Thursday, November 29, 2007

Slow Down!!!!

I guess I’m getting old (how many times have I said that?). Remember when you were growing up, and the time in between Halloween and Christmas seemed to take forever? Doesn’t it seem like time is going by much quicker now? I mean, wasn’t Halloween just yesterday?

I remember as a kid talking with a few friends about how “unlucky” we were as kids, because we weren’t old enough to do anything cool, and how great it would be once we turned 21. If I had a time machine, I’d go back to those days, grab my little ass by the collar and tell me to chill out, and enjoy it, because getting older is not all it’s cracked up to be.

Think about it – what were our responsibilities as kids anyway? Go to school, do homework, do some chores? That’s it, right? And for all of that, we even got 3 months off of school in the summer! We played in baseball, basketball, football, and soccer leagues – never a care in the world. The only care we had was going to the local 5 and 10, and hoping we’d get a Bo Jackson rookie card in the Topps pack we just bought … oh, and that gum was pretty good too, wasn’t it?

Yessir, those days seemed to go on forever, didn’t they? Now, weeks go by like days. I wish I had some sort of emergency brake where I could slow things down a little (only being used on weekends, of course). Anybody else feel this way?

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

ANother Reason To Hate Walmart!

Look, I’m not telling you where to shop or where not to shop, but I wanted to pass along a VERY dissatisfying experience I had recently with a store that many people probably frequent. Besides, getting this ridiculous frustration off of my chest will make me feel better. The store is Walmart.

Now, I watched a very disturbing video (I believe it was on the Starz channel) a few months ago about this “Monstropoly” of a store (yeah, I made that term up) – basically, the documentary states that Walmart comes into towns, makes absurd requests of the local government, threatens to leave, gets its way, kills off other smaller mom and pop stores, all while providing unfair wages and health benefits to its employees. It also went into the work facilities in China and other third world countries. So, the wife and I decided we would never shop there again.

Well, as luck would have it, we were looking for a Nintendo Wii (or two) on Black Friday. I woke up around 4:00 a.m. (call me crazy), and decided to check some online stores before I went out. I ended up checking out Walmart.com to see if they had any Wiis for sale. I searched for “Wii” and then checked under “Hardware.” To my surprise a price for a Nintendo Wii came up and it said it was available. I quickly purchased two of these …. Sadly, I didn’t realize these were gift cards for Wii’s. I contacted Walmart and told them of my mistake, but they said they had a policy of not refunding gift cards.

I flipped my lid. I know that I should’ve looked a little more carefully. However, I have two complaints. First, why is a gift card listed under the hardware section?? Second, why does Walmart need to have its own Wii gift card when Nintendo already makes gift cards for the Wii? Third, why couldn’t they refund this – I mean I contacted them right away. So, now I have two Wii gift cards and no Wiis. What the hell is up with this.

I immediately sent a complaint to them, informing them that I would check into what legal options I had. Then, I sent e-mails to local media outlets informing them of this issue (I know, they won’t do anything, because I’m sure Walmart gives them a lot of advertising revenue).

So, I hope that Walmart goes to hell, and I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

This and That ...

To really get into the “spirit” of Christmas, I figured I’d write down a few observations/annoyances from the past week.

1. You’ve probably heard of handlebar mustaches (think Rollie Fingers). I have no problems with these – in fact, depending on the person who decides to pull this one off, it can be kind of cool. However, I do have a problem with the handlebar eyebrow – I don’t think I’ve ever seen this before, until last week at work – an older gentleman was “wearing” his eyebrows this way. I found this slightly repulsive for some reason … kind of like the neck beard.

2. Black Friday shopping has gotten absolutely ridiculous. My wife and I decided to go out for this – we went to Target in Delaware (the home of tax free shopping), and the place was a zoo. You couldn’t even move in the store – never again.

3. Shopping for the Nintendo Wii has been an ordeal to say the least. My wife asked me in October what I wanted for Christmas. I had mentioned that the Wii would be cool. I didn’t think it would be this difficult to purchase, since it’s been out for a year. My bad – this thing has been tougher to get than Cabbage Patch Kids in the mid 1980’s. I was really close this morning – I went to Toys ‘R Us, and they had 30 of ‘em. I was 32nd in line. Many of these retailers are now selling the Wii in bundles – basically meaning, they are trying to get rid of sh*tty games whilst selling the Wii. I’m getting frustrated with this.

4. I really want to meet the guy who designed Wawa parking lots. He has made life difficult for many, many people in the Philadelphia area. I’m wondering if this guy (or gal) came up with the design as a joke, just wanting to see if the fine people at Wawa would actually agree to it. Wawa is lucky that it has good coffee.

5. I played football again on Black Friday (in the afternoon, after Christmas shopping). A few years ago, we scaled it back from tackle to two-hand touch … however, even after a few days, I feel like I was hit by a tank … ah, how good it feels to get old.

That’s it for now – I gotta prepare myself to watch the catastrophe that will be the Eagles annihilation tonight.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

When I Want to Grow Up, I Wanna Be ...

Remember when you were little, and the sky was the limit in your mind? Some kids wanted to be astronauts, others wanted to be president. Still others wanted to be movie stars, or even train engineers (hey, lots of young kids loved trains – my younger brother was a freak about it … he ended up becoming an engineer, but not a train engineer).

I didn’t want to be any of these. No, instead, I wanted to be an ice hockey goalie. Sure, I had never, ever ice-skated before, but I figured that would be easy enough to learn. I was decent in all sports, but in my school, I was one of the best floor hockey players in my class. I used to wow the classmates in gym class … probably because hardly any of them played street hockey like I did on a religious basis. I was great in net, and had a devasting left-handed wrist shot … plus, my ball-handling skills were impeccable (and I was pretty good in hockey too … hey-yo!).

The problem is that I didn’t grow up in Canada (or Sweden, or any other place that had lots of ice). In fact, at the time, there really weren’t many opportunities for kids in our area to play hockey … and the opportunities that WERE available were, quite honestly, out of our price range. Still, I thought that somehow, someday, I would be playing ice hockey for my favorite team, the Philadelphia Flyers. I would someday trade in the baseball glove I used, and the sock I stuffed down my pants (to protect the boys, of course) for real hockey equipment.

Sadly, that day never did come. As I grew up, I realized that hockey wasn’t to be. I played in some deck hockey leagues, and realized that I was average at best compared to some of the others who apparently lived, breathed, and drank (heavily) hockey. I still enjoy the sport to a great extent … especially when the Flyers are doing well.

And one time, I even got to meet Jim Craig, the goalie of the 1980 gold medal winning Olympic team from USA. He was an idle of mine growing up – and as fate would have it, he was doing some sort of promotional appearances for the Leukemia Society when I was working there. I got to have my picture taken with him, and even got to tell him how much I enjoyed watching him play in those Olympic games. We spoke for about 10 minutes, and he was a great guy – really seemed to be thankful and was humbled that he had such an impact on my life.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

What to Watch?

Thanksgiving week is finally upon us, and that means a short work week, football, and best of all, Turkey with family! We have a couple of traditions – one being going to the movies on Thursday night – after dinner. In the past, we’ve seen some really good ones, like Elf, Just Friends, and Borat. Of course, we’ve also seen some real clunkers. I think we might be in for another clunker this year, mainly because there really aren’t any decent movies out right now.

I guess the obvious choice, would be Fred Claus (can’t believe I’m saying that). Hey, it’s got Vince Vaughn in it, and he’s usually a sure thing. It’s also produced by the guys that brought us Wedding Crashers (a phenomenal movie). Plus, it’s a Christmas movie, so it should get us in the mood for the holidays. However, the previews I’ve seen haven’t really been all that inspiring.

American Gangster is out, and this looks like a fantastic movie … just not the type of movie one watches to get into the Christmas spirit.

Bee Movie is out, but from what I’ve seen, it just doesn’t look that funny. I think Jerry Seinfeld should really consider going back to TV.

Watching Beowulf would give us the opportunity to see Angelina Jolie naked … even if it is only a CGI version of her naked.

Other than that, I have no idea what to see. If any of you have suggestions, please pass them along.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Good Old Days ...

A friend of mine were talking about the “good old days” the other day, and how things have changed. Please, let me bore you youngsters with the discussion, if you don’t mind.

First of all, nowadays a parent has to pretty much accompany a child wherever he or she goes, or at least have a member of the “parenting pool” of the neighborhood volunteer to do this … it very much sounds like being a designated driver, doesn’t it? Has the world become this evil this quickly?

Geez, when I was growing up, a typical Saturday would involve me waking up at 7:00, eating breakfast, then going out with my friends … whether it was playing sports, video games, going to the pool, going to the mall … the choices were endless. Sure, I’d have to be back by noon for the usual peanut butter and jelly sandwich … but then, I’d once again leave for the remainder of the day. Back then, all I had to tell my mom was what I was planning on doing … and even this didn’t have to be set in stone.

Our parents would let us go … even if we had to ride our bikes miles to get to wherever we were going. Public transportation? Sure, no problem! Playing basketball in a neighborhood we’d never been to? Absolutely! It never crossed our minds back then that dangerous people could be on the prowl.

I’m not sure if things just changed, or if these dangerous people were always out there … I mean, I’m sure some dangerous people were out there, but has this number increased? Today, there is no way my mom would’ve let me out the door without making sure that we had parental supervision. … and heck, I don’t blame her. All you hear on the news nowadays are stories of abduction, kidnapping, and murder.

When I have kids, I don’t think I’ll be able to give them the leeway my parents gave me … and that’s a sad thing. I miss those days.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

You Collect What???

On every other Wednesday, I play cards with my friend Slant’s father-in-law and friends. It is normally low stakes, dealer calls. We play such interesting games as “Follow the Queen,” “Queen of Spades,” “44,” “Baseball,” “Criss-Cross,” and even a little “Hold-em.”

Last Wednesday, I went over to play, and realized that I was the only one showing up. Slant’s father-in-law (that’s where we play) informed me that when a month has 5 Wednesdays, we skip one of those weeks, so I was out of luck. However, I guess he felt bad that I drove all the way over, even though it is only a 10-minute drive. He invited me in for what I was hoping was only for a little while.

However, with Mr. Slant (that’ll be his name from now on, because I’m getting sick of writing Slant’s Father-in-law), one has to understand his stories tend to last for hours. He is an antique collector/seller … boring enough. However, the antiques he focuses on are pottery … even duller.

I spent the next two hours listening to all of these stories about how he collects, sells, and restores pottery. He went into great detail, much to my dismay. In fact, he talked excitedly about such things as the different kinds of sandpaper, types of glue, and the difficulty of matching blue paint with pottery. Even when my own eyes glazed over with boredom, he refused to acknowledge this, and continued to talk about the wonders of pottery.

When he was finished with these stories, he went on to talk about friends who collect and antique jewelry and guns. Then, he asked me what I was interested in collecting. I made the mistake of saying music and board games. Mr. Slant owns a book on toys and board games, and proceeded to show this to me … this, of course prolonged the night by a good ½ hour, and dramatically increased the headache that I had developed.

Mercifully, he let me go, but not before asking if anybody in my family collected or sold antiques. Having not learned my lesson, I informed him that my uncle collects antique radios. His eyes brightened … but thankfully, I was already out the door, and told him that we could continue our interesting dialogue next week during cards … unfortunately, next week is now here. Gulp!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Laundry Done Right!

On every Friday after work, I drive my shirts to my mom’s house so that she can clean and properly iron them … she insists on doing this. My mom has always tried to go the extra mile for her kids. As an example, I probably only mowed my lawn about 5 or 6 times this past year … not because I’m lazy, but because my mom beats me to the punch. Heck, she’s already raked my leaves a few times, and is ready to come back for more.

But I digress. Back to the shirts. So, I bring these shirts to my mom’s house on Friday. Then, get this, she gives me $20 … EVERY WEEK! I tell her there is no need for her to do this …. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate the extra cash, but still. This is probably why my mom never got into the laundry or dry cleaning business. I mean, she’d have great clientele, but she’d lose money faster than Leonard Tose in Atlantic City.

Plus, Inga (my mom’s name) continually gives me chocolate when she hand-delivers the shirts on Sunday … yes, folks, the delivery is free-of-charge, as well. This week, it was Snickers, last week, it was Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. I’m hoping for Butterfinger next week.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Eww, Gross!

So, I’ve seen some pretty sick things on the internet in my life … but the past few days have taken the cake. First, I saw the death pic of Chris Farley … this thing kept me up all night (that’s what she said). I’m probably going to have trouble watching any of his movies because of this – if you haven’t seen it, let me give you some advice … STAY AWAY! Remember the guy as a comedian. Remember him for his skits on Saturday Night Live. Remember him for his funny movies like Tommy Boy and Black Sheep. If you look at his death pic, you’ll never look at him the same way again. Don’t say I didn’t warn ya!

This other one that a “friend” sent was a video of two girls … normally, this is a good start to a video. However, it ends up just plain nasty. If you are interested in viewing it, you can find it on bangedup.com using the search “Two girls, one cup,” but let me warn you – this is one of the most disgusting videos I’ve ever seen. My toes curled, and I could feel my dinner fighting it’s way back up. I won’t even go into a detailed description, because just thinking about it makes me nauseous. Let’s just say that these two ladies do things with bodily fluids that one would not expect. I hear some people have fetishes for this, but I would consider these types of people crazier than Michael Jackson in a nursery school.

I just thought I’d share these two “experiences with you. I’m sure all of you have stories of disgusting videos that you’d like to share …

Monday, November 05, 2007

Pics from our trip

Ugh, another Monday! My wife and I had a great time in Atlantic City and Cape May this weekend. We forgot our camera, but I do have a camera on my phone, and was able to take some pics.

No, we didn’t hit it big in Atlantic City, although my wife did win $180 on the nickel machines (of course, I gave it all back). We did have a nice free dinner at Pickles in Bally’s, and our room was free, so all in all it was fun.

Cape May was decidedly more interesting. We stayed at the Cape May Inn, which, if you are not familiar, looks strangely similar to the house in The Munsters. Shockingly enough, the place is also apparently one of the most haunted houses in Cape May … especially, the fourth floor, which coincidentally was the floor we were staying on. No, we didn’t experience any “ghost action,” but it was still pretty funny. The Inn has a very good location though – right near some really nice shops, restaurants, bars, and the beach. Plus, for some reason, the Inn gave us a $50 credit for the restaurant and bar. Couple that with the highly inexpensive food and drink, and we felt like royalty.

Anyway, here are some pics of Cape May (and Mr. Stinky McSmelly, from the Penn State game):











This is the Cape May Inn – it was opened in 1894 … and it seems as if they tried to keep things the way they were then.










This is the little shopping “district” in Cape May. Since it’s November and the remnants of a hurricane were battering the area, not many people were out.










This is the light house in Cape May … we didn’t tour it, so I can’t really tell ya much about it.






This was the view from our room.






This is Stinky McSmelly … avoid him at all costs!