Sunday, January 24, 2010

It Won't Take Too Long

When I'm not working under a tyrannical oppression (Tim Hortons), I moonlight at the local Sears doing deliveries. Main reason is because my older brother owns the place and he sometimes needs a hand. Plus there's less stress overall, and even bad deliveries are still better than obnoxious, bad customers at Timmy's.

This tale starts about a week ago. We (that being my brother and I) were supposed to drop off a stove and fridge at quarter two five in the evening. We were a bit late, but when we showed, house lights were out, no car in the driveway. Get things ready, and we wait. My brother calls the woman, gets her house number. We hear the phone ringing inside and nobody answering it. Of course. So, he calls back to Sears, asks an employee of his to get her work number to try that. Well, turns out the place she works at closes at four, so there shouldn't be any reason on why she isn't there. At ten after five, he calls it and we move on with the next delivery. When we returned to Sears, she called, asking why we weren't there. By this point, we're done for the evening and she has to reschedule.

Fast forward a week, and this bit starts to truly take shape.

Well, this time she is there. Now, in the previous week, I had accidentally dented the bottom of the fridge with the dolly. Completely unremarkable and wouldn't affect the units ability to cool things. Well, as we get the fridge off the van and my brother is pointing this out to the woman, she says that an employee says that we could switch the direction the door on the fridge opens, but with that comes an assembly fee. She'd forget about the dent (and any money that might have been taken off) in exchange for doing the door reversal. "Sure," my brother says, "no problem."

Get the fridge in through the front door, sliding it into the kitchen, which is at the front of the house. I'm thinking how this might be a fifteen, maybe twenty minute job. In and out. Even with the door reversal, shouldn't take too long. Well, inside the kitchen comes the first hiccup. "Uh," I say, "the fridge is too tall for the slot." I can hear my brother saying "what?" as he looks at the spot in question. The cupboards were too low by a half inch to get the fridge in. Oh, damn. Well, my brother has the bright idea of unscrewing the cabinet and pushing it up the wall an inch or so to make room for the taller unit. "Get the drill and socket set from the van," my brother says. Only as I'm about to head there I realize, and so does he, that we had forgotten those very tools back at the store. Damn. Got a screwdriver, though!

So, while my brother toils with a screwdriver, I call my dad up and ask him if he can't run to the store and pick up the tools for us. He says sure. We eventually get the drill, but in the meantime while we're waiting we pull the old fridge out and load it on the van, along with the old stove. Put the new stove in, which the woman is concerned about because she thinks it might not fit because the fridge didn't. Dad shows up with the drill, and things seem to be moving along again. Hurrah, cheers, drinks on the house and all that, right? Nope.

After unscrewing the cabinet, it's sticking in place due to paint, so we actually have to smash it out of place without damaging it. That was great. Slide it up the wall, hold in place while my brother screws it into the wall again. Slide the new fridge in. Now comes the fun part: the door reversal. There were more screws, clips, hooks and insertions to be made on this door in such a complicated manner I thought some military tactician had come out to say "surprise." The whole system was extremely and unnecessarily convoluted. I hoped that the engineer who designed the system was proud of himself. Just getting the door off, and the freezer door off, was a chore. Getting it back one wasn't as bad, but still.

The end result was a job that should have taken twenty minutes, max, take an hour and fifteen minutes. And yet, even for all that, it still doesn't come close to my worst delivery...

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dominion/Crossover - The Alliance Prt 2

Yeah, an excerpt from what I've been writing recently. I know, it sucks horribly. Language is bad, form is bad, description could be better, soft sci-fi at best, etc. But I thought I'd share. That and I hadn't done any real writing in a while other than rant-fests, which I'd rather not be doing in the first place.


Harsh breath, back and forth as lungs fought for oxygen. It shouldn't happen, some logical portion of the mind still intact reasoned. My blood is so full of machines that the feeling that I'm short of breath shouldn't be there. But the primal, the animal in him was panting, body screaming in pain as he rushed up the slope. The crest and red triangles flicked over moving objects. He was already pulling on a mental trigger, left arm coming up and moving of its own accord. Combat programs guided him like a machine designed to let him think when it was necessary. A blast of coherent energy jumped the distance in the fraction of time it took to blink. Indicators began falling, red triangles flickering away to yellow exclamation points. Other triangles refused to leave with return blasts bustling in expansiveness like an angry wasp cloud. Stinging bits flung everywhere.

He felt himself shaken. Both physically and mentally as something to a side of him exploded. Diving, he began scouring for snipers. Ranged sensors pinged the area, looking for blotches more dense than others. Disturbed air, disturbed harmonics. There, five kilometers distant in a high tower. The chatter on his COMM was alive, and then: "Jameson! The fucker got Jameson!"

Fire was concentrated on the area where sensors reported the sniper being, only something else happened.

"Incoming," was one of the two warnings, the first being a klaxon in his ear. It took that moment, that fixated second of actualized thought to percolate into realization as to what the warning was. Incoming enemy mortar fire. There was no sound, just the ping of disrupted air, the vibrant discord of a warbling quantum string. The explosive force, however, whipped out several indicators on his map. Five down. Shield overloads combined with a disruptive flechette field. The rounds penetrated the armor maybe a pico-meter, enough to upload the virus that would overload the system. Instant kill.

Information began to infiltrate the minds of the soldiers moving along the battlefield as Overwatch provided coordinates for the mortar position. Eight kilometers off, East-Northeast, relative. Already assignments were being randomized and parties were gushing over the ground to take flight on anti-grav thrusters at speeds that would put them into position within seconds. The sniper struck again as the first mortars had fallen, taking out Kregov as he flickered into the air amid a burst of his anti-grave field.

The tower exploded, a thin cloud trailing away from it. Missile strike. More red triangles began to wink out. He jumped into the air, anti-grav coils catching and thrusting him a half kilometer forward where he landed. A yellow point next to him turned red. Fake death, buying time. Whatever it was, he acted with visceral precision. The enemies bioarmor split in half as coherent energy washed up and out his hand to eviscerate the opponent in question. Warnings were screaming again. Enemy lock. Overwatch was pinpointing and assigning vectors. Friendly mortar fire.

He fed all power to shields as the enemy attack washed overhim. The HUD flickered red. Icons showed power fluctuations. He'd nearly been killed. And just as quickly as that attack had happened, Overwatch suddenly had the enemy positions locked down. Positions known, numbers known. It went from being an offensive action to merely a police-mop-up action as accurate trans-dimensional lasers from Overwatch fired through the quantum strata to disable or kill the various enemies.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Check This Out

So, a friend of mine linked me to an interesting post on The Futurist, as well as a comment that followed after the article. Worth the read. All interesting stuff.

Monday, January 11, 2010

I Knew It! I'm Surrounded by [Morons]!

This is something most people would agree on, but would never agree that they themselves were: people are dumb. A quote from the movie Men in Black sums it all up pretty well: "A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals and you know it." It is for the most part, true. Everyone is prone to acts of foolishness, stupidity and complete idiocy at times. Even I will admit that I have done some pretty stupid or foolish things in my life. But I do attempt not to act like this day-to-day. To actually open my eyes and be aware of my surroundings. I've known this fact for years, but in working at Tim Hortons, it has highlighted itself so severely as to glow in an all-encompassing, giant blob of Technicolor orange the color of puke up-chucked for all to see. Unfortunately, the only ones who can't see it are of course the ones perversely desecrating the area about themselves. I will follow this up with examples.

This one is about a woman. The lock on the door to one of the stalls in the womans washroom was broken. After I had been informed of this, I put together an out of order sign and taped it to the door itself. After all, when something is broken, you put a sign on it to let others know that it is broken, so they won't suffer the mishap of whatever other person came before them. Well, this woman, even after reading the sign, used the stall. She felt that the sign was a lie; after all, the toilet worked perfectly. Can't be anything wrong with that, right? Oh, except that the lock is broken. She had locked herself into the stall with her only means of getting out being to either climb over top the door, lift the door off its hinges (if she had the strength), or crawl under. This woman approached me, I being the only person on the floor at the time due to it being late at night, and began to ream me out for having locked herself in the washroom. She asked to speak to the supervisor. I asked her at that point, it being roughly a half hour after I had put the sign on the door, if there had been a sign on the door. She replies gruffly that no, there was no sign. I then say, as calmly as I can, "So, you're telling me there is no sign on the door, and if I were to go and inspect this stall in question and find a sign, what would you say then?" Caught in her lie, she confessed. But for her own actions, she wanted to responsibility. I did not bother forwarding her complaint -- she was too stupid to read a sign already on the door, she had no right to complain.

However, women aren't the only people who are stupid. I was out of town at a mall. I'm walking along and spy a Booster Juice. Thinking to myself that I want something, I approach. I see they have a sign up, and it reads: "Cash only: debit and credit card machine is down." Making the logical conclusion, I pay for my item with cash with no hassle. The man behind me, however, looks at the sign, reads it, then pulls out his debit card and utters in a whinny voice asking, "Can I pay with my debit card?" Before the girl at the counter can even reply to his insipid question, I ask him plainly if he is retarded. He gets huffy, looking at me, probably thinking to himself that my question is a stupid one. I point out the sign, and that obviously if there is a sign, then the machine isn't working. He said he was "just checking to make sure." I'm fairly certain the girls would take the sign down if the machine was working. Make no mistake.

The third is something I deal with day to day with many people. At the store, we have plaques detailing what kind of credit cards we accept. Many stores are like this: if you don't see the sticker, the place doesn't accept that card. People are so used to seeing these signs they are obviously blind to them. Sheep herded along. Horses running with blinders, or whatever else. They don't see it. So, every day, I get at least one customer trying to pay with a credit card we do not accept. They get annoyed, asking which kind of credit cards we do accept. I point to the sign that's directly in front of me at the till, where they are standing, in plain view. And almost every time, the credit cards we accept, they don't have. What's worse is when they have no money on them whatsoever. Pointing out that there is a debit machine where they can get money is of no use, because more than fifty percent of the time, they leave, angrily, blaming me for their own inability to see signs plastered at the entrance doors and at every till.

The end is that people are stupid. And anyone who might want to say "well, logically, if you're saying people are stupid, you are too, since you're also a person." This is true. Everyone is stupid, but there are varying degrees of stupidity and stupid acts. The problem is, the dumber population at large outnumbers anyone who is moderately less challenged mentally.

There's Only One Shape!

So, I'm at work and a couple of the girls are talking about the idea of going to the gym and losing weight. Apparently it's a part of their New Years resolution (and this is one that takes second and third place for yearly resolutions, or even first place; I know, not very original). I start talking to them about going to the gym. Then they ask me, because they understand that I know a thing or two about the gym and getting into shape, whether or not I'd be willing to go with or take them.

As an aside, I used to be in really good shape. I could run five kilometers in just under twenty minutes, and while I might not have been able to bench-press my own weight, but I could do a good fifty-plus push ups, and was fairly strong in my own right. Well, currently, I'm out of shape, and while my New Years resolution isn't to get back into shape, the idea of getting back into shape does feel right to me. End result? I say, "Sure, I'll take you both to the gym if you want and help you get into shape."

Both start outlining what their goals are. "I want to lose weight around my midsection" or "I want trimmer triceps." My response? I'll take you to the gym, and you will get into shape, but you are going to hate me. I pretty much said what my game plan was. Hard work is what gets you into shape. The old adage about no pain, no gain? That's true. I said how they'd find new aches in places they never thought possible if they came to the gym with me, and that I would push them to achieve, partly because I would also be pushing myself to achieve.

Now, neither of these girls are largely overweight. They just want to get fit. No qualms. I'll be going to the gym tomorrow about membership prices. I'm going to see if I can somehow finagle a deal of some kind for three people for four months (because I plan on moving). Here's hoping they don't lose heart.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

You Want a Cold One, Eh?

My new year was good, so I thought. I had some goals in mind (some of which I plan to write down so that I remember I'm supposed to be achieving these things, some serious, some not so) and a sense of some good will toward others -- almost. Most of this in part comes from the fact I know I'll be leaving Tim Hortons soon; I plan to move in the Spring, be gone, get a new job, get back to university, continue life. For all my New Years resolutions (or lack thereof because I don't make resolutions in the sense that most people make them, such as "I want to be a better person!", which in my part would be a lie), you'd think people would make some kind of resolution to be more intelligent or to pay more attention to finer details. Or just not be complete idiots.

One such person who should have had a Pro-Choice mother decides he wants to order a latte. Simple thing to make. So I make it, hand him his beverage and wish him a good day (which if anyone who knows me, I may say, but I honestly don't mean it). He promptly complains about his latte. For a moment, I thought perhaps I had made it wrong, done something to foul up the mix of foamed and steamed milk or what-have-you, but no, his complaint is that the latte, a hot drink, is hot. I wanted to reach across the counter and slap him. Of course it's hot! It wouldn't be what you asked for otherwise if it wasn't. So he asks if I can put some milk in it to cool it down. I take the lid off and admit to him that the cup is full (him having burned his poor tongue on his hot latte and not having actually drank anything yet) and that I would have to pour some of the latte out to put in the cold milk to cool it down for him. He complains about that, since it would ruin that mix I was talking about before! Of course it would, nevermind diluting the espresso already in it. What a moron.

No, I have to actually remake his order and somehow make it cooler than the first one. Not that hard, really. All I did was make a medium latte as opposed to the large he asked for and dump in a crapload of milk to cool it down. He didn't even thank me. No, he just acted like I had screwed up his order. I wish more people had some form of cognizance to realize what it is they're asking for, so speak plainly, and no flip-out when they get exactly what they asked for in the manner they ask for it.