Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cookie Crumbs

  • I thought it was already a saying but I think I just created it...when someone needs to get out of your way, say: "Step to the curb!" You can add "Bitch!" at the end for extra umpf!

  • Why buy furniture? I just skimmed through Craigslist and found tons of people just giving it away FREE!

  • How is it you can sleep more than eight hours and feel even more tired than when you went to sleep in the first place?

  • Do thay teech speling anymar in skool theez daze?

  • I miss the days when I was "hatch happy".

Free stuff on Craigslist:
FREE Half used bag of Kitty Litter
FREE fish. He's mean to their other fish. "Come get him ASAP!"
FREE Used motor oil
FREE Bamboo. Yup, just stacks of bamboo shoots

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

So Long, Tony!


"It isn't fair! Whah!!!"

"I know, Tony my Dearheart, but one cannot expect the small people to be fair..."

"Where will I go now, Daddy Carl?"

"Hmmm, let me look at my globe (usually used for world-domination plans)...Well, here's the Gulf and, let's see, what's on the other side of the world?..."

"Get your snow shoes ready, Tony!"

First Day Impressions

So far, so good...

Yesterday was my first day at my new job and my first impression is favorable.

It's a big group of us starting: about 60 to 70 people, but after a morning filled with all the usual rules and regulations stuff we were split into 4 classrooms. My class has about 20 or so folks in it.

Things I've learned so far...

  • Apparently men either really like this company or it's a sign of the economy because unlike any other customer service job I've had, the dudes OUTNUMBER the chicks! Huh?!

  • Cafeteria workers have a voice too. Oddly, the cafeteria staff came to speak to the group in the morning marketing their wares. Well, it is run by Aramark (yuck) so I guess they need all the hype they can get.

  • Office chairs have either gotten smaller over the past eight months or my ass has gotten bigger. Me thinks it's the latter, unfortunately.

  • Due to the location of the office building (in a large research/office park near a major university campus) only insane people brave the stifling heat and stagnant traffic by going out for lunch.

  • Since we deal with sensitive information, cell phone use is heavily restricted. So there are designated areas for their use. And during break times, text addicts flock there to stand around like Easter Island statues, staring at their devices in their hands, texting. Non-stop texting.

  • When they take your picture for your security badge, sure enough, it'll be while you're blinking and sporting an awkward, goofy grin.

  • Five hours of sleep + belly full of lunch + dimmed lights to see the PowerPoint presentation on the projection screen + monotone-voiced training instructor = incredible need for nappy time

  • Customer Service workers that are under 25 years old are still fit...those over 30 are definitely, er, NOT.

  • Temp workers are the new second-class citizens. We should be thankful we're allowed to breathe.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Playing Next Blog Roulette

Unless you mess with it, a Blogger (ie: Google) blog like this one has a band at the top of the page. You probably already know that. One of the links on there is "Next Blog" which, if you click it, is like saying "Yes, I'm so freakin' bored I'd like to be transported to a totally random blog just to see what I get."

That is, I used to believe it was random...

Being bored this fine late, late night (when I should be in bed righting my sleep schedule to something approximating "normal") I kept clicking it, blog after blog and I think there is a pattern. I think it flings you not entirely without rhyme or reason to a blog it thinks may have some similarity to yours. Or maybe not.

I kept clicking and noticed it seems to follow a continually updating topic affinity. That is, it goes something like this:

Blog #1.  A subject matter from your blog. Blog # 2.  A subject matter from THAT blog. Blog # 3. A subject matter from THAT one....and so on and so on.

My first journey through this thread of blogishness took me to a blog written by someone else in Florida. That's the only connection I could find since the rest of the blog was all about the babies...oh the lovely babies!

You know the type...post after post, loaded with hundreds of adorable (and incredibly repetitive) pictures of the kids, or worse yet, the ONE kid! Every freakin' moment of their lives photographed and published for all the world to witness the glorious miracle that is the God-kissed, most beautiful and precious offspring of (no doubt) a couple of world-class precocious a-holes! News Flash: Your kids aren't that special! Get over it! It's called breeding and you straight people do it every freakin' day...sheesh!

And every click of Next Blog from here on out was just more of the same, ad nauseum.

So back to my blog to start anew. Now, on journey number 2, it seemed to veer me towards artist blogs. At first guitarists then visual artists then performance artists, then anime devotees, then Malaysian teenagers. My head was spinning. How'd we end up going that route? Eh, it was interesting. At least it wasn't the rugrat shrine pilgrimage.

I went back to my blog for one last roll of the roulette wheel. Unfortunately it immediately came up 00 and no matter how many clicks, I couldn't get away from it. Yup. The "LORD Is My Shepherd" blogs! Jesus this and Jesus that.

Why did it even get started down this path? Location, I suspect. It may be the strongest indicator of what you get as your first pick. Maybe because some statistician somewhere assumes that people like to read about other people who live near them. A melding of the old sense of "community" with the new medium of the Internet, easing the nubie into the global blogging community. Google may suspect (or likely have actual statistical data) that the Next Blog feature is used mainly by people new to blogging.

So when Google analyses my attempt to read a "random" blog out of sheer boredom, it interprets me as so:

"Beep Bop Boop...Buzz Buzz" (That's the noise the algorithm makes in my imagination) "User 7458789578378552882" (That's my Google assigned identification number (which will eventually replace my name in the not-so-distant Google-controlled future), again in my imagination) "IP address indicates the USA, State of Florida. Accessing Florida in database... Result: Interests include Picking teeth (or, frequently, just "tooth") with straw, Country-music, Jesus lovin', Baby makin'. Lots of Baby makin'. Beep Bop Boop."

Time to cash in my chips and move to another table.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Orange Free State


The calorie count is higher than what I'd like and the proportion that is fat is much too large, but at least, for the 5th day now, there's no "orange".

As you can see from the chart above, orange would indicate calories from alcohol.

That's right, I'm back on the health kick and using Fit Day again.

But most of all, I'm not drinking.

With the new job starting in just 3 days, I gotta get ready. Both physically and mentally.

This blog is a pretty accurate documentation of past actions (if I post about something, that is) since I'm virtually facade-free here. That is, I don't sugar-coat anything...I tell it like it is. I think that's only fair. Part of Ric's problem is the fact he probably doesn't even come clean about things to himself. He's the epitome of self-duping. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but for the most part, and, in the long run, I think it catches up to you.

Looking back at past posts, I see that with the failures of the last two jobs I could lay some (just a small amount, I think) of the blame on my sub-par physical and mental health at the start of each. That translated down to my attitude and ability (or willingness) to deal with the adversities of each job as they inevitably arose which led to the untimely demise of each.

I can't break down with this one. I'm running at a deficit of about $200/month right now and have maxed out my credit cards. I owe Mike a month's rent and I've got each of the last 2 unemployment checks coming up over the next month already "spent". I project it'll take about 6 months to get "out of the hole" after I start getting paid in this new job.

Hopefully it'll last at least that long...

I bumped into Vivian (from Chase) at Publix on Sunday. We reminisced about the horrors of Chase (she quit only a week before I was fired). I told her I've been getting unemployment for the past eight months even though Chase contested it (as you may remember I won that hearing). She high-fived me. Hooray, I'm screwing Chase!

Well it turns out she also used to work for the company I just got hired for. That was a couple of years ago and she said she liked it but she eventually quit there because of a few key issues:

1. She wanted to make more money (ie. bonuses) and since it was a customer service only position with no selling, she wasn't apt to get much more than her hourly wage for a while. (No problem for me, I'd rather have no selling, thank you very much. And the $13/hr. is okay with me.)

2. She said they "messed with her pay" and warned me to be on the watch for that. I didn't ask for specifics about how they "messed with her pay" but I remember Vivian wasn't too organized and she was a little lost when it came to computer systems so I'm assuming the issues were probably related to her own errors in completing her weekly time sheets online.

3. Job security was pretty much nil. She said they would let whole teams of people go as business needs changed. Without notice.

This last part does worry me a bit. Being a temp sucks in this respect. You never know if the hatchet will fall any given moment. It's nominally "temp to hire" but there are no guarantees. And they seem to practice over-hiring techniques here. It's a little like a slaughterhouse. In with the fresh cows, out with the chopped up meat.

I can only hope for the best and do my part to be "retainable". Which goes right back to having a healthy body and mind. I can't be abusing attendance with "sanity days" and I certainly don't want Mr. Gout or his relations to come a callin'.

So I'll keep up the records on Fit Day, watch that fat count, reduce those overall calories and slap a positive attitude into my chunky monkey head.

And, of course, allow absolutely no orange to show up on my daily pie charts!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Time Was On My Side

Well, time is on my side, yes it is
Time is on my side, yes it is

Time Is On My Side - Rolling Stones

This week marks eight months of unemployment. Eight long months.

Don't get me wrong, I love the absolute freedom and will remember this time fondly after I start my job on the 26th. But there have been moments when, out of sheer boredom, I've caught myself doing some things that really capitalized on my uncommitted and abundant free time.

  • Sitting for hours in a chair in silence, talking to myself.

  • Going to Universal and not riding any rides, not eating or drinking anything. Just walking around, for the exercise.

  • Waking up at 3:00pm, going back to bed at 7:00pm then waking at 12:00 midnight then going back to bed at 4:00 then waking up at 11am and trying a whole new set of awake and sleep times for the new day.

  • Watching 116 Netflix movies.

  • Playing Civilization IV: BTS for 10 hours straight. Playing Fallout 3 for 13 hours straight. Playing Dawn of Discovery for 15 hours straight.

  • Editing and publishing 6 YouTube videos and 3 Jib Jab movies.

  • Writing 86 posts to this blog.

Ah well, maybe not the most productive use of my time but I didn't worry about being late anywhere, getting caught in traffic, dealing with customers and supervisors, etc.

I'll soon have plenty of time filled with all that.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Happy 5th Anniversary Koyaanisqatsi Degauss

I started this blog with this post 5 years ago today. It describes, in exhaustive narrative, of course, the details surrounding the precursor to the blog, my school days "Time Reports." But it doesn't quite define all my thoughts on the inspiration for this blog.

So here's a little FAQ regarding this blog:

Q: Why the name "koyaanisqatsi degauss"? I can't even pronounce it? What does it mean?

A: Koyaanisqatsi means "life out of balance" in Hopi. Composer Philip Glass' music was inspirational to me when I first discovered it in the early eighties. His award-winning documentary blew my mind. It summed up the modern world I was coming of age in and how it can be, at the same time, both incredibly awesome and insanely chaotic.

Degauss is the technical term for shifting the magnetic forces momentarily in a cathode ray tube in order to alleviate the inherent build up of interference which occurs naturally over time. This can sharpen the image since the photons shooting out of the photon gun are more precise. Or something like that.

These two words together are like saying "My life is out of balance and I need a way to make it better."

That's the mission of this blog...to help me make sense of my whacked life and improve it...if ever so slowly, through self expression, venting, confession, proselytizing...call it what you will.

BTW, you weren't expecting a short, concise answer were you?

Q: What's with the FLASHBACK and SCRAPBOOK posts?

A: It's a schlocky devise used sometimes inappropriately in numerous books, movies and TV shows but I usually love it. It's a great way to fill in the back story without it seeming to be the narrator or whatever telling you about something that happened in the past. So every now and then I will think of some event in my past I want to share on the blog and I use these specialized posts to virtually transport back to that event. Not all events are super significant. Some even border on the outright mundane. But cumulatively, one could get a pretty good picture of my life after a few FLASHBACKS, for sure.

The SCRAPBOOK idea is somewhat similar but it's usually written in the present tense and uses the pictures, usually harvested off numerous other sites, or by using Google Maps Streetview, to tell the story.

Q: What are these links in the side bar under "Koyaanisqatsi Chronicles?"

A: Ah, well those are 10 separate FLASHBACK SPECIAL posts chronicling my life between 2003 and 2004. During these years my "life out of balance" escalated into full blown chaos. It was quite the most messed up time in my life. But it also was the backdrop for some really interesting, life-changing events. These posts should be mandatory reading to anyone following this blog.

Q: Other than those Chronicles, what are some of your more notable posts over the years?

A: Great question! For that answer, let me present my list of koyaanisquatsi degauss' most memorable posts:


Cookie Crumbs

Short and sweet, but definitely not to the point. Free form and all over the place. As with other posts like this, my main concerns are my job, Ric and food.


ONE THOUSAND DOLLARS!

After months of financial and job insecurity, this post conveys a growing sense of stability and a renewed attitude about health and well-being. Too bad it was short lived.


FLASHBACK: July 1985

This trip to what was then West Germany is a significant point, in many ways, in my life and this FLASHBACK post bared all.



What If I Died Right Now?

I watch a TV show dealing with the facts of the natural process of death and it gets me thinkin'...hmmm, what if...



And The Beat Goes On...

Probably the longest single post I've ever written, I tell the reader the tale of my horrifying, yet hilarious experience of being admitted into the hospital.



Dreamdust, Jerry Lewis And The Android Blogfans

Disjointed and rambling, as usual, but this post conveys a sense of the joys (and ultimate truths) of blogging.



SCRAPBOOK: Hometown Memories

With these few harvested images, I transport you to my hometown. A place the kids today call "Woonyville."



A Whiff Of Formaldehyde

Ride with me in my automobile as we veer off the road out of control. Whee!



Rainy Christy's Syndrome Monday

"Hi, my name is Michael, and I'm an alcoholic. Hi Michael!"



FLASHFORWARD: January 2011

Unlike a zillion blogs out there, I rarely make any political opinions or comments on my blog but recent actions by the president made it too tempting to not poke fun at.


Three...Two...One...Yawn

A timeline narrative detailing my trip over to Titusville to watch a shuttle launch.



Un-Green Cuisine With Chef BP

This parody was funny back then when the disaster was new and hopes of its clean up were high. Now it's just a sad reminder of a depressing and still unresolved tragedy.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Susquehanna Hat Company?

Remember the old Abbot and Costello routine where Lou asks total strangers on a street corner the way to the Susquehanna Hat Company? Unbeknownst to him, he by sheer coincidence happens to ask people who have all had horrific experiences with said company and go nuts at the sheer mention of the phrase "Susquehanna Hat Company."

Well, today I decided to do a little research on the employee comment boards about the company I'll probably be working for in a few weeks. Maybe I should have done this weeks ago before I invested so much time and effort into getting it. I was shocked.

Now we all know these "opinion sites" are really bitch session forums. Usually an employee that quits in frustration or is fired from a company will post about it ranting at how "unfair" the employer is. So I expected there to be complaints and negativism. But I didn't figure it would be this bad.

The company, which for now will remain unnamed (just in case), had by far the highest number of negative posts of any other company I did a search for. Even notorious ghetto-infested boiler rooms like Convergys and Dial America had a better ratio of good/bad comments and nowhere near the volume of posts.

And they weren't all poorly written curse word filled rants of idiot employees trying to be spiteful. Most were well written with good grammar and spelling; many at least 6 paragraphs of text detailing all manner of ghastly experiences they've had working there.

Gulp! What am I getting myself into.

Already I'm stressed about the hoops I've had to jump through...yes, like a trained animal...to complete the pre-hiring process. Now that I've done all I can do, I get a voicemail on Monday telling me if I am still interested in the position to press "1" now. It was a recording. So they not only issue you the job offer via phone rather than in writing like most jobs, it's a freaking automated pre-recorded message at that!

The message said that if I wasn't able to press "1", for any reason (yeah, how about because it's just a voicemail message) I should not call my recruiter since other pre-recorded calls will be made to me at random times over the coming days.

So I have to just sit around waiting for a computer to call me so I can press "1"?

This is seriously fucked up!

The recording hasn't called me back yet and it's been 2 days. I'm getting worried. I tried calling the lady who "hired" me but she didn't answer and her voicemail is full so I can't leave a message.

Oh man. The very beginning of this journey and we have major FUBAR already.

Well, it's my problem. There's no reason you shouldn't get a laugh, so here's a brief excerpt of the dialogue in that Abbot and Costello bit. If you've never seen it, it's on YouTube...do check it out. A true classic!

Lou Costello: (to stranger) Excuse me ... can you tell me where Bagel Street is?

Man: Sorry Buddy, I haven't got a dime!

Lou Costello: Who's asking you for money? I'm only asking you where Bagel Street is!

Man: Do I know where Bagel Street is?? Of course I know where Bagel Street is! What do I look like, a dummy? Do I look like I have just come off a boat? Is there a tag on my lapel saying that I just came from Ellis Island? Of course I know where Bagel Street is! I was born and raised on Bagel Street! My brother was born on Bagel Street! You know my brother?

Lou Costello: All I'm asking you ...

Man: (interrupting) Why do you go round talking about my brother? I'll have you understand my brother is one of the finest guys to have ever walked in shoe leather. My brother was an honest student at school! Go ahead, say something nasty about my brother. Say something like ... 'he shouldn't get a parole!'

Lou Costello: I'm asking you where Bagel Street is! A common ordinary citizen asking another fellow where Bagel Street is! I have to deliver these hats to the Susquehanna Hat Company!

Man: (grabs Lou by the lapels) Susquehanna Hat Company!

Lou Costello: Let go of me!

Man: (points to Lou's hat) Is that a Susquehanna hat?

Lou Costello: Yeah!

Man: (Takes off Lou's hat and holds it) You know who makes these hats?

Lou Costello: I don't know some ...

Man: (interrupting) Child labor! Little girls. 13 - 14 years old. Little girls with curls down their hair. They work 13 - 14 hours a day. They work in a sweatshop all day long. (punches hole through top of hat) Here's what I think of a Susquehanna hat!

Lou Costello: (helplessly looking on as man goes crazy ripping his hat apart) Seven and a half dollars!!

Man: Ow!! (he's just cut his finger) Mmmm (sucking finger)

Lou Costello: What's the matter?

Man: So you put the wire in there to cut my finger? (beating Lou over the head with the hat)

Saturday, July 03, 2010

Another Template Change

Yes but it was due. I last changed it over two years ago and besides, I wanted to give the blog its new look in time for its birthday.

That's right. This upcoming Thursday will be the 5th anniversary of this blog.

I'll throw up a special post in celebration and it will probably include some kind of "Best Of" thing highlighting some great posts over the years.

R.I.P. old header:

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Ric's In The Dog House...Again

Oh yes, I know I've said it maybe a hundred times before but now I think it's finally time to say good bye to the asshole called Ric.

What is it this time? What isn't it? The usual BS.

His life is slowly disintegrating and he's either looking for company in Hell or he's trying to throw me off the sinking ship without a life raft...just to watch me drown.

That's a metaphor of how Ric sees it, I'm sure.

We all know that the entire world is beholden to Ric. He is the alpha and the omega.

Well, as Soft Cell put it: I'm sorry, I don't pray that way.

I'm over trying to analyse and accept the things he says and does because I'm able to understand where he's coming from. I don't really know where he's coming from anymore.

And I don't care.

Suffice it to say, his three letter name is now a four letter word in my book.

Until I get lonely again and go crawling back to him.

No I won't. Yes I will. No I won't.

Ha! I make myself laugh.

Why?

Because crying would be just way too sad.