Thursday, August 31, 2006
Childhood Memories #11 (Tasty Treat)
I've mentioned before that my father owned a fast-food restaurant all throughout my childhood years. Here are a few of the memories I could conjure from the bowels of my psyche...
--Age 10. During the summers when my Mom wasn't teaching school, she'd come in to help out. It would truly be a family affair: my Dad on the grill, my brother on the deep-fry, and my Mom out taking orders from customers. Little Dave would be in the back stuffing napkins in napkin holders or putting tiny little paper ketchup containers on rectangular trays.
--Age 16. I worked the night shift, which ended at about 10:30pm. My Dad would go home about 8-ish after the dinner rush and all of the employees (myself included) would sigh with relief when he left. In a matter of minutes, smokers would light up, we'd all sit down (expressly forbidden while Dad was there) and change the radio from country to rock. When it was really slow, we played Gin Rummy.
--Age 10. We had just added a drive-through window and my Dad had smoothed over the concrete floor with a trowel. I was told to "keep out" while it dried. About a half-hour later while Mom and Dad were outside changing the large street sign listing next week's "specials," I accidentally walked right across the wet concrete. I tried to use the trowel to smooth it over as best I could, but it wasn't perfect. Unfortunately for my perfectionist father, it dried in its imperfect state and I was never truly forgiven for my poor concrete skills.
--Age 17. We employed, at times, some pretty rough trade. I'll never forget "Lori," who I caught late one night smoking cigarette butts she had picked up from the parking lot. Until that moment, I really had no idea what it meant to be poor and addicted.
--Age 15. In the summers, I "opened" with my Dad. We'd come in about 8am and get the morning tasks out of the way. We'd chop lettuce, onions and tomatoes, fill ketchup trays (my Dad hated ketchup packets), grate cheese, weigh out frozen trays of fries, tater tots, onion rings and chicken strips, and fill up all the empty mayo/mustard/ketchup containers. And that wasn't even a 10th of it. We did this EVERY morning. My Dad did it for 30+ years.
--Age 16. One of our employees, "Betty," with whom I was always very flirtatious, trapped me in the "walk-in" (the large room-sized refrigerator) and grabbed my crotch and tried to kiss me. I can't tell you how unbelievably repulsed I was at that. But I went along with it because I didn't know what else to do. It never happened again, though.
--Age 14. We had to wear "uniforms" of jeans, a white, short-sleeve button down shirt, a red "Tasty Treat" hat, and a red apron. The only time I really minded the outfit was when hot high school guys would drive their cool cars through the drive-thru. I countered my embarrassment by taking the opportunity to stare at their crotches as I handed them their food.
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Peek Pic 142
Adventure Outside my Comfort Zone
Take a look at my recent adventure across the tracks. It's long (12 mins), but fun.
Things I Just Don't Get #2
A follow-up to the original post.
1. Why Ham radio operators get special license plates.
2. Why morning TV traffic people have silly names, but no one else does.
3. Bumper stickers with sweet little cartoon characters urinating on things.
4. Civil War reenactment.
5. Why civilians drive cars that look like police cars (even down to the spotlight).
6. Why people think Vince Vaughn is cute.
7. Tractor pulls.
8. Intelligent design.
9. Spam. Not the meat, the e-mail.
10. David Hasselhoff.
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Youth, Wasted on the Young
This morning on NPR, Steve Inskeep interviewed a 19-year old college freshman from Beloit College in Wisconsin about their annual "Freshman World View" List. Please take a few minutes to listen and tell me if you don't feel similarly out of touch with someone born the same year I first voted. Let's hope this kid doesn't have our future in his hands...
Corporate Tip of the Day
When (not if) you are invited to a meeting in the Executive Conference Room, and the blinds are drawn and the whole team is there and the Executive du jour nervously cracks his/her knuckles while explaining the rationale behind the "realignment" and how your former boss has regrettably resigned (but thanks him for all his hard work) and how this is going to make us stronger and better and faster and that we're all going to be better off for it, there are only TWO appropriate reactions:
Nodding and smiling. That's it.
Do not ask questions. Do not open your mouth. If you are called on to speak, make sure you say something positive. If possible, restate what the Executive du jour has just said. DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT voice your opinion on any subject. No one cares, especially the Executive du jour. This meeting is just a formality--it's too late. Don't bother. You're not going to fix ANYTHING. Just sit there and SHUT UP. Your colleagues don't want you to look like a complete asshole while you commit career suicide. Especially me. It's ugly. Really ugly.
Now let's go out there and WIN!!! Yay team!
Monday, August 28, 2006
My Happy List
A few things that make me happy:
--The first sip of coffee in the morning
--Getting an e-mail from a friend
--Fixing something that's broken
--Singing in the shower
--Eating a Wendy's Frosty
--Fresh flowers in the kitchen
--Riding my motorcycle
--Making my parents laugh
--Eating my Mom's chocolate chip cookies
--Closing a big deal at work
--A fresh haircut
--Talking to my sister
--A good tan
--Catching a fish
--Getting a high-five from a kid
--Finishing a crossword puzzle
--Having the whole row to myself
--Watching YouTube videos
--Oatmeal with maple syrup in it
What makes YOU happy?
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Friday, August 25, 2006
These planet people have gotten themselves into a real pickle. See, back in the 30's, when the Lowell Observatory discovered Pluto, they were quick to trumpet to the masses that they'd found a new planet. Everyone was happy, and we all rejoiced at how smart we were and how science was on the cutting edge of discovery (also known as a great way to get more funding). Since there was no real definition of a planet at that time, we earthlings signed Pluto up as a planet and never looked back.
Unfortunately, in the last 14 years or so, we've discovered a little something called the Kuiper Belt. It's basically a big, giant swath of Neptunian vomit that holds some massive celestial objects called KBOs, or, Kuiper Belt Objects. There are a several 1000km+ KBOs, including 2003 UB313, 2003 EL61 and Charon (Pluto's dancing partner, called a Plutino). Which means, basically, we f*cked up. Pluto really isn't all that special. And if we make Pluto a planet, we gotta make a whole lot of other space rocks planets, too.
So what do they do? They make a committee to determine what a planet is. Ladies and gentlemen, the [current] composition of your solar system:
--Eight "classic" planets (4 rocks, 4 giants)
--One big-ass asteroid (called Ceres)
--Three "Plutons" (Pluto, Charon, UB313)
Now, I hope we're all clear on that. Because I for one was getting really stressed out over all the inaccuracies. I'll expect that each of you will have this down by Monday. There MAY be a pop quiz. Now, go tell all your friends!
Thursday, August 24, 2006
Possible Reasons Why My Stomach Hurts
1. Accidental Nutter Butter overdose prior to bed last evening.
2. Sushi dinner from grocery store.
3. Toast, sugar-free jelly, OJ, 4 cups of coffee pureed in Kawasaki mixer.
5. Tape-worm is acting up.
6. Multi-vitamin taken on not-so-full stomach.
8. Questionable milk in refrigerator.
9. Record setting Diet Dr. Pepper consumption.
10. Acute allergic reaction to work.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
Peek Pic 137
Letter from Casey
I wont to let yu no that im not hapi abowt that lowd red theng in tha garogde. Evr sins yu browt it hom yu plaa with it moor then yu plaa with me! Wut dus he haf that i dont? I dont c ne cewt pupi iis or a cwet waggi tale. And he onli has too fete! If yu lyk him becaws uf tha noyse, i can be a LOT lowder!
An whar du yu gow wen yu leef? Dew yu taak him tu tha P-A-R-K an plaa B-A-L-L? I hop not. That wud maak me verrrrrrri mad! And how com you nevr put on that funi lukin sewt an jakit an rownd black theng on yur hed win yu plaa with me? Im shur if we triid, yu cud riid ME arownd the howse. Ur pretti big but i can tri!! Im tuff!!
O wel, at leest u arnt given him my fud. An as long az u dont let him slepe en bed with uzz i think whele be O K.
Ri Ruv Ru,
Tuesday, August 22, 2006
I'm Not Worthy
Looks like someone over at AOL's CityGuide Kansas City has been reading the blog. They've listed me under the "Blogs We're Reading" section of the KC home page. Thanks for the link guys, I'm truly honored!
We're All Label Whores
If someone were to peek into my closet, they would notice a significant lack of pretentious labels. Maybe one or two Prada shirts, but that's it. I like to think of myself as not being all that brand conscious, at least with clothes. However, when it comes to other areas in my life, particularly food and personal hygiene products, I am 100% brand loyal. Once I find something I like, I hardly ever switch to a different brand. Here's a little sampling of brands/products I always buy, no exceptions:
Peter Pan Creamy Peanut Butter
Crest Extra Whitening Fluoride Anti-Cavity Toothpaste
Cascade Lemon Citron Liquid Dishwashing Detergent
Folgers Classic Roast Coffee
Eukanuba Natural Lamb and Rice Formula for Adult Dogs
Cetaphil Daliy Facial Cleanser for Normal to Oily Skin
Minute Maid Original Orange Juice with Calcium
Trapp No.12 Guava/Mango Home Fragrance Mist
Three Dog Bakery Bark and Fetch Biscuits, Assorted Flavors
Oral B Satin Floss, Mint Flavored
Sure Soft Solid Unscented Anti-perspirant and Deodorant
Gillette Sensor Excel Razor
I used to think I wasn't all that label/brand conscious. But when I looked around the house looking for things to go in this post, I realized that I'm a total label whore. What are YOURS? Inquiring minds want to know.
Monday, August 21, 2006
Random Thoughts #36
--Good news from Texas: It looks as though my Mom's heart is significantly improving. After more tests, they now believe her low pumping power was due to damage from her defibrillator implant. She's now pumping at 40% rather than 12%, and they've moved her to a level 7, which is essentially "on hold until further notice."
--Bad news from Texas: Now that both Mom and Dad are feeling better, they've decided they're going to come to Kansas City for a visit. While in general this is good news, I'm going to have to figure out what to do with the motorcycle so that I can continue to perpetuate the lie that their son is safe and responsible.
--Speaking of exciting weekend events, I got my garage door installed on Friday. On Saturday morning as I was about to paint it, the motorized opener (which they did not replace) made a loud pop and stopped working. Just my luck. They're suggesting it was simply coincidence; I'm suggesting they owe me a new opener due to improper installation. I'll keep you posted on the outcome.
--Internet find of the month: XTube. It's basically YouTube, but for slightly less virtuous videos. Don't even THINK about going there during work. Fun times for straight, gay and everyone in between.
--I've lost what I thought was a good friend. My buddy (that moved here from NY) and I have stopped talking. It's a long story, but the Lifetime movie goes like this: "Will you pay the deposit on my apartment?" "No." "I don't understand why not, you're so unreasonable. Waaaaa!" He stops returning my calls. Oh well, you think you know people.
--One of my worst character traits is my ability to completely erase my feelings for other people. It's like a faucet, either off or on. I fully appreciate the fact that disassociation as a coping mechanism isn't the greatest strategy for maintaining long-term relationships, but I've used it pretty effectively in the past. In the aforementioned case, I have subsequently exercised these pathologies to their fullest extent.
Thursday, August 17, 2006
I'm not suggesting I'm psychic or anything, but there's NO WAY that guy killed JonBenet. No way.
Trust me on this one.
Random Thoughts #35
--Last night on the way home from work something smacked me hard while I was on the bike. I didn't see what it was, but think it was either a bird or some kind of big bug. It felt like someone punched me in the arm. It's amazing how little things can become projectiles at 50 mph.
--This morning I'm headed for St. Louis for a 3-hour meeting. My flight leaves at 9:30 and I get back home at 7:30. Thank god I don't have to take any luggage with me. In fact, I'm thinking of just taking a notebook and a tie. Any maybe some pants.
--I confess to watching "America's Got Talent" last night. Turns out it was the last show for the Top Ten performers to get rated. I'm surprised that people aren't more bothered by the painful reproduction of American Idol, even down to the sassy British guy espousing insults. That's so lame. Anyway, I'm voting for the tall, muscular barefoot guy and his miniature dancing partner. But only because he was barefoot.
--In the last six months or so, both springs snapped on my garage door (and shot across the garage). A couple weeks ago, a cable snapped. Since my car wasn't in the garage for any of the three separate incidents, I figured I was pushing my luck. Tomorrow afternoon I'm sucking it up and having the whole friggin' thing replaced.
--I hopped in my car to grab some Chinese food for dinner last night. After buzzing around town on a 300 pound motorcycle, a Volvo SUV felt like I was driving a TANK. And DAMN that thing is slow! I had no idea.
--The other thing that's funny is that now when I drive a car, I'm much more in tune with what's happening with other cars. Riding a motorcycle significantly increases your awareness of things going on around you. Think Gazelle in a pack of hungry lions. Oh, and the lions are talking on cell phones and putting on mascara.
--I got my really sporty new Axio Swift Hardpack delivered via UPS yesterday. I think it looks really cool, but yesterday as I was walking in the office, an older guy I didn't know says, "That thing is neato--looks like something those Ghostbusters wore." Grrrrrr.
--I thought to myself: if it WAS a proton pack like that used in Ghostbusters, I would've aimed my particle thrower directly at his ectoplasm and sent him swirling back into the in primordial ooze from which he came. And I remind all of you: "The proton pack is not a toy."
--I was playing ball with Casey a few minutes ago and we were doing his favorite little tug of war game where I try to get the ball out of his mouth. I was pulling really hard when he suddenly let go and I punched myself right in the face. I had no idea Beagles could laugh and point at the same time.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
Random Motorcycle Facts
1. If you drop a helmet from a height of over 2 feet, it renders it virtually useless for future impact protection.
2. 52% of all motorcycle fatalities involve a rider with drugs or alcohol in their system.
3. To turn a motorcycle to the right, you turn the handlebars to the left. It's called "countersteering."
4. Wind noise at 100 mph is only 5 decibels less than a jet engine (deafening to the naked ear).
5. 92% of motorcycle riders have had no formal training.
6. In multiple vehicle accidents, the driver of the other vehicle violated the motorcycle right-of-way and caused the accident in two-thirds of those accidents.
7. The front brake is 75% of the total stopping power of the motorcycle.
8. The median pre-crash speed of all motorcycle accidents is 29.2 mph.
9. Gottlieb Daimler invented the motorcycle in 1885.
10. Most modern motorcycles have 6 gears, shifted in the "1 down, 5 up" pattern.
And one final safety reminder:
Pearls Fall From My Lips
For the life of me, I don't understand why people feel the need to be randomly obnoxious. Exhibit A: Nasty comments left on your blog or YouTube videos. This morning a complete stranger left a comment on one of my videos (the bedroom chat) about being pretentious and pearls falling out of my mouth, etc. etc. Absolutely nothing nice to say. Completely random insults.
Why do people DO that? Do they think I'll reconsider my lifestyle or try to change my behaviors? I hope not. Do they think other people will agree with them and rally together in a nation-wide PlaysWellWithOthers boycott? I hope not. Do they think I'll do anything other than just delete it? I hope not.
In my opinion, spewing nastiness has nothing to do with the victim of said nastiness and everything to do with the spewer. There's not a person on this planet that someone can't find fault in or ridicule. Humans are easy targets because, well, we're human. And frankly, being nasty is just too easy. Mastering ridicule is elementary school; it's a step above nanny-nanny-boo-boo in my book. It pangs of the desperate and painfully insecure Nelson Muntz--the bully in the Simpson's cartoon. "HA-HA."
It's harder to be nice and to see the good in others; to unite us rather than to divide. Mastering kindness and fostering unity is graduate level. Obviously, not everyone is intellectually or emotionally capable of this, and that's perfectly fine. However, if you don't think this is something you can do, then you should do us all a favor and stick your nastiness directly up your ass where none of has to see it, hear it or smell it.
Thanks for listening.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
I Get Down on My Knees for You
Picture it: 2006, Overland Park, KS. I'm sitting quietly at one of the tall tables at Quizno's, eating my Turkey Light on wheat with no onions. As I eat, I'm also fishing around in my tank bag looking for my wallet, my phone, and my camera (to review some video I had just taken). I do this for about five minutes when I'm suddenly distracted by a SUPER hot corporate type coming in the door. Black pants, blue shirt, cute-but-subtle faux-hawk. The gaydar is at Def-Con 6. I nod and raise my eyebrows. He smiles, sort of.
I spend a few minutes fantasizing about him (this is all I ever do anymore). Corporate boy is only a couple of feet away from me now, waiting patiently in line for his food. That's when I decide it's time to leave. I stand up and proceed to put on my super cool riding jacket and gather my things. I decide my hands will be too full to carry everything at once, so I
strut walk across the room to throw away my trash. After tossing the trash away I turn and approach him. At this point, I am in a full-on puffy chest, peacock feathers flyin' mode. I flash another look (held just a tad too long). He does the same.
Satisfied that I could have him if I wanted him, I grab my helmet and gloves in one hand and tank bag with the other. I give him one last look as I do and %$^*&%#*#$)*&*#@!!! I drop every single item inside my tank bag onto the floor because I forgot to zip it up. One guy in line goes for my Invisalign case, and I dive to my knees to fetch my Gold Bond Body Powder (prickly heat, dammit!) before corporate boy sees it, and I'm on the ground, eye-level to corporate boy's crotch when corporate boy says, "You need any help?"
"Nope," I say, I just forgot to zip up." Oh god. I can't believe I said that. I'm on my knees 12 inches from his crotch talking about zipping up. Nice one. He chuckles, and raises his eyebrows as if to ask me if I knew what I had just said. Unfortunately, I did know, and I knew the best thing I could do a that moment was to grab my itchy powder and run like hell.
Fortunately, by the time I got my helmet on, I felt cool again. It's refreshing to have a healthy denial of your colossal dorkiness. I recommend it.
Recently one of our DBAs named Michael stopped by my desk to talk about my bike. He asked me how I liked it, how it handled, how fast it was, how much I paid for it, how much insurance was, etc. etc. We also talked about different kinds of bikes and why I settled on that one. We had a great chat, and I think I got him pretty excited about getting a new bike.
But apparently, I did a little TOO good of a job at convincing him to get one. This morning, as I was looking outside my window, I saw Michael drive up on a brand new 2006 Kawasaki Ninja 250. Red. EXACTLY LIKE MINE.
EXACTLY. LIKE. MINE.
I'm sorry, but what the f*ck is up with that? I'm going to Home Depot at lunch to get a can of green spray paint. That'll fix him.
Monday, August 14, 2006
You're Off the List
I joke with my friends about having a "list." It's a metaphor for how I keep track of people that are in good stead with me. You're either "on the list" or "off the list." There's no in-between. I appreciate that the metaphor is childish, but it's an accurate reflection of how I deal with people. When it comes to investing emotional energy into interpersonal relationships, I'm either all in or all out.
I take "the list" very seriously. As someone that makes every effort to PlayWellWithOthers, I sincerely want to have as many people on the list as possible. In fact, there are a whole host of things my friends do that I willfully overlook, and I expect that they tolerate some of my poor behavior as well. That's part of friendship, and no one is perfect.
But sometimes things happen that break the sanctity of friendship: an unforgivable offense, an unforgettable event, or even a long string of minor things that eventually show a pattern. Regardless of the nature of the behavior, if I feel like it disrupts the positive energy of my relationship with that person, then they are summarily removed without notice or fanfare.
Being off the list doesn't mean I have any ill-will towards someone, and it's far from a grudge. What it means is that I no longer want this person within close proximity of my emotions. It's basically an emotional wall aimed at self-preservation of my psyche. And when that wall is built, it doesn't come down. Ever.
Saturday, August 12, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Said so well...
Thursday, August 10, 2006
That Sinking Feeling
Today my boss and I were making small talk by the coffee machine when he says "Hey, you have a sec to chat?"
"Sure," I said. We walked into one of our all-glass meeting rooms, called "DaVinci." All of our conference rooms are named after famous innovators and leaders: Michelangelo, Darwin, Jefferson, Lincoln, Edison, King, etc. They're suppose to inspire us to lead in the technology market.
"I need to ask you a question, and I don't want you to read into it too deeply," he said. "But, um, are you taking care of yourself? You know, career-wise?" I was shocked to hear these words. It meant only one thing: rough times ahead.
"Well, Dean, I have to be honest, I haven't been looking. But if it makes you feel any better, I do have a fall-back position: I've got six months of living expenses in the bank, and if the hammer falls, I'll probably sell the house and move to Austin to be near my folks. I have lots of contacts, and am sure I can find something fairly quick."
"I'm glad to hear that, Dave. There's no doubt that someone would snatch you up in a heartbeat. I just want you to know that I'm worried about us. I think you may be OK, but I feel like there's a little red laser dot following me around 24/7. They're looking for a scapegoat and I think it may be me." I instinctively looked at the floor. "Just take care of yourself, OK? I think things are about to get shaken up." I nodded and thanked him.
It's been a while since I've had this feeling. In fact, it was the summer of 2000 when I first saw my dotcom employer's stock tanking. And then delisted from the NYSE. And then layoffs. And then more layoffs, until the final few of us that were still employed turned out the lights and walked to the bar next door to toast our newfound unemployment. Thankfully, the next day we were purchased out of bankruptcy court and I signed an employment contract within 24 hours of the closing.
My boss is probably right. I'm likely to be spared since they perceive me to be a critical asset. But I hate to see my comrades become "dead men walking." It's completely disheartening to witness. In the meantime, I'll try to keep my chin up and head down. Ya never know what's just around the corner.
Things currently dangling their toes off the ledge of my cerebral cortex:
Getting my insurance paperwork done for the bike.
How to save my dried up and dying flowerbeds.
How to perfect the helmet cam.
The hairline crack in my shower.
The best way to carry laptop, etc. on the bike.
How much my teeth hurt.
Whether or not I need foundation work on the house.
Whether or not my interest in this blog is waning.
Why I continue to itch.
Why my ankle won't stop hurting.
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Apparently, I work in the wrong area
I'm super busy at work this week, but I had to share this. I just went over to pick something up off the printer and a certain person who will remain nameless but works in our consulting group had printed off his "paycheck view" from our HR system and left it there to sit. I'm not gonna lie, I looked.
$244,416.00 a year. Nine grand and change every two weeks.
Poor guy, I wonder how he makes ends meet.
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
That's ten dollars and forty-two cents. Not even ten and half clams. The big 10-4-2. That's how much it cost to fill my gas tank (with premium) in preparation for driving another 224 miles. And if you're interested, that's 67.8 miles to the gallon.
Take THAT ExxonMobil.
Random Thoughts #34
--This morning I happened to have the dimmable spot light above my bathroom mirror at an intensity that highlighted what I thought was a string on my ear. Nope, not a string. It was a long, blond HAIR--almost an inch and a half long--sticking out of the top part of my ear. And it was MINE. Still connected. I was devastated.
--Have you ever noticed that the guys in the Army commercials are all square-jawed, blue-eyed studs with crew cuts? I wonder why they don't accurately represent their primary target demographic, which I think of as being overweight, pimply-faced high school dropouts. Surely they're not playing on those poor youngsters' latent homoromanticized image of a studly soldier. They would be, well, just wrong.
--I heard on the news this morning that the Kansas City Chiefs are looking for a new touchdown song after their current song's performer, Gary Glitter, was convicted of molesting two girls in Vietnam. I mean seriously. Talk about getting pigeonholed. You're either a touchdown song performer or a child molester--but never both. What has this world come to?
--Someone brought a baby into the office today and every single woman in the company was out there goo-gooing and ga-gaing over it. Maybe its my chromosomal makeup, but I don't get what makes a gurgling, stinky flesh ball attractive.
--And if you're wondering about who won the license plate contest, I'm still working on it. I had SO many responses that my Yahoo e-mail account overflowed! I can't BELIEVE you guys are so creative and have such a sincere desire to participate in my life!! I LOVE you guys!
--Yeah, um, ok, that last one was sarcasm. Based on the number of responses (THREE), I've decided to just keep talking about motorcycles until ever single one of you stop reading. That will be your punishment. That, and a firm spanking. Or two.
Helmet Cam Almost Ready
Trying to get my helmet cam to work so you guys (and gals) can go riding with me. It's been harder than it looks. If anyone has any suggestions on how to rotate video without distorting the image, I'd love to hear it. I did this rotation with Windows Movie Maker and it sucks.
Monday, August 07, 2006
The Awkward Panini
Today at lunch I stopped in Einstein Bros. for a Grilled Chicken Panini. I love those things, but don't plan on having more than one or two in a year, otherwise I'm surely to stop my heart dead in its tracks with all the sodium and cholesterol and fat. Adding a cookie (or two) exacerbates this effect. *burp* But that's not the point of my story.
While I was there, a manager and her employee sat down two tables over and proceeded to have a very difficult "talk" right in front of me. In a nutshell, the employee hadn't been doing something the right way and was being reprimanded. The manager even pulled out a piece of paper (i.e., "documentation") and had the employee read and make a written response to it. I was horribly embarrassed for the poor employee having to do that right in front of me. And the NERVE of the manager to so insensitively air her dirty laundry in front of customers. Don't they have an office?
The employee took the criticism well, and I was proud of her for that. [PlaysWellWithOhers Career Tip: If you ever want to develop a critical skill that will help your career, learn to gratefully accept criticism from your superiors. Coachable employees that demonstrate a desire to learn from their boss (whether it's true or not) generally have a bright future in front of them. People that need to "show the boss who's right" do not.]. For a young lady in a presumably minimum wage job, she handled herself very professionally, and in my eyes outshined her boss.
I'm thinking maybe I should call and talk to the manager of the store to let them know this went on and how uncomfortable it made me. In my opinion, it was completely inappropriate. I wonder how that manager would do with MY reprimand. Somehow I doubt she'd think the customer was always right. In fact, I'm not sure these days anyone does.
Sunday, August 06, 2006
--I completed my Motorcycle Safety Course this weekend. I'm so glad I took this class. I learned so much and improved my skills and confidence by 1000%. I wouldn't have been able to take and pass the motorcycle driving test in a million years without this class. If you ride a motorcycle (or scooter) and haven't taken a Motorcycle Safety Foundation class, I can't recommended it more highly. You may not think you need it, but you do. Trust me. As they say: "You don't know what you don't know..."
--Not to be boastful, but out of 20 participants, I was the only person in the class to make a perfect score on the (very challenging) driving test. I got a little prize (a silly rubber toy) and a round of applause from the class. The humble side of me was secretly very proud of how much I had learned in such a short amount of time. The competitor in me was glad I kicked everyone's ass. :)
--Confession: Every minute I wasn't learning to ride a motorcycle or listening to the instructors tell me how to ride a motorcycle, I was watching the ass of the uber-hot Asian wrestler boy. Seriously, you should have seen that thing. Talk about distracting. I ALMOST took a picture of it to show you, but then I thought of how creepy that seemed, so I didn't. But I wanted to.
--I decided not to tell my parents that I got a motorcycle. I just don't want them worrying unnecessarily. Or, well, worrying at all. It was odd talking to them tonight on the phone, though. They were asking about my weekend and I basically had to make stuff up, like "oh, I just piddled around the house, did laundry, played with the dog..." (all of which was true, by the way). It still felt a little sneaky. I hate lying. I'm terrible at it.
--After class this evening I rode 54 miles on my bike. Even in 100+ degree temperatures with full riding gear on, it was a blast. I continue to be amazed at how people react to motorcycles; especially a bright red Ninja. They stare, they wave, they nod. Parents point me out to their kids. Kids on bicycles gave me the thumbs-up sign. One guy rolled his window down while we were sitting at a light and told me he had an 06 Sportster (a Harley). I just LOVE that.
--This motorcycle (and the motorcyclist culture) is the best thing that's happened to me in a LONG, LONG time. I'm beside myself with excitement. Who knew...
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Back to School
Tonight I'm going back to school for the first time in a loooooong time. In fact, the last time I sat in a classroom was in 1994, in a dark-red brick building at 125th and Broadway in NYC. Ahh, those were the days. Wait, no they weren't, they sucked ASS. But I digress...
Tonight from 6-10pm, then tomorrow and Sunday from 8-5, I am enrolled in the Kansas City, KS Community College Adult Education course entitled "Basic RiderCourse(R)." I'll be doing both classroom and hands-on training based on the Motorcycle Safety Foundation's "comprehensive, research-based Rider Education and Training System." If you're curious about it, there's a 5-minute video you can watch.
But honestly, I know you don't care about that. What you REALLY want to see is THIS (sorry, no time to make the vid pretty):
Top 10 Love/Hate List (Malls)
Reasons to hate malls:
1. Perfume sprayers.
2. Screaming children.
3. People with walkie talkies.
4. Rainforest Cafe.
5. Completely inattentive sales people.
7. Mall walkers.
8. Parking six miles from the door.
9. The smell of hair salons.
Reasons to love malls:
1. Air conditioning.
2. Eye candy.
4. Eye candy.
5. Mrs. Fields cookies.
6. Eye candy.
7. Abercrombie and Fitch employees.
8. Hollister employees.
9. Nordstrom's Cafe.
10. Eye candy.
What are yours?
Thursday, August 03, 2006
Peek Pic 126
Random Thoughts #33
--I just realized that August 7 is the one year anniversary of PlaysWellWithOthers. I'm amazed by how fast it went by. Please don't feel obligated to host large rallies or parades in your home town. However, if you do, I really like balloon animals. And pirates.
--I think Casey has a future as a guard dog. (Be sure to click the pictures.)
--I know it's probably not nice for me to say this, but I hope Hollywood feeds that smug prick Mel Gibson his ass. I've always silently boycotted his movies for his strong anti-gay position, but now... well, now I just think he's a pathetic, confused little man that's having to swallow a big ol' spoon full of Karma. Who knows, maybe he'll also reach out to gay community for help. If he does, I'll volunteer to feed him a big ol' spoon full of... oh nevermind, he won't do that.
--My house is about to cave in I think. Both of my back doors are starting to stick when I try to open them. With my luck, I'm going to come home one day and it'll be crashed down into a 30-foot sink hole. That would suck.
--I don't like to talk a lot about work on the blog, but I just have to say... In the five years I've been here, this place is the most f*cked up it has ever been. No leadership, no direction, no focus, no accountability. It's amazing. And you know what? I don't even care. I'm just doing my job, keeping my head low and playing well with others. It's almost like being a war that you don't believe in and your side desperately needs a hero to save the day, but no one in their right mind is willing to stand up and get slaughtered over it. OK, a bad metaphor, but you get the idea.
--Aren't you impressed that I've gotten this far into a post and haven't once mentioned a certain type of two-wheeled vehicle? Although exciting things are happening... ;)
--I've got to go to the mall today and I'm dreading it. I need a couple of new pairs of jeans for work. My older ones are getting tattered and I can't wear them anymore. When I go to the mall, I park as close to my target destination as possible and run in as fast as I can, buy something, then immediately return to the car. OK, well, unless there's a cute guy helping me. In these cases, I will try on everything in the store. "Does this make my crotch look too big?"
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
I'm Dave, and I want a motorcycle. "Hi Dave."
For the last few months that I've been considering alternate transportation, I've been fooling myself and others. I'm not a die-hard energy conservationist, and certainly not an ubercool hipster that sips espressos at Italian cafes. For the same reason I can't grow my hair long or wear a baseball cap sideways, I cannot own a scooter. While they're both [arguably] cool and in vogue--they just aren't for me. I just don't feel "right" on a scooter.
I want a motorcycle because they ignite a sense of excitement in me. Their throaty growl and top-end wail speak loudly to my inner thrill seeker. Just looking at one stirs my spirit. I want to soak up the skills necessary to be an accomplished and safe rider and broaden my repertoire of experiences. I'm drawn to the culture of riding, both alone and in groups. So to help myself get through this, I've developed and will apply the Motorcycles Anonymous(TM) 12-Step program (my own creation).
Step 1: Admit that you are powerless over your desire to ride a motorcycle.
Step 2: Come to believe that buying a motorcycle will restore excitement in your life.
Step 3: Talk to friends and strangers about motorcycles.
Step 4: Watch YouTube videos of people riding motorcycles and feel a kindred spirit.
Step 5: Investigate every brand and type and make of motorcycle.
Step 6: Read motorcycle forums.
Step 7: Buy a helmet and gloves and a protective riding jacket.
Step 8: Enroll in and take an approved Motorcycle Safety Course.
Step 9: Buy a motorcycle.
Step 10: Ride.
Step 11: Ride.
Step 12: And ride some more.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Peek Pic 124
The Devil Wears a Helmet
Angel on Right Shoulder: I am so proud of you, Dave, for purchasing such a practical, fuel efficient mode of transportation.
Devil on Left Shoulder: You're a f*cking PUSSY. Who wants to be fuel efficient? You gotta look COOL!
Angel: Don't listen to him, Dave. He's insecure and seeks only selfish pleasures in life.
Devil: Yeah, like going fast and getting laid!
Angel: Dave, take pride in how sensible you are being. You're helping the environment.
Devil: People are going to laugh at you. Get a MOTORCYCLE. Be a MAN! You looked so GOOD in that black motorcycle jacket. Do you really want to tell people you ride a "scoooooter?" You big sissy.
Angel: Life isn't just about satisfying your own desires, Dave. Think of your fellow man.
Devil: F*ck your fellow man, it still gets 60mpg. And this way, you don't have to wear a dress when you ride!
10 minutes later:
Vera at ScooterWorld: Hello, Scooter World. How can I help you?
Dave: Vera, it's Dave. I've got some bad news for you. I've changed my mind...
More to come, stay tuned.
Random Childhood Memories #10 (Pets)
--Happy. A Collie-German Shepard mix, she was my most faithful companion. She followed me everywhere I went: seeing me off to school every morning by chasing the bus to the corner; doing the same in reverse when I arrived in the afternoon; sleeping on the front porch of a neighbor's house when I had a sleepover; running after me on my bike--tongue hanging low--no matter how far I rode she never stopped. She took her last breathe in my arms.
--Ding-a-Ling. A pathetic looking poodle mix, Ding-a-Ling was around long before I was. Most of my memories of her only involve stories of her disabilities. Like the time she blindly walked into the swimming pool and couldn't get out, or sleeping straight through my brother's homemade hearing test (also known as an airhorn). Sadly, her demise was related to one of the most infamous family stories about my mother. As she was backing out of the driveway, she felt a bump and thought she had backed over my Big Wheel. So she put it in Drive and pulled forward to dislodge it from under the car. Long story short: It wasn't a Big Wheel.
--Toby. A feisty little mutt of unknown pedigree, my brother found Toby (and 4 others) in a cardboard box on the side of the road. Toby was the quintessential little big dog. Bossy, spunky and prone to wandering off for days, he was his own boss. He almost always came back, save the few times we had to circle the neighborhood in the car yelling for him out the window. I watched him die under the wheels of passing car. Somehow we knew that was how he'd go.
--Puppy Doodle. I had nothing to do with the name of this completely spastic-but-adorable black Cocker Spaniel. This was my Mom's dog, and I had very little to do with her except regularly getting her excited and making her pee on the floor. Longtime companion of Noah (below), she died of old age at my parent house in Marble Falls.
--Noah. My sister's Shitzhu. The smartest, most well-behaved dog we ever had. Noah's claim to fame was his adorable underbite and a cute little snort-snort-snort as he ran. After nearly eight wonderful years together, Noah died of a broken heart only two short months after his beloved partner, Puppy Doodle, passed away.
--Kitty. My girlfriend in high school, Jennifer, gave Kitty to me on my 16th birthday. She got out of the house once and disappeared for almost a week. One night during a rain storm she showed up on the back porch with her tail bent at a 90 degree angle. We hypothesized that she'd been up in a tree and jumped or fell when the rain started. Her tail was amputated by the vet the next day. She died of old age at my parents house. She was 14 years old.