Friday, October 31, 2008

Halloween Horrified

This Halloween was unusual because it was light out during Trick-or-Treating time. I can't remember that ever happening before. I guess Daylight savings day falls after it this year. Due to the light I was able to get a picture of what it looks like in our sub with all the kids in costume running around. Notice the Dads standing around in the street talking instead of minding the kids while the Moms hand out candy.

Tim and Jeff went as junk food, costumes which started with that Cheeseburger hat we got in the summer. Here's how that turned out.

I got to wear my witch costume and hand out candy. My favorite are the littlest children who are just starting to catch on to what Halloween is all about. There was one tiny little girl who was dressed in a fuzzy pink dinosaur costume. She held out her little plastic pumpkin to me, and her mother stood behind her, prompting:

"What do you say?"

"Twick or Tweet!" She squeaked out while her mother beamed proudly. I picked up two pieces of candy and dropped them into the bucket. She stood there while her mom waited expectantly for the next line they must have practiced. The tiny little dinosaur smiled at me, lifted her bucket a little, and said loud and clear:


The horrified look on the mother's face was priceless, and I got my laugh for the night.


Thursday, October 30, 2008

GM just won't be the same

If you've been paying any attention at all to the news, you'll have noticed that General Motors is going though some tough times these days. Sales are way down, the stock price is as low as was last seen in the 1950s, and there's speculation that it could run out of operating cash in 2009. The company is seeking money from the US government, and there are talks going on that could result in a merger with Chrysler. Nobody seems to know what the future holds for GM except that it just won't be the same.

Most of the time at work it seems just like any other day, but there are signs of change. For example, I just got an email stating that they will be shutting down the escalators at the VEC. This is huge, it really is. Those escalators have been there probably longer than I have been alive. I first experienced them when I worked in what was then the Fisher Body Building in 1985 as a summer intern. They have this distinctive noise, and a sort of an oily smell, and for a while one of them had a little plexiglass window where you could look in and see the workings on the inside. The engineers liked to do that.

Over the years the building has been repeatedly renamed and remodeled, but the escalators remained. Periodically there would be times when we were commanded to come up with cost savings ideas for the company, and just about everyone would submit the suggestion to turn off the escalators. There are other ways to get up to the second floor, and the things seemed to be under repair about as often as they were running. Legends began to circulate about why they just wouldn't shut them down. Some thought it was in the Union agreement for the repair guys. Others speculated about some kind of accessibility law. It was what you talked about as you escorted visitors to the conference rooms. But not anymore. And GM just won't be the same.

Also, as part of a Turnaround Plan that was announced in July, a huge wave of people are leaving the company, mostly retirements. For the past few weeks I have been getting emails filled with names of people that will be leaving, and it is with some sadness that I notice the ones that have meaning to me. The first boss that I had as a jobbie out of college. The director who hired me back from Chrysler. The guy who taught me about seatbelts. My last two managers in engineering. Many people that I'd worked with in one way or another over the years, and several of the friends I've made since arriving at my current job. And on my instant messenger screen I will never again see a green dot next to the name of my pal JJS. I'm happy for all of them as they move on to their next thing, but for me, GM just won't be the same.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Iceberg, straight ahead

I was working from home and it was nice and quiet without the kids around. Almost too quiet for me, so at lunchtime I heated up a piece of leftover pizza (chicken with feta!) and turned on the T.V. for some company. The news was all about the global economic crisis, and I wasn't in the mood for that, so I flipped the channels looking for something else and came across the movie Titanic already in progress.

It was the black and white 1953 version. Barbara Stanwyk is in it. I think she is just so beautiful and glamorous. I turned it on just as the fake-looking ship was heading towards the fake-looking iceberg. They show the people on the ship noticing the jolt, and kind of saying "did something just happen?" and then going back to playing cards, and singing around the piano. Then it cuts to the scene in the boiler room where water is gushing and slamming the boiler guys into the walls. Then they showed the people milling around on the deck, not really wanting to get into the lifeboats, still unsure of what was happening, thinking maybe it was just a precaution. And it's so profound because of course you know what is going to happen, and they don't yet, and are therefore concerning themselves with the insignificant details that will not matter at all when the ship goes down.

I decided that I wasn't really in the mood to watch this either, and since I'd finished my pizza I turned off the TV, put the dish in the sink, and got back to work.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Buy a Car

GM is currently allowing it's employees to offer the employee discount to up to two friends or neighbors. (They didn't say it, but I'm going to include: Blog Readers!) If you are in the market for a new vehicle, and want to use this, let me know. (Ends Nov 3)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Pretty Pink Princess

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Fall Colors

After a week of overwhelming news events, we got something here in Michigan that has nothing to do with the economy or politics. A spectacular warm fall weekend.

The English Language doesn't have enough words to describe the colors I saw, such as:

The gleam off the band instruments as they marched by in the homecoming parade.

The big bright lights shining down onto the blue uniforms of the football players, cheerleaders, and a crowd containing most of our town acting out the high school homecoming football rituals that could be anywhere in any year.

The glittering dresses and black tuxedos that I saw as a crowd of teenagers gathered in front of a nearby house, getting ready for the big dance.

The glistening chrome on Darrin's motorcycle.

The GREEN and WHITE on our TV screen as the Spartans won another one, Go State!

The silvery gray of the water and the sky as I took a turn around our lake in my kayak just after the sun set, with a bright white almost full moon glowing high above.

The blaze of a backyard bonfire, and the toasty tan on the marshmallows hovering above it.

The speckled pattern of the sunlight coming through the trees onto the brown dirt roads as Timmy and I cycled along the back roads of Clarkston in the "Back 40 Challenge."

The murky orange of a cup of fresh apple cider.

The yellow and black backs of the wasps swarming over the donuts.

The orange of the pumpkins piled up at farm stands, waiting to be picked.

A sky so vibrantly blue it almost looked fake.

Oh, and these:

Saturday, October 4, 2008

dough-nu matic

Who wouldn't want this:

It makes little donuts right there on the counter-top.

There used to be a mini-donut stand at Tiger Stadium and that basket of freshly fried minis dipped in chocolate was one of the best things I've ever eaten. And then this year it was gone. I know because I walked around the entire perimeter of the stadium, twice, searching for it.

Now the family will know what to get me for Christmas. I also think this could be solution to our nation's economic problems. The perfect invention. Someday we will wonder what the world was like before this thing was around. Kind of like crocs.