Archive for the 'office antics' Category

Coffee and Other Things That Made Me Smile This Morning

Thursday, March 5th, 2015
Coffee and Other Things That Made Me Smile This Morning

Thursday – 05 March 2015
It’s just another Manic Monday No Bad News Thursday.

My day started a little earlier than usual, as I had to be on-site about an hour-and-a-half early to follow up on a [EXPLETIVES DELETED] [REDACTED] project. As I was getting ready, I heard Vanessa milling about in her room. I went in and told her that it was still “sleeping time” and that she should go back to sleep. She didn’t, but she did lie quietly in bed.

Ten or fifteen minutes later, I heard her making (mostly) quiet noises; I went back in to check on her. She asked “Is the sun up?” I told her that it was, but that it wasn’t time to wake up yet; I asked if she wanted to go into the other bedroom and hang out with Sara! until it was time to get up. She said “no,” and that she wanted to read in bed. I told her that would be fine. She got one of her My Little Pony comics, crawled under her covers, and proceeded to “read” it.

Shortly, I was packed up and out the door. I didn’t set the coffee maker last night, therefore, I had no to-go cup of caffeinated goodness this morning. I rectified that with a trip to Pin-up Girl Espresso.

i-need-about-a-kiddie-pool-of-coffee-straight-to-my-dome-every-morning

I paid with a card, but didn’t have anything smaller than a $5 bill with me for a tip. So, I gave Mia the five, told her to take her tip out of it and to apply the rest to the next person’s drink order. Why not make someone else’s day a little better, if you can, after all?

On to work.

And that’s where I am. Time to chase down info for this project, put out some fires, and just be awesome. Possibly even in that order.

Quote of the Day
I messaged Sara! a little while ago, to see how morning prep with Team DiVa went. This was how that conversation went:

Robert:
Good morning!
I hope that getting under way wasn’t too bad…

Sara:
Good morning!
The only big meltdown was when the girls realized that you were already gone for the day and they couldn’t give you a hug and a kiss. It was meltdown city.

Robert:
Well, damn. I’m sorry.

Sara:
It was very sweet that they were so upset. It was okay. we sorted it out.

Robert:
Okay.

Sara:
And, we took a rocket ship ride to the moon this morning. Then the rocket ship took me to work. So the astronauts are going to stay on the moon all day, and the rocket ship will pick them up and bring them back to earth tonight.

Robert:
HAHAHAhA that’s awesome.

Sara:
Yeah, it was pretty good. DIana wasn’t into it this morning (contrast to yesterday) but by the time we were almost to learning tree she was on board looking for planets and aliens. So it turned out okay.

I love those kids and their imaginations.

As I noted above: It’s No Bad News Thursday… get out there and attack the day!

Namaste.

At the work week’s end…

Friday, February 6th, 2015

Friday – 06 February 2015
My niece, Grace, turned seven today:

grace_7

Team DiVa and I got to talk with her – and her sisters, my sister and brother-in-law, and my dad – over Skype this evening. I believe that it was one of the most engaged conversations that DiVa has had over Skype.

Other things that made today good:

  1. Post-work/post-daycare with Team DiVa.
  2. An end-of-the-work-day chat with Sara!.
  3. Introducing Team DiVa to Undercova Funk before bedtime.
  4. Learning that Sana Amanat, former editor and co-creator of the new Ms. Marvel, got what are colloquially referred to as “big ups” as she was named Marvel’s new Director of Content and Character Development.
  5. Conversations about fashion and style with a trio of coworkers.
  6. A discussion with a coworker about my standing desk, her pilgrimage o The Garden of Sweden to acquire one… and the confused looks on the employees’ faces as they showed her their standing desk (much more expensive) and she kept telling them “That’s not it.”

Things that did not make the day good:

  1. Yet another email spam/virus outbreak at work. (Fortunately, we caught it quickly and got ahead of it before it became too widespread.)
  2. Not getting to eat lunch because of the above.

On the whole, I’d call the day a “Win.”

Stray Toasters

  • I am running a nominally Valentine’s Day-themed tournament tomorrow. I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of teams my players bring.
  • I should comb through the various and sundry links that I’ve posted here, see if the links are still active, determine if I still care about them, and pin the worthy on Pinterest.
    • I may even move The Covet List from an Amazon Wish List over to Pinterest, as well.
  • The Pro Dumpster Diver Who’s Making Thousands Off America’s Biggest Retailers
  • It may just be the way I’m wired, but I’m not sure that I entirely agree with How Often You Really Need to Shower (According to Science)
  • Speaking of which, how often do you wipe down your kitchen counters?
  • Marvel, in other news, also announced a new book, spinning out of the upcoming Secret Wars: An all-female team of Avengers.
  • And, before I forget: Someone at DC seems to have had a rectal craniotomy and decided to make Starfire a little more palatable/accessible to readers, including those who mostly/only knew of her from the Teen Titans and Teen Titans Go! cartoons.
  • I might actually be one step closer to running a new Shadowrun campaign.

Time to find something to do now that Team DiVa has finally knocked out for the night.

Namaste.

“He Turns” – Epilogue

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
"He Turns" - Epilogue

As I mentioned in my this morning’s post, I used my standing desk today. My original goal was to see what it was like for an hour or two, but I wound up using it all day, with a couple of exceptions when I had to look at someone else’s system.

avengers-nick-fury2

The heights of my monitors and keyboard were just right – I’d definitely advise anyone/everyone to make sure that the heights you choose are correct for your body – and there was plenty of room for my mouse to scroll across both screens. As the shelf that’s used for the keyboard and mouse tray is rather rigid and unforgiving, I highly recommend a wrist pad.

If I had to identify a down side, it would be this: I spent the day standing on the hard plastic chair mat at my desk. It was my only source of discomfort, but it’s nothing that a floor mat – possibly memory foam – couldn’t fix.

On the whole, I’d say that the maiden voyage of the desk was a success.

If you’re considering a standing desk option that’s relatively inexpensive, this setup works and is worth it.

Namaste.

“He turns.”

Monday, February 2nd, 2015
"He turns."

Monday – 02 February 2015
A few days ago, I set up an inexpensive standing desk in my cubicle at work. Why? Because I could. Also, because I have gotten tired of sitting in a chair for eight hours (plus or minus). I occasionally used a standing desk when I worked for the USPS; it provided a nice change of pace and I enjoyed the option of going from a seated desk to the standing one.

I had a few “technical difficulties” getting things set up the way I liked, but I’ve managed to work the bugs out of the system and things are working well now.

When I started working this morning, the following popped into my head:

Tony Stark: [Covering his eye, looks around] How does Fury even see these?

Maria Hill: He turns.

Tony Stark: Sounds exhausting.

Which made me think of this…

fury_screens

…despite the fact that I wore my long leather coat today, my standing desk and I aren’t nearly quite as cool looking.

Namaste.

Day Thirteen

Wednesday, January 14th, 2015
Day Thirteen

Tuesday (with a little Wednesday thrown in…) – 13 January 2014
Day 13: Perform a mind dump of everything you’re worried about. From the leaky dishwasher to your family member’s poor health — get it all out. Dwight D. Eisenhower did it, and it significantly helped him manage his stress. Just as your body needs to…cleanse itself of waste, so does your mind every once in a while. Getting all your stressors on paper may alleviate some of that pressure. Use David Allen’s GTD trigger list to help you out.

With apologies to Monty Python, “I’m so worried about…”

  • Being a good husband and dad.
  • Keeping in touch with my family – here and “back home.”
  • Making time for friends.
  • Making time for me.
  • Staying on top of my health.
  • Whether or not I’ll be able to fit some travel in this year.
  • Projects around the house, now that I don’t have the Train Room as an excuse.
  • Becoming more aware of and informed about issues in the community.
  • What the Hell is still “not as right as it could be” with my car?!
  • Keeping all of the balls that I’m juggling for work in the air.
    • This one isn’t horrible, but there’s just been a lot going on over the past two weeks.
  • A proposed project (that’s actually kind of up my alley) – I just want it to go well.
  • Cleaning up my queue of work requests.
  • Managing to get – and do well in – upcoming training.
  • “…the baggage retrieval system they’ve got at Heathrow.”

Namaste.

Day Nine

Friday, January 9th, 2015
Day Nine

Friday – 09 January 2015
Day 9: On this day, simply write about your day. This may seem especially boring, but write out the events of your day. What time you woke up, what you had for breakfast, what your commute was like, what you did during at work, how you spent your evening. If you’re journaling in the mornings, write about the previous day. The beauty of this exercise is that you may discover something that you hadn’t realized. Maybe you weren’t very productive at work, and reflecting on it can allow you to analyze why. Perhaps you finished a big project on the house when you got home; you can think about what motivated you, how it made you feel to finish something big, etc. Don’t discount the seemingly simple task of writing about your day.

Let’s see…

This morning, I woke up at 7:15, when my alarm went off. I promptly set it to “snooze” and caught a few more minutes’ shut-eye. I actually got out of bed a little before 7:30. I showered, shaved and got partially ready for the day – my morning prep was interrupted by getting little girls out of bed and started on their day. I skipped breakfast… no, not entirely true: I delayed breakfast until I got to work (leftover doughnuts from last night’s Dunkin Donuts trip). I saw Sara and Team DiVa off and then headed to work myself.

The commute wasn’t bad. Traffic moved at a brisk pace from the freeway to the interchange I take to the other freeway that takes me to work.

Work was. There’s a project that I’ve been helping with that has hit a lot of snags along way. Yes, it’s sometimes the nature of the beast, but it’s made for a trying week. Coupled with the server issues that started last Friday, I was already at 40 hours on the week by this morning. I was in the office until nearly 6:30 tonight; I was beyond ready to put the office in the rear view mirror at that point. And I did. Quickly.

Home for dinner with Sara! and the ladies. We’ve been doing three meals a week from Blue Apron; tonight’s fare was: Spicy chicken tacos, avacado and jicama salad, and rice. It was a good dinner.

The girls are watching their pre-bedtime show now. I should be washing dishes, but I couldn’t find the motivation to do them just yet.

Maybe in a few minutes.

Besides, it’s afforded me the time to write this post.

I was tentatively supposed to play dolls ‘Clix with the guys, but no one turned out to be up for it tonight. Oh, well. I still have Destiny or Disney Infinity or Titanfall to get me through the night.

Namaste.

Suits me.

Wednesday, August 20th, 2014
Suits me.

Wednesday – 20 August 2014
Suits. It’s no secret that I like them and that I like wearing them. Sure, there are occasions for wearing suits, but for me, said “occasions” are “practically anytime.'” That sentiment is considered “a little” odd for someone working in a non-management position in IT, where the assumed standard is often t-shirt and jeans or, at most, business casual. But, that’s just the way I’m wired.

This morning, I opted to wear my navy pinstripe suit (with white shirt, red jacquard tie, cordovan loafers, and my Superman braces). Just because.

IMG_0003

It's a bird, it's a plane...!

It’s a bird, it’s a plane…!

I arrived at the office at the same time as my coworker, Nicole. She noted that I was wearing a suit and that it looked nice – for which I thanked her – and asked if there was any particular reason that I chose to wear a suit. I offhandedly said, “It was clean.” Then I amended that statement with, “…and it’s a day that ends in ‘y.'” She laughed and nodded. A few moments later, we parted company, heading to our respective parts of the office.

A short while later, she sent me the following message:

http://vimeo.com/37855064 – this is the song that came to mind when you commented on your suit. 

I didn’t have a chance to check it out when she sent it. After lunch, I remembered that I had the URL still sitting in a message window. I clicked it and watched. The title, “Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit,” made me grin like a fiend. The video itself actually made me laugh.

Nothing Suits Me Like a Suit from Livia Gondim on Vimeo.

…and I might just have a new theme song.

Namaste.

Of birthdays, family and friends, and Living Colour

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013
Of birthdays, family and friends, and Living Colour

Wednesday – 30 October 2013
It’s been a while, but I do have a few things to talk about. Granted, most of them revolve around the past week and my birthday, go figure.

And, as I mentioned on Facebook: Thank you to everyone who took time out of their day to wish me a “Happy Birthday.” I truly appreciated it.

Last week wound up being very long, thanks – or “no thanks,” as the case may be – to Project: Cthulhu. I actually had a vendor rep on the phone for the better part of… six hours over two work days, trying to suss out what was wrong. And their documentation wasn’t much of a help; it was outdated and didn’t cover the correct procedure for what the vendor wanted us to do on the server. Yay. Late Friday afternoon, I had the brilliant epiphany to compare a working server to the one that was being “slightly difficult.” I found a discrepancy and started down a path to rectify it. Lo and behold, it worked. Work week: Saved.

I went home Friday evening tired and a little annoyed that finding the problem, even with the help of the vendor engineer, took so long. Those feelings melted away when I was greeted at the door by Team DiVa, bearing a box of RubySnap cookies and singing “Happy Birthday.” Sure, it was a day early, but it was very sweet. We had dinner and hung out that evening. Sara and I decided to watch Nightmare on Elm Street after the girls were in bed; I started nodding off during the movie. I decided to go take a hot soak and call it an early night. I did and I did. In that order.

Saturday, I woke up not really feeling any older, but definitely glad to have completed another circuit of the sun without any dire encounters with the Dark Lady. Sara made her famous (at least around our house it is) coffee cake for breakfast. We hung out at home all morning until it was time for me to go play dolls HeroClix. Birthday Bonus: It was an Event Week, so I wasn’t judging, but actually playing. It was a sealed event – buy a couple of boosters and build a team from the figures in the boxes. I put together an okay team, but got completely wrecked in the tournament. Didn’t matter because I had a fun time gaming and talking trash with the other players.

I came home and helped get the girls ready for dinner. Shortly after that, Sara’s parents came over – they were kind enough to watch the girls while Sara and I went out for birthday dinner at Rodizio Grill. Added Birthday Bonus: October is Rodizio’s “Wild Game Fest,” so you can sample a few exotic meats. We tried the frog legs and one of my favorites: rattlesnake sausage. We checked out with our Seven Deadly Sins card punched for “Gluttony.” (So. Very. Worth it.) Next: A stop at the Cheesecake Factory for some celebratory dessert. Then it was back home for a movie. Since it was my choice and I wanted something light – and hopefully funny – I picked Iron Sky, which I’ve wanted to see for some time. It was not a great movie, in fact it was pretty ridiculous, but I had a blast watching it. Seriously, how could you not appreciate – if not love – a movie about Nazis on the moon where the heroic lead is a Black guy?!

Sunday was, again, pretty low-key. We didn’t do a whole lot during the day. There were a couple of shopping excursions prior to Sara’s parents, Galadriel, Angy and Dave coming over for dinner. Sara baked a pretty wicked Devil’s Food cake for after-dinner birthday fun. After the guests were gone and the girls were abed, we settled in for cocktails and The Walking Dead. We were not disappointed.

Monday, the work week reared its ugly head once more. I headed in to work for a 9:00AM meeting… only to find that I was a week early for it.

*grblsnrkx*

Had I bothered to confirm the time/date, I would have either come in late or just worked from home. Feh. Fortunately, the day passed fairly quickly. I confirmed that Friday’s server configuration was indeed viable and handed it off to the vendor’s engineers shortly before lunch. I picked up Team DiVa from daycare and ushered them home for snacktime (RubySnap Virginia cookie!) and dinner. Then, it was off to Guys’ Night Out with the usual suspects.

Tuesday, was a quiet day. This was a good thing. Especially as, Tuesday Night, I was going to enjoy Sara’s final birthday present: Living Colour in concert. That’s right. Living Colour. (Yes, Cult of Personality Living Colour.)

Living Colour at The Depot

Living Colour at The Depot

I met up with Jeremiah and Zac at The Depot. They’d already scoped out a prime location about 5 or 6 feet from the stage. We were right in front of Vernon Reid (guitarist) the entire show. I also got to hang out with Robert V., Monica and Alessandro. Pictures (and some video) of the evening can be seen here.

It was an amazing concert, from start to finish. And they had the bass turned WAAAY up. Floor-shaking bass. They opened with Robert Johnson’s Preachin’ Blues (I think), and then went into Vivid. After Cult of Personality, Corey Glover joked, “And now, the rest of the fucking album…” You could tell that they were having a great time, both with the way they played and sang and the way that they interacted with each other and the audience. And if anyone was worried that these guys have lost a step or two…? Rest assured: They sounded fantastic. They started Open Letter (to a Landlord) by opening with a great rendition of Amazing Grace. Or, as I live-tweeted:

They finished out the set with Glamour Boys, What’s Your Favorite Color?, and Which Way to America. I was pleasantly surprised to discover just how much of the album I remembered.

After a spectacular drum solo by Will Calhoun, they closed the show with a great crowd-backed rendition of Lou Reed’s Walk on the Wild Side, Love Rears Its Ugly Head (which I was secretly hoping they’d do), Time’s Up, James Brown’s Sex Machine.

It was the perfect way to wrap up an extended birthday celebration.

And that’s pretty much that.

Namaste.

Wednesday night quick hit

Wednesday, October 2nd, 2013
Wednesday night quick hit

Wednesday – 02 October 2013
As I mentioned in Tuesday night’s post, Random Access has gone Pink for October.

Tonight, Sara! and I watched The Awakening.
Long story, short version: We liked it. I’ll do more of a write-up later.

Sara! just shared the following links:

And that’s it for tonight.

Namaste.

May the 4th be with you, Cinco de Mayo, and the Revenge of the 6th… or something like that

Monday, May 6th, 2013
May the 4th be with you, Cinco de Mayo, and the Revenge of the 6th... or something like that

Monday – 06 May 2013
A new week begins, after a good weekend.

Friday felt like it was nine days long. Not so much because I went to the Iron Man 3 premiere on Thursday, but because I had one of my worst night’s sleeps in many months. It took forever to fall asleep. I had what I’m figuring was a reflux event an hour or two later. The girls woke up around 5:00 AM. So, when the alarm went off, all I wanted to do was curl into a ball and sleep the day away. But, that was not to be. So, I got up and got right on to the proverbial friction of the day. Fortunately, it wasn’t a “bad” day. Just long. On the up side: We visited our friends, Dave and Angy, Friday evening. On the way there, we told the girls that they were going to see two dogs. All the way to Dave and Angy’s they kept saying “Two dogs! Two dogs!” And they repeated it all the way home, as well. It was cute.

Saturday was a long day. It started with Sara! heading off to her quilt club, which meant that Team DiVa and I got in some quality time. At one point, Diana asked for “gah-layo.” I had absolutely no idea what that meant. So, I tried a couple of known favorites. No dice. I finally got around to trying a couple of Baby Einstein videos… and then I saw it in the history: “Baby Galileo.” No sooner than I clicked on it than both girls were all smiles. I also managed to catch this:

After Sara! got home, we headed to Dr. Volt’s Comic Connection for Free Comic Book Day. There was a line down the walkway outside the store, and it was nearly the Team DiVa’s lunch and nap time, so I just planned on heading back to the store after the girls went down for their naps. And I did. It was good. I got to hang with some of the Volt’s staff and see a few people I hadn’t seen in a while.

From there, I headed to Hastur Games & Comics. I had promised my friend, Charity, that I’d pop into the Hello, Sweetie! Podcast event.  I was only able to stay for a few, but I was able to keep my promise.

I headed back home to help with Team DiVa’s dinner and pre-bed prep. After that, I got ready to head to Abravanel Hall for Utah Symphony‘s performance of “The Music of John Williams,” conducted by Jerry Steichen.

photo 2

The musicians of Utah Symphony (taken before the concert)

Sara! stayed home to watch the ladies, so I went with my friend, Bonnie, who needed to attend a concert for one of her classes. I also met up with Melody and Jack and Dave and Kim during intermission. Win-Win. It was a fantastic concert. They opened with a medley from the Star Wars movies. An amusing sidenote: Sara! took part of my Jedi costume to work for Jerry to possibly wear for the concerts; he came on-stage wearing the overtunic. It made me chuckle. What I didn’t realize, until after they had finished playing the Star Wars medley, was that Sara! had also given him my lightsaber…. which he then proceeded to play some of the settings on-stage. I realized something during the concert: I’ve heard Williams’ Olympic Fanfare and Theme many times over the years, but there was “an added element” to hearing it performed live. And hearing “Raiders March” from Raiders of the Lost Ark?  Yeah. Pretty awesome, too. The only – ONLY – disappointing point of the concert was that they didn’t perform Theme from Superman (Main Title). Oh, well. Can’t win ’em all.

Sunday morning started far too early (7:30 AM), when Diana decided to let everyone know that she was not only awake, but didn’t intend to spend any more time in her crib. I had barely gotten her and brought her into Sara! and my bedroom when Vanessa announced that she wanted to hang out, too. And thus, started the day. Sara! made a coffee cake for breakfast, while I hung out with the little ladies. After breakfast, I tamed the fury that is the lawn. I came back in and had a bite for lunch and then got ready for work. Yep, work. On a Sunday. Fortunately, things went well and I was only there for a couple of hours. I got home in time to hang out with Team DiVa for a bit before dinner. Being Cinco de Mayo, Sara! prepared chicken enchiladas and margaritas. And they were good. Very good, indeed.

And here we are, once more, at Monday.

Bring it on.

Namaste.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Wednesday, March 13th, 2013
Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

Wednesday – 13 March 2013
Not only is today New Comics Day…

…nor is it just Movie Date Night…

…it’s apparently my version of Groundhog Day, as well.

This morning, I left the house three (3) times before finally completing my journey to work:

  1. After getting up, dressed, and out the door, I stopped to get a couple of doughnuts for breakfast. It was only then that I noticed that what I thought was a black-based ensemble was, in fact, black-and-blue. *grblsnrkx*  Fortunately, I was just across the street from the house when I discovered the error. So, I went home, changed pants and headed out the door. Again.
  2. I got off our street, onto the nearby main thoroughfare and on the on-ramp to the freeway when I had an epiphany: I left my wallet in the pants I had just taken off. Just as I was finishing that thought, my phone rang. It was Sara!; she wanted to let me know that I had (also) left my work badge on the bed.  ::: braincramp ::: I told her that I was on the way back home because my wallet was still there, too. I got off the freeway at the next exit and completed the loop to home. Sara! was in the kitchen when I opened the door, with my badge, wallet and a fresh travel mug of coffee in hand, securing her spot as today’s Human of the Day. With that, I was off yet again.
  3. Apparently, the third departure was the charmed one. I made it to the freeway without incident. The commute was uneventful. I arrived at work in one piece. There was a minor moment of concern when, on exiting the car, I couldn’t find my wallet. I checked both seats, the spaces between them and even the back seat. No go, Flight. Turns out that it was in my pocket the whole time. *sigh*

And that’s how my NBN Thursday Eve started.

Namaste.

Batter up!

Thursday, February 28th, 2013
Batter up!

Thursday  – 28 February 2013
A new NBN Thursday is here. So far, it’s not bad.
It’s also the end of February.

This morning, Diana was up a bit before Vanessa. In order to let Vanessa sleep a bit longer, brought her into our room. This appeased Diana… somewhat. So, I did what any father would do, I broke out the iPad and let her read/play with the Barnyard Dance book/app. This worked for a few minutes. Then, I switched over to Moo, Baa, La La La. That satisfied her for a little while, as well. Long enough for Vanessa to wake up and decide that she was ready to start the day.

Last night, Sara! and I watched Moneyball:

122324CM01A

The characters were well-developed, not just cardboard cut-out caricatures. The dialogue was believable and realistic, not just a bunch of baseball-related cliches. The story also managed to show a bit of the off-the-field life of Pitt’s character, Billy Beane, and his journey from all-star golden boy in high school to a MLB player to general manager of the Oakland A’s.

All told, it was a good film.  Sara! enjoyed it… though she qualified it by saying that it still wasn’t enough to make her like baseball.

baseball baseball baseball baseball baseball baseball baseball

Chew on This – Food for Thought – Black History Month
I didn’t get as many days filled in as I had hoped, but I could not let the month end without an entry:

  • Daniel Hale Williams, Surgeon

    danielwilliams
    Daniel Hale Williams III was born on January 18, 1856, in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania, to Sarah Price Williams and Daniel Hale Williams II. The couple had several children, with the elder Daniel H. Williams inheriting a barber business. He also worked with the Equal Rights League, a black civil rights organization active during the Reconstruction era.

    After the elder Williams died, a 10-year-old Daniel was sent to live in Baltimore, Maryland, with family friends. He became a shoemaker’s apprentice but disliked the work and decided to return to his family, who had moved to Illinois. Like his father, he took up barbering, but ultimately decided he wanted to pursue his education. He worked as an apprentice with Dr. Henry Palmer, a highly accomplished surgeon, and then completed further training at Chicago Medical College.

    Williams set up his own practice in Chicago’s Southside and taught anatomy at his alma mater, also becoming the first African-American physician to work for the city’s street railway system. Williams—who was called Dr. Dan by patients—also adopted sterilization procedures for his office informed by the recent findings on germ transmission and prevention from Louis Pasteur and Joseph Lister.

    Due to the discrimination of the day, African-American citizens were still barred from being admitted to hospitals and black doctors were refused staff positions. Firmly believing this needed to change, in May 1891, Williams opened Provident Hospital and Training School for Nurses, the nation’s first hospital with a nursing and intern program that had a racially integrated staff. The facility, where Williams worked as a surgeon, was publicly championed by famed abolitionist and writer Frederick Douglass.

    In 1893, Williams continued to make history when he operated on James Cornish, a man with a severe stab wound to his chest who was brought to Provident. Without the benefits of a blood transfusion or modern surgical procedures, Williams successfully sutured Cornish’s pericardium (the membranous sac enclosing the heart), becoming the first person to perform open-heart surgery. Cornish lived for many years after the operation.

    In 1894, Williams moved to Washington, D.C., where he was appointed the chief surgeon of the Freedmen’s Hospital, which provided care for formerly enslaved African Americans. The facility had fallen into deep neglect and had a high mortality rate. Williams worked diligently on revitalization, improving surgical procedures, increasing institutional specialization, allowing public viewing of surgeries, launching ambulance services and adding a multiracial staff, continuing to provide opportunities for black physicians and nursing students.

    And in 1895, he co-founded the National Medical Association, a professional organization for black medical practitioners, as an alternative to the American Medical Association, which didn’t allow African-American membership.

    Williams left Freedmen’s Hospital in 1898. He married Alice Johnson, and the newlyweds moved to Chicago, where Williams returned to his work at Provident. Soon after the turn of the century, he worked at Cook County Hospital and later at St. Luke’s, a large medical institution with ample resources.

    Beginning in 1899, Williams also made annual trips to Nashville, Tennessee, where he was a voluntary visiting clinical professor at Meharry Medical College for more than two decades. He became a charter member of the American College of Surgeons in 1913.

    Daniel Hale Williams experienced a debilitating stroke in 1926 and died five years later, on August 4, 1931, in Idlewild, Michigan.

    Today, Williams’s work as a pioneering physician and advocate for an African-American presence in medicine continues to be honored by educational institutions worldwide.

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013
Respond Vibrate Feedback Resonate

Wednesday  – 13 February 2013
New comics day? Yep
Movie Date Night with Sara!? Yep.

And, it’s my sister, Rana’s, birthday:

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Last night, Sara! fixed jambalaya for dinner, in honor of Fat Tuesday. As always, it was very good.

This morning, I arrived in the office to find out that I had three meetings scheduled back-to-overlapping-back to slightly-more-breathing-room back. Yay. Fortunately, the first meeting was rescheduled for tomorrow.

As I mentioned above, tonight is Movie Date Night. It’s also my pick for a movie… and I have no idea what tonight’s selection will be.

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s item is: Negro Romance Comics

negro romance

Negro Romance was a romance comic book published in the 1950s by Fawcett Comics (which through a series of sales and acquisitions, is now part of Warner Communications, which owns  DC Comics). It is remarkable in eschewing African-American stereotypes, telling stories interchangeable with those told about white characters. The comic even mentions college, which was relatively uncommon in the 1950s, even moreso among African-Americans. Negro Romance ran for only three issues.

It was developed as an experiment in expanding into the romance market, conceived by editor Roy Ald, who was European-American, and written by him without credit. It was illustrated by Alvin Hollingsworth, the first African-American artist hired by Fawcett.

Because of their obscurity and rarity, the Negro Romance issues sell for hundreds of dollars each.

The PBS series History Detectives also did a feature on African-American Comic Books:

References:

Stray Toasters

Yeah, that’s it.

Namaste.

Meetings? Oh, yes, we have meetings.

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013
Meetings? Oh, yes, we have meetings.

Tuesday – 12 February 2013
It’s Teleconference Tuesday. And the best way to start a telecon is to use the wrong meeting ID… and therefore wind up six minutes late to the conference that you thought you were three minutes early to. *grlbsnrkx*

::: rest of the day :::

The second meeting wasn’t too bad. Thankfully.

Team DiVa Tuesday
Here’s a couple of quick shots of the ladies of Team DiVa:

Vanessa

Vanessa

Diana

Diana

Chew on This – Food for Thought: Black History Month
Today’s person of note is: Garrett Morgan – Entrepreneur, writer, inventor

Garrett A. Morgan.  September 28, 1945  (Cleveland News file photo)

Born in Paris, Kentucky, on March 4, 1877, Garrett Morgan was the seventh of 11 children. His mother, Elizabeth (Reed) Morgan, was of Indian and African descent, and the daughter of a Baptist minister. It is uncertain whether Morgan’s father was Confederate Colonel John Hunt Morgan or Sydney Morgan, a former slave freed in 1863. Morgan’s mixed race heritage would play a part in his business dealings as an adult.

When Morgan was in his mid teens, he moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, to look for work, and found it as a handyman to a wealthy landowner. Although he only completed an elementary school education, Morgan was able to pay for more lessons from a private tutor. But jobs at several sewing-machine factories were to soon capture his imagination and determine his future. Learning the inner workings of the machines and how to fix them, Morgan obtained a patent for an improved sewing machine and opened his own repair business.

Morgan’s business was a success, and it enabled him to marry a Bavarian woman named Mary Anne Hassek, and establish himself in Cleveland. (He and his wife would have three sons during their marriage.)

Following the momentum of his business success, Morgan’s patented sewing machine would soon pave the way to his financial freedom, albeit in a rather unorthodox way: In 1909, Morgan was working with sewing machines in his newly opened tailoring shop—a business he had opened with wife Mary, who had experience as a seamstress—when he encountered woolen fabric that had been scorched by a sewing-machine needle. It was a common problem at the time, since sewing-machine needles ran at such high speeds. In hopes of alleviating the problem, Morgan experimented with a chemical solution in an effort to reduce friction created by the needle, and subsequently noticed that the hairs of the cloth were straighter.

After trying his solution to good effect on a neighboring dog’s fur, Morgan finally tested the concoction on himself. When that worked, he quickly established the G.A. Morgan Hair Refining Company and sold the cream to African Americans. The company was incredibly successful, bringing Morgan financial security and allowing him to pursue other interests.

In 1914, Morgan patented a breathing device, or “safety hood,” providing its wearers with a safer breathing experience in the presence of smoke, gases and other pollutants. Morgan worked hard to market the device, especially to fire departments, often personally demonstrating its reliability in fires. Morgan’s breathing device became the prototype and precursor for the gas masks used during World War I, protecting soldiers from toxic gas used in warfare. The invention earned him the first prize at the Second International Exposition of Safety and Sanitation in New York City.

There was some resistance to Morgan’s devices among buyers, particularly in the South, where racial tension remained palpable despite advancements in African-American rights. In an effort to counteract the resistance to his products, Morgan hired a white actor to pose as “the inventor” during presentations of his breathing device; Morgan would pose as the inventor’s sidekick, disguised as a Native American man named “Big Chief Mason,” and, wearing his hood, enter areas otherwise unsafe for breathing. The tactic was successful; sales of the device were brisk, especially from firefighters and rescue workers.

In 1916, the city of Cleveland was drilling a new tunnel under Lake Erie for a fresh water supply. Workers hit a pocket of natural gas, which resulted in a huge explosion and trapped workers underground amidst suffocating noxious fumes and dust. When Morgan heard about the explosion, he and his brother put on breathing devices, made their way to the tunnel and entered as quickly as possible. The brothers managed to save two lives and recover four bodies before the rescue effort was shut down.

Despite his heroic efforts, the publicity that Morgan garnered from the incident hurt sales; the public was now fully aware that Morgan was an African American, and many refused to purchase his products. Adding to the detriment, neither the inventor nor his brother were fully recognized for their heroic efforts at Lake Erie—possibly another effect of racial discrimination. Morgan was nominated for a Carnegie Medal for his efforts, but ultimately wasn’t chosen to receive the award. Additionally, some reports of the explosion named others as the rescuers.

While the public’s lack of acknowledgement for Morgan’s and his brother’s roles at the Cleveland explosion was undoubtedly disheartening, Morgan was a voracious inventor and observer who focused on fixing problems, and soon turned his attention to all kinds of things, from hats to belt fasteners to car parts.

The first black man in Cleveland to own a car, Morgan worked on his mechanical skills and developed a friction drive clutch. Then, in 1923, he created a new kind of traffic signal, one with a warning light to alert drivers that they would need to stop, after witnessing a carriage accident at a particularly problematic intersection in the city. Morgan quickly acquired patents for his traffic signal—a rudimentary version of the modern three-way traffic light—in the United States, Britain and Canada, but eventually sold the rights to General Electric for $40,000.

Outside of his inventing career, Morgan diligently supported the African-American community throughout his lifetime. He was a member of the newly formed National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was active in the Cleveland Association of Colored Men, donated to Negro colleges and opened an all-black country club. Additionally, in 1920, he launched the African-American newspaper the Cleveland Call (later named the Call and Post).

reference: Biography.com

Stray Toasters

Namaste.

Good day, Monday…

Monday, February 11th, 2013
Good day, Monday...

Monday – 11 January 2013
A new week is upon us. ‘Nuff said.

This past weekend has been a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s also been quite fantastic. Friday night, I had a classmate from high school spend the evening with Sara!, Team DiVa and me:

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James (above) came  to town a couple of months ago for a conference. Of course, his schedule was ever-so-slightly full, but he was due to come back to town this past week. We determined that we’d try to arrange our schedules so that we could see each other for a while. And we did. And, it was absolutely fantastic to see him.

I did some mental gymnastics and realized that before Friday, I hadn’t seen an of my classmates since graduation. Many. Many. Seasons. Past.

Saturday, Sara! had brunch with a friend, so Team DiVa and I spent the morning hanging out. It was a pretty quiet day around the homestead. After the little ladies went to bed, Sara! and I watched Juan of the Dead for Action Movie Saturday:

juanofthedead

Sara! had mentioned wanting to see this movie a few months ago, as this was apparently the first Cuban zombie film, , but it had fallen off my radar. It showed up in a Netflix envelope a few nights ago and we watched it. And it was worth it.

I’ll be honest, I drew more than one comparison to Shaun of the Dead while watching it. There were a number of things that were, indeed, similar. But, there was something that really set the movie apart: The Cuban point of view. That was something that I hadn’t expected, for some reason. And that’s a shame. Because it framed many/most of the sensibilities of the movie. As Sara! put it:

If you were going to get some of your friends together and make a movie, this is totally the movie that you would make.

And, she’s right. And with that recommendation, I recommend it, as well.

Sunday, I had a early morning: I had to be at work at 7:30 for a scheduled server maintenance window. 7:30. AM. On a Sunday. Yeah. And, what made it even better: It snowed Saturday. For the most part, UDoT did a decent job of plowing I-215; I just wish that they had done as solid a job on I-15. But, I made it to work. And the maintenance project went rather hitch-free. And I made it back home without incident. And, on the plus side: My work week is already 5 hours old. That’s going to be nice come Friday.

We spent the afternoon in, but had dinner with Sara!’s parents and Uncle Mike, who was in town for the day. Back home to put Team DiVa to bed and then it was time for the new episode of The Walking Dead. And, we even caught some of the Grammy Awards.

Chew on This: Food for Thought – Black History Month
Here are three more people of note:

  • Judith Jamison – Dancer, choreographer, artistic director.
    Judith-Jamison_Photo-by-Andrew-Eccles-2010_690x389
    Born Judith Ann Jamison on May 10, 1943 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She trained early in dance and music and attended the Philadelphia Dance Academy before performing with American Ballet Theatre in 1964. A year later, she moved to New York City to join the Alvin Ailey company and quickly became a principal dancer. Jamison stayed with Alvin Ailey until 1980 and during that time gave several notable performances, including 1967’s The Prodigal Prince, 1969’s Masekela Language and 1971’s Cry, which was a 15-minute solo piece. Audiences also remember 1976’s Pas de Duke, a duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov set to the music of Duke Ellington.

    After leaving the company to appear in the Broadway musical Sophisticated Ladies, Jamison began choreographing her own works and started the Jamison Project in 1988. A year later, shortly after Ailey’s death, Jamison became artistic director of Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.

    Jamison has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Kennedy Center Honors in 1999 and the National Medal of Arts in 2001. Her autobiography, Dancing Spirit, was published in 1993.

  • Simmie Knox – Artist
    simmie_knox
    Born on August 18, 1935, in Aliceville, Alabama, leading African American portrait artist Simmie Knox has created vivid, lifelike renderings of such luminaries as President Bill Clinton and U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.Knox is the son of a carpenter and mechanic. But he spent many of his childhood years in the care of other family members after his parents divorced. Knox grew up poor with most of his family working as sharecroppers, and he himself took to the fields when he was old enough. Later Knox went to live with his father and stepmother in Mobile, Alabama. There he loved to make little sketches and to play baseball. One of his childhood friends was baseball legend Hank Aaron. At the age of 13, Knox was struck in the eye with a baseball. With encouragement from his teachers at his Catholic school, he started drawing as a way to help his eye recover from the injury. The nuns who educated him recognized his talent and arranged for him to have lessons from a local postal worker. No formal art education was available at his segregated school.

    After graduating from Central High School in Mobile, Alabama, in 1956, Knox spent several years serving in the military. He then attended Delaware State College as a biology major. While he didn’t excel at science, Knox did some wonderful sketches of microorganisms. One of his professors recommended that he take some art classes. While at Delaware State, Knox completed a full-sized self-portrait, one of his notable early art works. After completing his studies at the University of Delaware in 1967, Knox enrolled at the Tyler School of Art at Temple University. There, he earned a bachelor degree in fine arts in 1970 and a master’s degree in fine arts two years later. At the time, abstract art was all the rage. Knox painted in this style for a time and even got the chance to display his works at a prominent Washington, D.C. gallery. His paintings hung alongside Roy Lichtenstein and other leading artists in this show.

    Still Knox wasn’t completely satisfied with his abstract work. He painted a portrait of freed slave and prominent abolitionist Frederick Douglass in 1976, which now part of the collection at the Smithsonian Institution. In addition to painting, Knox worked extensively in art education. He held many teaching positions, including being an instructor at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts from 1975 to 1980.

    By the early 1980s, Knox had devoted himself to realistic portrait work. He explained to The New York Times, “With abstract painting, I didn’t feel the challenge. The face is the most complicated thing there is. The challenge is finding that thing, that makes it different from another face.” Knox found a famous patron in 1986 when he met comedian Bill Cosby. Cosby became an ardent supporter of Knox’s work, hiring for portraits of himself and his family. He also encouraged friends to commission Knox for paintings as well.

    Knox soon landed an important assignment: to capture the image of legendary U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. Marshall “could tell I was nervous,” Knox told American Artist magazine, adding, “But he told jokes; he told stories about his life. I came away feeling so good about the man.” He completed Marshall’s portrait in 1989 and continued to receive new commissions. Over the years, Knox painted the likeness of baseball great Hank Aaron, former New York City mayor David Dinkins, historian John Hope Franklin and Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg among other famous names.

    In 2000, Knox received his most famous assignment to date. He was selected to paint the official White House portraits of President Bill Clinton and First Lady Hillary Clinton. With this commission, Knox made history. “I realize there has never been an African American to paint a portrait of a president and, being the first, that’s quite an honor and quite a challenge,” he told ABC News. Knox and Bill Clinton bonded over a shared love of jazz.

    Knox’s paintings of the Clintons were revealed to the public in a special ceremony at the White House in 2004.Knox works out of his studio—a former garage—at his home in Silver Spring, Maryland. He and his wife Roberta have two children together, Amelia and Zachary. Knox also has a daughter, Sheri, from his first marriage.

  • Alain Locke Writer, philosopher, educator

    alain-locke

    Alain Locke was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on September 13, 1885 to Pliny Ishmael Locke (1850–1892) and Mary Hawkins Locke (1853–1922). In 1902, he graduated from Central High School in Philadelphia, second in his class. 

    In 1907, Locke graduated from Harvard University with degrees in English and philosophy. He was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar. He formed part of the Phi Beta Kappa Society. Locke was denied admission to several Oxford colleges because of his race before finally being admitted to Hertford College, where he studied literature, philosophy, Greek, and Latin, from 1907–1910. In 1910, he attended the University of Berlin, where he studied philosophy.

    Locke received an assistant professorship in English at Howard University, in Washington, D.C. While at Howard University, he became a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity.

    Locke returned to Harvard in 1916 to work on his doctoral dissertation, The Problem of Classification in the Theory of Value. In his thesis, he discusses the causes of opinions and social biases, and that these are not objectively true or false, and therefore not universal. Locke received his PhD in philosophy in 1918. Locke returned to Howard University as the chair of the department of philosophy, a position he held until his retirement in 1953.

    Locke promoted African-American artists, writers, and musicians, encouraging them to look to Africa as an inspiration for their works. He encouraged them to depict African and African-American subjects, and to draw on their history for subject material. Locke edited the March 1925 issue of the periodical Survey Graphic, a special on Harlem and the Harlem Renaissance, which helped educate white readers about its flourishing culture. Later that year, he expanded the issue into The New Negro, a collection of writings by African Americans, which would become one of his best known works. His philosophy of the New Negro was grounded in the concept of race-building. Its most important component is overall awareness of the potential black equality; no longer would blacks allow themselves to adjust themselves or comply with unreasonable white requests. This idea was based on self-confidence and political awareness. Although in the past the laws regarding equality had been ignored without consequence, Locke’s philosophical idea of The New Negro allowed for fair treatment. Because this was an idea and not alaw, its power was held in the people. If they wanted this idea to flourish, they were the ones who would need to “enforce” it through their actions and overall points of view. Locke has been said to have greatly influenced and encouraged Zora Neale Hurston.

Stray Toasters

I should probably post this before I forget. Again. For another two hours.

Namaste.