Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thanks for Assuming I'm A Jacka$$. Jacka$$.

If you were articulate, clear and concise, why are you asking me if what you just said 'makes any sense?' 

Pet peeve rant! I'm sure to be sent to the corner for this one. This post is all about people who have the infuriating habit of talking to me in an elitist, condescending tone. Not when they are joking or being playful–but when they want to make sure a ding-dong like me can grasp their reality-altering message. 

Yes, I'm talking to you.

When someone is having a conversation with you and they end every third sentence with; " what I'm saying making any sense?"or the abbreviated "does that make sense?" or even "can you do that for me?" or the grandaddy of them all "think you could get that done?" then you KNOW you are being pandered to. 

If you talk to other people in your world like this, with any measure of sincerity, well, you're a pretty horrible person. If you talk like this to me, save yourself the drama and the trauma of waiting for an answer. And if you get a response, just know–though it might be cordial–it will take all my restraint and personal reserve to choke back a bevy of sarcastic responses and a litany of snarky comebacks. This pandering, borderline belittling and elitist corporate-doublespeak is a byproduct of the 90's institutionalization of political correctness, manager and corporate sensitivity training and lawyer-influenced subterfuge (thanks Franklin Covey and Anthony Robbins!). It has filtered into every facet of our culture... and I am so done. 

Why on God's ever-green earth would anyone POSSIBLY need to ask me if what they just said to me makes any sense? Did it make sense to you when you said it? Did you arbitrarily slip into pig latin in mid-sentence? Did you layer hidden double-meanings and innuendo behind each of your statements? Did I fall asleep in the middle of your boring-ass little unimportant diatribe? No. It's simply a passive-aggressive way of talking down to someone  and by showing the other party you are somehow superior.

You're not. 

No one with any sense of integrity would use these terms on loved ones, a significant other or any friend or person you cared about more than a fabric stain. If you do, trust me, they secretly loathe you. I know I sure do.

I'm a college-educated man who has an above average IQ, my father was a Mensa and I read, write, draw and self-educate voraciously. I've taught college-level classes and have been asked to participate on a number of expert speaking panels. I've also taken a lot of the aforementioned courses as a manager and director (I have held both of these worthless titles, BTW).

So I'm pretty damn well positive that I "understood what you were saying" the first time around. You aren't relaying some radical bio-medical theory that will change the way we understand cellular biology. You aren't drafting and engineering an architectural marvel that needs to be broken down to me and you sure as hell aren't talking in metaphysical algorithmic code translated from long-lost hyroglifics. So please, rest assured, I'm bright enough to "get" your worthless 
little message. You could follow up with a "got it?" or even the trite "sound like a plan?" if that makes you feel better. Then, please feel free to get over yourself. 

Does what I'm saying make any sense?

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Best Holiday Pick-Up Line. Ever.

A white Ford F-150–a.k.a. the bane of my existence–took the "bah" out of my "humbug" this past Christmas–forcing me to rethink my long-held belief that giant white pick-up trucks are evil incarnate.

Now before all you cowpokes get your spurs a jingle-jannglin' let me explain. As a driver on the roads of Phoenix, Arizona, there are tens of thousands of ridiculously over-sized white pick-up trucks–usually utility vehicles; cable/telecom service trucks, government vehicles and construction guys heading to work or to the bar. 

And NONE of them gives a damn about common courtesy on the road. 

It's true. I have had more near-miss accidents and more incidents of jamming on my breaks because some yahoo–ALWAYS in a giant white pick-up–cuts me off, won't merge considerably or drives in more than one lane. Clearly directional signals are not standard issue in these rolling behemoths since I have yet to EVER see one of these things signal anyone about anything. 

The scenario: Christmas Eve Day. I needed to run out and grab some last-minute ingredients for a very elaborate holiday cake I was baking. While out I figured "... hey, I haven't eaten today–I'll hit a Wendy's drive-through, grab a chicken sandwich (A favorite of mine!) and show those hunger pangs who's the boss of me." And lo, what should be in line in the drive-through before me? 

You guessed it, a giant white Ford F-150 with all the trimmings. Side metal tool box fittings, the metal rack for carrying extra constructo-stuff and just for added holiday fun; it was bellowing thick plumes of bluish smoke from it's exhausts–right into my grill. 

The gift: As I pull up to the window, the giant white beast thunders away in a haze of acrid, lung-burning exhaust. As I pull forward, ready to hand over my money to pay for my order, the young woman at the window utters the most unexpected words I think I have ever heard in a Wendy's drive through; "You're all set sir, the guy in front paid for your meal." 


How can this be? Those vehicles are piloted by modern-day Orcs, all tear-assing down the freeway on their way to Mordor. This was... baffling. I was stunned. Befuddled. Bewildered. My grinch-like perception of white pick-up truck drivers was shattered. My scrooge-y opinion of all things pick-up dashed forever. I turn to the lady in the window… "uh, ok. Umm… should I–? I would like to pay for the car behind me."

As luck would have it, The car behind me had a $15 order (vs my $7 sandwich combo) but I was still too stunned to care. 

The verdict: I don't know that I now have a great swelling of new-found affinity for ALL pick-ups now, but this RAoK (Random Act of Kindness) made me re-think that "maybe… just maybe, Christmas means, just a little bit more" (than hating on all giant white pick-ups). And it also means that the phrase "the guy in front paid for your meal" could very well be the most heart-warming holiday line I've ever heard.

And it came from a giant white pick-up truck. 
(sigh) My world will NEVER be the same again.  

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Before and Aftermath

So you think technology makes our lives better?
Well not if MY children have anything to say about it! 

The photograph above is an actual before-and-after example of the war my children have declared on the technology in my home. Electronic devices in my home actually cry out (or would if they could) when of my teenagers amble into the living room. The list of technological casualties reads like a who's-who of 21st century electronic gizmos. 

And every gadget in my home is an endangered species

Maybe it's because they simply don't understand that sitting on remotes or sticking them in  your mouth or even carrying them into the bathroom (and dropping them) will have dire consequences. Whatever the case, this is a terrifying example of the devastation my children visit upon my household electronics. 

Cell phones? My daughter alone has lost, shattered or broken five in three years. iPods? One was lost in a matter of hours, never to be heard–or heard from–again. Another was washed and just hasn't worked quite right ever since. Who knew? PSP? Shattered on the pavement. Nintendo DS? Met an untimely demise on schoolyard concrete. I once bought them a used laptop. Let's just say it took a couple days to find the screen, even though the keyboard portion was found under a bed. And wrist watches? Bwah-hahahaha. Oh dear lord, no. My children: 17  Watches: 0. The list of electronic casualties in my home is staggering. 

ADD. ADHD. Absent mindedness. Lack of caring. Ignorance. Honestly, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe they simply take fantastic technology for granted, I guess we all do to some degree at this point. Who even knows. 

Despite my best efforts, this new generation of teens, at least in my house, have no respect for things they have received. I get the whole 'nothing given has value' lesson now, I do. And my wallet cries at the thought of every infraction and lost tech at the hands of my techno-termites.

The Caveat? I have no fear of the machines taking over and Terminators hunting us down. I merely need to unleash my children on them and that will be all she wrote.

Game. Set. Match.

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Shouting at The Shouting Box

With it's bright lights, colors and amazing sounds, television and the internet
DEMAND a response from us all. It's just NOT the one we think. 

Ever catch yourself talking back to the television? Or screaming at your laptop while watching HULU or NetFlix? It's okay to admit it, dear reader, we all do it. I don't mean slinging a few profanities at the icy black box over a bad call during the game (c'mon, I'm not crazy, those lousy refs need to hear what I've got to say!).

No, I mean discussing a TV show, movie or even podcast development during a show WITH the television. The box shouts at us–so of course, we need to have an appropriate response. We need to let this smooth plastic container of wires and switches know what we think and what we feel, you know, to show 'em whose boss! 

So for your consideration, I have identified the five most common faces of a TV Responder:
  1. The Skeptic – It's 2 a.m. and every acne cream, revolutionary kitchen aid, male enhancement pill and life-changing cleaning product is making it's pitch to you. Better belittle them and put them in their place with retorts like "pfft! no way...", "that's stupid!" or "yeah right". Show 'em who's in charge right before you dial in your credit card number to purchase that Snuggie. Now you're comfy AND you let them know how you feel. You sure showed them!
  2. The Infomercial Critic – Remember the days when infomercials were targeted only to poor decision making insomniacs. Now these things are on before the game, in between movies and are even aired in prime time slots. These advertisers and products must be kept in check by your endless input and validation. You MUST let these 10-in-1 cooking systems know your every thought. Even though they don't respond, they are hanging on every word you mutter.  
  3. The Movie Trailer WatchologistMovie trailers are like any other form of mass communication; they are built to appeal to as wide an audience as possible and get you to say the magic words "Oh, I want to see that!" Some trailers don't grab us and that's when we feel compelled to share our advanced critique of the film; "That looks dumb–I wouldn't waste my money on that stupid movie!" This is going to shock a lot of you... no one cares. Your impromptu opinion on a movie no one asked you for an opinion on is about as useful as shoes with no laces. (And if you're thinking, "Oh, well what about flip-flops?" then you're an ass, who's chosen to miss the bigger point. Congrats!)
  4. The OpinionatorA Watchologist can quickly morph into an Opionionator, this person is a sudden expert on things they have no connectivity with (the shorthand is an adult with no kids commenting on the value of a children's movie). As an Opinionator, you have an unfounded (and unwelcome) opinion over all you survey. Which often, sadly, is quite a bit.  Favorite catch phrase; "That's dumb..."
  5. The Realist – "Reality TV" is here to stay. Whether you want to watch amateur singers  win big during 'fair' judging by washed up or wanna-be celebrities who try and blaze come-backs or watch "real" housewives play 'clash of the personalities', the only thing the "actors" on these shows have in common with you is that you both are obsessed with their favorite topic—themselves. 
No matter which type of mass-media responder you are, it's important to remember that television transmissions and streaming videos from the Internet need to hear what you have to say. How else would they know what to show you? 

I mean, of course your critically important opinion matters–otherwise, shouting at or talking to an inanimate, non-living, non-responding device would just be kind of... crazy.

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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Five things to remember when you know everything

An open note to all children: Don't wait another moment! 
Go conquer the world while you still have it all figured out.

So, it's 2013 and children are smarter than ever. It's true. Empowered by the internet those born after 1992 in this country have grown up with the entire, combined history of humanity at their fingertips. The movies, the games, the entertainment; it's all so overwhelming. This generation has everything-and I mean everything–at their disposal. 

And they know it. 

You can't argue with this generation. You can't reason with them, you can't even impart knowledge, religion or spirituality of any kind. This isn't to say we shouldn't try–just that it's important for parents, educators and concerned adults to know, kids only half listen to anything we have to say. 

So since they all know everything already here are some useful tips to anyone currently age 20 and younger:
  1. Parents know nothing – Have parents ever been cool? Ever? Of course not. They can't be, I mean, it's not like they know what it's like to be a kid, right? They don't know what it's like, to get up and day-after-day go do the same thing and like… gosh, like do stuff for a couple of straight hours and stuff. Hah! Next you'll be telling me they actually used to BE kids…
  2. Hard work is too hard, don't do it – things like businesses, relationships, careers and life goals are such a waste of time. Why try at anything when you can "chill-lax" from an already difficult life filled with school, chores nagging parents and gaming? It's not like hard work gets you anything right? I mean, all the cool kids, they just have stuff handed to them and it's all bar-b-ques and baseball game box seats–all day everyday. You don't need to work hard, you need to win the lottery!

    Fun thought!And don't forget to complain that you never win the lottery despite the fact that you don't play and you're under-aged.

  3. TV is your friend – Just think of all the wildly successful super-celebrities who started their career by sitting on the couch and eating snacks until dinner time. These incredibly famous and wealthy super stars of inertia (non-existent though they may be) are imagined proof that doing nothing pays big.

    Fun Quiz!
    What's better than TV? YouTube!
  4. Dream Big! Be sure to spend quality time worrying about people who don't worry about you. You know, important stuff like asking; who's cool? Answer? Anyone under 25! What are they doing, what's their favorite YouTube video, who did they break up with yesterday? These are vitally important facts that are worth untold hours and even days of your time. Be sure to stalk your favorite band on Twitter. Because, of the hundreds of thousands of fans they could want—YOU'RE the one they've been waiting for!

    Fun fact!
    Stalking also works amazingly well on athletes, musicians, politicians, actors and popular kids at school. What's a little restraining order between you anyway? I mean, why live YOUR life, when someone else is doing it better, right?
  5. School is for chumps – Duh! This one one is wicked easy! School gets in the way of all kinds of fun stuff like X-BOX and PS3 time, FaceBook updates, porn, eating pizza with friends and watching YouTube videos where each one is funnier than the last.

    Honesty, all you're ever going to get out of school is friends, self respect, a potential life that might matter, a future, a sense of purpose, sports, a sense of community, a place to expand your mind and parts in the school play. Who needs any of that when in just ten short years of eating snacks in the living room and watching TV you can fast track yourself to Type 2 diabetes, hypertension, obesity, eyestrain and lethargy?
So what's it all mean? Time to live it up! Your folks will live forever, so why prepare for the future? That's hard and tough when instead you can eat Funyuns, send endless text messages that start and end with LOL and veg-out watching cartoon marathons. 

Remember, anything anyone ever accomplished took a bunch of time and was wicked hard. Why do any of that when you have 500 channels and pretzel M-and-M's?

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