Reality Business Makeover Shows: A new low in industrial sabotage

Once upon a time there was this franchise restaurant oligarch sitting atop his massive ivory tower looking at his balance sheets. He was dismayed that the growth of his bar and restaurant franchise empire was lagging over the previous fiscal quarter. He was watching a business news show and a blowhard financial expert with his own cable show was one night nodding his head left-to-right when a caller to the show asked about the business owned by the franchise restaurant oligarch. The oligarch became frustrated.

The franchise restaurant oligarch paced around his ivory tower, scratching his chin, rubbing his forehead. What in the world could he do to undermine his competitors? The competition by the way was not just another giant  restaurant and bar franchise, it was thousands of small independently owned bars and restaurants.

The franchise restaurant oligarch looked out his ivory tower window at the teaming unwashed masses below, and in his frustration he went to bed early and turned on the television. He really didn't care what was on, he just lay there in his mire of despair channel surfing.

He stopped on a show called "Extreme Home Makeover." He watched as people swooped in to make-over a home to their design. It appeared that the home owner had little or nothing to say about the design because the home owner was just glad to have a nice clean new-looking home. The restaurant oligarch frowned at how easily the masses are duped into value systems simply by a small majority with flash. The small majority also had more money than the home owner so the home owner typically assumes that the small majority knows more and quickly adopts their ideas as "correct."

It suddenly dawned on the franchise restaurant oligarch that Reality Television shows could be used as clandestine public relations tools. The franchise restaurant oligarch sat up and laughed out loud. He suddenly draw a hard gasp.

In the darkness of his thoughts, the faint shape of a new more sinister idea was gradually emerging. The franchise restaurant oligarch could develop his own reality television show that would focus on locally owned bars and restaurants.

He would send shock troops of planners, renovators and decorators into the small mom-and-pop bars and restaurants to totally make them over to his own liking, which was homogeneous and common enough to make people decide to eat elsewhere. He couldn't make them worse than they were before without getting caught, but he could make them cut their meal portions, cut the amount of alcohol served per drink, cut the spices, and decorate them with bland common designs.

The small businesses that were the target of the franchise restaurant oligarch suddenly saw a surge in profits that lasted for months after the shock troops of planners, renovators and decorators were all-but-forgotten. That which was far overshadowed by the new huge temporary profit, was the fact that customers were leaving those small mom-and-pop bars and restaurants, and heading toward the franchise restaurants owned by the oligarch.

The End.

Galactic Equator

Ron was in the back yard watering the grass. He was frustrated because the grass seed planting was just around Memorial Day, and grass planted in the spring doesn't grow well in direct sunlight. The grass in the shade was doing fine. In the areas where the sun hit the ground for most of the day there were sparse blades of grass, weeds, and large exposed areas of dirt, with huge cracks, well, cracks in the ground of a size that could accommodate one's lose change.

The dry soil was almost the color of ash from a charcoal grill, devoid of real nutrients. This was the status of the soil all over the developed world. The nutrients in the soil have for the most-part been sequestered by humans who at the end of their lives sealed themselves and their valuable store of nutrients far from nature in concrete tombs. Ron aimed the hose at the desolate cracks. They filled and drained. It was futile.

Ron suddenly felt a little dizzy. He thought he was going to pass out. He was looking at the ground under the tree and saw the shadows of the trees doubled. He saw this before when he saw the shadows develop crescent shapes as the sun was entering a total eclipse, but now there was the sun and some additional distorted bright shape.

There appeared to be two suns casting shadows this time. Ron looked skyward and saw a second sun in the sky, but it was distorted, like a reflection of a sun on the ocean at sunset, only this ocean apparently spanned across space. It was August of 2012.

-------

The premise is that a huge energy barrier is created along the galactic equator and our solar system passes across this space with the Mayan Calendar resetting. Waiting on the other side is an area of space filled with teaming civilizations.

It could be the horror of the sun disappearing beyond the veil, rendering the earth a frozen Hellscape, or it could be vindication for "Chariots of the Gods." fiction. I'll probably never get to it. I imagine that someone already has anyway.

Hey, at least there's the earth quake on the East coast.

Blind spots freaking out my mind.

Want to freak out your mind? Find your visual blind spots and discuss how you think they go unnoticed most of the time and how they seem invisible.

Place your right hand over your right eye while looking at a small object on a wall far away, like a door knob or light switch.

Keep your right hand over your right eye and keep looking at the object with your left eye.

Raise your left thumb out in front of you so your left thumb blocks your view of the object on the wall, then slowly move your left thumb to the left but keep looking at the object.

At about 15 degrees to the left of center your thumb will disappear.

This is your blind spot. You have one in your right eye about 15 degrees to the right of the center in your right eye too. If you move your left thumb around a little bit you can sort of tell where the edges of the blind spot are, but if you move your open hand into the area, it seems to become difficult to see the blind spot at all.

The weird part is figuring out how the empty spaces seems to be filled in like camouflage so you can't see it. It seems to go unnoticed.

Those of us lucky to have both of our eyes don't notice our blind spots because the visual fields of both eyes overlap.

I once thought that there was some process by which the brain fills in the space with surrounding sensory information.

I tried splitting the visual field into two separate colors with a third color for the spot in the center. I moved the colored paper with the center spot into my blind spot but that yielded negative results. I traced on paper the edges of the blind spots. They were vertically oriented oval shapes, tried the colored paper again with larger spots, no luck.

I gradually came to realize that my whole concept of blindness was wrong. I assumed that blindness was like darkness but even the dark has substance and is recognized as something.

For a long time I couldn't grasp the concept of the cognitive gap, that in our field of vision there are empty spots where nothing processes. It doesn't show up as a shadow that one naturally assumes a flaw in visual perception should, like dirt on a camera lens, one can only make sense of it with processed visual information, leaving one unable to articulate the experience properly.

Real blindness is a void that cannot be adequately defined in any way, because it simply does not exist to be processed in our minds. We don't notice it, we only notice the thing moving behind the veils of non-perception.

For those of us with two eyes we don't need to worry because the visual field of the other eye overlaps the blind spot.

Some still say that the brain fills in the detail with surrounding information, but I'm not convinced. I'm certain that there are other such gaps in our general perception of the world that prevent us from sensing what is real. As a species we only earned enough perception through natural selection to allow for our basic survival. If we had more perception than what we needed we might go completely insane.

Currently, our eyes can see a tiny portion of the electromagnetic spectrum, 400 to 800 nanometers. University of Southern California scientists have unlocked an electronic method of firing neurons in rats that allow them to remember things they forgot.
Using an electronic system that duplicates the neural signals associated with memory, they managed to replicate the brain function in rats associated with long-term learned behavior, even when the rats had been drugged to forget.
Imagine what would happen if the brain could be enhanced to perhaps see the entire electromagnetic spectrum. Meet "The Man with the X-Ray Eyes!

Graves of hopes and dreams

Joe and Mandy both worked. They were also responsible enough to wait until they were out of debt to have children, but it looked like Joe's school loan debt would likely drag on until he and she both were too old to have children of their own.

Joe wanted to pay off his student loan as fast as possible, and he got into tax trouble because he wrote a check too big to Fannie Mae just before tax time, and now the IRS was coming down on the sweet couple who met when their parents dropped them off at college on the first day.

Joe and Mandy had a checkered college experience. They were beautiful, popular, athletic, and beer drinkers. They loved to party. They skated through their college, which was really a meat grinder that printed diplomas, not nationally accredited at all. They both were shocked at the number of employment rejection letters they received. They didn't realize that they had been duped into debt.

Joe and Mandy lived on credit cards and gifts from their parents, but that didn't last. Joe managed to find a job as a janitor for the county which paid above minimum wage. Mandy sold Avon and items on eBay she found at yard sales. Joe's income was steady, and Mandy's was feast or famine, but she had a pretty good eye for antiques although she didn't know it. She didn't really like antiques, but in the dark recesses of her memory  lies her great aunt Emma's house. Aunt Emma was a professional collector of antiques and kept the very best of many for herself. Mandy as a collector would focus on items of high value unconsciously, based on her visits to aunt Emma's house as a child. She knew specific items but didn't really know how to value them. Certain item values were ruined by being refinished or polished, where the original finish or patina might have added value, that sort of thing.

Joe cleaned county offices at night. They all were basically the same. At first he was intrigued by the trash in the trash cans, but he soon learned that it was all the same, and had little time to entertain his thoughts as he pushed his cart along, changing the bags, sweeping, vacuuming, mopping, waxing, stripping, spraying, scrubbing and so on.

Tonight Joe was in the throws of despair. It would be three days before his next paycheck, they were out of food and he didn't have the courage to tell Mandy that the check on the way to Fannie Mae was about to bounce. He finally had enough. He was shaking with frustration, not knowing what to do. He was thinking about the insurance Mandy would get if he committed suicide, and then he pushed his cart passed the door of the county coroner's office. He thought it was ironic as he entered the office.

Joe stood over the trash can in the county coroner's office and noticed something he had ignored ever since he started work as a janitor. Remember he was once intrigued by the kind of trash in trash cans, but not really papers. He was originally interested in little notes, the kind of snacks those people chose from the vending machines, something that might clue him in on an investment somewhere, or some kind of scandalous leavings.

Joe stared into the trash can. He just stood there, took a deep breath and sighed. A white sheet of paper was floated into the trash without being crumpled or folded. It was a perfectly good sheet of paper. It was a death certificate. For some reason an error was made and the sheet discarded.

Joe turned his eyes upward for the first time in a very very long time. It almost seemed a dangerous idea to do so. He looked at the In-Box. Doing so took his breath away. He wondered if there might be surveillance cameras in the room. Gradually the notion became silly. His eyes focused on the documents within.

There was a stack of reports produced by some pathologists, waiting only for a signature from the county coroner. Joe suddenly realized they were death certificates. If he could convince his creditors that he and Mandy were dead, they could walk away from all of their debts, including the I.R.S.

They would need to totally erase every connection with the current living, and create a whole new network with new friends. They would need to determine if there is any connection at all between their new friends and their old friends and hope no connections are made. That would be very tough, unless, everyone close to them was in on it. Joe wasn't thinking about that. He was thinking he could make a profit selling phony death certificates on the streets.

Joe decided he didn't give a crap. He grabbed the death certificate out of the trash that already had the coroner's signature. He was going to cover the names and causes of death with White-Out and make copies, thousands of copies, and he was going to sell them for $400 each. The sales pitch would be "Hey! Tired of the IRS and Creditors coming after you? They will stop if they think you are dead!"

Joe was out of time, however, and he knew it. He thought he should go ahead and do the deed for him and Mandy, to get out of debt first, and then use their experience as a sales pitch for others.
He went to work erasing the names and cause of death, and replacing the names with his and Mandy's name. He placed the copies in the coroner's in-box, but not on top, a few pages below, so as to not draw suspicion.

Joe moved on to the next office. He was thrilled! But, he couldn't just walk away from his job at the moment, otherwise he would draw suspicion to himself. Wait a minute. If he was cleaning offices the night he put fake death certificates about himself and his wife in the coroner's in-box, wouldn't that be obvious? Not to Joe. Joe was an idiot. He was going home in the morning and hugging his dead wife with his dead arms and packing his dead suitcase while she packed here dead suitcase. They were going to call a ghost taxi to the phantom airport and buy zombie tickets to Hell on the credit card of a corpse.

The county sheriff was at their door the next morning. The end.

Reflection

I was sitting in my car adjusting the center rear view mirror. I set the mirror so I could see my eyes for a moment.

I got distracted by something in the distance so my eyes focused out my windshield under the mirror.

As I looked, I became aware in my peripheral vision that my reflection seemed to be staring at me instead of looking down as I was, looking under my mirror off in the distance.

I kept staring under the mirror, but still peripherally sensed the eyes in the mirror looking at me. It gave me chills.

I still remember the morning in the bathroom mirror when I thought I caught my reflection looking slightly away, down and to the left. I was never able to repeat it.

I don't think the reflection knows I caught it. I don't know if it knows that I know, or what it will do if it finds out I know, or even if I can convince it that I know, for it repeats everything I do with near perfect precision. It lives in a delusion of megalomania.

Why do I call it "it?" It creeps me out so much because if it was alive it would be doing better things like a normal human.

I had a friend who smashed a mirror once. I think his reflection escaped because he kept saying he couldn't see himself any more, and a week later he was arrested for a murder.

It was impossible because he was with friends and couldn't be in two places at once, but the police had video of him climbing through a window. Only it was really a mirror but they covered it up.

I spoke to another friend about it and he thought it would be cool to collect mirrors that were owned by serial killers and genocidal maniac tyrants, then break them all and piece them together in a giant art collage. The collection phase is nearly complete.
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Dangerous Driving

Once upon a time there was a town where everyone hated their jobs so much they waited until the very last minute to leave for work in the morning.

Everyone left at exactly the same time, and everyone rushed as fast as they could. They honked their horns and blew through the yellow lights at the intersections.

Some people swerved around other drivers, changing lanes too fast and cutting off other drivers. Other people followed other vehicles too close because they were impatient.

Other people stuck up their middle fingers, played their car stereo as loud as possible, talked on their cell phones or brushed their hair and applied makeup in the rear-view mirror while they drove.

There were a lot of accidents in that town, but mostly in a few intersections that were coincidentally traveled by the people who drove to the most hated jobs.

The town decided to spend money on the roads. Nevertheless, the people still hated their jobs so much that they waited until the very last minute to leave for work in the morning, and nothing the city did to the roads made any difference.

The end.

GPS Inside Deal

Once upon a time there was a GPS navigator that gave directions to drivers very efficiently, saving the drivers time and fuel.

One day an executive at the GPS company had a brilliant marketing plan. He called up his contact over at the big oil company and the two of them hatched a scheme that would be unprecedented in human history.

The GPS executive proposed to the big oil company that the big oil company's logo could appear on the GPS navigator device when ever the driver came close to one of the oil company's gas service stations.

The big oil company executive thought that was a pretty good idea and he would agree to buy the advertising space under one condition: that the big oil company have editing rights to the driving route software.

The GPS executive though that was crazy, but then came back with "you can have editing rights so long as you don't make it so obvious that your competitors file a lawsuit against us. Why would you want to control where our drivers go?"

Big oil replied: "We want people to buy more of our gas, but if you insist on limiting our control, then we agree to make only minor changes."

From that day forward, drivers saw the one gas station's logo among the generic logos of gas pumps on their GPS navigator devices, and the drivers found themselves taking inexplicably longer routes with turns that seemed to lead them more frequently to stop signs.

The end.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

You know tonight is something different.

I logged onto Second Life tonight for the second or third time. It occurred to me that I once had a goal when I went there, to engage in activities otherwise thought of as harsh or shocking in normal society, for the sake of only being shocking. Perhaps to attract someone's attention, but who? I wondered if I would inevitably meet someone I knew in Real Life that would comfort me, or anyone who cared, but it never happened.

There are other people there, in SecondLife who have mastered the art of their displays, and wander to show their artistic abilities, and I respect that Nerdiness, their fabulous digital files and scripts that allow for the appearance of silken flowing garments, blowing in a digital wind that does not exist in reality.

I was one who thought I achieved greatness through the knowledge of the Apple ][ machine language, way back before there was a mouse, these people today have been allowed to pursue their creativity to a surreal extreme that would bead sweat across the brow of Salvador Dali.

I crave to find people who feel as I do, and I try to find them in SecondLife.com, but most of the time, they are not online at the same time as myself. There is only left the stimulation of the unreal, for the world outside is only made to the limitations of the materials provided. Cement, glass, steel, paint, etc.

Let's all forget the real and escape into this nether region where no resources are consumed. www.secondlife.com

God don't let it rain on me.

I work nights. I'm a security guard at a hospital. I see all kinds come and go. All the time, different ailments and injuries. There's no sense at all to it except for the fact that it's easier for one reason or another to travel to the hospital. Good Weather, the right time of the week or the right time of the month.

It seems that some times it's crazy busy, and other times it's not. Two weeks ago there was a huge earth quake that shook Japan, followed by a devestating tsunami that damaged a nuclear power plant on the island.

The reports of radiation levels kept changing between being lower to being too high, every few hours it was different. I was in the middle of the continental United States, so I felt safe. I was east of the Rocky Mountains.

Last night I noticed that there was an unusual haze around the moon. It had color. Normally at night it seemed devoid of color, but moisture in the upper atmosphere gave the ring a slight reddish hue. Normally this is attributed to a refraction of light through moisture, creating a rainbow effect, but for some reason at that moment, I had an extra count of rods on my retina that received the lower frequency of light that allowed me to perceive the red light emitted from the haze.

In other words, I was able to perceive the red end of the Electromagnetic Spectrum (EMS) because stress had activated the extra rod receptors in my retinae that are reserved for perceiving light during the day. Normally, cones would be activated for perceiving shorter wavelengths.

I was seeing a reddish hue around the moon, days after the nuclear particles were released into the atmosphere in Japan, and all I could wish for was that it didn't rain down on me.

I only now wonder what it might be like to have been lying in bed one moment, and then poured over with sea water, mud, broken boards, cement, crumpled vehicles, or other debris. I take a breath and remember where I am, then I look up and wonder what kind of air I'm breathing.

I imagine what I read about Hiroshima, and I remembered what happened to those who long after the initial radiation exposure, were rained on by black drops of poison. The horror of what we all face right now is so much that governments are working to supress it, only to prevent panic.

Septocalypse

Septocalypse will occur as a result of everyone getting low-flow toilets without considering the long-term consequences of using them with a main sewer system that was designed and installed during a time when regular flow was the norm.

The old sewer systems were designed with higher volume of water in mind.

Hopelessly backed up, the developed world faces a crisis of biblical proportions.

The only survivors are the conspiracy theorists who held down the handle until the tank was completely empty.