Monday, November 27, 2017

Failure To Carry Out Directives

"Failure To Carry Out Directives"

 What does that sound like to you?
 Go ahead and take a minute...

 I hear it as "Not doing as you're told" or "Not following directions" or perhaps "Not doing your job".

 Just over a month ago I was terminated, at a job I really enjoyed, for  "Failure to Carry Out Directives"

DECISION You are held ineligible for benefits from 10/29/2017 to 02/17/2018.
 DETERMINATION REASON You were discharged from your job with your most recent bona fide employer for failure to carry out the directives of your employer. Your actions did not meet the reasonable standard of behavior the employer had a right to expect. Therefore, you were discharged for cause in connection with the employment under the South Carolina code section 41-35-120(2)(b).

Well, in an abbreviated version. I'm going to tell you why I and my lovely wife were fired.

Hard to believe, but she's even prettier at ten thousand feet.

My Blog. 

On October 9th I published a review on Karhu that one of the owners did not like. Later that day I got a call at work from his spouse, which is well within her rights as boss as I’m on the clock, in regards to it. She told me he was livid and actually left the house in a rage and asked her to call me. She then asked me to take it down.

This is ridiculous and unfounded to me. Why would I take it down? Take down MY BLOG? There was no reference about the company, either direct or even slightly implied. I have an audience of about three bored people anyway. They have no right to ask me to take down anything that doesn't violate an Employee/Employer relationship. What the shit...?

 Obviously I did not take it down.

Shortly thereafter Heather was called at home, Heather who is not on the clock, was harassed about my blog, something she obviously had no control over. I was also verbally slandered by the woman calling. When I talked with Heather later, she was very distraught by what was said to her on the phone.

During all this I'm just wondering "What the Fuck? What is going on with management?" 

I'm pretty good about putting shit out of my head. I really like what I do for work, and I needed the job, so I put this episode aside and kept doing my job to the best of my ability.

 Thank you Despair, Inc.

However I also realized it was time to think about other employment options, I even reached out to a couple of good friends, hoping they may know of something. Heather's relationship with the owner was going south. She was receiving nothing from the owner but cold shoulders and hostile emails. (I will not publish those emails here.) The writing was quickly appearing on to the walls.

                    I heard Spin and Yoga are too? Is that true? I don't believe that to be true.                         Spin and Yoga are both hard as hell.

  Within a day or two the owner drew up a new Social Media clause to the employee handbook in an effort to regulate what we can post. 

  Prior to the Karhu blog I had posted several other shoe reviews, even reviewing the Hokas I recently acquired. Never once in any of my blogs do I mention any association with my employer. And prior to this Karhu review never once was my (or Heather’s) blog mentioned by the owners. Needless to say the clause was unacceptable and we did not sign it.

  However, later on the owner and I negotiated and came to some terms that were acceptable to me, but Heather's Blog requires much better verbiage than what was currently on the table. She's been doing this long before any kind of employment with this company.

  Over the next few days the clause was forgotten about until perhaps Sunday the 22nd (?). When we arrived at work we were then told that “we were not covered” because we hadn’t signed it. I've no idea what was being referred to as "Covered". At this point there was no edited clause so I spent some time editing it, sent back my thoughts and was shot down. 

  The next day, not on the clock, through email Heather tried talking to the owner about both the Social Media clause and the now hostile environment at work. She again received some very unprofessional and threatening responses, “Gas Lighting” is the term used.

  Dreading the situation we knew had to be confronted, we went into work Tues night, unpaid, to see off the training group and talk with the owners about the work environment. The  group had left early with the owner so we stood there awkwardly with the other owners. When one of them asked “Are we good?” Heather said we all needed to talk as soon as he got back.

  When he did get back, Heather brought up his inflammatory email response.  At this point she is on the verge of tears. She tells them she’s been in contact with Corporate HR in regard to In-House HR Confidentiality Issues and the Gaslighting.

  The owner openly admits that his latest email was written with emotion. And then immediately the two owners still in the room start talking over Heather.

  I loudly tell them to stop talking and let Heather say her peace. They refuse to listen to an employee stating a workplace grievance and continue to keep talking louder and louder over her, so I shout (yep, I shouted. I was actually angry, can you imagine?) at them to let her finish. At this point the owner, arms flailing wildly, screams “I’m the god damn owner…Get the fuck out”, “Hit the door buddy” and repeated “Get the Fuck Out” several more times.  

I have nightmares still

  Heathers two boys, ages nine and eleven, are sitting on the benches during all of this.

  My response was to yell to the kids to come, and while leaving I made sure to tell the owner to “Take his power trip and stick it” Heather returned the work phone and shop key, and we left.


  I never did see an updated Social Media Clause. 
  As of this writing I know of at least one person that hasn't signed it, and is still employed there. Again, Huh.

We're too bad ass for that kinda bullshit anyway

  Since starting there in June, I was never asked to increase my work performance in any way. There was no previous disciplinary action and no obvious conflicts. On the contrary,  I was constantly commended on doing a good job. I got along very well with any and all customers. And I showed nothing but respect to my employers.

  I really liked my job too. I said that, several times, but you need to know it.

  The last month at work was truly a hostile work environment; Heather had been incredibly emotional for weeks. To have your boss, and what you thought was a friend, show such inexplicable behavior is upsetting and plain shitty.

  My aim is not to slander, but make it known what happened. I have my own thoughts on why the owners freaked out and fired us. And they aren't becoming.

  However, I will gladly tell you in person. I rather need to get this shit off my back anyway. 

  This situation sucks on many levels. We've been stabbed in the back by not a few different parties, some knowingly, and some not. I cannot overstate how grateful we are for everyone that has spoken with and stood buy us during this most ridiculous shit show. 

 It may get worse before it gets better, but it will get better.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

Product Review: Helect 2-Line Engineering Calculator - H1002

My eyes already hurt from taking a computer based exam this morning.

In order to get involved in the WIOA program I had to take the Work Keys exam at my local testing center. 

You can click that link to get more deets on Work Keys, but essentially it's a test to see what you are capable of in today's workforce environment.

I was honestly terrified to take it, I sucked in high-school and my very brief stint at Community College only made me want to punch everyone. I don't believe I have any kind of true learning dis-order, but learning and testing have never been in the upper ranks of my limited skill set.

So I took some practice tests online, surprise surprise, math is hard.

Nerd tools

Look, if you don't use it, you will lose it. 

 I want Ice Cream

Who the fuck really needs to know how to calculate the volume of a cone in day to day life?  

Now I want Cranberry Sauce

When was the last time you fit 7oz cranberries into 3x5x12 foot cube and had to figure out how much godamn cranberry sauce you need to add to make three #10 cans?

Fortunately you are allowed to use a calculator for the Work Keys exam. There are obvious restrictions, such as no cell phone calcs or anything that can access the web.

But I didn't have any such calculator. Honestly, why would I? But I put out a call on the social media and got some pretty quick and amazing responses.

First I gotta thank my buddy James for the little white calc. That would ultimately make it to the exam.

Second I gotta thank my buddy Daniel for the little black calc. That too would ultimately make it to the exam.

But, and holy shit this still kills me, I really gotta thank my buddy Bleels (or Bleeps if you know him as such) for starting a Go Fund Me to get me this monster of a Calculator:

I don't know anything about fancy calculators. I didn't need them when I took "Business" Math in high school. I didn't need them while I had a job in the Printing Industry. All the calculations I use as a trainer I do in my head or with charts.

I have no idea what an Engineering Calculator actually does.

But I'm going to review it anyway. 
Listen to Mastadon.

As you probably saw in the picture above, this calculator has plenty of buttons.
Image result for buttons

My wifey is cuter than all these buttons.

It has Parentheses buttons, so if you want to do some algebra stuff, you can. 
It has a Shift Key. Which means you've essentially just doubled your functionable buttons.
It has a Sin button. I don't see a Repent button...
There's a Hyp button, but I don't believe it.
For some reason, there is a Quotation Mark " button. What the hell is that for?

I did try to read the instructions. But they were so damn small, they should have sold this calculator with a stupid magnifying glass.

However, I got enough out of the instructions to learn how to enter fractions as fractions, not as decimals. That is pretty damn handy.

This calc has an Auto Off feature which I used to its full extent, while staring slack jawed at a computer screen trying to comprehend what the hell was asked of me.

This Helect has a hard case with a cover. If you need to take a calculator into a combat zone, this could be a redeeming feature.

Those are all the things I noticed about this calculator. I don't really have any other calculators to use as a point of reference, but dollars to Doughnuts, I would recommend this machine in a second. With this calculator and not a little luck, I scored a 6 out of 7 on the Math portion. Hey, not as dumb as I thought!

Whoohoo! Not a retard!!

Obviously I can't guarantee this, or any, calculator will make you smarter, but if you need a calculator, especially if you're planning on treating it rough, get this one. 

If you need any more information on this puppy, go somewhere else. I can't help you. 

However, if you have questions about the Work Keys exam, I may be able to help.

Thanks for reading, expect either a new Fod Bloog or Race Report soon.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Fod Bloog: Not Dogs are good.

I'm starting this Fod Bloog with a picture of Texas, aka Shitten. Why? Because it's a pretty funny picture, and I don't think anyone would click on the link if they saw a picture of today's Fod Blooger recipe.


I always eat like I'm on a strict budget. Perhaps I was raised that way or perhaps I've just realized that I don't have a ton of money to spend on food. 

(It's the ladder. My Dad was a professional chef and my mother and sister will put most cooks to shame. It's a "me" thing.)

Today's recipe is "No Perro Borrito con Uvas y Limonada" 

Or, if you're not SSL (Spanish as a Second Language),

"Not Dog Wraps with Grapes and Lemonade"

Doesn't that look good!?

What you'll need:
 1) A frying pan
 2) Earl, veggie or olive. (Earl is how they say Oil in the south)
 3) Knife, cutting board optional, French Knife recommended
 4) One package of Tofu Hot Dogs, aka Not Dogs or No Perro
 5) Flour Tortillas or Wraps, Corn Tortillas are too dry for this
 6) Nutritional Yeast
 7) Grapes
 8) One can of Lemonade or Limonada
 9) One ugly worn out plastic bowl
 10) A television to distract you from your own horrible reality

What is that thing in the lower left? I've no idea. Cheese? Potato? Yucca? Plastic? No, its the hole in the cutting board.

If your Grapes and Lemonade aren't already, stick em in the fridge. They taste better cold.

Heat up your frying pan. Yep, just heat up the pan. Put it on a burner at Med/High and heat it up a bit.

While the pan is heating, slice up your Not Dogs to the desired thickness. I recommend slicing them at an angle with about a quarter inch thickness. This'll make 'em crispy on the outside without drying out the inside.

Add some earl to your hot frying pan. Be careful though. That pan's hot, don't burn yourself. Don't use a ton of earl, we're here to saute not deep fry.

I found this frying pan when I was cleaning out abandoned apartments. I bought the earl.

Finish slicing up the Not Dogs if you were too damn slow. Do you even know how to use a French Knife?

Choppy Choppy

Got 'em all sliced? Throw them into the pan.

This is only a half of a package of No Perros

You should be cooking them over Med/High heat still. If you don't have a good Frying Pan Flip, you can stir them up about every sixty seconds or so. Don't use a metal utensil in your non-stick pan!

Saute until both sliced edges are crispy brown then throw a couple of wraps on top of the pan, you wanna warm them up a bit and why bother dirtying another pan or using the microwave.

Pro Tip: Leave a little hanging over the edge. This makes it easier to remove with just your fingers.

You may need tongs, or a fork, or just use your fingers to remove the wraps once you've gotten them nice and warm. 

Toss the wraps into your bowl and portion out your Not Dogs onto the wraps.

Sprinkle liberally with Nutritional Yeast and roll however you deem fit to make borritos. (pronounced Boh-Ree-Tohz)

Remove your grapes from the fridge and toss a handful into the bowl.

Grab your lemonade, a napkin and your bowl of deliciousness and sit your fat ass down in front of some Arrested Development


I hope you enjoy today's recipe, and thanks for reading.

This is some other grossness, Protein Pancakes, from 2015.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Event Review: Allison Woods Halloween Hobble

This will be an interesting review. I did not actually race in The Allison Woods Halloween Hobble, but instead went up to Crew and Pace for a buddy of mine who was shooting at his first Ultra.

He had won his entry through a contest on the Allison Woods Halloween Hobble Facebook page a couple of weeks prior, and originally had nobody to go up with him as on such short notice the whole crew of us had work, plans, etc.
 But fate is finicky bitch and I got fired four days before his race and I decided it was good trail Karma to help a bud out. So off we went.

It's a good four plus hour drive to a little backwoods North Carolina town called Turnersburg. We left Myrtle around maybe 1pm. The most direct route goes through Colombia and Charlotte and of course the traffic Friday afternoon sucked, we lost a good half hour just sitting there. Gonna hafta plan for that next year...

After making it to Turnersburg, we had a little trouble dialing in the actual location of the race. The GPS was a bit vague and there were no signs for the race (first time race, I didn't expect Tough Mudder kind of sign coverage). We did however finally find our dirt road, which was guarded by a couple of really nice older gentlemen wearing Military Police uniforms. I'm thinking that was costume?

It's a pretty short drive down a decent dirt road, some of which is part of the course, to the camp/rego area.

The camping area is excellent. We set our tent up right on the side of course along with all the other racers. The course parallels an old grass airstrip. We were asked not to camp on the airstrip itself as to not kill any grass. Makes sense.

I want to emphasize the excellent camping situation at this race. The airfield is a great place for kids to play. No, I still don't like kids, but many people have them, my wife included, and if you wanted to bring them to this event, they'd have a place to safely play. 

Never did find out if it was an active air-strip

Well, sort of safely...I mentioned how this race was in a little backwoods town? There were multiple gunshots heard from all directions, so many rednecks out there. I did see several deer running for their life across the airstrip. So maybe getting hit by a deer would be a danger to your little kids, as would getting shot by some redneck. Granted the RD can't do anything about either the rednecks or wildlife, but maybe wrap your kid in bright orange or something.

There are three porta-jons at the transition area (TA) crossroad. This was not a big race, so three was definitely enough, an excellent foresight by the RD. Nobody wants porta-jon issues. There's a big campfire set up in the common area, ready for the night time cold. Crap, no picture.

When we arrived everyone was there was very friendly, as most Ultras are. We spent a bit of time talking with some of the organizers and my bud got his swag-bag which contained a cool cotton tshirt, a gift card for a pair of Thorlo socks, a pair of throw-away gloves, glow sticks and a cooling towel. Pretty excellent swag for a first time race.

There's a little bit of folk lore surrounding this woods. I won't spoil all the details, but a local Pastor came out and told a pretty funny story about a creature known to inhabit these woods. There was also the National Anthem sung by one of the volunteers.

Like every Ultra I've done to date, there's a huge sense of community.

I'm going to try to find an actual course map to share, but in case I forget: 

Great course!

 There was nothing too technical and all of the course was excellently marked. There was some elevation gain, 9,600 ft for a Hundred Miler, which is pretty significant if your'e a flat-lander.
 The course was an interesting mix of Out and Backs and loops, again all excellently marked. 
 When leaving the start line racers take a right into the woods on to some really nice double track. This initial section has a quick little descent then some gain to it as it curves around a pretty swampy lake and deeper into the woods. 

Looks kind of creepy, but was actually really pretty.

 There's an intersection at towards the bottom and racers take another right up a fire road for an Out and Back, again there's some gain, but there's also some beautiful distractions on this section. Between the old farm and the bamboo forest, it was easy to forget this was a race.

Might have been missile in there?

I have a shitty camera, this was actually taken with a shitty gopro.

Whoa...upside down dude!

 This road brought the racers to roughly One mile, and there was an aid station here designating the turn around. This aid station had food and a porta-jon, and later that night was manned and had a heater set up. Excellent.

I think I see Pedialyte?

 After leaving this aid station it was back down the hill, past the Bamboo and such to that first intersection where we take a right. It descends a bit before starting another climb.

These aren't brutal leg tearing climbs, they're nice mellow grades. But after ten miles, you are going to feel them. And probably hate them. After thirty miles, you will definitely hate them.

This picture is not relative to the actual part of the course I'm describing, but you can get the gist of the terrain.

 The course winds it way back up to the TA where it crosses over the airfield. It was easy enough to hit up the porta-jons here if you needed. There were volunteers here pointing runners to the trail head on the other side.

Queen does not belong on my Rush station!

 There's a nice little picnic area at this trail head that had a good bunch of picnic tables set up and a little long since used fire ring. But it was very scenic, and those tables made a nice place to sit after thirty miles.

Everyone likes a picnic.

 Leaving the picnic area there was some descent through the woods, again on nice open double track. The descent brought you past more ruins and some rednecky deer stands. You can probably tell I'm not into rednecks.

I want you to join together with the band.

 This section is about a mile or so (I think, I don't remember exactly) and loops you back to the airfield.

 This next section was a little rough to run on. It was the airfield. Yep ya ran alongside the airfield. It wasn't a long stretch but it was soft and grassy. I never saw any uneven surfaces, just thick grass.

 After a quick airstrip run you shoot back into the woods, with of course, a little elevation gain. This is another very pretty section. It parallels a paved road and through the trees you can see some beautiful fields and a nice home.
 Taking a left this time, for another little gain, we're starting the home stretch. Another rednecky deer stand and another wonderful forest, we finally spit back out onto the airfield and head towards the TA.
 The race course at this point is still on fire road, but your tent is right there on course. It's excellent, in fact the whole environment was everything I've grown to love about this stupid sport.

 I didn't eat off any of the aid stations (I was a pacer, not a paid runner) but I did see lots of good typical Ultra food, at both stations. 

 The RD was cool cat and made a point to talk with everyone.

 The volunteers were great, I hope they didn't take any grumpy Ultra-runner comments seriously.

 There was some mad karaoke going on til all hours. This was pretty funny actually. But think about earplugs for sleeping.

 I mentioned the quantity of shitters. Win.

 There was actually live tracking offered at this race. People could track your progress from home, that's pretty cool. The timing as a whole seemed excellent and the timing company provided plenty of real time data to racer.

The finisher awards were all custom made. (Sorry, no pics but you might find them on their FB page)

I only have two stupid complaints. 
 1) Black Sabbath wasn't playing at the TA. But why the hell would they? (This was just an excuse to put in a Heavy Metal link.)
 2) There weren't Koala Bears in the bamboo forest. Koala bears hang out in eucalyptus not bamboo. So this is a wicked stupid complaint. I'm thinking of Panda Bears.


It was a helluva drive to get to this race, but about the same as a Greenville or Spartenburg race. Next year I'd like to take a whole group of us up. The course and layout allow for this race to grow quite a bit, which I'd like to see and hope our Myrtle Beach crew can help make happen. This year there were several race options. 6hr, 12hr, 24hr, 100m, and 100m relay both with 30hr cut-offs. This leaves plenty of options for us regardless of what kind of training cycle or race plan we're on.

 Hey, thanks for reading. Don't forget to check out all my wicked awesome sneaker reviews,  or my fod bloogs, and I may have an actual race report in the next ten days or so.