Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It appears that few scientists in Dane county can avoid the terrible gravity of my once and current employer. While dining in the cafeteria with my new boss and another new hire on my first day, I caught sight of two former co-workers from two different jobs, now once again my coworkers evidently.

Then of course one of my new coworkers posed the question "what happened, didn't learn your lesson the first time?"

We'll see how things go.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

The AP reports election returns from today's spring election in Wisconsin. The wife and I got out this morning with CrazyOne and went down to the fire station to vote. A surprisingly large number of people voting at that time of morning for a non-national election. That's probably why as of my writing this Dane county is only 20k votes behind Milwaukee county with a slightly smaller percentage of precincts reporting. Both MTI (the Madison teachers' union) and the TAA (the university teaching assistant's union)(along with various university employees and the hangers-on in this nexus of state government) were gunning for the incumbent supreme court judge in what was supposedly a 'non-partisan' election.

It's interesting to look at the county-by-county returns. As of my writing this, it appears that my distant cousins that may have remained in Washington county may have voted the same way as I did.

EDIT: It appears that the result was not outside the margin of fraud, which of course means the government employee union-backed candidate will "win". It seems doubtful that Lincoln would have anticipated this particular end to "government of the people, by the people, for the people".

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"I've been working on the railroad,
all the live-long day"

I have certain regrets about my educational and career choices to this point.

Poking around the job listings at CSX, BNSF, and UP, I've noticed that no one who works in the railroad industry seems to make less than $20 an hour -- even while undergoing company paid training and apprenticeship. While the hazards of being a carman or freight conductor might not be my first choice now that I have a family, the notion of being a signal worker roadmaster has a real attraction to it even now. Driving around to various right-of-ways, climbing up on signal towers, making sure signals are wired properly -- it all sounds interesting.

I've also been considering the advantages of working as an electrician. While there is a lull in new home starts at the moment, working in a building trade at least offers the opportunity to free-lance and do maintenance or remodeling work for other folks -- and if need be do it cheap too. If I had been a double-e in college it would be even easier to become a contractor and run my own business.

Of course, there's also cooking. After watching one too many episodes of Triple D on hulu, I keep thinking how fulfilling it could be to own and operate a restaurant... or even a vending cart. Cooking is basically just chemistry on a macro rather than micro scale, and people always want to eat -- and eat what someone else spends time preparing for them. Of course, it does seem like a large percentage of restaurants fail in their first few years, but there's always chef-ing for someone else.

When I was in middle school and high school I never gained any particular insight into what I would actually like to do for a living, or what any particular careers might offer me. In college I was (among other things) not really even cognizant of the possibility of graduate study or its potential usefulness for careers other than professor (at least in the natural sciences). Now, eight years out of college, still paying for said college, and trying to support a wife and child a do-over looks quite attractive. The question is, having failed to define or pursue a goal up to this point, will I be able to do so from now on?

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seven hundred words.

Upon re-reading yesterday's post, it is apparent that I haven't practiced this writing thing enough recently, and that it's not quite the same as riding a bike. We shall see if I can do anything about that in the days to come.

Even without reading back through all that has been written here, it seems to me that the posts here have often emerged out of... angst? Put simply it seems that since entering (what has been for me) marital bliss, and no longer being on the prowl as it were, I have seemingly lost most motivation to write. While perhaps understandable, I have some regret at not leaving at least a little documentary evidence of the past few years. Starting yesterday we'll see whether we can rectify this.

And besides, I need someplace other than facebook to post about how adorable CrazyOne is.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Somebody (well, more accurately the "Progressive Change Campaign Committee" PAC, according to sourcewatch.org an offshoot of moveon.org i.e. a tool of currency speculating mogul George Soros) has been spending a lot of money on internet video advertising recently for a commercial about the recent legislative events in Wisconsin. It's fine propaganda, designed to elicit sympathy and compassion for the poor apparatchiks who are being forced to pay less than everyone else in the state for health insurance, but still a little more than they are accustomed to. I was really... amazed really by one woman who appeared in the commercial and said with a straight face "this is class warfare".

I guess I didn't think that even the most ardent left-wing folks in this country these days were in the habit of actually using dusty old Marxist terminology. Even if Marx wasn't dead this current situation turns all the philosophical underpinnings of socialism on their head anyhow. It's not the peasants and workers who are being "oppressed" here -- it's the apparatchiks.

On a tangent -- globalization obviously exerts downward pressure on wages for workers in this country, with the unskilled or less educated worker being most severely subject to this phenomenon. In the short to medium term, assuming the USN (or PLAN) maintains the sea-lanes and world-trade continues, we can expect wages for workers in nominal terms to be relatively stagnant until living conditions throughout the rest of the trade-linked world rise to closer to our own. Of course, there's one class of worker who are entirely unaffected by this downward pressure on wages -- government workers... a public school teacher, or bureaucrat, or EPA inspector -- none of them have to compete with lower priced workers in other countries. Instead, they subsist on the overflow of the productivity of all non-government workers. Yet they of course object to the notion that they ought to be subject to the same decrease in income that everyone else in the country must deal with.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

This evening was supposed to be a date night, and indeed it was one, albeit with an unexpected itinerary.

Michelle once again demonstrated the uncanny link our minds have when she independently proposed dining at Saigon Noodles or Sai Bai Thong -- the exact two restaurants I had been thinking of proposing to her. We chose the pho, and risked riling up Crazy One with some iced coffee. Dinner was quite good although left us glad to be stopping at our third destination when we did (see below).

Following soup, we tasted a bit of my parents' dating life by heading to Menards. In her nesting, Miche is anxious to create matching hardware for the antique dresser we got off of CL, so we looked at fixtures and finally settled on making our own from oak dowelling. Next stop (that's third) was supposed to be mini-golf (to be the first time we've gone together), but the sky was taking on a continually darker aspect, so we went straight to my parents house. The garden was doing well, I ate a radish, and we poked around the basement together for some time, finally ending up with a trove of objects to haul home with us.

Last was Woodmans. Once again I was impressed by how perfect a grocery store Woodmans is. It also remains the place to go in Madison to see people of virtually every cultural background on the planet getting food. Simply fascinating.

We watched Pale Cocoon when we got home -- quite an interesting one off. I dig this fellow's other work "Time of Eve" as well...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I predict that when this monstrous legislation fails to do any of those things it is supposedly designed to do, instead of simply repealing it, legislators will instead rush to overlay another more labyrinthine set of laws on top of it to "fix" it... so, at the very least we know our lawmakers will be well employed in the future and not wandering the streets.