More Junk

Dec. 4th, 2008 08:31 am
eggwards: (Default)
A few random things going on.

★ I rarely remember dreams. Often they have to be something that is going on at the moment the alarm goes off for me to recall anything about them. The other day I had one that was pretty strange. It seems that the girls and Mrs Garrett from the Facts of Life were having a reunion, but apparently they pisses off this one Eastland girl (I'm not sure if it was a redshirt or maybe Jo) who decided that she was so pissed at them that she was going to destroy the world. George Clooney was in it too. Apparently he was a secret agent that did some undercover work at the bakery.

Sounds like a Teen Titans storyline that was grafted onto an old television show. Very odd.

★ Otherwise, Thanksgiving was fine. It was a week ago, but I haven't posted in a while. Good food, and got to see some good people, though we had to hop some houses. Wish we could have stayed at one place for the whole evening. There were many good men there and one is an excellent chef. Still we had a nice dinner with our friend Mikel and his family.

It was good to also see my sister who was on her usual November vacation to visit freinds and family here. We had a great brunch where [livejournal.com profile] cristalskye and her husband came by as well. I've seen Skye twice in a month!

★ I had to work yesterday, and it was busier than I expected it to be. I guess fewer people were out shopping, so they stayed home to call about their retirement funds instead. I was really hoping to get some reading done.

★ I have already picked up a few new versions of my favorite Holiday tune, Sleigh Ride. One from Kristin Chenoweth, now from the late, lamented Pushing Dasies, and from KT Tunstall. iTunes says I have about 50 different versions of the song, but I think there must be some more elsewhere. Strangely I don't have any versions in foreign languages. I may have to look for a few.

★ Vanilla Milkshake Pop-Tarts (with extra calcium) are the worst I've ever had. Pop-Tarts keep trying to come up with these new flavors, but they really just need to stick to the classics. Of course, what do I do, but I purchase some "Fiber One" toaster pastries. We'll see if the grown-up thing is any good.

★ President Bush. Please don't buy a home in Dallas. Go live in Crawford where we won't have to put up with the traffic problems you'll cause. OF course right now Texas is one of the few states you could safely live in, but I'd rather you didn't.

★ I'm missing the exciting politics of the election season. It went on so long, and I was so wrapped up in it. It's hard to find something else to take it's place. I got used to reading stories all over the internet and following polls. The Prop 8 stuff filled the void for a little bit, but that is dying down too, and people seem to be easing into the holidays. The transition team stuff just isn't that interesting. Half of it just seems like a rehash of earlier this year. Remember when this guy/gal was running for president? Now he's/she's back!

Maybe things will be interesting once Obama takes office and can actually do something. I wish it was baseball season so I could turn my obsession to baseball news, but now I'll just have to find some other obsession.
eggwards: (Xmas)
✬One more day of work before Christmas tomorrow. My excessively grinch-y overseers are closing the office early, but instead of being nice and just giving us the time, they asked up to get up early and come in early so we can still work our full shift.

The company I work for has a similar demanding tone with little recognition for your effort that I experienced at Target many years ago. Thanks to lack of planning, we've been on "mandatory overtime" this entire year. Still, they refuse to bring in help, or acknowledge that the upturn in volume is anything more than an aberration.

Happily for us, we are so loved. My boss, who after several months still doesn't know what we do, came around with an envelope stating that it was a bonus for all of our overtime. I opened up the envelope and saw a laminated card with some words of thanks and blah-blah-blah, then signed by our Senior Vice President. I looked back in the envelope looking for a gift card or something...nothing. The card was it.

Makes you feel like the effort to go above and beyond is so worth it.

❆I have a couple of words to mention about James' ([livejournal.com profile] jamesbeary) funeral services. First thing, it was very, very cold last weekend. The graveside service was pretty miserable, both for the reason and the cold.

In a way I felt like more of a placeholder for all the others in the bear community who couldn't be there. In some ways i felt like I didn't know James all that well. Chris and I seemed to be there more for support for [livejournal.com profile] urso than anything else. There weren't a whole lot of bears at the ceremonies, and the service itself seemed to gloss over this part of James' life. Really, the only member's of James' family that really talked to us were his nephew, Eryk and his wife, who greeted us with "so you're the bears?" Eryk was the one who was emailing, IM'ing and texting people about James' passing, so he seemed to be the only one who knew the range of people who James had touched.

Only the couple of eulogies provided during the service seemed to capture a little about James. The nice-but-formal pastor seemed to be on autopilot for the service.

It was also interesting being in a room with so many deaf people. The hands and arms were gesturing wildly. Urso could pick up things here and there and Eryk could converse as well, but it was tough trying to mingle with the crowd when you can't say much. It made for an odd afternoon.

✯I've had a couple of nudges saying that I should post more, and I should post more of my political rants. Really, I keep up with politics, but man have I been burnt out on it. I may have to give a new opinion for the presidential race, but really, don't we just wish that it was time to just vote for 2008 and it it over now? Do we still have ten months to go?

❄Otherwise, it's a quiet Christmas here. Chris is busy cleaning the house while I've been extra lazy. We were trying to figure out what to do for christmas dinner between the two of us, and it pretty much comes down to the the fact that I really can't cook much. I really should learn to cook more than Rice-a-Roni. Though I do love Rice-a-Roni. Having shopped early and already given Chris his gift, there's really not much to be done, otherwise. If I could come up with some time off during the christmas season some year, perhaps we could plan to actually travel, but for now we'll just be at home.

Since I was way too lazy to get out Christmas cards this year, I'll just have to tell everyone here that I wish them a Happy Solstice (belated), Happy Haunukka (also belated), Merry Christmas, Meaningful Kwanzaa, and observant Hajj, and we'll see you around New Years.

☆Chris has already given me one gift. He got me a membership to LA Fitness. He's been motivated seeing as I've been going to the gym at work for the past year and a half, so now he's trying to get into it as well. We've gone together a few times, but I get to choose between our little gym at work and the new LA Fitness across from the Baptidome.

So far the eye-candy hasn't been all that, mainly because the LA Fitness location is new and doesn't have a lot of members. Personally I wish it would stay that way. Fewer people to see how winded I get doing laps in the pool (besides the fact that I'm in the pool in the first place). The nice thing about the gym is that it has more equipment than the gym at work.

❆Personally I'm ready to move on to 2008 and see if we can take a few more risks and make a few things happen. It is once again a time for change, especially in the work life. Heck, with less TV to watch, maybe I'll work harder on getting my resume into the right hands. Perhaps some good could come out of the writer's strike.
eggwards: (Default)
*Stop with the Christmas ads already! It's too early for me. I'm a last minute shopper! I won't even start thinking of buying crap until your desperate 40-50% off sales the week before Christmas!

I'm not even in the Thanksgiving mood yet, certainly not ready for Christmas. I was up late watching nothing and I notices Paula Dean cooking stuff I'd never eat, but I appreciate that she has a lot of butter in it. She had Kermit the Frog on for no real reason and they were cooking fried Thanksgiving foods - certainly a good step. Ms. Dean said "I love Thanksgiving because there's not pressure to go out and search and shop like there is for Christmas." Amen.

*It's been a lovely fall. Yes, 75 degrees is fall in Texas. We're just happy it's not 95.

*I was getting dinner at Culver's last night (it's a bit of an extra drive, so I don't get to go there much - which is good because I love their fried cheese curd), and I noticed on the Diet Dr Pepper fountain there was a NutraSweet sticker. It's been a while since I've see that logo. What ever happened to that branding? You never hear that name anymore.

*Crocs are still bad footwear, and are made even worse with Ugg Boot lining. Just say no, people. Two things together don't necessarily make a Reeses Peanut Butter cup.

*As far as the new job hunt goes, despite the fact that there are people who need help managing their investments, is it really a good thing to become a financial representative at the start of a recession? I'm thinking not.
eggwards: (Default)
So, what's been going on? For me it's been mostly working. It's the worst time of the year to be in financial services, but yet it's when I can make the most money, so I try not to complain too much about the long hours.

We do get Good Friday off. There's not much point to having it off, but it's a day the New York Stock Exchange takes off, so we get it too. At first they were going to let people come in and get some overtime hours, which was fine with me, Chris has to work, and I might as well make some cash, right? Well today they decided that our volumes are down from what they were last year, so we won't be allowed to come in. No extra cash when we're not as overwhelmed as before.

This is all good, but Friday was the designated Jeans Day for the quarter. That's right, the quarter. Chris gets a jeans day every Friday, but we're all stuffy about it because some bigwig might come in. luckily we don't have to wear ties, I've been in those jobs, and hated them. Still, with so few opportunities to dress down I like to have those days.

Of course some people dress pretty sloppy anyway, I'm not the best dresser, but I'm not the worst, either. the best dresser is Mr. Dolche and Gabbana. He's always got sweaters draped over his shoulders and suits and super pointy shoes. He occasionally wears a D&G wool hat on his head. He dresses like the kind of older twink that you expect him to be. Very fussy, very Felix Unger.

One nice thing has been that Sourpuss has been moved away. She's on another row now, and I'm really grateful. I don't think I've ever known more about a co-worker's family, children's problems, home repair, and medical history. I know this because she would always talk about these things very loudly on the phone. I'm not sure how she could have ever been productive as she was always on a personal call.

I've heard calls about how she didn't want her daughter in the special ed classes, how she didn't get permits to have the landscape work done in her back yard, and her constant bickering with the people at the weight-loss clinic about what she could and could not eat on her plan. She did know that I could clearly hear her. one day she turned to me and stated, "You know that I suffer from depression, right?" Actually, I didn't until then, and now what am I supposed to say? "That's Great?"

Of course that doesn't mean that all of my other co-workers are quiet. Sitting in the cubical across from me is "Lord Help Me, Jesus!". I call her this because at any interval of the day, when she gets the slightest bit frustrated with work, this is what she screams out. She's not very well equipped for this job, so I hear it a lot. personally i feel that the refrain is falling on deaf ears, much like God probably doesn't care who wins the Superbowl, and probably doesn't do much with the outcome.

Sometimes she actually asks her coworkers for help. Wait, that's all the time. I get all sorts of questions, many are ones that if she had some training and know something about finances, she might be better at the job, but the company isn't big on training, just production, without seeing the benefit more training would have on the other. When I get questions about how mutual funds work, then I know we're in trouble.

That's a big problem with the job as it is, the managers are looking at straight numbers, and little else. I have a new manager, my third in the past year. He has said a full sentence to me about four times. It's just showing me that they really aren't paying attention to their people, and even worse, really aren't trying to improve their workforce. This is how people like "Lord Help Me, Jesus!" manage to stay in these positions when they clearly aren't cut out for it. I hate seeing this because i know what I could do if I was made a manager...and I'd want to make it better. I want that job, not the one I'm stuck with!

One last thing..."Lord Help Me, Jesus!" was asking people if they had seen a movie...one that i think was a religious movie of some sort, so she was probably trying to check up on people and to bring them to the Lord through cinema. So she asks me, "Michael, Have you seen My Special Something?"

I was confused by this, but it also sounded like a strange come-on, so in my usually loud voice I turned to her and said, "Glenda, No, I haven't seen your special something." She turned red and giggled in the "that was funny but I go to church and don't really approve" way as other people around us heard and were a bit confused. Someone joked that HR would need to be called in.

Oh well, that's what's up for me. Hopefully I'll enjoy the cafeteria's $1 burger day next week. So much for the full meal we were comped lat year! Otherwise, unless there's something better, I'll be studying for my licensing exam on Friday.
eggwards: (Default)
Martin Luther King, Jr. Day is the only holiday I know of that I get along with the bank tellers, but not with much of the rest of the world. Bank tellers get Columbus Day, but I do not. Most people don't get this day off because it is close to other holidays. Personally, I think we could honor Dr. King and still move this date to August when we don't have other holidays.

Still, much like the vacation day I took a month and a half ago, having this day off allowed me to miss the driver's pinball game that goes on in Dallas every time there is an ice storm. Chris was not so lucky, but he managed to get to and from work just fine. I got to sit on the couch and read comics and finally get through some of my Netflix movies while Joey the Dog harassed the Roomba cleaning upstairs.

We went out to Chili's tonight for dinner and the place was nearly deserted. I'm not sure if it was the cold, or the fact that the waitress who will not touch food was working. We've had her once, and she's horrible. Apparently we insulted her by not coloring a pepper for charity - you know, spend a buck for charity and color the logo to go on the wall to show how well the store has done getting people to fork over extra money. When we turned her down, I guess we ruined her percentage of sales or something, so her service for the rest of the meal was terrible. We call her "no touchy" (said like David Spade's character from "The Emperor's New Groove") as she has other people bring out all of her food and drinks, and has a busboy clear it. she never touches a plate, on out table or anyone else's. Very strange.

At dinner I told Chris that while watching the news in the afternoon, one of the weather forecasters said that he new that some precipitation would be coming down on Wednesday, but said we would have to watch the 6 o'clock news to find out what kind it will be. This was one of the dumbest teases I'd ever heard. For one thing, we can all check the internet to find out it's going to snow on Wednesday, but you don't tease the weather, you tease that something in your house can kill you, or that a celebrity was caught doing something. Personally I'm waiting for "We have video of children having sex. Find out if it's yours at ten!"

With snow in our forecast, that just means the local news can continue to train cameras on the freeway mixmasters to try to pinpoint when ice form. then they hope an accident will occur during the newscast.

Finally, Chris and I finally figured out what the cable channel LOGO needs. They need to take Lifetime movies and recast the leads as same-sex couples. I'm not sure who would play Valerie Bertinelli, or Meredith Baxter Burney, but think of the possibilities.
eggwards: (Xmas)
I'll freely admit that I'm not so much in the Holiday spirit. I've still got some shopping to do, and both Chris and I have been working long hours. We haven't even put up the Christmas (or holiday) tress, or stockings in the house.

Still, I dropped by Kroger this morning to grab some Holiday Cookies for those people around me (Sourpuss hasn't taken any yet, she's on a diet). The cookies are Santas and Trees covered with colored sugar. It was noticed by a co-worker that the Santas have the green sugar and the trees have the red. I said, "Well, you just can't count those Chinese sweatshop bakers to know these things."

Another co-worker has given me a gift (no Chris, it's not the one who always shouts "Lord Help Me Jesus!" throughout the day - she gets really stressed. My occasional work-out buddy gave me a package of Tag Body Spray. Was she trying to tell me something?

Of course I had to say to her, "are you sure you bought this for the right person? I don't think I fit the demographic." She said that I could get more exercise running away from all the women that Tag supposedly attracts.
eggwards: (Give Me Money!)
Well, it's almost time to go back down the road to home. It's been a great New Year's weekend with Chris, and surprisingly, I had a good time at the party on New Year's Eve. We rung in the new year well, and I hope it bodes well for the rest of 2006.

We also spent time with Carlos and Steve up in Little Elm, Texas. It's another one of those tiny towns north of Dallas that are seeing a big boom in population growth. It was interesting seeing all of the tracts of homes being laid out there. As for the Little Elm Bears themselves, they seemed very happy about their house and seem to be constantly improving it, and trying to get all of the neighbors to improve theirs, in as much as Carlos tries to landscape other people's places.

They also had the very nice Fred from Virginia in town, and we brought Oscar, so all the guys had a great New Year's brunch, and heard way too much Celine Dion.

We saw The Producers today, which was a lot of fun. Then we picked up the new glasses. Yep, normally they are done in about an hour, but get them on a busy weekend, and they are done in about two days. We even went to the mall yesterday, so I've seen enough of Stonebriar Center for a while. It was also disappointing to only see the Tupperbears (two handsome guys selling Tupperware at a mall kiosk) on Saturday, only to be replaced with some dumpy hausfrau yesterday and today. Oh well, saved me money not buying a cupcake carrier or something.

So, on to the before and after pics, courtesy of Chris ([livejournal.com profile] f__k):
Before:
After:

I'm still getting used to them, and everything looks a little off right now, but they do stay on my nose, so that's a good thing. Still, I think I'll need to trim my eyebrows more thoroughly now.
eggwards: (Holiday time)

DSC01766.JPG, originally uploaded by eggwards.

I took some pictures of various places in Houston that were all ready for the holiday season. Lots of lights and a little tinsel, you know?

My Flickr page. which you can get with the link above, has more.

eggwards: (Holiday time)
Over the weekend Chris ([livejournal.com profile] f__k) and I were listening to Christmas/Holiday music at a local restaurant. As I was pointing out the fact that religious carols are only presented in stores and restaurant as instrumentals, as not to offend those who do not celebrate the same faith, many secular songs are sung unto their hearts content.

As we were discussing this, we started analyzing what each of these songs were really saying. We started to re-state the theme of the song in the most generic way possible. In this, we thought it would be fun to unleash this on the LJ public.

So, presented to you is a list of 15 Christmas/Holiday songs that you can try to decipher and give the proper titles to. I'm holding back the answers, and will give them out in a day or two. I'll announce those who guessed the most correctly. Let's see if we're able to convey the song's general message through just a few words...

[Poll #632710]
eggwards: (Holiday time)
Last night I was out with my parents. They are still liking the new car. In a way of showing off, knowing my Mom's love of the season, I put on the Holiday music channel. Yes, that's what I said, the Holiday channel.

My mother brought up the whole "Holiday" issue that has seemed to explode this year. Many evangelicals and some other Christians along with mouthpiece Bill O'Reiley have been making a big stink about retailers, broadcasters and others use of the word "Holiday" instead of Christmas. One of the most virulent voices has been the Rev. Donald Wildmon who has sent out email after email urging boycotts of stores that "refuse" to wish people a Merry Christmas.

Yep, I'm on the American Family Association's mailing list. I got on it when I emailed the form letter to Walgreens for supporting the Gay Games. Of course I made plenty of changes to the form to actually praise the drugstore for their support - support as the AFA reports, is actually based on trying to drive up HIV infections to gain customers. Lovely conspiracy theory there, but something tells me that the average AFA reader really doesn't care about the HIV infection rate among gays and lesbians.

Still, I get these messages telling me that all of these retailers and broadcasters are tying to destroy Christianity in America and get rid of Christmas. this shows a big lack of thinking on their part. The only reason that retailers, during their busiest time of the year, would want to remove Christmas from their store is to try to be more inclusive, to try to not alienate other customers, and to try to drive larger sales by getting people of many faiths involved in the gift-giving season.

In this nation, should you work to include everyone, suddenly the group who was once singled out by their year-ending celebration feels slighted. Why? Because suddenly their feeling of specialness is gone. the rubber stamping of their values has been pushed aside, or so they believe.

Personally I see plenty of signs of the season, lights and special sales and hear the songs of Christmas and other holidays. It hasn't gone away, and those who want to celebrate the birth of Jesus christ can do it. Religious freedom isn't dead, it's just that stores and broadcast outlets and cities have realized that there are other people out there in the world. Millions of other people who don't believe the same thing and don't wish to have The Little Drummer Boy drummed into their head. People and organizations have done their best to try to promote tolerance.

Unfortunately we still have this bunch of crybabies who, instead of feeling empowered to personally be able to celebrate their beliefs is going out to try to tell the rest of us that we're wrong, and only the loudest crybabies can work to get their Christmas back. They challenge these stores and tell them that they must tell them merry christmas of they will shop elsewhere.

The funny thing is that Target and Wal*Mart are two of the stores that have "removed" Christmas from their stores and advertising. Given that these two stores have driven out many other retailers from towns everywhere, just where are these people supposed to buy their presents? Amazon.com?

Some retailers have been giving in. Some, like Walgreens have said that they will comply with the demands of the boycotters and will include the word Christmas in next year's advertising. Maybe it's the truth, maybe it's just stalling, or maybe they will actually use "Christmas" in conjunction with several other seasonal celebrations, like Chanukah, Solstice and Yule.

I personally remember my bitch of a cousin being upset with the US Postal Service when they issued Chanukah and Ramadan stamps along with the traditional Christmas stamp a couple of years ago. Heaven help us for another round of damned inclusiveness. Luckily Ramadan has moved on so she can just be outraged by the Jews this season.

Don't get me wrong. I don't mind Christmas. It's often a nice, fun festive time of the year, and I look forward to the music. Still, you won't offend me by calling it a Christmas Tree, nor would you offend me by saying "Merry Christmas". Sure, my actual faith in the religion has waned, but I'm not scared of offended by the holiday. in fact, it's mighty easy to celebrate without the ties to the miracle birth.

That brings me to my father. As a pert of the argument about the loss of christmas (my parent's watch Fox News), he mentioned that Kwanzaa is made up and doesn't need to be celebrated. "Ok", I told him, "Christmas Day is just as made up as Kwanzaa." As he started to bark at my assertion I stated, "Whether or not Jesus (the son of God version) walked on the Earth, the fact is, December 25th wasn't his birthday, it was a day chosen to take advantage of the Pagan rituals and feasts that were already there in the people the Christians wanted to convert." Dad didn't have much of a response.

when we kept talking about the role of Christmas in America, I said to them, "One of the reasons that the season has gotten away from its religious roots is that people have let it. Over the last 75 years, more has been done to make Christmas time about family, crass commercialism, and the innocuous images of innocence (and of course Santa Claus) than it has been about the son of God. As you know, it's the Christians who helped make it this way." The idea of the perfect present took over from the reason why the celebration started for many people.

I mean, there was a Garfield Christmas Special, for goodness sake. The Charlie Brown special is the only one that actually mentions Jesus and rejects commercialism. Garfield? pass the Lasagna.

So I asked the question to them, and I'll ask it again, "Why does a majority have to go on whining about their plight? Why use tactics of, and try to make yourselves out as a minority to get their way?" I guess I'll never know.

Personally I'm tired of the debate. call the season what you will, and enjoy the beginning of winter with your family, or friends, or loved ones, whomever they might be. You can wish me whatever you want, I won't be offended, and I wish that a few others would stop being offended as well.

Just don't push. It's the most wonderful time of the year, you know.

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