I want a new toy...

Hrm... Now here's something you don't see everyday.

This company makes a few lines of bike equipment designed to help the urban bicyclist git'r'done.

as I do not boat this model would not necessarily help me, but they do make a cargo trailer (max cap. 300 lbs) which would be ideal for a plan I have. Their website even has a calculator to help determine the most you can schlep in a load.


and the waiting continues...

Should hear next week if there are any plans pending to take me into the diner. I'm hoping that I can start by mid May, but one way or another I will have to be putting in my two week notice in the next couple of weeks. There are a few obligations pending in June and I have to be free to take care of them. There is one concert, one town festival and a wedding that want me and my camera in attendance.

Yes, it's silly to opt out of the best paying job I've ever had in order to have a slacking lifestyle working in part as a half-assed photographer. But the hours are too long, the company is too silly, and I am never home. Screw that. Fifty is too close to the end of life to spend all that time at the office. At least that's what the hippie in me says.


Bellydance pictures

Been working too much lately, so I haven't had much of a chance to do anything personal. But this evening I took some time while at work to finish the belly dancing pictures from this past weekend's show, the one's promised to my wife and to the teacher.

What you see by clicking this link is the best I could do. If any of it brings you joy, good. And if it sucks, hey... my bad.

But before you click on those pictures please do me one favor - you see those links on the right side of this screen? Please click on one or more of them. When you do that a large multinational corporation gives me a little money. And that would help things around here.

Thanks, and if you need any hi-res images of the pictures, just email me at madmanmikey@gmail.com.


New video dujour...

During my time at Knox College I "worked" as a late night DJ at the school radio station, WVKC. It was the late 80's and art fag bands ruled the airwaves (at least till the big hair boys rolled through).

But I digress...

Today's Video Dujour is X's S "See How We Are." It's likely one of the most depressing songs you''ll ever hear. So go ahead and hit the top video link - you look way too happy anyhow...

Oh, and of course you'll want to see the lyrics.


pointless trivial fact...

Here's something you always wanted to know about pumpernickel bread -

The bread was rumored to have been so hard to digest that it gave the Devil himself (Old Nick, hence nickel) the farts (or Pumpen as was known in the New High German).

"Hence, pumpernickel is described as the "devil's fart". "

Please address all queries on this fascinating subject to Wikepedia.

Took the time to

knock out a couple of loose ends this morning -
  • updated the hit counter by adding all the old hits from there to here
  • deleted the old blog
  • added a videos dujour bar to the right side

The first video is POD's "Youth of the Nation," a song that had some success in the mid/early 90's. Always liked that one, probably because it captured some of my own arrested adolescence.

Came close to typing up my two weeks notice yesterday. There is something about this job that galls me and I can't quit pinpoint what. My guess is that being one of the last true old-schoolers (my old school was built on the north side of Waukegan in the mid 50's) I find the rapaciousness inherent in the current corporate (and societal) mindset(s) horrifying.

Had toyed with putting in my two week notice yesterday, but was held back because the diner girls had not given me word on when I could start back. I plan to call them today and get an idea of when they might be interested in taking me back into the fold. If nothing else, I might just deliver my two week notice from concerning my promotion. Getting back to being just a truck money would be a nice change until the diner gig kicks back in.

See, when they gave me the promotion they said it was for a three month trial period. The three months is up and now we both have to evaluate each other. Personally, I don't think the money is worth the extra time. Nah, I want the time back.


And the word of the day is "hafla..."

Hafla is an Arab word for party, or so I believe. In this case, a bellydance party. This one is a bellydance fest held the first Saturday evening of the month at a restaurant in Niles, Illinois, a restaurant called the Sphinx. Hosted by "thee Bellydancer" from the Renaissance Faire in Bristol, Wisconsin - a woman known as Zayna - this first Saturday features a slue of dancers instead of just one.

Add them to the buffet (bellydancers smoothered in Baba Ghanouj m-m-m-m-m-m-m-m happy thoughts...) and you have a damned fine evening.

If anyone is interested, Littleone and I have two extra seats reserved for the next hafla - you can write here to claim them. But if you say you want to go, ya gotta really wanna.

note: the pictured dancer is not Zayna but one of the other dancers.

This is Zayna


As if you need to be told...

Using that staple of social science experimentation, the famed "Cookie Monster Experiment," well-paid professionals have proven what you've known for years -

the rich are different (or at least think they are).


I may not know how to tell when one has enough money...

But I do know how to tell if one has too much. For example, if you make your grand entrance at the company yearly conference dressed in a sheik suit and riding an an actual camel, you definitely have too much money.
As a side note, if you do this while a pool of your employees have no health insurance you likely also have better uses for you money.

Good Day Sunshine...

R. just called to ask where we were meeting this morning. Giving him his due, it's not a bad question - we just switched offices to a new city (they got to know us in the old city and people were calling the office. It only made sense to change - they were able to find us hire us and give us money. Obviously, that would never do) and none of us are quite sure of what's going on now. The past two mornings we've met at different restaurants to start the day.

Even though the restaurant thing was my idea it has to stop. Guys were coming in late (what's new?) and then ordering breakfast. That meant a 45 minute to hour late start on the day with them trying to clock in "on time."
Nope, I think first thing in the morning we'll be coming in here from now on.

As for regular life, it continues to be on hold. The way things have worked at the old office I would leave for work at about 6-6:15, work my 11-13 per day and then make the commute home. When all was said and done I was away from home at least 13 hours a days and often more. There is little time left to live life.

Now I know I am a whiny baby and should just fuck the shut up (hey, I like that) but as this is my blog that simply will not happen. Since my youth I have always liked time more than money and have always opted for a leisurely penury over time-consuming wealth. And it looks like I'll be doing that again in a short bit.

As mentioned before, the boss at my old job has told me they would hire me back come the summer rush. She even knows I want a 2 week lead so as to put in a proper notice. Once that is a fact and I am back to working almost literally half the time I am working now it'll be time to start working my follow-up plan. The idea I have is for a low-cost franchise that has a ready-made audience, or at least I think it is a ready made audience - only some market research would tell for sure.

All I really know is that I won't go any higher with this company. I'm too old and my knees are in too bad of shape to keep me going here for another 10 years. Nope, this is where I am and this is where I would stay.

But complaints aside, this job has given me refreshed appreciation for recycling and re-using. Seeing what people regularly throw away let's me know how much totally useless shit we buy on a daily basis. And it lets me know that advertising does indeed work. How else could you get a family to buy a three station home gym to help them pump up only to convince them two years later that this $1000 machine turned coat rack needs to be replaced by the new Bowflex which is even more expensive and just as likely to become a hat rack within 6 months?

(Note: we have sawed at least three different weight machines into quarters and thrown them out in the last three months.)

Advertising is indeed the opposite of therapy - therapy succeeds when you end up feeling more whole and complete while advertising is a success when it makes you feel more fractured and lacking.

And so it goes...

at work to do list...

Check want ads in local papers from four surrounding communities for new job - check

Watch porn - check

Get phone call from only employee letting me know he's running late - check

Everything's running right on schedule.


and so it goes...

Was listening to a news piece on NPR this morning. They were finishing up a travelogue they were doing where they sent a reporter to check out the Ganges River in India. They started him at the Himalayas where the river itself starts and had him follow it the entire 1500 or so miles down to Calcutta where it empties into the Bay of Bengal.

One of the items they covered was a TIFF-like initiative that the Indian government is undertaking to divert tax monies into certain industries that will build in that (and many other) areas. They want to build up the IT business along with the manufacturing base.

If GDP is your total measure of things, this may well be a brilliant plan. Money, and great torrents of it, will likely follow in the wake of this development. But it seems those damned able Indian lefty disciples of Gandhi want to stop it. They seem to think that smaller businesses will be better. Something about spreading out the wealth and making more accessible to more small people/families/neighborhoods.

If the Indian government had a plan for dealing with and toning down the pollution that would result from the big industrial push (and based on what the Ganges story said abut the condition of the riv er itself I doubt they even care about pollution's effects) it might make good sense to make things bigger. After all it is easier to police and control big pollutions from a few sources rather than a myriad of polluting families across the country.

My guess is that the country's air and water will become twin death-dealing shit holes of toxins should the TIFF plan succeed. Good thing they have a lot of impoverished people in a lot of these areas. Who'll notice a 100,000,000 million or so dead broke people anyhow?


how friggin odd...

was going to park the truck this evening but opted to stop into a health food store near the parking spot to grab a snack. There, behind the counter was an old girlfriend of mine, a hippie with whom I had a really awful breakup.

But rather than being a bad meeting it was a good one. We talked about recycling and wastefulness, about her new house (which she and her roomie) had bought, about this and that. Turns out that we have a common friend who needs a refrigerator and her roomie is looking for a bike.

Odd, I just happen to have both on the back of the truck.

This may sound stupid, but damn I love being able to keep things from ending up in the dump.

And so it goes...

another wasted day at work, that is.

Right now I am taking a 15 minute break from doing very little. Drove a truck out to a crew that needed it, finished loading the office stuff at the old office, went to the new office to unload it only to discover that the new office was way too fucked up form the first three loads of stuff to even try and put in more and finally finished tidying up enough to allow more crap to come in the door.

So now it's break time.

However, I have to add to my "to do" list a complaint about the wireless Internet access in this place. Try as I might the best I can do is get 2 connection-strength bars out of possible 4. I'll be demanding better the moment I find out who's Internet connection I've tapped in to.

Seriously, thank Gods for whomever has this unsecured line - it will help us get through things until such time as the cable company actually comes out here and hooks us up. Since they have to dig a trench and put in a cable, my guess is that we might be leeching into this connection for a while yet.

Work aside, I've been looking at a couple of side work opportunities to get going for myself. With any luck - and a bit of time and work - they might actually 1) end up helping to support mine and me and 2) be a positive way to impact my community.

Not sure why this has come to mind lately (my guess is it's part of a looming age-50 mid-life thing) but I have been wanting to do things that are positive for those around me. As I work with junk and have some background now in recycling, reusing and re channeling, the thoughts of helping self and others would naturally be done in those areas.

The one big thing that may delay me in this is that I signed a non-competition clause with my company when taking this ill-fated promotion. That means that I would not be able to work in the area just mentioned for a full year after my resignation. However, what I am looking at is bigger than just junk and it would be possible to work for a year setting up and researching before really throwing myself into things.

And I could always work on honing the non-junk parts of the gig. Setting up a system for that alone would take most of the year.