November 29, 2003

good mail day

Well, partial payment from The Client arrived today. WSHEW! I treated myself to a trip to Target and some footy pajamas for Jenna, which, for some odd reason, she's been wanting. She remembers wearing them when she was little and has been whistful for the days of old. Grabbed some new earrings for ME (hadn't gotten any since 'the piercing' a few weeks back) and was out the door.

Dark and cold in Atlanta tonight. People buzz down the roads, through the stores, with a gotta-have-it mania that would frighten me if it weren't so contagious. The Target checkout girl asked if I'd like to save an additional 10-percent. I said I sure would unless it meant applying for a credit card. She frowned. Always a catch.

As excited as Jenna is about the new TV, she was just as excited about the styrofoam in the boxes. We came into the living room yesterday to find a four-foot long boat she had built with the white end foam pieces from the TV box, complete with a mast. She used masking tape, kleenex, chairs, a pillow, part of the box, and the old remote control. It's quite something. She had already designated her little plastic chair as the refrigerator, and had stashed pringles and oatmeal-strawberry bars underneath. She added her change purse (can't get caught on a desert island without it) and set sail while we watched Nemo.

George was off on a trip to record in Florida for a week or so. Today Jenna and I had a girl's day. I washed her hair, and set it with curlers and dippity doo. You should have seen her little head full of pink curlers. Yeeee! It came out great, big loose shirley temple curls amidst her thick crown of dark brown.

It's been a good couple of days.

desperate times

Hey, Desperate Dad, hang in there. It will get better. I can relate. I didn't lose a whole lot of money, but I was making over $100K a year at my last job and where did it go? And what was I thinking? And what when clients don't pay? I hear you. Best of luck on your ebay auctions. Putting a link to your auctions on your blog is smart. I need to start scarfing things from around the house. At one time I was making $400 a month on ebay. Now, there's just not that much left to sell.

Desperate Dad's auctions are on ebay. The scary thing is, I too am looking across the room at a never-viewed copy of A Beautiful Mind, still in its wrapper. What are we afraid of?

November 28, 2003

RB's Thanksgiving Quilt

It's quite beautiful.


I'm bound and determined to get a television today.

I don't care that I shouldn't. I don't care that I haven't been paid. I worked my ass off and I want to spend $100 on a TV.

We don't have cable, and haven't had a working TV downstairs in about eight months. So we rarely watch TV. But we have discovered the coolness of DVDs on the fuzzy TV upstairs. Jenna is having a blast with the extras they put on DVDs--little games, stories on how they made the movie, bloopers. How cool DVDs are!

So, the sales circulars show amazing deals on TVs today, this mother of all shopping days, and I'm on a mission.

Any advice on the best place to get a cheap TV and DVD player, leave me a comment. I'm betting on Circuit City or Walmart.


I can't stand my mailbox anymore. Are we allowed to take them down? The other day I was thinking that bloggers should put their weblog URL on their mailboxes along with their house or apartment number. You know, like this is my street number, but *this* is who lives here. I imagined our mail carrier home at night checking out my blog. I imagined her looking through our mail the next day before putting it in the box, maybe honking twice to let me know the check I've been waiting for is there, or maybe honking once to say don't bother today.

Today I'd like to rip it off the post. Creditor calls are getting closer to knee breaking this month as they scramble to get any spare cash before we might be so bold as to spend it on family and friends over the holiday.

Yes, I got myself into this mess, and I was getting myself out of it, until one client decides that paying me is not a priority. Today the last invoice for them comes due. I'm waiting for $5k that would let me sleep at night. I'm wondering if I'll ever get it.

On that note, if there is a lawyer out there who would write me a persuasive, if not threatening, letter to this client for free or barter, drop me an email. I'm not sure if that's the right thing to do, but phone calls and emails ain't workin' with this client.

Denise Filed Her Brief!!!

Happy Giving of Thanks to Denise and her now family of three!!!.

way cool.

November 26, 2003

misread spam

You know you spend too much time posting when you think the subject line says:

"Want a blogger penis?"

Yahoo IM FIND THEM Feature, Coming Soon.

Isn't interesting the way IM works? It amazes me how my clients are just a buzz or bllliiiinnng away at any time of the day or night.

Isn't it interesting how a client can buzz you out of a good nap to ask you to jump onto a project, BUT when a client owes you money, they can pretend their buzzer is broken.

BLINNGG, BUZZZ. Are you there?

So, I am requesting that Yahoo IM add a "FIND THEM!" button, which dispatches a real live human to a waiting jet that soars to the client's location, through the front doors, up the elevator, down the corridor, and into the client's office, all while holding two big cymbals to crash together in front of the avid avoider's face.


Perhaps you didn't hear me buzz?

sans form

laps fire
is what the learned
tell me.

But what
when you can't
have one
without the other?

No form to these lines
step outside
of form
just me
just words
of text
without paper
standing alone
in thin

November 25, 2003

the people on the elevator go up and down, up and down, up and down...

Guess who we met!!!

Today after school, Jenna and I took an exciting drive downtown to the Mariott Marquis to meet AKMA and Margaret. WOW! They are so wonderful. Everything you've read is true. Yes they're that cool. Jenna has fallen madly in love with Margaret, whose image I'll have a hard time living up to these next five days off from school. Because Margaret, it appears, has no fear of heights, she didn't think anything of riding Jenna up and down 47 floors in the glass elevators. The one trip I took to the top convinced me that they should charge admission on those elevators. DAG! That is a long way up. Jenna would have dug it if they'd gone another 47.

AKMA was nice enough to hold onto the twenty items I had to bring with us, including Jenna's dance bag filled with markers, paper, turbo-speller, etc. AKMA looked so calm and collected lugging a girl's green sparkle ballet bag around on his shoulder, complete with a design of pink ballet shoes and bows.

George was home nursing a three-day long (and counting) stomach bug, but got to make an appearance by phone.

Margaret must have given Jenna some post-hypnotic suggestions, because she slept all the way home and is still sleeping now.


I am bathing in the serene glow that comes with spending time with AKMA and Margaret. Thank you, you two.

You are wonderful.

Solving the COBRA Premium Problem

I have a plan.

All I need is one of those "print your own checks" programs and this signature I found online:

Let's see, how many zeros do you think he's good for--still six?

November 24, 2003

bad mail day

Again no check. Again $4K sitting somewhere besides my bank account. COBRA due this week or else. And then the mail comes.

Oh, goody, it's the folks that administer my COBRA plan. I always like to hear from them! They make me so happy.

It appears our COBRA premium is increasing from $969 a month to nearly $1,300 a month come 1/1/04.

It appears going postal might be the best solution after all.

When Hilary Clinton talked about the healthcare mandate as first lady, times were pretty flush for us. The dot-com boom was in full swing, and companies were wooing even unqualified candidates to come work for them because of their great incentive packages. Most of us in the technology sector had pretty reasonable health insurance, and pretty good health insurance. We even had extra money to give to the United Way and other organizations that help those and need. I for didn't tune in too keenly to what Hilary was yammering on about.

Now that lean times are upon us, I wish someone who made a difference (AKA: not me) would turn up the volume on the healthcare / health insurance crisis for this next erection. Errr. Election.

The day two forty-somethings and a kid have to pay $1300 a month for health insurance is the day I start getting really pissed off.

This poll from What the Nation Thinks shows that 70-percent of respondents believe the U.S. should have a federally funded national healthcare plan to cover all citizens.

Me too.

Spanning the Monkey Since 1909

Some of my old cohorts from TheBorganization have started a team blog. These guys have deep tech knowledge and a fairly twisted outlook on life, which should make for interesting reading. First glance: I dig the name.

the big blue blog

Frank said this is cool, and he's right.

November 23, 2003

How to Get Fired Because of Your Blog

...With apologies to blogger.

Do you blog at work? Do you surf porn blogs like there's no tomorrow while you're supposed to be problem solving? Do you think management is so stupid that they'd never think to search you up on Google and find out you've been posting photos from the ladies bathroom since you bought your cool new camera phone three months ago? Well, you're probably right. But that doesn't mean one of your pesky co-workers won't blow you in.

These days, many companies are laying off employees by the hundreds, even thousands. You don't have any job security, even if you think you do, so what difference does it make if you blog at work? The fact is, you'll probably be let go next week anyway, so don't give away your intellectual property (your blog and what you know about blogging) with the illusion that anyone at your company will care. Once you've given them a ten-word definition of blogging, that's all they'll need to sound smart at lunch, on the golf course, and at that next emerging technology conference.

If you think your blogging will make you a star at work, start looking at your company's severance policy today!

How to Get More Hits than Your Company's Website

At the same time, your blog can be a powerful tool for making you more powerful than the company that currently pays your salary (the one that provides you with two days funeral leave if your spouse kicks the bucket). It's very common for bloggers who are intelligent, who write every day, and especially who take pictures of the loading dock at Microsoft, to become far more popular and better liked than the companies they work for. Research from Perseus shows that 97% of bloggers land better jobs once they've been shit canned for blogging at work.

You see, there is a God!

In fact, getting fired because of your blog is one of the smartest marketing moves you can make. Straight to the top of Daypop, Technorati--hey, Andrew Sullivan will probably shoot you a link. That's right. You can be out from under your boss's thumb and working for the coolest new startup, or even the Dean campaign, tomorrow. If you play your cards right.

Layoff or Shitcanned: Two Paths to Blog Freedom

The truth is, your position will probably be eliminated on Wednesday of this week. (They like to let you go right before a holiday weekend, to give you some extra family time, let you stuff yourself with turkey and numb your brain with tryptophan, decreasing the likelihood you'll come back Monday and blow away the Human Resource Manager after you pack your little poetry magnets from the last COMDEX show in your take-home box.) It doesn't matter if you're careful with your posts or not. Corporations have the most uncanny ability to overlook talent, brains, and tenacity in favor of ass kissing and the status quo.

With this in mind, you have two options for shedding your current employer: Layoff (involuntary separation), or Getting Fired (terminated, separated with cause).

Both of these approaches have their good points. For instance, getting laid off usually means you get a severance check, which means you'll have a couple week's salary to spend on your first COBRA health insurance premium. On the other hand, blogging something worthy of getting fired for means you'll be famous on the Web, and may land that book deal you've been hoping for. Or at least a spot on Instapundit's blogroll.

Blogging: Just Do It!

Knowing that you won't have a job much longer anyway, we here at allied recommend that you blog everything. Absolutely everything. Blog about your lame-brained boss. Blog about your loser clients. Blog about the accounting department do-nothings who have fine tuned the art of looking busy while instant messaging their pals in prison but can't cut you an expense check until February of 04.

Blog about your mother, your brother, your fat aunt Sally. Blog about your priest and that little problem he has keeping his hands on the prayer book. Blog prose, blog poetry, blog photos, blog jokes. BLOG TIL YOU DROP.

Because if you think you're career is safe the other way, you're just fooling yourself.


An Open Letter From The Contractor to The Client Who Doesn't Pay

Dear Client:

Remember when you called and pleaded for my help on this project and that project and this project and that project? Quick turnaround, you said. Tight deadline, you apologized. We have everything you need--we'll send it right away. I say okay. You sounded so sincere. So I put another project aside for you, which I've done before, to bust my ass turning around your project in two days. You loved it. You always do. You seemed so very happy.

So when Net 30 turns to 45 turns to 60, and my COBRA insurance is riding on thousands of dollars your enterprise has failed to pay me--when my kid could lose medical insurance because of your sloppy accounting processes--how do you think that makes me feel?

It makes me want to go postal. That's how it makes me feel.

But I don't go postal. Instead I decide this: I won't be working with you anymore. Don't call me again. I have clients who pay me well and on time. Like you, they like my work. But unlike you, they understand that the fast, quality service you get from a small business comes with one extra little pricetag. No, it's not extra money. It's TIMELINESS OF PAYMENT. It's NOT playing the float with my business, and my life. It's delivering to me like I deliver to you. If you're not nimble enough to deliver, I don't need to work with you.

I have a solution for the thousands of dollars you owe me right now. Why don't you and my creditors talk directly. Wouldn't that be a great timesaver for all involved? Yes, I will simply hook my creditors up with you, and you two can arrange for you to cut checks to them directly whenever it might please you. My creditors have all the time in the world, andn they'll only charge you 600% interest if you're late.

Take me out of the middle. See? I can be more productive and happier not dealing with either of you, and you each get what you want. No intermediary needed. Call it an exchange, a marketplace, a hub. I don't care, but I don't want the job of explaining anymore why I haven't given YOUR money to THEM.

I hope this arrangement suits you. I know it makes me happy.

P.S., I hope you get laid off with six kids at home.


Your Contractor