Saturday, November 29, 2008

Bad Blogger

I haven't been around much lately. First because I was busy with Thanksgiving, then because I was just plain lazy.
We had Thanksgiving at our house for a small group. R and "i" and the sperm donor, and his two other kids.
My grand daughter A and her guy and baby. And of course the three of us.
Turkey and dressing and riced potatoes. Cranberries and R's pasta salad. Wine, beer and run for those so inclined. Apple pie and cheesecake for dessert.
A very mellow day of family and conversation.
Mrs A and I work well together in the kitchen. We don't get in each other's way, need very little conversation to get things done. I love the way we work together in the kitchen.
Friday was officially declared a "lazy day", and other than finishing up cleaning up the kitchen, we didn't do much. Watched TV, read, talked and just relaxed. Neither one of us has any desire to participate in the monument to greed that follows Thanksgiving.
People trampled to death, gunfire, fistfights, near riots.
For what?
A bunch of meaningless crap that will be broken, used up and forgotten in five years. What a monument to materialistic mindless superficial values. Are we reduced to a pack of snarling dogs fighting over the largest bone? Thanksgiving reduced to a cult of "I got mine"?
I cannot change the world. All I can do is resolve to keep the spirit of the Holidays in my heart.
Peace on Earth.
Good will to man.
I understand that we are in difficult times. Banking collapse (another monument to greed). Foreclosures. Unemployment. War. Our own government violating human rights. Terrorism.
Difficult times bring out both the best and worst in us.
All we can do, is each one of us make a personal decision to be the best person we know how to be.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Grazing Day

Also known as our group potluck. A day dedicated to eating all day long. No telling what may show up.
I am currently dining on Deer Dip. And yes, for you citified squeamish types, it is made with real deer. Venison hamburger with beans and mushrooms in a cheese sauce, served with tortilla chips. Good stuff.
I brought in my usual egg rolls. By 9:00 I was told that I needed to go home and make more.
There is smoked Atlantic Salmon. There is home made chili, and cheese and meats and crackers and several types of pie and cake and sweet rolls.
And to top it off, Ezell's chicken. For those of you who don't know about Ezell's, when Oprah is in town, she has her cast party catered by Ezell's. She has gone on TV and told everyone that if they are in Latteland, make sure and stop in at Ezell's. It is good chicken, but I wouldn't go THAT far. Of course I live a couple of blocks from it and we have it a couple of times a week.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Nowadays you have a lot of choices when you get a turkey for turkey day. It used to be that you could just go to the store and get a turkey. There were two kinds, the frozen ones and the unfrozen ones. They were pretty easy to tell apart.
Now things are not so clear cut.
Organic turkey? As opposed to what? Inorganic turkey? Inorganic turkey would be crafted of never-living matter. Not particularly appetizing, at least to me. Seems to me, all turkeys are organic by default.
Free range turkey? What does that mean? I'll guarantee you it is not what the image seems to represent. Turkeys are not allowed to range free on large parcels of land. The regulations are vague and there isn't really any enforcement of the vague rules.
I believe I saw some no-hormone added turkey. I have no idea what this means.
Wild Turkey. Now there's something I understand.
Comes by the fifth. Picture of a turkey on the front. Will make you stand up and gobble.
Pass the Turkey, please.

Friday, November 21, 2008


The drama continues.......but at least I am one step removed from it.
My grand daughter and daughter were living together in Tacoma. R just had a baby, and A just delivered. Because of just having a baby, A had been short on a couple of house payments, so she decided to rent out the spare bedroom.
This is when my daughter decided to move out, because it is a small house and it would be just too much closeness.
She called yesterday to tell me that my grand daughter had caught the new room mates smoking crack in their bedroom. They were completely unapologetic, saying "We rented the room, we can do what we want". Grand daughter called the police, who told them that since the couple had paid rent on the room, they couldn't just be chucked out in the street.
Grand daughter was beside herself. I was pretty upset having crackheads in the room next to my great grandson. I have to help R move the last of her stuff, and was planning to make life very uncomfortable for the room mates when I went down to help her recover the last of her stuff. I was sitting contemplating my choice of weapons. I needed something I could legitimately carry to use while moving, but would effectively eliminate any resistance. I had figured I had ample reason to have a come-along for securing the load, It has a nice big turnbuckle on the end of a strap that might cause someone to rethink their stand.
I called R back to get the latest, and to me GREAT relief I found out that the grand daughter had gone to visit a sympathetic judge, and gotten a restraining order. Said crackheads cannot come within 100 yards of the house without a Police escort, and then only to retrieve their possessions.
I am proud of my grand daughter. She is only 19, but she handled things in the best was possible.
She did the right thing, the right way.
I wouldn't have been so mature.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Snip n' Slip

I went in yesterday and had the stitches removed in my mouth. Since I have had a life-long morbid fear of dentists, any trip to the jawbreaker is fraught with peril. When I go to the dentist, bad things can happen.
They quite ofter cause me pain and trauma. AND I PAY THEM TO DO THIS.
So of course when I let them know I was going in, one of my co-workers said "So I hear you're going in to have your stitches ripped out".
Bad image, that.
I replied "I wouldn't choose to put it that way. Let's say I am going in for a little snip and slip and leave it at that".
Much easier to face.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Still looking

I paid half of the strike fund out to pay down the new engine for the truck.
Next I need to start looking at vacations. I will have to delay the vacation until mid-April. There is a pause in the production schedule then, so I will have a couple of weeks when I can lay back and catch up with myself. Plus, with the anticipated overtime between now and then, I can add a good bit to the budget.
We haven't decided where to go, just some place sunny.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Decisions, decisions

Now that the possibility of a strike has pretty much passed, that suddenly puts me in a position I have seldom experienced. Having been fiscally responsible, I prepared for a strike by stuffing money in a strike fund. It isn't huge or anything. Just enough to pay a couple of months house and car payments.
This money is now available for other things.
But which things?
My first impulse is to pay off then engine I just bought for the truck. This would be the adult, responsible thing to do. Therefore it is unlikely I will do this.
The fun thing to do would be to take the money and go on a trip, vacation to some sunny place, which I am inclined to do. Fun, but not very responsible.
So I think we are going to compromise. Go 50/50. Half to pay bills, half to play.
I need to start figuring out how to get the most bang for my buck.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Union Contract

SPEEA and Boeing have come to a tentative agreement for a new contract. The Union is recommending that the Membership accept the offer. Very seldom does the membership trump the leadership, so I am expecting the contract to easily pass.
I have to compliment both sides for negotiating the best possible deal given the circumstances. After all of the early posturing and bombast, they did an effective job of representing their interests.
Is it an outstanding contract? No.
Is it a crappy contract? No.
Is it fair and reasonable? Absolutely.
I am relieved. As I mentioned before, I had already started a strike contingency fund, and had saved up enough for a couple of months. I was dreading the whole on-strike-and-picketing thing.
Of course I haven't seen the entire offer yet, but I seriously doubt that there are any hidden bombs in the text. Mind you, I will read the entire thing just to make sure.
Trust your fellow man, but count your change.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Glowing Plastic

I got my truck back yesterday.
I think I heard my credit card scream in pain when I paid for it.
Besides a complete remanufactured engine, as long as they had it out, I had them replace the clutch, pressure plate, flywheel, hoses and belts and radiator. The final bill was around $5,500.00. In my opinion it is money well spent, because I now am under warranty for three years. Sure I could have purchased a different vehicle for less that that, but whatever vehicle I got would come with the old 30/30 warranty. Thirty feet or thirty seconds, whichever comes first.
So now I have a three year 100,000 mile warranty.
But I think my Visa card glows in the dark.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Different Kind of Christmas

Things are going to be a little different for the Warren Family this Christmas.
We normally have a gift exchange among the adults. Everyone puts their name in a hat, and you withdraw a name. There is a minimum amount you can spend. It keeps shopping to a minimum, and instead of everyone buying for everyone, you only have to buy one gift. I am all in favor of less complicated, and you get one nice gift instead of a bunch of smaller gifts. You can put in as a couple or as individuals.
This year there will be no gift exchange.
Instead, each person is going to make a cash donation, and the funds will be donated to the food bank. With the economy in shambles and a lot of people doing without basic necessities, there is a lot of pressure on the available resources. Fewer people are giving, and more people are in need.
There is no minimum, just give what you can afford.
I believe it was my older brother's idea, and it has been enthusiastically embraced by the whole family.
It makes me proud to be a member of my family.
Of course the kids will still get presents, but it's all about the kids anyway.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Whole Lotta Nothin'

Goin' on.
They might be done with the truck tomorrow, late. Even if they are, I don't know if I'll be in any shape to go get it, because I have a dentist's appointment tomorrow. Dental surgery to remove a dead root of a tooth. Not going to be any fun.
So even if they get the truck done, I will probably be on pain killers and in no shape to drive. Just what I woulld need. Spend thousands of dollars on the truck and then crash it. I think I'll pass and wait until Thursday.
The new engine comes with a three year 100,000 mile warrantee, so I will be set for at least three years, which is worth the investment to me. With the upgrades to the suspension, new wheels and tires, I will now have to think about upgrading the stereo.
Things at home are fine, no major problems.
It's about time.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Concert Critique

What can I say?
What an incredible show!
The light show alone was worth the price of admission. Last year the light show was good, but they have all new fixtures this year, and as an Engineering type, and roadie, the whole thing left me in awe. And new pyrotechnics.
Oh yeah, and there was music, too.
Incredible screaming guitar, battling keyboard, orchestra rock and roll opera music.
Words can in no way really describe it.

Friday, November 07, 2008


Tomorrow is the Trans Siberian Orchestra concert at Key Arena.
I have tickets on the floor this year. Five of us are going . I can't wait. Pyrotechnic light show screaming guitar Christmas Extravaganza!
By the time I get home tomorrow night I will be walking in a daze.
Can't wait.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Books: The Eleventh Man by Ivan Doig

I read a lot.
I probably have 1,000 books in my library, which I go through and purge occasionally when I run out of shelf space. I have six book cases. Currently they are stuffed to the gills. I will probably go through them sometime soon and get rid of the stuff I no longer want. The decision gate is "Will I ever read this again?"
My reading material covers the spectrum. Except for trashy romance novels. They just don't do anything for me. Fantasy, science fiction, history, westerns, murder mysteries, even some humor. Include Shakespeare and the Bible.
If I didn't have a book I would be reduced to reading cereal boxes and soup can labels.
I just finished a new book by one of my favorite authors, Ivan Doig. I'm not sure how to describe his books. I think they fall into "Modern Literature". He has some serious Cred. Most of his stories are set in Montana on the eastern slope of the Rockies, and evoke such a sense of time and place that they could almost be history if they weren't novels.
I love the way Doig makes the words get up and dance around on the page. He doesn't just tell a story, although that is his primary task. They way he puts his words together is such a joy to observe. Even without a plot, it would be worthwhile just to get into the ebb and flow of a master craftsman at the peak of his craft.
"The Eleventh Man" is a display of wordsmanship at it's best. It was a book that I intentionally read slowly, like sipping a fine wine so I could enjoy the individual each glassful of words, roll them over on the tongue of my mind before going to the next mouthful of words.
I didn't want the book to end. I will go back and reread it many times in the future, which is the true test for me.
It is not a book for everyone, but if you have an appreciation of the English Language and craftsmanship with words, it is beautiful example of the writers art.
On another note, I am reading "Brisingr" by Christopher Paolini. It is a fun and entertaining fantasy by a relatively young writer of fantasy. Not the deepest nor best, but entertaining, and well enough crafted that it all fits together and flows nicely. If you like Fantasy and dragons, it is a fun and entertaining read. I should warn you though, that it is the third book in a series, so you really should read the earlier two first "Eragon" and "Eldest". They will keep you entertained for a long good while when the weather turns cold and the rain is coming sideways.
So For those Fall/Winter evenings when you want to snuggle up to a book with a fire in the fireplace and maybe a glass of wine, you now have a couple of suggestions for reading material.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008


Even though I don't usually use my blog to voice my political opinions, I couldn't help but take a moment to reflect on the election.
This is truly an historic occasion. Obama has been given a mandate by the American People. A strong message has been sent that we expect change. I would not have his job for all the gold in China. Nor power or prestige. I wish him the very best in a difficult situation. Clearly changes need to be made in the direction our country is travelling. The populace has felt for some time that the Government is not listening. Why get involved when all they are going to do is tell you to sit down and shut up, and any other option is not patriotic.
I believe you will see a wave of people volunteering to help out, because they sense that there is something good doing on here and they want to be a part of it.
Clearly, people felt strongly enough that they have already joined. Voter turnouts were high. We all participated in the process. I believe this is not just an election, but a turning point in the path of The United States. Maybe the world.
If asked, I would not have bet that we would see a multi-racial man in the White House. It is a measure of how far we have come as a nation when the mandate of this great nation is handed to a multi-racial individual. Obama is truly a man of the world. I think his election has done more to improve the image of the country than any event in the last eight years.
My thoughts and prayers will be with him as he tries to find the best path through our present difficulties. I pray he finds the strength to keep his eye on the goals and not be discouraged by the inevitable nay-sayers, that he has the support and advice he needs to make the most informed decisions. That his party and cabinet supply him with the best information, and that he listens to the right people.
I am proud of our country and our people.

And now we return you to our normally scheduled sarcasm.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Just Relax and Think of England

That's what a famous English Lady 's opinion of sex was. I sure feel sorry for her. I am much more of the fireworks and earthquake opinion.
But right now I guess I'll just relax and make the best of it, because the verdict came in on the truck, and it needs a new engine. The engine will cost more than the truck is worth, but I will have to spend the same amount of money whether I put in the engine, or go get another used truck. If I get another used truck, there is no guarantee that the engine won't blow up in six months, but if I get the new engine at least it will be warranteed. The truck should be good for another 100,000 miles.
So I'm getting screwed no matter what I do.


Big day today.
Of course there is the Minor matter of the election, who will lead the country through the next four years of challenges. I don't use this venue for dispensing my political point of view, so I won't get into the whole election thing. I will just be glad that it is over and we can get on with the business of it.
My truck went into the shop last night. I am almost completely sure it has a blown head gasket, but anxiously await the diagnostics from the shop. To me it is a minimum $1200.00. If the head itself is cracked, it will push the cost up to the point of wondering whether it is worth it, or do I just write it off? I just put a grand into wheels and tires and another four hundred into suspension. At what point do I give up on it?
The negotiations are under full steam between SPEEA and the Company. At this point I have not heard anything much, good or bad. I expect the company to try to lowball everything. They have to at least test the mood of the members. If they attempt to lowball us, I am quite sure the membership is ready to vote for a strike. There are plenty of opportunities on the table. Once again, outsourcing is front and center. Given the disaster that resulted from the 787 outsourcing plan, it would not be unreasonable to hope that Boeing has learned a lesson about the quality of outside design resources. They have admitted that the outsource plan was a failure, and a change in strategy would be appropriate for any future work. Wages, COLA, Insurance, Offloading, Retirement, Time off Overtime compensation. Every issue you can think of is on the table.
And last but not least, today is my Mom's Birthday. Happy Birthday Mom! I'll see you after work.

Monday, November 03, 2008

This is Normal?

Things are back to normal, or at least a version of normal.
The IAM is back from strike, so everyone is running around in circles trying to figure out where they are,
When in trouble
When in doubt
Run in circles
Scream and shout.
So I don't expect anything to get accomplished today, or maybe this week.
At least there are a lot more people to talk to.