Monday, November 28, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Only a few more days till I leave for Vegas. I'm really looking forward to running in Vegas half marathon with Team Challenge again. This year it will be at night under all the lights of the Vegas strip. 

I can't believe how fast this season has gone by. 14 weeks ago, I was just meeting my new group of mentees, assuring them that they  A.) won't die and B.) can raise a ton of money for Team  Challenge and the Crohn's and Colitis Foundation. I am so proud of them and how they have done such a good job with their training and fundraising.

I am a bit worried about how to prepare for the race. With it starting at 5:30 pm, it is much different than I'm used to. Trying to figure out when and how to eat and drink. I don't want to have to stop and pee or be not hydrated enough.  I was planning the run out a bit and was happy to see that there were 8 water/GU stops along the course. That means I won't have to carry any water with me.  Yeah!!!

I was a bit disappointed to see that Steel Panther won't be playing at the House of Blues or GVR this year.  It was a blast seeing them last year. I just may make the trip to Chicago to go see them at the end of the month. I still have three vacation days to schedule.

Also looking forward to a few places for beers. It is nice that the Burger Bar is in our hotel. I can stumble back to the room.  I'm hoping that we can hit up another place or two after the race on Sunday.

Stay tuned for race updates next week!

Saturday, November 19, 2011


For the past couple of weeks it seems like I have been more cranky than usual.  I have less tolerance for people. It seems like everything is just irritating me. Neighbors who insist on parking on top of the pile of leaves in front of my house and then the city doesn't pick them up. Co-workers who change things mid stream or give us crap data and then when we do what they gave us are not happy because it is crap. People in stores who stop in the middle of an aisle and give you a dirty look when you say "Excuse me" when trying to get around them.

I'm blaming it on the lack of sunlight.  I'm leaving work and it is dark outside and by time I get home it is dark outside. And the cold. I hate cold weather. Give me 90's any day over the 30's.

I'm walking the dogs in the dark at the park. I'm not overly fond of this because of the deer and coyotes that roam the area. More so the coyotes.

By time I get back from walking the dogs I don't feel like working out so I put my lounge pants on, eat dinner and snuggle with the puppies on the couch. Some nights I feel like I could go to bed by 7 pm. 

I'm hoping my trip to Vegas will help cure this grumpyness a bit. If not, it will be a long winter.

I've also been looking at some vacation options for Jan/Feb. I would like to go back to Mexico. The weather and scenery were beautiful. The resort was fantastic.

So who's up for a tropical vacation?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

One of Those Days

Today at work was just one of those days where I wonder how anything ever gets done there.

I have been working on a small project of documenting several processes that our group performs.  The one I started yesterday involved going to a vendor website, downloading some updated files, unzipping the files and repackaging the files that are needed by our system. We then move these smaller file packages to various servers depending on the package type.  Because of how we do our development work, this mean putting the files out in four different environments.  Development, IT Testing (we test how good our development is), UAT (where we let our users do testing) and production. I figured this would take me a day to perform the action and write up the processes.

That came to a screeching halt.  Because this is a fairly new process that was implemented about eight months ago there have only been two updates to this area.

It turns out that each of our four environments are set up differently.  Not good.  They should all be the same.  How else can you expect something that you developed to work properly if, as you migrate it up the chain to production, everything is different? You can't.

So at 2:30 this afternoon, I pull together two of the people who worked on this previously.  No one knew why everything was different.  The guy who did most of this work went to another area shortly after this was implemented.

Now it is my mess to clean up.  We have to get each of the environments look identical.  That means trying to figure out what they did in production and working backward to replicate it.  This means making server changes, database changes code changes and who knows what other changes.

This may now consume the rest of the month if not longer for me.  I don't mind it, as I am learning lots of new stuff but I hate going back and cleaning up other people's messes that they were too lazy or incompetent to do right the first time.

It also meant that I didn't get out of work until almost five and hit some crappy traffic on the way home.  It took me an hour to get home and I had to walk the dogs in the dark.  That made no one happy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Things I Like

I like it when I get emails like this.

Donation to Tomorrow's Hope. As I posted the other day on our Facebook and Twitter, we closed out the books on the 2011 Tyranena Oktoberfest Bike Ride and mailed a donation check to Tomorrow's Hope in the amount of $19,107.47. Woohoo!

A couple weeks ago a friend and I volunteered at the annual Tyranena Oktoberfest Bike Ride. This was our second year of volunteering and I have ridden in the event three times previously.  Tyranena always puts on a great event.  It doesn't hurt when they make some awesome beer that we get to drink for helping out. It make me feel good to know that our help made a difference and that alot of money was raised to go to a great charity.

We are volunteering again for the Beer Run next weekend.  This event will benefit the Lake Mills food pantry and the Jefferson County Humane Society. I kinda would like to run the half marathon but my times are not quite where I want them to be and I would very likely be one of the last people out on the course. I am hoping that maybe next year I will be faster and can run it.Instead we will be in the finishers tent handing out snacks and water and collecting timing chips.

One of the things I told myself is that I would start doing more volunteer work. Whether it is at events like this, working with Team Challenge or company sponsored events. I am fortunate to have the time and energy to help out and feel that what I do does make a difference.

How have you made a difference??

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Freaking Out

I very seldom remember my dreams. I don't know why and really don't care. Who knows.. maybe I don't dream. But every once in awhile a dream sticks with you and really kind of creeps you out.

Last night I had a dream that my work hubby and I were in his car.  We were driving with the top down on a bridge. There was construction on the bridge. We had to stop when the bridge took a sudden shift up.  We got out of the car and walked to the end of bridge.  There were some people on the section that we were trying to get to.  They were telling us how to get up there in the car.

Next thing I know work hubby is falling over the side of the bridge. I can so distinctly hear him hitting the ground followed by cars honking. I remember screaming and woke up.  I lay in bed for quite awhile this morning because I couldn't shake the strange feeling I had. 

When I got to work, work hubby was already there. I was relieved.  I settled in and sent this tweet at 7:44 am. "Had a bizarre dream last night that work hubby fell off a bridge. Kinda freaked me out."

While checking Twitter about twenty minutes later I see that there is a report of someone falling/jumping off the Hoan bridge this morning. At first details were rather sketchy but it turns out that a man had some car problems, got out of his car to look under the hood and was hit and thrown over the side of the bridge by another driver. He fell 80 feet to his tragic death.

When I read that I had to go into the bathroom at work because I started to cry.  I have no idea why this freaked me out so bad. It did and still does leave me with a very unsettled feeling in my stomach. I feel so bad for this man's family.

I just hope that I don't have more dreams like this.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

Waking up Awesome!

I am borrowing this from another blog.  I seen it and thought that we don't think like this often enough. It should not matter if you are a kid or adult.

A big thank you to for letting me borrow this great message.

Waking up Awesome!

There was a time when you were five years old,
and you woke up full of awesome.
You knew you were awesome.
You loved yourself.
You thought you were beautiful,
even with missing teeth and messy hair and mismatched socks inside your grubby sneakers.
You loved your body, and the things it could do.
You thought you were strong.
You knew you were smart.
Do you still have it?
The awesome.
Did someone take it from you?
Did you let them?
Did you hand it over, because someone told you weren’t beautiful enough, thin enough, smart enough, good enough?
Why the hell would you listen to them?
Did you consider they might be full of shit?
Wouldn’t that be nuts, to tell my little girl below that in another five or ten years she might hate herself because she doesn’t look like a starving and Photoshopped fashion model?
Or even more bizarre, that she should be sexy over smart, beautiful over bold?
Are you freaking kidding me?
Look at her. She is full of awesome.
You were, once. Maybe you still are. Maybe you are in the process of getting it back.
All I know is that if you aren’t waking up feeling like this about yourself, you are really missing out.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Circle of Life

The past week has been a tough one for my friends.

One friend's father passed away Saturday very unexpectedly. Another friend's mom has been going through some rough times and it looks like the end may be near. Today I got a call from my mom about another friend who I have not seen in probably 10 years that her mom had passed away on Monday.  Three months ago another good friend's mom passed away.

I know all about the circle of life. I watched The Lion King, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

I just hate that my friends and I are now getting to that age where we are losing our parents.  I am not that old.

It has been a little over two years (Aug 21st) that my dad passed away.  I still miss him so much. I miss talking to him about stupid stuff or just to even say hi.  While the pain has subsided, the heartache is still always there. 

This past weekend at camping it was decided that we are doing away with the third week of August. Too many bad things happen. Three years ago, my friend's brother died, two years was my dad and this year, two friends lost their parents.

The only good thing was 11 years ago two great friends got married. They were even nice enough to offer to move their anniversary date to not coincide with the "bad" week.

I want to go to more weddings and less funerals.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Boys of Summer

The Milwaukee Brewers have been red hot the past month or so. They have the best home field winning record at 46-15. Unreal. They have won 19 out of the last 21 games.

They are getting great starts by their pitchers and not giving up the stupid plays that used to beleaguer them in the past.

The best part is that they are fun to watch and look like they are having fun playing.

Nyjer Morgan (aka Tony Plush) has been a hoot to listen to in post game interviews and on Twitter. Yesterday he adopted a kitten from the humane society and Twitter was all abuzz about it. The kitten's name is Slick Willy.

John Axford has 35 saves so far this season and 32 consecutive saves. Unbelievable.

I've only been to a handful of games this season so far but have plans to hit up at least two more. Tickets are now hard to come by.

I look forward to them having a long extended season this fall.

Friday, August 05, 2011

Jo and the Volcano

I didn't sleep very well last night.  I kept waking up while having the most bizarre dream.

I was in Hawaii. Or at least that's where I think I was. I explain more about that in a minute. It was cold but yet warm out. I was bobsledding down an active volcano. Weaving in and out of the snow. Avoiding the lava rivers. Every so often it would erupt and make the course more challenging. Once I would get to the bottom of the volcano I would put the bobsled in the back of the blue VW van from the tv show, Lost. The scenery was very tropical and lush so that is what makes me think I was in Hawaii.

It seemed like after every time I would get to the bottom of the volcano I would wake up. Not all the way but that kinda weird dreamy state where you can sense things but not quite cognizant of things.

It seemed like this went on for most of the night.... or at least until 4:36 when the newspaper hit the porch and woke Boomer up.

As a result, my butt is kinda dragging this morning. 

Update: The volcano may have been Mount Etna in Italy since I see that is also erupting.

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

Just Ducky

Last Friday was @Sp0on's birthday. She had put the word out on Twitter and G+ that she was having a mini bowling party at a local bar, Koz's

I never remembered it being called mini bowling before. We always called it duck pin bowling. Why?? I have no idea. I have not been duck pin bowling in at least 20 years. If I recall, R and I went before we were even married.

Anyhoo... We met up at Koz's about 7pm. There ended up being about 20 people who showed up during the evening. We broke up teams by the old fashioned way. We counted off by three's like you did for gym class in school. This made for some interesting teams to say the least.

Since about half the people had never met each other before, in real life, we had to use everyone's Twitter names. Then we all knew each other. Only a couple people knew how to mark score. I was one of them. I tried to keep score for the first game but gave up on the second. The others were on their own. I did teach a few and they seemed to catch on so all was well.

After two games, people were getting restless. By this time everyone was enjoying the $2 bottles of Lite or the $1 glasses of PBR or Schlitz and talking and laughing. We stopped for a bit when it was noticed that there were fire trucks and ambulance across the street. Turns out the firefighters weren't here to strip for Sp0on but to attend to a child that was hit by a car. (Side note: you never heard about it on the news or in the paper)

We then headed up to Bryant's Lounge. There ended up being about a dozen of us there. We walked in and noticed that it was dark. Very dark. Like so dark, we all pulled out our phones so we could see where we were going, dark. Because there were so many of us they said that they had no place for us to sit. We headed outside to discuss our options and decided to head to Bomb Shelter instead. They have a great selection of craft beers and was just down the street from where we were. It was fun to sit in the back area and check out all the beer and Milwaukee memorabilia. They had some classic stuff. Check out their website for some of the pics of the place.

After a few hours, I was running out of steam and headed home. It was a good time exploring of of Milwaukee's little known and fun treasures.

Thursday, July 28, 2011


The past week or so I have seen something outside at night that is very disturbing to me.

Skunks. And not the cute Pepe LePew kind either.

Tonight confirmed there are at least 3 of them terrorizing the neighborhood. This is making it extremely difficult to take the dogs outside after dark. It looks like there are two little ones and a mom. Tonight they were not together so not sure if they are related.

Boomer got sprayed by one the other night. Luckily it was not bad. Just what I wanted to do at 10:30 at night is give him a bath.

They are not afraid either. Tuesday night one of the little ones waddled down the neighbor's lawn and hung out by the street light. It wandered around, then waddled across the street and sat on another neighbor's porch before it went under some bushes. I was out there shining the flashlight in it's face and making noise. It just looked at me. No fear what so ever.

I called the city to have them come and put traps out. They said that they can't so that without the homeowners permission. The two houses where they seem to be hanging out are both empty. One is for sale (the realtor is getting a call tomorrow) and the other has been vacant for the past 15 years or so. Both have landscaping that is overgrown and not maintained (which I did tell the city about when I called them). The perfect habitat for them to live in.

I am going to spend my off day tomorrow calling the city and getting traps in my yard and rallying the neighbors to call and get them in their yards. This skunk thing has to stop.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sports Night

Over the weekend I discovered that the tv show Sports Night is streaming on Netflix. The show only ran 2 seasons and had some of the best writing. I loved the quick witty dialogue between characters. The chemistry was fantastic.

That show introduced me to Josh Charles, Peter Krause, Felicity Huffman, Josh Malignant and the ever awesome Robert Guillaume.

I spent most of Sunday watching the show. I have to say I love the fact there are no commercials. The episodes are 22 min long and you can breeze thru them.

When Robert had a stroke in real life they wrote that into the script of the show.

Sports Night reminds me a bit of Parenthood. It too has the same quick banter between characters. It makes you really connect with them.

I wish there were more shows like this on tv today.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011


With Father's day on Sunday, I find myself missing my dad more now than right after he died.

It is the little, stupid things that I miss the most. Like coming home to find that he did some little thing around the house for me. I miss asking his advice on stuff. How to do something or having him help me fix something. Or just even going up to the restaurant down the street for dinner.

It is kinda funny. I look back and think that the last few years he was alive we went down a very similar path. We both had spouses that cheated, tried to work it out, got fed up with it and moved on. The end result for both was sorta the same Randy died and so did my dad.

I was always closer to my dad than my mom. I liked to learn how things worked and my dad liked to show me. He was by no means perfect and had his demons. He struggled most of his adult life with alcoholism and in the end that and smoking contributed to his death. And while he could drive me nuts at times, I knew that he loved me and even when he was dying he was trying to take care of me and make sure that I would be alright.

Dad, I miss you and love you and I'm doing alright. Thank you for teaching me to be the person I am.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Sweet Dreams

Had the most bizarre dream last night. I don't normally remember them but this one I did.

Some background info first. My friend, Becky, is having her first baby any day now. Since she first announced her pregnancy in December she had been calling the baby Olive or Oliver. They knew the sex but were not telling anyone. At the time of her first ultrasound, the baby was the size of an olive, so the name stuck.

So back to the dream ....

Becky had her baby. It was a boy. They named him Martin. Her husband was not happy with this name. But it was a compromise. She wanted to call him "Martini withand Olive" and he said no way. So Martin was the name they went with.

I don't remember anything else but thinking Becky had better not name him that.

And no, I didn't have anything strange to eat yesterday.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Still Here

I'm still here, just busy.

As most of you know, the shuttle launch was delayed while I was in Florida. I was unable to make it back down for the launch on May 9th. I did get to live the experience through my twitter friends. It was amazing.

I had an awesome time in Florida and made some new friends from all over the world.

I hope to have the pictures posted soon. They are still on my camera and phone.

Until then....

Saturday, April 23, 2011


In less than a week, I leave for Florida and get to hang with 149 other Tweeps and watch the Space Shuttle Endeavour make it's last voyage into space. There are people from 43 states, DC and 6 countries. Quite the diverse gang.

Earlier this week, we got the agenda for the two days. It is quite jam packed.

Thursday, April 28/L-1: Tweetup Day 1*

7:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. – Registration at the Kennedy Space Center Press Accreditation Badging Building; travel to the press site, set up, meet fellow participants

10:00 a.m. – Welcome by @NASA team members Stephanie Schierholz and John Yembrick

10:07 a.m. – Meet the tweeps

10:45 a.m. – Demo of Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU) and Mark III spacesuits

11:00 a.m. – Lunch break

12:00 p.m.-1:40 p.m. -- NASA TV starts for the formal #NASATweetup program, featuring:

· Dana M. Hutcherson, space shuttle Endeavour’s flow director, , Kennedy Space Center

· Tara Ruttley, International Space Station associate program scientist, NASA's Johnson Space Center, @ISS_research

· Astronaut Clay Anderson, @Astro_Clay, Expedition 15 flight engineer, STS-131 mission specialist, shuttle Discovery (April 5-20, 2010)

1:45 p.m. – Board tour buses

2:00 p.m. – Tour of NASA's Kennedy Space Center, including visits to the Apollo Saturn V Center, a drive by the Shuttle Landing Facility, Mate-Demate Device, Orbiter Processing Facility, Vehicle Assembly Building and Mobile Launcher Platforms, and viewing of the retraction of the Rotating Service Structure, scheduled for 7 p.m.

8:15 p.m. – Return to the press site

Friday, April 29/ Launch: Tweetup Day 2

8:00 a.m. – Badges will get you in Kennedy Space Center Launch Complex 39 press site

9:00 a.m. – Group picture beside the countdown clock

9:05 a.m. – Astronaut Ricky Arnold, STS-119 Discovery (March 15-28, 2009)

9:30 a.m. – Astronaut Leland Melvin, associate administrator for Education, NASA Headquarters, @Astro_Flow

10:00 a.m. – Daire McCabe, designer at LEGO

10:30 a.m. – Lt. Col. Patrick Barrett, 45th Weather Squadron, U.S. Air Force

~11:57 a.m. – Astronauts depart their crew quarters for Launch Pad 39A

~12:10 p.m. – Tweetup participants (assembled along the road across from the Launch Control Center) wave to the crew as they drive by in the astrovan on their way to the launch pad

~2:15 p.m. – STS-134 Closeout Crew member (Endeavour's hatch is closed and latched for launch at ~1:42 p.m. EDT)

3:47 p.m.Launch of space shuttle Endeavour on the STS-134 mission

~5:00 p.m. – Post-launch news conference on NASA TV

7:30 p.m. - #NASABrewUp commences. Everyone is bringing a beer from their home state/country for a sampling event. I am bringing several bottles of New Glarus products.

One of my favorite disclaimers is this "NASA's Kennedy Space Center is part of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. While on Kennedy Space Center you may encounter a variety of wildlife, including alligators and poisonous snakes. If you see such an animal, do not approach it or attempt to feed it. Please notify a public affairs officer or other NASA personnel."

It seems like it has been so long since I first found out about the Tweetup. Now it is almost here. I am now beginning to get more excited about going. I know that may sound geeky to some people, but I think that launching human beings into space it still pretty fucking cool.

Follow me on Twitter (HeyJo1) to see my thoughts and impressions of my journey.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Spent a portion of this weekend doing some spring cleaning. Helped a friend clean out a spare room on Saturday. On Sunday, I tackled my house.

The first thing was the truck. It needed a good vacuuming out. I am picky about several things and one of them is my truck. I don't eat in there nor do I use it as a place to store stuff. All I ever have in there is the dog seat, umbrella and the snow brush and blanket. The last two items came back into the house for the season. I wanted to do the windows but the truck was in the sun and I was too lazy to move it.

I then washed the bird cage. Ollie's cage is rather large and cleaning it is a pain in the butt. I will usually just roll it outside and use the hose on it. Since it was in the mid 80's, outside it went. Ollie loved it. He was singing with the outside birds. I keep waiting for some of them to try and land on his cage.

Next on the agenda was the lawn. When snowpocalypse hit, the neighbor's pine tree lost a lot of little branches. Most of them ended up in my yard. I thought about getting the lawn mower out and using the bagger to pick them up but it was under some bags of rummage sale stuff. So I raked. 3 bags of stuff. I can feel that in my shoulders and upper back today. It felt good to get the yard looking all nice again. The one thing that concerned me was that I was finding lots of little pieces of glass under the living room window. It looks like it had been there a long time, but still where was it coming from?? I'll bet I had a good two big handfuls of glass.

Took a break and walked the dogs at the park.

I then headed inside. I finally remembered to buy Windex at the store so I cleaned the dog prints off the windows. I was going to do the outsides but with storms approaching I felt it didn't pay to wash them and have them get dirty right away.

I still have some other things inside to tackle but most of that can wait until closer to the rummage sale time.

It is a good feeling to rid yourself of unwanted stuff. Like a weight has been lifted from your shoulders.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Kicking the Crap Out of Crohn's & Colitis

Once again, I am running a half marathon with Team Challenge. Team Challenge supports the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation of America.

You may remember last year when I ran in the Las Vegas half marathon. Or maybe not since I looked back and realized I never gave a race recap. Opps. Sorry for that. Here it is in a nutshell. Vegas, Dec 5th. I run from Mandalay Bay to downtown and back again. Have to stop to pee and it costs me about 15 minutes in time. Darn. Finished the race in 3:25. I was very happy with that time.

Anyhoo... I'm back at it. Last year I raised over $3800. This year I need to raise $2600.

If you don't already know, Crohn's & colitis are pretty crappy diseases. Literally. They affect the intestinal tracts of people. I won't go into all the icky details but suffice it to say that no one wants to have diarrhea for three months straight. Yeah.... totally not fun.

So I need your help! All 7 of you who read my blog. I need to raise money and lots of it. You can donate online by going here.

I am also selling Tupperware. 40% of what you buy goes back to my fundraising. That's alot. So buy lots and help me! You can buy stuff that you can't get a a normal party. The items are shipped directly to you and you should have it in about a week after placing your order. Click here for Tupperware.

Feel free to pimp out my fundraising efforts to yoru family and friends. I need all the help I can get.


Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Tweet This

So, I have posted several times about how Twitter has been an interesting communication vehicle for me. I've met all sorts of people. From Team Challenge to Beer Club. All a very interesting and eclectic group. Some people will definately be good friends.

I follow @NASAKennedy on Twitter. I have followed them for quite awhile now. I loved watching the tweets about the space shuttles and other stuff.

Last week I seen a tweet from them about a NASA Tweetup. A Tweetup is nothing more than a gathering of people who meet up in real life that met on Twitter.

I thought what the heck. Went out to the link and signed up. I even posted that I signed up. Didn't really give it much thought. On Saturday, I got the email that @NASATweetup is following me. Hmm. I wonder if they are following everyone who applied to see what people tweet about and what not. Again, I didn't give it a whole lot of thought.

Until Monday. I get home and check my email and see an email from someone I don't recognize. I don't use that email address for spam and crap so I was curious. I opened it up and read this....

Dear Jo,

Congratulations, your registration has been selected to attend the NASA Tweetup at space shuttle Endeavour's targeted launch April 18-19 at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida! The event will provide you the opportunity to speak with shuttle technicians, engineers, astronauts, and managers, and to experience the launch of space shuttle Endeavour to the International Space Station.

Please read this entire e-mail carefully for instructions on securing your spot and planning your attendance.

It took me a few times of reading it before it sank in.

HOLY CRAP!! I am going to Florida to see the Space Shuttle Endeavour launch. This is the last launch of a space shuttle, EVER!

I get to watch the launch from about 3 miles away which is as close as people can actually be. Any public viewing areas are like 12-15 miles away.

I started watching the hashtag #NASATweetup. I seen a tweet from a girl (from Oklahoma City) who was looking for someone to share a rental car with. I replied back that I was interested. Turns out she has a place to stay for free and we are going to split the cost of the car for the week. That will be a huge cost savings as it is spring break and prices are jacked up sky high in that area. Good thing airfare is so cheap to Orlando.

I had to apply today for my security credentials. That was an interesting process. It will take a day or so for me to be approved.

Stay tuned for further updates on my TweetUp adventure!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Beer Club Field Trip - Part Deux

When we last left our field trip gang, they were leaving the Milwaukee Brewing Co tour and trying to decide where to eat and go drink next.

We ended up eating at the Gyro Palace. A. It was right across the street and B. No waiting, like we would at Industri Cafe.

Sara, who had not eaten since like morning, was spewing out some great OH's left and right. I tried to go back thru my twitter feed to find them but no luck. I guess I should have written this post a couple of weeks ago already.

We decided that we were going to head up to Romans Pub for a few more drinks. Since Mitch and Sara were not in any shape to drive at that point, Neil and I fought an evil death match to see who they would ride with. Ok, so may it was more like I had the cell phone charger so they rode with me. Also Neil had some wood in the back of his truck so back seat seating would be cramped. I said that I would take them to Romans and Neil could take them back to their cars later.

We get to Romans and are decided what to drink. It is noticed that the Dogfish Head Palo Santo Marron Ale is aged on wood.

Opaque black color, mocha, wood and dark fruit aromas, aged on the wood of the Paraguayan Palo Santo tree, sweet caramel malt layered with wood, fruit and roasted flavors. (12.0%)

Upon reading that, we ask Neil if his wood (in his truck) can make beer. Hilarity ensues and soon NeilsWood is born. Neil's Wood lives to hit people who ride in the back of Neil's truck in the head. If you don't already, follow him. For an inanimate object he sure is witty and saucy with the ladies. He always leaves me laughing.

Soon Jess and Frank joined us as well as Neil's dad and uncles. We were all just glad that Uncle Jim decided to keep his hip thrusting to himself.

After a few hours of great beer and even better conversation we hit the road.

Another successful beer club field trip is in the books.

ps. I know I'm missing stuff but, hey, it was almost two weeks ago. I forget things.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beer Club Field Trip

This past Saturday saw the Twitter Beer Club take another field trip.

This time we were taking a tour of the Milwaukee Brewing Co. No one in the group had actually ever been on this tour so it made it even more fun.

The tour ended up only being a few of us. Mitch, Sara, Neil and Neil's friend, Jeff. We paid our $7, got our glass and had it filled with beer. The tour we wanted to go on was full so we had to wait 30 minutes for the next one. Darn. I guess that meant we had to have another free beer. Fill up glass with beer. We stood and talked and next thing you know it was time for our tour to start. Quick, go fill up the glass with more beer.

We follow Sean around to the first station. The group is large and we are towards the back so we can't really see or hear anything. He is talking about the grains used. I can see a box of Grape Nuts. That's about all I know. We move on.

We go up the stairs. We look inside the big kettles. Sean is still talking but we are not really paying attention. It is more fun to take picture of the Flux Capacitor. Not sure if it really works but by this time it is funny.


We go back downstairs. Looks at some more stuff, everyone goes into the cooler. I was getting my beer refilled so I was a bit behind everyone. Next thing I know the doors to the cooler are closing, I rush in. People are now calling me Indiana Jones. We leave the cooler and find this little graphy thing outside of it. It has squigly lines on it. I make the joke that it is recording earthquakes in Japan. I know that it is really measuring the temperature and humidity in the room. No one lets me tweet what I really want to say.

We also got to see of HAL2000. I forgot to get a picture of that.

Mitch remarks that he really didn't pay much attention to the tour. Really?!? Shock. We all kinda wandered around and tweeted alot of OH's.

Tour is about done, we hang around to drink more free beer and decide what we are going to do next....

Stayed tuned for part 2 of Beer Club Field Trip. Next up: Neil's Wood

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Magic Chute

It's my birthday and the damn magic chute is broken.

Why is no one coming to my house to do my laundry?? sigh... do they not know it is my birthday and it needs to be done.

I throw dirty clothes down the magic chute. How come they didn't come back up clean?? I had to do 6 loads of laundry today. I live alone.

It may be kinda scary that I have enough clothes to last that long. I could have gone longer except I needed clean workout clothes. They have to line dry so that prompted the marathon laundry session today. In between two (yes, two) workouts, grocery shopping and a wonderful nap! I did laundry. I still have another load of cold water stuff to be done but no where left to hang it to dry.

Oh well, I guess I'll have to work on getting that magic chute fixed.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Sick Day Funny

My friend, Amy posted this on her facebook page. I'm stealing it cuz it is hilarious.

It may or may not be true.....

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Boys of Summer

Today the Brewers pitchers and catchers report to Maryville, AZ for the start of spring training. This makes me happy.

It signals the turn of winter.  The promise of warm weather.  Sitting in the sun with a cold beer. Watching the game.

With football over, there is now the anticipation of a new sporting season.  A clean slate. With only upwards to go hopefully. 

The Brewers have made some significant upgrades to the team. Especially in pitching.  Let's hope that they all stay healthy. 

So take that, Old Man Winter.  Spring is here. Or at least spring training is. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

State of the State

So this has been bugging me for the past few days.

I'm tired of seeing facebook comments from people who think that Gov. Walker is trying to ruin their lives by taking away some of the collective bargaining powers of the unions for state workers.

Here are a few of the posts:

Post 1: "Taking away Collective Bargaining Rights only stifles the Voices of The People and holding politicians accountable for their actions. This has nothing to do with wages, it is Union Busting plain and simple. Certainly you fine folks can understand that?"

Post 2: "We don't have a new governor. WE HAVE A KING. And he is destroying the freedoms of the peasants. Wisconsin may have a few new jobs AND THEY WILL ALL BE MINIMUM WAGE! Fasten your seatbelts folks. It's going to be a BUMPY ride......"

Post 3: "They are willing to make the concessions and pay for the pensions and insurance premiums. This is about BUSTING the UNION. Every state facility operates on a contract that serves as policy and procedure for that place of employment. It is a guideline to how things operate, and helps those in management as well. Wages and benefits have very little to do with collective bargaining. Your hospitals, nursing homes and institutions are safer because of the union and the legislation it has created to help the people, clients and staff alike. Walker wants to end unionization. Period. That is the issue here."

Post 4: "The governor's people are still saying it is about bringing wages current with the private sector. How come all my friends in the private sector make more than me? Anyway, not the issue. Made all my phone calls and not ONE republican legislator will tell me what throwing the unions out of Wisconsin has to do with the economy. Except of course the 2 state employee unions that SUPPORTED his campaign. Hmm"

Response: "
this is simply a deversion tactic. If they distract people with this issue then we might forget that there are no jobs, no new business moving into Wisconsin, etc. Aparently, they think everyone is as stupid as the people who voted for Snotty Walker"

So, here is my take on this.

At one point in time, unions were important in protecting the lives and welfare of workers. Nowadays, I think they are obsolete. We have local, state and federal regulations in place to ensure the safety of workers. I think that unions protect the poor and somewhat average worker. With some unions it is almost impossible to get fired unless you open fire on someone. Even then, the union would defend you.

Now my workplace has rules in place to dictate how I get paid, the job that is expected of me, what my work environment will be like, etc. If I fail to abide by these rules I will either get fired or suspended.

A perfect example is the worker who is barely average. They show up 1 minute before they are supposed to start, do their job with a minimum of effort, never going out of their way to put the extra effort in to do a better job. Why should they?? They are getting paid the same amount if they work hard or are hardly working. So if I'm a worker who goes the extra mile and does more than is asked of me, I would be pissed that the slacker, who started the same time I did, is getting paid exactly the same wage I am.

If I am the good worker, in a non-union shop, I may get merit raisers based on how well I did. Not how well the union negotiated for me. If the union negotiated 2% for everyone, that's all you get. The non-union worker may now get a 3-4% raise. The slacker... maybe he only gets 1%.

Moving on to one of the other topics, Gov Walker is hot on. Making the state employees pay more in health care and pension costs. I just looked at my last pay stub. I paid $36.59 for my insurance. The company I work for paid $106. That makes me paying about 25% of my insurance costs. Add to that my deductible of $3000/year. Yeah $3000 that has to come out of my pocket before insurance will even kick in. Granted the insurance will cover things like routine yearly girl exams but anything else, I'm paying for that. Now the company does kick in some money towards your HSA, if you make below a certain wage. I don't. So I get nothing. I am now putting extra money each paycheck into my HSA. I did enough this year to be able to cover my deductible. That is a big chunk of coin coming out of each paycheck. Next year, I will drop that amount down a bit and maybe consider using it. I have no plans to touch that unless I have large expenses. At least Gov Walker made my contributions to my HSA non taxable.

Full disclosure: I have a pension and don't contribute anything towards it but the amount I would get is barely enough to fill my gas tank up in the 4Runner. That was a legacy benefit that I was not around long enough to really be invested in. I have a 401(k). The state is asking workers to now contribute 5.8%. That's not alot folks. That would be pre-tax money. So the amount people would see from their checks would be not alot. I contribute 10% of my wages to my 401(k) each pay period. I plan to raise that up another percent or two this year. I usually bump it up about what my raise is each year. I wish I could get away with only 5.8% and be able to retire on.

I hope that people look seriously at Gov Walker's proposal and realize that if the state goes bankrupt, you are probably out of a job anyways. In order to get the economy to turn around you have to make some hard choices and sacrifices. Asking state employees to step up to the plate is not asking alot.

Ok, time to step off my soap box now.

Friday, February 11, 2011


Today at work much of my job is consisting of thinking.

Thinking issues through and trying to determine the best way to solve them.  Running various scenarios using different ideas. Seeing which one will make sense in the long run of this phase project. 

I like doing this type of stuff. It makes me think outside the box and not be so concerned with my portion of the project but how this will impact the project down the road. One or two years out when the process has matured. 

To the average person it may look chaotic or messy but to me it is a way to lay things out and see them visually instead of only in a soft copy format.

Thinking. ...

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snowpocalypse 2011

Holy shit!

That is kinda all I can say about the weather the past few days.

When Scott Steele talked on the news and said that this could be a storm of historic proportions, I kinda laughed. Yeah, right.... we will get some snow, be a bit windy and life goes on 6 hours later.

Uh... that wasn't quite the case.

Here is the video from last night. I took this about 10 pm from my side door. I could get out the door no problem and had a bit of a drift over the driveway where the house ended. Cold, snow that stung when it hit your face. Windy like all get out. Crazy, I tell you. The dogs were none to happy that I made them go outside before we went to bed at 10:30 pm.

Fast forward a few hours....

3:30 am. I get up to pee. Wind is still howling like crazy. I try to look out the front windows and realize that there is snow stuck in the screens so I can't see out. No big deal. I go to the side door. I had to really push hard to get it open a few inches. I see the snow is right up to the house. Crap! Now I have been a home owner long enough to know that the furnace vents need to be clear so that the carbon monoxide can be discharged from the house. I realize that the vent has snow covering it.

Ok, I'm fully awake now.

What to do. My mind starts kicking into overdrive. I can't really get out the side door to get to the vent. Think... think. Ok, wait. My bedroom window is just about above the vent pipe. Sweet. I'll go grab the step ladder I just bought on Sunday (Thank God!) and lean out the window and clear the snow with the shovel. I was smart enough to remember to bring the small shovel inside before I went to bed.

I open the window and all the snow that was between the window and screen falls in. Shit. Go to the bathroom and grab a towel and throw it on the floor. I can worry about that later. I step on the ladder and lean out the window. The snow is still coming down hard and it stings. Close window. Go grab jacket and gloves and hat. Open window. Lean out again. Realize that my arms are a bit short. Slide out the window further. Ok, I can move the snow enough to clear the pipe. It is warm air that comes out so parts of it are sorta melted and there is empty space around it. Get it so the pipe is once again exposed.

Whew. That was hard work.

Hop back in and grab my phone for a photo opp. Post to Twitter. Chat on Twitter with a few people. Yes, it is almost 4 am. Turn the tv on for a few minutes. Hear that there is a "Civil Danger Warning". What is that?? Ask Twitter and find out that it means if you are stupid enough to be out in this weather and get stuck. Too fucking bad. You are on your own. No one is going to come and rescue you. This is kinda freaking me out so I go back to bed. I turnt (sp) off the alarm knowing that when I get up, I get up and start working.

I get up about 7 am. The wind is still wicked crazy out. Knowing that the furnace vent may be blocked I go grab my jacket, hat and gloves again. Move some more snow away from the vent from the window. Not the best but it should suffice. Realize the driveway on either end of the house is drifted pretty good. From my vantage point I could not tell how bad it really was.

Start working. I have a snow guy. He can deal with the drifts.

About 30 minutes later I hear beep, beep, beep. WTF?? At first I thought it was Ollie. It kinda sounded like the microwave which he imitates alot. A minute later it beeps again. I look in the living room and see Ollie sleeping. Shit. That's the CO (carbon monoxide) detector. There has to be a substantial build of gas for it to go off.

I sorta panic a bit. I make sure Ollie IS sleeping and not dead. Being a bird they are sensitive to that stuff. He is alive. Give him a green pepper. He's happy.

Now what do I do. I have to get that vent cleared. FAST! I realize the only way out is thru the window. I open a few windows in the house and turn the furnace off. I put some clothes on, grab the ladder and shovel and stick them out the window. I crawl out the window and sort of roll down the snowbank to the driveway. I'm happy that the snow is soft. I get the vent shoveled out. The snow was a good two feet over the top of the pipe. I just clear the snow as fast as I can.

I clear the side door since I'm already out there and don't want to have to crawl back in the window.

I grab the dogs and make them go out. They are not happy about it but do what they need to do. There is only a drift along half the driveway. The other half is clear.

Get back in the house and in dry clothes and work for a few hours.

My neighbor's boyfriend stops over to make sure I can get out. He shovels the front porch off a bit for me. I go out and realize how deep the drift really is over the front of the driveway.

How the fuck am I going to clear that?? It is up to my shoulders. About five feet!!

Think that I am glad I have a snow guy and go back in to work.

Now for those of you who know me. I tend to be a bit anal about things. I am fussy about the snow and its placement around the house. It used to drive Randy crazy! having all this snow sitting around is making me nervous. So about lunch time, I head out and start clearing a path from the driveway to the front door. The drifts are so tall I have to swing the shovel like a catapult to get the snow over the drifts.

A couple of neighbors come out and help me by clearing a path on the sidewalk. I have no way of getting to it. A few more neighbors are walking by. Surveying the damage and taking pictures. My house is now the freak show of the block. Everyone else has 2-3 foot drifts. I had to knock down the drift so I could see them at the end of the driveway! They all ask if I have to shovel the entire thing. No, I have a snow guy coming. Just not sure when. They all offered to help me if need be. I am touched by their generosity.

I go back in as I have a 1pm meeting which I am now late for. After my meeting, I call my snow guy. I tell him he can come out anytime now. Warn him that a snowblower may not be enough. I may need to have a plow open the driveway up. He says that he won't be able to get here until tomorrow. Shit! It is supposed to get cold out and that snow will freeze and be a bitch to move.

I work until about 3:30 and head back outside. I am going to try and make it to the garage and get the snowblower out. There is a drift about 4.5 feet tall from the edge of the house to about 5 feet in front of the garage. That is a good 20+ feet. I start shoveling the top layers off. Finally I can get to where I can wade thru the snow.

I start snowblowing. It is slow going. I have to stop and knock the snow down every few minutes. The neighbor kid comes over and helps me by knocking snow down while I blow it. We finally get that end of the driveway to where it is clear and I can get the truck out. Whew!! I have Nic help me clear the side door and furnace vent a bit better and call it a day.

I will be at home for a third day tomorrow. Thank goodness I can work from home. Missing three days of work would suck otherwise.

I kinda want to spend the day making a fort in the snow drift before it goes away. Doesn't that sound like fun?? Who wants to come and live in it with me??

A side note. I am kinda still a bit scared to go to sleep tonight. Even though I know the house is fine now I'm still worried about the CO and not waking up. I told my neighbor that if she did not see the curtains open by 7:30 tomorrow to call or come over to check on me.

PSA: Make sure you have a working CO detector in your house. As of yesterday, they are required to be in all one and two family homes.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Beer Club


That is the Twitter hash tag that is used every Monday night at 8 pm CT.

What is #beerclub you ask? Nothing more than a group of people from around the country who pick a beer to drink each week and talk about it on Twitter.

Some people may think it is silly or stupid but I find it a good way to try different beers each week and get other people's opinions on them.

This week's beer is Hinterland Brewing's Winterland. It was a good beer. Creamy and dark. Something that I am learning to like. I normally do not care for the roasted malt/coffee flavor but am getting used to it and as the beer warms up the other flavors that come through.

Last Saturday, was #beerclubfieldtrip to one of my favorite local bars, Romans' Pub. A nice corner type bar that has a good selection of craft beers on tap. It was recently named one of America's 100 Best Beer bars. A nice honor for Mike.

One of the best things about the #beerclubfieldtrip was meeting new people. There ended up being about 15 people who showed up, including two from Sheboygan. I have talked to most of them on Twitter now for at least 6-8 months. It is nice to put faces to avatars and twitter handles. It was hard to not call Joel, WinecellarofWI or Sara, Sp0on. Altho' I think they would both answer to that name.

It was alot of fun talking and learning about different beers. Over the past year I have been trying different styles of beer and learning to taste the different flavors in them.

A perfect example is from last Friday. I had a Magic Hat's #9. I was asked what flavors I could taste in it. It took a few minutes for me to place the flavor but it was apricot. Sounds weird I know but it was really good. And at 5.1% you can drink them for a longer period of time. It also helps when your friends know you well enough to guide you towards beers you may like or drink the ones that you try and don't like.

I can't wait for next month's #beerclubfieldtrip to Sugar Maple on Feb 19th. Won't you join us?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

They Are Just Words

Yesterday, it was announced that NewSouth Books was changing the "N" word in the novel Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain to the word slave.

Supposedly, it was done so that teachers could use the book in the classroom without the fear of offending someone. I agree that the "N" word is really not an acceptable word in today's society. but to remove it from a book that is considered a literary classic. Stupid!

I think that it is just ridiculous. That is not how Twain wrote the book. I think that in this day and age everyone is a bit too politically correct. Next thing you know they will be beeping out some of the words that Fred Sanford or Archie Bunker used to say in the very funny 70's TV shows because in today's society they can be considered offensive.

I wonder how long it will be until other great works of fiction are altered because the terminology used in the books may offend someone.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A Run for the Roses

Yesterday was the Rose Bowl.

It was a game that I thought the Badgers should have won quite handily. Yes, TCU had a #1 ranked defense, but we have Nick Toon and John Clay.

Alas, it was not meant to be.

The players looked like they were not prepared. Several dumb penalties early on. They played like they were not in sync. Dropped passes and some wrong routes being run.

But our defense held TCU in check. They didn't let the game get out of hand and become a blow out.

We had a shot to tie the game up late in the game. A missed 2 point conversion was the difference.

Games like this would have drove Randy nuts!!

Thanks Badger for a great season. It was fun to watch.