Bob

Jan. 30th, 2017 10:36 pm
jayfurr: (Default)


jayfurr: (Default)

I’ve worked for my current employer for almost 19 years. In that time, I’ve been through a vast swamp of performance review systems. You name it, we’ve probably tried it, from picking three co-workers to review you, to reviewing yourself and having your manager go over the review with you, to reaching into a bag of randomly selected biting crustaceans and … well, no, we haven’t tried that one.


Yet.


This year’s system is a bit less onerous than most. Rather than pointlessly setting goals for 2017 that are dead on arrival due to the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of my specific job, mostly I was asked to look back on 2016 and say that I worked hard, made a difference, reflected corporate values, and so forth.


Since I work really, really hard all year and take my job very seriously, there’s never really been much difficulty coming up with a list of all the stuff I did all year to make customers count, embrace change, promote innovation, and so forth… and generally each year my manager ends whatever subsequent discussion takes place with some form of “there’s not much for me to say, really, except ‘attaboy’.”


I just submitted the final version of this year’s review and got asked to complete a quick little survey from Corporate asking how much I liked the current process, did it make a difference, etcetera, etcetera. It ended with “Describe your opinion of the process in three words.”


Naturally, I put down:



  • “Zesty”

  • “Empowering”

  • “Pellucid”


I’m sure they’ll take my opinion under advisement as they begin to put together what system we’ll use next year.


I’m hoping for something that involves cheese.


jayfurr: (Default)
I've worked for my current employer for almost 19 years. In that time, I've been through a vast swamp of performance review systems. You name it, we've probably tried it, from picking three co-workers to review you, to reviewing yourself and having your manager go over the review with you, to reaching into a bag of randomly selected biting crustaceans and ... well, no, we haven't tried that one.

Yet.

This year's system is a bit less onerous than most. Rather than pointlessly setting goals for 2017 that are dead on arrival due to the unpredictable and ever-changing nature of my specific job, mostly I was asked to look back on 2016 and say that I worked hard, made a difference, reflected corporate values, and so forth.

Since I work really, really hard all year and take my job very seriously, there's never really been much difficulty coming up with a list of all the stuff I did all year to make customers count, embrace change, promote innovation, and so forth... and generally each year my manager ends whatever subsequent discussion takes place with some form of "there's not much for me to say, really, except 'attaboy'."

I just submitted the final version of this year's review and got asked to complete a quick little survey from Corporate asking how much I liked the current process, did it make a difference, etcetera, etcetera. It ended with "Describe your opinion of the process in three words."

Naturally, I put down:

  • "Zesty"

  • "Empowering"

  • "Pellucid"


I'm sure they'll take my opinion under advisement as they begin to put together what system we'll use next year.

I'm hoping for something that involves cheese.
jayfurr: (Default)


“So there I was, working construction, doing site cleanup work where a new office tower was going up, okay?


“And I came across this little bottle buried in the mud. Nothing special to look at. Little brown bottle with a cork in. Pretty well buried when I came across it. Who knows how long it’d been down there?”


I nodded at the rough, heavyset guy in jeans and a dirty Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt on the next barstool who’d decided, lacking any other obvious targets in the all-but-deserted bar, to honor me with his life’s story. Since he hadn’t yet tried to wheedle a drink out of me, I let it go. It could’ve been worse. I’ve known a lot of rambling drunks; he could’ve been drooling, or worse, drooling on me.


“So I pulled the cork out. Not like I expected anything to be in it, but someone’d taken pains to jam the cork in there pretty good, so I figured something had to be in there.”


I nodded, following him so far. “You weren’t worried that it might have been something bad? Poison? Something toxic?”


He glowered down at his beer. “Buddy, I wish I’d been so lucky.”


“No, what was inside was like outta one of those movies or fairy tales. Some sparkly, shiny smoke, and then a little guy about six inches tall dressed in pajamas and wearing a little helmet. Shiny little gold helmet. Little orangey-yellow guy. Damndest thing you ever saw.”


I turned and stared irritably at him, wondering where this was going. This was a bit outside your normal late-night drunken bar rambling gibberish, although to be honest, I guessed I owed him a point for originality, if nothing else. “An actual genie? Came right out of a little bottle you found in the mud?”


“I guess. Only this genie didn’t give me any three wishes or nothin’ like that. He said thank you, and he said that as a reward for freein’ him he’d give me all the talents and abilities of the next seven people to walk by on the street.”


Frowning at the strange direction this odd story had taken, I motioned him to go on.


“So he did. Only the first six guys to come by were all accountants from the same company down the street, all heading out to lunch after a hard morning doing revenue projections and audits and tax preparation and so on and so on.” He made little “blah blah” motions with one hand while gripping his beer with the other.


For a moment there he sounded like he was channeling one of those guys you meet at Rotary who hangs on your lapels wanting to talk investments and tax preparation. Not what you’d expect, looking at him. Nodding, I said “And the seventh?”


“He was a mortician.”


“A mortician?”


“Yeah. An undertaker. A funeral director. One of them guys.”


“So now…?”


“Yeah, so now I’m sitting here, never done anything but construction and demolition in my life, an’ I’ve got my head crammed full of every damn number-crunching concept invented since Adam ‘n’ Eve got kicked out of the garden, with no sort of professional documentation nohow. I know how to do all that stuff, but who’s gonna pay me to do it?”


I had to agree he had a point.


He glared back down at his beer. “But the worst part is I keep looking at people and imagining what they’d look like stretched out all naked on the embalming table.”



jayfurr: (Default)


“So there I was, working construction, doing site cleanup work where a new office tower was going up, okay?


“And I came across this little bottle buried in the mud. Nothing special to look at. Little brown bottle with a cork in. Pretty well buried when I came across it. Who knows how long it’d been down there?”


I nodded at the rough, heavyset guy in jeans and a dirty Dallas Cowboys sweatshirt on the next barstool who’d decided, lacking any other obvious targets in the all-but-deserted bar, to honor me with his life’s story. Since he hadn’t yet tried to wheedle a drink out of me, I let it go. It could be worse. I’ve known a lot of rambling drunks; he could’ve been drooling, or worse, drooling on me.


“So I pulled the cork out. Not like I expected anything to be in it, but someone’d taken pains to jam the cork in there pretty good, so I figured something had to be in there.”


I nodded, following him so far. “You weren’t worried that it might have been something bad? Poison? Something toxic?”


He glowered down at his beer. “Buddy, I wish I’d been so lucky.”


“No, what was inside was like outta one of those movies or fairy tales. Some sparkly, shiny smoke, and then a little guy about six inches tall dressed in pajamas and wearing a little helmet. Shiny little gold helmet. Little orangey-yellow guy. Damndest thing you ever saw.”


I turned and stared irritably at him, wondering where this was going. This was a bit outside your normal late-night drunken bar rambling gibberish, although to be honest, I felt like he deserved credit for originality, if nothing else. “An actual genie? Came right out of a little bottle you found in the mud?”


“I guess. Only this genie didn’t give me any three wishes or nothin’ like that. He said thank you, and he said that as a reward for freein’ him he’d give me all the talents and abilities of the next seven people to walk by on the street.”


Frowning at the strange direction this odd story had taken, I motioned him to go on.


“So he did. Only the first six guys to come by were all accountants from the same company down the street, all heading out to lunch after a hard morning doing revenue projections and audits and tax preparation and so on and so on.” He made little “blah blah” motions with one hand while gripping his beer with the other.


For a moment there he sounded like he was channeling one of those guys you meet at Rotary who hangs on your lapels wanting to talk investments and tax preparation. Not what you’d expect, looking at him. Nodding, I said “And the seventh?”


“He was a mortician.”


“A mortician?”


“Yeah. An undertaker. A funeral director. One of them guys.”


“So now…?”


“Yeah, so now I’m sitting here, never done anything but construction and demolition in my life, an’ I’ve got my head crammed full of every damn bit of number-crunching concept invented since Adam ‘n’ Eve got kicked out of the garden, with no sort of professional documentation nohow. I know how to do all that stuff, but who’s gonna pay me to do it?”


I had to agree he had a point.


He glared back down at his beer. “But the worst part is I keep looking at people and imagining what they’d look like stretched out all naked on the embalming table.”



 


 


 


 


jayfurr: (Default)

As someone who spends a lot of time on aircraft (122 flights in 2016), I’ve gotten a lot of experience sitting in a semi-comfortable chair and staring blankly off into space.


I take a book along on trips and of course I’ve got my Nexus tablet, which doubles as a ebook reader, if I want to read anything I’ve downloaded. Often, though, neither gets any use. I hop on the plane, stow my backpack in the overhead, take a seat, and either go straight to sleep or I adopt a ten thousand foot stare that leaves me almost entirely unaware of what’s going on around me.


Yesterday we’d been airborne for about five minutes before I went “Oh. We took off.”


I think this behavior sort of creeps people out. You know how cats sometimes like to sit staring worriedly at something only they can see? I do that sometimes too, with much the same result on the people around me.



Friday night I found myself in seat 4B on a regional jet on the way home from Chicago to Burlington. I wasn’t at all sleepy and I didn’t really feel like reading, so for some reason I found myself staring fixedly upwards toward a light on the ceiling of the cabin, completely lost in thought.



The light wasn’t on — the cabin had been darkened for evening travel and most people weren’t using their individual reading lights. The light was in no way remarkable. But I stared right at it, like a cobra trying to hypnotize its prey, for so long that eventually it freaked out the flight attendant. He came back and somewhat timidly asked me if there was some problem with the cabin ceiling; he even poked the panel with the light in case it was loose or something.


I replied “No, no, I was just staring off into space.” Then went right back to looking at the ceiling.


He stood there and looked worried for a moment, then turned and went back to his jumpseat, glancing back over his shoulder at me a couple times in case I gathered myself to spring (or something).


I don’t know exactly what that scores on the “Weirdo On The Plane” index, but I bet it’s pretty good.


jayfurr: (Default)


2017 marks two landmark dates in my life: my 50th birthday on September 20, and Carole and my 20th wedding anniversary a week earlier on September 13. (I was determined to get married before I turned 30. I managed it with a week to spare.)


Carole and I are taking an early 20th anniversary trip to Hawaii next month — we’re taking a Norwegian Cruise Lines seven day cruise around the Hawaiian islands, starting in Oahu and spending two days each in Maui, the Big Island, and Kauai before returning to Oahu. We’ll also be hanging out on Waikiki Beach for a few days before and after the cruise. This’ll be my 50th state, incidentally — I’ve been to the other 49, and not in the “I changed planes in an airport there” sense.


I know everyone else has already been to Hawaii, but we just never got around to it before. Hopefully no typhoons or cane toad infestations will ruin things for us.


As for my birthday — I don’t normally make any big deal out of my birthday. Most years I don’t ask for or receive any presents, but since you only turn 50 once (in most cases), I thought I’d mention that anyone who does want to get me something is welcome to pick most anything from the following website:


http://www.justdezineit.com/


Send me an email if you want my shipping address. I’d set up a profile and wish list there, but alas, they haven’t configured the site to make that possible. I know September is a long way off, but I want to give people plenty of advance notice. Great tragedies only come around so often, you know.


 


jayfurr: (Default)

Worst Person In The World

I’m selling “Worst Person In The World” t-shirts as a fundraiser for next year’s Seattle Susan G Komen 3-Day walk. (I’ve got to raise $2,300 to take part in the event, a sixty-mile, three-day walk to raise funds for the fight against breast cancer.) The cost of each shirt includes approximately $20 for Susan G Komen. They make great holiday gifts!


Click here to order your shirt!


I grant you that there is NO CONNECTION between the message on the shirt and the fight against breast cancer, but from the look of things lately, nihilism is IN. Buy a shirt for that special someone in your life — or heck, buy one for yourself! And know that as you proudly announce your depravity to everyone you meet, you’re also supporting the fight against breast cancer!


Please re-share this!


jayfurr: (Default)

I’ve been having fun with my Ricoh Theta S 360 degree camera since I got it. It lets me take still or video panoramas using a pair of fisheye lenses, then upload them to places like Youtube, Facebook, or Google Street View.


I happened to have my camera and small tripod with me today when I walked from a Vermont Lake Monsters (short-season A minor league baseball) game to Noyes Automotive, where we’d had Carole’s car extensively detailed. As I walked down Ledge Road heading west toward Pine Street, I noticed that some nice homeowner had put out a large bowl of water with a sign reading “WATER STATION” at dog’s-eye level.


I took a photo of it with my phone, but then reconsidered — a still photo just showing the bowl in isolation didn’t really do the situation justice. Out came the Ricoh and tripod. This was the result (click and drag the image with your mouse). Now just imagine that you’re a thirsty pooch out for a walk with your owner. Awesome, right?



jayfurr: (Default)


It can be very awkward at times when you’re a) very very very familiar with the early 1980s song “88 Lines About 44 Women” by The Nails, and b) you’re taking part in a conference call and hear a participant introducing herself with one of the names from the song.


I’m on a conference call right now and as we were introducing ourselves at the start of the call, a woman chimed in, “Brenda’s here.”


And for the last ten minutes I’ve had the line “Brenda’s strange obsession was for certain vegetables and fruit” going through my head over and over and over.


AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH!


(Thank God her name was “Brenda”, though, and not, say, “Tanya” or “Joan.”)


jayfurr: (Sepia)

I am oddly fascinated by 360 degree photos and video. Things like Google Street View, that let you see buildings and landmarks and streets in 360 degrees, as though you were standing there at the time and place the photo was taken.

A few months back I bought a Ricoh Theta S 360-degree camera and have used it to take photos at some local Vermont landmarks that Google Street View cars couldn’t get to, but yesterday was the first time I used it for a lengthy video. My wife Carole is a part-time member of the Richmond (Vermont) Community Band, and yesterday the band played in the annual 4th of July parade from the bed of a haywagon pulled by a large tractor. How could I miss the chance to take a band’s-eye-view video of the parade?

I walked alongside the haywagon — sometimes on one side, sometimes on another, sometimes ahead, sometimes behind — filming the parade with the Theta S camera. If I do say so myself, it came out pretty well.

See for yourself:  https://youtu.be/KgXQI6GxO5I

Click and drag with your mouse to pivot the point of view of the video in any direction — including up and down. The video goes up to 1080S HD if you have the bandwidth for it.

jayfurr: (Default)


In an email exchange with a co-worker, the co-worker said:


“Have you confirmed that you have access to the db and that there is sufficient test data?”


I replied:


“At this point, I’m multitasking on so many things that for all I know in a few minutes I’m going to get a call asking why I’m not at the convention center judging the Miss Oak Brook contest. Could you please send me connection details?”


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