April 27, 2015

yesturday

Okay, I began yesterday telling you about C2E2 in that brief shitshow of a post. Hopefully my issues are in the past so here goes. I wrote "I am obsessed with people my age or older dressed up as the weird superheros that lived in comics when I was a kid. All of them were strange by today's standards and they required an extraordinary ability to suspend disbelief" as a precursor to some of my pictures. Case in point old school Aquaman as portrayed by a complete rock-star.
This guy's don't-care-o-meter is off the scale. When the tale of Arthur Curry was first told he was a former king of Atlantis and they made him out as a Royal Dandy. That is why I never really got in to those comics and why this guy locked on like a pit bull.  Well done sir.
Next up is old school Green Arrow. A million reasons why I asked him to pose but the best you can hardly see due to his preferred hero stance. He made a replica of my favorite arrow, the boxing glove. I tried to make one of these bad boys myself when I was eight using a suction cup bow and arrow set plus a junior boxing glove. I have to say that my version failing so spectacularly took away some shine from the Arrow for me. But this dude rocks it like he is it. Again nicely played.

I am heading out of town on a one day trip tonight so I don't have a lot of time to chat. I will leave you with some unexplained random shots to enjoy.
OK not totally unexplained... this caped crusader is a teacher at my kids high school.
Captain Chicago handed me a card after the picture and asked me to tag him in it and follow him on twitter. When I asked why the star didn't match the official City of Chicago one he didn't seem pleased. Turns out Superheros are not impervious to smartassery.
Spy shot of the shark because he was tired and beyond caring.
Finally, a dude breaking the third wall to score a little cash. You never see the cosplayers at Disney with the mask tilted back... standards people. it all boils down to standards.






April 26, 2015

Beat like a drum

It was C2E2 time again and that means I walk around with my mouth hanging open for three solid hours. I don't have much to report other than this is one of the few public events where you will find longer lines for the men's rooms rather than the ladies. I do have some pictures to share but I need to tell you whats going on. I am obsessed with people my age or older dressed up as the weird superheros that lived in comics when I was a kid. All of them were strange by today's standards and they required an extraordinary ability to suspend disbelief.

Oh crap, phone trying to do some major update and giving me fits with my pics. I reserve the right to come back to this post tomorrow. And now I leave you with a 6:00am hammered Vikings fan ahead of me in the habitrails of St. Paul Minnesota last week.
no clue if this is going to work and I am way too tired to care. gave me some error message that made me want to punch it. putting phone away now...


April 25, 2015

wups

I know it's bad when I get a text from Doug letting me know that he started calling coroners as to my potential whereabouts. Last week was a pisser for a bunch of reasons not the least of which was teaching the class that is mine all mine. Thought it up, designed it, pitched it, reworked it, Beta tested it with a focus group class, delivered it once, and then got busy with other things. I had been meaning to make improvements for the last two months but it just never happened.

So I found myself cramming all of that work into Monday and Tuesday which made me one cranky hot mess. I got the work done but both nights ended sometime after 11:00 and Wednesday morning was a 5:30am alarm. I am always a little twisted up the first day of training anything because you don't know whats coming your way. Who is coming, will they show up on time, what will their attitudes and personalities be like, (hey Captain Comma, we get it. write better and enough with the punctuation already.) etc. It always works out but this is the process that my broken brain goes through every time.

The class went well and I was still a little wound up from the first day so I decided to go for a little walk. I was meeting some local friends for dinner in a St Paul neighborhood called Cathedral Hill so I headed straight there. Probably should have checked the gps app before I left because my little constitutional turned out to only be a mile and a half but it was straight up the aforementioned hill which was no joke. The booze I consumed masked the strain on my knees that night but the next day was a different story.

I woke up with an invisible midget standing on my feet and stabbing me in the knees. Pair that up with a minor aching head from the previous evenings festivities and you might have a recipe for potential disaster. But no. I had to practice what I was about to preach. A big chunk of this learning is about leaving whatever else is going on in your life at the door and deciding to be great. And so the choice was made.

I even used it as an example the next day asking the class how I did the day before. We talked about the opening segments and the morning as a whole. Then I let them know how I was feeling and asked if anyone could tell. Nope, and it was like I planned the whole thing. The person who was helping me with the class asked if I had to do that every time from now on... Interesting thought but no.

This was a long winding way to say that there was no way in hell I could have written anything fun this week. Even last night... as soon as the class ended I bolted for the door and drove six hours in the rain. I am mental mush right now but I'll be back in no time.

April 20, 2015

Saturday night with the aunts

I drove down to meet a couple of my favorite people Saturday. I got to leave earlier than expected so I interrupted their cheap liquor run. Where they live the only local liquor store is owned by the city so they charge a premium for everything. Since we were meeting in a relatively big city (40,000 people)
they could stock up on beer, wine, hard cider, and Jack Daniels on the cheap. We had an awesome meal at a local brew pub type joint and then it was time for some site seeing.

This city was also coincidentally the place of my birth and somewhere we lived off and on during the early years. While attempts to find our first ever house (not on wheels) were unsuccessful we did make it to the bowling alley that my dad and a partner owned a long time ago. I was just a we lad when we lived there and my memories are mostly enhanced by an older generation but we thought it would be fun to have a drink in the bar.

My aunties went to get us a table or more accurately chose one of the empty ones because everyone in the place was either at the bar or the pool tables. While I was waiting for our drinks there was a super drunk dude that bumped into a whole pile of crazy. The bump triggered an apologetic and too enthusiastic apology hug that elevated the crazy guy to his highest defcon. Crazy began yelling for the drunk to GET THE F*CK AWAY FROM HIM and the drunk started to take offense. Things went south quickly after that.

I had just decided on one of my old faithful defense tactics and was testing the heft of the barstool when our beers finally arrived. Sensing no immediate danger to myself I gathered the bottles and headed over to the aunts. They were locked in to the action and we all watched it like a TV show. There were threats of stabbing and shooting. The police were called and crazy was demanding to view the security tapes.

Drunk and his friends skedaddled as this might not have been their first run in with the law and crazy got crazier. It was entertaining until it got boring. The cops never showed up, one of drunks drunk friends came back to threaten crazy which wound him up all over again. It was raining pretty hard and kind of late so we called it a night. But not before I got a picture.

I was told that I used to sing Yummy Yummy Yummy I got love in my tummy on that very stage as a toddler. And upon sending this picture to Dad he declared the chairs the same ones from the sixties.


The crazy person walking to the bathroom in the distance is my aunt. Other than that a hopping Saturday evening in this fine establishment.


The lanes were busy as well. Could be a marketing issue. Or... Well, at least they have black-lights to aid the police forensic units and video screens to entertain the workers.


In the late 60's it was the Village Bowl and the Tiki Lounge. That sign rules.

April 19, 2015

Ignore this post

I need to experiment a little while I have some free time on my hands. I post pictures here from my phone and I assumed that once I did it they lived somewhere on Blogger. Being the "light straightening" mental patient that I am I regularly clean out the pics on my phone and I had it delete from a blog post. This shouldn't really piss me off as I am charged zero dollars and zero cents for this service but I need to figure out how to be able to straighten up without screwing up old posts. So I'm going to insert a random picture here, wait a while, then delete it from my phone. If you are reading this and there is no photo, then I haven't figured out how to set things up correctly.
Took this on my walk yesterday because it cracked me up. I realize that I am a strange person but I was fighting an urge to spray-paint HEARTACHE TO HEARTACHE WE STAND underneath the banner. I mean no disrespect to the Hmong people or what I am sure is their fine exhibit. But you put up a sign like that and my broken brain automatically takes me to the rest of the song. Stuck in my head the rest of the day by the way.

April 18, 2015

hanging with me

Last night didn't end well. My stealth Hawks fan watching of the game didn't last long as I began shouting and pacing the worse things got. Then I began to catch sh*t from a Minnesota fan on the stool next to me. I didn't have a leg to stand on until he pulled out his electronic cigarette. My smile in the midst of misery must have give me away because he immediately barked a challenging WHAT?!

"Why does your pacifier have a light on it?"

He tried to turn things back toward the Blackhawks beating but I would have none of it.

"If you put it in your ear does it double as one of those douche-tooth wireless things?"

"Do you ever catch a glance of yourself in a random reflective surface while using that thing and get hard?"

Okay I might have been a little cranky because my team was getting drubbed. That third period was miserable for me so I wanted to spread the wealth. Things went south quickly after the game ended and I took things a bit too far. Unrelenting oral fixation talk centered around the light calling attention to it. I might have mentioned he would be blowing a mag light in public soon when he and his friend had had enough.

I was planning my strategy when the bar tender stepped in and made them leave. My mouth was less offensive than the 2 drinks they spilled earlier. They mentioned something about waiting outside but I went up to my room after paying my tab so it must have been a long wait.

I might not be built for long term exposure to just me. I might have to write off the whole hermit idea. Maybe a cult? Walked by a big branch office this morning...

April 17, 2015

I'm baack

Here I sit in a hotel room alone on a Friday night changing my clothes getting ready to head to a bar. The Hawks are on tonight and there is no way I'm sitting in by myself. I deeply regret not bringing one of my Blackhawks shirts as the people of Minnesota are taking their irregular playoff birth way too seriously. When I planned this weekend it seemed like a good idea. Didn't finish this afternoon until 5:00pm and have a meeting bright and early Monday morning. So I would have driven home and landed sometime after 11:00pm only to drive back on Sunday. It seemed stupid to head home for a day and a half but I am mired in regret at the present moment.

Tomorrow I will be having dinner with my Aunts so I've got that going for me. These two called me drunk on New Years Eve at 2:30am (what's happening time-typer guy? enough already with the schedule post) just to talk on my birthday. When I said I was headed to bed after I cleaned up I was called a lightweight and a pussy. I do so love these ladies and dinner should be fun.

Time to go and make some friends OR just sit at the bar and make fun of people silently to myself.

April 14, 2015

Big Day for Silver

I was driving the super-cool minivan out to Minnesota today with the windows down because the air conditioner decided that I needed some fresh air instead. As I drove I noticed a bunch of evidence strewn about from the tornadic activity last week. A stainless steel cupola from the top of a barn sitting in the middle of a plowed field upright as if the barn got swallowed by quicksand caught my eye. I unsafely fumbled for my phone to take a picture when  I drove through some kind of miniature dust storm. It was over before I could roll the window up.

I looked down at my normal pristine dashboard and happened to notice the odometer at 99999 miles. Already holding the phone in camera mode I felt like it was fate.
Before any of you amateur safety officials out there get your undies in a bunch the speed limit in that particular leg of my trip was 70 miles per hour. I was following my standard 8 miles over protocol. If I get a ticket for +8 then I deserve it for speeding past Barney Fife having a bad day. Or, in a more likely scenario, my mouth would actually be responsible for the citation. Either way I'm good with the risk and all potential outcomes short of my ending up in a twisted pile of silver Honda.

And now my phone is telling me that there are more than sixty emails requesting my eyeballs. I love windshield time but it definitely backs up the electronic communication pipeline. Time to get to work and begin enjoying my petcation.

April 13, 2015

Beer hipsters, you’re wrecking it



*I am slammed so this is a repost from a place I used to write. If you've read it before... at least its short.

Minding my own business in a bar far from home compels me to write this down.

Attention all craft brewed beer aficionados please shut up and mind your own beersiness when you’re out amongst the regular folks. I already hate the fact that you are trying to turn my beloved relaxin liquid into something as annoying as wine. I don’t want to have to go to school to order a beer. It’s just a beer. You drink what you want and I’ll do the same.

The problem arises when I order my Coors Light within your pierced earshot and you look sideways at me or snicker. I know it’s flavored water but I never asked for your opinion. With that in mind it’s riveting as you prattle on about the great beers of Europe and your craft brewspertise loud enough for the entire bar to hear.

I like a nice Diet Coors and I’m not hiding that fact from anyone. I also don’t comment on anyone else’s drink unless they fire the first snark.
You go ahead and enjoy your One Eyed Pirate Pube Ale and leave me be. I don’t want to hear about the “hoppy note” your tasting or the star anus used to brew the stuff.

When you finish your douchertation on Porters versus Stouts I’ll be over at the bar ordering another “tasteless and too cold American”. Oh, and if you think this is too cold you would hate my favorite draft beer place Twin Peaks. That beautiful brew has a cold cloud inside.


April 11, 2015

walgreen time out

I was on prescription pick up duty today and it was one of those annoying ones that you have to physically drop off at the counter. I did that seemingly unnecessary deed and then strolled around the store until I had visited every isle that even remotely applied to me. Once that was finished I headed over to the magazines and too a selection back to the sad little waiting area to ride out the rest of my sentence. As I sat there the woman next to me was probably an octogenarian at least and her daughter wasn't treating her very well. My inner do-gooder was activated but then I got caught up in an article.

Lucky for that as I would not have really known what to say but also because the sweet old woman turned out to be an asshole. full blown card carrying a-hole from the time when the word was invented. Possibly the inspiration. Man she was hard core. She lit her daughter up about her haircut, said her makeup made her look like a whore, and yelled at to random kids fidgeting in line to "CUT THAT OUT AND BEHAVE." The look on the dad's face was priceless as he had no idea how to react.

Luckily the daughter was no slouch at wrangling this particular demon. She barked her down talking about the complete idiots every single grandchild the woman had was and how she had no right to talk to anyone about behavior. Uncomfortable and awesome all rolled into one. Plus it made the waiting sail by.

My name was called and the woman behind the counter was extra salty. She has a severe speech impediment like Elmer Fudd which doesn't bother me but one might think she would over compensate with nice. I had a coupon from the doctor that made the $250 medication free so I presented it and she went into a fit. Deep exaggerated sighs, asking if I had ever used one of those before, and my question of "Coupon in general or that particular one?" was met with a disgusted tooth suck.

She made a show of calling for cashier backup while she dealt with the horrendous problem I was apparently causing and after five agonizing minutes she finished my transaction. Not before attempting to scold me for failing to mention the magic coupon. I think she thought I would just walk away having learned my lesson. nope

"Thanks for being so shitty about it and congratulations! You are the worst customer service person I have ever encountered. You have taken Bad At Your Job to a whole new level." I stood there for a second to see if there would be another round but when none came I made for the exit. I might have to take a little self imposed time out from the local pharmacy just to be safe.

April 10, 2015

stormy weather

No time. I am a productive maniac today as yesterday was a speed bump in my week. The white ball of ever shedding fur that lives in our house was not a fan of the recent storms. I think if we were any closer to the tornadic (I like using the new weather made up words) activity she might have to be put down. The dog had never been a big fan of fireworks or thunder so the night before was a real treat. I think I logged two contiguous hours of sleep and that contributed to my stellar day as well.

Its hard to not feel sorry for her and at one point she altered the volume and pitch of her whining to an unbearable level. Through a closed door and in another wing of the palace it still managed to drill in through my ear canal right to the back of my left eye. So I had to do the only thing that would calm anybody down.
It started as this after coming in from the deluge of rain at lunch but throughout the day migrated to the next picture.
I don't think that Nemo could even hear the storm but he enjoyed the change of venue. I was okay on calls as long as the thunder kept to a dull roar. But when things escalated I had some splainin to do to anyone on the other end of the phone. It ended up working out and I have a hard time complaining as I watch the path of destruction that Ma Nature cut through some local communities.

One of my ball busting favorites with friends in Kansas (usually sports related so I need to take things elsewhere) is every once in a while God takes his vacuum out... I thought I might have a Karmic boomerang headed my way. Warning duly noted.

April 9, 2015

Rules

I mentioned yesterday that I was a list guy so today I figured that I would expose my love of rules. Rules are one of the core management techniques that I teach every working day so it is only fitting that they bleed over into my personal life. Any of you who have been to my house however know that I can make all of the rules I want to but getting them followed is another story. I have laid down the law no less than four separate times declaring NO MORE PETS and each time I was greeted with another unwelcome face in the house... but that is a tale for another time. The point is I am talking about personal rules that apply to this guy. (double thumbs pointing back at me)

And in keeping with my exposure of working quirks these rules are kept in list form so don't be confused when you see a number near them.

1. Surround myself with people who make me smile. This doesn't mean that everyone I know has to be hilarious. I am talking about a spontaneous grin triggered by the sight of someone. This usually means that they are a positive in my life. Said another way, if they are a pain in my ass, its a pain I can suffer through because I love them.

2. Only be a villain by choice. I work with a lot of people who have no idea how they are perceived by others. I used to tell my kids to act like they were on TV. If they would be embarrassed or ashamed of something they were about to do or a way they were acting STOP. I try to evaluate the things I do from other perspectives and if I hit someone with unintentional ill will I own up to it and apologize. The by choice thing just means that there are some people who deserve to be treated in a less than nice way.  There is a very dark side of me that loves to come out and play. That is reserved for those who deserve.

3. Find the people I miss. This one probably sounds weird to anyone but me and I need to explain. Last year wile I was sitting in my Facebook duck blind spying on people I realized that I had said "I really miss _____" and then I started to think about the people I wanted to see but did't. This one ended up on the list originally as NO EXCUSES FIND EVERYONE which was a challenge to myself to get face to face time with all of the people who matter to me. This is no small order as I am attached to a lot of folks scattered across the country but luckily I travel quite a bit for work. So this year I am doing what I can to actually SEE the people that aren't close enough for a quick visit and actually go to those who are.

4. Learn something every day. This sounds like one of those bullshit make me sound smarter things but it is something I try to do every day. And I'm not talking about the theory of relativity and how it relates to quantum mechanics (now that was some bullshit) I am looking more at the lessons I get taught every day that would normally go unnoticed. So rather than a research rule it is more a reflective one.

5. Create something every day. Self explanatory and yes this counts. I also count doodles, ideas, and really anything that makes me thankful for my own particular brain. I really do feel better when I write every day. And not the stuff I have to for work either... if emails were my only creative outlet they would get real interesting real fast. Writing for the sake of writing, drawing because the mood overtook me, and being mindful to activate that part of myself at least once a day. That's what this rule is about.

6. Need LESS. This one is a pisser. I have set up my life incorrectly to do this right. So I have made it a goal to try and boil my stuff down to the essentials. This is a lot harder than it seems and I am focused on it as I think about what I will do with my soon to be office space on the front of the house. But I need to tell you that I dream of a much simpler life two to three days a week without exaggeration. Something in my brain obviously desires a simpler life and this one will be a struggle for a while.

There you have them. There is a seventh rule and that is Be Better but that is really cheesy and left out on purpose. OCD wouldnt allow me to give you a completely edited version. hashtag brokenbrain (by the way if you want to drive people crazy type the word hashtag on twitter... awesome.)

April 8, 2015

lists

After last weeks bore fest I swore to myself that I wasn't going to write about anything technological any time soon. Oh well. In my defense to no one but me... this isn't technically a technical topic. This is more about my particular love of lists and the constant quest for the perfect system. And after that exciting build up who wouldn't still be reading this on the edge of their seat waiting to find out what wonders lie ahead?

I can attribute (or blame, tomato / tomato, pronounce those differently for complete understanding) the whole list thing to my mother. There wasn't a huge call for independent task based thinking when I was growing up as all of your daily requirements were concisely spelled out in convenient list form. These lists would either be hand delivered or placed where they could not be avoided. Bathroom mirror, refrigerator door handle, TV screen, etc. I disliked the system at the time one might even say resented it.

So strong my distaste that years after moving out I named my first Fantasy Football Team the ToDo Lists as a not-so-subtle statement that I rebelled against the entire concept. That lasted until I had to actually start accomplishing things. Then I was back to the productivity method that was drummed into my skull. My list making has evolved along with the invention of computers and then smartphones. I can tell you without exaggeration that I have tried most of the list making systems out in the world today. And none have completely captured me until now...

That would have been an awesome lead in to a product review but I need to give you a little more background. I have used Evernote since it first came out. I even paid for the premium subscription because I had so much stuff on it and I believed "the hype." By hype I mean that it seems to be everywhere and everyone claims to use it. It was bundled with my phone and has hooks in everything. My first sniff test once someone tells me that they use it is to ask them how and when their answer sucks I realize that they don't really get it either. Seriously, I have never met a real life person who can show me one cool way they use the thing. And there are entire businesses built around using it better... books, videos, online classes. Its an industry of nonsense. Before any of you Evernote Avengers get any ideas I really might be to stupid to use the software. But I am not alone.

Whatever the reason I am officially done. deactivated my account last night. All because I stumbled upon a stupidtom qualified system.

I am using a powerful tool with a weird name; WorkFlowy. (at this point most of the good names are already taken so folks need to get a little creative) It is easy and just works. I have described it as a giant outline of my life. I have 2 main categories Personal and Professional. Everything else falls under and branches out from there. And I have some strange things going on. I had a great time moving my stuff from Evernote and Google Keep over to the new system. I even uncovered a few gems with the exercise.

I've rambled on too long already but I will share one of the lists with you. My work friends and I like to people watch during our downtime on the road and we have come up with a number of observations or "Games" (if I were doing this many air quotes in real life I would expect to be punched) that we use while walking around. I'll leave the details of the contest to your imagination but here is the list entitled Games in Play:


  • Dude no Dude
  • Couple or Friends
  • Daddy or Sugardaddy
  • Gay or European
  • Pro no Pro
  • Real or Fake
  • Crippled or Lazy
  • Homeless or Hipster
  • Incest or True Love
  • Drunk or Slow
  • Big Shot or Pretending 
  • Siblings or Lovers

April 7, 2015

oh hell no

I started this post with the title because those three words perfectly describe this day. For some reason I had a FULL BLOWN MONDAY on a Tuesday. Call after call, interaction after interaction, 100% horseshit. It would have been funny were it not happening to me.

This brings us to my telephonic exchange with the good people at United Mileage Plus Customer Service. I mentioned the other day that I have some miles expiring and I want to spend them. The website was giving me some trouble getting the thing I want so I took them up on their option to talk to someone. The trying to be friendly robot on the the other end of the line informed me that the thing I was looking at on my screen is no longer available and sometimes the web site can take up to six weeks to update. Huh.

So let me get this straight, your rewards web site will show me a bunch of things that I can "buy" with my miles but when something is discontinued or out of stock the only way I can find out is to try and order it, have a problem, then contact you? Does something seem a bit off with this system to you?

No response led me to ask if he was still there. The snotty "yes sir" raised my anger level to EXPERT. WELL, DO YOU HAVE AN ANSWER TO MY QUESTION? "what was your question again sir?" oh hell no. He tried to sell me some scripted nonsense about their reward partners but I cut him off mid read. I need to speak to a supervisor please. "bu" supervisor please. "I" supervisor please. "why" I need a supervisor because I am dealing with a customer service representative who cant fulfill fifty percent of their basic job requirements. Yes I am talking about you. You are paid to listen and talk and you have failed the listening portion of this particular customer interaction. Supervisor please.

Everything about the call changed but it was too late. I was giving him and whoever would listen to the recording later tips as to how I could have been handled better between ultra polite requests for a supervisor please. supervisor please. supervisor please. When I was finally transferred I asked for the Supervisor's I.D. not just the name given. I have played this game too long for you to transfer me to your buddy in the next cube. When I told her I had noted the details of the original call as well as everything she had given me for my complaint email things got serious.

I wont bore you with her asking why and me explaining that I wanted to make sure that if I wasn't happy when we got off of the phone that someone way above her head would listen to the call blah blah blah. Or her telling me that shouldn't be necessary and me declaring myself the judge. We went back and forth and I only had to pull her off script twice before she got frustrated.

I should be receiving my merchandise within 5 business days. What in the hell is up with everyone today? me included...

April 6, 2015

readr

I feel the need, the need to read. I took a break from most of my electronic reading over the weekend and I am a better man for it. This was for no real reason other than I had a ton of real life reading to catch up on and I knew my social network feeds would be overflowing with Easter nonsense. Easter has turned into the spring show but it doesn't give me any glimpse into anyone's real life so it bores me. I like a nice candid shot where people are in comfortable clothes and it looks like normal human beings inhabit their house.

In fact I just game myself an idea: Slobs in sweats Christmas card. This one will have to be an all family minus one conspiracy but she looks good in the constant yoga outfit so ultimately there should be few complaints... he typed hopefully knowing full well that once mailed things could get bumpy.

Back to the reading. I plowed through most of my magazines and yes I still get the printed versions. Not the ones you buy from the store as those prices are for suckers. I have a dollar per issue strike price and haven't exceeded that in years. If there is something that you enjoy reading call the subscription number and ask for their best deal. You won't be disappointed.

And then I started toward the piled of backlogged books but only got a couple chapters in. I have turned in to an electronic reading snob. Or said another way, I am in need of ocular enhancement and its so much easier to increase the size of the text with a press of a button. I have gone away from reading in bed because it turns out that the internet is right about the blue light just before bed. I've stopped checking anything electronic at least an hour before sleep and I have never slept better.

So I'm considering getting a Kindle. Not backlit, so no evil light aimed at your eyes and I have a literal ton of books waiting for me to read. I also have some about to expire unused airline miles that are good for little in the way of travel. Because they make it so hard to book a reasonable trip with the things I now only buy hard goods. There is one that falls in the window of my expiring points that I think I'm going to order but I still have a couple days to decide. (nothing like waiting to the last minute of a five year time frame)

I said earlier that I have a lot of books waiting for me and that's because I signed up for bookbub.com a year ago. If you haven't done this and love to read electronically I highly recommend it. I only "buy" the free ones and I have to have close to 300 books waiting for me. I usually find at least one per day that looks interesting and if I don't like it, in the end who cares? Didn't cost me anything. You don't even need a reader to buy the books. Just an Amazon account and a web browser. They have a cloud reader that works great in a pinch.

Holy crap, I should write about reading before I go to sleep as I have bored myself drowsy just now.


April 3, 2015

and another things

As long as I'm rounding out what feels like an undeclared Tech Week I had a couple more points to address. One of my problems with all of my technical reading is that once I know that something isn't working quite right I can't unsee it. Just like this update causing my GPS to search more than I noticed before. I'm still getting more than a day out of my battery and I still love my Galaxy Note 4 more than would be considered normal but I am a technological mental patient.

The same goes for updates and bug fixes. Once they announce that the update is available I WANT IT. Partially because I am just that way but also because every single thing that I read will mention it over and over and over again. The update for my phone has been around for almost 2 months but I had to sit impatiently and wait while AT&T and Samsung scuffed it up just a bit. (added their own crap to "enhance" my experience) This is one thing Apple does well as they are usually pushing an update out to EVERYONE once they announce it. Android is too fragmented to get that done efficiently... Woops, I need to stop myself now as I feel myself climbing on a big boring soapbox.

And while I'm talking about Apple I can't say for sure that I won't go back. Technology is a fickle mistress. In 2013 I had a brief writing stint on another platform where I wrote my break up letter with the company. I keep referring to it so I should probably put it here in case you want to read it:

It’s not you Apple it’s me…
Apple and I are officially breaking up and this was a long time coming. It started with the realization a couple of months ago that my beloved iPad was just a toy. I tried for a solid year to figure out how to get some real work done on the damn thing and it was beyond me. The major problems came from working in a largely Microsoft universe and needing to display and manipulate files from other people. No matter how popular the apple hand held devices are, their business machines are not the standard, and this leads to trouble.
Better minds than my own could probably figure out how to get it done but not without a bunch of workarounds. I had software that let me tunnel into my windows machine and run the things I needed to but that always felt like I should just carry that computer around. Plus, sending a file to a remote machine, downloading it to said same through an app and then opening and working with it is more painful than my description. It just felt like I was always trying too hard to make my slick Apple things work.
And I don’t care what anyone says you need a keyboard to type with any real speed. So I have an external keyboard and even a case with keys but once I attach those it again feels again like I should just have my laptop with me.
Presentations are another asspain. Not so if you just have to blow through slides but if there is any bounce out of the presentation to do something else it gets bumpy. So I’ve made the move. I got my first ever Android phone and I’m going to use it to magically turn two devices (my phone and tablet) into one. I have also begun work on getting something more travel friendly for business. We’ll see if that happens but right now I feeling pretty great about the Tupperware bin full of Apple accoutrement that I’ll be selling and or giving away. It really does feel like a breakup box.
The final irritant came with how hard it is to remove your device from the Appleverse. iMessage is a particular sticky wicket (I really hope that means pain in the ass) I wont bore you with the details because it took me 3 days and 7 support phone calls to get it “mostly” fixed. There are still some iPhone users who can’t text me and if Apple had a face I would love to punch it. This is being written on a Galaxy Note 3 and if you call it a phablet in my presence, brace yourself. I am a giant man and it looks like a regular phone in my hand and I don’t believe in smashing two perfectly good words together to make up something new. Stupid celebrities ruined that forever.


April 2, 2015

from the mailbag

I haven't had an Ask Stupidtom in a long time and not one but two emails arrived at stupidtom HQ. The first comes from a person with the word snarf and some random numbers in their email address. I'm sure that internet handle has some deep and well thought-out meaning but it escapes me and I'm not going to post it here because most people who email just want to talk directly to the author. I am of the mind that if one person had a question there might be more people wondering the same thing so here we go. I will shorten the name to Snarf for identification purposes.

Snarf writes: Why didn't you just get an iPhone six plus? Apple stuff just works.

Snarf you brainwashed iSheep. I'M KIDDING! I thought about that phone for a brief second but Apple and I are no longer on speaking terms. There are five iPhones currently on my AT&T bill along with an iPad and the college girls both have Mac Book Pros so I am very familiar with the company. And yes their stuff is great its just not for me. As I have mentioned before I am a tinkerer and my Android phone is constantly changing. This was something I just couldn't do with my iPhone and once I went through the terrible process of ripping myself away from the iVerse... Lets just say I would have a hard time moving back.

I almost included a current screenshot of my phone but it gives away my top secret location and the home screen has a shortcut for each member of my immediate family that allows me to text them with one click. Changing things up, new icons new layouts, different widgets, OCD folder organization, is all fun for me. The customization choices are endless and keep me entertained when I get bored. So Apple and I are no longer a thing and when most of my friends text me I am a green bubble. (by the way if you have some time to kill search green bubble in twitter...) Okay on to the next question.

Someone I will call Xplod writes: Why did you go with Samsung? _____ is so much better!

I left his (assuming) brand of choice out because it is irrelevant. Just like the whole Apple thing I have no insane loyalty to an electronics company, or car company, or clothing brand, etc. In fact the only brand issue in my life can be directly attributed to a chemical dependency. The evil bastards at Diet Coke have altered my physiology to the point that all else fails to satisfy but that is a problem for another time.

I have done and will do a number of stupid things but tattooing a brand name anywhere on my body will not be one of them. I just don't care. It cracks me up when people get so crazy about such things. One guy loves a car company and another would never buy one of those because they are all junk. Its a never ending cycle of my thing is better than your thing. So Xplod I get it. You want yours to be the best and so I shall decree it on this second day of April in the year of our Lord two thousand and fifteen. Your choice in electronic brand name is without peer. Congratulations.

Man I like answering mail. It's a nice break from thinking. If you want to write me just use stupidtom followed by the lowercase a with a circle around it symbol @ gee male dot com. I made the mistake once of listing a real email address once in a post and spam got real.

April 1, 2015

crappy april first

and so I sit on one of my least favorite days of the year, April Fools. I already admitted yesterday that I have a bit of an addiction to tech news along with a side order of disjointed mental capacity. And that is why today is so painful. Most tech writers, publications, and companies for that matter make a run at an April Fools joke.

Companies announce fake products, writers propose nonsense, (yes, we get it... people have fun with the April 1st thing.. have been for a while now... move along) and then the "news" reports on it all day... much like I'm doing now.

The obvious ones are harmless and I blow right past. The subtle ones based on real life, like, say, someone's current frustration with their cell phone manufacturer and or provider (subtle as a brick and twice as smart) get me every time. I realize that I am complaining about being fooled so in essence I am bitching about my own lack of intelligence but that is not the point.

My normally efficient methods of reading the latest news are clogged with this detritus. Worse than that the forums that I read (no gutter minded non-technical real life friends I don't think that's still a thing) are filled with merry pranksters and they know how to flick me right in the nuts. I have followed no less than six solution threads reporting repairs to my various problems only to be april-fooled at the end.

This stopped being fun for me after my freshman year in college. Cling film stretched tight across the women's toilets in the dorm. Standing in the very front of the breakfast line, pulling out a single spoon and holding it up for the line to see, declaring it the Mystery Spoon, putting it in my mouth then returning it to the tray to be shuffled all around. Finish with an April Fools and the groans of displeasure turn into swear words.

Upon further review that wasn't even a proper joke just a dick move and that's how I feel about some of the things I'm reading. Karma is a bitch and she rides a flaming horse. (I realize that made little sense but I'm having a tough day here so go with it) I will return you now to your regular internet programming. Watch out for the super funny among us playing jokes because a calendar told them to.

March 31, 2015

technology love hate

Warning: This post is a red hot mess. I started writing it in an ultra-frustrated state due to my inability to solve a problem with my phone. I felt as if I were suffering from a mental stutter. I had so much on my mind but the thoughts would not or could not transfer to the page. So- effing- frustrating-. I type this now after walking away from the post for an hour. This one should have probably ended up in the bin but that goes against a basic rule of stupidtom.com. And for the record I still love my phone. This one is too cringe-worthy to reread so I'm just going to hit publish and walk away.

As the title suggests I have a love hate relationship with technology. I have always been a fan and really enjoy fiddling around with electronic toys. I watch shows about gadgets and most of my pleasure reading outside of books is centered on the subject. Most of the crap I read is done on the very devices I wish to learn more about. Tech sites, tech magazine sites, news aggregaters, (don't think that's a word, now I'm an aggrevater. also not a word.) you name it I probably glance at it at least once a week.

TV bores the crap out of me lately unless its those fascinating folks what live in the bush so I end up reading with the television as noise in the background. Probably two hours a night of reading watching and listening about technology in some form or another. I can't get enough and there in lies the problem. I like to know what's happening in the industry and with the things I own. Like my current Samsung Galaxy Note 4. I picked it up when my OnePlus One sh*t the bed and I couldn't get any support. Unwilling and unable to take a week long business trip without a phone I grabbed an updated version of a past phone I liked. (if you even thought the word phablet, lie down, put your legs up in the air like a baby waiting to be changed, and punch yourself in the perineum. I'll wait.)

It has been great. No regrets, Okay, few regrets, until now. I recently updated to the newest Android version and it is causing some wonky behavior. The GPS seems to constantly hunt for signal. That might be an exaggeration but where I really notice it is in the battery drain. Before the update I was getting almost two full days on a single charge with light use. Now the same usage only gives me a day and a half.  I know I'm whining but it is a step backwards and that's what's pissing's me's off's. (no idea why I just 's-d everything, probably because the two words in a row, poor word choice avalanche)

So I head to the internets to try and solve the problem and sure enough I am not the only one. It is officially a thing. But a fix that works for everyone me included is not yet a thing. This is where the wheels come off my mental cart just a bit. I think these industries are in such an insane production and improvement cycle that they end up shoving stuff out the door "mostly done." Then we, the consumers, end up finding all of the stuff they missed.

I blame this acceleration squarely on Apple and their desire to upgrade everyone and everything every six months. A genius business strategy as their size and profits prove out but the idiots like myself who pay big piles of shekels for the latest and greatest end up getting screwed. The Android community as it tries to keep up has a whole bunch of other stuff going against it. Not only are they trying to out Apple Apple but they are all fighting amongst themselves And Google is like some big goofy inbred monarch ringmaster trying to heard cats.

I should also note that most people don't even notice the changes brought on by updates or if they do they don't bother them to this degree. I just end up reading about the updates and the new features and the problems over and over as the different sites and news organizations put their own spins on them. The kill switch in my brain just went off as I realized this is quickly becoming some kind of manifesto. Ramblings like this are best saved for my full separation from human society and written in the comfort of my off grid tiny house. ALL STOP.

March 30, 2015

Yesterday evaporated

I looked up yesterday and it was way past my bedtime. This hasn't happened to me in a long time. I attribute much of this to my complete lack of control over my day. It started with an earlier than normal Sunday rise and trip to the lake. My wife has done a great job renting the place even during the winter months which I don't really understand as a vacation destination but it makes the place self sufficient. This means that I am free to worry about other leaks in our financial bucket and that is a good thing. I do like to go up every once in a while to check on the things that might escape her cleaning gaze.

Mechanical systems, exterior maintenance, the dead tree that threatens to crush the living room, the water softener salt levels, you get the idea. She is also brilliantly adding a 3rd bed to two of the rooms upstairs (why did typing a number then spelling one out feel so wrong. I probably broke some golden rule of grammar or something. oh well) by removing the nightstands and TVs. This is a negative only to my video gaming child but a bonus to my friends as comfortable sleeping has been increased by two soft surfaces.

I think I've written about this before but every year I host a group of friends at the lake for a weekend of floating, eating, and poker. Some of the appeal is sleeping. Sleeping with no agenda save your aging body clock, bladder, and blood alcohol levels. I will stop gushing about my beloved weekend with the fellas as I know it must bore nonparticipants. Some of the funniest things I can never write happen there and yesterday made me want it to be sooner rather than later.

And finally in other non related news... I've told you before about my smaller market news fetish and I spotted this last night on the YouTubes
priceless.

March 28, 2015

that escalated quickly

I got in to a nice verbal dust up yesterday with a relatively new friend. Being a new buddy I try to keep the real me locked down for the most part as it is best revealed in small chunks. I love the look or even the words that say "where did that come from?"

So we are going back and forth about college basketball and I am catching a well deserved amount of flack for my beloved Cyclones tournament performance. It stayed pretty civil for the most part but somehow we strayed down a torture path. This led to enduring torture which moved into administering a single torture event to the other person. Before I go on you should know that I fully understand how bizarre this conversation might seem but this is the stuff I live for. My brain craves this type of twisted thinking.

Anyhow, parameters were set such as duration and overall damage. (I had a sneaking suspicion that he had done this before) We landed on a single instance lasting no more than ten minutes (not including prep time) with no resulting permanent major handicap other than mental damage and some maiming. I wanted clarification on the maim so we went with nothing that would result in death without immediate medical attention like sawing off a limb for example. Supplies must be listed in advance and the winner would be determined by the other persons overall discomfort with the concept. My opponent elected to go first which was a mistake.

He listed supplies as handcuffs, pliers, duct tape, and salt. Then he went on to talk me through my fingernail removal in great detail. It was impressive and I have to admit that I had just read about similar torture in a book so I had some vivid mental pictures in the hopper. The cuffs secured me to a table and the duct tape was for my mouth and body to a chair. Both nice touches and added to my growing inventory.

His description was pretty good and I could tell that when he finished he mentally dropped the microphone on the stage like a battle rapper declaring victory. maybe...

My supplies were a bit more mysterious. A board, a hammer, a nail, rubber gloves, a box of 40mm glass rods, a furniture dolly, a case of duct tape, and a workbench. The devil is in the details and also the secret to really getting under someones mental skin, so there is no way I'm going to give you the full workup I provided my opponent. I will sum up so you get the overall gist.

Duct taped naked to the furniture dolly with just his eyes nose and junk exposed he would be wheeled to the height adjustable workbench. Wearing the aforementioned rubber gloves I would stretch his unit on to the board driving the nail into a pinch of foreskin to hold it in place. I ordered a case of the glass rods because I'm not real confident in my dickhole insertion skills. I might have mentioned that the blood from failed attempts could ultimately aid my cause.

You get where I'm going, it ends with a series of delicate hammer blows to shard-up the glass. I was hit with silence for a couple seconds then his response was "you said dickhole and I got really uncomfortable." a longer than normal pause "you're sick, but I'm stealing that whole thing and using it with someone else" I declared myself the victor and got no argument.

My favorite phrase from our debrief of the game "Who uses the word dickhole?"

I need to tell you a little more background. He admitted that he thought he would gross me out with his description because he had played this particular game before and my admitted first attempt would be weak. So I told him that he lobbed one into my wheelhouse. I mentioned that there is so much constantly swirling around in my noggin that I try to write every day to blow off a little steam.

Promises were made about being allowed to read and never talking about it in mixed company (those who don't know about this site) I also asked for permission to write about this which he gave with the caveat that there be no way anyone could ever identify him in any way as a participant. And for the first time in my long history I sent someone my writing for pre-approval. He considered my description accurate but thought his effort deserved better press.

I reminded him about the victorious writing history and he acquiesced. I apologize for the lack of post yesterday but it was off at the editor and I had nothing else.