Grumpy grumpy grumpy!

He’s a model citizen
I think I’ve got them fooled them again
He’s an ultra-sweety guy
And a master of disguise
He’s a model citizen
Just keep believing that my friends
I’m a model citizen

~Alice Cooper, 1980
Song: Model Citizen, Album: Flush the Fashion

Yeah, my new tag line.  That’s been me today, an ultra sweetie guy.  Take today, for example.  I woke up at 11:45.  And I was grumpy.  Extremely grumpy.  Ultra grumpy.  Not at anything or anyone in particular, just grumpy.  And the day just went like that.  Dropping things.  The bark-a-billy dog not wanting to come in so I had to chase his ass down with a leash to bring him in the house.  Canceling a trip out because I knew people and I would not mix well today.  Things like that.  I haven’t been mean or testy, I think, but I haven’t been my usual cute and cuddly, either.  Nothing went wrong, per se, but nothing really went right, either.  You ever have days like that?

So what does a grumpy person do during a day-long grump-fest?

Me?  I stay grumpy.  (Farley’s even grumpy with Roscoe as I write this, it’s catchy.)  I did some things, got some stuff done.  The day wasn’t a total waste, but in a weird strange way I’m actually looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.  I usually wish weekends were always three or four days, but this one two days was enough.  It’s felt all… disjointed.

Tomorrow will be normal.  Thankfully.  Hopefully. Be careful what you wish for.

Soap Box: Rebates, coupons, and other insidious retail games

I don’t think I’m an unreasonable person.  I just want things to be simple and uncomplicated.  I want to save any thinking and planning for things that are, you know, actually important.  And this filters down into daily activities that should be as drama-free and boring as shopping.

Why does shopping have to be so… annoying?  I mean, it’s bad enough that I have to go out and brave the wilds of rude people, now I have to run the gauntlet of pricing, too?

Maybe it’s just me… it usually is, just ask The Wife Missy… but is it too much to ask that pricing be simple and straight forward?  No games.  No illusions.  No fine print.  Just sell me what I want, at the same price you sell it to everyone else, and let me be on my way.  Is that really too much to ask?

I guess so, as evidenced by some of these offenders…

Local Regional Nursery (plants, not people)

At every sale they give special discount “bucks”. the more you spend the more you get.

The catch:  They expire next month and you can only use it at their store.

Local Regional Grocery Store

Absurdly high prices… averaging 30% more, yes, I’ve done two of my own surveys/studies… coupons and special sales galore.  Plan accordingly, or…

The catch:  …be gouged.

Local Regional Home Improvement Big Box Store

Rebates.  Awesome rebates!  11% rebates.

The catch:  In the form of a gift certificate redeemable only at their store.  So, it’s not really a rebate, it’s an in-store coupon.

All of these tactics are designed to get you to come back, of course… often.  I’m sorry, but no.  I’ve probably collected over $100 worth of nursery “bucks” over years, and never used a one.  I go back when I need to go back.  I only shop the regional grocery store when the stars align and they have a good sale AND I need what’s on sale.  Otherwise, say what you will about the primary big box retail behemoth, at least they respect me enough to give consistently reasonable pricing day in and day out.  And I virtually stopped shopping at that home improvement warehouse store solely because I didn’t like being played like that.

What other underhanded tactics can we see?

Coupons and Rebates in General

Manufacturers and retailers aren’t offering discounts and rebates because they’re swell guys.  It’s a gimmick that most people, including me at times, fall for.  They know full well that most people will never claim a rebate, especially if it requires effort, like putting a stamp on an envelope.  They know full well that people who use a coupon will likely spend more on the higher priced items at the same time.  They get to tout themselves as the good guy while not really risking anything.  It’s a win-win… for them.

The World’s Pre-Eminent Online Retailer

Prices change daily, often hourly.  See an item for $63 today?  It might be $57 tomorrow, $68 the day after, and back to $63 the day after that.  In other words, pay attention, keep coming back, and oh… buy some other stuff in the meantime.

Internet & Cell Phone

New customer?  $50/mo for a year.  Existing customer?  Sorry, you pay your standard $90/mo out-of-contract price.

Airlines

Next time you fly, do a survey of ten people sitting around you.  Chances are you all paid different prices.

Bottom Line…

I shouldn’t have to worry about something as simple as pricing.  At least pretend that you actually value me and my business.  You want to impress me?  You want to really impress me?  Just sell me what I want and let me go on my way happily.  I’ll come back.  Honest.

Self-reflection, annoyances, and other random oddities

Sounds like an album name by Collective Soul, doesn’t it?

Anyway, that’s a long-winded way of saying, “Here, let me tell ya…”, and I’m gonna tell ya.

Fireworks

Oh, where do I start?  How about fireworks.  July 4th, or 4th of July, or whatever you want to call it.  Independence Day.  And with that goes fireworks.  So many people loooooooooooooove fireworks.  I couldn’t shit care less.  Seriously.  They do nothing for me.  Ok, yeah, they’re kinda cool, but my reaction is more of a… 😐

Being a semi-serious photographer, I totally don’t get the fascination with fireworks photography.  Seriously, what’s the point?  All the photos look close enough to the same that they might as well be.  There is no discerning difference from one photo to the next.

Ooh, a story:  Many years ago I was leaving Disneyland one night, and while walking to the car the fireworks show started.  That’s not what caught my attention, though.  What made me stop and stare and chuckle was all the Japanese tourists… and if you don’t see the humor in the stereotype, you’re hopelessly liberally unfunny… stopped and ran for a better vantage point and started shooting dozens of photos.  What were they hoping to get?  Were these fireworks any different from the fireworks they’d see in Japan or anywhere else?  Would they be able to tell the difference?  Was it that they were Disneyland Fireworks that made them all that more special?  The mind boggles.

And of course, right now, all the yahoo neighbors are out setting stuff off and generally having an inbred good time.

Procrastination

Procrastination is the bane of my existence. That should be my official trademarked slogan… Ken Boardrow: Procrastination is the Bane of My Existence(tm). Example: When was my last post here? That’s right, about a month ago.  Ish.  Oh, I’ve had plenty of ideas, on an almost daily basis.  I even start writing them down on occasion, and get some pretty good stuff set to keyboard.  But do I do anything with it?  Not often enough.  No, I sit and read random Wikipedia articles, learn about the second largest island in Norway, for example, and generally do nothing productive.

Selective Hearing

I hear what I want to hear.  Ok, not that literal, but sometimes.  If you’re constantly harping on me, then of course I’m not going to listen or pay attention.  Why would I?  I don’t get anything from it.

On the other hand, sometimes… more often than even I like to admit… I’m so far off into my own world that I’m not hearing anything around me at all.  The best part is that I’m probably recreating what I should have said in an argument 30 years ago.  Really important stuff.

How can you tell by looking at me?  You can’t.

Memory

My older family and friends can probably relate to this, but my memory is slipping.  I don’t remember things in minute detail like I used to.  I have lost count how many times I have had to get out of the car, and go back in the house to get what I forgot.  The best part?  It’s almost always sitting right next to where everything else was that I did take.  So, apparently it’s not only memory, but eyesight as well.

Conclusion

What?  Oh, tell me tomorrow, I’ll deal with it later.

Rant: No, people aren’t ‘freaking out’.

It’s just a burger with a pancake. Sheesh!

This is a relatively new trend, primarily on social media, and it’s so utterly ridiculous.  I’ve been inclined to blog about but have not been in the right place at the right time, but now I am now so here we go.

I’m reading Google News and see this “story”… ahem, advertisement, really… and I rolled my eyes.  Today’s dumb example is about IHOP putting a pancake on a hamburger.  I see this type of thing all the time.  Somebody says something, or does something, or tweets something, and it’s portrayed as people ‘freaking out’, or ‘going out of their mind’, or ‘going crazy’, or some other such similar bit of absurd hyperbole.  And the supposedly outrageous and awesome things is always something completely not worthy of mention at all.  I have never… ever… known of anyone to get so worked up over one of these misleading headlines.  So please, stop with the eye roll inducing excessive overkill.

In this case, it just a burger with a pancake.  😐  So what?  It’s not like the McRib came back, right Matt?  (Inside joke)

Bedtime

What’s wrong with me?  For that matter, what’s wrong with Missy?  We both like to sleep.  A lot.  Nothing beats a good nap, and I know we’re not alone.  I know many friends who feel the same way.  Now, we’re not quite as bad as the little girl in the photo… yet.  We’re on our way, though.

Missy’s on the verge of falling asleep next to me as I write this at 10 pm, watching a recently-passed Tim Conway tribute on Carol Burnett & Friends.  But I digress…

I can sleep anywhere.  In Army basic training I would sleep in an open field across the road from a machine gun range.  I’ve slept on the sidewalk outside a stadium the night before an all-day concert.  I’ve slept on the floor of a Greyhound bus on the way back from Grad Night at Disneyland.  You name it, I’ve slept there.  Not like George Washington, of course, but still…

The last skit had Tim Conway, Harvey Korman, Vicki Lawrence, and Bernadette Peters.  This next sketch has Tim, Harvey, and some random women.  Tim and Harvey are pick-up artists.  Harvey’s the smooth one.

But yes, I can sleep pretty much anywhere.  White noise?  Only helps.  Food coma?  Routine.  Music?  Yep.  i’LL… oops, hit the CapsLock key… there we go… I’ll go to bed in a few minutes and pretty much guaranteed I’ll be asleep within three minutes.  (I think Missy’s jealous of that.)  About the only place I don’t fall asleep is when I drive.  I can drive for hours, day or night, and am good.  And I love a good road trip!  (Can I get an “Amen!”, Eddie?)

Hopefully, it’s Mr Tudball and Mrs Wiggins next, so I can go to bed.

Things that Annoy Me, Part 1

These are just the minor ones… in no particular order:

  1. A blank page at the end of a Word document.
  2. When the letters stop appearing on my screen and I’m still typing.
  3. People who slow down to a virtual crawl a block and a half before their right turn, and don’t use their blinker until they start making a turn. (You had to know there’d be an Iowa driver reference in here somewhere.)
  4. The constant never-ending list of small pesky things to do… check one off, two more pop up.
  5. People who leave their shopping carts in the middle of the aisle then wander off to look at something, then give me a dirty look when I move their cart.
  6. Forgetting one thing… every… single… time… I… leave… the… house.
  7. Companies that encourage you to contact them with questions and feedback, then give only the most inconvenient options for contacting them.  They don’t really want to hear from you, but they do need to appear that they do.
  8. Rewards cards where earned rewards expire quickly. “Quickly” defined as anything less than one year.
  9. Companies, i.e. cell, cable/satellite, etc, that won’t give you the time of day to negotiate a new rate, but then are your buddy offering the world when you want to leave because they wouldn’t work with you on a new rate.
  10. Gaining weight.
  11. Subscription pricing on software.
  12. The freaking plethora of passwords that I’m expected to remember. And no two places have the same requirements. Do I need a number or not? Capital letter? A symbol? And are all the symbols available across the board? We don’t know. And it’s all over-hyped, anyway.
  13. People who excuse bad behavior in others by saying, “You should have known better.”, or “You made a choice.” It’s still bad behavior and shouldn’t be encouraged or enabled.
  14. Just answer the phone… (calling customer service).
  15. Non-negotiable terms of service.

There’s gonna be a part 2.  🙂

Is anyone ever happy?

This post could have so many different titles.  I considered naming it Whine, whine, whine!, or It’s always somebody else’s fault. That would have been appropriate, too.  It’s a never-ending trend anymore, everybody else is an incompetent idiot… hey, maybe somebody should blog about that.  Might be onto something here.  What’dya think?

So here’s the story:  Yesterday morning (Saturday) I’m in line at the bank to make a deposit.  Only went in to cash in some coins that I’d been tossing in a jar and you have to do that business inside.  I get in line behind some guy slightly older than me and he’s wearing a John Deere hat.  After a couple minutes another guy comes in… older, long scraggly beard, overalls, dirty hat, possibly one of Jed Clampett’s kin… who also reeked of cigarette smoke.

The two obviously knew each other as they called each other by name, and apparently this was the second place they ran into each other.  Well, they begin talking, I’m standing in between trying to appear uninterested but listening, and their conversation for the next 10-ish minutes goes something like this…

  • The credit union we’re in has gone downhill lately… especially since “that lady” took over… now it’s run more like a bank… yada yada yada.
  • The bank doesn’t have tellers, they only have “cubicles”… “All those people right there are ‘cubicles’.”… which I took to mean people who normally worked in cubicles during the week.
  • The city is incompetent… too many potholes… no one knows how to run a city… and on and on and on.
  • Some lady friend of theirs has been paralyzed from the waist down for nine months because the doctors are idiots and don’t know what they’re doing… then it comes out that she was suffering the effects of e-coli (they think) and she had been ignoring sharp pains for several weeks until someone finally made her go get checked.  Something settled into her spine, or something like that… but it was the idiot doctor’s fault.  <eye roll>
  • Jed Clampett Part Two is out of work and can’t find anything… he’s had three manufacturing jobs since 1973, but now they’ve all gone away and that’s all he knows and he can’t find one.  (I so wanted to say, “Wasn’t Donald Trump supposed to take care of that?, but I didn’t.)  Which leads us to…
  • Social security, both for JDPT and the partially paralyzed lady who has been denied disability.  To be fair, this was a legit point about people being denied the first time as SOP then having to apply again
  • Back to the credit union… he could do an electronic transfer one way, but not the other… more incompetence…

It was about this time that we reached the front of the line where the telle… er, umm, ‘cubicle’… asked me for ID to make a cash deposit, which of course annoyed me.

Anyone else noticed a theme here?  No matter what or who, literally everything in the world was sub-par and was somebody else’s fault.  Is this what we have degenerated to?

Rant: Are you honestly surprised?

Shocked… yes, shocked I am!

Oh noes, a somewhat serious subject:  Outrage over the education scandal du jour where some wealthy parents paid money to get their kids in select colleges and universities.  Sometimes BIG money, no less, upwards of $100,000.

Ok, I’m going to go out on a limb here and speculate that, the more money spent, the dumber the kid.

But, I digress.  (I do a lot of that, digressing.)  Anyway, everyone is all up in arms.  There’s outrage… OUTRAGE, I tell ya!  How could this have happened?  This is an unethical and moral perversion of the purity of higher education!  (Don’t laugh.)  Academia is above this.  (Stop laughing.)  I’m shocked… shocked, I tell ya!

😐

Seriously… honestly… are you really naive enough to believe this is somehow new?  After your check clears for the bridge, I have a special nugget of information for you… write this down:  People cheat!

Not everyone, of course, but enough to make it common.  And people with money cheat no less than the average person, they only do it at a higher level, hence the current scandal.  Generally, though, rich people can buy their way out of it, but this one was just too much.

Anyway, again, another little nugget:  People are greedy.

Inconceivable, I know, but it happens.  Why do you think the cost of higher education has kept pace with the availability of easy money, i.e. student loans?

Long story short, it’s ok to be disapproving, but any outrage on your part is either insincere or naive.

I’m kind of curious how this one will play out.  I’m expecting it to be eclipsed by the next outrageous scandal within two months… if that long.

Stop… no go… wait… what?

The downtown where I work has had some recent street reconfigurations. Things like changing one-ways to two-ways, eliminating some traffic lights in favor of 4-way stops, adding barrier arms at railroad crossings, and so on. And for the most part I think pretty much all of these are great. I think they enhance access and the flow of traffic. So, you ask, what is there to complain about on a grumpy blog?

Iowa drivers.

Yes, you people, Iowa native drivers. These improvements have been in place for well over a year. Plenty of time to adjust. And if you’re new to the area you don’t know about the old. Bottom line: No excuses.

Yet I can’t count the number of times where I almost t-boned someone who crossed my street where I didn’t have a stop sign. (There used to be one, but not anymore.) This happened as recently as this past Monday. Then, I get down to the next street, where I do have a stop sign but the cross street does not, and TWO people, one in each direction, stop where there is no sign to do so. One of them just sat there and even waved to me to go.

😐 (<— my favorite emoji on this blog, apparently)

“Iowa nice” does not work well on the roads. Please, I implore you to be just a little aggressive (and competent). Traffic overall will flow much easier if you just do it… and pay attention to signs and stuff. I feel like a “GO” sign at some of these intersections would help greatly. Seems some people need to be told.

“I’m done!” Are you, really?

I’m done!

I’m seeing and hearing this a lot, lately. The implication being, of course, that the person is so frustrated with the futility of it all that they’re, well, done, and are going to walk away and pay it no attention from here forward.

Sounds good. Actually, it sounds pretty healthy. Walk away. Ignore that which you cannot change. Or, if you can’t ignore it… sometimes you have to deal with it, let’s be real… at least don’t obsess about it and move forward anyway… the unsaid portion being without bothering others.  I like that.

Unfortunately, based on my observations, at least, it pretty much never seems to actually work out that way. “I’m done!” is just a buzzword* for “I am so frustrated… here, let me tell you!” Because, based on your actions, you are far from done. You’re going to continue to kvetch for the next 30 minutes about what you are supposedly done with. Then, maybe a couple days will go by, and you kvetch some more, finishing again with, “I’m done!”

If it’s an ongoing situation you’re dealing with, all too often you fail to rectify the situation in any timely manner, and continue your kvetching for weeks, months, sometimes with no end in sight. Yet every time you vent, you finish your vent with, “I’m done!”

No, you’re not ‘done’. You’re just venting, and this is the new way to phrase the depth of your frustration. It would be really cool if people meant what they said. But then that’d probably cause even more problems.

*-Did you know that “buzzword” is a buzzword? 😛