Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Git along little doggie...

Ramblings Post #343
First, you make a plan. Then, well, then after that it's a free-for-all. There are many ways to get things done and sometimes the way you planned, or even the way you expected doesn't come to fruition. You have to improvise. Make things up. Take a shot down field and see what the hell happens. Oh the things you learn when you get older...

It's been a minute down here at the Ranch and during the interim, dear Shotgun Annie saddled up and rode off. Well, not as much saddled up and rode off all voluntary like, it was much more that they posted up an hombre by the gates and when she left one night aforementioned hombre implied it would probably be better if she just a kept on a riding the way she was a riding when she woke up the next day. One of them new-fangled "this isn't a good fit situation" explanations.

She told us she blindsided by the whole thing when she rode by the next day to get the few belongings she'd left behind. Come to found out later that she'd been warned two or three times before they decided to part company with her. She apparently chose to interpret their warnings incorrectly. We actually had a after-hours office event a few days after she got asked mosey on and the new trail boss actually apologized to us for letting her go.

She didn't really have to. We're all professionals people. We all know wrong when we see it. And Shotgun Annie was a piece of work.

I talked to some other hands on some other ranches  I know since and when she rides onto wherever she's going to, she's back to her old ways: constant complaints about needing more work while taking every opportunity to slide out early from the jobs she does get. If I didn't know exactly how precarious her situation really is it would be funny. As it is I"m scared I'm going to run into her in a few years after she's made one misstep to many. That does not promise to be a pretty sight.

On the job...

Which leaves me with the apparently allergic to socks cowpoke, one Pecos Slim. So much to unpack here.

He has a complete lack of interest in anything other than sports. When I say a complete lack of interests, he asked me THE DAY BEFORE the Alabama election if I'd heard anything about Roy Moore. He said he'd just read about the election being close and was curious about what the big deal was. Pecos Slim is from Alabama. He also has no idea what net neutrality is or why it would affect him. He wears headphones all day in the office, and he admitted to me that he loves listening to prank phone calls and needs them to get through the day. He's the first person I've met with bonafide catchphrases. He also irritatingly, comes to work sick - sniffling, coughing and wheezing through a few workdays at least once a month despite the trail boss's insistence that we don't do that.

But I'm not saying anything. Live it and let live I say. But...

...there is a question I'm dying to ask him, but I know that I'll ask it in too snarky a tone not to start an argument. AND that he's hilariously thin skinned isn't going to help. What I want to know is: How does one get to be a grown ass man and not know how to chew with their mouth closed? The sound of him smacking his lips while he chews is loud and slightly nauseating. It's a sound resembling one that might be heard in a horror movie after a disemboweling, only constant. This situation is exacerbated by the fact that he eats all day long - breakfast at his "hitch up", a constant snacking (hearing him eat walnuts is like listening a someone's back being cracked) and then lunch at his desk (he works out during his actual lunch) followed by more snacking. Apples, popcorn, chips, chocolate, etc. Hearing him chew gum is unsettingly like the sound of an old man attempting to suck a lemon continuously for five minutes. The ranch hand on the other side of me, who is at least six feet away to eight feet from Pecos, tells me he too can hear the man chewing at his desk, so it's not just me being overly sensitive. He can't even drink quietly, loudly slurping his hot drinks and theatrically throwing his head all the way back to finish off bottled water. Several times a day.

Fantasized remedies barnyard pest include staring at him every time he chews until he realizes, recording him and playing it back when he's not chewing and other things that involves cacti, anvils and an account at ACME Products. He is wearing headphones though, so I might need to be a more definite indication of my displeasure. It is said the familiarity breeds contempt, but I don't know if contempt is even the proper term here.

And then he stopped talking to me. About a week ago now.

Apparently I sound frustrated when I answer his questions about our process and he did not like that.  Now he agreed that I've answered every question he ever asked, every time in the past 7 months we've been at the new spot, but now he just doesn't like my tone. One of the hands who sits near us said he'd never heard me frustrated when answering questions, so I'm kind of at a loss. But meanwhile, Slim has stopped talking to me entirely.

I hope he thinks it's punishment and that I deserve a good long bit of this silent treatment. Serve me right. *Snicker*

No barkeep, I am not laughing. I have a jaw spasm. Now give me a cold one.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Shut it down, Shut it all down! No, just kidding.

This is a political post. 
Let's see. The Airline was shutdown. The Vodka, the University, and the Steak line all shutdown. Didn't he have a cologne in there at one point that no longer exists? I don't really remember. Even the signature Casinos shutdown, and that's basically a place where people go and throw money at you. So, looking at the track record, logically a government shutdown was pretty much inveitable. Seriously, who didn't see this coming. Art of the Deal my ass. Even on easy mode wanna-be Banana Repup-likkan Furher Cheeto still can't figure out how to make it work. 

By the way, the outgoing White House phone message during the weekend was the very definition of petty. 

This very brief shutdown was both funny and troubling, and not just because it means half the country believes in a party that even when in total control of the country somehow can't keep the car out of the ditch. The actually personally troubling part is, because it affects me, is that the ranch where I currently hang my hat depends heavily on the ole' gubmint because we clear a lot of stuff through them. Gubmint type stuff only the gubmint can do. Plus like other reasons. The funny part is the fix is only to move the deadline back two weeks. Man that ditch is deep.    

I heard at one point the argument was either CHIP or Immigration. Wait, Health Insurance vs the DREAMERS? For those who don't know CHIP is the Children's Health Insurance Program, a national healthcare program for poor children which weirdly has been unfunded for four months now. A CHIP deal could have been brought up for a "clean" vote that would have passed with the kind of bi-partisan support that has become so rare these days. It should have been a bridge to a better understanding of putting the country and it's people before party.  Instead, the powers that be - i.e., the party in charge of the Senate - basically decided to keep it unfunded and use it as a political tool to make the other side look bad. See, they don't want to save the children, they're terrible, we're the good guys! Pay no attention to the last four months. Now, they're trying to turn it into an issue of the needs of children versus the needs, well, the other children. But one set is like, American children.  

This guy...
But now, it seems that ole' Chuck Schumer (D) has gotten CHIP off the table, with a 6 year extension to the program just to get the government restarted. Which is actually pretty slick. He also got some rather shady assurances that the Immigration matter would make it to the table fairly soon. And in the process set up Cheeto for the okey-doke, but I'll explain that later.  

Another by the way, has anyone see the rest of the Democratic Party? I mean, not just the Senators and Congressmen, but the party leaders who were supposed to be turning things around after what happened last election? I realize the Republicans have been stumbling on their own for the most part, but a nice political shove to get them flat on their faces wouldn't be the worst thing. But I digress. 

Now, let me explain what I think (and hope) is about to happen: Because the funding scheme that the deal they worked out is so short, what this means is that when, er, I mean if, ole' Timmy Turtle (R) tries bounce Immigration off the agenda like he did the ACA promise he made last year, Schumer has the leverage to come right back to this same spot in little over two weeks. Meanwhile, between now and then Cheeto gets to make his first State of the Union. Who wants to put money down he makes himself look like the conquering hero? Nobody? Damn. Anyway, after his certain boasting about how he stared down the Democrats at this moment of uncertainty, exactly how would it look if the government shuts down again.... a week later? 
Cheeto has backed McConnell, er, Turtle, into a corner by spurning the earlier agreement. Timmy puts immigration on the docket, he looks weak. He doesn't, he embarrasses the Cheeto. The government shuts down, Schumer is the guy who stood ALL the way up to Cheeto, which gives the Democratic party hope. The Republicans invoke the "nuclear option," they're pretty much handing the keys to the castle to the Democrats if the expected Blue Tsunami hits this fall in light of the recent tax bill.  
A number of people, including Pelosi, were upset about this "capitulation" feeling they'd given up the upper hand here instead of going for the jugular now. But Schumer isn't playing poker, he's playing chess. And right now he's got a longer play in mind. If he can actually pull it off is the question.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Dr. Martin Luther King

We're through the looking glass. People who represent everything the grand legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stands against have today made vain attempts to twist his words to show that their own ideas are good or noble. They debate that Dr. King would have been on their side in their mad quest to turn the US back to the 1800s. And you wonder how they can even fix their mouths to speak such blasphemy.

I don't profess to know all the words preached by Dr. King, but I do know that while he preached for peace and moved in terms of non-violence, he understood that his actions were but part of a greater scheme, one that did include a more militant side. Good protest has always done that - give options to the both the oppressed and the oppressor. Because people are not one-dimensional creatures. And because one hopes the oppressor sees the two possible ways of going forward and chooses to try to work through the peaceful means.

On this day we give thanks for his words and his actions. I only wish that we didn't have more on his path to travel, and that we'd already reached the promised land. 

Monday, January 1, 2018

What I learned 2017

When I was younger, the first few days of January was spent trying to make sure I started the new year off right. This would mean taking pains to make sure the first iteration of everything was positive, from my first meal, the first time I drove, my first brunch, the first TV show I watched, the first store I went into, etc. These little steps, I assured myself, would get the year kicked off on an upward trend upon which I could build. But as I've grown older, I've found that life doesn't work quite like that. In reality they were more like that that annual resolution to go the gym...until at least mid February this time, for sure.

What I've learned it is that good things can happen at any time, not just at some magic moment. Although it doesn't look like it now, a few years ago I started on a program that got me back to within ten pounds of my high school weight. I started it on an odd weekend in July, because that's when I started it. But it worked because I was committed to it. I dutifully ate what I was supposed to eat, did what I was supposed to do and applied myself. I didn't work because I started off the year with healthy meal and wore that shirt that made me look like a movie star (I have one, seriously.)

So in 2018, what my plans are for Commitment to the Idea. The idea itself doesn't really matter, be it start a business, go to Paris, run a marathon, whatever, as long as I'm taking the steps to seriously pursue it, not just dreaming about it and doing things when there is an odd moment. It means doing the research, planning and getting your shit together. This does not necessarily mean it becomes an all consuming drive which reduces all else to nothing, that's not healthy. When I committed to losing that weight it became something I'm always mindful of, like a constant background noise, that guided my conscious choices. Not that I didn't occasionally falter. But a misstep doesn't mean you stop. It means you learn from it and keep going.

It's about getting your mind right. Not because of a deadline. Not because of outside forces. But because you had a choice and you chose to do that thing that would help you get you where you wanted to go. It means making that active choice to do something that might be boring or even unpleasant now so that you can reap the rewards later. And doing it over and over again. It's a value judgement, the choice to commit to getting something done long term even when you perceive what you think of as your short detriment. In my case, it was I can lose the weight, provided I don't eat that hotdog. And I wanted that hotdog. One or two times I even had that hotdog. But the next morning I got back on the path to where I wanted to go. 

So, this year: Get your mind right. Pick a goal. Make a plan to get to that goal. Start. Stick to it until you get to that goal. 
Ask yourself if the argument AND the aftermath is worth it. A lot of folks forget that second part.  

Sometimes they just don't like you. And you don't get to know why. So you suck it up and move on. 

People aren't always as grown as they think they are. 

True love never really dies. It might get put to the side for a while, but when you dust it off it still shines as bright as if brand new. 

Intelligence matters. 

Concentrate on your own shit and let karma deal with the rest. 

More people are interested in change in their favor that equality.

Sometimes your best just isn't good enough.