Tuesday, February 28, 2006


At worst, I think feet are ugly; comical looking at best. I've heard of some men with foot fetishes, who get off on women's feet and shoes, but I just can't see it. Feet are a utilitarian body part, not a sexual one. I don't even like giving foot rubs, let alone involving them in my sex life.

Women in high heels don't do a thing for me; all I can think of is how foolish they are to balance their weight on a tiny square of wood, how much their feet hurt, and how having one's feet cramped into a pointy little box on stilts make women's feet even uglier after years of wearing them, with hammer toes, corns, calluses, and bunions.

I'm rather fussy about my own feet. Shoes have to be comfortable, or they don't go on my feet. I don't wear nylon dress socks because they don't let my feet breathe and make my feet feel nasty. I wear only black socks because:

Black socks, they never get dirty
The longer you wear them, the blacker they get
Sometimes, I think of the laundry
But sometimes inside me says
No, not just yet.

(Just kidding). I wear black socks because I hate white clothing of any kind and black socks go with black shoes.

I went barefoot all the time as a kid. I ran around outside all day with no shoes, even climbed trees that way. I marvel now that it never bothered me to cross the asphalted street during the summer -- kids have tough little feet, I guess.

As an adult, I rarely, if ever, go barefoot, especially outside. I remember one time as a young adult, running after my son in the yard and I ran into a pipe sticking out of the ground, breaking my first toe after the big one. About a year later, I opened the refrigerator door and a jar of pickles fell on the other foot, breaking the big toe. In both cases, I didn't go to the doctor, but simple favored my weight on my heel until it healed.

Two years ago, on my birthday, I went outside barefoot to get the mail, too lazy to put my shoes on. Big mistake. I ended up stepping on a rusty tack, which went all the way into my heel. I pried it out, but had to go to the health department for a tetanus shot.

So, I've usually got my shoes or slippers on. Safer that way.

Let's hear your foot stories.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

Language, Names, and Preconceptions

John Sherck had an entry today where he refers to age-related perceptions. In another part of the same entry, he refers to "hot girls", meaning, of course, "sexy girls". Though this phrase had no relation to the subject of age and perceptions in his post, the two topics were immediately related for me.

I've never referred to sexy women as being "hot". I'm guessing this is partially because the word wasn't used much in this fashion when I was a teen, except, perhaps, for the expression "hot to trot", and even that wasn't used all that often. Secondly, and more to the point, I avoid this term because I have negative associations with the word "hot" -- sweating on a sweltering summer day, etc. Whenever I hear of a "hot woman", I think of a stinky woman with sweat rolling off her nose and I want to give her an air conditioner -- I don't associate it with sexiness at all!

This is very similar to how the word "gay" changed meanings over the course of the 20th century. I'm sure that when my parents sang the phrase, "Don we now our gay apparel" in the Christmas carol, "Deck the Halls", they didn't laugh or feel embarrassed about it in the slightest, as "gay" only met "festive" and "happy" back when they were kids.

On a slightly different note, I've always had certain preconceived notions when I hear certain first names. None of this is terribly rational, but yet the associations happen.

When I hear the name "Rebecca" or "Becky", I always think of a fundamentalist farm girl. I know a Becky who is neither of these things, but she agrees with me and understands the assumption perfectly

I've never met a "Ray" that I've ever liked; every one I've ever known has had an Archie Bunker personality. Nearly every "Bob" I've ever met has been an inept bumbler. And though I had a extremely competent Bob as a supervisor on the PD, I can't get the notion out of my head. Its the "What About Bob" syndrome, I'm guessing.

If I meet a woman whose name has a "cute" spelling, such as "Cindee" for "Cindy", "Wendee" or "Wendi" for "Wendy", I automatically think "bubblebrained airhead".

"Josh" and "Noah" sound babyish to me, and I can't imagine a grown man with those names. "Martha" and "Ruth" sound like old lady names. But I'm guessing, I'd rather have a name I'd have to grown into than be saddled with one I'd grown out of. Can you imagine taking a sixty-five year old "Candee" seriously?

Classic names, such as "John", "James", "Paul", "William", "Joseph", "Mary", "Jane", "Anna", etc, all sound solid and reliable to me, as well as fitting their bearers from cradle to grave.

It is relatively easy to guess the ages of people who were given names that were trendy at the time of their births. "Linda" was a popular name in the late 40s and early 50s, so you'll meet a lot of women in their mid to late fifties with that name. My high school class had 18 "Deborahs", 13 "Cynthias", and 10 "Karens", the trendy names of the late 50s. Because the actresses Gloria Swanson and Marie Dressler were popular in the 1920s, there were lots of little girls named Gloria and Marie in that decade, my mother and aunt being among them. This, too, will happen to the horde of "Brittanys", "Kaylas", "Madisons", etc in various stages of childhood now.

Let's hear some of your word and name preconceptions.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Times A-Wastin'

Most jobs have dead spots during the work day when workers have nothing constructive to do. Instead of risking being caught doing nothing and either being chastised or given pointless busy work to do, some workers have mastered the art of creatively wasting time. That is, they know how to look busy, while actually doing nothing.

Having worked in many jobs with lots of dead time, I've pretty well mastered the fine art of time wasting. Which method I use depends on the type of job and the expected amount of downtime available.

On the police force, in patrol cars, there's not usually a whole lot of actual downtime. But as we were assigned to particular zones and not the entire city, sometimes on a quiet second or third shift night, there wasn't a whole hell of a lot to do after driving through our zones, checking things out. Though we'd ride through and check the area more than once, in between rounds there were opportunities for a bit of goldbricking,which typically took the form of stopping at convenience stores and chatting with the clerks, returning to the station to chat with the dispatchers and jailers and taking our time in the bathrooms. There were some on third shift who even pulled into secluded alleys to park and catch 40 winks. I never slept on duty, but now and then I did engage in a few quickies on a dead night, an example of which you can read on my explicit blog.

When working the desk, there were plenty of ways to waste time. Because there were few higher ups in the station on second and third shifts, one could waste time while not worrying about looking busy. As long as someone remained at or near their posts, inside workers were free to read books, use the phone, play gameboys, etc. Of course, if someone came into the station needing help, we were to stow all the evidence of nonworking activities immediately.

In plant/factory jobs, the tactics differ somewhat. In a plant, when there is a downtime, either because of a machine being repaired or simply waiting for more work to arrive, usually those waiting are expected to clean their area. Usually, the area was already clean from recent previous downtimes, and all that needed to be done was a minimal amount of sweeping. Once we were done with that, there was nothing to do but wait. The higher ups, who'd never worked at our level, couldn't quite get this, and couldn't stand to see people not doing anything, even if there was nothing to do. So, we all found ways to look busy so not to attract any supervisor's negative attention.

There were those who walked around with clipboards, brooms, pallet jacks, carts, etc looking like they were doing something. The key to success with this maneuver was not to stay in one spot too long, but to keep moving around the plant, avoiding supervisory types. If one happened by, one swept a bit, stopping when they were out of sight. If one had nothing in their hands to mime working with, you could always bend over and pick up a piece of invisible trash.

Another key to successful time wasting is to stay out of sight. In addition to keeping moving, avoiding supervisors as mentioned above, one can take extended bathroom breaks and simply hide until the downtime is over. I would find a newspaper, lock myself in a stall, and settle in for awhile. Judging by the amount of people coming in and out, I could usually guess when it was time to return to my station.

Still another tactic was to visit human resources and ask them questions about various things: your insurance, apply for a different position in the plant, whatever. This was one where you couldn't get into trouble, as we were encouraged to bring our concerns to HR at such times.

One could also visit the medical station to get an aspirin, bandaid, whatever. As this station was on the opposite side of the plant from where I worked, this involved a nice little walk, where I could also stop in the bathroom, visit a vending machine, chat with those in other departments, etc.

In the plant I worked at, a visit to one's car was also a possibility. This was a favorite tactic of smokers, who went there to smoke or use their cell phones.

These are a few of my typical time wasting tactics. What are some of yours?

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Looking For a New Home and New Neighbors

Astronomers looking for intelligent extraterrestrial life and habitable Earthlike planets have narrowed down their focus to ten star systems.

The criteria for their choices were naturally systems that are similar to our own, with the stars being about the same age, composition, and size of our own, which would make the existence of Earthlike planets orbiting them more likely.

Margaret Turnbull of the Carnegie Institution of Washington released her "top 10" list of potential stars to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The stars on the list will be the first targets of NASA's Terrestrial Planet Finder, a system of two orbiting observatories scheduled for launch in 2014 and 2020.

The stars on the list are:

Five top candidate stars for those listening for radio signals from intelligent civilizations:

1. beta CVn:
A sun-like star about 26 light-years away in the constellation Canes Venatici (the Hound Dogs).

2. HD 10307:
A star about 42 light-years away.

3. HD 211415:
About half the metal content of sun and a bit cooler, this star is in just a little farther away than HD 10307.

4. 18 Sco:
The star, in the constellation Scorpio, is almost an identical twin to our sun.

5. 51 Pegasus:
In 1995, Swiss astronomers reported they had detected the first planet beyond our solar system in orbit around 51 Pegasus.

Five candidates for those trying to detect Earth-like planets in orbit around nearby stars:

1. epsilon Indi A: A star only about one-tenth as bright as the sun. It is about 11.8 light-years away in the constellation Indus.

2. epsilon Eridani:
A star somewhat smaller and cooler than our sun, located about 10.5 light-years away in the constellation Eridanus (the River).

3. omicron2 Eridani:
A yellow-orange star about 16 light-years away, roughly the same age as our sun.

4. alpha Centauri B:
Long considered one of the places in the Milky Way that might offer terrestrial conditions. This star is part of a triple star system.

5. tau Ceti: A G-class star with the same brightness category as our sun.

Several years ago, I read that the fictional planet Vulcan from Star Trek was supposed to be located in the Epsilon Eridani system. I think it would be quite appropriate if fiction were to become partially fact in this instance.

I just hope to live long enough to see some of this research bear fruit.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Stupid Store Policy

This evening, I went to the bookstore to browse around awhile. I'd not been in some time and I'd gotten an email from the bookstore, advising me of a 30% off sale for President's Day for all those who had bought the store's discount cards, which was enough of an incentive to get me in there.

I looked around a bit and finally found something I wanted to read. When I brought it to the register, I reminded the cashier of the sale. She said I would have had to have printed out a copy of the email with a coupon on it in order to get the sale.

I told her I didn't have a working printer, and that there was no way I'd have known about the sale if I'd not actually gotten the email, as there were no signs in the store advertising it. She called the manager and he said I needed the computer-printed coupon in order to get the sale.

I said that they used to send out snail mail coupons but I'd not been getting them for some time. The manager affirmed what I said, saying the company has discontinued sending the postal mail coupons.

I countered that not everyone with a store discount card has a computer and not all those with computers have printers, and that there was no point in sending emails notifying of sales, if the sales were not available to everyone who had a discount card. I added that discontinuing the postal mail coupons was fixing a problem that wasn't broken and that they should resume the practice or at least allow customers to choose the option of either email or snail mail coupons when they bought their discount cards.

The manager conceded my point and allowed me to get the book at the sale price, but I could tell he wasn't happy about it.


Friday, February 17, 2006

Disposable Workers

I first heard of "temp" work back in the early 80s. Back then, the purpose of temporary employment was normally different than it is now. People who took temp jobs back then usually were not looking for full time jobs; they typically took such jobs to earn extra money for a specific purpose, teachers working over summer holidays, those, such as housewives and college students, who only wanted to work now and then, and the like. Those wanting full time employment found jobs in the traditional manner, being hired as permanent employees directly after a successful interview.

Employers used temp agencies much more sparingly than they do now. The most common reason they hired temps was when a permanent employee would be out of work on an extended basis because of illness, maternity leave, and so on.

Nowadays, temping is big business. The traditional type of temp workers still exist, but increasingly, people looking for full time work are resorting, usually reluctantly, to temporary work. This is because many companies, particularly in the blue collar sector, have ceased hiring in the traditional manner. Instead, they hire large quantities of temps, with the temporary workers sometimes outnumbering the permanent ones.

Initially, this shift happened to enable employers to hire people in a "try before you buy" manner. That is, a person was placed in a company as a temporary worker for a fixed amount of time, usually 90 days, in which time they'd be trained. Temp workers were paid about two-thirds the salary of a permanent worker doing the same job and did not receive benefits. Such jobs were advertised as "temp-to-perm", which meant that at the end of the 90 days, a successful trainee would be hired permanently, gaining full benefits at that time.

Naturally, because of the greed that is ubiquitous in our society, abuses of the "try before you buy" system soon overcame the original purpose. Companies began firing temps on their 89th day, then hiring them back as "new" temps to keep from having to hire them permanently and give them benefits. "Contract" temping came into being; that is, companies used people as temps for an unspecified period of time, which can and does extend for years.

Many companies now regularly operate in this manner: a small core of permanent workers with benefits, and a larger underclass of temp workers. The companies do this to keep from having to pay benefits for all their workers and in times of production slow downs, they can eliminate the temps easily, only to hire them back when business picks up again.

After leaving the police force a decade ago, I ran into this stone wall of temp working. All the companies I applied to informed me that I'd have to temp first before being considered for permanent employment. I ended up temping for five long years before one company finally hired me and I encountered all the abuses outlined above. I was at this one company nearly two years and when they no longer could give me any plausible excuses not to hire me permanently, they told me I "wasn't working out" and let me go. It took them two years to decide I "wasn't working out". Heh -- bullshit!

Another guy I worked with was screwed over even more dramatically than I was. He'd worked for fifteen years for one company when they suddenly went bankrupt. He then got stuck on the temp-go-round much as I did, getting mired in years of this type of underemployment. We both ended up at the same companies during that time, as we worked for the same agency. Supervisors wherever we worked praised him as a hard worker and he was a valued employee, usually better than the permanent employees. He was never late, never out sick, and quick to volunteer for any task.

He was married with a small daughter. Both he and his wife worked full time, as him losing his long time job had put a big dent in their finances. His wife had a permanent job with full benefits. He worked second shift and she worked third, so that there would always be someone at home to watch their daughter. There was an overlap of about an hour from the time his wife left home for work and when he would arrive home after finishing work, so they'd hired a babysitter to fill that small gap.

One week, the babysitter suddenly quit without notice. He explained at work that he'd need to leave work an hour early each night for a few days until he could line up a new babysitter, adding that he'd be willing to come in an hour early each night to make up for the lost time. This was a practical solution, as the plant was a round the clock operation.

Despite his excellent record, the company immediately fired him, expecting him to choose his job over his child. They even told him that his wife should have been doing that; that it was her responsibility! He and his wife had decided he would do it because her job was the one with the benefits. At any rate, how they chose to handle it was their own business.

My coworker's story is a typical one among the growing underclass of undermployed, disposable temporary workers. What was once a good idea has turned into a monster.


Saturday, February 11, 2006

Marriage vs Close Friendship

The other night, I was listening to the radio when a woman called to make a dedication to her husband. She mentioned that he was a quadriplegic and added that he was this way when she met him.

This one made me scratch my head in amazement. It's one thing to remain married to a spouse who became this way during the course of a marriage, but it's quite another to marry someone who was already so severely handicapped.

I am presuming that they view monogamy applying to them just like anyone else; rather, applying to her, as he's quite incapable of initiating sex with her or anyone else. In other words, entering this marriage, she is tacitly agreeing to give up sex and the possibility of having children for the rest of her life, because he is incapable of normal sexual relations. And I can't imagine any woman with a normal sex drive, being satisfied with "just cuddling" for the next fifty years or so.

This just blows my mind.
To expect monogamy in this case, as is expected when both partners are capable of engaging in normal relations, is just a sick joke to me. The only way I could see this essentially brother/sister type of "marriage" working is if the woman has an extremely low or nonexistent sex drive and has no desire to have any children.

Otherwise, why marriage? Why could they have not simply had a very close, emotionally loving friendship? Why is friendship seen as a lower form of relationship? It seems to me if he loves her that much, then he'd not allow her to make such a big sacrifice for the rest of her life, and either insist on keeping the relationship one of close friends or agreeing to waive the monogamy part of it.

Some might say they got married so that she could put him on her insurance, or for some other practical reason. If this is so, then that's all the more reason to waive the monogamy expectation.

At any rate, I could never be that much of a saint. I understand her loving him emotionally, but I don't agree that the most appropriate way to express it in this case is in a legal, monogamous marriage.

I imagine I'm going to get hammered on this one, but these are my honest feelings on the matter.

Thursday, February 9, 2006


Like many people, I daydream a good bit, especially when I'm doing something that's boring or when I'm in a waiting mode.

Not surprisingly, the subject of my daydreaming is most often about sex; who I've been with, who I'm going to be with, who I want to be with, and those whom I'll never be with.

But you all knew that, so the focus of this entry will not be about my sexual fantasies. Rather, I'll tell you some of my less typical daydreams.

When driving my car, I frequently listen carefully to the music that's on the radio and with each song, I imagine how people from various time periods would think of it. I consider if they'd like the tune itself, but more often, I think of how much of the lyrics would make sense to them. Many songs, of course, do not pass the time test, talking about cars, phones, and other modern technology and, of course, much of the slang would be incomprehensible. Fairly often, however, I find a song where all, or nearly all the words, could be understood by someone two hundred years ago, even if the music seemed odd to them.

Most of the time, I imagine how an average person from various times in history would view the music, but other times, I wonder what Beethoven, Mozart, etc would think of certain songs. I'm guessing they'd not like it, taken as a whole, but I'm thinking they'd like certain elements. Probably they'd like being able to compose for modern musical instruments.

Another related daydream is to carefully note my surroundings as I'm driving along and wonder what these same people would think of that. Naturally, the technology would catch their eyes first, amazing them. I'd wonder if the actual "future" would match what they'd imagine it would be. Of course, there would be other things they'd be disappointed in; the pollution, the crowding, etc.

I also wonder how long it would take my mother to realize she was 35 years in the future, if she were suddenly plopped down next to me. Of course, the cars would be a dead giveaway, but I'm thinking if she were to appear in a spot where no cars were visible; somewhere inside, perhaps a store or a restaurant. Then I think of what she'd notice first

Another daydream is to imagine that I'm invisible and of how I'd add various items of clothing to make myself visible. I'd start with very long socks, continue to a long sleeved turtleneck, pants, shoes, gloves, a long haired wig, huge sunglasses, fake beard and mustache, colored contact lenses. I'd probably have to resort to makeup to make the rest of my face visible, however, as that would likely be more practical than wearing a ski mask.

All of these daydreams, I've also used as insomnia remedies when the need has arisen.

What are some of your favorite daydreams, besides the usual sexual ones?

Monday, February 6, 2006

Thoughts on Makeup

I've always preferred women who wear little or no makeup. Heavily made up women seem as if they're trying too hard. There's nothing sexier to me than a woman with a clean, just-out-of-the-shower face, wearing no cosmetics beyond a light scent of perfume or cologne.

This doesn't mean I won't see a woman who wears makeup, as few women have the courage to buck the societal expectation that women should always wear makeup when out in public. But anything beyond a moderate amount is not appealing to me as I find the Tammy Faye Bakker and Mimi from the Drew Carey Show types to be a big turnoff.

I've never quite understood why black gunk outlining the eyes and coating the lashes is supposed to look so good, as I can't help but think of raccoons every time I see a heavy handed application of this kind of cosmetic.

Similarly, I've never gotten why painting the eyelids, sometimes all the way up to the brows, purple, blue, green, etc is more attractive that one's own normal skin color.

When I lived in Dallas in the 1980s, some women applied blush to their cheeks so severely that it looked as if someone had punched them hard on both sides of their faces. Nope, the battered woman look doesn't do it for me, either.

On the other side of the spectrum, I've heard of makeup companies promoting the "Natural Look"; in other words, making it look as if one is not wearing any makeup at all. I can do them one better than that -- to acheive a natural look, try not wearing any makeup at all! That's about as natural as you can get and it will save a woman a ton in money not having to buy all that makeup.

Wearing makeup to make it look as if one is not wearing any makeup at all makes about as much sense as washing your dishes before putting them into the dishwasher!

I've noticed that women who regularly wear makeup come in three rough categories.

There are those who wear it because they truly enjoy it and find it to be a creative and artistic endeavor. This type I have little problem with, as such women generally know that a little goes a long way and they use it tastefully. Such women also do not wear it compulsively and are just at home with themselves when engaging in activities without makeup.

Then there are women who wear it simply to conform and to go along with society's expectations for women. The choice whether or not to wear makeup is not one they've consciously considered; to them, they wear makeup because they think it's part of being a woman. Such women typically run the gamut as to how much they wear, from just a little lipstick to Tammy Faye Bakker garish, many times depending on their social group. I would imagine that the majority of makeup wearing women fall into this category.

And, then there's the last group, women with self esteem problems. Women in this group are almost always heavily made up when out in public. Such women speak of "putting their face on", as if their natural un-madeup faces take away their identities and make them anonymous. It also presumes a belief that women are naturally ugly and are not good enough just as they were made; that they are always in need of "enhancement".

I've even known women who will not go out to the mailbox, unless they are completely made up. In an extreme instance, I read that Tammy Faye Bakker even went to bed with all that crap over her face, as she was afraid of Jim seeing how she looked naturally. To me, that's sad and pathetic.

I've noticed that the heavier makeup a woman wears, the more likely that she'll be high maintenance -- and high maintenance is a deal breaker for me. I want a woman I can grab and kiss, not one who is worried about me smearing her makeup and mussing her hair. I don't see how some women can go around all the time not being able to rub their eyes when they're tired, scratch their face if it itches, for fear of messing the makeup -- it has to be a straightjacket of sorts.

And let me tell you, that kissing a woman with a lot of makeup on is not a pleasant experience, as I'm not partial to getting a mouthful of perfumed sand or grease. Blech.

To sum it up, I hate makeup because it's greasy, it's gritty, it's gaudy, and it stinks!