Friday Fives – isolation edition

before we get into my editor’s questions… let’s stop a minute and appreciate this mandala above.  This may be the best one I have ever posted.  To me, this picture above truly represents what a (Jungian) mandala is for.   Going DEEP into the conscious and subconscious and just bringing it forward.  I stole this image without permission (like everyone of my images, lets be honest here), but want to acknowledge them.

Tough week for me, I need a laugh. What is your best “Dad” joke?

Saw this online this week.  Did you hear that the actress Reese was stabbed?  (other party bites) > Witherspoon?   “no, with a knife!”

 As we all shelter in place, what are you cooking in the kitchen?

Everything and often.  I normally cook almost every day for wifey and I.  What the challenge is now is using up the years or random shit we have acquired in the pantry.

 If Gordon Ramsay had to use your kitchen, what would he be most angry about?

How well stocked it is with cooking appliances.  No matter what I make, I have the implements and tools and pots I need.    But wouldn’t make him angry, but maybe this would – my use of a bench scraper for EVERYTHING.  If I am cooking anything, I am getting out a cutting board, bench scraper, and chef’s knife.  Note, I sharpen my chef’s knife with the honing thingy before and after each use.

But if you go back and look at anything I have ever posted about cooking, it is to rave about the usefulness of this tool.

Amazon.com: Bench Scraper Chopper Stainless Steel Kitchen Food ...

What has surprised you about self-distancing and staying at home?

I love being home.  I have been looking for work since December.  I have ONLY been looking at WFH jobs.  I finally found one, and am working it now.  Good for me is I was in the pipeline before all this Covid stuff hit.  I was doing WAH 10 years ago.  It’s glorious!   Also, at my last company, I spent 3 years getting them to do WAH.  They finally agreed after the bomb cyclone of last year.  When I left the company, there was 1 team who was WAH, which I was over.

NOW?  The entire company is working at home.  Yes, thanks to me!

Today was supposed to be opening day. Usually, I am downtown for this mess. What do you miss most in these days sheltering from the viral storm?

Driving.  I love to drive, and I consumer a TON of books and podcasts.  Now, there isn’t anywhere to drive.  And my commute now is only about 12 feet.

a day in the pandemic in Colorado

Tibetan Buddhist Sand Mandala — Glencairn Museum

Some thoughts on all of this.  First off, ‘sheltering at home’ is my jam.  When I moved out here (out of the city, i mean.  We have 5 acres off a dirt road East of Denver) I was working from home.   It’s been Winter here at this elevation, and will continue to be for another month.  So, outside kinda sucks.

I have been home because I was unemployed.  When this happened, what i heard was “I need you to stay home like a patriot doing dick all but watching action movies.   Yeah, I can do that.  Heck, I have been doing that.

First thoughts – upsides

Cooking

I am cooking at least once a day.   I LOVE to cook, so that is awesome. I am also learning to be creative with my ingredients, since we are all in lockdown.   Even YOU are cooking, and I am very proud of that. What is that, you heated a hot dog? By yourself? Girlfriend you deserve a Marlboro!

Doctors

Being 48, I have a lot of doctors.  I ask every single doctor this over the last 10 years.  Would you get into medicine now? They also say no. See, there was a social contract we made with doctors.  Yes, you have at least another ten years of school. Yes, you have 300K in debt. BUT… by the time you are 40 that should be paid off, and by 50 you’ll be wealthy by all standards of culture.  Take one for the team now, you’ll be rich.  

However… that doesn’t happen anymore.  The insurance companies have squeezed every penny out of medicine for themselves.  Right now, there WAS no good reason to be a doctor. I think this epidemic/pandemic/mad max thing is going to inspire a lot of good people to be doctors.  We should be thankful for that.

Work from home

The last company I worked for, I spent 3 goddamn years lobbying for WAH.  Just last fall they FINALLY agreed and I got a work from home team (as well as my team in the office, and my team in the other office).  The company stalled at out only having 1 team work from home. That was their continuity plan…. Was. Now, the office is closed and they are ALL work from home.  Thanks to me – AAA Colorado. And I don’t even work there anymore. Some thanks!

My point being, any job where an employee sits and a computer and talks to people or works on that computer can be done anywhere on Earth with an internet connection.  I once spent an afternoon working from my mechanics, where i was stranded for 4 hours while they worked on the truck. Dude had wifi, though… so I was at the office. I was working and managing folks full time from home 10 years ago.  I thought by now we would all be. Well… all who wanted. Think what that would do for traffic and pollution!

Now, everyone is working from home whether they like it or not.  When we get out of this, companies are going to realize they can save zillions just in office space by having folks WAH.

We (wifey and I) have been in self isolation for about 2 or 3 weeks.  CO has a stay at home law, but we are allowed to go out for groceries and stuff.  It’s not like Italy (yet) where people are being pulled over just for being out in their cars.  Yet.

Update on the virus as of today-ish – America has the highest count of Covid cases, but our mortality rate is a TENTH of Italy’s.  They are dying at a rate of 10% who have the virus, whereas the US rate of folks who die from it 1%. We have been mostly voluntarily locked in, which is fine and understable.  Thing is, we aren’t expected to peak on new cases until Mid April. That means social distancing isn’t being done by everyone. I am looking squarely at you, fuckface who literally brought 5 kids to the store.  And the kids were being kids, running around and touching everything. Basically, I am pretty sure dude has the virus now. I get your kids are restless, buddy. Just take them outside.

So if people aren’t self quarantining… next step is some martial law.  That is where a lot of the world is right now.

 

Notes from call interview

Business outsource process

 

Update – a new Worst Person Alive®

Image result for senator richard burr evil

Dear reader, since 2010, we have held up Chris Brown as the worst person alive.  This title has now been supplanted by Senator Richard Burr.

Before we get to Burr, a quick word on Chris Brown, and his historic run with the title.  You likely know he is famous as an R&B star and dancer.  You may also know him as the guy who beat up his girlfriend, pop star Rhianna,  We are concentrating on the latter story.  Just a brief recap – the two were driving to an awards ceremony.  They got into an argument on the way there.  He started beating her, hard.  Then, pulled over in order to concentrate on still beating her hard.  People in traffic passed them, and called the cops.  it was explained a woman was being murdered on the side of the road.  Even crazier?  When the cops show up (lights, sirens, all that) he is STILL beating her  This still isn’t why I call him the worst person alive.   Sadly, domestic abuse is pretty common.   He is the worst because years later, he tattooed the image of her nearly dead beaten face on his neck.   THAT is what made him the worst person alive.  Until this last week.

Rather than re-write this, I am just going to copy and paste what I posted to Facebook this evening:

I stood down for 4 years and have mostly stayed away from politics here.  I know I won’t change anyone’s mind. But that ends with the story of Richard Burr below.  I had to speak up, because evil thrives when good men and women do nothing.

America, it took a decade but we now have someone to supplant Chris Brown as the worst person alive.  His name is Richard Burr. He is a senator from North Carolina, and is far and away THE WORST PERSON ALIVE.   Allow me to ‘splain.

 Burr is part of the senate intelligence committee.  As a result, he was party to top secret meetings where it was explained to him how bad this virus may be.  He now has someone top secret info that we are about to be f’d. What did he do with that info? Well, he went unloaded millions in stocks, knowing the market was about to crash.  That is just insider trading, though, which is nothing unusual for douchebag white collar leadership.

What he then did, to downplay his little move, was to come out and downplay the threat of the virus.  This guy is manipulating world economies through obfuscation, cover ups, and omission. This guy is an economic terrorist.  He should be treated as such. To be fair, there are several Congressfolk who sold off a ton of stock as this threat unraveled.  That isn’t illegal or even immoral. They saw what we saw… shit is about to potentially go sideways in a bad way. What did WORST PERSON ALIVE Richard Burr do that is so different?  Fair question. He was given very early secret clearance info about how incredibly serious this may be. He took that info and dumped his stock (which alone is insider trading and illegal).   BUT THEN… publicly went on to discount the threat and tell people things were fine.

Right now we are seeing a lot of wonderful people and companies and (yes, I’ll say it) governments coming together to help each other.   We are getting to see a lot of the best of humanity. Aside from folks being super weird about toilet paper, I have been super encouraged by how humanity is handling this.

And then there is THE WORST PERSON ALIVE Senator Richard Burr.  Ok, I’ll not say anything more, before I say something you regret.  I love you all! Thank you for the kind birthday wishes, too! Below will be actions you can take if you are interested.

Friday Fives – orange you glad?

Image result for fire mandala

What thing should never be mentioned in a job interview?

This actually happened while I was interviewing someone.  I won’t say their name (I don’t even remember), the company, the position… or any of it.  But towards the end of an otherwise normal interview, the candidate said “If you do a background check, you may find an assault and kidnapping charge.  But it’s ok, we are back together now.” Go ahead and process that.   

The last sentence alone still gives me chills.  Remember, someone said this to me in an interview.  Thank god I had a buddy in there with me, or I wouldn’t have believed it.  Yes, that last sentence.  It means SO much.   First,  she actually forgave him for doing that.  Also, note that he doesn’t think it ‘counts’ since they are still together.  Chris Brown, that you?

What is the silliest thing you have heard people say about you?

He seems too intense, I am afraid of him

What hobby/activity/anything would be a lot cooler if you added “but with fire” at the end?

Cross country swimming

What job is a bad idea to do from home?

Cross country swimming.  I have absolutely destroyed all of our flooring.  “Waterproof” luxury vinyl? Waterproof my ass!

 

What is a weird food combination you really enjoy?

Friday Fives > grammarly edition

Image result for fish mandala

 What is one handy spelling tip you were taught that you still use today?

Use spellcheck on whatever device you have!  They say English is the toughest language to learn to master because of all the super obscure rules.  Being a polyglot, I agree. I have a degree in literature. Don’t you think that would make me a spelling wiz?  No sir, not according to spellcheck. Though, I’d say most of my errors come from typing to fast. I am a stunning no look typer, and a hero to many in that regard.

What’s that one thing in the grammar world you’ve never learned to do?

Figure out the difference between its and it’s.  It works against the rules on so many levels. When to use one or the other.  We know that an apostrophe s indicated possession. It it Scott’s sweater. However, we also know that apostrophe s indicates a contraction.   It’s Scott sweater. It is Scott’s sweater. Ok, I am confused already. Let’s move on.

You have a gun held to your head and you have to spell a word correctly to save your life, what is one common word that would get you killed?

I’ll give you two.  Bureaucracy, and yacht.  If you don’t get red squiggly marks when you type those, I just don’t trust you.  Both those have a strong position on phonetics. That position is > phonetics can go phuck itself!  Tee hee hee.

WAIT WAIT WAIT… let’s just roll back and look at that question again.  If I had a gun to my head… and the next scenario is a grammar one?  This is what you fantasize about?  This question alone is proof I am not the author of these questions.  This guy is, my writing mentor.

I’d like  forward this to your therapist, but I am afraid her ahead would explode.  Instead, I’ll just send it to your high school guidance counselor.  You need help, bubba!  There is only one acceptable way to joke about gun violence, and this is it right here.

Image result for buyout magazine or the dog gets it

Which English grammar rule that has helped you the most in your life?

I guess the old ‘i before e except after c’.  I am pretty good with most things grammar, though.  Stop tittering over there, I see you. I am good!  I can tell you my philosophy, though.  You can’t get grammar or words from a class.  Read as much as you can, and write as much as you can.

 Do you recall a grammar rule you were taught in school is not in fact a grammar rule?

Steven, if you are going to wet yourself again… just go ahead and use the bathroom.  Thank you. And please have your parents sign this for me.  Again.

 

 

 

I’d like to apologize for how boring that was.  What’s more boring than grammar?  Discussing grammar.  and YOU… you are reading about grammar.  Sweet Jesus, man.. get out of the house once and a while!  Tell you what – I owe you a new piece.  Not a lazy ass Friday fives, but some real genius content.  I have had it in my head for years, tonight I will lay it down.  It’s about legal precedent.

 

Friday Fives – that song edition

From your playlist of choice (iTunes, Spotify, personal collection, or whatever) what are the first five songs that come up on shuffle.  Why is it  on your list?

Image result for music brain mandala

Ok.  I see.  It appears my editor has a bit of the ole’ writers block.  Music is my passion, though… so no problem.  He did mention I could call the playlist.  I use Spotify these days, and I have about 12 playlists.  I think this one will be the most fun, though.  I call it ‘1 hit wander’.   These are all just REALLY songs.  Some of these bands are not 1 hit wonders, though.  But they do have this common:  I would never buy the whole album.  A perfect example of this is ‘Come on Eileen’ by Dexys.  It is just a PERFECT song.  But I wouldn’t bother to own the album if you gave it to me free.   That being said, here are the first 5 songs that come up when I hit shuffle on this playlist.

This list is LONG, and certainly not genre specific.  I am not black, but I do identify as Rachel Dolezal.  Here goes

Image result for electric larryland

You Got me – the Roots. Oh man, that hook from Eryka Badu is just heaven.  Oh, and the video is super cool, too.  Some random Roots trivia?  They are the houseband on the Tonight Show.   And, she has a baby with Andre 3000.  You remember ‘Hey YA’?  It’s that guy.   Btw, he made a VERY good Hendrix biopic, which quickly disappeared.  Look at these stills, he killed it.  Let’s just take a quick break and appreciate  out this video, it’s powerful.

I saw these guys live, and had NO idea who they were.  They were like the opener to the opener to the opener.  I was blown away.  Normally, of course, I would embed the original song right here.  That changes today, bubba!  Enjoy this live in studio recording.

They have another song that I dig as well, but its’ no where near this good.  It’s called (I think) ‘How we Operate’.  Spoiler alert > it involves tweezers, and a noisy glowing nose to indicate malpractice

 Our House – Madness. Such a cool and fun song, and I think it has aged very well.  Note, I saw this guys live.  Not just eventually, but I when they were supporting this song.  It was their first US tour.   Man what a show that was.  It was the Police headlining on their farewell tour (1981-ish).   The openers were Madness and Thompson twins.  Even better?  It was my very first concert! Heck, I was only 10 or so.  I remember being puzzled why lighters were out for the ballads.  I dare say that night changed everything.  You know how I feel about music.  That Synchronicity album is just perfection.  Its’ like you could almost rename it ‘Police’s Greatest hits.  I still remember the ticket price, too.  It was $12.50

One of the biggest things that really grabbed me and set me on a lifelong quest and love for music (I am 47 now.  It was how much fun they were having on stage.  Also interesting to note that at that time the band HATED each other at that time.  They had already fallen apart.  I am not going to point fingers, because I have none left to point.  They are all pointing at Sting.   Wait… weren’t we talking about Madness?

PepperButthole Surfers. 

Pepper  Great song, and great band!  I am almost embarrassed to admit I have seen Gibby and co about 10 different times.  Perhaps you think of the Butthole Surfers as just some doped up idiot savants from backwater Texas somewhere.   Sure, they are that.  But their guitarist produced one of the greatest rock records of all time.  Paul Leary is the one who gave us Sublime’s self titled masterpiece right before Bradley died.

 Change – Blind Melon.  Here is the cruel irony of this song.  Its about, very speficicslkly, about a cocaine overdose.  We know now, he did a lot of drugs.  Nearly all of them.  One day, he wakes in a usual stupor and decided to drop it all.  The fabled ‘rock bottom’, or whatever.  Most likely, though, it was probably court required.  It may be the most beautiful and sad and honest and thoughtful song every written about a cocaine overdose.  He takes one one of those fabled ‘rock bottom moments’ and turned it into such perfect poetry.

When you feel your life ain’t worth living
You’ve got to stand up
And take a look around and you look way up to the sky
Yeah, and when your deepest thoughts are broken
Keep on dreaming boy, ’cause when you stop dreamin’ it’s time to die

And then a few years later, he died of a cocaine overdose.

the 27 club claims yet another…

Friday Fives – mungo bungo dingo

Image result for palapa hammock

What’s the weirdest place you have ever slept?

Um… interesting question.  Probably under a palapa on a hammock in Tulum on the beach.  All very romantic, right? Perhaps for most. All wifey and I heard all night was creepy crawlies.  BIG ones. You know expression you play as a kid ‘the floor is lava’? It was. There are no walls or floor mind you.  Just a hammock hanging under a palapa) above… that is what a palapa is.

Anyhow, perhaps it wasn’t much, but in the dark our imaginations ran away with us.

Ed note to self – credit to me.  I didn’t make a single joke about your mother above.  I think we are all growing… together.

What song makes you happy whenever you hear it?

‘In the Summertime’, by Mungo Jerry.  It is just super joyful and catchy. Oh, and don’t read the lyrics.  It’s a product of its time, 1970.  They are truly a one hit wonder, but nonetheless are a blessing.  Check out this dude’s mutton chops.  Now, lets take a little break and have a listen.  You’ll recognize the tune, I promise.

What’s the best soft drink/soda flavor of all time?

Vanilla.   Yeah, I really am that boring and white.  My favorite smell is Vanilla, as well.  You know that stuff in your pantry?  It says ‘pure vanilla’, or ‘vanilla extract’? Whatever that stuff is, it’s great.  It is NOT, however, Vanilla.  Real Vanilla only comes from Madagascar.n****

You suddenly have a fully functional tail, what the first thing you do with it?

Figure out if it is prehensile.  Do you know what that means? I mean, before you google.  It means it can support your weight. If you tail is prehensile, you can hang from it.  I think that would be great. So, what would I do with it? Geesh, I don’t know. What kind of fucked up question i that?

What is something your dad told you that you’ll never forget?

There is SO much wisdom in this, you should sit down before you read it.  Note that my father has died, so his words carry more weight with me. He was REALLY big on education.  His greatest fear in life was that we become manual laborers. Seriously… it’s odd. In stressing to me how important education was.  Last note before the great quote – during this era I had very long hair and was traveling to see the Dead on summers off. I looked EXACTLY like this.  My dad sees this and says “you can play now, and pay later.  Or, you can pay now and play later.’

Fuck that is good stuff, and true.  He was right, too. I didn’t apply myself nearly as much as I could have, and I could be doing much better professionally than I am doing.  Heavy huh? Who else speaks that kind of truth to power*** like me?

*** In my case, I am clearly the power.  Ergo… I am talking about speaking truth to myself.  Most people pay therapists for this kind of insight.  You, dear reader, are my therapist..

**** – Vanilla Ice, Ice Cube, Ice T > what is the ‘ice’ about it?  It is an homage to the greatest pimp So ever tell his story.  Iceberg Slim. His book is absolutely amazing, the audio book being even better.  I am sure I had a lot to say to it over here, but you can skip my review and just get the book.