Recruiting via LinkedIn – Don’t Do This!

I regularly get emails from recruiters all over the planet, telling me about their awesome new technology, latest and greatest ideas, and why I should work for them.

Most get ignored.

One came in this week that annoyed me, since it was from someone at a company that had sent me the exact same email six months ago.

I felt I had to respond:

Hi <recruiter name>,

I think heard of <YourCompany> last year sometime from a friend.

I also received this same stock email from you on 8/22/11, and you had addressed it to “Pascal” – further evidence of a copy-and-paste.

It would behoove you to keep records of whom you contact, as well as reviewing the message you paste before clicking “Send”.

A stock recruiter email is not a very likely way to attract good recruits, especially if you’re listing a ton of things that are not particularly relevant or interesting in the realm of technology.

Asking me to send a resume, while being able to view my full LinkedIn profile also seems superfluous – here’s the information, you have supposedly read it, and that is what attracted you to my profile in the first place, rather than “someone who turned up in a keyword search”.

I wish you, and your company all the best, and hope that these recruiting tactics work for you.

All the best,

I am very curious what kind of response, if any, I shall get.

Verizon Web Site fail.

Need I say more?

General Info
Chat start time  Aug 3, 2011 9:44:43 PM EST
Chat end time  Aug 3, 2011 10:37:08 PM EST
Duration (actual chatting time)  00:52:25
Operator  Amber


Chat Transcript
info: Please hold for a Verizon Wireless sales representative to assist you with your order.  Thank you for your patience.
info: You are now chatting with ‘Amber’
Amber: Hello. Thank you for visiting our chat service.  May I help you with your order today?
Mike: yes, please
Amber: How may I?
Mike: I am curious to know about the mifi mobile hotspot
Amber: I would love to help!
Amber: It’s just like the WiFi signal you would have at your home or at like McDonalds!
Mike: cool. 
Mike: What is the monthly charge?
Amber: Totally!
Amber: We have a couple options. Let’s get the device in your cart to see the options in your specific area!
Mike: which one would be better, the mifi or the samsung?
Amber: Their the same thing, but different makers.
Mike: I understand that the mifi can’t charge via usb and be a hotspot at the same time
Amber: It can. It can. You can use it as both USB and WiFi. You can also charge it via USB or via the home charger.
Mike: that’s contrary to what I am reading online
Amber: Where are you reading it?
Mike: comparison reviews
Mike: “Unfortunately, you can’t charge the 4510L over a USB connection to a notebook and broadcast a Wi-Fi signal at the same time like you can with the Samsung SCH-LC11 “
Mike: the review was in May of this year
Amber: Reviews aren’t always right.
Amber: Most the time their wrong.
Mike: That’s not entirely true.
Amber: That is unfortunately true. Most people who do reviews are usually the people who don’t know how to use the device or have had issues. All the devices have a 2% chance of having an issue. Tvs, microwaves and cars have more of a chance of a manufacturer’s defect.
Mike: interesting.
Mike: ok, let’s proceed.
Amber: Ok. Do you have the device in your cart?
Mike: trying to add
Amber: If you click on the name of it, you should have an add to cart button.
Mike: why would I want text messaging for this device?
Mike: I am required to select a text messaging pay as you go plan for this device
Amber: It’s a just in case. It will have a phone number.
Amber: Pay as you go would be the best option.
Mike: it’s the ONLY option.
Amber: There used to be a 5 dollar option.
Mike: and the shopping keeps crashing my browser
Amber: I’m sorry, they changed things recently. I’m sorry that it keeps crashing. What error do you get?
Mike: it kills the browser window – and a hard crash
Mike: I’m trying a different browser
Amber: Strange.
Mike: it’s almost impossible to buy this online
Mike: “The selection you made is unavailable at this time”
Amber: That’s a bad error. We’ve been having some issues today. May I have your phone number to report this issue?
Amber: Thank you.
Mike: I even tried selecting the 10gb option – same message
Amber: I know if you keep trying it eventually works.
Mike: this is not very inspiring
Mike: I don’t feel like I’m going to “Rule the Air” – rather limp along and beg
Amber: I’m sorry! Their fixing things.
Amber: It will be better when it comes to the device. It’s the website that’s having issues and being fixed.
Mike: how do I put faith in a device provided by a network that can’t let me purchase it on their own website?
Amber: We haven’t had issues like this in a very long time. Every website has issues. It is not a reflection on our devices or our services. If say Facebook is down, and that happends a good amount of time because of the growth of it’s accounts, you’re not going to delete your Facebook account are you?
Mike: Facebook has never been down – that’s their priority, because that is what they provide.
Mike: I’m a systems engineer – my job is to make sure sites never go down.
Amber: I apologize, that is incorrect. I am a Facebook user and the site has been down.
Amber: But we’re not here to discuss websites, we’re here to order you the HotSpot.
Mike: This is what facebook provides when they have an outage:
Mike: Where’s the Verizon note/blog post on why 
Mike: I can’t buy a device?
Amber: And with the phone number you have provided I have reported it. It’s also known and being worked on. We have fixed the main problems and now we’re continuing to fix other issues. Earlier no one could log into MyVerizon. That was a priority. And I apologize but we do not post on blogs about the site issues because that is internal work. You can buy a device, patience is needed for this process tonight. I’m sorry!
Mike: Well, I’m trying repetitively. It’s still failing.
Amber: It will work. I know it will.
Mike: I am literally on another vendor’s site right now, to see their competitive options
Amber: When you buy from third party companies they make you sign their own terms and conditions. That can effect you from return policies, to changing plans to early termination fees. Also feature changes and what phones you’re able to get.
Mike: of course it does. that’s absolutely no different than what Verizon provides
Mike: “Third Party” – they are a vendor, just like you.
Amber: I’m sorry that is incorrect.
Mike: how are you not a vendor?
Mike: how is anyone else not a vendor?
Amber: We are a vendor. But we are direct. Not third party.
Mike: Direct? Third Party? Direct to whom? Third party of whom?
Amber: Verizon Wireless lets other companied to sell our products and services. They do have the right to change most options. If you go to a direct Verizon store or that is Verizon selling Verizon products. If you buy from say WireFly or BestBuy they are selling our products.
Mike: ah yes – but I’m not looking at a device to connect to verizon – rather an entire other network.
Mike: a competitor, not a third party distributor of your products
Amber: Oh. I understand your wording choice now. I’m sorry. The reason their plans are less, is they have a lower coverage quality and area. We have a huge service area and we have the fastest coverage area as well with 3G. We’re working on getting 10X faster in all places with 4G soon!
Mike: I choose my words with care. while that may or may not be the case – depending on whose marketing team you choose to believe – they are still allowing me to purchase their product online.
Amber: They are not currently having issues as far as I know. And I don’t use their services whom ever they are so I wouldn’t know personally if they do have issues ever. This conversation isn’t going in any direction. And I apologize for that. Would you like to get one of our devices?
Mike: I am absolutely trying to get one of your devices. 
Mike: that’s the entire purpose of this conversation.
Mike: and it should not be this difficult.
Amber: Let’s try deleting your cookies, that may help it.
Mike: sure thing.
Amber: Thank you. Please tell me when you have finished that.
Mike: cookies are gone
Mike: signing back into myverizon
Mike: fail.
Mike: again.
Mike: ah well.
Amber: Please try.
Mike: “The selection you made is unavailable at this time Browse one of the options below to choose a different plan or phone, or call (800) 2-JOIN-IN for assistance.”
Mike: nope.
Mike: well, I guess this makes my decision pretty easy, doesn’t it.
Amber: It may be easier and less frustrating for you to call customer service. The phone number to customer service is1-800-922-0204 and hours of operation are 6AM- 11PM EST. Also you can contact them via *611 from your handset. You may also call 1-800-2 JOIN IN
Mike: I thought this was customer service.
Mike: I must be mistaken.
Amber: There is over the phone sales, 1-800-2 JOIN IN and there is customer service 1-800-922-0204 or *611 from your Verizon cell phone.
Mike: Yes, I see what their number are. But the failure to provide service via methods clearly advertised is not very inspiring.
Mike: I’m curious – how many service calls are dealing with failed purchases?
Amber: I’m not sure. Also I’m sorry for the inconvenience. Is there anything else I can do for you?
Mike: No, that’s it. I only wanted to order a mobile hotspot, commit to a two year contract and give you more of my money.
Mike: But I can’t do that.
Amber: I wish I could fix the website for you. Though I’m unable to do so. Thank you for chatting with Verizon Wireless online sales. Have a great evening!

Sit on this, and logrotate!

Since a lot of what everyone does on those pesky devices called “comp-you-tars” is becoming increasingly more business-critical, and we’ve come to a point where a web company that has “one server that we all use” is going nowhere, we have piles of lovely silicon and metal, with electric pulses flowing through them to create the world as we see it today.

Server Room

I love these machines, as they have extended our abilities far beyond a single person, they have connected us in ways that our ancestors could only imagined and written about in fiction, and they provide a central part of our everyday lives.

Developing complex systems has provided us with a challenge of building and maintaining large amounts of machines, and done correctly, a single person can easily control thousands, if not tens-of-thousands, of machines with a high degree of stability, confidence and grace.

Back in the olden days, systems were small, resource constraints were very much a real problem, and this provided developers the incentive, nay, the requirement, of knowing about their system and how to write efficient and clean code within the constraints.

As time goes by, each resource constraint is alleviated, for a while, by hardware manufacturers Continue reading Sit on this, and logrotate!

The beat keeps moving on.

As I sit here in another airport waiting area, I again realize the futility of airport security.

The entire TSA was probably created to give people jobs and create a semblance of security.

This time, I got into the line at LAX – United that had the scary body scanner.
I stood in two blue rectangles and placed my hands above my head, not unlike a prisoner, about to be shackled and tortured. In defiance, I stuck my tongue out during this process.

After I got through, thinking I was in the clear, the TSA dude tells me that he has to pat me down anyway. WTF. Sigh.

And then he “handles” me.

I feel so secure right now. Ugh.

Thanks, but no thanks, Verizon!

I guess Verizon think they know what’s best for me.

Recently got a nice little Verizon USB 760 Modem from work, not a new concept for me, just something to keep in touch while on the go.

Unfortunately, the Verizon Access Manager software most decidedly does NOT install correctly on my Mac. Instead, it tells me I’m not an administrator. Feels a lot like trying to install software on Windows Vista.

See the failure, how pretty it is...

Continue reading Thanks, but no thanks, Verizon!

You call this security? You’ve got to be kidding me

I just got off the phone with PayPal’s customer service department.

The reason I was on the phone in the first place – because you probably know how much I absolutely love talking to customer service representatives – is that I was trying to be a good Netizen.

I received a couple – not one – of emails originating from Paypal’s service for password resets. This is not a foreign thing, especially for someone that has his email address all over the web. It’s usually some scripting hacker trying to get access to my stuff.

The problem is that at the bottom of the email, there is this section: Continue reading You call this security? You’ve got to be kidding me

Take these broken wings and learn to fly again

Wow. This was a short trip. Five days. I think the only time I’ve ever done this short of a day-to-mileage-traveled ratio.

While I won’t burden you with the details of my trip – and believe me, it’s no burden, just another set of stories for another time – the travel never fails to meet expectations.

On this return trip, things seem to have gone slightly more smoothly – partly because I was unencumbered by a travel companion that did not have the same set of travel credentials that I did. Apparently, when travelling with El Al, the assumption is that Israeli citizens (passport holders) are less of a security risk and may not need the full treatment.

While waiting in the initial line that wasn’t moving, a mindful attendant figured out that someone at the entrance to the routing was not balancing the queues, and simply shuffled a bunch of us to a faster-moving line.

I happen upon a young woman, whose job it is to perform the initial questions – the good ol’ ones that I know how to answer clearly and firmly to instill confidence in the asker that I know what I’m doing, and that we can do away with this formality. After she is done, we spend a few moments chatting, not a normal occurence, more flirtatious, probably because this is a rare moment in her day when someone is actually smiling at her, and not making her life miserable. I recognize that this probably isn’t her dream job, and that she processes some multiple of thousands of people a day, and wishes she could be one of us, taking flight to another destination, or returning from some fabulous experience, but whatever the case may be – she probably doesn’t need me to add to her misery, so instead I try to lift it up, offer a friendly smile and word. She sends me through the fast-track line with no requirement to scan my bag, or shudder the thought, open it at the second security station for further inspection.

Making my way to the check-in array of counters with hard-working boys and girls, also probably only doing this job to pay for something greater, I wait, patiently, for people to get ticketed, and moved along.

When it’s my turn, I reach a young man, probably in the range of 22-26 years old. He quickly punches me in, double checks my meaql preferences, seating, and we chat briefly about where I’m going, and I ask him when he is making the trip. He’s happy to tell me that he is traveling to Thailnad in two weeks and is very excited about it. He speeds me along, gets me my boarding pass, takes my checked luggage, and we part smiling.

Since I have a little time, I had coordinates with a friend of mine to meet at the airport, since he works nearby, and this trip was so short, that I barely got to see him. My last visit, he had his spouse were on vacation outside the country, so this was a nice opportunity to see each other, catch up over a coffee, and talking at the speed of light to cover so much in a short time.

After a bit, we bid each other farewell, and hope to see each other during the next trip.

On to the security scanner.

Oh boy.

This time, I’ve got it down. I’m wearing synthetic shoes, cargo pants with absolutely no metal in them, nothing in my pockets. Everything goes into the backpack, and I proceed to the detector. In Israel, they did not require removal of shoes. I guess they have not gone completely nuts yet.

I step through, and sure enough, the buzzer goes off.


There’s NOTHING to set it off! Maybe at some point in these five days, I was drugged, kidnapped and secretly implanted with some device that an organization is looking to retrieve on the other side through other nefarious means? Probably not, since during the trip it’s been non-stop family and brief interludes with friends.
So I get pulled to the side to get wanded. Oh boy. This guy looks like he’d rather be shewing on broken glass than doing this as he tells me to raise my arms, runs the wand over me, covering each area efficiently, and finds nothing. He does it again, and then shrugs, and nods me to move on with my life. I smile, shrug, and say in Hebrew “Go figure.”

Apparently the man in front of me at the scanner is STILL figuring out how to retrieve his articles from the scanner – something I tohught we knew the mechanics involved by simply looking at the return capacity tray and seeing that if you leave your large items there, new articles cannot move into there until there has been room vacated. Instead, he reaches into the tray that is still halfway in the tunnel for his hat and jacket, puts them on, before pulling his bag and laptop from the tray area, allowing me and the fiive people behind me that have now built up a queue to get our stuff in a record time of 0.3 seconds and move on to passport control.

This spot is the one place that I can truly appreciate. Efficiency. Technology. Let me get on with my life.

About four years ago, the Passport Control Gang (I guess they are really the Border Police?) figured that despite having lanes for Israeli and Foreign citizens available, there was constnantly a delay in processing enough people to get through in a timely fashion.

They set up a series of automatic kiosk-style biometric scanners that validate your palm-print and spit out a border crossing receipt that is legally allowable and fast. To get a card, you simply had to wait in line at another desk for maybe 30 minutes for them to register your hand with your passport, magnetize the card, and you are on your merry way. Passport control, for entry and exit, takes me a total of under 60 seconds. I Like This.

You take your receipt and head through another gate where a border partol gal looks at the receipt, tears off a corner, and sends you along to the main hall – where you can now shop for perfumes and such, drink coffee, connect to the free wireless signal, even connect to well-places power ports to top off the charge for your laptop prior to your trip.

I spend some time musing around, take a bit of a jog through the area, find a new cologne, walk around and see that not much has changed since my last time here. There’s not much I want here. I can find virtually anything for sale here at my destination, and I don’t want anything here anyways. The only thing I do get is some Elite Cow Chocolate (named for the cow imprinted on each bar). Yummy. Something to munch on the plane.

Headed to my gate. There’s always a million people flying to New York. While there are many, they typically are easily categorzied just by looking at them. There’s the young parents with many children, the young couples with screaming babies, the old couples that don’t speak a word of English or Hebrew, and the Orthodox men – so easilty identified by their black hats, and The Israelis. I hate to say it, but this deserves a category of its own.

There is something very particular about the Israeli attitude – that usually exists with Israelis that are about middle-age, and traveling to New York. I don’t know where it comes from – whether there is some sort of meeting where everyone agrees that a degree of self-entitlement should be professed when having dealings with others, or that since they have shelled out their hard-earned money for a flight in economy class that they should have the height of comfort. I have no idea.

Then there’s people like me – the loners. People simply trying to get from Point A to Point B while retainig a modicum of sanity. Maybe we are going on a business trip, maybe returning from one, maybe a familial one. But basically, these people are usually the least hassle of all, because we recognize that everyone else is going to put that much more pressure on the trip that there’s no need for us to add to it. I just want to get out of this alive.

Invariably, no matter what seating arrangment I book when choosing my seats – front of the plane, back, winodw or aisle – I’m going to be stuck right next to either the young couple with the scraming baby or the family with a bunch of unruly children that insist on screaming about some sibling doing something to them.

Today I got the latter. The mother looks like she needs someone to take the kids, feed them some Xanex-laced chocolate, so she can finally get a couple hours of respite. The father simply looks clueless, and is trying to juggle too many seat assignments – who’s going to sit next to who, wait – she can’t sit next to him, because they will fight, he needs to sit next to mommy, she wants to watch the DVD, he needs his diaper changed, and on and on.

The mother catches my eye and I see a fleeting look of desperation, a silent cry for help, before she turns her attention abck to her brood. She glances at me again, I smile, and chuckle lightly. She smiles too, and seems to relax a little.

This flight, I was lucky enough to have an empty seat between myself and the older woman in the window seat. This hasn’t happened in a long time, so I revel in the extra leg room, the lack of fighting over the armrest, and the ability to drop some articles on the seat between us.

As the flight progresses, Flight Attendants bring out the drink service, and I get a tomato juice and water, and place them on my seat tray. That in of itself is rarely noteworthy, however, as I put down my tomato juice and rest my arm for a slight moment, one of the restless children in front of me decides that at this moment he must jump and climb over his mother, bouncing the seat violently, toppling my water on to my lap.

Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever been on a transatlantic flight when your pants are pretty soaked, but let me clue you in to something – it’s no picnic. After the initial cold spreads far enough that the pant material has soaked it all up, then the slow process of evaporation in a climate-controlled cabin can begin. And it will take forever. Ah well. At least it was the water, not the tomato juice.

Anyways, we are now only three hours into our flight, and I’ve written a bunch already.

What have you done in the last three hours?

Spread your wings and fly…

Commercial flight is no longer something I look forward to.

There was a time that I would get excited about traveling through the air, it was different, exotic, something reserved for special occasions.

As I have grown, and flown more, it feels like when you can see beyond the intricacies of a magicians’ web of illusion, and realize that the trick wasn’t that complicated after all. It’s all simple mechanics, and seeing the same trick performed again and again, it becomes routine and mechanical.

I guess that’s true of anything though – take the fact that I am writing this mid-flight, over the Atlantic Ocean, on a device that did not exist a few years ago – a netbook computer – and how much that has become a routine part of our lives and like many technological advances is taken for granted soon enough.

My traveling companion for this trip is my uncle, who rarely flies internationally, and just requested that I don’t write about him. Apparently he doesn’t realize that the request in and of itself a reason to do so – everyone say Hi to Uncle Dennis!

Today’s trip started with us meeting at the airport, and spending a few moments weighing our bags with a mini-bag scale that I carry on trips, to verify that our checked luggage would be within the weight parameters and not incur hefty overweight fees. A short re-distribution took place, where we exchanged some items for others between our bags so that we were both at the appropriate limit of each bag being under 50 pounds (or 22 kilos).

Then we joined the line of the many people trying to be processed at the El Al check-in desks. This is a different procedure than any other airline, as El Al has their own security screening process, which isn’t that secure, I hate to tell you.

Once you finally get around enough of the line to reach an actual security person, they ask you a few standardized questions – pretty much the ones that George Carlin has ridiculed in epic words – before sending you off to the right, to wait in line again, where your checked luggage (only checked luggage!) will be scanned by their heft X-ray machines.

Waiting in this new line showed a degree of inefficient operation that I have grown accustomed to, and just like everything else when it comes to international flight, I simply sigh, suck it up, and ride the waves of despair. There are two large scanners, and only one person loading bags on to them. One line shuts down while we are waiting there due to a large family with a bunch of children having some sort of issue with putting the stroller through, or something else.

Most of the staff are American TSA workers – except two – an older Israeli guy who kept fluttering around and interrupting any kind of flow that was slowly being achieved, and a younger Israeli girl whose sole job, it seemed, was to place a “scanned” sticker on bags that gad been scanned. She couldn’t do that very well, as a family had to come back from their lengthy check in process to ask for a sticker – which she simply gave to them.

Insecurity Note #1 – who is to say that bag was scanned or not? What is to prevent me from taking the same approach, simply not choosing to scan one bag, then coming back to the desk and getting a sticker for the second?

Insecurity Note #2 – once the bags were scanned – only checked luggage, mind you – they are returned to our possession for a lengthy wait for the check-in desk. During this time, I literally could have placed anything at all from my pockets, or even anything larger from my carry-on or backpack into my luggage that now, thanks to the security girl’s ability to focus for a moment, has a nice, official “scanned” sticker on it.

Uncle Dennis and I chat about this, shake our heads in despair and continue on with the show. I could have brought a bag full of firecrackers with me.

The check-in desks never seem to operate fast – every traveler in line in front of me seems to have a very specific set of problems that has never been encountered in the past 40 years of flight, and requires involvement of a supervisor, a manager, and sometimes a quick chat with the captain. However, it must be me, that I take the time to figure out the rules of this stupid game and adhere to them, as the moment I step up, I am typically checked in, have my boarding pass and luggage tags all in under three minutes.

From this point forward is the move to the last security scan before the gates, and the last time beloved ones will see you – gone are the days where they can stand at the door of plane, wave at the aircraft as it taxis away to wait forever in line on the tarmac for clearance to take off. Now they say their goodbyes, and sometimes watch as the mass of humanity gets funneled slowly into another snake maze line, where their passport and boarding pass and given a cursory glance before shunting them into another processing line where the most exciting part of all of this takes place – the metal detector and carry-on x-ray.

Why is this the most exciting? Because it has become a challenge to me to beat this system at its own game. I have been stopped more times than I can count at this gateway.
My shoes are unlaced and come off, my bag pops open and the netbook comes out into a plastic tub, the shoes go in there too. Everything in my pockets – phone, wallet, and change, anything – goes into the bag. My belt flies off into the plastic tub. My jacket is already in there. Everything goes on the conveyor belt.

Then, with a deep sigh, I step forward to the beckoning TSA agent at the metal detector. And with a sense of “I know this thing is going to beep at me”, I walk through and stop, waiting for the questions about my pocket contents, any medical metal hardware or whatever else they can ask me.

Guess what? I won this time. Maybe the machine is malfunctioning. Maybe the sun is shining just the right way right now, or maybe the magnetic poles of the Earth are aligned perfectly for me right at this moment.

No call for a bag check, no red light went off, requiring a roundabout impromptu interrogation by a security idiot, for whom petty power has corrupted beyond all proportions, and no further hold up for me at this station.

Sigh of relief, grab my shoes, bags and laptop. I had almost considered doing this trip in only my pajamas.

Up until this point, I think I’ve waited in about four lines, and there’s one more – boarding the plane. Not the most efficient process to say the least – as this airline does not board by section, row or reason – simply board now. There’s a line that stretches to two gates away for this flight only. We take a seat, and wait for the line to be processed at a snail’s pace.

Once on board, again it seems like people have forgotten all semblance of “how things work”, not realizing that we’re all going to be compressed in this tin can for the next 10 hours or so. Crowding in the aisles, stopping and talking with people already seated, blocking the passage of everyone else from boarding, tossing their carry-on in to the overhead compartments and sitting down.

Before leaving home, I took the time to visit the El Al web site and look at their carry-on luggage policy – and got out the measuring tape to verify that my bag did indeed meet the required size limits, and it did. However, a Boeing 747-400 (how long ago was this particular aircraft made?) center overhead compartments are about 1 inch smaller than the advertised capacity. My frustration of trying to jam my own bag into their compartment were heard for a few rows, and a few people smiled in sympathy, and nod. I guess they had a similar experience at some point.

I walk farther down the plane looking for space in one of the overhead compartments that face the windows, large enough to share, and as I see an opening and begin to raise my bag, a guy tells me that his “seats are here and this room should be reserved for him and his family”. I grumble and move along further down, finally spot a vacancy 10 rows away, rush there, toss my bag in, slam the compartment shut and sigh in relief.

Fighting my way upstream to get back to my seat, I look and see that, of course, I’m sitting next to a guy that has had his (and mine and yours) share of good meals, and that his gut spills over on to the armrest, to squash against my right arm, prompting me to fly with my arms folded in front of me for most of the flight.

The woman in front of me comments loudly that she cannot believe how small the seats and space between rows is. I smile in sympathy and nod.

And we haven’t even begun to taxi to the runway yet.

You can’t do THAT on TV!

So last night I was watching late night television on Comedy central, and after midnight they run ads for Girls Gone Wild. The ads show scenes out of their DVDs, showing girls is a variety of locations, “going wild”.

Let’s clarify this – “going wild” seems to be lifting their shirts to expose their breasts and possibly making out with another girl.

Now that’s wild.

What bugs me about this is that the girls exposing themselves is always covered by a playful-looking “CENSORED” graphic – always covering the naughty bits – but when two ladies are kissing, that’s not required to be censored.

Now, I’m not suggesting that everything be censored, but censors, get your ideas straight.

Why are certain body parts censored, but physical activity is not? It seems that if the censorship is governed by the conservative puritan movement, then women kissing is a much greater offense to the whole “God’s way of the world” anti-same sex activity idea, much greater than the natural, life-giving mammaries that we all suckled on as children (apologies to those that were strictly bottle-fed, your therapist should try to sort you out).

I’m not suggesting that censorship is good, or needed, or that we should also censor these activities, but if you’re going to censor something, at least be consistent, or not at all.

Vote for me! Or don’t, it doesn’t matter.

So today was election day in the US of A.

As a good citizen, I had previously registered to vote at the DMV last year, and today I went to my designated poll to cast my vote, alongside many others.

In the past, my votes have all been absentee ballots, sent in from Israel, and had a certain “boring” aspect to it. Fill out form, enclose in envelope and send in mail.


But today was my first interactive voting experience, and it was nice and simple, with a big red lever involved. I felt like pulling that should activate some sort of trap door, ejection seat or alarm, but no.

It also made me think about how the fact that my personal vote doesn’t really affect anything, since the Electoral College is the defining vote for the president elect.

So the knowledge of the fact that I had close to no affect on the eventual election of the president has somewhat made this election day a little more like the rest of the days of the year, and not that special at all.