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Poetry, Philosophy and Puppets.

1/28/2008

Or, as some would say, maddad's Monday.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry

1/25/2008

The comprehensive list of reasons David Banner turned into the Hulk. Losing his job isn't in the list. Freakin' welfare queen.

Daydreams

1/24/2008

Slashdot | IBM Responds to Overtime Lawsuits With 15% Salary Cut

Back when I drove a desk I was required to track 10 hour days. I was on-call every fifth week, with no comp time. Meaning if I was up all night for an emergency or a scheduled change, I still had to be at work at 8am. Especially if there was a change or an emergency because the availibility and change meetings were at 8:30 and 9 respectively. When you were on-call you worked weekends as well, again, if you did a change Sunday night, you were in Monday morning. You carried a pager and due to staffing issues, (read as "not enough staff") you rarely got lunch away from the office. To top it all off, you were required to submit a time sheet every two weeks for payroll in which you had to account for every day worked, a limit of eight hours per day. And if you were sick the day after a paid holiday, you lost vacation time.

At the time we were all afraid of losing our jobs, so no one ever pulled a stunt like those IBM guys, although on team calls we talked about it, a lot. Eventually the team melted down, management was replaced and things calmed down a bit, but we were still tracking 10 hour days and getting paid for 8 hour days. And we were still doing on-call, but our new boss let us have unofficial comp time. This gave half of us the time we needed to find new jobs.

I'm unemployed today, but I would cut off my right testicle before I went back into corporate IT. I know contractors are the first headcount to go, but that's the way I'd head if things get that bad. I've done it before, back in 2001 when I was last unemployed I worked almost as many contracting jobs as I had job interviews. Most were one-week, three-day installation deals, but I got paid if I had to stay up all night and watch a screen. Seven years on and my hourly rate has doubled, but so have my expenses, but at least I know I can get work if I have to. And I may have to.

I'd much rather be in pre-sales, where I will have at least some control over the amount of money I make. Unless, of course, there's a "reduction in force" and no matter how much money you make you end up as just a number on a balance sheet. But things are looking pretty interesting out there, knock wood, I might have news in a week or two.

By request

1/22/2008



From Kissing Suzy Kolber

Slashdot | Corporate Email Etiquette

Hey, something I know something about!

So some guy is upset that he's seen email etiquette go out the window recently, and the reason is picked up about seven comments in. It's a CYA move.

When times are hard it is usually a good move to look either as busy, as productive, or as knowledgeable as possible. Email seems like a great way to do that. It's not, but it looks that way.

When I would design corporate email systems there were a few things that I would always do. Apply send/receive limits, block executable attachments and limit the number of recipients on any message to 100. Exceptions abounded, but those were the typical rules. At least once every year there would be an IT training class for end users on corporate email policy, and another on email etiquette. The corporate policy class was always roundly ignored, but the etiquette class was routinely booked to the gills. Mostly with non-tech types who wanted to know the ins and outs of Outlook or Notes. I was usually happy to spend the hour teaching a basic class, and it was usually me, none of my IT dept colleagues would ever want to actually have to open their mouths in front of a crowd, and I would. Really. So who would not show up to maddad's lunch and learns? The IT group.

Coincidentally, every December and March there were massive amounts of email generated by two groups of people. IT and people afraid for their job. Let's say you are in the IT group and you've been working on the IM proxy project since last April. The project has moved along pretty quick for an Enterprise-level purchase, you and the sixteen other people on the team are almost in agreement on how many times per month you meet. The Project manager is sending out regular status updates (green) to every member of the project team AND the management team (your boss and his boss). Every week you get a green status and it's review/bonus/layoff time. Do you A) ignore the messages like everyone else, B) reply to the PM in a separate email if you have a question, or C) reply to all and interject some arcane technical/legal point that you make up about the software/hardware/process you're project is supposed to implement?

Mostly the answer is C. You want your manager to know you do more than surf Flickr all day, your projects are GREEN and you are being utilized! You are needed! And you aren't the only one. It is just that time of year.

End of fourth and beginning of first quarter, hell, all the way up to March is the heaviest email traffic time of the year, with a bump for Valentine's day and the NCAA Basketball Final Four. By the middle of Q2 things will settle down to normal and you'll notice a lot less email. Try it, you can sort your email by date. It's not the holidays making that much e-noise.

BTW, unless you have a brand-new or just plain bad manager, you aren't fooling anyone. No one is irreplaceable. Don't forget that.

Said the unemployed blogger.

Fed to cut rates, Stock market to crash, zombies on the loose, we're all gonna DIEEEEEEEE!

Day 14. That's the freakin' headlines I wake up to today. It sucks to not have a job, to be stuck in the snow while everyone else is at Lotusphere in sunny Florida, and to have nothing but panic in your gut.

It's not that I should be panicking, but I'm a panicker. That's how I'm built. It's what I do. So when I hear that the world is going to be flooded by space aliens towing a giant water planet behind their black nebula...well, I worry.

The worst thing about panic is making bad decisions, I've got a meeting tomorrow and I don't want to make a bad decision.

On the plus side we finally got the insurance settlment for the basement, so I will soon be blogging from a nicer place.

Farth, a let freem. U jonaz ef grom.

1/21/2008

New week starts off in the dumps. Shouldn't, this should be a good week, but it does anyway. I've been working on keeping my lookout optimistic, but zero degree weather and no corporate email presence really hampers you.

Try it sometime. Turn off your corporate email and try and get in touch with someone. It'll take a while. It's frustrating to blackberry addicts and travellers the world over. Instant communication made my life over the last three years possible. Now, I'm disconnected and really, really down. It's a disease.

Good weekend though, the Prince had a swim meet and I went. It's only his second meet ever and he came in 8th out of 31 in the Freestyle 50 and 17th in the 100 Breast. I can relate, I'm not really a breast man myself. But it was very cool, and nice and warm in the Natatorium up in Columbus IN.

You know who went to Columbus?
Chuck Taylor. Not kidding. I thought that was pretty cool.

Yesterday we saw "I am Legend" which was a pretty cool movie. Even if Will Smith did forget to say "Oh hell naw." even once. Thanks Will, I lost two bucks to Dangeresque on that. I think the Charleton Heston version of the movie had creepier zombies, since his zombies could think. For a while it looked like they were going to add that component into this movie, but I guess they ran out of time. Still, a good flick. Even without the "oh hell naw".

One thing about the swimming, bleachers are not good for my back. I spent years hunched over in front of a PC for eight or ten hours a day and I'm paying for it now. Part of that was the herniated disks I had repaired and part was the horrible shoulders I had for years. Well I worked real hard on the shoulders and neck, but the lower back and posterior chain are still giving me fits. So I tend to tilt my hips and bend from the lower spine if I sit on a seat without a back. Even if I start out sitting nice and straight, I eventually slump into some kind of perverted letter "G". I'd call it a weak core, but it's mostly lazy maddad. I'm going to sign off now and attempt to do my exercises, but for two days I've had sciatica like nobody's business. Haven't really felt like working out anyway, thanks to the extreme cold. Plus, if I die now, the family is still taken care of. So I've started eating a stick of butter every few minutes. You know, for the children.

Anyway, six resumes a day, rain or shine. Tomorrow I call the outplacement firm they set me up with and get on the stick. I've got some good nibbles but it's just not fair to have a reduction in force around a federal holiday. The mail's screwed up, the kids are home from school, and everyone I need to talk to took a four-day ski weekend.

Speaking of the RIF, it turned out to be a lot bigger than my particular situation, a lot of people I know were let go, really good people too. I'm not allowed to talk about it, but... damn when I heard some of the names, it was like...oh hell naw! (See Will, that's how you do it. It's not that hard.)

11 O'clock tick tock....

1/18/2008

OK, that's the time of day, not my earworm. My earwom today is "Sabbath Bloody Sabbath" by that famous gospel quartet Black Sabbath.

But that's not why I'm writing, nope. I am at this point going to speak in code, so see if you can follow along. There will be no translation over public airwaves, but if you would like to send me your contact info through the comments, I could use an electronic ear to bitch at.

code

Drama.

SO I was dating this girl, attractive, steady, put out a little, who had a better looking step sister. This step sister put out more, had bigger boobs and most importantly thought I was HUGE. Unfortunately the hot step sister lived with her mom in another state. Which was OK, because she spent weekends in my town with her dad and step sister. So while we had to be good, when my girlfriend wasn't paying attention, sumpthin, sumpthin, knowhutimsayin.

One day, the big-boobed step sister called and said that she was moving to town permanently. She told me we could be an item and make beautiful music together. My first tought was, uh-oh. I had it pretty good with the plain sister. I knew all the right things to say and do and there wasn't much work to do on the relationship side of things. Hell, she didn't even mind that I was banging her step-sister every weekend. Why would I want to ruin that? But later the hot step-sister started to tempt me by sending naked pictures to my phone and writing me dirty letters. Oh, the things we would do, she would write, you can't miss this opportunity. And hey, if my sister still wants you, we can do a threesome.

I was convinced. I broke it off with my steady girlfreind and when the hot sister came to town for the holidays, we spent every glorious moment together. Then school started up.

Hot sister came to me and said, "sorry maddad, my mom is sending me to boarding school in Canada". Then my steady said, "sorry maddad, my dad is moving us to Texas."

I was chickless.

But...

From Canada comes a steady stream of filthy email and dirty pictures of the hot sister's privates..."Remember me, maddad," the email says, "I still want your body. My mom says I'll be back in town any day now. Wait for me maddad!"

Then one day her mother called and asked me, since both of her daughters seemed to like me so much, if I would take their ugly sister to the prom.

That through me for a loop, because while I understood her ugly sister put out like pre-hep C Pam Anderson, she looks an awful lot like Phyllis Diller. Horny as I was, I was a little leery of the situation, knowing full well that it's always the ugly ones you get pregnant. Then you're stuck for the rest of your life looking at this pig. But of all people, her mom says to me that by dating the pig, I'd have a lot of access to the hot sister. The hot sister who is still sending me pornographic mash notes. The hot sister who is begging me to hook up with the pig so that on Wednesday nights when the pig's at AA we can still bang like rabbits in the spring.

Only I know better, the ugly sister is not only ugly, she's hella strong. She'd kick my ass if she caught me with the hottie. I might get the massage, but no happy ending.

So... will ths:



Get me to this?



I doubt it.

\End code. If you followed that, good for you.

A small business opportunity for the unemployed maddad

1/17/2008

DIY Electrolytic Rust Removal!

I'm all over it. If I can find a bucket big enough to hold a volvo.

maddad and the ants

1/15/2008

Remember Lenigan? I feel kinda like him. Things are piling up, out of my control and sooner or later I'm going to have to pour gasoline on them and light a match.

Well, not really. I should be more optimistic and look at it like eating an elephant, one bite at a time. If the elephant were jacked on Meth and impotent sexual rage and I was on fire and had no teeth.

Anyway, I'm cleared to start exercising again. I've been looking at the jungle gym in my basement lair at the Mcmahonsion for about an hour and not doing anything. I had to make travel arraingments to Chicago for tomorrow and I'm not looking forward to that, I've got a headlight out on my car and I need brakes. My refrigerator is broke and my downstairs A/C needs replaced. My son is headed toward the "People to People" summit in DC in March and I have to get him there somehow, the swim team costs $45 bucks per month, my cell service (now with no data plan) is still close to $70 bucks. My Internet access is now on my home line, that's another $60, cable is $50 (for what? American Gladiators? Are you serious?) for broadcast. Maddmom's car has a short in the power doors that opens them intermittantly, and for some reason the car is sucking down gas like a cheerleader at her first keg party. I have had three pre-screening interviews, no follow up tech interviews and a lot of BS over the phone. I have to mail all this crap back to the company that let me go, which means that I have to buy a box big enough to put it all in. Skippy has snack day on Thursday and gas? Well, hell.

In short, I'm trying not to freak out since it's only been eight days, but relaxing ain't my style and neither is hysterical overreaction...yet.

I went through this eight years ago, almost exactly the same thing, with a different company and in all honesty it was one of the best things that had happened to me. I need to remember that.

And calm the hell down.

Day six

1/14/2008

Monday.

Good news, my back incision is completely healed, I have been released by my doc. I am free to hurt myself again. I also bought gas for under three bucks for the first time in months, and I gathered enough contact info to stun a phone book typesetter. Now to use it.

If you know who I am, if we've ever met. If I parked next to you at the airport, if our feet ever touched under a bathroom stall. If you have ever dated an ex-girlfriend of mine. If I ever keyed your new Lexus in the hospital parking lot after following you to work from her apartment one lonley rainswept morn...

Expect a call.

I'm hunting dollars. Specifically so maddmom and I can eat. The children are remarkably low in calories and after being salted and dried might not take us through the whole winter.

I am unemployed. It has sunk in. And I'm not taking any crap. I'm very good at what I do and I enjoy it, and that's why for three days I was willing to listen to people who were telling me to hold tight, that this was a mistake, that I'd be back in no time.

The time limit on "mistake" ended this morning at 10:30. I need to find a job. So if you know me, if I know you, if you know someone whom I know, if someone you know knows me, expect a call.

If not, I'm taking solicitations in the comments.

No posts?

1/13/2008

No mail on the phone. Have to cut back in these times. This might take longer than I thought, so every little bit helps.

MA BUKKET!

1/09/2008

Looks like I have one. Or two. Will let you know.

Things are in flux here at the McMahonsion. But, aside from the massive bleeding ulcer, bloody stools, heart palpitations, headaches, and drunken, violent finger pointing, maddmom and I are taking this well. Nothing like an unexpected layoff to get you back in the cheapskate saddle. Time to take a good looooong look at our finances (read maddad's cellular phone bill) and make some cuts (read re-think our cable package).

I think this is all kharmic retribution for a remark I made at a dinner party, maddmom thinks it's God's way of telling us not to buy a Korean car. Who knows?

I'll tell you what though, over the last couple of years I have met some really great people, and the response to my little "issue" was completely unexpected, and really heartening. It always amazes me when people put their money where their mouth is. I'm not talking about donations, or anything like that. I'm talking follow though, which is better. It's gratifying to be recognized, and even if nothing comes of it, at least I met these people. It sounds sappy, but so what?

Talk to me at the end of the quarter after I've been on the road for nine straight weeks and I might sound different, that's how life is. I just hope that I react in the same way if someone I know is in similar circumstances. I would like to think I would.

Bad News

1/08/2008

Today was my last day of work. I got caught without a position in a reduction of force.

Basically, I took a new position and the position I left wasn't budgeted for. Then they eliminated my new position. So I'm SOL.

I have a few things going already, several with the same company, since this seems to be a management snafu, someone not turning in the paperwork on time. And I've had a couple of nibbles now that my non-compete is essentially null. We'll see what happens. There were a lot of people almost as upset as I was when they heard the news. I say almost, because I about shit my pants.

So, anyone want to hire a very successful Pre-Sales Systems Engineer with a messaging and archiving background? Late of the number two in email archiving market share? I have references out the wazoo. Even customer references if my voice mail is to be believed.

I've got a package, so I'm OK for a bit, but I am stressed. I'll likely be stressed for the time being. So If I'm not here, it's because I'm shopping myself around like the whore I am, go easy.

And if you want to see my resume, leave your contact info in the comments.

Uh Oh...

1/07/2008




Normally this wouldn't bother me, but this morning they looked hungry.

 
Posted by Picasa

Andrew Olmsted

1/05/2008

A blogger I "knew" was killed in Iraq. He left a last post. This is all I know, I just woke up. He left a note should he be killed here:

Obsidian Wings: Andy Olmsted

He was a blogger for the Rocky Mountain News, here's his last post:

Andrew Olmstead

Here's the last post at his own blog:

Anrew Olmsted.com

I only knew him through blog comments and a few funny emails. By all accounts a great guy who will be missed.

New Project

1/04/2008

PuppyLinux on a Toshiba Satellight 4010CDS. Circa 1998. Doesn't even have an active matrix screen.

Last year I upgraded to Windows 2000 so I could use the USB wireless card I had, and I wish I hadn't done it. Performance was acceptable in Windows 98, really. You could surf, check mail use Office 97. You know everything you do now, only on less powerful hardware. But for some reason, this old laptop has the greatest battery in the world and can still run for over an hour on a full charge. So I wanted it to be unattached and on the net. Hence the upgrade.

Now the computer still works, but it's slower than, well just about everything. I'm even using Opera and putting this sucker to sleep instead of shutting down. Slow.

So I built a PuppyLinux liveCD and booted and whammo! Fast and Full featured, but before I install I want to make sure I can get my "new" wireless adapter to work and of course, I can't get ndiwrapper to work and I can't find the cd that came with the card (lost it in the flood0 and the new drivers from the website work great with Windows, but only windows.

But I really like that it's fast, and while I'm tempted to give up, and go the wired route, my 8 port hub got washed out too, and I'd have to sit real close to my router. Which is up on top of my computer cabinet. So we will see what we will see, I might try debian with xfce.

Just saw this...

1/03/2008

Who didn't get their morning coffee?

 
Posted by Picasa

Chicken soup for the parachute

Can't talk.....eating working.

Expect a lot of this, I got something cooking.

Monday I was in a hell of a funk. Really worried. Today I'm worried about a whole different set of things, none of which involve me delivering pizza.

A while ago I wrote a post about making decisions, I had made one and was happy. I was for all of a week. I made a good decision, it just took longer than I thought to bear fruit.

We'll see how much of this I can swallow.

I've been cooking this one post for a while. I had read an article on human evolution and IQ and I wanted to respond, but then I saw this History Channel thing last night about monkeys and some guy said exactly what I was going to say, so I'm not going to post it because you guys would figure I was bananas.

I'm gonna quit this post now before I say something in bad taste.

Installing VMware Tools

1/02/2008

Debian Linux on VMware Workstation: Installing VMware Tools

I was having major issues with eLive Gem and VMware tools. I'm running eLive in VM Workstation 5 on XP, the tools wouldn't install so, here you go.

I'm not running KDE, but at least now I can figure out what I'm a doin.

Top 15 Amazing Coincidences

Top 15 Amazing Coincidences

Number 16 and not on the list is this:

On January 1st 2008, maddad complained that it was too cold to work in his basement office and he hoped it wouldn't be cold the next day. January 2nd, it was 9 degrees Farenheit and maddad's balls froze off.

Seriously. 9 degrees.