Just the tip, I promise

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I’m going to let you recover from the vlog and just use my keyboard this time.  It’s also because I’m writing about a subject that is near and dear to me and I’ve seen some comments in other places about this subject that get me a little fired up.

Stabby, as it were.

I’m talking about tipping.

No, not cows.

I mean that little extra cash you leave on the table for a good waiter/waitress that does not leave a DNA sample in your dinner, or pass to your barber for not slicing off your ear . . . . or your driver for not killing you.

I’m bringing the topic up because Uber seems to have left people with the impression that they pay us SO much that riders should not tip because it’s just adding extra gravy to our already overflowing gravy boat.

This assessment would be incorrect.

It was this Huffington Post article that got me started on the subject.  The article itself was ok, it was the comments left on it that poked my sleeping bear.

It only resembled truth before they cut the rates in half in order to drum up business in a “temporary” test.  A temporary test that started nearly 2 years ago and still hasn’t ended.

Uber’s website still encourages its riders not to tip, however.

Ok, it doesn’t encourage not tipping, it gives justification to the “I don’t believe in tipping” crowd.

The last sentence should have ended at “your fare is automatically charged to your credit card on file.”

PERIOD.

Your FARE is automatically charged to your credit card means just that, your FARE.  While that statement is true, what it leaves out is that there is no gratuity included, and that despite the rate drops, Uber’s cut from the fare did not drop.  There is also no option on the app to add a tip, so the driver isn’t getting one that way either.

By adding “there’s no need to tip”, they may as well have also added “so feel free to be a complete asshole”, because it is my experience that the riders that are the biggest pain in the ass, are also the ones that don’t tip.

Funny how the assholery permeates throughout their entire existence, isn’t it?

Case in point:

I drove a gentleman and his daughter home from the airport to the next city over.  A 71 mile trip at 1:00 in the morning, for which I had to drive the 71 miles back for free.  The man grilled me for 1 hour and 14 minutes about Uber, what working for them was like and what kind of free shit Uber as a corporation might like to do for his organization.  I got my own ass home at around 4:00 in the morning.

No tip.

I drove a guy home from work at 3:30 in the afternoon.  A 1.6 mile trip that took 6 minutes and it cost him $4.67.  Notices my USMC sticker on the car, hands me a $5 bill and says “thanks for your service”.

I would have been happy with a $5 tip from the first guy.  That would have covered most of the gas to get me back home again.

Yet most of us feel like a tool when we don’t tip a cab driver.  Somebody explain that to me.

71 mile trip in my UberX car – $80.59
71 mile trip in a cab – $199.87

. . . and we feel like a tool for not tipping the cabbie.

Even with a 15% tip, the UberX trip would have been $92.68, still less than half the price of a cab before a tip!

With the UberX (Me), he got a clean, air conditioned modern car in excellent mechanical shape, music station of his choice, charger for any possible phone he may have had, a friendly and responsive driver for whom English was his first language, and I never once told him to go fuck himself (that he heard).

What are the odds he’d get all that in the cab?

Funny part is, the local cabbie commission is trying to shut down Uber using the argument that their background checks are better and that people are safer in a taxi cab . . .

Yes, that is a cab driver robbing a bank. We know this because his getaway car WAS HIS FUCKING CAB.

I know, right?!  It’s hard to be hilarious when real life is funnier than I am.

I wonder how many people felt like shit when they couldn’t tip him?

Probably this delusional jackass that responded to the article I linked to at the beginning of this post.

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I would have blurred out his name, but the moron apparently did that for me.

. . . and bear poked:

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I may have been a tad irritated.

Before it comes up, let me head it off at the pass because I can already see it coming . . .

“But Eric, how much of that $80.59 fare did you get to keep”?

Excellent point.  Let me break it down for you:

$80.59 – Total fare
$63.92 – My cut
-$11.75 – Approx price of gas used round trip
-$15.98 – Approx tax I will pay on it at the end of the year
-$1.25 – Toll paid by me

= $34.94

Total time spent with customer & driving home = 3 hours

That’s $11.64 an hour and we still haven’t mentioned my car insurance, daily car washes, oil, phone data usage, or vehicle wear and tear.

THAT’s how much I “get to keep”.

But don’t tip for great customer service, because living on $11.64 is easy to live on, right?

Can I also add that this demonstrates one of those rare GOOD fares, so $11.64 is a “high end” night.

We don’t want to forget the jackass that same weekend that I drove 9 miles to pick up and only took him half a mile.

So the next time you wonder if you should tip your Uber or Lyft (At least Lyft has a tip option in their app), let me just answer with this:

Yes, if you received good customer service, were delivered to your destination safely and in a clean vehicle, then you absolutely SHOULD tip your driver, because if you can’t be bothered, you can go back to paying twice as much for a cab that smells like burrito farts while the driver talks on his cell phone in another language.  Damn well better give him a 5 star rating too, because the rules about drivers ratings are pretty damn harsh and any average below a 4.6 gets our account suspended and we can’t drive anymore.  Low ratings for bullshit reasons can hurt us more deeply than you think, and NOT being offered a free bottle of water (as some riders seem to have come to expect), or not showing up in a Cadillac when you ordered an UberX ride is NOT a valid reason to drop a star off the rating.  You want a Cadillac, order an UberSelect.

-Eric

It’s sad that I have to say that, but for the same reason people have to be warned not to use a hair dryer while still in the shower, it needs to be said.

I’m a tipper.  I believe in it, I’ve had to live on it before and now I’m kind of doing it again.  My son is living on it as well.  It’s what some people have to do to get by.  I always tip.  No exception.  If I can’t tip, I don’t go out.  Period.  I usually tip 20 – 25% or even more in the case of exceptional service.  If you get a tip from me that is only %15, then that means you probably suck at customer service and should choose another career path.

To those of you that “don’t believe in tipping”, we know who you are and we see you coming and you have a giant set of balls coming back to a place where you have repeatedly not left a tip . . . don’t you dare wonder why your service was shitty.

You get what you pay for.

Besides, how could you not tip this guy?:

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/08/just-the-tip-i-promise/

I’m not wearing pants in this video

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About 4 years ago, I ventured into unfamiliar waters and published my first ever video blog post, or vlog as it has come to be known.

It wasn’t great.

Which probably explains why I have waited 4 years before trying it again, except this time with some editing and shit.

It probably still isn’t great.

But I’ll let you be the judge of that.

Be gentle.

 

Tell me in the comments if you want more.

Please.

Don’t be a dick.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/08/im-not-wearing-pants-in-this-video/

Self-Induced Customer Service and Other Reasons I’m an Idiot

Denise is laughing her ass off at this meme right now.

Denise is laughing her ass off at this meme right now.

I may have mentioned in passing somewhere in my last post that I wrote like a year ago or two weeks or something like that, that I was about to embark on a temporary adventure into the rideshare experience.

I’ve done it and this was my second weekend offering my personal vehicle to the drunk and disorderly of the Tampa/Saint Petersburg/Clearwater vicinity.  Admittedly, this weekend was a tad slower than the previous one because we were largely under water.

No, that is not a figure of speech.

Welcome to South Tampa!!

Welcome to South Tampa!!

BWWAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAA *gasp* *gasp* AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

BWWAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAHAAAAAAHAAAAAA *gasp* *gasp* AAAAAAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!

So, needless to say, driving around Tampa, and in particular South Tampa, has not been recommended.  Unfortunately, most of the good “party areas” of Tampa are located in South Tampa and also where the best rideshare money is to be made.  So whether you prefer Uber or Lyft or the criminals that drive the yellow cars, none of them are offering boats or any other watercraft.

Last weekend was a different story.

My adventure started in Brandon, Florida.  For those of you not from the area, it’s basically East Tampa and not really known for it’s party scene.  There are like three bars in Brandon and to hear Liz describe it, those are the bars you go to after you have failed to get laid at a bar in Ybor City at 2 in the morning.

The Bars of the Lonely and still pretty ugly even after 12 beers.

By the end of the night (defined as 4:00 am Sunday morning) I actually had to open Google Maps to figure out where in the hell I was.

Turns out I was 40 miles away on the North side of Clearwater.

And in that one night I had pretty much run the gambit as to the level of idiot that needs to be driven home.

I had the uptight douche who wanted the cheapest ride possible but was offended when I didn’t come to pick him up in a Porsche.  (The app tells the rider what kind of car I’m driving.  Don’t like it, cancel the ride, Assface.)

I had the recently divorced woman that insisted on sitting in the front seat that instructed me to drive 6 miles to get to a bar that was a mile away, then wanted to “chat” while we sat in the parking lot of the destination bar.  (Sorry, 13 cents a minute is NOT enough for this shit!)

I had the extremely drunk dude that entered my car “pre-pissed off” and I got to listen to him tell me why he was pissed for the next 12 miles while he punched the back of my passenger seat.

The trip of the night, however, was the crowd that crammed itself into the back AND front of my car and attracted the attention of the cops standing nearby.

This trip was off to a stellar start.

. . . but lucky for you . . . my camera was installed and functioning.

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Yes, you can click this and make it bigger.

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. . . and they rode like that for 34 friggin’ miles.

Douchebag in the front seat was passed out for most of it, thankfully.

Girls sang for most of it . . .

. . . when they weren’t referring to me as “Ewic”.

Other two dudes in the back seat also passed out.

Fortunately, no vomit was introduced during this ride or any other that night.

Also, while I have the software that blurs out faces in videos, I found that shit to be harder to do than my lazy ass is willing to get into at this point in time, so that being said, there may be an unblurred link to the YouTube video of this group as they piled in my car hidden somewhere in this post.

This is a completely random image placed here for no reason and is absolutely NOT a hidden link to a YouTube video.

This is a completely random image placed here for no reason and is absolutely NOT a hidden link to a YouTube video.

On the plus side, the money is every bit as good as they say it is.  I actually did really well.  I used a tank and a half of gas last weekend and made enough to fill it 8 and a half times, so all things considered, I’m pretty pleased with the income potential.

Most importantly because Thursday was payday for both the hospital as well as the rideshare company and guess which one fucked up my direct deposit?!

The Feds at their finest, of course.  If it hadn’t been for rideshare, I’d have had no money this weekend.

For those of you that use services such as Uber or Lyft or whatever that other one is, I’m gonna pass you some advice that the companies that provide the service won’t tell you:

  • Tipping is not required, but it is not forbidden as some have been led to believe.  It’s also a nice thing to do, particularly if you have just been given a $4 ride to go three blocks because you’re too drunk to stumble that far.  There’s a good chance the driver had to drive 6 miles to pick you up to go three blocks.
  • Tipping is also a nice thing to do if you’re a dick.
  • That “star rating system” is a thorn in our side.  In most cases, the company will drop us if our rating drops below 4.6, which can happen pretty quickly with every jackass that would have preferred a Porsche.  General rule is, if you arrived in one piece and the driver didn’t give your girlfriend a purple nurple, give him or her 5 stars.  Unless I get puke in my car or I am physically assaulted, you’re getting 5 stars.  (Yes, the drunken crowd of 5 got 5 stars, even if I did want to stab the guy in the passenger seat.)
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  • Yes, there are a lot of stories on the news about us.  It is not because we are bad, or expensive or a rip-off.  We are in the news because damn near every taxi cab organization in the country is twelve kinds of pissed because we are doing their job BETTER and CHEAPER in SAFER cars with drivers for which ENGLISH is their first language.

For those of you that don’t use any of these rideshare services, I highly recommend that you start.  You’ll never take a cab again.

On that note, I’m calling it a night.  I have to get up early in the morning and go to work at a place that I hope will pay me to be there this week.  I’ll try to post some more good stories from the road as well as videos for your twisted enjoyment.

. . . and don’t forget to tip your drivers!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/08/self-induced-customer-service-and-other-reasons-im-an-idiot/

Aluminum Foil – It’s Not Just For Hats Anymore

633673729262531831-TinfoilHatI’d apologize for that pic if I was sorry.

I’m not.

Welcome to Opticynicism if you’re new.  This is the kind of behavior you can expect from me.

For those of you that are not new, you’re used to it and you keep coming back because you expect it and you’re a glutton for punishment.

This post is going to bounce around a little bit and be kind of random.  It’s more of a “get you caught up on my weird-ass life” post, so it’ll have some random bullshit that I thought was funny and some news, both current and upcoming.

Here goes nothing.

Literally.

First, you should know why I picked the title that I did.  It wasn’t random.

Much.

I went over to Liz’s this past weekend as I often do.  (I’m moving back there again in the vicinity of Labor Day for those of you that were wondering and have followed my volatile previous few months.)  At any rate, I arrived at Liz’s to an empty house.  She was off with a couple of her friends and I stepped into a nice quiet house for a pleasant change of pace for me.

If you’ve followed me for the past year, you know that Liz’s house carries great potential for things that are frequently strange.  Lest we not forget Boy’s Kitchen, Bacon Physics, and most importantly, the Penis Cake.  This time I entered the living room to find the couch covered in aluminum foil.

Not balls of aluminum foil thrown all over the couch, or unwrapped food covers tossed willy-nilly about the sofa, no, sheets and probably the better part of a box of aluminum foil covered the couch and pillows.

IMG_1075I’ve become accustomed to coming across some strange shit at Liz’s house, and I was sure there was some kind of reason for it so I wasn’t about to move it.  It did not stop my curiosity.  I texted Liz to find out WTF the deal was with the aluminum foil.

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See, I told you there was a reason.

. . . and it works.

This is Bella, NOT on the couch.

This is Bella, NOT on the couch.

As for the “works for her as much as it does for the kids” comment, that comes from the fact that we discovered that if you wanted to keep her kids from eating something you wanted to save, you simply had to cover it or wrap it in aluminum foil.  This results in a phenomenon that renders food invisible to her kids, the same way it keeps the CIA from stealing your thoughts.

I reality, the aluminum foil represents “work” to her kids.  The food inside the foil cannot be identified without removing or opening the foil, which requires “effort”.  Since the food cannot be identified, there is a reasonable risk that the food inside may be undesirable to the offending offspring, creating an environment of “potential wasted effort” because that will cause them to either have to re-apply the aluminum foil thus creating the “unnecessary work” effect, OR not re-apply the aluminum foil and haphazardly place the food substance back into the refrigerator uncovered which results in either myself or Liz having a brain hemorrhage.

The solution for the offspring is to not deal with the aluminum wrapped substance at all, creating the state of “invisible”.

The concept for Bella the Dog is much simpler.

That shit is just creepy and she ain’t goin’ anywhere near it.


In other news, I was at Walgreen’s today and apparently this is a thing . . .

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Kill me now.


 

My quest for full time employment at the VA continues, and in the meantime I’m still scraping some cash together in the work program that I squeezed back in to with the help of the congressman.  In an effort to supplement my cash inflow, I have signed up to be a driver for Uber.  As soon as they finish my criminal background check, I can start driving.

If you are a taxi driver and are about to start berating me and listing all the reasons this is “illegal” and “unfair” and blah, blah, fuckin’ blah . . . save it.  I’ve been researching this for the last 2 weeks and I’ve seen and heard both sides of the argument, weighed the benefits, studied the pros and cons and looked at this from both sides of the argument.  When a guy like me can go from not making a goddamn dime for months to pulling in $1000 a week with a tap of an app, you’re not likely to get me to change my mind.

Also, it’s not illegal.  It’s frowned-upon and that’s different.

I also bought one of these . . .

. . . and I also figured out how to blur out faces and shit in videos.

Also, I’m thinking Opticynicism is about to get real fucking interesting.

Also, if you’re going to be calling for an Uber ride in Tampa, I might recommend that you behave.

Originally I bought this because it was recommended by the Uber driver community as it deters robbery, gives you evidence in the event of an accident, and offers proof in the event a passenger decides to accuse you of wrong-doing of a sexual harassment nature.  My car is well marked as belonging to a USMC veteran, and I have “resting bitch face” so I look angry even when I’m not anyway, I’m thinking robbery is already deterred.  I’m also broke, so that helps.  Being a male, an accusation of sexual harassment is more likely.  Even more so because it’s me.

‘Nuff said.

Also, drunk people on Friday night that need a ride are fucking hilarious and I want you folks to see it.

Also, that may become a whole website all by itself depending on how stupid people in Tampa are.

If you’ve ever been to Tampa, you know my chances are pretty damn good.


 

I think it’s appropriate to end my post with this . . .

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This is the stop sign at the exit of my local Starbucks.  It made me laugh.

Now you can laugh too.


See ya’s soon!!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/07/aluminum-foil-its-not-just-for-hats-anymore/

Ghosts In The Machine

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My apologies for taking so long to write a post. I’ve been entirely unmotivated to do so.

To those of you that I asked to let me know when I get slack on posting on my blog, you’re fired.  I’m still here, still alive and I’ve done my best not to completely fuck up my life anymore.  Quite the opposite.  Things are actually going pretty well and moving forward.  Moving slowly, but forward.  Kind of like the Veterans Administration, except they move slowly and sideways, but I’ll get to that.

First, it’s been a while but I wanted to introduce you to the recent giveaway book winners.  Yep, that is plural, even though I only had one giveaway.  The winner of my giveaway of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, Meg Hammil of Akron, Ohio was kind enough to send me a pic of her with her prize.

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The second giveaway winner is, well . . . me.  No, I did not give myself a book.  Jeff over at Jeff and Jill Went Up The Hill was kind enough to let a computer program choose me at random to win my very own copy of The Big Book of Parenting Tweets put together by our good friend Kate Hall of Can I Get Another Bottle of Whine.  So thank you very much to both Jeff and Kate!

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Doing a very poor imitation of “Jeff in the Electric Forest” with my book.

Since you didn’t win because we all know who did, be sure and pick up your own copy using one of the links above.  You won’t be sorry and I wasted far too much time trying to get those Amazon links to center in the post, so I give up and it’s time to move on.


 

I haven’t entirely been unmotivated.  I’ve been struck with the “that would make a great blog post” itch on several occasions, but having been busy or otherwise occupied at the time, all of those itches failed to get scratched and then the idea was lost and forgotten and I’ll be damned if I have any idea what they were.  You’d think I would carry around a notepad to jot this shit down, or actually put the notepad app on the iPhone to use, but no, I just let that shit fly away.

Instead I’ve returned to doing the stuff that I was doing before I flipped my life upside down a couple of months ago. Thanks to the Congressman, I’ve returned to work at the hospital where I was, doing the same thing I was doing before and with the same people.  That’s the good part.

The bad part is that they have only allowed me to work 3 days a week and I have to spend the other 2 applying for any and all jobs that I can find, which I’ll take at this point because they’ll only give me 24 goddamn hours of work a week.  I’ve also got to attend resume writing classes and interview skills classes.

It’s all part of the program, ya see.  The program I got back into in order to hold me over until I can get hired permanently at the hospital, which is currently slated for August, but the people of the program don’t care about that.  What they care about is that I blew the whistle on them to a Congressman that didn’t appreciate their bullshit and now they had to take me back in.

So they let me back in.  Also, they are pissed about it, so they are going to go out of their way to make it as miserable for me as possible.

Fuck ’em.  Two can play at that game.

On the upside of that, I’ve actually learned a few things about resume writing from the classes.  For example, forget every fucking thing they ever taught you in high school about writing a resume.  It’s all different now.

  • Objective – Remember that introductory sentence or two full of bullshit that you were supposed to put at the top?  Not anymore.  Leave that shit off.
  • Two pages or less rule – This still applies, however now they claim that all the most important stuff should be in the first 1/3 of the front page, so learn brevity or work with a microscopic font, it doesn’t matter, because . . .
  • Nobody is actually going to read the fucking thing.  It would seem that our resumes are now run through some kind of software that searches the resume for “keywords”.  The computer then searches through the resume looking for certain words to pop up that are pre-determined by whoever is looking for new employees.  The resumes are then separated by the computer into “possible hires” and “rejections”.
  • Should your resume hit the “rejection” pile because you used the word “sorted” rather than “organized”, it is then either deleted or shredded, because guess what kids, no response at all is the new “we’re sorry, but you just don’t have the qualifications we are looking for.”  You must be as polite as possible.  The hiring entity, however, can be as rude as fucking possible and you just have to put up with that shit.
  • Assuming the computer puts you in the “possible hires” pile, it is then passed to some idiot who isn’t going to look past the top 1/3 of the page and decide to hire you based on your name, email address and the last two jobs you had.  That said, make sure you don’t use your titsinmyface69@yahoo.com address on a resume.
  • Do not put references or the words “references available upon request” on your resume.  They have finally figured out that you always list your drinking buddies to pose as your former boss, so they don’t bother to waste their time anymore.

The one thing that hasn’t changed is that your resume should absolutely, positively be 125% bullshit.  I don’t care if you are applying to do the laundry at a brothel, your resume had better make you look like Steve Jobs rode the short bus and licked the windows.  Don’t forget to use the keywords “biologicals” and “protein stain” on that particular resume.

To keep this post from ending right here, let’s pretend you won the lottery and the machines have chosen you as a prospective employee.  You are now faced with the interview.  For the most part, the rules haven’t changed for the interview.  Dress nicely, don’t be a dick and try not to scratch your balls.  They have pretty much decided whether or not to hire you before you ever show up for the interview, so short of masturbating in their office or them noticing that the last 2/3rd’s of your resume are the lyrics to Right Here, Right Now by Jesus Jones, your fate was pre-determined.

At the end of the day, all that matters is that you look good on paper . . . to a computer.  The Terminator movies were not as far off as we may have thought.  The machines seem to be running the show.

I currently have about 17 resumes, each tailored with the appropriate keywords for different types of jobs.  I could also give two shits about any of them because I still have my sights set on the job waiting for me in August.  I have not discounted the possibility that I may not get it, but those chances are getting slimmer and slimmer by the day.  I’ll survive and be able to get a job elsewhere if necessary.  I just have to be smarter than the machines and pray to God nobody ever Googles my name or I’m fucked.

I think I’ll just use a pseudonym on my resume instead.


It’s good to be back.  I’m feeling good and doing well and a million thanks to everyone that has been keeping up with me.  I’ll be around here a little more often as things return to a little bit better than normal.  I’ve missed everyone and really got a kick out of all the reports from BlogU on my Facebook feed.  That is a goal I have for next year.  I want to meet all those awesome bloggers.

In the meantime, I’ll keep chugging along doing what I gotta do.

I’ve become addicted to a game on my phone too, so if anyone is playing SimCity Buildit and has a Game Center or fake Facebook account to play it with, I really need expansion parts.

Oh, and cheese.

And bread rolls.

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and probably a new 12-step program.

To the creators of this game . . .

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Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/07/ghosts-in-the-machine/

I Just Gave This Book Away!

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Yes, despite some server issues and some other shit, I finally got this thing to cooperate long enough to give me a winner for the Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor giveaway.

Congratulations to Meg Hammil!!

Thank you and everyone for taking the time to stop by here and make a comment!

I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did.

And once again, thank you to Alyson Herzig and Jessica Azar for the book mostly, but also for their support in this giveaway.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/06/i-just-gave-this-book-away/

The Day I Found Out I Was Banned From The Library

 . . . and that day was today.

No, I’m not kidding, but not banned in the way you are probably thinking.  I did not stage a vivacious flash mob in the lobby, and I didn’t do an interpretive dance version of Stephen Kings “It” for the 3 – 5 year old Saturday Morning Reading Corner.
 . . . that anyone can prove.

No, I found out that I can’t look at the very words you are reading right now, and neither can you.

I passed on picking up the laptop from Liz’s house this weekend because I thought it might be nice to sit in the nice, quiet library and maybe type up another rambling rehab a thought provoking, humorous blog post.

. . . but no, it was not meant to be.

 Apparently I may be considered obscenity, as is Google and my Gmail account and any and all of YOUR blogs too.

Don’t know where they could have got that fucking idea.

Remember back in the day whenever you needed knowledge about anything at all, the answer was always, “Go to the library”?  The library was the Google of the pre-internet era.  It was that or 2 years and $1900 later, you too could own the entire Encyclopedia Brittanica set that was obsolete and out of date by the time you had the whole thing.  So all you needed to know, you could get at the library.

Apparently, that’s still true today.  You can still find everything you need to know at the library … if they think you need to know it.

Why is that?

Because little Johnny Jackass decided to illegally download the latest Flo-Rida album at the library.

Because Jimmy Jerkoff thought it would be cool to rub one out at the library so his mom didn’t see it in his browser history.

Is it censorship?  Maybe.  If it is, it’s selective censorship (but isn’t all censorship selective by nature?)  There is a reason I point out the selective nature. While the library is protecting you and I from both my self-righteous opinion and my liberal tossing of the f-bomb (as opposed to the tossing that has been banned by the Athlone Institute of Technology Library), some things seem to have slipped through the cracks (that statement will be hysterical in a minute).

There is a musty fingered waiting list for one of the 25 copies of the 50 Shades of Grey DVD’s.  (Told you that shit was gonna be hysterical, but that’s why I’m banned.)

“But Eric!”, you squeal with delight, “We can take the DVD back to the privacy of our own home”! *shudder*

Point taken, so let’s go with it being yet another case of the many being punished for the deeds of the few.  The janitor had a small biohazard spill in one of the computer cubicles, so instead of punishing the choker of the chicken, we’re not going to let anyone go anywhere on our beloved internet except the Food Stamp application website and the YouTube channel of Billy Graham reruns.

Johnny “I’m an upper middle class white boy gangstah” Jackass managed to download a bootleg copy of Hot Tub Time Machine 2, so instead of monitoring for excessive bandwidth use, we’ll just cut you off from everything except finding out how far down the 50 Shades waiting list you are.

While we’re at it, I heard there may have been a couple of DUI’s last night, so let’s ban cars and have all the vehicle manufacturers focus on public transportation so our dumb asses can be told where to go and how to get there because we, the general public, apparently don’t have sense enough to tie our own fucking shoes.

Which, given the level of intelligence I encountered at McDonald’s this morning, may actually be true.  (Click that link only if you are prepared to join a very long debate on the validity of the $15 McDonald’s hourly wage.)

No, because of Spunkmaster Flash, the internet challenged that have to depend on the library for internet access are denied access to legitamately excellent writers.  They don’t get to read Lizzi’s quest for global compassion and liberal spreading of glitter.  Women trying to escape abuse and are looking for advice can’t benefit from the experience, strength and hope of The Sisterwives.

They are denied the healing power of laughter from JeffAlysonKathrynSarah and so DAMN many others that you can find over there on my sidebar.

(There are SO many more of you, please forgive me as if I tried to list you all, it would double the word count of this post.)

Someone trying to find the encouragement to get sober might miss the very thing they needed to hear in some of my own posts.

I suppose I should thank the library.  I should thank them for giving me something to vent about and thus validating this blog as being what I have always claimed it to be, my own personal therapy session.  All I wanted was a nice, quiet place to vent my frustrations and perhaps help another human being or two or a hundred, or at the very least, maybe provide them with a much-needed laugh.

I can’t do that, though, because I might say “fuck” or post a pic of Tom’s nuts or, God-forbid, talk about Beth Teliho’s Vagina.

 

Tom’s nuts.

So instead, I pulled up a chair at Starbucks, drank far too much coffee and typed most of this post on my 1st generation iPad that isn’t supported beyond iOS 5.1.1 and crashes if you look at it funny.

  I’m lucky despite the fact that I don’t always portray that on here.  I still got to vent and get my word out whether you agree with it or not.  Not everyone has that advantage and today’s world isn’t making it easy for those without it to obtain it.

So stop by your local library and get on one of the computers they provide for “your convenience”.  If you can’t access your own work, stand up and tell them to quit being a dick or you’ll be forced to masturbate to Billy Graham YouTube videos just to prove a point.

It won’t work, but damn, what a blog post you’ll have!

Namaste Motherfuckers!

(I’ve had waaaaaaaaay too much coffee.)



Don’t forget your chance to win a copy of Surviving Mental Illness Through Humor, an anthology put together by Alyson Herzig and Jessica Azar, featuring a ton of writers you have come to know and love.  It’s too easy to miss out on!  All you have to do is click the ‘SMITH’ link above (or just go back one post and you’ll be there) and leave a comment.  That’s it!  Easy!  You can even drop F-Bombs!  Fuck the library!

 

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/05/the-day-i-found-out-i-was-banned-from-the-library/

This Giveaway has a Winner!! (Ended)

11016479_10204957200962656_12811739_n-300x213The recent wreckage I caused myself is finally smoothing out.  Lessons were learned, I have grown as a result and life in general is returning to a state of relative normalcy.  What does that mean for me?

It means I’m back in the saddle and I’m ready to start bringing the funny again.

What does it mean for you?

It means I’m feelin’ groovy and I want to let you all know by giving away this book!!

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During my trip to recovery I read a fantastic book that brought some incredible perspective to me during that recovery.  It was so fantastic that I decided I wanted to share it with you as well.  What is even better about it?

The book was put together by our very own fellow bloggers and humorists, Alyson Herzig of The Shitastrophy and Jessica Azar of Herd Management.

It is a collection of stories from sufferers of mental illness telling what they experienced, how they have coped and what they did (or didn’t) do to learn to deal with their illness.  It is happiness and humor intertwined with grief and sadness, but at the end of the book the fellow sufferer will not feel alone and the family and friends of sufferers will have a better understanding of the trials that need to be overcome.

That was a wordy and very nice way of saying, I laughed.  I cried.  It became a part of me.

This book is currently #1 in its category on Amazon!

 

For those of you that don’t win, I’m sorry, but buying the book doesn’t cost  much more than a meal at Burger King and will provide you with better mental nourishment, so I highly encourage you to make the purchase.  (An Amazon link is provided in the left-hand sidebar.)

Just look at all the people that you probably recognize on this list of contributors!!

Click to make this bigger and readable.

Click to make this bigger and readable.

The giveaway has ended.  Congratulations to Meg Hammil for winning the book!!  Please enjoy and keep coming back to Opticynicism!!

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Much, MUCH thanks to Alyson Herzig in her support of this giveaway!!

LEAVE A COMMENT BELOW AND WIN THE AWESOMENESS!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/05/this-giveaway-is-filled-with-awesome/

A Day to Remember

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I just wanted to take a brief minute and express my gratitude to everyone who has taken the time to thank me for my service today both via the internet and in person.  I appreciate it, but please, today is the day we remember those that we lost.  Thank me on Veteran’s Day.  Today, give a moment of silence and quietly thanks those that made the ultimate sacrifice.

We all wrote the same blank check.  Today is to honor those who had theirs cashed.


I also want to let everyone know to look for me later this week.  I’m going to be giving away something special from someone we all know and love, and if you don’t know and love her, you better start.  I’ll post the details and how to enter the giveaway this coming weekend.  The prize?  I’ll give you a hint:

It would be a Shitastrophy if you miss this giveaway.

Tell your friends!!

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/05/a-day-to-remember/

The De-glorification of Rehab

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I don’t care what you see on TV, unless you or someone who really cares about you is rolling in cash, you’re not going to see a rehab in Malibu.  Not even close.


Not to mention, I will never trust a rehab facility run by a guy named Pax who claims that he used to be an addict, but “now I’m not”, because to clear things up for you, if you were ever an addict in the past, you will ALWAYS be an addict.  You can be a recovering addict and not use substances anymore, but you’re still an addict.

You can’t just not be an addict someday.  There is no cure.

Did I also mention that Pax’s rehab center is a for-profit rehab and he is currently worth $15 million dollars?  I’m fairly certain Pax could give a rats ass if you recover or not.  In fact, your relapse will just make him more money.

Join me in my journey through VA rehab, would you?

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Now that, ladies and gents, is what a rehab really looks like.  It’s not big and fancy with huge glass windows and floating fairies that bring you your meds while unicorns frolic on the manicured lawn.

It’s a gray box with a shitty parking lot in the bad part of town, across the street from the Fire Department.

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This is our fancy limo.

This building is less the rehab and more the Delinquent Housing.  There is no rehabbing going on in there.  Mon – Fri we all pack into the fancy limo and we go over to the hospital for our classes.  These classes go from 8 until noon, then we go to lunch for an hour and then have one more class until 2:00, at which point our day is basically done.

From 2:00 until 3:30, we spend most of the time waiting on the various shuttle buses that will take us back to where the limo dropped us off and the  we wait for the limo, which eventually gets us back to the gray box around 4:00.

Tuesdays and Thursdays are special.  They give us a half hour to go to WalMart.

Otherwise, the remainder of the evening is spent at the gray box.  There are no activities.  There is no basketball court or horseshoe pit.  We can’t have our laptops and there is no wifi.  The available activities include:

  • Go to your room and read
  • Go to your room and sleep
  • Watch whatever is on the one TV in the building
  • Go outside and smoke
  • Attempt to type a blog post on your phone

What I’m trying to say is, there is a whole lot of bored going on at the gray box.

Lest we forget the amazing cuisine we get served around 4:30:

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Courtesy of The Florida Department of Correction

I did not steal that pic from Google.  That was someone’s plate that I took a pic of.  It was not my plate as I didn’t eat it thanks to the twice weekly visits to WalMart.  I learned on day #1 that having a meal backup plan is in your best interest.   We eat lunch at the main hospital during the day and we tend to eat as much as possible at lunch in the event we decide to skip the evening meat-like substance dinner.

You heard me.  Hospital food is our best meal of the day.

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My backup shelf.

I also have a backpack that goes with me that contains 5% papers and learning material and 95% more backup food.  A couple cans of Pringles, can of cashews, Slim-Jims, another box of Pop-Tarts and 3 bottles of Vitamin Water, because our breakfast consists of stale, whole wheat muffins or individual packs of generic Raisin-Bran.  On a good day.

All of this is overseen by ONE person.  Most nights it’s a small girl in her early twenties.  5′ 3″ and maybe a buck twenty.  A hostile takeover would last approximately 2 seconds.   Which leads me to the next part ….

Some of the people I’m in here with.

Obviously, I can’t give names or specific identifying statements, but I’ll describe them with the fitting names I have given them myself.  I’ll start by introducing:

    • “Rick James, Bitch” – Mid 50’s “former” gang banger (that’s in quotes because I think he had to say “former” to get in here.)  The world is all about RJ,B.  Leaves early and positions himself to be sure to get the front seat in the van because fuck you people with walkers and canes that need the front seat.  In the van, it’s his radio station, no exceptions.   Outside the van, he listens to his music out loud, as in, no headphones because if he likes it, we all must like it.  RJ,B is an absolute rebel.  If we can’t smoke in that area, he smokes in that area.  Walks in to every class late and walks out of every class early.  Rules do not apply to RJ,B, and they let him get away with it without saying a word.


You can’t even imagine how sick of this I am.

  • “Sha-nay-nay” – You have all met a woman just like this.  While RJ,B is in the front seat of one van, she can be found in the front seat of the other.  The radio station is always on her channel and as a bonus, she sings along with it.  Loudly and badly.  Very, very badly.  Only the slowest and the newest residents end up in that van.  Normal speaking voice for Sha-Nay-Nay is shouting and she can be heard for blocks, and she is ALWAYS talking.  She constantly interupts the instructors with questions or unnecessary statements and usually monopolizes the classes to the point that at the end of the class even the instructor is ready to get the fuck out of there.  She is the one that even in the large hospital cafeteria, her location is immediately known.
  • “Mama June” – On her 8th rotation through this program and still not paying any attention, she’s another one that can’t shut up or stop laughing at her own terrible jokes.   Walks into the TV room 30 minutes into a one hour show and wants to be caught up, in detail, then proceeds to talk and make shitty jokes through the second half of the show so we all end up missing that.   This is punctuated by brief periods where she feels the need to sing along with the commerials.  Also badly.
  • “Tex” –

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    Nuff said.

  • “Close-Talker” – The scam-artist that started targeting who he was going to bum smokes and money off of from the day he arrived by being everyone’s best friend and being all up in their face.  I shit you not, I tried to walk away from him one night, and I even did the “serpentine” and he stuck right on me.  I escaped by going into the bathroom and slamming the door.  Unfortunately for him, the effectiveness of a scam-artist in a building full of scam-artists is non-existant and he had to call an outside source to fulfill his needs.
  • “Boonhauer” – He’s done so many drugs and alcohol over his many years that his brain is permanently fried.  He regales us with tales of his life and we’re fairly certain it’s in English because occassionally a discernable word comes through.  We know when he is done with his tale because he laughs and laughs.  We laugh with him.

Those are just a few of the more noticable characters here and we’ve got them from all walks of life.  From Vietnam vets to vets back from Iraq only a couple years ago.  We’re pretty much all dual diagnosis, but my depression/alcoholism sometimes pales in comparison to the depression/PTSD/alcoholism/drug addiction cocktail some of them have.

At the end of the day, it is what it is and all of us are in the right place whether we want to be here or not.  I miss my regular psychologist but I’ve picked up some good info so far.   The living conditions could be considerably better but the info from the classes is invaluable.  There have been things I’ve heard 1000 times before, but then there are things that have been new to me.  It’s only three weeks for me and I just started week two, so I’ll make it through to the end in a couple weeks and resume going to my regular shrink to build on some of the things I picked up in here.

It’s an experience I will be glad to have gone through but not wish to repeat.  I guess that is the idea, really.  I’m stronger and better for it and I’m ready to get back on the horse and resume my quest for that job and getting my shit back together so I can stand proud on my own two feet.

In the meantime I’m going to keep my tongue in my cheek and try to keep these accomodations as humorous as possible to keep from losing my mind.  I’ve burned up quite a bit of down-time just writing this post.  I’ve spent a couple hours a day on it for the last three days and most of it has been spent fighting with the iOS WordPress app (I see a strongly-worded letter to the developers in my future).   I sincerely love my phone but trying to make an image intensive blog post on it is nothing shy of a pain in the ass.

I know, I know.  First World problems.

Now I’m done and I’m off to relax in front of our one TV for some Criminal Minds before I “hit the rack”.

Love to all of you, and thanks for hangin’ in there with me.

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The entertainment nerve center of the facility.

 

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My cozy *cough* rack, complete with backpack full of snacks and “Dysfunctional Veteran” hat.

 

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My spacious locker. (90% percent of my shit is out in my car in the parking lot.)

Permanent link to this article: http://www.opticynicism.com/2015/05/the-de-glorification-of-rehab/