Tuesday, July 28, 2009

You're doing it wrong...

Has anybody seen these ads?

Now that Brinks has become Broadview, I see their ads are no less ridiculous. Allow me to expound on how much I hate these things.

The first reason these bother me are that they seem to target white women who live home alone. And who the hells sets the alarm when they come in for lemonade? Does this woman live in Kabul? The guy who calls from Brinks is also some slightly uniformed white guy who seems like he should be a cop. He's not. The people that call are calling from a call center. Which means that they just as easily could be selling Sham-Wows instead of calling you.

The second and most obvious reason is that this isn't how crime works. The most likely character to break into your house is someone looking like this.
This is what came up when I GIS'd "crackhead." They are people who are down on their luck and looking for something easy to steal that will net them 20 bucks so they can get high. These people do not want you to be home when they rob you. This makes it far less likely that they will get your stuff. They also don't have the intelligence or the sobriety to handle a hostage situation. They look for you to be gone, so they do it during the day. The thing I hate about these ads is that the perp always makes eye contact with the victim and then decides to break the glass anyway. Wrong.

Let's say on the other hand that this isn't a crackhead or a professional thief, and they want to do harm to the woman and or child in this clip. This, by the way, is the fear that sells these systems. That some rando is going to come along and rape your wife in the middle of the day. But let's say there is a psychopath who wants to do this. If they see you and break the window, they're not going to stop when they hear the alarm. If they're that determined, they will see their act through because they know that the response is going to be at least 5 minutes or more, because teeth whitened Brinks guy has to call you while you're being strangled and see if you're okay. (Note: This is very, very, very unlikely. Like getting struck be lightning. However this sells the majority of the alarms I would bet.)

I wasn't a cop for that long. But I know bullshit when I see it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009


So while this move is exciting, it does involve travel. A bunch of travel to the Hampton Roads area in fact. For those that know me, I don't mind travel. And yes, I know that travel gets old. I know that airports and connections are not fun. But they are for me, at least in the beginning. I am a self-avowed aviation geek, loving flying and all the aspects that come with travel. I mean, I am the guy who flew to Hawaii for 18 hours, just to gain status on American.

Here is where the problem starts. American doesn't fly to Newport News, and only flies two flights to Norfolk a day which isn't going to work. There are other choices of course. There happens to be a direct flight from US Air and United, but they are stupid expensive due to the huge military population down in Hampton Roads. Southwest also flies direct from BWI, so that's an option.
However the one logical choice is the hardest one to make.

These guys are terrible. I know this. They came in dead last in survey after survey. There are YouTube videos about how bad they are. It kills me that I'm going to be using these guys. But I already have 10 segments booked on them in my first 7 days on the job. So I suppose I'll see how bad they are. But I don't like this. Not one bit. I find it funny, and not ha ha funny, that I'm close to platinum status with American and yet so far. So I'll let people know how this all turns out.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Big Changes Inbound

Greetings Loyal Readers,

A number of big changes incoming for me and probably this blog. I accepted a job with a consulting company doing project management in the same general area that I work in currently. It will probably involve me traveling between DC and other parts of VA and possibly NYC. I'm nervous, but in a good way. I am reminded of the great quote from Ghostbusters, "You don't know what its like out there! I've worked in the private sector. They expect results!" Going to the dark side was something I thought of in the past, mostly for the chance to mix things up and add more travel into the mix, and the money doesn't hurt either.

Big change #2 is that the job is in Washington D.C. So that's a big change as well. I do have some really good friends down there, but I am leaving some good friends up here too. I can't help but think of this movie during this whole process. Anyway, I am coming to terms with my decision and I think it really is the right one. I need to challenge myself and get out of my box, as it were.

I should be in the new job the first week of August and down in DC around Labor Day. This brings us to possible change #3, the blog. I'm contemplating putting the blog on hold until I return to a job that more accurately fits the title of civil servant. I'm also concerned that writing about places I'm visiting for work could get tricky working for a private company. So I'm thinking of going anonymous, which is not like what it is now, more a diary blog. I'm open to thoughts or suggestions.

I'm going to bed. Loong day.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Late Night Delivery Award

Has this happened to you?

Come home after last call with a friend and even though you've eaten all day, you are ravenously hungry? A quick check of Foodler shows that there are only a few places delivering. You order up a feast of Chinese food, over ordering like a boob. And then you promptly in your addled state, fall asleep. The delivery guy arrives with your Chinese feast and promptly unleashes hurls of Mandarin curses as you have your phone on vibrate in your pants, which is on the floor and there's no way you can hear it. Said delivery envoy returns back to the restaurant with the food. You wake up confused with 5 angry voicemails on your phone.

Of course it has. Well my friends, I am awarding the Late Night Delivery Award to Lucky Star Chinese Food in Medford, MA.

View Larger Map
I realized this morning that I had wasted money, because with Foodler you pay ahead of time. This means the restaurant wasn't on the hook for the cash. However imagine my surprise when the guy calls me today while doing laundry and asks if I want to reschedule the delivery! Ah yes, yes, a thousand times yes. No idea why they would do this. They have no obligation. But from now on, whenever drunken cravings call for, I will be using Lucky Star on GP.

Spies Like Us Part 2

So this past week has been pretty significant for a few reasons. One of them I posted about, which is completion of grad school classes. That frees up time during the week for me as well as allows me to start paying off debt. A lot of debt.

Second thing that was pretty remarkable was that I moved through to the next round of the Foreign Service Officer application process. People are amazed, as they know that the test is incredibly hard. I would like to claim to be that good, however Wikipedia can add some corrections:

"For fifty years, Foreign Service Officer applicants who passed an all-day written exam were invited to an oral assessment. In mid-2007, the all-day written exam was shortened and information on a structured resume also began to be considered. The structured resume along with the Qualifications Evaluation Panel, or QEP, which is made up of three Foreign Service Officers, was one of the greatest changes to the Foreign Service Exam in decade"

So now I complete 5 short answers and then submit those to the QEP and hear from them around October if I'm eligible to move onto the Oral Assessment. There's other things going on, and I'll let you all know how what's happening as that unfolds.