Officially Technological

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

"Word" Verification

OK, so I like blogger's new "word verification" tool. It keeps the spammers out and all, but I think they're really using the word "word" as liberally as possible. I'm mean, it what language is "qhfukeb" a word? If it's a word in your language please let me know, as I'm about seriously question the validity of Blogger.

Sorry guys, I don't have much to say today. Somehow sitting in class for nine hours studying what seemed like a bajillion exceptions to the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act has really zapped me pretty dry......







........Well, I didn't sit there for nine hours straight............ I had an hour lunch................... and a few unauthorized breaks to call my friends................. and one unautherized break to watch some lame home decor show............... but that's besides the point! I'm fried!

Have a good night, maybe I'll write something more interesting tomorrow.
posted by Julie at 7:17 PM 13 comments

Friday, September 23, 2005

FED Files - Volume XI

Boredom

Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored
*eeeeeep*
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..Bored..
posted by Julie at 3:25 PM 7 comments

Thursday, September 22, 2005

My Love/Hate Relationship With My Job

I was writing an email to a friend of mine (a fellow intern for our agency but in a different sub-agency), when it dawned on me that I have a love/hate relationship with my job. Everyone has ups and downs in their job and in life, and that's normal. And I'm pretty normal. I'm not much of a roller coaster. But my job on the other hand inspires either the most sentimental affection or the most intense hatred in me. I think this is pretty funny, since every day that I go to work, I'm either in love with my job and want to set up a cot, or am completely TOed. This is pretty new to me. I rarely have strong opinions about anything important and when I do, it's either one or the other, not both. EXAMPLE: I hated my old job. At best I disliked it, and at worst I loathed it. Now, here I am in my new(er) job and I either loathe it or love it, but never much indifference in between. One might wonder what could arouse such a normally indifferent person to such extremes. So, I have decided to post the things I love and hate about my job.


Things I Love

Things I Hate

Overall, I can't say I don't like my job, nor can I honestly say that I do like it. More or less, when people ask how I like my job I say something vague to the effect of "Sometimes." Little do they know that the "sometimes" that I "like" my job, I actually love it, and the other times, I despise it.

posted by Julie at 9:44 AM 5 comments

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

My Secret Admirer disappeared

I had a secret admirer who always left me candy on my keyboard sometime between the time I left in the evening and came back in the morning. Who ever it was, always left good stuff too. Miniature candy bars, assorted hard candy. All sorts of stuff. Well, you can imagine my dismay when my secret admirer goes away and does not leave me any more candy. Do you know how hard it is to get through the morning without a little sugar jolt?* And whoever it was always really sweet about it. They put the candy next to the Chapstick I keep on my keyboard. But for days, I open my office door, look at my keyboard, and there is only my Chapstick. Oh the grief and heartache of losing a secret admirer. Oh, the suffering! So, I ask you. How can I get my secret admirer back when I never knew who it was??

*DISCLAIMER: I'm not really this shallow.
posted by Julie at 12:37 PM 15 comments

Friday, September 16, 2005

Alternate Universe??

In Michigan some sort of gateway (like the Bermuda Triangle claims to be) to an alternate universe and no one has shared this information with me?? If so, I think I have just slipped into an alternate universe. However, I am aware that this universe is counterfeit because, when I hit my programmed button for the Oldies Station in my car just now, it wasn't the Oldies Station at all. It was weird dorky 2000's POP! I HATE Pop! Does anyone else find this disturbing that I would press a button looking for cheerful little "bop-shu-ops" and got instead a boy-band??? I kept waiting for a voice to break into the music to tell me that it was an Alltell commercial, but it never happened. Then I kept waiting for an announcer to break in and say, "Whoops. Accidentally put in my CD, guys. Sorry about the mix-up." But that never happened either!!! WHERE ARE MY OLDIES??? If you have seen my Oldies will you tell them that they are desperately missed in Lansing, Michigan? Tell 'em that I love them and that I'm looking for them. I am will to pay any rescuer of my Oldies 33 three dollar bills (which equals $99) upon the safe restoration of my Oldies music.
posted by Julie at 5:15 PM 6 comments

When Extraordinary People Meet Less Than Extraordinary Circumstances

The Red Cross

In their own slightly clumsy way American's have learned to romanticize things that are unpleasant. American's were late bloomers from the start. Our Romantic Period blossomed almost a quarter of a century after the English Romantic Period. American's typically don't have time to philosophize. They prefer to act instead. The Romantic Period, I'll grant you, doesn't have anything to do with "being romantic", but the Period demanded reflection, complexity, and individualism. And although the "American Way" doesn't necessarily support these theories, they have embraced it in their own way.

I can't remember a time that I did not think fondly of the military. I often day-dreamed about being in the military, marrying someone in the military, losing someone who was in the military when I was a little girl. Why? Because in their quest for justice, liberty, hope, and peace, they stumbled across the individuals that refused to give that up. In probing into the lives of these individuals they were raised as heroes to us. And a mass of hundreds of thousands of heroes marching off breaking the bonds of injustice and bringing liberty to imprisoned people is as romantic as we Americans can imagine.

I was thinking the exact same thing as I was sitting in Red Cross training last night. It was a dark, cloudy, and coolish fall day in Lansing, Michigan (one of the most hapless places on the map). Approximately 100 people were crammed into a room that could comfortably sit 40. There were chairs in the isles, along the back and sides, and in the doorway. A true blue fire hazard. But no one minded. People from every walk of life were represented in that room. Young people, old people, healthy people, sick people, black people, white people, Hispanic people, rich people, poor people, professional people, uneducated people, mixed people, broken people, people, people, people. As I looked around me, they were just people. All people who have been touched. All people who are grieved. All people.

And as I sat in Red Cross training, listening to the countless stories of people surviving the hurricane down south, and the programs that Lansing is creating to respond to this disaster, I thought of how the Red Cross has been romanticized. Nothing at the Red Cross is glamorous. In fact, it's bare-bones facility, run mostly by volunteers who try to maintain full time jobs. It's not like you see on movies where a Red Cross working is picking up the head of a dying victim to bring their parched lips to a cool glass of water. It isn't red lipstick and white uniforms with little red crosses on the chest. It's hard, demanding, constant work. Just like the "American Spirit" it's hard work, it's unpleasant, it's not getting a break. But in that work, Americans have found something to cling to. Something to ponder, to dream of, to desire.

What am I trying to say, in a non-literary way? I'm saying that in their work and in their drive, Americans they share the same passions, the same hopes as other people. We work hard to protect the people we love. We work hard to protect the country we love. And we work harder to protect the freedom we love. So, live romantically. Live romantically, the American Way.

PS. This is my 100th post! Ya!
posted by Julie at 2:13 PM 1 comments

Wednesday, September 14, 2005

The Military Channel

Can you believe such a thing exists?? It does, and we've been watching excerps in class for the last three days now. So, here's some cool things about the Military Channel.
  1. They play neat abrasive music (ba-da-BUM-ba-da-BUM-ba-da-BUM...ne-ne-ne-NE-ne-ne-ne-NE)
  2. They flash pictures of stuff getting blown up ever 15 seconds (sometimes they'll do two or three in a row if they want to get their point across)
  3. The narrator has a low mysterious voice
  4. They use verbs like "dominating", "striking", "attacking" (nothing passive aggressive like "controlling")
  5. They show tanks 20 feet wide driving through the suburban streets of modern day Germany
  6. They show the full body slam when people parachute out of planes. (You know how Hollywood shows a neat little run as the soldier gently lowers to the ground? That's bunk. The Military Channel shows lots of full belly slaps as troops come down.)
  7. They show military vehicles kicking up enough dust to confuse anyone as they going tearing around.
  8. They have a huge fascination with vehicles running through enough water to cover their tires (or whatever they have).

Yes, the Military Channel is a neat channel. I highly recommend it. If you need ten minutes of straight up abrasion, the Military Channel is a must-see.

posted by Julie at 1:17 PM 9 comments

Monday, September 12, 2005

FED Files - Volume X

Nostalgia and Mill End

Being a math loser, I wanted to save my tenth FED file for my 100th post anniversary (that way it would be 10 and 100 - see the math connection?). But when you have material as good as I have, you can't risk it that you will forget it. So, I will settle for post number 98.

It has been widely confirmed that to be a Fed, it is helpful to be a little odd. Most Feds have eccentric little hobbies, and nuances that could fill books. For an example, is my friend, Lucy (if you remember my earlier post about my lunch pals, she was the pack-rat). Lucy has one of those houses that looks like the stuff in it is part of the foundation - so high are her stacks. She is heavily involved in many very handy hobbies. She knows how to do almost any craft, and is practically a walking encyclopedia.

Semi annually, Lucy has a garage sale to help alleviate the amount of stuff she has in her house. My other lunch buddies have all helped with the sale, and say it is quite the event. This woman owns one of everything. If you need knitting needles size 7, she has them in wood, plastic, and several colors of metal. If you need a bee-keeping outfit (I kid you not), she could outfit you with as little work as finding that box in her basement. If you need a cookie-cutter shaped as a T-Rex (not to be confused with other dinosaur shapes), she would ask casually which size, as she has one of every size (and two of medium).

Lucy is from "the Thumb" (for you non-Michiganians, that's the part of the state that juts out into Lake Huron and looks like.... a thumb). The Thumb is basically rural, and so any serious shopping is commonly done in either Bay City or Saginaw. In Lucy's day, downtown Bay City was a classy place with department stores etc. Now it's about a thousand river-side condos with big river-side boardwalks and Subway restaurants. But one thing has always remained the same in Bay City. Mill End. Mill End was a huge store (three stories of a building almost a city block big) that sold good, old fashioned junk. It was paradise. You could find anything at Mill End. If you needed a pair of leather pants, it was there, if you need 50" hot pink shoe-laces for your high-tops, they were there. If you desired rainbow puff balls to glue onto an art project for fifty cents, Mill End was your place. Mill End didn't follow the normal Supply/Demand rules. If there wasn't any demand, Mill End would just keep the merchandise until there was demand (even if that day never came). All the really trashy stuff, they kept in the basement, a huge, sprawling land of rubbish.

You can see how a woman who has 6 sizes of T-Rex shaped cookie-cutters would be infatuated with a store such as this. Indeed Lucy and her older sister made it a kind of pilgrimage every year from Battle Creek to Bay City (a drive no less than 2.5 hours) just to visit Mill End. She talked about their trips for weeks afterward at lunch. And when she found out that I came from Pinconning (just 20 short miles from Mill End), her first question was, "Have you ever been to Mill End?"

Unfortunately, it was my unhappy chore to inform Lucy that Mill End is closing (at least the one in Bay City). She was devastated. Her questions included (but were not exclusively):
  1. Is there any other Mill Ends?
  2. Do their stairs squeak the same way the Bay City Mill End's stairs squeak?
  3. Do they have the same elevators?
  4. What will they do with their cat (there was a cat that roamed around the Bay City Mill End for the last 100 years... it's a very old cat.)?
  5. When are they closing?
  6. What are they going to do with all their stuff?
  7. Is there any point in crossing the Bay City bridge if Mill End is closed?
  8. Why would such a place close?

She posed all these questions (and a few more) to the sales clerk who picked up the phone. She had the sales clerk on speaker phone, so I heard the whole conversation.

As it turns out there are 4 other Mill Ends. The ones in Gladwin and West Branch are the most like the one in Bay City, but the clerk wasn't sure if the stairs squeaked. She imagined that they did because those buildings were very old too. The cat was going to the store in Clare, and the building had been sold to a John Something-or-Another who was turning it into (surprise, surprise) condos. For any of you who would like to see this amazing feat of salesmanship, Mill End will be closing at the end of September (Lucy has already contacted her sister and two friends about their plans for this coming weekend), and yes, it is still beneficial to cross the Bay City bridge as the neat houses along Center Ave are still there, and the Antique mall (Michigan's largest antique store) is just a few blocks down.

So, after several panicky phone calls to numerous people, much mapquesting the other Mill End locations, and the passing of at least an hour of 'work time' Lucy is still mourning the loss of Mill End. The World mourns with you, Lucy. The World mourns with you.....

posted by Julie at 3:59 PM 5 comments

Friday, September 09, 2005

Deliquency

Yes, yes, I know I haven't been updating my blog as frequently as I normally do, but I have a good excuse. See, our Colonel told us that our internet system physically located in Louisiana, and since the hurricane, it's been down. So, our whole agency, and maybe our whole Department is now going to a different provider in Georgia. So, our Colonel told us that we would help the relief efforts if we used the internet as little as possible because the extra weight of providing our internet access is overwhelming the company in Georgia who is now claiming that we are slowing down their lines. Is that a scam or what?? :) I think it's just a ploy to keep us off the internet. :)

Have a good weekend.
posted by Julie at 3:24 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Pumpin' Up The Ol' Bike Tires




I've gained some much needed perspective with the whole New Orleans thing. Since I was down there this spring and realize how much they had to lose, I feel somewhat connected to what's going on.

The state of Michigan is currently flying displaced people up here to the 'great white north' and is hoping to settle them here permanently. Right now we have approximately three hundred such individuals at Ft. Custer (our National Guard base in Battle Creek) which is less than five miles from my place of employment. From what I hear, the three hundred people that have already arrived (we expect to bring up to 10,000 to our glorious state) have been the recipients of all of Michigan's hospitality and want nothing but jobs and a more permanent residence. They have been given more than they can use of everything else.

Of course, Michigan has two flaws for our brand new residents to contend with. They have a beautiful state to look at, without extreme weather of any kind (very few tornadoes, no earthquakes, no hurricanes), but they will suffer from
  1. Michigan winters (which by all accounts are, if not horrible, at the very least annoying)
  2. The highest gas prices is the United States (topping out at $3.25 on Saturday).

Unfortunately, I, and most others who care to help these people, can't do anything about either of these irritations. So, we will combat our dilemmas with humor (like the above).

So, to all victims of Hurricane Katrina and fellow Americans:

WELCOME TO MICHIGAN! May your stay be long and prosperous. Welcome to the land of the ten cent can deposits (you'll love it)! JUST REMEMBER: Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam, circumspice (If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you)!

posted by Julie at 10:12 AM 10 comments