Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Oh MY GOD!!!!

Now this is a blog!!!!

Steve Gets Owned at Two Drive Thrus...

With all the driving I do for my job, I have affinity for drive through fast food places, coffee houses like Starbucks, banks, Mailbox Stores and (cough!) car washes. Nothing like dealing with drive throughs. I write about it a lot. My second post back in November of 2004 dealt with a lady in a large SUV. (Check the sidebar for the link about Carl's Jr in November 2004, it's a riot), I have written scores of words regarding proper ettiquette when dealing with the public.

Today I got owned. Not just owned but PWNED!!! Twice.

First was this morning at the Dixon Starbuck's drive through. At around 6:45 Am I was cruising through for my Triple Shot Mocha Meth on my way to the Bay. The drive through there is busy as hell. There is no less than 7 cars in line at any given time. Usually if the line backs around to the sign advertising the "other"coffee shop near the taco place, you park and go inside. Today it was just 20 feet from that so it was still quicker to hit the drive line.

You can NEVER hear the speaker very well with the traffic along Interstate 80 blazing by at 75mph. Especially if the dude with the mini dreads is "manning" the head set. He's cool and always very nice. But today, I got the new chick. And with it came some attitude. You see apparently after she greeted me with the "Welcome to Dixon Starbucks" greeting that you hear any day you visit this business, she asked, "How are you today?" Starbucks is doing this lately, have you noticed? They ask this question like it means something. I don't know... Do drug dealers greet their clients with, "Welcome to Home Grown Flavors, How are you doin, man?"

I truly did not hear her. I swear. I just continued with my, "Triple Venti No Whip Lo Fat Mocha and..." And SHE CALLS ME ON IT!!!

"Hey" she says abruptly. "I ain't doing anything until you answer the question, HOW ARE YOU DOING? I AM WAITING!"

My answer... "Uh... I could just drive off..." She ends my order and tells me to pull forward. I wasn't done, I wanted a bottle of water and she ends the order and says pull up to the window, sir.. She did not make eye contact with me.

Holy Crap.

Incident 2.

Late this afternoon I wanted a burger so I darted into Wendy's. I ordered a number 2 with a Coke and the Hispanic voice behind the speaker asks, " So small medium or large drink?"

"Um, " I say, " Just what ever comes with it..."

Dead silence ensues for like a minute. Seriously, it seemed like an eternity. (A simile?)

I wait and then say, "Hello?"

She goes... " I asked if you wanted small, medium or large drink!"

Holy Crap... totally owned, twice in the same day.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Devil Inside: An Evil Story

My wife and I are dead dog tired today. We both worked hard this week. We put in lots of hours.

All we wanted to do was enjoy a quiet Saturday morning. I cleaned up some weeds as best as I could. I also did some pruning. My wife took a nap for an hour or so. It's nice and cool so we had all the windows and doors open, totally airing out the house. We were enjoying the smells of spring from our yard. The neighbors walking their dogs. It was totally peaceful.

All of a sudden around an hour ago, we hear a bunch of commotion and noise coming from our backyard. It looks like my neighbor had some people over. The talking didn't bother us but the annoying 3 year old girl ticked us off. Maybe she's 3 or maybe she's 5. I don't know.

But her whining. God.. It was so annoying. I could see her trying to play in their backyard but she seemed really upset about something. But it is nothing new. Everytime the kid comes over we just hear this constant crying. The girl just seems to be crying about something every visit. Today though I decided I was not going to tolerate it.

There are a few huge trees growing over the fence. The trees form a dense canopy over the back fence. You can see the neighbors yard clearly from the top of the stairs but they cannot see you from down in their yard. It seemed like the perfect opportunity to shut the kid up. So I ran up stairs and grabbed an air rifle. I loaded it up with a few copper bb's. I jetted back downstairs to my mini pillbox. I went out the back door and cocked the rifle a few times. I stood on the back stoop and took aim. What a surreal event. It felt so natural, just like playing Ghost Recon on my Xbox 360. I was methodical in the process, taking deep breaths to calm my nerves and to make sure I had the perfect shot. She then moved to an open spot around the otherside of the barbeque. I gently squeezed the trigger then "POP!!" right square in the back! All you heard was this "WAAHHHHH!!!!". She sounded like a wounded animal. I laughed my ass off and went back inside.

A few minutes later, the whole family seemed to be hurried. They got in the car and left with the girl crying... It couldn't have hurt that bad... Could it?

I opened the doors back up when I saw their car leave. You can hear the birds nesting in the Crape Myrtle tree. Peace again!

Friday, May 26, 2006

Liberalism's Soft Heart Continues to Infect America..

Been a little while since I wrote a political piece here on my blog. I heard something on the 11 O'clock news last night that kind of gets me riled up a bit.

The subject? Connecticut high school football's new rule.

If high school team wins a game by more than 50 points, the coach will be suspended for one game. You can read about the rule here.

There are many things that play into why this rule is in effect that pretty much will screw with your mind. For one, if you read the story, there seems to be a coach named Jack Cochran who ran up the score to 60-0 and some sort of altercation occurred between him and the opposing coach. Ok, maybe I don't know the facts here totally, but it seems to me Coach Cochran is a bully and the 60-0 thing is something he likes to do when he is upset with another coach. That's fine if you want to punish Cochran but the entire state's football teams and players are now lumped into this?

You read the article a bit further though and the reasoning is different. Routing another team is considered "unsportsmanlike conduct." They have got to be kidding. When I was in little league baseball at 12 years old, we routed a team the first game of the season 35 to 0. It wasn't intentional, their pitching sucked. I mean seriously I got 4 hits in two innings and was walked twice. It wasn't like our coaches were sitting there egging us on. They actually were quiet and were a little embarassed. It's not like it was intentional. They tried to call the game but the other team insisted on playing. We ended up losing the league and came in 2nd place. The other team ended up winning a couple of games.

But in Connecticut's case, why is 50 points deteremined to be the trigger to enact a rout rule? 49-14 is a rout. 51 -26 is a rout. 55-10 is a rout. (Ask Elway and the Bronco's about that number). What if the game is close at half time, say 28-21 and then the leading team scores 7 touchdowns due to stupid fumbles and interceptions. Are you really punishing players who are just better or is it all about someone's feelings? Beat the other team but don't beat them by too much. Tone down the adrenaline. Routs are not always intentional.

In the real world, you can get routed daily. You can get laid off from work. Your super fine girl friend could suddenly dump you for someone else for no real reason. Your party could lose an election, badly. You can miss your exit and have to drive 30 minutes out of your way to come back. Life is full of adversity. Suck it up. You will fail badly sometime in your life.

Liberalism and it's feel good attitude... You are entitled!!!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Talk About Stressing Out

Sunday night I call my twisted bureaucracy healthcare provider and request a prescription of pain meds. Basically it was a refill but I wanted to expedite the thing so I could get it yesterday. So I called and pushed numbers until I got a real life human being that new what the hell they were doing.

"Hello, my name is Steve and my address and phone number are the same as they have been for the last 3 years and well, I have a prescription I need refilled ASAP so I was wondering if you can handle this quickly so I can get it tomorrow? (Monday)"

Friendly Phone Voice: "Sure Steve, I can handle that."

I give her the number and she says, "OK great, check with us on Monday at noon and we'll get that ready for you."

Great... I was happy because I wouldn't be hurting so bad. So I call yesterday afternoon to check, and all I get is "Prescription is being processed by pharmacy".

So I wait until this morning and call again, "Prescription is being processed by pharmacy". I punch a few more numbers and get a live human being.

Disgruntled Phone Voice: "Ugggghhhh.... So why are you calling?"

Me: "Basically the pharmacy has been saying they are processing the prescription and they have been for the last few hours. It has been over 24 hours since...."

Disgruntled Phone Voice: "BAHHH.... It should take 24 to 48 hours to..."

Me (interrupting): "Yeah, mmmkay, right... But it has been 24 hours and the lady yesterday said I should have it on Monday and well, today is Tuesday almost noon so it is actually pushing on 48 hours, and I am just wondering if it will be..."

Disgruntled Phone Voice: " Well, whoever you called was wrong. We are not the pharmacy. It takes 48 hours to process... she should not have told you what she did..."

Me (interrupting again): "Excuse me, who crawled up your ass and died? All I have is what the lady told me on Monday and your pharmacy phone message recording. Are you calling me a liar?"

I redial the phone and get someone else. and just re-present the facts..

Pleasant Phone Voice: "Hold on, let me get you a live person at the pharmacy. Which pharmacy would you prefer to go to?"

Me, totally suprised: "What you mean I can go to any pharmacy I choose? Not just the inconvenient one 10 miles south of town that takes an hour round trip with traffic, but the one a mile from my house?"

Pleasant Phone Voice: "You have a choice and I can leave that by 5pm anywhere you want to go."

Me : "Awesome!!! You totally rock..." /cartman voice

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Best Buy Annoys Me

We took a laptop in back in April for a repair. The network port and power supply had come loose and there were some weird software things going on. So we took it in for it's last repair before the 3 year warranty was up. I must say it was worth buying that warranty as much as we used it.

We haven't heard a peep out of them since we dropped it off on April 18th and we figured it was going to take a few weeks to fix it anyway but this week we began to wonder and thought about calling. Until we checked the mail today and got this form letter:

Date: Wednesday, May 17th, 2006

Dear Valued Customer,

Service on your product under tag 00133-XXXXXXXXX was completed on Monday, April 24th, 2006. We have attempted to contact you on Thursday, April 27, 2006 regarding pick up of your product. Your product has been waiting for you to pick up for 15 days. Best Buy is not responsibile for any product that is not picked up within 30 days after the services were complete. Charges may apply at pick up services performed and not previously collected.

Please immediately pick up your product at the Best Buy store location where you dropped it off for service. In the even you do not pick up your product up within 30 days from the date of this letter, Best Buy will need to dispose of your product.

If you have any questions, please call the Best Buy store service department at (916) 555-1212.

OK... Now let's discuss how "morally reprehensible" this letter is.

1. We have not been contacted by Best Buy before today either by mail or by phone or even e-mail so me and the pregnant one are a bit ticked off. I freaking hate liars.

2. If the service was completed on April 24, then why wait until the 27th to supposedly first call us? Liars!!!

3. "Your product has been waiting for you to pick up for 15 days". No... Actually it has been 23 days you liars..

4. Notice they bolded in "immediately" when asking us to pick up. They are threatening us. This is a threatening letter. Not a "Friendly Reminder". Most companies that you don't respond to for 30-45 days they send a "Friendly Reminder". This is a "get your crap out of our store" letter. Liars!!

5. They say they are not responsible for items left for more than 30 days after services were completed? Really? And they gave themselves a 27 day head start didn't you! Ya lying bastards.

6. If you don't pick up within 30 days of this letter they'll dispose of the item? Baloney!! They'll format the hard drive and sell it on Ebay. But in reality do I need to pick this up by May 24th, the 27th, or do I have until June 17th. I am confused...


Thursday, May 18, 2006

Six More Miles to the Graveyard...

As some of you may know, I have been having problems with pains in my hands and left arm. Sometimes it gets into my left leg. The doctors all think it is a pinched nerve in my neck and lower back. I am up for an MRI next weekend. So we'll soon figure it out.

But then...

Last night, I when I got home from work I took my wife to a local Mexican restaurant for dinner. We had a great time. I had some fajitas and a margarita. We split a desert and headed home. It was probably 95 degrees still outside. When we got back I went to my Apple computer to import music to my iPod. I have been working on this project from time to time. I was sitting in my chair, playing my guitar along to the new Red Hot Chili Peppers album. Suddenly I felt weird. My left arm felt dead and I couldn't play my guitar. My leg also felt strange. I just remember getting up and leaving the computer to go outside. My wife and sister in law were in the front room and they both said I didn't look well and I was limping. I walked outside hobbling around the yard staring at the plants and stuff. My wife and sister in law herded me back inside. My wife handed me a glass of water and insisted I sit. After about 15 minutes or so I called the hospital who then begged me to call 911. I refused and said my wife would drive me. We went straight to the emergency room.

I checked in and had a seat. We waited for an hour and a half to see triage. When I finally got in my blood pressure was 183 over 90 which pretty much means my heart was cranked up a few notches. I hobbled out of there to wait some more thinking it'd be another half an hour or so. They pulled me right in. I was told to get into a gown. They put me in a bed. The doctor came in and gave me a neurologic exam. Then a lady came and took blood. Then another lady came and stuck an EKG machine to me. It was hard to sit still because I was shaking a bit. I was freezing. Then the lady came back to draw more blood. Then the doctor came back and said he was gonna run more tests and that I should drink a ton of water. Then a nurse came in and hooked me up to a heart monitor. And then they all left for a while. Every 15 minutes the machine took my blood pressure.

And there I was laying there in my gown and underwear. My wife was sitting next to me with her computer. All this expensive equipment and all these tests. I watched as older folks walked by my room. They were all in bad shape. I thought about how it would be tough to be that old. The curtains around the hospital bed had some pretty colors on them. Most of the time I sat singing a song off one of the Mike Ness solo albums, a Hank Williams song called Six More Miles...

Six More Miles Lyrics (with chords):

(g) oh the rain is slowly fallin’,
And my (c) heart is so (g) sore,
Six more (c) miles and leave my (g) darlin’,
Never on this earth to (d7) meet no (g) more.


(g) six more miles (c) to the (g) graveyard,
Six more miles, long and (d7) sad,
Six more (g) miles and (c) leave my (g) darlin’,
Leave the best (c) friend, I ever (g) had.

(g) oh I hear the train a-comin’,
Bringin’ my (c) darlin’ back (g) home,
Six more (c) miles, to the (g) graveyard,
And I’ll be left here (d7) all a- (g) lone.

Repeat chorus

This verse not on record, but in both early song books:

Left her in that lonely church yard,
Left my darlin’ alone,
Now I’m sad, my heart is cryin’,
As I wander thru life alone.

At about 1:30 am this morning the doctor came back. I guess I passed all the tests with flying colors. He admitted he was stumped. He gave some scientific name of some mild type of stroke which would be consistent with the type of symptoms I had but ruled it out because I am 32, skinny and in pretty much good, and nothing in any of my blood work indicated it. If I had some disease or something he'd have found it. My blood pressure was a calm 120 over 70. He discharged me.

So in a sense it was really good news. I don't feel like I did yesterday evening. I feel a whole lot better today. But I am a bit baffled as to what happened and hope it doesn't happen again.

My poor wife, I think that was the 7th time she's taken me to the ER in the 6 years we've been married. It felt good seeing the sun this morning.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

More of Steve's Misguided Outrage...

I was shopping online this evening. My wife and I are adding to the list of baby stuff we need for the showers. We are fortunate in that the family is doing one for her and our friends are doing one for us in a combined event. (It'll be nice, I have two Silver Oaks for that party)

But where is my outrage tonight? The outrage is the cost of cheap molded plastic that will eventually be tossed when your kid is bigger. I am talking about car seats.

A lot of laws are made to protect people from themselves or protect their kids...


I have a problem with something though. How the hell can we make a law that requires someone to buy a car seat for their kid if they can't afford one? And not only that, we change the law, a lot. It seems babies need to face the rear of the car now until they are 1 year or 20lbs. Then you gotta buy a new seat. Then another new seat... all the way until they are 6. If you are buying quality stuff, you are shelling out anywhere from $250-$1000 between now until your kid is 6, just so you can drive them around. That's freaking expense. Especially if they change the law in that 6 years time and if you have to get some new requirement. And what if you have more than one kid? Or more than one car? And what if you are poor?

Wait! Are we reading this right? Is Steve showing sympathy for the poor?


I think maybe we need to rethink this. Child Safety is forever important. We oughta come up with some type of program where we pay an additional fee (yes, raise a tax) when we register our cars or something to provide people with car seats free of charge if they meet a certain income level. While searching Google, I found one State doing something like this and that is the state of Florida. And that one looks like it involves a class which would probably be good for a poor person (or any person) having a kid to attend. The State of California alone could buy enough seats to make this cheap enough to do. I figure 20 bucks a year per car would be a good start. I am game... I'd hand over my hard earned 20 bucks for something like this tomorrow.

Who is with me?

The last thing we need is to see something like this when we drive:


Monday, May 15, 2006

New Pearl Jam and Red Hot Chili Pepper Albums and Some Snap Reviews

The new Pearl Jam album rocks even if it is a bunch of liberal, hippy, anti-Bush crap. Ok we get it, they hate Bush and? This whole liberal movement and their blessed little polls have no real substance except somewhere deep in a select few's minds. The scariest thing about this country right now is that every wants to change the way it's run and change the way the world views the United States, indict Karl Rove and impeach Bush but no one wants to give the rest of the world a sane plan to push the alternative without packaging it with a bunch of social issues or some twisted agenda. (Ouch! I am on fire...)

I am only on the third song on Pearl Jam and those guitars are banging hard!!! I skipped to the 5th... damn it's a slow one. It's nice to hear them rock. I was listening to them running up north today. I remember back in 1992 when I was in between high school and college and I got that first Pearl Jam album "Ten". It was hard to imagine that sound that came out back then. The early part of my high school years were ravaged by hair bands like Poison, Warrant and Extreme. Oh yay! What I found amazing about my senior year in high school was the edge the music had. It started with Nirvana that year. Smells Like Teen Spirit broke and was played heavily by the end of football season and then of all things, U2 released their edgy album. The Chili Peppers released, "Blood Sugar Sex Magic" which sort ran off the grunge thing. You had anything grunge on the radio anywhere from the Screaming Tree's 'Nearly Lost You', the Lemonhead's version of " Mrs. Robinson" and even at that the time the Gin Blossoms, "Hey Jealousy" which had that poppy grunge feel good sound. We got a pretty good onslaught of over stuff that'd break later like the Smashing Pumpkins, Soundgarden and Alice Chains. And also stuff like the Pixies and Janes Addiction got another rush back then. The whole Lalapalooza thing. I wore black Doc Marten's everyday my freshman year in college with a flannel shirt when it was cold. REM ended up going backwards with "Automatic for the People" by the end of 1992 which to the the rest of us was quite edgy.

I am actually looking forward to listening to the new Red Hot Chili Pepper album tonight. That last one with Californication , Scar Tissue, and By The Way was unbelievable.

Of course, I stopped here for a few when I kicked it over to the new Chili Peppers. Holy Crap!! That's all I can say... I really dig the trumpet on Hump de Bump. Is it me, but has Anthony Kiedis's voice ever sounded better? Slow Cheetah is just awesome. I am reading the Rolling Stone review and wondering why it is only 4 stars. The Chili's have never sounded this good. Slow Cheetah is the most infectious song I have heard from them. More than Scar Tissue...

Damn... I am just gonna sit back and listen...

When it is all said and done I am gonna have 4 days and 15 hours of music on my iPod.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

U2: circa 1978

Yeah, they'd never amount to much...

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Kaiser Blows...

Yeah the hospital chain, Kaiser... They blow... Seriously. A couple of good people work there and none of those people are my doctor. The PT is nice but the rest of the system is a joke.

I think sometimes I start feeling better. The pain in my arm goes away, even while driving. I'll feel great then suddenly I'll have to reach for my computer or some money for a bridge toll and this shrieking, almost electrically charged, seering pain goes right across the top of my shoulder blades down to my finger tips on both hands. I think I screamed like a teenage girl waiting to see the next big Hollywood fake. It sucks man... Can you say pinched nerve?

I feel like Kaiser is a series of doors and levers like the old computer game Myst. It's like you go in one door and you flip a switch to get to the next screen and you have thought you have done something spectacular. Something that changes the game. But then you find out it actually was a wrong turn and you have to go back to the first level and see what you did wrong. It blows... It's like when you wanna throw the keyboard at the screen and freaking leave but you can't. I never had patience for a game like that.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Would You Like Hot or Mild Sauce??

We just came back from Taco Bell with some grubbin'. Helluva way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo. Some nice hot, American style, Mexican Food. I got an Empanada too. One those caramel apple ones. (Damn it hurts to type, read post below)

Fastfood is great. It's a fun. What amazes me still is the efficiency of a fast food organization. If you ever noticed, they always same the same things. How they greet you. In & Out Burger is always friendly. Or the broken English, "Super Size you Big Mac". Or the "Can I take your order, Puhleeeze!!!!" Occasionally you get someone that runs a foul and will ask you how your are doing. Taco Bell however always asks the hard question:

"Would you like hot or mild sauce?"

To me that is a tough question. It's not a basic question. If it's a burger stand it's ketchup or catsup if you are keeping score up there in Canada. That's simple. If you have fries, you actually need ketchup. Starbucks ending statement after giving you that hot coffee full of chocolate goodness and that slamming Apple Fritter is always: "Oh, you need napkins". Then they proceed to hand you a grip of recycled brown paper. But Taco Bell? Hot or Mild?

It's like, "well, you only have two choices, hot or mild or you get NO CHANGE and FOOD!!". It's a crappy proposition really. You cannot say no. It's either one or the other and that's it. It reminds of the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. You have two choices left and so you must choose wisely, except, both of those packets, hot or mild, do not and HAVE NOT ever contained the "Blood of Christ". It's like, What the Hell do you do?

Your answer is never right either. If you are feeling like mild sauce, they question your choice. If you say hot, they toss in mild too if you wife is with you. If you ask for both, it stumps them because then they'll ask you how much of each? The choice and questions get harder if you ask for both. Suddenly it's a quantum physics challenge. All the while, the nice assistant manager with your plastic bags of food is waiting patiently for your answer.

(And really... sometimes it is just that hard to come up with something to write on a blog!!)

Why? Because it hurts!!!

Ok this arm/wrist/shoulder/elbow/neck and back pain is passed the point of being able to have a sense of humor about it. It's also in my left leg right now. I am probably dying slowly and the doctor just doesn't want to tell me. It freaking sucks, dude.

It looks like my spine is compressing itself more than normal. There is a vertabrae in my neck and maybe one down on the bottom of my back that is either slipping a disk or something. Just a crushing, cold pain in my wrists and arm and my left foot.

Looks like I might finally get that MRI I had been asking for. Hopefully sooner the better. I am 32 years old man, I shouldn't feel half dead. The sad thing, I look normal. I can move normal. If I want to run and jump in and out of the my pick-up's bed I can totally do it. It just freaking hurts...

Ugghhh!! This sucks...

Monday, May 01, 2006

John Daly: What I'd do to be his buddy...

Meet John Daly. A PGA 2 time Major Champion. The man has the biggest swing on tour and could hit a ball nearly a quarter mile off the tee. He's freaking unbelievable and I love watching him play...( if he makes the cut for Saturday and Sunday that is)

The poor guy has a gambling problem and it looks a bit serious to me. (See link or the rest of what I write is meaningless here)

The man wants to push back from the table, set some restraint and some control around the table.
I am not a licensed therapist.

I am no way near being a gambling expert. But... You my gracious readers, who rarely comment on this now 2000 plus hit a month blog know what I am talking about.

I can make him a winner. I can show the man the ropes and the restraint he needs to make this thing happen. Or at least prevent him from losing as much as he is.

My blackjack formula is working. My formula for entering and leaving a casino is working. My instinct and knowing when a table is hot or when it is time to walk away is unmatched.

I have earned the following from gambling on $5 and $10 tables:

  • Two iPods (one a video)
  • A sound recorder for my Mac Mini Apple Computer, a $200 value
  • A slammin' Tommy Bahama Watch
  • A nice shirt and silk pants from Tommy Bahama
  • A new King Sized Bed
  • A remodeled bathroom with custom light system, near $700 value
  • Trones man, it's all about the Trones!!!
Plus, a plethora of endorphins that would out do a 5 year old with Attention Deficit, Hyper-Active Disorder, cranked on rock candy, midday in Disneyland's Tomorrowland. Dude, none of you have EVER had the joy of being naturally THAT HIGH!!!

Yeah... try picking up that $500 Pink Chip at Caesar's Palace on a $10 table and tell me you wouldn't melt an Ice Cream Cone from 40 Yards out by merely looking at it.

If you know John Daly personally, direct John Daly to "Steve's Blog" and I can show the man how to do it. We could totally go golfing at Wynn's in the morning. (As soon as I heal from this bad wrist and back crap)

John... if you're reading... I can help! Email in the sidebar.


So You Finally Made It on to The Price Is Right...

...and you are a total stoner! What would you do? Your big moment has arrived, seriously what would you do?

As seen on Break.com

What a pothead!!