10 Minutes - It's Friday

At lunch today, I power walked down to the Barriques coffee shoppe in Middleton WI. It's a decent 25 minute walk each way. While there, I spoke on the phone with a recruiter about a possible technical writing position he had available. I have an informal in person interview to discuss further on Monday morning, early. I am being proactive about my career goals. The system at my current employer is at least 10 years out of date, ever since they were bought out last year and re-organized. They pretty much sent technical documentation back to the stone age by putting us under engineers who don't know how to do documentation. Documentation does not work in a vertical hierarchy. It has to be horizontal because we have multiple clients throughout the company. Putting us under a single area is destructive to quality and process efficiency. Now when other internal clients have documentation needs, they have to beg for resources (us) via our manager who is a bully. He claims to have been powerless to do anything about the re-org when it happened, but now its clear he played a role in the way it panned out. He wants total control of documentation. The problem is, it sucks. Low quality and inefficient processes. Just the way he likes it.

I am no longer agreeable to these terms, so I have one foot out the door. Twice I have told them what needs to happen. We need to be regrouped as an independent writing group, horizontally positioned between the several groups of clients we provide for, and we need to be supervised by a team lead who organizes and manages priorities. This is how it was before the buyout and everyone loved the process and quality then. It was superb and worked beautifully. Now selfish interests prevail and it's a disaster. But honey badger don't give a #*@%. They know what they need to do to make things right. I am not staying if they don't. I don't believe they will because petty politics trumps quality every time. But if they do, I will reconsider depriving them of my awesome brain, skills, and productivity.

All Hail the Mighty God Emperor of American Taxation, Grover Norquist!

New Commandments for the Religious Right:

Thou shalt worship no other deities before Grover!

This goes for EVERYONE!

The last time I checked, a democratically run taxation system was not supposed to be unilaterally controlled by the psychological mind control of a single individual.

This is more like the behavior of a cult leader, getting his followers to drink the economy-killing cool aid.

You have to give the guy credit.

Grover Norquist has single-handedly cut the nuts off the 100 or so Republicans who, for political gain, signed Norquist's no taxes pledge.

Now they are his bitches, plain and simple.

It was a diabolically clever move, even if it does expose what a bunch of complete imbeciles these Republicans are.

They signed a piece of paper, but they may has well have signed their souls over to the Devil.

And Grover Norquist is that devil.

A good day to you.

10 Minutes - SPOTIFY Neutralizes Annoying Losers at Work

All I have to say is thank goodness for SPOTIFY. If I didn't have the free music app at work, it would be very difficult to block out the handful of annoying losers who work in my building.

Now don't get me wrong. A few of my coworkers are normal, hard working, high quality, non-creepy individuals. But not all of them and it is the losers we need to avoid. Most of them should be living under a bridge somewhere but for some reason (aka, management) they managed to secure and hold on to jobs at this company.

I usually open the HIATVS (my band) play list and listen to it with headphones at an appreciable volume. This serves the dual purpose of helping me to subconsciously learn songs for band practice.

We have all types of useless coworkers where I work. I don't know why they are tolerated. I sympathize with their losses of rational faculties but they really don't belong here. One guy gets drunk at work and is pretty much out of it by noon. He has to claim he is not feeling well and go home after his 3 martini lunch. Not surprising that he gets very little quality work done. Another guy spends his day working on everything but what he supposed to work on and then blames all the other unnecessary work for why he did not get his necessary work done. That guy needs to learn to delegate. Another guy bitches about everything and always passes the buck onto others for both his responsibilities and his screw ups. He always makes himself out to be the victim good guy. Then there is the creepy uncle guy who likes to touch female employees way too much and once gave me a wet willy (yes, HR was indeed informed...but he still works here).

Enough said. Thank you, SPOTIFY.

Giving Myself a Raise

Sometimes when THE MAN is being especially troublesome, you need to send him a clear message that HE can go pound sand up HIS ass by giving yourself a raise. How this works is pretty simple. You just reclaim some of the time HE is extorting from you by converting it to personal time on a small scale. This is totally justifiable and a business case can be made for it. THE MAN needs to be reprimanded for harshing your gig unnecessarily and you deserve to be compensated for bullshit outside of the scope of the normal quota of bullshit you are contracted to tolerate. This is a subjective assessment but totally quantifiable. You just determine what your threshold BS level is and log comp time against the time you spend dealing with unnecessary BS. This could be wastes of time due to busy work or incompetent coworkers. It doesn't matter. What matters is that this time gets billed to THE MAN. Not to you.

I am giving myself a raise right now, in the form of a stress relieving 3 mile power walk. Stress relief is another benefit of giving yourself a raise. You are totally within your rights to protect your health and life. Do so.

Sexploitation


I have a blog post that gets a lot of traffic, entitled "Top 100 New Songs..." that I originally posted to draw attention to my (at the time) new song ROUNDHOUSE.

Since it gets a lot of hits, I decided to pepper it with affiliate linked (to AMAZON) music magazine covers, figuring that the people searching for "top 100 new songs" on search engines will be interested in music news and information.

When I went to AMAZON to score the thumbnail image for Rolling Stone Magazine, I saw that it had Barack Obama as the person on the cover image. Now, I like Barack Obama ("Bronco"), don't get me wrong. He's a great and smart man. But I am all about getting conversions here.

So I looked around for some different cover images and decided to use thumbnails showing good looking female pop stars instead. I know it's totally sexploitative to use sex appeal to get web traffic. But give the people what they want, I say. If people are intrigued by the images and click through, that increases my chance of a conversion.


If I am going to do that, I may as well not kid myself, and use attractive images in all my blog posts to garner traffic. There's a poster of Megan Fox on AMAZON, entitled "Super Fox" (see thumbnail upper right). It's a play on words, because she is dressed up as Super Girl, she's a fox (in the beautiful woman sense), and her last name is Fox (probably not the last name she was born with, but I don't know). Is that triple entendre?

Anyway, I am not sure what my moral and ethical code has to say about this. AMAZON wants me to use affiliate linked text and images to garner traffic to their site. I want a lot of people to go to AMAZON, because I get a kickback if anyone should happen to buy something on AMAZON when they click the link and go there. I don't owe Rolling Stone or Megan Fox any royalties because someone has already paid them for the rights to these images to be used as thumbnails, and most people aren't going to buy the Super Fox poster or a magazine subscription in any case. If they buy anything at all, it will probably be some random other thing on AMAZON.

What do you think? I would love to know your opinion.

How To Publish On Kindle

It is hard to find a good and reliable resource for self publishing your own work on Kindle.

There are a lot of charlatans out there, especially the ones offering free how to advice on Kindle publishing.

Don't believe it. I recently downloaded one of these free e-books on Kindle publishing to see what it offered.

The short PDF e-book explained how to research and write a book. Then, when it came to the final chapter, actually publishing on Kindle, the author referred me to one of his online videos and an opportunity to BUY his Kindle publishing how to book. Not helpful.

It was false advertising. I downloaded the free e-book because the advertising for it said it would teach me how to publish on Kindle. I already know how to research and write books. He should have titled the e-book "How to Write a Book." Maybe that would have been useful to someone, though not me.

The e-book on Kindle Publishing was no good to me, because it didn't explain how to get my book published on Kindle. Jokers. Charlatans.

FYI, the e-book was not even a very good instruction on how to write a book. It was a low budget way, that probably works for the author.

But you are better than that, aren't you?

Campaign Finance and the Law of Diminishing Returns

Citizens United may have backfired on the right wing. Campaign finance is not a linear, but rather a U shaped function. There is a Law of Diminishing Returns at work. But above a certain amount of spending there is a Law of Negative Returns. Now the right has a different kind of problem - not spending too much so they end up on the negative side of the curve. This happened to Mittens, who outspent Bronco 5 to 1 and still lost, because he spent too much and ended up on the down slope of the curve. This has driven the right hysterical as they try to explain why they were unable to buy the election with so much money. It will be decades before they find a way to fix this nice big money hole they dug. Ironically, they have become job creators even while losing elections. It's wonderful.

My Computer Biffs Sometimes, Unexpectedly

I was a little scared tonight, when I went to boot up my Mac and it had a brain fart. It went into a boot loop of some kind and wouldn't boot to the main screen. I hard powered down, unplugged it, and let it rest a few seconds. Then I turned it on again and it booted OK, albeit a bit slowly. I don't know anything about computers, but I would wager it's a fragmented hard drive issue. I have had this laptop for longer than I can remember. The battery doesn't even work anymore. I could replace it, but I never do. It works fine with wall power and that's all I ever use. Anyway, I should think about a new computer soon. Macs are great, but they are expensive.

Just Say No To ATM Fees

I have started boycotting ATMs that ch arge a fee. Fer chrissakes, this is the 21st century, as evidenced by Bronco's recent re-election. Am I to believe that modern technology has made running a bank more expensive such that these fees are needed? Or is it more likely that banks charge these fees because people are suckers?

I hereby make a no sucker pledge. Going forward, I shant use an ATM with a fee unless it is a real emergency. I can't think of any situations where I couldn't forego some hard cash. If I am in a situation where a vendor does not take credit cards or check, I will let them know it was an ATM fee (and their own inability to join the 21st century) that thwarted their desire to part me with my money.

Maybe if enough small businesses get the memo, they will bring some pressure to bear on the banks to get rid of these dumb fees.

An Open Letter to the Wisconsin Deer Herd

Dear Deer,
Some of my fellow humans are now out in nature firing guns at you. I'm sorry, in a sympathetic way. It's not my fault, of course, so I'm not sorry in an apologetic way. And certainly, one could argue that I'm complicit, in as much as I am probably going to eat some of you, if any of my hunter friends are successful.
But I just wanted you to know, I won't be shooting at you, personally. In fact, I won't even be spending much time out in the natural areas that you frequent. That's because some of my fellow humans are trigger happy, drunk, and stupid. I don't want to get shot, so I am going to avoid getting between you and your human predators.
This time of year must be terrifying to you. Up until now, humans have largely ignored you, maybe even appreciated your natural beauty when you chanced to cross paths with us bi-pedal homonid primates. Now all of a sudden, we're shooting at you (the royal we, because, as I said, I am not taking up arms against you), with seemingly reckless abandon.
As it turns out, some humans are also shooting at your natural predators, wolves. I think the wolf hunt idea was one of Wisconsin's dumbest, for the record. Now there will be even more of you guys out crossing our highways next year and causing millions of dollars of destruction to our automobiles. I can tell you this though...getting shot by a skilled and responsible human hunter is a lot nicer way to go than being torn apart by wolves. I assume. I mean, I don't know. I am just using my human logic to deduce that. When a human hunter shoots a bullet into you that finds it's mark, death will be swift and merciful. You might not even know what happened. One minute you'll be nibling on some corn husks in some farmer's field and the next minute...blackness.
Sadly, there are bound to be a few idiot hunters out there who will shoot at anything. These morons might wound you, and you'll suffer for hours before you die of sepsis or slowly bleed to death. Gruesome thoughts, and I am sorry about that. I do hope you are dispatched with expediently, if you are the one nature has chosen to be food for humans.
But honestly, I hope natural selection favors you and you live to see another year. Maybe evolution has granted you exceptional hearing or a good sense of smell, and you're able to avoid wandering dangerously close to people with guns and a hankering for venison. I can't profess to know how nature picks and chooses, but I am damn sure evolution by natural selection is real. So some of you are going to make it, for whatever reasons, a combination of excellence in the biological arms race and dumb luck.
The one good thing about wolves though is that they tend to cull your kind based on biologically sound criteria. They pick off your old and weak. Actually, this is what the scientists say, but I think it is a bunch of huey. On the nature programs, it seems like the predators are always trying for the new born herbivores and it is up the the mama wildebeest to fend off the lions. And when it comes to alligators, they just seem to latch onto the first animal that reaches the watering hole. I would think it would be the dominant and healthy animals that would get first dibs on a drink, and being an alligator's breakfast. But who knows, maybe the scientists are right.
One thing I do know is that human hunters aren't looking for the weak members of your kind. They want healthy, well fed deer, that will make good venison stew. So human's are kind of f-ing up the program as far as nature is concerned (what else is new, right?). They take down your best individuals and your herds become statistically more mediocre in subsequent years.
Good luck out there. While I hope that you don't draw the short straw, I know that some of you will. Know that if you are "harvested" (a polite human way of saying "tearing your vital organs to shreds with bullets/arrows"), I will be thinking of you most appreciatively as I savor your fleshly flavor. I mean, we both survived 4.5 billion years of evolution to end up in the here and now, right? That's nothing to scoff at. A lot of shit went down over the eons and our ancestors did good, eh?We made it! Even if this year's deer hunting season is the end of the line for you, I hope that you were able to squeeze out a few fawns (or, if you're a buck, inseminate a few does who did) that will carry your genes on long into the future.
Now run your f-ing ass off!

Time to Muster Up an Angry Mob?

I just heard on NPR that in Brooklyn, NY, the utility companies are refusing to turn on the electricity for victims of Hurricane Sandy until they get their wiring certified by an electrician.

This is unacceptable. They had electricity before the storm and the utilities didn't turn off their electricity because of some bullshit building code. Turn their power back on and worry about the wiring later.

This is grounds for revolution. It would not bother me at all if Brooklyners took over the utilities by force and demanded action. People are dying from hypothermia. It's self defense.

Bronco needs to throw down some executive orders waiving any dumbshit local regulations and f@ckstick utility workers need to disobey the law and their douchebag upper management or else face an angry mob.

I am livid. You should be too.

Miley Cyrus: Is She Too Young Too Get Married?

If I could, I would tell Miley Cyrus to reconsider getting married. Not necessarily NOT do it. Just think long and hard. Like, for a few years.

Don't get me wrong, I like Miley Cyrus. She's an intelligent pop star, and there are not many of those.

Which is why I can't figure out why she wants to be tied down by marriage at such a young age.

Marriage is no walk in the park. Unless your marriage is in a park, but even then, it is a really short walk. There are a lot of obligations in a marriage.

People gotta do what they gotta do, I guess, and learn the hard way.

But there is so much an energetic 19-year old still has yet to do in this world besides get hitched.

Why does she have to tie the knot? Can't she just date the guy for a few years, while she chases her dreams? Or has she chased them all already?

I don't have the answers. I can't tell someone else how to live their life or what to do.

If she really wants to get married great. I just hope she is really sure it is the right time and place in her life.

And if it is, then that's swell.

I Did It (But I Didn't Drink the Corporate Cool Aid)

I did it.

I voted.

But that's not all.

I faced my fear and I voted for Jill Stein (Green Party). She says everything I always want President Obama to say, but he never does.

Did I throw away my vote? Depends how you define it. But I am done with fear. I am done with voting for the lesser of two evils. I don't fear Mittens. He does suck, but only a little bit more than Obama. My vote might be completely swamped out by all the votes for the two mainstream parties, but IT'S MY VOTE. I can do what I want with it, and politicians who want it have to earn it. Obama has not earned it. Mittens will never earn it. Jill Stein seduced it and received it.

My vote isn't going to swing any elections. Even if Mittens wins, I won't feel too bad about it. The fear is overblown. Everyone knows what they are in for with Mittens, and if they vote for him, that is what they will get. The President is not king. There are checks and balances.

Even if the election comes down to a single vote in Wisconsin (which is statistically almost impossible), there would have to be a recount, and there is no way of knowing if it was my vote or someone else's that decided the election. The Electoral College ensures that my vote only matters in Wisconsin anyway. It is irrelevant to the national popular vote.

If Mittens wins, then Obama did not work hard enough to win people's votes. That is exactly how it is supposed to work, even if Mittens takes the U.S.A. back to third world status.

Obama should be crushing Mittens. The reason he isn't is because Obama succumbed to the corporate cool-aid. Both mainstream candidates are beholden to evil corporate America, because of the way the system is rigged. It is essentially a government of a third world country, rife with corruption and bribes (under the guise of campaign contributions via PACs).

So maybe we do need to go back to a third world state and just see how we like it. If my vote for Jill Stein was a "vote for Mittens," as my sellout liberal friends say, then that's how the cookie crumbles. Deal with it.

My vote is mine to spend how I see fit. I don't tell anyone else how to vote and I can't do anything about the final outcome.

I did vote for Tammy Baldwin for Senate. I like woman politicians. They are far more sensible than testosterone bloated male politicians.

See ya.

A Nazi Nightmare

Flu season is coming. I think I am getting a flu shot this week.

This reminds me of a story my dad told me about his childhood, while I was interviewing him for the biographical memoirs I am writing for both of my parents.

He thinks he was probably six or seven years old, and World War 2 was in full swing. His parents were fairly well off and either rented or owned a country place in Ferntree Gully, a suburb of Melbourne. His family used to go up to the place, called Clematis, on weekends.

“Somehow, I had caught a very serious fever of some kind," my dad told me. "I suppose it was just the flu. Dodge [the family dog] was with us."

My dad had seen and heard news reports about the wars in Europe and the Pacific, although as he tells it, the Australian government withheld a lot of information from the public about Australia's role in it.

"I must have also seen pictures of the first World War," he said. "Because the bad guys in my dream and hallucination were wearing those old German helmets with the spikes. It was very realistic. I don't know what time of the day it was, but I heard this crunching sound on the gravel driveway up to the farmhouse. Crunch, crunch, crunch..."

In my dad's mind, he saw a squad of German soldiers march up to the house and surround it. Of course, there are no historical records of Germans ever getting anywhere near Australia (that was the Japanese).

"It was quite real," my dad said.

The interior of the farmhouse at Clematis was paneled in dark wood, and there were decorations of some kind on the shelving of the house, which "turned into machine guns and they were pointing at me. It was just a scary experience."

My dad's parents wrapped him in a blanket and put him in front of the fireplace to stay warm.

"I thought I was being tortured," my dad said. In fact, his toes were sticking out from under the blanket and because he was sweating from the fever and the fireplace, Dodge, the dog, was licking the sweat off his feet.

That night, my dad went to sleep in his dad's bed.

"I was lying behind him, and I thought it was very strange because I could see right through him and I could still see the soldiers milling around. Then they marched off, crunch, crunch, crunch, down the driveway again, and it was all over."

I asked my dad if he thought the noise was caused by something else and he just imagined it to be marching soldiers.

"I don't think I was hearing any particular noise," he replied. "Just my ears as well as my eyes were playing tricks on me."