Field Notes From The Office

I noticed the microwave in the breakroom at work didn't have the time set. It doesn't flash 12:00; it's just blank. It's been that way for years since no one has ever bothered to set the time. So I thought it might be nice to finally get that done while I waited for my coffee to brew.

I set the clock to 2:30, because I figured a good way to start the day would be in the afternoon.

I love the cleaning crew at my work. They do a great job. I'm sure this would be a pretty gnarly place without them. I don't mean to complain; I'm simply confused how every evening, without fail, they manage to clean the men's rooms on all six floors at the exact same time (from 5 to 7, which is when I leave). Is this even physically possible, or are they just playing a joke on me? There's been an evening or two where I've seriously had to consider leaving a present in the parking lot.

I think Jim should be the new boss.

What's going on at your place of business? Who should take over for Michael?

The Teensy-Weensy Spider: A Guest Post of Tiny, Epic Proportions

Today's guest post is one I've been looking forward to for a long time. It's from my favorite older sister, Laurie. I would love to tell you that she made this whole story up, but then I'd be lying.

Laurie has a blog she attends to in the summers when she's not busy teaching school called Walking On Sunshine.

Alternatively Titled: The time I rendered my brother half naked and slapping himself on the side of the road with one softly spoken sentence

Ricky had a love affair as a young teenager. This happened long before he met my beautiful sister–in-law Jana. Her name was Maxine. She was two years younger than him. She was beautiful (in his eyes), and she stayed with him for three long years. She was great on dates (or so I am told), and she knew how to hold him just right in her seat.

Maxine was a 1982 Nissan Maxima. She was cool because she knew how to talk. Remember those cars that told you ‘the right door is ajar”? That was Maxine. She was a hand–me–down from our grandfather (Editor's Note: Not really. Laurie is older than me, and thus gets confused sometimes. My grandpa's old car was my next one, Charlotte). Ricky loved her dearly.

Right after Ricky got Maxine, he also got his learner’s permit. This meant he could drive with a much older, much more mature driver in his car. On this particular night, this meant me, being all of four years older. We decided to drive a few miles down the hill to go to Target. The road was straight with very little traffic, so it should have been an easy drive. We got in, buckled up, and were off. Ricky sat straight up in Maxine’s lap, gripped the steering wheel, and drove with extreme care.

About half way to our destination, he began to twitch his head and neck. Then he began to yell at me to stop bothering him. Since I wasn’t doing anything, I told him to keep his eyes on the road. His twitching behavior didn’t stop, and he again yelled at me. At this point, I looked over at him and saw a huge orange spider crawling on his neck. Knowing Ricky, and his fear of any moving bug (remember his bee admission?), I decided to be proactive.

“Ricky, pull over right now,” I said calmly. He pulled Maxine off the road. I reached over the turned on the hazards.

“Ricky, there is a huge, orange spider on your neck.”

What followed next was film worthy, but none of us had smart phones or even cell phones then. He literally opened the door, fell out of the car, stripped many layers of clothing off, began yelling, and frantically swatting himself. Thankfully the road was empty at the time, or someone might have called 911.

It took close to 20 minutes to calm him down, dress him, and get him back behind the wheel again. We never found the spider, and he now drives with one eye on the road, and the other looking for it.

I am not sure who kills the spiders in Ricky and Jana’s house, but I am pretty sure it isn’t Ricky.

Photopalooza, Part I

I didn't know custard was referred to as 'concrete'. But my real concern is the walleye flavored custard.

Bad picture, I know. The employees were watching me, and I didn't want to make them mad because they were about to make my burger. But if you can see it, there's a section of the menu for items 'under $4'. These items range in price from $3.99 to $5.

My buddy Chris strangling his new son.

Me treating him a bit better.

Mr. Philpott, before.

Mr. Philpott, now.

It's late at night and the dishwasher is still full of clean dishes you don't want to put away. You want to go to bed, but there's dirty dishes all over the counter and you don't want your pregnant wife to have to scrape them all off tomorrow. What do you do? That's right - rinse everything and stack it nicely. Then take a picture of it and post it on your blog. I'm sure she'll appreciate your thoughtfulness.'s the family? What's new? You haven't written in a while - did you have a good Christmas?


This Is Not Another Random Post. It Is Totally Focused, On a Number of Things

I've been noticing things we get praised for as kids are the same things no one cares about as adults: "My baby's a good eater! Yay!" Yeah? Well, so am I. My wife the nurse scolds me for this.

They make Nut 'n Honey Crunch again! It's called Kellogg's Crunch Nut now, but it's the same thing. Remember those Abbott and Costello-ish commercials? My favorite was the private and the drill sergeant in the mess hall. What was your favorite?

There's a sign in the breakroom from the Becker CPA exam review people. It says, "See how inspired YOU can be as a CPA!" There's a pad of mail-in sheets where you can send them your info in exchange for theirs. They'll call you, email you, and snail mail you. That pad has been there for 7.5 years, and not one sheet has ever been torn off. So I snagged one and filled it out for my buddy, Tyler Stanton. I think he'd make a great CPA, don't you?

I'm crazy excited and a bit scared for Friday's guest post...stay tuned!

What's going on in your world? We can talk cereal, kiddo accomplishments or pranks, your choice.


Stuff Popping Around In My Head, Part IV (Ivy) (Not Poison)

So apparently you're supposed to wash your coffee mug every day. One of my coworkers had an intervention with me the other day. Turns out the phrase 'that time of month' refers to something else...

Another one of my coworkers went out of town for a month and left his plant with me. I agreed to water it every day. It's been a week and a half now. The funeral service is tomorrow. This is the third office plant I've killed. Don't worry; my coworker's not dumb - he's new.

I ordered deodorant on Amazon two weeks ago. It got here today. Maybe Jana will let me come home now.

If you want to know where something is located in Babies Backwards R Us, let me know. It's become my home away from home. We spent 4 hours there last Saturday. Guess what we bought? That's right; a pacifier. That's it.

What color socks aren't you wearing?


What Are You Afraid Of?

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

Behind my tough and bespectacled geek exterior lies a little kid, frightened to death of certain things. Big scary things, like:
  • Bees. Guaranteed to make me run away, screaming like a girl. I will take a bullet for my wife. I would step into traffic to save her. Bees? You're on your own, Baby!
  • Heights. I get dizzy above 18". If you have anything you need done that's between here and there, I'll help you out. Otherwise, get out your Yellow Pages.
  • Driving in unfamiliar places. I have a horrible sense of direction. I could get lost in my own driveway. Throw me downtown in a strange city, and I'll be holding up traffic, going the wrong way down one-way streets, and botching parallel parking jobs in no time.
  • Planes. I've taken a hundred flights. I've crashed exactly zero times. Just know that even though I'm acting calm and politely giving you the window seat, inside my stomach's in knots and I could care less about being polite. You're just extra padding between me and the window I'm too scared to look out of.
What have you secretly been afraid of for years, and haven't had the guts to tell anyone? You can tell me; I'll keep it a public Internet secret, I promise.


Secret Phrases - Guest Post for Jared Clifton

Nothing to see here, so move along to Jared Clifton's site to see my guest post, Secret Phrases.

Let me know what you think!


Duking It Out With Pedro Martinez

Baseball was my life as a kid.

I lived in Albuquerque, so we didn't have a major league team.  We had the Dukes, who were the AAA farm team for the Dodgers.

We'd go to every game we could, anxiously bringing our little league gloves in the vain hope of catching a foul ball.  We cheered the home team, booed the umps and ate the hot dogs while watching the sun set on the Sandia mountains. Life was good, but the very best day was the day I met Eric Karros, Mike Piazza and Pedro Martinez.

All us kids* were lined up by the ramp leading from the locker room to the field. The Dukes ran out to start warming up. Some of the players strolled instead so they could meet fans and sign autographs.

Eric Karros and Mike Piazza were big shots. They knew they were headed for the big leagues, so they wouldn't sign autographs. However, they weren't so full of themselves that they wouldn't shake hands and say hello. All the kids were mobbing them, but I noticed one other player standing off by himself. Nobody was crowding Pedro Martinez because he was an unknown with little playing time.

I waltzed over and asked him for his autograph. Or, more accurately, I asked him for his brother's autograph. His brother, Ramón Martinez, was playing for the Dodgers at the time. Pedro didn't speak much English, so it got interesting.

Me: Here! Sign 'Ramón'!
Pedro: *Slapping his chest* Soy Pedro. 
Me: Yeah, yeah, I know. Sign 'Ramón'. 
Pedro: Soy Pedro! 
Me: Sign 'Ramón'!

He signed 'Ramón Martinez'. Then below it he signed 'Pedro Martinez'.

Then he ran on to the field, got traded and became one of the best things to happen to the Boston Red Sox. You're welcome, Baseball.

*Me use good grammar

What sports were you into growing up? Share some stories!


Levels of Geekery

If you've ever hung around a pack of wild geeks, you know what I'm talking about. Someone will talk about the latest gadget, and then the fun begins!

The Dabbler: I heard Blackberry came out with a new tablet. It's supposed to be better than the iPad.

The Hobbyist: That's what Gizmodo said, but you can never trust them for objective reviews.

The Midlevel, Normal, Reasonable Geek: You have to take everyone's opinion with a grain of salt. I think the iPad is still the best because it's the same price and there's more apps available. Plus, I heard Blackberry's tablet doesn't even have native email support.

The Beta Geek: That's like Apple making an iPod that doesn't support music!

The Alpha Geek: Well, it does support full 1080p video, which is nice, but the screen's smaller and the buttons are in odd places. This doesn't threaten the iPad. The real threat to the iPad is Android, regardless of the device the end user chooses. You see, vendor lock-in and proprietary software are the bane of the tech industry...

What level are you? Did I miss any?


Monday Morning RandoMness (See What I Did There? Alliteration! You're Welcome)

I'm trying out something new with the comments. Let me know how you do or do not like it. Preferably in the comments. If you prefer not to use the comments, I'm checking my office window every 7 minutes for smoke signals. I try to be accommodating.

I'm very proud to have written 1 of the top 5 most popular posts on my blog. See below, and to the right-ish.

Should I move to WordPress? Would you move with me? 'Cause my boat's only in it if yours is. Blogger took a two day nap last week and lost some comments and stuff, so I'm finally considering it. Either that, or Knox McCoy, Scott Moore and I are going on strike. I think we're the only ones left on Blogger. Does that make us old?

Does Blogger make my butt look big?

You really shouldn't be looking at my butt.


If someone told me to jump off a cliff, I probably wouldn't. Unless it was a very short cliff. Like a curb or something. I knew a guy named Cliff, but he wasn't short.

So that guy who was driving so slow in front of you on the highway this morning on your way to work? Yeah, that was me. Sorry about that.

If they're ever handing out energy drinks at work, don't have any. Once you start, you can't stop. Or type. I've had 4 this afternoooooooooon.

So that guy who was driving like a maniac and blew past you on the highway this afternoon on your way home from work? Yeah, that was me. Sorry about that.

If you've read this far, you might as well say something in the comments. I mean, you're not working anyway, right? Make it related to something in the post, or possibly pancakes. Your choice.

Power Planning Tips

Recently one of our vendors sent out a survey regarding power planning. They asked for tips for other network administrators. Here's what they got:

  • Make sure you have enough power cords.

  • Make sure you have enough power outlets.
    • If you don't, then look into power strips. Brilliant idea, Mr. Power Strip Inventor!
  • UPS units are a great way to ensure uptime in the case of a power outage.
    • Unless it's a really long power outage, then you're out of luck.
  • While you're in the dark, you'll probably wish you had remembered your flashlight.

What did I miss?


A Commencement Speech for Jared

Jared Clifton was an awesome blogger.

Then he decided to finish school. We haven't seen Jared in a while.

Today is his last day of college. We're going to finally get him back!

I thought we should give him a commencement speech in honor of his accomplishment.

Jared, here's a few things to remember:

  • You won't need most of what you just learned. College is a game where you get rewarded for putting up with crap. It tells future employers you have some stick-to-it-iveness.
  • You won't miss school for one second after today.
    • But you'll be glad you did it.
  • You can't cut class anymore, because it's called work now and they'll fire your butt.
  • Work pays better than school.
  • You think you'll have more time now that school's done, but in reality you'll just fill it with other things.
  • Remember all your school buddies? No? Good, you've saved yourself some time.
  • You won't give a flip about any reunions.
  • Try not to get a big head about it - no one's going to ask you for your autograph
  • Can I have your autograph?
What else should Jared know about being done with school?


My Bucket List

  • 5 gallon
  • 1 gallon (preferably milk)
  • Be a good dad
  • Write a book or screenplay
  • Be a good husband
  • Hit a home run
  • Know God's Word and do it
  • Never, ever go skydiving (sorry, Rob)
  • Stop a robbery
  • Finish this bucket list

What's on your list?


And the Winner Is...

So I wrote down all the names on sticky notes, folded them and tossed them in my work bag.

Then I closed my eyes and picked a name.

And the winner is...

The dry cleaners!

Perhaps I should have cleaned out my bag before beginning.

So I found a pot here in the office. I discarded the plant. In someone else's trash can, of course.

Then I tossed in the names.

I shook the pot.

I swirled the pot.

I jumped up and down.

I closed my eyes and picked out a name.

And the real winner is...


Congratulations, Matt. Your copy of Jon Acuff's Quitter is on its way.


My Blogroll

I thought it would be fun to explain who it is I'm stalking over there on the right side of this page.
(Over there --->>).

FYI, I'm shamelessly ripping this idea off from Joseph Robinson, who did the same thing on his blog last week.
Rob Shepherd - Rob writes about faith, family and skydiving. He's funny and has twins.

Stuff Christians Like - Jon Acuff lampoons the stereotypes of modern Christianity. If you haven't heard of SCL but are reading my blog, then Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

The Connective Lens - Burrill Strong takes sports photos for the Chelsea Standard in Michigan. I'm always jealous of photographers. If you want your pictures out of focus and possibly with one of my fingers in the shot, then I'm your guy! Otherwise, hire Burrill.

A Woman's Guide to Women: A Blog for Men - Sharideth Smith helps guys understand women, while also feeling bad about themselves.

Isaiah and Sara - Isaiah Henni is too kind. I've never actually read a post by his wife, but he gives her credit nonetheless. Isaiah (copy/paste is SO helpful when spelling that name!) writes a devotional Bible lesson 3 days a week, with Thursday and Friday reserved for Tech Support Thursdays and Free Fridays, respectively ('cause it wouldn't make sense otherwise).

Tyler Tarver - Tyler is the most insane twangy math teacher I've ever met. And he raps. It's like a gift.

Joseph Robinson - Joe writes about a lot of things. He's flexible. You can call him Joe, Joseph or Rob. I've called him all three. The main thing to remember about Joe is he's funny.

Bryan Allain - Another blogger who needs no introduction. He's like the blogging world's Godfather.

Jon Acuff's Blog - Different than SCL, Jon uses this blog to encourage others with challenging ideas. Sounds like fluff, but check it out for a week and you'll find out otherwise. One of my new favorites.

Eleventy Million Dollar Blog - Kevin Keigley is funny. Kevin Keigly is weird. Kevin Keeglye has an odd last name.

Tyler Stanton - Oh, Tyler. How you make us laugh.

Matt Cannon - Matt is unstoppable. He has something like 28 kids, a wife and two jobs. Yet he blogs every weekday without fail, and replies to every comment before the commenter can even finish thinking the comment. He's not human, but he is funny...and a pastor who uses each post to teach a bit about Jesus.

Wes Draws - Wes Molebash does something different. He draws. You would know that if you were paying attention.

When Apathy Gets Going - David T. Robbins is probably related to Tyler Tarver, assuming they're not actually the same person.

The Moore You Know - Scott Moore is one of the kindest and funniest guys I know. He's one of my writing heroes, and that list includes Dave Barry and Patrick F. McManus.

Rick Knowles - Rick writes about business and management, but is amusing instead of boring. He's also a bit scary, because I think Rick would fire me if I worked for him. But he's got an awesome name, so maybe I'd be safe...

Knox McCoy - Knox, Knox. Who's there? One of the best bloggers out there. This guy will hit it big; it's only a matter of time...

Some Blog Site - Some Blog Site is written by Some Guy. You should read it Some Time. This title and name often lead to Abbott and Costello scenes with my wife:

Me: I want to read you this new blog post.
Jana: Who wrote it?
Me: Some Guy.
Jana: Can't be that good if you don't even know who wrote it.
Me: Not just some guy, but Some Guy!

Just Say, Ray! - Russ Ray writes about faith in an open an honest way.

All Other Ground Is Sinking Sand - Bull Turnbull is the other half of the former Dr. Awesome.

Pending Clever Name - This is my buddy Chris' blog. You could read his whole blog in about two minutes. He's written more posts for this blog than for his own. Maybe you could help him come up with a clever title.

Jared Clifton - Jared used to blog. He's still funny, but he used to share it. He promises he'll be back shortly when he's finished with his degree next month. We'll see...

Zinger Sandwich - The shortest blog in my RSS feed. I might be the only person I know that is ecstatic whenever a new zinger is out.

Who do you enjoy that I'm missing out on? Plug somebody!


Despicable Me - Guest Post by Sharideth Smith

I'm out of town and/or lazy, so today you get a guest post from Sharideth Smith, the megalomaniac  blogger behind A Woman's Guide to Women. You may remember the time she chained me to my desk and made me write a guest post for her. Take it away, Boss(y)!

i can only assume ricky asked me to guest post because he needs a ratings boost.  fine.  i'll consider this like tithing my time to the less talented.

i'm a giver.

i write a relationship advice blog for dudes.  it's probably why he's still married.

i let ricky guest post for me once.  i think it was because that seemed like a better idea than just going dark for a day.  he wrote the story of my worst date ever from my date's perspective.  it totally made me blow chunks of disgust for his lack of empathy for my pain.  i guess people liked it or whatever.

you people seem to like him fine, too, so there's that.  good for him.

but what's up with Jon Acuff sending him an advanced copy of Quitter to review and not me?  doesn't he know i could have given him the full force of my tens of readers?  ricky?  really?  i don't even give him capital letters for his name.  Acuff, you and i are going to have to have a chat.

does it concern anyone else that ricky is breeding?  i've never met his wife, but i have to assume she's way out of his league.  who wouldn't be?  let's hope the child gets all of her DNA.  i await the birth almost as much as the poop stories that are sure to follow.

i also have never understood his twitter name.  arthur2sheds?  his name is ricky.  r.i.c.k.y.  arthur2sheds sounds like someone gave him a native american name as a joke and he bought it.  apparently runswithscissors was taken.

i beat him like cake batter at Words With Friends.  that's all i have to say about that.

if i'm being honest, and i always am, i do sometimes enjoy ricky's tech support posts.  he gets all superior in them and that's cute.  he does know more about PCs than i do.  which really doesn't matter since i use a Mac.  but i'm sure there are people out there who still find PCs useful.  their need to constantly reboot is just job security for ricky.  again, good for him.

that's all i have for today, kids.  go ahead and leave some comments.  just make sure you don't go overboard on talking about how amazing this post was.  we don't want ricky to feel bad now,  do we?

and ricky...

congrats on the offspring.  i'm sure your wife will make an excellent parent.


Dreams and Interviews

Huzzah! I won the Internet.

Last week, my buddy's wife asked if any of us remembered our dreams.

She and my wife launched into long and detailed descriptions of various dreams.

My buddy and I shrugged and said, "Nope."

I said I remembered dreams for about one minute after waking up, and then it was all gone, every last bit. For me, dreams are only recalled while they're still vivid during that sleeping-to-waking transition period.

She suggested I write down my dreams as soon as I awoke. She wanted to analyze them later.

I'm out of town traveling for work again this week and next, so I'm in a strange bed in a strange place. This led to a strange dream...

...I was sleeping fitfully; tossing and turning all night long. That's when I felt the bites in my backside. I thrashed around, and tried to beat off the badger biting my butt.

I awoke with a start, yelping aloud.

The badger was nowhere to be found, having already made good his escape...

My buddy's wife insists badgers are a sign of good luck in dreams.

I have reason to doubt her findings.

What whacked-out dreams have you had? Have you ever been attacked by badgers biting your butt in a strange bed in a strange town? It's really only a matter of time, you know...


Win a Copy of Jon Acuff's Quitter!

Jon Acuff delivers a masterpiece with his latest book, Quitter. You can read my review of it here.

The bad news: Amazon is sold out.

The good news: I'm giving a copy away.

All you have to do is leave a comment on this post telling us:

  1. Your name
  2. What you do for a living
  3. What your dream job is
  4. What you hope to get out of reading Quitter.

See you in the comments!

Contest closes 5/9/2011.


Top 10 reasons IT staff should wear a superhero outfit - Guest Post for Chris Adams

Since I'm out of town for work this week, I thought it would be fitting for me to blog somewhere else, too.

I wrote a guest post for Chris Adams. It's the Top 10 Reasons IT Staff Should Wear a Superhero Outfit. You may remember him from his previous guest posts here, The Dolphins Wouldn't Be Happy and Why Badgers Make Lousy Servers.

Head on over to Chris' site, laugh and leave a comment telling me what I forgot to add to the list.

Also, stay tuned later this week for a chance to win a copy of Jon Acuff's latest book, Quitter.