Friday, August 24, 2007

All-Time Gold Glove Team

A couple of days ago, Rawlings announced their all-time Gold Glove team. They are by position:
pitchers (tie): Greg Maddux and Jim Kaat

catcher: Johnny Bench

1st base: Wes Parker

2nd base: Joe Morgan

3rd base: Brooks Robinson

shortstop: Ozzie Smith

outfield: Willie Mays

outfield: Ken Griffey, Jr.

outfield: Roberto Clemente

As someone that's been around almost as long as Gold Gloves have been issued, I've seen at one time or another on TV all the players mentioned field their positions. And all of them (in my humble opinion) except one deserve to be on the team.

The one exception is 1st baseman Wes Parker. Why? While he played for the Los Angeles Dodgers his entire career, he only played for 9 seasons and received 6 Gold Gloves. Parker beat out Keith Hernandez and Don Mattingly, which I think either of them would have been a much better choice. Especially Hernandez, who won 11 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1978 to 1988. Even Mattingly had more Gold Gloves than Parker at 9.

Well, Rawlings, if you based the all-time team strictly on the number of Gold Gloves awarded, I'm not sure everyone mentioned would be on it, including Mr. Parker. Someone in his fan club really stuffed the ballot box.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Job recruiters

When I first found out I was going to lose my job, it wasn't exactly earth shattering. The company hasn't been doing well and we ended up closing about 1/3 of our locations. I was already checking job listings on a regular basis. Once I posted my resumé on Yahoo! Hot Jobs, recruiters began to take notice and e-mail me, stating they could help me find a job or my qualifications are well suited to openings they know about.

So far, the recruiters that have contacted me are batting a big fat ZERO. The first recruiter that contacted me wanted to meet so that she could have an idea of what I'd best be suited for. This was great, but the timing wasn't right. Once I found out I was getting additional severance, I decided to hold off meeting her until my job ends.

The second recruiter e-mailed me and gave me a song and dance proposal (with a fee costing hundreds of dollars) about faxing mass numbers of cover letters to so-called targeted employers. This would ensure I would get numerous job interviews. I've seen these types of faxes come through the office, and to me, it's a total joke.

First of all, half the time the senior executives the cover letters are addressed to are no longer with the company or their name is misspelled. Second, most of the letters are written in official, business-like language stating this and that about his or her accomplishments. Read past the bull---- and it's just a letter begging for a job. Third, most of the jobs the candidates are looking for aren't within the retail industry nor are they positions our company would have available. I could do all this on my own by calling companies and asking for this information myself. FOR FREE.

Then, a third recruiting firm that claims only to service "quality" clients said I was a perfect match for one of their client openings but it was already filled. They wanted me to e-mail them to set up an appointment because they were certain I was qualified for other openings. Problem was, their area of coverage was San José. Sorry, a bit out of my commuting range.

Recruiter number four e-mailed me stating the same sales pitch as the previous ones from San José. She sent me a website link and told me to apply to any of the openings I would be interested in. Wait a minute. Aren't recruiters supposed to find the openings for you? After I got a second e-mail sent wondering why I hadn't registered, I replied back curtly telling her that as a recruiter, please point out to which positions you'd like me to interview. Otherwise, you're only someone telling me to go your website that has the same postings your competitors have. What a lazy way to recruit a candidate.

The 5th and 6th recruiting firms had openings within my desired areas and claimed they had my resumé, but it's quite clear they read only my title and not my qualifications. Last Friday, recruiter number 5 e-mailed me stating she thought I'd be an excellent match for an analyst position at a well-known retailer. When she e-mailed me the job description and company, it is for a well-known retailer with an excellent salary, but requires qualifications I don't have.

And this morning, recruiting company number 6 had 2 recruiters e-mail me for an analyst position for a very large and well-known public utility company. On a 6-month contract basis. Even if I weren't being laid off, what makes them think I would leave a job with benefits to go to a contractual job that has no benefits? Again, the job description is an analyst, but not really that strong a match to my work background.

The ONLY recruiter that has found anything that matched my background is from my old company, Gymboree. One ended up filled internally. The other is my old job from 8 years ago. I'm overqualified for both positions for pay below my current salary.

Despite all the moaning and bitching, it is nice to know I'm wanted. But it's quite obvious that recruiters don't study well whom they want as candidates. A piece of advice to any recruiter that may be reading this blog because they had the smarts to Google me, do your homework!!!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

company that shares my name

Yes, they finally named a company after me. How flattering. Seriously though, LANI is actually Loan Administration Network Inc. They've been around since 1992 (ha! I've been around longer). Website is actually

They do have an office in Walnut Creek. Since I will be out of a job next month, I could send them my resume, write a tear-jerker of a cover letter begging to be the face behind the name. After a few seconds, a roar of laughter will overwhelm the HR person with tears streaming down her face. But not before she e-mails me a note stating my resume will be kept on file for 1 year and I'll be contacted should there be an opening that matches my qualifications.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Oh the times...they are a-changin'

While the title of this blog is the name of a famous Bob Dylan song, Bryan Ferry (of Roxy Music fame) recently released an album of Dylan covers and this song is getting frequent airplay on KFOG in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As it's getting closer to end of my current job, this week in particular is starting to show real signs the company is leaving California and plowing full steam ahead into Texas. Last week, I called one of our locations to answer a finance question. I started chatting with the studio manager and she thought I was calling from Plano (Dallas area). Last Thursday, all of the current positions in my department (finance) are posted as openings in Yahoo! Hot Jobs. Plus, the office is two-thirds empty this week due to a companywide meeting in Plano. Last, but not least, this coming Friday, the company servers will be inaccessible after 12 p.m. as they will migrate them to Plano.

Then this morning, the Gymboree HR coordinator who set up my interviews in May called. She asked me if I was interested in another opening in finance. She said it was Sales Audit, which technically it is. But when I went to Gymboree's website to view the posting, it is listed as a Revenue Analyst. In short, it's my old job. I'm more than qualified to do the work and that's exactly why I politely declined. I already know the position doesn't pay what I currently make and Myra, the HR person, confirmed this was the case.

While it's still early, I sent applications out to 2 companies with treasury/cash analyst positions about a half-hour ago. One is a huge hospital, the other, a bank. If you asked me even a year ago if I would work for either of these kinds of businesses, I would have told you, "hell no". But my work has progressed more toward treasury/cash management and am looking for my next position to focus in this area. And because of the treasury/cash focus, I have to widen my search and look away from retail.

With all the severance and unpaid vacation I'll be receiving when my job ends, I can take the rest of the year off sitting high off the hog. I really should take the rest of the year off. It's been years since I didn't work a busy holiday period. I am really looking forward that I don't have to work on Black Friday, Christmas Eve or New Year's.

But at the same time, the jobs I applied to today describe duties that I currently do now. I decided I would rather apply and see if they bite, and if they don't, at least I won't wonder whether or not I would be contacted for an interview. I also know if things don't go well, I can stop, and take my time to look for the next opportunity.

Monday, August 13, 2007

New contact lenses for myopia

Today, another Associated Press video features a story that one can now wear contact lenses while sleeping to correct myopia, which is the exact opposite of how most users wear their contacts.

I've been myopic since I was 11. While most thought glasses were a death sentence as to how one would be perceived in school, I thought it was extremely cool. I never thought about the "coke-bottle" look, but the intelligent, respected look that people got when they wore spectacles that fit them well.

What I realized as I got older was that glasses were not cool when I played basketball and softball. They fogged up and were likely to get damaged and/or broken. I then got contact lenses when I was 15. My dad thought I was too young. But I convinced him I would be very good about taking care of them and that I needed them for sports.

I wore hard, then later, rigid gas permeable contact lenses (RGP's) for about 25 years. It wasn't until I turned 40 that I could no longer wear RGP's. I didn't wear contact lenses for nearly a year until I got fitted for daily disposable soft contact lenses. I've been wearing disposables for about 6 years now, and am relieved I can wear contact lenses nearly all the time again. The only drawback is that I could wear RGP's up to 17 hours without feeling dryness or discomfort. My disposables on most days is about 14 hours.

The best thing about having disposables is that I can throw a bunch in my carry-on when I travel and only have to bring saline solution with me. I used to have to bring wetting/soaking solution, cleaner, a case and a spare pair of lenses as they can get lost or misplaced. And if I stayed over a week, enzyme tablets for the weekly deep cleaning.

As to whether I would consider wearing this new kind of contact lens, I'm not sure. While I like the idea of not having to wear lenses during the day, having to wear them at night is not something I'm crazy about. Falling asleep with contact lenses for me is not comfortable.

It's all very promising. But I'd like to wait and see first.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

defining chocolate

An article in today's Associated Press (photo courtesy from them too) about whether or not the FDA will allow changes in the ingredients that define chocolate. In its purest form, chocolate must contain between 50 to 60 percent cocoa butter.

The Grocery and Chocolate Manufacturers Association and several other food industry groups want to see those standards changed. By doing this, it would allow some flexibility in using different techniques and standards on the way chocolate is made. The argument about relaxing the standard is that it would cut costs in manufacturing and the savings can be passed to the consumer.

As far as I'm concerned, leave this alone!!! I know I'm not the only one who has a strong emotional attachment to this luscious, creamy treat. By allowing to define chocolate with other ingredients, namely vegetable oil, I'm not likely to go anywhere near it. Legally, it can't be called chocolate either.

There's a reason why premium chocolates like Scharffen Berger, Joseph Schmidt, and Godiva have such a cult following. There's true artistry in the way their chocolate is made.

I don't care. My fingers are in my ears now and I'm doing my best Sergeant Schultz imitation, "I see nothing. I hear nothing".

Sunday, August 05, 2007

tub soak

For the past 2 Sundays, I lounge most of the day at home and visit the gym in the late afternoon. Because this is my last workout of the week, I make this a short session (about an hour). I come home, have dinner and then soak in the tub.

Once out of the tub, I apply Philosophy body butter in mint. The smell and feel of mint is very soothing. Up until I tried this, Origins Ginger Souffle was my favorite. They're both wonderful, but in different ways.