Saturday, June 18, 2011

Father's day selections from the internet...

Sunday is Father's Day. Since I don't have any kids, I have no baby-daddy, so this is a holiday spent reflecting on my experiences with my own father.

Sure over the years we've had our differences. We've had big fights, harsh words, and ugly times in our past, sure. Hell, when it comes to politics, we pretty well just agree to disagree and try to avoid the topic altogether. When it comes to disagreements we've pretty well reached a quiet detente. We both pretty well know when to leave well enough alone. We still talk on the phone fairly regularly, we see each other as much as our busy schedules and geography will allow, and when we hang out, we sit down and chat over a few cold beers while I tell him about my latest home-improvement projects, and he tells me about his latest interim-administration job and where his new post has taken him this time around, and then we start talking about the good ol' days and he repeats some story about his childhood that I've already heard 900 times, but it hasn't lost its charm, and it makes him so happy to tell it, so I sit and listen, waiting for some new detail that inevitably appears with each retelling.

So this post is for the dads out there.

First off, a video that I cannot recommend highly enough!

We all know that Samuel L. Jackson is the baddest motherfucker out there, and so when it comes to finding a voice provide the audio track for the greatest adult-children's book ever, OF COURSE he was the only logical choice.

And secondly, a selection that I find amusing because I see my dad in so many of the pictures on this site. The only thing that prevents me from submitting pictures of my own father is that I have so many quality shots to choose from, and it hurts my brain trying to winnow them down before deciding what to submit for consideration.

So here's to all the dads out there, including my own... Throw some meat on the grill, sit back in the La-z-boy, crack open a cold one, and enjoy your day... And just know that we remember what you always told us, you brought us into this world, and you can take us out... We know... But I'm pretty sure we can all outrun you now... Not that we'll need to!

Friday, June 17, 2011

So this explains it...

"I don't know why I started writing. I don't know why anybody does it. Maybe they're bored, or failures at something else."
Cormac McCarthy

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Another day, another insultingly sexist conversation...

So, since noticing the pattern of sexist conversations I've encountered lately, in an effort to start ridding the male population of their sexist views, I have made a conscious effort to present a decidedly overly-feminine consumer image when engaging in typically more masculine shopping situations. I put on a reasonable amount of makeup, but make special efforts not to OVER-do my face or hair. I sport more girlish clothing, so that there is no mistaking that I care about my appearance, and there is no mistaking me as anything other than decidedly, solidly female. I do own a few skirts, dresses, flouncy tops, and one or two shirts with reasonable, (read: tasteful) sequin embellishments.

Now, to be clear, we're not talking anything over the top... I'm not going to Home Depot in a ballgown, nor do I own anything "bedazzled" with jewels. We're not talking flashy, whorish apparel. But I admit to deliberately playing up the feminine factor for personal research purposes.

I peruse the aisles of the auto parts stores, or head to the hardware department, and deliberately don't ask for help if I don't need help. Basically, I will go in, get what I need to get, and browse if I feel like browsing, but I don't make a big production of looking like I'm helpless and need guidance. Now, having worked in retail, I understand that many of these retail establishments have established customer-service-based policies that their employees are directed to follow. (Basically, if the workers aren't actively engaged in a project, and they see a customer who is not actively being assisted by another worker, they are generally at least supposed to ask if the customers need help with anything. I get it... That's why those interactions don't count... Unless the worker persists after I have waved them off... THEN IT TOTALLY COUNTS.) The latter is exactly how my most recent insulting interaction went.

While mowing my lawn, I found that the blade was not cutting to maximum efficiency... Seeing as I don't know any tinkers who sharpen mower blades instead of simply advising folks to just buy a new one, I just went to buy a new one. (Blade, not lawn mower.) I went to the establishment where the lawn mower was originally purchased. (The hardware department of a large department store.) Seeing as I had just wrapped up mowing the lawn, I was wearing nothing more feminine than flip-flops, jeans and a more female-friendly-cut v-neck T-shirt. I walked straight over to the area where the mower blades were kept. I grabbed the blade that I needed for my specific mower. I proceeded to walk away from the display and towards the nearest open cash register. Before I could make it more than three steps, a rather rotund store employee stopped me... The following is a very real transcription of the encounter.

The rotund male simpleton approaches all too ready to lend an unwanted helping hand.

"Can I help you find something?"

"No... I just needed a lawn mower blade. I found the one I wanted, now I just need to find an open register."

"Oh. Well, are you sure it is the right one?"

"Yes. I am sure. I double-checked the part number and everything."

(Note: the encounter should have ended right then and there, but judging by the next statement, it rapidly became clear that this guy was gunning for total evisceration.)

"Well, are you really sure? That particular blade isn't a big mover."

"Yeah, I already told you I was sure. Was I not convincing enough with my delivery?"

"Uhh, well, you know that's for an electric mower, right?"

"Well, call me crazy, but I figured it would work just fine for me considering it is the right size AND exact part number for what just so happens to be the electric-powered mower I use to lower the height of the grass growing in the little rectangle I call my lawn."

"Oh, so you have an electric mower?"

"Pretty sure I just said that. I mean I tried just throwing down more dirt to make the grass just look shorter, but I found that this is much more cost-effective, and I don't have to keep elevating the flower beds."

"Well, it's just that most people use gas mowers."

"And between rising gas prices, the push to go a little greener, and attempting to avoid unnecessary carbon emissions, I am pretty sure that my electric-powered model, while a bit of a hassle is equally effective at removing the unwanted portion of my lawn. I still have a rotary mower with no power supply at all, too... I tried getting a goat, but being inside the city limits the neighbors complained, plus he snored too loudly in bed."

"Well, a goat wouldn't really be all that effective at getting a consistent length over the whole lawn."

"And I see you don't understand sarcasm. Don't sweat it. It's new."


(Around this time, what appeared to be a well-intentioned trainee approached from stage left. Based on my interaction with this second fellow, I think he was prime management material by comparison to that first doofus who had no business interacting with anyone... EVER.)

"Are you ready to check out, or is there something else we can help you find?" says the trainee.

"No, I think I'm ready to leave this establishment."

"Do you need any assistance with this product, or need help installing it? We have a service department here!"

"Well, thank you, that is the most constructive thing that anyone has said to me since I got here. I think I can handle the installation, but I admit that before I came here, I was having some trouble removing the old blade."

Doofus really thought this was his opportunity to shine!

"WELL... just remember, it is 'righty-tight-y, lefty loose-y' and you should be fine."

"Yeah, thanks. I know how nuts and bolts work. My problem is that the locking nut won't turn without also rotating the drive shaft, and my crescent wrench doesn't fit between the blade and the underside of the mower when attempting to grip the shaft... and there is no way to lock the drive shaft on this particular model of mower."

"Oh... UHHHH...." Doofus said while vacantly staring at my chest.

"Yeah, see, in addition to knowing which way to turn a nut, I also know those fancy mechanical words." I sharply retorted to Doofus, my words dripping with derision and disdain. Turning my attention to the more helpful trainee, I asked, "Any ideas for that particular problem?"

"Oh, well, if possible, try pinching the drive shaft with some pliers, maybe needle-nosed pliers if standard pliers won't fit. If that doesn't work, or you can't fit any kind of pliers under the blade, I'd say bring it in to the service department and see if they have any ideas."

"Thank you. That was the least insulting thing anyone has said to me since I entered this establishment. You have been very helpful... I hope that if you are on commission that you get credit for this sale."

"I'd be happy to ring you up right over here."

The trainee and I walked to the nearest register, with Doofus in tow, most likely to 'supervise' the trainee in the actual monetary transaction.

I got the new blade home, managed to get the locking nut off unassisted, and installed the new blade. Since then, my lawn is looking as lovely as ever... No thanks to Doofus the incompetent.

And while I have no doubt that Doofus is incapable of learning from this experience and checking himself before speaking to, and thus insulting ... well... ANYONE, I can only do my due diligence to present valuable learning opportunities whenever possible.

...And people wonder why I walk around being so continuously perturbed so much of the time.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Hello, ye olde interweb!

It has been a while. I admit that I have been lax in my duties as the gatekeeper of awesomeness known as the Fun Time Happy Hour. I will buy you all a round the next time we hang out!

So... The world has carried on, as it has been known to do, while I have been away, toiling and plotting my scheme for global domination. It is so nice to know that the world can be counted on in that regard.

I have once again asserted my power and awesomeness by fixing my own car ...again. (Note, this was a second problem, and not a failure of my previous fix.) This time it was the air conditioning. Seeing as we have come to the official start of summer, I figured it was high time to get my A/C up and running again. In fairness, it has been broken for well over a year, and since I don't typically mind rolling the windows down, I just didn't bother with it... I mean the heat still worked through the fall, winter, and early spring, so I was ok for a lot of that time... But remembering how I had to sweat it out all last summer, I figured I should probably just go ahead and do what needed to be done.

You might recall from my previous posting about fixing my own vehicle, you probably have a vague recollection of what was going on... If not, here's a refresher.

Almost 2 years ago, I was driving back down south after a trip to visit my mom, and about halfway into the trip my A/C stopped working. Ordinarily, that wouldn't have been a HUGE problem, except it was mid-afternoon, mid-August, it was the South, and oh yeah--my windows wouldn't roll down at the time either... and I still had a good three hours to go in my road trip. I had no choice but to sweat it out that time. And upon completion of that trip, the ability to roll down my windows was far more important to me than the A/C... Besides, with the A/C not running, I enjoyed better fuel economy, which was fine by me! So I fixed the windows. Not long after that trip was when the engine mount said sayonara, and we all know I let that go on rattling for WAY longer than I probably should have. But while I was having an oil change, and the mechanic was telling me about the engine mount being a serious problem that he wanted me to dump $500 on, I mentioned that my A/C had died, and that I wasn't sure if I'd just thrown a belt or if I had something more serious going on. The guy looked at it, and said yes, I'd thrown a belt, but it was because the pulley wheel was locked up... So that'll be another $300 to fix. HA! Isn't that cute!

I told him I wasn't interested in either fix once we got down to brass tacks, and I let both problems persist for a long time. Well, that engine mount is still fine, so my car is still purring like a kitten, and on Tuesday after work, I decided that I wasn't going to sweat it out for another summer... I mean I wasn't going to drop three hundred bones on paying someone else to fix it, but if I could fix it myself, I would happily pay for the new parts and get that shit handled. So, riding on the ego boost from my last fix, I waltzed into the auto parts store in my bright pink shirt, and the grizzled character behind the counter asked me what he could help me find as I browsed the shelves looking to pick up some WD40 while I was out.

"Hey, can I help you find something?"

"Yeah... I'm looking for some WD40 over here, but you..."

"Oh it's right ove..." He tried talking over me, but I had already grabbed a can and proceeded with completing my sentence.

"Yeah, it's right here... I was saying, while I was looking for the size I wanted, you can go ahead and pull me an A/C compressor belt and a new tension pulley wheel for my Nissan."

"OH!? ...You need a pulley wheel?"

"Yeah, and I need the belt that runs on it. Is that a problem?"

"Well, no, but how do you know that you need a pulley wheel?"

"Because I know that the one I have now is locked up, and would throw a belt... Which is why I need BOTH."

"Oh... Well, I mean do you know it's the pulley wheel that is locked up, and not one of the other wheels?"

"Well, the other wheels are attached to the drive shaft in my engine and the compressor in the A/C unit. The A/C unit wheel, I can still turn by hand with ease. And if the one attached to the engine wasn't working, my car wouldn't be getting really far, and I'd have bigger problems, wouldn't you say?"

"Oh. Yeah, I guess so."

"Was it the pink shirt that threw you?"

(Crickets chirped as he stood there dumbfounded.)

"So, about those parts..."

"Coming right up."

After this rather insulting exchange, and the bargain price of $55 bucks for the pulley wheel, the belt, and the WD40, I went home, laid down in my driveway, and fixed that shit like it was nobody's business... So now my hot ass is only hot in the best possible way.

And as I write this, it occurs to me that I have these intensely sexist and insulting types of conversations a lot lately... While I do have a problem with the remarkable frequency that I have to bitch slap a guy and put him in his place, I admit, it is kind of fun to verbally kick these guys in their teeny tiny junk, and take them all down a peg or two... It's either that, or I'm going to have to get my hair cut super short, stop shaving my legs and armpits, and make a concerted effort to embody every other insulting stereotype that would lead these fellas to believe that I'm not the delicate flower they take me for.