Friday, March 31, 2006

This plastic bag is not a toy

Worms!Word has come down the pike that Apple is putting out an update to the firmware for various iPods to cap the volume. It's not terribly stupid that they would want to lower the volume from 115dB, or that they'd give people the option of leaving their volume where it is, but I do think it pretty damn idiotic that people would not think of turning down the volume all by themselves. Did it cross anyone's mind not to crank it to eardrum-bleeding levels? How you use your toys is not industry's responsibility, regardless of how litigenous we have become or how little personal responsibility we're willing to accept anymore. Another feature of the update is parental control, which begs the question: why are you giving any kid who is young enough to need management a $300 device?

And speaking of product liability and giving the little kids something out of their league: Several small children have swallowed Magnetix toys and been injured or died, so now Rose Arts has recalled them. Don't try this at home (The picture in the previous link isn't the same set as what they always show on the local news; for that image, click here.) I think the doctor from Children's Hospital said it best: "I wouldn't have them around my kids, until they were school age or older." The age limit printed on the box says it's not for children under age six, yet some parents let their everything-goes-into-their-mouths age kids at them. As you can see to the left, I own a set and I think they're extremely fun. Last Christmas they were the hot toy item on many people's must-have lists. I won't argue the point if a magnet fell out because of bad mounting, that's a safety issue no matter what age one is, but the average person the product was intended for isn't going to eat two (like the first little boy, 2, who died) or three (like the second little boy, 5, who is in the hospital). There's another kid, according to last night's news, whose mother was daft enough to say "The package said it wasn't for children under age 3, but my son is 3½..." And obviously still eats things off the sidewalk, didja consider that? Pardon me if I seem callous, I do feel for the kids and their families, but some adult wasn't keeping an eye on their kid or wasn't thinking about what would be age-/maturity-appropriate toys for their kids, leading to lawsuits and fun items being taken off the market.

(And for the record, I did actually take a Lawn Dart to the head, around 1975. I caught it between my fingers so it didn't impale me, but very nearly. I was 6 or 7. And it was my own fault for throwing it straight up, as well as that of whatever adults were present at that party for letting me near them... the age limit on them was like 12. Not all kids were as lucky, which is why they've been off the American market since 1988. There are adult Lawn Dart leagues in Canada, because they are good clean fun in the right hands. Follow label directions before using!)

Sorry that I wasn't in a great mood last posting, the stupid people I'd been dealing with professionally as well as another unchecked rise in gas prices with no spontaneous public outcry demanding to know why really bugged me.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Breathe, breathe in the air (but don't breath on me)

Quick note to Poirot and the 'Soapy Gets Waxed' controversy: not to be a fuddy-duddy, but I don't give a rat's ass and I'll not play. Leave me out of it. Like the mystery of 'Where Is Lula?' it's best for everyone if they're gone, capisce?

Random thought: No one has bothered to offer an explanation as to why gas prices have gone up 4 cents every 3 days. Is it safe to conclude there is no reason other than oil company greed? No excuses have been offered. Why are we being so complacent about this bilking. I do have one theory, though...
Both sides of the war on terror need funding.
Either that, or it takes money for our government to buy the equipment to spy on American citizen, put more elephants in office, and take measures to squelch intelligent dissent plus wage an unnecessary war. I don't have anything really pressing other than that to complain about, but here's something really stupid:

Dumbest 'invention' of 1941, courtesy of Popular Mechanics:
No dirty snot here

Saturday, March 25, 2006

For every girl that wants to throw out her EZ Bake Oven, there's a boy who wants to find one

better!First, an announcement: The house pictured a week ago and described a week prior has been repainted as you see here. Speculation is that judging by the way the yard has been cleaned up, snazzy new things such as a storage shed have been added, and other Bill Ding-approved renovations have taken place, the person who praised the local football team has been evicted. :) Compare and contrast to how it looked a week ago, as seen two entries ago.

The title of today's entry comes from a poster I saw in a used bookstore today, which was created by Crimethic (whose website no longer exists, or I'd be able to quote the text directly). I found a couple interesting books there:
The Fotygraft Album: Shown to the New Neighbor by Rebecca Sparks Peters, Age Eleven by Frank Wing (1915) - sort of a cross between my found photos with silly captions site Laughter is the Spackle of the Soul or (more accurately) greeting card/book authors MikWright and Art Linkletter's House Party 'Kids Say The Darndest Things'. A family photo album gets silly descriptions by a backwoods girl, and the images in the book are sketches rather than photos but were likely derived from real photos, predating all the above references (but not predating Linkletter himself, who born in 1912).
F*CK this book by Bodhi Oser (2005) - interesting concept, the man took a spin off George Carlin's routine about how we should replace the word "kill" in the old clichés with the word "f*ck", and he made up stickers with the F-word on them that he put strategically on signs around town then took photos. I knew I had to have it when I saw the sign at the park that was revised to say "please do not f*ck the pigeons." Guerilla art? Mayhaps.

Last week was really bizarre for me in the computer regard. Tuesday morning, I got up early and did some stuff on the computer before I went to work. I got home that night, turned on the computer, and the 17" monitor just sat and clicked at me, lights dimming every time to show the monitor was making an honest effort to kick in but the little engine just couldn't. Grrr. My room is a computer parts graveyard so I pulled out the fuzzy 15" monitor I'd picked up the 17" inch (free from someone on CraigsList) to replace. The next morning I went to a local recycler and bought a 19" monitor for quite reasonable. That night, I plugged it in and it too was fuzzy AND the colors kept slipping into the red zone. Grrr. The next morning, I went back to the recycler and traded up for a 17" flatscreen. I know, I always said I'd never go LCD but necessity makes for strange bedfellows. It's bright, it's clear, it's got 1280x1024 resolution without being cramped, and... after an hour it suddenly made the clouds in my Point Defiance waterfront background into red electric plasma. Attractive but only for a minute. Grrr. Hmm, slapping the side isn't fixing it, and powering it off for an hour fixes it but isn't the solution I seek. I did some out-of-warranty surgery with a screwdriver, found that some of the wires in the gangleon on the back of the LCD panel might be interfering with each other, and wiggled them just a little bit to solve the issue. Not before making everything turn plasma green but it's all in how you wiggle it; a little tape to secure things was applied. Things are happy again at Mushy's computer for the moment, and I need to reclaim a cubic yard of floor space in my room by taking three working-or-not CRT monitors to the recycler.

Icicle Liiiiights! I don't have much else to snark on at the moment (translation: Icicle Liiiiights! "man, I had a good one in mind yesterday but damned if I can remember it now...") so I'll leave you for the moment with two more local photos of icicle liiiiiights! Click 'em for bigger. No, honest, if I wanted to do this for fun, I'd start a Flickr group - there have been even dumber topics given groups, and with fewer pictures/examples that I can conjure. The left image is from near a popular intersection, and the right image is from four houses away from the previous flakes-and-icicles example. And a word from their neighbors: Guys, y'all bringing down property values.

Monday, March 20, 2006

It's a great day for crimes against nature (like bad names for your kids)

Stupidity from a few years ago, brought to mind by Jamie Dawn's blog entry of March 19 2006, "Gay As The Driven Snow"... One day while I was in college I was sitting around with my squeeze of the time and a group of people, and Bambi who worked in financial aid remarked that someone she worked with was "as worthless as tits on a whore" [as opposed to boar] and my girlfriend and I just kind of looked at each other funny. Her first comment was, "wouldn't tits on a whore be an asset?" And yes, that woman's given name was Bambi. Yesterday I was browsing someone's family photos online (amazing what you can find by blind driving in Google) and the wife of the photographer was named Fanci. Fanci?! Now I have that damn Reba McIntire song stuck in my head.

Here's a breaking news story out of the area I grew up. A woman is in the pokey for attacking her boyfriend with a saw last week, which is a felony. The Tacky Tourist Perhaps the reason why she went on a rampage is more interesting: She came home and found her man in an intimate act with her cat. (I have a hard time picturing this because cats have those sharp things at the ends of their four flailing legs called 'claws'.) Bestiality is only a misdemeanor, so he was cited and released; I bet the cat is unhappy with that outcome. She may be taking the heat (and I wish her well), but he has gotta live the rest of his life branded a catf*cker... and as a relative of mine asked, how could she not have suspected previous to this that he had a few loose bats in his belfrey?

Quickie: In the men's restroom at work there are two 2-roll toilet paper dispensers in the left stall, and over the weekend some barbarian used his brute strength to rip one of them open and broke the latch that holds it closed but the back is still bolted to the wall, so its contents are hanging open. What's a cleaning crew to do? Restock the paper and ignore the problem. Don't know if was the sight of new paper in the broken-open dispenser that cracked me up, or the fact that half the paper on both of those rolls has been used.

Speaking of giving kids bad names, that's one of my favorite jokes. I like making up odd names, but weirder ones keep showing up in real life. There honestly are two little girls named Cream and Sugar in my neighborhood. And they aren't twins. Someone nearby actually named their kid Emeraud, like the perfume (who never forgets you're a woman), and I'm sure somewhere out there there's an Enjolie (she can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan...) but I'll let you know when she surfaces. My math teacher in school named his twins Trinda and Tonda, which is not so much weird as unique, but combined with their older sister (my classmate) Brenda, hmmm. I saw that this couple (on a site which discussed placenta-eating, go figger) named their son Toffee. Years ago I created twin names years ago, Hidea and Hellacia, and I get grins from those around me from them, but one of my other fun names isn't so much fun anymore because I work with someone named that and it broke my heart: LaTrina. No, that person's last name isn't Potté.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

How funky is your chicken? How loose is your goose?

I have been inundated with emails saying, "Surely, no fan is so devoted to a football team that they'd vandalize their own house. Prove it, Mush-man!" Super (Dumb) Fan Okay, so I haven't actually heard anything like that, but it is pretty unbelievable. So to that end, here's a photo of the house. I hadn't realized before I took this photo that the doofus misspelled "Seahawks" as "Seahaks" (what, is this guy originally from Boston?) and had to use a little paint thinner or gasoline to allow correction. Now the stupidity of this guy and his home artwork is twice as stupid. And in other dumbnesses mentioned one week ago, the house below is five miles from my home and has my neighbor beat: not only does this place have icicle liiiiiights with C-7 light strings as trim, there are lighted snowflakes in a row... in mid-March. I'm presuming that at least the flakes will come down the first time the lawn gets mowed. Click if you need to see the pix in all their glory. Anyhow, gather 'round for another story, and I assure you that you've never heard this one before.

In the early elementary years, right before my family moved to the small town, the local school system had a class clown by the name of Bobby Iannetta whose family moved when we were in the third grade. (You could say I had to step up and take his place!) I heard plenty of tales about the man, but didn't actually meet him until his family had moved away – he and I attended the same church so I'd see him at summer camp, and his grandmother lived near the park so sometimes when he'd come to town I'd visit. His cousin Trevor was also a camper, so I befriended him as well. (After high school, I've crossed his path twice but not seen him: he'd signed a guestbook at a landmark an hour or two before I got there, and a magazine subscription renewal letter mistakenly showed up in the mailroom of the college I attended so I was able to scribble a note on the back before it was sent back out.) Two separate friends I had years later heard (from me) Bobby's story about how his younger brother Rodney [supposedly] cut the breasts off a Barbie doll and stuck them under the suit of a Superman action figure, called it "Buttman" and would play with it in the bathtub; the two of them drew up cartoons of Buttman. Icicle liiiights, bonus points! Bobby's mother seemed a fairly strict woman, but even though I was his friend I understood where she was coming from: she knew he was always up to something, usually not anything harmful to others but certainly it wasn't right or allowed. He'd tell me his latest shennanigans that he didn't think she knew about, then later on she'd confront him about them... it was almost as though she bugged his coat. His grandmother, a second grade teacher who had a reputation (or among the kids) as being no-nonsense, was not only strict, she was brinking on paranoid. Again, giving credit where it was due, since she was a teacher and lived across the street from that park for years, she had some concept of what trouble youth could get into and what sort of unsavory people could be found in her neighborhood. Bobby and I would go forth into the world when he'd be in town, and his grandmother would go into a tizz about what sort of mischief we would be into – and his mother would be more or less a spy. Like I said, she was no dope. There was this time he came to town, and he showed me this copy of Penthouse Letters he had in his suitcase. There was a photo of a car on the back, so he referred to it as "my car magazine". I don't recall whether he bought it or swiped it, but my Magic 8-Ball indicates the latter. He hid it in his stuff (we didn't sit and read it, too risky) and we went out to play. When we got back, we were going to read it and it was missing. He had the stones to ask his mother where 'his car magazine' went, and she responded that she had it and they'd discuss it later. He then accused her of snooping and snatching, which of course was true, but it's hard to take the high moral ground when you're bringing (stolen?) porn into your uptight granny's house at age 14. The most amusing time I ever had in grandmother's regard though was with Trevor. He wasn't a problem child at all, he was sort of a quiet wallflower like me, and I've always believed that if your family knows you're a good kid you should be extended a little credit. We decided to get out of the house, and his grandmother demanded that we go to the park and nowhere else, and to stay within sight. Okay, reasonable enough, we didn't have any hopes or plans other than to sit around talking anyway. But then she demands to know, in all seriousness which showed in her eyes and tone, whether we were going to be drinking or drugging. Um, we're like 15 and we're going to be visible from her front porch, and she knows neither of us have any interest in such things; why'd she have to ask? I said we weren't, without any shade of nervousness, and Trevor did the same and added "c'mon, you know me better than that, Grandma!" Being paranoid about one's kids/grandkids might be in fashion today — it's as though parents forgot how much fun their own childhoods were, or possibly remember how much fun they had behind their folks' backs and can't stomach the thought of their kids enjoying themselves in similar fashion — but this was in the early 1980's, before it was all the rage to worry ourselves to death about pædophiles, pushers, and terrorists.Bender Pen!

It may be 7 p.m. now but I have some seeds to plant and nursery sprouts to transplant. We've had hailstorms recently but they melted quickly, so I'm presuming we're now past the last frost. The Bender Fanclub sent me this, the 'Pop' Pen Head, which is a magnet! a writing utensil! all this and so much more! He's laying down on my front door so the housepets (kitty Fuzz Bender and puppy Fender Bender) can inspect him.
(And Bobby, if you ever see this blog: Gliim! Teqilla!)

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Talkin' Sh!t: Beware of Potty Mouth

[The title is fair warning... we're gonna talk about excretia. The picture of a 1954 Ford Atmos I scanned out of an ancient Car Life Magazine hasn't anything to do with what follows, I just figured you might wanna see what the future was supposed to look like — including the shish-kebabs on the front. Makes driving more like jousting! Will make slow drivers get your point! Great for spear-fishing Bambi when driving through national forests! Form will mean so much more than function in the future... oh wait, the prediction articles that said cars would look like this claimed we'd be driving one of these by 1985, and they'd be nuclear powered. 'The Jetsons' and World's Fair 1962 "Century 21" views of the future has failed us. At least the gas-electric hybrids they were talking about in the 1950's have finally come to market, fifty years later, and 'ethyl' gasoline made a comeback.]

Since time immemorial, Man has been playing with his feces. Not a practice I condone, but you never know what goodies you'll find. Copralite jewelry (made of dinosaur dung) is all the rage, and years ago a roadside fruit stand near my home was selling swizzle-sticks with (plastic-coated) moose droppings on the ends. But that's all fun and games. Stupidity is doing malevalent things with it. Anyone who has worked with the unwashed public has noticed this when they step into the restroom and mess the place up bad. Heck, it happens in the corporate sector, where there are doors to buzz or enter a code for entry.

When I was working for a certain Internet provider, we had a phenomenon called The Mad Crapper. We were really concerned about building management putting a video camera on the wall facing the water fountain between the two restroom doors, but we were told it was to cut down on the number of times people would take a dump in the middle of the floor in the men's room. Coworkers who were there before me attested that there was some person crapping right there in the middle of everything. And I worked with these people. I've heard of that here in Cellular-land too... the other day one of my female coworkers came from the upstairs restroom and said someone had made a huuuuge crappy mess all over the handicap stall, it was everywhere. '54 Ford Atmos This as said was on the third floor of a secure building. Always a good feeling to know someone you work with makes pigs look downright sanitary.

The worst I ever encountered was when I worked for a library system as a janitor. My wife always tells me that women don't pee on the floor and have more respect for facilities than men, which I might believe since I haven't any ability to use the average women's lav (and judging by the swampy floor around the urinal at my work). The pee part was easy to disprove because she admitted some women don't want to sit on a dubious toilet seat, and hover or squat instead, thus spraying the seat and making it even more dubious. This one instance at a library totally proved her wrong on other functions. I was only asked one question when I applied for this job: "can you handle feces smeared on walls?" I went into this library's ladies' room with my cart of cleaning supplies one night and went to the far stall... I don't know how she did it. There was a five or six foot long streak of diarrhea which ran around a corner, at the four-foot high level. The person had to have spin-jumped and let go, or stood on the toilet (which didn't have a lid, mind you) and quickly rotated. The mental image of accomplishing this paint job boggled me. I stood there in awe for a solid ten minutes taking this in scene. It'd dried like that. What to do... Double-glove and grab the oven cleaner, which would kill the germs and loosen it up quick without scrubbing. Sorry if I done grossed you out but you shoulda seen it. I was laughing in amazement the whole time I did this (and any smell was killed by the pungent oven cleaner) that I didn't even think about what it was I was cleaning up. happy place, happy place...

To end on a much sweeter note: I received the large Astro-Logix Glow set that I bought on eBay today, and have been playing with it at work. I'm enjoying the hell out of it. But I realized this little bit of stupidity as I was driving along with the box... I bought it for $4.00 and paid $4.50 for shipping, but the postal cancellation on the box says that it cost $6.55 to send. This means that after eBay listing fees and PayPal merchant charges, the seller was paid $1.50 for the item... and I'm pretty sure it was originally obtained for more than that. Yeah, I've had that happen to me before (charged $3.00 for shipping but the rate turned out to be $3.85 or more) but rarely by so much on such a small amount. AAAAAAAAA++++++ positive feedback to you!

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Good fences make good neighbors – and the opposite is true too

Welcome back to Mushy's Cavalcade of Nonsense. Today we have two photos I took and two astute thoughts and an announcement to divide them. Click on the pix to see them in full-screen glory. And just a minute ago I got a call from someone asking how to print through their modem. (No, this wasn't WiFi or Bluetooth, this was just a modem.)

I wore my hair like this in collegeThey say that good fences make good neighbors. What about bad fences or bug-infested hedges? Here we see where the property line rests, right down the middle of a hedge, and apparently the Guy On The Left didn't see fit to do the whole thing... "it's not MY problem, it's HIS side of the shrub." To be fair, the Guy On the Right is doing some other home improvements, notably he has replaced his driveway (there are "Do Not Enter" sawhorses across the entry) so he's not a total slob and the need to even out the hedge just fell on his already-loaded plate. Thanks, neighbor! You had the clippers in your hands!

Have you ever noticed that when the word "morning" is used in advertising, it insinuates "freshness"... except when speaking of the state of one's mouth, wherein it means quite the opposite? Sure you did, even without that one Scope ad to compete with all those detergent ads. Of course, according to Folgiers, "morning fresh" is that face you make when you open up the can of coffee, or brew a cup, then take a BIIIIG whiff of it... it's the best part of waking up.

Okay, it's ready: The Pimpin' Life of Bill Ding has been updated to contain 55 advertising images, up from 16. Go see!

Silly commercial of the day, perhaps you've seen it, is for a "male enhancement" product whose name escapes me. This features the Darren Stevens-looking guy (but unlike the two Dicks, he's apparently straight) with the huge cheesy grin. There are two: one where he's at a pool party and he comes out of the pool posing with his cheesy grin, and we get a quick shot of his swimtrunks floating in the pool, then the group at poolside looking at him with amazement and amusement; the other shows him walking around with that cheesy grin and then we see his wife with a similarly cheesy (and excited) grin. Bravo to you, 1950's Domestic God, and I hope you can find other acting jobs in the future.

Icicle Liiiiiights!I'm a hell of a lot of fun to drive around with because instead of playing Slug-Bug, I play a game called Icicle Lights. I play it between February 1 and October 31. Here is how you play it: When you're out driving around and you see a house which has icicle lights on it, when according to the calendar Christmas is nowhere nearby, you point and shout "Icicle Liiiights!" It can be played with C-6, C-7, C-9, LED, or standard indoor light strings as well, you just have to adjust the phrasing to "Christmas liiights!" or something. Bonus points for having icicles and other types concurrently, as seen here a block away from where the hedge above was shot; bonus points also issued when only half of a duplex is strung with lights (this applies during winter as well). It's loads of fun and I play it constantly. Others I travel with are getting bored with the game because I have the houses on some routes memorized (showing they're still up in the spring), but I like travel so I do get to play it with people in unknown territory sometimes. This reminds me of the house a block away from the house where I grew up, which had a spotty string of C-9's sagging across the eaves on the side of the house for over twenty years, and I have no recollection of them being turned on even once. Try it, it's fun, and you'll be surprised how often you can score points, both in residential neighborhoods and when driving through the ruralities... anywhere there's not a apartment agreement or neighborhood covanant in place with strict rules about holiday displays. Great for those family vacation drives in July!

Stupidity down the street: Yes, it's great that the Seattle Seahawks went to the Superbowl, even if they couldn't play offense and the refs made obviously dubious rulings. Lots of "Go Seahawks" can be seen in stickers and written in dust on the back of vehicles still. Someone however needs to slap the guy who spraypainted Seahawks 1# [sic] in red on the side of his house. Stupidity at work: Was in the men's room the other day and this coworker sidles up to the urinal next to me while talking on his cell phone, in a Middle Eastern language, using the hands-free earpiece. I really really wanted to shout and have it echo off the tiles, "He's taking a piss while on the phone with you!!!" Sigh, I didn't.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

How does the rabbit tell the raisins from his poo?

I'm a big believer that not only is beauty everywhere ("God is in the details" - Ludwig Mies van der Rohe), stupidity is also everywhere ("Cabbage: A familiar kitchen-garden vegetable about as large and wise as a man's head" - Ambrose Bierce). In fact the stupidity is more plentiful, thus putting intelligence as something found deep in the woodwork at times. And since I work in tech support, finding the intelligence can be closer to locating the needle in a haystack. Ironies are all over. Here are a few dumb things encountered in the last 24 hours alone:

• Written in the dust on the back of a moving van: "There's no poop on this, right?"
• I walked into the fuel-and-bolt to get change on my gasoline purchase, and their new someone-walked-in beeper plays the beginning of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame"... in the sound of tubular bells like on a church organ.
The price of petrol going up 14¢ 18¢ in one week at the local gas stations. [edit: went up 4¢ overnight!]
Astro-Logix Glow building toys, which are made just up the highway from me, are no longer in production. (DaMert/Toysmith, consider better marketing. Your products are awesome.)
• Hog Wild Toys now requires a proof of purchase to join their Bender Club because someone found out they give away free stuff. Not so much stupid as it is sad but completely understandable. (And if you want to see my old cubical, see the image that is fourth down in the left column.)
• After the technician had spent two or three minutes explaining that after the customer's replacement PDA arrives and is activated all the email which had been waiting will come to the device, so there is no need to create another mail service account or change anything, the customer asked, "But will I have to set my mail up again?" Twice.
• I've gone through twenty documents found on the internal network about some new stuff I'm supposed to support. 75% of them are targetted to sales, 25% of them are a rewrite of the materials that are given to customers, 0% of them have anything to do with what to do when stuff breaks. And I'm in the breakage-repair (and correcting salesdrone inaccuracies to upset customers) department. Where are the materials used by the people who took these calls before us? No word on that. As my boss put it, we constantly have to reinvent the wheel but truthfully we're better at it.
• When we'd need to ship replacement devices, we'd just select the shipping code and then the option to remove the shipping charge. Screw this!In that previously-mentioned update to our system, they changed the system so that when using the usual option one would have to get permission from a supervisor to remove the shipping charge... but then they also gave a shipping option that is free. The people who made the changes have come up with a chart of when to use the free code, when (what days and what times of day) to use the usual codes and seek permission, when to do this and that, yackity smackity. By some twist, most of the times we're advised to use the codes that require permission are the times supervisors are hard to find. Gee, simple solution here for us, which is what every email not from remote management alludes to: ignore the bus schedule and always use the free shipping option, and the fact is the box is gonna arrive in two days no matter what button we push anyway. Simple solution for the goofs higher up: stop screwing with the tools, people gotta use 'em.
Billy Ocean is playing at a local casino soon. Okay, that's more surprising than stupid, and as he said when the going gets tough, the tough get going... on tour!
• The title line was what I said when the woman in the cube to my left told the woman in the cube to my right she has a rabbit that eats raisins.
• It's remarkable the number of people on my work phone that claim they can't hear me. The headset amplifier is okay, I sound okay on the Quality monitoring (other than my nasal tone, but I was born with it), and my voice is average indoor volume. I've figured it out: some people aren't listening anyway, some have too much background noise and don't seem to consider getting away from it (please don't vacuum or watch NASCAR and call customer service at the same time!), but the majority are using cell phones... therein lies the problem. I don't care if this is the business sector I work in now, cell phones are crap. Since I work with them I know this is a fact. I needed to call my brother-in-law in another city and my wife offered me her cell phone, which has free airtime and his number in the phonebook. I declined and chose to use the landline and a calling card. She asked why, and I said because I'd like to be heard. She got a little defensive and said her phone worked fine, to which I replied, "So why do you have to repeat everything you say on it 3 times? Listen to yourself sometime."
• Of course, more stupid than not hearing is not listening, and dumber than that is expecting to tech a phone that is in use at the time, and dumber still is expecting someone to tech a phone that's not at hand. But somehow I'm used to all of the above, which is also kinda stupid.
It's March 9 and it is snowing.

So if you missed it, here's a quick review of the new TV show Sons & Daughters: I don't know if the show will last, but I laughed my ass off and now have a crush on the neice with braces and glasses and half of the best lines. Bonus points that we got to see what Wojo from Barney Miller looks like nowadays. Some quantity of the dialog was improvised, and that worked nicely in a few scenes. I liked it but plenty of other people who saw previews apparently think it's stupid. :) I haven't checked to see what they thought of it yet, but I will take this show over Desperate Housewives or pretty much anything else on ABC if it continues to be offered.

Monday, March 06, 2006

You can't abuse everyone else so you've gotta abuse yourself

The stupidity of the moment: over the weekend a new customer database (and thus a scad of calls from customers on that system) was added to the existing four systems we service – all through one easy interface, so it's not a huge mess to get into all the customer tools. The stupid parts are: #1 - being a database that is new to my group, we don't have logins for it yet. #2 - they also changed the call category selection drop-downs, so now we get to play hide-and-seek trying to find the right descriptions, and as always some of the ones we need aren't offered. #3 - we have this tool that will quickly generate an order which this little rearrangement has broken, something about now needing to get permission to remove the shipping charge when sending return-mailer boxes. It's bad enough, as I think I described earlier, that I can't make connection-fixing account tweaks on half of the existing customers without an overloaded-queue Customer Service agent pushing the buttons for me, but add these new ones as well as the sudden addition of several products that we had nil useful training on (and keep discovering new and exciting cryptic errors with)... At least my job isn't absolutely boring, when you add intregues like this to it. (I prefer unintreguing, for the record.)

I got home from school one day when I was in high school hornier than a two-dicked goat [thank you, Redd Foxx] and no one was around, so I closed my bedroom door, Biker Grandmas!dropped my pants, flopped out on the orange beanbag chair in my room and threw the brown afgan over me for security. And inevitably my mother walked in without knocking because that's what she did. My family was horrible about knocking before entering other people's bedrooms, the bathrooms, or other places where a closed door implies someone's inside and would like a little privacy. All she saw was me in my beanbag with my pants around my ankles and a blanket over me, and she turns sideways and calls to my father, "come see what your son is doing." I don't recall if I said the words "I'm sure he's familiar with it!!" out loud but I know I thunk 'em as I slid my pants back on and stood up, demanding to know WHAT she had come barging in for in the first place. And I don't recall her ever saying. My mother was an only child, so this was the same person who thought if her teenage son walked into the dining room for breakfast with quite natural 'morning wood' prodding the front of his shorts/jammies/etc. that he had to have DONE something to get it there. This made for some interesting and truly unwanted conversation first thing in the morning, and I learned to either tuck things into the waistband and wear a long shirt or to make preparations (think about team sports, first visiting the bathroom to reduce the swelling by dunking it in cold water, wake up ten minutes earlier so that it would have time to relax) before marching to the table. I only got caught by my father once, late one night in the family room when I was looking at a deck of those playing cards with topless women on each (who looked old enough in the photos to be my mother and probably were old enough in real life to be my grandmother), and while he didn't see anything he knew what was going on – he was a guy – and I realized in that instant that my natural instinct to lie & deny wasn't going to be a good plan, not only because he was aware of what teenage boys do in the dark but because it would create discussion, and I really didn't want to talk about the matter at all. Some parents and children have good rapports about private matters, mostly on TV sitcoms or friends who frankly have sweet TMI moments with their folks, but this was never the case in my family. There was one time when I was in college that I visited the house and my sister, probably 16 at the time, pulled me aside and said, "Guess what?! Mom gave me the talk!" The talk? "The bird and the bees!" I was astounded and my first words were, "Well, what did they say??" About an hour later I walked into the kitchen and said, "You told Becky about the birds and the bees; how about me? I wanna hear it now." My mother's response was, "You don't need it, you already know this stuff." Hmm, at that moment, yes, by trial and error since I lacked any information whatsoever from my parents during the formative years... Speaking of spanking, heh, let's turn away from my folks toward a friend's best sweet TMI moment with his folks:

I was visiting Randy at his house one day and he leads me to his parents' bedroom. He rummages through a dresser drawer and pulls out several pictoral "adults only" magazines with The Joy Of Spanking boldly printed across their covers, and inside plenty of photos of grownups who either were bent over someone's knee with the other person holding a hairbrush aloft in black and white, or had smarting red welts all over their blanche backsides in glorious color close-ups. We had a few laughs. Randy turned 18 not long after that, and in celebration he bought a couple Hustler magazines, which he kept tucked away in his room not out of shame but because he had two younger brothers and uptight parents; the magazines were no secret. One day his father comes to him and says, "Randy, this is a Christian household and we'd like you to get rid of your girlie magazines." Randy didn't bat an eye, and said, "Okay, Pop, I'll throw out my Hustlers when you throw out your Joy Of Spanking magazines." His father was taken aback and asked how he knew about those, and Randy said, "Never mind that, you get rid of yours and I'll get rid of mine." And wouldja believe they both did?

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Buckle up, we're experiencing a little Injun trouble...

I heard this ad the other day on the radio for a local casino, and it was inviting the public to come (ante up and) spin their Thay! More Ovaltine, Mom!Love Of Money Wheel... I couldn't help but shout back, "That's the root of all evil!" {Thought you'd like that one, Jamie.} I think I saw a Hieronymus Bosch painting of one of those once, sort of a 'Catherine wheel of chance'. Same ad said that on such-and-such day you could come see the [name of Indian tribe] Bikini Girls! For sure I know I've seen them in a Bosch painting, probably next to the Love Of Money Wheel doing the gameshow-hostess variety spinning. "They're cute as the devil!"

Okay, out of fairness, now that I've dissed on the indiginous population of my area, I must say something complimentary. Back in college I was sitting around with my paramour and there was this demonstration of Yakama tribal fancy-dances. (If you've never seen Native American hoop dances, you're missing some amazing work.) The drummers beat their hide drums and chanted in the stereotypical "huy-ya-yi-yuh" while the dancers told a story about Coyote with their bodies and motions, and the group congregated to watch were deep-pocketed local farmers and businessmen that the college wanted to woo for money. Some were quite literally rednecks, pasty white guys with bright pink flesh around the collars because they were orchardists and owners of cultivated fields. I sat there for a moment listening to the chanting and watching the dancing, and turned to her and said "I know a little Sahaptin so let's see if I can translate..." I cocked my head and said in delayed segments, "You stupid... white guys... You stole... our land... You raped... our cattle... You gave us... alcohol and... social disease... And now... you give us money... for surviving... Pay up... Ha ha, ha ha." (If you don't get the joke, see this Far Side cartoon for a related jab. I grew up on the Yakama Rez and love the history of the tribe; a couple of my closet Yakama friends are a lot more critical than I could ever be of tribal politics and personal behavior, and that clarity is why they're my friends.)

There's another stupidity in my craw, but this shouldn't surprise me. At my work (dealing with cellular data service) there are two separate systems in use, which I have a unified interface to use. A few weeks ago someone decided that we technicians should not be able to edit details in one of the systems, meaning that when someone gets a replacement PDA or a function isn't working so account provisions need to be removed and replaced to 'remind' the system what the thing is supposed to do, we have to put the customer on hold then call Customer Service to get things straightened out. Customer Service has a substantially longer queue hold time than my department, and by policy Customer Service charges to change Electronic Serial Numbers under normal circumstances (my department does not). I love how folks who don't do the work come up with ways to throw a spanner into the functionality of those who do do the work.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?