I wanna be supportive, I really do.

Due to gas costs and the mental toll that commute-time driving extracts from me, I’ve been riding the train a lot recently. Today, for a variety of reasons, I needed to drive, so I took my trusty hoopty out on the road.

And as I cruised along (at, yes, the speed limit) I observed a blue Prius cut me off, then slow down.

As I stifled the curse words and angry gestures (yes, I actually *did* pay attention to that driver’s ed course I took and passed), I wondered to myself, quite bluntly, “Why are Prius people always such crappy drivers?”

I know, broad generalizations are never accurate, but go with me on this, for a minute.

So yes, I live in hola-granola, tree-hugging, skunk-kissing Northern California. Which means there are a lot of fans of that little gas sipping automobile. Fundamentally, I have no problem with the Prius. If the financials could bear it out (meaning the premium they charge for that car more than offsets the cost at the pumps) I might even consider one. I can be environmentally conscious, I really can.

Here in the Bay Area, people who drive hybrid vehicles can get a special sticker that allows them to drive in the car pool lane even if there is only one person in the car. So that has definitely helped boost their popularity.

So there are a lot of little Prisuseseses (what exactly IS the plural of Prius?) on the roads out here. There are a lot of other hybrid and electric vehicles too, but today I’m talkin’ about the Prius people.

I’ve checked in with many friends. Their experience matches my own. Something about the Prius drivers is off. Is it bad visibility? Is it the alternate way they have to drive (coasting to build up a charge)? Is it the kind of person who chooses to own one? I don’t know, but I’ve observed some truly crappy driving behind the wheel of these little wonders.

Like a lot of changing lanes rapidly and slowing down. I’ll attribute that to the coasting, I guess. A lot of not looking or signaling before changing lanes. Is it hard to see in those things? And a lot of driving real slow in the fast lane.

I haven’t observed this as much with other environmental cars, just the Prius.

What’s up with that? I mean, when I read the news report that Al Gore’s kid was popped by CHP doing 100 in his Prius, I thought “well, there’s hope yet!” But perhaps all the drugs had changed his view (…and I can’t support that).

I’m all for assisting the environment by using less fossil fuels (this after reading, with horror, about the “milky rain” in Silver City and the Gila) but damnitall! Let’s keep it safe out there, ok?

Meanwhile, I’m doing my own part by taking the train as often as possible. Good for the environment, good for my sanity.

Thus ends my rant.

Time for my calmness affirmations……”breathe in…..breathe out….”

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What are ya doin’ New Year’s Eve?

Does anyone have any good ideas? I’ve been crazy into the holiday spirit but have to say I’m a bit worn down.

I’d be happy to stay at home and watch the ball drop in Times Square, but I’m getting the vibe The Cute Boy™ wants to do something more substantial, but not so substantial as to need a black tie.

I’m iffy. The more I’m away from work the more I’m starting to feel like myself. We’ve had quite the full social calendar all this month and I’m pooped. Here’s one of those “opposites attract” aspects of The Cute Boy™ and me. Me being born under the sign of Taurus, I am happy to enjoy a few evenings at home. When not working my tookus off at work, staying at home, reading a book, all of that works fine with some occasional social dates peppered in to keep it fun.

The Cute Boy™ on the other hand, likes to run (Gemini that he is). He’s got a lot more friends than I do and likes to make sure each get some time in any given month. He’s happiest with a calendar packed full of events.

It’s a push-pull dynamic that we usually seem to manage, actually. But right now, I’m getting a bit of my stubborn Taurus the Bull up. I hate to admit it, but I’m burned out from work. Burned out on people. Just teetering on the edge of full flame out and that scares me. The more I get a chance to catch up on my sleep, the more I realize how near the edge I was.

I don’t wanna do nuttin’!

That being said…I guess if we can come up with a good idea that is going out but not TOO out…I’m up for it.

And that’s what they call compromise. From what I’ve heard, it’s what keeps a relationship going…….

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The Results Are In

It’s that time of year again. Chile roasting outside grocery stores. Hot air balloons hanging in the sky. Frosty nights and crunchy leaves.

And at work, that annual tradition known as performance reviews.

Now, I hate performance reviews. I know we have to. It’s a whole human resources thang. I get it. But I hate them. I hate giving them. I hate receiving mine. I just hate the whole process.

I got them done for my staff a couple weeks back. Got them done without incident, which was nice. It helped I had some new folks that were too new to review, so I was able to struggle through the few I had and get them completed.

My Lady Boss, on the other hand, has an inordinate amount of employees so it’s taken her longer. Yesterday was the last day to get ’em done, and we squeaked it in under the wire.

As usual, I walked in knowing I worked my arse off this year, and yet was scared. This happens every year. I somehow always think there’s something I’m missing. Something I failed to do. Something I did wrong and didn’t know it. So with shaking legs I sat down and took my medicine.

Like usual, it was fine. She had many nice things to say. My Lady Boss is fairly new to the department and I still don’t quite have a read on her, but now I got my report card. Now I know the teacher thinks I’m doing ok. (The best compliment was regarding the kick ass job my team did this year. They did all the work and it’s not fair I get the credit, but I’m proud as hell of each and every one of them.)

She had a couple items for “development” that were spot on, and I appreciate her feedback. She then would up the review by reminding me that in 2008 I shouldn’t argue so vocally and vehemently with (her boss) my Vice President. (I actually did this. I was angry. It was deserved. I don’t regret it. But her point was well taken. I *could* have presented my case a bit better…..)

I got a better than average rating and a slightly better than average raise. However, “slightly better than average” at this company means “just slightly above the CPI”. It’s true, I checked. But you know what? I’ll take it. My friend who also works here got NO raise. Yep. Zip, zero, zilch, nada. And he worked hard this year. So my meager increase is something. With that, I’ll get back to work and rest easy for another year, at least on that front.

Ever forward, back into battle.

Signs of the Apocalypse

(You must know going into to reading this post that I’m something of an obsessively fanatical baseball fan…..)

Yes. It is end of days. Here is proof.

1) I am about to quote from and *agree with* something printed in the Los Angeles Times. : shudder :

2) I am about to defend Yankees player Alex Rodriguez : shudder shudder shudder :

In reading ABQjournal columnist Jim Belshaw’s blog, he pointed to this article.

LA Times columnist Bill Plaschke opines about the state of “baseball etiquette” these days.

He points to a recent incident. I’ll quote this article from the New York times for the details.

“The Yankees were leading the Toronto Blue Jays by two runs in an eventual 10-5 victory when Jorge Posada lifted a lazy fly ball to third base with two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Third baseman Howie Clark camped under it, but he backed off just after Rodriguez ran slowly past him.

Rodriguez said he shouted “Ha” as he passed Clark, who was fooled into thinking that the shortstop, John McDonald, had called for the ball. When Clark backed away, the ball dropped safely onto the turf for a run-scoring single.”

The Blue Jays are ALL KINDS of fired up. Saying Alex is a poor sport (and worse). Saying what he did is “bush league”.

To quote the venerable Mike Krukow, well known announcer and former pitcher for the San Francisco Giants, “any pitch that makes it across the plate for a strike is a good pitch”. Which is sort of a variation on “it’s better to be lucky than to be good” which is what I think happened here with ARod. It was buffoonish, yes.

But it worked.

It was FAR FAR more acceptable and less against the rules than the “bitch slap heard ’round the world” from the 2004 ALCS when Alex tried to strip the ball out of Bronson Arroyo’s glove.

Ok, so he employed a little leaguer tactic.

But it worked.

And worked well. Giambi came up next and got two more runs in. And the ailing Yankees won a game after a five game slide.

It worked. It’s not against the rules. So there.

Meanwhile the Blue Jays continue to cry like little girls. If I was a Blue Jays fan I would probably be freaking OUTRAGED and calling for ARod’s head and generally crying like a little girl.

But I have to agree with all of this quote from Bill Plaschke:

“I feel major league baseball has become a league of extraordinary babies.

It’s rude to pitch inside. It’s impolite to jog slowly around the bases after a home run. It’s unseemly to steal second with a four-run lead. Don’t you dare bunt in the eighth inning of a potential no-hitter.

And, apparently, never try to distract a player trying to catch a fly ball.”

Yep. There are a lot of unwritten rules in the game. But I agree that sometimes this stuff gets out of hand. Some of these “unwritten rules” are what make the game great. But some of them are also starting to tear it down.

Maybe it’s time to hearken back to little league games where you hear “heeeey batta batta” from the outfield. Maybe these guys making multi-kabillions of dollars need to lighten up and have a little fun again. I know it’s their jobs, but it’s also the national pastime.

Meanwhile, the Yanks are still 13.5 games out of first. The Blue Jays are ahead of them in the race and the Blue Jays took the series 2-1. So what do they have to carp about?

Meanwhile, I’m enjoying watching the fall of the mighty Yankee empire……if my team has to suck, they can too……

By the way, for the record, I agree with everything in Bill Plaschke’s column except for anything said by Tommy Lasorda….I can’t condone anything out of that piece of………..

Happy Friday, folks!

“But teacher! He was *mean*!”

My Karma is Ok Today

I work for a fairly popular global company. It’s pretty well known and has managed to impact the way we look at a lot of things. It’s wild to me how people associate with the branding of this company.

In fact, my big behemoth of a company is something of a rock star.

In my many years working here, I’ve seen a LOT of people come by, whole families, mom, dad, kids and the dog, to have their picture taken in front of our corporate headquarters. More times than I can count I’ve had people ask me of there is a tour they can take. (Of what, I think…people working at their desks?).

Today I was walking back from a meeting, very thoughtful in my head, composing an email I need to send to an executive that needs to be a bit terse, but comes off as not terse. A fine line, I assure you.

I had occasion to walk by the main sign in front of our building and saw three Japanese tourists there taking photos of each other standing next to the sign.

I remembered how when I, hayseed that I am, was in New York and native New Yorkers would stop and ask if I wanted them to take the picture of me standing next to whatever thing I was taking a photo of. I thought it was SO nice and told many of them I no longer believed the bad rap that New Yorkers get for being mean. It was a love fest. And I’ve told that story to anyone who will listen.

With that in mind, I walked up to the group that was blocking the sidewalk. They turned to look at me, realized I was an employee and got a moment of “she works for the rock star” look in their eyes.

I said, “do you want me to take a picture of all of you?” while pointing and gesturing. The woman looked embarrassed and confused and looked at the man next to her. They exchanged words in their language then looked at the third man. I said again, “I’ll take a picture of all of you” and smiled as though that would somehow translate my American English. Then I began feeling bad because they didn’t understand me and I’d somehow accosted them on their vacation. I turned to walk away when the third man piped up and said “ok!” and without reservation, handed me his camera.

All grins and giggles the three piled up by the sign. I put down my books and sweater and made sure I had them in frame. I didn’t want to mess up this moment. They smiled, I smiled, the shutter went click. I looked at the LCD. It’s a nice photo of three friends, so happy to be by the sign of a company they admire, having their photo taken by an employee of the company.

I hope they have a good story to tell when they get home.