Monday, December 31, 2007

Merry New Year

Compared to others, this has been a shitty year, the last six months in particular, but I know I still have a lot to be thankful for. My friends and family most of all. I wouldn't be anywhere without them. When it comes down to it, bad things are going to happen to all of us, some things worse than others, and it may feel like this really isn't your day... month... year... life or whatever. Things are going to go wrong, that's just the nature of the human condition. You have to keep in mind though, great and beautiful things happen every day. The only way you can miss out on these great things is if you let the bad things cripple you (like they crippled me a lot this year). You may lose a friend but gain another, a grandparent may pass away and someone close to you may have a child, you may lose your faith in God but gain faith in Humanity. Bad things are going to happen no matter what, even if you lock yourself in your room, but you can't experience the finer things in life if you don't come out and play.

I think part of what makes life beautiful (pardon my sappiness) is our ability to overcome the rough times that come our way. We'll be beaten down, but we keep on keepin' on, and we should be proud of ourselves for that and try to lend a hand to those that are struggling.

(Only one more paragraph of my cheesiness, I promise.)

Anyway, my new year's resolution is to be more positive about life and to tell those close to me how I feel about them. To live for the day and not as if I have another fifty years to go. I love you all, and I hope your 2008 is a successful year for you.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Live from Riverton, it's Christmas Day!

Oy vey, it's been a... not very good Christmas. I don't want to say bad, because whenever you're around good food and family things aren't going poorly, but it's sure had it's shitty parts. Was on a plane from Raleigh to Minneapolis to Salt Lake all day yesterday. When we got to the SLC we found out half our luggage was missing, including my bag. The prospect of spending eight days without my happy pills or a change of clothes scared the hell out of me.

Anyway, after that we went to the car rental place to find out Advantage rent-a-car closes at midnight, and nobody else had anything bigger than a compact car, which wasn't going to fit everybody much less the ski's we were lugging around. So we scratched together $50 in cash to get a shuttle to drive us to Riverton. Got in about 3 a.m. (5 eastern) and collapsed.

Wow, I'm talking more about myself than I planned to already. Anyway, the short version of the rest: I got my bag back around 3 p.m. today, yay and all that.

Anyway, I watched Garden State on the airplane, one of my favorite movies of all time, so I'll leave you with my favorite quote from the movie (out of many) that kind of sums up my thoughts on life at the moment:

"You know that point in your life when you realize that the house that you grew up in isn't really your home anymore? All of the sudden even though you have some place where you can put your shit that idea of home is gone... you move out one day and it's just gone. And you can never get it back. It's like you get homesick for a place that doesn't exist. I mean it's like this rite of passage. You won't have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it's like a cycle or something. I miss the idea of it. Maybe that's all family really is. A group of people who miss the same imaginary place."

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Two-Party System: American Politics

Last week somebody from the UK asked me how the American two-party political system works, and if they have any sort of permanent leaders. Here's my answer:

Each party has a national committee that determines the party platform. This platform that the parties stand on is actually very fluid, hardly a platform at all really. If you compared the party stance on issues from fifty, or even twenty years ago, and compared them with how they feel about things today, you would find huge discrepancies that would make it seem that the two parties don't really have any ties whatsoever to the parties of today, which would seem like a big deal seeing as how they love to channel Kennedy and Reagan, but that's really not a big deal because the only goal of the Party is to get their members elected and in power. So staying consistent isn't really a concern, in fact, staying consistent quite often leads to a loss of power over the course of a decade or two. We Americans are awful flighty when it comes to knowing what we want when it comes to politics.

Anyway, the party National Committee takes the platform that they think best endears them to the largest group of voters and dictates it to the regional party committees who filter that on down to the state party committees who pass it on to the county parties, municipalities, etc. Think of it as an enormous multi-tiered fountain, but as opposed to an awesome fountain of chocolate or cheese or even Sierra Mist this is a bullshit fountain, dispensing wave after wave of excrement to the huddled masses below. The lower rungs of the ladder tolerate this because along with the bullshit, the fountain also dispenses large sums of money. This leads me to the National Committees most important function: Fund raising, because you can't get elected unless you can buy thousands of dollars worth of advertising that promotes the tawdry details of your opponents sexual escapades (true or not). The party committee doles out the cash to the candidates with the understanding that they use it to build a bullshit cannon to fire like grapeshot at unsuspecting and otherwise ordinary Americans.

But I digress.

The Democratic National Committee and the Republican National Committee have chairmen, at the moment Howard Dean leads the Democrats and Mike Duncan for the GOP, but they are elected (or appointed? Don't know, don't care) and replaced so often that most Americans have no idea who these guys are, and those that do don't pay them much attention. The chairmen are most visible at the party National Conventions every four years when a Presidential Election comes around, only to retreat to their bullshit cave three days later never to be heard from again.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Tip for Herding Cats...

Okay, so this isn't really about herding cats, but that's what substitute teaching feels like sometimes. Still, here's some advice for people that don't have a lot of experience with large groups of teenagers. If you do have experience with large groups of teenagers and/or substituting, hopefully you'll laugh because it's so true.

When you're a sub, the simplest way to know if a group of students are up to no good is if they're looking at you. It sounds ridiculous, but most middle and high schoolers will never make eye contact with you unless you're talking with them one-on-one. However, if they're breaking the rules they will look right at you to see if you're looking. I don't think they are aware that they do this, but it sticks out like a sore thumb when, out of a class of 28 students that are doing their own thing, a group of three suddenly stop talking and look up at you. It gives them away every time. Even if the culprit (and it's almost always a boy) is smart enough to look away, those around him aren't, and they always go silent which is conspicuous when they're the loudest group in the room. So the next time you see a group of students stop what they're doing and give you the 'deer in headlights' look, stay alert, something is going down.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Plastic Wallets

Earlier this summer I finally broke down and bought my first new wallet in like... three years. It's not that my old wallet was all that great, by the time I finally got rid of it looked like it had been rode hard and put away wet. Most of the sleeves and little pouch things were torn and stuff was falling out of it all the time. I finally made up my mind to get a new one when I lost my credit card at the movie theatre :O , the Apex PD ended up visiting my parents, scaring the crap out of them thinking I'd been busted for doing something stupid, but really they had just gotten the billing address for the card (how?) and were trying to locate me. I was watching a movie at the time, my parents called me, and everything ended just fine. Many thanks to the boys in blue in A-Town.

Anyhow, I bought a new wallet the next day. I decided to do something different. Instead of my old standby, the leather bi-fold (I'm not a fan of that tri-fold crap) and went with a Mossimo pleather bi-fold. It has a trendy green stripe on one side and little breathing-holes similar to what you find on the tops of tennis shoes. Plus it was only like $12.

Turns out that was a big mistake. The pleather isn't exactly conducive to heat, and between my hot ass and the 100 degree, 70% humidity of the NC Piedmont region, it doesn't have anywhere to hide. It gets warm and sticks much the same way your ass sticks to a leather seat on a hot summer day. Opening the damn things sounds like a crunching potato chip and prying a credit card or the occasional dolla bill is a feat of engineering.

I hate my wallet, but the saddest part has to do with me being a tightwad now that I'm temporarily unemployed. I can't justify the dough to purchase a new wallet to store my dough. Is it me, or does it seem odd to spend money on something to store your money in?

I'm going to bed.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

This is who I are

I had a sudden rush of optimism as of fifteen minutes ago. This is odd for me, at least lately. I know it'll probably go away within the hour, but I'ma ride this wave until it crashes into the surf.

Loud, heavy music is the order of the day. Or at least right now. I plugged my bose-knock-off noise canceling headphones into my lappy, flip the switch and construct my playlist.

It's not varied or lengthy. Some songs from the new Linkin Park album, 30 Seconds to Mars, Hawthorne Heights and my favorite local band, Pivot. These guys sought us out as the story of my sister's murder was making the rounds in the media, and offered to turn their upcoming show at Volume 11 Tavern (just around the corner from where my sister was killed) into a benefit concert. We met with them and decided to give the show the go ahead, and it turns out that along with being an awesome group of guys they have a kickass sound. They gave me a copy of their newest EP and I've been addicted ever since. They have another show in Raleigh in late September, I'll definitely be making an effort to be there.

Anyhow, things are starting to get a little better. I'll hopefully be employed next month and have a chance to get out of the house for a change. All apologies to all of you for not keeping in contact. Between the grief and depression and general bull pucky that goes along with that I haven't been calling anybody, or leaving the house much for that matter. I'ma try and be better, but keep in mind, I love you all.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Here's a change of pace. As opposed to actually trying to make sense with my posts I'm just going to ramble on incoherently. This is the reason I hate most blogs. All people do is ramble on and on about themselves and nothing, but tonight (or rather this morning) I don't care.

I thought for a second about just talking to somebody about this stuff, but for the last week or so my mind has been touching on such non-linear subjects that all I can do is confuse people, and in turn probably scare them to an extent. Open a book, any book, now read only every eighth word. Yeah, that's what it's like in my head when I try to sleep.

My situation is on tumble dry right now. Everything has been tossed around, and I haven't even started to figure out where everything has ended up. I have a different outlook on life; I have no sympathy for others or myself when it comes to petty problems in life. I'm unemployed, and I came to the realization last week that I'm depressed.

Let me clarify that last statement. Yes, I'm struggling with depression issues. However, I'm not all that unhappy. All things considered my life is going just fine, I just have social anxiety issues, I disappear from my friends (something that's easy when 99% of them are 2000 miles away) and occasionally I don't leave the house for four days. I know that sounds terrible, but I've dealt with worse bouts of depression. I have a lot to be happy about. I have a great family including two beautiful nephews that I love being around, despite being unemployed I'm not in financial trouble, and I have a sweet ride. I know how to deal with this. It's not fun, but I know I can handle it and I'm starting to put together a plan to work through it. Things are good, I'm just depressed... that doesn't even make sense to me. I assume this is part of the grieving process. Who knows.

Anyway, time for something different that's been on my mind tonight.

As I was laying down trying to sleep I started thinking about a certain relationship I was in years ago. This girl absolutely blew my mind, I was infatuated. I spent almost every day that summer spending time with her. Anyway, I'll spare you the rest of the story, but you get the idea. Anyway, I was reminiscing, and yearning (for lack of a better word) to have those moments back, to have somebody that fascinates me like that again, that was by far the most amazing relationship I have ever been in. But was it really?

This girl and I went our separate ways, but stayed in touch. We saw each other again months later, and I was underwhelmed. She'd change, being with her then wasn't as incredible as it was before. Then shortly before she left again we had more great times together. Then she left again. Then we saw each other again and the same thing happened. Disappointment followed by those incredible moments that reminded me why I was so caught up in her to begin with. This happened a few more times before we finally drifted apart and found new people, but every once in a while, like tonight, I reflect on the good times we had. They seem so awesome, I can't believe I ever let her get away, but that's got to be my mind playing tricks on me. The relationship definitely wasn't perfect, she had personality quirks that drove me bonkers, but I don't remember those times as well.

This got me to thinking, are the great memories we have really that great? I think oftentimes we live in that moment, we capture it and glean out all the things we didn't love about it. Maybe that has something to do with why some people always end up getting back together when they probably shouldn't. They have those great times tucked away and subconsciously forget the not so great times. I think this is where "absence makes the heart grow fonder" kicks in.

That doesn't mean this girl from ages ago wasn't worth the trouble. She definitely was, and I hope the girl I marry someday in the very distant future is a lot like her. However, we have to keep things in perspective. Nobody is perfect, you're not going to get along all the time, or even most of the time, if you allow yourself to develop unreal expectations of people you're never going to be content with things.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Jerry Falwell is dead!

I'm not even joking.

This from the Associated Press

LYNCHBURG, Va. -- The Rev. Jerry Falwell, who founded the Moral Majority and built the religious right into a political force, died today shortly after being found unconscious in his office at Liberty University, a school executive said. He was 73.

Ron Godwin, the university's executive vice president, said Falwell, 73, was found unresponsive around 10:45 a.m. and taken to Lynchburg General Hospital. "CPR efforts were unsuccessful," he said.

I guess now he'll find out if God really is a Republican, as he suggested.

I hate to bash a dead man, but Falwell was the epitome of evangelical Christianity. For a religion based largely on tolerance Falwell was an agent of intolerance. In 1965 Reverend Falwell gave a sermon at his Thomas Road Baptist Church criticizing Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement, which he sometimes referred to as the Civil Wrongs Movement. He often spoke out in favor of the racist position in those days. His views eventually shifted and was against segregation in his later years.

In the 1980s Jerry Falwell was an outspoken supporter of the Apartheid regime in South Africa. When president PW Botha was elected President by the White South African minority, Reverend Falwell went to South Africa and made statements supporting the government there and urging American Christians to buy Krugerrands, a coin issued by the South African Government.

In 1984, he was ordered to pay gay activist Jerry Sloan $5,000 after losing a court battle. During a TV debate in Sacramento, California, Falwell denied calling the gay-oriented Metropolitan Community Churches "brute beasts" and "a vile and Satanic system" that will "one day be utterly annihilated and there will be a celebration in heaven."

When Sloan insisted he had a tape, Falwell promised $5,000 if he could produce it. Sloan did, Falwell refused to pay, and Sloan successfully sued. Falwell appealed, with his attorney charging that the judge in the case was prejudiced. He lost again and was made to pay an additional $2,875 in sanctions and court fees.

He also used his position of power to further his political agenda. In 1994, Falwell released the straight-to-video documentary "The Clinton Chronicles: An Investigation into the Alleged Criminal Activities of Bill Clinton." The video connected Bill Clinton to a conspiracy theory involving Vincent Foster, James McDougall, Ron Brown, and an alleged cocaine-smuggling operation. Despite the theories being discredited by all major investigations, the video's sophisticated production techniques served as effective exposure, and sold over 150,000 copies.

Funding for the film was paid for by the Citizens for Honest Government, to which Jerry Falwell paid $200,000 in 1994 and 1995. In 1995 Citizens for Honest Government paid two Arkansas state troopers to make allegations supporting the conspiracy about Vincent Foster. These two troopers were Roger Perry and Larry Patterson who also were paid for their allegations in the Paula Jones case.

Falwell's infomercial for the 80-minute tape included footage of Falwell interviewing a silhouetted journalist who was afraid for his life. The journalist accused Clinton of orchestrating the deaths of several reporters and personal confidants who had gotten too close to his illegalities. However, it was subsequently revealed that the silhouetted journalist was, in fact, Patrick Matrisciana, the producer of the video and president of Citizens for Honest Government ."Obviously, I'm not an investigative reporter," Matrisciana admitted (to investigative journalist Murray Waas), "and I doubt our lives were actually ever in any real danger. That was Jerry's idea to do that ... He thought that would be dramatic."

In an interview for the 2005 documentary The Hunting of the President Falwell admitted, "To this day I do not know the accuracy of the claims made in The Clinton Chronicles," but failed to condemn the poor research.

I'm never happy when somebody dies, Falwell wasn't a monster and there are far worse people in the world, but I hope the intolerance he preached will fade as he slips further into the history pages.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Perv's On Myspace

This is a press release from the NC Attorney General, more people ought to know about this stuff.

AG Cooper seeks info about possible thousands of sex offenders on MySpace
AGs demand that MySpace turn over the names of convicted sex offenders the company knows are on its site

Raleigh: MySpace needs to turn over the names of potentially thousands of registered sex offenders the company has identified on its website, North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

Cooper and a group of other state attorneys general believe that data from Sentinel Tech Holdings, a company working with MySpace, indicate that thousands of known sex offenders may have been confirmed as MySpace members. In a letter sent today to MySpace, six state attorney generals asked the company to provide the names and states of all registered sex offenders with profiles on its social networking site.

“MySpace is a treasure trove of potential victims for child predators,” said North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper. “Sex offenders have no business being on this site, and we believe MySpace has a responsibility to get them off the site.”

Today’s letter requests that MySpace tell the attorneys general by May 29 how many registered sex offenders have been found on its site and what steps the company has taken to remove them from the site. In addition the letter asks MySpace to provide details on what it has done to alert other MySpace users who have communicated with these offenders, and also to alert law enforcement about these offenders.

Cooper and Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal are leading a group of attorneys general from 50 states and territories who have been pushing MySpace to do a better job protecting children from dangers on its site such as sexual predators and inappropriate content.

Across the country, law enforcement agencies have identified more than 200 cases where children were lured out of their home by predators they met on MySpace. In North Carolina, a former sheriff’s deputy was sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2006 for molesting a 15-year-old Cary boy he met on MySpace. In 2006, the NC State Bureau of Investigation arrested a Boiling Spring Lakes police officer for raping a 14-year-old girl he lured through MySpace.

Both North Carolina and Connecticut and a handful of other states are currently pushing legislation that would require social networking sites including MySpace to get parents’ permission before letting children join. Cooper is also pushing a measure that would make it a felony for convicted sex offenders to join social networking sites where children are members.

Today’s letter was signed by attorneys general from Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Mississippi, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio and Pennsylvania. A copy of the letter is attached.


A Communication From the Chief Legal Officers Of the Following States:
Connecticut – Georgia – Idaho – Mississippi – New Hampshire – North Carolina – Ohio – Pennsylvania
May 14, 2007
Mary Ellen Callahan
Hogan and Hartson, LLP
Columbia Square
555 Thirteenth Street, NW
Washington, DC 20004

Dear Ms. Callahan:
As our states' chief legal officers, we are gravely concerned that sexual predators are using MySpace to lure children into face-to-face encounters and other dangerous activities. We write to you regarding MySpace’s December 2006 announcement with Sentinel Tech Holding regarding the identification of registered sex offenders on MySpace.
It is our understanding that the data from Sentinel reveals that thousands of known registered sexual offenders have been confirmed as MySpace members. If true, this dramatically exceeds the report from Wired magazine, which found 744 registered sex offenders with MySpace profiles. Perhaps thousands more sexual predators -- not registered or using fictitious names -- are lurking on your web site. We remain concerned about the design of your site, the failure to require parental permission, and the lack of safeguards necessary to protect our
We therefore request the following information: First, how many registered sex offenders in the Sentinel database have been cross-referenced against MySpace’s membership?
Second, what is the exact number of known registered sex offenders who have been identified as members of MySpace to date? Please forward a list of the names of the registered sex offenders that you have identified with profiles on MySpace and the states in which they reside. Third, what steps has MySpace taken to alert law enforcement officials as well as MySpace users of such sex offenders? Finally, what steps has MySpace taken to remove sex offender profiles and how many have been removed?
We request a response by Tuesday, May 29, 2007. We look forward to hearing from you.


Roy Cooper Attorney General North Carolina
Richard Blumenthal Attorney General Connecticut
Thurbert Baker Attorney General Georgia
Lawrence Wasden Attorney General Idaho
Jim Hood Attorney General Mississippi
Kelly A. Ayotte Attorney General New Hampshire
Marc Dann Attorney General Ohio
Tom Corbett Attorney General Pennsylvania

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

More Thoughts on Politics

I recently read a Time Magazine article about ann coulter, and the drift I caught was that if you regarded her as an entertainer or a comedian that her remarks made more sense.

I took the writers advice, I read one of her slander columns as a humor piece, and I found it mildly humorous. Good for her, but for the sake of her career she probably ought to stick to hateful, venemous punditry, it's more lucrative, and her humor is only lukewarm and wouldn't sell. For somebody that calls herself a champion of the Right, the side of the political spectrum that claims to be 'moral' she sure gets around. As her former close friend David Brock once said of Anita Hill, coulter is "a little bit nutty and a little bit slutty."

Note: I have nothing against promiscuous women (call me!), but I have everything against hypocrites, especially loud ones.

The reporter had a point, but 'jokesters' like coulter and those of her ilk such as Don Imus, Michael Moore, Bill O'Reilly, Michelle Malkin, Bill Maher, Sean Hannity, rush limbaugh and others are being regarded by many as commentators that ought to be taken seriously. In reality they bring nothing of substance to any sort of discussion or debate. They only bring hate and anger, which is poluting our cultural and political climate while they reap the rewards of ratings, appearance fees and book sales.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Political Apathy

Around November I kept up real well with the political scene. I was a real polemic, I had very strong opinions, it was great fun.

Since then my drive has fizzled. Not my interest, just my energy toward the modern day politics, in particular anything to do with Presidential candidates. I read the news and try to keep up with things, but when it comes to the '08 Presidential race... eh... I'll care in a year, I'll see who's left standing and go from there. I don't want to spend all kinds of time studying the positions of these potential candidates just to find that they wont be in the race a year from now.

I like Obama, but we'll see where I stand when his platform comes into focus; Edwards is okay, but I still have nightmares about his debate with Cheney in '04; I know very little about Richardson, he's mildly intriguing, but I don't much feel like researching him because like I said I'm apathetic, so we'll see what happens.

On the republican side, it looks like McCain is crapping out already, and I don't see much hope for Romney. First of all his name is Mitt, and second he's Mormon, which seems to rub almost everybody the wrong way (almost to the point where it's comical).

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Crazy Insane or Insane Crazy?

So at about 5:30 this morning a lady was driving down the street that leads into the building where I work. Apparently she had a diabetic seizure or something to that effect. She missed the left hand turn, hopped the curb, plowed through the lawn and smacked into the side of our building.

Somehow she didn't end up going through the wall, but she did take out some bushes, an AC unit and our phone lines. Only our fax line and our internet are still functional, three of our four main phone lines are down, and since I'm the glorified receptionist here this totally makes my day. I get to actually get some work done and not deal with the crazies that call in all the damn time.

Oh, and from what I hear the lady is going to be fine. Which is great. Otherwise I wouldn't take much enjoyment out of her suffering.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Working with Psychics

So a psychic called in and placed a classified ad today. She's called Mrs. Rachael, and she's based out of Sanford. Anyhow, she prepaid with a credit card, but when I attempted to process the card for her payment it came up as an invalid number. I was tempted to call her back and say to her: "Hey Mrs. Rachael, did you see this phone call coming? Because you're card is no good!" I make myself chuckle sometimes.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Things I Think v3

A little more long-winded this time around.
  • Solid reporting again from the Associated Press. This article answered many questions I had that were left unanswered by other reports on this story.
  • I didn't notice the DOW Jones Industrial Average fell more than 400 points today, did you? It doesn't seem like much, only 4% of it's total, but it seems like a whole lot more when you consider that $632 Billion was lost. $632 BILLION!
  • I'm thinking of getting a digital camera with my newly discovered wealth and photobloggin' a little bit.
  • I watched parts of Airborne on HBO last night. It's not half as cool as I remember it being. Seth Greene is in dire need of exposure to sunlight, Shane McDermott really isn't all that cool, but Jack Black was amusing. I don't remember him being in the movie. He has short hair too, very strange.
  • I was debating politics with somebody the other day and he says to me, "it's not about Russia and China, that's a red herring." WTF does that mean anyway? It just makes me crave tuna.
  • One dare I would never take is to spend a week in Saudi Arabia amongst the locals. Same with Iran and Pakistan. I couldn't feel safe there.
  • NCAA Basketball beats the NBA for drama and entertainment on any given night. You can't play 82 games and give it your all in every single one. I don't care who you are.
  • Being a nerdy coin collector I feel comfortable saying that Euro coins are a whole lot cooler than our plain Jane stuff.
  • A lady looking to be in her late fifties came in today and placed an ad for an Estate Notice for her husband that had just died of a brain tumor. Like a lot of people in this area she proceeded to tell me the whole story, and I listened mostly because she probably just wanted somebody, anybody to listen. She told me about the last eight months of his life, how much he loved his cars, and how he would never admit to anybody that he was going to die soon. It was very hard to listen to and I'm sure it was much harder for her to experience. I deal with half a dozen of these notices every week and I've never really thought about the people these names belong to.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Things I Think v2

More things I think:
  • For some reason I really like the way hispanic names sound.

  • One of the best names in NASCAR, Boris Said.

  • I have a goal of traveling to all fifty states before I die. 13 down, 37 to go.

  • Clint Eastwood knows how to direct a great movie. Not bad for the Pale Rider.

  • Another goal I have is to someday have a Wikipedia article about my life.
  • I really would like to figure out what the Hell it is I want to do with my life. I know of at least one thing I don't want to do, and that's anything involving accounting. It sucks the big one.
  • I love being around my family, we have a lot of fun together when we go out. Moving out to NC really brought us a lot closer. Except of course for my younger sister, who disowned us and stayed behind in Utah so she could be around her boyfriend. Because of her decision she will never be as much of a tight-knit member of this family that the rest of us are. It makes me sad for her, but it's what she wanted.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Things I Think

I keep a piece of paper in my wallet. I use it to record things I think about that day. Sometimes thoughtful, rarely profound, and mostly useless. Anyway, I'm going to post them here.
  • I'm not much of a clothes shopper, unless it involves the Old Navy clearance rack and pants that look great on me.
  • I'm told people here have had complaints about my ability to stay on top of things here. I wish they would talk to me about it so I know which areas I need to work on. All I know is that I work my ass off and I don't take a smoke break every hour. I barely have time for a lunch break.
  • I don't think there are any cameras in this building...
  • That article left too many questions unanswered. I don't give a rats ass about her home design business. I want to know why her husband decided they weren't returning to the US. How was she finally arrested? Why is her daughter choosing to stay in Kuwait?
  • I have a racist relative. He says he isn't racist, that he hates everybody. That may be true, but he also happens to really really hate Mexicans and anybody that might look Mexican.
  • A buttered piece of toast always lands buttered side down. A cat always lands on his feet. If you strap a piece of toast, buttered side up, to a cat, does the cat defy the laws of gravity and fly?

Friday, January 12, 2007

On angry callers

It's Friday. Deadline day. I spend all week preparing for deadline day, and this day was actually pretty good to start. Having worked with newspapers before I get a happy feeling on deadline days when everything just falls into place.

Then Ann called

Me: Fuquay Independent, this is Jason, How can I help you?

Ann: Hi, my name is Ann Psychobitch, and I'd like to renew a classified I've been running.

Me: Which ad have you been running?

Ann: It's an ad for Firewood For Sale, the phone number on the ad is 919-IMA-WENCH

Me: Okay, looks like your ad expired on the 10th, how long would you like to renew it for?

Ann: Four weeks

Me: Alright, that's $20 for the first week and $18 for each additional week, so that'll be a total of $74.

Ann: Wow... that's just ridiculous, why did you raise the prices so much!?!

(Me on the inside: Are you kidding me Smalls? These ads have a circulation of almost 30,000 homes. People are always telling me about how cheap our ad space is!)

Me: We raised our rates one dollar per week at the beginning of the year.


(Me on the inside: And I'm supposed to care because...?)

Me (for reals): Really?

Ann: Yeah! Anyway, can you just charge my credit card?

Me: Sure, do you mind giving me the information over the phone?


Me: Well, for our customers protection we destroy any records of credit card information after we process your payment.


(I'm seriously considering placing an ad in the paper with all of her credit card information in it)
Me: ...

Ann: FINE! the number is 1234-5678-1234-5678

Me: And the expiration date?


(I'm literally flipping the bird at the phone)
Me: The more information we have when we process your card the lower your service charge.

Ann: FINE! it's 03/09

Me: And the card verification number on the back?


(Jesus loves you Ann!... I think)
Me: And a phone number to reach you?

Ann: THE ONE ON THE AD! You know what, I'm going to call my husband and tell him about this, I'm not sure I want my ad.

(I'm already pulling out my garbage can to throw the ad form away)
Me: Would you like me to hold off on this until you get the okay from him then?


(If it were possible to slap people through the phone your face would be red right now)
Me: Okay fine, I'll get this in there for you then.

Ann: (click)

(Damn it! I wanted to hang up on her!)

I was half tempted to call her back and hang up on her once she picked up. I needed a good fifteen minute coffee break to recover from that one. I want her to call back, I'm not going to be as nice to her next time.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

They call me the Dude

If you're trying to get my attention I answer to three names. You can call me Kubota, sometimes Bobby, or Jason, or you can call out "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!"

At least that's what my three-year-old nephew calls me. When he comes over to visit on Sundays I know when he's there when he pounds on my door and hollers "Dude! Come play!" or "Dude! What are you doing in there!?!"

The name has been following me around for maybe two years now, and it got started completely by accident. Schyler (my nephew) was starting to learn his first words with mama and dada and all that jazz and everybody in my family was trying to teach him how to say their name. I'm a bit of an idealist, and I thought doing that was a tad bit conceited, so I decided instead to sit him down and teach him his first word that he could actually use. So I sat down with him and a couple matchbox cars (his favorite toy) and got started.


It didn't really register to him at first, but we worked on it for a couple weekends and he started saying it on his own. Then one day we were sitting at the dinner table and we were trying to get him to say all of our names: Mom, dad, then he stumbled through Sharlee and Chris, then Momo and Popo (which means grandma and grandpa when you're not even two) and then his mom pointed at me.


"No," I say to him, pointing to myself, "I'm Uncle Jason."

He shakes his head at me, "Dude!"

And thus I have been known as Dude ever since. I didn't mean for him to associate the word with me when I first taught it to him, but it stuck, and now I'm Uncle Dude, and it isn't likely to change. When he would visit my parents and I was away at school he would open the door to the basement and yell "Dude!" to see if I was there.

It's not going to go away, either. Now everybody in the family refers to me as Uncle Dude around my nephews, so it's likely to carry on through all of my future nieces and nephews. Schyler has just recently figured out that I have a different name when somebody asked him "Who's Jason?" and he answered correctly for the first time "Duuuuuuuuuuuuuuude!"

I guess being called Uncle Dude is far better than Uncle Lazy Bastard. So I wont complain.