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Posts Tagged ‘rant’

  1. Pet Peeve: Someone Should…

    July 27, 2015 by Ryan

    In my Facebook feed, I follow several restaurants and businesses. Almost always, when one posts something, comments follow saying, “You should open a Sticky Fingers in my city!” “You need another Wingers on the North / East / South / West side of such-a-town” “I really miss Target since I moved and wish there was one close to me.”

    I also follow my city’s Facebook page. Frequently, when they announce new developments, they get comments like “Cheesecake Factory should open in the city!” “Put a Starbucks location on the North / East / South / West side of town – with a drive through, because the morning traffic goes right by there and it would be an awesome location!”

    This just irks me every time.

    I get the thought they are trying to convey. But these posters are missing a fundamental point.

    What I hear them saying is, “Someone should do this for my convenience.”

    Why don’t you do it?!

    Yeah, I’m talking to you, poster of the comment!

    If this is such a great idea – a foolproof moneymaking operation – why don’t you get the capital together and make it happen?!

    These businesses and restaurants don’t just magically happen. It takes money. It takes management. It takes employees. It takes incentive. It takes guts. It takes risk. Someone stands behind it, and rises or falls with it.

    The city council doesn’t vote to open a new Taco Bell or Trader Joe’s or In-N-Out Burger and then – poof – construction machines show up and start moving earth.

    Real people decide that the venture is worth it, and they make it happen.

    Real people like you!

    If you don’t have the money to do it, pool together with your family or friends and invest in it. Or get a business loan. Find someone who has the money and pitch the idea; go in on it as a 5% or 10% investor.

    But don’t just complain on Facebook that someone else should make this thing happen for you. You do no market research. You assume no risk. You just want it to be there to suit you.

    That is downright cowardly to make such suggestions and not be willing to back them up.

    Yes, Facebook commenter, I just called you a coward.

    Understand that I know where I’m coming from. From 1998 to 2001 I owned and operated my own small business.

    In a small city, with my own money to invest, I signed a lease on some business space and I opened a computer store.

    I can say for certain that I didn’t make millions of dollars. I wasn’t exactly a failure either. I learned a lot of lessons, and I did well enough to get by during those years. It was very much a challenge. I wouldn’t trade what I learned from that experience for anything else.

    Especially what I learned about respect for a business owner. I take my hat off to anyone who makes that decision to invest themselves and their resources into making an honest enterprise happen.

  2. Highway Crosses

    August 19, 2010 by Ryan

    The 10th Circut Court of Appeals has ruled that crosses on the sides of Utah Highways must be taken down. These crosses are  paid for and maintained by private individuals to honor fallen Utah Highway Patrol officers, though they are on public land and do have the UHP’s beehive logo on them.

    Let’s establish right away that I don’t agree with the ruling. I see it as another example of where the elected legislature approved something, and the appointed judges overruled the people’s will.

    From my perspective as a Utahn, the argument of the crosses takes on a greater meaning when you consider that the majority of Utah residents are Mormon, and do not use the cross as a symbol of their worship (Mormons do believe in Jesus, but tend to put more focus on the living Christ and joy of His resurrection rather than the symbol of His death). So the cross is not a common sight to see throughout Utah, yet it is easily recognized as a symbol of death. The court addressed this very thing in their ruling:

    “We agree that a reasonable observer would recognize these memorial crosses as symbols of death. However, we do not agree that this nullifies their religious sectarian content because a memorial cross is not a generic symbol of death; it is a Christian symbol of death that signifies or memorializes the death of a Christian….” (Page 29 of the Ruling)

    Right there in the ruling, the judges agree that most people won’t worry about the religious significance, and yet they have to give it full weight and consideration anyway just because it is.

    The plaintiffs allege to have had “direct personal and unwelcome contact with the crosses.” One of the plaintiffs stated that he has “occasionally altered [his] travel route or [has] not stopped at a particular rest stop to avoid contact with the crosses” (see page 10 of the Ruling). Well, guess what guys… I drive down the highway and I come in contact with billboards that depict messages that I disagree with and would prefer not to see, but buck up and I deal with it. If Jesus has no meaning to you, then the cross is just a couple pieces of wood. Deal with it, ignore it, move on. Shake your head in disbelief at those foolish religious people who hung it there, or find a way to overcome your own discomfort and instead focus a kind thought for the trooper and his or her family, or even admire the memorial for the courage of convictions that those who erected it shown. But if it bothers you so much that you feel like you have “direct personal and unwelcome contact” with a large piece of dead wood, then you have bigger psychological issues that you need to learn to deal with. The cross does have a big sign or blaring loudspeaker saying “Become a Christian too” or “Join Our Church!”

    If I were not a Christian, I’d like to show you what some “direct personal and unwelcome contact” really is – like people who routinely stand outside my places of worship loudly and disrespectfully protesting my beliefs; or like my ancestors who were literally run out of town by angry mobs who didn’t like their religious and/or political presence. But Christ’s teaching is to treat others with the same respect as I’d like to be shown back to me; to turn the other cheek; and to be respectful of my brother. Oh, and not be prideful about any of those actions.

    Don’t let me give the impression that a follow of Christ has to be weak-kneed. We should be a light on the hill, standing up and shouting on the rooftops, spreading the Word. And as citizens of the nation, we should be doing our part to elect those who are honest and responsible to make the laws and appoint the judges.

    In this case, the local elected Utah legislature approved it and the appointed federal judiciary said no. For one, that frustrates me.

    The community loses something, as piece by piece, we declare good evil and evil good. Then becomes much tougher and the burden much greater to teach children what is right, while the competing voices of evil grow louder and unchallenged.

    The ruling can be read here, if interested:

  3. Writing at work

    August 16, 2010 by Ryan

    At work, I routinely answer questions from customers. I can usually handle most questions thrown at me. I’m pretty good at crafting a thoughtful response. But this one had me stumped. Removing the identifying information, the customer complaint was as follows:

    “We have recently been adding some new computers to our [office]. One has Vista Ultimate and 3 more have Windows 7 (pro). These are new systems with 3+ gigs of ram. We have a dedicated Win Server 2003 server machine… . These newer machines are all slower [running the same program] than our older 1 gig of ram XP machines. I am stumped.”

    This particular question baffled me. Let me see, you are using the familiar computer program on a different computer with a different operating system, and yet you are “stumped” as to why you are getting a different performance? My process is usually to first let out the creative, flippant, and/or sarcastic thoughts, and see what sticks…

    “I used to eat apples, but now I eat oranges, and they taste different. I am stumped.”

    “I used to swim at an indoor public swimming pool. But recently I tried swimming in the open ocean. Even though I was doing the same thing, it was slower and more difficult in the rougher, colder waters.”

    “Remember how you used to be able to go through the airport quickly and easily. And then they tightened up security checkpoints? Yeah, welcome to Microsoft Windows Vista and 7”

    Those out of my system, I next try to compose something a little more professional. After several rewrites, here is what I came up with.

    Microsoft Windows Vista and 7 represent significant upgrades to the operating system, and as such, present new challenges. New boasted features include increased security. Network activity is scrutinized more closely by Windows, in an attempt to prevent unwanted files or access to your system. Unfortunately, the tradeoff for this sort of protection is a slower performing system. Your software is continuing to do the same job as before, but it is hindered by the additional security checks that the operating system is undertaking.

    Also consider that, because you are running a different operating system, you are most likely running different antivirus or firewall software than your Windows XP machines, which may also be contributing to the perceived slowdown in performance.

    You would be best advised to consult with a good hardware technician who can tweak some of the security settings and/or services being ran by the operating system, antivirus, or other services installed on these new machines, so that network traffic is still secure – but not impeded in performance.

    Yes, that is sounding pretty good. I like it.

  4. Daylight Dummy Time

    March 14, 2010 by Ryan

    It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

    It used to be, for more years than I can remember, that at the beginning of every April the government would have us turn our clocks forward. In effect, we’d give up an hour of our lives, at the demands of the law. Then every October, like clockwork, we’d switch our clocks back, and the government would happily claim that we were “gaining an hour!” Officials made it sound like we are getting a new hour. In reality, they were just giving us back the same hour! No interest gained! No thank you! Just a pretty name assigned to the hour we complacently sacrificed earlier in the spring.

    More recently in 2007, an act of congress told us that we would somehow save more energy if we extended the time from March to November! And like uninformed, compliant citizens, we went along with it.

    So now, even earlier than before, we all “spring” our clocks forward and “fall” our clocks back. Twice-a-year. Running-ourselves-ragged. Maybe when this tradition started, there was only one grandfather clock in the home. But now, how many clocks do I find myself having to change over? Dozens of digital devices – and each one has a slightly different procedure to remember.

    Offer void in Arizona and Hawaii. They retained sanity and do not participate in the ritual. Aloha!

    So here is the real heart of the conspiracy. I demand to know what the government is doing with my hour from March until November? I have noticed absolutely no difference in the amount of energy I am supposedly saving, so I don’t believe that excuse. No, I think this goes much deeper…

    You see, every year, between March and November, a number of citizens pass away. They obediently surrender their hour in March, and die before the hour is returned to them in November. One hour for  each of the deceased.

    What is being done with their hours?

    I believe that these hours being stored up in a secret underground bunker. Then, they are being brought out and given to top federal officials.

    I have solid evidence to support this. How else can you explain how the President has time to fit in an exercise routine, all those state dinners, his family responsibilities, sleep, run for reelection, and still govern the country? The only answer can be that he is using up those extra hours for himself. Pulling a couple of them out of storage each day and adding them to his own schedule!

    Besides, have you ever compared a photograph of the president at the beginning of his term with one taken at the end? You’ll notice he will appear to age much more than the average citizen would in four years. The answer is simple. Because he has been applying those extra hours for himself, he has effectively aged longer than the rest of the population – and his photo cannot hide it.

    It is not just the current president – compare the before-and-after photos of any of our past leaders, and you will find that this has been going on for quite some time, right under the public’s noses!

    I say we should not take it anymore! We must demand that Daylight Dummy Time laws be repealed immediately! Our president cannot have more hours than the rest of us, and our elderly should not die an hour too soon!


  5. A Clunker of a Government Program

    August 30, 2009 by Ryan

    I write this in response to questions I’ve received about where I stand in the current health care debate. To answer that, I don’t want to talk about health care at all. Instead, I want to talk about another recent government take-over of a private industry, and the tremendous successes it is! That is, of course, the American auto industry.

    Very recently, our current government officials took under their wing the inefficient and broken-down system of leadership of two of the three major car dealers. They assisted them through bankruptcy proceedings, and carefully and expertly guided them through the company rebuilding experience. At the suggestion of the President of the United States himself, the president of one of these private companies even lost his job. That doesn’t matter though, for in the end, our heroic government created two much leaner and more efficient car manufacturing businesses, one-of-which the federal government was now part-owner! Hurray!

    But as part of this “trimming of the fat,” there had to be some very sorrowful cutbacks. Not at the car manufactures themselves, mind you. But at the privately-owned dealerships that day-in and day-out took the risks and made the sales of those vehicles. By order of the bankruptcy recipe, the manufactures had to cut off distributing to the people who would actually sell the cars. Why not? It makes perfect sense! Produce cars and reduce the amount of places that can sell the cars. The dealers take the risk upon themselves, and employ and sustain large parts of the tax base and economies in the cities, counties, and states that they reside. So let’s cut of their supply! It had nothing to do with the financial troubles of the car manufactures, but it had everything to do with punishing local dealers who donated more money to the Republicans rather than to the Democrats. Those folks are just going to have to sell used cars now.

    Next, our the wise government leaders saw a need to boost sales for their newly-acquired properties, the auto manufactures. How best to do this? Hmmm, let’s think… Oh, I know! Let’s offer people to bring their “clunker” cars in, and we will trade them for far more money than they are worth, taking tax dollars to pay the “rebate” costs. We’ll require those people to buy a brand new car (which they might not be able to actually afford).

    Now, what should we do with the “clunkers” we have collected? Oh, I know, let’s destroy them! Require that nothing be salvaged from the car – I mean, we can’t go saving save the “clunker” horn, “clunker” plastic light covers, or even the “clunker” oil cap and sell those for scraps now, can we?! The junk dealers, who make their money off of this kind of business, will just have to look elsewhere for their junk parts to sell, because the clunker parts are going to be destroyed! Oh, and no matter that many of those clunker cars still had plenty of life in them – we can’t have them resold to some teenager on the used car market. No No No No No! Can’t even let those dealers that we just cut off from selling new cars have them. Uh-uh, no sir, that would be Un-American through and through. Used cars will now have a short supply, and feature a low starting price of $4500 or more. What is that you say? People who are shopping for used cars can’t always afford $4500 – that is why they are in the used car market? No matter – they should just get a new one instead with this great program the government has provided for them!

    Then the reports came in, one week into the clunker program – it was “wildly successful” and had ran out of money. The budget was one billion tax-dollars (your taxes used to help buy a new car for your neighbor), but they were out of money in one week. Now, if we accept the notion that giving away tax money to some of the people is a form of welfare, and we can gauge the success of the program as “wildly successful” because it gave away all of its money months before it was budgeted for, then what is the only appropriate response? Ram through the congress a quick bill to triple the budget of the program! And even at that, it still ran out of money two weeks earlier then forecasted! Wow! That is one wildly successful, highly-efficient government at work!

    So how did the dealers feel about this voluntary program? They were kind of stuck participating. I mean, if they didn’t, the dealer down the street would, and they would lose the sale. So they had to play the game. For every car they took in on the program, they had to take the $4500 out of their own pocket to make the sale, and then turn in the paper work to be reimbursed. Some dealers were out $300,000 or more of their personal money – money they ordinarily would have used to buy more cars and restock their lot. Instead, they were waiting for the government to reimburse them. And how was that going? The government was so overwhelmed with requests for reimbursement that they were just completely caught off-guard. They didn’t have the manpower or computer server power to handle the requests. So as the program was ending, they were just about ready to catch up to the necessary staffing levels to handle it all. I stand back and marvel at the efficiency of the operation, as I’m sure the private dealers do too. It turned out that some of the dealers quit playing the clunker game several days before the program was officially to end, because they couldn’t afford to take the risk of not knowing if and when they would actually be paid. That shows the confidence they had. Personally, I just don’t understand how anyone could not have confidence in the government!

    And what was the success of the program? Eight out of every ten cars were foreign made automobiles! On the bright side, that means that two out of every ten cars sold under the wildly successful cash for clunker program mean an American car rolled off the assembly line. Let’s take a minute to applaud that fact. ‘Course, as soon as it was done, business dropped like a rock, and is expected to stay low because many who bought then were planning to buy later, so they just pushed their purchase up sooner. Dealers are expecting some tough and lean times in the coming months.

    So after I’ve pointed out my observations of of our current efficient government, and how they seamlessly play with and compliment the economics of the private sector, who is ready to talk about health care?

  6. RE: Email Returned to Sender

    August 7, 2009 by Ryan

    Two many of you coworkers are under the allusion that you can right correctly. In order to lie this mistaken notion to bed, I have composed this educational missive. I wood that all of you mite pay attention!

    Remember that the elicit use of language has an adverse affect on alot of the department. Please remember that you’re email communication is not unanimous, and the wrong choice of words reflects pourly on you. Principal among the off fences are words witch sound alike, but actually have different meanings.

    Such have reached a climatic proportion. Going forward, their will be no acceptance of such basic grammer abuses. If another such email emigrates to my inbox, it will immediately be closed and returned to sender. This applies too ewe!

  7. Refills are Free, Big Spender

    July 13, 2009 by Ryan

    I apologize if this post isn’t up to the usual quality of coherency to which you are accustomed. I’ll blame it on being dehydrated.

    I entered the fast food restaurant this evening, hot, tired, and slightly sunburned.

    I won’t name the establishment that “I’m thinking” about, but you can probably guess. It doesn’t matter; they are almost all guilty of this anyway.

    Waiting for a family member’s bathroom break to conclude before ordering, I sat down at a table. I should probably have been thinking about what I wanted to order, but I was too worn-out to spend brain cells on that sort of thinking just yet; I’d figure that out when I got to the counter.

    As it happened, a combination of events unfolded before me, at just the wrong time, to combine with my tired state and to have an overall effect of annoying me.

    I watched another customer rise from his table. In his hand was a paper cup that was fairly small. In fact, as I looked closer, I noticed this paper cup was not intended for holding a drink, but instead for holding a side order of popcorn chicken. It was even a little bit smaller than a “kid’s meal” drink cup, if that is possible.

    And I watched him fill it up with water at the drink machine.

    Meanwhile, at another location somewhere near the front counter of the restaurant, a kind employee was informing a different customer that she could call the number printed on the bottom of the receipt, to take a customer satisfaction survey. A bit of less relevant detail, and I promise that I am NOT making this up: She told the customer that she hoped they would give good “5” ratings, as the store manager really wants to improve their “C.S.I.” I hope that was internal jargon that meant “Customer Service Index” rather than “Crime Scene Investigation,” but I digress.

    When these two unrelated events collided in my drained brain, I realized that in just a few minutes, I would be the buffoon carrying the smallest paper cup in the store to the drink machine, filling it with the top capacity of two ice cubes and a thimbleful of water. And that I would have to make numerous trips to the drink dispenser, pressing that little “water” tab next to the lemonade tap, over and over, until I could satisfy my quench during my meal.

    And I wondered to myself, when I take that telephone survey, how will they ask about that experience?

    Did you order a soft drink with your meal? Press 1 for yes, or 2 for no.

    Did you know that the refills are free, you big spender? Press 1 for yes, or 2 for no.

    But why, when I order water, do they insist on finding the smallest cup in the building and offering it to me? I was hot, I was tired, and I was just as thirsty as the next customer!

    Do they assume that all water drinkers are on a diet, and therefore need less to drink?

    Is it a mark of shame, to carry the smallest cup through the dining room? Is it to make an example of me before the other paying customers, to show them what will happen if they give up their high-calorie soda-drinking habits?

    Is it so that the minimum wage employees, who care less, can keep a careful watch out for anyone illegitimately filling that cup-of-shame with Mountain Dew? Thus making it a “loss-prevention” mechanism to prevent the caffeine from dispensing to the wrong customers?

    If so, why not make a special cup with bright colors on it; print across it “I am a cheapskate! I asked for water!” Perhaps using a special electronic sensor and radio frequency technology, the drink vending machine can sense when the cup approaches an incorrect faucet, and ring a bell or sound an alarm? Or why not just issue a special triangle pointed hat, to be placed on the head of every water-drinking customer, to more easily identify them (by which I mean me and that other guy)?

    Is that what it will take to get me the larger cup, so that I can drink a tall glass of ice water with my food?

    What do they think they are proving?! And at what cost of annoyance to the customer?!

    And when I finish my meal, can I redeem my water cup for a small order of popcorn chicken? No, wait, better not do that… I’ll just get thirsty again.

    So I don’t understand this annoying trend of issuing a diminutive drinking device to customers who wish not to inflict upon their bodies drinks other than (mostly) natural, (almost) clean, (kinda) pure water.

    I tell you, it’s enough to drive a man to drink! I’ll take a large Sprite!