Friday, September 29, 2006

Me Can Account

Final grades were mailed out for my financial analysis for managers 1 class. Thought I'd share the grade of the class that I hated with a passion.

Your Grade:

Week One: 12/12 points = 100% = A
Week Two: 17/17 = 100% = A
Week Three: 22/22 = 100% = A
Week Four: 22/22 = 100% = A
Week Five: 27/27 = 100% = A

Final Grade: 100% = A

Comments from the teacher:

Text Exercises and Problems: Your answers showed a level of understanding that portrays an overall understanding of the concepts.
Comments: You did a nice job on your ethics article review. I have no additional improvements to suggest.
You did a GREAT job in this class!! Good luck to you!!

Yea. Now I hope to do as well in financial analysis for managers 2. This week's topic: overdraft fees. I can barely contain my excitement.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Stream of Consciousness (Did you know that Blogger actually limits how long your title can be?)

I don't want to call this post "Life Update" so I think I'm going to go with Stream of Consciousness induced by two days of being sick and couped up in my apartment

The past two days I have called in sick to work. Don't be alarmed, it's nothing major but still, work was not the place for me to be. I've slept badly the past three nights and I'm hoping I get a better set of winks tonight. I have to work tomorrow, my team has a meeting. I'm also sure the emails have flooded my inbox and that my desk is buried in paperwork. A project that I want rolled out by October 1 is on the list of priorities. Steve's back from vacation and I've spoken to him twice on the phone, telling him I wouldn't be there, but I haven't got to ask him how his trip was. Yuck.

Besides the bad sleep, I've felt yuck around my abdomen, which is why I haven't slept well. I'm going no farther to explain.

Sitting at home, staring at walls, drives be absolutely crazy. Once in awhile, I'll get a boost of energy and at least have been fairly productive during those bursts. I've reorganized one of my hall closets (things actually fit now - no more spilling out into the hallway!), emptied some boxes for DM to use in moving (read as cleared up my living room quite a bit), and organized my scrapping area. Besides DM's piles of stickers and paper set haphazardly, it looks pretty good. When DM comes over this weekend, she'll be pleasantly surprised at the room in that area.

I have been in the process of getting rid of piles and piles of excess scrapbooking magazines (parts without layout ideas) and hauled quite a few bags of garbage to the dumpster. There was a bad moment when one of the bags ripped open in the lobby and I had to run back upstairs to get more bags and then pick up random bits of paper. It's all that odd cardstock/shiny stuff and I don't have a place to recylce it here. Bah! At least when the bag ripped it wasn't full of rotten food and liquid.

About the only interesting (and that's debatable) part of these past two days was when my cell phone started beeping to tell me someone text messaged me. It was not a person I expected. Although, I should have because it's been a few months since he called. I only know one person who would ever send a message stating, "Yo yo how are you? doing" It's just great being in someone's little black book phone. Give it 6 more months and I'll hear from him again. He's in that stage of his life that I would refer to as the "job hopping stage." Former banker he now boasts working in sales for a construction company. A year ago, he was closing on mortgages for meth addicts. I think this new job is a step up. Maybe. The conversation over text message was kept rather short and he pretty much caught me up on his life. I didn't offer any info on mine.

I found an gift certificate that I had and used it. To accidentally purchase a DVD set I already own. Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. I think the stress finally got to me. In my defense, I had originally planned on purchasing the item from Amazon with this certificate and then bought it in a store because I didn't have it. When I checked out online, I forgot to remove it from my cart. Damn.

I'm thinking about doing another post tonight for thirteen Thursday. I'm thinking. If you see it, I did it. How's that for a deal?

What does one do with 300+ floppy disks for an "A" drive when the last four computers that person has owned has not been compatible? I suppose I could purchase an external "A" drive and see what is actually on these disks, but I doubt the files are not even compatible to my system. Well, I suppose I can do the same thing with the disks that I've done for the last 8 years: put them back in a box at the bottom of the closet.

At one point in time, I thought that saving every single plastic bag that scrapping supplies came in would prove useful. What was useful was the actual mass organization system that I bought. Say goodbye to little plastic bags. I did.

I have no idea My father is a pack rat. That's where I got this problem I seem to have. Going through things the past two days, I have found more stuff that I thought I might need someday, you know, if the world was destroyed and I'd be forced to live in my apartment with no option to leave for thirteen years. Besides only having about a month's worth of toilet paper, I have enough supplies to entertain myself and keep myself smelling nice and fresh for years. The closet seemed to have 5 bottles of lotion (which I can't stand to put on), 3 bottles of body spray, 22 bottles of nail polish, 15 eye liner pencils, four boxes of bandages, 3 boxes of jewelry, over 100 scrunchies, and at least 7 bottles of hair goo. Now, I use the same three scrunchies over and over, rarely wear jewelry, and wear make up about once a year. The bandages seem to be the most useful things in the closet. ARGH! Don't get me started on my kitchen cupboards. No one ever needs 8 cans of creamed corn.

At my dad's on Monday, I found a box from my college days. In it was a 3-ring binder containing EVERY SINGLE report I wrote during my grade school years. Just in case I ever need to show someone the report I wrote on a Mary Higgins Clark book in the 7th grade.

I am pretty sure this is a disease people. And it is genetic. Because I do have in my possession a report my dad wrote in the 4th grade about outer space. Before men walked on the moon. Yep, that's my family.

Speaking of my family, I got a bit of news recently. My grandfather (I've known about this for awhile actually but haven't mentioned it) has some form of cancer and has been going in for chemo. 99.9% of cases like his, caught when his was caught, are cured. So, besides his boredom of being hooked up to a machine for a few hours and having his already thin hair fall out, not much is different. Except the fact that my grandmother now drives him to and from the hospital. That's where my whole family is worried. This woman got stuck on a cloverleaf for over 20 minutes one time because she doesn't know how to merge. I hope she's taking side streets.

My cousin, Chris, has been going in for dialysis for a few years now. He's decided it is time to go back on the list for a kidney donor. I got an email that said something about a bovine implant for a stint? I think that's right. Interesting. I like Chris. He really is a good guy.

His brother, and also my cousin, Matt sold his house and made quite a bit of profit on it. Good for him I guess. He needs something happy. I say this because his wife left him for another man, twenty years her senior. He's got two kids and I've met one of them. I happened to be in Waterloo the day that kid was born. I tend to forget their names. This is absolutely terrible! I was going through pictures and remembering what it was like to actually spend time with this side of my family. They were cool when I was little. Now I like my aunt, Diane, and my cousin, Chris.

Months ago, I purchased, "The Colorado Kid," an audio book written by Stephen King. I bought it because I love Stephen King and hadn't seen the book in stores. I listened to it today. It's a mystery, no horror, from the master of storytelling. It was pretty good and I could definitely tell it was a King story.

My next class has started. Finance Part Deux. This one will actually get into present value tables and I'm not looking forward to it. Final grades for the first torture session class have not been distributed yet, but unless I got marked down during the last week, I should come away with an "A". I was at 100% at the end of week 4. I slammed the slackers idiots my former group members in the evaluation. I only consider that fair since I pretty much wrote all the papers and had to edit them too. I hate them all. I still hate them all. (By the way, this is meant to be funny. While they did nothing, I am done with the class and ready to let it go. Unlike the grudge I still hold over my cousin James for his provoking me when I was 8 or 9, causing me to lose patience with him after 20 minutes, hitting him with the heel of a stilleto in his arm, which my mom made me apologize for and make him a sandwich. He deserved it! Ellen even said so. Bah! See, the group members are getting off easy. They're just getting a grade higher than that of what they deserve.)

Well, that's enough rambling for tonight. I have decided not to complete a Thirteen Thursday post. Call it laziness, call it deciding that I am going to have something of content on this site again soon. One of these days. Maybe in 2008.

Sunday, September 24, 2006


Back in August, DM and I traveled to a small Wisconsin town to go to the 20th anniversary party for my aunt/godmother and uncle. In 1986, I was the flower girl in the wedding and I do like this part of my family. My mom, her boyfriend, and my cousins, Ellen and Brad, were all going to be there. We had a great time and I've been meaning to post about the trip for some time now.

While I'm still not conscious enough to write up that post (school is killing my brain, just so you know), I do have a few pictures that I put together after the trip. I wanted to share a couple of the campfire my mom & Scott had at their campsite.

I call this one, "Painted Fire."
painted fire


Also, if you didn't notice (because that would be quite odd not to), I played with my template again. I'm not entirely pleased with it yet, but I did change the colors and messed with the sidebar. I removed some pictures (hopefully to make room for more soon). I also deleted some really old, useless blog links and toys. I also updated my links list. If I missed you, let me know and I'll correct it.

What do you think? I'm still thinking of a new banner. It might get done during my week off of work at the end of October.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Interviewing Tips #2

Conducting interviews is an opportunity to see and hear exactly what a person should and should not do during a job interview. And sometimes, it is quite amusing to witness the mistakes people make during an interview. To share the enjoyment, I am going to start posting examples of what NOT to do during an interview if you do want to impress the interviewer. In a previous post, I wrote:

  • Turn off your cellular phone. If you do happen to forget to turn it off, don't take the call.
  • Bring in your identification card. Most companies do require some form of identification and some require background checks that require your ID number.
  • Speak clearly. Mumbling while interviewing for a phone job does not score you points.
  • Use complete sentences. Even if the environment is not professional, act like you are a professional.
  • After the interviewer has explained that employees are rated on how quickly they can help customers, do not proceed to take 10 minutes to answer every question. Repeating yourself over and over does not make you look better.
  • When you are the one making the interview last for over two hours because you can't shut up, do NOT complain about how long the interview is taking.
  • Answer the questions asked. Pulling random facts that do not relate into the answer does not help.
  • Researching the company you are interviewing is a good idea. When you only quote the website to the interviewer and offer no concrete examples of how you meet the company's vision, you do not sound like a fit for the job. Research is not the only thing we [interviewers] look at.
  • Telling an interviewer that your answer to every challenge is to give the call to a supervisor does not promote you as a competent individual.

If that is not enough, I offer some more/new suggestions:

  • You are one person and it is proper to refer to yourself as, "I," or "me." While highly amusing, referring to yourself in third person does not score points. Adding the word "the" in front of your name makes you sound egotistical and/or idiotic. For example, do not use phrases like, "The people like to talk to the Beth because the Beth is a good person and the people like the Beth."
  • When asked a question about your skills, answering in numbers makes no sense. For example, if I ask you, "What makes you successful at [activity]?" it is not considered appropriate to answer, "Five and a half." When I ask for clarification, repeating the words, "Five and a half," makes no sense.
  • Bringing up the subject of bowel movements is taboo. The interviewer does not care that you called in sick at your last job because you had diarrhea. That's too much information.
  • Dress appropriately. If in doubt, overdress for the interview. T-shirts, flip-flops, holy/ripped jeans, and/or baseball caps are never appropriate for a business job.
  • When the interviewer asks how many days you feel it is appropriate to call in sick each year, your answer should not be in the twenties. It is also not appropriate (while maybe honest) to tell the interviewer that you would call in just because you didn't feel like coming to work that day.
  • Stealing from companies will not get you a job. Telling an interviewer that it is "okay to steal office supplies as long as it isn't cases of them," is not good.
  • As for resumes, have someone proofread it for you. Changing your formatting mid-resume is not seen as a plus. Also, unless the job requires a large amount of experience, your resume should remain on one page. No interviewer actually cares if you volunteered for one month at a local club twenty years ago.
  • Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits the discrimination in hiring and employment based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Other laws and regulations (such as Americans with Disabilities Act, Equal Opportunity Act of 1972, and Pregnancy Discrimination Act of 1978) also protect applicants from discrimination based on disabilities, chance of pregnancy, age, and veteran status. Employers cannot inquire about these statuses during an interview. Don't bring them up. You don't need to tell me about your children, spouse, church, what country you or your ancestors came from, how you want to get pregnant, how you have physical or mental disabilities, or that you served in a war. I can't acknowledge it or use it in my decision.
  • Show up on time. Why is this so hard? If it is a phone interview and the interviewer is calling you, be near your phone. Don't let it go unanswered.
  • Don't trash talk your former employer. Yes, I know you left for a reason. Be considerate because they did pay you and did allow you to work there. If you had problems with your last boss, that's fine. It's better to say, "There was a personality conflict," or "We had communication issues," than to say, "My boss yelled at me all the time." That makes me think you had performance problems.
  • Most of all, the interviewer is appreciative of your time coming in to interview. Be courteous of their time too.

Some of these tips are funny and some are just common sense, but then, not everyone has common sense.

The Beth is now tired and the Beth thinks it may be time for the Beth to go to the bed. Have a 5 1/2 night.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

It's like opening a present, listening to an anticipated album and discovering new favorites

My favorite band is Barenaked Ladies. While I love many styles of music, this band of Canadians have humo(u)r, spirit, caring, intelligence, and life in all of their music. There is not an album of theirs that I have not enjoyed, have not listened to a million times. Today, their 9th group album has been released. The album is called, "Barenaked Ladies are Me," or "BLAM."

I paid for the album a few weeks ago, being notified of the great deal through emails from the band (fan club alert!) and was thrilled to see it download in iTunes. By getting the pre-order, I was able to get the deluxe version at a discounted rate. Good music and a good deal! Heaven!

This post is a pure endorsement for a band that tries anything to reach fans. They have worked hard to develop an album they can be proud of and one that is sent to fans in anyway. A couple of years ago, they released a holiday album. To jump on the technology and mp3 era, the band released a version of the album on a jump drive, complete with a couple videos and random live tracks. How cool! I bought one even though I already had a jump drive (keychain drive, pen drive, use any terminology but it is basically a USB storage device) and already had most of the songs on the "album".

The band also records their concerts and allows them for download. I've bought a couple of the concerts, including the one that DM and I went to in Vegas. If you get a chance to see them perform, take it! The live show is awesome, full of energy, laughs, ad libs, and emotion. Tour dates for this upcoming tour are found here and I'm thrilled to see that the band is playing in Saint Paul on a Sunday! It may mean showing up late for karaoke, but I want to go. DM, do you want to go? I'm serious about this one. Consider it what I want for my birthday. I want to spend a night out at this concert. Ask Keem. The show is Sunday, November 19th and it is at the Excel Energy Center.

This album is produced by BNL and BNL alone. This was their project, no record label putting fingers in the pot. I do recommend a listen and if you like it, support the band!

The tracks are as follows:

Adrift - Ed Robertson sings this song about how things do not feel right anymore. "Your heart's got a heavy load, you've still got a long way to go, keep your eyes on the road." The lyrics make me think of a lost person, trying to discover themselves again in a world that has changed.

Bank Job - Ed sings this one. It starts slow but feels like it should speed up as Ed narrates a story through song. It doesn't speed up, but the bridge has more melody driving the song. "I was the driver, you ran the show, you had the last word, I knew every ..." It's seriously about robbing a bank that was full of "nuns." Plans gone wrong? It is funny.

Sound of Your Voice - Strong guitar intro. This song has an older rock feel. Steven Page (how I love him) sings this one. "How I miss waking up to the sound of your voice." It's got a good beat and you could dance to it.

Easy - The first single released from the album and a video has already been compiled for this song. The video goes through fairy tales and has a "Monty Python" cut-out feel to it. This is an Ed track and I can see why it was released as the first single of the album. This song is more folk rock sounding.

Home - Steven sings this one, soft and relaxing. "Where does the heart reside if not where I lay my head, I could run but I'm petrified, but choose this instead, again, again, again." "That's when I knew I was home."

Bull in a China Shop - The fun, campy song of BNL. "I'm a tired old metaphor for everything you can't afford, for everything you can't afford to be." It's an upbeat, quick song with Stephen singing. "I can't hear a thing because I stopped listening." "I'm the reason I don't go out." "If you lived here, you'd be home by now. If you still lived here, you'd be home now with me!"

Everything Had Changed - Steve sings this one. I'm just happy every time I hear his voice start a track. It's sick really. There's some good strings in this song (compliments of Jim, I'm sure) and a bit of bluegrass feel. I'm sure that's a banjo going throughout the song, driving the beat. "Then one day, I was not alone, everything had changed, everything was strange..." I like it.

Peterborough and the Kawarthas - Jim sings this one. Jim Kreegan typically plays the bass (not the electric kind, but the large stringed instrument). Once in awhile, his voice will show up on a track as the primary singer. While I like the song, I'm usually confused by his songs. This one is no exception. It does have a radio broadcast during the song that makes me wonder if it is a short homage to "We Built this City."

Maybe You're Right - Steve again. Background is mostly synthasized with guitar picking driving a bit of melody. Another soft, sweet tone with a deeper meaning. "Shall I, take back, everything I never said, and live, my whole life, in silence instead?" "There was a time when crying was a crime and now I think I'm losing my mind taking it all to heart." Ed has a large vocal part on this song and the chorus has a round between Ed and Steve. They echo each other, strengthening the song. The break of horns is unexpected and totally awesome to end the song with power.

Take it Back - Nice piano/keyboard track running through the song. This is an Ed-on-vocals track. "If I said something to make you mad, I'll take it back." I do love the line, "Is this a news report or a trailer for a motion picture, it all fades to grey." "Save me from a villianous imagination, deliver me from my friends." The keyboard track really drives the song.

Vanishing - Kevin Hearn has a few songs on this album where he does main vocals. "He's a magician, hoping and wishing, that you're the one vanishing." A bit haunting and yet it fits the feel of the album. The lyrics include a verse about the Bellagio and I wonder if he got the idea at an actual performance of magic.

Rule the World With Love - Steve! "While we were napping, someone else began to rule the world with love." Nice message, "Love will conquer all, one for all ... love and war is won." "Hearts are won, empires fall, and love with love, all is fair in love and war, love for all," are all lines in the song. Pretty and feel good.

Wind it Up - Strong electric guitar and Ed's voice starts this one out. "You've done a lot of yelling pointed at my eardrum ... I'll get back to you once I get my disguise on ... Had it up to here." The lyrics indicate this may be a song about the fights a married couple may have. And from the sounds of it, could be a nasty fight. "If you are leaving, then I wish you luck, I hope someone can make your heart form, I was a baby when I learned to suck, but you have raised it to an artform."

Serendipity - Kevin Hearn sings this track. He's normally the keyboardist but I enjoy it when he sings a song. The fact that there are multiple singers in this band is nice to mix up the tracks, the feelings. This song has a beat that reminds me of a song from Maroon called, "Conventioneers." The lyrics are nowhere close to that song, but the keyboard accompaniment is similar.

Something You'll Never Find - Steven sings this one. Fast paced music and one I'll have to listen to a few hundred times. "You're looking for someone, I'll never be."

One and Only - Another Ed-on-vocals track. Slower than normal for a BNL track. Not sure what I think yet.

Angry People - Steven singing again. This song is campy and upbeat again, but about attitudes and how negative (or angry) people try to drag down those around them, making happy people feel bad for being happy. "We just drag you down until you're just like us." This is the happiest song about negative emotions I think I've ever heard. What else can you expect from a band who wrote a song about shopping to mock the United States view of our economy and how to avoid world issues by spending money?

Down to Earth - Ed sings this upbeat one. "What's more ironic than a hippie in Versace?" "Hey now, wake up and lose the make up ... you really want to show her how she's just so down to earth via satellite."

Beautiful - Ed-on-vocals again. "What if you were not so simply beautiful?" "Hoping it's deeper than skin," this song is a bit jazzy. It's a nice change from the other songs, a different feel, more romantic. I do love how the band is not afraid to have different types of musical influences. The album, "Everything for Everyone," has various styles of music on it, ranging from bluegrass to techno to latin. This band constantly evolves and tries new things much to the enjoyment of the listeners.

Running Out of Ink - Steve has this one. It is quick, jumpy, and fun. "It's bigger than you think, I'm running out of ink, give a guy a break, this is what it takes to drive a man to drink." The lines are delivered as fast bits of information and I do like it.

Half a Heart - Ed again. "Anyone with half a heart would help me out before they let the other half find out ... anyone with half a heart would let me drown."

Maybe Not - Ed blares this one out. It's strongr than he usually sings and I didn't expect that, but I like it. "Maybe you'll forgive the things that I forgot. Maybe you're forgetting all the times we fought. Maybe we should divy up all the things we bought, but maybe not." Sounds like the debate over whether or not a couple should break up. Is it harder to stay together or to split up? Interesting question to ask. The beat of the song is jumpy and I found myself bouncing to the beat.

I Can I Will I Do - I first heard this song as a live track. "You don't think I can love you, but I can and I will and I do." This is a Steven vocal track, always my favorite. While I enjoy Ed's voice quite a bit, there's something about Steven's voice that draws me in. It's probably because of "Break Your Heart," but that's another song and another story.

Fun and Games - Ed sings this one out that starts with the snare drum counting out the beat like you would expect in a military setting. Once the intro passes, the song picks up with electric guitars and then the song breaks out into something you'd expect in "Chicago," the musical. Then back to the regular beat. It sounds like the song is about politics and possibly history or just the fall of a nation. "Who knew this barrel of fun would be a powder keg." Knowing the views of most of the band, this is possibly a slam at the governments of North America.

The New Sad - Steve again! "Everybody knows that happy is the new sad, I'll imitate my dad and never crack a smile again." This song has a bird singing and cooing in it. I'm not entirely sure what to thik of that. The lyrics make me feel this is a song about aging and losing what we all had when we were young. Every BNL album has a song, somewhere on the album, that drives a depressing message. This feels like that song.

Quality - Another Ed-on-vocals track. Not about the quality monitors I deal with at work. Not that I expected that. The lyrics seem to travel around the world, mentioning England and Japan. It also puts every -y word I can think of in it to rhyme. Catchy and cute.

Another Spin - Kevin sings again! How cool! At first, I thought it was going to be a piano bar ditty, but that even makes sense for it to be a Kevin song. The spinning object seems to be a globe.

What a Letdown - Ed sings this one too. It's on the iTunes download, but I didn't see it on the band's site. I've heard this as a live track from one of their concerts (they played various songs in development while touring). My favorite line from this song is, "That might have been funny at twenty but I just turned thirty-two, oh well, what a letdown."

Why Say Anything Nice? - Another Steve song that wasn't listed on the band's site. "Why say anything nice when you can say nothing at all?" I'll have to listen to this one a few times and I'm sure I'm going to love it. It has a fun beat and I do love Steven Page.

*Note: iTunes lists the tracks in a different order than the album on the BNL website. The listing here is in the order from the band's site.

BNL's catalogue of full albums:
1. Gordon
2. Maybe You Should Drive
3. Born on a Pirate Ship
4. Rock Spectacle
5. Stunt
6. Maroon
7. Everything for Everyone
8. Barenaked for the Holidays
9. Barenaked Ladies are Me

Worth mentioning:
Vanity Project (Steven Page solo project)