Monday, December 17, 2007

Pavlov's Audience

What is it about people and their absolute inability to refrain, and with arrogant disregard for etiquette, from inserting those asinine, otherwise-classic-song-destroying, the-desire-to-gouge-out-my-own-eyeballs inducing lines inbetween the phrases of the Christmas song Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

You know what I'm talking about. All the Monopoly and Columbus and light bulb nonsense.

I'm at the SCERA in Orem's production of Plaid Tidings last night, an onstage musical with Christmas songs. And in a moment freakishly reminiscent of Pavlov and his dogs, once the singer on stage busted out that first stanza, all politeness, decency, and consideration went right out the door, and raw instinct took over for these people. And not just kids. Oh no. The inner "special child" in a handful of adults reared its ugly head as well, last night.

Unbelievable. I honestly was floored. I had just witnessed a faux pas double whammy that made me ashamed of my own hometown. About the only way you could possibly be more rude to the other members of the paying audience, not to mention the actors, than by making unsolicited noises mid-production, would be to make these particular noises. What the hell is the matter with people??

Now, if I just happened to have a time machine, and I just happened to go back, say, 10 min. before the originator gave birth to these lyrical abominations, and I just happened to have the crosshairs of a sniper-rifle positioned directly over his skull...I have to be honest...I think I'd waver just a little before deciding to not pull the trigger. :)

Friday, November 30, 2007

The Official Automobile of Utah

I've been dabbling lately in mathematical theory. Specifically, devising formulae which describe Utah drivers and their corresponding automobiles. Here is my latest offering...

Anyone who's been driving on the freeway at night and had some (see above equation) drive up 6 inches from their back bumper with their exactly-eyeball-level 9 trillion candle power headlights scorching their retinas, knows exactly what I mean. :)

Monday, November 26, 2007

iAm iSick of iStuff

I was browsing today for a car mounting kit for the new MP3 player I just bought when I came across the...

iGear iHolder for iPod

This rather unremarkable thing:

iGear iHolder for iPod? What?? I guess I just don't understand the iBastardization of perfectly good words in order to associate one's product with the iPod. Can't you just say "Designed for iPods"? Put a big picture of one on the package?

Unfortunately, I suspect that so long as the iPod is king there is no reprieve in sight. I can only imagine what will be next..."Not able to get to the end of your playlist without collapsing from fatigue? Introducing iFood. Yes, iFood. Fortified with special stamina-prolonging and hearing-enhancing supplements to maximize your iPod listening experience."

But why stop there? How about an Apple flavored iDrink to wash down your heaping bowl of iFood, together with a special iPod earbud-matching straw, aka the iSuck.

Etc., etc., ad iNauseam...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Left turn...left turn...left turn...

I noticed today at my...favorite convenience store...that M&M's are now the official chocolate of NASCAR. Some sign that looked more or less like this:

Not that I much cared for M&M's in the first place, but you've just officially become the chocolate that I most hate. It's called guilty by association. By teaming up with NECKCAR, err, NASCAR, you have officially out-hicked candy the likes of jujubes, or the hoarhound. Misguided NASCAR-love is a fad that will (fingers crossed) someday pass. But my resentment for your selling-out, M&M's, is a flame that will burn eternally.

Except for the peanut butter ones. Damn, those are good! :)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

I Love November 1st

Ahh, November 1st. The air is cool and crisp, the sun is shining, and the freakery has retreated back into the dank hole from whence it came for another 11 months. Glorious!

Now, so you don't misunderstand...I don't hate Halloween, like I hate, say, people who torture kittens, or police officers who give me tickets for rolling through stop signs. If society hit the H-ween nonsense hard for like one week (you know, stringing up cobweb all over everything, going Jeffrey Dahmer on vegetables, etc.), I may even be totally down with it. Far be it from me to say what people should and shouldn't do.

BUT, there is an in-your-face threshold where things become annoyingly inescapable. Where simply choosing to ignore is no longer an option. Halloween blows through it like a 6-ton wrecking ball.

Then November 1st rolls around and in a borderline-miraculous instant, it all just vanishes into thin air. More impressive still than the month-long onslaught of paranormal poppycock is the swiftness with which it all just goes away. November 1st is like using your bathroom for the first time after a long overdue cleaning.

Hooray for Nov. 1! :)

Friday, October 19, 2007

Hello Shameless Opportunity, errr, Goodbuy

C'mon Target. I thought you were the good, anti-Walmart. I guess not.

Women are dying of breast cancer. It's a terrible tragedy. So why not come down to your local neighborhood Target and pick up a shiny new set of Breast Cancer Awareness Instant Heat Rollers:

And while you're here, might as well pick up a Breast Cancer Awareness Body Fat Scale, now with special electro tumor-sensing capabilities:

Having some friends over for a Breast Cancer Awareness party? Why not make the night extra special by whipping up a batch of toast? Mmmm. We have the perfect tool for the job:

I think you see my point. :) And that's just the beginning:

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Breast Cancer? Never heard of it...

Enough with the breast cancer awareness already. I am now so acutely aware of this disease that I've begun examinations on myself...and I'm a dude.

Now before you start to go all belligerent on me for taking what is assuredly an unpopular stance, allow me to explain why I feel this way. I realize that it's a serious, deadly disease. And I think raising awareness, if it means early detection and/or prevention, ultimately is a good thing, regardless of the disease.

Where I take issue with this disease, however, is the grossly disproportionate attention it gets relative to other, equally or more deadly diseases. Breast cancer, you may not know, is actually not even the deadliest cancer in women. Lung cancer is. And heart disease kills more than all cancers combined.

But for some reason breast cancer gets its own month (October is breast cancer awareness month - of course it's virtually impossible that you're not already aware of this), its own ridiculously ubiquitous pink ribbon, and apparently now there is a matching pink Lance Armstrong "Live Strong" style bracelet as well. I'm watching the Patriots-Cowboys game yesterday, trying to have some strictly dude time, and who is sporting both of these pink accessories but every single last official on the field. What?? Why are we trying to raise "awareness" in NFL football fans anyway? Isn't the fact that one of the words in the disease's name is "breast" enough in the awareness raising dept. for that crowd?

So to summarize...breast cancer is bad. Awareness and prevention are good. All things pink all over the place all the !&%# time...well, that's just plain gripe-worthy. :)

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Butter is fattening? I had no idea...

In the news today: "Supermarket shoppers may soon be cruising the aisles with 'intelligent' shopping carts that warn them if they're buying too much junk food, technology experts say."


(shaking head)

I don't really even need to comment on this, do I? No. But of course you know I will. :) What an outstanding example of using technology to better our lives. I can't wait for this thing's sister product, an "intelligent" device that you wear around your waist that warns you when you've consumed too much junk food. It utilizes the latest in ultra-high-tech, a device also commonly known as the tape measure. With tools of this caliber at our disposal, America's obesity problem should soon be a thing of the past.

"Bob, wow, you look great. It looks like you've lost 100 lbs...what's your secret?"

"It's this new shopping cart, it's amazing! Turns out three sticks of butter doused in ranch dressing, a quart of half & half, and a King Size Snickers bar is considered an unhealthy meal. Watch as I put them in the cart. (beep beep beep). Who knew?"

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

America's Next Karen Carpenter

I'm at the gym waiting for a machine to open up. Finally one does, I hop on, and the girl next to me says, "I hope you don't mind watching 'girl stuff' for 5 min." The girl stuff she was referring to, apparently, was the show America's Next Top Model, on the always cerebral, two-failed-network-collaboration, aka The CW.

So I watch for awhile. I try not to judge a book by its cover. I like know...skim the back cover, maybe a paragraph or two from the prologue, and then judge it. True to the girl's word, she left 5 min. later, and I turned the TV to something a little more...masculine: "Dancing with the Stars". :) J/K.

In any event, yes, it was only 5 min., but I gotta tell you...I don't get this Top Model thing AT ALL. I think I get model-hood in general. An ugly chick, after all, sells little by way of clothes and makeup. A blunt way of putting it, I suppose, but that's pretty much the gist of the industry. But where do these so-called top models fit into the equation? You've got this physical attractiveness spectrum, ranging from sweet spirit/Cinnabon frequenter to smokin' hot/anatomically correct, upon which you can place any given girl. It's elegant. It makes sense. But then, for some reason at the "hot" end of the spectrum they make this crazy, inexplicable turn and veer into a very bizarre place. What, exactly, is "top" about these models? I believe the term they like to use is "exotic", but to me...they're just weird looking. And when I say I like my women curvy, I ain't talking about the curve between every rib. For you He-Man fans out there, let me put it this way. Teela good. Skeletor...bad.

Here's a little taste from their official website:

What the crap is this all about?? :) Yeah baby, nothing screams "sexy" like biking shorts, grandma's orange afghan, big hair, raccoon makeup, and pretend rock-climbing. (wiping up drool) If only she were 20 lbs. lighter. A shame. Oh well there's always next season. ;)

Friday, October 05, 2007

Le Hideous

I had this crazy dream the other night. I dreamt (this is proper usage, I looked it up) that a company actually commissioned me to design the ugliest, gaudiest, most obnoxiously amateur paint job for their fleet of passenger buses. So I obliged. And after several iterations of increasingly unsightly candidates, I finally settled on the ultimate in fugly. I give you...Le Bus!

"But Lane," you ask, "why on Earth would you create such a thing, and do you really expect people to pay to ride in it??" was just a dream.

Oh wait, no it wasn't. :)

Friday, September 07, 2007

Come to Zion, Come to Zion

Because it's a great place. It is THE place, despite what Brigham Young said, as far as I'm concerned. Which is what has compelled me to write this entry. There is about a 98% chance that you, loyal reader, also make the following mistake, so this entry probably will not be a popular one. But that's okay because something needs to be said...

Let's cut to the chase. It's not "Zion's National Park". Nor is it "Zion's". Zion ain't a person, and he doesn't own the park. IT'S JUST ZION.

Z I O N period.

But don't just take my word for it, take a good long gander at the actual park sign:

See the apostrophe and the "S" after Zion? Yeah, me neither. Now, that said, see if you can identify what's wrong with the following sentence:

"We're going to go on a National Park tour. We'll start at Yellowstone's, then hit the Grand Canyon's, Yosemite's, Bryce's, Capitol Reef's...and end at Zion's."

(choose your own adventure blog, ala those books way back in the day):

If you identified 5 errors please go to the beginning of this entry. If you identified 6, please continue to the follow paragraph.

Congratulations, your comprehension skills are most impressive. The End.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Bogie dumptruck! Incoming!!

I want to know who it was that decided that "rolling through a stop sign" is a dangerous criminal offense which warrants police officer harassment (I've gotten a ticket for this before), but who also thinks that it's perfectly okay for uncovered dumptrucks with a small mountain's worth of gravel shrapnel and other deadly stone-like projectiles to go barrelling unrestricted down the freeway.

Why are they allowed to do this? There is such a hubbub made about the road-side bombings in Iraq, and yet you hear nothing about the dump-truck induced war zone in our very own backyard. Am I the only one who has been driving along I-15, minding my own business, when all of a sudden a virtual shotgun blast of dirt and rocks begins to pummel the front of my vehicle?

And of course Murphy's Law dictates that you're most likely to have one of these unpleasant encounters after the installation of that nice, pristine new windshield. :) Surely there is a law against this on the books somewhere. My prediction is that it's just a matter of time before a large enough chunk has just the right combination of momentum and shape to be able to penetrate the windshield safety glass and maim an otherwise innocent driver.

Then and only then will the gatling-gun rivaling freeway "nuisance" reach the criminal equivalent of the vile and wicked stop sign roll.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night...

...nor spell check, nor common sense, nor...

I took this picture today at the Post Office in East Bay in Provo with my phone camera (hence the kind of crappy quality - sorry):

Two things. First, I don't know what a "Guaranted Delivery" is, but I sure as hell ain't payin' no $16.25 for it. Oops, $16.25 is the starting price. I can only imagine how much you'd have to throw down for some "Nxt Daye" service. Our tax dollars at work, baby!

But wait! On further thought, it all makes total sense now. I guess I can forgive them one little typo. Think about it...the Post Office isn't just an expensive D.I. alternative to rid yourself of your annoying packages. They actually have a plan in place to deliver them to the address you wrote in bold letters on the front. In fact, they guarantee it!

How do UPS and FedEx compete with such mind-blowing performance?

Friday, July 20, 2007

The REAL Maverik Monster

Maverik has this stupid ongoing promotion about some supposed monster running around doing I don't know what. This guy:

If a descendant of Bob Marley, Mr. Spock and Predator had a kid with Smurfette...and then you mixed in some wicked-cool shades, you'd have yourself something very close to Mav's monster. Now, I believe I go to the Maverik just about as often as anyone, and I've never seen it. I don't know anything about it, except that it won't seem to go away. Hey Maverik, what does your stupid fictional monster have to with my craving for a JalapeƱo and Cheese Bahama Mama, or perhaps a $1.99 hoagie from Leopold's Deli with all the fixin's, anyway? I'll tell you what. Nothing.

But the Predasmurf is not even the point of this entry. :) You've got a monster alright, Maverik. It's that heinously disgusting place in the back you pass off for the men's restroom. Gross! GROSS!! And when I think a bathroom is gross, trust me you have a problem.

How does a bathroom even get like that? It seems like if you did absolutely nothing to it from the day that building was constructed, it still would only be half as bad as it currently is. I would venture to say there are some new compounds growing in there that science has yet to identify. How many bathrooms do you suppose there are where you actually increase the amount of bacteria on your person after attempting to wash your hands?


But don't worry, North Springville Maverik. You keep putting those 12-packs of Diet. Dew in the cooler and I'll see ya in the morning. :)

Monday, July 09, 2007

A "Titanic" Oversight

Every week, especially during the summer, you constantly hear in the news about how the latest blockbuster movie just broke a bunch of box-office records. They've made up some real doozies, too, just so they can report on them being broken. For example, "Movies that never hit #1", "Second Weekend", "Theater Drops", "Widest Indies", etc.

But that they have all these uninteresting stats they've made up to report on is not what bothers me. Nay, they can slice and dice, and then re-slice and report until the cows come home. What my gripe is this entry is their apparently cavalier attitude towards what I feel is a HUGE factor in all this movie money bean counting. And that is adjusting the totals for inflation. Or more accurately, neglecting to do so.

The studios must think that if they report a movie as having broken some money record, that will stir people up and instill in them the desire to go out and see it. You know, see what all the "fuss" is about. And they are probably right. But it doesn't change the fact that, over many decades of movies, this endless parade of new broken records is completely and totally meaningless when you don't adjust for inflation.

One way to think about it...a dollar was worth much more in, say, 1977 (the year Star Wars was released), than it is now. So to directly compare it with the dollars that Spiderman 3 just made, which is precisely what they do, is mathematically retarded. Put another way...think about what a movie ticket cost in 1977. Probably on the order of $2. The last movie I went to, 30 years later (2007), was $8. These poor older movies don't stand a chance.

The purported king of the movies, in terms of box office total, of course, is Titanic. But if you adjust for inflation, which you must do, Titanic places at a much less impressive 6th place, all time. Sorry Titanic, you lose! You're not even the king of 5th place, much less the world. :) All hail the true king of movie revenue, Gone with the Wind (1939), with an adjusted dollar total (2007) of no less than $1.3 billion dollars....compared to Titanic's paltry $844 million. And to round out the top 5, we have Star Wars at #2 ($1.17 billion), The Sound of Music at #3 ($937 million), E.T at #4 ($933 million), and The Ten Commandments at #5 ($861 million).

The next time you're listening to the entertainment news and they break out with "Spiderman 4 just broke the record for the most earned during a full moon in a spring month"...I want you to remember this post. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

The Secret

You've probably by now heard of...

Ooooh. The Secret. Sounds...secretive. Well gripe fans (fan?), I am here to demystify the secret for you. This thing (video and book) has started to pick up a lot of steam lately. But, I actually heard about it from some girl who was completely sold on it like a half year ago, and decided to download a free copy from my favorite bittorrent site, err, paid for a legitimate copy to stream and watch from their website.

Okay, I actually did download a free copy. Normally I wouldn't mention that, but it's kind of important to the point I am going to make with this entry.

Now, the purported secret in the video (spoiler warning) is that "hey, you can have anything in the world you want, you just need to think about wanting it hard enough and the universe is bound to magically provide it for you." Does that sound absolutely absurd? Yes it does. But that is pretty much the gist of this video, folks. They just spend 2 hours explaining the same thing in different ways and from different people. Oh, and they use fancy, ancient looking fonts and cool red seals and stuff. You know, to lend credibility to the absurdity.

And now, the actual secret. You've probably heard the saying "A fool and his money are soon parted". The secret of this whole thing is that the creator has taken said parting of fool and money to amazing new heights. The secret is that while people who watch and believe in this load of horse excrement's lives suck as bad as ever, probably more so with their new found lack of motivation to actually do anything, the author of "The Secret" is about to land their private jet on the new freaking island they just bought.

I applaud you, "The Secret" creator. Pure genius. Way to simultaneously harness people's laziness and greed for your own benefit. A dazzling performance, to say the least. My only gripe is that I didn't think of it first. :) J/K.

Friday, June 22, 2007

"Fortune Cookies"

I'm a little bewildered by how an idea as bad as fortune cookies seems to never a) go away entirely, or at the very least b) evolve into something better.

Other than being sugary, and as such somewhat resembling dessert since they come at the end of the meal, they are lame in every way. They're not good to eat by any means. It's clear that the inventor's goal was to come up with the very simplest combination of "able to house a piece of paper" and "edible". That stale stick of gum that comes in a package of Topps baseball cards is like a bacon-wrapped fillet mignon in comparison.

And there's nothing fortune about what you'll find printed on the paper. A fortune implies some kind of prediction of the future. Instead you'll find phrases like "You are not illiterate." (Statement Cookie), or "You will obtain your goal if you maintain your course." (Conditional Cookie), or "Don't worry about money. The best things in life are free." (Advice Cookie).

I guess I would argue that "Fortune Cookie" is a misnomer in the very strongest sense of the word. These certainly are not cookies and they ain't tellin' any fortunes.

The concept of the f-cookie could, however, be salvaged. And I am here to tell you how. :) The no-brainer step 1, of course, is come up with a real cookie. A REAL cookie. Not some khaki-colored physics model of a 4 dimensional object. Pecan Sandies are good. I've been known to enjoy an E.L. Fudge on occasion. Oooh, I know! How about one a them Granny B mega-cookies with the delightfully thick and frothy pink frosting. Any of those would work. Lots of choices.

Step 2, mix in some bona fide fortunes. No more statements, advice, etc. Scrap all that boring, non-fortune crap. Now, I realize that the word fortune sort of implies good and beneficial. But it doesn't have to. And this is key. If all the fortunes that people got with their cookies were good fortunes then this idea wouldn't be much better than the current state of affairs. "Everyone's a winner." "I'm okay, you're okay." "Everyone gets a good fortune in their cookie." These mind-numbing PC crap notions are eating us from within. What needs to happen is they need to mix in some bad fortunes. Oh yeah. There needs to be winners, and there needs to be losers. It's human nature. Something like "An IRS agent will notice you used Arthur Andersen" or "That tumor in your head will metastasize within the week." You see how that works? Think about how much more meaning the good fortunes will have given the possibility of receiving bad ones.

Slap one of those into, say, a big gnarly white cholcolate you've got a real fortune cookie. :)

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Ahead of its Time

With the so-called crossover vehicle craze in full swing, it's time for someone to stand up and give some credit where credit is due. Below you'll find the current Lexus RX 330. Ooooh, fancy huh? Personally I think they're hideous, but you see them all over the place.

Below the Lexus you'll find a circa 1980 AMC Eagle. More hideous still, yes, but you can't deny the uncanny resemblance. Make that bad boy silver, slap on some modern headlights and a fancy "L" logo in the grill...the Eagle would be selling like hotcakes right now. :) A car truly ahead of its time. Nice work AMC. Too bad you sucked so much in every other area that you are no longer with us. RIP.

Friday, June 01, 2007

10 O'clock News

I got a couple beefs with local news broadcasts. I suppose the simplest solution would be to just not watch...but where's the fun in that? :)

Perhaps you've heard the term "if it bleeds, it leads"? Are we really such a bloodthirsty people that, of all the newsworthy stuff going on, this is what we want to see first? I mean, you get home from a stressful day, you're looking to unwind...what better way to relax than get a quick rundown of who got raped, murdered, and/or severely maimed that day in the area?

Also, I hate hate HATE those stupid gimmicky stories they come up with to try keep you watching to the bitter end of the broadcast. And they announce that it's "coming up next" just before every commercial break. Only, it never really does come up next, but rather is like a 10 second afterthought they throw in at the last possible second. Once in awhile I will actually get suckered by it, watch to the end, realize what a fool I've been and then fester about it, internally cursing those tricky marketing bastages for the next 48 to 72 hours. Here's an example of what I'm talking about:

"Tonight on Eyewitness News. A family of 5, driving home from their Disneyland vacation and while singing 'The Wheels on the Bus Go Round and Round' are tragically killed when a misplaced orange construction barrel, apparently completely neglected for several weeks, caused the driver to swerve and lose control of the vehicle. The vehicle then rolled once and spontaneously combusted. The fiery vehicular inferno continued to roll down the freeway another 30 times into oncoming traffic, ejecting its charred occupants one at a time, until finally coming to a smoldering rest. There were no survivors.

Coming up after the break, a rare three-eyed kitten was born this morning in the Galapagos Islands. Stay tuned for exclusive photos."

But there is no mention of the freaky Galapagian feline after the break. Or after the next break. Or even the next. What ends up happening, of course, is that you get a 2 second glimpse of some lousy cell-phone camera picture just before they say goodnight and the news ends..."My, that certainly was bizarre. Well, thanks for tuning in to Eyewitness News at 10. Goodnight."

And in writing this, I just thought of something else I hate about watching the news. :) Every last commercial in-between the gore stories is for some kind of prescription drug or ailment remedy. Clearly the target audience is old people. Okay, that's it, I gotta cut back. I can feel a few grey hairs sprouting as I write. Maybe I'll become an "Access Hollywood" man for awhile and stockpile some new gripes about it. Until then...

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

We can make a difference! I mean it!

It's "don't buy gas today" day. Yay! This is so going to work. Wait, why are there cars at all the pumps this morning at Maverik? I don't get it, it is such a good idea...

Oops, not it's not. :)

I've already done a gripe entry on this very topic, so I won't expound. But it's just fascinating to me how such a terrible idea has such amazing survival-power. It is the Madagascar Hissing Cockroach of ideas. No, it is the Tahitian Noni Juice of ideas. Anyone with an IQ over 20 knows it doesn't work, but there are just enough morons that buy into it to keep it around.

This is my meager attempt at a "The don't-buy-gas-for-one-day idea blows" campaign. Spread the word, people. Why, if you emailed 10 friends, and they emailed 10 friends, and then they turned right around and emailed 10 of their friends...everyone in the known universe would catch wind of this in like 15 min. If you don't understand the math it's okay, trust me I'm a mathematician. (note sarcasm)

Actually, I think I'm gonna go drive around the block 400 times. Whatever it takes to be able to fill up multiple times today. If it counters a simpleton's efforts to the contrary, and somehow helps to make this idea go away once and for all...well then it would have been worth it, despite the now hefty sum it takes to fill my rig. :)

Monday, April 30, 2007

Orange barrels are the DEVIL

Tractors, cones, barrels, signs
And everything inbetween
Half of our streets are all FUBAR'd to hell
But nary a worker is seen

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Pennies suck

I hate pennies. Every time I see a penny sitting somewhere it shouldn't be I am faced with a dilemma. A penny is essentially a piece of garbage...but I can't bring myself to throw them away 'cause technically it's money. Who throws away money? (literally, I mean) Yes, I have a loose (notice the correct usage of the word "loose") change jar at home, but I don't even want to go through the effort of packing the stupid thing around 'cause I hate having any change anywhere on my person.

So, in short...pennies suck. Enough with the pennies. Quit making 'em!

Monday, April 16, 2007

How quickly we forget

"Worst shooting massacre in U.S. history"

That's what I'm seeing printed all over the place (in reference to today's shooting at Virgina Tech). But how can they say that? I'm sure there are others, but the Mountain Meadows Massacre comes to mind right off, as an example of a more deadly shooting massacre in U.S. history. "Sources estimate that between 100 and 140 men, women and children were killed."

Nice work, media. Way to sensationalize a tragedy by printing this grossly inaccurate statement...most likely simply because the other guy did. Traffic, readers, and viewers apparently are more important than accuracy. I try to remember that whenever I watch the news or read the paper...

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

A Cornucopia of Gripes

Gripe fans rejoice. I got three quickies that have been bugging me. I don't even know if there is such a thing as a gripe fan..but if you're out there, this is for you.

Gripe one: The workers at Gandolfos. Specifically the one by my house (800 N State St. in Orem). Gandolfos makes a nice sandwich. That is, when they don't load it up with that nasty cream cheese-like concoction. This, of course, can be easily avoided with careful sandwich selection...but that is a topic for another entry. What bothers me most is the complete and utter indifference the employees emanate towards you as you stand there, under the "Order Here" sign, in various states of hunger and/or haste. There is never anyone actually behind the counter when you arrive. They are all in the back "making sandwiches". And it's not like they don't see me. I usually make eye contact with 2 or 3 of them before someone finally takes upon them self the apparent chore of providing a little customer service. That is to say, their job. I can only imagine what is going through their minds as they are looking at me..."Hmm. There's some fidgety person under the 'Order Here' sign who has his wallet out and keeps looking at his watch...wonder what he wants?".

Oh silly me. They have a bell there. Clearly I should just ring it, right? Well, I've never been much of a bell ringer, to be honest, and I just don't see why my simple presence 2 feet from their point of sale isn't enough to spur them to action when they can see me. Perhaps they have a general Gandolfos loitering problem that I am unaware of...and hence company policy is that it takes both a body and a bell ring before service can be rendered?

And to add insult to injury...there is a freaking tips jar on the counter. A TIPS jar! I can't believe they have the audacity to place one of those bad boys there. A tip for what? Making my sandwich is what you get paid for. I guess it comes as no surprise there is only $1 ever in there when I look, probably placed there by a Gandolfos employee to "get the ball rolling".

Man oh man that place bugs. Maybe I'll try the Springville one close to my work...

Gripe two: Theater concession workers. Specifically the ones at the Provo Town Center, err, I mean, the Provoe Tonwe Centre. However it's spelled. :) If ever there were a minimum-wage making bunch, this is your group right here.

A typical encounter goes like this: "Yes, I'll take a small popcorn and a medium diet coke." "A large drink is only 25 cents more." "No thanks." "Are you sure?" "Yes, I'm sure, if I drink a large one then I have to pee really bad before the end of the movie." If you explain the pee thing then you don't get asked a third time. A little trick I learned, as well as the truth. ;) "Would you like butter on your popcorn?" "Yes." (worker gets small popcorn bag, fills with popcorn, and then turns around...7 seconds has passed) "I'm sorry, did you say you wanted butter on your popcorn?" "Yes." (worker proceeds to pour butter onto the popcorn at the top of the bag in such a way as to maximize the likelihood that hot liquid oil butter will get all over at least one side of the bag) "Here you go. That will be...$35 (or whatever the ripoff price of the day is)".

What happens next has always been a mystery to me. The concession worker, rather than just politely hand you your stuff, or at the very least give it a little push across the counter closer to you, instead places your stuff on the counter next to himself. That is to say, the far side of the counter from your perspective. And then begins to look off into space and pretend that you never existed. What the? You then have to reach over and get the stuff yourself. Can someone please explain this behavior to me? If you're lucky you'll get a "enjoy your show". But the norm is the spaced ignore look. Bizarre. All I can say is they're dang lucky there are suckers like me that will not only put up with that, but pay a premium to do so. :) I have no excuse for myself...

Gripe three: People filling up their fountain drinks. I'm not sure what it is about soda dispensing fountains at restaurants that brings out this strange sense of pompous entitlement in otherwise polite, decent folks. You all know what I'm talking about. :) You've finished your meal, and you just want a quick half-cup refill before you take off. You waltz up to the fountain all in a hurry like, only to find some lady filling up not only her drink, but 6 other cups as well. There's more than enough room for both people to fill their drinks, with a little shuffling of bodies. But it doesn't go down like that. Oh no. She's set up camp, baby, right smack in the middle of the fountain, and she's boxing any attempt on your part to encroach. It doesn't matter that you've tested the waters, so to speak, by temporarily invading her personal space to let her know of your desire, in the off chance she'd do the proper thing and move over a little. It simply doesn't happen. So there you stand with nary a thing to do, parched and anxious, your buddies at the door ready to leave...and just wait.

But it gets better (worse). This lady is not satisfied until the empty cup space to ice volume ratio in every cup meets a most demanding measure of precision. And she'd sooner be damned straight to hell than let so much as a 1/16th of an inch of space from the brim of the cup to the start of the soda exist. And so the charade goes. Fill, wait for bubbles to disperse. Fill, wait for bubbles to disperse. Fill, wait for bubbles to disperse. Slowly put on lid and set cup aside. Repeat. Times 6.

AHHHH!!! Maddening. Just maddening. I think I'm losing it. :)

Whew, that felt good. Cross three more gripes off the list. Okay, I'm off to bed...

Friday, March 30, 2007

Anti-Mormon Nonsense

I like to think I'm tolerant of other people's beliefs. It goes back to the ol' Golden Rule. I'll believe what I want to, you believe what you want to, let's not force our beliefs on each other and everybody wins.

So as the LDS general conference approaches and the corresponding spike in anti-Mormon propaganda, it just leaves me scratching my head a little bit as to what these people's motivation could possibly be. Take "too small shirt with bullhorn" guy, for example. Anyone who has taken the stroll to the Conference Center to attend a session knows just who I'm talking about. I guess what he's trying to say is "your religion is false, you're all going to hell". But whatever his message is, in whatever form he tries to deliver it, it completely escapes me. The only thing I think, in those precious few moments as I walk by, is "my's uncanny how astronomically insignificant your life is." And then a split second later I am thinking about what's on the menu for dinner afterwards. :)

Basically my model of the belief spectrum goes like this...on one end you have people who believe good things. Next comes the people who believe bad things. And at the crap end you've got the people who only believe that what you believe are bad things...and for some inexplicable reason even take action on that belief. It's ludicrous.

Hey bullhorn guy...what are you doing?? What's the point? Life is too short for this. Go watch a sunset and play with a puppy. And get a shirt that fits for crying out loud...

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Grand Canyon Skywalk

When I first heard about this, and saw the artist's conception drawing of it, I thought, "Oh boy, what an ill-conceived, tourist-trappy, sellout idea." Well apparently they finished the monstrosity and had the grand opening ceremony yesterday. Here are a couple pictures, first the conception drawing, and then an actual photo of the finished product:

Is anyone surprised that the conception drawing, while still a horrible idea, at least makes an attempt to be at harmony with the environment, while the finished product looks like some kind of hastily constructed Evel Knievel publicity stunt, completely desecrating one of the most serene and beautiful places on earth, yea, even one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. Just shameful.

And what really gets my goat, is that while I think it's a bad idea from top to bottom, at least if it did end up looking like the conception drawing it would kind of be a trip standing on a platform that stuck that far out (relatively). But they didn't even accomplish that. The finished product looks like it sticks out maybe half as far. All that effort and hoopla and fanfare for what? This thing is overflowing with anticlimax.

And one more thing. :) Even if it did stick out as far as in the drawing, the view from the floor (it's got a glass floor so you can look down to the canyon bottom) could not possibly warrant the $75 they are asking for one measily stroll around it. I may be going out on a limb here, but I'm guessing the view of the canyon is not that different from the rim, and from 65 feet from the rim.

Nice work, Hualapai. Way to completely sell out. What happened to all the "the land is sacred" BS that we get force fed in the movies these days? I hope it never makes back its unbelievable $30 million pricetag and sends a message to other would-be sellouts...

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

I fire up Yahoo this morning, and happen to notice the top overall searches for the day. And who do I find in the top 6, but the no-talent skank triumvirate of Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, and Lindsay Lohan. I cannot, for the life of me, see what is so fascinating about these 3. There is no shortage of messed-up mildly attractive drunkard chicks running around. The only explanation I can come up with is it is a self-feeding frenzy, meaning, the more we see of them the more people WANT to see them...and the vicious cycle continues.

I, for one, couldn't be happier if I never saw or heard of any of them ever again. But there they were, in the top 6 most popular searches on the most popular website on the entire internet. There had to be an explanation. So I got thinking and I've come up with a theory, especially after I saw that the "WWE" also made the top 6.

I believe that we, as society, have totally messed up the fundamental evolutionary process of natural selection. For humans, that is. We have come up with so many ways to protect the stupid, e.g., seat belt laws, avalanche management, lifeguards, road closures, etc., that the "prone to off one's self" gene has been able to survive. Nay, has been able to flourish. And I believe this is the same gene that makes people like Britney Spears, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and crap like the WWE interesting to people. A few generations of this, a little exponential growth, and the next thing you know...look who winds up on the most popular search list.

Just a theory. :)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

I got another word misuse pet peeve. I heard this on a sports talk show today: "I wanted to root for my alumni." I also remember hearing on another show something to the effect of "He is an alumni of (such and such university)". Since when did "alumni" become the one correct catch-all word when talking about people and the school they attended?

No, you don't root for your alumni, that makes no sense. You're not hoping that anyone who has ever gone to a particular university is having success in whatever endeavor they are currently involved in at the moment. You root for your ALMA MATER. No, a given person is not an alumni of a school, they are an ALUMNUS (singular) of that school.

It's like saying "I am a big fans of the Jazz". It sounds stupid. Now stop it. :)