Sleep

If nothing else, reading this post may put you to sleep before you get too far in.  You’re welcome.  I had to do something to break this writer’s block.

My quality sleep issues began in my late teens or early twenties.  Short of prescription drugs I tried a variety of methods to get a good nights sleep, from liquor, or weed (in the early years), or just staying up as late as possible until I fell asleep where I was sitting.  My success at sleeping longer than 4 hours straight eluded me much more often than not.  I needed more sleep than that.

After retirement I turned to an over the counter med called Melatonin.  Once adjusting to the correct dosage I needed, it helped quite a bit and often got me over 6 hours sleep.

I should note that for the past 2 or 3 years or so, I awake in the middle of the night, usually between 2:30 and 3:30am, and stay awake most nights between 60 and 90 minutes.  I write this off to being an old person.

I find that sleeping under a significant of number of heavy blankets in a cold room is helpful.  The comfortable weight somehow eases me into a session of less interrupted sleep.  Unfortunately, this doesn’t play well on hot summer nights.

For a number of years I’ve used digital devices to track and report my sleep behavior.  Currently I use an Apple watch.  I find out how often I woke up (some unnoticed by me) and for how long, as well as the times spent in the different sleep stages.  The watch gives me stats on the overall sleep amount and the individual stages of quality and deep sleep, as well as my heart behavior.

But the war goes on.  I was recently managing between 5 and 7 or more hours a night.  I’ve slipped back into the mode of 4 to 5 hours often just giving up and rising between 4:30 and 5:00am, beating the sunrise.  And with summer almost here, I can only hope it’s not going to be a non-stop scorcher.  I need my blankies.

Talking to Robots

Recent experiences at trying to get to a blood pumping, lung breathing, skin draped human when I’m trying to resolve an issue with a large corporation have been mind crushing.

I will sometimes succeed when the robot voice answering the call offers numerical choices I can respond to with my keypad, but when they want me to actually speak to them about what I want, this technology all too often leads me to blast profanity, at high volume, that could get me incarcerated.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Please try again.

This morning’s call into my service provider was the best example yet proving we are still in the infancy stages of this technology. The large corporations using it do so to decrease their head count, and look hip. Twice in the first call I was redirected back to the very top of the question and response chain after spending 3 to 4 minutes trying to provide the reason of my call. If the police or federal agents knock on my door sometime today I will not be surprised.

Sorry. I could not understand you. Let’s start over..

On my second call in, I responded to every request for information with a 5 second hold down of my zero (0) keypad button. This finally led to being dumped into a call center, and after a 5 to 10 minute wait (no problem with that, my headset is on and I’m doing other things), I actually got to an actual live person. It wasn’t the right person (my bad for the hold down the 0 ploy), but a nice person who sent my call to the right place in less than a minute, where my issue was resolved in less than 2 minutes by another pleasant person.

I really do try to play nice with the bots when they present themselves, but the technology just isn’t there yet. And when it starts listing the different issues you may be calling about, I find all too often mine is not offered as a selection. I do use online services so I almost always search the target corporation’s web site for an answer on my problem, or specifically where to call.

Suggestions to our Corporate Czars? Back off a little with the reductions in headcount in the customer service area, until the bot voice technology catches up as a quality replacement. And the folks in your company managing the bot technology may need to understand the human interface a little better.

Sorry. I am not working well for you. I will transfer you to Margie. She will help you.

Grumpy Old Men

When all else fails, regurgitate some one else’s work. Another post of memorable quotes, from miserable bastards, past and present. Taken from a book titled Are You a Miserable Old Bastard?, by Andrew John and Stephen Blake, from 2008. My response to their question is that I’m working hard at it every day, and thank them for providing me with training.

I make no judgement on those being quoted, or their noteable targets. You however, should enjoy doing so.


SAMUEL GOLDWYN (on the death of Louis B. Mayer)
The reason that so many people showed up at his funeral was because they wanted to make sure he was dead.

GROUCHO MARX (on leaving a dinner party)
I’ve had a perfectly wonderful evening. But this wasn’t it.

WILLIAM F. BUCKLEY JR. , Author and Commentator
The Beatles are not merely awful, I would consider it sacrilegious to say anything less than that they are god-awful. They are so unbelievably horrible, so appallingly unmusical, so dogmatically insensitive to the magic of art, that they qualify as crowned heads of anti-music.

KINGSLEY AMIS, WRITER (on poet Dylan Thomas)
An outstandingly unpleasant man, one who cheated and stole from his friends and peed on their carpets.

FRED ALLEN, Comedian
A conference is a gathering of people who singly can do nothing, but together can decide that nothing can be done.

WOODY ALLEN, Comedian
It seemed the world was divided into good and bad people. The good ones slept better. While the bad ones seemed to enjoy the waking hours much more.

STUART PEBBLE, Executive Producer and Writer for BBC Series Grumpy Old Men
The G in AGA syndrome stands for Grumpiness, midway between the A for Anger that you feel when you are young, and the A for Acquiesense you feel when you realize it’s all gone to hell and there is nothing you can do about it.