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Monday, November 30, 2009

Help Ban Divorce in California

Protect the sanctity of marriage and help ban divorce in Californian! Voters last fall repealed gay marriage in the state, wanting to protect traditional marriage. All prop 8 did was prevent gays and lesbians from getting married, but for the true believers, to protect traditional marriage we should ban divorce all together. After all, the vow does say "till death do us part."

A group of concerned citizens is trying to get on the ballot in California for 2010 the California Protection of Marriage Act. If you are a California resident, then please sign the petition and support the cause. Because after all, if gays can't get married for tradition, straight people shouldn't be allowed to divorce for the same reason.




Visit Rescue Marriage for more information or to support the cause.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Cranky for Palin

As you may have noticed there are strategically located ads on this blog. It was pointed out by a friend yesterday, that my left leaning anti-Palin commentary didn't trigger Goggles' adSense relevancy filter, and an add for her posted on the site.


Ahhh, good stuff that Palin book.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Dual Flush‏

Another good one from my boy Eccentri City

So I am sitting on the crapper in one of our work buildings and I look over to find this sign:

Then I think, this would be a great thing in the lady’s room. But for the masculine excremental unit, unless males are increasingly peeing like girls (which wouldn’t surprise me where we work), what value would this have? Liquid waste goes to the self NON-flushing green urinals for the most part. If I only had to expunge liquid waste, I wouldn’t even be in this stall.

Oh well. If they ever decide to swap rooms at least they will be prepared.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Louisiana and Arkansas Democrats, Get Off Your Asses

I would imagine I don’t have many readers from Arkansas and Louisiana, but if you are from one of those states, and you do read this blog, e-mail or call your representatives to the US Senate and tell them to allow the heath bill to go up for debate. The vote they are wavering on isn’t a vote to support or approve the heath bill before them. All the vote is, is to allow it to be debated. They can then try to make changes to the bill, but that can’t be done until it’s up for discussion.

In Arkansas contact Blanche Lincoln -here
In Louisiana contact Mary Landrieu -here

The bill is designed to rein in costs, expand coverage and bar industry practices like denying coverage to those with pre-existing conditions.

Republicans (The party of No) don’t support the bill because it’s proposed by Democrats. But Democrats should at least support the concept of allowing the bill to be debated, amended, and voted on.

A New Ad from Plane Stupid

Living in a country without bullet trains, we are forced to fly for most all of our travel. Here's a video to give you something to think about.

Polar Bear from Plane Stupid on Vimeo.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Our Lives are a Dilbert Cartoon

Sent from a cranky co-worker.

My life is a Dilbert cartoon ~ Eccentri City
So, Cranky and I work at the same place and I forwarded this for “collaborative analysis”.

15 Signs Your Workplace Is Dysfunctional

We were surprised to find out that, there is not ONE of the 15 signs that does not apply. We thought we could cratch off at least a few. Surely it isn’t that egregious. But alas, each of the 15 signs is prevalent. Here’s how it goes down with each in our workplace:

Sign No. 1: Conspicuously posted vision or value statements are filled with vague but important-sounding words like "excellence" and "quality."

Here’s out team’s mission statement:
“We lead and execute programs to ensure [our business’] sales, service and support teams are “business ready” for products and services by:
· Seeing the road ahead
· Role call
· Manage Whales and Fish
· Build our strengths”
“Business ready”? Sounds nice and vague. I know for a fact we can hardly see an inch in front of us let alone the “road ahead”. And you know there is a problem when including sea life in your mission statement. Anybody hungry for some Ivar’s?

Sign No. 2: Bringing up a problem is considered as evidence of a personality defect rather than as an observation of reality.

Cranky and I can’t iterate how many times we’ve heard “oh, that information isn’t published yet barring this and that”. Moreover, if you talk real and bring up big problems and ways to fix them besides the “ignore it and it will go away” technique, you are a major douche bag for rocking the boat.

Sign No. 3: If by chance there are problems, the usual solution is a motivational seminar.

We just had another team “onsite offsite” (codename for “too cheap to have a real offsite) full of motivational crap. We have a team mascot and loads of coffee mugs, cheesy awards and other trinkets galore to make up for the fact that there is little to no true leadership or direction. Sorry guys, overuse of symbols in a crappy environment only make us feel like Nazis.

Sign No. 4: Double messages are delivered with a straight face.

Here’s a great philosophy where we work. Let’s take on every program that is shoved to us. Then reduce our remit after over-performing and piss everyone off. Then let’s hire vendors to do, well, sit around and look like vendors. Hey, they can work a little bit though and help us work on projects that track projects that are projects for tracking projects. Leadership + true motivation = results. We have neither inputs, so not surprisingly, no results.

Sign No. 5: History is regularly edited to make executive decisions more correct, and correct decisions more executive than they actually were.

Sweet! Our last scorecard measured us as a 4 out of 5! Never mind our recent first iteration of a scorecard is a lame survey to internal partners. And never mind only a tiny fraction of our projects were actually surveyed. Oh, and ask Cranky about fudging numbers for his reports to make his boss seem completely overworked and in need of more empire.

Sign No. 6: People are discouraged from putting things in writing.

I’m not even mentioning who I am or where in the company I work. And this is a private blog. Still, I’m a little freaked. Imagine how I feel at work trying to write genuine and honest emails.

Sign No. 7: Directions are ambiguous and often vaguely threatening.

Director paraphrase: “Okay everyone, we have a new remit that reduces the scope of your already ambiguous role. However, the new remit is just as ambiguous. So now, instead of an open-ended ambiguity that allowed you to add value were it was needed, we now are restricting that so you can be confused and not add appropriate value at the same time. I am also not going to adequately communicate this out to our partners. Oh, and I am also very passive so I am expecting you to plow the road from the bottom up because I don’t want to deal with it.”

Sign No. 8: Internal competition is encouraged and rewarded.

“Encouraged” is an understatement. Internal competition is built into the system. Moreover, depending on your luck, you can be an apple compared to a basket of other fruit. Ultimately, those unable to thrive in a nepotistic, dishonest environment don’t get a good grade.

Sign No. 9: Decisions are made at the highest level possible.

I spend more to reviewing, approving, obtaining sponsorship, re-reviewing, re-approving, etc. than I do actually getting any work done.

Sign No. 10: Delegating means telling somebody to do something, not giving them the power to do it.

Cranky has this problem especially. You may have seen his posts about Dash-Trash. Increasingly, due to disorganization and mismanagement, Dash-Trash folks are increasingly being asked to drive things they should not be driving, and given no authority to do so. Good luck with that.

Sign No. 11: Management approaches from the latest best-seller are regularly misunderstood to mean what we're doing already is right on the mark.

Yeah, I am sure that all of our projects to track projects that track projects would really impress a bad adjunct MBA professor, but the folks who write good management material would be mortified to see their matter miss-used in such way. But it’s okay, because these projects have really cool names in all caps like FOCUS and FORWARD. I feel like we are raising the bar with those alone!

Sign No. 12: Resources are tightly controlled.

I would say this is the sickest dysfunction where we work, because they will actually hire vendor people then assign them little or no work just to build an empire, but we can’t even get webcams for remote meetings.
· Paying a group of vendors a lot of money to misguide to augment the disorganization of our hectic, mismanaged environment so we can justify our jobs and build empires – APPROVED
· Cheap webcam to increase meeting productivity with a plethora of remote partners – DENIED.

Sign No. 13: You are expected to feel lucky to have a job and know you could lose it if you don't toe the line.

Surprisingly, our team has lost few during the last four rounds of layoffs. Management has done a great job of keeping everything so ambiguous as to what we do, executives are afraid. We may be a core cog, or not (we’re actually not), but they just don’t know. Yet, with all the lay-offs, we are meant to feel lucky we are even here. No matter. We are reducing through attrition anyway with at least one person a month either transferring or quitting for a start-up.

Sign No. 14: Rules are enforced based on who you are rather than what you do.

Here, you are either in the nepotistic clique, or you are not. Moreover, if you build the rules, you can break them if you get emotional or wound up, or feel the need to screw everything up to make you job look more important i.e. Cranky’s boss.

Sign No. 15: The company fails the Dilbert Test.

At the lower levels, we can laugh about all of this. But we are very secretive with our humor.

When management can’t laugh at themselves, you are in a bad org.

There are a number of Dilbert cartoons online that really nail the dysfunctional organization. Check these out:

Dilbert: Steaming Pile of Failure
We work on steaming piles of failure for a living. But come management 1:1 time – everything is FANTASTIC! Discomfort with honesty and truth is a huge sign of dysfunction.

Dilbert: Bold New Strategy
Our organization has had so many major “restructures” that we don’t even pay attention any more. If you asked me, I could not actually tell you where I was in an org chart past the functional level. But every time it happens, we get an email about how strategic and good for the company it is. I have a special email rule for these – divert to Junk folder.

Dilbert: Impossible Goal
Hey, presenting really well with PowerPoint pomp about goals that are impossible is how you get ahead here. By the time it all fails you have either been promoted, or at least made a lateral move.

Dilbert: Bungee Boss
I’m on my third boss in less than a year. It’s all good though, because I am still “dotted line” to my previous bosses. My org structure feels more like a funnel than a pyramid.


Hope all of you Cranky readers feel just a little better now knowing you don’t work where we do.

Why Pot Hasn't Been Legalized

This was forwarded to me from a friend, and seemed as good as anything for today's post.


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

How Working for Microsoft as a "V-" or "A-" Is Like Being Black In The 50's

One of the joys of working for Microsoft as a vender or contractor is you are not a full time employee, which of course means you are treated as such by the full time employees.

Every employee/vender/contractor is provided a badge. The badge has a picture of the person. The badge is used for many purposes such as entering the building and security. It is to be warn and visible at all times. For venders and contractors it's orange. For FTE's it's blue. You are either a blue badge or an orange badge, so know your place.

The company store is one the perks Microsoft provides it's employees. An orange badge will allow you into the store, you just aren't allowed to purchase anything once there. Unless you are friends with a blue badge and can talk them into it.

Microsoft provides it's own bus service called the Connector. The service picks up at select locations around King and Snohomish county. This provides employees a ride to work on a bus with WiFi and the ability to avoid the general public, as it's for FTE's only. No orange badges allowed, not even in the back of the bus.

Both FTE's and Dash Trash are allowed to sit at the same table in the cafeteria, and purchase the same food. But for the most part the FTE's prefer to sit it groups together.

By adding a v- or a- in front of someone's e-mail alias, it allows the recipient the knowledge that they don't need to respond to that person.

When working on a project with deliverables, since you aren't an employee, they obviously don't report to you or even have to deal with you, so there is not reason to attend the meetings you set up or complete the items assigned to them.

Most venders aren't provided a place to sit or an office. Since they don't work for Microsoft there is no reason to provide them a place to sit at Microsoft. Usually they have to find an empty office, sit in the cafeteria, or wherever they can find an open seat. Contractors are provided a seat, but it's usually crammed into an office with a handful of people even though the office was designed for only 1 or 2 people. Some are grouped into a larger seating area often referred to as a coral or CSG Bay. They get a small desk, and that's about it.

If you are a early riser don't plan on working before 7:00am. Vender and Contractor badges won't let you in the building that early. Apparently Microsoft figures if you are coming in early, you must be up to trouble.

Ever talk to a Microsoft employee in the real world? Notice how when they say they work there, their nose kind of raises a little in the air. Just like they are a little bit better than everyone else. It's like that to work with them as well. Why bother picking up after themselves in the break room, that's what other people are for. Why even bother flushing the toilet?

For familiarity and safety, they tend to live in the same neighborhoods. Few non-Microsoft employees allowed. Most employees once they've worked for the company move to Sammamish and Issaquah. Close to work, matching McMansion, and no matter what your race is, you fit in because you can take the Connector together.

I've thought about hanging signs that say "Blue Badge Only" or "Orange Badge Only" over the taller and shorter drinking fountains, as it would seem appropriate.


For those who don't know:
Vender (v-) - is someone who is employed by another company yet reports to a Microsoft manager. They can't work on the assignment indefinitely. Yet Microsoft has the option of ending the assignment whenever they want.
Contractor (a-) - is someone who is also employed by another company, but due to a lawsuit many years ago, they can only work 12 months on an assignment at Microsoft. After the 12 months they must take a 90 day break before they are allowed another contract or vender assignment.
Alias- this is a unique name assigned to each employee. It's used to accessing information, logins, e-mails etc. it's usually derived some shortened combination of a person first and last name. a- and v-are added to the beginning of each contractors or venders alias, so to further clarify who they are.
FTE - Microsoft Full Time Employee
Dash Trash - This is slang for v- or a-





Monday, November 16, 2009

The Joys of Wolf Hunting


Dead mother, live pup? Maybe





So proud of himself for shooting such a large animal with a high powered rifle, scope, and plenty of distance.
















Thursday, November 12, 2009

I’m a Republican!?!?

I’m not sure how it happened but somewhere, somehow my name was added to the Washington state Republican voters list. Yep, that’s right folks; the Cranky Monkey is a Republican. Who would have thought?

As a registered Republican they sent me a questionnaire about the state of the Republican Party asking for feedback. Followed up of course by an ask for a donation.



What I found interesting is the way the questions were worded, worded in a way to elicit the response that they wanted to hear. I generally disagree with the Republican Party on most all issues, yet had to fight the urge to agree with them on the way they were worded. I can see how the old, easily influenced, and general population of this country might agree with them.

For example:
“Do you oppose the Obama-Pelosi heath care takeover plan that would bring Washington bureaucrats between doctors and patients, ration medical treatment, and deny critical care while skyrocketing the national debt.”

Wow! How could I respond to that, it’s not even close to the plan that’s proposed? I’m suprised that they didn’t have the words ‘Death Panels" mixed in there.

“Should the Democrats’ so-called Stimulus Bill with it’s wasteful pork-barrel spending be repealed.”

Well let’s see. The bill created or saved over 600,000 jobs (or so we've been told) and most likely helped keep the unemployment rate from getting higher that it already is. The bill included tax cuts, spending on education and healthcare and green energy. Apparently our current Republicans in government never studied Keynesian economics. To get out of a depression or recession the government needs to spend money, then when the economy recovers we have tax payers working and paying taxes. Dwight Eisenhower (a Republican) was aware of this, and continued and expanded many of the New Deal policies to include spending money on an interstate system to cross the country.

Do you oppose the Obama National Energy Tax, also known as “cap and trade,” which would skyrocket your utility bills and destroy jobs while having virtually no impact on the environment?

Actually it wouldn't and that's been proven by a few studies and current cap and trade systems.


The questions go on and are just as lopsided, and written in a way to elicit only one possible response to each. After completing my questionnaire and sending it back, I’m going to assume that my name will be removed from the republican

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Coal Country

Not a huge issue here in the North West but interesting to think how we will continue to destroy our environment in our never ending need to consume.



See it in theaters or get the DVD for Coal Country

Thursday, November 05, 2009

What Would Jesus Think of the Healthcare Debate

As we've seen in the news and read online quite a bit lately, there have been protests all across this country over recent months, against the democrats attempt at healthcare reform. One of the interesting things about these protesters is they identify themselves as patriots and Christians. The NY Times recently had an article about one of the protests, no different from any other article on the subject. After reading it, I scrolled down to the comments section and read this one from someone referencing the bible.

Then Jesus will turn to those on His left hand and say, “Depart from me because I was hungry and you did not feed me, I was thirsty and you did not give me to drink, I was sick and you did not visit me.” These will ask Him, “When did we see You hungry, or thirsty or sick and did not come to Your help?” And Jesus will answer them, “Whatever you neglected to do unto one of these least of these, you neglected to do unto Me!”

I think if Jesus were alive today he would not be very happy with the direction these so-called Christians have taken his teachings. Most of the protesters are older, predominantly white, and self-identified as Christians. These protesters are represented in the government by older, predominantly white, self-identified Christians, aka the party of no.

If Jesus were a member of congress, how would he vote on the healthcare bill?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Times They are a Changin… for Marijuana

In a sign that this country is loosening it’s collective panties on marijuana: In the elections held last night, two more places that had marijuana law changes on the ballot voted in favor of the ganja.

- Breckenridge Colorado, voted to allow adults to legally possess small amounts of marijuana
- Maine approved dispensaries to supply marijuana to patients for medicinal purposes. A follow-up to a 1999 measure that legalized medical marijuana but did not set up a distribution system.

Not to mention the Obama administration announcing recently that they are going to stop going after marijuana dispensers in states that have legalized its use.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Teaching Gay

On this election day, I love how the moral majority always uses scare attics to get people to vote their way. I also love how the sheep in this country seem easily fall for it.

Check out this video for example, it's pretty clear. If we allow gay marriage, they are going to teach being gay to kids, and your children will become gay. So vote no if you don't way gay children.



And now notice the pro-gay marriage video. No scare tactics, no ant-straight commentary, just hey let's treat everyone as equals.



Being gay isn't a choice. Come on, would any really willing choose to be ridiculed by society, live in fear or attack in the red states, choose to have their family disown them. No! and no, teachers aren't going to suddenly start teaching gay to children. Hopefully the only thing they will teach is tolerance.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Denied Insurance After Rape

As if being raped isn't a traumatic enough experience, this woman had her insurance dropped for it as a pre-existing condition. Basically, since she was in therapy and taking anti-HIV medications, they wouldn't provide her coverage.



As the debate goes on over healthcare reform, and the conservatives protest the idea of changing the status quo, I wonder how many of them would participate in those protests if this had happened to them.