Dec 29

ring…ring…ring

tech:  Thanks for calling tech support, how may I help you?

Person-who-doesn’t-understand-the-purpose-of-internet-tech-support:  Hey, I’m having problems with your damn internet.

tech:  I’m sorry to hear that.  What kind of problems are you having?

Person:  Yeah, I got a new Blu-ray player for Christmas and I’m supposed to be able to stream movies from online to my TV.

tech: Okay.

Person: Well, it’s not working.

tech: Okay, so your internet isn’t working?

Person: Not on the Blu-ray player.

tech: So… is your internet working on your computer?

Person: Yeah, it’s working there, but it’s supposed to work on the Blu-ray player too.  I swear, your guys’ internet sucks!

tech: … uh… okay… so how do you have the Blu-ray player hooked-up to the internet?

Person: I don’t know.  Aren’t you tech support?  Shouldn’t you know that?

tech: … I’m afraid I don’t know how you would have hooked the Blu-ray player up to the internet.  Did you run a wire from your router to the player or is it WiFi?

Person: See, you guys always go talking all techie.  I’m not technical.  Can’t you just send someone out to get this damn thing working?

tech: … to hook up your Blu-ray player?

Person: No, to wash my dog.  Of course to hook up my Blu-ray player.

tech:  The company that you purchased the Blu-ray player doesn’t have someone available to install it for you?

Person:  Yeah, but they want to charge me like 35 bucks to have someone hook it up.

tech: … okay… that would probably be cheaper than having us send a tech out.  Usually we charge $45 for a service call.

Person:  What the hell!  You’re gonna charge me?

tech:  Well, your internet is working and you are just needing your Blu-ray hooked up…

Person:  But your internet is not working on the Blu-ray!

tech:  I understand that, but the internet is getting to your house.  We can help you hook up the Blu-ray player, but there would be a service call fee…

Person:  What in the hell am I paying you for every month?

tech: … to get the internet to your house.

Person:  That’s a bunch of crap!  Screw that!  I swear, your internet sucks!  You’re just gonna help me over the phone!

tech:  I’d be more than happy to…

Person:  Damn right you’re gonna help me!

tech:  … okay… so how is the internet getting to the Blu-ray player?

Person:  If the internet was getting to the Blu-ray player, would I have called you?

tech: … so how is the internet supposed to get to the Blu-ray player?

Person:  I’m not sure I like your tone!

tech:  … my tone?

Person:  Don’t get all smart-assy with me!

tech:  This conversation is going in completely the wrong direction.  I just want to help you get your Blu-ray working…

Person:  Then why don’t you get your ass in a car and get over to my house and hook-up the stupid thing?

tech:  … so how is the internet supposed to get to your Blu-ray player?

Person:  How am I supposed to know?

tech:  Didn’t it come with any sort of instructions?

Person:  Oh great, so you expect me to read the stupid manual?  Come on, I don’t have that kind of time!  Don’t you know about this kind of stuff?

tech:  I’m afraid I really don’t have any sort of training on Blu-ray players.  I’m going to need some help from you to get the Blu-ray player working.

Person:  Well, that’s just fine!  And I guess I’m just going to have to charge you 45 bucks for the help!

tech:  … so… you want to charge me $45 to help me set up your Blu-ray player?

Person:  Damn straight!  See, now it makes sense for you to get off your lazy ass and come hook it up, doesn’t it?

tech:  I’m sorry, it really doesn’t look like I’m going to be able to help you today.  Does the manufacturer of the Blu-ray player have a phone number that you can call for tech support?

Person:  Now you’re just gonna blow me off!?!  That’s just great!  I swear, your internet sucks so bad!

tech:  But your internet is working.  We are getting the internet to your house and it is working on your computer, which is the service you are paying us for.  The fact that you can’t get your Blu-ray player to work seems like it may be more of an issue for the manufacturer of…

Person:  “I can’t get”… seriously, “I can’t get”!  Whose internet is this anyway?

tech:  Well… uh… it’s yours… isn’t it?  I mean, we provide it to you but…

Person:  It’s your stupid internet, and you can have it!  I want you to cancel my service!

tech:  Great!  So when can we deinstall the equipment?

Person:  … slow down, there, Speed Racer.  I don’t understand why you can’t just send someone out here to hook this stupid thing up?

tech:  For $45, we can.  The company that actually made money on the sale of the Blu-ray player… the company you actually paid for the device… is going to charge you to hook the player up for you.  I don’t understand why you are getting upset with me… a representative of your internet provider… and your internet is working… when you should be complaining to the company you bought the Blu-ray player from!

Person:  … sighthat’s why I’m on the phone with you.  That’s exactly what the Blu-ray store said about my internet provider… that you should be willing to do it for free.  Doesn’t anyone know how to offer customer service any more?

tech:  …

Person:  Screw it… I’ll have the Blu-ray store do it.  They’re cheaper.

tech:  Okay, thanks for calling.  If you have any internet issues, or if the Blu-ray tech needs some phone support setting up the player, please…

click

don’t hesitate to call. 

The tech slowly places the phone’s handset in its cradle.  Immediately the phone bursts into a spasm of rings.  Old lady Keller is calling on line one needing help setting up the router the grandkids got for her, and old lady Keller is half-blind and in a wheelchair.  Mr. McHenry is calling on line two.  Mr. McHenry got a new laptop for Christmas and needs help setting up his email, and Mr. McHenry doesn’t know the difference between an email client and potato salad.  Billy Thomas is ringing through on the third line.  Little Billy is 8-years-old… and he got an X-Box for Christmas… and his parents think it will be cute for him to call tech support and set-up his X-Box all by himself.

The tech looks at the throbbing purple-blue veins in his wrist… thump…thump…thump.  A letter opener catches the corner of his eye, and he reaches for it.  Feeling the edge of the opener’s blade, he realizes that it is barely sharp enough to open an envelope; it could never open a world of peaceful bliss.  His head falls to the desk calendar before him, and he weeps…


Tagged with:
Dec 25

If you’re dreaming of a white Christmas, stay away from Nebraska!

I can remember the Christmases of my youth in Montana: Christmas days filled with sledding and snow-fort building and snowball fights and ice skating.  These are fond memories that my children will most likely only experience on the rare “Christmas visit to the extended-family in Montana.”  My boys will grow to adulthood thinking of Christmas as a time of brown grass covering the earth and patches of dead leaves that avoided the rakes of fall.  Dust and dirt, brown on brown… nothing screams “Christmas” like the colors of death and decay.  This is Christmas in Nebraska.

When most of us think of Christmas, reds and greens and whites (is there more than one?) fill our imaginations.  Red represents the blood of Christ that was spilled for our sins.  Green stands for life, the eternal life found through Christ’s sacrifice.  White is for snow; snow that covers the earth and hides all imperfections, just like Christ.  Brown is for… uh… well… there really is no “brown” in the Christmas color-scheme.  Brown is reminiscent of… crap?  Crap that life can be without Christ, I guess.  Or, maybe a donkey in the manger or something.

Southern states can boast of the green of year-round vegetation and temperate weather, and I can see how Christmas could be enjoyable down there what with the reminder of the eternal life that awaits us.  Northern states are covered in the virgin snow that reminds us of the love of God.  Central states, like Nebraska, remind us that this life can be a pile of crap and, I don’t know… maybe that we can expect donkey-rides in heaven?!?

Christmas should be all about Christ.  This time of year, we get caught up in the gift-giving and the gift-receiving and the food and the extended mid-day naps (ok… so that’s probably just me).  We all remind each other to remember the true meaning of the  Christmas, and then we head out to buy that one last present, or we run to Walmart to get that last box of Jello for the salad.

I’m gonna keep this post short, because I don’t want to complain too much on the day we set aside to remember the birth of Christ.  I’m going to try to end this post in a positive manner in tribute to the ultimate sacrifice of our savior.  As I look out the window at the brown grass and the blowing dead leaves, I shake my head and try to think positive.  It’s too cold outside to enjoy the lack of snow, but it’s not cold enough to go ice fishing or ice skating.  Brown upon brown upon brown… I guess riding a donkey would be kinda fun…

Tagged with:
Dec 24

Facebook: a wondrous social networking site that enables people to connect with, reconnect with, share with, support, and live vicariously through one another.  I have befriended people I haven’t really thought of since grade school.  I also have come to find out that, as much as people change, we all have certain aspects of our personalities that remain the same in adulthood as they were in childhood… especially our senses of humor.  Facebook can be a great thing.

Facebook can also suck.  Facebook is a world unto itself.  We manage relationships on Facebook differently than we handle real, live relationships in the non-Internet world.  Sometimes, however, the line between on-line relationships and off-line relationships is blurred.  I like to think of myself as the kind of guy who doesn’t really care what the vast majority of people think of him.  I like to think that I really don’t care if I piss someone off.  I like to think… not often, but sometimes…

I am trying to come to terms with unfriending on Facebook.  It’s kind of funny, I don’t believe “unfriending” was even a word until online social networks came into existence. … and it sounds so harsh.  UNFRIEND! This is the ending of a relationship.  This is making a proclamation that the person you are unfriending is no longer someone you want to stay connected with in the online world.

Have I ever unfriended someone?  Well, to be honest, I have.  I went through a phase where I was adding friends left and right.  I was friending friends’ friends, I was friending people I barely knew, and I was friending people I didn’t have the foggiest about except they played the same games I used to play on Facebook (Mafia Wars, Vampire Wars, etc.)  My friend-adding rampage was back when I was first getting this blog started.  I figured the more “friends” that I had, the more people who would click the occasional link to this blog that I shared on Facebook… and the more people that I could share my wickedly funny sense of humor with… or something.  And then I started to realize that people who don’t actually know me might not get my sense of humor.  I tend to be slightly sarcastic and, maybe, a little cynical.  Not everyone can relate.  One of the cool things about my friend-requesting rampage is that I found some people that I barely know in “real life”, or that I really don’t know at all, who have some remarkable things to say from time to time, or are just kind of fun to keep up with (the whole “living vicariously” thing).  I have found people who “get” my sense of humor, make smart-assy comments back to me, and make some pretty smart-assy posts of their own!  These people are all still my Facebook friends.  A few months after my rampage, I started going through all of these new friends that had accepted me for whatever reason.  I started to to feel kind of stupid for having so many friends who I knew absolutely nothing about.  The dude in England who was an excellent vampire in Vampire Wars really didn’t probably care that I was ready to turn 40… and probably never clicked on my links… plus he was taking up a ton of my homepage with all of his vampire-ish accomplishments.  This was the point where I went through a lot of unfriending.  I removed everyone who was just a gaming friend, and I removed everyone who I thought might be annoyed by my posts, comments, or shared links.  And then the guilt set in: the guilt that maybe some of those people that I unfriended actually liked being my Facebook friend… that even though I never heard from them in comments or relevant posts, they will miss me and feel slighted that I had unfriended them.  I felt bad… and, at times, I still do.

I still have way too many friends on Facebook.  There are still some who I have no contact with who are pretty much just taking up space in my list of friends.  But I figure, “Hey, if they want out, they can bail.”  Whether I lose those “friends” on a regular basis or not, I don’t know because I really don’t miss them when they’re gone.

What gets me is the people I know, who I actually personally know, who I have been Facebook friends with (and I assumed at least “acquaintances” with offline), who I don’t believe I have ever said anything to personally offend… who all of a sudden show up in my “people you may know” list, and Facebook points out that I can “Add as friend” these people who were … I thought… already friends (at least they didn’t completely block me, I guess).

“Hey, wait a second… we already were friends.  What happened?”  And of course, the first thing to go through my head is, “What did I do… and I’m sorry?!?”  I have no clue what I did to drive this friend away, but something happened to our online relationship that led them to horrifyingly unfriend me.  The kicker is, how do you overcome the unfriending on Facebook when you see this person face-to-face in real life again?  They made a statement that they want nothing to do with your jokey-little-ass on Facebook (where they can actually block you from certain aspects of your Facebook presence and theirs and still keep the friendly relationship), so why in the world would they actually want to even share the same breathing space with you in person?  I can’t imagine that they would.  It’s like a real human relationship has been decided by the click of one little link on Facebook: “Remove from friends”.

What’s funny is, in the real world, you may lose a friendship, but you usually know why it ended.  No one is going to come up to you in person and say, “I’m removing you from my friends… please have nothing to do with me ever again,” without you having a question or two.  Online, it just seems kind of creepy to send a message to someone who recently unfriended you, “Hey, what happened… why’d you drop me?”

For me, I just try to think that maybe they accidentally hit the “Remove from friends” link.  I could message them (or ask them in person) why for with the unfriending hostility… and if it was a mistake, they can say, “Oh, man, I didn’t mean to unfriend you… I’ll send you another invite and we can be friends again!”   Of course, I think I’d rather just suspect that the removal was an accident on their part and… someday… they will notice the mistake and request my friendship again.  We all know better, but I gotta do what I can for my self-esteem 😉

I know that being a smart-ass and a cynic and depressingly funny at times can turn people off.  When I started this blog, I knew a few (or many more) people would be turned-off by what I was going to write.  I didn’t set out to make friends with my happy-stinking-joy attitude.  I guess my attitude here spills over onto my Facebook account from time to time (or, all the time).

With a blog, if people disagree with you, or think you’re a jerk, or wish you would get run over by a steamroller, they can leave a comment or send you an email telling you what an ass you are.  They usually just don’t go to your blog again.

With Facebook, if people disagree with you, or think you’re a jerk, or wish you would get run over by a steamroller, they can also leave a comment or send you a message telling you what an ass you are.  Because Facebook is a little more personal than a blog, for some people, unfriending must be a little less sloppy way to say they’ve had enough :)

Getting unfriended on Facebook is something I just need to do a better job of coming to terms with… but it makes me want to write in my online outlets how I really feel sometimes.  Oh yeah… that’s right… I’ve been doing a PG-13 version of the Happy Stinking Joy of life, while a R (or maybe even NC-17) version would help me feel like I’m getting more off my chest.  I’m gonna keep it at PG-13, however… ’cause I can’t stand losing those stinking Facebook friends…

Tagged with:
Dec 18

We had to replace our dryer.  Our old dryer just pooped-out.  She had been in a state of deteriorating health for quite some time, but we have put up with her “quirks” because… well… she was our dryer.  When the wife and I were married over 16 years ago, one of the first major purchases we made was a washer and dryer.

I can remember shopping for her (the dryer… not the wife… although I vaguely remember that as well).  We went to every place in town, trying to get a good deal.  We looked at all sorts of off-name brands, but we ended up going with Kenmore from Sears.  I don’t remember the exact reasoning behind why we purchased this particular brand, but I know I have felt confident that we made the right choice.  I have never looked at our washer and dryer and thought, ‘We made a mistake by going cheap.’  We considered buying our washer at one store and our dryer at another.  “Matching appliances” that were to end up in the basement or the laundry room or the spare bedroom were never a big concern for us.  However, the particular washer and dryer that we purchased in our first year of marriage just… well… they just seemed to go together, kind of like a newly-wed couple.
.
.
.

Happy Washer

Happy Dryer
.
.
.

Mr. Washer and Mrs. Dryer have been with the wife and me through thick and thin.  Whether they were cleaning the bedding and lingerie of a newly-wed couple, sitting in storage while the wife and I hopped apartments in Denver, cleaning the tiny clothes of our firstborn, cleaning dog hair off of everything after we received our family’s first dog, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born, cleaning up the spit-up of our second-born (oh, the joys of a RSV-prone and mucous-filled child), or preparing the daily garb of a laundry-producing family of four people and one dog in present day; Mr. Washer and Mrs. Dryer have always tried to be good to us.  I have spent many a late night sitting downstairs watching T.V. or pecking on the computer, while Mr. Washer scrubs the whites and Mrs. Dryer fluffs the darks.

Listening to the two of them in harmony could be quite … err… interesting?!?  While Mr. Washer went into spin cycle and Mrs. Dryer tumbled her load round-and-round, there unison motions often caught my attention.  Mr. Washer would spin, slowly at first, and then faster and faster, shaking the stillness of the basement with his urgency.  Mrs. Dryer kept the same unison pace throughout, yet I sensed that they were working toward a common goal.  Finally, Mr. Washer, at a frenzied speed in search of some extraordinary outcome… stopped spinning.  I could tell he was spent.  Mrs. Dryer usually continued on, searching for her own “mission complete” banner.  Every once in awhile, the two of them would reach their goal at the same time: Mr. Washer’s final spin cycle quickly grinding to a halt as Mrs. Dryer’s buzzing high-pitched alarm screamed that her load was complete.  It was kind of exotic and erotic, in a very blue-collar and… uh…  pervy kind of way… probably like the erotic encounters of most married couples :)

Mr. Washer started having issues a little over a year ago.  He really wobbled when he went into the spin cycle, and we knew that something was wrong.  Finally, he just gave out.  Every time I tried to start a new load, he would just hum.  I tried my best to get him working on my own… which, with my mechanical expertise, resulted in several swift kicks to his nether-regions.
.
.
.
Sick Washer
.
.
.
Mrs. Washer did not seem to approve.
.
.
.
Mad Dryer
.
.
.

Nothing I did (i.e. no matter how hard I kicked) worked.  We finally called an appliance repairman.  Like $50 later, some doohickey was replaced and Mr. Washer has been working like a champ ever since!
.
.
.
Happy Washer
.
.
.

Mrs. Dryer has been in a state of decline ever since we moved into our new house over two years ago.  It seems her heating element has been going out… or something.  It used to be that we could throw a wet load into her and, within a multitude of mere minutes, she would have it dry.  Recently, it would take a second, and sometimes third, cycle to actually remove all moisture from a load of clothes.  Apparently, she had come down with something… something terminal.  Finally, a few nights ago, she wouldn’t work at all.  I threw a load of wet mass into her, closed her door, pushed the “start” button, and… nothing.
.
.
.
Sick Dryer
.
.
.

Crap!

I figured, initially, that this was something I could fix… given my exemplary track-record with fixing major appliances and all.  I gave her several swift kicks.  Although the kicks did nothing to spur her into action, I did seem to notice several sever looks-of-reproach from Mr. Washer.
.
.
.
Mad Washer
.
.
.

Ignoring the ire of her spouse, I decided to perform a little surgery.

I think I’ve already mentioned this, but my mechanical skills are a little lacking.  I blame my lack of ability on the fact that I don’t have the proper tools.  Convincing the wife that I needed to add to my haphazard tool collection, I headed to… Walmart… and bought a multimeter.  Armed with the necessary tool to assess Mrs. Washer’s condition, I started the procedure.

First, I tested the actual outlet she plugged into.  As the multimeter’s needle sprung to action with the insertion of the red thingie and the black thingie into  the slots that we are taught from early childhood not to stick anything into, my heart raced.  I realized that between my fingers raced enough electricity to kill the average mortal.  Feeling slightly immortal through my discovery, I proceeded to the removing-of-the-screws on the back of Mrs. Dryer.  Leaving the appliance plugged in, I proceeded to test this and that… not knowing exactly what I was testing, but feeling exilerated that I was playing with something with which I shouldn’t.  Not finding a clue as to the current condition plaguing Mrs. Washer, I unplugged her, turned the multimeter device to the “ohm” setting, and continued with my examination.

The ohm setting apparently tests the connection through different electrical components of a system without the necessity of outside electricity… or something.  The multimeter’s AA battery provides everything one needs.  All of a sudden, I’m not a general surgeon… I’m a “specialist”, as I test this component and that.  I become increasingly disheartened as my search proves more and more futile.  The wife recommends that we just purchase a new dryer.  I remind the wife that Mr. Washer was fixed for next-to-nothing and recommend that we try the same with Mrs. Dryer.  The wife points out that the average appliance lasts about 15 years, Mrs. Dryer is over said 15 years, and that we could really use a dryer with a little more capacity to dry our increasing quantity of clothes and linen-type-stuff as our boys grow.  Feeling like I had let Mrs. Dryer (and Mr. Washer as well) down, I somberly agree.  Mrs. Washer has fulfilled her purpose and her time had past…
.
.
.
Dryer... Done
.
.
.

Mr. Dryer was devastated…
.
.
.
Sad Washer
.
.
.

After quick visits to all of the major local appliance places, we settle on a nice Maytag that Home Depot was offering at clearance prices.  We brought her home, plugged her in, and tried her out.  She works great.  She gets hotter than Mrs. Dryer ever did.  The new dryer is sleek, shiny, and has great capacity.  We like her a lot. She may have been “cheap”, but you could never tell that from her appearance!
.
.
.
Hot, young Dryer
.
.
.

Okay, maybe her appearance screams “cheap”… but only in the softest of screams.

At first, I was afraid that Mr. Washer would hold some contempt towards our newest appliance.  However, I think he’s coming around :)
.
.
.
JOYOUS Washer
.
.
.
In fact, this is the happiest I have seen Mr. Washer in a long time. His spin cycle seems to be a little faster and he cleans better than he has in years… and I can’t quite seem to figure out why…
.
.
.
uh... unfit couple?
.
.
.
Appliances… go figure?

Tagged with:
Dec 09

In my last post, I kind of painted Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman as a dolt.  Let me rephrase that: Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman kind of painted himself as a dolt and I wrote about it.  I really didn’t have anything positive to say about good ol’ Dave.  After thinking about it, I decided that he did deserve a couple of props, so I am going to right that wrong right now!

Governor Dave made a lot of fun of The Star-Herald !  I like making fun of The Star-Herald myself, so I enjoyed Dave’s ribbing of our “local” paper!  However, Dave made a comment about The Star-Herald not being like The Omaha World-Herald, and I kind of tend to disagree.  The Star-Herald is owned by The  Omaha World-Herald and is a lot like its parent paper.  I want to emphasize that The Star-Herald has a local staff of reporters, marketers, and support personnel who are, for the most part, good, hard-working people who do a bang-up job!  However, just because you are owned by an Omaha company does not mean that you can charge Omaha prices.  Also, The Star-Herald does not seem to have a local paper “feel”… and I can’t quantify what I mean by that, it’s just the way it is.  So bravo, Governor Dave, for making fun of The Star-Herald !

Second props go to Governor Dave for his honoring of Western Nebraska Community College’s Lady Cougar volleyball team for bringing home a national championship at the NJCAA level!  Dave proclaimed December 3, 2010 as “Cougar Volleyball Day”.
*
*
*
*
WNCC Cougar Volleyball,National Champions,NJCAA
*
*
*
*

It’s pretty cool when little podunk Scottsbluff can claim a national anything, let alone a championship.  WNCC has a great athletics program, and I don’t think we local residents appreciate our student athletes as much as we could.  Great job, Cougar volleyballers… we are proud of you!

It would have been cool to see a little higher-profile coverage given to our local national champs in our local newspaper, but I think the Huskers played that weekend…

Tagged with:
Dec 06

This past Friday, I had the honor and the privilege of attending Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman’s Pre-legislative breakfast at the wonderful Gering Civic Center… or something.  I was excited that my boss asked me to go, ’cause I figured I could get some good crap for my blog there, and I did.

Dave Heineman is the Republican governor of Nebraska (because Nebraska is ruled by Republicans who vote for Republicans no matter what that Republican really stands for).  I am registered as a Republican, but I consider myself more of a So-Stinking-Fed-Up-With-Politics-That-My-Head-Is-Ready-To-Explode-ian” (wish that party existed).  Governor Dave has made all kinds of promises to the people (i.e. voters) of western Nebraska and has followed through on so few of them, that I figured this little morning affair would be entertaining.  I wasn’t overly disappointed… well, except for the food.

It cost $15 for a member of the Scottsbluff/Gering Chamber of Commerce members to attend this event (more if not a member).  The food was provided by The Meat Shoppe.  The Meat Shoppe provides all food to all events held at the Gering Civic Center… it’s like part of some contract or something.  Many people hold things like wedding receptions and anniversary parties in this location… and if you want food, The Meat Shoppe has to provide it.  Needless to say, food from The Meat Shoppe usually isn’t overly spectacular, and Governor Heineman’s event was no exception.  Bland scrambled eggs, generic waffles, very greasy sausage patties, and even greasier hash browns were the only food available, and not a bottle of ketchup nor Tabasco were anywhere to be seen.

I recently attended a soiree (see how fancy I’m getting… “affair”… “soiree”… living the high life here in Craphole, Nebraska) for Miss Nebraska that was at the Gering Civic Center.  Of course, the food was provided by The Meat Shoppe.  Dinner consisted of semi-barbecued crap (chicken and beef), a potato casserole… or something like that (very elegant?!?), coleslaw (best thing they served), and a basket of rolls on each table.  Well, our table had 10 people (which almost every table held), and there were 10 rolls in each basket.  I like rolls.  I usually have 2 or 3 rolls with any meal I eat.  One of the rolls from our basket was dropped on the floor, so there was one person at our table who was roll-less.  When one of the table-picker-uppers came by (’cause there are no wait-people with The Meat Shoppe… just people who keep asking you if you are done yet), I asked if, perhaps, we could get some more rolls, because one had dropped to the floor.  I wanted more, and I know that others did as well… plus there was the one dude who didn’t even get one.  The table-picker-upper said, “I’ll check,” and she disappeared.  She came back about 5 minutes later and asked, rather snottily, “So, who is it that needs a roll?”  Well, no one (including myself) had the balls to say “ME” (including the dude who didn’t get one because one fell to the floor),  so the table-picker-upper kind of looked at me like I was a problem-child because I had made the request, and she stormed off… and we were roll-less for the rest of the evening.  Seriously, how flipping expensive can those stinking rolls be that you can’t bring out another stinking basket?

My oldest son isn’t a huge barbecue fan, but we talked him into attending this event because we thought it would be… informative or something.  The poor kid is starving and was really looking forward to another roll, from which we were banned.  The wife looks at the boy and says, “Hold onto your fork and spoon for dessert.”  At least he has dessert to look forward to, right?  Well, about 5 minutes after refusing to bring us another basket of rolls, the wench from The Meat Shoppe says to the boy, “Are you done with that,” pointing to his plate?  He nods.  And then she adds, “Go ahead and give me your silverware, too, ’cause there ain’t any dessert or anything.”  The boy didn’t weep openly or anything, but I could tell he wanted to.  “We’ll pick up something from McDonald’s on our way home,” I reassured him… but we didn’t.  Stupid Meat Shoppe.  No customer service (at least if you are not the one paying the final bill) and crappy food.  I’m sure they were offering a discounted rate or something, because the whole night was a fundraiser for Miss Nebraska to go to the Miss USA thingie in Las Vegas, so I have a feeling that The Meat Shoppe was pitching in (at least they better have been), but come on… if you’re gonna give… GIVE a little dessert.  The Meat Shoppe: something to avoid in the Craphandle of Nebraska!

Well… I guess I kind of got sidetracked there, didn’t I?  The Meat Shoppe, as you can probably tell, isn’t my favorite and is well deserving of the  three-paragraph tirade I afforded it… but it’s my blog, so if you don’t like it, leave.  Or stay, because I get back to Governor Heineman here shortly.

Back to Governor Heineman (see, I told you it would be shortly :) ).  After the crowd at the Gering Civic Center had forced down the greasy goop that was passed-off as breakfast, Governor Dave got up and gave a little “state of the state” address.  I’m going to be doing some quotes from the Governor, and I just want to be all upfront with the fact that the quotes aren’t really “quotes” but more of a paraphrasing/making-stuff-up kind of thing…  you know, just trying to give you my biased “gist” of what Dave was trying to say.  It’s not like I was taking notes or anything, and this was days ago.  After all, I write a little blog… it’s not like I’m a journalist or anything.  His speech was all kitty cats and butterflies.

“Nebraska has a 4% unemployment rate… one of the best in the nation.”

“Nebraska has, in a few short years, moved from 45th best to 29th best in attractiveness of taxes charged to businesses… making us a lot more attractive to businesses than we used to be.”

“Everything I do is AWESOME and, even though I am much shorter in person than I’m sure you would suspect, I am the best governor this state has ever had… blah blah blah blah…”

… you get the picture.

So, after the little pep talk about how great things are for the state of Nebraska since good old Dave has been governor, he asks the audience if there are any questions.  About a bazillion hands flew up.  And Dave took each and every question from every person who wanted to ask a question.  You notice that I stated he “took” every question, because, to be 100% honest, I don’t think he actually answered any of the questions posed to him.

voter: “Mr. Governor, the Heartland Expressway is a priority to the people in the panhandle.  Once completed, it will link Rapid City to Denver with our community being right in the middle of all of that trade and traffic.  When campaigning before the election, you said you would make completion of this project a priority, but there seems to be little if any progress.  What are you doing about the Heartland Expressway?”

Governor Dave:  “The Heartland Expressway is a priority of mine.  I am committed to seeing it come to fruition.  Next question?”

another voter: “Yeah, uh, Governor, we are seeing an exodus of people leaving our rural communities.  Many of these people are young people who leave to attend college and never come back.  The more urban portions of the state are seeing growth while our rural communities are drying up and blowing away.  More quality business and quality jobs in our rural communities could help retain our most precious resource: our people.  What, if anything, are you doing to help slow or stop this population migration?”

Governor Dave:  “Hell, I wouldn’t want to live out here in the sticks, why would our youth be any different?  Ya’ll are a bunch of nincompoops for wanting to live out in this desolate wasteland in the first place”… wait a second… that isn’t what Governor Dave said… that’s what I was thinking… sorry :)

Governor Dave:  “My responsibility as governor is to see to it that the state doesn’t lose population, which it’s not.  The fact that the urban areas are seeing growth and rural areas are seeing decline means that urban areas are doing something right… and you’re not.  Next question?”

Yet another voter from western Nebraska:  “Yes, Governor, wind energy is going to play a major part of our country’s energy supply in the near future.  Wind farms are booming in Colorado and Wyoming, and wind is one of the few things western Nebraska has an abundance of.  Why are we not seeing wind energy development in our area?  Like with ethanol production, are tax incentives being offered to get wind energy off the ground in Nebraska?”

Governor Dave:  “Wind energy is good, but, you know, the wind always blows when you don’t want it to, and it doesn’t blow when you need it to.  Hahaha!  Wind energy has a future in western Nebraska.  Next question?”

…and on and on and on…

… seriously…

The only thing I learned from my attendance at the Pre-legislative breakfast with Governor Dave Heineman is this: I could be governor!

I think that wind energy is good!

I can tell people who voted for me that their problems aren’t my responsibility!

I can say that the Heartland Expressway is a priority of mine !

Man, at times I doubt I have any real worth to society.  Little did I realize… I apparently have every skill necessary to be governor of the great state of Nebraska!

Tagged with:
Dec 04

My wife has this crazy ritual of getting up well before the butt-crack of dawn on the Friday after Thanksgiving and, with her sister, heading out to various retail locations to fight mobs of people for a very limited amount of sale items. I love my wife, and I know she is muy inteligente almost all of the time… but this yearly ritual makes me doubt her sanity.  In fact, she and her sister sit down after Thanksgiving dinner and draw out a game plan (war plan?) for the following day’s shopping blitz.   They almost always gets what they were shopping for, and they always have interesting stories to relay to the men-folk (who are usually just crawling out of bed upon the return of the shoppers).

There was apparently some hot deal at Walmart that had people lined up all the way back into the laundry soap aisle.  Apparently, there was a pair of young couples who had the foresight to grab some folding chairs from  the “folding chair” aisle at Walmart, and these couples had set-up camp in the laundry soap aisle.  By “set up camp”, I mean they had their Walmart folding chairs strung across the aisle and their laps and the shelves beside them loaded with some McDonald’s fast food and other heart-healthy treats.  And, according to the wife, each couple had a baby with them, and each mother was breast-feeding her baby… right there in the laundry soap aisle… sitting on the Walmart folding chairs.

Of course, being a guy, I’m thinking to myself, “uh huh huh… breastfeeding… that’s cool.”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

Feast

The wife, sensing the smirk on my face and the glazing of my eyes says, “Remember, this was in the laundry soap aisle at Walmart.”

“So, they weren’t hot?” I ask.

“Seriously… the laundry soap aisle at Walmart… what do you think.”

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

*

...uh...feast?

After clearing the image from my head, I let the wife continue with her story.  Apparently at 5am, the Walmart people cut the shrink wrap off of the “special item” and the laundry-soap aisle cleared quickly.  The trailer trash that had set-up camp in aisle seven left as quickly as everyone else… leaving behind an aisle and shelves filled with chairs from another department (for all other shoppers to navigate around), their uneaten fast-food remnants, and a bunch of trash.  Seriously, someone needed to yell at these trashtastic couples, “Really?!?… I have to watch your ugly kids suck on your ugly wives’ knockers, and now I have to move through your filth to make it down this aisle?”  This would probably have led to the trailer trash yelling obscenities (’cause that’s what trailer trash does) and the holiday season could have started with a real bang!  The amount of disrespect that certain people seem to exude at any given opportunity is one of the reasons that I do not venture out on the morning of Black Friday.

According to the wife, the shoppers at Walmart were actually quite pleasant this year.  The real jerks seemed to be the upper class shoppers at Menards.  Apparently the upper class isn’t used to having to venture out early on a Friday morning and deal with other shoppers en masse in attempt to complete their holiday shopping in an cost-effective manner.  Thanks, crappy economy 😀  I love it when the beginning of the Christmas season brings out the worst in people… which is what it’s all supposed to be about anyway, right?  Apparently the Menards shoppers were pretty careless with their carts full of appliances and… bean bag chairs (I don’t know what marketing genius came up with the grand idea of  having a Black Friday special on some stupid 70’s relic that easily can load up a shopping cart and make it very difficult to see where one is going when one is loaded up on them, but he/she should maybe find something else to do career-wise).  A bunch of pissed-off people pushy around carts full of crap and not being able to see (nor apparently caring) where they are going… sounds like fun, huh?  Yeah, if I had been there and some inconsiderate boob had banged me with his/her cart, there would have been a tipped over cart flying down an aisle and a string of obscenities flying from my lips (’cause I’m kinda trailer trash like that 😀 )

People, in general, tend to suck.  I’m pretty sure that many of the really sucky ones come out early on Black Friday morning… so I find it’s best just to avoid it.

Tagged with:
Dec 01

I wanted to throw a special “thank you” out to Stacy, the Tainted Butterfly, for my new “holiday look”. Stacy created my original header, and she made this special holiday header for my blog without my asking and as a complete surprise. Thanks, Stacy! You rock :)

XMAS HSJ

Dec 01

I attended college at Montana State University. When I tell people that I went to MSU, they assume that I went to Michigan State, and I have to refute the idea that I would have furthered my education at any institution whose mascot looks like he belongs on the side of a box of condoms… but in hindsight, maybe Michigan would have been a better choice…

Montana has a slew of good colleges scattered across her girth, but there are two major universities: Montana State University and the University of Montana. MSU resides in Bozeman, MT and when I attended school there, the population of Bozeman almost doubled when the 10,000 college students made their way to low-rent apartments, trailer houses, and dormitories within Bozeman city limits. Missoula is home to U of M and, like Bozeman, offers a variety of winter activities to its residents. Both schools are great for anyone who likes his or her winters filled with snow and frigid temperatures. I loved going to college in Bozeman!

Of course, having two decent-sized colleges in the same state leads to a natural rivalry. Whatever the sport, these two schools and their alumni always cheer hardest when they are playing their rival… especially when it comes to football.

Now, I am sorry to write that this rivalry has a tradition of being a little one-sided. U of M has built a quality football program, while MSU has… uh… tried to not embarass themselves. Every once in a great while, however, the Bobcats of MSU hand the Grizzlies of U of M some bear butt on a platter. This year just happened to being one of those monumental years.

That’s right… oh yeah… uh huh… uh huh… the Cats beat the Griz!  Did you hear me… the CATS beat the griz :)  See, this is supposed to be how it goes.  The fan of a winning team should be able to go off, you know.  You do a little of the rubbing-in-the-face, you cheer, you shout, you degrade the other team, and then you stop.  And then the football season ends and you sit on pins and needles until next year (where in the case of the Bobcats, you will probably lose).  This is supposed to be how it goes!  But Grizzly fans don’t let it play-out this way.  Grizzly fans kind of… well… suck.

I don’t blame the Grizzly fans for sucking so much.  They aren’t used to losing; so when they lose, they don’t follow the rules.  The rules are as follows:

1 –  When your team wins a sporting competition, you have every right to make as complete of an ass of yourself as permissible by law.

2 – No matter the record nor the history of the two teams competing, the winning team has every right to ride and remain on cloud nine until such position on such cloud it removed by a defeat the following year.

3 – The losing team is allowed to cuss and swear and belittle the opposing team with temper-tantrum-style-rants.  The losing team may use any language necessary… up-to-and including threats of beating the crap out of someone, murder, rape and even bestiality (as in: “I’m gonna take your Bobcat and I’m gonna ‘something having to do with bestiality’ him until he’s screaming for me to stop (as if an actual beast could  legitimately scream out anything).  This is what Bobcat fans do, and this is what we expect of Grizzly fans.

Grizzly fans do not stick to these parameters.  Grizzly fans try to seem uncaring in their team’s defeat.  They throw out all sort of pompous “congratulations” and effacing “you deserve it” type statements, but all the while they remind you of the record between the two schools and throw how many “national championships” the Grizzlies have won in your face.  You can’t even enjoy your team’s victory because you are sooo torked-off at how the Grizzly fans are rubbing… uh… your victory… in your face?!?  Stupid Grizzly fans!

As a Bobcat fan, I have a few words to all of the Grizzly fans out there!  First of all, thank you for your congratulations and stuff… yes, we deserve it.  Second of all, I don’t care what the record is or how many times your team has steam-rolled our team… we won this year and you did not… so this year, the Grizzlies SUCK!  :)  And I’m not talking about a minor suckage.  I’m talking major suck!  Third of all, I don’t care how many “national championships” you’ve won.  I’ve tried to tell people where I live that “Montana won the nation championship”, and they say, “What?”

“Yeah, University of Montana won the national championship,” I say.

“In what sport?” person where I live asks.

“College football,” I say.

“Huh?” say the person in Nebraska where I live asks.

“Yeah, their like in the NCAA Division I-AA,” I say.

“Division what?” the Nebraska person says.

You know… Big Sky Conference and stuff,” I say.

“You mean where Boise State came from?” the Nebraska person asks.

“… uh… yeah, I guess so,” I say.

“Cool!” the Nebraska person says.  “Who did they beat in the championship?”

“Well, I think in the last national championship, they beat Fargo,” I say.

“Like… Fargo State?” the Nebraska person asks.

“…uh… well… no.  It was like the Fargo College of Mines and Cosmetology,” I whisper.

“… national champions, huh?” the Nebraska person asks.

‘That’s what they tell me,” I say, but am quick to mention, “but the Bobcats of Montana State kicked their ass this year!”  And I smile from ear to ear.

“Good for you, Special Ed, “says the Nebraska fan… I don’t know why they always call me ‘Special Ed’ whenever I bring up Montana sports… I think they may be talking down to me… much like the stinking Grizzly fans :(  Whatever!

So, to anyone and everyone who happens to read my blog in the next few days (that’s right… both of you!), please be rooting for MSU against whatever lame North Dakota team they may be playing this coming weekend!  We Bobcats need as much crap to rub in the face of those annoying Grizzly fans as possible :)

Tagged with:
preload preload preload