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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Preventative Education

I’ve been randomly taking classes at my local community college over the past few years. I don’t need the classes for anything, I’m not trying to use them to get a degree, but I am taking them for credit, just in case. I’m paying for the classes myself, and not using any type of financial aid.

I have to pay for the classes myself as I make too much money for financial aid. In fact, I’ve never been eligible for financial aid, other than student loans. When I first went to college (many years ago) my parents made to much money. And even though I didn’t live at home with them, I was under the age limit and so there incomes attributed to my eligibility. My parents income prevented me from financial aid, yet they contributed no money to my actual education.

It’s getting time to sign up for spring quarter and I want to re-take a class I took in college many years ago. It’s been a while, and now they have pre-requisites they want for it. So I call up the instructor and say, “I’ve already taken this class in the past. I’ve already passed this class in the past. but I’d like to take it again, since it’s been a while and I wasn’t satisfied with the grade I received.” He informed me that I needed the pre-requisites. I went down the school, got the run around and eventually through showing my records and talking to him, I was finally let into the class. This involved way more time and effort than it should have.

Once I tried taking an advanced photography class, but same thing. The teacher wanted me to take photography 101 first. The thing is, I’ve already done a certification program at another school, and totally knew everything in the 101 class, but I let him talk me into the 101 class. I dropped it after the second week. The class was as I expected. I knew everything and wanted to shove a pen in my eye, just to make it interesting.

One time, I did actually talk a teacher into letting me into a class without the pre-requisite. I ended up with a B in that class. So really, was the pre-requisite necessary? No.

My freshman year of high school, I skipped class a lot. As punishment for skipping I was suspended. I wasn’t given more work as punishment. Work was taken away from me. And as a teenage kid, this is viewed as a good thing. Teenagers don’t want to go to class. I also once had a teacher try to get me kicked out for smoking pot because I would show up for school with red eyes. Anyone who has seen me in the morning knows, I’m not a morning person. Sure, I smoked pot many times in high school, just never before her class.

A friend of mine has a couple of kids, and told me that they were off school last week. This is only a month and half away from winter break, and a month or so before spring break. Most every time I talk to her it seems that her kids are out of school for some reason or another. Teacher days, half days, vacation days, etc.

Most teachers complain about the job, the lousy parents, the students, and of course the pay. Yet, when it comes down to it, they don’t work 8 hour days (unless they do after school programs), and they get paid for summer vacation. I don’t believe they ever go a full month of having to work 5 days a week.

It used to be the purpose of school was to get an education. To learn from people who wanted to teach. Everyone wanted the students to be there because they were the future. And it was the education systems job to prepare them for the future. Unions, a flawed system full of standardized tests, angry absent parents, and disobedient uninterested students have all contributed to a new system of education. A system that discourages all involved.

We no longer want to get an education for the sake of learning. We force ourselves through it because we want a piece of paper. A piece of paper that proves we are able to sit in a classroom long enough to retain information and pass a test. A test that proves we are just like everyone else. Being intimately close to a teacher, I respect her for doing what she does. She genuinely cares about her students and wants them to learn. But I also hear about the hassle she has to go through in order to do her job, and I wonder how long will it be before she goes from the enthusiastic first year teacher she is now, to the uninterested burnt out instructor, who only looks forward to summer vacations, and reasons to discourage students from entering her class, so that it is one less student to have to deal with.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Radio Tax

In another effort to motivate the general public to illegally download music rather than listen to the radio, record labels are attempting to start charging stations a performance tax. Up until now radio has consisted of a free play for free promotion philosophy. By allowing stations to play the music for free, labels have received free music promotion for their artists, resulting in record sales. With declining sales, the music executives have decided that taxation is the way to keep their incomes large.

The end result of this tax will be a reduction in the variety of music played. And for anyone who has actually listened to the radio lately knows, there isn’t much variety as it is.

Check out http://www.noperformancetax.org/ for more information.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Tiger in The News Again

The top story on MSNBC today is…. Tiger Woods saying he’s sorry. Really! Our celebrity obsessed society wants to hear this and cares? Our news agencies think this is the most important thing they should be reporting on today?

Further proof that people are mindless retards! I of course closed the website, and am refusing to read or watch the news until sometime next week when this story goes away.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Skinny and Fat

One of the morbid things that has happened to me since I started living the Dream has been that I am fat and skinny at the same time. How the hell can you be fat and skinny at the same time?!

I've lost muscle mass and replaced it with fat. The gym you say? Yeah, I love running in place like a freakin' hampster for an hour to find that I went absolutely nowhere. Then I can strain and lift weights, only to find that they are in the same place. Its not like I was with a bunch of Amish dudes building a barn. At least they have something to show for their labor.

Between being on a computer all day and driving everywhere because my paren't's generation decided that urban planning for people was no longer necessary, I am convinced I wont make the new retirement age of 67. I better start saving hard for an early retirement if I want one at all.

Livin' the Dream baby!

5 Signs Your Job Sucks

I pulled this off bripblap from a few years ago, yet it seems relevant to life in another large corporation I know of today. I like number 2 & 5 on the list as it is very much what I do.

1. You can’t get out of bed in the morning. If you wake up in the morning and groan, it’s not a good sign. During the one year in the last eight years of my working career I was excited about my work, I leapt out of bed every morning. If the prospect of going to work creates enough dread in your mind that you don’t want to leave bed in the morning, your job sucks.

2. You spend more time on the internet than you do working. I know everyone spends a certain amount of time browsing the internet at work – we’re all human. At the same time, if you spend more time at gothamist than you do working, it means your job sucks for one of two reasons: either you have stuff to do and it’s so awful you’re avoiding it, or your job sucks because you have nothing to do.

3. You’re the first person out the door in the evening. I’m a big work-life balance guy, but I know that when I lead the 5:00 charge out of the door I’m not engaged in my work. If you’re enjoying your work you’re going to stick around at least past the first exodus every evening – if for no other reason than to see if you can pick up on after-hours gossip.

4. You don’t think about work after hours. When I was engaged in my work, I thought about it after I left work. I would go for drinks with co-workers and talk about work. I got passionate about it, because it was interesting and I was involved. As I sit here writing this post in the evening, I can barely tell you what I worked on today. That means I don’t find the work interesting or even worthy of contemplation.

5. You mock people who enjoy their work. I think this demonstrates that your job sucks worse than anything. Everyone should enjoy their work. Even if your work sucks, YOU should be able to find some sense of satisfaction in the paycheck, or the fact that you’re creating something of value or beauty. If you TELL people your work is awful and mock people who enjoy their own work, your job probably sucks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The Craptime Show

It’s been a week now since the last Super Bowl. The commercial were okay this year, but the Saints beating the Colts made the game well worth watching, and it was a well played game. The only real problem with last week’s Super Bowl, was of course, the halftime show. It seems that at some point, in the past few years, the people who schedule the halftime show decided that the general public wanted to hear aging rock bands do medleys of their socks that were hits about 30 years ago, even though half the audience doesn’t even know who the band actually is.

This year’s show featured The Who, who haven’t had a hit since the 70’s, and their only recent claim to fame is their songs do the openings for the CSI shows. And of course that they aren’t dead yet. Although, by watching the halftime show the dead part could be disputed.

And to be honest, I could even handle the aging rock bands doing the halftime show. I’m a big Rolling Stones fan, and would have liked to actually see them sing one or two of their hits, and call it good. What I don’t want to see each year is the medley. Yes, I get it, these bands have had more than one hit song, but medleys suck.

The Janet Jackson (aging star) and Justin Timberlake wardrobe malfunction might be a running joke. And I might not be a J.T. fan, but at least he’s young and hip, and we didn’t have to hear a drawn out medley of her 80’s hits. Instead they chose to do a few shortened versions of a few songs. If I remember correctly there were only three songs total, unlike The Who, who did every song of theirs that broke the top 40.

What the halftime show has become is the time that people take smoke breaks, order a pizza, or refill the drinks. What it lost a long time ago, is a show worth actually watching at halftime.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

2500 Mountain Peaks for Coal So Far

What does technology and innovation get us as a first world country? Instead of digging into the side of a mountain for our coal, we just remove the whole mountain.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

What Do You Want?

Has anyone else noticed that the Republicrits and their break-away whacko Tea Baggers always define things in negatives? They don't want a government healthcare option; they don't want gays to marry, serve in the military, or even exist at all; they don't want the president's agenda to succeed; they don't want this, they don't want that...

The problem with ultra-conservatism is that it wants everything to stay the same, good or bad, with complete dissregard for rapid changes in the world.

It is very convenient to let those who can generate original thought come up with the ideas and then just squash their merits as they come. Critisism is fine. In fact, it is civic duty. But empty, ignorant attacks on issues you don't understand fully should not be missconstrued as critical thinking.

So if any Red Righties are reading this now, I challenge you to generate your own ideas and tell the rest of us what it is you do want. The only rule is that you cannot define it as a negative of another idea or issue. Do you think you can actually do that?

- Eccentri City

Monday, February 08, 2010

Life in a Box

I woke up this morning and suddenly realized that my life is spent "boxed in". I woke up on a box, inside of a box contained in a larger box, comprised of a larger box still, trying desparately to find the snooze button on the box that woke me up.

Then I stepped into another box to wash myself. I dressed, then left my living box and into my transport box where I drove to a big corporate box. I went up the stairs and into my office box where I am now typing on little boxes while staring at a box. I have a meeting in a little while in another office box where my boss will tell me to "think outside the box".

Later, I will leave the office box inside the corporate box to my transport box and return to my living box inside the condo building box. I'll stare at another box for a while before going back to the sleeping box. ET CETERA.

I think I need to take a vacation somewhere sunny and flat. The boxes are starting to piss me off.

- Eccentri City

Chase Bank Sucks

I’ve had a checking account with Washington Mutual for well over 10 years, and been pretty happy with the service. So when I started a photography business, it seemed like an easy decision to also open my business checking account with Washington Mutual as well. As everyone should know by now, WAMU went out of business last year and was sold off to Chase bank. And with that, all my accounts transferred over. For the most part, nothing much seemed to change for me other than the logo of the bank I used. That was until my last business banking statement.

On the statement I received a $5.33 service fee. And in reading the statement there was a notice at the bottom that said, “You can waive the monthly service fee on your Chase Business Classic account by maintaining an average checking balance of $4,000 or more during the statement period,” Just to be clear, I use this account as a small business photography checking account. My balance in that account has never been over $4,000.

So I called customer service, and got the wrong person, who transferred me to another person, who then transferred me to a third person. The third person spent a small amount of effort to save me as a customer on this account. All of the available options usually consisting of purchasing other services on the account, so as to avoid the fee.

FYI Washington residents: BECU provides a Basic Business Checking Account with no monthly service charge and no minimum balance requirements.

- CM

Friday, February 05, 2010

Promote the Monkey

Some of you might have noticed a rotating icon with the label “share this” on the bottom of a few of our posts here on the Cranky Monkey. Well, if you like that posts and want to send it to Digg, Sumbleupon, or even Facebook, select it and it will open a new window that you can sent that well written and totally entertaining Cranky Monkey post to.

Note: sometimes you have to refresh the page in order to get it to show. I’m not sure why that is. And I’m not super motivated to figure it out and fix it.

Thanks - CM

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Oldies Music

At what point did music from the 90’s start falling into the oldies category?

I was driving with a friend the other day, and before deciding on what type of music to play I asked, “what kind of music do you like.” This friend responded with, “I like all music.” Bullshit, no one likes all music. Instead of backhanding this friend for responding so lamely to my question, I asked him to clarify. He eventually said, “oldies for example.”

Not thinking that this person was about 10 years younger than me, I put on my oldies playlist. Which is a bunch of 60’s and 70’s music. As the drive progressed, it turned out that this person was actually thinking more like 90’s music. WTF! 90’s is oldies?!?! I of course was forced to pull over and kick the douche-bag out of the car at that point.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Polygamy, Children, and Right or Wrong

So I recently received the February edition of National Geographic, and couldn’t help but be shocked by this month’s feature story. The story is about a Mormon who has 5 (obviously not legal) wives and 46 (totally legal) children. I haven’t read it yet, and honestly don’t care what the point of the article will be. I also don’t care about the guy having 5 wives. If that many women want to be married to him, and he wants to have 5 wives, more power to the happy wacky family. What I have a problem with is the 46 children!

Last weekend, I hung out with a small group of teachers. Out of our small group not a single person was interested in having a child. These people are intelligent, well educated, and are the type of people we want teaching our children. But they also see the world for the overpopulated place it is. They see children for the hassle and cost that they are. And they enjoy having lives that revolve around each other rather than children. And they all seem very happy together. Yet, if these teachers did choose to have children, I’m sure they would limit it to 1 or 2 children.

We live in a country where a religious nut is breading 46 ignorant, narrow minded, overpopulating children. We live in a country that views popping out babies as what everyone should be doing. One of the first questions people tend to ask a newlywed couple is, “when are you having kids?” If that wedded couple doesn’t want to have children, the next question is, “Why not?” As if there is something morally wrong with making the decision not to have children at all.

In American this man can have 46 children and it’s totally legal. A crazy lady can have 8 babies at once and it’s totally legal. Yet a gay couple can’t even adopt one child, and intelligent adults are viewed as being flawed if they choose not to have children.