Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Service Etiquette

I am a service technician for DirecTV, meaning when your technological piece of plastic junk doesn't work, they send me to fix it. I go to 4-6 houses a day, five days a week, troubleshooting and repairing all the way. I got a beef with you.

Now, the following applies to just about any service person, be it a satellite guy, the phone repairman, or a mattress delivery guy. Basically anyone who comes to your house to do something for you. I'm going to use my experience with DirecTV (2 years now) mainly, but also from stuff I've heard from others.

With DirecTV and probably many others, you get a pre-call before I arrive, usually the day before. Ours is automated, and tells you to please make sure someone over 18 is there, TV's are moved out where we can get to them, pets are put away, and several other useful tips. I repeat, you get a PRE-call. For crying out loud, try to clean your house, at least a little bit. I've been in some nasty places. Everything from from general clutter to dogshit on the floor. I don't expect maids coming in or the big TV's moved. Hell, I don't even care if you have clothes lying around. But at least tidy up around places I will be working. You know, move pictures and PRICELESS KEEPSAKES off of the DirecTV box and TV, so there is no chance that I might break your shit.

Also, if your dogs bite or MAY bite, keep them away. I love animals, and will always take a second to scratch behind a dog's ears. But if it does nothing but bark or possibly bite, stick it in a room where I will not be working, so you don't have to move it around.

Kids. Ugh. Especially the 2-5 year old kind. We have all seen them. They're pretty much inescapable. That's fine. Your kids are cute, for about 2 minutes. But then they keep asking what I'm doing, try to play with my tools (like drills and other potentially HARMFUL ones). I've even had a 7 year old go halfway up my fully extended 28 foot ladder, with his mom just standing there looking at him. That is a bit of an issue. Of course, that in itself is a whole 'nother rant. Keep them corralled somewhere. Heck, maybe you can stay with them instead of talking to me!

On a funny side note, please put away anything that could be deemed embarrassing to you. I was at a house the other day where I had to go into the customer's closet. To get there, I had to go through their bathroom. Hanging beside the closet door, next to the shower, was a nice big strap-on! With another vibrator sitting prettily beside it. Doesn't offend me (does raise some questions about your husband) but don't really want to see that. Thanks. but no thanks. Ditto for your outstanding library of porn sitting on your dresser next to the DirecTV box and a bottle of Jergens. Just not that into you. Don't wanna know.

I know that you're angry because your shit doesn't work. Please don't take it out on me. I work for a living the same as you. Just because you do ______ and I'm a common laborer, don't think that I'm your dumping ground. I am there to fix your problem, not hear you bitch.

Staying with that idea, don't sit there and bitch about my company. How they charge you too much, how it never works, etc etc. Really, I don't care. Even if I share your opinion of my company, or agree that the prices are outrageous, I still don't give a happy (or unhappy) rat's ass. I am there to do a job. You're wasting my time and yours.

And more on that subject, I also am not interested in your personal life/troubles/kid's trouble/yada yada. While occasionally something you say may be interesting, generally, you're boring me to tears, and I say again. You're wasting my time and yours.

Actually, once I get done getting the information I need about the problem, go away.
I understand if you want to keep on eye on us in your bedrooms and stuff. I'm ok with that. You may not always trust me, that's fine. I got that. If I'm working outside, especially up my ladder on your roof (or even in your attic) don't stand or sit there watching me. That is just fucking annoying.

Back to when I first get to your house. I will try to fathom what your problem is. Let me do the asking, don't tell me what you think the problem is. You do your work, I do mine. I seriously doubt if you know what the problem is. If you did, you'd probably be working with me. There are multitudes of things that may be wrong with your system, and I just happen to be trained to fix those. You, on the other hand, are not. Plus, for an inexperienced technician, you just confuse him by giving him pre-conceived notions of solutions. Which are probably wrong. So just answer my questions and get out of my way.

Why is it you want me to give you free stuff? What makes you think I would even if I could (which I can't.) Hey, think you can get me some free HBO? If I pay you on the side, will you upgrade me to a DVR? No. Not a chance. Besides the fact that I can't change your channels and my equipment is tracked, who are you to me? Why would I give you anything when I stepped in dogshit IN YOUR LIVING ROOM!

While I'm working, it is perfectly ok to offer me water, coffee, or soda. Heck, you can even offer me food if you like. While I may or may not accept, I really do appreciate the gesture. Sometimes I have had to rush between jobs and haven't had anything to drink in several hours. It's nice. Thank you.

Do not offer me beer. It's not funny when you do. Personally, I don't even drink beer. But I'm on the job here! Unless you work at a beer company of some kind, I doubt if you can have alcohol while working, so why would I? And no, I don't want one for the road. Plus, what if someone has a drinking problem? You enabler!

Please, if the tech does a good job, feel free to tip. Of course, that's if they did work. If a delivery guy drops off that new bed and leaves, no tip. But if they set it up for you, slip them some cash. Sure, they're getting paid already, but you didn't have to set it up, did you? If I'm in and out of your house if 10 minutes and never even put on my tool belt, I don't expect a tip. I didn't really work. But if I spent two hours fixing up your system so you can watch your football games, in and out of your attic in the summer, up and down a ladder 15 times, I deserve more than thanks. $5 isn't going to break you. Not even $20. (hehe) If you're going through hard times, I understand. That's when a water or soda for the road is nice.

If someone does a good job, call the company and compliment them. It's nice when the boss knows they're doing something right. If they do a bad job, call the company and complain. If you don't, they will keep doing a bad job, and no one is happy. Better to catch them early and retrain them or promote them to customer.

Last but not least, learn how to work your system. I have countless service calls for stupid shit like the damn thing is unplugged or dead batteries in the remote. Really? Seriously? C'mon. Is your life so hectic that you can figure out the channel is changed on your TV from 3 to 7?

All done.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hell Explained

The following is an urban myth/tale (see for background) but is still damn funny.

"The following is an actual question given on a University of Washington chemistry mid-term. The answer by one student was so "profound" that the professor shared it with colleagues, via the Internet, which is, of course, why we now have the pleasure of enjoying it as well.

Bonus Question: Is Hell exothermic (gives off heat) or endothermic (absorbs heat)?

Most of the students wrote proofs of their beliefs using Boyle's Law (gas cools when it expands and heats when it is compressed) or some variant. One student, however, wrote the following:

First, we need to know how the mass of Hell is changing in time. So we need to know the rate at which souls are moving into Hell and t he rate at which they are leaving. I think that we can safely assume that once a soul gets to Hell, it will not leave. Therefore, no souls are leaving.

As for how many souls are entering Hell, let's look at the different religions that exist in the world today. Most of these religions state that if you are not a member of their religion, you will go to Hell. Since there is more than one of these religions and since people do not belong to more than one religion, we can project that all souls go to Hell.

With birth and death rates as they are, we can expect the number of souls in Hell to increase exponentially. Now, we look at the rate of change of the volume in Hell because Boyle's Law states that in order for the temperature and pressure in Hell to stay the same, the volume of Hell has to expand proportionately as souls
are added.

This gives two possibilities:

1. If Hell is expanding at a slower rate than the rate at which souls enter Hell, then the temperature and pressure in Hell will increase until all Hell breaks loose.

2. If Hell is expanding at a rate faster than the increase of souls in Hell, then the temperature and pressure will drop until Hell freezes over.

So which is it?

If we accept the postulate given to me by Teresa during my Freshman year that, "it will be a cold day in Hell before I sleep with you, and take into account the fact that I slept with her last night, then number two must be true, and thus I am sure that Hell is exothermic and has already frozen over. The corollary of this theory is that since Hell has
frozen over, it follows that it is not accepting any more souls and is therefore, extinct...leaving only Heaven thereby proving the existence of a divine being which explains why, last night, Teresa kept shouting "Oh my God."


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Christians and Judaism

Ok, so I am Jewish by birth. Meaning my mom is Jewish, so I'm Jewish. My mom didn't follow any religion (except possibly drunkism or speedianity), so I had no belief of one kind or another. When I moved to Alabama, obviously the Southern Baptists prevailed. At 15, I was saved, went to church, Bible study, the whole nine yards. While I don't want to say this was a phase because I certainly enjoyed the feelings that being one with God, I had many many questions that went unanswered, and eventually 'backslid' as other Christians would say. As the years have went by, I've realized that I don't believe in Jesus Christ as savior and the Son of God. I know, burning in hell, heard it before, I am at peace with my decision. Hopefully for Christians reading this, you might refrain from decrying "SINNER!" at the top of your lungs (and keyboards) long enough to finish reading this. OK, sorry, not trying to be mean there, just had a bad experience with a born-again that exemplifies all of the bad stereotypes. Upon telling him my religious views (in a very polite way) and discussing my pro homosexual marriage views (Proposition 8 here in California, very big deal to many), he proceeded to condemn me, with (pun intended) no chance in hell of going to heaven. Upon asking him about the old adage of "Love the sinner, not the sin", he told me that isn't in the Bible! While I know that the exact words are indeed not in there, I have read and studied the Bible. I seem to recall the "Judge not, lest..." section. Guys like this give Christians a bad rap.
Anyway, now that I'm off that little soapbox, I come back to my original thought. Why is it that Christians seem to love Jews so much? Everytime a group of Christians come to my door to invite me to a concert or to church, I explain to them that I am a Reformed Jew, and politely decline their invitation. As soon as I say 'Jew', they are like, pardon me, little puppy dogs. "Ooh, you're Jewish, we would love you to come, etc, etc." Again, I love Christians (used to be one), and am all for anything that makes people be good to each other, be it Christianity, Judaism, more moderate forms of Islamic, or even computer worship. So I again decline, but the event repeats itself every time I tell Christians I'm Jewish. So why is this? Is it because Jesus was Jewish, or because we are the 'chosen people'? I honestly don't know, but it's kinda funny.
Well, hoping I get good answers back, preferably didn't offend anyone too badly. If I did offend, I deeply apologize.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Richard "Woody" Woodfin

So, my dad passed from cancer two years ago on Monday (6/8). Time sure flies huh? Everytime I see a motorcycle on the road his voice and face are there. Sometimes I think I never knew him well enough. Him and my mom split when I was 3, and he moved back to Alabama. Didn't see him until I was 7, when I was taken away from my mom and moved there with him. He became a truck driver and was always on the road throughout most of the next 8 or 9 years. I was raised by my grandma for a couple of years, my step brother for a couple, and my step sister for the rest. When my dad did come off the road for good, he bought a bar, and I still didn't see him much (school, distance, etc). Then I was in college and he moved to Georgia. Soon enough, I moved back to California in 1998. I went to visit him in 2000. Then he was diagnosed with cancer the first time in (?) late 2004 or early 2005. I took my wife and 2 year old daughter to meet him. At that point, he had beaten the cancer and we thought all was well, or as well as things can be you know. Then the cancer came back in 2007. Before I knew it, he was gone. To put a cliche, at the last, he was a shell of his former self. I talked to him several times leading up to his death, and said my goodbyes and had my cries. I told him how I much I appreciated what he sacrificed for me growing up (I know, another cliche, but true nonetheless.) My second daughter had just been born in April, and he seemed overjoyed at the sounds of her cooing over the phone to him. I was at work when he died. Even knowing it was going to happen that day, when a supervisor came to me while I was working to tell me, it was pretty damned hard. I didn't go back for the funeral, and I think everyone but my wife was upset over that. I mean, how could I? In my head and my memories and my heart, my Dad was this mythical half giant, 6'4", 240 lb biker with a beard down to here. Even seeing him in 2005, without a beard because of the chemo, didn't change my remembrance. In death, in the casket, he would be a thin, pallid version of my father, not the real Woody, the man who taught me chess, the guy who called me 'Turkeybreath' up until I was at least 20 years old, the one who stood up for me when I would battle with my stepmom. How could I see him like that? I think he would/does understand. My dad was far from perfect, but that doesn't mean much to me. He lived life like I want to live, fulfilled. I miss him terribly. Well, I know he's out there somewhere 'watching down on me." Whatever, wish he was here instead, watching my daughters grow up. Love you Dad.

More random shit

Every teenager should get a high school education. Even if they already know everything.
I read recipes the same way I read science fiction. I get to the end and think, "Well, that's not going to happen."
If you're playing a poker game and you look around the table and can't tell who the sucker is, it's you.
Health nuts are going to feel stupid someday, lying in hospitals dying of nothing.
The other night I ate at a real nice family restaurant. Every table had an argument going.
Have you noticed that since everyone has a camcorder these days, no one talks about seeing UFOs like they used to.
You know when you're sitting on a chair and you lean back so you're just on two legs then you lean too far and you almost fall over but at the last second you catch yourself? I feel like that all the time.
According to a recent survey, men say the first thing they notice about women are their eyes. And women say the first thing they notice about men is they're a bunch of liars.
Whenever I feel blue, I start breathing again.
All of us could take a lesson from the weather. It pays no attention to criticism.
Why does a slight tax increase cost you $200 and a substantial tax cut save you 30 cents?
I'm not 40-something. I'm $39.95, plus shipping and handling.
In the '60s people took acid to make the world weird. Now the world is weird and people take Prozac to make it normal.
Politics is supposed to be the second oldest profession. I have come to realize that it bears a very close resemblance to the first.
There is a theory stating that if ever anybody discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable. Another theory states that this has already happened.
How is it one careless match can start a forest fire, but it takes a whole box to start a campfire?
Doctors can be frustrating. You wait a month-and-a-half for an appointment, and they say, "I wish you'd come to me sooner."
You read about all these terrorists, most of whom came here legally, but they hung around on these expired visas, some for as long as 10-15 years. Now, compare that to Blockbuster; you are two days late with a video and those people are all over you. Let's put Blockbuster in charge of immigration.

Random info

In the 1400's a law was set forth in England that a man was allowed to beat his
wife with a stick no thicker than his thumb. Hence we have "the rule of thumb"
Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled "Gentlemen
Only...Ladies Forbidden"...and thus the word GOLF entered into the English
The first couple to be shown in bed together on prime time TV were Fred and
Wilma Flintstone.
Every day more money is printed for Monopoly than the U.S.Treasury.
Men can read smaller print than women can; women can hear better.
Coca-Cola was originally green.
It is impossible to lick your elbow.
The State with the highest percentage of people who walk to work: Alaska
The percentage of Africa that is wilderness: 28% (now get this...)
The percentage of North America that is wilderness: 38%
The cost of raising a medium-size dog to the age of eleven: $6,400
The average number of people airborne over the U.S. in any given hour: 61,000
Intelligent people have more zinc and copper in their hair.
The first novel ever written on a typewriter: Tom Sawyer.
The San Francisco Cable cars are the only mobile National Monuments.
Each king in a deck of playing cards represents a great king from history:
Spades - King David
Hearts - Charlemagne
Clubs -Alexander, the Great
Diamonds - Julius Caesar
111,111,111 x 111,111,111 = 12,345,678,987,654,321
If a statue in the park of a person on a horse has both front legs in the air,
the person died in battle. If the horse has one front leg in the air the person
died as a result of wounds received in battle. If the horse has all four legs on
the ground, the person died of natural causes.
Only two people signed the Declaration of Independence on July 4th, John Hancock
and Charles Thomson. Most of the rest signed on August 2, but the last signature
wasn't added until 5 years later.
Q. Half of all Americans live within 50 miles of what?
A. Their birthplace
Q. Most boat owners name their boats. What is the most popular boat name
A. Obsession
Q. If you were to spell out numbers, how far would you have to go until you
would find the letter "A"?
A. One thousand
Q. What do bulletproof vests, fire escapes, windshield wipers, and laser
printers all have in common?
A. All were invented by women.
Q. What is the only food that doesn't spoil?
A. Honey
Q. Which day are there more collect calls than any other day of the year?
A. Father's Day
In Shakespeare's time, mattresses were secured on bed frames by ropes. When you
pulled on the ropes the mattress tightened, making the bed firmer to sleep on.
Hence the phrase......... "goodnight, sleep tight."
It was the accepted practice in Babylon 4,000 years ago that for a month after
the wedding, the bride's father would supply his son-in-law with all the mead he
could drink. Mead is a honey beer and because their calendar was lunar based,
this period was called the honey month, which we know today as the honeymoon.
In English pubs, ale is ordered by pints and quarts... So in old England, when
customers got unruly, the bartender would yell at them "Mind your pints and
quarts, and settle down."
It's where we get the phrase "mind your P's and Q's"

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

10 Albums That Changed My Life

You know how on the Yahoo homepage, they have the stories of interest of today? Well, I'm skimming online and see an interesting title and click on 10 Albums That Changed My Life. After reading the guy's picks and quite a few of the reader's posts, I wondered about my top ten life-changing music albums. As the Yahoo writer points out (and untold numbers of readers refuse to notice), these are not always my favorite or even the best albums to me, but they mark a significant time or change in both my life and how I approach music. Hopefully you read these and come away with your own list (or maybe a nostalgic feeling in the nether regions of your soul). Chances are you may think "what the hell ate this guy's brain and caused him to listen to that?" I say it was Smokey the Bear force-feeding me Kool-Aid, sans water, that made me this way. Anyways, here's my list in no particular order, hope you like it:

Def Leppard - Hysteria : From the funky album cover to the one-armed drummer to 'Pour Some Sugar on Me', way cool. You know you're singing it right now.

Tupac Shakur - All Eyez On Me : Brought a fire to music not seen since the Vietnam era, even while showing a poetry to rival anyone. With appearances from George Clinton and samples from Richard Pryor, a little "California Love", and everyone's favorite nizzle, Snoop, broaden your horizons and pick this up.

Bell Biv Devoe - WBBD Boot City : Just plain fun beats and lyrics, the first New Jack Swing to grace my shelves. Also the first tape I ever bought myself.

Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band - Greatest Hits : Classic groove music, be it fast or slow. For you younger people, you may not know the name, but believe me, you know the songs. Think Chevrolet and Forrest Gump.

Kenny Rogers - The Gambler : As a kid watching the movie, loved him before the chicken and orange complexion. Embarassing moment, at a restaurant/club in Texas with my Dad, asked the house cover band to play The Gambler, they asked me to sing with them (they meant sing-along, I thought they wanted me on-stage), I cried in fear. Hey, I was 8, shuddup.

Guns 'N' Roses - Use Your Illusion I & II (gotta count them as one album): Axl Rose, for all his shenanigans and issues, may be one of the most talented song writers of our generation. Slash is gotta be the coolest musician since Elvis was young. And those videos with Stephanie Seymour, thank you thank you thank you.

R. Kelly - 12 Play : Marvin Gaye's work as a whole may make him The Love Doctor, but is there any other single album better to make love to than this?

Foreigner - 4 : The album that really made me appreciate rock and roll, where before I had always tried to ignore the "oldies". The raw power of the vocals in "Jukebox Hero" will have you feeling like you're outside the walls listening in with the guy in the song.

Jimmy Rogers All Stars - Blues Blues Blues : Brought me to Muddy Waters, which in turn brought me to just about every guitarist after. Clapton, Jeff Healey, Jagger and Richards, Plant and Page, Johnnie Johnson, Stephen Stills. Can't miss with all those giants on one album.

Michael Jackson - Thriller : C'mon, is there anyone born before 1980 (or after) that hasn't holed up in their room with this for hours at a time?

What are yours? Send it to me, or blog your own. Doesn't matter how, but it will make you feel good, trust me. You trust me, right?

Our favorite four letter word throughout history

"You want me to put what on the fucking ceiling?"
- Michelangelo

"It does so make fucking sense! You try to figure it out then!"
- Pythagoras

"Where are all these fucking Indians coming from?"
- Custer

"Where is all this fucking water coming from?"
- Captain of the Titanic

"I hear there's a great fucking play at the theater. Wanna go?"
- Abraham Lincoln

"Et tu, fucker?"
- Julius Caesar

"Let the fucking woman drive."
- Captain of the Challenger

"Scattered fucking showers my ass."
- Noah

"Nobody is ever going to watch this fucking light show."
- George Lucas

"That's not a real fucking gun."
- John Lennon

"I don't suppose it's going to fucking rain?"
- Joan of Arc

"Fine, if you don't believe me, you figure the fucking thing
out then"
- Albert Einstein

"Fuck a duck."
- Walt Disney

"I need this fucking parade like I need a fucking hole in my
- John F. Kennedy


Found written on a stall door in a truckstop restroom in the Midwest:

"God is dead" - Nietzsche

Underneath that is written:

"Nietzsche is dead" - God