Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Slow Down or I'll Shoot!

There is so much stupidity lately to write about, I'm almost not sure where to start!

I'll start with one from Mary, a good friend of mine: She forwarded a link to an article in the San Francisco News Blog titled, "'Froot' Is Not Fruit, San Francisco Lawsuit Alleges." So why is "disgruntled consumer" Roy Werbel suing Kellogg's? Did he get sick from something he ate? No. Roy is suing Kellogg's because he feels that they intentionally misled consumers because their cereal product is called Froot Loops, and the product doesn't contain any fruit. The article quotes the suit as saying that had he known that "Froot Loops contained no fruit, he would not have purchased it." I guess Roy Werbel was taught using Hooked On Phonics because Froot is not fruit. He also seems to have a disorder that prevents him from reading the ingredient list on the side of the box prior to purchasing the product. This is the kind of thing that is so damned important that it requires filing a lawsuit? So your Froot Loops contained no fruit? Take the damn $5 box of cereal back to the supermarket, or, better yet, throw it out. By the way, I have no issue with Froot Loops. I ate that cereal as a kid, and even I knew then that it had no fruit. It just tastes yummy and is fortified with essential vitamins and minerals and lots of tasty sugary goodness! Fsck you Roy. You could use some sweetening-up!

Then there's my neighbors. We have an Internet mailing list so the folks in my subdivision can keep each other aware of pressing issues in the neighborhood or to communicate with each other. The idea is a good one. However, there are some neighbors I would rather not hear from. Neighbors such as one who only identifies herself through an AOL e-mail address. I am going out of order though... The conversation started with a very good comment and question: In short, another deer got hit by a car the other night and someone asked how we can get the city to install some "Deer Crossing" signs on the road. This innocent question prompted neighbor "A" (for asshole) to a full-blown rant about people driving too fast in the neighborhood. She claims that a person is "doing 50 plus down my street." If that's true, that's a problem. Her solution, "I am all for speed bumps. Frankly, I am sick of this." Nothing like destroying everyone's car in the neighborhood because of one person who is clearly driving recklessly. "A" knows the person's schedule - she could simply have the police come down, and I'm sure they'd take care of someone doing 50 MPH+ on a 30 (25) MPH neighborhood street.

But it doesn't stop there...

About 6 or 7 messages later, someone recalled a story (which began, "I know this is certainly no way to handle it, but") about someone who was tired of a person in a "hotrodded Camaro" speeding down their street to his girlfriend's house. Apparently one day a guy on the street waited for the person with his shotgun, and when the car came down the street, he pulled the gun on the car. Continuing..."The Neighbor went over, pulled the young man out through the window by the shirt and told that if he didn't slow down he was going to use that shotgun on his nice Camaro. Nothing more needed to be said. The young man crept into and out of the neighborhood after that." The reason why the story was told was to indicate that this has been a problem that happened since the 80s.

One response went, "Who can tell us if there's money in the [neighborhood association] budget for a shotgun?"

"A"'s response: "I think nothing of just stepping into the path of the speeding car and telling them to slow down." And it just gets more and more stupid from there.

You may remember my own rant about this a while ago ("Too Flippin' Slow" from 7/31/08). To make a long story short, my gripe was that they lowered the speed limit to 25 from 30 (which I thought was a perfectly reasonable speed limit). Seriously, 30 is fine, and yeah, I still go 30 because frankly I can't see any reasonable explanation for lowering the speed limit except to shut people like "A" up. She probably wouldn't be happy until there were no cars using the street in front of her house (a street that clearly is used to traverse the neighborhood, it isn't a cul-de-sac). Argh.

I'm growing tired of all this. I so want to just bury my head in the sand and pretend nothing is happening, but the last time I did that I ended up with speed bumps in the neighborhood (previous house), and someone took Alpha-Bits cereal off the market. Now I'm sure I've upset some people with my rants about Flash™, but I think I presented it in a way that was constructive and informative. Likewise, I feel that my gripes/frustration with the cable company and some others happened after I clearly attempted to handle things amicably. There are alternatives to Froot Loops that should clearly satisfy Roy Werbel such that suing Kellogg's is frivolous at best. I already presented an alternative to "A" and some of the other fans-of-"A" in my neighborhood that preclude the installation of speed bumps.

The stupidity I encounter in my life is a grim reminder of why things in society today are so screwed-up.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Free Lunch

The title I chose is slightly misleading. I am not going to talk about how to get lunch for free, or even about the free lunch program specifically. I'm also not offering you lunch for free (it wasn't an announcement!).

"There's no such thing as a free lunch."

We've all heard this slogan at one time or another and many obviously don't really know what it means. While I think it was coined prior, my understanding is that it was referring to the free school lunch program. There were lots of parents who wondered why their child couldn't get on the program. To which someone replied, "There's no such thing as a free lunch." The reason this is the case is because someone has to pay for that lunch. The children who are on the program don't have to pay for their lunch, but the lunch itself is certainly not free. Who pays for the "free" lunch? The taxpayers (ie. you) do.

While some people can't grasp the concept of there not being a truly free lunch, there apparently are even fewer who actually understand that there's no such thing as free health care. With the idea of a government program that guarantees access to health care, there are many people who are under the false impression that this will mean free health care for all. What it really means is that the entirety of the taxpaying public will be splitting the bill for the true health care costs that are incurred as a result of someone using the program. Now there probably are some instances where there is an advantage to do this, but in most cases it makes bad economic sense. The problem isn't that pooling our resources to guarantee that everyone has access to "basic health care" is a bad idea. The problem is that people can't decide what "basic health care" entails, and when the government should pay it out.

I was listening to the radio late last week and there was a woman talking about how women are cheated by the health care system. She asserted that women are paying an unfair advantage of health care costs because when they get pregnant, they have to pay more in co-pays and/or deductibles than men do. She continued by declaring that any government health care program should pay for pregnancy care in full because that should be considered basic health care. I don't know what else she said because my face turned red and I was so angry I needed to turn off the radio. Pregnancy is not a medical "condition." It is a lifestyle choice that requires medical attention in order to increase the likelihood of success. I don't feel I should need to pay for a couple's lifestyle choices just as I don't expect them to pay for my cat's medical expenses (at his age, they are surely more expensive than the co-pays this woman complained about). Likewise, I don't feel sorry for those families who have to pay higher health care costs because they have children. Only someone who lived in isolation their entire life would assume that raising a child would not incur personal costs. It is unfair that the public should need to contribute anything toward someone else's pregnancy expenses or those necessary to keep someone else's children healthy. The only reason when the public should become involved is to assist those who have clearly fallen on hard times and the family and children need public assistance. I'll even allow for some cheaters here and there.

Now to return to the free lunch... The problem here is that people are not willing to take personal responsibility for their own lifestyle choices. People don't really want free basic medical care. What they want is to be able to do whatever they want and make lifestyle choices that could impact health care costs, and then not have to pay those costs. They don't want basic health care. They want free health care. There's no such thing as free health care.

All this being said, the health care industry needs some reforms. There are way too many people gobbling up money from all of us in various ways in order to facilitate getting health care. Health insurance was originally designed to address catastrophic illness, and employers provided health benefits to their employees to minimize the amount of time workers were absent (or as an incentive to work for that company). As more and more people have come to depend on insurance to pay all of their health care expenses and as procedures have become more complex (and more expensive), the cost of managing health care benefits has skyrocketed. Lawsuits and other demands placed on doctors who actually provide services have also contributed to the high cost of health care. There are greedy people who purposely overcharge for various items because they are needed to provide necessary health care. These are all symptoms of a broken health care system that truly needs reform.

I'm not sure exactly where the best answer lies. The caring, considerate part of me thinks that everyone should have access to any procedure that will help save their life. The practical, pragmatic part of me says that to do this will cause people to abuse this system. They're already doing that now. Perhaps what the U.S. government should do is create some standards for health care and what is required of practitioners when providing care. Perhaps some kind of regulation is necessary to prevent gouging in the industry. Educate people how to properly utilize health care (going to the emergency room for a cold is not cost-effective or necessary). Is that enough? Probably not.

I've written a lot about unintended consequences in the past few months. I'm very worried that there are a bunch of unintended consequences lurking in the proposals for government-run health care that have reached my ears in bits and pieces. Ask doctors, and they're all concerned. Some legitimately feel that their ability to provide quality health care will be affected. Some see their excessive profits going bye-bye. No matter what, a knee-jerk reaction to this situation is sure to fail. We're dealing with human life. We're dealing with a situation where preventative medicine, applied correctly, will avoid unnecessary costs down the road. We're dealing with a public (including myself) that has eaten themselves into obesity. I know that times are tough right now, but once a bad government program is put into place, it is very hard to get rid of it later. Think very carefully and learn all you can before you put your support behind any government health care plan. Otherwise, you may be unpleasantly surprised when you see the costs sneak-up on you...

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Digitally Mine

The other day I was watching TV in real-time (so commercial-editing wasn't really an option). Most of the commercials suck, and are overplayed as well. I dislike the song in the GEICO commericals with the "eyes" so much that I've managed to hit the mute button even if I have to run halfway across the room. Vince still cracks me up when I see the Slap Chop (but he can keep his nuts away from me).

One notable commercial caught my attention though: It was one of the new iPod commercials. The song they played started out much like "Count Me In" by Gary Lewis & The Playboys, but it was clearly not. A few clicks on Google later, and I discovered it was "Bourgeois Shangri-La" by Miss Li. I took a look on amazon.com and, sure enough, it was available in MP3 format for a buck. I never ordered music on MP3 on amazon.com before, and the experience was mostly good (my closest experience before that was downloading songs from a semi-legal site in Russia). The only thing to be careful about with MP3s from Amazon is that some of the older songs are clearly re-records (or remakes), which is a sin if you're used to the original recording. I'll take pops and scratches over a remake any day. So anyhow, the sound quality of the MP3s is good, and is a good deal. It reminded me of the old days when I would go to the record store and buy single songs on 45RPM vinyl.

As for "Bourgeois Shangri-La" ... I actually did like the entire song as much as the snippet that was in the iPod commercial. What I discovered is that Miss Li is a Swedish artist and her LP (Dancing The Whole Way Home) is actually difficult to find in the US. While she clearly has an accent, the vocals are clear and understandable, and the song I was interested in also had a very interesting message as well. Imagine that: I actually got a music recommendation from a commercial.

For those interested (Tristin?), the other songs I ordered from amazon.com on MP3 were "Tighter, Tighter" (Alive 'N Kickin'), "Let Me Love You Tonight" (Pure Prairie League), "I'd Love To Change The World" (Ten Years After), and "Jam Up and Jelly Tight" (Tommy Roe). The remake I (accidentally) did order I won't mention because I was disappointed with it (wish I could get my money back, but it's only a dollar so it isn't so bad).

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Bastard Song

I searched for this all over the 'net and couldn't find it...so...since I have the movie I'll Take You There right now, here are the words to The Bastard Song, because I thought it was great and, well, it needs to be immortalized...

The Bastard Song
Written by Adrienne Shelly & Andrew Hollander
(from the movie I'll Take You There)

It's a world of suffering
In a sea of pain.
No matter how much sun you bring
You're pummeled by the rain.

So what's the use in getting up
And what's the use in tryin'?
And what's the use in listening
When everybody's lyin'?

Don't let the heartless get you down.
Don't greet the heartless at your door.
Don't live among the heartless.

The life you lead just turns to shit.
Your joy it falls to treason.
There isn't any rhyme to it
There isn't any reason.

Don't let the bastards get you down.
Don't greet the bastards at your door.
Don't live among the bastards.

In this dead-end universe
Where there seems to be no grace
There are heavens on the map
There are humans in the race
There are people you can trust
When you need some decency
You can trust someone like you
You can trust someone like me.

Don't let the strangers get you down.
Don't greet the strangers at your door.
Don't live among the strangers
My friend.

Don't live among the strangers
The heartless
The bastards
My love...

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wiener as a Deadly Weapon

I just got done watching this week's episode of 20/20 and it sent a chill down my spine.

The episode was about Philippe Padieu who apparently knowingly infected numerous women with the HIV virus. According to the report, Padieu had an HIV test and knew he was infected with the virus. He then proceeded to date multiple women and have unprotected sex with them without being honest about his HIV status. Adding to the story, he claimed to be exclusive with the women he dated, but in reality he had multiple partners simultaneously. The guy was allegedly very persuasive, confident, and had a good deal of charisma. He was dating women in my age bracket. He was doing this in Texas. Thankfully not in Austin (probably).

This is what sent the chill down my spine.

To start, I have several single (or divorced, but we'll just say "single" here too for brevity) women friends who are close to my age. One has been in several relationships with people who, like Padieu, claimed to have been tested for HIV and was HIV-negative. Were they? Who knows?

Who can we trust?

The problem with trying to find a long-term relationship in your 40s is that the pool of available people is small to begin with. Then the people who are available typically have issues. Big issues. Issues that kind of explain why they're single in their 40s. The people without serious issues are wonderful people but are not necessarily compatible. Couple that with the fact that many of us at this point in our lives are less social and spend more time pursuing their career. While I wouldn't say that makes us "desperate" to find someone, it does mean that to find a partner means navigating through all of this, making ourselves emotionally (and physically) vulnerable.

Especially with computer-based introduction services, we don't know much about the people we're meeting to "date." We depend on what the other person chooses to disclose about themselves to know who we're getting involved with. How do we know if that person is being honest? Padieu dated some of these women for over 2 years. There are an equal number of dangerous women as there are of dangerous men, so both sexes have an equal chance of becoming serious with a dud like Padieu.

In the end, the women who Padieu infected got together and helped the police put together a case against Padieu. In Texas, the law doesn't demand that you disclose your HIV status before having sex. So they pursued a charge of assault with a deadly weapon - the deadly weapon being Padieu's "member." The defense contended that the women were equally responsible for becoming infected because they didn't insist that Padieu use a condom while having sex, and the sex was consensual. The difference here, and why Padieu lost, is that they proved that Padieu was aware he had HIV and that he was aware of the dangers, and misrepresented his status to the women, so their consent was based on Padieu's misinformation. Unfortunately, there are several women who's lives have been changed permanently by the dangerous, selfish, and outright deadly act of a terrible person.

Be careful out there...

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Across the Bridge

Today I saw the movie The Bridge, a documentary I have been actually wanting to see for a while. The Bridge examines the suicides that take place by people jumping from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge. While the movie is certainly as far from a comedy as you can get -- in fact quite a serious topic -- I found it enlightening and quite well done. Much of the movie was comments from the people who were close to those who ended their life. (The photo of the bridge is courtesy of Rich Niewiroski Jr.)

I'd like to comment for a moment on the answer to the question, "Why?" More accurately, "Why do people commit suicide?" It's not an easy question to answer, but (except in some unusual cases) the reason is not because the people are trying to reach "another plane of existance" or because they're just sad. It is very difficult for most people to understand the concept of emotional pain. It is a pain for which there is no escape, no medication that can just take it all away. Consider a life where situations you once found enjoyable no longer bring joy, and there is nothing left but an endless string of frustration and disappointment. Everyone around you says, "Just snap out of it," or, "You just need to get out and do something again." The problem is that none of this helps - in fact, it is counterproductive in that if the person could even imagine a way for those solutions to work, they would gladly do that. Or, consider being in a world where you hear voices and feel lots of different feelings around you all the time, and they never stop, kind of like playing a dozen TVs on different channels all simultaneously all the time, including some channels that have horrific situations or images. There is no way to get them out of your head, and they are constantly competing for your attention while you try to be part of the real world. If you're "normal" it is difficult (if not impossible) to understand how someone sufferering from depression or schizophrenia feels, and likewise they can't understand how you feel the way you do either. Someone suffering from "mental illness" (and I really dislike this term sometimes) feels very alienated where nobody perceives the world the way they do. For that person, suicide seems like the only way to end that emotional pain that is so overwhelming and so hopeless that it doesn't seem like there is any reason to continue living. Those who care about the person who committed suicide feel let-down and can't understand why their caring didn't help. Many people who commit suicide not only feel their own emotional pain, but they also feel that they are a burden to those who care about them. It isn't just a selfish act or an act done in spite, as I have heard some suggest over the years. Human beings have a strong will to live, and for someone to end their own life demonstrates just how much stronger their pain is.

If you're reading this and complating suicide - I will say what you have heard everywhere you go - stop and find help as soon as possible. There is help out there even though it may be hard to find. Ending your own life may seem like the answer to get rid of the pain, but it isn't. Really, it isn't. If you've read this and take away anything from it, know that even when things seem to be at their worst, there is probably someone out there who really does care about you, and you will end up causing them pain by ending your life.

Interestingly enough, I have another view of mental illness. If you think about it, life is all about perception. That's what psychologists say in their long-winded kind of way. Who says that the perception held by the masses is the right one? While there are truly warped perceptions of reality resulting from mental illness that are clearly not productive, I think there that are some that the masses could learn from. Take, for example, my complaints about strong perfumes being put into everything, and driving me crazy because they overload my sense of smell. Nobody else seems to notice, and it's because their perception of "clean and fresh" has been (in my opinion) warped by S.C. Johnson and other large companies who are (quite successfully) selling the idea that a world without background odor is bad. This excessive background odor (and background audiable noise too) is overwhelming and irritating to me, and causes a great deal of distress. Who's reality is right? I'd argue that the natural world was absent of chemical perfumes long before S.C. Johnson came on the scene, and I feel that it was better back then. It could also be argued (certainly not by me) that perception is shaped by society, and strong, lingering, annoying "background" chemically-induced odors are a normal fixture in society as it is today. I wonder sometimes if some conditions that are considered mental illness or of "oversensitivity" to certain things are the normal mind and body's reaction to the quite unnatural and, in some cases, destructive lifestyles that modern society has adopted. Keep in mind that I'm not a psychologist, and don't even play one on TV (although a long time ago, I played with and made modifications to the old Eliza computer program).

In light of the amount of frustration I've been feeling the past few weeks, it has been thought-provoking to take this little detour across the Golden Gate Bridge.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Political Spectrum

I decided to take the political spectrum quiz that Derek referenced in his blog. It was kind of interesting. I'm not sure whether I agree with the results or not (which I guess would kind of back-up the results, huh...).


My Political Views
I am a centrist moderate social libertarian
Right: 0.2, Libertarian: 1.75

Political Spectrum Quiz

My Foreign Policy Views
Score: -4.11

Political Spectrum Quiz

My Culture War Stance
Score: -3.84

Political Spectrum Quiz

Alpha-Bits

I made a comedic reference to "alphabits" in an e-mail I sent to someone today. Little did I know that the old breakfast cereal is no more.

It seems a guy named Derek said it as well as I could have, if not better...
http://blog.megacity.org/archives/2005/11/oh-my-god-they.php

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Empty

I'm not really sure what to write about tonight. My mind and motivation are empty right now.

Latest Movies
  • The Last Word - A dark comedy about a guy who makes his living writing suicide notes for people. It was a good movie...a bit slow at times, but still good. If someone out there is interested in starting a business where people throw frustrating/annoying technology over a cliff and blowing it up, let me know.
  • Love and Other Disasters - This romantic British comedy was okay. I liked it, but it kind of left me with a number of real-life questions.
  • Pan's Labyrinth - Not a comedy. Not uplifting. English subtitles (from Spanish). I'm sure it has great cinematic value, but I simply didn't like it.
  • F**k: A Documentary - Exactly what the title says, it is a documentary surrounding the infamous "F word." It does dive into free speech issues as well (a lot). Not the best movie I've ever seen, but it was interesting and there were funny moments (Plympton's animations were priceless!). Instead of subtitles, it has a "F word counter" if you choose to turn it on.
  • The Five Forty-Eight - An acted-out version of John Cheever's short story of the same name. This is actually a "short" that aired on the PBS channel in New York back in the late 1970s, and was what gave me the motivation to actually read some of Cheever's short stories. It did bring back memories.
Other Happenings

Smokey isn't doing too well right now. I'm a bit worried about him - he's losing a lot of weight and his fur is getting kind of matted (I've been brushing/combing him though, against his wishes). The poor guy is starting to show his age.

I haven't done anything very exciting with the new netbook. I'm sufficiently burned-out of dealing with computer-related issues that personal computer projects are sitting on hold for a while...

Facebook overload continues. As much as everyone seems to want to post their every activity on Facebook, I just can't get into it. I've been acknowledging friend requests, but am not really doing much in the way of replying. I'd like to, but I just don't know much about what to write.

I'm not sleeping well. I don't exactly know why. I've been having horrible nightmares again about people and things being destroyed. This isn't helping matters. I'm not a violent person, and these thoughts (like movies of the same genre) disturb me. It has crossed my mind that my sleep apnea treatment may need some tweeking. A shout-out to all the peeps who use CPAP machines... (haha, no, I don't really talk like that...).

Time for bed... This week is going to be a rough one...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Interstate 60

It's not where, it's what.

I just saw the movie Interstate 60 on the recommendation of Netflix (thanks!). I highly recommend this movie. Be prepared for a healthy dose of weird, though. This movie probably isn't really like anything you've ever seen before, and when you're finished watching it you'll start to wonder if somehow your seeing the movie is some kind of sign you shouldn't ignore. It definitely was for me. Be prepared for a slow beginning. You will be rewarded. If you're a fan of The Twilight Zone, then you'll really dig this flick. Keep your ears peeled for a very subtle reference to The Twilight Zone, by the way. I originally thought it was accidental, but it was most certainly on purpose.

The last several days have been like the beginning of my own trip down Interstate 60. For starters, the movie Interstate 60 was not next in the queue for me - the DVD that was next wasn't available close-by, so Netflix sent the second in my queue along with the next one. So it was kind of accidental (coincidental?) that I should have gotten the movie now. The fact that it was inspirational and apropos was kind of eerie, in a Twilight Zoneish kind of way.

I was originally going to write today about perfection, and how I think that the world is driving me crazy (no pun on Interstate 60 intended). On Tuesday the place where I work started using an access gate system on most entrances to enter the campus parking. We have been trying to get the whole thing nixed for a while because the implementation is unsafe. Really, just take my word for it, it is. Well, one of the alleged features of this system is that I can link my Texas state toll tag (TxTag) to the gate system, so I wouldn't need another transponder thingy to stick on my windshield. Great. So Tuesday morning comes along, and they had to manually let me in because none of the TxTags were recognized. Great. I mention (in the most sarcastic way I could) to the person scanning us in, "I can see that this system is really working great." This didn't leave a good impression on the lady or the other guy working there. Later, as I was leaving for lunch, the left exit gate they installed (which had been working, as well as it did) didn't open. This gate "normally" won't raise until you are nearly touching it with your bumper. So I'm there for a couple of seconds, and the guy from the morning comes out and signals me to go around it. I give a look of disgust and go around it. The guy flipped out. I mean, he really flipped out. I could see him in the rear view mirror jumping up and down making all sorts of gestures like I had just insulted his grandmother or something. Then I saw him taking-down my license plate number. All this while I'm waiting for the traffic light right after the gate to change. I am now afraid to enter or exit through that specific gate.

Anyway, what really had me pissed was that these morons never tested the system before they unleashed it upon everyone. I can understand a mistake here and there, but to have major functions of the system just not work is unacceptable.

Or is it?

Monday I went to consult with a medical professional, who moved to a new office a few days ago. During my appointment, she mentioned to me that her phone wasn't working and that she had a well-known contracting firm come out to work on it, and they didn't get it working. When she and I were finished, I said, "Let me take a quick look at this." (yes, she is aware of my credentials) Well, first off, the contractor never plugged the phone back in, which was the first problem. The second problem was that the FAX line and the voice line was reversed in her office and at the FAX machine. The third problem was that in the communications closet was some of the worst wiring I had ever seen in my life. The office was clearly pre-wired by someone who knew what they were doing, and the bozo who came to connect that into the live phone line lacked the proper tools and experience to do anything more than cut wires and twist them together (instead of punch them down to the terminal block, as they should be). I didn't have time to actually do a repair since said medical professional had another patient waiting, but I did impress upon her to not spend another $200 to the contractor to come back and do any more work (get someone who knew what they were doing).

Today at work I found a pair of fiber optic cable with the connectors terminated in the wrong order (two color codes were reversed) done a while back by one of the guys who works for me. It was not just a mistake, but a dumb mistake, that could have caused a lot more problems had he not taken the time to consistently reverse the color sequence on the other end of the connection rather than fixing the actual problem.

Just before finding that gem, I noticed that the fiber optic panel that the same person put up on one of the ceiling tiles (temporarily) during a remodel wasn't just tangled in electrical wiring in the plenum, but there was no strain relief on the fiber to the panel. So, if anyone moves it the wrong way, the fiber will break since the panel is basically just hanging from the fiber (instead of the protective outside sheath). Did I mention that this panel is carrying our link to the Internet? There are people working up in the ceiling near this hack-job, and I wonder how long it will be before we end up with no Internet service (a major problem for us). I was checking this out because during a planned downtime in a couple of weeks, I was planning to properly mount the panel on the wall again...but now...well, I'm afraid to touch it.

Installed a new Linux kernel on my main computer system. Driver from Ethernet chip manufacturer doesn't compile, so I grab the new one from their web site that does. However, it doesn't work. I spent several hours trying to figure what I did wrong and/or fix the problem with the driver. The one that came with the new Linux kernel didn't appear to work either until I rebooted the system and tried it first. Turns out that the manufacturer's driver not only doesn't work, but sufficiently messes-up the configuration of the chip so that the working driver couldn't initialize the chip until the system was restarted. Yes, you read that right: The open source driver worked, the driver from the company that made the Ethernet chip didn't.

These are just a few examples of the absolutely ridiculous workmanship (or lack of it) that I have encountered over the past several days...and I have stories going back even longer. All of these things have either caused me stress, wasted my time, and caused me to doubt that anyone cares about anything anymore.

Since I do network architecture and support, in addition to system administration and implementation and support of the phone system, where I work, I know a thing or two about complex systems and keeping them working. Yeah, I've goofed at times. However, it's my job to make sure everything just works. People just use the network and don't need to stress over whether their packets will make it from one place to the other. Most of the time, things just work. Again, that's my job. I couldn't imagine doing a half-assed job on just about anything, work or personal, because I do care about people and the things I do. I do admit when I'm doing something I have no or little experience with (like management) where I am bound to make some mistakes. Am I a freak of nature or something?

I'm just so tired of being the only one that sees the "big picture," making others aware that somethin' ain't right (it just seems obvious to me), having them refute what I'm saying or simply ignore me, then go ahead and just screw it up. Then either insist that it isn't screwed-up ("it's supposed to work that way") or deny any involvement with the screw-up ("I/we didn't have anything to do with that"). I'm tired of it, I'm frustrated with it, and I can't really take much more of it. If it were only work I'd take it as a sign to find employment elsewhere. It isn't though. The problem permeates every aspect of life. It's okay to make a mistake, but to learn nothing from it and keep doing the same thing just isn't right.


They say I'm just a perfectionist. They say I care too much. They say that this is just the way things are, and I should accept it. None of these statements/sentiments make living in this world any more palatable. I'm not expecting perfection. I'm expecting people to make the best possible effort, then own-up to and fix things when it doesn't go right. That is apparently an unrealistic expectation.

So as I go through life, people wonder why I see the glass half-empty. It's because the only way for me to make sense of things is to expect the worst and be pleasantly surprised when it all goes well. I've been slipping lately and having some optimism, at some of my friends' urging. Gee, that sure was a mistake.

I don't know anymore. I'm wondering if my next car ride will be a trip down Interstate 60...