🧩 Today’s Puzzle Pieces 🧩
Maria and The Chickens 🐔
Strange Cyber Monday Offers 🧪
Bloody Gift 🩸🎁
I hate wasting time. I hate it hate it hate it. Everything about my life centers on efficiency — the routes I take when I drive, how I go about getting ready for the day, how I organize my work day, how I get ready for bed. I understand this probably crosses over into a bit obsessive, though certainly not obsessive-compulsive-disorderish because the reality of that is far more difficult to live with than my own efficiency eccentricities.
This makes me particularly vulnerable to losing my freaking mind when I’m dealing with people who are very much the opposite of me, and today was filled with those people.
A highlight reel of the bullshit I waded through today includes:
- An unsuccessful attempt to roll the 401(k) from my previous job into my IRA because Wifey Poo has to print out a form, find a notary and sign it in front of him or her so then I can take a picture of the signed form with my phone and upload it to their website so they know I’m not trying to screw her out of the grand total of $1,366 that’s in the account by moving it to some secret offshore bank. All of that took two phone calls and 25 minutes on hold.
- An unsuccessful attempt to roll the 401(k) from my previous previous job into my IRA because I moved. When the kind woman told me I had to change my address in their system first, I enthusiastically replied: “Great! Let’s get to it!” I was then informed I have to wait 10 days for my address change to be verified. Never mind the fact that I verified my identity through Social Security number, birthday and voice imprint. And never mind the fact I’m not asking them to mail me a check at any address — previous, current or imaginary; I’m asking them to mail the check directly to the guardians of my IRA, Merrill Lynch. This took three phone calls, including one during which I was disconnected the moment the hold music disappeared after a 25 minute wait and a man said, “May I help yo-….”
- An unsuccessful attempt to pay my first month’s health insurance for 2022, a thing I need to do by Dec. 15 do per regulations of the U.S. gubment. It’s also a thing I very much want to do and a think I was very much prepared to do at that very moment. The kind woman at Cigna named Maria, who had chickens cock-a-doodle-dooing in the background for added effect, told me I needed to make the payment before Dec. 15, to which I replied, “Great! Let’s get to it!” before she then told me I couldn’t make the payment because no payment was due. “But there is a payment due. And today is before Dec. 15. So great! Let’s get to it!” to which she replied that we couldn’t get to it because it wasn’t the right amount of time before Dec. 15 and that I would have to call back when it was closer to Dec. 15. “Great. How much closer to Dec. 15?” I asked. “I don’t know the answer to that,” she replied in between a cock-a-doodle-doo. “Well can you find out the answer to that?” I asked. “I’m sorry, I cannot.”
I believe America is doomed for many, many, many reasons. We are the prototypical declining empire and have been for about two decades now. If and when we do fall, the horrible inefficiencies that beset honest citizens who have to take their eyes of their actual jobs for more than an hour to try to get done what should be easy life-things is going to be one of those reasons.
Cyber Monday was fun, wasn’t it? Of course, Cyber Monday has been going on since before Black Friday, which was going on since around Veteran’s Day. The strangest “Cyber Week” ad that landed in my inbox came from Quest Diagnostics, the company responsible for taking gallons of my Longhaul Covid-infused blood this year. It’s offering a 15% discount on all QuestDirect lab tests like health profiles and allergy screenings, if you use the code CYBER15. But hurry. This offer expires Dec. 10.
📚 Let’s Learn Something Together 📓🖊️
Did you know people are paying lots and lots of money for properties that don’t exist? It’s true. And I’m curious how it’s all going to play out in my industry — real estate.
It’s very easy to look at immersive meta experiences like Fortnight and it’s now-ancient predecessor Second Life and think of those who participate in at game-addicted kids and socially awkward weirdos. The reality, though, is that digital-currency investor Grayscale thinks the global market for goods and service in the metaverse will soon be worth $1 trillion-with-a-T dollars.
The metaverse is already filling up with entertainment-starved locked-down global citizens who, among other things, attended a live concert earlier this month by Justin Bieber during which the Beebs belted out songs from his hit album “Justice” while people admired his too-sexy avatar.
Real estate investors are now jumping into the metaverse game. If you’re particularly forward-thinking and technologically inclined, you see a metaverse that blossoms into a fully functioning economy — and you see the reality of that virtual reality coming soon. Those metaversians are going to need many things — meta clothes, meta music and, yes, meta places to hang out.
Which is what’s drawing very real commercial real estate investors to start snapping up meta properties. Two months ago, Tokens.com, a tech company focusing on metaverse real estate, bought 50% of Metaverse Group, one of the world’s first real estate companies, for about $1.7 million. That company is headquartered in the earth city of Toronto but has a much nicer setup in what it calls Decentraland in Crypto Valley. Think of it as meta’s version of Silicon Valley, but with districts for gambling and virtual shopping.
As I said, it’s easy to dismiss this. But with actual reality becoming more and more bleak (hello, Omicron) and the technology to pull all this off right on the meta doorstep, don’t for a second think this doesn’t have a shot of becoming a preferred reality for a whole lot of people. And where the people are, the money will follow.
The ‘What Did You Say?’ of the Day
I hope I’m around when the definitive retrospective is written on Mr. Musk. I’m wondering if he’ll take his place in the pantheon of technology greats or be lumped in with the likes of P.T. Barnum. The jury seems to be very much still out.
Today was a slice-your-hand-open-on-a-Christmas-present-you-ordered-for-Boy-The-Elder-that-was-shattered-in-the-box-unbeknownst-to-you kind of day. I’m trusting tomorrow will be better.
In Other Writing …
It’s easy to say Facebook — sorry, Meta — is evil. They do such a good job of proving the point for us. They routinely violate their own privacy policies, they know what they do is bad for people and bad for society, and they lie when subpoenaed to testify before Congress because they know…Keep reading
Today’s Reasons to Keep Living
- Got a work conference in-person tomorrow. I wonder if the coffee’s gotten any better since The Great Plague shut these down.
- I spent much of the day thinking today was Tuesday. Little gifts like realizing you’re one day closer to the weekend than you thought are nice treats.
- Honey. I love honey.
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Our boys are not “stuff” kids. We learned this early on, when Boy The Elder was but a wee little lad and we did what normal first-time parents do: Buy him a ton of what I call KidShit for Christmas. The KidShit went largely untouched. BTE, we learned, was more of an “experiences” kid. He…Keep reading
Tonight was date night for me and Wifey Poo. We swung by Stone Summit Steak & Seafood for a drink — she, a fruity white wine; me, a Woodford Reserve, neat — and then went to see Dear Evan Hansen. I’d wanted to catch it back when it was on the stage and never had.…Keep reading
One of the interesting truths about this whole “living” thing is that we make so many important decisions before we know what the hell we’re doing. For example, I chose my career path the same year I got my driver’s license. I had absolutely no concept of a mortgage and office politics and exactly how…Keep reading
I have seen in person how protective a mother grizzly bear can be of her cubs. The Fam was on a two-week Alaska vacation between my seventh- and eighth-grade years, a trip on which my voice changed and I enjoyed the company of twin 14-year-old sisters from Alabama, which is a story for another day.…Keep reading
I spent the morning in my office at work ensconced in my gray shirt-jack. If you don’t know what a shirt-jack is, that’s OK. I didn’t either until I found it on Amazon a few years ago while searching for something that wasn’t quite a sweatshirt but not quite a jacket to wear around the…Keep reading
Today was all about my father-in-law, Marvin. FIL died in November following complications from heart surgery and COVID. Wifey Poo and the sisters-in-law organized an ice cream social and issued an open invitation to the family and FIL’s friends. When we set the date for late September, the thought was that we’d be past the…Keep reading
The term “hot as balls” definitely applied to today, though I don’t know exactly what it means. It was parents weekend at Mizzou, so we traveled yesterday evening to see Boy The Elder and attend a football game today in which the Tigers took on the mighty Southeast Missouri State Somethingorothers. The game itself was…Keep reading
Me this morning, in GIF form: Folks, I try. I really do. But I’m worn thin. I got up and decided before starting a work-from-home day that I would attach the TV I just brought over from Old House to the new stand I bought. Easy-peasy. Hooked the wires up and turned it on. And…Keep reading
In high school, I was friends with a girl named Denise. She and I were both free-spirited creative types who liked to write. For a time, we served as co-presidents of the formed-by-us creative writing club, and we even went on a date (that didn’t work out too well). Denise was and is a no-bullshit…Keep reading
Today was a work-from-home day, filled with the excitement of having my new office location set up. Well, sort of set up. For the past month, I have been relegated to the basement because what is to be my Mancave was jam-packed with the detritus from New Home’s previous occupants, my in-laws. But over the…Keep reading
The score was 54-0 when I decided I would coach Boy The Younger’s basketball team the next season. After all, there wasn’t much room for me to do any worse. Still, this was a bold decision, considering the entirety of my team basketball experience came in one 3-4 season as a high school freshman on…Keep reading
My “awake” part of this 24-hour spin on Mother Earth’s axis began in the wee hours of the morning when I came to consciousness screaming — scaring the crap out of Wifey Poo in the process — because evidently calf cramps are a thing for middle aged men. How Do You Cheer in Cross Country?…Keep reading
I’m what you call an ambivert. This doesn’t mean I eat both plants and animals, though I do. Rather, it means — among other things — that I’m somewhere in the middle between an introvert and an extrovert. Sometimes I refuel by getting away from people and enjoying my solitude. Sometimes I refuel by soaking…Keep reading
I spent a half-hour today renewing my hatred for Robert Gaskins. Don’t know who Robert Gaskins is? I wish I didn’t, too. Robert Gaskins is the principle inventor of PowerPoint. He sold his little tool of the devil to Microsoft in 1987. QAnon Crazies love to point the finger at Bill Gates and say he’s…Keep reading
I stopped at the cleaners on my way home from work to pick up a pair of khaki pants that had an unfortunate run-in with honey a few weeks back. As I stepped through the door, a middle-aged woman named Karen (I’m assuming, anyway) was finishing up berating the lone employee. It had something to…Keep reading
You’re a Wizard, Harry When the Great Awakening of Societal Selfishness began in 2020, Wifey-Poo, Boy The Younger and I began reading the Harry Potter books out loud to help pass quarantine time in a way that didn’t involve baking bread or killing each other. It took more than a year, but we finished the…Keep reading
Kitchen Completed It is laughable even to me that I find myself, at age 47, really good at organizing stuff. I am the grizzled aging man with more salt than pepper in his beard who at a different stage of life had to bulldoze a path through dirty clothes, random school stuff and assorted other…Keep reading
Sometimes Things Be That Way There are some days that, when night falls and you take stock of all that happened, you just say — or at least think — “Well good goddamn. What the fuck was that all about?” Today has been such a day. I look back at the waking hours and realize…Keep reading
I’ll Drink to That Since my departure from newspapers in 2009, I’ve worked for very conservative not-for-profit organizations. An electric cooperative. A Lutheran benefits provider. A pediatric orthopedic hospital. None ever encouraged me to post photos on our social media of employees drinking during the workday. But that happened to me today following our champagne-tasting…Keep reading
An Impressive K Boy the Younger got shelled on the pitcher’s mound last night. As a former pitcher myself, I know these things sometime happen. No one squared up on any pitch he threw. They just hit it where his guys weren’t. And this should happen to him. He’s playing up an age group and…Keep reading
I Parent Like China It pleased me a great deal to share with Boy The Younger this morning that the rules he lives under are similar to those imposed on kids by the Chinese government. Our Communist Owners recently banned whippersnappers younger than 18 from playing online video games on school nights and allow them…Keep reading
Dying Less I think we can all agree that it’s not exactly a good thing to stop breathing more than 53 times an hour while we’re sleeping, yes? OK, good. There’s at least one thing that isn’t divisive in this country right now. When I had my first sleep study in February, I was not…Keep reading
Believing in Myself So here’s the thing: I have amazing intuition. Believe what you want about humans having only five senses. We don’t. We have more. And for me, one of my strongest senses is my gut feelings about what to do and not to do. I’ve had this ability since I was a small…Keep reading
Road Show Coming to you live from somewhere in the Ozarks, where I’m hoping not to hear banjos and have some inbred redneck hillbilly make me squeal for him. Wifey-Poo and I are in the middle of a weekend getaway. It has been a long while since we’ve had an extended period of time to…Keep reading
And the Thunder Rolls My desk at my new office faces out to a busy street – Manchester Avenue – and has a floor-to-ceiling window. I’m absolutely loving it. At my previous job, my desk was tucked away in a corner behind a cube. I called it “My Hovel.” It was a good place to…Keep reading
Namaste, yo I found myself tonight in a state somewhere between awake and asleep, lying on a yoga mat with 40 pounds of sandbags on my shoulders and chest in a dimly lit studio as soft music tinged by rain sounds caressed my ears. I love this state, and I’ve only found it through meditation…Keep reading
Sell This House Our house hit the market today, which is to say the Great Gods of Google allowed for it to be found by Realtors and anyone else who happens to have a larger-than-average nosy bone. Our Realtor said we could share it with our friends and family. I was trying to think of…Keep reading
Stages of Life Over the years, I’ve found tremendous comfort in the stability of my in-law family, especially with my sisters-in-law and, as time has progressed, their husbands. My own family is pocked by constant drama. It took me a long time to recognize exactly how not-typical my own family is and to realize that…Keep reading
Wakey Wakey My day started off with a bag-full of my blood being drained, filled with ozone and then dripped back into my while I listened to a cancer patient banter about QAnon insanity as if it were gospel with the nurse in charge of my treatment. How was your morning? So Long, Sonny Boy…Keep reading
Interesting Things You Say to Your Spouse “Please don’t get killed by anyone using a sharp object. I don’t want to go to prison for the rest of my life.” This sentence that I said to Wifey-Poo this morning makes sense if you have a spouse who loves murder podcasts and TV shows. My hands…Keep reading
Welcome to the World of Real Estate Starting a new job today was a welcome relief from the drudgery of moving. After getting my ass kicked yesterday in the Great Fridge Swap, I welcomed the opportunity to use my brain instead of whatever physical power I might have left. This is the first time I’m…Keep reading