Archive for the ‘Rant’ Category

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The First Commandment

August 20, 2007

Our friend Alli went home to Cincinnati a few weeks back. I’ve been bugging her to get a picture of the Big Butter Jesus for a year or so and she finally decided to humor me.

Big Butter and Alli

Turns out, her parents new house is not to far away from the big guy himself. Somehow, she convinced her Mom to give her a ride (I can only imagine how that conversation went) out there to get the photo.

For the record, I don’t appreciate the Giant Jesus Statue. I spent a lot of time in church when I was younger and far too often it seemed, things like this have less to do with celebrating Christianity than they do with the ego of the person/congregation. “Look at how Holy we are!”

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Reminded again that Pearl Jam was right

April 3, 2007

Last night I went online to buy tickets for a Mariners game. I bought twelve tickets and got dinged for a $3.25 service charge per ticket. Then on top of that was an additional overall order processing charge of $3.32. To complicate things even more, I realized I had miscounted the number of people going. I was two tickets short. So I called today and got two more tickets (and got hit with 2 more service charges and another processing fee. Son-of-a….) from an admittedly nice, efficient agent. Hopefully they pay well.

After he found me two more seats right next to the twelve I’d bought the night before, he asked me how I wanted them shipped. He then began listing off the various shipping rates. I politely interrupted him and said standard mail was fine, as I knew it was free.

“No problem,” he said. “Though are you sure you don’t want me to just email them to you and you can print them yourself? It’s only $2.00.”

Argghh. Shipping is free but email is $2.00. I use my paper and my printer and you save on raw materials, printing and shipping costs and you not only don’t pass on the break, you profit from it.

Screw you. I’ll go to another ticketbroker.

Oh yeah. I can’t.

On the upside, we’re going to have a blast at the game.

Total Ticketmaster Fees: $52.14

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520

March 20, 2007

I have stared down the maw of the demon and I know who he is.

The 520 Bridge.

My new job is over in Kirkland. It’s a little over 8 miles to the east. Eight miles and two lanes of pure despair.

On a good day, it’s one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Ten minutes from Seattle to the Eastside. To the south, Mt Rainer with Mt Baker to the north. The Cascade Mountains are to the east and to the west, the city of Seattle rising above Capitol Hill, framed by the Olympic Mountains.

On a bad day it’s a grey, wet, congested disaster. Forty-five minutes across each way and thats if you’re lucky. Throw in an accident or a ball game and you’re looking at 75 minutes. If things are really going your way, they’ll close it due to weather and you’re looking at three or four hours around the lake.

Add in the cheaters in the car pool lane and you have an explosive combination that would turn the most relaxed of drivers into Mad Max. You’ve got backed up on-ramps merging across car poll lanes into backed-up traffic all merging together on the two lanes going over the bridge. It’s a beauty.

Of course, I could just ride the bus……

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Disturbance at Tacquerias Guaymus

March 4, 2007

Last night, Michele, Manny and I drove down to Fremont for dinner. We went to one of my favorite Mexican restaurants, Taqueria Guaymas.

We were enjoying our dinner when this guy came into the restaurant, walked up to our table and asked us for some spare change. Shocked, the three of us all shook our heads and mumbled, ‘No’. He moved on, stopping at each table, hitting everyone up for some cash.

He was a white guy, maybe forty years old . If I’d seen him on the street, I probably would not have thought him homeless but that may have more to do with the overall fashion sense in Seattle than it did his look. Weirdly enough, he had a really nice black leather jacket.

All of us eating in the restaurant stared back and forth at one another as the guy walked over to a table that hadn’t been cleaned off yet. He gathered up the leftover food, went over to another table, sat down and started eating. He must have forgotten the Salsa for ‘his’ chips because a second later he went back to the table and started inspecting the Salsa dishes.

Everyone in the place (with the exception of the oblivious staff) stared as he leaned over the table and pawed through the dishes. That’s when his pants fell down. Yep, right there in the middle of el restaurante. He shot everyone in the place a great big Luna.

He didn’t even seem phased. He grabbed his pants, pulled them back up and continued his quest for Salsa. Finding nothing, he stunned us all with one more trick. He actually went over to the Salsa bar and filled up a couple of bowls with various Salsa, calmly walked back over to his table and continued his meal. He finished, made one more quick round of panhandling anyone he may have missed the first time and walked out the door.

I’m usually able to ignore the Seattle weirdness for the most part but this was too much. I completely lost my appetite, wasting a delicious plate of Chile Verde. Manny on the other hand, was facing the other way and missed everything but the initial round of begging. He was able to sit there and eat his Tamales, unaware of the drama unfolding behind him. It wasn’t until we got home that he heard the whole story.

I’ve only been in Seattle for five years so I don’t have a lot of historical perspective but it seems to me that the homeless problem has gotten worse over the past year or so. There are people asking for money everywhere. It’s to the point where some of my coworkers walk several blocks out of their way, to and from work, to avoid some of the worse areas.

Has anyone else in Seattle noticed this? What about other cities? What are the solutions? I support one of the local Missions because I know that my money will go for food and shelter instead of meth and alcohol but I don’t know how successful they are at getting people off of the streets.

I certainly don’t know the answer.

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Captivate Network

February 13, 2007

Last year, TVs suddenly appeared in the elevators in our office building. They broadcast a weird mix of advertising and news lite complete with sports scores and Billboard charts. They run on 60 – 90 minute loop and don’t have any video, just a bunch of text messages.

I hate them. They throw cool facts at me like, “Happy Birthday to Bronson Pinchot“. Really. Bronson Pinchot. The guy from Perfect Strangers. Or maybe you remember him from his brilliant portrayal of Serge in Beverly Hills Cop. Either way, Bronson Pinchot?

Just for fun, I googled other May 20 birthdays. They could have went with Cher, Jimmy Stewart or Joe Cocker. Or maybe a Sports guy, Tony Stewart? How about Dave Thomas the Wendys guy? Even Moshe Dayan, a noted founder of modern Israel. Or the other end of the spectrum. Gilda Radner passed away on May 20th. So did Christopher Columbus.

Better yet, what about other May 20 events?

The First Council of Nicea? North Carolina secedes from the Union? Levi Strauss patents Blue Jeans (with rivets).

No. They decide to go with Bronson Pinchot. The only thing better would have been the fictional birthday of Capt. Kathryn Janeway (born in Bloomington, Indiana in 2332) .

And no, I can’t just ignore the damn thing. I’m a guy. When I see a television, my head automatically swivels to look at it. It’s primal.

But honestly, my hatred lies deeper than the stupid Bronson Pinchot facts. It lies in the ubiquitous onslaught of advertisements. I bet I pass 100 different advertisements on my way to work and now, I can’t even get away from them on the elevator. To make it even worse, the TVs on the elevator are part of the Captivate Network. It’s like they’re taunting me with their very name.

“Ha, Screw you worker bee. Not only do you have to look at me now, I will be waiting here for you everytime you leave the building. You cannot escape. You are my captive.”

Screw ’em. I’ll take the stairs.

OK, probably not. I would, but I’m afraid I might miss the latest Anna Nicole Smith update.

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Junk Mail

February 10, 2007

About six months ago, US Airways sent me a letter telling me that my frequent flier miles were getting ready to expire. But, they offered to let me use my miles to purchase magazine subscriptions.

I had a couple of thousand miles. Not nearly enough for a flight but enough for plenty of magazine subscriptions. I was wary because I know from experience that magazines tend to pile up if you don’t make a concentrated effort to take time to read them. But, I figured I could always give them to Michele and she could take them to work and leave them in the waiting room.

So I sat down with the list of magazines they were offering. There were only a few that looked that interesting. My first pick was six months of the London Financial Times. It cost over three times as many miles as any of the other selections but since a normal subscription is $99 a year, it was well worth it. Next I checked off Wired, ESPN the Magazine, Business Week, and Newsweek. I hesitated before choosing Travel and Leisure as I was afraid it would be nothing but a bunch of glossy ads and overpriced vacations (I was right) but with nothing to lose, I went ahead and got it. I was still only 1/2 way through my points and I’d found everything on the list I wanted. Michele looked over the list and found one magazine, Jane. With miles to burn, I went ahead and got a couple of magazines for Michele’s waiting room, Parenting and Working Mother.

Within six weeks the magazines started piling in. Along with the magazines came another exciting gift. Junk mail! Tons and tons of junk mail. My name had been sold to mailing lists everywhere. Mailing lists that think I am a wealthy, technology loving, world traveling, sports loving new Mom. Everyone from the Wall Street Journal to the Disney corporation has come a-calling. It’s like someone stuck a faucet of junk mail into our mail slot.

Here is a little over two weeks of mail.

junkmail.jpg

I never got the Financial Times and I have no idea who to call to complain to. And out of all the magazines I ordered, the only one I will renew is Wired.

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Smoking

January 16, 2007

In today’s Seattle Times, there’s an article about apartment dwellers who want their buildings to go completely non-smoking. It’s already illegal to smoke in the common areas and hallways, now they want to prohibit people from smoking in their own apartments.

This is hot on the heels of a law that passed last year that says people cannot smoke in work settings or public places. This was a citizen initiative that passed by a considerable margin.

I’m not a smoker. I’ve never really been one except for a random 6 – 8 weeks in college. I can’t stand the smell or the dizzy feeling I get when I smoke.

I also realize that smoking is terrible unhealthy. It can cause serious health problems to both the smoker and the people around them.

However, almost all of of the complaints I heard from people when discussing the afore-mentioned smoking ban was that they hated smelling like smoke when they opened their bleary eyes the next morning.

Who do these people think they are? If you don’t want to smell like a human cigarette, stay out of the damn bar. There were many bars and nightclubs in Seattle that didn’t allow smoking before the ban. If you wanted to damage your liver by getting drunk, then endanger everyone’s lives around while you drove home drunk to have unsafe sex with some random person you just picked up, you would have no trouble finding a smoke-free location that would offer you what you wanted. Stay out of my business and let me and my smoking friends go find a nice, stale, musty place to throw back a couple of beers. Leave the Nanny-state to the Socialists.

(Hat tip to comedian Auggie Smith)