Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Jonas Green Park Fishing Report

My son, his friend, and I decided to go fishing on Memorial Day.  We went to Jonas Green Park in Annapolis.  It's across the Severn River from the Naval Academy, so we could see members of our military in training.  There's also a World War II Memorial right at the intersection where we turn to go into the park.  So in our own subtle way, we were thinking about those that have served our country that day.

We got to the park at 6:50 am and there wasn't too much of a crowd.  It was chilly.  When we left our house at 5:50 am, it was 41°.  When we arrived in Annapolis, it was up to 51°.  There were a bunch of people fishing off of the bridge, so we decided to settle by the rocks on the northeast side of the bridge.  Unfortunately, there was someone else who was already fishing on the corner spot that we really like.

My son is an A.D.D. fisherman.  He can't stand still.  This is fine for bass fishing, but it doesn't work too well for bottom fishing.  He moved all around the park from the beach to the rocks to the bridge, back to the rocks, back to the beach.

I pretty much stayed at the rocks until the guy at the corner moved.  But as quickly as I set up my two rods, another guy and his son were right there with me.  Within in a hour or two, there was a big Hispanic family on the right of me and another on to the left of the guy and son next to me.  It was a tight squeeze.  I'd say that within 50 feet there were 12 fishing rods.

We were using razor clams, 20 lb test line, and Hurricane rigs with 2 snelled #4 hooks.  And we fished for several hours and caught.......nothing.  The guys next to us were using blood worms and they were consistently bringing in spot.  One guy caught a really small white perch.  Finally I caught a spot.  Near the end of the day I caught a cow nose stingray.  Actually, the guy to the right of me also snagged it by chance (or the cow nose stingray snagged us).  We both landed it and were able to remove one of the hooks, but cut the line on the second before we allowed him to flop back to the water and swim away.

And that was it.  The fishing is still fairly slow.  We saw no striped bass, no blues, no drum, no flounder.  The water was cold.  Is Memorial Day the unofficial first day of summer or spring?  Or winter?  I'm ready for the warmer water and the fish to start running again.  Anyway, we packed up about 4pm and drove home.  Between the three of us we caught 12 fish - 1 cow nose ray, 1 croaker, and 10 spot.  For 9 hours worth of fishing.

How has your fishing been this year?

Monday, May 27, 2013

Happy Memorial Day

Happy Memorial Day.  Let's remember that before Memorial Day was a day to get drunk, play in the water, have a cookout, or have a huge car sale, it was a day to remember those that have served our country.

And Carroll County Commissioner Robin Frazier ought to be ashamed of herself and offer an apology to the citizens of Carroll County for her inappropriate sign on the car in the Westminster Memorial Day parade.  "No Liberals"?  Seriously?  Memorial Day is not the time for you play partisan politics.  Politicians like you are the ones intentionally dividing this country.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Piney Run Fishing Report

I haven't blogged in a while, so I have a bunch of ideas that I need to catch up on.  Unfortunately for the blog, the O'Malley posts require more thought, so I'm sticking to some of the easier ones right now.

Fishing.  What's up with fishing this year?  Is anyone else having trouble catching fish this year?  I have been to Piney Run Park to fish 8 times this year and have caught exactly one blue gill.  My son, whom I consider a superb fisherman, hasn't caught much.  One small large mouth bass, one yellow perch, one decent blue gill, and several smaller ones.

Fishing pier at Piney Run Park

I know it's been cold this spring.  Is the cold weather keeping the fish in the middle of the lake?  Do they not like to eat when it's chilly?  What's going on?

I will say that the old man that I see there all the time has not had any trouble catching fish.  Well, no trouble catching fish relative to me.  When I ask him how he's done, he always responds that he caught a couple.  Meanwhile, I see him catch crappie after crappie. I know he makes his own bait.  I've gone out and bought something that looks like his bait the last two times I've seen him use new bait.

I'm hoping to take my son to Jonas Green Park this Memorial Day weekend for some shore fishing on the Severn.  I'm hoping for nice weather, but at this point it looks like it will be getting cooler again.  Stupid global cooling.

What's your fishing experience this spring?

My Tips to a Successful Career

I recently passed my 16th anniversary working at American Amalgamated Corrugated Conglomerates of America.  For a company with such a big name, you'd be surprised how many people stay there so long.

During a staff meeting, one of the managers asked if I could provide any feedback on what the keys are to a successful career.  I was totally caught off-guard, but after a few moments of awkward silence, I was able to spout off a couple of items.  As the day wore on, I got to thinking - what have been the keys to being successful at work?

1) Show up on time.  You'd be amazed at how many people fail to show up when they are supposed to.  If you are supposed to be at work at 8am, you get there a little before 8am.  You start WORKING at 8am, not GET there at 8am.

2) Do your job as well as you can.  You may hate your job, but you're not doing yourself any favors by doing it poorly.  The way you perform your job determines your reputation.  If you're a garbage collector, be the best damn garbage collector.  If you're a rocket scientist, strive to be the best damn rocket scientist.

3) Have a positive attitude.  Everyone at work says that I always have a smile on my face.  Or if I don't have a smile, I can at least crack some jokes at whatever is troubling me at the moment.  When things get crazy, I just remind myself that this is just a job.  I still need to do it well, but it's a job and I cannot let it own me and make me miserable.  Settle down, figure out what needs to be done, and do it.

4) Set expectations.  This ties to #3.  No one wants to hear that you didn't deliver.  Do you have sales quota?  Or a deadline?  In my job, I determine tasks associated with projects and try to deliver the project within a stated time frame.  The trick is to properly set expectations.  Don't try to be a superhero.  You'll get more attention by wildly missing a target delivery date than you will coming in a couple of weeks early. If you know you're going to miss a deadline, let them know BEFORE you miss the deadline.  Determine why you are missing your deadline and make the changes to improve your process.  And when you inform your superiors that you are not going to meet their expectations, tell them why, tell them what you're doing to fix it, and tell them realistically what the new expectation is.  For example, if you just show up and tell boss man that you are going to miss the deadline, you're going to look like an incompetent fool.  If you say that you're going to miss the deadline, but you've identified the tasks that need to be completed and you'll assign more resources to it, and that you should be able to complete the task in another 5 weeks, you're giving the impression that you recognize the problem and you've proactively tried to come up with a plan to resolve it.

5) Treat people with respect.  I'll admit that I don't like everyone at work.  But I'm polite to everyone, I listen to what they have to say, and I try to negotiate or offer feedback when I disagree.  Don't ever say anything about someone at work that you don't want that person to hear - because they'll hear it somehow.

6) Put in the time when you need to get something done.  Sometimes we go through rough patches at work that require me to put in some overtime.  Generally I work 45 hours per week, which is standard in the amalgamating industry.  Sometimes I end up working 50.  Or 55 hours.  So be it.  It's not every week.  But if you put in the time when it was needed, it usually gets noticed.

7)  Keep in touch with former coworkers.  I have worked for several companies and several departments over my career.  I try to stay in touch with as many people as possible.  Have lunch with former coworkers from time-to-time.  Send a friendly email occasionally to check in on them.  There have been numerous times where my networking has been useful to my career.  Sometimes it's good just to bounce ideas off of someone impartial or to seek advise from them.  And sometimes you'll be without a job and need to find a new one.

8) Always try to look presentable.  There's an old saying: "Dress for the position that you want."  I have found that as I move up and am dressing a little more professionally that I used to dress.  Previously, khakis and any old polo shirt would do.  Now I try to only wear nicer pants or newer polo shirts or Oxford shirts.  Keep the shoes polished.  Avoid looking scruffy.  Totally avoid looking hung-over.  Carry yourself with poise.  Look confident.  Keep your head up when you walk the halls.  Don't stare at the floor.  Make eye contact with people and say 'hello'.  Don't ask them how they are.  Just say 'hello'.

9) Be thoughtful.  As I get older, I find that I am less spontaneous and more thoughtful about what I need to do.  Consider the implications of decisions.  Who would be impacted by this change?  What are possible unintended consequences?  What is the best strategic solution verses the quick tactical solution?  I want people to say, "Wow, I think he put a lot of thought into that."

10)   Say thank you and please.  This should probably be number one.  I'm continuously amazed how poor some people's manners are.  If I help you or give you something, then you say 'thank you'.  If you help me or give me something, I say, 'thank you.'. If I need something, I say, 'please'.  It's the simple things that matter.

What are the things that you think are important to a successful career?

No Sympathy for Baltimore City Water Rate Increase

Baltimore City Councilwoman Mary Pat Clarke is all in an uproar about the by the Baltimore City Department of Public Works request to increase the rate which city residents pay for water.  You are not going to get a lot of sympathy from the suburbs where we pay water rates that are exponentially higher than the residents of the city who use our water.

DPW spokesman Jeff Raymond said that the rate increases are required to invest in the aging water infrastructure in the city.  I think that's an outstanding idea.  In a city with a little over 600,000 residents, a city that closely resembles Louisville, Kentucky and Memphis, Tennessee in population, the city must invest in the pipes that keep it livable.  We too often see news of water main breaks the shut down the arteries of the city for days.  Remember the water main break that shut down Light Street in the heart of the business district for several weeks?  The crumbling infrastructure is not only unhealthy for the distribution of water in Baltimore, it's also destructive for the local economy.

The rate increase proposal that DPW has presented to the Board of Estimates are for a 15% rate increase this year and 11% increases in the following two years.  City officials estimate that the rate change will increase the average resident's annual bill to nearly $800.  As a resident of Carroll County,  I pay nearly $1,400 per year in water and sewer.  And I don't even have a pool.  I don't water my lawn.  And I don't take showers (I said I live in Carroll County, right?).

And another complaint - they take our water!  You'll recall this blog post about how Baltimore City acquired the water rights from Eastern Carroll County and Western Baltimore County with the construction of Liberty Reservoir.  You're going to take our water and then complain about how cheap you don't think it is?

So how sympathetic am I to someone who will pay a water bill that is 65% of mine?  Not much.  Or to parody the State Farm commercials - how sympathetic are Carroll County residents to the water rate increases in Baltimore City?  About as sympathetic as Abercrombie & Fitch when Rosie O'Donnell complains that she can't find anything that fits her in their store.

Money down the drain.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Woman Gets Crushed at Orioles' Game

Every now and then a politician gets the idea to create a new "fat tax".  This would be a tax on sodas and sugary drinks, candy, salty snacks, etc...  And it usually gets shot down in debate.

Sometimes, the fat tax is paid by someone other than the person consuming the unhealthy foods. Sometimes, the person sitting next to the fat person is the one paying the tax.

No, this woman was not injured during the game.  She just didn't have much room to breathe.

Closing in Eldersburg - Dollar General

I just felt like saying it.  The Dollar General is closing!  It feels good.  Occupying what was at one time one of at least two Rite Aid's Eldersburg, Dollar General moved in during the great exodus from the Carrolltown Center.

It's a thorn in our side.  I've been in there.  Once.  And it smelled TERRIBLE!

With the upcoming demolition this fall of the Carrolltown Center to make room for the new Eldersburg Commons, which will be anchored by Super Wal-Mart, everything currently in the building will close.  Or perhaps relocate.  I hope in Dollar General's case it just closes.  But I could totally see it reopening in the former Little Professor site at Liberty Station.  I have no rumors to support this.  I'm only speculating.

Will you be sad to to see Dollar General leaving?  Do you know if it is relocating?

Eldersburg Dollar General
Former Little Professor at Liberty Station

New to Eldersburg - Oscar's Alehouse

Oscar's Alehouse is now open in the Eldersburg Plaza in Eldersburg.  Oscar's is the latest attempt to capture that small, unique beer drinking and pub dining experience.  Oscar's replaces the former Cobblestone Tavern and Grille that lasted for a while, at least longer than Meiklejohn's and The Chop House.  

I went to the website that is posted on the sign, as seen in the picture here, but it loads a non-descript page that says that something cool is coming soon.  I would think that you'd have your website up and running before you advertise it.  Hopefully they manage their restaurant better than they run their website.

I checked the web for reviews.  One review was very favorable.  The other said they got carry-out and there was black stuff all over the bread that tasted chemically.  One of my friends went there and said it wasn't too bad.

I'll eventually make it there and let you know what I think.  Have you been there yet?  What do you think?

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Abercrombie & Fitch - Evil or Too Honest?

Have you heard all of the uproar generated by the statements made by Abercrombie and Fitch CEO Mike Jeffries?  I did and at this point I find it all very amusing.

If you didn't hear about it, Mr. Jeffries essentially told Business Insider that Abercrombie & Fitch does not sell to fat people and he only wants thin, attractive, and popular people to work in his store.  And boy was there backlash!

My immediate thought was, 'this guy is a total jackass!'.  Such a statement is pure arrogance and insensitive.  But as I began to think about it, my thoughts changed. Are we angry that this is their policy, or are we angry that he admitted it?

If you really think about it, his policy is not new in the retail clothing industry.  Seriously!  If you are husky, like myself, how many items of clothing have you purchased from Calvin Klein or Banana Republic?  These stores are also higher end fashionable clothing retailers.  My joke has always been that I cannot shop at Banana Republic because I'm not a flamboyant skinny dude.  And have you ever seen a fat person working at Calvin Klein?  Of course not!  Clothing stores hate short husky people.  If that wasn't the case, then why do they put the pants that fit us at the top of the shelves that we cannot reach, and the pants for the tall people at the bottom that they can easily reach?

Is there anything wrong with this policy?  Big and Tall doesn't cater to short and skinny people. Are short and skinny people fired up about that?  Is it a social violation to cater to a niche in society?  Or is the violation that they admitted that they cater to this niche in society?

What was most entertaining to me were the comments on Facebook. "This is outrageous!"  "Oh, the arrogance!"  "Let's boycott Abercrombie & Fitch." The last one was my favorite.  Most of my friends are middle aged men and women in their 30's and 40's with children.  Admittedly, we are the not people in the best of shape.  Are these people really shopping at Abercrombi & Fitch?  Would their boycott really be effective, or are they boycotting them already by the simple fact that A&F doesn't sell clothes for the average mommy anyway?  That'd be like me saying I'm going to boycott Ferrari.  Was I really in that market in the first place?

The second point is that they stated that they won't hire fatties and uglies to work there.  When you're going to a store like A&F, you're subscribing to an image.  Do you want the people that are pushing that image to be people that you DON'T want to look like?  You want to buy from people that you want to emulate.  You want to look like ripped Robert, not muffin-top Misty.

Is it a crime to discriminate against ugly or fat people?  Nope.  Is it immoral or unethical?  You could argue that.  But most members of Congress have done something immoral or unethical, and we keep putting them back in office.  So wouldn't that make us hypocrites?

Is Abercrombie & Fitch evil?  What do you think?

Friday, May 03, 2013

Obama's Family Can Protected With Guns. Your Guns Are Bad

There's no hypocrisy here, right?

Democrats Don't Want Martin O'Malley as President

This brightened my day. is reporting that a poll conducted by Quinnipiac University found that nationwide, Democrats have no interest in Martin O'Malley being President.  In fact, it wasn't even close.

Commanding the lead is Hillary Clinton the former Secretary of State / former U.S. Senator / former First Lady / current wife of former philandering President Bill Clinton with 65% of the vote.  If elected, Clinton would be the 2nd oldest elected President ever, after Ronald Reagan. 

Surprisingly, Crazy Uncle Joe Biden got 13% of the vote.  Can you imagine that?  King of BigotryVocal chauvinistBumbler of words (seriously, you have to watch the bumbler of words video.  It's hilarious).  I wouldn't know whether to cry or laugh if he won.

Rounding out the middle are socialist-leaning New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, son of Mario Cuomo, also a former Governor of New York, Virginia Senator Mark Warner, and Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick.  If the rumor is correct, O'Malley was also beat out by the American Communist Party leader Sam Webb, Kermit the Frog, and former and deceased Democrat President Andrew Johnson, who did not want to enforce Republican President Abraham Lincoln's plan to give protection to the freed slaves.

So why does American not want Martin O'Malley to be President? Did he raise taxes too much in Maryland for even a average Democrat to stomach?  Are people turned off by his constant finger pointing at Bob Ehrlich and George W. Bush for all the woes of his state?  Is it his smarmy condescending voice and communication style?

Why do you think people do not like Martin O'Malley outside of Maryland?

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