The thoughts of a writer.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

How to Deal with Annoying People at Work

Every work place has individuals who can make your workday unpleasant. There are various ways to deal with these situations, but one of the most constructive ways is to find such people new job opportunities. Just make sure as you look for jobs for yourself (to escape the annoying people), that you send any good opportunities to the unpleasant people--in case they want to leave on their own.

Déjà Vu

Who are these two people? I'm not particularly talented at drawing, so it could be lots of people. I drew this picture of two people, for no particular reason. The interesting part about it is that while these people may resemble certain individuals who may play a role in my daily activities, they also resemble certain individuals from my past work with the county. How is it that this unlikely duo, could reemerge in the guise of two unique, new individuals, yet share many of the same traits as those from the past?

In some ways, it is freaky. I'm in a new place in a new time and "poof!" I'm "transported back to another time and place where the names and faces are different; though the similarities are too close to ignore! Is this "déjà vu" a sign that I need to find a change? Or, maybe it is just preparing me for the inevitable changes that result when certain characteristics exert themselves unchecked on the larger environment.

Fortunately, I find that while the comfort zone may have been breached slightly, the fact remains that the underlying evil within the past is mostly absent (as I currently see it) in the present. Still, as history has a way of repeating, the resemblances are truly astounding!

Killer Whale Surprises People by Killing

I know the story is sad, but it isn't new. This same scenario has occurred before. Yesterday a Killer Whale, also known as an Orca, killed a trainer at SeaWorld. Normally these intelligent animals do not kill humans. That said, should we really be surprised that a captive orca that has killed twice before, would become annoyed with a tiny primate that is forcing it to do tricks? When the whale has the "unhappy looking," bent dorsal fin characteristic of captive whales, should we be so surprised that it (pun) "went off the deep end?" They are called, Killer Whales for a reason. They are the top predator in their realm. They are intelligent and have families. So why should we expect that one of these creatures should be happy living in a tank away from its family? Maybe it is time to free these whales, instead of exploiting them for entertainment income.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Cutris Speaks About His Wood

Cutris Speaks About His Wood
UnAssociated Press
February 23, 2010

People began questioning Cutris, about his decision to award himself a wooden medal in Olympic figure skating. It all came about after Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko awarded himself a platinum medal. The main question seems to be, "why did he choose wood?"

In a press conference early this morning, Cutris said that "wood is the best," because it is renewable and because beavers like it. Sporting his new wooden medal, Cutris evoked the image of a true patriot. And why not? This isn't the first time that Cutris' wood has been in the news. He once used wood to promote his novel, "Cottonwood." This is also not the first time that Cutris has been in the Olympics.

After the Press conference was over, many people seemed to agree with Cutris. One man even said out loud, "If you're going to be sporting a medal, you might-as-well be sporting wood!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cutris Awards Himself Wooden Medal

Cutris Awards Himself Wooden Medal
UnAssociated Press
February 22, 2010

Since Russian figure skater Evgeni Plushenko has awarded himself a platinum medal in figure skating, Cutris has now awarded himself a wooden medal for his his performance in figure skating at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

The Unnamed Creek

I just returned from hiking in the Black Dog Unit of the Minnesota Valley National Wildlife Refuge. It was an absolutely spectacular day! The sun was warm, yet I could follow the unnamed creek on the east end--all the way to Black Dog Lake! Normally in warmer seasons, the ground is too soft to walk out that far.

I saw hundreds of Common Mergansers in Black Dog Lake. I also saw a Red-Tailed Hawk, Canada geese, Robins, Cardinals, Chickadees and more. I've included a few photos below.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Third Eye

Third Eye
UnAssociated Press
February 19, 2010

Using special photographic technology, Cutris demonstrates his Third Eye. Also known as the Pineal Gland, this organ is said to be the link to a higher consciousness.

When asked about the legitimacy of the Third Eye theory, Cutris brought up the sonar abilities of dolphins and whales. "Compared to these animals," Cutris explained, "we're a bit behind in the 'learning curve.'"

Cutris demonstrates his "Third Eye."

The crowd gathered around seemed very impressed, until Cutris told them that he could "see with his butt" as well.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Attack Cardinal

Yesterday I decided that I had neglected my car long enough, and it was time to take it through the car wash. Later, I went to visit my parents between my two jobs. Apparently my parents have an "Attack Cardinal" in the neighborhood. It attacks it's own reflection in car mirrors!

After parking in my parents' driveway, I noticed that the bird was furiously fighting my driver's side mirror! I beeped my horn remotely, and it flew off. A few seconds later it was back at it again! Soon the horn beeps didn't phase it, as the male cardinal was viciously attacking the "intruder" in the mirror!

I decided that my car was bigger, so eventually I ignored it. Mom and dad told me that this bird regularly attacks the mirrors of parked cars. Later when I went out to go to work, I noticed that my mirror looked scratched! I was stunned! Surely that little bird couldn't have damaged my car!

I took some snow and rubbed the "scratches" out. Apparently it was only, "bird boogers." I had to grab some more snow and wipe off the door where this silly bird pooped. So much for washing your car when an attack bird is around the neighborhood!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cutris Goes for Olympic Gold

Cutris Goes for Olympic Gold
UnAssociated Press
February 17, 2010

Cutris nearly won the men's figure skating at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver. He also almost won the women's figure skating. While it was disappointing that he didn't win, Cutris did win "Best in Show."

Cutris shown after landing a stunning, "Triple Klutz."

A close-up shows the beauty of Cutris' routine.

Cutris' patented finishing move.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Bok Choy + Bach = Klingon

Bok Choy

+ Bach

= Klingon.

More precisely, it equates to what "sounds" like a Klingon language phrase. I will demonstrate in the video below.

Caution, Klingon is spoken loudly and harshly. Don't be frightened by the sound!


"The Wolfman" & "From Paris With Love" (Movies)

We went to see "The Wolfman" over the weekend. It was a bit gory, but a good movie. It is definitely worth seeing if you are a horror film fan.

We also saw "From Paris with Love." What a long strange trip it's been, since I remember John Travolta as Vinnie Barbarino in Welcome Back Kotter, back in the 1970's. Travolta's new look, and character are both impressive and at times, funny. This is one of the most action packed movies you could ever hope to see. I highly recommend it, though the content and language are not for everyone--especially children.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Pants Not on the Ground

Pants not on the ground, but the snow goes halfway up the pants!

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Still Snowing...

I think we caught up on our "below normal" snowfall.

Monday, February 08, 2010


"It's not just a commute, it's an adventure!"

Friday, February 05, 2010

Quintessential Cutris

"If I wasn't me, most likely I'd be someone else."

Thursday, February 04, 2010

One of "Those Calls"

Yesterday I got one of "those calls." My wife was on her way to the hospital. The scare was that it was a heart attack, which later, thankfully, we found out it wasn't.
Few things can affect us as profoundly as when someone we love is in peril. I was in my office when my cell phone rang with the news. I felt my body go through a series of physical changes as the emotions checked in.
As I stopped a moment after hanging up, I began to assemble a plan of action--resisting the urge to run out to the emergency unprepared.

I made some calls to relatives, bosses (for both my jobs) and cleared my schedule. After things were secured at work, I left for the hospital, armed with a set of directions I printed off of When I made my way to the emergency center, I was relieved to find my wife looking pretty good; despite all of the monitor equipment hooked up to her. After she was cleared by the doctor, we were able to leave. As my sense of calm returned, I recalled the feelings I had just experienced.

Throughout my life, I've had many good and bad experiences. Some of those things that hurt the most, I believe, have changed me the most. By and large, I like to think that I've become stronger, wiser and more capable. Without the bad experiences, I would not know how precious the good ones were. It is within those moments of crisis, that we learn most about ourselves--how we react and what we are capable of.

Being married for a little less than two years, I can remember how scary it felt to make the decision to "tie the knot." From my vantage point now, it was the best thing I could have ever done. Yesterday, that realization was reinforced, as I thought briefly about the possibility of losing the person I love the most.

Since my evening was cleared now, I picked up some pork chops on the way home, and made them along with some potatoes while my wife rested. I woke her up to eat, and slipped a homemade banana bread into the oven to bake. She loves banana bread. Today she was feeling much better, and although I'm not a doctor, I'm pretty sure that my banana bread helped. In fact, I think that the recuperative powers of my banana bread may be (almost) legendary!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Thinking about the Toyota Recall

This morning as I was driving to work, I noticed a newer model Toyota car driving past me on the shoulder of the freeway. The car had to be going about 90mph, and didn't seem to be able to stop. How ironic, I thought, that the number one selling car manufacturer in the world, now had problems with the accelerator sticking on numerous models. Initially, the problem was blamed on the floor mats, supposedly sticking to the accelerator pedal. Apparently, this was not the only problem. Now, still driving, I noticed a Toyota truck pass on the other side of my car. Horn blowing, the driver was apparently in a hurry and wanted everyone to get out of his way. Either that or his accelerator was stuck.

I just heard now, that it seems there is a problem with the brakes not working on the popular Prius Hybrid. I'm not sure, but it seems to me that this is a really bad combination. As I watched a new Prius crash through a fence on the edge of the freeway, it occurred to me that a stuck accelerator and a non-working brake could spell disaster. Upon this realization, I moved over a lane, to let a 2009 Camry zoom past. I caught a glimpse of the driver... terrifying sight! Luckily, the car seemed to be speeding up, so it was out of range in a few more seconds. I was just glad I didn't have to see that again!

As a 2010 Toyota RAV4 spun off the road up ahead, I thought about the irony that so many people thought Toyotas were the most reliable vehicles available. Reliable maybe, but I carefully turned my Ford Fusion onto my exit and continued on--as a 2007 Avalon narrowly missed me and ran into a duplex on the corner. Still, despite the fact that Toyota had been slow... no "sloth-like" in their response to the accelerator pedal issues, I was confident that they would... in time... fix the problem the same way that Japanese companies have done for decades. They would copy the way an American company did it. Then, after perfecting the process, they would undercut the competition by reducing prices through cost-cutting measures. Perhaps if they were smart... or lucky, the quality wouldn't suffer too much.

Almost to my destination, I passed the smoking remains of a late model Toyota Sequoia. Apparently it hadn't stopped in time to miss that huge tree. As I pulled into the driveway and parked my car, I couldn't help but feel good. I was optimistic, as I pressed the lock button on my Ford and went inside.