Friday, February 27, 2009

Let's Not Abuse Our Employees By Making Them Wear Ridiculous Outfits

I tell you what, there is one company who is not gonna be bossed into updating their uniforms to fit into modern day society. And that company is Hot Dog on a Stick.

Friends what is going on over there?

Every time I go to the mall and see those cute girls in those hideous outfits I have to ask who is making these girls dress this way. The three foot tall hat and those crazy stripes, what are we circus performers, go-go dancers, what? It’s hard to say.

Bless those girl’s hearts but those outfits just aren’t flattering to any figure. They seem to accentuate all the negatives and smother all the positives on the body. Polyester will do that to you, she is a harsh mistress.

It’s bad enough that they have to wear those outfits but then they add insult to injury by making them beat lemons for their “Freshly Squeezed Lemonade”.

I don’t know if you have had the rare occasion to see this little treat as you are striding through the mall but let me give you brief description of what they have these sweet sisters doing.

They have a bucket, and inside the bucket they put lemons, and then the worker takes out what appears to be a gynormous mallet and the proceeds to beat the juice right out of these helpless little lemons. And some workers aren’t content to go through the motion of doing a pithy up and down movement, but they get a full extension and get that mallet up over there heads and slam it back into the bucket. And the amazing thing is that they do it all with a smile while sweat is pouring down their face. (Spoiler Alert: A lot of people don’t know this but sweat really is the secret ingredient to their world famous lemonade.)

The funny thing is, they could probably do the “Lemon Smash” dance in the back of the store, but no, they put this sweet sister out on “the deck” for the entire mall to watch. I like this because I refuse to drink lemonade unless they can prove to me, that yes, those lemons are pulverized by hand. As the good book says, “In the eyes of two or three witness shall every hand squeezed lemonade be established…”

And have you ever seen a man working at a Hot Dog on a Stick? Are they even allowed to apply? Would he be required to wear the same clown costume?

If someone could fill me in I would appreciate it, I am looking for a PT job.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Redbox

Oh, The Redbox, what a great invention. I appreciate the ease and affordability of this little machine that spits out movies for only a dollar day.

Last Friday I thought I would run to The Redbox and pick me up a movie. I just needed a night to myself to relax after a stressful week and to shut my brain off for an hour or two.

Isn’t interesting the people you see at the Redbox around 7:00 pm on a Friday night? You’ve got the mother surrounded with all her children trying to decide if she can sit through Kung Fu Panda one more time or if she should get a more adult flick so she can enjoy a movie for once.

The young couple who can’t keep their hands off each other. Whose idea of a fun date is to get something to eat at the Arbys and then grab a movie over ta’ the Redbox.

And then the older couple who would like to partake of the fruit of the Rebox but are unsure how to make the machine spit out their video choice. They ultimately resort to speaking their selection into the slot where the movie comes out. Oh bless them.

As I am standing waiting behind my Redbox friends and am becoming more and more agitated by their inability to work the machine and to decide on a selection in a timely manner. I vowed that I would step to the Redbox make my selection and be done in under a minute.

But when I stepped forward I realized the movie I wanted was checked out. What does one do? Well I started panicking because I had waited in line for 20 minutes complaining loudly in my mind about people who take too long making a selection at the Redbox, and here I was about to be “one of those people” that annoys me so much.

The bad thing about the Redbox is the person waiting behind you is pretty much right up against you, looking over your shoulder. You just know they are looking at what selection you are making and judging you.

So I am just trying to find any alternate movie to rent when I feel the man behind me breathing literally right down my neck. The little old lady who was speaking into the Redbox earlier is now back in line determined to get her movie by jamming a crisp dollar bill into the DVD slot. Now she is pocking me with her can and clearing her voice every few seconds. So finally, sweating profusely, without thinking I make a selection and briskly walk out the door.

Kitt Kittridge: An American Girl Movie.
Check it. It will change you in so many ways.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

My Name is John Daker

You know how there are special videos that come along maybe twice in a lifetime that you must share with others. Well this little gem is one that I consider worthy for you viewing pleasure. It has changed me in ways that I cannot even express.

Here are a couple of things that are noteworthy to look for:

1-The sweet sister at the piano who I can't even understand (I think she may have a drinking problem or overly large dentures), probably lives in a small town and because she was once featured as a soloist in her community choir 50 years ago, feels qualified to teach voice lessons. And she thought it would be a fantastic idea to put her students recital on the local public access channel. Wise choice? You be the judge.

2- John Daker is one of her finest voice students but he is a little slow on the pick up. Notice he doesn't really get that the music has already started and yet he insists, like all good recital participants, to give his name missing his first note.

3-I am not sure but I think his voice teacher sat down with him and said to old John Daker, "John I have a fantastic idea. I have two songs that would go great together, Christ the Lord is Risen Today and That's Amore. What do you think? Oh, it doesn't matter what you think, I am the voice teacher, you will do as I say. Oh John this will be your best performance ever. Oh and remember John to make sure you express your feelings with your eyebrows just as we have practiced, lo these many months."

Haven't you had bad dreams like this? Standing in front of a crowd of people and then all of sudden you are expected to perform, but then once the music starts you realize you don't know the song and so you just make up stuff as you go along hoping that your use of jazz hands and facial expressions will overcompensate for your lack of preparation.

Thank you John Daker. You sir, are a delight.

Friday, February 20, 2009

The Cat Dance

Friends, I have never understood “cat people”. I mean, I don’t hate cats but I don’t think I could ever own one. To me cats have a little bit of an attitude. What’s the point of having an animal if they are indifferent to you?

I have known many a “cat person” in my life that has been scratched, bitten, and surprised attacked by their cats and yet they still love them and let them sleep on their face at night. What’s that all about?

Can you ever see a dog doing something like that? Dogs greet you at the door and want to make you happy. Honestly, can you see a cat going for a jog with you? Pulling you out of a burning building or car? And I don’t think a cat would even care if you were blind and you needed to be led to the bathroom. And don’t even get me started about the smell of kitty litter, I can’t even stomach it.

So you can imagine my delight when I discovered another side of “cat people” that has made me think, umm, maybe I have misjudged my fellow cat lovers, lo these many years. That’s right friends it is called “cat dancing”. Look how fun this looks.

I am a fan of any type of lyrical dance but especially dance that involves dressing up and flipping and rolling on the ground with some sort of animal. La, how jolly! And how much more fun is it when you can dress up that animal in the same outfit you are wearing. Oh, so great. Check out these fun folks. Every time I see these pictures I get a little envious, I wish I was right there with them. I love the guy in the pink shirt, he is really going for it, jazz hands and all. Shine on you crazy diamond!

If you would like more images or are looking for a fun gift for that upcoming baby shower or bar mitzvah. The book is called "Dancing with Cats" and will likely sale out very quickly.(Spoiler Alert: if you are a friend or family member you might find this little morsel underneath your Christmas tree this year) . Jump on it, like the cats in these pictures, or you may miss out on this rare find.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Great Movies of 2008

It’s Oscar time and as such I have decided to make my first annual great movie list for 2008. In doing this I have to tell you that I haven’t seen a lot of the movies nominated for this year’s Oscars because they are full of trash and naked people.
My list in no way reflects that of the Academy but are just good movies I have seen this year.

Fistful of Quarters- This little “gem” was not in theatres very long but it is worth seeing. It is a documentary about competitive arcade video gaming. It centers on two men who are competing for the world championship of, that’s right, “Donkey Kong Jr.”. Trust me when I say, these people will make you laugh and then cry at how pathetic their lives are.

Quantum of Solace- I don’t know who was in charge of re-tooling the James Bond franchise but let me thank them publicly for that. Remember how Mr. Bond seemed so outdated and cartoony before Daniel Craig came on the scene? Yeah, I do, and it was about as lame as watching Pierce Brosnan trying to sing ABBA in Mama Mia. If you haven’t seen Casino Royale or Quantum of Solace they don’t disappoint. It is the perfect combination of toughness and style.

Hell Boy II: The Golden Army- Let’s be honest, I wasn’t blown away by the first Hellboy, but I thought it was an interesting idea for a movie so I thought I would give the sequel a try. It turned out to be really entertaining, minus Selma Blair who shouldn’t be in movies any more I have decided. It was weird and funny and just a good time.

Persuasion- I saw this on video at a friend’s house and really liked it. It is a Jane Austen book made by the BBC and it was hot! Man, the Jane A. can write a killer story of betrayal, and regretted love, and then end the movie with the lovers running across the city into each others arms. Good stuff.

LOST- I know this isn’t a movie but it is just as good. Friends if I had copies of the complete box set I would pass them out and at the trax station. I don’t usually get wrapped up in a TV show but the adventures of Kate and Jack and company, (I have excluded Sawyer because I don’t really care for him so much) is some of the best entertainment on the big screen or small. The great thing is that it is free and you can watch it in your PJ’s if you want. Check it out at your local library. It will change you forever.
I would like to take this moment to give a shout out to REDBOX who has made movie watching cheap and affordable. The man who invented that little contraption should win an Oscar for bringing entertainment to the masses. Bless him.

Honorable Mentions: WALL-E, Kung Fu Panda, Iron Man, The Dark Knight.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Valentines Day Expectations

Valentines Day is a lot like News Years Eve. You have these unspoken expectations that never seemed to be met.

I think on Valentines Day in everyone’s mind they expect they will find the love of their life on the morning bus where they will bump into each other and immediately fall into a “heart to heart” conversation. Sharing their goals, taste in music, politics, and ethnic foods, and realize they have the exact tastes and opinions about everything.

After realizing how similar they both are, they would then get off the bus, and walk hand in hand to the local neighborhood park. Where surprisingly, there would be a wheat field. They would run across the wheat field, in slow motion mind you, and crash into each others arms, and land on a blanket.

Again, unexpectedly they would find a picnic laid out for them with cold chicken and Martinellis Sparkling Cider. They would giggle about how silly love is and fan each other and feed each other grapes until the sun started setting in the west.

They would then cuddle in a crocheted blanket that they both had made as they talked about how much they loved each, sharing the names of their future children.

As the sun sets, a flock of doves would fly in a heart shaped formation across the sky while holding in their feet sparkly outfits and two tickets to the Michael Bolton Valentines Day concert.
After the concert there would be a boat waiting to take them to a deserted island where they would "make out" as the waves of the sea rolled over them. During all this rolling around in the water, fireworks would go off spelling their names in the sky.

Then after they pick the kelp out of each others hair they say “good night” and then go back to their every day lives.

Isn’t that what we all are secretly expecting on Valentines Day?

Of course these expectations are never met, so when someone drops off a box of Necco’s Conversation Hearts you feel Valentines Day should be more than that. And then you get depressed because you wonder if you will ever run through the wheat field, attend the Michael Bolton concert, and make out on the beach. And then you spend the rest of the night torturing youself watching movies that actually contain running through wheat fields, and kissing in the sea. And then, in a final attempt to torture yourself, you cry yourself to sleep to the gentle strains of Michael Bolton.

Don't torture yourself friends. Let me tell you, let go of this Valentines Day pipe dream you carry year to year. Once you give up hope you will feel so much better.

As for me, I am going into Valentine's Day with no expectations. That way whatever comes I will be pleasantly surprised.

P.S. My co-worker just dropped off Conversation Hearts on my desk…(Sigh)…Valentine’s Day should be more than this.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Sound Proof Walls. . Bah

One of the big selling points when I bought my condo was the sound proof walls. That’s right friends; they told me that I would not be able to hear a peep from my neighbors. The contractor had layered the walls with concrete, foam, and for added sound protection, rolls of toilet paper. So I was pretty confident that I wouldn’t be able to hear my neighbors and they would not be able to hear me.

Sound proof walls were very important to me because after a long and stressful day at work, I like to turn on my stereo and just sing, sing loud and sing proud. I enjoy singing such hits as Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth” and AC/DC’s “Thunderstruck”. (Sometimes during “Thunderstruck” I like to throw a little tap dancing solo on my hard wood floors.) I didn’t worry about disturbing my neighbors because, again, I was pretty confident in the sound proofing of the walls.

So last night as I was lying in bed and I heard a sound coming from the wall I share with my neighbor. You can imagine my alarm when I heard voices, not words but more like what Charlie Brown hears when his teacher talks to him in class (waa waa wa-wa waaa…).

As I laid there my mind became troubled with what all this means. I thought to myself, “If I can hear them talking than that means that they can hear me sing-. . . OH CRAP.”

How many nights have my neighbors sat watching Jeopardy wishing that the guy next store would shut up with the singing already so they could hear what Alex Trebeck was saying? And I shudder to think what they thought the clickety-click was from my tap dancing. How embarrassing.

Here this nice couple probably moved from Mid-town Manhattan where they just wanted to get some peace and quiet, only to find that they have a neighbor who thinks he is a rock star and keeps them up at least until 9:00 some nights.

So guess who it would be awkward to run into this morning? My neighbors. Guess who I ran into? My neighbors. Needless to say it was a little awkward.

I think they were picturing me singing Debbie Gibson’s “Electric Youth”.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Marley and Me

I wouldn’t characterize myself as a “crier”. My emotions don’t run really close to the surface but when I do get emotional it is because I feel something very deeply.

Sometimes when I read books I develop a deep love for the characters, in so much that I miss them when the book has ended. However, there are only special books that make me cry.

For example, remember in the last Harry Potter book when Harry realizes what he has to do to defeat Voldemort and he comes to accept it as his destiny, and all those who have passed away appear to him to give him the support he needs. Yeah, I cried.

Remember, at the end of “Lord of the Rings” when the journey ends and Sam says goodbye to Frodo as he leaves to the Grey Havens? I remember I felt so homesick for Middle Earth and all my hobbit friends that the night after I finished the book I cried in my bedroom wishing I could be with them again.

So last week my co-worker recommended that I read “Marley & Me”, because she knew I liked dogs. I thought it would just be a typical formulaic dog book, however I wasn’t prepared for how deeply it affected me.

Last night I finally finished reading “Marley and Me” and friends, I cried, and then I sobbed and then I couldn’t breathe because the tears just kept coming, like emotional diarrhea. Finally, I had to put the book down and stand in front of the mirror and ask myself “What is wrong with me? What is it about this story that is making me feel this way?”

I realized that I wasn’t crying for “Marley” and his life, but for the life of my own dog. The story conjured up memories that some how I had locked away because they were so special. It brought back memories of my dog Charlie, how he loved me unconditionally even when I got impatient with him when he would try to sneak into my bedroom at night and lick my face. Memories when I wasn’t having such a great day and he would come and rest his head on my knee and look up at me with his brown eyes, as if he was saying that he was aware of me and that he was worried. Memories of me scratching him behind the ears after we would go running together, and him being so exhausted he would just fall asleep next to me.

As my dog got older he got arthritis, he started to get seizures, and we think he had some sort of tumor on his stomach. It was really sad to see my friend growing older, but I was growing older to, and left home to go to school. Then one day my parents told me that he just wandered away from home and he never came back.

I was busy with school and felt like I didn’t have time to worry about that. I figured he was in a better place and just moved on. I just suppressed my grief and thought I would deal with it when I had a spare second.

So last night, as I finished the last two chapters, all that pain and grief that I had suppressed all those years from the loss of my dog washed over me like an emotional tsunami. The guilt of not expressing my gratitude for all the joy that my dog had added to my life hit me so hard, that I felt, and I know this sounds dumb, that I had to express it some how. So with tears streaming down my face, I just thanked God for Charlie. For the joy he brought to our family and his unfailing companionship. Then I climbed into bed with the comfort that I was blessed with the love of a dog.

I know people when they read this will think that I need to get a life. But those people probably grew up with cats.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

I love going to Wal-mart. Everytime I am there I have such weird and random experiences.

Last night, as I was heading to the checkout register, a nice young man named Ryan told me that he could check me out. Fantastic, I thought, I am going to have an all to rare excellent customer service experience at Wal-mart all because of good Ryan. Bless his heart.

I noticed that he was a little nervous because he wouldn’t look me in the eyes, but he was really trying to be friendly and engaged me in conversation. I usually try to get my groceries and get the flip out of Wal-mart, but I felt like I would give him some slack seeing how he was trying so hard to be friendly.

He told me how his friend and he had tried to get into Denny’s to get their free Grand Slam breakfast. We laughed about those crazy people who waited in line for hours for that. I thought, “ Ya’ know this Ryan is alright. I am going to tell his Supervisor what a great job he is doing.

Then Ryan, feeling perhaps overly confident about his conversation skills, started in on another topic. I will now take you on the journey that I had as I stood there.

What you are about to read is not an exaggeration but is pretty much verbatim what Ryan said. What would you have done in this situation?

So the same friend that said we should go to Denny’s said that we should break into his dad’s gun safe and take out some guns and explosives. So we went out to blow up some stuff. My friend accidentally blew up his keys. (Awkward chuckling) Oh, and then when I fired his Dad’s shot gun it knocked me back into his dad's new truck and I dented the side door. So my friend put a note on the door saying that his little brother dented it. So that night when we were in our tent (I’m sorry it begs the question why was Ryan and his friend in a tent in the middle of January?) we heard my friends dad beating up his little brother. (Another awkward chuckle.)”

I wish I would have said, “What in the…What? You did what? Oh, son what were you thinking?”

What I actually said was, “Oh boy…that’s interesting. Well I hope you don’t get into too much trouble. (awkward chuckle)”

I could tell his supervisor had probably been riding him about being friendier and talking to his customers. So on the way to work he said to himself, “Ok, here is what I will do. I will open with my Denny’s experience with my friend. And then that is a natural lead in to my friend and the break in into his dad’s guns safe, and then I will wrap up with the beating of my friends brother. Yeah, that is good stuff!”

Should I have given him a hug? Because as weird as this situation was, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for good Ryan. He had no idea that this line of conversation was so socially "out there". I am sure out in Herriman, or wherever he lives this is normal everyday communiqué around the dinner table, but at work . . . not so much.

The funny thing is, as I was briskly walking away from Ryan, I heard him start the same conversation with the next person in line.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Gym Rats Beware

Do you ever go to the gym feeling like this is going to be the day that you rock your workout? You are so mentally prepared to push yourself to the absolute limit that nothing can stand in your way.

That is how I felt yesterday as I headed to the Daybreak Community Center. Admittedly, I don’t know the "ins" and "outs" of weight lifting or how to work most of the equipment that work your various muscles. However, yesterday I was going to throw caution to the wind and just push the gym rats and the flinty girls in leotards aside, and take my place in front of the mirrors with the serious weight lifters.

So I strutted into the weight area with my arms curved, so it looked like I was sporting some serious muscle on my “guns”.(That is gym talk for “arms”, for those who are gym-illiterate). I found that if you swivel your upper body as you walk, it makes you look really tough. (Hint: If you wear really tight spandex shorts and a really bulky hoody it makes your upper body look huge. I have always said, you can never go wrong in tight spandex shorts, the femininas love it.)

So I climbed on this machine and acted like I totally knew how it was supposed to work. In reality I was freaking out because I didn’t have the first clue. But I just played it cool like I had worked out on this machine a hundred times and it was not even a problem.

So I started pulling the little knobs and adjusting my seat, and finally seated myself and started pulling on the hand holds, but I noticed it seemed really difficult. “Could I really be this weak?” I asked myself. "Not possible." I responded.

So when no one was looking, I set it to the lowest possible weight and again tried to lift, I still was unable to budge it at all. “This machine must be broken,” I told the person next to me, “because usually I can lift a hundred pounds right over my head, just for my warm up”. I laughed nervously as he began to inch away.

So as a faux display of toughness and to save myself from embarrassment, I just kicked the machine and went to get a drink, to pull myself together.

As I returned, I noticed this little elderly woman on the machine that I was on perviously. She was in the zone. Just smiling and lifting with such ease and contentment. How was she able to work that machine when I had so many problems?

As I looked at her positioning on the machine I realized I had missed an important part. I had been sitting on the machine backwards. HA,Ha,ha. . .blah.

Lesson learned, friends, lesson learned.

After that embarrassing episode, it was time to leave the gym and return home to something I was a little bit more comfortable with, “Sweatin’ to the Oldies”.

I love doing "Sweatin' to the Oldies" because there isn’t any equipment involved, and you always feel good about yourself as you see a grown man with big hair, sparkly outfits, and super short shorts trying to lead you in a simple “Grape Vine”. Man,you gotta love that grape vine.

“Thanks, Richard, for keeping it real, and making me feel like I am doing all right for myself inspite of my inability to sit properly on excercise equipment.”