Thursday, September 3, 2015

Clear Thinking., Baltimore Riots Edition

Wandering Thoughts

Once again WSF’s mind goes wandering down a cloudy, poorly defined thought path.

Over the years I’ve observed a vast increase in “overhead” personnel, often at the Management level.

As an example, in my high school with some 180 students we had a Principal, his Secretary, a school nurse and the kitchen staff in the cafeteria. They also covered the Junior High School. Add a couple of janitor/maintenance people and that was it. Looking at their current on line profile they have 650 students and  23 non teachers out a staff of 76.

I spent a large portion of my working life in the automobile retail business. Most places I worked ran “lean and mean”. Guess I got spoiled.

Everywhere you look, especially in government, there are bloated staffs. Consider the level of staffing in “Human Resources” in larger companies. Seems they spend a great deal of their operations filling out various reports fed to bloated staffs of government agencies.  The same is true of other departments. Damn few people actually doing revenue generating tasks as opposed to those doing “drone” work. Humans, being human, want to feel important and in power, “drone” or not, so days are filled with meetings and more paperwork to afflict and control the revenue generators.

I blame the University system. Thousands of graduates each year well schooled in what? Yes, I understand the process produces people who have proven they can sustain effort to follow a prescribed course. Bravo! Can they do anything worthwhile?

These people need to be employed, and they feel entitled to being well compensated. They are not stupid, but have been raised with certain expectations. I maintain much of government employment is “make work welfare” and at a deep level these people know that. Perhaps this explains an IRS Lois Lerner. The demands made by the government spills over into the private sector forcing more bloated administrative overhead.

This post may well piss off people. It is not meant as personal criticism. We all have to do what we do to survive and live in a system we didn’t create.

Do I have an answer? Not really, which bothers me. I hate finding fault without offering some solution. My major tactic is to resist (politely) authority. YMMV

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Will I Ever Grow Up?

I’m 71. By now I should have a grip on my explosive temper, don’t you think? No so, as I relearned that lesson today.

As part of my job, I seal boxes of medical specimens for shipment. This involves dry ice, packing tape, I Pad  entries, etc. My last stop is the Regional West Hospital in Scottsbluff, NE.  In a nearby parking lot are some nice shade trees so I park in the (very broad) traffic lane and do my ten minute job. Doesn’t inconvenience anyone and the hospital security people are ok with it.

Today as I’m working a blivet and blivette (a blivet is two pounds of shit in a one pound bag) pull up along side of me in a ratty Geo Tracker. The blivet driver proceeds to say something along the lines of, “You Colorado drivers are real dumb shits, parking in the RED Zone” or words to that effect and starts to drive off. 

My reply, “Go fuck yourself”, resulted in him slamming to a stop, jumping out of his POS, and getting in my face. He is about 50, a few inches shorter than me but just as fat. So now we have two hot heads jawing at each other. He left before it got physical, damn it. (Maybe my lucky day).

Turning around I saw this older lady with her cell phone recording the whole thing. Her remarks clearly showed her to be sympathetic to me.

“What was his problem? You are just doing your job”, she said.

 I thanked her for having my back.

My lesson from all this is, I still have a hot temper and a short fuse. Despite all the problems this has caused me in my life I don’t have good (or any) control. Fuck it, don’t mean shit, drive on.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Where Are The Birds?

Driving my Wyoming/Nebraska route I've had a nagging feeling of something missing. Realized yesterday I'm missing magpies.

For as long as I can remember where there was road kill there was magpies but this year I've not seen a single one.

I've seen a few crows or ravens, I really don't know the difference, and a few raptors but no magpies. Puzzling.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

More Prius

Ready to offer some more comments on the Prius I'm driving.  The route is 489-496 miles a day, Monday through Wednesday. Another driver covers Thursday through Saturday. I leave at 0330, go to Wheatland, WY by 0600, Torrington, WY by 0715, Scottsbluff, NE by 0830 and Denver International Airport airfreight by 1245. Back to Greeley, CO by 1430.

What do I like about the Prius? Bluntly, nothing. It is adequate, nothing more, and nothing special. Rough ride, little adjustment available in the seat and little aural and tactile feedback. Without cruise control, keeping a steady speed is difficult. More time is spent glancing at the digital readout than focusing on the road. You steer it constantly; no centering or holding a line. Take your eyes off the road to pour a cup of coffee and it immediately drifts out of your lane. Surely isn't one of my Lincoln Towncars.

It has adequate passing power and decent headlights.
We flog the little dear hard and rarely see more than 40 mpg economy. Our route is fairly flat and it climbs the few hills at cruising speed. We do eat up tires, especially the rears. Brakes are adequate and it has a deceleration downshift available which is useful. Otherwise, it is D only and a CCVT automatic transmission.

It offers a techie's delight information center which interests this Latter Day Luddite not at all. You can watch power flow displays and calculate your fuel costs in real time. Me, I don't care. What I do care is the short legs, about 350 miles range with a full 8 gallon tank. I fill it twice on my route. This old Rocky Mountain driver considers a half full tank to be empty. The two trip odometers I do use and, per my GPS readout, the speedometer is very accurate.

It has some tech stuff, phone pairing, etc.,  which I don't use and don't care to learn.

As couriers, we often carry bulky boxes. The rear seat stay folded flat. On two occasions I've need to use the front passenger seat to carry cargo but most times the available cargo space is adequate. We carry three 2'x3'x5' shipping boxes and a small picnic type cooler. We carry a lot of dry ice in the shipping boxes so the rear windows are always open about 1". Noisy, but we don't want to nod off while we are driving.

The A/C is marginal and rarely feels cold. More like cool. Today saw 94 degrees on the OAT. The cabin was bearable but not cold even with system in the maximum setting. I remember from last winter the heater and defrost were adequate. The rear wiper on the hatchback models we use keeps an area clear no greater than a large bandana.

My opposite number loves the car. To each his own. YMMV. Would I ever spend my own money on a Prius? Uh, no.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Western Fires II

Hopefully a better picture than yesterday. This was taken just West of Guernsey, WY. Speaking of Guernsey, I'm glad I go through there at about 6:20 am. Here we are nearly into September and the North Platte is running full. Guess Glendo Reservoir has filled.

Today at about 9:30 am there wasn't a cloud in the sky. In Wyoming and Western Nebraska that means 100 mile visibility. Not so with the smoke. Scottsbluff.