Sunday, December 14, 2008

All told, not too bad.

So I thought my weekend was going to suck. I didn't find out until late in my work day Friday that I was going to have to work yesterday. I was supposed to have yesterday off, allowing me all day Saturday to hang out with Hannah in the mountains. But that didn't quite work out. Friday and Saturday were both exhausting days at work, but I managed to clean out nearly the entire bench (again) by around 5PM Saturday. I also got a quick refresher in laptop power jack replacement and, more importantly, the permission to use our soldering/desoldering equipment at work for personal stuff. The boss was actually glad to let me since I need that kind of experience. Desoldering I can do no problem. I just need to work on the actual soldering part. But at the end of the day (despite having cleared nearly customer's computer in the store off the work bench and into the ready-for-pickup queue and the boss still asking what I did while he was out) the boss brought in some very good beer. He does this two out of three Friday/Saturdays. I don't know why, but he does. It is free beer. I complain not.

But Saturday morning, Iesu Cristo. I didn't want to go in. This is not usual for me. I just wanted the day off like I was supposed to. But I leave with time, I thought, to get in on time. But, alas, the World had other plans. Not only does the NCDOT think that two weekends before Christmas is a great time to take one of the narrowest parts of I85 and make it one lane, but they do so right on top of my exit! And! My car starts sputtering and vibrating alarmingly rough as it dips into lower RPMs. So much so that it cuts off on me more than once on the short jaunt to work from the highway. It felt like one of two things. Either really low oil or no gas. But neither are the case. The Honda was known to leak/burn oil. So, being the tinkerer that I am, I started looking into ways to fix that. I might have been a little too industrious in my attempts, and then forgetful of said attempts. Thinking the oil might be low, I checked it, adjusted (or what I thought) for the engine having been running and added a quart. The problem, I think is a combination of overfill and the oil filter not having been changed in years before I changed the oil last time. Today I drained the oil and replaced it, leaving the "new" filter on. It's running better, but I suspect changing the filter would help. But I didn't really have the time, space, or inclination to perform a full oil change in the cold of the mountains with only about 2/3 of the tools and such I needed.

I don't know what it is, but I love fixing things. Computers, now cars. I might just be on my way to becoming a gearhead as well as a computer geek.

I haven't really done anything else today. I bought pizza for lunch, and enough for Hannah and her sisters to have some leftovers for breakfast or so. And overall, I've just been relaxing in the comfortable cool weather, but I'm ok with that.

In geek news, Hannah and Sarah seem interested in Mordheim. This makes me happy. I miss that game and I've been itching to play for a long time. Also: I fixed an HP zv5000 that Fisher once had. It still has the broken power button, but I've figured out a workaround. And this very post is being brought to you, live (sorta), from it's exposed and somewhat amalgamated form. Overall, I like it more than I thought I would. 17" widescreen monitor. The P4 cpu isn't the best performer, but it does what I need it to do. And having a gig of RAM in the thing helps. I might try installing Ubuntu on this thing sometime next week. We shall see. For now, I plan on it being my mostly portable recepticle of music and internet access with abroad. It is named The Holy Tome. I think it's appropriate. It's about the size of a "pulpit bible," it can hold all of my music, and it can access the Great Intarweeb Oracle of the Tubes.

So yeah, all in all, it's not been too bad a weekend.

through the lost endless mountains so far away from home...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 16 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose whatever, I'm just bored, but if you want to do it, super. I need something to read and I can't sleep. But most of you will see this tomorrow. Or today. Or when I'm not insomniatic. Right.

1. I am medically impossible. My existence is in defiance of the Prince of the World.

2. I am a White Knight, a warrior of spirit. I fight my battles every day, but few see what I fight. I fight ignorance, I fight intolerance, I fight hatred. I fight for love, knowledge, wisdom, peace. I wage war against the spirits of the malevolent, both corporeal and infernal. I am of the White, and I wield it like a spear against the Dragon.

3. I have one tattoo. I want three more. The one I have is a verse from the Book of Job. One of the ones I want quotes the Book of Isaiah. "Isaiah 13:13 - Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger."

4. I love Cheerwine. I love milk even more.

5. Broccoli is truly the king of vegetables.

6. Pipe organs are full of win and awesome. They are truly the King of Instruments.

7. One of the greatest jokes I've ever told was when I told someone to ask me if I was a tree. I said no. They didn't get it. But it was really facetious, not absurdity, because there are times when standing barefoot in the rain in the field that I really feel like a solid oak.

8. I drink for flavor, not for stupor.

9. I have an absurdly high pain tolerance.

10. I also have to often remind people that being able to handle pain does not mean I do not feel it. Nor does it mean I won't say something about it. And it especially doesn't mean I like it.

11. I am the rock. I am the stone. I am the very living mountain. I always feel much more at ease with solid mountain underneath my feet.

12. Once upon a time, I was a poet. Now I can only remember it when my mind is loosed from it's day-to-day braces, needed though they be, and allowed to run afield for a while.

13. I love food. I love buying it, smelling it, cooking it, eating it. I try to eat healthy. It helps that I like healthy foodstuffs. But I also believe in an afterlife, so squeezing out another year or two when I'm 80 by eating nothing but fish and organic fruits, veggies, and breads now seems like a poor trade.

14. You can have your swords and rapiers, your swashbuckling and your banter. Give me my polearm and I'll put an end to that swagger right quick.

15. I'm a registered Republican. I voted for Obama. I'm really a Libertarian, on a personal level. My favorite form of government is an Empire. Go ahead. Try to figure out my politics.

16. I don't like to fight. I don't like hurting people. Maybe you think I'm a coward. That's fine. But I do not have an infinitely long fuse. It can run out. If that happens, remember one thing: I don't care about me winning; only you losing.

I tag...meh, whoever wants to play along. Feel free to comment away!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Used to be so good...

This whole blogging thing. I used to be more regular with it. I must not have as much to say.

Or more likely, I get too distracted by the intarweebs and forget I have things to say. Or that I could say. Or even would say. Or whatever.

I'm a month into the new job. Overall early impressions are good, both mine of the employer and the employer of me. I'm one of three employees, with the boss' wife making three and a half since she does the book-keeping. That means it's a much more intimate job than what I'm used to. With Best Buy in general, and Geek Squad in specific, it was very easy to blend into the background noise on most days. Just do the work, get my check, go home. I can't do that so much at Right Click. What with the Boss working right next to me on the computers. Most of the time, it's ok. But he's a very...particular person. And I'm still practicing his particular process. I feel like an apprentice of sorts. A journeyman level, at the least, but my boss is at least a level or two ahead of me. I wouldn't call him an artisan, but master for sure. So I carry on in my Journeyman Technician tutelage. It's a good job. I'm actually learning things. There's a whole lot more real potential for growth in my current job than anything I've done in the past. We're looking at a new location sometime in the near future. A much bigger place than our current (adequate) hole in the wall. And the initial problems I had seem to be fading. When I first started, most days I went in to work wondering if this was the day I would get fired. It might not have seemed quite so bad if I hadn't had so many very sudden dismissals in recent job history. It makes a man a might jumpy. But in talking with the boss this past week, and today even, there's strong hints of a possible raise or other bonus of some kind. Apparently even with the learning curve, I'm doing enough of what I'm supposed to be doing to make the money worth it. And that's saying something given the size of the operation and the current economic roller coaster.

Last night after work I hopped down the road to Little Dooey's to hear Bret Blackshear play some blues. That, alone, was worth the "trip" but several rennies showed up (plus the food was good) so a good time was had. Kristie, aka Cricket, brought her violin with her from a recording session with Bret's wife Kathleen, so she got up and fiddled a piece or two. All told, the crowd of friends and Bret made for a very amusing time.

Thanksgiving is coming up. Yay food!

This weekend upcoming I get to go up to Boone and watch App play football and other such fun activities with my dearest. It'll be nice to spend some time together without half a dozen or better teens running around. This weekend I had to work one day (today) but tomorrow I have off. A day with no obligations. I don't have ren-faire. I don't have to find a job. I don't have to do this or that to the car. I'll likely go to church. But even then, I'll still get to sleep in compared to a work day. Huzzah!

Christmas swiftly approaches! I'm excited this year for several reasons. Not the least of which is not having to worry about driving home. I'm at one of them already. Solves that little issue. I also actually have money I can spend on people. And I'm not saying that the only gift you can give is an expensive one. But even creative, personal gifts are hard to come by when you have less than no money like I have in the past. I'm catching up, saving, and I'll still have more than enough to give gifts to everyone. It's a nice feeling.

Also: it's cold outside. This makes me happy. Now if only it would snow. Here, Hannah. Boone doesn't do me much good as I don't live there.

i put 'er there to get 'er offa my mind

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Art Quiz!

Your result for What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test...

Conscientious, Fulfilled, and Spiritual

The Renaissance was a cultural movement that profoundly affected European intellectual life. Beginning in Italy, and spreading to the rest of Europe by the 16th century, its influence affected literature, philosopy, religion, art, politics, science, and all other aspects of intellectual enquiry. Renaissance artists looked at the human aspect of life in their art. They did not reject religion but tended to look at it in it's purest form to create visions they thought depicted the ideals of religion. Painters of this time had their own style and created works based on morality, religion, and human nature. Many of the paintings depicted what they believed to be the corrupt nature of man.

People that like Renaissance paintings like things that are more challenging. They tend to have a high emotional stability. They also tend to be more concientious then average. They have a basic understanding of human nature and therefore are not easily surprised by anything that people may do. They enjoy life and enjoy living. They are very aware of their own mortality but do not dwell on the end but what they are doing in the present. They enjoy learning, but may tend to be a bit more closed minded to new ideas as they feel that the viewpoint they have has been well researched and considered. These people are more old fashioned and not quite as progressive. They enjoy the finer things in life like comfort, a good meal, and homelife. They tend to be more spiritual or religious by nature. They are open to new aesthetic experiences.

Take What Your Taste in Art Says About You Test at HelloQuizzy

On Politics

Ok. It's the middle of election season. And I've done what I can to keep out of the political discussions. I have many friends and loved ones from both ends of both camps and everything in between. I, myself, lean solidly to the right, but I understand the need for compromise and, sometimes, even change. Most of you know who I plan to vote for, and most also know why. And some of it has to do with who else stands by this person. Dean Smith (ok, that's kinda blind following, but it's also amusing/ironic to note it and it's just one of many), Andy m#####-f###### Griffith(!!!), and, I recently discovered, Colin Powell.

I read a blog. Shocking, I know. The author is a sci-fi/movie/pop-culture columnist and a sci-fi novelist. He is a moderate liberal. He is also an intelligent person, very witty, and an excellent writer. So I read it because it is amusing, even if he makes fun of conservatives. And even then, not all the time. He got just as mad at Democrats as he does Republicans in '04 when they snatched defeat out of the jaws of victory. But there's no doubt in my mind he's a patriot. His blog pointed me to the article I linked to some months ago about military funeral honors. And another post of his has touched along those lines with regards to Powell's endorsement of Obama. Read it here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

A full 360!

Well, sorta. This will make for my 360th post on blogspot since I started this thing back in August of 2004. And, interestingly enough, I find myself in a similar position as I was then. I'm at my mother's, but making the best of things. It was a reasonably optimistic time for me then, and it is now. I have a chance and a plan and it all might work this time. I've said that before, but I've said that before, too. History doesn't repeat herself, but she does like to rhyme.

I started work today. Finally. The job is not new, but thanks to the person I'm working for, I learned several somethings today I did not know before. I was amused and amazed. I'll need to remember to leave the boots at home, though. There's not a lot of sitting around at this job, but I do get an hour for lunch. I've done the math and I should be bringing home about $1500 a month after taxes, maybe a little more. It's not bad. And the sooner I get into the swing of things, the sooner I'll be making more. I imagine I'll likely be doing even better by Christmas. The opportunities and growth just itching to happen there is very thrilling. This is where I am working. Check them out.

Third weekend of Faire went well, I suppose. Once again, I felt like I was the only chaperone. Maybe it's unfair to feel that way, but there was the Mamma D show the first weekend. Wes had meetings and Hannah was sick last weekend. This weekend Wes was working (no blame), Chris was sick, and Hannah had drill. If Chris were well, he, too, would have been at drill. Luckily we had "only" 8 of our 12. Next weekend, we should have a full compliment of cadre and a whopping 3 cadets. Yeah. And I still have to drive. How did that happen? All told, the season is going very well, I'm just having to do a lot of, like, work, y'know? And it's all hard and junk. I mean, who do they think I am, a responsible adult in a position of authority and seniority?! As if! Chah! What were they thinking?! Oh well. Just have to make the best of it. I also found that poly-pro tights make all the difference. Also, somehow, there is always more than enough food for the guards. It's like a total loaves and fishes scenario.

But I swear on things that people consider holy, I'm gonna bust some heads if the bickering and infighting doesn't stop. I've got a bloody show to put on, and if the gossip-mongers and pot-stirrers and dramaphiles don't quit interfering, there's gonna be pain. I'm a patient guy, I really am. But Jesus. Kids and adults. Bitching, whining, sticking their noses where they don't belong! If you didn't hear it from both sides involved directly, then shut up. You can't know the whole story just looking at two people. Never assume. Stop your scoffing and sneering. As long as it's not affecting the job or the show, shut up. If you have an issue with someone, say something. Don't yammer on about how awful it is, or how hurt you feel. If you feel left out, or your contribution was ignoring, or someone forgot you did this or that, then talk to them. But don't be a turd about it. Some things you can't help. It happens. Decisions and circles above your pay grade. It happens. And bitching won't change it. It'll only make others miserable, too. So quitcher bitchin' and get back to work. If you're asked to do something by someone who is your boss, just bloody do it. Don't do it long enough for the boss to go away. You don't have to like your bosses. But you are expected to listen to them if they give a reasonable order. Just try not doing something a boss asks you to do in the real world just because you don't like them and see what happens. Don't undermine a peer's authority. If they don't respect a peer's authority, how long before they stop respecting yours? And never take the quiet ones for granted. Maybe they don't do it for the accolades like some of you jack-offs. That doesn't mean they don't appreciate getting a little thanks now and then. But never assume that just because they've always been there and always done their job that they always will. Everyone has breaking points. Don't poke the bear. It's a bad idea.

it's astounding, time is fleeting, madness takes its toll

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Weekday Update

Good TV? What the heck? Season 2 of Chuck, Season 5 of House, Season 3 of Heroes. Lots of good stuff on.

Faire is running par for course. Last weekend was hecktacular. Opening weekend AND a Mamma D's show for the Sultan's Tent. It was hectic.

I have an interview tomorrow with a computer shop in Concord. It looks like an awesome setup. The coolest part, is I put in my resume this evening around 7:00-7:30. I got a call back and a phone interview about 20 minutes later. The result is a technical interview tomorrow morning at 11AM. This is the first real good lead I've had in months. Four months of this job search crap and a move back home later, and things actually look hopeful for a change. But I've got more applications and resumes to put in. I can't bank on anything actually working these days. Wish me luck.

i'm the dog, the big bad dog

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Well. Here I am.

So I've been moved out of Greensboro and (back) into my old room in the "basement" of my mom's house for about a week. It's not awful. I knew it wouldn't be. Of course, I would be moving in right when there's massive drama over my step-sister moving out. I remain unconcerned, not the least because if she moves out, it opens up a room for all of Chase's stuff. Chase took over the room Jerod and I shared when I moved out, but the little bugger's gone and gradumatated from the high school and has gone off to his freshman year at Averett University. Skywarp's set up. One of big bookshelves and one of the small ones are set up. My clothes are unpacked. Slowly, the room is beginning to resemble a living space and not a storage space. My cats have adjusted well. I'm an hour farther from Hannah than I was before, and that's unfun, but other than that one glaring exception, things aren't bad. Now if only this move will translate into work of some kind. I've got a lead or two I'm trying to follow up on, and some far off possibilities that I can't really count on, but hope for. We'll see.

No matter what happens, though, I want to be out by Christmas. And I will be out by the time Hannah graduates in May, or close to it. I like it here, but I'm 26. I'm not going to be that stereotype.

cause i wanna hear my record on the radio

Monday, July 21, 2008

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Surprise, Totally Delayed

I got a tattoo. I don't have pictures yet. Pictures will follow sometime today.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Surprise Tomorrow!

Or today. Or whatever. I got something super sweet and awesome this week. I'm just not going to tell anyone what it is until Hannah gets home tomorrow. Then I will take pictures and show and tell.

these are the hands that built america

Geek Cave v3.0

Wes moved in and back out again in the space of a month. So that means we lost and gained back the front room back again. And I've spent the night moving the computer, desk, and TV back into the room. I've finally got my desktop set up on a taller table (our old dining room table) and the desk set up separately (either for my own craft work or for Hannah to use.) The TV, the cable, the router and my desktop are up and running fine and my bedroom is finally starting to cool down. And it's nice to have the front room open. Makes the apartment feel more open and large. I've got a little more room to work with, though. Maybe I should get a good futon setup or something. Ah well.


i say go, go, go!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Officially 26. Or within a few minutes.

At around 3:30PM on May 15th, 1982, I was brought kicking and screaming into this world. The circumstances of my existence were then (and are now) pretty amazing. It looks like my 26th year could be even better than my 25th, and that's kinda saying a lot. Thanks to everyone for the birthday wishes I've been receiving all day at work!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Request #3

From Michelle:

"Um... nudist colonies?

No, wait! The proper way to braid a horse's tail!

Or How to battle against Athlete's Foot!"

These I'll address in order and succinctly.

Nudist colonies. Well, they're not for me and my preference for clothing, but if it's your bag, I don't see anything wrong with it. Some people have no problem not being clothed and being around those also not clothed. I know that the reality of nudist colonies are a large portion of people no one really wants to see naked for the sake of seeing something naked. There's a handful of pervs and exhibitionists, but they get a too titillated by nudity to really function.

Proper braiding of a horse's tail is a little more difficult for me to answer. I'm not a horse person, so I'm not speaking from a wealth of knowledge, but it stands to reason that as long as the braid doesn't irritate or hurt the horse, I see no reason why any braid you like couldn't work.

Athlete's Foot is a fungus. Plain and simple. And the easiest way to combat Athlete's Foot is prevention. Keep your feet clean and dry as much as you can. Wear clean socks everyday. Change socks if you've gotten them very wet either through sweat or water. This will also prevent blisters and resulting infections from torn blisters. As for what do when you get an infection, the answer is similarly simple. Pay close attention to cleaning your feet and purchase one of the multitude of over-the-counter products designed for this exact malady. Personally, I've never had Athlete's Foot, and I don't do anything special to my feet. But my feet feel so much better, as do I, when left bare as long as possible, so maybe fresh air is good, too.

I still have a small list of requests to work through, but if anyone has a topic they want to suggest, just leave a comment here and I'll get to them as I can in an order of my choosing!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Request #2

So this isn't in order, but it seemed the most urgent of my spout of requests all of a sudden like.

"The appropriate method for offering sage counsel to the grieving."

This one is a little more difficult for me to answer, but maybe not for the reason you might think. I've always handled death very well. Maybe sometimes a little too well. But I do find myself comforting those in pain and loss. Simply, don't offer sage counsel. Words won't do any good right now. So just don't say anything. Physical contact, I've found, does so much more than any words one might offer. Hug someone or put your hand on their shoulder. Look them in the eye. But don't let go so soon. Hold them a few seconds longer than you otherwise might, and do so firmly, but gently. Sometimes that's all a person needs to feel comfortable enough to cry. And most grieving souls will cry; and they should. It's a natural part of the process. Just be there. Hug them. Hold them. Actions are the important part, not the words. Eoncourage the process from start to finish. And after a little while, you start to remind the grievers that the sun also rises, and this world still holds some goodness and death is not the end, nor the beginning, merely the next step.

John, I'm sorry to hear about your loss. Hug your family for me.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Request #1

From callmeserenity :

{ I stole this from tforawesome's LJ

Come Summer, Is There a Real Woman in This Multiplex?

And, also, if you could explain to me how the Hulk's shoulder muscles could be so enormously bulging that they give him the appearance of a turtle sticking it's head out of it's shell? }

Well, to deal with the first question, we need to look at the Modern American Male Pleb and the Corporate Marketing Sceme(read: Scam). And the fact that it's summer.

The biggest reason you won't see much by way of starring women this summer is, simply, because it's the summer. Some time in the past someone released one or several big action blockbuster movies during the summer and they must have performed reasonably better than their other seasoned counterparts. And ever since, Action movies MUST(OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1) be released during the summer or suffer from Epic Fail. And Joe Pleb don't want no woman gettin' in the way of his 'splosions. The article makes mention of some of the Apatow movies that have come out and are coming out. Which I find headache-inducingly lame in premise and delivery, personally. But low comedy appealing to the masses, etc. I'm not what you'd call a feminist by any means, but I wouldn't mind seeing a woman kicking some tail on the big screen. The only problem is the difficulty in making that work. Too often you get the hyper-butch Xena Warrior Lesbian result which has lots of emasculated and useless men. And, as you might imagine, this doesn't appeal to your target demographic of Summer Monies, the 16-30 year old male, which finds itself with lots of free time over the summer since school is out. This isn't a highly researched observance, but in my experience, you see a lot more guys at movies than girls in the summer. This is either the cause or effect of the Summer Blockbuster phenomenon, but it's there. And these guys aren't typically going to see Bull-Dyke Strike II: More Ball Kicking. And, really, the number of female movie goers that are interested in the further adventures of Bertha McMantits are significantly smaller than the women who want nothing to do with that kind of brainless popcorn munchers.

Let me digress by saying that, first, being an action movie that requires no thought isn't, inherently, a bad thing. Second, there's a lot of smart, witty, deep, or otherwise promising action movies slated for this summer.

Women, by and large, prefer character development, plot, tears, drama, tension, sisterhood, romance, crying, thoughtful and well written conversations in their movies. Like every bad Jane Austen book or movie ever. And someone somewhere said that kind of movie MUST(OMFGWTFBBQ!!!1) come out in the wintery times of the year. Again, it's hard to say whether drama hit big in the winter because of a higher population of female movie watchers, or if the movies brought the women.

It kinda makes sense, though. In the summer, men are more likely to goof off between semesters and have time to waste sitting in a sticky seat watching shit blow up. And since it's between seasons, there's no sports on TV. Because baseball(or NASCAR) on TV is a great nap inducer. And since women know men have all this goof-off time, they are apt to find some task for the men to do in the yard/house. Men, in a remarkable show of smartness, know this, too, and go out to the longest orgasmically pyrotechnic orgy they can find to get away from their nagging girlfriends/fiancées/wives. Women are more likely to have jobs or go out with their girlfriends to the closest outdoor bar and get wasted on appletinis in miniskirts and clingy tops. Conversely, Winter is Sports Time Prime with football and basketball in full swing. And the women have GOT to get away from their stupid boyfriends/fiancés/husbands and their stupid sports for the night, but have class/work in the morning, so they can't go "clubbing/dancing" in the summer.

So in conclusion, it's because the public are saps for "subtle" marketing scams perpetrated by movie theatres. If you want strong women roles, wait until the winter. Until then, endure whatever Boomfest your guy wants to take you to. Because he'll have to bear his way through whatever Weepmonger de Jour you take him to in the Winter.

A for Hulk's shoulder muscles...well...he is, y'know, the Hulk after all. His entire premise is Big Green Angry Anthropomorphosized Muscle. Plus he totally works his delts, man.

Open Call

So I have this space here. And lots of free time at work for the moment. And often I have no idea what to write about because my day is, thankfully and unthankfully, fairly routine and unnoteworthy. So here's me calling out to all you out there who actually read my blogs. All three of you. If you've got an ideas for a topic to write about, leave a comment here and I'll put forth a honest-to-God effort into a blog about the topic. This might take a while if I don't know much about the topic. Or I might just make a willfully uninformed offering, as well. So there it is. I promise to be acerbically witty and/or informed and intelligent. Or at least make my best effort towards that goal.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Must Read

As most everyone knows (or should) Hannah and Chris are members of the NC Nat'l Guard Funeral Honors program. I've tried, rather unsuccessfully, to express my feelings on this, and my pride in both of them. Esquire featured an article that all of you out there who claim either one or both of these two as friends should read. I've seen them perform these honors, and heard them talk about them. I know, personally, the care and effort they put into the difficult and powerful tasks they perform to honor their fallen brothers and sisters in arms, and those left behind, be they World War II veterans passing in their sleep attended by generations of friends and family, soldiers who have given their lives over seas leaving behind young and distraught spouses and children, or lonely veterans hospitalized in the VA's over-stretched but dedicated hands attended by a chaplain and a handful of caretakers. The honors are the same every time. And the dedicated and respect is the same. Every time. And they perform this honor and duty almost every day. And nearly always more than once in a day. Whether it's a stranger or a dear friend they have to present that flag to.

Read the article here.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Rennie Adoption: A Manual

Congratulations on your decision to adopt a Rennie! Many of these fascinating creatures are in need of good homes where they will be loved and cared for. While keeping a Rennie can be expensive, time-consuming, and sometimes confusing, the results can be well worth all the effort. A well turned out Rennie who is happy and healthy is amazing to watch in action. The guidelines below will help you care for your new charge, but they are only guidelines. Every Rennie is quite unique and you should get to know your Rennie's personal quirks, preferences and skills.

The most important step in caring for your Rennie is selecting the right one. Rennies come in many varieties. You will find them of both sexes, and in every imaginable size, color, age, health and plumage. But, far more important than their physical differences are the differences in their personalities. Every Rennie has a very unique set of skills, preferences and attitudes, and you need to take these into consideration as you make your choice.

If you have a nervous condition, a Daredevil Rennie is not for you. Likewise, do not adopt a Fighter Rennie unless you have a large yard in which he or she can chase around other Rennies with a sword. If you have small children in the house, you might prefer to adopt a Rennie other than the Arms Collector, and if you like your nights silent, keep in mind that Stitching Rennies are known to stay up quite late, whirring away at their machines, punctuated by occasional loud bouts of cursing.

Food & Drink

Once you have selected a Rennie and brought him or her home, your first concern may be, "What do I feed this strange creature?" Luckily, most Rennies are not picky about what they eat, and indeed, will consume with relish most anything you offer them. Do not be afraid to offer your Rennie exotic or strange foods. They have a highly developed sense of adventure and will likely at least try whatever it is. Keep in mind, that through some strange quirk, your Rennie will enjoy almost any food more if it is presented on a stick.

Your Rennie requires large quantities of water. Your Rennie will want large quantities of liquor. There is a very fine balance between the two that you must find to keep your Rennie (and in cases of more belligerent Rennies, yourself) happy and healthy.

Rennies are very affectionate creatures, and will often cuddle and love on you for treats. Favorite treats tend towards chocolate or nice liquor, though your Rennie may have different favorites. Recently, several varieties of Rennie have devolved a taste for Sushi, so you may wish to try that as well.

While your Rennie may seem to have inexhaustible supplies of energy, they need a good nights sleep like any other creature. When they are having fun, but are exhausted, usually at the end of a faire day, they may behave much like a 4-year-old, insisting on staying up and playing, "just a few more minutes." It is advised that you be firm with your Rennie and insist that they come home and go to bed. It is also advised that this will almost never work, and when it does, Rennie goodbyes have been know to take upwards to two hours at a large gathering. Sit down near the door and have another drink.

Rennies take great joy in grooming both themselves and others and can take hours to prepare in the morning. Rennie females, in particular will often need the help of others in preparing for the day. While they may seem inconsequential or frivolous to you, each pin, knot, and accessory is very important to your Rennie. When your Rennie is being slow in the morning, exhortations of "Hurry up!" will not speed matters along. "What can I hold/tie/pin/pull/lace?" will work much more efficiently.

That being said, by the end of that self-same day, your Rennie may be unrecognizably dirty, disheveled and grungy, though likely quite happy. While Rennies appreciate and enjoy a shower or bath every day, like sleep, this is not always something they feel is required. If your Rennie shows no inclination to bathe after a long day, helping them undress and drawing a bath or starting the shower for them may encourage them to get clean.

Please note that your Rennie will take great joy in all their clothing and accessories, and will constantly want to be adding to the horde. Every once in a while, please go through all your Rennies "garb" with them and help them to let go of pieces they no longer wear. Promising to donate the pieces to another Rennie will help ease the pain of separation, as will offering to replace it with something the Rennie likes better. New garb can work as a treat even better than chocolate or liquor.

Under no circumstances get rid of anything from a Rennies garb without their knowledge and permission unless you want your sweet happy Rennie to instantly transform into Furious Rabid Fighter Rennie and attempt to take of your head.

Communicating with Your Rennie

Rennies are extremely intelligent, and will likely understand everything you say, possibly in several languages. It is far more likely that you will not understand your Rennie when they are speaking in BFA, Gaelic, Romany or some other obscure or not so obscure language. Also, they can get quite animated when speaking about their favorite hobbies or most history. The correct response to almost anything from, "I can't do French seams in the gussets in that camica because the twill is too thick to turn twice," to "Henry VIII and Cardinal Richelieu weren't even alive at the same time, and France and England were at war in 1620! They can't put the Musketeers in England!!!!" is a nodding of the head and saying, "Yes, yes, of course."

There are two terms your Rennie may use frequently that you will need to be familiar with right off. The first is a loud exclamation of "HUZZAH!" This is a Rennie sound of joy and excitement, something you wish to hear often. The second is "privy." Your Rennie is asking where the bathroom is, and you'd best show them quickly unless you want to be cleaning up Rennie messes. Eliminating in garb can be a difficult and time consuming process.

All other terms can usually be picked up with familiarity.

Your Rennie and Play
Rennies have a highly developed sense of play and will often play any opportunity they get. The idea of what is play varies greatly from one Rennie to the next, though they will almost always be happier to play in groups. Some may enjoy contact juggling, some fencing, some equestrian pursuits, some computer games. However nearly all Rennies, whether or not they are skilled, thoroughly enjoy the arts of Music and Flirting. Given a good tune and the opportunity to sing, stomp or clap along, most Rennies will be quite happy. Likewise, what may seem to the untrained observer as heavy duty sexual harassment is usually two Rennies who have missed each other's company greeting one another. Unless your Rennie looks truly upset, it is better to leave him or her alone in these situations. See more under the Breeding section.

Your Rennie also loves toys. Amongst Rennies, favored toys may be sharp, shiny, pointy, sparkly, made of wood, leather, metal, pottery or fur. Get to know your Rennie to discover his or her particular preferences.

Illness, Injury, and Keeping Your Rennie Healthy

For some reason not yet determined by modern science, Rennies seem to have a slightly greater concentration of conditions, which range from irritating to debilitating, than those not of the breed. Common ailments can include hypoglycemia, fibromyalgia, MS, diabetes, osteoporosis and a range of bum knees, trick elbows and the like. These will likely only slow your Rennie down, not stop them completely. Your Rennie and others around him or her are usually well advised on the maladies in the group and will band together to take care of one of their number that is ill or injured, so that they can all return to the fun as soon as possible.

An injured Rennie is for some reason fairly happy. They do like to show off gruesome scars and talk about their gory wounds. Should your Rennie become injured, your best course of action is to simply dress the wound, give them a drink of water and then your Rennie will go back to whatever it was doing. Except in the cases of extreme injury, they tend to be a hardy breed.

To keep your Rennie as healthy as possible, make sure that he or she drinks plenty of water, gets lots of rest and exercise and limit their consumption of fried food on a stick. Keep the supplies for dealing with heat stroke, sunburn, dehydration and hypothermia on hand, as these are the most frequent complaints. Make your Rennie wear sunscreen. He or she will protest this. Make them do it anyway. Make them reapply frequently and when they get burned anyway, make them put on Aloe gel. They will protest this as well. Insist. While Rennies are often extremely intelligent, sometimes they're not very smart.

Breeding your Rennie

Nearly all Rennies love children, whether or not they have one of their own. They like to play with children, talk to children and show children things that interest them as adults. The adult Rennies overdeveloped sense of play makes them perfect companions for children, barring a tendency amongst the entire breed to curse. A Rennie child very nearly is raised by a village and may have dozens of Aunties and Uncles not related to them by blood scattered all over the continent.

Despite decades of observation by many interested parties, no one has yet determined a successful program for breeding Rennies. Their sense of high drama, passionate natures, and overly affectionate friendships have clouded the issue so deeply that it is still a mystery how they manage to breed at all. So, should you wish to breed your Rennie, it is suggested that you adopt an already mated pair. Even that is no guarantee of success.

You Rennie may have its own ideas about breeding. The best course of action to take should this happen is to stand back and observe your Rennie closely. In the event of a heartbreak step in and feed your Rennie his or her favorite treats. While this will probably not heal your Rennie, it will make them more pleasant to be around until they find another potential mate.

While the above may make adopting a Rennie seem daunting, it is an enterprise with great rewards. They are attractive, affectionate creatures, who will brighten your life for many years to come. Thank you for your interest.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Reflections on a Rainy Monday

Monday experience. I haven't attended an unusual amount funerals in my life. But this was the first time I've ever been asked to participate in one. For those few of you who read my blogs and don't know, a friend and fellow cast member(if former) of CRF was hit by a drunk-driver earlier this month. Lisa Smith was certainly dedicated to our "little" faire as well as being a devoted officer of the law and veteran. We held her funeral yesterday in an appropriate miserable afternoon at the National Cemetary in Salisbury for the graveside service. Our friend (my roommate) Doug is a Reverend in the Universal Light Church and led a very moving and respectful service. I was given the task of the opening prayer. I struggled to come up with something. It may come to some shock to you, but rennies are not typically whitebread Christians. I, too, was caught completely unawares by this discovery. I am, however, a Christian. So I knew my prayer would be a true prayer to the God I believe to be the One and True variety, but I also knew that I was being asked to open not for myself, but for everyone there celebrating the life and mourning the loss of our friend. I picked "Sgt. Mackenzie" as the "bulk" of my prayer. "Sgt. Mackenzie" is a song written and sung in a true Scots dialect made famous most recently as part of the movie We Were Soldiers(why does Blogger lack underlines?!). I was more than a little nervous. I love to sing. Really. But I've grown very comfortable as a harmonic singer, rather than melodic. To the musically untermed, I mean I'm used to singing as part of a group, adding to someone else's lead. My vocal talents aren't unimpressive, but it's been almost two decades since I had any real training and many years since I did any regular singing. But I spent two days memorizing the song as best I could. I would have still preferred to have a headphone in an ear playing the song in my head as I sang along, but everyone says I did a good job with it. The funeral was recorded, so I'll have to watch to see.

And before anyone freaks about it, Lisa made a great number of friends in a great number of places. Many of these dear friends weren't able to attend because of distance and time. They are no less deserving of the chance to witness our send of than anyone who was able to attend.

I finished with a few words of my own, asking that God would hold us close to His heart and allow us to weep in His comforting arms and then move us to live and revel in the joy of our memories and the wonder of our world that we still remain in. I also quoted a verse from Revelations talking about how in the end, when God's Kingdom comes down from Heaven, there will be no more tears or pain. Our friend Jeff sang "Parting Glass" to tears. Doug quoted a few passages of scripture and spoke a touching eulogy. Lani sang and cried her way through "Merry Meet, Merry Part" on behalf of our dear friend and former queen Lolly Foy, who also loved Lisa.

To close it all off, Chris pull out all the stops for the veterans honors. He called two live buglers to play "Echo Taps," which was gorgeous. And the "big finish" was a six man flag fold with a three flag presentation. Performed with nearly perfect grace by the Royal Guard cadets. In Chris' words, "they learned in three hours what I went to school for two weeks to learn." The six man flag folding is a carefully coreographed fold with very precisely timed and executed movements. And the kids pulled it off beautifully. Even Wes put away his usual attire to dress in the red, black, and gold of the Royal Guard Company "E." I opted for my kilt with my black dress shirt and jacket and black tie. Black leather boots, belts, pouches and my grey fedora. I felt it an appropriate combination. Several people told me that Lisa would have been pleased to see me so "cleaned up" and that touched me.

Afterwards we all convened at Phil's for a much needed unwind and remembrance. There was a little drinking and a little eating, but mostly it was just a much needed and unspoken need to just be there with each other. To remember, to laugh, to joke. To affirm that we still live, and that while we still can, we must make our lives as full and rich as we can. And one of the best ways to do that is to enjoy the company of our friends and (man, I'm getting old) encourage the Next generation to do the same. "Our" kids did a fantastic job. From start to finish, they kept their composure. And afterwards, they thanked and were thanked by the other attendees of the funeral service and then just Lived like only youth can. It was a very moving day, all around.

ad amiculus absentia

Monday, March 10, 2008

Keep on Truckin'!

This is, quite possibly, the best job I've ever had. I have my own desk and a huge office I share. My office mate is a cool guy and we get along great. We both mesh well with our supervisor. There's a comfortable amount of down time to spend doing whatever is available in the office (like post to my blog, heh). But there's enough work to keep us from getting bored. And some days we're busy all day. It's the same hours every day I work, which I like. But the actual work varies enough to keep it from becoming stagnant. I'm learning something new every day. The campus itself is beautiful even with no leaves on the trees yet. I spend a significant part of my day outside walking. It's just a great mix of things I enjoy. The weather's been pretty nice so far. I have a window that I open up most days (the heat is on and it really doesn't need to be) so there's a nice breeze in my office. And the fact that it has windows that open out to something other than parking lot is a great feature. Intrex and ElitePC+ had me stuck in the back with no windows most of the time. Bleh. And the amount of money I'm making is stupid awesome. And I love it. Even Mondays at 8AM are great. I actually want to come into work for once. How weird is that?

dolla dolla bill, y'all

Sunday, March 02, 2008

First Impressions

Well, it's been a week at the new job and I think I've got a winner. There's a little less PC work involved, but that just means there's more for me to learn. The job isn't hard but it's pretty straight forward. It's not easy, but it is interesting most of the time. My job is to maintain, repair, upgrade and install teaching workstations. These stations have a PC connected to the network at school, a DVD/VCR combo, a document camera, an external VGA connection, and a switchboard that controls all the devices and their inputs to the projector in the ceiling. It's just peripherals attached to a switch. The work we do is mostly entry level troubleshooting. Replacing burnt out bulb on projectors, replacing bad wires and connections, reseating pulled out wires, terminating and installing new cables. The most work I've done so far is just replacing a computer that had a bad drive. The hard drives are preinstalled and working, so all we had to do was replace the equipment and Bob's your uncle. Spring Break and this Summer will be a little more work as we'll actually be able to install whole workstations, thanks to students being not there. But I think it'll be fun. The people I work with are laid back and friendly. I'm really happy to have this job!

workin' for the man every night and day

Monday, February 18, 2008

Good news, everyone...

I got off the phone with my contact at UNCG and I should be receiving my job offer as a PC Consultant from their office mid-late this week. This is beyond amazing news. This is exactly the kind of job I've been hoping and praying for. Minimum of $30,000 a year. My experience may net me a little more, but 30K is half again as much as what my highest paying job to date was getting me. State health benefits and the ability to use NC State Employee's Credit Union. And on top of all that, the college gives me free tuition on up to three classes a semester! Huzzah! H.H.Gregg is a decent job, not really any worse than any other retail position I've worked before. But the pay is too inconsistent and I'm not a fan of never having weekends off. At all. UNCG will be 8AM to 5PM, but I can get in a routine for that with relative ease, since those will always be my hours. And I'll have weekends free! This much greatly is the exciting for me!


Friday, January 18, 2008

New job, new comic, etc!

First off, I haven't posted lately because I've been more occupied with trying to get a new job. For those of you that don't know, I worked the job at ElitePC+ for all of three weeks before the bosses there decided to close down the retail location on December 17th. I was supposed to get my first pay check on the 15th, but never did as my immediate boss got sick and couldn't open the store. I immediately began looking into new employment, while waiting on my check, which was "in the mail." I waited and waited. Finally, after having great difficulty, I was able to get my former immediate boss on the phone on the 27th (right around when I should have received my second and final paycheck) to ask what was going on. He told me that his bosses had told him checks had been sent out on the 26th of December. Mail is slow on the holidays, so I waited patiently. Sort of. Many attempts at regular communication with my old boss failed, as per usual. No paycheck. On the first weekend of January, I was supposed to meet a guy and he was supposed to give me my check. I was early and stayed more than an hour after he was supposed to be there. Nada. Angry emails and voice messages ensue and I finally get a contact email address for my boss' boss. Just in time for the email server to have some conveniently inconvenient problems. Then my boss was supposed to give his boss an angry phone call to call me back within the hour. When that didn't happen, I was supposed to give my old boss a call and he would give me his boss' phone number. This was last Saturday and, of course, I haven't heard from my old boss. So Tuesday I filed with the NC Dept. of Labor with the incredibly sparse contact information I had, and we'll see if I ever see that $1260 I'm owed. Of course, from what I've been told, the NCDOL usually gets the employer to give twice that as compensation. I'm ok with that. I was still really worried about money, and still am truth be told, but not as much. Until that gets settled I'll at least have some income starting Monday.

I've done my usual gamut of applications in the area in gradually increasing distances, but there were a couple of jobs I felt much better about. I found that UNCG was hiring a PC Tech Support position or three, so I put in there, but in the conversations I've had with their coordinator, and my knowledge of how these things go, it's a slow process. I did have some luck with a new electronics/appliances retailer here in town called hhgregg. All lower case and in one word, according to their logo. I interviewed Thursday and they called me today to ask if I can start next Monday. I'm a little nervous, though, because your pay is based on commission only. I think I'll be ok, though, given what I know I can do in a retail environment like that. But it'll be different not having the safety net of that regular pay. Still, it'll be nice to make money based solely on performance. If I'm as good as I think I am, I should be sitting pretty. I'm still going to pursue the UNCG and/or similar jobs, though. I didn't really want to go back into retail again. I'm good at it and I have experience in it, but it's just not what I want for a career.

And without further ado(do), here's another comic.

after all, what's life without work?