Friday, November 30, 2007

I Am Not a Smoker But...

...I believe that the government is mandating too much for "the good of the public." What I am referring to is that the Midwestern state in which I live has a law that takes effect on January 1st that bars and restaurants will be smoke free, that is if you are a smoker you can no longer do it at one of these establishments. The Northeastern state from which I moved a year ago already had this law on the books before I left (that is not why I left btw).

I must admit that it was nice going to my local pub for a few cold ones and perhaps to watch some sporting event and not coming home smelling like an ashtray from all of the second hand smoke. However, I knew that this would be my fate if entered that place where everybody knows my name (they really didn't but it sounds nice). I knew the effects and still went.
There, like here, I felt that it is not the State's responsibility to enforce its beliefs on any of us. If a pub owner/restaurant owner wants to have a smoke free business than let him run it that way. It is not the governments job to tell me that I can't have a smoke section if I want to in my place of business (that is if I had one, which I don't so I gripe).

I am against this mandate and again, I don't smoke. Well just thought that I would vent to you all of my many (or is it a few, or is it just me?) readers.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Customer Disservice

I used to work in the retail industry. I have worked for Macys, Banana Republic, Casual Male Big and Tall, Track 'n' Trail, American Eagle Outfitters, and Pier 1 Imports. I never really liked it all that much, except for dealing with all of the people who came into the stores I worked at to buy or browse. There was a cornucopia of people who would come in and most of them were interesting in one way or another. I say most because not all customers were nice. Some were rude, but we had to deal with that and try to make things work out for them and us. They were challenges and I always took them as such in my dealing with them. I always wanted to have them do a 180 degree turnabout in their perception of whatever company I was working for at the time. I wasn't always successful, but I did give it my all.

When I go into a store I expect outstanding customer service and I make no bones about it, after all I am there to spend money. This is the time of the year that I like least with regards to shopping. It is the fake season when retailers go overboard in pretending that they really do care about you. The sad fact is that the majority of retailers expect their underpaid associates to go overboard for a company that they do not believe really cares about them at all. It is true that all associates that agree to work for any retailer should give their all no matter what, just as a point in personal pride in their work. It should be that way but it is not.

I am confronted time and time again with associates that make no false pretense in letting you know that you are burdening them just by being in their store to shop. When I am confronted with such apathy I leave and never shop there again. I have noticed that one retailer, BEST BUY, must have a mandate that all customers are greeted at the door by an employee saying something like, "How ya doin?" Whenever I go there I am with my 16 year old son and we are usually engaged in some deep conversation about who rocks better on Guitar Hero III (btw he does). I hate being interrupted by this unnecessary question always asked in a way that lets me know that the asker does not care in the least how I am doing. You cannot force care and consideration and the public should be smart enough to know when they experience that.

I was there today with all five of my children and was interupted with this query to which I did not answer. He didn't care and I was not going to be bothered by the associates coercion of this question. Then in the 30 minutes that we were there I was accosted by 10 associates, I kid you not. That is 1 every three minutes! Just as I would rebuff one another would come up and ask the same stupid question, "Can I help you?" As an aside the question was improperly phrased. It should be, "May I help you?" Hey I was an English Major give me a break!

I started to answer the associates, "Like I just told the other worker, I am fine!" What I wanted to say was, "Leave me the @#$%^ alone!" I was there just to browse, but man were they desperate to make a sale! I don't think that I will be going back to BEST BUY again during the Christmas season. As a matter of fact, I think that I will do all my shopping online. It is fast, easy and I can do it my skivvies. Can't do that at BEST BUY, and if I did I think that I might get a different question than, "How you doin'?"

Be Good and don't lose focus on what Christmas is really about.


When I was younger I never heard anyone say to me, "We'll be Best Friends Forever!" I just assumed that it would always be that way. In most cases I was naive to the fact that friends come and friends go, through growing up, moving away, marriage, fights, indifference, and death. No hard feelings as I have been on the giving, as well as receiving end of these events. Life happens. It is what it is. A bitter pill to swallow, but one that most of us have experienced.

There are friends that I have thought about from time to time. I have wondered where they were and what they were doing. Are they even alive, and if so were they married and happy with life? I have looked up some and reconnected with them. It was nice to touch base and catch up. Our bonds were not as tight, but that is to be expected as growing up has brought with it more responsibilities: marriages, children, divorces, jobs, mortgages, in-laws (or out-laws in some cases).

I have noticed that I have found more friends from my past than have found me. I cannot deny that it stings a bit, the not having many people care enough to search me out. I automatically assume that my influence on their life was not so special and that I saw more in the friendship than was actually there. That is my problem, however, and I am dealing with that esteem issue everyday. I guess that I should not jump to conclusions as maybe old friends do think about me and wonder where I am and so forth. Life just gets in the way of putting actions behind feelings.

This past August I had the pleasure of receiving and email from someone from my past who holds a special spot in my heart. I felt like I had won the lottery as this was a person that I dated during my Senior year in high school. She was, in fact, the very first woman that I fell in love with, and there have only been a grand total of two including her. She came into my life at time of great upheaval for me. A time when I was in need of physical, spirtual, and emotional healing. She was a blessing from God and she lifted my spirits and gave me a gift that I could only hope to repay. She was a free spirit who looked at life differently than most and had a confidence about her that was not cocky but refreshing and hypnotic.

Well this friend has come back into my life at another time of great upheaval for me and again she is sowing her seeds of caring and hope. In just a few short months of trading emails and catching up she has instilled in me a positive outlook on life and desire to try my hand at certain things again. I had thought about her on and off since I graduated high school when we fell out of touch with each other. I lamented our life's paths taking different courses but that happens with growing up, right?

Well here it is Thanksgiving weekend 2007 and as I go through my list of things to be thankful for her name is right there at the top. I do appreciate her so much and I hope to be there for her in any facet of help that she may ever need. It is refreshing to have people in my life who do not just say that they care but actually mean it and act on. I have too many people in my life that look to me for help and and hope-and I will always give it to them-but when I look for some reciprocation they are silent. Not this lady. She has not changed, and if so it is only to have gotten better!

Will we be Best Friends Forever? Forever is such a long time and I have learned to be content in the here and the now.

So, thank you dear friend for your support and help and love. May God hold you in the palm of His hand always and may all of your hard roads be behind you!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Loss and Gain

Poem: "Loss and Gain" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Public domain.

Loss and Gain

When I compare
What I have lost with what I have gained,
What I have missed with what attained,
Little room do I find for pride.

I am aware
How many days have been idly spent;
How like an arrow the good intent
Has fallen short or been turned aside.

But who shall dare
To measure loss and gain in this wise?
Defeat may be victory in disguise;
The lowest ebb is the turn of the tide.

When I Am Old

Poem: "When I Am Old" by Ray Nargis, from Almost Tomorrow. © Raven Productions, Inc, 2008.

When I Am Old

When I am old I shall wear a ball cap
From the St. Louis Browns
Because my grandfather once played in their farm system,
Or maybe a John B. Stetson hat, three-corner fold,
Four X and black chinos with both suspenders and a belt
And the knees ripped out, not as a fashion statement,
But from work.
And black biker boots and a T-shirt with the slogan
"I'm Working On My Issues."
I'll use a walking stick and not a cane
And have a key ring with about a hundred keys
And I won't know what any of them open and I won't care.

When I am old I'll drink whiskey in the morning
And coffee at night
And laugh and spit and swear wherever I want.
When I am old I'll help Girl Scouts across the street
Even if they don't want to go
And I won't have a car
And I won't have a bike
And I'll walk everywhere.

When I am old I'll have a dog named Sam Peckinpaw
And some summer's morning I'll lock up the house
And old Sam and I will walk over to see to see one of my sons
Even if he lives two states away.
When I am old I'll tell people exactly what I think of them
And surprisingly, most of the time it really will be good stuff.
When I am old I won't have a TV
And I won't have a radio
And I won't have a computer or a clock or a phone in the house.
I won't read books and I won't read magazines
And I won't read newspapers and maybe, finally
I'll learn something just watching the birds and the weather.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

10 Songs

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery then this post (which will be updated from time to time) is a nod of hipness to my friend Kyle who has a similar (or as one nutty person I knew would say sim-ya-ler)post over on his blog.

10 Songs That in Are in Heavy Rotation on My iPod:

1. Depeche Mode- Enjoy the Silence.

2. Brothers Johnson- Strawberry Letter 23. Thanks to Melissa F.

3. John Cougar Mellencamp-Ain't Even Done with the Night. Again, thank you Melissa.

4. John Mayer-Gravity.

5. Santana-Black Magic Woman. Thanks to Guitar Hero III(BTW I ROCK!).

6. The Alan Parsons Project-I Wouldn't Want to be Like You.

7. Q Lazzarus-Goodbye Horses. Special nod to Erin C.

8. Citizen King-Better Days.

9. Led Zeppelin-Over the Hills and Far Away.

10. Led Zeppelin-The Lemon Song. Sweet, sweet Lemon!

You don't know any of them? Well go listen and learn and be prepared to be moved. For those about to ROCK I salute you!

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Heart Disease Never Tasted So Friggin' Delicious!

This post is dedicated to my friend Kyle aka Macfixer (check out his blog with the direct link over to the right). He, like Homer Simpson, has a penchant for processed pork that is pressed into the shape of a very small slab of BBQed spare ribs. Homer's was made by Krusty Burger, Kyle's is made by none other than Mickey D's! Here's to you Kyle. Enjoy!


The McRib, for a limited time. Get it while supplies last except on the East Coast! Come and get one Kyle!

No animals were harmed in the making of this post.

The photographer only puked once. Mmmmmmmmm McChunks!

I can feel my arteries hardening! Where did I put my defibrillator?! CLEAR!