Monday, August 30, 2010

Another Day, Another Fortune Cookie

So, I had Panda Express for lunch today (FYI - they are still not serving Panda and have not yet changed their name; sorry to all of you that are waiting for one of those two things to happen).

My fortune today?
I don't even know what that means.

First of all, I have a hard time with a star of anything shining on me. Stars hardly are bright enough (well, I guess they are bright enough - technically - but not close enough) to shine on anyone... I guess they can twinkle on me (And to anyone who is going to say, "The sun is a star... It shines on you." I say, "Admit it, when someone says 'star', you don't think of the sun; you think of twinkly lights at night").

Second, if a star is twinkling on me, it is twinkling on everyone else as well.

Finally, stars can only be seen at night - when I am asleep - so I don't feel like the star of happiness is doing me much good.

In other news, I am a happy person. Star or not.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Airport Stories

A Lack of Trust
Some time ago I was going through security at the airport and I noticed a man wearing a belt and suspenders, which I found interesting for 2 reasons:
  1. That has to be a pain going through security. I do everything I can to minimize any hassles when being herded though security - slip-on shoes; put my keys and wallet in my bag; etc. I can't imagine having to take off suspenders and a belt.
  2. I have never seen that before. I have heard the saying "A belt-and-suspenders-solution", but I have never actually seen someone wear a belt and suspenders.
This made me think about the phrase "A belt-and-suspenders-solution". Normally this refers to doing more than is necessary to get a job done. But is that really what it should mean? I say no; after seeing it in practice, I have to say that I think belt-and-suspenders people have trust issues. They don't trust the belt to hold their pants up and they don't trust their suspenders to not give them a wedgie. Talk about issues.

Examples of the true belt-and-suspenders solution:
  • Washing your hands for 30 seconds with soap and immediately applying hand sanitizer - just in case the soap was actually bacterial hand-soap.
  • Having spies to spy on your spies.
  • Having a retina and fingerprint scanner protecting anything (this is also a sign that you have too much money).
You see a lack of style, I see a lack of trust.

How does the saying go? "Power corrupts; And a need for power makes people act like fools"?

Okay, that's not it... but maybe it should be.

The power I speak of is electricity to run personal electronics. Check this out:

That is a picture of a woman sitting in the middle of a corridor at the Baltimore Airport. And the picture doesn't even do justice to how much she was in the middle of the walkway (I hardly felt comfortable with the chance of her seeing me take the picture it I got closer). Why is she sitting there? Because for some reason the airport has an outlet in the middle of the floor and her iPhone needed to be charged.

I have been in her shoes before: a dead battery and no outlet. It is often hard to find an outlet at an airport - these buildings were built before all of our mobile devices required constant charging. 15 years ago there wasn't all that much that you took with you to the airport that needed an outlet. I know I've sat in strange places to charge a computer or iPhone, but right in the middle of everything... that is pushing it.

However, the bigger issue is what it says about the value we place on our electronics. My guess is there is not much that people - this woman included - would sit on the filthy ground for in the middle of a busy airport for. Most people's pride wouldn't let them do it. But apparently when it comes to staying connected, pride goes out the window. I have even seen people sit in the bathroom to just for access to an outlet. But then again, maybe it is not so crazy. After all, for centuries people have not been able to live if they have to spend a few hours without an iPhone, right?

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Dear Credit Card Companies,

Dear American Express,

I appreciate your recent letter informing me that I have the chance to win $1,000,000.00. Trust me, I would LOVE to win. However, I can't help but feel like this is a scam to force a magazine subscription upon me. Which brings me to the point of this letter: I am already an American Express cardholder, why must you inundate me with junk mail?

Credit card companies grace my mailbox with junk mail far more than any other industry. I get more offers from credit card companies than I can shake a stick at, but it is a bit disheartening to be getting such offers from you since I already have a card.

I expect these things from Chase or Discover because I don't use their cards, but from you? Too far... too far.

Please reconsider your use of funds and leave your customers alone. If you really have great offers that I may be interested in, you could have a special section on my account management page of your website. Then I can check it at my convenience... and maybe I would actually look at the offers rather than just shred them.


To: Chevron/Texaco Credit Card Division
Attn: Maya Pendleton

Dear Maya,

I received the following in a recent credit card offer:
Maya, I feel it may be too soon for us to be "friends". In fact, I feel like - at this point - we may actually be frienemies at best. On the one hand, you are probably a nice person and just doing your job, but on the other had, you sent me junk mail.

In any case, frankly, I'm puzzled that you're puzzled that I would say "no" to this offer. Really? You are puzzled? Because you gave me no compelling reason to say "yes". Consumer debt is a serious problem in America, why would I want another means of accruing such debt. Do I get points? Does a percentage of my purchases go to fund orphanages in a 3rd world country? What is the benefit to getting this card?

Also, why did you start assuming that I would say "no"? Why not start with the assumption that I would at least consider saying "yes"? Wouldn't this be better:
Dear You,

I am grateful that you are considering accepting this fantastic offer. You will not be disappointed.

You have nothing* to lose! Not only are you already pre-qualified, but there is no annual fee and you can use your Chevron and Texaco Credit Card at more than 8,000 participating Chevron and Texaco locations across the U.S.

More importantly, each time you use your Chevron and Texaco Credit Card at select locations**, Chevron and Texaco will donate a percentage*** of the sale to research and development of cleaner, renewable fuel.

Don't delay. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain!


*- The phrase "nothing to lose" does not include money or credit rating.
**- 14 qualifying locations (6 in North Dakota, 5 in Montana, 2 in Wyoming, and 1 in Northern Alaska)
***- .001% of sale will be donated

In any case, I shreded (what is the past tense of shred? Shrad? Shreded?) your offer. I'm sorry you put me in a position where I felt the need to do that. Also, I will not be accepting any future offers. If the time comes where I feel your service would be of value, I'll contact you.


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Get your what on?!?!

This has been the era of the phrase "Get your (or my) _______ on". We hear it all over:

Get my groove on. 
Get your game on.
Get my grub on.
Get your freak on.

It is used nearly as much as "What happens in ______, stays in ______". However, today I was listening to ESPN radio online and I heard one that I never could have imagined. The commercial was an anti-wildfire ad which features a dad with his children packing up from a camping trip. The dad is ready to leave and the kids lecture him about leaving a mostly-put-out fire and concludes with one of the children saying, "You are never too young to get your smokey on".

I know. Really lame right? Not creative at all. But the thing that I am more concerned about than subjecting the world to such unoriginal garbage, is the fact we may have a conspiracy on our hands.

Think about it, what industry could possibly want the youth of the nation to start saying, "you are never too young to get your smokey on?" Hmmmmmm... perhaps the tobacco industry?

Do I really think there is a conspiracy? No, but I do really think that it is a lame line in a lame commercial.

Side Note:
As I was typing this up, I remembered an experience I had a few months ago that makes me less critical of the anti-wildfire people and their lame ad.

Ernie, Tap Tap, T-Money, and I were invited to go to some hot pots in Spanish Fork that none of us had been to before. So after getting the worst directions in the world from our buddy, J-Dub, we embarked to find the hot pots and the people we were meeting.

When we finally got there, the people we were meeting had set up a campsite (we weren't camping, but they were) and a large campfire. Upon our arrival, the group we were meeting wanted to go to the hot pots, which were still another quarter mile down the trail. Ernie, Tap Tap, T-Money, and I looked at the fire, then looked at each other, then looked at the our friends and said, "what about your fire?"

"Oh, it will be fine", they replied.

There are a few things that you should know about Utah. It is a desert, but in the mountains there are a fair number of trees and, therefore, every year we have a number of large wildfires.

Ernie, Tap Tap, T-Money, and I all have done our fair share of camping and know that you don't leave a fire unattended - and quite frankly, it was a surprise to me that anyone would. But apparently there are still people who do, so I understand that the anti-wildfire people still have to try come up with new and creative ways to try to prevent people from being less-than-smart.

In the end, Ernie and I stayed at the fire with one of the people we met and roasted marshmallows and hung out. Which actually was fine with me because those were the nastiest hot pots I have ever seen. I don't even want to know the number of diseases floating around in there.

Monday, August 9, 2010

To see, or not to see...

I recently saw the movie Inception (which was brilliant!) but it reminded me of things that like and don't like about seeing movies:

I like previews. Maybe I am the only one, but I like to see the upcoming movies.

I don't like the commercials before the previews. I hate the pre-preview commercials. Which leads me to...

I don't like that I have to be 45 minutes early to a movie.

I like the huge screen and the premium sound system.

I don't like the price. When I saw Inception, it cost $8.75. Goodnight that is a lot of money. And if you want a drink, that is another $5.00. That is enough to remind me why I don't go to many movies.

I don't like trying to find parking.

I don't like people trying to discreetly text message. It doesn't work. That screen is very bright in a dark theatre. No matter how you try to hide it.

Never the less, I highly recommend Inception. It is a movie that makes you think.

A movie that I am not so sure about is the upcoming movie Devil. At first I was intrigued by it and thought that it may be a good horror movie/thriller. Then the words I have come to fear. "An M. Night Shyamalan Film". With no further ado, I present this little gem I found online: (based on actual ratings from

Friday, August 6, 2010

Castor... C-A-S-T-O-R, but it is still bad advice.

My buddy's wife, M.BSB, posted the following on Facebook recently:
Please get this baby out of me.
(If you didn't guess, she is pregnant.) Anyhow, I didn't think much of it and continued to scroll through the page of updates when I noticed a comment on her post.
try castor oil!!!!
In my mind I saw this:
Thinking to myself that the comment was a joke, I smirked and thought, "what does she want her to do with that?" However, the next person's comment was even more detailed:
Try castor oil!!! Take a 20 oz bottle of juice drink about a 3rd of it. Then pour the castor oil in thil the bottle is full again. Shake it and then chug it down. Within about 3-4 hrs youll start to burn up and feel sick, that means its working. You will throw up and you will explode from the back end but it starts the contractions. Trust me.... It works.
Whoa... whoa.

Now I am thinking to myself, "holy cow, this is messed up on all sorts of levels. Ingesting motor oil? That can't be good for the baby. She can't be serious."

So I began to type in google, "Castor oi" and google auto-populates "castor oil to induce labor". Now I am thinking to myself, "goodnight, people are sick! this is going too far!" However, after visiting this page, I realized I had confused castor oil and castrol oil. Apparently castor oil is a laxative. You must think that I felt dumb, eh? eh?

Well, if you do, you are wrong. Dead wrong. I still think it is dumb. Just like ingesting motor oil. Listen, whenever some says, "youll start to burn up and feel sick, that means its working. You will throw up and you will explode from the back end but...", I have to question the quality of their advice. I have to. (I don't make the rules).

I guess the logic must be "having a baby is a miserable experience (so I have heard), why not do anything you can to make it worse"?

This reminds me of when I was getting over a really bad bout of the flu and a woman suggested that I go running at the gym because "when you run it is like giving your body a fever and it gets better really fast". Ummm... yeah... thanks.

I also knew a person who would pour milk on his shins and hit his legs with a bat to make his bones stronger.

I would say those tips go right up there with bleeding dishes and putting leeches on one's self.