Friday, March 4, 2016

Jerking the Turk

That sounds pretty obscene, doesn't it? I'm referring to Amazon.com's Mechanical Turk, my new source of revenue.

For those unfamiliar with it, Mechanical Turk is where you can log on and do a variety of mostly simple tasks such as digitally transcribing receipt data or selecting which of two points on an image appear closest to the viewer for money. Not MUCH money, but considering how abysmal the hourly pay rate is for both canning and flying/spanging, it's nice to be able to earn money without disgracing, sullying, or hurting myself (I messed my left hip up a few days ago, lugging goddamn glass bottles — another reason for me to hate Yuppies!). I wouldn't be surprised if someone experienced in data entry and who knows ten-key by touch could earn five or more dollars an hour doing certain jobs, but so far I seem to be averaging around $2.50 an hour. Of course, I don't get my money that same day: first my jobs need to be approved, then I need to transfer the available funds over to Amazon Payments, which then gets withdrawn to my Bluebird card — and that can take a week because for some reason we still need paper, and money does need to get physically transferred even when everhything's hunky dory electronically.

Flying was treating me pretty well the first three or four weeks, even after New Year's, which was when I figured it would die down to something meager but still worth the time spent. Nope, it was when February approached that everyone decided they hated winter — which by extension means also hating anyone else who inconveniences or otherwise irks — and was flat broke. Waiting for their billions back apparently turns Americans into stingy assholes. So, I stopped flying. It didn't land me a job, either, because I left one of my infamously long rambling voice mails for the human resources department, who promptly assumed I was bonkers or enjoying a mind-melting drug habit. I'll try again next year; maybe I'll be more willing to work with the “Lookidatcameltoe!” boors who doubtless will be my co-workers. So, for now I'm canning (when my legs and knees and hips aren't hurting) and turking ... I suppose for about maybe eight to ten dollars a day whenever I do both, which isn't at all often because data entry work isn't conducive to self-motivation.

And, well, in April I'm going to resume day labor at VOZ, which hopefully by then will be sending enough people out to make it worth my while. I'd go to Labor Ready, but I much prefer to get paid under the table. I'm not at all opposed to taxes, though in principle much of what our nation spends its money on is either throwing it into a black hole or is loathsomely amoral; I just don't want to get taxed and pay rent until I have something I'm confident will last and won't be so variable in hours as to make income calculations an exercise in craps-table numerology. Besides, now that I've lost my food stamps — thanks to that idiotic reform that goes into effect starting this year that requires people who aren't disabled (on paper, mind you!) to work and/or volunteer for twenty hours a week — I'm going to be struggling for a few months while I figure out how to feed myself on the cheap. People fail to realize that it actually is cheaper for society to pay for the rent and groceries of people who can't or simply won't buy into the corporate lie that is the American Dream; I'll totally steal from cars when I can no longer find a way to earn money legitimately, or at least acceptably (and not morally offensively) marginally.

It will be nice when Daylight Saving Time returns. It really fucks with my psychology, when it's dark before seven.

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