Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Clearly I Am Under-Paid

A screen grab from Indeed.com today:

Welcome Apex Minions!

Thanks for clicking over. This is my semi-personal blog, where I write about the odds and ends of life. I'm working on getting the professional website up, but as I wrote, if you wait until you're ready, you'll never do anything.

Happy reading!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Someone Has To Do It

People, at least non-kosher people, like bacon. Ergo, we have people who grow bacon. Because people really like bacon - sometimes for eating, sometimes for taping to cats (Emp. Peng., please do not get ideas; it has been done) - we need to grow bacon efficiently, which means keeping bacon growers up to date on the latest pork-producing technology and developments.

Enter the Swine Extension Specialist. Yes, apparently that is a real job, which involves waking up in the morning and putting "Evaluate pork producers' acceptance of distance education media" on one's to-do list. It's not quite taping bacon to a cat, but if you can't convince pork producers to drop in on a video conference every now and then, you'll run out of bacon, though the cat supply presumably remains unaffected.

At this point, I am, of course, imagining these people at a cocktail party.
"So, what do you do?"
"I study ways to convince hog farmers to take correspondence courses"

I am also wondering how many people bought tickets to an event called the Indiana Pork Conference and were disappointed, and why "sow" isn't a more widely accepted unit of measurement, but that's another entry entirely. One I will not be writing.

Back to the Swine Extension Specialist. Buried in the methodology section of the aforelinked study is this little gem:
To give the producers more information about distance education, a handout was developed for them to take with them and read at their leisure. The handout gave the producers general information about distance education, media used in distance education, and contacts for more information about distance education. 
As much as I would not want to have a job description like "Study ways to overcome hog farmers' objections to chatrooms," I'm doubly glad my to-do list does not include "write hog farmer swag." I'm guessing that the intern or grad assistant got that appended to his or her list.

Note to Purdue University: while I've never been to a pork producers' conference, I've been to writers' conferences and music teachers' conferences. I even managed to crash a urology conference once. As swag goes, a handout on distance education sucks. I got better swag from the urology conference, and the closest I get to being a urologist is having a urinary tract. Should you ever consider updating this study, you'll get better results with fridge magnets, mini buttons, pens or this.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Getting What I Paid For

In the course of fact-checking for work today, I discovered that my little slice of Ohio is the fourth-highest-paying city for doctors. This surprises me, because my experience with the doctors here has not led me to the conclusion that they earn that for their competence. I'd be more inclined to think that they accrue these higher-than-average salaries by starting to sneak up on patients with a prostate exam 16 years ahead of when the ACS recommends snapping the glove.

I tried the local, high-earning, doctors. That's why I now drive to Cleveland when I need a physician.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Troubleshooting Fish in a Barrel

Yesterday, Emp. Peng. procured the Rookery's sixth coffeemaker. Considering that there are only five mammals in the household and three of those are cats, this may be overkill, in the way that my jar of Skippy may contain peanuts. However, I justify the purchase because, for all of our coffeemaking technology, we did not have one with simple "Push the button, and a full pot of coffee comes out" functionality, and the kitchen is a good 15 feet from my office. Now that I'm working full time plus freelance and spec projects, bulk coffee brewing has become a matter of workflow efficiency. At my level of coffee consumption, the time for brewing each cup individually adds up.

So the Black & Decker Model DCM600W joined our house, and the coffeemakers started establishing beachheads in parts of the Rookery outside the kitchen. It's your basic $12 model with no user-serviceable parts and only one button, the one that brews the coffee, so I figured I could make a test pot before sitting down to see what the good folks at Black & Decker decided had to be included in a user manual. After the box, which blazed "Built to Last!" in huge bold letters beside the bullet point for "2-year limited warranty," I figured the manual had to be a hoot.

There comes a point when the user manual troubleshooting guide is just insulting. This one started out with:

Problem: Coffeemaker does not turn on
Possible Cause: Coffeemaker is not plugged in
Solution: Check to be sure appliance is plugged in to a working outlet and the on/off (I/O) is powered on.

That was not the insulting part. Two rows down:

Coffee is not brewing
Possible Cause: Water reservoir might be empty
Solution: Make sure water reservoir has sufficient water to brew desired cups of coffee.

That's a little insulting, but who hasn't been in the lack-of-caffeine fog and forgot to put water in? Usually, one would check the water tank, if only because the water tank is attached to the coffeemaker, making it easier to locate than the manual. The next row down takes the cake, though:

Coffeemaker brews clear water
Possible Cause: There may be no coffee grounds in removable filter basket
Solution: Add sufficient amount of coffee grounds to paper filter in removable filter basket.

That's just plain overcompensation. Like the guy driving the comically oversized SUV, the coffeemaker is full of bluster to disguise its teeny tiny ... feature list. Seriously, we had the intellectual capacity to purchase the coffeemaker. If we need to consult the troubleshooting guide to determine that, if coffee doesn't come out, we forgot to put coffee in, perhaps we shouldn't be using a coffeemaker without adult supervision or be allowed around the pointy scissors necessary to remove the zip tie from between the plug prongs.