Thursday, July 31, 2008

Five Easy Pieces of Meat

From Tart's Five Pieces of Meat, I offer my savory selections.

The rules, as laid out by Tracy, who actually tagged me originally and I just noticed. (Sorry, I don't get out as much these days due to work.)

"What five famous people would you want listed in the contract that your significant other had to forgive you if, you know, you just happened to meet them and you just happened to hit it off and they just happened to express interest in some hot, shallow monkey sex?"

Last Friday I promised to do this by Saturday afternoon. I don't believe I specified which Saturday though. (Hey, life is busy these days!)

I was wondering about one thing. To keep the playing field level, should I only select famous people who are gay, or just wing it on the off-chance that somebody I think is hot doesn't mind playing for the other team on occasion. There's a LOT of those guys out there you know!

OK, we'll go with that option. Besides, Alan Cumming really isn't my type.

1. Randy Harrison

I don't normally go for blondes. In fact I got burned by too many of 'em but I never resisted the temptation to bed down for the night when one stroked struck my fancy. If he never wandered my way, I'd even take his slut co-star in Queer as Folk:

2. Gale Harold

This rendezvous would get raunchy. That's pretty obvious. And I'm not sure I'd have the stamina for such an obvious all-nighter. But I'd give it my best shot.

3. Johnny Depp

I've had the hots from him since WAAAAYY back in the 80s. Not much has changed since then. He caught txrad's eye in 21 Jump Street and I was aware of the show at the time but not sure I ever watched it. Deep DEPP got me with A Nightmare on Elm Street and Private Resort, pretty much simultaneously. In the latter I seem to recall him sliding naked down a soap-slicked vinyl floor or something. That's exactly how konagod likes to do it.

4. Shaun White

Damn, this Olympic snowboarder is looking better and better. Imagine having sex with a guy wearing gold medals around his neck. Life could be worse. I can imagine our hair getting all tangled up during various positions and then having to cut the knots out after sex.

5. Jack White

I thought about including Rufus Wainwright and Jack Johnson. Consider them runners-up. (There are a lot of runners-up; Brad Pitt, are you listening?) But I had to get a musician in the mix here and I can't think of a finer candidate for a night of hot konasex than Jack White --- a man who has been in the presence of Loretta Lynn!

Sorry Meg, you can only watch. I might let you tape it.

Just Say No to the Short Suit

There were many things in the New York Times which caught my attention this morning. So let's start with the United Nations turning up the thermostat to a sultry 77 degrees. Oh, the horror.

If my office was 77 I'd probably be having chills. Of course, I'm not wearing a stupid suit.
To help speed the transition, “there is going to a be a relaxing of the dress protocols,” said Mr. Adlerstein, which in nondiplomatic terms means he jettisoned his coat and tie for the news conference. There are serious doubts that will fly.

“People walking around without jackets on are not taken seriously” said one man from an organization that promotes renewable energy. “You have to follow protocol.”

What if Mr. Ban sets the example by removing his own tie, as his office said he would?

“Then the protocol will change,” the man said.

Screw "the man." And screw this insane "protocol." Who gives a rat's ass? Maybe they should actually get some work done instead of following protocol.

What's more important, superficial protocol or significantly reducing your carbon footprint and saving a hundred grand?
The building’s carbon dioxide emissions are expected to drop by an estimated 300 tons, and costs are expected to decrease by $100,000, according to Michael Adlerstein, who announced the experiment on Wednesday and who will oversee building renovations. He said savings could reach $1 million annually if the United Nations mandated temperature changes year round.

It's no secret that I despise dress codes, and business suits do not elevate a person's professional stature in my opinion. But I would never advocate a trend toward the "short suit." This is just bad on so many levels. This isn't even casual; it's like a casual Friday anxiety dream. What are they thinking and who is coming up with these ridiculous trends?

This outlandish pervsion gets worse...


Make it stop. NO black socks!!

Not (what? A typo in the New York Times??) a few designers are pushing men to expose more of the bodies that they have spent so much time perfecting at the gym. “We have all these self-imposed restrictions” about our dress, said Ben Clawson, the sales director for the designer Michael Bastian. “As men’s wear continues to evolve and becomes a little more casual without becoming grungy, it’s not impossible anymore to be dressed up in shorts.”

You, Mr. Clawson, need your head examined.

But if people want to look stupid and follow your lead, that's their business. But I will say this: there is no greater abomination on the planet than the contrast of a business suit from the waist up, and ugly shorts from the waist down.

Case closed.

I'm thinking I need to add a "bad taste" post label.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

MY Top 20 Albums of All Time

Fuck these stupid music geeks and their formulas and whatever. Here are MY top 20 albums of all time, and in no certain order, because how can you identify one as being the best above all the rest?

And I will confess there are PLENTY of top-notch albums I've never heard so forgive me for excluding those.

Lastly, even with me, some of the laggards are subject to displacement as soon as I hear something better, from the future or the past.

Now that I had laid out the rules, here we go:

Black Sabbath: Paranoid
David Bowie: Ziggy Stardust
Blondie: Plastic Letters
Alice Cooper: Love It to Death
The Damned: Machine Gun Etiquette
The Doors: LA Woman
Gang of Four: Entertainment.
Kate Bush: The Kick Inside
Jimi Hendrix: Are You Experienced
Janis Joplin: Pearl
Led Zeppelin: III
Missing Persons: Spring Session M (The drummer kicks ass)
Joni Mitchell: Ladies of the Canyon
Talking Heads: Fear of Music
The Waitresses: Wasn't Tomorrow Wonderful?
The Who: Who's Next
Wire: Pink Flag
Bob Dylan: Blood on the Tracks*
Toshiko Akiyoshi: Desert Lady/Fantasy
John Coltrane: Giant Steps
Eric Dolphy: Out to Lunch
Miles Davis: Bitches Brew
Rachelle Ferrell: First Instrument
Ella Fitzgerald: Sings the Duke Ellington Songbook

Shit, I'm up to 24 already. See how hard this is?

And the reason most of the black foks are at the end of the list is because I started with my LPs, and then the CDs on a shelf, and finally with the jazz CDs on a rack.

Honestly, I'd put that Ella CD right up there at the top. And I didn't even include Billie Holiday. She needs to be in there.

Why the FUCK wasn't the Who included in that earlier top 20? Bogus fucks.

*Pick your own favorite Dylan; I won't argue.

#1: Songs in the Key of Life?

It's kind of ironic that I've been posting music videos all week of the Black Keys and using the post title as a twist on Stevie Wonder's album from 1976. That album is ranked #1 album of all times in a post of the The Top 20 Albums of All Time at the Y! Music Playlist Blog.

Question of the Day: How many of these albums do you currently own (or have owned previously)?

I can't believe I've never owned Dark Side of the Moon (#2). My highest ranking album of ownership is:

#4. Physical Graffiti - Led Zeppelin, followed by:

#5. Abbey Road - The Beatles
#6. Led Zeppelin IV - Led Zeppelin
#7. The White Album - The Beatles
#9. Led Zeppelin - Led Zeppelin
#10. Metallica - Metallica
#11. The Joshua Tree - U2
#13. Rumours - Fleetwood Mac
#14. Van Halen - Van Halen
#17. Houses Of The Holy - Led Zeppelin

This top 20 list might be a tad top-heavy with Zeppelin. A more important question might be: What's missing from the list?

I'm kind of surprised the Doors didn't make the cut. But The Cult's Electric definitely should have been in the top 20.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Songs in the Black Key of Death


This ain't no Blue Oyster Cult reference!

Christ on a Cheez-It®

If you were watching Countdown with Keith Olbermann's story about the woman who found a Jesus figure on a cross in a bag on cheese snacks and named it Cheesus, to much laughter in the studio, well... that was not terribly original. At least not the name.

Coming soon: The Gouda Buddha! I'm waiting to scarf that puppy down!

But a Mount Rushmore Cheez-It® has some bragging rights!

Is that really Mount Rushmore or a cheese sculpture of the band Deep Purple circa 2005? It could be circa 1970 except for that receding hairline guy in front. Let's see. ... Who would that be in the band?

This all makes me rather happy I have a real job.

Just remember: Jesus Loves You. And He doesn't vote.

At Least Ozzie is Off the Hook

Neither Black Sabbath nor Judas Priest have to take the heat for the actions of the Knoxville bigot who shot up a church. There was nothing subliminal at work here.
A man who the police say entered a Unitarian Universalist church in Knoxville, Tenn., on Sunday and shot eight people, killing two, was motivated by a hatred for liberals and gay people, Chief Sterling P. Owen IV of the Knoxville Police Department said Monday.

Why aren't Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, and Bill O being questioned?

Water Conservation Part 1

I'm going to be conducting a test to see how much I can reduce our monthly water consumption. Between June 11 and July 14 we consumed 3,400 gallons of water. Our water bill is only $10.61 for that amount so it's not as as though this is a high priority from a financial standpoint. I just know we waste a lot of water.

I'd like to keep a large bucket near the shower and use that to capture the water I waste while waiting on the warm water to make its way from the water heater at the other end of the house. That could be used for watering plants. I'd probably need several buckets though and that's not going to make a huge dent in that 3,400 gallons per month.

Another step I've already taken is to shut the water flow down to a trickle while I'm showering, shampooing, lathering up, and scrubbing. I suspect over the course of a month that should make some impact given the amount of time I spend tending to my mane.

We shall see. I should have data available around the 3rd week of August.

Monday, July 28, 2008

We Are Descended From Apes

Sorry, but them's the facts.

Another conversation just overheard at kona ranch.

txrad: Why don't you zip up your pants and stop playing with yourself?

konagod: Why? Is it a problem? There's no neighbors looking in. There's no one here but us. Is it a problem for you? Do you think I'd have a problem if you were wearing torn jeans with your dick hanging out?

txrad: You look like a monkey. Uh uh uh uh uh....

konagod: Well, I like to keep things loose down there. If I don't keep things limber and loose, pretty soon my dick is sticking to my balls, and my balls are sticking to my legs. I gotta keep things all loose and breathing.

It's a Texas summer. Shit.

Do women have any similar problems? Or is this just a male thing?

Consider that a Question of the Day.

My shorts are unzipped again.

It's Not Ageism; It's a Simple Fact

A conversation just overheard at kona ranch.

txrad: I hate to sound ageist, but McCain sounds like an old man who doesn't know what he's talking about.

konagod: That's not ageism, that's just a fact.

He is a politician, a liar, a deceitful manipulator, and an untrustworthy individual.

He is an older guy, but that's beside the point.

Now if he were senile, that would be a different story.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Every Picture Tells a Story Don't It?

Photo credit: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

As teenagers’ scores on standardized reading tests have declined or stagnated, some argue that the hours spent prowling the Internet are the enemy of reading — diminishing literacy, wrecking attention spans and destroying a precious common culture that exists only through the reading of books.

But others say the Internet has created a new kind of reading, one that schools and society should not discount. The Web inspires a teenager like Nadia, who might otherwise spend most of her leisure time watching television, to read and write.

Photo credit: Nicole Bengiveno/The New York Times

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Songs in the Black Key of Life

One good tune deserves another.

I almost like him better with the woolly beard. Although he's hot in this video, I prefer to leave sexual attraction out of the musical equation.

Yeah, right.

God, I Love Texas

Before you think I'm drunk, or that I've flipped out and joined the Republican Party, let me assure you neither scenario is true. It's just that I've been doing some research.

Those of you who have followed this blog closely for the past year or so probably remember a post here and there about credit card debts which happen to be delinquent and have tarnished my once stellar credit rating. Since I am embarking upon another post on the subject, I want to review a few facts so nobody thinks I'm one of the people who ran out and bought too many shoes, or a Ferrari, and now refuses to face the music.

Prior to starting my own company in 2004, my credit was impeccable. Back in the 80s I did clearly live beyond my means which wasn't hard to do considering my means at the time were a string of unsteady cashier jobs in university bookstores, or whatever. By the time I "grew up" and got a job as a data entry clerk in 1991 at an advertising agency, I was probably swimming in $30,000 credit card debt. I wasn't behind on payments, but I was certainly struggling. I'm sure my mother was helping fill in any financial gaps which is why I was able to make minimum payments.

My data entry job in advertising quickly turned into a career after a few shorts months and soon I was making a $22,000 salary instead of $18,000, and not long after that, it climbed by another few thousand. It seemed to take forever but I eventually paid off that credit card debt.

For the sake of brevity, I'm leaving out a few details -- like the time I had nearly paid everything off and then fell off the wagon and started spending again. But with a higher salary it was easier to pay it off quicker.

I still cursed myself by buying things I didn't necessarily need. And even though I got the credit card spending under control, that didn't stop me from buying a BMW 330i in 2001, nor did it stop me from trading it in for a 2003 model because I didn't like the sound system in the 2001 model!

What's important here is that I accepted my problem, my taste for quality goods and services, and I paid my debts. They were my personal obligation.

Things were great in 2004 when I started my own agency after being approached by a client who wanted to do business with me. It was a busy year and I was happy I had finally done the ultimate. I utilized my experiences in the ad biz and went out solo. By 2005 I had paid off the car loan and my only credit card bills were being paid in full each month.

Unfortunately, this great big-spending client was starting to spend less and less. I had essentially taught them what they needed to know (or so they thought) for them to begin easing the purchase of television advertising time into their own business, thus cutting me out of the picture.

They were not my only client, but they were the only one that made the venture remotely profitable. And I use the term profitable very loosely. It paid a meager salary for myself and txrad which combined was probably not much above the average household income in Austin.

This other client was a chronic late payer. I was having to purchase the media for him, and wait sometimes 6 weeks or longer to be paid for it. This goes against the mantra in this business which is CASH IN ADVANCE. Anyone who deviates from that policy will sooner or later face a calamity. But he wasn't the actual client; he was just a middleman between me and the client who was advertising the product. And his arrangement with the client was 30-day net terms, not CIA. And that's all he could offer me, and because I was desperate to keep any business, I went along with it, all the while hoping another big piece of business would come through the door. There were a lot of decent leads over the course of a year but none of them came to fruition.

I was also engaging in some highly risky behavior involving what is known in the business as a "pay per inquiry." It was important to have a variety of media inventory on hand for the current client(s) but they were not obligated to approve it. And often, they might approve it and then disapprove it just a few days before it was scheduled to go on air. In that scenario, I have two choices: let it air and not be paid by the client, or tell the station I can't air it and therefore will not be paying for it. Neither option is very good if you plan to keep a viable agency up and running. The stations could get pissed off if this becomes a trend and they won't agree to work with you in the future. Because they have to resell the time, close-in, usually at a loss because it's what's known as a "firesale."

I didn't want to turn this post into an advertising seminar so let me just say I was between a rock and a hard place very often. My way out was to keep the time period and offer it to another agency as a "pay per inquiry." They agree to pay me a fixed amount for each lead generated and I have to hope like hell it's enough to cover what I paid for the time period. Sometimes they would pay out quite well. It's too bad I wasn't keeping closer tabs on this because the majority of the time they weren't paying shit.

Now you may be wondering how I was funding all of this, paying our salaries (which I had now cut about 30%) coupled with a client's increasingly delinquent payment schedule. My agency was a class C corporation. I specifically formed it as a corporation to protect my personal interests against any number of nasty things that might happen when you are in a business situation with other clients. Again, sooner or later, somebody gets sued for something. It happens all the time in this business.

My solution to funding my business was to apply for company credit cards, and you can imagine I was getting a lot of offers in the mail. $20,000 credit limits were being dangled in my face by various banks and I took them up on the offer, often applying for the cards online. One of my big mistakes was assuming that the corporation was solely responsible for those debts since the corporation is a legal separate entity from konagod. A big hint to those still reading: read the fine print. And who reads fine print, especially when doing something online? I needed money and fast.

This went on for many months and by 2006 I had not only cash advanced every dime I could get from the "company" credit cards, I had begun getting large cash advances on my own credit cards (and one of txrad's) to loan the company. Once in awhile, we'd have a good spurt of luck, the client would send a check for $5,000, maybe another $5,000 the following week, and I was able to make some minimum payments on the cards and still fund the company. During the last quarter of 2006 I think I could see the writing on the wall and I began having the company pay back as much as it could afford on the loans I had made on my personal credit cards, but there simply wasn't enough coming in.

From November through December of 2006 not a penny came through the doors of our agency. And I had stopped paying our salary as of mid-November. The client told me his partner had disappeared and cleaned out their joint business bank account. This did not bode well for us. I was in denial through the holidays and into New Year's Day. But I distinctly remember waking up on the morning of January 2, 2007 and saying to myself, "this company is done and we are fucked."

I had not been able to make payments on the corporate credit cards, and any amount I had been able to pay was probably at the expense of another. And here I was holding about $40,000 in debt on my personal cards which I had to stop paying because we had no income.

The next two weeks were spent trying to piece things together and wondering what to do next. By the middle of the month, I had received a tip from a friend who worked at a large ad agency in town that they were looking for someone to work on an account, basically doing what I had been doing on my own, except I wouldn't need to worry about the accounting nightmares, I wouldn't be paying the bills, and they would pay my salary! So off I went to interview.

As you might suspect, this is the job I had from January 29 until I was laid off on December 21, placing advertising for that large telecommunications giant which I shall not name. It paid well and I thought I could at least make payments on my personal credit cards which had piled up so much debt from my loans to my agency.

It was a "temporary" position, not a permanent job, so I had no benefits, vacation accrual, or any of the regular perks. Just a great hourly wage. I didn't know if it would last 3 months or 3 years but I was thankful to have it.

I made minimum payments on those credit cards for 2 or 3 months until I got a call one day from a representative of a bank which had issued one of the corporate cards. She wanted to know when I was going to pay it and I informed her the company had basically had to shut down and I wasn't sure when or if it would be up and running again. I told her it could end up in bankruptcy if I could not collect the past-due funds from the deadbeat client.

Then she dropped a bomb on me. She said, "you are personally responsible for this debt" as indicated in the cardholder agreement....fine print...blah blah blah....

I was going into a daze. Here I was thinking my personal debt was "only" around $40,000 when in fact, if what she was saying was true, it was far worse. And this time I would not be able to pay my way out of it. I contacted another financial expert ex-colleague who confirmed that was probably the situation with each of the "company" credit cards.

So here I was, a guy who had always paid his debts in order to maintain a trophy credit rating, facing the obvious. I wasn't sure what I was going to do but in the meantime I decided to stop paying the minimum payments on those personal card balances. I figured if I'm liable for all of them, I have to look at it as one massive debt that I cannot pay right now. No sense in trying. I made this decision last August. We are approaching the one year anniversary of our delinquency.

Something else happened last August to cement that decision. That's when I learned the telecommunications giant put the media account up for review, meaning it was probably going to depart by the end of 2007. Money that would have gone to the credit cards began going into my savings account. And honestly, I do not feel guilty for doing this. I have to look after konagod and txrad first.

Shit hit the fan at the end of the year. txrad (who had also become employed at the same agency with full benefits in March of 2007) was laid off in November. I was laid off in December. I was hoping this was all just a big misunderstanding and the client would come back with their tail between their legs and we'd get hired back again.

I had saved up enough money in those 5 months to not be concerned about the immediate future. We could coast for awhile until we found the right jobs, and we were collecting unemployment. I began hearing rumors in February that I might get hired back to work on a different media campaign if it came to fruition as expected in March. But this kept getting delayed. March became April, April became May, and then maybe it would happen in June or July. Or not at all.

It gave me enough hope for the future that I felt comfortable spending our nest egg on home improvements: the new roof, windows, and painting. Because if the job didn't materialize, we'd probably need to sell the house and move. And yes, I could have split that money up and paid each of the credit cards a fraction of what I owed them. However, a new roof was essential and honestly the windows were maybe a year away from essential, and who knows if I would qualify for credit to borrow the money to pay for that project. Logic dictated I spend the cash and get it done.

Meanwhile a different position opened up at the agency in May -- the one I took and started on May 12. The pay was far less than I have usually made when in the employment of others. It barely covered the most basic monthly expenses we have. And txrad is still unemployed. Needless to say, this is why I felt I had no choice but to take the job I accepted and started on Monday of this week. It covers all our overhead (which is a HUGE relief) but very little more.

Could I afford now to start paying $500 a month on the credit debt? Probably.

But here are a few reasons why I'm not (yet anyway). It would take 25 years to pay off the debt at that rate. I'd be paying it off when I'm 73. And something about that idea makes me extremely angry. Angry enough to write a blog post this fucking long.

This is all tied in with a corporation and a lot of bad stupid decisions by a corporate executive and a bad decision by konagod to loan the corporation money. This is far different from me personally going out and racking up a $10,000 credit card debt on a much-needed vacation and a few trips to the Crate & Barrel.

Besides, why should I pay through the nose for bad corporate decisions when I see corporate executives at many Fortune 500 companies basically getting by with bloody murder and often getting dismissed with a nice severance package. They get in their 750il and cruise on home to their mansion in Westchester County.

So, I may have digressed a bit from the title of this post. Why is it exactly that I suddenly love Texas?

One of my biggest concerns is that one of these banks is going to sue me and garnish my wages. And instead of having a job that covers my overhead, I'm back in the same leaky boat I've been in for the past 3 years. I suppose I can cast aside that worry.

The Texas Constitution prohibits garnishment of wages for payment of debts. Certain property in Texas is also exempt from collection in an effort to satisfy debt. Our house cannot be taken, my car cannot be taken as long as I only have one, my IRA account cannot be seized. I'm sure there's not much else of value around here that could be seized. No diamond necklaces, no speed boats or yachts that I can see, they can't seize the four shirts I bought today from Goodwill for $21.61 nor can they seize my cats. And as long as I don't have more than 120 chickens, they can't touch those either.

And this does not make me a bad person. If I had an extra $170,000 sitting around here in a shoebox perhaps, I'd more than gladly pay those debts, and take the tax-deduction for my personal losses on the loans to my company. It'd be worth it to get these annoying fucks to stop calling my cellphone 18 times a day. Which, by the way, I could put a stop to when I'm so inclined.

And they have started calling the phone I had put in just barely a week ago for business. That IS going to stop.

I could put a stop to them mailing me letters as well. But I don't care about that. And really I don't care if they keep pinging my cellphone. I don't want them to feel like I'm completely unreachable because that's when they might decide to speed up the legal action.

In the meantime, I also learned today that Texas has a 4 year statute of limitations on legal action related to such debt. After four years of delinquency, they can't sue you. I have three left.

Unfortunately, you can bet your ass those banks are aware of Texas law. Whether they want to incur the cost to sue me remains to be seen. They are more than welcome to have these 4 four-drawer filing cabinets filled with old agency paperwork.

If they are wise, they'll just wait until (and if) I have the means to pay them. The last three years have been tough. The next three might be tougher for all of us, and them.

Were We Throwing Spaghetti Around Or....What?

Reader Advisory: This post is pretty gross and explicit. Unless you ever seriously considered becoming a doctor or a vet you might want to stop here.

I use plastic bags for scooping and disposing of cat litter. Last week I scooped both boxes and deposited the litter into the bags. I keep one bag inside another just in case there's a rip or something. I tie a knot in the first bag and then tie a knot in the second bag before taking it to the dumpster.

Last week I forgot to take the bag out. It was still sitting in the small plastic bucket which helps keep the bags open since I fold the bags over the edge of the bucket. I needed to clean the litter boxes this morning and I decided to pry open the bags and continue filling those rather than use new bags.

I gently pried open the knot in the top bag and then began working on the inner bag. I noticed what appeared to be a rubber band tangled up in the knot. I thought that was strange since I don't use those to secure the bags shut. As I got the knot untied I pulled at the thing and it actually wasn't a loop like a rubber band would be. I thought it was a piece of spaghetti. Then my brain began to kick into action.

If it really was a wayward string of pasta it would probably have been dry and brittle and would easily break. It was quite limber. This was going through my brain as I was holding the end of it. I quickly dropped it into the pre-existing litter and began scooping fresh litter out of the boxes and into the bucket, trying very hard to cover that thing up as quickly as possible so I wouldn't have to see it.

I took the bag out to the dumpster, this time holding it in my left hand which was the pasta hand, so that I'd use a relatively clean hand on the door knobs. Then I went to wash my hands.

I don't know what the hell it was but I have a feeling it was gross. (And I refuse to use the "T" word on this blog.) Did it crawl out of a turd and try to escape through the knot?

I need to think about something else. Like what's for lunch. See you all later.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Ceiling Fans Rock

Black Keys.... is that the same as my B♭butt harp?

Live Theatre is Inefficient

I am about to make a lot of enemies if txrad's reaction to my comment is any indication.

We were talking about Mamma Mia being made into a movie. We saw the stage performance and were not THAT impressed. Then I said, "Well, a film version could be better because you get quality actors and you have the control and perfection of editing."

I continued by saying I have little use for stage productions involving live actors because I feel it's inefficient. You have live humans doing something night after night, with inevitable variations in quality, when you could make a film and control the quality via multiple takes and editing.

txrad was hyperventilating with anger. He was Conrad Birdie in a production back in college or high school or something, and he loves the live performance. And he was in Kiss Me Kate in college.

I will stand by my claim that it's still inefficient. Everyone can have an off-performance. Not every show is equal. There's potential for huge fuck ups and who wants to pay money to see that?

I feel the same way about live (recorded live) recordings. Yes, those are a bit more controlled because they can pick and choose what to include on a recording, but I still prefer NOT hearing the roar of the crowd. I love the controlled meticulous studio productions to guarantee quality, or in some cases what they perceive to be quality -- let the buyers beware judge for themselves.

Anyway, txrad said, "you haven't done any theatre work."

I said, "Yes I have; I did some when I was taking a theatre class in college, and it's not efficient."

So, we are at an impasse. I like to spend my money on something solid. Guaranteed.

If I'm going to be exposed to possible gaffes and/or other huge fuck-ups, I don't really want to spend money until after the fact, much like tipping a waitron.

Am I wrong?



I went to tell txrad about this post and our discussion went as follows:

txrad: Did you tell them that we got free tickets and we didn't actually pay for them?

konagod: No, I didn't.

txrad: Because I never would have paid to see that show.

konagod: You just proved my point! Whooooo hooooo.

txrad went storming into the house. I don't get it.

But damn, it sure feels good to be right.

Friday Pussy Blog: The Feline Supervisor Edition

We've lived here almost 11 years and Tiger just showed up shortly after we moved in and has never left since. He's never been in the house until last night. He's never even acted like he wanted to. But last night he just barged right on in as if to say, "I think I'm just gonna go in and have a look around."

He was checking out the office and I don't think the other cats ever knew he was in here. But with me running around trying to take pictures, I think he was ready to get the hell out. "Too cluttered in there anyway," he muttered to himself.

Heading for the exit.

This morning at work, Sissy decided she needed to see what was going on. This met with a quick disapproving eye from the office supervisor... the man in orange. And that DOS looking shit you see on the right is my work station...

Later on, I spotted a loaf in the den. Tot Loaf: It's What's for Dinner.

And speaking of dinner, how would you like to come home to this frenzy each and every day?

Video via blueberry at Texas Oasis.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

The Rains Came

We had 1.4 inches of rain in the last 24 hours thanks to Hurricane Bertha (?) Betty (?) (where's Hurricane Bitty??) -- I've been too busy to pay much attention, but anyway, the snails have reappeared suddenly.

One question: How in the hell do these things maintain their moisture during the 2 months of drought we've had?

And it's raining again as I write this post.

Click this one to embiggen if you feel so inclined. (I know some of you do, Bob and Jennifer.)

txrad and I were out on the patio overlooking kona ranch and I noticed this snail. It's one of the bigger ones we've seen. I jokingly referred to it as a "large snot" to borrow from the late beloved George Carlin.

txrad wanted to vomit.

He was faking it. I know he loves these things as much as I do.

Gonna Make a Mistake, Gonna Do It On Purpose

Day #4 of a new job has just ended. It was a better day than yesterday. It HAD to be. Otherwise I was on the verge of doing something which would probably have been a huge mistake.

I awoke around 1:30 this morning after horrible anxiety dreams involving media software and Excel (not uncommon for me) and then had trouble sleeping the rest of the night. When I did there were even more anxiety dreams. Horrible stuff.

It's probably natural to have anxiety when changing jobs, but I think it's probably more acute when you are leaving a job you love for something you think you'll just like, if you're lucky. But I'm coming around. I actually got a lot more comfortable today dealing with the subject matter of yesterday's post. It's just a matter of memorizing when to hit F4, F1, B for one function, R for another, and the all-important Q for Quit.

I was about ready hit Q when I rolled out of bed this morning. It's getting better though. And tomorrow is Friday.

The reality is that, despite the technology hurdles, there's a real opportunity in my new position for growth and that is something that isn't always guaranteed for someone who has been at it in the same industry for as long as I have. New learning experiences are also on the horizon.

I just need to calm the fuck down and get through the first week or two of adjustment. That's always hard and throwing in the towel seems like an easy way out. Last night I was so frustrated I was ready to waltz back into my old job. That would have been a mistake. And I've made enough of those already. It's not so much the job I miss as the software. (Yes, I'm a software snob!) I need to get over it. I'm among old friends and simply need to adapt.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Square Wheels on a Gravel Road

I know there is some consternation among some of you (Bob) that I'm working from home and not posting enough. But you need to understand the full picture.

I have been transported back to an era similar to the dark ages 1980s technologically (anyone remember DOS????) and I just have to deal with it, despite the heart palpitations and carpel tunnel syndrome.

In a nutshell, this is my new life.

Apparently I'm in dire need of a "road made up of inverted catenaries."

Can someone get me one of those? Immediately!

To Surge and Protect

After a grueling day at work, I can hardly hold down my white wine while watching McCain talking about the pre-surge surge that worked before the so-called "surge" worked.

Surge rhymes with purge.

Remember that.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Running Man

You know, I consider myself to be a busy person, especially these days with my new job. Hell, I was busy before I took this new job. But never, EVER, in my life have I been so busy that I needed a headset that worked at this speed:

Pardon the flash reflection, but you get the idea. This was included with the shipment of my new office phone and it makes me want to puke.

If you can't manage your time, then you have a problem.

If you have to run while talking on the phone, then you have a problem.

Deal with your problem FIRST, and then pick out your phone.

That's my suggestion. Fucking stupid ads.

As for me, I'll continue to work FAST, while sitting on my ass.

No running necessary. Thank you very much.

Monday, July 21, 2008

10.75 Hours

That's what I logged on my first day at the new jobbie. Hence, no posting. I don't even have a fucking clue what's going on out there in the world today.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

5 Years

Sometimes things I post on this blog are relevant to me only, and this may be one of those times.

My brain hurts a lot.


What a relief it is to know I don't have to get dressed and drive to the office on Monday morning. The office is now here.

I got my work PC set up on Thursday evening and this afternoon I decided to set up the "all-in-one" printer, fax, scanner, copier.

Oops. I guess I won't be doing any scanning.

In fact, I won't be using the thing at all. There's probably bits of glass in the other operational mechanisms. I didn't break it. It obviously got some rough treatment during shipping.

Oh well. At least I have another all-in-one device here I can use in the meantime. Work shall commence on schedule Monday morning.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

I Love Red-Headed Singer-Songwriters

Even if they drink Lite beer.

Netroots? Nah, We're Going to a Chicken Seminar

I can't imagine being cramped in a convention center all weekend attending the Netroots Nation conference. Here at the kona ranch we wish them all the best. However, we headed out at 9:00 this morning to attend a seminar at the Natural Gardener nursery on creating a backyard habitat for chickens.

It was very interesting and included tips for stealth chicken operations to help you avoid irking your neighbors, or offending local neighborhood regulations which often frown upon homeowners keeping backyard chickens. (Avoid owning roosters.) Such regulations are ridiculous anyway since I'm not aware of any regulations against keeping dogs which can be among the noisiest animals around. And we learned that dogs love to kill chickens unless they are trained to co-exist. Beasts!

The Natural Gardener is just a few minutes from our house and it's always a relaxing retreat. And I usually leave with some idea for a project I want to do to beautify our own place. Like this round elevated planter made of local stones.

There were probably 150-200 people attending this seminar which surprised me. I really wasn't close enough to see the speaker so I tended to wander around snapping pictures and listening. I heard some fowl activity in some nearby shrubs and found a rooster lurking.

There was also some clever marketing woven into the seminar. Someone builds and sells this chicken "stage coach" for housing your hens and protecting them from predators such as skunks, which apparently have a taste for chicken blood -- preferably after popping off their heads.

The stage coach has a built-in two-seater area where the hens can lay their eggs, and there's a door on the outside for reaching in and stealing the eggs. Clever.

Right behind the rooster's shurbery was a pen for these two goats.

There was also a patch of sunflowers that had a few giants. I was a few feet away from it and standing up, so the center of this shot is at my eye level.

After an hour I was getting tired of the hot morning sun and I went to view the little stream which was created using rainwater from a nearby collection tank.

Even though it was roped off to prevent people from getting close to it, I certainly was wanting to plant my ass on that rock and let the water run over my bare feet.

At the front of the nursery there is a huge fenced-in area housing two donkeys. They are brothers.

There were plenty of butterflies working over all the flowering plants and this one wasn't very skittish when I approached. I got several pictures but this is probably the best one.

I decided I couldn't take the lengthy question and answer portion of the seminar another minute. I had to sit down for a while and these beautiful Adirondack chairs were calling my name. I really would love to have a yellow one and a green one. They were on sale for $280 each but we'd need a truck to get them home. And I should probably find something less expensive.

But they were made of recycled plastic and had the look and feel of wood. They would last forever I'm sure.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Friday Pussy Blog: The Thank God for Rebecca Edition

I have had the most frustrating last day at work you can imagine, and the end of the most frustrating week you can imagine. I can't even type.

I present you with this week's Friday Pussy Blog, courtesy of Rebecca.

"There are two means of refuge from the miseries of life: music and cats."
--Albert Schweitzer

I'll have some of both, thank you very much. And tequila, let's not forget that means.

Yep, that was my day and my week.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

So, Here's the Deal

I did my Rush post before Colbert did his exclusive. So I'm a day ahead of him on that one.

And I wish my eye doctor would examine my prostate since he expressed such an interest in the health of it.

And I sincerely hope everything is going to turn out OK for the nation. We're all feeling a bit Bushwhacked at the moment.

That's apparently not going to change during the next 6 months. But after that, the stupid fucker will be history, and history shall not judge him well.

I thought Colbert cut 'em a bit short. Rush I mean. Who gives a flying fuck about Bush?

konagod on keyboards!

This is getting ridiculous. I had to bring home the laptop today from the soon-to-be ex-job and do some work while waiting on the cable dude (gay! gay! GAY!) to come install the digital phone line I need for the new job. And while I was waiting and in between work, I set up the equipment for the new job. So here's the scene this afternoon:


Can you say "GEEK?"

Old job on the left, personal desktop in the middle, new job on the right, and old computer on a table I'm trying to get cleaned up for a charitable donation. Once that's done, I have another one waiting in the wings. And as if that's not enough, you can see txrad's desktop PC and monitor in the far upper right of this shot. That's five visible computers in one shot.

The phone guy was going to be here between 1 and 5 which is why I worked from home this afternoon and I joked that he'd probably get here at 4:55. Actual time of arrival was around 5:15. But I'm good to go now.

While I was sitting at my desk this afternoon alternating between the laptop on the left and the new work on the right, I was feeling like Rick Wakeman in concert, surrounded by an array of gadgets.

I made beautiful music yet again.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The "Last Day" That Wasn't

Oh, the disappointment.

Miss Communication strikes again, like Miss USA tripping over her evening gown.

Even though my "exit interview" was today at 2:30, my last day is still Friday. The notice of the exit interview came with the proper protocol of "bring your badge, laptop" etc., which led me to believe I was outta there today.

Wrong ASSumption.

They were just getting a head start.

I had a 1 1/2 hour exit interview. Who among us has ever had one that long? Consider that to be the Question of the Day. I let it all hang out, as only a konagod would.

I also was rushing to get a 2nd opinion on my March eye exam so it would be covered under my current insurance plan. That was at 10:30 this morning. And I spent another $340 on a $900 pair of glasses -- state of the art progressive lenses with a pair of frames that were actually on sale today -- closeout style.

Insurance covered the rest, including the eye exam. And the eye doctor was HOT. Like Curt Cobain. Shit, that was worth $340 right there.

$600 is just for the lenses!

Anyhoo, I got back to the office by 12:00 and did a day's worth of work between then and 2:30 when I expected all my computer access would be shut off, before I knew I was good til Friday.

This is working out OK though because txrad has another round of dental work on Friday which was going to be over $600 out of pocket for us without insurance.

So, to cut a long story longer, I'm planning to work Thursday morning only and be home in the afternoon for equipment setup and any current work emergencies, and then go to the office again on Friday as a formality for a few hours and then get the hell out.

Nobody said this was going to be an easy transition. I worked my ass off today.

But workstuff arrived today, so this must be for real.

I'm feeling jazzed. So many people at work are jealous of my arrangement that I cannot not select this as the theme song of this post. And as I was previewing it, txrad came in and said, "that's the one."

Consider it done.

I was a DJ at a college radio station in Fayetteville, Arkansas when this album came out and I added it to my playlist immediately. I think that was 1979.

And the album graphic seems to fit the television test pattern theme I have in my sidebar.

What more could one ask?

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I Thought I Lost It

Let me know if you come across it.

my jobs is nuts I tell ya, N V T S nuts!

Never mind. I found it.

Feel free to grab my balls.

Dedicated to Christina because she is mojo obsessed. Take my Mojo. Please. It's making me cocky.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Happy Bastille Day

God, I love Canadians. One of my favorite LPs EVER!

Monday Garden Blog

This is currently the view I have from my (still cracked) bedroom window. The Texas sage in full bloom. The bees are loving it.

And it's helping to calm me down... a little bit. I'm ready to get that window replaced though. You can't see the crack because it's in the lower pane.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Mixed Emotions and Cosmic Shit

I hate to keep flogging a dead horse. I mean, I have resigned from my current job and have officially accepted a much higher-paying position working from home. Why so glum?

I'm not sure. Because I was motivated by money instead of happiness? Granted, I'm not the least bit concerned that I'm going to enjoy the new job, and I'm pretty excited about some of my responsibilities I've heard about. Buying national cable TV spots ain't bad; I could do a whole lot worse.

But I'm going to be very sad when I walk away from the current joint on Wednesday. Leaving behind some wonderful and fun people. But this is a strange industry. When you hook up with people, and it's meant to be, they don't easily leave your life.

Case in point: my immediate supervisor is someone I've known for 18 years and worked with at a number of other agencies. And I'm still friends with an ex-co-worker whom I've really only known for about 18 months (but feel as though I've known her my entire life) even though we had a brief encounter at the same agency about 11 years ago, and she's from the same town in Iowa as the agency which is hiring me. And so is my current supervisor. Small industry. Cosmic shit. Whatever.

I just don't want to be making very many more bad decisions at my age.

It doesn't help that Monday, July 14 marks the 4 year anniversary of me starting my own agency. And what a colossal disaster that has turned out to be. I keep putting off the obligatory visit for legal advice on that one.

Anyhow, another chapter in my book is about to unfold, and I just want to be sure it's a good one. I've had a string of not-so-good ones lately.

Working from home with a 33% pay increase is not a bad deal though, in and of itself. The rest I'll just have to get over.

At least I'm not a redshirt.

At Least I'm Not a Redshirt!

Via.. everywhere basically. Pick a blog.

Your results:
You are Chekov
Brash, rash and hasty,
but everyone loves you.

Click here to take the Star Trek Personality Test

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Digging Thru Grandma's Attic

Except "Grandma" is me. I have this old PC I want to donate to charity and I need to cleanse it of tax returns, personal data, porn, old business files, etc. I managed to get everything transferred to this PC today and I now need to find a disc-scrubbing utility so that everything is fine and dandy.

But, wow. What a treasure trove of data from the 1990s I found, including a lot of personal writings.

Everything wasn’t, isn’t and never will be.
Nothing was, is, and always will be.
Everything is illusory.
Nothing can be visualized.
Nothing is God.
Everything is nothing.
Nothing isn’t everything.
Nothing isn’t anything.
Nothing isn’t.

Cue the Raconteurs.

I Wear Many Hats

Seriously. Are there many people out there who need this product?

Holds up to 32 caps if you stack one on top the other. I'm a firm believer in getting the most bang for my buck.

I wonder if they have a shot glass rack on sale?

My guess is there's over 100 shot glasses in this cabinet. And I've given away about two dozen recently. Would Goodwill want those? I need to de-clutter. Hell, I've got some pretty decent wine & champagne glasses in there which I can't even access due to the shot glasses.

Those were a promotional gimmick for about a year with our favorite tequila. Buy a bottle and get two or three shot glasses. It was fun the first couple of times but then I was ready for that gimmick to run its course. Near the end I was even having the woman at the liquor store tear off the packaging which contained the glasses.

But how many people do you know who could have a crowd of maybe 110 over at their house and everyone simultaneously do a shot? That must count for something.

Stupid People: They're Everywhere

Money can't buy common sense. That's for damn sure.

This house is for sale.

Photo credit: Alan Zale/New York Times

By the time Stan and Dorothea Cheslock moved into their 26,000-square-foot dream house on 30 acres here, they were already dreaming of getting out.

“We kind of knew even before the house was finished that it was too much house for us,” Mr. Cheslock, who made (and lost some of) a fortune in finance, explained the other evening as he showed a visitor around.

Hey, the next time you aren't sure about something of this magnitude, give me a call and I'll advise you for about $150,000 and save you the hassle of realizing you made a multi-million dollar mistake.
The Cheslocks, who sold their previous home in Greenwich for $12 million, bought the property for $7 million in 2000, spent nearly $14 million and four years building the house, and put it on the market in 2006 for $31 million. No takers.

Here comes another konagod boo-hoo moment. Damn, where did I leave my compassion? It was here yesterday!

These people are emtpy-nesters -- the kids are grown. It's just them! The house has a terrace that's bigger than my entire house, and sometimes I think our house is a bit too big for two people. And their annual maintenance cost is more than we paid for our house.

And if you're thinking they learned a valuable lesson from this experience, think again.
They have not decided where to move next — just that it should be smaller.

“I would be happy with 3,500 square feet,” Mrs. Cheslock said.

“I would need 7,000 square feet,” said her husband.

He would NEED 7,000 square feet???

Stupid people are everywhere.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Doctors Smoke Camels

More doctor's smoke Camel's than any other cigarette.

Uggggg, shit.
I'm gonna catch hell for this.

Fun With Job Titles

There was a meeting at work this week in which an announcement was made about several people in upper management getting increased responsibilities (as well as keeping their current responsibilities) and getting longer job titles. And probably heftier salaries.

So there were a few of us laughing about this and making up our own job titles which went something like this:

Senior VP of After-Hours Community Affairs and Outreach

Then I came up with one of my own:

Senior VP of Premium Libations Development & Testing

I could sit and do this all day. I think a number of us just needed a humorous creative outlet after an insanely wild and exhausting week.

Question of the Day: What would you like to have for a job title if you could make up your own?

Oh, and one rule: If you incorporate the word "coordinator" or "assistant" into your job title, you're a loser.

Friday Pussy Blog: It's 5 PM - Where is Daddy Edition

This is the standard posture at feeding time. The food bowls are empty. What a tragedy!

A Tot loaf ready for slicing.

Sissy looking as demure as ever.

Tiger and Sweet Pea just outside the kitchen door. Waiting... patiently.

This is my last full week away from the kids. Late next week Tot will become my supervisor again.

Praise the God of Fridays! What an outrageous week this has been. I never thought I'd make it to the end.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Being There

I want to be among the elite who isn't tethered to a Blackberry. I'm not there yet. In fact, I'm not even among the elite who needs a Blackberry. I don't even want one, so can I just advance past that crowd and be among the elite who look down upon those who need them as people chained to a techno-tree?

That, I suspect, is where the real money lurks.

Three Days and a Graceful Exit

I found out today the HR person doing my exit interview is off Thursday & Friday next week so my exit is around 10am Wednesday morning. And after the week I've had I can't say I'm sorry. What's worse than being pressured to juggle several projects at once, all of them urgent, and then be hit with some special request thing with an unreasonable deadline only to have them turn it back to you when you're done and say the classic words, "oh this isn't what we wanted. We weren't sure we were asking for the right thing until we saw the finished document, now we want THIS."

And "this" happens to be not only completely different from what you did, but growing in size exponentially.

Aside from that, I'm feeling a bit like someone in charge of delivering a pretty basic chocolate cake, and being assigned a fleet of people to be in charge of every ingredient in the recipe.

kona: "I am ready for the flour. Where's my flour coordinator?"

sugar coordinator: "Oh she's in a meeting with the icing manager."

kona: "Well, I can get the flour myself."

Senior Director of Cake Management: "No, we don't want you handling or measuring. That's the flour coordinator's job."

In comes the flour coordinator.

flour coordinator: "My measuring cups have disappeared."

kona: "You can use mine."

flour coordinator: "No, I'm not allowed to use yours. Let me go see if I can track down mine."

kona: "Sigh. This would happen so much easier and faster if I was just making the fucking cake myself."

Have I made it clear yet how frustrating this week has been?

So I'll be walking out before noon on Wednesday, and probably start setting up the equipment at home for my new job Wednesday afternoon and start my new position on Thursday. If I don't blow a fuse between now and then.

At one point this afternoon I would have been happy to go stretch out on the railroad track with a bottle of tequila and wait for a speeding freight to put me out of my misery.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Obama for Change Traitor

This is why you don't and have never seen a graphic on my website supporting the Big O for President. I was supporting him (a couple of times actually) but never was able to fully commit myself to supporting him with a banner ad.

I still suppose he's better than the alternative, but at the rate he's going in helping to push through bills which President Bush is eager to sign, I'm beginning continuing to wonder.

This vote today is bullshit.
More than two and a half years after the disclosure of President’s Bush’s domestic eavesdropping program set off a furious national debate, the Senate gave final approval on Wednesday afternoon to broadening the government’s spy powers and providing legal immunity for the phone companies that took part in the wiretapping program.

The plan, approved by a vote of 69 to 28, marked one of Mr. Bush’s most hard-won legislative victories in a Democratic-led Congress where he has had little success of late.


The issue put Senator Barack Obama of Illinois, the presumptive Democratic nominee, in a particularly precarious spot. After long opposing the idea of immunity for the phone companies in the wiretapping operation, he voted for the plan on Wednesday.


Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton of New York, who was Mr. Obama’s rival for the Democratic presidential nomination, voted against the bill.

I am not happy about this. Not at all. So once my trust has been eroded, how the fuck can I vote for the guy?

'Tis a pity. I wanted real change. If he does this shit during a campaign season, what can I expect once in office?

More of the same?

As txrad just pointed out to me, "but you voted for him." (In the Texas primary.)

I replied, "yes I did, and today I can barely stand to look at him."

Nice going, Obama. Looks like another 3rd party vote forthcoming for me in November. The country is fucked to hell anyway.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

This is a night of peace

I need to absorb things, and deal with reality.

A lot is going on. But I will not abandon you.

The fun and games shall resume shortly.

In the meantime...

Everything is cool. That much I can assure you.

Peace, dog!

Monday, July 07, 2008

Lordy Mama, Light My Fuse

I am not going into all the details on this blog. If you want the scoop, email me and I'll send you the stock footage.

But I'm making the switch.

I was getting messages to that effect in each song I heard on the radio to and from work today.

And when I emailed my soon-to-be employer tonight I said, "let's rock & roll."

Then I went to watch "Redneck Weddings" on CMT and I heard a redneck say, "Rock & roll."

Those coincidences cannot be ignored.

Rock & roll hoochie coo. I just hope my decision proves to be far better than this video.

In fact, I'm hoping to up my start date to 7/14. Bastille Day. It has some symbolism for me. I'm not going into that now either.

Decision Day

Monday has arrived. I stand at the proverbial fork in the road and must choose my path. I hope I make the best decision.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Things I Can Live Without

I haven't allowed a job offer paying 25% more than my current salary to go straight to my head. Times are tough and getting tougher. I seriously want to eliminate unnecessary things from my life which are a monthly drain on my wallet.

Now it's a fact that I have a lot of unnecessary expenses and I'm not going to cut everything. I can start by eliminating those things which can be easily replaced at no cost.

If I take this new job, it will include my internet access at home since I'll be working from home. So I'm no longer going to have a $46 monthly Time Warner Roadrunner bill. That's at least $552 a year in after-tax dollars.

Here's another:

I just added the HD package to my Dish Network lineup so I need to sacrifice something in return. Besides, I've got 2 movies here which I've had since mid-March and a 3rd one I've had since late April. This is fairly common for me. At $19.47 a month, it would be cheaper for me to buy the movies I want to see and then donate them to Goodwill when I'm done and write it off as a donation. Or, just watch what's on Dish Network which is what we do anyway.

That's another annual savings of over $233.

Up next on konagod's chopping block is this tree killer:

This is going to be a tough adjustment but I know I can do it. Last year they trimmed both sides of the paper so it's slimmer and therefore holds less news that's fit to print. Then they raised the rates for delivery. And now they are about to raise them again.

I thought about just switching to Monday-Saturday since the Sunday paper is over $6 a week. But often the paper isn't here when I get up at 5:30 and occasionally I'm done with my coffee when it arrives. Besides, as you can tell from the last post, the contents of the paper are more of an irritation to me than anything else.

I can read the news online for free. That's another $665 annual savings in after-tax dollars, not counting the upcoming increase.

So what's my annual savings total for today? Close to $1,500. Not bad. That's about what I'm spending annually of fuel costs to drive to work. And soon I'll be working from home so that takes us up to $3,000.

This is fun! Wanna play?

Fuel-Related Pet Peeves

It's bad enough listening to the people wanting politicians to "do something" about the high cost of fuel. Here's what I'd do: tax the shit out of it. Assholes who spend $60k, $70k or more for an SUV in this day and age should be able to afford it. And use that tax money to improve public transportation for the rest of us, and provide rebates to those near the poverty level who have no choice but to drive. However, I do realize any kind of government program that has to track and manage rebates for a certain group is going to end up costing as much to manage as it collects in taxes, if not more.

I just get tired of listening to stupid people (who are financially doing OK) complaining about what it costs to fill up a vehicle which they themselves made a conscious decision to purchase it, and knowing up-front the pathetic fuel economy of the vehicle.
Bryan Carisone, a heating and air-conditioning contractor in Raritan, N.J., “absolutely loves” his new GMC Denali XL, an extra-large sport utility vehicle with televisions built into the leather seats. But in June, one week after he bought it, he pulled into a station on a near-empty tank and watched the total climb higher and higher — to $109.

“It just about killed me,” Mr. Carisone said.

Oh my God. I am just filled with pity for the guy. Here's a suggestion: you made a mistake; deal with it. I feel pity for the people who need trucks and vans for their work; not so much pity for the Hummer drivers who use it to run to the supermarket for a $25 bag of groceries. Nor do I have much pity for the "soccer moms" who thought buying a behemoth to haul the brats and their equipment to soccer practice would make them part of some elitist club and they could feel equal to their peers. I'm sorry, but fuck that shit.

What is really starting to yank my chain is the emphasis on what it costs to fill a tank vs. actual gas mileage. Like all tanks and all vehicles are equal. Check out this next bit of insanity.
Families that were accustomed to the convenience of sport utility vehicles are having to cut back as well. Colleen Hammond of Chagrin Falls, Ohio, loves packing her three kids and all their soccer gear into her 2000 GMC Yukon XL. But she hates paying $160 to fill the 38.5-gallon tank. Last month, she parked the Yukon in her driveway and borrowed her friend’s Toyota Land Cruiser.

“I don’t know if it gets better gas mileage, but I like her car because it costs $100 to fill it,” said Ms. Hammond, 40. “I think $100 for a tank of gas is cheap now.”

Hello!!? Does anyone sense a disconnect here? Switching from a Yukon XL to a Land Cruiser because it only costs $100 to fill it means absofuckinglutely NOTHING! It means the tank doesn't hold as much; the gas isn't any cheaper! Jesus H. Christ, people are stupid. You fill it up more often! For god's sake, TAX these idiots!
Many consumers whose tanks would easily swallow $100 worth of gas refuse to pump that much at once, just to avoid the trauma.

“Usually I don’t let it get real empty so that I don’t have to see that $100 on the pump,” said Bob Hammond, 61, of Chesterland, Ohio, who drives an Avalanche. “It’s a mental thing.”

Yes, it's a mental thing and it's called insanity.

Sigh... sometimes I feel like I need to bang my head against a brick wall.