Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

That would be the overtime wheel at work.

Let me just say that I’m not opposed to overtime, on the contrary, I like the paycheck, at least until Uncle Sam decides to do his personal version of armed robbery. I hear the politicos talking about how it’s tough for everyone, and as Ann Richards once said, “There must be equity in suffering!”

Still, it doesn’t seem quite fair when you put in the hours and get hosed on taxes just so some low-life congresscritter can get a couple point bump in the polls just so he/she/it can stay elected. But, it seems to be the reality these days, so there’s not much use complaining about it.

My new Beasts

My new Beasts

In the good news department, I did get fitted for new running shoes. I am able to get the Beasts, and this time, I opted for the snazzy red and black trim. I’m really hoping they come in soon… I’m wanting to get back to the gym ASAP, feet or not.

See, I’ve gained seven pounds during my layoff. I’m not happy about this. I’m primarily frustrated in that I discovered how much I like exercise, and now I can’t do it. Sigh.

So, the Super Bowl was kind of a laugher, unless you’re a die-hard Broncos fan. It was tough to watch, because Peyton Manning is an amazing competitor and his team just was not prepared. I was always a big fan of the commercials, but they seemed to be lacking this year. One of the standouts in my mind was the entry from Radio Shack. I’m not a big fan of the Shack, but this was hysterical, to a child of the 1980s. I’ve decided to include it… bonus points if you a) can spot Qbert and b) know who/what Qbert is.

I think it’s well done and it might inspire me to visit the Shack, even if it will mean I’ll get talked down to by a bunch of dweebs who still live in mom’s basement.

Not to be outdone, the Brits unleashed some über-cute ads, so in the interest of trying to make heads explode, I give you puppies and kittens, in that order.

I do this as a public service, people.

So, I also see that the Beebs has been classing it up. Apparently, he and his entourage hot-boxed the private jet they were taking to the Super Bowl to the extent that the pilots had to go on oxygen masks. The entourage included his father. Parent of the year, folks.

That about does it for now. Hope you all survived the northeast ice storm!

So, I had to go get a haircut today.

Now, it may seem weird, but I travel 35 miles for a haircut.

Why, you may ask.

I go there because I’ve been going to the same person for over twenty years. She does a good job, knows how I like my hair and charges a fair price.

Winneba-Gogh, perhaps?

Winneba-Gogh, perhaps?

However, the parking lot has a very interesting vehicle. It’s a 1977 Winnebago painted to resemble VanGogh’s Starry Night. The colors are rather faded, but you have to love it. Apparently, it’s for sale… only $2,495.

After my haircut, I headed back home. On the way, I passed a Kreider Farms truck that was advertising their status as a “micro-mooery” The back of the truck also offered some interesting graphics. Gotta love Lancaster County.

Also got news at the office last night that I had not gotten a position I had applied for. I won’t deny that I’m actually pretty bitter about it. Kind of sucks when all the hard work you’ve put in learning your job for the last 13 years is basically swept under the rug in favor of some other folks who aren’t nearly as experienced, regardless of how much training they have. It isn’t the first time this has happened, and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I’ll still continue to do whatever is asked of me, but the next time I’m asked to train people or the powers-that-be drop a shitty job on my desk, well, it will take every ounce of self control to not tell them to get one of the new all-stars to do it. I know I’m not fooling anyone… I will do what I’m told. It’s how I was raised. This is, however, a shining example of why some people who deserve a better skill classification don’t even apply for it in the first place.

My first instinct was to run for the food. I did have a Klondike Bar, but that’s as far as it went. I’ve come too far to let them beat me.

OK, rant over. Now back to your regularly scheduled bitterness.

I also got 3.25 miles in this morning around the neighborhood. It was cool, but very humid. I also did it in just under an hour. Yay me.

At any rate, that’s all I have to offer today.

Song of the Day: Metal Health (Bang Your Head) – Quiet Riot

Currently Reading: The Millionaires – Brad Meltzer

I'm sure this is what it's like when they aren't trying to sell you something else you don't want or need.

I’m sure this is what it’s like when they aren’t trying to sell you something else you don’t want or need.

Ahh, yes. It’s now time for the yearly Xfinity rant.

Today’s cause was when I called to drop our voice service. Basically put, we don’t use the home phone. At all. I figured, “Why pay for it?” So I called to drop the service.

The “helpful” person on the end informed us that the price would increase if we dropped the service.

Let’s see… drop service, price goes up. Must be that new math, because that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

Apparently it does in Xfinity world. Not sure I’d want to live there. I figure down is up, left is right, etc. In Xfinity World, Richard Nixon was probably a Democrat.

“So, Brian,” you’re probably saying, “Why on earth do you stick with them? Why don’t you get a dish?”

The answer there is Wanda, evil queen bitch of our HOA. Erecting a dish would require Wanda approval and I never wanted to deal with the hassle. Now, I’d take some hassle if it meant I could tell Xfinity to get bent. See, that’s how they get you. They have a monopoly. Granted, that’s the only way they get any business. It sure as hell isn’t their stellar customer experience. The other reason I stay with them is that when everything works, the Interwebz is blazing fast and the reliability is above average. I have a lot of devices connected to the Web at home (three computers, two tablets, two smartphones, three other digital streaming units and an Xbox. Oh, and a printer. It handles the traffic admirably.

But is that enough?

See, I’m OK with paying for a lot of the stuff I don’t use. Basically, I watch Formula One racing and Doctor Who. One is in the “sports tier” and the other is in an extended digital tier. I don’t watch BET, Univision, CNN, Fox, MSNBC, QVC, HSN, and Root Sports. I don’t watch much network TV. I don’t use the music channels much, nor MTV, VH1, or CSPAN. I seriously don’t watch CSPAN II. And I don’t need three (???) CBS feeds. I can only watch CSI on one channel at a time. I don’t even use ESPN or Comcast Sports Net anymore. It would be easier to list the channels I do watch than those I don’t.

And apparently, if you’re a long-term customer, they won’t give you one of those $79 Double Play options. They will give you a whopping $20 off your bill. Thanks, guys. And if you just want the Interwebz, be prepared to cough up $75 a month. To look at pictures of cats.

Where does it end?

When will they have enough money?

544790_10200671889614808_1645566182_nLike many folks, I found myself flabbergasted by the events around the Boston Marathon yesterday.

My first reaction was one of disbelief… I figured it was a gas explosion or something like that… a horrible, tragic accident.

I was wrong and I wish I wasn’t.

My second thought was that I hoped my teammates from Team All Ears, three of whom were in the race, were all unharmed.

My third thought was quite honestly, “What kind of sick fuck does this?” I know that’s kind of blunt, but it’s obviously not the work of someone with even a tiny piece of humanity.

See, it bothered me more than I think it would have if I wouldn’t have gotten involved with TAE. While I’m not a real runner and probably never will be (let’s face it… the closest I’ll ever get to doing a marathon is driving 26.2 miles in a car), I have felt so welcomed by the team and the community that it feels like some of my family have been attacked. Just reading the posts has been eye-opening… the sheer amount of love and support poring from folks connected by one thread has really warmed my heart and put things in perspective.

I also want to give a shout out to the Mickey Miles podcast who organized a live call in show last evening with the able assistance of Mike Newell and MouseWorldRadio. Co-hosts Mike and Michelle did the right thing by giving folks a forum to discuss yesterday’s horrific events amongst similar-minded people.

I ask that you support Boston in the coming days. If you’ve done some running, wear a race shirt today (I only wish I had one to wear). Most importantly, KEEP RUNNING! We are strong and the actions of a coward or cowards (Yes, I said cowards) should not stop us from living. I refuse to live in fear, because a life lived in fear is a wasted life. You can get killed crossing the street… does that mean you should never cross the street? Does the thought of a crash cross my mind every time I step on board an airliner or board a train or even drive my car? It does, but my alternative is to never go anywhere or see or do anything. That’s not living.

So, stand up and be proud to be who you are. It’s when we change our way of life that the bad guys win. I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to give up while there’s still time on the clock.

So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is…fear itself — nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

There is an international disease which feeds on the notion that if you have a cause to defend, you can use any means to further your cause, since the end justifies the means. As an international community, we must oppose this notion, whether it be in Canada, in the United States, or anywhere else. No cause justifies violence as long as the system provides for change by peaceful means. – Richard M. Nixon, 1970

So, we’re back at Day 2. I took Wednesday off from the gym due to a creaky back and a creakier ankle. I was in a session yesterday and dragged my ass out of bed and got there this morning.

What a morning it was. Because it’s still freakin’ cold, I opted to take Supportive Partner Woman (Going to see Rick Springfield!)’s ride. XM First Wave was on the stereo and they were playing Frankie Goes to Hollywood. And no, not the one hit that everyone actually knows. No, of course not.

First Wave was playing Two Tribes, yo.

And not the harmless, generally sucky, 3 minute radio edit.

Of course not.

They opted for the 9 minute remix.

Yikes.

So, I figure I’ll switch stations… it’s gotta be better, right?

Let’s just say that all depends. Because, playing on other channels at the same time were Shalamar’s Dancing in the Sheets and the Village People’s In the Navy. At that point, I arrived at the gym and thankfully was no longer suffering from ear bleed.

Anyway… I did treadmill for a half-hour on a random hill setting. It felt pretty good. The ankle and back seemed to be behaving themselves and it kind of woke me up. Either that or the fact that it was cold enough to freeze my sweaty hair did the job for me.

So, today’s rant… WTF is up with people wearing pajamas all over the place? OK… I get if you’re walking out to the curb for the newspaper or maybe even going to the local convenience store for coffee. I expect it at Walmart. What I don’t get is going to the mall or a restaurant while wearing PJs. I don’t get wearing PJs to take a one hour train trip. The thing is, I’m usually someone who makes my fashion choices based on whatever doesn’t itch. Maybe someone can explain this phenomenon to me.

Hope you all have a good weekend!

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Greetings!

Today’s post includes things that don’t normally go together. Now Congress and graft? Yes. Congress and bullshit? Yes. Congress and Ebola? Not so much. But first, let’s get the daily stuff out of the way.

Managed day 9 today. 53:20 on the treadmill, 2.47 miles traveled, 2.78 mph. A little slower, but another 6 minutes and just shy of ¼ mile more traveled. I’m very pleased, considering it took a lot to wake up and get moving this morning. I also did it with a doozy of a headache. Tomorrow should be a little easier… it’s with the trainers, but it’s at 7 AM. I’ll get some weight training in as well.

I’m really noticing an improvement in general cardiovascular health. My stair climbing has gotten easier, and while my ankles continue to hurt, my feet seem to be holding up under the onslaught. Touch wood. I’m crediting the moisture-wicking socks. Maybe I need to consider some kind of moisture-wicking shirt, because I always come off the treadmill looking like I came in out of a tropical deluge. Things to ponder.

The Academy Award nominees have been released as well. Leading the way is Lincoln (big surprise). As much as I want to see it, I’m really intrigued by Zero Dark Thirty. This might be the first time in years that I actually want to see some nominees. Interesting stuff.

Now, on to some political news.

As many readers know, I like to spend time excoriating our political leadership here in the USA. Therefore, I was greatly amused when Public Policy Polling did a survey of just how unpopular Congress is, it was found to be less popular than cockroaches, traffic jams, lice and Nickelback, and slightly more popular than two of the biggest scourges facing humanity today: Ebola and the Kardashians. Way to go, Congress… people like you more than Ebola, a hemorrhagic fever that kills some 70% of its victims and causes bleeding from every known orifice. Your parents must be SO proud of you.

I might add that Congress polls slightly ahead of Lindsay Lohan and telemarketers. They also pulled better numbers than gonorrhea. Talk about a gold standard for excellence. Woot!

For complete poll results, visit the Public Policy Polling website.

So, there you have it for today. More to come!

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I got nothing

Posted: December 15, 2012 in Exercise, Physical activity, rants

The events that took place yesterday in Connecticut were a terrible tragedy. The lives of so many children, cut short by the actions of a single gunman, is a terrible thing. When innocence is lost on such a grand scale, well, we all die a little on the inside. I hope this brings meaningful change to a society that is increasingly polarized and marginalized, but knowing our track record as a country, we probably won’t. Instead of doing the right thing, our “leaders” will do something, anything, because not reacting in a situation like this will just fan the flames of outrage. It is time for a frank and open discussion on gun violence, mental health issues, security, and some of our societal values.

That’s all I will say on the topic for now… other than to keep those families in your prayers.

Until the events of yesterday, I was having a pretty good day. I got my rotund posterior up at 4:45 and was at the gym at 5:15. Made it a cardio day and somehow wound up on the treadmill that was surrounded on both sides by two Jersey Shore wannabes reeking of Drakkar Noir. One of these guys, who I’ll call The Predicament, was chomping on a wad of gum so loudly it was audible over the Queensryche I had cranked up to “ear bleed”. Sigh. I figured the way things were going, maybe Snooki would show up, you know, just to add some class. I managed to get about 45 minutes in, then headed home for a shower and off to the office. You might ask why I didn’t just shower at the gym… I mean, I was there. True. But I was afraid that while I’d be shampooing, the shower curtain would be ripped open, and Gratuitously Naked Guy would be standing there, beaming.

This is the kind of stuff that goes through my head. Curse my fertile imagination!

Short entry, I know, but there’s a busy day ahead.

I’ve taken some time off to rant about politics. I know, it’s something I normally eschew, but the level of animosity in the campaign motivated me to just let ‘er rip. If my opinions offended anyone, well, I’m sorry that you feel that way. My opinions, however, are mine alone and I will sometimes express them.

One thing that I did not cover was the concept of marriage equality. I was not ignoring a topic that many feel so passionately about… I had posted a rant specifically on that topic here. As such, I didn’t feel the need to bring it up. However, kudos to Maine and Maryland for approving the ballot measures to legalize gay marriage. Two small steps, I know, but they add up.

Yesterday’s route.

So, getting back to regular topics, I’m pleased to announce that I got out and walked yesterday. Took my lunch break and lapped the parking lot at work. It felt good… especially since it was a long day with very little sleep. Just getting the fresh (cold) air really helped rejuvenate and refocus. It’s not the most scenic of routes, but you work with what you have. It was needed.

There’s other things going on that have really added stress to my life and have made the wheels wobble, if not totally fall off. I’ve been doing a lot of unauthorized snacking. Retreating back to the comforts of food. It sucks because I put so much time into getting better and I’m at risk of ballooning right back up. I could make all sorts of excuses, but I don’t have any. I’m still going to the gym twice a week, which needs to increase. I’m going tomorrow to the regular gym… just not sure if it will be before or after work.

I’ve also been kind of lazy on the cooking front. I’m bound and determined to make the jambalaya this weekend, or at the very least, some chili. Something that’s got everything I need nutrition-wise, and is easy to prepare after a long day at the office. I could even try to make chicken or turkey chili. Never tried those before. I usually opt for lean ground beef.

My other project will be to finish putting things back together in the Nerd Lair. I know, I’ve been saying that for a week. To date, though, I’ve only gotten the DVDs done. There’s still around 700 CDs that need done. I’ll get there. Keep moving forward.

So, my goals are stated… get back on track and get back to the gym. A tall order, but you can only screw around so much. I’m done with that.

Song of the Day: Once in a Lifetime – University of Wisconsin MadHatters

Currently Reading: The Dark Side of Disney – Leonard Kinsey

So, here we are. The Day After the Most Important Election in History. At least that’s what CNN says. Granted, they would hype a school board race in Perry County if they thought it would get ratings. I am confused, though… wasn’t 2008 The Most Important Election in History? Either way, the political sheeple are eating it up like Joey Chesnutt scarfing wieners at a Nathan’s hot dog eating contest.

I know this because I used to be one of the political sheeple.

Here’s a news flash:

It doesn’t matter that Barack Obama won.

Does. Not. Matter. One. Bit.

The world will continue to revolve. People will still go to work, worry about the economy, raise a family, try to make ends meet, and continue to live. The only immediate impact of the Obama win is that a boatload of Republicans have retreated to lick their wounds and rail about electoral sabotage and dirty tricks.

Politics is a funny business. We have citizens who think it’s the greatest travesty ever visited on the country that George W. Bush was elected twice. And that if Al Gore or John Kerry had been elected, well, the country would have been that better off and everywhere you’d look, there’d be unicorns shitting gold bars in the streets, free for the taking.

We have citizens who think the same thing about Bill Clinton’s presidency. That if Bush the first had been reelected or Bob Dole had won in 1996, well it would all be good. No recessions, and all that money would trickle down to us poor folks. Voodoo economics, indeed.

Fact is, neither side is right, and neither side is wrong. We view these elections through the “what’s in it for me” lens. What about what’s in it for the country? Has any one of these cretins actually given a shit about the country as a whole? I think not. I hear Barack Obama talking about hope and change and peace and love and dope and god knows what else. I heard Mitt Romney yakking about how he knows how to run things and people need to get back to work and no more welfare and all that rot.

I call bovine scatology.

Lets look at facts. The country is falling apart. The infrastructure is crumbling. Everywhere you look, moral decay, overcrowded prisons, government and other groups monitoring what you do with your body and in your bedroom, schools focused on standardized test scores rather than making sure kids actually learn anything useful, zero tolerance, massive overspending on a broken educational system, unions bitching that they aren’t getting a big enough raise, an increasingly litigious society that thinks it has the constitutional right to be stupid and then has the chutzpah to think the smarter part of society owes it, skyrocketing health care costs and a shrinking middle class shouldering a larger and larger portion of the tax burden.

Where does it end?

Bad news, folks. It will only end when we stop the petty bickering and actually elect some folks who just want to go to Washington, do what they were elected to do, and get the hell out of there.

SPW has said that her political party hasn’t been invented yet. The Personal Responsibility Party. What a concept. Imagine someone shooting themselves in the hand with a nail gun and instead of suing Black & Decker, they say, “Whoops… My bad.” Don’t expect to be handsomely rewarded if you slip on your neighbor’s sidewalk… It’s icy, dumbass. Think maybe it might be a little slippery? Or did you not know that ice was slippery because it wasn’t on the standardized test? Maybe if people would man up and take some responsibility, it might be a different story.

Proud to be part of this 1%

I saw something on Facebook this morning where someone wrote, “Let the healing begin…” We shouldn’t need to be so divided that we need to heal over an election where the candidates are basically opposite sides of the same coin. I heard all sorts of Romney-ites saying that a vote for anyone other than Mittens was a vote for BHO. I disagree. It’s my vote and I voted for what I felt would best benefit the country. I was told that if I voted third-party, I was wasting my vote. Bull. I voted with my conscience.

It’s no secret I have no love for BHO. I think he’s a charlatan issuing empty promises, using one hand to distract the people while using the other to twist the public teat until it’s purple. It’s no secret I harbored similar feelings toward W, though not for the same reason. Each of them has sullied the office, and despite all that, I still respect the office, even if I have trouble respecting the officeholder.

So, you probably wonder what I would do if it were up to me to fix. Here’s my summation of my ideas and the best ideas I’ve seen in social media:

  • Election season would be six months. No more, no less.’
  • Election financing would be provided on an equal basis to each candidate. NO PRIVATE DONATIONS. There would also be a spending cap set by law.
  • All primary elections would take place on the same day.
  • All general elections would take place on the same day. No early voting. Polls would be open longer hours to serve the voters.
  • News outlets would be prohibited BY LAW from predicting winners. This practice can have an effect on an election and discourage West Coast voters from going to the poll if it seems one candidate has a large lead.
  • Instead of campaign advertising, each candidate would be given the opportunity to provide a position statement on a given that would be read, verbatim, by a news anchor, without commentary.
  • One debate each month.

Is it ever going to happen? Not as long as politicians are politicians, but imagine a civilized campaign. And no phone calls from Chuck Norris, Clint Eastwood, Michelle Obama or anyone else. Blessed silence.

This is my last political post/rant for a while. I hope I am proven wrong and the next four years are prosperous for our nation.

I hope.

(the following post contains a rant with profanity… please proceed with caution)

When I see some kind of gaffe in someone’s writing, I often think, “Why didn’t the author think how that might be construed?”

Never thought it would happen to me.

I was viewing the blog stats, which I do periodically, and looked at what people are searching for that led them to my blog. Now, many of you have read my stories of Gratuitously Naked Guy and his lack of a towel. What I thought was a humorous anecdote, well, here’s the search listings:

Think I might need to refer less to GNG in the future.

Next topic is car dealer service departments…

No matter what you take your car in for, they always want to chisel a few more dollars out of you. For example, I took Mario the Super Honda into the local dealership for an oil change. They called and said they recommended a tire rotation and balancing. Now, I just had the tires rotated a month ago at the place I bought the tires, so I said, “That’s funny… I just had the tires rotated and balanced a month ago.”

Dead silence.

Then, “Well, they seem to have different tread depths.”

Me: “That’s funny… I bought all four tires at the same time.”

Them: “Oh. Well, your battery is getting weak.”

Me: “Oh, OK. I’ll install a new one.”

Them: “We can do that for you.”

Me: “I know, but I can do it, too.”

Sigh.

I get the wanting to be profitable, but times are tough out there. If I can buy a battery for $100 and put it in myself, why should I pay them $300 to install it? They get $95/hour to work on your car. I don’t make $95/hour. Most people don’t. These are the same people who tell me the car needs a full alignment. Every time. They usually back off when I point out that they did a full alignment in May when I had it inspected.

(Image courtesy of world-crisis.net)

Finally, election phone calls. I understand the need to get out and vote. It’s an essential part of the process. I don’t understand the need for the artillery barrage of robo-calls from celebrity endorsers. I was waiting for Honey Boo-Boo to call and tell me to vote for whoever she’s endorsing. I get the newspaper endorsements… I get party and organized labor endorsements. I don’t get why we care who (insert self-important celebrity here) endorses. I especially get irked when I see it reported as mainstream news… I mean when the CNN talking head trumpets that “Kim Kardashian supports Obama!”, I wonder about that, since Kim probably can’t spell Obama in the first place. Have we become so obsessed with celebrity in this country that it really matters? I actually think that country singer Brad Paisley said it best in his song “Celebrity”:

 

Someday I’m gonna be famous. Do I have talents? Well, no. These days you don’t really need it, thanks to reality shows.

OK… so there you have it. I’ll leave you with my final words. Get out and vote today. If you are of legal age and citizenship status, that is. Unless you’re in Chicago, in which case, vote as many times as you can. I’m sure my guy’s not going to win, but I’ll be damned if I’ll waste my vote on the current occupant or on Mittens. One has promised the world and failed to deliver (and yes, I know he’s only one guy and he can’t control everything, but it would be nice if he’d man up and admit he screwed the pooch) and the other, well, about the best thing you can say is that he’s not the current occupant. Both of them ran billion dollar campaigns. That’s billion. With a “B”. Where’d they get that much scratch? The short answer is from the rich people who both candidates claim to detest. From Wall Street. From the lawyers and lobbyists and influence peddlers. From the celebrities.

Now imagine, if instead of spending beaucoup cash to buy influence, they donated the money to people who could actually use it. Those affected by Sandy or other natural disasters. You know, people actually helping people instead of  funneling the money through the most inefficient bureaucracy in human history with a lot of it being diverted to line the pockets of the fat cats. The priorities in this country are so fucked up it’s astounding. Instead of The Donald promising $5 million to whatever charity, how about he sends one of his people to the local Home Depot, buys a shitload of gift cards, and passes them out to people who need a hand… who have lost everything? I guess if that was done, it couldn’t be claimed as a tax deduction. What a joke.

“Brian,” you say, “you’re living in a fantasy world. You’re wishing for a Utopia.”

Naaah. Maybe a country less divided. Maybe a cultural shift to where we can respect one another’s opinion without taking it as a personal insult if someone else disagrees with you. Although the media wants us to be at each other’s throats and offended by everything so they have something to report, we still have a RIGHT to OUR OWN OPINIONS! I might not (and probably won’t) agree with what Barbra Streisand or Rush Limbaugh have to say, but I will defend the right to say whatever drivel they can dream up.

OK… rant over. Now get out and vote! You still have 30 minutes on the east coast.