Wednesday, August 27, 2008

lonely? call a meeting

Today, in an act of desperation, I break new ground. I'm writing this post while sitting idle on a con call.

You ever get the feeling that the person who called the meeting was simply lonely and just wanted someone to talk to? They should just call these social events instead of meetings. In my career I've attended just about every type of meeting known to the free world and it's this type of meeting I find myself in now.

Meetings usually break down to the following types:

1) A status meeting. The creme da la creme of meeting types.
These are usually masked as a status meeting while in fact being a cover-your-ass meeting. At times it's like the TV show "The Mole" since it's not always apparent who in the meeting is attempting the cover-your-ass flanking movement until they strike. These movements usually occur within the last 5 minutes of the meeting or after the person who's receiving the blame has to go to another meeting - whichever comes first.

2) A team meeting.
These are similar in ways to a status meeting however instead of the broad based cover-your-ass formula followed in a status meeting these are dictated by the leader of the meeting. Sorta like a cover-your-ass in reverse. The length of these meetings are usually dictated by how many members of the meeting are nodding their heads in agreement.

3) A company-wide meeting.
These are unique amongst all meeting types. Like kids on Christmas morning everyone walks to these meetings expecting something definitive, unique, awe-inspiring or otherwise ground breaking. This feeling continues through the first 15 minutes until reality comes into focus around the 8th PowerPoint slide that indeed this one is much like the last one and the rumors of "wait till the meeting" were indeed as false as they were the last time.

4) A kickoff meeting.
Attendance is taken in these, it's important to attend or you risk finding yourself the main point of focus during the after action review when the project fails.

5) The hallway meeting.
Beware the hallway meeting, indications these meeting are about to take place begin with the words "Hey, you got a minute?". Hallways meeting usually contain the best information obtainable and can be critical to the success of any project, however it's very easy to forget the decisions made during the hallway meeting by the time you reach the elevator. This usually results in you being the subject of the CYA movement in a status meeting.

6) The we are going to meet on this daily until it's resolved meeting.
Usually called in desperation after all the empty threats and contacting of bosses proves to be ineffective. The first and last meeting of this type are the ones people usually attend. Oddly enough, this is usually the same meeting.

Gotta run, they are taking con call roll call and I don't want my name mentioned in the after action review.

If you get a minute today, hop over to Great group of bloggers over there if you are looking for a late afternoon giggle.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

tuesday rant - 1st edition

Maybe it's age. Maybe it's genetics. Maybe it's like the pressure cooker my mom used when I was a kid, I used to love pulling the little top off and watch the steam shoot outta that thing.

Starting this week I'm bringing it to the blog in a weekly rant. It's either this or I have to start knitting and I can't be trusted with those big needles.

Ok, deep breath, let's rock.

1) Put me in coach:
A Connecticut youth baseball team with a phenomenal 9-year-old pitcher has been disqualified because its team is too good. Story here.

One word. Bullshit.

This is wrapped in the feel-good, everyone wins, we won't keep score crap I see happening way too damn often. Guess what, life is hard. Life is unfair. Life can be a bitch. You have to lose a hundred times before you win and still there will be people better at it than you. In my opinion the best thing you can do is teach your kids to survive and to survive they have to learn from falling the hell down. Hug 'em, support 'em, wipe off the blood and put 'em back in the game. This action hurt the kids remaining in the league as much as it hurt the team disqualified.

We had a team in my son's league a couple of seasons ago, the Yankees, these kids were GOOD! They decimated the league and I couldn't wait till we got a chance to play them. For the kids playing and all of us watching it was the highlight of the season, we got smashed but what a game that was!

I feel better now.

Did I mention our dogs are certified potty training instructors? Yep, true story with the exception of the certification part...

Shoelessboy kept coming into the house wearing nothing but a shirt. Usually this is no cause for alarm but it was accompanied by that funny "I got something on my butt" walk. Turns out he was pooping in the backyard cause he had seen the dogs do it. If he starts dragging his ass on the floor he and I are going to have a talk.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

seriously, a joke virus?

Just yesterday I'm minding my own business, sitting inside to avoid the heat and with the Olympics being over watching some mindless TV show on the tube. Question; can you still say "tube" considering tubes went out of TVs like 300 years ago?

Ok, I'll come clean. I was actually just inside avoiding yard work which on a day like yesterday is best left to the neighbors. I find it very relaxing to hear the din of 20 lawnmowers, leaf blowers and weed eaters working away outside while I sit inside and drink ice tea. Granted, I know I'll soon join them but it's my own little act of rebellion.

Anyway, I'm sipping ice tea and browsing the net looking for the first episode of "Generation Kill". Being a former grunt in the Marines I've had like a dozen people tell me I need to see it. I get a little uneasy when people say this because at times shows depicting Marines aren’t always what I’d call Marine friendly and I have a special place for those who make these shows.

I'm clicking, watching TV, click, click, click; when all of a sudden...


My laptop had been taken over by a very annoying little screen that would NOT go away. I finally clear it only to find that my windows background had been replaced and the ability to manage anything on the desktop had been removed.

Turns out, I had been infected by the Joke-bluescreen virus.

Joke virus?

How it made it past the multiple lines of defense in my laptop I don't have a clue. It must have known someone at the door or used a date-rape drug on my firewall because it just walked right in and set itself up like it owned the place (which at that moment... it did). Several hours and about 6 chorus's of "damnit to hell" and "What the... shit!" later I finally cleared it and am back to normal again with the exception of the odd feeling that I've been sodomized.

To anyone who programs for a living - you must use your powers for good, not evil. I don't care how talented you are or how funny you may think it is, if you invest your time and effort in a virus and call it a "Joke", you sir may feel free to back up and kiss my now virus-free ass.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

dudley do-me-right

Canadians who may have become tired of being passed over as porn stars will have a new, home-grown outlet to showcase their erotic talents.

That's right. Apparently this is a large problem that has finally come to a head. Canadians are tired of being screwed over by the big American porn houses and are standing up for their own production outlets complete with authentic Canadian looped "dinga-dinga-ding-dong" music.

According to Reuters - New porn channel lets Canadians strut their stuff.

"I think as Canadians there is a bit of a tiredness in seeing all American stuff," Shaun Donnelly, president of Real Productions, said during an interview on Friday. "There is always that thrill for something that is local and you get the sense that these are people you can meet at the supermarket."

I'm starting to think maybe our northern neighbors have been out in the cold too long. Seriously, this is a problem that needs to be solved? What are they going to do different? Maybe introduce Canadian styled plots - "Ice Fishing - short pole, deep water starring Candy de La Broquerie".

I had a friend in the Corps who was addicted to porn (no pun intended). This was pre-internet so I have no idea what he's doing now... actually, I don't want to think about what he's doing now but I'm sure he has broadband. The guy had a serious problem and a high risk for carpal tunnel. It was sad. I could never understand how anyone could be addicted to it, I hope he entered a 12-step program, but I'm sure in the program they have to repeat steps 3-9 a dozen times while listening to "dinga-dinga-ding-dong" music.

Here's my point - there are only two types of porn: laugh your ass off "are they serious?" porn and boring porn.

Good luck Canada.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Step 1, teach them to drive

I saw this today. This is why I live in Texas.

LONGVIEW, Texas - A 35-year-old Texas woman has been jailed after police say she made her 12-year-old daughter drive her to a bar.

Police in Longview say they watched a minivan turn into a driveway without signaling on Wednesday and bump into a home at a low speed. They say the car was driven by Jennifer Lynn Rosenberg's daughter.

Police say the girl told an officer she had just dropped her mother off at a bar. They say they found Rosenburg at the bar and that she admitted having her daughter drive her there.

People, you can't be cutting corners here. You have to teach your 12 year old how to drive BEFORE you have them drop you off at the bar. That's step 1. Step 2 is teaching them to signal and not hit the house when a cop is following them. I had to learn this when I was 12, it's just good parenting.

I find myself asking this question way too many times, but here it goes again. What the hell is wrong with these people?

My 15 year old has his learning permit now... hmmm. I'd have him drive me to the bar but then I would have to listen to him preaching to me about how beer is bad for you because he learned it in health class. I can't have that conversation again. I need him around to water the pot plants in the basement.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

hang on a second, let me push this button

Apparently, physical assault is a crime.

Of course I can appreciate that, but I think there should be a loophole somewhere in there that allows you to knock the hell out of someone who is either:

1) Being stupid
2) Just being an ass
3) All of the above

In many cases I believe a good ass kicking could be considered community service. Of course there has to be restrictions around this such as:

1) At least 2 people have to agree the ass kicking should commence

2) Ample warning must be provided to the recipient of said ass kicking ("you're going to get your ass kicked" is sufficient here)

3) The length of time wherein the ass kicking takes place is restricted to 30 seconds

4) No more than 3 people can participate in the ass kicking at any point

5) At no point will alcohol be used by either party prior to the ass kicking commencement (because lets face it, if you had a few beers you don't need this loophole)

6) Only one ass kicking event is allowed by the party providing the ass kicking on a bi-annual basis

Now I know what you’re saying - "But dude, if we were allowed to do that the country would be in shambles. Everyone would be kicking everyone’s ass and nobody would ever get any work done". Back up the bus liberal boy (no idea where that came from I'm just typing) the initial ass kicking romp would only take about 3 hours nationwide. After that point nobody would dare be an ass or do something stupid for fear of the repercussions.


I'm going to respond to this email and throw him under the bus, but instead of just sending it to him... I'll cc his boss and my boss and their boss’s boss. Nope, better not. I'll get my ass kicked.

When that guy holds the door open for me I'll just walk in like I own the place and not say thanks. Nope, I'll get my ass kicked.

I'll respond to this email where I'm asking for something requiring 300 hours of work in the span of a weekend and include "Let me know if there is anything I can do to help". No, I better hold off on that. I'll get my ass kicked.

I know this lane ends up ahead but I'll just pull in here and stop traffic. Hmmm, maybe not. I'll get my ass kicked.

I’m not crazy enough to think this will ever happen. But I’m not going to let that stop me. I propose we build a machine that stops time for 30 seconds. When someone does something stupid or is being an ass – boom, you push the button, stop time and kick them in the ass. Boom, push the button again and all is back to normal.

I gotta go, there’s a button I need to push.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I refuse to wear the socks

Shirtlessboy is a cub scout.

To a 7 year old this means he goes to a place where there are a bunch of other kids who wear the same thing and they run around until someone holds up the dreaded "sign" and they have to settle down for at least 30 seconds.

Like most guys my age I recall my time in the scouts as a positive period (eroded by time, but it's still a positive memory). I didn't make it to the holy grail of scouting - Eagle. I'm not sure I even made it to groundhog or horn toad, but I showed up and rubbed sticks till my hands hurt with the best of them. They didn't ask us to rub sticks, I just liked rubbing sticks. Don't judge.

I lived in South Africa as a kid. My dad says he was an electrical engineer and worked on TV in the apartheid ruled South Africa in the mid 70's. But my brother, sister and I know the truth - he was actually in the CIA and the electrical engineer story was a clever cover. We know this because when we got there (early '73) everything was cool, when we left (late '76) everything there went to crap. TV is bad, but it doesn’t make people burn down their homes.

We've asked him many times to come clean but apparently he took some kind of super secret pinkie ring oath and still hasn't admitted to being a member of The Company. Sorry dad, I hope me saying this doesn't mean you and mom have to move out in the middle of the night guarded by a guy named "Chuck" who wears dark sunglasses.

Anyway, my scout experience is limited to the scouts in South Africa. Those were some real scouting adventures. Lion wrestling badges, ribbons for the Cheetah race, rhino dodge. Good times.

Zip like a hundred years forward and here I am volunteering as a scout leader for my sons pack. I think it's important for him to see me involved. The thing is... much as it was for me as a kid; I don't think I really fit in.

The other night I went to a district meeting. Let me set the stage, this is a meeting of all the other adult leaders in the district. There are NO kids there, only 30 adults all wearing oversized boy scout uniforms and attempting to keep their shirt tucked in over well developed peach cobbler induced bellies.

I walk into the "meeting" and right into an episode of the outer limits. We start by singing songs, followed by some more songs and a quick discussion on "advanced" training we can attend which I didn't get the memo on because I'm apparently the only one in the room who has NO idea what the hell I need to go to the training for. The smartass in me was DYING! I could feel the smartass part of me starting to sit upright in the seat and wanting to ask where we sign up for tent assembly training and how many pushups can we make the kids do in a single set before we have to submit a form.

Did I mention that I was the ONLY adult there who wasn't wearing the overgrown boy scout uniform? Nope, I was there in civilian clothes, further indication that I didn't belong. Judging by the way some were dressed I thought maybe we were going to go on a hike and build a fire in the parking lot instead of sitting in a church lunchroom on plastic chairs at 7 p.m. on a weeknight without a beer in sight.

I know I'm going to have to break down and get the uniform, but I'll be damned if I'm going to wear the green socks.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

everyone knows that

I love me some Olympics. I don't really care what the event is; swimming, pole vault, badminton, trampoline, squirrel chase. Whatever, let’s roll with it. By the way, why did they take out the tug-of-war?

You see, I’m an expert in each event.

An expert you ask? Yes, it’s true. I’m an expert; they should have me on a con call at each event to obtain my opinion. I should be there in person but the Olympic Committee won’t allow it after the 1984 fiasco where my presence was seen as an unfair advantage in the eyes of the Russian judges (they made sure I was in boot camp when those were going on).

If you really knew me this is the part where the word “…bullshit” would start to enter your mind. You see, I don’t watch sports. I don’t keep up with sports. I don’t know the ESPN channel number by heart. I’m usually clueless as to what season it actually is. I’ve never actually seen a basketball game in person and never on TV unless I can’t avoid it and that goes for most other professional sports.

Odd you say?

I guess so. It’s not that I don’t try, I do. I’m a guy living in America after all; to not know ~anything~ about sports is to suggest I might play for the other team. Don’t make that mistake. I’m quite secure in my manhood thank you very much. It’s just that I have no real interest in most of what sports have to offer.

I do have respect for anyone who puts their heart into anything and plays at 110% regardless of the situation. To me these are the true athletes. They don’t get $40 million a year and then act like jackass rock stars; they don’t even have to be good. Put your heart into it each and every time and I’ll be on the sidelines rooting my ass off for you.

I think this is why the Olympics capture my attention and make me into a blithering idiot.

Here I am yelling at the TV, “come on… stick the landing... ah, he took a step, his weight was too far forward. It looked to me like he rotated just a bit too much on the dismount. Everyone knows the setup for the dismount is the most critical portion of the exercise”.

Yea, everyone knows that. Get me a drink while you’re up.

By the way, am I the only one judging all the other countries by whether they had hot girls on their team and if their uniforms didn’t look totally jacked up?


Friday, August 8, 2008

Ode to Momma Posy

It's been a tough week here are Dad - thedude headquarters. So, I thought instead of staring at the screen waiting for inspiration to strike through the smog laden cloud of exhaustion, I would invite my little sister in as a guest blogger.

To my readers (both of you, plus that one lurker), here's Toots:

Ode to Momma Posy

I called my grandma today. I don't know why I don't do that more often. She is such a funny lady. She's 87 years old (geez, is she really that old?), and she doesn't get around much on account of she doesn't have any hips anymore . . . although she has been known to walk around and cook a meal or run a vacuum for a spell. With no hip bones, you shreak? If you knew my lineage, you'd understand. This sort of rebellion against incapacitation runs deep in the female line. Just ask my mother. Get in my mom's way, and she'll beat you with her cane.

So I mentioned to my grandma that I needed to come visit her, since I haven't been to see her in (I won't say how long since it's been an embarrassingly long time). I expected her to say something nice and grandma-like, like "Yes, dear, anytime, I'd love to have you." Nope. Her response was short and sharp: "What's the DEAL?"

"Uh . . . "

You gotta love it when Grandma gives it to you straight. Mind you, this was the woman who told me when I was little to go outside and pick out my switch when I had to get a whoopin'. I stammered a bit, and then she let me off easy by changing the subject to something funny . . . something that she witnessed that I thought was hilarious and wanted to share.

This is such a Grandma story. (Well, maybe not YOUR Grandma story, but it's a Grandma Posy story for sure.)

My grandma writes poetry, and she does poetry readings at a nursing home once a month. One recent visit, a grandson was visiting his grandmother at the nursing home. He kept asking his grandmother questions like "How old are you?" and "How much do you weigh?", and the grandmother kept telling him that those questions were impolite to ask women. Later on, in front of everyone, the boy announced to his grandmother that she was 65 years old, 145 pounds, and that she got an "F" in sex . . . he said he found her license while she wasn't looking.

Now I thought that was hilarious. But then I looked at my license and saw they don't put your weight on it, so it was just a joke. But she sure convinced me. Crazy old woman.

Here are a few of my favorite poems that she wrote.

Untitled 1990 (age 69)
I’m an old woman “Okie”
I don’t drinkie, I don’t smokie
If I live to seventie,
I haven’t gone to heaventie---
I’m gonna try it, and that’s no jokie.

Silver Nights 1939 (Written in High School)
Snow falls, skies lighten, and the cold wind sighs among silver trees.
Night falls, skies darken, and the loan wolf shivers in the chilling breeze.
A pale moon, a ghostly heaven, a star to flicker and shine . . .
It’s selfish to dream,
And always seem,
That this night alone will be mine.

‘Till Then
I stand tall among it all.
The trials of life are many.
Storm clouds gather, the waters flow,
And the sky is dark and windy.
But I close my eyes. I have a dream,
Of better things to come.
The road is rough, and life is tough.
But I’ll stay ‘till my work is ended.

The last one is my favorite.

Grandma (we call her Momma Posy) is an inspiration to me. She's a tough old bird with a great sense of humor. She makes me laugh. My mom is the same way.

-- Tootsie (Dad-thedudes favorite sister)

Monday, August 4, 2008

yes, it's my toughest level

The only time I ever felt truly rewarded for playing video games happened at a video game arcade on Lovers Lane in Dallas around 1982. We were rocking it old school on asteroids since the caterpillar game was being monopolized by seniors and we didn't want to risk a confrontation. My friend kicked the machine because he hyper spaced into an asteroid or his headband slipped over his eyes or something and the door on the front of the machine swung open... exposing two 1-gallon containers full of quarters (cue: heavenly music).

The statute of limitations has passed, so I'll admit that we ended up playing asteroids that day for a very long time with our new found wealth and didn't suffer from remorse because the guy who ran the place was a royal jerkwad (that was 1982 tough talk for someone who was a pain-in-the-ass. We actually didn't know what it meant but the older kids said it).

When I was about 13 yrs old my dad brought home one of those old school stand up video games. It had ONE game and two-colors (black and yellow). I struggle with the name of the game but it was something like "Chicken Egg". The premise of the game was to catch eggs before they hit the bottom of the low resolution screen and the game made this odd computer generated sound that if you tried real hard sounded like a chicken. Sorta. The quarter slot on this behemoth was fixed so you could just hit a button for "credits". My brother, sister and I would stand at that machine for hours. Squawk, squawk, squawk.... squawk. It soon lost its appeal and became a coat rack.

It's fair to say that I don't have an aversion to video games and I don't mind my kids playing age appropriate games. Meaning; no head shots, no running blood and no decapitation.

My tolerance has a breaking point.

I think it's apparent when the amount of game play has exceeded the recommended level. It's when games or game strategy become part of everyday conversation or worse when it becomes everything. This sends me over the edge and I have zero issues with ripping the video cable out of the machine and kicking the kids outside when I reach that point.

Example: A few years ago my oldest son (tallboy) was obviously hitting the video game crack pipe a little too much. I came home from work one day after "one of those days". I was worn out and collapsed on the couch. He had a look of total despair and understanding and asked "was it like your toughest level?” Tallboy spent the next 4 hours outside playing in the dirt.

This morning as I was preparing to leave for work I overheard Shoelessboy and Shirtlessboy playing games and talking upstairs. I heard the oldest (ShirtlessBoy) say to his younger sibling "I hope you fall off that chair and break your arm so you can't use the controller 'cause then it's my turn". WTF.

Anyone interested in a used video cable for a Wii?


I can admit when I'm a dork. I emailed my sister (who calls anymore?) to ask her what the name of that game was dad brought home. It's painfully obvious who got the brains in our family. Here is her response -- DTD

The Juggler. I'm not going to be able to get that song out of my head now. Thanks! Remember how Dad made us pay to use it at first, and you tried to tie a piece of string to a quarter? I think that contraption was Dad's way of getting back at us . . . making us pay literally and figuratively for whatever we were costing him and all the racket and whining he had been enduring up until then. Think about it. When you hear that song now, how long does it stick with you? Does your eye twitch? Do you lose sleep? I don't lose sleep, but I do feel a twitch now and then when I hear it. We were willing to dig for quarters to play that stupid ass game despite how annoying that incessant noise was. We thought it was so freakin' cool to have an arcade game in the house (didn't matter it was juggling stupid chicken eggs). And now I can't even hear the song without shuttering and the occasional eye twitch. See? Dad got the last laugh. (But I bet he can't hear that song without getting a twitch, too.) -- Toots

Dude, I so remember that now. I had a whole bunch of quarters as I recall... -- DTD

Friday, August 1, 2008

stick your arm in this hole

I don't make it habit of making too much fun of rednecks for the following reasons:

1) They usually own guns. ( Correction - make that "always" )
2) It hits a little too close to home.
3) See number 1.

Yea, that's right. I'm just a couple of generations from a horse plow in south central Oklahoma. I'm proud to say that the area where my family came from is now the noodling capital of the world and therefore the redneck capital of the world by-proxy.

In Oklahoma, they would say it this way "yup, we be da noodlin' cap-i-tal of da wurld an uh rednek cap-i-tal ta boot 'causing it says so on the interweb".

Right now I guarantee there are people in south Oklahoma reading this at the community center and saying "now dat der be da buggest bullshit it ever told, we dont be a talking like dat an a he is certainly dead - d. e. d. - dead. Is'n that boy who done wroten that interweb one of da boy from who family around dat der Paoli, Oklahoma. Im a gunna shoot his ass next time he done come around, bet yur ass. Get in da truck, bitch".

In case you are unfamiliar with the "sport" of Noodling (aka: hand fishing), allow me to explain. Catfish breed in holes and are highly protective; they bite at anything invading their love nest. Apparently, when you look prehistoric and finally find a little nookie, it pisses you off when someone tries to horn in on your action. (Ain't that right Jason P - love ya man)

Here is how you can enjoy this highly interactive "sport":

1) Drink a 6 pack of beer (Original Coors - 'banquet beer' works good here)
2) Take a huge dip of copenhagen
3) Get in some water where you can't see anything
4) Feel around on the bank for a hole underwater, shove your arm into the hole
5) If a catfish is in the hole, shove your arm into its mouth and allow it to bite into your arm
6) Pull the thing out and hand it to your friends (safety tip: don't drown in the process)
7) Drink some more beer
8) Dry off your mullet. Nobody likes a dripping wet mullet. Keep a mullet towel in your truck for this step.

Thanks, but I'd rather just order it off a menu with some lemon and fried okra.

In case you are interested in noodling, you should know that its illegal in all states except Oklahoma and step 1 is required by law. While not required, but strongly suggested, you should walk with a limp from a fight you had with your brother-in-law last Thanksgiving (that son-of-a-bitch had it coming) and your kids should all have buzzcuts.

I think there's a little redneck in all of us, for some it just comes a little more natural than we care to admit. I'll tell you this much however, nobody will ever invade the lower 48 states. If you want a fight on your hands come on down and start pushing these folks around at the local Wal-Mart. Insurgency my ass.

Wait, I think that's the plot from Red Dawn. Damn that Patrick Swayze and his Wolverines.

This isn't me (or Patrick Swayze).
$10 says I'm related in some way to this guy and $20 to keep that on the down-low.

I expect a call from my mom at any moment warning me to take down this post. "Sweetie, we shouldn't be messin' with 'dose folks. They is just country and don't know no better. They might get in their truck and come down I-35 to find you. Whew, scares the bigibees outta me".

Don't worry ma. They won't make it past the triple X place on the border - "oh looky, boobies. I like me sum boobies".