Log in

A "Fun" Day

I had a very fun day yesterday.

It started with three hours of sleep. I went to groggily toast a bagel, and burnt it a bit. I turned the kitchen fan on to exhaust the smoke. We have an older style kitchen fan in the ceiling, not one over our range. Apparently, a shingle from the roof fell into the fan, and it got cut up and made a huge racket. Scared the hell out of me, and woke Trish up (at 5AM, mind you).

Got to work at Mariani (the asphalt terminal) and they only have an hour left to pump. Broken equipment AND a short shift? Oh yay! Plus, while I was there, I found out that the 2hrs of drive time to port manatee are billed differently, so we don't get overtime on them. I get why they're doing it, but I do not want it to set a precedent that they can class hours doing different things in ways that avoid overtime... or maybe one day, I'll work 32 hours for KMI, and 16 for Citgo, but I'll only get 48 hours of straight time.

Then, on to berth 222 over at the port of Tampa. The TMI-17 comes in and it's trouble from the start. They complained about where I spotted them, on MLA-1 because that means they couldn't put their gangway down... "we always use #4 over here!" well, then why the fuck didn't your deck guy tell me this when I said "unless you have a reason to do otherwise, let's go with #1."? It only got more fun from that point on.

Next, the chief mate refused to agree to the simultaneous Murphy/TPSI discharge. Pete (from TPSI) came down to talk to them, and there was a lot of arguing involved. Eventually, they reach an agreement. So I go on board, and start dealing with two sets of paperwork. We get to the 2nd DOI, and the prick refuses to sign it. Says it's illegal or some shit. So either we've been doing it wrong all this time using two DOIs, or the chief mate is right, and we should have been using only one. Of course, this is something that should have been worked out before we started doing multiple simultaneous discharges.

Next was port manatee. I got stuck behind some dumbass trucker who didn't know procedure in the line to activate my TWIC for access. cost me almost 10m. The rest of it wasn't bad there, until the end. Then, the irksome mate from the B284 starts bitching about having to use his crane. In tired frustration, I throw up my hands, and he gets aggressive because I "have a problem" with him. At this point in my day, I'm pretty much out of patience, so as he's getting aggressive, I just say "you're the one with the fucking problem, buddy! I'm done.". I walk back to the shack, get my shit together, and tell Joed "Here, this shit's all yours. I'm done.". The crew member did apologize a minute later, but apologies don't restore patience and sanity that've been stripped away, nor relieve the stress that it creates.

Thinking I'm finally done, I get a call from Ryan on the way home, asking me when I can come back for another shift. And then, four of the lanes of tollbooths at the Sunshine Skyway (the bridge I need to take to get home from manatee) are closed. I think that I can't pay because I have only a SunPass and no cash, but it turns out all the lanes are enabled for them, even if they're not marked. After crossing the bridge, I find out that several miles of 275N is cut down to a single lane for construction. Hooray. 25-30MPH in a 65MPH zone.

An irksome, stressful day. I want a stiff drink and a nap.
I bitch about work a lot, I'm aware. But sometime there comes a failure so completely epic that if I wasn't witnessing it, I would probably be laughing uproariously at it.

I started this week by opening the MR Orestes, a foreign ship carrying jet fuel. Foreign vessels are almost always a hassle, but this one was beyond the pale.

Right from the beginning, when they lined up at the wrong arm, I knew it was going to be trouble. I sent the shore radio aboard with the gauger, but they never called me to let me know that they were ready to hook up the arm. Then eventually, I called them on the radio, and they told me they were ready, in very broken English. An hour later, no one on deck. I call them again, and they said they did have someone on deck, and asked if I was ready. Sigh.

It took half an hour and five yelled attempts to get them to send me a rope to tie to the MLA's lead line. Normally, I just pitch it up over the rail, but this boat was drafting up so high I'd have never made it. I can't throw that good! After that, they took bloody fucking ages to get the arm hooked up... 40 minutes. 10-12 is typical.

Once I went aboard to do the pre-transfer conference and paperwork, I notice that the deck crew is all coughing. Get inside the ship's office, and the chief mate is also coughing. Wondered to myself if I was going to contract some sort of exotic foreign disease from just being in there. Start going through the paperwork with the chief mate, and he's got a letter of protest related to freedom of crew movement. For christ's sake, we hadn't even done anything yet!

Throughout the entire discharge, the ship was very difficult to reach on the radio, often taking 3-4 attempts, and having to speak in small words and very slowly to be understood. I understand that English isn't your first language, but you should not be handling hazardous cargo if your communication isn't adequate.

At one point, I asked them for a 2hr notice including stripping, and they gave me it at 1700. At 1700, they told me that they were starting to strip and that it would be two more hours.

At the end, I had to go up on board and open the vent on the arm so it could be evacuated. They told me it was open, but they either lied, or had no idea what I was saying to them. While I was up there, the chief mate tried to dump a bunch of paperwork on me... including no less than eight pages of letters of protest. I've never seen that many from a single vessel. I stood on the deck for a moment flipping through them on the clipboard and pondering just tearing them up, or literally wiping my ass with them and handing them back. Insult upon injury, or something like that. But I didn't. I just refused them firmly.

I was very sorely tempted to write my own letter of protest charging the vessel and its crew with lack of sufficient proficiency with English, inability to follow instructions, incompetence, and unsafe operations. But I didn't know if that would reflect badly on either KMI or the company I work for, so I asked the gauger (who the boat also fucked over) to write one, since he also had a legitimate grievance. And he did, taking note of what I said for a letter from his company (Inspectorate).

Because Tumblr's UI Sucks

I've decided that I'm going to go back to posting longer things here again, because Tumblr's comment system is so fucking terrible.


Like The Song Says… Money

I about shit a brick when I opened this year's W2 and found out I'd made $36k in 2013.

That's a hell of a lot more than I'd made the year previously… 2012 had just squeaked by as being the year where I'd made the most I had made (narrowly beating that one year at Target where the overtime was an obscene amount). I must've worked a lot more overtime this year than I thought I had, because I made almost ten grand more.

The disturbing part is that I really don't know where it all went. I really should be keeping better track of my money, or at least my expenses, especially now that I'm not so poor that I expect to always be broke.

It's good to finally feel affluent, but it's definitely going to take some adjustment.


My Own Personal "Housing Crisis"

As I've observed on numerous occasions before, renting sucks. It's a miserable experience in myriad ways.

Getting out of it, however, is far from easy, even if you have the means. It's almost as if you have to run an obstacle course, or at least that's how it's starting to feel from my perspective.

One of the reasons I want to own instead of rent is that renting is spending a large sum of money every month with nothing to show for it, except not being homeless. If you're paying a mortgage, at least you're making progress towards something, rather than spinning your wheels.

However, with a bank loan, you're saddled with several expensive conditions to fulfill: chief among them being flood insurance (which ranges from "pricy" to "HOLY FUCK" here), homeowner's insurance, and mortgage insurance. The only way for those things to be optional (or in the case of the last, completely unnecessary) is to buy outright. Of course, in order to save enough in any sane time to buy outright even a modest home (let's say $70k, which is the rage I'm looking at currently) your cost of housing has to be almost nothing at the same time.

Assuming that's possible, the numbers say that $1500/mo would add up to $70k in 46.6 months. Rounded up to a full 48, four years isn't really all that long. But in order to sock away that much, I wouldn't be able to pay more than $300/mo or so in rent.

I keep churning over in my low-cost solutions for housing on a temporary basis for those four years that it would take, but the best I seem to be able to come up with is either buying a cheap RV and living in that, or buying a mobile home and paying lot rent… ideally split with someone renting one of the two bedrooms in order to further curb the costs.

It's fucking frustrating, all the hoops I have to jump through in order to make this happen.


With my new discretionary income, I have been able to periodically get myself some new gadgets. The solar panel I bought to use over at the Citgo dock (where there's no outlets) turned out to be extremely practical, given the typical amount of sunlight Florida gets. It has kept my phone alive for several long days while working over there.

Just recently, I won an eBay auction for a used Kindle in very good condition. I wasn't really terribly interested in one, but I want to read some HTML ebooks, and the e-ink display and battery life measured in weeks (not to mention the moderate price point) convinced me to give it a shot. It's shipping out today, I'll post more about it after I've had a chance to play with it.

Actually, both of those purchases were direct results of the restrictions of working at Citgo. Hmm.

Achieving Affluence

I'm finally feeling like I'm doing well financially, and that's not something I'm used to. I'd been accustomed to struggling and scraping by with little to no margin or error. Being able to occasionally do things for myself was usually something I did solely out of my tax refund (which is basically a 0% involuntary savings account).

But the last few months have changed this. I've been working more and more, and the hourly rate I make now is actually reasonable. I haven't had a real problem like I'd had for the first year or so (on and off) with there never being enough hours to rely on. I've actually been putting in overtime pretty consistently for the last few months, and the paychecks are really nice.

I'm able to do things like go out to eat, buy books, and visit people (fuel isn't cheap) without serious financial jiggery-pokery. In fact, after I move this next time, I'm going to spend the time I'm living in this new apartment looking to buy a house. I actually make enough now to be able to make that work, finally.

I'm certainly not rich, not even really making white-collar money. But for my fairly frugal level of living, I'm actually pretty damn comfortable with what I'm making now. It feels good.


My Boss

Now, everyone who works for someone else has stories about how they hate their boss. I don't claim to be unique or special in this regard.

However, he displays a level of incompetence above and beyond what I have any experience dealing with. And to make it worse, he has an arrogant know-it-all attitude that makes dealing with his stupidity all the more galling.

He is so bad at the minimal tasks of his job (scheduling) that we basically do it for him, and he still manages to fuck it up. Especially when he makes arbitrary decisions that demonstrate his frequent lack of foresight.

Eric, you're a retard and you suck at your job. That is all.


I just watched a car ad. This car ad. In the ad, they use the trunk opening size as a selling point. Note the bit with the golf clubs.

Before the 1990s, trunk openings were wider and square. Auto makers create a problem with shitty design, and then take 20 years to solve that problem.

Standard trunk opening until the mid 1990s. Wide and rectangular, more or less.

A current one. Compare and contrast. Plenty of room in there, but good luck getting any single large object in there, say a golf bag. The oversized rear lights take up 20% of the fucking opening width. Most cars are like that now. It's needless and stupid. You want big lights back there? Put them on the trunk lid!

Automakers created the problem with stupid designs (which I've griped about for years) and now that someone had the goddamn sense to not make an idiotic design decision, they're acting like it was an amazing stroke of genius.

Hell, it's even happened to hatchbacks! Early 1990s / Today

Smaller opening with sharp angles equals inability to place object in trunk that would fit perfectly fine within it otherwise. I haul things around a lot, which is why I have been griping about this for so long.

Take flat-pack furniture, for example. If you have a car with a squared trunk opening, then it goes in easy, and you might even be able to close it. But angled inward like modern ones? Good luck jamming it in at all, and if it does go, the angle is awkward as fuck. And unless you have an SUV, you don't have a roof rack anymore.

It makes my brain bleed is how they can create a problem, solve it 20 years later, and then think they're goddamn geniuses for going back to doing things the way that isn't stupid.


I bitch more than I probably should about bad drivers, I admit it. But every so often, there's an incident that makes me feel justified in my jaw-on-floor awe of the stupidity they allow behind the wheel.

Tonight: I'm driving down I-275s, in the middle lane. I'm approaching a construction zone ahead, where the leftmost of three lanes is closed. There's several cars in the right-hand lane, a fair bit of merging traffic from the various on-ramps. To my left and somewhat behind me is a ratty old white van.

As both myself and the van close in to where the road cones and flashing arrow indicate the lance closure, I naturally expect the van to merge right and get behind me. Or at least signal and try to zoom past me. To my shock, the van simply continues straight ahead (at this point it's next to me, no longer behind) and plows through a dozen or so road cones, embedding one in it's grille and busting a headlight. After I have a small heart attack, I jam on the throttle and zoom ahead to get away from this crazy fuck, hoping that they won't realize what they're doing and try to get out of the closed lane before I can get away from them. As I jumped on it, I laid on the horn for a good 30s or so, hoping to snap them out of it, or at least force them to notice me and hopefully avoid hitting me. I hope the driver was drunk, because the thought of anyone that stupid while sober would be fucking terrifying.

After I got through Ybor and was about to take the road that cuts under the Veteran's expressway, I saw that it was closed and I had to take the detour. I have no idea what they're doing there, because I never see any actual construction work being done, just a shitload of cops. Maybe they're just closing the road to have a giant donut rave, I don't know. In any case, I grumbled and took the side road detour. As I'm getting back near the port, I hear a tractor trailer's air horn honk, and I glance behind me (I'd been looking left because I was stopped at a stop sign prior to making a turn) and see one tractor trailer jerk onto the shoulder to avoid hitting another square on the side.


I don't often get cause to use the titular word, but it's well-deserved in this case.

On the way home from work, I decided to stop off at Sweetbay (local grocer) to pick up some sandwich stuff. I parked on the far side of the lot, and as I approached the store, I noticed an old roadster (with that distinct 1920s-1940s design) parked in one of the handicapped spots just out in front of the store. I paused for a moment to admire it, and debated going back to the car for my phone (which I'd left plugged in, playing an MP3 stream in the car) so I could get a picture. I decided against it, and went inside and did my shopping.

At the checkout, I noticed that the older guy two spots in front of me in the express lane was wearing a very distinct "hot rods, rat rods, and custom street rods" shirt. I deduced that this just had to be the owner of that car I'd seen parked out front. I followed him out to his vehicle, and complimented him on it. Talked about it for a couple of minutes with him, which he seemed to enjoy. Turns out it was a fully custom 1924 roadster by a company no longer in existence (I've forgotten the name) one of only 19 in the USA. His daily driver, as a matter of fact.

This unplanned (but not unpleasant) delay turned out to have an unexpected consequence.

When I pulled into my parking space at home, a well-dressed older fellow in a Lexus walked up to me. I'm a little cautious of well-dressed white men I don't know (they could be layers!) so I was a little defensive at first. But it turned out that this fellow actually was going to do something very nice for me. He was the owner a of an 1985 gold 300SDL that someone rear-ended and utterly totaled while he was stopped at a red light, and he wanted to find a new home for the parts that he'd accumulated over the years. Canisters of R12, oil, filters, all sorts of odd parts.

He was the original owner, bought that SDL new and put over 460,000 miles on it, and it was still running flawlessly when it got killed. And he said he was still mourning its loss, four months later.

We talked for 15 minutes or so about our mutual fondness for those old tanks. There's something special about getting into a conversation with someone who really knows these cars… and 27 years of owning one certainly qualifies. I gave him my contact information so that he could get ahold of me and we could meet somewhere where he could bring me the parts.

And thus the serendipity: if I had no stopped to admire that old roadster and speak to its owner, I wouldn't have been in a position in traffic for this guy to notice my car, and follow me to make this offer and talk with me. Life literally did a 180 on me, I went from lavishing praise and lust onto someone else's vehicle, to having someone appreciate mine. Which is a truly wonderful thing.


Square Peg In The Round Hole

While I've never really intended to be a "rebel", I've found it strangely consistent how many archetypes I've fallen outside of.

I drive a diesel in a gasoline world.
I have an old, quality car when it's typical to have something new and made of cheap plastic.
I have a WebOS phone (and tablet) when the world at large only cares about iOS and Android.
I use (mostly) Macs in a Windows world. Not the statement it once was, but when I started it was.
I prefer to drink rum and cider when the popular choices are beer and whisky.

There are of course a host of other differences, but those are some of my favorite to point out.


It's a pattern in my life.

While I do occasionally find solace in being a part of groups, I never seem to venture too far from the edge, the very fringe of the membership in them. I've been part of quite a few in my time… geek, goth, furry, brony, others that don't spring as readily to mind as well, no doubt.

I'm not sure what it says about my psyche that I never dive into something enthusiastically, but am content and comfortable being on the fringes of a given clique. But whatever it might indicate, it is just how I am.



From Schlock Mercenary by Howard Taylor (an awesome webcomic, go check it out!)

The Seve Habits Of Highly Effective Pirates:
1. Pillage, then burn.
2. A Sergeant in motion outranks a Lieutenant who doesn't know what's going on.
3. An ordnance technician at a dead run outranks everybody.
4. Close air support covereth a multitude of sins.
6. If violence wasn’t your last resort, you failed to resort to enough of it.
8. Mockery and derision have their place. Usually, it's on the far side of the airlock.
9. Never turn your back on an enemy.
10. Sometimes the only way out is through.
11. Everything is air-droppable at least once.
12. A soft answer turneth away wrath. Once wrath is looking the other way, shoot it in the head.
13. Do unto others.
16. Your name is in the mouth of others: be sure it has teeth.
21. Give a man a fish, feed him for a day. Take his fish away and tell him he's lucky just to be alive, and he'll figure out how to catch another one for you to take tomorrow.
27. Don't be afraid to be the first to resort to violence.
29. The enemy of my enemy is my enemy's enemy. No more. No less.
30. A little trust goes a long way. The less you use, the further you'll go.
31. Only cheaters prosper.
34. If you’re leaving scorch-marks, you need a bigger gun.
35. That which does not kill you has made a tactical error.
36. When the going gets tough, the tough call for close air support.
37. There is no 'overkill.' There is only 'open fire' and 'I need to reload.'
38. Just because it's easy for you doesn't mean it can't be hard on your clients.

My favorite is #37, as you might've guessed from the icon on this post.


A Most Unlikely Sythesis

I've changed. A lot, over the years. I'd like to think the majority of it was for the better.

The two primary influences upon me have been surprisingly contradictory, on the surface. My obsession with dolphins has led me to learn a lot about how I approcah life based on how they do the same. I have learned to be honest and straightforward with my feelings, and to not allow my darker impulses to overwhelm me.

On the other hand (or fluke?) the Vulcans from Star Trek have a lot of admirable qualities, tempered of course by Spock's wisdom in ST:VI ("logic is the beginning, not the end"). While I embrace my feelings, I do not allow them to control me, or to cloud my judgement. Analytical thought comes first, and this has led to a lot of people thinking of me as cold at times, when I simply constrain my emotions to a backseat position when what seems like the rest of the world is incapable of doing so.

I have found a strikingly stable balance between these two philosophies.

All My Thoughts She Does Consume

Going in, I knew owning an older car would be a project. Doubly so one that needed TLC when I got it.

I just hope that when I sit down and do call that yard in Michigan, they are able to get me as many of the parts I need as possible. I can order mechanical and electrical parts from MB or used pretty easily, but the trim is harder to get than I was hoping it would be.

It's going to be a while before I'm really able to say all the cosmetics are done, or even all that close. And until that point, I don't even want to consider the additional costs of the bio conversion (all new fuel-contact rubber at a minimum, and several other modifications for SVO).

Annoyances and all, I do adore this car. I love owning something that may be temperamental but is still as solid and reliable as a tank at the base.

Of late, it seems that I am always thinking about the old girl in one way or another. Planning on buying parts, trying to figure out how to fix something, researching something or other. My new obsession is to fix all the glaring issues. Worn I'm okay with… damaged or missing, not so much.



It's been a trying few weeks.

Lots of irksome things have come up in a short period of time, and I just feel like I don't have the time or energy to deal with them all.

I'd hoped to actually have enough free time to go pay a visit to Malcolm down in Punta Gorda once or twice, but it was not to be, between a week when I was being jerked around to a particularly large degree.

I'm still battling the bugs (or as I jokingly refer to them, "the insect civilization", in a bit of Lexx-referencing gallows humor). Pest control has been at least three times now, and they still keep coming. They spray, they bait, and still the little fuckers keep coming back. If they don't bomb the place, I'm just going to have to give up and get used to sharing the place with them. I just don't know what else there is that I can do.

The biggest inconvenience by far was when I came home from work to see an inch of water in my utility closet, and the carpets for several feet in front of it going squish. Of course, the maintenance guy didn't actually FIX anything, so even after the carpet cleaning people had been an gone, it was still leaking. I woke the morning after to another inch of water, and it'd gone further, into the closet and bedroom, not to mention the bathroom. Turns out that the hot water heater in the unit upstairs had failed hard. So I had to harass the maintenance people to actually fix the root cause, and the carpet cleaners had to come again. Not to mention the hassle of having to drag everything from the closet and nearly everything from the bedroom into the living room (and kitchen, once that filled up). It was a real clusterfuck. To add injury to insult, the bookcase I had to move fell apart on me, so I had to fill multiple containers (two boxes and a hamper) with books in order to rescue them from the damp carpet. I ended up having to buy a replacement.

The lack of truly effective pest control (which led to me taking ALL my dishes/glassware/pots and pans out of the kitchen and piling them in the living room waiting to be cleaned) and unexpected creation of an indoor pool weren't the only problems. The dishwasher "caught fire" on me. It was pouring smoke, but fortunately the damage was confined to the burnt-out heating element. Of course, by now it's been well over two weeks and it still hasn't been replaced. And until it is, I'm using dishes out of a giant pile in the living room and having to wash them all by hand.

There have been other things occupying my time, too. The car still needs attention. In fact, the climate control has been a pain in my ass to a large degree lately. It stopped working a while ago (I would push the buttons and nothing would happen) but when I took it to the mechanic, it worked just fine for them. Today I tried to take it out and disassemble it in order to resolder the connections, but the plastic was so old and brittle that it was just breaking to pieces in the process. So I ended up ordering a replacement. Cheaper than an hour's labor at the shop, so I figure it's a reasonable next step.

I did at least get some useful info from the mechanic about the cruise control when I was there. There's no way I'm going to be able to do what I want and hook up a factory W123 cruise assembly. The wiring harness doesn't have any place to hook it in, and there's some sort of hookup to the speedometer I'd need and don't have. Stupid euro model. Why do they hate cruise and tachometers so much over there, anyway? The manual locks and windows aren't worth this annoyance.

In addition to refurbishing the car while I drive it (and the many and sundry sub-projects involved in that) I have a lot of smaller things I seem to be having trouble finding time for. I need to replace the keyboard in the laptop (this one is driving me crazy), the iPod needs a new battery, the one in it currently is only holding a 5% charge at best, I have to try to fix that TV I found, and I need to test that air tank to see if it holds pressure. I just can't seem to force myself to sit down and do these things when I actually have the time.

The Car Post

It's been a little over two months, and just shy of 3,000 miles that I've been putting around in the antique Benz.

It's a very different experience from other vehicles I've owned or driven, for a number of reasons. One, it's slow. Not that I've ever been a speed demon, but you absolutely cannot drive this like a gasoline car (unless that gas car is a 1971 Beetle). The lack of acceleration bothers people stuck behind me more than myself. Oh well, that's why there's a passing lane, folks.

But more important than the dogginess is the solidity. I know it's firmly into cliché territory to evoke the phrase "they don't make 'em like the used to" but in this case it happens to be absolutely applicable. I can't stress enough how much I appreciate a vehicle that doesn't feel like it's made out of tinfoil and sheets of plastic. Not everything about it is that solid, but engine and body are. Cast iron block and quarter-inch steel panels make it feel built for the ages.

I continue to be surprised by how nimble it is, being a full-size (or at least 3/4) wagon. It has a better turning radius than the Volvo, and glides from lane to lane with extreme ease. Care was clearly taken when designing how it would handle.

Even having driven it a while, I have a hard time shaking the feeling that 166k is "young" for a car. Growing up, 100k is when my folks would sell off a vehicle that they'd purchased new, and they generally considered anything over 120k to have so many endemic problems as to be not worth purchasing at any price. It really does still feel like a new car, turning over without the slightest hint of hesitation, and running flawlessly (if noisily, it is a diesel after all).

Of course, much as I do adore the old tank, there's no shortage of downsides. I ended up buying a "euro" model, which has been a problem for several reasons. One, the interior color is non-standard, so replacing broken or missing trim panels has been much more difficult than I was expecting or hoping. Also, the lack of built-in cruise control and a tachometer have been quite annoying (both were standard equipment on models intended for sale in the US).

All told, I am very happy with it, and look forward to potentially owning it long enough to flip the odometer. While I will eventually go forward with my plan to run the car on biomass, I've decided to delay it until I can understand the OM617's quirks a bit better. I also need to study up and decide if SVO or biodiesel is the better way to go, with an eye to engine longevity. If I do the conversion the right way, there will also be an additional cost (preheaters for SVO, new synthetic rubber, and a few other bit and bobs).


Not Dead (Yet)

Another long dry spell here. There just hasn't been a lot I've wanted to say in this form. Most of my publicly-shared thoughts had gone out via Twitter or Facebook lately.

I suppose it will continue to be that way for the foreseeable future, unless there's something of length that I wish to share. Hell, I'm not even sure who even reads this anymore. I keep it around more for nostalgia than anything else, these days.


An Ignoble Profession

There are a few professions I scorn. I don't think any amongst us really has any real respect for lawyers (as a group, there are a few individuals that are an exception), politicians, and salesmen of many different stripes. I personally have a disdain for doctors and dentists, but this is not a widely shared view.

But the very top of my shitlist is reserved for people who sell insurance. They pray on people's fears, and if you don't tithe to them, you're considered "irresponsible". And indeed, under many circumstances, you are required to cough up whatever they want as a matter of law. It's like a mini mob protection racket!

I personally have had my wallet so savagely abused by these shit-eating monkey fuckers, that I'm loathe to ever give them a cent that I'm not required to be law. Indeed, as a matter of principal when I rented this apartment, they required either renter's insurance, or a one-time non-refundable deposit... and renter's insurance was only $10 more. I paid the deposit just because the thought of paying an insurance company even more money than I was legally required to made me ill, after all I've given them over the years. When your annual insurance premium costs more than your car, you know you're being ripped off.

I have shopped around, I have been through all the variables... and the only thing I can figure is that they charge me so much because they can get away with it. I don't have any choice, I have to have a car... and to drive legally, I am required to carry insurance on it.

I'm sure there are people that would insist that insurance is necessary and good. I would FAR rather keep those thousands of dollars in my pocket and gamble. After all, I've been doing just that with my health since 2005 and it's worked out extremely well.