Archive for November, 2006

If you’re sick, please stay home from work.

A survey by tax and business law information and software provider CCH says 56 percent of employers now report that “presenteeism,” when sick employees show up for work, is a problem for them. … CCH says sick people reporting for work not only have a lower rate of productivity, but they pass their illness around to other workers and customers.

I cannot stand having sick coworkers in the office. You know the type. They come in, stick their mucousy head in their boss’ door and then sit in their cubes sniffling, sneezing and complaining. Halfway through the morning you trip over them in the breakroom digging through the first-aid kit for those two-packs of generic pills or nuking mugs of tea. They leave sheets of paper on the copier and make the rounds to all the cubes of other friend coworkers (yourself included) to moan about their misery.

A few days later they’re in fine form, but others have caught the krep they brought with them on their “good attendence” day and decided (wisely) to stay home. The former sicko then spends a good portion of the day letting everyone around them know that they are a much better employee because THEY showed up when they were sick. The former sicko will corner you in the ladies’ room and gripe about how all the others don’t deserve their higher salaries because they’ll take a sick day.

I can’t vouch for all jobs everywhere, but in my experience most of them are not brain surgery. Very few people are actually inexpendable on a grander scale. If you were my employee I would much rather you stay home for one or two days and get well. It beats having you unproductive around the office for twice that amount of time and losing several other people to sick days as well.

I’ve always thought “perfect attendence” was a bit of a joke. I mean, for crying out loud Robots can show up every day. People are human and it’s normal to take time off work.

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I’ve tried to stay out of the Lee Camp conversation because I didn’t feel that we had all the facts and I did believe that Dr. Camp’s thoughts were most probably taken well out of context by the author of the article in the Tennessean. I’ve also tried to stay out of the debate because I’ve been going through one of those periods that Christians often refer to as ‘the silence of God’. There are those times we all have where the glass is just a little bit darker than usual, and what we see of God is even more out of focus. I’ve had the extremely painful experience of having my faith attacked by other Christians, and that has caused me a great deal of emotional and spiritual anger–anger with which I am still struggling to deal.

There were many responses to Dr. Camp’s words in the blogosphere yesterday that piled onto that anger.

I am a political conservative in the mold of Reagan and Goldwater. I am also a Christian conservative. But I think more than anything else it is very important to not confuse the two, and to not allow the political self to dictate the Christian self. If we’re Christians we acknowledge Jesus as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. But more and more lately it seems like many of us see ourselves as Knights of the Inquisition. We view ourselves as having some dispensation from the remote King to go about the world and bring converts to Him by force and through pain.

I’m sorry, but that’s not how I feel. We’re fishers, not Knights. We fish gently–with nets, not hooks and CERTAINLY NOT dynamite. We are to spread the net of Christ to draw others in.

I take a lot of grief for being a libertarian, but I truly believe that’s the only way we can save a church that has spent the last 20 years corrupted by the greed of earthly politics.

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I was not the smartest kid in school, but I could hold my own pretty well. As an adult I’ve been able to make it to 36.5 without dying a Darwin Award-worthy death.

But I swear to you that I’m stupider than I used to be.

As I read back through this blog I see that I am mixing up the their/there/they’res and the its/it’s thingies. I keep wanting to type “half to” instead of “have to” and only very occasionally do I get lay/lie correct.

But now, today, just this afternoon, I fell asleep during an educational program. I have the “Thanksgiving wasn’t all it’s cracked up to be” special from the History Channel on TiVo, and have saved it for a day when I had some handwork to do in front of the television. I normally love these historical things, where the kindly Lord Vampire/Grandpa Gillmore walks us through the high points of history with his gentle voice and some SCA team gets to fulfill their long-standing wishes of portraying people in corsets in front of a national audience. It’s interesting.

But today, not so much. My first thought was “this is like a movie we’d have to watch in High School.” My second thought was ZZZZZZZZZ.

It makes me want to do a crossword puzzle or something to prove myself.

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This is my Sweet potato soup recipe.

The original is from Taste Of Home magazine, but I have altered it slightly:

1. Instead of 3 cups chicken broth I use 5. It makes it less fibrous and more soupy once you blend everything together.
2. I use more onion.
3. I use more basil.
4. I don’t use the bay leaves.
5. Sometimes I will add 1/2 Cup of half-and-half to the soup once blended to make it a bit creamier. Today is one of those times.

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:: Studio 60 is actually getting better. Meanwhile, what have they DONE to Veronica Mars?

:: Why do we have to talk about football in church? I freely admit that I don’t groove on football, so there’s that. But it seems to me that if we have a very limited time to talk about church things like, you know, THE BIBLE, that maybe we could limit our jocular ribbing about various team sports to pre- and post-church activities. Stopping the actual God-related conversation to point out whose team beat whose seems kinda to be getting on my nerves.

:: I make the best sweet potato soup EVER, and that’s what we’re having for dinner. As pathetic as it sounds, I’m looking forward to dinner. The only bad part is that you have to puree the cooked soup in a blender to give it a bisque-y texture. I usually screw that part up really bad. Like “help me get the orange goo off the ceiling” bad.

:: I had a dream the other night that I had twin babies (boy and girl) but the hospital staff took my son away and wouldn’t give him back. I spent long stretches of the night yelling “Where’s my son?” and throwing around pots and pans. (It was a dream, where they have kitchens all over the hospital.) Hmmm. Maybe THAT’s why I’m making sweet potato soup. I have an urge to mess up a kitchen.

:: I tried to email my Amazon Wish List to my family members so they know exactly which knitting books to buy me, and I couldn’t get it right. So much for simplicity.

:: I’m betting that we get the title to the next Harry Potter book no later than December 21st. Of this year. I have nothing to base that on other than pure instinct. So cross your fingers with me.

:: Is this Zune thing such a good idea? Yes, I’m a Mac Freak so I’m totally biased. But honestly, they’re really pushing the ‘social interaction’ aspect–like that’s a good thing. Someone decided to get the entire cast of the Buy The World A Coke campaign from the 70s and stick them in the Zune marketing. It’s the music player for hippies!!! Worldly hippies who can afford music players! And want to listen to each other’s music! And can’t just buy a set of speakers! So they’ll squirt each other a song! Never mind that Microsoft has more viruses than a Bangkok whore, and the whole idea of indiscriminate file transmission across the Windows DRM screams INFECT ME!!!! louder than Robin Williams’ trying to steal the spotlight back from younger, funnier comedians. I guess I just don’t get it. Then again, I’m definitely not in their target market so who knows.

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I haven’t said anything about the whole Michael Richards debacle because, frankly, who cares? I always thought Kramer was an arsetard and hated it whenever he’d burst into Jerry’s apartment, twitching like a meth-head with his penis in an electrical outlet. Toward the end of the show’s run, the audience would have to wait looonger and looooonger for the Kramerplause to die down upon his goofy entrance.

To that end, Richards has always struck me as two things: basically without inherent talent and a huge laugh whore. So when he went on a racist tirade (and it was racist, dude) I just chalked it up to another point it the loser column. Make no mistake. He knows he’s a loser. In fact, it was having that fact pointed out to him in no uncertain terms that sent him into further racist spewage.

But here’s where I break with the latest salvos in this ongoing puppet show. As with all things in the news, my best bet is to play “follow the money.” Apparently the latest Seinfeld Boxed Set has just come out. Richards’ rant may have been the worst level of racist badinage, but there was no dead girl and no live boy. People are talking about Seinfeld again. The show is on the public’s consciousness just in time for the DVD to be on sale. But now Jesse “I don’t pay my taxes” Jackson tells us all to refrain from purchasing the DVDs. I’m all for the hit-em-where-they-live approach. Don’t buy Dixie Chicks records. Don’t buy Seinfeld DVDs. Don’t pay money for a Tom Cruise flick. Whatever tickles your fancy. Speak with your wallet.

But here’s where I break with the whole thing. If we aren’t buying the Seinfeld DVDs because some talentless washed up costar of the show is a racist nutbag, why isn’t Jackson also telling us to not buy Family Guy DVDs, Chris Rock DVDs, Boondocks DVDs and any of the countless other products on the entertainment shelf that promote racial discord? Why is it just this instance of bigotry that has us in tether? Because, frankly, racism isn’t going to go away if we keep laughing at it. If Michael Richards’ stint as Kramer has taught us anything it’s that the louder you laugh at something ugly, the longer it stays in the spotlight.

**Family members who are buying me a gift need to realise that this post title is a joke. I can’t stand Seinfelds later seasons.

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Seriously. I have no idea for the proper ettiquette for this business and am hoping some of you out there can pony up a suggestion OR just tell me I’m being too much of a fussypants and to let it go.

The Scenario

We live in a house. The house has a fenced-in backyard, and has done for 7.25 of the 7.5 years we’ve lived here.

We just got new people next door, whom I have not yet met. When they first moved in they contacted us about building their own fence. They wanted to abut our fence on one side to save them money. Which makes sense. Judging by the cost of ours, it probably saved them at least $500 to use one side of our fence instead of replicating that wall. It also gives them (by default) about 6 inches of our property, as we built our fence within our property line.

They have at least one dog. We have two.

Their house is slighly uphill from ours, so from their yard you can see over our fence into our yard, but from ours you can see nothing in theirs.

The Problem

Their dog sees our dog and pees on the mutual section of fence to mark it. This fence has “belonged” to my dog for his entire life. He can’t see the other dog, but he can smell it so he barks at the fence whenever he goes out there. it’s been nice over the weekend and he’s been out there a lot. I don’t want to tick off the entire neighbourhood with my dog’s barking but I also don’t want to punish him for guarding his own property against a perceived intruder.

The Advice

Do I keep my dog inside so he doesn’t bark?
Do I say something to the neighbors and ask them to let their dog meet my dogs to remove some of the mystery?
Shouldn’t our new neighbours have at least offered us a gift certificate or SOMETHING as a thank you for saving them hundreds of dollars? Should we have asked for money?

Anyway, whatever thoughts you have, let me know.

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Kerry Woo wants me to tell people six kinds of wierdness that I have. This may be difficult since most of this blog is about chronicling my oddities in long form. But since I love to be tagged, I guess I’ll try and go along with this.

And, oh yeah, I was correct. I have kind of done this before. Except that one was only five. And now I have to come up with SIX more…which brings me near a dozen kinds of weird. I’ll play along as long as this doesn’t end up being used at my eventual commitment hearing(s).

1. I am afraid of antiques.

I know I’ve said this before, but it cannot be said enough. Antiques are scary. Whenever I look at a piece of antique furniture it seems to hold a part of the spirits of all the now-dead people who touched it, used it and looked at it. I feel like antiques shout the banality of the dead whenever I walk by. The worst kinds of antiques are those horrible metal toys. Really, what kind of freak not only took the time to think this up but manufacture it as well?

I am also afraid of clowns, but that doesn’t count as wierd, since many people feel the same way.

2. I cannot eat food that has been in or near a bathroom.

Again, something I’ve mentioned but must be mentioned again. You wanna know how engrained this has become for the people who know me? Last summer I was in the bathroom and shouted for my husband to bring me some medication. He brought it and stood patiently outside the door. When I screamed (I was in considerable pain) at him to bring it to me in the bathroom he decided then and there that I needed to go to the emergency room. If I’m sick enough to wash a pill down with a sip of water while in the bathroom, I’m pretty darned sick.

Let it be known that I no longer will drink out of that glass. Or any of the other 5 glasses in the cupboard which are identical to it. Six months later.

3. I invent things in my head to try to fall asleep faster.

Whenever I can’t fall asleep I try to think through an invention in my head. They’re generally “impossible” things, like a vat of jelly you could sleep in just like a tub but without drowning. Usually thinking through the mechanics of the thing lulls my mind.

4. I crave weird pets.

Don’t get me wrong. I love my dogs. I really do. They are my children. But if I had my way (and a much more permissable husband) I would also have a pig, a bat and a monkey. I think all of these animals are both smart and adorable. Don’t believe me? check this out.

5. I once learned the entire German-language version of ’99 Luftbalons’ just because.

I can’t hardly remember it now, because I’ve tried to block all knowledge of German from my mind. But my favourite part of the song was when it would be all german german german Captain Kirk german german german. I just thought that was funny.

6. I spent an entire year with my Spanish teacher convinced my name was Francesca.

She was half nuts. Her name was–no joke–Mrs. Strange, and she would spend many class hours telling us how she once made a chocolate milkshake for Jose ‘Feliz Navidad’ Feliciano. Everyone was supposed to go by a Spanish-ised version of his or her name in class, but I insisted that Francine was my second-middle name and wanted to go by Francesca. The sad part? Three months into it I felt ridiculous whenever she would refer to me as ‘Francesca’ and desperately wanted to revert to Katerina. But no. I was hoist by mine own petard.

I should tag others, but I won’t because everyone seems to have done this already. If you haven’t and you want to, climb aboard.

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Movie Vegan

Brittney went public over the Holiday weekend with her commitment to veganism. I admire her dedication to her principles, even if I’m not going to follow her actions.

But I will say definitely, without a doubt, I am a Movie Vegan.

I will not see movies about animals. As Grandefille said in the comments to this post, even the trailer for Charlotte’s Web makes her (and me) openly weepy. For some reason, every movie about animals seems to involve either the threat of slaughter or outright death. I cannot handle it.

There’s something about the death of animals in movies that breaks my heart more than the death of humans in movies. I think it’s because the people characters generally do something to encourage and hasten their death–trying to blow up Nakitomi Towers, trying to shut down Dulles airport–but the animals are just innocent and looking to be loved.

I don’t see animal movies anymore. The last one I saw in the theatre was Babe, and that was under protest. You can’t pay me to see any animal movies in the theatre. The few minutes of March Of The Penguins I saw over the weekend were a dreadful mistake, but one that confirmed my No Animal Movies rule.

The sad part is that I’m beginning to not like movies where an animal is in danger, even if the animal is so minor a character as to be a footnote. My sister and husband were both witness to my loud and long wails about the poor dog whose life was in jeopardy in Pirates Of The Carribean: Dead Man’s Chest. My brother had to actually pacify me with his philosophy of cannibalism. How sad is it that I would rather have seen the islanders eat Johnny Depp than the poor doggy?

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Is depressing.

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