Meta Blogging; Politics

Strange how time seems to move so quickly isn’t it? I just updated the dead link at the bottom of this page (you know the one; it entices you to click on the next update, regardless of the fact that I have yet to write it), I have thought to change that link so that is just text, but then I would not have all of the personal satisfaction of knowing that someone, somewhere, is actually trying to click on it. At any rate, It was during this little process that I realized that it is going to be October pretty soon, within a few hours in fact. Seems like it was only last week that I was thinking I needed to get the damn archives around here up to date, of course that was while I was on vacation in July, so you should see what I am getting at with the movement of time.

The real problem with updating the archives isn’t about actually spending the time to do it, since it honestly only takes me a few seconds to scan each update, write a very brief description and slap it on the page. No, no, the real problem with it is that it requires me to read all the dribble that I write. Did you think that the lack of proofreading was due to my integrity? No, nothing like that at all. People say that you are always more critical of your own work, but come on, some of this garbage is just, well, garbage.

When I initially set up this site it was due to a free site having deleted my page and all of its content. Paying a few bucks a month to keep the content online didn’t seem like a bad idea, so that is what I did. I am not sure if I ever had the intention of setting up a daily journal/blog -type thing, but that is what happened. While I do enjoy writing all of the stuff that I post here, I don’t really enjoy reading it all that much. The writing of it is quite theraputic, while the reading of it is boring to me, and hopefully no one else.

It is with those beautiful, self-deprecating thoughts that I go into todays post..Be Warned..

• I, and I alone, have taken it upon myself to declare today “National Stand Out On Your Lawn Holding A Large Metal Pole While Praying For Ligntning Day”. Possibly not the whole day, but certainly for the two hours that the presidential candidates are going to be on television. I am not one to be cynical, oh wait I guess I am, but the simple fact that the online games I like to play have flooded over with players since the start of the ‘debate’ just makes me think that no one really cares which party has the better control of their puppet.

I am actually going to go watch the debate to see if I can be so ‘Un-American’ as to try to form my own opinions based on what the candidates say. Of course the debate is all but scripted, so good luck to me.

I hope to pick this up after Survivor is over, but no gurantees.

The debate was all that I expected: Bush said the phrase “war on terror” at least a thousand times (and I only watched half of it), while Kerry did his best to bring the facts into view; The fact that Iraq was less of a threat than at least four other countries (as far as ‘weapons of mass destruction’), the fact that we invaded Iraq on our own (no help from the UN on that one), the fact that the deaths in Iraq have been steadily going up since the war was ‘over’ (deaths being both the U.S. troops and Iraqi civilians). For some reason you can’t seem to hammer a fact into the head of George W. Bush…No, seriously, I bet if you had a fact that you wanted him to hear, then listened to how the ‘key part of the war on terror’ that fact was, then you became agitated and grabbed a hammer….You know where this is going.

The really unfortunate thing is that I don’t think that Kerry really did all that well at the debate. I could be wrong, or cynical, but it seemed that Bush was able to make his little eyes very steely when he looked into the camera and said “terror” or “war on terror”. I think Kerry had a lot more facts than Bush, possibly a better way to achieve the goals (though that would require looking at each candidates website to find out), I just think that Kerry might have been able to sell himself a bit better.

One thing, in the debate, that I found to be a bit surprising was that Kerry actually brought up the subject of ‘stem cell research’, and Bush’s policy against it. It was a bit of manuevering that Bush had to do to get that subject changed back to the ‘war on terror’, but he did it. He never once mentioned his staunch opposition of it. I tell you, if Bush is not re-elected he could certainly make a good spin doctor for someone else, someone else who likes to not hide facts, but change subjects, that is.

This year’s presidential debates are going to fall into the next trivial pursuit game, I am afraid. The only people that are watching them are steadfast supporters of one or the other of the candidates. The ‘undecided’ people are all playing on-line games, much like I should be, but my ‘journalistic integrity'(hehe) keeps me from doing so.

Here’s to hoping that the presidential candidates sober up…

Dreams; Joke email

So yesterday I came up with a new idea for a side bar feature. You can see the evidence of that on this particular page! The new addition is, “Is It Porn?” The idea here is that you have to look at the name of a website and try to figure out who made it to get it registered first, either an actual business, or a porn site. The one that is currently there, the side-bar, was exactly the reason that I decided to do it in the first place. If you would have asked me a couple of days ago if I thought that was legitimate or a porn site, I would have thought it was definitely porn. That led me to try a few other common words, which really shouldn’t be porn, but about half of them were. So, I started thinking that there should be a guessing game involved in the process. While I currently only have a link to it (the first one), in the future I will likely place some ‘secret text’ below it so that you can see if you were right without having to download all the spyware and crap that you get from your average porn site.

• Yesterday’s call for email didn’t result in anything. Though when the wife asked for me to clarify exactly what I was asking later this evening, she decided that what I was asking sounded like normal dreaming. Now, see, I can only actually gain control of the dream perhaps 5% of the time, the rest of the time I am just dreaming and reacting to what happens in the dream world. When she, my wife, asked if I was able to make people appear and disappear once I had ‘control’ of the dream, I could answer it only partially true. I can make people appear, I can make things happen (not just things by my hand, but with other things in the dream) that change the surroundings and the people in the dream. It is certainly impossible to explain, but if you have ever had the type of dream where you can make people/animals/objects appear, then you remember doing that in the morning, you might be having the kind of dream that I am talking about.

I also say that I can do that in about 5% of my dreams, yet I think that might be a bit of a high end estimate. Possibly 50% of the times that I am dreaming I realize that it is a dream. Of that 50%, I may only be able to wake up or take control half of the time. Of that number, I would guess that the percentage of times that I simply wake up would be in the extremely high nineties. To stretch that one a bit further, I can take control of a dream roughly once or twice a month. That is not counting all dreams had in a night as one dream, but counting the times when I am able to take control. If I have five or six dreams in a night I may never be able to gain control of them, this could go on for weeks. If you have never gained control of one of your dreams, you will just sit there wondering WTF I am talking about, yet, if you have ever done so (gained control of a dream, that is), I would really like to Hear from you. Trust me when I say that you will know if you have ever done it.

No more on that subject today, I have more information to gather.

• The wife is a wonderful source of those CC emails that you really wish you never got, but only because you think that they are virus-ridden. For some reason or another, the last couple of emails that I got from my wife made me laugh. One for obvious reasons, one less so. At any rate, I am gonna post them both here, after clipping the names, email addresses and phone numbers of course:

George Bush met with the Queen of England. He asked her, “Your Majesty, how do you run such an efficient government? Are there any tips you can give to me?””Well,” said the Queen, “the most important thing is to surround yourself with intelligent people.”

Bush frowned. “But how do I know the people around me are really intelligent?”

The Queen took a sip of tea. “Oh, that’s easy. You just ask them to answer an intelligent riddle.” She then pushed a button on her intercom. “Please send Tony Blair in here, would you?”

Tony Blair walked into the room. “Yes, my Queen?”

The Queen smiled. “Answer me this, please, Tony. Your mother and father have a child. It is not your brother and it is not your sister. Who is it?”

Without pausing for a moment, Tony Blair answered, “That would be me.”

“Yes! Very good,” said the Queen.

Bush went home to ask Dick Cheney, his vice president, the same question. “Dick, answer this for me. Your mother and your father have a child. It’s not your brother and it’s not your sister. Who is it?”

“I’m not sure,” replied Dick. “Let me get back to you on that one.”

Cheney went to his advisors and asked every one, but none could give him an answer. Finally, he ended up in the men’s room. Recognizing Colin Powell’s shoes in the next stall, he shouted, “Colin! Can you answer this for me? Your mother and father have a child and it’s not your brother or your sister. Who is it?”

Colin Powell yelled back, “That’s easy. It’s me!”

Cheney smiled and said, “Thanks!” Then he went back to speak with Bush.

“Say, I did some research and I have the answer to that riddle. It’s Colin Powell.”

Bush got up, stomped over to Cheney, and angrily yelled into his face, “No, you idiot! It’s Tony Blair!”

Okay, so I am going to post only the one, as I realized the other one would not work quite as well in this format.

Friend dies in car accident

Well I actually did put pen to paper (actually finger to keyboard) yesterday to write something. What happened is that I got a little bit of the subject that I was typing about and decided that it was a bit to personal to put in such a (potentially) public venue. It was nothing horrible or all that secret, just something that I decided, after I wrote it, that the general public would be better off without that particular knowledge. One thing that was in that post is something that I want to bring up today, as I have always been quite curious about it…Yet not so curious as to actually ask anyone.

Rather than actually going into a whole lot of detail about that subject today, I will just ask the question (for the sake of my own sanity), that has peaked my curiosity. That question is: While you are dreaming, does your mind ever realize that you are in a dream? If so, are you actually able to take over the actions of your ‘dream self’ and manipulate him/her as if it was in real life? I don’t want to go into any more detail than just that, mostly because I am hoping that someone will email me a response. This is a subject that I am very curious about. If you have ever had a dream, your input would be greatly appreciated.

• In other news, a friend of my wife’s has recently died in a car accident. I knew the man as well and he was likely the only person that my wife has ever had as a co-worker that I actually got along with. Of course, to be fair, the wife has had tons of co-workers through the years, some I can relate to, some I can’t. Were I given a few hours alone with each of them I would be able to form a more solid decision about like/dislike, but that just never happens…Well, there was the one time where we all went to a baseball game, we being myself, my wife, and two couples of which the women were her friends. I made a judgement about one of the men on that day, which was reinforced when we had them all over to a barbecue one day (a year or two ago).

The man in question, though, was named Brad. He and my wife had worked together for a couple of years before he transferred to Texas. He was a heavy drinker (possibly as bad as me), but it seems that, on the night he died, he did not know his limits. It is a difficult thing to do; to picture someone in your mind that you know is now dead, regardless of the circumstances. I certainly feel for Brad, his mother and his relatives. He was far too young to die…Younger than me, in fact.

Men, in particular, seem to think that they are ‘bullet-proof’ until they hit the age of 30 (some men hold the belief a bit longer), Hell, I know I did. I can think of at least enough situtions where I ‘should have’ died to make you extend all of your fingers in counting. The simple fact that any man makes it through the ‘Machismo’ part of life should go to prove that there is someone, somewhere, that really doesn’t want them to die.

I try to tell myself that I have ‘Guardian Angels’ watching over me, but at the same time I am not gonna get really wasted and drive a car (anymore). My ‘Guardian Angels’ could all be out on vacation that day, then what?

Perhaps I am just turning into a rambling old coot before my time. First I bitch about how music was better when I was youg (ala old Metallica) then I start to bitch about kids with the waistband of their pants around their knees (pants were skin tight when I was a youngun!). Maybe then I can go into some sort of a ‘Public Service Message’ about the values you learn when you fight with your own fists (as opposed to guns and knives).

Were I 15 years younger, or if I cared, I would try to make it so that this ‘angry music’ wouldn’t claim the lives of any more innocent children. That is, of course, what my father said fifteen years ago. Funny how the generation, the styles, hell everything can change, yet, the adults always seem to never know what the kids are going through. If it was possible to avoid the damn circle that this leads to I would be all over it.

One thing that was in the 5th ‘Harry Potter’ book was that ‘Dumbledore’ said that it is impossible for a child to know what it is like to be old, while every person that is old has been young. That seems to be almost a satisfying resolution for that discussion. Parents do understand what their children are going through, yet, the parents can not get inolved. Getting the parent’s involved would be the sign of a sissy, no one wants to be a sissy. All that the parent can do is be supportive, any other involvement would be just as bad as the ridicule on the playground.

Thank God that I don’t have children. If I ever start thinking that I want a son, I can just borrow my Nephew for a day, then I never want ANYONE to have children ever again.

On Religion

First and foremost, I want to assure you that I am not going to dedicate this whole page to talking about the new shoes (though I am in some sort of a Nirvana-like shoe state ever since the purchase of those little suckers), so you can read on with confidence, in what I got no idea.

• Flux, over there at BlackChampagne had a bit of an email tiff with the guy who does the movie reviews over at The CAP Alert website (Christian Movie Reviews…That is, reviews of new movies from a strictly biblical point of view; What sins are committed and the such). For my purposes here, I will say that the email exchange was often humorous (as it was displayed right in the blog on Flux’s site for all the world to see), mostly so when viewed from a distance, as a sort of study into the mind of the extremely zealous, religious nut-case (not Flux, but the Cap Alert guy).

Something about what the religious nut-case said in one (well all) of the emails prompted me to email Flux with my two cents. It turns out that there were a couple of people other than me that were also following the saga, probably in almost stupified confusion (I know I was) at what the Cap guy was saying. Flux actually set up a separate page just to host the email conversation with the guy and the resulting feedback. That page can be seen Here.

One of the feedbacks was talking about something called “cognitive dissonance”, a term that I had never heard of. I don’t truly understand that term, or the implications of it, well enough to argue about it. Just a quick break down of how I see it:

1) You have a very strong belief in something, could be anything.
2) You are offered undeniable proof that your belief is wrong.
3) You believe even more in that something, laying all facts aside.

Now, it seems to me that this is exactly what religion has been doing for thousands of years. I remember a story in the bible where a bunch of people were trying to build a staircase to God (which I think is the bible trying to explain away things like the pyramids and any other large structure that pre-dates christianity). God then made it so that all of the workers spoke different languages so that they couldn’t communicate. God didn’t want mortals to be able to reach the heavens (best described in the bible as clouds). Fast-forward that story a couple of thousand years, then note that we have space travel. Now, Heaven is no longer in the clouds, or in space, maybe mortals can’t even see it when they go by, I dunno. If it was true that you could build something tall enough to reach Heaven, wouldn’t that mean that Heaven was a tangible place? The bible said it was, oh, but, wait, there is that “cognitive dissonance”.

Religion, in and of itself, doesn’t make any sense at all. There have been hundreds of ‘known religions’, likely thousands that were practiced but not known to us today. Once no one really practices them any more they turn into Mythology. I just wonder why we wait until there are no more practioners of said religion before calling it a myth. Doesn’t crap equal crap regardless of the defenders of the one pile?

You may have noticed that I am a bit bitter towards religion. I think that is a pretty justified position to take, given my upbringing. My parents were not all that religious (technically, the only time I ever heard the word GOD when I was young was when dad was yelling at whatever he was trying to fix; It was generally followed by either ‘Damn’ or a string of obscenities that I am not going to list here). While my parents were not religious, I (and my brothers) were forced to go to church every Sunday. As a grown man, I think that maybe they were looking for a bit of time alone, but who knows. I did my best to listen to the guy yelling all of the bible verses, I did sing when necessary, I put a quarter in the collection dish every Sunday(I was like 6), I did the religion thing.

I went to ‘Vacation Bible School’, I went to a Wednesday Night program (called AWANA), I did all that I could to excel at this endeavor. My second year at “Vacation Bible School” was the first time that i actually walked down between the pews, kneeled down, and asked God to save my soul. I was in tears as I did that, I am still not sure if they were tears of joy or tears of fear or pain, I just know that I did it. I really, truly, wanted to be the best little christian that I could be…

Shortly after my parents divorced, at which point I was either 7 or 8, I was given a bible, from a woman, at a church that my mother was taking us to. I think that this was the first bible that was ever truly mine. It was a pretty bible too, it was white on the outside and put a lot of the verses in red on the inside. When I asked the woman who had given it to me why some of the verses were in red, she said that they were many of the verses that are cited during your average Sermon. That, of course, intrigued me.

I began to read the book just wondering why the passages that they ( the preachers ) quoted were so few and far between. Within about an hour I knew exactly why there were only a few of the passages in red; There are only a few passages that the Preacher ever wants you to see. It took me a couple of weeks, and I didn’t understand some of it, but, I read the bible, cover to cover. The Bible (at least the King James version of it) is rife with adultery, murder & incest. Were it not for the fact that religions are basing their lives on the damn thing, it might be on the best-seller list as just one hell of a novel.

Even after that epiphany, it took me almost four years before I just gave up and said that all religion is bullshit. I can not cite a single incident that led to this, there had been overwhelming scientific evidence for years, I had avoided it. There was some point where I just thought, okay, enough. It is all crap, life is not being governed by some higher power. If it is, I am certainly gonna be screwed for putting the fingers to the keyboard to write this.

The issue of “cognitive dissonance”, it seems, really does exist. It kept me from giving up on religion for a very long time. Now that I am free of the religious pull, I wonder how I ever got suckered into that garbage. Of course I was a child of parents who were sending me to church so that they could have some nooky time. Had my parent’s actually been religious, I might be writing this from the other side of the fence.

• The strange thing is that I do believe in Karma (to an extent). If you wrong someone, that wrong will come back to you. I don’t think that that implies a religion though. That is something that I keep in mind when I deal with people who are really irritating me (though they may not know it). If you treat your peers the way that you would want them to treat you, this would not be an issue. Unfortunately, the christian community is too involved in what everyone else is doing wrong to find fault in their own actions. Oh, to be so blissfull and naive…

Wrongs have a way of Righting themselves.

Shoe size; Sex pills

My day at work yesterday involved unloading a truck. I must say that this process has been made much, much easier on me since the change in distributors sometime in July. I used to have to pick every case off of a roller and set it on the floor to the side, now I just have to check in the perishables, which are carted in by the driver, and actually count the rest of the stock. I had never realized just how much work it was to pick up the several hundred cases (ranging in weight from 5-80 pounds) and set them to the side until the point where I didn’t have to do it. Damn that used to be a lot of work.

The unfortunate side-effect of the new system is that If I happen to miss damage to any of the persihable items while checking them in, we can not return them, and can not get a credit for breakage. What this means to me, personally, is that I have to pay a lot more attention to the boxes that the items are shipped in; If the sides of the box appear to be smashed a little bit, it could be that the product inside the box is completely destroyed. Still, having to do less lifting and more careful examinations is something that I welcome, having had problems with my back for the last ten or twelve years.

Unfortunately for you, the reader, I have no intentions of talking about my lack of lifting over the last couple of months. I have more sinister motives. It is all about the shoes.

In my last update, I mentioned that if my new shoes performed perfectly it would be akin to me getting a Pulitzer Prize for the writing that I put into this site. The thing is that the shoes did perform flawlessly, yet I have not heard any mention of my little bitch site being in contention for said Pulitzer. I suppose that I am a humbled man. I am a humbled man who no longer has sore feet every fucking day though, so that should count for something.

What I really want to know is how can a man reach the age of 30 without anyone ever saying anything about the poor fitting shoes? Sure there is not a lot of opportunity for that kind of thing when you buy your shoes at warehouse outlets and the such, but when the guys are fitting you for a Tuxedo they measure everything. Come to think of it, those rented tux shoes didn’t hurt either. Perhaps I should have asked the guy what shoe size I actually was. Bleh. Now I know the problem and I will be able to address it in the future.

One more thing that I must say about the whole ‘shoe size’ issue is that the reason that I used to buy the oversized (so it seems) shoes was that they were the only ones that didn’t horribly hurt my toes even in the showroom (that seems to be based on the shoe getting a fraction wider for every size; assuming that the foot is just a bit wider for every inch longer it gets). The side-effect of that was that they did not bend where my foot bent, which led to further discomfort, well pain usually. If you are a poor/cheap person like me, and you have a lot of foot pain, have someone actually measure your damn feet before your next shoe purchase. The difference is not like night and day, but more like sunshine as opposed to the endless void of the nether realms of a black hole.

I still wish that I could have found a brand that I knew a little bit better, perhaps the better fit of the shoes will keep my feet from busting the seams quite as quickly? I better go ahead and bookmark this page for the inevitable letdown in a month or two.

• In a bit of non-shoe news, for a change, here is a story that I really enjoyed:

Sex Enhancement Pills Fall Short?

I had long thought that no one believed the commercials for those damn ‘penis enlargement’ pills. Well it turns out that enough people did, and enough people are mad about it, that they are going to try to sue the makers of the pill ‘Enzyte’. You see, the thing is, I have to watch at least a dozen commercials for that pill every day. Not once, ever, in the commercials does it actually say that it will make the little willy bigger. It does say that it will give you a “big new spring of confidence”, it also says that it will give you “a little well-deserved respect around the neighborhood”, what it does not say is that it will make your penis bigger.

I think that they go to great lengths to try to make you think that they are saying that it will make your penis bigger, but they never say anything of the sort. Other commercials say that it will give you a “big, new swing of confidence” as well as a “happy woman back at the ‘club-house’.” None of that actually says, or implies, actual penis growth. Sure, some men would think that it implies they will get a larger penis if they take the pill, but aren’t there thousands of people who buy ‘penis pumps’ in the hopes of getting a bit of ‘natural male enhancement’?

The very last line of the article that I linked to at the start pretty much says it all, and it said:

“Enzyte is more successful subtracting from the male wallet than it is adding to the male organ,” Schardt said.

I may not be the biggest horse in the stalls, but I would rather eat my own shit than to pop sugar pills in the hopes that little willy would grow.

It is like my Mother always told me (and no that was not from her personal experience), “It is not the size of the wand, but the magic within.” Come to think of it., That might not have been my Mom, might have been my friend’s mom (the same non-sexual rule still applying), at any rate, someone said that to me enough times that I still remember it. Of course the small wand might make me remember this particular quote all the more.

Now that I have told everyone that has an internet connection that I have both huge feet and a small member, I think I am gonna call it a night.

Tune in to the next post to see how I can turn very innocuous ideas into horrible things that you would rather not read. I am ready.

Shoe size

Well, just a bit more shoe discussion today (dear random fluctuations of time and space, I hope I eventually come up with some actual content). The shoes that I bought on Sunday performed quite admirably in their first full day of use. Of course you can’t judge a shoe by the first ‘full day’ of use, but I can certainly tell you that most of the downfalls of the other shoes were non-existant in these ones. So much so, in fact, that I think I may finally understand why I can never find a comfortable pair of shoes in any price range. It turns out that I have wide feet.

The latest pair of shoes that I purchased are in a 9 1/2 size, but they are ‘extra wide’. It turns out that all of the foot discomfort that I had been getting from the other shoes might be directly related to the fact that I have wide feet. You see, your average Payless Shoe Source doesn’t have any person working for them that actually cares about your shoe size. The only thing that those type of stores care about is selling the next pair of ten dollar shoes (of which maybe 3 cents per shoe go to the kids in the warehouse that built them). I mention this only because I found it a bit humorous that the women at the shoe store I went to seemed a bit, I will say, less than educated at their craft.

There is a thing called a Brannock Device that can be used to measure the foot, in length and in width. There is always at least one of the damn things in every shoe store. The unfortunate thing is that they never use them, even worse, they don’t know how to use them. Using the device by myself, after I had already purchased the damn shoes, I found that I am actually a size 9 1/2. Beyond that, and not knowing how to use the device properly, I was not able to confirm this until I just googled up the link to the Brannock Device. It turns out that I really do have wide feet.

My usual shoe purchases are in the 10 1/2 to 11 range, and they seem to fit pretty well (after a week or so of expansion). The 9 1/2 extra wide shoes that I got, however, still seem to fit perfectly, no need for expansion or other weird shit to make them fit. The extra wide shoes just fit. If I had known that I had really wide feet when I was in high school, I may have been able to make my dad buy me shoes that actually fit onto my feet. Of course Dad was more ‘old school’ and would likely have told me to grin and bear it.

At least now I know that I have really wide feet and as such will make sure to mention that fact when I am trying to purchase shoes in the future. Honestly, today might be the first day in damn near a decade that I have not felt pain in my feet. Who knew that the pain could have been caused by the limited selection of shoes at the local Payless? Beyond that, who knew that if you wear a shoe that is a couple of sizes too big (if you have a wide foot) it will expand to fit the foot? This is all quite irritating to me, I am not blessed with a huge ‘Johnson’, I am not as tall as an ‘NBA’ player, I just have really wide feet. And you know what they say about people with really wide feet…They have short ‘Johnson’s’. Which is also not helpful.

If these shoes make it through the unloading of the truck tomorrow, then through the remainder of the day, I might call them the ‘Perfect Shoes’. Of course the odds of that happening are about the same as my odds of getting a pulitzer prize for the writing on this website…Not likely, enough said.

At the very least, even if you hate me, my feet don’t hurt and it was the discovery of extra wide shoes that made this all possible.

I don’t have anything to put after that. In the interest of making more readers turn liberal, I offer you this; The Washington Monthly. This site will give you the democratic view of the issues, like them, hate them, this is how we/they think.

New shoe discussion; Neighbor ships to Iraq

This weekend left me without a lot of desire time to write anything. That is of course not true, but as the whole world now seems to just accept lies at face value I am gonna go with it. Today I will make up for the lack of any posting over the weekend by making sure to bore you to tears, and thus make you thankful that there was not any of this crap for the last couple of days. If all goes as planned anyway.

• Sunday was a day that I really dreaded. It was new shoe day. I dreaded it so much in fact that I have put off the occasion for the last two months, even though it was quite necessary. My old shoes have ripped to the point that it is possible to put my entire fist through the side of one of them where the leather meets the sole. In fact the only thing that kept my foot from slipping out through that enormous hole was the fact that it hadn’t quite made it all the way to the toe of the shoe, just damn close. Of course the rip was almost as bad two months ago, I just hate shoe shopping so much that I kept putting it off.

It hasn’t always been like this, no, no, I actually used to enjoy shopping for shoes. Of course I used to enjoy shopping for shoes when I was following the trends that everyone does in their teens. Back then I would intentionally add unnecessary wear to shoes so that I could go and find the latest ‘in’ ones to replace them. That was when it was still on dad’s dime, so of course I never got the shoes that I really wanted, but I could usually get a cheap knock-off copy of the ones that I did desire. Strange that now that I am buying them myself, and can buy any damn pair I want, I so loathe the experience.

I only own one pair of shoes at any given time, well technically two, but one is a pair of dress shoes that might make it out of the box once a year at best. The other shoes are my everything shoes. Some people have a different pair for things like work, hiking, yardwork, digging ditches in horrible rainstorms, etc. I use the same pair for everything. Sometimes I will wear flip-flops when I am using the weedeater, which is a really stupid thing to do, but it does keep me from having to pick all the little bits of grass out of my shoelaces. I guess if I ever get careless and amputate a toe in the process I will look back at how foolish it was and laugh, or not, depending on what kind of medication I am on at the time.

So why do I hate shoe shopping so much? There is just no longer any selection. I know that you can walk into any random shoe store and see several hundred different shoes for sale, ranging from a couple dollars to a couple hundred dollars, but they never have anything even approaching what I want. So am I some uber-picky shoe snob? I don’t think so. All that I ever ask for is a pair of leather shoes that are black (at least mostly black) and hightops. That’s it, just black, leather hightops, wouldn’t seem that tough to find would they? I haven’t actually acquired a pair of the elusive things in at least four years.

My preferred brand of footwear is Nike, not that I have actually had a pair of them in a few years, since they just never seem to release anything that meets my meager criteria. I prefer Nike not for the fit (as they are always too tight and hurt my feet badly for the first week or two) nor for the name, but for their durability. The last pair of Nike’s that I had kept my feet covered for about a year and a half, I still actually have them and I do actually wear them sometimes when I know that I am going to get really dirty. For comparison, my last two shoe purchases have been something called “Tuff Grip” that I purchased at Wal-Mart, and which lasted about two months, and some “Tx Traction” shoes (a christmas gift from the wife that we never got around to picking up until late January or early February due to the aforementioned hatred of shoe shopping. And while I could have had any shoe in the store I took the 29 dollar traction ones since they were the only ones that came even close to what I wanted), which lasted about four months, though I put off buying new ones for a couple of months after that. As you can see the Nike’s just last longer.

My job actually dictates what kind of shoes I must wear. Not like a dress code, more like something that I have discovered over time. First off, I cut meat while I am at work, this tends to leave the shoes getting blood dripped on them. Try going out to dinner sometime wearing just jeans and a T-shirt along with a pair of blood-stained white sneakers, maybe people aren’t actually looking at the shoes at all, but it does make me feel pretty self-conscious. For that same reason I am not able to wear shoes that have any woven fabric in them, sometimes the blood will actually seep through woven fabrics also and that is quite gross. That is why they need to be both black and leather, and I mean leather not suede. While Blood and Suede might make for a good Ray Stevens song, it is pretty nasty on shoes. I can get away with faux leather, as long as the tongue of the shoe is also made of the same material, but it rarely is in those faux leather shoes. The reason for wanting the shoes to be hightops just comes with the amount of lifting/pushing/pulling that I do while working. I don’t really believe that having the extra lace or two around my ankles is going to save me if the four-hundred pound cart that I am pushing up the ramp comes back on me, but they do keep my shoes from slipping off during that scenario. The worst thing that could possibly happen when trying to control an out of control cart would be to lose traction when a shoe slips off, and low top shoes seem to slip off a lot more frequently than the hightops.

I haven’t been able to find a decent pair of hightops in the last six or so years, all the ones that they sell now seem to be white with many other colors on them. Did the NBA actually start to require players to wear white shoes or what? The only way I was able to get black hightops was with basketball shoes. Also, all of the shoes that even approach midtop height these days, at least the black ones, seem to have both leather and suede on them. So it seems that I am destined to never have a pair of shoes that I really feel comfortable wearing.

To anyone who is now thinking, ‘why not just black work boots?’, the reason is that while I do all of the lifting, pushing, meat-cutting, etc. I also stock the shelves. This means that there is a lot of squatting and kneeling as well. I tried those black work boots when I first noticed how difficult it was to find the shoes I wanted, and a lot of kneeling and squatting in those boots will leave you with horrible bruises on the front of your ankles. That is not even mentioning how horribly uncomfortable they were in the first place.

The particular shoe shopping experience, this time, resulted in a pair of New Balance lowtops. Out of the available selection of shoes that were both black and leather, there were either these or a pair of Reebok’s that felt like they were an inch higher in the toe than they were in the heel. I had at least heard of New Balance, so hopefully the shoes will last longer than it takes me to write this damn post.

Completely on a side note, I was gonna link to the pair of shoes that I bought, but the New Balance website should be a poster child for how not to do website naviagation. You have to be a couple of page-loads in before it gives you the search option, the search option does not actually seem to allow you to search for the actual model number (or whatever it is that they print on the tag in the shoe), and on top of all of that you can’t even browse all the shoes; You have to select a category to browse by. How in the random fluctuation of time and space’s name am I supposed to know if the shoes are walking, running, training, cross-training, basketball, tennis, extreme sports or other? If it said it was a “CT190”, for instance, I would assume that the “CT” stood for cross-training. Yet every shoe on the damn site starts with an ‘M’, that makes it impossible to tell even what category the shoe I bought would be in. Since I browsed through about fifty shoes from the site though, I would guess that they just slap any random number on any damn shoe, as they all look exactly the same.

Well, at least I got some new shoes.

• In other news, the war in Iraq just got a whole hell of a lot closer to home. Right next door, in fact. It seems that my neighbor, who is at least six-and-a-half feet tall, has just re-signed into military service. He was still on Active Duty when the Desert Storm conflict was going on but never got shipped over. He has decided to go ahead and serve his country in the current war to (I suppose) fulfill some sort of patriotic duty. I really believe that that is an admirable thing to do, at least in most cases. I am certainly not going to fault any person that wants to defend our country (regardless of how wrong I think the conflict may be), I don’t have the courage or fortitude to do it, any man who does is either a better man than I, or possibly a bit insane, or both.

I certainly wish him the best of luck in his new endeavor, I believe he ships to a special training course in October and will be in Iraq by late December or early January. I guess he is only doing two years this time, and there will only be one year on the front line, while the six weeks of training and the reaminder of the two years will be stateside. Best of luck to you.

It is impossible for me to understand his logic in signing back up. When he was serving in the military back in the desert storm days, he was likely single and ready to give his all to defend his country. I am sure that he has the same mindset now, but a decade has passed. He is in his thirties, married, has two beautiful children, and has decided to ship off again to fight the baddies in the middle east. Again, I must admire his…well whatever it is that made him make the decision, but what happens if he doesn’t make it home? He will leave behind a widow and a couple of children that will likely spend the rest of their lives wondering why he decided to fight this fight. There is a very famous line from a movie (which I think was ‘Johnny got his gun’) where a child asks his father “Dad, when it comes my time, will you want me to go?” The response from the father being, “For democracy, any man would give his only begotten son.”

What happens when you are a father? You leave two generations to mourn if you don’t manage to make it back. I do admire the courage that it takes to go into a war, especially when you don’t really have to.

Here’s to hoping the neigbor makes it back in one piece. Best of luck to you.

The D&D gamer

So, have you ever worked in retail? If you have, then you will know that it is your obligation to make sure and talk with your customers about whatever it is that they are interested it, regardless of how much you happen to disapprove of it. It is mostly the simple act of seeming fascinated with the stories that the people (especially the elderly ones) tell, but it does branch off into other areas as well. If there is one thing that I am really good at, it is talking -at length- about things that I don’t know a whole lot about. I credit this directly to my ability to remember mundane facts and figures. I don’t suppose that the ability to rememer useless information will ever get me any further than just being the winner at trivial pursuit, but for some reason the trivial things do just stick in my head.

Normally I just never notice this little ability, if you can even call it that, but, sometimes I am able to talk for at least a good hour about crap that I really don’t think I know anything about. That does seem a bit vague, so I must elaborate. Much like talking to George a couple of days ago about handguns, which I used to know a lot about, but have not actively followed the progression of, I asked him what the powder load of the .50 calibur cartridge was in relation to the load of the .44 cartridge. Why did I ask this, I dunno, where if I had asked him the same question a decade ago I would have known exactly why. Honestly, I even know why today. If you increase the size of the projectile without significantly increasing the powder load, you are making a bigger projectile go much slower and less likely to go through any damn thing. I.E. if you try to shoot a cannonball with a firecracker you aren’t going to get enough velocity to make it out of the barrel, let alone do any damage. Of course, George went on with powder loads and weight issues (things that I would likely have been all over a decade ago), yet, now, I can’t even remember why I was so curious.

The prior story does not matter at all for my purposes today. It simply displays the ability to seem like I care about, and know the requisite lingo to question, whatever the customer happens to come up with. That is the very definition of customer service. If he (George) were to walk away without whatever he came in looking for, he would likely just keep walking, unless he actually wanted to talk to the ‘oh so friendly staff’ for a bit longer. Most notably the guy that just spent a good thirty minutes talking about guns to get him to buy a three dollar steak and a bottle of wine.

So this guy came into the store, I will not describe him here, as I feel I may be just a tad biased. He started talking about the food/drink consumption of your average D&D character. I am not a D&D player, really haven’t been for over a decade, but I did understand what he was talking about. Unfortunateley, for me, I do actually know how to play the game -several years of my life that I regret-. So, being friendly, I started to mention that I hate the way that the four and five sided dice just didn’t seem to roll like they should. Once again, unfortunately, this guy was a DM. He went on to explain that the horrible rolls that I was getting were based on the fact that I was not a competent D&D player. That all might be true, I don’t want to dispute his facts. What I do want to dispute is the business card that he gave to me after this brief conversation.

Not to discuss the person’s name, since it really isn’t important. The guy, the new DM, handed me a business card that said “DM John Doe”, which went on to note his address and phone number, just in case someone actually wanted to learn the game. When I was in Junior High I actualy played a couple of characters, I didn’t win (though I don’t think it is possible to win at D&D).

How far down the road to Loserville must you go before you realize that you have been to ‘Geektown’ and made Mayor there? If you don’t think that printing out your own business cards with the title ‘DM’ on them is a pretty nerdy thing to do, that might be the first clue that you really are a Geek. Not just any geek, no, the kind of geek that makes Star Wars geeks look normal by comparison -And that is saying a lot.

What I really wonder is if the guy actually hands out these business cards when he is in job interviews. That would be absolute proof of either his lunacy, or his firm base in the realm of geekdom, or both.

Thankfully, I only have an unhealthy fascination with porn. That may make me a lot of things, pervert for instance, but at least not a geek. At least not until I figure out how to hack into porn websites, at that point I will be a perverted geek, which may or may not be worse than a D&D geek… I am not sure at this point.

IHOP; PC issues; Assault rifles

Diving right back in where I left off yesterday, let me just say that I really, really, really hate Microsoft.

There was recently an enormous update released for windows XP, I just tried to find it through their website and I honestly don’t know which one it was. I have the new computer set to automatically search for and install windows security patches, perhaps it was one of those. Anyway, I can no longer open .shtml files with internet explorer. Or, more accurately, I can no longer open them on my local machine with internet explorer, while I can still open the same file from a website with it. The reason that this irritates me is twofold. The first reason is that I liked to check my linkage before I uploaded a recently written page, the second is that it had always worked before the most recent security update. I just hate it when you fix one thing and break something else in the process.

I have tried all that I can think of to try to circumvent the problem, no go. I simply have to use the MSN service for the purposes of testing my coding now. It is not really that much of a hassle, yet somehow I find that it really pisses me off. At least that was how I was feeling when I started to type this late last night, through some experimentation I was able to make Internet Explorer open the files, though it will first open it as a text file, then if I refresh it a couple of times it will show the actual html page. Is that really supposed to happen? Am I just an idiot? If you know how to fix this, send the answer here.

• Monday night the wife and I went to check out my Brother-in-law’s new apartment. I will say this, it is a very clean little place…Emphasis should be placed on that word little. Of course he is only twenty, and I can remember some of the dives that I lived in at that age so I guess he is doing better than I did at that stage. Living on your own for the first time is a very liberating thing, so much so that I believe we all go into the process with some of those ‘rose colored glasses’ on. Not to mention that the whole place is now yours, while living at home you just got the one room. I am pretty proud of him for actually getting his own place so quickly after getting a decent job, I only hope that he is constantly looking to improve those accomodations, while still staying within his means, of course. I remember the little apartment that I moved into shortly after I turned 21, no one ever wanted to visit me there, it was just too small to comfortably fit more than a couple of people, but it is those little places that start us all on the journey into eventual home ownership.

• We were going to have dinner, and lacking any solid ideas of what anyone wanted we ended up at IHOP. I was initially thinking about trying out their chili cheeseburger, but since the wife was having a breakfast for dinner, and since I really do enjoy the staples of breakfast food (even though I never eat breakfast) I figured I would go with an omelette instead. The particular omelette that I ordered was called a “Tex-Mex”, and, strangely, is not shown on the menu at the website.

I chose that particular omelette since it had both chili and cheese, the two major driving factors in my initial chili cheeseburger selection. Here is the thing, it just didn’t seem to reach my plate quite the way it was described in the menu. The menu said it was “a fluffy 3 egg omelette with a zesty blend of chili, cheese and jalapenos.” That was more or less true; it did have all of those ingredients. Yet, in the preparation it seemed to lose some of the description. There was not really a ‘blend’ of anything. There were a total of (I would guess) roughly six large, sliced jalapenos in the omelette, as well as a little bit of cheese. On top there was a scoop of chili. It was actually pretty tasty, but I was assuming that the ingredients would all be placed together and put inside the omelette, isn’t that what an omelette is? Also, had there been some chili inside the omelette there would have been less room for the jalapenos.

I have no problems with the peppers. When the wife or mother-in-law make salsa they will intentionally try to find the hottest types of chilis that they can to try to make me cower. The best they can ever get out of me is a bit of a runny nose while eating it, but still wanting more all the same. That is regarding fresh peppers though. The jalapenos from the IHOP were pretty clearly canned, and in vinegar no less. If there is one thing that I really can’t stand it is the taste of vinegar. I can eat jalapenos all day long, but when they throw in a single ‘pickled pepper’ I have to have some other flavor to take away the nasty vinegar taste, which I had some pancakes for at the IHOP so that was fortunate.

I have seen those little diagrams showing the human tongue, the type that show that certain parts of the tongue can taste sweet, while others taste sour. I think the whole tongue can taste hot (like pepper hot, not temperature), but the part of the tongue that tastes sour seems to rule over every other part of the tongue. Don’t think that is true? Try eating a raw jalapeno, remember the heat, then try eating a pickled jalapeno. I don’t like the sour taste, while I really do enjoy really hot peppers. When you pickle a pepper you are just destroying a perfectly good, very toasty little pepper. That is no way for a pepper to end! The goal of the pepper is to make you breathe fire now, and really regret it tomorrow. Pickled peppers don’t do either of those things. Though there may be times that they do make you regret not just ordering the damn chili cheeseburger.

• Yesterday’s post actually resulted in an email. What is unusual about this (beyond the fact that that meant that someone actually read it) was that this email was asking for my opinion on the expiration of the ban on ‘assault weapons’ (which I could not find a really good news story on, but I am crutched by a dial-up connection and impatience, so knock yourself out).

First of all, the email came from someone that I do not know and who had never emailed me before. I sent that person a pretty lengthy email explaining my exact position on the subject. It is certainly a struggling little site that will send longer emails to readers than the posts that are put up in the first place, and that is me. While I am not going to quote any of either his email to me, or mine to him, I do want to touch on this subject for but a single reason. I am both for and against it.

In my senior year of high school this issue started to hit the news. Whether or not the weapons that they were calling ‘assault weapons’ were actually assault weapons, whether they should be banned, all of that sort of garbage. While in Government class the assignment came that we would break into pairs to debate the issue (one person debates for, one against, in each pair. We were given one day to prepare our arguments). There were an odd number of students in my class, but they were so evenly split on the issue that I volunteered to debate for the issue (which was my first choice) then to debate against the issue with the odd man out. The debates would be decided by a vote from the rest of the class, supposedly based solely on how convincing the arguments had been.

I was not exactly the most popular kid in high school, lots of the people in this particular class especially, didn’t like me a whole lot, but I was pretty confident that I could debate it both ways. This was in Oregon, after all, every living being (at least the male ones) in the state of Oregon really think that they should be able to have whatever guns they want for whatever reason they want them. In fact every single argument against the banning of the assault weapons was the winning one, with the exception of my opponent when I had to argue it the other way.

Having to argue for the banning of the weapons was a real stretch for me. I still believe in the U.S. Constitution enough that I know that it is our right to ‘bear arms’. I focused on the negative usages of the firearms in question to get my victory in the debate. It was not a fiery speech about the evils of guns that I used to win, it was cold, hard facts. I brought in copies of newspaper stories from the last month about gang shootings in L.A., and noted the weapon choice in each. While many of the killings were just with normal handguns, the majority of the killings of children and others that were not involved in a gang at all, were done with ‘assault weapons’. They can fire fast, but they aren’t really that accurate. Show them a few photos of dead children, who are dead because of ‘assault weapons’, and it is a pretty easy group to sway.

That all being said, I still think that it is your right to have the weapon if you want to have it. It is not like the guy who is going to spray bullets through the local day-care actually bought the gun at a store, he stole it or got it from a friend who had already used it in a murder. There are only so many of these ‘assault weapons’ that are not accounted for (at least the ones sold in the U.S.). I tried to sell a little rifle, which was mine, to a local gun store and they actually had to run the serial number on it before they would take it. These ‘assault weapons’ are easy to buy in any country other than the U.S., if we try to fool ourselves into thinking that not selling them in the U.S. is going to make safer then we are delusional.

Much like the current leadership of the Country.

PC issues; Guns; Home depot

Well I have had a couple of busy days, thus leading to the lack of anything new posted here. On the up side I did do some things that simply require bitching about, so here we go.

First a website issue. Had I known how much work was actually going to be involved in tryin to maintain this little site, I would never have started it in the first place. I suppose that it isn’t really true that it is a lot of work, more so that I make it into a lot of work. The odds that anyone reading this right now will want to read it again so badly, sometime in the future, that they will actually go back into the archives looking for it are pretty small. I am pretty sure that I am the only one who ever goes through my archives, and that is for one of two reasons, either I am looking for a link from where I bitched about something previously or I am reading the post to put a brief description on the archives main page. Unfortunately, as I found out on Saturday night and again on Sunday I am so damn far behind on the archive main page that I had to go through over three months of posts by clicking the ‘next update’ button until I found the page that I was looking for. That sucked!

That being said, I was thinking that I would take the time to go ahead and throw brief descriptions of them onto the page right then, unfortunately I encountered a problem. Out of the sixty or so pages that I had to click through to find the one I was looking for, twelve of them didn’t display right. Not a problem with the coding or anything, just that a portion of the page wasn’t there. I always check the index file when I upload it to make sure that it works correctly, it never occurred to me that uploading it to the archive page would be any different. Yet somehow it is.

I am relatively sure that this is happening because of the cheap ftp program that I am using. It always tells me that the upload was successful, but unless I actually refresh the web directory and compare the size of the file to my local directory I can no longer assume that it went through. Not that it would take a tremendous amount of time to do that, more that it is just a really annoying problem, more annoying since I went through every file on my computer to compare the file size with the version in the web directory. It took about two hours to get that all straightened out, so I will try to be a bit more careful in the future.

As a sort of proof of the lack of desire to read the archives, I never once got an email from anyone telling me that there was a problem. If anyone had actually looked at the pages they would have known that there was a problem. The pages didn’t look like I just didn’t have a lot to say, they were cut off in mid sentence, even mid-word on a couple of them. Two of the pages had absolutely nothing but the sidebar and date. Trust me, if I am gonna waste the time to write out the date at the top of the page there is going to be at least something written on the page. Whether it is worth reading is questionable, but there will always be something there.

• On Sunday morning I was going to borrow a truck from George so that I could go get a new washing machine at Home Depot. I don’t suppose that it was a coincidence that he knew I would be at his house at nine in the morning, and he had a semi-automatic Colt handgun disassembled on his table at the time. Mind you this is one of the four or so times that I have ever been to his house, and one of the other times was also to borrow his truck, so I wanted to be friendly and chat with him a bit.

The fact that he had a handgun stripped on his kitchen table, as well as a recent copy of ‘Guns and Ammo’ there also probably dictated our conversation just a bit. I used to be really into handguns, my father always owned at least a half a dozen of them, as well as fifteen or twenty rifles, and growing up around them I guess you really just get accustomed to them, then eventually you start to like them, desire them even. As the conversation about ammunition, old Colt revolvers and the such carried on, I mentioned that the revolver on the front of the ‘Guns and Ammo’ magazine was one that I would really like to try out. The firearm in question is shown below (stock photo, I was not able to find the actual magazine cover).

Imagine my surprise when George went into his bedroom and came back with that very weapon (of course I should note that it was an older copy of ‘Guns and Ammo’ so I did know it was coming). The picture does very little justice to the actual size of that revolver. The barrel is 10 1/2″, the thing is 18″ overall and weighs five pounds when it is not loaded. Simply put, it is fucking huge.

He checked to make sure that it wasn’t loaded, then handed it to me. I proceeded to also check to make sure that it wasn’t loaded, which, thankfully, didn’t seem to offend him, of course if everyone were to take those kinds of precautions there would be far fewer accidental shootings. It was simply amazing how comfortable the thing is in your hand, not despite its size but in general. It didn’t feel like a five pound, foot and a half mammoth, it felt like a very well balanced revolver. Were it not for just how far the tip of the barrel was from my hand I could have mistaken it for a .38. Knowing, through experience with my father’s gun-collecting friends, that some people would get really pissed off if you pull the trigger of an empty firearm, I asked him if he would mind if a gave it a squeeze or two, which was fine.

I am not kidding even slightly when I say that I have had capguns that took more force to shoot than this huge revolver. I was gripping it with my right hand, while the barrel rested in my left (pointing up and to the left so that I could watch the trigger, hammer and cylinder), when I started to squeeze. The trigger was so fluid that I found myself thinking they must have rigged up a few pulleys inside the thing to make it move that easily. I tried it again just to make sure that I was not just thinking it was less difficult than I had expected it to be, and again it struck with just very light pressure. George then instructed me to pull the hammer back and try the trigger that way. With the hammer back it took less pressure pull the trigger than it takes to click the button on your mouse. Even if you are not a big fan of firearms, this one should make you at least pause long enough to think that American craftsmanship is not dead. That was simply the most beautifully built handgun I have ever handled.

George did offer to take me out and have a couple of shots with it, which I would have loved to have done, but I had already been there almost an hour and the washing machine has been out almost a month. I told him that I would take a raincheck on his offer though. I really do want to see what it feels like to fire a handgun of that size. Well, enough deadly weapon porn for today.

The trip to Home Depot was pretty uneventful. Of course his truck bounced a lot more than the little cars that I am used to driving/riding in so that took a little getting used to. One thing that I did find really strange was that the truck has no stereo. It doesn’t have just a shitty AM/FM radio, it doesn’t have a cassete player, it doesn’t have a cd player, it doesn’t have hole in the dash where the stereo used to be but got stolen, it just has nothing at all. The spot where the thing would have been in the dash was just a solid piece of plastic. The truck has simply never had a radio or stero in it at all (more on that later). Now, first off, I didn’t know that you could even buy a car that doesn’t have at the very least a cheap AM/FM radio, but he found one. Which leads to three important questions: 1) Why did the truck have a radio antenna if it never had a radio in it? 2) Why did it have speaker grilles in the door panels and on the dashboard? 3) Were there actually stock speakers behind those grilles?

I got to the Home Depot and took the internet printout of the machine that I wanted directly to the appliance section. I thought that they would try to sell me up to some other machine, but I guess the guy was just happy to get his commission without having to work for it. Ten minutes or so later I was back on the road with the new washing machine in the bed of the truck. Unfortunately I had completely forgotten to take along anything even resembling a rope. That meant that I had to drive at 50-55 the whole way back, as any speed beyond that started to tilt the box over and made me slam the brakes. Sure it was just a 279 dollar purchase but there is no way in hell I am going to break a brand new appliance to get home a couple of minutes sooner, if only the rest of the people on the road had felt the same way. At any rate, the washing machine was home and I wanted to get the truck back to George as quickly as possible (since he begged me not to put any gas into it, having something to do with a weird superstition about gas mileage and a particular pump at a particular gas station).

I threw a five dollar bill under the seat of the truck before I left my house. I knew that if I offered to pay for his gas that he would refuse to accept the money, which was true. That way he will just find the five in his truck sometime later and there will be good karma for him for not letting me pay as well as good karma for me for paying him anyway. The devious things that you have to do to be a good person these days…

I did ask him about the stereo when I returned the truck. He pointed out (which I had noted) that the only two option that he had on the truck were the air conditioning (which is simply mandatory in Arizona), and the automatic transmission (which is mandatory for someone with such horrible diabetes that they can hardly walk). He said that the rest of the options all came in packages like radio, rear-window defroster and glove box light. He didn’t want any of the other shit, and, being an audiophile he didn’t want the factory stereo anyway. Something to do with how much power can travel through your average speaker wires, subpar sound from the speakers that are not able to hit the high and low frequencies, inferior sound from the stereo not being powerful enough to handle the speakers (which I always thought was the other way around, but listen to the system in his house and you will understand). I simply gave up on the stereo thing about four seconds after I asked the question, yet the explanation was easily a half an hour long.

There are a couple of other things that I really want to get into, but I am getting really tired of typing. This post is easily in the top five, as far as length, that I have ever written. With a bit of luck I will be able to go into other issues tomorrow.

Time will tell.