June 30, 2008

Control Freak

Ernie the Gambler, Neil and I were having an interesting talk about control freaks the other day. We were trying to figure out what their problem is in the first place, and how to disarm them.

Remember when I did that piece about manipulation and being manipulated? Well, the control freak is worse. Everyone wants to have some control of their lives, their destiny, their workplace, their front porch, whatever. And mentally healthy people don't want to be controlled, they want at least some say in their relationships.

These people are so weak minded that they are in so much fear and anxiety in their own lives, they want to control your life as well. You don't have much say when you're in a relationship with a control freak: Do what you're told. The problem is, when a control freak is a raving psychotic, there is no pleasing them; the rules constantly change. When you do what you're told or forced to do, this worst of controllers is still not pleased.

Control freaks are often like verbal machine guns. They use manipulation techniques that are blatant, and you feel like you've been machine gunned. You may or may not know what happened when the control freak is done with you, but you know that you feel lousy.

Other times, control freaks can be more subtle, but they still exert tremendous pressure until they get their way. This is a dreadful way to live. You can be controlled and manipulated, but you really don't know it until it's too late. And you can wind up learning their evil ways and using them to control and manipulate good people in your life.

Also, watch out for passive-aggressive traits, that's a vicious control and manipulation that sick people utilize.

I promise you from experience, you are damaged by long-term exposure to control freaks. They bring you down and they damage your self-esteem. In fact, you can end up being dependent on their control, because you've lost your own will and "need" to be controlled. God help you. Your best bet is to get away from control freaks. They do not know how to give or receive genuine love. All they know is how to take away. There is no pleasing them. So, if you're in a relationship with one, get the hell out! It's not true friendship or love. Take a good, long, honest look at it and see. If they want to get professional help, fine. After that, maybe then you can see about starting over in a relationship with them. But be very careful! Not that they'll admit to needing help in the first place, so they'll never seek it out. Capice?

For those of you who are confined with a control freak through living arrangements, a relative, a spouse: Get help. You'll need a therapist with good skills to help you deal with this kind of monstrosity if you can't get away from it.

Here is an interesting article on control freaks, if you want more information. And God help Neil and others who have to live with this kind of garbage that ruins their lives.

June 24, 2008

XP Antivirus

Uncle Bob is angry today. The Internet should be a fun and safe place. What a crock! (Although what it says is true, this link has strong profanity.)

Hal the Hacker was busy, so I had to help Teenie on my own. She got her fingers on the "XP Antivirus" software. It's vicious. And why was Teenie surprised by this, after all I've taught her? Well... "The new XP antivirus 2008, that hit the World Wide Web computers in March, is a major update to its predecessor. By calling it "major update" I mean that XP anti virus became more violent, more resilient, more immune to removal attempts, more "intelligent"; now it's recovering itself after being removed via Add and Remove Programs option in Windows Control Panel...This year's XP antivirus is more colourful, too, and features same interface as many legitimate antispyware software tools. It's totally understandable why even senior computer users install this rogue antivirus blindly believing to be protected and secure, while in reality they leave the gates of their computer wide open for a new flood of malware to come in and take control of the PC." I found that write-up here.

So this beastie pretends to be your friend, but you probably clicked on something and got it installed. If you haven't, don't. But you still may be tricked into installing this monstrosity. All it does is try to sell itself. What does it do, precisely? It give false errors, for one. You have problems, you have viruses! Liar!

"As you can see this program is fraudware in that makes changes on your computer and then states these changes are infections as a scare tactic to have you purchase the software. It goes without saying that under no circumstances should you buy it. The program does come with a removal option in the computer's Add or Remove Programs list, but when you attempt to uninstall it, all that happens is the entry is removed from the list and program's process is terminated. Next time you reboot, XP AntiVirus will start up again." The instructions for how to remove the farging bastich are found here, about halfway down the page. I believe that the part about scanning with Panda was a sales pitch. I couldn't connect with Panda, and the unintall instructions worked just fine. But I did follow up with Ad-Aware, just to be certain.

So, XP Antivirus and Vista Antivirus, it's brother, are not your friends. Kill them. Follow the advice in the links I gave you. I use good safety software, and I'm sure many of you do, too. But things like this can still sneak up on you. I've had to find detailed removal instructions before — wait, was that for me, or for someone else?

Hey, XP fiends! My favorite goomah has a present for you. Don't come around her any more, capice?

Addendum 7-31-2008:
I found something else that should be useful on this subject here.
Addendum 8-28-2008: Here's yet another useful piece.

June 19, 2008

More Monkey Business

Still waiting for news on the Tibetan protests for yesterday and today. The Chinese changed the route of the Olympic torch, and the timing, and kept it secret. If it's so much hassle, why bother? It's only a part of the Olympics since Hitler's 1936 games in Berlin. Hey, you ChiComs have a lot in common with Der Fűhrer, huh? Stronzos.

OK, so this guy sends me a comment that is longer than the original "Monkey Business" post. Right. Like I'm going to get into an essay war with someone and bore all of you to tears. Hal the Hacker wanted to send him a "personal message" that would show up on his computer, but I don't want him to stop trying to put that virus in the CCP computers in Beijing. Nicky says, "Fuggedaboudit" — after all, he must have ignored the warning that I am right. Instead, I'll just go on a bit more. But I won't get into all the deep science that I used to study. You and I have better things to do. So get ready, Cowboy Bob is going to let loose.

Term clarification: Evolution, in this sense, is marco evolution. (No, Tommy, it's not pasta. Sheesh, what a cafone.) The big stuff, the major changes, is macro evolution. New life forms and all that. Micro evolution, on the other hand, is something that we do see happening. It's in various animal breeds, f'rinstance.

One bit in that comment was that "we see evolution happening every day". The hell we do. Some scientists have abandoned gradual evolution because there's no evidence for it, so they say it happened very fast. So, it's either too slow that you can't see it, or it's too fast and you missed it (thanks, Ken Ham). That's just a cop-out.

He mentioned bacteria. Who cares about friggin' bacteria? Even if there is change, guess what? It's micro, not macro. Bacteria is still bacteria, capice? And it's still a very simple life form. Further, if you did see actual, genuine evolution, guess what? It still doesn't mean that it happened in the past, especially on such a wide scale as to manufacture all life on earth.

One other thing he argued with me about is that "atheists aren't happy that evolution is a substitute for God". Read up on history and the reaction to Papa Darwin, Cupcake. People were looking for a "rational" excuse for their existing disbelief.

A third thing that this guy didn't like about my last post is my belief that, if evolution is a law of the universe, there would be less diversity. He said that there would be more diversity, like what we see. Ummm...sorry, Pal. That's an off-the-wall opinion, nothing more.

For me, my learning, training, observations and just plain common sense still say that the universe was created and didn't happen by chance.

OK, play time is over. It's my turn to drive the guys over to the club. Ciao!

June 18, 2008

Some Monkey Business

Buona sera. While I'm waiting for the reports to come in for the Global Day of Action for Tibet (June 18, 2008), I'll tell you about a discussion the boys and I were having. We have a spectrum here. One guy believes in Creation Science or Intelligent Design on faith, without science. Another is pretty much hardcore in the pseudoscience of evolutionism (yeah, I know, big words again) and believes that materialism explains everything. Another thinks that God used evolution to create life on this planet, and that Genesis is only an allegory. (Of course, where it stops being allegory and starts being history is a question he can't answer.) As you see, the use of the term "evolution" in this case is the "general theory" of the origin of life.

As for me, I believed in evolution because of the way it's presented: It happened, and that's all there is to it. Everywhere you go, everything you read or hear, whenever origins of life are discussed, evolution is presented as an unassailable fact. Well, I listened to some Creationist speakers, read their material — and asked my own questions. So, I rejected evolutionism (it's a belief system, you see) on scientific grounds and credibility. Now the boys want me to explain myself in writing about the "credibility" part. I'd normally tell them to shut up and get back to work, but this is something I wanted to get into anyway.

Credibility is something that presents itself as believable. Does it make sense? When someone constantly tells lies, they are no longer credible, and you can't trust them. When something is presented with reason, logic, examples and proof, it becomes credible and you believe it. Part of what happens is that you mix in your own learning, thinking and experiences, and then decide if you can believe something or someone.

Evolution is presented as a fact. (This is interesting because the arrogant atheist jumps on the chance to disbelieve in a creator and still have an explanation for the existence of life.) More than this, it's presented as a law of the universe. There is a book called The Wisdom of Evolution. I haven't bothered to waste the time to read it, but the title fits in with the way so many people who are brainwashed into the evolutionism belief system will act: Evolution itself becomes a conscious entity; evolution is a substitute for God!

"Look how evolution equipped the gorilla...evolution gradually gave this animal the ability..." and so on, and so on. Not only is it an intelligent force for these people, but, in their faith, they accept it as fact.

Well, my knowledge of laws of the universe is that a law always acts the same way. For instance, when you drop a rock, it always falls down. It doesn't stay put or fall sideways unless there's some unusual circumstance that actively affects it. Capice?

When you look at nature, you see diversity. If evolution was a law of nature, there would be a heckuva lot more consistency. Different animals have different ways of coping or adapting. Some have fantastic eyesight, some detect vibrations, some have tremendous hearing while others are stone deaf.

I think that the Creator also has a sense of humor. The Duck-billed Platypus is hard to classify, so scientists called it a monotreme. It lays eggs, swims, detects electrical impulses, gives milk like a mammal, burrows in the ground — that's one weird beastie!

I have to shorten this up, but you get the jist of it. When I look around, I see holes in evolutionism and plenty of support for Intelligent Design. To believe in evolutionism, I have to suspend my disbelief, my common sense, my learning and my thinking ability. Sorry, guys, I can't accept your faith in the fake god of evolutionism. It's just not consistent. And very inefficient.

My own faith is based on reason and the ability to think, despite what evolutionists claim about it. Now, you can use your own thinking abilities and common sense. Ask questions of the established evolutionary orthodoxy, do research and get the Creationist side of the story. 

June 13, 2008

Life in Big Business

Buon giorno. I should have Neil write this because it's his story, but he's too busy trying to make money to pay the bills. As for me, I'm in a better mood because some money has come to me that I've been waiting a long time to receive.

Neil works for a major American corporation. It's very big, and has international holdings. They complained that in their last quarter, they did not make as many tens of millions of dollars as they expected. Poor darlings! Neil says that this company is too big and too impersonal. I agree. The problem is, that's the way most of them get.

His company does not care about its employees. They make a pretense at benefits because they could not get anyone to work there if they did not offer them (and their health benefits are laughable; many employees rely on their spouses for coverage). They cut out the overtime that many employees relied on to survive. Instead, they will have to learn the hard way that there is too much work, too little time to do it and it will lead to the company having to pay many large fines because they violated laws for being timely.

There are many irritations that show that this company does not care about the people that make it wealthy. An incident yesterday really set Neil off. One of his co-workers who had been there for over a decade was removed. (Well, they said "laid off". That's different from being terminated. Termination indicates that you are bad. A layoff is a nice way of saying, "Get lost, we don't need you anymore".) There were two others that were laid off, but they were in another office and he did not know them.

Now, this lady had been a good worker and learned many facets of the organization. So, she must have been making a halfway decent wage. When the company decided to do cutbacks, they not only eliminated the overtime, but eliminated jobs as well. She was caught in a "business decision".

Frankly, they've learned poorly from the Mafia (let's pretend that they really do exist). The half-assed ruthlessness of "nothing personal, it's only business" is coupled with incompetence. Organized crime does not accept incompetence. I've heard it said that the "business decision" and "nothing personal" line is crapola. When you lose your job, it's very personal. They're playing fast and loose with people's lives.

I detest the term, "Human Resources". What is a resource? Something that you use up, squeeze dry, throw away and find another. And now we have departments set up to officially drain you dry.

The bean counters in accounting don't care about the effects on people. They are only interested in making the fastest grotzits possible, and are unaware of long-term effects. Neil has already met people that are angry about the unjust removal of employees. They do not accept the "business decisions", and are less willing to work as hard because, frankly, hard work and loyalty are not rewarded. Well, sometimes they are, but it's just window dressing.

Businesses like this give Capitalism a bad name.

Let's end this comedy with an un-funny and actually somewhat touching moment from the end of National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Mr. Shirley, the boss, suspended Christmas bonuses and did not tell anyone. Then he had to look the Griswolds in the eye. He said, "Sometimes things look good on paper, but lose their luster when you see how it affects real folks. I guess a healthy bottom line doesn't mean much, if to get it you have to hurt the ones you depend on. It's people that make the difference."

I'd like that carved into the concrete of every business.

There are successful businesses that are good to their employees, so it's not just a "business decision". These companies know the realities of having people work for them. Neil's company is a Fortune 500 business, but it's not in the top 100 "best companies to work for" lists.

I think I read (many years ago) in Lee Iacocca's autobiography, "If you give your employees your best, they'll give you their best." Whether he said it or not, it's something to seriously consider.

June 9, 2008

Obnoxious Fox

Buon giorno. You're traveling through a realm of annoyance. It is a realm that lies at the summit of man's irritation or the pit of his tolerance. It is a journey through a land of both ego and pride, of stupidity and ignorance. Arrogance is paramount. Introspection is rare. There's a signpost up ahead. Your next stop: The Obnoxious Zone.

OK, enough of the bad Twilight Zone introduction re-write. But I had to blow off some steam. Very rough weekend, especially with the brutal heatwave. Tommy the Knocker has put dry ice in front of his fan, it's so bad. Maybe if it didn't hit six weeks before the usual time, it would be easier to tolerate.

Yours truly has had to do some self-examination. Do I trash something that I like because of the people associated with it? That's what it comes down to. You see, I'm more than fed up with the "Spread Firefox" community. Basically, it's full of virgin geeks doing their "Yeah! Firefox rocks, dude!" rhetoric. And those kinds of cheer leading squads do not accept anything less than total agreement and encouragement.

I was a member of that community, but various responses to questions that I had asked, and others had asked, were sorely lacking. Did you notice the lack of "Get Firefox" buttons to click? I took them down because I was so angry at that crowd. The final straw was when a post I had made there about being intrusive (and linking to this post) mysteriously disappeared. Not that there was anything wrong with it, they had it up for a month or so, but it vanished. And posts before and after it were still there. Can't stand for anything less than enthusiastic agreement, Fox Fans?

The anger was so intense that I was about to delete Firefox itself. That's when I had to remember to practice what I preach: the representatives of an organization, movement, religion or whatever do not necessarily mean that the thing is bad in and of itself. I know people who hate Christianity because of bad Christians. No, the Bible is true and Christ has risen. Joe Superchristian is a phony, sure. He's also human and makes mistakes. But that's no reason to disbelieve in God, for instance. And I had to remember that I like Firefox better than the alternatives, not to delete it because of its fan geeks.

Maybe some of them will see this post. But I hope that the problems that I illustrate here will help show examples of how not to act. The first lesson is that you won't learn much from people that agree with you! And cowardly deleting postings in a public forum that pretends to encourage discussion will not accomplish anything. Except, perhaps, of having people like me delete their accounts and ceasing to aggressively spread "the word".

By the way. Fans of the Opera browser have done some very sneaky and underhanded things to promote their favorite software. So don't you guys get all excited about this post. Your time may still come.

Now I'm going to comment on some of the "Quick Wins"  (this is gone after a site overhaul) that were posted (and my comments were deleted after a month, as I said before). There are some good ones in there, so I won't mention those. And this time, I'm not going to be as gentile as I was in their forum, because this is my Weblog. Capice?

Go to a local computer store such as Best Buy, CompUSA or Fry’s. Open Notepad on one of the display machines and leave a short advertisement for Firefox. Is it just me, or would that be annoying and make people unwilling to try Firefox?

Earn yourself 10 affiliate points today. Send a letter to your local or campus newspaper about Firefox. They've always been dodgy about how to get the points, who assigns them, or whatever. Besides, they're only for "bragging rights", and, therefore, worthless.

Leave a post-it note on the desk of a random person in your office that you don’t know that says “getfirefox.com”. Don’t sign it. How tacky is this?

Leave a note in your mailbox telling your mailman about Firefox. Too bad people don't know that postal carriers are (theoretically) supposed to remove things from mailboxes that are not mail. Also, the carrier is there to deliver mail. I really don't think that she's all that interested in her next browser.

Eat out tonight. When you pay the bill, leave the waiter a monetary tip and a handwritten tip to the tune of “getfirefox.com”. As above, the server isn't interested in Internet stuff. This one isn't quite as bad, especially if there is indeed a monetary tip involved.

Print out three copies of this Firefox datasheet and pin it to three bulletin boards in your town. Think: community centers, gyms, workplaces, Jamba Juice… Is that effective, or is it just littering? After all, again, you have to be selective in where you put things. You decide.

There is no urgency. Lives are not at stake. Firefox is a great browser and thrives on people spreading its word. I'll still do it, but I will no longer be involved in the Spread Firefox "community".

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to reorder my Stormbringer Productions brochures. You see I have to edit out that part about "member of Spread Firefox". Arrivederci.

Addendum 6-10-2008: There are some serious people at Spread Firefox that are trying to make that community thing work, and I have been contacted by a couple of them, assuring me that my posts have not been deleted or targeted. It's a bug in the system.

Addendum 6-15-2008: I'm certain that I've ruffled a few Firefox feathers. If this fox wants to be fair and balanced, fans should do a search in the box at the top of the page for my positive references to Firefox.

May 23, 2008

Reputation and Persuasion

That title would make a good song title, wouldn't it?

About eight months ago, I wrote about having a reputation, whether you like it or not. You do all you can to build a good one, and when you really need it, it can pay off.

But there's something that you have to deal with: mindless sheep. You see, I believe that the world is in a state of social or societal entropy, where everything goes from order to disorder. Everything goes downhill. Things get worse. Naturally, we have to put our own efforts and energy into the world to slow the decay, and have areas where things are actually good for a while.

A preacher pointed this out to me several years ago: people love to believe negative things, but are unwilling to believe positive things. Just look at all the rumors you hear. How many of them are good things? Not many. But mindless sheep love to hear those things. More, they like to spread bad things as well. The worse (or more sensational) it is, the faster it spreads. And it gets worse in the telling.

Remember, I've said that my own experiences and mistakes that I talk about here are, hopefully, useful to the readers. I don't know how much use this is beyond illustration, but I'll tell you about something.

There are a number of my relatives that think I'm a worthless piece of — uh, excrement. I'm just a useless a**hole that doesn't do anything for anybody. The funny thing is, this nonsense comes from one or two chronic liars that want to bring me down. (One in particular really is a worthless piece of excrement and an a**hole that doesn't do anything for anybody, unless there's something for her to gain.) And I have to deal with mindless sheep that listen to and spread these stories.

What can you do when you're on the receiving end of merda like this? First, remember that it's very difficult to stop a rumor because people love to believe negative things. Keep on building up your reputation where it matters, ignore the rest. After all, the more noise you make and protest, the more people are likely to believe the lies. If there are people in the chain that have some influence and some reason, you may try to tell your side of the story. But don't make a huge issue of it or it can backfire. Meanwhile, there are people who know who you are and respect you.

There are people that hate me. Hard to believe, but it's true. Most of the time, it's from losers that I don't even want to give me their admiration. There are people that respect me, and I respect them. It's a good feeling. Let mindless sheep bleat all they want.

You can take consolation in what you've accomplished, the lives you've touched for the better (even if only a little bit), the people that you care about and also care about you. Cafones that can't think for themselves and believe nonsense about you? You don't need them. Roll on.

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