Saturday, September 16, 2017

It was a good day...

Soldier Creek Winery vineyard
Some days lately I don't do much. I don't mean I don't do much productive. I mean I don't do much period. I'm going off of an anti-depressant and one of the side effects is I'm tired all the time. Another is that I'm irritable sometimes and another is that I get paranoid sometimes. Now, all those things sound manageable when I know they're about to happen... and to someone who's never experienced it, it sounds pretty minor. And, really, considering the lists of side-effects some people go through, they really are minor. It's only really troublesome when I don't recognize that it's unreasonable. It seems like it would be something you'd notice right away, but that's the funny thing about the brain... it's pretty good at believing what it perceives is real actually IS real. And most of the time, for most people that's true. But sometimes when it gets confused it's not helpful. And then getting a confused mind to convince itself that it's confused so it can relax and stop panicking or wanting to throw something heavy across the room is harder than you'd think. But, I manage. It'll go away soon... pretty sure anyway.

New coasters from a vendor at the winery.
When you go from one stop light to the next and notice the car behind you is STILL behind you and a fight or flight response kicks in because you're now convinced they're following you and mean you harm, complete with shallow breathing and trying to figure out a plan because somehow my response to fear is anger so I go from momentarily frightened to furious... it's really exciting. Now, mostly I'm able to catch myself and point out that I'm being irrational and this is, in fact, simply my brain juices sloshing around wildly as things get back to normal... mostly. I'm tapering off them, but it's sort of a big taper and that's okay. Once things settle down at the new lower dose I'll evaluate if I should go down again or just stay there for a while. I would like to know if they're working; if I need them or not anymore. But it's hard to tell if I don't go off them, you know? I think I'm better, which the doctor tells me means they're working... or I'm better. Which is it? Hard to tell lol. I'll figure it out. No worries. Oh, and if anybody reads the list and sees suicide as one of them, well, it is, but knowing that is a thing there are currently no guns in the house. I'm not a complete idiot... also, less likely to shoot the mailman delivering a package this way too. Can't trust my brain right now. It lies to me and I believe it.

Chicago dog, music by some buddies and grape stomping
But while it's happening it's really real... like the kind of real in a dream where you know it's a dream but you still have to get away from that THING that's just behind you in the dark that you can hear but you can't see? You know you're dreaming but you can't stop yourself. You feel the terror, the fear, the panic. Well, that's what this is like sometimes. I don't get it as much when I don't go out so I stay home and play video games or sleep. Or I work... a lot. I've worked 7 of the past 8 days. That's a lot of 12 hours shifts lol.

Today though, I went to bed about 7AM (I'm on nights and got off work at 6AM) Woke up about 11AM, showered, coffeed up, and went to Soldier Creek Winery here in town where they were having a grape stomping thing with vendors, live music, and many people, several of whom I knew. I felt like a social butterfly as I was greeted repeatedly by people who seemed glad to see me. :) It was nice. But, after a couple hours of that, it was time to go. Oh, I ate food there too. I had a Chicago dog and a bratwurst with spicy mustard. Both were delicious.

Apple Dumping & ice cream
So, I went to the Community Apple Orchard and got an apple dumpling with cinnamon ice cream and a root beer in a glass bottle with real cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. It was all delicious.

I followed that up with getting my laundry and bedding done, browsed the bookstore and left with two magazines, got a quick half-hour massage, shopped for food to try some new recipes and here we are. All in all, it was a good day and I like those. Now, if only I could get some sleep... not yet though. I don't want to mess up my sleep schedule.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Sometimes, just sometimes, I miss managing.

At break someone said, "Supervisor said we have a morale problem."

I said:

We don't have a morale problem. Morale problems are a symptom. It's never the problem. The problem is attention. People value what is noticed. The first Toyota Prius looked like a normal car. It wasn't noticed. People want to do good things for the environment, but they want to be noticed for it. When Toyota changed the design to the distinctive look it has now people were noticed for being green and they sold like crazy. Being noticed counts.

When a press is making bad product and the mechanic notices, it's not the press' fault. It's the mechanic's fault. If an employee is on their cell phone or not doing their quality checks, or is charging their phone out in plain sight and the supervisor doesn't say anything it's not the employee's fault when it keeps happening. When a supervisor spends more time hanging out and shooting the shit with employees and trying to be their friend and their boss notices and does nothing it's not the supervisor's fault. It's the plant manager's fault. 

We all see these things. We all know who the employees are who are slacking and and we know the supervisors that know it. We see them. They see us see them, and they don't care. They don't care that we don't call them on doing their job. (wrong pronoun... I still self-identify as management - oops)

I get it. It's hard to tell someone "do your job" but that IS their job. If they're not going to do it that attitude, that laziness, that "well, maybe it'll fix itself" attitude spreads like oil on water and it's a problem. 

So, people notice bosses not noticing. They assume they don't care, that the supervisors aren't invested, that it isn't  important, that the work THEY do, the good employees do, isn't important, and they feel devalued. They feel like they don't matter. And they feel it because those higher than them, those who are supposed to notice the value of the employees, to reward good behavior and punish bad behavior aren't doing their job, they aren't noticing. 

You can't train a puppy to not piss or shit on the floor by hugging it and cuddling it and hoping it'll figure it out. That's not how it works. You get a very friendly, very messy puppy, and a floor you can't walk across. That's where we are now. There are piles of shit everywhere and the supervisors and bosses just put on taller boots and look at those below them, us, and wonder why we're so grumpy and smell like shit.

Well, look up and around for the problem, not down. Looking down isn't the answer. Looking down is about blaming and not fixing.

No, morale isn't a problem. This ship has no captain and forty-seven stewards bringing us fresh towels as we careen wildly around the Atlantic hoping we don't hit anything.

I stopped, realized I'd gotten a little erm... passionate, and said, "Well, that or we're just a grumpy bunch of bitches. Sorry."

"Dude. You should be a supervisor."
"I was for like fifteen years."
"I mean here."
"Hell no. Y'all are a bunch of grumpy bitches."
Everyone laughed... but money says what I said is repeated.

Sometimes it's frustrating to see a job that I've done and know I'm good at, be done badly by people who are afraid if they try and DO the job that people won't like them. No, asshat. People will like and respect a boss more who IS a boss than one who is their buddy and doesn't do anything to fix things but joins in the gripefests. Sometimes I miss management. I was good at it. Part of the problem is the skill set that gets trained and tested for to be management is to be good with the machines, but the supervisors don't supervise machines. They supervise people.

Saturday, September 09, 2017

Book Review: The Black Wolves of Boston

I don't remember who suggested The Black Wolves of Boston to me or where I heard about it. When I got it and started it I was under the impression it was a young adult urban fantasy with werewolves, vampires, and witches.

I was enjoying it and liked the characters and then noticed it had a lot of um... There was sexual tension, and at one point an implied hand job between a 300 year old vampire and a just before college teen... I was confused. What sort of urban fantasy was I reading?

Oops. It's a romance urban fantasy and not a YA urban fantasy. That's not what I'd wanted or what I normally read even. But, it was well written, the characters were well developed and likable and the world was interesting and well developed so I kept reading.

I'm glad I did. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't want to give away too much but the newly made werewolf is a straight boy who is also a bisexual wolf which makes for interesting situations.


I recommended it. I'm not sure if I'll get others in the series or not. I don't know if I want to be a guy that reads romantic fantasy.

Fallout 4: Billy, the kid in the fridge

As you know may or may not know, I’ve been playing a lot of Fallout 4... a lot... more than I’ll admit to so don’t even ask. If forced I’ll lie. Don’t make me lie.

I was on the way back to I dunno, wandering around or something and I heard coming from behind a house, the sound of someone yelling to let them out. What the heck? A mission! I was super excited because it’d probably be a quick one.

So, I toddled off to look behind the house and what do I see? A fridge!! Oh please... please let the person in the fridge be named Indy. Turns out the kid in the fridge (That’s the name of the quest too) climbed in the fridge to escape the nuclear bombs 200 years ago. Sadly, the radiation turned him into a ghoul. Ghoul’s are radiation ruined people... I say ruined, but they can live forever and don’t get tired or need sleep really... sometimes they sleep though... I dunno. The lore is a little odd on the needs of ghouls. But here he is, literally the very first ghoul-kid I can remember seeing. Now, there may have been more. But I don’t remember them. I remember normal kids, unmutated ones, but no muties, ghouls as they’re called in game. Well, I opened it and he wasn’t called Indy. His name was Billy.He’s pretty burnt up, turns out radiation DOES make it through a fridge. Sorry, Indiana Jones. You should be a ghoul now... and kinda he’s turning into one. Some people age better than others.

Anyway. While talking to Billy the ghoul I find he’s been locked in there for 200 years and he wants me to take him home to see his parents because, as he looks around at the devastated landscape, a result of nuclear war and two hundred years of zero-highway maintenance, he realizes things don’t look familiar to him anymore, and he doesn’t think he can find the way back.

I said I would but not before THIS guy shows up and makes a strange request. Now, I’ve HEARD of slavers and raiders and I’ve killed my share of raiders and gang members throughout the game but this guy, his name is Bullet by the way, pops up while I’m walking the ghoul home, fully expecting to find a blown up house and get to watch Billy fall to his knees cry, wail, "Whyyyyy?" or something like that.

What does Bullet want? Why, Bullet wants to buy Billy. Of all the ghouls I’ve saved, interacted with, worked with, and fought alongside this is the first time someone has tried to buy one and he wants to buy the only ghoul-kid I remember seeing in the game? Um, that’s effed up.

So, I ask him "Why? Why do you want to buy Billy?"

He says because ghouls don’t need rest or sleep or food and make great slaves.

So, I say "No! You don't buy people!"

He doesn’t even get mad. He acts like he’s just asked me for a piece of gum and I’ve said, "Oh, sorry. This was my last piece." He just turns and walks away.

Now, I’m not a bad guy in this game, not really. I’ve been playing this game pretty straight-laced. I hardly steal at all and I only do drugs sometimes. But, with a silent apology to Billy for what’s about to happen... I pull out my high-powered rifle with a bitching scope on it and drop into a crouch. Well, the stars aligned because I managed to critical hit the guy in the back of the head.

I'd intended to simply kill him. What I hadn't intended to do right in front of FridgeBilly was to blow Bullet's head completely off his shoulders resulting in gouts of blood spray from his neck stump as he crumpled to the ground. Oops. Sorry if I grossed you out Billy.

I’ll put up with a lot, I really will... but nobody should be buying or selling kids that’ve been stuck in a fridge for 200 years... wait. I don’t really need to qualify that. Kids shouldn’t be sold, period.

Oh, in case you were wondering? Billy got home safely. His parents were still there and had also been turned into radioactive undying hairless hideously burned ghouls as well so all's well... or as good as it gets in the Commonwealth these days. The real tragedy is the mother's shoes. I've editted them out of this picture so you won't be completely distracted. I'm surprised Billy didn't run from those when he saw them. Sure, being burned up is bad and all, but that is REALLY no excuse for wearing ugly shoes.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Wonder Woman with Mom

So, I went to see Wonder Woman today with Mom. It was on purpose. It wasn’t the purpose of the trip across three states to get here, but I knew I wanted to do it while I was here because I credit her with many/most of my opinions about women and I’d hoped she’d like the movie. She said she did. (Dad didn’t want to go. I asked... I knew a 2.5-hour movie was an unlikely “yes” though. I wasn’t sure Mom would go, but she did.)

On the drive back to their house I mentioned that I didn’t understand when people say little girls need to see role models of strong women so they know that being strong and independent and standing up for yourself is a thing that is possible for women to do. I have two sisters. They are both all those things and have been since they were little. It’s always been my assumption that kids, both kinds, are born with a strong sense of self and an inborn sense of what they will and won’t put up with, a sense a fairness and being treated fairly is just sort of there, as well as a sense of standing up for one’s self and the idea that they can do anything. I’ve always seen that as being something that kids have when they’re kids. Some kids grow out of it... but it has always felt like something kids are born with to me.

So, if someone is worried their kids are being socialized out of that... if they’re seeing their little girls turn into princesses instead of generals... that seems to me as if they’re allowing something ELSE to be more important to the kid than they, as parents are. I don’t think my parents ever considered for a minute that it was possible or that it would be put up with for the opinions or lessons of tv, movies, or commercials to be more important to us than they (our parents) were.

I’m not a parent. I was a brother and my two sisters grew up to be: One, a Marine that worked on attack helicopters I think, and the other a scientist who then went into law, specifically intellectual property law in the very narrow field in which she was a scientist. Those are not fields that are typically “for girls” but I’m almost sure neither of them ever considered that as an obstacle but did what they wanted to do because they wanted to do it. We were brought up to do what we want to do and obstacles may be there, but they’re not insurmountable. Most things will eventually yield if you smash yourself against it with all your will and intelligence and determination enough times. That was what we were taught. That’s what we saw our parents doing over and over again. Did they have problems or stresses and were they sometimes tired and overwhelmed? Yep. I’m sure of it. But they didn’t stop as far as I ever saw and they taught us not to either. We lucked out in the parent lottery.

The lesson we learned was if you do your best and failed you’d done all you could have done and now it was time to find out what went wrong, address that, and try again, but don’t half-ass it. Don’t give up. Don’t decide it’s too hard because too hard just means too lazy and lazy isn’t okay.

So, raise strong girls. Raise strong boys who recognize that strong girls are good to have around and they aren’t a threat but an asset. Encourage it, but don’t assume it’s not already there in the very young. I’m sure it is, and remember that they will be who they saw you being and they’re watching. God knows they’re watching and listening and remembering so make sure you’re the person you want them to grow up to be. Model the behavior. Show them what strength is. Show them what determination looks like. Show them what it looks like to not pay attention to the limits other people want to put on you. Let them see you living it and doing it. If you have to, fake it and fake it convincingly. I’m sure there were times when my parents were staring at something like a house and yard hit by a hurricane and a house fire and 3 kids and and and... and they kept on going and just did what needed doing and we kids didn’t know how hard it was. We just saw them doing what needed doing and then it was done. That’s what all three of us learned: boys & girls alike learned it from seeing it, and today, we’re doing it.

So, I was glad to see the movie with her but when I think of strong women I don’t think of Gal Gadot. I think of my Mom, my two amazing sisters, I think of my Granny, and my various aunts, my 103-year-old Great Aunt Annie who raised her siblings and has buried many of them if not all... outlived her parents, and some of her kids even. Those are my wonder women.