Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Funniest Commercial

Every once in a while I see the funniest commercial, to me this is comedy gold, some guy getting hit in the crotch by a ram. The fist time I saw it I was like, awwwwwww! But since I have TiVo, I just rewound it and played it again, and it was funnier. Couldn't stop laughing. Its funny on so many levels.

I have no idea what they are selling, (some sort of gum), but man its just funny to see some random guy get hit like that, over and over again.

Clink and Drink

Jack and I will play this little game where we both clink our glasses together and take a sip when we have dinner or lunch. Tonight he kept asking me if I wanted to "Clink and Drink".

Email Delegation

I sent out an email to some managers of the branches (23 of them) asking for their input on a publication I was going to be distributing later. I was stuck on a final quantity to print and since they would know more about their branches distribution patterns, I asked them if they would need less than or more than 200 copies for each branch.

If they were fine with the requisite 200, then don't bother responding and I will be sure to have 200 sent to their branch. I get a few emails back and out of the five that responded, three said that 200 was fine with them, of course. Some people don't read their email and pay particular attention to all the details. I expect that.

However, I got one back that really blew my mind; The Manager forwarded it to an associate and said that 200 was fine and added who to send it to, my boss. Not me, the originator of the email, but my boss. My boss ended up forwarding it to me, so that I could see that, yes, ignore the email since they were requesting the default 200 quantity.

What blows my mind is that the entire string of emails was unneccessary if the Manager had just read the email. Heck, she could have kept two other people out of the loop if she had just hit reply instead of forward. But I guess she felt she had to delegate this to someone. She must have been too busy reading her emails so thoroughly.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Haircut

We have been wanting to get Jack a haircut for the last two months, but something always comes up, The line is waaaay too long, its too late or Grandma (Kate's Mom) wants to see him before he gets it cut. (She's a fan of the shaggy look)

So I took him in to the Mall and he's fine, I tell him we are going to get his hair cut, which he is not a fan of, but he gets to watch Thomas the Train while he gets it cut and they give him a sucker. He seems OK with this arrangement, until we actually step through the door and steps out. He doesn't want to do it. I ask him about his fear, reason with him, bargain, reminding him about the free lollipop.

He softens a little, but then backs out again. Crying and carrying on like we are taking an ear too.

I take him away from the store, we walk around to a place that has a few sitting areas and we sit. I try to explain to him all about what s involved, I would never let anyone hurt him or that he gets to see Thomas. I tell him I will buy him a small Thomas train at the toy store if he gets a haircut, but he still doesn't want to do it.

At this point, its hard to keep his attention, cause he won't look at me in the eye because of all the other stimuli around the Mall, the signs that blink, twinkle and move. I realize that I have only a few minutes before the 2-year-old decides to be a 2-year-old and throw a real fit. I ask him real nice and remind him of how he also would not let me cut his toe nails one time and that after 10 minutes of convincing, he eventually let me and that after that, we never had a problem.

He looks at me and says OK. We go in and get his hair cut and we are out in 15 minutes. I keep reminding him that every time he gets a haircut that its like that, he gets a sucker, gets to watch Thomas and nothing bad happens.

Hopefully the lesson will stick this time.

Here's the "not-so-sure-whats-happening" look that I snapped while he was in the chair, I had to sit with him and he would not wear the smock.

Friday, November 7, 2008

October is Over, But Don't Forget...

I got a call just before we left for South Carolina last week from a "telefundraiser". You know these souls because they start the conversation very nicely, but are always on script. They tell you about how Firefighters are good people, wouldn't you agree? Only an asshole would disagree, so you say "yes, of course." And they say, the why wouldn't you want to support them with a donation. They try and guilt you obfuscate their real intention, which is to raise money for themselves.

The person on the other end of that line, chances are, does not give a shit about Firefighters or Breast Cancer Awareness. They just need a few bucks and this job pays a few extra bills. You see, the dirty little secret of the TeleFundraising Industry is that most of these organizations are raising money for themselves and not the organization that they are calling for.

Let me explain; The young girl that called last week says that October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. She would like to know if I would like to pledge a donation in the amount of $25, $45 or $100. Um, I don't just give someone $100 that has my phone number. If you send me your literature and I check your Organization out, then I can decide if its worthy of my charitable giving. She says that she can do that, but would I like to pledge a donation amount for the materials. I say that I shouldn't have to pledge anything to get the information that is needed to make a prudent decision on wether to give to the Organization or not.

I ask her how much of the contributions go to the actual cause. I remind her that its state law that she has to disclose this information if its requested. She says 10%.

I told her that wasn't good enough, have a nice night.

You see, if you are savvy enough and not caught off-guard by that phone call, you can discern who is yanking you and take appropriate evasive action. 10 percent is a dismal amount to pass on to the organization that is doing research. That means for every dollar you give, 90 cents goes right into the pocket of someone you don't know that doesn't necessarily give two hoots about your cause. You are better off giving 11 cents to that cause directly.

A great way to make sure that your money is going to a good cause like Breast Cancer Research is to buy the Breast Cancer Stamp at the Post Office. It costs more than a regular stamp, but all of the extra proceeds go toward the cause. Every penny. There is no middle man, certainly not one that would take a 90 percent cut.

Here is a link to a web site that has some great advice on dealing with these telefundraisers. Go there, read it and use it the next time you get one of these calls.

Charity Navigator - 6 Questions

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


Jack didn't want to wear his costume that I made. It was a sweatshirt with stuff ainted on the front like a Jack-O-Lantern, Moon and spiderweb. Kate's Mom got some glue-paint at teh craft store and I whipped it together that morning.

We had been trying to get him to dress up for the last month to no avail. I tried everything, from Dragons to Storm Troopers to Tigers and a Bee, but he didn't want any of the costumes.

He ended up just going with a plastic sword we got at the Fair the night before, since it glowed and it was night, he was drawn to it. He caught on pretty quick when people gave him candy, but had to be reminded to say "Trick or Treat" and "Thank You" every house.

He wasn't scared at any houses, even the one with the gravestones on the front yard, spooky music and people in witch costumes, but when we got to the house where the lady was dressed up as a jar of Concord Grape Jelly and her son was a jar of JIF Peanut Butter, he froze. That was the only house with its front lights on, so he could really see who wanted to give candy. He would not go to the door. I tried to explain that she was a jar of jelly and he was peanut butter (which sounds perfectly sane I am sure). I kept thinking, "I'm no even buying this". The kid has good instincts, who knew?

He wasn't buying it, so we headed back to the house and hung with Grandma who was distributing candy to the kids and harassing the teenagers that hadn't dressed up. She made then sing a song or dance for a minute of they didn't bother to wear a costume, but everyone got a treat. She's fair, but tough.

I went as a clown, not the sad kind that you think of as a seral-killer, but the goofy kind that like hijinks, shenanigans and fun. My Mother-in-law chose that costume for me to wear. I think she really sees me as a clown of sorts, I am definitely goofy. My nose wouldn't stay on, but after a beer, I didn't care nearly as much.

There is nothing sadder than a clown with a beer and an attitude. (You think yer better? Eh? Yeah, I wear makeup, so what? I can fit twenty people into may car and juggle crap, what can YOU do? Hey! Check out my shoes, ladies, you know what they say about a man with big feet... What are YOU lookin at?!?)

The Range

On the second day, Tino took me to the range and we shot off 200-300 rounds of 22s. I got to shoot a Rugar Mark 1 and a Mark 2. We practiced on silhouette targets and I did pretty good. Only one shot missed the silhouette and that was at 15 meters. It was also after the gun jammed and I had to clear it. I hate when that happens, but it only happened once during the whole time.

I got several Xs, a few dozen 8s and 9s mostly. Good groupings of about a fist, so I was tight with all my shots, even at 12-15 meters.

While I was watching Tino shoot I hear "bambambambambambambambam" in a very quick succession. You are not supposed to rapid fire your weapon at a range, its stupid and dangerous. Frankly its a waste cause it doesn't make you a better shot.

One of the instructors looks over and I see him roll his eyes.

Its some short fella (5' if that) with a very big gun (.45) and his target is not a silhouette but an image of a middle eastern-looking man holding an AK-47. This is not the type of person that responsible gun owners would point to as a good example. But this is the type of person that gets a lot of the press as far as gun owners.

Welcome to South Carolina.

Trip to SC (Part 3)

Here is one of all of us together at the Fair, perfect background setting.

Taking a break and getting a bite o eat.

Some of the things to do there were just for fun. He didn't really "get" this, but one day he will see this picture and think its funnier.

Kate and her Mom riding the bumpercars, No jokes about bad driving here, move along.

Three Dog Night played the first night and then there were Fireworks. Jack grumbled a little over the sound of the gun powder blasts, so I held his ears and he enjoyed the display. We all had a good time.

Trip to SC (Part 2)

Petting the goats and sheep.

Here are a few other animal pics:

The Ag house also had some pigs who were, pigging out when we passed by.

Have you ever seen the eyes of a sheep close-up? They are odd shaped, like rectangular iris and they give off a bluish hue whn photographed. Not of this earth I tell you.

Jack loved the carousel, that was the first ride for him and then he wanted to go on more rides. At first he was cautious, since kids are screaming and lots of acivity, but then he settled in and went on teh carousel and loved it.

Then it was the Dump-Truck ride:

We also went to the prize booth and he won a yellow stuffed duckie, all on his own.

(End of Part 2)

Trip to SC (Part 1)

We took a few days to go visit Grandma and Tino (Papu) in South Carolina this last week. Sh suggested we come down for Halloween a while back and so we decided to visit. We left in the Wednesday before Halloween and got back Sunday evening.

The first night we got there we just had some dinner and relaxed since the drive was so long. Kate drove all the way there so she was a little tired, but energized when she saw her Mom. Jack is usually cautious of people when at first, but warmed up quick after we got there and settled in.

Grandma got some tickets for the Fair that happens each year about this time so we planned on going to that the next day, opening day. Turned out to be a great plan because it wasn't too crowded and we got to do a lot of stuff.

A little background; Kate has been harping on me about elephant ears. Ever since I go one of those funnel cakes at the Celebrate Fairfax Fair this summer she has insisted that elephant ears are superior. Well, now your in my wheel-house, baby, cause I consider myself a real judge of good (bad for you) food. Its fried, check. Its covered in sugar, check. Its a dough, check. What's not to like?

We ate at the Fair cause they had every food under the sun that you are not to stuff yourself with; funnel cakes, pizza, lemonade, hot dogs, corn dogs, chicken on a stick and all kinds of other fair fare.

I had some of the elephant ear and its good. It tasted the same as a funnel cake, but just shaped different. If I tasted both blindfolded, I probably could not tell the difference. Mmmm, powdered sugar...

There were also rides and other attractions, I took plenty of pictures since there was so much going on. It wasn't hard o find something new to stimulate Jacks little mind. Animals, Rides, Food, Toys and Lights. He had a great time.

At first he didn't want to ride anything, the choo-choo train, the spinning monkeys, the motorcycles. We went to the petting zoo and saw some goats and sheep, a zebra, some sort of gazelle, a mini brahma bull, a donkey and ducks. Just outside that area was the elephant, which you could ride for a few bucks. So I rode it. Kate wasn't interested and neither was Jack, but I had never ridden an elephant before and figured that the chances of getting to ride one were slim in the near future.

Yee Haw!

Look, its a monkey riding an elephant!

After that we went to see the show elephants perform their show. We got settled in the stands and sat for a total of about 10 minutes and he decided that he had enough. He was already bored - the mind of a two year-old.

We went to get some food for him (chicken fingers and fries) since he was a little grumpy and that perked him up. Next we went to the Agriculture building and saw a lot of farm animals; Bulls, Chickens, Bunnies, Pigs, Horses and Ponies and Goats.

Here is the biggest Bunny I have ever seen. I think at the size that it was, its no longer a bunny, but a "Huge Hare". The picture doesn't show the size of this thing, but trust me when I say that it was huuuuge, like pumped up on 'roids. Roid-Bunny. I would estimate that it weighed in at 30 pounds. Bigger than a house cat, for sure.

In one of the other cages there was the velveteen rabbit, which was bred for no other reason than to have some huge ears. Drooped over they were so long and heavy, they flopped on the cage floor. Reminded me of Dumbo, but as a rabbit.

This part of the Ag building was starting to resemble some sort of animal Freak-Fest, but then the rest of the animals were of much better proportion and weight. (except for the shetland pony, which is smaller than my 65 pound labrador, sorry, no picture)

Kate an Jack pose for a pic in the Ag building while looking at the baby goats.

There was a display of Quails birds, from egg to adulthood on display and Jack enjoyed seeing the baby quail chicks.

(End of Part 1)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

I Voted

We got up early this morning and voted at our local polling place. We took Jack with us and stood in line for about 30 minutes. The people who had the last names of L-Z had to wait much longer because they all got up early and were at the polls this morning. The A-Ks, like us were few and far between, only a third of us compared to the L-Zs.

I am just glad its over so all the friggin phone calls, the pamphlets, fliers and TV Ads will stop.

As you can see, I got my sticker. Jack liked that part, big fan of the sticker. Loves the sticker. If you think about it, its really what we all go for, the sticker. We walk away with the feeling we are a part of something bigger, but physically, all we get is a sticker. Sort of like kindergarten when you did something good, you got a sticker. Hey, you didn't eat the paste, here's a sticker. You sat down for a whole minute, here's a sticker.

Way to go, you voted, here's a sticker.

Jack's Opinion

I quizzed the boy on who he is gonna vote for and he has made his choice. He is going with the "Orange One". I can't believe he dodged the question, maybe he'll get into politics in the future.