Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Observations Part 10: When will they figure it out?

A story of impulse shopping at its worse

I am an avid guitar player on the side. My "normal" hobby lately is contributing to this blog but music was always my first love. What would be normal about blogging to strangers? All 6700 of you people that is that have visited since October. I am totally digressing...

Saturday, me and some friends, Misa and Christian, went off to Guitar Center of Sacramento, featured in the above photo, to look at some music stuff. They were interested in a PA system for our little music get together and I was, well, lost like a little kid in a toy store.
I wandered through the Marshall Stacks and the death metal wannabe guitars to the back to look at some acoustic guitars. Why? "Did I really need a guitar?" the voice of Kristen reverborated in my head. I already had a few and she complained that I never play them. Anyhow, ignoring the voice like I ignore it when it comes to taking out the trash, I pressed on to the back to find a guitar worth an impulse buy.


And there it was, a jumbo, 12 string, with an eletric pickup and tuner, solid top and bad. "Oh... just what I was looking for," I exclaimed. I picked it up, sat back and wailed through "Lie in Our Graves" to hear the thing groove. The sound coming out this guitar was impeccable. I looked at the price, $699 with a instant $25 rebate off the price. List was $998. So I did my guitar store math and listen up if you ever shop for a musical instrument: List, minus 30% is what you should pay but bargain for 10% off the discounted price. Huh? So they had the price at $699 which was technically 30% off the list but I offered $629. Well... the dude didn't go for it but he was willing to go to $650. So I asked him to throw in the case and well he screwed up, forgetting it was a jumbo and not a standard sized guitar and quoted me $69 for a $149 case. Fine $719 plus tax, which brought this thing up to $770 something. I worked it, the salesdude worked it and we were there....

THEN... the inevitable happens. "Do you take Discover?" I ask. "Of course", the salesdude says. So I pull out my new Discover Card key chain, explaining the card looked funky but it was what Discover sent me as "a new card". Bad news, the thing doesn't fit into the card reader. I quickly dismantle the key chain as any skillful person would in a state of panic. "Dude, "I say,"Just manually enter it!" Then slow motion starts as the salesdude calls in his "manager" to qualify me, my card, and my purchase. About this time, Misa strolls on in to witness this, joyous and all with her and Christian's purchase of the PA. She tries to stuff my card into the reader with her nimble fingers to no avail. "Shit," she says," Dude, why can't they manually enter it?"
"I don't know," I say repeatedly, watching the drama building as a crowd suddenly forms mysteriously in the small acoustic guitar room. Turns out, the manager dude, is the Store Manager Dude. I figure to myself, he's got it. He'll run my card as I spread every known form of identification out along the counter. NO... The store manager dude has to call it in. His exact words to whomever he called, "Dude, am I like gonna get fired if I accept this card?"

Moral to the story: I don't get my guitar. Guitar Center is run by wankers. I sadly walk, defeated, passed the cheaply made, copies of Ibanez death metal guitars, and the blaring Marshall stacks, where every known version of a Korn song is being played. Christian and Misa, say in the car as they drive me home, "It wasn't meant to be, man."

Turns out though it was: Same guitar, purchased on Ebay for $449 yesterday from a dude in Iowa, with 40 bucks in freight added. I'll post a picture when I get it. Ebay is so freaking sweet and my PayPal account accepts any form of credit!

Saturday, March 26, 2005

Pass the Heineken, please: The trials of Karoake night

Gangsta's Paradise

When do cheap beer and Sake, and about a thousand pop, rock and rap songs fed through a Karoake machine go bad?

View the photo graphic evidence here.

Guarenteed to raise a smile, Billy.

Happy Easter!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2005

The Passion of Terri Schiavo?


What are we coming to now? CNN has a pull asking who should decide for Terri and 73% say her husband. Then over on Fox you have 36% wanting the Supreme Court to decide. You have a Yahoo! story "with Experts" saying the video where the picture above comes from is a "lie" about her actual condition. Jeb Bush having experts saying she was misdiagnosed. Our friend over at Cao's Blog with great incite and stories on this matter. In fact, bloggers everywhere are throwing there hat's into the issue. It's a topic at work and with my co-workers. It's on the radio, including sports radio. My wife and I debate it. I am sure my friends snicker or praise my thoughts. It goes on and on.

Anyone get what's going on really? Michael Schiavo (see link) wants his wife dead and has flat out given her family no choice in this matter. Think about this for second. Whether or not Terri is a vegetable IS NOT the issue. You readers should not be convincing yourself or me that this is the reason. This I almost guarantee! Give up on that thought process. What you have is a guy, Michael Schiavo (see link), a total selfish human being, who only thinks of himself. He is not unlike, Scott Peterson or OJ Simpson. He only cares about his NEW family with his girlfriend and not a care for his in-laws. I thought about this today. If your spouse was in Terri's situation would you deny your in-laws the choice to care for their child, if they felt so strongly about it? 99% of you would NOT! Michael Schiavo (see link) has turned his back. What if Terri really told Michael she did not want live this way? Ok.. Fine... But would Terri want Michael to turn his back on her family? Absolutely not! If you put yourself before your family you are an evil person.

I have read where people are fasting until Terri's food source is returned. Commendable! I get it, I support you and you are not crazy. I have also read the analogies regarding Christopher Reeve who couldn't eat or breath on his own. The only reason he survived was because he could communicate. The Million Dollar Baby analogy? Hillary Swank's character wanted to die! Terri's case? Nobody knows for sure. Battle lines are drawn and if you polled Americans, they'd want Michael to call thing off and go away. Simple as that.

An interesting observation. It's Easter Week and it looks as if this thing, if not resolved the Schindler family's way, Terri could pass away over the weekend. Are we creating martyr over one man's selfishness? What could he possibly be gaining from his outcome that we're not seeing? Is there more of a reason why this happening now, this week, or is it just a coincidence?

Tuesday, March 22, 2005

Revelation about Wacko Jacko...


Quick blog here. World Famous and World Infamous Michael is putting on a show every day in that Santa Barbara courtroom. The child-like(ing) man is as guilty as this guy was and is gonna get away with it like that guy did because the poor kid's mom is as freaky Michael is.

One thing I need help with however, is what happens day in and day out before and after this trial. It's not the umbrella seen pictured above that he carries to block the sun or the eye's of God or simply because his face melts. It's fact there are literally hundreds of fans with absolutely no lives supporting the guy with their cheers outside the court room everyday. It's like there is a velvet rope getting into this thing and these losers have no real life other than committing themselves to this freak of nature.

My question, do you know anyone who is a Michael Jackson fan? I am not sure I know one and I am pretty sure, the 99.9995% of the people that read this don't know of any either. Ponder that for a minute or so... and then wonder why he's gonna be acquitted. Freaky Deaky!

Sunday, March 20, 2005

What can you learn from Terry Schiavo?

I am not going to turn this into a political issue on my blog but I feel the need to comment on it. Her husband Michael is a heartless man and most likely a liar. He stated that his wife didn't want to live this way, from what I have read, almost 7 years after the accident. He is, however, commendable for not taking money. Numerous millionaires have offered him millions of dollars to "just walk away". He is obviously getting huge opposition from Terry's parents and siblings and the family are also commendable for caring so much. Then you've got what I think the main issue with Michael is: Guilt. I mean, think about it, you get married, for better or worse, sickness and in health and all that jazz. When you get married you don't visualize something like this happening. Medical science has now intervened and well you are stuck just like Michael. I am not trying to show empathy for the man. I just feel it is a terrible situation and something more positive could have been done.

With that said, what can you learn from this? I think you ought to sit down and write or document what you would want if you were in Terry's situation and let your family know where that documentation is. The sooner the better, if not now. You then protect a grieving family from losing it's privacy and it's freedom.

Monday, March 14, 2005

The Steroid Controversy VS. Elective Surgery?

Damn! Look at those guns!

So say it ain't so... Mark. Of all players wrapped up in this thing, I believe you before I'd believe Sammy, Barry and Jason. True, McGwire was skinny when he came into the league. I was thinking of the rookie card in my "unopened" 1987 Topps Baseball Card set and his scrawny 6 foot 4 inch frame that pounded 49 homers his rookie year, shattering the rookie record by 10 or so homeruns. Man, you were it if you had that card in my neighborhood. I was 13 and mesmerized by the stats. Yet, everyone was hitting homeruns that year including 38 year old Mike Schmidt and 40 year old Darrell Evans, who once by the way wrapped a line drive off my brother's arm into my mom's head when he was with the Giants . Wade Boggs exploded for like 24 homers and never got close again. The Detroit Tigers hit 225 as a team, setting a record. Rookies like Matt Nokes, Pete Incaviglia, Ruben Sierra, all busted out with 30. No one said anything then. Oh... I remember they blamed it on the ball or the pitching. Nolan Ryan was placed on a quota that year by the Astros on how long he could pitch in a game, to protect him? He led the league with 270 strikeouts and ERA but posted an 8 and 16 record with no complete games. So much for that.

So what changed since then? Alleged steroid use. Forget the fact that these guys are all on work out regimes and on special diets and supplements that are all purely legal. And they have computer imaging of their swings and models and enhancements. And steroids let's them hit the ball farther too. Hey its all about excess isn't it? What partof dietary health is cheating? Oh right the 'roids!

Tiger Woods... He's back to making Phil Mickelson his perennial bitch. Tiger, I am sure, spent Nike's money well, as the richest golfer, if not athlete, to make himself better. I am sure he has all the technical advances and all the right things that no one else in golf can lay a finger on. Isn't that cheating? Nah...

This all brings me to Elective Surgery and Sports.

Kerry Woods (Not the dude in the picture) blows his arm out as pitchers do. Career ending. Meanwhile other guys like Nolan Ryan, Steve Carlton, Cy Young, Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling pitch forever and even get better into their 40's. Curt's not there yet, but still. Yet, back in the 70's, the guy the photo has the 2nd most known medical thing named for a sports athlete happen. Tommy John blows his arm. He has surgery and misses a year. Basically in a nutshell, they take parts from his good non-pitching elbow and place them in his blown elbow. A year later and some rehab, these guys, like Tommy John and Kerry Wood go on playing forever. Well, at least Tommy John did. He was a decent pitcher before the surgery and then boom, strings up 3 20-win seasons after the surgery. The guy was like 50 when he retired chasing his 300th victory. Kerry Wood will go on being as good as he is all because of a medical advantage. Isn't that cheating?

On a lighter note, Giant's fans like me sit in denial about Barry Bonds. Why not? He's on our team. We'll wait until he's gone like Kings fans and their thoughts on C-Webb. But think of the what if's!! What if Barry were friendlier than his rumored difficulties socializing with his team? He could have given JT Snow steroids!! That would rule! Of course though, would he be able to hit left handed pitching any better?

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Observations Part 9: Beer Sampling with the Stomach Flu

The Seven Dwarf's of the Oak Creek Brewery, Sedona, Arizona

My wife and I had planned a trip for our 5 year anniversary. We decided to venture out for an early spring visit to the desert of Arizona. Our prime destination was Sedona. A peaceful city in the high desert, red rocks country of Central Arizona. What Sedona is known for is its majestic views of red rocks and towering red mesas that surround the city. I for one, think it's one of the most visually stunning places I have ever been. See my photos here.

Unfortunately on the eve of our majestic trip I came down with one of the worst stomach flu of my 31 year existence. I wouldn't wish this evil little virus on anyone I know, my enemies, or the DNC for that matter.

After "burning the candle at both ends" for 12 hours, I got well enough to fly out on Friday. Still I ran a fever and was sick for a couple more days but I was enjoying my trip. We visited the historic copper mining town of Jerome that was built over a mile high on a mountain top. Did some walks and watched some TV while relaxing in our comfortable room at the Southwest Inn.

Saturday evening came and I felt great. I was still a little sour in the gut but man, I was a new man. We had done bit more exploring, had a great lunch and relaxed all day. So that evening we went to a brewery, the Oak Creek Brewery in Sedona. This place came highly recommended. And heck, it was a brewery what could possibly go wrong. Good food, good company and of course, good microbrewed beer. And now the most painful story ever told...

Well what could go wrong, almost did... Let's just say I almost became a religious man this evening. You see I ordered some pretzels and a light salad with the Seven Dwarf Sampler, which was comprised of 7 little 5 ounce glasses of Oak Creek's finest brews. What a deal for 7 bucks! I started eating, and drinking and goofing off with the digital camera, taking pictures as each beer emptied. I took pictures of the sunset and my wife, Kristen, enjoyed her Raspberry Long Island's. I started light with my beer and was heading down the row to the darkest, the porter. Midway through the second glass my stomach rumbled. Thinking nothing of it, other than I hadn't eaten much the last couple of days, I continued on. Then it rumbled and well, I had a bit of gas this time. Ok... maybe more than a bit, but the restaurant was loud, so heck, who could hear? As I set down my camera and proceeded to the third beer, the pain started. Not a subtle pain but a wicked, sharp pain. Thinking nothing of it, I pressed on. I mean they were only 5 ounce beers. My wife asked me if I was ok, as the sweat was clearly pouring off my pale brow. Fine... I nodded as I pressed on. Clearing the third, and clearly with an intestinal indigestion that needed to be addressed promptly, I snapped the picture of the empty glass and proceeded to the 4th beer, the Oak Creek Amber Ale. This beer is great!! More golden than red but definately a quality red ale. Highly recommend this beer. Midway through the glass though, I suffered what I presume was the equivilant of severe menstrual cramps, but I am a dude, so I couldn't know for sure. Sweating and sweltering in my now, brewing storm, I decided a break outside was in order. I excused myself to my wife and ran outside. While outside during my lap around the parking lot, the relief I so desired and seeked was nowhere to be found. In panic, I ran into the restaurant and made a bee line to the restroom. Thanking God, for first making it there and then being the ONLY person in the restroom, I found my porcelin thrown and showed the seat it's maker. The whole time I thought about the movie American Pie. Feeling relief, I went back to eat and drink. Finishing the 4th and moving quickly through the 5th, the cycle began again. This time ever-more painful. With a trembling hand setting down my camera, I moved to the 6th... the brown ale. My wife at this time, had never seen this shade of white or had seen me this feeble. I was dying in front of her but determined to not be a wimp. From what I remember the brown ale was my second favorite. It tasted like the Downtown Brown Ale from the Lost Coast Brewery in Eureka, CA. Very zesty and bold. At this point I realized, the bus boy and the waitress knew of my agony. You see, I passed the bus boy on the way out of the restroom, the first time and pushed him aside as I made my trek back. At this point, my wife had already insisted on and paid the check. She was quite angry but the seventh dwarf, the porter, waited for me. I am not as much of a porter guy as I am a stout guy. This one was GREAT!! The Pullman's Porter. Man, I was half dead and somehow lost part of my large intestine in this restaurant but this beer was one to remember. I conquered the Seven Dwarf's. On the way back to the hotel, I was proud of Kristen. She couldn't have driven faster and she tolerated the windows being open the whole way. AND she was courteous enough to let me use the bathroom first at the hotel. Wow! What a woman... I am lucky!

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Sunday, March 06, 2005

Shame on Yahoo!


Tiger beats Phil in the greatest golf duel in years!

So then? Why does Yahoo! choose to post this photo? For shame!