No Matter how many times I say it…

I’m ignored.

I’ve been maintaining a few Web sites for folks. It’s not a big deal, I have the tools necessary to do it. But it takes time…

Generally not a lot of time, and often I can tweak things on the fly from my iPad or even my phone. But I kinda need the data that folks want me to put into their website. I’m after all not a mind reader and with my work schedule, the people I deal with every day, and being pretty much exhausted all the time I have little patience for uncooperative people.

One of the folks whose site I maintain, has been planning a move, from one location to another. They sent out a notification to everyone on their mailing list in late September or early October. 

Fortunately, I was on their mailing list.

When I read the notice from them, I sent an email and said “You’re going to need to update the web site, send me all the information as soon as you can so that I can get ahead of your move and the website is up-to date”

I got a reply, “Yep, we’ll send you the info.” 

Then nothing…

UNTIL an email the day before Thanksgiving, again to the general mailing list that their shop would be closed Thanksgiving through Dec 1.

I sent another message, “OK I’ve got the new address from your email notification. I’ll update the basics Over the Thanksgiving holiday.” Silence…

I updated the website based on the information I had. I sent a link to my sandbox so they could verify the information is good. Still silence.

4PM on Black Friday, OH we want to add a whole new page can we do that?

I sent back a message, yes we can do that, what do you want the page to contain?

Silence.

Then, early in the week I get an email that has two JPEG images of their brochure. No other explanation, just a typing chore for me to transcribe the text from a photograph into something that I can even begin to incorporate into a web page.

Gee… THANKS!

It’s not like there’s only a small amount of text this brochure is so text dense that I was reminded of war & peace, or The Dead Sea Scrolls!

It would be nice to know what it most important and what could be left out. 

I’d haCbe68874ve run OCR on the photo, except that the copy they sent me had a bunch of marks on it making it look like a “Captcha”. This rendered OCR almost completely useless.

Again… THANKS!

I’ve finally got most everything into a usable format and now it’s about wrangling the text into some kind of organization and onto a page. Given that today is my one day off this week… I’m not a happy camper because this is not what I’d like to be doing today.

I’d like to be writing, and napping, having sex… Instead of sitting in front of a fucking computer doing someone else’s shit which is what I do all day long, every day at work.

This probably wouldn’t annoy me all that much except that these are “Friends” (Apparently I’m not on their Christmas list) and by the way THEY DON’T PAY ME. Taking advantage of your friends is the surest way to not have friends anymore.

Yep, This started out as a One-off to help them get their business running and now 3 – 4 years down the road I’m still doing it for nothing.

Grrrrr.

I guarantee that if they were paying me even 25 an hour, I’d have all sorts of pictures, and word files to put in their site. I also know exactly what they wanted and how they wanted it. Instead of working from something that is almost completely useless. 6 to 8 hours paid time would be “Too Expensive” I can hear the whining about the cost now.

Oh and I’d probably have had the time to do it in an organized way, instead of their usual method… PANIC MODE!

I’m thinking it’s time for me to put all their files on a thumb drive and mail it to them with a nice letter explaining how to transfer their domain to another location. Reminding them that failure to pay for their domain renewal will result in the loss of their website and rights to their domain.

Yeah, I’ve been handling the backend stuff for them too.

I think the time has come to cut my losses. Whatever happens after that it would be on them.

Time for some “Old School” thinking

There’s been a ton of stuff said about the Refugees and their plight…

In my opinion, a large percentage of it is complete and utter bullshit.

Ever heard the saying “Man the lifeboats! Women and children first!”

Ever thought about what that actually says?

IF you think about it, that simple phrase is saying; “We value our future, we’re protecting it by making sure the women (who may be pregnant), and our sons and daughters (who are our future), and our culture, will survive.”

That’s historically been the stance of Men in shipwrecks, times of war, and disasters.

It does not mean the men thought their women inferior, it says; we recognize that while we may be bigger and stronger, you can do something we can’t, give birth. 

It says; women are strong enough to raise a new generation of our people and that our culture and people will survive if they do.

It says; that right now it’s our job to protect you from whatever disaster is befalling us so that you have better odds of surviving to raise our children.

So without hesitation, I’d accept refugees from war torn places who were in fact women and children.

That’s what you’re supposed to do, in fact it’s the exact opposite of racism, because instead of fostering genocide, accepting women and children refugees insures that a group of people who may be completely different from you will survive and presumably return to their homelands when whatever disaster they escaped is over.

The above is the Old School view, at least as I was taught by my father and grandfathers.

So within that framework, looking at a majority of male, young, able-bodied, men calling themselves refugees, simply doesn’t track.

I can’ see them as refugees, I can only see them as cowards, or worse.

They’ve left their wives, children, mothers, and sisters in countries devastated by war, and famine, to fend for themselves. These cowards have boarded boats to foreign countries to live in relative opulence where they often don’t work, have a stipend, food, and time to complain about housing, and internet access.

What the bloody hell?

These men are exactly the men who should have been waving to their wives and children from the shore.

After the boats carrying their future were safe, these men, (if they were men) should have grimly turned to meet their enemy, fueled by rage and sadness that they may never see their wives & children in this life again.

This is the philosophy I was raised with.

I was raised to be suspicious of large numbers of able bodied young men going anywhere. Typically, large groups of young men were an army.

I find myself wondering what the hell is going on and how we’ve come to this place where we don’t or can’t question the nature of refugees.

More concerning to these old eyes is that it’s apparently verboten to even ask questions about refugees, and their intentions.

When you look at Europe, who has accepted thousands of refugees and see the unrest, it becomes pretty obvious that something is wildly amiss. The violence in Paris & throughout Germany should at least give you momentary pause.

It’s not hatred to point out a problem. Understanding the problem is the first step to correcting it. Superficially, one could say the problem is these refugees are coming from war torn countries.

Ok I’ll buy that. But where are the women and children in all this? When refugee centers are overwhelmingly young and male doesn’t that speak to another issue?

Add to that the basic culture clash about women’s rights, what is considered appropriate attire, and behavior. Then throw in the more  relaxed religious beliefs of the west, boredom, a healthy dose of alienation due to language difficulties, or misunderstanding of how to live in a free society where everyone is supposed to be equal,  and you’ve got a powder keg waiting for a spark.

Isn’t that what we’ve been seeing?  It doesn’t take a rocket scientist or Phd in Sociology to see what happens next. Any idiot should be able to predict the outcome.

It’s never rainbows and unicorns.

With that in mind, I’m all for vetting all refugees carefully. To do that, we have to have a plan and procedures that will ensure those claiming refugee status are in fact refugees.

We’ve done it in the past and there is nothing wrong with having a standard today.

 

 

Can of worms…

I’ve been watching with some amusement, the bathroom wars.

Images

This morning I found myself pondering the question raised by our willingness to accept and give people privileges based on what they identify as.

A man identifies as a woman, and even though he has “boy parts” decides he needs to use the womens bathroom.

Okay. Fine!

What do we do when someone identifies as Klingon? Or a Vampire? Or a Werewolf? Or Predator? 

Werewolf

Do we afford these people special status?

What happens when someone who identifies as a Klingon, and lives a life of Klingon honor and follows a warrior code, is insulted by someone and decides to settle the matter in a very Klingon way? 

How about followers of the old Norse religions? Odin took a dim view of people who insulted him. 

Klaa

What about followers of Poseidon, or Ares, or Zeus?

Will “I identify as X, Y, or Z” stand up in court?

We seem to be somewhat willing to bury Islamic honor killings as “Cultural”.

What happens when someone who identifies as Klingon to the core of their being, takes someone’s head off with a Bat’leth because they were insulted? How will we deal with the children of people who identify as Klingon? Will we permit them to carry knives in school? 

Odin

Would a “Klingon” honor killing, or trial by combat also be justified as “Cultural”? How about a Klingon rite of passage where a 16 year old was repeatedly shocked with cattle prods instead of painsticks by the adults in his or her family? Would that be classified as abuse of a minor, or Cultural acceptance, welcoming the child into adulthood?

Batleth

Klingons may indeed be fictitious beings, but given that there is a complete Klingon language, code of behavior, code of honor, and the typically swift justice of a warrior race. Would someone who completely gave themselves over to the Klingon ideal, in fact be a Klingon or just nuts?

I could make an equally strong case that ALL world religions and cultures are as made up as Klingons. This begs the question why would one belief structure be more valid than the next? Why would one group’s identity be more respected than then next?

Predator cp

If someone decides they identify as a member of the Predator species and begins hunting in the forests of our nation, when they rip out someone’s spine are they guilty of murder or just following their cultural imperative?

I guess my point is, once we start allowing “Identify as“ to dictate what we’re willing to accept or worse yet willing to take into account during adjudication  then we open a Pandora’s box of effects that must inevitably lead to anarchy.

Let’s close Pandora’s box.

Blind justice

Let’s focus on the problems at hand in our society, close ranks, and define what we as a society are, and are not willing to accept. We cannot be all things to all people and we shouldn’t try.

Let’s once again blindfold justice and apply all the rules equally to all the people.

If someone from a foreign culture or religion doesn’t like the way we do things… well there’s a whole wide world of other countries in which they can choose to live, and planes leave most airports every hour.

It Begins

Once again I find myself at odds with a woman in power. She’s not even in a position of anything but minimal authority. But like so many women she apparently thinks she’s got something to prove.  Unfortunately, an older white guy presents her with an easy target. 

The older white guy in this case is me. Either I must look weak, or she figures with all the recent events, “the old guy won’t fight back because he’s white, male, and knows I’ll win.”


Here’s the crux of the issue. The rules at work say, “Document everything.” The time it takes to do this, in part due to some of the shittiest software I’ve ever seen, the complexities of proper reporting, and my admitted unfamiliarity with said software, plus a steep learning curve means that sometimes I may take 15 minutes or so collecting information or filling out the documents in the right way.  Sometimes longer, If I have to ask questions.

V2tk6a

That being said, I’m taking more calls every day, I’m documenting things better every day, and I’m getting better every day at doing all this.

I know I’m improving and I know this because Each day I’m more comfortable and not spending as much time figuring out the “usual” stuff.

The totally wacky stuff on the other hand takes a lot of time. Especially if you’ve got someone on the phone who is randomly talking about every thing they’ve ever had happen to them. It’s being recorded, and so you can be chastised for missing or not reporting things too.

Enter little miss twinkle twat…

Mean girls mean girls 23781900 714 474

Who walks up to my work area and never bothers to introduce herself or even say hello…

“Can I help you????” said with a sneer or nasty edge, is not what someone says when they’re honestly interested in helping.

We all know it. The implied message is “YOU’RE NOT WORKING FAST ENOUGH” or “GOD! WHY IS THIS FOOL BOTHERING ME?”

And that means, that no matter how fast, or good you ever become… You’ll never be good enough.

My response was neutral, “Nope thanks, I was just documenting all the issues a call raised.”

OOOPPPSSS! Not the right answer. This is the problem men always have with the question “Does this dress make my ass look fat?

IStock 000002999597cropped

In retrospect I probably should have said, “Yes, oh I’m so glad you’re here and thank you for your assistance I couldn’t have possibly done anything without your intervention.

But I’m kind of Harry Potter in that regard.

I shouldn’t tell lies.

Oppps, water under the bridge. 


The whole call / documentation process itself is somewhat problematic. Calls come in, problems are documented. If they’re not documented correctly, an oversight team sends the documentation back telling you what is wrong and to make corrections.

The problem is, this process is by necessity asynchronous. This means that by the time you’re being asked for corrections, days or weeks have gone by and now you have to research what was happening and try to recall why you did something the way you did.

Add to that, being saddled with a non-standard keyboard that you’re chasing all over the table and having to keep up answering phone calls and you’re always behind in everything and under stress.

My nature is to front load the process and do things ”Right” the first time. Apparently, that is not the philosophy of this “supervisor”

She’s also very new to the management scene. She’s not yet learned that whipping the slaves can be effective, but that whipping the slaves too hard, or often, inevitably leads to revolt.

Initially I assumed that all the new folks, (Like me) were under her scrutiny and being asked, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

As it turns out, apparently, I’m special.

Which ties back to my initial suspicion that she’s looking to make an example of someone and I’m the “Soft” target.

The first time, I wrote it all off to just her being concerned that I was taking too much time in the documentation process. Then IT relented and gave me a “Real” keyboard. Huzzah! I can freaking type again! So I’m accelerating and streamlining the way I do things and picking up helpful hints along the way.

The second time, I was surprised when I got the “CAN I HELP YOU?” because I was in fact working more efficiently and taking more calls. “Meh, whatever…”

She’d come over to my work area, from her work area on the far side of the building to ask her question. I was in the midst of documenting 12 issues from the last call, not including the actual corrective action.

The third time, she sent a higher level manager to check on me. OK Now, I’m pretty sure, we’ve got some kind of perceived issue… But no-one is being forthcoming about what that issue may be.

Yesterday, she was particularly nasty, while I was packing up to leave. I had one of those moments where you’re tired and I was checking around my desk area to make sure I wasn’t leaving something behind or undone and she happened to be speaking to one of her peers. I was standing there scanning my area and she interrupted her conversation to turn and look at me with what I can only describe as open hostility, “CAN I HELP YOU?”

“Uh, no… Just packing up to leave…” I answered very confused by her attitude.


When I was very young, I fought back, playing the same nasty political games, as my opponent. As I matured, I’ve tried ignoring situations like this, hoping they would go away. Later in my work life I tried more centrist positions between the two.

Where I played the political games, I won. Typically, I win, by using a scorched Earth policy. This is effective as hell but doesn’t win you many friends, and usually leaves you at the bottom of the list for promotion.

Where I tried to be “above it” I lost. In both cases I was completely miserable.

Trying more centrist positions, was just exhausting. Keeping track of all the bullshit and mounting moderate defenses takes a lot of time and thought. Time that I think is better spent doing the job I’m actually being paid to do. I know… What a fucking concept!

Memorial Day, had HR been in I’d have been in their office nipping this shit right in the bud.

Yesterday, I decided it was far more important for me to get the hell out of work and on my way home. I was tired and usually when I’m tired I tend to be a bit more direct than I would be otherwise. Folks sometimes have a problem with my “moderate” directness, I can guarantee there’d have been a major problem if I was completely unfiltered.

After being pissed off about the situation on Sunday and then pissed off again on Monday, I slept on it.

I’ve decided I’m going with a more centrist position. I think I’m going to talk to the higher level manager that she drew into this situation. I’m just going to bluntly ask what I’m doing wrong.

I’ll see if this situation is salvageable. If I get some guidance, I’ll implement what I’m told to do. If that helps, great, I suspect that it won’t, and am therefore going to begin looking for another place to be either within the company or, (more likely) outside the company.

However, I’ve also decided that if this crap continues…  I’m going to put the company’s “Zero Tolerance” policies to the test. 

If little miss annoying continues her passive aggressive harassment I’m going to file a complaint. Let’s see how Zero Tolerance works when the aggressor is a woman and the victim is a white male.

Should be interesting…

My instincts tell me that this will not end well, but I feel like I have no choice but to respond.

So twinkle twat, this old white boy ain’t gonna get fucked over AGAIN… Let’s fucking dance!

Cocktail / Dinner Party Don’ts

Discussing, politics, religion, & the family doctor at social gatherings… BIG social no-no’s!

Audrey-Hepburn-cocktail-partyI was at a dinner party the other night.  It was nice until someone assumed that everyone in the crowd would be voting for Hillary!  I corrected him, simply saying that I wasn’t. Then he called me a misogynist because I’m not on the Hillary bandwagon.  Hey, I’m not voting for Trump either!

In hindsight, since the word misogynist rolled off the guys tongue with the same venom as the word “Racist” I probably should have kept my mouth shut.

I didn’t!

I asked this person to explain their logic.  Things went down hill from there, I really need to learn how to disengage, or better yet not engage at all!
98bfb6e471935dadaa9cf4a349113cf1

This person explained that is was time for America to have a woman president.

He went on to justify that statement by saying European countries had elected women leaders. I asked how he could justify voting for Hillary when we know she’s lied about at least one issue of national security regarding her email server, and that the FBI is currently investigating her.

I also pointed out that if she were a man, or Republican, or a citizen like everyone in the room, she’d be out of the presidential race and likely in jail. The response was, “Hillary is better than Trump.”

“What about Fiorina,” I asked.

“She’s a Republican!”

Hillary-Clinton.pngAt which point, I pointed out that his choice of Hillary was in fact not based simply on the fact that America needed a woman president but party politics.

Then the guy tried to “WIN” the conversation by loudly asking me again if I was a misogynist and accused me of being afraid of a woman president.  I told him that I thought his attitude was based in misandry and given that he was a man I found that quite ironic.

Thinking about it… That was when I should have stopped.

He didn’t understand what I’d said, so I should have realized I was having a war of wits with and unarmed person.

The discussion, such as it was, devolved into his pronouncements that no-one should have guns and everyone in America was afraid.  I told him I thought that he was overstating the issue. Especially considering that Munich was currently on lockdown due to threats from ISIS. And that in the wake of Paris, and San Bernardino perhaps being prudent and more aware of our surroundings was not a bad idea.

His rather angry response was to tell me that being alert and aware of your surroundings, or preparing for things like fire, or earthquake, and more recently jihadi attacks, by noting things such as exits in a public place is paranoid and demonstrative of the cowardice of America.

Therefore I was paranoid and a coward. Uhhh WOW!

Justice-in-the-Form-of-a-New-Law-Served-to-PA-Crime-VictimsI pointedly asked him if he really thought it was paranoid to take just the slightest moment to note exits in case of an emergency. He responded that even if terrorists came into a restaurant shooting he’d be ok getting shot.

My brain rebooted.

In my world view  you never just lay down and die, especially not when you have options, like the ability to retreat.

DUDE-WTF-IS-WRONG-WITH-YOUI asked him to explain himself and honestly was curious about the foundations of his belief,  because that mindset is so completely Alien to me.

He started spouting circular and rhetorical talking points that led me to believe he worked for the progressive Democrat movement. After several rotations of the talking points, suddenly he threw in people don’t need to carry guns.

I said what?

Then I realized he was referring to the new Texas open carry law, and that somehow in his world view, now everyone was carrying guns all the time everywhere. I even pointed out that people exactly like him had managed to take the right of open carry away from their fellow citizens in California.

I kept asking questions and he kept parroting the progressive liberal talking points. It became very clear that he wasn’t actually thinking. I have no problem with people having differing opinions from mine, I have a real problem with people regurgitating stuff that they’ve not really thought about.

moderate-alcohol-consumption-beneficialGranted there was some alcohol involved and somewhere in my brain there was a diagnostic running that was questioning if I was drunk and being an ass.

The little boy in me said “He Started it!”

I’d decided to disengage because I was tired of making points that he tried to erase by parroting canned talking points, but being unable to discuss or expound on any of those points.

Later, It occurred to me that this person had probably never in his entire live been in a situation where they were the least bit on the edge. His world experiences were so safe or he was so oblivious, that he actually believed he was safe from everything all the time. This is a person who believes they don’t have to have an earthquake kit because the government will be there to make everything fine, instantly.

At that moment, I wasn’t able to look at this person with anything but contempt. I saw the guy as prey, a sheep, weak, and someone that I wouldn’t miss if I never saw him again. If an earthquake had happened at that exact moment, I’d have done nothing to ensure his safety. Sheep die all the time…

Things really took a turn towards the surreal when my other half told the guy he was being an ass by not allowing me or anyone else to complete a sentence without interruption.

The other half even said I wasn’t being an Ass, but that the other guy was. I began looking for signs I’d entered an alternate universe, I didn’t find any so…

Surprise Surprise Surprise! I’m not a complete asshole!

That my other half took a side like that, surprised the hell out of me

Normally I’m allowed to make an ass of myself without comment. On rare occasion I’m  told I’m being an asshole, and that I need to shut up.

In this situation apparently, my only fault was answering someone who was clearly interested in a battle of wits, they thought they’d win.

They weren’t prepared to have someone say, “Defend your opinions.”

I was really worried that the other half was pissed at me. I asked about it and was told it wasn’t me.

Church Lady isn't that specialA friend reminded me that I should have dropped to my Southern upbringing and simply avoided the whole conversation with;

“How nice” or “Bless your heart”

That’s really good advice and I’ll be taking it next time.

One of those things that goes through my mind…

Saw an article on The Huffington Post the other day. It was a puff piece that was entertaining.

Then I noticed the masthead

Okay, I thought, then I wondered if there was a “HUFFPOST MEN”

Guess what? There isn’t!

WTF? That’s exclusionary of 50% of the population. It’s sexist! Where is the justice? Are we looking at another gamer gate situation? I cry FOUL! Men have issues and need places online where they feel safe and where issues of specific interest to men can be discussed.

Yeah, yeah, I know it sounds silly when I say it, but why isn’t it silly on it’s face?

Look at the selections offered under “Voices”. Notice anything?

Think about who’s missing?

Men, and Asians. It occurs to me that generally those two groups are not prone to bitching about much of anything. All the other groups pretty much bitch or scream about some perceived discrimination or slight at the drop of a hat.

To their credit, the “Religion” section does a pretty good job of representing everyone. I went there because another group missing from the “Voices” subheading is Muslims. They are represented under “Religion” with an interesting balance.

So Huffington Post, where are the Men and people from Asia? Why aren’t they receiving fair representation?

Yeah, I know I’m weird. I have this perverse sense that if you demand equality and claim to stand for equality then you should truly be, well…

Egalitarian.

Huffington Post editors and writers, If you don’t know what that word means, I have two comments for you. 1) You paid too much for your education. 2) You need to go buy a Webster’s Dictionary.