Thursday, April 30, 2009


Over the past few days, I have learned some very important life lessons that I would like to share with you in list form.

1) When The Running Store says that you can return your shoes for any reason within sixty days of purchase, they mean that you can return your shoes for any reason within sixty days of purchase for another pair of running shoes, but under no circumstance will used shoes receive a cash refund.

2) Some, but not all, Ebay stores offer cash refunds. The store that I purchased my second pair of running shoes from does not, but you are able to return them in a trade for a different pair of shoes they sell. Their selection is very limited, and I am left, having saved no money and having managed to spend nearly twice as much as initially was anticipated, with two very similar pairs of running shoes.

Running shoe stores: 2. A.C.: 0.

3) No matter how funny you may think it is, when you have a minor disagreement with your beautiful wife, she will almost never* think that it's funny for you to jokingly assert "Looks like the honeymoon's over." Further, no matter how many times you repeat the joke in different situations thinking that maybe she just didn't get it the times before, this will surprisingly only make matters worse.

*I.e., absolutely never.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Final Countdown

My neighborhood is shadier than I thought it was.

This afternoon, over my lunch break, I took the dog for a little run. On the returning leg of my trip, I saw two homeless guys in the distance. As I got closer, I saw one of them start running towards me, which was made difficult by the fact that he was also trying to push his shopping cart full of his belongings up a hill.

As I continued to walk towards this, I saw that the reason he was running was because the other homeless guy had a decently sized knife that appeared to have a golden handle and was pacing after him. When the second guy saw me, he put the knife away, but he walked up to me and started a conversation that went something like this (my motivation in this scene is curious, as in, I am curious if this is the time I get stabbed in the neck):

He: He steals stuff from these apartments.
Me: Ah.
He: These people tell me I can come into their garages and get their cans, but if something gets stolen, they're gonna get me in trouble.
Me: Yeah, that's no good.
He: You're right it's no good.
Me: (Walking)
He: (Walking away)

And all I could think after the fact was, maybe he wouldn't be homeless if he wouldn't spend his money on solid gold knife handles.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Just a Regular Regulator

For those of you who have never had my job (which by my count is most of you), here's pretty much how it goes:

Step 1: Fill out a report.
Step 2: Send said report in to whatever commission claims to want it.
Step 3: Never hear about that report again.

If you think this is more than a little bleak, you'd be right. However, this is much more preferable when compared to hearing about reports again, because generally that means that I have done something wrong, which means more work. As any third grader will tell you, extra work is to be shunned at all costs, even if it means committing yourself to a lifetime of futility. However, I feel that I am in good company as I look at classical literature, and I feel my kinship to Sisyphus who is forever pushing that rock up the hill.

But on the upside, there's free yogurt.

For some reports there is a fourth step: request a check from our accounts payable department. This is an adventure in itself as they are very discriminating in the types of background information on the check requests they will accept. This is generally a good thing as it keeps fraud to a minimum, but so help you if you have a legitimate request and you cannot find the right backup information. Many tears have been shed over this. Nevertheless, sometimes, sometimes, you can earn a small victory, and, children, I will relate this heroic tale.

Book 1.
This is in the time of when
There were no giants, only men,
Men who wiped their eyes to see,
Men not unlike your dear A.C.

A payment due, but where to send?
The commission's office will not lend
To A.C. the time of day, as if to say,
"Good luck, my friend, let come what may!"

In tears and anger, he searched the net,
Google searching, for to get
The precious info that he needed,
His patience, like his hair line, had receded.

But what is this? What luck! What ho!
He found the department to where the check should go
But would A.P. accept this printing without an address?
A.C. said a prayer, and scanned the pdf.

Book 2.
He bit his nails as he clicked send,
Was this where his path would end?
Could he now work on things worthwhile
Or be condemned to look for this thing impossible to find and vile?

A minute passed, and then two more,
A hush swept over his part of the floor,
He pulled up some other work to do,
Confident this check would be paid as due.

But then, a note by electronic mail,
"Without the address, you have failed,
We cannot let this money pass through our gate
Without an street name, number, and state."

Book 3.
He wiped his eyes and clenched his teeth
And thought, unkindly, "What's your beef!?"
But he knew that with his time he must be frugal,
And so, unhappily, he returned to google.

He'd search by department name, yes, that's the ticket,
But no result had an address! Ah! A thorny thicket!
So he searched again with quotation marks
For a more specific search, and, Hark!

To this commission, pay this price!
But without address, oh, that's not nice!
He searched more times, up to five, up to seven,
All results without addresses, so help him heaven!

He changed the search terms, then what was in quotes
Why could the internet not find what he wrote?
He expanded search results, then decompressed,
Until he found it, he could not rest.

Book 4.
He tried every set of words it could be under
Until, by happenstance, he thought to wonder,
"What of these pdf search results? I've looked at most,
I think, but maybe not at all. If not there, I'm lost!"

Pdf one, no address, the same for pdf two,
And three through twelve were no help too.
He was about to draft his resignation letter,
When he saw one last link, similar to the rest, but maybe better.

He scrolled down through, looking like the same texts, it
Had the same words, and he was about to "x" it,
When a new page appeared, one he hadn't seen before,
One with an address! Hurrah! His quest was over.

He nearly screamed, his fists shot up
His neighbors must have thought he'd mixed up
His day job with some sort of football game,
But the excitement he felt was exactly the same.

He emailed it over, it was accepted,
He thought, "These past six hours excepted,
I've had a pretty good little run."
And he resigned himself to something more fun.

That's all I've got folks.

P.S.: If you're interested, these are almost exactly like my job:
FuturamaWeeknights, 9p/8c
Bureaucrat's Song
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

FuturamaWeeknights, 9p/8c
Bureaucrat's Joy
Joke of the DayStand-Up ComedyFree Online Games

Friday, April 24, 2009

My Health Insurance Can Cram It with Walnuts, Ugly

A few weeks ago, I received an unsolicited piece of mail from my insurer, that said, in effect, "Your doctor tells us you're fat. If you would consider losing some weight, you would probably live longer. Give us a call at this number, and we'll tell you a couple of ways you can be less fat, fatty."

While their logic is impeccable, this is the sort of thing that can leave you weeping softly into your napkin for longer than you'd care to admit and then all of a sudden it's Wednesday, and work's on the phone asking where you've been and telling you where you can go, but you can't even stand to talk to them because you're too involved in eating a jar of Goober Grape using a Snickers bar as a spoon while sitting in a lawn chair in the bed of your grandfather's El Camino in a supermarket parking lot while reflecting on your glory days of high school football.* Why won't Tim McGraw love me?**

With that in mind, you can imagine how happy it made me to find another unsolicited piece of mail from them yesterday. Nevertheless, I needed to open it because, well, I wouldn't put another peanut butter and jelly fueled rampage past me right now. Fortunately, I found this one hilarious. Here's one of the paragraphs verbatim (bolding theirs):

"Our team of nurses has made several attempts to reach you by telephone to introduce you to this personalized, confidential and voluntary program. According to our files, you can be reached at the following number: (no telephone number on file). If the phone number listed is wrong, please give us a call so we can update our records. If this number is correct, you can still call today to begin taking advantage of this valuable program."

Where do I begin? How are these nurses making several attempts to call me if they don't have a phone number for me on record? Are they picking up the phone, not dialing and expecting me to answer? Why do they give me the option of claiming that the phone number is correct if it is obviously NOT EVEN A PHONE NUMBER? They even bolded this fact! Why would I want to give my phone number to a group that seems to like to just insult me? Why is my insurance company so shady that it apparently DOES NOT HAVE MY NUMBER ON FILE?

In any case, I had a good laugh at this, just like I did at your face.***

*The part of that that involved Goober Grape, Snickers, and an El Camino actually happened in high school once. Believe it or not, I actually had a worse idea in regards to food at that supermarket, and it involved the epiphany that it would be a good idea to buy and consume a bottle of honey. You know, one of those containers that's shaped like a bear? Yeah, that was a bad idea.
**Varsity Blues reference. Look it up.
***Probably the most inappropriate comment in this post, possibly on this entire site. If you have any problems with it, give me a call (see my number above).

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Brian, Buddy, Where You Been? The Term Is Asian-American.

There is a sushi place near my home that I enjoy going to because it is delicious, reasonably priced, and convenient. Plus, it's called "Tony's Sushi*." You know that it's got to be pretty legit if they're not even going to try to come up with a Japanese sounding name with which to entitle their sushi restaurant.

One thing that I noticed right away about it was that it liked to take some liberties with some rolls that are pretty much the same at every other sushi restaurant. An example is their Philadelphia Roll. Everywhere else, this is served with salmon, cream cheese, and cucumber. However, Tony's Sushi decided to add avocado. While I was briefly unamused at first (mostly at the difference in texture), I realized that it was still pretty delicious, and now I look forward to this difference. However, it seems that not everybody is happy with the liberties taken.

When I went there last night to pick up some quick and reasonably healthy dinner, I noticed a sign on the counter that said, in effect, that this restaurant was not every other sushi restaurant and that it didn't have to make its rolls exactly like everybody else. It also advised customers to be aware of what the menu says is in the rolls before ordering because after it will not issue refunds after the roll has been made.

In concluded with the line, "Thank you for your corporations."

I'm not going to lie; I found this pretty dang funny. Even so, I was glad that there was only one copy of this exercise in near homonyms for the sake of their business until I looked up and saw laminated copies push-pinned into the wall above every booth in the restaurant.

Yikes. I give them an A for deliciousity, an F for vocabulary, though maybe a C for decisiveness.

*It's right off the I-15 at Aero Drive, if anybody's looking for something tasty.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

They Are Who We Thought They Were

For fun sometimes, I like to try to convince people of things that I know to not be true, just to see if I can. I realize this makes me a jerk, but I feel that by posting it here, you all have been duly warned. Besides, it's not like I do it all the time; I can quit whenever I want (the scene cuts to me in tattered clothes in some back alley crying and saying, "I just need one more smart remark! I NEED IT!") Consider this conversation with my wife from yesterday as we pulled up behind a Hyundai Accent:

Me: Oh look, it's a Hyundai Uh-Kent.
She: Uhm, I'm pretty sure it's pronounced Aks-scent.
Me: Nope. Remember, when there are two c's in a row, it's a hard c sound, right?
She: I don't think so.
Me: Sure it is. How do you pronounce the word spelled A-C-C-O-M-P-A-N-Y?
She: A-C-C...Accompany! But I still don't think you're right.
Me: Sure I am. How do you pronounce the word spelled A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-N-T?
She: A-C-C...Opponent! (This was followed by much laughter by all involved)

It looks like I've been bested at my own game. I could not have fallen to a worthier accountant.

Monday, April 13, 2009

What We Have Here Is an Ethical Dilemma

As you know, I am jumping into running wallet first in the hopes that the financial commitment I have made will encourage me into sticking with it. So far, it is sincerely helping; the wife and I jogged/walked two miles on Saturday, which is quite an accomplishment when you consider that only two months ago I would have answered the question "When do you run?" with "Only when I am being chased."

Taking that into account, this last Friday, I went to the Running Store. My wife had been encouraging both of us to go for some time because there are folks at this store who will analyze how you run and how arched your foot is and will then recommend a shoe that will work best for you individually. I was very happy to go because the running shoes I had, though I purchased them larger than I normally do, were extremely narrow, which, in conjunction with my broad, broad feet, left me wanting to cut off toes like some ugly stepsister.

The people there recommended a gloriously comfortable pair of shoes, and they said I could return them any time in the next 60 days for any reason, used or not. The cost of these shoes was $130, which I knew would cause some belt-tightening, but as I am tightening my belt thanks to the diet, I figured this was a reasonable cost. I purchased them happily, and went on my merry way.

However, as I was browsing around Ebay over the last couple of days, I noticed the same pair of shoes for $70, which is pretty close to a 50% discount.

So my question to you, my handful of dear readers, is is it reasonable to return the shoes that the people at the Running Store were so nice to analyze and find for me for the monetary benefit of Ebay? Their return policy says that I can return them for any reason in the next 60 days, even if, they jokingly said, I had worn them on many, many runs through the mud.

Let me know in the comments. If it makes any difference, I bought several pair of synthetic socks from the store that I will not be returning, because, really, my shame does have some bounds, even though the socks were ~$8/pair.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

I'm Surprised He Didn't Paint Me

Last night, during rehearsal, there was a photographer present who, as we were acting, was taking publicity shots of the show. After rehearsal, he was loading the pictures onto his laptop, and we were able to get a sneak preview of them.

We couldn't get a great look as we were all several feet away from the laptop, but it became apparent that there were some pictures unrelated to the show. One subject of these photos was some house. This led to the following conversation with me and a another guy in the cast:

Me: (Jokingly) Gosh! I look like a house!
He: (Earnestly) Stop that! You look great!
Me: Oh, I just meant the joke as if I were the house in those pictures.
He: Oh, I see. (Laughs)
Me: (Meaning the style of my humor) I guess I'm just too realistic.
He: (Thinking I mean that comparing myself to the size of a house is a realistic comparison) Knock it off!
Me: (Laughing awkwardly that I am unable to communicate well)

I don't know when I lost the ability to effectively communicate my intent with others, but I do miss it. If anybody has seen it, I will offer a reward for its return.