Archive for ‘The Audacity of Some People’

June 20, 2018

Thanks, but no thanks

by Janie Jones

So they had an employee appreciation day at Stickittoyou U recently.  All employees were given $25 gift cards to a big box department store.  Very nice.  Thanks!

Then week or so later I got my paycheck.  It was smaller.  Not a bank breaking amount, about the amount it would cost to buy lunch at the average sit down restaurant, but enough less that I was a little concerned about where that money went.

So I pulled up my check stub, and what, What, WHAT?  They taxed the gift card.  Because they added it to my “net salary” by the time taxes were applied I actually lost money.  They taxed, as income, a gift card.  Which was not like a prepaid Visa or something.  I can’t use the gift card to pay bills, but yet it is considered income I have to pay taxes on, and then when I use it the store will charge me taxes on what I buy.

Thanks, but if given the option, I’d have passed on a gift that would ultimately cost me more money than it was worth.

Employee appreciation my ass.  I suppose it was well meaning, but it’s kind of hard to feel grateful when I make less than industry standard, less than I made before I spent 50K on an education, and the “appreciation” gift requires me to give up money out of my already puny paycheck.

And, when I went to complain to the HR person, I found out that the new Dean, who made the decision to bestow these “gifts” was warned that they would cause the recipients to be taxed, but in her wisdom still seemed to think people would prefer to be awarded a gift that caused a deduction in pay.

Thanks new Dean.  I hope you made lots of devoted fans out of your employees.  I know I am just pleased as punch.  I will think of you oh so fondly and be oh so grateful for my job when I can’t afford to buy lunch this week.

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February 21, 2018

Umm. I kinda think that’s stealing

by Janie Jones

So, I go outside this morning to walk the dog and as I leave I notice foot prints in the snow coming from the neighbor’s front yard up to the side of my house.

This sets my spidey sense tingling.  Why would someone walk through the neighbor’s yard and up to the side of my house.  Peeping tom?

Then I remember that yesterday the neighbor was out front working on his ten-thousand year old blazer.  It occurs to me that he might have been using my electricity for jumping, or whatever, his truck.

Now, it’s just a little electricity.  And, I know the neighbors are feeling some hard times.  So, part of me thinks I should just let it go.  But then, there’s the principle of the thing.  It is basically stealing to take something from some one without permission.  Despite my propensity to be forgiving, I also don’t want to give the impression that they can just take whatever they want of mine whenever.

These neighbors, let’s call them the Smiths.  As it happens, the Smiths are kind of your stereotypical white trash (can I say that or does that make me some sort of bigot/racist/non-politically correct asshole?).  Some of my friends who have a clue say they smell various illicit substances wafting from the Smith’s dilapidated house.  Frequently Mrs. Smith can be heard hollering at Mr. Smith, or the Smith step-children of late adolescent/early adulthood years, using language so colorful a sailor would blush.  Not less than three times emergency services has been to the Smith residence since last fall, and I have seen Mrs. Smith carted off in an ambulance twice.  Also, last fall Mr. Smith was often to be found burning trash in their yard (this is within city limits and I’m pretty sure it’s illegal to burn trash as well as the aforementioned illicit substances).  And then there’s the young people of not so favorable appearance who wander up and down the alley to the Smith’s place at strange times of night and day leaving  me to wonder what type of business they garner their meager income from or, how they squander their welfare dollars.

Any way, up until last Thanksgiving Mr. Smith was very friendly and regardless of the hinky-ness I have just described I was prepared to be understanding as long as they kept to their property and I to mine.  Then, just before the holiday he sold Leif an old wood stove.  I guess then he figured he could come and try and sell off other items to make some quick cash, as he came around twice more peddling various things.  Again, to be neighborly and helpful to a less fortunate individual, I bought some nice army surplus gloves off of him, but that was it.

After I made it clear I wasn’t interested in buying anything else, the week before Thanksgiving he shows up begging to use my internet so he can access his unemployment benefits with this sad sack story about his miserable marriage, being laid off and being broke.  I did feel for the guy, so I agreed to let him have a guest pass code to my internet until Christmas.  I laid out terms that his access would be limited to the hours I was at work and only Monday through Friday.  I reserved the right to revoke the pass code if I saw any other devices using it besides his iPhone.  I gave him a list of local places that gave free internet access and said, that come December 26th, the pass code would be reset.  This was my attempt to be helpful and neighborly, but I was not prepared to be his free internet provider indefinitely.  He offered to barter for the use of the internet, but I declined any sort of barter.  I told him it was my good deed and a way to pay forward kindnesses done for me when I was down on my luck.

Curiously, a few days after Thanksgiving, someone stole some change and a broken Amazon fire stick out of my car in my garage.  And, Mr. Smith hasn’t spoken to me since except one brief comment on the weather when I ran into him shoveling while I was walking the dog.  I have no proof, but my instincts tell me either Mr. Smith or one of the weirdos that come and go from the Smith residence was responsible for the theft.

I have had no real opportunity to bring the subject up even casually, but naturally as I had no proof I would never pointedly question Mr. Smith about it.  In general, I don’t think Mr. Smith is the worst of the problem, I think it’s Mrs. Smith, the step-children and wanderers-by who are the ones to really worry about.  And, in such cases with weirdos, it seems like the best policy to keep on cordial terms lest I become a target of more flagrant acts of theft, vandalism or antagonism.

So, now this thing happens with the electricity.  I have a timer on that outlet with lights.  It gets dark here early in the winter, and I am up early in the dark to walk the dog, so I have my holiday lights still come on at dusk and off at 10pm, then back on at 4am until dawn.  I feel it is the height of audacity to “borrow” someone’s electricity without permission and then on top of it to unplug their own cords to do it.  And, not only is it is audacious to do so, but in the winter here you leave a trail in the snow announcing to the world you were trespassing and using my electricity.  Does that not really strike anyone else as bold and inappropriate?

What do you think?  Should I be worried?

November 10, 2015

Just need to blow off a little steam…

by Janie Jones

My biochemistry lab is a total clusterf*%k.

In 12 weeks of class I have gotten out on time three times.  THREE TIMES.  And one of those three was technically 10 minutes late, but that’s not too bad.  Mostly I get out half hour to 40 minutes late.  My lab partner has a class right after so when things aren’t done, as they usually aren’t, I have to stay and finish by myself.  That doesn’t so much bother me as much as the general attitude of the teaching staff that it’s my duty to never have any other conflicts with staying late or coming back outside of scheduled class time.  They can’t be troubled to run the class in a do-able manner, but despite the fact they choose to run it in such an asinine way that no class ever is expected to be done on time, week after week, semester after semester, year after year, it’s apparently okay for me to be troubled to accept the impingement on my personal time.  It’s just run this way.  And the teaching staff doesn’t seem to give a damn.

My beef is that it’s not professional and down right disrespectful to expect us to drop everything else in our lives to make extra time for this work.  And, on top of it, we have a huge number of time sucking homework assignments for this class each week.  So not only do we have to make extra time for the classroom stuff that is impossible to finish, but we have to spend hours and hours and hours outside of class doing the bidding of the teaching staff.

I am especially ranty on this subject today because I had to stay an extra hour and 40 minutes today.  Plus I was given a take home test that needs to be done by 5pm tomorrow.  Like I had absolutely nothing else to fill  my time between now and then and now, on top of it, I have an hour and 40 minutes less than I expected to do the homework already on my to do list.  It’s like pouring salt into my wounded respect for you as a professional.  Would you, as a teacher, be willing to drop everything to spend an extra hour and 40 minutes plus God only knows how long this take home test will take, to do some thing someone told you to do at the last minute?  I seriously doubt it.

Here’s something to chew on jackass:

youre not the only teacher

Should I take the red pill and do the homework, or the blue pill and have a life.

93 days until graduation.

I’m applying to grad school why exactly?!?

October 14, 2015

A lack of forethought on your part should not constitute and emergency on mine

by Janie Jones

I have five different instructors this semester.  They all seem like basically nice people.  Mostly I enjoy the subjects.  But three of the five just can’t seem to get their poop in a group and give consistent and/or advanced information on when and what things need to be done.  I am getting a lot of eleventh hour emails about this assignment or that meeting that need to be added or changed.

Last night, for example.  I got an email apparently at 7:46 pm saying my 10 am lab time needed to be moved to 9:50 am and might run longer than the original time even with moving it up ten minutes.

Unlike most night owls, I was already in bed at this time.  So this morning chances of getting a message to and from the instructor before I actually am now expected to show up are quite slim.  The problem being that as I can’t be at the lab at 9:50 because I have a class that doesn’t end until 9:50, I kinda would like to know if I should even bother to show up.  You know that whole lack of transporters crap kinda makes getting from one place on campus to another a little slower than instantaneous.  Heaven forbid, too, I might need to go to the bathroom or anything.  But if I can’t complete the task in the original time allotted, should we just reschedule?

Now this particular professor is pretty flexible.  I’m 99% sure she won’t make a big deal out of it one way of the other.  Either she’ll be go ahead when ever you get here will be fine, or she’ll be we can just reschedule, no problem.

However, another of the teachers is really good at having assignments scheduled to be due on Mondays, but not providing the assignment information until sometimes late in the afternoon on the Saturday before.  While it is true I spend most of my weekends doing homework, I think it’s pretty crappy that it’s implied that I’ll just be able to drop whatever is going on on Saturday and/or Sunday to make time for an assignment if I already have plans.  Mondays I usually have pretty much open for homework after lunch, but if you don’t know what the assignment entails, it could take a long time, and I don’t want to deliberately wait until Monday afternoon to find out that this thing is going to take 3 or 4 hours when I have other homework to do too.  Let’s be realistic.  If you knew when you handed out the syllabus at the beginning of the class that an assignment would be due on nearly every Monday of the semester, why can’t you get the assignment information out to us more that two days ahead?  Especially if those days are weekend days?

It is a HUGE pet peeve of mine that professors EXPECT you to have no weekend.

And then there’s the professor who is so unprepared that he usually doesn’t post the lab assignment until a few hours before class.  It’s really hard to come prepared for a lab where you will have to make calculations and do a multi-step technique if you only just got the procedure when you walk in the door.  Then it’s a mad rush to figure out what you’re doing and get done on time.  Or, he won’t tell you what he’s discussing in lecture ahead of time.  Normally not so big a deal, but it’s a very small class and he likes to ask the students lots of questions during lecture.  Sometimes there are mammoth pauses or literally guessing games to figure out what answer he is looking for because we had no idea what to prepare.  The second or third week of class I asked if he could possibly put up lecture notes or some outline of what would be discussed in class the night before and he said “No, I’m too busy.”

I have a lot on my plate.  I’m often too busy to do the homework they assign.  I’m often not available to jump through hoops, adjusting my life around their inability to be organized.  And, I am a very organized person.  In order to balance everything I have to do in a day, week, semester, my time has to be budgeted sometimes down to the last minute.  More often than not my time budget is woefully inadequate to do everything I have to do in a respectable manner.  So when other people’s screw ups mess up the delicate balancing act and my limited free time is impinged upon or I lose time at work or on homework assignments I get really mad because their problems have caused me to fail to some degree.  If things out of my control cause too much havoc in my life I end up in a really bad place emotionally.  We are doing everything in our power to keep Janie out of such places, but we can only do so much.

My moral to this story?  Nine-tenths of college is learning to insulate yourself from the incompetence of others, even those who are supposed to know more than you.  The better you can be at not being ruffled by the mistakes of others, the more successful you’ll be.  When you graduate, if you manage to do so and not go postal, you should get an honorary PhD in Bullshit Management.

September 2, 2015

And you make the big bucks?

by Janie Jones

We all know the professorial realm of academia is full of hacks.  We all know that students ultimately pay the price for their professor’s laziness/ineptness.  Every semester I have at least one textbook example (no impending pun intended).

So, my Virology class meets the first time today at 11 am.  Yesterday the professor sends us an email that says, essentially, you will need this virology textbook (included a link to Amazon).  And, by the way, you can’t get it at the campus bookstore even if you want to pay the outrageous prices they charge, so you will have to find a copy online, either at this link or elsewhere.

Now, riddle me this:  How is it that my biochem teacher could notify her students back in JUNE to say this is the textbook, it is expensive if you buy it from the campus bookstore, if you want to shop around and order it from a cheaper online bookstore do it early so it can be shipped to you before class starts, why can’t my virology teacher have his act together earlier than the day before class starts?

Not off to an inspiring start, if you ask me.

August 20, 2015

Well I am just so screwed

by Janie Jones

Some of my teachers for this fall have sent the course syllabus out already.  All of my classes are morning classes and my latest one runs from 11-2pm.  I specifically avoid late afternoon and night classes.  I had a 3 pm class last year.  I did not perform well.

Why?  I am most definitely a morning person.  My brain works better in the morning, and if I have to do afternoon/evening stuff, I have to sleep in and go fresh to what ever I have to do in the afternoon/evening.  It is just the way I work.  And, the older I get the more morning based I’m becoming.  I pretty sure that my radiation also has played a role in the loss of my mental flexibility.  During the school/work week I am pretty much useless after 3 or 4 in the afternoon.  So I get up early, at usually 4 am, and study.  It sticks better.  I tend to go to bed by 7:30 pm sometimes earlier.  And being up until 8 is a wild late night for me.

I have absolutely no idea how I used to function as a high school/college student 20-25 years ago getting up sometimes as early at 3:30 am and doing homework, going to class, going to work, doing more homework and maybe getting to bed at 10 pm.  I can only assume I had more stamina and mental flexibility then.

So needless to say, I was very, very pleased that the courses I must take for my degree were all early in the day.  I deliberately avoided some classes I was interested in as electives because they were later in the day.

I’ve told you all this so you will understand the significance of what I’m about to say.  To sum up, finally, my Genetics teacher, whose class is at 9 am has made three tests mandatory night exams running from 6 pm to 8 pm.  That means by the time I am expected to sit this exam, even if I take the day off from work, it will still be after a full day where I’ve been awake for 14 hours, sat through his class lecture, another class lecture and a 4 hour lab.  I was pretty much planning to be in my pj’s and ready for bed by the time he wants the test to start.

I have long been anticipating this course because I think genetics is way cool, and now I am completely distraught and dreading this class.  If I could possibly drop it and wait to take it from a different instructor and still graduate on time I so totally would.  This situation is setting me up for disaster and there is almost no possible way for me to do well on night tests at this stage in my life.  I think it pretty much sucks that a teacher is able to require such a thing.  My only hope is that I can work out some special arrangement.

God Dammit!  I am so sick of teachers thinking they can rule your life.

 

July 21, 2015

I didn’t studder

by Janie Jones

I am having a very bad week.  I am feeling quite frustrated, overwhelmed, exhausted, and as though everything I come in contact with gives me a paper cut and then a salt bath.  To make matters worse I developed a raging cold/flu.

On top of my general yuckitude then, my cold/flu has gifted me with it’s own brand of joy.  I ache, I burn, I am even more exhausted, I feel like I’m wearing sandpaper, swallowing Brillo pads, I can barely keep my eyes open but I can’t sleep, and am freaking hot.  But I got up and went to work.  Even though I wanted to go home, I met with my research adviser after work even though I told him I was feeling quite poorly and preferred not to meet, he wanted to anyway.  I hope he gets my cold.

Everyone I saw today says, “Oh, Janie, you don’t look good.”

To which I reply, “The universe hates me, I don’t feel good at all, I’m having a bad week and a wretched cold.”

And if one more person says in response, “Maybe it’s allergies.”  I swear to all the deities ever worshiped I will sneeze in their face and let the mucous freely flowing from my nose drip directly into their face as I scream “It’s not F*&king Allergies!”

And then I just want to lie like a beached whale in front of a fan in a spaghetti strap undershirt and my underwear but the lovely landlord picked this week to come and put a new roof on the house and brought his son and a family friend to stay in the basement while they work. Because its so hot, if I close the door I lose any hope of a cross breeze, so I stay mostly clothed and lie quietly with the lights out.

It absolutely amazes me how you can be lying half asleep in your room after telling people you are sick and don’t feel good and they still seem to think nothing of trying to engage you in conversation.

WHAT PART OF I DON’T FEEL GOOD, I AM TIRED AND WANT TO REST DO YOU NOT UNDERSTAND?!?  I AM SICK.  EITHER MAKE ME SOME DAMNED TEA OR LEAVE ME THE F*&K ALONE!

I would type some of the internal monologue of obscenities I would like to scream if my throat didn’t burn so bad, but the mucous is dripping on to the keyboard, and that’s too gross and I’m too tired to keep cleaning it up.

Good night. Maybe I’ll feel better and less cranky tomorrow. Or maybe I’ll call in sick.