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Happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to you…

December 25, 2010, 4:20 AM

Yes, a happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to you. I will be glad to see another one of these pass, that’s for sure. This year, I was just totally not into the whole Christmas thing, and almost outright opposing it, as evidenced by my many comments about it on the Twitter in the past month:

People need to boycott WASH-FM until after New Years when they stop playing that annoying #Christmas music!

Wishing that “criminally bad lighting displays” was a citable offense: #xmas #christmas

My idea of Christmas spirit this year: #scrooge #christmas #holidays

After all, “#Christmas” is really just a celebration of #capitalism and materialism, and anyone who thinks otherwise is deluding themselves.

@Slate Considering #Christmas has no meaning whatsoever, why not? Just one more thing for retailers to sucker you into buying. (Note: This tweet was in response to a question from Slate about whether Jews should own Christmas trees)

How much would I have to pay the man playing #Christmas music on his trumpet to get him to stop?

Why don’t we just refer to #Christmas as “Shameless #Capitalism Day” and get it over with already?

Is it rude to refer to people who post “Happy birthday Jesus” status messages as delusional? #christmas #birthday #jesus

Happy Generic Capitalist Holiday to all.

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Greetings from CAF 5109…

November 17, 2010, 7:29 PM

First of all, hello from CAF 5109. I am riding the Red Line home from the Tenleytown area, having just had a wonderful time enjoying a cup of coffee with a friend. Always good to see friends, and nothing beats a hot cup of coffee on a cool fall evening.

Meanwhile, this is my first time actually writing a Journal entry on my netbook while on the Metro. The train is not crowded by any means, so I’m sitting sideways in a row and typing with the computer on one leg. And it seems to work. I’m listening to Randi Rhodes on podcast, and just tapping away on the keyboard. For those wondering, I don’t have Internet on here right now, but instead, I will post this when I get home. I’m too late for the 51, so I figure, I’m either going to take the Y9 bus or walk. Follow me on the Twitter and find out, I suppose. Meanwhile, this train did not service Farragut North, strangely enough. When we went through (without stopping), there was caution tape on the platform and a bunch of people in safety vests at the outbound end, but a lot of regular people on the inbound end. Go fig. I know that the L Street entrance was closed, but who knows if that’s related.

Then this weekend is raid weekend. It’s always fun to troll Scientology, and this ought to be good, though I’m concerned that our numbers will be down due to its being so close to Thanksgiving. This is, after all, the weekend before Thanksgiving, and I’m sure that many people will be taking off early for the holiday. However, Scientology is not above scamming people out of large sums of their money on the weekend before Thanksgiving, and thus we will be outside to troll. It’s this Saturday from 1-5 PM. Hope to see you there. Should be fun. Hopefully I’ll be proven wrong on the numbers, and we’ll have a good number of (masked) faces out there trolling Scientology.

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“This makes me very angry! Very angry, indeed!”

October 29, 2010, 10:57 PM

I have come to the conclusion that if I don’t post this right away, it will become buried under Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, and Restoring Sanity and Keep Fear Alive and all of that. So thus we have the take from my office’s Halloween party on Friday. As is usually the case, the costumes ran from political to humorous to tributes to various elements of popular culture. So here’s the spread:

We have, left to right, using character names, Bill Gates, Tim (holding the remains of a brussels sprouts plant), a crazy cat lady, a guy from Aperture Laboratories (from Portal), Christine O'Donnell, then a character that I don't recognize, me in "weekend mode" (wearing pajama pants and unshaven), Marvin the Martian, and a white-trash pregnant woman.

We have, left to right, using character names, Bill Gates, Tim (holding the remains of a brussels sprouts plant), a crazy cat lady, a guy from Aperture Laboratories (from Portal), Christine O’Donnell, then a character that I don’t recognize, me in “weekend mode” (wearing pajama pants and unshaven), Marvin the Martian, and a white-trash pregnant woman.

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Categories: Halloween, Work

So let’s review: Solicited attention, good. Unsolicited attention, bad.

May 13, 2010, 2:19 PM

With my birthday coming up at the end of this month, the love-hate relationship I’ve had with my birthday has come up, and we’ve again discovered that the emphasis is more on “hate” in that love-hate birthday relationship. Really, I don’t look forward to it anymore, since I get a bunch of well-intended but unwanted attention. To me, it’s like, okay, it’s a number change, big deal, and so okay and let’s move on.

Really, it’s all a matter of attention. If I am seeking it, I will gladly accept it. However, if I don’t want it, even if it is positive, I will try to escape it, or deliberately ruin it. I escaped my college graduation, where, if I didn’t get my way, I would have gotten undesired attention while at the same time not enjoyed myself. And the hell with what family members want when it comes to me celebrating milestones in my life. If I want to celebrate a milestone with everyone, then great. Let’s all be happy together. If I want to celebrate in my own way, or choose not to celebrate at all, that’s my prerogative. Nothing wrong with that. And if celebration in my honor is forced on me against my will, I will make sure to spoil it. I remember in 2005, my mother was all gung-ho about my birthday, and wanted to go all out for it, and I didn’t want to have anything to do with it. If I recall, I turned the phone off and just left for a while. Then when I got back home, I threw my unwanted birthday cake in the trash right along with the unwanted birthday card. I don’t understand what makes people want to spend money to celebrate something where the person whose thing it is being celebrated doesn’t want it to be celebrated in the first place. I tell people not to buy me a card, and they don’t listen. I tell them not to buy me a cake and they don’t listen…

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Categories: Birthdays

So I got pranked this April Fool’s – big time…

April 1, 2010, 9:02 PM

So this year, April Fool’s Day was a bit more active on the prank front than usual. This is my third April Fool’s with these people, and the last two were fairly blah.

The first prank that I knew about was an Email that I sent out to the staff outlining some new kitchen procedures:

Greetings, all…

I’ve been reviewing how we run our kitchens, and am implementing some changes.

1) All food containers in the kitchen may only be orange in color. I did some research on this, and came to the conclusion that orange containers preserve food better than any other color, and therefore we will be switching to orange containers, effective immediately. The kitchens will be purged of all non-orange containers at 3:00 today.

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Categories: Holidays, Work

It’s okay to want to celebrate one’s birthday on one’s own terms…

February 25, 2010, 7:24 PM

I had an interesting discussion with Mom today about birthdays. And at this point in the year, it’s more academic than about planning, because the next birthday is my brother-in-law’s in the middle of next month (and for the record, saying “my brother-in-law” still sounds odd). Then Mom’s doesn’t come up until April, and mine in May. When it comes to my birthday, the last one I was really all excited about was my 21st, and that was kind of tempered when I got a speeding ticket on the way up to JMU that morning. Then 22 and 23 came and passed without much fanfare, but then 24 is one where I rebelled against my birthday. That was the one where I really got serious about celebrating my birthday on my terms. That year, I wanted no cake, and no celebrations of any kind. And my mother never really “got it” on that one.

With mothers, birthdays are kind of interesting. After all, it was a special day for Mom, too. I came into the world, and Mom kinda had to, you know, have a baby. Lots of pain, I’m sure, since Mom went through 30 hours of labor with me before the doctor determined that I wasn’t coming out that way, and I ended up being born via C-section. But I like to think I was worth it, and Mom readily admits the same. But I think the whole giving-birth bit is why she’s not able to quite figure out why I want to celebrate birthdays quietly on my own terms. Mom wants to celebrate it because, after all, she became a mother on my birthday. But still…

I’ve said before in this space, as well as in the old quote section, that I kind of don’t like awards ceremonies. Okay, I loathe them. I would rather eat razor blades than attend an awards ceremony. It’s because I don’t like being thrust in the center of attention. And birthdays, if not celebrated properly, fall into the same category. I for one don’t like birthday cards. It’s unwanted recognition. Save the money you would spend on the cheap sentiment and do something else.

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Categories: Birthdays

So it seems to be the case that the Waynesboro Wal-Mart is that special place where managers’ careers go to die…

November 27, 2009, 11:03 PM

So Katie and I had fun today, running around Staunton and Waynesboro doing part trolling and part shopping. After I picked Katie up, we first went over to troll the Waynesboro Wal-Mart, where we used to work. After saying hello to some of the people we used to work with, we also ran into the new store manager. The manager is now a guy named Nathan, and he looks like he should be wearing a pinstriped suit and a fedora rather than a Wal-Mart name badge. Seriously, he looked like a prohibition-era gangster.

So with Al Capone as the new manager, the question becomes, what happened to the previous manager, who was there when I was still there? Turns out that he is “no longer with the company”. In other words, he probably got canned, because when management types say that someone is no longer with the company and leave it at that, you know that someone’s career had a “fiery” end. Otherwise, if they left on good terms, people will generally say something like, “Bob left to take a new position at Company XYZ.” When I visited my ex-store not long after getting hired at my current job, I found out that the management at the store was saying that I was “no longer with the company”. I personally wish they would have just said that they fired me. Let’s be honest now, since I’m pretty open about it. Especially since in my case, they made stuff up and rammed it through a coaching process. Really ethical people over at Wal-Mart.

But anyway, that means that the Waynesboro Wal-Mart is three for three. Their current manager is number four, and the last three all did not leave the Waynesboro Wal-Mart with their Wal-Mart career intact. Thus the Waynesboro Wal-Mart seems to be the place where management careers go to die. No one’s career leaves there alive, it seems.

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The parking lot known as Interstate 66…

November 25, 2009, 10:07 PM

First of all, greetings from Stuarts Draft, where I’ve not been in six months. I’m here until Sunday, and left straight from work, which was interesting.

I tried something new this time around. I drove into work, worked a half day, and then left for Stuarts Draft straight from the office. For that, I took 16th Street from P Street to K Street, and then took K Street to I-66. Then I took 66 to the end, where I caught I-81 down to Staunton, and then from there, moseyed around a few back roads to Stuarts Draft and my parents’ house.

Driving into work and then leaving straight from work certainly has its ups and downs. On one hand, I can load up in the morning and then go, and not have to go back home to pick up the car, i.e. go north from the office back to Maryland just to immediately turn south again to go to Virginia. Then the drop-at-Vienna-the-night-before bit is a shade complicated. Recall that the drop-at-Vienna method involves positioning the car with most of the luggage in Virginia the night before, taking Metro and a bus back to Maryland, and then going to work like normal the next day. Then after work, take Metro to Vienna rather than Glenmont, grab the car, and zing off to Stuarts Draft. The idea there was to avoid the inside-the-beltway traffic by putting the car ahead of that and taking Metro to meet the car, but it’s just a bit too much trouble, and involves a lot of advance planning and coordination of what needs to be where. Plus it’s weird stashing the car and one’s luggage in another state for a night.

The whole idea is dealing with the traffic most effciently when there’s a workday involved. See, going into work precludes use of the Beltway for the trip out, since work is in Dupont Circle, near downtown Washington. One would think that it would have been less congested, but I-66 was slow all the way to Vienna. Seriously, I was on the phone with Mom part of the way, and was like, “I’m going eight miles per hour. Oh, wait, now ten. Wait… five.” Yeah, that slow. On the freeway. At least I had people on the phone, plus Randi Rhodes when I didn’t have anyone on the phone.

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It’s not even Thanksgiving yet…

November 25, 2009, 6:31 AM

It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, and I’m already ready for Christmas to go stick itself where the sun don’t shine. I think this is the earliest I’ve ever written the annual I-hate-Christmas Journal entry. And they haven’t even decorated the lobby of my office building yet.

But yes, I’m already tired of it. And mind you, I have good reason to already be tired of it. My local Target in Wheaton had an aisle of Christmas crap set up in early October. Then on Monday, while I was getting lunch at Metro Cafe, the radio in there was blasting Christmas music – “Frosty the Snowman” to be specific. Then at the dentist’s office yesterday, they were playing WASH-FM, which was belting out the Christmas music like it was going out of style. Though at least the receptionist was commenting that they should change the radio station, since I think he didn’t like the idea of the Christmas music coming through that early, either.

All in all, it makes me want to take a blowtorch to Frosty the Snowman, or at least threaten him with a hair dryer. Imagine this happy little snowman, with the corncob pipe, button nose, and those two eyes made out of coal, right? Then I pull up in my car, brandishing a blowtorch. “Say your prayers, snowman!” And then a few minutes later, only a puddle remains.

Meanwhile, I’m surprised that the retailers haven’t figured out how to turn Christmas into an all-year thing yet. After all, they count down the number of shopping days until Christmas, and so one would think that they’d just roll it over and on December 26, say “364 more shopping days until Christmas”, and keep the Santa Claus music going all year long.

Somehow, I think that the Grinch had it right.

Then on the day after Thanksgiving, Katie and I are getting together, and having a whole lot of fun that has absolutely nothing to do with Christmas. We’re going to basically do what we often do – run around town and basically troll a few places. Will we buy anything? Probably not. After all, we’re doing our thing for the lulz…

Categories: Christmas

I’ll bet no one realized that the headstone image was not randomly chosen…

November 13, 2009, 11:11 PM

This was the photo feature that I ran to coincide with Veterans’ Day:

Headstone of Jason Redifer

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Categories: Arlington, Holidays

Once again, my coworkers showed how festive halloween can be…

October 30, 2009, 10:04 PM

We definitely had some interesting costumes this time around at our office halloween party. Check it out:

Halloween costumes at work in 2009

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So I figured out what I’m going to be for halloween this year…

October 22, 2009, 10:46 PM

So I found my inspiration for this year’s halloween costume:


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Categories: Halloween, Tea Party

There’s nothing like an evening of anti-consumerism Christmas caroling to really get you in the spirit…

December 21, 2008, 12:15 AM

Yes, there’s nothing like an evening of anti-consumerism Christmas caroling to really get you in the spirit of things this time of year. From 7 to 10 PM on Friday night, I, along with other like-minded DC area activists, did just that. We had our caroling session in Georgetown, at the intersection of M Street NW and Wisconsin Avenue NW, with The Shops at Georgetown Park on the southwest corner, and the PNC Bank building (former Riggs Bank building) on the northeast corner. What better place to protest consumerism and the current economic crisis than outside an upscale three-story shopping mall and a large bank, no?

I left work at 5 PM as usual, and took Metro to Foggy Bottom. There, I walked west along Pennsylvania Avenue, crossing the bridge over Rock Creek Parkway and passing the Lukoil station to arrive in Georgetown. Then it was a few more blocks down M Street before I reached The Shops at Georgetown Park.

There, I found a woman wearing a Santa hat, and so I took off my Gatsby cap, and put on the long Santa hat that I had previously worn to the Anon raid. Then the woman passed me a songbook, and we got busy singing.

The songs were very creative, taking popular Christmas carols and writing new lyrics to fit our anti-consumerism theme. The words mostly fit the tunes, though a few parts here and there required us to think on our feet and be creative to make them fit properly. All in all, we did our best, and had fun.

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Categories: Activism, Christmas

If I hear “O Holy Night” one more time, I’m going to scream…

December 8, 2008, 11:06 PM

I am officially designating my apartment a “Christmas-Free Zone”, because in going out anywhere, I’m bombarded with Christmas cheer, and it’s already gotten on my nerves. After all, it’s basically a holiday that celebrates capitalism at its worst, as people go to all this trouble to show how materialistic they are. After having worked four Christmases at Wal-Mart, I’ve found that the season really brings out the worst in people, as people buy their children’s presents right in front of them, and then turn around and lie to their children, telling them that it’s from “Santa Claus”. Give me a break.

I can’t even go to Chipotle without getting blasted with Christmas music, either. Aspen Hill Shopping Center, which is where my local Chipotle is located, is piping Christmas music into their outdoor shopping center – loudly. It’s enough to really get on one’s nerves.

The best example of what’s wrong with this season of rampant materialism is what happened at the Wal-Mart store on Long Island, where a worker was trampled to death while guarding the door. That’s just sad, really. It’s sad for the family of the employee for their loss, and it’s a sad commentary on our society that people value a person’s safety less than saving a few extra bucks on cheap Chinese-made crap. And the fact that Wal-Mart put this person – a temporary worker, no less – in that position primarily because he was larger in stature, makes me all the more annoyed. It demonstrates what I’ve known for some time – Wal-Mart doesn’t give a crap about their employees, and they will stop at nothing, and step on as many toes as necessary, to get to people’s wallets. That death was absolutely preventable, and I hope that the family of the trampled worker comes out well in court. I’d love to see Wal-Mart try to defend themselves on this one.

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Categories: Christmas

I won “best concept”!

November 2, 2008, 7:03 PM

So halloween went swimmingly. We dressed up at work, and had a costume contest. We had four different categories: best concept, best execution, “that took guts to wear”, and “most likely to traumatize a child”. I ended up winning best concept, with my 3000-Series Breda. Take a look:

My Breda 3000-Series costume

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