Friday, May 30, 2014

conversations at work

Episode no. whatever.  I just have a gift for starting conversations in the most unprofessional manner.  Gotta work on that.

Carrie [10:24]:
Do you know if there is someone laying cable today?
Robert [10:24]:
that's just gross
Carrie [10:25]:
THAT'S just gross

That special time of year?

I don't know what it is, but this seems to be the time of year that everyone I know, along with their nephew's cousin's uncle's former roommate to Disneyland this week.  Not just a few select individuals either, there is a solid seven people I know all going and they aint going together cause they don't' know each other.  Yet somehow this is the time they all seem to synchronize their visit (almost perfectly,too).  Things like this are liable turn me into some kind of conspiracy theorist.

In other news I did manage to meet a girl that not only got a random joke I made referencing George Orwell's Nineteen Eighty Four, but told me that she is constantly frustrated by the amount of people who never get her frequent references to it, too.  We spend a good amount of time doing nothing but that for a while and laughing our butts off.  Needless to say, I think she's worth asking out.  Now I just gotta figure out how in the world to do that in Newspeak.  Maybe if told her that my Eastasia wants to go to war with her Eurasia?  Yeah, I'm not really good at these kind of things.  Maybe we can go watch Brazil or something.

Oh and as I was about to post this, it appears my brother had to ride the train back early from downtown so that he can give me my keys back, which he forgot he was carrying in his pocket.  Yeah, that could have been bad.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

up the Hill

I'm probably the only guy in the world with exact opposite problem:

Funny that I do noting but rant and rave about how cool it is that I live right under the flight path of every single F-16 in existence, and can hear them all time.  But the moment my family comes by, they cease to show even once because of the federal holiday weekend.  Sheesh. 

Sunday, May 25, 2014

A time for all things

such as not having a lot of time.  The family is here today, but soon there will only be two.  Never enough time.

Friday, May 23, 2014

The American pastime

Had a coworker come by my department asking if anyone wanted to get some free tickets to a baseball game, that she won in a drawing, but didn't want.  Obviously there were no takers, as the IT crowd are not a very sports oriented bunch.

Later, I had to let her know the error of her ways.  I reminded her that she is a very attractive young woman, and that if she really didn't want to go she should have offered both the tickets individually to a couple of disliked people while implying that they would be going with her... Yeah, I am a never ending source of useful advice to the rising generation.

The day of reckoning has come

Well, wish me luck, as it has come time that the seas boil, the mountains shake, the sky darken, the dead rise, and the heavens scream.  Today my brother is coming up and will be spending the next two months living with me, so I hope I don't screw it up.

In other news, maybe for the first time in a while I'll actually be able to secure a date, despite the terrible timing.

Not much to say other than wishing everyone a relaxing weekend!

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Finally! a card game I can get into.

I love the playing the game Apples to Apples at parties, but I'm always losing because I always love the most twisted and dark answers the best, which no one else likes.  Also getting chewed out afterwards for ruining everyone's set of blank cards by writing "horrific things" on them doesn't help my case.

But I shall worry no more, for I have found the ultimate card game.  You know it's good when they not only have a theme song, but the lyrics include the line, "Oprah sobbing into lean cuisine..."

So you can grab a free copy of the original game in .pdf format on their website, but I'm thinking of buying the full deal for monies. 

possibly not the best method, but very effective

So, I have been told that I have a very peculiar process of how I decide to buy a book that I'm interested in.
First, I go to a myriad of sellers that offer the book (Amazon is the most convenient though), then do nothing but scour the reviews.  Sadly, to some it is regrettable that I will never, EVER read any positive reviews for it whatsoever.  If I'm interested enough to even consider purchasing a book, I've already heard enough good things about it.  I buy books purely based on reading negative reviews on it.  I scour them looking for these major identifiers:
  1. If the reviewer cites no quotes or sources for his criticisms, then the book is already one step closer to being my property. 
  2. If the reviewer cannot type, spell, or construct a sentence to the point that it is legible by anyone with more than a two digit IQ, the book is certainly worth buying. 
  3. If the reviewer's only major critique involves emotional pleas to avoid some irrational phobia they have that they assume you share (hoplophobia, xenophobia, eleutherophobia, etc.).
  4. If the reviewer's only major argument is to bash the author because they are white, black, yellow, conservative, communist, or otherwise don't like them, without referencing the material or subject of the book, then it's definitely worth buying.
  5. If the reviewer's argument laughs in the face of deductive reasoning. 
Recently I bought Bayou Renaissance Mans's book, Walls, Wire, Bars and Souls: A Chaplain Looks At Prison Life, and I did so purely on the (lack of) strength in this negative review:
Sounds like this guy wet himself because he's in denial about inmates being scary.
Wow.  Where do I begin?  So, this guy read a book about a guy's experiences with the most reprehensible people in our society who are locked up because it's been proven that they cannot function as honest people like the rest of society, then has the balls to equate the author to a Nazi because he simply states the details of this truth?  Never mind the fact that the whole reason the Nazis were vilified was because they illegitimately accused a whole innocent race for crimes they could not have done then tried to kill them all.  He then tries to play it down by saying it's an exaggeration, but it's clearly the whole point he wanted to get across in the review.  What a winning intellect on McBookerson's part!  I hope he never has to make an ethical decision in his life, as he just proved within the space of three sentences that he not only doesn't know what a Nazi is, but that he might be more like one than the author he just tried to compare to them.
For the sake of others without my same method of purchasing, I hit that NO button on the "was this review helpful to you?" question so hard I may have broken my mouse.  But in the end I have to thank you, Ready McIdiot.  You have furthered the cause of another good author getting good money for a good book.  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Godless communists

Was trapped in a wiki walkabout when I found myself on the page about the Stasi and was rather surprised by some interesting facts.  Did you know they had an entire branch called the Division of Garbage Analysis?  Seriously.  Their whole job was to look through everyone's garbage for "western goods" as they were verboten.

Overall, the Stasi employed over a quarter million people during their near forty year long existence to weed out "the class enemy", and utilized somewhere near two million informants.  Some have concluded that this number equates to nearly one informant or stasi for every 6.5 citizens in East Germany.

Also, they commenced a campaign of desecrating cemeteries and other Jewish sites in West Germany by smearing them with swastikas and other Nazi symbols. They also submitted funds to the defense of Adolf Eichmann along with funding Neo-Nazi groups.

More proof that anyone who advocates socialisim or communisim is not only your enemy, but is interested in nothing but similar nefarious plans.  Those who don't are too stupid to realize it, and are what the Stasi would call a useful idiot.

God bless those who prevent others from forgetting it:

Friday, May 16, 2014

random food for thought edition

C.S. Lewis is the gift that keeps on giving:

"Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good
of its victim may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live
under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.
The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may
at some point be satiated, but those who torment us for our own good
will torment us without end for they do so with the approval
of their own conscience." 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Just kept on driving...

Not normally my kind of music, but it's funny to read the comments for the video on youtube and see that most other people found out about it the way I did, the documentary Shadow Company.

Also, possibly the most prolific mercenary quote of all time is right before the end of the documentary at 1:24:11.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Going slightly overboard

I really like my job, but I don't make much money.  Like, at all.  My paycheck is practically an inside joke in our HR department.  That being said, it's pretty obvious that I no longer live with the roomie, I don't have a whole lot of disposable income.  I try to keep pretty good tabs on my spending, but there are things that I have a weak spot for.  One is ammunition.  The other is books.

Now, as far as the decipherable dead trees go, I just can't help it.  I just will always find non-fiction far more entertaining and enjoyable than fiction.  I can list pretty quickly the number of fictional books I've enjoyed on one or maybe two hands.  So, I've taken to ordering more papery goodness from Amazon.

I got two in particular that are quite interesting reads, the first being Civilian Warriors by Erik Prince, detailing the formation, rise, and downfall of Blackwater's prominence.  Certainly enlightening.  Secondly (and far more fascinating) is Gunship Ace by Al J. Venter, which is all about the the life of South African/Rhodesian mercenary pilot named Neall Ellis.  I would certainly recommend both, but I must say that the book about Neall Ellis is far more intriguing to me because so much of that man's history is unknown to me.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

I have nothing to declare, sir!

No, really.  I got nothing.

I could go on about my day, but most people will find that boring.  I could give you my feelings, but people find them insensitive.  I could share my experiences, but people find them unpleasant.  I could share with you my thoughts, but people think they are offensive.  I could tell you my opinions, but people find them politically incorrect.  I could give you my spirit, but people rarely accept it. 

Monday, May 5, 2014

contrarian corner: cops behaving badly

Yeah, it's time for another stupidly long rant.

I remember when I was young, I liked the idea of becoming a cop.  I love the concept of helping people in need and I liked the idea of helping to serve true justice.  However as life goes on, I can't help but view most officers with disdain, and the reason why is a multifaceted answer.  I'll address these in my usual haphazard manner.

It's been pointed out that cops and other emergency services risk their lives every day.  This is true, but some also make the statement that soldiers in combat are simply facing a 'raw' version of life as an LEO.  I take issue with that statement for a couple of reasons.  First is that cops are civilians (yes, I'm one of those nitpickers) as such you get to clock out, go home sleep in a nice bed at the end of the day, and unless you live in one hell of a bad town, you never have to worry about getting killed in the middle of the night by artillery, getting blasted on the road by an IED, worry about co-workers getting captured and beheaded on international news, or deal with the possibility of dying on foreign soil and never receiving a proper burial, because the local populace insisted on desecrating your body.  All while contemplating this in a foxhole while away from family and friends for months on end, and worrying about getting court marital-ed for doing the right thing.

You have a plethora of non-lethal tools at your disposal to subdue the uncouth people you encounter, whereas the average soldier has nothing more than his rifle, armor, bayonet, and fists, then is told to keep order in entire cities with a handful of buddies, but if they kill anyone without a uniform on, it's never ending NJPs plus a court martial for you.  I doubt you'll ever go to a riot encounter with nothing but those tools and under those conditions.

At the end of the day, because of your civilian status, you can quit at any time; things get too rough and you can go tell people to stuff it.  A soldier has no luxury like that when facing death, and they are forced to confront it or face punishment.  So no, you're not on equal footing with a soldier, and no, you're not experiencing "combat-lite" or it's filtered/canned/processed equivalent, despite the stresses of your job.

Speaking of which, my second point: despite it not being war, your job is supposed to be tough.  By it's very nature, you are to assume all are innocent until proven guilty, all while constantly dealing with the most unsavory types of people and situations peacetime has to offer.  So, that being said, the whole point of your position is to put yourself in harm's way, the moment you start complaining about how unsafe it is, all I can think is, perhaps it's the wrong job for you.

Thirdly, your attitude sucks.  Granted it's hard to maintain a good one when you deal with the worst of civilized America every day, but for the love of everything holy, why is it that every time I talk to an officer for whatever reason, they either treat me like a retarded child, or like I just threatened the lives of their family?

Here's a hint for you guys:  If you want to be treated with more respect by both veterans and other civilians, perhaps you should stop the posturing like you're some superior being and treat other people as equals.  Yes, dangerous situations call for being defensive and/or readiness for violence, and I know you have to be prepared for any situation to turn violent, but does that really warrant treating me like a felon at 2am because you thought part of my windshield wasn't scraped of ice to your satisfaction?  Don't act like you're better than anyone else or that your sizing them up for a fight, and you may notice a sharp incline of respect headed your way.

I agree with many in that not all people in the military are heroes or even good people and the same goes for the cops.  However, unless proven to be otherwise, I believe all veterans deserve respect.  However, it's increasingly hard to justify respecting all cops.  Why?  Because of the "good cops."  Not only are the "good cops" so few and far between, but it appears to everyone that they are ineffective in making changes in their department.

The modus operandi of the 'bad cop' is double standards, code of the blue, corruption, complete ignorance of law, irresponsibility coupled with unaccountability because he is untouchable.  In a worst case scenario, the cops are just another organized crime syndicate.  Best case, your respect is demolished because your department's few 'bad cops' are not disciplined/prosecuted and instead given a paid vacation for hurting or even killing innocent people, when the same activity performed by the average citizen would warrant prison or in some cases execution.

Why do I blame the 'good cops' for this?  Well, when's the last time you arrested one of them?  Particularly when they do something illegal in public.  Show the populace that no one is above the law.  When in private, are you actively working to build a case against them?  If they are committing crimes, are they not just as much of a threat as (if not more than) any other criminal?  Does not your job require a higher sense of personal responsibility than the burger flipper down the street?  Why do you let these people go on ruining all you stand for?  They may be the ones actively destroying your reputation, respect and authority, but by not lashing out and pressing charges to the fullest extent, or not shooting one when they are harming another innocent, you are passively condoning it.  Why do you continue to give support to unconstitutional laws and practices?  Believe it or not, as an officer you have a choice to enforce or not enforce a law.  Make a stand and risk being fired if that's what it takes.  By not doing so you are no better than the guards at concentration camps who "just followed orders."

Being police officers (unlike the military) you are required to police the american populace, a people with all the rights and privileges thereof, which necessitates a responsibility placed upon you to uphold not only the law and answer to your employers, but to protect those rights.  What do I mean by this?  Well, as an officer, you are employed by US; you know, we the people.  So, considering you answer to us, most cops seem to place higher esteem on city/county/state officials or other cops than they do with John Q. Public.

I don't care if there is a LEO union working in the background, if you truly want to do your job right, you will help to weed out these people from law enforcement whatever it takes.  Not simply transfer them to another department, not give them paid leave, not shelter them from charges being pressed, you need to either destroy their entire future in law enforcement or let them know you will do so if they do not act responsibly in wielding such rampant power.

The same goes for the militarization of the police.  You may not have replaced your cruiser with a MRAP, or suited up in mall ninja gear for a no-knock raid, but why are you letting it press on in your department without speaking out?  You may not be in charge, but that doesn't mean you can't do something.

Every single person I know (not counting minors of course) has had a bad experience with the cops in which they were falsely accused, treated roughly without cause, had their rights curtailed, fined for something they didn't do, etc.

Let that sink in for a second.  EVERY SINGLE PERSON I KNOW.  No exceptions.  I don't make a habit out of associating with ruffians, I don't live in the ghetto, I'm not friends with a bunch of felons, I'm not even located in a massive city, but everyone I know has had a bad experience with the police acting far out of line.  Now, to say that the cops simply have their fair share of bad apples, sounds unlikely at this point.  It diminishes the real scope of the issue if ALL the people I know have had this happen to them.  These issues are not isolated, or a minority, it's become very widespread problem to the point of being a national issue of the police being saturated with "bad apples."  Federal cops are by far the worst (you can generally assume there's hardly any good ones among the lot of 'em) and have always been, however this has fermented among local and state cops for so long that they have slowly come to the forefront of the problem as well.

We hate the fact that SWAT teams can do no knock raids on the wrong house, shoot up the place and get off scott free, while the poor occupant who had to defend his home from unlawful intruders is sent to prison.  We're tired of being treated with no respect, and like we have no rights.  We're pissed off at the rampant corruption that goes on and on without improvement.  We're outraged at being served warrants for simply exercising free speech.  We're sick of you working for politician's personal interests instead of upholding the law.  We're through with you getting special treatment after breaking the same laws we do but not getting the same punishment.  We're infuriated with laws being passed for us to obey, but for you be exempt from.  We're tired of your word against ours in a trial when your side is so often taken because of special treatment.  We're tired of you not holding your officers to a higher standard.  We're tired of you standing back and doing nothing when rights are being infringed in front of your eyes.  We're tired of you enforcing laws that restrict us from filming/photographing public places or employees. We're enraged by the repeated violations to our 1st, 2nd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, 10th and other Amendments. Were're tired of the bull-crap of no name towns getting APCs, MRAPs, and GMPGs for no other purpose than to waste our tax money fighting imaginary tanks, and we are pissed that you're able to buy them and we can't because somehow you're better than us despite a higher crime rate than the general populace!

That and where did the service go to in "protect and serve," eh?  When's the last time you saw a cop stop to help someone broken down on the side of the road?  When's the last time you heard a cop ask how he can help you out when lost?  When's the last time you heard a group of cops discuss anything other than "how do we get this guy?" as opposed to "how can we help?"  When's the last time you heard a cop tell another bad one that what he's trying to do is wrong?  When's the last time you were treated with basic politeness and respect from a cop?  When's the last time you talked to a cop that didn't try to treat you like an immediate threat?  When was the last time one talked to you without giving off a massive superiority complex?  When have you ever seen a cop tackled and tased for getting in a person's face and threatening them?

This is the reason the average American and in particular the American serviceman hates you.  To be told our whole lives that men are created equal, and see nothing but special exceptions for you to the point that you're nearly above the law.  For the servicemen to fight and die solely for our rights then come home and see that they are trampled on by your kind nearly on the hour, all while the good cops stand back and do nothing.  That is why.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Friday, May 2, 2014

breaking even

Time for more conversations at work.  Had a couple of funny exchanges, one at my expense, the other a pretty good quip.

First up is the gaffe: I have a Star Trek ships of the line calendar at my desk that gets a fair amount of attention from passers by, and today was no exception.  Our consultant was sitting next to me and noticed me changing it to this month's picture, of which is a sample:

He immediately asks, "Why would you want to be looking at the anus end of the ship?"
"Hey, I'll take the Enterprise any way I can get it." I shot back.
*Queue the sound of a pin dropping with numerous heads turning slowly in unison*
"Awwww crap."

Thankfully I was able to make up for it when I stumbled upon another conversation in which the boss was talking:
"Yeah, the wife's car needs some new brakes."
"Just be sure not to use the other guy's brake pads." While mustering my best Chris Farley voice.

So much for that raise I was about to get...

A change in the scenery

For the small handful of people who actually read this thing, you may notice a change in the layout of the 'ol blog.  The initial theme/layout I had was one I liked, but ultimately needed to be fine tuned with more customization than I had the motivation to ever do, and was really just a placeholder until I could get around to it.  Well that never happened, then it just stayed that way, and the more I saw it, the more it hurt the eyes, so here we are.  I'm thinking this will be the preferred look of the blog until I can come up with something better.

Also, I'm thinking of getting less lazy and coming up with a better banner already.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

National Register of Historic...Stuff

The onset of summer is slowly stalking us and will soon be upon us.  I'm still eagerly awaiting the arrival of my brother for the duration of the summer, and possibly taking a few days off to commune with nature and explore places of historical interest.

In other news, it's been a slow news week.  I think the most exciting thing I can think of off the top of my head is that I discovered that some friends of mine have never seen 2001: A Space Odyssey, despite being self-proclaimed sci-fi fans.  So, I wrangled up a copy of it along with the sequel for ludicrously cheap from Amazon and am making a countdown to when we watch it and put their genre-fandom to the test.

Random whatnot:  I've said it before and I'll say it again.  The Duffel Blog may be funniest thing on the internet. They particularly got me laughing with their two latest posts.  Go check it out: