Saturday, February 28, 2009

Sound Off Saturday

So, I waited for an extra day to talk about my lovely Friday experience at the Oregon Unemployment Office. Why might you ask? Well as my wife put it:

"Honey, back away from the blog before you write something you may regret."

REGRET?? What would I regret writing? I mean come on, this is my Blog and damn it, last time I checked I am still afforded my 1st amendment rights to free speech. Well, unless, say a person has to sign a said contract that states they cannot speak about another said organization or precious vales shall be withheld from the said signer. (but I digress) What? Would I regret telling everyone how demeaning, degrading and depressing the entire process and experience is of having spent 2 hrs of your life that you will never get back being made to feel like you are a loser, a failure and some kind of idiot so you can, in the end of this governmental assembly line, be lucky enough to get a pat on the ass and sent out the door with a half-hearted 'good luck' in your job search? Regret calling a spade a spade? I think not.

Breathe... in, out, in, out, breathe.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
— The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

So I get this letter in the mail telling me that I have to appear at the Oregon Unemployment office to formally register as unemployed. Dutifully I comply, but this compliance is not without its own form of what I can only imagine hell might be like one day when the reaper comes knocking on my door.

I show up and am told I have 3 tasks.
1. Take a skills assessment.
The assessment is a 3 part computer task. Answer 3 out of 5 questions correctly at each level and move onto the next. Just one major flaw in the program. 2-3 out of the 5 questions asked are literally subjective in nature. In another section I decide to take copious notes as to the fact that there is not enough information in the example to make a true assessment and be able to answer the question with any level of competency, but OBTW there is not an answer to select that speaks to that end. When I bring these observations to the attention of the supervisor I am told just take the test and do your best. (Anyone who knows me, knows that one thing I have no patience for is incompetence and answer dodging. Guaranteed like taxes & death, I will call you out on both. There is no place in society for either and those things have infected many of the roots of corporate America.) So in true form I call her out on this. The purpose after all of this State department is to help people become employed again. Right? If the skills assessment test has flaws, are they not serving a bad meal of disservice to the unemployed public?

2. Prove I am who I am and what I have been doing to find a new job.
I show my ID and all is good so far here. Then I pull out my Exel job hunting daily log. The log shows all contacts and calls to whom they were made, the phone numbers, the color coordinated activity, whether it be a conversation about a job, leads whatever. This also tracks to whom I have sent my resume and any interviews I have had and applicable follow ups. I also show my newly crafted resume and business cards. I have done far more than is expected by these folks. This ain't my first rodeo. But I am armed to find a job.
I am then asked if I am comfortable interviewing. A fair question.

"Yes ma'am, I have actually interviewed prospective employees myself and have been through extensive training on interviewing."

She makes a few comments and then I decide to mess with her. I ask an open ended interview style question.

" Share with me your interview response style and how you would coach a person in my position to best use that style."

She flops around her desk like a goldfish out of its bowl before arriving at a somewhat acceptable answer. I sit in utter amazement as though someone had just hit me upside the head. (Thinking in my head, but thankfully not uttering in my outdoor voice.) Are you fucking kidding me? At this point I quickly thank her for the info. She responds in turn with my question directed at me. (Oh, you really want to go down this road? Ok lace up your shoes, Hilda.)

" I would recommend utilizing a very simple response tactic known as the STAR technique. Answer all questions in a fashion that first addresses the Situation, then describes the Task within the situation and moves into the Action taken against the situation. Finally, round it out with the Result or Results of your tasks and actions to the situation. By following this simple format you show the interviewer your critical thinking skills. It also helps to keep your thoughts very organized so in complex responses you hit all of your intended target points."

She grabs a piece of paper and writes STAR, as I watch the stars twirl around her head. (Checkmate, Hilda.)

3. Go through a career, get out and find a job debriefing.

We did not debrief, per say. I think I made my point that I did not appreciate being treated like I knew nothing and was a second class unemployed citizen. After all, is there such a thing as a second class citizen? Furthermore, I walked out of there very depressed for those other unemployed folks who are looking to this office and its staff for help in finding a job. They are supposed to help people not treat them like idiots or some kind of assembly line parts. The system is one of processing people to document that they have no job and move them along. There is no goal setting or tangible goal seeking element to it at all that might help move a person closer to finding that next job. Whether it be digging ditches, building a home or selling bonds. No wonder our country is in so much trouble. Those who are supposed to help others get back on their feet could give a rat's big fat smelly ass about anything but keeping their job. Which is what again??

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A Thousand Word Thursday

They grow way too fast.

Jordan and his new Jesse James custom hot rod Converse flame shoes. Sporting his Maui Built Tee Uncle Mike turned him onto.

My girls sharing a moment. Alayna signaling the peace sign. Word to her Mother.

Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

WW - Memories in the Fog

As I read Life, Liberty and the Pursuit today it brought me back to memories of days in South Carolina. I remember spending my summer weeks in 1989-90 at my uncle's beach house. Each night my friends and I would go down the road a clip to the Grey Man Saloon to play pool, and listen to a little known band, Hootie & The Blow Fish. This all before they became big. Great memories of those summers. The sun, sand, surf, friends, girls and the Grey Man. I heard a few years ago the saloon was no longer there, but the memories will always last. So too will the timeless tale of the Grey Man. I will now share one of South Carolina's best ghost stories. His appearance means danger is near, and those who see him do well to heed his warning!

From Elizabeth Huntsinger

Perhaps the most frequently told ghost story in Georgetown County is that of the Grey Man. According to numerous documented accounts, he appears on the beach at Pawleys Island prior to hurricanes. Everyone who has seen the Grey Man says that he warns them to leave the island.

Residents who are wise enough to heed the Grey Man's warning always find their homes undamaged after the storm. Encounters with the Grey Man have taken place before every major hurricane that has struck the island for more than a hundred years.

The Grey Man is unquestionably a permanent resident of Pawleys Island, but what causes this kind spirit to warn unsuspecting residents of approaching danger? The answer may lie in one of three different accounts that exist about the origin of the Grey Man.

According to one legend, a young woman was walking the windswept, lonely beach not far from her parent's Pawleys Island home. She was in mourning for her childhood sweetheart who had recently died in a tragic accident on the island.

Her love had returned to Georgetown by ship after an absence of several months. He was so eager to see his beloved fiancee that, rather than wasting one more precious moment away from her, he took a shortcut across previously untraveled marshland.

With his faithful manservant riding a short distance behind, the eager fellow and his horse came to a sudden stop and began to sink rapidly into a patch of deadly quicksand. His manservant watched in horror, unable to help his young master, as the young man and his horse disappeared into the mire. When the young woman heard of her finance's tragic death, she was heartbroken.

After the funeral, she took to walking the stretch of beach where she and her beau used to stroll in happier times. This particular day was windier than most, but it suited her recent mood. She was alone with her sadness in the whipping wind, with the ocean crashing by her side.

Suddenly, a figure appeared ahead. As she walked closer, the young woman could have sworn it was her finance. With no fear, she walked toward him. "Leave the island at once," he said. "You are in danger. Leave the island!"

Then he disappeared.

The young lady hurried home to tell her father and mother about the strange, unsettling experience. Upon hearing their daughter's strange story, her parents immediately began making plans to leave Pawleys Island for their inland home. They did not know what danger they were fleeing, but they did know that their daughter was a sensible person and not prone to flights of fancy.

The family left Pawleys Island before dawn the following morning. That night, as they lay sleeping in the safety of their inland home, a fierce hurricane ravaged Pawleys Island. The hurricane destroyed most of the homes on Pawleys Island, but the home of the young woman's family was undamaged.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute - The Greatest Man I Know

There is a poem out there entitled "The Dash" by Linda Ellis. The premise of the poem is that each tombstone has a dash between the birth date and death date. That dash is the great opportunity for each of us, for that dash represents our life's body of work. Just think about that for a moment. The sum of that dash is the most important marker of one's embodiment of life.

Today is a day of celebration on many levels. For some it is Fat Tuesday. For others it is simply another February 24th. For me, it is the birthday of The Greatest Man I Know. My Father.

My father has many nicknames: Big-R, R, Papa, "Rick" and Pops. All loving and endearing in their own way when coming from his wife, us kids and our spouses, and most dear to his heart his beloved 14 beautiful grandchildren whom of course, all lovingly call him Papa.

My father has many loves. He loves his tranquility time on the river with a fly rod in his hand. Who can blame him? Being within the hands of Mother Nature provides some of the most cathartic of life's moments.

He also loves his bike. He is an Ironman finisher and an avid cyclist to this day. Damn near lost him a few years back after a clueless cell phone distracted mascara wielding driver plowed into him at 50mph in her Lexus. (He's ok, thank God!) He has a deep love for the arts. He has a passion for the four handlebar-mustached white men in straw hats and striped vests singing "Sweet Adeline" in four-part harmony. Yep, Barbershop Quartets. Music of almost any type he loves. (I used to love his quirky jerky jig he did as he would give me grief during my much misguided rap music days). Oh, the visual memory makes me laugh! The thing is, I think he really liked it; he just couldn't speak that fast and/or rhyme?
Seriously, he can play about 4 instruments and he really does have a truly amazing voice. His involvement in the singing rounds him out as a true Renaissance man.

These are just some of the elements that he is working in HIS dash. He has imparted on me his type A personality which I know my mother and my wife have found to be most annoying, but a good trait, nonetheless. His mind works on overdrive 24/7. He will leave the house and not 20 seconds later think of something and call the house to impart this thought, request or wisdom on whomever will answer the phone. He will say we are leaving for vacation at 8am and in his head that really means 7am. Unless you are wired like he is, you don't get it. You are better off just going with it, because it will not change.
He always comes from a good place. No matter how busy he makes his life, and he does that like a pro. If he is not doing something, then something is wrong. I have often wondered if this comes from his mom, my grandmother who was a believer as she so eloquently used to put it: "to sit around and do nothing is to be as worthless as two tits on a bull." The coolest thing though, is no matter how many PVC creations he is inventing, teeth he is drilling, boards on which he is serving or groups he is in belting out his heart felt vocals, he will always make time for you. He made a point to never miss one of his kids' games, meets, performances, you name it. When I attended Virginia Tech and played football he made every effort to not miss a game. There is an old phrase that says: "Love to a child is spelled T-I-M-E." It is TIME that he has always tried to give each of us as well as that huge heart of his.

I don't get back to my home town of Sandy, Utah as often as I would like. But when I do, I always run into old friends or acquaintances who inevitably ask how my parents are doing. Or when I speak from afar to people who know my father I hear a very similar message.

"Tony, your father is one of the greatest guys I know. He is just a good guy. He sure loves you and your family."

These many people are right. My father is one of the greatest guys. He is a kind, loving and thoughtful person who "gets" life. He would give you the shirt off his back if you were cold. I can not tell you the countless ways he has reached out and lifted someone up when he/she has been down and asked nothing in return. Sometimes even getting wronged himself in the effort, but holding to his standard and moving forward. Having learned a lesson but not allowing the wronging to stop his determination to try to help and love his family and people in general.

He and I have a standing phone call each Friday morning. I cherish those talks. They are my time with him, a time to laugh, a time to strategize, a time to share and a time to learn. All of this time is part of the ongoing creation of the dash of the man I love and consider to be the Greatest Man I Know.


Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Coffee with The Dead

One of my favorite hours of the week.Sunday Morning's Dawn of the Dead program "Wake & Bake" . Even better if you're a Deadhead,, where it's noted that "the music never stops." DeadRadio broadcasts music of the Grateful Dead twenty-four hours a day in RealAudio 3.0.


Thursday, February 19, 2009

A Thousand Word Thursday


Cheaper Than Therapy

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

WW - Support, Shaving & Cool Bling


Today I want to join forces and direct you to my good friend JAY@HALFTIMELESSONS


Imagine a child that is never faced with cancer.

Imagine a world where our children ALWAYS outlive us.

Imagine never having to explain to a child about how the medicine might make them sick, or lose their hair, or make it so they don't want to play. Or can't.

The entire cause is so worthy, and the bling is very unique & cool. I got Colleen one of Kristen's pieces and she gets compliments all the time.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tuesdays Tribute

So, sleep the past few days has been spotty at best. High levels of stress have brought on this strange, wakeful pattern. So today I tribute the damned, lazy-ass sheep that seem to just want to hang out in my pre-REM phase and graze. No jumping over the moon, or the fence, nothing. How am I to sleep if I can't count you foolishly inactive muttons jumping over something?
So, I will drift off to sleep for a period of time but then find myself kind of an awake but still somewhat dreamy state or insomniactic (it is a word today - because I said) condition. So, being that I am dreaming, I think, I'll go for something good. Going for broke. Something I would never do in real life. Yes, I order a lap dance. Why not? After all I am sleeping/dreaming right? But when the order arrives, well, shall we say, let's all understand why I am not pleased with my somewhat catatonic choice and the result. I guess you get what you pay for as they say.

So, the sheep are on alert. If I cannot count you to help me go to sleep, then stop sending Clarabell the slut cow over to ruin everything. I will go blog or read a book. Good night.

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Who Gives A Rat's Ass Day

Props to Alayna for making a very cool Valentine's holder for school.

We do not celebrate Valentine's Day around here except for the kids. Why you may ask? Well, because it is an absolute "BOVINE BALDERDASH" silly day. What, the man is expected to go out and buy some gift for his wife or significant other to show he loves her? Are you kidding me? As I said before, "BOVINE BALDERDASH".

You should show your wife or husband or significant other you love them everyday, not just some randomly assigned day in the middle of winter that some sales & marketing Jackhole says we must so they can make up more silly ass products, mostly trinkets of trash, to steal your hard earned dollars and meet their lame contribution margins. Or the expensive buy that may or may not put you into debt in hopes of maybe getting a little something later tonight if the kids go to bed early enough and all the stars and moons align properly and one of you does not get a headache. [How'd you like that run on sentence?] (Oh, BTW, endorphins brought on by said acts help soothe headaches, WebMD). Ha, if you're lucky maybe you will get a good night's sleep.

Please, what a racket. The same concept should apply to Mother's day and Father's Day. Don't fall prey to this crap. Show your wife or husband or significant other you love them everyday, you will not have to use retail tricks to get what you should be enjoying together, kids or no kids and all will be well in the world.



Wednesday, February 11, 2009

A Thousand Word Thursday - "The Sword"

So each night we hear the terrible state our local and national economies are in via multiple forms of news and information sites. But the true reality is when you awake to a memo like this well crafted sword I got this morning.

Blah Blah Blah blah - I can not share.

Have you ever had your ears ring so loudly that you became nauseous, your world began to spin in your head and you wanted to go Terry Tate Office Linebacker all at the same time?

The ringing is gone, I think, or I am just used to it. The head spinning has evolved into a splitting headache and the kind of haze you feel after 3 shots of good tequila, minus the warm fuzzy good feeling. I would like to know how a person can grow the business within their territory by 18% yr over yr, help sell off additional products to help bring in the 4th quarter and have strong business booked for 2009 and get whacked? The unfortunate part was I did not even get the courtesy of a call from my manager. That is a subject for an entirely different rant.

Am I hurt? Yes
Do I understand? Not even
Am I worried about how to survive this in this economy? You're fucking right I am. It scares me to death.
Do companies even care that they are destroying families' ways of life? I believe it has gone the way of the Golden watch. So my answer is a resounding -NO !!

I am making a choice that many of you will not understand. I choose to thank those who supported me throughout the tenure of my employment. I truly enjoyed building the business with each of you and wish you all the best. As for the rest, I thank you for the many lessons on how I will not conduct myself when I have earned a similar managerial position one day.

I have no time to be vindictive or lash out. That kind of behavior is for weak minded, insecure, spineless jackholes. I need every moment to do all I can to find a job so I can keep this roof over my kids'heads, keep them clothed and fed and hopefully someday find the sunshine again. Please keep us in your prayers.

Cheaper Than Therapy

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Wordful Wednesday

This 100+ year old solid oak work hutch is a family heirloom given to me by my beloved grandmother, affectionately known in our home as Grama-Great. This vintage piece came from the old Utah capital building back in the late 1800's and is now my sweet bugaboo's homework hutch. "Munchie" the travel monkey oversees homework activities like a marine general. (Munchie is our family good luck charm who sits in the front window of the Tahoe as we travel.)

I am so pleased that she loves school so much and she has a wicked pride in being the best in her class at everything and consistently searches for perfection. Hmmm...similar to another type AAA personality in our home. I have no idea where that comes from. Nope, not at all. I just tell her, "keep on rockin' in the free world, girl."

Monday, February 9, 2009

Tuesday's Tribute

Friend (frend)
1. a person whom one knows well and is fond of; intimate associate; close acquaintance. 2. a person on the same side in a struggle; one who is not an enemy or foe; ally. 3. a supporter or sympathizer; a friend of labor. 4. something thought of as like a friend in being helpful, reliable, etc.

This is Webster's definition of a friend. This week's Tribute goes out to a very dear and beloved friend of ours. Georgia is one of the sweetest, kindest and most reliable people you could ever meet. I think Webster leaves a few intangible qualities out, but that's ok. Georgia has them, so we have them on record. She has a quiet demeanor about her, but I have found over the years that her gentle nature is more an act of information gathering rather than a reclusiveness, because when she has something to say it is usually profound and very well thought out. I have also found that Georgia's contemplative nature is in part a mystical, meditative dance choreographed between her and her surroundings. I have observed her standing on the deck of a villa in St. John overlooking Cinnamon Bay and saying nothing, just taking in all the majestic wonders that nature has to offer and that God has put on this earth for us to see, love and enjoy. She is one of the few who really take the time to slow down and notice these wonders and appreciate them.

Within the last three months, two of those majestic wonders God giveth, he has also taken back. Right before Thanksgiving Georgia lost her father somewhat unexpectedly. Then, just this past week she lost her best friend and beloved sister, Robyn. She had battled breast cancer for the last 13 years with the fierceness of a lion, but lost that battle as the insidious disease metastasized throughout her body.
Georgia called us herself with the news. She was steeled and strong, although I knew that inside she was beyond pain and grief. Colleen and I decided to dedicate this Tribute Tuesday to Georgia for the tremendous courage and strength she has exhibited through such incredible sorrow and adversity. I cannot begin to imagine how she feels. I can tell her we love her. If either one of us could shoulder your pain or grief we would gladly do so to give you a bit of reprieve. We pray that you find comfort in God's hands and that in time your pain will lessen and in its place grow into a flower of all the beautiful memories you shared. God Bless you our FRIEND. Many hugs from all in the Elggren home.

Tuesday's Tribute
Yet Another Jay and Deb Production.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Join The Ride - Spread The Word

On Saturday, February 7th at 11:00 a.m., the Whitt Family is holding a celebration in Parker, Colorado. They're having a wagon and bike parade to honor Tuesday with one of her favorite things to do - "wagie rides."

We all can't be there physically, but we can be there in spirit.

The goal is to create a virtual parade for Tuesday, to show her family and friends how her brief life touched so many. To offer support in their time of need. And to maybe bring a smile.

Find your way to join the ride in Tuesday's honor.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Finally Friday

I just want to thank each of you who took the chance to visit the CCA website , listen to the live feed and donate to this awesome cause for the Children's Cancer Association. The final tally will be given around 10am PST. So far the total is well over $240,000.

Now it is time to gather ourselves and support Jay & St. Baldrick's efforts here in a few weeks. Remember every little bit counts.


Thursday, February 5, 2009

A Thousand Word Thursday

About The Children's Cancer Association

This cause is so important!! This is for the children this week. With that said in my world it garnered the Wordful Wednesday & A Thousand Word Thursday spots this week.

[ If you’re here because your child or a young loved one has cancer, we are so very sorry. However, we also have some good news. There is hope.

There are many resources that can help children and families get through this with their spirit, strength and love intact. Yes, cancer takes an enormous emotional toll on everyone it touches, but it is possible to survive its ravages and actually end up stronger and wiser and more compassionate for having endured the journey.

We’re here to help. The Children’s Cancer Association (CCA) is a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization that was established in loving memory of five-year-old Alexandra Ellis who courageously fought cancer for two and half years before she died on May 7, 1995. In the year of Alexandra’s death, CCA was born. Since then, CCA has worked to offer award-winning programs, along with information, advocacy and support that help enrich the quality of life for seriously ill children and their families.

Together, with our valued community partners, Board of Directors, staff, donors and volunteers, CCA continues to bring joy, compassion and support to thousands of children and families across the U.S. each year—as well as ongoing assistance to the medical professionals who care for them.

“The Children’s Cancer Association provides a valuable service to so many patients and families by increasing the quality of life for children during treatment…it’s a true inspiration.”

— Stacy Nicholson, MD
Chief of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology
Doernbecher Children's Hospital]

February 5th & 6th, 2009

Our Local radio station is once again doing tremendous things for children not only in our Portland ,Oregon community but children across the country who need treatment and care in fighting this insidious disease of cancer.

Nelson & Terry of 105.1 The Buzz with Cassidy during the 2008 annual radiothon raised $413,000, with the help of corporations and valued listeners.

You do not have to live in Portland to donate , or listen to the heart wrenching , yet inspiring stories of these children and their valiant fights. A life affirming 28-hour radiothon for the Children's Cancer Association will be hosted by the Nelson and Terry Show on 105.1 FM The Buzz. The radioathon begins Live 6:00 AM Thursday, February 5th through 10:00 AM Friday, February 6th on 105.1 FM or streaming live

We, as a family, donate every year. (2 years ago, when my daughter Alayna was 6, she brought her entire savings down in the morning and started to put it into her backpack for school.
We asked, "what are you doing with your piggy?"
Alayna-- "I am taking it to school so I can give to the needy children who have cancer."
I have never been so proud.)

We listen throughout the live broadcast and I am telling you this event will inspire you to want to donate even the $10 for a CCA valentine. This broadcast will touch your soul in ways you have never imagined. Last year I was listening in my car. I literally had to pull over because I could not see through the tears that had welled up in my eyes. No one deserves cancer, but kids getting cancer is just not right at so many levels. Through this event we can make a difference in their lives and existence as they go through their treatments ( Chemo Pals, Music Rx and the Caring Cabin , just to name a few.) . Take a minute and browse the CCA website, see what they do and what they offer. This is an absolutely amazing organization. Show your support and let's all join the fight. To Donate. Let's all help make this year a record year for the CCA.

Cheaper Than Therapy