Friday, May 26, 2006

To the Utter Moron on the 5 o’clock news:

A phrase that I’ve heard on the news before (and just heard again) finally jumped up and down on my last nerve. It was said by a very solemn, very serious man that appeared to be in his late 30’s. He said, “Everything [this business does] is oriented at getting more of your money…” and also “[the business] took everything I had.”


Blink, blink, blink.

Bearing this in mind, I present for Stupid People everywhere, a lecture on ‘Just One Way of Being an Adult’ and ‘What Being an Adult Means’. Please feel free to print this out and hand it to a stupid person you know. Circle the big words so they can come back to you and find out what they mean. You never know, it may make a difference. i.e. It will make you feel better because really, it’s wasted on them. They’re stupid.


A business is ‘in business’ for one reason: It wants to make the most money it can. This means that it (the business) wants you to give it your money. In return, it provides you with a product or a service that it wants you to believe is worth your money. This is based on the premise that if you don’t like the product or service that the business is offering, you won’t give it your money. Any business alive today is actually interested in getting MORE of your money than it already has. This is because more money is actually good for a business. This therefore, is the goal of businesses everywhere. No, really! It is. You can believe me because I work for a business and I know.

Now this may be hard to understand BUT, businesses really don’t care if:
1) You look good,
2) You dress smart, or even
3) How you feel, so long as:
4) You give it your money.

That’s what it wants because that’s what it needs to survive. No money = no business.
So, what does it do to get more of your money? This gets a little complicated so be patient and re-read it as often as you need to get a really good understanding of the intricate details.

In order to get more of your money, the business improves a product or a service. Another way to get more of your money is that it makes more and different types of products and services then, we’re getting close to the tricky part, it will tell you that you can’t live without it’s products and/or it’s services.

This is the tricky part: (Feel free to re-read this next sentence as many times as you need to in order to understand it because, as an ‘adult’ it’s expected that you do understand.) You DON’T have to believe it! It’s all up to you and your needs as you define them. If you don’t like the product/service OR if you think it is too expensive, you DON’T need to buy it. It’s YOUR decision. No, really, it is. No, I’m not lying. Remember, I actually work in a business, so I know that what I’m saying is true. YOU are supposed to be responsible enough to determine what “enough” of your money is. When you give a business “all” of your money, then at some point the world presumes that you must have felt that you got something more or something better in return, right up to the point where you realized YOU had no MONEY left and that YOU must be a friggin’ IDIOT

In the world of adulthood, not having money is YOUR problem, not mine or anyone else’s. You HAD money, you GAVE it to the business. It’s THEIR money now (remember, this is the business’s goal).

If you come crying to me later, I will have no sympathy for you because you GAVE the business all of YOUR money. I would feel much worse for any wife or kids that are attached to you because you GAVE the business all of THEIR money too. This is considered to be very un-‘adult’ behavior.

You must watch out for yourself and for your family. You must not expect anyone else to watch out for you. It is you who must be responsible, for you. Not them. Not me. You.

You utterly stupid, self-righteous, mouth breathing, oxygen wasting moron.

People like you make me ill.


Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Suuuurrrreeeee you do…

Most days (over 95%) I work out of the office. But every now and then, about once a month or less, I work from home. Stop that. I actually do WORK from home. Big Bro, shut it.

When I don’t have a steady diet of it, like doing 100% of the time, I find that I can get more things done. It’s quieter…or, noisier if it’s a good song, and there are less distractions. No telephone constantly ringing, no e-mails to answer unless I want to, it’s nice. Because I am at home, I’m more concentrated on the task at hand without all the distraction. I can get the task done faster than in the office which means, I get “home” faster. I am done for the day after completing a difficult task in less than a day.Now, if I work from home 100% of the time, I start doing the math and I start getting in trouble:
Lessee here, I worked 2.5 days kinda hard at home, that MUST equal 4 full days in the office, right? It should, right? I’ve got some calls and e-mails to return, but c’mon! I still got 2.5 days to do that! Is there anything critical in them? No!? Hello Mr. Calloway! Time to grab the sticks and hit the fairway, baby!

This would be why I don’t work from home 100% anymore.
No one found out because after all, the work was getting done and it was done on time. But I felt a bit, guilty. I couldn’t handle it. There were times when I did nothing but watch TV, make a few phone calls and called it a day. They PAID me to do this?? Well no, not really, they didn’t. But they were and they didn’t know it. If they had found out that they were paying me to do that I suspected that they wouldn’t have been paying me for very much longer. So when I felt GUILTY, instead of just guilty, I quit my ‘dream’ job and took another job that required more office time. That was good. That worked. Now I got more accomplished at home and got ahead in the office. Best part, no guilt.

Now I’ve got a job that requires more time, in the office and on the road, than I ever thought I would give a job. There’s the commute (2 hrs, each way = 4hrs/day), there’s the office time (9-13 hours, depending) and suddenly, I’m wondering how much sleep I’ll be getting that night. So when I get the chance to work from home, whoo boy, I work. No commute, work gets done faster, eat a comfy lunch, get a little ahead AND I get to spend more time with My Girl. Sometimes, she even WANTS me to do this! Can you believe it?! It’s a win-win!Why am I telling you this now? ‘Cause tomorrow, I’m workin’ from home, baby! WooHOO!

The ol’ Smack-a-roony

I’m an adult now (Big Bro, just…shut up), so I should know how to do the ‘Kiss when you meet someone’ thing. That...thing that cool people do...the suave smooch on the cheek. I have no idea how to do this.

I know that I have no idea how to do this for one simple, yet highly significant reason. I’ve inadvertently kissed My Girl’s grandmother full on the mouth several times over the last few years. Grandma gets how to do it. I don’t. Smooth, Humor Me, smooth. Makin’ moves on Grandma…gonna get me summa that.

The basic question is, Who does the kissing? The second basic question is, When do you do the kissing and when do I do the kissing? The third basic question is, If they kiss first, do you kiss back? On which cheek? The same one or the other one? What if they pull away? This has also happened and then I’m kissing air. Complete with smootchy face while looking them right in the eye. Probably not as attractive a look as you may initially think.

I don’t know why it sends me into mental vapor lock. I see that I’m gonna get smooched and suddenly, I panic. Which cheek is she aiming at? Should I turn my cheek so it’s easier? Should I smooch back? Should I just make a smoochy sound as if to say, “If you weren’t kissing my cheek right now, I’d totally be kissing yours?” Is that bad? Is it required? What if she turns her head faster than I do,…again? What if, what if, what if.

So,...any idea's out there? Or am I the only idiot?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Working for $2.46 /hr

My Girl has a mission this year and she feels strongly about it. She REALLY wants to accomplish it and she’s been working for over a month in order to get ready for it. While every second of her day hasn’t been devoted to it, a significant amount of her time has been dedicated to this endeavor. My Girl wants to participate in the Neighborhood Garage Sale.

Now me, I don’t really care for garage sales. It always seems like the Return On Investment is a little shy of the effort. I got this feeling because we had several of them when I was growing up. Mom would want to sell some stuff because we were moving someplace else and why would you want to waste the effort of packing and lifting something that you could didn’t need, didn’t use and could still sell to someone else? I would gather up my stuff that I didn’t want and at the end of it, I’d wind up with $3 or $4. Big Money, baby! This was great when I was 6 and dealing with a 25¢ allowance. Now that I’m (just a bit, ahem) older, I’m no longer so enthralled.

When I did my very own garage sale, with my very own stuff, I was definitely not as thrilled. After 80 hours of preparation and two days of selling, I had netted a grand total of $237 after I paid for the rented tables ($15.00). I’d just put in over two week’s worth of work for $2.46/hr. Less than half what I’d earned when I was twelve and had a paper route.

The day had started off great, I had a crowd of early birds waiting and they swooped in at it was ON. I couldn’t have had more people in my garage if I had shouted “Free GOLD!!” at the top of my lungs. That lasted for about three hours. After that I mostly got browsers. They’d come in and walk around, wouldn’t say anything and walk out. If I were really lucky, they’d make small talk.

I decided to donate the rest of the stuff and got more than $2,500 to write off for my taxes that year under Charitable Donations (make sure you get a detailed receipt). Donating everything took about four hours including drive time, which settles out to $625/hr. Hmm.To be fair, I should add in the 80 hours of prep time, plus four hours for “donation” time…$29.76/hr. HMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmmmmm...

But far be it from me to point this out to My Girl who is REALLY going at it. Well, maybe I did mention a little something now and then…at least, I didn’t point it out that often. You should know that I NEVER mentioned it while grudgingly going through my stuff looking at what I thought would sell. I can also assure you that I would absolutely have NOT mentioned anything on this subject frequently, just as a matter of discussion you understand, the benefits of a tax write off and how a little money today isn’t as good as a lot more money tomorrow. No sirree bob, not me. Wouldn’t of done it. Besides, it wasn’t working anyway.

The days of the garage sale were cold (50+°) and rainy. We netted about $200.



It’s wrong to look at someone and mentally sum up their lives. It’s really wrong to judge people without knowing anything about them other than the way they look. I know this because I really dislike it when someone looks down their nose at me. Don’t they understand that you can’t judge a book by its cover? Don’t they see that there is more to me than my skin? For crying out loud, if you have a question, ask it, but don’t stand there and judge me without asking the question!! If it goes on long enough, I’ve been known to harbor violent thoughts and even say things like “If you don’t stop that, I’ll have to remove that finger at the elbow and stick it up your ass.” Don’t judge me people, it makes me crabby.

And now, please put your hands together for…The Hypocrite.

There’s this little 20 something that gets on the train (at a very nice town) on my way into work most mornings. I don’t know her name. I don’t know what she does. I’ve never sat beside her, but I’ve taken an intense dislike to her.
She dresses nice. Well, more accurately put, she dresses expensively. Expensive as in, Expen$ive. The thousand dollar designer hand bag? Check. The latest fashion in women’s suits? Check. Silk shirts? Check. Ridiculously high pumps (If I knew what a Manolo Blahnik(sp?) looked like, I’d swear these were them) and the jewelry! My god, the jewelry. Today’s example of professional, reserved style are 2” long pearl drop earrings, dangling from what appears to be a silver base, both base and pearl drops are studded with little diamonds. And a sweat suit…a very expensive looking sweat suit, but still. THIS is what one wears to work?? I know that she’s going to work because she usually wears what one would consider expen$ive work clothes. But this? Is she going to work or is she going to be spending more of Daddy’s money on the way to work?

To be fair, I must point out that I am not a slave to fashion. For that matter, I’m not much of a slave to clothes in general. It’s a rare non-summer weekend that My Girl doesn’t request that I wear my “good” flannel when we go out instead of the eye-blindly bright flannel that really is much more comfortable. This is one reason why I find the Fashionista 20 Something so unlikeable. She obviously sets great store by fashion as her relative worth to the world.

Invariably, she looks ‘coiffed’. Coiffed as in, it looks like it took more than two hours to take a shower, put on the makeup (with a spatula), pull the hair back into a pony tail (because it’s quicker), and then push the hair on top of the her head forward just so (to look more like Julia Louise Dreyfuss from the early Seinfeld days).

Every time I see her, all I can think of is “Oh, look. It’s Princess!” adding a little squeaky rise to my inner voice on the ‘prin’. Immediately I check to see what she’s wearing to figure out what I hate. I imagine her with all sorts of 20 Something self-absorbedness. I imagine her driving around in the biggest or fastest gas guzzler because either road height or great speed makes her feel safer. I believe that she sees herself as worldly in her outlook while not knowing who the President of the United States is or what’s going on in Iraq because their fashion is just terrible there. In short, I cut her no slack whatsoever.

I cut her no slack because of The Attitude she radiates. It screams “I’m important and you’re beneath notice.” If I thought she took the time to see anyone as an individual instead of “servant”, maybe I’d just think she just worked hard and took care of herself. But she doesn’t, so I don’t. But this is not my dilemma, it’s my hypocrisy in action.

THIS is my dilemma. I don’t know whether I’m more offended by her attitude, my hypocrisy, or by the knowledge that I somehow know what Pearl Drop earrings, Manolo Blahniks, and the latest in women’s fashions are.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A weekend at Bernie's...

The great thing about owning a lake house is that you get to go to the lake every week-end. All summer long at the lake, with the boats…the boats that take you to the bars…the bars that sell beer and other adult beverages for REALLY reasonable prices. It’s a good guy weekend. As a matter of fact, the only thing better than owning a lake house, is knowing someone who owns a lake house, a boat and access to a jet ski. Such was the case with me and my lake house owning friend Zebra this weekend. Throw in a couple classic cars driving by, the possibility of a well rounded bikini or three and suddenly, it’s a great weekend.

This was the first weekend of the year, before the warm weather really hits and the water’s still cold. There’s just one thing, in order to enjoy the boat, the jet ski, etc., the dock has to be put in. I volunteered under the mistaken impression that beer defeats cold and that docks are easy to put in.

Allow me to advise you, it doesn’t and they aren’t. But, if throw in:

Several chiefs and very few indians
Copious amounts of beer (Typically used by a chief suddenly become indian, its a status that rotates frequently)
A little patience (pretty much scrubbed by the beer)
A smattering of knowledge (several chiefs still on hand ready for providing instant, helpful and often undesired advice)
Direction (several chiefs still present and having plenty of spare advice handy)
Drive (instantly provided by the water temperature, locally known as “ball shrinking cold”)
A few dozen ‘cold water, tiny dick jokes’

Voilá! a dock is born. Then you get to put the boats, wave runners and other seriously cool toys in the water. Continue with beer and tiny dick jokes just because you’re guys away from the little women for a day or two and because that’s what guys do. You may want to add a few fart jokes followed by real world, ‘too much beer last night and what the hell was that thing you ate?’ example farts to keep the tiny dick and cold water jokes company. Again, because that’s what guys do. We fart while drinking beer and grade them against the other examples presented that day. Usually followed by such sage comments as “Whoooaaaa! I hope you brought another pair of pants!” or “Now that you’re done you better empty your shorts out over the side.”

The beer tastes good. The company is great. The lake is cold. At some point, you realize that this moment right now, with everyone laughing at the latest poke of someone’s masculinity, the cold water, the weekend stretching out ahead, the enthusiasm, you realize that this is a time that you’re going to remember for a while. Even the ‘D’ cell barking from a ‘AAA’ sized Chihuahua…maybe I’ll get the little dear a shock collar for Christmas.

It was a great weekend. Thanks Zebra, I had a blast.

Train Tips

Unless you’re in the starring role of Risky Business, the things you can do on a train are relatively limited. While you sit still and don’t jiggle around much (you might disturb the other passengers and who wants to be the asshole that early in the morning?), you can work, read, sleep, watch the scenery go by (either inside or outside of the train), talk to your train buddies or even write your blog entry for the day. Anything else will usually get you arrested. At least, that’s the premise that I’ve been operating under for the last 3½ years.

The thing about limiting your horizons like that is that some would say you never really live life the way it was meant to be lived. Out there. On the edge. In control (which can actually be out of control, depending on your point of view). I may not live on much of an edge over here but, I am not in jail either, yea for me. If it really makes any difference to you, I sometimes feel in control and a little edgy. But that’s mostly on warmer weekends when I don’t have to wear clothes…but I digress,

Train Conductors are typically the kind of person who is ‘in control of the situation’ at any time. Except for two of them, all of the Conductors that I’ve seen are male. Noticeably male. Noticeably male from a long ways away. These guys have a swagger to them. An attitude. A visible confidence level that says, “I am in Control of You and This Train.” They have to be in control because if it goes bad, there isn’t much in the way of backup for them except the other passengers.

I can guarantee you that dealing with the general public is a thankless task, especially on a commuter train. They deal with drunks, assholes, bitches, cell phone talkers, loud Ipod users, librarians and people who put there feet on the seats everyday and someone needs to be in control of the situation. They are. They do a good job and somehow remain pleasant regardless of the jerks they encounter.

If you’re a woman riding the train (and chances are very good that if you’ve done this and not been arrested, you are a woman) you have more options available to you. Say for instance that you’re feeling more…open than usual. More edgy and out ‘there’, if you will. Especially if you’re sitting on the top level of the train, wearing a skirt of almost any length (underwear, I understand, is optional), while looking down at the Conductor as he goes by collecting fares.

Last week, the attractive young woman in the skirt (who was currently giving the now even more friendly than usual Conductor his tip for the day), seemed rather chatty. She was showing (among other things) all kinds of interest in the weather.

Tippee: “Might rain later today.”
Tipper: “Oh really? You’re so smart. How did you know?”
Tippee: “Well, yeah. Saw it on the news.”
Tipper: “Did they say anything else?”
Tippee: “Oh yeah. Said it was gonna be warm, too.”
Tipper: “Wow. How warm?”

I don’t know how they kept coming up with that high quality, weather fact finding banter, but they were really giving it their all. Both listening (just enough) to what the other had to say and looking intently at each other. She at his eyes, him at…her. A minute or so later, it was all over, she settled in to read a book, he went on collecting fares. With a smile. She had even paid full fare. Tips are fine but, apparently The Fare must still be paid.

The funny thing is, while they were in their own little world, no one besides me noticed a thing. Everyone else was too busy working, reading, sleeping, talking and watching in the scenery outside of the train.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I am a Connoisseur, I am not a geek

My laptop at work has been on its last legs for entirely too long. Over the last three years, I've had memory cards replaced (twice), the hard drive replaced (twice) and just recently, the keyboard has started to go for the third time.

I've mentioned to my boss over the years that a new laptop would be a 'nice' thing to have. Not 'necessary', just...'nice'. Nice as in "It'd sure be nice to have a laptop that had a battery with more than 3 minutes of life in it!" or "It'd sure be nice to work on a laptop that I could have TWO big files open at once!" or even "Good god! YOU try to lift it up. Can YOU imagine hauling that rock through security at the airport? When the nice security person asks me to turn it on, what do you suggest I do, explain that 'I'd like to, but I have no battery power...' or should I just get used to being suspected as a possible terrorist with C4 packed in his laptop instead of electronics?" (Should you find yourself in a similar plight, I wouldn't suggest using that last one.)

I didn't realize it, but all that frustration was Small Time trying. I wasn't serious yet. I hadn't done my due diligence. I was just pissed that I had to work on a laptop that was the musical equivalent of disco.

In January, I finally started to pay attention to my laptop. It was hard not to pay attention to it with its fan making a growling noise that sounded like it hadn't been fed in a while. It was time to enter the Big Time.

I sat down and wrote my boss a professional e-mail requesting a new laptop. I included the date of all the repairs and what had already been repaired. I included the charge for all those repairs as well as the repairs that I was going to need, again. My laptop wasn't pretty, it was in fact, expensive and it didn't want to play anymore. After talking to him about my professionally worded laptop e-mail, I found that I now had a laptop champion. Someone who would say to the big boss "Yeah, it's a piece of shit, he needs a new one." But he'd say it professionally. I was on my way to Laptop Nirvana. Yay Boss! Go, go, go!

It took four months. Four months of more professional e-mails, a technical inspection where the lab-tech took one look at it in my hands and said "You need a new one" and re-entered the guts of some other unfortunate's P.O.S.* computer. During this time my laptop continued to growl, reminding me that I too could be a food source, both of my shift keys continued to not work at all (the CAPS button makes a working but poor substitute), and several keys worked too well (repeating three times when tapped once) or not at all.


I got my new laptop yesterday. It's gorgeous. It's sleek. It weighs less than a feather. When I look at it, I see Cindy Crawford, Jennifer Alba and Teri Hatcher. It makes me want to go away with it to a tropical island that has free booze and a good wireless internet connection.

OK, fine. I may be a geek. But at least I know what I like.
* P.O.S. = Piece of shit

Marriage is love.