Bush is taking a vacation. I don't get a vacation... at least not one with pay. He'd better be doing a lot of worrying about BIG issues while he's away on vacation. Europeans get months off of work. I get four days and none of them paid. For reasons behind this, read yesterday's entry.
Tuesday, December 23, 2003
Monday, December 22, 2003
This morning, while brushing my teeth, something hit me. My contract runs out at the end of February. That's not good. Not good at all. My plight is only part of a larger problem. At what point did it become acceptable to hire people for six months at a time, with no benefits, and then drop them? From what I can figure out, the real problem lies in the current employment situation in the US. There are so many people out there looking for any kind of work that pays over $10 an hour (here ruling out making sandwiches and/or cleaning stuff) that we'll take anything we can get. We don't care about benefits, vacation time, hours or, let alone, what we're actually doing. Somewhere, somehow, something has gone horribly wrong. I hear stories of companies actually recruiting students and asking them to join their companies with bonuses! Bonuses! I understand that people still get recruited and still get bonuses, but it used to happen a lot more often to a lot more people.
Who wants to work in a big corporation anyway? Not me... but I sure wouldn't mind a little stability. There was a power-shift somewhere. The reason that these companies would want to treat workers the way they are is to increase their profits. Obviously, if they don't need to pay benefits or retirement plans or compensate workers in any other way, they'll make more money. Workers have lost their pull and it's corporations that have purchased it, worn it out and don't even seem to be considering returning it. Production is up, but employment is remaining the same. What this means is that the workers are doing more, but aren't getting any backup to help them. In the old days, this would happen and the workers would get tired and the company would have to hire some more workers. Now, with enough perfectly qualified people out looking for jobs, tired workers can be
But enough about everybody else, what am I supposed to do? It's not like the job I have is sitting there advancing my career in any way. So, what happens when the project that I have to print and copy stuff for is over? The answer is clear: A DIFFERENT JOB!!! With NEW people to pretend I enjoy working for in hopes of having someone pay for my health insurance! Yay!
Posted by Greg on Monday, December 22, 2003
Friday, December 19, 2003
Hum dee dum. Read this. I was told that there would be something for me to do at 3pm. It's 3:12 and now I'm sitting around blogging for lack of anything better to do. The link above goes to the winners of the British blog awards. Just makes this one feel inadequate if you ask me. oh well. It seems like British people don't have te same stigma against blogging as some Americans do. Honestly, this is really "nerdy" over here and over there it seems semi-respectable. One of the op-eds in the Times is pretty good today. Click on the : after times on the right and it should go to the op-ed page. And here's some really good news for mp3 downloaders.
And this is REALLY IMPORTANT
Posted by Greg on Friday, December 19, 2003
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Wait a minute...
Here's an article in the post explaining how my taxes are being used, without authorization, to upgrade the system used to collect taxes. I'm not sure if this counts as irony, stupidity, or ridiculousosity. But I don't like it.
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Sunday, December 14, 2003
A Ride on the Metro (Now with Pod People)
R and I spent the afternoon at her parents' house in Bethesda. They have a really comfortable couch. We spend many a Sunday afternoon there and always take the metro back into DC at around 6pm or so. The platform is usually empty except for the two of us and someone crazy who feels like talking (see the Ode to Guy at Grovesnor from 9/23). This week was very different. Before we even got to the platform we watched as a large group of 40 and 50 somethings got onto the train (that we would miss while getting tickets). We're talking twenty or thirty people, which is a lot compared to the usual three. By the time our train showed up, there was another crowd of forty to fifty 40 and 50 somethings waiting to get on. As soon as we entered the car, fear gripped my like a nymphomaniacal Greg-fetished gorilla. Any new passengers would be met by standing room only in a car of older suburbanites wearing scarves and a cloud of the same perfume frangrance exuding from every female on board. What the hell was going on? I had to know. Why was a car, normally empty, now full of bald men and their caked makeup wives? Where did these women buy all their big, gold clip-on earrings? Why did everyone seem to know eachother? The next stop yielded the same results. More of them piled on, greeted eachother, introduced their wives and started small talk about slush and wind chill.
I honestly began to wonder if I had entered another dimension. My mind started to race through different possibilities. A GOP fundraiser downtown? No way, republicans wouldn't take the metro. An AARP gathering? They were old... but not that old. Were they leaving something in Bethesda and all just returning to their homes? Impossible. These people definitely didn't live in the city... they leaked suburbia from their pores. Was there a terrorist threat in Bethesda and some kind of new Patriot Act amendment that let all the wealthy men and their clingy wives evacuate first? No wonder they looked so pleased with themselves.
Why did they all look so content? What wonderful slaughter were we all being transported to?
And then I heard it. Three words. "Simon" "and" "Garfunkle". Suddenly, like an easy SAT question, all the pieces fit together. Crumbs are to Bread as Dust is to Wood and these people are all on their way to the same lame concert.
"I thought they broke up?" whispers R in my ear.
"They must need money."
All at once, a few of the elders seem to realize that there are young people in their midst.
"They probably don't even know who Simon and Garfunkle are."
"They're like Simon and who?"
"I don't even know the names of the bands my daughter listens to."
"Do you think they'll do Mrs. Robinson?"
Whispers fly around the car and, with the first explanation of buying concert tickets online as a pioneering concept, my head starts to spin. I'm overwhelmed with the idea that this is probably the first time in a year these wives have been into DC and it's all to go to a concert from the nice guy and his jerk friend who can't even sing.
"Get me out of here!" I want to scream, lunging at the nearest velvet bollero-wearing Garfunkle fan. Luckily, my actions never had to go this far. I kept silent; except for some random giggling and made it out the door with only a few disgusted glances around the car.
Now I'm home; safe. What disturbs me the most, is what I might have thought if I hadn't overheard the venue. I wouldn't sleep, that's for sure.
Posted by Greg on Sunday, December 14, 2003
Well, they caught Saddam. Now the question is: What are they going to do with him? I'm as happy as everyone else that a terrible dictator is now in prison, but I'm scared about what effect this will have on the public opinion of Bush et. al. I suppose we'll find out soon enough.
Posted by Greg on Sunday, December 14, 2003
Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Since when were earthquakes called temblors? Either way, I didn't feel anything at all and was informed of said temblor a few hours after it occured. Stuff like this makes you think, though... it really does... about stuff... y'know... important things... like having to wake up for work tomorrow. Stuff like that.
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Sometimes, even the most ambitious and good-intentioned blogs end up turning into simple lists of what people had for lunch. I fear this will become one of them.
Yesterday I had a Cliff bar that I snacked on from around noon until 2, then I went out and got a sandwich with Turkey, American and hot peppers. That was good. I shouldn't have had that bag of chips though.
Today I brought two clementines and a cliff bar, but started to get really, really hungry around ten minutes ago and ended up at the hotdog stand downstairs. I already ate the hotdog... but the bag of chips is only half done and sitting next to me at my desk. The cliff bar is in my drawer.... with a banana... from... a while ago... That half smoke was good though. I think "half smoke" is a DC thing. It's just a big, spicy hot dog.
Posted by Greg on Tuesday, December 09, 2003
Thursday, December 04, 2003
In regard to yesterday's rant, I have only this to say:
Production is up, but hiring is down. That means that the current workforce is just working harder. This explains why I'm so tired.
Posted by Greg on Thursday, December 04, 2003
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
If you remember Animal Farm, there was this constant theme throughout that no matter how poorly the farm was doing, Napoleon and his pig friends would always say that production was at an all time high and that everything was great. What I'm starting to wonder is this: Why is it that, as soon as the mainstream media starts reporting that Bush is going to need to focus on the failing economy to win the election, production takes a jump? Who's reporting that production is jumping? The US Department of Labor, of course. Now, I'm not saying that the Dept. of Labor is the only group reporting on productivity jumps and a more lively economy, there are tons of news agencies reporting on the Dept. of Labor's findings too.
What I really want to know is this:
Conservatives will say that this is totally ridiculous. That suggesting that the Department of Labor would skew statistics to make it look like tax cuts had saved the economy is completely insane. Then again, President George W. Bush nominated Elaine L. Chao, the current secretary of Labor. He also nominated Kathleen P. Utgoff the commissioner of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, which reported this productivity jump.
Now I'll make my concessions: I'm not saying that anything happened. I know that there are a lot of other people in each of these departments who actually collect this information and make it available and weren't appointed by a conservative "president". I also know that tax cuts can boost the economy. But for how long and at what cost?
But here's what I want to leave with: Three actions that seem like oddly coincidental reactions:
It's a depressing outlook, but doesn't it seem extremely coincidental that everytime it would be useful for something to happen to this administration, it happens? 9-11 is a bit of a stretch, but this other stuff? Child's play when you've got enough money and leftover Daddy-politicos.
Posted by Greg on Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Monday, December 01, 2003
Quite a visit home for the weekend. There's nothing like a long haul on a bus to get the mind working. I've decided that I need a really new hobby... I'd better get to work on that... Apparently, I didn't do that much thinking on the bus.
Posted by Greg on Monday, December 01, 2003