Out of the Closet: My Mr. Jack in the Box (Jack Box) Fetish

Since my life is not all about aerospace…

Vitruvian Mr. Box

Vitruvian Jack

I have never in my life looked at a man and thought, “I want a piece of that.” Until this past year. Not that I want a piece of that exactly. I just want to follow Manu Chao and the Michael character from Burn Notice around (not the actor, the character) and lick their bare chests. Or something like that. It’s still a bit unclear since they’re not my type.

This all began with the Jack In The Box™ commercials man… aka Jack Box®. About a year ago I suddenly had a yen to see him wearing only his Mr. Box head. I wanted to see naked Jack on my TV.

After spending two years on IRC back in the early-mid ’90s I was sure there was no fetish I’d not heard about. In great detail. So I went searching for like-minded Mr. Box pervs. None to be found! Surely I wasn’t the only one! Or was I?

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Fear of Flying, Ch 4: I Get Promoted

Sorry, I’ve been distracted by life and some odd occurrences since I began writing this. My daughter says she would be creeped out but I find it amusing…

I was here: I’d finally had my “Eureka” moment and The Company’s (TC‘s) new “Package Delivery” customer had received IPCs (Illustrated Parts Catalogs) for planes with passenger doors. Also amusing.

For the next two years I wrote IPCs. During that time I was extremely lucky to work with two of the best Job Set Up people at The Company (TC).

The first was a retired military guy and though I never expected to get along with anyone who’d been career military, I both liked and admired him. When I worked with his son after my promotion I felt the same about him. They were very rare human beings. They lived and worked by ethical codes. Which means, of course, that neither of them got very far in aerospace.

The second was a divorced housewife who was funny, excellent at her job and, like the military man before her, was a wonderful teacher of not just work-related things but of life lessons. I once asked her why she stayed at The Company (TC) instead of going to a place that paid good money. She said she’d done that once but was so bored by the slow pace at the bigger company that she’d come back.

I found that to be true for most of the capable people who worked at TC, the few sprinkled here and there among the throngs of idiots with pencils. Almost all had left once and come back. It’s something I also found to be true when I later worked at big companies (one military and one combo military and commercial aircraft). [The ‘slow pace’ at large aerospace corporations was not due to lax contracts. It was due to thievery, lies, greed and cronyism.] I’ll get to those jobs eventually.

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Easy Activism: Lousy Products, Lousier Customer Service?

Savage Chickens Cartoon

A few years ago I had to call ACME Widgets n’ More Customer Service for something. I was surprised that it was actually “good” Customer Service. Hours later I was still thinking about it. Why was I so surprised? I was never surprised by lousy Customer Service.

And that was the problem. For years I’d allowed businesses to treat me poorly. I never did anything about it. Apparently many other people were not doing anything about it either. My expectations had been systematically lowered over the years without my noticing.

I decided that day to change how I do business with businesses. Perhaps this will inspire or help someone else. I use the age old system of…

 

 

 

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Fear of Flying, Ch 3: I Pretend I’m a Parts Lister

Since I couldn’t just sit there and drink coffee and chain smoke forever I finally opened one of the Job folders stacked high on my desk.

Inside was a work copy of an IPC and a “Job Sheet” attached to an EPL (Engineering Parts List, the Parts List generated with a blueprint). The ‘job’ involved overhead storage bins in the cabin area of a passenger jet. I was relieved. I wouldn’t be responsible for killing anyone. But would my ignorance be the cause of storage bins crashing down on passenger’s heads in mid-flight? I imagined casualties in nursing homes across the country drooling into complimentary Airline Barf Bags (ABBs).

If IPCs had ever been placed in context within The Big Picture of Aerospace Manuals  (TBPAM) during the training class I would not have been so worried. But I did worry because I thought an IPC was an entity unto itself. Years later, when I’d moved up and out to different companies and wrote complete Maintenance Manuals, I found that TC‘s IPCs were incorporated into full manuals by Tech Writing Depts within the Aerospace Companies. With that knowledge I’d have thought, “Relax. They’ll catch any errors at that level.”

A foolish thought but it would have helped at the time.

If the Coordinator hadn’t come by after a few days I might still be sitting there shuffling those papers around my desktop. Luckily for me, he was an affable good-natured guy from some Middle Eastern country who didn’t seem to take much of anything seriously. “OK, so now you will be revising that IPC to those updates, right? Easy job! Yes! That is easy job!”

Oh thank goodness. A clue!!!

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I Finally Get To Show & Tell This Airline Joke

I wish I could take credit for the joke but I can’t. A friend back in NY made up the business name and slogan over 25 years ago. I also wish I could say I drew this but I it’s a ‘collage’ I created from other cartoons found online with Bob’s business idea added in. I hope someone finds the idea as funny as I have all these years.

TreeTop Airlines

Fear of Flying, Ch 2: You Too Can Be A Parts Lister in The Exciting World of Aerospace!

For those not familiar with IPCs and Parts Lists and Aerospace Manuals, here is an answer to the question “What is the function of an illustrated parts catalogue (ipc) for aircraft?” from answers.yahoo.com:

“ipc is a cataloge..generally like u purchase a refrigerator or other substance of a company u are able to see the catalogue so tht u can see the product and read the features.. ipc is also like tht and its given by every manufacturer to each comapny for ordering the product because the product u have to order u know how it look and what is the use but for the company u need the part number which is given in the ipc”

Hmmm. Probably a Tech Writer…

For those familiar with the process of creating Aerospace IPCs or who just want to listen to me shovel the dirt, skip the dull stuff. There’s a funny story at the end.

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Fear of Flying, Ch 1: I Accidentally Get A Job In Aerospace

In the mid-1970s I found myself in Southern California. I worked at whatever job I could lie my way into using my collection of references from out-of-state out-of-business businesses. I had no particular preference about what it was I did for a paycheck. Factory work, fine. Office work, fine. Bank teller, fine. I was in my early 20s, I was a quick study and as long as I could pay for cigarettes and some of the other necessities of life all was fine with me.

There was a guy who used to drop by my apartment to visit. Where did I ever meet him? No idea. Maybe at the Club for Currently-Not-Drinking Drunks (CCNDD). He had a huge crush on me for some reason though I certainly did everything I possibly could to make him miserable. At the time I was working across the street from LACMA and it was quite a ride to get there. Crush Boy (CB) said, “Why don’t you get a job at the place down the street? They’re hiring.” I asked him what sort of work it was. He replied, “They write manuals for jets or airplanes or something. Aerospace. You don’t have to know anything to work there.

I laughed! “What do you mean, ‘You don’t have to know anything to work there???’ If they’re writing stuff for aerospace how could that be possible?” He insisted what he said was true. I said that since a person didn’t need to know anything to work there he should go get hired. If that happened, I’d follow along.

Now CB was not the smartest guy in the world. To be completely honest, he was as dumb as a box of rocks and about as interesting. But a few weeks later he returned and announced that The Company (TC) had hired him.

Incredible! Could it be possible? Maybe he didn’t understand what they were really doing there?

So I called TC.

CB was right. I didn’t need to know anything. I set up an appointment for an interview.

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Fear of Flying: My Adventures as an Aerospace Tech Writer (Intro)

I preface this history of my *cough* “Aerospace Career” with Ripley’s old adage: “Believe It or Not!

fly meSince the past tends to repeat itself I expect to be ignored or ridiculed and written off as a crackpot with a history of drug and alcohol abuse and a present of manic-depression. Having been dragged through all that while I was working at trying to save taxpayers a few billion dollars, I have no qualms about being dragged through all that again.

Bring it on! I can always use a good laugh!

A few years back Frontline did two shows: “Flying Cheap” followed by “Flying Cheaper.” I’d been out of Aero for about 15+ years when the first show aired. I was not surprised at anything that had been “investigated” and found lacking. What did surprise me was that the documentaries were precariously balanced on a false assumption.

Though “Flying Cheaper” showed that outsourced aircraft maintenance meant that many mechanics using the Maintenance and Repair Manuals were incapable of reading English – or of reading much of anything at all…

Frontline assumed the people who had written the Manuals could read and write and that the Repair and Maintenance Manuals were correct and useful.

I dropped them a line and said I had nothing to lose anymore and would gladly tell them about my years working as a tech writer for commercial aerospace. Never heard back. So I tell this story here, for my benefit and because it will make my daughter happy.

If you find something to wonder about and worry about, good. If you find something to laugh about, even better.

Forwarned is forwarned: This long tale involves sex and drugs and alcohol, lies, greed, fraud, laughs, drama, insanity and plenty of whistleblowing. A sense of humor required!

JP Morgan & Frontline’s Money Power & Wall Street Propaganda Series

Frontline: Money Power & Wall Street

Quotes below are from an edited transcript of an interview conducted by producer Martin Smith on Feb. 6, 2012.

“So it takes rocket science to — I mean, — (laughs) — these are very complex deals, correct?”

[Martin Smith to Terri Duhon, Feb 6 2012, during interview for Frontline’s “Money, Power & Wall Street” series.]

I’m not the brightest bulb in the box. I’ve never been able to balance my checkbook and yet after watching this series I had a general understanding of CDO’s. One of the few good things I can say.

While it may take rocket science to understand the complexity of the deals, it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Frontline’s much touted series had an agenda. Nor does it take a rocket scientist to figure out that the disingenuous comments by Terri Duchon (joined JPMorgan as a derivatives trader in 1994) and the interviews with others about JP Morgan’s 20-something wiz kids who came up with the idea of complex derivatives were contrived to manipulate our perceptions of those behind the melt-down.

Terri Duchon:

“They are complicated. But for someone who is well versed in fixed income products or who has been looking at portfolios of fixed income products for a long time, it’s not that much of a leap from what they’re currently looking at. So if you’re looking at individual bonds and loans, already thinking about them on a portfolio basis, and then thinking about the tranches of risk isn’t that much of a leap.”

Martin Smith:

“OK. But by that argument, why did other banks go forward when your bank and your team decided to stop? So if it’s not so complicated, why did so many others keep going, marching toward the cliff?”

Terri Duchon:

“Look, very simply, there are certainly some investors, some banks, some borrowers who are a bit greedier than they should be. And we decided to stop because the products just got more and more risky. The risk became something that we weren’t comfortable with.”

Apparently JP Morgan did not stop as the $2 billion loss this past week was not due to a hedge gone wrong but to another failure of complex derivatives trading. Trading a product that doesn’t exist, gambling high stakes on a poker hand without the advantage of being an autistic card counter.

Watching the show as it aired, I was shocked by the way the JP Morgan 20-somethings were allowed to portray themselves as ‘kids’ without a clue as to what would happen with their new idea. These were adults trained to think ahead, whose jobs inherently required long term financial forecasting. To say they were ‘unaware’ just shows how creatively manipulative they are. Ms. Duchon and others from that group were a bunch of 20-something psychopaths whose job it was to come up with plan to hide risk in a way that wouldn’t show up on the charts. I can imagine them all high 5’ing each other and yelling “OMG!!! WE RULE!!!!!” when they came up with the idea.

And then again after Frontline aired.

The list of experts not chosen for interviews says as much about Frontline’s agenda as the list of experts interviewed. With Frontline’s typical lack of balanced and informed viewpoints, it watered down to nothing more than anti-Obama propaganda, the kick off for another election season. Not that it matters much. Anyone who thinks one politician is different from another… well, I can’t help you. Please seek professional help.

Have we all seen enough of smirking bankers and Wall St. execs wending their way through crowds of angry citizens to collect their bonuses yet? MOVE YOUR MONEY out of these predatory financial monstrosities and into community banks and Credit Unions.

Recommended viewing:

Bill Moyers Interviews David Stockman on Crony Capitalism of Washington & Wall St

Recommended additional reading:

Practically anything on ethics and, even with his occasionally flawed constructs, Ernest Becker’s “The Denial of Death.”

My Manic-Depressive Down Slide: Hoarders, Phil Ochs, and Woody Allen

Caution: While I feel compelled to entertain everyone in my other life, I don’t feel that same compulsion online. You might want to stop here.

I’ve been curled up in a ball for at least a week now. I haven’t been this depressed in at least 20 years. Suicidally depressed. And for no reason. It’s just the way things go. Nothing major has happened. I’m not sad. I’m just super humongously depressed. There is a difference.

But try explaining that to people who don’t go through such things. A friend called and asked if I was OK since I hadn’t been calling her daily. I have no idea how that became a requirement of our acquaintanceship. I told her I was depressed. She went into a screeching flurry of “Why would you be depressed? I’m the one who should be depressed. I’ve got [… her usual litany of every single medical thing that’s wrong with her and that she imagines is wrong with her].” I put the phone on the desk and gave her the “Look of Death” from the privacy of my bedroom. I said “I am manic-depressive, remember? This is part of it. I don’t need anything to happen to make me depressed. Why don’t you ever understand this?”

When I don’t feel well I usually act like a sick cat. I go into hiding until I’m feeling better. But last night was so awful I thought I’d try something different. I called a friend. There was laughter and commotion in the background. He said “Hey, what’s up?” and I said “I’m suicidal. I know. Some way to start a conversation.” And I laughed a bit. He said “Oh don’t do anything like that. The world would be less without you.” And then he went on to talk about hard drives and what to do about some computer thing and such. Which I’m usually up for… but wasn’t exactly in the mood for last night. So I said “OK, see you.” and hung up. I understand. He didn’t know what to say. He was trying to get my mind off of whatever might be depressing me. What exactly does one say to a person who says they’re so depressed that they’re feeling suicidal? I guess something about hard drives is as good as anything.

Today I did something I haven’t done in over 20 years. I called the doctor at the “mental health” clinic. His assistant answered and after I explained (in 30 seconds or less) why I was calling she said, “Well then, I’ll connect you to a nurse.” The nurse turned out to be an answering machine: “Thank you for calling. Please leave your name and phone number. Be sure to spell your last name. I’ll return your call within 48 hours. If you feel you need help sooner, please call the Safety Zone. Have a great day!” I might have called the “Safety Zone” but when I called them soon after I arrived in Arizona in the ’90s, the person on call said, “Just go to sleep.” and hung up.

And they wonder why people shoot people in the head here in Arizona. I used to have a case manager. I used to have access to a therapist. I used to have access to groups. But now I have 5 minutes or less with a very nice doctor with a good sense of humor who says “What’s up? Need refills fax’d in for your prescriptions? OK, see you next month.”

The reason I don’t have access to anything else is because in June, 2010, while everyone was going nuts over SB 1070, Jan Brewer cut mental health care drastically. Everyone was divided up. Clients, including those classified as SMI (Severely Mentally Ill), were either “Title XIX (19)” or “Not Title XIX (19).” I was one of the latter. Believe me, there are so many former clients who have no idea what happened to them. All they know is that now they’re out on the street, have no meds or meds that don’t work, and no one to talk with anymore. Ah screw it. I’m not in the mood to explain it all right now. All everyone needs to know is that half the people formerly getting help are not getting help anymore.

[Someone just knocked on my door. They wanted me to do something for them on the computer. I said “I’m sorry. I’m not feeling well. Some other time. I really feel rotten.” And they just kept on going about what they needed done! What the fuck is it with people???]

I told my friend on the phone last night that maybe I hadn’t picked the best things to watch considering my mood. He asked what and I told him “the last episode of Hoarders and the American Masters documentary on Phil Ochs.” He said “Who’s that?” *sigh*

If I could think clearly (thanks for the irreparable brain-fuck, Clonazepam) I might be able to figure out the correlation between the two shows. How hoarding has become a cultural problem. Not particularly in the sense of material things but in a broader sense… America for Americans! Kill the poor! No Tax Hikes for the Rich! Cut Medicare and Social Security!

And so on… hoarding what we perceive as our gawd-given “American lifestyles” at the expense of anyone and everyone else. Perhaps that’s the connection. A political crossroads, one that Phil Ochs sang about until he was a worn out, manic-depressive drunk. Dead at 35.

Watching my way through the decades I lived though, re-living the promise and the failure, was very difficult though I’ve certainly watched it all in many other documentaries before this one. My daughter once said to me, “Your generation ruined everything.” and perhaps she’s right. I have nothing much good to say when Talking ‘Bout My Generation. I look around at the spoiled self-centered poorly educated children we raised who are now raising the next generation of spoiled sociopaths and I know that things are worse in many ways than before Phil Ochs started singing.

I might as well mention the two part American Masters documentary on Woody Allen here too since it fits in some odd way. I watched it a few days ago. They should have called it “Woody Allen: A Life Unexamined.” The documentary was more interesting than Allen himself which is sort of funny because it was about him. I was living in NY when Bananas came out and so of course I saw it in the theatre. Followed by other of his films. There were some great films, no doubt about it. Manhattan and Stardust Memories are most memorable for me.

I was very struck by the scene in Manhattan where Allen stood beside a skeleton in a classroom and read his friend the riot act on morality and ethics… ending with something like “… and when I thin out like this guy, I want to be well thought of.” Or some such. Though he has always said his films are not autobiographical, I could usually predict what he would do after seeing his latest film. While watching “Hannah and Her Sisters” I wondered if Mia Farrow was aware that she was playing herself and that Allen would be dumping her soon for someone much younger and needier. Apparently not. But even I could not predict that he would leave Farrow for her under-aged daughter, a daughter he’d helped to raise. I could not figure out how he got from Point A (being concerned about ethics and being well thought of when he thinned out) to Point B (screwing his step-daughter and then calling Farrow a lunatic when she reacted with hostility).

Allen ends one film and immediately starts on the next. He makes sure there is no time to stop and think about things he’s done. A life unexamined. And if he really believes that his films are not autobiographical then he is crazier than I am. The last film I ever watched by him was Mighty Aphrodite. Clever idea, horrible movie. Perhaps Woody Allen would do well to have a Greek Chorus following him around.

So how does Woody Allen fit with Hoarders and the Phil Ochs documentary? Hmmm…. maybe the belief that he is entitled to do anything he pleases regardless of the consequences to those around him? Not sure. I’m only sure there is a connection somewhere. The total lack of a code of ethics, a selfishness that is mind-boggling… perhaps that’s it.

Oh. The advice I got from my friend is that I “need to get out of myself.”

That feeling of needing to get out of myself… permanently… is what got me on the phone in the first place.