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BIG Roundup!

Sunday, October 25th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “Any fool can criticize, condemn, and complain – and most fools do.”

- Dale Carnegie

Well, life has whizzed by me again (I guess that’s better than whizzing on me).

Let’s see what has happened:

Thursday: Big Truckasaurus

Truckarius Tiberius Truckasaurus officially became a Washington resident again. I had to make my way to the Department of Licensing (different location than where you get your actual license, oddly enough) and get new plates, tabs, registration, and title, all to the tune of $104.50.

But I also got to spend a little time with the wonderful, helpful, and eager people that work there. And if you think I am being facetious, you are RIGHT!

I’m REALLY sorry to make you, you know, do your job and I am REALLY sorry that you are not enjoying your lot in life. It saddens me to see you like that so just a little slice-o-free advice… if you don’t want to do your chosen profession, pack your I-could-give-a-shit bags and skedaddle.

That’s right, I said “skedaddle.” And Word’s spell check helped me use it right. Twice.

Anyway, yeah, the people that work there weren’t what I would call aggressive, passive or otherwise, just kind of not interested in anything to include me or what I had to get done.

I know that is the stereotype but it would be refreshing to actually have a perky, interested, helpful person when you have to go to the dreaded Office of Doom known as D.O.L.

Too much to ask? Obviously so.

But I overcame and in the end, I got new plates for Triple T that, for the first time in decades, didn’t say anything. I decided not to go with the vanity plates since I will someday give the truck to my in-laws and having “PVT2MAJ” probably wouldn’t make much sense then. Plus, I would like the save that for the Pilot!!!

Getting the plates on the truck:

SUPPOSED difficulty level: 3 (cross out) 2

ACTUAL difficulty level: I don’t even want to effin’ talk about it!

I mean, those little bolts are rusted, stripped, and the backs that spin when they are supposed to hold tight are behind somewhere that even elfin hands couldn’t manage to get to.

It involved about 6 more tools than it should have and 30 minutes more than logically possible.

I hate mechanics. HATE!

The things I do for Truckarius Tiberius Truckasaurus….

Fri: Big run, big hurt

I decided I had better get on the road and the way that these things works for me, the route popped into my head the day before and never mind that I had no idea how far it was going to be, only that I would complete it, rain or shine.

It was 12 miles and it was rain.

To tell the truth, the rain didn’t bother me. I understand that if I put off my training runs to when it is NOT raining, I would be as much a runner as Paris Hilton is a Rhodes Scholar.

What did bother me though is getting to the bottom of an enormous hill at mile 4 and developing a pulled muscle between my right ankle and mid-shin.

Nothing spectacular, just a pain that developed over the course of about 1 minute that brought me to a walk limp.

OK, well, I said to myself, I could turn around and head back.

Nope.

Hmmm, OK, well, you have your iPhone. You could call Alex and have him come pick you up.

Have my son pick my up in the middle of the run because my leg hurt?

Hells NO!

You could limp forward and cover 8 miles with a painful gimp-like stride in the cold rain.

Yeah, that sounded like a solid plan.

2 ½ hours later, I limped onto my front porch, soaked, and a little pissed off but I finished the #$@*)(%^ run so the Universe can kiss my ass.

I knew that if I sat down, I would likely not be able to get up so I hopped gimped into the shower, got ready, ate something, and headed out to get my driver’s license.

Again, not the greatest idea for a few reasons:

1. I was in no mood to put up with epic-retardation and the DMV is like the factory where it is made.

2. I probably didn’t look my top form after dragging my hurt ass through the rain for 2 ½ hours so a photo that would ID me for 4 years would probably look worse than even the DMV normally manages.

3. Sitting in a waiting area for God-knows-how-long was a guarantee that my physical deterioration would ripen to full pain-bloom.

All my fears came to be.

It’s like they have a special camera-manufacturing process that maximizes the horrendousness.

It’s like there are scientists somewhere that tinker with secret processes that makes their cameras capture the worst humanly possible moment and accentuates every single detail you fear.

Like it looks into your soul and finds whatever you are most sensitive about and blows it up like a carnival caricature drawing.

I will not be scanning the photo and posting it. In fact, it will only see the light of day when absolutely necessary which, because it will be my official form of ID for now on, will be more often than I would like.

Oh, and limping around in the DMV made me feel like such a loser. I mean, you have all been to the DMV so you know there are perpetually a collection of people that dribbled out of the world’s ass crack so to add to that group, I present the really tired-looking guy with a heavy limp. I expected mothers to scoot their children closer to them as I passed by.

The good news is that I didn’t have to take a test, other than the eye test. And it only cost me $60 which is $15 more since I had them transfer over my motorcycle endorsement. Not that I plan on riding any time soon but they lady said that if I didn’t renew it and ever wanted to get it, I would have to take the test and everything all over again so I caved.

That afternoon, my daughter, who had stayed home sick, wanted to go to a volleyball tournament to cheer on her fellow players, even though she couldn’t play herself.

You know what’s worse than watching teenage girls playing JV volleyball? Watching teenage girls playing JV volleyball, none of which are your daughter.

Sitting on wooden benches.

With bone crushing pain shooting up through your leg because you were stupid enough to run/walk 12 miles hurt.

Saturday: Big pizza, big party

In the morning, we went to my nephew’s soccer game and he’s at the age where one of the kids kick the ball and they all swarm after it.

Kick, swarm, kick, swarm, kick swarm… and so on.

Every once in awhile one of them will kick it past the frightened kid sentenced to the goalie position.

What’s sad is my nephew is 16.

Just kidding.

After the game, we headed to Auburn where we partook in the traditional gorging of the jumbo Godfather’s Taco Pizza. My bro-in-law and family have a long tradition with this and the Auburn Godfather’s is the last one probably in the state.

And WHEN Auburn floods this winter (or next spring when the snow melts), it will be under 10 feet of standing water and the likelihood of them reopening it are about the same as my license picture showing up on the internet as “America’s Hottest Dad.

It’s this big deal here. There is a dam that is about to crumble so they will have to let out any water that falls to maintain the same level but that means that the whole valley (Kent, Auburn, parts of Renton) are gonna flood big time. The insurance companies won’t even sell policies any more.

What does this mean to me?

Godfather’s is in danger!!!!!

Damn you to Hell, Corps of Engineers!

The big event for the day though was the party. My in-laws both celebrate their birthdays in October so we Carrie decided we should have a combined birthday party and housewarming party for the family. She is the oldest of five so we had about 140,000 people over.

With this in mind I got right to work when we got home for pizza.

First, I got the quilt and then I kicked off my shoes…. what? It was TACO PIZZA and it was Saturday. I mean, these naps don’t take themselves, people!!!!

Carrie was nice enough to keep the housecleaning and party set up to a dull roar while I thought about stuff.

Oh, and I was smart enough to tape the Husky game but not smart enough to tell everyone not to tell me the outcome.

What’s worse than watching the Husky’s get their helmets power-launched up their collective rectums?

Having the knowledge bequeathed to you as you are watching the game.

Sunday: Big Fall Festival

That brings us to today. In my never-ending quest to obey the M.S.H. approach to life (Make Shit Happen), I decided to take the family to Maris Farms where they have a Fall festival.

Was it worth 35 miles one way and $40 for us to get in?

You bet it was! It was a FALL FESTIVAL!

It had pumpkins, a corn maze, hayride, goats (yes, GOATS!!! I know!), baked corn, nachos, cherry lemonade, and funnel cakes!

I didn’t feel so good afterward. I took a nap.

But it was fun spending time with the kids. At first, they were all teenager-like and acted like “this is stupid” and “Dad, really?”

But there’s noting like getting lost in a muddy corn maze to bring kids back to being a kid. OK, maybe it was me too a little but it wasn’t long before we were laughing and enjoying the scenery.

I mean, a brisk day on a farm with trees shedding multi-colored leaves, pumpkins, and the spectacle of a Fall Festival with your kids? What could be better on an October Sunday?

Nothing, my friends, nothing.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, a friend of mine got a bit drunk, but said she was fine and didn’t feel drunk at all. I took her keys anyway and said she could sleep on my bed, while I slept on the floor next to the bed. I was rudely woken up in the middle of the night to her rolling over and vomiting on my face. FML.”

4 comments


Life As a Series of Errands

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

Quote of the Day: “The one function TV news performs very well is that when there is no news we give it to you with the same emphasis as if there were.”

- David Brinkley

I asked you the other day to “Remind me to tell you about my 10 mile run where I saw bald eagles. And my trip to Cosco AND Sam’s. And buying firewood. And having my brother over for dinner.”

10 mile run where I saw bald eagles: The good thing is that it is a dedicated, paved, somewhat flat running and bike path that goes on forever but the bad thing is that is mostly straight so it’s a little treadmillish. If you look at my RunKeeper map, you will see I ran straight out and straight back. Not impressively but that’s not my point here.

The Ceder River flows somewhat parallel to the path so every once in awhile, it curves near the path and I am practically running on the bank. As I was running back, I cleared some trees suddenly and found myself along a gorgeous stretch by the water….

And then it happened.

I startled two full grown bald eagles by the water and they took off in opposite directions. They took flight and I was mere FEET from both of them, huge wingspans, snow white heads with brilliant yellow beaks.

I stopped cold.

I couldn’t believe what I was seeing and I looked around quickly to see if anyone else could see what I was witnessing but there was no one around.

I just stood there mesmerized, watching the most majestic birds I have ever seen and all my patriotism swelled up inside of me until I couldn’t take it any more. I let out a shout of joy and acted like I was at a football game with my team scoring the winning touchdown.


“RIGHT ON!!! WOOOHOOOOOO!!!!!”

Yeah, I looked like an idiot but I didn’t bridal my enthusiasm. It was a moment you rarely get a chance at and I stood there in the cool morning air and soaked it all in.

As you can imagine, the rest of the run was not much of a problem.

It’s moments like that that make me so appreciative that I am HOME!!!

My trip to Cosco AND Sam’s: the wife wanted to go to Costco so we did. Husbands, back me up here.

Let me just put this out there: I want a Roomba. They are quite possibly the coolest thing I have ever seen. A ROBOT in my house!!! Cleaning up!

I must have one.

But $250? … I must have one… a little later, when my finances are a little, uh, robust (I was going to go with ROOMbust but that just plain stupid.).

But have one I will.

I have loved Cosco for many years. And even this particular one was the same one I went to when I was in high school so it holds more than a little sentimentality for me. But it let me down: it did not have Coors Light in a bottle nor did it have Sunny D.

Dead to me.

One was for me and one was for my daughter. I think you can figure it out.

On the way back, I suggested that maybe Sam’s Club has them (we recently became members) and she suggested we stop there.

You have to understand, I was tired (10-mile run, remember?) and I needed a nap after a Costco outing (yes, I’m getting old).

But here is the thing: I never hesitated. Normally I would bitch and whine (and most likely refuse) but because it was for my daughter, it was almost automatic that we would be stopping at yet another warehouse store. Funny what daughters can do to Daddies.

It was here that I preferred my Good Samaritan act for the decade. When we were parking, we noticed an elderly Asian man having some trouble loading a huge sack of rice into his truck. Getting past the irony and cliché of it being a bag of rice, I hurriedly parked, got out, and approached him.


“Sir, can I help you with that?”

He was a bit confused at first and the thought occurred to me that this probably doesn’t happen very often in the civilian world or that he might be afraid I was going to attack him.

He smiled and accepted my help and I easily hoisted the bag into his truck and shut it for him. We offered to take his cart for him and wished him a good day.

As he thanked me, I reached out my hand to shake his and he gave me another look that told me that this doesn’t happen very often to him. He took my hand and shook it with a big smile and thanked me. I told him it was no problem and we walked off knowing we probably made his day. It was reward enough just knowing we helped him out even in such a small way.

Buying firewood. My new house has a wood-burning fireplace so obviously, I need some wood. I thought this would be a simple process.

I’m an idiot sometimes.

I looked on Craig’s List and quickly realized that I needed a decision-making matrix similar to that of picking between cancer treatments.

Full cord, half cord, aged 1 year, two years, green, alder, cedar, cottonwood, pine, pick-up, delivered….

Naturally I called my father-in-law and told me to go with the alder aged at least a year.

Still, I couldn’t make a decision and shelved it for now. I figure I need a half-cord since I don’t have all that much room to store it and will probably only be here less than a year.

And I think that the only way I would pick it up myself is if it was free. If I am going to have to pay for it, then I’ll have it delivered. I’ve played “split the wood” before and it ranks up there with watching Oprah: painful and makes me feel like a bitch.

And having my brother over for dinner. Chris came over to see the new place and brought Sam, his dog. Carrie made us lasagna and good thing I bought all that beer because he drank all of one. I had one too so, you know, big night.

We watched Monday Night Football and can I just say, I’m getting a bit tired of retro uniforms. There are reasons that they made new ones, mainly centered around the fact that the old ones looked like ass covered ass.

And the orange and white striped referees’ uniforms? Good God in Heaven, they looked like they lost a bet in prison.

That brings us to yesterday when I skipped the blog because I was busy joining my brother working a rolling slowdown. He picked me up at 10:00 PM and I got back just before 2:00 AM. (I’m still refusing to use military time.)

Here is what we did: Comcast needed to cut a line that crossed a freeway. So my brother’s company organized the evolution that involved some of his people and some state patrol.

They form a moving barricade a few miles upstream and go 10 miles per hour so everyone has to slow down and yell “WHAT THE #$@&^% IS GOING ON UP THERE?” despite the signs and warnings.

The lead car follows the last person to get in front of the barricade so when we see that flashing car come, we know there is the big 15-minute gap behind him.

They snip the wire at both ends and reel it in.

Once that’s done, they call the barricade and tell them to speed up and let everyone go.

It took 6 minutes from the moment they said “GO!” until they let the barricade flow.

Then we did it again for the traffic going the other way.

Not much too it which is a good thing. Murphy didn’t show up like it did once when a high-speed pursuit happened AND a drunk driver ended up going the wrong way on an off ramp.

How stupid do you have to be … never mind.

I got home at 2:00 AM, slept until 6:45 AM when I got up to take my daughter to school, and then came back and crashed until 11:00 AM.

Am I really that lazy?

Well, yeah, but I kind of had an excuse. NOT that I was up so late (I routinely go to bed between midnight and 1:00 AM) but because I think I’m getting a little sick. I’m not full-on “God take me now!” sick but just a little tired and lethargic. Hopefully I bypass the worst of it. My training can’t afford an extended stay in the rack bed.

Other random news:

- I finished season one of “30 Rock” today. Great show.

- I finished the first season of “The Office” the other day. Both of these programs I plan to watch end to end thanks to my wife’s discount (free) at Hollywood Video.

- I am hooked on “The Biggest Loser.” I always want to work out hard after watching this.

- I figured out how to set up network sharing and printer sharing on all the computers in my house for the first time ever.

- I got about 95% done with organizing my office. There is so much crap in here, you wouldn’t believe it.

- I have been using “Remember The Milk” website and iPhone app to keep my life organized. Combined with “Getting Things Done,” I have been doing a decent job with capturing tasks and getting to them but I could do better.

- My reading has gone off track. I am currently not reading anything and have a week’s worth of Seattle Times on my Kindle.

- I subscribed to a year of “TrailRunner” magazine. I’ll read it, really!

- Last and certainly not least, happy birthday Sharon. My mother-in-law turns 65 today and she is the sweetest woman on the planet.

So many more projects, I don’t know what I’m going to do when I have to actually, you know, work.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, my math teacher decided to use my acne as an example of symmetry in front of the whole class. FML.”

2 comments


From Power Outages to Trampolines, It Frenetically Continues

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “The Internet is like alcohol in some sense. It accentuates what you would do anyway. If you want to be a loner, you can be more alone. If you want to connect, it makes it easier to connect.”

- Esther Dyson



OK, if you read my blog yesterday, I ranted up a storm and it got late so I had to call it a night. Here is the rest of that rant-o-rama…

Power outages: I was just sitting at my computer trying to make headway on the mountain of back-logged stuff when all the sudden … full power down.

I stopped with my fingers still on the keys.

“Oh, that’s gotta be GREAT for the computer.”

I haven’t been in my house for 2 weeks and I already lost power.

Beautiful.

About 10 seconds later, it came back on but then the mood was broken. I said screw it (maybe that’s why I can make very little headway if that’s all it takes) and headed downstairs to do some of my very infrequent TV staring.

I was watching Tosh.O; a somewhat funny show where the hosts finds and shows clips he finds on the web and makes fun of it a la Talk Soup but Tosh can get a little annoying.

Anyway, I was watching it with my son and we were laughing at the world being idiots when …. you guessed it … another full power down.

OK, that’s it. I’m down for the count. Going to bed. Screw this world until the morning.

I found out the next morning that at about 12:30 AM, the power came on, the lights shone, and the TV blasted.

I was TOLD this because I seemed to be the only one that didn’t wake up.

Good to see my military reflexes are still as sharp as kitten claws.

Setting up my office: I have been busy the last couple of days trying to shoe-horn approximately 3 times as much crapola as would logically fit into my home office. You see, I have a lot of crap. I mean possessions, not fecal matter residing in my colon. Are we straight? Can we move on?

As I was saying, I got crap coming out my ass… damn, you know what I mean….

The way this works is that I open a few boxes and somehow wedge the contents here and there until there is somewhat organization in my office. Then I open a few more and the place is a mess and I organize it again. This cycle continues over and over again until my office starts to look like a crazy man’s spooky house filled the gills with memorabilia.

I have a “Me Museum.”

I did manage to succeed in the marathon medal department. I decided to hang them above my window and the spacing worked out perfect.

I would like to say I planned it this way but to tell the truth, I started at one end and hoped for the best. It just so happened that all 21 medals plus the 4 ultra-marathon medals spaced out exactly the width of my window and it turned out looking pretty damn good if I say so myself.

And I do.

OK, ok, ok, here is the tour….


(Here are my two main bookshelves. Notice the utter clutter feeling I attain.)


(Next to the door is my homage to famous Marines I have met. Also you see my grandfather, my mother, and me at the same age. Plus a bunch of books I still to find a home for.)


(Here is the third bookshelf in the small room looking somewhat organized along with my filing cabinet. Notice the Company Guidon from my Company Commander days.)


(And finally, where all the magic happens. No, not the bedroom. Look closely and you wil be able to pick out some evidence of my insanity … Taylor Duck, Pinnochio, Peeps. Also check out the dual-screen action and my service flag. Those inboxes on the right need some work!)

Throwing away dayplanner packets: I finally made the move. I had saved all my dayplanner packets from every month I was an Adjutant (back in 1998-2001!) for some insane reason. I thought they would mean something to me someday and I have been dragging them around for a long time. Looking through them, I saw bits and pieces of my life but it was a bit unnerving because there wasn’t enough information to always help me recall what was going on.

So it created this big stress ball of trying to remember and combined with the lunacy of dragging around 10 lbs of paper, I decided I should finally let this go.

I think my wife was happy. This is progress to my hoarding tendencies. But I still got the decade of magazines I’m not letting go!!!

Recycling: This was a real bullshit move. Because we are moving, we have a lot of cardboard boxes and packing paper so I have made a few trips to the recycling center where I can dump all the cardboard and paper. Good for the environment and it gets it out of my graying hair. Everyone wins.

Except for the jackass that works there.

You know, I understand that working at a recycling center probably wasn’t what your guidance counselor raved about and kept you up late at night hoping to one day attain but do you really have to be Joe the Jackass? Really?

My son and I pulled up to offload a truck-full and got about two boxes in when this shit-stain runs out and tells me I have to come back tomorrow.

“Why?”
“We are closing.”
“Come on, it’ll take me like three minutes.”
“Nope, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.”

He stood by the chain link gate with an irritated look and motioned for me to go through as he waited to lock up.

It was at this point that I had a decision to make. I could just keep doing it (I mean, what was he going to do, call the police? Lock me in?) or leave.

Two things tipped the scales.

1. I had my son with me and me getting in a verbal altercation with this ass bag was probably not setting a good example.

2. I was driving Truckasaurus and if I made a scene, I know this moron would have remembered me and my distinctive truck and being able to use the recycling center again probably would be in jeopardy. I have to live here like, permanently and stuff now.

So I left. Pissed.

Come on people. I vent on this blog but am very polite in public. Why can’t people like this just be cool? We all have to live together, right?

Oil change: I took my Honda Pilot in to get the oil change and thought since I had a $7-off coupon, I was getting a good deal. This was strengthened when they said I didn’t even need that coupon since they were having a $10-off special.

Then why did I end up paying $36 anyway?

And why did the kid working there treat me like I was putting him out by asking him to do his job?

And why did Carrie go get Uranus done for $13 today?

Jiffy Lube, you shall never see me or my three vehicles ever again. You are the newest member on “Jason’s Shitlist” which is oh so very long.

Godfathers with Alex: I took my son to Godfather’s pizza again to get the famed taco pizza. And it might be the last time since Auburn is supposed to flood soon and if when it does, I don’t think Godfather’s will reopen. They’ve closed every one but that one in the entire state so when the rains come, I do believe it will wash away my taco pizza and a pizza-slice-shaped portion of my happiness forever.

It was only fitting that I have a hunger-induced episode one last time. I thought I was getting over on the World-Is-Against-Me gods by finding the number and calling our order in ON THE WAY!

When we got there, there was only one guy in front of me and he had a very long red beard to match his methodical (slow, non-existent) sense of urgency.

He obviously didn’t understand how hungry I was and the fact that I knew my pizza was waiting and getting colder by the second only made my patience that much more fleeting.

He orders (come on, come on, come on, come on…) and then pulls out his credit card…DAMN!

The worker goes to the machine, punches it in, (come on, come on, come on, come on…), rips of the receipt, and hands it to him with a pen.

As though this is a foreign concept, he slowly puts pen to paper and I can’t see what is going on but it prompts the following thought after a few seconds of seemingly negligible progress:

“IT’S SIGNING YOUR NAME, CORKY. YOU’VE DONE IT, WHAT, A BILLION TIMES IN YOUR LIFE? WHAT, ARE YOU WRITING A POEM OVER THERE?”

When he slid the receipt across the counter (slowly!), I thought I was home free but in the time it took her to punch in his card and bring back his receipt, he was able to discover the “R” in “Strudel” was missing from the list of buffet offerings on the stand-up menu.

This of course prompted a big discussion between him and the teenage girl. They actually ARGUED about it until they discovered it had the word twice and one was misspelled and one wasn’t.

WHO.
GIVES.
A.
FLYING.
FUCK?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It took three slices of taco pizza to talk me down from that one.

Concert tracking: I had a task on my to-do list to find a website that helps me track when concerts are coming to town. After a little research, I found SongKick.com and it worked better than I expected.

It’s a free, Facebook-like site where you can pick names of artists and/or venues near you and you can see if they are coming any time soon. It will even send you email when it finds anything that match your criteria in the future.

This was so cool.

At first, I thought I would only have a couple of artists but after I got going, I had 50 acts listed and now I can sleep soundly knowing that if anyone I would care to pay to see is coming to the greater Seattle area, I’m going to know about it.

This provides an amazing degree of comfort for me. I won’t miss out for not knowing when people come to town.

Paranormal Activity: took my family to this the other day and it scared the holy living shit out of me. I was a sucker for The Blair Witch Project too so this shouldn’t be surprising. The amateur home movie footage thing really adds a degree of scariness to the whole thing.

I have to admit, I woke up twice during the night a bit spooked. That makes this, The Blaire Witch Project, and Amityville Horror the only movies to disturb my sleep cycle. Congrats.

AT&T ruining my delayed Seahawk experience (I mean MORE than the Seahawks themselves): After the movie, we decided to stop by the AT&T store because my daughter’s phone was acting up. I was taping the Seahawks game so I could watch it when I got home and obviously did not want to hear the score.

When we entered the store, the AT&T people are trained to yell a greeting across the store no matter what they are doing and even throw in some inane small talk to chat you up. Standard procedure if not a bit obvious and annoying.

So, combine that with the fact that I was wearing a Seahawk shirt and hat and you get the inevitable.

“Welcome to AT&T …” came a booming greeting from across the store…

(quick glance up from his computer screen to ascertain my clothing…)

“Did you see the game today?”

(Does not wait for me to answer..)

“I turned it off at the beginning of the third quarter when it was something like 21 to 3.”

(still not looking at me…)

I said, “Yeah, just got out of a movie, taping it, thanks. You just saved me three hours, appreciate it.”

(he still stares at his screen and what I just said has no effect on him.)

Final result of trip:

- phone is out of 30 day store warranty so we have to call the warranty department and send it in by mail.
- phone bill that seems obscenely high could not be explained to my satisfaction so was told to call customer service.
- phantom charges could not be explained to my satisfaction so was told to call customer service.

You are a STAR, AT&T.

Programming remote: another task on my to-do list was to fix my Comcast remote. It has a 15-second rewind (very cool for replays and when you blow past your show) but it does not have a 30-second skip forward to zip through commercials.

Now THIS is cool: I was sitting in my living room with my iPhone and decided to tackle this. I know from past experience that there are codes and sequences of remote buttons you can push that can reprogram your remote (did it with TIVO years ago) so I fired up my iPhone browser and did a Google search on “Comcast remote hacks 30 second skip” and hit pay dirt right out of the chute.

I found out that the networks put pressure on the cable companies to NOT include this feature on their remotes as a standard feature because obviously they don’t want us to be zipping through commercials so effortlessly.

But suck ass, networks, I want to skip through your 30-second retardation-inducing swill. And if you know the right codes, this is exactly what you can do.

I followed the directions and it worked right away. The thought occurred to me that if I FUBARed my remote, it would be a bitch trying to UNDO whatever jackassery I had managed to hoseify my remote as a result. Luckily it worked.

In fact, it worked TWICE.

You see, you have to pick a button to assign the skip to and my first choice was the “HELP” button on the remote which I found it galactically ironic that by default, that button does nothing.

But then after I was done, I realized something very subtle. The “HELP” button was too far away from the 15-second rewind.

Why is this important? It might sound trivial but it really annoys me.

You use the two buttons together in the following pattern:

SKIP
SKIP
SKIP
BACK

This is because the final skip will inevitable put you a few seconds past the last commercial and into the program. So you hit the “BACK” button” to pop back 15 seconds and you are pretty close to where you want to be.

Since the “HELP” button was far way, I would have to look down at the remote after the final skip to find the “BACK” button on the other end of the remote.

Again, this might SOUND trivial but really, it would be nice if these two buttons were next to each other so you could fire the “SKIP” in rapid succession and then slide your thumb one button over and hit the “BACK” without having to look.

And since I had the power to reprogram (thanks, internet), and there was an open button near the pre-programmed “BACK” button (happens to be the child lock button that I will never use), all my problems were solved.

I went through the reprogramming feature again and voila, I was set.

Victories, even if minor, are sweet.

Trampoline and dog shit:
we set up the trampoline yesterday. We bought this monstrosity in Monterey in 2001 so for eight years and 3 previous set-ups, we have had our share of fun with this little slice of hell.

OK, I will admit, usually Carrie and the kids set this up because it takes a certain amount of patience I don’t possess. But this time, I was forced asked to participate in the set up.

If you have ever tried to set one of these things up, you will know how fucking fucked up this fucking thing can fucking be.

Add to that the fact that Alex had not cleaned up the dog shit in the back yard for about a week and you have a recipe for me to become Mt. St. Jason complete with lava exploding out the top of my head.

I mean it’s bad enough that we have all these rusty poles with a questionable numbering pattern that we have to try to piece together but the ever-present danger of stepping into ground-in dog shit was almost unbearable.

I made Alex scoop up all the shit before we started but because my dog’s ass seems to be a soft-serve machine and it has been raining, all Alex accomplished was smearing the shit into the grass and thus making it harder to avoid.

For the next ½ hour it was all matching up rusty metal poles, trying to keep the ones you’ve managed to wiggle into place from spontaneously popping apart, and dealing with an increasing amount of torque produced by the progress… all while avoiding shit landmines.

We finally got it put together so there you go, kids. Have a fucking great time.

There, that catches me up to today and I’m all out of steam again.

Remind me to tell you about my 10 mile run where I saw bald eagles. And my trip to Cosco AND Sam’s. And buying firewood. And having my brother over for dinner.

Will I ever catch up?

I’m going to bed.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, as I was changing my daughter’s diapers I got some of her poop on my finger. I quickly flicked my hand to get it off because I was so disgusted and then hit my finger hard on the changing table. My initial reaction was to put it in my mouth to ease the pain. I should have used a wipe. FML.”

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iHate

Sunday, October 18th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “The future will be better tomorrow.”

- Dan Quayle

Is it that I’m inconsistent and you have pretty much written me off or have I lost all my readers? It used to be I missed a day or two and I was inundated with emails asking if I was dead (which was funny because how would I answer if I was?)

Maybe you have just gotten used to it. Or I am writing to an empty audience. Criminy, this feels like C-SPAN.

Oh well, reap what we sow and all that jazz.

I got a lot to cover but I won’t go too far back and just get into recent rantings.

Favicons: I got in a funk the other day trying to get my Firefox browser to show the little icons on my favorites toolbar. That took up about an hour of time I’ll never get back.

Yes, I scoured the internet as I am prone to do and even added the add-on that is supposed to enable the user to reset or even set an individualized icon.

What was the result? The shit from jack.

I did find some instructions of how to go into the very DNA of my computer and change things at a molecular level but I thought, you know what … with my recent track record with Delzilla, let’s just leave well enough alone. It’s just icons. Little bastard fucker icons but icons nonetheless.

Haircut: as you know, I am not on active duty any more and that means I don’t have to get weekly haircuts. This means that I can let my hair grow but what you might not know is that I can’t just let it grow willy nilly.

Well, everything can pretty much go at it’s own pace (I’m looking at you, top, sides, and back), but there are two areas that need periodic grooming.

1. Right around the ears
2. Base of neck

These must be taken care of before the rest or for #1, you get these white trash blowback wisps over the top of the ear that make you look like you watch NASCAR. For #2, the carpet fuzz cotton ball spread just looks like baked ass.

Now combine all of that with the fact that I am an extreme cheapskate and cannot bring myself to pay $15 for a quick three-step zip zip zip and you get a dilemma.

So naturally I pressed my lovely wife into operating the barber-quality clippers I got way back in the early 90s when I tried to get by with cuts from the same wife. Seems my cheapassedness knows know time boundaries.

It was a major success and it’s amazing how a few strokes with clippers can improve your look so dramatically. As good as it gets at 40, I guess.

Two more vanity-slaughtering points I will point out for you, my faithful readers:

1. The sides are almost completely white and this bothers me more than I thought it would.

2. The top back is getting noticeably sparse. How could this happen? I’m half Mexican! I looked in a hand-held mirror and for the first time in my life, I found myself looking at my father’s head. I cried for an hour.

Running Squak: I decided that if I wait for the rain to subside, I would never get anything done so I geared up the other day and went running Squak. Although it poured on me the entire time, I wasn’t bothered. I mean, I had a running jacket on and I was in a rain forest. Within minutes I was as wet as I would get so no big deal.

Surprisingly, it took me longer to get up the mountain and longer to get down than it had the first time I did it, even though I felt I was going faster.

Also, this time I remembered Gu so I refueled at the top before basically falling down the mountain for 45 minutes.

It rocked.

Another moment of honesty here: I lost faith getting to the top. I was starting to bog and I let the wet get into my head. The last ½ mile is steep uphill and twisty so I kept thinking that the next turn was the top but was disappointed over and over again until I started cussing out loud.

Of course I got to the top shortly after this happened as these things tend to pan out.

iTunes: See, the other day I gave somewhat props to iTunes for saving my contacts and calendar when Delzilla took a dumpzilla and then what does it go and do? Reward by begrudged appreciation with the mother of all shit-in-my-open-mouth moves.

Just a second, I have to do this:

I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I EFFING hate you iTunes!

(you would think that makes me feel better … but …. let me check……nope.)

Here’s the deal. I noticed there were some exclamation point icons next to some of my songs in my iTunes library. Then I discovered that “some” was really about HALF!

What does that mean? Well, let me see if I can put this in easy terms.

The songs listed in my iTunes library are simply pointers to the actual files on my computer. I hate iTunes like Oprah hates rice cakes so I don’t dare let it even come close to touching any of my actual files.

Well, when the moons around the planet ShiTuno line up, it forgets where that pointer points to. The path somehow gets corrupted and then the exclamation icon says “Hey, I’m too much of a fucktard to remember where this song is.”

So what does it do? It skips it and goes to the next one.

“Hey Jason, doesn’t it let you point it in the right direction?”

Well, yes, it does but I have over 5000 songs and I don’t feel like going through 2500 songs and doing the 10-second procedure per song to pull iTunes thumb out of its dumb ass. That’s 7 hours of hate I’m not willing to go through at this time.

“OK, well, don’t you use Windows Media Player to listen to music and therefore a corrupted iTunes library wouldn’t matter, right?”

Well, sorta. You are right, I don’t use the iTunes player mostly because I think that CrApple is the blood-red shitstain on Satan’s heavy-flow panties. But what happens when I try to sync it with my iPod and iPhone?

It would be like Normandy in my office, folks.

I needed a plan. The first one was simple: have iTunes rescan my library and if it is intelligent enough, it will just fill in the missing paths when it finds them.

Yeah, right. We ARE talking CrApple here. You know what happened? This is so retarded I need to put it in it’s own paragraph so you can read it over and over:

It just slaps another full set into the library. Therefore I ended up with this:

2500 original good-path songs
2500 bad-path songs that don’t play
5000 new good-path songs

ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME, CRAPPLE?

Really, this is how your software works? And you wonder why I think you should have your combined testicles nailed with ball peen hammers?

I really had no choice at this point but to erase the whole damn thing and start over with a fresh set. It hurt but it had to be done.

You know what, fuck that, it DIDN’T need to be done but for some yet-to-be explained reason, my library ONCE AGAIN got corrupted and now it was going to cost me many frustrating hours of tedious work.

I hate you CrApple!

It probably had something to do with my hard drive going down but I reinstalled my entire music library exactly in the same manner, installed a freshly downloaded version of iTunes (spit!), and synced it with my iPhone. So I still don’t know why it all went to shit.

Why is this so irritating? Because ever since I got my iPhone, I have been FORCED to use this software I hate and have literally wasted DAYS doing the most tedious bullshit to make the program work for me.

Case in point, and the first of many time-suck-due-to-iShit-sucking-donkey: it has a tendency to list every song twice in the library. So I have to go through and delete every other copy of every song. I tried to get to the bottom of this but it is an illogical bug that defies all logic. The extra copies point to a file in a folder that is hidden within the structure of the real flies’ structure. I tried to delete it once and it erased not only the file copy but the original and I had to go to my archives to restore my mp3s.

I was sooooooooo pissed.

Moving on, yeah, I had to go through the entire library and erase half the entries because iShit sucks serious ass.

Once I got that done, I thought I was just about done but I had a new little cake of shit waiting for me. Happy effin’ birthday to me.

When I erased the library, it erased all my playlists.

Oh, the NAME of the playlist was still there but they were completely empty.

I just about lost my red-hot mind at this point.

After stopping myself from punching holes in every wall I could find… excuse me, just recounting this requires me to do something….

I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I hate you iTunes!
I EFFING hate you iTunes!

As I was saying, after stopping myself from punching holes in every wall I could find, I had a clear moment and looked through my shit-colored glasses:

If I sync my iPhone at this point, it will “copy” over the playlists from my computer to my iPhone and since the computer playlists are now empty (I hate you, iShit!), it will erase all my songs on my iPhone.

I actually picked up my iPhone and MOVED it to the other side of the room.

Ok, OK, OK, calm down. What can we do to fix this? What’s next, Grose?

Well, the playlists are complete on the iPhone so why can’t we just copy the list over to the computer? The newly copied files are in the same place on the computer so it should see them where it expects to see them? Why wouldn’t this work?

BECAUSE WE ARE TALKING ABOUT iShit, PEOPLE? HAVE YOU NOT READ A FUCKING WORD I’VE WRITTEN UP TO THIS POINT?

It turns out, I am not the first one to desire an iPhone to computer transfer but the assclowns at CrApple decided that this would be something useful and therefore made it about as easy as teaching my dog to fart Mozart to C flat.

I could take a chance on paying money I don’t have to get a program to do this.

Hey, maybe I have some back-up iShit file in my archives that would restore …. What? Punch myself in the nuts for even thinking that? After another 20 minutes of fruitless searching (either CrApple doesn’t have such a file or they hide it with a billion levels of secure scrambling and encoding that I’d sooner find Jesus’s baby teeth) and there was only one thing left to do.

I punched myself in the nuts.

Finally I found a free program called SharePod that did the trick but all it really did was pull copies of the songs onto the hard drive. Why did this not help me much?

I wanted the PLAYLISTS restored, not copies of the songs ON the playlists.

Think of it as wanting to recreate a box of chocolates. I don’t need you to dump all the various-shaped chocolates on my lap. I need the map on the lid to show me where they go.

So all this really did was give me a list of songs I had on the playlists.

It was at this point that I was too tired to fight any longer. I knew what had to happen. I would have to recreate all my playlists manually and try not to let the white-hot hatred consume me during the HOURS it would take to do this.

I started by opening the folder I got from SharePod which had all the songs on my iPhone. I would look at the first song (Here Without You by 3 Doors Down), click in my search box in iShit, type it in, find it, and drag it into the “Jason’s iPhone” playlist.

One down, 5000 to go.

I hate you, iShit.

When I’m done with that, I will sync it up with my iPhone and LOGICALLY, I will be back at the point I started with a week ago before iShit decided my library should have a Tabasco sauce enema.

But I know, I KNOW it will be a complete fucking disaster. Stay tuned.

You know what, it’s late and I didn’t expect that last one to take so long so I am going to post and try to hit the other half of this post tomorrow.

Hasta.

(note: this might be the most profane use of vulgarity on record for me. I apologize to those of you who changed my diapers 40 years ago.)

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, I was out for a nice walk and saw a man being attacked by a large crowd. Instinctively I ran to help him. I pushed one “thug” off him and that little time allowed him to escape. I later found out the man I saved had just keyed someone’s car and they had intervened. Guess whose car. FML.”

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Catch-Up Potpourri

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “I hate women because they always know where things are.”

- James Thurber

Another week rolled by and no blogging. So let me hit the highlights.

We moved into our new house (renting) and been trying to make the house a home for over a week. Unpacking boxes, hanging stuff, trying to cram 10,000 books onto 3 bookshelves, and dealing with all the dramas that are inherent in a move which were prime blogging opportunities that are not so much dust in the wind.

Oh, segue opportunity X2!!!!

1. My brother took me to see Kansas and Three Dog Night. I was stoked because I had never seen either of these legendary groups in my life. I enjoyed the concert but I have to throw this out there: they looked really old. Because, they are. They sounded good (Dust in the Wind and Carry On My Wayward Son were phenomenal) but yikes.

It gave “Dust In The Wind” a slightly different meaning (fart joke alert!) and it should have been “Shuffle On My Wayward Grandfather.”

2. On day 2 of the move, my computer went virtual-tits up. It started with a random shut down (never a good sign) and then a grinding sound I thought was the hard drive (Ends up it was the power supply fan and intermittent.) I freaked out, bought a new hard drive, and then tried to install it and it was about as successful as Paris Hilton’s application to Harvard.

Long story short, I had to take it in to a repair shop over the weekend and got it back with a reformatted 160 GB hard drive that ends up wasn’t bad after all and the 160 GB data drive left alone.

What happened to the 500 GB drive that I bought? It now resides as yet another big ass data drive in my computer.

Now here is what I am sporting:

1 C: drive (160 GB)
1 D: drive (160 GB)
1 F: drive (500 GB)
1 G: drive (120 GB external)
1 H: drive (1 TERABYTE external)
1 I: drive (130 GB external)

Too much?

Yes.

I have over 2 terabytes worth of space, people! That’s over 2000 GB!!!!

But did this overabundance of room prevent me from losing my email file?

No, no it didn’t.

You see, I did the smart thing and backed up my data to specifically include my humongous .pst file (the file that holds all my email, calendar items, and contacts in Outlook).

But I didn’t check it and I discovered my copy was corrupted when I got my computer back, loaded up Office, and tried to use my backed up .pst file to give me back the Outlook goodness I have accumulated over the last decade.

Jason was not happy.

I spent most of one entire day reconstructing bits and pieces but in the end, lost most of the last couple of months’ email.

I have to thank my iPhone for saving my bacon with contacts and calendar items though. I still hate you, CrApple but you uncharacteristically came through for me this time.

Now on to items I promised to address in my last blog….

- Oktoberfest plans in Leavenworth: I actually accomplished this. We went last Sunday with my bro-in-law so there were a total of 8 of us in a Germanic town in Eastern Washington. I had about as much Bavarian emersion I can stand for one year.

Oh, and for those of you that were confused on my Facebook update, there are two Leavenworths (probably more). For my military friends, no, I didn’t go to Leavenworth, Kansas where the military prison is. For 22 years, I got away with everything as evidenced by the DD214 that I received in the mail today.

- Free plasma TVs and where they will be placed: the aforementioned bro-in-law gave me a 50 inch plasma television.

Let me repeat that: My bro-in-law GAVE me a 50-inch plasma television.

No cost.

Not only that, but because he installs high-end systems for a living, he brought it, hooked it to my cable, DVR, DVD player and installed the surround-sound speakers before making audio and video adjustments that made even my technological-minded head spin.

Oh, you want to know why and how. I guess I should explain.

He puts in super high-end stuff for really rich people and the day after some doctor had him install some obscenely expensive system, rich old Doc called up Scott and asked if he could get rid of the 3-year-old 50-inch plasma he replaced.

“Sure.”

And thus, I was bequeathed with the free TV since Scott ALREADY went through this with another customer a few years ago resulting in a big screen in his bedroom (they already have a stupid-sick-high-end TV in their living room. That cobbler’s kids DO have effin’ shoes!!!!)

- Miscalculations of retired pay: This one I haven’t got to yet. The calculations I come up with are a bit higher than what I’m seeing so I should get this one taken care of soon. Like tomorrow. I know, I know…

- A day-long walkabout using an all-day bus ticket: this was one of those ideas I had while running (when I get most of my hare-brained ideas, to tell the truth).

I would pack some food, bring my Camelback, buy an all-day bus pass, and head out to the city. I would run, walk, stop and rest, maybe take another bus somewhere, etc. The idea was to spend a day on the move without a specific route or plan. I could take pics and update via iPhone and Facebook. I don’t know, it just sounded adventurous to me.

- Seattle Marathon plans: BIG NEWS!!! Today, I made the commitment (just over $100) and signed up. On November 29th, I will be running in the Seattle Marathon; my first marathon since May of 2008.

Am I ready?

No.

But I have 45 days to make some magic.

So it’s up at 6:00 to eat breakfast, take my daughter to school at 7:00, and on the trail by 0730. Then some treadmill action in the afternoon.

I guess I should diet a bit too. Back to the disciplined eating plan I did in my last months in Saudi.

I will finish with two last items:

1. My daughter played her last home game of the volleyball season tonight where her team got crushed into a fine powder by the WOMEN of Kennedy Catholic Private School. I called the game and my main line was “POINT LANCERS!”

But I’m proud of my daughter anyway. Although she didn’t get to play in the varsity game, she did well in the JV game and was called up as an alternate in the varsity game. So I told her “You MADE it to varsity!”

It’s something I never accomplished in any sport.

2. How is my job hunt going?

It’s not. All scents have gone ice cold and at this moment, I am playing house-husband.

There are worse things.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, my younger sister’s dog broke its leg. The vets are closed today so instead of going on a date with a girl I have been trying to get for at least 2 years, I need to carry an 80 lb. dog that hates me, up and down the stairs. I already got bit twice. FML.”

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Trail Running and Volleyball Announcing

Tuesday, October 6th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “Nobody believes the official spokesman… but everybody trusts an unidentified source.”

- Ron Nesen

Is it a habit if it happens twice? Is that the deal?

If so, I fear that I have fallen into a habit of waking up to take my daughter to school and then coming back and sleeping for two more hours. Now that it’s starting to get nippy in the morning (37 degrees this morning), a mid-morning run is a lot more tempting. Something about not having a couple of ice cubes bouncing around in my running shorts that appeals to me.

I got up (AGAIN) to take the wife to work (hey, I kind of like the sound of that) and even joined her in a pre-work cup of Starbucks (hey, I kind of like the sound of that, too!). Her work, not mine. (I KNOW I like the sound of that!)

When I got back to the house, I spent a few minutes playing with my nephew who my mother-in-law was watching for the day. OK, I’ll admit, I was procrastinating the run again but that doesn’t mean I didn’t enjoy wrestling around with my nephew. He reminded me of my son when he was a toddler and I realize how much I miss throwing him around and hugging on him.

At 17, Alex is not up for the wrestling and snuggling bit. Kids.

I couldn’t put it off any longer so I got dressed and headed for what I decided was the work out of the day. If you remember (meaning if you have been keeping up with my newfound exuberance at blog-writing), you will recall that last Saturday I took my wife, my “Dad Stop Hugging Me” son, and my dog on a gorgeous hike at Squak Mountain State Park.

Today I thought I would run/hike up to the top and then run my way down. After yesterday’s horrible run, I needed a win and I hoped this would be the ticket.

I got all set up and hit the trail with energy and motivation.

Three minutes later I was breathing like a 2-pack-a-day smoker …. of cigars!

OK, maybe this would be more of a “hike up” than a “run up” the trail.

Once I got into a rhythm of hiking, things got good and I got in a comfortable pace. I got to the spot that we turned back on Saturday. It took an hour on Saturday and it took me about 30 minutes today. I was sweating which was good but I had to attack the monster that made us turn back: a steep uphill that promised the eat my lunch.

And eat it it did.

But I kept going and the trail just kept going up and up and up. On Saturday, we thought we might make it to the top of “Central Peak” but it was another 1.6 miles from where we stopped so today I wanted to get to the top. It turned into a vendetta as these things do with me.

Twenty minutes later, I couldn’t believe how far I had gone, and still not reached the top. It just seemed that I was on an endless path and would never actually get to the top. I was starting to lose heart and I was under a time crunch, as I will explain later.

I didn’t even know what I was looking for. What was my prize? What would I see? No clue. I didn’t know what was at “Central Peak.”

Toward the end, the path started to go down and three things occurred to me.

First, I might have hit the peak which wasn’t anything that would scream out “YOU’RE AT THE TOP!!!!” and now I was heading down the other side without knowing it. (Suck factor = considerable).

Second, if I did and I was now going downhill, I would have to climb back UP coming the other way. (Suck factor = high).

Third, if I accepted this and headed back, I could have the face the situation that I trudged up a mountain for almost an hour and gave up right before the summit. (Suck factor = off the chart).

This was unacceptable so I took the chance and ran down the hill.

Then it turned upward. Then level. Then something weird appeared.

It was a series of thick metal pipes, that channeled anyone on the path around a turnstile-like maze like a line at the bank. It just seemed weird since I had been wandering through the woods for an hour with nothing man-made in sight. Then all of the sudden, these big turnstile pipes.

A few minutes later, I reached the top which was a convergence of three gravel roads and a big set of radio dishes and power transformers set off my chain-link fence.

Was it Central Peak? It damn-well better be because I had to get back. And it was all blue sky so I had to be at the top. I didn’t really see where it could go up any higher.

My suspicions were confirmed when two women hikers came wandering up one of the other paths and I asked them if this was Central Peak. They seemed as confused as I was and said they thought so. They had gone down one of the other paths and it dead-ended. Then they went down the other one before returning and telling me it didn’t seem there was anything there either.

They said they were returning the way they came (which was the way I just came) so I told them I would be running down in a few minutes and would likely pass them down the path. I told them this so they wouldn’t be startled when I came running down behind them. In these situations I don’t know how NOT to seem creepy and I feel bad if I make two female hikers feel even slightly worried about being out in the middle of nowhere and vulnerable.

Sure enough, I caught them within a few minutes and made my presence known. Unfortunately they were on an uphill stretch and I could not run it so I tried to hurry past them as fast as I could so they could enjoy the solitary privacy this hike has to offer. I had only passed one other person on the way up so like last Saturday, I don’t think many people know about this place and that suits me just fine.

I flew down the mountain but it wasn’t long before I felt regret for not bringing another Gu. I was starting to get weak and the first 10 minutes of the way back, I started to see big spots. That meant my glucose level was low and I was without nutrition.

Bad move but I ran through it.

I started getting really tired by the time I got to the bottom but had to get this run done as fast as I could.

Why? Because I was supposed to get back to my in-law’s, shower, eat, go get Buster at my brother’s house (so he could check out our new digs), and make it over to my new house by 2:00 when the delivery guys were supposed to show up to deliver my new leather living room set.

I was running out of time.

But man oh man, what a run down. I was actually TRAIL RUNNING and I felt like a TRAIL RUNNER! I realized I had been doing so much of either NO running at all or street running that I couldn’t really claim the title of “Trail Runner.”

Until today.

Today, I WAS a Trail Runner and it felt good.

Here is my trip up.

And my trip down.

The bad news was that I had totally blown past the time to make it to my brother’s house and back to pick up Buster.

I felt bad and with this thought swirling in my head, I saw that I had a couple of voice mails from my wife that told me that the delivery people were really to deliver the stuff RIGHT NOW but unfortunately, “RIGHT NOW” was about the time I was at the top of Central Peak.

I called the delivery guys and they said they wouldn’t be there until 3:00 which was sweet because that would give me time to get showered, get food, get Buster, and make it over to the house.

Beautiful.

Did I make it with time to spare?

Of course not. I found myself about 10 minutes away by 3:00 and I played all kinds of scenarios out in my head that included the delivery dudes getting there at 3:00, leaving by 3:02, and then taking another WEEK to deliver my stuff at a highway robbery charge since I missed the first free delivery.

They were eating lunch in Kent and said they would be there by 3:30 which made me real happy.

It’s funny how you can instantly create stress on yourself and then how easy it can be lifted. And how good that feels.

I got to the house and introduced Buster to his new home. Of course he had to go from room to room and do a good sniffing. I just didn’t want him to piss all over everything in a vain attempt to say “This is MINE.

Nothing like that new dog-piss smell in your new house.

I then took him to the back yard and got this video. I think it speaks for itself.

The delivery guys showed up on time and brought in my new furniture. The first thought I had was “Well, Buster will NOT be allowed on this stuff.” It’s leather and while it seemed like a good idea in the show room, once it got in the house I saw the potential combination of soft, real leather and Buster’s big stupid claws and it made me cringe.

Sorry Buster, you get the floor, stud.

I got him some food and water and then put him in the backyard where he’d stay until tonight. I wanted him to get used to it and Stephanie had a volleyball game so I would pick him up afterwards and take him back to my brother’s for one last night. Tomorrow night I am picking him up and bringing him home to once again live with us.

It’s been too long without him.

I don’t know if I’ve mentioned this but I have become the official/unofficial voice of Hazen High School Volleyball. It started last time when the principal couldn’t make it and they asked me to make the introductions.

Not only did I do that but I asked if they wanted me to do the play-by-play over the mic and they told me to go for it. It was something they had never done before. After the initial announcements, there was no announcements at all. The mic was shut off and all that was heard was the sound of the game and the crowd. I thought it needed that “big time” feel to it like you see at college and professional sports by having an announcer.

So I did.

And I guess it was a popular move because this time, they wanted me to do the JV game in addition to the varsity game. Before, they didn’t even make ANY announcements for the JV, much less a play-by-play.

There is a script and on the piece of paper, they have all the players’ names. But there are a few problems that go along with this:

First, the opposing coach is usually doing this in a hurry and last-minute so the hand-written names are all but illegible.

Second, when they are deciphered, the names are invariably a cross between Klingon and an extinct language popular during the Messianic Era.

Since this was the second time I had done this, the names on my own team were a little easier (although I still tended to screw some of them up). But the opposing team is a new crop each week of tongue-twisting wordtastrophes with silent letters and at first sight look like something you don’t want to pronounce the way it looks lest you scar the poor teenage girl for life.

So I have to go find the coach and go over the names about a dozen times in a vain attempt to avoid slaughtering them when I’m announcing.

I have not mastered this yet.

But I guess I can claim some measure of success since the principal was at the game and was more than happy to concede his rightful spot to me and even asked if I wanted to announce the basketball games when that season rolled around.

Hey, I might of found a new career!

Oh wait, it doesn’t pay. In fact, I have to pay to get in to see my own daughter play!!!

Except tonight.

Tonight was “Military Appreciate Night” and I got in for free. They recognized all the military members in the audience and we were presented a shirt that was signed by one of the varsity players.

I also got a pie.

22 years of service and I get a pie.

I tease. It was sweet of them to give me pie, announce my name (actually ME announce MY name), give me a signed shirt, and recognize me in front of the crowd.

I had to announce my own name which was weird but I really did feel appreciated. I also felt a little bad that I couldn’t be in uniform but although I still rate to wear them, my hair is not in regulation and all my stuff is still packed in storage until tomorrow.

Yesterday I made mention of a few items I would cover today. Let’s see how I did:

Oktoberfest plans in Leavenworth: nope

Free plasma TVs and where they will be placed: nope

Miscalculations of retired pay: nope

A day-long walkabout using an all-day bus ticket: nope

Seattle Marathon plans: nope

Sitting in an empty house with no internet for most of the next 3 days: SCORE!

1/6. Not bad.

So stop yer bitchin’

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, I met my new roommate. I also met her stuffed animals, who introduced themselves to me. My roommate makes inanimate objects talk. FML.”

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I Want Your Service But I Curse Your Blackened Soul Comcast

Monday, October 5th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “Doing nothing is very hard to do … you never know when you’re finished.”

- Leslie Nielsen

My intentions were pure. My plan was solid.

I would get up, take Steph to school, get back and change into running gear, and go for my morning run.

Everything went as planned until I returned home and decided to crawl back into bed to warm up, jeans on and all.

Two hours later, I awoke wondering what the hell had happened.

Well, nothing I could do about it then so I decided to make the phonecall I kind of dreaded because I didn’t want to get all pissed off. I was going to have to call Comcast and bargain with them to get the best deal I could for the new house I was moving into.

I had to accept that no matter what kind of spectacular deal they would offer, it would still FEEL like an exorbitant amount of money and that I was being stripped of all my money, dignity, and even the clothes on my back.

I had done my research and made the decision that I wasn’t going to get a home phone. I have 4 people in my family and we have 4 cell phones. Why would we need a home phone? For the telemarketers?

“But what if there is an emergency?”

Um, if something happens that takes out ALL the cell towers, I don’t really thing the land line phone will be much good and likely, pretty damn low on the priority list since the entire state will be swallowed by some Biblical catastrophe.

Going with the “sans phone” option took me out of the running for the packaged bundle deals, although I did not shed a tear because the internet with those packages was of the weak sister variety. More on that later.

So that left just negotiating the internet connection and the cable.

Let’s start with cable.

I don’t watch that much TV. I really only like The Daily Show, Saturday Night Live, and maybe some sports. On the other hand, Carrie will watch anything to do with “reality” and the most heinous Satan Fart of them all, Dancing With The Stars, or what I like to call “I’d Rather Have My Balls Run Through Spiked Wringer.” My y-chromosome dies a little even when I’m within earshot of that fucktastrophe.

Plus, since Carrie works at Hollywood Video now, I have free access to every movie ever made and what’s even better, commercial-less collections of TV shows I can watch end to end and in order.

That all boils down to this: I don’t need your 2,500,000 channels of crap. I don’t need 73 Spanish-speaking channels showing overly-dramatic soap operas with really bad acting. I don’t need your lesbian lifestyle channels. I don’t need to watch the House of Representative listen to their own voices in nearly empty chambers (even THEY don’t watch it live, why should I?).

So my research on the Comcast site had the basic line-up (which still had over 100 channels!) on special for about $35 a month for the first six months. This also happens to be about the amount of time that I plan on being in a rental so this looked good.

Now let’s talk internet.

Here were the options:

Economy Internet Service: Way faster than dial-up with downloads up to 1 Mbps and uploads up to 384 Kbps. $24.95 per month.

Are you kidding me? I know most of you don’t know what the different speeds are or what they mean but 1 Mbps (1 Megabyte per second) is an insult. This is barely faster than dial-up. Think of a slug stuck in cold molasses.

Performance: Downloads up to 15 Mbps, uploads up to 3Mbps with PowerBoost® on special for $19.99 for the first 6 months. $42.95 per month thereafter.

I think this is what I had back in San Diego. It’s pretty good.

Blast!®: Downloads up to 20Mbps, uploads up to 4Mbps with PowerBoost®. $52.95 per month.

Whoa! You can get more? Really? But ouch, you pay for it.

Ultra: Downloads up to 30Mbps, uploads up to 7Mbps with PowerBoost®. $62.95 per month.

Sweet Mary Mother of God! This is DOUBLE what I had before!!!!! And since I am not getting a phone, maybe I should … oh the Dreamer of Dreams, can it be so?

Extreme 50: Downloads up to 50Mbps, uploads up to 10Mbps with PowerBoost®. $99.95 per month.

Oh God. I think I’m gonna be …. Just give me a second …. I …. I … oh God….

For a brief and shining moment, I considered slapping down the 100 bones a month for this. I marinated in the thought of pulling down such speeds and it made me dizzy. Price be damned, I was going to have STUPID internet speed!!!!!!!!!!!!

But because I can never be satisfied with ANYTHING in my entire miserable life, my aversion to getting ripped off made me question this. I thought, what if the difference between the 30 and the 50 is unnoticeable.

OK, I’ve accepted that it is going to be SICK speed but will I really see a difference between 30 and 50? And if I DON’T, I would be paying an extra $37 a month for speed I can’t even notice. THAT would really piss me off.

And the final blow, how would I know? If I plop down the Benjamin for the 50, I would never know if the 30 is just as fast.

In an attempt to calm this fear, I consulted an expert in the form of my brother-in-law Scott. He does this crap for a living.

I was actually kind of surprised he only had the “15” package. After further discussion, he said I likely wouldn’t see any performance difference between the 30 and 50 and since it would STILL be double what he has (and his is pretty damn quick), I decided the smart thing was to go with the 30 package.

When I move up to my new house in a year or so and I’m making crazy coin, I will go for all the gusto and trick out my connection with whatever the latest mind-blowing speed they have to offer.

My other fear was that since my Delzilla would be the only one hooked up to the main line and the kids’ computers would get their feed wirelessly, would the choke point be the wireless connection so then it didn’t matter if I had a 30 or a 50? I didn’t want to pay for the big package if the wireless was only going to handle a certain speed (likely less than the 50) anyway.

So it was time to call Comcast and see what kind of deal I could make. I already knew the prices on the site but hoped that maybe I could eek out some extra bonus talking live to a representative.

Ummm, no.

It didn’t take long before I realized I was dealing with an idiot that had as much interest in getting me the best deal as Paris Hilton had in SAT scores.

I thought I would start things off by letting her throw the first card so I asked her what kind of deal she could get me for cable. She throws out some outrageous price and my heart sinks. I thought I would at least start at the discount price and negotiate down from there.

After a few clumsy attempts to get her to offer me the better deal, I finally had to hit her with what I knew was the sale price according to their web site and thus our relationship took a death spiral.

“Oh, let me check….OK, yeah, we can offer that.”

Wow, can you? And what if I would not have checked the website before I called you, Corky?

This did not get any prettier when I started asking about what channels I would get (“Check our website” was her less-than-helpful answer.)

Don’t even get me started with her trying to explain to me how the cable boxes work. It seems now you need a box for EVERY TV you hook up. Long gone are the days where you paid for cable, ran a cable line from the wall to the TV, and POW, there you go. Now you have to pay for a box for every TV and when you are a family of 4 with 5 televisions, that could get pretty expensive.

The other retarded conversation centered around HD. That didn’t get that far because I didn’t want to pay $15 a month just for the box and then another $7 for the service (still not sure if she got that right but I was losing interest very quickly at this point.)

With that warm up that did not give me a warm and fuzzy, we started talking about internet.

“How much for internet service?”

“That’s $42.95 a month.”

“Is that for the 15 Kbps service?”

“Yes.”

(insert very loud sound me my palm hitting my forehead, then a deep breath, and a defeated tone here…)

“OK, look, what about the Ultra for $62.95 per month.”

“Just a second, OK, I see that. Yes, you can get that.”

In my head… “I hate you.”

“Can you give me a better deal on that?”

“No.”

Long pause.

“No?”

“No.”

In my head… “I hate you.

I needed to end this quickly because I was going to say something I would probably regret so I told her to write it all up and I would call her back after talking to my wife about a few other details.

At the last second, she said she could upgrade my cable package to the premier level for the same price so for just over $100, I could get the premier cable package and the Ultra internet speed.

The thing is, she didn’t even PLAY the game very convincingly. We both knew she would offer something to sweeten the deal when I threatened to walk and when I did, she kind of stiffly made the offer. It was like we were both bad actors reading from a script in a monotone, obligatory manner.

I called back a few minutes later hoping that I would get someone else (defined as ANYONE else) and I hit pay dirt. It was a guy this time and I made sure he added my wife to my account so that she could call in to make changes. (Voice of experience there, folks. If you don’t do that, they won’t change anything unless YOU call.)

I also changed my installation date from Wednesday to Thursday so that we could be sure all our TVs were unpacked and placed where they needed to be. The cable guy will NOT get out of my house until I see all TVs pouring out sweet cable and my computer vibrating with the raw internet speed that would make a retired Marine Major cry.

Although I couldn’t get this guy to give me a break on the $30 internet set up fee nor the $24 cable box installation fee, he did slice off two of the other cable box set-up fees. So my total installation fee came to $67 and I pay $103.95 a month for:

1 Premium cable package
1 DVR (30 hours of recording)
1 “On Demand” movie library
4 cable boxes
1 Ultra internet connection with digital modem

Come Thursday, I should be in cable and internet Nirvana.

And just let Comcast call or send me an email to ask about my experience with their sales staff. I think they will regret that the moment I start out with “Well, Corky the Assbag should find employment elsewhere, preferably up her own rectum since she seems to know her way around there so well.”

With all of that taken care of, I decided that being a sloth was not going to work. I had bagged on my morning run and it had become considerably warmer so at around noon, I got all my running gear on and felt pretty good about reaching down and pulling up my big-girl panties for a midday run.

This feeling lasted until about 10 minutes into the run when I discovered that taking 4 days off didn’t do me any favors and my run was going about as well as the first few minutes of my Comcast experience.

I even ended up WALKING large chunks of it and my overall performance left a lot to be desired. Go ahead, look, laugh and point: http://bit.ly/GKZua

After I got cleaned up, it was time to join my wife at the new house and put together my daughter’s new bedroom set. She has put up with all the “little girl” furniture up to now and now that she is 15, I think she deserves some grown-up furniture. Her sleigh bed, matching nightstand, and gorgeous dresser should fit the bill. Now she has the best furniture in the house!

After all that was done, I made my way over to my brother-in-laws house to watch Monday Night Football and actually enjoyed the game. Of course eating pizza, drinking beer, and watching Brett Favre on MNF is kind of a no-brainer when it comes to the fun department.

It goes without saying that so much more happened between the cracks today that I didn’t cover but my rambling has gone on long enough.

I would give an overview of what I have tomorrow but since I’m blogging EVERY DAY now, I’ll cover that …. well, tomorrow!

(But it involves Oktoberfest plans in Leavenworth, free plasma TVs and where they will be placed, miscalculations of retired pay, a day-long walkabout using an all-day bus ticket, Seattle Marathon plans, and sitting in an empty house with no internet for most of the next 3 days.)

(Sorry, couldn’t help myself.)

Good night.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, I got a red light camera ticket for $100 in the mail. After checking the date and time, I realized it was from when I was rear ended into the intersection while STOPPED at a red light. FML.”

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Homelessness Was Fun While It Lasted

Sunday, October 4th, 2009

Quote of the Day: “History teaches us that men and nations behave wisely once they have exhausted all other alternatives.”

- Abba Eban

The Sunday sleep-in has become a tradition. Especially this one because …

Carrie worked yesterday and has to work again today.

Stephanie has school every weekday and yesterday she had to get up early for a volleyball function, leaving today the only day of the week she can sleep in.

Alex, well, he sleeps in every day so we won’t count him.

Me? Um, everyone was sleeping in so I kind of followed suit.

At around 10ish, we decided we had better get up and get something to eat. Actually Carrie suggested we all go out for some breakfast before she had to work.

Well, if I have to interrupt my sleep to get up and eat, I guess I can sacrifice. But this will reflect when I’m contemplating life before my midday nap!

We all had breakfast at a café, Carrie went off the work, and I leaned toward watching the Seahawks get pounced by Colts. But then, drama hit…

As I was making my daughter take over lawnmowing duties from her grandmother, Steph got a text that reminded her that she was invited to a birthday party. So of course she freaks out and I tell her that I would take her right away.

(I told the Boy to take over the lawnmowing duties. I love the combination of delegation and having two teenage kids!)

What about a present, I asked her.

She had no answer for that until I suggested she use the iTunes gift card her brother just gave her (which HE got for watching my nephew yesterday.)

I am not sure where his aunt got the card and thus, there is no accurate count of the re-gifting situation here but it might set records.

Boom, problem solved.

So, where was this party?

The zoo.

Really? Teenage girls still have parties at the zoo?

Woodland Park Zoo, to be exact. Which should have been about 30 minutes away. I thought, hmmm, Sunday afternoon, shouldn’t be a problem.

The problem started when we got to Seattle and I-5 decided to just stop. No reason, just stop

By the time I left all of my patience dumped onto the road like black paint, we made it through and Natasha (the name I’ve given my GPS) got me all the way to Woodland Park.

Not Woodland Park ZOO, but simply Woodland Park.

My first turn would be fateful in that I crawled through bitter traffic, skirting the perimeter of the whole damn park before I discovered that if I would have taken a left instead of a right as I got to the park, life would have been a little sweeter.

Let me just announce to the Woodland Park Zoo people, you need MANY more signs directing your zoo-seeking customers to your effin’ zoo. Because the way it is now is, in a word, a fucktastrophe.

As though the crawl there and the Finding Waldo routine was not enough, I hit just about every traffic jam I could find on the way back. I tried to sneak past Seattle which, of course, put me smack dab in the middle of it (like hitting the only tree in the desert) and then when I decided to go across the lake on 90 and catch 405.

Well, that didn’t work out too pretty.

Getting off 90 onto 405, traffic seized right as I was passing an alternate route back to my in-laws. I mean it STOPPED! On a Sunday afternoon.

What the hell is wrong with these people?

Two hours after I left, I arrived back at the in-laws’ house pissed after finding every podunk back road. I really need to find a job without a commute because I fear, people WILL die.

I got back in time to shower and post the blog I wrote last night. I WOULD have posted it on time if access to my webpage wouldn’t have taken a huge steamer mid-post. I had done the hard part (written the post) and then I was stopped dead in my tracks when I was attempting the easy part (posting it).

I called the “help” desk and they said they were working on the servers and could tell me NOTHING about it (even if it was scheduled or if they had warned anyone) because, and I thought this was just as cute as it gets, the system was down and they couldn’t access the system to answer any of my questions.

And I pay you people every month?

Before I knew it, it was time to go pick up Carrie (who was working) and meet the people who own the house I want to rent.

The meeting went fine and the people seemed as nice as could be. We tried to allay any of their fears about “renters” and explained our situation, telling them we have owned, rented, and even had tenants so we know the pain of having less-than-desirable renters. We assured them we were not of that ilk and would treat the place like it was our own.

Then my crack pipe fell out of my pocket.

Damn.

There was one tense moment when we noticed that their real estate agent had written the original rental amount on all the paperwork. Our real estate agent had faxed in a proposal that was less than what they were asking but their agent said she did not get that and the rent was what it was.

This put everyone in an awkward position.

Carrie said it was OK and we would go with it, even though I was not too happy about it.

We went through the house and noted any discrepancies but to tell you the truth, I don’t think it was all that necessary. The place was in great shape and the owners were local and very eager to fix up anything we needed. I think we’ll have a great relationship and don’t foresee any problems.

Then HIS crack pipe fell out of HIS pocket.

Carrie had to get back to work and I sent Alex to drop her off. We inspected the house some more and signed all the paperwork. We don’t actually take possession of it until Tuesday since that is the earliest we could get our stuff out of storage but they gave us the keys anyway.

Then we went to get Steph from her friends and brought her over to see the house. What ensued was what you would expect: a huge discussion about who gets what room and how the furniture in any/all the rooms will be laid out.

This proved absolutely unnecessary because of course, Carrie would know the best who got what and how everything would be set up so we could make believe we were making decisions but I think we all knew better.

It was almost time to pick up Carrie and the plan was that we would swing by, pick up Carrie’s parents, pick up Carrie at work, and we would all go over to the house and take yet another look.

Like I predicted, Carrie was barking out decision like a battlefield General about what goes where so, yeah, it’s decided.

One of the most controversial decisions was about the TVs. We have a big box unit that we’ve had for years. Because it is a big standalone unit, our choices about where to put it is limited and pretty much requires us to put it in the family room downstairs.

This decision did not go over very well with Alex because we are getting a 50-inch plasma from Carrie’s brother and he wanted it down in the family room for all to enjoy instead of hiding it up in the master bedroom (yeah, BABY!!!)

He’ll get over it.

We finished out the night by going out to a Mexican dinner. The original plan was for Carrie and I to go out to celebrate my official retirement date but we have been too busy to go until tonight. Then she suggested we bring the kids and I thought WHAT THE F… I mean, yeah, sure, why not?

Then she wanted to invite her parents which I once again, thought, why not?

(I don’t want any misunderstanding here or insinuation… I would’ve truthfully loved to have my in-laws along. I just wanted to point that out.)

But they had already eaten so it turned out just being the four of us.

I ate too much.

Torreto’s is another BAD place.

So there you have it. We got through another crazy Sunday and one step closer to getting into a house. Now I can scratch off “homeless” in my self-description of “unemployed and homeless.”

Tomorrow we find out when we can get our stuff and I will be making some decision on cable/internet/phone service.

I’m mostly interested on getting the most sick, stupid, you-gots-to-be-kidding internet connectivity Comcast has to offer.

I’m really leaning heavily toward THE BIG ONE which is described as:


Extreme 50
Downloads up to 50Mbps, uploads up to 10Mbps with PowerBoost®.
The fastest download speeds around–incredible speeds for households with several computers, hard-core gamers, downloading HD movies and more.

You think $100/month just for this is cool?

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, I moved out of my parents basement. After I hugged my parents I walked out the door only to remember I left my phone in the kitchen. I open the door and see my parents dancing. FML.”

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Hiking, Huskies, and Humiliation

Saturday, October 3rd, 2009

Quote of the Day: “It’s a lot like nature. You only have as many animals as the ecosystem can support and you only have as many friends as you can tolerate the bitching of.”

- Randy K. Milholland


(Note: this is not me nor anyone I know but it was the only thing on Google images that captured the environment of what you are about to read about.)

(Yet another note: I want it known far and wide that I had this post done last night but due to POWWEB and their assbaggery, I was shut out of my blog last night so couldn’t post. Did that piss me off a little? Naaaaaaaa, you know me better than that!)

Isn’t it great to start out the day waiting your teenage daughter up 10 minutes late and receiving the requisite “Daaaaaad!” from her as a good morning. These things happen when you don’t set an alarm.

Is she thankful it was only 10 minutes?

No.

The reason she had to get up was to go to yet another volleyball function so obviously, Dad had to get up, wake her up, and serve as morning punching bag / taxi.

But as a result of some deep thought last night, I had plans for the scarcest of animals I had in front of me: an open Saturday morning that I could fill with such outdated concepts as, hold your britches here ….. a family function!!!

(Minus one slightly pissed teenage girl who was, for some reason, running 10 minutes late.)

My wonderful idea was this:

I could take the Girl the practice, pick up Buster The Stupidest Dog On Earth from my brother’s house, swing by and pick up Carrie and Alex (who was about as happy to get up at 8:30 AM as slugs are of salt), and head over to a yet-to-be-explored hiking trail.

This all went great until I discovered on my way back from dropping off Increasingly-Ungrateful-Teenage-Daughter that I was unable to get some much-needed coffee because I couldn’t find my wallet. This little passion play was neutralized when I found it NOT at the Mexican food restaurant I ate at yesterday (as was my fear for a solid half hour), but in Uranus (that STILL kills me! It’s actually my Saturn but of course, I go with “Uranus” every chance I get). Disaster averted, back to the plan.

To make my idea a reality, I did my research last night and found a potential “good hike” that took dogs and even did a recon late last night with my mother-in-law in tow. All it cost me is an unintentional sigh-up at trails dot com before I realized they wanted money from me to join. Now, I will be getting approximately 256,000 pieces of junk email per day from them, I’m sure.

Carrie worked until almost 1:00 AM and couldn’t get to sleep until almost 2:00.

Alex’s love for the early hours of the morning (defined as: any hour of “the morning” AKA: 12:01 AM to noon) was that of vampire and sunlight.

Well, at least Buster was having pretty much a full-body orgasm just at the thought of spending time with us on a hike.

We made our way to Squak Mountain State Park (yes, that was actually the name) and as only the second car in the lot, I knew we pretty much had the trail to ourselves. What I hoped was that it wasn’t a steep chore of a hike like the hike up Tiger Mountain where I come close to having to call in a medical emergency helo for my son every time we attack that particular trail.

I was pleasantly surprised at a few things.

First, it didn’t take long to discover that this was probably one of the most scenic hikes I have ever been on. OK, you people who don’t live in Washington, you know the stereotype of the Great Northwest? Lush, moss-covered forests with endless shades of green in almost impossible amounts as far as the eye can see? Dew-covered ferns below towering moss-covered trunks and green-filtered shafts of light poking through? Think of a Hollywood set from an art director who has an endless budget and is asked to provide a lush forest scene.

THAT is exactly what it looks like!

The next pleasant surprise was that the trail was well-kept, wide, and relatively flat.

Third, we ran into exactly zero people going up and only one person with a dog coming back. This was surprising since it took one hour to go up and 34 minutes coming back.

I wanted to go all the way to the top but it started getting really steep at the end and my son was starting to struggle so we headed down. Carrie tried to make it up to me by suggested we run part of the way down and what a run it was! It was just downhill enough to get some pretty fun speed up without losing control. I felt like I was putting out very little effort and yet was FLYING down the mountain.

I think Buster could have died right then happy. I hate to think he sits chained up all day over and my brother’s house so little excursions like this must mean the world to him.

When we got done, it was time to pretty much reverse everything it took to make this happen: drop off Carrie and Alex, pick up Steph, and drop Buster back at my brother’s house.

Actually, Steph got off early so her grandmother picked her up (thanks, Sharon) and plans continued to change. Steph got a call shortly after we returned and was called up to play in the VARSITY game today (way to go, Girl!) so I had to don my taxi hat which was fine because I combined it with returning Buster and Carrie would go get lunch (Mongolian grill, Baby!)

Yeah, it was as frantic as it sounds but that’s about norm around here.

With all of this hiking and driving to grease my mental gears, my MSH (Make Shit Happen) skills cranked into overtime. The first chance I got to get to a computer, I quickly typed this out to my brother-in-law and his wife:


Hey guys,

Because I’m a big kid and have been denied so many years of Washington Fall fun, I did some research. Here is what I want to do in October:

1. Octoberfest
2. A Fall drive
3. A Fall festival

So, what better place to do Octoberfest than Leavenworth? Yeah, it’s 2 ½ hours away but I’ve never been there and it just seems the obvious choice for slurpin’ sour kraut.

For the Fall drive, I like the Hood Canal Loop described here:

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/outdoors/2009975639_nwwfalldrives01.html

It’s a 124 mile trip and includes a ferry ride!!!!! (You would think his spindly little gay legs would tire.)

The Fall festival is a bit trickier. There are dozens of them and I want to go to the one that everyone says “Whoa, you HAVE to go to (fill in festival here)!” It has to have all the bells and whistles: pumpkin patch, hayride, corn maze, naked Playboy models running around (that last one is optional but obviously preferred.)

I just want to avoid the tiny one where we are like there with 3 others at some lame farm with 7 pumpkins, 4 stalks of corn, and a toothless goon named Bubba who offers throw a bail of hay in the back of his pickup that’s missing 3 hubcaps and the fourth tire is a little temp donut.

So let’s talk about this and see if you want to go to all or some of these. And when we want to go. We will have to work around Carrie’s schedule since she is working 40+ hours a week now.

– J

My afternoon was wasted by watching the Huskies who really pissed me off. I know I have been gone a long time and I should have a little more patience now that I actually HAVE home teams, but the Dawgs really blew it with Notre Dame today. Here are some of my Facebook thoughts about today’s’ debacle.

Really, Huskies? Three goal line menstrual cycles with nothing to show. Way to go, ladies.


Beautiful ending Huskies. Receiver misses the ball, loses his helmet, his conciousness, and his pride. Obviously Huskies forgot to do their Keagles. What do you call ladylike Huskies?oh yeah, BITCHES!

Please overlook my misspellings. I was texting and upset.

Oh, I forgot to tell you, we are meeting the owners of the house we want to rent tomorrow at 4:00 and our real estate agent told us that if everything goes right, we could sign the paperwork tomorrow and take possession as early as Monday.

The problem though is that I don’t want to take possession until I can have my stuff delivered (why pay $56 a day before my stuff gets there?) and I can’t even call the base until Monday to see how soon we can get it out of storage and delivered.

More on that as it develops.

Oh, and the grand total of feedback and/or progress on getting a job today: ZERO!

The grand total of 30 Rock episodes watched: 5 (and counting)

The grand total of my alma mater getting self-violated and left bleeding with a quarter left on the small of their collective backs: I don’t want to talk about it.

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, I was helping my friend pack her carry on for her vacation. I drove her to the airport, and after her plane took off, I noticed I put my cell phone in her purse. Her vacation is 2 months long. FML.”

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Day Two and Still Blogging!!

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Quote of the Day: “Money can’t buy friends, but it can get you a better class of enemy.”

- Spike Milligan

LOOK!

Here it is! Two days, two posts. Can you believe it? I can call myself … wait for it …wait for it…. A BLOGGER again! Suck on that, doubters!

Oh the sweet nectar of blogging, how I love thee.

Now with that said, not much happened today. It started when I awoke at 0745 to the weird feeling of the sun pouring in from the window. Normally, I either wake on my own at 0600 to get my day started or get roused by my daughter at 0645.

OK, wait, I have to explain.

Because my accomplishments lately have been, let’s say, less than stellar, I try to make myself somewhat useful any way I can. And one of my favorite as of late is getting up and taking my beautiful daughter to school.

I wake up, throw some clothes on, go to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and go downstairs to start the car and crank the heat so my little angel can have a warm ride to school.

About 10 minutes later we get into the warm Honda and I drive the 5 minutes it takes to drop her off.

For awhile I was stopping on the way back to get some coffee but that threw my schedule off because I would put off changing into running clothes to get a morning run in.

So you can see why it was strange for me to wake up at 0745 and see the sun, until I remembered that Stephanie’s school starts 1 ½ hours late on Fridays.

***** Old Man Rant Warning *****

What the hell kind of educational system lets kids sleep in on Fridays? I certainly never got this little bonus every week when I was feathering my hair and pulling on my acid wash jeans.

Then again, my son doesn’t wake up until 11:00 every day so obviously, everything has completely gone to hell in a hand basket.

Ba…HUMBUG!

***** Old Man Rant Complete*****

Anyway, I kept the same schedule as I normally would except pushed back 1 ½ hours which makes Fridays ripe for what happened today: Complete disintegration into slothdom and justification to bag the run.

But in my defense, it WAS raining pretty good and it was cold.

(I know, I know, but read yesterday’s blog; I’m not in the Marines anymore!)


That’s me getting my DD214 and being promoted to PFC!

And in a vain attempt to salvage SOME points you have most likely stripped me of, I did get ready. I got all my running gear on, I filled my Camelback, got my iPhone and iPod ready, and even ate a banana.

But when my wife and mother-in-law came back into the house after a shortened garage sale excursion and announced it was cold as balls (actually, that’s my verbiage. They are ladies so didn’t express such vulgarity), I decided to check the weather forecast for tomorrow. Since it said that it was supposed to clear up, that little factoid was the detail that sealed the deal.

I would not be running in the wet cold this morning, thank you very much.

What did I do instead?

Well, that’s a good question. Thanks for asking, jackasses!

Not much.

I kind of laid around and then roused my lazy son out of bed so he could go have lunch with me. This is becoming a common theme: me waking him up for LUNCH!

And the funny thing is, I think he is going along just to humor me.

I need to get a job.

Before we ate, I had to fax my final travel voucher to San Diego so we stopped at Safeway where I was told it was cheaper than the date-raping I took at the UPS store yesterday.

So I paid $2 instead of $3 to fax a single sheet.

Sons-of-bitches.

Alex and I decided to try the Mexican restaurant that used the be a Taco Hell. Even though it had been a decade since they changed it over, it is still known as “That Place that Used To Be a Taco Butt.”

What I found out was that is was like this authentic Mexican food joint run by real Mexicans (as opposed to the fake Mexican food at Taco Butt served by some pimply-faced teenager with an attitude earning minimum wage.)

Long story short: I ate myself into a food coma.

Me and the Boy ordered the same thing (burrito, beans, and rice) but I was the only one dumb enough to finish it and thus, by the time we got home, I was moaning and saying stuff like, “That is a BAD place.”

So what was there left to do after I slept in, skipped my run, and stuffed my gut with authentic Mexican food until I had a food-baby?

That’s right, nap-time, baby.

I soooooo have to get a job.

By the time I awoke, Carrie had returned from spending the day with her girlfriends and was getting ready to get to work.

I, on the other hand, decided a shower at some point today would probably be good.

I did accomplish a couple of other things today though:

I created yet another blog.


“Wait, Jason, don’t you have this one that you have trouble keeping up with and another one that you haven’t updated in over a year? And now you are starting another one? Really?”

Yeah, so. You didn’t even mention my webpage that I haven’t touched in a year either. Come on, if you are going to flog me with my own whips, at least be thorough.

The reason I started another one was because I wanted a place to put all my Saudi blogs. I had written them all as emails but now I want to put them in a blog and add pictures and links.

I also wanted to take a minimalist approach (read: I was too lazy to get too intricate) and this is what I came up with: Jason of Arabia.

Update your RSS readers now folks because that one will be posting pretty regualrly.

Come on, aren’t I two-for-two on this one this month? Oh ye of little faith!

I figure I will post them basically a day at a time to give you readers the chance to re-absorb my slow slide into insanity. Eventually, I figure I will incorporate them into this blog but that is for some later OCD episode.

Oh, did I tell you that since Carrie gets free videos now, I have become obsessed with watching television series I never had a chance to see? And commercial-free so double score. I’m starting with 30 Rock.

I will eventually get all of the 24 series watched, …

… along with Lost, …

Alias, …

CSI (of various flavors), …

… and Heroes….

I will not be tackling Sex in the City since I don’t own a vagina.

In other news, I got a call today and my real estate agent said the owners of the house we want to rent…

… were impressed by our pristine credit and want to meet with us on Sunday so that’s good news. Maybe next week I can actually move out of my in-laws’ attic.

Lastly, my daughter went to the homecoming football game tonight (Daddy played taxi like normal) and our team got our lacy jock-straps pulled up over our collective heads.

She told me that Shambo from the new Survivor series was at the game.

Seems she was a student at my daughter’s (and my wife and all her brothers’ and sisters’ too) high school. Carrie even had a Shambo-sighting last week at a local stoplight, grey mullet and all!

OK, that’s enough for one night. Carrie works until 12:30 AM so I will try to wait up for her. But I HAVE had a taxing day so, you know, who knows.

Sucks for the working (tee hee).

F.M.L. of the Day: “Today, my english teacher asked me why I didn’t have my project completed. Thinking quick on my feet I told her it was because my grandmother had just passed away. Apparently they go to the same country club and have known each other for years. My teacher started crying and ran out of the room. FML.”

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