you start. I’ve had friends take jobs that wound up having absolutely nothing to do with the job description they’d gotten in the interview. It’s like they wandered into the wrong building and sat down at someone else’s desk, and no one noticed the mistake.”
For those of you who don’t read Mark Evanier, the lyrics to The New Battle of New Orleans by Ray Stevens, who has performed a wide range of serious and silly songs. Disappointing, to say the least. BTW, he is number 160 in my Billboard Top Pop Singles artists 1955-2002, right between Def Leppard and Gene Pitney, though he doesn’t rank in the Billboard albums book.


The Office

It occurred to me that our office recently “celebrated” our first anniversary at Corporate Woods.

You may recall that I complained bitterly about the move, but that I have said little about it recently.

Know that I still find it a soulless, inconvenient place. The good news is that they finally put our organization’s name on the signs at the 1st and 3rd floor elevators this month.

The phone system is still wretched, even though it was sold to us as a vast improvement over our old system. The power in the whole building went out recently.

And working in a cubicle is still stultifying.

Fortunately, I’ve taken up some hobbies…
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…that keep me busy.

And I’ve decided…

…to make the best of things…

…and put on a happy face.

And at work, I always write good.
Jenna Fischer, who plays Pam on the TV series “The Office”, and incidentally, shares a birthday with me, injured her back after a fall on some marble steps. Best wishes to her on a speedy recovery.


Pieces of April

This is what I have going on for the next month:
1. Take Lydia for her physical today.
2. Participate in the Maundy Thursday service at my church service, and rehearse for Good Friday.
3. Go to the Capital Area Council of Churches ecumenical Good Friday service, also at my church.
4. Participation in the Good Friday service. We’re singing The Seven Last Words of Christ by Theodore DuBois. Please come if you’re in the area. The soloists are great and the organ part is very dramatic. Hope my voice comes bck; currently, I have laryngitis, probably from seasonal allergies.
5. Easter Sunday service. No wonder some choir directors refer to to this, ironically, as hell week.
6. April 10 – As mentioned, I’m going to see a scion of a rock legend. Sean Lennon at the Egg.
7. April 11 – I was asked do to this just yesterday: talk to a bunch of librarians about guerrila marketing.
8. April 18 – I am taking a CPR course. Also donating blood for the 120th time.
9. Thursday, April 19, 7 pm. writers Christopher Ringwald and Amy Biancolli will be speaking at the Albany Public Library, main branch, sponsored by the Friends of the Albany Public Library. He writes on religion and philosophy, she writes movie reviews for a Houston newspaper, but is syndicated nationally. BTW, they’re married. Since I’m in charge of the event, if you’re in the area, please, PLEASE come. It’s free. I just want folks to come.
10. Friday, April 19. Carol and I are going to the Symphony! A world premiere based on William Kennedy’s new book, Roscoe.
11. A work conference in Utica at the end of the month. Not only do I need to prepare my share of the library presentation, but I’m also writing the questions for a JEOPARDY! segment of another prrsentation. That’s 61 questions, in 12 categories plus the final.

I’m sure I’m forgetting something.

Also, I must drink lots of water. This is based on an incident on Friday. I’ve finally gotten my bicycle out, on Wednesday. This involves putting the bike on the bus to day care; riding the 2.6 miles to the Y to play racquetball – by taking the bike, I actually got there 20 minutes sooner than I would have if I had taken the bus; playing racquetball (for over an hour -yay!), then taking the bike to the bus stop (another quarter mile), take the bike on the bus to Corporate Woods to work. I had to leave early to get my Internet connection fixed, so I get the bike to put on the bus to town, ride the bike to the bank and then home (1.6 miles+); then, after the cable guy comes, go to another bank to get a bus pass and back (maybe a mile each way). Then about two hours later, get the most painful cramp I’ve ever experienced in my life, noit in my calf, which I’ve had before, but in my left inner thigh. Utterly excrutiating, and wouldn’t go away until after three glasses of water, some Motrin and 15 minutes.

Re: the cable guy, I need to con my friend Mark to come up and help me install a couple things on my computer, not the least of which is more memory.

Meanwhile, I want to be more current with the newspaper. I’ve been almost constantly a week behind, reading about our local Extreme Makeover: Home Edition family in Colonie, which will be broadcast as the season finale next month. This is a show I’ve actually never seen, but I’ll probably catch this one.
There was also Dan Savage movie review of a couple weeks ago that I just read in Metroland: “Have you seen 300 yet? It’s about a handful of lightly armed ancient Greeks—the Spartans—who take on the mighty and massive Persian army. Some feel the film is homophobic; some feel it’s a conservative, pro-war piece of agitprop.
Homophobic? It’s Ann Coulter on a meth binge.”

I’m looking forward to listening to lots of Emmylou Harris and Marvin Gaye, since their birthdays were yesterday, as well as hearing some Richard Thompson, Willie Dixon, and assorted others.

Finally watched this video that’s been sent to me TWICE so far, so if I post it, I won’t get it again: – The Apple iRack

Plus the usual stuff. So it’ll be a busy month. And May will be equally so. I almost never wish my life away, but I’m REALLY looking forward to mid-June.

Florida beat Ohio Stste, and I fell from 1st to 4th in my pool. At least I picked out There’s No Such Website on the first try.