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7:42 pm EST        23°F (-5°C) in Ann Arbor, MI

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You just know that the Rethuglicrime Party is going to block, stonewall, and perjure themselves even more to protect Darth Cheney, after the president brains of the operation vice-president shot and wounded 78-year-old Harry Whittington on a hunting trip in south Texas yesterday. I mean, they do such a fine job hiding all of his treasonous high crimes, like leaking the identity of a covert CIA operative to the media, that covering up negligent bodily assault with a firearm should be no big deal, right?

I’m tempted to be slightly relieved here, actually; maybe Darth is giving up the treasonous crimes, and going into the world of small-time criminals. Perhaps he realizes he’s committed enough treason for a thousand Benedict Arnolds, much less one (vice-?)presidency, and he’s hangin’ em up when it comes to disobeying the Constitution. Then again, with Darth, who the hell knows …

After what happened in the early part of this week, I am really down to the last straw with the company I drive for. Weeks ago, I had told everybody who needed to know about it that I needed to be home last Tuesday, February 7; from there, it’s basically my dispatcher’s job, with the help of load planners, to accomplish that task. From St. Louis, MO, on Monday the 6th, it shouldn’t have been that hard to move me 550 miles to get me home in a day or so.

Apparently, I work for a company that doesn’t take drivers’ home time needs seriously, or just completely blows them off. They sent me a load offer for a load heading from St. Louis to Atlanta, offering absolutely no explanation as to why the fuck they were sending me 750 miles away from home with less than two days to spare before I absolutely had to be home. It wasn’t until after I pressed them on that question that they finally explained their extremely poor job of planning: I was being sent to Atlanta for Tuesday morning, then going to Paw Paw, MI, with a delivery appointment late Wednesday night. Nobody bothered to consider the fact that Paw Paw is 150 miles west of home, despite the fact that I hammered them several times with that knowledge.

The end result of all this was that I didn’t get home until about 4:00 am EST last Thursday, and was lucky to manage four hours’ sleep before my 9:30 am EST psychiatrist appointment. This company, like all others in the trucking industry, sanctimoniously preaches about “safety” all the time, but then goes and pulls shit like this that puts the health and safety of its drivers at risk. It should come as no surprise that this is the company that was involved in a multiple-fatality accident in Florida on January 25, in which seven children were killed when their car was rear-ended by the truck — the suspicion of investigators that the truck driver had fallen asleep at the wheel points to the way this company deals with its drivers.

I mean, hell, just a quick review of the last several months’ history of this section will make it clear how this company makes you sit for two days, then blames you for your “low productivity” and uses that to threaten your continued employment. It’s not that much of a stretch to figure that such treatment caused a driver to push himself too far, until he fell asleep and killed seven children. I would hope that the certain upcoming $20 million hit to the company’s bank account would make them change their practices, but such behavior is typical of large corporations that would almost literally commit murder in the pursuit of a few extra pennies of profit here and there.

I’m due to head back out to the road on Wednesday, but frankly, at this point, I’m not certain I want to do anything more than return the truck to the company’s terminal in Columbus, OH. If nothing else, the status quo may keep me with this company a few more weeks, but I can say I already have one foot out the door — it’s just a matter of actually taking time to complete some applications, most of which can be done online or via phone.

I’m waiting for a triple-size laundromat clothes dryer to finish with the comforter that I use in my truck at the moment; as soon as that’s done, I’m going to be meeting my friend Marc for dinner and some more NCAA Football 2005 on his Xbox, but for now, I do have to rant about one thing. All you people out there who don’t secure your wireless home networks are a bunch of morons, because there are people out there like me who will gladly connect to any open wireless network they can find. That’s how I’m connected to the ’Net right now — at least three idiots within range of the Mr. Stadium laundromat, which is on South Industrial Street just south of Stimson Street here in Ann Arbor, have left their wireless networks wide-open.

I have no nefarious intent — frankly, I’m just trying to find a fast Internet connection — but a lot of other people aren’t so benevolent, and know how to wreak havoc on your computers and even your ISP. (Spammers, hackers, phishers, and other cyber-crooks are well-versed in the use of unsecured wireless home networks, and will gladly do their dastardly deeds on your unsecured network if you let them.) It takes five minutes to secure your network, people. Come on. While you’re at it, for Christ’s sake, change the SSID name of your network to something other than “default” or the name of your wireless router’s manufacturer — that’s another dead giveaway to hackers, who know that 99% of people are too stupid to change their SSID from the factory default. Simply by trying “linksys,” “netgear,” and “default,” hackers can probably find 75% of all the wireless home networks in use today.