best songs you've never heard

It's not really a Christmas song but it is fit for winter and was included on Target's R&B holiday collection this year. Refuge (When It's Cold Outside) by John Legend, from his debut album Get Lifted, is a phenomenal tribute to the gift of love during hard times. Legend's voice is soulful yet bittersweet and tinged with a bit of pain, while the thick R&B beats and melody emotionally carry you from sorrow to joy and hope. Refuge, much like the rest of Legend's music, is colorful and well written. It is both modern and traditional, reminding me of 70's era R&B prior to hip-hop's influence. While there are a couple emcee guest appearances on Get Lifted, the album primarily focuses on Legend's talented piano work and singing, backed up by tight production work and familiar yet creative lyricism.



My father tuned me in to a blog where people send in a secret of theirs on a postcard of their creation. The result is artful, sometimes humorous, and often tragically heartbreaking. The postcards are sent in anonymously and highlight the darkest corners of human existence.

The secrets shared are those that most would never admit (unless we could afford a shrink). Child abuse, drug addiction, rage, lost faith, hopelessness, jealousy, abandonment, obsessions. They're all there.

I am somewhat happy with the way I turned out. No hidden secrets eating me away inside. I read the blog and feel empathetic, but never imagined I would find a PostSecret that I could wholeheartedly relate to. Until now.

OK, so I admit it. I am a bit of a music snob.

See more secrets at PostSecret.


helps if you read the handbook

The average IQ of my coworkers isn't the greatest, but it's not that bad either. For the most part, they're just average blokes trying to earn their keep. We do have a couple of winners (and I mean "winners" in a negative sense) who's axe couldn't chop a roll of toilet paper, but it's OK. I can cope.

The greatest display of the collective lack in brain power of my fellow employees is in our parking lot. I have come to expect chaos and utter disarray in the parking lots of Walmarts and malls from east to left coast during the holiday shopping season, but not while trying to get to work. After a couple inches of compact snow and ice covers the blacktop, my coworkers begin to drive like circus monkeys and park their cars as if they've never seen a parking lot before in their lives. Logic and common sense are thrown out the window. (I'm not intentionally being repetitive, to some people logic and common sense are two very different things) It appears as if the skies have opened and puked up a bunch of scrap metal, let the cars fall where they may.

The general population of North Idaho is among the least likely to qualify for Mensa. Let me rephrase that... Most of North Idaho does not know what Mensa is. When it comes to the people I work with on a regular basis, I've gotten used to a certain level of dumbness. And I except their intelligence shortcomings as status quo. If you have read some of my earlier posts (thieves, Buddha and gas) you know what I'm dealing with.

But I expect more from our leadership. Here's an e-mail sent out to my department by someone who is more or less in charge of our department. It reads as follows:

visitors on the floor
From: Bhos S. Mann
To: My whole department + some

Hey Team,
Just wanted to reiterate that unfortunately we can not have any visitors on the floor whether or not they are employed by us or not.
We work with very confidential customer information and have agreements with the clients that this info will not be accessible by anyone that is not part of this account.
As beautiful as some of your children are and/or family and friends, you must visit with them off of the floor. Feel free to use the break room or lunch room.
Also, if you are on break/lunch and want to stay at your desk your welcome to do so, but if you are wanting to visit or chat, you need to take your break/lunch off of the floor.

Thank you all for your attention regarding this,
Bhos S. Mann
Operational type person in charge
Location - Company

At first this sounds like a simple and obvious request. However for those of us with small children, banishing them from the workplace is not always possible. As much as I would like to follow the advice and pleas of my superior, I just can't. Not only is it unfair to my wife and kid, his request is against company policy.

Here's a nifty little quote from our employee handbook.

"Visitors under the age of 16 are not allowed in the call center floor without adult supervision. Visitors over the age of 16 are allowed in the work area, but for a limited time and only if the employee's productivity is not impacted."

If my wife wants to sit at my desk while I finish up a spreadsheet or answer some questions when she picks me up at the end of the day, is that allowed??? Not according to the Mann, but let me check the handbook again. "visitors over the age of 16 ARE allowed in the work area." If my wife and son wants to come visit me, great! NO ONE is going to tell me they're not allowed.

Guess it helps if you read the rules.


Baby, It's Cold Outside

It is a fitting title, despite being one of my least favorite Christmas songs. (especially the version that Regis Philbin recorded a couple years ago) Never the less, baby, it's cold outside. That song was on one of the in-store CD's while I worked at Old Navy, (or Old Slavey as I fondly recall) and every 90 minutes I was subjected to Dean Martin's sexual innuendos and probably the earliest reference to date rape in pop culture. Everytime that song came over the house speakers, I wanted to run out of the building yelling "please somebody put me out of my misery."

But I'm getting off the subject. It is REALLY cold outside. Despite my multiple layers (cotton knit and flannel shirts, fleece vest, hooded sweatshirt, leather jacket, and two pairs of pants) I still felt cold during my walk to work. I might as well have been wrapped in Saran Wrap. I've been inside for about four hours and I still can't feel my cheeks.

Considering the generous snow fall we received last week (see previous post) lack of decent plowing techniques (also in prior post) and the frigid air cast over the inland northwest, our roads, sidewalks, and parking lots make for interesting navigation. It's too bad I don't own a pair of ice skates, I could skate to work rather than walk. The mile long walk to work is rather slippery, however I manage to get through the ShopKo parking lot (and my employer's parking lot) with no problems. The road outside my apartment causes no problems. For the most part I have a safe and enjoyable journey, provided I have my gloves, and some good music to listen to.

Oddly enough, the only place where my feet lose grip on a regular basis is in the hospital parking lot. I don't know why, but that seems to be the slickest part of my 20 minute commute (walk) to work. Oh well. If I fall and shatter my tail bone, at least it will be a short trip to the ER.



I make to much money to get help from the government
But not enough to consistantly pay the rent
I got beaten out by some one else just cuz he has a degree
Doesn't even matter wether or not he's better than me
Don't they realize I'm tryin to support a family
So I guess I'll starve if it keeps gas in the car
And a roof between us and the stars
It gets so hard I wonder if I'll go far
Can I make a mark if I'm not up to par
Or be an example for my baby boy
Am I a failure cuz I don't make enough noise
If he who wins is he who dies with the most toys
Then I can't ever die
I gotta work all day just to provide
And stay up all nite just to survive
'Till it's my time to shine
And they call that a life
That can't be right
I must be outta my mind
Let God be my guide
Cuz all alone, I can't figure it out