It's five to midnight.
I'm on the verge of losing my job.

If I don't start improving the quality of my translations, If I don't stop using machine translators to help me do my work, if I don't get some enthusiasm for the automotive industry, if I don't wise up - I'm gonna get fired.

Part of me wants to get fired, I don't even like this job that much. For 23k a year it's just not worth it.

Still I need this job. I need it in order to stay in Germany, which I need to do because of Anna my girlfriend who lives here and rocks my world.

So it's clear. I gotta buckle down and get jiggy with it. I gotta get into the groove and get my automotive german on.

Otherwise it's time to move back to America and start over.


Some things, I just plain don't get.

Those "yellow lanes". Yesterday on my way to work, I accidentally got onto the North 51, and (having little idea exactly where that goes) got off it after a couple miles, and began the harrowing experience of crossing from one side of Phoenix to the other on surface streets, right at the beginning of rush hour. Anywho, I wound up on 7th Street, where (to my shock and horror) I found that, due to it being between 4 and 6 PM, the 'yellow lanes' were for northbound traffic.

Now, I've always thought this was stupid, but having never really driven through Phoenix before (and having never driven in any other big city that might do similarly wacky things with their roads), I never realized *how* stupid it was until now. The idea is that there's going to be a lot of traffic, so opening up the yellow lane will help alleviate it, right? Here's the thing, though: Because the yellow lanes are open to traffic, left turns are illegal. So, let's say it's the middle of rush hour, traffic's moving at a steady ten miles an hour... and you're stuck in the leftmost lane. You have to cross two or three lanes just in order to get off this street, and trust me, those other drivers are not going to make it easy for you. (Granted, this is true on the freeway too; but if you're on there, chances are you weren't planning to get off too quickly anyhow.) So essentially, you could get stuck going north (as I was) all the way out of the city (or at least to Dunlap, which is where the yellow lanes closed on 7th Street - luckily, I had to go farther north than that). In other words, it's creating more traffic.

24-Hour "Adult" Shops. Unless you live in a particularly prude area (or one that's far from a major city), you've probably heard commercials for "Castle Megastore" or some other chain of "adult" stores. (Sidenote: Why do they call things related to sex "adult"? If you didn't know what it was Castle Boutique sells, would it really help you at all to know that it's for "adults"? For all you know, they could be a gourmet tobacco shop. I should note that Spider-Man's first appearance was in a comic book called "Amazing Adult Fantasy", and I'm reasonably sure that there was no nudity in that, so this must be a relatively new thing.) The other night I heard a commercial for them, and I noticed that they make a big point of saying that they're "open 24 hours a day". Wow, now that's service. Seriously, I can just picture the scene of their next commercial: It's 3AM, and after a long night of partying, the host is getting it on with a complete stranger in his parents' bedroom. (I forgot to mention: he's 26, unemployed, isn't in school, and is still living at home with Mom, Dad, and Great Uncle Maurice.) Just when things are about to get X-rated, he remembers: "Damn, I forgot the handcuffs at Jenna's place, and there's no way she'll let me get them... not after that incident involving spreader bars, whipped cream, and her ant farm. Well, off to Castle Megastore!"

I mean, really. I can think of a lot of things that could use 24-hour service a lot more than a sex shop. Like... a grocery store. Or a mechanic. Or tech support. Or the post office. Or the library. Or public computer terminals. Or fast food. In fact, about the last thing I absolutely need access to at any time of the day is a one-stop shop for Hustler, vibrators, and Asia Carrera's latest softporn pseudo-lesbian video. Not that I'd know anything about any of that. (Psst... what's this "dill-dough"? Sounds like some kind of vegetarian dish.)

The "demographic doublethink" on the part of American Christians. There are many Christians in this nation who will make the claim that Christians in general are "persecuted" or otherwise in the minority throughout the country. Part of the rationale for this is the claim that many people who call themselves "Christians" are only nominally religious or don't practice in ways becoming Christians (a common ploy is "Nobody who believes in evolution is a Christian"). Fine. If you believe that "real" Christians are in the minority, that's your prerogative. (It's also my prerogative to laugh hysterically and call you an idiot - and maybe point out that you're committing the No True Scotsman fallacy while I'm at it.)

However, when a court makes some ruling enforcing church-state separation, or when there's a scandal over a Hindu or Taoist or Wiccan chaplain, or when an atheist publicly protests the fact that the Boy Scouts are discriminating against their kid, it's often these same people who make broad proclamations about the United States being a "Christian Nation" and that the "Christian Majority" should be able to do this or that without the interference of these small, insignificant minorities. So which is it? Either you're a majority or you're not! You can't have it both ways.

Jack Chick. Seriously, how does he stay in business? At last count, he hates Catholics, Jehovah's Witnesses, Anglicans, Muslims, Mormons, Hindus, Buddhists, Native Americans (unless they're Christian), atheists, gays, rock musicians (both Christian and secular), evolutionists, lawyers, doctors, Halloween, Freemasons, mediums, role-playing games, and anyone in general that doesn't believe in Jesus and that the King James Bible is the literal word of God. No doubt I'm missing some things, too. My guess is that a lot of people buy his tracts just for their humor value. Now that would be ironic; if atheists and various moderate-to-liberal Christians were responsible for maintaining Jack Chick's livelihood.
Bjork Big Time Sensuality LP
"Do you have a minute for Greenpeace?" they ask me, yes, I do, I have both a minute and money in my wallet, but I have not the desire to stop and talk to you, though I appreciate your efforts.
Is that wrong of me?
Am I supposed to feel guilty because I recognize the goodness of one's efforts but seek neither to emulate or support them? Am I not allowed to do my own thing, on my own time?
Since I was 12 she has been telling me to volunteer.
I don't want to volunteer.
Volunteering is great. It is rewarding, it makes people happy and improves the world. My time is the most precious thing I have, and sharing it makes the world a better place.
I know.
I just don't want to do it.
Because I am a selfish, lazy punk of a kid.
I've volunteered in the past. I'll probably volunteer again in the future.
But now…
Now it is time for me to do my own thing.
I no longer have to fill out college application where I have to say that I volunteered in order to make me look like a nice, friendly, caring young lad. I don't have parents telling me I should give back because I have so much, because I am so lucky.
I am lucky.
I know it.
Thank you.
Thank you random spinning wheel of births, thank you god, thank you everything.
But I am not going to volunteer.
I am not going to give away my money (even if it is a tax break). I am not going to spend even an hour a week meeting with people who have similar interests of improving the world, or showing up to a place] with people who have a genuine need for assistance.
I want to do my own thing first.
I didn't know all the world had to offer.
Now I am starting to see it.
And I want to see it for myself.
I want to explore and learn and learn and learn and explore and experience.
But I can't do it all.
And I can't do it all now.
I must sacrifice.
It is the nature of life.
Compromise, sacrifice, be disappointed, that's what we humans do.
And so that is what I will do.
And I won't feel guilty. And I won't think of the shoulds of my parents, religion, society, or self.
I will think simply of the now. And the future.
And what I am trying to do.
I will volunteer one day. I will do good for the world one day. (I do little things everyday.) I will help out those who want it.
One day.
But that one day will not be this year.
So in the meantime, I thank you for your efforts, but please leave me alone or just don't look at me like that when I say no.

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