Thursday, May 16, 2013
This happens throughout the commercial sector, I imagine. However, I frequently see this happening in the government. One person, a good friend of mine, is working three jobs with barely any compensation and has been in this situation for years. How he still works there and hasn't flown off the handle, I am not sure. And he's not the only one, just one of the more extreme cases.
In all honesty, I am not even sure where this topic came from, but I was thinking about the situation and the topic just popped into my head. The people that I know that are working far more than their job calls for typically are extremely hard, competent workers. I mean, as a boss, to whom are you going to assign the extra work--to the competent hard worker or the lazy, shiftless bastard?
Occupational and Environmental Medicine). I am not sure if that's limited to workplace injuries, but if it doesn't, think about that commute home during rush hour traffic where that employee is tired, frustrated, and dealing with incompetent drivers.
Further research shows that there is a 60% increase in heart disease by those people working more than 10 hours per day (see The Guardian). A number as high as 60% is no joke. However, even with these statistics, employers seem not to be dissuaded from overworking their employees.
Beyond the injuries, is the general morale and attitude of employees. When employees feel like they are being taken advantage of, even if they are being duly compensated (and government workers rarely are) their morale tends to nosedive, in turn reducing productivity. This is where you would think eyebrows get raised. If John is working 12 hour days, but only producing 10 hours worth of work, you would think that management would notice. However (and this is another area that encourages my soapboxism), employers rarely have quality defined metrics in which to determine whether their employees are productive.
Until the government (and other organizations, I suppose) get their heads out of their ... shoes, well, I imagine that we'll see an increase of stressed, frustrated workers making bad decisions. With the hiring freezes, the furloughs coming up, and the focus on reduction through attrition, I see no improvement in this area.
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Well, that time is over. My neck and all of the associated pains are gone -- at least for now. It is now time for me to return to the gym and get back to exercising. I haven't weighed myself in a couple of days, but I believe I am running around 209, which isn't too bad since my dietary habits plummeted as well. Started off with a short run during the late evening. I plan on a light gym day tomorrow perhaps followed by a 30 minute quick walk for the fat burning efforts. And I will follow that up with a greasy cheesebu...no, no, no, a healthy salad.
Sunday, May 12, 2013
This comes up because of an issue I had last week where I wasn't listening -- though my wife tells me that all of the time -- to my body. The kids and I were at a friend's farm hanging out watching a movie while the wood-burning stove. As we were watching the movie, I started to get cold, so I moved closer to the stove. After I'd warmed up, I moved back to the movie where I would soon get colder than before. Repeat about five times. I spent the night freezing and with a massive headache.
It wasn't till 5 AM (0500, for those that know how to tell time properly), that it occurred to me that I was in the midst of dehydration. It was the classic example: headache, abnormally cold, and parched. Of course, I wasn't paying attention. Eight glasses of water, a couple of Tylenol, and a number of hours later, I was feeling close to normal.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
However, one thing that is rarely mentioned is the motorcyclists' responsibilities. Yes, you will hear stuff like don't ride too fast or too close, slow down before entering the curve, and watch where you want to go because that's where the bike will go. What is missing is the appropriate location for a bike to ride in the lane.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
This makes sense for a couple of different reasons. As a retained employee who saw layoffs, your efforts increase to ensure that you are not ousted during a future round of layoffs. Further, the work of the employees that were not retained can typically be divvied among other employees. A group may not have a manager, but a Lead Engineer who now has responsibility for ensuring time sheets are submitted in a timely manner.
ad·junct - /ˈajəNGkt/
Noun: A thing added to something else as a supplementary rather than an essential part. (See source.)
There are two significant issues I think. First, schools are downplaying the importance of their teachers. I will give you a second to digest that. The role of teacher/instructor/professor is no longer the important position in a school. They have an abundance of other staff such as human resources and information technology personnel that are all benefited positions. However, these positions are not the money makers. Which employees should have the benefits? I would think that you want a content faculty that looks forward to coming to work rather than a bunch of people that feel they are getting taken advantage of.
The other issue is the quality of the instruction that the students receive. I am not suggesting that all adjuncts do not teach to the best of their ability. I know quite a few that are phenomenal instructors. However, I have had the displeasure of being a student of lousy instructors. I believe that in many cases they are distracted by their full time profession.
It would be nice if schools would revert to the old standard. Bring back the professional teachers. And I say this at the risk of reducing my chances of teaching as well as losing my wife's employment as an adjunct professor at a nearby college.
Update: Changed secondary to post-secondary.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Anyway, as a part of the display, Ford had their Shift into $50 program running. The premise is that they get my email address, verify that it's accurate, and I take a printed sheet to my local Ford dealership to test drive a car. Following the test drive, the dealer would fill out information on my printed sheet and I would enter the info into a website in return for a $50 gift card.
Well, that's not such a bad deal. I can give them any one my email address (how about freestuff@br...com) and never have to deal with the onslaught of craptastic messages. In return, they get me behind the wheel of one of their cars and try to seduce me into buying one. Now is not a bad time for us as our Mazda is nearly seven years old, about to flip 100,000 miles, and is showing its age -- ignore the sequestration as a deterrent.
Ford is relying on dealers to sell these cars. And this is where it all begins to break down. As soon as the salesman saw me come in with the printed sheet, he immediately brought the sheet to the manager, they filled it out and sent me on my way. I didn't have the opportunity to talk to anyone nor go for a test drive. Was I going to purchase a car today? No, but I might be in the market in three to six months. I now have no intent to go back to that dealer. I feel as if there is no interest in building a relationship with potential customers -- only with those that they are guaranteed to get a dollar from.
Is this my loss? Perhaps, since Ford has a lot of nice offerings out there. However, there are other Ford dealers within 20 miles of here. And there are other brands with just as good or better offerings. Oh well, such is life.
And that brings to a close this moment of preaching on my soapbox.
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
This is also a time for parents, instructors, and coaches to embrace a competitive spirit within their charges. However, this competitive spirit must be cultivated in a fashion that also teaches fairness and keeping within the spirit of the tournament.
Allegedly, it is in this vein that one of the competing schools failed. Perhaps the facts were relayed wrong, but three parents and a competing student corroborated the story and only one parent defended the school's modus operandi. It is because of the dissenting parent that I began this paragraph with allegedly.
24 is. The player(s) are shown a card similar to the one on the left. Based on the number displayed on that card, he or she must form 24 using addition, multiplication, subtraction, and division. In this case, one possible answer is 4 * 3 = 12; 12 * 2 = 24; 24 * 1 = 24.
Instead of the students learning to use their math facts, the students memorized the numbers on the cards along with the solution. The students were reaching to tap the cards before the cards hit the table -- before it is even possible that they could have seen all four of the numbers. This is not the intention of 24 or of the competition. The intent is to place an "emphasis on the process and patterns, what [Robert Sun] likes to call 'the method behind the math.1'" Rather than learn the method, the focus for these kids was on rote memorization skills.
Until the end of the tournament, when the trophies were distributed, all of the students were having a great time. It was when they heard that one specific school won 15 of the 18 trophies that they realized something was amiss. And the disappointment set in. Granted, the kids still had a good time. However, realization set in that all of their practicing was fruitless as they were studying the wrong thing.
The bright side of this story is that all of the students I worked with increased their math capabilities tremendously. For that I am happy. But I am still frustrated.
Isn't that the same as studying really hard? Perhaps. However, I would be willing to put money on these students coming out near the middle of the pack or lower if new cards were introduced or if a different solution was expected, e.g. 16 or 32 instead of 24. They may have studied hard, but it wasn't to get better, but to win.
Is this just the ramblings of an upset parent of a losing student? I would say no. While my daughter did compete, neither she or I had any expectation of her coming home with a trophy. She was there to be with and to support her friends as was I. Further, I will volunteer to proctor again next year even though I will have no children eligible to compete.
Monday, March 11, 2013
So I started wondering why doctors weren't touting this as a simple, inexpensive, drug-free solution to gout. Of course! The answer was right there in front of my nose. Pharmaceutical companies cannot regulate the production of cherries. There is nothing to be gained by conducting this research. So why hasn't the FDA latched onto this? Likely because it's not in pharma's interest to do so. That said, cherries are getting greater publicity in the mainstream media and medical sites alike.
In the mean time, this has given additional credence to
I think that holistic is a more appropriate term than homeopathic is. Actually, alternative medicine is probably the best term.
Friday, February 15, 2013
I've had a couple of ideas that I have gone through without much success. Perhaps it has to do with my initial lack of understand of what a dissertation is. A little research brings me to Purdue's definition (somewhat paraphrased):
A dissertation is a lengthy formal document that argues in defense of a hypothesis. The research performed must be original and substantial and that its essence is critical thinking and not experimental data. Every statement in a dissertation must be supported by either a reference to published scientific literature or by original work. Each statement must be correct and defensible in a logical and scientific sense.Before I started talking with professors, I had the grand idea of writing an application that would data mine publicly available social networking sites and develop a somewhat intricate picture of the person a forensics team was evaluating. However, that is just software development. It's not moving the science of forensics ahead, so the school's advisers shut that topic down.
@itsme_brian what are you interested in and willing to live with for life?
— Sam Liles (@selil) February 16, 2013
Now the goal is to identify a topic that I can write about, enjoy, and make money on during the next 30+ years of my working life. Ideas?
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
initial post alluded to my goal to get fit. There are a few impetuses bringing about my change of heart, so to speak. During spring of 2012, I went to a Frederick Keys baseball game with some friends and family. Dean posted a picture on Facebook that included me. Yes, the pic to the right. Damn I looked dumpy, but even that wasn't enough to get me motivated, though I did get a haircut.
Two of my close friends, Christopher and EJ, started fitness routines. Both have dropped a tremendous amount of weight (100 pounds between the two of them), are feeling better, and are looking good. That got me thinking that I should do something for myself. I tried to get myself psyched. I went to the gym once, ran a couple of times, and then found excuses to sit on my ass. Nothing changed.
The proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was my fat ass. I was tying my shoes when I found myself breathing heavy. From tying shoes. Do me a favor and read those last couple of sentences again. It wasn't the cardiovascular effort involved in tying shoes, but that my fat, bulbous stomach was getting in the way. Wow! That's when I realized that a complete change was needed.
I started watching my eating and am going back to the gym. As can be seen on the chart above, cutting carbs resulted in a massive drop in weight and then a somewhat extensive plateau. However, there were a multitude of reasons for that including an unexpected, impromptu mini-vacation as well as a long-term (6-weeks) visitor. Now that I am back at the gym combining a lifting routine and cardio exercises, I am confident that my weight will drop like a rock.
|Dumbbell Bench Press||10@40 10@50 10@60 8@60|
|Incline Dumbbell Bench Press||10@40 10@50 2x10@60|
|Decline Dumbbell Bench Press||10@40 10@50 2x10@60|
|Tricep Press Downs||10@30 10@40 10@50|
|Run||30 min @ 5 MPH|
Friday, February 1, 2013
Thinking about my children, ages 10 and 7, I could not imagine the pain that these parents are enduring. When my two come home from school this afternoon, there will be no play dates. At least not until I have the opportunity to give them likely the tightest hugs I can imagine.
I don't know what caused this fire nor am I aware whether the parents could have prevented the lifetime of pain they will surely sustain, but you can bet that we will be as prepared as possible.
What can you do to help the family?
- A drive has been established for the family of the victims. Their home was a total loss, so they are starting from ground zero. All household items are needed as well as clothes size 6-months and size 8 (children's). Other sizes can be found on the Frederick News-Post page listed below. Donations can be brought to:
- Chick-fil-A on 5501 Urbana Pike will be holding a fundraiser on Tuesday, February 5, 2013 from 4 PM - 8 PM. 25% of all proceeds will be donated to the family.
- Frederick County Bank has created the Lillard Family Recovery Fund.
- Donate through Give Forward.
- Attend PicStamatic's photo fundraiser. 100% of all money will be donated to the Lillard family.
- Ensure you have smoke alarms installed. See Home Depot's site for guidance.
- Check to ensure you have a fire extinguisher and that you know how to use it.
- Speak with your family, especially your kids on an emergency action plan.
So many related things have been floating through my head, but this is where I will leave off.
Good night and love your family.
Thursday, January 31, 2013
I have been toying with writing my thoughts down for perpetuity for quite a while. Oddly enough, I do think once in a while. However, a goal over the course of the next few years is to increase my ability to think and respond quickly. I hope that this outlet will provide a means to that end. Though this is short, I have a lot of work to do to make this my blog versus a generic template provided to me.
EDITED TO ADD:
Some of topics/rants will be on my health status, e.g. weight loss and lifting; computer security; politics; general news; and family news. Basically, whatever strikes my fancy. The goal is to write 500-1000 words per week.