Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Those Damn Mooninites!

Who read or heard about the horrible evil hoax that happened in Boston? Those evil people at Adult Swim are conspiring to make us all look silly. I have not been more outraged by an entertainer's disreguard for common people's sense of over reaction and blatant stupidity since the whole "War of the World's" stunt! Really!

How could this image of an evil Mooninite not cause fear and panic! He is giving us the finger after all. Of all the low down rotten things to do! They should lock this guy up and throw away the key! How could he place such humorous electronic devices in public view. This is practically murder! Or something! I shudder to think of a world filled with harmless pranks and children's and adult's laughter! How dare those evil geniuses at comedy central do this. How dare they have these up for two weeks in ten cities without any problems! How dare they bring joy into people's lives that like to stay up late and watch talking fast food items! They were dangerously colorful and looked quite a bit like a Lite Brite kit how could it not be taken as a security risk! I mean the world has always lived in terror from those Lite Brite wielding happy children! Boston; New York; Los Angeles; Chicago; Atlanta; Seattle; Portland, Ore.; Austin, Texas; San Francisco; and Philadelphia all were targets of this evil plot. The very fabric of what we value as Americans has been compromised. I now sit in fear that somebody might put one of these outside my door forcing me to hide under my computer desk, trying not to make a sound. The Associated Press wrote "The cartoon also includes two trouble-making, 1980s-graphic-like characters called "mooninites," named Ignignokt and Err — who were pictured on the suspicious devices. They are known for making the obscene hand gesture depicted on the devices." They also wrote about a woman who feared for his life: "Wanda Higgins, a 47-year-old Weymouth resident and a nurse at Massachusetts General Hospital, heard about the threat as she watched television news coverage while preparing to leave work at 4 p.m. "I saw the bomb squad guys carrying a paper bag with their bare hands," Higgins said. "I knew it couldn't be too serious." "

The world quakes in fear of Aqua Teen Hunger Force's next attack! Will it be handing out stickers that glow in the dark to strangers? Will they cause more people to laugh and bring smiles to adult faces? This blogger hopes swift and decisive action is taken to insure that the United States continues on it's road to unhappiness and sorrow! Burn Meatwad, Master Shake and Frylock at the stake and gather up those mooninite rebels and chop off their offensive fingers!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

MY days away from work!

I made it back from Paso Robles in relatively one piece. I am definitely dragging hiney but that is an acceptable problem for such a good time. I am sure you are aching to hear my stories so I guess I owe it to you to start from the beginning.

It was a Wednesday morning and I was mixing some cake batter up. I have to tell you that my arm was absolutely exhausted by the time I had stirred it long enough. I poured them into the silicone bake ware Aunt Wanda and Uncle Don had got for me. Let me tell you they work fantastic! I was not real sure when my dad would arrive but I figured I would have enough time to bake the cake and get it to start cooling before he arrived. I was however not sure if I should eat or not. So in my infinite wisdom I decided to wait. When the cakes had been cooling for a while and the monster that lives in my stomach was trying to claw its way out I decided to have a bowl of cereal. I poured the milk onto my raisin bran and after just one bite my dad came in. I time things well. I ate the cereal anyway and I made us a cup of coffee for both of us and then I iced the birthday cake, a chocolate cake with chocolate icing. We had a slice at that point and then we headed to Powell's. I needed to trade in a few books and I wanted to get some used versions of Chuck Palahniuk books. I like the guy he is a pretty entertaining writer but I hate that the cheap version of his book is the oversized paperback that cost around $13.95. I mean what happened to the $5.99 book? Ok, so maybe that version is now $7.99 but still!! If you do not think you know this writer he is a Portland based writer responsible for such great books as Haunted, Survivor, Choke, Stranger then Fiction and Fight Club. The last two books are now movies. So you may know him or at least are familiar with his style by now. So far I have read Fight Club (after seeing it of course) and Survivor. I am midway through haunted and was hoping to start another book. Anyway I had brought a sci-fi book and the Fight Club book to trade in and try to get enough for a used book for my impending flight. The Fight Club book is funny because it was the version a few years after the movie where Chuck talks about the success of the book, movie and the random things people say to him because of it. I had picked it up at Powell's a few months ago on the sale rack which means they have too many of that particular book and would like to get rid of it. I was in and out of Powell's several times and that book was always there. I had given up on the fact that this book would ever sell back to Powell's but being stubborn I attempted it anyway and they took it. As if that wasn't a sign! So I took my trade credit and I headed to the P section of the fiction books and looked at every copy of every book under Palahniuk and all of them were new. None of them were used. Then I remembered the movie Stranger then Fiction had come out recently and it must have driven people to the bookstores to find cheap versions of his book. So I headed over to another writer that caught my interest recently Augusten Burroughs. I had read a great book he wrote called Magical Thinking. It was like nothing I had ever read. They are all true stories which make them that much more compelling and the only used version I could find was of Magical Thinking. So far it was not my day. I headed back to the cook stand to see how my father was fairing with the cook books. He was looking for a cookbook that featured using a stand mixer to make things with. The weird thing is he wanted one with more then simply bread. I have worked in a kitchen before and I have used a large stand mixture for two things baking and making whipped cream..... Which is probably beside the point. Although it makes me have to ask: "When you decided to want, desire, pine and finally purchase a stand mixer what exactly did you see yourself doing with it?" I mean really I still can only come up with a few answers. I kept all these cynical thoughts for this blog for your entertainment and asked him if he wanted to use the trade credit towards a book but he had struck out and he wasn't really feeling like looking for anything else in this store. My dad and I both find Powell's to be a short quick stop not a long extended experience. I always go in there with a plan because I have an overwhelming urge to leave the minute I get in there. I always have to remind myself that people visiting the first time need time to explore the stacks. I mean where else do you get a city block filled with books in a multi-layered store. The sheer number of books is deceiving because I never can find what I am seeking and when I actually do find the book it is never used. Give me Barnes and Noble with big comfy chairs to melt into with a couple of books to peruse. So we were about to leave when I stumbled across a book I had been interested in a year or so ago that was titled "The Historian" it was on sale and with the trade credit it was only a dollar. We headed back to the car and off to this Vietnamese restaurant called Pho Huy. It is the best restaurant in Portland. I have never had a bad meal and I always leave wanting to go back and every time I can't finish I regret not savoring another bite. It is ridiculously good. Expect to go there if you come out to visit. Unless you happen to lie on the non-meat eating side I am not sure they swing that way. I will have to check into that. Then we headed to Barnes and Noble for some quality book time. A few hours later and several pages later we stumbled out of their with bleary eyes from all the text we had shoveled past our ocular cavities. We required sustenance and we found it at a Baja Fresh by stuffing tacos down our gullets. We headed over to get beer and limes at the store and ended up renting Iron Man along the way. The beers were tasty but Iron Man was a little lame. We followed that movie up with Over the Hedge which was very amusing much to my suprise. After that we hit the hay because my dad had a workshop the next day and I had some..... nothing to do. This seems to be getting long I will adjourn and continue my story tomorrow. MUHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Monday, January 22, 2007

California here I come!

It will be a short week for me. I am heading South to Paso Robles, CA for my friend Kevin's Wedding. I am looking forward to that. I have Wednesday off like usual but I took Thursday, Friday and Saturday off even though I only really needed Friday and Saturday off. It seemed like such a shame to go back to work for one day when I really could use a mini-vacation so I decided to take the day off to do whatever. The only rule was it would have nothing to do with taking calls about insurance issues. My dad will be in town Wednesday for a conference on Thursday. So we will play. Wednesday is his birthday and it is my brother John's as well. So happy birthday.

This last Saturday was a long day at work. Longer then normal because we had the two other call centers closed because of bad weather. So not only were we stuck with all the calls but at least half of the calls we could do nothing about since we were not licensed to make changes in certain states. In the middle of one of the most irritating Saturdays on record a co-worker by the name of Jonathan summed up the Saturday experience pretty well. It was so funny I wrote it down and brought it here to share with you. Here it is: "Working on Saturday is like being stuck in front of a toilet after drinking too much. You want to leave but you can't"

Anyway have a good week and envy my running off to California.

Friday, January 19, 2007

Winter Driving

Another take on the same video. What I like is seeing what happened to the fire truck you see at the end of the other video.

Portland Bumber Cars

It's time to make fun of snow driving fools!

I finally found the video that I saw this on the news Tuesday and I was howling in laughter as I watched these people keep trying to go. They would lose control once and then go ok I think I will make it now and then they careen into another car. As if all the hazard lights flashing and the dented cars and people standing around weren't enough of a warning. My favorite was the first guy they show who looks like he thought hitting the gas would help and instead he hit every car on the street!

Just to let you know I was amazed by the city's lack of preparedness. I did not see snow plows or anything at all during the storm. i don't think the mobilized until the snow stopped falling. Well I am headed to work tomorrow and hopefully I won't hit too much black ice. Hope you liked the video.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Snow Day!

It finally really snowed here in Portland. All the talk about snow and ice the last 2 Winters and I finally see that it can snow here. It was snowing pretty good but the schools claimed to be open and the job were open so I headed out to go to work and embarked upon the worst, best, and most entertaining ride of my life. It took me an hour and 15 minutes to throw in the towel. I was not making it to work today no matter how hard I tried. Well not in my car at least and I was not close enough to walk. I attempted putting on chains and even after getting the damn things on I could not make it up the hill that was in my way. I managed to get my car turned around so I headed home and went for a walk and when I got back from my walk they finally decided to close the call center I work at. I wonder how many people made it in before that decision was made.I wonder how many peope had accidents because they wouldn't close the call center I almost had 5 and two would have been my fault. Luckily both times I angled myself into a sidewalk curb which stopped me from hitting anything else. If you want to see the pictures I have them online at this spot:

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Eddie Murphy and Ugly people

Preach the truth Eddie!

A Brief Note

Well it has been 2 days since I wrote the VP and nothing. A week since I last wrote my academic advisor and nothing. The sheer amount of concern astonishes me. I have never felt like such a part of a family. Nothing but warm fuzzies.

Yeah, right.

On the other hand a bone was thrown to me at work. My Saturday shift was changed to the 8-4:30 shift. Which is the one I was supposed to have in the beginning. Woohoo! It will mean being able to head south with my car so I can get new brakes. It also means hitting up some grub and ale before the Blazers game February 3rd.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

A letter

The letter I wrote to the Vice President of Online Educational Services is below. I wrote the blog entry directly below this before I wrote this letter. You may want to attempt sequential order. I sent this out already but I would love any input and any opinions about the following letter.

Dr. Stein,

I was very happy to see the letter you sent congratulating me on my scholastic achievements. Even if it is a cleverly made form letter sent out via email it still was cool to get acknowledgement. Please understand that I mean the thank you because I am seizing the opportunity of receiving your email as a way to get a few things of concern off my mind.

I am in my second semester at Art Institute Online and I really enjoyed a lot of the people in the previous 2 courses I have taken. However I have not been pleased with the lack of control I have in my education or the fact that I do not get to decide what classes I take and when I take them. I am not new to higher education; I have a Bachelors Degree in Hotel and Restaurant Management from Northern Arizona University. I understand that every degree has certain required course and some courses have prerequisites. I also understood that even though it was pretty regulated at NAU I had a huge say in what I took each semester and I took full advantage of that. At Art Institute Online you do not get to do that the freedom to choose is missing. Which was kind of a shock but not a problem until recently. You see I wanted to go back to school and when I stumbled across this school I allowed myself to be rushed right in. It was kind of strange to go from thinking about school to starting my first class within a month before my transcripts or financial aid had been figured out. Strange as that was it's was happened to me and I didn't really mind that until I realized that all my transcripts did not get accepted. I had taken College Algebra and Trigonometry in a community college down in Phoenix, AZ a few years back and had not had to take math at NAU as a result of it. When I was told that I would need to take Basic Mathematics and Intermediate Algebra at this school I was stunned. When I asked about why I had to take them I was told that they were required per the Student Handbook. When I pointed out the fact that I had math courses in my transcripts and did not understand why those courses, which are a higher level and accepted at another school of higher education, were not accepted here I was told that "they must not have been transferable". Then I was told that it was "too late to do a credit challenge". That was the first and last explanation I received about the mysterious non-transferable math courses or the "credit challenge". I hadn't been given a chance to challenge the credits and my first awareness that I could have was when I was told that it was too late to do so. I was given a choice to take an accuplacer test or to take the courses. I tried to find the time to take the test but my time and the rules of the accuplacer exam did not mesh. I even tried to talk to Art Institute of Portland to see if they could help me out. They told me they did not do accuplacers and the person on the phone kept asking me why my credits were not able to be transferred which I of course could not answer. So I started emailing people to see if I could push the math courses back until I could find the time to set the test up but I received no response back from my Admissions Coordinator or my Academic Advisor. I was really at the mercy of the school because I had jumped through hoops to get the financial aid in place to attend and then the school selects the courses you take each semester. I have no clue about how to stop or if I could have stopped the classes from being forced on me and I really don't have any idea how to stop the financial aid that has already been sent to your school from going towards paying for classes that I can't get a clear answer on why I have to take them. The worst part is no one seems to be willing to tell me or even acknowledge the questions.

All this has resulted in a person that is very frustrated with this school. I believe that there is a lot of cool courses waiting for me just beyond this rocky shore but to get there I am shoved into a lifeboat with a hole in it with water seeping through at an alarming rate with an oar made out of cardboard that is disintegrating as I row towards refuge. I don't feel like I am given the skills to navigate the school and the lack of face to face interaction prevents me from being able to show up at every door until I get an answer. I have never understood the expression "I felt like a cog in a machine" before but I certainly get the expression now. At this point I have come to one realization that I have to take these math courses but not because of why the school thinks I need them. The reasons I see are because the class for Basic Math has already started and I doubt any money would go back to my financial aid debt for dropping out. If it would I have no idea how to get it done. I am still trying to get the extra money that I asked for from the creative arts education loan that I took so I could afford the books and required software. Without that little extra I am struggling to come up with the money for books and this class's book is a whopping 120 dollars. Which is a smack in the face considering it is a class I shouldn't have ever had to take in the first place. My options after the steamroller known as AiO required are done with me is to continue with a school that has no interest in what I say or to drop out and try to find a new path to my dream. Neither option is entirely satisfying for me but I can tell you which one looks the most unappealing at the moment staying in this school. I am at the point where I can't tell anyone why I want to continue to go to AiO. All I see in front of me is the potential for more of the same bad experiences. I don't get to pick my courses, I have no idea who to ask for advice (since I am not impressed by those hired to offer it so far), and most importantly my issues were not taken seriously enough to get a proper response on them. I really have no idea what writing this email will do for me. In the end probably nothing, you will probably find someone else to take my place should I decide to not attend school any longer and this email will probably never make it past your secretary. I will be lucky to get an out of office reply judging from the other people I have dealt with. The thing I wanted to write this email for was to get a weight off my shoulders and to let you know that this system is not a good one, at least as far as I am concerned. I also wanted to rattle some cages and see if anyone is interested in what a student has to say. What I hope is the result of the letter is some serious thought to reform of how the curriculum is structured, how to help a student feel like his opinion and concerns matter, a better system to address various issues and more contact when something goes wrong. It would also be nice to have my personal issue addressed.

Thank you for your time,
Michael Williams

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Evils Thoughts Revealed

I feel I owe another more realistic post to people. I have posted a lot of videos lately and not a lot of my own original words and ideas. So here we go. I want to start with a lil' update. My job is still a decent job. It is not the coolest job I have ever had, the best paid I have ever had but it is not exactly torturous to near the building. Well it kind of is but it is the acceptable I have to go to work terror and dread everyone gets. I do however hate my schedule. That is a serious issue with me and one that I hope changes with the new class that starts February 5th. Maybe by April I will get a halfway cool shift, you know one with two days off in a row. If you ask me it is horsecrap that the people that work Friday don't get Monday off. I understand Monday is a busy day but not having two days off in a row is not conducive to a healthy life style nor is it good for morale. I know every one of us that works Saturday have no desire to continue to do so and I am sure if they gave us Sunday and Monday off we would still prefer Saturday & Sunday but at least we could actually have a weekend and maybe get out of town for a while. The other day I learned something that stuck in my craw a bit and since I feel like complaining at this very moment I am going to air it out a bit. There are people that go to work Monday through Friday and are off Saturday and Sunday that started when I did. They pay a price of staying until 8:00 to do so and to me that is a steap price. I worked years on that night shift and I always thought it was my best choice but in all reality I love being off in the evening. I have all kinds of time that I spend drawing reading, writing and watching some TV. It works for me and it allows me enough downtime from work during hours that stores are open and food joints are still serving. I like being semi-normal. I might not love the rush hour traffic but truth be told I like being off at that time to gripe about it. I just hate being at work past 5 it just isn't my thing. SO I chose my day shift and I chose a shift without 2 days in a row because I did not like the alternative. It is barbaric to work past 5, it just is. SO with the shift I wanted I had to take a Saturday shift. So knowing that I had takne the shift to avoid the dreaded hours I was fine. I was dealing with never feeling quite rested when I hit work until I realized the people working those night shifts get a shift differential which is a couple bucks more then me. I still don't want that shift and I know in prior jobs I got the same thing but those prior jobs were Monday through Friday for everybody or in a situation where people hardly ever got two days off in a row. My thinking is that we work a split week and a day that noone in their right mind wants to work where is my differential or my "sorry that you are low on the totem pole enough to get this crappy shift" pay? That my friends is a true definition of Bullsh**! Ok enough ranting about work because except for always feeling slightly exhausted it is still the best job I have had in 2 and a half years.

Now we move to school ranting. Lets keep it short: I am taking the Math classe I was upset about. I want to fly out to Pennsylvania and kick all these idiots in the shins for this injustice. I am pretty upset about it and yet I am not real sure what to do about it. I wrote to the lady who emailed me back to say "You have to take these math classes." and nothing else. I said I suggest you work your head around refunding the governemnt the tuition for this semester and unenroll me from your school. I have not heard back. In the meantime knowing full well the money is spent and I am powerless at this point I am doing the stupid class. The pretest that has you test your knowledge of math you are about to learn in the course was scored at a 95%. Yet I still have to sit there for 6 weeks doing a bunch of stupid assignments. To tell you the truth the math part is almost ok except that it is insulting the part that really gets me riled is the discussion topics where you talk about math. In my opinion give me problems, have me work them out and show the work, give me a test and let me move on why is this course interactive? What do I learn by reading 15 responses that are exactly the same to every question asked? What exactly is the point of answering a question like this: Discussion Question 1
1. Visit the website and read the tips given on how to take care of Math anxiety. Make a small presentation to your classmates highlighting what you think are the important ways to reduce math anxiety. Share your thoughts in this context with your classmates.

I'll tell you the point it is that they feel by making me excrete out an answer to this that seems different from the other answers that they can show that Online earning is just as hard if not harder then the rest of the Higher Education world. I will tell you what is the hardest thing to do: Honestly responding with interest to your classmates when they bring nothing to the table of interest. That is not to say that I have not found interesting people in class that I liked. In fact I have a few emails and even a MySpace friend for proof that I like people in these classes. I am just having a hard time seeing this class in a positive light since I feel like I was railroaded into it. I was rushed through enrollment and I wasn't really ever told what credits transfered and what didn't until one day someone sent me an email about theses math courses. So right at the moment I hate the class and the school so I am seeing things through a tainted lens. Just writing it reminds me to give the classmates a chance and the teacher a chance. They have nothing to do with me being forced to take these course because of a buearacratic technicality. So my endeavor is to find an email buddy or two. You know make some connections. It's all about focus. In the meantime I just recieved an email congratulating me on my first semester being above a 3.5 gpa. It was sent from the VP. Maybe he needs an ear full.... I promise to be extra super nice to him.

**** In A Box

Ok so maybe this video is not exactly PC. In fact maybe half of you should not even watch it but I think that would be silly this is probably the funniest thing Saturday Night Live has done in years. That is why the news made such a big deal about it. It had nothing to do with offending people it had more to do with corporate America not wanting people to laugh. Yeah they are trying to keep the little man down.... AND OUT OF BOXES. hehehe I posted the edited version but it really leaves little to the imagination. I hope you enjoy or at least are revolted enought to give me an earful! Give it a chance you might put it on you ipod and pump this song while you go to work. If the beeps in the edited version are driving you crazy here is a link to the unedited version:

Thursday, January 04, 2007

DENTIST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!

I have been to the dentist 3 times in the last month. For anyone that is counting that is 3 times too many. I hate going to the dentist but about 3 months ago I started having dreams about my teeth rotting out of my head and also dreams where my teeth were so crooked they stuck straight out and I couldn't shut my mouth. I would toss and turn all night with these horrible images in my head and yet I still avoided the dentist. Mainly because the mere thought of the word dentist makes my teeth ache. The other reason was I didn't have dental insurance and then all of a sudden I had it. Having it definately did not prod me to go. I pretended to be too busy as I spent my hours looking up videos on, emailing anybody and everybody that I had managed to get an email from, and most importantly spending time looking at my stats on for the number of visits I get at my site each day. I know who the regulars are, Muhahahahahahahahahaha (evil laugh). Then my permanent retainer broke and the metal was jabbing me in the tongue. WHich was not really all that pleasant. 12 long years with this thing and it finally attacked. So I went in on an emergency mission to get the thing yanked out. The dentists talked me into a repair job and then a visit to the orthodontist for a removable replacement. It seemed like a good idea my parents had worked hard building this set of pearly whites. Except that I overbooked myself the day of the appointment, and had realized my dental plan didn't even cover me thinking the word orthodontist, and I had a brain malfunction where I gave everyone some weird number that I have never had as my cell phone number. When I realized my overbooking myself mistake I decided to call and talk about setting up another appointment. Somehow I realized that I had given a bad number and was determined to give the ortho peeps the correct one. I kept getting the answering machine. So after the third try I left a message to cancel the appointment, reschedule another appointment and to give them the correct contact number. I felt good about the phone call but they didn't call back and time slipped by. Later in the week I went to pay my phone bill and I typed the number in that I had given to the ortho peeps and it told me that it was not a T-mobile number. So I grabbed the phone and realized that the number I had thought was right was nowhere close to the number I have had for the last year. So they hadn't not called back they just hadn't been able to call me because I gave two wrong numbers otherwise known as mentally shielding myself from the orthodontist. I hadn't had the same luck with the dentist. I had set myself up on a day that was a day off and although they had recieved a bad cell-phone number I had given them a correct work number. This appointment was for the normal cleaning. They asked me about the ortho and I said that I hadn't had a chance and once again they encouraged me to seek one out. I agreed and went about my absolute no cavity having day. Then this last Monday, New Year's Day, the damn retainer broke again and I was at the dentist again. This time I said I need this hunk-o-junk gone! And they got it done! Woohoo. The flipside is 220 dollars went toward the entire repair and removal venture, 220 bucks I won't get back. A smart man would have had them yank it out the first time, oh well. My tongue keeps playing with the new metal-free mouth. I love it and I have no desire to see anyone about putting another retainer in there ever again! Anyway the moral of the story is go to the dentist!

Oh yeah and here is the scary part: I actually like my dentists they are pretty nice and neither one of the dentists at the office have huge hands they all have small petite hands that can get in and out of your mouth without feeling like you just shoved an entire package of hot dogs in your mouth and then insist on trying to do intricate manuevers in there while shoving scary sharp metal things into your gums!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year's!!!

Happy Freakin' New Year!
So did you do anything exciting? I totally didn't! I spent my whole day sleeping and the whole night reading Eragon. I finished the book about 11:30 PM and I sat around until midnight watching Dick Clark slur words and his moronic buddy Ryan Seacrest get excited by a peck on the cheek from Christina Aguilera. Once the ball dropped the tv shut off. I took my evening shower and headed to bed.

Now I am at work waiting for a call. In the last 2 hours I have had 2 calls. I am getting double time and half to sit around and shoot the breeze. Not too mad about it. I would rather be snuggled up under the blankets sleeping but hey.

Let me know how you spent your New Year's Eve and New Year's Day.