Saturday, September 26, 2009

It's good to be back home

It's been a full week. And I do have some good stories to tell. But I'll start by telling everyone about the products we were learning about.
Some of you may be familiar with Lifeline. You may even know an elderly person who is subscribed to this service. Well, that's us now, kinda. The Call Center will remain in Boston, since that's something that they're very good at. But production of the PHBs (Personal Help Button) and the Communicator Boxes (which do the actual dialing out to the call center) will be done in our Murrysville facility from now on.

So, it all began on Sunday. Aliesha and CJ stopped by to see me off.



They also had to pick up Bob so they could go to their cousin's birthday party. After they left I locked up the house and headed to work.
We began our adventure in the parking lot waiting for our shuttle to the airport to arrive. For some odd reason, when arrangements were made to have a vehicle to pick us up, nobody metioned the size of our group. So here we are, 8 of us with luggage, and only a Lincoln Town Car as our transportation...
A few phone calls were made and about a half hour later a van shows up. Got to the airport, made it through security and arrived at our gate just in time to see the opening kick-off of the Steelers game. We gathered at the Samuel Adams Pub to watch the game while we awaited our boarding announcement. Even had a few Patriots fans there to torment with the loss of the Pats to the Jets. Made it through the first quarter and part of the second before we had to leave.
Forunately, we were flying out on Jet Blue, and they have little TV's on the back of each seat. So we got to watch most of the rest of the game while we were in flight. We landed with less than 5 minutes to go in the game. By the time we claimed our luggage we found out that the Steelers lost. It sucked to hear that. And I told everyone it was because of all the gloating we did over the Pats losing to the Jets. Oh, well...
This was the only picture I managed to get from the plane.



I like that the boats are that close to the airport. I thought it was cool.

By the time we had our rental SUV's we were exhausted, but we needed to eat. Our first dinner was at TGIFriday's. I can't remember what I had, some kind of burger, but it was good. We made it to the hotel - the Hampton Inn - around 9:30. The end to a long day.
Up at 5:00 AM so I could be ready for work and down to breakfast by 6:00. We all met for our complimentary breakfast and left for work at 7:15. And this was our routine for the remainder of the week.
The facility was really nice.



We were assigned a conference room to gather at to discuss our plan of action for each day and to have debriefings at the end of each day.
Two pics of our little troop because somebody had to take each picture, but we didn't want anybody left out altogether.



From L - R: Gary, Wanda, Jason, Jill, Paula, Shirley, Bill, Barb and M+



In this one you'll notice Tara on the end, instead of Jason.
We spent our first hal hour at the Call Center where we were allowed to sit in and listen to calls as they came in. To see how the operators do their job. It was really neat to watch.
The girl I sat with didn't have any emergency calls. She did have a few "test" calls, where the person with the button presses it to make sure it's working properly. Subscribers are asked to do this once a month on a specific day. But a few of us did have emergency calls come in while were there. And it really does leave an impression as to how important our work is to somebody.
Afterwards we headed out to the production floor to start learning. We observed for an hour or so before finally stepping in and trying to do the work for ourselves. Today we began with the Communicator Boxes. My trainer was Nick. He was a temp and had only been there for a week. But he knew what he was doing. He's originally from California but moved to Boston to live with his sister. It was his parents way of keeping him out of trouble. And that's all I'm going to say about that except that we did have a few decent conversations through the day.
Lunch was an experience. While I think that we have a nice cafeteria at our plant, this place was amazing. And the food was way better than anything our food-service people provide for us. And at a reasonable price too. It became the running joke all week long that we should be sending people up to learn how to transfer their cafeteria processes to our facility...
Ended our day full of new knowledge and a willingness to learn more. Even put in some over-time, which I have sorely missed for a long time. Dinner was at Olive Garden. I had the Never Ending Pasta Bowl. I also had Bill and Shirley's leftovers. It seems I serve a dual purpose on these trips. First, to learn what it is I'm supposed to learn. And second, to finish what my associates can't eat because we have no place to keep any doggy bags.
Tuesday was more of the same, only this time we did all of the work ourselves. We even managed to get close to the required production numbers for daily output. Not bad. And more OT. For dinner we went to Ruby Tuesday. I enjoyed their Triple Play - ribs, chicken and shrimp. Also went out to do a little shopping aftewards. Tara actually went shopping every night. This night I decided to join her, just to get out for awhile. Went to a place called Home Goods - a subsidiary of TJ Maxx. A lot of nice stuff for home decor, and more. When we got back to the hotel I realized how much I was really missing Bob and my computer, not to mention my NFL Network. But I had some reading to do.
Wednesday, we started on the PHBs. A lot of numbers to keep straight and colored labels too. That night we went out for a special dinner. A realy nice seafood place called Legal Seafood. Very pricey. I had a fried seafood platter (and some leftovers). Called it a night after that.
Thursday was more on the PHBs. But there was a special party planned for the evening. A way of saying thanks for everything to everyone invloved. A place called Jullians, right next to Fenway Park. It's a really neat place. A warehouse that's been converted into a party place with bowling alleys and all kinds of other entertainment. We had a room reserved with a few pool tables. And the food was great, wings, sesame chicken strips, teriyaki beef and chicken on skewers, fried mac-n-cheese nuggets and pizzas.









It was a great way to blow-off some steam from the week's insanity. It was a shame that none of the production people showed up. But we all understood. It would've felt too much like celebrating losing their jobs. Still, a lot of the managers and adminstrative people came to celebrate with us. It was nice to get to know some of them too. They're all very confident about the future of the product and the people working there.
Friday was a half day because of our travel arrangements. Finished the last of our training and had our final lunch in the cafeteria. We're gonna miss that places.
Coming home was interesting. All sorts of security stuff going on because of the G-20 Summit. And no traffic with the city shut-down for it. I was home shortly after 7:00 last night.

Now, I'm recovering nicely.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

I'm home

Too tired to stay on. Feeling somewhat sleep deprived. I'll share more later on this weekend. But I will say everything went great!

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Quote for 9/25/09

"If men as individuals surrender to the call of their elementary instincts, avoiding pain and seeking satisfaction only for their own selves, the result for them all taken together must be a state of insecurity, of fear, and of promiscuous misery."
Albert Einstein

I don't know why this one jumped out at me, but I really like it.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Quote for 9/24/09

"Whatever your life's work is, do it well. A man should do his job so well that the living, the dead, and the unborn could do it no better."
Martin Luther King Jr.

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Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Quote for 9/23/09

"Learning is not attained by chance. It must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence."
Abigail Adams

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Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Quote for 9/22/09

"Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will."
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Quote for 9/21/09

"Never let formal education get in the way of your learning."
Mark Twain

I don't!

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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Not today

I never post a Quote... on the 20th of the month. Not because of some silly superstition. It's because the code that it creates when I try to link it in my list of monthly Quotes is the same as the monthly posting itself.

OK, I'm on my way to Boston.
Keep us all in your prayers for a safe trip and a smooth transition. Also for the people whose positions we're eliminating, that God would open doors of opportunity for each of them. And, in case I don't say this often enough (or, God forbid, I never get another chance to say this again), I love you all. Thanks for being my friends.

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Saturday, September 19, 2009

Quote for 9/19/09

"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
Epictetus

I had a meeting with some of the other Compassion Advocates from the area today. One of the things we discussed was the idea that as Christians we're supposed to be willing to share what we have with others who don't have. And I think it's so much easier to do that when we already express our gratitude to God for those things which we have been blessed with.

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Pre-flight jitters

Leaving for Boston tomorrow.

Actually, I'm not very jittery about the trip. I've done this before. In fact, that's one of the reasons why I was chosen to be a part of this product transfer, too. I'm good at it! But I always worry that I'm going to forget to pack something that I can't live without.

So, this will be my last "official" post until (probably) next Saturday. But don't worry, I have some "Quotes..." scheduled to post while I'm away. And I've enlisted Bob to manage one of my online games for me while I'm gone. I trust he'll be quite capable of holding the fort for me.

See yinz later!

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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It's all good

Nothing very significant to share today. Just a few observations and some commentary on some of the things going on in my life.

My brother sent this story to me in an e-mail, and I don't think he's ever seen this picture of me, let alone any of the things I have labeled as toys here. But he is my brother, so he does seem to know me pretty well...

I've been enjoying the coming of Autumn. The air seems much cooler, even when it gets close to 80 during the days. But the nights have been beautiful over the last week or so. And I noticed this morning that Orion is visible in the southern sky when I leave for work in the mornings. I've always had a fascination with the stars and constellations - especially Orion. And since he hasn't been visible over the last few months it was like seeing an old friend who's been away at school or something.

Spent today testing a diagnostic device. Not a big deal. But while I was testing the units I noticed a disturbing line of code that comes up on the computer monitor while the test is running...
command:> killall petdog
M+: "What !?!? You've got to be kidding me? This thing has a command to kill someone's pet dog when they take this device home?"
Then the next line of code came up.
petdog: no process killed
M+: "Whew! That's a relief!"
Yeah, I have sick (if not twisted) sense of humor...

Had another great conversation with my manufacturing engineer today. Actually, it's become a somewhat regular thing for us. However, our conversations are now less about her "dating" situation and more about matters of faith. She's now my newest disciple from among my co-workers.
In time I will build an army of followers who will not hesitate to do my biding. Muwahahahahaha...

Just kidding!

Won't be long, I'll be heading off to Boston for the product transfer project. I think we have a meeting tomorrow to discuss all of the particulars. We leave Sunday - just in time to miss the Steelers game. Grrrrrrrrrr...
Bob will be here to watch over the house while I'm gone. Fortunately, he also knows where all of the toys are and how to use them.
Don't you feel sorry for any poor soul who breaks into my house? At the very least, they'll be leaving some piece of their anatomy behind as a souvenir for us...

All of a sudden my computer doesn't recognize my CD or DVD players. WTF ?!?!?
I have no idea how to remedy this since I don't have the original boot disks that came with the computer. I hope I don't have to go out and buy new ones (players, not disks). I can't afford to do that. And to make things worse, I have a couple of new CD's that I can't load onto the computer now. Which means I can't load them onto my Zen media player. Which also means that the only place I can listen to these CD's is in my car.
D'oh !!!

PennDOT sucks !!!
There's been all sorts of construction work going on with the Parkway all Summer long. Typically I don't mind because it's to be expected. But as of yesterday, and even today, I'm kinda ticked-off about it. It seems the construction work has reached the section of the Parkway that is clearly visible from my house - and certainly within earshot as well. And I have no idea what they're doing to the road, but the sound was keeping me up last night (yes, they "work" late into the night). Whatever they were doing it didn't sound like road work. It actually sounded similar to a fire alarm, except that it didn't have that rising and falling effect. Instead, it simply rose up to the highest, shrillest note that any fire alarm could ever reach, and it would hold there for a few minutes before dropping off to a dull hum. And then, a few minutes later, it would happen again. I got to hear that all evening long until after 10:00 PM. I was ready to hurt someone by the time they finished. Maybe tonight won't be so bad. Who knows? But it's still early.

OK, that's all I got for now.

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Monday, September 14, 2009

Quote for 9/14/09

"We should give as we would receive, cheerfully, quickly, and without hesitation; for there is no grace in a benefit that sticks to the fingers."
Lucius Annaeus Seneca

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Quote for 9/13/09

"I believe God is managing affairs and that He doesn't need any advice from me. With God in charge, I believe everything will work out for the best in the end. So what is there to worry about."
Henry Ford

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Another night out

So, last night JT and I headed to The Net Outreach in Butler for another concert. Of course, the evening began with diner at our favorite Chinese buffet, but then we were off to the show.
It was a CD release party. The first band was About A Mile. I really liked these guys.



They started out things with a funky blues sound.



I loved the slap technique with the guitar. He was really good.



I can't tell you how much we enjoyed this show. These guys had a lot of energy.



I highly recommend that you check them out at their Myspace page. Listen to their music and enjoy the sort of fusion they get from a bit of jazz, blues and funk mixed with their rock.



The headliners were Third From First. We're getting to be friends with these guys.



They like seeing us at their shows as much as we like going to see them.



And they do put on a good show for being a local indie band.



I wonder how they'd do on a bigger stage.





Anyways, we loved the show and stuck around to talk to everyone after wards.
Of course, JT made his contacts for the podcast. Got bumpers and brief interviews from both bands.
I talked to Adam, the guitarist and vocalist for About A Mile. I mentioned how much I enjoyed his technique and let him know that I recognized the influence of Eric Johnson in his playing. His eyes lit up when I said that and I could tell he was excited to hear that comparison. But he explained that he was nowhere near that level. I just told him that it doesn't matter because the technique and influence comes through. He liked hearing that.
I also got to talk to Crystal, who runs the Outreach. I wanted to talk to her about the possibility of setting up a Compassion table at future events. She was really enthusiastic about the idea because she's already a sponsor. So I told her I could bring a few child packets each month when they have a concert, and she could say a few words between bands to encourage the fans to sponsor a child. I'd be happy if I could get one child sponsored each month. I'd be happy if I get one this year to start with. But I'm trusting God to bless this effort.
We schmoozed a bit longer with everybody. Then we headed home.
I'm so excited about my regular monthly Compassion events. My minsitry is expanding!

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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

A strange and wonderful day

Today was really interesting.
I'll start with the shorter of the two tales that I have to share.
I had a luncheon today with our Director of North American Operations, with five other co-workers. It's a monthly thing that he likes to do to keep his finger on the pulse of what's going on with all of us. And he likes to be open about what's going on with the company as well.
I've been to six of these luncheons now, and I think that's the most of anybody at Respironics. And one of the things that we're asked to do at the luncheon is to introduce ourselves to everyone, and tell everybody else one thing about ourselves that none of the others would know. What our Dir. of N.A. Ops shared was that he and his wife recently bought a camper because of an annual family camping event that his wife's family has on their farm. He then shared that his wife's family was from a small farming community on the western side of Ohio, and he began to describe it a little bit. And I chuckled at this and told him that it sounded like the small farming town in western Ohio where my mom grew up called Fort Recovery. He then laughed at that and said "That's about two towns over from where we were, in..." and we both said "St. Henry" at the same time.
Pretty cool. It's a small world, isn't it?

Next up is an interesting story that actually began yesterday.
I got pulled from my usual line to train on something different yesterday. And since I was training, I went without music all day. And that was OK since I had a few good laughs and conversations with my new co-workers. But the best one by far was when one of the manufacturing engineers came to talk to the young lady working beside me about a "dating" situation. She wasn't hiding anything in her conversation, so I was able to hear the majority of it. And she didn't mind that we could all hear. So when she finished telling her story she asked for some advice. When the young lady next to me finished giving her advice, I asked if she would like a male perspective. She welcomed it.
As I began to share with her, I could hear the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart. She shared more of the story with me, and the Holy Spirit's message came through even more clearly. So when she finished telling me what she wanted me to know, I told her what the Holy Spirit wanted her to know. She was floored by it. Especially when I told her I saw the Chessboard, and explained that to her.
I'm not going to say what I told her, because that's between us and God. But before the day was over she came up to me and said "I was really anxious and unsure about all of this. But since I talked to you I have a real peace about it and I am so calm now." And that's when I told her "That's one of my gifts. I just allow the Holy Spirit to work through me, and when the Spirit works, peace follows."
Now, today rolled around and I was working in a different area doing a line set-up project. And she was part of the support team. So we were working close to each other off-n-on through the day. And any time we were near each other I would hear the same message from the Spirit, until just before the end of the day.
As things were beginning to wind down she stopped to talk to me again and asked me what I was "feeling". I told her "Nothing has changed." And as we were talking one of the production specialists approached to talk to us as well. She heard some of what was being discussed and my manufacturing engineer briefly expressed what we were talking about, and told our specialist that I was "gifted". At first, she thought we were joking. But then I explained that my spiritual gifts were prophetic in nature and I often saw things when people needed to know something.
She was intrigued by this and asked a few more questions and that's when my manufacturing engineer told her what she had said to me about being very calm after talking to me. To which the specialist replied "I've noticed that about you. You're very calm and pleasant. And I have to say, I used to be afraid of you until I worked with you on the pilot run. That's when I realized that you are a really nice guy."
"It was the mohawk." I said.
She laughed as she admitted that it was. Then my manufacturing engineer interjected that she needs some of what I have. And immediately the Holy Spirit showed me an image for her. And this is what I told her;
"OK, I need you to go over to my "brother" Shaun's desk and have him read this scripture to you. It's Psalm 119. I'm not sure of the verse. I think it's 9, but I can't really see it. What I do see is that it's the first verse of the second group. The 119th Psalm is really long, like several pages, and it's broken up into sections. I know this because I've read it many times. But what the Spirit is showing me is 119 - which has to be Psalms - and the first verse of the second group is highlighted. Ask Shaun to read that to you."
So they both walked away to my friend/brother Shaun's desk and asked him to share that verse with them. I was still working on something so I stayed where I was and did what I was supposed to do. I heard a couple of gasps and an "Oh my God." from my mfg engineer. Then she walked off to her office with Shaun. The specialist came back to where I was and said "That was..."
I asked her what it said, and she told me:
"How can a young person stay pure?
By obeying your word."
"How did you know?" she asked.
"I didn't. I just saw what I saw. What it means is between her and God."
After a few moments my mfg engineer returned from her office and came over to me and said "You really are a visionary! Thank you so much."

I love it when God uses me like this!

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Sunday, September 06, 2009

Quote for 9/6/09

"Be such a man, and live such a life, that if every man were such as you, and every life a life like yours, this earth would be God's Paradise."
Phillips Brooks

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Wednesday, September 02, 2009

This is sooooo cool!

OK, I'd heard about it, but hadn't seen it yet. But here it is...

The promo for NBC's Sunday Night Football (on Thursday night?) featuring Skillet's Hero. Finally, a little mainstream recognition for an awesome Christian band. And I love the fact that it's Steelers vs Titans in Blitzburgh.

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Quote for 9/2/09

"The beginning of love is to let those we love be perfectly themselves, and not
to twist them to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only the reflection of
ourselves we find in them."
Thomas Merton

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Quotes from 8/2009

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