Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Quickie - Well TURN IT UP!

You know, here I thought the reason I hated this commercial was because the two "dudes" were so friggin' annoying:

Freedom Rock

Posted Nov 01, 2006

"Hey man, is that Freedom Rock?!'

But no, what I had forgot was that it's so ridiculously *long*! I mean, do they even *make* 90 second commercial spots anymore? Sheesh...

Still, I must admit that the first few lines are still a great inside joke for us late Gen-X, early Gen-Y folks. All you have to do is say "Hey, that Freedom Rock?" and the laughter will roll down like rain. Ah, good times.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Quickie - [Insert required Alanis Morrisette lyric here]

Just in case you haven't seen this yet...

I'm not sure, but is that irony?

Poor kid. Probably just didn't get started the way she wanted to and then spiraled out of control. At least she managed to work Iraq in there somehow.

Here's the real question: how does she give such a mangled answer and still win Third Runner up? Go figure.

Hit-n-run blogging...

As you may have figured out, things here are still beyond busy at work, and the parade of events, people, and meetings in the evenings has me booked until at least this weekend. All of which leaves little time for even reading blogs, much less the generation of original content.

So I'm resorting to just posting random stuff I find as it comes up. In this case, a bunch of pictures from the GF and I's* trip to northern Minnesota over 4th of July weekend. Nothing personally identifiable, of course - just some things I found blogworthy.

First up, a combination pet and car wash that we saw on our way into Duluth. As if that wasn't weird enough - it's also an RV dump. Boy, I can only imagine how important it would be to be sure Fido got placed on the right wash line. It'd be a shame for him to come out buffed to a high gloss with a little pine-tree air freshener hooked to his collar:

Next, perhaps the most disgusting candy idea I've ever seen. Candy toilet water! We saw this in a little grocery store in Ely, MN and I needed to capture the moment. Apparently, the "plungers" are suckers that you lick, and then stick into the toilet to coat them in sugar crystal toilet water. Yeah, *there's* a habit we want our kids to pick up as they are toilet training...

Finally, in a test of the new Blogger videoposting widget - a short film I shot at the Bear Center to demonstrate just how fat bears can get. Look at this one - she's so fat that she can barely jump over the log!

Obviously, somebeary has been eating too much candy toilet water...

* mine? my? Help me grammar genie!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

It was only $40 anyway

After nearly 8 years of dedicated service, my Samsonite carryon finally gave up the ghost this weekend. Historically, I’ve been a big Samsonite brand whore when it comes to luggage. It’s a little odd really, in almost everything I buy, I know that brand doesn’t really matter, and that usually the off-brand/generic stuff is just as good as the brand name equivalent*. But when it comes to luggage, there is something about the thought of a ripped zipper causing the whole thing to pop open, exposing my Jetsons boxer shorts to the general populace. Thus my desire for something a little tougher than average and my extreme brand loyalty.

But in this case because I flew back into town Sunday night and am flying back out tonight on another business trip I didn’t have time for my usual trip out to the outlet mall to visit the Samsonite store. So I stopped by Marshall’s after work hoping that they’d have a Samsonite carryon, which they usually do. But of the three they did have, one was missing it’s inner lining and the other didn’t have shoe pockets. Shoe pockets are important for guys because unlike women’s shoes (which are typically small and pack easily) men’s shoes take up a lot of space and shoe pockets help keep them in place.

So given that none of the Samsonite stuff was looking good and I had a flight the next day, I looked over the other bags, trying my best to find something that would at least work for this trip. And what to my wondering eye did appear? But a bright red carryon that was the right size, with shoe pockets and ball-bearing wheels, plus a little pocket on the side that zipped open to hold water bottles while walking through the airport! The only unusual thing was that it was an American Airlines brand. Now, I’d never heard of or seen AA luggage before, but apparently it does exist. Who knows why, maybe this is luggage that is only issued to pilots and top American executives!

If so, I wonder if I show my carry-on to the pilot when I board he’ll let me drive the plane. Not in the air of course, but it’d be fun to taxi it around on the tarmac while we’re waiting due to a ground stop. After all, I fly through O’Hare – there’s always a delay in one direction, at least.

* e.g. breakfast cereal, prescription drugs, OTC drugs,

Monday, August 20, 2007

Travel tales...

Again, I just get to drop in for a brief moment. Urgh, looking over my calendar for the next couple months sometimes I wonder whether this new job is worth all the travel. Sure, part of that includes a trip to Germany and Sweden next month* but the vast majority of my business travel is like what I had this past weekend. The trip up went smoothly** but on the way back yesterday there was rain in Chicago. And, naturally, any sort of weather in Chicago means that O’Hare’s air traffic becomes a giant clusterfudge.

My 4:50pm departure quickly became a 5:30, then 6:20, then 7:50. Being a seasoned business traveler however, I arrived at the airport early and proceeded to head for the gate to get on standby for an earlier flight. I wasn’t able to get on the first one, but was able to finagle my way into the flight after that that left at 6:00.

While standing in line to confirm my place on the standby list for that flight, I was standing behind a man who was engaged in a heated debate with the old woman in front of him about how all the “science” about global warming was a sham being perpetuated by the liberal tree-huggers. He was one of those outrageously-stupid-but-completely-convinced-of-his-correctness sorts of people that Fox News seems to be breeding like rabbits – the way exposed bananas miraculously sprout fruit flies in 6th grade science class. When the woman pointed out that greenhouse gases were rising due to the amount of cars on the road spitting out carbon dioxide, this man countered with the point (and I swear I am not making this up) that there was just as much carbon dioxide “…during prehistoric times because of all the dinosaurs’ breathing all the time! There were way more dinosaurs back then than there are cars now”. And because there wasn’t global warming to the effect there was now then logically, global warming couldn’t be being caused by elevated levels of carbon dioxide – because they were higher in the Jurassic era due to more dinosaurs breathing up all the oxygen.

I tried my best not to get involved and ignore him, but I couldn’t help but jump in when he insisted that the old lady could see how “not green” Al Gore and Michael Moore were simply by filing a request with the government under the Freedom of Information act. At that point I had to step in and help the old lady by giving her a breather for a while. Of course, I don’t think he believed my counterarguments*** but I felt like I was morally obligated to throw myself on his stupidity grenade to save the old lady and her grandkids.

* And being forced to travel business class due to company policy – oh, the humanity.
** Despite Hertz’ insistence that a Toyota Corolla is a “mid-size” car (similar to a Mazda 626 – which it costs $8000 less than). I couldn’t complain about it at the time because I was late for a meeting, but there will be a reckoning…oh yes. Hertz customer service called down the thunder, and now it’s going to get it in the form of a very strongly worded letter!
*** You know, things like “Individuals don’t have to report emissions to the federal government”, “FOI requests are only for government documents” and such.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

What's in a name?

Granted, I’m no name-ologist, but doesn’t it seem just a little unusual that the National Hurricane Center people have apparently run out of human names to assign to hurricanes/tropical storms? For as long as I’ve been alive I’ve always taken some comfort in knowing that if I was going to be killed by a hurricane, at least it would be have a name I was familiar with – not some foreign name (e.g. Yuri, Stavros, or Osama) or a name otherwise associated with an object (e.g. Toaster, Battle of Britain, Ham Sandwich). It always struck me how normal the names sounded - kind of like how the name of a serial killer usually seems really normal until you find out he's killed dozens of people (e.g. Ted, John Wayne, and Jeffrey).

But now we have Hurricane “Flossie” wreaking havoc on Hawaii. And honestly all I can think of every time I see or hear a story about it is this mental picture of a Holstein cow rambling around the Hawaiian countryside pushing over tiki huts and smashing down trees with her massive cloven hooves. In my head, she’s wearing a little straw hat much like that worn by Minnie Pearl on “Hee Haw”. And that’s not because she’s a cow – it’s because her name is “Flossie”.

What does it say about climate change if we’ve had so many named storms that we now have to start using animal names? Will Florida be ravaged by Tropical Storm Spot in 2010? Will Hurricane Mittens bring untold death and destruction to the Carolinas? What happens when we run out of common animal names, too? Will we have to start using the overly long, ridiculously pompus names used in AKC registries for dog shows?

Because I can’t imagine how Fox News would be able to run a graphic covering “Hurricane Ch. Felicity’s Diamond Jim”* and truly capture the horror of the disaster about to befall those in its path…

* I don’t know what’s funnier – that this dog has it’s own Wikipedia entry or that one of the wiki-editors is demanding a citation for the statement that the dog’s gait is indeed “effortless” as described.

Monday, August 13, 2007


Nope, I'm not dead, and I am not quitting blogging. I just wanted to take a little break because:
  1. The next two months are so chock full of stuff-going-on that I really needed to just take a little break and veg out.
  2. Work is entering a "busy phase", full of long flights in small jets full of large, sweaty people. Mercifully, this time I only have four trips to take.
  3. Frankly, this past week was pretty boring and I had very little to blog about that would have been anything other than a mild distraction from your regular Friday night "Watch-Paint-Dryathon".
  4. I finally watched the Godfather (parts I and II) and wow - those are some long ass movies! I enjoyed them both though. And I skipped Part III in order to watch 300, which was freakin' AWESOME - but I think that may be only because I'm a boy.

But this week it all comes to an end. I have a new employee to train, details to finalize for an upcoming trip overseas*, a bunch of board and committee stuff to do for the RCTC**, and pack for my first trip for work. It's in Minneapolis, and I'm trying to figure out where I should go to see the 35W bridge site. I know it might seem a little morbid, but I feel like I owe it to myself to see it before it becomes a construction site like the WTC site. I always regretted a little bit not going to see the WTC before it got all cleaned up.

*Paid for by work - woot

** Really Cool Theater Company - it's just easier to say it that way.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Cash, credit, or YOUR IMMORTAL SOUL?

You know I'm getting sick and tired of these Visa commercials which show large groups of people moving through various commercial transactions smoothly and easily. Person after person pruchases their coffee, flowers, etc, using a simple swipe of their Visa card. All is well with the world until one person goes to pay for their purchase with something that is *not* a Visa card! Suddenly, order and reason is flung out the window as the well-oiled commercial machine crashes to a halt. Imagine the horror of having to wait for more than three seconds while somebody takes the time to fill out a check!

Well, that was the plot of the first version of the ad. And honestly, I don't really disagree with that particular plot convention. After all, who hasn't had to sit around and wait for some old woman to write out the check to the grocery store, and then fill out the entry in the register, taking a just as long to pay for her groceries as it did for her to walk the store and find all the stuff that matched her coupons that week?

But in the latest version, the "problem child" consumer is not the one who pays with a check, but rather pays with (heaven forbid) cash! Now reality has obviously gone out the window. After all, with very few exceptions, I have never had a cash transaction that took as anywhere near as long as the whole "swipe, wait for approval, sign" ballet. Of course, now that kids suck so much at math that even basic subtraction is an AP subject, maybe someday soon the simple act of buying flowers will take longer with cash because Billy working the till can't make change for a $20 without a calculator.

Friday, August 03, 2007 belly...

In another of life’s signs that I’m aging faster than I ever expected, I suffered my first bout with indigestion last night. This was pretty disappointing for me because all my life I have prided myself on my cast iron stomach’s ability to digest pretty much everything I put into it, from small rocks to the “Suicide”-flavored Mr. Misty at Dairy Queen*. But after taking the GF to dinner (and, granted, eating a fair amount of food even though I didn’t clean my plate) I suddenly found myself having a very uncomfortable feeing in my gut and hot flashes that lasted until well past midnight. It sucked, and now I can completely understand why people who have indigestion sometimes think they are having a heart attack.

In other news, I finally received Godfather and Godfather part II from Netflix yesterday. Part of me is excited to have a Godfather weekend, but another part of me is a little unsure of whether I really want to watch them. You see, I kind of enjoy the look on people’s faces when I tell them I haven’t seen either film – it’s similar to the look one could be given when saying “Death to America!” or “Britney Spears may be white trash, but she’s *hot* white trash!”. It’s a combination of confusion, skepticism, and “are you insane?”-ness that one rarely gets in a look from one’s fellow man anymore. I haven’t made up my mind yet, we’ll see what happens.

Because after all I’m totally being stalked by the blood center lately. They have now started calling me so often during the day that I refuse to pick up the phone. It’s like I have a stalker, but one who only wants me for my blood – a combination vampire/stalker. I still am not certain why my blood type is so in demand – I think they must use it to make some sort of secret drug to cure unicorn disease.

* A slushy-type drink that included all seven possible flavorings, which was pretty much the first mixed drink all kids in my elementary school class were exposed to.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Collection of weirdness

Lots happened since the last post, but almost none of it significant enough to devote an entire post to. So it's time for a bullet-point-ridden collection of blog post-lets. Now with a full day's supply of Vitamin Weird!
  • Systems sent out an email telling us that for some reason the program we use to block spam isn't working. So while symantec is dawdling along, trying to figure out what is wrong, I'm constantly being notified of new messages from strangers telling me to buy their pron and \/i@g@r@. Not to mention the messages from various faux e-card companies telling me I have "an ecard from a schoolmate!", "a message from a friend!", and (my fave) "a note from a worshipper!"*. It's really annoying, and I have a whole new appreciation for my systems department. Of course, if this goes on much longer, my appreciation will morph into "mild annoyance"...
  • As creeped out as I am by the whole Baby Pagent movement** I had no idea to what lengths people would go to to get an "advantage. Case in point, getting their baby pictures professionally retouched by people interested in making kids look like they are evil Baby Phyllis Diller, a goblin, or a cabbage patch doll. Seriously, it's like seeing Chucky in drag, but more frightening.
  • I was making some travel arrangements for work today, when the company travel agent told me I had a couple of vouchers (from flights I had to cancel) that I could use to pay for this trip. "Cool!" I thought to myself, now my $200 ticket would get paid for with my $309.80 voucher and all I'd have to pay is the $100 change fee. When I asked whether I could use the rest of the voucher to pay for it, she said American doesn't allow that anymore. So now I have a $200 ticket that only cost me $100 - but I also have the remaining $109.80 from the original voucher that will now cost me $100 if I ever want to use it - meaning I'll be able to save a whopping $9.80 on my next flight. Thanks American! Be sure to tell the moron who came up with this policy that he is the reason you people aren't profitable and all your customers hate you.

* As though I'm a minister in a church or something. If that ever happens they'd better come face me in person. No e-confessionals in the Church of Grrrbear, I tell you..

** Thanks Texas, you're right - it's a *great* idea to make our little girls dress up like hookers starting in infancy!

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