Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Workplace Archetypes - Complainer

I've held a few jobs titles in my life.

Newspaper delivery boy**
Lumber yard gopher**
Chicken catcher/vaccinator
Sausage maker**
Overnight camp counselor
Grocery clerk
Portrait photographer
MLM sales
Sign maker/erector*
Retail sales

I held one steady full time job for 34 years* (give or take several years off for work related injuries, illness and vacation days).  I have been a photographer on and off part-time for over 40 years.  All the other jobs were held for 6 months or less, several were only for a few weeks**.  If I sat down and counted the total number of people with whom I have worked, it must be in the high hundreds.  When I look back, no matter where I worked or what I did, I found certain workplace archetypes at each and every job.  

The second workplace archetype is  THE COMPLAINER

If there is one archetype at every job, it is THE COMPLAINER.  Every job has a complainer and when that complainer leaves someone steps up to fill that position.  There will always be a complainer in a workplace.

Unknown Source
I am not sure why the complainer complains but I think, they are asking for attention.  Only polite people, or want-to-be-complainers, tolerate the complaining.  The complainer feels superior to them.  Who better to prey upon?  Complainers climb upon the mounds of polite people and want-to-bes to keep their heads above the clouds.  They must always keep site of Mt. Olympus.

If the reigning complainer is fired, quits, dies or joins Zeus and Hera, a new complainer immediately crawls out from the wiggling mound to fill the void.  Nature abhors a vacuum.  It is just the natural order of the Kosmos.

You just need to learn to deal with the complainers.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Workplace Archetypes - Topper

I've held a few jobs titles in my life.

Newspaper delivery boy**
Lumber yard gopher**
Chicken catcher/vaccinator
Sausage maker**
Overnight camp counselor
Grocery clerk
Portrait photographer
MLM sales
Sign maker/erector*
Retail sales

I held one steady full time job for 34 years* (give or take several years off for work related injuries, illness and vacation days).  I have been a photographer on and off part-time for over 40 years.  All the other jobs were held for 6 months or less, several were only for a few weeks**.  If I sat down and counted the total number of people with whom I have worked, it must be in the high hundreds.  When I look back, no matter where I worked or what I did, I found certain workplace archetypes at each and every job.  

I plan on presenting several of those archetypes.  The first archetype is  THE TOPPER.  

THE TOPPER always has a better experience than the one you experienced.

For example, if you hit the lottery, the topper hit it for more money and spent less on lottery tickets.

If you had the worst headache in your life, the topper had a headache so bad it killed him.  Miraculously, he brought himself back to life when his hand serendipitously stabbed him in the eye with a rusty icepick which, just seconds before, he used to kill the largest python ever to slither upon the face of the earth that had wrapped itself around him and was squeezing out his very life force.  Because the python was constricting his body before he killed it, the snake's muscles continued to constrict by reflex, creating extreme pressure in his body.  The intense pressure caused the ice pick to pop out of his eye.  Exiting the wound, some rust particles remained behind which helped coagulate the blood at the site keeping him from bleeding to death and deflating his eyeball.  To this day you can see still see rust stains in the white of his eye.
The Topper is difficult to be around when he begins to spout off.  You just need to hold your tongue and pray you don't meet him in purgatory.

More workplace archetypes to come.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Brinno TLC 100 - Formatting with a Mac

I finally figured out how to format my Brinno TLC 100 using a Mac.  Let me explain.

1. Connect the flash drive to the Mac
2. Open Disk
3. Chose the Brinno drive
4. Chose Erase from the Disk tool bar
5. Click on the Erase button on the lower left of the window making sure the Format is MS-DOS (FAT)

6. Go to the Brinno website
7. Chose Support Page
8. Choose the TLC 100
9. Choose the Setup TLC and download files

10. Place the downloaded files in a place that is easily remembered on your Mac, name the folder Brinno to be able to search for it
11. Then drag the contents of that folder to the flash drive
12. Eject the flash drive and you are set to place it into the TLC 100 and start capturing images

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Monday, February 20, 2012

Garden - Seed Purchases Complete

Online I ordered the remaining seeds I needed from Johnny's Select Seeds.  I placed the order on 14 July 2012 and received the seeds three days later via USPS fist class.
Now, except for the Bonnie Plants I plan to purchase from Lowe's, I have everything that will be planted in my square foot garden for 2012.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Garden Prep - Cleanup

There are less than 30 days before my first planting of the square foot garden plot.  It is time to clean up the garden and flower beds in preparation for spring growing.

I started by turning over the shredded leaves that sit atop my 4' x 4' square foot garden plot.  I also added some coffee grinds and egg shells. [see 2:27 time stamp of video below]  Both will add nutrients to the composting leaves.  Some of the leaves were soggy from recent rains, others were bone dry.  Mixing the pile serves two purposes.
  1. Aerate - the leaves become compacted over the winter from their own weight, snow and rain, turning them over, mixing, the pile brings oxygen to the bacteria that break down the leaves
  2. Homogenize - mixing brings bacteria into contact with more food sources, water and oxygen
I would really like to get the compost pile to a high temperature so the leaves will be compost before I turn them into the garden plot.  

I then move on to clean out dead plant stalks, weeds, dried tree leaves and other debris from the beds and from the patio.  In that process I noticed some new life already sprouting green leaves.  Leaves pushing up from my perennials like asters, lilies, hyacinths, Mascari.  My common sage, oregano are also sending out new leaves as was the Swiss Chard I seeded last spring.  My climbing rose has new green leaves as do my Butterfly bush (Buddleia) and Burning Bush (Euonymous alatus).  I also noticed a few dandelions in the lawn.  

While working I heard and saw a robin on a tree branch high above my head.  These are all signs that Spring is not so far away.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Planets Aligning - Late Winter 2012

Arriving home about 19:00, I saw two bright objects in the western sky and wondered which planet was so bright near Venus.

Upon logging into my iMac, I received an email from NASA about the alignment of several planets.  A video explains that continuing into March near sunset each night, several planets and for a few days a crescent moon, will be aligned in the western sky.  
Each night the planets will move closer and closer to each other.  Then on the nights of March 12th and 13th they will be just 3 degrees apart.  That is less that the width of a pair of your outstretched finger tips.

Here is the link to a website that explains the heavenly phenomenon.
Now I know which planet shown so brightly tonight.

Check out the video above, then make plans to view the alignments with your children.

It also sounds like quite a few photographic opportunities.  Get out your camera and tripod.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Friday, February 17, 2012

Garden Seeds

I planned to have three plantings for this growing season.  With my square foot garden plot plan finished, I purchased some seed packets at Lowe's.  I based my decisions on several criteria.

• Type of vegetable
• Planting time
• Days to harvest
• Height of foliage
• Easy to grow

Above is my early planting grid.  At Lowe's, I purchased bunching onions, carrots and snow peas along with their inoculant.  I liked the varieties of lettuce and radishes I saw in the Johnny's seed catalog.  So I will be online to purchase the other seeds at Johnny's Select Seeds.  I looked online at seeds from Totally Tomatoes and like what I saw there, also.  Here is the problem with mail order, shipping and the price of the seeds themselves.  The difference in the price of seeds isn't that great especially if I can only get those seeds online.  However, the cost of shipping must also be considered.  I think it is better to order all your seeds from one place to keep the ratio of shipping costs to seed packet as low as possible.  At a Lowe's store the prices are lower and there is no shipping (there is the cost of gasoline, though).  Plus if I made an error in choosing seeds, I can return them without spending money for return postage.  But, Lowe's doesn't have all the varieties I desire.  So, I will order some seeds from Johnny's.

The second planting will follow the above grid.  I purchased the melon, cucumber and zucchini seeds at Lowe's.  I still need lettuce, beans, peppers, and tomatoes.

The final planting will follow the above grid.  I will have enough seeds remaining from the early planting of carrots, lettuce and radishes.  I need to add broccoli and cabbage to my order.

Lowe's also sells vegetable plants when the weather warms a bit.  I like the plants sold under the Bonnie Plants label.  I perused their website and chose tomato and pepper plants that I wish to purchase.  I talked to the Assistant Store Manager in charge of the seasonal area at Lowe's to see if they can request the kinds of plants to put into their store.  I was informed that Bonnie Plants places their plants in Lowe's on a consignment agreement.  Which means that Bonnie Plants decides which plants to deliver to Lowe's.  I guess I need to contact Bonnie Plants.

Here are the Bonnie Plants I would like to purchase for my garden.

Mortgage Lifter 
Black Krim 
Black Cherry 
Super Sweet 100 
Sweet Cherry

Cajun Belle 

That is my plan.  I have about one month before my early planting.  I will order the seeds from Johnny's and they should arrive in time. If not, I will look for seeds at other local stores.  I am sure I can find seeds there that are close to my criteria.

I will email Bonnie Plants and see if I can request the above plants delivered to my nearest Lowe's.  I have one month to ready the soil and prepare my supports and stretch string to delineate the grid.

Are you planning your garden?  Leave a comment and tell us about your 2012 garden.

PS - At the last minute I found a free shipping code 12-1005 that saved me $10.00 at Johnny's.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Brinno - Bird Feeder 15Feb2012

I was able to get the Brinno TLC 100 to work.  I downloaded the .exe file from the Brinno website on the Support page and dragged that, without any changes made in WinOnX, into the flash drive.  Then inserted the flash drive into the TLC 100.  It must have been the changes I made to the app in WinOnX that caused it to  malfunction once in the camera.  I am still not able to change the date or time stamp, however.

I placed the camera outside and energized it today at 06:35 GMT-5hrs.  At 04:11 a squirrel make an appearance and stays until 04:19

At least I have the camera functioning.  I have the time lapse set at 5 second intervals.

Batteries are going to cost me plenty through the summer.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Brinno TLC 100 - Update

I refused to give in.  I formatted the flash drive in my iMac again.  I then dragged the two files I downloaded Brinno>Support>Setup TLC onto the flash drive.  Installed fresh AA batteries and the flash drive.  I turned on the TLC 100 and let it run facing my breakfast room table.  After a few hours I removed the flash drive and connected it to my iMac.  There in the drive was an .avi file.  I double clicked the file and Quicktime opened.  There on my iMac was a recording made by the TLC 100.  I am back in business.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Brinno TLC 100

On 11 Jan 2012, USPS delivered to my home, one Brinno TLC 100.  I received the camera with the batteries and flash drive included.  I plugged the flash drive into the proper socket and properly installed the four AA batteries.  I wanted to change the interval between image capture to 7 seconds.  I could not.  The camera is programmed in Windows.  I do not have a Windows machine.  I settled on using the factory settings (7) to record time lapse images on the flash drive at 5 second intervals.
Today, all video formats are recognized by my iMac.  So I was not worried about being able to view the recorded time lapse file.  After one day of recording, I removed the flash drive from the TLC 100 and plugged it into my iMac.  opened and played the video fine.  It had captured several images of a squirrel poaching from the feeder.  Not what I had in mind when I put out a bird feeder but not unexpected, either.
I still wanted control of the camera time lapse.  In order to do that I would need access to Windows.  Ever since Apple began installing Intel processors in Macs, Windows can run natively on a Mac.  So I had several options to gain control of the camera program.
  1. Purchase an inexpensive computer that runs Windows
  2. Configure my iMac as a dual boot computer:Windows and Mac operating systems
  3. Install a virtual application to run Windows and OSX simultaneously 
Not wanting to spend an excessive amount of money and still get access to the Windows world, I opted for an app at the Apple app store, WinOnX.
I installed the app on my iMac.  I connected the flash drive to my iMac.  I double clicked the self extracting file and the window you see above opened.  
I then opened the TimeLapse Camera app.  The date and time signature were already changed when the app window opened.  I changed the time interval.  I was satisfied I was able to make the changes without making my computer a dual boot system and buying Windows 7.

I ejected the flash drive from my iMac, disconnected it and plugged it into the waiting TLC 100.  I took the camera outdoors and mounted it onto the external side of one of the windows in the breakfast room, so that the camera was about 20" from the bird feeder.  I then held the power button until the green light lit.  I backed away from the camera, out of its field of view, and waited to hear the double beep signal warning me the camera was energized and capturing images.  I returned to the house to let the camera do what it does, capture still images every seven seconds.

I returned the next morning to find the power light off.  I pressed and held the power button to turn off the unit.  Instead the light turned on and the signal beeped twice.  That meant the camera was already off when I arrived.  I held the power button again until it beeped three times signaling the power was off.

I removed the flash drive and connected it to my iMac.  There was no recorded .avi file.  None!  I figured something was wrong.  So I opened the Disk Utility. app on my iMac.

I seems that my dragging the recorded .avi file into the trash didn't erase the file and the drive was close to full.  Not having a way to format the drive in the camera, I decided to erase and reformat it using my iMac.

In the Disk I pressed Erase after choosing the MS-DOS (FAT) format.  Once that was finished, I dragged and dropped the two files from the Brinno website for the TLC 100 into the reformatted flash drive.  Now the flash drive was mounted and there was 3.4 MB of data on the drive as seen below.

I ejected the flash drive and removed it from the iMac.  I plugged it into the TLC 100, installed fresh AA batteries, mounted the TLC 100 outdoors, pressed the power button until the green light lit and stepped out of its field of view and waited for the two beeps.  Once it beeped I returned to the house and let the camera do its thing until the morning.

In the morning I turn off the camera, pulled the flash drive and connected it to my iMac.  The camera again didn't capture any images.

I emailed the manufacturer in Taiwan explaining my problem.  I emailed the manufacturer twice and as of today I have still not received a reply.  So I emailed the company in California that sold me the camera.  The very next day I received a phone call from the California company.

It was explained to me the TLC 100 is not Mac compatible.  I figured that out on my own.  The person on the phone had no experience with Macs and could not help me.  He did inform me their new TLC 200 is Mac compatible and a raincoat is available to make it weather resistant.

So I have this new Brinno TLC 100 that will not record images on either of the two flash drives I have.  I have two flash drives I am unable to reformat.  I am contemplating purchasing a TLC 200 that has all of the controls in the camera.  Then I won't need to use Windows at all.

I wonder how long it would take for delivery?

©Damyon T. Verbo

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Kronos and My Spring Garden

I get great satisfaction from growing plants, whether ornamental flowers, vegetables or fruit.  The satisfaction is like that of a proud parent, bringing an infant into the world and nurturing it to fruition.  Then someone who loves them, devours them, Kronos-like.  I think of Kronos every time I hear someone say, "That baby is so cute, I could just eat it up."

I began planning my 2012 square foot garden the minute my Johnny's Select Seed catalog appeared in my mailbox.  To get the most out of a 4' x 4' garden plot, I planned three plantings for the year.  As the first planting is harvested, the second planting will go into the square in its place.  The same for the third planting.  The crops will be rotated reducing the possibility of passing along disease and viruses.  Additional soil amendments will be dug in with each new planting.

My first planting will look like the graphic below.
The rough schedule for planting is as follows:
• Late winter -  approximately 17 March, St. Patrick's Day
• Late spring - Mid May to Mid June, after the last frost
• Late Summer - Mid August to Early September, several months   
                           before the first hard frost

Brandywine Pink

Cherokee Purple

Sweet and Thai Basil in my garden 2011
Thai Pepper
Bitter Melon
Source:Bonnie Plants

Over the last few decades, if I wanted good tasting produce, I had to start my own seeds.  The plants I wanted were not offered in garden centers.  Garden centers offered the same plants the commercial growers planted.  I found places like Johnny's Select Seeds, Seeds of Change, Seed Savers Exchange, Totally Tomatoes where heirloom seeds could be purchased.  Heirloom tomatoes taste like the tomatoes I remember from my yout' ("Excuse me, did you say yout'?").  Starting seeds is a difficult chore and a big commitment but until recently it was the only way to get good tasting tomatoes.  

While shopping in Lowe's garden center over the last few years, I noticed they sold Bonnie Plants, individual plants in 3"- 4" peat pots.  Amongst the usual garden center plants, Bonnie offered some heirlooms and unusual plants like Brandywine Tomato, Cherokee Purple Tomato, Thai Peppers, Thai Basil, Stevia and Bitter Melon.  Curious to see if Bonnie would be adding new varieties to their line this year, I went to the Bonnie Plant website.  There I saw a few new plants that I am eager to purchase, such as Black Krim and Black Cherry tomatoes and Epazote.

Inside my local Lowe's, last week, was a display of Burpee seeds.  I think I picked up each and every packet of seeds on the display.  I read each label.  I read when to plant, the expected height and spread of the plant and the number of days to harvest.  I spent a long time reading packets.  Lowe's employees frequently asked if I needed any help.  I think they thought I couldn't get up or fell asleep, or worse.  Having finished a preliminary plan for the garden plot, I knew which seeds I needed.  I purchased over $15.00 of seeds packets including a packet of inoculant for the peas and beans.  Later, if I change my mind about the seeds I purchased, I can always return the seeds.  Something I don't think I can do if I purchase via a website.  Nonetheless, I will probably purchase some seeds on the web to fulfill my plan.  Even though the cost of shipping seems to be quite high for the weight being shipped.  But you know what Kronos always said, "You gotta do, what you gotta do to get a good tasting kid."

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

25 Drunkest Countries in the World

The US didn't make the cut.  The World Health Organization collected a list of the 25 most drunkest countries in the world and the US wasn't on it.  
Here is the list starting at the bottom, Latvia, with an average of 3.30gal. of pure alcohol consumed per capita annually.

The US is probably at the top of some list, somewhere.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Garden Planning 2012

I am in the midst of planning my garden plot for 2012.  The plot covers only 16 sq ft of area.  For that reason I need to plan carefully to get the most production.  

Last year I dug and planted a 4' square foot garden plot.  I removed a great deal of rocks and large stones from the soil.  I added sand, vermiculite, perlite, blood meal, super phosphate, calcium and composted manure.  When I was finished extracting rocks and stones, digging, turning and racking, the garden soil was level with the existing lawn.
My ground is mostly rock with just an inch or so of topsoil.  Back in the late 60's when my house was built, the builder scraped all of the top soil from the land before building the homes.  Just one inch or so of top soil was returned to cover the sub-soil after building the house.  I dug down two feet into the lawn for the garden plot.  I removed all of the rock and screened the soil through 1/2" hardware cloth.  Added the above soil amendments before I began to plant.
2011 Garden Plot Plan
Magnetic orientation of plot

I divided the plot into 16 - 1' squares, four wide by four deep.  I used 1/2" rebar and other supports on which I strung twine to vertically support the tomato vines.  I sunk one plant in each square except the corn which I seeded with 4 plants per square.

I didn't have enough money to purchase more soil amendments nor did I have the physical energy to increase the amount of soil to mound it above the lawn level.   This proved to be a big mistake.

In May there were two long spells of rainfall.  With each rainfall the plot flooded because of the rock and dense clay structure of the surrounding soil.  The garden soil looked like quicksand.  Many of the plants drowned and had to be replaced.  The growth of the plants that survived, was retarded.  I should have cut a drain into the lawn or built up the soil at least 8" above the lawn level, but I didn't.

In the fall, in an effort to remedy the soil problems, I used a leaf blower to pile all the fallen tree leaves on my front lawn.  I then reversed the blower and sucked the fallen leaves into a trash can.   The blower shredded the leaves and reduced their volume by 80%-90%.  I then surrounded the square plot with 4' high wire fencing and dumped the shredded leaves onto the plot.  The pile was 3' high and 4' square, 1.33 cubic feet of dry, shredded leaves.  I expected the leaves to naturally compost over the next several months.  Sometime in late February or early March, I will turn those leaves into the first 1' of garden plot soil.  That action will add nutrients, retain water and raise the soil above the lawn level.  Hopefully, raising the plot will eliminate the water drainage problem.

All of that in due time.  Now I need to plan carefully and judiciously.

©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Pittsburgh- Best Vodka and Third Most Promiscuous

Source:Boyd and Blair

Not only does Pittsburgh, PA bottle the best potato vodka outside of Poland, Boyd and Blair, but this western PA city is ranked the third most promiscuous city in the US according to dating site OkCupid.


©Damyon T. Verbo - all rights reserved