I was offered two jobs over the weekend, and I accepted the one that pays more. It’s also closer to [name of city in which I shall live]. I’m looking for apartments to relocate to a new Lair, with moving day being some time next week. The highlight of my journey? The schizophrenic signs along a high way; every two miles the signs changed from “DO NOT PASS” to “PASS WITH CARE”.
June 23, 2008
June 14, 2008
I will be gone much of this next week; I work Sunday-Tuesday, and Wednesday-Friday I will be interviewing for a couple of jobs near my potential college, so there may be no posts until next Saturday. In the meantime, the results from full MLB season #1 from my eponymous 2B:
.404/.420/.600, 194 H, 10 HR, 30 BB, 8 K, 90 RBI, 87 R, 101 SB, 31 CS, 77% SB%, 2 E.
– Finished second in Gold Glove voting at 2B.
– Made the All-Star Team (as a backup… damn you, Chase Utley!!!!)
– Won the Silver Slugger (which is weirdly awarded to one player per league instead of one per position) and Hank Aaron award
– Won the batting title for the NL and also OPS crown
– Nearly made the playoffs (lost two out of three to Cincy at the end of the season, finished one game back of the NL Central title)
After the season, Chicago tried to resign me for 5 years, 1.25 million per. However, I didn’t want to play for the Cubs again, so I refused. I expected lots of contract offers; I got no others. I went to Indians spring training camp as a non-roster invitee; I made the club and got a 1 year, 750k deal. I hit the snot out of the ball in spring training, yet made it as a backup 2B. Confusing matters, I’m the only 2B on the big league club, so I’m a starter. However, my status is that of a backup, so technically, I’m just a bench player who plays every day. They currently have Ryan Garko penciled in as the 2B; one game, he played 2B and I played 1B, which was interesting to say the least. About three weeks into season two, I already have 5 home runs, meaning my power output should be better, although I’m stealing less frequently, going 5 for 6. I had no hits my first three games, but did draw three walks my first day.
June 11, 2008
So, I learned a new super awesome slogan today, from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Their philosophy? Execution to the max! This works on a disgustingly huge number of levels, inviting memories of past slogans like “A Commitment to Excellence (Oakland Raiders)” and “Maximize the savings! (36 Chambers)” More importantly, it invites happy remembrances of Max Power, a name so disturbingly awesome-tastic that I’ve named four wrestlers, three boxers, and a fantasy football team after it. Kevin, this slogan needs to be our official mantra; place it on the site, loud and proud, at the top! (I would do it, but I’m executing my laziness to the max. Also, I have work.)
(Hat tip to FJM.)
UPDATE: Bolded for extra bam-itude.
December 10, 2007
I have recently learned that the State University of Kan-Sas has accepted me into their Ph of D program. Now, ironically enough, I have my six month performance review in February, for which I must create my “Development Plan.” How does one build a development plan when your career isn’t going to be developing, given that you plan on leaving? (Pun intended? You decide!) My initial draft had some generic plan, but now I’m going to have to alter it. The one I’ve proposed:
“To pee on the side of the building and moon people as they walk out on my last day.”
“To make sweet, sweet love to my fiancee in the cafeteria (Aren’t you glad I didn’t name you here, honey?).”
“To use the past few months to develop a profitable side business while actually working.”
“To give my two week’s notice, then immediately take the two weeks of vacation I receive in July.”
I leave the comments section open to you, friends and readers, to provide other suggestions. The winner will receive a prize! I might even include your suggestion in my actual review!
December 8, 2007
Jianhong got the long of this, so I shall give the short here. I took a cultural competency course and now consider myself culturally competent. Here are the highlights:
- The first exercise had us give our names, positions, and why we were at that course. The reality is that we all were required to as part of department regulations, but the people giving the course (a black, American gentleman originally born in Africa for whom English is a fifth language and a black woman born in the US) did not want to hear that. Despite this, every single person in MIS used some form of “We are required to” in this, whereas most of the other people tried to make up stupid excuses. Incidentally, outside of 4 people, the entire MIS group was present outside of supervisors, so nothing got done that day. Yay for productivity!
- After this came some blah-blah-blah. Fortunately, this course was not simply a treatise on race, but instead talked about how many different types of cultures there are. Homelessness, for example, has its own culture. I presume a cultured homeless person would sip chardonnay out of a bottle in a paper bag and would sleep under copies of the New Yorker, but I could be mistaken.
- Our second exercise involved talking about eight steps to move our department toward cultural competency in our groups (we were split up into three groups, each with approximately 10 individuals). Some of these things were fairly harmless, but I would like to share them with you. The first item is to “Mobilize all components of the organization from top to bottom.” I actually agreed with this, under the premise that the director of our bureau would be enthused and hand things off to her staff. Her staff, probably also being enthused, would talk to the division chiefs. The division chiefs, understanding that a real program would kill productivity by forcing people to spend dozens of hours doing something totally unrelated to anything concerning work, would put a damper on it. Finally, the middle managers—whose incentives are built around productivity (at a state job? Ha!)—would have the thing die. Perhaps they would take the most useless member of the group and have them do this rather than something harmful to the division. That way, the rest of us could actually continue to do our jobs rather than waste all of our time on useless garbage.
Step 2 was to “emphasize ways to facilitate and motivate the involvement of diverse groups within the orginization and within the broader consumer community.” One of the other MIS guys—bless his soul—was trying to kill this project by getting into a big debate on to what extent “the broader consumer community” involves people whom we cannot actually force to do these things, etc. etc. I said to the other two MIS guys in the group (the only people I really was talking to during this) that there is no mention of the cost. For example, we could take the entire department and have everybody working on cultural competency only. Then we would be totally sweet at it…and not get any productive work done…
But the most irritating, galling one was Step 6. Step 6 reads: “Identify process [sic] to motivate examination of individual and organizational assumptions about the cultural groups accessing services.” Read that two or three times, and if you are like me (and probably Dan), you will crack up the moment you realize the meaninglessness of the entire sentence. As an exercise, I decided to use Extreme Anti-BS Reading Skills to piece together the actual meaning of this sentence. Fortunately, a good amount of experience with university-level humanities work equipped me with the ability to pierce the nonsense and find the little bit of banality trapped inside. Basically, this is saying to identify something—step 1. We are identifying a process (step 2), specifically, the process which provides incentives (step 3) for people to examine (step 4) cultural assumptions we make (step 5) about groups. This statement is 5 steps removed from any action, and boils down to how to get me to write an incentive structure, microeconomics-style, which would motivate some schmuck like Tony to watch Chris Rock videos on YouTube. Note that Tony would not actually _do_ anything with this information; that’s not in the statement at all…
- After our seven superhero salvoes for success, we had lunch and then some more blah-blah-blah. Then it was time for another group exercise. This time, we would pick a culture to which we belong. I picked German, in no small part because many Germans get a bit upset (or at least non-plussed) when Americans say that they are “German” because some great-grandfather came over from Hamburg 115 years ago. We must also pick a stereotype for our cultural group, followed by a “true” statement—with “true” in quotation marks on the Power Point slide as well. People picked their heritages and stereotypes. When I said that a stereotype of Germans is that they are very punctual and drink a lot, and that the true statement is that Germans are very punctual and drink a lot, people looked confused. “Punctual is a stereotype?” My response was that yes, punctual is a stereotype because it is a rule of thumb based on statistical evidence (either soft or hard) showing relative differences between the stereotyping and stereotyped groups.
Anyhow, the implicit portion of this is that stereotypes are bad and aren’t really meaningful. This is because the people involved—including our two speakers, each of whom has a doctorate—don’t understand the concept of statistics, and most of the people in the audience don’t understand what a stereotype is. Some stereotypes are bad because they are biased—they do not actually reflect the population as such, but rather some small portion, or possibly none at all. There is a stereotype that Asians are really good at math, but it is possible that they actually are not and instead this stereotype came about from a few people observing a few, unrepresentative samples. As it turns out, considering that Asians and people of Asian descent generally rank very high on math tests, that is a valid stereotype. It does not necessarily mean that any Asian will do well at math, but rather that if you pluck some random group of Asians and some random group of non-Asians, the Asians are more likely to do better at math.
Immediately after this slide—literally, the very next slide—we jumped into a discussion of “things to keep in mind when working with Appalachians.” This includes things like “Appalachians tend to be very proud and independent people,” “Appalachians have very strong religious beliefs,” and Appalachians are distrustful of strangers. Then, as if it weren’t enough, we have “Ten Values Common to Appalachians.” And on top of this, we have “Things to keep in mind when working with African Americans [sic]” and “Things to keep in mind when working with Hispanics/Latinos.” Because these bulleted lists certainly aren’t groupings of stereotypes, since stereotypes are bad…
By the end of the day, I had a big headache from the fact that I wasted a full day with this garbage. Normally, I would just laugh it off, zone out for the day, and count my money on the way home, but unfortunately, I have 5 projects which I’m working on and a hard deadline of this Friday to get them all done. This means that I lost 7 hours of productivity during a stretch in which each hour is becoming precious. But hey, at least I got a shiny red folder out of it!
November 5, 2007
While working on a ticket, I was on hold with the client. (You may safely assume I am in some sort of IT capacity). I decided to read old bulletins for the company. Well, one of the customer service “bloopers” involved a charming female employee who used the line “If you weren’t in a wheelchair, I’d hurt you.” That pretty much makes her pure evil. How mad do you have to be before you assault a cripple? I don’t even remember what she was so mad about. It’s beyond surreal. It makes my head hurt thinking about it.