Officially Technological

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

The "Small World" Apartment

My roommate and I lived in an apartment for two years while going to college (well, Jaime lived there three years). It was in a really large complex of probably 20 buildings, tucked way in the back by the clubhouse. We have officially dubbed the apartment the "Small World" apartment. And here's why...

My roommate took a job in Eaton Rapids when I was a Senior. Eaton Rapids is maybe 45 minutes southwest of this apartment. When she was filling out the paperwork for the job, the vet was glancing over her shoulder and exclaimed, "1305 Beaujardin #306?? I used to live there!" My roommate kind of blew her off thinking, "Sure you did, what are the odds?" But then the vet went to describe the exact location of the apartment and it's layout and gossiped about the land-lord. An odd coincidence, to be sure.

Last week, our friend, Aaron (Nebraska Aaron), was catching up with some of his friends from high school who attend Michigan State. They told him to come over to their apartment to watch TV with them, so he asked for directions, and they told him it was in Dover's Crossings. "Oh," he said, "I know Dover's pretty well, my friends used to live there." So, they go on to tell him to take Beaujardin and follow the signs for the clubhouse... and he said, "Are you in 1305?? Number 306??" And they were. Weird.

What is that about being six people removed from knowing everyone in the world?...

Everybody now! "It's a small world after all! It's a small world after all! It's a small world after all! It's a small, small world!"
posted by Julie at 10:18 AM 4 comments

Friday, May 27, 2005

H I L A R I O U S

I think this is funny. Check it out.

Beth told me that she kept leaning over to Ben in the theater saying, "Like this movie, I do."
After about 50 times Ben was like, "Be Quiet!"

You'll get it when you read it.
posted by Julie at 1:59 PM 0 comments

YOU'RE IT!

I've been tagged by my friend, Beth (Beth's Blog). So, I am supposed to make a list of ten things I've never done. Whoa. This is a challenge. I think I'm up for it. Let's see:


  1. I've never met a celebrity, unless you count Jennifer Millerwise - Dick Cheney's press secretary (except she's not really a celebrity, she makes celebrities).
  2. I've never been to NYC (or any other northeast place, come to think of it).
  3. I've never written a book - I know, most people haven't written books, but with as many times as I say things like, "I should write a book about that..." you'd think that I would written something by now. (As Jane Austen once described one of her characters, "She's almost entirely composed of ready opinions not yet shared..." Of course, a lot of mine are shared.)
  4. I never got detention in school (not that I never deserved it. I was just "smoother" than other people - or so I'd like to believe.)
  5. I've never played Chess (and I claim to be a geek...).
  6. I've never been to Cedar Point (amazing, isn't it?).
  7. I have never liked the word "gal". Or "ill" (although, given the right setting, I'll use them both).
  8. I have never owned a computer (nope, not even in college - I'm a die-hard).
  9. I never voluntarily joined a club in school (I was involuntarily inducted into NHS in high school, but as my friend Beth can attest, it just was not my bag).
  10. And the most appalling one of all: I've never slept outside over night (although I think camping sounds fun, I've never had the opportunity to completely "rough it". Can you believe I'm a native Michiganian?? I'm going to have to remedy that this summer).

And now, I tag... let's see, I tag Brooke and Dona. No tag-backs! :)

posted by Julie at 10:01 AM 1 comments

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

FED Files - Volume IV

Whodunit

It was a cool, cloudy day in Battle Creek, Michigan, when Dave Taylor, a lanky, dark sort of guy entered my office. I was swamped with other cases, but he was a buddy of mine, a coworker. I'm not completely heartless, so I couldn't turn him down.

The crime scene was in his office where his mouse lay disfigured and stained with dirt on its pad, the clock above his cube had been dismembered, and the fractured glass that was the face was now discarded on a desk nearby. The clock's time had been changed to reflect Day-Light Savings.

"I can barely use my mouse," Taylor sputtered. "It's clickin' all funny." He whined a little like a creaking door. Squeeking. "My clock was changed to the correct time... I was almost late for a meeting!" He seemed beside himself, his brow was creased with worry.

"Ah, shut up, Taylor," I grumbled as I snapped on my gloves, "We'll take the clock face to finger-printing."

"I think they..." He stuttered. "I think they stepped on my mouse to change..." a little sniffle here, "...to change the clock."

I examined the mouse. The streak was not consistent with the tread of a shoe. The depression in the middle of the mouse wasn't consistent with a shoe either. It was more consistent with... I grabbed the piece of glass that was the clock face. It's edge fit exactly into the impression.

"Fits like Cinderella's shoe, the streak of dirt was dust from the old clock." I mused, picking up his phone to call finger-printing.

"Angel, get up here, we've got a piece of evidence that needs to be finger-printed," I barked at the shifty clerk in finger-printing. I slammed down the phone as he started stammering an answer.

I pulled the mouse cord out of the back of Taylor's computer.

"What... what are you doing?"

"If I'm right, and I'm always right, this is Eric Ray's doing. He's a shady sort of guy who would fix a clock without warning. I'm switching his mouse with yours."

"B-b-but why?" He whimpered, as though he'd be up all night worrying that Ray would figure it out.

"Just think of it... as justice."

Disclaimer: This little story is actually partially true. I only took a few creative liberties. And no, I don't think I'm always right.
posted by Julie at 4:05 PM 7 comments

Confession:
I ate my Ben and Jerry's Half Baked (good call, Dona) ice cream with a measuring spoon last night, because I had just started the dishwasher, and all of my other spoons were in there.

Observation:
Government civilians are extremely difficult people to supervise (ask Alan, I'm sure he sees this all the time).

Victory:
The Pistons won.

Provocation:
The Meijer on M-50 doesn't carry my kind of yogurt (who eats that tasteless fat free yogurt?? Isn't yogurt already healthy enough??)

Decision:
I will run a 5K this summer.

Challenge:
To finish knitting the front of Kate's dress by the end of Memorial Day weekend.

Feat:
Our dishwasher has finally been fixed the right way and now actually washes our dishes.

Verse:
Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but when longing is fulfilled, it is a tree of life (Proverbs 13:12).
posted by Julie at 9:18 AM 5 comments

Monday, May 23, 2005

Celebrations

I am celebrating today. You may be asking what I'm celebrating. Well, here's a few of my celebrations today.

  1. My trip to Piketon, OH was cancelled (this brings two incentives to celebrate: A. Piketon, OH is about 3 hours from any large city, and about a half an hour from Kentucky and B. this provides an entire week that I don't any have classes - a rarity to be sure).
  2. The Pistons are once again in the play-offs (First game is tonight, 8PM Eastern).
  3. I just got my tax returns with no glitches (have I ever told you about the year my return was sent back because the gov't had recorded my social security number incorrectly. So, I filled out the paperwork, blahdy-blah, sent it back and they kicked it back again because I forgot to sign it, so I got my return at the end of July).
  4. Memorial Day (not only the three day weekend, but my family is going to be home, so I'll get to see everyone).
  5. A rainy evening (there's nothing that says "Good night of sleep" like a rainy evening).
  6. That I haven't had a Coke today (I'm trying to cut back. Apparently pop isn't good for you).
  7. I finally worked up the nerve to write a letter to Northwest Airlines about the stuff that had been stolen out of my luggage on my New Orleans trip (yes, yes, I know that was a month ago....)
  8. I just found out that I'm up for transfer next spring (I hesitate putting this one on the list, because although I'm really excited about it, it doesn't mean I'll actually request to be transferred. It just means that I'll have that option - which I'm really excited about).
  9. I am officially unpacked (I have absolutely nothing in any of my bags/luggage. Nor do I have anything that was once in a bag/luggage on the floor of my bedroom - that proved to be a harder skill to master).

So how shall I celebrate? Good question, thanks for asking. I think I will celebrate with some Ben and Jerry's ice cream (my Coke replacement), in my pajamas, skipping my run, and watching the Pistons' first game. Oh yeah, and my good night of sleep. I'm getting a good night of sleep too (definition of a good night of sleep: Eight solid, uninterrupted hours).

posted by Julie at 3:50 PM 4 comments

Saturday, May 21, 2005

Bittersweet

My friend, Holly, is getting married tomorrow. Holly has been a very important person to many of us in Detroit. There's a group of us who always count on Holly to always be there, always have a place to crash, and always be clever and witty. Well, it seems someone else has noticed how important Holly is. And now tomorrow we will kiss Holly good-bye as she starts a new life in Maryland.

Tonight, at the singing, we all joked and giggled about hair, and make-up, and how we needed to make an emergency stop at Meijer's to grab some clips for Diane's hair (Laura Plattner and I are helping the girls get ready tomorrow). We all were laughing and acting like we were having a perfectly splendid time, but in reality, we all know that tomorrow night, Holly won't live in Detroit any more. And although we are so happy that Holly has found her match, we are so sad to see her go. But tomorrow we will not let our own fears get in the way of Holly's happiness. Tomorrow is a day of celebration. A day of supreme delight. A day of excitement, laughter, and joy. So tonight I will say the things I can not say tomorrow.

God bless you, Holly. I love you, and I will keep in touch. Although I wish you could stay in Detroit forever, I am so happy for you. I will miss seeing you every Sunday. God bless you, Holly.
posted by Julie at 9:21 PM 2 comments

Thursday, May 19, 2005

An INVITATION

Here's an invitation to join... "The Hunt" (did you like the dramatic pause). For more details, check out Brooke's blog at:

www.brookelynicole.blogspot.com

Enjoy!
posted by Julie at 2:33 PM 0 comments

Poll

At work we have an "Executive Administrative Assistant" who sends out all the job announcements, building memos, invitations to activities, etc. etc. She really has a bad job if you think about, because everything that happens gets funneled through her. If a computer application is down, she has to inform the employees not only of the problem but of the resolution. I would guesstimate that I receive 50 emails from her every day.

That being said, and now knowing that she doesn't have much time to make things "pretty" or particularly clever, I have a question. Tell me what you think. She sent an email yesterday that was entitled, "Scents and Sensitivity" which discussed the need for everyone to respect each other's "sensitivities" for perfume and cologne. I immediately laughed out loud, because I thought she was using the title "Scents and Sensitivity" as a play-on-words to the book "Sense and Sensibility". But now I'm not so sure. So what do you all think? Is this a clever witticism or lucky coincidence?
posted by Julie at 9:15 AM 3 comments

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Favorite Things

You know that song?... Of course you know that song. Everyone knows that song, and it's probably now playing in all of your heads (hehe - oh, the power!)... "Girls in white dresses, with blue satin sashes, Snowflakes that stay on your nose and your lashes, Silver white winters that melt into springs, These are a few of my favorite things..." Full orchestra, Julie Andrews and eight children dancing wildly on her bed... Yup, it's stuck in your head now.

Anyway, I forced my roommate to watch "The Sound of Music" with me, because she's never seen it before, and I thought that everyone should see it, even if they hate it (like me). So, while we were watching the movie, I was (probably for the first time) paying attention to the actual words of the songs, and I realized that none of Julie Andrew's favorite things are my favorite things. For an example, I don't know if I've ever seen a girl with a white dress and blue satin sash. I don't have any particular adoration to "bright copper kettles," nor do I have a distinct enjoyment of "Cream colored ponies."

So here are some of my "Favorite Things".

That's enough for now. What are some of your favorite things?

posted by Julie at 10:05 AM 7 comments

N Drive North

There is a road that I use to get from I-69 to Battle Creek. The road's name is N Drive North. However, for some reason, everyone refers to it as Turkeyville Rd. I don't know why. When you're driving on I-69, you see the exit sign for Exit 49 - N Drive North, and about a half a mile past that there's another sign that says, "Turkeyville Rd. Use Exit 49." This confuses me, because I have yet to find a "Turkeyville Rd." There's a Turkeyville restaurant. But no Turkeyville Rd.

When my co-workers ask how I go home, I'll say, "I take N Drive North." Their response is always the same. "N Drive North?? Where's that?" I'll say, "You know, the road off of Emmett that goes up to I-69." And they will say, "Ohhh, you mean Turkeyville Rd!" It's a mystery to me. What happened to Turkeyville Rd? If N Drive North is Turkeyville Rd, why don't any of the street signs say so? If you look up Turkeyville Rd in Pennfield, Michigan on Mapquest, you'll get an error message. There is no Turkeyville Rd.

Even though I don't understand the whole Turkeyville Rd/N Drive North puzzle, I do enjoy taking that road every day. It's one of those roads where the trees are so close to the road that their branches reach over and touch across the road. On sunny days, the sun shines through the leaves and drops on the road like polka dots. Each season brings its own beauty to Turkeyville Rd. In the fall, the trees are brilliant with color, their fallen leaves pushed to the sides and middle of the road, creating literally a path. In the winter with snow plowed up against the trunks of the tree and ice clinging to the branches, it looks like a Christmas greeting card. But now, in my opinion, is the season that N Drive North is the most beautiful. It is late spring when the leaves are completely green, and the grass is fresh and vibrant. It was while driving in this morning, that I remembered why I didn't move to California last fall.

I think we should stop calling this spring and start calling it the season of forgiving & forgetting. In driving down Turkeyville Rd this morning, I forgave Michigan for the extremely long winter that we all suffered through. And I forgot that another such winter is on its way. All I could think about was how beautiful it is. How green and lush, and how... Magnificent, really. There's really no good words for it. So, we'll borrow some words. Here are some of Shakespeare's that may sum it up.

"How sweet the moonlight sleeps upon this bank! Here we will sit and let the sounds of music Creep in our ears: soft stillness and the night Become the touches of sweet harmony. Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold: There 's not the smallest orb which thou behold'st But in his motion like an angel sings, Still quiring to the young-eyed cherubins. Such harmony is in immortal souls; But whilst this muddy vesture of decay Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it." -The Merchant of Venice. Act. v. Sc. 1.
posted by Julie at 8:24 AM 2 comments

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

FED Files - Volume III

Acronymics

When I first started with the Feds, I felt like an alien (not the green kind, but the 'from a different country' kind). The language that is used here is barely English. It's like these people have their own dialect. I call this Acronymics. You'll notice the root word is "Acronym" meaning "A word formed by the initial letters of a multi-word name.*"

Most of the time, these words are spelled out when they're used in a sentence. Example: "I work for D-R-M-S (The Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service)." And these acronyms are not as hard to follow - once, of course, you know where you work and your general function. Case in point, if you work for the Department of Defense (which I do), it can be assumed that any acronym that begins with a "D" starts with the word "Defense" (like DRMS).

There are many good tips on Acronym decoding (if you're too proud to walk around with 15 sheets of paper entitled "Most Common Acronyms" like I did), however the tips are all irrelevant when words have been created or used incorrectly to accommodate the letters of an acronym. Some of my favorite examples of this phenomena are as follows:

RCRA (Rick-Ra): Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
DLIS (Dee-Lis): Defense Logistics Information Service.
RIPL (Ripple): Receipt In Place Location.
ISA (Ee-Sa): Interagency Support Agreement.
DAISY (Like the flower): Defense Reutilization and Marketing Automated Information System.

Like learning any other language learning Government Acronyms requires much study and much time to perfect the nuances of the language. It is not necessarily essential to be fluent in English first, however since the rules of phonics may violate the rules of Acronymics.

*HyperDictionary: Online Dictionary
posted by Julie at 1:08 PM 3 comments

Monday, May 16, 2005

Somewhere Between Jet-Lag and Philly

When I get emails or phone calls, the most common opening line is, "Where are you?" And it's hard to say where I am, because different parts of me are in different places. So, here's a run-down on where I am all over.

Physical Body: Battle Creek, Michigan (and my physical body isn't likin' it much. Has anyone else noticed what a cold spring we're having??)

My Mind: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (as many of you know, my uncle is really sick, and they live in Philly, so I'm trying to get out there sometime within the next month).

My Time Zone: Phoenix, Arizona (I am having a hard time readjusting to Eastern time, especially at 6AM).

My Desire: Los Angeles, California (I haven't been there for a while and was starting to hit withdrawal when my friends - Diane, Curt, Lori, and Sam - asked if I wanted to go with them. and I can't).

My Heart: Midland, Michigan (I got to see Lisa's kids the last time I was in Michigan, but I haven't gotten to see Hallie G for some time now, probably since before I went to KS).

My Daydreams: Bed

So many places, so few flights.

PS. For you KS people, I'm hoping at least some part of you wants to come up to Michigan with Brooke July 30-31. And yes, this is another shameless plug to get to hang out with you all. :)
posted by Julie at 12:29 PM 5 comments

Friday, May 13, 2005

FED Files - Volume II

The BRAC List

For those of you who don't work for the Department of Defense (which is probably all of you), I need to introduce you to the BRAC. Every year*, about this time, all military and DoD civilian installations wait with breath baited to see if their facility is on the BRAC. The BRAC List is the List of Base Realignments and closures (A.K.A. Not a good thing). If your base closes or "realigns" it means transfers, retirement buy-outs, and inconvenience for all.

According to HDI Federal Center legend, we were BRAC'd about 5 years ago. However, the state of Michigan threw such a temper fit about losing a federal center (especially when we're probably the only federal center in Michigan), that we made history and were un-BRAC'd (almost completely unheard of). So, here we are again. Friday the thirteenth, and waiting (with breath baited), to hear if we, once again, are on the list. The announcement is at 10:30AM and I can tell you with great authority that the 'natives are restless'.

BRAC Central was organized down in Contracting on the first floor. They have an Atomic clock erected on the top of their cubicle dividers for the most accurate time possible, since the list will be read at exactly 10:30. Spread on their conference table is maps of the United States with pin-points on all the most likely spots to get transferred (Columbus, OH is their obviously professional conclusion). Along with mostly likely transfer spots, they have calculated the cost of living per salary ratio (Columbus, OH is the desired location for this), and have even gotten estimates of housing in and around these areas. The "BRAC Stress Management Hotline" has been emailed. Yes, Contracting is prepared. They are prepared to leave on a moment's notice. If we were BRAC'd today, Contracting would be an empty shell by Monday.

So, until Ten-Thirty AM (Eastern Time) on Friday the Thirteenth Day of May Two Thousand and Five, Contracting (BRAC Central), the HDI Federal Center, the city of Battle Creek, the state of Michigan, the United States of America, the WORLD waits with baited breath...


*CORRECTION: The BRAC is held every five years, not every year.
posted by Julie at 1:10 PM 2 comments

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Adages and Proverbs

Don't you love moms/dads and grandmas/grandpas who have crazy sayings? You know the ones I'm talking about. The ones where people start them out by saying, "My mother used to say..." I am just full of these sayings, because my mother used to say a lot of maxims, and from what I gather, she's cropped the list quite a bit from what her mother used to say. The sad thing is that I can still hear my mother saying these things every time I participate in the behavior that necessitated the proverb in the first place.

I was thinking of this last night as I was lugging a suitcase filled with class materials (from the class I took in Phoenix) weighing 41.9 lbs, and a duffel bag filled with every summer-like article of clothing I own up the flight of stairs at my apartment. Ringing in my ears was my mother saying, "My mother used to say, a lazy horse carries himself to death." (Which, judging by the way I feel like this morning, is probably true.)

So, I thought, maybe we could all share our adages and our my-mother-used-to-says. It's like therapy. Maybe we can get them out of our system.

So here's some of mine (you'll notice they cover just about every aspect of life):

On grief:
Time heals all... (What's that suppose to mean? :) )

On Bed-Times:
Early to bed, early to rise, makes a man healthy wealthy and wise. (How 'bout 'Early to bed, longer to sleep?)

On Friendships:
If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all. (I thought this pretty useful in middle school, but I just wound up being "the shy" one. lol.)

To have friends you, you have to be a friend.

On Time-Management:
Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today. (She isn't much of a procrastinator, my mom.)

On possessions:
Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without. (My grandma used to use this one, and I think it's particularly applicable to my car.)

On Weather:
Red in the morning, sailors take warning,
Red at night, sailor's delight. (I still say this to myself every time I see a red sunset.)

And my personal favorite:
There so much good in the worst of us,
And so much bad in the best of us,
It hardly behooves any of us,
To talk about the rest of us. (Isn't that cute??)
posted by Julie at 12:33 PM 6 comments

I'm home (this is a period not an exclamation point).

Well, I'm home. I pretty much feel like I was hit by a truck sometime while I was asleep last night and this morning I hit the snooze button literally 15 times. I think my alarm clock has been feeling neglected the last couple of months, because it seemed to be louder and more obnoxious today than ever. It's like it was saying, "Look at me! Look at me!" I forgot my badge coming into work, so I had to go through full security, not just the regular variety (which I think I'll talk about later, because it's quite a fiasco), and my computer hasn't been turned on in so long, it took ten minutes to boot up. I'm also suffering from a drop of 50 degrees between Arizona and Michigan. Brr. So, here I am. I'm home. No exclamation point, just a period. If only vacation were forever... If only...

OK, I'll stop whining now. Hope everyone has a better day than mine started out.
posted by Julie at 9:07 AM 2 comments

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Definition of Vacation

Vacation: Eating cool, double chocolate pudding on a diving board shiny with oil on a ninety degree day.
posted by Julie at 9:52 PM 3 comments

Gonna burst if I don't brag for a sec.

While I was in Kansas, it was frequently mentioned that 'for a Northerner', I'm 'cold a lot'. And that is true. I remember chasing around outside with bare feet on a snow day (from school), and not being cold. I also remember swimming in pools that were 60 degrees and not being cold. But one year, I think my body said, "I'm tired of making you warm, why don't you make me warm for a change?" And I've been cold ever since. I can get a chill when it's 75 degrees (that's what we call the dog-days of summer in Michigan). I can pile 6 blankets on my bed, and still need socks. I can wear two long-sleeved shirts at a time and that's spring attire.

With that said, I think you all can appreciate why I need to brag for a second. At this moment at 10:19 PM in Phoenix, AZ absolutely every square inch of me is warm. Not just thawed, but actually warm. It was 92 degrees today, but no humidity. My friend Beth and I rode bikes, I wasn't overheated. I've sat in the sun; not too hot. It's been bliss. So, hello from Phoenix! I'm warming up, and will be back soon! Hope to bring some of this back with me.
posted by Julie at 1:04 AM 3 comments

I want to do a study sometime and see how many people actually like the place where they live. Because I really think a lot of us like making fun of the places we live more than we actually like living in them. So here's my proposal. What's your state's marketing slogan? Is it completely cheesy and/or just plain lame? Then let's brainstorm suggestions for new marketing slogans. Brooke and I were talking about this, and so I know Michigan's and I know Kansas's. If you're not from either Kansas or Michigan, leave your slogan, and we'll come up with something more... "realistic".

Example:

Michigan
Actual: Michigan! Great Lakes, Great Times!
What it should be: Michigan! Where You Can Make A Living Off Pop Cans!*

Kansas
Actual: Kansas! It's Bigger Than You Think!
What it should be: Kansas! It's Halfway To Everywhere!


*For those of you who don't live in Michigan, we have a ten cent deposit on our cans.
posted by Julie at 12:17 AM 24 comments