Well I don’t have anything really planned for writing today, so I am going to go into a brief talk about the weather, and how it relates to yesterdays evaporative cooler talk. Throw up a couple of probably rhetorical questions about things that were going through my mind today, and then type just a few paragraghs about South Park. That is the plan anyway, we will see what actually happens as it goes.

The weather in Arizona is notoriously hot, most of the time. The last week has been even more than us locals could bear. This is the time of the year when the temperatures are usually in the mid 70’s with occasional jumps into the mid 80’s. That is what we call ‘Spring’, it usually lasts for about three or four weeks. This year it lasted exactly one day. I am not even slightly exaggerating when I say that two weeks ago it was cold enough overnight that it would put frost on the windshield of your car, this Sunday we broke a record high, before 11am, it was more than 93degrees before 11am, that is too damn hot! No one should have to see weather like that in March, it’s just not normal.

I am not sure if I ever actually did write about the temperature on the site ( I did email a few people about it) but I would have been wrong if I had. I thought that we had record breaking temperature all last week, and it turns out that we only tied the record on two days, broke it two days (by 4degrees on Sunday) and were just very near it all the other days. So to be technical it wasn’t record breaking stuff all week, but I am gonna call it that because it sure as hell felt like it.

When I started to write about the evaporative cooler yesterday I was going to talk about this a bit because it just sucked for me, but that is my luck. The hours that I spent on the roof working on that cooler were from 11am to 3pm, the hottest part of the day. The roof is painted with an elastomeric coating that is almost day-glow white, (very few houses down here use shingled roofs because the asphalt composition that can take extreme lows in the temperatures will turn to dust in four or five years down here. Most all of the new housing is going with those terra cotta ceramic type roofs, since they last a lot longer, while most of the old building opt to go with the ‘spray foam’ since most of them don’t have enough structural support to hold up the ceramic shingles. It is quite an odd site to look at the houses on the street, which appear to be covered in snow, then you realize that it is 120degrees, and you are in Arizona.), which reflects the sun way too well, and adds to the heat index as well. It is usually 20 degrees hotter on the roof of this place than the reported temperature, so call it about 110 while I was up there working. I drank at least a gallon of water in those four hours and ended up with a pretty severe sunburn.

This time I was at least smart enough to keep all of my clothing on while working, that usually kills me most years. When I start to get too hot I throw my shirt aside, allowing the rays to pour down on my chest and back, then the burn usually will all but immobilize me for a day or two. Sunburn only really hurts me when it is on the pasty portion of my skin (chest and back) while I can burn my arms and they will peel in a day or so and then my skin is a couple of pigments darker. Same with my face and legs. In fact the only part that really hurt about the sunburn was on the back of my neck, where my t-shirt didn’t cover, and even that doesn’t really hurt anymore. I guess it went well for what I was doing. But I certainly wouldn’t recommend that any idiot climb up on a white roof and work there for the four hottest hours of the day, especially in Arizona, especially when the heat is record breaking. So why did this idiot do it? Funny you should ask.

Every year I service these coolers, there are two of them, each has 8 grills and hold a total of 16 pads. Every year I hope to be able to complete the both of them in about ten hours, each year I also miss that goal because of unforseen circumstances (the worst was one year when I actually had to run about 75 feet of new water supply line because the old line was so horribly corroded that it was pouring more water onto the roof than into the coolers.) This year I wanted to get one of the damn things done by the day I said I would have it done, and by God I did, that is why I was up there in all that heat. I got it done on Sunday just like I said I would. That is the first time in the nine years that I have been servicing those coolers that I got either one of them done on time, that is the only positive that I can take from the experience.

Now, what really pisses me off is that I really did that all as a matter of pride, to finally get one of them done on time. Now I hear on the news that we are going to be back in the mid to low 80’s for the rest of the week. After I did all that work when it was damn near 100, that just sucks! The good news is that I only have one cooler left to service and I should be able to work on it an hour or so in the evenings this week, when it is like 80 and the sun has already set to the point that I won’t be able to get a sunburn. So I should have the second one done by this weekend and hopefully that will result in me not being so wiped out when I sit down to type. But who knows.

What is the actual point of the traffic choppers on radio stations? I am usually at work when they are on and listen to them because I don’t really have any options. The ones that I hear on the station that I listen to day in and day out are exactly the same. Something like, “Slow and go on the 60, the ‘stack interchange’ is backed up to ‘x’ point, slowing on the 202 near ‘x’ offramp”. The same every day, well sometimes the x is a different spot, but it is all the same. It may just be the station that I am forced to listen to, but I would think it is probably similar with most stations here in the valley, and probably in every major metropolitan area in the U.S. If you do that commute on a daily basis you probably know that it is going to be ‘slow and go’ at whatever point, know that the ‘stack interchange’ is going to be backed up to the ‘x’. The things that would concern you would be things like, oh accidents, cars broken down in the middle of the freeway, godzilla running amok. These things all happen of course, but it seems that they are always on surface streets (90% of the time at least according to the one that I have to listen to).

Then when something does happen, say a collision with a rollover and fatality (that is going to shut down the entire road for quite some time) they don’t go into that at the end of the song, no, they wait until they do the official: This traffic report is brought to you by ‘whoever’. Would the average person rather hear a bunch of pre-scheduled traffic updates that are the same crap brought to you by whoever, or just have the one or two that really matter, and take an extra five minutes of commercials per hour to counter that? Curious question, let me know what you think.

Lawyer’s commercials. Why is it that every damn accident/injury lawyer’s commercials all have these people in them that sound so staged? Do they really think that the average person can not read a cue card? They put things on the bottom of the screen that says “actual clients”, as if one could mistake them for actors? I could read the ingredients off the back of a shampoo bottle in a live auditorium and make it sound more like something that I had spoken off of the top of my head than the idiots that they get to try to read that crap. Maybe that’s what they’re going for though. They want you to think that if they can get 250,000 dollars for this guy that can barely read you would fare a lot better? Or maybe they are just trying to emphasize the point that the people are not actors (that certainly needs no emphasis) that they had hired? Again, I just don’t know.

In a retail situation, why do certain people think that the rules don’t apply to them? Pick any rule you want, there will always be someone who thinks that it doesn’t apply to them. I even tried that once when I wanted to return a game that I had already opened and installed, when it didn’t work I took it back. They had a policy of “no returns on video game purchases”, so I just sucked it up. I knew that that was the policy, I explained that I had not been able to register the game, so it was still brand new, they said no, I walked away. I didn’t make a scene, scream that they were raping my children by not giving me back the twenty bucks, I just walked away. I didn’t even ask for them to call a manager who could come out and clarify the store policy, then not give me back the twenty bucks, while making everyone behind me wait longer for their (possibly) legitimate claims.

I suppose that I am a bit more tolerant of people who do this, since I do work in retail. We really want every person to be happy when they walk out the door, but sometimes it is a bit much. For instance, there is a little platform at the register (where I work) for people to place their checkbook while they write the check. On top of that platform is a HUGE sign that says: “There is a $25.00 fee for all returned checks”. That should be pretty simple to understand. I believe that it costs us about $18.00 up front for the returned check, then whatever amount it takes for the time and resources to actually get the person to pay up. The number one claim is that it was a banking error that made the check get returned (that translates to, I didn’t have the money in their that day, but three days later I did), and that is not an acceptable answer. If the bank made a mistake they are always quite happy to rectify it, else you would bank elsewhere, but for some reason these people always expect us to believe it. On occasion, we will actually try to verify the funds for the check while the customer is still there bitching about it being a bank error and find that they still don’t have enough money in their account to cover it, another bank error, of course…

There was this one woman that was so brazen that she offerd to write a check for the amount from a different account, at a different bank, with check number 101, we of course called to verify funds, and there was yet another bank error since the money wasn’t in that account either. This was all over a four dollar check. It could have been a bank error, in fact I think it likely that they had pulled her monthly fee before they processed that check and that is why it bounced. It is not her fault (if that did happen) but it is certainly not our fault either. Her problem would be with her bank (if they do not cover her check when she has overdrafted by a dollar or two she probably has had other instances where she has done it. I overdrafted my account by 613.52 by mistake last month – forgot to deposit a check- and they covered it, didn’t even charge me, but I would have paid the 27 dollar fee that the company posted for returned checks because that was what I agreed to when I wrote the check in the first place).

South Park:

Just going to be a few random musings about the show ‘South Park’ here. The first is that I just can not really believe what they are able to get away with. There are many times that I am watching the show and thinking to myself “how did they get that by the censors”, but I guess the censors are a bit more lenient to shows that do not air on abc, cbs and nbc. Honestly the censors for cable networks are just about non-existent. South Park deals with a lot of issues, has very fresh writing, and can get away with doing whatever the hell they want. Must be a golden position to be in. They can do no wrong, well, they can, but the network will air the show anyway. That is why I really do adore the show so.

Point in the first, they have a kid called ‘token’ who is, of course, the only black person in the entire show, well that is not true, since they also have Chef who is played by Isaac Hayes, but token is the only black kid, and the show is mostly about the antics of the four kids. In one episode, Eric Cartman tells Token to go get a ‘Bass Guitar’ out of his basement. Token says that they don’t have one, but looks anyway at Cartman’s urging, and yes he did have a bass in the basement. Cartman tells him to “give me a ‘bass-line'”, token says that he can not play bass, and Cartman says, “God damn it, Token, you are black, you can play bass.” Token tries it, and yep, he can play bass, he says, “God damn it!” and we go to the next scene. There is no way that that would have ever aired on a network tv show.

In that same episode, Eric Cartman spoke a line that I will never forget, well sang it really, and that line was; “I want to get down on my knees and start pleasing Jesus, I want to feel his salvation all over my face”. There is no way that you are gonna get that line by a network censor.

In the most recent show, the kids all buy weapons at a local fair and think that they are ninjas. Whenever it is just the kids in the shot, it shows them all in their ninja gear and larger than life, when their parents (any parent) is around, it is back to lame 2-d animation. They certainly show with the episode that they would be able to make it a much more believable animated series if they want to, but I don’t think that they would stoop to that level. It is what it is, and it is the funniest thing that I have ever seen because of it.

The thing that I really love about the show is that in the aforementioned episode they made two referrences to the Mel Gibson movie “The Passion of the Christ”, only a couple of weeks after it came out. And, at the end, they made referrence back to the “wardrobe malfunction” when one of the kids is actually seen naked. This is only weeks after the things happened, and why I love it so. The animation may seem a bit dated, but the ideas and morals that they are using within the story just seem so dead-on that you have to watch more.

God I love South Park.

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