But it's a little early to be planning HannahC's wedding.
This is the time of year when we have to go through the annual ranking and rating process at The Company. This is an especially fun year because they have said that there will be no raises or promotions due to the economic situation, but we still have to go through the whole process anyways as a way of "fairly managing and tracking performance." I assume that means that when they eventually decide to start laying off engineers, they'll have some recent performance write-ups to use to pick who to fire.
A few years back, they downsized our division and they said that the decisions were not performance-based so much as they were "matching skillsets to the needs we anticipate having in the future in our evolving business environment." After seeing who got the axe then, being the keen observer of humanity I am, I noted, "If your skillset is screwing stuff up, it seems they've decided they don't need at much of that skill any more."
People still quote me on that. I'm pithy.
But anyways, I had to do little writeups of 9 of my coworkers. Bosses are required to solicit the opinions of the coworkers as part of the review process, and each year a surprising number of people seem to value my opinion. Surprising given my potentially deserved reputation as a complete yahoo. I wish that I could bang these things out like I bang out so much tripe on my mnay blargs. But here, nothing I write has any real consequences (other than that on occasion The Mrs. or some member of her mountain-people clan will get mad at me for my too honest candor). In these little co-worker writeups, I can't simply dash off a "This guy is a prick-and-a-half who, despite thinking he is god's great gift to engineering, wouldn't know his head from his asshole if it weren't for the stink," or "This person is the most breathtakingly incompetent person with whom I have worked in my 14 years with The Company."
OK, that second one I actually did write this year in one of these mini-reviews. But, I stared at it for a hour and decided that it didn't really accomplish anything. Plus, I got to thinking how I was only for sure able to place this person in the top five of breataking incompetence. So I rewrote the whole thing to discuss what I though was specifically lacking in this person's knowledge base that was preventing success at the moment, but if learned, could lead to success.
I find it very painful to write these things, because when someone's carreer and reputation is on the line, I don't want it to be colored by something like a personality conflict, but I'd like it to be based in concrete fact. So I end up digging through presentation that the person has given over the year and meeting minutes and the like to make sure my recollection is correct.
And, for the first time, I actually sat back in the middle of it and said to myself, "Self, this is the kind of time when I really wish I were a Democrat, because then I wouldn't have to do all this time-consuming, fact-based writing. I could just jot down how I feel about this person, and then call anyone who disagreed with me a racist. It would be so great to be so completely unthinking. I feel that global warming is a threat. I feel that driving an SUV is evil. I feel that this person is incompetent. I feel that the government is the most competent beauracracy to run the health care of everyone in this country just like they run the post office - I almost always get my mail."
I'm not making that up. I actually had that conversation with myself. Though I guess it's more of a monologue than a conversation.
But talk like that is what I like to call "crazy-talk" because, as a rational person, I'm not a Democrat and thus I do not believe that my feelings are sufficient to establish fact. So I needed some other kind of distraction other than fantasizing about how easy life would be if I stopped thinking and just started feeling. And what better way to snap you out of such a funk than gun shopping!
I must admit, I have been lax. Obama has been president for over two weeks, and I haven't bought a single gun in response. Given that I've put the boat purchase on the back burner for a while, I've freed up quite a bit of my bonus cash for the purchase of firearms. Now, I know that the gun I should really buy to stick it to the pinko in charge is this one (available right now from our local enthusiasts' shop), because it has absolutely everything that is considered evil - thumbhole stock, polymer frame, 30-round magazine (with a 50-rnd available), and the dreaded "armour-piercing" 5.7x28mm cartridge. But, honsetly, I'm not really one for esoteric firearms, especially ones that use an odd cartridge that is sure to drive ammo costs through the roof.
No. I decided to get a shotgun. Why? Well, I don't own any. Shotguns and revolver are pretty much the only broad catergories of firearms that I don't have any of right now, and a bunch of the guys at work like to go shooting sporting clays. So, you know, what the hell. I spent the last couple days at work writing reviews of my coworkers interleaved with shotgun research. It made life a lot more pleasant.
So, I've got it down to basically one gun, although there are a number of variants of that gun sold under two different brand names. I'm thinking a Browning Silver Lightning. It's also sold with a slightly different finish as the Silver Hunter, and with a different stock altogether as the Winchester Super X3 Classic Field (and in 18 other variations between the two companies, but these are the ones I like best). The dimensions of the Browning and Winchester differ slightly (by 1/8" on some key measurements), so it may come down to which feels better.
Now I just have to figure a way to sneak away for the purchase without The Mrs. finding out about it. She doesn't like when I do Man stuff.