January 25, 2015

Enough with the eye already

Let's talk some more about things. I probably have more "things" than most as I am a classic over-thinker. I can't help but look at almost everything from another point of view and lacking one of those I will make stuff up. But some of these things become hard and fast rules in my head. Take travel as an example.

Flying right now sucks. Airlines over sell most flights and charge you extra whenever possible. They don't understand that if they waived the check bag charge and just included a lower average increase on every ticket they could save themselves a lot of trouble on each flight and make more money. The $25 is so oppressive to some people that they will over-stuff a carry-on bag to the point that it cant be crammed into the bin. And if you have been on a plane lately you know that the loading time just before takeoff has some palpable anxiety.

Folks pulling their trolley behind them down the isle with another bag slung over the shoulder looking up into the bins for any sign of free space. And the stated rule if you find none is to wait until everyone else sits down and then walk your bag back to the front so the stewardesses can do what you should have in the first place.

People boarding the flight after the first two groups have almost no shot at overhead bin space. So most of them are given the option to gate check their bags. This is free and only adds a couple minutes if any time at all to their trip. Those bags are loaded last and unloaded first right in the gangway as you exit. Sure sometimes there is a slight delay but if your trip is down to minutes then you did some piss poor travel planning.

I pay to check a bag. I usually have to go that way anyway as the airport designers wisely placed the ground transportation next to the baggage claim. My average wait time is five minutes at most airports but it has been as long as fifteen. No big deal, I've got plenty of time. In fact I usually find a bathroom and then grab another drink for the ride. Like magic my bag appears and I'm on my way.

The other reason I do this is so my constant leather travel companion can ride up in the bin. He's not as big as a rolling carry-on but when you are six foot four that under seat in front of you real estate is precious. My weak status allows me to board at least second so I almost always find room. Friday night I was comfortably in my seat when a woman who boarded fifth started a ruckus.

She had pulled my bag out so everyone could see what she was talking about while she demanded to know whose bag it was. She said that she would keep that under the seat in front of her for the ride as if stating that out loud granted her permission.  NO said I and she just stared at me so I continued in a stern even tone. "my bag is going to stay right where it is and you will stop touching it." The dude next to me shifted uncomfortably but I was all good.

She started to protest and look around for support but the other passengers were pretending her voice was inaudible. I just kept staring at her until she tucked it back in and glared at me. She even tried to protest to the crew but they just took her bag to the gate check. She sat in front of me and tried to burn me with an exaggerated can you believe that? to the guy next to her but it didn't work. My legs were completely stretched out and I was asleep before they finished pressurizing the cabin.

January 24, 2015

eyeeye captain

I should have mentioned earlier that I have an eye thing. We all have things and the eyeball is one of mine. It could stem from a fight I watched in High School where a kid was hit in the face by another wearing a ring. The scream of terror still haunts me as the punchee figured out that something was terribly wrong with his eyeball. Clear liquid was running down his face then the wash turned pink.

His friends hustled him out of the party to what I can only assume was the hospital but since this was not my crowd of friends I had no access to accurate followup information. No fancy internet or social media we were just left to whatever bullshit someone came up with that they heard from their cousins friend who knew a guy. I did check the local newspapers for the next couple of days and can distinctly remember being stunned that this wasn't front page news. When you are in High School your, or at least MY, world scope was very narrow. I choose to believe that they saved his sight.

From then on I obsessed a bit about the frailty of the eyes. Something with such an important function should be made of sterner stuff. The strength and armor equivalent of a ripe grape should not be in charge of all incoming visual data. Anyway, contact in any way with my eyeball scares me.

Those of you who wear contact lenses are freaks. You can touch your own eyes almost at will and it's just not right. I had someone today suggest that there was a topical something I could use to help my current situation and I stopped listening as my brain was already playing the thoughts. Nope.

But the current problem has spread which I am told is a normal part of the healing process. It doesn't stop it from scaring the crap out of me every time I glance in a mirror. I wore sun glasses driving around today because I kept catching glimpses of my malady in the rear-view. Holy crap I am a baby. As to make myself feel better I had a picture taken whilst holding things open wide.
I think the yellow makes it extra attractive. Even my normally symmetrical hazel eyes are acting weird showing some wacky brown v at about 11:00. Crap, I need to stop now that the picture is there... I am no longer interested in typing.

January 22, 2015

itrouble

I woke up at 3:45am coughing like a mutha effa. It felt like I had swallowed a Lego in my sleep. If you pressed me I would have sworn that it was the two brick which, if in throat, would be more than mildly irritating. I was kind of yell coughing to try and get it out so I was going that into my pillow. I'm not real sure if I was releasing pressure in time to give myself the proper back-flow of life giving air. Almost instantly a headache set in but it felt like I had made some real progress.

So I stumbled my way to the bathroom in the dark for the final stages of productive coughing. In the final throws I went so hard as to see stars but I blamed some of that on the recent lack of oxygen. Business handled it was time to quickly wash up and grab the final remaining hours of sleep. I turned the light on, took care of some other unrelated business, and glanced in the mirror while washing my hands.

Holy H.R. Puff N Stuff! WTF is going on in my eye?! (full disclosure I took this later as I do not carry my phone constantly. also taking a picture of your eye is deceptively difficult and yes I realize that I should have cropped out all of that bathroom ceiling. bite me)


Now I was up and flipping the flock out. My adrenaline was pumping as I walked through all of the eye diseases and other maladies that were now manifesting in my right soul window. No exaggeration this scared the the living s*hit out of me and I'm not totally sure that I had any living excrement at all to that point. It took me twenty minutes of self examination followed by an hour of internet to calm down.

At some point I did remember the hard coughing and seeing of stars but well beyond the freak out midpoint. I am an normally a bit dim but 4:00am me is an amazing idiot.

Apparently there are folks who deal with these burst blood vessels on a regular basis thus proving once again that I am not made of the toughest stuff available. Now I have been teaching and interacting with humans all day looking like a movie villain. If they sold pirate patches in this hotel I would be a proud owner.

January 21, 2015

I think my Facebook is broken.

I already might have mentioned that I was cutting back on the bookface and I have held to that for the most part. My wife acts like a human filter for important stuff when I'm home, turning her iPad toward me if there is something I should see or know about. It's a good system. But when I'm on the road I sometimes drift to my human duck blind. (for those who don't know what that means my Facebook page has just enough info that people want to be my friend so I can then spy on their lives) Last night while waiting for a ride I thought I would check in on anything I might have missed in the last few days.

It turns out that I didn't miss much actual living. More than a dozen recommended videos mostly of amazing amateur singers and patriotic stuff that my friends supposedly shared. In-between those were somewhere around two dozen "suggested posts" or advertisements as they are more commonly known. Then a metric crap ton of religious, political, and supposedly inspirational, posts. Where are all of the actual people bragging about their lives?

I need pictures of folks I kind of know doing stuff. I want to see birthday parties so I can look around your house. I like looking at shots of you in your car and out on the town. I want my over-sharers! If this trend of selling me stuff and trying to inspire me continues I will have to break up with Facebook for good. If I want to buy something I will go to Amazon. If I want to be inspired I will watch YouTube videos of people unintentionally injuring themselves. I think the way these big companies are set up there comes a point where they all want to become everything to everyone.

Why not just be great at the thing that brought you to the top? I don't want to chat through Facebook. I don't want a Facebook phone. I don't want to shop Facebook. I am talking myself out of ever using the site again. This is really going to downgrade my spy game. Oh well, I guess I will just need to get back out in the real world and get back to interacting with other humans to find out about them.

January 20, 2015

I love mistakes

I am a screw up fan from way back. Maybe I just like wrong. There is no rational reason for this other than loving to laugh at personal expense or others. Name mispronunciations of people places and things are the best. This love is sometimes to blame for the YouTube rabbit holes I follow. All I need is one key flub and I am hooked. Hunting for more from the same person or one of the recommended others.

All of this travel has me killing a bunch of time. Either while traveling, before meetings, or at night bored in a hotel room, I have become a bit of a YouTube junkie. I can't let this out at home as I am constantly on the boy for his own problem with the tube but I might need to seek help. My latest obsession is with the "unboxing video." This works for me on so many levels. First, why in the hell does anyone want to watch someone else open a box? For me it's the horribly awkward way that most of them get it done. Plastic they can't break, showing off their knife collection to slit open a couple paper tabs, tearing cardboard because they cant figure out how to gently slide it open, its all gold.

I hope YouTube evolves to the point where you could save certain clips from videos as favorites. I watched a dude not understand how to open a particularly fancy brand box and while he was trying to be funny he cut his finger and broke the charging cord. And he still posted the thing... Probably because he promised his fans an unboxing and he destroyed the box. so good.

Don't get me started on the whole promised the fans thing. The internet is an awesome ego infiltrator for those looking for said same. I know I am writing for ME and a handful of folks who have stumbled across me or those who were asking about my writing. I am an acquired taste and have no delusions of grandeur. I just like to write. Maybe filming your own video gives you a sense that you are talking to more people? I don't know but I want them to keep doing it. I started this thing with thoughts on screwing up and I need to get back to that before I stop.

A woman I was watching was taking me through everything she had installed on her phone. (don't ask, I told you I have issues) When she came to the Interned Movie Data Base IMDB she called it I-mob. Priceless, and it didn't stop at just once. She went on an on about how handy Imob was for looking up movie casts and even finding showtimes in her area. I scanned through the comments looking to battle anyone who tried to correct her but luckily she is just starting out. She is now one of my huge pile of subscribed channels and I can't wait for what will come next.

January 17, 2015

wherewereyou

one of those weeks... The pressure was bumped up a notch this week as I delivered something that I've been working on for 2 years. I went in a full day early to practice and set up the space. The night before when I got in to town I did a complete dry run on fast forward in my room like a mental patient. I was fully prepared to do the same every night during the week. Practice the full day before you deliver it sort of thing. So I had my room all set up for this insanity but I made one mistake.

I have written before about not letting maids in to my room when I travel. I am generally neat when by myself and I don't like the thought of people poking through my stuff. The key to the success of this quirk is telling the front desk when you check in as well as permanently hang the do not disturb sign on the door. It's the second step that I failed to complete in my haste to go practice. I partially blame the phone call I was on during my exit which further reinforces my stance that no one multitasks well. They just half-ass more things at the same time but speaking of time no time for that rant now.

I got back to my room feeling pretty good until I noticed that the bed was made and my perfect pile of dogeared notes was gone. When you work on something that long and in more than a dozen different cities and meetings your thoughts can be written down on just about anything. And to the uneducated eye it could have looked like a briefcase exploded on the desk and all that was left should be thrown out. My heart took the express elevator to my feet.

I went down to the lobby and asked about the chances of recovering anything from the garbage or recycling but I didn't get back to the room until 8:00pm. I was told that I might have had a very messy shot until 6 but now, no way. I was out so late because I had forgotten to pack neck ties. Ironic as I hate the fashion invention originally designed to hide buttons and help prevent drafts in your clothing.

3 new ties and no notes. I do so love a nervous burp that is straight bile. tastes horrible but your teeth feel like you just got back from the dentist.

Anyway, it all worked out but my method was to recreate the notes each night from the book and materials for the class. No time for this nonsense. The class went well and I am pleased with the results. Some minor tweaks here and there but all in all a satisfying result.

January 13, 2015

fiberglass rules

I love giant fiberglass anything. The ride up here is filled with them and one stop in particular. I stopped there and took a couple shots. The first is of a deer jumping over a log.
So majestic and so huge. I wish I had a human for scale. Next up is the standard mouse and Wisconsin cheese.
Nothing says advertising quite like a fat faced rat handling your food. And then comes the orange moose that is the mascot for the whole place.
This is the little brother that guards the bar. The big one can only really be enjoyed from the grounds weather permitting or your room.
I could only get this rear view and again the scale is off. Those benches might help but this thing is bigger than my minivan. I love this country.



January 12, 2015

splainin

This will be an attempt at explaining a few things. First up is the elusive Guys Weekend. A lot of our wives wonder why in the hell we would want to go for a weekend with just our guy friends and the next question out of their mouths is always What do you do? My answer for that is simple; whatever we want whenever we feel like doing it. In today's world it is rare to find even one day at home that you can completely call your own. Things to do of all shapes, sizes, and colors are provided to make our days complete. This is by no means a complaint against those things or the people that come with them. These are the lives we signed up for and for the most part we love them. But...

I think the guys weekend is in our DNA. There was a time when the men went out as a group to provide for the rest of the tribe but all of that time wasn't spent hunting. There is plenty of boring ass travel time to get to the good hunting grounds and that is where their getaway took place. While I'm talking about hunting, that and fishing, and golfing, and whatever else you want to name are all just variations on the same theme. A little time to interact with others like you.

You can tell your guy friends about problems in your life and they have no skin in the game so they make great sounding boards. Said another way; if you tell your spouse about something that's bothering you like, say, your dissatisfaction with your current job, her mind immediately goes to how that could potentially impact her life. And her end of the conversation will head that way. Tell one of your friends that you're not happy and a more common response is "Shitty, what's going on?"

The dude who is bitching might just need to complain. If he did that at home it might come off as weakness. Show weakness to your guy friends and they will break it up by making fun of you. And that's one of the other beautiful things. No ones stuff is off limits. Sometimes making fun of your worst stuff makes it no seem so bad. The more people give you shots about it the less it seems to matter. Some of the mean and funny stuff we say to each other is very therapeutic.

Eat what you want - when you want - without concern for others unless you want to show said same. Trips to the grocery store look like a pack of 15 year old boys found a wallet with $400 and a fake ID. Nap whenever you want with the exception of passing out in the midst of everyone else, then you have declared yourself fair game. Sleep late or get up. It's all on you and I am not afraid to declare it delightful. Enough gushing about a tiny time out from regular life.

The next thing I want to explain is this nonsense. Over the weekend some of my real life friends thought that posts were aimed directly at them. It was said that I write at a specific audience and that couldn't be further from the truth. I write this crap for me and me alone. If something is on my mind I plop it on the page. In the case of the targeting conversation they were talking about my New Years Day smoker rant. Yes my friends were involved but I wasn't shooting at any of them specifically. I was really commenting on being massively hung over spending more than an hour sweeping, mopping, and freezing, cleaning up a mess that I had nothing to do with the morning after my birthday party.

Happy Birthday to ME *dry heave* followed by *uncontrollable shivering* wash, rinse, repeat. (that works in so many ways I'm proud of myself.) I was mad at the world that day and the incredible mess that my drunken smoking friends left for me was the cherry on my shite sundae. That's it. nothing more. Those of you new to this might not understand but if I have a problem with someone I am neither shy nor subtle about expressing my displeasure. I wouldn't deliver a passive aggressive anything here when a direct face to face confrontation is so much more satisfying.

That tag line somewhere on the original page I set up doesn't lie. don't take any of this too seriously...

January 10, 2015

fire n ice

What's up Buttercups? I am blissfully entrenched with a few of my friends in the fortress of solitude. One of them had the brilliant idea to come up here and play cards for a night. I for one couldn't be happier. A couple of chores are now behind me and the chili is on the stove. There might be some beer involved as well but the most important part is the soul recharging ball-bust-a-thon. I do so love this stuff.

The drive up here was a bit of a pisser. 50 miles north there was a whopper accident and the highway was shut down. This meant that any plows and salt trucks were otherwise occupied so the stuff got slick. Wait, maybe I can link to the video of the wreck I just watched
I hope I did that right because the video is fascinating. The only thing you don't see is what happened later. One of the liquid container trucks had some kind of acid in it that began to burn. This turned out to be very bad news for the firework truck that was also in the crash.
This camera dud was either stupid, had huge balls, or was not there. Okay maybe he was zoomed way in but I was impressed none the less. They are still cleaning the mess up today. good times. Here's a weird thought, if you can't see slow down. And so ends the lesson from captain obvious.

Speaking of weird... typing this shit with a bunch of my friends in the same room is more than a little strange. George is a foot away from me and he hasn't stopped speaking for ten minutes straight. It's awesome. I'm trying to keep track with one ear and I think there are at least three active thoughts and stories going on at once. This is why I hang out with these people.

January 9, 2015

clear your own snow

I drove in some terrible shit yesterday but this is the part of the country where I live so that is what one does. (Holy crap writing I and One not only seems douchey but wrong...) The problem I have is with the folks that act like this is the first time they have experienced weather. I passed more than one person driving 40 miles per hour with their flashers on like an 18 wheeler. I don't think they understand that the big trucks do that when they have incline and or traction issues not because they are afraid of frozen water.

My next favorite folks are those in magic four wheel drive vehicles who think that they have outsmarted the laws of physics. I counted eight of them in the ditch during my seven hour drive. One who hauled past me on an icy road and I just knew I would see him later. Yup, sixty thousand dollars worth of newer luxury SUV being towed out by a questionable wrecker of formidable size. A wise farmer once told me "you get stuck and your in 4 wheel drive there's nowhere else to go but you will bury the thing to the axles trying to get out."

I made it home in one piece not to happy about the extra couple of hours but none the worse for wear. Gale force winds had drifted the driveway over so I decided to shovel a bit. I would have blown the snow but I was out of gas and I figured I could use the exercise. Shoveling driveway a not-so-funny neighbor drove by, rolled down his window, and made some crack about a heart attack. I mumbled a courtesy chuckle as to not engage in any more conversation than necessary but it got me thinkin.

What is the difference between shoveling and the gym? No body walks past my fat ass when I'm on the treadmill and cautions me about impending death. Just because I pay for the privilege of stressing out the evil organ that will one day betray me doesn't make one thing better than the other. And if your going to site something about cold weather and heart stoppage you have pinned my bullshit detector before you opened your mouth. I have therefor adopted a new official stupidtom policy when it comes to folks making cracks about shoveling: Swear like an upset tourettes patient while getting back to work.

The offender should drive or walk away post haste and I don'e really know what that means.

January 6, 2015

coldgold

As I sit in the frozen tundra of St. Paul Minnesota I can't help but wonder why in the name of sanity anyone would want to live here. Then I get an excited text from my youngest letting me know that he doesn't have school tomorrow because its "like 30 below with the windchill" at home. A quick check of this tiny computer in my hand tells me he's off by twenty degrees or so but the point remains; school is shut down due to cold. Six days into my fiftieth year I wonder why I haven't figured out how to live and work somewhere with a better climate.

I don't need the desert. We've done that as a family and can check that off the list. Best house we will probably ever own but our kids would have grown up a bit dim had we stayed. Plus that part of the country is gearing up for some trouble getting fresh water and that doesn't sound like fun. I think I would like something in-between climate wise with a side order of a reasonable state taxes and less political corruption. Cold weather and Illinois bashing aside this is miserable.

Something that's not miserable (all hail the return of the segue king) is this beautiful local news program that's about to start. I wrote earlier that I get all of my news from the internet but should have let you know that I am a huge fan of small market news. Minneapolis is a fairly big city but I get all the stuff that I love. Local accents, awesome outfits, bad sets and worse lighting. It all makes for some of the best TV on TV. If you live in a small market sit back and enjoy, its all gold.

If I remember I will try and take a picture of the big and tall weatherman in the early morning. He is my hero and he makes me feel good about every fashion choice I have ever made. I need to go as I am about to learn about frozen pipes screwing up you neighbors house as well. Nothing beats a house turning into a frozen waterfall.

January 4, 2015

boring internet rant

Clickbait pisses me off. First and foremost because I fall for it. a lot. And not the thinly veiled porn links because the porno folks don't even try to disguise their stuff. Pretty easy to figure out that you shouldn't follow a link about an eight inch hog invading something. I'm talking more about stories that I really want to read and I wish someone would write not just lie about it. I wont bore you with my list but it is things that concern me at this stage in my life and other stuff I find interesting.

I also like to keep up with what the average person is plopping out in the interweb so I read a lot of weblogs through newsreaders as well. I fall for other bloggers bullshit. A catchy title that promises something really interesting usually leads to a big pile of boring. I used to chalk that up to amateur writers trying to drive traffic to their site but now the baiting has spread to mainstream media pages and its pissing me off.

I get my news exclusively from online sources because local and national news have a horrible system for picking what they choose to report. It has something to do with scaring and depressing their audience but adding in a splash of funny or cute to keep you coming back. So instead of watching the news at night before bed I read it throughout my day as a break. I have a bunch of places I go for the news I want to keep up on and again you don't need to know my list to get the gist and I'm already beginning to bore myself with this topic.

The lords of the internet need to institute a universal BS button. The BS rating would show up next to the link and if a huge number of people hit the button you could decide whether you wanted to burn the time on clicking it. Right now the only thing I can do is leave my standard comment:
"Nice title but the story left me wanting. Next time, why not just write what you advertised? Ultimately I clicked the link and read your stuff so you win. But you should know you suck. Hard. Like a vacuum."
One dude got upset and followed my link back to this site and reported it as inappropriate. I got some weird warning messages but ultimately I didn't really care. Although that is probably a lie because I no longer use the stipidtom.com email address that led to the trouble. Anyway I wrote this just after clicking my third straight trap while I delay packing for my trip. Not sure if I'm even going to hit publish on this one because it all seems like one giant whine.

January 2, 2015

Frimonday

This was one of the longest work days in a while. This was a Monday that just happened to land at the end of the week. Part of the pain was due to the stubborn ocd that drives the middle child and I. The family cracked open a puzzle yesterday. Everyone else punched out in about an hour.

I finally punched out at 1:30am because I had to be up at 6:00am. Middle pushed through the final half hour to finish. I'll try and include a picture but I'm posting from my phone so it's a crap shoot. I will also try to telestrate the piece that Francine helped with.

January 1, 2015

bubble bubble toil and trouble

I love having a party but I hate the next day. Cleaning up sucks but when you pile on a hangover things get extremely bumpy. I try to get a jump on things the night before Luckily my Aunts called at 2:00am to taunt me about my age so I walked around cleaning while talking to their drunk asses. The one mission that was accomplished before I went to bed was the source of the faint vomit smell was discovered. It seems that someone had a mouthful they were unwilling to re-swallow so it was unloaded into the trash can. (A classy birthday party for classy folks) The real pisser of this move is that the toilet is six inches from this receptacle. So after the bio-hazard disposal I filled the can with foaming disinfectant and headed to bed.

This morning can best be described as fits and starts. I clean, straighten, and put-away until a wave of tired and or nausea overtakes me. Rest a while and then back at it. Wash, rinse, repeat. I think I'm 5 hours in and have probably done a normal hour and a half's work. It turns out that gagging is a productivity killer. Who knew? In other news I think I feel an ab forming from all of the dry heaves.

And speaking of nonproductive full body retching, smokers earn every bit of grief they take for their habit. I spent the last half hour freezing my ass off sweeping up ashes and cigarette butts from the floor of my garage. The door to which now sits open as well as the windows to my eldest child's car because everything in there smells like an ashtray. I have never smoked but I was raised by a human smoke stack and there was a time when I chewed tobacco. The difference is that I never picked a section of a party to spit in or on. Nor did I ever leave a container for someone else to clean. I know what its like to find an abandoned chew cup but its no worse that bottles and cans with beer and floating butts. uurrrpppp

Plus that f*cking horrible cigarette smoke smell gets into everything. Holy shitsticks I am dry heaving as I type. Admittedly this has more than a little to do with some questionable decisions regarding shot consumption but still. This is not a shot at any one of my smoking friends as they are usually pretty tidy. For some reason the garage was not up to usual standards and I am paying a large price right now. I just sprayed a bunch of some crap called Natures Miracle that I think is for pet piss or some other unpleasantness so time will tell.

In spite of my horrendous start to this new year I had a great birthday. The party was fun and filled with good people. I got a lot of great gifts that made me uncomfortable and the house was filled with humiliating pictures from my past. In fact child number two told me that I was getting a peek at my wake boards (the pictures that are put up all over before your funeral not some kind of decoupaged water ski type thing) very funny.

I feel like ten dollars again so I will make a run at carrying out the consolidated cooler and dumping the empties into the yard. Then I might try lighting myself on fire to raise my core temperature a couple degrees. I am currently wearing 2 hoodies and a winter coat to no avail. I think my body is being a little spiteful at this point in time.

December 30, 2014

I got nothing

I actually have more than the title advertises, maybe too much going on in my brain right now. My company office is closed tomorrow so I have my birthday completely off. I am waiting for a west coast call that is late so I figured I would kill some time with this. Tomorrow will probably be a no post day for completely selfish reasons. Family stuff during the day and New Year slash Birthday party tomorrow night. The party means a potential honeydo list the length of my arm but that's OK because I get to see my friends later.

I am telegraphing my mental illness but there is some building anxiety over a class I have to teach for the first time in 2 short weeks. And I can safely say that I am flipping the f*ck out. The class is going to be great as I have delivered a beta version and run it past some of the smartest people I know but... This is the first thing that I have ever suggested, designed, built, wrote, practiced and delivered by my self. I am feeling just a pinch of pressure at this point.

The fact that there is a wait list for the class doesn't take away from the feeling. Next week I am traveling to work on some content that is months away. I hope I can get out of my own head long enough to do that work some justice. Maybe it will give me a break from the over-think-a-thon I'm in the midst of. I find myself questioning all of the work I've done to this point and trying to think of creative changes at this late date and its making me a bit sick.

I need to call a thinking time out and hopefully the brain cell massacre planned for tomorrow night will help that cause. Oddly enough writing about it just made me feel a little better and a little worse all at the same time. I'm going to call this one a wash. good night.

December 29, 2014

end break

Okay I am ready for this break to be over and done. Working from home with everyone here is a pisser and I am not a fan. More than one call today was peppered with my apologies as the dogs lost their combined shit at something or another. And since I hide in the boy's room to work until my never starting office project is finished I get interrupted all the time. Luckily I hit the road for a long stretch beginning next week so there is an end in sight.

I also have a problem prepaying for college when they aren't even back. Not sure what it is aside from the sphincter tightening checks but those first payments due right after Christmas burn more than a little bit. I chant myself to sleep with one more semester, one more semester, one more semester. Oddly I don't wake up feeling any better. Oh well, this is what I signed up for so I'd better suck it up and mentally shut up about it.

And now from our stop-talking-to-me-about-my-phone department a quick word. As I walked in to my local Speedway this afternoon I secured my cup of ice cold carbonated chemicals and checked my phone while I waited in line. The dude standing beside me in line (and yes you read that right beside me because if her were properly lined up behind me as custom dictates he never could have seen my phone) asked "if that was the 6?" Nope, it's a Galaxy Note 4, knowing full well he wondered if it was the big iPhone.

"Why would you buy that?" Because it's the one I wanted you f*cking assh*le (I have no idea why I'm randomly typing swears with flowers in them lately) is what flashed through my brain but I am trying to be less abusive when out in public so I just answered that I liked it. The mutant behind the counter was having trouble filling the Chinese gentleman's complicated lottery order so we had plenty of time to kill. After a brief silence "What do you like about it?"

Holy shite (fancy European swears don't get a flower) this was going to be a test of my resolve... I answered that my favorite thing was the removable back and battery. This way I can swap them out in under thirty seconds and be back to 100% charged. Plug the dead one into the charger and I don't care that it takes a couple hours. He just stared at me with a BUT ITS NOT AN IPHONE look on his face so I shut down the experiment in civility. His followup question went unanswered as if he wasn't there.

I am constantly fascinated by folks and their thoughts on technology. Just not when I have to deal with them in a live no idea who you are situation. I'm going to start asking if I can take a picture of everyone from now on who wants to talk about my phone before I answer. That should creep most of them out and the ones who aren't scared away I will post and tell stories about. Win win.

December 27, 2014

be less ME

I had a ton of errands to run today and picking up the boy from practice was one of them. As he was swept up in my productivity tsunami he had to help with a bunch of my stuff. As reward I went with him to the ever awful Game Stop to upgrade one of his games to his new system. My youngest child is my peacemaker. He avoids trouble at all costs and it was with that in mind that I dialed my normal self down more than a little bit.

The deal they had was if you turn in the old generation game you get the new one at a greatly reduced price. He was spending his own money so I was needed for my violence allowing age identification. Never-mind that he can watch beheading videos or whatever crazy crap the cramped Japanese can invent all over the internet... If he wants to play a game that is considered violent with his also not 17 year old friends I had to be there.

So we do the deal and he gets the last one in the store. This meant that they couldn't find the original case and when my child was asked if this was okay he said YES. As I quickly glanced over at him his face and eyes said "Dad, please don't" so I stood down. But it absolutely killed me. Then the kid behind the register kept adding to my misery. He only had an odd colored case was that okay and then he had to print out the replacement cover was that okay. Instead of cutting the paper to fit he tore it along the edge of the counter. NONE OF THAT WAS OKAY but I just stood there like a giant uncomfortable statue.

At least when we got in the car I got a mumbled thanks. My child knew it was killing me to endure shite covered customer service and I got a little appreciation for my efforts. He had no idea but that tiny act of thanks prevented my internal plan to go straight home and launch a flaming pen campaign. It's Saturday after all and the bulk of my chores are in the rear view mirror. Instead I will vent the remaining steam by writing about it here.

Going against your nature can be exhausting and when we got home I decided that falling down a half flight of stairs might be fun. I haven't taken a shot like that in a long time I thought I broke my arm and my back is having a great time f*cking with me right now. I might have to duct tape myself into the shower stall so it fills up with back soothing hot water. The tub upstairs would require some acrobatics that are painful to think about. I am going to be sore later.


December 26, 2014

official record

Not even awake an hour and someone was already attempting to kill my Christmas buzz. I had to drop the jalopy off for some long overdue recalls and I took it to a dealer that I usually avoid like the plague. You see I love the car shopping experience, always have, and now with the invention of smart phones its a lot more fun. Before you had to do a bunch of pesky research and leg work but I digress. This dealership and I crossed paths in the 90's while I was helping my friend Tim negotiate a vehicle. They went old school on us and threw the keys to his car (they had them to assess the value of the trade) on the roof and wouldn't get them down until we grabbed a desk phone to call 911.

I loved it but it did set a bit of a tone regarding the overall business. So I dropped the van off at ten after seven this morning and the guy was going over the paperwork with me when he said "we're supposed to inspect the outside for scratches and dents but at ninety thousand miles you probably aren't worried about that anymore am I right?" No in fact he was wrong and I let him know. He tried telling me something about the overall value so I went on to tell him that he might be on the hook for any imperfection I find after today's little visit.

They have a service manager that floats around like a Vegas pit boss and he came over to find out what the trouble was... I let the employee struggle and bullshit a little bit before I told him what happened. The service guy actually tried to say that I was mistaken. I might have elevated my tone just a bit so that other customers could hear and explained that my mental faculties are in perfect working order. And now this clown who had insulted me is trying to call me a liar to my face in an effort to stay out of trouble now that his boss wandered up. Things got bumpy enough that whatever higher level manager has to work the early shift was called and he asked me the magic question.
What can I do to make this right?
I make it a practice to be ready for this at all times no matter where I am so I immediately responded that he could trade me even up for a brand new model of the same van. Anything short of that was just going to further agitate me. We ended up coming to an understanding that not only would my warranty work be done but the tires would be rotated and oil changed for my trouble. I don't really care about that I just wanted to deal a little pain to the dick that talked down to me about my shitty old van. Plus I had some time to kill while I waited for my ride. Mission accomplished.

Who knows what I'm going to pick up later this afternoon but life is a gamble and at least this was fun. If the wheels all come off on my way home I will need my real life friends to print this and give it to my wife as evidence. Our standard sue everyone policy will be easier if she knows the whole story.

December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas

I am a very lucky man. This holiday has been awesome. Unlike the majority of my friends on BookFace I will not be blathering on about gifts or posting a tsunami of religion your way. I just want to wish anyone who reads this a very merry Christmas wherever you are. Nothing too sappy just good thoughts from me to you.

I had so much fun that I started a brand new plan. I am going to attempt to see everyone I care about in 2015. They are scattered all over the country and just thinking about the task almost makes me want to quit before I start. But the first step in doing this will be making up my mind and that's already accomplished. My goal began with a list and the next step will be to look at my work travel schedule and see who I can visit while already close. Next up, crap, I don't need to spell this out. I've got a goal and I just wrote it down so I'm trying to make it real.

I also have decided to lift my normal ban on New Years resolutions. To celebrate this big birthday I think I should work on a bit of the old self improvement. Self assessment has yielded one of my worst traits. I wont leave you to guess and I do stress that this is one of many but there can only be one if I have any hope of change. And the winner is Judgement.

I am a natural judge. No idea where this comes from *cough* but I don't like it in myself. I have always had a talent in this area and I think it comes from the fact that I notice more than most. Little things, ticks and quirks jump to my gaze before anything else. Stuff that matters to some people like clothes and shoes and other obvious things mean nothing to me. I like and look for the odd and different in everything. This improvement will come in the scaling down of my pointing things out.

I should further clarify by saying unsolicited judgement out loud. Court will always be in session between my ears. Can't help that.

You will note that I didn't say I would stop all together. I'm not sure that I can. It's like an unwanted superpower and it gets worse when I drink. In fact years before this a couple of my friends identified a character in me that they call Drunk Noticer Guy. He hasn't been seen in a while but is always lurking just below my surface. I also will not be able to stop if someone draws first blood. Like a rubber hammer to the knee cap if you start busting balls I'm all in and I will probably start with whatever I've noticed will hurt the most.

Anyway, I have no right or authority to pass judgement on anything and its really annoying so I'm going to try and stop. OK thats enough introspection and future planning for one day. Back to the front; Merry Christmas!

December 23, 2014

douche

I have a heightened sense of douchery. My definition of douche or douchebag for that matter follows the North American Informal Slang version
do͞oSH Noun an obnoxious or contemptible person, typically a man. "that guy is such a douche"
and it should be said out loud with inflection as to enhance meaning. Someone acting like the aforementioned grates at me and I especially abhor the behavior when I see it in myself. I write this as I am roughly a week away from my 50th birthday and this has triggered some reflective thinking. Maybe you could already tell from my all over the road writing as of late...
nope, never mind, always that way.

This piggybacks on the post from yesterday that was loosely based on things. I am constantly reading about - looking at - and in the market for - things. Not that I am much different from a lot of Americans lucky enough to be born where and who I am but there is a part of me that wants to curb that behavior. I needed to let you know where at least some of that thinking comes from.

A while ago my dad discovered a website that contained newspaper pictures of his grandparents. This would make them my great grandparents and I was lucky enough to know them both. Here is the picture that I stole from that site
The story that goes along with that shot is about them getting kicked off of their 3rd straight farm in 3 years. They rented and worked the land but as the Great Depression picked up steam things got predictably harder for the land owners as well as the hard working people like my great grandparents. When I look at those two in that picture knowing what the story is about I don't see a lot of woe is me. In fact I see two people who are just going to figure it out and keep pushing forward.

I'm not sure if I could measure up to the things they endured. They raised my grandfather and his mentally retarded (look, I'm not sure if that's the PC name anymore but when I asked Grandma Great what was wrong with Aunt Marilyn after she hit me with a stern NOTHING those were the words she used so I'm sticking with them) sister. And by the way they nailed it. Aunt Marilyn ruled in a time where folks weren't always so nice about different especially in small towns. 

So thoughts of this generation motivate my inner douche sensor. Whenever I start down a path wondering why someone else has something I want or dreaming of a better ___ (that's supposed to be a blank that you fill in with house, car, whatever you want) my alarm goes off and I try to check myself. Doesn't always work but its always there.

I think I'm supposed to be going through some kind of crisis to celebrate my fiftieth year on the planet and maybe this is it. But I wont be buying myself a new car anytime soon or hunting down an expensive trinket. The only thing on my mind right now is turning the old garage into my office so I can stop sharing space with my son. I need to stop whining about it and start working on it or else
the dude who graduated from a team of mules to this fine machine might rise up out of his grave to slap me for being soft. Or worse yet, a fifty year old douche.


December 22, 2014

crankythinkerguy

I did something today that I swore I would stop. It's not terrible just annoying that I can't stop myself. What happened was I engaged in a bit of an internet argument and if that weren't bad enough it was about a thing. I'm struggling lately with my focus on possessions. I've talked about a desire to boil my life down to one bag and that's probably not realistic. But I do dream about the peace that a simpler life could bring. I am obsessed with the tiny house movement and what people are doing to organize small spaces. So my dream life would more realistically be distilled down into a small recreational vehicle. (AirStream if you are thinking about getting me one)

Anyway, I'm off track but not way off track. One of the "things" that I truly love is my bag. It's from saddlebackleather.com and before you can click over and check for yourself I will tell you they are a bit spendy. I've had the tobacco front pocket briefcase for about a year and it was my 4th bag from them. I traded my way up to this point as there is a thriving aftermarket. I have never lost money always selling for what I paid or more. A lot of the collectors prize the patina that develops on the leather after use and I have to say I am a fan as well. What came to me as a stiff tan bag is now a softer deep brown and before I get any creepier I will tell you that I don't ever see myself getting rid of this one. This is the ONE BAG that I spoke of earlier. For me, perfection.



As a fanatic about this stuff I am tuned in to a number of the buy sell communities built on the brand and today a little trouble bubbled up. The owner of the company is very religious and posted something about wishing people a merry Christmas. By the reaction you would have thought he was stamping crosses into the leather as it left the factory. So I couldn't help but engage a particularly hostile individual. I'm not going to go into the details because she wrote that she left the conversation feeling bullied and I don't want to pile on to her admitted defeat.

I had a lot of choice things to say but they all were centered around making someone else feel bad. She felt shitty because she didn't share the owners beliefs so she was going to make them pay. I felt like my beloved pig wrapped in cow was under attack so I was going with scorched-earth-blitzkrieg style attack. In the end I probably was a bully and I'm not proud of that but we were essentially arguing over a company and that is asinine.

Holy crap people have a need to be right and have the things that they buy be the best. That's where all of that cell phone brand loyalty comes from as if Apple or Google or Samsung cared about anything but our money. I'm hoping that if I write it it will become real. I will no longer engage in online arguments over stuff. Nope. Don't feel any different. Confidence low that this will make a change.

I think something I can accomplish is to care less about the brands to which I am loyal. These companies really don't give a rats ass what I think unless it impacts their bottom line somehow and that's just the reality. We want everyone to agree with with us that our decision is the best and we even want them to feel a twinge of jealousy. Hence the d-bag author of this site posting a bag brag picture. yuck. People are strange and I myself am in the top one percent. My crazy ass is angry becasue the picture makes the bag look 3 shades lighter than it is... effing flash.

Time to put the cuckoo back in the clock for now. Everything you own is GREAT!