August 2nd, 2016

#5287: How Demi Lovato ruined my weekend

So, three days ago neither I nor Mrs. Fungus had ever heard of Demi Lovato.

Saturday evening she takes a call at work from some kind of PR dude offering her organization tickets to Demi Lovato's concert at "a little place called the Allstate Arena" and it was so ludicrous the eyerolls were probably detectible from Pluto. But she dutifully e-mailed someone at the company with the information.

Today she learned that she is among those who must attend the concert. Which is tomorrow, on our Saturday. Imagine our excitement.

Apparently Demi Lovato was on Barney and Friends and apparently was addicted to this and that drug, only now she's better and of course it's perfect PR for her to have some recovering addicts backstage before the show for a meet-and-greet.

Mrs. Fungus: "I don't want to go!"

Her boss: "You have to!"

Me: "WTF. They'd better pay you. I would insist on getting paid for that horseshit."

But of course the humor is not lost on me. "You know," I said, "there was that weekend she and Barney got an 8-ball...."

The idea of Barney with a coke mustache amuses me.

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* * *

In the "people are idiots, and I hate them" column we have two spectacularly stupid calls from today.

First off, the idiots who haven't paid a bill on time since October and who are complaining that they can't afford their bill a month after running up $105 in overages on top of their already-high bill. Look: if you have a 20 GB data plan, and you use 27 GB, guess how much sympathy I'll have for you when you admit getting the SMS notifications for each GB of overage?

Telling me that a $300 bill is half your rent for the month does not move me. Look: your nominal bill is $180 before overages. If you don't want to get a $300 bill every month, maybe you should get your data usage under control. For you to use all that data and then call up after the fact and say "I can't afford this!" and ask us to fix it? Get a life, clown. You knew how much data you were using--you admit getting the text messages!--but you couldn't be fucked to call about it at the time. We could have helped you then; now it's too late. You owe that money; I can send you to financial services to make a payment arrangement but I am not going to issue you a credit. Especially not for $105. You want to talk about going to AT&T? Go ahead. I can guarantee you that AT&T isn't going to be any more lenient about data overages than we are, and they also expect to be paid on time.

What I wanted to do, when he asked to speak to a supervisor, was to simply transfer him to collections anyway. But I dutifully got up and went and found a supervisor...who told me, after I'd summarized the situation, that I could escalate him to financial services. So I merrily returned to my desk, happy that I could do what I'd wanted to in the first place. And I turfed his ass to finacial services without even picking the line back up. Just bang you're outta here!

I know what my monthly budget is for cell phone service (approximately $12) so I do my best to remain under that budget by not using cellular data like it's free. Ditto for Mrs. Fungus, who has a 4G cell phone and a 500 MB data plan.

The other idiot was the woman who insisted she signed a contract which stated her bill wasn't going to change.

What happened was, her son broke his phone, so they went to an indirect store. The sales rep sold them an iPhone SE on contract; that's $0.99 plus a $40 upgrade fee for a $400 phone. The sales rep also got a credit issued against the upgrade fee and assured this woman her bill wouldn't change.

Well, that was horseshit. The bill went up $20, and of course doing an upgrade halfway through the bill cycle did some other things as well. And then corporate stepped in and said, "No, there's no reason to issue a credit against that upgrade fee," and so mirabile visu her bill for this month was $240.

When I explained why her bill was $240 she started saying, "No. No. No. No. No. No. No. No." I hate it when people do that; they remind me of toddlers throwing tantrums. This woman insisted she signed a contract, so of course I pulled up the contract and explained it all to her. I went through the bill three or four times, explaining each charge to her, and at the end of all this she insisted that she was promised that her bill wouldn't change.

You know what? You're presumably an adult. You should be able to read. If you don't know that you should never sign something you didn't read--and if you don't know that if you sign it anyway, you're beholden to it--you shouldn't be allowed to vote. By signing the contract you agreed to the terms and conditions--and one of those terms and conditions was that the line you just upgraded would go from $20 to $40 per month.

I don't have any sympathy for people like this. You signed the damned contract. If you want to blame someone for the result, try looking in the mirror. No one forced you to sign the contract. You could have taken as much time as you like to read it.

One of these days I'm going to be dealing with one of these calls and I'm going to snap, and say something very much like that.

I've noticed that whenever it works in their favor, I signed a contract! Whenever it works against them, $Major_Telecom is just trying to screw people!


* * *

Speaking of idiots....

Mrs. Fungus and I met for dinner after work, and as we were leaving I noticed a Jeep Wrangler of fairly recent vintage parked a space over from her car. It hadn't been there when I went in, and a crowd of youngish twenty-somethings had come in shortly after we were seated. I figured the car probably belonged to them. Especially because on the car's rear end, a bumper sticker declared, "FUCK TRUMP 2016!"

I looked at the thing, then went and got into my battered 2000 Cherokee, shaking my head.

Look: in all liklihood, the Wrangler that belonged to one of those kids was purchased by mommy and daddy, who didn't want precious snowflake to have to drive some rust bucket; so of course they got the kid a $35,000 truck. It's as much a status symbol for the parents as it is for the kid: we didn't buy our kid an econobox! We're BETTER than that!

I just don't have the words to explain how tiresome I find all this.

* * *

I think I'd rather fuck Trump than Hillary. Holy shit. At least Trump is human. Jury's still out on what Hillary is.

* * *

Anyway, I have a lot to do this "weekend", so while my wife is watching Demi Lovato do whatever it is she does (probably sing, badly) I'm going to be doing other chores. Argh etc.

#5288: Efficiency

Always bet on capitalism.
North America's hydraulic frackers are cutting costs so fast that most can now produce at prices far below levels needed to fund the Saudi welfare state and its military machine, or to cover Opec budget deficits.
You see, I knew that the harsh market conditions would do this--force American oil producers to find ways to cut costs in order to make a profit on fracking oil to be sold at something less than $100 a barrel. The market price for crude has been jiggling around $40-odd per barrel for months, and it basically just drove cost reduction.

The Saudis--playing by the rules of the previous game--figured they'd simply out-produce the American producers, drive down the price of oil, and run 'em all out of business. That's what they should have done in the 1980s and failed to do; it cost them market share that took a long time to rebuild. This time they did it, but the game has changed. All they've managed is to hurt themselves, again, but in an entirely different manner.

Now the US is exporting natural gas. We're producing so much of it, the world price of natural gas has plummeted.

There is still hope.

* * *

Because we're cool and edgy, we'll protest campus carry with sex toys. Predictably, the organization is called "Cocks not Glocks" and it's founded by a girl.

I have no idea what if these morons are thinking. "Look! We'll show everyone how shocking it is for people to carry concealed weapons by strapping dildos to our backpacks! How do you like that, Hitler?" I suppose the connotation is supposed to be that anyone who carries a firearm is a dick. The fact that "concealed" means "out of sight" and not "bright pink and strapped to my backpack!" somehow seems to have eluded these shit-for-brains undergrads.

To say nothing of the fact that their argument is approximately thus: Oh yeah? Well, SEX! Ha ha ha! See? SEX! SEX that you don't like, you bigoted homophobe! SEX! This will show you what guns on campus feel like to us! SEX! SEX! SEX! You want to ban dildos, but you can't, because SEX! You probably have a dildo anyway, you SEX! hypocrite! SEX!

I can remember a time when academia took education seriously, and this kind of antic would have been frowned upon. The context would approximate: "Little girl, adults are trying to study, here. Go away."

...I'm a writer, yet I cannot find words that can express the scalding contempt I feel for idiocy on this scale. This is a failing I must correct.

* * *

Well, part of it is that I got a handful of hours of sleep. Mrs. Fungus and I met for dinner (Ihop, cheap) and then got home after midnight--I didn't get out of work until 10:30 and she was similarly held over--and then when she went to bed I tucked her in and then sat at the computer for another couple of hours, mainly playing Hexiom Connect and listening to music on headphones.

But when I woke up at 8 AM, I figured I might as well get her the $20 I'd promised to get for her so she'd have some cash on hand, so I set out to hit an ATM; once home I had a bagel and sat down here. I'm pretty tired, having had about four hours of sleep, but once she's left the house for the big Demi Lovato event I can hit the hay for a few more hours.

...before I go outside to do chores, like Jeep maintenance and mowing the lawn.

#5287: "Then take note of how I'll dry myself off after puking."

Paige Fox (the cartoon version from Foxtrot) standing in the kitchen berating her older brother over how he's sitting at the kitchen table eating something while dripping wet. She goes through several possible reasons why he would be that wet (swimming, running through the sprinkler, water balloons, etc) then Peter reveals that he just finished mowing the grass, and the liquid draining from his skin is therefore sweat...and then Paige says the line I used for this post's title.

Relax, says Peter. I'll get a shower when I'm done eating.

It's only been 10,000 miles since I last changed the Jeep's oil. Today was Der Tag, and I also got the tires rotated (no idea how long it's been since that was last done, though if I were to consult the maintenance log I'd know; all I know at present is that it needed it). With everything that's been going on, this is the first chance I've had to do it.

Well--the engine has a 6-quart sump and it was designed in an era when 10,000 miles was the normal service interval. I'm not too worried about it. Normally I change the Jeep's oil around the same time I change the oil in Mrs. Fungus' car, which lights up a light on the dashboard when it's due--every 5,000 miles. But I changed hers the last time the light went on (not the filter, just oil) and it's due again.

Funny thing about Mrs. Fungus' car: it takes a little less than 5 quarts. I buy a 5-quart jug and put in the correct amount, then save the leftovers. The last oil change I did was the freebie, the one done with the leftovers.

Because Mrs. Fungus had to go see Demi Lovato *rolleyes* I was not able to do her car today. I'll get it done tomorrow. Same program, plus new plugs, as the trip to the Toyota dealership a few weeks ago pointed out they'd not been done. I don't know what the operational lifetime of a modern platinum tip electrode spark plug is, but it's not anything like the 111k the car has on it. Yeesh.

But, you ask, how does all this relate to Peter sweating buckets?

It's hot outside. Deceptively hot--when I first went outside it didn't feel too bad to me; and in fact while I was changing the oil and getting set up to rotate the tires it was just fine. But rotating tires is work and I don't have the sense to slow down when a job gets more physically demanding--I'm concentrating on getting the job done and not paying attention to anything else--so after getting the tires off and rearranged and starting to put them back on again I began to heat up.

Finished the job, took the Jeep for a quick turn around the block with the AC on high, got back to the house and re-torqued the lug nuts. Set tire pressure, then came inside and sat here with a cold Pepsi and some pizza. (Got a Little Caesar's for lunch on my way home from running errands early this afternoon.)


Not quite 80 outside with a dewpoint of 68 and no wind--that'll do it, every time. Make it feel a lot hotter than it actually is, that's for sure.

It'd be a great evening for launching a few model rockets, too.

* * *

Speaking of models--

For Christmas, Mrs. Fungus got me an RC boat. It's not a terribly expensive one, as far as I can tell, but it's not a cheap toy, either. Figure "interested beginner" level of quality. We have yet to have time and energy to take it somewhere to try it out. We were hoping tomorrow would be the day, but thanks to Demi Fuckin' Lovato instead I'll have to do her car tomorrow. Argh etc.

* * *

Did you see the news? After adjustering and fiddleating the way they take and compute polls, the major newspapers found that Hillary got a post-convention bounce just like Trump did!

I think it's cute how the major conservative voices take those polls seriously. Of course, their attitude is, "Well, you see, this is what happens when you don't listen to us and elect the guy we tell you to."

But this. Kind of long but worth reading.

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Now it's time for some WoW.