What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Firewalls. I’m perfectly well aware of the need for network security. Keeping China out of our computer system is a worthy goal. That being said, it feels like there should be some kind of reasonable middle ground that would not also block me from accessing large swaths of the interwebs that I need to do my actual job. For the country that put a man on the moon using a ship with less computing horsepower than a TI graphing calculator, it really doesn’t feel like it should be that much of a stretch.

2. Risk mitigation. Hawaii is a beautiful part of the world. I was lucky early in my career to have everyone pay for me to spend a fair amount of time out there. After reading all the news reports of homes being destroyed and residents being left penniless because their property wasn’t insured, all I can do is shake my head and wonder what the fuck they were thinking. It’s very clear from the first time you fly into the airport on the Big Island that you are treading on the upper reaches of a volcano – one that you know is active because it’s been spewing lava into the ocean for a couple of decades now. Building or buying a house sitting on top of an active volcano and then opting not to hedge your bet, feels awfully foolish. When I lived deep in the heart of the New Madrid Seismic Zone the likelihood of the house falling down on my head was small, but the severity if it did happen was catastrophic. You can bet your last puka bead that I threw down the extra scratch to tack on an earthquake rider to my policy. I’m not saying I don’t feel bad for the people who gabled and lost, but living in paradise doesn’t negate the need cover your own ass.

3. Death to America. I don’t agree with every policy position set out by the Trump Administration. Not by a long shot. However, when the religio-extremists governing Iran are sending their people into the streets to chant “death to America,” I’ve always thought there’s a good chance we’re doing something right.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. The dead zone. Although they swear it’s unintentional, the building where I work is essentially a giant Faraday cage. Outside in the parking lot, five solid bars of 3G coverage. Inside, at my desk, with my phone pressed against the glass, one bar of intermittent EDGE coverage. Sometimes. If all the atmospheric conditions are just right. I don’t want to sit at my desk playing Angry Birds all day, but it would at least be nice to know who called when the “you have a voicemail” alert manages to fight its way through to my phone. Mostly though, you just get to be surprised by the texts, emails, and voice messages that come rolling in whenever you happen to go outside. Maybe I should just set everything to roll over to my Google Voice account and really freak the IT security weenies out.

2. Forgetting the airbags. For the last two weeks, I’ve been mentally preparing myself to get the truck back on Friday. It’s not that the rental car is awful, but well, it’s not my truck and not being able to see anything further than the tail end of the car in front of me lacks a certain charm. I called Monday and everything was still on track for a Friday pickup. When I called to check in this afternoon, apparently there’s been a snag. A very sheepish office manager confessed that they had forgotten to include replacing my deployed airbags in the original repair estimate and had therefor not ordered them. I’m not a fancy big city auto body shop, but I think I would have noticed the big white deflated bits hanging out of the steering wheel and from under the dash. Maybe it’s just me though. The parts are ordered and the truck is allegedly back together now, so as soon as they get there hands on the airbags, we should be all set. As of a few hours ago, Tuesday is the new Friday.

3. Iran. Part of me is stunned and amazed that we’re going to fiddle around and wring our hands and wait just long enough for Iran to make their very own nuke. The other part of me then remembers that it’s a government operation and then all of me ceases to be surprised. Boy if you thought groups like the Taliban were dangerous before, just wait until their friends get the bomb. The world is going to change and while we had a chance to stop it or at least stand aside while someone else stopped it, we sat around fretting about convincing our enemies that stopping the madness was a good idea. A hundred years from now, the world is going to look back at this generation of “leaders” and collectively ask WTF, dude?

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

1. Iran. A country that’s our sworn enemy planned to carry out a terrorist attack on US soil and our response is the diplomatic equivalent of telling Iran that gee wiz it would be great if you wouldn’t do things like that anymore. Call me an hawk if you want, but when a sovereign country decides it wants to threaten the United States, I want a house-sized bomb to fall on their head. Maybe that’s just me.

2. People who say “I don’t believe in social media.” I think what you actually mean is you don’t like social media or maybe even that you don’t understand social media. But since it exists and is becoming pervasive, I think the ship has sailed on the decision to believe in it or not. That’s probably just semantics, but I just don’t understand the mindset of someone who wants to exert their moral superiority by abstaining from Twitter.

3. Occupy Wall Street. Who, exactly, are these people that apparently have unlimited free time to do nothing all day but defecate in the street, paint witty signs, and generally make a nuisance of themselves? If they went home, took a shower, and spent as much time looking for jobs as they have squatting in the financial district, they’d have a better chance getting themselves into the top 20% or 5% or 1% of incomes earned. I wonder how many people with a little skin in the game are so eager to burn the system down. America isn’t about guaranteeing success, it’s about getting the opportunity to be successful. Knowing the difference between the two is important.

4. UPS. How damned difficult is it to get your website to say MD instead of DE? This should not be a major technical challenge for a company that generally manages to move massive amounts of product around the globe within 24 hours. I’m just saying.

5. Sleep. It’s what I won’t be getting much of tonight because it’s the fanboy’s equivalent of Christmas Eve.

What Annoys Jeff this Week?

I’ve been told that some people can get through a week without being annoyed by anything. Those people are apparently suckers. Want to know what annoys Jeff this week? Here they are, as always, in no particular order:

1. The Maryland Transportation Authority. A week after the news from Annapolis reported Maryland’s budget was in surplus this year, the board members of the MTA unanimously voted in favor of the largest toll increase in the state’s history. Nice move asshats.

2. 30-somethings who complain about the stock market dropping. If you were 60 years old and contemplating retirement, you’d be right; a declining stock market would profoundly suck. If you’ve got 30+ years before you can even reasonably contemplate hanging up your career, the bottom falling out of the stock market is the best thing that could happen for you. You see, the whole point is to buy low and sell high. In case you’re wondering, this is the “buy low” part.

3. People who think that a satellite is going to fall on their head. OK, I’ll admit that a bus-sized satellite is hurtling back to earth, but A) It’s most likely to come in over South America (i.e. it’s someone else’s problem) and B) Even if it were coming in directly at the good old US of A, what do you realistically thing that chances are of it falling directly on your head? For you as an individual, the odds are 1:21 Trillion in case you were wondering. Please perform an immediate reality check and then go sit quietly somewhere.

4. Douchebags who hike near the Iranian boarder. You know what? You deserved to go to jail if for no other reason than being stupid. At what point did setting out on foot anywhere close to the boarder of a nation that’s a sworn enemy of your country strike you as a good idea? Well, two years later, I guess you could say lessons learned. In this one case I’m in the incredibly uncomfortable position of thinking the Iranians did the right thing.