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Thursday, October 19, 2017

Seven Minutes of Awesome Drums ... Explained in 6 and a Half

This Should Not Be A Controversial Thing to Write, But It Will Be

I agree with Erick Erickson's column This Should Not Be A Controversial Thing to Write, But I Know It Will Be

And that is why modern American politics is so stupid.

But the President is accused of making a remark that sounds cold and insensitive to the widow of a soldier.

He stands accused by a vocal critic and others who hated him to begin with.

And we do not have the exact quote. We have what they want us to have.

I would like to hear the full quote and context before rolling my eyes and saying something not nice about the President.

We live in an age where the false tweet gets 10,000 retweets and the correction gets 100. No one cares about facts, just resistance fan fiction. If it sounds true and makes the President look bad, it is, whether or not it happened.

I think I will wait.

It's getting ridiculouser by the day.
Editor's Note: After heated discussion and name-calling, "ridiculouser" remains in this post. But under protest.
Comment about the Editor's Note above: "Password" is not a secure password. Idiot.

So It Would Help...


That's Cute

In Around the Bay Area... in Iowa City?!?

I admit there are likely parts of Iowa City I am vastly & HUGELY unfamiliar with but WOW, I had no idea Iowa City, IA, had a "Bay Area" and it's not just a generic "bay area" - it's a proper noun "Bay Area" in the ad.

It must exist - I read it on the Internet!

That set aside, I am an Android user so the fact that this position wants iOS expertise immediately disqualifies me from an otherwise awesome part-time, remote, technical writing gig.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Another ES Cover

Rob Zombie guitarist John 5 tore the stage up at Chicago Open Air 2017. I have no doubt that he is talented beyond my capability to understand how talented he is. Thus, I knew that hearing his cover of Metallica's "Enter Sandman" would be great.

And it is.



Low-hanging fruit.

Think about it. Out of all the tunes he could have selected, the top of the "Best Known Metallica Tunes" list is the tune he selected.

It sounds fantastic - nothing wrong with the recording in the video below.


It feels safe.


And John 5 is not safe.

He is not calculated.

For God's sake, he wore a dress when I saw him at Chicago Open Air.


What's my point?

"What would he have done with a lesser-known Metallica tune?" is the question I ask myself. What if, instead of "Enter Sandman" as the Metallica tune to cover, he chose a tune like "For Whom the Bell Tolls" which is known for being a 'bass-heavy' tune and allowed his creativity to overtake the original? What if he chose "The Four Horsemen" instead? What if he chose "Disposable Heroes"? What if he chose "Harvester of Sorrow"?

What if he chose ANY tune on the "St. Anger" album?!?

He didn't. He chose "Enter Sandman" - a great tune that has been in my ears hundreds of times since I saw the premier of the video on MTV in the summer of 1991.

Long live the sandman!

Bettering Me

I came across Jennifer Robb's profile on LinkedIn. She is a local professional organizer and, on her Events page, this class was listed as being at the Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, which is literally, 2 minutes from my building. I am interested in the class because when I think about the den transformation project, I realize I had a true mess. The 'before' pictures are something you'd see on one of the episodes of "Hoarders" I've seen on TV. Thus, even though I have a new desk and the den looks radically different, it wasn't very long ago when I was frustrated because I couldn't find what I wanted to find. Thus, I am signing up for her Kirkwood class. Here is the class description:

Digital De-Cluttering and Taming the Paper Monster

ID : 92667
Do you feel overwhelmed with paperwork and files the minute you walk through your office door or sit down at your computer? Now more than ever, we are continually inundated with notes, lists, appointments, mail, paperwork, emails and other electronic files and information. In this class, you'll learn Simple Organizing Strategies to purge the paperwork and e-files, to remove yourself from call, mailing, and email lists as well as how to coordinate and organize your paper and file systems so that you can finally take control of the paper and computer clutter. Don't agonize…organize.
Class Details
1 Sessions
Weekly - Mon
Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
Jennifer Robb
CEUs : 0.24
Registration Closes On
Monday, October 23, 2017 @ 12:00 AM
Schedule Information
Date(s) Class Days Times Location Instructor(s)
10/23/2017 - 10/23/2017 Weekly - Mon 6:00 PM - 8:00 PM Coralville, Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa
Room: 312 Jennifer Robb

Editor's Note: This is the link to sign up for the class:

Willing to See New Grads?

At first blush, I thought this job was awful to offer up to $16 / hour. Read the job description:

Specification Writer
Sunrise Systems Inc 7 reviews - Cedar Falls, IA 50613
$15.00 - $16.60 an hour - Contract

Job Title : Specification Analyst I

Duration : 1 year

Location : Waterloo, IA- 50613

Job Description :
  • Develops and maintains product specifications, engineering decisions, Common Specifications System, factory Bills of material and the drawing imaging system to ensure that complete and accurate specifications and drawings for less complex parts and assemblies are available to manufacturing and other information users.
  • Works from an Engineering Change Order (ECO), ensuring that the data is accurate and conforms to the common specification guidelines.

Duties :
  • Creates and modifies production level specifications in the factory data base using inputs from an Engineering Change Order (ECO) and sister factory decisions.
  • Organizes, enters and maintains data for specific programs. Communicates Engineering Change Decisions to production.
  • Prepares drawings for the decision process, creates simple models of components or simple modifications to existing components and drawings.
  • May create 3D assemblies for new Bills of Material with support from senior designers or engineers.
  • Provides consultation services on standards, processes and related technical issues in order to identify, prevent or solve problems.
  • Works from system generated error reports, ensuring the data is in sync with other systems that interface with the common specification system.

Specific Position Requirements
  • Prefer candidates with 4 year degree or equivalent work experience.
  • SAP experience is a plus. Willing to see recent grads.
  • 1st shift position, business casual dress code.
  • End date is based on fiscal year, planning to extend the assignment at that time.

Job Type: Contract
Salary: $15.00 to $16.60 /hour
Required education:
  • Bachelor's
Required experience:
  • Manufacturing/Production: 1 year

Then I realized, with horror, that at my first technical writing job, that I mentioned the other day, my hourly salary was 1/2 of that $16 - it was (roughly) $8.65 / hour. I arrived at that number by dividing 18000 (my salary) by 52 weeks to get $346.15 / week, divided by 40 hours a week = $8.65 / hour. This job, below, is $16 / hour x 40 hours in a week = $640, times 52 week to get to $33,280 / year. I can say that I had to change jobs, moving to a different company, before I was making close to that salary range.

The Power

When I am mocking something, I write things like this: "Oh yes! If I have "1 view" on LinkedIn, I have a powerful profile! I should just quit work and wait for the job offers from LinkedIn to overwhelm me!" I would likely be waiting more years than I have left in my career so since that isn't a smart choice, I'll continue working.

By the way, the word "power" has a special connotation to me. Whenever I hear the phrase "power" in conversation, my mind goes to the Everybody Loves Raymond episode called "The Power of No," which is one of my all-time favorite episodes in the series. It hits all the right notes as far as the dynamics between Ray and Debra. Because it's my all-time favorite, I embedded this video:

I'm not alone in thinking the episode was stellar. Per IMDB, "For this episode, Ray Romano was nominated for the 2005 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor In A Comedy Series." It was originally aired on May 5, 2005, per Wikipedia. To arrive at May 5, 2005, you'd have to set your time machine to go back 4552 days or 12 years, 5 months, 2 weeks, 2 days.

Is This Man Doing a Flip or Taking a Dump?

I know the answer to the question that is asked in the title of this blog. This is Anton Hoherz, a member of the University of Iowa swimming & diving team, and he is doing a flip. That said, I don't think I would be sharing that picture with any of my friends, if I were Anton. In fact, if I never look at it again, I'd be fine.

Editor's Note: This picture is set to "small" so as to not offend your eyes.

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Senior Rocking Out (Warning: languge)

No Kidding!

It's really ironic.

I learned last week that John, my neighbor, began a new job at Businessolver. He said that Businessolver are in the same "space" as where he was working (Mercer). Recently, Businessolver opened an office in Iowa City 2 doors down from Mercer. He said that Businessolver had begun to "poach" his co-workers at Mercer but he hadn't really been interested in Businessolver until they offered him a salary that was 30% over what he was making at Mercer. I have no idea what John's salary was at Mercer or is now at Businessolver, so I'm just randomly choosing $50000 as the salary he was making at Mercer. Add 30% of $50000 and you get $15000. Add $15000 to $50000 and you get $65000. That's one great salary bump!
A brief side note: I suck at negotiating salaries.
  1. At my first technical writing job, I was offered $17500 by John Millard as a starting salary and I countered with $18000, which became my salary. Millard told me that I would have to work "extra hard" for that $500.
  2. Fast forward to when I was offered my Pearson job. I had a number in mind and when the HR person said what they wanted to offer me, it was $10000 HIGHER than the number I had in mind. I couldn't speak and accepted.
  3. When I was offered my current job, there was no room to negotiate on salary so, thinking quickly, I asked to have 3 monitors at my desk. I remembered I had wanted to have 3 monitors at my Pearson desk, but was told the laptop I had wouldn't support a third monitor. It had been mentioned that a new laptop would be ordered for me so I said, "Can the laptop that is ordered have the capability to have 3 monitors?" I still remember walking to my cubicle the first time and seeing 3 monitors, which I LOVE!
Back to the subject, John and I were talking on Sunday night and I said to him, as he was walking away, if you hear they need a technical writer to work part-time, off-site, remote, let me know. Now, today, I noticed this ad, which is not new - it has been on since Saturday, September 23, 2017, 24 days ago. Hey, that's the day my oldest niece, Emily, got married in Davenport! Again, back to the subject, the job is for a full-time position and wants a minimum of 1+ years' experience as a technical writer. I was hired at that aforementioned first technical writing job on Friday, February 10, 1995 - a whopping 22 years, 8 months, 1 week (8285 days) back in time.
A brief side note: I will be a technical writer for 10000 days on June 28, 2022, which is 4 years, 8 months, 1 week, 4 days (or 1715 days) from today, when I am 52 years, 6 months, 3 weeks, 3 days (19199 days) old. It will be 27 years, 4 months, 2 weeks, 4 days as a technical writer.
Here is the job I saw:

Technical Writer

Businessolver 23 reviews - Des Moines, IA

Businessolver delivers market-changing benefits administration technology supported by an intrinsic and unwavering responsiveness to client needs. Our clients trust Businessolver to take care of them and their employees with a configurable and secure SaaS platform and a culture of service, all aimed at total and measurable success and our clients’ complete delight.

We work with some of the most recognizable brands in the U.S. We look to our rock-star employees to help these clients maximize the investment in their benefits program, minimize their exposure to risk, engage their employees with our easy-to-use solution and full suite of communication tools, and empower their employees to use their benefits wisely.

At Businessolver you will have opportunities to Trust through transparency. Assume positive intent. Be real. Live a growth attitude. Embrace the reverse golden rule.

The Technical Writer role plays an integral part in communicating our high-tech services and educating our internal stakeholders and our clients on new enhancement to our product. Our ideal candidate is an excellent written communicator, enjoys learning and applying new knowledge, is adept with understanding technology, has a keen eye for detail, and enjoys working in a fast-paced environment. This is an amazing opportunity for someone looking to broaden his or her experience and work in a growing (and fun!) organization.

If you are ready to hit the ground running and help us deliver delight, this could be your dream job!

The Gig:

  • Work closely with subject matter experts to collect source material, develop documentation plan and create product technical documentation as part of a formal new product launch process
  • Work closely with subject matter experts to develop, adapt and follow project schedule and deadline for the creation of the product documentation
  • Determine the needs of end users of technical documentation
  • Study product samples and talk with product designers and developers
  • Work with technical staff to make products easier to use and thus need fewer instructions
  • Organize and write supporting documents for products
  • Use photographs, drawings, diagrams, animation, and charts that increase users’ understanding
  • Select appropriate medium for message or audience, such as manuals or online videos
  • Standardize content across platforms and media
  • Gather usability feedback from internal stakeholders and customers
  • Revise documents as new issues arise
  • Maintain and enhance existing product documentation

What you need to make the cut:

  • Technical degree or equivalent experience in engineering technology, technical communications or similar discipline is required
  • Minimum 1+ years' experience working in a technical writing position is required
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills are required
  • Excellent computer skills required
  • Strong attention to detail is required
  • Ability to work in a team environment to accomplish project schedule and deadline is required
  • Experience in the benefits administration industry is a plus
  • Experience with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or similar programs would be a huge plus
  • Must have strong organizational skills and attention to detail

The Businessolver Way…

Our team has spent more than a dozen years crafting a culture that challenges each other to be our best – and have fun doing it. If you desire to use your skills and experience in an environment where you can make a difference, we want to hear from you! Businessolver employees experience a vibrant work culture with extensive workplace perks including:
  • Competitive pay, great benefits, and vacation time. We are an equal opportunity employer with competitive benefits including medical, dental, life insurance, disability, 401(k) with company match, among others.
  • Concierge Service. Going somewhere? Take advantage of travel assistance and discounted memberships.
  • Wellness. Stay healthy and earn discounts while doing it! Don’t forget to visit our gym when visiting the corporate office.
  • Charity and community involvement. Participate in a variety of ways to support those around us.
  • Learning & Development. Continue to learn about the industry through our online and instructor-led classes.
  • Recognition. Want some swag? Earn tons of it by helping out your co-workers through our employee recognition program.
  • Culture. Want a culture most dream of? Most companies talk about it, we live it. Come find out for yourself!

Interested? Great, we look forward to reading your application - make sure it includes:

  1. A cover letter that highlights why you think you’d be great for the gig, focusing on how your past work experience has prepared you for this kind of position – or why you think you can rock the job even though you don’t have past work experience that’s perfectly aligned.
  2. Your resume.

You will receive an auto-reply confirming that we've received your application, and you will hear from us again after we've reviewed your application and decided whether or not to move you forward in our recruiting process.

If you do decide to apply, please know that every complete application will be carefully reviewed. Seriously! We know it is a time commitment to prepare an application. We will respect that effort by thoughtfully reviewing every single complete application and we are truly grateful for your interest.

Thanks for your interest in Businessolver!

Check us out on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn for a look at our vibrant culture.
24 days ago

Ideal if I was not who I am

Monday, October 16, 2017

Speechless! I CANNOT WAIT!!

Secured? Really?

Notice anything odd about the URL in the screenshot below? It says the PDF is stored in a directory called "secured" when, in fact, it is not. When I googled "vba-macro-examples.pdf" (never mind why I used such a specific search string!), it was the first result!

Don't trust me - see for yourself:

Dipping into Word Help on a Monday

Display each Word document in its own window

Printing a Bookmark List

I love the fact that I can use MS Word for my disaster recovery RoboHelp project at work - that is not sarcasm! I think technical writing can certainly be done using MS Word. I think in order to do so, macros, styles, and templates are essential. If I didn't know enough to be dangerous, I'd really be frustrated.

I didn't mention that last Wednesday, I had a major breakthrough in how I'm using MS Word at work. I have 16 critical systems and a MS Word doc for each. There is a set of standard headings but if I were to decide I need to change "Apples" to "Natural Apples," I would need to access all 16 Word documents and make the change. That is not close to single sourcing content - not by a long shot! Instead, that is using 'copy and paste' to do cumbersome work.

I knew I could include text, as a link, from a separate MS Word doc, but it occurred to me to store these standard headings in a separate MS Word doc and link to those headings. That way, when I needed to change "Apples" to "Natural Apples," I could update the MS Word doc and all the documents that linked to that heading text would be updated! Easy-peasy!

Except, no, not exactly. This is a summary of what I was trying to do:

I’m working with many Word documents. I want to standardize the footer. I created a separate document, called “footer.docx”, which, for right now, has a single line with the text “Page X of Y” (I plan to have other information in the footer.docx file, but only if I solve my problem). I went to my “System_A.docx” file and inserted a reference to “footer.docx” so I see

{ INCLUDETEXT “S:\\Disaster Recovery Planning\\footer.docx” }

My problem is that instead of displaying the single line with the “Page X of Y” in the footer, I see two lines: the first has “Page X of Y” and the second is an empty paragraph mark. How do I eliminate the empty paragraph mark?

It took 22 minutes later when I joyfully found my answer:

Found my answer! - needed to insert a bookmark and include the link to the specific bookmark, not the entire document:

You should be aware that including the entirety of a source document brings along the last paragraph mark in the document, which controls quite a lot of formatting and can affect your target document. If you are only including part of a document consider whether you want to include the paragraph mark at the end of your selection, as including it will result in a paragraph break in the target document.

What the hell did I do prior to the Internet?!?

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Nugget from the Past

I came across this nugget from my past and had to say, "WHEW!! I no longer work at a company with a technical writer who believes three bold periods followed by a non-bold period is good technical writing.

Today marks what would've been my 7 year anniversary, had things in life not gone the way they did.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Good to Bad

Honestly, time will really be the judge of where Zayn's heel turn fits into the overall story of his career in the WWE. The subject of heel turns has been discussed before on this blog, but I still wanted to link to this article. Sami Zayn only turned heel on Sunday, October 8, 2017, and here it is, Friday, October 13, 2017. I think 5 days is too early to declare that "Sami Zayn's heel turn is one of the most shocking in WWE history and, yet, that's the name of the article: Sami Zayn at-Hell in a Cell and the Most Shocking Heel Turns in WWE History.

Justice to be Served with Blackness to Follow

METALLICA Is Preparing Deluxe Versions Of '…And Justice For All' And 'Black' Albums

Gassy Drummer

Toxicity (Drums Only)

Bad Pizza

Fans Won't Stop Throwing Pizzas On The "Breaking Bad" House, So The Owners Are Installing A Huge Fence

No Pop Ded or Breeding

In 40 days, Pop Evil & Ded are playing a concert at Spicolli's in Waterloo, which is where I recently went with Kevin H. and Alex to see Overkill / Crowbar / Havok on a Thursday night. The problem with this Pop Evil & Ded concert is it is on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving, 11/22/17. Normally, it would work out great for Alex to see a show in Waterloo, since he is a student @ UNI, but in this specific scenario, it's not going to work out great. You see, Thanksgiving break begins on Saturday, November 18, 2017, so when this concert rolls around, Alex will be at home in North Liberty. His idea is to still drive up to Waterloo with Austin, his buddy, on that Wednesday and see the show and then return home.

What would be smart for him to do would be to check into if he can spend the night in his dorm room (or possibly Megan's apartment) after the concert so he doesn't have to drive back from Waterloo late at night.

In other news, the Breeders are reuniting. This article states that there was such a falling out among the band members that the vocalist and drummer didn't speak for 15 years. It's beyond 'highly unlikely' that the Breeders will play a concert in Iowa, which is no skin off my back because I only know this tune by them:

With my luck, they WILL play a concert in Iowa and I'll have to dismiss the notion of going.

Selling the Farm

Former METALLICA Bassist JASON NEWSTED Selling Montana Ranch For $5 Million