Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Thinking of Payday

Ever look at your pay check and laugh (not from joy)?

Monday, September 26, 2005

Balloon Rally at PSTCC

The PSTCC Balloon Rally took place this past weekend. I was a volunteer as one of the Balloon Crew. All that means is that I was a helper for the balloon pilot. I helped to set-up and take down the balloon.

I learned a bit more about ballooning than I thought I would, but it was fun. I even got a few good pictures in the process.

Friday night was the Balloon Glow. That's where they wait until it gets dark and then they light up the balloons in synch to music. With there being about 20 balloons in the "Glow" this was quite challenging for the choreographer, but it turned out nice. Really a cool event to see. Unfortunately, I didn't get to see the Balloon Glow in all its splendor - I was having to help with one of the balloons and only got to see an up-close view of a nearly 40million BTU flame... it's warm.

On Saturday morning, the first (and only) competition was under way. They chose a location to launch from and flew to the college. The object of the competition was to drop a sand bag from the balloon to the giant 'X' located at a designated spot. My crew's pilot won second place (a.k.a. First Loser). I didn't get to fly that morning, but the pilot took us to breakfast and said I could fly that afternoon. And he was a man of his word.
It was my first time flying in a hot-air balloon. Kinda cool. Very quiet. Until the blasts of propane fueled noise invaded the silence. They were usually only short bursts. Enough to let you sink into the peace of viewing your surroundings, and kick you in the back of the head for wanting to enjoy it. But after the first few minutes you get used to it. Unfortunately, all I had was a few minutes.

I'll share pics. But just a couple.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Ya Don't See This Everywhere

I took this photo a while back. I was visiting a flea market in Sweetwater, TN.

This one was taken in North Carolina at Chimney Rock Park. These are stuffed animals... covered with real animal fur. Uhh...

Job Offer

I got a phone call a couple of days ago. This guy was offering me a job. WOW! How much and when do I start? Well, that was my first thought (duration: 3 nanoseconds).
So he continues telling me about the job: A GIS company in Knoxville needing people to travel back and forth between Knoxville and New Orleans. They're remapping the N.O. area, so about half of the job will include travel.

Hey, if I were single with no children and I weren't currently attending college classes... I would jump on it. But as it sits, I must decline. I was busy trying to think of a way that I could accept the job and didn't catch how much the pay was. Maybe he didn't even say - I don't know.

Since I had received an e-mail from him prior to his phone call, he asked if I could pass the info along, if I knew anyone that may be interested and is qualified. So I decided to forward the e-mail to Funk-E, my guest blogger. Obviously he's not exactly hurting for a job, but in TN the cost of living compared to the wages paid is a bit more in favor of us (depending on where you work and what you do).

In an almost unrelated area of personal interest. I have a quiz tonight in my database class. The professor wants to see if we can organize a crappy txt file into a first order normal form database format. No problem. I think I'll sleep through class tonight. Oh! Remind me to get my disk back from the professor tonight.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Guest Blogger

Funk-E, Funk Master E, E-DGPS, or whatever he's going by... He's the guy that I'm allowing to guestblog for a while.

Maybe, he'll have his own soon.

We'll see...


Yo yo yo yo yo!  What up!  This here is the fresh funk-master E in da house!  Representing now for the west coast, strangely enough.
I know it's been a long time since I rapped at ya, but I've had a lot of stuff going down lately.
TO begin with, I'm a geographer, and that's probably why I find myself living in San Diego fixing radar and satellite phones on mega-yachts.  I dropped into SD 6 weeks previous to now on my way back from a 4-day weekend in Sydney Australia, and I decided not to leave.  My car's been in Atlanta airport parking since then, I wear the same 4 changes of clothes I took to Sydney over and over, and there's nothing like an education in geography to prepare you to be an unemployed world-traveller.
I'm not sure why I'm writing this blog, because as I said to my homie who owns the page, blogging only takes the place of talking to god for those who don't believe, so that the afflicted (afflicted with the standard weights of living upon his shoulders) may gain the pleasant feeling of unburdening oneself to a larger body, without expectation of response but the belief that his mutterings don't go completely unnoticed.  Why have thoughts if you can't think them and tell somebody else?  If you can get past that, you're free to think whatever you want, secure in the knowledge that it's all just talk.
I'd better skip ahead to the interesting part.  This weekend, I drank a perfect recreation of Czech beer in the grubbiest city north of Guatemala, the oft-reviled Tijuana Mexico, I photographed the world's leading surfers at a meet in Oceanside (Oceancide?), and then, to cap it all off, I bought a beer at Saddam's cousin's liquor store.  Yeah, that Saddam.  I'm now three-degrees-of-separation away from Saddam!  Dude!  Sweet!  Dude!  Sweet!  The interesting thing is, Saddam's cousin runs a liquor store (Saddam runs, or ran, but runs sure sounds better to me, rape rooms) and is a Christian, judging by the large portrait of Jesus behind his cash register (Saddam is, or was, but is sure sounds better to me, an atheistic Marxist), and by all means an upstanding valuable citizen.  (Saddam is, or was, but so are a lot of people, a totally worthless citizen.)
Southern California is a fun and interesting place to live.  That's probably what my guest blog was supposed to be about, if I hadn't wasted it to this point with crunk talk (I'm crunk!), but I'm sure everybody has heard something about SoCal and can't be convinced by me that it's any different than what they already think.  But just in case: it sux.  Despite that fact, I love it and wish to stay.  I ignore the people, and I soak up the weather.  It's everything Caracas should be (read: in the first world).
Some observations are required though, I'm sure.  OK.  Check it out.  This state is all about car culture.  These jokers can customize a car like nobody's business.  Fancy paint.  Upholstery.  Chrome motors.  Lowriders hopping on hydraulics.  Car culture.  But doing all that stuff apparently leaves the citizens no time to actually learn to drive.  California drivers are the worst.  Tennessee drivers are the best.  Tennesseeans have no idea how to build a cool car (read: a car that wasn't obviously built by hillbillies to fulfill a hillbilly's dream of what a cool car might possibly be).
SoCal does, though, truly understand what rock and roll is all about.  The radio stations here are the best.  The rest of the country just plays this music because they've heard people like it and everybody else plays it, so they should too, but they really have no idea what rock and roll really is.
And here ends the blog, because the cheap very good tequila I bought in Tijuana on Saturday night is calling me, and so is my air mattress.  I'm flying back to Tennessee on Friday, but only for a short time.  Then I'm taking a higher paying job in NorCal.  NorCal sucks in every possible way known to man, but I'm a sucker for a buck.  After all, I'm a geographer.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Fed up right now

It's been a bit since I last posted, but I've been doing a bit of thinking. Dangerous, I know, but sometimes it must be done.

This Katrina thing has pissed me off in several ways. People talking about Katrina have pissed me off in several ways. I listen to talk radio a fair amount, and it is often the only place I find sane voices of reason. However, the callers are often ignorant assholes with very strong opinions.

Maybe their just Democrats.

I have an assignment due Tuesday morning. The assignment is to prepare a presentation for Michael Brown (FEMA) that tells what should be done now and in the near future. It goes a bit beyond that and it's alittle detailed, but it is supposed to only be about a page long. I have about three pages. Guess I need to pick a few things and keep it simple.

Just kidding about the Democrat thing. I'm not politically affiliated and I don't subscribe to anyone's method of thinking other than my own. Maybe my thoughts are not always what's right, but they are mine.

Dad told me very few things that weren't lies. Among them was, "Politicians are all liars. Just vote for the one that you think is doing the best job at it."

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Making a Difference

Has anything you've done made your life better?

As I look around my apartment and think of the past 10 years of my life, I can say yes. It's not about the things that are in my apartment. It's about my life being better. What did I do to make it better?

I married my wife.

Things I Know About Today

It was not a good day. I didn't wake up when my alarm went off, I was four hours late to work, my debit card would not work, I'm out of cash, and my balls itch.

The good news: My boss wasn't mad, my oil got changed, my new debit card was in the mailbox when I got home, my wife loves me, and my daughters aren't pregnant.

Friday, September 02, 2005

School / Life

The first week of the semester is over. I have three classes, but only two professors. My favorite class is Planning & Executing GIS Projects (Project Management).
I guess that's my favorite because of the syllabus. Three tests, three projects, three reports, and lots of hands-on. I'll kick ass in this class. See, the tests are worth 20% of the final grade (each), and the projects are worth 40% total. That's not my ideal situation, but I can make it work for me. I have a kind of gift for managing GIS Projects and I acknowledge the skills I have and (more importantly) don't have. Not being cocky, just honest. With enough leadership under my belt, I will be able to bring up any test grades that may not go my way. This should allow me to come out of class with an 'A' for the semester. As long as I can get an 'A' in my other two classes, I'll be happy. Let me tell you why.

My high school career was a joke. Almost literally. I graduated with the bare minimum. I had a 1.57 GPA (Really, I have my transcripts). I was not a good student. I could have done the work, but I chose to do other things. I almost flunked Woodshop, due to skipping class. I sucked as a student. And because of that everyone thought I was just another dumb redneck that would be a moron for life.
I damn near proved them right. And if it weren't for my mother-in-law, I wouldn't be usin' me noggin fir much uh nuthin'. She offered to pay for my college education. It was a Christmas present. Awesome gift, huh? I accepted her generosity and wept like a baby. No one ever did anything like that for me. I didn't want to dishonor her gift with bad grades.
I've been busting my hump in school. I can only take 9 to 12 hours per semester, while working a full-time job (sometimes a part-time too) and trying to spend time with my wife and kids; therefore, it has taken me a while to make it through. I currently have a 3.95 GPA and am in my last semester (3 classes). I am one of the few people that are the pride of my lead professor. I have an excellent working knowledge of different types of software, hardware, methods, theories, and hands-on skills that many companies look for. I feel that I have a lot to be proud of. My downfall is that I will not have the degree most employers are looking for (B.A. or B.S.). I will have an A.A.S.. Hey, it's more than I had. And I actually get to use my brain.

Local Thought Stream

People are people and unfortunately their not always civil. Here in Knoxville, there have been numerous people buying items (mainly water) to donate.
There was a tractor-trailer set up at Farragut High School that was being loaded and many of those items were being purchased from my work place.

First: The guy that donated his time and rig to the cause... lost his rig. It was parked in an area of the parking lot that had weak soil (almost a sink-hole). The soil gave way, the trailer folded, the rig is out of commission.

Second: I helped a woman load 10 cases of water into her car. I asked if she was going to the school to donate the water to the relief effort of the hurricane survivors. She said, "Don't get me on my soapbox. I'm donating this to those poor people. And I think we need to stop helping other countries for a while and help our own." There was more to it, but I won't go into all of that (my memory can't hold all of it).

Third: We, as Americans, hold a great deal of pride in our civility. We know we have laws, rules, and structure for a reason. Those of us that are "law-abiding" citizens don't have a problem following the rules and living in accordance with the laws. We are happy to have structure to our society - it helps to maintain civility. And while we look at many other countries, and wonder how they can be so uncivilized and opposed to order, sturcture, law, and rules. In short, they are seen as barbarians. It is sad. The short time that a part of our country has been in distress, many of those people have shown the same ruthless behavior as America's barbarian counterparts. They are human. Whether we choose to believe that or not, it is true. Though the majority of our people (and people everywhere) are peaceful and civil at heart, it only takes a few "bad apples" to ruin everything for everyone.

Retailers of every kind should be ashamed of themselves. Greed has no place at this time. Yet it is everywhere. I noticed this morning, that a case of water was up to almost $6. Yesterday it was about $4. Gas here has risen by almost 50cents in the past 2 or 3 days. They know people are buying things to donate, so they raise the prices. They know people will panic over gas, so they raise the prices. Who are they? Upper management of the establishments we purchase from.
What can we do about it? I'm open to suggestions. I'm sorry to say, I depend on the things they sell. I am a consumer. So are most of you - don't think you aren't.
What would you do if you couldn't afford gasoline, yet you have no other way to work? Ride a bike? How long will that last? Do you have a family to support? What about their needs?
We all have a great many questions that can't be answered. Right now, I'm just kinda typing a thought stream. Yeah, I made it a little bit past a drizzle.


My wife is out of town right now. I'm kinda bored... I couldn't resist.
What's crazy is how many things are dead on.

Humphrey Bogart
You scored 35% Tough, 4% Roguish, 38% Friendly, and 23% Charming!

You're the original man of honor, rough and tough but willing to stick your neck out when you need to, despite what you might say to the contrary. You're a complex character full of spit and vinegar, but with a soft heart and a tender streak that you try to hide. There's usually a complicated dame in the picture, someone who sees the real you behind all the tough talk and can dish it out as well as you can. You're not easy to get next to, but when you find the right partner, you're caring and loyal to a fault. A big fault. But you take it on the chin and move on, nursing your pain inside and maintaining your armor...until the next dame walks in. Or possibly the same dame, and of all the gin joints in all the world, it had to be yours. Co-stars include Ingrid Bergman and Lauren Bacall, hot chicks with problems.

Find out what kind of classic dame you'd make by taking the Classic Dames Test.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 64% on Tough

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 4% on Roguish

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 71% on Friendly

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 31% on Charming
Link: The Classic Leading Man Test written by gidgetgoes on OkCupid Free Online Dating

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Got Gas?

I watched a particular gas station raise the price of gas 30 cents in two days.
Up to now $3.29 in Knoxville, TN.

What city do you live in?

How much is gasoline?