Thursday, November 28, 2013

Don't be An Asshole, Don't Shop on Thanksgiving

Don't shop on Thanksgiving.  I am going to repeat this, probably more than once, just to make sure you read it and understand it, because I am assuming that if you are inclined to go out today, you a thick-headed, cold-hearted, self-centered, greedy asshole --- or are in serious danger of becoming one.  DON"T SHOP ON THANKSGIVING!!!!!

Okay, so most people who are inclined to do so are probably not going to heed this.  I am assuming those sorts of people believe they are always right and that everything they do is right, and they don't feel bad about making people work instead of spend time with their families.  Those sorts of people will go out anyway and treat the workers like shit, and act like animals, and prove that they are really the ones who are classless.

Maybe I am wrong.  Maybe times are changing.  Or have changed, rather --- and I just need to catch up.  It's entirely possible: I grew up with the silly backwards notion that some traditions are important.  Traditions like, for just one day, helping to cook a huge meal and then relaxing and enjoying being with the people who you care about.  Maybe that sort of tradition is so last century.  Maybe it's not time to relax, to spend the day with family, and/or friends, to be thankful for what we've got, maybe it's just that time of year where it's okay for our greed to consume us.  To let our capitalist overlords know that they are right, that they know what they are doing, that they know how human nature works: that we all can't just be satisfied with what we've got.  It's not about what you have, it's about what you don't have.  It's about going out and spending money you don't have on things you don't need.  Nothing is sacred.

But wait, isn't that why Black Friday got started, and Cyber Monday?  We have those to satisfy our inner materialists, so can't we still have at least one day to be lazy and to get fat and to watch football or the Harry Potter marathon that is probably on TBS, or whatever...  To play games?  Have conversations?  Read?  Watch movies on Netflix?  Hell, even set up the Christmas tree?  Can't we just take one break from the mad greed, or at least redirect the greed as gluttony?

When you shop on Thanksgiving, you are basically supporting the idea that the people who work at the places where you shop don't deserve to have the holidays off because they work at a job that isn't respected.  If you wouldn't want to work on Thanksgiving, then don't give retailers the excuse to open.  If you shop on Thanksgiving, you don't respect people who work in retail.  If you didn't shop, if people weren't going out, then stores wouldn't open.

Those "savings" aren't worth it.  You are probably going to get just as good of deals, or almost as good, if you go out a different day or shop online.  Don't send retailers the message that you approve of their disrespecting of their workers.  Trust me, I have been there: those people all have families and friends and would much rather be spending their time with those families and friends than they would be spending their day dealing with self-centered, greedy assholes who degrade them and treat them like indentured servants.  It's bad enough that they have to get up early and do it all again tomorrow and virtually every day between now and Christmas.  Give them at least one day of rest.  Give them the peace and relaxation that everyone deserves on Thanksgiving.

If you hate your family and spending time with loved ones, don't take it out on the people who are forced against their will to work on a day that no one should have to work.  Don't be an asshole, don't shop on Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Not letting "the man" get me down, or stupid corporate policies, anyways

The moral of this story is that in spite of what you know or may not know it is important to play along --- at least while you try to subversively make your moves, which is about the only way one can overcome something as large and monstrous as a corporation.  It's not like David and Goliath at all.  It's more like the Greeks vs. the Trojans, only the Greeks are just me and the Trojans are way bigger, better organized, and probably smarter too.  And here I am, sitting inside my Trojan horse, type, type, typing away...  It's a war of words (which is the only ammunition I have to work with) against ever-changing, idiotic corporate policies.  And yet, you say, "Gabe, you are still using their products."  To which, I reply, yes, but that is mostly because I am lazy and/or patient and am waiting to make my move.  Remember, this is my Trojan Horse.  While I might be one fly on the face of the universe, I am using up their servers, one bite at a time, to speak out against them.  While I don't have a large audience, it is open to all of cyberspace, at least as much as anybody else's blogs are open to anyone.  Which means that I need to upload a shit ton of pictures and videos and start as many blogs as I possibly can and fill them up with nonsense.  Throw it all at the wall and whether it sticks or not I am at least making a puddle on the ground in front of the wall, which can be pretty unsightly if I try hard enough.  While it won't be enough to even make a small dent in their capacities or slow them in the least, it is a symbolic gesture, which might do more to illustrate the futility of trying to do anything, but to me it is akin to spraying graffiti all over the walls of their corporate headquarters.  Maybe it is futile, but that is also part of the point.  Why do corporations have the right to take advantage of individuals, which they do, every day, without even blinking, without even thinking about it?  It just happens as a part of their everyday business practices.  I mean, making money is the most important thing in the world.  The act of making money trumps everything, particularly if you already have money, or you come from money, then making money is the only thing there is or ever was, but, hopefully, not the only thing there ever will be.  Hopefully, one day, we will that these sorts of people and the corporations that protect them don't have our best interests in mind, and we will collectively stop taking their bullshit.  Until then, my spray paint can is cocked and loaded and ready to go.  Suck it, Google.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Realization of the Futility of a Dream (Part 1)

If you have a business and you don't have an online presence then you aren't going to go very far; this is pretty much universal knowledge by now.  And your online presence starts with a website with a domain name that everyone will identify as you, that will lead potential customers to you, where you can present your business to them and they can make an informed choice.  But this whole process isn't as easy as it seems like it should be --- even the most basic parts of it, such as the registration of your custom domain name. No, in spite of what the advertisements might say, the process of getting and keeping a domain name isn't as easy or straight-forward as the companies who register and control them want everyone to believe.  In fact, it is a complex process with a lot of nuances that if you don't follow closely you are setting yourself up for failure.

For instance, with Google, if when you first set  up your custom domain you didn't set your Google Apps account to auto renew your registration (i.e. they take the money out of your bank account automatically), and you let your account expire -- even if it is for legitimate reasons, such as temporary money issues -- then there is no quick and easy way to get your domain name back.  The company starts using your domain name for junk advertising -- in other words, it becomes wasted space -- and there is nothing you can do, unless you are willing to pay substantially more money to try and buy it back by back ordering it through a site like eNom or GoDaddy.  If you registered your domain with a company like eNom or GoDaddy through Google, and you had a free Google Apps account (from when they were free), you can't access your account to go back on and renew the domain name of your website or reset it to automatically renew. 

Not being able to renew the domain name (without paying a lot of extra money) that is associated with you is especially bad news if you are trying to get your business started and you are paying for everything with whatever spare money you can manage to put into it.  If you are a college student or are working another job to try and make ends meet while trying to set up your own business on the side, and you don't set your domain name to automatically renew because you don't know if you will be able to spare the extra money, and it expires, it will be devastating to your business.  Especially if you can't afford the cost of getting your domain name back when it finally does go up for auction.

People will try to find your website and the URL will instead take them to the junk space with your name attached to it and it will destroy any little credibility that you might have had.  And your business will be dead and you will have to start over from scratch, and any work that you might have put into it is all for nothing.  

The way domain names are registered and controlled by large corporations is a scam and only they really benefit.  People have dreams and those who work towards pursuing them have to overcome increasingly insurmountable obstacles to even catch a distant site of some distant valley which may or may not contain their goal.  The whole concept of the American Dream is a nightmare for most people.

And forget trying to get help from the companies.  They have made it next to impossible for anyone to receive anything even remotely resembling what most people would consider customer service.  The corporations do nothing but send people around in circles, until they are so dizzy and frustrated that the people give up and move on and leave behind those insignificant, unrealistic dreams.

The reality is that it is impossible to "pull yourself up by the bootstraps" (which is what most people are trying to do when they start a business). If you want to get ahead, you have to let some large, faceless corporation pull you up and shake you over a pot until every little penny in your pocket is gone, and then, and only then, maybe they will help you.   But only if they feel like it.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

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I need this, oh baby, I need this...

It's that time of the semester -- weeks 12 through the end -- that I turn into a zombie whose singular goal is to strip the flesh from every book, article, and wayward student to feed my unquenchable thirst for words...  Wooordss...  Gurrr...

In a flash, it's a doozy, because I'm boozy, but eh, it's after nine o'clock...  For the record, I am completely sober --- unless you count the latte I made for myself earlier.  If I didn't have a meeting with my professor about a paper later, then I might slip some whiskey into the next one.  Maybe that will be something I will do after class...

James JOYCE!  James JOYCE!  Let the world rejoice!  It's James JOYCE!

Four more weeks!  Four more weeks!  Grading sucks, let's get on our feet...  And grooooovve baby, grooove baby, groove baby grooove!

I wouldn't stop the world and melt with you, I'd melt with you and we'd turn into mecha-godzilla and stop the world.  BWaahahahahahahahahaha!

Andy Kaufman is, in fact, still alive and living in my basement.