The End of An Era???

So this is the first Christmas since I was born that I didn’t receive a Hess truck. If you people don’t know what I’m talking about google that shit. Yes, since 1986 I have received a Hess truck as a Christmas gift and your damn straight I played with it every year too. Don’t care if I’m knocking on the door of 30.

It kind of is my own fault. Hess petrol had sold of their remaining gas stations so you would no longer be able to even take a quick hours drive and purchase one anymore. I told my family members not to worry about it that I would watch online and purchase one myself when they became available. And watch I did.

At first it was going to be an online purchase only. Then they also did kiosks in a handful of malls. (The closet one was about a 3 hour drive. BULLSHIT ON THAT!) So I figured I’d wait until they day after they became available online. Do the smart thing and give it a day because I knew their servers would crash from all the orders. Well it was a spectacular crash because those things stayed down for up to a week.

To add insult to injury once the servers came back online to prevent it from happening again they put everyone in a virtual line and you would be emailed when you were eligible to order yours. At that point in the game I decided to tap out because I figured it would only end in disappointment and I could always just order one after the new year. I would be wrong.

Hess has decided to not put a second post season batch into production. I will inevitably have to be price gouged by someone to continue my collection. (Haven’t decided on weather or not I will yet, but most likely nostalgia will take ahold of me at some point or another.) I honestly had not expected to pay ridiculous prices for Hess truck until I decided to start working backwards from where my family started me off all those years ago.

Otherwise I had a relaxing and enjoyable Christmas celebration over the last couple of days and look forward to another well deserved day off tomorrow. Hope everyone had or will have an enjoyable holiday season.


I’m Offended

On a daily basis I watch and hear people complain about or be offended by some of the dumbest things. Seriously, the amount of nonsensical things is staggering. (One would think based on how little time we have to complete life’s daily tasks some of these “issues” would be nonissues.  How the internet hasn’t collapsed yet in on itself yet I continually wonder. All of this is a large chunk of the reasons why I have drastically reduced how much of local and national news I consume. My brain is only capable of handling so much.

I have also reduced my online interactions with the various news outlets, especially, their social media presences. It is truly astounding how many people will run with something and have nothing more than a few bullet points. (The accuracy of which is more often than not questionable.) Sometimes these people I speak of are the very news reporters we watch on a daily basis. Ignorance is still bliss apparently.

Now I know that I sometimes do this myself and bitch about something that really isn’t anything. Please note that I also try and impart something useful in each post and am not easily offended.

Let me simplify things by providing a brief list of things that I find acceptable for people to be offended by and can complain about.

-Providing enough food for all the worlds population

-Providing access to clean water for all the worlds population

– Providing adequate housing for all the worlds population

– Global climate change

– Raising the minimum wage across the board

These are in no particular order, just as they popped into my head, Most will call these delusions of grandeur, but I will continue to dream big.

Back Log

Upon my return I had several things to catch up on. Email, YouTube, podcasts, writing this BLOG, updating my calendar, wedding plans, and who knows what may or may not be sitting in my mailbox at work in addition to some more nonsense I’m sure got handed down in my absence. Although most of the piles of nonsense are just going to be deleting, downloading, and sorting it’s a bit of a pain in the ass because I have to make sure I don’t get rid of something important. Such is the struggle I guess.

The question now is ,”Could I have taken care of some business from camp?”. The answer is yes, but since the best I could muster in terms of consistent data signal was 3g I passed. Burning through all that data and power on my phone was not something I was willing or really needed to do.

Keep your stick on the ice people. Tomorrow is another Monday so back the grind we all go.

The News

Rarely will I watch the news or read the paper anymore.  Even the different news outlets online components I don’t really frequent. The question most people ask me, “How do you stay informed?” Well, I’m probably under informed with certain things other wise I’m probably only 24 hours behind in most aspects.

I have watched most news outlets devolve from respectable journalism, to lets jazz things up a bit, to we need to get more eyeballs over here how can we spin this to get attention. More and more often I am seeing/hearing reporters just get things blatantly wrong and just rolling with it. I know if your live or trying to roll something quick, but how much of an idiot are you willing to look like and how often do you have to apologize of inaccuracies. Most news organizations have a legion of fact checkers. USE THEM!!!

When  I do take interest in something I will normally seek out multiple sources about the subject at hand to do my own fact checking which is ridiculous, but it is what it is. I also sometimes have to wade through the quagmire of political bullshit surrounding a subject just to see the root matter.

It’s also annoying at how much negativity is harped on. I realize that this is what sells and gets more eyeballs on news channel A over news channel B, but I don’t need to get depressed while watching the news. Yes, a bunch of bad stuff may have happened that day, week, month, etc… but lets balance it a little better.

Did You Get My Message?

We currently live in a society where we can communicate with each other in a matter of seconds. The only thing faster would be a telepathic link, but since most don’t actually posses that ability we’ll have to settle for instant messaging.

In a given work day at just the pharmacy for example I will communicate with other team members, doctors offices, patients, and insurance companies. We do so via telephone call, fax, email, and in rare instances text message.  In most instances the message is also conveyed in less than two shakes of a rabbits tail. If there is an error in transmission I find out almost as quickly. I point these specific things out because I can literally communicate via any of these conveyance methods with just my phone. If your printer is compatible I can also send a direct print message as well.

Since I am a Boy Scout I have also learned to communicate via smoke signals and Morse code. I also find carrier pigeon, telegrams (yes they still exist), and written correspondence via postal carrier acceptable means of message conveyance.

I pontificate on all of this because of instances where people have just outright refused to communicate back to me. If you need to refresh yourself on the current technological advances of how we communicate with each other please reread paragraph two.

Literally seconds and the message is sent. I know people lead busy lives and can’t always respond immediatleey. I am one of those people. There are times when I get a text and don’t respond for hours mostly because I working and stopping and shooting a message out really isn’t an option. However, at the end of the day or if its really important on a break I will at the minimum send a text back in return. No one has that busy of a sechedule where they cant do that. Not even the President.

Online Buisness Websites

So my fiancée and I are in the process of selecting the miscellaneous services we will need for our wedding. In specific we are concentrating on a photographer at the moment, but my point goes for any service that potentially would be used by a couple for a wedding or even for a party of some kind in general.

As we comb through the results of Google searches and recommendations from friends and families I am starting to notice two very specific things. The first is being a lack of price listings. I know this is a business tactic more than anything, but I find this annoying. I can shop at any number of online retailers and see the item they are selling with a price listed no problem, but when it comes to services there’s a big nothing most of the time.

This is a business model that most places use in order to get your information so they can “talk” to you about their services and ultimately dance around the price. If they don’t have a price listed anywhere they can basically establish whatever baseline they wish and “adjust” it from there. In my opinion this a bunch of happy horse shit. If you are a business worth your salt all your prices will be listed with a base for each package you offer and an explanation of additions that can be added with their prices as well. That way when I do decided to contact you time and money is not wasted because I know what package I wish to choose and extras I may wish to add. I am always going to anticipate some sort of sales pitch for the next package up or some other extra which is fine, but let’s cut the BS and get back to brass tacks.

The second thing I am noticing is some businesses online presence sucks. The first red flag is the cookie cutter websites. I know that not everyone has the budget for a custom designed website, but when 3 businesses have websites that look almost identical it becomes a little discouraging. Another warning flag is old information on the page. I’m ok with the strike line through information because it may need to be maintained for whatever reason, but when packages are still advertised and it labeled from two or more years ago there’s a problem. If your packages haven’t changed that’s fine, but let’s hit the edit button and get the year updated. If you are relying on a webmaster to maintain your site and they have failed to update your site for over a year; A. Fire them. B. Who the hell is doing quality control?

Facebook Friends

At the moment I have 177 friends on Facebook (FB). 180 is the number I can never seem to break and I am perfectly fine with that. People add me as they interact with and inevitably we will connect on social media. However, as time goes and we stop interacting in the real world or cyber space I will purge people from friend/contact lists. I honestly just don’t like to have a litany of people to go through.  For the people who have anywhere north of 300 friends/contacts I call bullshit.

There is no way you possibly interact with all of those people on a monthly basis especially when we are talking about 1,000+ individuals. In that case I hope your profile is a fan page. After many months of coaxing I finally got my fiancée to start clearing out some of her friends on FB. She was pretty close to 1,000, but I figured out a few things.

1. People will either deactivate their account or just become inactive so over time the webmasters will begin shutting them down so essentially you are friends with non-entities.

2. How many of them are actually someone you know and not just robo accounts?

3. Finally when is the last time you interacted with some of these people. My personal belief is that if I haven’t interacted with you in the last 6 months even if it was you just commenting on something I posted to break my balls I have no reason to maintain contact with you. Especially if your news feed is nothing but drama and unwarranted bitching.

Now she does have  a small side business so having more than 300 contacts is understandable, but 1 & 2 are holding true.

What I am trying to say here is think about purging your friends/contacts list. Clean out non-active profiles, get rid of the robots so your personal info is less vulnerable, and start thinking about if you really need to continue being in touch with some of the people. You’ll have less BS to sort through and you’ll see more things from people you actually want to interact with.

To Donate or Not to Donate?

I caution everyone to examine the organization before donating anymore. A little bit of vetting never hurt anyone. I speak from the voice of experience having been burned a couple of times in the past.

With the advent of crowd funding I have seen a lot of BS funding projects floating around on the internet and a lot of worth while/interesting ones. What I am suggesting is to investigate a little before just ponying up your hard earned money. Any organization or individual looking for some help normally has at least a website established explaining their goal and what the funds will be going to. Even then its still good to look beyond.

Send an email and ask some questions or look and see what the organization has done. I’m not trying to be a Debbie Downer, but its this time of the year where I see and hear about how people were taken advantage.  Around the Holidays people seem to have their feelings and emotions a little more exposed and certain people will prey on that.

Net Privacy

Ladies and Gents,

When it comes to the internet there is no amount of security and privacy settings that can be used to keep something completely private. The internet is public domain. Whatever picture you post or whatever statement you can make on the net, assume that anyone can get to it and that it would be just like putting it on a billboard on top of your house except, the WHOLE WORLD CAN SEE IT.

Anonymous has proven time and again that they are a set of skilled computer hackers that are capable of getting information from any given database. This is one of the worst case scenarios out there. With that being said it is possible for someone to see something you don’t want shared publicly even if its just a not so flattering photo that someone took because of how all of social media is connected. You may have your privacy settings maxed out, but someone on your friends list may not have theirs as restricted as yours and the next thing you know that photo/post is now in the wind.

Having said that I anticipate that at some point in time my BLOG posts will some day come back to bite me in the ass, but who knows. Alright every one gather round and take a seat on the magic carpet for story time.

Recently there was an incident at a local university with a specific professional class. Some students from that class made some not so smart twitter posts and some not so smart photos were also taken. Although their social media accounts were private the posts and photos were eventually brought out into the main stage and low and behold the school administration found out. As a result of this indiscretion some students were dismissed from the school and one was forced to step down from a student government position. There are hundreds of examples that happen daily but this is a recent one that happened in my own backyard that I believe exemplifies best on how Net Privacy is truly limited.

Let me hand out some sage advice that was once said to me and makes a ton of sense. ” Only post it to the internet if it is something you would be ok with your grandmother seeing.” I think our grandparents tend to be the best people to help us set our moral and ethical compasses by.

Please people, just use some common sense.