JV Points: December edition

Back in 2005, I decided I was going to randomly start awarding and/or taking away points to or from people I interact with. (wow, has it really been that long?) It's not something I do every day, however. Most of the time, I have very little interaction with anyone, so there are plenty of days where the points just accumulate around me in little piles doing nobody any good, like those rollover minutes on that annoying commercial I'm completely sick of seeing. I've decided to expand my scope, and award points to corporate entities as well as individuals.

Here's today's allotment of JV Points:

-1,000 points to the TV networks that piss me off by making a big deal about the season premiere of your favorite shows only to end the show with a voice-over telling you that that the next episode is a month and a half into the future. It seriously makes me want to call up Jack Bauer (who is probably just getting drunk and tackling Christmas trees while he's waiting for the show to start up again) and give him something constructive to do, like tearing off Rupert Murdoch's dessicated arm and beating the shit out of him with it.

+1000 points to the guys working the Christmas tree lot near my house for being cheerful, helpful, knowledgeable and not too drunk to help me get the tree on top of the car. I never had another man tell me that I had a very nice douglas fir before. It made me all warm and fuzzy inside.

-2000 points to the contractor who shares a common cube wall with me. Every time he's on the phone, his feet go into overdrive. It's like he suddenly becomes Alex Van Halen and the cube wall between us is a pair of 24" Ludwig Bass Drums. Add a raised floor to this mix and it's like sitting in an airplane for 9 hours with a little kid kicking the back of your seat.

-1000 points to the the mainframe guy who spent the last 20 years in the data center, slowly going deaf. Now whenever he's on the phone, he assumes that just because he can't hear the person on the other end of the line, they can't hear him either, so every single one of his phone conversations makes him sound like Billy Mays trying to sell OxyClean to... well, to a deaf mainframe guy. I actually told him to use his "inside voice" today. It didn't help. He has one volume setting, and this is it:

+1000 points to amazon.com's return policy. I know it's not a person, but seriously, could it be any easier to return something to them? Print out the label from their website, slap it on the box and that weird-but-awesome customizable pig-nose tissue dispenser is on the way back to them, and your wife is happy with you again.

-1,000 points to the guy who cut my last roll of charmin just a little too long. The damn thing wouldn't turn in the holder because it was just oversized enough to rub on both sides. Did I chuck it? Of course not. I'm pretty cheap, so I sat there and cranked it turn by turn for a period of about two weeks until it was finally gone. Every time you'd crank it over, TP dust would waft down on the floor next to the toilet. It looked like tiny little snow flurries.

+10,000 points for all the people who voted for me at smallaa.com, assuming that check actually has some money behind it. I am still taking suggestions for a decent charity, because I want to make a donation. A buddy of mine suggested this one, since his company contributes to it, and they researched it pretty well. I'm leaning that way.

Let me know what you think.


  1. Anonymous10:24 PM

    Since you asked, I'm a big supporter of the Heifer Project. If you're not familiar, you donate the cost, or part of the cost, of livestock for donation to needy families in various places. And not only in 3rd world nations, there are even families here in the US receiving help as well. Everything from chickens to goats to water buffalo. Excellent website, feel free to check it out.

  2. Anonymous10:42 PM

    You must have HUGE piles of points sitting around your cubicle if you are throwing them away in thousand-point increments! +a googol to you for giving 10,000 to each of your voters!

    Also, +10,000 to you if you give us Christmas stories about your family as a present...because I'm sure you, Houdini, and the Snitch managed to almost kill someone on Christmas.

    What's the ratio of JV Points to SchruteBucks?

  3. Johnny -

    First off, congratulations on the selection and win. That's gotta be a huge boost.

    Secondly, I cannot find any fault at all with your friend's suggested charity. There are thousands of deserving charities out there.

    Another that I would suggest is Fisher House. Please read up on it here: http://www.fisherhouse.org/


  4. http://www.soldiersangels.com/

    My now-in-Army-training brother gathered and donated tons of supplies for them and had not one, but two flags raised in his honor.

  5. UB, thanks. I'll check it out.

    Stephanie, you are correct. They are like pesos.

    Bill, thanks for the link.

    KT, I did some research on them, and wasn't that impressed. I saw an article or two that said only about 36% of what they collect is actually used on program services. They also fail the BBB Standards for Charity Accountability. I think the idea is good, the execution not so good, and the advertising misleading.

  6. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Consider donating at least part of that check to http://www.fisherhouse.org, the organization that builds housing facilites on VA Hospital campuses so the families of wounded soldiers can stay, for free, right there on campus with their wounded loved one, as opposed to having to stay offsite, miles away, in some isolated, expensive motel.

  7. Does it have to be an actual charity, or one I just made up? Like the "Buy Me A Playstation 3 Fund"?

    More seriously, I think a donation to any wilderness or nature education program would be awesome, or a donation towards local animal shelters. Those places always need extra help.

  8. Anonymous8:40 AM

    We are a small group (15) of colleges and universities who are in the business of recovering food from dining services, farmers markets, grocery stores etc. and feeding the hungry, homeless and homebound in our communities. We are a national organization that is growing as fast as we can, but can never grow as fast as the need. The 16,000 meals we serve every month are just a drop in the bucket and the meal we deliver on any given day may be the only one a person receives. We do what we can with what we have, but there is always more to do. Check out our website at www.campuskitchens.org

  9. I'd like to suggest the Make A Wish foundation for children with cancer.

    I mean, my workplace has supported three kids this year in making their wishes come true, why not donate to help them as well?

    Anyway, just my take as far as the donation.

    +10 points just for thinking about us readers Johnny!

  10. Don't even front like you're talking about 24 . . . clearly Gossip Girl is going to be the most-missed show between now and Jan. 9!

  11. Anonymous10:37 AM

    Here's my bid for the charity. Half the Sky. It's a program in China that allows you to sponsor a little "orphan" toddler who would otherwise spend the vast majority of her day staring at a ceiling or strapped to a potty chair. Your donation of only $350 gives a little kid an entire year of really good daycare, complete with good meals. It's hard to believe, but it's true. Not only that, but they train the nannies and pay their wages from that money. I know it sounds very abstract. Like all those fly-coverd kids in Africa that I can't really allow myself to fully empathize with since they are so sadly screwed. These little girls are VERY real to me, since my own daughters are adopted from such orphanages. I actually get kind of choked up just writing this. Only about 3% of those little girls ever get adopted and many more than they care to disclose actually die. I just cannot imagine a more effective and trustworthy charity.

    That said though, you earned the money you got from that thing (if it's real) through your hard work - even if it was fun for you to do it. I have loved your blog for a while now. I have a stressful job and reading it helps me keep sane.


  12. zappos.com return policy is also kick-ass - they actually have free shipping both ways.

    Anyway, my suggestion for a charity is www.ikat.org. Read 3 Cups of Tea to get full details, although their website is helpful, too.

    I think it's very cool that you are using your award money for a charity.

  13. You're going to get buried in charity suggestions, but I still feel a need to plug my pet cause. The PKD Foundation (www.pkdfoundation.org) is the only foundation in the world dedicated to funding research for and patient eduation around polycystic kidney disease, a genetic sydrome which causes kidney failure in roughly half of all patients. 83% of the Foundation's budget goes to program services and research grants.

    As you may have guessed, I have a horse in this race -- my 12 year old son was the third in our family to be diagnosed a few years ago. I am hoping for a cure before he starts having health issues.

  14. JV, I'd pay good money to hear Billy Mays pitch the pig-nose tissue dispenser. THINK OF ALL THE MONEY-SAVING FEATURES and the ENTERTAINMENT VALUE FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY.

    Funny as always, and keep up the great work!

    And ditto to the Heifer Project. But I'm sure you'll come up with someone worthy that could use the help.

  15. Anonymous12:27 PM

    All very good suggestions, so I'm sure you'll have a hard decision to make. Good luck and best wishes!!

  16. Anonymous12:30 PM

    Since those of us at Playa.Info helped you get there, I'd like to suggest that you consider our favorite charity, the Peanut Pet Shelter, a no-kill shelter that rescues street animals here in Playa del Carmen. Their website is here: http://www.playadelcarmenpets.com/ These folks started the shelter in their home and were able to expand somewhat over time, but still have had as many as 90 animals at one time. Current count is around 70. One dog can be sponsored, or any donation is appreciated beyond words. Thanks for giving it a look, JV, and we're real glad you joined us.

  17. glad to see that you love the people you work with... but next time tell us how you REALLY feel

  18. Purp, I don't hate them -- Just their annoying behaviors. Walk a mile in my cube before you judge me.

  19. Love the donation idea and your friend's choice. Let's hope the check actually clears!

  20. That one looks good. Give it to them.


  21. Billy Mays prescribes to the "the louder I am, the more my product will sell" theory.
    Maybe I bought fourteen tubes of Mighty Putty. Don't you judge me.

  22. Anonymous7:52 PM

    My suggestion for a foundation



  23. Yeah H, that's a given.

  24. Anonymous8:55 PM

    Even with the pig nose tissue holder, I love that picture. And that Douglas Fir is going to look GREAT blazing away this summer.

    I completely applaud you for wanting to give away some of your scratch, since you earned it.

  25. I second Houdini's suggestion... and I hope that's a real check and not a donation made in your name to the Human Fund.

  26. Anonymous9:07 PM

    You are now the new Mary Lou Whitney of the area. You philanthropist you. Donate to your cause. You camp/hike, something like that. And give the other 90% to various other causes. Shit, there is always that one family this time of year that has their christmas presents stolen or burnt in a fire.

  27. Pete, I never said I'm giving away the whole nut. I'm not Mother Theresa...have you learned nothing from reading my blog for the last three years? :)

  28. Anonymous10:12 PM

    I second a vote for Heifer International as an awesome way to make a difference in real ppeoples lives. You can donate many different types of animals that help families become self sufficient, from bees to llamas, goats, chickens etc.

  29. My girlfriend/partner/mother of my child and I only donate to charities for animals, since we both agree that people suck :)

    That said, I just wanted to comment on the sad state of affairs that requires the existence of so many charities to support soldiers returning from wars. I mean, our governments send these people to war, to lay down their lives, because basically the politicians have failed at their job, then when they're done, they just leave the soldiers to their own devices and refuse to help them re-assimilate or get medical help.
    See my previous assertion that "people suck" for some small indication how that makes me feel.

  30. Congrats!! Since we are plugging pet projects... Safe Kids Worldwide promotes safety for kids. Their Buckle Up program trains people like me how to properly install child safety seats (car seats). We teach parents and caregivers how to keep their kids safer while driving around. When we find a seat that is recalled or too old to be used we give them a new one. In these tough times we see more and more people trying to make do with crappy car seats for their kids. www.safekids.org can lead you to a chapter in your area that is helping your neighbors (and possibly your cube-mates). Thanks for reading.

  31. You have plenty of non-profit suggestions. So, I'd like to suggest that your point-system is along the same vein as the "Your team" game I play with my friends. It works best at public events, like food festivals...things that attract the most, shall we say, intriguing types. The best is starting the game, because inevitably everyone forgets until someone initiates it and takes the group off-guard. And thus the flurry begins.

    You walk into the event, pick out your first "special" specimen, jab your receiving person in the side declaring, "Your team." (the declaration decibels will obviously vary, depending on the distance from said new "team member.") I sadly suck at the game, am constantly the last one to notice. So my second and third string are full and make me want to cry. A lot. But I fully endorse the game. Groans and laughter abounds.

    PS: You have to make up rules like no picking on handicapped or overweight people. (It's tough, but it's only fair.) It's also fun to create team types for people - someone gets all the cougars; someone else gets all the vile old men...you get the gist...Let the madness begin!

  32. Ummm...thanks Johnny. I clicked on the link for the pig-nose tissue dispenser and ended up purchasing the Hillary Nut Cracker, the flying screaming monkey and The Pie Lady's book, cuz nothing says Christmas like a flying screaming monkey.


  33. Oh, we've got the flying screaming monkey-- quick, while there's still time, take advantage of the "kick-ass" Amazon return policy (I believe that's the descriptor in their Terms of Service).

    Got the FSM from the in-laws, "because the grandkids would just love it". Holy sound-that-Mother-Nature-never-intended, Batman! The thing ought to come with a warning label. Creates authentic jungle-like ambiance, and may precipitate a cardiac event.

  34. You were too kind to the TV networks. How many seasons of America's Next Top Model can there possibly be?

  35. I love the idea of giving and taking points away from people...you have no idea how much this is going to help me over the holidays :)
    Charity ideas? You can save the rainforest in acre increments...but really, any charity that isn't run by a questionable evangelist is fine by me...
    ooo- and I agree- Chirstmas stories with Houdini and the Snitch please :)

  36. Anonymous7:57 AM

    I have a big crush on Kiefer Sutherland, so I wouldn't mind giving him a spanking.

  37. Anonymous1:27 PM

    I have yet to meet a roll of Charmin that didn't fit in this:

  38. As the mother of two Marines, I think
    http://www.homesforourtroops.org/site/PageServer would be a great charity to donate too!! Love your blog, you make me laugh!

  39. The Salvation army spends most of the money they collect on worthwhile projects, not executive salaries and bonuses.

  40. i know an organisation, not really a charity though, that is doing some pretty decent research on alzheimer's.
    With funding they believe they can have a preventative product on the market within 3 years

  41. Anonymous4:27 PM

    I'm glad I'm not the only one pissed about the whole 24 thing. Why the hell did they even start it if they were just going to take a holiday vacation till Jan? Just to annoy their fans? That's my theory. I'll forget what happened by Jan!

    But then the TV networks are sooo far in the hole point wise that they'll never dig themselves out. There are so many crap shows out there they stay on season after season and then they get a truly funny show like The Ex-List this season and they cancel it before it's even had a chance. -1000 pts for canceling The Ex-List.

    I'm glad you're keeping a little sumpthin from this check for yourself. You deserve it! BTW, I've adopted two soldiers with Soldiers Angels and I send them packages each month. I don't have anyone close to me over there so I feel good that I can support them in this way. No one should be over there with no one to send them something now and then.

  42. http://www.milesformastatal.com/

    Pretty cool...people bicycling for a small village in costa rica.

  43. Soldier's Angels is one of only two charities I support. Their url is: www.soldiersangels.org

    The other is Operation Love Form Home: operationlovefromhome.org

    Both are 501(c)(3) charities.

  44. I've donated to the Heifer PRoject, too. But I have to put a plug in to my favorite charity. I tend to give most of my spare change to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My niece was diagnosed with this disease when she was just three months old. What a diagnosis. A fatal disease that has an average age span of 30 years old, now. The research money has gone towards improving that...when I was born 45 years ago, the average lifespan was 15 years.

    Anyway, it was worth plugging. Whatever you decide will be perfect, though. I just love your blog...it makes my day when I get the chance to tune in.

  45. I haven't laughed so hard!!!

    I few weeks ago, I went to my doctor about ringing in my ears. After taking meds (Claritin and antibiotics) and an ear levage (don't know the correct spelling it just sounds a cooler way than getting your ears flushed out) I came back a week later and told them I still have ringing and I don't hear too well in one ear. She said "what kind of work do you do" and I told her IT. She said "data center work" no kidding. I said yes. Hmmm.

    I saw Billy Mays hawking some burger maker the other day. My son said "why does he always yell?" I felt like saying "he must have worked in a data center for 20 years".

    Excuse me I have to answer the phone. Sorry, that was ringing in my ears. Blasted!!! No I'm not bitter... Good stuff tho'

    +100000 for your blog
    -100000 to Cisco, Sun and Dell for making such noisy, hot machines.

    To quote Marvin the Martians "oh drat these computers. They are so naughty and complex. I could pinch them"

  46. We were told growing up that because we live in a bad neighborhood, our naughty/nice level will determine if Santa wants to risk getting mugged!!!

    Oh, BTW if you try to redeem those points for cash, you get about a thousand checks worth 1c each.

    I just keep thinking about the Seinfeld episode where he gets residuals from a Japanese comedy show.