January 29th, 2002

groat

Further Exasperated

Remember that rock that hit the windshield of my pickup on Sunday night? The one that left a star bigger than a nickel? Well, its work wasn't done there -- it caused more damage than I thought. On the drive in to work this morning I noticed a four inch long crack in the windshield, just above the driver's side windshield wiper. Worse yet, it was bigger when I pulled into the office parking lot.

Christ on a semi-automatic crutch.

I can still remember how that music used to make me smile
  • Current Music
    Feren's Streaming MP3 collection
ashryn-londohts

Sweet....

The good folks at Enterprise Rent-A-Car billed my insurance company directly. No additional charges on my account! Wow, no-hassle account handling and they picked me up from the body shop? My opinion of them just keeps getting better.
  • Current Music
    Feren's Streaming MP3 collection
groat

Two-hundred sixty-two...

That, ladies and gentlemen, is the number of spam e-mails that I have received since I started keeping track around September 1st, 2001. That's not even a truly accurate accounting statement, now that I think about it... at first I had a hard time remembering I'd embarked upon this little endeavor -- I'd guess that I had probably forgotten to move twenty or more e-mails into the "spam" folder during the first two weeks or so at the beginning of the project. And then there are the ones that got deleted outright because they were just too stupid, obscene or bizarre for me to even attempt to parse and sort for rejection. That's another handful there, call it around twelve or so. Did you know that you can have your penis enlarged and apply for a bank loan all at the same site? Neither did I until that little piece of joy landed in my inbox. What did I do to deserve this abuse? Nothing I get in the form of dead-tree spam via the post office is as repugnant as some of the things that come across my mailbox. In fact, and I feel guilty admitting this, sometimes the glossy flyers that arrive in my mailbox actually advertise a deal on something I want, like free bread sticks with my Domino's Pizza order, or a free 6-piece Chicken McNugget when I order the new Colon Blocker Combo at McDonald's.

So we have here 262 pieces of mail that arrived in my mailbox over a time span of about five months, occupying 1,813,687 bytes (or 1.8MB if you prefer) of space on the server's disk; that equates to roughly 52 pieces of junk mail a month telling me I can enlarge my sexual organs, locate a loan, find kinky women who will titillate my libido via the impersonal ether of 1s and 0s that is the Internet (presumably leaving me to my own devices to find a method of relieving the pressure that such teasing is supposed to create) despite the fact I have a girlfriend who is more than willing to help accommodate such base desires, find my long lost relatives, repair my credit and much, much more. Those 52 pieces of mail per month translate to a loose figure of one and a half e-mails a day. One and a half e-mails a day at approximately 7kb per shot. I feel sick knowing the $263 a month I spend to have relatively quick Internet service is being monopolized by porn mongers and jerks who seem to think that by broadcasting their wares into my inbox I will suddenly decide I need to have my home reshingled (I live in an apartment complex).

Who in their right mind buys the crap that is peddled in these obnoxious ads? Anybody with an intellect more developed than that of your average fourth-grader (and even the fourth-grader can figure this out, in my humble opinion) knows that people who send out bulk advertisements are betting against the law of averages. If you're not familiar with the law of averages, let me boil it down to this for you: say some scum ball who wants to make a fast buck sends out an e-mail to 40,000 individual e-mail addresses advertising his latest perversion-filled web site, which is also sporting the latest in Web-based pornography, the incredible 3D Spank-O-Vision. Our entrepreneurial friend here is betting that one percent of the people who get that e-mail will go to view the sixty-nine, count them sixty-nine perversions! contained within the slugs web bordello. He's further betting that half of the attendees will pay the princely sum of $20 dollars (Visa, Mastercard, AMEX and Discover cheerfully accepted!) to see the aforementioned perversions (which consists of nothing more than recycled jpegs from the various alt.binaries.* Usenet groups, something they could access for free if they had an inkling that there's more to the Internet than just the world wide web). One percent of forty thousand is four hundred. If half of those visiting people actually pay, that means that 200 people paid this pandering idiot money to see low-res pr0n. 200 * $20 = $4,000. So for paying $19.95 to get a dial up account, and $39.95 to get a list of e-mail addresses, this porn broker has gotten a princely return on his investment to the tune of $3,940.10. God bless America. God bless the brain dead morons in America who actually do click on the link in the e-mail and happily pay this fee, making this a functional, viable method of marketing. Say what you like about being able to stop UCB via laws and proactive efforts, in the long run I daresay we've already lost the battle to keep this "our" Internet. The reason we lost the battle is because a majority of people these days seem to have IQs somewhere in the range of the temperatures seen in the Arctic Circle during winter. Thanks to their insatiable, chimpanzee-like curiosity this slimy weasel has made a tidy profit, thus further reinforcing his belief that what he's doing isn't wrong. I mean, how can he be? He's just a simple businessman providing a service to porn-loving men ages 18-45 everywhere who were tired of spending cold, lonely nights in their parents basements jerking off to the same old porn already on their hard drives. Never mind that 99% of the people our spammer friend bulk-mailed deleted the mail and wished him a warm and eventful trip to spammer hell, he still got those 200 schmucks to cough up their money, so there's clearly a desire for the services he provides.

Maybe I'm all wrong. Maybe these two hundred sad, lonely, socially and mentally-inept individuals deserved to lose their $20. Maybe it's a national service that the porn monger has provided, preventing these people from buying sticks of gum to choke on, thus keeping our national healthcare costs down. I'd like to think that there's a silver lining to this cloud. I'd like to think that other people think first, click later. I just wish he'd stop trying to provide his rather disturbing services to me, and let me get back to the slightly-less-pathetic task of pulling audio files from the Internet and thus breaking the bank accounts of deserving bands. Yes, I delight in pulling MP3 files from the 'net and funneling my hard-earned dollars into the coffers of some other greedy corporate scheme, thereby sending musicians plunging into bankruptcy and squalor so that they can live out the last part of their lives begging for change outside the local McDonalds and thus resulting in a pitiful individual we can all admire for being a misunderstood genius when VH-1 does a "Where Are They Now" special on them ten years from now.

As we all know, the Internet is bad and only inhabited by thieves like me.

Or maybe I'm just bitter that all the porn spam I get is written in HTML so it can look pretty for people with programs like Outlook, thus leaving my poor, "hideously out of fashion" text-based e-mail client confused and shaking after trying to parse all those hidden URLs and JavaScript popup banners.

It's more than a feeling
  • Current Music
    Feren's Streaming MP3 collection
groat

Wheefun!

There is nothing like getting into a blazing row on the phone with your parents to put a positive spin on the end of your day and make you want to smoke a few cigarettes. You know, it is truly refreshing to see that people in their sixties can behave just as stupidly as somebody in their teens when it comes to playing little drama games and poking their noses where they don't belong.

Whether my roommates are employed or not has no bearing on if the fucking check for my pickup's repairs should be mailed to me or not. The insinuation that I'd forsake the over three thousand dollars I just put onto my credit card for some strange reason vaguely relating to my roommates being unemployed (and they aren't, at the moment) is unfair and downright insulting to me. What's going on here? Do my parents think I'm paying the rent for Chris and Lana? Or maybe doing their car payments? Insurance? I am not the First National Bank of Feren, or at least I wasn't, the last I checked. My patience was wearing thin already, but when I was interrogated if my roommates are holding jobs or not right now, I started getting riled up. When I get riled up, I get obstinate. Displaying my inherited stubbornness I replied that I wasn't at liberty to release that information -- mostly because it isn't any of my parents' business, and partly because Chris and Lana were sitting not six feet away from me. I told them as much, stating that it was none of their business and has no bearing on the issue at hand -- how to get the three thousand dollars that's due me into my hands. I got back a smarmy response of "your lack of an answer tells me that they don't have jobs." In a rather curt manner I informed my mother she was sorely mistaken, and reminded her once again that said issue had no relevance to the topic of the discussion. More bullshit was fed down the line to me, and finally I reached my limit. I told Mom that I was amazed that my father's paranoia could extend this far, and that if he had any desire to change the plan that was established and agreed to previously (cash the check that's in your name, write me a check, mail the check to me) he could very well call and tell me himself rather than designating her as some sort of lackey go-between. The thing that pushed me over the limit was that somehow this "problem" (what problem, send me the goat-kissing money!) came back to being my fault, "because I never call and never communicate with the family." Small wonder, if this is the craziness I have to put up with! How hard is it to do what you said you'd do? Why does all this paranoia about the "money not being directed where it should go" have to come into it? What in the name of little juniper berries do they mean by that, anyway? Do they think I'm going to take the money and go out, rent a limo, buy two hookers and smash up a penthouse at the local Hilton for the weekend? I mean, give me a break! So I did the immature thing, and hung up on her once she started that tired old litany about how this whole thing is my fault for not communicating, and how they always have to call me, yadda yadda yadda. Not the best choice, I know, nor the most mature one, but my bullshit-o-meter was way in the red and I had better things to do tonight. The phone rang five minutes later, and I didn't answer it. Chris and Lana had heard me muttering as I hung up so they knew not to get it, either. As soon as the call went to voicemail they hung up and called again. I'm sure my father got involved and left some rather choice words on the voicemail for me. That's fine. He may even decide to keep the money for himself, as I'm sure it would be fitting punishment since I am just a totally ungrateful and undeserving whelp. That's equally fine. I've dug myself out of this much debt before, taking a step backwards is nothing new to me, and it'd only serve to prove to me that my decision to avoid my family as much as humanly possible is a well-warranted decision.

Tomorrow morning I will get up, delete any voicemail I might have, and make a phone call back to Minnesota in the afternoon while I'm on lunch. Hopefully tempers will be a little more cool then and rational conversation a little more plausible. If not, no harm will be done because I'm fully ready to pick up this load and just add it to the ones I'm already carrying. Another straw won't break the camel's back, yet.

He was a Midwestern boy on his own
  • Current Music
    Phil Collins - Another Day In Paradise