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Year One

Today is a very important day in my life. 

It is the one year anniversary of Coffeygrind.com. 

One year ago today I wrote my first blog entry and embarked on a journey of self-discovery.  A journey that has given me a feeling of purpose, filled me with a greater sense of where I fit in the “big picture”, and helped me get to the pure distilled essence of who I truly am.  But mostly, it has left me wondering why most people that I meet don’t immediately bludgeon me to death with the nearest conveniently located blunt object.

For you see… just about half of the entries that I have written involve me venting about how incredibly idiotic most people are.  Please don’t mistake me; this is not an apology… I still think these people are dumber than asphalt.  It’s merely an observation. 

I suspect that I am only protected from retribution by the fact that these people can’t remember to put their shoes on after their pants, which makes it pretty unlikely that they possess the mental facilities to find my blog nevertheless read it.

My point is that these entries are not exactly complimentary to anyone, myself included. When I think back on them, I realize that I can be a very angry man when I am behind a keyboard.  If I were to send these articles to a psychologist to use as documentation of my mental state, I would not be surprised if they prescribed some sort of sedative or, perhaps, a subtle yet effective poison… and then subsequently decided to commit seppuku with a letter opener.

As an exercise, born purely from the rather promiscuous parents of “boredom” and “work avoidance”, I decided to re-read all 30 of the entries that I have written over the last year.  My goal was to identify and summarize any themes that might be hidden within their passages.  Here is what I discovered:

    1. I am a nerd
    2. I love bacon, Angelina Jolie and Megan Fox.
    3. I hate sports, “natural” foods and morons.

Earth-shattering, I know.  This is information that was hard-earned over the last year; each bit taking me many long hours of contemplative meditation to wrest from my subconscious mind.  Information that represents the fruits of many weeks of quiet introspection.  Information that I am confident would take someone who just met me as long as 10 minutes to discover.

Perhaps what is more interesting than the published entries are the entries that I have fully written but have not published.  It wasn’t until just now that I realized that they all have a common theme.  They are all about topics that may actually piss off somewhat intelligent people.  The fear that I might actually anger someone that has the capacity to fight back has clearly kept me from posting them.  Fascinating.

So here I am one year, and 30 blog entries later (31 if you include this one). 

What will the next year hold for me?

Not sure.

I think I’m running out of things to hate. 

 
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Posted by on July 28, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

The Tragic Quadrant

Like many other people, I have allergies and, as a result, this time of year I am almost constantly clearing my throat.  It’s not a percussive hacking cough, just a mild, quiet *ahem*.  But despite what I think, it’s apparently the most annoying sound ever produced because the people around me react to it in ways ranging from the “look of death” to outward hostility.  Some of these irate people actually tell me to “keep it down” as if I have some sort of choice in the matter.  I mean, sure, I like being constantly congested and needing to clear my throat all the time.  Who doesn’t?

Naturally, this happens to me most often during my commute.  And, also naturally, most of the angry victims of my throat-clearing assault are people that are trying to sleep.  They’ll just be nodding off, and then… *ahem*.  Their eyes snap open, and they glare at me intensely.  It’s as if they are trying to silence me purely with the palpable negative power of their seethingly malevolent will.  I can almost feel the concentrated rays of hatred molecules bombarding my head.  They stare at me in this way until… at last… their eyelids begin to droop again, and then… *ahem*.

It can go on like this for an hour, or more.

Sucks to be them.

In my humble opinion, one major problem here is that a flawed assumption is being made by these individuals.  They are assuming that it is their God-given RIGHT to sleep on the train, and that any activity that precludes that should be punishable by any means necessary.

I would like to counter that assumption with the following simple rebuttal: “Go fuck yourself”.

This is perhaps why I am not a lawyer.

But, believe it or not, it’s not my congestion that is the topic of this entry.  No… it’s my reaction, or lack thereof, to these confrontations that I want to discuss.

For, you see, I have finally come to realize something that I am certain you all already know:  I am a giant pussy.  I say this because I don’t react to these situations at all like a man should.  I either completely ignore them or, in an unprecedented display of pussiness, actually say “I’ll see what I can do”.

In either case, despite my wholehearted belief that these people are complete dickheads, I have to stop myself from trying to “keep it down”.  For some ridiculous reason I actually feel compelled to make these mewling fuckwits happy.  In my head, however, I almost immediately concoct an entire fantasy exchange that makes me feel a bit more… manly:

Me: *ahem*

Commuter: Can you keep it down?

Me: Sorry.  It’s an allergy.  I get very congested when I am around cats, dogs or assholes.

Commuter: What’s that supposed to mean?

Me: See any cats or dogs around here?

Commuter: Are you calling me an asshole?

Me: Me?  No… but apparently my doctor is.

Haha… yeah, that would be great.  Right up to the part where they grind my face into the luggage rack.  But, sadly, those internal dialogs never become reality.  I just sit there and take it.  I hold in my witty retorts and avoid eye contact.  My only defense is to clear my throat more loudly and more often while I blog about it.

In analyzing this, I have realized that there are two dimensions at work here: “Level of wit”, and “Desire for confrontation”.  At the right levels, the effect can be pretty compelling.  At the wrong levels, the effect can be devastating.  The mixture of these two dimensions at varying concentrations can significantly affect your social acceptance as demonstrated by the following chart:

TragicQuadrant

As you can clearly see, I am firmly entrenched in the “Introverted Geeks” quadrant (Go figure).  And after some deep introspection, I have concluded that it is highly unlikely that I will ever stray into any of the other quadrants.

I don’t think it’s overweening of me to suggest that I am somewhat witty.  And, short of a massive cranial injury, I don’t see my wit-level decreasing anytime soon, even if it never appreciably increases.  Also… although I am becoming a much grumpier person as I age, I am fairly confident that I will never be truly combative without the assistance of copious quantities of alcohol (which I don’t typically consume); I really just don’t have it in me to openly oppose someone that I disagree with… at least not face-to-face…

Still… as time goes on, I am discovering more creative outlets for this ire (such as this blog).  For instance… although I am not the kind of parent that will go into my child’s school in-person to complain to their teacher about something, I will write a long, detailed note that will most-likely anger them much more than any direct confrontation ever would…

Ms. Harmony,

  I wanted to bring something to your attention about the last test that Sean took. There was a question on the test that bothered him because it had incorrectly identified prehistoric sea creatures as dinosaurs, which he pointed out to you in class.  When he did so, however, he was told, by you, that he was incorrect.  His respect for your authority prevented him from arguing the issue further, but he was clearly troubled enough by the exchange to bring it to my attention. 

  I have attached several articles on the subject matter, including the standard Webster’s Dictionary definition of the word “dinosaur” all of which clearly support his observation.  I recommend reviewing this material as thoroughly as possible if you ever hope to avoid being embarrassed by 8-year-old children in the future.  I also recommend that you give my son the benefit of the doubt when he questions something like this since it is clear that he has forgotten more about dinosaurs than you will ever know.  Bitch.

Sincerely,

Craig Coffey 

The actual note may have been a tad less aggressive, but the intent was the same.  To ensure that she knew that in a battle of wits with an 8-year-old child, she had actually lost.  And, with any luck, to make her question the value of her miserable life to the point that she considers early retirement… from her career, or just from life in general. (In case it isn’t clear here, I hate this bitch.)

So… to get back to my point here… To put it gently, I am not a physically impressive person, nor do I realistically believe I will ever be.  And so my brain, such as it is, is the only thing that gives me the upper-hand in any situation.  Thus, I think it is very likely that I will forever be an introverted geek, happily hiding behind sarcastic emails and snarky blog entries in lieu of open hostility.

It’s not exactly the makings of a bold and honorable life, but it beats the heck out of getting my ass kicked every time I open my mouth.

 
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Posted by on July 8, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

You can pick your friends…

Ever since I was child, I have found thieves to be absolutely fascinating.

Not your “smash and grab” variety, mind you.  No, I mean your truly talented burglars.  People who can stake out a potential site, stealthily bypass any security measures, deftly pilfer the goods, and then fade like smoke into the night.

In another life I could envision myself as a rogue of some variety.  Having the skill to pick locks, hide in the shadows and move silently really appeals to me, and the idea of obtaining other people’s property without their permission doesn’t bother me nearly as much as it probably should.  But, in this life I have a less-than-lithe physique and thus I am ill-equipped for the job; I couldn’t walk silently on a bed of moss, and there’d need to be an awful lot of shadows to hide this body.

Still, that doesn’t mean that I am incapable of obtaining some of the less physically demanding skills.

When I was a young nerdling, just getting started in my career, I met a man named Steve.  We’ll just stick with his first name here because a) he seems like the kind of man who would desire a measure of anonymity, and b) I cannot remember his last name.

Steve worked for a large consulting company and helped us set up our physical and network security.  Aside from being a talented security professional, Steve was also an obnoxiously interesting person to talk to.  He was in the Marines where he engaged in all types of daring and dangerous activities. And he worked with the Secret Service where, in addition to protecting the President of the United States, he actually got the chance to guard Mikhail Gorbachev.

He has shed skin cells that are more impressive than me.

Now, because of his background, one of my favorite things to do at that time was to introduce Steve in a meeting:

“Everyone, this is Steve.  He knows six different ways to kill you with this

Then I would hold up just about any seemingly harmless object (a sugar packet, a napkin, a marshmallow, etc.), and everyone in the room would laugh… except for Steve.  The others, I am sure, believed this was because he didn’t appreciate my sense of humor, but I personally believe that it was because he was calmly thinking “Actually, I know seven“.

Anyhow, I mention Steve — if that was his real name — because he is the man that taught me how to pick a lock.

To start off, I learned how to unlock a file drawer using a paperclip and a small screwdriver.  It was not terribly challenging and yet it was, oddly, very satisfying.  It was like the feeling you get when you successfully shoot your “mark” through the eye with an ice bullet from 400 yards in high winds.

NOTE: It occurs to me that some people may, perhaps , define “satisfying” differently than I do. Perhaps.

In any case, as simple as this was, I was hooked.  I needed to pick more locks.  Every morning, for weeks after that, I am sure all the people in the neighboring cubicles would come in and think: “Hmmm… I was SURE I locked this.”.  No file drawer was safe from my prying tools!

But it still wasn’t enough.  I mean, sure, a paperclip and screwdriver was nice and all, but not exactly in line with my ideal vision of a rogue.  So, naturally, I bought my own set of legitimate lock picks from a website that I found that sells all manner of devious items: www.southord.com. This site is basically porno for people like me.  I found a nice, simple set of starter picks and placed my order.

For the week following that, I was like a kid that ordered a decoder ring from a cereal box.  I would come home every day and rush happily to the mailbox, only to walk despondently away moments later when I saw that they had not come yet.

When they finally arrived my obsession took a steep jump up; I quickly picked every lock in the house.  I followed that up, soon thereafter, by picking every lock at work that I could without getting fired which didn’t quite fall short of my bosses office door (sorry Lisa).

I was having a ball.

I want to be honest here; Although I would love for it to be otherwise, I am not particularly good at it.  Don’t get me wrong, I can open most locks, but it usually takes me several minutes to do so.  It’s not quite like the movies where they barely do anything and *click*, the lock is open!  No, at least for me, it’s a much more complex and time-consuming process.

Before I learned what was involved, I fantasized about never using a key again; I would just pick my front door lock every night.  But since it takes me so long to do, and I need to kneel down to be at eye-level with the lock, it’s very obvious and more than a little awkward to explain. “No, really, officer… this is MY house.”

My greatest lockpicking moment, so far, happened several years ago when I was living in a townhouse community.  My neighbor Harry got locked out of his house and came over to ask me for help.  I am sure he had something else in mind; he probably pictured me giving him a boost into an open window or some such inelegant method of entry but I was having none of that!  When we walked up to his door and he saw me take out a set of picks his eyes went a little wide.

To make matters worse, I got really lucky and I picked the lock in less time than it would have taken me to open it with the key.  On the inside I was bursting with joy but outwardly, of course, I brushed this off as normal and calmly put my picks away as he nervously thanked me and quickly entered his house shutting and locking the door behind him.  I think they moved soon after that.

My wedding comes in as a close second for the happiest moment of my life.

(I am so going to get my ass kicked for that line)

Eventually, my passion for lockpicking faded a bit, and I stopped picking every lock in sight.  But even now, many years later, I still carry my picks with my every day, just in case an opportunity to use them comes along.  And I still get a bit giddy when one does.

So, if you suspect that I have been fiddling around with the lock on your door, please forgive me; it’s an addiction that is difficult to kick.  I promise that I am just doing it to keep my fingers nimble and that I will leave all your belongings intact.

Unless there’s something really cool.

 
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Posted by on June 13, 2009 in Memory Lane

 

Spanish… ish

This is a shout-out to all my Dominican friends out there.

You know who you are.

In the years that I have come to know you I have gained nothing but the deepest respect for you.  Your dedication to your work, your family and your friends is amazing.  And the pride you have for your culture is inspiring.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way, let me make fun of you.

It all started with a Potluck dinner party at my house.

I had invited a bunch of people that I work with, including my Dominican friends, and I had asked them to bring dishes that represented their nationality.  In the weeks leading up to the event, there were numerous energetic discussions about what to bring, some of which were conducted, at least partly, in Spanish.

While they were bickering back and forth, I would just sit on the sidelines and listen in mute uni-lingual confusion.  I made some cursory attempts to translate a bit of what they were saying into English, but ran into two major problems:

  1. They talk way too fast. I am convinced that a Spanish-speaking person can actually convey an entire days-worth of information in about 60 seconds.  I think the reason they roll their R’s is so that they can slow their tongue down to keep it from breaking the sound barrier and creating a sonic boom that tears their lips off.  That’s just a theory.
  2. I don’t know any Spanish other than “Por favor”, “Gracias”, “Uno”, “Hola” and “Agua”.  So I would really only know what they were saying if one of them said “Hello, one water please. Thank you.”

Anyway… these conversations inspired me to do some research into the particular dialect of the Spanish language spoken in the Dominican Republic.  For this I, naturally, consulted the All-Knowing Google Oracle which provided me with several helpful sites on “Dominicanese”.

Each of these sites had an alphabetical list of words, and their English translations.  I started at “A” on each site, and began reading my way through them, looking for anything that might be blog-worthy.

Almost immediately, I found something interesting (to me, at least).  I found two references to “Bacan” (or “Bacano”) which was defined as “one cool dude”.  Any language that has a word that looks like the word “Bacon” but means that you are cool, is an awesome language in my book.

I was only in the B’s and already things were looking up… but, then I found the word “Bomba”.

Someone will have to explain this one to me, because, according to this site, it means “Gas Station”.  But, according to the same site, if you add exclamation points (i.e. ¡Bomba!), then it becomes “Wow!”.  This can make for some interesting sentences…”¡Bomba! Están jugando ‘La Bamba’ en la bomba!” (Wow!  They’re playing ‘La bamba’ at the gas station!)

I probably got distracted by something shiny at that point, because I didn’t make it past the B’s.  And, all I really gained was:

    1. My new business card title: “Mucho Grande Bacano Extraordinario!”
    2. A fun new exclamation: “Gas station! That’s a large spleen!” 

So, in the end I was still able to understand very little of what they were saying.  Although, every once in a while, I was able to determine, via context, that a certain word or phrase was referring to a particular Dominican dish, and I have to admit… they didn’t sound very tasty.  The Spanish names for these recipes sounded, to me, like either a sexually transmitted disease, or some of the less glamorous body parts on mammals, neither of which I was looking forward to eating…

Friend1: My Mofongo flared up again.

Friend2: On your Tostones?

Of course, in the end I had nothing to fear.  What they brought was much more appetizing than it sounded and by the end of the party I had a belly-full of awesome food.

In closing, I would like to cover one last thing…  If “Mano” means hand, and “Mano a mano” means “Hand to hand”, and “Mono” means monkey, then “Mano a mono” means “Hand to monkey”?

I have no real point here… I just find that funny.

 
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Posted by on May 27, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

How to be a big loser

Yeah, I know.

I am a lardass, and I really don’t have the right to criticize diets.

But I am going to do it anyway.

Honestly, I have no problem with the concept of a diet.  Given the general obesity of this nation’s population, myself included, I think losing weight is a great idea; one that I am sure I will find positively fascinating when my doctor ultimately tells me that I need to either:

      A) Lose weight

or  B) Die

No, it’s not diets, in general, that I have a problem with.  It’s “fad” diets that are the target of my deep and relentless loathing.  I mean, some stick-thin celebrity eats nothing but pork-rinds for a few weeks, and suddenly everyone thinks that is the only way to get thinner?  What kind of mindless drones are you people!?  I guess, now that I really think about it, I don’t actually have a problem with the diets themselves, but more with the morons that choose to follow them.  I am fairly predictable that way.  Go figure.

As I am sure you are aware, there are tons of pointless diets out there that I can hose down with my stream of blog-bile, but one of the most popular ones, and my personal favorite, is the Atkins diet.  So, let’s start there, shall we?

Now, before you Atkins zealots out there get all bent out of shape, I am sure that there is some nugget of scientific evidence to support the theories that Dr. Atkins based his diet on.  But I am equally certain that most of the people on this diet are not following it as Dr. Atkins designed… not even Dr. Atkins, considering that he died at the portly weight of 258lbs.  Oh, and he had heart problems.  But aside from those small facts, I am sure his diet is the bees knees.

Naturally, Dr. Atkins’ wife claims that his obesity and heart problems were not due to his diet, and his doctors said that his “bloating” was due to “a condition” he had.  Yeah, ok, he was big-boned.  Right.

Anyhow.  I am too lazy to research what the diet is really about, but that doesn’t matter.  What matters is what the average person thinks it’s about.  I am sure that if I spent a few minutes reading the marketing drivel on the Atkins site that I would gain a much better understanding of the tenets of the diet than most of the people that are actually on it.  After talking to a few people, however, I was able to determine that the diet boils down to these basic rules:

Rule #1: Don’t eat anything with carbohydrates.

  Rule #2: Put down that roll, fat-ass!

See?  Simple as can be!  Just don’t eat those EVIL carbohydrates, and the pounds will fall right off!

Want to enjoy a hearty bowl of warm lard?  Go for it!  Got the hankering for an order of deep-fried, bacon-wrapped whale blubber?  Knock yourself out!

No lie!  I have actually witnessed someone on the Atkins diet get a foot-long philly cheesesteak for lunch, and eat the entire thing using the roll as if it were a plate.  They claimed that this was ok because it had no carbs… fascinating.  This thing was so thoroughly drenched with cheese and grease that, even though I was only watching them eat it, after they were done I needed to perform an emergency angioplasty on myself using a drinking straw (Don’t worry, I made sure it was sterilized first by licking it and wiping it vigorously on my shirt).

Now, without actually looking, I am going to guess that these people have missed something important.  I will postulate that, most likely, Dr. Atkins didn’t say that, as long as you don’t eat any carbs, you can eat as much as you damn-well please of everything else.  Call it a hunch.

I am afraid you are going to have to face the facts people.  If losing weight was easy, then none of us would be fat.  You aren’t going to find a miracle cure for your “condition”.  No pill, cream, or device is going to help you “shed the pounds, and keep them off!”.  If you want to be thinner, you have to eat less food, and get off your fat ass.  Option B, of course, is to simply accept it and be “jolly” like me.

BeforeAfter

Now, since these fad diets seem so popular, I had this idea.  Maybe I should write my own diet book!  If someone can make money off “The Grapefruit Diet”, wherein you basically… eat grapefruit… Then why not me?

My working title is:

    “Eat less, walk more and shut the fuck up!”

I may have to tweak  that a smidge when the publishers get a hold of it.  But the title isn’t the real problem.  The problem, I realized, is that the book would not really have any actual content to speak of.  I mean… what else is there to say?  The title pretty-much covers it.

Not to mention the fact that, as the author, I am only qualified to serve as a model for the “Before” pictures.  Not exactly New York Times Bestseller material.

I know!  I could put recipes in it!  How’s this sound?

Exclusive Book Excerpt:

You don’t need to change your whole diet, you just need to adjust it a bit.  Have a favorite meal?  Just modify the recipe slightly to make it more healthy.  Let’s use Chicken Cutlet Parmesan as an example…

Instead of breaded and fried chicken cutlets, try lightly seasoning the chicken breasts and steaming them instead.  Substitute the whole milk mozzarella with some part-skim.  Finally, try a low sodium tomato sauce instead of your usual Ragu.  Otherwise, combine the ingredients in exactly the same way!  Trust me, when you taste the result, you will likely lose your appetite or, perhaps, even your previous meal.  You should quickly see a noticeable reduction in your waistline.

I am sure this would be an immediate hit.

Well, as long as nobody ever found out that the author looks like Grimace.

That could just be our little secret.

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Powers Corrupt

Have you ever had the “If I was a Superhero” conversation with your friends?

That’s the one where you all decide what powers you would have if you were ever unceremoniously dumped into a vat of toxic yogurt, or bitten by a radioactive weevil, and then you spend several hours arguing over who could kick who’s ass.  These arguments can get quite heated, especially if there is a comic-book nerd in the group.

Super

Everyone has their own opinions about which powers are the best ones.  Some people choose to be almost impervious to damage (like Wolverine), others choose to have almost infinite strength (like the Hulk), I always choose the ability to stop time (like Einstein).  I figure that, given infinite time, I can defeat anything.

For instance, in a fight with the other two, I would just taunt the Hulk until he was in a frothing “Hulk Smash!” rage, wait until he wound up for the full-on overhead two-handed pile-driver, and then stop time and put Wolverine in my place.  Naturally, I would then “pants” them both, before walking a safe distance away and starting time again.

Wolverine: Hey bub.  Why don’t you-  what the!?

*The Hulk’s fists crash down with impossible force, instantly liquifying Wolverine*

Hulk: Hulk mom NOT “so fat she need own zip code”!

*Hulk smashes his fists down again, just to be sure and then stops… breathing heavily*

Hulk: Hulk feel better now… but… why wang feel cold?

If you haven’t had this conversation with your friends yet (the one about being a super-hero, not the one about Hulk’s wang), you should try it.  The powers they choose can tell you alot about them, and the resulting arguments over who’s superhero is best can be positively scintillating, especially if everyone has been thoroughly basted in liberal quantities of alcohol first.

Anyhow, I mention this exercise because when my mind is idle, I frequently think about how I would wildly abuse my powers to change this pathetic world to better suit my needs.  I mean, what good is having super-human powers if you can’t use them for your own personal gain, right?

For example…

When I am driving, and I see some douchebag racing along, weaving in and out of traffic, and my blood-pressure starts to rise at a rapid rate, it makes me feel like choke-slapping them with a tire-iron.  But, instead, I simply close my eyes and imagine what my super alter-ego would do…

In this situation, I would stop time, calmly exit my vehicle, walk over to the, now stationary, speeding asshat-mobile and cheerfully carve a six inch gash into all four tires with a box-cutter.  When time was restarted, his (or her) car would careen off the road in a fantastic fiery wreck.

Ahhhh… sweet justice.

Then, of course, I would open my eyes only to realize that, for the last 30 seconds, I have been driving 70 on a crowded highway with my eyes closed and I would swerve all over the road in a desperate effort to regain control.

But that is not the point!

The point is that there are many situations that could benefit from a super-powered kick in the ass.  For instance, I frequently daydream about all the good I could do at work:

Cecil: Welcome to the seemingly-never-ending meeting that accomplishes nothing but to consume your valuable time.  I am glad you were all able to make it, even though you clearly had no choice.  Let’s start with… wait… we don’t have an agenda.  Silly me… we never do! *Cecil laughs*

*There is a brief, disorienting flash of light and a rustle of papers*

Cecil: What the-… Where’d everyone go?  What is that smell… *sniff*… bacon?  And where the hell are my pants!?

No need to thank me, citizens!  I am just doing my job!

Yeah… if I had super-powers, I would strive to make the world a better place for nerds everywhere!  I would fight the oppressive hordes of idiots that plague this planet!  I would strike at the source of the problem: Reality Television!  And I would show no mercy!

I have the plan.

I have the yogurt (all of which is toxic, in my opinion).

Now all I need is a cool costume and a catchy name.

 
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Posted by on April 1, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

How dumb are we?

I am no financial expert; I have never even balanced a checkbook, so, I’ll keep this short.

But I just have to say something about this whole “bailout” mess that we are in right now.

Specifically, I want to react to something I recently read on CNN.com.

In this article, the Chairman of AIG (a company that got $170 billion in bailout money) said the following about the payment of huge bonuses using that money (OUR money):

“There are serious legal, as well as business consequences for not paying.”

Are you fucking kidding me!?

Of course there are going to be legal and business consequences!  When you destroy a company, there are supposed to be consequences!  But, since you ran your company into the ground, don’t you think you should suffer them?  This money wasn’t given to you so that you could conduct “business as usual”!  Nor was it given to you so that you could make a couple more payments on your spare maserati, ya’ dumb fucks!

Seriously… who had the bright idea to give hundreds of billions of dollars to people who appear to spend money like drunken sailors?  Without any consideration for what they actually spend it on?  Isn’t that like “bailing out” a person who is addicted to gambling by giving them money while they are still in the same Casino they just lost their life savings in?  “Now, I’m trusting that you won’t spend this here… even though I am paying you in chips.”

It doesn’t take a degree in economics to figure out what the outcome of that would be.

As for the suggestion that you need to pay these bonuses otherwise you will lose talented people to other companies?  Really?  You’re serious?  Read a paper lately?  We’re all fairly screwed here.  Where exactly do you think they are going to go?

You people are really amazing.

We were incredibly stupid to give you more money to burn.

 
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Posted by on March 17, 2009 in Gripes

 

Workin’ Hardly

I’ve been doing some soul-searching lately (I’m running a bit low on souls).

You see, I’m always trying to figure out what makes me “tick”, and I am constantly amazed at how difficult a task that is.  You’d think that I would know why I think and act the way that I do.  But, I seriously think that I have an easier time figuring out other people than I do myself.

Me: So… How was your day?

Myself: Stop trying to psychoanalyze me!

Me: Bitch!

Myself: Your mama’s a bitch!

I: Would you both shut the hell up!?

Me & Myself (meekly): Sorry.

I’m a douchebag.

I truly sympathize with you folks.

But, despite my uncooperative nature, I have somehow been able to discern at least one very important aspect of my being.  At my core… deep in my nougaty center… I am a lazy sot.  I would rather spend my days sitting on the couch, harvesting Cheetos crumbs off my belly/snack-table, imbibing copious quantities of root beer and playing computer games instead of… ya’ know… working.

No, really, it’s true!

And yet, surrounding that core, like a creamy caramel coating, is my “work ethic”.  Always at constant war with it’s lethargic sibling.  Using every weapon in its vast arsenal to motivate me.  Forcing me to do my job, even when my job sucks… alot.

In summary, my “lazy sot” side compels me to do as little work as possible, whereas my “work ethic” side demands that I do it… no matter what.  I’ll get the job done… I’ll just do it without expending too much energy in the process.  The result can sometimes be viewed as “efficient”, but I can assure you that this is not by design.

For example, one of the byproducts of this distinct mental condition is that I have elevated procrastination to an art-form.  I wait until the last possible minute to do work on any project that is assigned to me.  This active procrastination has produced two surprising results that I have observed thus far:

    1. I have become quite good at “scrambling” to complete projects in a short timeframe, which has given me a fair reputation as someone that “gets things done”.
    2. Many projects have been de-railed before I got to work on them, and thus procrastination has frequently saved me from wasting time.

ProjectTimeline

In fact, I would argue that procrastination is extremely appropriate in many cases.

Sure, I could work on parts of a project over time, as my schedule permits, instead of waiting until the “do or die” point.  But in some cases, doing things in numerous low-energy bursts over a long period of time isn’t as efficient; kinda like emptying a swimming pool with a dixie cup.

I think I’ll just stick with my way.

And, as luck would have it, I manage a group of people who are… largely no different.  Don’t get me wrong, I have the most talented group of engineers in the entire company, and I would not trade a single one of them! (unless it was for Angelina Jolie)

Just sit in a single one of our staff meetings, and you will never question how we are able get things done… you will, instead, question how we are able focus long enough to make it all the way into work without the aid of a guide armed with a cattle-prod. (Oh, or Megan Fox.  I’d trade two of them for her)

The Magazine Engineering Group gathers for their weekly staff meeting…

 

(the names have been changed for their protection)

Me: Ok, let’s get started.  Paco, how’s the DAM upgrade going?  Paco…?  Paco!?

Paco looks up from his BlackBerry, annoyed at being disturbed

Paco (grumpily): What!?  It’s fine!  It’ll be done on-time!

Me: It was due last week.  Ok, whatever, nevermind.  Pedro, what’s the status of the Research System project?

Pedro: What color would you say this shirt is?

Me: I don’t know, it looks like… wait… what?

The rest of the group studiously ignores me as they deliberate about this crucial topic and ultimately decide that it is, in fact, “Periwinkle”

Me (patiently): Research System…?

Pedro: What? Oh, yeah… it’s done.

Me: Ok, great.  Shane… how you doing with the database server migration?

Shane (waking up suddenly): WHAT?!  I wasn’t anywhere near that server!  That’s not my SCSI cable!  You can’t prove anything!

The meetings typically go on like this until we get kicked out of the conference room.

Naturally, I am exaggerating here… really… I am…

But back to the topic…

So, I ask myself, what have I learned from this deep introspection?  I have learned that I would hate to be my Psychiatrist.  I have learned that I have a severe allergy to planning (sorry Aggie).  And I have learned that I actually like what I do at work (yeah, surprised me too).

I’d dive even deeper into my psyche, but my boss reads my blog, and I think I’ve damaged my career enough for one night.

Besides, those Cheetos crumbs aren’t going to harvest themselves!

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2009 in Uncategorized

 

Au Nauturale

When you’ve written a blog entry dedicated to your aberrant love of bacon, people tend to discount your opinions about things that are all-natural.  I suppose I cannot blame them.  I mean, I am not exactly what you’d call a health nut, after all.  But, there is no question about it… most UN-natural foods taste much better than their all-natural counterparts.

I attribute this phenomenon to the fact that un-natural foods embrace the addition of “flavors” to make them tasty, and “preservatives” to keep them tasty.  Whereas most all-natural foods are “pure” and “unmolested”, which means that they will rapidly degrade until they taste, look, feel and smell like the contents of a fully-loaded diaper.

NOTE: They probably sound like it too and, although I don’t have any empirical evidence to prove it, I imagine it sounding like: *pbth*

A favorite of all-natural acolytes the world around is a substance called granola, which is a mixture of rolled oats, nuts and dried fruit that looks like a forest creature’s wet dream.  Whenever I see a human being choking it down, and forcing themselves to look like they are actually enjoying it, it makes me sad.  Because, lets face it folks, anyone that thinks granola doesn’t have the flavor and consistency of driveway gravel is seriously delusional.

GranolaGravel

But this is not about flavor; if you want to subsist on food that tastes like garden mulch, that’s your prerogative.  No, this is not about flavor at all.  This is about something much more important.  This is about Defending the Human Race! 

Allow me to explain…

Natural, as per my dictionary of choice (www.dictionary.com), means:

“Existing in, or formed by nature”

That makes sense..  and nature is defined as:

“The elements of the natural world, as mountains, trees, animals, or rivers”

That sounds like the nature I know and love!  So, animals are part of nature and anything created by them is natural.  Awesome.  So far, that makes perfect sense.

Keep in mind that humans are animals too, just like… say… a beaver (although larger, and with smaller incisors).  And, when a beaver painstakingly constructs his dam… that’s natural; we don’t say that it’s beaver-made, right?

Ok… hold that thought… because here’s where the English language, once again, takes an interesting turn.  The SAME dictionary also defines nature as:

“The natural world as it exists without human beings or civilization

Wait… so, humans are no longer part of the natural order of the Earth?

I must have missed the memo.

At what point did we decide that everything that humans touch is an abomination to the natural world?  Seriously… who decides these things?  Is there some elusive society of human-hating humans that plots for their own demise?  Some secret grand council of nature-loving granola-eaters?  The Treeluminati?

Somewhere, deep in a cave at an uknown location, the leaders of the Treeluminati meet to review their diabolical plans…

Cypress: How is our diabolical plan to exterminate all humans going?

Sequoia: Quite well, actually.  Just last week, we were able to convince the dictionary makers that humans aren’t actually part of nature.

Willow: At this rate, within 10 years humans will be so disgusted with their own existence that they will willingly hurl themselves into the vacuum of space.

Cypress: Excellent!  That’s years ahead of schedule!  Good work!

Pleased with their progress, they all pile into their hybrid cars and make the long drive back to their solar-powered homes to watch Dancing with the Stars which is likely sponsored by Exxon.

You never know… they might exist!

And, it’s not just the loose definition of the word “nature” that bothers me.  I also resent the implication that just because something is natural that it is good for you.  Because I can confidently tell you that, while hemlock is perfectly natural, you will find it dramatically unpleasant to ingest (Just ask Socrates!).

So, if you want to eat food that is good for you, I suggest to read an ingredients label every once in a while, because, I can tell you that all-natural doesn’t always mean what you think it does.  Don’t trust the promises of marketing departments.

But above all else, please stop trying to convince me to eat any of that slop.  I’ll stick with my high-fructose corn syrup and sodium benzoate, thank you very much.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2009 in Gripes

 

Cell’f-Centered

I keep a list entitled “Things that annoy me”, that I sometimes use as fuel for blog entries.  As I discover new things that piss me off, which I do with alarming frequency, I add to this list.  Keep in mind, I usually add to it when I am actively being aggravated by something, so the entries are not always useful, but they are almost always profane.  Entries can be as specific as: “Those fucking plastic covers on CD cases” or as general as: “People”.

Occasionally, however, when I review this list I see something worthwhile; a wee little nugget of information that fans the flames of my blogging furnace.  In my latest list review I discovered a small pattern relating to cell phones and the people that use them.  Apparently, just about anything you can do with a cell phone annoys the hell out of me.  This is supported even further by the fact that whenever I see someone walking around, talking on a cell phone, I feel like donkey-kicking them into oncoming traffic.

At first blush, you might think I am an anomaly… a nerd who hates cell phones.  But, I don’t think that’s really the case here.  I, personally love my BlackBerry more than Oxygen, and wish to be buried with it;  I am almost certain that I spend more time with it than I do with my kids.  No… if you read each of my gripes below, I guess it’d be more accurate to say that I hate people who use cell phones.

For instance…

First on my list are people who use “hands free” kits with their cell phones, but hold the microphone to their mouths.  If it is not instantly and abundantly obvious to you why this is mind-numbingly stupid, then I have no respect for you, but I grudgingly forgive you.  If, however, you are actually one of these people, then I do not forgive you; you are unforgivably stupid.

Similarly, there are the people who keep moving the cell phone away from their ear and closer to the mouth when they speak, then moving it back to their ear to listen.  Somewhere, in their tiny little lizard brains, they believe that they are making their voice sound clearer. When, in fact, since the microphone is designed to be a certain distance away from their mouths, it is probably overloaded and they sound more like a cement mixer filled with broken glass.

Next up on the docket are people that leave their Bluetooth headsets in their ear all the time.  I am not quite certain what the thinking is here.  I guess they think this is the best way to be able to very quickly pick up their cell phone when it rings.  As if there is a prize for answering calls in less rings than everyone else, or a punishment if they do not…

*ring*… *ring*… *ring*…

Cecil: Hello, this is Cecil P. Douchemeyer the third, how can I help you?

Bob: Cecil?  This is Bob, your boss.  It took you three rings to answer the phone.  I’m giving the Peterson account to Johnson.

Some of them, I am sure, think that they look totally cool.  They believe their headset puts them on the bleeding edge of technology, into the upper echelon of the technically elite.  When, in fact, they really just look like utter tools.  I suppose when bluetooth headsets were new, like a decade ago, it might have been some sort of status symbol, but now that they sell them in grocery stores, I think the shine has worn off a bit.

BlueTooth

I get all warm and fuzzy inside when I think about the destructive radio waves that are constantly bombarding their sad little brains.

Last, but certainly not least, if you have read any of my other blog entries you know that I ride the Long Island Rail Road into, and eventually out of, work every day.  Those of you that are familiar with the LIRR probably think I am going to say that I hate people that talk loudly on cell phones while they are on the train.  Since they (the LIRR, not the annoying people) even have an ad campaign dedicated to that very problem, you’d probably be willing to bet your jobs on it.  Well, pack your shit in a box, because that’s not it!  What annoys me is… when people talk loudly… period.  The cell phone really doesn’t enter into it; frankly, neither does the train.

On one occasion, I actually had to endure 45 minutes of loud conversation about American Idol that was so insipid that I would jump at the opportunity to use a mellon-baller to remove the brain-matter that contains the memory.  They were arguing over the merits of each contestant with the same passion that sane people would argue about presidential candidates.  I entered that arduous 45 minutes hating American Idol, but I left it with a burning desire to beat and urinate on anyone that even mentions the show.

And there was not a cell phone in sight!

So, you may be wondering what this has to do with my blog entry.  What gets my goat here, is the ad campaign itself!  The LIRR wastes a ton of energy targeting people that talk loudly on cell phones, and yet they seem to condone being a loud-mouthed idiot!?  Where is the justice in that?

No matter what you say, my occasional whispered cell phone conversations about work are not more annoying than your long and detailed conversation with your friend about your recent colonoscopy.

On my planet, the railroad campaigns would be slightly different…

“Attention Long Island Rail Road passengers.  Thank you for being part of our ‘Smart Train’ campaign.  If you have the I.Q. of spackling compound please exit the train now; don’t wait for it to stop.  Thank you.”

Hahaha… Oh, the ride into work would be so much more pleasant with only the occasional muffled *splat* to interrupt an otherwise blissfully silent journey.

If only…

So, in conclusion, as with most technology, I’d be perfectly content with it if we could just get rid of the retarded users.

Educate, or eradicate… whichever.

Let’s work on that, ok?

 
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Posted by on January 21, 2009 in Gripes