The Bitterness Blog


Nice Try! You’re Wrong.
July 30, 2009, 3:07 pm
Filed under: Work Bitching

Imagine for a moment that you work at my office (scary, I know).  You need help, which is sort of redundant since we’ve already established that you work at my office, but in this case your need is more specific and immediate, less suspended-in-corporate-purgatory.  Your need your password to the company’s network reset.  Your problem is one which you yourself have titled a “network” issue.  There are two request systems in which you may place a ticket asking for assistance.  One system is the Facilities ticket request system and one is the Network Help Desk ticket request system.  Let’s set aside for the moment that you have worked here for a couple of years and have been informed that the Facilities group handles issues with the facility (the building) and that the Network group handles issues related to the network (techie shit).  Pretend you haven’t managed to acquire this basic information yet.  All you know is that you have a network problem, and your two options of who to ask for help are Facilities and Network Help Desk.  Armed with only the knowledge I have imparted to you and your own skills of deductive reasoning, where might you place your request for assistance?  Your request for assistance with resetting your password to the NETWORK?

If only there were some kind of clue to help me!

If only there were some kind of clue to help me!

A.  The Network Help Desk ticketing system

B. The Facilities ticketing system

If you chose A, then congratulations.  As far as I can tell, you’re not a mental-defective.

If you chose B, then we’ve probably already met and you’re the imbecile who thought that asking the Facilities team to reset your NETWORK password made more sense than asking the NETWORK Help Desk to do it.

FAIL!

FAIL!

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License Plate of the Day *Updated*
July 27, 2009, 8:22 pm
Filed under: License Plate of the Day

licenseplatedlisus

Unless you’re Bradley Cooper or a piece of chocolate cake, this is unacceptable.  I’ve seen the driver of this car, and trust me.  No.

*Update*  Lauren has graciously reminded me that Eric from True Blood could drive a car with the license plate DLISUS and it would not only be appropriate, it would even be a clever sort of double entendre.  You know, with the whole blood-sucking thing. 

played by actor Alexander Skarsgard

played by actor Alexander Skarsgard

Ridiculously sexy.

Ridiculously sexy.

Bite me.  Seriously.

Bite me. Seriously.

True that, Lauren.  True that. 



License Plate of the Day
July 23, 2009, 8:39 pm
Filed under: License Plate of the Day

As previously documented here, I see an insane amount of vanity license plates on a daily basis.  Since I first wrote about them, it seems that I’ve become hyper-aware of them, and I can’t stop noticing them in traffic, in parking lots, even in my own neighborhood.  While this is probably at least partly an unhealthy compulsion on my part, it is a documented fact that my home state does indeed have more vanity plates than any other state in America.  At least as of 2007 when this article was published: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21742618/.  So I’m not completely crazy for feeling like vanity plates are taking over the world, or at the least the roads of northern Virginia.  I may be kind of crazy for photographing and cataloguing them, but let’s give it a go anyways.

Car dealerships are always so helpful.

Car dealerships are always so helpful.

Don’t you hate it when your car is getting serviced or repaired and you’re driving a rental and you’re going home for the day or leaving the mall or whatever and you get to the parking lot and you can’t find your car to save your life?  Holy fuck, someone stole your car!  Except your car is kind of shitty, definitely not worth stealing.  This doesn’t make sense, but where is it?  Oh, right.  You’re looking for YOUR car, but you’re driving a rental.  You don’t have to file a police report now and that’s great except you can’t remember for the life of you what kind of car the rental is.  You had better hope the rental car has that honing device/ beeping-keyless-entry feature.  Turns out the  good folks over at Lindsay Chevrolet have solved that problem for you.  Now if only they could find a way to fix your car so it stays fixed…



Inanity, Volume Two: Dirty Laundry (TLC Stupid)
July 21, 2009, 1:40 pm
Filed under: The Inanity Files

laundry2

What a truly fascinating television network TLC has become.  Their current claim to fame is being the home of the adorable family of multiples/turned cheating bitter divorcees Jon and Kate (plus 8, although no one seems especially interested in the kids anymore).  The best show on the network is What Not to Wear, hosted by the ever-charming Clinton and his sassy partner in crime Stacey, both of whom actually seem to have a real fashion sense and give good advice.  (The only obstacle on that show is accepting that no matter what, when stylist Nick gets you in his chair, he is going to try to chop all your hair off.  Fact.)  While some of TLC’s lineup features shows about shopping for the perfect wedding dress or receiving a style makeover, TLC is also the proud home of a number of reality documentaries showcasing people who are some level of freak of nature.

Letting the freak flag fly.

Letting the freak flag fly.

Let me be frank:  I can’t turn away from a show about deformities or medical anomalies.  It’s utterly compelling to watch twin savants go about their daily business of being identical and savant-y.  A special about primordial dwarves?  I’m there.  I think for the most part, I understand why the people on these shows participate in them.  They are bringing attention to a little known and often under-researched condition, like primordial dwarfism or progeria, and I would assume, getting some financial or medical assistance from TLC for sharing their plight.  More power to them.

TLC also spends a lot of time on obesity.  They have an entire show revolving around doctors that perform nothing but weight loss surgeries.  We all know that obesity is a major problem in America, and I think addressing that and documenting the real struggles of real people has at least a little value beyond that of pure entertainment.  I am, however, amazed at the people willing to participate in these shows.  I won’t even wear a bathing suit in public and I’m not being followed around by a camera that is there to record every bite I take and every flab I make for the viewing pleasure of the entire nation.  But again, I get that these shows arguably serve an educational purpose, and I think that’s great. 

Sometimes though, in an effort to differentiate one of their offerings from 3 or 4 strikingly similar shows, TLC adds insult to injury.  Case in point:  the documentary 650 Pound Virgin.  At a certain point, don’t kick a dog when he’s already down, you know?  It’s bad enough that this guy, David Smith, reached 650 pounds and suffered all the emotional and health issues that accompany that.  The man even has a tragic story of childhood abuse and losing a parent as a teenager to boot.  I think we all kind of figured that a guy who has weighed upwards of 300 pounds since his late teens probably wasn’t super popular with the ladies.  He is now 32 years old, 240 pounds, and adorable.  He has even become a personal trainer.  Couldn’t his inspirational story be told without harping on about the fact that he hasn’t gotten laid?

Just go ahead and park your dignity at the door.

Just go ahead and park your dignity at the door.

Matt Lauer interviewed David Smith and while I’m not a regular watcher of The Today Show, I do hold a soft spot in my heart for Lauer ever since he called Tom Cruise out on the crazy a few years back.  And I like him even more now, because during his 5 minute interview with Smith, he allowed him to preserve his dignity by focusing on his amazing accomplishment without ever once asking him if he’d made any progress in cashing in his v-card.  You can watch the interview here:  http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/31845266/ns/today_relationships/

According to the accompanying article, Smith would not directly say if he is still a virgin, meaning he’s either a true gentlemen (awww!) or he’s smart enough to realize that while it may be good program marketing, advertising your inability to get laid is not the best way to increase your access to poon.

Mortification, personified.

Mortification, personified.

*If you have an affinity for creepy artwork that expertly details the human form at its absolute weirdest, you can find this sculpture and plenty more where that came from at http://www.tiptoland.com/index.htm.  I don’t know where in one’s home one might display one of these pieces, but you have to admire the workmanship.



Inanity, Volume Two: Dirty Laundry (Radio Stupid)
July 17, 2009, 4:30 pm
Filed under: The Inanity Files

laundry

During my morning commute I sometimes listen to a local radio station that plays mostly pop music and is geared toward a young audience.  The radio personalities all purport to be in their mid to late 20s and the station airs Ryan Seacrest’s nationally broadcast midday weekly program, so you can imagine the demographic they’re aiming at.  At least once a week the morning show does a bit entitled “War of the Roses.”  The basic premise is to help the caller determine whether or not his or her significant other is cheating.  So a girl will call in because she suspects her boyfriend is seeing someone else, and the DJ will call the boyfriend (with her on the line, silent) and pretend to be a flower company doing a promotion.  The DJ offers to send a dozen roses free on the boyfriend’s behalf.  If the boyfriend doesn’t name his girlfriend who called in as the recipient of the roses, then we have on-air proof that he’ s a cheating bastard.  If he does name her as the recipient, then we have proof that she is crazy and jealous for no reason…or that her boyfriend has heard the radio show before and is hip to this game. 

Roses are red, violets are blue, love sucks.

Roses are red, violets are blue, love sucks.

Now I don’t know about you, but I would be pretty skeptical if some random person called my cell claiming to want to send free roses on my behalf.  I would assume it was a solictor, tell him not to call back, and hang up.  I’m guessing that happens fairly often when they try to pull this stunt, but they don’t air those failures.

There are so many other reasons why this a dumb idea.  I understand why the station does it, because God knows, people love train wrecks.  What baffles me is why anyone calls into the show and volunteers to participate, because there are only a few possible outcomes, and none of them are good.  To wit:

Best case scenario:  Your boyfriend chooses to send the roses to you.  This means one of two things:  A. Since the two of you are dating, you probably live in the same area and possibly even listen to the same radio station or are at least semi-familiar with it, so your boyfriend knows about the show and is smart enough to play along and futher cover up his infidelity by acting like he didn’t know this conversation was staged by a radio DJ.  He has the flowers sent to you and proclaims his deep and abiding love for you on the air.  That’s touching, but you’re stupid, and he has effectively pulled the wool over your eyes YET AGAIN.  Or, B.  He really isn’t cheating on you and really didn’t know about the show, but now he’s super pissed off at you because you not only suspected him of cheating but chose to accuse him of it indirectly in a public forum.  One time when I was listening, the guy said he was so excited he was chosen for this free flower promotion because he was going to propose and already had a dinner planned, so having flowers arrive at the dinner would be perfect.  The girl interjected at that point to gleefully proclaim she would marry him, and after the DJ explained to this poor schmuck what was really going down, he rescinded the proposal.  (I still wonder though if he never really intended on proposing at all and was a cheater, but knew about War of the Roses and decided to play along and make his girlfriend feel like a complete ass, thus putting her in the position of being super apologetic and afraid to ever accuse him of any wrongdoing again, thereby stringing her along even longer.  In which case that man is an evil genius.)

Worst case scenario:  He is cheating on you, and now you and the entire metropolitan area know it.  Feel better?

Ah, amor!

Ah, amor!

I think some of the participants figure that if the person is cheating, what a better way to call him or her out on it than by embarrassing that person publicly and having the supreme joy of telling him off with the assistance of your local sympathetic radio DJ and the listening  public.  The problem with this route is that these people obviously have no shame.  The cheaters usually take the indignant route and start justifying why they’re cheating and blaming the other party.  They always, always act like jerks and are NEVER apologetic.  And even if they were apologetic, would that help?  It would obviously be a hollow apology made only after being caught red-handed.  It means nothing and it’s insincere.  And if your significant other is cheating, how does letting the whole world know that you were swindled improve the situation?

Probably the best one yet was this morning.  It was a guy calling in to set up his girlfriend, and he knew she was cheating.  How?  Because she was pregnant and he had had a vasectomy before he met her.  He was straight up honest about the fact that his intention was solely to humiliate her.  Nice.  One could make the argument that he should have told her about the vasectomy, but her reaction was priceless.  She went from telling him this was crazy and that somehow he had managed to knock her up against all medical odds, to talking about the possibility that there be another explanation in about fifteen seconds.  Her other explanation?  She phrased it as a hypothetical situation that “people” sometimes experience…waking up drunk and not being sure what happened the night before or with whom.  A bad liar and a drunken whore.  Classy.

Pre-walk of shame.

Pre-walk of shame.



Bad Cop. No Donut.
July 15, 2009, 9:03 pm
Filed under: Societal Botheration

I love cops on TV.  I watch all the Law and Order series, I occasionally check out The Closer, and I’m fascinated and awed by the FBI agents on Criminal Minds.  The police on television always impress me with their reasoning, their integrity, their crazy hours, their good looks, and their willingness to fuck up their personal lives for the greater good.

Ice-T couldn't act his way out of a paper bag and I still love him.

Ice-T couldn't act his way out of a paper bag and I still love him.

Cops in real life impress me much less.  In fact, cops in real life suck ass.  I live in a fairly affluent, low crime area.  I should be exceedingly grateful for this, and I am.  However, it seems that the local police force, deprived of the opportunity to fight actual crime, has litle else to do but spend hours on end setting up speed traps.  I know, I know:  as long as you are obeying traffic laws, this should be of no concern to you.  That notion is only comforting if you assume certain key things to be true:

1.  That the traffic laws are reasonable and practical.

2.  That the cops don’t abuse their power.

Let’s start with practical traffic laws.  As far as I’m concerned, if it’s not residential and it’s not a school zone, there is no justification for a posted speed limit of 25 miles per hour.  Modern cars can’t drive at the speed of 25mph.  I have to take my foot off the gas pedal and just let the car coast in order to maintain that speed.  That can be done for 500 feet while passing a school, but it can’t be done on a major thruway.  I could get out of the car and walk faster than that.

Then we have the thin blue line.  There’s a reason that so many films are made about police corruption and the brotherhood of cops protecting each other at all costs:  give people (especially men) a little power and they tend to start thinking of themselves as untouchable.  Somtimes this fact of the human condition manifests itself into cops swiping drug money found during a raid.  Oher times, the result is a citizen receiving a speeding ticket for going one mile over the speed limit (true story).

Yesterday on my way back to the inferno after my lunch break, I had to travel on a fairly major road.  Extensive construction is being done to parts of the road, so sections of it have been closed off and rerouted.  The section I was driving through was more congested than usual due to construction and I got caught behind a super slow, lumbering construction truck.  I sped up to pass it and immediately slowed down again once I was safely ahead of it.  That was when a cop RAN OUT INTO THE ROAD IN FRONT OF ONCOMING TRAFFIC and began flailing his hands in the air at me.  Though clearly drunk on power, I assumed he wasn’t doing jazz hands, and I stopped.

He had me pull into the parking lot where another office on foot walked up to me and asked me if I knew the speed limit.  Because this is a well traveled four lane road with retail and offices on either side, I thought the limit was 35mph.  For reasons beyond me, it is 25mph.  When I shared this story with various co-workers, every single one either thought the limit was 35mph or expressed that he had thought it was until recently corrected.  According to the officer, I hit 41 when I sped up to pass the truck.  The officer walked away and during the 5 or so minutes I was waiting for him to write up the ticket, two other traffic violators were pulled over by him and his cohort.

When he returned, he shoved a piece of paper in my face without any explanation and said, “Sign here.”  I replied, “What exactly are you asking me to sign?”  and he pointed to the signature line with his pen, rather than explain anything to me or give me the usual info about when my court date is, how I can pay the fine and avoid court, etc.  In short, he was a douchebag, and if he had the time to pull me over, he should have taken the time to explain procedures to me, especially after I made a direct inquiry, rather than speak only through his pointer finger.  Before rolling up my window and pulling out I said, “So you and your buddy are basically tag-teaming people on their way back to the office from lunch, huh?  That’s disappointing to see my tax dollars used that way, but you must be real proud.”  He gave me a dirty look.  After I started to pull out I rolled down my passenger window and told him I needed his name since he had written it (and the rest of the ticket) illegibly, and once I was securely back on the road and moving (slowly) I made direct eye contact with the jackass and mouthed “Fucking pig” like I was talking to a lip reader.  He made an enraged face, I have complete deniability and I feel a little bit better just recalling it.

I smell bacon.

I smell bacon.

I checked out the county police web site and laughed at the traffic safety page’s committment to “keeping the roadways safe.”  My ass.  The only thing they are committed to is taking taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars.  It’s not especially safe (or smart) to run out in front of moving traffic.  When it happened, I slammed on my brakes, as one is wont to do when a person suddenly appears in the middle of the road.  Because part of the road is being worked on, the accessible part is more jammed than usual, thus increasing the likelihood that there may be a collision if one car comes to a sudden stop.  This is clearly a money making operation, not an efforts towards safety.  There are also 4 traffic lights in less than a mile of this road, so it’s virtually impossible to get going very fast as is.  And in case you were wondering, this is not a road that has had an unusual instance of accidents that would justify extra monitoring.

I can’t tell you how many times I have a seen a driver do something truly dangerous on the road, like back up on the shoulder to get onto an exit he had passed.  Do you think people pulling these asinine stunts are getting ticketed?  Fuck no.  Never once have I watched someone do something horrifically stuipd on the road and actually be sanctioned for it, but boy is the police force on top of commuters driving 10 miles over the limit.

Unsafe driver?  Damn.  I missed it.

Unsafe driver? Damn. I missed it.

The area I live, work and commute in is ranked in the top ten in the nation for worst traffic/shittiest commutes, and ranked as high as number two in a recent report, second only to LA.  At least one out of every four times that I hit a patch of crappier than usual traffic on my way to work, it turns out the holdup is because a cop pulled a speeder over, causing rubbernecking and the inevitable hitting of breaks that occurs when drivers see the flashing lights of the law. But where are these same cops when drivers try to bypass the line of traffic merging onto an exit by forcing their way into the front of the line with sheer bulk of vehicle, nearly causing at least two collisions in the process?  Those cops are too busy issuing the 23rd speeding ticket of the morning, that’s where.

And then there’s the rampant abuse of power, such as cops’ tendency to park wherever the fuck they please, even if that spot is not an actual parking space.  The other day a cop had to interview a co-worker of mine about a personal matter, so he pulled his car up to the curb at the front entrance of our building and parked it there for 30 minutes.  This was a preplanned interview, not an emergency situation, and our building offers plenty of parking.  Plus, the curb there is painted yellow, so it’s illegal to park there, and it alarmed our employees, who thought some serious shit was going down (probably that I had finally snapped and murdered Douche).  This officer put me in the unfortunate position of having to explain to everyone that there was no need to be alarmed because the cop was speaking to someone regarding a personal matter, and since everyone I work with is nosy as hell, they all asked who he was talking to and why.  I said I didn’t know, which they know is a lie because I would have had to have seen who he was talking to or called that person to let the person know he was here, so then a bunch of employees were pissy with me for not sharing the goods.  Inconsiderate all around.  That cop is probably buddies my friend’s neighbor, a cop that lives in her apartment complex and has been known to park his car (illegally) in the roundabout.  If the local police weren less inclined to think of themselves as tax collectors who are above the law, I might be more inclined to respect them a little bit. 

Safety first.

Safety first.



Douche: If He Were Any Dumber, I’d Have to Water Him
July 9, 2009, 9:14 pm
Filed under: Work Bitching
He sure as shit isn't going to water himself.

He sure as shit isn't going to water himself.

It’s been previously documented here that my direct supervisor, Douche, is an idiot.  His intense stupidity is the gift that keeps on giving.  Aren’t I lucky?  Case in point:  Earlier this week, Douche was filling out two forms, one which required he write out the address of our building.  The building that he has been coming to five days a week for over a year now.  The headquarters of our company.  The building in which he has an office.  The building whose address is printed on his business cards.

He had to ask me what the zip code is.

Oh for fuck's sake.

Oh for fuck's sake.

I acted like I didn’t hear him at first, because my brain found itself unwilling to take seriously the notion that a man with the word “director” in his title doesn’t know the full address of the company he works for.  After asking him to repeat the question twice, I answered it for him.  When he had completed the two forms, he handed them to me, and instinctually, I did a quick glance-over to check for errors.

He wrote down the wrong zip code.

We should really bring the dunce cap back.

We should really bring the dunce cap back.

Oh, and that address that he needed to write down and didn’t know?  It was printed out on the other of the two forms he was filling in. 

As far as I know, Douche has not been deemed officially mentally retarded by medical professionals, but sometimes someone surely slips through the cracks.  Perhaps the company is sponsoring him through some kind of community outreach charity program that I am unaware of.  But lest you find yourself pitying Douche as a poor victim of bad genetics, let me make something clear:  Douche is not just ignorant, he’s lazy and a he’s a jackass, and a lot of his ignorance is the result of his own laziness.  He has been reported to the Human Resources department at least twice that I know of for inappropriate behavior (the first time by myself, on his second day of employment, the second time by a woman whose title includes the letters VP).  He treats his employees like his own personal servants, and he only assists people in the company with their needs if they have a title he considers worthy.  He frequently tells employees how hung-over he is from partying the night before, placing his pathetic attempt to make himself appear as if he has friends above any sense of professionalism or office decorum.  He’s dumb and he’s just kind of a rotten person, a very unfortunate and frustrating combination.  He must be blowing somebody high up on the totem pole, because it’s been 14 months and counting, and this bastard still has a job. 

Ain’t corporate America grand?

*The title quote is from the 2008 film Prom Night.  Lest you get the impression from that one line that the movie is worth watching, let me disabuse you of that notion.  I gave it 15 more minutes of viewing after that line out of respect before I had to give up watching.