An Impatient Customer

Does anybody out there find themselves pretty busy these days?  Maybe a couple of you out there, or maybe a couple hundred or perhaps everyone is having their days filled up with more and more commitments and errands that are eating away at what little free time they can squeak out in a day.  Then again, it could just be a personal issue but something tells me I am not the only one in this rat race.  For me, this has fostered a quest to make the daily activities as efficient as possible.  So assessing the available hours in a typical weekday (5×24 = 120hrs), we have to quickly eliminate the hours dedicated to our employer.  For ease I’m just going to put this at 9hr/day discounting the extra work hours everyone gives throughout the week), which leaves us with 75.  This likely differs for everyone, but my commute total (to and from work) is 1 hr so that leaves 70 discretionary hours a week.  Note, before you ask, I do consider sleep discretionary and not mandatory and is really just an issue of how well your body can function with a specified amount of sleep.  However, let’s just take care of those hours now.  This has been going up along with the age count, but for now I do try to get 7 hrs a night (hey, it’s an optimistic goal).  Now that is a hefty slash in the available count leaving us a mere 35 hrs (5 hrs/day) to get our chores done and any entertainment we want.  In black and white that doesn’t seem to bad, but add in dinner, breakfast and human preening you likely chip away another  2hrs/day.   So there you have it, a long way to simply pointing out that there are roughly 3 hrs a day to get all my grand plans finished….and by my count I just selfishly took about 5 minutes of your day (sorry about that).

If you have time, hit the jump and find out the reason for this time assessment.

Continue reading An Impatient Customer

My Value is Melt[ing]aways

It’s a new year and that means a new set of convictions (to add to my existing set of course).  Over the course of last year I would stumble on some food products that left a bad taste in my mouth.  Generally this was due in part to the ingredients or preparation.  However, every once in awhile something in the product marketing overshadowed how good it might have tasted or just put the experience even further in the hole.  This year I’ve decided to call attention to these situations for a couple of reasons.  If it is a deceptive practice, then you should be aware of it as a consumer.  If I’m just viewing it wrong or missing some aspect of it, I would like to know so I can adjust my opinion appropriately.  No surprise, this particular post is case in point.

hit the jump to see the details of the issue:

Continue reading My Value is Melt[ing]aways

A Lot to Ponder

An interesting thing happened on my way to the car last week.  Intriguing enough that I thought I would share the scenario with you and see what courses of action you might have taken in a similar situation.  I am still going to leave out some background details out of concern for information protection, but let’s just say a number of us were required to spend  time in an area that my presence may not have been appreciated by the some of the inhabitants.  Sufficiently vague?… perfect.

To help alleviate some of the issues, we were requested to leave for the day 30  minutes before the rest of the people in hopes of  relieving congestion.  This worked out great for the first couple of days with a smooth transition to the car and ultimately back home.  Unfortunately on the third day I was working on something that required staying to the normal quitting time.  A little uneasy about this, I headed out to the car validating that there was a lot more traffic than the previous days, but not overly concerned.  This kind of changed as I neared my truck.   The graphic for today is actually a guide to the event so feel free to refer to it as I relate the story.

About 7 vehicles from my truck I noticed 3 people talking in front of a vehicle parked a couple down from me – identified by the second set of purple ‘P’s as you look up from the bottom of the graphic (note, the other 4 people (first set of P’s) were not there yet nor the red car in the middle of the aisle.  Passing them, I noticed there was a person sitting in the car they were talking in front of as well as a person in the car directly South of my destination.  For those keeping track, that is now 5 people in uncomfortable proximity to my vehicle.  As I got into my truck (which was facing the lot fence) I looked to my right and saw another guy sitting in the truck directly North of me.  Now we are at 6.  While giving the engine a little bit of time to warm up (the temp was in the single digits and contrary to this Google Map picture, the lot was covered in snow), the silver vehicle comes up the aisle towards me and stops a few cars down from the first set of people.  The exact count is a little fuzzy, but let’s assume there were two people in the vehicle and at least two other individuals came out to talk to them.  The tally is now 10.  Seconds before putting the truck in reverse, another vehicle drives up the aisle and passes behind me.  The driver was probably in his late 50’s and possibly early 60’s and looked to be driving rather intently (shoulders riding high, double grip high on the steering wheel and eyes straight ahead.  Noting that this particular aisle was a dead end at the  fence line, I made an assumption that he was looking for the last remaining end spot.  In what appeared to be a confirmation of this, he  turned his car into the spot but not at the deep arc you would expect in order to properly hit the space.  Alert to the other people in the area, I started to back out.  Less than a quarter revolution of the tire later, I was on the brakes again because the car starts backing out of his end spot.  Maybe he just wants to fix that angle to provide some additional room away from the other truck beside me?  Another wrong assumption.  The dude proceeds to back up until there is a visible impact on the vehicle parked on the other side of the aisle.  Now my spidey senses were in full alert mode  so pulled back into my space.  All of the other people I could see were now also tuned into the situation and were staring at the driver.  A quick check of him revealed the exact same expression and physical position he had when he passed me, with zero concern for the fact he had just hit another car.  Instead he stutters the car back and forth until he gets his rear in line with his nose.  On the last back up he pulls the wheel to the left to complete the 3 point turnaround.  At this point the guy in the truck to my North gets a little concerned as the car proceeds to bounce off his bumper as it finally completed the 180 degree turn.  By this time, the guy in the parked truck looks over to me with a surprised look and this is now the center of conversation with the rest of the people pointed out earlier.  Expecting to get hit myself, I was extremely relieved when he successfully passed me, but that emotion was replaced by astonishment as the driver proceeded to drive down the aisle and turn left out of the lot with zero intention of taking accountability for his actions.  Just to complete the setup, the driver of the parked truck got out and started inspecting the bumper (that was hit) and then walked over to the rest of the people to join in the discussion.

Now time for some audience participation – hit the jump to read the rest of the story.

Continue reading A Lot to Ponder

Some Fails to Feast On

This has been a pretty physical week for me to the point where this is probably the first time in years (likely exactly 6 years) that I have come home from work and literally crashed out on the couch – actually let me qualify that a bit – came home, completed my training runs and then crashed out on the couch. I didn’t want you to think I was cheating out on my road to running injury recovery. This week will likely result in some future blog entries (depending on how much I think I can discuss about this week in a public forum). For now, just know this particular week I do not have a chair in my “office”. In light of my fatigue, I figured I would simply post a series of fails that I have either come across myself or obtained from my brother or friends.

I am going to start out with my favorite one. Linda actually alerted me to this one. She was traveling down Rt 91 in Dunlap/Peoria when she noticed this sign. Now keep in mind this is one of those things that has plagued me all my life. I was blessed with a name that really can’t be “cutesied” up which I have appreciated, but there is one very common mistake I still see on a daily basis. I have no idea if this sign is actually right or not, but my guess is this particular Brian has fell victim to this common mistake.

The odd thing is it has been up there for months (I made Linda drive by it so I could get a picture). So either it is right or he has also resigned to it. I always nicely respond with a “thanks for the compliment” when the mistake is made in person.

Hit the jump for the rest of the fail gallery!

Continue reading Some Fails to Feast On

Another Year another Restriction

My brother recently informed me that my rights as a natural citizen of the United States has once again been restricted via state legislation.  Somehow this always seems to result in limitations of my freedoms, yet do I ever get my desire for legal reform (translated ambulance chasers), reduced political term limits, or how about jail sentences for politicians who fail to pay their own taxes (especially those who set tax policies for others)?  Nope, instead I am subject to new laws that went into effect this year like:

  • You cannot use public money to fund a portrait of any governor that has been removed from office (apparently by impeachment or conviction).
  • Hair braiders have to register with the state
  • Driving instructors (family or professional) have to be sober while teaching someone to drive

I am not accountable for the day to day management of the State of Illinois, but I do know that my State is something like $13 BILLION below a balanced budget.  Call me crazy, but this seems like a serious issue worthy of some equal serious attention.  Instead, we apparently have legal concerns about someone wanting to make a portrait of Deputy Dog… I mean Blago.  So somehow this little bit of legislation was crafted, presented, lobbied, voted and scribed into law while our State’s credit rating was getting smacked around by Asian Carp.  As a result I sit in resignation as my income tax rate takes hits of helium (especially annoying seeing as how we also have a tax hit thanks to a new high school referendum that was passed which we will never benefit from).  But all of this was trumped by another new law (and the specific one my brother clued me into).  Apparently as of the first of this year, I can no longer own a monkey!  Chipping away at my income is one thing, but “chimping” me out of my primates is just going to far.

  • What’s going to alert me to bad dates?
  • Who’s going to throw all the dog poo out of my yard?
  • How will I be able to leave the house without knowing my hair is free of lice
  • and most of all, who is going to make drink runs while I am enthralled in a video game?

These are just some of the valuable things that I rely on my den monkey to do for me (pictured above).

This is absolutely the bitter end and it’s time to go dump some tea.  I beg all geeks of the world to stand up for their primate rights and end this injustice.  Hmmm wait just a minute, let me go read that law again.   Yada yada yada, no primates.. yada yada unlawful to own… yada yada yada unless for assisting disabilities yada yada.  Hey, it looks like I have at least two outs.  Clearly my monkey is assisting in a disability capacity (gaming flunky) but in truth, the law seems to only focus on primates and my monkey doesn’t fall into this category because in truth it is a ‘C’ monkey (bada bing).  I guess I’ll call off the tea raid, but politicians beware I’m watching you closely (especially those from Chicago).

    .. and I Have a Problem

    Happy New Year Everyone!  Hope you had a safe return from all your festivities last night and if you are lucky, you are not a Big 10 fan as we took a slaughtering today.  I have not made a decision about the fate of this blog yet, but for now, everything as usual and with that… the first entry of the 2011.

    “Hello, my name is Brian and I have a problem.”  There are those things that kind of bother you and eventually you find time to address them and get them resolved.  Sometimes those things are like icebergs and as long as you accept the part you can see, you don’t get a feeling for how big the issue is under the waterline.  Of course there are issue that are right in your face each and every day until it starts to fill you with disappointment and regret.  In the latter case, I think it is jut better to accept it, come to terms with it, and recommit yourself to lifting that weight off your shoulder.  This is where I am at with my problem so her goes….

    “Hello, my name is Brian and I have a reading problem.”  There, I’ve admitted it.  For clarity sake, it isn’t really a reading problem, but rather a reading BACKLOG problem.  I actually enjoy reading books a lot, but they do take a time commitment of sorts.  I am always finding new titles to read and my hobbies tend to have a prolific amount of written word on them.  My Amazon Wish List always has a number of books on them and I find myself in bookstores from time to time perusing the latest offerings (which generally leads to purchases as well).  As a result, there is a steady flow in, which is great, but that means there needs to be steady flow of information from the book to the brain or you start falling behind…. waaaay behind in my case.  Every day, I walk into my den and look at my bookshelf and sigh.  That is about to end because the new year has brought a new commitment to get through THIS:

    hit the jump to see my 2011 goal:

    Continue reading .. and I Have a Problem