Dear Santa

My brother-in-law is from Fairbanks, Alaska. Yes, ALASKA Alaska. He swears that in high school, he and his classmates would respond to letters to Santa. Supposedly, any letter (with or without stamp) labeled "Santa Clause" or "North Pole" will be delivered to North Pole, Alaska (near Fairbanks) and responded to by local high schoolers.

I'm testing to see if this is still true. I labeled an envelope "Santa Clause, North Pole" (without stamp). I included the below letter that I wrote with my left hand. I'll let you know if I get "a Sponge Bob."

Merry Xmas, Oliver
Admit it, I'm getting pretty fancy with this whole blogging/internet thing.

12/29/08 - no response (does Santa exist?)


'Tis the Season

I got online to buy concert tickets today. $15 apiece for a small band at an old venue. Deal, right? Check out the itemization below:

Full Price Ticket $15.00 x 4
Total Building Facility Charge(s) $1.00 x 4
Total Convenience Charge(s) $6.50 x 4
Additional Taxes $1.04
Other Processing Charge(s) $5.30

60%+ increase in the ticket price due to all of this hogwash? Seriously!? Am I that out of touch, or is the SOB who came up with this crap in dire need of a groin shot, or five?

Shouldn't 'Building Facility' be factored in as venue overhead? Isn't it equally as convenient for the seller to automate ticket sales rather than pay someone to work in a sales booth? Could 'Other Processing' be more vague?

Having taxes as the least expensive aspect of this itemization (in Chicago of all places) really does me in. I wish good luck upon all the dumbasses buying in to this crap, as well as the d-bag who came up with these add-ons (not sure which party is worse).

Godspeed..., idiots.


Stole'd Ringtone: My Struggle

When cell phones began their boom, I hated them. I rebelled for roughly 5 years until giving in. I had come to the unfortunate realization that not having one made it incredibly inconvenient for me to not have one. For everyone else's sake, I made a sacrifice.

When polyphonic ringtones began to popularize, I hated them. I stuck with the standard-issued ring for nearly 2 years. Once the boredom overtook me, I obtained 'Somebody's Watching Me' (by Rockwell). Needless to say, the "cellular road," I've been traveling for almost a decade, continues to roughen. And the saga continues...

Currently, there's a guy who sits near me at work who has my same ringtone. Whenever his ringtone goes off, I reach for my pocket to be left with nothing but the feelings of rejection. It has begun to cause quite a large amount of a mental uproar to one of my typically mundane days. Despite him being older than me, I have been in my location for longer than he's been around. So I ask...

Is it not common courtesy to change your ringtone if someone else, who you spend the majority of your days with/near, had it first? Am I not grandfathered in? Is Rockwell ('Someboy's Watching Me') the sole, shining beacon of hope that no one else dares assign their ringtone?

Until this gentleman's ringtone changes, I'm staging a sit-in. Whenever I'm at work my phone on my desk, with ringer volume up, allowing all unidentified calls to ring freely. If you would like to contribute, please call me at work (M-F: ~8am to 5pm Central) at 309-648-1603. If you know your number is in my phone, please call on an unidentified phone, unless you want to chat.


When I Grow Up

I'm definitely certain of what I want to be when I grow up. I'm sure because my top three choices haven't changed in the last 20 years. They all have a distinct, yet similar, appeal.

1- Matador
2- Race Car Driver
3- Lumberjack

A- Required attire

B- Lifestyle
  • Unnecessarily fighting for your life against something much bigger and stronger than you. Knowing that if you are going out, it will be before your time in a blaze of gory glory. The women love that.
  • Putting someone in to the wall at 200 MPH if they cross your line... or just because they "looked at you hard." Being a cowboy of the asphalt oval. The women love that.
  • Not showering, shaving or really having anyone tell you what to do. Some women love that.
C- Compensation
  • Paella and sangria from the reverent townspeople. Glory. Roses.
  • Year's supply of any product plastered on your car. Glory. A big, shiny gold cup.
  • Pancakes, sausage and gravy 365 days a year. Glory. Being your own man.


Pun Intended

Why is it that the majority of the time when people say, "...no pun intended" it typically is intended. I've found that most of the time when it's spoken, there is ample time to change what you are thinking/saying in order to avoid said "ill-intention." By default, unfortunately, it typically makes whatever was being said funnier. In actuality, it should make something less funny... since it was "unintended."

The other day I went in to my Alderman's (Alderperson's?) office to get a parking permit. They had a small, informative posting on their wall containing "no pun intended." That phrase was the first thing my eyes focused on, as they rolled. Since the [Gay] Pride Parade was coming up, which is partially contained within the 32nd ward, they posted the parade route.

An excerpt from the posting: "...it will then head East, then continue straight (no pun intended) to..." On top of being tacky and childishly idiotic, it was a lie. If one took the time to type this, and thus have the ability to change it, how was there no pun intended? Someone took the time to think of, type out, chuckle under their breath at seeing their dumb-ass "joke" in print, print it, and then hang it on the wall. Tell me where throughout that process, was that lame comment unintentional?

1- get some class
2- you're a dumb-shit (pun INTENDED)


What do You Outsource?

Since I'm big on efficiency and the laze faire ideology of economics, outsourcing has always interested me. It became more than just a buzz word, when a rumor circulated that my job may get outsourced. I've since accepted a new job, yet the the rumor (...for now) still runs rampid.

Despite all of this, I still hold true to letting 'the invisible hand' guide. For reason of exemplifying why outsourcing is good, I've taken a vow to move towards outsourcing as little as possible in my personal life. How can one outsource their life? There are MANY things that you do everyday, which cause you to outsource your life, and you don't even realize it. Maybe I should first define "outsourcing your life." It's simply, paying other people to do for you what you could do for yourself.

Much like a company that chooses to not do things in-house, what does one pay people to on a daily basis, as opposed to how one can do this themself?

- go out to a restaurant/prepare dinner yourself
- swing through a car wash/use some elbow grease
- buy a CD/learn to play an instrument
- purchase transportation (gas; train)/ move yourself (bike)
- go to the grocery store/plant a garden; bake; hunt
- visit a cleaners or tailor/mend your own clothes
- buy beer/home brew
- see a movie/perform a play with friends
- buy matches or lighter/rub together sticks
- purchase electricity/generate your own

While most of it an extreme, the above is to give an idea of how much we outsource. In your current situation, would it be realistic to do all or even the majority of the above? Probably not.

These specialized skill sets are why people have different jobs. It's what they specialize in and are more efficient than most in doing such. Thus, saving us time and money. Just like company outsourcing, send work to those who are good at it and who can do it cheaper than you could on your own. It's simply more efficient in relation to time and money.


So I guess I'm Weird

I just had the most horrific mind-fuck of my life, which in roundabout way was self-inflicted. As some of you may know, I’ve been in the application process for the CPD for almost 2 years now (Bureaucracy in Chicago? Says who!?). Since mid-2006, I’ve been tested in more ways than I knew necessary.

This morning’s “test” was a personal meeting with a doctor based off a previous written psychological exam… and it SUCKED. It has made me anxious, self-conscious and given a weird mix of emotions which I have never experienced before. Basically, after filling out Scantron after Scantron a few weeks prior, the psyc company highlighted “important” or “questionable” responses for each psychologist to delve further in to.

For example, one of the written exam questions was: “Are you currently irritated?”
My answer at the time: “Yes.”
This is a great example of one of the many questions during the 40 minute meeting. It was meant to bring out some deep-seeded, internal frustration of the world around me.

He delved with this leading question, “So why do you think that you feel irritated?”
I responded too honestly for him with, “I don’t feel irritated now; I did.”
“The question was very black-and-white, but yes, I was irritated.”
He opened the floodgates with, “Please, explain.”
“Well, I think because it was St. Patrick’s Day in Chicago, it was my sister’s birthday party, I was told this written test would take 2 hours maximum and I had been there for 2 hours already (it ended up being over 4 hours total), and there were 5 Scantron sheets in front of me with 1,000 empty bubbles to fill. But on a scale of 0 to irritated, I was only about a 2.”
With a stone-faced look and pursed lips, he glanced away from the computer screen and stated, “There were actually 1,129 Scantron bubbles that you filled in… Next question.”

I was now stone-faced myself but began to wonder why the doctor pursued a career involving such blatant honesty when he couldn’t take it himself. I had just insulted his test. Well, he probably did not come up with it, but it had been something he had based years of post-graduate education around, and I was insulting it. I mean, SHIT, I get irritated when my shoe comes untied more than once per day.

His next question, “Have you ever done anything illegal?”
I came off a bit too solemnly with, “Yes… I actually did this morning.”
He perked up in his chair ready for the juice. He wanted to burn me. He was out to get me. He wanted to make sure I never got to be a CPD. “Examples,” he said a little too emphatically.
“I crossed the street before I got the ‘Walk’ signal, and honestly, I probably speed everyday to work, if there’s not too much traffic.”
“Is there anything else that you wanted to tell me?” As if I was holding back a murder or drug trafficking scheme that I committed last weekend.

The entire meeting made me feel like I was abnormal and needed help. Like each of my responses had some childhood trauma somewhere hidden within. Like I should personally schedule time with this office outside of any reason why I was there in the first place. I have always been indifferent towards psychologists, due to lack of interaction with them. However, this experience has left a bad impression on me. Not to berate the career completely, but I feel their jobs are justified only by making you feel like you are abnormal and need to return. It reminds me of a chiropractor or reflexologist – you’re always the worst case they’ve ever seen and they are surprised you made it this far. Maybe I should’ve told him that… maybe it would’ve gotten me just one smile.


Spreads Lame? Yes.

In the simplest way I can put it: 'Spread Betting' is a sad excuse for actual betting. While betting on a spread is gambling, you must admit that it's pretty lame.

Spread betting is:

1) Betting if the analyst, who formulated the spread, is correct in their calculation. Therefore, you're more or less betting on Sports Center analysts who yell like toddlers over highlight reels for a living, when in actuality they are 40+.

2) Betting that one would win even if their team loses. This gives a quantifiable value to one's team by which they could lose, yet still come out victorious. ("Your team is 13 points better than mine, but definitely NOT 14." Rather than, "Bet my team will beat yours.")

Handicap? Yes. Lame? Yes.



Here's my blog.

Friends recommended that I start one. I initially responded, "Heck, why didn't I think of that?!" At the point of actually creating it I did a complete 180: "If my friends want to know what I think, I'd rather talk to them about it directly rather than through a blog." Even the name 'blog' is stupid.

BLOG. Shouldn't it be 'elog?' It doesn't roll off the tongue as well but at least it's accurate. I Wikied 'blog' just to check; it stands for 'web log.' LAME... we'll stick with elog. (I think I like it because the word is my favorite toy jumbled around a bit - Lego. Well, it'd have to be Legos. Playing with one lego would be lame. About as lame as the word 'blog.')

Finally, I thought, "What the hell, you know?" So here is my elog. Ta-da!

I could just delete it though...