Monday, August 30, 2010

What's Your Nightmare?

We are traveling to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on Thursday for a wedding.  OK, so planning an outdoor (more specifically, on the ocean in a boat) wedding during hurricane season in Florida is iffy at best.  Beautiful people as they may be, I'm not sure three years in Florida have taught my wife's cousins anything about weather patterns.  (Shurgs) what the hell, at least if we all die, we'll be celebrating with family, right? 

No, that's not actually my nightmare.  Mine happens on the way to and from the fantastic nuptials.

Direct Jet Blue Flight from
Austin, TX to Ft. Lauderdale, FL for two : $498
Additional Fees for Baggage through Jet Blue : $0
Additional Fees for Lap Children through Jet Blue : $0
Surviving a 3 hour flight with two lap children :

Screw off if you said Priceless

I know what you're thinking...Nightmare for you?  Try being a passenger around you four!
Really, I don't care.  I've been on flights with screaming children dozens of times and typically I no longer notice them after the initial take off.  We've now flown 8 times with our daughter.  Only one of them was a bad flight...and it wasn't her that made it bad.  We caused every problem by spilling an ungodly amount of crap on her and us.  There were kids (or probably parents) on them though that needed to be taken down by the Air Marshall!

The stress involved when you combine babies and airports and subsequently babies in airplanes is monumental for the parents.  My daughter is at the stage though that she's bored within 2 minutes of doing ANYTHING.  How am I going to fill three hours there and four hours back?  Terrible twos started early too!  She'll be 22 months this week.  I'm afraid she's going to be one of those aforementioned horror children. 

Our son is officially two months old this weekend.  He's still in the chillin' at the milk bar sleeping for hours mode.  Honestly, if you've never witnessed a baby drunk from breast milk, it's remarkable.  It also keeps their ears clear during take off and landing...which lucky for us coincides with his feeding schedule! 

My nightmare...freaking out during the flight in an attempt to wrangle my child (and then being taken down by Mr. Air Marshall).  Any advice for this youngish parent?  What hell have you subjected yourself to? 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Trapped Underground for 4 Months?

If you haven't heard about the 33 miners in Chile who are trapped in a copper and gold mine after a cave-in, Reuters has a good time line through last week to catch you up....here

It's been 24 days and they've been steadily working to get supplies down to them.  Food was rationed for a couple weeks...literally 2 spoonfuls of tuna and some crackers every other day! 

They've been able to communicate with their families over this past week.  Right now fighting depression is the key agenda until they are rescued.  The original estimates was three to four months.  Let that sink in.  Could you imagine being trapped in a cave underground for 4 months?  Not by choice and not by punishment (think solitary confinement). 

I'd go freakin' nuts!  I couldn't imagine 24 hours, let alone 24 days! But 120 days?

They are sending down recorded soccer matches and iPods with music and whatnot to try to keep their spirits up.  The UK Guardian has a little bit on it here

I heard about it on Tuesday from BBC's Radio 1 satellite station.  How is this not top of the news?  I realize it's not America, so people don't really give a shit.  But I haven't seen this on the news at all.  Maybe it's just bad timing...but I've heard dozens of Hurricane Katrina survivor stories for the 5 year anniversary.  I've heard all about the Emmys.  It's just strange what hits big and what doesn't to me.

In fact, stranger to me is that Chile seems to be a country we neglect in the news altogether with news when it comes to big events.  Haiti's earthquake happened a couple days before Chile's did this year.  I heard about Haiti for a month.  Chile got a blip the day it happened.  Now this.  Hardly a ping on the radar about this.

Guess the news really is about selling viewership to it's advertisers.  Gotta play the stuff people want to hear.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Preying on the Weak

I received a Text Message saying:

NETSPEND NOTICE: Your
CARD has been                    
DEACTIVATED.  Please     
 call (512)x541-2139.            

I freaked out.  My company is switching me over to a Blackberry.  I assumed they'd deactivated my phone because it was shipped to my office or something.  It's the end of the month.  NOT a good time to be out of touch with my stores.

I decided to test it.  I was able to send and receive calls from my phone.  That's odd.  So I decided to call the number.

An automated message answered in an unrecognizable accent saying: "Thank you for calling Netspend.  24 hours card activation service.  Please enter your 16 digits card number."

Not entering anything gets you silence, pressing zero doesn't do anything.  I hit pound and it told me it was an invalid card number.

Seriously?  Who is stupid enough to break out their credit card and enter it in? Then I remembered my wife getting a phone call a few years back.  We were driving and I saw her reach into her purse and pull out her debit card.  She started entering it in to the phone.  "What the hell are you doing?" I asked.  A wave of realization hit her face and she snapped the phone shut.  She said, "I don't know what I was thinking."

It's as simple as that.  If you're not really paying attention to the whole situation, you've been conned before you even realize it. 

That's what these types of scams do.  Let's say they sent out 1000 texts today and 10 people enter their card number into the phone.  1% success when you're stealing is still a success.  But what if it's 100?  Or 500?

Is there somewhere (besides internet forums) to report this kind of stuff?  Have you been a victim or seen people attempt identity theft against you?  I certainly have.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Late Night Friday-Free-For-All

God, I'm becoming a rip off artist. When I'm not whining and moaning about my life, I'm stealing the ideas of others. Bray (LINK) has a Friday Free-For-All (or whatever day he gets around to it) that always cracks me up. I'm not promising to deliver his powerhouse level posting, but I'll enjoy trying.  And don't even give me any crap over the picture quality.  Apple's camera sucks.

Wasn't sure where to begin.
So, I'll start off with some low hanging fruit.
Well chubby peas really.
What the hell lady?
I was sitting in the lobby and in walked this.
Ever expanding flesh has pushed that
Little pinky toe to a full 90 degree angle!

********************************************************

While that grossed me out, this topped it.
Homey's rockin' PINK tighty briefs!
 Skinny jeans on men and keds
both equally pathetic.
Topped only by the fact that he couldn't
drive his own car onto the auto trailer by himself.
In fact, this model would probably kick his ass.

*************************************************************

Moving on to more pressing issues.
What the hell is up with this heat?
Actually my phone and this jacked some stuff UP!

This load of bull shit is from a friend in Oklahoma.
Then again, if the heat doesn't kill them
The chili cook off at the old folks home surely will!
Or maybe the Parent of the Year will finalize it for the little tyke.
What, are you going to try to tell me it's safe because the kid has a helmet on?
Go eff yourself.

Then again, maybe he was like this guy:
Does the phrase "I Pull Out"
serve as a pick up line?
a promise?
the ultimate "it wasn't my fault, I'm not responsible, it's your problem now?"

But Texas does try to protect those Parents of the Year and other 
Organ "Donor-Cycle" Riders.
 Then again, they're not so subtle in their approach lately.
Who knows, maybe it'll save a life!

*********************************************************

So Cali voted against Gay Marriage.
Judge Vaughn Walker said y'all's just wrong!

Meanwhile Iowa is clinging on to their supported victory!
In all it's tacky splendor.
Way to miss the bigger picture effers.

 Speaking of things Liberals love to protest.
Thank you Arizona, for making an existing Federal Law that has
100% common sense backing and turning
it into a rediculous cluster f@&% that NO one will 
acknowledge is valid for fear of being labeled a bigot.

All of you bigoty gringos could use a refresher course in Spanish
If you don't know what they're saying, how will you ever control them?
Just remember they call you Pendejo out of respect for your superiority!

 Then again, even my GPS doesn't acknowledge Arizona's existence.
Seriously tripped me out, the gulf should NEVER be on the left side of the map!
I realize it's keeping the direction I'm heading facing up, but shit!
I wouldn't have noticed had the stupid zoom not acted a fool.

Then again, some people don't mind making a dead man a bigot.
Poor Paul Newman, do you think they even asked
about the sombrero and mexi-stache before he died?

Oh, while we're on the topic of salsa!
These are a genius idea!

Cause you never know when you'll need your munchies fix!
Even this trucker keeps his oven on hand at all times!

But if you're shopping for you munchie fix

Avoid the vegan section labeled "Meat"

But back to the Mexi-staches 
This is my buddy trying to be cool like the rest of the Austin Crowd.
Yep, I just called your ass out.
Shave that shit.

And speaking of Calling someone out!
My buddy's dad sure laid it all out there for us on Yahoo!
Oh and if you're going to call someone out for acting like a child...
check your own grammatical errors first.
Who knows where "there" foot will end up!

***************************************************************

Once you're done screwing around with the interwebs, 
trying to find a mustache lover or steal another man's ho:
You still have those snacks to burn off.
Daniel Craig is waiting to strap you to a wicker chair
and flog your balls till you crack.

************************************************************

I'll leave you with this final thought.
This dress below is a cell phone.
Nope, no joke.  A tech team has created a dress that you plug
your SIM card into with the antenna around the bottom.
You know, to make sure the radiation targets your unborn
children instead of your superior mind.
The woman has to pose in a certain way to
begin and end the calls.
Can't wait to see that in action in a crowded subway, concert or club!
"Hang on, I can't hear you, let me see if I can get any better reception
if I put my legs up in the air on the bar!"

*************************************************************

Oh yeah, Football is back!
Even my eggs are pulling for the Broncos!
Have a great weekend everyone!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Well Isn't That Just a Bitch!

I've let my student loans get beyond out of hand.  I suck at paying bills.  That's the primary reason my wife takes care of thing like that.  So it turns out that not all of my student loans were through the same company.  According to the letter my company's payroll department sent me today, a bill has been going to my old home in Oklahoma that I haven't lived in for 7 years.  They have ALSO filed for wage garnishment and a court in OK has granted it.  I am no having two 15% wage garnishments.  One for Sallie Mae and one for Oklahoma something or other.

Both companies sold my account to others who have now taken this action.  Here's the deal, if I was a proactive douche bag, I could have just kept deferring these loans...at least the one I knew about.  Instead I've been the in-denial-douche-bag.  While my head was buried in the sand, I allowed 30% of my hard earned cash to go directly into someone else's pocket.  I owe them the money, so don't think I'm riding the "but I'm innocent officer" pony.  I just should have controlled things far better than I did.

The worst part of this pathetic debacle is that I don't even posses the degree I'm now being raped for.  They get to take $800 a month from my post tax income.  I get to sit with zero product to account for the massive fine I'm eating.  The bright side is after two years, I'll have paid both of these companies off.  But holy hell, what if there's more?

I'm feeling about as small and worthless as a fucking zit on a teenager right now.

Here's the song stuck in my head today.  Got enough spite in it to fit my mood right now.  Enjoy...tomorrow hopefully I'll be in higher spirits.  The past few posts have been kinda depressing.

Kevin Rudolf featuring Lil Wayne
Let It Rock

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

We're BACK!

The proud rooster was ever so patient for the sun to come up this day.  It seemed that darkness would linger an eternity.  At the first break of day light, he wanted to announce the morning.  Alas, he new the rays he'd spied were merely wishful thinking.

Watchful and silent he waited, not wanting to miss his queue.  Surely this night could not persist.  He began to imagine the world that would awaken once he introduced the sun to the eager dawn.

Finally, as his strength of will had nearly crashed around him, a stream of gold broke free of the forest.  As if a brave soldier displaying the mighty banner in lead of the cavalry, he strode to the pinnacle.

With all the pride he could summon, he shook his feathers straight and threw back his comb in dazzling display and echoed out his morning proclamation.

Day had come, light was all consuming. 

As the din of life grew around him, he basked in his own glow of grandeur, knowing the morning he'd set in motion was positively grand.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Vacillations of Inspiration and Apathy

I'm hitting that critical point where decisions have to be made that will affect mine and my family's future.  Going back to school right now would be the smartest thing I can do for marketability in the long run. 

I've put it off for far too long. 

As I see it, I have two choices.  

One, I can bite the bullet
and be broke for the next
two years. 

Or two, let the current course 
run through the dry creek bed 
and then be forced to find 
something else without the degree.

Either way, I've hit a major brick wall within this company I work for and cannot expect to have a long fruitful future with them. 

The wise decision would be to proactively better myself while I am still gainfully employed.  The problem is I got myself into trouble and cannot apply for financial aide until my entire previous debt to the U. S. of A. is paid off by means of wage garnishment.  (seriously still unabashedly bitter that they began taking 15% of my salary because I missed 4 payments....absolutely ZERO exaggeration there.)

So I'm left with several options to make option numero uno work.  We can strip down all of our expenses and learn to live on a true budget.  We could move to a smaller place to save some money (in theory that's doable, but that may be a giant head ache that could hurt a lot when in the thick of it.). 

Since winning the lottery or having a sugar daddy are both highly improbable, I'd say the wife and I have some number crunching to do. 

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Boys & Girls: What's the Difference?

I was going through junk mail at the table today with my 21-month-old daughter.  She was having fun finding shapes, colors, boys, girls and letters in the different ads and what not.  She got to one and pointed to the image and said "Boy."  As per the usual, I looked to see and praise her for being right.  But then I realized what she was pointing at and thought, well I guess it could really go either way. 


This is a mailer from a local church advertising a marriage seminar.  
Please note the bird shit all over the heart and 
the angel...symbolizing rough patches in relationships.
The whole visual concept is scattered, but oh well.

I had my wife take a look and she said, "well it does have blue on. Besides, aren't all angels male? Michael, Gabriel, Lucifer...all boys."  I replied, I thought they were all supposed to be sexless, but it didn't really matter.  She's wearing blue.  I don't think she's established that connection yet."

So she flipped it over and I had her find me the heart, the bird, blue and red.  She then started in with "Girl, Boy, Boy."  I watched and I can't for the life of me understand how she differentiated one from the other.  You take a look and see.
According to her, the angels in Blue and Pink are Boys.
The angel in Yellow is a Girl.
Magical little streams of fabric are held in place to hide the truth.

If you go back to the cover angel, he's looking pretty girly in my opinion.  So how do we tell the difference?  I'm not getting into the whole Nature vs Nurture debate here.  I'm just curious, how she's decided who is what.  She's not 100% accurate in real life either.  She's pointed at boys and said girl...but the three times I can recall, it was HIGHLY questionable.  Two were little African-American boys.  One with long hair past his shoulders at the park.  Another had braids and beads at the grocery store.  The third was an ambiguous white boy at the mall with blond shoulder length hair...who, if his mother hadn't corrected her, I wouldn't have noticed. 

She hasn't figured out that her baby brother is a boy yet.  He's just always Baby.  Which, to be perfectly honest, is what I expected her to think the cupid  cherub things were: winged babies.  She points them out in real life, so why was this any different?

We first started speaking in terms of boy and girl, after she began calling total strangers Mommy and Daddy.  She'd point to a woman and say Mommy and like wise with men.  That needed to be nipped in the bud...especially when we were alone with her.  My child is no bastard.  We would say that Mommy is a girl, Berlin is a girl and Daddy is a boy.  She got it quickly and it only took a day or so for the spoken word to follow.  

So aside from obvious adult differences, how does she separate the two in children if we haven't laid out the specifics?  Intuition?  Pheromones? What do you think?

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Flight Attendant Becomes Mid-Air Child Protective Services Unit

A couple nights ago my wife was telling me about the news story where a Southwest Airlines flight attendant took a one-year-old baby from a mother after witnessing the mother slap the child.

Here was my initial reaction...to which my wife told me to stop trying to argue it with her, she was just relaying the story...

Wife: (Relayed News Story)
Me: What the hell?  She took the child?
Wife: Right.
Me:  That's kidnapping.  She's not a police officer.  You can't just take a child from someone.
Wife: They were on a plane.  She wasn't going anywhere.
Me:  I don't care if it's a box in the air, she still kidnapped a child from someone.
Wife:  She was protecting the child.  The mother SLAPPED it.  She intervened.
Me: Intervened?  What, now a glorified waitress who can demonstrate step by step seat belt operation is a qualified officer of the courts?  Did she demonstrate what the slap looked like?
Wife: What are you talking about?
Me: The slap, did she show what it looked like on the news or anything?
Wife: No.
Me:  Well, you know those whack jobs who are anti-discipline who think you bruise a child's soul if you tell them no?  Those type of people would take our child away in a heart beat if they saw me pop her on the butt or you flick her cheek when she would bite you while breast feeding (officially stopped just before 14 months, my wife is not nursing a toddler).
Wife: No, but I don't think it's like that.  There were passengers complaining.
Me: What complaining the child was crying and then the upset stewardess saw her strike the child?
Wife: Alright, quit trying to argue this, I don't know.  I'm just telling you the story.
Me: Well, you don't just take a child away from someone.  This isn't an object you can snatch.  It's a person's child!  And who the hell did the flight attendant think she is?  If anything, you call the Air Marshall over to handle the situation.
Wife: I don't know if there was one.
Me: Doesn't matter.  You take my child away, and they'd sure as hell need one cause I'd go ballistic! I would KILL a person who takes my kid.  It's just not the way you handle things.
Wife: Fine, I was just telling you about it.  I'm tired of this.  Just calm down.

OK, so maybe I got a little heated.  Maybe I missed the bigger picture and the stewardess is a hero or something.  I did read this article this morning from USA Today's Website.  I don't know, after reading the flight attendant didn't actually remove the child from the mother's hands made me feel 100% more comfortable with the situation.  Her offering to help by rocking the baby, was entirely reasonable.  All the passengers were relieved.  I'm sure it was as bad as it seemed, and not a case where it's a bunch of namby pambies freaking out over nothing.

Still, you try to take a child from someone...with the best of intentions...I guarantee there will be a fight to the death that would have been VERY bad for all parties including the infant.

What do you think?  Aside from my getting over heated with the messenger.  Would you let a stranger take your child from you....even if you'd obviously lost your freaking mind?  Would you recommend more people take this kind of action in public?  i.e. If you see a parent in a grocery store strike their child, would you intervene?  Where is the line drawn between discipline and abuse?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sleeping Alone and Bill O'Reilly

So I walked into the lobby of the hotel this morning and my buddy asks how I slept.  I told him "not very well."  Standing next to him, our friend replies that she didn't sleep well either.  With extra bright eyes, huge grin on his face and beaming excitement, he does a mock puppy stretch and says, "I slept great." 


The beds were super comfy.  I just couldn't sleep.  I went to bed about 10:15 and wouldn't let myself look at the clock until I couldn't stand it anymore and saw 11:38.  My alarm was set for 6:05.

I told him I have been sleeping next to the same person for seven years.  It's hard to change it up.  I did start out on "my side of the bed" at first but given that it was only a full, I quickly migrated to the center.  Even still, no wife, no zzzzz.

I only hit the snooze twice this morning.  Pretty good by my typical standards.  I had my morning predictions for my stores' daily performance and rate shops from the competition sent out by 6:30.  I was shaved, showered, packed up and checked out by 7:10.  That my friends is unprecedented.  Yes, all of you with real jobs that require your VISUAL presence before 9:00 (on the best of days) have permission to boo me.

Here's to possibilities and inevitable short comings (raises a glass)!

So the drive back from DFW wasn't very bad once I got past the stupidity that is Fort Worth.  You'd think I was in Austin with that type of irrational congestion.  I got home with enough time to play with my daughter for an hour or so before her bed time.  She giggled a lot and had a blast.  Best part of being Daddy, seriously...adoration.  (Closest I'll ever get to being a King!)

After I put her to bed, my wife had turned on the O'Reilly Factor.  (I typically lean conservative politically.  Honestly, no party fits me perfectly and I'd rather back the folks who value hard work and less government than those who insist on enabling the lazy.  I can deal with the minor squabbles individually.  People with money sense should control my country, not bleeding hearts.  That's what non-profits and charities are for.)  I HATE Bill O'Reilly.

Bill and I (once you strip away the mountain of bullshit, spin and vile repugnance that is his debating style/view point) typically end up on the same side of most issues he discusses.  Tonight was no different.  He discussed the Mosque at Ground Zero, Barack "Barry Soetoro" Hussein Obama being his typical self, Health Care Reform, and Sharia Law.  He got me going on every fricking topic!

Highlights:

Mosque shouldn't be built, screw being PC, 9-11 was a violent act in the name of Allah and this is just insulting.  Move it farther away.  I don't know what will make people happy, but let's be realistic, no where in Lower Manhattan is acceptable at this point.  But him insisting on trying to appeal to the "Good Muslims" to go to the tenets of the Quran and find it in themselves that to promote peace and unity (or what ever line he was touting) to not build it out of respect for the victims' families is a load of bullshit.  That's like telling the employee who walks into the boss's office asking for a raise, that if he was a good employee he would realize that what he is asking would only hurt the company he is so dedicated to and shouldn't want a raise at all.  Call it a stretch, but I think it is a fair analogy.  Just shoot it straight Bill, you don't want to be called a bigot like the rest of the crew so you are towing a line for everyone to follow.

I think BHO should stay out of it.  This is not a matter for the executive level, leave it within the city.

Skipping the Health Care one, because that was just thrown in so there weren't 6 out of 6 stories about Islam.

Sharia Law huh?  Is it legal was the proposed question.  He of course had two ladies who were on his side of the debate as guests.  If you don't know, Sharia law is the "Extreme" branch of the Muslim faith that does the whole cut off the had for theft and stone a chick for having an affair thing.  A couple days ago in Afghanistan, they stoned TO DEATH, a couple caught having an affair.  First Bill's blond guest tried to play it off that engagements in the Muslim community are laughable, then quickly moved on to say they had no evidence aside from catching the two of them holed up in a motel together.  She then tried, poorly, to described the horror that is stoning a human being.  I'm not going to play lawyer, judge and jury here, but I guarantee that'd be enough evidence for my wife to leave my ass.  But that's irrelevant.

What is relevant is that THIS IS ANOTHER COUNTRY, NOT THE USA!  Their laws may seem barbaric and extreme, but as a country with the death penalty, we aren't even a pot that's a shade of gray calling the kettle black here.  Forget the appeals process.  Forget the handful of laws that once broken lead to execution.  WE STILL EXECUTE PEOPLE!  While I support the death penalty; I'm not ballsy enough to point fingers at another country who ALSO has it and say "You're not fair!" 

Hanging, Firing Squat, Guillotine, Quartering, Burning at the Stake and anything that may or may not go on in Gitmo aside, this is a perfect example of splitting hairs.  Would I chose the gas chamber, electric chair or even lethal injection over stoning...no.  At least the people who threw the stone have to take that away with them.  We have tried to eliminate the guilt to an umpteenth degree so everyone walks away with a clear conscience.   You take a life, whether in war, self defense, carrying out an execution, accident or out right murder, you have still taken a life.  It should and inevitably would weigh on you for the rest of your own life at any rate.  I think that helps keep us grounded.

I'm sorry, I typically try to remain politics free, but he got me riled.  Thanks baby and suck it Bill!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Probably More Appropriate as a Facebook Update

Yes, this is less of a blog post and probably something more suitable for a Facebook update, but it is what it is. 

I'm out of town on a business trip right now.  We are meeting for a district review at the area headquarters.  The whole team is together...something that doesn't happen often.  We all have territories in different areas of the state, so most of our contact is via email and phone. 

It's really nice, camaraderie that is.  We all went out to a great Italian restaurant called "i Fratelli's" and had some wine and great food.  Poking fun at each other and swapping stories, both work and personal.  Good times.  Best of all it was on the company's dime. 

We've now retired back to the hotel because it's going to be an early morning. I was prepping for the morning to make sure I could sleep in as late as possible but still be ready to go first thing and was about to do the whole nightly routine when I realized I was an idiot...again. 

I forgot my tooth brush and toothpaste.  Dang it!  I'm not the type to intentionally shine a spotlight on myself as a dumbass in real life.  So the dilemma was, do I call the front desk, as my wife recommended, or just find a convenience store of some sorts in a city I'm unfamiliar with. 

I bucked up the courage to call the front desk and to my delight, chipper Felicia at the front desk told me to come on down and it was complimentary.  THANK YOU BABY JESUS!

Crisis diverted.  Good night all.  You too can now sleep soundly knowing my pearly whites are polished and purdy!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Reason #1,652,783,405 Why Apple Sucks

I am a willing Apple consumer.  Like the rest of the world, I purchased iPhones with AT&T service because they were cool and sexy.  There is nothing special about these phones that another manufacturer hasn't done better, but we were swayed by the fantasy, not reality.  Here's a link to a funny video making fun of idiots like I was when I did the following.

So we purchased Apple Care for $67 at the time.  This extends the manufacturer's warranty (funny isn't Apple the manufacturer?) and guarantees us a repurchase price of $200 should we damage the phone irreparably.  This was last October and we only paid $100 for the phones to begin with.   Not sure how I justified that additional cost.  My math skills must have gone out the window when I chose to go with Apple and AT&T instead of the HTC or any other cool phone.

Flash forward one month.  My then one year old daughter used my wife's phone as a chew toy and fried the screen.  Because we were still in the honeymoon period they repaired the screen for free.  They also soldered a wire incorrectly that caused her face to surf the touch screen while she was on the phone.  About a week of accidental muting or hang ups, we took it back in and they fixed the little problem.

Now flash forward to last Monday. My wife's phone wouldn't work.  We charged it overnight.  Still didn't work the next morning.  We have a home phone through the vile cable company, so she was fine for a couple days while we figured out what we should do.  I called Apple on Thursday and they had me try a few tricks to bring it back to life.  They were all for naught.  So they scheduled me an appointment on Friday with the Genius Bar.

Here's a little aside about the so called Genius Bar.  While it's a catchy term, frankly the idea of calling yourselves geniuses as opposed to Geeks or what the reality is...corporate pawns with minimal training that could ultimately be outsourced to a computer...is a little pompous.  But this is Apple, so go figure.

I arrived about 10 minutes early for the appointment.  I waded through the sea of customers, shiny technology and sales people.  It's similar to a 90's first person shooter game.  You can go up to someone and try to unload your shot gun on them, but unless they are a bad guy or an intended target, they aren't going to die.  Sales people fully ignore you unless you walk straight toward the toys.  If you look determined to head to the Genius Bar, they make zero eye contact, nor do they budge.  The geniuses however seem to pick up on your vibe.  They asked me if they could help and confirmed I had an appointment and told me to wander around until a Genius found me.  I thought it was odd that they didn't say call my name, but oh well.

So 20 minutes later a genius who I'd seen do nothing but play with his phone for the last 15 minutes found me...right as I took a phone call and just hovered.  Just like waiters and their uncanny ability to ask how you are while chewing.  Fucker.  I asked if he was there for me and he said yes.  I got off the phone and he introduced himself. I explained the situation and he pointed out the obvious damage from being dropped, took the phone and disappeared for 10 more minutes.  Once he came back he said it had water damage and couldn't be revived.  AW Damn!  With a toddler who is obsessed with our phones, that is no surprise at all.

He then explained that they could do a swap for $200...actually he said one ninety-nine, cause that makes it all better.  I said swap?  Like for a new phone?  Yes, he replied.  I said, well sure, my wife would love one of the newer models.  He said, no.  It would be for the same model.  Oh, I replied.  So I only paid $100 for this one, but to replace it is $200.  Yes, he said, that's why you purchased the Apple Care, so you could secure a price.  I paused and said, huh, I'm starting to think I purchased it because I'm an idiot.  He looked confused...faker...he knew the scam he was peddling.  I told him I'd have to talk it over with my wife.  He all but bolted when I didn't yell at him. 

Saturday, we were in the mall shopping for a dress my daughter can wear to a wedding a few weeks.  We stopped by the Apple store because we'd decided to extend our prison sentence with AT&T instead of paying he hefty penalty for breaking our contract and getting a different phone.  Same scene as the day before.  They told me I could come back in an hour with an appointment.  I was confused but they explained I wasn't getting around it, so fine.  I've got mouths to feed, let's just schedule it for tomorrow.  I asked if 11:00 worked, he said 10:50 and 12:10 were available.  10:50 then.

This morning.  10:45 rolls around and we are parked outside of Nordstroms and have unloaded the chitlens.  The doors are locked.  What the what?  Great, the mall isn't even open yet.  Why do I have an appointment before the mall opens?  The littlest one needed to eat anyway, so I told my wife to just move the car around to the other side of the mall and feed him while we got it taken care of.  Off I strode with my daughter.  We arrived at the apple store at 11:00, sweaty, but present. 

This is where it gets ugly and I loose rational thinking.  This little twat outside of closed glass doors tells me that my appointment has been canceled.  I look inside and there are two customers and a couple dozen blue shirts...Geniuses and salesmen alike.  She asked if I wanted to make a new appointment for at 12:10.  I said, no, let's just do this now.  She looked shocked that I didn't just say, OK, like a jack ass.  She readjusted herself like a bouncer who sees trouble and said, You don't understand, your appointment has been canceled, you can't do it now.  I asked if she was joking, I said, I didn't know they scheduled me before the mall opened and that I just walked halfway around the mall to get in here.  She said, so do you want to make another appointment.  I flung my hands in the air and stalked off with the stroller. 

The next little bit sucked.  I couldn't figure out where my wife had moved the car.  And with no phone, we were pretty incommunicado.  We went up and down aisles and I stewed and brooded for a long while.  I finally decided to call for another appointment, because other wise we'd just be doing this all over again.  The little girl who answered the phone after 8 rings asked to put me on hold as soon as she picked up.  I said no.  She stammered and asked, no?  I said, I was standing outside and needed to make a third appointment to have the privilege of spending money with your company.  She said, you're outside?  I said, outside the mall.  I showed up 10 minutes late for an appointment and the girl at the front told me to go away.  There was a bit of back and forth and ultimately, I apologized for being harsh, it wasn't her fault, I was just frustrated with the whole circumstance.  She was empathetic and eventually we got to the nitty gritty.  She was stuck on the "are you buying a new phone? or are you needing an appointment with the Genius Bar?"  I said I didn't care how they phrased it, I need to give someone money to get a replacement iPhone for my wife.  So 12:20 it is. 

What the fuck are we going to do in a closed mall for an hour?  A few minutes later, the wife and lil' 'un showed up.  I explained the situation and we strolled (literally, each of us with a stroller) around the mall.  We stopped to get a drink at the food court where I began to show my ass.  This behavior is childish and my wife doesn't tolerate it.  She told me to stop stewing and just try to calm down.  It eventually worked.  Once the mall actually opened, things were easier. 

We went back for the appointment at 12:15 and the place was packed.  It seriously felt like a hip club, a good quarter of the mall patrons were in the store.  All the calming down went away when it took them 10 minutes AFTER MY APPOINTMENT to find me.  So, it's OK for them, but not OK for me?  Hypocritical fuckers!  My daughter was done with the stroller at this point...nearly 2 hours if your counting.  At one point while I was awaiting my Genius's return, my child started pulling chargers off the rack.  I just let her.  She was no longer squealing at the top of her lungs.  This is when the ass, who scheduled me without mentioning the mall was closed during my appointment, comes over to ask me to stop her.  I said, no.  I was planning on picking them up but you have made me wait an hour and a half now for this.  He walked away from the crazy guy with fire in his eyes like any wise self-preservationist would.

The Genius arrived with paperwork and a phone along with a coffin containing my wife's old phone.  I had to sign and whatnot.  I then asked about my wife's photos and contacts.  He said the phone is dead, we can't get any of that.  I asked if I could take the phone to try and get someone to pull it.  Then he said, they keep the phone...that's why it's called a swap.  (ASS)  He then added, surely you sync your phone regularly?  I snatched her new one and walked out. 

So, guess when my wife flipped?  Yep, read the last paragraph and you'll figure it out real quick!  I didn't of course tell her this until we were back home out of Blue-Shirt-choke-a-mother-fucker-out distance. 

So, the fried phone aside, every bit of the frustration could have been quelled if the door whore had just taken the high road this morning.  Everything up to that point had been my fault and/or decision.  Apple has created this hype around themselves by making this an exclusive club.  They could have easily taken one of the other 20 Blue shirts in the store at the time to help me.  Instead, she hid behind these invisible self-induced restraints.  For that Apple, I give you a giant Middle Finger Salute! 

Friday, August 13, 2010

TWC, I've About had it with your Shenanigans

Time Warner Cable's positive self promotional ad campaign for the last couple years has been "Rule Your Kingdom."  They were amusing at first.  Here is one with a woman channel surfing, commanding her shows to amuse her in a faux Old English accent.  They have lots of these, some good most really annoying.

My favorite is a couple on the couch and the husband's best friend calls (his caller ID appears on the TV screen).
Man: Oh, it's Jim (reaching for the telephone)
Wife: (touching his hand) Stay thy hand.  Thou mayst speak with him upon the morrow at the bowling of the balls.  Tonight we laugh and feast.
Man. (Sits back and begins eating popcorn from a bowl) Is this the whole feast, or are we working on something else?
TWC's tag line comes over about you having the power and ruling your kingdom.  I love it.  Simple, homey and comfortable.  The whole dialog is really clever in my opinion. 

They are also running a series of mudslinging commercials against the competition.  

I won't torture you with the ridiculous Mike O'Malley commercials that have ruled my kingdom with a semi humorous but ultimately retarded everyman shtick. Basically his ads are designed to attack the satellite companies' HD services and whatnot.  "Direct TV hates puppies."  "The satellite company is worse than my mother-in-law."  "The satellite company is like the crappy neighbor you can't stand."  (No kidding, the puppy commercial is real.)

The one that is presumably aimed at Texans attacking AT&T's Uverse is probably the most all encompassing insult to everyone's intelligence.  There are a couple of redneck gentlemen at a BBQ cook off.  One is a larger fella with a handlebar mustache thing going on, talking in a fake hick accent and is wearing a mechanic's uniform of sorts.  The other is rather nondescript, but doesn't say much, so it's just as well.  Handle bar guy is making some analogy about team work, false representation or something equally stretching and says he must be thinking about Uverse.  They glance over at a couple of skinny gentlemen dressed like wannabe cowboys getting singed by the grill and recoiling like little wimpy sissies.  Clipping back to Mustachio he continues about how Time Warner is great and blah blah blah not like "them satellite boys."  Then he makes a snide reference to the impostors from New York City and points his tongs back at the skinny crew.  Nondescript adds "Yeah, Buddy" as the commercial wraps up.

The thing is, these Texans are obviously just caricatures of what an outsider thinks of Texans.  The New York city sauce users are obviously supposed to be incompetent city folk...seriously skirting derogatory gay slandering there TWC with the general visual implications...just has me confused.  It insults both the group they are trying to appeal to and insults everyone else in their failed attempt at it.  Besides, It's literally a Pace Picante rip off...if you don't know what I'm referencing, here's the link.

I'm fed up with their service in general.  So this is probably why I'm over analyzing it to begin with.  I would just like to quit hearing TWC slander everyone and sing their own praises when they rape you just as badly as Apple & AT&T do with iPhone users.  The difference is, I willingly was drawn to the shiny pretty things in Apples world.  I don't have another cable option.  I literally have to Frankenstein it with Uverse or Dish Network and Clear Wireless.  Either way, I'm not using cable.  I thought monopolies were illegal?  Then again, I'm probably confusing reality with Austin's liberal ideals.  Has anyone else seen these?  Anyone have recommendations on cable & internet alternatives?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Paris Hilton...Hot or Not?

I'm going to be a little tacky here.  Two posts in a row...watch out now.

I saw this photo on CNN.com's Entertainment page.

At first I was like "Wow, Paris got a boob job!"

Then I took a closer look.  Same little bitty A Cup there.  She's just just arching the hell out of her back to give some semblance of curve. 

Her belly looks huge from this angle, even though you can see what's really going on.  Why?  Who told her this is the way to manipulate the shot?  She's been posing in front of the camera for 15 solid years now.  I guess one awkward shot is to be expected.

The whole Marylin replica thing just gets lost when I'm seeing this crap.  Have you ever seen a horse distend it's belly so the saddle doesn't fit as snug?  My babies do the same thing with their diapers.  I guess it fits really, mental capacity of an infant or a horse. 

Is she on your Hot list?  Is she just another fame monger who needed to disappear? (cause honestly, I don't hear about her nearly as much as I did say 5 years ago)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Naughty, Naughty, Naughty

I've been following a hilarious...raunchy...over the top...balls to the wall blogger called One Crazy Brunette Chick for a little while.  The only thing I can say is DIZ-AMN!  My usual readers, please forgive me, I do occasionally use foul language but I do not typically get down and dirty nor do I really break out the razor blade and cut out a few lines of unadulterated rawness.  Today is the exception and if you aren't up for the ride, I suggest you check back tomorrow.  I'm not joking about this.  You have been warned!


Naughty List

For those of you who have stuck around...here's the deal.  CB has a fantastic blog you should follow and worship.  Here is the link!  Today she proposed the creation of a list.  This is simple but revealing.  You are to list three naughty things you've done.  To quote "list 3 OR MORE naughty things that you've done... 10 years ago, 5 minutes ago, hell even if you just imagined a wild ride with a Crazy Brunette"

Naughty Things I've Done before (before I was 24):

1.) Before my wife a I were officially dating, we did it like jack rabbits, any where and every where.  Neither of us lived on our own, so we got it on all around Tulsa.  We frequently chose the river park across the pedestrian bridge to do the deed until I got a horrific case of chigger bites on my nuts.  Calamine lotion doesn't do shit for whelps on your junk.

2.) I went to a rave in Montreal about 10 years ago.  I didn't realize it was a primarily gay friendly event before attending.  I found two different girls to "turn me straight" in the men's bathroom in the same night.  Kept me on the narrow road to righteousness ever since y'all!

3.) I was fired from a bar for serving a minor who was two days away from 21 on a Tuesday.  By Saturday, I was working at another bar and had services rendered by another eminent 21-year-old in the kitchen's walk in fridge.  I never got to collect my tips before the manager threw me out on my arse!

Feeling up to it?  Open up and reveal your deepest darkest secrets.  Or at least entertain the rest of us with a crazy tale!

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Hot Sauce Festival

Sunday August 29th at Waterloo Park, the Austin Chronicle will host it's 20th annual Hot Sauce Festival!

To quote "If you want to beat the heat, you gotta eat the heat!"

They call it a friendly competition between Austin & San Antonio as folks from both cities come out to peddle their wares and join the contest for supremacy.  This is a knock down drag out battle of the salsas with millions of taste bud casualties! 

The admission is "free" so that means if you're up to the challenge, you can stroll through the tasting tent and sample hundreds of entries.  The quotes around free mean you must make a donation to the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas, either cash or bring three healthy non-perishables.  It's a great cause, they claim to have brought in $14,000 and 29,000 pounds of food last year!

I want to make an entry.  I remember making salsa nearly every summer when I was a kid and I have been known to whip up a mean batch of red style salsa!    If I make it at home, only the judges (chefs from around the state) will get to taste it.  If I want the general public to try it out too, I can borrow a commercial kitchen from a place called Just Add Chef.  They'll certify that it's my concoction and it was made in a safe environment.

I'll stay away from the green salsa or the "decimate your taste buds" hot sauce in a jar (think Tabasco for those of you who didn't follow me there).

Here's the link to the event for my fellow Central Texans who are interested in challenging the capsicum gods to a tongue thrashing throw down.

Firehouse Subs has an incredible variety of bottled hot sauces for you to try with your sandwich.  There are dozens here alone I've never tried, but enjoy taking new ones for a ride (or vice versa) when I'm noshing a Hook and Ladder.  I especially like Tahiti Joe's Polynesian Hot Sauce and Jim Beam's Kentucky Bourbon Hot Sauce with my subs.  But I've given some of their hotter varieties a whirl and frankly, WOW oh WOW!  I will strongly advise against Key West's Hot Sauce with A-Peel.  It is banana flavored hot sauce and I ga-ga-ga-gagged!

Savory Spice Shop has a new hot sauce made with the Bhut Jolokia, AKA the Ghost Pepper with a rating over a million on the Scoville scale for capsaicin, that I'm actually terrified to try.  That said, I'm thinking about getting it as a White Elephant Christmas present this year just to have the opportunity to test my fears!

I'm excited!  Do you like it hot?  If so, what's your favorite pleasure/pain inducer?

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Social Networking Question

I'm friends with a couple of exes on Facebook.  My wife is too.  We have been together since our early/mid twenties, so everything prior was, well, puppy love or first loves, or however you like to remember your past.  This select few are also obviously amicable break ups and not anything bloody nor emotionally distressing. 

None the less, they are exes and we've moved on to have our own beautiful family.  My two exes have also done the same.  I cannot say the same about my wife's.  I'll leave the "pattern of losers" connection (myself included?) to you kind folks.

I have ignored past "hook ups" for obvious reasons.  FB booty calls when you're married is just WAY out of line.  And frankly reconnecting with these folks could seriously have a damaging affect on my psyche. While these types of reconnection could be humorous, I'm not down.

So today I received a friend request from an ex's mother.  OK, I'm friends with my Mother on Facebook.  I'm friends with my Mother-in-Law too.  There are even a few Mother's of my friends on there (fine, insert Eddie Haskell joke here).  THIS, is pushing it.  While we dated, it there were no animosities, but afterward, I don't recall having a "healthy" relationship with this lady.  I'm sure she's well intentioned...in the "I was another maternal figure in this young man's life" kind of way.  But it's just too weird for me.

What do you think?  Would your spouse even allow the other friends? Where do you draw the line?  Acquaintance?  Coworker?  Current/Former Authority Figures (Bosses/Teachers/Counselors)? Friend of a Friend? Nowhere?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Superior Reality TV is Back!

I'm not so superior to say I never watch reality TV.  I'll usually catch an episode or two of American Idol to stay up to date on my pop culture.  I openly admit watching Project Runway.  I catch lots of baby/parenting shows on TLC and Discovery with my wife.  I watch Food Network shows, including competitions and challenges. I've even caught a couple episodes of Last Comic Standing. I may enjoy some mindless crap, but I don't stoop so low as to watching the retardedly, pathetic, uninspired, crap like Biggest Loser, Survivor, Big Brother, the Bachelor, Rock of Love or anything on E! or MTV. 

Where am I going with this?  Tonight I'm watching the Cowboys whoop up on the Bengals in the first pre-season game.  I'll never tout being the biggest sports fanatic, but this is far more entertaining than any sludge produced in the vain of reality!  Football is a reality show in my opinion.  High drama, unfulfilled promise of sex (in the form of cheerleaders), bunch of jocks getting famous for being on TV, script writers/editors who make it even more exciting than reality (commentators), underdogs and heroes...what more is there to reality TV?

I am excited to see what the Broncos do this year!  Who's your team? 

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Was Agent Smith Right?

I'm not an environmentalist in the generally recognized sense.  I'll never chain myself to a tree to save the blind salamander, Mexican free tailed bat,  or any other blind endangered species.  Seriously, Austin, why does every creature you move hell and earth to save have to be visually impaired? 

I do recycle.  We cloth diaper.  I support local everything. Things I can do to lessen my impact, I attempt.  I do not break my back however to ensure everything is green or self sustainable (hell, I work in an industry that is wholly dependent on petroleum).  All of this is simply to establish that I am a.) not a jerkweed treehugger with an agenda and b.) not an expert of any sort on this topic.


Boing Boing posted an interesting audio/visual of nuclear explosions around the world.  The video link is about 15 minutes long.  But really the impact is incredible.  It starts with Trinity, the first successful American A-Bomb test in New Mexico, July 16, 1945, moving on to "Little Boy" in Hiroshima and "Fat Man" in Nagasaki, the following month.  It continues with others from the US and then the USSR, Great Britain, France, China, India and Pakistan joining in through 1998.  2053 total nuclear explosions across the globe in 43 years.

There has to be an environmental impact here.  Some from each country exploded in the Pacific Ocean.  All countries seemed to prefer relatively uninhabited areas of their territories.  The US used much of the Sierra Desert, France blew up their land in the Sahara, Russia/USSR didn't seem to give a shit where, but that's not so surprising.  Few people or not, there is still an ecosystem in existence along with water supplies and whatnot that were impacted.  The idea of the ocean life breeding after the explosions is terrifying.

The death count and subsequent feasting on irradiated bodies alone scares me.  What carcinogens have we consumed from the wild caught fish in the Pacific?  I realize a nuclear reactor explosion and an A or H Bomb explosion are different.  But the affects on the Japanese survivors and those from Chernobyl don't seem so different, just time.

So has anyone studied this?  Has anyone accounted for the explosions on the endangered species lists?  How bout global warming?  Wouldn't thousands of explosions reaching into Earth's atmosphere have some impact?

So speaking of global warming and ozone depletion, I have a theory (I don't really care that my physics teacher in high school says both are utter crap, the terms work for the direction I'm about to go) that I want to run by everyone.  The way I've always understood the whackadoodles is that the temperature of Earth has increased a couple degrees over the span of a millennia or more.  This results in ice caps melting and oceans desalinating and the end of the world as we know it in general (especially those on the coast)!  We have about 50,000 aircraft flights per day across the world.  Think about the heat and pollution we hear about cars producing all the time.  Just imagine what an airplane creates?  This is jet fuel being burned, not just gasoline.  AND, they are up there right in the higher reaches of our atmosphere!

I'd guess that could account for a large amount of nonexistent ozone depletion and cyclical global temperature shifts spikes.  Really, just give it a thought, the concept is far easier to grasp than the CFC usage and cow farts bovine emissions they point their fingers at.  PETA would hate me, I'm saying vegan doesn't save the environment, walking/biking and internet conferencing does.

What are your thoughts?  Am I off my rocker?  Did you even realize the amount of Nuclear Bombs we launch?  Does my Flaming Jet theory hold water?  Are you a militant recycler or do you prefer to start forest fires?   Because nothing but extremes exist when talking about the environment, right?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Absolut Drinks Campaign

A month or so ago Madame Lamb posted the photos from Megan Fox's saucy shoot with a mannequin bearing her own likeness.  Hot and creepy at the same time...thank you Interview Magazine and Craig McDean!  The Interview accompanying it was her being probed (and yes that's the appropriate term for what was produced) by Zach Galifianakis.  I'd give you the link to Madame Lamb but it appears they've been hacked and are now an illegal online pharmacy...HACKERS SUCK!  So here's the link to Interview's page instead.

I'll get back to Interview in a moment.  The pop art Absolut Vodka continues to produce for their advertisements makes me happy.  They have seeped into pop culture in a very fun and creative way.  They are selling alcohol for christ's sake, why not have a little fun with it?  It works nearly every time.  I remember the Crown Royal billboard off highway 244 between Sheridan and Memorial in Tulsa vividly.  They changed the ad often enough to keep you looking but would find their way back to one of my favorites frequently.  It was simple.  A giant Crown Bottle half unsheathed from it's purple bag with one liner stating "Not Actual Size."  It truly ticked me as a child...turns out as an adult, I hate the stuff!

The latest print ad campaign I've seen for them was in said magazine with Megan Fox and all of her naughtiness.  I was waiting to get my hair cut and was pleasantly surprised to find it and was horrified at the mess that is stepping (ever slightly) into Mr. Galifianakis' head.  Attempting to find the remaining part of the story in the back of the magazine The Absolut Twist caught my eye.  It was shiny and happy and I didn't realize it was for Absolute at first.  Next, I caught the recipe in the corner and glanced at the bottom to see the info.  This is where I did a double take.
That Blond Bombshell in the swirl of green with the turn table is Kate Beckinsale!  Never would have noticed it was her until I read it.

The series was designed by fashion photographer Ellen von Unwerth.  Here is the link to her fan page if you want to familarize yourself further with some of her work.  She's got a cheeky feel about most of her photos.  I dig it.

As I continued to wait, I snagged a new magazine and found another one of her Absolut ads.  This one had Zooey Deschanel in a circus ringleader's outfit holding a ventriloquist dummy of herself.  It was for the Absolut Vodka Martini.  I cannot for the life of me find this image on line.  I wish I'd at least snapped off a pic at the shop but there wasn't forethought about posting it.  Hindsight you know?

So here are the ones I could steal from the interwebs!

The dashing Kate as
Absolut Bloody Mary
Mirror from the Urban Legend and everything!
 
 I've never had an Absolut Blues
Zooey is enough to make me try it though
It's alcohol, how bad could it really be?
Abslout Crush
Again, never tried it
Kate is rockin' the Barbarella look though
I'm down
Your Absolut Cosmo
I'm glad they went futuristic
instead of Sex and the City-ish
Yeah, that's Zooey


So here's where I share my own Absolut Recipe!

I made a drink I called a Clearly Canadian.  Those of you who didn't grow up in the 80's and 90's may not be familiar with this effervescent treat.  You'll just have to take my word that this tastes just like one!

Fill a high ball with ice
pour 1 oz Absolut Kurant
top with club soda
add a squeeze of lemon

Yes, it's that simple and it is essentially a flavored vodka soda.  Bite me.  So here's the modified version I made my wife called a Lazy Morning.

Fill a high ball with ice
pour 1 oz Absolut Kurant
top with club soda minus a finger
splash of pineapple juice
add a squeeze of lime

I can seriously loose track of how many of these I suck down.  They just disappear.  Oh, and for the record, I've never actually made one small enough to fit into a high ball...so modify as necessary!
This was all sparked by the new TV ad Absolut is running with Ali Larter as Lemon Drop.  Here's the Video on Youtube.  The link from the commercial keeps bouncing me to my home page.  Starting to worry that I might be the one hacked!



 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

5 Foods I Am (Only Somewhat) Ashamed to Say I Love

Editor of 5@5, James Oseland posted this article on CNN.com eatocracy blog.  He writes about the 5 foods he's ashamed to admit he loves.  I am a sucker for lists.  I too have many a guilty pleasure.  So really, this was right up my alley.  I may not share any of his tastes, but there are certainly common sources involved (fast food, candy, etc).

So here are my  five foods I'm ashamed to say I love:

1.) Starbuck's Caramel Frappuccino - Calorie count aside, I really hate the overly burnt flavor from the Coffee King's beans.  But I cannot resist this fabulously frosty concoction!  The sweet from the carmel balances the over-roast and makes for a heavenly experience.  Why be ashamed?  Coffee or espresso alone, possibly with milk should be the go to, not this fat laden sugary confection.

2.) Steak & Egg Burrito from Jack in the Box - Friends, I live in Austin, Texas.  This is the land of authentic breakfast tacos fresh from the trailer.  I'm not joking about the trailer thing...THE BEST food comes from a super cheap trailer with a catering license!  Those of you on the East Coast with street vendors know what I'm talking about.  But the lure of this fast food behemoth is too much to resist.  A large flour tortilla filled with scrambled eggs, steak strips, fried hash brown sticks, cheese, a special sauce (OK, enough snickering!) and salsa.  AWE-SOME!  No combo though, this Boeing 757 size wrap is more than enough for breakfast...possibly lunch and dinner too, when you look at the fat and calorie content.

3.) Reese's Peanut Butter Cups - "You got Peanut Butter on my Chocolate!" "No, you got Chocolate in my Peanut Butter!"  Need I say more?  I once watched a heffer ( fat girl reference, not the bovine kind...even if this is Texas) waiting for a flight at the airport, pack away 4 King Size Reese's Cups.  For those of you unfamiliar with this specific package, it's double the normal amount in a pack.  That's 4 cups in one temptation spawning orange wrapper.  So that you don't have to do the math (such a considerate person, no?) - That's 16 Peanut Butter filled Chocolate cups.  I went on a Reese's hiatus for a long while after witnessing this very sad event.

4.) Coney Islander Chili Cheese Coney's - I did not grow up where I could have enjoyed the real deal.  So the next best thing in Tulsa, Oklahoma was this franchise's irresistible micro dogs on buns with meaty chili, cheese, mustard, onions and a splash of pepper vinegar!  We are not lucky enough to have anything close to them down here.  I get to indulge once or twice a year when we go back home to visit family.  My brother-in-law (whom we stay with every Christmas) just happens to live 2 blocks from one of the shops.  This itty bitty walking distance is a very dangerous thing for a foodaholic like myself.  Oh, and the ensuing heartburn is SOOO worth it!

5.) Brownies - Specifically the middle of the pan without the hardened edges, brownies.  I do not have a brand preference.  I just cannot get enough of the chocolatey, gooey goodness that is a fudge brownie.  Elevated above both cookie and cake, this fudgy bar has the mood elevation from the cacao as well as the cure for the worst sweet tooth!  Should I one day become a Superhero, my arch nemesis will undoubtedly use the simple brownie to crush me like a bug...weakness, tsk, tsk.

Bittersweet feeling with this sharing.  It makes me reflect on the little fatty I've become but there are obviously joyous thoughts involved with each treat on my overly indulgent list.  What are your favorite guilty food pleasures?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Top 40 Agenda

According to my wife...the reason I have stupid songs stuck in my head all the time is because I "listen to crappy radio stations playing crappy music."  While she is probably 100% correct, that doesn't explain the utterly addictive nature of said crappy music.  The local KISS FM station plays Top 40 music non stop.  A song like B.O.B.'s Airplanes (Part II) featuring Haley Williams from Paramore and Eminem will be played in regular rotation every thirty minutes.  Do I listen to this station?  Yes.  Is it the only station I listen to? No.
So when does Apple reveal him as their ultimate creation?
The iHost:
"This Changes Everything.  Infinity!"
 
The why is it that I don't get a Foo Fighters song stuck in my head daily?  I hear them at least twice a day from the other stations I listen to.  The short answer...Pop Music is engineered to stick with you and become immediately familiar.  It's like a jingle for a fast food joint, you inexplicably know it like your last name and it will never leave you...at least until they come up with a new one.

There are several artists I will tire of immediately even though I absolutely love their music (I use the term love and music EXTREMELY loosely here).  No Doubt/Gwen Stefani is one of those artists.  I'm saddened when an overplayed song hits the trash bin for me when...if the radio station wasn't shoving their agenda down my throat, I'd probably be cool to hear it daily.

Right now at any given moment you can hear one of the following artists at least once an hour on KISS FM.

David Guetta
B.O.B.
Bruno Mars
Pitbull
Eminem
Ke$ha
Katy Perry
Black Eyed Peas
Jason Derulo
Taio Cruz
Mr. Hudson
Usher
Lady Gaga
Rhianna
3oh3

I'm sure I've missed someone, but it's not worth the research right now.  Do you know how I comprised this list?  With the exception of Ms. Gaga, every one of these people have worked with at least one if not 6 other people on this list for a 2010 summer hit.  

These aren't really pop stars so to say, these are more like the latest craze ingredients in a bar cocktail.  Do you remember when it was raspberry EVERYTHING there for a decade or so?  Now every vodka manufacturer is trying to stay a step a head by concocting an absurd variety of twisted/infused vodkas?  For the past five years or so it's been Pomegranate this and that.  If you don't have a clue what I'm yammering about, kudos for being above hype and oblivious to the inane obsessions of the masses.  Cosmos & Mojitos have certainly enjoyed their respective rises to modern superstardom as this decade has sailed along.

Sorry, I got side tracked with my analogy and never found a point.  Although, was it really that surprising that I was distracted by alcohol?

The point was that these artists are being blended together at a staggering pace.  During the 90's, putting a rapper with a pop star became common practice to produce the best summer jam possible.  It was innovative.  Now it's passe.  They're combining more and more into one song at a tone deafening rate.

They are evening creating people to sing specifically for rappers because a sound has worked so many times in the past.  Jay-Z and Dr. Dre needed to replicate the sound of Chris Martin (Coldplay) because they liked it so much but couldn't pull the man away from his own fame and family.  Thus Mr. Hudson was created.  Sounds Britishy but with less of a hefty price tag.  

I made mention of Gaga being the exception.  Don't think she's above it though.  They paired her up with Beyonce for Telephone to get the extra cha ching!  But even the folks who NEED the rapper to flesh out their sound are being paired up together.  Ke$ha and Tiao Cruz put out a song together.  (Blissfully ignorant?  The $ is an "S" but the bling gives her so much more cred, no?  Tiao has produced a sun glass line that will set you back $500 a pop.  These are kids, in every sense, who skipped college to drink, stalk music producers and have gold applied to their grill...that's 90's slang for teeth yo!)

I blame the perfection (?) of the pop machine for leaving these vicious sound cancers embedded in my brain.  Solution?  Stop listening to crap stations that play crap music.  To that I say "I'm only human dang it.  Give me my sugary pop over killer dance beats and leave me the hell alone."