All posts by Thunderscreech

First class jerk

I’m flying out on a business trip in a couple weeks, and due to what must be a hilarious sequence of computer errors, I’ve somehow been booked First Class for the flight out.  I say “computer errors” because

  1. My company does not do this on purpose.
  2. The people who would do this as a favor for some folks wouldn’t for me, for I am a raving douche bag.

So, this leaves me with a conundrum.  I can either sit back and enjoy the flight, staying classy and having a great time up front with the big kids.  Or…..

I could be an asshole.

Now, I don’t need to be a jerk to the stewardesses.  There’s nothing I can do on purpose that can be more offensive to them than my presence and personality already brings to the table.  I’m an overweight computer nerd with fucked up facial hair (“Check me out, I’m Wolverine’s fat brother!”) with the fashion sense of a stray dog covered in garbage.  I’m terrified of any social interaction that doesn’t involve my arcade character tea-bagging an opponent over the internet, so my ability in face to face conversation is… limited.  I’m 6’2, which means I tower over most women, so I usually avoid eye contact to avoid “looking menacing”.  Unfortunately, this usually backfires when it looks to them like I’m staring at their chest instead.  This is twice as likely when I’m sitting down and they’re standing.  Also, by the way, a view that is twice as nice.

Finally, my use of technology takes what would otherwise be a casual social crutch and turns it into a rusty nail of stupidity.  For example, I’ve spent hours reading my iPhone while holding it in my lap.  To me, this is perfectly reasonable, and it may even sound like a fairly normal if geeky thing to do.  The problem is…  the iPhone is invisible to everyone else, so to them, I’m ‘that dude that keeps staring at his crotch and occasionally poking it’.

So…  this aside, what else can I do to properly take advantage of this increasingly unlikely seating arrangement?  I’ve put some thought into this, and I’ve decided it’s time to be…  The Judge.

A little known fact about human psychology, we seem to be wired to find the judgment of strangers somehow more relevant and important than the judgment of those we know.  It sounds retarded, and it probably is, but for some reason, if your sister looks at what you’re wearing and says “Did a 3 year old child pick out your clothes today?” you can dismiss it.  Bah, sis, whatever.  But when someone on the street looks at your clothes and gives a little smirk, you might feel like ice water just poured down your spine.  “Holy shit!  A stranger looked at me….  and I failed their test!”

I don’t have an explanation for this (well, I do, but it mostly involves your mother and how fat she is, and also shut up) but I’ve seen it enough to be convinced that it’s true, so perhaps it’s time to take advantage of this situation and try it out in public.

The Plan (because without a plan, you’re just rude.  WITH a plan, you can be a true asshole)

  1. Dress snotty.  This means, as best as I can tell,  ‘black turtleneck and khakis’.  This is, of course, if television has taught me anything that porn hasn’t.
  2. Take advantage of early boarding, get to my seat before everyone else.  This should be cake.  (waves ticket) First Class, remember?
  3. Don’t shave.  No reason, I just fucking hate shaving.
    Now the hard stuff:
  4. As each person boards, look them up and down.
  5. Make brief eye contact so they’re looking at me.
  6. Immediately break eye contact and smirk while shaking my head slightly.

That’s it.  Nothing fancy.

What, you were expecting Isaac Einstein?  No, it’s simple, you’re doing one small thing.  You’re judging them on some basis that’s beyond their understanding (because you don’t have one) and they failed your standards.

So…  I’ll judge them.  I’ll send each of the cattle back into their pens behind me with the sudden thought that maybe they took a wrong turn in life.  Because not only did a stranger evaluate them on some unknown metric, that stranger was obviously respectable and wise because he was sitting in First Class.  The fact that he’ll be riding back home in coach two days later doesn’t matter because they don’t know.  They’ll slouch back to their seats and sit down.  The Air Mall catalogs will mock them from the seatback centimeters in front of their noses, and maybe one or two of them will actually cry a little.

Fuck yeah, I’m gonna get me some tears.  Then, back to reading books on my crotch.

More Patriot Act Fuckupery

The Patriot ActWhile everyone was giving each other high-fives and because of “how cool it was that President Obama called Kanye West a Jackass“, the president was talking about extending provisions of the US Constitution’s natural enemy: The Patriot Act.

We’re fucking arresting people then sending them to Afghanistan.  What.  The.  Fuck?  When did we become the country that does shit like THAT?

Anyone who doesn’t realize that the intent of the government is to make the Patriot Act a permanent part of the law is an idiot.  Congress put in the “expiring clauses” to sooth the public, and like sheep, the vast majority of the public bought into it.  There is no emoticon strong enough to convey the level of disgust this inspires in me.

If you haven’t figured out that both of the major parties are essentially identical, and that neither has your constitutional interests at heart (where it’s inconvenient for the government, that is), then you’re a moron.  The primary job of someone in power is to perpetuate and/or extend their influence.  Tie this in with the Peter Principle and look at our current political environment, and it gets pretty goddamn scary.

The Patriot Act is essentially an attempt to vaccinate us against freedom.  That’s the kind of flu I don’t mind having, but I guess the rest of my fellow citizens are ok with trading liberty for convenience.

Fuck ’em.

Worst alarm clock made

For a few years, I had an Oregon Scientific projection clock that rocked my night world.  It put the time up on the ceiling in red, the alarm went off when it was supposed to, and it just  worked.

So of course, I bought a replacement.

I was at Bed, Bath & Beyond shopping for, fuck, I don’t know.  It’s one of those stores where you go in for a shower curtain and come out with $150 in gadgets, then have to go back to get the shower curtain you forgot to find.  Anyways, I see this clock sitting there on this stand looking all blue and shit, and I immediately notice the following awesome things about it:

  1. It looks like a UFO.
  2. It’s a projection clock.
  3. It also has a wireless outdoor temperature sensor and will TELL ME exactly how goddamn cold it is outside while I’m snuggled up all nice and warm under the Thundercat! blanket I tell people I bought ironically.
I added the ears, but it's not a stretch.
I added the ears, but it's not a stretch.

Holy crap, this thing is awesome.  Best of all, it’s RIGHT THERE.  No eBay, no online purchase, no waiting two damn days to get it (while I click the refresh button on the UPS web page, c’mon damnit, get here already!), it’s RIGHT THERE.

And so I buy it.

I buy the FUCK out of it.

It’s the Homedic S5-5000 At home, I tear open the box and pull it out.  A few minutes later, I’ve got the timezone set, the temperature probe is powered up and mounted outside, the clock is set for wake up time, and OH NEAT THE CLOCK IS SETTING ITSELF.  This is the best clock ever!  I dismissively toss my old Oregon Scientific clock to the side.  “Sorry, old chum, but that was the future on the phone, and it says it’s here”.

I tell this Awesome Machine to wake me up with soothing jungle noises, and that night, I shut off my bedside lamp and get ready to go to slee-  wait…  what’s that?  The entire room is bathed in a blue light.  I look up and see, projected onto the ceiling that is is 10:36 – 56°.

The blue light is so bright, the entire room is illuminated.  I can see the bookshelves, the walls, the paintings on the walls…  Hang on…  I grab a book, open it, and discover that I can read the text.  This is not great.

“No problem”, I tell myself, “a fine company like Homedics must have a brightness control on their quality products”.  I hunt around for a minute, then give up.  I’ll fix this tomorrow, I decide to turn off the projector.   As it turns out, this requires I turn the light on and fumble around for a tiny switch on the back of the clock, but no bother, this is fine.  Projector disabled, the light goes off, and I settle down to slee-  uh…  I can still see illumination through my eyelids.  I look over at the clock and realize that the backlighting for the face is actually WHITE.

So, this clock is basically cornering the market in retarded color choices for night vision.  Blue to burn out your retinas, and white to kill off any Rhodopsin left after the first attack.

I figure out how to shut that off and shuffle off to sleep.  Well, I’m actually getting less performance now than I had before because at least my Oregon Scientific clock could show me the time, but….  no problem, I’ll get this taken care of tomorrow.

Slowly, I shuffle off to sleep…

(time passes)

I gradually come awake.  I’m rested!  I feel great!  I stretch out, this is fantastic.  I glance over at the clock, but, oh right, I had to turn off the backlighting.  No problem, I must have beaten the alarm.  I frown.  I have beaten the alarm, right?  I grab my phone and check the time…  oh monkey trumpets, I’m an hour late.  The alarm didn’t go off!

A Homedic being used against the terrorists of Alderaan
A Homedic S5-5000 being used against the terrorists sympathizers on Alderaan

I rush off to work, promising to debug the issue when I get home.  Later, I return and sit down with the clock and the manual.  I’ve never had to use a manual with a clock before, but ok, it’s a brave new world.  Paging through it, I discover some disturbing things.  Obviously, I had assumed there would be a dimmer or brightness control.  This, as it turns out, is wildly incorrect.  As best as I can tell, there is a ‘hypermatter singularity’ at the core of this clock that’s used specifically to provide the light for this projector.

Additionally, the backlighting on the face of the clock is equally non-adjustable.  Awesome.  Now, let’s figure out what happened with the alarm…  this is when my wife contributes to the discussion.  As it turns out, the alarm went off after I had left for work.  The clock had spontaneously decided it was in a different time zone and had set itself for a later time.  A fluke, I’m sure.

Sighing, I decide to give it another try.  The projection clock is still really what I’m wanting out of this, so it’s time to use a little cleverness.  I have some sunglass lenses handy, so I tape a couple together and balance them atop the projector aperature.  This works, sort of, but there’s still blue leaking out around the edges and the numbers can now only be pointed straight upwards, but ok, it’s a slight improvement.  I reset the time on the clock, and write off the backlighting.  WHITE!  C’mon….

LATER…

I snap awake, the alarm is sounding.  This is good!  It’s going off, and it’s obviously not late because it’s still dark out.  Blearily, I hit a button, and it shuts off.  Boy, I am tired.  Exhausted, even.  I yawn, try to stretch, but geez, I am beat.  Blearily, I sit up in bed and stretch again.  I grab my phone to use as a flashlight and wander to the bathroom.  I’m checking email while waiting for the shower to heat up when I notice the clock on the phone.  It reports that it’s 2:03 AM.  wut.

Somehow, the clock has now shifted in the other direction and three hours early.  Oh sweet zombie Jesus.  I end up setting my phone as an alarm and finally make it back to sleep, but this is a rough day at work, and I’m tired.

That night, I read through the manual more and figure that somehow, it must have lost the timezone setting, so I reset that again.  As I noted earlier, the clock uses an atomic clock broadcast to set itself, but unlike most appliances, it seems to get bored.  This time, I turn off the atomic clock sync and just set it.  “No”, I shake my finger at it, “you do not set yourself”.

Since then, it’s semi-randomly changed what time it is despite me turning off that feature. Also, consider not using the ‘Rain shower’ sound as your alarm if it has been/is currently raining.  It’s less effective than you might imagine. The weather sensor can’t reliably reach it with updates even though it’s less than 10 feet away.

In short, this is the clock from hell.   My friends and co-workers have noted that my iPhone would function quite adequately as an alarm.  “Never!” I rejoin, “I’m not giving up yet.  If I use my phone as my alarm, then this Homedics clock will have won”.

“Dude”, one of them responded sympathetically, “it’s already won”.

Considering how many times I’ve been clockblocked by this abomination, I cannot recommend this alarm to anybody but my enemies, but for them I wholeheartedly endorse it.

Cash for Clunkers was an abortion

Do you know what happened when you turned in a car as part of this process?  The dealers put two quarts of sodium silicate into the engine and ran it until it destroyed itself.

If you’re not disgusted with this program and all the money it cost you, then you’re a fucking retard.

This entire program was based on the broken window fallacy of economics.  It took money out of your pocket and made you think you got cash, but everyone who pays taxes was robbed.  The only people who liked this are the auto companies.  Why wouldn’t they like it?

It was another bailout, and you paid for it, suckers.