So, my thoughts on the past 20 years of life in America…
First off I wish to mention that I in no way am unaware or intending to downplay the tragic losses of life that occurred as the result of the September 11, 2001 attack on New York City. It’s just unfortunate that this was allowed to negatively affect so many more lives than necessary.
That being said…
This is just a weird set of disjointed observations I felt like putting in writing so I could get them off my mind and go back to thinking about cats and video feedback.
Back when I worked for the station in Miami, I got this exact statement from our director of engineering. Never mind that I had to park across the street because the TV station itself didn’t have sufficient parking for its employees, he took offense to the fact I didn’t have a fancy-ass Mercedes-Benz like he and one of his personal favorites on staff did. There was one day I came in late because I had a flat on the way in to work and that set him off thinking somehow this would never happen if I had a nicer car, as if a Mercedes floats on four magical clouds or some shit. Who knows, maybe they at least used a tire size you could locally obtain.
I did have to use my personal vehicle for some work related tasks (not reimbursed, of course), but nothing in which its visual condition would have affected anything. He insisted that I was never to attempt to get to and from the station by any means other than driving my own personal vehicle, as I was expected to be able to drive just about anywhere for them on a moment’s notice.
Yes, my car looked pretty beat up, from the road debris damage and from being rear ended FOUR TIMES in the two years I worked at that station, three of which were hit and run. I had no plans of replacing it unless I actually had to, as I’d finished paying it off and it still worked, though it ate tires pretty often due to a positively terrible rear suspension design.
I don’t even know how I’d describe that suspension design. It was a take on the Short-Long Arm suspension, but with a terrible bump steer characteristic and EXCESSIVE camber. It’d prematurely wear the inner shoulder of the rear tires with every one of the millions of enormous bumps in the road. The bump steer wasn’t really that bad since I was mostly driving it at 4 mph or less, but it still managed to murder the tires even at that speed.
It was a 2009 Mazda 6i Sport, which was worth approximately *nothing* due to the fact that it had been hit hard by the Takata airbag recall (who would guess that putting an ANFO explosive in the occupants’ faces is a bad idea?) but Mazda dug in their heels and held back on making parts available for the repair. I remember seeing descriptions of the resale value being in the range of $400. Still ran, though, and it still mostly stayed together, so I drove it up until I left the area. Parts were almost completely unavailable for this car because Mazda goes out of their way to claw back all the parts for their vehicles beyond about 4 years of age. For anything that’s not available aftermarket from third party manufacturers (from which you usually had to order the parts online straight out of China or South Korea!), you were stuck with trying to find them from a recycler.
And now, I’ll explain another reason why SOUTH FLORIDA SUCKS HOT DONKEY CRAP.
I’m not sure if he was aware of this, but I probably wouldn’t have been able to afford the insurance if I did have a car that was newer and worth carrying comprehensive coverage on. I was paying just over $400 a month for insurance through Geico, and no other company would even give me a quote – they said I was too high risk. The reason was not due to my driving history which is totally clear, or my credit rating or anything – it was a demographic issue. The problem was that I lived in zip code 33009 as a male between the ages of 30 and 40, which was solidly REDLINED! The reason for that was, in short, the city of West Park. 33009 was shared between West Park, Pembroke Park, Hallandale Beach, and a few other municipalities. Nowadays it looks like Pembroke Park, which was the *better* side of the street back then, actually has a worse crime rate. This may be partially a statistical fluke though, as when I left, about half of the residents of West Park had left – many of whom simply walked away from their worthless properties that nobody would buy! It pretty much just became part of the collective area that I thought of as Zombietown…. that place where one simply should not enter, but sadly, one usually has to at least travel through regularly. I had been in contact with a fellow ham radio operator around that time who pretty much packed up a couple of suitcases and left one night fearing for his life, and considered this one of the best decisions of his life. Last I heard from him, he’d settled back down somewhere up in Washington State.
I asked a Geico agent at one point if I would even be able to add a new vehicle to my policy. They informed me that comprehensive coverage would not be an option – only liability, at the same $400+ a month.
I was told by a customer service agent from Allstate that they were refusing me a quote because their own internal statistics showed that approximately 90% of their policies that they wrote to males in the range of 30-40 living in 33009 led to liability claims after the policy holders committed a violent crime or vehicular homicide involving the use of their vehicle, and that’s why they dropped the redline.
Meanwhile…. there’s a little zombie VIN issue.
I have no idea whether that Mazda 6 itself still exists. I sold it to Carmax just before I left, and they paid me $1000 for it, mostly because the parts demand was pretty high. About a year and a half after I moved to California and started paying $65 or so a month to Geico for liability and comprehensive coverage on another vehicle, I got calls from Geico and a police department in Palm Beach County, Florida, asking me to either provide information on a crash that occurred with the driver of it being at fault, or to provide documentation that I no longer owned it. I sent that along to the police department who never replied back with anything beyond “Thank you, you are no longer a suspect” (what?) and to Geico, who sent me some information about the accident and the driver of the Mazda—
Except it was not a Mazda.
It was a 1992 Toyota Camry registered using the Mazda’s VIN number, crashed in a pretty severe injury accident in Palm Beach.
Why Florida allowed the registration of a Toyota with a Mazda VIN, I cannot fathom. I’m told it’s a strange artifact of their third-party DMV services system, in which private auto tag agencies are given quite unrestricted access to do things that make no logical sense. It seems like EVERYONE has that friend working an an auto tag place who will take an extra $50 under the table to Make Things Happen. What a fine banana republic!
It did not stop there, though. Since that first crash, they’ve informed me of two other cases coming up with the same VIN and different vehicles in various parts of South Florida – one was a Nissan Versa in Miami, and the other was a Ford F150 in Pompano Beach.
Sorry for the dumb ramblings, I was just reminded of this crap, and how glad I am that I MOSTLY no longer have to deal with any of it.
I found this sitting in my drafts folder and it made me crack up laughing remembering how silly this was— it’s from months ago, likely when I was stuck in Princeton, Florida, needing to measure for the installation of something at A Beautiful Place Out in the Country.
The store in question is likely the Florida City Walmart Supercenter.
I once formed this theory that this was basically the last tail end of all civilization after arriving there on the tail end of a session of battling Z-Bola and witnessing a late night bus pull up there and the passengers disembark to the tune of its engine shutting down with a long sigh and several dozen empty beer bottles being thrown one by one on the sidewalk.
I guess it’s finally come to this. Walked into a Miami location of a typical big box store that’s slowly losing all relevance to buy a tape measure. Got stopped at the front door by a security guard for a metal detector check.
His detector never went off even after his forcibly and painfully whacking it into my steel jewelry and he waved me on.
I had to go find someone with a key to a locked cabinet for the tools. He arrived with a police officer in uniform who tailed me until I checked out. The police officer was annoyed with me going over to the grocery section to get a snack and yelled at me to go check out and leave instead.
The store had signs up indicating that they will soon cease accepting cash at their registers citing safety concerns, and will be reducing their operating hours to 9 AM-7 PM come summer. It seemed the no cash policy was already in place as a customer was arguing with the cashier over it. The cashier pulled out the empty drawer and showed it to the customer who was angrily shaking a $50 bill and didn’t seem to understand this meant that not only would they not accept cash, but even if they did, there’d be no change!
This is why we cannot have good things.
There may be a couple of things I miss about South Florida, but this was never one of them. As long as you don’t try to go to the Walmart in Redding, none of the retail stores here are sad warzones. Actually, the Redding Walmart is just a giant box full of sadness, gated off aisles, and locked cases from which you can buy nothing, and it’s a small miracle it hasn’t been closed down entirely. Nobody will miss it when it goes away.
In case you’re wondering why I cannot really see myself working in the South Florida area again —
This was a posting I saw a couple months back recruiting for one of my old jobs. Yes, the one where I had to kick the Z-BOLA out of the transmitter every few days.
Post Date: 01/08/2018
– Radio Station – Non-commercial
Job Title: Broadcast Engineer
Location: Miami, FL
As the Broadcast Engineer, the Candidate will be responsible for all technical issues deemed necessary for the full and complete operation of the Station. That means the Candidate will oversee and ensure that the station is fully functional on a 24-hour basis.
Salary: $25,000 to $35,000
Send cover letter and resume to: (some circle of hell with a parking lot the engineer is also called upon to guard in the evening)
The sad part is, it’s not on that board anymore and the station’s staff page seems to indicate someone filled the position! This doesn’t surprise me – just about everyone I knew doing any sort of broadcast engineering work in Florida has asked me recently if anyone’s hiring over here in California, as the stations there have been downsizing positions like mad, treating remaining fulltime staff like trash, and bringing in random unqualified contractors based on personal friendships instead of actual skills.
Then again I just checked the same job board’s current results for California and this stupid gem appeared from the local TV station that Sinclair Broadcasting is doing their damn finest to run into the ground at high velocity with nitroglycerin in its pockets. Everyone involved and my own freaking DREAMS have warned me about this place.
Post Date: 04/06/2018 Organization Type:
– Television Station – Commercial Job Title: Director of Engineering Company Sinclair Broadcasting Location: CA Job Description:
We are currently seeking a Director of Engineering. A qualified candidate will coordinate or perform maintenance of computer and broadcast equipment of the television broadcasting stations.
Duties and Responsibilities:
• Oversee engineering staff in separate locations.
• Plan, manage, train, and coordinate technician’s activities
• Oversee Station Master Control operations and supervise the master control operators.
• Operate the station in compliance with all FCC rules and regulations
• Assist and advise in planning of future equipment installations, requirements, and budgetary recommendations
• Supervise maintenance of computer software, hardware, and local area network applications on systems throughout the stations
• Establish procedures to ensure that all IT equipment is operational and secure
• Keep software versions up to date and follow software license compliance, including all corporate directives for IT security
• Supervise preventive maintenance and/or troubleshooting on almost any electronic device or support electronics whether in-house or installed at transmitter; including but not limited to: cameras, video equipment and/or audio switching equipment, processing and monitoring equipment, microwave transmitters and receivers, satellite receivers, and computing equipment
• Supervise and/or perform transmitter maintenance of all transmitters, translators, and microwave systems
• Respond to trouble calls with broadcast or computer equipment (sometimes after regular hours and weekends)
• Other duties as assigned
• A minimum of 10 years’ experience in broadcast television engineering, preferably with prior engineering management experience.
• 21st century skill set, a great team-oriented attitude and a dedication to quality.
• Strong leadership skills and exceptional communication are absolutely essential for the successful candidate to possess.
• A strong IT background.
• A college degree, SBE certification, and A+ certification are preferred.
• Hold a valid driver’s license.
I guess I’m still on some curious lists from my job searches back in South Florida, because I was just delivered this beautiful gem along with a voicemail message from someone with SEVERE background noise (sounded like a cross between a call center and a school cafeteria!) and a very heavy Indian accent. I could make out about three words of it. Sadly this will probably be the start of a gradually increasing stream of electronic harassment from them until they exhaust lines of communication I haven’t blocked yet. 😀
For now… enjoy this PERFECTLY written English copy. Worked on anything on the ground that is emitting radio frequency? Bahahahaha.
I’m not including the sender’s contact info because my experience has been that these are nothing but fake offers intended to get people to submit resumes that can be mined, sold, and traded between recruiters like some kind of horrible benefit-free commodity. There are VERY FEW actual tech jobs in South Florida and recruitment is pretty much exclusively handled through H-1B visa program openings, personal friendships and professional connections*. Usually, though, the recruiters throwing fake jobs around at least have someone fluent in English write them up. This is just lazy:
My name is Ankit and I am from Mindlance (Largest Staffing Firm in USA). I got your resume from a Job Board and it looks a perfect fit for one our client’s requirement based in Ft. Myers, FL. Please find the job description below and let me know your interest.
Role: Radio Communications Technician II
Location: Ft. Myers, FL
RADIO COMMUNICATIONS TECHNICIAN II
Spot light call notes
Need to know how to propagate the antenna;
T1;T3 Microwave BG; Telephony
Networking exp is only needed to connected radios
Competitive company to look for candidate: Harris/ Nextel exp in the field
Good qualified Questions: Do you have a FCC/ GROL License
Biggest challenges: is knowledge/Exp of LMR – Land mobile radio; Know what is Radio Frequency
Exp with LMR Land mobile radio; worked on anything on the ground that is emitting radio frequency
Need to be here every day 8-5 will travel 60 miles in FT Myers
Ex Military; Key words
Communications, Signal, Two way
Performs complex radio communications technical work. Work involves installing, maintaining, programming, and repairing base station and control antenna systems and communications, microwave, control, audio, and associated equipment. Works under general supervision, with moderate latitude for the use of initiative and independent judgment.
EXAMPLES OF WORK PERFORMED
Installs two-way radio mobile transceivers, electronic sirens, emergency lighting systems, mobile video systems, computer equipment, and associated electronic equipment.
Installs, maintains, and repairs two-way base communications, microwave, audio, control, antenna, transmission line, and associated electronic equipment.
Installs microwave and control consoles at base station and repeater sites.
Tests operational capabilities of mobile installations.
Provides ground assistance for base station, radio tower, microwave antenna, and transmission line installations.
Programs mobile, portable, and fixed radio equipment.
Maintains and repairs radio communications towers, guy-wires, lighting, and associated electronic control equipment.
Maintains, troubleshoots, repairs, and aligns communications, microwave, control, audio, speed measuring, test, and associated electronic equipment.
Maintains, repairs, and adjusts equipment in vehicles and stations to precision tolerances specified by the Federal Communications Commission.
Assists in procuring repair parts and equipment.
May construct special electronic and test equipment.
May train others.
Performs related work as assigned.
GENERAL QUALIFICATION GUIDELINES
Experience and Education
Experience in radio installation, maintenance, and repair work. Graduation from a standard senior high school or equivalent, supplemented by courses in communications and electronics, is generally preferred. Experience and education may be substituted for one another.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
Knowledge of electricity, electronics, and automotive electrical systems; of the installation and repair of mobile and fixed radio equipment; of base station antenna, microwave antenna, transmission lines, and associated equipment; of antenna orientation and radiating patterns; and of Federal Communications Commission rules and regulations.
Skill in the use of maintenance, testing, and repair tools and equipment.
Ability to install and maintain radio and associated electronic equipment; to detect and eliminate trouble in radio transmitters, receivers, and other electronic devices; to interpret schematic diagrams and technical reference materials; to communicate effectively; and to train others.
Registration, Certification, or License
May require a Federal Communications Commission General Radiotelephone Operator License (PG)
I’m a little salty, or perhaps just bitter, or both, that the South Florida Hamboree seems to have disappeared again.
A few years back I got it restarted after a long time missing in action, and it was going very nicely. Last year was its first time taking place in a neat venue in Fort Lauderdale, since the Miami-Dade Fair Expo Center would much rather host a far higher paying gun show every other freaking weekend.
But it’s almost December and I saw not a peep from them other than that someone within the club was whining about a financial loss that happened back in two-thousand-and-smegging-three. I guess everyone there would rather just sit around and whine than hold a useful event.
No announcement of a show this coming year, and since the date would have been in late January, it just isn’t happening. The website isn’t even loading anymore.
It may be strange I’m this disappointed considering I now live on the other side of the country but damn it I didn’t put my passion into this to have it just laid to waste again.
Image not related at all: ShitpostBot 5000 template transmitter-594c4f02e4685 in action. One guess as to who created this useless template 😉
If anyone knows who is behind the robocall bots that flood the entire 305 and 786 area codes with “Hello, this is Rachel at Card Services…”, I suggest that a DDoS of amazing proportions would be justified.
A police officer just warned me not to leave the property of my apartment complex and cross the street over to the trashed mobile home park across the street because they’ve already hauled off five of my neighbors from this complex for walking over there under cover of darkness and looting.
My neighbors. Ha ha hahahahaha *gag* what
So we made it through Irma. No power and our phones just started working this evening. Ham radio was useless as there are few people on it here and the repeaters are awful little things with no emergency power. Until Internet access returned, the only source of local information was BBC World Service being carried by WLRN. Broward County isn’t telling local media anything. Glorious!
The area is a total mess. At this point I’m just looking forward to getting away from it. That’ll be a while though as our gas stations all went dry SEVEN DAYS AGO and none have been refilled. Some stores have reopened on limited hours (due to the curfew I only know about thanks to BBC World Service!!) but they are not restocking.
Had the first real dinner in a while tonight though. We used one of the big iron charcoal grills out in the common area to barbecue some burgers and hot dogs. I never want to see crackers and peanut butter again.
Just looking forward to things ascending back from “third world post apocalyptic” to “third world war zone” as usual. Le sigh. A cold front would be just as welcome.