Monthly Archives: February 2009

The Husbear Choking His Chicken

Well, he’s not not really choking it. And it’s more a chick at the moment.

The Husbear

I’m not sure who is cuter….

The Husbear

The Husbear received a new batch of chicks in the mail.

Yes. You read that correctly. In. The. Mail. It still amazes me the things you can order these days and have delivered.

And I’m betting some of you were expecting to see something totally different. (It will cost you $29.95 for that DVD… heh heh.)

Until next time...

Tagged by the Bus

I’m still laughing after seeing this:

Thank you Dead Robot. That more than made my day. I think I shall make this my new desktop wallpaper at the Great Retail Empire.

I promised the AlphaForager a post (and those who saw my tweets) about events that occurred on Wednesday at the Great Retail Empire.

About 11:00 or so, I received a call from the head of our “People People” department asking if I would come visit around 1:30.

Great. The head of “People People” never just calls you up to visit, I thought.

I was expecting discussions around the content of my blog posts concerning the Great Retail Empire, as that was the only thing I could think of that I had “done” as of late that would possibly warrant said invitation. That, or someone forgot to lay me off and they wanted to know why I was still here, red Swingline stapler in hand.

So, around 1:30, after receiving well-wishes from those around me, I wandered off to the “People People” people.

It was said some individuals had complained about the content of my blog concerning certain recent events. The “People People” people stated they read my blog (which makes me giggle a little, as I wonder if the other content I post caused some brain throttling). Nothing was stated about the content of my blog itself in regard to the Great Retail Empire. I was called in because they were concerned with whether I was essentially mentally okay.

Discussions were had. (I stated I would not blog about said discussions so I won’t.)

Not to sound like I drank more of the Kool-Aid, but the discussions were probably the best visit I had ever had with anyone in the “People People” department. I don’t feel any better about the layoffs that happened. However, I was able to express myself, my feelings and my opinions to someone who would at least be able to do something with my statements, which is opposite how I feel about those in the corner office(s).

There was something I hadn’t blogged about that was also mentioned: my dislike of the word “processes”. So I know either my tweets or Facebook statuses (or both) were /are being read.

And I now know there are some people out there who I work with in some fashion reading my blog that can’t handle the truth. To them I say thank you for the extra ammunition.

I am assured that I am now on some sort of blog watch list. As is the term “Great Retail Empire”.

Awesome. 😀

Maybe I should consider doing that “Men of the Great Retail Empire” photo shoot now.

(Updated, 02/27/2009: For the first time ever, I have disabled comments on a post. I do this only at the Husbear’s request. To my readers and those who already posted, please only know that he is sincerely afraid for me in the waters in which I am treading. If you want to discuss, email me. My contact info is here.)

Until next time...

The Sedition Act?

Call it coincidence that I have been watching the John Adams HBO miniseries. Recommended watching, even if it does contain some inaccuracies.

Tonight I watched the last two episodes in the miniseries. The 6th installment mentioned what are now called the Alien and Sedition Acts. Congress passed the Acts (actually four different laws) in 1798 while under threat of war from France. The legislation was intended to stomp out political opposition.

One of these laws struck me as familiar in a peculiar way: “An Act for the Punishment of Certain Crimes against the United States (Sedition Act), July 14, 1798 ch. 74, 1 Stat. 596”. More commonly called “The Sedition Act”, this law made it illegal to publish “false, scandalous, and malicious writing” against the government or its officials.


The Great Retail Empire somewhat recently enacted what is called the “Social Media Policy (PD-73)”. The policy states:

Using social media can be a fun and rewarding way to share opinions with friends, family and co-workers around the world.

… you have the responsibility to post content in a respectful manner that will not be harmful to the company.

… if you decide to post complaints or criticism, avoid doing so in a way that is unprofessional, defamatory, or injurious to the company or other associates.

Failure to do so “may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination.

My question is: who decides what is seditious? Wait—I meant “injurious”. As I noted in my last post concerning the layoffs that occurred at the Great Retail Empire, it is entirely possible “disciplinary action” may be levied against me because I expressed my opinion. Since we all know “the truth hurts”, it would imply that anything I mention of the Great Retail Empire—either false or true—could be deemed “injurious”.

Today, oddly enough, someone whom the Great Retail Empire would prohibit me having any association with outside of the office that’s another policy…] stated so eloquently in an Internet MeMe:

I’m cynical of governments and corporations. I think there’s little to differentiate large corporations from large governments, and the boundaries between them are increasingly blurred. As Orwell said “The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.”

I could, in no way, have better expressed my thoughts on the subject.

When any entity gets so large that it has to start creating and enforcing laws and policies to protect it’s image from those “within”, one has to question why those policies and laws needed to be created to begin with. Is there something to hide from the those on the outside?

“Welcome to the Machine” now has new meaning for me.

I guess I’ll just have to wait and see if any of my thoughts are injurious to the Great Retail Empire.

Until next time...

Post Impending Doom (at the Great Retail Empire)

The thing around my eye in my last post is similar to the new logo of the Great Retail Empire. This is a “chronicle” of events that have transpired as of late involving said Empire.


Written Tuesday, 02/17/2009.

As many of you probably heard in the news a week ago, the company I am indentured to by day—the “Great Retail Empire”—laid off about 700+ associates in the Home Office. Where I work. (Yes, I have two jobs: the day job in IT for the Empire, and the tattoo job by nights and weekends.)

“Starting today, and over the next few weeks, you will be hearing from your leaders about some important changes designed to align our staffing and organizational structure to increase operational efficiencies, support our strategic growth plans and help reduce our overall costs,” Mike Duke, our new CEO wrote.

It is the “over the next few weeks” portion that has everyone on edge in the division I work for (and probably other divisions as well). There have been many rumors swirling around about impending layoffs that will occur in our division, most saying they will come this week. The mood at work is less than productive.

I can’t imagine that upper management is not aware of these rumors. The only communication that has been made was one stating that “changes will be coming”. Helpful. That helped fan the flames in the rumor kiln.


Written Friday, 02/20/2009.

As those of you who follow me on Twitter or Facebook read during the day today, the other shoe dropped.

I don’t know how many in my division were laid off but there were 4 on my team of 23 that were removed today with one being my manager. (That’s 17% of my team for you math guys.)

It started this morning when I woke up. I had received a couple text messages during the night that some of my team were having trouble accessing systems. As it turns out, they were removed from the Administrators group last night. This removal actually happened while one of my teammates was working. All of a sudden he could no longer access anything to do his job.

From there it went downhill.

I got to the office around 7:15 this morning. I was at my desk when my manager walked up and told me he just received “the call”. I knew what he meant. It was all I could do not start crying right there. Seriously. He has been by far the best manager in my entire career at the Great Retail Empire. Unlike most others, he stood by and up for his people, when most managers were flakes and bowed to the whims of upper management. (Which is probably why he was targeted.) He didn’t micromanage us and he gave us the freedom to actually do our jobs. I feel that whomever is made to take his place will have a tough time.

After his call and removal, one by one the other three from my team were called and walked out of the building. No one on my team wanted to answer their phones for the rest of the day.

There were many others who were also walked out today, all before 11 AM.

There was no logical reason provided by upper management as to the decisions on who stayed and who went. (I know—logic and upper management don’t go together.) I personally speculate that those selected for removal on my team were done so as an act of retaliation by one particular member of upper management, as these associates were all ones who either stood up to “the corner office” or made waves with that officer’s decisions.

Add to all this: no member of management even came by to talk with us until after lunchtime. Five hours with no “hey, this is what’s going on” or anything. So much for “Respect for the Individual”. And when our Director finally did stop by, our team was actually told: “we’re not sure what we’ll do yet with your team, but we’ll figure it out next week or so”. WTF?

Apparently the security teams are extremely paranoid about my team as they came down and physically removed a few workstations from my team, as well as expired everyone’s domain credentials so they had to be reset. (And a few other things I can’t blog about.) I’m sure this was done because a few of us have a “checkered” history when it comes to the things we can do with computers, and security is well aware of what we can do. (Although anyone worth their salt wouldn’t do anything from their own workstation, but I digress.) These guys knew their shit; a few of them know it better than me!

As you can imagine, today was pretty much a bust for those of us who remained.

I personally am trying to figure out how these “important changes … to increase operational efficiencies” are going to help. There are now 19 of us left to support some 160,000+ workstations… when we were already barely keeping our heads above water. Yeah… that made things more efficient. Stupid fuckers.

There is the potential that I will get some sort of disciplinary action for writing this as the Great Retail Empire now has a policy prohibiting “Social Networking” by its associates and talking about things like this. So be it. It’s my blog.

I have spent roughly the last 5 years with most of these guys. 45+ hours a week. They are family. I’m at a loss on how to mentally handle this. I’m worn out. I’m tired. And I hurt. I can’t even begin to imagine how they and their families are handling it.

My thoughts and well-wishes go out to those I’ve “lost” today.

(Update, 02/24/2009: Links removed… I know my blog is being watched.)

Until next time...