Monthly Archives: January 2013

Back to the Future Too

I was walking through a Las Vegas hotel shopping center this morning when I saw the Marty McFLy Nikes from Back to the Future 2, when he goes to the future and they have flying cars, auto drying jackets, hoverboards, and of course Nikes with power laces. That was supposed to be 2015. It’s 2013 now, and I don’t see a lot of that future happening right now. Although we did come up with the internet which is far more efficient than the 17 fax machines scattered over the future McFly household.

My 3 month old son was not impressed by these shoes. He’s part of this new generation of kids that apparently aren’t impressed with anything. I can’t wait to show him these movies, but I don’t know how I’ll explain it to him. ‘Son, this kid hangs out with an old scientist…..okay wait….. this kid goes to the past in a time machine, but then in part 2 he goes to the future, which is now in the past, and……wait wait…. ok just watch it!!! Trust me, it’s awesome.’ But is it? Will it be awesome for him? Probably not. Why? Because my father grew up watching westerns and that was never awesome to me. Who knows what my son will like? Who knows what his life will include?

Will my son have to deal with a Biff Tannen? Will he have his own version of the ‘Enchantment Under the Sea’ dance?Will there be a short-lived phenomenon like Pepsi Free? (If you want a Pepsi kid, you’re gonna have to pay for it.) Will there be a Cafe 80s (please let there be a Cafe 80s). Will ‘butthead’ be an appropriate thing to call people? Will he understand the implications of 1.21 Jigawatts, and will he be able to purchase plutonium at the corner store? (Because we all know that the only other thing that could possibly generate that kind of power would be a bolt of lightning!!!). Will he be the kind of guy that would want to show his dad a few tricks (like how to talk to girls and ask them to the dance??…..Whatever kid, you never would have been born if I didn’t already know that stuff ;)). Will he know that if he puts his mind to it, he can accomplish anything? Will he know that it’s not necessary to worry about somebody calling him chicken? (Even if it was Flea, the bass player from the Red Hot Chili Peppers, who are now in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame!!) Will he want to ‘Save The Clock Tower’? Will he be a guitar player? Will he dream of having a big truck to take his girlfriend camping with? Will he be a slacker according to school officials? Will he think everything is heavy? Will he be a skateboarder? Will he try to get rich betting on sporting events only to watch somebody else get rich betting on sporting events? Will he be able to steer clear of all the manure trucks that life has to offer?

Only time will tell!

Fantasies I Occasionally Have

Some mornings I wake up and wish I was going to the roller rink so I could tell the DJ to put on ‘Lovely Day’ by Bill Withers and I would do the most kick ass roller skating routine ever….. and I would win a trophy…..and hundreds of people would be cheering, and I’d be drinking a 7Up like ‘yeah’…. and I’d get the girl in the end… you know, the one that it seemed like I might have had a chance with, but there was also a chance that it wasn’t gonna work out probably because of some other guy, but then somehow my roller skating performance cemented the outcome, and of course my enemies come around and end up being cool with me…. and then I would be back in high school again, and I would probably be a misunderstood nerd, but somehow the most popular girl in the school would need help graduating, and because I’m a nerd, I help her, and then near the end of the school year there’s a prom or something, and I end up going with her instead of her going with the captain of the football team, and me going with an equally nerdy girl who I’d probably have more in common with, and there’d be a subplot where the football team wanted to kill me, but then I’d do something really cool and all my enemies would be cool with me….. and then I’d be a vampire who ate Cheetos…..constantly…. instead of blood, and all the other vampires thought I was an idiot, and I’d fall in love with a girl who wasn’t a vampire, and I’d have to protect her from the others….and even though I was hundreds of years old I’d act as vulnerable as an 11-year-old, and everyone would overlook my long fingernails, and then somehow I’d destroy all the other vampires (except the ones who were cool with me) and get the girl in the end….. then I’d be a pilot or an astronaut or something, but I’d have a drinking problem or something, but my flying skills would be unparalleled, and all of the other pilots or astronauts or whatever would resent me because “Nobody’s ever flown like that before” and the teacher/princess/’by the book’ co-worker who didn’t like me taking risks would develop an unreasonable attraction towards me which she would try to deny herself of until she just couldn’t take it any more because I was in some kind of danger or something, and her boyfriend showed his true colours by revealing himself as a completely insensitive asshole…… I of course would successfully complete the mission, get the girl, and convert the non-believers……. and then I’m a cop with a checkered past who keeps getting suspended because I let trying to catch bad guys get in the way of proper department protocol….. but then when I’m suspended, I do a bunch of police work anyways, because I am JUST THAT PASSIONATE about being a cop. I get partnered up with someone I have nothing in common with even though I’ve made it perfectly clear that I HATE working with partners….. somehow through all of this, we develop a close relationship, and after 3 or 4 days of arguing we form the strongest bond ever and nobody could ever tear us apart! We catch the bad guys, make the guys who took over the case (when I got suspended) look like idiots, get reinstated, are awarded medals presented by the Police Commissioner who now thinks we’re the greatest thing ever because we make him look good, and I get the girl (oh…. there was no girl in this one…… let’s call her the hostage???)……then I’m trying out for the varsity team, but I’m too small (even though my heart is HUGE!!!!!!!), and the coach won’t play me because my marks are bad, so I get a tutor who only agrees to help me if I’m ‘all in – no excuses’, but the thing is I can’t read, so we have to go study like crazy, and this is all done ‘montage style’, and during the montage I’m also playing the sport that I’m trying out for and slowly getting better with a buddy on the team who believes in me when everyone else doesn’t. I pass the big test, get re-instated, help the team win the big game, and get the girl (tutor)…… then……. I realize that I have to go to work and that’s enough of that. End Scene.

Bag it up!!

I know nobody wants to say this but I’m personally tired of the subtle attitude I get from lazy treehugging cashiers when I ask for plastic bags. Listen, nobody wants to save the planet more than I do. It’s not the planet’s fault that humans are stupid. The planet got a raw deal. Most of the other species that inhabit earth do a way better job at taking care of earth than we do. Which is appalling considering we’re supposed to be the smartest. What we’ve done to this planet is the equivalent of having sex every night on the same bed sheets for thousands of years and only washing them maybe every 4 or 5 hundred years. Disgusting when you think about it. Easier to not think about it. Here’s the thing though….. I feel guilty for that, but not to the point where I don’t want my friggin groceries to get bagged.

When I was a child, I fondly remember my father coming home from work with Paper Bags full of groceries. I’m no expert, but it seems that nowadays we could just recycle paper bags, couldn’t we? I don’t think we recycled back then. Probably just set everything on fire, I don’t remember. Then we got plastic, which is way more awesome for holding groceries, but bad for the environment. Suddenly, society grew a brain and decided that there should be a movement towards saving the planet. So now plastic has been replaced by an optional ‘bring your own bag’ system which makes perfect sense. I’m happy to do it. I’m doing it for the environment dammit!!! When I remember that is.

There is a fundamental flaw with this system which is the ‘optional’ part. Due to a combination of laziness and forgetfulness, and me personally being afflicted with both, I often don’t bring my own bags. I have them. I must have a dozen of them. Chances are they are just outside in the trunk of my car, but I’m not walking out there to get them once I’m already in line with my shopping cart. So then I get to the front of the line, and the cashier is asking me if I need bags. I tell her I do, and she asks how many. The thing is I don’t know! I have probably a hundred bucks worth of groceries to buy, so why don’t you just bag them up, and then you can tell me how many we used. I didn’t know I was required to keep count of how many bags my purchase would potentially take up so I could accurately assess that for you at the time of purchase.

Then there’s this new thing where I’m now kind of expected to bag these groceries myself. She either puts the bags I brought over to the side and rings everything through, and doesn’t start bagging until the end, or she grabs 6 or 7 plastic bags and sets them over there too. Now when she sets my bags to the side like that and bags at the end, it’s one thing, but when she grabs 6 or 7 plastic bags and sets them over there (not using the hooks that keep the bags open, so you can just drop the items in), the expectation is that you want me to bag my own stuff. So you want me to bring the bags, and now you want me to bag my purchases too? Why don’t I sweep the fucking aisles while I’m at it. I’m sure there’s a couple of skids of frozen goods I could consolidate as well. If I didn’t want service, I would have gone to the self-serve checkout, or I would have gone to some no-name brand carrying discount store. I know this isn’t a gourmet fine foods retailer, but it’s a half decent grocery store. When I go to a half decent grocery store, I want half decent service!

Let me bring it back to the environmental issue. I am sensitive to this, although my sensitivity wears thin when I’m made to feel guilty every time I use a plastic bag. I want all you blog readers to know that I do re-use these plastic bags. I keep them, and I use them to line the garbage cans in my bathrooms. So it’s not a one-dimensional life for these plastic bags. They get to do 2 jobs before destroying the environment. All you grocery store lineup hippies giving me the look because you remembered your environmentally friendly bags, and I forgot mine…….what do you line your garbage cans with??? Do I see Glad Kitchen Catchers going into your eco-friendly bag? Or the big green garbage bags?? Don’t be a hypocrite! You better be all plastic free, or cast your judgemental eyes aside!! I’m tired of this shit!!!

Or…… maybe none of this is really happening…. maybe it’s just perceived, and I’m just really really tired and need a vacation.

Just as an aside…. If you use self checkouts, then you support robots taking over the planet….. more on that in another blog some other time!

Lord Of The Ring

I have a few rant topics, but they got backburnered for this story. This is the story of how I lost my wedding ring. I’ll call it Lord of the Ring. Not because there are any Lords, or even Hobbits or Wizards for that matter. It does involve a ring. My ring. Which I lost. Here’s how.

Pay attention to these details. There will be quiz.

I went to visit my parents over the summer. They have a swimming pool. This plays a part in the story. Present were both of my parents, my mom’s friend from out-of-town (and country), my sister, my wife, my son (who was still inside of my wife), and me. I decided to go swimming which I almost never do. As I got changed, I took off my ring (mistake number one), and put it in the pocket of my shorts (mistake number two), which I left on the couch in their office on the main floor. When I was done swimming, I went to the bathroom to get changed. My wife offered to grab my clothes for me, which she did, and I changed in the main floor bathroom. This is no more than 20 feet away from where the clothes were sitting while I was swimming. I put my clothes on, but forgot to put on my ring (mistake number three). I had a drink, I had dinner, and I probably stayed for a cup of tea. I might have sat in about 3 different chairs. Later we went home. Five minutes after I got home, I remembered about my ring, and I checked my pocket. It wasn’t there. I checked my night table in case I had already emptied my pockets. It wasn’t there. I checked the floor in case it had fallen during the transfer. It wasn’t there. I called my dad and explained what happened. He started looking in their office. I went out to check the car. I couldn’t find it. I called back. He couldn’t find it. I got back in the car and drove over there. My parents and their house guest were out on the front lawn with flashlights (as it was now dark outside), looking for my ring.

Was it…….

a) in the bathroom? Did it fall out when I put my shorts on? Wouldn’t I have heard it rattle around as it hit the floor?
b) in the office? Under a couch cushion? On the floor? There is a rug in there, so if it fell out, I might not have heard it depending on where it landed.
c) anywhere in or out of the house where I might have sat? I did sit out on the deck. Did it fall out of my pocket, roll in between two boards, and fall under the deck?
d) in the house guest’s luggage? It was on the same couch in which my clothes were while I was swimming. Did it fly out into her open suitcase?
e) outside on the front lawn or in the garden? Did I casually yank out my key chain on the way to the car which has enough keys to have legitimately pulled the ring out, and flung it into the bushes?

The answer?? None of the above.

We gave up our search that night, and they vowed to look again in the morning when there was more light. I headed over the next day to look for myself. Nothing! How could this happen? It could only be in a few places. It’s not like I lost it at an amusement park or a shopping mall. It’s my parent’s house. I knew that it was gone 5 minutes after I got home, so it’s not like I lost it from the front door to my bedroom. I checked the car again. We checked my parent’s place again and again. Nothing!

I have to give credit where it’s due. My wife was really cool about it. Some women wouldn’t have been. I just felt sad about it though. I was only married under a year and a half when it happened. At least I still had my wife. I could always get another ring, but it wasn’t that much of a priority, plus I always held out hope that it would show up one day. As the fall came around and the lady that helps my mom out with her gardening did one last search outside, I knew I was going to have to get used to the idea that this ring was gone.

Tonight I went grocery shopping. My grocery store has a ‘coinstar’ which is a machine that you can dump all of your loose change into, and it counts it for you, and gives you a voucher so you can get money from the cashier. I have a bin that I throw all of my loose change into, and then when I’m about to go on vacation I’ll see how much I have, and use it as spending money on my trip. It was actually overflowing, so even though I’m not leaving yet, I had to bring it in early. As I started to feed the money in, didn’t my goddamn wedding ring jump out of the pail and into the coinstar machine. (So I obviously went home that night, emptied my change and inadvertently, my ring into this bin, and then 5 minutes later thought about the ring, and spent months looking everywhere except one of the most obvious places.) As soon as I saw it my mind could barely comprehend it in time. I had to first process what it was, and then grab it quick before it jammed up the machine. I can just picture the emotional rollercoaster of finding my wedding ring which I thought I’d never see again, and then losing it in the coinstar machine and the fiasco that would have ensued with me trying to get it out of there.

I was so excited that I called my mom. My father passed away in the fall, so he doesn’t know I found it. Or maybe he does. I just wish I could have told him this story. He would have laughed his ass off.

Holiday Retail Pet Peeves

So it’s New Year’s Eve, and I’ve cancelled all plans to bring you this blog. I said I would blog on Mondays, and I won’t be stopped. Not even for the biggest party night of the year! Don’t worry about me though. I’m fully equipped with a bottle of wine, 4 different kinds of cheese, and a screaming baby in the background. I’ll get through this.
I’ve spent a few chunks of my adult life as a Retail Manager, and during the holiday shopping season the job description includes being a sales person and letting my paperwork pile up. I don’t mind that. I like being on the sales floor (when I’m in a good mood, and I find people tolerable). The holidays only come around once a year and it’s time to get that money if you’re a retailer.
I’m sure you’ve heard plenty of people talk about their holiday shopping nightmares, and you’ve probably had some yourself. Let me tell you that on the other side of that equation it’s not all rainbows and puppy dogs either. It’s more like caffeine and tolerance. For I have crossed path with every pigeon brained bozo allowed to roam the malls freely, and it’s changed the way I view humanity.
Here are (just) a few of my Holiday Retail Pet Peeves…….

– People who say ‘just looking’ after you say hello to them. I didn’t ask why you were here…. I just said hello. I kind of don’t mind this if I think you don’t speak English, but I find it kind of rude the rest of the time. I’m sure you think that I’m some crazy shark of a sales person (which is true) who’s going to hound you until you buy something (which isn’t true), and I’m sure that you’ve been victimized in the past by somebody very slick that has ridden you around the store like a donkey, and made your life completely miserable. So maybe it’s a defence mechanism to avoid situations like that. I understand, but I still don’t think it’s reasonable that when someone says ‘Hello’, or ‘How are you?’ that you should treat them like a non-human by saying ‘just looking’. Show a bit of courtesy by answering the question you were asked. You’re a guest in my store. Be polite!
– People who come in on December 23rd to try to resolve warranty issues. Don’t you know that this is the absolute busiest day of the entire year? You’re bringing me this issue that you could bring to me ANY DAY OF THE YEAR, and you chose today?? Have some respect!!
– People who try to get price adjustments for ANY reason whatsoever. If there’s a sale, and you weren’t there, you missed it. Too bad. If you bought something and the price lowered a week later, too bad! Why are you visiting items you’ve already purchased anyways. Part of buying something when its new is paying full price. If you wait until it’s stale, then maybe you get a discount. You shouldn’t be able to have it both ways, and any store that accommodates this is stupid. The customer is almost always WRONG. Let’s get the culture back to that reality. My favourite is when they come in whining about how they missed out on a promotion, and tell you it’s not fair (like a 4-year-old). Cancer isn’t fair!! You missing out on a sale is just fine in the grand scheme of things. Grow up!
– People that leave their Christmas shopping until December 23rd, and expected shit to be sweet when they get to the mall. They can’t believe an item isn’t in stock. They can’t believe there’s such a huge lineup at the cash. They can’t believe nothing is on sale. BELIEVE IT! It’s December 23rd!! I won’t lie. I’ve left my shopping for the 23rd many a year, but I never walked into a store with lofty expectations of how awesome my shopping experience would be. That’s just ignorant.
– People who have really detailed specific desires of a gift they want to buy someone, but nobody sells it or makes it. Like that purple sweater with a red stripe. They come in asking for ridiculousness, and then they’re mad when you don’t sell it. Then they tell you sad stories about them looking EVERYWHERE for it, and then asking for recommendations about where they might find it at another store, as if any reasonable human being would know where to find a purple sweater with a red stripe. Then the whole frustration conversation about ‘why doesn’t anybody sell this’, and before you can say ‘because it’s ugly’ or ‘I really don’t have time for your stories’ or ‘only a loser would want that’, you’re knee-deep in a conversation about the holidays and gift exchanging with someone you’ve never met, and would love to never see again, until getting stabbed in the eye with a fork seems like the lesser of the two evils. It’s December 23rd! Either lower your expectations or purchase a gift card, but either way, please stop talking to me and get out of my store.
– People who call the store to see if you have something in stock, but nobody can get to the phone, so they leave a voicemail with no name, and a mumbled phone number. Why do people always talk so slowly during the message, and then zip through the phone number which is the most important part. Then they don’t leave a name either, so I have to call back this number which I’m not even sure is accurate, and ask whoever picks up the phone if somebody called my store earlier?? WTF.

I’ve got a million of them, but I’ll leave it at that for now. Happy New Year everybody!