Unemployment Line or Lottery Winner?

I haven’t shared this publicly yet, but I’m being laid off (along with half of my department) from my employer of 17 years. Thankfully, I’ve been given lots of notice (I found out in October that my last day will be in July) and a nice severance package, but it’s obviously still not an easy process. I joined this company right out of college. I’m very loyal and probably would have spent my entire career there. But, it was not to be. That’s life, I get it.

I got into work with this employer through a prior summer internship, so there was no “real” search. So needless to say, my job searching skills are pretty lean. Today, I attended a job search workshop put on by the Idaho Department of Labor. They did a really good job and I picked up a lot of good tips. This is my first “real” job search ever, so all the help I can get it great.

At the beginning, we did the usual ice-breaker. You know, go around the room and introduce yourself (thanks for wasting my time). Now usually, you go around and tell a little bit about yourself, right? Well, not at this event. Here, we were asked to tell what we would do if we suddenly came into $50 million.   (sigh)   Okay, hold on. At a minimum, I’m going through an excruciating job search. Next best case is that I’m coming into the unemployment office each week to beg for my generous unemployment benefit. Worst case, I’m digging for left-over food out of a dumpster. So what do they do? They taunt me with the prospect of a $50 million windfall that would allow me to relax for the rest of my life. I don’t get it.

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Which Celebrities Do I Look Like?

I recently ran across a website called MyHeritage. They allow you to create a family tree with photos. They also have facial recognition software. This can help you find lost relatives (by comparing your pictures with those uploaded by others), find out which relative you child looks most like, etc.

They also have some fun, free services. One of these allows you to upload your photo and it will generate the 8 celebrities you look the most like. You can see my result below.

Yes guys, it’s a cross I bear. I know that I look just like George Clooney. Hardly a day goes by that people don’t mistake me for him.

Okay, homework time. John and Bekki, which celebrities do you look most like?

The Worst Song Ever: I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates

Okay, I believe that I have stumbled upon the worst song ever recorded. It’s called “I’ve Got a Brand New Pair of Roller Skates (You’ve Got a Brand New Key)” by Melanie Safka.

Listen at your own risk–this song will keep you awake with it running through your head over and over.

Once you recover from listening to it, please check out the lyrics and tell me what the song is about. Is there some sort of hidden meaning?

I rode my bicycle past your window last night
I roller skated to your door at daylight
It almost seems like you’re avoiding me
I’m OK alone but you’ve got something I need, well

I’ve got a brand new pair of roller skates
You’ve got a brand new key
I think that we should get together and
Try them on to see
I been lookin’ around awhile
You got something for me
Oh, I got a brand new pair of roller skates
You got a brand new key

I ride my bike, I roller skate, don’t drive no car
Don’t go too fast, but I go pretty far
For somebody who don’t drive, I been all around the world
Some people say I done all right for a girl

I asked your mother if you were at home
She said yes, but you weren’t alone
Oh, sometimes I think that you’re avoiding me
I’m OK alone but you got something I need, well

Childhood Flashback: Saturday Nights

As a child, I lived in a small town and we were pretty poor. So Saturday nights were pretty simple. Don’t get me wrong–I’m not complaining. In fact, I’m actually thinking back on those nights with a great deal of fondness. The evening largely revolved around watching TV. Let’s take a look at the Saturday evening lineup that dominated most of my first 12 years:

  • Wild Kingdom: Marlin Perkins was a pioneer of wildlife shows filmed in the field. He set the stage for the many shows that would follow–arguably even the development of the Animal Planet network. I have always loved animals, so I enjoyed his weekly adventure in the wild. Having said that, he certainly was not as brave as people like Steve Irwin. Do you remember that he would be hovering in the safety of his helicopter while his staff would do much of the dirty, dangerous work? Just an observation. I also remember the annoying Mutual of Omaha (the show’s title sponsor) commercials . I can still hear the song to this day: “Mutual of Omaha is people…you can count on when the going’s rough.”
  • Hee Haw: This was a corny, but enjoyable, country variety show. It had a mix of country music, comedy skits, and corny jokes and puns. For most of the years, I enjoyed the corny entertainment. However, as my teen years approached, I also developed an appreciation for the buxom Southern belles that adorned the show.
  • Lawrence Welk: This was another variety show, but more sophisticated than Hee Haw (okay, that’s not saying much). It was also corny, but on a different level. I see it today and say to myself: “What were you thinking?” Yet every year, when PBS has it’s annual fundraiser, I find myself watching the Lawrence Welk special and enjoying the quick trip back 30 years.
  • Portland Wrestling: Prior to the 80s, “professional” wrestling was largely a local affair. Each large city had its own wrestling association. The matches were held in relatively shabby buildings. The wrestlers were gritty, working-class guys that just wanted to beat the crap out of each other. Of course, it was just as fake back then as today. However, it seemed more realistic than today’s highly commercialized, glamorous, wrestling productions. We lived in western Oregon at the time, so we tuned in to Portland Wrestling every Saturday night without fail. Throughout the 80s, these local venues slowly faded away. Very few of the wrestlers were able to make the transition to the new, highly polished package of the new professional wrestling. One notable exception was one that you might recognize. Former wrestler and Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura got his start in Portland back in the 70s. I even have his autograph from attending a live event!

Another memorable part of Saturday night: popcorn. I’m not talking about microwave popcorn or a popcorn machine–I’m talking about cooking it in a pan! First, pour in enough oil to cover the pan bottom. Next, add the corn–but not too much or it will push the lid off during popping and popcorn will go every where. Once the corn starts to pop, slide the pan frenetically back and forth across the burner to keep it from burning. When the popping stops, dump the popcorn into a bowl. Top it off with melted butter and a few shakes of salt. It may just be fond memories, but I don’t think any of our “modern” methods of cooking popcorn has yet topped the popcorn I last had over 20 years ago now.

If you grew up during the 80s or after, this may have been a fairly boring post for you. But for those of you that lived through the 70s, I’m hoping that I was able to spark a fond memory that you haven’t thought about for awhile. Feel free to reply with your own Saturday night memories or post your own and give me a shout back.

She Inherited My Crappy Cooking Gene

I’m no genetic scientist, but I think that the crappy cooking gene must be dominant. The Wife is a wonderful cook, but as you heard earlier, I can burn water. Unfortunately, the Younger Daughter is following in my glorious footsteps. She wanted some macaroni and cheese recently. So she pulled a box of Easy Mac out of the pantry (remember now, easy is part of the name). She dumped the ingredients into a bowl, put it in the microwave, and fired that baby up. A few minutes later, a horrid smell filled the house. I mean this was really bad. Something along the lines of how smoldering cardboard might smell–only not that good.

I noticed smoke pouring out of the microwave, so opened the door and pulled the bowl out. Looking inside, I saw a very think, brown liquid along with some very nasty looking noodles. It was obvious that she had missed a step–that is, adding water. The noodles were actually starting to melt/burn. The microwave still really reeks, even after cleaning it. I’m not sure if the smell will ever disappear. (One last reminder: This was Easy Mac.)

You’re very welcome kids–no extra charge for the dysfunctional kitchen tendencies you got from me.

Clinton Campaign in Total Collapse

Okay, you’ve heard all the bizarre things Hillary has said over the last several days on TV and the debates. She is in total desperation mode now that she is starting to see the writing on the wall with her campaign. What you may not have seen is a couple of absolutely hideous videos.

The first one is a way too happy band that performs a song that sounds strangely like the Jackson 5’s ABC song. We never really see an audience, but there is massive applause and cheering at the end. Personally, I think they recorded the crowd reaction at an Obama rally and dubbed it into this video.

Next up is a song Sophie B. Hawkins did for the Clinton campaign. She adapted her song “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”. In this song, it’s “Damn We Wish You Were Pres-i-dent.” Horrible.

Here’s Who You Should Vote For

Who should I vote for?

I’ve seen a lot of quizzes out there that are supposed to help you decide who to vote for, but most of them seem pretty seem pretty lame. However, I’ve found one that may be a step above the rest. No tool like this is perfect, but it may be a useful educational tool. It’s called Glassbooth. You start off by weighting 14 issues. You have 20 points in which to allocate among the issues. If you are a single-issue person, you can allocate all 20 point to one issue. Otherwise, spread around the points as you see fit.

When you are happy with your point allocations, you move on to the questions. The questions are chosen based on the issues that you allocated points to. Your answer is on a 5-point scale from Strongly Oppose to Strongly Support. Answer those question and you are given the top 3 candidates that match you the closest by percent.

From there, you can drill into each issue and find out why they agree or disagree with you. They support their assertions with speech quotes and actual votes on bills, so you can understand why they think you match up or don’t with a particular candidate.

You are not limited to evaluating the top 3. They give you the ability to look at how you match up with any of the current candidates and many of those that have dropped out.

In case you care about my quiz (I know you don’t), first here’s how I allocated my 20 points among the issues:

  • Medical Marijuana and Drug Policy: 0
  • Civil Liberties and Domestic Security: 3
  • Crime and Punishment: 0
  • Iraq and Foreign Policy: 3
  • Trade and Economics: 2
  • Environment and Energy: 2
  • Gun Control: 0
  • Immigration: 3
  • Health Care: 0
  • Social Security: 4
  • Taxes and Budget: 3
  • Education: 0
  • Gay Rights: 0
  • Abortion and Birth Control: 0

Here are the top three candidates it spit out based on my answers to the subsequent questions:

  • Mike Huckabee: 71%
  • Ron Paul: 65%
  • John McCain: 65%

I checked out the other two remaining candidates to see how I match up with them:

  • Hillary Clinton: 44%
  • Barack Obama: 38%

I’d be interested in seeing what John and anyone else interested comes up with on this quiz.