Ok Time to set some boundaries!

We’ve all been there. The person across the table from you is paying far more attention to their phone than they are to you, Even though they’re supposed to be there to talk with you.

We are becoming slaves to our technology… Some would say the ship has sailed.

This fact crashed through my ability to ignore it, in a major way a couple of days ago while I was having my hair cut. 

Yep, the barber was texting while he was cutting my hair. Uh excuse me? I’m paying for 30 minutes of your time. The expectation is that I’m going to get 30 uninterrupted minutes.  Surely the person at the other end of that conversation knows you’re at work, and what you do for a living.

Needless to say I will not be going back to that shop.

This got me thinking about some boundaries that we should start observing.

  1. If you’re with people in the real world, pay attention to the people you’re with, not the phone. Try silent or do not disturb mode.
  2. If you’re texting with someone, finish that conversation, before you join the conversation with a group of real people
  3. If your phone rings while you’re with friends, and you must take the call, it’s your children, your mom or whoever, excuse yourself and step away, or out of the building to have your conversation. Keep the conversation brief.
  4. If it’s a call you don’t have to take, Send it to voicemail. You can do that by discretely pressing a power, or volume down button.
  5. If you’re Skyping with someone, the rest of us don’t want to be involved in your conversation. So, stop screaming into you phone. By the way, that also includes not turning up the volume to drown out the crowd around you.

You have voicemail on your phone, USE IT!

Imagine a world where we turned on our phones only when we were intending to use them. No more annoying ringtones in public places, people actually speaking to other people on the street (Gasp). No more people walking into fountains, or open elevator shafts, or manholes.

What a concept!

Imagine having sex and not hearing the insistent buzz, ding, chirp of your cellphone demanding your attention. After all are you going to accept a Skype call while you’re nailing someone to the sheets? Do you really need to share that?

If you get someone’s voicemail leave a damn message! After leaving a message, how about waiting an hour or two before sending text messages, or emails, to find out if the other person got your voicemail.

You might also consider setting up a list of preferred people that will have the ability to ring through your do not disturb setting. Like your kids, your mom, and your spouse. I’ve done that and exactly four people have that privilege. They’ll get through first try, anyone not on that list will go to voicemail.

Headhunters, placement agents, etc… 

YOU’RE NOT ALLOWED to call, hang-up, call, hang-up, and call, hang-up trying to bust through the DND setting. Nothing you have to say to me isn’t going to wait an hour. If you’re one of those people and have tried that with my number, I can tell you you’ve been blocked. I have no desire to speak with you.

Just because we live in a mostly connected world, doesn’t mean that we’re supposed to be available to everyone all the time.

Try this as an experiment sometime. Turn your phone off while you’re driving somewhere. I’ll bet you get to your destination less stressed.

I guess I’m just an old guy. 

I like the convenience of the technology, but I refuse to become a slave to it.

If you try to call me and get no answer, it’s nothing personal. I just prefer living my  life in the real world, I’m not quite ready to join The Matrix just yet. 

If you are offended by me not answering your call, just imagine that I’m naked with someone!

That image alone should make you hesitant to call me at least for a couple of hours.

I signed off the job sites for a reason…

Social Media

I killed the LinkedIn, Dice, Monster, Indeed, Glassdoor, and I don’t remember how many more, accounts because they were bringing no value and no job leads. They were however wasting a lot of my time.

These sites opened my email box to a seemingly never-ending stream of “Job Leads” that can at best be described as useless. I think of them as SPAM.

I relented recently. The company I work for kept telling us to join LinkedIn “Greatest thing since sliced bread” according to them… In reality it’s nothing more than a pain in the ass. I have no interest in reading the company propaganda on my own time.


Recent events and the realization that I will not be able to advance in any way with the  company forced me to reconsider my position about using these employment oriented websites. 

So I also started a job search using the only method left to me, the job sites. 

Einstein said something like; Continuing to do the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is the definition of insanity.

So I’m crazy. Not by choice, but by necessity.

Knowing what I was in for has helped make this insanity a bit more tolerable. 


I was looking at my email this morning and had 24 emails from headhunters that pretty much all start;

“Hi I’m a recruiter from (blah blah technical sounding name) and I found your resume. I think that you’re exactly what my client is looking for…”

The stroking goes on from there. Most often there is a considerable amount of boilerplate crap about what a wonderful, well respected, profitable, and important “mover and shaker” the recruiting company is. (Do a Google street view address search of many of these places and you’ll find a hole in the wall between a whorehouse and a bar.)

By the time the “recruiter” gets to the point and describes the actual position two things become obvious.

1) This “Professional” recruiter hasn’t read your resume.

2) They have no concept of geography.

Job Search Apps

I’ve written about this in the past.

I never bothered to keep any statistics on the emails, until now.

How many are actually valid?

How many are from real placement firms?

I got a sample set of 24 in the past week. I’m thinking about how to work up a way to represent the statistics in a nice chart form. If I’m successful I’ll post it here.

For now though, here’s a quick take away from the current sample of 24.

Of those, only 6 were for positions in my actual area of expertise.

Only 2 of the 6 were actually in the state in which I reside

Only 1 of the 6 was within 200 miles.

Yipeee! I’m going to have a new job any day now.

All but 3 of these “Leads” were from Indians (Dot, not Feather)

The 2 leads in my state were from people with European names, and were in fact, local recruiting firms.

1 of the original 24 leads started out with a bald faced lie. “I’ve tried repeatedly to reach you”

Uh, no you haven’t, there’s no record of anyone calling my only phone, from the area code, prefix, or number you listed in your email, much less a voice mail.

The remaining 18 “Leads” were for positions that were ludicrous. A one month contracting position in NJ. A 3 month position in NY (for the kings ransom of $15 an hour, No benefits) and all of these were nothing like what my resume says I do. I’m not a software engineer, or developer. I’m also not a clerical person.

Frustrating Job Search

At the bottom of each of these “Great & exciting opportunities” is a message, “Please forward this email to anyone you know that might be qualified.”

Nope! Won’t do it. I’m not going to do your job for you Mr. recruiter. If you want candidates to fill these positions, you probably better start beating the bushes.  I’d suggest getting on your knees and blowing me, if you want my help. But I value my dick too much, and wouldn’t want to contract some screaming gow gow that rotted my member off at the root.

Needless to say, I fully recall why I gave up on the job search boards.  Of the applications that I have submitted for jobs that I’m capable of…

Zilch! Nada! 

Those applications have disappeared into a black hole.

So tell me again how the job market in California is improving???

Not that I’m surprised by any of this. If have a couple of friends trying to get the hell out of the place that we work. They’re encountering the same BS and we’re wondering collectively what the next move is.

For the time being we all just keep holding onto the jobs that we have and keep working to get something better.

All of us are fighting the depressing reality that we may be royally screwed.

Well, Chin up. Think of England!

Wow That’s Secure!

So secure that even I (the intended recipient can’t get it….

My insurance company sent me a message saying that there were messages waiting on their site.

There’s a link. It’s valid, and does in fact link to their web site.

I click on the link, and it takes me to a page that asks me to create a password to view my messages. I create a password. Then I get five emails in my normal email, each of them contains a PDF that is encrypted. I figure out that the password I just created in fact will open these PDFS. 

I enter the password and find that each of the PDFs says the same thing. NOTHING.

In the mean time, the password has reset ALL my passwords on for the insurance company and since I had their application running on my phone when the password reset happened. That counted as an invalid attempt to access the account. Then I try to acces the account from their web site to see if I can read the messages they wanted me to read…  BOOM, now I’m locked out. 

I tried to reset my password again… NOPE! Too many accesses within too short a time…

I still don’t have the messages that they wanted to send me.

I call my agent. They don’t have any idea what the company is trying to reach me about. I ask my agent to tell the company I’m not going to use their web site anymore. I want every communication on paper, mailed to me with a stamp. 

I’ve spent over an hour trying to get this all so important message from the company and honestly… I’ve lost my desire to worry about it. They can wait for me to get the information on paper via USPS. 

Technology is supposed to make this kind of thing easier, not harder.

The really annoying thing is that I have several encryption keys. The insurance company could have simply accessed one of the public keys, encrypted the message and sent it securely to my email where I could have conveniently read my message. 

All of this pissing around with their kludge “security” has done nothing but annoy the hell out of me. It’s screwed up the account for me and my other half and now I’ll have to spend yet more time (probably hours) unfucking this fuckup.


It’s on my Calendar…

Checklist 4

The accusatory reminder is sitting there.

“Blog,” It says.

“About what,” I think to myself.

“That I have nothing to say?”

The reminder is implacable. I should just delete the little bastard, that’d show it. Consign it to the digital hell of forgotten “To Dos”.

But as A friend has reminded me and several well renowned authors have said;

Write anything, just write daily.

Okay, I’m writing. 

The internet is an interesting thing. I was able to distract myself from writing for a whole hour. I was suddenly curious about an old High School friend. Actually, he was my best friend. I may have found traces of him, but doubt seriously that we’ll ever re-connect. 

That relationship ended in a weird way in 1980 (I think). I honestly don’t remember now. I just remember thinking as I watched my friends back receding from my view that this was probably the last time I’d see him.

Then I got busy living my life and I assume he got busy living his. 

Through the years I’ve been curious about him and how his life had gone. I tried sending a letter or two and the occasional Christmas card. I don’t know if they ever found their intended recipient. These items were sent with paper and an actual stamp, but there was no reply.  I suppose I had an answer in that – there was no reply.

Nonetheless I’ve been curious through the years. 

With more and more data and personal information being stored and made available on the internet, it’s a lot easier to locate someone from your past. They don’t even have to have a social media account. Public records can go a long way toward letting you find someone.

Regarding my long lost friend… Either he was arrested for domestic battery in 2002, OR he’s living in a nice house, in the town that we grew up in working a blue collar job. The latter is, I think most likely. The second result’s age lines up more closely.

Thinkstockphotos 162406124

The mug shot is striking in its similarity to the face I remember.

However, I think it highly unlikely that the police would be off by 5 years on the person’s age.

Perhaps it was a relative…

Not that an arrest record would be a reason for me not to re-connect. Multiple arrest records would be another issue.

This appears to be a one-off, and God knows I’ve had my knock down drag out fights with significant others over the years. Had some of those fights happened while I was living in an apartment… Well, then probably a mug shot of me would be gracing search results on the internet too.

The legal definition of Battery is surprisingly vague. I could see slightly rough sex being considered battery. 

I could easily imagine doing the same thing this week, that you did last week where your partner was really into it. Only to find out that your partner wasn’t into it today, and was flat out pissed off. Next thing you know, you’re having unflattering pictures (Front and Profile) taken.

I wonder what it would be like to re-connect with my friend. Would it be like no time had passed, or would the time and life experiences be so different that the gulf simply could not be bridged?

Would we each be disappointed with the effort? Is it better to let sleeping dogs simply lie?

The question is…

Do I want to put this on my “Bucket List” or not? Given that we’re both as old as we are if this is something I’d like to do, I should probably get on the stick about it. I’d hate to drive all that way only to lay flowers on a grave.

Something to ponder, I suppose.

Oh Look!

I can now check blogging off the list of things to do today.


I have to laugh…

At the end of last year, the company moved our department into a building that was still under construction. Throughout the winter months my department was like a set of “The Walking Dead“. We had people blowing through their sick time like it was candy. (Myself included.) Around the beginning of the year we had people coming in with various flus, walking pneumonia, colds, and sinus infections. Which they passed around freely. So most of us have little to no sick time left.  (Myself included)

So a month ago I had and accident.  Annoying, totaled my car, and required me to take a day off with more time off to lick my wounds, and get myself right again.

If I worked for a “normal” company, since I have plenty of vacation time on the books, I’d be able to simply use vacation time on request to take care of medical issues and any therapy I needed. I’d go to work and do my best to schedule time so as not to disrupt the business and there’d be nothing said about it.

However, I don’t work for a “normal” company. I work for a company that has instituted this crazy system of penalizing you if you take a day off without prior management approval. Even with this system in place there is a loophole that will allow you to deal with emergencies, (Or car accidents) without penalty. The problem is, that your manager has it at their discretion to enforce the penalties, OR NOT. 

I happen to work for one of the ones that refuses to exercise that discretion. My manager is one of the rule bound ones.

Which leads me to the situation I’m in now.

In order to be able to make appointments, and not be penalized for doing it. The company makes you go to a government agency.  That Agency contacts your Dr., your Dr. fills out a bunch of forms, which he / or she sends back to the government agency, then they determine if you’re worthy.

After their determination they send the forms back to the company. And all the penalties magically disappear and you then have permission to miss work to go take care of your health.

In other words it’s an overly complex mess that should be handled between the employer and employee. Then again… you have to keep bureaucrats busy don’t you?

Well in my case, the Dr circled the wrong box on one page, and this morning, I got a call from HR telling me that I shouldn’t be at work because I was on continuous leave.

This is what happens when you abdicate responsibility.

Not that I’m complaining, I need some down time. Even a day or two will be more than fine. Just so long as I don’t feel like I’m running to beat the clock, punch the clock, be on schedule, or dance to someone else’s tune.

In other words, I’m going to have a drink, go to bed, and have nothing planned for tomorrow. That will be a nice change after weeks of running to the NEXT thing.  Hell, I may even turn the phone off.

Wow! Just took another look at a Program…

I’ve been intermittently checking out what at first looked like a great little Blogging program.

Problem is, they’ve been adding features but not actually fixing the issues that were broken.

I’d stopped using the program because the issues were so bad. Really? You aren’t allowing iPad’s spell check to operate?

I just checked it again today. It’s even worse.

SO I’m thinking it’s time to flush the program from all my devices. I’ve been patient for over a year, and still many of the basics aren’t being supported.

It’s a pity, the application originally had a lot of potential and was very clean and elegant.

But the harsh reality is this, if I’m not using something I shouldn’t hang onto it out of sentimentality or guilt.

Time to free up the space and maybe the application developer will wise up a start paying attention basics!

I’m probably pissing into the wind here. But I can always use more space on my devices…