Category Archives: rant

AT&T: Hands Off My Earned Leave!

You heard me Ma Bell.  You too Mellon Bank

BACKGROUND

This is going to be brief, but here’s the gist of it:

  • the company I worked for went into Bankruptcy
  • from the beginning we were assured that wages and accrued Paid Time Off (PTO) would be paid
    • THIS WAS CRITICAL because if 15,000 people started using up the PTO they had accrued, the entire company would have fallen apart before it could have been pieced-out and sold-off
    • it was also policy to pay out PTO if you left the company; there was no “use it or lose it”
  • now the Committee of Unsecured Creditors has objected to the PTO payout, calling them “golden handshakes” and bonuses
  • … nothing could be further from the truth — those who accrued the most hours are those who worked the hardest for the company, and for the creditors during this bancruptcy period — people who put off vacations and time off to BILL HOURS to clients which is the sole source of revenue for the company.  It’s painfully ironic that those who worked hardest are positioned to lose the most…
  • for the record, I wasn’t one of those working the hardest — I used 101% of my annual PTO last calendar year; and I still had over 90 hours in the bank when I left…

Many of my colleagues are writing to the judge to explain their position and situation — that’s all well and good, but there seems to be a very real chance that the judge could find legal reasons to support the objection.  Changing that one man’s mind seems like a slim chance to me…

It’s getting a little late in the process, but it just occurred to me that maybe we can find support in the employees of the Committee members, or in their customers.  Do you want to work for, or give your consumer dollars to, a company that demonstrates such disrespect forhard working employees and their families?  Especially in the middle of a recession?

CALL TO ACTION

  1. If you work for AT&T, tell management that you are aware of this situation and you think it’s a shame.  Feel free to email your corporate lawyers at James.Grudus@att.com (full address below).Mellon employees and customers:  same thing, and Mellon’s lawyer is at david.m.kerr@bnymellon.com

  2. If you agree that this is wrong and want to spread the word:
    LINK TO THIS POST; blog about it, email the link, etc.
    TWEET it — I don’t get fully get twitter, but have at it.
    Visit SaveMyPTO.com for more viewpoints and updates
    If you are a lawyer or legal buff, the case dockets are at BearingPointInfo.com
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Filed under angry, cathartic, corporate rebellion, cuz I'm on a roll, damn lies, debunking, desperate, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, money money money money, property rights, rant, sad

[untitled]

so I walked the long walk across the parking lot from our client site, thinking I’d treat myself to a Baconator.  the line is suprisingly short, and the gentleman at the register places his order.  nothing out of the ordinary…

then the gentleman turns to his companion (likely his daughter).  she has a cell-phone up to her ear, and rattles off her order: one of their super-deluxe salads I think (I honestly don’t remember).  then she orders a cheeseburger, or something.  (ordering details from this point forward get fuzzy, as my rage builds.)

then she cancels that burger.  she asks the cashier for clarification on the #2, does that come with [something]?  the cashier says yes, she says yes into the phone, the voice on the phone says OK (I can only imagine), and she says OK.  “does it come with cheese?”  same cycle of relaying information through the cell phone…

“so what would your brother like,” she asks…

I’M STANDING BEHIND A WOMAN WHO IS TAKING HER ORDER FROM HER KIDS OVER HER CELL PHONE — NOT AHEAD OF TIME, BUT IN FRONT OF THE REGISTER WHILE A LINE OF PEOPLE GATHER BEHIND HER.

now, I’ve waited behind people writing checks at the grocery store, and I’ve stood behind people that dispute their charges to the cash register, but this was ABOVE AND BEYOND.  I cleared my throat a few times, hoping she’d realize there were people behind her.  I made eye contact with the cashier as if to say, “uh, can you move us along…” and no dice.

apparently unable to get the order translated through her other child, she says “well, then put him on.”

I burst out, “OH COME ON! You’ve got to be kidding me!”  She doesn’t flinch.

“Seriously,” I plead to the cashier, “you’ve got to ask her to step aside and write down her order.”  I say this because she has been writing down the order on a napkin the whole time, and is using it to verify the order with the cahsier — 50% of which is wrong each time, and they have to start again.

I know this has only taken 30 seconds to describe to you, but it was no less than several minutes in line.  the cashier shrugs, the b*tch on the phone is oblivious, and waits for her other kid to get on the phone and place his order.  and another kid.

the next five minutes are a bit of a blur, as there is discussion over what comes on a 1/4 single with cheese, etc, etc — all of it being relayed from cashier to customer to her kid (via cell phone) to customer to cashier.  oh, and then she wants a baked potato, but gets all high-maintenance about what is going on it.  bacon?  LIKE SHE DOESN”T REALISE SHE”S AT A WENDY”S…

the kicker, the really really aggrevating thing, is that at the end of all of it she didn’t even attempt to make nice.  she didn’t hang up on her kids and say, “sorry” to the rest of us.  and this really wasn’t a 30-second delay, it was a good chunk of the 30-minute lunch break I was giving myself before some other meeting back at the office.

I understand that the Baconator is engineered by the good people at Wendy’s to crank my blood pressure up to (something horrifically bad), but this time it was there before I even placed my order.

luckily, nothing a little ‘mayo on the side’ couldn’t cure.

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Filed under angry, cathartic, customer service, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, rant

I bet the Germans have a word for it

I’ve been overcome with this emotion, or sensation, many times.  and due mostly to the election campaign, it’s been happening more frequently.

it’s the urge, when presented with an argument (or reasoning that seems particularly forced)*, to want to go above and beyond the other person’s worst fears — often to the point of absurdity.  it can be summed up by the quote from Fight Club:

“I felt like putting a bullet between the eyes of every Panda that wouldn’t screw to save its species. I wanted to open the dump valves on oil tankers and smother all the French beaches I’d never see. I wanted to breathe smoke.”

actually, it’s more like that quote than I realized — this feeling has recently (and repeatedly) been brought on by people who drone on about not drilling for more offshore oil, and the related argument to not drill in ANWR.

my position on ANWR is that drilling should be permitted.  my understanding is that the footprint for the facilities and environmental impact can be quite small.  I may have been horribly misled by the oil barons, but that’s my angle.  I really don’t wish any harm on the local habitat or animals.

but when I hear extremists go on about the horrible consequences of drilling, of the evil cabals that are orchestrating the arctic’s demise — it makes me want to go up there, pump as much oil out of the ground as quickly and destructively as possible, and just flood the whole 19 million environmentally sensitive acres with 6 to 8 inches of crude.  just to spite them.

thinking globally and acting locally, it was the same reaction when the local radio station used to go on and on about global warming — I swear I would subconsciously reach for the air conditioning and crank it up, accelerating for no apparent reason — but possibly to spite them.

that feeling… I bet the Germans have figured it out, after all the invented schaedenfreud.

if anyone knows the word for it, I’d love to know.

* or really any argument I disagree with, for whatever reason.

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Filed under angry, lies, rant

almost brilliant

driving home from work, I was so psyched to check out this web-base mini-series that they had talked about on NPR…

concept: Neil Patrick Harris as an evil genius, rejected from the Evil League of Evil, in love with a girl from the laundrymat, with a predisposition to breaking into song.  what could possibly go wrong?

before I get to that, more backstory.  during the writer’s strike last year, some tv/movie writer (I know, he’s a big shot and I could easily look it up, but this is a rant and not a piece of journalism) conceives of a web-based mini-series, supposedly to prove some kind of point about the crux of the writer’s-strike issue.  the core issue there was how writer’s would be compensated for TV work that was re-broadcast over the Internet.  really, that’s what they were fighting for — that’s what kept me from new episodes of The Office for what seemed like forever.  so he would make the mini-series semi-professionally but on-the-cheap, and broadcast it over the Internet, and prove… something.

k, but here’s the catch — I can’t watch the episodes.  and it’s not just me, here’s a list of people (scroll down to the Responses) who can’t watch it over the net.  there is a one-week free period (started 7/15) before it moves to i-Tunes only; then there will be a DVD release.  but all these people can’t view the free release.  apparently some people need to disable their firewalls in order to watch the video — some even had to disable the firewall on their Wi-Fi/Broadband routers… hardly a reasonable expectation.

when I go to Act I, I’m told “The video is not available at this site.”  the FAQ says some people have better luck when using Internet Explorer… great news for people who use Linux or Mac/OS X.  no, I’m not going to install Windows in order to watch this.  and yes, yes, there are plenty of good video web sites that work with Linux/Firefox.

some people said, ‘fine, I’ll pay the $4 on i-Tunes’ ($1.99 per episode or $4 for a ‘seasons pass’), but they can’t get the video outside of US/Canada.  did anyone tell them that the Internet tends to be somewhat global?  somehow the incompatibilities, the proprietary video format/site that only works if you disable firewalls, the i-Tunes tie-in — they all seem to fly in the face of the supposed “I’m going to skirt around the media establishment” motivation of the series creator.  instead of proving a point to the networks and studios that there are other viable options, they seem to be proving the opposite — web-distribution is plagued with problems.  I’d be better off if this was on TV; there’s no guesswork as to whether I’m going to be able to watch a show on NBC or AMC or SHOwtime (yes, yes, no).

so I turned to [uh] secondary markets (youtube and torrents) to see if I could view a copy of Acts I and II, but to no avail.

I understand, in a business-school kind of way, why they are going through hoops to lock down the video.  if it’s on YouTube, people can save it or re-share it and a big part of their business model seems to be the i-Tunes and DVD sales.  ok, I get it — if DVD-quality versions get shared now, you won’t get DVD sales later.  but here’s the thing — they won’t get DVD sales later if it doesn’t get big enough hype now.  it reminds me of BMW’s “The Hire” series years ago — their videos were online (ie, Ambush, The Follow), and they were great, and I was probably one of the first to get them on DVD because I knew on a big TV with big sound they would be even better*.  if I had never seen the online videos, I wouldn’t have bothered with the DVD.

and you won’t get DVD sales later if the steps you’ve taken upfront only frustrate a significant chunk of your market.

I imagine this is similar — who is going to buy the Doctor Horrible DVD without having first seen the video online?  how many more would possibly buy the DVD if they see the video online, through video services that work like YouTube, or streaming it from their own site (or partnering with Akamai or similar).  even if the video got loose on the torrents, I bet they’d net more DVD sales.

it doesn’t have to be all or nothing.  here’s my solution, and it’s not rocket science:  release a low-quality version on all available channels — youtube, torrents, whatever.  the video and audio quality should only be as good as is necessary to get the plot across.  anyone who wants to see it in glorious HD can get it on i-Tunes or the proprietary/DRM‘d web site or DVD.  nobody is going to bother pirating/selling a crappy 640×480 version of the series, or more accurately, nobody is going to bother buying a crappy 640×480 version.  but people who see the low-res version might be compelled to buy a better-resolution version.

long story short (too late): was psyched, now very disillusioned.  prognosis: wait until the DVD’s are released, then I’ll be able to find it online.  and no, the producers will not get a dime.

* also, I’ve had an obsession with BMWs since before I could drive.

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Filed under dumbfounded, rant

he doesn’t answer to the state

“I don’t answer to the state”:

he also doesn’t come across as a fun guy; I almost felt bad for the woman who was questioning him, until I remembered that she was trying to deprive him of his basic rights to free speech/press under the guise of a “Human Rights Commission”.

from his blog:

If you don’t pay attention, you might not even realize that freedoms are being eroded. I had half-expected a combative, missionary-style interrogator. I found, instead, a limp clerk who was just punching the clock. She had done it dozens of times before, and will do it dozens of times again. In a way, that’s more terrifying.

word.

[updated YouTube link; but the other one was funny too.]
[updated:  I also forgot to mention it initially, but this is happening in Alberta (Canada)]

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Filed under if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, liberty, politics, rant, shenanigans, stupid government

Hillary on subprime ‘crisis’: “everybody bears some responsibility”

on Meet the Press:

MR. RUSSERT: But, Senator, many people opted for those cheaper mortgages. They could’ve had a fixed mortgage at a higher rate, but they opted for a cheaper one. Should they not bear some responsibility?

SEN. CLINTON: Well, Tim, I think all of us should[1]. But I’d say three things about that. The bankers, the mortgage lenders, the brokers, all bear a lot of the responsibility, because many of the practices that were followed were just downright predatory and fraudulent. There is no doubt about that[2]. I started talking about this last March. A lot of people got into subprime loans who frankly could’ve been in a conventional fixed-rate loan. They were basically told that this was a better opportunity for them. Should they take responsibility? Yes, but [3] look at what will happen if we continue this cascade of foreclosures. Housing values are down. They’re down 6 percent[4]. That’s over $1.3 trillion in housing values in the last year. So everybody bears some responsibility[5].

[1] I, for one, bear no responsibility for any part of the subprime mortgage crisis, and I call shenanigans on Hillary Clinton for implying that I do.  If anyone can prove otherwise, have at it.

[2] I think there is plenty of doubt in her claim that practices were predatory and fraudulent; sure, some may have been predatory, and some fraudulent, but I doubt that many were both.  If they were fraudulent, borrowers should have no problem demonstrating as much and get back their losses plus damages.

[3] this “yes, but” clause is mixing issues; the state of nationwide housing values has no bearing on personal responsibility.  Should I stop paying my car loan because the price of gas is over $3?  Right.

[4] housing was a bubble anyhow, and the dramatic drops are more a function of that bubble than of 0.3% of houses being foreclosed (not that the foreclosures help the situation).

[5] Again, I refute this claim on it’s face, and object to any responsibility that Hillary is trying to project on me or my family.  It doesn’t take a village to screw up a home loan.

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Filed under angry, cuz I'm on a roll, damn lies, dumbfounded, finance, lies, politics, rant, shenanigans

Tim Russert p0wn3d

I basically fell asleep every time Hillary spoke, but when she started yelling at Tim Russert I sat up and took notice. She bowled over his question and refused to let him finish, and then sat there with this self-satisfied look that made my stomach turn. I wish I could screen-capture my TV to show you; (can Tivo do that?)

Tim, who usually holds his own against whoever is on the other side of his table*, looked like he was cowering as he read his follow up questions.

It wasn’t becoming. “I’m smarter than you Tim Russert. I can talk circles around you. You can’t even begin to know what I’m capable of. I will eat you alive, but first I will feed your children to you, and you’ll enjoy it.” OK, that was creepy. But I swear, that’s what the look on her face is saying right now (yes, I’ve had the Tivo on pause while I’ve been composing this. Seemed like the thing to do, since after she is elected she will become the face of Big Brother, and we’ll all have her watching over us, all the time.)

Name Your Fear? I fear Hillary Clinton.

* he holds his own when he wants to; but I’ll admit that he panders and throws big old softball questions to just as many (and I hate that).

[definition of p0wn3d]

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Filed under hope I die before I get old, if you aren't outraged you aren't paying attention, politics, rant, tinfoil hats, you aren't paying attention