So very True - Image by Anne Taintor

So very True - Image by Anne Taintor
I would like this on my very own business cards

Sunday, January 29, 2012

English is my first language, dork is my second

I have not been able to learn to speak in a foreign language.  I have tried Spanish, French and Russian.  Didn't take.  Programming languages - a different story.  I seem to understand code like it was the dominant language of my youth.  I pick it up quickly.  If it is something I am unfamiliar with all I need to do is read a source code and I can figure it out.  

I had a Commodore 64 when I was 11.  I was able to figure out the code to make the creepy voice speak phonetically to pronounce curse words until my dad caught me.  After that, the computer moved locations and I had to use it in his presence.  Blah!  I was off to a good start though.

My early foundations were on DOS.  It really blows me away that no one seems to use DOS anymore.  If more people understood it they wouldn't need computer repair technicians as often.  Many of my computer problems have been solved at home by using what is now called “Command Prompt.” When I was on the phone with tech support for a networking problem, they actually tried to walk me through it. It was hard not to laugh.

When I first started a geocities web page (1997ish), I had windows 3.1.  It was not Java enabled.  I couldn't use the cool features to drag and drop text and images.  I checked out a HTML book from the library and typed the whole page in longhand.  I was dedicated and bored.  I can still program in HTML and the things I don't know I just look up on the internet. 

In college, I spent at least one class a semester programming and coding which was later used for GIS.  I know there was basic, python, visual basic, C, Pascal, and java (which I studied on my own).  I can produce queries like no other in Access and link them through other applications.  I also learned how to import data from other programs and geographically represent them on maps.  Oh, good times... 

The new web page at works allows widgets for text and images but not solid coding.  You can't upload scripts--only images to the host site.   I have found how to circumnavigate this to produce flash slideshows.  I researched flash enabled slideshows using flickr.  The slideshows that are created through flickr are boring.  They can't continually run.  They automatically stop when the last picture is reached and you can't edit information around them to say what the picture is showing.  

I found a slideshow I liked and embedded the link into the new work website.  I edited the source code to reference our flickr account and the set of pictures I wanted.  Because I copied a section of code, I could modify the background colors, text colors and image size.  The best part is the source code file is located on another site so no extra storage space is used on the hosting site.  Quite ingenious.  The new web page has two different galleries: one of promotional items and one that shows the screen prints we have produced.  I am now starting to learn CSS3.  I would like to modify the site to be more personalized and professional.  Just because we have a basic template doesn't mean I can't jazz it up.  I have also signed up with Code Academy (if it is good enough for Mayor Michael Bloomberg, it is good enough for me).  The best way to learn is by doing and for free!  

My years of coding in html, basic and C++ are finally coming in handy.  It is nice to have a job that uses some of my former abilities and encourages me to learn more.  Now, if I can convince them to let me me take the online class for Illustrator...

Monday, January 23, 2012

Housekeeping = Stripping

Well, this is a first.  Craigslist has a post for housekeepers wearing lingerie.  It pays $15 an hour plus tips.  Hmmmmm.  Rather interesting since the other day there was a post for nude housekeepers that only paid $10 an hour.  It was quickly taken down.  It happened so fast that I didn't even get a screen shot of it.  Some prude must have reported it for inappropriate content.  I have know idea why they would....

Do you think nude or scantily clad housekeepers clean homes with stripper poles?  I was a stripper before but it only involved cleaning (see old post for explanation as I was not a "real" stripper, it was a job title).

I wonder if this is even legal.  Flathead County has some rather strict regulations on stripping, peep shows, nudity, blah, blah.  The City of Whitefish has even tighter restrictions.  I learned this when someone wanted to open a topless burger joint when I was a planner.  It didn't happen.

Life is a cabert!

Update 1-24-12: So this posting was on Craigslist tonight. Apparently the poster was rather upset that "fem-nazi sheep" had been reporting his post.  Tee-hee! (I wonder if he listens to Michael Savage or Rush Limbaugh since that is usually how they refer to women....)

Update 1-26-12: The last posted was deleted and another new one has appeared.  It is much nicer than the last one.  This poor guy must have consulted an attorney.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

The Essential Internet Site Collection

My sister has been asking which sites I read/check on a regular basis.  She has shared some excellent twitter contacts.  I have been laughing ever since I stole her twitter list.  I am now posting the list that I follow with the most regularity for her.  By posting it here, it won't get lost in her inbox.  So here you go, Hia, they are in no particular order:

The Oatmeal  - The best comic site out there!
My Favorite and My Best - Funny and sometimes obscene blogs about interior decorating, pop culture and random tv shows. 
Hyperbole and a Half - This was a regular but she is writing a book now so she rarely posts.  Her old stuff is great though.  Read the traumatic story about fishing.
The Pioneer Woman - Ree's site was much better before she started getting famous.
The Bloggess - You never know what will be posted here.  She also has a few other sites and writes articles that are worth reading.  Jenny rocks and she has a haunted doll house.  I am very jealous of it.
OddTodd - His older flash videos are hilarious.  The best one was about being unemployed.  He actually got a job because of it. His daily posts are about rather trivial things but typically entertaining.
Reddit -  News, pictures, memes are posted by random people and voted up or down the list.
No Ordinary Roller Coaster - Canadian gay guy with a drinking problem.
Hanzismatter - This site is dedicated to making fun of the English translation of tattoos stupid people get
Cyanide & Happiness - Comic strip for the disturbed.  The site also hosts a bazillion others that are worth reading when you are bored.
Steam Me Up, Kid - Hasn't been updated lately but very entertaining and lewd.
Ugly House Photos - Exactly what it sounds like.
Six in the Suburbs - Six cousins post recipes, stories, blah, blah.  Me likey.
Funny or Die - Go here if you need to laugh.
Regretsy - Lambasts stupid and bizarre crafts posted on Etsy.  Also has links to sister sites like Lamebook and Passive-Aggressive Notes.

I have many more bookmarked that I can add if you need more.  This should keep you entertained for awhile....I also left off the ones that I know you read, like, otherwise it would be here.  

Somehow I left off one of my favorites!  I am chagrined.  Mommy Wants Vodka - there is no explaining it.  It changes.  She is a hip mom.  I adore her.  

Thursday, January 19, 2012

What's the Plan, Stan?

"Always have a plan, even for the little things.  Don't just go out and say you are going out for a Coke.  Decide ahead of time - if they don't have a Coke, then have a Pepsi.  If no Pepsi, then a Fanta.  Don't ever get caught by surprise, learn to always think ahead, be prepared."  Carlos Fonseca.  
Sandinista: Carlos Fonseca and the Nicaraguan Revolution; Matilde Zimmerman

I have always been one to have a plan and goals.  I remember my earliest ones starting in high school. Get the hell out of there.  So I doubled up on classes and graduated a year and a half early.  It then moved into getting a job that pays at least $8 an hour (in the early '90's that was a decent pay and gas was still under $1 a gallon).  Then my goal morphed into getting a promotion.  Did it.  I floundered a bit because I did somethings backwards and got married and had a baby.  Got divorced at 20 so I moved to Idaho to begin again.  Started the job thing all over.  My goal changed from getting a promotion (although I did get raises) to going to college.  After three (3) years of working, I was finally in a place where I could work part-time and go to school full-time.  While I was in school my goals were educationally attainable.  Get a 4.0.  Done.  Dean's List.  Done.  Scholarships.  Done.  Go to Oxford.  Done.  

After college, I just had my part-time job become a full-time job.  I then advanced a few times from that position.  I got bored with Idaho.  I changed my goal to moving and finding a job at the same time.  Done.  Then it was the regular milestones of monotony:  make more money.  Government jobs are good like that.  My goals meshed with moving up so I became a certified floodplain manager; certified residential building inspector; and finally a certified planner.  I think I was also certifiably stupid because even with all the credentials I didn't foresee the economic downtown in construction.  I wasn't prepared to lose my job.  Metaphorically speaking it was as much of a shock as taking your dog for a walk and a car jumps the curb and runs over your dog - killing it in front of you while the leash is still in your hand.  (That is a real scenario too.  My friend, Bad Luck Amanda, had it happen to her).

Had I prepared, I would have had a plan in place rather than flailing around and collecting a pitiful amount of compensation in the form of unemployment benefits.  I would have been able to walk out of the planning department, breathed a sigh of relief and jumped into my next adventure.  I never would have ended up at the assisted living facility wiping asses for almost a year.  I wouldn't have ended up in the comfortable position I am in now and thoroughly enjoy, even though it does nothing to promote my job interests resume-wise.  

I am so frustrated with it all right now.  I could wish for a break that lets me use my strengths (e.g., typing, writing, customer service, analytic thinking and research) or I could actually do something about it.  And that's what I'm going to do, dammit.  

Right now I have a part-time position on the horizon. It is back in the planning field.  I can work it around my existing job.  It would allow me to use my brain again and I would be continually learning.  Honestly, that is what I miss the most about my former line of work.  I was learning every day.  I had to research trends and apply them to a local community level.  I had to memorize them so I didn't look like a bumbling idiot answering questions on the public access channel that replayed the videos of the city council meetings.  It was as if I was still in school.  

I am also applying for a part-time position as a research assistant.  It won't require ever meeting my boss.  It would involve researching material for that person to write a book and communicating online.  And typing, loads of it.  Transcription.  Tons of it.  F-U-N!  Plus, it would be something that would allow me to feel like I am contributing something by no longer being idle and just preparing paperwork.  If wishes were fishes, the sea would be full.  Keep your fingers crossed for me.

*Note:  I am afraid I have lost my sense of humor.  I still love to smile but not much is funny.  I am beginning to think it is the winter.  Maybe I have S.A.D. or maybe I am bored from not thinking.  Either way it needs to stop.  I will have to figure it out.  Lately my only source of enjoyment has been pinterest and trying out new hairstyles including fish-bone braids and no heat curls.  For Christ's Sake!  Somethings gotta give*

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Web Technology and Parenting Rant

My skills are finally benefiting me.  This week we will launch a new website at work that I have created as an assignment.  I wish it could be super, duper rockin' with flash enabled gadgets and woozits all over but, alas, it will not.  We have a web hosting company that uses templates for promotional items that can be customized with your name, logo, etc.  The current templates look like web sites created in 1999 using simple html code only and no Javascript.  Luckily, the new launch is on a platform that is reminiscent of  It is more of a drag and drop and you can embed your own code in objects to circumvent their templates.  There is also CSS which allows a full overhaul from the basic setup.  I am rather excited since it should give the company an edge.  Finally, we will look like we know what we are doing.  My boss is stoked and has really been talking it up.  You would have thought I just invented the Internet if Al Gore hadn't done it first from they way he is describing it.

The web hosting company is impressed with what I was able to do with the basic membership and has asked if they can use our site as an example of what can be done with the site without purchasing the custom option.  Our representative even offered me a job if I want to move to California, which I don't.  Yes, I complain about the cold in Montana but there are way too many in SoCal for me to deal with on a daily basis.  I like quiet, sparse and predictable.  Plus, I am not the best at programming.  I just have a knack for figuring out what I want to do and only researching the aspects that are needed to do it.

On the home front this week it has all been about arguing.  My 10 year-old is practicing his mediation skills.  The arguing has all been about cleaning his bedroom.  It is not that bad.  It doesn't look like this:

And it wasn't even this bad:

Whatever the case, you would have thought it was a very difficult project due to the arguing and fits that were being had (and that was on both sides because I felt like Mommy Dearest was going to make a second coming due to my frustration level with the whole thing)

Now it is Sunday evening and the job is almost done.  Thank goodness.  I suppose I will get an 18 hour reprieve until he gets home from school tomorrow and has to pick it up again.....Parenting.  Blech!

PS.  Neither of the pictures posted above were taken of my home.  They were clipped from the internet.  I just felt the urge to clarify that.