Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Can We Screw You Now?

Aside from the major oil companies, if there was ever a corporation that was in need of some good old fashioned trust-busting, it is Verizon. Their stranglehold on the cellular phone market is evident in their predatory practices and piss-poor customer service. In my opinion, the only reason for using them is the quality of their coverage, particularly in rural areas, which I occasionally find myself in. I will spare you the details of the 6 month war I fought, after using their Sleazy-Move feature and getting involuntarily/illegally slammed into a new 2-year contract. Let it suffice to say that I eventually won, but only after becoming an expert in the terms of their contracts and threatening to sue them. The bottom line is that I despise dealing with them, because you have to become an expert in every aspect of the product you are purchasing to avoid getting screwed.

Saturday night, partially primarily on the advice of some of you, I bought a Motorola Razr v3c from the Verizon store in Timonium. I dealt with an employee named Chris. I don't know if he was a manager, but I can say that he was quite the douchebag. In short, he acted like he was doing me a favor by taking my money and grew irritated when I asked to see the contract terms and shot down his lame upselling attempts. To Chris' s chagrin, I managed to avoid most of Verizon's attempts to pad the bill with extra "services." One thing that really burns my ass is that Verizon disables the phone's Bluetooth and USB file transfer capabilities to force customers to pay either $0.25/picture download or a $10/month unlimited text/picture messaging fee. The other thing is a 3' flame. While the latter the can be considered a necessary evil, I found the former to be entirely unacceptable. So, on Sunday I spent 4 hours figuring out how to re-enable the USB/Bluetooth file transfer capabilities of the phone.

I also bought an accessory pack which consisted of a belt clip, vehicle charger, and a Jabra Bluetooth headset. I was surprised at the lack of public acceptance that these headsets have received. I can't say that I really understand this, since this technology has been around for awhile and allows a cell phone to be used more unobtrusively than ever. Nevertheless, every time I used the headset to communicate in public, people either gave me dirty looks or made snide comments. I guess some people just don't recognize hipness when they see it:

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Ask the Internets

I have managed to con Verizon Wireless into moving up the date that I am eligible for their "New Every Two" program, which provides a $100 credit towards a new phone every two years. The problem is that there are about a billion different phones to choose from. I definitely want a camera on the new phone and I haven't completely ruled out a PDA-type phone. Thus, I am looking for recommendations as to what to buy.

So far, I'm leaning towards the Motorola RAZR V3c:

But the Palm Treo series is also looking interesting:

Let me know what you think. Particularly if you have either of these devices.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Flaming Jablonskis

If you are wondering, the Auschwitz Diet is approximately in its 8th week. I say approximately, because I made a conscious effort to eat more than 500 calories/day, once I reached 165 lbs, which was 2 weeks ago. However, as you can see in the table below, it hasn't worked out that way, so I'm 3 lbs under the target weight.

Initial WeightFinal WeightNet
Week 1-8 185 lbs162 lbs-23 lbs

One factor in my continued weight loss is the fact that I have been doing semi-physical labor at work, for the last month. I am managing a project that involves rewiring several rooms to create a laboratory and, to speed the process, I have been doing some of the wiring myself, instead of sitting at a desk all day.

In fact, since May 1st, I've had exactly one day off. My typical daily schedule looks something like this:

4:30-5:00 AM - Wake up.
5:30-6:00 AM - Arrive at work.
5:30-7:00 PM - Leave work
8:00-9:00 PM - Go to bed

In order to prevent burnout, I've been scheduling some diversionary activities. So far, these activities have consisted of going to the dentist and having some kind of fuckawful procedure performed. Two weeks ago I had a deep cleaning , which involved vigorous scraping. Last week I had a molar extracted because it was impacted by a wisdom tooth. Of course, when this tooth was removed it allowed the molar on the other side of my jaw to shift enough to start causing painful problems. So, I had that molar and the underlying wisdom tooth extracted yesterday. Unfortunately, my ability to eat solid food has been impaired considerably, which has lead to more Ensure consumption. Regardless, once I regain the ability to eat solid food, the Auschwitz Diet experiment will be concluded.

By the way, as I'm not a dentist, I'm not terribly familiar with common dental practices, particularly those in Baltimore. Is it normal to have to get naked everytime you see the dentist?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Early Warning

Once, while looking for a dog at the Humane Society, I found one that looked like a winner. I took him out of his kennel and was walking him around when he stopped at another kennel and wizzed directly on another dog. Instead of being shocked or angry, I was thankful. In that instant, the dog had told me everything I needed to know, I didn't need to waste anymore time on him. This doesn't happen often, particularly in the world of job hunting. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised to receive this e-mail.


Thank you for your interest in the Project Manager/Electrical Engineer position with Assclown Systems.

We are interested in going forward with your application for this position. The next step in the process of selection is for you to complete an application and some preliminary testing.

We have scheduled this process for Saturday, May 20, 2006 at 9:00 AM at Assclown Corporate Group. The office address is XXXXXX. The testing and application process will last approximately 90 minutes. Dress is casual -- this is not an interview.

Also, please bring a copy of your diploma and official college transcripts. Please confirm by return mail (preferred) or e-mail if you will be there. Again, please do not hesitate to reply with any questions.

Assclown McAssclownson
Human Resources Manager
Assclown Industries

Where do I start? The first problem is the Saturday non-interview. This would be a 3 hour drive, each way, for me and they don't mention mileage reimbursement. So, they would have me spend an entire Saturday and a tank of gas to take their tests, but they can't be bothered to interview me since I'm already there. Another problem is the timing, I received the e-mail three days before the aforementioned Saturday. To get an expedited official transcript from my alma mater costs money, but, according to the letter, that isn't sufficient, as I must also provide a diploma. Since diplomas also cost money and are easily faked, I never bought them. My thinking was that nobody ever asks to see a diploma, they ask for transcripts. Except for assclowns, that is.

I sent a reply the day after receiving this and told them that I had decided I wasn't interested in the job. The candidate they were looking was very specialized, they needed experience using several oddball automation platforms in an oddball application. I fulfilled almost all of their qualifications and I knew that they didn't get too many applicants as qualified. Consequently, I received a phone call last Wednesday from the HR manager about my change of heart. They "graciously" offered to reimburse me for the mileage, but I cut her off and explained that her letter had told me everything I need to know about their company. If they are eager to screw a complete stranger, just imagine what they do to you once you sign on with them.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

My Crotch = mc2

As you probably know, the search for novel alternative energy sources is underway, in earnest. This can be attributed tothe fact that the earth's petroleum-based resources are finite and are most likely dwindling. In fact, President Bush said that, "We are addicted to oil," in his State of the Union address and it is rumored that Vice President Cheney's has been caught abusing himself while gazing lustfully at the Oil and Gas Journal. Clearly, our very way of life is in jeoprady if a viable source of energy can't be developed. Fortunately, I have discovered a unique source of alternative energy that I'm certain will go far in the alleviation of these problems and far more.

Oddly enough, I discovered this new source of energy source will doing my laundry. If you look closely at the following pictures, you'll notice that a common characteristic is evident:

As you can see, the fabric of the pictured clothing has failed in precisely the same area. The garments were all made of cotton which is a fairly durable material. Thus, the only logical conclusion that I can arrive at is that my crotch is emitting high-energy radiation which has caused the premature decay of the clothing. A preliminary survey of the relevant scientific literature, such as the Textile Research Journal and The Illustrated History of Johnson Jousting, allowed me to estimate the relative strength of the radiation. I have included an electromagnetic spectrum for reference:

Of course, I will only use my new abilities to further the causes of good. I believe that my crotch will be a boon to homemakers everywhere, since tanning, boinking, and cooking can all be combined in one visit. Additionally, I think that this ability will provide a unique means of developing dental x-rays. My next step is to determine the mean wattage produced and then devise a suitable collection device. Here is my preliminary prototype of said collector:

Friday, May 12, 2006

Most Excellent Conversation

Time: 11:45 AM
Place: Work

Nosy Coworker: Where are you going?
Me: Home.
NC: Do you mean to lunch?
Me: Nope. I'm going home.
NC: It's only 11:45. Did you take half a vacation day?
Me: Nope.
NC (irritated): How can you do this?
Me: Easily. I get in the car and drive home. It's OK, I told the engineering secretary.
NC: I thought you were real busy.
Me: I am. Insanely so, but I hit 40 hours yesterday and I'm working Saturday, again. Something's got to give, so I'm out of here. See you Monday.
NC: Is your cell phone number on the list?
Me: (walking away): Nope.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Snookum's Pussy Hurts

It's 6:20 AM, and I'm at work. I've been here since 6:00 AM and I'll probably leave at 7:00 PM. Despite the fact that it's only Thursday, I've already worked 40 hours for the week and I will most likely work 12 hours on Saturday. Considering, I'm salaried and not hourly, this bites the proverbial big one.

When I got here, I had e-mails either assigning me more projects or asking when current projects were going to be done. It sucks when your job keeps you too busy to start looking for a new one. TFG's Endless Summer is looking better and better....

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Utter Filthiness Documented

If you have read any of my anti-corporate rants/posts, you may think that I'm a pinko-commie-liberal-hippy-Jerry loving-tree hugging-dope smoking-tinfoil hat wearing-conspiracy theorist. Although you might be correct, I strongly urge you to read Hostile Takeover by David Sirota. It is a non-partisan discussion of how corporations have used the campaign finance process to entirely circumvent democracy. The book is extremely well documented and Sirota doesn't appear to have any political axe grind, as he lambasts both Republicans and Democrats. Sirota covers the subjects of taxes, wage stagnation, NAFTA (eebmore really needs to read this chapter), energy pricing, and the erosion of legal protections for the public.

Honestly, I felt that I may have been too cynical in my opinions on some of these issues. However, after reading the first half of the book, it appears that I underestimated the severity of the problem. My only issue with the book is Sirota's optimism for the future. A quick scan of the last chapter indicates that this optimism is based on the intelligence of the American public, which I feel is a wasting asset. Unless our teevees tell us that corporations are raping us and do so in an entertaining manner (perhaps a reality show about dumpster diving at Walmart), I believe that things are going to get much worse.

Friday, May 05, 2006

No Worries

Yesterday, Broadsheet posted a link to an interesting article about couples who choose not to marry, but instead maintain seperate households. The couples interviewed for the article inferred that they made this decision in order to preserve there own spaces. These people seemed very happy with the arrangement and, personally, I really don't care what people do so long as it's consensual. Apparently, I am in the minority, though, as it is fairly common for singles, particularly women, to be pressured into marriage and child rearing by those around them. I have had married people tell me all about the joys of marriage and that raising a child is the most wonderful experience imaginable. I'm not sure if they were saying this for my benefit or there own, but for their sake I hope that they believed what they said. The timing of this article was ironic because I recently recieved a vivid reminder of why I've chosen to remain both single and childless.

Last week, my employer made an announcement about a major change at the company. I'm not supposed to discuss the details of it and I know that sitemeter gives the name of my employer, so I am deliberately being vague. Let it suffice to say that the potential for cutbacks or layoffs at the end of this year is distinct. Of course, we were assured that the precise opposite was true, but many of us can see enough of the big picture to know what's what. Regardless, as the ramifications of this change sunk in to my co-workers' psyches, I could see the fear and panic begin to take hold. Particulary, amongst those who are married with children. Although I sympathize with their plight, I am firm believer that we are accountable for the choices that we make. For many of my coworkers, they need two incomes and in some cases more, to make the nut.

Thankfully, I'm not tied to this area, with it's outrageous cost of living, for any reason. I don't have kids in school or a spouse's job to worry about. Also, I'm not trying to make a godawful $2000/month mortgage payment. Although renting is throwing money down a hole, I can give the hole back at anytime. I don't have to worry about staying in this area until my house sells in a flattening market, or making two mortgage payments. I'm not making payments on new vehicles for myself and a spouse, instead I drive a '93 Camry that I own outright. I've never taken a bank loan to take a vacation and I pay my credit cards off monthly. I have banked as much of my pay as possible and I've tried to invest wisely.
Additionally, if I have to look for a job I'll have the entire country to choose from. This has been absolutely invaluable in the past, as your negotiating position is poor when you are tied to any one city. Consequently, I truly couldn't care less what happens. If they asked for voluntary layoffs today, I'd be first in line and I'd likely take the rest of the summer off.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

I, the Jury

Yesterday, in Assclownopolis Circuit Court, the nefarious Mr. Orange was found guilty of first degree murder for his role in the gruesome death of Mr. Green. The linchpin of State's Attorney Fool's case was this damning piece of forensic evidence:

Following a brief deliberation, the guilty verdict was delivered by a jury of Mr. Orange's peers.

Upon receiving the verdict, the Honorable TFG made the following statement, "Mr. Orange, I find that you are a danger to
gelatinous society. The lack of remorse displayed during this hearing shows an utter contempt for gummy life. Therefore, I am handing down the maximum penalty allowed by the law: Death by Electric Plate. May God have mercy on your partially hydrogenated soul." Mr. Orange showed no emotion upon hearing the sentence. Following sentencing, the execution was conducted immediately at the Assclownopolis Correctional Facility.

Mr. Orange was pronounced dead at 8:23 PM, Tuesday, May 2rd, following an examination by Assclownopolis Coroner Jenny Tullwartz. No memorial services are scheduled.