2 Oct  Random Silliness  

           I have this friend who is half Japanese, half Native American. His name is Nissan Pathfinder.
          He owns a Dollar Store here in town. Last week it burnt to the ground. There was, like, $18 damage.

5 Oct

          It's fall. All the leaves are turning pretty colours. I asked the boss if we were going to be issued fall Cad Pats in red and yellow and orange. He said no.
          I suppose that's just as well. I mean, if we were to follow my logic (don't laugh) once all the leaves have fallen, and the trees are naked....

6 Oct

          I have been betrayed by my superiors. Me and every other Master Corporal on the team. They've covered their asses, made themselves look good, and left us out to dry.
          Some things never change.
          On a lighter note:
Happy birthday [info]stevenagy!!!

10 Oct

Your Dominant Intelligence is Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence

You are naturally athletic and coordinated, good at making your mind and body work together.
Sports are fun and easy for you, especially those requiring good hand - eye coordination.
There's also a good chance you're a great dancer, or good at expressing yourself through body language.
You learn best by doing, and you feel like you've always got to be moving (even if it's just your hands).

You would make a good athlete, physical education teaches, dancer, actor, firefighter, or artisan.

11 Oct

          So I just finished the latest installment in Georgh Arh Arh Martin's A Song of Fire and Ice series. I think from now on I'll wait until the author has completed a series before I begin them. I mean, you wouldn't pick up a book, read the first third, and think to yourself, "I love this book. I think I'll set a down for about a year before I read any more of it, though."
          Of course, if everyone subscribes to my idea the author would never complete the series, since no one would ever buy the first book. I'd imagine a publisher would drop said author if that were to occur. It's a vicious circle, I tell ya.

12 Oct

          The boss asked for my Brag Sheet--it's a list of our accomplishments over the past quarter that they use to write up our quarterly report. Here's what I gave him:

"Volunteered" for the longest Change of Command parade in history. Didn't go down on one knee or get dragged off, even though I'm old. (Also didn't charge into the stands and pummel our MWO and WO --you know, the ones that "volunteered" me for the parade--who were sitting right in front of me, watching--thereby proving I have remarkable restraint--sometimes.)

Coordinated the development of P.O. 412 and P.O. 417 up until the Coup d'etat, as well as MCpl Dehann, MCpl Thibeau, and Mr. Leech. Well, I didn't co-ordinate their development; just the E.O.s they were working on.

Adventure training (white water rafting, orienteering, rappelling) instructor. (Camp catch phrase: No one dies on my watch, mister!)

Took over the lottery pool from Sgt Bernie. So far I've won us $45, at a cost of a mere $520. That alone makes me worthy of promotion--to officer.)

Completed the Self-Assessment, Job Search, Resume Writing and Small Business Courses. (Still haven't found a better job than this--obviously those courses suck!)

Attended the Spill Response Course. (Didn't spill anything; still responded. Is that talent or what?)

My boss said that mine were the only accomplishments he didn't just cut and paste into the quarterly report. Go figure.

13 Oct - The DND Motors Saga: Part 1

Any similarities between my real job and the events depicted in this tale are purely.....ah, who am I kidding?

          The Chief Executive of DND Motors Institute of Technology straightened his tie, then fiddled with the microphone attached to the podium. He looked out across the auditorium at the twelve employees, all seated in the back row, and cleared his throat.
          "Ladies and gentlemen," he began, "here at DND Motors we build and maintain the finest motor vehicles in the country, but we have a problem. At DND garages nation wide, our maintenance managers are telling us that the automotive technicians (AT) we're sending them are not up to snuff."
          He watched as eleven technicians fidgeted in their seats. The twelfth was snoring softly, and he motioned for someone to wake the man.
          "It's not my fault! I wasn't even there at the time. You can't prove it!" the man shouted as he was nudged awake.
          The Chief executive shook his head as the sheepish technician resumed his seat.
          He continued. "A new AT fresh from this school can tell you that oil is a black, dark brown or greenish liquid found in porous rock formations, and consists of a mixture of hydrocarbons. Heck, they can even tell you what SAE means. Apparently what they can't do is change the oil in your car.
          "We spend millions of dollars a year training ATs here at DND Motors Institute of Technology, yet first day on the job five out of ten ATs couldn't find the oil filter, and three out of ten couldn't recognise it when they did. Only one in ten could look it up in our tech manuals, and none of them could fill out the paperwork to order one. That's where you people come in."
          "You want us to order you an oil filter?" one of the ATs piped up.
          The Chief ignored the man. "I have been mandated by the CEO of DND Motors to totally redesign the training syllabus here at the school. It will be your job to bring our Automotive Technician Training program into the future. This team will redesign the new AT Course, ensuring a hands-on approach and utilizing cutting-edge training aids to ensure that when an AT leaves this school and arrives at any one of our garages around the country, he hits the ground running on his first day.
          "It's not enough that he's read about how to change the oil, set the timing, or install the GPS system; we want to make sure they've actually, physically done it. Out of all the AT's at DND Motors nationwide, you have the honor of developing the new Automotive Technical Manual. You will set the standard for training. The future is bright and shiny folks, and this is our top priority. Money is no object."
          He had their attention now. "Each of you has been specifically chosen because you were here at the school and weren't doing anything else at the time of your individual specialties and in-depth knowledge and experience in automotive maintenance. The team will consist of 6 Class A mechanics who are responsible for researching and tech writing the actual course material, as well as creating the lesson plans, choosing the training aids, and developing the tests. You will assign work to other mechanics and oversee their work to ensure that it meets with the standards we will set.
          "There are also two Shop Supervisors who will be responsible for proofreading the material, one Floor Manager who will handle logistics, and a Junior Executive who will report your progress to me. And then there's myself, because of course the CEO doesn't want the likes of you talking to him directly.
          He was losing them again, he realized. He checked the clock and made a mental note not to schedule then next meeting at 11:45 AM.
          "So, to sum up: Set the standard, bright shiny future, top priority, money is no object. Are there any questions?"
          One of the ATs raised his hand. "Yes, sir. Just which vehicle are we to develop this manual for?"
          "For an automotive vehicle."
          The AT persisted. "Yes, but which one? I mean, is it the Road Hog, the Guzzler, or the sporty new Penis Compensator. Or maybe it's for one of our motorcycles?"
          The Chief looked annoyed now. "It's....you know....an automotive vehicle." He motioned for his aid. "Take that man's name," he whispered when his flunky arrived. "I'm sure we have a few open midnight shifts over Christmas that haven't been filled yet."
         The AT wouldn't give up. "So you want us to design a tech manual for a vehicle, but we don't know what kind of vehicle?"
          "Exactly. Look, how hard can it be? Just pick a generic motor. After all, a motor's a motor, right?"
          "Um....no."
          The Chief glanced at his watch. T-off was in ten minutes. He didn’t have time for this. "Look, I'm confident you're up to the task. After all, you all volunteered for this."
          "Actually, sir, this is the first I've heard of this," the AT said.
          The Chief looked momentarily confused. "Ah....bright shiny future, top priority....you'll love it. Trust me. Are there any more questions? Good, then I'll leave you to it."

14 Oct - The DND Motors Saga: Part 2

          "Okay, folks, " the Floor Manager addressed his newly formed team. "Congratulations on being chosen as a member of the new Course Retrofit And Planning Team. As members of CRAP, we have our work cut out for us. The Powers That Be have laid out a timeline to chart our progress, with milestones indicating where in the development of the course we should be at any given time. As you'll note, they've given us one year to complete the project."
          One of the mechanics raised his hand. "Um, according to that chart we started development last month?"
          The FM nodded. "That's right, we're already one month behind, and let me tell you, the CEO isn't happy about that."
          "But....but..."
          "DND Motors recently convened a panel of Shop Supervisors, Floor Mangers and Junior Executives," the FM continued, ignoring further protests from the team. "There was even a mechanic or two on the panel."
          "You mean someone who knows what they're doing?" another team member piped up.
          "No," the FM said. "Someone had to serve the coffee and donuts. Anyway, they all got together and decided exactly what we should teach--and how--and they've written it down in this book right here. For example, Task 1 is "Change oil Filter," task 37 is "Install CD Changer," and task 234 is "Replace Points."
          "Excuse me, but all our cars have electronic ignition," another mechanic said. "We haven't used points for over ten years now."
          "Hmm...." the FM thought about if for a minute. "Doesn't our training vehicle here at the school still use points?"
          "Well, yeah," another mechanic agreed, "But it's a 1929 DND Wanker. I thought we were supposed to go with new, cutting edge technology?"
          "I'll just make a note of that, then," the FM said. "But I'm sure they know what they're doing, so until they get back to us we'll just go ahead and develop that teaching point anyway."
          One of the Shop Supervisors stood up. He had a clipboard in his hand, so he was obviously important. "Our first job will be to take all the individual tasks and assign them to specific areas. For instance, oil changes, spark plugs and such might fall under Engine; door panels, moulding, and such could fall under Chassis; and CD Car Deck, GPS Navigation System, and LCD DVD Player could fall under Electronics."
          He looked expectantly around the table at the team members seated there. "I'm sure we can waste spend at least a few months arguing about the best way to organise the course."
          "What a crock!" one of the mechanics shouted. "I've never heard of anything so stupid in my life."
          "That's the spirit," the shop supervisor said, and took his seat.
          "Well, if we're going to do this I suppose we should get started," one of the mechanics said. "Could we get some pens, pencils and paper?"
          The FM looked shocked. "Do you think we're made of money? I might be able to get us a couple of pens to share, and I think I can bring in a pad of paper from home."
          "But I thought we had an unlimited budget?" the mechanic said.
          "Well, yeah," the FM agreed. "But that doesn't mean they're going to let us spend any of it."
          "I suppose asking for computers then is out of the question?"
          The FM developed a nervous twitch at that one, so the rest of the team thought it best to let the matter drop.

15 Oct - The DND Motors Saga: Part 3

          The FM of the CRAP team stuck his head into the Junior Executive's office. "Could I have a word with you for a moment, sir?"
          "Sure, just let me close down this important project I'm working on first," the JE said from behind his computer. "Let's see, red Jack goes on the black Queen and...damn, lost again!" He looked up from his monitor. "How can I help you, FM?"
          "Well, to be honest, sir, some of the men are a little concerned about their jobs. Apparently some of them are hoping to be promoted to Shop Supervisor some day."
          "Hah!" the JE snorted. Then, "Oh, you were serious."
          "Yes, sir. It's just that with them being so busy and all, and this project being such a high priority, we don't want to take them away from their work. That means that they're not allowed to join the Let's Give Some Money to Blind Folks foundation, or the Tax Grab for the Homeless fund--not to mention organise big beer bashes company festivities. And since they're on the team they don't have any apprentices, which means they can't be judged on all those things that make a good Shop Supervisor--bullying, intimidation, passing the buck, taking credit...."
          "Whoa, hold on there," the JE interrupted. "Those last two are JE responsibilities."
          "Right, sorry sir."
          "Anyway, tell them not to worry," the JE confided. "Let's face it, the jobs they're doing are already way above what's expected of a Class A Mechanic. And this is such a high profile job....bright shiny future, top priority, set the standard, blah blah blah. We'll take care of 'em when the time comes."
          "Thanks, sir," the FM said, relieved. The team will be glad to hear that."
          "Well, this really is top priority. We can't have them wasting time with trivial things that don't contribute to the success of the project."
          "Right." The FM turned to leave, but the JE stopped him.
          "By the way, the CEO needs someone to walk his dog this afternoon. And my car needs detailing. And doesn't your wife need someone to pick up her dry cleaning?"
          The FM nodded.
          "Good, get the team on that right away, will you?"
          "Yes, sir. BTW, any luck getting those pens and paper we asked for?
          "Hah!....oh, you were serious again, weren't you. I, um...staffed it up. We should be getting them any day now."

16 Oct - The DND Motors Saga: Part 4

          A Shop Supervisor (the one with the clipboard) addressed the CRAP team. "Well, it's been four months now and we've come to a consensus on the course layout. Apparently we underestimated our ability to waste time the complexity of decisions that were involved in ensuring the course was properly laid out."
          "What's he saying?" one of the ATs whispered to another seated beside him.
          "He's saying we're behind again."
          "Oh."
          "Now it's time to get down to business," the SS continued. "This first bit shouldn't be that hard, so we've divided it up into three groups: Changing the Tire; Replenishing Fluids; and Cleaning the Interiors. Those subjects were just beefed up last year, so this should be a walk in the park. We just have to clean the lessons up a bit, and add some practical exercises. I know I'm thinking outside the box here, but I thought maybe we could actually have them change a tire, or replace the wiper fluid."
          "Oooh, how radical, " the second SS (the one without the clipboard) said.
          "Any word on our pens and paper yet?" one of the ATs asked.
          The first SS glared at the AT, who squirmed uncomfortably in his chair.
          "Never mind."
          "We have all our reference material, and the old lesson plans, so I'm go assign two ATs to each subject, and we'll go from there," The SS said.
           He could see the team was fired up, now. "We've really come together as a team these last few months. You've all proven what valuable assets you are, and we have The Senior Executive's word that no one's going anywhere until the job is done. Imagine the sense of accomplishment you'll feel when we see this through till the end?....bright shiny future....set the standard....top priority, blah blah blah."
          "There's no time to waste, " the second SS said, rising from the table. "We have lots of work ahead of us, and we're already behind, so let's have at it."
          "Yes, boss!" The team responded in unison.
          "By the way," The first SS said, "The JE needs someone to walk his dog again for the next three afternoons, I need one of you to fold my laundry, and we're all expected to show up for the CEO's birthday party all day Friday, so we have to spend the next two mornings from 09:00 until 10:30 practicing shouting "Surprise" in unison, and singing Happy Birthday."
          "Yay," the team responded, with slightly less enthusiasm.
          "Um...SS?" one of the AT's raised his hand.
          "Yes."
          "I've been looking over this lesson plan, and it's all been cut and pasted from this textbook here, and..."
          "What?"
          "It's word for word out of this textbook we're using," the AT said, looking slightly confused.
          "Well, we can't have that. That's copywrite infringement. We're just going to have to write our own textbooks."
          Silence fell over the room. The ATs looked stunned.
          "Um....shouldn't you at least be an automotive engineer to write a textbook--or at least someone with a grasp of English grammar?" one of the ATs asked. Everyone looked to another of the ATs who had spelled his name wrong on his nametag. "Couldn't we purchase the rights to the material, or buy textbooks for all the students?"
          "Bah," the SS scoffed. "You know how much that would cost? Nope, I'm sure you folks will do just fine."
          "But it usually takes someone years to write a textbook, doesn't it?" the other SS asked.
          "What's your point?" the first SS said.
          "Right," the second SS nodded knowingly. "Well, I guess we'd better get to work--right after Birthday Practice."

17 Oct

          The last agent that requested the partial to DARKSIDE said no. That's about 40 agents, so I guess that's it. Time to trunk this one.

The DND Motors Saga: Part 5

          "I've called this meeting to explain the new change in command structure," the JE said from the head of the table. He noted the "what now?" look that passed over the CRAP team member's faces, and took a deep breath. "From now on we'll come under the Administration umbrella, as opposed to the Production section. This is purely an administrative function, though, and really won't affect the way we do business."
          "Then why bother?" one of the ATs asked.
          "We're trying to free up your time so that you can devote your full attention to your work. So what this means is that whenever Production has one of their time consuming parties, or sports afternoons--well, you belong to Administration, so you won't have to go. However, if I need someone to walk my dog, get the FM's dry cleaning, or attend the CEO's upcoming Anniversary Celebration--well then you belong to Production, so it's all right."
          "Does that mean that if Administration has a party we can go?" one of the ATs asked.
          "Of course not," the JE said. "In that case you'd belong to Production."
          "That sucks," on of the mechanics muttered, "just like our last performance evaluation." He looked accusingly at the JE.
          "Well, what did you expect?" the JE snorted. "Not one of you belong to the Let's Give Some Money to Blind Folks foundation, or the Tax Grab for the Homeless fund, or even has an apprentice."
          The CRAP team sat around the table in sullen silence. One of the mechanics was writing furiously on a piece of paper (one that he'd obviously brought from home). "All work and no play make Jack a dull boy," he'd scribbled over and over again.
          The JE shook his head. There's no Jack on the team, he thought.
          "It's about time we thought about training aids," the JE began. "There are a lot of innovative teaching methods out there, and in an effort to be cutting edge the Powers that Be feel we should do our utmost to make use of them. To that end, there's a big Trade Show down in Tijuana next month, chock full of computer simulations, mockups and holographic displays that could bring our instruction into the 20 Century."
          "Sir, this is the 21 Century," the SS with the clipboard told him.
          The JE thought about it for a moment. "What's your point?" he asked. The SS shrugged, so the JE carried on. "Anyway, we've decided to send as many members of the crap team as possible down to Tijuana to pick up hookers and play golf check it out.
          That perked the team up, the JE noted. "To that end, the FM, the two SSs, and myself will fly down for three weeks to evaluate the Trade Show."
          "I thought the Trade show was only a week long?" the SS without the clipboard said, but fell silent at a glare from the JE.
          "Um...wouldn't it make sense to send at least one of the mechanics--you know, the people who are actually designing the course?" the FM asked.
          "Don't be ridicules," the JE said. "Not one of them even plays golf. Besides, we'll tell them all about it when we get back. We'll even take pictures."
          "Oh, that's better, then, " the FM said.
          "By the way," JE added, "The request for pens and paper is sitting on the Senior Executive's desk, so we should be getting them any month now."

*******

          The FM stood at the head of the table, looking somewhat more tanned now that they'd returned from Tijuana. "First off, some of you are concerned that we're wasting too much time in meeting after meeting--time that could be better spent developing course material. I heartily agree, and so have scheduled a meeting at 14:00 hours to discuss that very topic. Note that this is just after the meeting on Time Management, and just before the meeting on Dental Hygiene."
          He waited while the team took note of the schedule. (Some had brought crayons from home.) "Next on the agenda, I'd just like to report that our trip to Tijuana was a rousing success. We played a gazillion holes of golf, and then went to the Trade Show, where we played Worlds of War Craft, and Oblivion, and I won the JE a Care Bear at the dunk tank, and..."
          "Did you see anything that the team might find useful in developing the Automotive Maintenance Course?" one of the mechanics asked.
          "Um....we brought you guys back these snazzy complimentary pens?" the FM offered, and passed them out.
          "Ooooh...cool. Did you bring any complimentary paper?"
          "D'oh!"
          "Anyway," the SE interrupted, "The CEO has noted that we're getting a bit behind, so in order to fill the gap I've come up with a plan whereby we'll send the current crop of students to K-Tel College for training in the meantime."
          "Isn't that a mail-order college?" a mechanic asked. "The one where you can get a diploma if you can draw Sparky?"
          "Er...yes."
          "It's based out of Tijuana, isn't it?"
          The SE blushed. "Co-incidentally, it is."
          "How do they plan on putting a DND Mechanic's course together on such short notice?" another mechanic asked.
          "That's the beauty of the plan," the SE said. "They're going to teach the course using all our course materials, and a bunch of ex-DND instructors--they're just not going to include any hands-on work."
          "Er....if they're using our lessons, and our instructors, then why don't we just teach it ourselves?" the SS asked.
          "Yeah, right," the SE scoffed. "How would that possibly make me look good?"
          No one had an answer.
          "Right, and speaking of looking good, you've people done a great job on the first part of the course so far, but we'll have to put that task on hold for a bit. Sure, we're slightly behind schedule--especially since we had the whole "re-write the textbook" fiasco tasking--but DND motors has discovered a fleet of twenty 2002 DND Cheapos they think might work to replace those 1929 Wankers we're using as automotive trainers. We'd like you to waste at least another few months check them out to see if they're compatible with our needs. We're going to send you mechanics out to our storage facility in the middle of nowhere Bugtussle to take a look at them."
          "Well, they're not exactly cutting edge--but they're better than the Wankers," a mechanic grumbled as the meeting ended. "And maybe we can scrounge some paper while we're in Bugtussle."

18 Oct - The DND Motors Saga: Finis

          "Well, folks, " the JE said from the head of the table. "I know you recommend we use the twenty Cheapos DND Motors has in storage, but there's a bit of a snag."
          "We were afraid of that," the FM said. "Sure, they're a lot better than the Wanker, but they're still not cutting edge."
          "Oh, that's not it," the JE said. "It's just that someone has offered to buy the Cheapos for $10 a piece, and DND Motors hasn't decided whether to sell it to them or give them to us."
          "But...they'll only make $200 dollars if they sell them, and they'll save, like, $600,000 in training aids if they give them to us," the FM said.
          The JE blinked. "What's your point?"
          "Er...ah...."
          "What we need from you is a comparison analysis," the JE went on. "We'd like you to compare which courses you could teach using the old Wanker, as opposed to which ones you could teach using the Cheapo, and then compare that to something more cutting edge....say the Starship Enterprise."
          "But, isn't that the job of the guys in procurement?" a mechanic asked. "We're not qualified to make those decisions, not to mention the amount of time it'll take away from actually developing the course like we're supposed to be doing."
          "Bah," the JE scoffed. "The procurement guys are too busy with the Let's Give Some Money to Blind Folks foundation, or the Tax Grab for the Homeless fund. They'll never get promoted if they waste time doing their actual job."
          "I see," the SS with the clipboard agreed.
          "Look, the problem is the we can't get parts for the Cheapo because it's still in production," the JE said. "They can't spare parts for the school, because they're needed in the garages. What good would it be if it broke down, and then you couldn't get parts to fix it?"
          "So what we need is a car that they're not making any more?" the FM suggested.
          "Noooo, because they're not making parts for cars that aren’t in production."
          "So, so..."
          "Obviously the easiest solution is to continue using the Wanker," the JE concluded.
          "But it doesn't have GPS," the FM said.
          "We could put a map in the glove box, and I think I've saved up enough Cap'n Crunch cereal box tops that we can get some compasses, too."
          "Why don't we just have them roll down the windows and ask for directions?" the SS with the clipboard asked.
          "Now you're talking," the JE said, the sarcasm lost on him.
          "If we're just going to use the Wanker, and we can't get any training aids so they can get hands on experience, why are we bothering?" a mechanic asked.
          "Because," the JE said.
          "Oh, yeah, right. Sorry."
          "Look, we'll get some training aids eventually? Maybe a CD player or two. In about five years," the JE answered. "In the meantime, how's the course coming along?"
          "Um...well, they're just about done the first set of courses we assigned them. It wasn't that hard, considering we were just re-writing stuff we already had," the FM said. "Now comes the hard part, though. We've got a lot of new material to cover--stuff we've never taught before, so we have our work cut out for us. Luckily the team is up to snuff. They've really learned to not kill each other work well together, and I feel confident that the 12 of us can deliver it on time.
          "Oh, yeah, I forgot," the JE mentioned as he was leaving for lunch. "The SS without the clipboard is being moved to our plant in Hooterville, two of the mechanics are going to the garage in Dogpatch, and the CEO is leaving to run GM."
          "But, the CEO promised no one was going anywhere until this project was completed. Bright shiny future...money's no object....top priority...You've got to do something," the FM said, panicked.
          "Not me, " the JE said. "I quit. They've offered me a job at K-Tel collage in Tijuanna. What are the odds of that?"

*********

          "I have a problem," one of the mechanics said to the sole remaining SS on the team.
          "Go see the nurse. I'm sure they have an ointment for it," the SS said.
          "It's with one of the instructors in Production."
          The SS raised an eyebrow. "Then make sure you both get some ointment."
          "It's not that." The mechanic rolled his eyes. "He's totally rewritten the course we provided him with--the one on changing tires? He's not following the Book 'o Rules the Powers that Be sent us or anything, and he's teaching them all sorts of stuff they said wasn't necessary."
          "Like what?"
          "Like the History of Rubber, The Die and Casting of Lug Nuts, How to Use Your Hubcap as a Survival Tool in Case of Nuclear Attack..."
          The SS sighed. "I'll have a talk with him. We spent months on those lessons; he'll just have to work with what we gave him."
          "Good luck," the mechanic said. "He deleted them, and our backups, too."
          "I'll go talk to his boss--right after the meeting on where to meet for the next meeting."
          "Hold on there a second," the FM said as he entered the room. "I've got your assignments for the next group of lessons."
          The four remaining mechanics and the SS sat down around the table. They pulled out their snazzy complimentary gift pens, and some paper they'd scrounged while at the storage facility in Bugtussle, and waited expectantly.
          "As you know the CRAP team has suffered some personnel losses recently, so we're going to have to double up on assignments," the FM said. "Who worked on Changing Tires?"
          One of the mechanics raised his hand. His partner had already moved to Dogpatch.
          "You'll be developing the Engine lessons, which include everything from theory on how an internal combustion engine works, maintenance of the combustion engine, replacing the engine, tuning, blah blah blah. I know you and your partner took 6 months to develop Changing Tires, but you'll have to go this one alone, and you only have 1 month."
          The mechanic paled. "Uh, sure. No problem. A question, though?"
          The FM nodded.
          "Back when we started, you mentioned something about letting us Instant Message to other mechanics across the country, so that we could pick their brains. Can we expect to see that any time soon?"
          The FM snorted. "Do you have any idea what IM costs?"
          "It's...um...free."
          "Not the way we do it," the FM said. "Look, we'll try to get you help from some of the mechanics in Production. They're not teaching right now, and the JE in Production has promised their help--if we can drag them away from their work with Let's Give Some Money to Blind Folks foundation, or the Tax Grab for the Homeless fund."
          "Well, I guess we have our work cut out for us," the SS said after he'd given one of the other mechanics his assignment--the entire electric system, including GPS, DVD player, ignition system..... "Bright shiny future...top priority...money's no object..."
          "Right," the FM agreed.
          "What about us?" one of the mechanics said, pointing to his buddy. "You didn't give us an assignment."
          "Oh yeah, right," the FM said. "You two are being moved to our plant in Hooterville. But thanks for playing."

***********

          "We have a problem," the FM said. "Well, actually, you have a problem."
          The two mechanics squirmed uncomfortably in their chairs.
          "Current projections show that there's no way in hell it's possible we're not going to have the new course ready for the projected start date....tomorrow. We have the first three classes ready, though, so we'll start the students there, and you boys are just going to have to work like mad to keep ahead of them."
          "Can we get a few more mechanics to help us out?" one of the mechanics asked. "The guys in Production aren't doing anything."
          "I'll see what I can do," the FM said, "but most of them are busy with Birthday Practice. The janitor's turning the big four-o next week. Those that aren't at Birthday Practice are on the Babysitting Course. I know the boys in Production would like to help, but priorities, you know."
          "I thought this was top priority," the SS said.
          "Not any more," the FM said, sheepishly. "But it's still bright shiny future!"
          The mechanics noted the FM couldn't even look them in the eye when he said that. "We'd better get back to work."
          "Not so fast," the FM said. "The CEO is presenting the team with an award for completing the new course on time. You all have to be in the main lobby for grips and grins at 11:30."
          "But, we're not even close to being finished," the SS said.
          The FM shook his head at the SS's naivety. "The CEO promised the Powers that Be that the course would start on time, and it is--tomorrow. He kept his promise, so he's taking his performance bonus and promotion and heading off to our main plant in Metropolis."
          "What happens when the new CEO finds out that we've only complete three classes?"
          The FM grinned. "Well, then, that'll be his problem, won't it?"

********

          The FM called the surviving CRAP team members to the table. "It's been two months, and the students have caught up to us. The next course isn't ready yet, and they're due to start tomorrow. We have no choice but to cease training."
          The members looked relieved. "Does this mean we'll have time to properly develop the rest of the course?"
          "Yes, it does," the FM said.
          "Woohoo!" the mechanics shouted, hi-fiving each other.
          "Not only that, but we're going to restructure the team," the FM continued. "I know you two mechanics have been working hard, doing the work that six of you used to do, all the while co-ordinating with Production and writing textbooks. We've studied the problem up and down, and we realised where the problem lies."
          "There aren't enough mechanics on the team?"
          "No," the FM said. "Obviously you guys need more supervision."
          "Huh?" the mechanics said in unison.
          "That's right," the FM said. "From now on there will be one SS in charge of every class to be developed. That way it frees you up of all those pesky responsibilities, and any control you had over the course you've been working on for the last year. You'll just be another cog in the wheel, easily replaceable. If I need you for, say, Birthday Practice, I can just assign you to it and get someone else to take over where you left off. I hear the janitor is itching for a go at it."
          The mechanics looked crestfallen. "So the team is being disbanded?"
          "Noooo," the FM said. "There's still a team. You're just not a part of it anymore."
          "So much for any chance at promotion," one mechanic said to the other.
          "Look, I don't see the problem here. I look good, because I came up with a plan to save the new course, and the SSs look good, because with Production shut down they were out of work, but now they have jobs supervising you guys. And you guys will still be doing the same basic job you were before--you just won't be getting any credit for it now. As a matter of fact, the mechanics are they only people getting screwed over here. It's win-win for me."
          "Yeah" the mechanics muttered.
          "Back to work," the FM said. "And, oh yeah, there'll be no vacation time until moral improves."

END

19 Oct - The Lord Giveth and the Lord Taketh Away

          My cubicle at work is in the back corner, out of the way where no one can see me, and everyone forgets about me as long as I keep quiet. (Okay, so that rarely happens.) And I have this great office chair. It has this really high back which isn't that comfortable normally, but if I put my feet up on my desk it's juuuust right.
          It's a shame I have a sleeping disorder, or this would have been the perfect job

And.....

          Do you folks get that commercial before the movie starts--the one sponsored by Chapters.Indigo where the young boy is trying to pass a note to some girl and the teacher catches him and says, "Something to share with the class?"
          (My first reaction to that is, "If I wanted to share it with the class I'd have written it on the blackboard, bitch," but I digress.)
          She then proceeds to read the note out loud, which goes like this:

How tired I am of this unbearable distance between us
How I long for the toll of the recess bell
Have you forgotten me?
Grown mindless of me?
Tell me I am not writing into an abyss
Or that is what will become of my heart


What a nazi! I mean, you just know that kid is going to spend recess in his locker with his underwear pulled up over his head now.
          Good commercial, though. *g*

20 Oct - The 70 Questions Meme

1. The phone rings. Who do you want it to be?
God--telling me he's made a big mistake and he's going to rectify all the crappy things in my life--as soon as I stop calling Her Him.

2. When shopping at the grocery store, do you return your cart?
Yeah, but the postage is a killer.

3. In a social setting, are you more of a talker or a listener?
A talker, who really should listen to what he's saying--or at least apply a 10 second delay for editing purposes..

4. Do you take compliments well?
I don't know. Try me and see.

5. Are you an active person?
Nah. I'd explain in more detail, but I have to go for a run, weight train for about 45 minutes, practice my martial arts, practice the drums, go shopping with Pen, and see a movie--and I'm still a little tired from driving into the city last night to see Lewis Black.

6. If abandoned alone in the wilderness, would you survive?
No problem. Maybe even at your expense. Bwa ha ha!

7. Do you like to ride horses?
Sure. And they smell waaaay better than camels. Trust me.

8. Did you ever go to camp as a kid?
I have this memory of going to some sort of bible camp by a river, when I was visiting my grandmother in New Brunswick, but I don't know if it's a true memory or not.

9. What was your favorite game as a kid?
Hide and seek. I was so good, there's this one kid that's still looking for me.

10. If a sexy person was pursuing you, but you knew he/she was married, would you get involved with him/her?
Hell no! (Did I answer that one right, Pen? *grovel*)

11. Are you judgmental?
Only to people who deserve it.

12. Could you date someone with different religious beliefs than you?
Sure. For instance, Bob at work is about 45 years old, and he's Jewish, and I'd say Sharon is about 32, and she's Catholic. Oh, you mean date. Never mind.

13. Do you like to pursue or be pursued?
Depends, am I armed or not?

14. Can you speak another language?
I can barely spoke dis one.

15. If you had to choose, would you rather be deaf or blind?
Depends, which one are they closest to curing?

16. What's your favorite food?
Spaghetti. Hey, there's nothing funny about spaghetti, sorry.

17. Do you know how to shoot a gun?
Ha ha ha!

18. If your house was on fire, what would be the first thing you grabbed?
The fire extinguisher.

19. How often do you read books?
Usually only once. Then I start a new one.

20. Do you think more about the past, present or future?
Presently I'm thinking about the past. But in the past I've tended to think about the future. In the future, I think I'll strive to think more about the present..

21. What is your favorite children's book?
Green Eggs and Ham. Hey, there's nothing funny about Dr. Suess. Er….well, I suppose there is, but….never mind.

22. What color are your eyes?
Green, with gold flecks--except when they're bluish grey. Honest.

23. How tall are you?
Mentally? About 6'3". Physically, about 5'6".

24. Where is your dream house located?
Beach front on a tropical Island somewhere, a short ride from a major cultural center..

25. Last person you talked to on the phone?
My wife, probably.

26. Have you ever taken pictures in a photo booth?
Why would I take a picture in a photo booth? Doesn't it come equipped with its own camera?

27. When was the last time you were at Olive Garden?
Several years ago, but only because there hasn't been one in any of the places I've lived recently.

28. What are your keys on your key chain for?
Opening or starting things.

29. What's your favorite color?
Black, because it brings me candy. Red and I used to be tight, but it told nasty stories about me behind my back.

30. Where was the furthest place you traveled today?
Barrie.

31. Where is your current pain at?
Probably at his house, writing my evaluation.

32. Do you like mustard?
Why, what has it said about me?

33. Do you prefer to sleep or eat?
Eat, I suppose, but only because I flunked sleeping.

34. Do you look like your mom or dad?
My Dad. I mean, come on, Mom's a woman.

35. How long does it take you in the shower?
About 45 minutes. Oh, you mean to shower. About 15.

36. Can you do splits?
Why would I do the splits when I can pay other people to do them for me?

37. What movie do you want to see right now?
Man of the Year.

38. Do you put lotion on your dog or cats?
I do not have a dog or a cat.

39. What did you do for New Year's?
Went out to a New Year's party with the kids.

40. Do you think The Grudge was scary?
I find horror movies today are startling, not scary. The Grudge was kinda creepy, though.

41. What was the cause of your last accident?
Hey, I haven't had an accident since I was potty trained--about 12 years ago.

42. Do you own a camera phone?
I pay for a few, but I don't own one myself.

43. What are you drinking?
Diet Pepsi.

44. Was your mom a cheerleader?
She went to a one room schoolhouse, so doubtful.

45. What's the last letter of your middle name?
H, or Y

46. Who did you vote for on American Idol?
Never watched it. Ever.

47. How many hours of sleep do you get a night?
4-5. And they SUCK! (But I'm not bitter.)

48. Do you like Care Bears?
Why, what have they said about me?

49. What do you buy at the movies?
A ticket, popcorn, and a pop. We usually bring our own chocolate.

50. Do you know how to play poker?
Only minimally.

51. Do you wear your seatbelt?
Always. I'm too big for the safety seat now.

52. What do you wear to sleep?
The troubles of the world.

53. Anything big ever happen in your hometown?
Half the downtown burnt down once, and it took the fire department 45 minutes to get there, even though the station was 2 minutes down the road. Can you say insurance scam?

54. How many meals do you eat a day?
2 maybe, and snacking..

55. Is your tongue pierced?
Never!

56. Do you always read MySpace bulletins?
Never!

57. Do you have pets?
Never! (Wow, this meme is getting easy.)

58. Do you like funny or serious people better?
Never! Oops. I mean, um…let's see, what day is it?

59. Ever been to LA?
Nope. But I've been to TEE and DOE.

60. Did you eat a cookie today?
Day ain't over yet.

61. Do you use cuss words in other languages?
Merde! No.

62. Do you steal or pay for your music downloads?
I pay. It's like a buck a song folks.

63. Do you hate chocolate?
Bwa ha ha!

64. What do you and your parents fight about the most?
Nothing. I'm an adult now (mostly).

65. Is your cell usually on vibrate or ring?
Wow, prisons are so high tech nowadays.

66. Are you a gullible person?
Nah.

67. Do you need a boyfriend/girlfriend to be happy?
Well, a girlfriend is nice, but those boyfriend/girlfriend types make me nervous.

68. If you could have any job (assuming you have the skills) what would it be?
Professional musician, football player.

69. Are you easy to get along with?
Fuck yeah, and if anyone says otherwise I'll tear their heads off.

70. What is your favorite time of day?
Quite time?