March 31, 2009 at 1:51 AM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
  I’m not really a hypocrite.  I have my problems with American Black Culture, but I don’t want them to be 2nd class citizens, I don’t consider them animals, and I don’t want to own them.  I don’t think they are "beneath" white people, even though I think most of them are beneath me; in fact I feel that way about most people of all races.  Black people are no different.
  (In fact, my newest fetish that edged out Asian women is a black woman with an accent, like Jamaican or…West African.  While that is neither here nor there, I just thought I’d mention it because I met a sweet girl born in West Africa, living in the US since she was twelve.  A REAL African-American.)
  I was on the intarwebs the other day–much like I am right now, and much as you may be if you are reading this–and I StumbledUpon some video of ESPN doing a special report on racism in sports.
  In Europe.
  Soccer, the "world’s sport," is wildly popular all over the world except the United States where we don’t kill people for losing a game because we aren’t insane and recognize that a sport is just that–a sport.
  In this report I saw, black soccer players are frequently booed, called "monkeys," and have bananas thrown on the field at them.  Even by the supporters of their team.  Their own "fans."  All over the more enlightened Europe this happens.  These people were close to breaking out a robe and putting hoods on.  Where was the Confederate flag?
  Now, I would expect this from the French, because they have xenophobic hatred about everyone that isn’t a hairy smelly obtuse Frenchman.  But everywhere in "white" Europe it is prevalent.
  Meanwhile, in the backwards, uncultured, barbaric good ol’ US of A, sports stars are stars and treated with respect–probably far more than they are due–regardless of their color.  Many of our greatest athletes are black.  In fact, most of them are.  They are treated like rock stars.
  I have personally witnessed very racist people who would (in almost the same breath) heap praise upon someone like Orlando Pace, Left Tackle for the St Louis Rams, and curse about the black people in the store we were just in using the traditional epitaphs.  This was my dad, and he saw no irony in this.
  But my point is, very liberal people in this country–the enlightened ones, the smart ones, the elitist ones, the ones marching towards socialism–these are the people pointing to Europe saying we should be more like them. We should follow their lead.
  Now I’m not going to say that is THE reason why Europe is a horrible place and we shouldn’t try to be like them.  Not when there are so many other reasons.  That is just one of them; in fact, it’s more of a symptom.
  Let’s run down a few reasons, shall we?

  Let’s start with the EU.  I’m sure it sounded like a good idea on paper to take a bunch of bickering children that haven’t been able to get along for 1500 years and form central government that carefully looks at the wants and needs of all parties involved to make sure they ignore all of them equally.
  The EU was a good idea because all of the socialist governments that exist in Europe had taxed themselves out of usefulness voting bread and circuses for themselves.  Socialism isn’t working for us, so let’s try…more socialism.  Shooting myself in the foot hasn’t made my headache go away, so I should shoot myself in the other foot also.  Fair is fair.

  Ever since BEFORE the Crusades, when the Persian Empire was on the rise, Muslims have been trying to overrun Europe.  Afterward they were beaten back, and the Crusades were an attempt by Christians to regain some Holy Land taken by the Muslims.  This is the truth, by the way, and if you disagree you are completely ignorant of history.  Go read before you come and talk to me.  Then go away and don’t talk to me.
  Now, Muslims are overrunning Europe in a more peaceful way.  Just moving in, emigrating, and refusing to assimilate.  Then they have more babies while the Europeans aren’t even making enough babies to replace themselves.  Muslims will own Europe, and for all intents and purposes enslave the hapless natives.  It’s gonna really suck to be them.
  I was going to put something here about the European attitude towards America.  In fact, I know nothing about it, other than some generalizations; however most of this article is broad generalizations anyway.
  I gather that for the US, there are mixed reviews in Europe.  That’s fair, isn’t it?  Lots of people there like us and look to us for support and protection.  Others look to us for support and protection and resent us for it.  Most are probably indifferent, and still other outright hate us, for a myriad of reason, most of which have to do with the fact that they really don’t understand The Cowboy Way.  I haven’t seen a Frenchman yet that knows how to man up.

  Around St Patrick’s Day, I made this statement:  "Hm-mmm.  You know what’s better than corned beef and cabbage?" 
  "Just about everything.  There’s a reason why everyone left Ireland."
  And I don’t mean to pick on Ireland.  Aside from the food, to me Ireland is one of the more desirable places in Europe.  There, and Iceland.  But there are reasons why everyone left Europe and came to America.  There are reason why people risk their lives to get in here.  Is anyone dying to cross the border into Spain?  Truly?  No?
  People left Europe in droves to create a better life here.  Why do you want to turn this into the place your ancestors fled?  "You know, since I escaped the pits of Hell, I sure do miss it.  Mind if I turn the heat up and light some sulfur-flavored incense?"
  I understand that we have a heritage from Europe, and I am grateful for that.  My own ancestry is mostly Finnish and French.  But the most important thing to learn from history is how not to repeat it.  We should look to Europe with that in mind.  How many millions–billions–have dies on Europe’s crusty soil, stained from war after war after war, bitter feuding from misunderstandings and mistrust and greed and lust for power.  How many times have the borders changed, the names changed, the power structure changed?  They are old, they have a long history of–
  You know, this question just occurred to me:  Are we, America, a young Europe?  Will the things that have happened to them eventually happen to us?  Are we doomed to experience Balkanization, plagues, and a hundred years’ war between New York and Miami?  Crusades?
  The Grass Is Always Greener–
  You unhappy elitists snobs who yearn for the sophistication of European sensibilities–do have any idea what their plumbing is like?  Do you know many of them are jealous of us, want to be like us, and want to take us down because they are no longer the imperial power?  If you remember history, you know that Spain, and France, and England, and Germany–these were once forces in the world, forces to be reconned with.  We are friends with England.  Spain has become inconsequential, and France is downright ridiculous.  Germany–?  Well, Germany is as Germany does.
  A friend of mine from work is going to France this summer with his wife.  I said, "Remember, a first class hotel anywhere else in the world (besides the US) is like the Bates Motel but with worse room service."
  We here in the United States have many problems.  But our blessings far outweigh them.  If you don’t believe that, you are what we call "a sorehead."  If your station in life is low, if you life in poverty in the ghetto, I just want to say, "Suck it up."  Do have any idea whatsoever how much worse off you would be in any other country in the world?
  If you are rich, you should thank God every day that you live in the US.  If you are poor, you should thank him even more than you aren’t living in a grass hut with dirt floor with no food and dirty water and no electricity but more insects and diseases than you have names for. 

Founding Fathers

March 27, 2009 at 11:04 PM | Posted in Political | Leave a comment
  Oh, yeah, a few weeks ago the Election Board called, wanting to know if I wanted to work the next election.  April 7th, the first Tuesday in April.  Obviously, it’s not going to be a big election.  I didn’t even know there was going to be one; chances are most people don’t.  But my handler must have liked the sound of my voice, or else she just heard reports from my last engagement, because she asked me, "Would you be interested in being a supervisor for this?"
  "Uh…I’ve only worked one election before–"
  She explained that this was no problem.  While the last election (The big presidential one, ‘member?) had a turnout around here of 80%, for this one we expect 10 to 15%.  That means instead of over a thousand people, we’re expecting about 120.  "Plus we’ll send you to a training class."
  I’m in.  I want to do my civic duty, Honda.  And I want to learn a bit more about the election process.
  I went to the class, actually, about two weeks ago.  There were about six of us in there. I learned quite a bit, and we had a re-enactment so I could showcase my acting skills.  Afterwards, they gave us all a DVD as well, with all the training info on it.  I get paid more for the supervisor class (50 bones instead of 30), but I don’t know if that means I get more for the election or not.  But I’m not in it for the money, I’m in it for the babes, just like the Founding Fathers were.
  I need to watch the DVD to freshen up on my skilz before then, and make sure I bring a cooler and snacks and food and drinks.  And a book.  It’s going to be a slow day.  I’ll tell you all about it later.  You know, when it happens.

Florida Roadkill

March 24, 2009 at 1:40 AM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
Florida Roadkill 
  We–Detroit and I–went down to Floridia to retrieve her mom and move her in with us.  Tis a long story, and so it behooved me to cut it into chapters.  For chapter titles, I decided to go with one of the classics:  Tim Dorsey.  Dorsey writes about all things Florida, through the eyes of an endearing psychopathic serial killer named Serge.  The books are hilarious, and I highly recommend them.  The titles I am using as chapter headers, but these are not in book order, and you should read them in order, if you can figure it out.  Go to Tim Dorsey dot com.  Do it now.

Orange Crush    
  I don’t fly very well (See "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," in June of 08.)  The idea was to fly down to Floridia and then drive back in her mom’s truck, pulling a rented trailer.  That part I wasn’t going to have a problem with.  But flying?
  My friend Bunny gave me a Xanax before we left.  One milligram, I believe.  For all of you pill junkies, it was a blue one.  Sound familiar?  The night before, I cut it in half because we had two legs to our flight.  We were going to fly straight to Orlando.  Via Dallas.  Well, the pill worked great.  I took each half right before boarding each plane.  I even managed to look out the window and enjoy the sites.  I made it through okay.  I mean, the whole time in my head I felt like screaming and running around tearing my shirt off and biting people and pissing all over myself…But the pill made me say, "Fuck it.  I’ll do it later."

Triggerfish Twist
  We arrive in sunny Florida in Orlando around noon, and Kim’s Uncle Larry drives us back.  He took the truck that we are going to be driving to Missouri.  Back in town, before we get to the park ("Reflections on Silver Lake," or some focus-grouped marketing bullshit like that) we stopped at an Amoco station (I know it says BP, but they’ll always be Amoco to me) that has the U-Haul rental trailers behind it.
  All of this had been prearranged, like a funeral.  Larry had taken care of the hitch, and Bonnie had called and reserved a trailer.  Of course, they got it wrong the first time and reserved a truck for us, which they had straightened out a few days ago.  But they got us hooked up, checked everything out, and after half an hour, hooked us up to a different trailer, because the right turn signal wasn’t working.  I offered to just not make any right turns, but these people were perfectionists.  We were on our way.
  The plan was to begin loading on Friday, so Thursday we actually unhooked the trailer and parked it in the driveway, and parked the truck in the neighbor’s empty spot.  Only one spot per trailer, and these people get pissy when you park in the street–which I can understand; old people need all the room they can get on these streets that usually have pedestrian, bike, car, scooter, golf cart and car traffic, not to mention the occasional errant alligator (which I have yet to see, dammit!).

The Stingray Shuffle
  Friday morning, Detroit and I went in search of boxes.  No luck there, because everyone recycles, so they were either all compacted–or picked up right before we got there.  I did pick up one piece of cardboard that turned out to be perfect to wrap up the curio cabinet in.  We loaded the curio in the back of the truck first, then hooked the trailer up and began loading.  Bonnie was leaving a surprising amount of crap behind, I think for a couple of reasons.  First, the sale said, "Furnished," and second, old people are a funny lot who just expect things to be a certain way.  When I get old, I look forward to being intractable.
  We loaded up her shit, and we were running out of things to put it in.  We needed boxes.  Larry and I went into town with his car and bought some totes, and then we stopped by the liquor store–whaddaya know, they had boxes!  We grabbed what was usable and left.
  We got a late start, but still, by about 4pm we were about done.  Just her outside statuary and a few fragile items inside, and a few houseplants.  It turned out to be a good thing that we were leaving alot behind because we were running out of room.  I grabbed a towel and some clean clothes and went to the clubhouse/bathhouse to take a shower.  The one in the trailer was just–honestly, there was no way I was going to use it.  It was just an awkward piece of machinery.  The bathhouse was nice, though, because no one was there and I could run around naked.  It had been a few days and I was behind on my nudity.

Torpedo Juice 
  I was showered and I had changed somewhat, but I was still and asshole.  But since we were leaving tomorrow in the AM, this was the last night to go out, the whole family.  Except Sheri wasn’t going because she was sick.  Helen (I think that’s her name) was going instead, because she doesn’t like Sherri and wasn’t going to go if Sherri went.  And then me and Detroit and Bonnie, and Larry and Sharon, who is Bonnie’s sister.  We went to the Blue Crab, a nice local spot.
  You can’t go to a place with "Crab" in the name and not get crab.  That’s like going to a strip joint and facing away from the stage.  They had a deal where you could add crab legs to any steak, and I did.  And–they had draft beer.  I could have kissed the waitress.  Plus, she was nice, and kind of cute.  Flirting with me, obviously.  Draft beer in a frosted glass, no less.  I had three.
  I enjoyed the steak and everything, but I was having trouble with the crab legs.  The idea of crab legs is more appealing than the reality, like dating a super-model.  They give you the tool, you know.  But I needed more.  The waitress came by asked how I was doing.  I was preoccupied as I was examining the crab legs from an engineering perspective.  I said, "Can I get…a screwdriver, a bunji cord, and a C-clamp?"
  After a detour at the liquor store, we went back to Larry and Sharon’s trailer.  I believe that I got really, really drunk.  Luckily, I only had to walk about two doors down–no more driving.  Detroit was sloshed.  Bonnie doesn’t drink.  Larry had a few beers, and Sharon is a big drinker.  We had fun, just sitting and drinking and bullshitting.  When Detroit and I finally got to bed, the room was spinning a bit.  I wonder if that was a selling point for the buyers of the trailer?  It must have an auto-shut off, because when we got up in the morning, it had stopped.
Cadillac Beach
  In the morning, Sharon made coffee for everyone before we said our goodbyes.  She accused me of lying about not having a hangover.  "Look, I’m sore from moving yesterday, and tired from being up late.  But hangover?  Nah.  I don’t do hangovers."
  Not much to say about the drive.  We drove, we stopped, we ate, we drove, we stopped.  I didn’t feel like I was making any progress–sort of swimming against the current.  The final proof was our stop–I had hoped to make it north of Atlanta, but we stopped just south of it, not quite making it halfway the first day.
  Sometime during the day my son called–or was that Sunday?–and we chatted while I drove.  He never did ask where I was.  But he got a promotion, and he has my dad’s El Camino, and he has been doing some work to it and can’t wait for me to see it.  He said sometimes he feels like Grandpa is there watching.
  I bet he is.

Hammerhead Ranch Motel
  In some town south of Atlanta we stopped and looked for a hotel.  The Ramada Inn we checked first–no room at the Inn.  The lady at the desk recommended The La Quinta or the Red Roof.  We didn’t see the Red Roof, so we went to the La Quinta.  Yes, they have no bananas.  She pointed to the Red Roof Inn right across the parking lot.  It had no sign because it was brand-spanking new.  And they had room.
  So far–and continuing with the experience at the Red Roof–everyone we met in Georgia has just been as sweet as pie.  The lady at the desk was a sweetheart.  We got a room for the three of us to share.  (Me, Kim, and Bonnie, not me, Kim and the girl at the desk.  Eventually I will work that angle…)
  The place is crowded, and there is not much parking.  Oh, and you can’t drive all the way around the building, a fact I found out about too late, after I was already headed that way with a trailer.  I had to back up all the way, then turn in reverse, and then go back down the other side.  I got out and looked this time.  How can I make this work?  With Detroit spotting for me, I managed to get the truck and trailer turned around so it would be facing out (very important) and not blocked by other cars that would park there (even more important).  It took about half an hour.
  Later, after I went out for a smoke, I helped a black lady and her two young kids.  She was pulling a trailer with her car.  I guided her and helped her get out–by that time the hotel was full.  I told her Ramada was full also, but there were places on the other side of the highway.
  The hotel room was nice, and very new–they had opened last week.  Flat screen TV, hardwood floors, and a weird modern shower fixture that looked cool but the reality didn’t live up to the expectations.  The bed was more comfortable than I expected.  For some reason, even though we were in a hotel room, Detroit didn’t feel like fooling around.  I mean, geez–her mom is probably asleep.  Whatever.

The Big Bamboo 
  About 1230 AM, my phone rang.  My sister.  "Yeah?"  Seems there is a problem at her house.  And it is *her* house now.  The sewer has backed up, and there is water in the laundry room.  Also in both of the bathrooms on the floor.  "I don’t know if you can do anything about it tonight–"
  "I’m in Georgia."  I guess I didn’t tell her before I left
  Yeah, you are going to have to figure something out on your own.  I said I would be back late Sunday, and she wanted me to call her when I got in.  Yeah, that’s going to happen.  I’m going to bed. 
  I haven’t heard from her yet.

Hurricane Punch   
  For the drive Sunday, we made better time.  Almost immediately once we were north of Atlanta, it seemed like, we were in mountains.  Going up, up, up through the rest of Georgia and a portion of Tennessee.  Then we hit the top, I guess, and it was down, down, down.  In the flatter land through Tennessee or Kentucky (I have no idea where I was) it looked like rain clouds overhead.  But we were going in opposite directions, so we passed under them and had clear skies the rest of the way.
  Further on through Kentucky and into Illinois, there were downed trees, broken trees all over.  At first we thought it was tornado damage–but it had to be wider, unless a tornado is going to follow an interstate for 150 miles.  It looks like it cut a wide swath.  We had a traffic backup for about 5 miles on the interstate because of construction on an overpass.  I was going to get of at the next exit and go around and impress Detroit of my knowledge of the area–after all, I had grown up in Southern Illinois, just not exactly around here…
  But the next exit was the one with the construction, and by that time, it was clear to go through it.  Maybe some other time.  We made it home, more or less on schedule, about 715 pm.  The entire trip was about 1075 miles.
Atomic Lobster    
  Ah, home.  It’ll never be the same, of course.  But then again, it never is.  I recall the time when Detroit and I first got together in our little apartment.  Thems was the "salad days," and they is over.  First come one son to live with us, and that was good.  Then the other son and there’s nothing I can do about that.  Now the mother.  Is it still my house?  I’m not going to get melodramatic or anything ("I feel like a stranger in my own home!")  I just want to make sure that I don’t get forgotten in all this.  After all, I’m hardly there.
  Really the only thing that bothers me about it–okay, here are the things that bother me:

  1.  The goddamn older son.  Brandon.  I’m being taken advantage of by him, and I don’t like it.  I’m smarter than that.
  2.  The money situation.  I don’t want to work as much as I do, but I have to, to get by.  Since I have to, I don’t get to spend much time at home.
  3.  Everyone else gets to spend time at my house but me.  I might as well be an over the road trucker, home for 9 hours every ten days.

  These are related.  I have to work while the slug stays home and doesn’t contribute.  I have to leave while he stays in my house.  My money goes towards feeding him and supporting him, and he feels entitled to it.  So I have to work more.  The more I think about it, the more pissedder I get.
  I don’t want to ask Bonnie for help, but I know she will.  Or I hope so.  We never spoke of any kind of agreement or anything.  If she helps with the groceries and so forth, then maybe I can pay all the bills.  And I don’t mind having her there at all.  It makes Detroit happy (for now).  Of course, privacy is now a thing of the past.  We certainly do have a houseful, and Miranda is coming to spend the summer with us. 
  I may actually get more privacy at work.

Bank On It

March 13, 2009 at 11:15 PM | Posted in The Corporate World | Leave a comment
  Stuff is happening at the bank, too.
  We are busy, busy, busy.  At least in our department.  Rates are low, so people are refinancing like it’s going out of style.  Ironically, of course, it just may do that.  We hired back the one guy that got laid off about 9 months ago, and hired another guy as well.  That’s just in my group; as far as the whole department goes, I see many new faces.
  The guy we re-hired…I have no idea what he does, if anything.  I don’t see him working.  I see him sitting at his computer, with a scanner.  Is is it running?  I don’t really know.  I remember he wasn’t doing shit before, and that was the reason HE was chosen when layoffs came around.  Now that they hired him back, is he back to doing nothing? 
  This other guy we hired, the one who is actually working, is also a pain in my ass.  First of all, his dad is a loan officer–they are treated like royalty around here.  I guess Little Shine thinks the privilege extends to him as well.  And I guess it does; he could complain to his father about something, and then it would get back to my boss’s boss.
  And I was interrupted just now–by him–about some ridiculous shit having to do with the scanner he uses.  If you recall (and you will be tested on this later) I am the "Peripheral Support Liaison."  That’s the title I made up.  When there’s a problem with a machine, people come to me.  Our service vendors like to have as few contact people as possible.  On this floor, I am the man.  I have 12 scanners, 8 copy machines, 5 fax machines, and 37 printers.  And dozens of impatient bitches if there is a problem with one of them.
  We have problems every other day with one copier or another.  Occasionally we have a problem with one of the high-speed scanners, of which we have 7.  Actually 8, but one is in the back room for parts.  The FNG runs a scanner, scanning for the girls in shipping to free up their time doing…whatever the hell it is that they do.
  He had a problem with the scanner squeaking.  *Really*.  I deal with real problems.  The copier jams, or the jam won’t clear, or the top feeder won’t feed, or the paper sensor guide is out of alignment, or things like that.  You want me to call 9-11 because what?  The scanner "squeaks."  "What?"
  "It squeaks."
  "I don’t hear it."
  I called the tech.  They didn’t come out right away because–surprise!–we aren’t the last corporation on the planet.  They’re busy.  They usually get to us pretty quickly, however, but they didn’t come out that day.  The next morning he (the FNG) is on me to call them again.  I already did.
  "No, yesterday."
  "You should call them today."  A not-too-subtle attempt to control me.
  "Why?  The information hasn’t changed.  The need hasn’t changed.  They said they would be out today.  I believe them.  You should too."  I put my headphones back on while he was responding and turned my attention back to my work. 
  The tech did come out that day and looked at it.  It had a burned out clutch.  Some people you can’t give too much information to, because they want to manipulate the situation.  This guy (the FNG in question) is a sales rep at heart, because he always wants other people to do things for him.
  (To any sales reps or brokers out there that might be offended, I apologize for not being clearer about this:  I really do think you are scum.  You are users of people.  All you care about is eliminating inconvenience to yourself, no matter how much it inconveniences other people.  Do you understand now?)
  The tech said they had one in Mt Vernon (IL), and there was some one there on a call, so we should be able to get the part easily.  He should have added, "But not today."  If you don’t spell it out, they are going to assume.  The FNG doesn’t care that it’s late in the afternoon, and that Mt Vernon is about 3 hours away, and that the guy is not going to rush right up here with your part after business hours on a Friday.
  Besides, FNG has three OTHER scanners he can use.  Go use them.  But, Monday the guy doesn’t come in with the part.  FNG is bugging me about it.  "You should give them a call about it."
  "Has the situation changed at all?"
  "They said they would be out and they aren’t here yet."  Fucking impatient child.  I called, and the part is in transit still.  He didn’t understand.  "They said they would bring it right up from Mt Vernon."
  Since I live in the real world, I understand that shit happens, which I try to explain to him.  But he–look, I can read people–he obviously comes from a tiny bit of wealth and is used to getting his way.
  Of course, the problem is, since he comes to me bitching about the equipment so much, I don’t do anything about it, which makes him think I’m no good at my job.  He has no clue that the problem is in fact him; that’s how conceit works.
  I get along well with all the techs, and the service manager.  This relationship is important, because sugar works better than vinegar if you want your shit to work.  If FNG was in charge of it, he would be calling them constantly, bitching about them to their bosses, making unreasonable demands and wondering why, the next time our contract comes up, the price is increased.
  Today, I had someone coming in to fix a copier issue.  When he got here, FNG wanted me to have him look at his scanner.  Because after it had been fixed–clutch replaced–it was still having the initial problem, which is, it squeaked.  Bummer.  If your hearing was as bad as mine, it wouldn’t be a problem.  I said, that’s not how it works.  Because it isn’t.  The guy here works on copiers, knows nothing about scanners.
  Can you call on the scanner?  I did, yesterday.  I think you should call them again.  As if what he says carries *ANY* weight with me whatsoever.  It’s fine line between quiet vindictiveness and passive-aggressive stalling.
  I put my headphones on again.  In less than ten minutes, the tech shows up to work on his scanner…So, hahaha, bastard.  I just had the thought that when he goes out to eat somewhere and there is a wait, he is the one bitching and raising a fuss even when *THEY TELL HIM THERE IS A WAIT*.  Because this doesn’t apply to him. 
  I guess I have worked in the service industry too long, because I am pretty forgiving.  This translates to all services.  No really.  You all may not believe that, I know.  You read this and think I bitch about pretty much everything.  That’s not (necessarily) true.  When I am at work, I know that people don’t understand what I am doing or something takes too long.  As long as they know I am busy, I am working, and I am trying, then they are okay.  If I have to wait, I understand if they are busy.  I understand.  I know there are things I don’t understand about how their business works, so I will give them the benefit of the doubt.  Always.
  Finally the tech fixes the squeak.  Kind of a metaphor, I suppose:  The squeaky, annoying dickhead gets all the attention.  And now IT is moving the scanner in question over here by me.  Dickhead FNG is going to be over here by me.  Yet again, yay.
  The way he acts reminds me of the PHB (pointy haired boss) on Dilbert.  The applicable quote:  "Logically, anything I don’t understand is easy to do."
  I thought all the young girls over here were fawning over him, but maybe not.  He is a young, clean-cut, well-dressed guy.  Perhaps TOO well-dressed.  I was chatting with Peggy-Ann, and we heard a phone ring.  FNG got up and walked out of the open-air cubicle (I prefer to think of them more as beergartens) talking to himself.  Yeah, he has a–wait, no he doesn’t have a Bluetooth.  His headset is connected to his phone by a wire.  How 2007.
  But his phone rang, and it was an odd tone I didn’t recognize.  I said, "What was that?"
  Peggy nodded her head towards the leaving FNG.  In a low voice she said, "That was ‘Metro.’"  As in, Metrosexual.  I don’t think she meant it as a compliment.  Mr Fancy-pants FNG is a little too prissy for these working-class chicks who have already seen all kinds of bullshit.
  Do I sound petty?  I never said I wasn’t, brother.
  I think the long and short of it is, it bugs me that because of who is dad is, he’s going to get fast-tracked to a higher paying job.  Christ, he could end up being my boss.  That is *NOT* an honorable way to die.

Six of One…

March 12, 2009 at 9:40 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  I never actually did go to that other pizza place that hired me.  First Detroit’s dad passed away, and then other things happened–I was trying to hedge.  Finally what I did was pick up more hours at Domino’s, driving.
  There were a few reasons I didn’t want to do that…
  First, I didn’t want to pick up more closes, because they (or we, or I, or however I want to distance myself from them) close at midnight, and I’ve already had my fill of that.  That’s why I only do two closes during the week (usually Monday and Wednesday) and one on Saturday.  Friday and Saturday are both 2am, and when I was doing Friday, I had the pleasure of getting up at 6am Friday morning and not getting to bed until 4am Saturday, which would invariably be followed up by waking at noon Saturday with a sore body, a traumatic headache, and an unnatural desire for chips and salsa.
  I can only do that for several months before it really starts to get to me.
  That also explains why I don’t want my two week-day closes to be consecutive, because it sucks.  Two sixteen-hour days back-to-back with five hours of sleep in betwixt them?  That sucks in gigantic numeration.  And doing three of those in a row–(let’s do the math real quick:  24 hours on my day job, plus 24 hours on my night job is 48 hours in the space of 72 hours.  That leaves 24 hours over three days for sleep AND travel, and any downtime.  I sleep about 5 hours a night)–sucks in biblical proportions.
  So I didn’t want to pick up more closes, driving or not.  And definitely no more closes running shift, because the rate they pay me makes my vote only count as much as 3/5 of a white person’s vote.
  I wanted to drive, and I thought driving at this other place, Imo’s, might be better.  I ended up needing a chart to compare the pros and cons of both places.  In the end, convenience and familiarity won out; I stayed at Domino’s.  As a side note (because that’s all the attention this warrants), a week or so ago our annoying driver Myron walked out.  Now, I only heard Stan’s side of it and he is maladjusted, nonetheless Myron is a conniving, money-grubbing little prick.  Either way he’s gone, and we should have had a party.
  Plus, the new place I would have delivered at didn’t pay by the hour; you just made tips and delivery charge and the occasional crack rock.  But at Domino’s not only do I get paid by the hour, but I get paid at my higher, shinier, above-minimum-wage-albeit-just-barely assistant manager wage.  So, yay?
  Another one of my hesitations for doing it is the cartop sign.  At Domino’s, they are "required" by drivers.  At the other place, they don’t even have them.  I did *NOT* want to put a sign on the top of my Mercedes.  It’s bad enough that I’m delivering pizza in it; I most certainly did not want to advertise the fact.
  But my understanding with Dina and Stan is that I don hafta wear one.  We were short on dinner rush drivers, and I can fill that spot on a couple of nights.  That pretty much resolved all the issues I had.  I still have Sunday off, so I have one day off per week, and I get home a little earlier on some nights, and I have off Friday night, mostly.  Plus of course, the extra money and extra hours which I needed.
  I haven’t made a lot of money yet, because I need to get back into that groove, and we’ve been a little slow.  But give me some time.  I’ll be rockin it soon.
  Real Soon.

  Speaking of rocking it soon, Tuesday was my first *official* night of driving in this new capacity, even though I had done it a few days the week before.  Of course it rained torrentially.  It was calm before hand, and other than the weather report there was no obvious foreshadowing.  I didn’t get to take many deliveries, but I managed to squeeze out about five.  The last one I took–
  I pass up the street the first time, because it is raining so hard.  I go down, turn around, and come back.  Wipers on high and going about 20 miles per hours, I could barely see.  I turn into this subdivision, full of small mansions.  I pull up in the circle drive (they all have circle drives) and go up to the door. After ringing the bell twice and waiting…in the rain…a fourteen year old girl answers the door.
  And she has a name-brand ziplock bag in her hand full of coins.  Yay?  She said, "I’m sorry, I know this is the worst way to get money."  I have a pretty good emotionless, Terminator-like stare specifically for customers.  She continued in a hopeful tone, "I counted it."
  I took the money, trudged back to the car (Again, in the rain.  Can I get some freakin sympathy here?  No?)  I sat and counted the money.  Then I counted it again, not believing.  The total was 13.51.  Four one-dollar bills, 6.50 in quarters, and other miscellaneous change added up to 12 bucks, almost.  I stared out the window through the pouring rain at the 4000 square foot house I had just left.  A buck-fifty.  Plus, no tip.  I’m not going back up to the door, because I know they don’t have it.  Instead, I look at the order slip I have, and call the phone number on it.  It looks like a cell phone–
  No one picks up, but the message on the voicemail is an adult.  I leave this message, "Hi, this is Bryan from Domino’s Pizza.  I just delivered pizza and the total was 13.51.  What I received was a bag with 12 dollars in it.  So, I really need to collect the balance.  If you could please call the store, we would appreciate it."
  I head back to the store, not holding out much hope.  Instead, I figure–well, it’s only a buck-fifty.  There is still a principle involved, but much like the concept of wearing matching clothes or having a full head of hair, there are things in this life that I have given up on.  Steve tells me, however, that the house I delivered to generally tips really well.  I said, "Kids."
  He nodded in understanding.  "Oh."
  But my phone call bore fruit:  after I had left for the evening, the parents called back.  The next day, I had five bucks.  So, they paid the balance and tipped.  Steve said they were a little pissed at their kids for that.  So, it all had a happy ending.
  It doesn’t take much to make me happy.  Everyone has a price, and apparently my price is three bucks and the change.

Burn Notice

March 6, 2009 at 10:58 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  The dream I had this morning had something to do with some kind of Burn Notice scam.  I was trying to work this scam against a family for some reason.  In addition to stealing something back from them that they had stolen, I also wanted a flat screen TV.  I got in one of the family limousines and I had a credit card from one of the long-lost family members  I drove up to the family ATM machine and took out 500 dollars.  The mom, getting a notice of who was using the machine, came on over the speaker, "Michael?  Is that you?  Are you there?"  I just drove off.
  I go back up to the house, and I’m taking something out of the trunk and putting something in it–I think the flat screen TV.   But then we get seen, so I have to go.
  We are being chased.  It looks like the back roads around Venedy where I grew up, and I figure I got this, because I know them pretty well.  but they chase me down with several cars, and I go to hide in a field.  There is a stack of hay bales there under plastic, so I hide the whole car as well as myself there, but they find me anyway.
The cops take me in, but I made it so the other guys could get away.  The sheriff says we’ll probably let you go, but its standard procedure to do a piss test.
I knew I had smoked some pot, and I feared it was going to show up.  The sheriff was pretty laid back, standing around the corner saying, "This is just a formality–don’t worry about anything."  I
I answered, so, it wouldn’t matter if there was something like Windex in my pee, then would it?  And I started laughing, to cover up the sound of me grabbing a Windex bottle and spraying it in my pee cup.  I also grabbed a can of orange soda and poured some in there too.
  At the same time was the Michael Weston-Burn Notice voice over saying, "If you want to foil a drug test, the best way is to add Windex and orange soda to your sample.  It will come up negative."
  After that I’m back at work in the warehouse, outside in the field.  The guys are having trouble with one of the forklifts.  I ask, "Is that the new Yale?"  (That’s a brand)  No, its a different one, a brand I don’t recognize.  We get the forklift out of the tree using the other forklifts and couple of horses, and then it’s time for a break. 
  We go over to the edge of the field, there is a piece of cardboard on a couple of stacked bales, making a table.  One of the guys pulled out a pipe, and asked if I had any.  I pull a joint out of my pocket, and one of the guys remarked, you didn’t get busted with that?– Cause remember, I just got arrested and had a pee test.
  I pull out the joint and it seems to unravel.  Eventually its about the size of a subway sandwich, and the pot looks like shredded wheat sticking out of it.  I try to light it, but because the pot is bigger than the paper, I’m not getting any draw.  Like smoking through a slinky.
  But lit pieces are falling off as i try to light it, and the field and woods around us are dry, and some of it begins to catch on fire.  The other two that I’m with managed to keep the fire stomped out, and one of them pulls it away from me and says, "Maybe this isn’t a good idea.  This is a fire hazard."

Restless Leg Syndrome

March 6, 2009 at 10:53 PM | Posted in Riding In Cars With Pizza | Leave a comment
  It occurred to me (as things are oft to do) that not everything I write is that interesting.  Sometimes I force them to be interesting by making them a rant, or squeeze the funny out of them, or sodomize them in some way. 
  And sometimes, I just tell the truth, the way it happened.  This is to show that Artistic License is necessary.  The following isn’t that interesting, but it happened, so I’m writing about it.  You may also ask, what do these things have to do with the title?  Why, nothing.  Are they supposed to be related?

  On Friday last week, Dina called me to ask if I could work that night.  I was actually on my way to the store to pick up my check.  I knew that Detroit was working that night so I said sure, no problem.  They just needed help during dinner.
  And yes, they did.  We had several big timed orders–45 pizzas for 645, 23 pizzas for 630, another 12 for 645 going somewhere else, and 16 pizzas for 715.  All of that in addition to our regular Friday night business.  And we only had two drivers.
  But we managed to jam out the pizzas, and the drivers managed okay.  Another thing that helped was that Stan was sick, and so instead of wandering around not making pizzas and staring at the computer screen to try to figure out how to route things (which was both none of his business and already taken care of) he stayed in one place, at the dough table, and made pizzas.
  That left me in charge on the makeline, in the hole.  From there I was able to direct all the action, control the speed, and get things rolling, and make sure everything went smoothly.  Dina had left shortly after I got there to run to another store to get some badly needed supplies (like Dough and pepperoni), and when she got back I had things going.  She got on the oven.
  I communicate with Stan about what I need, and I communicate with Dina about what she can expect coming out.  Everything went smoothly.  No mismakes, no extra pizzas.  No missing pizzas.  Part of this was due to the fact that I kept Stan focused on the dough, and told him what I needed, not giving him a chance to try to think about it.  After the rush, Dina remarked, "Good job on the communication, guys!  I like it.  We kept the flow going."
  And I know she said "guys" but I also know she meant *ME* because I’m the one who did it.  She’s smart enough to know.  When Stan runs the line, we frequently are missing a pizza, and have to make one in a hurry and get it in because it’s missing from an order, or he’ll have an extra pizza and not know why, or he’ll have a pizza that is missing something, and he’ll put some mushrooms in a pan and run it partially through the oven to heat them up and throw them on a pizza. 
  Now, I’m not saying it doesn’t happen to me.  What I’m saying is, it’s pretty rare because after 22 years I know what the fuck I’m doing.  But with Stan it’s a regular occurrence.

  Saturday night I’m a bit late because I don’t care.  I mean, I have some excuses if you’d like to hear them, but that’s the truth of the matter.  I laid down to take a nap because I had a headache and it wouldn’t go away.  I hit the snooze several times, and there I am showing up at 540 instead of my usual 515 (Yeah, I’m probably scheduled at 500, or sometimes 530.  I make a real effort to get there about 515.  Ish.)  Stan is getting his ass handed to him.  Only two drivers again tonight, but this time it’s just me and Stan on the inside, not Dina. 
  With two people, we make pretty quick work of the backed up pizzas to make.  But the rush keeps coming.  We handle, we deal, and we back up and regroup.  At one point Stan tells me to go ahead and take a couple of runs.  I didn’t think it was a good idea at the time, but now I think he was right–what’s the use of making all of these if there’s no one to deliver them?  I take a double, come back, and take another one. 
  By that time it had started to cool down.  I got us caught up, and the two drivers managed to take the rest.  As Stan was getting ready to leave, I asked him–what happened to Myron (you know, the pain-in-the-ass driver that no one likes), who was supposed to work that night?
  He said, "Myron…fired himself."
  Myron just recently got a day job, and wanted to cut down to one day a week here.  That’s fine with us–we don’t like him.  But he has been here for a year and still doesn’t get certain things.  I have a list of his odd behaviors:
  * If his delivery is up, he will leave, no matter how much stuff is coming out of the oven.  He won’t say anything, he’ll just leave.  (In our store, ALL of the drivers know to tend the oven, and to communicate with someone if they have to leave and there are pies coming out.  Usually, however, they will just stay and take care of whatever else is coming out.  It’s what we call "courtesy.")
  * Once he has a delivery, it’s all he concentrates on, forgetting anything else in the store.  He ceases to help, and stands at the map, looking for Waldo. 
  * Why he bothers I don’t know, because he has GPS in his car, and spends several minutes programming each delivery into it.
  * He’s been here a year, and still has trouble taking an order on the phone.  And if his delivery is up, he wants to pass the phone call he is in the middle of off to someone else.
  * If it’s time to go for the evening, but there is a delivery in the store, he bitches and whines to take "just one more."  ALL THE TIME.
  * He is so petty about money (I know I wrote about it previously and I don’t feel like repeating it now) that I just want to slap him like a bitch.
  * He has recently gotten busted a few times for TELLING the customer they have to tip him.  They have called back to complain.
  The night he quit, he had only been there for 15 minutes.  We start getting busy–every one else answers a phone before he does.  Then he acts like he can’t take an order.  Then he keeps pointing to his delivery on the rack, indicating, "I have to take it!  It’s a run!  I have to take it!  I can’t concentrate because there’s a run up!"  Even the carry out customer shakes his head, seeing how he is acting.
  Stan makes him finish taking the order because he is busy making pizzas–making lots of pizzas, by the way–and when Myron gets off the phone, he says, "You want me to just take orders for you all night?"
  The asshole took one phone order.  Stan told him that.  "Maybe I should just go home then."  Stan agreed.  Then Myron told him "Fuck you."  I believe it was with that statement that he tendered his resignation.  Good riddance.
  And I missed it all because I was late.  Probably a good thing, because I would have made him cry before he left.  Does anyone doubt that I would?

  Later that evening, it’s just me and Mike.  It’s perhaps 1030 or 11, and the big excitement is over.  Mike takes a carryout order on the phone.  He said, "Sounds like she’s drunk."  Almost an hour later, she shows up.
  She’s a young black chick, and she is drunk.  First she tries to pay with some kind of card that doesn’t have her name or expiration date on it.  It doesn’t fly.  She doesn’t have another card.  She wonders should she go to an ATM and get cash or just go home, and get a check.
  I swear, this is all I said:  It’d probably be quicker to just run home for a check–finding an ATM out on Olive would be hit or miss and you’d waste alot of time.
  By what happened next, it is OBVIOUS she misunderstood me.  Remember, she escalated first. 
  She said, "Don’t you condescend to me, motherfucker!  I ain’t the one working the counter at a Domino’s!  I’m going to law school next year."
  What the fuck does that have to do with the price of a handjob in Chinatown?  She starts to storm out the door.  The door is open, however, and she hears me when I say, "Suck my dick."
  I know she heard me because she turned around to look at me.  I pointed at my crotch to make sure the meaning wasn’t lost on her, because sometimes I can be too subtle.
  The thing is, earlier in our conversation, when she was trying out how to pay me with a bogus card, I was being condescending to her stupid, drunk ass.  Sarcasm is dish best served right in your face.  She, however, didn’t get it.  Maybe she is going to law school next year, but she isn’t going to Harvard.
  The conversation in which she *thought* I was talking down to her I was actually trying to help her out.  So–fuck her.
  For a while I thought she might come back with cash to pay for the pizza…because I’m an optimist.

A People Person

March 4, 2009 at 4:55 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  Detroit’s son, Alex, got a virus.  Or, his PC did.
  I remember that I was thinking just the other month, I wonder if he has any anti virus protection…
  So, now I know the answer to that question.

  I thought that Alex was technology-savvy.  As it turns out, many clowns of his generation just know how to *use* it, but they don’t know how or why it works or how to fix it.  Engineers did a pretty good job designing this stuff, I think; it’s intuitive to operate.  Most people–like my 12 year old daughter–have picked it up as second nature.
  I goes down and I looks at it, and I says damn, you be fucked.  I go burn a couple of things onto a disc, because no way in hell am I sticking my virginal flash drive in his herpes-infected machine.  But the CD drive doesn’t detect the disc.  Is this a problem with the disc?  Or the drive?  Or the Virus?  I guess I’ll find out later.
  I download a free anti-virus program and run it, and it instantly starts seeing all these Trojans.  I let it run a scan, and I’m going to come back later.

  While I’m down in his room, some of his friends come over.  Two chicks and some dude whose name I should know.  They are talking about the cat, so I guess they are acquainted with it.  The cat is fickle; if you aren’t a member of the family, it doesn’t like you.  But I know how the cat is.
  I explain, "The cat doesn’t like anyone in the house.  Everyone else, he hates."
  Alex later remarked that during the week, he only communicates with people through texting or IM.  This was a special occasion, having people over mid-week, because generally he’s reclusive.  One of the chicks gives an "Aw-w."
  I explain, "Alex doesn’t like anyone in the house.  Everyone else, he hates."
  I went upstairs and talked to Detroit.  We (or I, as it turned out) needed to go to the store.  "You wanna go with?" I ask.  No, she doesn’t.  She doesn’t want to go because she’s already in her pajamas and because I ended a sentence with a preposition…
  I mentioned the conversation downstairs.  She’s in agreement.  She doesn’t go out much, she’s a homebody.  She doesn’t want to–
  I cut her off.  "You don’t like anyone in the house, and everyone else, you hate."
  She concedes, but says, "’Hate’ is a strong word.  I would say, ‘vehemently despise.’"

  Alex calls me down later, he has a serious problem.  The PC blue-screened on him a few times.  Now, the wallpaper has been replaced by a flashing sign that says, "Your PC has been infected with a virus, blah blah blah."  Yeah, well, no shit.  It’s the Trojan that put that sign up.  But I did check his box, he does have a key code on it.  I think.  And we have an XP disc.  All of his music is on his iPod.  I believe we are reformatting his drive and reinstalling.  Fun, fun, fun.

Just A-Swingin’

March 3, 2009 at 9:01 PM | Posted in Journal | Leave a comment
  I guess I’m getting older, because I now realize that I’m looking forward to Spring.
  The warmth, the green, more sun…these things all bring with them a renewed sense of hope and promise.  And change.
  Hold on, I’m not going to go political.
  But it does make me happy.  I can sense it, just on the edge of the horizon, Spring is waiting, like a kid on a swing, going higher and higher, back forth, waiting for the right moment to jump as high as he can into the sky, and land with a bump and twist and a scraped knee and a hasty look around before pronouncing proudly, "Ta-daa!"


If Wishes Were Pizzas

March 3, 2009 at 1:50 AM | Posted in Journal | 2 Comments
  …Beggars would eat.

  Alot of stuff that has happened over the weekend just melted away with the anger I have from this morning.  I am really fucking pissed about this.
  Saturday night I brought home five pizzas.  Two mediums that were mis-makes from earlier in the night, and three larges that I made on purpose and par-baked (partially cooked) to finish cooking at home on Sunday.  Sunday afternoon, I cook the pizzas.  Of course, I ruin the one I had specifically wanted.  I overcooked it because I couldn’t hear the timer, because I’m going deaf.  However, when I explain this to people, that I need help because I can’t hear, those pleas for help ironically fall on deaf ears.
  I eat some of it anyway, because I really wanted it.  I check in a little bit, and most of these three pizzas has disappeared, and Alex wasn’t home yet.  Brandon.
  I go to work last night for a little while because I had volunteered to drive.  I come home with yet ANOTHER pizza, this one an EXTRA large, this one done the RIGHT way.  I had a few pieces, and I wanted to save some for my lunch today.
  In the fridge I noticed that the two medium pizzas were untouched.  The box, however, was looked at (the lid was lifted–this is not CSI stuff)  The pizzas leftover were less than desirable.  I figured I could just stick a few slices in one of those boxes and then be able to grab them in the morning for lunch.
  This morning, I got the box out.  It seemed lighter.  I opened it, and sure enough, the pizza I had put aside for my lunch was GONE, and the entire pizza that was left–a mushroom pizza–was still there.  MY LUNCH WAS GONE.
  I better not see that mother-fucker.

  And this will segue into a political discussion.  This is why liberals are wrong and I am right.  Liberals and those leaning towards socialism want everyone to be "taken care of."  Everything should be "equal."
  The problem with that can be seen from the microcosm that is my household:  Answer me this, you liberal elitist tree hugging commie pinko fag junkie motherfuckers:  Why in the fuck should I have to work two and three jobs to support a lazy motherfucker in my motherfucking basement who is perfectly capable of working but won’t fucking do it?  Why do I have to feed him, provide him shelter from the goddamn elements, and pay my fucking utilities so he can use my goddamn electricity and fucking water?  I pay for the goddamn internet connection that the sonofabitch uses for free.  It’s my goddamn house and I get to spend less and less time here while he NEVER LEAVES.
  And he either feels "entitled" to this way of life, or just doesn’t give a shit that other people provide it for him. 
  Explain to me, please, how it is fair. 
  Liberals spend alot of effort trying to convince the poor that the rich are "evil" and living off of their back.
  This is why, you liberal fucktard idiots, socialism doesn’t work and trying to re-engineer our society will be a disaster not only for this country but for the world.  Socialist operate under the completely mistaken and fucking unrealistic belief that a) everyone is equal; and b) someone else will do the  work.
  Everyone is NOT equal.  And someone has to do the work but liberals feel it is always someone else, never them.  The more you are willing to work, the more you can have.  If you aren’t willing to do anything, why should you GET anything?  I know, of course, that it’s different when you aren’t able to, someone should take care of you.  But if you capable but aren’t willing to do anything, why shouldn’t others be allowed to hunt you down and kill you for sport, and mount your head on the wall near the fireplace?  Why?
  "That’s a deer.  Eight-pointer.  That’s my bass.  And that’s the dumbass who lived in the basement."
  [I know I exaggerate for humor’s sake on occasion, and it’s funny and edgy when I go "over the line," or whatever.  Blah blah blah.  But I’m not kidding.  Hunt them down and shoot them.]
  If you are smarter and you work harder, you should get more.  If you aren’t, you should get less.  If you are really smart and work alot harder, you can hire the people who aren’t as smart and who don’t work as hard to work for you.  Everyone is not equal, but everyone has the chance to scrape out a living.  Not everyone could have invented the printing press, or the steam engine, or plastic, or semiconductors.  Not everyone could have invented the assembly line, putting millions of people to work.  Some people have to work the line.
  "Not everyone gets to be an Astronaut when they grow up."  Some people have to serve the fries.  But at least your working.  Serving fries doesn’t entitle you to the riches of Midas.
  The government doesn’t create jobs.  The government doesn’t create wealth.  The government is not the solution to your problems.  Think of the government as "The House."  The House always wins.  The House sets the rules.  The House is NOT your friend.
  The government convinces you that the wealthy are your enemy, so they can get your okay to take from the wealthy and give it to you.  But they don’t "give" to you without first skimming off the house percentage.  On every transaction.

  I owe the goddamn government at multiple levels taxes on various things six ways from Sunday.  I DON’T BELIEVE Obama’s promise that people in my bracket won’t pay more because ultimately we ALL pay more.  I have all of that plus my regular debt, plus my regular bills, and I have to also support a worthless piece of shit living in my basement and eating me out of house and home?  That is your liberal version of "fair"?  Fuck you.

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