I hate lottery players

•November 3, 2009 • 1 Comment

It drives me nuts when I have to wait in line at a convenience store to watch some moron pick out exactly which scratch tickets they want today.  Give me a fucking break.  First of all, you didn’t win.  Second, if you’re playing you’re probably not smart enough to know #1 which means you probably don’t have a job that makes a lot and you probably can’t afford to play anyway.  It’s great that the money goes to education and all, which is really quite ironic if you think about it; but are these the people we need financing our educational system?  Wouldn’t we be better off if we ditched the whole lottery and focused on the government paying for our primary education instead of letting it be funded by the very people the system has already failed?  The way I see it, the lottery is just an intelligence tax.  While an evil part of me likes the idea of taxing the stupid, our governments are really just thinking what P.T. Barnum said so eloquently many years ago, “There’s a sucker born every minute.”

Why I lost my job, and probably yours too

•August 23, 2009 • Leave a Comment

I lost my job back in January and this post by Mark Cuban really hit home with me.  I’ve seen several companies fail because they were pushed too hard, milked for everything the speculator investors can get, and then dumped when things inevitably go wrong.

Mark Cuban writes:

If you want to know where I think we have a problem, Im happy to share. Our government doesn’t know the difference between an investor and a speculator or trader.  If we did, we would understand that we should tax the trader/speculator more heavily than the investor.

The investor allows entrepreneurs access to capital and allows them to work with it and build businesses, which in turn build employment and do great things for the economy. The trader/speculator pushes companies to make more money now rather than invest in doing the right thing for the company. The trader/speculator dominates the stock market today, which in turn puts pressure on public company CEOs to cut jobs and play games with their financials in order to give the appearance of stability in a far from stable market. The investor understands the bigger picture and is ok if profits fall for several quarters or even several years as long as the company will maximize its return over the long run.

http://blogmaverick.com/2009/08/18/some-thoughts-on-the-economy/

Fox News is a Misnomer

•August 22, 2009 • Leave a Comment

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nVxwb58XfZA

Here is an example of the type of content that Fox ‘News’ considers news.  This kind of bias seems to be the norm, rather than the exception on this channel.

The only relevant fact I see in the entire segment was a quote from a Pentagon email:

“Airforce and DoD policy prohibit support for events which appear to endorse, selectively benefit, or favor any special interest group, religious, or ideological movement.”

It doesn’t say anything specifying Christianity in the quoted email.  I heard no evidence that this specific event had anything to do with Obama whatsoever.  Also, the email states, “events that APPEAR to endorce.”  To me this does leave this choice at the discretion to the Pentagon, who can be, but is not always directed by the President.

Statements like:

“The only indicator we have is that we have a new Commander in Chief”

are unbelievably ignorant.  Does he really think that the only thing that has changed between the past 42 years and this year is that we have a different president?  Many things have changed and I heard no credible evidence showing that there is any environment of hostility toward public displays of religion.  Nowhere that I’ve seen has it been shown that Obama himself asked that the IHS be covered at the Georgetown speech.  His staff asked that it be covered.  There are likely guidelines that have been standardized over the years that dictate how the stage should look at a presidential event.  You’ll notice a common theme in the decorations pretty quickly.  ANY symbols would likely be covered as I suspect they want the president’s seal to be the only visible insignia.

There are a lot of reasons to not allow the flyover, and not very many to allow it.  Many of the latter were well documented in the video.  Here’s just one to not to allow it:

What about the ‘Great Recession’ and it’s impact on everyone’s spending, including (gasp!) the military.  Planes like that are very expensive to operate, something on the order of $30,000-50,000/hour.  It’s about 60 miles from Mountain Home AFB to Nampa where the rally was held.  Flying at an average speed of, say 400mph (which is really booking if you’re just flying around town), it would only take about 10min to get there.  They’ll likely circle once and plan their approach, scan for other air traffic, and wait for the right timing.  That might take, say, 10min.  Then they kick the tires, light the fires, and go shrieking past.  The approach, flyby, and flying away out of sight might take 5 min.  Then it’s another 10 min back to base.  That’s a total of 35min.  Four jets x .583 hours x $30,000 = $70,000. So at a VERY minimum the flyover would have cost $70,000, likely much more. That’s like $35+ per person at the event!  Would you pay $35 for someone else to watch a flyby?

The Good Reverend goes on to say,

“We must get to the bottom of this to ensure that no American citizen, and no group is denied access to the public square because of their faith tradition.”

Really?  How is denying a flyover in any way denying them access to the public square?  How is covering a religious symbol above the presidents head denying access to the public square?  They didn’t stop the celebration.  It looked to me like there was a military color-guard there so the Pentagon must not have been too concerned with it’s ‘anti-Christian’ stance.  Or maybe there are other reasons?  Those aren’t reported at all.

Fox ‘News’ is quite simply, a tabloid news channel.  What happened to actually reporting the news instead of reporting the opinions of whom ever supports their bias?  Fox ‘News’ and their commentators are seemingly incapable of seeing past religious, racial, and party lines to report any actual news.

the nose knows

•August 11, 2009 • 2 Comments

Some probably saw my tweet earlier today about my nose and thought, WTF.  Short story, I’ve got a deviated septum that has finally, after all these 28.9 years, started to cause me problems.  I snore a lot apparently, there are earplugs all over the house and they aren’t mine.  Lately, I’ve been having more congestion for some reason and as a result haven’t been sleeping well.  Whenever my nasal passages are slightly blocked, they’re unusable and I become a mouthbreather.  Having lost part of my saliva glands when the tumor was removed.  I already have dry mouth and breathing through it doesn’t help any.  That’s got the dentist concerned so between that and the sleeping issues, it’s finally time to get it fixed.  I’m having a head CT tomorrow to take a look at my sinuses.  I suspect we’ll do surgery sometime soon to fix the nose, but we’ll have to wait and see.  I’d rather not have surgery again, but I want to be able to breathe properly.

Cancer, Cancer, Cancer

•August 4, 2009 • 1 Comment

I’m so tired of dealing with cancer.  Three years ago, I had never had first hand experience with it.  Since then, it’s completely changed my life.  In that period of time, my mom has had cancer (and is now cancer free!).  I’ve had cancer (and very thankfully am cancer free as well).  I’ve lost a dog to cancer.  I lost an uncle-in-law to a very ugly cancer and series of surgeries to try to stop it.  And just the other day, we found a lump on Sol the dog’s face.  Ug.  The vet removed it, and we’ve since found out that it’s not cancer, but a Mast Cell Tumor.  At least they took it out and we shouldn’t have anything to worry about.  Thank Dog.

I guess the point I’m trying to make is that life is precious and fragile.  It doesn’t take much to cause your health, or the health of a loved one to turn around in a heartbeat.  Enjoy it while you can.  We are but mere lumps of flesh and bone, controlled by the most complex chemical, electrical, and mechanical systems in known existence.  Somewhat akin to a computer, our precisely functioning mechanism can be disrupted at any time in any multitude of ways.  Unfortunately, there is no human equivalent to CTRL+ALT+DEL.

Above and Beyond

•July 30, 2009 • 2 Comments

Yesterday I had to take off work early to deliver Sol the dog to the vet.  I felt guilty about not going back, so I did a little work from home.  I’ve been trying to persuade my boss to buy me a piece of software that could greatly improve our product and our understanding of it’s performance, of which we now have no data.  I used an ‘educational’ version to demonstrate the type of analysis that I and the software were capable of.

He was very interested and talked to me about it first thing today.  He knows more or less where it came from, although he didn’t ask.  He knows that this is what I’ve been asking for all along and he didn’t even mention the software when discussing the analysis I did with it.  But now he wants me to send the results to our colleagues overseas to demonstrate the type and depth of engineering analysis we do.  Now I’m starting to have real problems with this on a moral (strange, I know) and personal level.  Not to mention the illegalities of the situation, I’m pissed that my ‘above and beyond’ to demonstrate the tools I need seemingly has no effect.  I can’t use any of the valuable results in my analysis.  I’m starting to think that I’m just a warm body with a degree.

I’m tired of asking what I’m supposed to be working on.  I’m tired of trying to find the things I’m supposed to be doing.  Now I just deliver what I’m told and no more.  I hate working at partial capacity.  I would rather have the tools I need to do the job I know we can and should be doing than get a raise.

I’ve felt this way at nearly every job I’ve had.  I don’t know if it’s just my impatience, a symptom of the times, or the bloat of corporations, but it’s got me heading in a direction that becomes more clear all the time.  I have to work for myself.  I know I can do so much more but I’m always being held back by one thing or another.  However, I have huge reservations about starting my own business.  I want to be able to continue to do engineering and not just focus on management and getting enough business to survive the next month, quarter, or year.

Maybe there isn’t a way to get all the things I want, but there’s no reason I can see that it should be this way.  I’m willing to work hard.  I have valuable skills.

Welcome to FCS

•July 30, 2009 • 1 Comment

Fucking Clown Shoes

Hello and welcome to Fucking Clown Shoes.  Let me start with a disclaimer: I’m probably going to post the most when I’m pissed off.  This will result in extreme profanity, threats of violence against inanimate objects, and possible nudity (although lets hope not).  Maybe there will be some happy posts, if you’re lucky.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why the funny name?”  Some will recognize the movie reference as being from Kevin Smith’s movies as Jay and Silent Bob.   I thought it was funny, so I did a google search and the urban dictionary defines it (and the intent of my blog) well:

“A joke.  Worthless.”

“Laughable.  Not to be taken seriously.  Immediately disposable.”

“When something is pointless, worthless or just a big mess…”

If you expect anything more, don’t let the door hit you in the ass.

Today is a day I’m pissed off.  I’ve been at my job for about 4 months now and I’ve learned a lot in that amount of time.  This is a new industry for me, but not all that unlike things I’ve done before.  The position I moved into was a new one in an office of three.  Being a new position the duties are not clearly defined. Apparently, neither are the duties of the main person I work with.  We’ll call him ‘Chad’. To make a long story short(er)…

I am one type of engineer, Chad is another.  Similar, but in reality very different.  He is the same age as I am.  Basically, today I saw him calculating something on the dry-erase board that looked interesting, so I asked him what he was doing.   Ultimately, it was something in my realm of expertise, not his.  He should have left it for me to do.  When he explained to me how he was modeling his calculations I immediately knew that this was the wrong approach.   I asked some more questions and very politely told him that the problem seemed more complicated than he was allowing for.  After a little more talking he got pissed off and said, “I’m not having this conversation right now.” and stormed out of the office in front of our boss.  I have no idea why he was so mad.  My only critical remark was that I thought other things needed to be accounted for to achieve the correct or best answer.  I know I can do a better job of calculating this than him, and it’s my area of expertise.

My boss continues to refuse me the software I need to properly do my job; at least what I think my job is.  The instruction I keep getting is that we’re sending everything to India to be ‘drafted’ (designed) by drafters.  Not engineers. I see little hope of this process being successful.  We can’t even communicate well between the four of us in the office, how are we going to coordinate with a drafting contractor in India?  I’m continually kept out of the loop on most of the goings on and I have no idea why.   Like I just said, there are only 4 of us! I ask lots of questions, ask what I should be working on, and am met mostly by blank stares.

So welcome to my blog, welcome to my life.