Month: March 2013

Peanut Ooze

If it’s got a raccoon mascot it must be good!

I like peanut butter.  I had peanut butter and jelly sandwiches as a child (always with raspberry jelly, and I always hated the seeds) and Butterfinger has always been my favorite candy bar.  To this day I like to have PB&J sandwiches, occasionally experimenting with other concoctions such as peanut butter & banana or marshmallows.  I like to try different kinds of peanut butter, mostly meaning other brands from the usual Jif or Peter Pan. There’s some variety to be found, such as flavored and all natural.

In the end, I always end up preferring the less wholesome, more adulterated name brands, however.  Why?  Because these natural, boutique peanut butters are just too damn syrupy.  There’s nothing more annoying than making a sandwich and having the all-important PB ooze out the sides and mess up your hands.  The oil always separates and you can spill it out to make the butter less fluid, but that can quickly backfire and it turns to an overly-dry thick paste that can barely be spread without ripping apart the bread!

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: No Good Deed Goes Unpunished

Sometimes you just want to be a good person.  You see an injured–but not dead–animal on the side of the road and feel that it’s your civic duty as a fellow creature on this Earth to help out.  Unfortunately, we’re usually just not prepared for all that may entail.  For example, a woman in Indiana recently tried to get an injured raccoon to a veterinarian after luring it into her car with potato chips (as the video included above shows, raccoons dig chips; but then who doesn’t?).  Sadly, things didn’t go well when the animal became a little more lucid and a lot more irate that somebody had Bogarted his chips.

Emotional Wellbeing

We’re just past a year since I had to quit my job.  I’m still looking for employment.  Over the course of that year I have agonized repeatedly over my failure to hold a job for even a year.  I’ve gone over discussions, arguments, in my head obsessing over how much of that failure was my fault versus my boss’s.  I’ve often wondered if things could have gone differently, or if I’m just unemployable.  There have been instances where I thought I had achieved some kind of peace with the situation, resolving that my boss was just an asshole and it was best for me to give up the fight rather than live with the constant stress that working with him gave me.  However, shortly later I’d just feel I was lying to myself and that I was in fact worthless and wholly to blame for how things turned out.  I’ve had a lot of sleepless nights worrying about my future and my blame for it.

It’s a rare, sweet gift to be liberated from so much doubt by something other than just time.

You see, I received a very unexpected phone call recently.  The young woman who ended up replacing me had tracked down my phone number and wanted to know if I had any advice on dealing with this dreaded boss.  It seems that in eight months she was just about where I’d gotten in ten.  She had many of the same complaints about him that I did.  Sadly, I couldn’t offer much advice; my solution had simply been to quit.  It was interesting to hear that she’d taken matters as far as the HR department with no improvement in sight, showing me that even trying different things probably would have done me no good. In the end, I could only advise her not to leave until she had another job lined up (she was surprised to hear that I, a CPA, was still looking for work) and wished her the best of luck.

It was amazing how different I felt about that.  Previously, whenever I thought about my time there it was accompanied with anxiety, anger, and panic.  Recalling the name or face of my former boss would drive up my blood pressure and send me in an emotional spiral of self doubt.  Now, he’s simply a person.  A very sad, very unpleasant person.  No longer a person that embodied my failings as an employee, failings that leave me doubting I can ever have a viable career again, but just someone who it was a mistake to work with in the first place.  Even now, days later, I just don’t think that much about my time at that job anymore.  It simply was something that transpired with no emotional bearing on me at all.

I celebrated that night.  Drank about three quarters of a bottle of Bacardi 8 that I had lying around before I started throwing up.  I remember dumping out the last portion of the bottle at one point.  Not because I wanted to save myself from being drunk again, but because during the call the young woman informed me that someone I used to work with at the place (ten years earlier, when I was an intern) had passed away recently.  It was a kind of libation for the dead thing.  I was drunk at the time, but the guy had taught me a lot about what I now know of auditing.

RACCOONS IN THE NEWS: Kit Abuse is Uncool

Please don’t hurt us!

Dong Nguyen, a Toronto Native, was recently sentenced to $1,365 (probably Canadian, so $1,334 in real money) and 100 hours (97.75 American hours) community service for savagely beating three baby raccoons back in 2011. He was apparently very upset at the damage the animals were doing to his garden.  I can understand that that would make you upset, but it you’d have to be pretty stark-raving mad to take a shovel to babies.  I’ve never been much of a gardener, but if you’re engaging in that activity to get closer to nature, shouldn’t you be delighted that the animals are coming closer to you for your efforts?

The linked article includes some useful tips for humanely keeping raccoons away from your garden, as well as a quote from the producer of the documentary Raccoon Nation, but be warned; it can be pretty sad when it describes the animal abuse that Dong engaged in.

Demanding Civility

And the number is so low because people get annoyed into getting them fixed.

I have a dent in my car.  I got a little over a year ago after backing into a fence.  Ever since then I’ve been plagued by people asking me about it.  Not just the typical co-workers and my nosy former boss who noticed it in the parking lot.  But also from cops who I suppose are convinced that they’re Sherlock Holmes and that dent = crime (because let’s face it: police are idiots) and, most horrifyingly, from everybody else ever!

Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration.  It’s probably only once a month that I’ll get approached by some stranger in the parking lot of a shopping center soliciting for dent repair services.  I don’t suppose I’d mind so much if they weren’t so aggressive.  Simply ignoring them is not an option as they will follow you in their vehicles as you walk to the stores, constantly calling for your attention.  It can be even worse is if they catch you leaving the store!

Once, I made the mistake of telling one to “fuck off” after I’d gotten back to my car and so he obstinately kept his car parked behind mine, staring at me.  After a minute I got out to yell at him.  He kept asking “why are you being so rude?” and his friend whipped out his friend, pretending to call the cops as he craned his neck to look at my license plate said “I’m going to get you arrested!”  After a brief shouting match the two sped off, but I was in a pretty sour mood for the rest of the day (for more consideration than they deserve, I know.)  As a result I need to be much more respectful in regards to these things that keep popping up to harass me in parking lots.  Obviously, they’re unsavory people and I fear they might vent the frustration of being rejected on my car while I’m away.

Which really leads to my question: is civility something that should be demanded?  If you’re going to approach a stranger with a solicitation shouldn’t you be prepared to receive rejection?  Do Mormons go ape shit if anyone dares to slam the door in their face?  Can you really claim to be anything approaching a businessperson if you’re not just going to take the rejection and move on?  Or, as the potential customer, am I charged with the responsibility to treat these people with unflagging grace no matter how many of them I face and regardless of how uncouth their approaches are?

Also, these guys are regarded as scam artists.  They might fix the car without making it look worse, but from what I’ve often read they usually mess things up even more.  And if you thought they were aggressive before the transaction, wait until they start insisting you owe them money.

Also, could they be doing something illegal just by soliciting?  Shopping center parking lots are private property; the businesses operating there have paid money to the property owners.  If you’re operating a business on their property without permission that could be a crime.  Hmm, maybe I’ve found a way to deal with these bastards.