August 28, 2004

The whole "God" thing.

Before I get started in earnest on this post, I need to put a few caveats out there. As many of you know, I am an atheist. This entry will go into a lot of the reasons why I'm an atheist. These are merely my opinions and observations in regards to religion in general. I'm not putting them out here in order to try to make someone doubt their own belief's, or to try to convert anyone to atheism. Some of the statement's that I make will no doubt cause some people to become incensed or offended, but is not my intention to do so deliberately. I'm merely attempting to provide a context for some irreverance that I have displayed in the past, and will likely display in the future.

Religion is a very touchy subject with most people, so I'll place my thoughts in the extended entry. If you feel like you might be offended, please feel free to check out the links over on the sidebar. Good stuff over there.

A Little Backstory.

I wasn't born a athiest, as you might have guessed. I have progressed into my point of view over the first 25 years or so of my life. In my early years, I was a Baptist. Sunday school, the whole bit. I didn't have a problem with going to church, and generally enjoyed the company of the other kids. The lessons that they taught were also good ones. The Ten Commandment's, The Golden Rule, not bad things at all. Then we moved.

After we finally got settled in Chattanooga, TN, (Moved from Murfreesboro, TN) my family found another church to go to. The new place decided that I needed to be baptised, despite the fact that the church in my previous town had already done that. This was my first indicator that something about this whole "religion" thing wasn't quite right. I went through with the second baptism without any complaint though, what can I say? I was seven or eight at the time. (My memory is a little fuzzy about my exact age, but I was pretty young.) As far as I recall, the reasoning for my second "dunking" was something on the order of "the first one didn't count". Pretty specious if you ask me.

I know that we didn't go to that church for very long, and my parent's never decided on another place for us to go worship. The subject never really came up around the house as to why, but it didn't matter to me at the time. I had my Sunday morning's and my Wednesday night's to play. Happy kid, I was.

Skip forward to my teen years. I was invited to go to service by one of my friends at school. It must've been my Junior year, as I recall that I was going through my "rebellious phase". (Torn jeans, Biker boots, and generally being a surly teenager.) My friend reassured me that I would be accepted there withoput a problem. I went to the service, and I can honestly admit that I felt "something". That place was just full of energy, but it didn't last. That experience scared me a bit. I'd never felt that effect before, but shortly after that I went to my first Rock concert, and recognized the feeling immediately. I never went back to that church.

For years I described myself as an Agnostic. defines agnostic as:
1. One who believes that it is impossible to know whether there is a God.
2. One who is skeptical about the existence of God but does not profess true atheism.

Number 2 suited me the best. I was skeptical, but not ready to "take the plunge". I researched around. Reread the Bible. Read the Necronomicon. Hung out with Wiccans. Looked at history. Just generally looked into the whole aspect of religion's in general. I found that everything pointed to a decided non-existence of a supreme diety. I decided that I should go ahead and describe myself as an Athiest. For a short time, I described myself as a Secular Humanist, but that didn't ring true for me. It seemed way too pretentious, so I went back to just calling myself an atheist.

My Understanding of the Nature of God.

It is my belief that God is a creation of man. I came to this conclusion after looking at the historic progression of religion's in general. Hearken back to the Greeks/Romans, if you will. The differing God's outlined in their mythology have something decidely pointed about their stories. Each either provides an explanation for something that they didn't understand (Zues throwing lightning, Aphrodite guiding Love), or supported them in some endeavor that they deemed important (Ares presiding over War, Hermes over athletic ability). Hmmn, I see a pattern forming here.

It's arguable that Judaism was the first major religioun to posit that there was only One God. Theirs was a particularly Harsh God, but there it was anyway. They were also one of the first to eschew "Graven Images". There were symbols that were holy to them (The Swastika, the Star of David), but there was no particular Image of their God. He was everywhere and nowhere. He was always watching. What a good way to control your citizen's congregation. Do this, or God will strike you down. The best example of this that springs to mind is the whole concept of not eating pork. We now know that eating undercooked meat can cause Trichinosis. The heads of the church opbserved the symptoms of eating this animal, (especially if it wasn't prepared right) and took steps to ensure that their people did not succomb to the effects that it has. So they declared that swine was unclean in the eyes of God, thereby forbidding anyone from eating it. The populace saw that after this declaration was made, the instances of people getting sick dropped. Therefore God was right. Nothing better than a real result to get your congregation to truly "believe". Also there is the fact that if you broke a Jewish law (and got caught at it), you would be excommunicated at best, or stoned to death at worst. These people weren't playing around.

Next up, there was this "groovy Jew" called Jesus that decided that all this killing and banishing wasn't good for folks, decided to tell people about it, and he made a big impact on people. He was killed by the people that didn't think that his idea's were allright, and just a few short centuries later, the Catholic church came to power. The people that started the church decided that Jesus' story would make a fine parable. Thus began the idea of "absolution". Jesus died for your sins, so that you could be forgiven. But you've got to talk to apriest about what you've done, and atone for your sins. Catholicism caught on in a big way.

NJext came the Protestants, who thought that the mere act of allowing Jesus into your life to atone for your sins, was a lot better than actually having to tell other people what you'd done and then do a penance. Much simpler process. Not to mention the fact that they are focused more on the "son" and the "Holy Ghost", than they are on the "Mother of Christ" Mary. This eventually became a big point of contention between the two septs, and eventually led to out and out war in Ireland.

Muhammed, thaought that Jesus had the right idea with his whole "Be excellent to each other" theology, and spun off his own idea's. They were roughly an amalgam of the extremes of the "Harsh God" of Judaism, and the "Groovy God" of "Christianity". Unfortunately, the basic idea's of the original religion did the same thing as what happenned with Christian's. They came to blows over the difference in interpretations of the original writing. Thus we have Shiite's killing Sunni's, in our modern arena.

It is my opinion that God is an abstract. A way to control your populace. Merely an idea.

The Bible

to be continued...

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:21 PM | Comments (8)

August 26, 2004

Penn & Teller inspired post.

As I'm sitting here, a certain episode of Penn & Teller's program is currently on the tube. This one is in regards to twelve step recovery programs. I thought that I'd do a little fisking of the twelve steps myself. I got the listing of the steps from here.

#1) We admitted we were powerless over alcohol -- that our lives had become unmanageable.

We admitted that we had no self-control. We drank because we wanted to drink, and we wanted to drink more than we wanted to do anything else. Maybe diving into a bottle was better than actually dealing with stuff. Who cares? It was funner.

#2) Came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

Gave up our own will, in order to rely on an abstract. We looked to the heavens and decided that they were better than our own minds, because we were always juiced up, and our minds were a little imbalanced.

#3) Made a decision to turn our will and our lives over to the care of God as we understood Him.

Completely threw our hands in the air, and stated that we are incapable of taking care of ourselves, so we should just let someone else take care of it. I don't trust anybody actually around me to help, so I believe that I'll let "God" do all the work. Let's all head over to the nearest church basement and let "God's chosen representative (tm)" tell us how to live our lives. "Just think of the stories we can get these people to tell, that is if they can remember any of them."

#4) Made a searching and fearless moral inventory of ourselves.

Whose "morals"? Ours or someone elses?

#5) Admitted to God, to ourselves and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

I fucked up, and I told somebody else about it. They didn't beat me or call me bad names, so I guess it was a good thing. Who cares if it was a bus driver and a voice in my head that I told it to?

#6) Were entirely ready to have God remove all these defects of character.

I am not perfect and that is unnacceptible! I must be perfect in the eyes of someone! Wait, I'll make someone up who thinks I'm okay!

#7) Humbly asked Him to remove our shortcomings.

Oh crap! Now I actually have to ask the person I just made up to do, what I made him up for. What kind of crap is this?

#8) Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.

First I'd like to recognize Mom. She went through labor to bring me into this world, so I am willing to watch Fahrenheit 9/11, 911 times to atone for the grievous pain I caused her.

#9) Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

Obviously the F 9/11 thing won't work, as watching that "film" 911 times will only encourage him to make more. I could never do that to society.

#10) Continued to take personal inventory and when we were wrong promptly admitted it.

"Socks, check. Shirt, Check. Clean underwear, Weeeeeeelllllllll...I'm wrong for not having clean underwear!" Someone hug me.

#11) Sought through prayer and meditation to improve our conscious contact with God, as we understood Him, praying only for knowledge of His will for us and the power to carry that out.

"Hey there dude. I know I just created you out of thin air 'n stuff, but can you tell me what you want me to do? Oh yeah, and make me do it too?"

#12) Having had a spiritual awakening as the result of these steps, we tried to carry this message to alcoholics, and to practice these principles in all our affairs.

"So stranger. I notice that you are imbibing a substance that I no longer partake of. Let me introduce you to the fellow that I "just made up". He's really groovy, and will fix all your problems. All you gotta do is ask him."

I say "Do it your Damn-Self". If you can't find any "real people" out there to help you out and give you the support that you need, you need to find some new friends and/or family.

If you don't want to quit, then you won't. If you do (no I mean really do) want to give it up, you will. It's just that simple. Make up your mind and do what you want to do.

One step. Much simpler.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:50 PM | Comments (16)

August 25, 2004

I wish we could do that here, sometimes.

I just ran across this story, and it kind of gives me a warm fuzzy, and makes me angry at the same time. I am just absolutely tickled that the police chief took it upon himself to pull these folks in and give them a talking to. It needed to be done, in a big way.

This little "Police Display" has two major messages, and I hope the journalists present took them to heart.

First: You (the press) are NOT IN AMERICA. The rules that apply there do NOT apply here. I am the Police here, and I will do what is necessary to keep the peace. Up to and including, pulling your dumn asses in here for a good talking to.

Second: Your innacurate reporting has a profound effect on my populace. Because you got something wrong, two people are DEAD, and five are Hospitalized. Don't fuck up again, because over here, people's actual LIVES are at stake. We don't have "polite debates" over here, we have fucking "Jihad's". It's best to keep that in mind when writing your next story.

That is all

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:41 PM | Comments (5)

August 24, 2004

In admiration?

Alex recently linked to me about my whole retail rant, but I just noticed the Category that he placed it in, entitled "In Admiration of Better Writers". I tend to disagree with his summation here, as I have not endeavored to write a Fiction Novel of such an interesting story.

If you are one of the few people who read me, and don't read Harvey, then you really should go check out Alex's serial novel entitled "The Witch Hunter". It's a daily read for me. (Not merely because his story is very intrigueing, but due to the fact that he posits his idea's really well.)

Alex and his wife Sally, are people who I would never have "met" if it hadn't been for the blogosphere. If they were just "normal folks" over there in the "U.K", my chances of sharing ideas with them would be literally zero, Full Stop.

I feel as if I could meet these people in a "pub" somewhere, and strike up an intelligent conversation about pretty much anything. I hope I get the opportunity to do so someday, as good people are hard to find even in the best of times.

What I mean to say here is that I find it very special that people from several different times zones away, find it interesting to read what I write. I rarely reciprocate the "Love" I get from them, but nonetheless, it is much appreciated. This post is my little contribution to their blogging causes. If they're not regular reads of your's, make them so. We should all be so blessed with their friendship.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:26 PM | Comments (9)

CAn you see why I like him?

Eric has posted a small disclaimer for his site.

I find all of his declaratives in this post to be true. He's a gentleman with a distinct point of view, that he's not shy aboout sharing. If you cross a line that he has, he'll let you know about it, and the best advice I can give is, don't cross it again. Other than his personal "Foibles" everything is game. I like that in a person.

A very opinionated individual is a good thing, as long as you have the ability to back up your ideas. He does so every time. I may provide a differing point of view from his, and he has the decency to listen to my points, and give them proper consideration (after he sober's up). :^)

Anyhow, I wish I could afford to go down to the South Eastern Blog Meet. I get the feeling that I would be in very good company.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:49 PM | Comments (4)

August 23, 2004

My copilot.

After I posted this morning, I did not "pass go", and went directly to the lake to spend some time with my parents. I always enjoy it when I go out there, whether I'm out in the fishing boat with my Dad, sitting on the front deck of the houseboat with my Mom, or having a meal with both of them and a few of thier neighbors. Another bonus is that my Sister and Brother-in-Law also have a boat there at the Marina, so when I can get sown there on a weekend, I get to spend time with the whole "Fam Damnly" as it were.

It wasn't too long after I arrived that my Dad suggested that the "Jet Ski needs a workout", so I took it out for a little spin. Went across the lake and ogled a lot of very nice boats at the local yacht club. There's one out there that just stuns me every time I see it. 75 or 80 feet long, two enclosed decks, and another open deck above, two radar sets, I've never been inside that mother, but I'm sure it's just as beautiful. " 'N My Dreams"? You bet.

But that's not what I've come to talk about tonight. I came here to show you a little something. Here's the lead in: Dad suggested a little water skiing, and I was "down" with the idea. We all loaded up on the Jet-Ski, and headed out for the "Main Channel" of the river. Dad was driving, Mom was spotting, and I was out there on the ski's just having a ball. On ther first run, I was having fun messing with the local wildlife. Shortly after I "got up" on the ski's, Dad is steering around a couple of ducks that were just hanging out and minding their own business. Well, this would not do, so I jumped the wake, and headed right for the little web-footed quacker's. They (for good reason) vacated the general area, and I had a Big Grin on my face because I got to mess with a few water-fowl. (No birds were harmed in the making of this post.)

After awhile, my feet began to hurt (Because you set the bindings too tight, you idiot.) and my back was starting to hurt, (Because you're no longer sixteen, you moron.) so I decidedto throw the "Shut it down" signal and take a little break. I coast to a stop, and promptly sink down into the water to become wholly supported by my floatation vest.

After playing human "Bobber" for awhile, and just talking with the 'Rents (who remained aboard the Jet-Ski) I see a flash of color out of my left eye. After checking in that direction to find out what it was, I found a little frog had decided that I was a good stopping point for his trek across the lake. This little cuss just jumped right up on the shoulder of my float vest, and made himself "to home".

It became time to go for another run, so we set things up and took off. Just after I got on top of the water, I looked over to my right, and that little frog was still there. I'm not saying that he was giving me the "Peace sign" or anything, but he was definately hanging out and enjoying the ride. Shortly thereafter, after cutting a few wakes, I could no longer see my "little buddy" so I thought that he'd found the experience a little too intense, and hopped along his merry way. I was wrong.

My "leetle fraind" had decided that I was really cool and wanted to hang with me, so he stuck around long enough for my Mom to take a few candid shot of him. You can "Bear Witness" of them in the extended entry.

You'll have to look closely at the lower left portion of the image. Under the strap, you'll see him hiding from the camera.

There he is! (Poor focus, Sorry)

Here he is just hanging out after I'd taken the vest off. Doesn't look very photogenic does he?

But you'd be wrong! He's just sittin' there "All GQ".

I set the little guy free over on the bank, just because he put a smile on my face. From now on, my bumper sticker will read: "Frog is my copilot!"

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:31 AM | Comments (2)

August 22, 2004

The Retail discussion. ctd.

(Sorry about the lull there, I kinda had to "crash".) I'll pick up right where I left off.

He stated that there is a difference in how he prioritizes the different "requests". I made the argument that Eric's users were his customer's, and he gives them varying degree's of service based on the request. Pretty much the same scenario that I had laid out with my "Aren't you supposed to be helping me?" example. He got what I was trying to say, when we made that comparison.

Retail is what it is. As a Sales associate, my entire job is to make sure that the consumer's that walk through the door are able to find what they're looking for, and to ensure that they have a safe and pleasant environment in which to shop. I'm there to "serve" my customer's, but "service" has its limits.

As I was talking about this subject with my roommate, he reminded me of the concept of firing customers. Mr. Brodsky really does a good job of saying what I wanted to drive home. There are times when your customer actually hurts your business, and you've got to do something about them. This is much easier to do when you are in a contract-type business, as opposed to a retail sales environment. If you are contracted to do something for an abusive customer, you have the ability to cancel the contract. In retail, you don't have this luxury, but it doesn't mean that you have to just stand there and take it.

If someone is being completely unreasonable, or abusive to me, I can try to pass them up the food chain, by calling a Manager in to consult, but sometimes I just can't get one to come all the way out to the Garden Center in a timely enough fashion to keep the customer from disrupting all the other customer's and my fellow associates. When that happens, I will step up and do what I can to get this customer out of my store. The only way for me to do this is to ensure that they have a "bad experience". If they're being abusive, then I'll just get abusive right back. I'll make sure that they don't get the item that they wanted (even if I've got it) from me. They'll have to wait for a Manager to come and take care of it, or just give up and go somewhere else to find thier item.

I'd like to clarify that the "abusive customer" in these scenario's is someone really special. Sure, we've all had a "hard day" before, and taken out our frustration's on a complete stranger, by being a little rude to a sales associate who obviously doesn't have thier "Shit together". That's fine. Goes with the territory. The customer's that I'm talking about are Assholes in the extreme, even after you've already bent over backwards to get them what they need. These types of people (thank the Lowered) are few and far between. In six months of working retail, I've only had two.

I deliberately give these types of people bad service, because I don't want them to come back. If you find that you can't get any good service anywhere you go, you just might be one of the customer's I'm talking about.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:08 AM | Comments (11)

The retail discussion.

So Tammi was interested in the "Retail discussion" that Eric and I had. Well, I'm here to tell you that the discussion was not really about reatail per se, but more about the service that you get, and what you expect.

Eric's point (In a nutshell) is that if you can't handle giving Service to a bitchy customer, then you are in the wrong "bidness", and should choose something else to do with your life. This is a very good argument.

As we've all observed, there are people out there who are performing tasks in the workplace that it is completely against thier character to do. The "Surly Guy" being placed as a "greeter" at your local Wally-World, or the "Guy who can't spell ", becoming a writer, or the person who can't add, being an accountant. (Bad examples I know, but screw it, it's late. Come up with your own examples.)

Eric had an example of a person requesting a "hammer" from a retail associate. You'll have to imagione the difference here, but in the first example, the "tone" of the customer is just as sugary sweet as you could ask for, and in the second, the person had just had found out that thier spouse had fooled around on them with a retail associate. In either case, the "customer" was requesting something specific, and in the end, they got the correct amount of guidance to the item that they were looking for. With little or zero "attitude" in either case.

I followed up with a scenario that I had experienced. As I came in from the greenhouse patio, I stopped at the register's to inform the cashier's that I was taking my break. As I turned away from them, I noticed a little woman (whom I hadn't even noticed was standing there) standing about eight feet away from the register "Island". As soon as she saw me register her existence, she blurted out the phrase (and rather "pissilly" too) "aren't you supposed to be helping me?". My response was, (Just as pissilly) "No. I'm supposed to be on break!...But...How can I help you?".

The point I was trying to make was that there is a certain class of customer that is so ignorant of the situation that they don't deserve any type of civility whatsoever. Eric's point was that the ignorance of the customer makes no difference, and the service should be the same. I tend to disagree with that sentiment, and the turning point of the argument is the specificity of the request.

Myself and the "Straight White Wife" built up a comparison between our jobs (Which are primarily retail), and his job "which is technologically oriented". He is an MIS individual who supports multiple people and systems. The comparison was between somone saying to him "My computer's broken" vs "my email won't let me log in".

To be continued....

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:06 AM | Comments (2)

August 20, 2004

Why not blog about it?

So, about insomnia. At Eric's last night, I managed to consume the better part of half of a 1.75mL bottle of bourbon. I drove home (a sixty five mile drive), which takes approximately one hour. Got here, and managed to stay up for another two and a half hours.

So I get to sleep somwhere between 2:30 and 3:00AM, and manage to show up for work at 7:00AM, on time and ready to go. The effects of the night didn't even really hit me until after I took my lunch, and actually stopped moving for an hour or so.

After that, the body aches started to set in, and I didn't want to do a damn thing. But. After I arived back to work, my coworker (and buddy) Chris takes his lunch. No biggie, I've got it handled. Then a truck full of "Mum's" arrived. 700 plants unloaded by "yours truly", and the body is starting to rebel. An hour later (after moving all the plants inside the actual facility), I get the honor and privelage of unloading another truck full of "Mum's" from another state. I belive the "plant count" was around the 500 mark. Once again, unloaded by me and me alone.

As you may have surmised, I'm tired. Here I am, typing into the blog, a synopsis of my previous day, and I have to be at work at 7:00AM again tomorrow. Pay particular attention to the "time stamp".

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:01 AM | Comments (7)

August 19, 2004

No post tonight (In my coffee) no post tonight (In my tea)

Not much I can say this fine evening other than the fact that I went over to Eric's, and tied one on tonight. Very little pool was played, but we made up for it in "conversational drinking". I so enjoy having conversations with people who have stories to tell, and that place is just full of them.

Not to mention the fact that after all the "usual supsects" had cleared out, I wound up sitting in the living room with eric and (after awhile) his wife, arguing the dynamics of blogging, and retail service. What fun!

Other than that, I am entertaining alternate carreer opportunities at this time, that I intend to follow up on shortly. We'll see what happens, and I promise to keep you posted.

Have a good morning night , y'all.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:01 AM | Comments (4)

August 17, 2004

It's a Costume Party

Well, Well, Well. It would appear that Sally and Alex are hosting a Costume Party over at Sally's site.

So far we've got Pirate's, Doctor's, a combo serving wench/highwaywoman/french maid, a Hooter's Shooter girl, and a Drunken Catholic Priest. Suit up people, and join in the debauchery.

You can find me in my "confessional". It's the second closet on your right.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:01 PM | Comments (2)

RTB mini-meet.

For those who were wondering, my compatriots at dinner this evening were none other than Eric the still-closeted, pigmentally impaired, male of the species, and another fine blogger who goes by the moniker of non-diminutive, Intelligence Impaired, Thomas.

This was a first for Tommy, so he was the one who got to get grilled by Eric. I swear that he must have been thinking up questions to ask for day's. Tommy held up well under the pressure, and is obviously "not stupid" to any degree. I was just hanging out and being me, and thouroughly enjoying the nacho's and beer. (Thanks again for that, Eric.) One of these day's we'll have to organize a much larger meet for the RTB, 'cuz if last evening is any indicator, a fine time will be had by all.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:33 AM | Comments (4)

August 16, 2004

The return of someone missing.

I'm heading out of the Closet shortly to meet up with a few friends and have dinner. The person whi invited me admonished that I should "dress nice" as we will be in mixed company, as opposed to our normal drunken shenanigans.

So into the closet I go, and I come out wearing clothes I haven't had to wear in more than a year. It feels funny, but in a comfortable sort of way, being back in my "Yuppy uniform". I hope it will pass muster.

For the curious, there's a picture in the extended entry.

Corporate Johnny. Haven't seen him in awhile.

Bad picture I know, but I don't care. One of these day's I'll listen to my Momma and actually "Stand up straight".

Off to dinner.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 04:28 PM | Comments (3)

August 15, 2004

I hope the saying's true

That real men also cry.

I just got done watching We Were Soldiers again, and there I was crying like a baby. That movie gets me every time.

If you have any feelings at all towards the great people that wear, and have worn, the military uniform of these United States, you'd cry too.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:37 AM | Comments (7)

August 14, 2004

...and I picked it up!

It's time. All the preparation's have finally yielded fruit. But before I put out, I've got to give a little thanks where it is due.

This time it's in reverse order of appearance.

First off, the biggest accolade's go to _Jon of We Swear, who has graciously provided server space for my little ditty. Go and tell him what a kick ass guy he is for helping me out.

Second, I thank Eric the Linear Caucasion Gentleman for posting up his bit of guitar playing(check it out if you haven't already. It's really good.), thereby egging me on to get some playin' and singin' out there as well.

Lastly there's Harvey of Bad Example. He's the guy who is able to pester someone so much that they eventually just give in to his requests. He bugged me into blogging, and then he cajoled Eric and I into posting a bit of pickin' just for his own amusement. (At least he has sound resons for doing things.)

Without further ado, here's the link to my little MP3.

Go here

The server will prompt you to download the file, which is 1.4MB in size, so I recommend that you have either a broadband hookup, or a lot of time on your hands.


P.S. Sorry Harvey. You won't be able to make up any lyrics to this one, as I actually sing.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:44 PM | Comments (8)

Mind like a - Mark 2 a spotlight. Yes it's true. I can focus in on a problem like it's no tomorrow. Give me a complex scenario and I will pick it apart like a "picker aparter" picking something apart. I swear.

As my dear blog sister Teresa expounded upon in the comments to the previous post on this subject, It all hinges on the complexity of the task at hand. In her comment she specifically mentioned "programming" which I will take as meaning "coding". My primary job was to ensure that the 14 phone switches were recording accurate data into our displsy that was up on our data wall. Each "switch" had a minimum of 25, and ranged up to 75, different "splits". Each split was designated by its own number, locally to the individual switch, but was not exactly unique.

Let's say that on switch 1, split 25 corresponded to client x. But on switch 2 (a completely different facility which may have been completely across the country from switch 1) also corresponded to split x. There may or may not be a third split that was assasociated with the first two. My job was to ensure that the "Service level" (Calls offered/calls answered) was properly recorded on a real time, and historical basis. Needless to say, this is not exactly a "simple" thing to do.

The guy who had the nerve to make this observations about my work habits was caught (by me personally) playing online poker (on multiple occasions), when he should have been watching the display that I designed. He has a job now running a call center for a completely different type of thing. He bitches that he "wished that the crew he had before". I'm seriously tickled that I didn't let myself be recruited by him. Otherwise, I'd be supporting a person who couldn't "tech" his way out of a wet paper bag, but has the audacity to denigrate my work ethic.

As for my lack of Mutli-tasking skills, he can go get fucked. He couldn't even maintaine one of the tasks he was asking me to do all day every day. That's what I call a "hypocrite".

Have you met one?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:35 AM | Comments (0)

August 13, 2004

I heard the guantlet hit the ground

A few days ago, Harvey linked over to Eric because he (Eric, not Harvey) finally filled a standing request for some guitar playing. I didn't comment on it at the time, just due to the fact that I was incapable of doing the same thing. I was having (as they say) "technical difficulties". Three microphones and a new sound card later, I finally have my reply.

Which I cannot upload, because it's too frickin' big. Darn. It looks like Pixy has things set up so that after a few attempts to upload a file that's too large, his server just refuses the request, so I'll have to see what I can do to get you a little piece of my rebuttal to Eric.

Sorry about the tease.

***Update*** Although the file is still too big for Pixy's server, _Jon now has it in his inbox. Throughout this whole debacle, I was looking at the "kb" at the end of the number indicating file size, and my brain was converting it to an "mb". (Go ahead and laugh, but you know you've done this yourself.) I call this phenomenon "Elephantitus of the Sound File". It sure made me feel like a dummy.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:04 PM | Comments (7)

Mind like a...

When my (next to) last boss left the "Operations Center" that I worked at, he left a little advice for the individual who would replace him. I remember a conversation in which he (the new guy) stated that I was not necessarily pivotal to the function of the "Ops Center". All I could do was laugh...out loud. Which I did...a lot.

Shortly before my laugh ended, he decided that it was the time to interdict with the observation of my previous boss, and opine that I did not "Multitask Well". Believe me that this relevation did not dissolve my mirth to any degree. It was no more than three weeks from that time when I turned in my resignation.

Now I'm not saying he was wrong, because I really do not multi-task well, but the things that I do "Uni-task", I do well and correctly. I prefer to finish "Dicking one Dog" before moving on to the next one. If you give me an extremely complex task, I will focus my intellect on it, until it is properly completed. I have yet to see a situation where this was a negative trait.

Not to brag (Yeah Right), but I created the same report with MSExcel, that the software that the "Company" purchased for multiple millions of dollars, did. The exact same data was used. Even before this system was iimplemented, my boss was asking for copies of this report. After I showed it to him, he said something to the effect of "that's cool" and dropped the subject. Little did he know that it took me four hours out of my eight hour shift to compile this particular piece of data. He looked at me like I'd "screwed his grandmother" when I told him that I didn't have the reports he wanted. Along with every other extremely complex thing that he ever asked me to do.

What I'm trying to say here is that I really don't multi-task well. I consider my brain as a "Spotlight". IF you give me a subject to ponder upon, (and it interets me)I will focus my entire attention upon it.

I really want to continue this thought, but I've been drinking a bit too much to do so properly, so I'll conclude this later.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:16 AM | Comments (4)

August 11, 2004

Legalize Insurance!!!!

Automobile Insurance specifically. I can't remember when they did it in Tennessee, but it wasn't too long ago that the state legislature decided that all TN citizens should be required to carry Liability Insurance on thier vehicles. This is the "Law of the Land" now. I have a problem with this situation. Who the Fuck are you, to tell me what kind of insurance I should carry on my vehicle?

Essentially, "Insurance" is defined as, "paying for something that may or may not happen". (the quotation marks are meant to mean that the quote is from me. In this instance.) No, Thank You. I'll pay for what does happen. Let me give you an example here.

Something along eleven or twelve years ago, I had a pretty bad auto accident. I was in the posession (at the time) of a 1979 Pontiac Formula Firebird. Mine was White with Blue Accents, but you get the drift.

One fine evening, I was driving home from work, and I happenned to notice that my stereo was up too loud. It was raining, and at "rush hour". I looked down at my "volume knob" just long enough to turn the damn stereo down, and in the proces of doing so, I ran into the car in front of me. Which was pushed into the car in fron tof it, which was pushed into the car in front of it, which was pushed into the car in front of it. I still have the scar on my forehead from when I slammed my head into the steering wheel. I was a "little" pissed at myself for invlolving myself in such a debacle.

Later on, I was asked to go do a "deposition" in regards to the the accident. I told the truth as I knew it. I hit the first car, who hit the next car, etc. I wound up paying the Plaintiff something on the order of three times my annual salry (at the time) for what damages I did to thier vehicle. Unfortunatley for them, I told the truth, and denied them the opportuntiy to take the same amount from five other people. At the time, I was uninsured.

I took care of my responsibility to the offended parties. I paid more than I could afford to them Fuckers for Three Years. I made good on my responsibility.

Why the hell can't the rest of you?

P.S. You money grubbing bastards.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 01:25 AM | Comments (9)

August 10, 2004

Somebody get me a bell to ring.

Well, I've been attempting to get some rest over the last few days, and have had a little success, so that's good. Unfortunately I have managed to get myself a huge stye on my left eyelid. I hate these things, and I get them about once a year or so. Always on my left eyelid too. I even have a scar on it from when I've had to lance the stupid things in the past. I hope I don't have to lance this one, as that sort of thing hurts.

When did I get it? About three days ago, before my lady-friend came back into the store again. Of course. Here I am trying to flirt with a pretty girl, and I look like I should be living in a bell tower somewhere. Damn the luck. I'm tickled that I was outside when she hollered at me, so I could keep my sunglasses on while we talked. Instead of being all "swayve and de-boner" this time, I wound up feeling like a teenager trying to talk to the first girl he had a crush on. It's okay though. It looks like she'll be getting a job there, so I'll have plenty of other opportunities to "chat her up".

I got to spend a nice afternoon with my Mom yesterday. She put me to work as usual, but I don't care. I like doing nice things for my Mom and Dad, and it gives me a good excuse to spend a little time with them. My Dad is stuck on an 11:30AM to 8:00PM shift this week, so I didn't get a chance to see him, but he called me up and said hi last night anyway. It's a good day when I get the chance to tell my parents I love them.

Gotta go now. I'm on a 10:00AM to 7:00PM shift for the majority of this week. I like the 7:00 to 4:00 shift a lot better. See you after the "salt mine".

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 09:27 AM | Comments (4)

August 07, 2004

Sleep Medicine.

I don't have anything much going on to blog about, so I figured I would just ramble at the keyboard for awhile, and see what comes out.

I had a bad bout of insomnia last night. I should have been in bed at 11:00 PM, but asit turned out, I oculdn't get to sleep until around 2:30 AM. This happens to me at least two or three times a month. If I'm lucky, it only happens for one night, but if it's a bad one, I'll go on three hours of sleep a night for up to four days. This is no good for my health, but there isn't anything I can do about it.

"Sure there is" you say? Well, I've tried over the counter sleep aids, and they don't help. I've tried drinking myself to sleep, and that doesn't help and gives me a hangover. I flatly refuse to go see a doctor about this, as they would put me on all kinds of medications that would mess me up in completely different ways. So I just deal with it.

"Why don't you blog when you're just sitting there not sleeping?" I didn't say that I wasn't tired, just that I can't get to sleep. Normally when these bouts hit me, I am so comlpetely brain fried by them, that all I can do to any degree of effectiveness is to stare at something. Book, TV, whatever. Basically, anything that requires a minimum of active participation from me. Blogging is out of the question.

"No. Seriously. Why don't you go see a doctor?" Let me put it to you this way. The last time that I had a complete "Soup to Nuts" physical examination was in the year 1989. "What!?" Yup, 1989. (If you hadn't already guessed) I don't like doctors...or Insurance companies. In my opinion, your average sawbones out there really has no vested interest in thier patients general well-being, but they will certainly attempt to fix the symptoms of most ailments. With drugs. That and they'll attempt to tell you how to change your life in order to fit thier definition of "living better" while going on and doing the things that they tell you not to do themselves. (I have first hand experience with this type of behaviour. My Uncle was an Orthopedic Surgeon. I remember that as he was in the process of dying from emphysema, he would alternate between a puff of his oxygen, and a puff off his cigarrette.)

Another thing that I dislike about doctors in general is the fact that they have allowed the insurance companies to dictate to them how they should conduct thier practice business. Try to pay a doctor in cash sometime for the service he/she has provided to you. You'll find that it is nearly impossible to do. They want your Insurance Company to pay them, instead of you. Unfortunately this has allowed the IC to dictate to the doctor what services they may or may not provide.

Wow. I didn't intend for this to turn into a diatribe against the medical profession, but I guess that's how my mind works sometimes. I guess if I'm not getting any rest, I might as well put you all to sleep.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:24 PM | Comments (11)

August 06, 2004

I thought I worked in retail?

Well apparrently not. As I've stated before, I used to work in a "White Collar" type environment. The job that I primarily did was the implementation and maintenance of all the systems inside the "Operations Center". When I wasn't doing that, I was creating reports to track all of the different metrics invilved with call centers, and also actively monitoring the performance of all the North American call centers and thier clients.

When I arrived at the facility where all this took place, there were twelve "Training Computers" inside a conference/training room. When I left, there was a state of the art Ops Center with such amenities as: 16 individual PC's all routed through a KVM switch feeding to 8 20" flat-screen monitors, a 4 by 12 foot Data Wall, News and Weather feeds, and a drop-down digital projector. This whole setup wound up costing around $650,000. I'm not saying that I did all of this, but I for damn sure had a hand in it.

Anyway. Before I left work this evening, my cell phone rang, and it was one of my coworkers from my previous job. This was a guy who I haven't spoken to in around ten months, and he just called me up out of a clear blue sky. It was nice talking to him and all, but I got the strange sensation that he wanted something from me.

Now I'm a nice guy. The guy was having some trouble with a system that I initially implemented, and I know that he was never very tchnically inclined, so I helped him out. Or so I thought. After the fourth time my phone rang, and it was him, I just decided that I wasn't going to answer the phone anymore. I hated to do it, but "for the Love of Jeff" I don't work there anymore. Here's a reason why.

Much as I hate to brag (yeah right) but I predicted that sort of thing a long time before it actually happened. I'm observant that way. Beware my employer. When I quit, your business is going straight to hell in a handbasket, or you haven't paid me enough.

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 12:19 AM | Comments (3)

August 04, 2004

It's the money, stupid.

For some reason, I remembered a conversation that I had with a couple of coworkers over a year ago. This was back when I was still doing "White Collar" work, and I was the only one there without a college education. There were three of us in the room, Larry, Scott, and I. Larry was a black guy who was working hard to support his family, and further his career. Scott was the quintessentail yuppie-type. Larry had decided that he wanted to learn a little about the stock market, so he asked me what it was all about. I told him my take on the subject. "The stock market is a body that arbitrarily places values on companies based on rumor and innuendo." After I stated this fact, Scott just wigged out, and started proclaiming that I didn't know what I was talking about. Of course he could not come up with any substantial reason why I was wrong. I hate that.

You see, there are a few basic things about money that I understand. Coinage was initially based on metals due to the fact that they were rare, durable, and yet malleable enough to easily create the coins. Another thing that made the metals in question (Gold and Silver primarily) valuable is that thier malleability made it easy for artisans to create beautiful objects. The ability to create pretty objects essentially equates to monetary value.

Skip to modern times, and we are now using paper money, and more increasingly "credit". I haven't bothered to do any research here, so I can't tell you when exactly the U.S. dollar could no longer be backed by actual gold. All I know is that it has been a very long time (decades at least) since you could take your paper dollar to a bank, and recieve the equivalent weight in gold, and vice versa. So what is money "backed" by? Well it's not "backed" by anything at this point. Money is an abstract. An idea.

Credit is even more a creation of this crazy mixed up society. Now we don't even have a piece of paper to hold on to. Our money, that is a replacement for the barter system, that we used to be able to get something that we could make pretty things out of, is now a piece of paper that represents an abstract idea, and we are consistently turning to a medium of currency that is based upon the paper cash, but doesn't have all that tedious fattenning of the wallet to bother us.

We work. We continue to strive to "make do" for ourselves and our families, and what we recieve is a representation of an idea of our worth. The value of this particular "idea" is determined by the stock market. The stock market is an entity that determines value by rumor and innuendo (ie: Company "X" decided arbitrarily that they would make eleventy billion dollars in the next quarter, but because some schmuck forgot to "Carry the four" when they were doing the initial estimate, they will miss thier projection by about a hundred bucks. The company's stock was at $57.12 previous to the declaration of thier mishap, suddenly dips to $12.57 because "customer confidence" has been decreased by the fact that the idiots running the Company can't predict the future.).

I wholeheartedly believe that our financial market is a complete creation of eggheads that have been able to dupe the "average citizen" into believing that they know better than the next guy. As far as I'm concerened, they can go Fuck Themselves. I'll take the money that I earn, and do with it what I will.

Can you tell that "Investing" is not in my future?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:28 PM | Comments (7)

August 03, 2004

When you go to too many comment parties.

So I'm standing out by the gate at work this afternoon, just flipping my lip with the "Customer Welcomer", and this familiar face comes walking up to me (actually it was the whole person that came walking up to me, but that's neither here nor there). Auburn hair, georgeous green eyes, and immediately giving me a hug. Sure perked up my day, let me tell you.

Anyhow, the lady in question is a former coworker of mine when I worked in a call center, and for awhile she was dating another of my coworkers (who was a good friend), so she and I became friends by-proxy. I haven't seen her for awhile, so she lingered around, and we got to catch up. She used to live way out in the sticks somewhere, with her new fiancee, but since then they have split up, and she has moved to an apartment three or four miles away from where I live. (Think "Jaws" here: Dun Dun - Dun Dun.)

Next she tells me that she is looking for something else to make a little extra money, as she is currently paying for the apartment, and the house that she has not been able to sell yet. She put in her application at the store where I work. (Dun Dun - Dun Dun)

While talking to her, I innocently asked if she has "a feller to squire you around town?", and she replied that she was "over" men. Shortly thereafter she made the statement that men are only good for two things "mowing the lawn, and um conjugal visits" whereupon I laugh and generally agree with her.

After talking with her for about a half an hour, she is preparing to head back to her apartment to get her resume in order to have all the correct employment dates to fill out the computer-based job application, and I get another great hug, and she say's goodbye. Just as she's turning to walk away, I chime in with "Hey, give me a call if you need a "conjugal visit"".

Yeesh. I think I've been hanging out at too many comment parties. This sort of behaviour isn't supposed to spill over into "real life" is it? I don't regret saying it a bit though. This lady is quite a "looker", and is an absolute sweetie to boot. I certainly could do a lot worse (and I have).

Dammit. Why hasn't she called me yet? ;^)

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 10:48 PM | Comments (13)

August 01, 2004


So I'm out on the greenhouse patio today, moving a fixture (aka a freaking shelf) from one place to another, and generally baking my brains in the heat, when a connection was made inside my (now medium-rare) noggin.

A few months ago there were some television commercials ("adverts" for the British) for Miller Lite beer (cheesy, watered-down, pilsner-type beer...served cold, FTB) where they were doing a parody of Politcal debates with their competition Bud Light (an even cheesier, more watered-down, complete limp wrist of a pilsner-type beer...served cold, FTB). These commercials were rather cute, due to the fact that the Miller representative (they don't have a mascot), is debating the Budwieser mascot (a Clydesdale horse for those who've been in a cave all thier lives..or the British) and he stated that Bud Light could not see what was going on because he "has blinders on!". (You'd have to see it.)

There was a series of two or three of these "President of Beers" commercials, and they obviously touched a nerve with the Budwieser folks, as they retorted with a series of commercials that had the "Budwieser Donkey" (I shit you not) announcing the fact that Miller could not be the "President of Beers" because the Miller Brewing Company had been purchased by a "South African Company".

So what does Miller do? They come out with an Ad campaign that espouses thier product as Low-Carb. Gotta give them credit for catching on to the Low-Carb craze. The other day, when I was returning to the house after picking up my lunch, I see a billboard for Bud Light that stated " All Light Beers are Low-Carb".

Hmmn. It seems that one competitor is coming up with its own new ideas, and the other is spending all thier time refuting the points made by the first.. I'm certain that there's a parallel somewhere in "real life" to this situation, but I just can't put my finger on it. Can you?

Posted by Johnny - Oh at 11:02 PM | Comments (6)