Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Gettin Antsy

A month ago today I sent out a story to The Escapist, an online magazine about gaming, geekery and other things for an upcoming all fiction issue. I still have not heard back, even an auto response to say they got it. I'm getting to the point that I want to email the editor to make sure they at least got the file, but then I don't want to be annoying and get tossed from the mix for that reason. I guess I'll wait, I've got more important things to worry about.

Note: For a while, posting will probably be infrequent and/or short. We had another scare yesterday and Brandi has been banished to bed rest for at least the rest of the first trimester. We'll be at the doctor Monday for more blood work and then the 12th for another ultrasound. We're keeping our fingers crossed.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

What a weekend

We had a very busy weekend that started up on Saturday and then went downhill quickly on Sunday. Things kind of leveled out yesterday after a trip to the doctor. Everything was ok, but we were very worried for a while there. Even before they're born, kids are a pain in the butt.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Teh Awesome!

Yesterday was a really long day. We're under deadline at work for the annual show issues, which I am a managing editor of. Then the library was super busy again. I had no idea a library would get this busy over the summer. When I finally got home at ten I was tired and Brandi was tired and hungry (understandable since she's preggers). So I ran out to get her what she wanted to eat (of course she didn't want to eat anything we had at home, but that's ok). When I got back, I saw there was a package on the table for me...kind of.

It's a mystery package from Colorado...

What could it be? It's a package from fellow blogger and UCFer Janice! I wonder what's inside. It's a pair of very nice knit caps! Based on the addressee on the package, and the fact that they'd be a little small for my abnormally large noggin, they must be for baby #2.

A very stylish and excited Mr. Potatohead models the finely knit caps for us. He decided to go sans nose so that we could still see
his dazling eyes.

Thanks Janice, the hats are great! It was a very nice surprise at the end of a long day. And the colors could work for either gender, which is good since we don't know yet. Brandi thought they were very cute and likes them too. They're just great. And here's another photo of them side-by-side for comparison.

Mr. Potatohead opted to sit this last shot out, after being under the lights of the studio he said he was baking.

Again Janice, thank you very much! The hats are fantastic. Guess we'll have to add another string to the UCF hairball.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Did you realize

that the deadline for our show issue is only a week away!?! Holy Shit! When I left work yesterday, it was like, yeah, no big deal, it's due on the 31st, we've got plenty of time. Then my coworker comes in this morning and says we've got a week. That's really different from saying that it's due on the 31st. We've got stuff written, but nothing laid out yet because the person that does layout for this particular project has been working on another project. I'm sure it will all get done in time (it has to), but still, a week left, shit.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Amazing Photos

My buddy Lance takes some incredible photos (I think they're professional quality, but he would tell me there not and start going on about lenses and lighting and aperture and shutter speeds and I would understand maybe a quarter of it).

Anyway, he has been on road trip to Colorado with his wife and her cousin for the last little while and he's updated his photo journal with some of the photos he's taken on the road. There are just some awe-inspiring shots of the mountains and flora and fauna they've seen along with his quirky/fun accounts of their travels. I've you've got a minute, you can check out his photo journal at There's also the link in the sidebar on the right.


I am in need of something new to listen too. I'm getting tired of the library of music that I have on my iTunes at work. It's on random and I usually end up skipping past most of the songs that pop up because I've heard them too many times.

I like a range of music, but I'd be willing to give anything a shot. I picked up a CD at the library last night, which I haven't listened to yet, because I liked the cover. I think it was Beta Band, but I'd have to double check.

I like 60s and 70s rock, some alternative, some metal, a little country, a little blues. Not a big fan of hip hop. My current selection on iTunes features: The Beatles, George Harrison, The Eels, Oingo Boingo, Paul Simon, Simon & Garfunkel, John Lennon, Pink Floyd, Queen, R.E.M., Smoking Popes, Talking Heads, AC/DC, Three Dog Night, Tom Petty, Traveling Wilburys, Weezer, XTC, The Who, Blues Brothers, CCR, etc.

I've also been known to listen to The Police, B-52s, David Bowie, Jimi Hendrix, John Denver, Metallica, Moby, The Monkeys.

A coworker recommended the other day that I check out Eagles of Death Metal, which I did. I like it. (It's not death metal by the way).

So what do y'all think? What do you like to listen to?

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

UCF in the Multiverse

I like to play with acronyms of things. It’s fun to take an existing acronym or word and make up new meanings, so I decided to play with UCF, or Union of Collaborating Founders (of which I am lucky enough to be a member, see Random Michelle’s cool graphic to the right). For any of you who don’t know what this is, you can find an explanation here.

Acronymfinder has these acronyms for UCF:
University of Central Florida
Uranium Conversion Facility
Uniform Contract Format
Unregistration Confirm
Unit Capability Factor (power plant performance)
User Communication Form
United Cat Federation
Unified Communications Framework
Unión Cívica Femenina (Womens’ Civic Union, Guatemala)

None of these seems to work for the group as I’ve experienced it, except maybe United Cat Federation, as many of the UCF seem to have cats and like taking pictures of their cats.

So, if we were in an alternate reality, (as we probably exist in some other multiverse) what might UCF stand for?

Uncommonly Cool Fellows
Uncannily Creative Federation
Ultimate Cocoa Fanatics
United Colleagues for Fun

And here are some things that have nothing to do with any of us, as far as I know, but can UCF can be an acronym of:

Ugly Cod Fishermen
Urban Cannon Fodder
Undulating Copper Filigree
Unnatural Carp Feces
Unctuous Car Follower

I could go on, but there’s work to do.

Any other suggestions?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Monday Meeting, Uuuugggghhhh

I just got home a little while ago from an all day meeting. It was an off site, thing followed by dinner. We discussed our brands, our readers and our customers (advertisers). We were in a room at a local hotel, and it was frigid when I got there and the temperature in the room fluctuated through the day from uncomfortably hot to almost too cold. It was a decent meeting, but by the end of the day everyone was ready for a nap. Then we went to dinner, which was nice. But now I'm tired and I have a killer headache. It's time to sit back and relax.

Friday, July 18, 2008

F In Math + Finishing 8th Grade = Party?

My weekend is all booked up. Lodge thing tomorrow for most of the day, and then of to my mother-in-law's for my brother-in-law's 8th grade graduation party (there's 10 years difference between my wife and her next sibling, the party is for the youngest). I have to get up much earlier than anyone should have to for this lodge thing tomorrow, so I'm certainly not going to want to go to this graduation party, but I know I'm not going to get out of it. But in my mind, there shouldn't be a party to begin with.

You see, my brother-in-law FAILED math this year. He didn't just have a couple bad tests or some incomplete homework, he failed the class. Not that anyone would purposefully aim low, but between my mother-in-law's four kids and approximately 47 cumulative school years no one has brought home an F on a report card until now. I don't think there's ever been anything lower than a C, or maybe a C-, up until this point. Way to destroy the curve Little J!

I don't know that Little J was ever a stupendous math student, but he was never an F student. There are some possible reasons for this poor showing. For one, for the last year or so, the boy and his PSP have ceased to be two separate entities, but instead have fused into a RoboCop-like fusion of man and machine. Of course, there were times when he would have to set down the pick up the Xbox or PS2 controller.

Also, when it comes to her baby, my mother-in-law is very lenient. Being sent to his room as a form of discipline doesn't do a whole lot when there's a tv with cable and a PS2 in the room. And no one ever stops him from playing his brother's Xbox when his brother's not home and he's not supposed to be playing it. If I have my way, when Logan's old enough and he gets sent to his room, I'll be able to cut the power to just his room on the circuit breaker so he doesn't have the luxury of those kinds of things. Ha!

So, there's the party for him tomorrow, which in the grand scheme of things 8th grade "graduation" really doesn't seem like a big deal. I know all the other kids had one, but come on, he failed math and you're still giving him a party!?! By doing this, he's essentially being rewarded for failure, or he's being told the F doesn't matter. If he were my kid there would be no party. Thankfully, Brandi agrees.

And one of the funniest parts is that he says next year, in high school where the grades are going to matter more, he can just switch it on and he'll be getting good grades in math. He'll be a math super star! Riiiiiiiiiight...whenever I toss a simple math problem his way off the top of my head he either gives me a dumb look or tells me to shut up. That reminds me that I should get a good congratulatory punch in the arm for him tomorrow.

Friday Funtastic Follies: The Secrets of the Amish

The Secrets of the Amish

Did you know that the Amish are really descended from a race of aliens that came to Earth many, many years ago. They sought a simpler life away from the wars and conflict of their galaxy in turmoil. They came to this planet to settle down and live peaceably and simply. When they arrived they sampled human dna to alter their form and the "Pennsylvania-German" language that they speak is really just a dialect of the national language from their home world. The first Amish barns really cover up the landing sites of where their ships came. If you dig down deep enough, you'll find a treasure trove of alien technology.

What if it's really the Amish that control the world and they are reluctant to enter into the regular society for the fear that they will be unable to objectively shape the course of modern events. Perhaps those members of their culture that choose to step outside of the Amish way of life are trying to enter the world to have a more direct impact on it, but when they leave, the elders perform a special ceremony that wipes their memory of being part of such a powerful culture and they lead more normal lives.

Did you know that long ago the ancient Amish went war with the Vikings? At the time, the Amish boasted superior weapons of war, but the Vikings were so ferocious and their military tactics so brilliant that the technological superiority of the Amish could not withstand them for long. Indeed, it was a boast from the Amish that they were so much more advanced than the Vikings that set the war off in the first place. After a brutal defeat, which almost completely wiped the Amish from the globe, the Amish elders sought peace through surrender. As part of the agreement, the Vikings ruled that the Amish should forever be forbidden to advance technologically. Even today, Viking descendents, secreted through society, watch the Amish closely for fear that they might one day rise again and threaten the Viking way of life.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Nothing Clever Today

I'm feeling a little drained in the clever department at the moment. I have to save all of that for the end of a hopefully humorous article that my boss will hopefully approve for our annual show issue. Yes, I know I used hopefully twice in the same sentence. It was intentional. I got one in last year (in a B2B book I think that's saying a lot), and I thought it was pretty good, but then, it seems like on one reads the show issue of our book anyway...

So, maybe there'll be something clever later. Hope everyone's having a good and productive day. Have some music.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

What’s the Deal, Toy Story?

We’ve all seen that loveable Disney/Pixar movie Toy Story. Tom Hanks, Tim Allen and others lend their voices to one of my favorite Pixar movies, which has now become my son’s favorite movie. I don’t know what it is about that movie to his 21-month-old brain, but he enjoys both Toy Story movies more than anything else he’s seen yet. Of course, he hasn’t been introduced to Star Wars yet, but that will come eventually. But I’m getting off topic.

What bothers me about Toy Story and Toy Story 2 when I watch it is one question: Where’s Andy’s father?

Where's your father, Andy?

In both movies, the mother is present with a supporting role and has a definite influence on Andy’s life. Not once in the movie do we see Andy’s father, no reference to him is made, there are no photos that I’ve seen with the happy family. One would have to figure that Andy knew his dad for at least a few years of his life since he has a baby sister that is a few years younger than him. Unless, of course, Andy’s sister is the offspring of another man, but then where is the second father if that is the case. And what does this say about Andy’s mom and the values she is teaching her children.

So why the oversight Pixar? Do you not value the role of a father in the raising of a child? Research shows that a father’s role is very important in the life of a child. Did you not have healthy relationships or any relationships with your fathers? If so, I am sorry that was the life you grew up with.

I know they’re just children’s movies, but I would like some kind of an explanation. I think this leaves a gaping hole in the lives of these two fictitious children. To try and fill in the story, I have come up with some possible explanations as to what may or may not have happened to Andy’s dad:

Sheriff Woody, simple toy or substitue father figure?

~Andy’s parents got divorced (for whatever reason, fill in the blank) and Andy’s father does not have any custody or visitation rights.

~Andy’s father was a police officer that was killed in the line of duty. This may explain Andy’s attachment to Sheriff Woody, and later Buzz Lightyear, possibly as a replacement father figure.

~Andy’s father “ran out for a pack of smokes” and never came back. Woody was a cherished toy that Andy had been given by his father and clings to it like he clings to the hope of his father’s return.

~Andy and his sister are the products of immaculate conception.

~In a Hand That Rocks the Cradle kind of scenario, Andy’s mom stole Andy away from his real family and made up some bogus story about his father’s whereabouts. The same would apply to Andy’s sister.

~Andy’s father is a Willy Wonka-esque toy maker who is too career focused to have time for a family and he sends toys out to the two children.

~The spirit of Andy’s father was trapped inside the Sheriff Woody doll and that is why the two are so attached.

Or maybe, I’m just thinking about all of this too much.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Has Anyone Else Seen This?

Seeing as how y'all seem to be more Internets savvy than I am, you probably have seen it, but a friend/former coworker just sent me an invite to Goodreads. Personally, I get plenty of book recommendations from the blogs I read and I don't have the time to read everything I'd like to anyway. Also, I'm loathe to start on another social networking thingie that I'll end up not doing anything with. What do you all think?

Monday Monotany Madness: Super Baby

Super Baby

Something about baby Cindy had always nagged at her parents. Doug and Jen would puzzle over what made their daughter stand out from other babies of her age. She wasn’t exceptionally tall or short, thin or chubby, and although they would have liked to believe she was “gifted,” they knew deep down that there was really no way they could really tell at such an early age. The pediatrician confirmed that her height, weight, and head size were all within a normal range. She scored at about the 67th percentile. It would have to be, they decided, the near Herculean strength she displayed on a daily basis.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Good News Part 2: The Reveal

So today we had my wife's birthday party (as the resident UCF whippersnapper I wont say how old she is so I don't get any more flack about being young). I've been working my ass off for the last two days to make sure everything went right for her and everyone had a good time. There was a secondary reason to the party that I hinted at a couple days ago. I have great news to share, but Logan said it best, so I'll let him explain.

We found out two weeks ago and my wife wanted to use her party as the occasion to let everyone know. After she changed him into that shirt, it took a while for anyone to see because he wanted me to hold him, and of course his shirt was blocked by his oafish father and Logan's duck. We're very excited. So far, everything seems to be going ok. We had some worries last week, but things seem to be all good now. We're going to the doctor in a few weeks for the first ultrasound. She's due in March (around the 13th). We'll see how many more gray hairs I have by then.

Everyone was in attendance to get the news, except my parents because they decided to go out of town this week. Too bad for them.

We've been talking about when we'd try to have number two, and we're so happy that it's here. I love Brandi so much, and am glad that we are growing our family.

I would say that I need to start storing up on my sleep now, but with Logan around, that's not going to be possible this time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Funtastic Friday Follies: Across the Desert

Across the Desert

They had told her the talisman was across the vast dessert. It was the key to survival for her people, and she had been chosen by her people to get it. She tried to remember the brief training she had received, as well as her wilderness lore from her childhood, but all she could think of was the fact that her last real meal she would eat for a long time was four hours behind her and that even after four days of walking she still wouldn't be able to see the far side of the burning wasteland. With the scorching sand before her and the blasting winds in her face she took her first step.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Our Weekend at The Farm

The old house, they say it's haunted. I've heard stories.

So last weekend we went to The Farm, as we usually do for fourth of July. Since my lovely wife and I started going out, there's only been three times we haven't been to The Farm for the fourth.

The new house. Grandpa is busy at work slapping on a fresh coat of paint.

For those of you who don't know about The Farm, here's a brief rundown. It's somewhere in the neighborhood of 32 acres of farmland and woods purchased by Brandi's grandparents about 40 years ago after seeing a friends similar getaway. It's located in Blue River, WI and there's a good quarter mile at least to the next driveway. When her grandparents bought it, there was a barn and a house dating back to the civil war. The barn is still in pretty good shape. The house...well we're just waiting for that to fall over. Her father built a house up there which is what we stay in now. There isn't a whole lot to do up there, which suits me just fine. There's always something they're doing to the house i.e. putting on a new deck, which can be very satisfying work, but all in all it's pretty relaxing.

Clothes only increase friction and slow him down.

However, this year, the relaxation factor went down quite a bit. You see, it was Logan's first time at The Farm, and while he had a perfectly wonderful time, it was less fun for us. He enjoyed running up and down the bridge from the barn to the house (the house is at the bottom of a couple hills and I helped build the bridge up the the barn a few summers ago), he enjoyed climbing around in Brandi's grandfather's van, he enjoyed playing with the dog, etc. etc. He didn't enjoy his normal sleep schedule, which made him cranky. We couldn't put him in his playpen to sleep, because the first night we were up there he discovered he's now tall enough to climb out. So, from then on, I would have to lay down next to him to get him to go to sleep.
Everyone but daddy got ice cream. Poor daddy.

He also wanted me around all weekend and didn't really want anyone else, which is flattering, but when you want a few minutes to yourself to read a few pages or whatever, that kind of gets in the way. So Brandi got to relax, I was less fortunate. Also, because of the lack of sleep (the boy went to sleep at about 8 each night and woke up at about 5:30 every morning. Usually he'll sleep from 7:30 to 7:30.) he was a cranky boy when he didn't get his way. We also had to worry about him falling while he was running up and down the deck and elsewhere so he didn't hurt hisself. He did fall a couple times, which really wasn't a big deal, but he made it sound like one. He also fell once on the gravel driveway and scraped up his chin and got a mouthful of gravel.

No shoes, no shirt, no pants, lets eat!

Usually we'll go to Boscobel for the fireworks, but we didn't get to go this year. By the time I got Logan to fall asleep, it was nearly dark and we wouldn't have been able to make it in time. We didn't want to take him, because last year, he didn't care for the fireworks at all, and we were a good distance away from them. We did light a handful off on Saturday night by the house after Logan was asleep. It was satisfyingly loud, and the great clouds of smoke kept the bugs away.

The train was really exciting for Logan...until we took a ride.

We came home on Sunday, stopping at Peck's on the way home. Peck's is a little farmers market kind of thing with a petting zoo. In the last couple years they've really redone it to make it even more family friendly. There's now a playground, giant sandbox, haunted house, maze, and a (mock)train ride. We took Logan on the pseudo train because he loves trains. He loved the ride for about the first minute of the ten minute ride. After that, he screamed and wanted to jump off. I had to hold him down. Aren't kids fun? He's just lucky he's so dang cute.
Yay for splashing!

Brandi got to feed her new addiction while we were at Peck's too. We went looking for black popcorn, and we found it. The kernels are black on the outside and they pop white just like any other popcorn. The flavor is a little different, better than regular I think, but they don't seem to pop as large as your typical Orval Redenbacher. They also had a mix of different kinds of kernels, a rainbow variety, regular, mushroom cap (which pops round and is generally what caramel corn is made with), red and a mix. I think Brandi bought about five pounds worth.

Next year, Logan can drive.

Then it was off to home and the rest of the drive was pretty smooth sailing, until we got back into Illinois, where no road is safe from summer construction.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Good News!

Just got some good news after a few very nerve wracking days of uncertainty. However, it isn't time to share the news yet, but soon, after this weekend. But what could it be?

Update: I spoke incorrectly before. This is great news.

Story Bone

This came to me as I was driving home last night. Feel free to run with it.

It was morning. But then, it was the part of the morning where people have to look at their watch to see if it's still morning. That time of day when people aren't sure whether to say "Good morning" or "Good afternoon," because if the wrong thing was said, some smartass prick will correct you. It was 11:44.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Will Someone Stop That Beeping?

First off, I'm back. Had a good weekend up in Wisconsin, but I'll cover that later.

Someone in the office has some thingie that keeps beeping this morning. It sounds like the beep of the machines that monitor one's vitals while in the hospital. It'll start beeping for a few minutes and then stop for a while and then beep some more later. After very careful consideration, I've figured out what it is.

The sound is coming from the office of my boss's boss's boss. It must be a Justice League communicator that is summoning him off to take part in battling some global catastrophe or some intergalactic villain. I'm not sure what his powers would be, but they must be awesome indeed if he's being summoned so much. Of course he can't go because he knows I'm onto his little ruse.

Oh wait, the IT guy came and stopped whatever it was from beeping. I guess it was nothing. Unless that to is part of the ruse. Ah HA!

Monday Monotany Madness: Walking in the Woods

Walking in the Woods

I wandered down a snowy track laid out before me in a silent forest. The fading dusk light cast everything in shades of gray and black. The snow, even the light, absorbed sound so that I couldn't even hear my own footfalls. I was the only traveler on the path and felt like the only soul for miles. The air was still, the animals silent.

Without warning the ground began to shake. Snow fell to the ground in great heaps, and a host of animals ran toward me. Momentarily frozen, I stood watching as they ran right past me and continued on behind. A rumble and then a roar filled the air. The light had faded further, and all was in shadows.

The flood of animals was past, but the savage roar continued. Gradually the light became brighter, but to my confusion, it didn't come from above. It came from in front of me, and it glowed a vibrant green. Trees were pulled from the ground, the mud and dirt around their roots spattering all around me. Then it emerged, a giant creature the likes of which I had never seen before.

The green beast was covered in a layer of coarse fur. The greenish light came from it's chest, pulsating gently. I threw the trees aside and moved toward me. The beast's mouth opened to unleash another savage roar and I could see rows of serrated teeth. The remnants of a skunk hung from its jaws and the stench hung off of it like a cloak. It raised a thick, clawed paw as if to strike.

I cowered, waiting for the blow to knock my head off when suddenly I was falling. The ground had opened up and I fell 20 feet into a chamber below the forest. With the wind knocked out of me all I could do was lay on the floor of the chamber and look up at the animal raging above me. It's green light cast strange, moving shadows in the chamber around me. I looked and saw ancient carings in the smooth rock wall. Some were so old they were crumbling away.

Something shuffled behind me. I rolled over and scrambled back, trying to see through the darkness and the dust. A small form emerged from the depths of the chamber. It was a tiny man, only a foot tall. He was clothed in squirel skin and capped by a hollow acorn. He came within the light cast by the thing above and spoke in a surprisingly deep voice.

"It is our fault that the Glaxor has escaped, and now we will need your help in retreiving it."

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Funtastic Friday Follies: The Favor

The Favor

Recently, a friend asked a favor of me. He wanted to know if I could hold onto something for him, but he couldn't tell me what it was.

Turns out it’s an ancient scroll that fell out of his teacher's atache case. The teacher hadn’t realized it fell out and my friend was all set to give it to him when he noticed it’s malign content. After reading several lines of the scroll he realized that it contains a powerful spell with which the caster will command all of the forces of the underworld to effectively take over the world. He couldn't be sure what the teacher's intentions are with the scroll at this point and so he needs to keep it out of his grasp.

Therefore, he elected to hide the scroll at my house putting my family in danger of being attacked by whatever malevolent forces are out to get this powerful talisman. The jerk.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Gone For the Weekend

Doin' the last bit of cleanup in the house and packing to get ready for our trip this weekend. We're going up to The Farm in good 'ol Richland Center, WI. Where a relaxing time is generally had by all. We'll see how it goes this year since we'll have Logan up there for the first time. Keeping our fingers crossed that he doesn't get super cranky or hurt himself or get some kind of insane bug bite or something. Still not sure if we're going to go over to Boscobell to see the fireworks. Logan didn't take to them to well last year.

So to all you UCFers out there, and anyone else that might happen by, hope you have a happy/fun fourth. Don't anyone go blowing any fingers off with reckless firework use! I'll be incommunicado until Sunday night/Monday, but, through the magic of Blogger, I'll have a Funtastic Friday Folly up tomorrow. (does anyone read those?) Hopefully I'll have some good picks and good stories when I get back.

A Pat on the Back

Not that I want to pat myself on the back or anything...well, ok I do, otherwise I wouldn't be putting up this post. I sent out my latest article yesterday for the subject to look over and say if there's anything he'd like changed. It's just one of the things we do at our b2b here to make sure everyone's happy. It's not that I was worried about the article, but trying to finish it in light of Friday's announcement, and other things going on at home, it was tough. But it came together ok and this morning I got a very nice email from the owner of the company I wrote about. It is, thus far, the best feedback I've gotten on an article. He said:

"Matt I think the article is fantastic! It is concise and extremely well written."

That made my morning good.

At the Serial Killers' Annual Conference

At the serial killers' annual conference, everyone waits impatiently in a low-lit, dank dungeon for Jack the Ripper to arrive. Ed Gein picks at the old, scarred table, its surface a collage of dark stains. Finally, the heavy door to the chamber is shoved open the breeze it creates makes the torches hung along the wall flicker. Every person at the confernece leans deeper into the shadow.

"Sorry for the delay everyone, but traffic was murder," Jack the Ripper says with a leer.

"You know, sir, that was not funny the first twenty times we heard it," H. H. Holmes says.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Being Productive

So we got this email in the office last week that basically told us two things. First, we’re not being productive enough. Second, the company is under budget for the year so we’re not getting raises this year. Well, we might get a raise if the company can make up what we’re down in budget. No one’s holding their breath. The solution to that...are you more hours, at the same pay so that we’ll be more productive.

Then we had a meeting to hear about all this that’s going on and it started with the big wig in HR telling us that the company is putting out as much or more than last year with 33 less employees, yet we’re not productive. Hold on, that doesn’t make sense to me. So we’re doing as much or more with less and we’re not productive? Sounds to me like what we’re doing is 2+2=5 but what the company is telling us is that what we’re doing is 2+2=3.

Previously we’ve worked a 36.5 hour work week, which has been great, don’t get me wrong. Now, to be more productive, we’ll be working a 40 hour work week (not counting lunch breaks). But to make us feel all warm and fuzzy, the company is instituting flex time, of a sort. It’s not a full flex, so I couldn’t work 10 hours Monday through Thursday and take off Friday, but I could work 6-3 instead of 8-5 or a variation there abouts, as long as the deparment is covered from 10-2. All this and no merit increases, so I don’t get my measly 3% this year when the cost of everything is climbing.

This announcement came on Friday and takes effect today. Since we got this email, I don’t think my productivity has improved that much. I also don’t think it’s a good idea to make the staff all disgruntled and what not.

With the family to support, and no raise, that’s going to hurt. Now I could take some more hours at the library, but then that’s less time at home, and I’m already not home to see my son two nights a week and gone all day Saturday as well. Plus I think my lovely, beautiful, deadly wife would kill me (the insurance payoff just might be worth it). What’s a guy to do? I know, I’ll start selling organs on the black market!

That’s about it for my good news. How about the rest of you?