Sunday, June 09, 2013

Catching Up.... Again....


Well, once again it's time to update this sadly neglected blog. Quite a lot has happened since my last entry on February 27.

When I wrote that entry, I was on third shift – or as I commonly call it "hell shift." Since that entry I've been on mid-shift for a month, and then day shift for two months. Tonight, I go back on hell shift. The big difference is.... I'll be doing so by myself. The people at Deluxe managed to get Jimmy kicked out, and Joe isn't in a big hurry to replace him. So whoever gets stuck on night shift is by themselves for the entire month. I am not looking forward to going into work tonight – I never do look forward to night shift, but it's going to be even more hellish now.

Aside from work being a never-ending pain in the butt, there have been some major events since my last entry. The most major event of course, is that we lost both Dad, and his brother, Uncle Glen both within three days of each other. On April 3, uncle Glen passed away. Then on April 6, after a long, brave battle with dementia and cancer, my dad, Carl L. Shelley, passed away.

As you can imagine the last few months have been a roller coaster of emotions. Although we knew dad was going downhill almost on a daily basis, and that it wouldn't be long before he wasn't here anymore it's still never easy to say that final goodbye.

I'm still kind of getting used to not having elderly relatives to take care of any longer, and having a little bit more time to get things accomplished. I'm kind of amazed at just how much catching up I still have to do. I'm finally getting some projects around the house finished up that have been sitting in limbo for 2 to 3 years. I'm working on installing a doorway in the basement hallway  at the bottom of the stairs coming down from the garage. Putting a wall and doorway here will hopefully keep things a little warmer downstairs in the wintertime. The cold air comes down the stairwell from the garage, and keeps that basement hallway feeling like a meat locker.

I've been getting the shop cleaned up, and put back in order so I can hopefully start working on a few projects in there. I'm also hopefully - at some point - getting a fence installed across the front yard and driveway. It was supposed to have been done between the sixth and the fourth of this month, but with all the rain we've had the contractor has fallen behind schedule. I'm having Lowe's do the work – I had thought about trying to install it myself, but I'm still pretty busy and just don't have the time. Nor do I have the experience or the equipment to install fence and gate. Anyway, I'm having a gate put across the driveway – basically because I'm tired of all the neighborhood brats using my driveway as a turnaround point for their bicycles, go karts, skateboards, etc. etc. I ended up opening up a credit card account with Lowe's to get the fence installed since they wanted payment up front. The bill is due Wednesday, and as I mentioned I still don't have a fence. I will be asking some questions when we go to pay the bill – like "when am I getting my fence?"

On the positive side of things, we had a great visit back in May with our friends from Washington Bill and Tara (bamac62 and auntietk on Renderosity). I also recently upgraded to Poser Pro 2014. And I don't know if I mentioned it before, but for Christmas Jolene got me a fantastic gift – Adobe Photoshop CS 6 Extended! So I've been having a lot of fun with both of those. I also signed up for a years worth of tutorials from Digital Tutors. So in the bits and pieces of time that I actually do have to relax, I'm learning new things all the time – and hopefully at some point I can start making a little money with my graphic arts and CG stuff. I hope to be able to create CG content that I can sell on Renderosity and/or RDNA.

As I understand it, I will be getting a bit of an inheritance somewhere around the first part of July. I do have some things I want to do, but I'm not making any concrete plans just yet. Mainly because when I do, everything seems to crumble into dust before my eyes – or that's the way it's been in the past. At any rate, I'm hoping to be able to do some things I've never been able to do before – and I'll just leave it at that.

For now I'm going to sign off this rather lengthy entry, and once again.... I'm going to try to keep this blog updated little more often.

See you next time!

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

I've Had Enough....

It's now Wednesday (I think... Hard to tell what day it is lately..) In a few hours it's back to the hellhole.

I just checked my work e-mail. They're already asking for someone to 'volunteer' to work Sunday morning, 8:00 AM to noon. Below that is an e-mail from one of the day shift guys: “Out sick today, and probably tomorrow...” Another day shift guy didn't make it in, either. I don't know why. That left one person to cover day shift.
 
Another guy hasn't been in since LAST Wednesday night. He lives in the country, and they don't plow the roads.
 
As noted below, I went in Friday night – my normal night off. I bulldozed my way through 12 – 14 inches of snow to get to the main roads (which were plowed – sort of..) in order to do so. And I wasn't feeling all that great, either.
 
Starting Sunday 02/17/13:
 
Start Sunday night @ 9:30PM get off Monday morning @ 6:30AM
Back Monday night @ 10:30PM – off Tuesday @ 6:30AM
Back Tuesday night @ 10:30PM – off Wednesday @ 6:30AM
Back Wednesday night @ 10:30PM – off Thursday @ 6:30AM
Night shift canceled Thursday due to snowstorm – decided to work Friday night to make up.. So…
Back Friday night @ 10:30 – off Saturday @ 6:30AM (my normal night off)
Back Sunday night @ 9:30PM – and the cycle repeats
 
As you can see, it will be the weekend before I get ONE complete day away from this hellhole. And that’s assuming they don’t get shut down again by the next big winter storm now approaching.
 
Sunday night, they pounded me relentlessly since I walked in the door at 9:20PM. My call requirement is 3.4 calls-per-day (just call it 4 calls). In the first two hours of my shift, I had 5 calls.
 
This place is an absolute hellhole, and this shift is the absolute worst shift – not only in terms of the f***ed up hours, but the operators on this shift – save 2 or 3 good ones – are…. shall we say VERY needy. There’s one individual that habitually finds a way to come up with a scratched image loop between 5:30 – 6:00AM. Almost every morning – right before shift change. Wednesday morning, at 6:10AM, he walked up to me with: “Aahhhhhhhhhhhhhh........ I have a problem on number two...” (he always prefaces his description with a protracted “Ahhhhhhhhhhhh................”).
 
We have a few operators who are very good – you hardly ever have a problem from one of them. And it doesn’t matter which printer they’re operating (they move operators around every few days so they don’t always stay on the same machines). Conversely, there are four individuals in particular (including the one mentioned above) that can absolutely be counted upon to have issues all night, every night – and again, no matter what machines they are assigned to.
 
I’m not sure why I didn’t have a clearer picture of what I was getting into when I was recruited for this position (maybe because someone didn’t want me to have a clear picture?), but accepting this position will surely go down as one of the biggest cock-ups in my working life. Because that’s pretty much all I have now – a working life. I have damned little other life.
 
I know the employment picture is pretty grim right now, and it would be even harder for someone my age. Even so.... I'm getting damned close to telling them to take this sorry excuse for a job and shove it where the sun doesn't shine.
 
I've had enough.

Saturday, February 23, 2013

My Day Off - NOT

It's now 3:40 AM. I should be home in bed. Instead I'm here at the check factory. They closed down Thursday night due to the snowstorm, so I guess Thursday was my day off. They usually (and that's being generous) do not work night shift on Friday - but since they missed the opportunity to make a buck Thursday, I guess they had to make up for it Friday night / Saturday morning.

I hate this job, and I double-hate this #^^#$^#$% night shift.

Yes, it's a job, which a lot of folks don't have. But I had a job before I accepted this position. The big difference is I also had a life outside of work. Not so much now.

2 hours and 45 minutes, then I can get out of this hellhole - until Sunday night.

Sunday, February 03, 2013

A New Year...


Well I thought it was about time to update this sadly neglected blog.

Things have been pretty busy around here, as usual, with my job and all the other things that I've had to do.

But I figured it was time to get on the ball again with updating this blog; especially now since it's 2013, and we seem to have survived the long-awaited apocalypse back in December!

I've made a few changes on the website, and I am continuing to work on the updates as time permits. I will be making some major changes to the galleries very soon; I have a lot of new content to add. I have a ton of new artwork, most of which can be found in my gallery on Renderosity (www.Renderosity.com). I've been getting a lot of good feedback there; especially with my "Girls From T.N.A." series - which you can also find on my website.

To see my gallery on Renderosity, you have to be a member there; but it's free to sign up, and I highly recommend it for anyone who is interested in artwork or photography. For those who are not Renderosity members, I will be adding some of my artwork on my gallery here on my website. I also have a lot of new photography from the last few years that I will be displaying there. I will display a little bit of my model photography, however since I have pretty much gotten out of that field, there will only be a few photos here and there.

The slideshow on my homepage has been changed a bit; I've gone to JavaScript rather than the Java application I had there previously. The main reason I have done that is the Java seems to become more unreliable with every new update. For instance, with the last Java updates it has ceased to work on several of my computers. One by one, the Java functionality has stopped working. I spent about an hour and a half last night trying to troubleshoot why the Java wouldn't work on my Acer laptop. I went to the Java website, followed all of their instructions for troubleshooting, uninstalled, reinstalled, changed settings, and followed all of Oracle's recommendations. Nothing worked. All I got was a white rectangle where the slideshow should be. I have to assume then, that if I'm having this trouble, others are as well.

With this in mind, I have changed the slideshow to a simple JavaScript slideshow. I really liked the fading transition in the Java application, but if it doesn't work, it's worthless – no matter how cool it is.

Things are still pretty much the same with my dad. We went to visit him Friday in the nursing home; it wasn't a very good visit this time. With his dementia, it's a toss-up as to what kind of a mood he will be in. Friday seemed to be one of his angry days. He was angry because Margaret (his late wife) hasn't visited him for a long time (Margaret passed away over four years ago), and he can't seem to understand that she is gone.

At any rate, we had a short visit with him, and hopefully that helps lift his spirits at least for a short time.

I've been doing a little bit of work on the house; I'm installing a wall and a doorway at the base of the stairs going down to the basement from the garage. A lot of cold air flows down the stairs from the garage in the wintertime, and I think installing the wall there with the door will stop a lot of that cold air. At least I'm hoping it will.

Well that's about it for now, and with the new year I will once again attempt to update this blog a little more frequently.

Now it's time for a nice hot cup of coffee!