Archive for the ‘Life’ Category

I can only handle the truth in small doses

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

Today I almost wish that the guy who got fired did not get fired. It was a selfish sort of wish. Him getting fired was the best thing that ever happened to him. If getting fired does not benefit him, nothing that a human being could give him will ever help him. Though sometimes I think that a good stiff beating once or twice a week until his behavior modifies might be worth a try.

But I digress. Getting fired might have been the best thing that ever happened to him, but it sure has created a lot of work for me. And what really bothers me is that the work seems to be unending.

For example, today I was doing various inspections that he used to do. While I was in the process of performing inspections, a lady asked me if I also inspected the drop down female plugs that were all over the place. These plugs were mounted on various sliders so that they could be used to power equipment wherever it was needed on the floor.

Now whether I was supposed to inspect these drop down outlets was a little bit of a grey area. Normally I would have been all for inspecting them. But I had already found so many problems that I was going to have to fix that I was a little scared of looking for anymore problems. But since she asked. . .

The first one had no ground to speak of. The second one I tested had the polarities reversed.

After that I quit testing them.

Hiding in plan sight

Monday, October 26th, 2009

Today I was reading about Imhotep.

I had things in particular that I was looking for. Things that I pretty much already knew were there. But if you want to stay in a state of knowing everything, you have to refresh your memory every once in a while.

By all accounts, Imhotep was a pretty extraordinary man. He made such an impression on the Egyptians that they deified him a couple thousand years after he died as the God of Healing. Some modern scholars still argue that he is the father of medicine as we know it today.

But that stuff does not interest me, as it is a little dubious. What does interest me is the full list of Imhotep’s titles….

Chancellor of the King of Egypt, Doctor, First in line after the King of Upper Egypt, Administrator of the Great Palace, Hereditary Nobleman, High Priest of Heliopolis, Builder, Chief Carpenter, Chief Sculptor and Maker of Vases in Chief.

Now if your knowledge of ancient Egypt is a little lacking, there are some things that might not jump out at you. For example, do you know what Heliopolis was? From Wikipedia……

As the capital of Egypt for a period of time, grain was stored in Heliopolis for the winter months, when many people would descend on the town to be fed, leading to it gaining the title place of bread.

Now Heliopolis is how you write out the name by today’s conventions. But in Biblical Hebrew, Heliopolis is called “On” (or at least that is how they transliterate it into English). If you don’t immediately recognize where “On” is mentioned in the Bible, think “Asenath daughter of Potiphera, priest of On”.

Incidentally, in ancient Egypt Heliopolis was the center for the worship of Atum. Atum was at that time was seen as the creator God through whom all other things were created (Egyptians religious views fluctuated through time, but this seems to have been the prevailing understanding of Atum at the time of Imhotep).

And those are some random facts from a man who spends to much of his life reading (I blame my father).

The beneficiary of injustice

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Yesterday I wrote a rather melodramatic post. Hey, it was late and I was tired.

But I want to point out that I am not only one who feels as if I am sailing through life. Yesterday an old boss of mine was telling my brother how I have not been listing to some of the things that he has been trying to tell me. In a nut shell, he thinks I am not listening when he tells me that I am not ready for a promotion.

Now why would he try to convince me of something like that? He is no longer in my direct chain of command and his opinion would mean nothing in any possible promotion opportunities I might have in this life. Furthermore, there is no promotion opportunities for me that are open currently. And there is none that are likely to come open in the near future. And even if one was to come open in the near future, it is very unlikely to go to me (it would take a couple of well aimed lighting strikes for it to become even a possibility).

So why is he trying to convince me that I am not ready for promotion? He says that he does not want me to get in over my head and at the same time he does not want me to get “bitter” if I am passed over. But I can’t help feeling that he has a different reason.

He has told me many times of how long and hard he struggled to get the job he has now. To him, the position he has now is a vindication of his true worth after the world had overlooked it for so long. And I think that I threaten that vindication in his mind.

I could be wrong. But that is the impression I get from the fact that he tells me that he had to work for almost as long as I have been alive to get the position that I have now. He tells me how grateful I should be that I have it and how I should settle in and mature in it for a while. He has taken great pains to explain to me how little being smart matters when it comes to being a supervisor. And maybe it is just coincidence, but I can’t help noticing that all these lectures started when I pass a hurdle that technically qualified me for his job.

There is no danger that I will take his job from him. I think what bothers him is that I am sailing through life getting everything he worked so hard for handed to me on a golden platter. And he does not think that is fair.

And it is not.

Everything has its cost

Wednesday, October 14th, 2009

Today I read a post on Naked Capitalism that commented on a recent New York Times article on how even those in American with jobs are facing pay cuts. Yves Smith (the blogger behind Naked Capitalism) used that article as a spring board to argue that Americans put to much focus on careers at the expense of other human relationships.

As much as I agree with the thrust of her argument, I have to say that the post was not well done.

For one thing, it was based off of a New York Times article about one American family. And the wife of that family was not facing any income cuts as a school teacher. Instead, all of the angst was coming from the man of the family who was an airline pilot.

Now airline pilots would not be my first pick to represent working class Americans for a number of reasons. But even more objectionable to me was the fact that Ms. Smith seems to make some unwarranted assumptions about the wife of the family that are not supported in any way by the New York Times article. Ms. Smith’s determination to make her points sometimes leads her to do ugly things.

Having said all that, Ms. Smith’s post caused me to reflect on my own situation. Having long ago made the choice not pursue higher earning opportunities if they would take me out of the area, I have a pretty good idea of the costs of not pursuing the job of your dreams so that one can maintain other social ties that are more important to you (in my case, the close relationship with my family).

I don’t regret my choice at all. But going by her past posts I don’t think Ms. Smith has much of an idea of what it would take to change America’s view of their careers or what the consequences of such a change would be.

But exploring that idea would put me way over my word limit.

Avoiding Failure

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Today I start a vacation. This week I need to butcher chickens (done yesterday actually), mow the back field (working on it), fix the chainsaw, use the chainsaw clear up remaining storm damage, clean up my desk, make changes to my Ape Man site, and get over this darn cold.

And I will be happy if none of the above gets done as long as I have an essay up on my essay site by next Sunday.

The essay that I so badly want to put up would be the next installment of A Critique of Christianity. I posted my Prologue back in July and I promised that more was to come. The delay has become embarrassing. It is all the more embarrassing because the Prologue is just me blathering personal information about myself and is only tangentially related to main thrust of what I wanted to argue when I started writing the post. To have such blather just hang there with such a pretentious title just makes the whole thing look all the more ridiculous.

Originally it was not supposed to be this way. I had some of the sections that were supposed to follow the prologue already written. But comments by reviewers who saw the drafts and and my own thoughts lead me to believe that I needed to insert another section between my Prologue and the other sections that I had already written. And it is this new section that has been the hold up.

In theory, it ought to be no big deal. I know what I want to write. All I have to do is write it and then edit it until it is readable.

But in practice it is hard. To get in the zone where I can write something the way I want to write this takes quality time in quantities. And that type of time is in very short supply for me.

Honestly, the above is all just an excuse. If I really wanted the time I could come up with it by hook or crock. The biggest problem is that I am scared stiff I am going to screw the whole essay up.

And if I don’t work on it, I can’t screw it up.

I am a very logical man.

Bits of Hilarity

Friday, October 9th, 2009

Today the news was just full of jokes. My sick sense of humor has been getting a real work out this evening.

Here is a joke that you might not have heard. Here is another one that you probably did hear.

But if you have as sick a sense of humor as I do, the fun is just getting started. Try saying the quote that leads off this post out loud and see if you can keep from laughing. If at first you don’t find it funny, try thinking about the implications of such a statement. Here is some more background info.

While we are on a role, it should be noted that Brant Hansen is always good for a laugh. The only problem with today’s post is that he pulls his punches and goes all PC at the end.

This one from a while back was a lot better. I did not realize at first that he was talking about a real service on offer.

A slightly more obscure source of fun comes from this letter. Hard as it may be to believe, Hertz was actually dumb enough to sue those people in open court. A better way of convincing the world that they are about to go bankrupt could not be found. Especially when their whole argument boils down to saying “6 months ago we were even more likely to go bankrupt then we are now.”

Believe it or not, I did not stay home today to collect all these bits of hilarity. Instead, I went to work even though I still don’t have my voice back and I still am coughing and hacking like a fool. But nobody threw rocks at me so all is well.

Expect for the fact that I am feeling a little crazy.


Thursday, October 8th, 2009

Today my energy level was up, but nothing else seems to have changed for the better. For one thing, I still don’t have my voice back. For another thing, I still have this weird burning sensation in my upper chest. I can’t tell what it is, but I mostly feel it when I swallow. Other wise it is mostly a dull background feeling.

I really wanted to go to work tomorrow because there is something I wanted to get done before I went on vacation next week. But if I go to work and I still can’t talk and I am coughing and hacking just as bad as when I left it is possible that people might stone me.

I have gotten quite a few people mad at me over the years for going in sick. They all have this weird belief that they are less likely to get sick if I refrain from coming to work when I am sick.

So I guess I should probably stay home unless my health improves dramatically overnight. And aside from feeling bad that I did not get done what I said I would get done, the prospect of staying home does seem kind of nice.

Especially since my energy levels are coming up enough that I can properly enjoy babying myself. Today I spent a lot of time drinking tea and playing Space Rangers 2. That is not my ideal way of spending a day, but it is lot more fun then spending it drinking tea and trying to sleep because you are too foggy headed to do anything else.

If I could just get to the point where I felt clear headed enough to do some serious writing I would be all set.

Systems shutting down to conserve power

Wednesday, October 7th, 2009

Today I don’t know what to write about. Last night was so bad I think I really was a little bit delusional. Today I mostly spent trying to sleep or reading the news on the internet and drinking tea. That does not leave one with a wide range of topic to talk about.

I can’t remember the last time the common cold took me down this hard. I mean, I have had plenty of bad experiences with the flu where I am throwing up and stuff. That is always real bad.

I suppose it is possible that I do have the flu. I did have a headache and I may have had a fever. But I don’t know about the other things that normally accompany the flu.

Anyway, it does not make that much difference. The prescription is still the same either way. Stay at home and whine until you feel better.

Some argue for going to a doctor, but this doctor says don’t bother unless you think you might have pneumonia. I don’t think I am there yet, though my coughs were causing a weird burning sensation last nigh.

On the other hand, I know other people with the same bug I got (in fact, I blame one of them for giving it to me) who have gone to the doctor and gotten prescriptions for antibiotics. But I have read that lot of doctors will do this just to make people feel like that something is being done for them (and on the off chance they have sinus infection or something). I suppose this might really help a lot of people get better (the placebo effect and all), but I would rather only take antibiotics if they are strictly necessary.

Mild Delusions

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Today the challenge will to come up with something that resembles a rational thought. It is a pity that it this way. There is so much on my mind that I could talk about.

I know this is so because I spent most of last night thinking about it while I was trying to sleep.

For example, I spent considerable time pondering the beginning of Yeats poem “The Second Coming”. You know, the part where it says….

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;

I say “you know”, like I have the poem perfectly memorized. But while I had the first line of the poem remembered perfectly correct, I misremembered the second line. This is the problem with thinking about things in the middle of the night, there is no good way to check up on things. If I had, I would have realized that the lines from poem that read….

A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Wind shadows of the indignant desert birds.

Were more germane to the point I was wondering about. See at the time I was thinking of this passage from Matthew…

27For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man. 28Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

See, last night I had this dim memory of being convinced at some previous point in the past that Yeats was referencing this passage, but I could not remember the verse in question. So I was trying to remember if I had thought the reference was to the falcon.

This is the problem one has when one does not write down one’s thoughts. One is constantly being forced to reinvent the wheel.

On the plus side, it keeps you from being bored when you can’t sleep because of a bad head cold.

Growing Up

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Today I think I actually grew up a little bit. I took stock of how tired I was and I did not drive myself home.

What I would have done if I did not have the option of having someone else drive me home is something I would rather not think about. I probably would have just went for it and I probably would have made it home. But I don’t know. I have come awfully close to falling asleep at the wheel before and I am afraid that I keep pushing my limits I am really going to do it one of these days.

Given the fact that the plague that is afflicting me kept me up for most of the night last night and the night before that, I probably would have been even more grown up if I had just stayed home. But there was two things I told myself I had to do today, so I made myself go in. I almost managed to get both of them done to. Given that both of them put together should have taken me half a day, it gives you an indication of what my productivity was.

I should be in bed now, but I took a nap when I came home. So I feel more rested then I did when I went to work this morning. I hope that does not mean that I will have as much trouble sleeping tonight as I did last night. Sometimes naps can backfire on you like that.

Regardless, once I get to the point where I am well enough to sleep soundly, I am going to call in sick and sleep in.