Officially Technological

Monday, October 31, 2005

H-hhhapp-pp-py Hallllllowee-een

Th-this morn-n-n-ing I was-s-s asked-ed to p-pass out-t can-n-n-dy to-to the kids from-m the day-cccc-care cent-ter.


I shhhhoulda d-d-d-done m-m-more pass-s-sing and-d less-s-s eat-t-t-ting.

Kk-kinda-da hav-v-ve a sug-gar rush.....

It-t's getting-ing bet-t-t-t-ter, though. I th-think I fin-nally got-t the cor-rect-rect num-m-mber of "Ls" in "Hallllllowee-een."
posted by Julie at 4:38 PM 4 comments

Thursday, October 27, 2005

FED Files - Volume XIV

Minutes From The 10/26/05 Intern Meeting*
(I sent this to a friend who missed the meeting)

1:30-1:45
After the debate prompted by Sarah at last week's intern meeting about the "class names" (she thought that maybe the '04 interns could be called the stars and the '05 interns could be called the moons), we have decided to go with the "Level 1's" and the "Level 2s". The supervisor thought it was too high school to call the classes "junior" and "senior" level interns. Another idea that was generated was to not worry about offending one person, but to offend them all and give us names that are universally insulting. That was rejected. So, even though Lawrence rose some concerns about a possible confusion as to which class would be "Level 1" and which would be "Level 2", that was our final decision.

1:45-1:50
Discussion of our permanent placements.** It was announced that the final decision will be announced for the entire Level 2 class next week.

1:50-2:05
We covered - in some detail - the impact of the new NBA dress code on the United States. The rules of the dress code were disclosed and discussed at great length. It was decided that the NBA is looking into the future and seeing that it could expand globally, and so it would be advantageous for the players of the NBA not to look like rappers.

2:05-2:10
That discussion prompted a dialogue about re-naming sports teams that are named after Native American tribes and whether that is or is not offensive. That issue is unresolved by the interns at this time.

2:10-2:12
The meeting ended with an anecdote from Lawrence about the Monday Night Football game he attended in Atlanta on 10/24/05.

2:12
Meeting adjourned.

*Trust me, I am not creative enough to make this stuff up. This was the actual content of a meeting.
**Yes, you read that correctly. For anyone who is curious about where I'll transfer and when, I got the when (August 26th), and I'll get the where next week. It sounds promising that I'll be leaving Battle Creek.
posted by Julie at 11:23 AM 10 comments

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Things I'd Be Very Successful At

(I know, I know, I should end titles with prepositions.....)

After a two and a half conversation with my friend, Beth, yesterday, I realized that there's a lot of things that I could do well, another group of things that I'd enjoy, but the two rarely coincide (we were actually talking about this in a different context but it applies to career too). Therein, I believe, lies success. Success isn't just being good at something, it's having that something be good for you in return.

So, I've compiled a list of things that I'm really good at, and that I really enjoy as well. You may understand after reading this, why I'm not exactly 100% pumped about my job*.
  1. Knitting
  2. Dreaming (if there was a market for day-dreaming, I would make a killing)
  3. Talking to friends on my cell phone (I don't like telemarketing - or any business over the phone - just straight-up chit chat)
  4. Cooking (yes, you read that correctly, I have recently taken up cooking and I think I could keep about seven families in good eatin' if I had the time)
  5. Beautifying (I cut my roommate's hair, sometimes style it, sometimes do her make-up, etc. I love it.)
  6. Swimming
  7. Music (especially when I played in band. I like the sound of piano music more than band music but band was a scream.)

And then people wonder why I'm bored at work.... It doesn't have any of those things. :)

*I'm actually about 75% pumped about my job. Yup, just average. Just a "C". I like it OK, it pays the bills, can be somewhat entertaining. It's not a complete bust.

posted by Julie at 12:39 PM 10 comments

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hark!

Is this a COMMENT? Sorry Trace, I couldn't resist. ;) I miss you guys. It's good to hear from you, (and yes, blog comments count).

Have fun on the job hunt and painting and keep in touch (I don't have your correct phone # anymore, so email it to me when you get a chance).

Love you and miss you (and your Pi symbol initials)! ;)
-J
posted by Julie at 1:24 PM 0 comments

Monday, October 24, 2005

Least Favorite Disney Movie

I may get dogged for this later, but I hate Aladdin! Yup. You read that correctly. Every time someone says, "Hey, do want to watch Aladdin?" I snarl a little inside. Yes, I've seen it a thousand times, I know all the songs, ("Prince Ali! Mighty is he! Ali Ababwa! Strong as ten regular men, definitely!") and I realize that Aladdin was a very important part of "tween" society when I was growing up. It was a favorite for every kid I babysat, it was a favorite at school (that was back in the days when tweens watched Disney instead of Britany Spears), but I just never got into it.

What Disney movie makes you snarl inside?
posted by Julie at 9:10 AM 5 comments

Friday, October 21, 2005

FED Files - Volume XIII

A Paperless Society

Our agency prides themselves in being a "paperless society". With everything done over email and people's inboxes full of literally thousands of emails that may feel true. The mantra of the organization is: "Move information not property" so people post all their work on folders on the intranet so that if they up and leave, everyone will have access to all their work. Receipts of the property we receive are all done online and for an agency whose sole purpose is to dispose of and/or recycle military excess property, we have very little inventory in our warehouses due to the efficiency of our "paperless society".

The "paperless" concept has been impressed upon me daily since my arrival at the HDI Federal Center. Being something of a visionary myself, I took strongly to this concept and refuse to print anything more than 75 pages, and even then it's a rare occasion that the printer is utilized from my work station.

So, you can imagine my surprise when I was tasked to consolidate the archived files to get boxed up and sent to our "Archived File" warehouse. The warehouse didn't surprise me because we are bound my law to keep our files for a ridiculous amount of time, but going through the files themselves was extremely alarming. I was told to clean out of the files all the paperwork that our Contracting Officers would have, leaving only correspondence between us and our customer then Contracting would consolidate our files with their own and together we should have a complete package. That seems reasonable. And it was until I opened the Alaska folder. The first folder looked pretty normal, but then I noticed there was a second one. The second one too looked pretty normal (just too much), but then there was the third. And in the third file was day after day after day of emails generated by a now-retired member of our office. He carefully stapled all the conversations together, but left a stack about 3 inches high of email traffic. When Diane saw that I was cleaning out the Alaska file, she went back to her desk, pulled out a stack of papers another 13 inches high and dropped it in front of me. "These too," she explained. "This is the rest of the emails about the Alaska contract. They're not really that important you can throw them out if you want." So I did.

With a total of 16 inches of emails it dawned on me: A paperless society is only as good weakest hit-the-"print"-icon-happy employee.
posted by Julie at 3:17 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

A Third-Hand Message

My friend, Beth, heard this message the other night, and told me about it, and now in return I will tell you about it because it that's what people do with things that speak to them. They share them. Obviously. :) The speaker told Beth, Beth told me, and now I will tell you (so if I don't do the speech justice, don't kill the messenger).

As people who believe in the gospel of Christ we accept certain beliefs without even thinking about it. We believe that Christ rose from the grave and therein base our salvation since He conquered death for all of us. We also accept the reason why we need salvation is because we all have a propensity to "sin" (which is a theological term to describe the behavior when one "violates a law of God or a moral law") and this sin/violation causes death. No surprises there.

But why? Why would a god save offenders? And for what? What is He saving them for? Our pat Christian response is: "so we can live eternally with Him." But we in our minds (or at least in mine) think of that as: "so we can go to Heaven." But we're missing the other key word in our pat little phrase. We got the "eternal" thing down. We know all about Heaven and we know all about the alternative. But what about the other key word. He saved us for life. He saved us for joy. He saved us for celebration. Why wait? Why wait until our "eternal reward" to be joyful and to celebrate? Why wait until death to start living? Enjoy your life! That you have both breath and life is a gift. We don't just have blood and breath and a period of time. We have so much more. Celebrate! Don't wait to start celebrating. Start right now. Rejoice and celebrate today for you have life!

Let all those that seek thee rejoice and be glad in thee: and let such as love thy salvation say continually, Let God be magnified. - Psalm 70:4
posted by Julie at 12:20 PM 8 comments

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

Strong Incentives To Go To Work

I am really, honestly sick. I have a really congested sounding cough that screams, "I have Bronchitis!" I cough about every minute. The kind of cough that is a whole-body cough and goes in fits that last up to ten seconds. It's pretty gross. But I'm still at work. I think you all know how I feel about my job and how if I'm feeling even remotely sickish, it's time to (as my friend, Becs, says) *cough cough* "I'm calling is sick today...." However, the one time I'm actually really sick, is the time I refuse (flat-out refuse) to stay home.

You may ask why I would do such a thing? Why would I drag myself into work every morning and infest the work-force of the United States government with second-hand coughing. Well, there is a logical explanation why I'm at work and not tucked into bed with Chicken Noodle soup. I have convinced myself that I'm not sick. Yes, I have actually persuaded myself that I don't have a problem. I actually don't feel too bad. I'm not particularly tired, I have no other symptoms of illness (no stuffy nose, no fever, etc.), and other than the inconvenience of washing my coughed-on hands all the time, I have suffered no other injury.

It's obviously one hundred percent in my mind (you know what they say about your mind being stronger than your body) because I've been sucking down cough syrup like it's water, and caffeinated beverages likewise. So why, you may still be asking, would someone who clearly has no obstacle to calling off, would suffer through a family-sized bottle of Robitesson to go to work. Well, the answer (though long) is very simple:

First - I'm in a swimming class which is pretty much the highlight of my week. I LOVE to swim. And this week I had swimming both yesterday and on Thursday, and I refuse (refuse!) to not go to swimming class.
Second - This weekend is my brother-in-law's ordination in Bay City. Not only do I get to go home and see everyone, but this will be like a kick-off to the holidays for me. My entire family will be home along with many, many friends. This I can not and will not miss.
Thirdly - I'm working in the Assessment and Compliance office now and I *look over my shoulder* actually like the work I'm doing. (gasp!)
Fourth - Since I have no desire to call off, I just come in late. So, instead of working 7:45-4:15, I've been working 9:00-5:30 which is my favorite shift anyway (I actually like 10-6 the best, but alas, that's not an option).
Fifth - I need to start saving my sick leave for next week when I'm really, really, really sick from all the working, traveling, and swimming I'm doing this week (because as fun as it is to pretend like I'm not sick, it's going to eventually wear off and I will get bronchitis, walking pneumonia, or some other equally incapacitating infirmity).

But for now, I'm enjoying the fact that I have imagined away my malady. I'll keep you posted on if I can permanently imagine away my illness. If so, I'll be sure to write/publish a book about it and retire from civil service immediately.
posted by Julie at 3:50 PM 5 comments

Friday, October 14, 2005

Gettin' My De-Grime On

I don't think I am the only person who feels like they need to de-grime and de-slime when they get home from work. I don't know, maybe I am, but I doubt it. Some days I feel like I wake up fresh and ready for a new day and I come to work and I get indoctrinated by all sorts of slime and grime.

You may not understand what I'm talking about, so I'll just point it out. You know how every day you hear about the guy who's having an affair with his boss down the hall, or the person who just got "walked out (by the security guards)" because he sent a video of the Iraq be-headings from his government email, or the lady who got a promotion just because she threatened them with age-discrimination if she didn't get it. You think that these things don't effect you and then you too get somehow caught up in the tide. Someone says something to you and now you know about it, or someone says something about you and now you've heard about it, but any way the wind blows you can be sure that sometime you will smell the pile of manure that you stand in for eight hours every day. That's how I felt last night. When I got home from work I felt like I needed a shower. Not because I worked out or because I have a dirty job, but because you face a lot of grime and different kinds of grime from different people and it sometimes you just plain feel gross.

It all reminds me of the billboard that's about halfway between Grand Rapids and Lansing on I-96 Eastbound that says something to the effect of "Wash off the daily grime" and it has a picture of a girl washing her face with Oil of Olay face wash before she goes to bed. And that's how I feel. Last night I felt like I needed a big bottle of Oil of Olay. To get the grime off.

It just reminds me every day what it really means to be "peculiar". Not odd. Not weird. Not freakish. Just decent. Just moral. Just one little (sometimes flickering) ray of hope in otherwise grimy surroundings.
posted by Julie at 8:28 AM 2 comments

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Weather Forecasts

I've never realized before how much I respond to weather forecasts. Some forecasts, for example make me giddy with excitement, while others, give me that knot in my stomach that says, "If it's like this one more day I'm gonna freak." So, I think I will compile a list of Michigan weather forecasts and my response.

Today's high is 93. This morning expect some fog for your morning commute, but it'll burn off by 11:00.
When I hear this forecast I tend to grin evilly and get inexplicably excited. Then I get out the phonebook and look up outdoor pools in the area.

Today's high is 21 degrees with a wind-chill of -3 degrees. Watch out for that wind today, folks. We're looking at winds upwards of 30 mph!
Sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. Do my laundry to make sure I have 7 clean shirts to wear.

Today's high is 54. It'll be partly sunny and we're lookin' at a clear night ahead, cover up your tomato plants!
Anger. Stop teasing me! It's warm but not warm enough, sunny but not sunny enough, and (the worst part of it) I'll have to scrape frost off my car in the morning.

Today we're looking at a high of 29. We're going to get hammered with about 12-14 inches of snow. You can expect blizzard-like conditions starting at 1:00 this afternoon and lasting into tomorrow morning.
Yes! Yes! Yes! This is why God created Michigan! This is my absolute favorite kind of Michigan winter day. I go to Meijer. Get junk food. Go to Blockbuster. Get movies. Call work. Get the day off, and then sit and watch the snow come down for hours on end and possibly go take a romp around in it at about midnight.

Today's high is 43 and we should experience drizzle all day long. After the sun goes down we probably see that drizzle turn into sleet. Gonna be an icy one out there tomorrow.
Roll over pull my flannel sheets over my head and go back to sleep. In my opinion that's the only thing to do on a day like that.

Gonna be a sticky one, people. It's only going to be 84, but the Heat Index is 101! If you go outside, be sure to take lots of fluids and sun-screen with you.
Ugh.... Wonderful. If I wanted to live in Florida.... Grab your towel, your sun-screen and go to the beach. With any luck it'll feel cooler by the water.

So, there you have it. That's how I feel about certain weather forecasts. You can see now, why it's so stressful to live in Michigan. :) It's not quite like San Diego where they tape the weather forecast once and then play it every day until for the next 13 years. It's up and it's down, and along with it goes lil' ol' you - just trying to decide what cloths match a weather forecast that starts the day with 30 degrees and ends it at 75.
posted by Julie at 3:55 PM 8 comments

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Confession

I fell off the wagon....

I had been so proud of myself. But, we all know that "pride goes before the fall". I thought I was doing so well, and full recovery was just around the corner. I scoffed at those who had already fallen. I mocked their distress and exploited their shame.

"Ha!" I cried unmercilessly. "You are a sucker!" I shook my head in scorn.

And then yesterday.......

I blame the cold weather.......
I blame the gray skies.......
I blame advertisements for planting the idea in my head.......
I blame my clean room (while cleaning I unearthed the offending object).......

In short, I blame everything and everyone but myself. I blame whatever I can to explain why I listened to Christmas music yesterday. I thought I was good to go, I hadn't listened to Christmas music for a long time..... But then, I found my Harry Connick Jr. Christmas CD, and I had to. I couldn't stop. Before I knew it, I was toolin' down the road listenin' to "Silver Bells". Then the unthinkable happened. When Harry was done I switched to Bing. Now that's some hard-core Christmas music.

I'm feeling better today (except I'm cowering in shame), but I don't think I'll have another relapse. So, I don't need to be committed...... yet.
posted by Julie at 12:29 PM 12 comments

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Julie On:

Being a Grown-Up, Nostalgia, Long Car Rides, Weddings, & Non-Commenting Blog Readers

This past weekend, two High School friends of mine (Stephanie and Tina) and I drove what should have been two hours - but turned into three (because of the two-lane road through little cities) - north to a little town in between Alpena and Rogers City, Michigan. This little town is called Presque Isle, and sports the nifty little lighthouse on Lake Huron where my friend Tracy and her husband, Howie, tied the knot.

We had heard from the Weather Channel that it may dip down into the forties for a high that day, so you can imagine with what concern we dressed for an outdoor wedding in Northern Michigan. We were pleased, however, to be told that the high for Bay City was 85, so at the coldest, it may be 65 up north, and when we got there it was probably a very pleasant 70. But it was perfect. It was warm and beautiful outside and the wedding was friendly and peaceful.

Now, for the "human interest stories" I gleaned from my friends after spending literally 12 hours with them (6 in the car). When you graduate from High School you realize that your life isn't the only life that has moved on. You know that everyone is moving at a similar pace to your own, but when you are confronted with the facts of people's lives, it never ceases to amaze. We laughed about stupid stuff that happened in high school and we went around the circle trying to accumulate the recent history of the people involved. It was in one such scenario when we were sitting at a red light in Harrisburg and Stephanie says, "Hey, Turn Right!" So, we did, and a block and a half later, stopped in front of a neat little hair salon that was owned by a friend of ours. She wasn't home, so we called all her nearest friends and family until we found her at her grandma's and forced her to come over and show us her salon.

Forty-five minutes later we were back on the road once again trying to patch together the pieces of people's lives. Of course, notoriously, I'm the friend who has "dropped of the face of the earth", Stephanie's the "busy" one with school, work, boyfriend, and wedding plans, so she too is somewhat uninformed. So, we had to rely heavily on Tina for all the latest and greatest. Obviously, there are some snags in this system, so when we were about 10 minutes away from Pinconning, we called the expert in "Human Interest Stories".... Dale. He was at home, and watching a movie when we called and said we could pop in. I needed to look in his year-book because my year-book is in Lansing and it was going to kill me to wait two whole days to remember the name of one of our class-mates, Tina wanted to find out if Paul really did move to that house at the end of Townline 17 Road, and Stephanie was curious about why she saw Tiffany and Delana's cars in front of their parents' house.

So, after a brief tour of Dale's new digs we got down to business. I shuffled through the year-books (I was thinking of Rachelle), mysteries were solved (yes, Paul did move to that house, and Tiffany and Delana's mom is sick), and forty-five minutes later, we rounded out our trip with a wide swing around Mt. Forrest Township to drop of Stephanie and Tina. I must say it was a very insightful day. It was nice to see Tracy and Howie get married, it was great to finally catch up with Kimmy and Jon who were at her wedding, and it was fun to tell stories that haven't been told in years and remember things that haven't been remembered in years. It was a beautiful thing. *sniff, sniff*

In closing I have two comments:
  1. After laughing almost to tears for three hours straight, I realized that my life has taken on a sober to the point of constant "ugh"-ness that is completely foreign to the fun-loving, happy-go-lucky girl that graduated number 11 (.005 GPA less than number 10) from Pinny High.
  2. Tracy Tolles Buse, this is for you: COMMENT! :) (I warned you that I'd do this.)
posted by Julie at 10:59 AM 8 comments

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

FED Files - Volume XII

Slap Your Co-Worker Day

The following forward has spread through our office this morning. Below the forward are some of the questions that my sweet co-workers asked after this went through.

Tomorrow is the official Slap Your Irritating Co-workers Holiday: Do you have a co-worker who talks nonstop about nothing, working your last nerve with tedious and boring details that you don't care about? Do you have a co-worker who ALWAYS screws up stuff creating MORE work for you? Do you have a co-worker who is SOOO obnoxious, when he/she enters a room, everyone else clears it?

Well, on behalf of Ike Turner, I am so very very glad to officially announce tomorrow as SLAP YOUR IRRITATING CO-WORKER DAY! There are the rules you must follow:

Now, study the rules, break out your list of folks that you want to slap the living day lights out of and get to slapping.....and have a great day! '

And here's some questions from our Feds:

posted by Julie at 3:50 PM 6 comments

Julie's Definitions For "Leave" Days

Yes, the DoD is weird like that and calls all days off "leave" like we're in the military (which, the more I see of this place the more I realize that these people are closet militants :) ). So, here are the various types of leave that is available to a FED and my definition of what each type means.
  1. Annual Leave - Days in which you're in perfect health and that you take off for vacation or vacation-like purposes. Acceptable uses: planned vacations, unplanned Friday afternoon getaways.
  2. Sick Leave - Days in which you are feeling either physically or emotionally compromised and need to recuperate in order to function normally and/or days in which you have a medical examination of any kind. Acceptable uses: dentist appointments, feeling "ucky", mental health days.
  3. Holiday Leave - Days that are set aside for national holidays.
  4. Administrative Leave - Days that are approved of by a supervisor that doesn't fit into any of the other categories. Acceptable uses: time off to vote, religious holidays that are not otherwise authorized, donating blood.

So far this week I've had accumulated two sick days, and today, I am at work, though I feel like a limp rag. So, if I took another day off just to sit at home and feel like a limp rag would that be a sick day? I've kinda been doing my work. I haven't really finished anything because the ADD really kicks in when I feel like a limp rag, but I can't say as though I'm feeling "compromised". Some examples of my ADD are as follows:

Things I've accomplished today:

So, is there any leave time for those I'm trying to recover from the foggy, "I was sick, but now am just tired" days? Is that a sick day or a vacation day? And I think I will start lobbying for "limp rag" days. For days when you're just off enough to not be exactly productive but well enough to drag into work.

posted by Julie at 2:55 PM 1 comments