Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Daemon Infiri Inquery

Hello, all.  This will be very brief.

As I am gathering my thoughts for Mike's Eye, I am still wondering what everybody thought about Daemon Infiri (aka, New Life?)

     Daemon Infiri came to me in one night, where as Mike's Eye has been a long time coming.  The difference is that some inspirations come fast and short, where as others come fast, then slowly simmer.  I have had a million thoughts on where to go with Mike's Eye (of which some of you got a tiny peek at the first chapter, when I thought I was going to finish it, many, many months ago,) yet I am crafting it very slowly.

     I hope everybody is doing well, and I that you enjoy your family/friends, and take time to enjoy your favorite beverage, music, and food!  Peace out, y'all!  Take care of yourselves!

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Hello, all.  This is going to be a PSADS (Public Service Announcement for Delivery Services).  As I am back to working as a local delivery driver, for food, with an expected delivery time to be met.  I want to get to your private domain as fast as I can, I really do.  However, there are things that the general public can do to help every local, county, state, interstate drivers, every day, and night (night being when I am generally delivering, hence my rant...)

1.  Visible Numbers:  During the daytime, delivery drivers can usually see the tiny numbers on houses, and businesses.  When the sun sets it gets incredibly difficult to see them, if they even face the road at all.  My personal favorite is the houses that have the two inch tall numbers mounted above a hooded porch light, effectively turning them invisible.  I ask everybody reading this to consider that for a minute, unless you already took care of that problem when you started ordering delivered foods, or love Amazon a little too much, or anything that brings delivery drivers to your door.

     If you have a curbside mailbox, do your numbers need replacing?  I see a lot of faded and/or curled numbers on mailboxes.  I, as most delivery people do, want to deliver your food to you as fast as I can.  Sometimes things get backed up in the store during a rush, but the easier it is for us to see numbers on mailboxes and houses, the faster you will get your food.
2.  Working Porch Lights:  Some people are wise enough to turn on their porch lights when they order food.  An alarming number of people don't.  I understand that apartment dwellers rarely have any control over that, as they don't usually have porches.  Houses usually have them, but not all.  All I ask is, if you have one at the time of ordering, turn it on after you hang up/log off, it's not hard to do, and it does make a difference in how fast we find your house (which may or may not have numbers, but I beg you to get new ones, and place them below the porch light, by at least six inches.)  If you don't have a porch light, you can probably find an electrician to install one, unless you're a DIYer that hasn't maimed themselves too bad, and it won't cost you as much as you might think.

3.  Mailbox Numbers:  I've already mentioned this, but let me drive it home.  If you have a curb side mailbox, make sure it has big, bold, reflective numbers, on both sides.  Some of you might already, and I thank those who do.  No, really, I do.  Said large reflective digits can be purchased at any hardware store - big box, or mom 'n pop.  They are fairly inexpensive, so say you have three digits for an address it should only cost you six dollars (at about $1 per, for two sets), and if you need four per side, it should cost around $8.  For a long term investment in warmer food deliveries, that is a cheap and wise plan.  Also, even if you you can only afford one set of numbers, please place them on a side of the box, not the front (thank you.)
4. Online Order Etiquette:  This is something that has only been around for about six or seven years, and though some people get it right, a lot of people don't.  Not the food options part, but in address info, apartment numbers, telling the online ordering system that you live in a private house, when in fact you are at a business, or live in an apartment/townhouse/condo/upper. etc...  If you are aware that there are multiple different doors for a driver to choose from, when you get to point in the online ordering, which will typically ask for "special delivery instructions", put them in, please.  I am not, nor has any delivery driver I've ever known, in any driving job I've held, psychic.  I don't know when you're living in the attic, accessible via the staircase at the back of the house.  Or, when you're hanging out in the backyard, while I'm ringing the doorbell (if one is actually installed, and working) and pounding on your front door.
5.  Basic Tipping Information/Education:  A personal rule of mine is to never order for delivery if I can't afford a tip.  It's cheaper to go grocery shopping, generally.  That said, I feel I need to explain the whole "delivery fee" v.s. tipping.  No driver, with the exception of independent semi/straight truck/HD pickup drivers, ever get anywhere near whatever delivery fee you're being charged.  Expedited drivers get a puny amount in reimbursement for their labor, your local food driver rarely receives even half of your delivery fee.  I've worked for as low as $0.25 per delivery, for fuel reimbursement.  That meant I had to deliver four orders to make a dollar.  Meanwhile, people were forgoing a tip, because they had to pay a delivery "fee".
     If you ask me, any time you hear the word fee, it implies corporate profit, period.  And, fee does not rhyme with tip.  Tipping, by its nature, is reserved for people who provide a personal service to you, right in front of you (except for bank tellers, because face it, they all work for major corporations, aka giant financial institutions), in less than an hour.  Also, if you're dealing with a waitstaff, or a delivery driver, you are dealing with people who make way less than the federal minimum wage per hour, and when it is the drivers, we are usually driving our own cars, on our own dime.  

     In closing I will hazard a guess, and say that less than 1% of any tipped employee has ever written in their own tip on a credit card receipt.  Hell, I check them every time, and when I find that somebody took the time to fill in the whole thing (on a receipt there is a Subtotal line, TIP Amount line, and finally the Total line, which has been standard for decades, mind you) and did the math wrong, I will simply fix it.  I am more insulted when people take the time to write out $0.00 on the tip line, and don't tip me in cash currency.  I do appreciate the people that put a dash through the tip line, and actually tip me with cash.

    End of rant.

I hope everybody is doing well.  I am still trying to plug away at Mike's Eye, though I've been on a roll doing more reading than writing.  Yup, writers block.  Anyway, don't forget to let the ones you love know that you do, and enjoy time with friends and family, in whatever sense you care to.  Enjoy some good music, some laughs, some of your favorite beverage, and take care of each other.  Peace out, y'all.

Monday, 19 January 2015

I Don't Know, Do You?

     Hello everybody, and happy belated new year to you all!  I recently got a new job.  Well, by new I really mean I went back to working for the first company I ever worked for, when I first started paying taxes to Uncle Sam; Pizza Hut.  When I was fourteen I took a night job as a cook.  Fast forward twenty years, and now I'm working for the company again, as a driver.  What can I say, some people tend bars, some people wait tables, I drive food around.  Ask anybody in the service industry what they've seen while working, and they will undoubtedly have stories to share.  I've seen all kinds of things over the years I've been a driver in any form, but delivering food to peoples houses leads to all kinds of strange, and sometimes frightening situations when doors open.  One delivery I had on Saturday night falls in the former category.
     It was just about 8 p.m. when I was checking a delivery ticket before taking a run, and I saw a special instruction.  It stated that I should not knock, or ring the bell because of a sleeping baby.  That's not unheard of.  A lot of people will ask that the driver calls upon arrival, or en route.  For various reasons, typically due to dogs that go ballistic when somebody dares to ring the bell, or the customer may not be in the house, or not in an area of the house where they'd hear a knock, etc..  After double checking that I wouldn't show up missing an item, I departed.
     The part of town I was heading to is in the farthest northwestern point of the area, that most of the drivers I work with hate going to.  For no reason other than the fact that it takes a while to get there, and the chances of being able to take a double are slim to none.  Simply put, you miss out on the chance to take a couple of more runs during your shift.  I don't much mind.  First off, I'm from Chicago, so I'm used to traveling longer distances than most people here are.  Secondly, there is a fifty fifty chance of getting a good tip when you go there, as it is the monied part of the community residing there.  We're talking waterfront properties, and $750,000+ homes.  The only real downside is the chance for deer.  There is minimal lighting along the main road, and even less on the side streets.  Let alone the fact that there are a lot of trees, a blind curve, and rolling hills to boot.  It's not so bad when the sun is up, and the roads are dry, which was not the case Saturday night.
     I found the house I was looking for without encountering any dark eyed herbivores, or predators for that matter.  I slowly turned into the driveway (which we are not ever suppose to do, but hey, sometimes you just have to) hoping to let the light from my headlights stream through the glass at the front of the house.  Then I grabbed my phone, and dialed the number on the receipt.  It looked like a cell phone number, and I figured new mothers might keep their phones silent when a baby is sleeping.  It rang and rang, finally giving me the option to leave a message, so I did, simply stating my arrival.  Then I got out of my car and waited at the front porch, where a green post-it note was hanging on the storm door, announcing the hours that people were not suppose to knock or ring the bell.
     After about a minute of standing there, resisting the sudden urge to make some noise, I heard a baby start crying from within the house.  Not my fault, I figured, and set about contemplating knocking.  Just before my hand could contact the door, I heard the deadbolt turning in the main door.  The door swung open, and standing on the other side was a young girl, maybe 13-15 years old, holding a swaddled bundle to her chest.  It was not making any noise, was my next observation.  My first thought was, Oh, no.  Another teenage mother?  What I did was smile, and say hello.  She said hello back, then said, "My name is Meghan." which matched the name on the ticket.
      I said, "The total came to $21.48"
     She said, "Okay, can I ask you a question?"
     "Um, do you accept twenties?"
     I nearly laughed, but managed to contain it.  Really?  The order came to more than twenty dollars, I surely don't want that total in nothing but pennies.  "Yes, yes we do."
     "Really? Great!  Here, hold this!" she said, thrusting said bundle at me.
     Not wanting to let a baby drop, I quickly put the hot bag on the porch, and went to gently take the small bundle in my arm.  Yeah, it was a baby doll.  All I could think of was maybe it was a school project, and I have no desire to ruin somebody's school project intentionally.  So I stood there, with a fake baby cradled on my left arm, while the girl disappeared, presumably to gather money.  She came back, and handed me $24.  She did not show up alone though, a new girl accompanied her, plainly not of kin.  I handed Meghan her doll back, picked the pizza up, and completed the transaction.  I don't know what was said between the two girls as I was walking back to my car, but they starting giggling, which wasn't creepy at all.  I simply left.
     If it was a school project, it was very light.  I know some schools use eggs.  My high school made us use flour bags, mainly to inflict pain on the student body, I think.  As I made my way back along the dark road, I started reflecting back on that semester of school, and the class Marriage and Family (which was really just another way of saying Economics 101.)  I did great in that class.  So did my faux wife, for that matter (we got the highest grade for the project in our class.)  How it worked was pretty straight forward.  We were all given income levels at the start of the semester, and we had to budget for things like rent, food, and gas, as well as read the stock section of the real newspaper every Sunday, and make fake investments.  When the so-called marriage happened, we had to go buy rings, and make a fake bridal registry, and so on.  We were also taught how to manage money, and credit.  The number one thing they tried to drive home was when we turned 18, we should apply for a gas station card, since they are the easiest to obtain.  I've never been accepted for a gas card, and that was nearly eighteen years ago!
     I digress.  So I've made a little more progress on Mike's Eye, but it's still not quite finished.  I've got some things to wrap up, and am considering whether or not I want to make it a start of a series.  Once again, you'll all just have to wait and see.
     I hope everybody is doing well in this new year.  If you've made an attempt to alter a diet, good luck, and may you still find a way to eat well, enjoy your favorite beverage, spend time with friends and loved ones, listen to your favorite music, and try to laugh now and again!  Until next time, peace out, y'all!