Archive for January, 2004

Jan 29 2004

Blah blah blah workcakes.

Published by under Education,Moving/Real Estate,Work

First of all, news on George: The Man told me today that the closing date is tentatively set for Tuesday. But we still don’t know if we’re approved for the loan. We should find out about that today. This means, unless there is a delay, that we’ll be closing the day before The Man flies out to Denver. So, I probably won’t be taking next week off work. Maybe the week after. Depends on if we get immediate possession of the house or if the sellers want a few days to get the rest of their stuff out. There wasn’t much left the last time we were there. Don’t know how much is left now.

It’s kind of ironic that I’m going to be taking time off work just when I got a whole lot of it (work that is) placed squarely on my shoulders. Yesterday I had a meeting with Stylin, who has finally decided how he’s going to have our team organized this year. I’m getting responsibility for all the Voice stuff. Which is good – that’s what I wanted. I’m tired of doing data and I want to learn something new. But now each of us (me, Zuchiboy, Rock Star, and the other trainer who doesn’t have a name yet) have a bunch of things that we have to do for our various products to meet our goals for 1st and 2nd quarter. The biggest (and first) things we all have to do is get our classes for our various products squared away. What does that mean? It means: the book, assessments, and handouts have to be done. The associated PowerPoints have to be done. Lesson plans for each module have to be completed in such a way that someone could look at it and sub in for us if necessary (doing an adequate job). This doesn’t sound like a big deal, because we each have a workable book, workable assessments, and workable handouts. But none of us have workable lesson plans. I did two lesson plans today. Each one took me an hour. I’ll need to do about 12 or so more. Some of them will take me much longer than an hour. The only reason that these ones went so quickly is that there were already Powerpoint slides to go with the module (always a bonus – makes the plan easier to break down) and I took copious notes when I sat in on Rock Star’s last voice class. The plans for the systems will be much trickier.

Once that is done, the other work begins. I don’t even remember all of the things that are on my goal list for Q1 and Q2. One thing that keeps popping out at me is that I have to do a regular newsletter for my group (my group being the agents who take Voice calls). The other one that sticks out at me is that 1/3 of the class has to be automated by June 30. That one I expressed some concern with to Stylin, because A) 1/3 of the class is a huge chunk to automate and B) Most of the stuff we teach is already kind of boring. . . how much more boring is it going to be when we automate it? But, I told him I was willing to try it out, I thought it would be interesting, and if it doesn’t work, then who cares, at least we tried. But I still have my reservations about the whole thing. I wouldn’t be me if I didn’t have reservations.

Oh, one other random piece of work news that made me giggle: my business cards arrived yesterday. I have a grown-up job!

Blah, blah, blah, workcakes. I’m done talking about work. For today.

Had my law class again last night and it was still interesting. This week we covered – at a very high level – what the process is for filing and resolving a civil suit, as well as alternatives to litigation. Next week we get to talk about criminal litigation! I’m all trembly with excitement! I’m supposed to read the Constitution before we meet again. I wonder how many times in my life I’ve been assigned the constitution as required reading? Seems like at least five or six. And I still don’t know what half of it means. I’m a bad little American citizen. At least I’m not alone in that, hey?

According to my desk calendar, on this day in 1982, Steve Callahan set sail for the Carribean. In a tragic twist of fate, his boat sank and instead of reaching the Carribean, he ended up writing a book about fishing. Or something like that.

It appears that I’ve run out of things to say. That means the entry is over.

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Jan 28 2004

Back to work, news on George, and the House of Commons.

Today I’m back at work and wishing I wasn’t.  I’m not sick anymore, but I had a hard time falling asleep last night so I’m kind of tired.  Of course, tonight I have class until 10 PM, so it’s not like I can go home and take a nap or anything.  I also didn’t do any of my reading for class so I’m a big loser.  Hope we don’t have a quiz or anything tonight.  There’s only so much I can fake.

We found out yesterday what is currently holding us up on our Quest to Own George — our own place of business.  Apparently, loan people require some proof of employment document (because three pay stubs aren’t proof enough?), and our loan guy has made the request for this document to our company THREE times, and been ignored all three times.  The Man went to our HR department yesterday to find out what the hell was going on, and was told that our company outsourced that function.  Let me reiterate:  Our company outsourced verifying who works for them.  Isn’t that weird?  So. . . now that we know why the request was being ignored, it’s taken care of and we are (supposedly) moving forward.  We’ll see.  I’m ready to take a few days off work to do work on a house.  Especially a house that belongs to me.

It snowed and snowed and snowed yesterday.  It was kind of nice because I didn’t have to go anywhere, so I could look out the window and watch big flakes come down, and listen to people on the road spinning their tires because they were stuck in snowbanks.  Unfortunately for The Man and Chris, they had to drive from work and to D&D, so they probably didn’t enjoy the snow as much as I did.  There are huge piles of snow lying around because everyone’s been shoveling — I even paid some kids five bucks yesterday to shovel the driveway for me.  I don’t know if I over or underpaid.  I don’t know the going rate for 10 year old labor.  The hell with it.  I probably would have committed murder for five bucks when I was 10.

Has anyone ever listened when the BBC is broadcasting the House of Commons?  I don’t watch the BBC on TV, but I listen to it when NPR is broadcasting it.  Today Tony Blair was addressing the House of Commons, delivering his response to the whole David Kelley suicide fiasco.  What cracks me up is that the . . . uh . . . Commoners?  I don’t know what they’re called . . .will just start rumbling when Mr. Blair says something they either like or don’t like.  Because it’s radio, you can’t tell if they’re going “ARGH!  We hate you!” or “Right on, man, keep talking!”, you just hear “rumble. . .rumble”.  It sounds a lot like “rabble, rabble, rabble”. . . in a very British way.  It’s funny to me because I don’t think Congress is very vocal when someone is talking to them.  They’ll clap sometimes, but I’ve never heard of a group of reps just voicing their opinion out loud like that.  Maybe rumbling is the House of Common’s way of applauding.  They seem a lot more laid back over there, judging solely on the radio broadcasts, which, lacking visual cues, are probably a bit misleading.

Remember the time sheet whining?  Bet you thought you’d heard the last of that, didn’t you?  Well, it’s the end of January, when we thought we’d get to stop doing this.  Guess what?  It’s going to continue through February.  There are certain times when annoyances outweigh everything else.  I hate these time sheets.  Track my time, indeed.  Am I doing my job?  Is anyone complaining?  No?  Then LAY OFF ME.  God.

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Jan 27 2004

Sick day/snowy day

Published by under Stupidity

I called in sick to work today because I was . . . well, sick.  Apparently I picked a really good day to call in because it’s been snowing all day.  Probably got five or six inches of snow, but it’s hard to tell for sure because we have piles of snow around the house so it throws off my internal depth gauge.

I got up at 7:30 AM to call Stylin and let him know I wasn’t coming in, but I didn’t know his work phone by heart so I was trying to bring up his phonebook entry on The Man’s cell phone.  I think within 60 seconds I managed to accidentally dial Stylin’s cell phone, Faith’s (our VP’s) home phone, and conference in some guy from Wyomissing, PA.  They probably all heard me going “Crap!  Just. . . hang up!  No, don’t DO that!” and then the phone going dead.  I shouldn’t try to use cell phones when I’m half awake.

Because I was sick I didn’t do too much today.  Pretty much all I did was play more Nintendo and update Quoted For Truth.  As a matter of fact, why don’t you go over there and check it out?  It’s much more entertaining than this sad little entry.

I’m going back to laying on the couch like a fungus.  Or a gas.  An inert one.

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Jan 26 2004

Yucky dream and poundcake.

I had a most disturbing dream this weekend.  I dreamed that Vicki had asked me and The Man to petsit her dog, so we brought him to our house, except we were living in my Grandma’s house in this dream.  Anyways, the dog and our cats were in the office, and me and The Man were in the living room.  I hollered out for the animals to come here, because I was going to feed them.  The dog came, Destiny came, but Fate didn’t come.  I went into the office to see what was up, and discovered that the dog had RIPPED HER APART.  I’m not kidding — her head was in one place, her front legs in another. . . it was disgusting and horrible.  In my dream I was sobbing and screaming and the last thing I remember was picking up her head and holding it in my hands. . . then I made myself wake up.  When I woke up I had a crashing headache as if I had been crying really hard, but my face was dry so I knew I hadn’t been.  Luckily, Fate was sleeping at the foot of the bed, so I was able to quickly reorient myself as to what was reality and what was a dream.  I hate dreams like that.  They always stay in my head much longer than the good ones.

Nothing much went on this weekend.  We invited Michael over for dinner on Friday because I was going to attempt roasting a chicken for the first time.  Turned out okay — chicken, sweet potatoes, baked beans and biscuits.  Not a bad dinner.  Saturday was laundry.  I mostly played GameCube (Skies of Arcadia: Legends) while doing laundry, but I also baked a lemon poppyseed poundcake (recipe at end of entry), which turned out good.  Sunday I was supposed to go with Michael to look at a house he wants, but my Grandma called me Saturday night to tell me my mom was coming over, so I had to go to a family dinner.

As of this moment, there is no further word on the house or the underwriters or anything dealing with us moving.  I know you’ll all be glad when this is a done deal and I can stop talking about how frustrating it is to buy a house, but guess what?  After we close you get to read me bitching about WORKING on the house — stripping wallpaper, painting, installing dry wall. . . mmmm, the fun never stops here.  Luckily I had the foresight to save forty hours of vacation, so after we close I am taking a week off to do a lot of stuff.  That’s probably a good thing because I’ve never stripped wallpaper before and I understand it can be a daunting task.

You know what’s funny?  I haven’t been to the house in so long I’m starting to forget things about it.  It will be like a little surprise after we close and we get to go there again.  I wonder how long it will take for me to not feel like I am poking around someone else’s house?  I think the first thing I’m going to do is take the NRA sticker off the front door.  NRA stickers on houses always creep me out slightly.  Because what you are inferring is that there is an armed person inside ready to shoot-to-kill.  Not that that is a bad impression to give off to robbers or unwanted solicitors, but it doesn’t exactly say “Welcome to my home” either.

OK, as promised, here is the recipe for Lemon Poppyseed Poundcake.  For those of you (like me) who need very exact instructions, Clues for the Clueless at the end of the recipe — things I found out through trial and error.

Lemon Poppyseed Poundcake – Not for the Health Conscious
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tbsp poppyseeds
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 c unsalted butter
1 1/2 c sugar (plus 1/3 c for glaze)
1/2 c sour cream
1 tbsp lemon grated lemon peel
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
juice from two large lemons (for glaze)

Preheat oven to 325 F.  Grease and flour 9×5 inch loaf pan.

Grate peel from your lemons.  Recipe says 1 tbsp — I just grate both of them and use whatever I get out of it.  More is better than less so make sure you are using larger sized lemons.  Make sure you are grating this fine — you don’t want big chunks of peel.

Combine first 5 ingredients in medium mixing bowl and set aside.

Cream butter and 1 1/2 c sugar together in large mixing bowl until light — about 5 minutes.

Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Add vanilla and lemon peel.

Alternately add in flour mixture and sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture.

Spoon batter into pan and place in oven for 1 hour 20 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.  (Near end of baking, combine lemon juice and 1/3 c sugar to make the glaze.)  Remove cake to metal baking rack to cool for 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, remove from pan. Brush warm cake with glaze and allow to cool completely.

Clues for the Clueless:  Baking the Above Cake
Grate the peel from the lemons before you cut them to squeeze the juice out.  Trust me, it’s much easier that way.

Make sure your glaze is at room temp before glazing the cake.

When grating the peel, use the second-smallest holes on the grater.  Lots of the peel will stick to the grater, so you have to bang it around or get it off with your hands.  Fun.

Remove stray seeds from the juice before you make the glaze.

Glaze the WHOLE cake — top and sides.  You can pay more attention to the top and the longer sides, but the whole outside should be nice and sticky.  Don’t glaze the bottom, yeah?

I imagine you can probably freeze unglazed after the cake has completely cooled, but if you are not going to freeze, then store by wrapping in aluminium foil.  I leave mine out on the counter, but if you are in a hot climate, the fridge might be best.  If you freeze, you’ll have to make the glaze later using lemon juice (not necessarily fresh squeezed) and sugar.

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Jan 22 2004

It’s the LAW!

Published by under Education,Moving/Real Estate

I had Business Law last night and it was pretty interesting. The teacher (Mr. A) is actually a lawyer, he teaches at my school as an adjunct. Anyway, we talked about how the Federal court system was set up versus the state court system, the appeals process, and we talked a little about jurisdiction. We also got off on several tangents about how long federal and state judges stay in office, how they can be removed from office, and for what kinds of offenses. Mr. A likes people to talk and discuss, and since I can’t keep my mouth shut anyway, I ended up asking a lot of questions. I’ve always been interested in law in the abstract sense, so it will be fun to see if my interest survives the nuts and bolts of learning about it, albeit on a limited scale. The bad part is that since last week was a snow day, I have four chapters to read before next Wednesday, which means two study guide sections and about twenty case studies to go through. Ugh.

I got home from class at about 10:30 PM, and I was beat. The Man told me that Iris wanted us to go look at another house today and that simultaneously worried me and pissed me off. It worried me because why should we be looking at other houses if this one is practically a done deal? Is there something Iris is not telling us? And it pissed me off for pretty much the same reason. Iris has never been enthusiastic about our choice to buy George, and while she tries to hide it, I know she doesn’t like the house and would rather see us buy something else. But she has never been able to come up with a good reason WHY we shouldn’t buy the house either. All the inspections came back fine, so I know it’s not because the house is a piece of shit that just looks nice. Personally, I think she is one of those people that doesn’t believe in buying a house that you have to work on. She strikes me as the type who wants to move into a finished house. And we wouldn’t technically HAVE to do any work on George, but there are several cosmetic things that we will be doing before we move in. . . anyway, it pisses me off that she is taking up our time by showing us other houses when we have committed to buying one already. As [boi] pointed out, we have a contract with the sellers, it’s not like we can just walk away (which we don’t want to do — and speaking of contracts I’ll be learning all about those in my law class). . . and the new house would have to be AMAZING to go through all the hassle of cancelling the contract and signing a new purchase agreement without any guarantees that it will go through without a hitch. I don’t think so. I don’t want another house, I want the one we have decided to buy.

Anyway, I have to work today until 3:30, then go out to school for my computer class, which is so easy that it’s annoying. I’d drop the damn thing, but work is going to foot the bill and why should I drop a class that I can get an easy A in? That can only help the ol’ GPA, right?

And hey, don’t forget about the Notify List, languishing down there, wanting people to be its friend. Sign up and get notified when I update. No one will spam you. Notify list people sometimes get extra-special snippets of information that don’t appear in the journal. Woo!

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