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2008 Thoughts

1/14/08 - 10:19 pm Okay, before going into my life, let me get on my soapbox about a news story I heard today. An Army officer wants excused from her duties because she has applied for "conscientious objector" status. That really isn't a big deal, the armed forces has had many conscientious objectors in the decades that the status has existed and conscientious objectors have made their contributions. Oh, a conscientious objector (CO from now on because I'm tired of typing it) is defined as "one who is opposed to serving in the armed forces and/or bearing arms on the grounds of moral or religious principles." Depending on a CO's specific beliefs, he or she is either assigned a non-combat role in his or her branch OR in "alternate service" outside of the military but in job that promotes the health of the nation... caring for the sick, conservation, etc. The particular Army officer in question just became a doctor, an anesthesiologist to be precise. The Army put her through four years of med school, and four years of residency... then, as soon as she finished her residency, she applied for CO status. The story did say that she had a religious awakening when her father passed away but it didn't say when he passed away... I'm going to give her the benefit of the doubt and assume it was around the time she finished her residency. The Army has granted her CO status but that isn't good enough for her, she wants excused from the Army. The Army has assigned her to a hospital in the US and says it will not deploy her because of her status, but that isn't good enough for her. My issue is that the government just put her though 8 years of school and she wants completely free of her obligations. Besides the timing of her status change being a tad suspect, she is a doctor, a healer, not a combat officer... that's one of the two fields that lends itself towards being a CO... the other being a Chaplain. She says she will pay back what the Army paid for her education but that's crap because what the Army paid and what she would have had to pay if she were a civilian are vastly different. She used the Army to get a free (until she actually pays it all back) education, pure and simple. Giving her "alternate service" would seem like the thing to do but what job would you have her do? Being an anesthesiologist would seem like the logical choice but that would be rewarding her for abandoning her obligations. Telling her that she has to serve as many years as an anesthesiologist as she owed in military service isn't a very fair trade-off. Personally, i'd give her two options, one military, and one "alternative service". The military option is to be an anesthesiologist at a military prison, but after she has done her military service, she has to forfeit her medical license. That might seem like punishment... well... it is... she refused the logical option to serve in a military hospital in the US and do exactly what she was trained to do... so she has to pay the price. The "alternative service" option is much better. She has to work in a conservation related field for the number of years that she owes the Army... and she is barred from practicing medicine or persuing anything that maintains her skills or certifications until her service is up. After she is done, she is free to resume her career as an anesthesiologist. This story really bothers me because it presses two of my hot buttons... first, not doing the job you were hired/paid to do, and second, using your spiritual beliefs (or non-beliefs) as a justification for doing or not doing something. Okay.... onto my life. New Years Eve didn't go as planned this year. I had a party to go to but when the day arrived, I just didn't feel like going. Yeah, there are deeper reasons but it boils down to me making a choice not to go. Since then I've found out that a friend (and ex) is pregnant and I haven't been sleeping well because of that. I've been through this before with another friend/ex but it was easier back then because I was in my early 20's, still in school, and didn't want kids so badly. Now I'm in my 30's and haven't even gotten to the marriage thing yet, much less the kids thing... not that they have to happen in that order in this day and age. It will pass eventually and I'll be back to sleeping soundly. Work is going very very well since I've been back to my normal duties. I feel like I've accomplished more in the past three weeks than I have in the past three months. I've had non-stop work to do pretty much every day and am loving it. Let's see... what else... my friend and football cohort is doing better since my last update. She has her own place now and seems to be in much better spirits all things considered. I did get to talk to her briefly tonight and she told me some good news, news that I can't really share at the moment. It was something that she was hoping for and she finally got... I told her that she just needed to be patient and not worry about it and it would happen, and it did. Yeah, I know... its ironic that I give that advice when I have such a hard time following it myself... but my advice never applies to me ;)

3/25/08 - 12:13 am I could've sworn that I've updated this thing since Jan 4th... anyway... work has been very very very busy since my last update. We've lost two techs since January and haven't been able to replace them due to the candidates not wanting to work for so little money... or those that are willing aren't remotely qualified. We're down to 3 1/8 technicians (ask me how the math works out) and a good portion of the time I'm not available to run tickets... which means we're down to 2 1/8 techs. Lately I've been occupied by a particular project that I thought was going well, but as of this past Friday turns out not to be going so well. The job I've done has been good, but my job only encompasses the technical aspect of things. The non-technical aspect has been fudged and half-assed for years and no matter how well I and my co-workers do, we can't make up for years of government in-action. Still, and I know I always say this (and my co-workers think I'm mentally disturbed) but I love my job. Life outside of work has been busy and troubling. The busy part tends to keep my mind off of the troubling part but the troubling part seems to be getting worse. My personal values have been tested more and more often in recent months but so far I've managed to stand my ground. Some friends encourage ne to "go for it", but I just can't bring myself to abandon my personal moral code. Yeah, it may mean I'll end up alone but at least I didn't give up what I believe in in the process. I could probably go on about other stuff but it is officially March 25th and its time for me to hit the sack and celebrate a particular 14th anniversary.

3/29/08 - 1:38 am Work... the short version.... holy fucking super ultra busy!!! Life outside of the jobs, however many hours that is.... meh... I'd rather be working. I was going to go into a rant about relationships and marriage and crap but after having a long conversation earlier with someone that is basically the "anti-me" I don't have the energy. Trying to convince him that lasting relationships are good things was as tiring as him trying to convince me that they were pointless. I think some of my points were a little too eloquent and romantic for him though, especially after he admitted that his pre-sex conversations with women usually consist of the terms "abortion" and/or "coat hanger". Back to the work thing... I was at the bowling alley tonight killing time waiting for a customer to call me. I've worked on this customer's laptop at least 5 times before finally arriving at the conclusion that the problem had to be hardware, and hardware that I couldn't replace. Her laptop was still under warranty with BestBuy so I told her that it needed to go in to them. I wrote up everything that I had done, every test I ran, every step I took, I even gave them a link to a website detailing the exact (and very unique) problem that she is having. The hope was that they might actually read it and simply replace the motherboard like I suspect needs done. Needless to say, it was too much to hope for. She called me last night and told me that BestBuy said her hard drive was bad and that they needed the original CDs that came with the system so they could reload it for tonight. Now I know for a fact that the hard drive wasn't the problem since I had already replaced it and duplicated the problem on the new drive, a fact that I did mention in my write up. This brings me to killing time at the bowling alley. The customer lives on post so I was waiting for her to get home so I could pick up her laptop and reload her data. She called me around 7:30pm and told me that she was at BestBuy and that it wasn't ready yet. She wasn't upset with BestBuy until now, because she had called them earlier in the day and they told her it was ready, and it turns out they hadn't even started. It is supposed to be done tomorrow (Saturday) but I'm not holding my breath.

3/30/08 - 11:47 pm A quick update. My customer called BestBuy at 10:30am this morning and her laptop still wasn't done, but they did say to call back in 3 hours. She calls back around 1:30pm and guess what... after BestBuy finished reloading the software an amazing thing happened... the laptop started doing the exact same thing it was doing when she brought it in initially. Now Best Buy tells her it will be another five days because they have to send it out to be repaired. I feel bad for her but this is what needed done, I just hope they do it right this time.

6/11/08 - 11:42 pm Hrm... I kind of left you hanging on that last update didn't I? Well... that customer got a call from the Customer Service manager a day later and surprise surprise, they replaced the motherboard and everything started working perfectly. By shear coincidence, the Customer Service manager just happened to be the mother of one of the kids my customer takes care of at day care... not saying that had anything to do with the quick turn-around or sudden gigantic leap in Best buy's "Geek Squad's" technical abilities (or basic reading skills)... yeah... it's just a coincidence. Anyway, since she got her lap top back I haven't heard a thing from her, which in my book is a good thing. As for the rest of my life since then, work has been great but my life outside of work has been less than spectacular. Most of the people I care about are going through major things right now and I manage my existance on being there for them. I have one friend just starting a divorce procedure, another friend just ending one... and both friends needing an occasional friend to vent on. I have a best friend about due with her second child, another friend (this one an ex) due with her first... neither needs anything to do with me since they are both happily married, but I'm there for them if they need me just the same. If they don't then I'm nothing... if they do, I'll be happy even if I'm the last person they call (at least I'm on the list, right?). One other friend is having major issues with her son and I'm happy to offer my unbiased opinion... granted it doesn't carry a lot of weight since I don't have any children of my own, but I think an unbiased opinion might do more good in this situation. Other crap.... mother had her retirement party this past Friday. I got there late because of work and as a result had to sit through about a dozen speeches.... sober. I got teary-eyed (in a good way) during every one of them because the speakers were all parents of former students, or co-workers that my mother influenced. The only speaker that didn't make me want to cry was my mother... her speach was humorless, rambling, depressing, and 150% too religious. Not a single person motioned god when thanking my mother for her 38 years of teaching excellence but she couldn't go two sentences without mentioning "god." I have a lot more to talk about but I'm tired... GOOEY.

6/15/08 - 11:56 pm Just need to vent about someone. A little backstory first... there is a new employee at the bowling alley, she isn't new to the post, just to the bowling alley. She was forced upon the bowling alley manager by his boss (who is trying to get him fired) because the bowling alley needed another employee. No one trusts her and we expect anything that goes on at the bowling alley to find its way to the boss. As a result, we have nicknamed her "Snitchy McSnitcherton." Now this past Wednesday I installed a new computer at the bowling alley to replace the old system that controls the lanes. Its pretty much the most important computer there since no one remembers how to operate the lanes manually. Anyway, it had been working fine until today. Snitchy calls me at 1:20pm and tells me the monitor for the new computer won't come on. I ask if the computer is on and she says yes, as are the other two computers and other monitors. I have her reboot and she say it still won't come on. Since I just set this up on Wednesday I feel a little responsible for making sure that its working so I tell her I'll be over. She tells me that she doesn't expect me to come in since its Sunday... well why the hell did you call me then?!?!? I told her that without it, no one could bowl and she didn't seem to care. Then I told her that I was there on Saturday and there were a lot of people that wanted to bowl and she replied "well I didn't work Saturday." No fucking shit you didn't work Saturday... I was there, I was just trying to point out that it was a busy weekend!!! Anyway, I get to the bowling alley around 3pm and start checking things out. I immediately notice that not only does the monitor not power on, but neither does the printer. I check the plug strip and there is no power to it. I proceed to check the outlets near by and the breaker box, all seem to be fine. It is at this point that Snitchy informs me that she has already checked everything I just checked and that the main phone line (that has a cordless phone plugged into it) is out too. Just to recap, not only does she know that the monitor, printer, and cordless phone are dead, but the breakers are fine and the other outlets are all working. I nearly lost it at this point. She calls me on a weekend to tell me that "the monitor doesn't work" when she knows full well that everything plugged into the same plugstrip is dead AND another outlet not six inches away is working just fine. Why call me in the first place?!?! I unplug the plugstrip from the dead outlet and plug it into the working one... magic happens... stuff comes back on. Then Snitchy says "I was going to do that but didn't think I should." I have a personal problem with her because I don't trust her, now I have professional problem with her too. Not only did she not care if I came in to fix the "monitor problem" and thus allow her to do business, but she didn't take the most basic of steps to resolve the problem after figuring out what the problem was. Vent over... for now...

6/23/08 - 3:35 pm Yes, you're seeing correctly... another update... three in one month... no, something isn't wrong. So many things to talk about. First off, I woke up to the sad news of George Carlin's death this morning. He was my all-time favorite comedian and for those of you that don't know of him, or don't know a lot about him, he was the most important person when it came to censorship on television and/or radio. His "7 words" sketch was the foundation of a landmark US Supreme Court case that is still the benchmark for what the FCC allows to be said on radio and television. Besides his legal importance, a lot of his sketches made a lot of sense to me, even if I didn't always agree with what he had to say. On to my weekend... it was great for the most part. I went to a party at a friend's house and had more fun than I've had since last football season. I felt old being the oldest person there by at least two years but I got over that fairly quickly when I taught the "youngsters" how to play "Asshole". The night lasted until sometime around 2am and by that time me and my friend were the only ones left at the party, and I was the only one left standing ;) Much to the disappointment of some of my other friends (that weren't there), nothing happened. I'm sure to get a mini lecture about that but I won't abandon my personal moral code... although I will admit it was very difficult this time. I am reconsidering one thing that I had said "I would never" to before, but whether it would be received positively or negatively is something I have to find out. Other stuff, I found out that a friend of mine got married about a month ago... that made me very very sad today. I would go into why but it's too long of a story with too many sad parts. Last thing for this update, and its the thing that ended my weekend on a negative note... I think I've come to the point of having to cut off contact with the parents for a while. Trying to have my own life is causing problems with mother. This weekend was the first weekend in a while where I've actually had some place to go and something to do that wasn't related to working. It also happened to be a weekend that they wanted me to dogsit, which they didn't mention until last weekend (when the following conversation happened). Obviously I couldn't do it because I wasn't going to be here. Mother asked what I was doing so I said that I was going out of town, but that wasn't good enough. Then she asked where I was going and I said "West Virginia" but that wasn't good enough. Then she asked who I was going to see so I said "friends." She assumes I'm visiting a friend in Mo'town, which is a fairly safe assumption actually, but she still feels the need to ask another question just to see if that's who I'm really going to see. Needless to say I wasn't visiting that friend and the conversation ended with a very "its none of your business" tone. So this weekend happens and I come home Sunday as planned. Well, the parents changed their travel plans from Friday through Sunday to Sunday through Wednesday, pretty much so I would be around to dogsit (I refused). Mother calls me Sunday around 4pm but I don't answer because I'm having a good day and don't to ruin it. I check my voicemail a couple hours later to find a message from my mother asking for me to stop by before they leave (although she never tells me when they are leaving) and that if I don't, she hopes I had a good trip and didn't getting married without telling her. That pretty much did it for me. It wasn't the most hurtful thing she's ever said but it just might be the last straw. I've dealt with being accused of being gay, being impotent, "doing porn" after moving into my own place, and now getting married without telling her. Since I can't fix her, I can only not have anything to do with her, at least for a while.

12/4/08 - 1:43 am Almost six months... it's been that long. The short versions of everything: WORK: Fucking busy... insanely busy... batshit stupid insanely "why are we doing this" busy. SIDE WORK: I had to put name tags on the computers I'm working on because I couldn't remember which ones belonged to whom. FOOTBALL: It hasn't been a good year, but not because we suck but because my usual friend has been absent for five of six games so far (with only one left). FAMILY: They suck and are the sole reason for my state of general depression. Seriously, they recently found "god" but since then nothing good has happened to them... fractured hip, arthritis so bad mother can't do anything, bad foot, dying sister (my aunt), retirement savings going to shit... thank "god" they found "god"... he/she/it is clearly worth worshiping. And if you couldn't detect sarcasm in that last sentence then please go play in traffic as you are clearly too stupid to live. PERSONAL LIFE: I don't have one. The brief moments of happiness I've had since the last update have been just that... brief moments. The longest stints of happiness I have reside purely in my dreams, at least they seem to be "long". FRIENDSHIPS: As always, I am here when I'm needed, nothing more that a vague memory when I'm not. I wish I had something more profound to say than that but I don't. Time for bed.

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