Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Chicken Little School of Crisis Management

There is a theory of Political Philosophy that says that the Government has to keep the populace is a constant state of panic to make them more pliable. Part of me believes this is true, not only that the government uses scare tactics to keep people under control. but will create the crisis in the first place.
Consider the logic of the current Ebola "Crisis".
First off, let's recognize that there is a very real crisis if you are in western Africa. Ebola is a very nasty bug, and highly contagious. There have been several outbreaks in the past, and there will no doubt be more in the future. The current outbreak is the worst we have ever seen, and needs to be monitored closely.
But the amount of panic and vitriol being spewed from the news sources is utterly ridiculous.
The quiz is very short.
Have you come into contact with the bodily fluids of someone who has Ebola? No? Sit down and suty up. Yes? Immediately take yourself to a treatment facility for testing. That's it.
Save the panic and doom crying for something that is of real consequence. More people will die from the yearly bout of flue in the United States than have perished from Ebola WORLD WIDE.
How many people have died from Ebola in the U.S.? ONE. More people have died from being struck by lightning. Certainly a lot more have been killed by Police.
The Center for Disease Control has been struggling to react fast enough to satisfy certain political factions. These same factions defunded the CDC. Well, maybe the Surgeon General should step up and take a leadership role in this time of crisis.
What's that? There is no Surgeon General? Why? Because those same political pundits won't approve the appointment of a Surgeon general because he considers death and injury from gunshot wounds a health issue.
So what is the answer for this crisis?
Blame it on Obama.
That is the answer for everything.
I have yet to understand the logic of that, but then the whole thing makes absolutely no sense to me.
Meanwhile I'll be in my blanket fort with my tin foil hat on to prevent aliens from beaming information into my head.

Friday, October 03, 2014

The Incident

75 days to retirement. If I stick to the plan. Being a very goal oriented person, I will stick to my plan until the end usually, sometimes even when it makes very little sense.
Even though some people think it is impossible, I find that I give less of a SH*T every day. Take the fact that I plan on retiring on Jan 23rd 2015. Why that day? Because it is the 35th anniversary of my joining the Company.
But lately there have been some things that make me question my judgement.
When you do the math, the bottom line comes down to this: If I were to retire today, the difference between what I make by working and what I will get when retired works out to $4.00 an hour. Not a lot of money for the amount of crap I put up with. So when people ask how long until I retire I tell the "One day, I just don't  know which one."
On Friday I had just signed off and was on my way out of the building. I had seen a notice that the main door would be closed off as of 3:00 Friday afternoon. I have a very strong streak of curiosity, so I cut through the Wing Line to see what they were doing.
A voice comes up behind me. "You cant go that way, they have it closed off" I already knew that, so I just kept on walking. Again, louder, more insistent "YOU CAN"T GO THAT WAY, THEY HAVE IT SHUT OFF." Running sounds behind me.
Same thing right next to me. "And you don't have safety glasses on." I was wearing my Washington State approved shatter proof plastic lens glasses, so I tapped them with my forefinger. "WELL, THEY DON'T HAVE SIDE SHIELDS. YOU HAVE TO HAVE SIDE SHIELDS." The fat little half bald dude was yelling at me.
I don't always respond in the best way I could, so I turned to him, looked him up and down and asked "Who the hell are you?"
He refused to give me a strainght answer, but made a smart all comment. Which pissed me off. He continued to yell at me, so I decided the most reasonable course of action was to walk off. He followed behind me threatening me and yapping like a little ankle biter dog.
I walked off.
When I got out of the building, and was walking towards my truck, here he comes running out of the building with a gal .
"THAT'S HIM! THAT'S THE GUY!"
 I turn to them and she walks up to me ans says "Those are not Boeing approved safety glasses, and we can't have people dropping the "F" bomb on our managers.
I told her (looking around me with a puzzled look) "I don't seem to be in a Boeing building, so there is no requirement for me to wear safety glasses. I am not on the clock, but on my own time, and I am on my way home, Please leave me alone."
The little fat f&)k started yelling at me and threatening me. The gal was a HR rep so she knew he way outside of the rules, so she told him to calm down, but he went on, "I'm gonna get you, I'll see you in HR on Monday, Who's your Manager. I ignored him and moved off. The HR rep got him under control.
I had to work both days on the weekend, and it was pretty quiet, so I wrote an e-mail to my manager and my HR rep, explaining the incident in detail, and including the fact that I had no idea he was a manager. Nothing in his manner ot behavior suggested in any way he was management. For all I knew he was a janitor with delusions of grandeur. I also pointed out that if this matter was pursued, I would have solid grounds for filing a "Creating a hostile working environment" lawsuit.
At any rate, I had Monday off, but I never told the little fat dude or the HR gal, so they could search all day on Monday and they would never find me.
On Tuesday when I left for work I told my wife "Today may be my last day. If things don't go my way, I will retire on the spot"
When I got to work, there on my desk was a box of safety glasses with side shields. I found this highly amusing.
But that was the only indication that I had that anything ever happened.
I actually as a part of my explanation started off with the fact that I was guilty of not wearing side shields.
So now I am back to the original plan
75 days.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Indeed!

Yesterdays mail brought the fruition of many years of work. The deed to my house, all signed and notarized was delivered to my mailbox. The culmination of about thirty-five years of payments.
If you stay the course and keep on truckin' you can reach your goal. Of course there are those that say it is foolish to tie up all your money in a house when you can cash it in and do whatever you want.
The idea of having my own home all paid off has a greater value than anything that money can buy.
Having achieved one of life's major goals, I now set me sights on the next goal: Retirement.
I have about three months left before I walk away from work. Who knows. it may be less. The target is to make it to DEC 19th and then go on vacation, never to return, except to sign my final papers.
I have a bunch of vacation saved up, sp I will go on vacation until January 23rd which is the 35th anniversary of my employment at Boeing. It is a goal that in reality means nothing, just a date. But I am a person who is very goal oriented, so I have set that goal.
That doesn't mean I can't change my mind between now and then.
I am one bad day away from walking.
It is very empowering to know I don't have to take any crap from anyone. It also gets me in trouble. Things come out of my mouth that I never would have said before, because I basically just don't give a shit any more.


Friday, September 12, 2014

WooHoo!

Yesterday I made my final mortgage payment. A day I didn't ever think would actually get here. I have refinanced my home three times because of a divorce, and twice to take advantage of lower interest rates.
O took out a Home Equity loan to  fix the roof, and do a bunch of other stuff. All paid off.
At the moment I owe about $350 in various bills. which will be paid in full next payday.
I will be debt free.
Retirement now becomes a real possibility rather than a remote concept.
It's kinda scary as well as exciting.
Now I need to start getting the house in shape to sell once I retire.
Sell the house and move to the country.
Buy a place with some elbow room and a proper shop.
Much excitement awaits.

Friday, September 05, 2014

A Nice little Hike


The two pictures are of Twin Falls, wa. This is the lower falls. It is about 150 feet tall, really spectacular in real life. And the two pictures are approximately in the right positions to show the whole falls.
The hike isn't too bad. About a half a mile from the parking lot to the trailhead, then a mile down to the falls by a switchback trail. The last quarter of a mile is so steep that they have put in stairs.
The hike back up is at least twice as long as the hike down. The dogs needed to stop several times to catch their breaths. After all, they have to take four steps to my one. All I can say is that I made it. That and my legs aren't too sore from the hike.
We need to get out and do this more often.
What a wonderful day.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Too Busy

As the saying goes "I'll sleep when I'm Dead."
I had the dubious privilege of working both days last weekend. So I didn't have much time to accomplish anything at home.
The Z will start, but runs real rough and then dies. I'm not sure what the problem is. I think it is probably a vacuum leak somewhere, but I haven't tracked it down yet. I am waiting for a couple of parts to come in before I get focused pon figuring it out. Upper and Lower Radiator hoses, thermostat and gasket. Should be in in time for me to finish putting it back together this weekend. Now if I can just figure out how come it is idling  so rough.
Last weekend we went to see Marcia Ball at Jazz Alley. She was a lot of fun. I love that whole boogie woogie piano blues thing, and she does it the best. Jazz Alley isn't exactly the kind of place where you get up and dance in the aisles, but the crowd was on its feet and dancing. A lot of fun.
Next weekend is Keiko Matsui, who I really like. Best jazz/new age keyboardist in the world as far as I am concerned. I have several of her CDs and play them regularly. Should be a very nice evening.
On an entirely different subject, the balance on my mortgage is $3100. So this retirement stuff is getting real. I am a little uncomfortable with the concept of not working, but will make sure I have enough projects to keep me busy and out of the hair of She Who Must Not Be Named.

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Did you hear that?

A rumble in the distance, a low roaring sound. An almost smooth braaap?
The Z has stirred to life again. Not well, but it does run.
I got far enough that I decided before I went any further, I should try getting it to run. It currently does not have a radiator, is missing hoses and has a hole in the exhaust manifold where the EGR tube should be. None of those things should keep it from starting.
You wouldn't want to run it for any length of time with no radiator, and the lack of an EGR tube will make it run like crap, but run it should.
And run it did. Not for long, but just enough to let me know nothing catastrophic is wrong. The EGR fitting on the exhaust manifold is stuck tight. I put a box end wrench on it after soaking it in rust buster, and reeefed on it with a pinch bar, to no avail. All I did was round off the corners of the fitting.
Time for drastic measures. Blow torch? Impact gun and air chisel? Special socket for removing bolts with the corners rounded off?
It's a good thing I don't have access to a cutting torch.