Empathy is not Dead

I’m told that it’s just the area in which I live, that things aren’t the same in less crowded places, but over the years I’ve marveled at just how indifferent people are in general. Nobody wants to help anyone else, ever. People are too busy or afraid to pull over when they see someone’s broken down, etc.

Recently, I’ve had two pretty awesome events happen to me that has… I wouldn’t say renewed my faith in humanity, but it sure was nice anyway.

Money is tight these days. It’s uncommon that we are able to shell out $350 for oil for the house. We only use it for hot water and heat, and during the summer, we don’t use heat anyway… Fortunately, I was told by our oil guy to just run out and get 10 gallons of diesel gas. He said it’s the same thing they sell, they just put a dye in it.

So I’d run out to the gas station and get 5 or 10 gallons as I could. One day I got out there, and my card didn’t work. I’d gone with $20, was going to get $20 of car gas, $20 of diesel. I could not NOT get gas for the car, it was running on fumes as it was, but we were out of oil at home, thus no hot water for showers… The kid behind the counter took $20 out of his own pocket, and told me I was all set.

Now, I know I had the money in my account, my card was just being tempermental, so I went home, put the diesel in the tank, primed the boiler pump and went back out. I went to the ATM got $20 and paid him back. He said it was funny that I came back, he’d just given another person $20 right after me, said she almost cried.

I ran into him there a week or so later, he remembered me. I asked if he’d ever gotten paid back by the other girl, he said no with a smile, and shrugged. Had I had the money, I’d have paid him back for her.

The second time was just yesterday. I’d gotten a flat tire, and my car is kinda over the hill as far as mileage, so the spare underneath the back hasn’t budged since it went up. The mechanism in the back of the car that you crank to lower the tire down was old and corroded, and wouldn’t lower the tire down all the way, so I couldn’t get it out from under the car.

I called my dealer, he recommended I call the mechanic. I’ve been to this guy a few times now, so he remembered me. He actually came out to the house, and helped me get the tire out. Wouldn’t accept any payment or owed favors or anything.

People in service positions like that are in a unique position to be terribly kind. Unfortunately, they typically seem to choose not to. Still, knowing there are still some folks who feel the reward of simply doing something nice, is encouraging.

Anything like this happy to you lately?

 

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Things That Irrationally Gross Me Out

I’m not exactly a xenophobic recluse or anything, but there are some things on this earth that I really just don’t like, and can do without…

The male half of our species has a long standing love affair with many things vulgar, and I resent that fact. Sure, farts are funny, I’ll admit that, but there’s gotta be a line drawn somewhere. I’ll tell you where that line should be drawn… Gas. Anything more frowned upon than gas can be left out, as far as I’m concerned.

Thus begineth my list.

Feet
There are a fair number of folks out there who share my views, I’m quite certain. I also know that there are a lot of people who are the polar opposite, and really love them… which I find completely disgusting. I’d like movie and T.V. editors to blur out feet the way they do genitals and innocent folks’ faces. Frankly, I’d rather see that other stuff than a foot.

Why do I hate feet? …I dunno. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense, when you break it all down. Sure they can stink, but so can armpits, and those don’t gross me out. Hell, the stink is most of what makes GAS funny, right??

So I can’t think of a why, and everyone has em. But I still find them repulsive. I know (and have witnessed) girls who will say “Yeah, I agree, but not mine! *I* have pretty feet!”. No, you do not. I don’t care who you are, your feet are disgusting. Put socks on. I have actually gagged at the site of some.

Oh, and ladies, for the love of Darwin, don’t keep a collection of shoes at work under your desk. There are IT folk who need to go under there. I swear, I see a pile of shoes, and I instantly think I can smell feet… I’m sure it’s psychological, and *I* am the broken one here, but really, how many shoes do you need AT WORK anyway? I don’t keep my shoes at work. …alright, well maybe I do, but I work out of my house, so that doesn’t count.

I could go on longer here, but…

Spit
I don’t know what it is about young boys, but for some reason, they have this NEED to spit all the time. The bigger the wad the better.

Adam Sandler’s “Big Daddy” was particularly disgusting for me, because he taught the kid to drip spit out of his mouth, and suck it back in…. Makes me gag just thinking about it…. (Note to self: What a stupid topic to spin a few hundred words on… Dumb-ass…)

Plungers and Toilets
I’m not talking about the plungers at the dorms that leave brown rings on the floor, or even used toilets… And yes, I know that the toilet seat is the least germ ridden in the home (it’s true, look it up), I’m talking about even new ones.

I remember walking through the hardware store when I was young, and watching some older kids (high school age) playing with plungers, sticking them to the floor, the walls, their faces, etc. That’s just disgusting. I don’t care that they’re new. How do you know they weren’t “quality tested” or something?

And Toilets, I cringe every time one of those designers on a “Give you a better bathroom” shows, put on gloves, and stick their fingers under the rim of the bowl to take it out. No farking way. I’d wrap my in plastic wrap before I ever stuck my fingers in it.

Broken Bones
I’ve seen people hoot and holler over videos of people breaking a leg, and watching it dangle weirdly in the wrong direction. Compound fractures too, people love when bones jut out through skin.

I wish the goddam media would stop that! I don’t want to see crooked limbs or ruptured skin!

Okay, I was planning to go for about five things, but I think I’ve gone far enough.

I usually end these posts with prompts to get people to answer a question and post a comment about what does whatever I just yapped about for them… So if you like, what grosses you out? OR if you would rather, What’s your favorite flavor ice cream?

I Am So Sick Of Passwords

Passwords. I can’t wait until the next big thing comes in the world of passwords. I must have three dozen freakin passwords that I need to remember, and that’s just for me. I have hundreds of clients, whose passwords I remember too.

I hate that I “get into work” in the mornings (which I quoted because I work from home) and I have to put in my password to log into my computer (which hoenstly, I bypassed, but for the sake of this rant, just humor me). Then I have to log into three applications for work. Then I have to log into servers.

Not to mention the things that I don’t do ALL the time. Like, checking the bank account, or going to BaceFook. I recognize the need for a strong password and account security and what not, but there’s gotta be an easier way to do this.

The very worst part is things like when you call someone, and you have to key in your account number. Then your birth date, then your account password, then you talk to someone, and the f*cking ask you for it again! Of course the damned account number is forty digits long, and made up a combination of only C D B E G P T and 3. And they have voice recognicion software, so you speaking it. clearly and slowly. ”

“B….3….D…C…T….E…4….2…..D….T….C….T….*. 

Did you say” P…3..” 

“NO!” 

“I’m sorry. Please try again, speak the number slowly and clearly. when you’re fini” 

and you try to cut the machine off, because you know what it’s going to say, and you’re not interested in wasting any more of your time…. but it doesn’t work so it comes in on the “C”… and you’re wrong again.

“I’m sorry. I still didn’t get that. Please try again, speak the number slowly and clearly” and now you seethe while waiting for it to finish. “when you’re finished, please press star. Start speaking now. BOOOP”

“B! 3! D! C! E…. AH crap!!~ *

“I’m sorry you’re having trouble, please wait while I transfer you to an attendant.”

“Well good! That’s all I wanted!”

“I’m sorry I didn’t catch that. Did you say start over?”

By then, you’re (…well, I’m) ready to strangle whomever is unlucky enough to get my call. And then they answer and ask you all that same crap already.

Only time that whole thing goes worse, is when you’re in the car, or you have your young kids with you, and they’re talking. …or both.

Here’s another one… They (the experts, you know) REQUIRE at least a password of 8 characters, there must be a number, and a special character, and a mixture of upper and lower case.

Well, far be it from me to fly in the face of standard convention. My main password is over 20 digits long (which you could imagine may have something to do with how I’m so sick of passwords.) so I generally use just that some one for most of my low-importance stuff… Pandora, and Netflix sorts of things.

Ironically enough though, Microsoft does not support such a complex password. Microsoft. You know, the guys who make everything? I can’t use that password for my Live passport (or whatever the hell it’s called these days). I can’t use it for my xbox live account, and Windows 8 allows you to use those accounts to log into Windows… But that password is just to damn complex for Microsoft. God knows, you don’t need THAT much security on your business applications.

I host a website (that you’re reading now) which REQUIRES me to have a password that is more complex than Microsoft can apparently accommodate. And this website software (WordPress) was free for me to download.

I’ll leave you with just another thought, and perhaps a word of wisdom… If you didn’t change your password on your home wireless router, you are asking for trouble. If someone can get onto your wireless by typing in “admin”, then they have your home network.

If you don’t know how to do this, post a comment, I’ll point you in the right direction.

 

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UPS – We Have a Problem

The following blog post is a direct complaint to UPS. I will be tweeting it to their twitter account, emailing it to their service department, and sending it however else they have available. I will update this post with information as it becomes available.

My wife ordered something and it was shipped via UPS.

I have a history of problems with packages going to my neighbor’s house, or drivers saying “Gosh, nobody was home!” though they never came. I have a large bay window which I frequently sit next to while I work… and I work from home, so I’m here all day. I often have to drive to the facility and pick up my box.

I’m not complaining about this, however. There are many times (probably 70%) where the driver does, in fact come to the house. Sometimes the package is left at the door, which is also fine.

My problem is as follows:

atfrontdoor

 

Actually, it was not left at ANYONE’S front door. It was left in my mailbox. Not really such a big deal, except that my mailbox is close to a quarter-mile away from my house.

mbfdSo after searching around the front door, the back door, under the steps, at the garage, we generally start hitting the assorted neighbors houses. Nothing still. I will admit, the house layout is confusing, because I am 1681B, there is a 1681R, and 1681 fell over. To confuse the issue, there’s a house that’s on the same physical road, but the address is Goward, not Bay, and he is 125. So we allow for a certain amount of human error when we complain about deliveries.

We finally did find our package in our mailbox. I realize that “Left in mailbox a quarter-mile from the front door” probably isn’t an option in the status drop down menu, but “Left in mailbox really ought to be.

This would have been not a very big deal, except that the box was jammed into the mailbox so tightly that my wife’s fingernail tore off trying to get it out.

I went to the mailbox for her.

This, I find completely unacceptable. I should not have to wrestle a package out of my mailbox. It should not have been wedged into the box so tightly that it tears fingernails off of otherwise healthy fingers. Had there been glass in the box, it would have been shattered.

I look eagerly forward to hearing back about this. I certainly hope this complaint is not ignored. I do expect to hear back.

***UPDATE 1***

13 minutes after tweeting:

So far so good. And quite fast too.

***UPDATE 2***

I emailed the requested info, and they replied within an hour and a half:

Thank you for reaching out to our team. I have reviewed the link you provided so I can definitely see your concern. I’m very sorry that this happened. I have alerted the management at the local delivery center of how this was improperly delivered and forced into your mailbox. Please let me know if any personal or property damage occurred to you, the package or the mailbox that wasn’t mentioned in your blog. I will have the management at your local delivery center call you back within one hour to address this with you. Also be aware we are here if any issues arrives with deliveries in the future.

That reply was at 3:38pm yesterday. I have not yet heard from anyone, (it’s currently 11:32am the following day – Thursday) though neither have I reached out again yet, either…

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Ten Things That Boggle My Mind

Lately things have been hectic in my life, and my mind has been consumed with things I’d rather not publicly broadcast on the blog, hence my relative absence. I’ll pretend you missed my ramblings here to stroke my own ego, and apologize for the massive disappointment you must be feeling. So… sorry.

I felt though, that I’ve been considering a bunch of things that bother me, and thought I’d share. You know, cause nothing helps irritation like spreading it around. Once again, small things that drive me bananas. whining about these things won’t make it go away of course, but I think it’ll bring me some measure of comfort.

1. I’m easily distracted by small things (as you may have noticed) and even more-so by things that don’t seem to bother other people, or go unnoticed at all. I end up thinking “why does this not bother everyone?”. So I ask you: Why do actors on TV and in movies NOT say goodbye to folks on the phone?

I’ve talked to people on the phone before, and there have been conversations that have ended with simple transfer of information / sentiments only, but they’ve never been happy conversations.

I will admit however, some of my more favorable telephone encounters were brief. I hate being on the phone, so making telephone conversations as brief as possible is a great idea in my book… but even those discussions were ended with a “see ya” at least.

I did some googling, and apparently the reason is that the directors are “painfully aware of the ADD of their watchers”. I quote that, cause that’s exactly what it said. I’d give you a link, but I didn’t take it down, nor do I care to go looking again. Google is free, check it out for yourself. 😉

So, in the interest of keeping the attention of one group, they omit something small that bothers the crap out of another group. …or at least, just me. I guess they must have known that I’d be self-aware enough to know that these slights against my particular OCD in this case is dumb, and continuously dismiss my complaint, and continue to watch… where as “goodbye” would trigger the “go away” impulse in a bunch of other people.

I’m not alone here, right??

The rest of my rant is fairly brief, so don’t be afraid that 1 of 10 was around 450 words…

2) Why is it that you can say “This isn’t important” and “I won’t do that.” Why then must we say “I am not going to do this”, as opposed to “I amn’t going to do this.” Why isn’t amn’t a word??

Further… isn’t = is not. can’t = can not. Doesn’t = does not. wouldn’t = would not… What the hell is won’t?? wo not??

3) I hate the way people pronounce the name “Eric”. It’s Eh (as in ever) and ric” as in Rick… It’s not AIRic. Have you noticed people say AIRic? It’s not airic. It’s Eric.

4) Mirror… It’s two syllables. Mih-ror. Mirror. It’s not MEER.

5) There is no such thing as a mute point. It’s moot.

6) Seeing things out of the corner of your eye uses peripheral vision. It’s PER IF ER AL. Not PER If REE AL.

7) NOO KLEE AR. Not NOOK YOU LAR.

8) I know irregardless is a word, but I want people to stop using it. It’s dumb. Means the same thing as regardless and it’s harder to say. So cut it out.

9) Supposedly. not suh pose a blee.

10) There are NO M’s in “sandwich”.

I Always Show Up Late

Have you ever arrived for something just before it was over, or flipped to a channel right when the show you were looking for was ending, or just missed open bar? Got to the store and realized the sale you were hoping to catch ended yesterday? That seems to be the story of my life…

High school, Freshman year, it was explained to me that to graduate, you had to take two years of one language consecutively. I chose German. I took a year of German, and that was the last year it was ever taught at Brookline High. I then had to start over and take something else… I’d have been done with my requirement by Junior year, but instead, I wasn’t done until I was a senior. I now know very, very few words of German, and I think my resentment at having to take Spanish at all translated into bad grades, and an even weaker skill in Spanish than I still have in German.

My very first “real” job, I started at the age of 19. Fridays were very, very laid back, and the owner would walk around the office with a couple of 30 packs of beer handing them out. Naturally, I wouldn’t participate cause I was only 19… obviously. I mean, duh. But uh, anyway, they’d say “Oh yeah! We’ve been doing this for YEARS! so anyway, that lasted perhaps a month after I started.

That same job, they had unlimited over time, you worked it, you claimed it, you got paid. That too ended about three months or so into that job.

There were bonuses too. Of course, right after I started, I got one bonus, and people said “Wow, these bonuses are a lot less than they used to be…” after that, the company didn’t make a profit for several years, so there were no bonuses.

My next job, ALSO had “great profit sharing” and hadn’t gone a year without a profit for twenty years or something! …until the year I started.

At that job, I got an FSA account, which if you’re not familiar with it, I recommend you get familiar with it… I got to put $2,000 on it, pretax and use it for out of pocket medical, and even get things like deoderant, and toothpaste and what not… I used it for a year, and the laws changed… No more simple spending with the card for most things, but you coudl submit them as expenses by faxing your recipts… That also went on for a year…

The next job, the one I have now, I spent two years with an FSA account, limit of $5,000! My wife and I got new glasses and prescription sun glasses and dental work, etc. every year. NOW, the law is changed again, and the max is $2,500… Jeez!

Recently, I developed an interest in a racing game for the Xbox called “Forza”. Version 4 is out, and has been for a while. A friend of mine had it, and I wanted to play it with him online, so while at Target (getting some late Christmas shopping done) I saw that it was there for $40. However, the next version (Forza: Horizon) was also there, and for a limited time, it TOO was $40, instead of the $60 it was normally. I was two days from payday, so after payday, my wife went to grab 4 for me… However, it was sold out, so she instead bought Horizon for both me AND my friend. I figured “Meh, $80… Okay, not such a big deal.” Naturally though, the sale had ended, and they were back to $60 when she bought them.

A few months ago, I took a gun safety course, and planned on applying for my permit to carry… I dragged my feet, and now there’s all this gun related discourse. I’m not likely to be impacted, I’m not really looking to get assault rifles, or anything… But wouldn’t it figure, right when I start paying attention to something, it seems like it just goes to hell!

Keep your fingers crossed that I never have to apply for unemployment or social security or something, cause that’ll be when those institutions implode.

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*Whew* …Made it!

It’s been some time since I’ve bothered to set word to “paper” (in this case, browser) here, what with all the giving of thanks, rubbing of things in the faces of mistaken ancient harbingers of doom,   followed by amassing of debt and giving of stuff… Kind of a lot has happening in that time too.

On the home front, things have been pretty much in line with what one might expect a house with wife-who-works-nights, kids-of-7-and-3, dog-who-barks-at-own-shadow, mother-in-law, and work-from-home-computer-geek-dad would experience. Kids got toys, made life loud and exciting for a few days, got used to their toys are are now “bored”. Wife has been training for a new job, still in health care, but sleep medicine, rather than elderly care. Dad has played a lot of X-box.

Lots of stuff I wanted to blog about, and still do (and will) such as talks of gun control, and my opinions thereof… but it never really seemed like something I wanted to dwell on. The shooter in CT has gotten way to much exposure as it is, and although I was really quite shaken by all that, and my heart aches for the vicitims and their families, what’s a little blog post from me going to do for them? I thought a “Happy New Year” or a “Merry Christmas, That’s Right, I Said CHRISTMAS, and I don’t Care If You Like It Or Not” post or something like that would have been more appropriate. …alas, I didn’t do either of those either.

To be entirely honest, I’ve never been much of a fan of the holidays. I know everyone thinks that’s horrible and what not, but it’s true. It’s an awful lot of work, commotion, inconvenience, money, frustration, feelings of inadequacy, and disappointment in that I can never get people the kinds of things I wish I could… Compounded by the fact that commerce masks blatant price gouging and crap stuff as a way to show your love… Sure, it’s about love and human spirit and good will towards others! What better way to express that than buying someone a brick of gold, or a new car!

Frankly, I wish I could get bricks of gold for people or new cars, but the fact is, I can’t… And I hate when I get gifts that completely cast a shadow on the gifts I give… I realize it makes the other person feel good to give gifts like that, but it makes me feel pretty worthless…

…not that that really happened THIS year, but in years past, I have really wanted to poke a few people in the eye for their generosity.

And to top it all off, I have to endure the damned music that goes with the season. Endlessly happy and triumphant. Such a wonderful time! Who couldn’t love this season!? Only angry fuzzy green muppets and old misers, both of whom change their minds at the end of the story!

I did enjoy watching my kids enjoy it of course, and I was happy I could actually do better this year than I have in years past, (passed?) but I still wish I could have given more / better. As it is, I still have things to buy for the friends / family I’ve yet to get together with, and I will, but I may have to put them off until mid-month… I’m sure they’d say “Oh, don’t worry about it, I don’t care about getting anything!” …which only makes me more irritable. Perhaps they really don’t care about receiving  That’s not what bothers me… They just want to give, right? Well so do I.

I do get some measure of comfort knowing that my embarrassment and depression made them feel good. Just the kind of civic-minded kinda guy I am.

Wow, that turned into a rant pretty quick. Just so you’re aware, I’m not in any bad frame of mind, or anything… I’m doing alright, just a gripe I’ve had for years that sorta snowballed as I set it down atop of the hill of blogging subject material, there…

Anyway, I thought I’d throw something up here to make sure everyone is aware I’m still alive and well, and I hope you can say the same? How was your break? Get anything good? Give anything you were particularly proud of giving?

To lighten the mood, I thought I’d share something I saw on BookFace earlier this week that I found pretty darned funny. Enjoy! Push button receive bacon