quick boss changes are fun

I’m constantly amazed at how human organizations so easily decide to spike their own success. We do it to ourselves. It’s not like one of those science fiction episodes where the slug in the brain makes people do dumb things. In real life, the alien slugs would take a hard look at us, then set up shop in Bermuda and get wasted while we do their work for them.

My good boss has been in the job for three years. Now he’s leaving, and they’re replacing him within one week. Do you think one week is enough time for a solid turnover between bosses? Well, our executive leadership sure thinks so. Which is another mark against them for why I wouldn’t let them walk my dog for three seconds unsupervised.

The other thing is the new boss has zero experience doing this job. So we got that going for us too. It’ll be a long six months as we drag this poor bastard across the bureaucracy of our asinine cubicle hell work environment. We’re gonna have to hold this guy’s hand every step of the way.

Here are some examples:

1) Boss makes a statement, as fact, when in reality it is fiction because he hasn’t the background

2) Boss makes his escape and attends a meeting without the subject matter expert to keep him honest and unknowingly destroys project

3) Alien slug monster calls boss on phone to verify ineptness continues, when confirmed, slug hangs up phone and orders another martini

4) Boss gets angry and yells at and demeans fellow human being in frustration at inability to comprehend knowledge he does not possess

5) Boss attempts to make up for lack of experience by ingratiating himself with executive leadership, thus removing the blocking powers of prior good boss, and causing all the executive’s bad ideas to become our problem

6) Slug monster sends a false pretentious, patronizing thank you not to new boss with the name of an old friend, slug writes that new boss is the best, smartest person in the world, and needs essentially no advice to excel

7) New boss awkwardly attempts social contact at mandatory (and covid illegal) work greeting event by telling humorous (to him) stories from things he did 17 years ago

8) Boss asks question, we give answer, boss asks same question 11 days later

9) Old good boss asks us how we’re all doing when we run into him in the hallway, extremely awkward and inaccurate comments are uttered and old good boss feels bad

10) Alien slug monster wants to speed up the pace of disaster, tells us that we must give bad advice to the new boss and that if we don’t, slug monster will set off a fusion bomb underneath a city, when we discover that the bomb is in Brussels, we shrug and laugh at them

disconnect everything you can

Recently, a town of 15K people near Tampa, Florida nearly had their entire water supply poisoned by a hacker. Somebody hacked the system and increased the lye content of the water to poison levels. Only the actions of a very alert employee (who should be the guest of honor at the next Super Bowl) saved 15K people from drinking poison.

Guess what, nobody cares. To me, this should be front page news for a week. To others, the Brittney Spears documentary and the Aunt Jemima rebrand are more important. These news articles go above the near poisoning of 15K Americans, which is off the front page after less than a day. So this is another reminder of how debased and useless the modern media is.

I can’t stress this enough, disconnect everything you can. I’m a former loser computer science major. I’ve never used computer science, but am still a loser. If you have four hours, give me a shout and I’ll explain to you in intricate detail just how unsecure the Internets is.

You cannot secure the Internets. At its most basic 0 and 1 level, it can’t ever be totally secure. This goes back to how the founders of the Internets designed the backstage to be totally open and freewheeling. When these dudes made the Internet’s core coding and theory, security wasn’t even on their top 100 concerns.

I was helping my Ma troubleshoot her fridge this weekend, spoiler alert, never buy an LG fridge. In the manual they have Wi-Fi instructions. Why does your fridge need to connect to the Internets? Soon your freaking pacemaker will be. What the fuck are people thinking? I think they don’t understand just how unsecure this all is. The “Internet-of-Things” is a fucking dystopian nightmare in waiting.

You need a phone and a computer to connect to the Internets. Oh, and a gaming console, if that’s your thing. Disconnect everything else. As the bumbled coronavirus response has shown, if you’re counting on the government to protect you, you have the wrong idea. You have to protect yourself.

contemplating my future elderly food poisoning death

Yesterday I only had about an hour to cook between work meetings, a failed video date, meeting with my Guests to plot the overthrow of the Laotian government, and my meditation to contemplate the exact, precise differences between English Stilton and French Roquefort.

So I went with a simple salmon dish with a side of roasted squash and zucchini from my very first, original cookbook I bought two decades ago, the Good Housekeeping cookbook. This old classic doesn’t melt your brain with recipes. These are simple takes on good old food. Could I have made this meal off the top of my head, sure, but with everything I had going on yesterday I didn’t want to think.

Everything tasted great. The problem was because I was in a hurry, and not quite paying attention since I was on my work computer for part of the time, the salmon was dramatically under cooked. I mean it had a great crispy skin and a solid crusty spice rub, but the interior flesh was mild if not approaching raw. This was not sushi grade salmon and so the possibility of disease was present. I ate it anyways and I feel fine.

I wonder how I would have handled it when I’m say 70? Food poisoning kills several thousand Americans a year. When I’m 70, I’m probably going to under cook some chicken in the same fashion. Then I’ll be vomiting and running through the streets in a bathrobe, delirious, and ultimately get plastered by a bus.

My parents didn’t grow up destitute, but rich they were not. Food was simple and wholesome, and cheap. One grandmother was a fantastic cook, the other was not. But food poisoning was a concern under these circumstances. The very first medium rare steak I had was well after I was 18. This was because the family wouldn’t serve steak to the family anything less than well done. This probably sounds insane, but it was the mindset of a family eating a lot of cheap meat, and concerns that all little microbes were cooked out.

Were these concerns valid? Maybe, but probably not. Nobody in my family has checked out due to food poisoning, but maybe that’s because the family was cautious. Is this a Simpsons tiger-rock question?

Plus, I guess you could say my family was trained, experienced with the classic English / American tradition of cooking. What do I mean by this? Well, I think I’ve mentioned in previous posts I’m rewatching Poirot. The contrast for comical purposes is Poirot is a very refined Belgian who loves his food fancy. Japp is the gruff English bobby who probably beats half his suspects in shackles off screen when Poirot’s not on the case.

Poirot serves Japp pigs feet, Miss Lemon serves Japp lemon sole, and he’s horrified at both. Then later Japp turns around and serves Poirot meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and stewed peas, and Poirot claims he’s allergic to meatloaf. These scenes are handled perfectly, and this classic, good natured humor always get me a rare open laugh. But, essentially my family ate Japp’s style of food. Now what happens is I’ll cook my fancy shit, but when I go home my Ma cooks in the old style. Oh man, how I love both these styles of food so very much.

What I do know is my body today will not be my body at 70. Would I eat the under cooked salmon several decades from now? Don’t know, god willing at that point it wouldn’t be my decision alone. Or, maybe I’ll just say fuck it, swing some beer, and dig in and roll the dice. And if I go out the door at 70 eating tasty under cooked salmon? Oh well, worse ways to go, for sure.

New Zealand, from the top rope!

I’m often so grateful that when I first began my travel adventures the smartphone didn’t exist. I had an old school flip phone where texting was a downright marvel. Social media was a term that didn’t exist. I had my own camera (originally a very crappy one) that I used to take my shots. Essentially most, but not every travel post I’ve ever done on this blog was travel I did without a flat screen smartphone.

I wonder what beginning your travel adventures nowadays does to a young man or woman who starts out their journey, probably has a smartphone, has various social media accounts, and doesn’t carry a separate camera. I shudder to think about it. But I think the answer is this, this is from a Twitter user named Lukas Stefanko in 2018, with the caption, “The social media queue”

This is in New Zealand, and this photo makes me want to burn every smartphone and social media account on the planet. [unintelligible snickering] Yes, yes, my Guests would like me to remind you that I am in fact a degenerate, crazy, loser, blog author.

Well, New Zealand is sick of it. New Zealand has a long history of being a tourist favorite, or over favorite. There have been talks in New Zealand for years to impose some kind of tourist fee, or restrictions on visitors in certain areas because they feel so buried by the mass of humanity. But this will never happen because so much of New Zealand’s economy is tied to tourism.

But they put out this video, from the top rope, and it’s professionally shot, funny, and has a super cool message:

I like how @0:50 he gets grabby with these two actors (who are portraying total losers). But it’d be great with me if he went further, and was whacking them with a truncheon like some 1880’s drunken bobby.

Messages like this delivered with humor are awesome, @1:28 where he takes a tumble I was totally cracking up.

Anyways, have a look at the video, heed its message. Indeed, some of the best travel experiences I ever had were where I deliberately made myself never take one photo, either with my good camera, or my smartphone if I had one.

Enjoy your day!

everybody died today

The news is a funny thing. Lots going on in the world, but especially people dying. I think today I saw the following people have commuted to Valhalla:

– Sigfried or Roy, I can’t remember which one, but I think this means both are now getting mauled by tigers in Valhalla as drunk mead swilling goons laugh at them

– Some Survivor contestant, which means one of like 3,487 people because for some reason that stupid show still exists

– Some actress that at least a few people have heard of that was on some show or movie I’ve never seen

I think that makes it about 1/5 of the news articles on the front pages of the news I read. I didn’t click on these articles, but there they were, in my face. And I wouldn’t say I read trash news or gossip or celebrity sites. I’ve got my beef with the media, but it’s not like I’m reading TMZ.

I’m not wishing for people to go, and it sucks when anybody dies. Well, unless you’re Hilter, Stalin, a card carrying member of Al Qaeda or ISIS, or if you love & religious profess Crossfit. But it doesn’t mean you deserve front page news when you check out to the next realm.

I mean when like Sean Connery checked out, that’s front page news. Same with Leonard Nimoy. Otherwise, back page please, let check out time come quietly for most.

apartment living is a bizarre experience

I lived in a house and then a townhouse I owned for nearly a decade. Then I sold them because I got moved around for work and frankly was tired of being a homeowner. Owning a home is a big pain in the ass. These two houses had a number of major issues. I dropped so much freaking coin to get them ready to sell. I think I essentially lost money on one and made some money on the other.

So then I got back into apartment living to shorten my commute and because after two of my eternal doggy buddies commuted to Doggy Valhalla I only had one small troublemaking shoebox dog and could get away with a small one bedroom closet.

There are a great deal of pros with this sort of life:

1) If something breaks, I don’t care, because I don’t have to fix it.

2) Significantly less square footage to clean.

3) Never have to search for where said troublemaking dog is hiding because the place is so small you can always hear her snoring and determine her location by ear (she has a smash face).

4) I have found that owning less stuff is a pro for me. My biggest source of hoarding are books and blu rays. Boo hoo. It’s gonna be a sad day for me when I buy a house again and have to own more than one couch.

5) When the ghosts come to haunt my dreams and tell me to burn things there’s only one bedroom so they’re in and out real quick.

6) Cooking smells last for days, which works for me because I take my cooking seriously. Who doesn’t want their dive apartment smelling like Spanish jamon for days on end?

7) You only have to drag your laundry twelve feet instead of up and down two flights of stairs.

8) I don’t care what any financial goon says to you, renting may have once been way, way more expensive than owning. I think this was true for our parents’ generation. I don’t much think so anymore. Granted, I don’t rent an expensive place, but I put out way, way less coin in a year into renting than I ever did into owning.

Now the bizarre cons:

1) Having to once again submit myself to the noises and antics of neighbors who will yell at one another, have party now and then, conduct a demon ritual with friends and fellow acolytes, and so on. I can sometimes hear all this inside the apartment. It bugs me and my doggy. Fortunately this is solved via headphones or the ever tasty internet white noise generator which I frequently employed when I lived overseas recently and the walls were made of cheap plaster made in Pakistan.

2) Do you like pot? It’s okay if you do. But boy you gotta keep that smell shit inside your apartment. Cigarette smoke lasts about twelve seconds. Pot smell and smoke lasts 27 years. Trust me, I ride the subway and can confirm this. They need to put a towel under their door or something. Like I said I kind of rent on the cheap so management doesn’t care. And I live in a progressive jurisdiction where a large amount of crime is essentially tolerated because nobody wants to offend anybody, do we? I’ve got not beef with the smoking pot, I’d fucking legalize every drug on the planet. Just keep it out of my apartment.

3) The incredibly bizarre experience of elderly women and homosexual men brazenly hitting on me at 1am on a Saturday morning when my dog is using the bathroom in the courtyard. Again, all good with me about anybody’s life choice, just not my thing. Plus, if hitting on people at 1am in an apartment courtyard was acceptable (among many other behaviors) then I suspect dating wouldn’t be so difficult for me.

4) The dudes who buy and have delivered their snotty higher than thou newspapers, decorate the front step with them, and then don’t collect them until 11am. I’m usually the first tenant out the door with my dog for bathroom. I gotta sweep this pile of shit aside like my foot is a broom. It’s my first act of the day, or, I guess second after snaring my dog and carrying her down the stairs (her back is gone). Even my own dear mother has stopped getting a paper newspaper except but once a week. And daily newspapers have been a religion in my family for generations. Who does it daily anymore, except as a statement of political support? It’s the new woke. “You do read the paper newspaper, every day, don’t you?” [looks intently at total stranger while fingering official woke dagger in pocket]

5) I truly, truly, truly miss having a full kitchen to cook in. I have a micro kitchen. Do you see my sad face? This is my sad face.

6) My cheap ass apartment has a hot water heater manufactured in Yugoslavia in 1984. It does not possess the capacity to fill the bathtub to full capacity. Do you know how much I miss a good hot bath after an outside winter workout? Sigh.

7) I wish I knew my neighbors, at all. I’m rewatching Poirot and at least as depicted 1935 apartment living everybody is all polite and knows one another and watches out for another. I’m an insular, quiet weirdo who my neighbors probably thinks builds bone pyramids in my closet. But even when I try and greet people, say nice things the usual response is dead silence. This was even before covid. Now people avoid each other like there’s a pandemic going on. It makes the building feel so cold and empty.

8) My cheap ass apartment has no balcony and no floor length windows. So my doggy can’t look outside and watch the world go by. And I can’t sit on the balcony in the spring or fall and smoke me a rare cigar and scotch and just exist. I miss my decks and backyards.

That is all. This will be my last apartment.

PS, if you’ve read this far, I thank you. But also wonder what’s wrong with you? I mean, I know there’s a lot wrong with me. But why are you here? I’m so, so sorry that you’re hear. Let me help you! With a virtual pandemic hug. To get your free hug, kindly send via international wire transfer, $500 to:

The Arcturus Project – Virtual Hug Project

C/O Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation

1794 Aguiyi Ironsi Street

Abuja 900001, Nigeria

the mind decides how you behave

The tech freaks of Silicon Valley won’t be happy until they build either a fully functional human brain or at least Skynet in reality. I don’t care what any of them say, this is their goal. Their space rockets are neat, but expensive, and at the margins. These very bizarre, successful dudes want to create life.

When you build the first robot servant, then you get immorality, then you’ll be judged alongside Newton. It reminds me of the era where if you discovered a new turtle you could name it whatever you wanted and you would be renowned across the natural philosophy world.

The tech freaks, they’ll fail. They will all fail. All of them. The brain will allude them.

I wish I was more religious, but I’m not. I think most of it now comes from how my Dad somewhat lost his faith at the end. He was my religious bedrock and in the end he thought he provided him not many answers. But I was most religious where he and I were alone at the end. There was no priest, no time, there was just he and I. I guess I believed more then, but after he was gone I’ve had a hard time of it. I read a lot and have discovered this is a common reaction to such circumstances.

Why do I say this? I guess it’s because what I’m trying to say is the human brain, the mind, will take you across the most wonderful, baffling, and excessive journey’s of humanity. Whether you’re in a good spot or not (I’m not) you’re still in for one hell of ride. If you believe in religion, this is sacred to you. If you don’t believe in religion, or wish you did, or don’t care, either way, it’s still sacred to you. We are all uniquely special and sacred.

This is why I find the tech freaks efforts to recreate the human brain so offensive. Fuck them, they’re not god. Burn them at the stake.

This afternoon I went to the local fish market. I live in concrete land so the local fish market is a dive strip mall hovel that would qualify as a shooting gallery in most planetary zip codes. People are far, far too ready to buy straight from Generic Grocery Store #485 instead of going to the experts. I try when I have time to always shop at the experts.

I get in there and only after nodding to the dude cutting fish do I realize I forgot my mask. Fuck covid. I’m in there without my mask and I feel naked. I dash out of the store, go get my mask from my car, and then buy some tasty future swordfish steaks. If you don’t believe covid is real, you’re either an idiot or haven’t seen it. I’ve seen my relatives suffer.

So you better believe I wear my mask everywhere. But I legit forgot. But, my mind, my brain, my body reflexively reacted. I didn’t think about it, I just reacted. Muscle memory or whatever. A year ago this would have been unfathomable, my beautiful brain would have not understood the absence of a mask atop my face. But the mind adapts, it adjusts, and now when I’m in a store without my mask, I am naked. Whereas a year ago this concept would have been laughable.

Hug your brain, it’s a miracle!

do barbers have access to black magic?

My memory is awful. My brother will quote life events to me that in my brain are a complete blank slate. So remembering faces is always hard for me. It takes me a while even with coworkers.

At my barbershop, which I visit about once a month, two of the barbers already know me by face and can remember how to cut my hair. These guys see what, like hundreds or thousands of customers in a month. How do they recognize me like that?

Is it that barbers learn this skill over time, or is it that people skilled in identifying faces are naturally inclined to become barbers? Or is a little of both?

Or do barbers have access to black magic that gives them this skill? Like the Barber’s Guild has a blood debt with the Aztec demon god Itzpapalotltotec and he gives them super powers. Just like Bill Belichick, though they aren’t working for him this year.

Just thought I’d bring this barber thing up randomly. Nothing else is going on today that’s important after all. Enjoy our day!

“Why yes, have a seat, I already know how you like it. Also, you haven’t been eating well lately, I know this, you should cut back on the booze. And your Mother needs a call or two extra this week. Don’t look at me like that, just let me sharpen my razor to an ultra fine edge and we’ll get started.”

post election musings

– Apparently the highest percentage of the population in over a century voted in this election.  Still, it’ll likely come down to what 8K people in one State say.  Because the Electoral College is like having three of the 10,432 houses within 1 mile of yours get to decide where your dog can go to the bathroom.

– I never thought the Founding Fathers were infallible, despite knowing they built the best concrete to stand a nation atop ever.  However, the Electoral College and lifetime appointments for Supreme Court are among the more glaring dummy errors.  Anybody having a lifetime appointment to any government position is antidemocratic and has never really fulfilled the original purpose of keeping justices impartial.  The Electoral College was built for the days when only like 13% of the population was even eligible to vote.

– Good luck fixing either of these two obvious problems.  Changing the Constitution in today’s political environment?  Essentially, truly, impossible.  Anybody who says otherwise is promoting a pipe dream and needs to move to Oregon (see below).  You might as well fire a handgun into the ocean hoping to, “Take revenge upon all Fish for the crimes they’ve committed against humanity for the last 5K years.”

– The rest of Earth can still kiss my ass.  Oh, the Electoral College is dumb and America should fix it?  Kiss my ass.  Let anybody try and explain to you how Proportional Representation works in Parliamentary Democracies.  You’ll need a lot of beer, and the ability to laugh and mock at will.  Trust me.

– Think what you will about Trump, but the Democrats have only themselves to thank that he even exists.  They spent the last two elections putting up a pair of total losers who’d been in politics for the last 47 years and had zero real policies to offer.  When your only selling point to the voting populace is, “At least I’m not that guy”, then don’t be surprised when you can’t hook the average voter.

– Because of the above, and because the Senate and House remain divided, even if Biden wins expect him to accomplish absolutely nothing of actual value in the next four years.  Remember, America has a politics problem that goes well beyond what folks do or do not think about Trump.  These problems aren’t going to get solved, I’m so very sorry.

– People can now get fucked up on hard drugs in Oregon now.  Good for them.  I wish this rule applied everywhere.  Unfortunately we’ll still have to let America’s streets get torn up by a century of failed drug war policy before it’s all legalized in 2084.

– The tech freaks got their wish and California (the greatest bastion of hypocritical false values on Earth) voted to let the likes of Uber, Lyft, etc continue to treat their employees as non-union indentured slave labor.  Because nothing say big tech cares about you and the human race like dropping a cool $200M+ on lobbying cash to let a Paraguayan immigrant earn $3 an hour ferrying drunken tech bros back from their post IPO launch at the Ritz.

– Do you know who won your mayoral election (if applicable)?  Or even who your mayor is?  You should, they have 741% more influence on your life than the Prez does.

– Bad news, the TAP’s national ballot initiative to “Liquidate All Humanity, Cable News Employees/Networks, Flower Greenhouses, & Strip Mall Properties to the Sub-Atomic Level” was rejected in 49 States before even getting on the ballot.  It was then defeated by a 98% to 1% to 1% margin in Rhone Island where the remaining 1% was nothing but people writing, “What the hell is this nonsense?  Who the hell wrote this crazy, stupid shit?”