Sunday, November 25, 2007

i h8 txt msgs

In case you don't know, the title above says "I hate text messages" and I do. I find them impersonal and dismissive. When someone sends a text message instead of just calling you, what they're really saying is "I want to impart and/or exchange information but you're really not worth wasting my aural faculties". It's like sending a post-it note instead of a greeting card, which is something you send when you can't be bothered to actually visit someone in the first place. Maybe it's silly to feel this way but I do.
Someone I know who now communicates only by sending text messages told me (way back when we were still having actual in-person conversations) "You're a writer. You should love text messaging!" Well, I want to communicate exclusively via writing about as much as a musical theatre actor wants to communicate exclusively via elaborate song and dance numbers. I like being able to at least hear someones voice sometimes, if not actually look at their face once in a while. Is that so wrong? Besides, writing text messages isn't really writing anyway. The "language" of text messaging consists of dollops of leet-style shorthand delivered in short, abrupt, snippy-sounding bursts. It's very difficult to gauge the mood and meaning behind the messages, not to mention the actual messages themselves. If somebody sends me a text that says "im bldg 2dth!!!!!!!" I don't know if they're bleeding to death or just really excited about building a double-decker treehouse. And I don't buy the convenience excuse either. The fastest text messenger in the world can not find out if someone wants to go to the movies faster than I can with one phone call. The only way it's more convenient to send text messages instead of actually talking to someone is if you simply don't want to talk to them. And that saddens me.
But unfortunately, now that so many people are choosing to text message instead of talk, I have little choice but to give in and go with the flow. As such, I won't be the least bit surprised to exchange Christmas gifts via text message this year. I'm really xcited about that bcuz im sure it will b the most festv & hrtwrmg xmas evr!!!!!!!!!!!!!! lol : (

A new beginning

My last day at my old job was Wednesday (the day before Thanksgiving) and I start my new job tomorrow. So technically, I am currently unemployed. I'm excited about tomorrow but a little apprehensive at the same time. While I think this will be a good change for me, the potential is there for this to be the biggest mistake of my life, a situation I've been in before. Such as...

1978: Given the choice of attending school in St. Joseph or Benton Harbor, I chose Benton Harbor.

  • Potential for disaster: Pretty high. Benton Harbor is a rough place and was once listed as the worst place to live in the nation by Money magazine. The sorry state of the school system is indicative of the quality of life there.
  • Outcome: Pretty good, I think. Going to school as a minority (Benton Harbor is 92% black according to figures from the last census) was an educational experience in itself that would not have been available in St. Joseph and definitely influenced many of my philosophical beliefs. That's negated by the fact that high school sucked. Of course, it probably would have sucked anywhere, so who knows.

1982: I joined the Army

  • Potential for disaster: Beyond huge. Any time a fundamental element of your job description is kill and/or be killed, the possibility of something going as bad as possible is significant.
  • Outcome: Outstanding!! We didn't go to war and I got paid to go to Europe which means I got to get drunk and sick in places I'd never have seen if not for the Army. Thanks taxpayers!

1986: Upon leaving the Army, I had the choice of staying in Benton Harbor or moving to Florida with my parents. I chose to move.

  • Potential for disaster: Meager, at worst. I didn't know anybody in Florida at the time but it wasn't like I had tons of close friends in Benton Harbor.
  • Outcome: Also outstanding. I love it here now and don't miss my old home town at all.

1987: I get married

  • Potential for disaster: Pretty big. Marriage is basically a crap shoot but I always figured I'd be a pretty good guy to be married to.
  • Outcome: Oops.

So, all things considered, I've come out on top more often than not so I feel good about this choice. Of course, keep watching this space to see how it turns out.

Friday, November 16, 2007

How to drive through a school zone

Many of you have been out motoring around in your automobiles and encountered these strange signs and wondered what to do. "Do I get out of my car and run screaming in the opposite direction?" Not anymore (unless you want to). Feel free to clip and save this handy guide. You're welcome.

  • Slow down immediately upon seeing the sign, even if it's a half mile away (Can you see that far away? Really? Good for you!). This tells your fellow motorists "Hey people, there are children ahead. Let's all just back off". They'll appreciate your leadership and will honk and gesture at you to express their gratitude.
  • Legally, you can come roaring up to the school zone at 40 mph and then slam on your brakes to get down to 15...but that doesn't mean you should.
  • Often there's a cop right there patrolling the school zone. Even though the posted limit is 15, go ahead and let it creep up to 16 or 17. You'll be breaking the law right in front of a cop and there's nothing he can do about it. This is a good way of feeding your desire to Stick It To The Man without actually doing something really harmful.
  • Go ahead and start accelerating back to normal speed when you're about 10 feet or so from the end of the school zone. This shows people that you care about safety and obeying the law but, hey, you're not like a fanatic about it or anything.
  • If the light is blinking at 11:30 at night and/or it's Saturday and/or it's Christmas, you should probably still slow down to at least 20 because you just never know.
  • Sometimes the signs and the lines painted on the street don't line up perfectly. The area between is known as the Negative Zone, an area where hitting children with your car is not only legal but reccomended.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


It's been a week (well, six days) since I got robbed and I'm fine. Thank you for all the well wishes; very much appreciated. While going through the process of dealing with the aftermath (replacing my driver's license, picking up a police report, figuring out how to get my hands on cash for gas and whatnot without a bank card or ID, etc.) a friend pointed me towards a website that offers assistance:

I don't know why I never heard of it before now but it's incredible and should be in everybody's bookmarks. There are resources there for every conceivable crisis a person could encounter. Go there and add it to your list. If you don't need it now, you'll be glad you have it if/when you or someone you care about ever does. Unfortunately, it's Florida specific so if you don't live in the area, you'll need to contact someone locally and see if your area has something comparable.