Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Dispatches from the Abyss - Tuesday, Oct. 16th

Tonight is going to be an abbreviated Dispatch because it is already 11:37 at night and I am just now getting settled in. I did not have an exceptionally long day at work, thank God, but rather got home, changed, and then went to Scott's place for dinner. Dinner was excellent. Mushroom risotto with some sort of cheese, lemon roasted potatoes, and peppercorn & coffee bean crusted steaks. Very very tasty stuff!

The day at the office was predictably slow however I did get to watch from the sidelines as one of our vendors and a paralegal got in to an email battle royale over a billing issue which has come up over the past week or so. What has happened is one of our primary vendors has decided they need to make more money for what they do for us. This is certainly a reasonable decision and none of us in the office disagree with their basic premise. Rather than give us notice that as of such and such a date the new pricing was going to be this they took a job, processed it, and billed us at all new rates. These are rates which have not been discussed with us AT ALL before we received the bill. The bill was SIGNIFICANTLY higher than what we would have paid under the old pricing arrangement. It works out to something like 2.5 times the amount, pretty big dollars when we are talking about the amount of data we had processed. Now the person in charge of the project is, I believe rightly, refusing to sign off on the invoice and has stated that we will pay what we would have paid under the old prices and not a dollar more. The vendor is refusing to budge on this and keeps pointing out that the relationship has changed and that they need to make more money.

As I see it there are two separate but related issues here. First the vendor needs to charge more for the services they are providing us. My team has discussed this and we agree that they probably do need to change their pricing to get closer to what market prices for their services are and none of us have a problem with that. The second issue is that they implemented a new pricing structure without notifying us first. This second issue is the larger issue. Quite frankly if you want to do business with me then you will not try and take me out for rides like this. It is pretty clear to everyone I have talked to that there is a right way to do this and a wrong way to do this and this particular company has chosen the wrong way to approach the issue. I have to send an email tomorrow to one of the other guys at the other company and really lay it all out for him. At this point the amount we are going to pay is not negotiable. They will get what we would have paid under the old scheme. End of discussion. Once this issue is put to rest we can work on the new pricing arrangement. At this point all they have to decide is how much of my rapidly depleting store of good will are they willing to piss away trying to act as though they have done nothing wrong. Let me put it this way if it was someone I could walk away from I would have done it the minute they gave us that first invoice and did not go back and fix it when we called about it the first time. We shall see what happens.

I saw this a couple of weeks ago and I am not certain what to think about it. Honestly I am a little bothered at the way the commentator says things like, "Many members of the organization believe that global warming, earthquakes, hurricanes, and other natural disasters are a direct effect of the shrinking number of pirates since the 1800's." It just goes to show that the person making this blurb either does not know what is going on or they have an agenda where they want to make this group look ridiculous. It is plain to everyone that these people do not actually believe that the decline in pirates has caused global warming, and if there are people that actually believe this then they need help. The intent of the original graph (shown below) was to demonstrate that the Latin saying Post hoc ergo propter hoc, which means after therefore because of it, is generally not correct. I do not think you could find a reasonable person who would agree that global warming has been caused by the declining population of pirates.*

It is a ludicrous proposition however it goes to demonstrate an important problem with blind faith. There are demonstrable cause and effect cases in the world however just because one event follows another does not mean they are connected. Blind faith teaches that EVERYTHING in the world emanates from whatever deity you happen to believe in therefore a person of faith will find themselves praying that they make it in to the office okay. When they make it to work okay they made it to work okay through divine providence. Of course this cannot be disproved however statistically speaking the person most likely would have made it to work fine regardless of any divine intervention.

Today during lunch I finished reading Charlie Wilson's War, which has been made into a movie starring Tom Hanks as the eponymous member of Congress, Philip Seymore Hoffman plays the lead CIA agent, and Julia Roberts as Texas socialite Joanne Herring. While the trailer looks interesting and I am definitely going to see it since the screenplay was written by Aaron Sorkin, it looks like they might have Hollywooded the story up a bite much. We shall see. As long as they kept this scene in the movie I will be happy. To set the stage the Soviet Union has already started making serious noises about moving its military out of Afghanistan and there is a race on to get as many weapons into the hands of the mujahideen before America and the Soviets agree to anything however the largest weapons depot has just exploded. In an effort to replace all the weapons the United States and its allies in the effort pull weapons from the front line stores. During this effort the following takes place:

At an embassy function just after the explosion, the [CIA] station chief [Milt Bearden], dressed in a dark business suit, spotted his KGB counterpart and invited him into the garden. Overhead the sky was filled with American C-141s and C-5s in holding patterns waiting to land. "Do you know what that is?" Bearden asked, looking up at the Agency's air bridge. "It's a beautiful sight, isn't it?" His message was clear.

This made me smile. Talk about a fuck you.

* I think this premise might be flawed. If anything the global population of pirates has exploded over the past decade. So much so that the movie studios and music industry feel the need to blame pretty much all of their current woes on pirates rather than their shitty product. Perhaps this is the only time one might be able to put Hollywood and the religious right in the same category of delusional nutbar. Except for Walden Media which is the religious right's man in Hollywood; they're always delusional.

No soundtrack for you!

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