Monday, February 28, 2005

My own worst enemy...

Mother Nature has it out for me. Is it too much to ask that I just be able to go to Harrisburg for ONE DAY for to solidify my entire future as an employee of the company I wish to be a part of?!?! So, now I get ANOTHER (unpaid, mandatory) week off. My interview has been rescheduled for Friday. (DOH!)

If I was being rational, I'd say that this is the smart thing to do. The company said they like their employees to be alive for their interviews. That's kind of biased don't you think?

I'm one of those weirdos though. I actually enjoy driving in the snow. I'm a firm believer in the practice of making all drivers spend a few months in up state NY in the winter before they are given a drivers license. That would save a ton of grief and lives each year.

Now I just have to figure out a way to keep myself occupied all week before I go CRAZY. All play and no work makes The Delawarean a dull boy...

Sunday, February 27, 2005

My new favorite Blog...

Everyone must stop by Done As A Society. Now. Seriously. Go, now.

Hooked on phonics worked for me...

Oh, I like games. I got this from Mike, who got it from Becky.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open the book to page 123.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog along with these instructions.
5. Don't you dare dig for that "cool" or "intellectual" book in your closet! I know you were thinking about it! Just pick up whatever is closest.

But this is a family oriented blog! I can't post from the book that's closest to me! Just kidding people.

From Success Is The Quality Of Your Journey, by Jennifer James, PH.D.:

"But don't vote out of guilt. Vote out of optimism.
It's an optimistic act to be involved in your community.
I think it's essential to your well-being and to your peace of mind.
If you drive to work, you may see people holding campaign signs."

Hmm, as I was writing this, I paged through the book and noticed that as a whole, this book is very uplifting. It's a book that someone gave me a long time ago and I shelved, never really thinking twice about. It's a series of short blog-like postings about life. Here's the post in it's entirety in case you're interested.

"All the candidates and their supporters have been reminding us
to vote. They talk about responsibility. They talk about caring,
about our community. You may say you don't care. You may feel
guilty. But don't vote out of guilt. Vote out of optimism. It's an
optimistic act to be involved in your community. I think it's
essential to your well-being and to your peace of mind. If you
drive to work, you may see people holding campaign signs.
Even though they probably got up at 6 a.m., they're cheerful and
excited, especially the children. They sense that they're involved
in something important. Get out your newspaper, get your sample
ballot, choose your candidate, choose your issues, get help if you
need it. Call your candidate's office if you want a ride to the polls,
or get an absentee ballot ahead of time.
Vote out of optimism, not pessimism.
Choose community over isolation.
Whatever the outcome, you'll be giving something good to yourself,
and maybe to the rest of us as well. "

The book is not only about voting, it covers topics on community, humor, family, you name it. I think I may actually have to sit down and read this book. Much like Tara's Fortune Cookie, this book seems to have it all figured out. Although, I would trade it for a enlightened Cookie in a heartbeat...

Saturday, February 26, 2005


Well, all this time off has been nice, but I actually miss working. Monday is Interview 2 and it's time I get back to thinking about my future. I've been in contact with the company and I'm told this Monday is nothing more than a formality. I've already been assigned work if you can believe that, and I don't even work for them yet.

This is a move that I should have made a long time ago. I'd most likely be further along my career path if I had and I would have never had to go through this mess with the State.

It's a funny thing, hindsight is. I can't even begin to count all the things I would change in my life if I knew at the time what I know now. You see people all the time respond to "what would you change about your life?" with "not a thing."

Not me. No way. You ask me that question and you'd better be prepared to listen to me vent for a while. My response would be like an overzealous actor winning an Oscar and getting out a laundry list of people to thank.

I have a hard time believing people who say that they wouldn't change anything about their lives if given the opportunity. Is your life that absolutely perfect that you can't find one thing? ONE THING? Maybe you could have done without that Chinese food the other night that gave you indigestion? Or maybe you shouldn't have gotten that haircut? There has to be something.

Editors note: This post was not influenced in any way by the fact that I was watching Back to the Future while I was writing it.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Houston, we have a problem...

A little birdie told me that my former employer is fumbling around in the dark trying to accomplish GIS work with people that know absolutely nothing about GIS and it's a complete episode of the Three Stooges.

Hmm, Confucius say man who shoots himself in foot, cannot expect to walk normally afterwards.

I think I'd like to quote Nelson from The Simpsons- "HA-HA".

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

If I had a million dollars...

The dark cloud that seems to be hanging over me lately is moving off. I'll explain more on that later in the week. In any case, I'm in a MUCH better mood because of it. I even did the "office dance" at home, if that's any indication of the mood I'm in.

So anyway, all this instability in my life has left me with a lot of time to think. I was watching TV the other day and they were doing a drawing for the lottery. I thought to myself, that's the ticket to my problems. Then I began to daydream. When I was in college, one of my roommate's parents won the Maryland Lottery for something around 12 million. It was quite a celebratory event.

But what if I won? What if it was only one million dollars? By today's economic standards, that's certainly not considered rich. But it is a lot more than your average Joe has.

I think I'd by an exotic pet, like a llama, or an emu...

What would YOU do with a million dollars?

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Alert Status: High


The Delawarean Department of Financial Security
has raised the Financial Alert status to "High".

I've gone into, what I call, my two-minute financial drill. The only expenditures that are allowed are for stamps to mail résumés. Cell phone usage is limited to off-peak (free time). The heat is lowered a few degrees and I start wearing layers of clothing. I walk to places that the lazy version of me would unnecessarily drive to. Bills get paid as I see fit to pay them instead of as soon as I receive them. And I'm going to start cooking more. Scary.

If things get really bad, I may be forced to move to "Severe". In the event that the Alert Status has moved to "Severe", you are to immediately donate any spare toilet paper, food, soap, fish food, and cans of Sterno that you may have. You are also instructed to pay no attention to the man rooting through your garbage in front of your house. This is for your own safety.
Thank you for your cooperation.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Ch, ch, ch, changes...

First and foremost, I want to take a second and thank all who of you who have offered words of encouragement and support throughout all this crap. And that is exactly what it is too, is crap.

The gaggle of us that I will, from here on out, refer to as the excommunicates, or "X's" for short, have been meeting to discuss the options. What the State has done is not right, and most likely on several accounts not legal. So it all boils down to this: fight or walkaway.

The majority of the X's are going to fight and I will stand behind them 100% offering support and opinion wherever I can. However, I will not be joining the fight in the legal sense. It's not that I don't feel completely wronged by what they did, it's simply in my best professional interest to walk away. To put this behind me and move forward. I'm not yet vested with the State and any litigation process could take months and create an enormous financial burden.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that "The Delawarean" may soon cease to exist as you know him. What will he reemerge as? Only time will tell.

What has a catchy name? The Californian? The Pennsylvanian? The New Yorker?

Hmm.. Personally I'm leading toward "The Jamaican", but then again, aren't we all...

Monday, February 14, 2005

Judgment Day

It's like walking in to a nightmare every day. I wasn't going to post today, but I couldn't help it. What was once a great working environment has rapidly gone down hill. Fast.

Remember this? Well the powers that be have decided that they have found their niche. Something they do well. They rule with an iron fist. Since that happened, the net has been cast out over the entire division and today's staff meeting revealed that this Wednesday will be "Judgment Day" for a select few individuals in MY SECTION. I believe the exact words were "this person's dismissal is going to affect our whole section."

How do I put this tastefully, yet express my true feelings? Hmm... Eat Shit. That ought to do it. My professional opinion? One person at the top, not the very top, but close, is going on an all out power trip and trying to prove herself by playing with her Big Brother toys and seeing what kind of dirt she can dig up. While this is all well and good for her, she now has the entire agency paranoid, and nervous, and completely unproductive.

You may be saying "if you didn't do anything wrong, you should have nothing to worry about." Well, that's partially right. I haven't done anything wrong. I'm squeaky clean. But imagine going to work in the morning and wondering if your best friend, who is a single parent with three children, is going to get fired every day. It's nerve racking. When you're not worrying about others, you're retracing everything you've done to reassure yourself that you've done nothing wrong. Your mind begins to play tricks on you. I have accomplished NOTHING since the news broke. And I won't until Wednesday when I learn who it is / they are.

To top off all of this, the power tripper, runs a section that really needs to worry about 100 other things OTHER than what she is doing, but God forbid she not catch that person who reads during their lunch hour.

It's people like this that really irk me. And myself being one of the more tech-savy people there know how to tell if "Big Brother" tools are monitoring you while you work on the computer. So I've blocked mine. I'll admit it. I did it just to piss her off. Do you want me to repeat that? You heard me, I said, I locked the administrators out of my machine so they can't look at a damn thing. Eat shit. (Can you tell I'm pissed?) Will this get me in to trouble? Perhaps. But I have nothing to hide, so if they want to look that bad, they'll have to earn it.

A while back I had a rather big decision to make. This just made it clear as glass for me... Sorry, State of Delaware, but you just lost a good great employee. I have no respect for dictatorships.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Happy Valentine’s Day

(I have too much crap to take care of tomorrow, so today is my Valentine's day, deal with it.)

A few days ago, Tink declared that:

"If Sandy is an @ss then it's official...all men must be."

I found it to be a particularly bold statement seeing as she offered no proof whatsoever on this assertion. In defense of men around the world I quickly objected and she asked me to prove it. I'm sorry, Tink, but in the US Court of Law, even men are innocent until proven guilty. It's true. I needn't prove anything. I will, however, offer my counter, that WOMEN ARE EVIL. Of course, it would be hypocritical of me to make such a declaration without proof. So here you are:

Happy Valentine's Day.

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Lost in Translation...

THIS is absolutely breathtaking...

For those that don't speak Spanish, the caption under the picture roughly translates to:

"I see the psychology,
one does not know if this is dawn, or the contrary,
when the night arrives,
so you think to yourself,
one does not know if what shows is the light or the shadow,
but only that it is pretty when viewing the two meeting."

Yes, Alberto. Yes it is.

Congratulations, Chunk...

This is just great...


A conversation overheard at the mall today while standing in line for food at the food court:

(nothing has been changed to protect the innocent)

Wesley College Girl 1: "Oh my God, I like TOTALLY went crazy in Old Navy today."
Wesley College Girl 2: "No way, like what happened?!"

WCG1: "I found this rack of little pink tops in the back of the store and I TOTALLY died. They are the like CUTEST tops EVER!"

WCG2: "GET OUT! Let me see!"
WCG1: *digging through 15 different bags* "Oh, I'll show you later. I'm going to look SO cute, they have like this cute white lacey thing around the shoulders."
WCG2: "Oh my God! You should TOTALLY wear that to the Sigma party tonight! Scott will be SO jealous. Guys will be ALL OVER YOU if you wear that!"

These are the leaders of tomorrow.

"Like, oh my God, I so TOTALLY fear for our future!"

*shakes head*

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Calling all cars!

I've never lost an interview. It's a fact. Every interview I've ever had in my life, I've been offered the job. So based strictly on that "streak", I need YOUR help.

The following is a hypothetical situation of what my near future may look like. I may have a tough choice to make. Read my story, and tell me what you'd do. Please, I'm looking for as much input as possible from all walks of life. No holds barred. Let me have it! I'm looking for record breaking comment numbers here!

The following takes place between 1:00pm and 2:00pm...

Just kidding! Here we go...

The scenario:

Currently: Employed with the State Government. Job security is at a maximum. Salary is ok, could be better, but is slightly above par with others in the agency, in the field. Raises are not based on performance and may only happen once a year, if lucky. Benefits can't be beat. Vacation and sick leave accumulate very fast. Job satisfaction is very high. Coworkers and immediate management could not be better. Opportunity for advancement is medium-low, but possible.

Interview 1: Wednesday, February 16th. Position is within the current State Agency, different division, same building. Job security would still be at a maximum. Salary would increase about 21-22%. Raises would remain the same. Benefits would still remain the same, excellent. Vacation and sick leave would carry over. Job satisfaction would be high, but slightly lower than current. Coworkers personability would decline. Immediate management would remain close to the same. Opportunity for advancement is very low, unless someone leaves. Workload may actually decrease.

Interview 2: Late February. Position is outside of State Government, in the private sector. Job security decreases but is based on performance so I should have nothing to worry about. Salary would increase about 35%. Raises are based upon performance reviews twice a year, and an annual bonus is given. Vacation is the standard 2-3 weeks a year depending on time with the firm. If accepted, I would also receive a payment for leaving the state for unused vacation, and money contributed into a pension because I am not vested yet. (About 5-6K total) Job satisfacation would be high. Coworkers' and immediate management's personability would be high, tying with my current job. Opportunity for advancement is medium-high. Workload close to doubles.

The Hitch: I'm offered Interview 1 and given a week to decide. I must make my decision before even taking part in Interview 2.

This is where you, my readers, come in. I need advice, and lots of it.

Do you (I) (a.) take Interview 1's job, knowing that I would 99.9% be offered Interview 2, working for a week or two and then give my notice taking Interview 2's job? This would not only enrage the staff at my current State Agency, but potentially mar any chance of working with/for them again.

Do you (I) (b.) turn down Interview 1's job, keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes flawless with Interview 2? This is running the risk of screwing myself over and not getting/taking either one of them and end up sitting right where I am.

So think it over. What would you do? A or B? Or give me a choice C...

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Deep Thoughts...

Why do tourists go to the top of tall buildings and then put money in telescopes so they can see things on the ground in close-up?

Monday, February 07, 2005

Can you hear me now?

So what's the deal with all these "audio posts"? I mean, isn't the point of blogging to "read"? Don't get me wrong, I love technology as much as the next nerd, but whatever happened to the reader using their imagination to try and invent what you look and sound like? Am I just fighting the inevitable? Am I resistant to change? Would you all be happy if I spoke sweet nothings into the microphone for you?

Oh alright, listen up. This one's for all the ladies out there... Come closer, I've got something to tell you...

I love it when a plan comes together...

Today I received a most welcome phone call at work. It was our Human Resources section calling to ask me if I was still interested in the position I had applied for internally with my current employer. I had to stop and think, oh yeah, LAST AUGUST you mean?! Following my golden rule of never turning down an interview I promptly said yes. So next Wednesday I have an interview (and a VERY GOOD chance) of being offered a job that is currently 4 paygrades above mine. And I'd just move into a different wing of the building. Go me.

*Breaks out the office dance again*

Of course this is all falling into my master plan of having two very good offers on the table before me. As much as I'd love to take this internal job and not have to leave, the other offer that I'm still negotiating is even better. BETTA!

*Office dance encore*

I've worked very hard to prove myself and I can't even begin to express how grateful I am for even one opportunity, let alone two to begin to build my life the way I've always imagined it.

*Office dance remix*

I just hope I don't choke like those Eagles!

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Take, these broken wings, and learn to fly again...

I'm not going to break down this game. Others get paid to do that. I would just like to point out that:
1) Operation: Cover Deion Branch was a massive failure. (again)
2.) The power of experience prevailed.
3.) T.O. is worth every penny.

Overall, I was extremely pleased and impressed with this years Superbowl production. I was very happy to see that the national anthem was performed by a most talented group of our men and women in uniform and not some pop star or boy band. It was classy. It was highly respectful. It was perfect. They paid tribute to the Greatest Generation which always gets to me. It makes me think of my grandfather who, up until his death two years ago, was a survivor of D-Day in Normandy and has probably earned the most respect I have ever given to one person.

The halftime show was a safe, smart choice. Sir Paul Mcartney was, in my opinion, better than any MTV-ish halftime show I've seen in a long time. It restored my faith in Superbowl halftime entertainment. I found myself subconsciously singing along. Well done.

Then we have the commercials.
My hands down favorite commercial was by Budweiser . If only this were true in the real world. I've had too many of my friends come back home from Iraq to be spit on and be called "baby killers". I thought that was something that ended with the Vietnam War. My friends informed me that I was wrong. No matter what your opinion of the war, these people are human and deserve your respect.

I laughed at a few more. The first time I saw the Ford Mustang Convertible commercial was fun (because I'm a mustang fan). However it turned stale after seeing it 7 more times. I also enjoyed Manny the cockatiel too.
Well, as my childhood hero Joe Montana said during his NFL plug:

"The sun'll come out, tomorrow...

...tomorrow every team is undefeated"

*Cheers to next season*


"Two men enter; one man leaves." - Mad Max, Beyond Thunderdome

I'm fired up. And I'm not a fan of either one of these teams really. Like fellow blogger Brian, I am a (shhhh!) 49ers fan. But, I'd rather see the Eagles take this one. Mostly because I live within a hundred miles of Philly and I don't consider that safe enough distance from rioting.
I do however, have respect for Patriots QB, Tom Brady. When I was at Penn State, they played Michigan and Brady was the QB. I remember saying to a friend during that game that Brady would go Pro, and my friend saying, "Nah, he's not that good." (Good call there Zach! You owe me 5 bucks)

The Superbowl is a tradition, not so much about the actual game of football, but more about the atmosphere and mood it creates within and around each fan of the game. Think about it. If you're a football fan, you watch the Superbowl regardless of who is playing. During the regular season, if two teams you hated were playing on any given Sunday, you might go mow the lawn or do something constructive. Not during the Superbowl. You organize, you plan, you rally your own little Superbowl Posse to share in the ups and downs of each play. Not to mention the new commercials, which I look forward to more than the game sometimes.

Grown men dance, while women laugh at them and a good time is had by all. Everyone in front of the television becomes an armchair quarterback and watches as each play unfolds.

They say that greatness, no matter how brief, stays with a man. Who will it be to achieve greatness today? That's simple, it's the one with the best pregame pump-up speech...

"Pain heals, chicks dig scars, glory lasts forever" - The Replacements

Yup. That about covers it.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Falling down...

There comes a time in a man's life when he realizes that he must make a decision.

Yesterday was my work ski trip. After much contemplation, I decided that I was going to give snowboarding another try. Why not? Last year was the first time I've ever touched a snowboard and after only one lesson, I was doing pretty good. I even made a couple of runs without falling at all.

That was last year.

This year was not as kind to me. I made a few mistakes. Painful mistakes. First off, I should have started back on the bunny slopes to practice for a while. Nope, not me. My friends wanted to skip "GO" and go directly to "JAIL" as they say in Monopoly. So we grabbed the first lift to the top of the mountain. (DISCLAIMER: camera phones suck.)

I was fired up. The adrenaline was flowing. My heart was racing. Off we went.
I was doing well until I tried to make my first transition from frontside to backside. Luckily, I was going slow enough that this fall didn't hurt (much). Ow. I oriented myself and got back up, shaken, but not stirred. Down the hill I went. Faster. Faster. Oh, shit. BRAKES. Too much brakes, *boom*. Ow.

At this point I'd like to stop and thank the nice smartass lady who came skiing by me and told me that my wipeout scored a "10". At least I think it was a lady. My vision was a little blurry for a moment. I'd also like to send a shout out to my coworkers for taking advantage of my mishaps by laughing. I'm glad I could provide them with mountain side entertainment.
Once again I dug the snow out of my mouth, nose, ears, and wiped off my sunglasses and shook it off. Down the hill I went.

I repeated this fall down, dust off, get up, process a hundred times that day. Each time, a 4 year old kid would fly by me doing tricks with their eyes closed. Discouraging, but I am a competitor. I WILL learn this, dammit.
We broke for lunch where I paid something like $15 for a slice of pizza and a drink. (not really, but close)

After halftime, I was headed back out. "Coach" had given me some words of advice and I was determined to use it. I would do better this time.
We took off down another path and everything was going fine. I was in control, I was winning! Then all of a sudden my friend came over the radio. (we all had walkie talkies)
"Watch out for the ROCKS on the left." WHAT?!?! Who puts ROCKS on a beginner ski slope?

But it was too late.

*BLAM* *cartwheel* *praying to God*



As I came down from orbit, I slammed down on my back and a sharp pain hit me like a bolt of lightning, traveling from my tail bone, through my back, and up into my neck. Ow. This time there were no smartass remarks. No laughing. No getting up and dusting myself off. Ow. I opened my eyes and I could see people on the lift above me looking down in amazement. I even heard a "holy shit". It was at moment that I had the revelation that snowboarding was not for me. It may have been a voice from the almighty, or simply someone on the lift above me. I couldn't tell. After a few minutes I sat up, looked around, and looked at the map to find the fastest way off that mountain.
That was the last time anyone on earth will ever see a snow board attached to my feet.
I turned in my gear and spent the remainder of the evening just enjoying the atmosphere. I had a few drinks with some other coworkers that had hung it up early. Day turned to night and the mountain illuminated.
Others finished and they joined us sitting on the deck just enjoying the company. We laughed, we complained, we bonded. We went home. Another successful ski trip in the books and another life lesson learned; fresh air and good friends are underestimated...

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

It always feels like, somebody's watchin' me...

Ah yes, today was Groundhog's Day. The one day a year when the whole country looks on in anticipation as a oversized, overfeed, ornery, rodent is plucked from a fake hole and held in the air like some deity for all to bow down to.

*insert heavenly music*
You see, I have every right to make fun of Groundhog's Day, because I have been there, in person, to witness this life-altering event. Oh, it's true.

On a cold blistering February morning 4 years ago, I accompanied 4 friends to make the trek to Punxsutawney, PA to party witness history in the making. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by some of the most inebriated country-folk I have EVER laid eyes on. Don't let the media coverage fool you. On Gobbler's Knob, Groundhog's Day has NOTHING to do with a fury little animal. It doesn't even have anything to do with the movie. It's a reason to party. Plain and simple. People come from miles around to stand in the arctic weather and drink ice cold Groundhog Brew (and whatever else they can imbibe.) I managed to save a bottle for a memento:
I remember driving home that evening thinking that the feeling would never been the same in my toes again. I was certain that I had caught pneumonia and had frost bite to boot. It's nice to say that I can cross the "Groundhog's Day experience" off my list of things to do before I die, but I don't think I'd do it again. At least not all in one day.

My advice to you, if you'd like to try it for yourself is book a room. There are a few nice bed and breakfasts in the area or simply grab a hotel. And hand warmers. LOTS of them. For every crack in your body.
And last but not least, don't expect to be floored by the event. It's awful to say, but set your expectations low for this and you shouldn't be disappointed. And whatever you decide to do just remember...

"Don't drive angry!"

Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Is this what it comes down to for Islamic terrorists now?

As Smash so eloquently put it, "where's Team America when you need them"?