Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Grandiose systems to replace all international monetary functionality

I just got a copy of my phone bill dated December 1, which is due on December 26. (Yes, last December 26.) I don’t know if this was a screwup with Verizon (very probable) or a screwup with my online bill payer situation, which recently was merged or bought or otherwise shifted over, resulting in massive disruptions in .05% of their customers, which means me. Hopefully I will get another bill shortly that is double, and I’ll pay it, and in the meantime, my phone won’t get disconnected. That’s my hope, anyway.

This is one of the kinds of situations that throws me for enough of a loop that I spend days wondering, “why does anyone ever pay their bills?” and I start wondering about grandiose systems to replace all international monetary functionality, and then I realize that the people I work with are just trying to upgrade a tiny, tiny, tiny facet of the banking world, and the amount of incredible bullshit involved with the infrastructure is tremendous. On one hand, I look at a bank (mostly when standing in line) and I think, “why can’t they replace all of this, and have it work for a fraction of the cost?” and on the other hand, I have no idea how trillions of dollars can flow through the system without catastrophe on a daily basis. It’s like when I’m washing dishes, and I think I’ve found a way to invent an entirely new dishwasher – no, an entirely new concept in dishes that is custom-engineered not only for comfort, but for maximized, automated washing and sterilization. Meanwhile, I can’t actually finish washing my own fucking dishes.

I’m still playing with this Ethernet adapter on the PlayStation 2. I still can’t get the Navy Seals game working. Tony Hawk 4 works great, although I can barely play it against others. I am slowly learning more about different tricks, but it’s complicated, and requires more manual dexterity than I can muster. But it’s an excellent game. I didn’t realize how good the PS/2 is until tonight, when I got Quake 3 going on my work machine. The graphics are very blocky and crappy-looking, compared to something like Medal of Honor. Maybe I don’t have them maximized fully, but they look very primitive to me. Quake is interesting, but playing games with a mouse and keyboard is very counter-intuitive to me, and ergonomically disastrous. Still, it’s fun to play networked with other people at work after hours.

Not much else. A lot of trouble sleeping, and I took Tylenol PM last night, so I was out of it all day today. I heard from my PSA at the book publisher, and I should have proofs in a few weeks. That could mean the proofs are done when I’m on vacation, but I told them to push back until I get back so I don’t have to try to download them over a modem or anything.

OK, gotta go play a bit more before bed…