Thursday, December 24, 2009

Santanas

How Santa Killed Christmas

I'm not a religious person. I'm not what you would call spiritual or atheist either. I know that we don't know anything so we can't prove or disprove the existence of anything beyond what we know. You will never hear me say that there is or is no God and that he does or does not need us to follow any particular set of sometimes oddly specific rules.

What I will say is that IF there is a God...I hope he/she/it is what we consider as Good. This blog is not going to digress upon the abstract concepts of right and wrong or if our own understanding of those vague concepts is correct. At least not completely.

This blog post is a suggestion. A tiny little thought that could possibly make you rethink how you see Christmas.


Place yourself in the mind of a child. Perhaps this is easier said than done for you than it was for me. ;)

When you think "Christmas" you probably think, "Toys, Santa, Cookies." Maybe ornaments and lights in there somewhere. There are two relatively omniscient characters in the play called "Christmas." One is the messiah it is named after and the other is a dramatically altered image of a man that at one time actually existed. At least there is some provable history and evidence to the existence of a man known as Saint Nicholas.

What does this mean to a kid?

Well, Santa Claus is a happy, go-lucky man dressed up in a ridiculous outfit and brings you toys and grants wishes if you're good.

Jesus Christ is a man that loves you, bleeds and cries. Kids don't really understand the concept of everlasting life or heaven really. Then, at a very young age, the truth comes out. The fun one isn't real. Yet religious families continue to enforce the existence of the latter. All those miraculous, magical and fun characters of our youth don't exist. But the one that is the least fun, and a bit scary in certain paintings, IS!

Children won't appreciate the depth of the message adults try to portray here. They will only grow up and think to themselves that if they can "shut off" believing in the fun spirits like the Tooth Fairy, the Easter Bunny and good ol' Sain Nick, then they can also "shut off" believing in a messiah that will only return to Earth when it is time for us all to die and burn for eternity. Because honestly, who here is without sin?

Though the original Saint Nicholas does have his roots in religion, it makes cents that the jolly image would try to distance itself from the tremendous weight of religious guilt that accompanies Christianity and Catholicism.

Ironically, Christmas in the United States has become more a tradition filled with Pagan habits and symbolism which even the faithful have embraced. That scares me just a bit. Let me explain why.

Lets assume God does exist as the Catholics describe. Let us also assume that Satan exists as well, also as they describe. I'm no genius so you'll forgive the simplicity of my explanation but I hope you'll understand what I'm trying to say here without being offended in any way.

If I were Satan and it was my intention to rob God of his loved ones. I would do it in the most dishonest, devious fashion. I wouldn't be up front. I wouldn't slither to humans and say, "Hey dudes, you can be more powerful than God himself if you eat this magic fruit."

I would slowly, and methodically change what his people's concept of God actually is so the humans mistakenly follow the wrong faith and traditions. I make a mockery of his greatest sacrifice and his most powerful message and instead replace the worship of his own son with the image of a man dressed up as a clown. A clown that gives material items as gifts.

All the while allowing his people to mindlessly recite the very same passages that tell them what they are doing is wrong in the eyes of their own God.

I don't consider myself a devout believer of any one religion because I don't believe religious texts and traditions have gone untouched long enough to still contain UNIVERSAL TRUTH if they ever did.

If I were a Catholic Satan looking upon the Earth as it is now, I would be happy. Assuming of course that Satan is as he is described in the current versions of their bibles.

During these times I see what people consider strict Catholic churches and families decorating trees and placing stars upon them. Celebrating in ways that I still do myself.

When they do it though, it seems wrong. I see Christmas trees in church next to Jesus on the crucifix. I would imagine that is supposed to be blasphemous. If you don't know or understand the book you claim to lead your life by then you truly are the blind and ignorant gerbils those angry atheists claim you are.

That scares me. If you follow what you don't truly believe people like Hitler come to power and terrible things occur.

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ReOrg - Christmas


Put the Green back in Christmas! I don't know if it is the same throughout the world in countries where Christmas is celebrated but most of our holidays here in the U.S. are color coded.

Red, White and Blue = Independence Day
Pink and/or Blue = Easter
Halloween = Orange and Black
Thanksgiving = Orange and Yellow
New Year's Day = Gold and/or Silver
Christmas = Red & Green

There isn't a strict rule to follow but they are usually associated with them and are commonly found in the advertisements and decorations.

Green, in the U.S., can be used to infer money, greed or compassion for nature. For this particular blog by green I mean all three.

I'm not big on tradition myself but I am most definitely not a Grinch when it comes to Christmas. I think I am a big spender (relatively) when it comes to the holidays. I like getting people gifts in appreciation for everything they do and everything they are.

Greed

In the United States it is also customary to address the From section on the gift label with Santa Claus' name. I don't. I work hard for the little money I earn and when I buy a gift beyond my means, (or even when I don't) I don't want to give the credit to some childish fantasy for the sake of a tradition that doesn't even get a smile out of people. I don't want that gift I give them to be accepted as a tradition. I want them to know it is from me in appreciation for their relationship with me. Christmas to me is more a day of thanks showing for friends and family.

Money

Wrapping gifts is NOT cheap. Wrapping paper is a lot more expensive than it should be. It is colorful and usually ugly. The act of wrapping gifts to make them pretty is nice but opening a fancily wrapped gift makes you feel a little bad. Why does this tradition continue? Just so that it looks nice under the tree? Hiding the contents? That can be done in a much simpler fashion.

Nature

Wrapping paper is such an incredible waste it amazes me. Somehow, the day after Christmas you generate much more trash than any single day of the year. The first day of trash pick up after Christmas on the streets of the U.S. look like some sort of rainbow tornado ripped through our country. Recycle bins are full but why generate this much recyclable product and garbage?

It is completely unnecessary. If you know me and my typical writing style than you know very well that I don't just propose a problem without a possible solution?

Tradition

The twisted concept behind Santa Claus is the answer. Santa Claus had one giant bag to hold them all. We will lose out on the gifts under the tree tradition but really, the benefits outweigh the negatives in the long run.

My version of gift giving.

Everyone buys the gifts they want to give and places them in a Santa sack. During Christmas or Christmas parties they place them under the tree if the have one. At midnight everyone starts digging into their own sacks and starts handing out gifts. They are still a surprise and real trees everywhere sing in praise for the lack of wasted paper.

What do you think?


Friday, October 16, 2009

Some of you mugs...

Did we become self-aware only when we began to question our own existence? When we opened our eyes to the possibility of non-existence and our acknowledgment of the finality of death did we truly, become?

What about insects. Are they aware that they live. In those teensy little brains, do they know that they exist? That they serve a purpose? Or do they just robotically do what they are programmed to do? There truly is no free-will in the insect kingdom?

I can fathom the fact that it is possible to exist and not know it but to contemplate the idea that a creature could exist, do tasks and react almost intelligently to obstacles is amazing to me.

Flies


They see you coming with the swatter and they split. A dog or a paper in the wind zips by and they don't even move. They recognize you. Your color, your scent or perhaps your shape. The heat you give off warning them of your aggressive intentions, something. That "something" is stored and recorded somewhere in the tiny little thing that contains a brain that interprets these messages and helps it calculate a pre-emptive reaction. Something modern science can't yet do in objects so small.

Ants


Sometimes it seems as if these little guys don't even know we humans exist. We step on their trail smashing their kindred and they walk around us or over us. They just keep marching along. "I'm doin' ma job I'm doin' ma job I'm
doin' ma job." Different types of ants react differently. Some get aggressive, almost angry and a long distance away (measured in kilominanters of course) other ants start preparing for your presence or attack from the scent communication.

Spiders


These guys are confusing to me. The scariest of all the ones I've mentioned before. These guys can be both chicken-prey, and predator-fox all at once. I've been there working in the back yard and during moments of rest and relaxation I see a tiny spider by my foot. It seems to be leading a lone blitz attack towards me. Does it know I am here? Does it know I consist of moor than a shoe?
It doesn't seem to care. It comes at me and at times I have been bit by these very same aggressors. Yes I know I am in their territory but DO they know I am here? Do they know the entire mass of my consistence?

When I was young and living in my parents home I had a spider experience I will never forget. As I was sitting on the can (I couldn't yet reach the floor) I see a tiny little white dot drop before my face. Thinking it was lint or dust I just instinctively blow it away ignorant to the fact that it would act as a pendulum and come right back at me.

Sure enough it did and annoyed I ended up smearing tiny baby spider all over my face. All of the sudden I became aware of a tickly feeling on my face, the sides of my head, my arms and my back. I methodically and deliberately start swatting all of them so I don't freak out. After I cleaned up and stood up I looked up and on the ceiling of our restroom was a swarm of tiny little baby spiders running around and just above my head they were diving down on their little strings.

A nightmarish vision for a youth and to this day still believe they were intentionally coming after me. I don't know for what purpose. If they were hungry or just cold but they did seem to be aiming specifically for me.
Did they know I was a creature? Were they aware that I could move? Did I look like food?

Are they and all bugs aware that "we" exist?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Dropping Bombs on your Moms




If you haven't already heard, NASA is planning to explode a bomb shot by a missile on the moon.  The purpose? To have the explosion project particles into space so that we can detect them and find out whether or not there is water on our moon.

Why? So we can consume it. Shipping water to the moon is very costly and difficult. If we find water there, astronauts can travel there and filter whatever water they need.  Sounds plausible enough right?

Here is my beef.

  1. We are struggling financially as a planet. Setting off insanely expensive bombs to find out whether or not we can save money in the future seems counter-intuitive to me.
  2. We are eventually going to the moon anyway. How about the next time we take a trip, one of the expeditions goes on a search?
  3. If it turns out there is a little tiny bit of water on the moon, why are we so anxious to eject it into space?
  4. We don't truly understand gravity (http://tinyurl.com/mcq2u6). Who is to say things won't react strangely on the moon when we nuke it?

My concerns?

1. Do we truly know the consistency of the moon? What if the moon is a delicate fossil and we nuke it collapsing it into a shell of its former self or shattering it into our own little asteroid belt or ring. That sort of disaster would be catastrophic for our environment and female ovulation schedules. Dare I say it? Year long PMS???? XO

2. Space is vast and empty, what if the moon reacts like a balloon and the propulsion from the explosion ejects the matter from it and the dust is sucked out into space by momentum alone, escaping the light moon's gravity?

3. What if that same propulsion is enough force, on the moon, to push it just one inch farther away from the Earth. That can do insurmountable damage.

4. What if all goes well and instead we only consume all the water on the planet. Water is HEAVY. NASA understands this and is why they don't want to ship it. That weight adds to the moons mass. What happens if we change that delicate balance?

I believe this is just a stupid idea designed to keep scientists busy, employed and and the media interested.  I was able to get my hands on a top secret NASA diagram and I have uploaded it risking my freedom.  Enjoy.

Shoot the moon!

P.S.  That's not a banana eating a celery stick.

More info on the impact.
...and even more info.





Friday, October 2, 2009

Traffic



I propose what may be a very unpopular traffic solution.

But before I do I must first explain my justification for my placement of blame.

The source of the problem I will focus on is actually on the corporate level. Now this isn't a "hating the man" tree loving anti-establishment tirade. It is, what I believe to be a logical and realistic explanation of one of the major causes of terrible traffic in metropolitan areas as well as a proposed solution that will not completely abolish traffic, but perhaps improve the situation noticeably.

Major corporations feed our families, they build cities and breed other businesses. They are not the "enemy." But they have become a bit too confident for their own good. Instead of building these corporations to serve us, we have tried with all our might to dehumanize these creations and use them instead to protect us from any liability. We have created these autonomous beasts for an urban jungle that we only work to serve. Too abstract? Look at it this way. We trade them publicly and disperse control amongst a board in order to protect ourselves from any blame and perhaps lawsuit. It is a self standing unit that even has legal rights in some countries.

How does this affect traffic? Well, indirectly because of this dehumanization it has become easy to request more and more of its employees. The beast is never satiated.

"I give you more money, you work harder and longer."

Most every major corporation I have ever worked for expected the most out of you. It (or they) expected you to work yourself to the bone. Some elder folks often did exactly that. They gave it their all. Their hard work, their loyalty and the beast just fed. Once these older employee's are surpassed by the younger more "ripe" employee's they are cast out as empty shells. Replaced with no concern for their continued well being.

As time goes on these beasts make more and more demands. Humanity breeds to serve them and compete amongst each other to become the next victim.

Remember the days of suburban commute? Those images of nice clean houses when all the husbands drove off to work at the same time and arrived at exactly the same time? That's long gone but not due to the staggering schedule that would seem to make society more productive.

In its place was a demand. A shift from hourly pay to salary so the employee would work as many hours as "the beast" deemed necessary. No worthy compensation for the extra hours of life the human sacrifice.

Why do I claim that employers are to blame? The slight increase of salary pay is the excuse. Working excessive overtime requesting odd hours of employment, days off, travel etc. only take more and more out of an individual and require that he/she show up at rarely even hours making van pooling and the use of public transportation nearly impossible.

I'm not in a position of power really and yet I can never hope to van-pool with anyone. I'm lucky if I can even get away for lunch. If I take my lunch anywhere local it is always interrupted and multiple times. So I must leave the general area if I want a moment of peace. Lunch breaks aren't long enough for bus transportation to and from your eating break so you MUST have a car of your own or also carpool with others. That rarely works with the strange work and meeting schedules of your average company that schedules them all at the highest ranking employee's whim.

A improvement? Force a range of hours to apply to wage, salary AND more importantly place a cap on the hours employees work in a month, not just week and day.

So an employee would not be salary or wage exclusively but both, depending on how many hours he/she worked in the week and throughout the individual day according to their own individual contract. For example, less than 2=hourly, 2-8 salary, 8-12 hourly. That way they get the overtime they deserve but don't get away with ripping off the company too much either by clocking in and out one hour and still getting a full days pay.

Traffic accidents will also most likely reduce since drivers will be more well rested.

Basically, gradually reducing the amount of overtime that is expected from your employee's would help.

Increasing shifts.

This is what I believe would be the most effective way to reduce traffic. This is a world economy and even keeping up with East and West coast U.S. differences becomes a challenge. East coast days are half over before West coast even gets started. Some companies, most of the larger ones responsible for the traffic, should switch to a multiple shift work schedule. Employee redundancy is one of the benefits they can look forward to.

Essentially employee's would have their hours reduced (as well as their pay) but more people would be employed which in the long run, money saved in commuting costs included, could stand to improve the standard of living for everyone involved.

I'm talking about a 3 a.m. to 12 a.m. function. 2 or 3 shifts not including the cleaning crew and maintenance work between 12 a.m. and 3.

It would be an experiment I would like to see at least attempted. We ARE running out of options so in the big picture I don't think my ideas are THAT outlandish.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

...and a child led them.


This blog post is purely of a hypothetical nature, on many different levels. So if you decide to read and contemplate what I have to say, keep that in mind.

Yes, I know quoting and misquoting biblical verses is playing a dangerous game. Sometimes I like to contemplate the possibilities, impossibilities and even near probabilities. It makes the time pass on a person's commute. :)

So today I was thinking about that oh so often mistranslated quote from Isaiah 11:6.
The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.

That is the King James version. I know there are MANY different versions all with tiny differences in the choice of words and even order but the general message seems to remain the same. The hidden underlying messages, I can't quite say. ;)

BUT! It IS what I think just MAY be a hidden underlying message that I am going to be covering and uncovering today.

Age is symbolic in the Bible's.

Jesus had an incredibly influential and dramatic life. So much so that anyone with the slightest bit of a mind they can call their own, wonders about what happened to the Messiah between ages 12 and 30. If you are at all familiar with Christian/Catholic versions of the Bible's then you may already have wondered about this yourself. There are MANY theories about what Jesus did during that time but the most interesting have been about WHERE Jesus was. Many different stories ranging from Jesus in England to Jesus in India.

Side-note about the Indian theory, traditionally and historically, the Christian and Catholic faiths have been known to incorporate the beliefs of other religions in order to absorb their membership.

1. Immortality of the soul -Egyptian -Babylonian and Greek philosophies and religions
2. Burning place of torment -ancient Babylonian and Buddhist teachings (7 "hells" cold and hot)
3. Easter -ancient goddess of fertility (Astarte) symbolized by the fertile rabbits and eggs.
4. Christmas December 25th -birthday of the Sun in the sky above, worshiped by the Egyptians, Romans etc.
5. Trinity -one of the oldest and most common beliefs among the pre-Christian religions. There are literally dozens of trinities in pagan religions.

The Roman Catholic Church, and others that followed, began to accept and integrate most teachings that its followers felt were a requirement for their loyalty. (and loyalties ;)

A particular Indian belief of interest is the Avatar. A corporeal representation of God himself. Not the son of God but GOD himself incarnated. To this day some Christian and Catholic groups still argue target this very same topic though from a third person perspective a person could see how similar these two theories are.

This information and corroboration could be found in many different places, including Catholic Encyclopedia's which is where I linked to above.

Now with that said, lets move forward and look at the significance of numbers, specifically age. People recorded as living for hundred's of years. Adam 900 if I'm not mistaken. I've always been told this was mostly symbolic as a sign of respect given to symbols held in high regard. I don't know if this is exactly true or not, any of it for that fact but it does propose an interesting precedent.

What IF the numbers are only significant in their message and not in their historical fact? A theme that seems prevalent in the bible itself. Jewish boys become "men" at 13 during their Barmitsvah but Jesus, born Jewish vanished from 12 until he reached 30 years of age...or did he?

My theory is this: What if Jesus did NOT die at 33? What if 33 was the symbolic number given to him because of its at the time, symbolic and powerful nature?

What if Jesus was put on the cross at a much younger, perhaps at 13 years of age?

What if all the words and miracles that Jesus performed in his older age were instead performed at that earlier stage in his life? Consider that and read the famous passages again. They hold new meaning, it makes many things fit. ...and it sure makes his death and sacrifice a LOT more dramatic not to mention how it shines new light on the willingness and ease of which the masses allowed themselves to follow a child speaking so confidently and eloquently as well as "justifying" the Roman's skepticism.

When crucified, his weight would not be an issue accelerating the death on the cross so a spearing would seem necessary to speed up the process or confirm the death. Brutal, viscous, martyr.

Like with any theory it makes many more things a little difficult to understand but if you are anything like I am, you may find that theory intriguing and oddly unsettling.

A child did lead them.

"And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men."

It always seemed strange to me that "Jesus Messiah" had to "learn" anything. Yet he knew so much already without learning. Why were there exclusions to his ingrained omniscience? There should never have been any stage of learning since he always was what he was born as. Though if he was only restrained by physical inability, it would make more sense when you read about how the Jews were so amazed with his knowledge as well as ability to read when he went to Jerusalem as a youth.

To be a little more conspiratorial lets try to imagine who or why that other number, 13, would be made into a "bad luck" number. A number to avoid.

Or not. :)

Addtionial Links

Stand to Reason
Catholic Encyclopedia
Indian Avatar

Friday, September 11, 2009

Blurbs - Convenient Recollection


Today has officially been named National Day of Service and Remembrance Day.

I wonder how many hundreds of thousands of dollars it cost to have Washington put that useless label on the day. Sure I feel bad for those who suffered. Sure I feel bad for the families that suffered losses, for the businesses that suffered afterward and everyone in the U.S. basically that suffered from the attack. How does this help? Almost 10 years later.

It isn’t a holiday. Businesses don’t shut down. Are we supposed to greet each other with “Happy National Day of Service and Remembrance Day?” Or is this only to spur support for this war no one wants to be a part of but those that stand to gain financially from it?

Washington, keep your label and instead have all your employees donate 1 day’s pay to help fix our crappy public education system. Or just donate those funds to the families that lost members during the event or the invasion that followed.

Good mourning. (I wrote this blog in the morning but got caught up at work.)

LINK

There is NO MORE...ignore the read more link. Instead take a look at the other 9/11 blogs I've posted in the past. :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Urinal Regulations


There should be a commonly understood set of rules, nay, COMMANDMENTS that all men should abide by. I was under the impression that they were understood but unspoken since the topic itself is taboo and even mentioning it could cause some guys to cringe.

As outspoken as I have apparently become I guess it’s time for me to dab a bit in the dark side of…

THE MEN’S RESTROOM!


I. Thou shalt keep discourse to a minimum. (You would hate to have a joke interfere or persuade an unexpected bowel movement.)

II. There shall be no speaking whatsoever at the urinal. (There is nothing quite as disconcerting as speaking with another man with your package in your palm.)

III. NEVER look another man in the face while you are in the restroom. A casual nod or simple “Hello” as you enter or leave the restroom will suffice.

IV. If there are other stalls, use them. Do not run to reserve a recently used porcelain. Then the previous resident walks away with some guilt for the next occupant basking in his ambiance.

V. There shall be no contact whatsoever, ESPECIALLY not skin to skin.

VI. If you MUST speak, do it at the sink and don’t make eye contact. Courtesy is not required. No feminine “Thank you very much” or “That’s very kind of you” statements are acceptable.

VII. No one shall acknowledge any flatulence while in the restroom. Neither the whiffers nor the wafters.

VIII. DO NOT under any circumstances choose a urinal next to another man if there is one with at least one free urinal between you. Try for two if there is no divider. There is no pleasantry that could possibly follow a tinkle sprinkle.

IX. NO CELL PHONES ALOWED! This is like church. An active cell phone conversation must be concluded BEFORE the caller enters the restroom. This benefits every party involved. The remote caller isn’t offended, the local caller doesn’t have to try to convince the other party that it “wasn’t them” and the restroom crew isn’t forced to clinch any biological process to avoid inevitable satellite broadcasting.

X. …and the most important commandment of all. WASH YOUR DAMN HANDS YOU DIRTY BASTARDS! The quantity of completely dry sinks with soap filled dispensers I run into is an absolute shame. I open the door with paper when I leave because I know 90% of men don’t wash. From San Bernardino to Beverly Hills, it’s all the same.

Please feel free to forward this message to all the men you know. I’d appreciate credit or a link back to my page but I know that’s a lot to ask…I’d rather have the message get out there.

It’s important.

Friday, September 4, 2009

...lyfe


Life is precious. Even to those people who mistreat their own bodies and others'. Even those people who kill. Their own life is precious or they wouldn't be trying so hard to survive beyond their means.

We often fight and bicker amongst ourselves and I find myself caught up in it. Once in a while I like to pause. Reflect on the things that have just transpired and it makes me laugh.

When I pause and look around at the world surrounding me, the trees, the clouds, the sun (indirectly of course) I contemplate the unlikeliness of our existence and it makes me smile. Here we are, arguing about the stupidest possible things.

"I want that office because that office has 2 more square feet."

"I can't believe she said that about me."

"President Obama said THAT!?! If you agree you're obviously ignorant."

Take the sun for example. Today is hot. That source of light and life is on average about 93 million miles away. 93 MILLION. We can't even feel the heat from a decent sized fire that is only a few feet away at a campsite.

Can you fathom that?

There is something so simple and miraculous up there that is, as far as I understand what I have been told is what Science currently understands, the entire reason we exist at all. It's up there, burning. Forging. Giving light and energy.

That is one little item in the sky full of billions and we bitch and bicker about really dumb shit that makes me angry that we don't appreciate sometimes.

Perhaps I'm going a bit overboard in my work frustrations but as I get older I get less and less patient with those people who believe that their needs supersede everyone else's. Everything is ASAP and must be put at the top of everyone's priority list though it clearly shouldn't and is more often then not in clear violation of company policy.

Even my own complaints are insignificant in the grand scheme of things.

I apologize for the disorderly rant but I am SO ready for the weekend, aren't you?

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Sorry I Haven't Been Around

I just finished reading another blogger's blog and it inspired me to check on some of my older posts. Back in the Silent Podium's hey day. I was getting comments in the 20's...!!! XD (I was also posting like 3 long blogs a day!)

I know the recent lack of activity is mostly my fault though. It is just that I have been promoted at work. Only in responsibility, not title or pay of course.

I haven't had much time for anything else. I've been all over Facebook whenever I can. There is a group in there that has been taking up a LOT of my time. Between that and the side jobs to make ends meet, it's been pretty crazy.
The topic ideas and inspiration are there, I just can't seem to find the time wherever I look.

Perhaps one day I will be hired as a paid writer somewhere and I won't only have to hope for the occasional click on those little boxes on the right.

Friday, July 31, 2009

Cell Phone Quick Tips

Don't have visual voice mail yet?

Did you know that all that precious time you waste waiting for the robot to ask you if you are sure that you want to delete your voice mail is there intentionally to make you pay more money? Know which button is which? Turn it off, save some cash.

Sprint

1. Call your voicemail
2. At the menu, press 3 for personal options
3. Press 2 for greeting
4. Press 1 to change the greeting
5. To enable / disable the instructions, press 3

AT&T

1. Call your voicemail
2. Go to personal options
3. Go to administrative options
4. Select "cut through paging"
5. Select off

Verizon

1. Personal options
2. Administrative options
3. General options
4. Then you will have these three options:
* Auto Play On or Off
* Call Back Number Prompt On or Off
* Rapid Prompt or Standard Prompt

If you were real smart you would opt out of SMS/Text messaging altogether.

SMS has a word limit (160) and you are charged money for sending an SMS.
E-mail has always been free of cost and is more economical and without any word or image limit.

Highway robbery. Your beloved cellular service provider is charging you 4X the amount per byte that it costs to receive data from the Hubble Telescope! FOR NO EFFIN' REASON!

So please, shut that crap off and STOP FORWARDING DUMB JOKES AND "YOUR LOVED ONE'S WILL DIE" MESSAGES THAT NOBODY LIKES!

Have a nice day!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Behind the Veil - My Social Advantage Rip-off

You've seen them. Those ads on the side of the browser window on your favorite social networking site. Tempting aren't they? Free camera's, free computer's....

Well recently I read a review about a really nice camera. Small, digital, portable, durable and water resistant. Yeah, WATER RESISTANT. A pretty huge fan of amateur photography myself, I saw that ad there on Facebook and I thought...what the hell. I wanted that camera and can't afford to pony up the $300 it retails for. If I can sign-up for some junk programs and pay significantly less than $300 total then I would consider it a victory.

So come with me as I try to find out if I could ever get this company to pay up with a "free" camera.

Well the first thing I did was create an alternate e-mail address for the inevitable virtual tons of junk mail that I would be bombarded with once I start the process.

I went to GMail and I created one. It took only a few seconds and oddly enough an SMS message for verification. :S I have SMS disabled on my personal phone because people fail to understand, "Please don't send me text messages they are expensive. Please send me an e-mail instead." so I had to use another phone.

Once that was done the e-mail was ready to go. I right clicked on the advertisement and copied the url into a text file.

I closed my browser and I cleared my cache, cookies and internet history to protect from potential spyware. I opened a fresh browser window and pasted the address into the url and hit Enter. I was greeted with a surprising clean page. No pop-ups, no porn and very tidy format. A good sign.

A bad sign, several different generic sounding names for the company. On the top it says "Live Active Network." Then near the bottom I see this little name. My Social Advantage?

I did some quick research online and didn't find any warnings or complaints. I went to BBB.org and searched for both. No results. That could be both good or bad.

Then I hit the jackpot, so to speak.

I searched for My Social Advantage Scam and found this thread on Facebook.

That single thread was more informative than the several different pages attributed to the many faces of My Social Advantage. On that thread one of the "associates" was promoting it and trying to be "open" and denying any "scam" was taking place. Whenever someone would make a point, such as, why the full details of the process required to obtain the objects was never disclosed on any page, he would talk around it and direct them to another page.

The page claims, "2 total offers to complete."

That is a complete lie.

One of the posters there summarized it the way My Social Advantage could not across multiple pages.

1. Register.
2. Check email for verification link.
3. Complete 2 offers.
4. Refer 1 person to Live Active Network.com.
5. Earn enough reward credits

Earn enough reward credits? How does one do that. Well, I'm glad you asked because that only happens when your 3rd generation referral makes some sort of payment. That means the person or person(s) your referral referred.

Sounds like a pyramid scheme doesn't it? Well when confronted the "associate" denied this and instead directed everyone to this page which has the clear diagram below that "proves" its not a pyramid scheme.



I took the liberty of reformatting that image a little.



Oh and here's a little tidbit I found on another one of their pages here.

How long do I have to complete the promotion?
180 days.

So...just as we all suspected, it was too good to be true. I was hoping they were just fishing for spam email addresses and credit customers but its worse than that.

No camera for me, or anyone else from what I understand. This pyramid scheme was worse than others before it. NO ONE came out of it successfully.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Closet Bigots

“Racism, racism, racism, why are people always talking about racism?!?" “Racism ended 50 years ago.”

I hear those arguments every day whenever racism is brought up during a conversation. What these individuals fail to realize is that racism is alive and well. It’s not something that just “goes away.” It has simply become a part of us and changed, molded into something else. Something worse. Something much more dangerous.

I remember a self righteous teacher telling me once, with good intent of course, that racism wasn’t learned, it was taught. Later in life I saw that similar message on a T-Shirt with a bunch of happy black and white children.

Bullshit.

Hypothetical situation; 30 children in a classroom, 29 white, 1 black. Children will, naturally, notice a difference. This difference will also naturally instigate fear, anger, hatred, curiosity and even jealousy. More so than if he/she was simply the same as them.

Why? Human nature.

This is the way we humans in all our wisdom come to grips with that which we do not understand. We classify and categorize. Perhaps not with any ill intent initially but this tradition is ingrained within our being. I wonder if it is what keeps us from going mad at all the amazing realities of our own existence and solitude in the universe.

So why has racism become even more dangerous than it was before? Well, because people don’t know they are. They act, sure of themselves, clear in their conscience that they are new age and beyond that lowly and barbaric nature of our most recent ancestors.

When I was in High School I spent many lunch hours in the classroom. I would go into a nice teacher’s class, sit and read a book or just relax. The teacher from the next classroom was not as nice as I would soon find out. I had my nose in a book and right next to me, the nice teacher and the not so nice teacher were having a conversation. I wasn’t trying to eavesdrop and at that exact moment I couldn’t tell you what they spoke of. Until I heard a few key words and the entire conversation played back in my head.

N.S.N.T. was complaining about one of his new students. N.T., a veteran teacher, was of course consoling him and urging patience and understanding. He asked N.S.N.T. to think of possible reasons why this kid was acting out the way he was and N.S.N.T. responded thus;

“Apparently Jose, or whatever his name is, suffers from the Mexican disease machismo.”

I stopped reading and thought, “Well, that sentence was not so bad and definitely not the worst thing I’ve heard coming from a teacher.” Though it did give me pause and left me reflecting on the implications of his negative sentiment towards the children he was instructing.

N.S.N.T. noticed that my gaze was no longer on my book and apparently got a little nervous. He stuttered out, “Well…I think I’ve lived in this neighborhood long enough to earn the right to say that.”

THAT instigated my response. I wasn’t going to say anything but his need and justification for defending his statement told me I should.

Slowly packing up my things, his gaze and Nice Teacher’s met mine. I said, “I’m Mexican, and I haven’t even earned the right to say something like that.” In retrospect, I know that was overly dramatic but I was 14 years old or so. That was best I could do. Most of my peers would have probably started cursing at the man.

Why was this harmless little statement of bravado dangerous? Because he thought he was right and in his right. Nothing spurs motivation like justification. This man in his heart believed what he said and probably will never acknowledge the inappropriate nature of his open complaint about a teenage child. Tagging his heritage as apparently the only suffering culture of the male chauvinism “disease.” I’m sure the French translated the word from Spanish.

Little comments and jokes like these seem harmless on the surface but they are evidence of a problem deep within. Much like fore shocks to Earthquakes, they can often be a warning of a dangerous problem with a deep fissure.

“I’m not racist; some of my best friends are __________!”

People actually say this. If you find yourself in a position where you need to defend yourself then it is possible you are not as universally accepting as you thought.

Please don’t mistake this blog post as a self righteous declaration of my superiority either. I know we ALL have this problem. Like I said before, it is human nature. Some people may choose not to describe it like that, perhaps too proud of “humanity” to blame it but I think IT is one of the reasons why we still exist today.

These virtual files and categories we created helped keep us in line, think abstractly and learn to abide by rules that don’t physically exist. We learned to survive by using our sense of judgment. Prejudice. We need to be able to identify a threat and not wait impotently for the attack first.

To this day, in certain neighborhoods, you STILL have to be on alert. Sizing people up and prepping yourself for any oncoming attack on you or your loved ones. So how to we learn to distinguish that habit of self preservation from plain old bigoted classification?

Even those with the open minds, those modern hippies that proclaim acceptance of all, tend to slant an eye towards those who work in big business or politics. Anarchy. Anyone wearing a tie is the enemy.

So today as you go about your day, stop for a second and take a breath. Think about what you will say, how you will act and what you will do when interacting with any other person. Whether they be of a different gender, race, sexual orientation or even financial bracket. Put yourself in their shoes entirely and express the utmost compassion for the individual and the family you don’t see.

But remain aware, always aware.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Blurb - The Bearded Monster

I don’t recall if I have ever brought this up here but I may have mentioned it once or twice. People treat you differently when you have a beard. They are both more defensive and a lot less confrontational if those two can go together.

I can only assume that they take the beard as a sign of automatic aggression. At least on me they do. Why can’t they see me like the kind fuzzy neighbor or funny home improvement TV show sidekick?

My personality hasn’t changed, yet people walk around me and look down when I glance at them. If I turn a corner too fast they slide over to the extreme opposite side of the hallway. I actually made a temp drop all her paperwork. She picked it up quickly and skipped away in a rush before I could help her pick it up.

I don’t have tattoos and I smile and nod when I walk by folks. I hold doors open and say please and thank you. I just don’t get what all the fuss is about. When I shave it all off. It is the complete opposite. People bump my shoulder, talk down to me and are just plain old condescending.

I don’t like the fear and power that the beard comes with but the day is approaching when I will change my look again and I don’t look forward to the challenge. Do ladies get the same treatment when they don't shave their legs?

Thursday, July 9, 2009

iPhone GMail Calendar Synch. & Other Misc. Tips

More iPhone tips.

We will begin with a walk-through on setting up your GMail account with IMAP. Which is the way you want to do it. You delete it on your iPhone and it deletes it in your GMail account, like it should.

You need to be absolutely sure that you are currently running OS 3.0 or higher. If you are, let's begin.

1. Make sure you've enabled IMAP in your main GMail settings. Go to GMail.com and set that up.
2. On your iPhone, or iPod touch, tap Settings.
3. Mail.
4. Add Account.
5. Other.
6. Add Mail Account.
7. Enter your account information. Be sure to use your full GMail or Google Apps e-mail address. XXXXX@GMail.com for example.
8. Tap Save.

Then in the section titled "Incoming Mail Server."

1. The host name is imap.gmail.com.
2. Your user name is your full Gmail address, including "@gmail.com" or your full Google Apps email address.

For the section titled "Outgoing Mail Server"

1. The host Name is 'smtp.gmail.com'
2. Your user name again, is your full Gmail or Google Apps e-mail address including the "@gmail.com" part.
3. Tap Save.

Then go to your mail account's "Advanced Settings" near the bottom.

1. Under "Mailbox Behaviors" tap on Deleted Mailbox and select Trash.
2. Under the Deleted Messages section, tap on Remove and select Never.

Now to synchronize your Google Calendar. This is great if you share appointments with someone. I LOVE using this to keep a group calendar with my wife. We share the same Google Calendar account and it keeps us synchronized with life. :)

1. Tap on Settings.
2. Open Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
3. Tap Add Account...
4. Select Microsoft Exchange.
5. In the Email field, enter your full Google account email address. If you use an @googlemail.com address, you may see an "Unable to verify certificate" warning when you proceed to the next step.
6. Leave the Domain field blank.
7. Enter your full Google Account email address as the User name.
8. Enter your Google Account password as the Password.
9. Tap Next at the top of your screen.
10. Choose Accept if the Unable to Verify Certificate dialog appears.
11. A new Server field will appear. Enter m.google.com.
12. Press Next at the top of your screen again.
13. Select the Google services you want to sync. Currently only Contacts and Calendar are supported.
14. Unless you want to delete all the existing Contacts and Calendars on your phone, select the Keep on my iPhone option when prompted. This will also allow you to keep syncing with your computer via iTunes.

Now for some little tips that make things more convenient. I receive at least 100 or so messages a day from Facebook so the default settings are a nuisance. I don't want to have to open each e-mail and slowly delete them all. If I do it from the inbox, I can't really tell what I'm deleting since half of the preview is a bunch of Facebook information.

I found these nice options in the settings which I don't remember having seen before.

1. Go into Settings.
2. Tap on Mail, Contacts, Calendars.
3. Scroll down to the "Mail" section.
4. I changed the "Show" option to 100 Recent Messages but you can increase up to 200 or decrease to 25 if you are running low on resources.
5. I increased the Preview to 3 Lines so I can now see more of the e-mail from the inbox instead of being forced to open the message to see what it is about.
6. Below that you have the Minimum Font Size which I reduced in order to fit more into that preview. The default is Medium, I selected Small.

There are a lot of nice options here like increasing the Calendar sync date, e-mail sort order and CC Label display.

I don't really hear many people talking about these options but I found them very convenient. Hope you do to. :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Jackson - Presley: Updated

Some news reports are claiming that they've seen the ghost of Michael Jackson at Neverland Ranch and a number of other different locations. Ridiculous, I know.

But that got me thinking. What if it IS him. No, not his ghost, but Michael Jackson himself.

It's no secret that he has always looked up to Elvis Presley. He stated before that he want to be remembered like Elvis. What is one of the most memorable things about Elvis postmortem? Well I think it's the conspiracy theory that he is still alive and Kicking. Padum-pum. *Vague Elvis dance reference.

So how did Michael do it and what led me to believe he may still be alive? Well. Seemingly out of nowhere Michael returns to the limelight just in time. His proceedings proceed more like a show than anything else. His albums and collection sales skyrocket and are promoted voraciously.

To be brutally honest, how could he not? As many strange fans have proven, replicating his "face" is not an impossible task. The years of band aids and masks led up to this.

So is Michael Jackson still alive? No one but his family will ever know for sure. I don't mean "his" children either. If his kid performs and puts out an album before the end of the year...my suspicions will run high.

Enjoy the concert.

EDIT: Well, his son didn't perform but his "daughter" sure did.

Speaking of Presley, I recently found this old letter Lisa-Marie posted on her MySpace page. It was VERY interesting.

Friday, June 26, 2009

He Knew.

Years ago Michael and I were having a deep conversation about life in general.

I can’t recall the exact subject matter but he may have been questioning me about the circumstances of my Fathers Death.

At some point he paused, he stared at me very intensely and he stated with an almost calm certainty, “I am afraid that I am going to end up like him, the way he did.”

I promptly tried to deter him from the idea, at which point he just shrugged his shoulders and nodded almost matter of fact as if to let me know, he knew what he knew and that was kind of that.

14 years later I am sitting here watching on the news an ambulance leaves the driveway of his home, the big gates, the crowds outside the gates, the coverage, the crowds outside the hospital, the Cause of death and what may have led up to it and the memory of this conversation hit me, as did the unstoppable tears.

A predicted ending by him, by loved ones and by me, but what I didn’t predict was how much it was going to hurt when it finally happened.

The person I failed to help is being transferred right now to the LA County Coroners office for his Autopsy.

All of my indifference and detachment that I worked so hard to achieve over the years has just gone into the bowels of hell and right now I am gutted.

I am going to say now what I have never said before because I want the truth out there for once.

Our relationship was not “a sham” as is being reported in the press. It was an unusual relationship yes, where two unusual people who did not live or know a “Normal life” found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part. Nonetheless, I do believe he loved me as much as he could love anyone and I loved him very much.

I wanted to “save him” I wanted to save him from the inevitable which is what has just happened.

His family and his loved ones also wanted to save him from this as well but didn’t know how and this was 14 years ago. We all worried that this would be the outcome then.

At that time, In trying to save him, I almost lost myself.

He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated.

When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad.

Mediocrity was not a concept that would even for a second enter Michael Jackson’s being or actions.

I became very ill and emotionally/ spiritually exhausted in my quest to save him from certain self-destructive behavior and from the awful vampires and leeches he would always manage to magnetize around him.

I was in over my head while trying.

I had my children to care for, I had to make a decision.

The hardest decision I have ever had to make, which was to walk away and let his fate have him, even though I desperately loved him and tried to stop or reverse it somehow.

After the Divorce, I spent a few years obsessing about him and what I could have done different, in regret.

Then I spent some angry years at the whole situation.

At some point, I truly became Indifferent, until now.

As I sit here overwhelmed with sadness, reflection and confusion at what was my biggest failure to date, watching on the news almost play by play The exact Scenario I saw happen on August 16th, 1977 happening again right now with Michael (A sight I never wanted to see again) just as he predicted, I am truly, truly gutted.

Any ill experience or words I have felt towards him in the past has just died inside of me along with him.

He was an amazing person and I am lucky to have gotten as close to him as I did and to have had the many experiences and years that we had together.

I desperately hope that he can be relieved from his pain, pressure and turmoil now.

He deserves to be free from all of that and I hope he is in a better place or will be.

I also hope that anyone else who feels they have failed to help him can be set free because he hopefully finally is.

The World is in shock but somehow he knew exactly how his fate would be played out some day more than anyone else knew, and he was right.

I really needed to say this right now, thanks for listening.

~LMP


=============================================

Some interesting things in that letter. "...found a connection, perhaps with some suspect timing on his part." So she is almost acknowledging here that she believes he courted her out of convenience for the public eye.

The one that REALLY caught my eye was this one..."He was an incredibly dynamic force and power that was not to be underestimated. When he used it for something good, It was the best and when he used it for something bad, It was really, REALLY bad."

What the hell is she talking about?

Just some stuff to think about.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Per Request - iPhone Jailbreak & Unlock

O.K. This is not my usual repertoire but I detested retyping this every time someone would ask me for instructions. If you have/want an iPhone but don't like AT&T's service plan. Do the following. Or if you want to add a wallpaper to you iPhone which Apple doesn't permit oddly enough, also, follow these instructions.

If you don't care, I don't blame you. If you have an iPhone and were afraid to do it before

*Disclaimer. I am in no way suggesting that you do this. If you choose for reasons of your own to do this you are on your own. I know it works.

First of all, update your iPhone to 3.0 using iTunes. Whatever you do though, do NOT update to 3.1.

Download whichever file applies to your phone.

iPhone 3Gs 3.0
iPhone 3G 3.0
iPhone 2G 3.0

Download redsn0w from one of the following locations.

Mac

* http://bentkowski.com.pl/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://foskarulla.com/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://download.desteini.com/mac/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://theiphoneproject.org/mac/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://begolli.com/downloads/mac/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://www.highphone.org/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://iwannahack.com/extra/Evilbenking/redsn0w/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://iphone.awayfrombrain.ch/pwnage/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://www.ipodtouchmasterfr.com/files/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://StealthyHosting.com/download/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://ivwriting.com/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip
* http://asifzia.com/redsn0w-mac_0.7.2.zip

Windows

* http://theiphoneproject.org/windows/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://begolli.com/downloads/win/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://www.highphone.org/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://iwannahack.com/extra/Evilbenking/redsn0w/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://iphone.awayfrombrain.ch/pwnage/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://www.ipodtouchmasterfr.com/files/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://StealthyHosting.com/download/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://ivwriting.com/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip
* http://asifzia.com/redsn0w-win_0.7.2.zip

Run redsn0w, point to the ipsw file you located and follow the instructions carefully. Just to prepare you, you will have only a few seconds to do the following.

1. Hold the power button.
2. Without letting go of the power, press the home button and hold.
3. Without letting go of the home button release the power button and wait.

If it doesn't work no worries, try again.

Once it is done, run Cydia or Icy and add custom repository repo666.ultrasn0w.com.

Then search for ultrasn0w.

After you install it reboot. Note: If you are on T-Mobile be sure to disable 3G. Sorry, there doesn't appear to be any solution for that.

If you install both Cydia and Icy and for some reason can't install any app. Try re-jailbreaking but don't select Icy. It will still be there and should work once you boot up again.

100% of the credit goes to the iPhone Dev Team. I just put it simply and into one location.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The Curious Case of the American National Pride Endemic


The United States has what I feel is one true ally that it can rely on. England.

Yet for some reason the entire country celebrates each and every year our independence from them.

Sure they were taxing the US at ridiculous rates but isn't our own government doing that to us now? Aren't we still paying millions for Washington's retirement wages, overpriced toilet seats and elevator button pushers? Aren't the telephone companies charging us for ridiculously outdated "long distance" and "SMS" data fee's?

Where's our Tea Party?

I'll tell you where conspiracy theorists...

Its hidden in plain site behind the distractions of media coverage of celebrity lifestyles and exploding fireworks.

The war, the bee's,
financial crisis and disease,
I believe are all distractions
designed to keep us living on our knees.

I don't think our citizenship has the drive or willpower for it but if a revolution ever comes, will you have the strength to die on your feet? I'm not completely sure I do or how I feel about that.

Many of us plead for freedom and independence and protest against the military. The military super power we have all paid for has made us soft as a people. We developed a hard shell so when a few needles break through, they cause incredibly hemorrhaging damage. (9/11)

I hope you have a pleasant independence day and don't forget to thank your local Brit and let bygones be bygones.

(P.S. Ignore the Read More link. There is no more. I don't know why it is there today.)

Friday, June 26, 2009

Tough As Nails

I've always been a nervous individual. More so in the past then the present. I like to believe, or at least I tell myself, that I have it relatively under control. When I was in elementary school I remember I developed some bad habits.

Some annoyingly bad habits. I would bite my nails. I have weak nails. It runs in my family. They are very thin and fragile. So if they get too long and they snag on something they usually rip. Not break, RIP. Never all the way, just deep enough to get to the delicate flesh under the nail but not deep enough to get to the other side of the nail therefore making it easy to rip off.

It would force me to slowly yank off the nail and for the next couple of weeks suffer with a painful, not yet bleeding, wound on the tip of my finger.

It hurt.

So I developed this habit of constantly "maintaining" my nails. The white part is very thin. Just long enough to not leave too much space between my finger and the nail so it can't snag on anything. My fingertips are round. I don't have those pointy fingers some people do where the nails look like tips on blades.

Someone, most likely a girl, made me feel stupid and gross for biting my nails. I would never do it in public mind you. It was always at home and I wouldn't "eat" them. They would go in the trash. I wouldn't gnaw on them either. She made note of how short and un-manicured they were. I would, whilst doing homework or reading, start the break with my teeth and slowly rip the nail off. It may seem gross to you but this was as natural to me as running fingers through long hair is to you girls blessed with long hair.

Where was I? Oh yes, a girl was once again making me feel stupid for being me. She made me aware that it was a gross habit and I tried to remind myself to stop. My mother noticed as well. In order to stop the habit she forced me to put nail gloss on so when I would instinctively put a finger to my mouth I would gack at the taste. Yes, I just made up a word. Gack. Feel free to use it. (Half gag and "ack" vocal response.) Gack.

The nail polish didn't work for its intended purpose. Instead I was humiliated at school and learned what it meant to be "gay." That fluorescent green with the black "Wake me up before you Go-Go" lettered sweater didn't help either.

I tried stopping cold turkey. That didn't work so I created an alternative. I will stop with one nail and work my way up. The most painful one was my pinky nail so I stopped. I NEVER bit my right hand pinky nail. It worked. Then I told myself I could do the left hand pinky nail. That worked too.

I was in the 5th grade. That's as far as I got.

Since then I have had long pinky nails. The only ones that I cut with nail clippers. I've been made fun of and some females still express disgust over typically pompous assumptions about what my long nails are for. It no longer has any effect on my ego though since the older we get as humans the more transparent peoples insecurities become.

Recent events though have led me to change this long standing counter-habit. I have to cut my pink nails short. My family was blessed with little babies everywhere so I must cut them so as not to accidentally scratch them. Like I mentioned before, my nails are frail but razor thin. If they hit at the right angle, baby flesh will cut deep. I can not risk that so I cut them.

How do smokers not stop? "Maybe they won't know it was me that gave their child lung cancer."

Monday, June 22, 2009

Area 51

This is Area 51.



For decades it has been the butt of all conspiracy jokes and alien crash landing rumors. Though I thoroughly enjoy the thought provoking conversations spurred by the topic the realist in me doesn't allow me to believe any of it.

What I DO believe is a little scarier.

The map itself isn't too interesting. Some weird road markings on the dry lake bed but that can be explained away by what I really think used to go on over there. Experimental aircraft. That theory has been kicked around a lot and I tend to believe that since it is the most likely. They had the Stealth airplanes over 60 years ago. I wonder what they are playing with now?

So I start zooming around on the map and focus on other nearby easy to spot lake beds. I scroll around one that is relatively the same size. At first it seems pretty boring until I scroll up. There are rows and rows of little artificial sand hills. Some with roads leading up to the top and some without.



Whatever it is, something is being dug up over there. Unless they are just sweeping up the desert. The farther up you go, the stranger they get. Some appear more like uprising then dumping zones. You know, like anthills? Take a look at this one and better yet the ground around it. It looks different, almost burnt or sunken under the immense weight of the large mountain piled atop.



...and what is with that huge circle road? One crosses it and offers a shorter path, why take the long way?

Feeling sidetracked I decided to get back on track. I zoomed out and back into the nearest, largest dry lake bed I found.



I don't know if you can see what I see but here's a closer shot of it.



I thought that looked like a target. Those square areas with what look like water pools may be just that. Why? Who knows. Perhaps they are trying to find out why the bed dried up and if it could still hold water?

Again I zoomed out and across what I lovingly refer to as burnt hill to the West where there is another dry bed and yet another "target."



Now they COULD be digging for water...but I don't see any trails leading to or from the little scorches. My theory? I think they are testing high powered space based weapons.

Think I'm far off? Here's a quote from Boieng's website. "Boeing Tests Entire Weapon System on Advanced Tactical Laser Aircraft."

Northrop Grumman is also in the race. "Laser weapon design hits 100-kilowatt target."

We're all toast.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Randy Cougar


This is the other story I mentioned in the previous blog post.

This is a 100% true story though when I retell it, it always sounds like a stupid teenage fantasy. It's not, I promise.

First a background on this lady, lets call her "Tramp" from this point on shall we? So Tramp had been at the company where I worked for years before I even arrived. One of my responsibilities at this company was setting up and managing the NAS which is too put it really simply, a computer on the network where everyone can store and share files.

Our company had frequent social events and would often hire a photographer to record those events. So when I was transferring all those files I came across a public folder of previous events that I started sifting through.

It was a relatively small company, only around 400 to 500 employees. I was also responsible for creating and maintaining all the network user accounts. Which means I knew almost everyone by name. Especially those that were local.

There was one particular female I was warned about by my coworkers. She had previously had a hand in firing some guys from maintenance. Apparently, I was told, she had a habit of flirting and when people would flirt back, she would file a complaint. She was an HR nightmare. I can only assume she was looking for the opportunity to sue. Well in a particular file folder I found images of everyone but more noticeably, was a particular image of her years ago. With wedding ring, sans implants.

Three HUGE warning signs right there.

Somewhat familiar with HR traditions and protocols I immediately set myself on alert and prepped for her special case. Whenever I would help her or walk by I would be only cordial and very distant.

I was very obvious about not being there for fun. It got to the point where she even said, with all her girly talky-talk buddies listening, "You never talk, why are you always so quiet?" To which I responded, "It's in my job description to be antisocial." My statement was meant partly as a joke but mostly true. I CAN'T be friends with anyone doing what I do. Sometimes I am forced to lay the law down and people may take it personally if they see me as a friend or acquaintance making my job more difficult. Especially if they start asking for "favors."

She unfortunately found my statement witty and laughed which was not the reaction I was looking for. *Danger. I figured she thought I was "playing" her game.

Time and time again she would call for assistance for the most redundant things. Issues that I was completely aware that she could resolve on her own. When we hired more employee's in our group I would send them to go help her instead.

Alas the day came when I had no alternative but to go work on her machine. I scheduled it during her lunch so she wouldn't have to be there but just as I suspected she came right on back while I was there.

Now I need to paint a picture so you can see exactly why I suspect this was intentional. Her cubicle was an "L" shaped desk with the computer right in the corner. Plenty of room on the left and on the right.

I "scooched" up close to the desk so she could have access to either side when she returned for "something she forgot." She could walk behind me to get anything on the right and the left side was accessible from the aisle.

This all happened in a matter of seconds.

For some unknown reason she felt the need to reach across in front of me, from my left, to my right. Completely awkward and uncomfortable. I have a look of annoyance not only because she's blocking my view of the computer screen but because I am doing work that should be done by the employees I was covering for when BLUB! I get hit in the face with a clothed saline sack.

I kick the wheeled chair back and immediately look down at the floor and lift up my fingers and hands up thinking, "OK, what the *fff am I supposed to say right now." I was more scared than anything. Of course she did the whole "hand over the mouth OMG I'm so sorry *tee hee" thing but I was thinking, "Say ONE wrong thing and your job is gone."

She said some other stuff unrelated but I don't remember the rest. Probably something like "Contact me when you are finished working on the machine."

I was at first afraid to tell my supervisor, also a recently divorced female who also happened to be feminist. Fortunately she and I were on relatively good terms, until much later but that's another story, which is boring and I won't tell here. I did tell her at one point. I softened up the story a bit, so to speak, so I wouldn't have to be as graphic in her presence. I told her I didn't want to file a complaint and gave her my reasons for not wanting to assist that particular person any longer and if we could still notify HR in some way.

Well, I didn't get her fired directly but I did start an investigation which eventually led to her lay off. She was a liability and they let her go in the most pleasant way possible.

Be careful out there!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Dangers of Coed Cubicles


I finally catch a break and escape to the lunch room. As I approach I hear a cacophony of voices. I figured it must be another useless birthday distraction.

Oh. That's why. I guess there is a new Office "hottie" and all the stupid horny men are all surrounding her. Even the suits were in the tiny little break room. (They never eat here.)

I have worked with her before and since been completely courteous. I happen to be luckily married to an office "hottie" myself so the presence of another is not that shocking or outstanding to me. Just for the record though, I did not give the one at my company this title. The way the "hunters" stalk her gave her that title.

To be honest, she's not my type. Short blond hair+waif=Meh. These old men though...seem to be starving. Not for lunch of course but maybe just a quick snack. (Fishtail?) As a younger man of 20 I would have felt angry for this girl. Why does she have to deal with that? I would feel a strange combination of disgust and pity for her. This time though I realized that I felt pretty different. Not exactly indifferent but more understanding of her situation.

My wife has helped me realize that some women like this sort of thing. They feed off of it and get as much of a thrill toying with men as men get fantasizing about them. That seems to cast a bad light on her but look at it this way. She COULD stop that quickly. Because she hasn't then she is welcoming it. My company looks down upon that sort of thing, QUICKLY. Even if someone else complains they will all get a warning and penalties would quickly follow.

As I stood there waiting for my food to warm up, (standing room only at OGLE-2000,) I overheard the gist of their conversation. Well, more like her conversation. They were all captivated by the intricate way she weaved her work stories. She cracked a joke and they all laughed. I wasn't really paying attention and that seemed to bother her.

Then she turned her attention towards me. greeeeaaaaat.

She says something to the other guys. I didn't hear the details. I was scrolling through tons of Facebook messages from a much more interesting photography group but it was something about "never talks" and "boring."

Just then one of the guys apologizes for having to go back to work, (fancy that!), gets up, says goodbye and enjoy your lunch only to her and leaves. Right away another dude takes his place in the chair. (He must have been waiting in line outside the lunch room.)

The new guy says, (he was pretty loud so I heard every word,) "I gotta joke for you" to one of his buddies. After a moments thought he adds, "But I'll tell you later, there's ladies in the room." Obvious bait for her curiosity.

Still reading my messages and without looking up I say, "HEY!" as if offended at the remark.

It took everyone a few seconds to recognize it as a joke but after she laughed all the stupid Viagro's aching to impress quickly jumped in. "Yeah hey!" they said all laughing and looking towards her for approval.

*Ding.

I grabbed my food, nodded to the joke-less jokester and walked out. I have learned that sometimes not giving people the attention they crave makes them desire it more which is why I threw them that bone of a social token. I figured that was a good compromise since I didn't have to direct my conversation at her directly nor did I ignore their presence completely luring them to believe I was playing coy.

Some women can be dangerous at work. So I put a LOT of though into the way I act around them. I have another story to tell. The most unbelievable of them all, but 100% completely true.

Next time.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Whale of a Tail


I started writing this blog post and it got really lengthy. I decided to scrap it, start over and if need be save the full version for another project I have in mind for a much later date.

For now I will get to the point.

When I was younger, a female friend asked me to describe my preferences in the female form to put it kindly. The subject of female behinds came up after a while and since I wasn't exactly a derriere connoisseur after some extensive, purely observational, research I came to the conclusion that I preferred ones that moved.

As opposed of course to the hard, gym muscle man-butt type female behind.

My friend was shocked and confused by this admission. Since I was in High School I immediately felt self conscious and thought I was weird but I argued my point. I attempted to explain to her in a way she could understand that my justification for this was because I appreciated the fact that when there was movement, you were made AWARE that there was a live person there. The hard muscled ones may as well have been mannequins. She replied after the laughter died down that she understood when I put it that way.

What about you? Do you have a preference of palate with your partners petuckus?

Monday, June 1, 2009

Official Holy War


I find stupid humans entertaining. I myself have been known at times to be one of those stupid humans.

Today though, the stupidity is not my own.

People love sharing/shoving their opinions with other people. Hence the incredible success of web logging. Sometimes though they feel the need to share with people that don't care to know. Or to share with those people who couldn't possibly disagree with them more.

Human Resources.

For this and many other reasons companies rely on their Human Resources department to deal with all the "dirty" social messes humans create. Some companies expect you to act like a mindless automaton but people break out of those cages.

Without further ado, today's office squabble. :)

We have various lunchroom break areas in the buildings where I work. Many of these break rooms have stacks of magazines selflessly provided by the employees themselves when they signed up for the free 6 month trial they forgot to cancel in time.

Newsweek, in an obviously desperate attempt to save itself from the fate of many other failing publications, decided to fan the flames of the gay marriage debate, so to speak. Today I will not take or fake an opinion for the sake of argument. I mentioned before that this blog was an observation of office socialization and it will remain that.

I walk in this morning and right on top of the stack of magazines is this cover. Having seen my share of Yes on 8 stickers bumper stickers in the parking lot I knew this would not go uncontested. Low and behold less than 30 minutes later when I walked by to one of my appointments I decided to take a look.

The magazine was now on its face and a little booklet of Psalms was placed atop.

I couldn't help but smirk as I continued towards my destination. A few hours later I return to pick up my lunch bag from the refrigerator and the magazine is right side up, on top of the stack and ... oooh what's this? The sword and been drawn. They placed the book of Psalms teetering on the edge of the garbage bin. They didn't drop it into the can mind you but left it there as a reminder of how unwelcome those opinions were.

Every single time I walked through that break room, it was dead silent. Not a person in sight. Yet somehow I felt like I was in the middle of an old west stand off. I nuked my chicken cacciatore and sipped my soda pondering the secret identities of these two crusaders.

Minor events in human history no doubt and perhaps even a bit over dramatized by my imagination but I find the human psychology aspect of this passive war immensely entertaining.

Alas, they both kept their secret identities hidden.

It just goes to show you that no matter how hard you try,
nor how much you spend on an education you buy,
you will never truly abolish the ignorance of days gone by.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Happy Birthday - Updated

The Silent Podium is a little over a year old now. It's getting a little old in the tooth as some would incorrectly use the long in the tooth adage.

Time for some changes. :) I'm going to clean house a little bit and sweep some dust under the rug. I hope you all like what I have in store.

For now, go have fun with Psykopaint and create some wild images like these.





Update: So what do you all think of the new look? A little more lively then the bland gray from before yeah?

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Public Service Announcement

A common question about the common cold:
Can you catch a cold from going out in the cold?

The older generation likes to say that yes, the cold air will somehow magically create the cold virus in a person. The newer generation of people say no, since a cold is in fact a virus, there is no way it can be generated out of thin air.

So what is our current understanding? Unfortunately it is a little of both.

Recent studies have shown that in some cases, cold temperatures CAN in fact instigate a cold. Spontaneously generate no, but INSTIGATE. What does this mean?

The studies indicated that cold weather allowed the dormant virus to take hold of the body. So simply being cold didn't make the virus appear out of nowhere.

When colds are circulating in the community many people are mildly infected but show no symptoms. You know, those times when people around you are coughing and sneezing and you borrow a pencil? Then only after the fact do you remember and thank your “lucky stars” for not catching the virus. It is quite possible that you DID catch it but it lies dormant within you waiting for the opportunity to take over your body.

If you become cold this causes a pronounced constriction of the blood vessels in the nose and shuts off the warm blood that supplies the white cells that fight the infection. The reduced defenses in the nose let the virus strengthen and common cold symptoms develop.

So cover up and don’t go outside with your hair wet, yes, just like mother said.

(This blog contains information used from many different websites that can neither be validated nor found again, damn history wipe!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Iris on ... Blogger?


For those of you that came from Iris' YouTube channel you will be pleased to note that she has finally decided to join us here on BlogSpot!

It's just a little thing now but if she gets a lot of traffic, with your help, she will be convinced to spend more time here with us chatty folk. So drop by, say hi and read a little more about that girly stuff y'all seem like so much.

Personally I liked the Crepe style stuff she did in the early days though I hear a particular Christmas-time shaving video is not so bad either. ;)

Iris On BlogSpot!
(http://irisonyoutube.blogspot.com)

Don't forget to follow!

Holiday Segregation


(I started this post a long time ago but didn't finish it until now. I've been...busy.)

I have some beef with everyone. Segregation is wrong correct? The idea that one group of people should be forcefully separated from another is looked down upon by everyone but the most racist in our midst.

So why do we, in the United States, still have African-American History Month? Now I understand the significance of the recognition that successful and influential African Americans deserve and for that memory to be recalled and acknowledged by everyone. But I question why it has to be jumbled into one month specifically. Why aren't some of these events and celebrations spread out throughout the entire year?

Do we really need a special month when it is "OK" to talk about the historical influence of African-Americans? Does that month really "reimburse" them for their years of oppression?

I bet that elementary schools reserve certain topics in order to cover them special month. Aren't we doing a disservice to the unification of cultures?

I see it as saying, "We're all the same, but we belong to different clubs that we can NEVER be a part of together." Its that same ignorance that keeps people from acknowledging that 50% of Obama isn't what we say he is.

Personally I think it is more important that he is of multicultural heritage. It symbolizes a new generation of people. Looking forward as a mixed culture country to a mixed culture world where we should all work together to overcome all challenges.

Is it pure coincidence that they gave them the shortest month of the year? I wonder who had a hand in that? When I think of February I think of one color and that color is pink.

Mexicans get one day,
The 5th of May,
and its a day most true Mexicans don't celebrate anyway.

I know it is not my place to fight a war that isn't my own but I just never saw it as logical to do this. I feel they are just throwing a bone to the activists.

"Here, have a month, we'll plaster your hero's all over T.V. now shut the fuck up."


It just seems wrong to me.