Friday, April 28, 2006

Product Reviews

Believe it or not we haven't had much time to watch movies with the wife studying for finals and doing group projects. I did however make a couple of purchases that I thought I'd review instead. It's part of my anger management...reviewing things in a nice way.

First up - Chaco's. I usually wear out a pear of shoes or a pair of sandals every year. My last pair of Teva's lasted close to six years and I can still wear them I just got a new pair for summer time in the Jeep this year. I bought Chaco Zong's and I feel appropriately hippy like for having them. They're comfortable, except that they don't have a heel strap. If I had them to buy over again I'd make sure I got a heel strap. I'm still getting used to them, but I don't get tired from standing up in them which is odd. They say they're the only shoe on the market recommended by the American Podiatric Association. I walked through Lowe's the other day in them and didn't get tired of standing on the floor or walking around there like I normally do. So, if you need shoes that are supposedly good for your feet, and are comfortable and apparently the in thing to do, Chaco's make a good sandle for summer.

Next up - Extreme Moose tracks. Yes, for those of us that like Moose Tracks but need enough chocolate in one sitting to put you in cardiac arrest, Mayfield has answered the call. I try to keep my deserts and sweets to a minimum but I had to try this. It's chocolate ice cream with chocolate pieces, fudge swirls, and peanut butter cups. Seriously, I could eat this for I've heard.

Finally - Coca Cola Blak. We gave up Soda's for Lent this year and it wasn't that hard. Then walking through the store we see this new product called Coca Cola Blak that is Coke's answer to energy drinks it looks like. I wasn't sure what to make of it, but it's pretty good. Probably the best way to describe it is Coffee+Coke=Blak. It's got a coke taste, but really it tastes like there is coffee or heroin or something in it like that. Once Lent ended we bought a four pack and tried it out. I like it, maybe I'm not describing in a way that would make you want to try it but if you see it at the store and it's on sale, it's worth trying. If you're a big coke fan, and a big coffee fan, I would say jump on it.

Not much else happening. I'm learning a lot at the store this week and making good progress. I can see the empire of Raul's bookstores starting to form on the horizon. That's the goal anyway. As for the weekend, it looks busy. The wifes car is getting new shoes, and it needs an oil change and a radiator flush. The wife should be studing all weekend so maybe after getting the horse re-shoed I can get some of it done this weekend...and maybe grille a pizza again. Have a good weekend everybody.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

At Mike's Request

Here is another picture of his girlfriend and the bike that we took the other night, edited creatively...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Bad Drivers and My Space Ho's

This weekend my wife and I were headed to Sears and Wal-Mart on Sunday morning. I had a lot to do, and most of it didn't get done. Some guy in a motorcycle kept pissing me off all the way down the interstate so I was mad when I got near the Hamilton Place area. As a general rule, I despise Hamilton Place and all it's traffic problems. I think people just get stupid out there because they can't bear the thought of parking more than 10 feet from the front door. Anyway, my mind is running 90 miles an hour with the thought of running over this ass clown on his WinneBikeO (no, it wasn't a sport bike), and how I had to cut the grass and do a lot of work around the house, and now I was headed to the store I hate the most...Wally World. I don't hate the store, I hate the people that go there. The people that block aisleways and have zero consideration that there is anyone else in this store. Anyway, I manage to get stopped at every redlight on the way there and I'm finally in a turn lane. We get a green light and the woman in front of me decides not to go. I wait...very patiently for as frustrated as I was at this point and finally I honk the horn. She gets startled and looks back at me and looks around, then eases a little further in to the intersection. Finally I just get mad, turn off the traction control on the Rustang and hit the gas. I was going to hit her or she was going to move. I slid the car around her just as I would have if we'd passed her on a dirt track. She was on her cell phone. With the engine roaring as it does when one is spinning tires and yelling loud obscene things at a lady who is taking her time to make sure we miss the green light, she gets passed. At the next stoplight she pulls up next to me and has gotten off the phone. I take this as an opportunity to get to know her, and carry on a conversation.

"Lady, do they not have turn signals where you come from?"

"I'm sorry. I was concentrating and focusing on dialing my phone." Then she pauses, scrunches up her face and screams "JESUS LOVES YOU!"

"Thank you. Jesus wants you to learn how to drive."

I rolled up the window. We were done. She got back on her cell phone. Holding up traffic, no matter for how long, should NEVER be justified by a cell phone. If you have to talk or focus that much on it, pull over.

Same trip, we hit Lowe's. Mostly because I like Lowe's...a lot. It's like women liking Target. I never get everything in one trip and I can always walk in and find something I need...because it's Lowe's. Anyway, on the way out there is some yellow hybrid hatchback/wagon (or three door coupe as they call it) that you can't help but see. This guy already has three strikes because it's yellow, it's a "three door," and it's a hybrid. I pretty much hate all three of those things violently. To make matters worse he has a matching yellow decal on the back that he's made. It says "ADD ME ON MY SPACE! PUT ME ON YOUR FRIEND LIST!" Then it had his My Space address. I was looking at him as he was getting out of the car and I said "You suck. I hate you. Please don't breed." I don't think he was 20 yet and he said "Whatever??!? What did I do to you?" I responded "Nothing. We just don't need any more of you out there. Please consider taking your own life." Looking back I'm sure I didn't handle that properly as I'm sure he's a nice person. Why does this make me mad? I started a MySpace page to find some of my friends from high school before I hit the 10 year reunion to see if any of the old gang was going. I'm starting to think this was a bad decision. Now my "friend" requests are filled daily with girls who have web cams, struggling musicians trying to get their name out (with some really crappy music), and people that just want to have 10,000,000 friends for whatever reason. I've not figured it out yet. The Cam Ho's really don't like me as I usually say "Oh, I'll add you as a friend if I can get a user name and password for your website." They usually respond with "Sorry hun, it's $18.95 a month but it's worth your money. I'm on like all the time and some of my girlfriends even stop by to say Hi...if you know what I mean." Last time I responded with "Who pays for porn anymore?" Amazingly I haven't heard back from them. Maybe I just don't get the MySpace thing...

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fun with Photos

So I spent the evening with Tiffany...Mikes girlfriend. This is the fun we had, inspired by Frank Miller and his graphic novel Sin City. Mike and my hot wife were studying for exams and test while we made a few fun shots of Tiffany...for what reason I'm not sure. I do seem to really enjoy photography and playing with the camera so I was all amped up about this all day. I made a bunch more but this is the only one I posted. There are a few more black and white shots, as well as a few more multiplicity shots. I may post them all on the photo blog so you guys don't have to look at them if you don't want to. It's late, and I'm tired but this was way fun. I have a feeling I'll be doing a lot more photography this summer.

In other news the Jeep of Doom is fixed and I have something to drive to work again. I'm thrilled. I missed my Jeep but I got it back right in time for the rain. Nice huh? Oh well. I guess I can take the top off this weekend. Have a good Monday everybody.

Sunday, April 23, 2006


Ever wanted three wives? I neglected everything I was supposed to do do today like change the oil in my hot wifes car, and flush the radiator. I did get the grass cut and a picture hung up. At the end of the day we grilled pizza. I'd never had grilled pizza before and we'd never tried it. It turned out pretty good I think. The pizza is basically baked on the grill and it has a little of the smokey flavor that the oven doesn't have. Anyway, I mentioned last week that I was taking pictures of Mikes girlfriend Tiffany for her MySpace page (oh, and I have a rant about MySpace ho's for later this week as well) and I told them I wanted to try some multiplicity shots. This was my test shot, if the ones with Tiffany work out as well I think I'll post those too. For now, I have this one for your viewing pleasure.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Movie Review

Fun with Dick and Jane - The funniest part about this review will be how Blockbuster has once again screwed up. If you'll remember a few months back we received a $45 credit from Blockbuster by mistake. The kid at the counter argued that it was in fact my credit and he'd be happy to put it on a gift card, but either way it was staying on my account. Great. $45 in free Blockbuster stuff. I bought a few movies and we used the rest on rentals. I still have a few bucks left on it. Recently they sent us a coupon for a $1.99 rental any movie in the store. So we rented Fun with Dick and Jane and we used this gift card. For those just tuning in, Blockbuster has paid us to take movies, and is now offering us discount coupons so the $45 error they made in our favor is going further than it normally would. Thanks again Blockbuster. If you can screw up again soon that would be great.

On to the movie. I had heard the movie was a remake, but that doesn't matter. It's sortof funny, but it isn't the comedy of the year we'd been told it was. It was a pretty decent story, with a happy ending, and it will make you laugh in a few places but I wouldn't go out of your way to see it. It's not your typical Jim Carrey humor so a lot of it is pretty funny. I thought. I didn't make a back-up copy of it before we returned it because I'll probably never sit down and watch it again. That's my review in a nutshell.

As for the rest of the week, the Jeep is still in the shop where it has been for almost seven days now. I think I finally have their attention as they've gone from calling me sir to by name. Yesterday I administered them an ass chewing that I was going to blog about but did not. If you really want to hear the story I can tell you. In short, they suck, I win. Later this week we're doing experimental photography for Tiffany's My Space page. No, nothing pornographic, but we're trying some multiplicity and vintage styled headshots. If they turn out well, I'll post the pictures here. If they don't, you'll never know. I hope everyone else is having a good week. The wife is in class late tonight so I'm having dinner alone. I'm thinking Peanut Butter and Potato Chip sandwiches sound good to me. I guess if no one is watching I can throw in some marshmellows too right?

Friday, April 14, 2006

Finally Friday!

Not much else to post today so another quiz. One you've probably never taken before.

Take the quiz:
What kind of muscle car are you?

1971 Plymouth Barracuda
You have a 1971 Plymouth Barracuda. You love beer. You love your car. It's fast as hell, and thats all that matters! And yes, it's got a hemi.....that's right I said a hemi!

Quizzes by -- the World's Biggest Yearbook!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Another birthday

Well this makes case you were wondering. The birthday was good, I got a lot of good stuff and had a pretty good birthday party. I did manage to burn the food on our Sunday afternoon cookout so the only really good part of it was what my hot wife made and the ice cream cake from Baskin Robbins. It was good...really good. As the matter of fact we've still got enough leftover for another couple of nights. Not much else is going on. I've meant to blog like nine times this week but I've just been too busy. The only funny story I have to report is me losing my temper with a woman on her cell phone at the ball game the other night. We were pulling in to the parking lot and making a right turn...where we had the right of way. This woman on her cell phone in a piece of crap mid 80's Taurus just drove through the intersection and almost hit my wifes car. If we'd been in the Jeep, we would have had a wreck...and it would have hurt her a lot more than us. So I get out of the car and chase her in to the parking lot while I'm pretty sure my wife is hiding her head in the car. I repeatedly start punching her window screaming loud obscene things and telling her to get off the phone. I'm not sure what she thought but she was scared when a crazy screaming asshole punched her window and yelled for her to hang up and drive. She hid in the car with her doors locked until we left...she wouldn't get out when we were there. In case you were wondering she did stay on the cell phone the entire time. She's probably wondering what my problem was as she was totally oblivious to her surroundings.

Not much else happening. The Jeep of Doom is having some brake problems so it's going to the shop today. My cousin and his wife had a new baby boy on Monday and everything is going well with them. She got to come home yesterday and today said she was glad to finally get some rest. I don't have as much this week to blog as I did last week but I'll get creative again and post something worth reading soon. Have a good Thursday afternoon everyone.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Monday Fun

Which Action Star Are You? Find out @ She's Crafty

Friday, April 07, 2006

Telemarketers and Gym Memberships

As promised I've developed new techniques for dealing with telemarketers. I'm not a nice guy when you interrupt my dinner or my sleep to tell me a great way to get me out of debt, or to pay off student loans. I used to take satisfaction in just telling these people that I did not have student or credit card debt and that made them mad enough to hang up on me. Now we get home improvement loans and the usual debt consolidations and I get tired of it. Catch me on a bad day and I'll make a telemarketer cry.

The first new way I've come up with is somewhat annoying to them, but so is them calling me. What I've been doing lately is answering, upon finding out it's a sales call I'll pretend like I can't hear them. Then push a button on the phone. Doing this long enough you can actually hear their headset hit the ground. There are some that are persistant and will say "There is a problem with the connection sir." So I'll let off for a minute and say "Oh, it's fixed now," wait a few seconds, let them talk, then push and hold the button again. This is handy if you don't have an air horn by the phone (which I've found several people don't) because it's just as annoying. Usually I'll end the call by going "Man, does that noise hurt your ears? It's annoying isn't it?" I've gotten them to say "Yes sir, it does hurt my ears and is bothering me." That's when I go, "it annoys me almost as much as you calling me." It's usually a race to see who hangs up first but I usually win.

The next way put me in tears the first time I did it. We'll call it role playing. The phone rings...
Sales Caller - "Hello, we're looking for Mr. Raul Duke. Is he available?"
Me - "Tell me. What is the nature of your relationship with Mr. Duke?"
Sales Caller - "Um, I'm calling on behalf of..." you have to interrupt them here...
Me - "Save the pitch. This is Agent Smith. Mr. Duke was found dead this morning. This number showed up numerous times on his caller ID so we can't help but think you're involved somehow and we'd like to bring you in for questioning."
Sales Caller - "We don't actually know Mr."
Me - "Sir for someone that doesn't know him you seem to have called an awful lot. You could be a stalker for all we know. Are you going to come in for question quietly or do we have to take you in to custody?"
Sales Caller - "CUSTODY? Oh Dear'm so sorry to have bothered you..we really have no affiliation with Mr. Duke or his current"
Me - "So you're not going to make this easy on us then? That's okay, we've traced this call. An agent will be by to escort you out of the building shortly."
Crying, they hung up the phone. I laughed so hard I didn't know what to do with myself.

My sisters personal favorite is to answer the phone, say the guy they're asking for isn't available, and when they say "Is his wife available?" she explodes at them. "WHAT?!?!? HIS WHAT!?!?! THAT BASTARD TOLD ME HE WAS DIVORCED!!!" They usually hang up on that one too.

So there you have it, new ways to handle those pesky sales calls. I know they're doing a job, and I should probably be nicer, but why encourage them to call more? Exactly.

Last weekend we "won" a membership to a new fitness center here so we went to check it out. It wasn't bad, and it was a good deal. If we join one, that will probably be it. We decided we'd go check out their competition since we were already out. This guy took almost two hours out of my day as his goal was to get us to sign up right then. I told him up front, we just wanted to see the place and not sign anything but he didn't care. He starts talking packages and contracts and then says "Since you've had a personal trainer and haven't worked out in a year, you're going to have to get one to start out with. So let's sign you guys up for this package. All you have to do is drop $2,000 today and sign a contract for $50 a month for three years after that." Having told this guy we weren't signing up we really tried to leave and he said "Okay, I've got pull here. I can give you guys a two week free pass so if you'll fill these out I'll be right back." The pass had two blanks for names at the top and 10 spaces below where you put your name for your friends. He comes back and we haven't filled that part out. He goes "You guys don't have friends? What gives? This is the best gift you can give a friend." I finally said "Well, we just don't believe in throwing our friends under the bus. If they want to come in, they know where it is." Then he said "What if they do come in and say they know you. I'll have to say 'Man, they could have hooked you up but they wouldn't give me your name so you're gonna have to sign up to work out here.' Seriously? What's keeping you guys from signing up? It's not like investing in a house, it's much better than that. You're investing in yourself. Everybody in town wants to be a member here. What's keeping you from committing?" I know his goal is to sign people up, but he really annoyed me. It was all I could do not to go off on him, but I refrained. He got mad that we didn't sign up and was done with us. We left and seriously, if we ever join another gym, it will not be that one.

It's quitting time on Friday and I'm outta here. I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

10 Year Reunion

I can't believe it's been 10 years, I really can't. So much has changed that it's not even funny. I remember my high school network of friends and how we thought we'd always be friends and most of them I haven't seen in years. There were four of us that we'd call friends. We had a following or clique of our own I guess, but we were the Outsiders and not the in crowd. Our crew consisted of Matt the party guy, Thomas the pathological liar, Daniel the spoiled rich kid, me the asshole, and Jeff the smart one. Since 96 a lot has changed. No one has seen or heard from Thomas in years, Matt still has the focus of drinking and scoring college girls, Daniel is still living off his parents money, I'm still an asshole, and Jeff is still the smart one. In my world, Matt, Thomas, and Daniel have been replaced with Mike, and I still have Jeff. It's hard to say why we lost touch, but I'm looking forward to the reunion to see where everyone is now. For about two years Matt and Daniel lived less than a mile from my house and in that two years I saw Jeff more than I saw them. Daniel had the nerve some years later to say out loud to someone that he couldn't believe I asked Jeff to be in our wedding and not him because Jeff had turned his back on all of us. No Daniel, you turned your back on us because you're a dick. You always have been we just put up with it for a while. Now we don't have to. So 10 years later I've still got my two best friends, Jeff and Mike. Jeff and I are both married to insanely hot women, and all of us seem to be happy with where we are and where we're headed. It's funny how life takes its turns, but I promise you I wouldn't trade my life for anyones. As for the reunion, Jeff told me he wasn't going but I think he should reconsider. I think it would be a fun afternoon and we could host you guys at our house for a few days. I would say it would be like old times, but it won't be. It will be like current times, old times are gone and all we can do is laugh about them and hope that in 10 more years we're still close enough to have this argument about out 20 year reunion.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

My Bad

In all my rantings yesterday I forgot to congratulate Chas and J on their new baby girl. Flip over to Chas's blog and check out a very intense description of her labor and delivery. We're very glad to see they are all alright and the new baby girl (who got her moms good looks) is happy and healthy as well.

I do have things to post this week but today is a busy day. I got the letter about my 10 year reunion recently, and I've made a list of new ways to deal with telemarketing calls. Really, these are going to be good.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Get Real

I just got off the phone with my previous employer. It seems the ass clown that took over my job lost their eBay password. They got an e-mail this morning saying that the password had been changed and needed my pet's name to get the e-mail for the hint question. I told them what it was and it e-mailed the password to my old e-mail address. They should have the password to that because it was changed when I left the building. Seriously, this is a group of people that when I turned in my notice only made me work seven days because if I'd stayed the full two weeks they would have had to pay me for another holiday, and they would have had to disperse my yearly retirement which they did on July 1st. So, just to let everyone know what total asses they were when I left, they didn't want to have to spend the money to disperse the .05 percent (no, it's not five percent, it's .05 because that was all they contributed) of last years income to my IRA, and didn't want to pay me for a holiday. This is a company that makes a half a million dollars in profit on their freight costs alone. When I left I'd done $1.5 million in sales with a 52 percent profit margin, shattered the record from the previous year with an unheard of $2.2 million (previously $1.1mil was the record) and was probably going to break 3 million last year. My profits alone could have paid everyones salaries on the sales floor and given them at least a 50 percent raise. When I asked for a raise before I left, they said it would be too hard to do. They said getting a raise before I spent six weeks on the road away from my hot wife was too much trouble. Not only that, because I left I'm looked at as a traitor to the company. They can't imagine why anyone would leave and not help the upper management get more and more rich. Anyway, they called this morning because their eBay password had been changed. They honestly asked "Did you do this as a joke on us? Do you just not have anything to do so you're playing games with us?" I was probably more polite than I should have been, so I just said no and helped them get it. Then they said "Are you just this bored that changing our password is funny to you?" That pissed me off so I said "Look. I might still know the eBay password but changing it isn't my idea of taking a jab at the company. If I really wanted to do something to mess with you guys, I could. I know all about how you treat people, how your products are made, where they're made, the lies you programmed us to tell so we could sell more of them, and all that crap. I'm a member of 200 internet forums that all knew me as your rep, and I still get e-mails and PM's from those guys with questions that I still know how to answer. If I really wanted to take a jab at you, I could do it that way and leave you to put out the fire the way I used to for the company." They responded with a "We'd sue you for that." "Ha! You can't sue me for telling the truth. Seriously, I've got a lot to do today, and a lot on my plate. Enough that changing your passwords never crossed my mind. Not even a little bit, but I'm glad we could take this time to catch up." Then I hung up. They didn't call back. I hope they never do.

Nate's Story

Happy Monday morning everybody. Well...both of you anyway. I've got a story here that I wish I could take credit for, but it's my friend Nate's story and I've got nothing else going on this morning so here you go.

Background - Nate has been my friend for close to nine years now. We started working together at an overpriced steakhouse in college and I was a server/bartender and he was a cook/kitchen manager. Nate is a hell of a cook. He's good in a restaurant kitchen as well as his own kitchen. We both left that place and ended up at a Tex/Mex place...probably wouldn't be nice to say the name of the restaurant on the blog...let's just say they're famous for their chili's and leave it at that. So he takes a job as a cook there and I work there to finish out my career as a waiter and graduate college. He stays on while he's going to school part time and takes a management position. They transfer him four hours from here, then move him one hour from here and that's where he is now. So...on to the story.

Nate has a closing shift on Friday night and there is a parking lot across the street from him that they have to use because their building has no parking lot. He pays like $5 a day to park in this 24 hour parking lot. Friday night after he's done closing he comes out and his truck is gone. So he calls the number to see if his truck has been has. The lady on the phone says "Well, they probably towed you because you didn't pay." He had the receipt in his hand from where he paid so he offered to bring that to her. She said she wanted to ask the driver about it so she put him on hold. She comes back and says "The driver says you were their past your 12 hour limit." So he informs her that the sign says 24 hours and she says it's not really. So then he says "Fine, I got there at 3:00 according to my time stamp on my receipt. It's now 1:15 so I haven't been there 12 or 24 hours yet and you guys have towed my truck. What gives?" The lady says "well, the driver says he saw you leave and come back and you didn't pay the second time you got there." Confused Nate says "Let me talk to your driver, I think he's got me confused with someone else." She says "He's not here right now. It will be $90 to get your car out of impound and you need to come get it soon because I'm not going to wait up all night on you." Then she hangs up. Nate gets $90 out of petty cash and gets his truck. He tells the lady that he's now going to get his company's high powered lawyers on her if she doesn't get his $90 back to him. They argue, and Nate eventually gets the district manager to call and say he needs to be reimbursed or she'll be in court. Nate calls again to say that it would be all over the news if she didn't cough up the $90. She said "Well, we can reimburse you this time. Our drivers get to keep the $90 when they tow a vehicle so a lot of times they just tow one because they need $90 and nobody disputes it." Nate was blown away and said "Why would you tell me that? Are you crazy?" They argue for another minute and she tells him that he needs to let the driver know he works at the restaurant when he parks there. This seemed to be his last straw. Nate, now red in the face says "You crazy bitch! Do you honestly believe I'm ever going to park in this lot again? You just screwed yourself out of a ton of money because if I'm making it a store policy NOT to park in your stupid ass parking lot. If you, your drivers, or anyone affiliated with this scam of an organization EVER come in to my restaurant I'll have you thrown out on your ass." I'm sure it escalated from there until Nate hung up on her, but that was his Friday night. Ours was uneventful. We did a lot of yard work and Jeep work this weekend so I'm caught up until at least next weekend. I hope everyone else had a great weekend.