Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Getting Sick

People do realize that getting sick once in a while is normal right?

On one of the message boards I check out from time to time, someone posted that they had had a sore throat for two days, and :

I've been taking prednisone, proventil, albuterol, advair, nasonex, oscillococcinum, sambucus, some OTC "immune system booster", vicks vapo spray, and probably some random others for two days now and nothing is working.

Obviously this person is a) a moron and b) insane, but holy crap! He had a sore throat for TWO DAYS, and took, just according to the things he remembered, NINE different medications. And the thread in question is FILLED with people just adding other suggestions, with me being the only one saying "dude!." A lot of people were chiming in with "how about zinc, or echinacea," or whatever nonsense. None of which actually do anything, by the way, but at least they're not mixing a bunch of random drugs in a short period of time.

News flash everyone - you're going to get sick once in a while, and medicine will NOT solve it instantly. Take something so you don't hurt too bad, and fucking wait it out. Medicine doesn't "owe" you instant gratification, and mixing everything you can find is going to fucking KILL you. The kid in question is so aggravatingly stupid and stubborn I hope his liver fails.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Your Boss Knows You Drink

There has been a LOT of hubbub lately about the whole Facebook Privacy concerns. Personally, I agree with the always amusing Matt Sussman on this topic - the Internet is public. Don't assume it's private and you'll be fine.

But one thing that HAS come out of this mess that continues to annoy me is the repeated assertion that your current or future boss may look to Facebook to determine what kind of employee you'd be. As an example, here's a piece of a conversation I had with someone in this Gizmodo thread a few weeks ago :

If you want to get a professional position you need to present a professional appearance. I have photos from 20 years ago that would absolutely humiliate the subjects if I were to post and identfy them on FB today. Depending on the nature of their job they could absolutely lose that position based on pics taken during a drunken weekend away from the barracks 20 years ago.

. . . .

Your behavior on your own time is of a concern to any employer that deals with sensitive information, or wants to maintain business secrets. If I see that you spend a lot of time partying and passed out drunk, I won't consider you for a position with a defense contractor. If you post repeatedly that you are (again) broke until payday, I get the impression that you can't manage money and won't put you in charge of the budget for your department. If you post that your medically fragile family member is hospitalized again and you will be out of the office for two or three weeks I'll raise your insurance premium and take you off the list for that promotion you wanted because I can't be sure you'll be there. You regularly post that you called in sick because you were cramping from the PMS again, I'll cut your hours

I can't say this person doesn't raise a valid point - they obviously do. I am NOT here to say that your current or future employers won't use Facebook to check up on you. Just last night I was told a story about someone who was suspended for badmouthing his company on Facebook. That was a stupid thing for him to do, and assuming that's the whole story, he deserves the suspension if not termination. You can't publicly badmouth the company you work for, Facebook or not. That being said, the parts of your personal life that don't affect your employer? Are you honestly going to live your entire life in fear of what someone may someday discover about you?

I mean, presumably your employer, prospective or otherwise, is checking to see if you might be doing something that would either hurt the image of his or her business or to see if your personality might not coincide with what he or she is looking for in an employee. In either case, if that thing exists, then you AREN'T a good fit for them, are you? The entire argument for privacy seems to be "I should be able to fool my boss into thinking I'm someone I'm not." I mean, look at the argument I quoted above. Take, for example, this section :

If I see that you spend a lot of time partying and passed out drunk, I won't consider you for a position with a defense contractor. If you post repeatedly that you are (again) broke until payday, I get the impression that you can't manage money and won't put you in charge of the budget for your department.

If you DO spend a lot of time partying and passed out drunk, you're not FIT for that job as a defense contractor. Right? If you're stupid enough to post those things to Facebook you're particularly not a good candidate for the job. Similarly, if you can't handle your own finances, someone would be a fool to hire you to be in charge of a corporate budget. You'd be a fool to think you'd be good at it in the first place. The whole argument is "if your boss knew the truth about you, they wouldn't hire you." Well.... be a decent person and the truth won't be anything that can keep you from getting a job. The whole crux of the argument seems to be a defense of dishonesty.

I assert that harmless pictures of you drinking with friends or going to parties - and I'm talking about normal, adult parties, not idiotic frat parties where you're running around naked - are perfectly acceptable. Provided you don't take pictures of yourself doing anything illegal - doing drugs, for example - no one gives a shit that you drink and have a reasonable amount of fun. Any person in authority who sees those activities and judges you negatively for them is a fucking asshole. They're either joyless dipshits or full-on hypocrites, and in neither case should you want to work for them. I've been to bars with my bosses. They ALL drink and have fun and act like any other drunk people. I guarantee everyone you have a professional relationship with gets drunk and is a normal person. This idea that we have to put up a facade in order to conduct business is just a retarded societal fairy tale that we all buy into, and consequently reinforce.

You can be professional when it's necessary, but you're still allowed to be human. Any boss or workplace that disagrees with that assertion is going to make you fucking MISERABLE.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Driving Roundup

A bit of housekeeping to start off with. I haven't been blogging much lately. I won't say that I ran out of things to rant about, but I felt like I was getting repetitive. My biggest fear in this whole endeavor is coming off like an ignorant bigot, but close behind that is just coming off as preachy or unoriginal. So many of the topics I choose to rant about have been covered ad nauseum elsewhere so if I don't have anything to really add I'm not gonna regurgitate it.

That being said, I'm going to rant about driving and road construction, topics that everyone and their mother complains about. Figure that one out. I'm particularly angry about this one, though, so... that means lots of swearing. Caveat lector.

Now then, with all that out of the way... I live in NH. I work a good 40 minutes away on a good day, and most of my friends live a good HOUR away. Not only that, but thanks to the dog and my paranoia about asking anyone for favors, if I go out after work I usually end up driving home first, letting the dog out, and then driving back down past where I just was for work. So on a day like Tuesday, when I was meeting friends for trivia, I spent almost four hours in my car. Not a huge deal - I like driving, I like my car, and I have lots of music and podcasts to listen to to fill the time. I don't HAVE to live where I do, and there's no one to blame but myself - I choose to live in a state that doesn't treat its citizens like retarded criminals, but work in a state that does. My decision.

When it DOES become a huge deal is when the idiotic highway department closes ENTIRE STRETCHES OF HIGHWAY overnight, and puts up useless fucking detour signs. If I didn't have a GPS, I would have been LOST in central Mass last night for hours.

OK, deep breath, I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's start with road closures. There is VERY little reason to close an entire interstate. Especially a road like I-495, which is three lanes wide, so even if you're paving you can easily close two lanes while paving them and let traffic go down to one lane. Unless there's a serious safety issue, NO NEED to close the entire highway. Even on nights when they don't close the ENTIRE highway, they'll often close off two lanes for like, TEN FUCKING MILES just for ONE BRIDGE CREW. So it's 11PM, and you're sitting in bumper to bumper single-lane traffic for 10 miles, driving by just EMPTY closed highway. The only thing you pass is a state trooper every mile or so, burning through overtime pay faster than their Crown Vic burns through Premium, all on our dime. Then you come to the actual construction - a crew working on a bridge. One bridge. One crew. I understand that there needs to be a buffer so they can park equipment and not get plowed into by some grandma in a Toyota that plows through the blinking orange arrow, but ten fucking miles? For ONE BRIDGE? What the FUCK?

Next, paving. Who decides what stretches of road get paved? There's a two-mile stretch of I-93 South, just before the I-495 merger, that is fucking torn to SHIT. I've driven on smoother gravel driveways. Every fucking day I'm bouncing along this piece of road, listening to it destroy my suspension, watching pieces of asphalt fly up in the air (which, when I'm on my motorcycle, is a fucking JOY to deal with). This stretch of road has been like this for YEARS, never having been paved, despite being one of the busiest pieces of highway in the state. And yet there are pieces of 128 that seem to get paved twice a year, evne when they don't need it! I've seen perfectly smooth highways get torn up and re-paved, just because it was seemingly time for it to be done, while these horrible pieces of shit just lay there being neglected. Why does no one speak up? Who is accountable for this?? All the tax money Massachusetts rapes from its citizens (and in my case, non-citizens) for supposed road work, and I have to drive through a post-apocalyptic minefield on my way to work every day?

Finally, detour signs. Seemingly the EASIEST thing to do. It has to be done ONCE, and just involves putting down a sign - DETOUR. Arrow. Done. Yet, inevitably, there will be one detour sign at the closed road, one more a little later.... and then fucking NOTHING. This is exactly what happened to me on Tuesday. 495 - CLOSED. Detour - arrow pointing left. Incidentally, the ONLY place you could go with the closed on-ramp, but whatever. A bit later, another detour sign, pointing you basically back where you started? It was night and I wasn't familiar with the area, but it sure seemed like I just went in a big fucking circle, and then just saw no more detour signs. Just driving along a random road in the middle of a town I don't know, with no direction. Thankfully a threw on the GPS, which took me through East Bumble before eventually rejoining 495.

Look, we have a BILLION of those stupid electric signs out there, 99% of them either sitting on the side of the road doing nothing, or telling you useless bullshit like "CLICK IT OR TICKET!" as if you're a retarded 8-year old. How about, when you have a detour, put one of those at the detour with a brief idea of where you're going? It doesn't have to be a novel, just a bunch of numbers. DETOUR - Take 86E to 43N to 495N. That way, if you don't see a detour sign, at least you have a fighting chance of finding your way back to the highway. Or maybe we can repurpose one of the 19 state troopers that are just sitting on the closed highway, or chatting with the construction workers, and have them sit where the detour signs should be to make it a little clear where the detours are? Hell, if we're gonna pay them triple time to sit in their cars and run the engine all night, might as well make a sign out of them.

None of this feels like rocket science to me. I'm sure there's a lot about highway construction that I'm clueless about, but I'm at least AS intelligent if not moreso than most of the other people inconvenienced, don't we deserve a little consideration? Especially when this shit happens EVERY NIGHT from March to November?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Food Revolution

There's a new show on ABC called Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution. Please watch it. It's on Friday nights at 9PM on ABC; two episodes have aired and you can watch them on the website.

The premise is simple - Jamie (a British Chef probably most famously known as The Naked Chef) goes to Huntington, West Virginia (one of the unhealthiest cities in America) and tries to show them the error of their ways.

Of the two episodes that have aired thus far, the majority of his efforts have been aimed at schools. In particular he's been looking at the processed garbage that the elementary school is feeding the kids, and trying to substitute in fresh, healthy foods instead; something he had quite a bit of success with in England.

The thing that probably jumps out at most people when they first see this show is how resistant everyone is to Jamie. It's easy to immediately just label everyone in the town as ignorant hicks but I don't think that's really fair. I've seen that level of stubbornness EVERYWHERE; people in America don't like to even have a HINT that someone is telling them what to do. Nearly every giant debate we have in this country is over some group thinking that someone is trying to force them into something. It's just in our nature to resist that type of shit. You could say it's even genetic; the people who came to America in the 1600's were the people who said "screw this shit, I'm going for something better."

Anyway, getting off topic. The thing I've liked about the show so far is that Jamie honestly seems to care about what he's doing. Not only that, but he's focused very much on something that is easily attainable for the average American. My biggest complaint about movies like "Food, Inc" or "Fast Food Nation" (the former I really liked, while the latter I thought was garbage, but they both had a similar message) was that they focused on such a global problem. The industrialization of the food industry IS a real problem, and there are things we as consumers can do to combat it, but it's not going to change overnight. "Food Revolution" is focusing on things that could easily change overnight. He goes into a family's house and teaches them to eat healthy. He goes into a school and revises their menu and finds what works, AND he works with the superintendent to push these changes. He's making shit happen.

I won't say that anything I have seen shocks me, but it still fires me up. I don't even have kids, but seeing what kids are being fed in school, and the apathy towards it, is not just frightening but aggravating. While a town in West Virginia isn't necessarily a microcosm of the whole country, it's at least a microcosm of the attitude. Higher education in this country has always bothered me because it's treated more like a business than an educational endeavor, and I hate to see grade schools going down the same path. Everything, even down to the nutrition and health of students, comes down to the bottom line.

I don't understand why we're so focused on teaching kids reading, writing and arithmetic but can't be bothered to put any effort into teaching them how to be healthy. What's more important, both to the individual and to society as a whole? Not an election goes by without talk of education reform, test scores, blah blah blah, and in the meantime we cut gym class because of budgetary concerns and serve pizza for breakfast. I mean... fuck. We've all heard the "our kids are fat" argument ad nauseum over the past decade but we're not even fucking trying.

Yes, food and health education start at home, and it is ultimately the parent's responsibility to teach their kids to eat right and exercise and all that, but they still eat a large number of meals at school. It's not helping anyone if all those meals are chicken nuggets and pizza. I find it really inspiring that Jamie Oliver legitimately seems to want to change this and is using his fame and wealth to do so. Godspeed Jamie.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Health Care

Since Congress officially passed the health care bill last night (what was all the fuss about Scott Brown derailing this again? Anyone?), I figured I'd weigh in with some brief thoughts of my own on health care.

First, I'd just like to point out that in theory I support a health care plan that lets the poor and disadvantaged get treatment. I will get into this in a bit more detail in a minute, but since I know some of you hotheaded morons out there will just see some of my points and immediately start flying off the handle about my being a "heartless Republican," I had better put it out front.

So. To start with, I saw a lot of comments over the past few days about this being a "basic human right." I think the fact that so many folks see it as a basic human right says a lot about where our society has gone. "Basic human rights" are things you should be ALLOWED TO DO for yourself. Not things that should be GIVEN to you. It would be a basic right for you to be able to get the health care of your choosing, but not for it to be provided for you by others free of charge.

THAT BEING SAID, since I can already hear the smoke coming out of the hotheaded liberal ears out there, I do actually believe that some sort of public health care plan is something we should strive for as a society. While "basic human rights" are things that should not be TAKEN from us by a free society, the reason we set up these societies in the first place is to pool resources for the betterment of everyone involved. Building infrastructure, defense, and taking care of the sick seem to all fall within that umbrella. The Preamble to the Constitution : "establish justice, ensure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare..." (hey, I did that from memory; not bad!). Obviously up to interpretation, but still, even the "heartless Republicans" out there on some level want to help their fellow man, I think they just worry at what cost (and get stirred up into a paranoid furor by the Glenn Becks of the world).

Really, I have a few major concerns. These concerns may even be addressed in the legislation itself; I don't have the time to sit and read the hundreds of pages or to convert it from legaleze to readable English, which is yet another failing of our government, but whatever. I also don't trust the overviews you get from the "news"; they're either full of ridiculous praise that ignores any faults or doom and gloom about Socialism and I just don't have the patience for that shit anymore. If you think this is a black and white, Democrat or Republican issue just put a bullet in your fucking stupid head now so we can stop listening to your idiotic diatribes about heartless Republicans or Socialist Commie Democrats.

Anyway, the issues. If I called my doctor today and asked for a physical, they would say that there's about a six month waiting list. God's honest truth, six months. If it were "urgent" I'm sure I could see SOMEONE today, but to see my doctor for a scheduled visit, six months. This says to me that providers are a very limited resource. Whatever problems exist out there with what things cost and insurance, there just are not enough doctors to treat every single person in America. So I truly hope that the current legislation also provides some kind of incentives for people to become doctors and nurses, and maybe some financial help for those who would want to go into medical school. We need more of them in the CURRENT system, with the new system we're gonna need even more than that.

And on the same point, I hope with the public health care option there is some deterrent to visiting the doctor for minor reasons. Someone posted on Facebook recently how she was happy about the health care bill because last month she had a sore throat, and couldn't go to the doctor because of a lack of insurance. But the thing is... she got better. She didn't NEED to go to the doctor. I HAVE insurance, but some of my co-pays, especially for an emergency room visit, are enough of a deterrent for me that if I feel sick, I better believe I'm REALLY sick before seeing the doctor. So I have concerns that people will abuse the system, even beyond the usual abuses we see with Medicare and the like today. Where medical staff are already a limited commodity, any abuse is going to put a HUGE stress on the system.

I also have concerns that I outlined earlier about the pre-existing conditions debate, and I won't reiterate those now, but read that post if you haven't.

Above everything else - the bill has passed. Being for or against it is a moot point, at least for a while, so I really hope people can stop pretending it's a black and white issue and really start debating how to make it work. I promise you this new system is no more perfect than the old one, and being complacent just cuz your "side" won ain't gonna improve it any more than being angry that your "side" lost is.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Signs of Idiocy - Driving Edition

While crawling along in traffic this evening - it WAS raining, after all! - I realized that there are some things that people do on the road that doesn't just say they are bad drivers, but full on fucking retards.

This list is not at all exhaustive, feel free to add some in the comments.

  • It's drizzling, and you have your wipers on full speed. IN rare instances of heavy downpours, that fast setting is maybe necessary, but in most cases it looks ridiculously frantic and silly.
  • You have your high beams on... basically ever. I use my high beams like three times a year, when I'm on a dirt road in the woods or something. But on back roads, I guess I understand.... but why on the fucking highway? Or major roads? Or in fucking DAYLIGHT?! People always say that they "must not notice." How do you not notice? There's only ONE blue indicator on your dashboard, ONE, and it's the one that says "you're blinding everyone in front of you asshole." It takes a special kind of asshole to just not care about this.
  • You back up on the highway. So, you missed your exit, and realized it at the last possible moment. CRAP, you can't get over! And when you do, your exit is back there. You could spend seven minutes and go to the next exit and turn around, but FUCK THAT, pull into the breakdown lane during rush hour and throw her in reverse! It's only hundreds of lives at risk! My favorite is when a minivan is doing this, and you know it's full of kids. Just awesome.
  • You don't let people merge. Roads come together folks. The way driving works is we let people in. I understand you're stuck in traffic, but being an asshole isn't helping the situation.
  • You tailgate unnecessarily. Everyone tailgates once in a while, when someone is being a jackass or driving ridiculously slow. But I've had people tailgate me when I'm driving in the snow, or I'm in the slow lane of an open highway (a rarity, I admit). Have a clue, assholes, you're not doing anything but risking my life.
  • You stop at yield signs. Yield means you stop if something is coming. You YIELD to oncoming traffic. If there is no oncoming traffic, JUST FUCKING GO.
I really feel like this could go on for ages, so I'll hand it over to you now.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Media Monday : Top 5 TV Theme Songs In My Head

My sister and I have decided that we have some sort of random radio receiver in our brains. It's constantly picking up the most random songs in the world, and they're inevitably songs that run through your head ad nauseum, making you go insane.

My favorites, as you can guess from the title of this blog post, are the TV theme songs. Shows that I have not seen in 15-20 years, and suddenly I wake up humming the theme. WHERE DID IT COME FROM??? No idea.

So here they are. Keep in mind these aren't by any stretch my "favorite" theme songs, just the ones that I most commonly find rattling around in my head. All links are to YouTube versions of the song in question.

5. Mr. Belvedere - Like many (maybe all) of the shows on this list, a show I haven't seen in years, can't remember a single thing about, but it has a catchy tune.

4. Dinosaurs - Bombombombombombom... bomBOMBOMbombomBOMBOM bahbahBAHHH, bombomBAHHH, bombomba bombbombombombom. (Speaking of this ridiculous show, have you ever seen the final scene of the series? It's the most depressing and dark thing ever, especially for a TGIF / family show!)

3. Airwolf - Probably the most recent addition, since I kind of forgot all about this one until kind of recently. It doesn't help that I immediately made it my ringtone.

2. The Odd Couple - But not the actual theme song (since I don't think I ever saw the series), but rather the rendition that Homer does in the Simpsons clip to the right. Ahhh, the Simpsons, is there anything they CAN'T relate to?

1. Sanford and Son - Yet another show I've NEVER seen, and it's not even close. This is probably the default song running through my head at all times. Of course, Turk was a fan of this show on Scrubs, and they did TWO separate renditions that I can remember, this one and this one. Oh, I miss original Scrubs....

So, how about you, any ridiculous theme songs running through your head?