For You Nerds

Posted in Uncategorized on November 16, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

In my job I do some accounting type work.  I have very little background in accounting, but have deeeeeep roots in Excel and data management.  So the job was a decent match for my skills and I took it.

Since taking this job, my laptop issued to me has acted horribly.  In the last 15 months I have had a total of 3.  The current one will just shut off at random intervals, and I have figured that there are some clocking issues going on.  An example:  a spreadsheet that my quad core processor takes 20 minutes to calculate takes only about 5 minutes on a dual core that I have at home.  And it is when I have demand on the processor that it “randomly” shuts off (leaving me in the lurch when I need uptime the most).

As a last ditch effort with the vendor, I have asked for a complete replacement of a preloaded laptop.  This machine arrived on Monday, but I have been unable to finish configuring it for my work.  Until today.

Yesterday I spent about 3 hours struggling with a budget spreadsheet.  The issue, without getting into too much boring detail, was that I was trying to layer in a change order to increase the budget to 618k.  The top line on the budget workbook (under 1mb in size) kept calculating a number around 654k.  I knew this wasn’t right because of my own manual calculations, and presumed that I had an error elsewhere (which I spent that 3 hours trying to debug).

Finally, at about 6pm last night I gave up and went home.  This is very unusual for me, as I am generally outstanding with Microsoft Excel, and the calculations that go into this budgeting workbook.  Spent the night simmering, trying to work through in my head what had happened, where the error was.  The thought of scrapping and starting from the beginning….that just wasn’t going to happen.

When I return to work this morning, my laptop (which i left in my office out of disgust last night) had restarted.  This forced me to reopen the workbook that I was fighting with the night before. 

Magically, when I looked at the top line, it reflect 618k.  It balanced, with only a -1 cent difference due to rounding issues (typical with such large sums of cash). 

How did this happen?  Should I believe in magic?

The best I can figure is that the sheet was not recalculating.  I haven’t yet checked to see if it is a known issue with Excel.  But this isn’t the first such issue.  I have another budget workbook (for a separate budget detail) that has had to be recoded entirely because it just started making wild cell references when calculating the “sumif” formulas on the front page (sending references into other workbooks that are wholly unrelated).

Is this at all interesting?  Absolutely not.  At least, not unless you are me, and had the last 24 hours that I have had.  🙂

Raising Children And Thanking Water

Posted in Slapdash on August 22, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

This is an interesting, short clip:

This is an interesting experiment that could be conducted yourself.   Perhaps I will…perhaps not.  Regardless, some thought fodder for you to consider.

Voice Immodulation Syndrome And Customer Service

Posted in Observations on July 9, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

So my wife and I were out running around the other day, and she needs to stop at a convenience store.  I pull into the next one we see, and she runs in.  While she is going in, I notice a sign on the door.  It is printed from a computer, and it says, “IF YOU WANT TO BE CHARGED REFILL PRICE YOU MUST SHOW YOUR CUP TO THE CASHIER!!!  IF YOU DON’T IT WILL BE FULL PRICE!!!!!!!!!”

It reminded me of another sign at another convenience store around the corner from me.  “ALL CREDIT CARD PURCHASES MUST BE FOR MORE THAN $3!!!!!”

Why? Why all the exclamation points?  Are they yelling at me?  Do they just mean so much business that they have to show it?  Is that how they would talk to me if they were explaning their policies to me?  I feel like I am being provided customer service by this guy:

In a past job several years back I had to work with a lady from corporate to get some things accomplished.  Every time she typed, she ended her sentences with exclamation points.  Reading what she wrote was almost like having to cover my ears.  For example:

Me:  Amy, did you get the list of employees I sent over?

Amy: Yes!  Thank you for getting that today!  I will try to get it back by Thursday!

Me:  Very good.  I would like to roll it out next month if possible, to be included on the first paycheck.

Amy: Ok!  I think that should be possible!  Let me get on this and get back to you late Wednesday!

Me:  Cool.  Thanks.

Amy: Not a problem!

Why?  To make the exclamation point you have to press Shift AND 1.  Two key strokes.  It isn’t like it is easy or anything.  Why?

Even more, why do it in customer service?  When you make a sign, should it not speak politely to your customers?  Or is yelling and demanding the way businesses typically operate?

Best Tattoo Ever, Part II

Posted in Slapdash on July 8, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

Just, wow:




Its Not In My Job Description

Posted in Uncategorized on July 6, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

So, I am sure everyone has heard of this story:

Jeff Ellis told CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront” on Thursday evening that he didn’t approve of the decision to fire Lopez.


“Clearly, he should not have been terminated for what had occurred,” Ellis said. “I know that he has tried to do the right thing.”


Three other lifeguards quit in protest and two others were dismissed after saying they would have acted as Lopez did.


“They told us we would be liabilities and we had to be let go,” lifeguard Travis Madrid told CNN.


We have a young man who saw another human who was in dire need, mortal need, and he went to render aid (as is his job duty).  Why was he fired?  For attending to someone outside of the area he was assigned to.  Actually, Jeff Ellis has said it was an insurance risk to conduct operations outside of the insured area.  And, that is fair enough.  But do you really  put a human life at risk to avoid insurance risk?

And, do you really fire a kid for working in an area outside his own to save a human life?  Are there not extenuating circumstances?

This is what drives me nuts about being an employer.  When someone tells me “Its not my job”, I literally lose it.  I point out that anything that seems logical is “their job”.  Your job, for any employer, is to advance that employers interests and ability to generate revenue.  Even something as simple as picking up a piece of trash from the gutter in front of your place of business.  It makes your place of business more attractive, and makes it more profitable.

Jeff Ellis Management, on the other hand, is reinforcing a horrible habit.  They are telling their employees that open thought is not allowed.  That you put your nose in the Employee Handbook, shut up, and toe the line.  This, my friends, is not the kind of employees I want.  I don’t want docile sheep who are unable to think for themselves.  A triple PhD in mathematics does you no good if you are unable to chew gum without biting off your own tongue.

Readers, break this cycle of distant, cold treatment of one another.  Restore the American principle of smart business, not cattle herding management.  Encourage your friends, family, coworkers, and employees to do that extra “value add” task, even if it isn’t in their job description. 

I know your union workers will disagree with me on this.  And to that I say, “You stupid sheep, don’t you realize you could be so much MORE than your narrow job description?”



Alabama Shakes

Posted in Slapdash on July 3, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

So last night I drifted off to sleep with the TV on only to be awakened by the sound of what true soul and real art sounds like.  On Jimmy Fallon the band Alabama Shakes was performing.  I haven’t heard them before, and was amazed at the young lady singing.  Simply wonderful.  Enjoy.

What Pisses Off The Working Class

Posted in Observations on June 30, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

So tonight I went to the store to get some “Carb Smart” ice cream for dessert.  After the heat today, some ice cream is definitely called for.  I grabbed my ice cream, along with 2 other sundry items, and headed to the express lane.  As I walked into the lane, there was a lady in front of me paying for her items.

As she was settling the total bill, she was told that her food stamp card wouldn’t cover an item that had a cost of about 79 cents, so she responded with “its ok, just take it off”.  As she tried to leave, the clerk had to ask her to give the item back, and she said, “Oh yeah”, and went to digging out a small bag of pinto beans.  She gave these to the cashier, and left.

I did my business, and ended up walking out right behind her, in her hip pocket so to speak.  As I got to my truck and unlocked the door, I glanced up and noticed that she was unleading her government subsidized groceries into a brand new, 2012 Cadillac Escalade truck.  I put my items into the back seat of my 2003 Ford (although, it is a very nice 2003 with under 50k miles on it), grumbled to myself, and came home to tell you all about it.

I pass no judgement on her personally.  I don’t know the circumstances behind her vehicle, or food stamp card.  I just know it is hard for me to imagine how you need help buying food when you drive a $60,000 truck.

Building Their Own Homes

Posted in 1776, Observations on June 25, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

My wife and I had occasion to wander around the more remote portions of this speck of a West Texas town.  On our wandering, we took note of the new police station/detention facility that is being built in one of the lesser financed neighborhoods.  They got a real steal on the property, as it is being built in connection with the brand new sheriff’s office and county jail.  I will leave my lamenting of this intermingling of municipal and county enforcement agencies, and move on to the comments my wife made.

Our relationship is unusual in that we have very little of interest in common.  Despite this, neither of us can make it without the other.  She is more into celebrity gossip, real and local level news stories, and general media.  I am more into non-fiction writings and works from prior to 1900.  So it is unusual that she would say something that sounds so much like it came from me.

As we drove by the law enforcement center, I glanced over and noticed that they were, as reported, ahead of schedule for completion.  I mentioned this to her, and she looked at the workers and said, “Yeah, they are working fast and furious to build their own home.”

I was caught off guard entirely.  I had to ask her what she was talking about, and she said, “Well, who is going to be in those cells if not the working class, the guys who are swinging a hammer over there.”

Damn.  She is right.  Like lambs to the slaughter, all of us.  We work to build the systems that will be used to oppress us.

There’s A Sucker Born Every Minute

Posted in Observations on June 18, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

So my wife’s father is an employee at a local rent to own store.  As such, my wife has always felt obligated to maintain an account there.  Since we have no interest in the quality of rent to own furniture (especially when I was 200 lbs heavier), the only real way to do this was to keep a small loan open through them (about $500) that we refinance every few months (usually spending the money on something that one of the kids want).

So I was in the aforementioned business the other day and noticed that they had some laptops, PS3/Xbox 360’s, and a couple of off brand tablet’s.  Being a bit of  geek myself, I decided to look at them and see what they priced them at.

I was shocked.  The laptops were, after all payments made, about $1500, the PS3 and Xbox were about $800 each, and the tablets (worth only $250) were about $900 each.  The tablets in particular seemed to be priced to exploit an uninformed customer wanting a vanity purchase.  But every single one of those electronics items could have been purchased for the same $500 loan that I was making a payment on, had the cash then been taken down to Wal Mart.  Instead, people were getting stuck paying a 200% to 300% markup, all because of their own lack of insight.

And THAT, my friends, is where the term “there is a sucker born every minute” comes from.  In any event, my father in law will be retiring soon enough, and I can then remove myself from the ranks of “sucker” as well.

How The News Really Works

Posted in 1776, The Pulse on June 4, 2012 by bigfatfurrytexan

Isn’t this the truest observation about MSM news outlets you have ever seen?  It sums it all up in a nutshell:  our news organizations are merely shills for one party or the other.  They use their great resources to seek out ways to score “hits” against their parties opponents.

I am sure that the BBC really isn’t better, except that portraying America from the perspective of American political spin is pointless for them.  However, I would suspect that they have their own predilections.

Regardless, another reminder of why we should reject all current “news”, as it is all just spin, subterfuge, and regurgitation.