Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Dirty Jobs; TR; New Machine

Currently Reading: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

I've got a dirty job. In case there's any doubt, we'll go to the expert on dirty jobs, the show Dirty Jobs on The Discovery Channel. There it is, down there in season 2, from November 1, 2005. And while I may not yet be an offical dog groomer, neither was the host on the day he filled in at the grooming salon. I do everything he did and I do it every day. Just part of my job.

What I've noticed about the folks on Dirty Jobs is that most of the people don't seem to mind that they have a dirty job. There are some pretty harsh working conditions out there but the folks doing the jobs, crawling through the sewers, sticking God knows what into cattle, etc., seem to be just fine with what they're doing. And they've ALL got a sense of humor about it.

It makes me wonder: are the people who do dirty jobs drawn to them in some way or does the job change the way you look at things to the point where you just adjust to it? Well, I'm pretty sure it's not the latter. I've outlasted 3 bathers already so I can saw with some confidence that the job doesn't really mold you into the kind of person who can deal with it. So, I guess it's probably true that some of us are just better built for dirty jobs. We can deal with them, do the job, even have a little fun with them.

Which reminds me, I don't mind going to work, and that's odd. I don't think I've ever had a job where I didn't mind going to work. This week, for example, I've only got one day off. It's just a trick of the schedule actually. My days off are being shifted to Saturday and Sunday. That means I had to work Monday this week which left me with just the one day off between work weeks. I've also, in the past, been called in and had to work a 6 day week. But I didn't really mind. Guess I'm meant for a dirty job eh?


Been reading a bio of Teddy Roosevelt. It's a really good book actually. I'm not usually one to read biographies unless it's required for a class but I'm enjoying this one.

The book covers the early years of Roosevelt and his rise to power. It starts with his birth and ends with him receiving a telegram that President McKinley has died and that he, as Vice President, needs to return to Washington from his brief trip to the country.

The story is really very interesting, as is TR. Most people sort of have the view of him as the leader of the Roughriders and all that. The whole Bull Moose party and so forth so it's rather odd to see at the beginning that he's very frail, has asthma all the time, all sorts of physical problems. It isn't until he's older that he starts in with the physical fitness stuff. Even more odd is the idea that he was going to become a scientist, maybe a biologist or something like that. Always out studying nature. He had a photographic memory and was probably at or damn near genious in intelligence. That's not really what comes to mind with Roosevelt.

Anyway, the title and author are up there at the top of the post. Have a look next time you're in the book store.


I'm getting a new computer. Not the whole thing, just the box and guts. I already have the monitor (see the earlier post where I detailed how the monitor died). I went to the Dell outlet store online and found a good deal on a scratch and dent item. Granted it's not the very latest in computer tech which would cost me a couple thousand dollars but it can run anything on the market today and stuff likely to come out for a while. I actually put together a similar machine from scratch in the "build your own" section and the computer I'm getting would cost about 1200 with all the little extras that come with it. Needless to say I'm not paying THAT much. I'm paying more like a third of that, all because there's some sort of scratch or dent on the case. Hell I never look at the computer's case anyway. It's down there under the desk. What do I care what it looks like? I only care how it runs and this one should run well.

It's due to arrive at the end of the week or maybe early next week. I'll be a happy camper once I get it all set up. My current machine has really been starting to lag out on me. It just doesn't have enough power to run the fancy programs and web pages out there today.

All in all, it's done rather well though. I got it 6 years ago and it still runs fine. I'm going to take off most of the programs on it and use it for mass storage. It's going to be tied into the network and funciton mostly as a HUGE closet :-)


Monday, September 18, 2006

Catching Up

Currently Reading: The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt by Edmund Morris

I'm falling behind. Seriously, every time I cross something off my to do list more things pop up. Couldn't say for sure why there's suddenly a huge demand for my time but there is. That's not to say I'm working myself to death mind you. In fact, my days at work have been REALLY slow. We're in a bit of a dead zone; people don't really get their dogs groomed right now. The monthly shavings are dropping off due to cooler temperatures. No special occasions until October. So the only time we get a rush is after it rains. Dogs just LOVE to go out and play in the mud :-)

So, let's catch up on a few things. I'll try to keep them short because if I don't, this entry will be long even for me.

First up, the Hamster Derby. Now, since I am an employee, I wasn't allowed to officially enter my hamsters in the derby. Can't win prizes you see and running them in the races would just mess everything up. What I DID do was run them in the remaining "extra" lane when the track wasn't full. We got in a few runs and let me tell you, if I HAD been allowed to enter for real, we'd have come home with a ribbon and prize. One thing about training hamsters to run in a ball with dogs in the house, noise is not a factor. I saw it in several races. Hamsters were running fine until they got to the end, closer to all that yelling and cheering. Then they'd stop or turn around. Not MY hamster though. She just kept on moving and moving FAST :-)

Shopping for anniversary presents. You saw that one on CC's blog already. I got videos and games, she got cooking stuff. No, don't boo and hiss at me, that was HER choice. I'd have gotten her anything she wanted but she wanted cooking stuff. In fact, we've already used a lot of it. But we'll get to that later.

We also tried a restaurant near the mall called J Alexander's. You may have one near you, they're a chain. Great food! We stuffed ourselves and still brought back plenty of leftovers. Got to love that :-)

New Star Wars. Have you seen this? It was on my list to get for my anniversary. Actually, they're not really new Star Wars. They're old Star Wars, or as many Star Wars fans put it: Star Wars before George Lucas went nuts and messed them all up. What was funny was that most of the guys buying the videos were buying the same ones as me, Star Wars and Return of the Jedi. Why? Because those are the ones Lucas went most nuts on. The changes in The Empire Strikes Back all were positive and mostly just to improve the special effects.

Had a visit from the corporate office last week. We passed with flying colors. Got lucky there. They showed up during the slowest week of the year so we had plenty of time to spruce things up.

Lost my 3-day weekends again. We had to cut back hours at the salon due to the drop in sales so that means we all work a few less hours. That means more periods where just one person staffs the salon. So rather than working the 4 long days, I'm working 5 shorter ones. In all I think I'm only working 4 hours less than before. I'm sure this is only temporary though. Once things pick up again we'll be working more hours.

Vacation is just a few weeks away! WOO HOO! Got to love that! And it's cooling off so it'll be a nice fall break!

Anniversary stuff. Had a GREAT time! Made cookies Sunday morning. That's really a lot of fun. Usually we just make cookies for Christmas but while we were getting anniversary stuff for CC, we got a whole bunch of cookie cutters which naturally had to be tested right? So we made a batch of cookies. They turned out great and are already half gone :-)

After the cookies, we went to go look for a Halloween costume for CC. The past few years we waited until it was a bit closer to the 31st which meant we had fewer options available. It was nice to go into the party store and see that they still had EVERYTHING. And no crowd either.

Dinner at Mikasa. I love that place. Best miso soup! CC's got the details on her blog.

Wow, is it that late? Damn. And I'm working tomorrow. Hope that covered everything. I'm pretty sure we're all caught up now, or at least I've covered the important stuff :-)


Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fall; Long-Weekend Shopping; Zhang Yimou, James Ellroy & Haruki Murakami

Currently Reading: The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

It's almost fall, and with the change in seasons comes the good and the bad.

Good: Football is starting.
Bad: Freakin allergies.
Good: Baseball is moving into the playoffs.
Bad: Freakin allergies.
Good: Cooler temperatures means I can open the apartment up.
Bad: Freakin allergies!
Good: The leaves change colors and it looks really pretty out there.

Did I mention that I have allergy problems in fall? Yeah, same as the spring really. In the spring it's because of the flowers. In the fall, it's usually grass and crepe mertles. Hate them damn things. Oh sure they LOOK pretty, flowers all over the trees and so forth but they REALLY get me stuffy and in Memphis, they're EVERYWHERE!

Ah well, won't be long now before they lose their leaves and flowers and become sticks again. Besides, in fall, there's always more good than bad :-)


CC and I both had a long weekend this week. She had Labor Day off and, well I always have a long weekend owing to my 10-hour work days. We both wanted to DO something with that extra day but we weren't sure what. Naturally we decided to go shopping :-)

It wasn't looking like a good shopping trip at first. We'd gone to the outdoor mall over in one of the other suburbs and nothing was really jumping out at us. THEN we went to the bookstore. Oh yes, the shopping began.

Now, in all fairness, it's REALLY easy for me to burn off a LOT of money in a book store. All I have to do is start browsing and pretty soon I've got more books than I can carry. What was funny was watching CC do the same thing. She doesn't usually go nuts but she sure did on Sunday.

Started as soon as we walked in the door. They had a display of these Mad Magazine books for bathroom reading. Thick books with lots of clips from Mad. Well we just HAD to get one of THOSE :-) Then she started browsing through the bargain section while I checked for books by "The Usual Suspects", authors I normally read. She was doing ok at that point but then she remembered that she's going to be helping the boss' nanny with her English and American culture. Let the shopping begin!

30 minutes later she's over in the reference section digging through a display of Spark charts and she tells me, "We may be here for a while."

In all we spent about an hour and a half in the book store and just over 100 dollars. Not bad when you realize that at one point we were carrying WELL over 200 dollars worth of stuff. We cut back :-)

It was also funny when she saw one of the books I was getting. It's a biography of Teddy Roosevelt. She picks it up, flips through it a little then shakes her head. "I don't know HOW you can read stuff like this. It would take me forever to wade through all this and I'd only do it if it was required for a class or something." Oh I just had to laugh at that one :-) She's right, of course. Most people wouldn't wade through stuff like that unless forced. Me, well I like to shake things up with my reading :-)


Speaking of reading, the latest Murakami book came out last week and I've already got a copy. Pre-ordered it online. This time he's released a book of short stories so if you prefer long fiction you may want to hold off. On the other hand, even his short stories are great and it's nice to have something on hand to read that doesn't require a long commitment. According to the introduction, he writes short stories between novels. He sort of alternates between the two.

This fall we also get another James Ellroy movie. If the name sounds familiar, he's the guy who wrote the book L. A. Confidential. The movie starred Russel Crow, Guy Pearce and Keven Spacey and was excellent. Unfortunately it came out around the same time as Titanic.

The latest movie is based on his novel The Black Dahlia which is based on an actual case that shook the country at the time. A woman was found dead in a vacant lot. The more the detectives looked into the case, the more it was clear she'd gotten into a lot of creepy, underworld type stuff. No one really knew who she was and the murder was never officially solved. It's been the subject of other books and a few documentaries. I have no idea if this particular movie will be good but the novel is great and so is the cast. Time will tell.

Coming out this Christmas is another of those great Chinese movies. Zhang Yimou has gotten together with Chow Yun Fat and his old partner Gong Li (they dated for a long time and she was in a LOT of his earlier films). Once again he's doing a historical epic and it looks like it's going to be a great one. You remember how cool Hero was and House of Flying Daggers. Well, have a look at the trailers for Curse of the Golden Flower. I always try to see these movies in the theater but I rarely do. This is Memphis. They just don't get distributed very well here. If we're lucky they play for a few weeks in some creepy, run-down theater in a bad neighborhood that's supposed to show all the "art flicks". So, I may have to wait and catch this one on video. Still, it looks like it's going to be a great one!