Thursday, July 30, 2009

Bad Soap and Jorts

Two quick takes:

A couple weeks ago we were at Frankie's Fun Park, having guess what... fun. After washing my hands, I quickly noticed that they have very badly scented hand soap. I can't stand bad soap because as soon as you wash your hands with it, you can't get the smell off for at least 10 washs with good soap. Good soap scent has left your hands by the time you walk out of the restroom, like it's supposed to. Frustrating.

Also, my step-sister Allison, who loves to be mentioned or referenced in the blog, pointed out some guy wearing jean shorts. My wife informs me that these are actually called 'jorts.' These were real ones too, as in, they used to be jeans and then got cut off to be shorts. I think he was just trying to bring them back into style. All I have to say is, if you are trying to bringing anything back in style, you need to do it one at a time. Meaning: the mullet, top gun sunglasses, and handlebar stach are a bit much altogether. Just bring them back into style one at a time, otherwise, you might want to drive around in a dolrean telling everyone you just arrived from 1986.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Produce and Fireworks

On my way back from Charlotte on Saturday morning, I stopped and picked up some locally grown peaches. I find it interesting that every peach stand also doubles as a fireworks stand. All the roadside produce stands up by TR towards Asheville that I could think of also double as fireworks stands. So my question is, what is it about fresh produce that makes people want to blow stuff up? I guess there is just something about a fresh picked peach that makes people what to shoot copious amounts of gunpowder, sulphur and cheap packaging into the atmosphere. In reality, they are both seasonal items so I can see economically that it makes sense as you can get more sales volume, prolong your sales timeline and you are hedging your bets against a drought or bad growing season with the fireworks. So I understand having two different seasonal items in the same store/stand. But how about a non-seasonal item? Or something other than fireworks? I guess it's just easy, someone did it and make a decent living so now everyone is doing it. To me, fireworks are risky. Fire risk and safety considerations aside, I would think that fireworks sales are just as unpredictable and fickle as peach sales. If it were me, I'd want at least one of my stand/store offerings to be a stable business that had a certain amount of guaranteed cash flow. So, maybe there is something about produce that makes people want to buy/shoot off fireworks after all.

Sunday, July 26, 2009


I have asked many people over the last couple weeks, "How's life been for you post-Micheal Jackson?"  Based on what I've seen from the news, people are generally having a hard time with it, some have even said that their daily lives are not the same.  However, that has not been the case with anyone I've talked to.  Everyone I've talked to said, "What about the last 20 years?". Apparently, death was the  best career move that Micheal could have made.  All the sudden, Michael is the king of pop again, he's getting all types of credit for changing not only the music industry, but also paving the way for Obama and Tiger Woods.  Really?  Shouldn't we also say he paved the way for Hillary Clinton and Mia Hamm then?  This is the same guy that morphed from a black man to a white woman in front of our eyes and then molested boys at his "ranch"* and now in death, he's "the greatest entertainer to live."  I think its interesting how the media choses to villify some celebrities even in their death, but praise others.  And for the most part, America follows their lead like little sheep.  Sad.  And I think that it was Sharpton that was making a big deal that MJ broke the color barrier on MTV.  Really?  How long from the time MTV first went on the air until the color barrier was broken, 10 mins?  20?  Maybe an hour at best.  Let's not put him in the same category as Jackie Robinson or some of the black musicians who faced real color issues in the 50's and 60's. 
The good news is that the media are almost done covering this story as our 24/7 coverage has dwindled down to a few stories here and there now. 

*side note:  if anyone invites your kid over to their "ranch" and there are no cattle or horses on the "ranch", be wary. 

Friday, July 17, 2009

Computer Abuse doesn't pay

Last media post of the week, I promise. This video starts out like some others I've seen, but you have to stick around until the end, it's worth it. I am known at work for tossing a mouse or two in frustration and taking out my struggles on my equipment. Now though, I'll be sure to make sure there is not an All Spark around before I do (my fellow Transformers fans will get understand referance). So remember, next time, think before you abuse.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Comments on Websites, part 2

I've previously discussed on this blog that I don't like how every major site now has a comments section on the bottom of every article. I was listening to the ESPN Bill Simmons podcast the other day with Chuck Klostermann and they brought up an excellent point on this topic and worded it way better than me. Basically, it's that major sites are tailoring their content towards those who are posting. For example, the latest article on a scandal or SEC football article will stir thousands of comments and debate amongst the posters, but the well-written, well-researched article that adds something meaningful to the conversation has 3 comments on it. Obviously, it's clear then where they are going to focus their attention at. And I agree with Chuck, that as sites begin to tailor and be persuaded by the comments of their readers, it reduces the quality of the content. I've attached a segment of the podcast so you can hear what I'm talking about. Also, another side note, if I don't like all these idiots commenting on websites, you can only imagine how I feel about it during the MLB All-Star game coverage, the NFL draft and now Thursday night college football coverage. Grrrr..

Click here to listen

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

E-Z Rentacar or E-Z Ripoff?

Those of you who know me know that I'm a cheapskate and am all about saving every penny that I can. A cheapskate and a pack rat. That said, I'm normally the type of guy why would use a company like E-Z Rent-a-car. However, over the holiday weekend, they were the last online company to still have cars at the airport, they knew it and raised their prices. Having studied economics (both macro and micro), I understand supply and demand and would not have been too upset had they raised their prices with supply dwindling. Even doubling their prices, I can understand that. Maybe even tripling. But multiplying them by 7! That is an outrage! That is price gouging, which I thought was illegal, but apparently not in every state. Unbelievable. In fact, no one that I told the rate they were trying to charge actually believed me that they had set their rate that high. In fact, it was so high, that for only an additional $25, I could have gotten a limo service instead. I obviously ended up not getting a car from E-Z Rent-a-car and now never will. That's right, because of this absurd attempt at price gouging, you'll never see me in a car from E-Z. So, how much were they trying to charge? 100/day? Nope. Would have considered it. $150/day. Not even close. $275/day the first time I looked! And it increased to $284/day over the next 12 hours. And that was for an economy car! I'm inserting a screenshot just because I know you would never believe me otherwise. I want to know who is renting an SUV for $500/day. For the prices they were trying to charge, I was strongly considering buying a car and then selling it 5 days later. I figure there is no way I'm taking a loss of more than $100/day on the buy/sell deal. Ridiculous.

That said, I did pay a doubled price from Enterprise and although I was relatively pleased with the rental itself, I have to say "We'll pick you up" is a complete marketing lie. On the commercials, they show them driving through the countryside to pick someone up, nope. Not true. And whereas I expected there to be a relatively tight pickup range, the range is actually only "10" miles. But not really. The range is also territorial and they will not cross into the range of another Enterprise. So, for example, in a Downtown area where there are 3-4 Enterprise locations, the effective range is more like 4-5 miles before they are into the next Enterprise range. And they won't pick you up at the airport, so you are flying into somewhere and need a car, hope you like riding in a taxi.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wal-Mart Saftey

I saw this sign in my local Wal-Mart the other day and had to take a picture of it to share.
Not only is safety spelled hilariously wrong, but the wording of the sentence makes it quite comical. The saftey preposition should precede the instruction to not sit or stand on the shelf. So, next time you are in Wal-Mart, be careful and watch your step, it's for your saftey.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Mt Evans Pics

As promised, a couple pics from the Mt Evans drive. More vacation pics and rants/raves upcoming.

Click on the picture for more pictures.

Do not disturb?

Do not disturb?

Who is putting out the do not disturb sign at hotels and then complaining that their room is not getting clean?  Who are you?  Why are you doing this to us?  You have ruined 'do not disturb' for the rest of us.  Now, thanks to you, we get disturbed.  That's right, the last couple hotels I stayed at have policies against using the do not disturb sign for prolonged periods.  The most recent made the sign only in effect for day 1, after that, they are cleaning your room anyway.  2 hotels ago, the housekeeping knocked on my door every day and made me sign a piece of paper saying I had my do not disturb sign out and didn't want my room clean.  In other words, I had to be disturbed in order to confirm that I didn't want to be disturbed, in two languages.   Funny, I thought that was what the sign was for.   Maybe instead of a sign, I need some type of banner.  A "seriously, disturb at your own risk" banner.  A lot of the time, its because I'm travelling and working late for work, and I want to sleep in instead of being woken up to sign my name confirming that I don't want to be woken up.  Maybe someday some when we all have personal droids, this won't be an issue as my droid can stand guard and sign my name for me, but until then, I'm very displeased in those of you who have ruined the do not disturb sign.  So long sleeping in at the hotel.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Mt Evans

Mt Evans

Enough time has passed that I can now talk about what happened on Monday.  Monday, I had the most harrowing drive of my life. 
Jeni and I were in Colorado and decided to drive to the top of Mt Evans, the highest paved road in America.  Its supposed to be a very scenic drive, lots of wildlife, breathtaking views, etc.  Well, it was breathtaking alright, as in unable to breathe.  We were cruising right along, not a worry in the world, and then we got above the tree line.  Not only was there a couple thousand feet cliff off the side of the road, there was no guard rails either.  I know guards rails are a kinda false sense of security, but still, sure would have been nice to have.  I'm not normally scared of heights, but I have to say that my blood was pumping pretty good the whole way and I almost turned back several times.  One of the scariest things was getting glimpes of the road ahead and knowing that what you see someone else doing in a couple thousand feet is going to be you next.  All in all, I wouldn't recommend the drive for anyone weak of heart or even marginally afraid of heights.  It certainly did a number on my nerves and kept me awake and on edge well into the night.  I will post a few pictures from the drive up tomorrow as well as some more thoughts and ramblings from the trip.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Bulletproof Canoes

Bulletproof Canoes

One of my Spring semester classes was on innovation and technology.  One of the things we talked about briefly one week was a new woven fabric that is practically bulletproof.  My first thought was to make police uniforms, hunting gear, and/or military uniforms out of it.  Maybe some suits for the secret service, FBI agents, and the President to wear.  Nope.  The first application chosen was canoe lining.  I didn't realize there was such a gunshot wound risk while canoeing.  I was never a big fan of being in a canoe just because of the sheer effort involved in paddling, but now that I know I also need a bulletproof canoe you can definitely count me out.  Paddling and dodging bullets?  No thanks, I'll pass. 
After testing the fabric on canoes, they've found that its very shock absorbing and are taking their product to race cars next.  So, I guess it will still be a few years before you can get your bulletproof sweater to wear around town or to West Virginian family gatherings.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July

Happy 4th of July

Happy Fourth everyone.  Celebrate our freedom by doing some American today, like blowing up large amounts of paper, sulphur and gunpowder or grilling some hamburgers.  Jeni and I will be celebrating by horseback riding through some great American countryside and of course, watching some fireworks.  Go America!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Josh Womack

I think this guy is amazing. I won't tell you what happens whenever I try this except to say that there are jammed fingers and bruised wrists involved. And had there been anything breakable around, it would not have been pretty.