Last night was my first dose of project management goodness. I'm taking this "fundamentals of..." class, the first in a series of three that will prepare me for the PMP exam. And after I get my certification, everything will be sunshine and ice cream, and I will never cry myself to sleep again. Just kidding. I don't cry; I'm too hardcore.

The class is peopled largely with IT folks like myself. Many are, like me, wanting to take that next step in their career progression. Like many night classes at the University of Louisville I've experienced, there is the obligatory older crank who insists on making the class all about her, asking tons of semi-relavent questions, getting the instructor further and further off-topic. We divided up into teams to do our labs. My team has two Indian guys (one probably Hindu, the other likely Muslim, based on my ignorant interpretation of their names... but I'm pretty sure Hussein comes from a Muslim background.) Also, we have a cute Japanese woman. Everybody seems nice. Hussein is especially nice because he's only been in the country since, like, lunch. When we all introduced ourselves, he was so thrilled to be in America, enthusiasm radiated from him like gamma rays from Chernobyl. We all worked pretty well together.

The instructor is a pretty cool dude. He's an Indian motorcycle enthusiast and in three hours managed to talk about his motorcycle about 100 times. But he's a good, entertaining instructor.

After nearly a week of shitty days, I am ready for the weekend. I am taking a bit of an in-cubicle sabbatical today because I just don't give a fuck. For lunch, I plan on going to get some soul food, spicy rib tips at Indi's on Broadway.

Rib tips update: OMG. I won't say that it was the best barbeque I've ever had. That honor goes to Oklahoma City's County Line Barbeque near the Cowboy Hall of Fame. But it was the best I've had in a long time. I ordered them, and when the cashier asked whether I wanted the hot or mild sauce, I said "Hot." She looked at me as if to say, "You a dumbass white boy." I knew I was in trouble when I opened the styrofoam box, and the vapors rising up from the sauce burned my nose. It was like hell going down -- literally hell with the devils and pitchforks and lakes of fire. And now, two hours after ingestion, my innards are trying to cope with a river of lava raging through. Oh so good. Fuego! Caliente!

In other news, I am going to the ASUG 2006 conference in Orlando, FL. I might bring the family unit. ASUG = America's SAP User Group. Last time was a pretty good time. It was in Anaheim, CA. Vendors loaded me up with free crap. Some even gave us free hooch, which is always a good way to get on my good side. I managed to find a Korean Go Club. This year should be no different, except that I will be going with a cow orker and possibly my family. That might alter the experience.

It appears President Bush's new genius budget plan takes a direct strike at the Northwest.

Since it's inception by the Roosevelt Administration in 1937, the Bonneville Power Administration has offered power to NW businesses and private consumers at production cost rather than market price. This fiercely protected business structure offers the NW some of the lowest power rates in the United States. Since Bonneville typically produces more power than it can sell to regional consumers, the BPA sells electricity to other regions at market price. The revenues from these sales are invested back into BPA to provide lower rates for customers. In the ever present "race to the bottom," the BPA provides the NW with a vital asset for attracting residents and businesses.

To be clear, the BPA is a part of the Department of Energy but it is not funded with federal tax dollars.

Despite this fact, President Bush has decided that the NW should supply an estimated $1 billion to the U.S. national debt over the next decade. In his budget proposal, set to take effect October 1st, profits in excess of $500 million will be "skimmed" by the Federal government and put towards the national debt. The BPA expects to make profits in excess of $650 million annually until 2009. Experts estimate this "skimming" will result in rate hikes of 7-10% for NW businesses and citizens.

Last year NW business stomped out another Bush Administration plan to take a bite out of the BPA. The previous plan required the BPA to sell power to customers at average wholesale market rates, rather then the traditional at cost price. However, this year's budget iniative does not require approval from Congress.

My uncle drove us through the countryside
past silos and barns and fields of corn
never exclaiming, “Look, cows!
because he knew the kids were anticipating
something more fantastic, impossible.
As we left behind the last
signs of civilization,
faced the Illinois plains and low-hanging clouds,
shafts of light striking small patches
of land, loosing from within us
biblical sighs,
he shook his head -
we inhaled -
“I remember when this all used to be city,
skyscrapers as far as the eye could see,
the sweet scent of smog in the air.”
I gazed out the window at a newly
hideous landscape:
flowers where pavement once lay,
trees in place of fire hydrants -
a dead brown square of grass where Baskin-
Robbins once stood,
and the shadow of a lone businessman,
one of a dwindling breed,
hunting with primitive prowess
the endangered,
American dream.

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