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Sunday, December 26, 2021

Wednesday, December 15, 2021

A brief note

One of those little things I'd have put on Twitter, back before I deactivated my account there.

I've continued my habit of listening to "historical" podcasts, that is telling my podcatcher to play all episodes in order instead of just grabbing the latest, as is more usual.  Found one called "Coronavirus 411," apparently having something to do with the CDC.  

In any case, it is interesting to hear them list the cases in the US so far, currently from February 2020.

All 15 of them.

The world round

 Repeatedly being shown this commercial on Bloomberg TV (for the little graphs of the market indexes) without listening to the audio.  And over and over I get annoyed with this lady bending over to pick up one of those five-gallon plastic water bottles to replace the one she'd emptied.

Sure, it's possible to safely move the things, I've done it many times.  But certainly not the way she does it.  Apparently the character she's playing (I doubt the actress injured herself) doesn't realize how heavy that much water is.

Basic rule I learned in the late 1980s in cooking school, "A pint is a pound the world round."  That's the approximate weight of a pint of water.  It's actually 1.04 pounds and change, at 62 degrees F, but close enough for estimating.

So, a pint is a pound, roughly.  Two pints in a quart, so a quart weighs about 2 pounds.  Four quarts in a gallon, so eight pounds in a gallon.  So... that five gallon bottle weighs about 40 pounds.

You do not try to lift 40 pounds with your back, you use your legs. 

I know this far too well, given I foolishly decided I'd be fine to throw a 50-pound sack of chemicals on my shoulder to haul it up to my line at the plant, cause all the younger machine operators were doing it.

Then I went to the Workers Comp doctor, got surgery, and spent six months on extremely light duty.  I knew better, but "all the other guys do it..."

Water doesn't seem like it should be all that heavy.  We lift a gallon here and there with no major concern (eight pounds), so we don't think of water being that heavy, especially when we're still young, immortal and indestructible.

Till we get injured.

Lift with your damn legs, lady!  Geesh.

Saturday, December 4, 2021

The Great Lack of Resignation

 I've listened over and over to the various narratives applied to what happened when so many Americans didn't come back from the lockdown, and inconveniently, also didn't die.  The news outlets often call it "The Great Resignation."

When the lockdown started they said folks who could work from home would be fine.  Since I'd already been working from home for a couple years, I figured no problem, we're all set.  Yeah... not so much, because my work depended on other folks being able to go work at people's houses, and those people wouldn't want that anymore.

After various short-term attempts to keep us on the payroll, a whole lot of us got laid off. I lost my job within a week or so of hitting 62, so I started collecting Social Security, and unemployment, and the supplements.  Funny thing, all of the senior folk I know of got discharged.  At least some of the younger folks (like my neighbor) kept their jobs (at the same company).  Musta been an oversight.

 So I have particular reasons I'm not working right now, I'm too damn old for anyone to want to hire me.  But what about overall, what about so many folks not being willing to risk their lives to come back to work?  Lots of stories They tell.  And you know who They are.

I've heard the one where we're lazy.  To which I reply words roughly like "Thank you, the horse you rode in on and everything you stand for."

I've heard the one where we're not patriotic enough. See above, let's not be repetitive.

Here's what I discovered, determined, whatevah.  I sat down with my calculator (yeah, the one on my Windows computer), looked at what my regular State unemployment was and how that would work out as an hourly wage.  Came out to about seven and a half bucks, basically what the Minimum Wage has been since about 2009 if I recall correctly.

Then I added the State amount and the Federal supplement together, and calculated what that would be as an hourly wage.  And the result was about $15 an hour -- what folks have been saying recently the minimum wage should have been if we hadn't been suckers for more than a decade.  Or longer, but that's another discussion.

So for a fair number of months, I was making what should have been the minimum wage, and several dollars more than I'd been making per hour for all those years in my job.

Fella on a financial podcast, one of those from CNBC, made what he thought was a telling point on that subject, "Well, like one percent of workers actually get minimum wage."  Might even be true.  But if that $15 bucks an hour is what the minimum wage should have been, I spent the last decade working for less than the Minimum Wage.

 Well, part of it, and part of it as a Displaced worker after the last big financial disaster.  Again, another discussion.

And that's not just affecting the folks who've been getting what the Minimum Wage has been.  That's affecting all the people who've been making less than $15 an hour, and probably still are.  Including me, if I wasn't forced into a half-assed retirement.

So it ain't laziness or lack of patriotism. It's way too much time to think, and clear evidence that while we were spending X years working hard, "keeping our noses clean," taking what we were given and saying "Thank you sir may I have another..." 

...we were getting screwed blued and tattooed, while billionaires became trillionaires.  And all the people stuffing money in their bank accounts and selling $100 phones for $1000 knew that very well, and didn't give a crap because They Got Theirs.

We had felt resigned to being treated that way till we died.   And then we stopped feeling resigned.

Heard a fella on one of those investing podcasts talk about how ridiculous it is for someone like me to feel I should be able to be retired at such a young age. And how it'd even be healthier for me to still be working till I retire two years before I die, if that.

Must be nice.

Friday, December 3, 2021

Zoom Dysmorphia

 I'm still not back on Twitter, so even brief things I want to comment about end up here.  Honestly not sure if I'll go back; I've been off Facebook for a long time now, and I don't plan on returning, even though I'll never hear about the next High School Reunion.

Anyway, Daily Tech News Show just mentioned something called "Zoom Dysmorphia."  People seeing themselves on screen while doing video conferences are becoming uncomfortable about their perception of their appearance, and even seeking plastic surgery to correct perceived flaws.

Had a couple passing thoughts about that.

After more than a decade of (intermittent) podcasting, I'm pretty comfortable with the sound of my recorded voice.  I also DJ in Second Life, same deal, same comfort.  In fact, I think I sound pretty good, and people tell me I do.  

So I'm a bit frustrated with folk who won't be on the podcast because they're anxious about how they sound in recordings. You probably sound better than you think, and you at least don't sound as bad as you think.  That's true for most people, albeit not everybody.  

And I think it's the same sort of discomfort as this visual dysmorphia. It's a new context for your self-image, you haven't changed.

I'm also struck by the fact that if conferences were held in Second Life instead of Zoom, to quote an old saying, "nobody knows you're a dog." And as for voice, well, everyone sounds like crap on SL Voice.

Then again, I am likely not the only one who's known for a long time that Second Life is really a better option in most senses.  Some smart coder needs to create Zoom compatibility in Second Life, which you'll note would do what some of these Virtual Reality conference systems are attempting to offer.

I get that Ford "invented" the automobile, to a certain extent.  But let's not claim he invented the wagon, or the wheel, or the internal combustion engine. 

 Nobody's built the VR version of the Model T yet. 

So in the meantime, hitch up the mule you've got to the cart you've got, you'll still get there.  The Shiny New Thing isn't always the best choice.

"Zoom dysmorphia."  (sigh)

Episode Zero -- A Minor Local Celebrity

With "Meditation Impromptu" by Kevin MacLeod Originally posted to Libsyn under my original setup around 02/2007.  When I ran out ...