May 19, 2013
If you think about it, you have seen something very similar in paintings:
Really, I wondered what people were smoking when they painted pictures with the wood walls of old buildings look all warped and stuff. This is the first that I remember seeing that actually looks that way. If you look really closely in the last picture, the barn in the background has a portion that is the same as the shed.
It is really striking - I pass it every day on the way to work and marvel every time.
May 11, 2013
Picture Perfect Morning
The winds have been so calm the last week or so, the ponds and lakes have been like glass when I pass them in the morning on my way to work. I kept thinking that I should stop and take a picture, and I finally did, using my phone's camera.
March 02, 2013
Greed and Oil
Now that gas is getting close to $4 a gallon again, I'll start seing things on FB and blogs that indicate that it must be the greedy oil complanies because there is no reason for gas prices to rise. Well, Scott can explain it a whole lot better than I ever could, I'll let him take over:
First, from a NatGeo article US gas Price Spike: Blame the Long Road to From Well to Pump that Scott Cites:
True, the price of crude plus taxes explains most of the price at the pump.
"It's basically simple for the most part," Goldstein explained, "but that
doesn't mean the rest is trivial. It's not." And, he notes, the "last 20 percent
. . .Pipelines from the Gulf Coast to the East Coast are limited, and the
only vessels permitted to move goods between U.S. ports are those built, owned,
operated, and crewed by U.S. citizens and registered under the U.S. flag.
The EIA report also points to planned and unplanned maintenance at refineries
... the changeover from winter grade products to summer grade products to meet
U.S. emissions requirements, and very low profit margins for refiners prior to
the current run-up.
Do you see the common theme? If not, just follow Scott's translation:
Let the libertarian translate: Due to EPA regulations strangling pipeline
building, Union-friendly laws strangling shipping capacity, OSHA regulations
shutting down entire refineries for months at a time, more EPA regulations
mandating specific fuels for specific regions, and refineries eating into their
profit margin to conform to even MORE EPA regulations, gas is expensive.
We have a friend that exclaimed that oil companies make more money than any other company in the world. Yeah, because they service almost every industry in the world (fuel, plastics, polymers, etc.) so the oil companies are huge in size. However, their profit is not all that high compared to a lot of Industries, including almost anything related to medical (including billing services), magazines, lumber, telco's, semiconductors, computers, Apple etc. In fact, at a profit of between 10% and 13%, their profit is most likely smaller than what the company you work for requires and is certainly smaller than what they aim for (they most likely aim for 25-30% - if they are trying to grow, or put money away for hard years anyway).
But, sure, go ahead and call the oil companies greedy if it makes you feel better.
February 02, 2013
Famous EngineersThe Weekend Pundit points out an article that shows 6 famous people that you might not know were engineers. We I didn't know that the band Boston was a "hard rock" band either, so I got two lessons in one!
December 29, 2012
Packing it Up
We got a box of stuff that had these new packing "peanuts".
Must admit that it was ingenious - little strips of recycled cardboard folded in a triangular shape cushioned the contents of the box. And, if you aren't the type, or don't have the room to, store peanuts until they can be used again, just recycle them along with your normal cardboard.
November 09, 2012
Last Friday morning I was contacted by a company that I had had several phone interviews and two in-person interviews. They offered me a position contingent upon my passing a physical and background check; was shocked there was no drug test. I accepted and went in for the physical on Monday which tested
- Vitals - BP 100/60 and pulse 60,
- Vision - good enough to pass apparently
- Hearing - "OMG you have great hearing even going into the negatives" she said
- Range of motion - thank goodness one move only had do be done on the downward swing - the upward would have been difficult
- Limberness - I touched my toes with feet together
Last night they called to say I had passed the background check and physical; when did I want to start? I think I took them aback when I replied "Monday". I won't actually have a computer for up to a week (large companies have overloaded IT people that are trying to service all new-hires for all divisions), but they will figure out something for me to do.
Then I got a care package delivered this afternoon that I had no idea who it was from, or why. At first I thought maybe WS was sending me flowers, but when it turned out to be a fruit, nut and cracker basket, I was befuddled. Then I opened the card and found it was from the company as a welcome to the fold.
I will be glad to get back to work after being unemployed for 3.5 months!
November 04, 2012
Another Sticky Issue
Remember in March when I had a shot to alleviate the symptoms of trigger finger? Well, it didn't last as long as I was hoping (many get lifetime relief). It has slowly been getting worse over the last month. I'm doing as I did last winter, trying massage, stretches and ibuprophen to try to keep it from becoming a huge issue. The doc said that he wouldn't do another shot (unless the first lasted something like 5 years), so surgery would be next. Well, that is fine and dandy, but I don't think an employer would be impressed if I got a job and immediately had issues because I couldn't type with my left hand! Oh well, it's mostly pain and swelling so far - no major stickage - so I can deal with it for a while.
Yep, when it rains it pours!
October 19, 2012
When did companies start taking 3 or more months to get from advertising a postion to thinking about hiring? I have recently been contacted by companies that I applied to in early August. And yes, I applied for open positions. I have been to interviews in the last two weeks where their initial phone contact with me was 4-6 weeks prior to setting up a face-to-face.
Yesterday I was at a second interview, where my first interview was at least 4 weeks ago (and 2 weeks prior to that I had been phone interviewed). This company acknowledges that it will be another 2 weeks before they think they can make the decision (they are talking to the other candidate in the running today). Oh, and after that there will be the usual reference check (not sure why they don't do this before the 2nd interview), background check, drug testing and credit check which adds another 10-14 days to the process. I have spent a total of 5 hours in face-to-face interviews, 6 hours of drive time between the two trips, and a good 30-45 minutes on the phone interview for this one company.
Another company I have been talking to has given me three phone interviews in 5 weeks. Maybe sometime next week they will contact people to come in for in person interviews.
A company that I interviewed at two weeks ago had originally phone interviewed me 6 weeks prior and said they would try to get me in the next week for a face-to-face. I had given up on them after 3 weeks. Then out of the blue they called me in for a face-to-face. Since then there has been a resounding silence. Neither time have they responded to email inquiries.
Most of the companies I have dealt with have been like this. Only one that I can think of gave me a phone interview within a week of application, and within another week sent a decline email (thank you - I know where I stand with your company). In fact, that is the only company that I am 100% sure that I'm not still in some sort of limbo out of the all the phone and personal interviews that I've recieved.
Geeze people, its not like I am going to be CEO or CFO or hold a senior position. Really, this is ridiculous, just get on with it already.
October 15, 2012
For the last 6 months, I have drastically reduced my wheat intake. I'm not going gluten free, rather close to wheat free. It has done my innards a world of good; I used to be constipated, constantly, like (okay, this may be TMI) I wouldn't go for 3-4 days, on a regular basis (no pun intended). Then, it was hard and painful. Don't talk to me about eating more fiber, I probably consume more fiber than any 3 people you know combined. Whole grains didn't help (of course, that included a lot of whole grain wheat). Also, the current rage, probiotics, didn't help one bit (tried that several years ago for 3 months - absolutely no difference). But, within a week of reducing my wheat intake, I was (and still am) very regular, with soft produce and no pain.
Sure, I have wheat sometimes; frozen pizzas (I only get thin crust now), some items that you don't expect to have wheat (gravies, spice mixes even cans of tuna mixed with peppers), and the occassional sub (homemade sausage, peppers and onions - MM MM MM). If we stop to eat at a sub shop, I usually have them put the meat/vegies in a bowl, and forgo the bread. I occasionally have a piece of cake or pie, but try to plan for it so I don't overload on wheat in one day. I foundseveral Mexican restaraunts make their tortilla chips for nachos out of flour tortillas (hey, I expected corn tortillas), so sometimes I have almost no choice to pick an item with wheat. But, for the most part, I can find a menu item that is wheat free. Oh, and note to self: if going to a vegatarian's wedding, take granola bars as everything there will have pasta in it.
Most granola and granola bars have wheat, so I have become something of an expert at finding those that don't. Unfortunately, most granola bars that are wheat free include chocolate in them. I try to stay away from chocolate as I will just continue to eat until all the bars are gone! Also, these are just the one's I can find at the local Wally World or Shaw's. Those in other areas of the country may have others available to them.
Granol bars that are wheat free:
- Some Adtkins bars
- Some Balance Bars
- All Kind bars
- Enjoy Life (these are gluten free, and not as tasty as I would like so rarely get them).
Granola/Cereal that is wheat free:
- Bob's Red Mill Granola
- Oatmeals - be careful, you would be amazed at how many have wheat in tehm too.
Those are not all gluten free, just wheat free. I have found a fairly quick and easy way to find out if they have wheat instead of perusing the ingredients, is to check at the end of the ingredients list where they list the allergens that are contained. If they don't list wheat (regardless if they list it as being manufactured in a plant that also processes wheat), then I'm good with it. Remember, if you are gluten intollerant, my listings and tips are not for you; other grains than wheat have gluten and any cross contamination from the plant will have adverse affects on you!
I have found pasta that is made from corn, oats, or rice. The best for taste and texture so far is pasta made from a combination of corn and rice by Heartland.
For bread, well, I haven't really tried that hard to find a substitute. I've never eaten that much bread anyway. Although occassionally WS will make us French Toast or pancakes for breakfast. That is one time I go ahead and eat wheat. Pancakes however can be made without wheat, as we attested to this weekend when I made the batter for banana pancakes usting a gluten free recipe. They turned out awesome, and I will share the recipe in the future.
I'm not writing this to convince anyone that they should go wheat free, or even gluten free - just as something that worked for me, for my particular issue.
September 22, 2012
Last Saturday morning, we left for The Cape (Cape Cod, MA - 3 hours away) to attend WS's niece's wedding. It was a beach beautiful setting for the wedding.
We also had a slow dance where all couples danced and the DJ would call out years together; 5, 10, 15, 20 etc. At 25 years, WS and I, and the brides mom and dad (BIL&SIL) were the only ones left. BIL and SIL have actually been married over 30 years.
We spent the night and headed back shortly after noon (we toured a few other beaches before heading back. So, the wedding took up most of our weekend - nice and relaxing and kept WS from going to work!