mytopleft

Monday, December 31, 2012

Bittersweet game food porn

Sure, we lost. The ViQueens are actually a surprisingly good team, and they were at home, playing for their playoff lives, so it isn't as if we lost to, say, the Titans. Still disappointing. On the other hand, a Vikings win is a Bears loss, since the Bears needed the Packers to beat the Vikings for the Bears to get into the playoffs. All things considered, I can live with the outcome (at least as long as we beat the Vikings Saturday at Lambeau).

While the game was a slight disappointment -- hey, it went down to the wire despite a disappointing first quarter where we spotted the Queens 13 points -- the food was anything but. A little shuffling in the Super Bowl menu took place. Chicken fingers, previously tentatively in, are out. In their place? French dip:

These were really good, especially with the au jus (not pictured, sorry). To go with it, we had the old reliable, stuffed potato skins:


Also did another test run of the Bloomin' Onion. Better spread this time, but I think I might need a bigger onion than is normally available this time of year. Still, very good.

Looks like we might have a double header next week. Packers play Saturday, Redskins Sunday. My nephew will be coming for the 'Skins game, as he is a huge fan of the Skins and stuffed potato skins. My aunt the nun also might attend, as she is a rabid Skins fan. I think she has to get a permission slip from the Pope or something, though. In any event, more food porn coming. In the meantime, bon appetit!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Fontella Bass, RIP

Most folks thought it was Aretha Franklin when they heard Fontella Bass. It wasn't, but she had just as much talent as the Queen of Soul. Anyway, Fontella died yesterday. This should live on, though:


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Guess the vacation's over

So I took Christmas off from blogging. And the day after. Boxing Day is, after all, a holiday in the UK. Mostly they drink, is my understanding. The libation of choice is a whiskey mac, or so I was told by a British girl I once dated. Apparently it involves whiskey and ginger ale. I was not so fortunate as to enjoy that tradition -- I was back at work Wednesday.  Cut the day short because we had yet another winter storm, with snow, freezing rain and the like. Kind of a disappointment, but still gave us another inch of snow or so.

So, in any event, we are back to blogging. Not that this gig is giving me anything to blog about. This might be the most boring job ever. And in Temp Town, that's saying something. Pretty much the only way to remedy that is to switch gigs, which I might be doing tomorrow. I'm starting a new job, but it's very short-term, so I'm not going to let my current gig know that I might never be back. Game plan is to say we're doing some holiday visiting. Then I'll see what occurs and take it from there. Maybe I'll be back to the Most Boring Gig Ever. Maybe not. Only time will tell.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

You won't see many more guys like this one

Charles Durning, an Oscar-nominated actor, died on Christmas Eve. Naturally, the Washington Post obituary focuses on his Hollywood career. They gave one paragraph to the fact that this guy was a badass of historic levels. Other sites make it clear that the dude was not just a character actor and song-and-dance man.
Like Medal of Honor recipient Audie MurphyCharles Durning was a highly-decorated soldier in World War II before he began an acting career.
His is a remarkable story of survival. As a 21-year-old infantryman, Private Charles Durning was in the first wave of soldiers to land on Omaha Beach during the D-Day invasion of Normandy. He was the only man to survive a machine-gun ambush. Despite suffering serious machine gun and shrapnel wounds, Durning killed seven German gunners to survive D-Day.
Several months later, in Belgium, Durning was stabbed eight times by a bayonet-wielding teenage German soldier. That day, he survived by killing the German with a rock in hand-to-hand combat. Durning recovered from those wounds and was released from the hospital just in time to fight in the Battle of the Bulge, where he was taken prisoner.
Charles Durning was one of only three men to survive the infamous massacre of American POWs at Malmedy, Belgium. He and two others escaped, and the rest were murdered. Durning was obliged to return with American troops to identify the bodies of his fellow prisoners.
Several months later, a chest wound caused his return to the US, where he recovered from both physical and psychological wounds in Army hospitals until being discharged as a Private First Class in January 1946, a month shy of his 23rd birthday.
For his service during World War II, Charles Durning was awarded the Silver Star Medal and three Purple Hearts.
There seems to be some dispute over whether Durning was a Malmedy survivor -- there were more than three, by theway -- but no dispute that he served with distinction and was highly decorated during World War II. For my part, the only thing I remember about seeing "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" is the scene where Durning sings "Sidestep" and at least three times does this nifty trick where he puts his ten gallon hat on sideways and then turns into it so it is facing the proper direction. It's well worth a viewing.


Monday, December 24, 2012

Silent night, y'all

I want to wish all of my Eff You readers a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. I grow so weary of "Happy Holiday" messages. If "Merry Christmas" bothers you, please refer to the title of the blog. Merry Christmas.


That's the wonder dog, standing in the door.

White Christmas, baby

Out of the blue. None of my freaky-deaky weather gadgets on my computer told me this was going to happen. Anyway, we're getting snow. Not a lot-- maybe an inch or so -- but it's a white Christmas all the same.



These pictures are looking right, looking straight out and looking left from my sidewalk at about 4:30 pm. I think it has turned to snow mixed with sleet or rain now. Anyway, this isn't a weather blog, except when I decide that it is. Merry Christmas, everyone.

Update: A little Otis Redding for you all:


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Hard to believe this guy isn't a temp

Of course, with a problem like this, he will be:
DECEMBER 21--A federal employee was formally reprimanded this month for excessive workplace flatulence, a sanction that was delivered to him in a five-page letter that actually included a log of representative dates and times when he was recorded “releasing the awful and unpleasant odor” in his Baltimore office.
The problem with federal employees, of course, is it is almost impossible to fire them, even if they fart a lot. I guess in this respect, it is one more way that temps are like federal employees: nobody gets fired who should get fired.

Unfortunately, if this guy gets fired, he'll be a temp soon, and we'll all be paying the price.

Pretty satisfying

Today's game food went down exceptionally well, with a 55-7 win over Tennessee. We scored first and never looked back. It was my kind of Packers game -- we seriously abused the Titans, and that's the way I like it. An exciting game involves the Packers scoring early and often. Fuck a bunch of back and forth, tension over who will win, all that shit. Give me a romp, with lots of scoring by my team. So I'm happy. As for game food, we had chicken fingers:


Throw in the usual stuffed potato skins:

I don't know why I don't just use the same picture of the stuffed potato skins every time -- it certainly would be easier. However, it seems inauthentic to me, so I take a new picture each week.

Finally, we had another new entry this week, the Blooming onion. The sauce was great, but I clearly need some practice on spreading the onion prior to frying. I feel good about this one, and it will be featured at least one more time, as Mrs. Wolves favors this for the Super Bowl. Did I mention the sauce was great?


Practice makes perfect.

Sen. Inouye, RIP

Sen. Daniel Inouye, who died Dec. 17, was my senator for a few years, all of them while I was too young to vote against him. While I disagreed with virtually everything he believed politically, the man was a great patriot and sacrificed tremendously serving his country the way he believed best. He served in the House for one term and in the Senate from 1962 onward, representing Hawaii almost from the minute it became a state. Before that, he was grievously wounded in Italy during World War II. He lost an arm in addition to other wounds while leading his platoon against heavily entrenched German positions. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions; the citation is here.

Sen Inouye was lying in state in the Capitol Rotunda at the end of last week. One of those paying his respects was retired Sen. Robert Dole, who met Inouye in a military hospital while both were recovering from their wounds. Dole insisted upon being helped to walk to the casket because "I wouldn't want Danny to see me in a wheelchair." I'm a little late with this post because I was undecided about whether to write anything about Sen. Inouye until I sawthis picture, which really moved me.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Super Bowl game food poll

It's time to start thinking about these things. Some of the menu items for the Super Bowl are set, but we have room for at least one more. Probably two. Two items that are tentative will probably be carved in stone after tomorrow's game, and of course we will have stuffed potato skins. Even so, this leaves a lot of leeway in what will be on the menu for Feb. 3, 2013. We hope, of course, that the Packers will be on the field and not in Section 123, Row AA of the Superdome. In any event, please consider the options and vote in the game food poll.

Temping is like "Sex, Lies and Videotape," but with no sex or videotape

Rule Number One is, of course, "They're lying." "They" changes, but the lying is constant. Usually, they don't know and so they make stuff up. Sometimes, in the agency's case, they're just passing on the lies of the client, who may just be passing on the lies of the vendor. You can't always tell who is lying, but you know for certain that someone is. Maybe they're just puffing, maybe just exaggerating, whatever -- they're lying.

Why? To get people to take a project, to get people to stay on a project. The promised overtime doesn't materialize, the six-week project lasts nine days. What it boils down to is, if you ask a question and they have an answer, the real answer is that they don't know the answer and whatever they just told you is bullshit. While this is not always true, it's a good rule of thumb. The race goes not always to the swiftest, nor the fight to the strongest, but that's the way to bet.

So, what brought on this rant, other than a need to post something before everyone wanders off, wondering if maybe RBW was the only one taken away by a Mayan mini-apocalypse? In my desperate efforts to find something better than the miserable gig I'm on, I finally hit upon something that might do the trick. It was to be a short gig (note the past tense) but at one of my favorite agencies, which tends to roll me from one project to the next. Big overtime for about 10 days. The market always improves after the holidays, so I figured this would be a good stepping stone to make a little money to close out the year and vault into new projects after New Year's.

Yeah, not happening. This time it was either a client lie or a vendor lie, but they don't need folks next week. Or at least not me. Hell, for all I know the project really is starting next week, just without me. Just remember Rule Number One.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

End-of-the-world dilemma

So here's the problem: the world is ending tomorrow, or so say some people. Apparently this is based on the fact that some Mayan calendar stops with tomorrow's date. Personally, I think Chehotacoxyl to Calendar Carver got tired of banging on stone tablets and said, "Huh, couple thousand years ought to be enough."

But what if that isn't it? What if there's something to it? Therein lies the dilemma: when tomorrow will the world end? Seriously, is it happening at 12:01 am, or is it happening at 11:59 pm? The beginning of the day or the end? This matters. If the end is coming at 12:01 am, I have to start drinking the minute I get home. If it isn't happening until 11:59 pm, I could wait until I wake up tomorrow to start drinking. I guess I could cover all my bases and just start when I get home and then, if I wake up, start all over again. It would be a shame to die with more than a beer or two left in the fridge.

Either way, I'm filing my time sheet for this week before I leave.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

I just hope I don't keep stepping in the same puddle

Having been stuck with the same firm this time last year, I feel like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, except I haven't learned to play the piano. Terrible gig, horrible hours policies -- no way can we get past about 30 hours next week. Might be able to hit 40 the week after. Obviously, given the market and the time of year, I'm probably lucky to be working at all. Sure doesn't feel like it. Feels more like this:


But without the hotness.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Division-clinching game food

What's better than game food? Game food served when you clinch the division by beating a hated division rival on their home field. That's what the Packers did today, shutting down the Bears 21-13 despite another shitty day kicking by Mason Crosby and a bizarre special teams call that could have cost us the game if the Bears didn't suck. Fortunately, the Bears suck.

The food, however, did not. It came in waves of delectable goodness, starting with the brats:



What?!?!? Naked brats on a plate? Mais no. Here is a well-dressed brat:



Brats alone? I think not. We went with nachos.


Yeah, got some extra chips on the side, plus salsa, sour cream and guacamole. And it isn't Packers football without stuffed potato skins:


And for an overview, big-picture kind of view, here's the whole spread:


For the record, we did not eat the dog hiding under the table.

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Searching for signs of intelligent life

In my never-ending efforts to provide value-added for my readers -- or to keep myself from falling asleep, a constant occupational hazard for temporary attorneys -- I have recently been looking at/for other blogs about Temp Town.  While I initially thought that there must be a bunch, I'm no longer so sure.  This all started when I inadvertently stumbled across a reference to temp attorney blogs here and then realized the post was old here.  As it turns out, that blog, My Attorney Blog, seems to have last posted in March 2009.

Further searching yielded Tom the Temp, who seems to have last posted in April 2011. Moving on from Washington, DC, I found a Philadelphia blog for temps -- that plozted in March 2009.  This blog sometimes talks about temps but is not really a Temp Town blog; posts about temping are rare, and the last one seems to have been in July. And this blog deals with temps, but does not seem to post very often. They do have some cool merch, though. Are you guys sure you don't want to see Eff You t-shirts?

My point here is, if there are good temp blogs out there, I'm not finding them. On the other hand, I'm not looking that hard. If you know of some, let me know through the comments, or contact me at raised.by.a.wolf@gmail.com. I'll post or respond as appropriate. Thanks in advance.





A sign of the times

The project I am on really sucks, and I let the agency know I would be gone at the first opportunity. The first opportunity, by definition, would be something with a higher rate, more hours and/or a longer projected duration. While I am not normally a big fan of jumping -- I had been in this business for years before I first jumped from a project -- I told the agency straight up that, because I was lied to about the hours, I had no intention of staying with this project. Much to my chagrin, despite numerous projects being posted in the last couple weeks, not a single one has met the criteria for me to jump. All have had a lower rate (just by a dollar, but that's 40 bucks a week, kids). All have also been only 40 hours. And all have had a shorter projected duration.

This causes two separate reactions in me. First, I am stunned that the market is active enough that I have seen so many projects starting up in the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas. This usually is a really bad time of year to be looking for work, even shitty work. Second, I cannot believe I am so well and truly fucked as to be entering my third full week on this project with no prospect of getting out until after New Year's. Lord, how have I offended thee? OK, never mind that -- neither one of us really has the time to get into it.

Game food preview

Just to kind of prepare people for what they're facing tomorrow, the Packers play at Chicago, which means there is only one possible choice for the primary game food: brats. Yes, they will be boiled in beer and then grilled, as is required of any true brat fan. They will be accompanied by the ever-present stuffed potato skins and nachos which, while not traditionally served with brats, are really fucking good and make excellent game food. Just wanted to give people a heads up. And we're the early game, so game food porn should be up by dinnertime. Unless we lose, in which case I will be walking around with a rope in one hand and a chair in the other, looking for a solid rafter.

I have developed a plan for success

Sorry for the long delay between posts, but I've been working on my plans for the future. I finally figured out a way to make a whole bunch of money, with minimal effort on my part.

That's right, I'm going to threaten to pull out of the Eurozone. The way things are in Europe these days, they'll be overcome with fear of spreading economic panic brought on by my turning away from the Euro. To avoid a currency crisis and to keep others from following my example, they will shower tens of billions of Euros on me, thereby securing my financial future. Sure, I'll promise to implement austerity measures, crack down on my profligate spending and to reform my culture of entitlement, but I won't mean it. They'll give me more money even if I miss all kinds of deadlines for imposing these measures. Hey, it worked for Greece.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

That shit was old

Forgive me for not noticing that that the blog post I linked in the previous post was from 2009. Fuck him. Interesting to me, though, how little things have change. http://www.myattorneyblog.com/ seems to have gotten out of the business at about that time. But what he said about the business still rings true:
For my fellow contract attorneys and tempers still working the salt mines of click-click land, my advice is to get out while you still can. Times are bleak, pay is low, and working hours are getting shorter by the minute – but the legal working situation for temp attorneys is also not going to get any better anytime soon. Contract attorney work is not only a dead end job career wise – but it’ll suck out your soul, pummel your pride, and leave you financially depleted years from now.
Of course, he was writing at the nadir of life in Temp Town, although I am not suggesting things have improved dramatically. Bottom line is, this industry is dying, at least in this town, if not this country. Further, even if it is not dying in this town or this country, it is rapidly becoming non-remunerative and, further, it remains, as it always was, unrewarding professionally. Plus, you'll get no respect, and chicks do not understand what it is you say you do for a living when you try to impress them in bars with the fact that you are a lawyer. So get the fuck out.

Just in case you weren't depressed yet

Just roaming around the web and found this: Wait: "Temporary attorney" is a career? This guy seems shocked that there are people who do what we do. Sometimes, so am I, I guess, but I was a little surprised at how dismissive they were:
Contract attorneys appear a discontented lot. A host of blogs have popped up railing about life as a contract attorney, including Temporary Attorney: The Sweatshop Edition; [Houston-based] Document Review, Texas StyleBlack Sheep of Philly Contract Attorneys; and My Attorney Blog: The Life of a Contract Attorney in Temp Town, Washington D.C.

Got some links in there I haven't followed yet. Just disappointed I wasn't one of them. Alas, what's a girl to do?

Monday, December 10, 2012

Did I say there'd be more game food?

Night game means twice the food, twice the fun. We put up the traditional game food early, and now we have some dinner-like game food for the late game. Behold, the chili:


Yeah, there it is, topped with chopped onions, cheddar cheese and sour cream. Fucking excellent.
And, oh yeah, because it's a night game, we got dessert, too:


Yeah, we got some cheesecake with cherry topping. Oh, yeah.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Game food times two!

Because the Packers are the night game, and a man's gotta eat, we are doing two-part game food today. Traditional bad-for-you game food for the early games and then, for the people hungry again at 8:30 or so when the Packers kick off, more game food, but more meal-like. First, we present the early game food, which was served during the Redskins' amazing 31-28 comeback overtime win against the Ravens. Truly incredible. As were, of course, the onion straws:


Also excellent were the pigs in a blanket, a personal favorite:


And never forget the always-present stuffed potato skins. They are served on the Green Bay platter even though they were served before the Packers' game because, unlike the bye week, there is a Packers game tonight. And here are the skins:


Not a lot of innovation with today's game food, but I believe that if you find good dishes, you should stick with them. Also, tonight's game food will be making its season debut: you have not seen this item before tonight. In the meantime, bon apetit!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I could get used to the middle with her

Sussana Hoffs doing a cover of Stuck in the Middle With You. Originally by Steelers' Wheel, featuring Gerry Rafferty, who has some solo success later, the song was ruined for many people by Reservoir Dogs. And no, Bob Dylan had nothing to do with it. But Sussana Hoffs is one of the 10 women I'd leave my wife for, so I thought I'd put this up:


Friday, December 7, 2012

If it's going to burn, make them set it on fire


As bad as the prospect of four more years of President Obama might seem to conservatives, it is rapidly becoming clear that we face something that actually might make it worse: Republican congressional leadership. Specifically, Speaker of the House John Boehner seems to be acting like a guy who has already lost the fight and is trying to find a way to quit without looking like he's quit. Busily negotiating with himself -- Barry's position is that this can all be solved quickly if Republicans will just agree to be his prison bitch and do whatever the fuck he wants -- Boehner has already ceded the high ground on several fronts.

First, the GOP has given up on the meaning of words and accepted the Democrat position. Tax increases are no longer tax increases -- they are "revenue." Democrats know that Americans aren't fond of tax increases, so they don't talk about them. They talk about "revenues" and how much tax cuts "cost" the government and how the "rich" aren't paying their fair share. Boehner and the GOP are not fighting back even on these simple semantics. "Revenue" normally is the money that comes into the government (in this context) that can be increased in a number of ways. The best, of course, is economic growth that results in higher tax collections without changing the tax rates. Barry's position -- and by Barry, I mean President Obama, who was known as Barry when he was a junior at a privileged, expensive private school in Hawaii and I was the son of a very low-paid Marine major and a senior at a public school across town -- is that revenue only results from tax rate increases. He is an economic illiterate, and Boehner seems unable to explain that. Revenues actually grow when tax rates are reduced. It happens every time, whether liberals like it or not. But Boehner can't seem to explain that.

More semantics? Boehner could explain that tax cuts don't "cost" the government anything -- it's not the government's money, for God's sake. If your neighbor doesn't give you money, it doesn't "cost" you anything. It was never your money. And as for the "rich" not paying their share? Boehner can't seem to point out that the top 1 percent already pay 29 percent of the federal income taxes in this country, that they pay a higher rate than most middle class people and that most of those "rich" people are small business owners who list their business income on their personal tax return because the top individual rate is much lower than the corporate tax rate, which is the highest in the Western world. Boehner also can't bring himself to mention that making $200,000 a year ($250,000 for joint filers) is not rich -- that's a marginally successful business or, at least in the area I live in, a husband and wife who both have good federal government jobs. I'll bet they don't think they're rich. That's because they aren't.

The GOP also has ceded the policy argument, refusing to punch home the fact that Barry's desires are bad economic policy. Boehner seems to be resigned to believing that taxes on the upper income folks will be going up. The GOP seems unable to explain that this is, economically, bad for all of us. Tax increases always depress economic activity -- if you want less of something, tax it. That applies to income, too. Further, taking money from the upper income echelons suppresses job creation. Poor people don't hire people. Rich people do. Less money in the hands of the "rich"? Fewer jobs created through investment. Don't like it? Fuck off. Facts are facts. Taking more from people who make more will not make anyone else better off. If Barry took all of my money, how would that help you? If he took all of Bill Gates' money, how would that help you? It won't. It doesn't matter that Bill Gates has lots of money and I don't. Your pay won't go up. And if you don't have a job, you can be sure of one thing -- Bill Gates and I will damn sure not be hiring you. Barry has no economic argument for what he wants to do -- if he did, he'd be happy to take the increased "revenues" that Boehner is offering through tax reform. It's not about the money. The amount he wants to take from the "rich" won't make a dent in the deficit, much less the debt. It's about, as Barry once moronically said, about "fair." Because fair is so much more important than economically sound policies that will help the country grow.

If Boehner and the GOP had a pair among them, they'd be fighting tooth and nail on all of these issues. It's not "just" semantics -- words matter. And letting the other guys define policies as "good sense" when they are nothing of the kind is foolhardy. Finally, you have to offer an alternative that does not involve playing the other guy's game. Once you start playing the other guy's game, you lose, because he knows how to play it better than you do.

So here's what the House Republicans should do. First, contest at all opportunities the points outlined above, as well as any I haven't thought of -- or, as I would say were I more literate, of which I have not thought. Second, force feed the Democrats their own recipe -- go totally fucking Titus Andronicus on them. Put Barry's proposal up for a vote in the House. All $1.6 trillion in tax hikes, all the billions in new spending and all the millions or thousands in spending cuts (there aren't any actual spending cuts in Barry's proposal, but I digress). Put the whole steaming pile up for a vote in one stinky package, and see if the Democrats will vote for it. If they do, let 'em pass it and just vote present. Enough House Democrats are in safe districts that they can probably get a majority of their caucus to vote for it, but they sure won't get  all of them. So that already would look bad. Then things get worse for them.

Because next we send that bag of turds to the Senate.  Put it on the floor, bring it to a vote. My bet is Harry Reid won't allow a vote. If he does, I don't think he can get to 51 votes -- I'm not sure he can get a majority of his caucus. But if he can, vote present. Let them pass it. The proposal Barry put forward is not serious and he never expected to be signing it into law. So make him decide. He can't veto it if it passes with only his own party's support, and he can't blame Republicans if they let it pass. Make him motherfucking eat it.

People argue with me and say, we should stand on conservative principles and fight this tooth and nail until the bitter end. That ignores reality. Should we try to fight on the semantics and policy problems with what Barry wants? Hell, yeah. But we're going to lose the vote. Democrats get everything they want if they do nothing: taxes go up on everyone, the military gets the shit cut out of it, some domestic programs take a minor hit and entitlements get left alone completely. What's not to love? Of course they're willing to go over the fiscal cliff. Republicans, on the other hand, know that going over the cliff will be bad for the economy. But they can't stop it. So instead of going over the cliff and giving Democrats what they want, we should give them what they claim they want and pass Barry's supposed solution to going over the fiscal cliff.

Will it be bad for the economy? Yes. Will it send this country into a tailspin? Yeah, probably, and we'll probably take the rest of the world with us. Will it ensure Democrats are a national minority for a generation? I sure fucking hope so. Does that make me a bad man for wanting this? No. What the Democrats want will be bad for the economy and probably take the rest of the world with us. But they'll blame Republicans. I say hey, give them what they say they want. Then there is no one to blame but the party that actually is to blame. They're going to get what they want, and it's going to be bad for the economy. At least make them own it. This isn't exactly Let It Burn, but to the extent it is, it hands the matches to the Democrats.

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today is the 71st anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor that ushered the United States into World War II. Until 9/11, it was the worst foreign attack on US soil, with 2,335 soldiers, sailors and Marines killed, 68 civilians killed, and 1,178 wounded. A pretty good chunk of the Pacific Fleet was damaged or destroyed -- ultimately, only the USS Arizona and the USS Utah were total losses -- and nearly 200 airplanes were destroyed on the ground. Unlike after 9/11, there was no talk of chickens coming home to roost or wondering why they hated us or what we'd done to provoke them.

When I was young -- first grade, I guess -- one of our neighbors was a retired Navy man named Elmer Shoenfelter. He was aboard the Pennsylvania, which was in dry dock during the attack. I was already something of a history nut and was in awe that I knew someone who was present at such an historic event. As is so often the case with veterans, he wasn't one to talk about it much, but he showed me the pictures he had. I don't know if the Navy gave the official pictures to veterans of the attack or if he got them some other way, but the pictures were the ones you'll find these days if you do a search online for Pearl Harbor images. The Pennsylvania is the battleship behind the two jacked-up destroyers.




Later, during high school, we were stationed in Hawaii. I used to go to the Arizona Memorial a lot, and sometimes a friend and I would go fishing off the pier on Ford Island where the USS Maryland was moored, right next to the memorial. I'd think about Mr. Shoenfelter sometimes and wonder what it looked like back in his day. I can tell you this -- visit the memorial if you ever get the chance. It is a breathtaking and humbling experience.


I think Pearl Harbor Day has faded in significance for many, maybe even most, people. I think that's wrong. The day should serve as a reminder of two things: the world is a dangerous place, and no matter what you think you know, you don't know when, where or how that danger might manifest itself. Nations that forget those things don't fare well.

For an excellent post from last year's anniversary, go here.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Well, here's an upside

As mentioned previously, this project is limited to 40 hours per week. This is, of course, slow starvation. No one living in the DC metro area who is not single can live on 40 hours a week. Most single folks around here can't live on 40 hours a week, especially with student loans. The cost of living is simply too high. So 40-hour projects really suck. You're making good money nationwide standards, but not by local standards. So it sucks.

The only good thing about a 40-hour week is if you can do it in 4 days. Fortunately, that is the case with this project. In fact, we can work the daily cap, which is 11.5 hours each day, and hit 40 hours at about 1:30 pm every Thursday. Some folks do that, some don't. I always aim to finish my 40 by about 7 pm Thursday, though, so I get a three-day weekend. It's a small fringe benefit, but I guess it has intangible value. Given the paucity of benefits in this work, I'll take it. It cuts my commute expenses by 20 percent, after all. So that's something.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Game food explosion!

Yeah, it's tough to put up a blog post when you're three-quarters reclined in the chair, trying to reach around your seriously stuffed stomach. Got a Packers win despite Adrian Peterson having an epic game -- he had about 2/3s of the ViQueens total offense. Almost as important, we had magnificent game food. In response to the poll results, we did indeed do the Bacon Explosion, and it was just as good as I remembered. Even the woman who lives with me to whom I am related by marriage was forced to agree that, despite the fact that she was pissed off that I was making such an unhealthy dish, the Bacon Explosion was a taste sensation. We served slices on buns. But I taunt. Here it is:


Naturally, you can't get the full impact from that. Please note that I include cheese in the inside:


To complement the explosion of flavor, we trotted out some baked beans:



Throw in some roasted corn:


Then top it off with the ever-present stuffed potato skins:


Excuse me now while I go have a heart attack. If it kills me, I'll die happy.

Traffic jam

Needless to say, with the Instalanche we set a record for traffic in November with 29,763 visits, easily topping the previous busiest month, June 2011, which had only 1,904 hits. November also brought in visits from Saudi Arabia and Malaysia, countries we have not seen before. I thank everyone who has come by, and I hope you will keep dropping in. Speaking of Traffic, this is them doing Gimme Some Lovin', which is what I want you people to keep doing:


Saturday, December 1, 2012

Beam me up, Scotty

OK, wrong Enterprise, but the Navy aircraft carrier USS Enterprise, the first nuclear carrier, was retired from active service today after 51 years of patrolling the seas in defense of American freedom. If you never saw her live, she was (is -- not in the scrapyard yet) quite a fucking ship:



The good news, I guess, is that the next Ford class carrier built, CVN-80, is supposed to be named Enterprise. Of course, with the current administration's love of the military, we'll see if CVN-80 even gets built. Not holding my breath.

A reminder that the rules still apply

When I was recruited for this project, I was told it would be 50 hours a week. Ten hours of overtime is pretty good these days, so I was happy to take it. Imagine my surprise when, during the orientation session with the head legal assistant working on the case for the firm, we were told that there was no overtime, there had been no overtime since the project started in May (we were being added to the existing project) and there were no plans to add overtime before the project ended.

This led to a dilemma. Should I bitch to the agency and accuse them of lying? Should I simply quit, refusing to accept the lie? Or should I just take the project and pretend I had not been lied to?

The other guy being added to the project that day took Door No. 2: he quit immediately. Ballsy, but not necessarily smart given the state of the market (slow), the time of year (slow even in good times), and the likelihood of being put on that agency's Do Not Hire list.

I have the good fortune (I guess that's how to describe it) of having a very good and long-standing relationship with the guy who is in charge of this agency's DC office. So I took Door No. 1 and sent him this email (edited to protect the guilty):

First of all, this has nothing to do with you, since I know you are not down in the weeds on this shit. That said, the problem here is not that [the law firm] is running at 40 hours -- that's what they generally do, although not always. The problem is that this is a project that has been going since May, at 40 hours/week, and [the staffing asswipe] told me last week when seeing if I wanted to be submitted and again this week when I double-checked with him that this was a 50-hour project. Apparently, [another staffing asswipe] told the other add-on guy the same thing, but only once. And yeah, I have the email where [the first staffing asswipe] confirmed the hours. So the problem is this. While [your agency] may have been told back in May that this was a 50-hour project, it was not. Since Day 1, the folks on this project have worked 40 hours a week. [The second staffing asswipe] and/or [the first staffing asswipe] (or both) have reviewed the timesheets for this project since that point and are well aware that this has been a 40-hour project from day one. Telling me that this is a 50-hour project because that is what [the law firm] originally said is not, in the face of the fact that for five months it has been a 40-hour project, anything other than a bald-faced lie. It is intentional and, in my opinion, malicious. I would not have taken this project with actual knowledge of the hours. I don't like it over there and, frankly, the subject matter bores the shit out of me. I am extremely unhappy and will leave this project at the first opportunity, 40-hour or otherwise. This has nothing to do with me and you; this has everything to do with what your underlings tell contractors. I understand that the staffers can only pass on what they know. In May, they weren't lying when they said it was a 50-hour project, because what [the law firm] said was all they had to go on. On Tuesday, they were lying.
So the way things stand is, I am on a 40-hour project that is probably no worse than most 40-hour projects except for the fact that I thought it would be 50 hours. So that might be coloring my thinking just a touch. Also, I hope that a couple staffing asswipes got at least a little bit of an ass-chewing. I can dream, right? The last and most important lesson, of course, is that I am reminded of rules to live by, and what I have long since decided is Rule No. 1: Remember, they're lying.

Bonus question: Will staffing asswipes object to being called staffing asswipes, even when it is done anonymously?

Barring a late surge . . .

. . . it looks like Bacon Explosion will be tomorrow's game food, which is OK by me. I would include a photo now, but you'll get at least one with tomorrow's game food porn. Looks like Bacon Explosion, roasted corn, onion straws and the ever-dependable stuffed potato skins.

I have to admit, my wife is getting a little torqued that I let an online poll guide what the game food will be. Today she said, "Are we eating that bacon shit tomorrow because of that fucking poll?" She's normally such a delicate flower that I forgive her for this outburst. I also told her that, yes, Bacon Explosion was leading and no, there would be no shit involved. Not sure she was mollified.