In my inbox this morning, this little piece of spam (with today's date stamped on it no less) made its way past the filters:
From: JEFF TALLOW
Subject: NOBODY CAN STOP BRADY & MOSS!!!!!!!!!!!!
The entire body of the message was: "The Patriots rule."
That's it. No penis enlargement ads...no phishing links...no offers to give me 10% of a secret Nigerian fortune--just "The Patriots rule."
Oddest piece of spam I've seen in a while...
For those that argue that weed has no harmful long-term effects, I present evidence to the contrary:
Yesterday was my boss's birthday. To mark this glorious occasion each year, the whole group goes out to lunch at whatever local eatery she picks. Normally, I don't go on such group outings because 1) I don't really enjoy the company of most of my co-workers and 2) paying nearly $10 for lunch isn't fun but since this is the boss and I'll only be working for her for a couple more weeks I figured what the hell and went.
What was supposed to be a group of 10 turned into a group of 15 thanks to a couple of the dunce caps in the group inviting extra people. The problem? The table that had been reserved was for 10, which led to all of us getting a little too close for comfort. Throw in the fact that the bun on my chicken sandwich was hard as a rock and the ice tea tasted like it was made with the dish water and you have the recipe for a fun outing.
At least I was able to escape the crowd after a bit and waste a few minutes playing the Ms. Pac Man machine that I saw on my way in through the door. And it was only 25 cents a play. I haven't seen a 25 cent machine in probably 5 years.
Anybody show up for work/school an hour early today? If you did, you're a retard...
I think the Patriots and Colts played a football game of some importance yesterday that apparently lived up to the hype. I can't be sure of this though as those of us in the Houston TV market were not allowed to see the game thanks to existence of the Houston Texans. Because of them, we were stuck with the scintillating Texans-Raiders contest which was, um, not as good as the Pats-Colts game.
Fortunately, I did not have to suffer through that game because, on Thursday, my brother called and asked if I would come out to his place on Sunday and help him move some furniture. They are building a house and will be moving in (hopefully) shortly before Christmas and I had promised him about six weeks ago that I would help once their current house sold. Well, this past week, they accepted a cash offer for their current house. That's the good news.
The bad news is that, in order for the deal to go through, they have to be completely moved out by the 12th of this month.
So when sfaJill and I show up yesterday ready to go, what do we find? Chaos. Nothing in the house has been packed and clothes are strewn about all over the place; if you didn't know they had sold the place, you'd have no idea they were moving. We spent two hours just clearing drawers and shelves of stuff so we could move it all the storage place.
Then, after we FINALLY get a load of furniture onto the trailer and make a run to the storage place, it is revealed that the unit they have rented is only 5' X 12' in size. Can you guess what happens next? Yep, we don't have enough room to fit the stuff we brought with us in there, much less the rest of the stuff still at the house.
They're supposed to call about renting another (bigger) unit today and I've been asked to go back out there Saturday to complete Phase Two of this big move. Brother is on notice that if they haven't finished packing up all their crap enough to where all we have to do is load up boxes and the remaining into the trailer, I'm walking. We'll see what happens.
Ah, family. Too bad you can't pick 'em.
Friday night, I was suffering from a fairly severe case of insomnia. Bored and desperate for something to watch, I chose RV, which was running on Encore. What a mistake. Somebody get Robin Williams back on coke, stat.
The only redeeming thing about this movie is Kristin Chenoweth. Between this show and Pushing Daisies, I have developed quite the little crush on her.
Election Day tomorrow for us Texans. It's expected that no more than 15% of voters will turn out statewide. I'm sure the other 85% will bitch incessantly about whatever the result is though.
Tropical Storm depresssion Erin is bearing down on the south Texas coast. According to our local TV weatherpersons (OMG political correctness~!), those of us in the Houston metro area (200+ miles north of the storm's landfall) should brace for the imminent death and destruction this storm will surely bring.
Oh, wait. What's that? It's actually just going to rain a lot over the next couple of days? Get the fuck out of here with all that stupid KATRINA WAS A VERY REAL TRAGEDY THAT COULD HAPPEN TO US TOO bullshit.
In other tropics news, Hurricane Dean continues to head for the Yucatan Peninsula. Barring a change of course, landfall is expected there sometime early next week. Good to know that George Bush hates Mexicans, too.
For the second time in three months, a Saudi guy had his snakes confiscated at the Cairo airport.
I've flown out of the Cairo airport. Maybe it was because it was about 3 in the morning when we were boarding my particular flight or maybe it was because the flight was headed to Amsterdam (instead of the U.S.) and security didn't think the terrorists would be interested in jihading a plane that wasn't likely have a lot of Americans on board, but security was not too concerned with checking anything or anybody too closely.
Every time the metal detector went off, they'd wave you through. No carry-ons were opened, no liquids were banned from the flight--yet they've confiscated two bags full of snakes in three months. Weird.
This guy's stunt got a chuckle out of me but I doubt he'd find it funny if his tenants decided to pay him in change to protest his high rental rates.
Wait--scam artists use the Internet to carry out their schemes?? I'm SHOCKED.
This world has gotten pretty bad when you can't even safely travel to an African nation and meet with a total stranger who said she loves you and has promised to pay you $85,000 in gold if you come rescue her from her hellhole of a homeland anymore.
Everything that can be said about the Michael Vick/dog-fighting thing has been said, so I’m not going to throw in my two cents. I’ll just note that since everyone is saying he’s unlikely to be suspended (at this point in time anyway), I’m really hoping that the Falcons make the Super Bowl so that the league will have that over their heads during the biggest moment of the season. At the very least, it would give everyone an actual topic to beat into the ground during the excruciating two week layoff, instead of the same old “5 reasons why ‘Team A’ can’t win” crap.
Plus, it’ll be fun watching the boys at ESPN try and spin it to protect their second-favorite black quarterback.
My wedding was a little more than three months ago and it’s still giving me grief. A couple of nights ago, the missus declared that it was time we started going through all of the pictures taken by our photographer (who sucked) and pick the ones we want for our official wedding album. I’ve been successful in delaying her on this for a month, but suddenly she’s gotten it in her head that this must be done NOW. Whatever.
Anybody who has been through the process of doing this knows how much of a pain it is: you go through the thousand pictures that were taken, make note of the ones you like and then try and pick what sizes and layouts you want for the various pages in your album.
In our case, there were 976 pictures to sort through to get a 20-page album. FOUR AND HALF HOURS after we started going through all the pictures, we emerged, cross-eyed, with a list. Now, even if we were to pick only the layout templates that can fit four 4 X 6 pictures onto each page, we’d have a maximum of 80 pictures for the album. How many did we have on our list of “pictures wife would like in the album” after our 4 ½ hours of fun?
And speaking of wedding bliss, my in-laws are coming into town this weekend. This means that I can look forward to hours upon hours of my mother-in-law, sister-in-law, and wife watching HGTV (at max volume) while my father-in-law sleeps on the floor and the 3-year-old nephew runs around destroying shit because his mother is too engrossed in HGTV to give a shit. And this is after we have gone to eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner at fucking McDonald’s because that’s the only place that has a playground. Oh boy.
My only possible saving grace is that my wife’s birthday is next Wednesday and one of her friends wants to go out and celebrate on Saturday night. She’s hesitating to agree because her parents are going to be in town and she “doesn’t feel right” about not spending every waking moment with them. I said fuck that and am strongly encouraging her to go. Her going out would give me a whole evening to myself as the in-laws won’t want to hang out with me without wife around. So here’s hoping…
Halloween has come and gone again. Yea, I guess. I haven't been excited about Halloween for at least 15 years. sfaJill, however, is a BIG Halloween fan and really enjoys putting on a costume and greeting all the little monsters that knock on the door. Consequently, I spent half this last weekend helping decorate the front porch in a spider theme (i.e. cobweb, black lights, some glow-in-the-dark wall covering, etc) and standing in the candy section at Wal-Mart waiting for her to decide which is the best kind of candy to buy (my argument: who gives a shit? It's free; if the kids want to bitch about free candy, they don't have to come back next year).
Last night, sfaJill handled 95% of the trick-or-treat duty, meaning I bothered to get up out of my chair only two or three times when there was a knock at the door. Of course, after having a few kids walk right past our house without stopping, sfaJill was convinced that they didn't know we were offering candy (because, according to her, the house wasn't all lit up like a Christmas tree so it didn't look inviting and/or because there was nobody sitting outside waiting with a big dish of candy like many of the neighbors were) and decided to setup a camp on the front porch so that nobody would miss our house.
Since I had no interest in sitting outside getting bit by bugs, I retreated to my office in the house and popped in Freddy vs. Jason (yeah, I know it's a crappy movie, but I just chose a slasher at random) and waited for the end of the night. It was nearly 9:00 before she declared the night to be over and came in. I'm told Spiderman was the most popular boys' costume and Disney princesses were the most popular for girls. Sounds about right, but I'm disappointed nobody decked their kid out in this.
It's weird; every year I always hear a few folks lamenting how trick-or-treating is a dying tradition. I don't buy it. After a slow start, there were so many kids running through our neighborhood that it looked like a locust plague. I don't know. Maybe our neighborhood is the exception to the rule.
During these long, hot Texas summers, what better way to beat the heat than to buy a vehicle with air conditioned seats?
There isn't one single goddamn radio station in this town that is carrying the MLB playoffs. I mean, seriously--what the FUCK is up with that? We have FOUR sports radio stations in this town (including an ESPN radio affiliate) and not one of them can pick up even the shitty Westwood One network calls of the games? Christ. I knew I should have taken the rest of this afternoon off.
So I just got this invitation through the mail here at work from something called the "Houston Energy & Finance Forum." I've never heard of it, but apparently they know who I am ( ) because I've been invited to attend some luncheon/seminar they're hosting next Wednesday at the Hyatt downtown. The topic? Building a career and a life, which apparently means they're going to speak about integrating my professional, personal, and spiritual life into one big harmonious pile of crap. I'm not sure I want to know who thought this up or what the purpose is.
What I would like to know is how they got my name because, after discussing this with a co-worker and asking a few individuals around the floor, it looks like I might be the only one invited to this thing. Nobody else seems to know anything about it. There hasn't even been some lame company-wide e-mail sent out informing us of this prestigious event.
Oh, wait, what's this? Does it say here that the CEO of my company is part of the host committee? The same CEO that I've never met and whom probably wouldn't know who I was if I walked up and punched him in the face right now? Or...wait. Does he actually know who I am and is fully expecting me to attend this thing? Have I been put on some sort of "rising star" list around here (just as one co-worker/partial supervisor has been saying for months) that requires me to go to things like this? Should I ignore it completely? Should I call them to say I'm not coming? Should I go and indulge in a free lunch?
I have no clue. And I have no idea what to do.
To the surprise of few, the Houston Comets are done. Maybe they could ask for a bailout.
I think Bill Simmons had a line in of his columns years ago that said something like, "If you had the choice of getting $5 in cash or having your city's WNBA team win a title, which would you pick?" I know which one I would pick. Apparently my fellow Houstonians took their $5 and then chose not to purchase a Comets ticket with it.
I personally never attended (or watched in entirety) a single game, but my favorite Comets memory is a coworker of mine relating the tale of how she used to go to a few each year when they first started in 1997 but stopped doing so because she was "tired of being hit on by bull dykes and ugly women."
I didn't get picked for jury duty yesterday. I got downtown around 7:30 and then sat there playing my DS for 4 hours while watching several other panels of white people potential jurors get called. Finally, just before 11:30, they announced that those of us remaining were being dismissed and that our jury service was complete.
While standing in line to get my work release form to prove to my boss that I wasn't just trying to scam a free day off, I asked the bailiff in charge what happened. He informed me that, based on my juror number (3555), I was 'definitely assigned to a court' but that there was 'probably a settlement reached in the case and a trial was no longer needed.' Score. I spent the rest of the day doing some Christmas shopping.
I also filled out some form to give my $6 pay to the Texas Childrens Welfare Fund. I'm considering it my one good deed for the holiday season. Plus I don't want to have to go to the bank just to cash a check for $6.
A recap of Thanksgiving With the In-Laws:
Wednesday Night: they arrive at our house around 10:30 p.m. No joking: my mother-in-law brought 12 various bags and suitcases with her. For a four day weekend.
Thursday afternoon: Lunch is at our house with the official feast scheduled for tomorrow at my sfaJill's sister's house. With the house full of additional in-laws, I retreat to my study and watch the Cowboys thrash the Seahawks. When I emerge around 6:30, I discover that sfaJill, her sister, and mother have all left to go wait outside of Michaels until it opened at 6 to buy some Christmas tree that is supposed to be 50% off. sfaJill's sister MUST have this tree for the entryway at their house.
Thursday evening: They return with no tree. Apparently Michaels only had 7.5' trees and none of the 12' ones she wanted. Wal-Mart was also a bust. Sister-in-law is pissed and responds by pakcing up her crew and going home. Woo!
Friday: Thanksgiving meal at sister-in-laws is supposed to be at 2:00. The in-laws rise early and head over before 8 a.m. to help get everything ready. sfaJill sleeps in until nearly 11. Ah, yes...a few hours of peace and quiet. That peace and quite would be shattered shortly after noon when sfaJill and her sister get pissed at each other because, apparently, the two of us were also supposed to arrive early to help set up and sfaJill was now in trouble because we are 'late.'
"Fuck her. My sister's a bitch." are the only words spoken for a couple of minutes on our drive over after she angrily hangs up the cell phone.
For the record, I do not recall being asked to come over early in the day to help. Also, I lost the bet with myself that the first fight between sfaJill and her sis would occur Friday. I bet on Thursday.
At least the meal itself passes quickly and without incident. The hours of family board game time afterwards do not, however. Also, sfaJill's little brother arrived to join the group around 5:00. Without his white-trash girlfriend, who is a constant source of angst.
Saturday afternoon: Father-in-law heads over to sister-in-law's house again. Mother-in-law and sfaJill, who reluctantly agreed to hit all the craft stores with her mom, head out for 4 1/2 hours of craft store fun. Finally...a break!
Saturday evening: Back to sister-in-law's house for Friday leftovers. Neither sfaJill nor I want to go but since mother-in-law does and doesn't have any other ride over there, we have little choice. We leave after little more than an hour on the grounds that our hosts were doing a poor job of hosting (i.e. sfaJill is still kinda po'ed about Friday and doesn't like that her sister has said barely three words to her since we got there). Fine with me. I've had about enough 'family time' anyway.
Sunday: More in-law fun--lunch with everyone at Saltgrass Steak House and then MORE board game fun at our house. Of course, this means that they don't actually leave town until nearly 6:00, making for nearly 4 days of family fun. sfaJill and I went to see Transporter 3 after they left. It's not horrible, but is definitely the worst Transporter movie. Even she admitted that it was time for them to go.
Oh, yes. This is EXACTLY the sort of stuff I love to see the Texas Legislature get involved with...
I have Comcast. I can get NFL Network if I want. I choose not to. Why? Because I don't think it's worth paying $7.95 a month for what amounts to eight (mostly crappy) regular season games and expanded combine/draft coverage (something we already get enough of thanks to ESPN and the bajillion draft websites that exist).
Would I watch the NFL Network if it were on basic cable? Yeah, probably, at least from time to time. Do I want the cable companies to be forced to put NFL Network on their basic packages, thus causing my cable bill to go up a couple of dollars a month? Hell no. Do the thousands of people that have no interest in the NFL at all want to pay that extra couple dollars a month? Definitely not.
There is no way that Comcast and their money-grubbing brethren should be forced to carry the NFL Network on their basic package. Not when the NFL wants an insane $0.70 per subscriber from the cable companies (more than CNN charges) that would just raise everyone's rates, and definitely not when there is no overwhelming public demand for the NFL Network. If that tide shifts one day and the public is suddenly in favor of the NFL Network being widely available, sure, bring it on. Until that happens though, keep the NFL Network exactly where it is. As with nearly everything else in this country, the market will dictate what should happen. Certainly there shouldn't be any legislation on this under any circumstance.
I am what you could call, at best, a casual fan of the NBA and/or the Houston Rockets, but two little news items have caught my eye today.
First, Stevie Franchise is coming home. I’m ecstatic. With this news, all the fond memories of watching him fire up absurd 3’s, dribble out the clock without getting off a good shot, and turn the ball over at every inopportune moment, all while leading the team to the playoffs (and losing in the 1st round) exactly once in five seasons came flooding back into my mind. Oh, how we’re all on the edge of our seats here, watching, waiting for Stevie to return with his hero’s cape on to lead the Rockets back to the promised land.
What are the Rockets thinking? Yeah, he’s a talent and is relatively cheap ($2.4 mil for the first year), but this is the same guy couldn’t share the ball with Cuttino Mobley and Yao before. And now you want him to take a background role behind T-Mac, Yao, and Mike James?? Really? Doesn’t make much sense to me.
The bigger story of the day is the news that the feds apparently have uncovered a referee’s involvement in the gambling on and fixing of NBA games.
It’ll be interesting to see the fallout from this, though anybody who watched the Lakers/Kings series in 2002 knows the league’s been fixing games for years. Har har…
10 years? Why isn’t this guy already strapped to the gurney, arm exposed, with the needle at the ready?
mole started a thread about some con artist that tried to get their hands on a free GPS thingy that seems to have turned into yet another “retail horror stories” thread. Reading it made me reminisce about my days working in a grocery store deli/bakery back in college—the one and only job I’ve ever worked where interacting with dumbass customers is/was an integral part of the job—and, since I only bring interesting, hard-hitting content to this blog, here are a few of my fondest memories of that job, presented in no particular order, in a countdown format.
The year was 1999…
The store was understaffed on an unusually busy day, so the courtesy booth clerk and assistant manager were forced into checker/bagging duty, making it our job in the bakery/deli to answer the store’s phone. I was the lucky one to answer this call:
“Good afternoon, thanks for calling Brookshire Bros. How can I help you today?”
“Uh, yeah…I’ve got a question for you.”
“Are ya’ll still gonna sell gas after Y2K? ‘Cuz, uh, you know, I hear there won’t be gas and stuff like that.”
“Yes, sir, I imagine we will.”
“Oh. Well, ok. That’s good.”
One week, there was an unadvertised sale of 8-piece fried chicken dinners for $2.99 (insert joke here). Or at least it was supposed to be unadvertised—when the weekly circular ad ran in the paper that Sunday, the 8-piece deal was listed. Problem was that, since it was supposed to be unadvertised, our manager had only ordered a bit more than our usual amount of raw chicken for the first part of the week.
I’m sure you can guess what happened. By early Tuesday afternoon, we ran out of chicken. This was bad news for me since I worked the evening shift.
So this one bluehair comes in around 5:00 or so and, of course, asks for the special. I launched into the same “I’m sorry; we don’t have any more chicken” speech I’d already given 35 times in the past 3 hours. This was incomprehensible to her.
“But your ad says you have chicken meals for $3.”
“I know, ma’am. But we are completely out of fried chicken.”
“So if you don’t sell chicken, why do have chicken on sale in the paper?”
“No, ma’am. We do sell fried chicken. We just don’t have any in stock at the moment.”
(points to the rotisserie chickens) “But isn’t that a chicken right there?”
“Yes ma’am, but that is a rotisserie chicken. It’s not on sale.”
“So which chicken is on sale then?”
“The fried chicken.”
“But I can’t buy any?”
“No, because we don’t have any in the store.”
“I don’t understand why I can’t buy that chicken right there.”
“You can buy it. But it’s not on sale.”
“I can’t buy that chicken for $3?”
“Well, I just don’t think that’s right.”
And just like that she was gone.
It was a normal Saturday afternoon. I had been mostly working the meat slicer that afternoon, but thanks to my coworker’s impeccable timing, he went on break just minutes before a big, angry guy came into storming over to our counter, carrying a bag of our fried chicken. He put the bag on the counter and said, “I need a refund.”
“Ok, sir. What’s the problem?”
“This chicken ain’t cooked, man. It’s all raw.”
“Alright, well, I apologize for that. I can definitely help you out. Would you just like another bag of chicken instead?”
“Nah…I just want my money back.”
“Ok. Give me just one moment.” I took the bag and looked inside to see if the chicken was actually raw. What did I find inside?
A pile of chicken bones, stripped almost completely clean.
After a double-take, I spoke up. “Sir, did you eat this chicken?”
“Well, yeah, man. How the hell do you think I know it ain’t cooked?”
“So…wait a minute. You ate this chicken, even though it was raw?”
“I can’t give you a refund.”
“Because you ate the chicken!”
He protested again and asked that I call for the manager, which I was more than happy to do. The manager, who wasn’t all that sympathetic to customers’ problems to begin with, listened to my recap of the story, took one look in the bag and told the guy that not only would he not be receiving a refund but that he was not to order chicken or anything else from our bakery/deli or bother any of his store’s staff with anything else ever again. After bowing up and trying to look intimidating, the big guy declared this to be “shitty customer service” before leaving rather quietly.
I wandered around the floor here a few minutes ago and counted 15 people. In my group, there are exactly two of us here (out of 11). That raises the question: is everyone else lazy or am I an even bigger sap than I realize?
Probably the latter. Oh well. At least I've gotten a lot of work done today. No coworkers = no obnoxious noise, which makes me happier and more productive.
The only downside is that now I'm going to be watching the clock as it is customary for management to dismiss us a few hours early today. That usually happens around 1:00, which is 25 minutes away. It will seem like an eternity...
So Thanksgiving is tomorrow. That will make for a nice four-day weekend. Yay. sfaJill's family will be gathering at her sister's house tomorrow for the traditional Thanksgiving crap. I'll bet $100 that this gathering will include her brother and mom yelling at each other about whatever his girlfriend has done lately to piss mom off, sfaJill's sister continuing to give sfaJill the silent treatment over some shit that I said/did three months ago regarding their son, and my brother-in-law's mom pissing everyone else off just because she's a total bitch and that is her specialty.
Fortunately, thanks to the magic of the Cowboys playing their usual Thanksgiving Day game, I will be 250 miles away, basking in the glow of what should be an easy win over the Jets. Thank you, Cowboys. Thank you. I will have to listen to a phone call from an exacerbated sfaJill later that night during which she will declare that's she tired of their "bullshit" and is THIS CLOSE to cutting them out of her life, but that is a small price to pay for getting out of sitting through all the fun.
So, in the spirit of celebrating Thanksgiving, all of its excesses, and football, I'm going to steal an idea from kkk and post my picks for this week's games. The difference is that I'll pick them straight-up because, well, it's easier.
Green Bay @ Detroit
I'm taking the Packers, but I hope the Lions can pull one out here because that would mean the Cowboys would effectively have a three-game lead on the Pack in the race for home-field after they beat Green Bay next week.
N.Y. Jets @ Dallas
Cowboys were flat against the Skins last Sunday, which is to be expected after two huge road wins over Philly and the Giants. That will not happen again. Cowboys by 17.
Indianapolis @ Atlanta
Injuries or not, the Colts should kill them. Joey Harrington sucks, yes, but Byron Leftwich has been even worse this year.
Buffalo @ Jacksonville
I actually think Jacksonville has a chance to mess with the Patriots in January, if Mike Peterson gets well and Garrard can have a really good game.
Denver @ Chicago
What a horrible game. Denver is like three last second field goals from being 2-8 and the Bears just suck. Bears to win, but only because they're at home.
Houston @ Cleveland
Texan fans, who are desperate for ANYTHING resembling mediocrity, are whispering about possibly grabbing that second wild card. Well, that train gets derailed this week.
Minnesota @ N.Y. Giants
Just a hunch here. I just can't believe in the Giants (and no, it isn't just because they're a rival for the 'Boys). They've beaten exactly nobody of note, unless you count beating the Lions on the road as a "somebody." And I don't.
New Orleans @ Carolina
I'm only picking the Saints because the Panthers seem incapable of doing anything right.
Oakland @ Kansas City
If JaMarcus Russell doesn't get at least a few snaps this week, Lane Kiffin should be fired.
Seattle @ St. Louis
Seattle isn't very good, but they will be good enough to beat the Rams.
Tennessee @ Cincinnati
I don't care how much VY sucks, I'm not picking the Bengals again this year. They've screwed me over many times already.
Washington @ Tampa Bay
Just because Washington can go to Hell.
San Francisco @ Arizona
Let's go Cardinals! Time for somebody other than Seattle to rule the West. That and the Niners are really, really horrible.
Baltimore @ San Diego
I'm picking the Chargers, but I'm secretly hoping the Ravens blow them out so that (hopefully) LT will start to become so angry about having to play for Norv Turner that he demands a trade to Dallas so he can come home and lead the 'Boys to another Super Bowl next year. Hey, Dallas does have an extra #1 to offer...
Philadelphia @ New England
Won't even be close. No comment necessary.
Miami @ Pittsburgh
Ditto. The Steelers should be good and angry after getting slapped by the Jets.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone and what a glorious day it was. The Cowboys rolled over the Jets, the temperature outside FINALLY dropped out of the 80's around here, and I enjoyed a tremendous Thanksgiving sirloin at Benigan's (the only thing open in Dallas on Turkey Day, besides IHOP, which sucks). What about all the family stuff? Well...
At the last moment Thursday morning, sfaJill decided that she'd rather go with me and my dad to Dallas to watch the Cowboys than to her sister's house to hang out with that clan. Her reasoning was some crap about being together on our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife, but I think she just didn't want to deal with all the potential drama I wrote about last time. The plan was for us to go to the game and then hook up with her family upon getting back to Houston on Friday, which sounds easy enough.
So Friday morning rolls around; her dad calls about 10:30 to find that we're still a few miles north of Houston's far northern suburbs. Plans are made for us to go home, get unpacked and call them back when we're ready to meet up (note: it took sfaJill nearly 15 minutes on the phone to decide THAT because God forbid anybody on her side make a decision about anything ever). Whatever. We've still got nearly an hour's drive to get home.
Around noon, after we've gotten home and my dad has headed off to work, sfaJill and I are ready. She calls her dad back and thus begins another 20 minutes of that world-famous game "where do you want to eat?" The choices are finally narrowed down to Golden Corral (which is awesome) and this Chinese buffet near the house (which is also awesome), so, really, we can't lose either way. After some back and forth crap on the subject, I'm asked for my "opinion" (translation: nobody wants to decide everyone else's fate so they're going to try to get me to do it); I reply that since I had just eaten breakfast a few hours earlier, I'm not really hungry and thus don't really care where we go since I probably won't eat much either way (which actually was true). That frustrates sfaJill to no end, but it is somehow finally decided that Golden Corral is the choice.
Not five minutes later, while sfaJill is still running around the house frantically searching for a hair brush to toss in her purse, the phone rings. I answer. It's my father-in-law.
"We've got a change of plans."
"Yeah, your mother-in-law wants to go to the Chinese place instead."
Sigh. I swear...
So, anyway, we all meet up at the Chinese place to find her dad, mom, brother, and 3-year-old nephew. No sign of sister or brother-in-law. We were told they didn't want to come. Good. That made the lunch actually kind of enjoyable because there is always less tension without sister there. Father-in-law even pcks up the check (score!).
It was going really well...and then sfaJill invited everyone over to our house for the afternoon. The problem? They're not allowed to bring the nephew to our house, says mother-in-law. Apparently, sister has decided that since we had such a problem with his behavior the last time he was there that it's best if he just not go over to our house anymore. Thus, my in-laws are afraid of taking him here, out of fear he will mention to mommy that he was at Uncle Jack and Aunt Jill's house and then they will catch hell about it.
(I should note that the "problem" with nephew's behavior last time was that he kept pulling cushions off our couches, jumping all over them/throwing them everywhere , and then didn't put them back on the couches after both sfaJill and I told him to stop. Sister wrote that off as "He's three! What, you think he can sit still for 10 minutes?" and after I told her "Uh, yeah" and sfaJill backed me up, sister's been "punishing" us for it ever since. This happened back in June, by the way.)
sfaJill was PISSED.
We spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around Sam's Club in an effort to spend some quality time together, but I wouldn't call it that. sfaJill and her mom did nothing but bitch about sister the whole time, which just made everyone but the kid unhappy. It was a long day that ended with an invitation (from the in-laws) to us to come to sister's house today for something called "turkey pie." I have no idea what that is. sfaJill said she doesn't want to go if she's not welcome there, to which her dad said "Well, I'M welcoming you". So, I think we're gonna go. Should be awkward silences for everyone!
Yesterday was not a total waste though. I did find 7lbs of 90% lean ground beef for $16 at Sam's Club yesterday. Can't pass up a deal like that.
Today could be really historic in Major League Baseball as there is the possibility of three huge milestones being reached on the same day:
- Barroid ties Hank Aaron at 755
- Alex Rodriguez reaches 500 home runs faster than anyone in history
- Tom Glavine gets his 300th win
I won’t bore anybody with my opinion on Bonds and his pursuit of the record because, frankly, there isn’t anything I can say that hasn’t already been said. He cheated, he knows it, we all know it…that’s it. No matter how disgraceful it might be, there will be no asterisk next to his name or any erasing of his statistics so getting too morally outraged over it seems pointless to me.
Instead, I’ll set my DVR to record the Giants/Dodgers game tonight because, as a baseball fan, I want to see history. The potential theatrics of Bonds not only finally tying Aaron but doing it in LA against the Dodgers where the crowd will be ridiculously hostile should be fantastic. I only wish the game didn’t start at 9:10 CDT tonight because, unless Bonds hits it in the first inning, I probably won’t get to see it live. You’d think that MLB would bump the start of the game up an hour so that a few more of their fans in the eastern and central parts of the country would get to see it, but the baseball powers that be aren’t known for making great decisions very often.
Bill Walsh died yesterday. I didn’t really get into football until I was about 10 years old, so his great 49er teams were a little before my time but his impact on the NFL was tremendous. Not that I would have been a fan since ours was and is a Dallas Cowboys house, but I can’t deny how the game evolved because of him.
RIP Bill, but I’ll always wonder what would have happened if the Cowboys had had 30 more seconds in that 1982 NFC Championship game. They were at midfield and driving when time ran out as it was. 30 more seconds and I’m thinking they win and we don’t have to suffer through endless highlights of “The Catch” to this day…
Finally, it looks like Kevin Garnett has been traded to the Celtics for a bunch of guys. The only NBA teams I pay any attention to are (in order) the Rockets, Spurs, and Mavericks so I have no idea if it’s a good trade or even who any of the players Minnesota got in return are. However, I hope it works out for Boston. I’ve always felt bad for Garnett because he’s been a great, selfless player stuck on some shitty teams in Minnesota for most of the last 12 years. I want to see him get another shot at winning big and, if this trade works out, he should have that shot. Good luck KG, and go Celtics.
I'm sure at least one person has missed the high-quality posts I churn out here, right? Right?
Oh well. So what has happened in that month? sfaJill and I went to Kansas City over Christmas for her cousin's wedding (DRAMA~! ensued), I returned to work on Dec. 27 only to go home after three hours because of a NASTY illness that prompted me to wish for death a bit later that same day, 2007 went away (thank God), and the Jack household acquired a new puppy. There was also more work drama that caused me some grief, but that's so par for the course these days that I've stopped caring about it too much.
Here's the highlights:
As I stated, sfaJill and I flew to Kansas City to attend her cousin's wedding on Dec. 22. I was actually excited about the trip because, as a guy who has lived in southeast Texas my whole life and whose family is all in Texas, I've never seen real snow. So when I heard that the KC area was supposed to get a heavy snowfall after we arrived, well, I got excited. Sure enough, about four hours before the wedding, the white stuff started falling, slowly at first and eventually turning into a blizzard heavy enough to prevent a few local family members from attending the wedding. I was delighted. SNOWii
(Side note: I was ecstatic about the snow until I realized I was going to have to drive in the shit.
I wasn't aware of it, but, apparently, as the husband of a bridesmaid, I was eligible to be volunteered for random jobs related to the wedding. It was determined the day of the wedding that I was to chauffer the bride and her accompanying bridesmaids to the spa where they were getting their hair and nails and shit done, sit around and wait until they were finished, and then drive them all to the church (thank God said spa was in the middle of a shopping center that had both a Borders and a GameStop within it). By the time they were ready to go, a solid sheet of white had covered the ground, meaning my first snow driving experience would be with the added pressure of having a nervous bride on her way to her wedding in the car. Nothing bad happened--so it's all good--but when you have zero experience with snow and that black ice shit all over the road, well, it is a little unnerving.)
The drama of the weekend came later that night, after the wedding. As we would learn the next morning, upon arriving at her room for the night, the bride discovered that the nearly $300 in cash she had had in her purse earlier that day was missing. She conferred with her sister and discovered that $60 was missing from her purse and one of the bridesmaids noticed that her purse was cleaned out as well. It was determined that someone had stolen it during the ceremony from their purses, which were left unattended down in the bridal room.
The problem? sfaJill, her sister, and the groom's sister (yet another bridesmaid) didn't have any money stolen from their purses.
This led to sfaJill's brother being accused of the crime. The theory was that he had the opportunity (someone said they heard him say he was "going to the bathroom"--just down the hall from the bridal room--just before the ceremony started) and a motive (needed money to buy more weed, which he does smoke from time to time); the fact that he was arrested last year for having beer in the trunk of his car when he was only 20 years old is further proof of his being a ruthless criminal. Also, there is supposedly a tape that shows he was the last one to come back up the stairs, but no one but the bride and her parents have seen that tape so who knows.
Well, once THAT little accusation came out, all hell broke loose. sfaJill was livid (if there is one thing you don't do in her presence, it's talk shit about her family). Her parents were livid. Lots of ugly words were exchanged from all sides, and the entire rest of the trip was just an ugly, drama-filled mess that has cooled off only slightly since. What fun. God bless family.
On a happier note, we got a new puppy. sfaJill's one aunt is a breeder and gave us one that she won't be able to sell because of a double-jointed front leg. He's a Siberian Husky that we've decided to name Wrigley. sfaJill's cat is less than happy about the dog's arrival.
I discovered this morning that the Nazi bastards in charge of our Internet firewalls here have suddenly decided to block YouTube. Sons of bitches.
Local TV news legend Marvin Zindler died yesterday from inoperative pancreatic cancer. He’s best known nationally for being the reporter that led the drive to have the Chicken Ranch shut down back in the 70’s, but I’ll always have a soft spot for ol’ Marvin because of his weekly reports on which restaurants around town got busted for health code violations. My brother and I used to watch those with my grandpa when we were kids and would all shout his trademark “SLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIME IN THE ICE MACHINE!” line along with him at the end of each one. Even now, as someone who rarely watches TV news (outside of local weather/traffic in the morning), I always tried to make sure and tune in for that just so I could hear Marvin deliver that line. Good times.
Kroger has this promotion where they offer you $0.10 off per gallon of gas (for one fill-up) for every $100 worth of groceries/stuff you buy each month. So yesterday I went to do the weekly Sunday shopping where I pick up the things I need to put together the lunches I bring to work with me everyday. Upon handing me my receipt, the stupid kid running the register noticed that I had accumulated $94 of the next $100. Maybe I was just in a bad mood (likely, since my house was full of in-laws that had shown no signs of leaving any time soon) or he was just new at his first job and was a tad overeager, but this just irritated the hell out of me:
Him: "Look at that. You only need six more dollars to get ten cents off your gas purchase."
Me (indifferent): "Oh, yeah. How about that."
Him: "You want me to hold your spot in line so you can go get some more stuff?"
Me: "For what?"
Him: "So you can get to $100."
Me: "Why would I do that?"
Him: "So you can save money when you fill up!"
Him: "Don't you want to save 10 cents on your gas?"
Me: "Not if I have to buy $6 worth of crap I don't need to get it."
Him: "But you'll save WAY more than that when you fill up."
Me: "How? I only buy maybe 20 gallons each time I fill up. That's only like $2 saved; how does that get to $6?"
Him (thinking): "Hmm...I guess it doesn't."
Me (shoving receipt in pocket): "Nope. Can I go now?"
Him: "Have a nice day, sir."
Just what the title says. The month of September can just kiss my ass and go away already.
Between sfaJill (TM kkk) needing an emergency appendectomy back on the 4th, having the A/C in my truck (a necessity down here) become mostly non-functional two days after that (after just buying new tires and shocks/brakes for it last month), and my mom finally losing her battle with cancer on the 10th, it’s been one fucked up month.
But at least the Cubs are clinging to first place and the Cowboys are 2-0. And we had a nice vacation in the lovely communist utopia of Massachusetts (more on that in another blog). Problem is, I feel like I need another one even though this is only the seventh day I’ve actually been in the office since August 22.
So the Astros fired both Phil Garner and general manager Tim Purpura earlier this week. Cecil Cooper took over managerial duties last night but fared no better as the Cardinals beat down the Astros 7-0.
Most people here were caught by surprise--not because they got fired, but rather because it happened at such an odd point in the season. Personally, I don't see much use in letting them go with only 31 games left in what is a lost season, but since Drayton McLane does what Drayton McLane wants to do, they are gone.
That leaves the question of what happens now. The Astros are a horrible team with few big time prospects ready to go in the minors. There is very little reason to think that they're suddenly going to return to contention next year with or without Garner and/or Purpura so, really, it seems to be an empty move. I guess they did it so they can tell their fans "See! We're doing something about it!", but until they commit to no longer trotting out mediocre (at best) talents like Adam Everett, Brad Ausmus, Luke Scott, etc., their bottom-dwelling days likely aren't over.
Then again the Astros are only 3-9 against the Pirates this year. That fact alone is probably enough to get anyone fired.
Rafer Alston isn't handling his transition to the unemployment line very well.
A pro athlete got arrested after an altercation at a night club? I'm shocked. At least there wasn't any gun play involved. I think the rule states there has to be a strip club involved before you can open fire though.
The wife and I leave tomorrow morning for a long weekend in Boston. I'm excited. For one, it means we're getting the hell out of this town for a few days. Secondly, the furthest I've ever traveled north and east in this country is Washington D.C., so this will be new territory for me.
I'm sure we'll hit a lot of the touristy shit that everyone does, like the Cheers bar, that Freedom Trail, Paul Revere's old house, etc., along with soaking up the sights and sounds of a new city. Plus she wants to go on a whale-watching harbor tour. That should be a nice six hours of my life. And I'll probably have to get on one of those swan boats. I don't know.
The highlight for me though will be the Red Sox and Orioles game on Sunday at Fenway Park. Fenway will be the eighth different MLB park I've been to and has always been #2 on my list of parks I've most wanted to visit. Our seats are in the Loge box (section 137) which should give a good view. Dice-K is scheduled to pitch for the Sox, so that's a nice bonus. Daniel Cabrera is supposed to throw for the O's; I wish it was Erik Bedard instead, but we rarely get everything we want in life.
The worst part about this vacation thing is getting through today. I have a BAD case of vacation-itis and totally don't care about any of the work on my desk today. It's only 9:10 and I'm already dying to go home. Maybe I'll take the afternoon off...
- So the Giants won the Super Bowl. Whatever. I didn't even turn the game on until halfway through the 3rd quarter, but I guess I saw the most important parts of the game. What a spectacular 4th quarter. If you'd offered me a $1,000 bet that ELI MANNING of all people would lead his team 83 yards in just over 2 minutes to win the Super Bowl, well, you'd have $1,000 of my money because I'd have taken that bet.
As for the result of the game, well, it sucks...and yet it doesn't. As a Cowboys fan, I fucking hate the Giants. Plus, I wanted to see the Patriots go 19-0 just because 19-0 is really fucking impressive and will probably never happen again in my lifetime, if ever. On the other hand, neither Randy Moss nor Junior Seau will be getting Super Bowl rings. So I'm torn.
Pitchers and catchers report in a couple of weeks. That's all that matters at this point.
- Tax cuts my ass. After doing a quick estimate of our income taxes this past year, it appears that getting married did nothing for me except reduce the amount of my refund by a little more than half. Of course, total income reported is more than double what it was last year, but still?
- sfaJill is pissed off. We turned in our wedding album to the photographer in September and still have not received the final copy of it despite it being promised to us "no later than January 10." She just called to say that she is on her way over there right now to (presumably) beat the hell out of someone. I told her I'll stop by the bank on my way home to pick up her bail money. She laughed.
- After FOUR MONTHS of discussion, my company's latest "reorganization" has finally been completed. I've been here just over six years and this is the SIXTH official "reorganization" during that time. It's mindboggling.
Anyway, this one has actually affected me because I am being pulled out of my little corporate accounting black hole and switched over to our projects group, which is a total change in job responsibilities--and exactly what I needed.
What's ironic is that the day this was announced was the very same day that I spent some of my time in the early morning browsing the job listings in the paper for the first time in three years.
- sfaJill and I signed up with 24 Hour Fitness over the weekend. I don't want to pay $50 a month for this, but since our gym here at work closed and we have no room in the house for workout equipment it is the best option (especially since I hate jogging and will do damn near anything to avoid it). Our first workout is tonight. Should be fun.
Because sfaJill has moved into the next phase of our her home renovation process--a phase that requires us to buy all new towels for our bathroom (in colors that are almost exactly the same as what we currently have)--we spent yesterday morning at JC Penney. They were having a Veterans' Sale and, between that sale and the coupons we'd saved, we could get these towels at just more than 50% off. Score.
The highlight of the trip for me came later though, when we stopped in at Barnes & Noble to browse around for a bit. I was thumbing through some book about the Cowboys on the bargain table; sfaJill walked over, curious about what I was reading, when she noticed that on the table next to the Cowboys book was the Sports Illustrated "painted on" swimsuit book. No joking--she picked it up and spent the next 20 minutes dissecting each picture inside with such constructive remarks as "Oh, God how slutty is she?" and "Whore" and "Wow, look at that--another nipple!"
I have no idea if she did it solely for my benefit or not (I suspect not--she's very much the jealous type), but it was fucking hilarious.
So it looks like Kucinich is out of the Presidential race. And I was so sure that this was his year, too...
On a related note, during an endless, boring day of "online training" at work last week, I was scanning TSM and noticed a thread called "A Presidential Quiz" on the main forum page under 'last post info' in the CE folder. Thinking this would be a fun little way to test my knowledge of our Chief Executives and/or kill some time, I stepped into the abyss and clicked the link. What did I find? This page, which isn't really a "Presidential quiz" at all.
The results of said quiz and the guy (and I say "guy" because Hillary has no chance) who should get my vote for President this year?
That's fitting--that result is pretty much a perfect summary of how I feel about the Republican field this year.
Incidentally, my "top Dem" was Obama. Of course, when the alternative is Edwards, Hillary, Kucinich, etc., well, that's not really saying much.
So kkk was forced to get out and about amongst the flying public last week. Reading his entry caused me to reflect on some of my recent air travel experiences. Allow me to reminisce for a moment...
Christmas Day 2007: On our flight home from Kansas City, sfaJill and I witness a guy a few rows in front of us have a mini-meltdown because his GIANT WINTER COAT wouldn't fit in the overhead bin and the flight attendant told him he would have to either check it or hold it in his lap.
April 2007: Moments before our honeymoon flight to Orlando was supposed to take off, we were told that there would be a "slight delay" because some light came on in the cockpit and maintenance had to come check it out. Two hours later, we're still sitting there. And this is after being told that it was not a safety issue and that the problem could be fixed upon landing in Orlando but "someone downtown" wanted to fix it now. So...yea. By the time it was fixed, the later 7:30 flight to Orlando had arrived just prior to our 4:00 flight...
August 2007: On our way to Boston, I am the fortunate winner of the "have a screaming 3-year-old sit in his mom's lap in the seat behind you" sweepstakes. That little bastard was relentless. Three solid hours of whining and crying, all the while his mom just sat there saying "Shhhh!" When we were over Tennessee, I couldn't take it anymore and resorted to the childish act of putting my seat back just to make their flight a little more cramped. Not one of my better moments, I'll admit...
August 2006: Another friend and I are going to Chicago for the weekend. The plane is taxiing down the runway when it suddenly comes to a complete stop. Pilot comes on and says that there is some "congestion" on the runway and that we are 33rd in line to take off, so it will be a while.
What he didn't mention was that it would be an hour and a half and that they would be shutting the engines off while we waited. On an August afternoon. In Houston. Hot times in Texas!
January 2007: I was in Amsterdam waiting to catch my connecting flight to Cairo that was supposed to depart at 8:45 p.m. The weather outside was horrible; winds are blowing ridiculously hard and it's about 35 degrees. I'm tired--I'd arrived from Houston at 7:30 local time that morning and had only slept three hours since waking up in Houston the day before (I can't sleep on planes). 8:45 passes with no call for us to even board the plane. Another hour...then another. All of this time in the terminal is made worse by the fact that all the restaurants/shops closed around 9:30 so I couldn't even walk around and look at anything. Finally, just before midnight we are ready to go.
We had barely pulled away from the gate when the pilot announces that we've got a flat tire and can't take off with that. It will be "10 minutes" to fix it. Five minutes later, he comes back on and says that there's actually two flat tires and it will be more like "one hour" before we are ready to go. Finally, just past 1 in the morning, we depart--a few minutes after we were already supposed to have arrived in Cairo.
I was uncomfortable, tired and very annoyed to say the least (how could no one notice TWO flat tires when they're doing all their loading/inspections of the planes in preparation for our flight??). Even the hot Dutch girl in the seat next to me wasn't enough to distract me and boost my spirits. I felt bad for the driver waiting to pick me up in Cairo though--he had to wait an extra five hours for me.
Well, at least this latest example of ridiculous PC bullshit isn't happening in America.
So how did the second part of helping my brother move go this past weekend?
Since the heavy furniture was already gone, it was mostly boxes left to move. Boxes are always easier, especially when you have the help of a dolly. There was a still a little too much disorganization, in that the kitchen hadn't been packed at all and the few remaining furniture pieces still had stuff in them and thus couldn't be moved without having to be cleaned out first, but, to my great surprise, it was a pretty easy day.
Well, unless you factor in these events:
- sfaJill wanting to kill my sister-in-law, who, for the second week in a row, perfected the art of sitting on her ass doing nothing all day (using the excuse of "I'm watching the kid") while sfaJill packed box after box of crap in the kitchen. (Note: sfaJill found no less than NINE crock pots in the one cabinet).
- Despite a few menacing clouds earlier in the morning, the rain held off and the sky cleared...right until brother and I were making a run to the storage unit to drop off the first load of crap. At that point the heavens opened completely, dumping an insane amount of rain on us for 5-10 minutes. Normally, that wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that we hadn't covered anything (because there were no rain clouds at the house!), so every box and piece of furniture we had packed was left completely soaked. Among the wreckage was the queen sized pillowtop mattress they paid $700 for just last year...
- I got into a fender bender on the drive over Saturday morning, leaving my truck with a busted turn signal and an estimate of $2,500 to replace the bumper and fix the dent in the hood. Fucking people who don't use turn signals...
Nope, this entry has nothing to do with the painting going on at my residence right now. Rather, there is controversy in Farmers Branch again. You might remember that Farmers Branch is the little community south of Dallas that recently tried to pass a city ordinance that would ban the rental of apartments to illegal aliens.
Let me start by stating that I don't like homeowners associations. I understand why they exist and I acknowledge that they can be useful in some instances. But, usually, it's just a bunch of obsessive-compulsive types who nitpick over a lot of stupid, little shit that really has zero effect on property values either because they have nothing better to do or because they enjoy bossing others around a little too much. I especially detest the idea that someone else can dictate to me what I can and cannot do with property that I own, espeically when it's a non-government entity telling me to do so. My neighborhood has a HOA, but I deal with it because it's practically impossible to find a Houston suburb that doesn't have one and I do not wish to move back into the city.
This story is a little different because it would be a government dicating what is and what is not acceptable, but the same principle applies: don't tell private property owners what they can and cannot do with their own property.
"Some residents." What does that mean? According to the article:
So a whole two residents ask the council, who has not said they will act on it, to ban some exterior colors and it's portrayed as some sort of community-wide referendum on the matter? Fine journalistic work, indeed.
LOL. Now that's a racist statement. Who paints their house tropical colors? Someone who likes the tropics? Someone who wants to be reminded of their vacation? Someone who just happens to like tropical colors? What exactly is a "tropical color" anyway?
What better way to accuse someone of profiling a group than to profile that same group yourself.
Besides, there are plenty of white people that have awful decorating taste and would paint their houses ridiculous colors if they were allowed. I don't see a racial angle to this at all. Just another example of someone wanting to be angry about something.
This argument is used a lot, but no proof that it's true is ever offered. Besides, anyone who won't buy a house because there is another house nearby painted in an "unsightly" manner is probably someone you don't want in the neighborhood anyway because there's a good chance they'd be the stereotypical nightmare of a neighbor.
As with all things in the U.S., the free market will ultimately determine what your property is really worth. All the mowing and beige paint in the world isn't going to save your property value from a downturn in the housing market, nor is it going to suddenly turn a shitty area of town into a property hotbed. If you maintain and clean your own property, your house will sell just fine in any market.
I wish someone that lived in these folks' neighborhood would paint their vehicle an outlandish color, park it in front of their house every day, and see how long it takes for their heads explode.