Who moved my cheese, er, puzzles?

Thanks for nothing, Washington Post.

I’ve been doing the  Washington Post’s online daily crossword puzzle for a couple years now.  Eventually I also begain doing the Mini Sudoku (a 6×6 grid).  Once I conquered the mini, I graduated to the big boy Daily Sudoku.  At first I tried with the hints on and went row by row, columnn by column, grid by grid.  But as I became more familiar with how Sudoku works, I began looking at the grids in whole, and found it better to start with a clean canvas (i.e., hints off).  I even got to the point of finishing the Friday and Sunday puzzles (the 5-star difficulty ones).

Last week, the Post changed its puzzles page to WP Games.  Now it comes with a myriad of games, including most of those found on HSN’s Arcade.  Worse, the Post’s Sudoku has taken on a new format, of which I can’t even complete the easiest version (without cheating).  It’s depressing.  And Mini Sudoku?  Gone, along with many of my past favorites, including Kakuro and Play 4.  (Crickler is still there, but I haven’t been brave enough to try it out.)

Oh yeah, and now I have to sit through a 15- or 30-sec commercial before each puzzle.

I can’t really blame the Post.  Newpapers have been losing revenue from print media for awhile now, and this is simply a way for them to recoup some costs while attracting a younger buying crowd with fancier, glitzier puzzles.

I suppose I should be grateful.  Perhaps now I’ll waste less time in the morning and become more productive.  Then again, maybe I’ll just go to Yahoo, where I can find the old Daily Sudoku version.  It’s just not as user-friendly, there’s no mini Sudoku, and I still have to sit through commercials.

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I need to vent.

I probably shouldn’t, but what the hell.  Only about three people read this blog anyway.  🙂

[You may wish to read the background information below, otherwise you might get lost.]

Yesterday was a first for me.  I fired an employee.  Unfortunately, working for the federal government, actual firing is an extremely long and tedious process.  But, I pulled the person from her current job and moved her to sit next to my boss and me.  The sad thing is, many or our folks are so unprofessional, they probably won’t even look at this as a negative.

I just don’t get some people’s behavior.  How can you write you a snotty email to your supervisor, send it to the supervisor’s bosses (our division head and me) and not expect consequences?  When the boss (who’s nicknamed “Kung fu panda” because he’s so adorable!) read her email he was furious.  He called her (she works about 10 miles from where we work — yes, shitty working conditions!) and yelled at her.  He told her she had to stop her passive aggressive behavior towards her supervisor, that he was ready to fire the lot of the group, that she’d actually disobeyed him.  If you’d been redressed by your superior in that manner (especially one who is normally super easy-going), wouldn’t you think you need to shape up?  Yet, the very next day she had the audacity to tell her co-workers she had information her supervisor wanted but wasn’t going to give it to her.

That was the last straw!  I called her over to headquarters, told her she was off the team, and the reason was her unprofessional behavior and insubordination.  She didn’t see where she’d been insubordinate.  I gave her a couple of examples (including the one mentioned above), to which she told me she’d never said that.  Here’s the thing: she said this in front of about a dozen people.  How in the hell can she think she can get away with the lies?

Fortunately, we have documented counseling on her, and statements in writing about all the shit she’s pulled.  We’re pursuing a couple of avenues for dealing with her, and I think we’re doing everything the right way.  It just can’t come soon enough.

[Some background to help you understand better:  It may not make a lot of sense unless you have a military background, but here goes.  I am a deputy division chief, middle management.  My boss is an Air Force colonel.  We report to a two-star general.  So while we’re not executives, we’re not lost in the weeds, either.  Because the building we work in isn’t big enough, most of our employees are in a facility about 10 miles away.  We try to make it over there regularly, but the boss is so busy (his calendar depresses me some days) and I’ve been working on projects that don’t allow me to get away.    Consequently, some of our employees have been running amok.  Some of it is the result of working for an extremely poor manager–whom we have fired from that position (and are trying to do so from his current one), and some of it is personality driven.  Ok, so hopefully this is enough background.]

SNOWWWWW!

We’re supposed to get over 10″ (and more like 15-20″) of snow tomorrow.  In a place where 4″ is a blizzard!  The  weatherman says it’s going to be the biggest storm we’ve seen in years.  The governor of Virginia has already declared a state of emergency—and not one flake has fallen!

I was supposed to get my hair cut in the morning and had another appointment in the afternoon about 30 miles away.  I just called the salon and they said my hairdresser is planning on coming in tomorrow.  But she lives fairly far out in the area that’s supposed to get the most snow.  I think once she gets up and sees the snow, she’ll reconsider.  Of course, if she doesn’t work, she doesn’t get paid.  Worse, this area is overflowing with Type-A types who’ll probably be pissed if she doesn’t come in.  But geez, her husband had a heart transplant a few years ago.  I think it’s better for her to be safe.

Although I didn’t really need anything from the grocery store, I stopped by to get some cheese I’ve become very fond of.  And since I was thinking about baking (pumpkin pies) this weekend, I picked up some eggs and condensed milk.  The store was crraazzzyy!  One youngish guy came by with his cart full of  beer.  (Hee!)  Later, when he was picking up some kitty litter (double hee!), I noticed he had some sodas, too.  He probably won’t get a chance to get to the store before Sunday football, so I figured he was getting ready for the game.  [Oh, I just realized he was probably getting the litter for his car.  He didn’t really look like a cat person.]

As I passed the gas station, there was a line there, too.  I’m so happy I filled my tank earlier this week!

And I am so freakin’ double uber-happy I got all my Christmas presents out last night!

Three for one

It’s  a new month, a new week, and a new time zone.

Last Sunday I woke up around 7:30 feeling terrific.  Wow, I could get a lot accomplished in the morning.  Then it dawned on me.  My alarm clock had set itself back to standard time.  So it was really around 9:00 by the time I figured this out.

I bought this cool alarm clock/radio/cd player a few years ago.  It has a little chip in it that keeps track of the time, even when the power’s out.  So when the power’s restored, I never need to reset it.  And, it self adjusts for daylight savings time.  Or rather, it did before Congress decided to change DST start and end dates.  So now, instead of never having to reset my clock, I have to change it four times a year.  At least this year I realized I could simply change the time zone, rather than the time itself.  Much easier.  But still, it’s the principle of the thing.

And of course, it’s the beginning of NaBloPoMo.  So, instead of working on a blog post this morning, I passed the time creating my own little NaBloPoMo badge.

It’s been one of those morning’s that my dad always longed for on Saturday; to wake up and hear it gently raining.  Then he could just lie in bed and listen, perhaps drifting off to sleep again.  He said it didn’t work for Sunday, because he had to get up and go to church.  But our church service never started until 10:30, so I don’t know how late he was planning on sleeping.

The rain has made the birds very happy.  They’ve been chirping all morning, thoroughly entertaining the cats.

TGIF

I started my new job today. (I’d actually planned to start Monday, but the people I needed to get with weren’t available. Then the crud hit for 3 days. So today was the real day of doing something “meaningful.”  You’ll see why the quotes in a moment.)

I wonder when I’m going to get any work done.  Here’s a list of meetings I attended today.

  • 9:00: Division standup. Go over what was discussed in the 8:00 meeting with the General.
  • 12:30: “Daily activity report” (DAR, because government loves acronyms) due to the guy who compiles it for the division, which will be discussed at the 3:00 meeting.
  • 2:00: Prepare for the 3:00 meeting.
  • 3:00: Go over what’s been done for the day.  Today’s meeting lasted for 2 hours, and I was told this was a good day.

These are the meetings we have every day.   I also had one at 10:00 and was supposed to have another at 1:00 to go over what was discussed at the 10:00 meeting.  But the guy the meeting was for never showed.  I get the impression he’s not the best time manager.

The good news is I now have a desk.  And it’s one of the nicer ones.   Not the one that gives you 25 square feet of desk space, two 12″ deep drawers and one 12″ deep file cabinet, a useless pull-out bookcase and a view of the other 60 or so people in the room.  And no place to hang your winter coat.  (I think it was built as a call center.  It really really sucks!)

Oh, and on my way home, I was rear ended.  Fuck.  (Actually thanks to the new bumpers, there was almost no discernible damage to either my or the other guy’s car—which was also a Subaru, but a little one.)   My neck is a little stiff, but honestly, that’s not all that unusual.  Still, I stopped at the drug store on the way home and picked up some heat pads for my neck and some wine to relax.  I took some Motrin and opened the wine, and plan for a wonderful Friday night of vegging out in front of the tv.

Only 94 weeks to retirement.

Say it ain’t so!

How could I not have heard this news coming out of Comic Con?  Probably because my interest in Comic Con is limited mostly to Supernatural and, to a significantly lesser degree, other scifi tv shows.  Heaven forbid I actually be  interested in an actual comic book!

To celebrate the 600th issue (which I believe came out today) DC Comics mainstay Archie Andrews has made his life’s mate choice.  And the “lucky” girl is…

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Microsoft, you suck!

I downloaded Microsoft Service Pack 1 for Vista this morning.  And now I can’t install any new fonts.  I really wanted to install “Jane Austin” (my favorite font—it’s the one I used for my favicon), but the install font program kept freezing.  So I tried to do a system restore to a previous time.  And guess what?  I can’t even do that! Not only that, System Restore even freezes up!  I checked to see if I could uninstall SP1, but haven’t found anything so far.  I guess I’ll ask the sys admin guys at work tomorrow.  I could go online with a Microsoft tech, but that’ll cost me $59.  It even costs just to e-mail them!

I’m sure they’ll come out with a patch for it, since it’s so hosed up.  Or at least I hope they do.  I hope it’s a system-wide problem and not just something I’m encountering.  On the positive side, I did backup my files Friday evening.  (But I probably wouldn’t be able to restore them because, you know… System Restore freezes up!)