Monday, November 24, 2008

God Bless the USA, Part 2

Click here to see Part 1.

News of the $20 billion Citigroup bailout took me back to a phone conversation I had a couple months ago. After moving into my new house, I figured I'd better call Idaho Child Support Services and give them my new address. Following is the phone conversation I had with the operator, as close to word-for-word as I can recall:

"Idaho Child Support Services, this is Myrtle, can I help you?"

"Hi there, Myrtle. I just moved, and figured I better update my address."

"Okay, we can do that. Let me pull up your account here."

Gave her my personal info.

"Wow! It looks like you pay your child support regularly!"

"Ummm... I guess I didn't realize it was optional!"

(laughs)... "Well, it seems to be to some people."

"Well, Myrtle, while I have you on the phone... I wanted to ask about my statements. I stopped receiving them several months ago, and kept asking for one when I sent my check. But, I've never received one."

"Oh, yes. You won't be receiving a statement anymore, because you always pay."


"I guess I'm a little confused."

"New legislation was passed that only allows us to pay for postage on cases that have to be enforced."


"So.... what you're saying, is that as long as I keep paying, I'll never receive a statement?"

"That's correct."




"How come I never received anything letting me know that?"

"We couldn't use government funds to send a notice out, either."



"Well... uh... thanks for your help, Myrtle."

"Thanks for calling."

End of call

Here's how I see it. The government can't afford its own postage to send me a child support statement once a month, of which I always pay. But, it can afford to give Citigroup $20 billion, who in turn junk mails me at least twice a week, which I promptly throw away.


God bless us all. Everyone.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Who Has the Time?

Every year, the holidays bring with them a torrent of "social events". Thanksgiving potlucks, Christmas parties, and gift exchanges. And every year, I watch as people make every excuse possible to NOT attend.

It really kinda bothers me. Yeah, some of the events are cheesy. Yeah, maybe it costs a little more than it should. Yeah, maybe you've already made an appointment to have your back hair removed that night. But, in the back of my mind, I can't help but wonder: Are these people just plain elitist, anti-social, shy... or maybe a little of all the above?

Sorry, but "too busy" doesn't really fly. I'm always incredibly annoyed by people who constantly complain of being "too busy". You're as busy as you make yourself to be. And, you make time for things that are important to you.

Maybe it's because I'm a people person; but I love hanging out with co-workers outside of work. Nobody is truly who they "really are" while chained to a cubicle. Would you rather see elephants in a zoo pen, mindlessly wandering around... or roaming around their natural habitat, where there's noone to feed them or clean up their poop?

I eagerly wait for social events, and will even re-schedule personal conflicts to be able to attend... as opposed to people who schedule personal conflicts for the sole purpose of NOT attending. I mean, I spend more time with these people than anyone. Why wouldn't you want to get to know them better, on a personal level? When they're actually being "real" people?

Maybe some people don't want others to see who (or what) they really are.

And maybe I'm just being overly dramatic about it, cause I'm still waiting to attend a work party like you see in the movies... you know, where everybody is hammered and gets funky in back offices.

So here's to you, Party Poopers. While you're sitting at home watching "It's a Wonderful Life", I'll be livin' it.

Neener neener.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ballad of the Plangineer!

So, my cubicle neighbor O'Malley and I decided to shake things up a bit at the work Halloween potluck. One night while shopping at Value Village in Spokane, I had an idea. You see, he's a Planner, and I review engineering plans. Sometimes, we end up reviewing different aspects of the same project. So, I thought to myself, what if those two things were combined into one person? Voila! The ultimate in municipal efficiency: The Assistant Plangineer!

I have the pleasure of presenting: The Ballad of the Plangineer.

Some of us want to care for the Earth,
And some of us want to move it
So then I want to know how much
And I'm the one that makes you prove it
So you if you want an SHP, BSP or BLA
I wanna see your PGIS, your BMP's and GPA's

When we work together, it's a happy day
Permits get approved
So people can laugh and dance and play
Some might think we're two different things,
But we're really all just the same
Except that I look to the future,
And I think that the present is A-OK.

I measure setbacks and plant some trees
I measure right-of-way and cut down some trees
I make sure that people can park
And I make sure they can drive away
So if you want a DNS on your SEPA
I'll need a Drainage Report that is complete. Ah.

When we work together, it's a happy day
Permits get approved,
So people can laugh and dance and play
Some might think we're two different things,
But we're really all just the same
Except that I look to the future,
And I think that the present is A-OK.

And if we ever get fired...
I guess I'll organize weddings
And I'll go drive a train.