Category Archives: Rants

“Good morning” is your opinion of the morning.

When it comes to greetings, “good morning” is among the worst. To understand why, you’d have to do as I often do: analyze things more than necessary.

For one thing, it doesn’t wish well to the recipient. It hardly even acknowledges their existence outside of the very fact that the statement was directed towards them. What it does acknowledge is the time of day, and the speaker’s opinion of it.

What makes it potentially insensitive is that “good morning” doesn’t even consider the opinion of the hearer. How would you know that that person’s morning was good? What if it wasn’t? What if that person had to rush their daughter to the emergency room in the middle of the night, and after a couple suspenseful hours, discovered that she had cancer? Is it a very “good morning” for him?

Sometimes, mornings suck. Not every morning is great for everyone. I know what someone might say in response: “But I wanted them to feel appreciated, like someone is happy to see them. Is it wrong to make someone know that someone really cares about them?” If that’s what you mean to say, then say that. The main deterrent to doing so would be that it would take more words than a banal acknowledgement of the time of day. Sometimes, something that’s worth doing takes effort. Do you actually care?

Stop abusing communication with ritualistic blurbs. If you have an intent, learn to properly express it.

Sometimes, you’ll see someone at work that makes a point of saying “good morning” to whoever they deign to. There’s someone like that where I work, and he said “good morning” to me. Out of legitimate concern? No, to fish for reciprocation, because when he didn’t hear me say “good morning” right back, he started mumbling something while trudging off. To give you an idea of the kind of self-centeredness that would take, there have been god-emperors that have not felt entitled to an obligatory salutation.

By the way, when someone says “good morning” to me, I usually say “good morning” right back. Sometimes, when you respond in kind, that’s just what it takes for someone else to realize how silly they sound, and they know to feel embarrassed.

I know I sound like I’m making a big deal out of something that really isn’t one, but there was something that happened recently that got my gears grinding. One time, when it was early in the morning, I was approaching a gas station to use their restroom. As I did so, someone sitting outside spoke a loud “GOOD MORNING” at me. I suspected that she worked for the gas station, so I didn’t pay it much mind. After entering, the man behind the counter also directed a loud “GOOD MORNING” at me.

At that point, I suspected that it was made a company policy to direct insincere greetings at random strangers, and for a moment, I pondered just how glad I was that my job didn’t have me work with the general public.

But then, I tried opening the restroom door, but it was locked. There was a sign on the door saying that it was locked early in the morning for some reason.

What gives? They wish me a “good morning” with all the false enthusiasm that they can fake, but they don’t care enough about my health and well being to leave the restroom open for me? If you won’t extend to me the courtesy of using your facilities to relieve a sore bladder, then why should I care what your opinion of the morning is?

At that point, I actually considered going out back to take a leak there, but that idea was quickly decided against when I discovered a police car stationed in a nearby vacant lot, in line of sight of the back of the gas station. So, they keep the restroom locked, and an officer is ready to swoop down on anyone who would go out back? Seems like entrapment to me.

I really don’t know why so many people like telling me that the morning is to their liking. But they are welcome to their opinions, even if an opinion that is overly general and not even grammatically proper. The correct way to express the opinion would be “It is a good morning.” Upon saying this, the listener would be put in a position to ponder just what informs the speakers opinion as to what makes a morning good. Perhaps they think it’s a good morning because they don’t like rain, and it’s not raining. But, agriculturally speaking, rain is necessary and therefore good to have. A farmer might have preferred to have more rain, so their land would be more profitable. Not everyone has the same opinion.

One could say the same thing about “good afternoon” and “good evening”. It’s the same half-hearted ritualistic greeting, just different times of day. For some reason, mornings are easier to pick on. I suspect that that’s because there’s a caffeine deficit to tend to.

Just for kicks, here is a list of things that can make my morning better:

  • Having my coffee, eggs, and toast prepared. Especially coffee.
  • My second mug of coffee.
  • Video games.
  • More coffee.
  • (redacted)
  • Another cup of coffee.
  • Catching something rare in Pokemon Go.
  • Another cup of coffee at around noon.

These would improve my view of a particular morning. Not that I’d feel obligated to share an unsolicited opinion of it. I certainly wouldn’t expect random people walking down the street to care what that opinion would be.

Smoking is stupid.

There are a lot of smells that I hate. One of them is cheap laundry detergent. They add abrasive smells to them to make people think they are making their clothes cleaner, to the point that they’re so strong that they slap people in the face. Then people start wondering why they start breaking out, and there’s suddenly this epidemic of chemical sensitivity that leads to the purchase of “free and clear” products without the eye-watering smells.

476416.jpgThe kind of thing you should have gotten to begin with.

You might not actually have “sensitive skin”, it might be that your body has had enough with the cheap-o laundry detergents, and it’s trying to tell you to stop.

Another smell that I detest is most perfumes. I don’t know where women got the idea that wearing perfume made them more attractive. They didn’t get that idea from me. The problem is marketing, which is behind a lot of stupid purchases. To make matters worse, people get used to the smell and think they need to use more for the same effect, while the rest of us are overwhelmed by their eye-watering stink.

I know I said “most” perfumes, because some aren’t that bad. But that’s not intended as an escape clause so you can still wear your perfume on the chance that you’re not wearing the kind of trash that men actually have a problem with. If you want to smell clean, take a shower and stop covering up whatever smell you’re trying to hide.

What was it I was going to write about? Oh yeah, smoking.

Smoking is stupid, and people need to stop doing it. Even people who smoke say that they want to stop doing it, but they find it hard because they have an addiction. The fact is, nearly everyone recognizes smoking as addictive to begin with, with labels on the packaging itself serving as warning. If the packaging on the product that you consume contains a warning from the Surgeon General telling you that it can kill you dead, then maybe you shouldn’t have consumed it to begin with. But people are so short-sighted that something so obvious didn’t serve as enough of a deterrent.

People talk of addiction as a disease, now. Except that it isn’t, and those with addiction can stop using this victimhood platitude. Real diseases don’t require constant purchases in order to be maintained. If anything, they usually lead to the purchase of products in attempts to cure them, or at least alleviate their symptoms.

If you want to stop smoking cigarettes, just stop buying them.

I know how addiction goes, it makes you really want to do something. I know that some might be thinking, “That’s easy for you, because you’re not addicted to cigarettes.” The reason why I can put it into practice is because I have self control. Here’s the thing: you can decide not to do something, even if you really want to do it, and it’s better for your character if you realize that your self-control benefits you or society as a whole.

There are so many deterrents when it comes to smoking, but there are also many incentives to not smoking, like having more money. The median price of a pack of a certain brand of cigarettes including tax by state is around $7 (source), which was a lot more than I expected. If a person smokes a pack a day, they are flushing $49 a week down the toilet, or $210 a month.

I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t mind taking home $49 more a week in pay. With that kind of money, a person could buy a brand new video game every ten days. It would also help if you want something to eat besides macaroni and cheese.

I wouldn’t care so much about whether other people smoke if it weren’t for the smell that came from them when they did it. But their problems become everyone else’s, and complaining about it on some web page is a more pro-active solution than just “dealing with it”.

Speaking of, it’s ironic that when someone says “deal with it”, what they mean is just the opposite, which is more like “just shut up and take it”. I’m not going to just take it, because when I recognize a problem, I do something about it. And when that problem is you, you’re close to wishing you were someone else.

Smokers “deal with it” by going outside to smoke, because they know that no one else likes the way they smell, and they are being considerate of other people. Just kidding, they go outside because it’s a rule, and they don’t want to be punished for breaking it. Most restaurants don’t have smoking sections anymore, because they weren’t enough of a solution for the rest of us. So, outside with them. But when they go outside, they position themselves right by the door, so the wind blows their smell inside. Where there’s a way to defeat the intent of the rules that are in place, people can be counted on to find a way to do so.

Worse yet, the smell clings to just about everything that smokers go near, ruining the smell of clothing and even the upholstery of your car. It would be nice to go home to get away from it, but that’s hardly likely if you live in an apartment building, because when you open the windows to let in some fresh air (actual fresh air, not just spraying canned smells), there’s a chance that someone is smoking just outside, and it blows right in.

Because natural selection isn’t acting quickly enough on smokers, tobacco companies add various deadly chemicals to their products, because apparently tobacco companies don’t like smokers, either. Here are a list of a few common additives:

  • Acetone – An industrial cleaning agent
  • Ammonia – a household cleaning agent
  • Arsenic – a poison found in pest control products
  • Carbon Monoxide – an odorless toxic chemical
  • Lead – a toxic metal that causes neurological damage
  • Naphthalene – a toxin used in pest control products
  • Nicotine – an addictive additive conductive to growth of tumors
  • Tar – used to pave roads

This is the point where you realize that trying to get someone to quit smoking is like trying to convince them that huffing arsenic is a bad idea. It’s obvious to most of us why it’s a terrible idea with no benefits to speak of, but you’ll occasionally come across someone who will hear it and, taking another puff, would say “Yeah, so?”

In that case, what you’re up against is the sheer force of stupid. I encounter it frequently. Stupid drives with less care in the rain instead of more, views lottery tickets as an investment, thinks RAM is something you can download, makes financial decisions based on daily horoscopes, and pays to use YouTube. And stupid smokes.

Smoking is stupid.

The False Narrative of Electronics Technology

I’ve attended a 2-year trade school majoring in Electronics Engineering Technology. It’s been a couple years since I’ve graduated with honors, and even though it pains me somewhat to write this, I feel as though it might benefit someone if they are considering majoring in the same thing:

I feel as though I’ve been sold a false narrative concerning Electronics Technology.

That’s not to say that I didn’t like the program or that I wouldn’t choose the same thing if I were to go back in time and choose from the same school’s list of majors. However, there is a noticeably wide disparity between what students majoring in the subject expect in terms of earning potential and the reality that awaits them after they’ve walked across the stage.

I admit that I’ve read about it somewhere online, but largely chalked it up to someone making some poor choices with their degree. But after having had experience with several employers, the disappointing wages that I’ve seen discussed seem consistent with what I’ve seen out in the field.

First, the expectation. I know that a lot of people see the word “engineering” in the title of the program and assume that the degree prepares the student for a career in electrical engineering, wherein it’s not unusual to make around $90,000 a year right out of college, possibly even more. That’s some buy-a-car-and-own-a-home money, right there. Of course, it’s reasonable to be skeptical that someone would rake in that kind of dough right after graduating with a 2-year degree; Electrical Engineering is far more challenging and is a 4-year degree (that’s not unusual to take 5 to 6 years to finish).

A more realistic expectation would be to have the understanding that Electronics Technology prepares one to work as an Electronics Technician, and for how difficult the coursework is, one might expect to make something like $50,000 a year right out of school.

Was that what you were expecting? Here comes the disappointment: the typical hourly rate for an Electronics Technician is from $16 to $20 per hour.

That’s it. Around $34,000 a year. I know someone who makes that kind of money as an automotive technician, and he doesn’t even have a college degree.

That’s a disappointing amount of money considering the kind of hard work it takes to get a degree in EET. While most people are put off by the more complex math and only take the algebra courses needed to graduate high school, Electronics Technology has you learning whole new numbering systems. While most people are happy just to have a computer with a high clock speed, Electronics Technology has you learning about computing architecture and networking. Are you ready to learn about the alpha and beta ratings of transistors (and then not likely use this information in your job)? The trigonometry course that’s required isn’t like high school trig; on the college level, it’s a whole new ball game. I even went beyond and took a calculus course. From what I can tell, even engineers rarely have to use derivatives and integrals.

And for what? To make just a few dollars more than a new hire at an upscale gas station? Even now, I’m barely getting by in an apartment, and currently don’t have a car. I didn’t just get a super-hard degree, I did so with honors. Something seems wrong, here.

I’ll give you an idea of just how hard it is to be an EET major. There are majors in the college that graduate about 25 out of the 25 students that enroll in them as freshmen. Other majors seem to do well at retaining their students. For EET, it’s different. It’s not unusual for freshmen to drop like flies in the first month of the first semester. It’s likely that only around half of freshmen make it to the second semester. They often fail out due to poor grades, or withdraw because it turned out much harder than they imagined.

If you’re curious, those that stick around often make fun of those who don’t make it. Even those who withdraw within a month of the first semester are joked about as far in as year two.

It seems that only about a third of freshmen make it as far as the second year. Those that do usually make it to graduation. It’s not that the coursework is any easier, but those who make it to second year demonstrate the diligence necessary to see it through to the end.

Their reward? They become qualified to make 16 Snickers bars an hour at some place that can fire them for forgetting to plug in their static strap. Of course, they’re being taxed, so they’d be taking home less than that.

I know that the market decides the value of one’s skills, which is a highly nuanced topic, but how is it that something that’s so hard to become qualified to do pay so little money?

Don’t get me wrong, I do like my job. Still, there’s something disappointing about getting into a sort of “smart-guy” field and getting really good at it only to discover that there’s not as much money in it as you thought. There’s a false narrative surrounding Electronics Technology, which one would expect a school’s guidance counselors to feed into, but is self-enforcing by the expectation that if something is really hard to do, the outcome of accomplishing it must be much more desirable. One lesson that one can learn from this is that a more difficult path doesn’t necessarily mean the rewards are greater.

Knowing this, would you still major in Electronics Engineering Technology?

The McDonald’s breakfast menu is problematic.

Sometimes, you’re in the mood for a hamburger. This can happen when a McDonald’s is convenient, and you might just overlook the fact that it’s McDonald’s, and proceed to satisfy your hamburger craving.

However, sometimes this craving happens in the morning. And when that’s the case, have fun trying to get a hamburger at McDonald’s, because that’s when they have their breakfast menu going.

Who goes to McDonald’s for breakfast? Their breakfast items are gross, and any time I’ve tried them, they’ve left a sour feeling in my stomach, as though my body was telling me I’ve made a mistake. Egg McMuffins? Gross. Sausage Egg McMuffins? Grosser. They also offer bacon in their breakfast items, because orangutans love powering that stuff down their throats with a zero-minded focus.

Considering how foul the McDonald’s breakfast menu is, ignoring it is easy. The problem is, when they have their breakfast menu going, they don’t make hamburgers. So if it’s a hamburger you want, you’d have to wait.

What’s McDonald’s most famous for? Hamburgers. At one point, they’d put something like “N million hamburgers sold” on their signs. Around the time that number reached the hundreds of millions, they just changed the signs to read millions and millions sold.

Oh, hold on. The number is actually billions. My mistake.

mcdonald's billions.jpgUnbelievable.

How many hamburgers did they sell by saying “No, it’s too early in the morning. Come back when we want to make them.” I don’t know, but I suspect that the answer is close to zero.

Maybe the real problem here is that when I want a hamburger, I sometimes actually consider McDonald’s. I can do better, so why don’t I?

Heel-eaters should be banned.

I recently got a new pair of shoes. By the time I got home, I realized that I made a big mistake. I got a pair of shoes that digs into the back of my heels.

The shoes were my own size, so I didn’t make any mistake there. The shoes, while padded, still dug into the back of my heel. The shoes really did seem okay before I bought it, but its heel actually curves inward, so it digs into the achilles tendon more and more with every painful step. Eventually, the pain seems to wear off. But when I went to take my shoes off, I found blood spots on both my socks. Gross! It stung to peel them off.

Sometimes, you think you can save money by buying a cheap pair of shoes. But if you make the mistake of buying the ones that chew your heels, you find yourself buying Band-Aids and Neosporin to try to reverse the damage, and by the time you buy some of those expensive pads for your shoes, you didn’t really save money at all, did you?

The people who design these shoes have to know what they’re doing. It’s hard to imagine making shoes that damage heels any way except on purpose. After all, isn’t it easier to sew up something linearly rather than curved inward? What did these guys think they were doing when they designed these shoes with a feature that couldn’t be anything except uncomfortable?

These kinds of shoes should be banned. Why should it be considered an acceptable risk to buy a pair of shoes that have the potential of causing physical harm to the consumer? Why should the shelves at a shoe store be a minefield of misery?

It’s probably some conspiracy designed to get us to buy more shoes. After all, if we accidentally buy a terrible pair of shoes, the designers of heel-eaters might actually be banking on us not bothering to make a return, just spending more money on yet another pair of shoes. And in my case, it might actually work. I just want to get the same kind of shoes I got a few months back, and set some firecrackers off inside the heel-eaters I accidentally purchased. If I get to have some fun watching it blow up, it’s not a waste of money.

The Wrong Setting to Soapbox

get woke go broke.png

As most people do, I face a number of challenges in my day-to-day life. These include succeeding at my job and also managing my finances so that I’ll have enough money to pay the rent month-to-month while still having enough to eat. If, on top of the challenges of typical life, one were to be exposed to the issues facing society as a whole through social media and corporate information outlets, it’s easy to develop a bleak outlook of the world.

Because of this, it’s understandable that a person would want to unwind with some entertainment. This escapism to idealized worlds of fantasy can be just what a person needs to help them forget, at least for a short time, the problems that that person and society as a whole faces, and in some cases permit them to retain some sanity.

It can be quite distressing when the entertainment media outlets that a person chooses can start taking up issues and causes, and in so doing, become yet another polarizing voice in a divisive political landscape. When this is the case, a person’s choice of escapism ceases to be a means of escape, and oftentimes, this leads to a person finding another source of entertainment altogether. After all, if a product that a person purchases ceases to serve its essential purpose, it can be discarded and a replacement sought out.

The observation of this phenomenon has led to the popularization of the phrase, “Get woke, go broke“.

What it means to get woke is to experience an awakening in awareness of issues and causes, usually from a left-wing perspective (those on the right tend to prefer the expression “red pill”). What it means to go broke is self-explanatory; it suggests that there’s a price to pay in using one’s position to further an agenda.

There is a wrong setting to soapbox.

The entertainment industry is one such wrong setting, and the industry itself is having a pretty hard time learning that lesson. In fact, facing correction in this regard, it would seem as though the entertainment media are digging their heels in, though it’s not really benefiting them to do so. There are many examples to pick from.

The film industry has decided to pander to intersectionality. Superficially, the idea is to provide a voice to oppressed groups such as women, minorities, and the sexually non-conforming. This has the appearance of “standing up for the little guy”, but is devious in that it is used as a means to come away with a moral victory in the event that a movie doesn’t do so well. If a movie does well, it’s a victory for oppressed minorities. If a movie fails, it’s because those who didn’t go see it are racists, misogynists, or homophobes.

It should be obvious why such an approach doesn’t work. For one thing, even if you can find someone else to blame for your movie failing, your movie still fails. Shifting the blame doesn’t change that. Worse still, turning against the public can result in the public turning against you.

Since going to Disney, Star Wars decided to take on intersectional pandering. Since this became the case, the Star Wars fandom has gotten quite scary. They’re so sick of what Star Wars is becoming, that they are actually wishing failure on the more recent Star Wars films. This includes the new Solo movie, which they declared a blackout on. Since then, the Solo movie failed at the box office, and Star Wars fans are actually celebrating this. While it seems like Kathleen Kennedy is close to being dismissed as the person in charge of Star Wars, if that’s the case, Disney is being quiet about it, perhaps because they want to deny the Star Wars fandom its victory.

The Star Wars brand and its fans have turned on each other, and it’s an ugly sight. It’s especially difficult for those who just want to enjoy Star Wars without getting into the fight.

The comic industry has pandered to intersectionality for a long time, so it shouldn’t be the least bit controversial to say that they have. What’s really interesting is that independent publishers that refuse to toe the line are gaining in popularity, and comic book shops that have long since sided with intersectionality have no idea what to do about them. In some cases, they’ve even turned away paying customers just for wanting their products. The author of a rising star comic series called “Jawbreakers” has voiced his disagreement with the mainstream narrative, and his comic is being sought out by sympathetic comic readers, even though his political opinions aren’t being expressed in his comics. Another comic gaining in popularity as a result of the consumer uprising would be Cyberfrog, which amazingly raised over $300,000.00 through crowdfunding!

The comics industry should never have ramrodded a political narrative into their products to begin with, but since they’ve decided to, it’s nice to see that consumers have strongly expressed what they really wanted by throwing huge piles of money at the alternatives. It’s sad that a divide occurred between the comics industry and its consumers, and it could have been prevented with the understanding of the principle that there is a wrong place and time to soapbox.

Thankfully, The Pokemon Company has remained politically uninvolved. That’s great for me, because Pokemon has long been one of my favorite games, and it would be sad to see the company co-opted by a rather vocal and short-sighted minority.

Not everyone in the Pokemon community is the same way, as indicated by Bulbagarden’s Twitter feed:

bulbagarden embarrasses the pokemon community.png

The events at the US-Mexico border being referred to are the arrest of people who have entered the United States illegally (instead of through proper channels), and the decision was made not to take their children to jail along with them. The corporate media, tripping over itself as usual to make Trump look like Hitler, is making this out to be Trump tearing families apart.

I decided to check out the thread on Bulbagarden forums, and the virtue signalling hits you right away on the forum header:

bulbagarden turns on their virtue signals.png

Yes, Bulbagarden wants every child that visits their forum for Pokemon discussion to know that they can embrace their sexuality. Anyone see a problem, here?

As you would expect, the OP uses hyperbolic language to describe what they perceive as happening. Whether an intentional leftist shill or some unwitting pawn in a larger game, the outcome is just the same.

What I find particularly condescending is the following statement in the Twitter post:

We would like to stress that, for us, this is not a matter of politics but of basic human rights and decency.

In saying that they don’t see it as being about politics, but about basic human rights and decency, you’re not allowed to disagree with them without being a horrible human being, and if you don’t watch yourself, they might sic Antifa on you.

antifa lol.png

If it’s not about politics, why did the forum post encourage us to contact members of the House of Representatives or the Senate? Believe it or not, people don’t see politics as just some game where the parties are likened to some stupid sports teams. We know that politics are ideologically driven, which is why it matters so much that the people who are voted into office have their heads on straight. When it comes to matters where legislation offensive to human decency is enforced, the people who can make the biggest difference the fastest are elected officials.

And when the matter came to Trump’s attention, he signed an executive order ending the Obama-era legislation that separated families. So how about thanking him?

Thankfully, the very first reply to this thread shows that someone on Bulbagarden forums is thinking:

someone at bulbagarden has his head on straight.png

There’s my point. A community about Pokemon is no place for politics. At best, it’s off-topic. At worst, it’s divisive, and could tear the community apart regardless of how convinced you are of the nobility of the cause. When it comes down to it, a Pokemon community is where a person goes to get away from the world’s problems, not where moderation abuses their positions to push their own agendas. If the community is no longer a place that serves its purpose, people will go somewhere else for a community that does.

Get woke, go broke.

Comb your hair.

comb.pngGive it a try.

Have you ever met someone who went all out to try to impress you, but they missed something completely obvious to everyone around them? It’s likely that you met the kind of person I’m talking about; it’s the guy who memorizes facts that he learned from listicle sites and YouTube countdown videos, but something is off about him which indicates a crippling lack of self-awareness, like bad hygiene.

What I’m getting at is that you should comb your hair. If you expect me to accept that you’ve become a great intellect but can’t be bothered to spend a moment each day combing your hair, what I’m really taking away from it is that you have some misplaced priorities.

As I see it, the main people who are excused from having to comb their hair are:

  • Bald people. If you don’t have hair, you don’t have to comb it.
  • People with buzz cuts. It’s a low-maintenance hair style, and combing it doesn’t make a difference.
  • Cavemen. Cavemen make it their business to look unkempt. This sounds awesome, until you realize that cavemen don’t have video games, the internet, or smart phones.

If you have the hair of a caveman, what you’re telling the world is that you want to live like one. Living like a caveman sucks, so naturally, you’d want to avoid regressing into one. I like technology, so I don’t want to live like a caveman. I also avoid looking like a caveman so I’m not mistaken for one. If you actually do like science like so many kids pretend to, then you should want to avoid looking like someone who doesn’t.

I once met a kid who was in such a hurry to convince everyone that he’s super smart, but his hair looked like a tornado hit a loom. Nice try kid, but your hair prevents me from taking you seriously. Have you seen yourself in a mirror lately?

114.pngThis thing has better hair.

The kid had a head that seemed huge, not because his head was significantly bigger than usual, but because the rest of his body was scrawny. On top of that, his hair was such a mess that it only added to the illusion of volume. He’d stand to benefit from combing it, even if his first time would take a while.

david turpin.png

He’d end up looking like a cult member, but at least he wouldn’t look like a total wreck. And that brings me to my next peeve. Combing your hair is a step in the right direction, but men are expected to get a haircut more than once a year. Whether it’s done by you, a stylist, or even your mom, getting your hair done as needed shows that you care about the rest of us enough to not drag down the atmosphere with your gross head-mop.

Don’t think that just because you’re ignoring it, the rest of us will, too. We laugh at your hair, whether you know it or not.