mytopleft

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Not sure this is the result they wanted

I've posted before about the sick leave policy of the agency I currently am working for. As I said back in September, when the policy change was foisted on us:
What this policy does -- and the policy was not written until about a week ago -- is ensure that anyone on a project that has overtime hours available will not be able to utilize sick time if they are working the overtime hours available. In other words, the people who are accruing the most sick time by working the most hours won't be able to use any of that sick time. Got it? I'm not sure why the agency would want to write a policy on sick leave that discourages working overtime -- which I think makes the agency more money and certainly is the only way for temps to make a living -- but that's what they are doing.
You are only allowed to claim sick time if doing so will not put you over 40 hours per week. That means people who work a lot of overtime (and thus accrue a lot of sick leave, which is based on hours worked) would never be able to claim sick leave unless they quit working overtime. The policy encourages slacking, no doubt about it. And this week, I have proof.

A guy I know on the project left early each night this week, did not come to work today (Thursday) and is not going to be at work Friday. He was looking a little peaked, maybe like he was about to throw up, so it would not surprise me if he submitted for sick time for those two days. Coincidentally, he only worked 24 hours the first three days of the week, which means that two days of sick time would give him 40 hours for the week. Normally, this guy works about 10 hours a week of overtime -- which makes him a slacker in my book, but hey -- but I guess he was getting a little run down.

The point, I guess, is this: if benefits don't help your hardest-working employees, they aren't much of an incentive to work hard, are they? Everytime somebody tries to claim a sick day, the policy here changes so that in the future, that sick day under those circumstances will be denied. They figure out how to deny sick days, we figure out how to get them. I predict that it is only a matter of time before the agency simply does away with its sick leave policy or, at best, makes it so restricted that no one qualifies for sick leave under any circumstances. Bet on it.

Can't wait to see how they react to Obamacare when the employer mandate kicks in.



Sweet baby Jeebus, this is brilliant

Instapundit links to this brilliant response to a government motion to prevent the defense from referring to the government as "the government" in defense motions and other filings. The defense, in what has to be a winning opposition, is brilliant in taking down the government:
First, the Defendant no longer wants to be called "the Defendant." This rather archaic term of art, obviously has a fairly negative connotation. It unfairly demeans, and dehumanizes Mr. Donald Powell. The word "defendant" should be banned. At trial, Mr. Powellhereby demands be addressed only by his full name, preceded by the title "Mister." Alternatively,he may be called simply "the Citizen Accused." This latter title sounds more respectable than thecriminal "Defendant." The designation "That innocent man" would also be acceptable.
Interesting to me that the government is starting to realize that being called "the government" is viewed by many people as pejorative. Because, of course, it is.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Vote in the game food poll!

The Packers are the Monday night game for week 9 (this coming weekend) so the game food poll is for week 10. That gives you lots of time to vote, so vote early and often. I'm hard at work searching for new game food recipes for the second half of the season, so look forward to those. In the meantime, vote!

Maybe working conditions were a little too good for temps, now that you mention it

Temps rarely are heard talking about how great their working conditions are. And this post won't counter that. Normally, we are jammed into spaces far more cramped than the casual observer might think is conducive to high-functioning intellectual activity, which is, at least nominally, that in which we are supposed to be engaged. (My mother was an English teacher. Sue me. Your bitching about proper grammatical construction is something up with which I will not put. So fuck you.)

In any event, this project isn't that bad as far as crowding goes. Sure, we're in fairly tight quarters, and we don't have the luxury of privacy (I no longer tolerate the complaints of people who work in "cube farms," where a mere divider separates workers from each other. I shank them. We have no dividers, and considerably less space than each person has in a cube farm.) So we have no-more-than-usual crowding (and less than many projects I have worked), no rats, a newly built-out space with some really inspiring art work, and a semi-decent kitchen/dining area. What's not to like?

Apparently, somebody in management decided that all of those factors combined made us just a little too pampered, so they cut the hours of the cleaning staff. "Staff" might be a strong word here -- near as I can tell it was one woman. I am told that she used to work 50 hours a week, but that was cut to 40. Then, starting this week, her 40 hours were cut to 20. I don't know if it had anything to do with the looming mandates under Obamacare, but I do know that cutting her hours in half means that at the end of the day, trash cans in the kitchen area are overflowing onto the floor. I'm not seeing an upside to this.

I don't know who made this decision. I don't know why that person made this decision. I just am not surprised by the decision. Livable working conditions for temps never has been a big concern for the folks who run temp agencies. Many of the people who work at temp agencies are much more sympathetic. Agency heads? Not so much.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Food porn failure haiku


My chili blowed up
For reasons not known to me,
but it blowed up. Fuck.

This has happened before. It sucked then, too. Lesson here? Fuck a bunch of trying to can chili. At least until I figure out what I'm doing wrong. OK, so maybe it didn't quite explode, but funk was coming out of the jar:




and the top was ridiculously swollen. No good could come of this:


On the up side, the second jar of chili shows no signs of going funky. We'll see. Yeah, it's in quarantine, because my expectations are low at this point.


Monday, October 28, 2013

More weekend food porn. Seriously.

Did some regular food porn Sunday night for dinner -- not to be confused with game food porn. This is an entree that wolves can fix at home. Really good, too -- although it is a little complicated. Nonetheless, I was able to get through this chicken carbonara recipe despite a regular ration of game-watching beer. So maybe it isn't that complicated.

Anyway, you will need some olive oil, 4 ounces of pancetta, chopped (it's often called Italian style bacon -- who knew?), 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, 2-1/2 cups of whipping cream, one cup of shredded parmesan, 8 large egg yolks, 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil, 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley, salt, 1 pound of spaghetti, 4 cups of shredded chicken (from a roasted chicken), pepper, and 1/2 cups of chopped walnuts, toasted:
 

 Yeah, not everything is in that picture. That's a lot of stuff, people. Anyway, roast a chicken. To do this, take a raw roaster, set your oven for 325 F and roast the chicken for 15 minutes per pound. You can tent the chicken if you like. I didn't.


When it is done, it should be a nice, purdy golden brown, like this:


Next, you will strip the meat off the bones:


You will wind up with 4 cups of shredded chicken meat (actually, probably more -- save the rest for something else):


With that done, chop up the garlic and toss in the pancetta. I was able to buy diced pancetta at Wegman's -- you might have to chop yours yourself. Not sure whether you have a pancetta-carrying grocery store. I sure hope so.


While the garlic and pancetta are cooking (just a few minutes -- be quick) -- whisk together the whipping cream, parmesan, egg yolks, basil and parsley until blended nicely:


Boil some water in a large pot:


Later, you will add spaghetti to the boiling water and make pasta:


You will need this later.

In any event, toss the chicken into the pancetta-garlic mix and stir.

Add the spaghetti, stir it in:


Add the cream mixture and stir it in:


When you have a second (meaning while you're doing all this other stuff) toast the walnuts, about 10 minutes at 350 f:


Mix in the toasted walnuts:


Serve and enjoy:


Bon appetit.

My chili done blowed up

I've been working on canning chili. I have to admit, the first effort did not end well. This post has few photos because I didn't intend to post on this and so did not photograph stuff at first. Once it got interesting, though, I decided a few photos might be in order.

I initially tried to can some chili using the water-bath method that I use on tomatoes and other high-acid fruits and vegetables. I did this because a co-worker said her mother used the water bath to can her father's chili. When I was done, the seals looked good and I liked my chances for a good result. It is possible she was wrong, and it is possible that I didn't subject the chili to enough time in the water bath, because that shit blew up. Literally. Inside of the cabinet where the jars were stored looked like this:


Like a volcanic eruption, only messier. So I did another couple jars, but this time I did them in the pressure cooker. Once again, seals looked good, and I felt good about the prospects. Nonetheless, I hedged my bets and took precautions against any possible explosion:


Anyway, it's been about a week, and the first jars exploded before this. Doesn't mean I have successfully canned chili, of course. Might taste like shit when I open it. We'll see.

You're lying! More yard work?

Hey! The damn project isn't finished. Saturday we went out to the nursery -- out in Sykesville, about 500 miles away, still can't figure out why we couldn't go more local, but I do what Mrs. Wolves says on shit like this -- and bought the shrubs we will be putting in the front bed to replace the ones that I mercilessly ripped from the ground with a chain and a truck. Before we could plant, though, there was some other work still to do. The mess on the right side of the porch needed to be dealt with -- cut back the rose bush and the wild grass plant:


Whole lotta cuttin's goin' on, kids:


Managed to fill a wheelbarrow with trimmings from an area about 3 x 3:


Thank God we had Jeb the Wonder Dog riding herd on activities:


Big open bed, lots of room. We placed the new bushes to get a visual:


Then I dug holes and planted those sumbitches:


Yeah, I know I left out pictures of the holes and the digging thereof. Sorry about that, but I figured most people have seen a hole in the ground before. Next weekend should finish this shit off. But maybe not. We'll see.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Game food porn, people!

Sure, Packers game is not until 8:30 and hasn't started yet, but the future Mrs. Wolves is a Saints fan, and they played at 1 today, so we did game food for that. No step-by-step on this stuff, because I think I've done so before (hey, search the blog and prove me wrong), so no links,  But here's our game food porn:

Naturally, we had stuffed potato skins:


Since the last game food poll called for wings last week, and I was unable to do wings last week because of domestic pressure, I did wings this week. First, we had the ultra-mild traditional wing sauce:


I also fixed some brown-sugar barbecue wings:


Finally, I threw in some onion straws with dipping sauce:


OK, gotta go watch the Packers. More food porn coming later. Hope your team did OK, and bon appetit.

In the field of opportunity, it's harvest time again

Driving around the area, it appears that about half the corn is in, but I've only seen one soybean field that has bee harvested, and that was over in Carroll County near Sykesville. In our neck of the woods, including the three fields I can walk to in about five minutes, no harvest action. I think the corn harvest seems to be taking priority on equipment rental. I'll keep an eye out, but in the meantime, I think this qualifies as amber waves of grain:


This is the soybean field next to my home. I suspect he will harvest soon and plant winter wheat, but I could be wrong.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

How can you tell they're lying? Their lips are moving.

I think we can all agree that it is a bad thing when an administration leaks information that is blatantly false in an effort to damage its political opponents. Yes? (Actually, many liberals/progressives might not agree with that statement, but we'll move on, anyway.) But I think we can definitely all agree that it is a bad thing when an administration leaks information that is blatantly false in an effort to damage its political opponents and gets caught lying:
The White House and Senate Democrats may need a refresher course on how to leak a juicy story.
The White House today was forced to backtrack on a rumor Obama administration officials started about a Republican House leader who purportedly insulted President Obama to his face, telling the president, “I cannot even stand to look at you.”
Turns out, it never happened. How do we know?
The same White House that was responsible for starting the buzz now says there was a “miscommunication” and a “misunderstanding.”
Yeah, same old story: lying pieces of shit tell a lie to smear their opponents, somebody figures out it was a lie, lying pieces of shit say, "Hey, miscommunication." Media says, "Cool." Unless the lying piece of shit is a Republican which, in this case, he wasn't.

Friday, October 25, 2013

I can't believe I turned down free beer

The agency for which I am working threw a happy hour for my project last night to celebrate the second anniversary of the project's start, with free food and drink at a nice local restaurant/bar. I like free stuff as much as the next guy, but I was really glad that Mrs. Wolves issued a come-get-me summons that prevented me from attending. The pros of attending were far outweighed by the cons.

Think of it like this: It's kind of like being invited to a party where you know there will be a couple people you actually want to hang out with, another few who you don't mind hanging out with and a whole bunch you have no desire to hang out with. In addition, an indeterminate number of people from your employer will be there, all of whom can probably get you fired. On top of that, an unknown number of people from the client will be there. They, too, can probably get you fired. So I can go to a party with a bunch of people I don't want to party with and undergo a non-zero chance that something will happen to piss off someone who can get me fired, and the upside here is some free booze? Pass.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

I got me a Norwegian!

It would appear that Eff You Nation finally has added Norway to the family. We finally got a visitor from Norway, which seems long-overdue to me, as Sweden is in the top 5 of visitors to the site, and Denmark and Latvia, near neighbors, are in the top 10. Of course, Finland -- a neighbor of Norway -- still stubbornly refuses to visit. Who can figure out those Scandis? 

Anyway, here's a little dope on Norway from Wikipedia:
Norway has a total area of 385,252 square kilometres (148,747 sq mi) and a population of about 5 million.[10] It is the 2nd least densely populated country in Europe. The country shares a long eastern border withSweden (1,619 km or 1,006 mi long), which is the longest uninterrupted border within both Scandinavia & Europe at large. Norway is bordered by Finland and Russia to the north-east, and the Skagerrak Strait to the south, with Denmark on the other side. It shares maritime borders with Russia by the Barents Sea; Greenland, the Faroe Islands, and Iceland by the Norwegian Sea; and Sweden, Denmark, and the United Kingdom by the North Sea. Norway's extensive coastline, facing the North Atlantic Ocean and the Barents Sea, is laced with fjords, a renowned part of its landscape. The capital city Oslo is the largest in the nation, with a population of nearly 1 million.
OK. Norway, welcome to the Eff You family. Bring some friends next time.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

A sad anniversary

Today is the 30th anniversary of the bombing of the Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Headquarters Company of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment (the unit was designated Battalion Landing Team 1/8) was hit by a truck bomb driven by a suicide Islamist on a Sunday morning, October 23, 1983, killing 241 American service men, mostly Marines. This site has a great post about the event and notes that the Marines sent to Beirut were handcuffed when it came to accomplishing their peacekeeping mission:
The facts from Beirut were grim and maddening. Sentries without loaded weapons, crew-served guns with no ammo belts, lack of barriers on high-speed avenues of approach. All tactical sins, all foisted upon BLT 1/8 by those in Congress and in government concerned with “posture” and “appearances”.
Political considerations doomed the mission and, as it turned out, hundreds of Americans sent to perform that mission. There was heroism that day as survivors struggled mightily to rescue those trapped in the rubble and care for the wounded.


One of the big lessons of Beirut was don't send American troops to a hostile shore if you don't plan to let them fight to win.  Sadly, I don't think we learned that lesson yet.

Hat tip to Atlas Shrugged for the photo.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Disturbing honesty

The project I am on has been going on for two years now. I have been on it only since January, but there are a good number of folks who have been here since the start. They know each other and tend to want to do little events together to mark milestones. For this Friday, they were planning a pot-luck lunch. People were to sign up to bring a dish and everyone would have at it. Apparently, they have done this in the past.

This time, plans got overtaken by events. The agency for which we are working decided to hold a happy hour at a local restaurant to thank the folks on the project for their dedication, or their ability to remain conscious for 12 hours a day, or something. Actually, most folks on this project come nowhere near 12 hours a day. But I digress. In any event, the agency is hosting a happy hour Thursday.

Today, one of our project managers from the firm (the law firm we are doing the project for, as opposed to the temp agency that actually hired us) asked us to reschedule the pot luck lunch. The reason? He is planning to get so pounded at the happy hour Thursday that he either won't be at work Friday or he will be so hungover that he won't want to eat a pot-luck lunch. Unfortunately, I am not inferring this -- he was pretty explicit.

I really don't know what else to say, except that this doesn't actually surprise me. Temps are always treated as subhumans whose desires and opinions don't matter. Why should this be different? At least he told us the truth, although this can't go into the category of "refreshing honesty." Maybe "disturbing honesty."

Really hot food porn!

OK, there's been a lot of food porn lately. That doesn't make this a food blog, it just makes me busy in the kitchen. Fear not, I plan to keep up with Temp Town. Just not right now, since Temp Town is really dull at the moment. Although I think I have something coming. But that is for later.

Right now, we have hot sauce food porn. Because we have reach the end of the harvest, we have been bringing in the marginal tomatoes (to beat the freeze) and all of the peppers. Naturally, this means I have a lot to do on the food-preservation front. In addition to jarring tomatoes, I have to deal with the peppers. I decided to kill two birds with one stone and make hot sauce, which uses peppers and tomatoes. So here we go.

 To start with, you will need lots of peppers and lots of tomatoes:


As it turns out, because of the end of harvest thing -- where I used a bunch of tomatoes for the chicken parmesan food pr0n Saturday night and a bunch are still mostly green -- I had to go to the jars. Still, you will need about 8 cups of diced tomatoes (the recipe says it is acceptable to use canned diced tomatoes), 1-1/2 cups of seeded peppers, 4 cups of white vinegar, 2 tsp of canning salt, and 2 tsp of pickling spices bound up in a cheesecloth packet.

First, seed your peppers. Wear gloves, or risk pepper dick. Trust me, you don't want that to happen:


Take those peppers, and dice the hell out of them:


Add them to your diced tomatoes, the vinegar and the spice bag. Bring it to a boil, then reduce and simmer for about 10 minutes:


The recipe I used wanted me to shove that shit through a food mill to filter out the nasty chunks, like stems and stuff, but I don't have a food mill, so I did a little food processor action on the mix:


After food mill or processor, you should simmer that stuff for about 20 minutes. Once shit is done, ladle it into canning jars. I used pint jars because I had them. The recipe calls for 1/2 pint jars, which I think is better.


Put the jars in a large pot -- a canning pot would be good here, people -- and cover the jars with water. I also had three quarts of tomatoes to can, so my water was deeper. Your mileage may vary.


Anyway, bring that to a boil and jar at a full boil for about 10 minutes. Let the jars cool, and test for seal -- press your thumb -- or any other finger, I don't fucking care -- against the lid. If it has some give to it and makes that cricket-like popping sound, you need to try again with the water bath because the seal didn't take. I strongly recommend getting some literature or instruction on canning for this. Still, this shit is pretty basic, so you should be able to hang with it.

You need to let your hot sauce sit for at least a week after you can it so that the flavors can meld. After that, I am told it is good for about a year. On the other hand, I have read stuff that shows some canned products are good 100 years later and that here is  freaky-deaky group of folks who look for really old canned shit. What the fuck to I know. I hope the hot sauce burns your lips.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Yeah, we had game food porn yesterday

I tell you what, this jet-set lifestyle is going to kill me. The whole running errands, doing yard work, cooking game food, watching games and working 60 hours a week is a drag. And not a damn jet in sight.

Anyway, yeah, yesterday we fixed some game food, which means we have game food porn. We did ribs, which you might remember from Memorial Day food porn, or you might not. Doesn't matter, because we did this one just a little differently, and I have to say, best ribs to date. So we start with a couple racks of baby back ribs of the pork variety.


Cut these into two- or three-rib sections:


Place them in a large pot of water and bring them to a boil. Boil for about 20 minutes. Your ribs are now fully cooked. Everything that follows is to make them tender and taste good:


Take those boiled ribs -- please, let them cool before you do this, or else you will burn the living shit out of your hands -- and put a barbecue rub on them. I use Famous Dave's -- at least right now -- but you can use whatever you like.  Serious barbecue folks have their favorite rubs that they usually order online, but Famous Dave's is probably one of the better rubs available in grocery stores. Experiment, people, and find what you like, then put it on the damn ribs:


On a charcoal grill, fire up some wood chunks. I use hickory because it is what I can get around here. White oak is best, mesquite only works for Texas beef. Applewood is for fru-fru losers. If you can't get white oak, get hickory. Let the fire get going:


Put the ribs on without putting any ribs directly over the flames:


Cover and let that smoke work its taste magic:


You will need a sauce. I use King's Barbecue Sauce. I order it online from King's  in Petersburg, Va. Dinwiddie County, Va., is the birthplace of barbecue, so I go to the source. There is other good sauce out there. Find one you like.


After smoking your ribs for about 2 hours (more if you can) pull them from the grill, put them in a cooking pan and sauce them up. Cover with foil, put them in the oven at about 250 degrees F and let them roll for at least 4 hours, 6 hours if you can:


Tender ribs, guaranteed:


What with the Packers being the 4 o'clock game, I figured game food would be dinner, so vegetables were in order:


Potatoes are a vegetable (and so are the green onions in stuffed skins), so they were on the menu:


As a bonus, Mrs. Wolves suggested that I turn Saturday night's magnificent chicken parmesan into individual servings with toothpicks and reheat, so I did:


All in all, great game food. Sorry the wings got bumped by the chicken parmesan, but I promise wings for next week. Bon appetit.