Monday, October 06, 2008

Debating the Debates

November just can't come and go fast enough on election years you know? For me anyway. I get tired of it and I guess I get more frustrated that nothing ever changes no matter who gets elected. Personally, I think I should run the debates. I think I'd be a much better moderator than anyone else I can think of. Not just because I'm awesome, but because I think I'd make some changes. Just a few things I'd change.

1. The phrase "thank you for that question" is no longer allowed. You've only got two minutes so spare us the bullshit and give us a straight up answer. Ideally no one should elect you because you're a nice guy or because they think you're good looking. So this is your one shot to be no bullshit and give an answer like a human being instead of spewing your vominous hollow promises.

2. If you opt to go back to a previous question, you just forfeited your time. Candidates are given two minutes to answer something, then the opposing candidate is given 60 seconds for a response if their views are questioned. That's it. 60 seconds so make it count. No more of this "back to what I was saying earlier." If those words come out, we cut your mic and you're done.

3. Honesty. Yeah..that's hard for people running for President. But seriously, you wanna talk about change and how your administration is going to be better than the previous one, be specific. Sure it sounds a little like a high school project but we need to get back to some basic principles in the debates. Sure, it sounds good, but how does it work? Tell me...and remember no bullshit because you've only got two minutes.

4. Rumors. Yes, I think you should answer to any rumors, any of them, on the record. Take this one for example -

I couldn't tell you if this was true or not. But I think someone, namely the candidate in question, should answer this with yes or no. No grey areas. Furthermore, someone that admits to bombing the capital should not roam free. He should not be allowed to serve on political forums of any kind...but that's just me.

5. Finally -Introducing the fist fight. Yeah, I think people need to know that our President could kick ass if push came to shove. So, strap on the gloves, and step in to the squared circle. Don't worry, gloves will be inspected by both parties to make sure no one is packing anything they shouldn't be. Realistically you've been wanting to beat the shit out of your opponent because of the commercial his campaign made that you think slandered you. So, here is your chance. No points awarded here and no it doesn't mean you won. The rules of Fight Club will be observed.

Sunday, October 05, 2008


With the construction of the new store, lots of things have been changing. My commute, my stress level, my hair color, my outlook on humanity, lots of things. I've noticed that it takes just the right amount of something for people to change. Me personally I have an anger management problem. It seems when pushed to the limit I can turn in to what I think would be the incredible hulk. A mass of uncontrollable rage, and sadly some days I like it. Anyway, I've always wondered if I was the only one that had this problem. Not the rage part, but the change part. Just exactly what is it for everyone else? Well, I found out that for my dad, the right amount of power tools or electricity turns him in to none other than....

Yeah, the Swedish Chef. As a kid I always liked him because he was the plucky comic relief but never fully appreciated his Chocolate Mouse until this summer. When Dadman and I were constructing the counter or the shelves things would turn from normal conversation in to what sounded like "SCHTIKITY BOOM BOOM!" when the circular saw was turned on. Perhaps you'd have to know my dad to find this particularly funny but if you can picture a 60 year old retired engineer going from the normal conversation that an engineer can have to making donuts with a shotgun, that's pretty much how it goes. Any time a car battery or power tools are introduced Dads engineer speak turns in to a language that only chef can interpret.

So is it just me, or does everybody have that button that can be pushed that makes their personality drastically change in to a comic book superhero or an untranslatable comic relief? Regardles, happy 60th birthday Dadamn. I appreciate all that you do, and love you very much. Even though you don't read my blog.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Crazy bank lady and her nonsense

My wife and I have this friend...actually, it's Mikes sister. Most everyone has heard from or about Mike in some form, but I've never mentioned his sister. At any rate, she works at a bank here in town and they were running a promotion that if you open an account you get $100 free. Since I'm the kind of guy that waits until the last minute, I waited until the very last day as it turns out. So I met Trish somewhere and she gave me a form and said "I tried to call this in, but this woman is a little weird so I'm gonna hand you the form and let you take it in since I'm off today." Not a big deal right? Well, normally it wouldn't be...but this woman was fucking nuts.

I wait in the lobby, just hanging around. The 225lbs of intimidation that I am is getting the stare down from the Jackie Gleason wannabe security guard. He finally approaches and says "Son...what's yer bidness at the bank today?" So I showed him the form and told him I was waiting on Jaba the Hut there to open me an account. He informed me that "bankin bidness" is supposed to wait on the couch. At least that's what I think he said through his chew and lack of teeth. So I sit and wait...still getting the stare down. Finally, me and The Hut get to talk. I was going to just write a check for the minimum to get the account open and my hot wife didn't get to go with me because she was out shopping with Foxy Cousin E. Not a big deal, we get the free $100, Trish gets her credit, we close the account, money comes back to us. Simple. I obviously didn't tell this woman that. So she asked why hot wifes name was on that checking account but I wasn't putting it on this one. I explained it to her and she said "Sir. Are you aware that the divorce rate is over 50 percent? Do you realize that is almost half of all marriages ending in divorce now?" I assured her we weren't going to get divorced over her name not being on the account and I'd add it when she was free. Then comes the nonsense. "Sir, in most cases it is a good idea to have your own money seperate. In some cases even when the spouse doesn't know about it. That way you have money that's all your own and your spouse doesn't know you have it." So I told her that wasn't exactly what I had in mind for an open relationship. She disagreed. Repeatedly. So I sit, and listen to her vominous nonsense while gritting my teeth and just wanting to leave and go watch football. Her best, and probably my most favorite piece of advice was planning for the emergency of my wife leaving me, and that I should keep this account open and active without my wifes name on it. So I just responded. "Yes ma'am. I'll do it. My wife will have no idea that I'm only depositing half of my paycheck in to the account, and the $100 that I'm putting in here today is going to go a long way when we get divorced. I mean, that's so much money these days I bet she'll be stinging when she finds out it's gone. She'd probably take me back just to have access to it...don't you think?" She stared at me for a minute and said "I was only advising to help you out sir, there is no need to be rude about it." So I told her that unless she knew my wife and knew something I didn't, I could probably live another 30 years without her help. Her response "Well thank you very much for those kind words sir. I really appreciate you saying them to me, and I really appreciate your business." So I just said "Make sure Trish gets credit for this account. I don't ever have to want to speak to you directly again. So I took my free coffee mug and headed out. On my way I thanked the security guard for making me feel all warm and fuzzy and having the premises so secure and said "I think the Hut over there has a thing for you. She kept giving you the eye when you weren't looking. Since you're about to close she's probably ready for lunch..again." I know...I'm an asshole...but it's the little things in life that keep you sane.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Arrogant Liar...

I did mention that the store is off to an okay start, but not without a few administrative road blocks. I started back in April contacting the campus and trying to let them know in the most amicable way possible that we were starting an off campus store. Dealing state funded schools is only slightly more painful than birthing an armadillo that is on fire. No matter how you go about it, they're going to start out hoping you go away, then they move in to their resistance phase, then comes the resentment. This week is all about resistance. Man oh man do they hate the smallest possibility that their monopolies are coming to an end. It's like they fight just to squeeze the last bit of life, or in this case money, out of their students. With no regard to them or anything else, they treat everybody like shit because they're the only game in town, and if nothing else, the most convenient game in town.

So I had made a few phone calls to the Vice President to tell her what we were doing, and that I'd like to talk to her. She of course never returned these phone calls, and e-mails were treated the same way. I thought perhaps a visit was in order so I had one of my ho's watch the store and headed that way. I waited patiently in her office for her assistant to finish what she was doing and she finally acknowledged me. So I just said who I was and that I'd like an appointment with her boss. Upon hearing this, her boss got up from her desk and slammed the door. A little unfriendly if I do say so, but about what I expected. I was refused an appointment and left. When I returned to work I sent the following e-mail.

"Good afternoon Ms. Dumbitch. My name is Raul Duke and I've been trying to reach you concerning our opening an off campus bookstore. Numerous phone calls and e-mails have no doubt been unreturned, but I thought I'd tell you that you have the option of simply returning a phone call or e-mail, or I'll be happy to watch you explain to the Eyewitness news teams that are a phone call away why you feel you're above federal laws and why you're personally denying your students the opportunity to have an off campus bookstore." If you can imagine I got a response within the hour. She still fought us tooth and nail on every bit of information and eventually said "No. Never." Unfortunately for her, college textbook information is federally protected. So, a phone call to my lawyer friend and some leg work on his part showed that we were correct and an official request was sent to their attorney. It was only after this that I got my meeting with them. Can you imagine?

The meeting was grossly unproductive as most of them are. But this one involved the president of the university. I can only guess because legal teams had been summoned. Presidents NEVER take time to meet with people they deem below them (which is everyone) or aren't trying to make an overly generous donation. So, the VP in question was also there and informed me that I was very arrogant and hard to work with. She was trying very hard to look like a bad ass in front of her boss but what none of them realized is that I carry the wallet. Yes, it makes a difference. So I mentioned her non phone call returning and door slamming and she got nervous. This woman started going back to her routes...which let me tell you is the Ghetto. Not just any Ghetto, but I bet this woman knows words that would have made Tupac Shakur blush in his prime. The very next words out of her mouth were "Well...I don't preciate you runnin round tellin lies on me neitha!" After some elaboration she said their current bookstore manager was telling people that she had given me permission to operate. Permission which I do not need. She started in again and I held up a hand and said "Stop. Right there. I don't need your permission nor did I ask for it. None of this is up to you. I'm operating right across the street from you. Deal with it, or have a statement ready for the press. This meeting is over."

So, I'm currently not making any new friends on campus. The campus store has of course sent out their secret shoppers and the manager was nice enough to call and have a talk with me...but that's another blog entirely.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

And then there were two...

Well, it's been a long time. And I guess no one really reads that much anyway...but alas Reverend Raul has returned. Nothing exciting really, but here is an update on where I've been.

Most of you know by now I'm in the college textbook business. I can say this on the blog because no one really knows who I am. To people that do know me, I tell them I'm a drug dealer because that is somehow a more respectable occupation than running your own college bookstore. Well, now we're one step closer to becoming an evil empire because I've been opening a second store in my blogger hiatus. We started a little later than I would have liked, but it's somehow working. There is another college right near us that has enough students to warrant a second bookstore so we've always said once we figure out the first one, we'll open a second one. The opportunity came and we're currently managing to make it work. However, I'm on day 27 of constant book rush so I'm just about ready for a little time off. College kids do tend to get on my nerves after so long, but for the most part at the new store they're a little more appreciative.

Anyway, the challenges of opening a new business were a little more than I'd expected. Finding a manager proved to be more of a problem than I'd thought. One of the girls that worked for me had a mom that was at a job where she seemed to be unhappy. She was one of our vendors so in passing one day I said "One day I'm gonna open a second store and I'm gonna come buy you away from this place if I can afford you." She leaned across the counter and said "It won't take much, but when you're ready to talk I'm ready to go." Well, apparently she was ready to go because a couple months later she left and found another job. So Plan A was gone and it was time to search for Plan B. It never materialized but I was moving forward on the second store regardless. We interviewed several people but most of them weren't interested from the get go, or decided after a few days of thinking that they would rather open their own bookstore than work for someone else. One of them had the testicular fortitude to ask me how to go about doing that. Just about at crunch time, my best and most trusted employee said "You know, I could run this for you. I've got two classes left at this school that I can take at night so I could manage for you." I thought the idea was perfect. That way it gives me a year at this store to see if it would work, and if it flopped, nobody got fired. She just went back to working for me. The only drawback is that she's friends with most of the people that work there. But, she's managing. And doing a damn fine job.

So, then there were two and here we are. One day I'll be able to say that we're two stores strong, and I promise I have plenty of stories to share from the opening and the new administration, and I'm sure there will be plenty of ho-drama to come, but currently I'm in two places at once, so I'll start blogging more once I get stopped.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Movie Review - The Golden Compass

The wife and I finally canceled Netflix but not without checking out Rambo and the Golden Compass. Rambo, or course kicks ass. I think every time a fight scene happens in that movie you should hear Drowning Pools "Let the Bodies Hit the Floor" because that's pretty much how it goes. Rambo kills everybody, saves the girl and her douche bag husband, and I won't totally ruin the end for you but needless to say it concludes the series.

Now, on to the Golden Compass. We had never heard of it until we saw a preview for it, but all the buzz surrounding it about how it was anti-religion, and no one needed to see it ever, and I got countless e-mails saying we needed to protest the further publication of the books and protest the movie. It of course didn't do very well at the box office, but after watching it I really don't see the problem. I got less religious feelings out of it than I did The Matrix, and my friends thought I was crazy for saying that one was somewhat religious.

My basic rundown of the movie is that its based on the premise that there are different worlds and different dimensions. In our world (and yes, they do mention our world) we wear our souls on the inside. In this world, they wear it on the outside and most of them are in the form of animals. They are referred to as demons, but they spell it Dæmon so you can take that however you want. Anyway, society is basically run by a controlling government called the Magisterium. I guess the intent was to make them look like organized religion because they do look a little like clergymen, but realistically I just got that they were a controlling government extremist group that doesn't want people to think for themselves. According to the Wikipedia link there, the Magisterium is a Roman Catholic Group that interprets the word of God. Anyway, Daniel Craigs character works for the college which apparently has all knowledge in this particular dimension. The college and the Magisterium seem to be at odds a lot because the college teaches free though, and the Magisterium of course only wants people to think one way. Craig has found a way in to another dimension and the Magisterium is trying to make sure he can't prove it by trying to kill him. So he leaves on his excursion to "the north" to prove the existence of it. Enter the tall and strangely curvy Nicole Kidman. You know she's evil (and wickedly hot) from the time she gets on screen, but she takes Craigs niece, and the star of our controversial movie, as her friend for the summer. She's supposedly going to take her to the north where the talking bears are and a quick visit to see her uncle. Sounds cool right? What elementary school aged kids wouldn't want to go see talking bears? Hell, I'd go right now if I knew that polar bears talked and wore armor. Anyway, her character is given a Golden Compass by one of the professors at the college and is told to keep it a secret. Supposedly it tells the truth to someone who can read it, and she can magically read it while no one else can. Anyway, the compass doesn't actually navigate anywhere, it just tells her the truth. Neat thing to have really, but the Magisterium is out to kill her, her uncle, and a band of random flying witches led by the ever so hot Eva Green. I'm sure I've left out something, but the movie is kindof random and you really have to see it to understand half of what I've written. I'm not encouraging you to see it if you have religious obligations not to, but realistically, if the Catholic Church didn't review it and say it was evil, I can't imagine it being that bad. Realistically, they just deemed Sex in the City morally offensive. I thought the concept of that movie would be too...but for entirely different reasons.

So anyway, if you liked Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and some other sci-fi and fantasy movies I don't think you'll have a problem with this one. Not nearly enough sword fighting for me, but the talking bears were kinda cool.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Five Things...

I'm bored with, tired of, and pissed at. But first...a quick update.

Saw Iron Man on opening weekend and it kicks ass. There were extended trailers for The Hulk, Indiana Jones, and a lucky few got to see The Dark Knight trailer. All of them look awesome. Been busy here at the store, we renovated the bathroom because it was disgusting and the ho's were damn near going to strike if it didn't get better. So now the bathroom is the nicest place in the building. The Hot Wife started her second to last class the other night so summer is probably going to suck just a little for us because as usual it's a class full of group work. Fencing still kicks ass and I suck pretty bad at it right now, but I've lost another couple pounds doing it. That's about it from us. So on to the five things...

5. Alex Trebek - Yes...Alex sucks. He's smug, and he makes fun of people who don't know the answers. I would really like to see an episode where the losing contestants quiz Alex. I imagine that years of reading cards hasn't done anything for him. Alex better pray that Jeopardy keeps refusing my applications because I would probably come across the floor and pile drive his greasy canadian ass through his podium.

4. Do you know which books I need? - Yes. I'm a frickin bookstore here people. My job is based solely on knowing what books you need so stop questioning me or I'll make it a point to come to your job and ask you if you know how to do it on a regular basis. (Can anybody tell that summer semester is getting close and college kids are getting dumber?)

3. Cutting people off for sport - at least that's what I think it is. I've had people cut me off two days this week and their passenger was turned around laughing. So either we were supposed to be racing, which law abiding citizens and reverends typically don't do (okay...that's a lie. I did get busted last month for doing 93 in a 70), or cutting people off is some sort of underground movement that I haven't been let in on. The second person got the favor returned to them and realized that they did not have anti-lock brakes and the Jeep they were rapidly approaching did. As an added bonus the bumpers on my Jeep are sprayed with truck bed liner so pretty much nothing will damage them. This person was also given a shower of McDonalds sweet tea and let me tell you, if the bumpers don't scare you, a shower of sticky hot sweet tea should deter you from cutting off a man of the cloth like myself. Ass.

2. Gas prices - They only go up...they never come down. I'm not so much tired of them going up as I am hearing the bitching about it, as well as the lame ass excuses. We have to have gas to drive so grab a straw and embrace the suck. If you think for one minute that fucktard hippies like Ben Jones are going to have any impact on me buying a hybrid, or driving less you are in for a rude awakening. Gas companies are going to charge what they want because they can. They just need to come out and say "Our CEO wants a new Yacht so he'll have an even dozen, so our profits have to be somewhere in the high hundred billions this year. Thanks for using (insert gas raper...I mean company name here)!" I'd be happier. Just be honest and tell me that you're just going to fuck me because you know you can.

1. American Idol - Oh my God! Did you hear who got voted off this week? No. I did not. I refuse to watch America's largest and insanely over glorified Karaoke contest. I'm tired of hearing clips of Randy saying "Listen Dawg...I'm bout to tell ya how it iz yo Dawg!" I'm tired of people saying "Did you see how mean Simon was? He's SO MEAN!" Yeah, I'm sure he gets paid to be a dick. I'm sure it's in his contract that if he has too much nice to say he gets fired. The other thing I'm tired of is Paula. Make no mistake, I had many a fantasy about Paula Abdul in my middle school years. What I'm tired of is "Oh my God! Is Paula drunk?" Yes. Paula is shitfaced out of her mind. Wouldn't you be if you once had a career and now you're subjected to watching hippies and fags sing shitty karaoke while hearing "listen dawg!" in one ear and a smug limey tell them they suck? I'd drink until my liver exploded if that was how I had to grasp on to the fame and fortune I once had.

That's it from your friendly neighborhood bookstore this week.