Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Time Warner Cable vs Fox

Being a previous Time Warner employee, and now more of a consumer, I thought I would mention some of the points about this whole thing that don't get mentioned everywhere.

  • The money that Fox wants Time Warner to pay goes straight to the affiliates. Therefore, whatever price increases come from this won't support any Fox programming other than local news and such. Yet Fox will, of course, demand that Time Warner remove all Fox programming, including what you've already paid for.
  • Most customers want to be able to pay for only those channels that they watch. Time Warner is not against this idea. There are contracts, however, with both the cities they operate in and the various networks that specify that Time Warner CANNOT do that.
  • Why all the contracts, and why are only the cable companies affected? In order to build and maintain all of the infrastructure required to operate a cable company, Time Warner secures certain rights with the areas that they build in and with the networks that they will carry. Otherwise, they could end up paying millions of dollars to build a network in a city or area and then end up with no customers. Satellite, for obvious reasons, needs no area specific infrastructure. They can just broadcast their signal wherever they want.
  • Fox feels that Time Warner should be paying more than they are for the privilege of carrying their programming since Time Warner does turn a profit off of it. Also, there is probably some angst here due to Time Warner and pretty much every other carrier of television programming offering and pushing DVRs, which are really killing advertising revenues, but that's mainly speculation on my part.
  • Fox doesn't want to agree to arbitration because Time Warner Cable has a history of drawing these things out like crazy. However, since it would be the FCC arbitrating, I kind of think Fox is being a bit, I don't know, immature? The last person Time Warner Cable wants to piss off is the government.
Well, those are my thoughts on the whole thing. Take them as you will. Leave comments if you have any questions and I'll answer them as best I can.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lesbian For Mayor In Houston Texas?! Congratulations, Annise Parker!

Wow! Living two hours away, I didn't even know there was a lesbian running. I'm...shocked. And very, very happy.

If a lesbian woman can win the majority in the biggest city in TEXAS of all places... Well, let's just say that if someone were to have asked me to name something that would instill a bit of faith in humanity into me, I may have jokingly said something along the lines of "A lesbian mayor in Houston". However, I would've said it jokingly, thinking that wouldn't even be slightly plausible.

I'm unbelievably glad it has happened, though, and just wanted to mention it in my little corner of cyberspace. Congratulations, Annise Parker! Time for me to do some research on this person...

Here's the story.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Velocity Credit Union and Private Insurance

So, I go to do a deposit today at my credit union, Velocity, and they ask me to vote on something. Seriously, that's how it came across at first. My first thought was, whoa, okay, this feels scammy...

So I asked if, instead of voting, I could get some sort of information on exactly what I'm voting on. As I'm doing this, I'm noticing two vehicles pull away, having put their "ballots" into a bag being held by one of the credit union reps. It's obvious that not everyone is asking for more information. Yay, sheep.

Anyway, Velocity Credit Union in Austin is attempting to switch to a private insurance company, away from the NCUA (which is basically the FDIC for credit unions).

The first thing I did is look over the literature that Velocity gave me. Basically, the reason Velocity wants to switch is because they're going to have to pay NCUA a premium of $675,106 and, from the information I've gathered, this is due to other, larger credit unions having failed, making the NCUA pay out, which means their funds are not where they should be.

So, Velocity wants me to put my money at risk by not having it federally insured so that they don't have to pay their part to help the country get back on its feet. Great.

Oh, but they did mention that the board of directors voted unanimously to switch to the private insurance. Considering this would probably come directly out of their paychecks, I'm sure they did.

Included in the information was a brochure for American Share Insurance (ASI), the private company they want to switch to, which was nothing but a financial report with the words STRONG, INDEPENDENT, and RELIABLE written on the front in huge letters. Ooh, big letters, how convincing...

After doing some research on ASI, I'm none too reassured. In credit unions insured by ASI, there is absolutely nothing protecting the money should ASI go belly up.

How long do you suppose the one and only private insurer of credit unions would survive if the majority of their members were to go under? I'm thinking not long. At least with government insurance, we know that the government will make sure that we have our money...they've already done so multiple times with bank bailouts.

Those Velocity Credit Union members like me, who just have a savings and checking account, stand to gain nothing from this switch, but stand to lose everything. No thanks. I'll be voting no, and will probably be jumping ship should this get voted in.

I just hope people take the time to read and research before they vote, though going off the severe lack of information about the subject, I'm thinking people aren't.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

I agree, religious people are insane.

So, apparently Nidal Malik Hasan, who shot and killed a bunch of people while screaming religious nonsense, is going to claim insanity.


I find this especially funny since I personally feel that anyone who believes that an invisible magician in the sky (with a zombie jew for a son, according to Christians) said, "Because I say so", therefore creating the universe, is a little on the nutty side.

That a bunch of people who believe that would call another one who believed something similar insane, just because he did exactly what his holy book told him to do, is...well...insane.

But, hey, I guess I just don't get it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Funny how genetics works...

You know, sometimes a really funky looking guy can toss out a really hot daughter.

Then you can take a fairly average looking guy, and he ends up making...himself with lipstick and long hair.

This came from me hitting a news article about Alexandra Kerry and immediately thinking "AGH! And Jenna Bush is so hot! WTF!?"

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Does Anyone Use Bing?

I've noticed one consistency in my niche site adventures. Bing loves my sites, yet I get zero hits from them. Which makes me anyone even using it?

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Our Healthcare Makes Me Sick

For about two years now, I have been among the lucky ones of us that do have health insurance. I am more mentally stable, more healthy, and probably more likely to live for a while since my blood pressure and cholesterol, killers in my family for generations, are currently under control. I also don't have stomach acid eating my insides which is, quite frankly, a horrifyingly painful experience.

None of this would be possible without insurance. There isn't enough money in the bank to pay for the bills, let alone hundreds of dollars a month for meds.

Thankfully, a new study released found that those in the ER without health insurance are twice as likely to die than those with. I say thankfully because those of us who have lived most of our lives without health insurance aren't in any way surprised. Without health insurance, you're a second rate citizen.

Healthcare should be our #1 priority. It should be paid for by the government and taxed as needed. PERIOD. Those who argue that point are not currently in need. Those who are in need would not argue that point. If he does nothing else, I really hope Obama fixes this...

Update on eCopywriters

A quick update: they did Paypal me the $7 from the one article that was approved. I can therefore say that they are definitely not a scam. Just woefully inefficient.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

eCopywriters - A Review From a Freelance Writer

I'll be blunt -- I'm writing this review based on very little information, but not for lack of trying.

When I signed up for eCopywriters, the terms looked great (better than Textbrokers), and I didn't see the harm in writing a few articles and seeing where they went.

That was well over a month ago, and I'm SO glad I only did two, because I'm pretty much ready to write them off as time lost. One finally got "approved", but only after I wrote support, who promptly responded telling me that, yes, their system is fail, and that there is no real deadline for clients to accept articles. Not in those words, exactly, but close enough. So, basically, they can just not pay you for work done, and eCopywriters does not penalize them in any way. I'm still not sure how support "got one approved" after about twenty minutes, but couldn't get the other approved. They still haven't, by the way.

eCopywriters is DEFINITELY NOT a reliable way to pay the bills. Maybe they will improve. Support was nice enough, but not terribly effective. There is no reason for a third party like eCopywriters if they don't even enforce a deadline on their clients' payment.

Edit: There is a followup to this post.

Dallas Cowboys vs Mass Stupidity (and some cheeseheads)

If you don't like football, don't bother reading this. In light of the recent heinous loss to the 4-4 Green Bay Packers, I'm going to rant about the Cowboys game for a little bit.

First off, any play should be reviewable. Period. Today proved that. Felix Jones had, beyond a shadow of a doubt, recovered a fumble and did not lose the ball until after he was both touched and had done a damn barrel roll on the ground. There was no question that he was down. It was simple oversight on the part of the officials, but it just may well have cost us the game. That, and the "illegal hands to the face" that basically amounted to the guy waving. I've seen the Cowboys lose a lot of games, especially when they're ones they should've won, but the refs cost us this one.

I do have one issue with the Cowboys right now, though. Why the hell is Roy Williams even still in there? What does the dropped ball to yards gained ratio need to be before they give him the boot? And did Patrick Crayton not give ample evidence that he should be starting in every single game since they took him off? For fuck's sake, trade Roy Williams for some offensive line talent while other teams might still think he's worth something.

Speaking of the offensive's a hint to Wade Phillips. You're not going to make three scores in less than a minute. When you have so many injuries that you officially have your last backup offensive lineman on the field, why in the hell would you risk the talent, too? Do you really think that the very last guy that you put in can protect Romo? Especially when he's already been sacked five times? Pull the damn first string when you can't possibly win. How hard is that to understand? I'm seriously starting to doubt Phillips's competence.

Not that he did anything that trumped Green Bay's coach attempting to throw a third challenge flag. Or how about the fact that the officials actually went for it at first? Or how about the fact that, regardless of any of that, the ball had been snapped before they blew the whistle, killing the chance for the challenge that didn't exist? What a mess.

Saturday, November 14, 2009


I didn't really have a reason to post this, but I felt the need anyway.

Cymbalta and Being Anti-Social

So I was looking at my stats for this place, and I noticed that I'm getting a few hits for "Cymbalta antisocial". I figured, hey, if people click, I may as well tell them what I know since I am on Cymbalta, and am anti-social.

Does it help me be more social?

No. I still don't care for people in general, and still don't want to deal with them. I've found no change except that, since it does raise my give-a-shit threshold, I can handle being around stupidity a bit more than without and not get angry. But does Cymbalta make me want to actually get out and do things with people? Not at all. I was unaware that it was supposed to, though.

I can say, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that Cymbalta did make me able to handle working at Time Warner for as long as I did. Handling violent stupidity 70 times a day is too much for me, though, even when medicated.

I know there's also a lot of hubbub about Cymbalta and withdrawal symptoms. After halving my dosage (see this post), I may have had some headaches, but nothing too out of the ordinary.

I am far less sleepy than I was on my previous dosage. I think the sleep apnea has calmed down some as well because I wake up with sandpaper-tongue a lot less than I did before. I should probably see what the affect is on my blood pressure, too, as I also take meds for hypertension.

Anyway, that's my experiences with Cymbalta so far. For comparison purposes, Lexapro had about the same effects until it stopped working, and Pristiq made me mildly homicidal, and I'm of the firm opinion (based on little to no data) that people probably react to all medicines in a similar manner. For example, if you do well with Cymbalta, you might do well with Lexapro too, since I did well with both.

If you have any questions about my experiences or anything at all to add, definitely leave some comments, I'd love to hear from you.

November 16th and writing

I'll be 29. Poor people should be able to skip birthdays, IMO.

If it wasn't for my dad and Janna, it would be a seriously depressing day (money and something). At 29, shouldn't I be buying my own best present? Maybe 30 is the magic number?


I've been trying to keep up with what I need to do for Textbroker to pay the bills, but it just isn't happening. My mind runs dry. It's just hard to write 400 words for $6 all day, even though it's really fairly good pay. Hopefully I'll come around and be interested enough to do it again. Or my SEOing will take off.

I neglected it (on purpose) for about three months so that the domains would age, which is an important part of ranking in the search engines, and when I came back I succeeded in making my rankings DROP by cleaning up my home page. WTF.

Oh, almost lost the dog, or so we thought. She suddenly became unable to control her bladder. Seems to have been an infection, though, as with some antibiotics she's actually better. Only another $150 or so borrowed. Woot. If it keeps her around for another year or so (optimism+old dog+cancer=stupid, I know), it's worth it. I sort of blame myself. I've been home far more than anyone else (except maybe Jeanne)...I should be taking the old dog out more. I will now!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Windows 7

Obtained a RTM version of Windows 7 and, I have to admit, it's pretty great. If you like Vista, you'll like the fact that all the spiff is still there but it's a lot faster. Even if you think Vista is quick, like I did, Win 7 is faster, trust me. If you like Win XP you'll like that it's faster and less bulkier than Vista, and on modern machines, just as quick as XP.

Also, finally went 64 bit and have had no regrets. Zero compatibility issues.

Install was the smoothest and fastest of any Windows install I have ever done, and I've done each one many, many times since Win 95.

Sooo...that's my review of Windows 7, for anyone who cares.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Sick, then sick, then sick AGAIN...

Anyone else getting sick repeatedly, or am I the only walking snot factory? Seriously, I've gotten sick three times in a, light fever with a cold. It is funny, though, that walking through a grocery store or drug store, if I cough a bit (there's a little in my chest so the cough sounds much worse than it actually is) people clear out like crazy. Might even hear a mumbling "swine flu!" in there.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Allstate, writing, and Cymbalta

Yes, seriously, all of that. I figure if I make that the title, I won't forget anything.

Allstate didn't mess up the claim, everything is fine with Janna's car. It all went amazingly smoothly, in fact. After not calling me back when they called Janna and asked her to have me call them for whatever reason, they simply fixed the car and all is fine. It was even done mostly right, though the concept of replacing one tire still irks the crap out of me.

I've been writing for a website called Textbroker with the goal being $1200 a month before taxes. They pay $1.40 per word, and there are 300-500 word articles about things that I can basically babble through and still make a great article, according to them and the clients. Biggest problem is focusing, especially when I keep getting headaches and random sleep spells.

The theory is that if I can bang out a 400 word article in 15 minutes, that could be up to $22/hr for as many hours as I want to work. The truth is not as efficient. In fact, I'm behind right now and should probably be working...doot-da-doo...

I did my "Better than" search on Google for "better than textbroker" and found ECopywriters, which does offer more money per word but seems ridiculously slow to accept articles, and you have to work your way up to (what I'm assuming) is better than the crappy law related articles they have for the beginners. Well, crappy for me, maybe others like them. They make me stabby.

Which may be because I'm trying to back off on Cymbalta, one of the five prescription meds I take. Cymbalta is for depression, and is a SRI, which in very, very basic terms means it limits how much you think. Seriously. One of its side effects, however, is sleepiness. One of the withdrawal symptoms is headaches. I'm sure you can see where I'm going with that.

For anyone interested, since Cymbalta is cumulative in the system I decided to take my dose every other day instead of every day to see if I could cut down on the withdrawal symptoms while still using the bottle of expensive ass meds I have. It seems to be working. Tomorrow I go to the doc to get a scrip for the lower dosage to use every day...I guess I'll see then if that's easier or harder on the body than skipping every other dosage. I do know I'm feeling more energetic, but also more aggressive. Good thing I don't have to leave the house.

Related linkage:

Saturday, September 12, 2009

High school football scores! OMG Swine Flu! Where to buy snow globes in Austin! (oh, also it's flooding)

Seriously, that's what the news looks like this morning. The first major rain we've had in months, in the middle of a record breaking drought, major routes shut down all over the place including Interstate 35, rivers eating small villages, and one of the headlines on the various news sources is about snow globes. I was really thinking it had somehow rained all day yesterday, all night last night, and still raining right now without any flooding at all. Nope. After digging REALLY deep I found small articles about the governor deploying various vehicles...the national guard...some areas saw over 10 inches of rain...more than we've had in about a year...

But nothing so serious as to knock high school football and snow globes off the front page...

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Beginning of The Allstate Saga

Crap. One of the family wrecked her car. Not bad, no injuries, but she was at fault, and now it's time to deal with the insurance company and getting a car with less than 10,000 miles on it fixed that has front end damage. On top of that, the car is in Beaumont, about 250 miles east of home. They're already refusing to deal with the driver, wanting to talk to the policy holder (me), which is rather stupid in my opinion since, hey, the car's damaged, it's their job to fix it! Why does it matter who they talk to? My name isn't even on the car itself, the loan for the car, nothing, yet because I'm the "policy holder", they just have to talk to me. Joy. Well, I've always heard good things about Allstate, so I guess it's time they proved it. Am I in good hands? AM I!?!?

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


Yes, it does. You know why? Because that's all you have.

I pick on people online occasionally about poor spelling. Not anything horrible. This is an example from World of Warcraft. It went something like this, anyway.


Me: What's an expation?


Yeah, online, you sort of do. I'm not saying typos equal idiot, but when the only impression someone is going to have of you is your text...what you type...shouldn't you put at least a tiny bit of effort into not looking like you don't know your own language?

And whatever happened to people being at least a bit embarrassed when they made a mistake instead of exploding in tardrage? Maybe it's my imagination, but once upon a time, didn't people generally say something like, "Oh, hah, I don't know what an expation is...I meant expansion."

I guess it's become socially unacceptable to be wrong about anything, ever, period. While this is scary as hell, it does explain a few things. Creationism much?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Ping and Charlotte

I've decided to start writing some short stories in the world of Nebulosus and planting them in different places around the web. If nothing else, I'd rather get the first book out there for free then just let it sit on my hard drive doing nothing. If enough people don't fall in love with the world of Nebulosus just from that, then I'm barking up the wrong tree anyway, I suspect.

Anyway, check it out, and feel free to meander over to my other Associated Content posts as well. I could use the moneys. :)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009


Well, quit the job as tech support at the cable company and am currently on the hunt for something else/better. Being a customer service rep would be okay if I were in any way providing customer service.

On another, somewhat related note, apparently cookies at are downloaded from a server with the address "". Awesome.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

72 year old beggar

Guy on the street corner was holding a sign (typical drawn on cardboard affair) that said "72 year old down on his luck. Never give up hope. Have faith."

Wow. After 72 years, he still hasn't figured out that faith is silly and that he actually needs to, you know, DO something? Some say religion is a crutch, but what does it become when you've already fallen, besides idiocy?

Friday, June 12, 2009

A decent day ruined by an hour of idiocy

How is it that the entire call center could have a decent day all the way up until 9pm and then suddenly enter The Fucktard Zone? This isn't anything that could be reliably predicted, mind you. It happens all the time, but there's no particular day or time. There doesn't seem to be any way to know when this is going to happen but, suddenly, starting at 9pm, I got five calls in a row about computer issues that had nothing to do with their ISP (me). Five people of well below average intelligence IN A ROW.

Then, the kicker, was a woman who had just gotten two cable boxes and neither were working. She had a third that was working, and even the first two outlets worked just fine plugged straight to the TV. First available appointment was 4 days out.

Now, first of all, when a phone rep says FIRST AVAILABLE, they don't mean "first available unless you pitch a fit like a three year old." They mean first available. If they could give you something earlier to get you off the phone, they would. That you decide to show just how immature and retarded you can be does not, in any way, help anyone.

By the way, for anyone out there that hasn't figured it out yet, an over the phone customer service rep's priorities are, in this order:

1.) Make the biggest paycheck possible with the least amount of work and
2.) Get each customer off the phone as quickly as possible without breaking any rules that would endanger the paycheck

You start out wanting to be helpful and wanting to make things better, but people in general will knock that urge right out of you within a few months.

So anyway, this woman was going on and on about how she wanted me to "send a signal" and "program the box" etc etc (people often make things up when they have no idea what they're talking about) when the box wasn't even booting. We went round and round with me telling her, over and over again, "If the cord coming from the wall is plugged in to the cable in, and the box has been plugged in for 20 minutes with no response, then there's nothing I can do. A tech has to come out, and you have the first available appointment."

How hard is that to understand?

It doesn't matter if you say "So I just got this box and now I have to wait?" It doesn't matter if you tell me how much money you pay for the service every month. It doesn't matter how long you've been a customer. None of that matters. It's as pertinent as telling me your curtains are blue, or stamping your feet and screaming, "But I don't want the sun to be hot!"

That's the way it is and nothing you can say will change it. Saying the same thing repeatedly will certainly not help.

Anyway, for maybe the 5th or 6th time in the year and a half I've been there, I had to hang up on her. The conversation was over for a good ten minutes before I did it, but that certainly didn't keep her from talking.

Well, the original point of this was to marvel at the fact that dumb people always manage to move in droves. The argumentative twits all call the call center at the same time. The non-tipping jerks always called the pizza places at the same time. How does that work? There has to be some sort of science to it.

So if anyone out there argues with tech support or stiffs the pizza guy, let me know if there's some sort of moronic collective out there or something. That way I can find it and destroy it.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Open ended questions

I think a lot of people aren't aware that open ended questions can be extremely rude, especially under certain circumstances. By asking an open ended question, you're assuming that the answerer has the time and inclination, not to mention information, to give you a decent answer. If you're interviewing someone, that's fine, it's expected.

If you call tech support and ask open ended questions, you'd better know what you're talking about, otherwise you're going to make a huge jerk of yourself. Not that many people seem to care anymore.

Example: Customer calls in and says his PS3 can't connect to the web, gives a DNS error. I immediately inform him that this is a known issue with the PS3, Sony has a fix, and to call them up. First off, had he checked his computer, he would've known it was working fine and there was no point in calling his ISP in the first place, so he's already under the table in dumb-points.

But then he has the gall to ask, "Well, what do I do if Sony can't fix it?"

I've already told him it's not my problem. I've already told him who to call. I've even go so far as to tell him, under no uncertain terms, that they have a fix. It couldn't be any clearer that I have nothing left to say on the matter, so an open ended question at this point is about as rude as you can get. He could've cussed at me and hung up and I would've been far less irritated.

Another good one. After troubleshooting a cable box, and the customer being very, very confused through the entire process, we get to the end of the line of what we can do over the phone and set up a trouble call.

And she asks, "What could cause this?"

For one thing, you couldn't figure out how to unplug your box, what makes you think you're going to understand what caused the problem? If you think you did something to cause it, how about you tell me? Why do you even think I know what caused it? I'm not out there fixing it. I'm on the phones, talking to you, and scheduling someone else to come fix it. I'd say that's pretty good odds that I have no clue, nor do I particularly care. I'm already passing it on to someone else; obviously I'm done here.

Even more irritating, sometimes, is open ended silence, or asking someone to hang on while you do something that has nothing to do with them.

Customer: I can't connect to my wireless router.

Me: Okay, it looks like you don't have wireless through us, so there's really nothing I can do with that. I would suggest you call the router manufacturer.

Customer: (silence)

Me: Is there anything else I can do for you?

Customer: Come on, you can't just help me out?

Me: No, it's not our equipment, therefore I can't do anything with it. Is there anything else *company* related that I can help you with?

Customer: (silence)

You can see that this is going nowhere, yet they persist. They're like little robots that don't know how to go around an obstacle so therefore they just ram it over and over again until they run out of battery power. Only the robot is funny.

Friday, May 29, 2009


I really hate the way humans work.

It's discrimination to not hire someone because of color, regardless of demographics showing what race is better at what job. Yet it's not discrimination to leave someone without a car to get to work because they had a repo three years ago.

It's discrimination if you hire a guy instead of a girl for a physical job because women are biologically, physically less strong than men. Yet it's not discrimination to not give someone a place to live because they had a home foreclosed on.

It's discrimination to hire someone to a job because they're younger, but it's not discrimination for an insurance company to charge you more because you're younger.

See the common theme here?

It's discrimination if the company might be out money at some point, but if the consumer might be out money, or a car, or a fucking home, that's okay. Nobody really fucking cares, do they?

Yeah, this is going to be a fun day to do tech support.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

That's never happened before.

So I went up to my place of work with every intention of calling it quits. I was done stressing over going in, done with the calls, done with the crap in general. I didn't know if going back to delivering pizza was going to be lucrative enough to live comfortably, but I was ready to give it a try.

So I walk in, carrying a gift that I'd bought for a previous supervisor a while back and hadn't given it to him yet, and my current supervisor just happens to be where I walked in...which, by the way, was a very odd place for her to be. Anyway, I tell her I'm done, I'm out, I'm just not confrontational enough for the job.

Her jaw dropped; she was shocked. So another boss/friend walks up. She's also shocked, and telling me how good I was back when she sat near me when she was on the floor.

So they take me over to my previous supervisor, the one I had the gift for. He told me totally understood, would probably be doing the same thing in my position, and even that apparently since I was quitting and not getting fired I was rehirable.

So, theoretically I could go deliver pizzas for a while and still come back. Interesting.

The weirdest part of the whole thing, though, was that when I walked in the building, I didn't have the "Hell yes, I don't ever have to come back here again" feeling. I was actually kind of sad. So I didn't do it. I talked to the HR person and she said to call in for the day and take a few days to think on it.

So that's what I'm doing. Decisions suck.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

So irritated and depressed...

I had gotten my head all ready to go back to the hellhole I call (or called) work. I've been waiting for HR to get a part time schedule for me, as per my psychiatrist, to see how I handle the stress. The person in HR basically told me she'd get back to me and has ignored me for the past week, emails and voicemails. I already have no idea how I'm going to pay bills since this 30 days that I could barely afford is rapidly turning into 60 days.

And now, not only are they expecting us to hard sell (offer, then attempt to overcome objections when they say no) customers calling in with tech support issues, regardless of if we're able to get it fixed, but apparently now it's considered a sellable call even if the customer's equipment is the issue (as in, they don't know how to turn on their TV or their PC is dead, which, sadly, happens VERY often). On top of that, we're supposed to inform them if they have a late balance as well, AND a new set of notes saying we verified their security info...all under the same metrics that no one was meeting before.

How much stress and confrontation can they stack on to one person before it's considered abuse?

Going back to delivering pizza is sounding better and better...I simply don't have the will to learn a new job right now.

It's hard trying to see the good in a situation that was ridiculous a year ago... sales and tech support will never go together, and just because they get a trickle of income out of it, somebody seems to think it's worth making the turnover rate far worse than it used to be due to sheer stress.

I have to believe that I'm not the only IT minded person in the world that has a problem being confrontational 60-70 times a day, rapid fire, with no break in between except for two 15's and an hour lunch. I'm talking, one customer hangs up, the next one is immediately on the phone. You go from one confrontation to another to another...

Maybe sales people can do it, but hell, even car salesmen don't deal with that many people a day.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Stupid dog

Warning: This blog entry ends up being sad.

Ours is the only house that I know of where it's okay to call each other "stupid dog." There's a reason for this.

A while back (and sometimes still, I believe), there was a cartoon on cartoon network called Courage the Cowardly Dog. The dog would inevitably save the day in some manner, and, at least once, the crotchety old man that was his owner would say "Stupid Dog!" But sometimes he'd do it in a nice way, on the very few times he realized that the dog had saved the day.

Our dog, Angie, has personality. She's always been seen as special so, like most animals in that position, she is special. She's a mutt, though mostly a lab. At about 80 lbs, she has always grunted and groaned and moo'd and such. And, because of that show, she's been affectionately called "Stupid Dog" for years. As in you can say "Stupid Dog" in a not so nice way, and she'll come up to you, tail wagging.

So, it's become habit, when someone grunts or groans in our home, to call each other "Stupid Dog."

The problem is, Angie is 13 years old with cancer. She only shows it in a tumor on her leg, and will still play as rough as ever, albeit not for as long.

So, lately, every time I say "Stupid Dog", I think, "Damn...I'm going to say that after she's gone, just out of habit...and it's gonna suck."

It's gonna suck period.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Oh, that's old...

Really Mr. Frys Employee? Socket A is old? Wow, I didn't know. I'm so glad you were here to tell me that, even though you carry a fan for the much older Socket 7, Socket A is old.

I mean, obviously, just because I know what "Socket A" is doesn't mean I have a general idea of how old it is...right? No, of course not, because I don't work at Frys!

Thank you Mr. Frys Employee for being the reason people hate shopping at Frys. Have a wonderful day being condescending.

(For those who don't know, Socket A and Socket 7 are basically sizes of computer processors. I was trying to buy a fan for one.)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Ooh, psychologist burn...

So I've been seeing a councilor about some of the issues I've been having with work, and life in general. The fact that I dread things that may or may not even happen, and spend days off dreading going back to work, thereby giving me pretty much no time off.

He's been giving me some ideas on how to target negative thoughts and deal with them, though a lot of them seemed kind of silly, mainly because I don't feel that negative thoughts are the problem.

My main problem, with people in general, is willful stupidity.

"I don't know how, and I don't want to know how, but can you make this work for me?"

I don't know if anyone has ever actually used that particular verbiage...but some actually get very close. You'd be surprised how blunt people can be about their own stupidity.

My response, at least internally, has always been:

"Well, obviously you do want to know how, and you need to know how. You called, right?"

When something isn't working correctly, the customers don't want to troubleshoot. They don't feel they should have to stand up, reset their modem, or router, or cable box, or whatever. They just want it to work. Which is a pretty idiotic premise, since it's obviously not working, and some action needs to be taken, and unless they have to, they probably don't want to wait for a tech. But they made the phone call assuming the problem was not theirs.

Anyway. To me, ignorance and stupidity are two completely different things, one acceptable, one not. I can take ignorance. In fact, ignorance is very healthy, because you don't know what you don't know until you admit that you don't know, thereby proclaiming ignorance. And a lot of times, I will get a call like:

"I don't know how, can you tell me? I'm not very good at this, though, so you'll have to go slow."

Okay, yeah, definitely. That's a good call from the beginning.

Well, my councilor got me good today. I mentioned to him that it might help if I could get inside their heads, understand why they won't take these simple steps when they're the ones that called in, and they're the ones that need it fixed.

Everyone wants to learn how to use the things they want or need to use...right? Pretty basic stuff.

Well, he told me that, the frustration that I feel with people when they don't want to listen, and don't want to learn what they called to learn...sometimes that's how he feels about my reactions to some of his suggestions.

*Insert sound of screeching brakes here*

So, my immediate response, which thankfully I didn't say out loud because I would've felt like a total douche, was:

"But the problem isn't mine, it's theirs. I'm not the one who is refusing to learn."

Crap. I'm doing the same thing.

Whereas they thought just making the phone call was going to do something useful, I apparently thought just showing up was going to make things better in my head. And it's not as if I've done nothing. I have tried. But I've also resisted.

So I go back to all the times I've thought "This is so simple, just unplug the damn thing, and plug it back in," and realize that, as simple as I thought that was, I'm trying to fix things that are in my own damn head. From an outsider's perspective, it couldn't get any simpler.

I think, now, it'll be easier to deal with people, if for no other reason then I'll feel like, to a degree, I've been there and done that. I've fought the bad fight against someone trying to help me. I've resisted the simplest, easiest steps, because I didn't think they were necessary. And, at the time, though I have no idea why, I've felt right in doing so.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Searching for blogs...

How in the world does one search for good blogs? I've been poking around, trying to find some that will at least make me laugh, or that I'll find interesting, and have had very, very little luck. Ideas?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The bailout

No, I'm not going to tell you what I think about the bailout, primarily because I don't feel I have enough info to make an educated decision.

I did, however, find this interesting, as I've always maintained that the average human being doesn't really understand numbers such as "one trillion."

Well, this explains it in a way most people can understand: A trillion dollars.

The book

If you would like to read some of Nebulosus, and I would certainly appreciate it, here's a link:

Nebulosus on

The more popular it is, the more people that view it and put it on their bookshelves, the higher its ranked...and if it's ranked high enough, the owner of the site, which happens to be a publisher, will take a look at it.

It's totally free to sign up.

Thanks to La Fleur, without whom I would've never known Authonomy existed.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

WoW and Time

Looks like I'm finally, really burnt out on it. My character will languish, my auctions will expire, and my guild will think I died or something.

Oh well.

Also, the 12 hour clock is stupid. I'm boycotting it. BOYCOTT THE 12 HOUR CLOCK!

Friday, May 1, 2009

Not done.

Yeah, I'm not done with Nebulosus. Upon going back and re-reading the beginning, it seems my writing style has changed quite a bit since I started it. Time to either edit, or rewrite the first 3-4 chapters.

Life decision, coming up

So I have a decision to make.

Nebulosus is either done, or nearly done. Tomorrow I'm going to email the manuscript to at least one agent, likely many more. I figure, by the time I finish whatever tweaking they suggest and it actually gets moving, an optimistic guess at actually seeing money would be this time next year.

In the meantime, we have to pay bills. Already we're going to come up short next month.

If the company that I'm currently working for decides I can't do part time, I'm considering delivering pizzas again part time, to make enough money to get by while being able to continue writing and pushing my writing.

I can't work 40 hours at my current job, which requires me to do tech support and hard sales on every call, and push a book, let alone write much of anything. It's just not feasible. Maybe I lack drive, or energy, or whatever, but I know it's not going to happen.

So...deliver pizzas, or give up on writing for a while except on the rare occasion that I have the energy to do something when not at work? Blargh.

All done!

Much faster then I had dared hope, I believe I have actually finished Nebulosus. I figured I'd know the ending when I got there, and I certainly did.

Now it's rejection time! YAY!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

A blog

I've blogged on Myspace a few times, but past that, I've never really seen the point in a blog. I guess I just never considered myself too terribly important.

However, my primary goal in life at the moment (besides survival and paying the bills) is to get my book, which is currently in progress, published. Every time I poke around the web looking at anything to do about writing, I always see references to "your blog." So, obviously, I need a blog. So here you go, world. A BLOG.

The book is called Nebulosus. It follows a young lady who, much like the reader, is venturing into the world of Nebulosus alone. Nebulosus is a wet, swampy world that was colonized long before the time in which the novel itself takes place. The characters remember their ancestors only through history books and legend, as many generations have passed.

Nebulosus is unlike Earth in many ways, but humans are still humans. The technology on Nebulosus, due to a number of factors, is in some ways very different. Human drama, however, will be very familiar.

My purpose, at this point, is to finish the book. I'm not too far off. I'm aiming for over 60,000 words, as per most of the opinions on the web as to how long a novel should be. Considering I'm at 49,000, it seems the end of this particular novel is near. I hope to make a series out of it, as I have a bazillion plots in mind that could take place on this planet.

On a completely unrelated subject, the word "bazillion" is apparently okay with Firefox's spell check. Hah.

Anyway, also of note: I work tech support for a company who shall remain unnamed for obvious reasons. Some of the people and things you deal with in that field are, to put it simply, amazing. You'll see.

At this point, though, I'm halfway through a one month hiatus that I was basically forced to take by my own short circuiting mind. That's right. Tech support literally drove me insane.

I plan to go back as only part time, but time (and HR) will tell if that's feasible. If not, I'll have to find another job. Nebulosus comes before working for someone else. It has to; I can't bear the thought of working tech support for the rest of my life. If I did, I have the feeling it would be a very short life. And, no, I'm not talking about suicide.

My incredibly awesome wife is working her way up in her company, and is making decent money, but it's just not enough to support us yet.

Anyway, that's all for now. I'm going to hit some friends' blogs and say, "Hey, I have a blog, link to it, or whatever you do to blogs that makes them uber popular with enough people that I can show to a publisher and say 'These people will all buy my book!'"