Remember the bondage board!
Friday, August 27, 2004 ~ 01:06 p.m.
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Last night Jessica and I decided to go for a walk around campus. At some point (maybe right off the bat) it turned into a stroll down memory lane that compelled us to wander most of our old haunts. We puttered around CCRH, Wilson Hall, the research institute, and SECH while reminiscing about years past. We both agree that our freshman year was the one we miss the most. You know, back before we developed exoskeletons composed of pure cynicism.

The end result was that I, at least, wound up feeling slightly depressed. I definitely don't miss the stress of being a student, but I miss a lot of the people I got to know over the years. In addition to losing touch with most of my classmates, I rarely see people from the original group, and I've lost at least three very good friends. Of course, I've made several new ones over the same period, but you always miss people.

Not to say that either of us is unhappy no longer being students. Oh no. We're both perfectly happy being liberated. We just get nostalgic from time to time.

For those who may not understand the title, the Bondage Board was the 709/713 project for our hallís bulletin board. It had whips, chains, duct tape, and ramen noodles. It was a true work of art. It also barely lasted a day before housing decided someone else needed to decorate the board. WE thought it was funny.

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For the children
Friday, August 27, 2004 ~ 08:57 a.m.
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Finally. Bush speaks truth. I'll bet they had to muzzle Karl Rove.

In other news: "In a separate interview with USA Today, Bush said Thursday that he believes he made the right decision to invade Iraq and thinks voters will not deny him a second term even if they disagree with the war."

Okay, so you don't agree with the war in Iraq. Fair enough. But there's all kinds of other reasons to support Bush:

1) Under W, the largest budget surplus in the history of the United States of America is now the largest budget deficit in the history of the United States of America. Now my kids get to shoulder the responsibility of paying off W's debt! Yay!

2) Bush has steadily been eroding environmental protections at the expense of public health and welfare. He and his administration have blocked stronger pollution limits in our air and our drinking water. The superfund program has taken a huge hit delaying the cleanups of toxic sites across the country. Oh, and as an extra bonus, site contaminated by PCBs can now be sold to developers prior to cleanup (think Love Canal). Yay cancer!

3) No Child Left Behind keeps leaving children behind. Most notably, the poor. Yay ignorance!

4) Oh, and then there's the Bush foreign policy.

5) And the fact that he and his administration lied. Or miscalculated. Whatever...

6) But hey, at least he hasn't schtupped his secretary in the Oval Office. 'Cause that's SO much worse than starting a war based on a lie. Or a miscalculation. Whatever...

7) AND NO GAYS SETTLING DOWN.

After all, we all want our children to worry all their lives about war, grow up ignorant, and work until they're either 80 or dead of cancer from the poisons in their water and food. I know I do!

Vote Bush 2004! For the children!

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Does this taste funny to you?
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 ~ 09:43 a.m.
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Taking a breather
Wednesday, August 25, 2004 ~ 09:09 a.m.
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Be careful what you ask for. In addition to being swamped with geotech projects, my job's been expanded to include a chunk of the CMT work, even though I haven't been hit with that yet. And then, yesterday I was assigned to manage the newest environmental project. As those things go, I guess it's relatively small, but it's all mine. I have absolutely no experience with this type of project, so it should be an interesting learning experience. The only catch is, the first phase is due September 30. Whee!

I'm really looking forward to this weekend. I'm headed home on Friday, then my mom and I are driving over to Kingston to see my grandparents. Somewhere along the way, we'll stop by and see my sister (and maybe swap cars with her). I'm sorry to be missing Mo's canoe trip, but with Todd gone again to Colorado, I probably wouldn't have had anyone to paddle with anyway.

*sigh* Time to dive back in.

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Not exactly how it happened
Friday, August 20, 2004 ~ 02:10 p.m.
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"So, even though we've screwed up your order twice, you're going to have to pay for the overnight shipping."

"The guy I talked to last week said I didn't."

"Well, you do."

"...Do you understand that if you screw with me one more time, I will eat your soul?"

"M'am -"

"Do you?"

"......Free shipping it is."

"I'm glad we could work this out."

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In other news, one of our people just quit here at work, so they're splitting up his workload and giving me a third of it. I'm also stressing over the report I'm working on that's suddenly due Monday instead of Wednesday. Add in the other two and the crap I have to do for Environmental, I'm suddenly very very busy. When it rains, it pours.

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Of course they love us
Friday, August 20, 2004 ~ 09:31 a.m.
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Political ad upsets Iraqi players

Iraqi soccer players said they are angered that President Bush has referred to their Olympic delegation in a campaign ad and called on him to stop, Sports Illustrated reported Thursday on its Web site.

"Iraq as a team does not want Mr. Bush to use us for the presidential campaign," Iraqi midfielder Salih Sadir told SI.com through a translator. "He can find another way to advertise himself."

The Bush campaign is running an ad in which the flags of Iraq and Afghanistan appear.

A narrator says, "At this Olympics there will be two more free nations - and two fewer terrorist regimes. With strength, resolve and courage, democracy will triumph over terror and hope will defeat hatred."

There are no images of Iraqi soccer players in the ad.

Another player was harshly critical of the president.

"How will he meet his god having slaughtered so many men and women?" Ahmed Manajid told SI.com. "He has committed so many crimes."

There was no immediate response from the Bush campaign on the criticism from the Iraqis.

The players said they were grateful that Saddam Hussein's son, Uday, was no longer in charge of the country's Olympians, SI.com reported. He had tortured players for playing badly. U.S. troops killed him last year in Mosul.

Still, the team's coach said the ad was inappropriate and that the team does not support the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

"My problems are not with the American people," Iraqi coach Adnan Hamad told SI.com.

"They are with what America has done in Iraq: destroy everything," he said. "The American army has killed so many people in Iraq. What is freedom when I go to the (national) stadium and there are shootings on the road?"

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Happy News
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 ~ 05:03 p.m.
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Congrats, Jessica!

Jessica starts her new engineering job on Monday. :-) I think we should all visit her. Wearing mullets.

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The Junior Engineer
Wednesday, August 18, 2004 ~ 03:58 p.m.
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"Where ya headed, Sarah?"

"To recon the swamp that will one day be Gillespie Road."

"Oh. I know that swamp. Water moccasin heaven."

"So....it's going to be snakes today."

"LOTS of snakes."

"....I hate you."

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I feel kind of evil. By drilling this site, I'm helping to destroy one of the last (and the largest) wetlands in Madison County. I can understand why people all over the county are having fits about it. In fact, I can think of at least ten other roads, offhand, that the money for this could be better spent expanding. Too bad conservation isn't part of my job.

And Happy Birthday, Russell!

In other news, I had a great time with Pat, Jared, and Jessica last night. My favorite quote:

"Pat, for that, yours will be a long, slow, painful death."

"...Are you hitting on me?"

We should go to bars together more often. ;-) For lots of reasons, but I particuarly like that Jessica and I get to beat up on the boys. They take it, because we buy them booze.

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And last, a picture of my office for the next few days:

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Florida
Monday, August 16, 2004 ~ 11:56 a.m.
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Griping
Monday, August 16, 2004 ~ 11:07 a.m.
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If I wasn't so terrified of people burning chunks off of my eye, that lasic thing would be looking pretty damn good right about now.

First, my glasses came apart. No biggie, that's why I have contacts. But then one of my contacts started disintegrating and the other one clouded up, because they're three months old. Of course, I was out of replacements, but I figured I'd just cope and order some more. But as of last Wednesday, the replacements still hadn't arrived. I went to Florida and dealt with not being able to see. I was not a happy bunny.

Today, I skipped out of work and went to my apartment office. Still no package, according to them, but I had the notice. So I insisted. And finally they found it, addressed correctly, but re-labeled incorrectly. Today marks nine days after it actually arrived in the office.

So I happily skipped down to my apartment to put in my brand new contacts. But no. Upon opening the package, I discovered that the order I received isn't even remotely similar to the one I placed. I called 1-800-Contacts, they promised to fix it. But wait...they can't get in touch with my eye doctor.

Now we're waiting on my doctor to call them back so they can overnight me the correct order. That's all well and good, but in the meantime, I'm having to make do with one disintegrating contact and one I found in the bathroom cabinent 3/4 dried out. I'm about to break down and glue my glasses back together, even though that means the repairs will probably cost more.

You people with perfect vision....I hate you all.

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In the job description
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 ~ 10:39 a.m.
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"My most solemn duty as President is to protect our country." - George W. Bush, August 7 2004

For the record, the Presidential Oath of Office is as follows:

"I do solemnly affirm that I will faithfully execute the office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Mr. Bush doesn't seem to understand that he is not our sworn protector. He is not all that stands between America and its enemies. He is not God's warrior, chosen to bring freedom to the people of the world. He doesn't understand the most fundamental duty of his office.

Pitiful.

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It IS as bad as you think
Tuesday, August 10, 2004 ~ 09:21 a.m.
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Thanks go to my Dad, for sending these factoids my way.

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For an estimated 1.3 million college grads in the class of 2004, it's time to hang up that cap and gown and break out the interview suit. But job prospects remain tough for many recent graduates, despite an improving economy:

10% of this year's college grads had secured a job as of the end of April

132,000 seniors expected to still be looking for work six months after graduation

57% of college grads plan to move back home after graduation

Source: Kiplinger's, July 2004

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Have I mentioned how happy I am to be at work today?

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Are we talking about the same person?
Thursday, August 5, 2004 ~ 05:02 p.m.
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The funniest quote of the day comes from White House spokesman Scott McClellan. Today Bush misspoke again, a minor amusing error about how our government never stops "thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people." Funny, but an error anyone* could make. In his defense, Mr. McClellan said, and I quote:

"But the American people know this president speaks with clarity and conviction."

We have accused Bush of many things, but speaking with clarity is most definitely not one of them. :-D

* with the IQ of fruit

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Needed: One beat-up old truck
Thursday, August 5, 2004 ~ 11:35 a.m.
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It's becoming apparent that I need a truck of my own.

My job involves a lot of dirt. I frequently find myself transporting at least a hundred pounds of Alabama's (or Mississippi's or Tennessee's) finest in my poor little Corolla-sized trunk. In addition to bags upon bags of dirt, I also carry buckets, bins, and containers full of various tools, bits of clothing, and supplies. At times, I have also been known to carry a tripod, a survey instrument, a PID with its case, a rod, several coolers, and the kitchen sink.

Capacity isn't the only problem. I need a vehicle I can take off-road, one I can beat the hell out of without crying over every dent and scratch. My trunk is, predictably, covered in dirt that leaks out around the garbage bags and bins I use for transport. My car's a mess and I'd like for it not to be. But a truck is supposed to be dirty, so I wouldn't have to worry over that.

We have trucks at work, but not enough. Even if I knew how to drive a stick shift, there still wouldn't be a truck available for me 95% of the time. The engineers have to fare for themselves.

In short, I need to buy an old, beat-up truck. I don't want one that's too unreliable, since there's a whole lot of nothing between here and most of my job sites, but old and scratched-up is okay. I'd keep my car for days I'm not working out in the field (because I LOVE the gas mileage), but I need something better equipped to deal with my current job.

And if I had a truck, I'd be gone to Hamilton with a pair of water tanks, instead of sitting here at my desk, bored to tears.

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You only think you're crispy-fried
Monday, August 2, 2004 ~ 02:16 p.m.
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I've always thought that flame-throwers are probably the most efficient way to, ah, discourage riots and armed protests. After all, not many people are dumb enough to charge someone who is both willing and able to roast their ass. But now we have the Active Denial System. Same effect as a flamethrower, without all the mess of charred human flesh.

"ADS projects a focused, speed-of-light milli-meter-wave energy beam to induce an intolerable heating sensation on an adversaryís skin and cause that individual to be repelled without injury."

Yep. That's cool.

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The strangest thing I've heard today
Monday, August 2, 2004 ~ 11:11 a.m.
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According to Jessica, there are still companies out there that don't allow women to wear pants to work. She ought to know, since one of them was the engineering company she interviewed with last week.

I had no idea such a thing still existed. I'm pretty sure that if I was told in an interview that I could only wear dresses to work, my answer would be five straight minutes of outright laughter, followed by a baffled, "Surely you can't be serious." Then Iíd have to check a calendar, just to make sure I hadn't stumble through some sort of time warp.

I mean, what possible justification can there be for requiring women to wear skirts or dresses? Do the CEOs have a fear of pantsuits? Are women in pants somehow less able to work than women who have a healthy breeze flowing around their hind ends? Or maybe they're getting a kickback from some pantyhose manufacturer.

And why would any company risk sticking their proverbial hand into that particular blender? If anyone decided to argue the point, I'm pretty sure the company in question would come out on the loosing end. I mean, it's obviously discrimination of a particularly mind-boggling sort, not to mention that itís silly beyond all belief. And how many engineers are equipped to deal with that sort of stupidity?

Of course, I also think requiring male employees to wear a noose to work isn't particuarly beneficial to company moral.

Dress codes are understandable. But not allowing women to wear pants is just...weird.

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