Monthly Archives: October 2007

Apple – Please Stop

Whichever one of you retards thought up the brilliant strategy of “let’s stop accepting cash“, bravo. Just excellent. Maybe now you can pull some old school Apple shit, like you can license FIC, HTC, and Motorola to build iPhone-compatible devices (Moto is dumb enough to fall for it again) and then yank the carpet out from under them in a couple months. Or maybe you could decide that what you really need to do is create your own oddball, one-off memory-card interface (Ask Sony about how good this one works out) like you did with keyboards and mice, Ethernet, expansion cards, video, video AGAIN, video, video, video, AUDIO (for god’s sake, like you couldn’t just use a regular fucking audio connector).

At absolute minimum, could you definitively tell every retard who picked up a macbook because it color coordinated with their iPod that you are not a free and open hippy dippy company and are in fact out to fuck everyone? That would be super, it would cut down on a lot of retarded forum posts.

I’m toasting this momentous occasion.

Here’s to you, Apple! No Cash/No Gift Cards is the most amazing policy decision I’ve seen you make, and I’ve been paying attention to Apple for a very long time. You have outdone yourself — until somebody finally sues you for not accepting cash as legal tender, and you come up with some other scheme even more chokingly retarded.

PPS – Here are some ideas for more hedge-legal and incredibly poor decisions to rush your spiral back down to $4 a share.

Force people to register their cell phones to their social security numbers.
Force people to register their cell phones with a picture that you keep in a face-recognition database.
Simple text messaging cleanup – Filter cursewords.
Put age restrictions on the device. I’m saying no younger than 18, no older than 30.
Tattoo on inner lip of iPhone serial number.
Random scans for non-authorized software on phone notifies to FBI as piracy/bricks your phone (you’re halfway there on this one)
Pay updates for phone firmware.
Scan text messages for “inflammatory words”/automatically add to terror watch list.

If you want to use any of these, just let me know by sending me $3000 on Paypal.

Gutsy Release

Well, unlike Fargo, I had very few issues upgrading from Feisty to Gutsy on my laptop (Inspiron 6400 core duo 1.6 with ATI x1400 video). GnomePPP doesn’t work, but as it transpires, GnomePPP was just holding me back. Going with wvdial has made my phonetnernet (bluetooth DUN to my Cingular 8125) connection a) more stable and b) approximately twice as fast. I don’t know why this is but I don’t care. I downloaded 30MB worth of updates this morning through the phone and when using GnomePPP I would have never even TRIED it.

My battery life is better with Gutsy than it was with Feisty. I haven’t done a run-to-death check yet, but it lasts about 3 hours by my estimation. This is before I set the ACPI “laptop mode” to true. Maybe I’ll do some tests this weekend, but 3 hours is satisfactory for me. I could probably eke more out but I’m not gonna worry about it.

The real triumph though was the “upgrade” of my desktop.

I know, you’re thinking, “Wait, Aaron, you installed the Gutsy Beta, you should have just slowly been patched up to release.” Oh, you’re so right. But the problem was I installed Gutsy Beta AMD64.

Why does that matter? Oh, here’s why.

Linux on the AMD64 is NOT FULLY BAKED. I’m going to put it somewhere between a quarter baked and half baked. I spent hours trying to link fucking 32 bit libraries to get Wine to compile (binaries ran OK but I needed an update to buy stuff through Steam), I spent hours trying to get a fucking java runtime environment working in firefox/swiftfox. No such luck on either. Suggestions on both ran from “well documented and out of date” to “vague, incomplete, and current”. This appears to be the entire AMD64 experience. Tons of stuff worked just perfectly. Other stuff harkened back to the bad old days [apply this patch file : patch file deleted see article at (updated no longer needed)] NO SERIOUSLY DUDE I HAVE THE SAME PROBLEM I BET IT IS STILL NEEDED BY ME BECAUSE I NEED IT.

So I hawked the 32 bit Gutsy disk in, and cranked up the install, choosing to mount my home volume and not format it.

And everything worked fine.

I had to reinstall apps, but all my settings were still in my home directory so they cranked back up. Deluge even picked up the torrents I was seeding and started up again. Two hours, start to entirely-operational-again.

Nebulizer

Continued from Marrowbone :

We got justification for wealth and greed:
Amber waves of grain and bathtub speed.
Now we even got Starbucks – What else you need? – James McMurtry ‘Out Here in the Middle’

If he just hits me one more time I’m going to leave. Just one more time.

It’s my mantra. I’ve been saying it for five years. He doesn’t hit me anymore, not really. Our first neighbor saw me before I put the makeup on one day and called the cops the next time she heard yelling. They came in while my nose was still bleeding and took him away to sober up. No charges, but it convinced him that black eyes and nosebleeds were bad news.

Now he pinches.

I reach down and massage the sore area above my hip, right where the belt hits. My “chub”, he calls it, when he’s being cute about it. My “fat useless ass” when he’s not. It doesn’t bruise up like other places. You would think that pinching would kill the nerves or stop hurting eventually, but it doesn’t. It hurts more every time. But pinching isn’t hitting and the promise I made myself says hitting.

Maybe he’ll die. Fall into a machine at work and die.

The upside of the pinching is less makeup. It’s cheaper, no more clogged pores! I’ve gotten a little tan on my face now, it’s pretty. I have lots of sundresses so I don’t have to wear a belt.

My fat ass will need the room.

I spend most of the day when he’s at work outside. I trim the front yard, I do the hedges, the edging. I have a little spot picked out in the back yard where I like to lay down and pretend I’m dead. I think I’d like to be buried out here, underneath the pecan tree, in the sugar sumac. I think I’m going to plant some lillies.

I am getting my dress all dirty again. Need to change before he gets back.

I don’t think the neighbors would complain, as long as I kept the front yard clean. That seems to be pretty important to them. We got a $10 fine for letting some oranges sit under the tree out front for a week. I clean them up first thing in the morning now.

There was blood in my pee for a week. He just kept yelling about the fine and he wouldn’t stop and I thought he would kill me. I hoped he would just kill me.

A little more time laying out under the sumac and then it’s three and I guess I better start on dinner. If it’s not ready to go when he gets home he gets started drinking, and then sometimes we don’t eat at all, we get started on the entertainment early. If I can get him fed, he’ll probably just go to sleep, and then I can watch some TV with the sound off.

I can’t even look into the bathroom. It’s still there on the counter where I dropped it, stupid tampered with piece of shit.

Maybe a pork roast! Something a little sweet. Brown sugar and mustard, got those. Need to get a shoulder. Got some red potatoes and asparagus and for the love of Christ make sure we have beer otherwise he’ll go straight for the liquor cabinet.

I just can’t take that right now not right now. I’ll buy another test while I’m there because this one was messed up. They’re all wrong. God it can’t be right.

I grab my coat and some quarters from the change jar. I make sure the porch light is on. I might make the 3:08 if I jog.

I pick up the fucking liying little stick and the worthless broken tampered with box and the receipt and stuff them in the bottom of my purse.

I just had the BEST IDEA! I should get some ice cream, we’ll have banana splits for dessert.

Helping me fall…

So, this month Fargo and I have been hit with a lot of whammie bills (the water price here in Portland, where it rains all the time, is outrageous), and the big tax bill from 2005 set me back in a number of ways. So, naturally, I started talking about setting up my emergency fund. Again. I had just started on one when I got that bill, so it was sort of a wakeup call. So I have scrimped and scrounged and set aside $600 into my savings account. I started looking at it and wondering what kind of interest I make on that, so I pulled up the FAQ on my bank’s website.

0.10%. Not 10%. Not 1%. Zero point one percent. Which means that I officially earn more by picking up change on the sidewalk than I do through my savings interest. So this morning, I opened up an ING Direct Orange Savings account, to stash my emergency fund somewhere it will do something for me. My hands shook while I filled out the app, and I felt angry when it didn’t instantaneously take the money out of my crappy savings account and just be done with it. I was agitated and distressed. My palms were clammy. Opening that account took all my willpower.

My life with finances isn’t love/hate. It’s just hate. I hate dealing with money. I hate spending it. I hate not having it. I hate having to think about it.

My early childhood was blessed with an above average income in an undervalued housing market. We were the absolute pinnacle of conspicuous consumption. We spent a hundred bucks every trip to the grocery store. We threw away bags of unconsumed leftovers. If I wanted a six dollar action figure every trip to Smitty’s? Well, pitch a little fit and then voila: Rock and Roll in the new NightForce paint. Thinking about taking up a ridiculously expensive habit like baseball card collecting? No problem, here’s a case of unopened 1967 Topps wax packs. I had a room that overflowed with crap. My mom later admitted that she would sometimes make daring night raids into my bedroom to throw away toys, in an attempt to turn the tide of my obsessive/compulsive consumer tendencies.

Now, my folks weren’t some puritan ascetics writhing in woe while their demon spawn collected classic baseball caps. They were good boomers too, making minimum payments on their maxed out cards, assuming that a pension or social security would take care of them once they couldn’t work any more. They were well on the way to a life of paying-for-it-twice before I picked up my first Gung Ho at Mervyns. But as with most perfect spending storms, life got in the way. It wasn’t an all-at-once breakdown, but here are some key events.

My dad had a medical emergency.
My sister was born (and my mom left her job)
My dad lost his job.
One of the cars got wrecked.

We went from nicely middle class family of three on a single income to four struggling for lower middle class on two incomes. Mom went back to work. Dad went back to school and worked part time. But this wasn’t really my childhood anymore, these were my high school years. I mowed yards, I got a part time job as a janitor. But this was not the norm, it was the exception. Somehow I managed not to learn any of the lessons taught by this. I blamed it on bad luck or improper collection motivations. Solar flares, anything.

By this time I had my own bank account, constantly overdrawn, my own credit card was not far away. I went to college and tried to replicate my lifestyle, eating as much expensive prepack food as I could. Once I figured out that nobody calls your folks when you don’t show up to class, I just stayed home (the better to eat Ding Dongs my dear, they get smashed up in your backpack if you take them to class). Eventually my constant supply of junk food gathered a swarm of pot heads that became my wards. Now I had a new thing to spend money on. Weed.

Once I failed out, I had managed to sell every single savings bond that had ever been purchased for me, I did the only thing that made sense. I got a job, and applied for a credit limit bump. I used the first paycheck to pay the credit card all the way down, and of course they increased my limit. All I had to do was OK the interest rate to go from a fixed 14% to a variable rate “as low as 10%(like maybe if you are the pope)”. Some jostling. Some life went past. I got a job that paid twice as much, and I got another limit hike. I had all the elements in place, there was only one thing to do.

I bought a brand new car. $16,000 worth of VTEC engined bright red insurance premium wet dream. This car was magnificent. It was fast. It was red. It was a two door so I had to pay higher insurance. Gas had just dropped to new lows ($.97 if I went to the Arco instead of the Mobil). So I took my wet dream and my newer better faster credit card and went on vacation. We couldn’t decide if we wanted to go to Disneyland or Six Flags. I grinned at the card, and it grinned back at me.

“We’ll just go to both”

I maxed out the card. The car got totalled. I bought a car that was a sinkhole. I moved into an apartment that cost three times what I could afford. I bought another car that was a sinkhole. I moved to California.

I think maybe I believed those debts wouldn’t ever hunt me down. Like they’d be trapped at the border, unable to follow me.

In California I lived paycheck to paycheck, but given my prior excesses, that was actually an IMPROVEMENT.

Once the entire technology segment of the stock market was forced to learn the same lessons I should have been learning, I moved back to Arizona. I lived paycheck to paycheck, but instead of paying any attention to it, the money was simply deposited into a shared account with Fargo. I ignored it as best I could, and as long as my swipe card worked to cash me out a pack of generics and a snickers every lunch hour, I was fine.

When I moved up here after visiting my parents, it was a revelation. My parents were back to middle class. Upper middle class even. Steak dinners three nights a week. Always ate out on the weekends. Man, that was the problem. ARIZONA. That was the problem. Oregon is the PROMISED LAND. Where my credit cards will work forever. I’ll always have a positive cash flow. My parents were BUSINESS OWNERS now, with just an uninterrupted horizon of gasoline powered CFC heavy fun. And that’s when life got in the way again.

I lost my job.
Their business didn’t do as well as they thought it would.
My sister went to college.

And I learned some really horrible lessons. I’m still learning them. I paid off old debts. I only use my credit card when I can pay it off the next month. I bought a new car that fits my income level. Fargo and I eat food at home as the rule not as the exception. I bring my lunches to work. I have a 401k that I monitor regularly and contribute to heavily.

But I still want. Oh, I want. I want big TVs and faster computers and sporty cars and all those things that I wanted before. Only now, when I look at my credit card, I don’t see an amount of money I can spend, or an emergency stash of buying power.

When it winks at me I see the fangs on it. I see the struggle to pay it off. I see the ramen dinners. I see a nearly homeless me cashing in savings bonds at lower-than-face value.

When I see the credit limit, I see the truth. That’s not trust, and that’s not money.
It’s the length of rope I have to hang myself with.

I Love to Laugh

Craigslist response:

I’m just curious if there are people out there who don’t love to laugh. Like they just really don’t like it. They are going out after work and when the idea of watching a comedy comes up, they just go “Boy, this is embarassing, because everyone is just gonna be laughing and that will be horrible.”

I haven’t met any of them. I’ve met quite a few people. I don’t think a single one didn’t, on one level or another, love to laugh. But you pointed out that you specifically do love to laugh, so I’m just wondering if maybe you met someone who didn’t love to laugh.

So did you?

Google Street View…

I just got off my week of 24×7 oncall, and I feel like somebody hit me with a sack of trucks. Yesterday I got paged at 4am, then once I got finished with that, I laid back down and got paged at 6, then laid back down and was paged again at 9. I finally got to sleep after that for about an hour, then overcaffeinated myself all day. This, and another nap around 4pm, set me up for a night of tossing and turning and paranoiac pager checking. With the onset of rain, the dogs have taken to sleeping on my bed. They were not amused.

However, Google has added street view to Portland, Phoenix, and Tucson, so I have been playing with it like whoa.

Here is the house. It is amazing to me that they did these recently enough to have caught our cars out front. That’s the Honda of Much Timing Belt Nuisance, and the Corvair over in the hole of shame.

Here is where we were renting. Looks like they were caught in the middle of renovating it, the door was most certainly on it’s hinges when we lived there, and there was a ratty wobbly bannister around the porch. Hope they fixed the roof before sinking too much money into it.

Phoenix hasn’t been scanned too well, so there’s not a lot I can do there.

If you walked down this sidewalk past Best Buy and the TJ Maxx (or equally shitty discount clothing store) and turned left, there is a strange concrete and aluminum ampitheater with these lovely white sails. I used to go there to smoke cigarettes when I was depressed. Being a teenager at the time, this meant I practically got my mail here. I visited less frequently when Mesa passed it’s anti public smoking laws.

In the foreground here, the building with the blue letters on it used to be a Tower records. I bought my first CD here (2 Legit 2 Quit, still one of the awesomest looking CDs I’ve ever seen. Too bad about the music though.) If you head back a ways, there’s Three Fountains movie theater, which was crapulent by every measure. If you were to then turn left and head over a couple suites, you would be at Essenza (I had to search for that name), a coffee shop that I spent approximately 1200 hours at between the ages of 16 and 20. I am technically a master coffee craftsman simply by benefit of osmosis. I would sit for hours at a time, with a Swisher Sweet and my journal frantically scribbling the long-form version of “WHY DON’T GIRLS LIKE ME” while simultaneously being surrounded by girls that liked me. Sad/retarded.

You may wonder why my entire world rotated around Fiesta Mall, and that is simple. I lived in Chandler, and the girls in my life (once I could drive) lived in Tempe. This was middle ground.

More of this later.

Marrowbone

Continued from Marzipan :

Ben extracts the clip and holsters the gun, makes some final mumblings into his radio, and sits down on the bench. Angry Mom number two is gone, the tense cloud of her confusion and anger has left the area.

“Did you seriously have to put bullets in that thing?” I stoop to pull the beers out of the bag.

He laughs, grabbing the bagged can out of my hand. “Force of habit, I don’t point it at somebody unless it’s ready to go. Plus it looked more authentic for the audience.”

“Right, sure. Now I’m terrified one of your fumble finger screwups is gonna kill me.”

He just shrugs. A crisp tear of aluminum follows and we sit in the park drinking. Every now and then the quiet is perforated by a machinegun burst of mumblespeak from Ben’s collarbone. Every time his ears perk up and he stiffens, but relaxes once he’s absorbed the communication. I can’t make out a word of it. I only know it’s language because of his reaction.

He breaks the silence. “You know what bugs me about shit like that?”

“The fact that you aimed a loaded gun at me?”

“No, you pussy. I was reading an article in the paper just the other day about gentrification.”

“What, like when a dude wears dresses?”

He chuckles. “I ain’t talking about your plans for the weekend. No, it’s like… You remember the Stop’n Go?”

“Yeah.”

“That’s gone now. Mr. Collins opened it after he got out of the Army. He ran it for forty years, good guy. Did right by a lot of people.”

“Okay.”

“Well, they put in that Texaco across the street, and he was out of business in three months. Four decades of cutting people breaks on gas when they needed it, loaning people cash when they needed it. And they sold him out to save five cents on a Snickers bar.”

“Plus they sold cigarettes.”

“Yeah, well…” He looks angry now. His cheeks are flushing and it’s not just the evening cool. I shut up and drink my beer.

He starts again. “They wrote about it in the paper. The yuppies who moved in wrote a story about how sad it was in that fucking newspaper.” He points at a newspaper box for the neighborhood rag.

“Yeah, that was nice.”

“No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t honest and it wasn’t fucking nice. Those are the same people who put him out of business. They ate their cheap candy and smoked their cheap cigarettes and just ignored the Stop’n Go until it went out of business. Then they wrote a fucking newspaper article about it to show how concerned they were. A bunch of dumb rich holier-than-thou fuckers move into my neighborhood, they put my neighbor out of business, then they want to sell me a newspaper article about how sad it is that he’s gone. They come in and they call the cops on people who have lived here their whole lives and they tear down old businesses and put in Subways and then they wonder why the neighborhood changed.”

I wait a minute for him to calm down some. “So that’s gentrification?”

“Yeah. It’s when a bunch of assholes look back after years of squatting and grunting and wonder where all the shit came from.”

We sit in the radio-punctuated silence and finish the beers. After one false start trying to stand, I manage to pitch the empties, ignoring the hairy eyeball from Ben. The homeless guys can collect the deposits on these, the last thing I need is to be walking around with beer on my breath and empty cans in a bag – I might run into a real cop. I see the thoughts racing in Ben’s head, his gaze punching a hole in the bench where the bitchmoms held court. The walkie talkie squawks some gibberish, and he shakes it off. He speaks some of the secret codes into the noisebox. When he’s done, he puts on a fake grin, but I can still see the gears running behind his eyes. He stands without a waver, and pops some kind of intensely mint gum into his mouth.

“Stay out of trouble citizen.” He purposefully strides to the car, working the gum with his back teeth.

“Try not to crash into any parked cars, drunky.” I yell after him. “And don’t point loaded guns at me anymore.”

He just smiles and flips me off from the drivers seat, and backs out into the street without hesitating. The lights begin to whirl and he screeches out of the area east, headed into a maze of apartment complexes. Domestic dispute, more likely than not.

I head north out of the park towards where the nosy bitches left. I’m not surprised but still a little disappointed that mom number two isn’t still cowering in shell shock around the corner. It would have been pretty satisfying to belch at her. The streetlights are clicking audibly into life, the sodium lamps slowly warming from their cold mustard glow to something like daylight, as filtered through piss. By the time I get to the end of the block, it’s cold and dark, and the beer is making me feel slow and tense and oily. The envelope shifts in my pocket and the bottom drops out of my mood. Guess it’s time to figure out what this shit is all about. I crane my neck around and make sure I’m not being followed.

Nobody but me and the pools of dirty light.