Feb 27

Usually, I complain about stuff here on this site.  I tend to go on and on about many of the small, unfair things that transpire in my life.  My motto is “life sucks and then you die”, so rarely will I point out the positive in much of anything.  This post is going to be an exception to my rule.  This post is going to emphasize the positive.

Today, I went to the youngest boy’s middle school band competition thingie.  As I was standing around after the performance with the wife, I looked around at the other people waiting for their kids.  I noticed, as I have increasingly done, that I was the single shortest adult male at that performance.

At work, I am one of the (if not “the”) shortest man at work.  I am surrounded by college students all day, and the vast majority of the male students and what seems like a smaller majority of the female students are taller than me.  Needless to say, I spend the vast majority of my time looking up at people and being looked down upon by others.

I know, it may seem like I am heading into my usual mode of bitching about stuff, but that is not the case.  One may think that being a short man is horrible, but the opposite is true.  Being a short man is complete and utter awesome-sauce.

As a short man, I don’t have to worry about making as much money.  According to an article on Slate, for every inch a person is taller, that person makes about $1000/year more than his shorter counterpart.  So someone who is six-feet tall will make, on average, about $5000/year more than me.  Now, I know that may seem like a bad thing for the shorter person, but money is not a good thing.  Money is inherently evil.  Think about it, money leads to buying those luxury items that you really don’t need.  The lack of money means one is more likely to just be able to afford the basic necessities in life.  People with a lot of money take their fancy vacations and have their luxury automobiles.  Us shorter guys have to save for years to take a middle class vacation, so we appreciate them more, right?  Us shorter guys can never afford a brand new automobile, so we don’t have to worry about our vehicle losing 20% of it’s value by driving it off the lot.

Those who make more money can put more money away for retirement and have better retirements.  Us short people get to work our entire adult life.  That’s a blessing, working until the day you die, because… it just is.

Tall men are seen as more powerful and garner more respect… those suckers!  Who wants to be respected when you can spend your entire adult life being looked down on.  Being looked down on is FABULOUS!  No one expects much of you as a short dude because, you know, you’re so tiny.

Another great thing about being short is we shorties tend to be, according to Time, unhappier than the tall. Unhappiness RULES!  Who would want to walk around feeling happy all the time.  Happiness is overrated.  Try being bitter for awhile.  Bitterness is pretty fantastic.  The Time article also points out that tall people tend to view short people as having chips on their shoulders, like us shorties have to make an extra effort to command attention. Command of attention is something that just comes naturally for taller people because of their size.  But I wonder, who really wants to command attention when you can just sit unnoticed in a corner and lead your insignificant life in peace.  Then, you can die and be forgotten.  See, being short is pretty awesome.

I love how the things that we have absolutely no control over (like height) can have such a dramatic impact on our lives.  Of course, there are plenty of happy short people out there, I’m sure.  Short people just have to work a little harder to find happiness.  Short people just have to look in more non-traditional areas to find their happiness, since it won’t come through income, respect, admiration of peers, or anything like that.  Tall people don’t have to work harder to find happiness, because they do command attention just by walking into a room, and they will make more money and command more respect in general.  So tall people are inherently lazy because stuff comes easier for them.  I know, I’m digging, but I’m really trying to find the positive in all of this.

My wife says she is going to ban me from Google, which may be a positive…

 

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Feb 14

Pussy.

Yep, I wrote it.  The word “pussy” has multiple meanings.  I went to Merriam-Webster.com to get the skinny.

The most basic definition of “pussy” is pretty simple: a cat.

Another common definition of “pussy” is: a weak or cowardly man or boy (synonyms are “wimp” and “wussy”).

Finally, a third definition of “pussy” is: slang for a woman’s genitalia, and this usage is considered “vulgar” (it has “vulgar” in red letters beside the definition on the Merriam-Webster website).

The media as been on fire recently about The Donald repeating what one of his supporters shouted about Cruz.  Yes, the supporter called Cruz a pussy, and yes, The Donald didn’t just let it go. The Donald spent too much time saying he couldn’t repeat what the supporter  had said just to end up saying himself, “He’s a pussy.”  The Donald went on to teasingly reprimand the supporter, to the laughter of his supporters.  “Hahaha…” and all that jazz.

Why is the media so on fire about this statement?  Maybe calling an opponent a “pussy” is unprofessional (it’s The Donald, would anyone expect more?), but he (or his supporter) was not calling Cruz a woman’s genitalia.  I’m pretty sure the definition was more along the lines of “wimp”.  The media just hates The Donald and will try to make him look as crude and vulgar as possible to accomplish the media’s own ends… ends that dismiss the wishes of about half of our country’s population.

I think of “pussy” in pretty much the same category as “crap”, or “sucks” or “screw you”.   These are not words of phrases that I want my kids using, but unlike more severe words, they would warrant a talking to and not a slap across the face  (unless “pussy” is in reference to a woman’s privates, then it is slap worthy… but you can set up some pretty cool double entendre if you put your mind to it ).

I am not offended by The Donald making light of a supporter calling Cruz a “pussy”.  What is amazing to me is the irony of the situation.  I find it ironic that The Donald would refer to Cruz as a “pussy” when The Donald himself is such a twat…

 

Jun 07

So, those in charge of the City of Scottsbluff have closed the only truly public outdoor pool in Scottsbluff.  The Splash Arena has been closed, and a “shortage of lifeguards” is cited as the reason.

 

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For those not familiar with the Westmoor Pool, it’s not really a swimming pool.  The Westmoor Pool is a kiddie park with some water.  The Westmoor Pool is a crowded and loud wading pool with water tainted by the urine of hundreds of toddlers.  I do not like the Westmoor pool.  But I love how the dude in the video is asking patrons not to come right at opening.  I love how he is asking people to wait until about 3:30 pm to come to the pool, you know, to distribute the pool load.  Apparently Mr. Mader has never been to one of the outdoor Scottsbluff pools in the late afternoon… you know, when the evening thunderstorms are starting to roll in.  I have been at our pools during those times, and it is a joy to watch the lifeguards.

If there are dark clouds on the horizon, the lifeguards’ attention all turn to the skies.  You can see the giddy excitement on their faces, I’m sure imagining a short shift and planning what they are going to do with the remainder of their day since they know work will end early… yet again.  If there are dark clouds on the horizon (which, on many, many evenings in the panhandle of Nebraska, there are), you best be watching out for your own kid’s safety, because the attention of the lifeguards won’t leave the sky until that first flash of lightening in the 30 mile distance is sighted, the whistles blow, and you get to go home with no refund or complimentary pass for a later time.  Yeah, let’s encourage people to go to the pool at a time when they are going to get screwed by the weather.  Brilliant!

Of course, there are other options given by the representative of the city.  The City of Gering has a nice public outdoor pool.  The only issue with that is that the residents of Gering HATE the residents of Scottsbluff.  If all of a sudden the Gering pool is at capacity because of an influx of Scottsbluff residents, there will be blood.  Gering residents would rather have their pool blown up by Islamic fundamentalists than let the residents of Scottsbluff pollute it with their “north-of-the-river” disease.

The video also mentions the YMCA Trails West pool, which is a private pool and is not available to the public… unless you want to rent it… for $75 an hour… with a two hour minimum… not exactly an affordable option for most folks.

The last option offered up by the brain trust at the City of Scottsbluff is the Scotts Bluff Country Club pool.

Seriously?

They’re gonna make me give my opinion on country clubs?

Okay, here we go…

You have to be a member of the Scotts Bluff Country Club to use the pool at the Scotts Bluff Country Club.  Most residents of the City of Scottsbluff and surrounding area cannot afford a membership to the Scotts Bluff Country Club.  Most of the people who frequent public pools (myself included) are exactly the kinds of people who country club members are trying to avoid by joining a country club!  People with money join country clubs to hang out with other people who make a similar amount of money.  People do not join country clubs to hang out with the kind of people they may run into if they are forced into a trip to Walmart.  Successful business owners join country clubs so they are assured they will not run into one of the low-paid employees they have to deal with during the work week.  Lawyers and politicians join country clubs so they are guaranteed they will not run into much of the “common trash” they represent.  The fact that a representative of the City of Scottsbluff would list the Scotts Bluff Country Club pool as a viable option for the swimming needs of anyone other than the elite of Scotts Bluff County makes me realize how out of touch some people are.  The elite already use the country club pool.  The elite wouldn’t be caught dead (or have their children caught dead) at a public pool.  Mentioning the Scotts Bluff Country Club pool in a PR piece that attemptes to give alternatives to a frustrated general population may actually have an opposite effect.  Many patrons who will not get to use the public pools as much as they would like have just been reminded that, up on the hill, there is a place where the local financial elite have their own pool… and we’re not welcome to use it.  Thanks for the reminder, City of Scottsbluff…

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Jan 10

So I found myself ending 2014 with a trip to Walmart.  We needed some stuff, and Walmart has stuff.  So I went to Walmart to get the stuff.

Now, I didn’t need much stuff, and the crowds at Walmart were unusually small, so my trip to and through Walmart was going off better than expected.  See, I hate Walmart.  I hate shopping at Walmart.  I hate spending time in Walmart.  I hate checking out at Walmart with one of two checkers available on most given dates and times and waiting in line at Walmart for 7 times longer than necessary.  When I am in Walmart, my dislike for my fellow humanity reaches near-Biblical proportions.  The wrath that fills my soul as I am cut off and run into by the carts of other shoppers makes me, for a brief moment, realize the kind of hatred that could have led Cain to kill his brother.  This is what Walmart makes me become.

When shopping at Walmart, I always have my headphones on.  I listen to music.  I listen to music and pretend that I am not really at Walmart, but that I am performing on a grand stage in front of tens-of-thousands of screaming fans — fans who just happen to be wearing pajamas and have their 6 screaming toddlers with them.

I had gone to Walmart the previous week, and had a typical Walmart experience.  As I pushed my cart full of over-expensive groceries (which were still 20% less than any other store in town, which is why I shop there) out to my car, a small boy with his smaller sister worked their way out of the store in front of me.  The boy had his hand on his little sister’s head and he seemed to steer her.  He would turn her head one way, and she would walk that way.  He would turn her head another way and she would walk that way.  Cute, right?  Yeah, that’s what I thought, until they actually got outside the store.

When the brother and sister approached their minivan, the little girl, sliding across the snow-packed parking lot, exclaimed, “It’s f*@#ing slippery out here!”  This small child couldn’t have been more than eight.  “And it’s f*@#ing cold,” retorted her probably about 11-year-old brother.

Lovely.  The parent or guardian of these kids was still checking out with her two carts of government subsidized groceries, so the kids were apparently comfortable talking like drunken sailors in the Walmart parking lot.  None of my business. It doesn’t take a village, it takes decent parents, which these kids apparently didn’t have.

So the boy opens the back of the minivan and the thing is packed with foul-mouthed, white-trash, EBT-fed children.  “Close the f*@#ing door, it’s G@%#$mned cold out there.  What, do you have s#!t for brains?”  The little girl climbs in through the back of the van.  “F*@k you, a$$#@le”, yells the boy as he slams the back hatch behind his sister.  He then goes to the side door to get in himself,  but the pack of prepubescent condom-leakage inside the van has locked him out.  He erupts in a tirade of expletives as I quickly load the rest of my groceries into the back of my car.  I push my empty cart to a cart corral (something I’m sure the mother of the debris inside the minivan will not do; she will leave her two carts along side her van for he next person who parks in her spot to deal with, because that’s the sort of person she is) and walk back to my car.  As I’m getting into my car, I notice a father and his little girl, hand-in-hand, walking behind the minivan with the boy, now bouncing on the back bumper, screaming “f-this” and “f-that”.  The father picks up his little girl and speed walks past the rocking minivan.  I can take no more.  I get back out of my car.

“Hey!”  I yell at the kid.  He doesn’t seem to realize I’m yelling at him, as he continues to drop f-bombs directed at the spawn inside the van.  I yell again, louder, “Hey, kid on the minivan, watch your mouth!”

He stops bouncing and jumps down from the bumper, looking at me.  I’m in full-on rage mode, ready to fly across the parking lot and grab this little piece of garbage by the front of his shirt as soon as he gets mouthy with me.  “What?” is all he says.  He looks shocked.

“You’re big enough to use that kind of language, but you’re not big enough to realize when it’s not right to use that kind of language?  There was a little girl behind you just now, and I’m sure she and her dad didn’t appreciate you talking like that. You need to watch your mouth!”

The kid is slinking along the side of the minivan as I’m scolding him, and the locked door has magically unlocked.  As he’s sliding up into the van, he mutters, “Sorry.”  He looked like he was going to cry.  I should have felt triumphant, but I felt sad.  I wanted to kick that kid’s parents in the groins more than I have ever wanted to… well… kick anyone in the groin.  I honestly don’t think the kid realized that he was doing wrong, and that is the fault of his parents… or parent… whatever.  Walmart draws this kind of drama like stinky poo attracts flies.

So, anywho, I’ve got that last trip to Walmart on my mind as I’m strolling through my adoring fans while they listen to my truly brilliant falsetto on “Payphone”.  The trip is quick, and before you know it, I find one of the two available checkers ready to help me.

I leave my headphones on, but I mute the music so I can partake in any silly small talk the checker throws my way.  I don’t recognize her.  She must be new.

“Did you find everything, Hon,” she asks in the too-familiar manner of a truck stop waitress or a convenience store clerk.

“Yeah, I’m good,” I say.

The checker is young, probably early twenties, but she looks like she has some miles on her.  Her dirty-blonde hair is back in a pony tail, which exposes her cheeks and their hint of acne scars.  She isn’t an unattractive young lady, but she has that I-smoke-three-packs-a-day kind of look… and it rasps in her voice as well.  The checker next door is a young guy, probably about the same age as my checker, and, seeing as he doesn’t have anyone to ring up, he comes over to flirt with my checker help bag my stuff.

Now, I’m loading my stuff from the cart to the conveyor, not really listening to the small talk going on between the two checkers.  I finish unloading my cart and catch the end of whatever they were talking about.

“You would never do anything like that, you’re too nice of a guy,” says my checker to the boy bagging my stuff.  “I can’t imagine you doing anything bad.”

“Well, there was that one time I smoked,” said bag boy.  “Remember, I told you about that.”

“Yeah, but that was just once, right?” asked my checker.

“Yeah, it was actually just one drag,” said bag boy.

“Don’t say ‘drag’,” said my checker.  “People will think you smoked weed.”

“Mighta been weed,” smiled bag boy.

“No, you’re too nice of a guy to smoke weed,” said my checker.  “Me, on the other hand, you name a drug and I bet I’ve done it.”

Suddenly, the girls appearance starts to make a little sense.  She has been through some rough stuff.

“Meth?” asks bag boy.

“Yep, I did meth,” says my checker.  “At one point, I was down to ninety pounds.”

“Wow,” says bag boy.  “Is that why you were such a good stripper, because you were so skinny.”

Wha…

“No,” replies my checker, “I was a good stripper because I had good upper and lower body strength.  You have to have strong arms and legs to be a good stripper.”

WHA

My stuff bagged, my purchase paid, I left the two of them discussing meth addition and the ways of the stripper.  You could have shoved a softball in my open mouth, I’m sure, because every guy knows that the real secret to any good stripper involves tight buns and… wow… did I just really hear that conversation?

I know some folks who work at Walmart who have worked there an awfully long time.  They have risen through the ranks and are making pretty decent bank and they like their jobs.  I don’t feel sorry for them.  Most folks who work at Walmart, I feel sorry for.  I think, “You could do so much more with your life than work at Walmart. There has to be more out there for you than this.”  I don’t think I will feel this way again… ever.

I used to think of Walmart as the kind of place where people fell at the bottom of their career.  I now realize that Walmart, for some people, may actually be a way to a better life.  Who would have ever thought that Walmart would be the kind of place where a drug-addled stripper could begin to turn her life around?  I wouldn’t have, if not for the conversation to which I was exposed.

God bless Walmart… but I still hate it…

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Jan 01

The first day of 2015.  Yea.  A time of rebirth. A time to make some resolutions for positive change in our lives.  Give it a couple of weeks, suckers, and we’ll all be right back to where we were a month ago.

You are not going to lose that weight.  You are not going to be find ways to be more financially successful.  You are not going to give up your bad habits.  I’m not trying to be negative, I’m just trying to help you out with a little bit of honesty.  If we were all able to keep our new year’s resolutions, we’d all be skinny, healthy people rolling in cash and skipping out the door to work every morning.  Have you taken a look around?  Have you been to Walmart on the first weekend of the month?  No one really keeps his or her new year’s resolutions.  Okay… maybe I’m trying to be a little bit negative…

Why not make resolutions you can actually keep?  Why tell yourself that you are going to lose twenty pounds, and then actually gain five pounds by May, and then tell yourself that you can’t wait until the end of the year so you can make another resolution?  For me, I’m resolving to gain weight.  I’m currently hovering at an unhealthy-for-my-height 200 pounds.  I’ve been telling myself that I can lose weight if I do this or if I do that.  Problem is “this” and “that” suck.  Eating less sucks.  Exercising more sucks.   Eating less of the good food sucks, and eating better sucks.  Eating what I like doesn’t suck.  Not exercising is pretty awesome.  I know that eating what I like and not exercising will result in weight gain.  So, my resolution is to gain weight.

I resolve to gain twenty-two pounds by the end of 2015.  That would put me right at 222 pounds which feels kind of lucky for some mystical reason… I think because it’s all twos.  Twos are kind of cool.  And you know what, I’ll enjoy keeping this resolution!  There will be no sacrifice.  There will only be a lot of sitting around eating stuff I like.  How can this be a lose in any way?

“You have to sacrifice to improve,” says the whiny little scrub in the back, “no pain, no gain.”

What a crock.

Don’t listen to those who tell you that sacrifice is required to lead a satisfying life.  What do they know?  Sure, living an unhealthy lifestyle may not lead to a long life, but who cares?  Are you really that happy with your life that you want to extend it so you can be a miserable old person who yells at the kids for being too loud with their “fun” on a hot summer day?  Is the early bird special really that attractive to you?  Does the thought of going to bed at 7 pm and getting up  at 4 am in any way, shape or form seem desirable?  Do you really want to get to the age where it seems appropriate when someone asks you how you are doing to tell them about all of your maladies?  Good grief, 50 is just a few years away for me, and I’m dreading it like the plague.  Maybe if I gain enough weight in the next couple of years, I won’t even have to look that evil beast in the face!

Life is short no matter how long it actually is.  Someone who lives to the age of 100 is still just a flash in the pan of history.  Might as well live your short little life with as much joy as possible… and if that means scarfing down on Whoppers and fries at BK, or eating a few slices too many from your favorite pizza place, or skipping going to the Y for… ever… so be it.  Quit letting guilty pleasures make you feel guilty.  Just let them be pleasures.  A good way to start is to set resolutions you will actually enjoy keeping.

I’ve been thinking of ways to get a niche with this blog, which is why I haven’t written posts for so long.  I think I may be on to something: giving really bad advice!

Happy New Year!  Who’s on-board to gain that weight with me?

Aug 17

Okay, so for our family vacation this summer, the family and I spent a few days in Denver.  I know, a Denver vacation doesn’t really sound like too big of a deal, and it really wasn’t, but you do what you can afford.  Couldn’t really even afford that, but whatever.  Money isn’t important (or so I keep being told and am trying to believe… kind of like in the tooth fairy).  Anywho, we did some fun things and we did some lame things, but that’s all beside the point.

We went to my new favorite grocery store in the entire world: H Mart.  For anyone not familiar with H Mart, it is a chain (apparently) of grocery stores that specializes in Asian foods.  They have all kinds of cool seaweeds snacks and tons of Pocky. There are aisles full of Oriental canned goods and weird fruits and vegetables.  There are meats from animals that I thought were extinct.  There are cuts of meat that I didn’t know exist cut from animals I am familiar with.  There were frozen and fresh (in tanks in the store) fish that were all amazingly priced (as in “move over Walmart, your prices are too high”).  If I lived in Denver, I would be making weekly trips to this store.  But I don’t live in Denver, so we just bought what would fit in our small cooler for the trip home.

We bought some seaweed snacks and some mahi mahi and some tuna and some shark and some swordfish and some preserved duck eggs (which may be the topic of another post) and some green tea Oreos and some dried shrimp and some clams and some midodock    ***screech***   back that up, what was that?  Midodock.  Yep, had no idea what it was either at the time we purchased it, but it was right beside the frozen clams and it was cheap, so I figured it was going to be good.  I figured I could always Google it later.

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So later, I Googled it, because the wimps in my family refuse to eat something if they don’t know what that something is.  I just figured I’d roll them in cornmeal and deep fat fry them.  Nothing can be bad when breaded and fried, right?  Well, Google didn’t help my cause.  There were only three websites that had any reference to midodock, and none of them were in English.  The first one Google helped with a little bit of translation, and I got the following:

“midodock is conch it?  Who ate it?  Not good?”

To which the reply was:

“Afraid to fry.”

Well, crap!  You see, even though this might have caused a bit of hesitation for me, I still would have fried it up and fed it to my family.  The problem is, the wife and the teenager both have access to Google and both of them did the same search I did.  I was going to need more info.

The second link provided by Google was even less helpful to my cause of getting this stuff eaten.  It was another site with Chinese writing that Google tried to help with the translation of.  This site got even scarier, and weirder, because one person was asking what midodock is and people are saying maybe conch and then it turns to tumors and it ends with midodock potentially being conch long tumors.  What in the hell is a conch long tumor?!?  Then this weird site goes into another person saying that he or she knows what it is and will tell the original poster what it is for some buns?  And then the original poster says that he or she paid the coins?  Then the person who apparently knows what it is says that he or she isn’t a rabbit spread eagle and he or she didn’t receive the coins… and by this time I’m leaving the site to Google conch long tumors which results in another dead end and I’m cursing Google’s ability to translate anything and I know I’m never going to be able to talk my family into eating conch long tumors!  But maybe the family won’t make this discovery.

About this time, the teenager says, “Uh, Dad, the midodock is conch tumors.”

And the wife says, “It can’t be healthy eating tumors.”

And the tween says, “I’m not eating tumors.”

And I figure I’ve just blown a couple of bucks on something that is going to sit in the freezer for a few months before the wife throws it out, because the third site Google gave as an option in its search results on “midodock” was some kind of PDF Korean magazine that Google wasn’t even going to attempt to translate for me… and I don’t read Korean…

Crap!

So I stick the midodock in the freezer and start scheming ways to feed it to the family without them knowing what I’m feeding them.

The weekend after we get back to Nebraska from our Denver “vacation”, we go to the tween’s favorite Chinese restaurant for his birthday meal.  While we’re there, I ask the owner, Bob (who is actually from China and I don’t think his real name is Bob, but I’m guessing his real name is impossible to pronounce so he just goes by Bob because, I don’t know, he thinks he looks kind of like a Bob, I guess) if he has ever heard of midodock.  Bob looks at me kind of confused and says he doesn’t.  So I give Bob a short rundown of the trip to H Mart and the purchase of the midodock and the Google results that led us to believe that midodock may actually be conch long tumors (whatever those are) and I didn’t understand how a market could sell tumors to eat and I kind of implied that this was all Bob’s fault because, you know, he’s Asian.

So Bob puts up his finger in a “give me a second, I may have an answer for you” kind of way, and he disappears.  Bob comes back with his wife, who I’m just going to call “Mrs. Bob”, because I don’t know her name.

“My wife might know”, says Bob.

So, I repeat the whole H Mart, Google, long tumor story.  Mrs. Bob doesn’t know what midodock is either, but she says she can find out.  She has me write “midodock” down, along with my phone number, and she tells me she will give me a call when she finds out.  I thank Mrs. Bob, and I thank Bob.  We then leave, and I figure I’m never going to hear from Mrs. Bob and that she and Bob are back at the restaurant laughing at the dumb white guy buying stuff at H Mart when he doesn’t know what it is…

Within a half hour, my phone rings.  It’s Mrs. Bob, and she talked to someone (in her family, I’m assuming), and she knows what midodock is.  According to Mrs. Bob, midodock are conch.  They come in small, black shells and are very hard to get out of the shell.  She says her family boils them and then adds them to stuff like stir fry.  She tells me that they used toothpicks to dig the meat out of the shell.

I thank Mrs. Bob from the bottom of my heart, and I inform the family of Mrs. Bob’s revelation.  They are all put at ease and it looks like we will be having fried midodock in the near future.

How do we know we can trust Mrs. Bob?  Well, we eat at her restaurant relatively often (for us) and I don’t believe she would steer us into something unsafe.  Plus, I trust Mrs. Bob a crap-ton more than I trust Google’s ability to translate Chinese.

So, since there are like next to no Google search results for midodock, I’m hoping that this little post will be beneficial to anyone who has purchased some midodock at H Mart and they want to figure out what exactly it is that they bought!  Trust Mrs. Bob, it’s nothing more than conch.  There are no long tumors involved… and if you have any information that points to something else… PLEASE LET ME KNOW!

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May 10

Hello, my name is Adventurer Rich, and I’m fat.

There needs to be a twelve-step program for fat-o-holics.  Food is most definitely a drug, and I’m addicted.

Ever since the holidays, I have had a bit of added stress in my life.  And by “bit” I mean I’m genuinely surprised my heart hasn’t exploded.  I don’t deal with the regular old stress of daily life very well, so when stress is added that makes me wonder what in the hell I’m going to do with my entire future, I don’t hold up too well.

And I eat.

I wish I were one of these people whose appetite just disappears when they get stressed or depressed.  You know the type, people who fall into a funk and they lose like twenty pounds because they are too depressed to even eat.  If I was one of these people, given my predisposition to look at the darker side of all situations,  I’d be super-model thin.  I am, however, the complete opposite of these lucky sons-a-guns who can’t eat when they are down.  When I’m in the dumps, I eat like a pig.

  • Can’t figure out how I’m ever going to be able to retire?  Eat some left-over pizza and it doesn’t matter as much.
  • Realize that most of my life has been wasted giving up on dreams?  A roll of summer sausage and a tin of Pringles make the pain go away.
  • Wondering how we’re going to cover the mortgage and other regular monthly bills plus the plethora of medical bills that recently reared their ugly heads while adding a teen driver to our insurance?  PB&J with triple PB sounds about right.
  • Job situation a little shaky and not sure what is going to happen if that falls apart?  One-pound block of sharp cheddar, take me away…

So, needless to say, I’ve packed on a few pounds over the last few months.  The problem is, I not only eat when I’m stressed or depressed, I eat when I’m happy too.  Proud of the older boy for his performance at a soccer game; celebrate with a fast food treat!  Proud of the younger boy for earning his next belt in karate; stop by the bakery and get some donuts!

So, whether I’m winning or losing, I’m gaining weight.  The more I weigh, the higher the old blood pressure gets, the more I feel like crap, the more my self-esteem slips, the more I eat, the more I weigh…

See the problem?

I love food. Food is a great way to celebrate when you are happy and it makes you feel better when you are down.  And any food that doesn’t taste like butt makes you fat.

So I am fat.

I exercise, but exercise just makes me hungry.  The more I exercise, the more I eat after exercising.

So I am fat.

I was trying to lose weight last June, and I wrote about it.  I actually weigh more now than I did then, and that sucks.  I am officially “obese”.

Actually being obese frees me in so many ways…

  • I can wear my pajamas to Walmart… I can probably even use Walmart’s little scooter/shopping cart and park it in the middle of an aisle while I take my sweet time deciding which flavor of Doritos I want.
  • I can let my feeling of guilt slip away while filling that seventh plate at the all-you-can-eat buffet.
  • I can drop ten bucks at McDonald’s ordering only from the dollar menu… all for me… for a snack between lunch and supper…
  • Celery no longer needs to take up any space in my fridge.
  • Screw the diet pop; I’m going full-on high fructose corn syrup!  I don’t even need the carbonated water to thin it down.  Just point me directly to the high fructose corn syrup and some Red Bull: the breakfast of champions…
  • Elevators and escalators will no longer be the “fun” way to get where I am going; they will be a necessity to prevent stroke or cardiac arrest.
  • Trips to the YMCA, long having been a pain in the butt, are no longer necessary.  The sooner I let my obesity consume me, the sooner disability and a life of leisure can kick in.
  • I may be shortening my life, but I’d rather live a short, happy, fat life than a miserable, long life eating things that make my taste buds cringe and my poop green.

I used to think I could get in shape.  I used to think I could be healthy.  I used to think a lot of things…  I try not to think anymore.  Thinking hurts.  Smart people can think and it doesn’t hurt, but it hurts me when I think. I must not be very smart.  Being not very smart is kind of depressing… pass the pork rinds…

 

 

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Feb 01

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I made my kids sit down with the wife and me and watch City Slickers.  I had DVRd it a few weeks prior and thought it would make for a good, relatively clean night of family entertainment.

Now, I had originally seen City Slickers pretty much when it had first come out back in the early 90s.  In the early 90s, I was in my early 20s and I remembered thinking the movie was pretty funny.  I didn’t remember the entire plot, but I remembered that it was a bunch of city guys going on a cattle drive to find themselves or something.  I remember Jack Palance being funny, and I remember that he won like an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role (which must have meant that there weren’t many actors up for that award that year…).

So, the wife and I and the kids all settle in and we’re gonna have us a good couple of hours of family comedy.  And then the movie starts and Billy Crystal’s character is all mid-life-crisis-ish because he is approaching 40 and he hasn’t really accomplished anything of importance with his career and he wants to figure out something that gives his life meaning…

***screeching breaking sound of tires on pavement***

Whoa there, family fun night!  As a 44-year-old guy, I’m not finding the premise nearly as funny as I did over 20 years ago.

So Billy Crystal’s character is completely, cynically miserable and his wife has had enough.  She is tired of dealing with his misery and she tells him to go with his friends on this cattle drive and find his “smile” again.  He wants to know what they are going to do if he can’t find his smile, and she foreshadows that his ass is going to be on the street if he can’t find his smile.

There is absolutely nothing funny about this movie.

So the mid-life crisis crew go on the cattle drive and the hired hands are jerks and crusty old Jack Palance’s character starts out creepy but ends up being a good guy and then he dies and the jerky hired hands take off and the mid-lifers are left to bring in the cattle on their own.  And they do.  The city slickers drive the cattle through a storm to the destination and they find their manliness and whatnot and they are all happy.  And Billy Crystal’s character sees his wife and he smiles and points at his smile.

“I found it,” he says.

And the wife says, “So, are you going to quit your job?”

And Billy Crystal’s character says, “Nope. I’m just going to do my job better!”

WHAT!!!  There is nothing funny or touching or ANYTHING about this movie.  How did I ever think this movie was funny?  What in the name of anything made me think I would enjoy watching this stupid movie in my 40s?  Billy Crystal goes on a cattle drive and discovers that driving cows has given his mid-life ass meaning and he doesn’t need a job to give his life meaning because he drove the cows and he just needs to quit looking for something better and do his current, meaningless job selling radio advertising better to be a better person or something.  This may be the stupidest movie EVER!

And then it hit me… it’s only a movie.  City Slickers is not real life.  Billy Crystal didn’t really drive those cattle.  Billy Crystal was a wildly popular comedian before he landed major roles in movies suck as When Harry Met Sally, Throw Mama from the Train, City Slickers and City Slickers II.  Billy Crystal found even more success later in life as the voice of Mike Wazowski in Monster’s, Inc and Monster’s University.  Billy Crystal is a beloved, famous millionaire.  Billy Crystal does not and probably never has worked as a crappy ad salesperson.

And I have come to the conclusion that old comedies are not meant for current family movie nights…

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Jan 26

I am, I think, probably the poorest sport of a sore loser that I know. And it’s not just with stuff I lose at (which would entail a list far too long to list here). My sportsmanship sucks at all levels of losing. I’m a very gracious winner, but if I or my family or even people I don’t know but I have associated with on some level lose, I’m a pissed off cry baby waiting to cause a scene.

I mean, I was at the YMCA the other night and I was on an elliptical with a little TV attached. I was jamming to my MP3 player and I decided to put ESPN on the TV just to have something to watch other than my feet going round and round on the elliptical. There’s a college basketball game on, so I decide I’ll watch.  Now, I couldn’t give two craps about most college or professional sports.  A bunch of people with height and skills that I could never possess playing games that could lead to lucrative careers… playing games… while I struggle to make ends meet and try to face the fact that I will work a job making less in a year than most professional basketball players make in about half a week.  And I will work a job until the day I die.  And I start to hope for that day just so I won’t have to work a job anymore.  And that is depressing.  And I’m getting off topic…

So the teams playing are Florida and Tennessee.  I could care less about either of those teams.  I didn’t have a horse in that race.  So, how did I decide who I was going to root for?  Well, Tennessee is losing by about 14 points.  And Tennessee isn’t ranked.  Florida is ranked #6, so I decide I’m going to root for the underdog.  And you see, this is how I usually end up on the losing side of stuff.  When  one is predisposed to root for the underdog, one is going to face a lot of disappointment.  Underdogs are underdogs for a reason: they have less likelihood of winning because they aren’t as good as the favorite.  So, Florida starts to pull away.  Before you know it, Florida is ahead by over 20 points.  And I’m starting to get pissed.  I’m seeing smug looks on all of the Florida player’s faces.  The Florida coach is starting to look like an arrogant jackass.  I’m starting to see Florida getting away with fouls that aren’t getting called.  And Florida is suddenly up by 30 points and the game is over and I’m completely pissed off.  I hate the state of Florida and everyone associated with the state of Florida and I vow to do everything in my power, which is quite limited, to destroy everything associated with Florida… all because of a stupid college basketball game that I didn’t give two craps about before I started watching it…

I am a very poor sport.

My oldest kid played in an indoor soccer tournament a couple of weekends ago in Rapid City.  The family and I went to watch.  And for everyone of the three games that my kid’s team played and lost, I sat there acquiring a major disdain for Rapid City, South Dakota.  As our team would get further and further down in the score, I would become increasingly annoyed with the parents of the winning teams.  How dare they cheer for their kids!  How dare they encourage their players!  Whose bright idea was it for all of the parents for both teams to sit together?!?  Is someone just trying to make my life miserable?!?

Now, I honestly am a rational adult.  I know that those parents have every right to cheer for their teams.  I know that good parents encourage their children whether they win or lose.  I’m just not that good of a parent.  I want my kid and his friends to win.  Of course, they have to play better than the team they are playing against or that won’t happen, but when in the heat of the battle, I don’t think reasonably.  When in the heat of battle, all I can think about is how I want my kid to win.  If he can win at soccer, maybe he can win at life.  If he wins at life, maybe he will end up with a good paying job that he actually enjoys in a place that he likes living.  In other words, I don’t want my kid to end up like his old man.  I’ve lost a lot in my life and I have learned from those losses.  You know what I have learned from losing?  I’ve learned that losing sucks.  Period.  Sure, you win some and you lose some, but losing still sucks.  There is no redemption in losing.  You lose and then you work hard to improve and if you still lose after working hard and improving, give up and do something else.  Because losing sucks.  There is absolutely nothing you can do to make losing not suck, so avoid losing.  I know this isn’t possible, but it is a worthy pursuit.

My younger son plays in a kids basketball league at the YMCA.  His team played this past weekend, and his team lost.  These are 9 and 10-year-old kids.  And as my kid’s team is losing, I’m looking at the 9 and 10-year-olds on the other team and I start to dislike them immensely.  I dislike their smug little smiles and their cocky attitudes as they score more points.  Of course, their smiles aren’t really smug and their attitudes aren’t cocky, but it sure seemed like they were as they were kicking my kid’s team’s butts!  If my kid loses at 9 and 10-year-old basketball at the YMCA, he may be destined for a crappy existence in someplace like Scottsbluff, NE where he would have to work for over 100 years to make what the average professional basketball player makes in one year… and I want more for my kids than that…

See, I think of my current misery associated with life in the panhandle of Nebraska as being a direct result of the many loses and failures I have experienced over the course of my life. Because I am a loser, I am here.  If I were a winner, I would be living elsewhere doing something else and being paid exceptionally well to do it.  Currently, if I were to become fed up with my job and were to search for something else, what would I do? Maybe I could sell farm equipment; that sounds pretty rewarding, doesn’t it?  I could work at the sugar factory; there’s a dream come true!  I could maybe make slightly over minimum wage at Walmart; that would lead to my praying for God to strike me dead every working minute of every working day…

You see, winners don’t have to consider an entry-level job at Walmart as a real possibility for earning a living.  Real winners don’t even have to shop at Walmart.  So I’m a poor sport… I’m a sore loser… especially when it comes to my kids.  I want my kids to have completely Walmart-free futures…

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Nov 13

Is anyone going to argue with that?  How can they?  Getting old sucks and, the really crappy thing is, there isn’t a thing you can do to stop it.  As long as you are alive, you will get older.  And no matter how well you take care of yourself, time will not be kind to you.  Your once supple young body will become a fragile hindrance to a joyful life.  No one can really avoid aging, and aging means you will get old (at least older than you were).

 

I went on a camping trip recently with a bunch of scouts.  One of the other adults on the campout took some pictures and posted them on Facebook.  In one of the pictures, there was some old piece of crap holding my coffee mug and wearing my jacket?  When did this SOB sneak into my tent and steal my stuff?  Then I realized, the old SOB was me… I wanted to cry.  Is that really what I look like to others?  I’m even more hideous than I originally suspected!  Was I always like this?

So I went looking at some pictures of me when I was younger.  I found the following:

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Yes, I was a goober.  Yes, I was a dork.  This picture was taken when I was most likely a sophomore in high school.  I was around 15-years-old.  I was the age my oldest son is now.  Even though I was a tool, look at how young I appeared!  My smile was sincere, my freckles were fresh, my eyes sparkled.  I looked like the kind of guy who would be fun to hang out with.  I could see me being friends with this guy.  He seems to have a certain amount of, oh, I don’t know, joy?

… and then I go back to the recent picture of me on the camp out…

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This is what 44 looks like, boys and girls. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

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There doesn’t appear to be any joy in this face.  The smile seems forced, only there because someone is shoving a camera in his face.  The freckles have long since faded into the abyss of age.  The eyes are sunken, dead, no sign of spark.  It almost appears that someone, at some point, may have smacked him in the face with a shovel a few times.  Wrinkles everywhere.  His eyes are strangely off, again going back to the smacked with a shovel theory.  This does not look like someone I would want to hang out with.  This looks like someone who is going to start every conversation with, “Back in my day…”  Good gravy, how did this happen to me?  When did I become this !?!

Life.

Life did this to me.

You can sugar coat it any way you want, but life tends to… well… suck the life right out of you.  Those wrinkles aren’t from smiling too much.  The eyes aren’t dead because of some deeper gained understanding of some critical knowledge.  The beard isn’t gray because of some sort of wisdom nonsense.  I look the way I do because life takes a toll.  Dreams aren’t realized and goals aren’t met and hairs go gray and wrinkles appear.  You start to be more realistic about what you are actually going to accomplish with your life and your eyes lose most of their sparkle.  You swear that you are never going to look as old as the people that you thought of as old when you were young, and some jerk hits you in the face repeatedly with a shovel…

Life’s tough, kiddos.  Enjoy your youth while you have it.  Do the right things with it…

Remember now your Creator in the days of your youth,
Before the difficult days come,
And the years draw near when you say,
“I have no pleasure in them”

Ecclesiastes 12:1 (NKJV)

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