Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Well, that's...impossible!

Since my most recent previous post was about a documentary regarding shoes on power lines, I this photo I just found would be appropriate.

How in the heck did they do that?

Friday, August 16, 2013

The Mystery of the Flying Kicks

A mini-documentary about throwing shoes over power lines.

Walk Off The Earth: "Royals"

Note:  I've been posting various musical tidbits to a Tumblr blog, but every few days something else happens to makes posting to it difficult (latest thing:  absolutely will not let me log in unless I turn Ghostery off completely).  So I'm giving up on it and will just use my old standby here at Blogonomicon to post anything that strikes me as interesting/amusing/enjoyable.  And I will be re-posting about 40 or so things from the Tumblr blog over here.  I'll just create a new category here for musical stuff:  eat the music, which was the name of my Tumblr.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

A story

5 Criminals Who Took Police Chases to Embarassing New Lows

It reminds me of a story.  When I was a kid, someone escaped from the prison in Kenedy and stole a car to make his getaway.  I heard that he was doing over 100 mph when he went through Stockdale; a co-worker of my dad saw him fly through on highway 123.  Police were, as they say, in hot pursuit, but not doing so well.  The escapee doubled back on some dirt roads and came out on FM 1107.  About that time, his stolen car either ran out of gas or broke down or something, so he abandoned it and took off on foot across a field.

A field that I at times had helped to harvest squash and cucumbers from, and which I also sometimes dove-hunted on with my dad, my uncle and cousins.  The field belonged to my uncle.  My uncle's house was on the other side of the field, and the outlaw found it.  This was in the middle of the day, so no one was home at the time.  It was an old house surrounded by acres upon acres of fields, and I don't even think it was possible to lock up--it was quite ramshackle.  He went inside the house, stole my uncle's old straw hat that he wore when working out in the fields (for some reason), and also took one of my uncle's shotguns and grabbed a few shells.  Then he fled, still on foot, through the corn field behind the house.  This was where the cops finally caught up to him, so he attempted to fight.  But when he tried to load the shotgun, he discovered to his misfortune that he had grabbed a 20-gauge shotgun and 12-gauge shells.  So...the shells wouldn't go in the gun.  At his point, he dropped the gun and surrendered.

Heh heh

I guess I've been doing a lot of work blogging lately, but lately it seems that the subject has been ripe for the picking.  So here's a story that I've just got to tell because it amuses me so mightily.

To start at the beginning, when I was first hired, our department had two supervisors.  Eventually, one of them was moved to another department.  The true motives behind this move are still unknown but rumors are rife, but that's not what this story is about.  More time went by, and the remaining supervisor applied for and got a position in another department, so the other supervisor was brought back.  So we still had only one supervisor.  But then the big water company took over the little water company, which brought all of their meter readers into our department and put our total of employees up to about 50.  So they decided we needed to go back to two supervisors.

There were a lot of applications for this position.  Both of the guys who were our "lead meter readers" applied.  One of them didn't even make it through the H.R. gantlet and wasn't interviewed.  He immediately quit.  The other one did get interviewed, but wasn't chosen.  The guy who did get the job had no supervisory experience, but then the lead meter readers didn't either.  The guy who did get the job had less seniority than the other lead meter reader--however he did have previous meter reading experience.  In spite of being continually told that our company is merit-based--that is, you get raises and promotions based on your performance, not on your seniority--everyone still thinks that EVERYTHING SHOULD BE BASED ON SENIORITY, regardless of actual competence.

Well, the lead meter reader who didn't get the job filed a grievance because he didn't get the job.  So, since this company is made up of such a bunch of spineless managerial types, they created a third supervisor position, even though it isn't needed and there isn't really much of anything for a third supervisor to do.  This third position was created solely to give that lead meter reader the opportunity of applying for and possibly getting a supervisor position.

So once again, there were a lot of applicants.  Out of them all, only three survived to be interviewed.  We'll call them 1, 2 and 3.  1 was from another department, has no supervisory nor any meter reading experience, and didn't really want the job but only applied because he was being pressured to apply for a higher position by management.  2 is the lead meter reader, who has no supervisory experience but does have meter reading experience.  3 is someone who has been a supervisor on two previous jobs, so he has supervisory experience.  He also has about five years meter reading experience (partly electric & gas, partly water).  However, he has the lowest seniority of the three.  This position is supposed to be primarily a field position, responsible for training and various other out-in-the-field supervisor requirements.  One of 3's previous jobs was as a field supervisor for electric & gas meter readers.

So who got the job?  3 did, of course.  Which means that the position that was created only so 2 could have a shot at a supervisor position went to someone other than 2.

This whole situation still makes me smile every time I think about it.  And, full confession, the guy who got the job was my supervisor in both of those previous jobs, and in one of them I was his assistant supervisor.  I've known him for about 20 years now, and count him as a friend because we've seen so much stuff together.

Heh heh.

"You get all the loonies on your routes"

That's what a co-worker told me today after I described the following encounter to him.

Today I had that all-alley cycle 11 route which I have mentioned before.  At one house, an ancient little old lady came out, trying to ask me something.  Her dogs were making a furious uproar; she yelled at them in German, which I found to be so funny I almost couldn't suppress myself.

So eventually I heard her ask me why I read meters when the houses are vacant.  I told her the simple truth:  "Because it's there, and it's my job."  "But why?  If dere's no one (von) in de house?"  "Because it's my responsibility.  I get paid to do it, and my employer requires me to do it."  "But why..."  This went on for a few more minutes, with her refusing to understand the simple reason "because it's there."

Then she said, "What happened to de regular guy?"  "I am the regular guy."  "No, you're not.  De odder know..."  "Ma'am, I've been reading this route almost every month without exception for the last six years."  "No.  You haven't."

So I gave up and walked away.  She was still yelling at her dogs in German.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Well, good

10 Artists Who Hated Their Biggest Hit

I was quite gratified to read that Chrissie Hynde hates that song, because that has got to be the WORST SONG THE PRETENDERS EVER RECORDED!!!

I don't think I can accurately convey how much I hate that whiney song.  I don't know what's wrong with the people who like it, but it must be something pretty bad.

Monday, August 05, 2013

An incident

I said in my last post that I had to work mandatory OT last Saturday.  What I didn't mention is that I was bitten by a dog that day.

It turned out to not be a serious bite; my pants protected me from the worst of it so all I got was a really scary-looking bruise.  But it was a totally unprovoked bite.  I didn't even know the dog was there.  It must have come out of a yard across the street and it bit me from behind (lower right leg) without ever barking, growling, or anything.

The thing was, I completely lost it.  When I was a kid, people learned to be very wary of my rage.  I'm not boasting, in fact I'm kind of ashamed of it, but I had no control when I lost my temper.  On certain occasions, it actually saved me because I was a frequent target for bullies when I was a kid, and although I would try and try to just get away from being beaten up on, eventually I would snap.  After enough people saw what happened when this snap occurred, they stopped picking on me.  It was a lot like when Ralphie lost it in A Christmas Story, except that there was usually more bleeding involved.  It also saved me once when I was attacked by one of our sow hogs when I was a teenager.  That was a bad bite that ripped a big hole in my pants and took a hunk of skin with it.  I stopped the attack by braining the sow with a cedar fence post, which briefly knocked it senseless so I was able to get out of the pen.  That was a bad one, though.  After the adrenaline wore off and the pain kicked in, I discovered I had dislocated my shoulder from swinging the fence post.

And that's what happened with this dog, the only difference being that I wasn't able to catch it after it realized it had made a huge mistake.  Then the idiot customer came out and told me to calm down.  This made me about a thousand times madder, and I let fly a string of profanity that I am not proud of.

So I had to file a dog bite report and today I went and asked my supervisor if there had been a complaint about me from the customer.  He said, "Why, did you beat the sh*t out of it?"  "I tried," I said, "but I couldn't catch it."  Then I told him about the customer telling me to calm down and he gave me a look that seemed to say, "You gotta be sh*tt*n' me!"  I went on to tell him something like, "I cussed her out pretty hard."  "Her dog was loose in the street," he said, "I don't care what you told her."

So that makes me feel better.  From now on I guess I'll drive that one block instead of walking it.

Sunday, August 04, 2013


The uke now has white strings.  The original strings were black.  I had said before that I had read that my particular model of ukulele would be better with better than the factory original strings, and so I would probably restring it sometime.  I recently made a trip up to the Sam Ash store for some band supplies for the kids, so while I was there I bought a set of Aquila strings, because that was the brand that was most often recommended in various online uke forums.  It was only $8 for the set of strings.

It took me quite a while to do it--probably about an hour and a half to two hours, but I wasn't paying close attention to the clock.  I had special trouble with the E string for some reason.  One odd thing I noticed is that the original strings all look identical, but the new strings have visibly different widths except for the A and G strings--they're too close.  According to what I've read and seen in some instructional videos, it should take a couple of weeks before the strings settle down and quit stretching so they hold their tuning better.  I had already noticed this with the factory strings when I first got it.  I just hope I got them wound correctly so they don't slip.  If that happens, I might have to go back to Sam Ash and have one of their techs string it for me.  That would be embarrassing, but might be necessary if my job is inadequate.  I have replaced a couple of broken guitar strings before, but they were easier than this.  Maybe because they were wire and these were "nylon."  Aquila actually calls them Nylgut, because they're supposed to be like some kind of synthetic gut and are better than plain nylon.  They feel like nylon to me.

I downloaded a sampler of this band a while back from Noisetrade and this song was on it.  It immediately became a favorite of mine, and yesterday it turned up on my phone shuffle while I was working (mandatory OT Saturday).  Nowadays, whenever I hear a song I like I always think about how to play it on the uke.  So when I got home I looked it up and found that they have the chords for it on their official website, but for some reason in certain places the chords were wrong.  Anyway, it was easy to fix and last night I played it over and over for a long time.  This is another of those four chord songs and it's very simple.  The original is in E♭, so I transposed it down to C to make it easier for me to play and so it would fit my vocal range better.  The E♭ chord itself is one I'm still working on playing smoothly; it has an easy fingering but requires some finger stretching.  However, the B♭ chord is still a problem for me and A♭ is just impossible so far.

I had already begun working on E♭ because I've been playing "Rain" by Uriah Heep.  It's originally in C, but I transposed it down to G for my voice, and in G it uses an E♭.

One of my FB friends had posted that "four chord" video the other day, and one of their other friends commented that that chord progression has become so clich├ęd that it should be retired.  I only commented that as long as people like hearing it, there's no reason to stop using it.  But beyond that, it just seems like a dumb thing to say, because you could say that about everything in music.

Anyway, the new strings seem to be better than the old ones so far, except that they don't hold their tuning very well yet.