Category Archives: people

I love my wife.

Now this may be out of character, but when you reach male mid-life crisis or what I call(probably a lot of others said it before) man-on-pause, you begin to do a few things out of your character.

I recently and reluctantly upgraded to a new Android phone from a Windows 8.1 Nokia Lumina 640 phone. I thoroughly enjoyed the phone with few exceptions mostly related to the lack of support from app developers. The Windows phone 7/8 OS had more bundled features in the beginning. After 8.1 came out things started going downhill  Here are a list of gripes:

  • My Bloomberg app was filled with bugs and stopped getting updates.
  • The Instagram, Twitter, Facebook apps were not fully functional due to lack of updates.
  • Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Marketwatch apps crashed often.
  • All the cool new popular social apps(AirBnB, Snapchat etc were not available)

Overall the good features outweighed the bad. The few limitations were not a problem for me as the phone was already a distraction enough. It was very good at:

  • Low price
  • Durable Case
  • Keeping up with the news
  • Syncing emails
  • Listening to the radio on TuneIn
  • Calculator
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Voice Commands
  • Organizing photographs, podcasts and music
  • Opening documents(Acrobat, Word)
  • Internet hot-spot sharing
  • Battery life
  • GPS(Mapquest app, not the built in Bing maps)

There were more features that made the phone great for a person who needed it to communicate, do business and basic entertainment. It was not so great for social(government intrusion) activities like Facebook live, periscope, twitter video, Snapchat, etc. The windows phone could have picked up where Blackberry left off, but it was crushed by the marketing geniuses at Apple(and Samsung aka poor mans Apple). House of cards and other shows had a few Windows Phone product placements, but those are shows targeted to middle aged people like myself.There was no marketing to the youth, the hip-hop community, the druggy community, the nerd community, the sports community or any other large demographic. You would think a company who made one of the richest men on earth would throw a few coins to IAC to come up with a viral campaign. I felt betrayed this year after Microsoft announced that they would no longer be manufacturing windows phones. They just recently purchased Nokia’s mobile phone division and not barely 3 years later shut it down. That to me is the sign of a quitter. Currently Apple has a desktop PC market share of something like 17%(don’t quote me). They still have not quit. Microsoft frankly is like the Knicks. Highest paid and talented, but still can not get over.

Now to get to the title of this post, I saved the best Windows 8.1 feature for last for a reason. If you have bared to take the time to read my rant you deserve a little candy.

Last year when I was going through man-on-pause, I began dating one, two, three, maybe four people simultaneously. At times they would call me when I was on a date with another and this made me uncomfortable and frankly nervous. Thankfully Windows is a great wing-man and included a feature that allowed me to block calls and texts selectively. The calls would get dropped and not go to voicemail, and texts would be held in a certain area of the device and not make an alert. Later on when my date was over I could go to this area and see that I had a missed call or the text that was blocked. I would then text or call back the blocked person saying that I did not see their call or text, which was effectively true. So this enabled me to be comfortable and not get interrupted. Also, as the Windows Phone market share is so minuscule, the majority of people would not know how to operate the  phone to get to the area, so I wouldn’t get busted. I really miss this feature as it is not available on Android. I have to do so much real time manipulation of my phone not to get busted it is not worth the advantages of having fully functional social(government intrusion) apps. There was only one occasion where someone got around the block but it was a result of them being blocked for weeks without any follow-up. They called from a different phone number, but thankfully I was at a safe place(work). I am not married yet, but if I was, and I got busted, then had to go to divorce court and they told me I had to part with 50% of my assets, I would say weeping “I love my wife.” Like they say, [It’s cheaper to keep her.]

 

 

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Living on the cheap

Recently I made a new male friend. This is rare for me as I am weary about having any new friends at this age. I have a complete collector’s set of useful, useless, user and multi-dimensional friends already.

Now this middle aged gentleman by all appearances is worldly, charismatic, youthful and self-driven. We had great conversations mostly about women, real estate, cars, investing, religion, politics and other middle aged guy stuff that I enjoy talking about.

One day he offers me a used jacket. I didn’t need or want it, but I did not want to offend. He goes into the trunk of his coupe and I notice it is filled with duffel bags and knapsacks neatly arranged in a stack. It seemed strange to me immediately that someone would keep so much stuff in his car. Admittedly I am a hoarder, and I still found that weird. This wasn’t hoarding, hoarders don’t keep things so methodical.

On another occasion, he invited me to go to the gym. I said what the heck, I can work out for free and have light conversation with a like minded person. So we went to the gym. He did what I thought to be non-productive exercises, that neither contributed to his aerobic or aesthetic improvement. Being the control freak I am, I had to restrain myself from saying ‘What are you doing bro?’ so eventually he finished his special workout and went to the showers. I continued my free workout and did some treadmill and some abdominal work. He was in the shower for maybe 25 minutes, which seemed like a long time to take a shower in a gym. He informed me that he goes to the gym, every single day. That was also strange as even a wimp like myself knows muscle has to rest.

All of the times we met up to have beers or talk shop we were at his office. He mentioned that he is in the office almost 24/7. That’s when I put it together that this guy was sleeping in his office(his military experience helps), showering at the gym and storing his personal effects in his car.

I found it to be economically ingenious and Ted Kaczynski like creepy at the same time. His overhead breaks down something like the following(approximately):

Old Car(Already paid off) – $0/ month

Car Insurance(Out of state) – $50/month

Car registration/tax(Out of state) – $10/month

Office space(works there) – $0/month

Food(Hes skinny) – $500/month

Gym membership – $20/month

Internet(office, starbucks, etc) – $0/month

Cable(Youtube, see above) – $0/month

Cellphone – $80/month

Gasoline – $100/month

So totaling all of the above assumptions comes up to $760/month  to live in New York. He could potentially work at a job paying $6.33/hour(before taxes) and pull it off. I am so impressed by the ingenuity that I really don’t care why he chooses to live this way. I have heard of tent cities growing in the woods of New Jersey, people living in RVs, people renting rooms, but not people showering at the gym and living in their office and car. The phrase [necessity is the mother of invention] seems to always ring true. Especially in a high rent market such as NYC, you have to be an inventor.

One bedroom studious in the dankest of areas go for close to $1200. Rooming and sharing bathrooms and kitchens start at $800. Your romantic life may suffer as ladies don’t want to snuggle at your office but you could amass a significant amount of saving in a short time and eventually purchase a home. The possibilities are endless when you have cash.

In conclusion. You can make it in New York. You just have to think outside of the box, small apartment or cubicle.

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Pater John’s Pizza Furlough

Some month’s ago, around the 2012 elections, Papa Johns Pizza threatened to cut workers hours in efforts to avoid paying health insurance under Obama’s health plan. There was a public uproar causing the head of Papa John’s to backpedal faster than Lance Armstrong on steroids.

Other companies and C.E.O.s also threatened to cut worker’s hours, close their businesses, and even outsource to Asia and in general repressive nations. Papa Johns provides a product and service that cannot be outsourced overseas so this is the best they can do. Also, I don’t think they could find a better market that a country with an obesity epidemic.

Let me get to the point in a New York Minute. We should applaud Papa John’s. There are still many unemployed and even though companies may cut part-time hours there customers do not stop eating. They will need coverage during the same hours they had previously by hiring more workers. They will have to have more workers and less hours per worker. Overall this will diminish the officially reported number of unemployed people. Maybe the Obama administration expected this reaction, but probably not. Either way this can be a good knee-jerk reaction by Papa John’s, Olive Garden, etc. for the hordes of unemployed.

The recent hub-bub about the sequester and the furlough or government workers is similar. Let us cut the individual worker’s hours to save the companies, save the jobs and give more opportunities to more people. I would be willing to work only three(3) days per week than have another guy work my other two(2) days. Or we can alternate some other way. We both would be able to live more, spend time with family, maybe even read a book made of paper, go back to school, write a screenplay. We would have enough money to eek out an existence and still have a real life! Let the furloughs begin!

Stop, theif!!

Today I want to rant about wage theft. I’m certain anyone that works for a salary and not an hourly wage can identify with what I will write.

Now all my young adult like I aspired to make thousands of dollars so I could make my parents proud and fund my creative activities and partying. When I was finally offered a living wage. I realized the concessions necessary to maintain that job compromised time with family and doing the fun things I expected the job to finance. I especially was not making a living wage if I divided my earnings by the amount of hours I worked and multiplied by 40 hours.

I felt deceived, no, dare I say, I felt robbed. Recently the HR department presented all the workers with a contract regarding “Wage Theft.” How dare they! Anyways just as we are all doing, I quivered in fear of reprisals and signed stating that the company has been compensating for hours worked over 40/week. By my calculations I have been robbed $16,000/year working overtime without compensation.

I must say though, that nowhere does it state that workers must work extra hours. It is an unspoken rule, somewhat of a culture. On at least two occasions it has gone beyond unspoken when my boss has stated [we all need to stay late, and if that’s a problem then we have a problem.] Being the submissive, yes-man that I am, I did not grab him by the throat ant throttle his wrinkly neck.

I must say that labor has gotten weak. What happened to the unions backed by Mafia dons who would punish these bosses and spread the spoils to keep the troops in good morale?(I’ve been watching a lot of Mafia documentaries of late.) Companies would not dare to send jobs away to another country or even state. They would not dare anger labor who had physical prowess to backup their pageantry.

I will close by saying that I am grateful that I am working for this company, in a time where jobs are scarce. I am definitely loyal and will provide them with a positive ROI. For how long is the only question, as I will take my talents elsewhere in conditions do not improve. Ideally to my own company, where I will reap the rewards and retards of exploiting my own labor.

People make the word go round.

We have done it to ourselves, as usual. In the attempt to plug small holes we have created one big hole somewhere else. I am referring to automated services that have saved companies on labor, therefore lowering overhead and increasing profits. TEMPORARILY. The increase is temporary because, when you eliminate jobs with automation you eventually and permanently eliminated a group of customers. Not only for your individual company’s goods/services but other’s goods/services.

This is potentially why the recovery was a jobless recovery. Stocks were moved around, markets and currencies manipulated, people were fired, wages/benefits were cut, and web-sites and automatic check-in/check-out machines were introduced. A large segment of the especially unskilled population became unemployed. Unskilled workers, who were WILLING to work are now have to use unemployment and other publicly funded methods of staying ALIVE. Creating a burden on local and federal governments.

So that’s a double whammy. No spending, plus leaning on the state. These people were WILLING TO WORK, but in our selfish and eventually collective shortsightedness we have screwed ourselves in the long term. We forgot Stylistics’ song “People make the word go round.”

I propose what the nut in the cabin in the woods proposed. Destroy these computers and job-killing automated systems. This will take people off state and federal doles and pump money back into the economy. FDR didn’t just give out money, he did public works projects. He put people to work. We just give out money and people become complacent. NO. Americans need to regain the culture of earning a living. Also while were smashing computers lets get rid of these reality shows full of wealthy people who are living off inheritances or non-working wealthy. That’s a terrible example. I dont expect government to do it alone that would be too hands-on. We the people have to hold public entities public and private to task. We come back to the fact that, “People make the world go round”.