Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Movie-Fest

Memorial Day weekend: the time of year when we all have a 3-days off work, which allows us time to sleep in, grill hamburgers, and consume large quantities of alcoholic beverages in order to remember those that have passed on, before us. I myself did not visit a cemetery, though I’ve heard rumors that some people do so on this day of remembrance…to each their own. My weekend was fun and relaxing, and today at the office I feel as though a cloak of torment has been draped over me, keeping me in a constant state of sadness for which there is no escape.

Being at work is not the first thing that I would be doing, if I had a choice of activities.
I’m fairly certain that if I had my way, at this exact moment in time…I would be in bed sleeping. My Memorial (3) Day weekend extravaganza went by too fast, leaving me feeling cheap and unsatisfied. Where did the time go?

My Memorial Day activities involved renting 3 movies from Blockbuster, buying a large bottle of Coconut Rum and pineapple juice, and sitting on my comfy couch. Jen and I took full advantage of our day off of work, and sat around the house like slugs and watched movies while sipping our fruity delicious drinks. We watched The Phantom of the Opera , White Noise, and Life Aquatic. The first 2 were ok, but I really liked Life Aquatic with Bill Murray. I’m planning on watching it again tonight, when I get home from work. In fact, my new blog quote (at the top right of this page) is from that movie. So many great quotes, in that movie.

Anyway, I had a good weekend, and a nice Memorial Day. There’s nothing like drinking at 2:00 in the afternoon on a weekday….good times!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Reality TV Prognosis: Bleak

For many years now, I’ve been slowly losing my faith. Not in matters of God or humanity, but in television. Ever since I was young, I turned to TV for solace, comfort, and a sense of continuity that remained unshaken. Every Saturday morning, there were cartoons; as certain as the rising of the sun. The Dukes of Hazard were always there, ready to slide into their car through the window and do an unnecessarily long car jump for my amusement. It was the way of things. As I grew up, my choice in shows differed, but the quality and nature of the shows remained somewhat constant, with only subtle changes in the use of vulgarities and butt cheeks. Then one day, the gods of television entertainment decided to begin the most horrendous, idiotic, mind-numbing programming idea ever: Reality Television.

At first, like most people, I was drawn into this world of voyeurism with childlike curiosity and excitement. Watching real people living together in a real house was so Real World! I didn’t watch it religiously, nor did I really pay much attention to it…but the show didn’t bother me, because it was ONE show on ONE network (MTV) on ONE day of the week; so I could avoid it, if I felt the need to.

Then, all of the sudden, some yahoo over at the networks decided that reality TV was going to be the next best thing, since humans found fire. He/She then decided that they would deluge the American people with nothing but new reality shows; each one designed to out-shock the one before it. Before we knew what hit us, shows like Survivor, American Idol, The Bachelor, Who Wants to Marry a Millionaire, and Fear Factor were all that were on television…and that’s only to name a few. Every week, it seemed, I would hear about new shows that tried to shock and degrade their cast for the entertainment of the masses. Eating bugs and betrayal were the new morals; crushing your opposition with whatever means necessary to win became the new maxim. Family values, friendship, and caring came a very distant 2nd in the hierarchy of lessons that television began to teach us.

My faith in television waned, and eventually dissolved completely, until I found myself telling people who asked me if I had seen who got fired that week on The Apprentice my new motto: “I don’t watch TV much, anymore.”

Holy crap. Never before, would I have muttered such a profanity as to say that I didn’t watch television. My companion throughout the years had betrayed me, and I was forced to find other ways to occupy my time. Books, games, carefully prepared dinners involving spices and herbs…anything to fill the void. Of course, I still own a television and I had a few shows that I watched on a weekly basis: but slowly those became distant shadows; memories of a long-forgotten time in which “Must See TV” became “Reality Week”.

I do not watch reality shows. I find them to be degrading, idiotic, and worthless. I’ve also always known that this opinion is the minority…too many people watch this crap, or else it wouldn’t be on the air. Money, money, money…sell, sell, sell. Until people stop watching, no end will come to this phenomenon that has sucked dry the intelligence and character of the evening television lineup.

I honestly began to think that this trend would become more than a trend; that it would become the new programming norm. I worried that perhaps my children would only grow up watching shows starring morally corrupt and repulsive people like Paris Hilton…all hope would be lost.

Then, suddenly, my faith slowly began to restore itself: a simple poll on CNN showed me that reality television might slowly be dying off. The poll was on the new American Idol finale…something that used to be top of the ratings, and something that people couldn’t wait to find out. But today, the polls show that people are beginning to feel the way I’ve felt since the very first Temptation Island aired all those years ago: people are getting bored of reality TV. I will let the poll, speak for itself. I have not altered the numbers, nor have I added my own “flair”. This is how it was, when I voted this morning:

Will you be watching the “American Idol” final?

-Yes, avidly: 14% (16905 votes)
-Just the last 10 minutes: 11% (13243 votes)
-Avoiding like the plague: 74% (87872 votes)

YES! 74% of the American public doesn’t give one crap about who wins American Idol this season. That is HUGE. With numbers like these, the dawn of a new age in television, without reality shows jamming up the schedules, begins to peak above the horizon.

I’m sure that it will take almost twice as long for this reality trend to die, as it did to spawn it. But the fact that there is now HOPE that they will die out, is enough to make me giddy to the point of dancing.

Will we ever survive the onslaught of Reality TV? Will it ever dissipate completely? Probably not…but I’m guessing that someday, somehow…they will become back-burner shows, with a minority cult following that will rival Pro Hockey.

One can hope.

Monday, May 23, 2005

8-10 Days means "Someday"

A month has passed, since they told me. A whole month has passed, since I was told the news that caused me to retain a small glimmer of hope within myself. A month has passed, since I began to wait patiently by the window, staring out into the void of human existence as the darkness of human betrayal slowly engulfed me. With each passing day, the worry grew more and more dense, as if I were crawling through a jungle of despair too thick to navigate, or escape. On the 10th day, I worried. On the 20th day, I wept. On the 30th day…today, I began to feel the fire of annoyance and anger rise up within me like a Sith Lord denied his red light saber. Now a thirst for vengeance and justice stirs within me, and if I had a cape and some flattering tights, I would change into my super-hero costume, and prowl the streets in search of the villains responsible for this horrible discrepancy. I would find the man responsible, grab him by the shirt and say “You told me 10 days. You said that I would have my 2003 Kansas State Tax Refund Check no later than 10 days. You lied to me, tax boy. Now, I must destroy you.”

Betrayal is a horrible thing. They say that the lowest level of Hell is reserved for those of us who betray. Without penance, asking forgiveness, and suffering self-guilt and disgust, we are bound by laws greater than us, to suffer for our transgressions for all eternity. In this way, I feel somewhat relieved at the idea that, because of karma, the Kansas Department of Revenue should someday receive their comeuppances, and a rain of toads and boils shall descend upon them from above. Those bastards told me 10 days MAXIMUM for me to receive my state tax refund check.

Of course, I should have (and did, somewhat) expect this to transpire. After all, the refund was for the 2003 tax year, not the 2004. I filed a year late, and that kind of act begs to have some problems and annoyances follow it. I expected as much, and tried as best as I could, to avoid these consequences. I made sure I filled out my Change of Address form with the Post Office accurately and completely, and ahead of schedule. I verified this change with the local Postman (a very nice woman) at my former apartment complex, to ensure that there would be no delivery disruption of my mail. I contacted the Kansas Department of Revenue to verify that my 2003 tax refund check had been processed and sent. I was told the following: “Well, I see here that the refund has been filed, and the check was created. So that means that it would have been mailed off, by now. It should arrive in 8-10 business days.”

Fair enough.

Now I sit here, one month later, with no refund check and no hope. My world has come crashing down upon me; the stars no longer shine, nor does the honey taste sweet. The government….MY government…has lied to me. Woe to us, in these dark times, when even the trusted democracy that we so cherish can stab us in the back. When did things get so bad, I ask you?

Trying to retain some speck of patience and faith in “The System”, I contacted the Kansas Department of Revenue once again today, to enquire of the status of my refund check. They told me, rather matter-of-factly, that the refund check was sent out on April 22, 2005 and should have been received by me, at this point. No shit? Wow. I guess I have it, then. Oh, wait…NO, I DON’T HAVE IT, YOU PATHETIC LITTLE WORM OF A MAN! If I DID HAVE IT, WHY ON EARTH WOULD I CALL YOU TO ASK ABOUT IT?


The nice moron at the department of revenue (who I KNOW has to wear a helmet to keep himself from hurting himself while he’s at the office) informed me that I will need to contact the United States Post Office to find out about the missing tax refund. So I go to USPS on the web, and use their swanky “Post Office Locator Tool” to search for the nearest Post Office to me, who would (hopefully) be able to tell me why I still have no tax refund to spend. Billy Bob Never Works Too Hard Because He Might Have To Think informs me that the refund check hasn’t reached me, yet because I moved and mail needs to be forwarded.

Mail needs to be forwarded when you move? Holy Shit. I had no idea this was the way of things. Oh, wait. I DID KNOW THAT BECAUSE I DID THAT ALREADY. Remember? I even verified that my mail was being forwarded by my own personal Postman (the rather nice woman) before I even moved!

After a moment of silence and reflection, I was able to calmly inform Mr. Poop Head that I already forwarded my mail, and filled out a change of address form with the USPS. I also informed him that all of my other mail has had no problem reaching me, and so why would the tax refund be any different? After a brief pause, which was no doubt used to shake the excrement out of his hollow skull, Mr. Neverbeenlaid informed me that sometimes there is a LAG in mail that is forwarded, and that my tax refund might be coming along, any day now.

You lying punk.

He also informed me that if I wished, I could fill out a USPS Form 1510, which is an official request to have an investigation started into the whether-to’s and the why-for’s as to where my refund check has vanished to.


In the meantime, I contacted the Kansas Department of Revenue one more time, hoping that somehow, things have changed since last we spoke. They told me that if the Post Office could not produce the refund check, and if the refund check is not in the mailbox as of TODAY (which I will find out at lunch), that I will have to submit a request of an official change of address with the KDR, and then submit a new request (separate, of course) to have the original refund check be a STOP PAYMENT and then request the issue of a new refund check, to be mailed to the correct address.

The Federal Government and the state of Kansas have lied to me. They have betrayed me, and confused me. I have done everything that was asked of me, and I have done everything correctly. Even still, they have disappointed me and shown me that even when you do what they ask, they will still screw you over, just for the fun of it. They have shown me that there is no hope left in this world, and that cows have the right idea. I should be so lucky, to just stand around all day and chew my own already-digested grass cud and wait to be made into steak.

Anyway, I suppose that in 8-10 business days, I might have an update for you about my tax refund. Then again, you might be driving down the road and see me standing in a field, enjoying my cud. You never know.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Sith Down, and Shut Up

This is it, folks. The movie that many of us (if not all of us) have been waiting for, for years. The end of the legacy. The beginning of the darkness. The Sith are back. Today marks the opening of last installment of one of the greatest stories in movie history, Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith. (pause for applause) I have been excited to see this movie since I heard that George Lucas was going to make a prequel of movies that would give the history of Darth Vadar and the rise of the evil Empire. This movie is going to friggin’ rock.

Yes, I am a nerd. But if you know without thinking too hard that the Falcon made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs, or that Luke used to bulls-eye whomp rats in his T-16 back home…you’re a nerd, too.

Anyway, in honor of this special event, I thought I would share the Star Wars Quiz that was posted by CNN today, as the Star Wars opening was their top story this Wednesday. Enjoy the quiz and test your knowledge!

Please note, that anybody who calls themselves my friend should not get less than 8-10. In fact, some of you I will have higher expectations for, and you should expect to get 10-10, or else hang your head in shame, like the little bitch you are. I got a 10…so can you. Cowboy up, young apprentice.

Star Wars Quiz

1. Who is the genetic source of the clone army?
a. Boba Fett
b. Jango Fett
c. Lando Calrissian
d. Jeremy Bulloch

2. Why did Luke Skywalker want to go to Toshi Station?
a. To visit Ben Kenobi
b. To pick up some droids
c. To meet Han Solo
d. To pick up some power converters

3. What color is Mace Windu’s lightsaber blade?
a. Green
b. Purple
c. Blue
d. Red

4. What was Luke Skywalker's call sign during the rebel assault on the Death Star in Episode IV?
a. Red Rover
b. Blue Five
c. Red Five
d. Ghost Rider

5. On which planet is the clone army grown?
a. Kamino
b. Corellia
c. Kessel
d. Coruscant

6. According to C3P0, what are the approximate odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field?
a. 50-50
b. 637-1
c. 3,720-1
d. 1million-1

7. Which of Darth Vader's hands does Luke cut off during their lightsaber duel at Cloud City in Episode V?
a. Right
b. Left
c. Both
d. Neither

8. Where was Queen Amidala's palace?
a. Anchorhead
b.Cloud City
c. Mos Espa
d. Theed

9. What is the name of Boba Fett's spaceship?
a. Executor
b. Slave 1
c. Rocinante
d. Tantive IV

10. What does Han Solo find chewing on the power cables of the Millennium Falcon?

How did you do? Are you a Jedi Master, or simply Bantha fodder? I hope everybody enjoys the movie, and may the Force be with you.

Answers: b, d, b, c, a, c, d (trick question), d, b, c

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

Different, but Same.

Well, for those of you who have been crying yourselves to sleep at night, wondering about my fate…you can relax once again. I have returned to work, and so I will once again have access to the internet, and more importantly, to my blog. I know that many of you count on my blog as a source of comfort and continuity in this chaotic and cruel world of ours. I know these past few weeks have left you with a hole in your insides; an endless pit of despair from which you never thought you would escape. I am here to tell you, that you can rejoice in the knowledge that I have returned to fill your days and nights with insight, wit, and a certain failing bedside manner.

As some of you may or possibly may not know, my contract with Sprint ended a few weeks ago…somewhat abruptly. I was in the office that Monday for a total of 22 minutes, before my boss Kathy (also known as the evil bitch woman of death) came to me and took me into a conference room down the hall…where she proceeded to call my contracting agency so they could inform me that I would no longer be working in that department. She then walked me back to my desk, and watched as I cleaned out my desk and gathered my pitiful and few belongings. She then escorted me to the door, took my badge, and spat in my face.

Ok, that’s a stretch. She didn’t spit in my face, but she was so rude to me, that she might as well have. It’s ok, I don’t mind. In her next life, based on the kindness she has shown in this life, she’ll most likely end up living as a tampon string.

Anyway, with no assignment to occupy my time, I spent the next week at home doing absolutely nothing. You know how some people say things like “Oh, I was off of work for over a week once, and I got so bored at home with nothing to do. I was glad to come back to the office”? Well, let me tell you that I am NOT one of those people. I thoroughly enjoyed my time off, and was sad when I was offered a new temp assignment at Sprint. This time, I am in a new building (the same as my mom, actually) with new rules, personnel, and parking strategies. I will be doing the same type of boring, repetitive work that has the unfortunate side-effect of causing my intellect and creativity to be sucked out of me like a chocolate shake…but work is money, and money is needed, and so work is needed.


The good news is, the current position I am in has the potential to become a real job with Sprint, which means more money and benefits and stuff like that. Maybe I could even get them to pay for my schooling, so that I can write creative stories about how the corporate world is slowly killing the souls and imaginations of its employees through mindless tasks and mission statements. Did I mention that I really enjoyed my time off?

Anyway, I’m hoping that I can save up enough money with this new assignment, to be able to purchase my very own computer, since I haven’t had my own for quite a while, now. Then I can update my blog all the time, and without the aid of places like Sprint with their fascist sign-in polices (I have to send my new boss an email when I arrive everyday, and also when I leave for the day. I have to do this everyday, without fail). Goody gumdrops! Golly gee, I love working here! Corporate life is swell!

At least I can update my blog again. Perhaps someday, someone will actually read it.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Missing You Greatly

Just to let all of my faithful but few readers know, I have not been online for about 2 weeks, now. My current contract with Sprint ended last Monday, and my new assignment didn't start until this week.

Since I do not yet have a computer at home, I am forced to use my work computer for things such as my blog and email, etc etc.

Anyway, I have a new contract assignment now, and I'm sure that sometime soon I'll be able to start updating this page with a new frequency, as before.

I'm not dead...I'm just not online.

Talk to you soon.