Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Recommended Reading

I believe I've mentioned here how much I enjoyed Jo Walton's books Farthing and Ha'penny. The final installment is now out:

A Gallimaufry of a Post

So, do I buy Paul of Dune from the SFBC just so I'll have a complete collection? I have all the other books by Brian Herbert and Kevin Anderson. Guess I will, but I'm worried that this one might disappoint as it is set in the time between the stories that Frank Herbert actually wrote - and he didn't feel compelled to write about that time or its stories.

I'm going to grit my teeth and watch the VP candidate debate Thursday night. I don't want to, but since I moderate a politics and current events forum, I feel I must. In the back of my mind I keep hoping that Tina Fey will be there impersonating Palin instead of Palin...And Thursday night has both CSI and Smallville - I wonder if they'll get bumped.

Snow on Mars!

A clip of a great gag from the old Candid Camera show - the last bit is best. I've been watching AMC's Mad Men and for some reason I'm starting to wish men would go back to wearing hats. (This would make more sense if you watched the clip. If not, just go with it, but it isn't as much of a non sequitur as it looks.)

I'm not sure why, it's not like men wore hats all the time when I was growing up - they'd pretty much stopped by the time I was old enough to really take notice of fashion. I have seen pictures of my grandfather in a hat, but I don't seem to have a true memory of it. My dad, being in the Air Force, wore a hat a lot of the time, but hat=uniform and so it didn't apply to civilian clothes. However, if getting men back into hats meant women would have to wear them, too, and gloves, and those horrible, full, flouncy slips (crinoline? what are those?), I'll pass.

I've been listening to archived shows from This American Life lately. There was one particular one about music where David Sedaris was featured. In it he sings a number of commercial jingles imitating the voice of Billie Holliday. The whole thing is marvelous, but that part was really funny.

My other favorite episodes were the one where they visited the USS Stennis in 2002, the one about babysitting and the one about The Giant Pool of Money - something I highly recommend you all listen to - it's very enlightening about the roots of the current mortgage crisis.

Just watched this clip of Palin talking to Katie "slow pitch softball" Couric.

First reaction - really, that's Tina Fey, right? No, come on, stop pulling my leg...that's really Palin giving that answer?

Second reaction - Come on, just name one news magazine. It's easy, Newsweek, Time, US News and World Report, heck, even say People for goodness sake. Is she afraid she'll say the name of a magazine and get in trouble with her campaign handlers?? Yes, all the Palin defenders will say I'm being unfair, but really, that was not a tricky question. I'm a middle of the road leaning to conservative voter who has been a registered Republican since the early 80s, so I actually went into this election cycle really hoping that McCain could somehow convince me to stay with the party. His VP choice completely killed that hope. Even if I agreed with every other thing he says (which I don't) I think it's a sure sign of loss of mental acuity that he would pick her.

Aston West has tagged me with a little meme. I like Aston, even if he does drink unusual (as in not familiar to me as a Trekkie, like Klingon Blood Wine or Romulan Ale, or even Tranya) beverages.

Here are the rules, my answers, and the next six people who get to take on the challenge.

The rules:

"If you’ve been tagged with the Meme Game from Twitter, you must post 6 things no one knows about you on your BLOG. Then you have to tag 6 more people. (Don’t forget to let them know they’ve been tagged.) Leave me a comment letting me know you’ve accepted the tag."

My answers (caveat - these are things that most people who haven't grown up or lived with me for any length of time wouldn't know, not "no one knows" ):

  1. I broke my nose when I was 5, and it was all the fault of a green crayon.
  2. I once crocheted a nose warmer with a tassel on it in my HS colors and wore it to an away game (I was in pep band and we had to play at the game) where the temps were below freezing for all of the game.
  3. I have a little bump on my left ear that makes it look vaguely Vulcan (at the right angle under the right light).
  4. I can't stand to get cake crumbs in my icecream but I love icecream sandwiches.
  5. I have never finished reading anything written by Ernest Hemmingway, no matter how hard I've tried.
  6. I hated the Rolling Stones but enjoyed listening to my parents' Andy Williams records...when I was a teenager in the 70s. (of course I wore headphones to make sure nobody knew it)
Feel free to feel tagged if you want to and pass it along.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Update on Net Radio Bill

An update regarding yesterday's post about H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008. The bill unaninously passed in the House. On to the Senate.

I sent a message to my Representative, Anna Eshoo, so if she was present and voted, I thank her for her support.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Save Internet Radio - A Plea from Pandora

From the Pandora Website:

September 26, 2008


Listeners we need your help... NOW!

After a yearlong negotiation, Pandora, artists and record companies are finally optimistic about reaching an agreement on royalties that would save Pandora and Internet radio. But just as we've gotten close, large traditional broadcast radio companies have launched a covert lobbying campaign to sabotage our progress.

Yesterday, Congressman Jay Inslee, and several co-sponsors, introduced legislation to give us the extra time we need but the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB), which represents radio broadcasters such as Clear Channel, has begun intensively pressuring lawmakers to kill the bill. We have just a day or two to keep this from collapsing.

This is a blatant attempt by large radio companies to suffocate the webcasting industry that is just beginning to offer an alternative to their monopoly of the airwaves.

Please call your Congressperson right now and ask them to support H.R. 7084, the Webcaster Settlement Act of 2008 - and to not capitulate to pressure from the NAB. Congress is currently working extended hours, so even calls this evening and over the weekend should get answered.

The central congressional switchboard number is: (202) 225 3121

Or to look up your representative, visit: https://forms.house.gov/wyr/welcome.shtml

If the phone is busy, please try again until you get through. These calls really do make a difference.

This is a fork in the road. Only massive grassroots opposition will keep us from another 50 years of top 40 radio. It's time to take a stand and break the stranglehold of broadcast media on radio.

Thanks so much for you ongoing support.


Founder, Pandora

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

I Want a Uniform Suitable to My Position

There should be a uniform, it needs gold braid, big brass buttons and a whistle on a gold chain that hangs from a fancy loop through the button hole at the collar. A nice hat, gloves, shiny shoes to go with it, too. Needs to be a color that won't show cat hair, though.

Uniform for what, you ask? Cat Doorman. That's what I am. All day they're, yowling or scratching to get in or out of my office/workroom. I'm the doorman for 3 cats who can't decide half the time if they actually want in or out. And, before you ask, no, I can't leave the door open. I won't go into the reasons why, so you or random droppers-by won't feel compelled to lecture me about my reason. We want to stay friendly, right?

Yogurt, the senior statesman of the cats sits about 2 feet from the door and stares up at the knob. If I don't leap up to open it, he comes over to my chair and bats at my arm until I do.

Pudding, the young ne'er do well, who normally just lies around on his back looking like a long-haired cat fur rug, claws the underside of my chair as his signal that "I'm all done in here, you will be letting me out now, right?" and then he goes up to the door so close, that when I do open it, he always has to move out of the way and often in his haste to leave bumps his nose.

Jello, the diva, scratches at the door. She scratches furiously. I'm surprised she hasn't clawed straight through the wood yet.

So, yeah, I want a uniform. And a whistle.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Recommended Reading

If you don't already read Jill Miller Zimon's Writes Like She Talks, please go read this post "Tim Wise's This Is Your Nation on White Privilege"

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Billionare in the Basement

Anyone else think Bill has a shot at a new career in sit coms?

Monday, September 08, 2008

Back from My Trip to Hamburger University

I recently got back from a trip to a conference at Hamburger University, the McDonald's training facility outside of Chicago. The campus is lovely although it rained all day Thursday, but fortunately there is a covered walkway from the training center to the hotel where we had lunch and the evening networking reception. I bought a little umbrella for the walk to the parking lot (and for later if it was still raining) that has little McDonald's golden arches all around it. Not so sure I'll be using it much but I'm glad I had it as the rain was really pouring later in the evening.

Our day one keynote speaker was Bruce Tulgan, who gave a talk on (the) “Workforce through the Generational Lens”. He was fascinating and energetic, a good thing early in the morning after flying all day the day before and crashing to bed after checking in at the hotel. Click on the video clip on his website for a taste of what we heard that morning.

His thinking on how each new workforce generation impacts the previous one's thinking and the future of business does make one pause to think - the company I work for has a decidedly younger attitude, even though most of the leadership are Baby Boomers.

This is somewhat accounted
for, I believe,by being in hi-tech where people have to always be innovating and thinking of the next wave of customer needs, but I also think that newer (mostly younger) hires are less discouraged by fossilized culture and thinking in hi-tech, allowing them to bring the positive virtues of their generational style more quickly into the overall stream of progress. Nobody has the time to "earn their chops" when speed of innovation is the most important factor. Not a lot of looking back goes on, it's all about "What are you going to do for me tomorrow?"

I particularly enjoyed his discussion about the current crop of new workers - the ones in my children's generation. "Self-esteem on steroids" "most high maintenance workforce generation in the history of the world" are two tags he gives them. Crucial to understanding how to lead this group of workers is that they were raised under a constant barrage of self-esteem messages and kept occupied by structured activities, yet often they go to work and are "empowered" by managers who think a hands off approach will work with them.

Yes, that's a broad generalization, but their parents (um, me included) were the generation of Soccer Moms - right? Also, he's talking to an audience of corporate managers or recruiters, so the focus is on the new workers who are coming out of colleges and MBA programs - young people who were put on waiting lists for the best day-care the day the pregnancy test came up positive.

So these young workers' lives revolved around organized play-groups and huge percentages of their daily activities were "outsourced" to child care, camps, sports and classes. Not very many of them were told to 'go play outside' and had to think up their own fun - they were coached, taught and organized from a very early age. And all of them were raised in the tech-age - they instinctively go to the internet for data, they have the knowledge of the entire world at their fingertips - what they need from their managers and leaders is someone who will coach and guide them on how to use that knowledge to be productive, make a contribution and get ahead. This clip is a highlight from that portion of the talk. I guess it's pretty obvious I enjoyed the session.

Day two's keynote was
from Alan Beaulieu, Institute for Trend Research on “The Impact of Economics on Contract Labor” (this was the VMS Professionals conference - VMS being vendor management systems - or the methodology, tools, practices and people who manage the use of third party company labor like temporary, contract and consulting workers). This was a bit of a downer, as he did not tell us things are getting better anytime soon with the economy. However, he was an energetic and funny speaker who did give us good information about where his analysis found places one can weather out the impact of the downturn - and he thinks by 2010 we'll be riding the tide upwards again.

I met some lovely people, didn't win any of the drawings (and they were good ones) but handed out a number of cards and was asked to speak to a couple groups on the things my program is doing about a different aspect of VMS mgmt that's just starting to take hold at many of their companies - something I've been working on and in for the last four years.

Of course Saturday, the day I flew home, was beautiful and sunny and I got to enjoy it for all of the 15 minute drive back to the rental car drop off. One of these days I do hope to visit Chicago just to enjoy the tourist-y stuff.

Sunday was the local Art and Wine festival. We arrived at 10:00 am, got great parking at the structure just off the main street where the festival is held and made it through most of the fair before the weather got too hot and the crowds terribly large. I talk about what I purchased on my beading blog if you've any interest in hand crafted beads and jewelry. We bought our annual
souvenir tee shirts and glasses, wine glass for me, beer stein for the husband, and went out to lunch. I had a craving for beef, so we went to Black Angus for a late lunch.

I spent most of the rest of the day playing with my beading, catching up on emails and at Absolute Write - now it's back to work. Hope we all have a great week.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Political Post - Sorta

what more needs to be said?

Well, I should mention that I first saw this at Pharyngula. By the way, though I'm linking, I must mention that when he's not foaming about religion, I really do enjoy the blog, but radical anything (religion, atheism, politics) is not something I'm comfortable with, so don't think I'm endorsing or agree with his more vehement atheist subjects.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Sadly, the Long Weekend is Nearly Over

My nephew got to play in the Davis v SJSU on Saturday, they were ahead 10-0 until the end of the game and SJSU won 16-10. But the nephew got to play and that was exciting. Spending some time with my sister and her family (+ nephew's girlfriend) was fun. The next morning we had a bit of an adventure trying to find the train station to get my nephew back to Davis, but it all worked out and he got home just fine.

My almost daily posting on my beading blog has gotten me on the first page and pretty well positioned on that, of a Google search for "beaded badge lanyards" - not sure how many people actually search that, but I'm there if they do, so that makes me rather happy. Got a comment from Lois at A Beaded Affair who was searching on 'copper' and went to her very lovely blog and Etsy shop - I recommend her to you, too. Lots of wonderful artists I'm discovering who are doing beautiful work at Etsy.

Back to work tomorrow. I love having three day weekends but going on a business trip just one day afterwards will probably mean a lot of catching up next week. Speaking of which, the Saturday after this is the 13th - and my son's birthday, which fell on a Friday back in 1985.

Hard to believe it's been 23 years. I got to talk with him for over half an hour on Saturday morning, which was wonderful. He finally received the package I had shipped to him (Muscle Milk - he's always working out whenever he can, and wants to bulk up - maybe so the pack he carries isn't equal to 50% of his body weight? He's always been a wiry guy).

I also sent him a bunch of phone cards via a special deal the Army & Air Force Exchange Service has set up so non-military people can purchase and send them to the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines they know who are overseas. I don't know if he has them yet or not.

By the way, even if you don't know a soldier overseas, there are special programs that will send your donated phone cards to a service person in the branch of your choice - just go to https://thor.aafes.com/scs/default.aspx and scroll down a bit to read the details.

It's been a while since I mentioned any of my favorite web comics, but A Girl and Her Fed is having a donation drive that's worth checking into. The artist is going to put her web-comics in print and with a donation of $30 you can help that happen and get some original art as a thank you.

Dave Kellett's got a new Sheldon book out - Pugs, God's Little Weirdos and I just received my copy with an original sketch and Dave's autograph. Sheldon's pug, Oso, is definitely a little weirdo.

Finally, and not about a comic strip, I got my copy of Zoe's Tale by John Scalzi. I'm waiting to read it on the plane, but it's been hard.