Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Men have no idea

Following our weekly staff meeting yesterday, I assigned a small thinking exercise to the Misfits in order to measure what little of their actual functioning minds actually produce. Giving credit where credit is due, I thought this example by Dickie the Peap was noteworthy. Not useful, but noteworthy.

Women always say that giving birth is way more painful than a guy getting kicked in the nuts.
Here is proof that they are wrong:
A year or so after giving birth a woman will often say "It would be nice to have another kid".
You never hear a guy say " I would like another kick in the nuts".

I must say, perhaps the little miser isn't as much a lost case as I had originally thought.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

You just have to have the right equipment

Though I avoided any embarrasing incidents as we did not have any guests over the other night, I have been still under pressure to repair the icemaker in the FTI commissary as detailed in  the previous posting.  Failure simply was not an option, something had to be done.  I knew that swift, decisive, meaninginful action needed to be taken.  Enter the FTI maintenance staff.

A related branch division of our heretofore mentioned FTI IT dept. (the most reviled department here at FTI), I had an inkling of some possible success as they promptly responded to the maintenance requisition  I had placed earlier in the day, neatly attired in their coveralls and shoe booties ( to keep Mrs. Kfred from complaining about wearing the shoes in the Executive living quarters), and ready to go.  It truly was a marvel as they rummaged through their toolkit to perform their own form of life restoring surgery to the icemaker and leave everything in like new condition.  At one point, I did note I thought it odd that having  a turkey baster, old bicycle seat,  and a single colored Rubik's cube among the collection of wrenches and screwdrivers a bit puzzling, but hey, these guys are the professionals.

In the end, the icemaker was brought back to life and all is well. Before they left, though I had to ask,"what's with the single  colored Rubik's cube? They have 6 colors.  Why only one?"

"Inspiration.  Whenever we get stuck on a problem, we go to the cube, twist it a couple of times and get all sides to be the same.  We figure if we can do that, we should be able to fix anything else."

I know not to question this type of logic.    

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sure, it's nothing that $200 can't fix

I have been informed by Mrs. Kfred that the icemaker on the refrigerator in the FTI commissary is non- functioning and not producing any type of ice presently.  Of course, this type of situation calls for direct action by me that consists of much like my snap analysis of any car engine trouble when stranded along the roadside.  The similarities are striking:  1) opening door to inspect said unit; 2) wiggling  dispenser bar repeatedly, 3) unplugging and replugging the electrical cord back into wall outlet, and 4) pronouncing, "There. That should do it".

I have a distinct feeling that tonight's scheduled happy hour will explore a new trend by serving guests refreshments at room temperature.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Now, c-c-c-c-cut that out!

I just returned Friday night after a few days out of town on non-Institute business in support of activities in Dilbertland.  They always do a nice job in these types of meetings and give  us lots of information to go and do what is needed to be accomplished.    Normally, we always have conducted these meetings at very nice locations with the finest of service, food, and entertainment.  Everyone looks forward to it and this year was no exception.  I did, however, have one unsettling experience.  The hotel that served as our headquarters is an old hotel built back in the late 1880's.  It is a magnificent property with numerous amenities, and, also has a reputation for housing a ghost.  I think I met it.

After a full day of meetings and presentations on Thursday, we had dinner that evening and a few cocktails to socialize with everyone.  Since this is a luxury hotel and the good folks in Dilbertland constantly remind us that budgets are tight, we were each assigned a roommate in order to  afford to stay in a place of this grandeur.  Anyways, as my roommate does not drink and I had had plenty of fun and games the night before, we thought Thursday night would be a good night to call it an early evening.  I know I was asleep within 3 minutes of hitting the pillow.  I was tired.

Later, as it turned out, around 2:40 in the morning, I was in a state of semi-consciousness, halfway between sleep and still aware of where you are (Does that make sense?  It's that point where you are sleeping but really don't want to open your eyes.  That's where I was.) when the inside of my eyelids flashed.  I am a big fan of lightning.  I love it.  I have always been fascinated by it and thought there was an electrical storm going on.  Remember, during this time I am half asleep.  Opening my eyes, I realize that the light is coming from the bathroom that my roommate failed to turn off after using it in the middle of the night.  Collecting my senses and thoughts, I look over in the adjacent bed and see my roommate with his arm under his head, face up on the bed, nose pointed to the ceiling, deep asleep.   I thought, "how could he forget to turn off the light?"  About that time, the light clicked off and the room was dark.  Now this is a bit weird, but, I figure the light is off, so we are no worse for the wear.  It must be a short in the wiring.;  it's an old hotel.  About 20 minutes later, after getting  settled in, I hear a distinctive "CLICK" noise.  The light is on again.  This time, the hair on my neck is on end and a shiver goes through my body.  My mind now recalls the conversation in the lobby during check-in that this hotel is haunted.  I hadn't thought of it before.  Now this is a bit freaky, I am definitely uncomfortable.  The light is on in the bathroom, no one went in their since the last time and, yet, there it is blazing away.  I am not sure whether to pull up the covers a bit tighter around my neck or get up and turn the damn thing off.  After about 2 minutes it goes off again.  10 minutes later, it goes on again!  Now I am concerned. I say out loud "What the hell is going on?" loud enough to wake my roommate.  He rousts awake and is saying "Huh?  What's going on?  Did you forget to turn out the light?"  I explain this has happened 3 times and all of a sudden he is awake.  Fast.  I get up turn of the light manually and that is the end of it for the rest of the evening.  

Now, in fairness, I must disclose that the switch in the bathroom is a motion activated switch on a timer; it's not a standard toggle switch.  I guess something like an insect or flying bug could have activated it.  I am unaware of any type of light switch that has that kind of sensitivity connected to it , but hey, I will give it the benefit of the doubt.   I just know what I experienced  and I never saw a fly, butterfly, bee, or any other winged creature in that room.  I do not believe in ghosts.  But I do believe there are things that can't be  explained.  And I think this was one of them.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

We have contingency plans

I am out of town for the next 3 days on  non-Institute business attending a meeting along with my peers from Dilbertland.   We get together once every year or so for yearly kickoff meetings and I am looking forward to making re-acquaintances with some old chums.  It should be fun.

As a result of my absence, I once again have to invoke the emergency vacancy clause of our bylaws in order to keep Institute business running and legal.    This single act broadens my powers to act decisively should any emergency occur (up to and including imposing martial law here at the compound) while I am not in actual physical presence at the FTI Control Center. I undertake this act solemnly and understand it should never be taken for granted. Such as it is with leadership.  Power has it's burdens.  

With this single act accomplished, I only have one final task to complete before my departure:  Ask Mrs. Kfred to sign my leave request.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Giving back to the Community

As Executive Director here at FTI,  I wear many hats.  Though Mrs. Kfred primarily acts as Director of Institute Safety, she is, in reality, our Chief Financial Officer for Institute purposes.  Basic accounting and day to day financial transactions are handled solely by her.  For our personal responsibilities, though,  when it comes to taxes, that's my baby.

As noted in the About FTI tab above,  our endeavor here is to offer policy analysis, event commentary, and recount observations.  Any financial gain along the way is secondary.    Accordingly, by listening to the investment advice of one D., the Peap, investor/extraordinaire, who's can't miss, sure-fire, investment picks include such industry stalwarts as Enron, Washington Mutual, and most recently, Kodak, our tax liability is, has been, and continues to be, ahem, negligible.  (Investment tip to our 2 faithful readers:  Ignore any advice if given by an individual who regularly develops temporary blindness everytime a lunch check is presented at the table. His memory of can't miss stocks seems to be affected in the same manner.)    Anyways, after reporting and accounting for the personal compensation as Executive Director I receive here, scouring tax code for every possible deduction I can find, and arguing that I should be eligible for hardship pay, it looks like Mrs. Kfred and I are going to receive a whopping $185 refund from the government.  Big deal.

In reflecting over how to best give back to the  FTI community with my modest windfall, I am torn between adding to the funding for our annual membership drive or buying a folding chair to create interest for our upcoming 2nd FTI "Western Hemisphere Relations Forum /Auto Parts Swap Meet".   Our first outing was, ah, disappointing.  It is my intent and fervent hope that with the additional seat available, someone might actually attend and participate.

Chevy parts are over there.

Monday, February 13, 2012

An embarrassment of Riches

Well, now isn't this a quandary.

I am exploring a rival Institute's offer to join their organization. My dilemma is over the fact that our succession plan has never been fully developed or adopted and that is a problem. As discussed a few years ago, the glacial pace at which our plan is developing is troubling. Oh sure, I have my able-bodied Assistant Director/Trustee, Giacommo, waiting in the wings to take over the wheel on a split second notice.  I do note, however, that befitting our membership, the wheel  is rusted shut due to the inactivity and lack of any creative output emanating from our assembled brain trust.  As a result, Giacommo might not be prepared to deal with the normal day to day headaches I confront each day.  For example, Gummo, the Balloon Boy's, repeated requests for swimming lessons are not easy to repeatedly deny.  I deny these, not so much to spite Gummo, rather, to save the instructor the frustration and heartache of knowing  no matter how hard you try to prove otherwise, Archimedes principle is really a hoax.  So it is with Gummo.

Our weekly staff meeting/Valentines party later this morning, may give me a clearer indication if I can find a worthy successor. Based on the gifts I have received to date, though, I am a bit concerned.  After all, how many dyed, hard-boiled eggs can one eat?