Jules had lasik yesterday and it is working great. She went from barely being able to see me across a dinner table to 20/25 in less than 24 hours. It will apparently get better over the next month and then stabilize. This morning we had to go back to the clinic in Windsor for the 24 hour follow up and every thing is looking great. The problem was coming back. The freeways in the detroit area are all torn up right now. Both major east-west highways (I-94 and I-96) are all torn up and at least partly closed. What a mess. Getting the Lasik donw in Windsor saved about 40% compared to the same procedure in the US. Apparently in this country, clinics have to pay Bausch and Lomb a royaltie for every single procedure thay do, whereas in Canada they just buy the equipment form them and don’t have to pay them anymore.
Thursday night my friend Mark and I went down to Depot Town in Ypsilanti to grab some dinner and catch up. I haven’t seen Mark since he quit working where I do in February. Thins are still in flux for Mark but he just got back from his annual family vacation in France. His wife Pascal and the kids are coming back next week. Depot town was really cool. They have these cruise nights onThursady nights, and it seems to be getting really popular. They have been doing it for several years in the summer time, but this is the first time I have gone down there on a cruise night in a couple of years and it was packed with people and cars. There were old classic cars lining both sides of Cross street all the way from River street to Huron. It is great to see events like this doing wo well in Ypsi. The downtown area is improving too. If you are in the Ypsilanti are make sure check out some of the eateries. If you like Mexican food make sure to check out La Fiesta Mexican on E Cross St. They awsome authentic mexican food. Michelle and Memo run my absolute favorite restaurant. If you like Vietnamese Dalat downtown on Michigan ave, has great food. And in depot town the side track has great fish and chips and burgers and a wide selection of beers. Aubree’s in dpot town is also good. And when you are done stop into Bombadill’s downtown next to library for a coffee.
I previously posted about the the salary harmonization plan put together by our human resources department. Well this thing has turned into a complete clusterfuck. First they told us that we would all be slotted into ne salary grades based on what we do. Everyone in a grade would have the same compensation plan. In theory this is fine, but they have completely messed it up. Those of us at my level who have been here for many years previously were eligible for a 20% bonus. A couple of years ago they decided to eliminate the bonus for new hires. To compensate and provide some equity they were hired in at a 16% higher base salary. Since their annual merit raises were based on the same percentage of a higher base rate there was relative pay parity overall under the old plan. Well under the new plan every gets a bonus, but it is only 5% at my pay grade. As a result I and others who have been here for more than 3 years get a 15% CUT IN PAY. Meanwhile new hires get a 5% increase. So now someone who has only been here a couple of years is suddenly making upwards of 20% more than someone who has been here longer. The HR reps told us that they had no plans to adjust base salaries for veteren employees to compensate for this. This is total BULLSHIT!
Department heads were supposed to hand out individual sheets to everyone with their new salary grades yesterday. Well yesterday afternoon we found out that they had been told not distribute them. It turns out that engineering directors had not been informed of HR’s plans and were not happy when they found out what was going on. HR apparently did all of this on their own without telling any other management what they were planning. So now we have to sit and wait. What a farce.
Well today our HR department unvieled part of the results of their salary harmonization project. Over the years through mergers and buyouts different parts of the company have ended up with different compensation plans from old companies. They wanted to get everyone on the same plan. For the past 10 years I have been eligible for a bonus of 20% of my base salary based on company performance. This company has general done very well, better than most others in the same business. A couple of years ago they decided that new hires would no longer be eligible for a bonus but they got a higher base salary as a result. This led to reasonable equity in overall pay. Now everyone will be eligible for a bonus with the amount depending on your salary grade. They also have all new salary grade levels that everyone will be slotted into. As a result, recent hires may end up with significantly higher base salary and bonus compared to people who have been around longer who will get a siginificant cut in bonus and no adjustment to base salary. Depending on what grade they put me at, I am looking at overall paycut of 10-15% after 14 years with this company while newer hires get a pay increase because base pay wont change but they will add the bonus. I don’t even know what grade level I am going to be at.
This is HARMONIZATION!! Fuck corporate america!!
In the past 9 months I have all but abandoned radio after 35= years of consistent listening. My ipod is now with me almost all the time. I listen to music that I have accumulated over the years from cds and vinyl and now to podcasts. Podcasts are audio (or video) programs that are included as enclosures with RSS feeds that you can subscribe to. The audio programs are generally in mp3 format. You can use any of several “podcatching” clients like ipodder, ipodderx, doppler or others to subscribe to the podcasts. They can automatically check subscribed feeds, download new programs and load them into your media player software and create a playlist. It works with any mp3 player (although ipods are still the best out there) The latest version of itunes (4.9) also has podcasting capability built right in. If you want to learn more visit podcastalley.com.
Basically what this means is that you subscribe to a podcast feed and then it is automatically downloaded to your computer and mp3 player whenever there is a show. There are podcasts on almost every subject imaginable, politics, tech, movies, music, comedy etc. Thanks to the intransigence of the RIAA podcasting has become a wonderful forum for finding all kinds of awesome new music. I have heard more great new bands in the last 9 months than I have heard in the last 15 years on the radio.
Goodbye radio. You blew it!!. I only listen to podcasts now.
We went to see Charlie and the chocolate factory yesterday and it was one of the best movies I have seen in a long time. Tim Burton is one of my favorite directors and his vision melds perfectly with Roald Dahl’s writing. Dahl’s characters often have a somewhat twisted and even cruel flavor to them unlike so many cartoonish characters you find in kids books. Burton’s surreal and imaginative visual style is the perfect complement. This is up there with Burton’s best work like Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure, Nightmare Before Christmas, and Beetlejuice. I will definitely be adding this to the dvd collection when it comes out.