Archive for October 2008

So You’re Tellin’ Me There’s A Chance

October 28, 2008

All my life, I’ve been told that I am special.  Granted, it was my mother telling me this, and therefore I never paid it much mind.  It wasn’t until this Sunday when I started actually subscribing to the idea that I might be different from everyone else.

On Sunday, I was suffering somewhat of a football hangover after my Ohio State Buckeyes suffered a tough loss at home against Penn State, so, like a real hangover, I didn’t even want to have contact with what had originally scorned me.  Well, since I was boycotting football for the afternoon, I had to find something to get me through my day.

So I hopped on my new laptop and started putting a few things together for a blog post while at the same time downloading some programs that I needed.  Well about halfway through my iTunes download, the computer froze up.  And nothing worked. No control+alt+delete, nothing. So I shut it down, waited a minute, and powered it back up. Nothing.  So I’ve got a five-day old computer that no longer works. I officially have the most expensive paper weight on the block, great.

I called support and they diagnosed the problem to be a faulty RAM chip.  I jokingly asked, “Man, what are the odds of that on a brand new computer?” to which the tech guy replied, “About one in a million actually.” And as fate would have it, that one just has to be me doesn’t it? Thankfully, my warranty is taking care of it and they are in the process of building me a brand spankin’ new laptop.  So I guess for now, I am back to my desktop for a week or so.

ANYWAY, the reason I bring this up is because the phone call I had with HP support was surprisingly smooth.  I was only on hold for about 20 seconds before they took my call, and the guy actually spoke English … as a first language! This experience led me to want to praise this guy in another one of my posts in which I write open letters to people and/or things around me that affect my life in various ways.  The only reason I was hesitant was because Hammen just wrote his own post of open letters at the end of last week, and I didn’t want to look like a copycat.  Then I realized that I have already written two such posts and Hammen openly admitted he would be borrowing the idea from me in the future.  So piss off, I’m writing another one.  Let’s start with the thought that prompted the post:

Dear HP Support,

Thank you for having the decency to keep your answering service American based.  We all know there are plenty of computer geeks here in the good ol’ U.S. of A. that are in need of an honest wage, so I applaud you for resisting the urge to save a buck by outsourcing.  God knows that if I had ended up on the line with someone from the other side of the world, not only would my laptop problem probably not be resolved, but I would have more than likely ended up unknowingly agreeing to purchase a network of servers and further agreed to enroll in a jelly of the month club.  A thousand thanks … I don’t even like jelly.

Dear Blu-Ray,

You and I are still kind of new to one-another, so I’ve got both praise and suggestion for you. First of all, you are magnificent and the only way I can think to describe you would be as a simultaneous orgasm for my eyes and ears.  Seriously, you have single-handedly gotten me interested in movies again. However, I am rather sick of buying a new movie on Blu-Ray only to get it open and have an insert fall out telling me all the wonderful advantages of Blu-Ray.  Umm, in case you didn’t notice, you already got me.  I’m in.  I’m sold.  Stop beating a dead horse, I already bought the damn thing, I don’t need another sales pitch. It’s a damn good thing you’re so pretty, because you’re really not that smart are ya?

Dear Buffalo Wild Wings,

Thank you to whomever decided it was a good idea to bottle and sell your signature sauces to the public.  I love the Hot BBQ sauce and I literally cannot eat chicken nuggets without it. Not to mention it goes great on burgers, steak, cereal, waffles, and the bottom of my shoe.  I don’t know which I am more thankful for, the sauce itself, or the fact that I can buy it rather than lower myself to smuggle it out every time I eat there.

Dear Mother Nature,

I am fully prepared for your inevitable bitch slap that the mass public calls winter.  I know it’s coming, and I am going to do my best not to complain.  That being said, if you could go ahead and hold it off for as long as possible, that would be fantastic.  You did a great job of this last year if memory serves me, and the fact that we only had to spend two months in an arctic hell hole was actually an enjoyable change.  Let’s shoot for something like that again this year.  God bless.

Dear HBO,

This is tough for me, it really is.  You’ve brought me so much.  The Sopranos, Entourage, and countless movies over the past few years.  I really like what we have going, but if you don’t start switching things up more often then I am just going to snap, switch to Starz, and begin downloading Entourage from iTunes.  I mean come on, how many times can you expect one person to watch Evan Almighty in a month?  I need a new rotation every couple weeks or you might lose me.

Dear ESPN,

I’m not sure what to make of all of this, but this has been on my mind for a good two months now.  I’d like to know where you find anchors who A) are female B) are knowledgeable and C) have names I would expect to see in a porno. At first, I thought it would be a one time thing when Sage Steele got hired.  I mean, if that’s not a porno name, I don’t know what is.  But then, you managed to prove that you’re not just a one trick pony and you hired Hannah Storm.  Either tell me where you find these girls or I am going to need to see some birth certificates.  I’m not kidding.  Someone has to shed some light on this for me or I don’t know how much longer I can go before I start looking for adult features starring one or both of these ladies.  Come on, tell me you can’t picture it on a movie cover: Naughty Co-Eds #44 starring Sage Steele and Hannah Storm. That is something I could sink $19.95 into.

Well that’s it for today.  Like I said about nine paragraphs ago, I had a bunch of material primed and ready to go for a solid post, but being the one-in-a-million man I am, it was lost forever once my poor little laptop took an early exit on me.  Don’t worry, I’ll piece it all back together again, but all good things take time. For now, I hope this was sufficient to get you through your Tuesday.

One love,

10

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There Are Some Things I Just Don’t Get

October 22, 2008

You know, there are just some things in life that I never really saw the appeal for.  That goes without saying for everyone, but I am talking about things that the majority of people seem to somewhat enjoy.  Things that have been created with the best of intentions for us as a species.  Things that shouldn’t, when mentioned, spin me into a tirade about how much I dislike them and why.  Maybe I’m just a pretentious ass, but that’s how I roll.

So, here are just a few of these things that I can’t seem to get into.

1) Camping.  Why, oh why, would I work my ass off five days a week to go out on the weekend and pretend like I’m homeless?  Why would I leave the comfort of my apartment with its walls and food and bed to go out and sleep under a tarp on the ground and eat cold corn out of a can?  Now I know full well that camping is supposed to be an experience that gets you in touch with nature and brings you to a simpler place in order to gain perspective and blah blah blah. I know it’s supposed to be fun.  But for me, it’s just not.  Getting in touch with nature is only cool until you have poison oak in places you can’t even find in the shower and a raccoon poops on your sleeping bag. No thanks, I’ll opt for structured housing.

2) Flying a kite.  Did it once as a kid, and after about 12 seconds I was bored. I just don’t comprehend how this is fun for people.  The thought process behind going out on a windy day and holding on to a piece of fishing line attached to a piece of nylon and four sticks just doesn’t add up to me.

3) Fireworks.  Before you completely crucify me, let me explain.  I am all for a lovely display of fireworks to celebrate things like our country’s independence, the Super Bowl, or Disney World’s 50th anniversary, but I just can’t seem to justify spending countless dollars on my own fireworks and setting them off.  For those who buy them, you know how damn expensive they are, and within an hour you’ve got nothing to show for it other than a receipt for $600 and the possibility that you are now missing a couple fingers or eyebrows.  Sorry to be such a downer about this, but I really look at fireworks as a glorified means of burning money.

4) Beer pong.  Ahh, the drinking game that has taken the nation by storm.  Count me out.  I am all for competition, and I am all for drinking beer, but there has to be a better combination of the two.  What’s the upside here?  I don’t see it.  A bunch of people get together in a dirty basement or garage, pour beer into cups, and throw ping pong balls into said cups.  Think about what’s happening every time you miss the cups.  That ping pong ball is rolling around on the floor picking up dirt, pet hair, and the dog shit off the bottom of your shoes.  Then you pick it up, throw it into a cup of beer, and drink the beer.  Then by the time you’re halfway through the game, all the beer has gotten warm and disgusting.  So next time you want to invite me to play beer pong, please don’t be offended if I politely decline to drink that beer and dog shit gumbo you’re brewing up.  I will however accompany you to a local watering hole for a cold frosty beer in a nice clean glass and a friendly game of pool.

5) Frolf.  Not much to say about this one.  I never really dug frisbees, and I would much rather opt for real golf.

Yes, it is sometimes lonely up here on this pedestal, but the air is fresh and clear. Happy hump day.

One love,

10

What Kind Of A Name Is Clive Anyway?

October 21, 2008

As I mentioned yesterday, I have been on a mini movie kick lately.  Since I no longer have class and my afternoons are (for the most part) free, I like to make myself a nice lunch and relax to a good movie.  What I have been in the process of lately is re-watching some of my favorites on my new TV and surround sound, which has been fantastic.  But in addition, I have watched a few movies lately that I haven’t seen before, so why not kill some time on a Tuesday with my movie reviews?

Batman Begins – Yes, I am well aware how behind I am on this since a sequel has already come and gone in theaters and been a major success.  I have heard plenty of good things about both installments, and when I saw the Blu-Ray on sale at Best Buy, I had to go for it.  Let me tell you, I am mighty impressed with it.  Christian Bale seems to be pretty friggin’ outstanding as the new Batman, the storyline was good, and the action scenes were even better.  Bale isn’t the only one who nailed his role either.  The entire movie was cast incredibly, all the way down to the smaller characters. I am now officially pumped for Dark Knight to come out in December.  I give this one a 4 out of 5 overall.

Children of Men – Three words can describe this movie for me: Really. Fucking. Weird. Clive Owen stars in this action set in 2029 in which the entire world has gone sterile.  And not the good kind of sterile, like clean, but the bad kind, like no one can make babies anymore.  The first 45 minutes are spent with things happening for no apparent reason, and we don’t really know what’s going on and why things are happening for a while.  Turns out Owen’s character gets involved in some kind of intricate plot and ends up having to protect the world’s only pregnant woman.  Like I said, weird is definitely a theme found throughout the entire movie, which ends kind of abruptly on a downer.  I’m not saying this is a terrible movie.  If you’re ever bored and it’s on HBO, give it a shot, that’s how I stumbled upon it.  But don’t expect a whole lot, that’s my only advice.  Overall, it gets a 2.5 out of 5.

Shoot ‘Em Up – HBO must have been running an “I Love Clive Owen” weekend because these movies were each on about 63 times last weekend, so my interest was peaked.  This was another interesting one.  Again, Owen’s character begins the movie unassuming and ends up getting wrapped up in another intricate plot involving newborns.  This time, he is a former Black-Ops agent protecting a baby from being killed.  Why would anyone want to kill a baby?  Good question, and to be honest, I don’t feel like explaining it for the fear that anyone who reads it might instantly become dumber.  There are very few scenes that aren’t completely over the top and borderline ridiculous, capped off with a final gun fight for which Owen’s character had neither the time or the necessary means to complete the maze of booby traps he unleashes.  The whole thing was just way too unrealistic for me.  My advice on this one is somewhat different from the other Clive Owen movie we talked about.  If you’re bored and this one is on HBO, find something to do to get unbored.  Take up needlepoint, call your mother, go rake some leaves, anything to keep you from seeing this movie. Thank goodness it was only 90 minutes because that isn’t so much of my life that I can’t make up for it some other time.  My overall rating is a stagnant 1.5 out of 5.  Sorry, Clive.

Well that’s all I’ve got for today.  I have another four or five flicks in my DVR just waiting for a rainy afternoon to get watched.  I suppose one of these days I could write about something that actually matters, but for now, I am enjoying my mindless yammerings.  Hope you’re doing okay with them too.

One love,

10

Dear Cable Company, Go To Hell

October 20, 2008

Let me first say that this is the first official post on my new laptop, which I immediately fell in love with after the first time I turned it on this morning.  I think this is going to make a difference in my blogging habits since I can now blog from the living room whilst I watch various television programs instead of having to be shut into my bedroom with nothing but my bed to look at.  And speaking of television …

You know what really grinds my gears?  My cable service.  It, for lack of a better phrase, sucks major ass.  Since this is really my only outlet to vent my frustrations, you are unfortunately going to be my collective punching bags on this one because I am almost at the end of my rope.

Let’s start by discussing how great HD is.  We all know that HD might be the greatest thing since pants with pockets, so when people go out and spend their hard earned skrilla on a big beautiful HDTV, they want it to be well worth it when they get it hooked up.  Well, for the most part, the HD channels I get through cable aren’t horrible, but they could be a lot better.

Back when I had Dish Network, the non-HD channels still looked really good because they were all digital.  Now, the non-HD channels I get from cable (despite the claim that they are all 100% digital) look like someone took everything they had in the fridge and threw it on the screen and called it good.  As a result, I almost never watch anything that isn’t in HD.

Which brings me to my next beef.  I’m missing out on some really good HD channels, most notably, FOX.  This in turn means that roughly a third of the NFL games I watch look butt nasty, while the others look like they were sculpted by God Himself.  Also, watching the World Series is going to be about as painful as a steel catheter. Ouch.

That brings us to the number one reason I want to throw my cable box out the window about every other day.  I would estimate that a good four or five times a day, the cable signal gets interrupted, blacked out, or just plain freezes up.  It’s a good freakin’ thing that there aren’t any small children around because the fury I want to unleash knows no boundaries sometimes.  Twice these little interruptions have come on a Saturday afternoon … on ESPN … while I was watching college football.  Did this inspire me to get off the couch and go for a jog or go volunteer to read to kids?  No.  Out of spite, I sat and watched a black screen for a good two minutes and then found another game that was on.  Granted, it was a lousy game that I didn’t care anything about.

I guess I just needed to vent about this because like I said, it’s getting really frustrating and I am about ready to start throwing eggs at the cable building.  The only thing stopping me from canning the cable company in lieu of DirecTV or Dish Network is the fact that my apartment isn’t satellite dish accessible, so I’m stuck where I’m at.  I’ll live, I just thrive on complaining.

I want to publicly apologize to Hammen for possibly jinxing the Sox in last night’s game.  After they won game 6, we traded texts briefly and I may have mentioned that I felt like there was no way in hell the Sox could lose game 7.  They had a good run Jim, and like I mentioned the other night, you still have Kansas to fall back on, and if our Titans keep playing this well, that could be another one for ya.

Hope everyone’s Monday was ok.  I have watched a few movies lately that I think I can parlay into a post by pitching in my two cents about each  of them, so look for that soon.

One love,

10

Let’s Face It, I Suck At Life

October 14, 2008

Seriously, how terrible of a blogger am I?  It’s been three weeks to the day since I last wrote anything, and since then I have received roughly a dozen comments, Facebook messages, and/or texts from various people wondering what my deal has been.  It’s nice to be wanted, so thanks for those.

Old Mike wouldn’t be like this. Old Mike would neglect any and every responsibility he could to make it happen on this page because old Mike had his priorities in order.  Old Mike would stay up all night and ignore homework if he had to just to pound out a couple posts a week.  But, unfortunately, old Mike isn’t around that much anymore. New Mike is a Mike that is aging and coming with that age is a sense of responsibility.

A few examples if I may …

1) Old Mike went almost five years without any kind of medical or health insurance.  Thank God old Mike never really got sick or hurt, because he would have been screwed if he had.  On the other hand, new Mike has a bountiful health insurance plan, but he still doesn’t get sick or hurt so maybe it’s all for nothing … not that I’m complaining about that!

2) Old Mike never really thought to start putting away any money towards his future.  Old Mike just figured things would work themselves out somewhere down the line.  Old Mike figured he would put away money when he actually had some.  Now, new Mike contributes 6% of his paycheck every week to his 401K plan … only to watch it completely go down the shitter due to the recent economic downturn.  So maybe (at least in the short term) that was all for nothing as well.

3) Old Mike went out and had a good time at least once a week, and by “good time” I mean he went out and got himself at least half drunk.  Old Mike never had hangovers or spent an entire day on the couch recovering because old Mike had the eye of the tiger and his body had become almost impervious to the after-effects of a night out.  New Mike goes out once a month, has four beers and can’t get out of bed the next day without choking down a fistful of Aleve.

4) And finally, Old Mike always neglected his studies.  He never really “read the textbook” or “took ample notes in class.”  He didn’t exactly have “perfect attendance” and he didn’t “learn anything concrete.”  But old Mike always found a way to get through his classes with decent grades.  Even if he was just wandering through his collegiate career aimlessly, he was making progress.  New Mike, despite his hectic work schedule, made every attempt to go to all his classes, do most of the assigned readings, complete all his homework on time, and genuinely attempt to learn for his own benefit.  New Mike was actually enjoying some of the reading he was doing, and read a book from start to finish in just two days because he liked it so much.  New Mike was seven credits away from a diploma when he slept through a test that he couldn’t make up and screwed himself out of any chance of a degree this semester.

Yeah, sucks to be me huh?  The whole story makes me sound like just slightly less of a degenerate, so I might as well fill you in on that.  Last Tuesday night, I was working my normal shift (which usually ends around 10:30 pm) when I found out that due to some weather delays and mechanical problems, one of our jets would be arriving late.  So pretty much the whole crew, myself included, was forced to stay late and wait for it.  I ended up having to work until about 1:45 am, at which time me and a co-worker went and got something to eat since we hadn’t eaten all night.  By the time we were done eating, we realized that we had to be back at work by 3:30 that morning, which meant less than an hour of sleep.

So instead of going home and falling asleep and risking not waking up for our shift that morning, we decided to go back to work and get some shut-eye in the break room before we had to be back on the clock.  Well I got about 20 minutes of sleep, worked six more hours, went home and cracked open the books. I had a test at noon that I was fairly prepared for, but I wanted to cram a little bit more.  Well, the combination of working basically 14 straight hours overnight and not sleeping hardly at all caught up to me because I ended up falling asleep studying.

I woke up two hours late for my test with the book still in my lap and I immediately called my professor and left him a message to call me back.  When he did, I explained the situation, but he told me that he course policy is very clear about the rules for making up a test, and I was basically out of luck.  Since that test constituted 40% of my overall grade for the course, I was as good as dead.

I talked things over with my advisor, and I told her that the thought of another semester at college for one stinkin’ class made me want to vomit, so she suggested that I withdraw for the semester, and come back to finish up in spring.  She said it would give me time to recharge and get a fresh start, so-to-speak.  Everything she said made sense, and to be honest I felt kind of depressed about the whole situation, so it figured to be my best option.  Well one of the courses I need is only offered during fall semesters, so it looks like I have a little bit of a vacation before I go back next August and give it another go.

I can’t convey to you how mad and disappointed I was in myself.  I went from being eight weeks away from graduating to a year and eight weeks in the blink of an eye.  I don’t blame the professor on this one because I know I screwed myself, but I pleaded with him and tried to meet him halfway in any kind of compromise I could think of and he basically told me to fuck myself.

So as of yesterday morning, I officially withdrew from the university and I am now just a workin’ man.  I guess that’s alright with me in a way because my work schedule is crazy right now and juggling those hours and going to class was slowly killing me. I had been sleeping only a few hours a day sporadically in between work and class, and that was really taking its toll, which is 99% of the reason I haven’t really written anything at all lately.  My only real free time had been on the weekends, but I usually spent those watching football and reading.

So, maybe now you’re asking, “Mike, are you back to blogging again?”  I think so.  I don’t want to give you too much false hope for now because things at work are shifting from hectic to super crazy since we’re coming up on our peak season which lasts basically all through November and past Christmas.  But, I will try to get back into the habit of writing more often.  I miss doing it as much as you miss reading it, so it makes me happy to be back.  I hope my absence hasn’t diminished my audience, since there were so few to begin with.  So spread the word, tell your friends, mark your calendars.  I’m back bitches.

One love,

10