Saturday, March 28, 2009

Another day closer to the end of civilization.

I see the worst in people. I don't need to look past seeing them to get all I need. I've built my hatreds up over the years, little by little, Henry. I can't keep doing this on my own with these ... people. [laughs]
Daniel Plainview - "There Will Be Blood"
Today is Respect Your Cat Day or something like that. That's every day around here, but it's nice to know that someone thought to include them in the calendar. The more human interaction I have, the more I respect my cat and animals in general, and the less I have for people.
At the gym today, a nearby jackass left 8 45-pound plates on the leg press machine and walked away. One presumes that since he was strong enough to put them on he would have been equally strong enough to take them off. That's the gym etiquette. Loud enough to hear, I said, "Take the Goddamned plates off when you're done!" but he couldn't hear me because he was wearing the Universal Sign of No Self-Awareness: The ear bud headset. Get that crap out of your head and pay attention. If it were up to me, his ass would be outdoors. There's a waiting list to get into River Winds and we don't need people like that as members.
Later, in the locker room, another thoughtless jackass decided to wring out his wet bathing suit in the middle of the floor. Just what I wanted: to stand in his pool grey water and get dressed. As it was, I had a two-foot square to try to stand, balance on one foot and put my pants on without littering the inside of the pant leg with Mister Pool's Used Underwear Water. It's another skill I've developed in living amongst the humans.
The trip to the grocery store is always a fascinating Petri Dish of undeveloped humanity. First, it's a race against the bagger while I put my items on the conveyor and try to get to the end with my canvas bag while proclaiming, "I have a bag!" two or three times. This time I was late, and the bagger already had 2 items in the (ugh) yellow plastic devices. I got to the end of the line and said, "I have a bag. I don't want the plastic." I repeated "I don't want the plastic" three more times as she placed the plastic bag inside the canvas one I had provided. Either she didn't speak English or just decided to ignore me completely. Whatever, I had to remove the two items from the plastic myself and place them in the canvas. Meanwhile, she had moved on to another aisle, feeling as though her work here was done.
Upon leaving, I'm continually fascinated by the lazy asses who park in the Fire Lane while their equally lazy counterparts go inside "for a few things." Today, there were several nearby parking spaces just across the driveway. After skirting around one inconsiderate Lexus driver - whose driver went inside and left the passenger - I pointed and exclaimed, "There's a parking space right there!"
I really get tired of dealing with these ... people.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A shameless product plug.

So here's the thing. I don't carry a wallet. As Kramer says, "My osteopath says it's bad for my spine." For me, it's just another wasted appendage sticking out of my backside.
For years, I've been carrying my ATM card (notably misnamed the MAC card - the "C" stands for "card") and other such necessary cards in my pockets and/or lunch bag compartments for the past 20 years or so. Fortunately for me, I'm the type that always knows where things are and, as Felix Unger says, "I know every item on my person." Can you tell I'm a little heavily influenced by television?
I've been happily going along with this method for the past ... 20 years ... until I opened the latest edition of Rolling Stone magazine and found something called the acmwallet. It's a little gizmo that holds your credit/debit cards and has a little money clip for those of us who have a little money. It's made of plastic so it isn't very heavy, but if you're used to carrying a wallet it isn't going to fit in your back pocket. If however, you're like me (God forbid) and you don't or haven't liked carrying a wallet around, you might like this thing. The cards pop out via a slider that you can customize with little icons that clip into the slots on the wallet-thingy.
Confused? Me too. Sometimes we have to be what the marketing people call "early adopters" and find comfort in change. As you can see from the photo (featuring my actual hand and thumb) the acm has 6 slots - one each for my driver's license, ATM card, Visa card, American Express (don't leave home...), MasterCard and gasoline card. Anything else, I can either leave home or live without. Those are my lifeline items. On the back is a money clip with, as you can see, the dollar that I have left to my name.
Anyway, go check out their web site and see if any of the products fit your needs. My guess is that women will find this more useful than men. Women carry their junk in their purse, so something like this might be more useful to them than most men who carry their junk in their pockets. That's why I don't.
There is also a 12-card wallet for those of you who have less to leave behind. And, as the Rolling Stones said, they come in colors. I chose blue.
Meanwhile, it's another shameless plug of a product here on the Internet. But I think it's awesome.

Never let the facts get in the way of a good story.

MIAMI (AP) — A pedestrian wasn’t in a crosswalk when Cleveland Browns wide receiver Donte Stallworth hit and killed him with his Bentley, according to a report released Tuesday by police in Miami Beach. According to the report, Stallworth told officers he flashed his lights to try to warn 59-year-old Mario Reyes, a construction crane operator who was rushing to catch a bus after getting off work around 7:15 a.m. March 14. Police said Stallworth was driving about 50 mph in a 40 mph zone. They are investigating whether alcohol played a role in the accident. No charges have been filed against Stallworth pending the outcome of blood tests.
A police diagram shows that Reyes was hit in the far left lane of the six-lane MacArthur Causeway - not in a nearby crosswalk. Stallworth stopped a few feet away.
He flashed his lights. What more do you want?
That's the problem with news stories that "allege" that someone did something or count on third-person accounts of something that happened before all of the evidence is collected. Innocent people are accused of something - allegedly - meanwhile, the actual events are being recounted by witnesses and the police.
The initial reports of Stallworth's event was that his Blood-alcohol level was .12 at 7:00am even though he says he hadn't had a drink since midnight. That didn't add up - BAC-wise - since .02 is lost in your system every 90 minutes. For his Blood-alcohol level to have been at .12 at 7:00am, he would have had to have been almost comatose at midnight. For those of us who have been intoxicated at midnight and awakened at 6:00am to get to work, we knew that wasn't plausible, and if Donte wants me to testify in court, I'd be happy to help.
That's why I wonder - just a bit - whenever someone is accused of some heinous crime - allegedly - by someone else who may or may not have an ax to grind. The newspapers and TV stations suck it up and use the eraser-term "allegedly" as though that exonerates them from any responsibility over the reputation of the accused. Meanwhile, the courts and the actual (God forbid) evidence is presented after the story has been plastered over the newspapers and TV.
We pay more attention to the accusations than the actual proof, which is sad because we are supposed to be a country where guilt must be proved beyond the shadow of a doubt and people are presumed innocent; but our instincts and desire for blame make such constitutional provisions second thoughts.
The next time you read a story or see something on the news about an alleged violation, make sure you have cleared your mind of all the media-influenced pomp and focus on the ... facts.
Allow facts to get in the way of a good story.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Random samples and stray thoughts bouncing around in my head.

In line at the store tonight, the guy in front of me started talking to the pregnant cashier about what name she is going to give her baby. "If it's a boy, it's going to be Chase," she said, "After Chase Utley."
The guy replied that his wife was in the hospital during the playoffs, and they were stuck for a name. Seeing Shane Victorino at the plate, they decided that Shane would be a good name for their baby boy.
I interjected, "It's a good thing So Taguchi wasn't in the game." I got that blank stare that I usually get when I make a comment.
Among other things, I get a kick out of the way products are marketed - particularly pet foods and televisions. They advertise high-definition TVs on regular-definition stations and proclaim that the picture quality is amazing. We take their word for it.
Cat food is marketed, one presumes, to cats. Cats however, do very little grocery shopping, so the "Gourmet" tag on the can of Fancy Feast is lost on them. His "Savory Salmon Feast" is pretty much just chopped up fish as far as he's concerned. I don't think the sophisticated voice-over and haughty looking Persian cat is a deciding factor on whether or not he's going to eat it. I feel better though, buying something proclaimed as "gourmet," until ten minutes later when I see him licking his balls.
There are a lot of things wrong with society that we will never change. Somehow, they got that way and through some snowball-like development managed to remain so. Parking lots. We charge people to park their cars, as though driving someplace and having to park was some sort of luxury item. It isn't cheap either, which is why I take the train whenever possible. In a perfect world, cities would own parking garages and people could park for free. They're in the city for some sort of commerce-related activity, one presumes, so why punish them further by making them pay for the privilege? If the government can place a 90% tax on AIG's bonuses, they can turn ownership of parking garages over to the city and make them free for visitors.
I don't think I could operate a business where I had to interact with the general public on a daily basis. Mostly, because they're such jackasses. Almost every time I post some big-ticket item for sale on Ebay, I get a question from someone asking me "what my Buy it Now price would be" or what I think I should sell it for. Meanwhile, I've already received bids on the item and the person asking the question already knows that. Once an item is bid, I can't change the price or offer it to someone for a fixed price. Not only is that Ebay policy, but it's the ethical thing to do. Either these questioners are complete dumbasses or they are shills sent by Ebay to try to make me violate their policy. I don't put anything past them.
I just noticed on Rhapsody, there's a song called "My Life Would Suck Without You" by Kelly Clarkson. And to think, if it weren't for American Idol, we would never had the opportunity to know that. Thank you, giant corporate marketing machine for all you do.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kiss me.

Somebody needs to explain to me why it takes 3 days to transfer funds from Paypal to my bank account, while any transaction I make is instantly noted on my account. Why should a purchase occur almost instantly while a fund transfer takes 3 days? Methinks I smell a rat.

The guess here is that Paypal wants to hold onto my money for a few days, while the vendor (the transaction) wants their money immediately. In the midst of our financial crisis and "this economy" I think that we need to explore this a bit more and (French) get it straightened the fuck out.

Meanwhile, Paypal charges me a "transaction fee." What is that for? If they're going to take 3 days to transfer the funds, I'd like to get something for the money they're sucking out of me.

When you sell something on Ebay (the parent company of Paypal) they take a fee to post the listing. They take another fee to post a photo of the item, as though someone would buy something without seeing it. Then, they take an "added value fee" when the item sells. It's some percentage of the final selling price over the listed price. Then, Paypal takes a fee for taking the payment and sending it to your Paypal account. By the time you're done with Ebay and their bastard children, they've sucked about 20 percent out of the price of the item you're selling. That to me sounds a lot like gouging.

To transfer the money out of the Paypal account and into something useful like your checking account takes another 3 days.

If they can transfer funds from a buyer's account to Paypal instantly (which they can) what stops them from transferring the same funds from Paypal to my bank account?

Nothing, which is precisely the point.

When I'm being fucked, I like to be kissed.