Tuesday, December 30, 2014

For the 600th Time, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You!


Hi there, Internetians! I'm Dave-El and this is my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your online source for cardboard and cardboard derivatives.  

 After launching this blog back in March 2013, today I'm posting for the 600th j*7rkz....time. 

Sorry about that.  My computer is glowing some kind of weird green color and there's some strange sounds coming from my speakers, likely ghostly whispers.  Spooky! 

Anyway, I'm hoping today's commemoration of this blog's 600th $r6T9p...post goes... OK? 

It did again! That glow is getting brighter! And those whispers are getting louder! And does anybody know what this means: "Microsoft detects temporal error: Regression 600"

k0(j*uH&6t%4#2XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

Hello, readers! Today is December 30th, 1964 and golly, here we are at the end of another year, Gosh, I hope 1964 has been swell for you and 1965 is even better. Wouldn't that be groovy? 

I thought it might be cool to look back over some really nifty things that happened over the last month. 
  • December 1
    • Well, that whole police action thing over in Vietnam is still going on.  My cousin Steve says we should stop kidding ourselves; this is a war.  I'm not sure about Steve; he never cuts his hair and he smells funny. Anyway, President Lyndon B. Johnson has plans to bomb North Vietnam which I'm sure will put an end to that once and for all.  
  • December 3
    • Police had to arrest about 800 students at the University of California in Berkeley after they got together to stage something called a "sit-in". I'm not sure what's going on here but my Uncle Robert said those kids should behave themselves and go to class already. Actually, he used a bunch of words that I didn't recognize. Anybody know what exactly is involved when people "should go fuck themselves"? Just curious. I might ask in church this Sunday.  
  • December 6 
    • Did you see that Christmas special on TV, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer? I thought it was rather scary, especially when that mean old abominable snowman was about to eat Rudolph.  I'm glad it was in black and white or I maybe have really had the heebie-jeebies. Cousin Steve laughed at most of it. Mom hates it when Steve smokes in the house which is odd because everyone smokes in the house. But Steve's cigarettes do smell different. 
  • December 10 
    • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this month. I think Dr. King is a fine black man but Uncle Robert thinks Dr. King has the same problem as the students in Berkeley since he recommends the same self-fucking solution to both college students and Dr. King.
    • December 14 
      • There was the case called the "Heart of Atlanta Motel v. United States" that went all  the way to the U.S. Supreme Court which said racial discrimination was bad, that anybody should be able to stay at a hotel, no matter what your skin color is. I guess that makes sense. I really don't see a lot of black people during the day so I'm not the best judge of that. I know cousin Steve has a Negro he sees every other week or so, especially when his "cigarette" supply starts running low.  
    • December 21
      • The new James Bond movie, Goldfinger, came  out this month. Golly gee whiz, this was a really fun movie! Uncle Robert said it was OK but he wanted to see Honor Blackman's titties. Me and my friends saw this one a lot, almost 600 j*7rkz....times. 
        • Jeepers, what was that?   
    • December 27 
      • The Cleveland Browns defeated the Baltimore Colts, 27-0 for the football championship! Way to go, Cleveland! Cleveland is the BEST team in football! It's true and they'll always be the best, even 600 $r6T9p....years from....what?
        • "Microsoft detects temporal error: Regression 600"? What does that....
        • k0(j*uH&6t%4#2XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX
    WHOA! 

    Quick, check the date! 

    OK, it's December 30th, 2014! 

    Whew! 

    I'm not sure how but a temporal vortex opened up that sent I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You back in time 50 years...or 600 months. 

    Weird. 

    Oh, it looks like I can type "600" without triggering a time travel event so there's that. 

    Readers, I am terribly sorry. I had a whole bunch of stuff planned for this 600th blog post but this whole time travel thing has left me very tired. So maybe I'll do all that stuff I planned when I get to blog post # 700...j*7rkz.

    Oh, shit. Not again. 

    Be good to one another. 

    And I'm so glad my suffering amuses you.  

    Saturday, December 27, 2014

    Doctor Who Is NEW!: Last Christmas

    Ho! Ho! Ho! Merry Christmas!  

    Er, plus two days. 

    Hello, Whovians!  Welcome to the last Doctor Who Weekend of 2014! And for today's post, I take a look at Thursday's Doctor Who Christmas Special which saw the Doctor and Clara reunited to fight telepathic face huggers from outer space with a little help from...Santa Claus? 

    Yep, Santa Claus. 


    Now before I get into a recap of Last Christmas, let me be sure you are warned of spoilers to come. 























    YIKES! 

    It's freaking' Christmas! Could we not go with a less scary spoiler warning? Geez! 

    OK, you have been warned. 

    And now...

    Last Christmas

    by Steven Moffat 


    The episode opens with Clara Oswald disturbed from her slumber by roof top clatter so she springs from her bed to see what is the matter.  (Sorry, couldn't resist.) On the roof Clara finds a crashed sleigh full of toys, some flying reindeer flitting about, a couple of frustrated elves and Santa Claus.

    Yep, Santa Claus. 

    While Clara tries to make sense of this, a blue box appears out of thin air. It's the TARDIS and out comes the Doctor who urgently directs Clara to get into the TARDIS while telling Santa he knows what his game is. 

    Our attention turns towards an Artic science base thing where the Doctor and Clara appear to encounter science people facing a bit of a problem: alien life forms who attack when you think about them. Unfortunately, that's all anybody can think about and alien telepathic face huggers fall from the ceiling and all appears doomed (DOOMED, I tells ya!) when there is an intervention of Slinkys and toy robots. Santa Claus saves the day!

    Yep, Santa Claus. 

    While the Doctor works on sorting all this out, Clara gets zapped by a Dream Crab (as the Doctor calls the alien menace du jour) and finds herself spending Christmas morning with the not so dead Danny Pink.  There are mysterious messages pushing in to Clara's idyllic state but she ignores them until the Doctor directly forces himself into her dream and tells her the truth: this is all a fantasy and what's causing it is killing her.  While just a dream figment, Danny steps up again to save Clara's life from this dream death trap.  And so the Doctor and Clara escape. 

    Or do they?

    The Doctor surmises that the dream he just pulled Clara out of is a dream within a dream, that he, Clara and the four sciencey people are all in a collective dream state.  So the Doctor leads them out of that dream state and the Dream Crabs are defeated.  

    Except they're not, The gang is in another dream within a dream. And the Dream Crabs are hungry and ready to kill and eat. But then Santa arrives to save the day. 

    Yep. Santa Claus. 

    One by one, the dreamers fade as they wake up in their individual lives (which turned out not to be scientific explorers of the Artic). The Doctor rescues Clara from the last remaining Dream Crab only to find out he's missed 62 years of Clara's life; she is an old woman now. But then he gets a second chance thanks to Santa Claus. 

    Yep....well, you know the drill by now.  

    So the Doctor AGAIN rescues Clara from the last remaining Dream Crab and she is still young.  The Doctor tells Clara the TARDIS is outside and please don't say no, just travel with him again. She agrees and they giddily run back to the TARDIS for new adventures together. 




















    If you thought Steven Moffat's Listen from Series 8 was twisty and weird, be prepared for some serious mind warping as he explores the state of dreaming. It's Inception crossed with Alien with Santa Claus

    Yep, Santa Claus. 

    Let's chat about Santa Clause for a moment. As wonderfully portrayed by Nick Frost (as a better named actor ever been cast as Santa?), Santa is a kick ass guardian of the North Pole with a wicked sense of humor. With much of the story built on a foundation of dreams, we have a clever conceit that makes Santa as real as anybody. And Santa is instrumental in saving the day.  Santa's presence in Doctor Who is very cleverly conceived and executed. 

    Steven Moffat's story gets to have its dream cake and eat it to. Yes, everyone is in a dream state but its a dream state that's killing them. Yet because it is a dream, anything can happen. Why are the four explorers at an Artic research base? How did the Doctor and Clara happen to come there? And why is Santa Claus there? The rules of dreams join forces with the illogic of dreams in an imaginative way. 

    The "artic explorers" are well realized. Especially Shona who gets a lot of attention in the script. An eccentric type who dances to Slade to get past the Dream Crabs, she is also a lonely girl who doesn't want to lose the experience of this dream adventure. I would almost think that the ground work was being laid for a future companion to the Doctor.  

    Speaking of the Doctor, Peter Capaldi is in fine form. Yes, Peter's Doctor is dark and intense but we also get to see his Doctor giving in to the whimsy and joy of driving Santa's sleigh and we get to witness the Doctor's heartbreak as he realizes he's missed so much of Clara's life. And there's that joy again when the Doctor gets a second chance to make it right as he and Clara rush off to the TARDIS for new adventures. 

    And let's address Clara for a moment. One of the big mysteries surrounding this special was what would be the fate of Clara Oswald. After all, we had NO information on whether Jenna Coleman was returning to Doctor Who. As we know now, Jenna is returning for Series 9 but if this had been her swan song, it would've been a sad but sweet exit for Miss Oswald. But this is Christmas and as appropriate for the season, we get a new lease on life with renewed hope and joy for the future. As the closing graphic announces, the Doctor AND Clara will be back for another series of new adventures. 

    Thank you, Santa Claus. 

    Yep, Santa Claus.

    _________________________________________________

    No blog posts for Sunday and Monday but look for a NEW post on Tuesday which will be the 600th post for I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

    Regular posts will resume January 1st. 

    Until then, be good to one another. 

    Friday, December 26, 2014

    The Absolute Final Broken News For Friday, December 26th, 2014 (The Load Out)

    Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to my blog, I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, now 50% off during the After Christmas Blog Post Sale

    Today is Friday and as is my want, I post a weekly news satire-like thing each Friday called bROkEN nEWs. Announced at the end of the December 12th post and confirmed in last week's edition, I'm bringing bROkEN nEWs to an end.

















    Last week was a full on new edition with headlines, photo and features as is par for the course for bROkEN nEWs. For all intents and purposes, December 19th marked the last installment of bROkEN nEWs

    So what the hell is this then?





    If I may be allowed some self-indulgence, I want to review how bROkEN nEWs got started, why I posted this feature every Friday and why I've brought it to an end.  



    The seeds for bROkEN nEWs were sown back on my Twitter account where I would Tweet headlines from various online news sources and add witty, humorous comments. Or lacking wit and/or humor, smart ass snarks. So, a lot of smart ass snarks then.  


















    I decided to compile these separate Tweets into blog posts and I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You was born. My 2nd blog post involved headline humor...excuse me, headline "humor" that I had previously posted on Twitter.  Some of these I branded #HuffPostHop which represented how I would hop around the Huffington Post news site and "borrow" their headlines. Huff Post writes the best headlines, lots of whacked out stuff to hang funny comments on.  

















    I got tired of explaining what #HuffPostHop meant each week so I decided to re-brand these posts as bROkEN nEWs. The first headline news satire post under that name was on May 24, 2013.  Other than June 28, 2013, a bROkEN nEWs post was added each and every Friday through today. 

















    So why am I stopping bROkEN nEWs now? Actually the first question should be, why did I keep posting bROkEN nEWs for so long? Mostly it was to prove to myself I could do it. The first rule of being a writer is a writer writes. Obligating myself to post bROkEN nEWs each and every Friday forced me to employ writing tools and techniques that I would would not have otherwise used. A lot of bROkEN nEWs posts were lame but there were, even I would have to admit, some really funny bits in there. Those funny bits would never have been discovered unless I forced myself to write this feature week after week.
















    But if proving yourself capable of meeting a challenge is a worthy reason to pursue a goal, the worst reason to do something is "because we've always done that". And bROkEN nEWs had moved from the former to the latter.
















    Not only that but bROkEN nEWs was taking more time that I honestly did not have to give. Days where I could've posted a quick and current posts had to give way to time developing material for Friday's post. And quite frankly this was not why I started this blog. 
















    So I decided to say farewell to bROkEN nEWs. It was, even to the end, a lot of fun to do. But it was a silly thing that got out of hand and I was ready to let it go.  
















    The upshot is that this frees up time to post smaller but more frequent posts to this blog. I will miss bROkEN nEWs but it was time to let it go. It is time to embrace new writing challenges offered by this blog.  Some of which...hell, most of which may not work but that's OK. Because ultimately, I am truly glad my suffering amuses you.



    __________________________________________________

    Saturday: Doctor Who Weekend and a review of Thursday's Doctor Who Christmas Special

    After a couple of days rest....

    Tuesday: The 600th post to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You.

    Until then, be good to one another.  


    Thursday, December 25, 2014

    Merry Christmas From the Top O' the Food Chain

    Merry Christmas, everybody! Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the internet's leading provider of figgy pudding.  

    I'm actually writing this in advance of December 25th as I expect I will be quite busy with Christmas stuff 'n' junk. But I'm predicting this is how my Christmas Day will start. 

    DADDY, it's CHRISTMAS! 

    What the hell? It's dark out! 

    It's CHRISTMAS DAY!!

    What time is...? 12:45 AM?!?! (expletive deleted)  

    C'mon, c'mon, c'mon! Let's go open presents!!

    But it's 12:45 in the (expletive deleted) morning! 

    I know! C'mon! Christmas presents! 

    It's too early to open presents! 

    We open Christmas presents on Christmas Day!!

    Yes but...

    So it's after midnight! Technically it's Christmas Day!!!

    (pause) 

    Daddy?

    (expletive deleted) it! 

    Yay! We're going to open presents!  

    If you're thinking I shouldn't give in to that, here's the thing: this actually works to my advantage. 

    In the past when my daughter actually deigned to sleep until as late as 5 AM, maybe 6, I would stumble blurry eyed and groggy down the hall to the Christmas tree and we would open presents, etc etc. As Christmas Day progress, I would just get more and more tired. 

    By opening presents at 1 AM, I actually go back to sleep and sleep until later in the morning and I'm not as tired throughout the day. And I need my energy because at some point I'm going to do this: 



    On par with Thanksgiving, Christmas dinner is an exercise in excess. We are blessed with too many things and too much of each thing. In an odd paradox, when I was younger and scarecrow scrawny, I could eat everything and go back for more. And go back for more again. I would wind up on the floor like the poor hapless frog above, moaning, "Oh, I ate WAY TOO MUCH!" And former me would not gain a pound. Seriously.  

    God, I hate former me.  Back then the concept of "all you can eat" was a challenge, one that I could face and conquer. I could eat all I could eat. 

    Now, carrying around enough extra weight to make at least a separate small child, I can't eat all I can eat. Meaning I can eat a plate of something but I can't go back for a 2nd plate. I reach the state of the overwhelmed frog way too soon. 

    It's just not fair. I tells ya! 

    As I write this, I'm unclear what's on the menu. The El family is leaving our Fortress of Ineptitude and foraging towards the golden spires of my brother in law's castle.  Christmas is a special time: he lets the drawbridge down so we can cross the moat. As I've noted here before, turkey is not a given at his house for Thanksgiving but it may be present for Christmas

    If noting else, bringing up turkey provides me a segue way to this bit. Here are some posts from Twitter under the hashtag of .  
    Hey, here's a fun Christmas Day activity: guess which movie which quote (without the turkey) came from. C'mon, kids, let's PLAY! 

    _____________________________________________

    The really important thing happening today...well, other than the spending of time with family, the giving and receiving of gifts, the celebrating of the birth of Jesus, yada yada yada...is the Doctor Who Christmas Special! This evening will find the Els venturing forth from our Fortress to join our fellow Whovians at Geeksboro Coffeehouse and Cinema for a showing of Last Christmas.  Last? Sounds ominous. What evil is Steven Moffat up to now? 

    There will be a review of this episode on this blog posted Saturday. 

    And speaking of Doctor Who, here it is ONE MORE time, a link to my Doctor Who Christmas story, How Strax Saved Christmas. C'mon, guys, even I actually think this is a good one! 

    _____________________________________________

    Last week saw the final ALL NEW edition of Broken News. Tomorrow (Friday) will see one more post under the Broken News banner as I say a final farewell to this weekly silliness.  

    ______________________________________________

    Time to bring this bird in for a landing. Thank you for reading today. I hope all your days are merry and bright and that all of your Christmases are white and by "white", I mean covered with snow, not lacking in racial and ethnic diversity. 

    And remember, be good to one another. 

    Wednesday, December 24, 2014

    Christmas Is Coming, It's Practically Here!


    Hi there! Dave-El here and welcome to I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, the blog that believes you should have a choice to be holly OR jolly at Christmas this year. Holly AND jolly? Geez, who needs the pressure? 

    So today is Christmas Eve if you observe the Christmas holiday and, let's be blunt, even if you don't. Really, try to avoid it. You can't! If there was a war on Christmas, Christmas has won. And not just during this week of December but over temporal territory reaching back to Labor Day. Is it any wonder that so many people are tired of Christmas by the time Christmas Day itself gets here? 2 months of "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town" and "Do You Hear What I Hear?" can wear down our joy of the season.  

    And its not just ordinary people who can feel the stress of the holidays. You would be amazed at who is feeling the pressure these days. 


    Art by Keith Giffen and Bob Oskner


    By the way, a tip of the hat to Hell Is Empty@Sleestak for posting this image on Twitter. It's from an Ambush Bug Christmas Special and as I told Sleestak...













    Art by Bob Jenney 
    Above is a panel from the comic book version of Santa Claus Conquers the Martians, a bizarre, trippy and terribly made movie. It was made in 1964 with all the cutting edge film technology of 1924. Kudos to Andrew Weiss who posted this pic to his blog, Armagideon Time

    _____________________________________________________

    The Dave-El family recently had this happen to us here at the El Fortress of Ineptitude



    _______________________________________

    Below is a poem I wrote for last year's Christmas post. Given all this stress I'm under during this competitive Christmas season, I think it bears repeating.

    So when did I start hating Christmas, to myself I ask?
    Why is Christmas to me less a joy, more of a task?
    I do not hate Christmas, on that I must be clear!
    Christmas is a beautiful time, full of good cheer!
    I love all the lights, how they twinkle and glow, 
    The stars in the night above, the Christmas lights below.
    And the glow not just of lights but from the warmth inside
    When we embrace each other and let go of our pride. 
    But I admit that I find myself so hard and so brittle
    As the true meaning of Christmas means so little.
    Buy this! Buy that! There's stuff to get, stuff to be gotten!
    We must buy more things and stuff full every stocking!
    So many have so much and yet we want more.
    Christmas is real; I can buy it at the store. 
    Christmas is a commodity, I can find it on sale. 
    But I do not want more things to which I can avail.
    Buy stuff now! is the message we hear many months prior
    When the music starts early and of which I now tire. 
    Is Christmas too big? Does it need to be smaller?
    The Christmas tree does not need to be taller.
    A blanket of noise and glitter, with many things to sell?
    I just need your hand to grasp and know that all is well. 
    Christmas is joy and light, not a burden we bear. 
    Christmas is a special happiness you can feel in the air. 
    Instead of what we can get, think of what we can lose;
    Cast off darkness, despair & hate if we choose.
    I don't hate Christmas, not the joyful, hopeful season.
    Just look past the packages and tags,remember the reason
    As light conquers darkness from the heavens above. 
    The true gifts of Christmas come from love.


    _____________________________________________________

    And some of the best gifts come from Darlene Love.  Check out her 2014 performance on The Late Show With David Letterman. With Dave retiring in 2015, this marks the end of Darlene's annual Christmas tradition and she goes out in style.  







    _____________________________________________________

    Click here for my Doctor Who Christmas storyHow Strax Saved Christmas. Here's something I don't say very often about my own work: I really like this story. I hope you do too.  

    _____________________________________________________

    I'm going to wrap this up for now. I hope you experience the joy and the warmth of the Christmas season. And remember, be good to one another, not just at Christmas but all the year 'round.  

    Tuesday, December 23, 2014

    Don't Let the Bastards Win

    Last week saw a couple of news events that seemed disconnected but I realized our reactions to them here in the United States had a unifying theme: don't let the bastards win. 

    The first was the fallout from the hack of Sony's computer systems and the exposing of company secrets for the world to see. The fallout was the threat: as bad as this hack was, even worse things could happen next. And that leverage was used to exert pressure to remove the film The Interview from theaters. 

    The Interview is/was/supposed to be a wacky comedy about an American TV talk show host being set up to assassinate the dictatorial leader of North Korea, Kim Jung Un. I have to admit I thought the trailer was funny but I can guess Kim Jung Un didn't share that point of view. I mean, if there was an entire major motion picture centered around the plot point of killing ME, yeah, I might have a problem with that. But at least what I could see from the trailer, the main thrust of the comedic action comes from the woefully out of their depth TV show host and his producer. As one rep from the CIA notes while watching these two numbskulls totally botch up a test of a plan to poison Kim Jung Un, "This plan has zero percent chance of succeeding." I'm pretty sure that within the context of this movie, Kim Jung Un had little worry about. 

    But Kim, spoiled brat/dictator that he is, apparently decided to throw a temper tantrum and so some North Koreans who are not starving to death hack into Sony's computers. At first it seemed to be mostly an embarrassment to Sony execs: e-mails questioning why Sony is in business with Adam Sandler, why their movies suck (especially the Adam Sandler ones) and what a bitch Angelina Jolie is. 

    But then things got serious. Dredging up the ghosts of 9/11, threats were made that if The Interview was shown in theaters, deadly terrorist acts would be committed against the American people. 

    Sony elected to pull the movie from theaters. 

    Immediately there was an outcry from President Obama all the way up to George Clooney that Sony had caved in to terrorists, that this was a blow to artistic freedom and free expression. With Sony pulling The Interview from theaters, the bastards win. 

    But did Sony make the wrong decision? 

    Consider this: movie theaters were already electing to not show the movie. Theater owners could not consider The Interview in isolation. Threats against any venue showing this one movie could undercut attendance to other movies in the same theater. Christmas is an extremely important time of the year for movie theaters with big blockbusters and award contenders being released. People not going to see The Interview would also mean people not going to see everything else. 

    And Sony would incur significant costs to distribute a film that wasn't going to be shown in many (if any) theaters. 

    No, we shouldn't let the bastards win but sometimes they're gonna win. Standing up to these terrorist cowards may be commendable but ultimately a business has shareholders and business partners to answer to. There's also a consumer base that would not look favorably upon this worldwide corporation if The Interview was released, damn the threats of terrorists but those threats were carried out. Death and destruction would be a lot to answer for.

    Especially if The Interview sucked. 


    And it stars Seth Rogen so...yeah. 

    Note: Mark Evanier comes to similar conclusions but, no surprise, writes it better than me. Click here for Mark's take on All This Fuss About a Seth Rogen Movie

    ____________________________________

    Last week we heard announcement by President Obama that the US was changing its stance with Cuba and establishing relations between the two countries. Naturally, the far right opposition to Obama immediately went into knee jerk mode and immediately denounced the move on the following grounds: 

    1. Obama thinks its a good idea. 
    2. We're capitulating to communism. 
    3. Obama thinks its a good idea. 

    Let's focus on point #2 a bit. (Points 1 and 3 are pretty much defacto for anything Obama does.)  Essentially, by ending the decades long embargo of Cuba, we're letting the bastards win. But with regards to Cuba, the bastards already won over a half century ago when communism took hold there under the ruthless grip of Fidel Castro. Not only did the embargo do nothing to overturn that victory, in an odd way we helped Castro maintain his grip on power there. He was one man standing up against an entire nation that was keeping Cuba in the dark with its embargo. Castro cast himself as the lone defender of Cuba against the American behemoth.  

    The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Over 5 decades of isolating Cuba never yielded the desired result. It was well overdue for the United States to do something different. We have to look at big picture, of what is ultimately best for both the people of Cuba and for Americans. 

    Castro endured through 10 American Presidents, 5 of whom he outlived. As long as it was about punishing Castro and making sure "the bastard didn't win", nothing was going to change.

    No, we shouldn't let the bastards win. But sometimes we have to pick and choose our battles. Which ones are worth fighting for. Which ones are worth dying for. Which ones will help the larger cause. So screw it, sometimes the bastards do win one once in a while, as long as the cause of what's right and what's just prevails in the end, that's what ultimately matters. 

    Be good to one another.

    Dave-El
    I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

    Monday, December 22, 2014

    Vacation Frustration


    Hi there! I'm Dave-El and this is I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You, your online destination for propane and propane accessories.  

    I've not been doing a lot of blogging lately owing to a bunch of conflicting obligations, leaving only time to do Broken News (for which I did my FINAL all new post this past Friday) and Doctor Who Weekend (wrapping up my fan fiction, The Son of the Master AND posting my Doctor Who Christmas story). But I guess I have a bit more time for blogging for a week or two.  

    As of 6:00 PM last Friday, I am off work until January 2nd, 2015. Now you may wonder how I pulled that off and it comes from simply not taking time off from work through the rest of year, forcing me to burn off some use it or lose it time off. My father in law when he retired from the National Weather Service had so much accumulated vacation time he had not taken, he got a lump sum of money equal to a half of year's pay. I don't know how this works in the public sector today but over in the private sector, I don't think many companies let employees build up vacation time like that. Most companies have a use it or lose it rule. My company allows its employees to carry over 80 hours from one year to the next which is fairly generous compared to other companies but that's it. Anything above those 80 hours is lost. 

    One of the reasons I don't take time off is I actually rather like my job. I'm also paranoid enough to think that if I use up all my time too quickly during the year, I won't have it for later if I really need it. And quite frankly I never make use of time off as effectively as I would like. I'm of the mind set that a day off from work is not a day off from everything else and I find myself quite frustrated if a day off from my job is not as productive as I had planned. 

    Another thing about time off in the private sector centers around being out sick. There are employers who make a distinction between vacation time and sick time yet it all has a use it or lose it rule. So guess what happens near the end of the year? Otherwise healthy people start calling with "a bad cold" or "the flu" just so they don't lose sick time. This cannot be very conducive to effective staffing and productivity. There are ways around that. My last employer actually offered a money back guarantee on sick time; they would pay you for whatever sick days you didn't take. My current employer does not divide vacation time and sick time; it's all just "paid time off". There's a flexibility of use that is very helpful in maximizing and managing your time off. 

    Taking time off from work is not something American workers do very well. Part of it is that American mindset that we should give our all and push ourselves to accomplish our tasks as well as meet and exceed our goals. But another part of that is fear: fear that if a company realizes that they can get along just fine without you for a few days or a week, they might realize they don't need you at all. Even in a strong American economy, there is this constant state of dread, a lack of long term security when it comes to employment. So when the axe comes down (and it's always a question of when, not if), maybe it won't come down on you if you're always there.  That's a lot of pressure and it's a wonder that more American workers don't have ulcers the size of dinner plates. 

    So I'm taking a chance that over the next two weeks, my employer doesn't think, "We can do this without David" too many times.  

    So, end of year vacation....yay?   

    ___________________________________________

    Coming up on the blog this week:

    Tuesday
    No one wants to "let the bastards win". But do we have a choice? A look at the Sony hack and US relations with Cuba. Sounds like fun, huh? I'll see if I can toss in a few jokes. 

    Wednesday
    Christmas is coming! It's practically here! But are we all too worn out from Christmas to enjoy Christmas? 

    Thursday
    Christmas Day means Christmas Dinner but I've reached an age where I can't eat all I can eat. What? More on that on Thursday. 

    Friday
    Last week was the final ALL NEW installment of Broken News. This Friday, I post for the final time under the Broken News banner as I reflect on what the heck I was doing, why I was doing, what I enjoyed about and why I decided it was time to go. 

    Saturday
    Christmas Day sees a new Doctor Who special. Here is where I will post my review of said special. 

    Then I take a break for Sunday and Monday. But on next Tuesday, December 30th, I present my 600th blog post

    And on January 1st, 2015, it's an ALL NEW year for I'm So Glad My Suffering Amuses You

    Thank you and everyone, be good to one another.  

    When Dark Crosses Light

    It is a disheartening thing when the darkness of tragedy crosses with the light of our entertainment ephemera. I was thinking about ...