All posts by Gary

How I spend my days…

I spend my days in a darkened room staring at twin windows on the electronic world. My twin windows are the twin 20” monitors on which I design my projects before sending them through the cable that ties my machine to the others in this network of interconnected ideas.

My job titles me a design manager, but how does one really manage designs? My actual job has me spending my days (to borrow the corporate branding speak) “designing environments and graphical interfaces that facilitate face to face marketing”. Which means, I design displays and graphics for exhibits, tradeshows and conventions? The illustration on this post will give you a slight idea of what I do…I tend to reinvent myself regularly, though, keeping the myth growing.

I came to this position primarily because I was always a computer geek even before there were computer geeks…and since I was originally a builder of modular exhibits working without the benefits of a designer or detailer to illustrate what we were putting together, I taught myself to draw them, first by hand and then by computer. I was always drawn to drawing and sketching, so the discipline of drafting was a natural progression. The reason I started to draw the exhibits we were building was to be able to communicate the setup instructions to the installation crews in my absence. Over the course of the years my primary work load has shifted from a mainly production bent to primarily a design focus, so that now almost all of my work is done in a virtual world…And, since the ankles and knees no longer appreciate the pounding of the concrete on the tradeshow floor for days and miles on end, I guess the virtual world will do until I can put myself into the real world of the mountains I dream of.

Mountain Dreams

Is U.S. Ready for Hurricane Season?

You know as a resident of the Texas Gulf Coast, living less than 5o miles from the Gulf of Mexico I read articles like this and I am worried, very worried…

Is U.S. Ready for Hurricane Season?: “‘Last year we didn’t have a clue,’ said the acting FEMA director, R. David Paulison. The agency will put satellite tracking devices on trucks leaving its two largest logistics centers — in Denton, Tex., and Atlanta — to avoid a repeat of post-Katrina efforts, when critical supplies such as ice and generators arrived days or weeks late, sometimes after circling the country.”

Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near i...
Hurricane Katrina in the Gulf of Mexico near its peak Category 5 intensity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Why is it only the appointed directors of FEMA that don’t have a clue…and why should I trust them now? I watched last year as Rita bore down on the Houston/Galveston Region with ground zero originally being to the west of Freeport, which would have been the worst case scenario for my home and family. By the time on Wednesday that I had finished boarding up and securing my home (two plus days before landfall), the fiasco that was to be was already beginning. News reports of the traffic disaster were already beginning to filter on to the airways. And while none of the local weather guys was reporting it almost all of the forecasted tracks were beginning to show a slight veer to the east. After discussing the situation we decided that we had the time and resources to wait and see what was happening in the next 24 hours…turned out this was the right choice. Had we made the run we would have spent all of that time sitting on the road and might never have gotten anywhere in the end.

“‘We’re ready for this upcoming hurricane season — assuming that the American public does their part and they get ready as well,” said George W. Foresman, DHS undersecretary for preparedness.”

Gives you the warm fuzzies, doesn’t it. This ownership society we know have where if everything goes wrong, you own the problem not the people you hired (voted for (or not)) to own the problem. So America, you are warned, as long as everything goes right your government is doing it’s job…but when the fertilizer hits the fan…it was because you did not do your part. by the way has anyone told you what your part now is?

I am assuming that we now must have new guidelines to follow since the old ones didn’t work. Have you got your two month supply of spam in storage?

My plans haven’t changed much if any. Food and water in the pantry (we’ll start buying a few extra cans of food stuffs each week through the summer, if we need it it’s there if not we eat it through the winter), batteries in the flashlights, gas in the gas cans (used for lawn work and kept filled between times). But number one we watch the approaching storms online ourselves, do our own forecasting, do not depend on television news mongers to hype the event.

“But plans to assign the Justice Department responsibility for law enforcement and the Housing and Urban Development management of temporary housing are not yet completed. Neither is a new national emergency communications strategy or an infrastructure-protection plan due June 1.”

Jim Hightower | REMEMBER AFGHANISTAN

Jim Hightower | REMEMBER AFGHANISTAN: “Gosh, George W has kept us all so busy trying to deal with his disastrous Iraq war and with his build-up for a whole new war in Iran – that I’d forgotten about his war in Afghanistan! How’s that going?

It’s an important question, since – unlike Iraq and Iran – the Taliban thugs who ruled this country actually had direct ties to Osama bin Laden and the crashbombers who attacked us on 9/11. Our military quickly retaliated by bombing the bejeezus out of the place, routing the Taliban, and installing our guy, Hamid Karzai, as the new president.

That was that, right? Well… not exactly. Osama bin Forgotten is still out there somewhere in Afghanistan’s mountain caves, our man Karzai can’t venture outside the protective bubble of his capitol city, the economic revitalization that Bush promised was never delivered, unemployment and poverty are rampant – and the Taliban is now resurgent.”

Jim Hightower at the 2008 Texas Book Festival,...
Jim Hightower at the 2008 Texas Book Festival, Austin, Texas, United States. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You know, for being such a red state, Texas sure has produced some blue folks. Just goes to show you that being pushed into the background for so long causes you to just speak that much louder…and not many people speak as loud and with such a Texas style as “America’s #1 Populist”.

I think his point is one that should be brought to the forefront constantly. As the administration lumps you and me and everyone else in this country in with the terrorist they are survaleing, what has happened to the real terrorists? Bein Forgotten is right…but really, I guess I’m being bad ’cause I am not out there changing the subject and talking about immigration…can’t these guys ever get over the politics of fear. First I was supposed to be afraid of the Taliban. Then it was the Iraqi’s and Sadam bin Laden. Next they brought out the gay’s. They keep trying to pull in Iran, but that just sounds like a repeat of Iraq and I don’t think even they can sell that fertilizer twice (well maybe they can, didn’t they just pass another tax cut for their millionaire friends). And know its immaginagration…everybody knows that after 5 years it’s time to secure our southern border (national security and all that). Divide and conquer…

Molly Ivins

Creators.com – Creators Syndicate: “It would be easier to contemplate a two-year holding period if Bush hadn’t already wasted so much time. Of particular note in this department is ‘the inconvenient truth’ — global warming. Wasting eight years in the face of what we already knew when Bush came in is not only insane, but also unforgivable. A recent poll showed the majority of Americans feel the war in Iraq will be the overriding issue of Bush’s presidency. I suspect future historians will fixate on his global warming record — not only doing nothing to stop it, but letting the hole get dug deeper, as well.”

Molly Ivins
Molly Ivins (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

About the only good thing I can say about Texas politics is to quote Molly Ivins. A Texas institution, it took the internet to lead me to her columns. Now I read her regularly and the only disagreement I have ever had with her was her cutting Bush so much slack during his first term. I suppose it comes from that personal charm he has working and the fact that she knew him then…You really should follow the above link before it rolls off and read her entire column, then, bookmark Creators.com so you can come back often.

There is only one other columnist I used to read with the same regularity and that was Paul Krugman. That came to an end when the New York Times put him behind their paid portal. I can occasionally catch him in the local paper but not as regularly as I would like…