Monday, June 26, 2006

We've Come a Long Way; Playlist; Brunch; Normal Week

Currently Reading: The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo

Check out the video running in the side bar. Back in the 80's that was cutting edge special effects for music videos. The song itself was all the rage at the clubs. They used to show the video on the HUGE monitor wall so we could all watch this guy sing while we danced. Look at him.

This was life in the 80's my friends. How we survived I'll never know.

The song is pretty cool though. It's got a great beat and you can dance to it :-)


Speaking of music, I've posted links to the previous video segments. I left out the Family Guy one though because, well just because. I'm thinking I'll use this for more of a video jukebox than anything else.


CC and I went out for brunch on Sunday. We had it at this GREAT place up on the 33rd floor of the building my mother works at. CC's got the name and description on her website. She mentioned it in a previous post.

Well, while it is a bit on the expensive side, DAMN what a great place to eat. They have a buffet for brunch on Sundays. You've got part breakfast, part lunch and a fabulous view of the city. From 33 floors up Memphis doesn't look so bad actually :-)

I had a plate of breakfast. Then, because it was getting close to noon, I had lunch :-) I wasn't a total barbarian though. I had them on separate plates :-)


I'm going back to a more normal week tomorrow. No more three-day weekends for a while. Short-handed in the salon, as I mentioned last week. Hours are spread out more through the week and we've all got to adjust. Mostly that means two-day weekends just like normal people. Just as well. Those 10 hour days were starting to wear me out.


Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Fixing CC; More Work Stress; Super Heroes; Fixing C:

Currently Reading: The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo

Here we are at the end of another weekend. Since CC hasn't posted anything since her last item about being grumpy during the ballroom dance party, I'll give you a brief idea of what happened the next morning . . .

When I woke up on Sunday, slept in, it was very nice, I found CC on the sofa just laying there all blah. I figured she was tired, maybe had allergy problems or something. I took the dogs out for their walk, had breakfast, my usual morning stuff, and still she was blah. Well now you KNOW I just couldn't leave it at THAT right?

Sat down with her on the sofa, tried to cheer her up a bit but didn't have any luck. She was just so down with everything. I guess she was in one of those moods where nothing seems to be working right. We've all been there. Still, there's nothing that says I have to just LET her stay that way. Ignoring this stuff doesn't make it go away. So what I did first off was tell her that at noon were were going out and she'd better be dressed by then. She'd look pretty strange going out dressed in her fluffy pink bath robe :-)

It being Father's Day and us having a present for my father, that's where I started. I figured getting her out of the house would help out a LOT and my family just ADORES her so all that positive energy had to be good. And it was :-) By the time we were finished there, she was already in much better spirits.

As we drove out of the neighborhood I suggested we go to the mall. She agreed but didn't want to go to the mall we usually go to. That's bad because there are only 4 malls in this city worth anything and two of them aren't all that safe. The third is downtown and the 4th, well that's the one we always go to. I suggested this new shopping center that was built not too far from my parents' house. It's not really a mall. It's an outdoor mall I guess you'd say. Imagine a series of strip malls but all set up in the general configuration of a normal mall. You've got end stores, all your usual mall shops, even a central courtyard area but there's no roof and if you're really lazy you can just drive to wherever you want to shop.

Anyway, that's where we went. Her first thought was to get ice cream so we did that. Good ice cream too. Then we went into the World Market store. If you don't have one of those in your area, it's like Pier One. While browsing there, CC saw these red cherry blossoms. Dried flowers of course. Maybe 2 minutes later her eyes get all big and excited and she announces that she's going to redo the entire bathroom based on the inspiration she received from these flowers. A few hours later we had new rugs, new shower curtain, little baskets to put things in, the works.

About an hour or so after we got home we had one kick-ass bathroom :-)

I had a shower and we went out to eat. Needless to say CC had totally shaken her grumpy mood and was at peace with things again :-)

Some people might think that it was the shopping that did it. A lot of people shop when they're down and they feel better afterward. But in this case I think it was more of a control issue. She's been pretty stressed out at work and had a general feeling that she couldn't do anything about it. Saturday night at the ballroom party she kept trying to control ME and got frustrated when I forgot dance steps. But Sunday, once she saw those flowers and had her vision, that was something she could control. It was something she could take charge of, mold to fit what she wanted. Ok and maybe the shopping part too, but I think mostly she just needed to finish a project on her own. She'll have pictures on her site soon, don't you worry. :-)


Speaking of work and stress, we've got another guy out on leave for a while. Medical thing. That's going to leave us short handed in the salon yet again. Honestly, just when things get back to normal again something comes along to mix it all up.

This really isn't going to change my week very much. I was already working a nearly full schedule so there wasn't much room to play with in my case. They just tacked on a few more hours to cover a gap. The other bather is going to get her wish though. She'll be working a 40 hour week too. Things will be a little tight there for a few days but eventually we'll settle into a pattern and get through it. We're very good about that. It just takes some time to adjust. So, you know the drill, if I'm all stressed out and bitchy over the next week or so, don't take it personal. It's just me, working my bear butt off :-)


If you're the type that reads comics and you like Captain America, get a copy of the Winter Soldier books. Great storyline there. Not going to tell you the plot but I can say that it's one of the best Cap stories in a LONG time. Wouldn't mind seeing parts of that worked into a movie.

Speaking of super heroes, want to know one of the main differences between Marvel and DC? Capes. Yup, that's a big one. Marvel super heroes generally don't wear capes and the few that do tend to wear little half-capes that don't get in the way of fighting. Makes sense when you think about it, not wearing a cape. I mean, with all that flying around on wires that Batman does, shouldn't his cape get all tangled in the ropes? And given how fast Superman flies, wouldn't his cape have nasty tatters on the end?


Did some drive optimization the past few days. My C drive is old. Came with the computer. It's only 11 gig. Yeah, I know, ONLY 11 gig. We old folk remember when a 10 MEG hard drive was HUGE. Anyway, Windows likes to have as much free space as possible on it's main drive and mine was all cluttered. I removed Office, Front Page, Photoshop and Norton from the C drive and put them on D. Ah, D drive, I love that thing. 111 gig. After today's installations, still have 92 gig free. Lots of space. And C drive now has over a gig free as well which gives Windows room to spread out a little more. My machine is running better . . . so naturally I won't have much time to USE it until Sunday. Ain't that always the way :-)


Thursday, June 15, 2006

Curse of the Were-poodle

Currently Reading: The Rosetta Codex by Richard Paul Russo

Boy did I ever have a day today. It was the kind of day where you start to think, "just one more thing goes wrong and I'm going home, climbing into bed and hiding under the covers."

When I got to work this morning, we were already behind. A few extra people had been added to our appointment book after I left last night. It's not supposed to happen. The folks on the other half of the store aren't supposed to make appointments for us because they don't know how long this sort of work takes. We were swamped right from the start. Three extra dogs in addition to our already full slate for the day. Well, at least they wrote it down. We weren't caught totally off guard.

After a HUGE run of dog washing (7 dogs in one hour) things slowed down for a while. I thought that was going to be the worst part of the day but oh how wrong I was. About an hour after the mass dog wash, one of the owners came in to pick up a poodle. I went back into the kennel area, opened the cage, nothing unusual there, same as always then the next thing I know two of my fingers are in the poodle's mouth. OUCH! That's right, it bit me. No warning. No growling, no barking, not even a dirty look. I opened the cage, it bit. BAM.

It wasn't a serious bite, fortunately. He bit me about as hard as a dog can bite and NOT draw blood. Actually, there was a little, and I mean VERY little. I doubt I shed more than a drop total. We're not talking serious injury here, just painful. Sort of like a really bad scrape in an inconvenient place. I was joking later that it's never the macho dogs that bite. No, if anyone asks me I have to say I got bitten by a POODLE! And worse, come the next full moon I'm going to turn INTO a were-poodle. My hair will get all curly and frizz up. The groomer, joking along with me, asked if that meant she had to shave me when it happens. CC later suggested I get pom poms on my wrists and feet :-)

Right, so far I've washed a mass of dogs and been bitten by a poodle. Pretty full day right? Normally I'd say yes but I still had one more nasty little adventure. One of the retrievers in for a bath let loose the WORST poo I have seen in a LONG time. It was a bad one. I saw how much was in the kennel and I thought, "damn that's more than I poo in a WEEK!" I have to figure this dog must have been saving it up just for us because that was in no way a normal amount of poo.

Guess who cleans up stuff like that. Yup, part of my job.

So, to recap, lots and lots of dog washings, poodle bite, HUGE poo. Now THAT'S what I call a full day.

Anyway, just keep all that in mind the next time you have a bad day at the office and, I dunno, your computer eats a file or something. Just be thankful you don't have bad days like *I* do :-)


Monday, June 12, 2006

Three Short Items

Currently Between Books

I love the little clip from Family Guy in the sidebar. They're always taking shots at old TV shows and let's face it, Star Trek is a target-rich environment. Given all the Trek geeks out there, this particular Family Guy clip isn't rated very high but it's DAMN funny.

Also, I was browsing through Amazon trying to see which books come out and which of my regular authors is actually working on something. One of those authors has his own web site and on that site he's got a blog. It's hosted by Blogger too. I added the link down there with the other blogs.

I doubt most of my regular readers have heard of this guy but he's generally credited for having coined the term cyberspace and was writing books about "the net" and virtual reality stuff WAY before the Internet took off. His writing is a bit technical at times, like most sci fi, but it's great stuff all the same. He's working on another book now and seems to be posting little snippets of it in his blog. Pretty cool!

I'm taking down the 2005 reading list. The sidebar is just getting too long. I'll host it over on my main site and add a link to it later.


More of the Usual

Just Finished Reading: Ghost in the Shell Stand Alone Complex: The Lost Memory by Junichi Fujisaku

So here we are, full ahead into summer. Starting to get a little hotter out there. Not as much rain. When it DOES rain, it's usually a thunder storm, not the lighter, softer rains from spring. Allergies are starting to creep back. Things are starting to slow down.

I've been working quite a bit lately. Because a couple of people in my department are over 40 hours for the week (and remember, in retail, going over 40 hours is a BAD thing if you're not on salary) I have to cover some of the gaps. We're only budgeted so much money/hours you see so if some people go over one week, that has to be made up so the next week their hours are cut back. And you know me, Captain America over here. I always keep track of my hours and make sure I'm well within the proper range. As a result, I was working a full 40 hour week.

Things at the store were getting pretty tense there for a while. We got a new general manager 6 weeks ago. Over the past 2 weeks we've gotten two new assistant managers as well. We're short-handed in most departments and the people we do have need to go through more training. This is what happens when you have a steady wave of people quitting or getting fired. It just keeps on coming until you reach the point where most or all of the core group is gone.

So what do you do? You hold a meeting!

Actually it was a lot more helpful than it sounds :-) We just had a store meeting last night. They called in everyone and we sat around for 2 hours eating and discussing the things that need to be done. A lot of what we covered doesn't really pertain to us in the grooming salon but they want us to know what's going on too because right now everyone needs to pitch in. We've gotten permission to hire several more people and they've increased our budget so we can finally get some of the supplies we've been needing.

Of course, actually following the rules set down by the corporate office doesn't make EVERYONE happy. There are some rules we've been bending lately. Basically they told us it's ok to be a little flexible for the moment. It's the only way we can keep everything covered. But we're going to start easing back, little by little, and start following those rules.

Doesn't bother me in the slightest to be honest. Even if they totally enforce 100% of all the rules we discussed at the meeting, it's still a hell of a lot more relaxed than the way things were when I worked at KMart all those years ago. Besides, the rules make sense if you have enough people. So as we hire more employees, as more of them get trained and become "experts" in the various departments, we won't have to be as flexible. Everyone will know what they're responsible for and things should run a whole lot more smoothly.

Over in grooming, we're looking to increase our profits. We've only got the two groomers right now which limits how many dogs we can take in a given day and how late we can take them. We're going to try and hire a third groomer so we can increase our sales. The general idea is that with a third groomer, working afternoons into early evening, we don't have to squeeze all our dogs into the early half of the schedule. We can stretch things out and take in more dogs. Of course, this assumes we can actually FIND another groomer. There seems to be a shortage of them in the area right now.

Did a bit of shopping with CC on Sunday. Time for spring/summer clothes. We do this a few times a year now. We go out and hit the mall and pick up some new outfits for her. Ideally, we get pieces that will also go with what she has in the closet now so she can mix and match and have even more choices.

So that's Sunday. Just shopping and meeting. Not too bad :-)

Today I'm catching up on the OTHER stuff. For example, last week the hose coming out of the radiator sprung a leak and blew water all over the engine. I had clouds of steam coming out from under the hood. The truck also over-heated. Very nasty. I bought a new hose, got that all taken care of, but the oil in the truck, well that was pretty bad. It was due to be changed soon anyway and all that heat just didn't help matters any. So today I took the truck in for service. It's all better now.

I also did some shopping of my own. I read the last of the "unread books" on the desk here and had planned LAST week to get a few more when the busted radiator hose changed all that. So I went out today. Hit the book stores and picked up a few things. I also browsed the online book stores for things that will be coming out later in the summer so I have an idea of what I'll be reading for the next few months.

Haven't seen any movies lately. There are a few out now that CC and I want to see but we just haven't had the time to go. Maybe next week.

If you've read CC's blog then you know she's going back to Manila in July. Still don't know when that's going to happen. Her boss leaves tomorrow and is staying there for the rest of the summer. Once she's checked things out, she'll know when she needs CC and for how long. Hopefully CC will only be there for a week or two. Get's pretty damn lonely and boring here when she's on the road and unlike her Dallas trip, she can't come home on the weekends. Worse, we won't be able to call much either. International calls are EXPENSIVE so we'll have to go back to the old ways, using online chat and e-mail.

You know, there's probably been a whole lot of little things that have happened along the way and I was meaning to talk about them. Can't remember what they are of course, but I'm sure I had a lot. The only things I can remember at the moment are the ones I CAN'T blog about. Maybe I'm tired. I did do quite a few things today. Still have a few more left for tomorrow. Yeah, I think I'll just shut it down now and go watch some TV or play some video games. I think my brain needs a little R&R :-)


Thursday, June 01, 2006

Three Things

Currently Between Books

One drawback to the 4-day work week is that there's no Wednesday; there is no middle of the week. Today is day two for me and I found myself thinking at one point, "Great! It's Thursday already! Just two more days to go until the weekend." Later the same day, that turned into, "Crap, it's only Thursday? I've still got two more days left!" I suppose this is one of those "glass is half full/empty" situations and it mostly depends on what happens that day.


Two VIP's were visiting the store today. We had the regional manager (which isn't that big of a deal since he comes through every couple of months anyway) and the head of grooming . . . for the company. That's right, the woman who is in charge of grooming policy did a walk-through today. The good news is that we passed with flying colors. The bad news is that there are going to be a few LITTLE changes made around the salon that will take some getting used to. It's always harder to adjust to the little changes. We'll manage though. At least we got good marks and she actually complimented me on how I dealt with a potential problem with one of the dogs (an old case of brush-burn that I accidentally aggrivated because no one knew about it). So score one for our side :-)


Three things came to mind while blow-drying a golden retriever this afternoon: damn these dogs really shed a LOT, this is going to take me a while to clean up, wow, so this is what it would be like to stand in the middle of a cotton candy machine :-)