Snarky Behavior

Entries tagged as ‘Snarky’

The Humans are Dead

September 18, 2008 · Leave a Comment

I realize there are probably more interesting/scary market developments going on right now, but I wanted to take a moment to discuss a news story that kind of got brushed aside by Freddie/Fannie/Lehman/Merryl/AIG.

Last week, through a series of errors, a story which was published in 2002 about United Airlines filing for bankruptcy somehow got re-hashed in the “most-viewed” box of the South Florida Sun Sentinel.  Google News, which aggregates top news stories, picked up on the story, and an analyst for Bloomberg News sent the headline around its own news network, which is used exclusively by financial industry professionals.

Within minutes, United Shares crashed. The company lost $1 BILLION dollars in value in a matter of moments.  All on false information, two steps removed.  Presumbably, two mistakes made by two careless idiots led to thousands of investors losing a billion dollars. Let the finger pointing begin:

Tribune said in a statement that its archived bankruptcy article had simply been there online all along. The statement blamed “the inability of Google’s automated search agent ‘Googlebot’ to differentiate between breaking news and frequently viewed stories on the Web sites of its newspapers” for the problem. Tribune also said that a single click on the archived article would have been sufficient to place it on the “most viewed” section because the click came in the middle of the night on a weekend. … “This is what happens when everything goes on autopilot and there are no human controls in place or those controls fail,” said Scott Moore, who as Yahoo’s head of media oversees Yahoo News, the most popular news site on the Web.

Ya think?  Not only did a robot fail to differentiate between breaking/most viewed news, all of the robot traders that are set to dump if a stock passes its 52 week low went on auto-pilot.

You think the traders who bought back the stock once the mistake was realized were happy?  How’s a 100% increase in an hours time sound to you?  Would that be something you might be interested in?

Whenever I hear that “financial instruments are extremely complicated” and that “their is still substantial systemic exposure to risk” I just hear “Wall Street isn’t as smart as it thinks it is” and “we’re all fucked.”

Categories: Snarky
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Question for Those in DC

September 16, 2008 · 7 Comments

We all know somebody who works in government who is probably vastly under-qualified for what they do.  Or we’ve at least met someone who works in government for some obscure program, in which you respond “wait… that’s tax-payer funded???

My question is:  does that make you less inclined to support government in theory and/or in practice?  Or does it come with the territory, as in you have a “can’t throw the baby out with the bathwater” mentality about it (i.e. you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both, and there you have… the facts of life)?

I had always assumed that people became Republican as they got older because their wealth increased, but now I’m starting to question that premise.  I mean, if I knew a schmuck who got hired at a relatively high level for a publicly traded company, I could short the stock or at least avoid buying it.  But what can you do when that happens in government?

Categories: work
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Rant: Kinkos

August 14, 2008 · 5 Comments

I detest you.

I detest you.

Hoo boy.  Adult language to follow.

Fuck Kinkos.  Fuck those rent seeking bastards.

The last time I had to use Kinkos, it was at approximately 1am in the morning.  My stats group and I had put the finishing touches on our 400 page research report, and the University printing center was closed.  We called around, and found a Kinkos open 24 hours on Broadway… not to far away.

Fast forward to the Kinkos.  For some reason, the store was filled with really old people who looked medicated out of their minds, as if a nursing home had taken a field trip.  There were geezers shuffling around, at the computer kiosks, typing away their memoirs or putting together scrap books from their army days and God knows what else.

We debated the best method to print out our report.  If we asked for the customer service support, it would be placed in a queue and not available for pickup until the next morning.  Unacceptable.

We waded through the living dead to our very own “self-help” kiosk.  To use the machine (at $15 per hour or $.25 per minute), I had to first put “credits” on a card.  Mind you, the going rate of the US dollar to Kinko “credits” is 1:1.  I couldn’t just, you know, pay for it afterward, as is customary in every other business in America.

As I was putting $20 into the credit machine, my classmates were playing the “poor student” sympathy card on a staff worker.  He kindly agreed to print our report on the spot at a significant discount. (Note:  I refuse to credit Kinkos here… this was a reflection of the generoisity of the employee, not the company he happened to work for).

When it came time to pay, I handed the employee my Kinko “credit” card.  “There’s $20 on here,” I said.

“We can’t accept that.”

“What do you mean you can’t accept this?  I bought it here. It has your company’s name on it.”

“Oh, I know.  The credits are only good for the self-service stations.”

“Ok then.  I want to refund this then.”

“I can’t do that.”

“And why the hell not?”

“We don’t give refunds on the credits.  You’ll need to come back when there’s a manager present.”

“Oh, ok.  Fuck you then.”  (Note:  I didn’t really tell him to fuck off, but I did sarcastically roll my eyes and sigh in frustration.  Yeah, I’m a bad-ass).

Here’s the thing:  the only time anyone really ever needs to use Kinkos is when they are absolutely desperate.  Short deadline, no other options.

Kinko’s?  They know this.  They know you have no other options, that you’re on deadline, that you probably have an expense account anyway.  They know you’re probably traveling out of town, have a big presentation that needs to be printed/faxed/collated/mailed immediately, and that you’ll pretty much pay any price to make sure it gets done. “Inelastic Demand,” as we call it in Economics.

And so they price gouge.  Boy, do they price gouge.

The price gouging I can live with somewhat.  It’s America… where else are you going to find a printer open at 1am?  A valuable service, no doubt.

But WTF with the Kinko “credits”?  I take perfectly good money that is liquid, ubiquitous, and can be used anywhere, and turn it in to a card THAT CAN’T EVEN BE USED TO PAY FOR SERVICES OR PURCHASE GOODS FROM THE SAME GOD DAMN STORE IT WAS BOUGHT FROM?

The last 6 months I have carried around $20.00 worth of Kinko “credits” in my wallet.  I tried to give it to a friend as a sarcastic birthday gift, and she DECLINED it.  The thing has ABSOLUTELY NO VALUE TO ANYONE WHO DOESN’T BELONG TO A CONVALESCENT HOME THAT TAKES MIDNIGHTS TRIPS TO THE LOCAL LATE NIGHT COPY CENTER.

What pisses me off is that everytime I go to Fed-Ex/Kinkos, I bring it up with the manager.  I try to buy packaging tape, or to pay for an overnight delivery, to no avail.  Of course, I never get a cash refund.  That would be silly.

Anyway, the reason I bring this up is because today I had YET ANOTHER terrible experience with those bastards.  I was the only person in the store at 6am.  I needed 4 versions of a 35 page documented printed double-sided in color.  A simple request.

45 minutes and $84.69 later, I had my documents, and a sour mood.  These are the problems I encountered, in order:

  1. Person behind the desk told me should couldn’t process my job for me, even though I was there when the store opened, before the sunrise, and the only customer in miles.
  2. The Dell computer at the Self-Help kiosk began charging me by the minute, even as it was slowly sending memory requests to perform simple tasks such as “viewing the contents of a folder” and “opening a pdf.”
  3. The print settings are customized by Kinkos and do not include the intuitive “double sided” one-click feature.  Buried within properties, they have a “print along edge” option, which is the gateway to double sided printing.  So while I’m spending 5 minutes searching for this, it’s costing me $.25 per minute.  Keep in mind:  I have a blog, I use a computer every day… I’m on the long tail of the bell curve in terms of computer proficiency.  But maybe that’s just how they suck all the old people in for days at a time.  Again, fuck those guys.
  4. I find out that there is a “laptop” station which is significantly cheaper, at $6 per 15 minutes, so I bust out my laptop and set it up.  By the time everything is functioning, I adjust my chair slightly and the serial connector which is SCOTECHED TAPED to the payment processing server disconnects, abruptly ending my session.  I yell at nobody in particular.
  5. FINALLY a print 1 version of the report, and take it to the color copier, which I assume is cheaper than the “Self-Flagellation” station.  Of course, I wouldn’t be able to price compare, since there is NO PRICING INFORMATION ANYWHERE.

The staff member, of course, has at this point ducked into the back office.  If I were a worse person, I would take my pound of flesh from Kinkos in the form of highlighters, stock paper, and bubble packing.  Disgruntled, I insert my credit card (which I now discover can be used in lieu of the worthless Kinko’s “credit,” and pray that the bill is not too much.

It was, but I had a 9am meeting and our color copier is down.  Pardon me, I’ll be filling out my expense report.

Categories: Snarky · work
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No. F’ing. Way.

August 7, 2008 · 3 Comments

I recently found a phishy e-mail in my work account’s inbox.  I forwarded it to our HR rep, who then sent out an office wide “DO NOT CLICK ON THIS E-MAIL” message, just to be safe.

Since my name was attached to the forward, I of course got the requisite heckling from my co-workers:  “With the porn again?” … “You dirty bird.  Where have you been surfing?

Well, I’d like to clear this up once and for all.  I found a site that analyzes your browsing history in order to hazard a guess as to your gender.  HERE ARE MY RESULTS:

Likelihood of you being FEMALE is 84%
Likelihood of you being MALE is 16%

Site Male-Female Ratio
google.com 0.98
yahoo.com 0.9
msn.com 0.92
myspace.com 0.74
youtube.com 1
ebay.com 1.11
amazon.com 0.9
craigslist.org 1.13
facebook.com 0.83
cnn.com 1.35
wordpress.com 0.98
flickr.com 1.15
weather.com 1.08
nytimes.com 1.13
monster.com 0.82
digg.com 1.56
typepad.com 0.94
simplyhired.com 0.77
urbandictionary.com 1.13
sprint.com 0.77
sprintpcs.com 0.74
americanexpress.com 0.98
linkedin.com 0.94
cbsnews.com 1.17
citicards.com 0.9
ikea.com 0.67
state.gov 1.02
lifehacker.com 1.63
rottentomatoes.com 1.17
zimbio.com 1.13
salliemae.com 0.63
salon.com 1.13
feedburner.com 1.11
columbia.edu 0.87
annualcreditreport.com 0.74
jetblue.com 0.79
gawker.com 1.17
zazzle.com 0.75
theonion.com 1.2
newyorker.com 1.22
blogcatalog.com 1.13
picnik.com 0.5
smartdraw.com 0.87
americanapparel.net 0.89
hsbcdirect.com 1.27
nature.org 0.75

PLEASE TELL ME WHICH ONE OF THOSE SITES PUTS ME ON A SPAM SITE IN PANAMA.

I am inclined to look at porn if only to assert my masculinity to above 50%.

Categories: work
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Aspirational Goal

July 31, 2008 · Leave a Comment

To be a first page Google hit for the search term “snarky.”  Right now I’m page 2, #16 overall.  This post should help.

EDIT:

I’m third page, #25 overall on Yahoo! and third page, #21 overall on MSN.  And here’s an interesting article on the history of snark*.

Categories: Snarky
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My Shower Story

July 30, 2008 · 1 Comment

This morning I shaved in the shower, as I tend to do.

I like to multitask in the shower.  I am a devout follower of the triple-S method and sometimes, when I’m feeling especially friviolous, I go for the four S’.  Incidentally, I also like to hang my shirts in the bathroom while I shower, to steam out some of the wrinkles.

The obvious problem of shaving in the shower is that you’re doing it blind, sans mirror.  This can result in terribly uneven sideburns.  The benefit is that you’re in a steamy environment and suffer less razor burn. So I can live with lopsided burns if it means less bumps on my neck.

Anyway, today as I was walking to work, I grazed my hand over my face to double-check the shave, and I noticed a small patch I had missed –directly above my upper lip.  When I checked in the side-view mirror of the nearest parked car, the “look” was quite familiar:

Way to ruin this for the rest of us, Hitler.

Way to ruin this for the rest of us, Hitler.

Now, if Hitler hadn’t ever tried to take over Europe and exterminated 6 million Jews, I might have been able to shrug it off and march on my merry way to work.  As it was, I had to backtrack all the way home for one additional swipe of the razor.

Way to ruin it for the rest of us, Hitler.

Categories: work
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Big Buck Hunter

July 29, 2008 · Leave a Comment

The Circle of Life

The Circle of Life

As many of you may or may not know, I am a huge fan of the arcade/bar game “Big Buck Hunter.”  There’s just something epic about getting drunk and shooting large game with a shotgun.  The Safari edition is even better.

Last night we had tentative plans to play at The Big Hunt (awesomely appropriate).  Of course the plans didn’t materialize, as plans rarely do, but I woke up this morning to find that my friend the Prime Minister had sent out the following e-mail:

i came home and watched the lion king… is it wrong that i wanted to shoot the whole cast during the “circle of life” song?

Categories: Snarky
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Doppel-namer

June 30, 2008 · 1 Comment

From time to time I’ll do a google search of my own name to see if there’s anything on the internets that might preclude me from a.) being brought in for an interview or b.) being met for a blind date.

MY personal page is not a top hit… but this guy’s page is…

So without further ado…Introducing… my doppel-namer!

Jon Host <mcfuckinjon>

I like girlz dat r hot sxc an fun like drum n bass,speedgarage,r&b,hip hop,rap,i av a car which iz modified car (which iz in max power mag)saxo n pug 106 u mite c it if i snd u it k inabit

That makes two of us!  I also like girls that are hot and sexy and fun!  I also like to spell phonetically!  And my car is also modified… sort of… I mean, after slamming the front bumper of my Previa against the trailer hitch of an Expedition, I had to replace the radiator and bolt the hood shut with those sick racing pins.  They eventually rusted over though.  Oh, and my mini-van would drift from time to time.  You might see it if I send you it, because I also considered inhabiting it.

Films: 2 fast 2 furious tokyo drift, alll of da american piez, 8 mile an stuff lyk dat

Hmmm… I was more about the original 2F2F.  Vin Diesel in his finest performance IMHO.  Also, if you like “all of da american piez,” does that include the Madonna cover?  How about the shitty spin offs that went straight to DVD?

Sports: football, basket balll, ma quad bike, mi scramberler

What is a scramberler?

Scared Of: nuffin man!!

I also fear the muffin man.

Happiest When: i get ma car smashed up den i get anofa 1 !!!an wen i get fuked up lol

Do those things tend to happen at the same time?  Like, can we venn diagram them together?

In reader comments:  Open poll to see who does better service to the name “Jon Host.”

Categories: Snarky
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