Sunday, October 31, 2010

Look at me!

Look at me!
Originally uploaded by Mike F.
Check out my sister-in-law's puppy, Rosie. Yes, that is a stroller she is in. She had back surgery a while back and can't use her hind legs. My sister-in-law is a physical therapist who works with dogs as well as people and adopted Rosie a few months ago. I think she weights about 2 pounds. At least is seems that way when compared to our two moose dogs.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Just call me Pepe Le Pew

Last night I wanted to go to bed early. I was tired and just needed some rest due to a long week. Yes, I know it was only Wednesday, but I was still tired.

Before I went to bed I was taking some laundry out of the dryer so we all had some clean, dry clothes to wear for the day. About halfway into the removal process this terrible aroma wafted through the laundry room. I didn't know what it was at first, I thought maybe the dryer vent was burning. Then it hit me. Skunk! And one of the dogs was outside.

At this point I heard Quicny at the door and let him in, hoping he wasn't sprayed and the smell was just drifting through the neighborhood on the 40MPH winds. He charged in and I knew something was wrong right away. He was shaking his head and his eyes were bothering him. The freakin' skunk got him. I was not happy.

I let Jenn know what was going on so we could stop him from running through the house, but I didn't get to him before he rubbed his head on the couch. Thanks, Quincy!

At this point I thought it was a skunk, but it smelled weird. Not like I was expecting. Jenn was already on the Google search and found out that it can smell like burning plastic or rubber. That was it!

While Jenn looked up remedies I put him in the laundry room and put out the gate so he didn't rub the scent onto Cruise. We didn't need two dogs stinking up the joint. Jenn's search gave us some helpful tips; wipe the oils off first, then wash with baking soda and peroxide. We didn't have either in the house and it was almost 11pm at this point. She also read you can clean the affected area while making sure not to spread the oils on the rest of the body. So, after some very close sniffing of the dog, we determined he was hit in the face and on the bottom of the neck. At least I had one spot to focus my cleaning effort.

While I did that Jenn brought out every scented candle we have in the house and lit them up. This caused the house to smell like a skunk who was caught in a Christmas tree while a pumpkin pie was baking in a pit full of fall leaves. Interesting mix!

We got Quincy pretty clean and put him in his cage for the night and hoped for the best. He seemed okay this morning, not too stinky, and I'm planning on clearing Target's stock of Glade Plug-ins after I get out of work. I hope that helps the house.

Now I'm sitting here all paranoid I'm stinking up the office. I think I'm okay. The people around me aren't complaining (Yes, I warned them), but I still get a whiff of it once in a while. I think I got some of the stuff in my nasal cavity. That's the best explanation I can come up with. Believe me, the people around me would let me know if I smell. They wouldn't let something like that go without 600 jokes at my expense.

Next time I'm going to make the dog sleep outside.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Shit in my mom's house #1

My mom is one of those people who never throws anything away. It's not like she needs to be on Hoarders, it's mostly stuff in cabinets and closets that have lost their usefulness long ago. I'm not saying I'm good at letting stuff go, actually I'm far from it. You should see the garage. But my stuff isn't really old, therefore it is not very funny or interesting. Take this for instance:

Imitation butter flavored salt. The name pretty much describes exactly what it is. How can you tell this is super old. Well, the name gives it away. It's like some scientist is describing it to me. No flair at all. If this was on the shelves currently it would have a name like Wonder Salt for Popcorn. Or, something like that. I'm not a marketing guy or anything.

So, how old do you think this is? Any guesses? Come on, I'll wait....

Can you read that date? Yep, it says November 17, 1979. This bottle was in my mom's cabinet before we found out that Darth Vader was Luke's dad! Hell, we probably smuggled this bottle into the theater to put on our popcorn.

There is much more stuff like this in my mom's house. I won't post them all in a row or anything. But there are some doozies.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

We went to California to celebrate our anniversary

Last Thursday Jenn and I celebrated our 15th anniversary. I know, how can two people who are only 25 years-old (looking) be married that long? Well, it's a secret I can't tell you since it involves various types of black magic and quantum physics.

Anyway, we chose to go to Newport Beach mostly because we got a deal through Marriott. Several months ago we received a call and asked if we wanted to check out their Vacation Club. In exchange for checking it out and going through a presentation, we were able to stay in a pretty cool place for much less than what it would cost. I don't think we could have stayed at a Holiday Inn for the price. So, yes, we went to a time share presentation, what of it? Actually, it wasn't bad. They weren't really pushy at all. And, to be honest, it wasn't as expensive as I thought. No, I am not being paid to say this. I'm being serious.

Here was a view from out balcony. Just pretend all the haze and mist weren't there and imagine the dark gray in the distance is the ocean.

Unfortunately, the weather was like this everyday we were there.

On the second day we took a ferry out to Catalina Island. It was a cold ferry ride out there. Mostly because I stayed on the deck to the whole trip out there. Just imagine that I stayed out there because I wanted to see what it was like to be on Deadliest Catch, or to see dolphins or whale, not because I was terrified of being seasick. I wasn't and I did see some dolphins.

The island was interesting. It was certainly quaint in a way, but I found it interesting how the island was set up. Basically it was levels of wealth. The very rich and houses up in the hills and it got poorer as you made it down to sea level. I'm not saying there were homeless people all around at sea level or anything, it's just that it was various obvious where the money was.

Did you know that the Chicago Cubs used the island for spring training from 1921-1951? Me neither. There is even a memorial and botanical garden with his name on it. We took a golf cart (the main mode of transportation on the island) up there to see what it was all about. It's about a lot of plants and flowers, obviously, but there is also a memorial tower there. It was a nice view from up there. Also, notice this was the only time we saw the sun on our trip.

Some of the roads on the island were a little scary. I was a little concerned that the brakes wouldn't hold on some of the hills. But, we didn't die, so I guess the carts are and acceptable mode of transportation for the island. I can see why the people pay a lot of money to live in the hills. There are some really nice views up there.

Our last day there we drove around the area a little bit. We went to the Crystal Cove state park area and had lunch at Beachcombers. It was a nice little place to eat on the water. The whole area reminds me a little bit of the housing complex that was used on Lost where the others lived. I didn't get any good photos of the houses since they are renovation everything, but this might give you an idea.

So, that is what we did for our anniversary. Now we need to start planning for our 20th.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Monday, October 18, 2010

Last night on Undercover Boss

I don't watch Undercover Boss on CBS all the time, actually quite rarely, but the TV was still on CBS when the show started and I'm lazy. Also, when I saw the show featured the CEO of Frontier Airlines, I had to watch.

I work for an airline myself so I thought it would be quite interesting to see the CEO do these particular jobs. Also, as with many airlines over the last several years, things haven't gone so well for workers with relation to pay and benefits, etc. Actually, most companies anywhere have had these problems recently, but today we are going to focus on aviation.

The show itself was fine. Bryan, the CEO, had to work a lavatory servicing truck, clean the interior of aircraft and work as a flight attendant. I think he worked as a gate agent too, but I missed a bit of the episode. I was hoping to see the lav dump on him, but it didn't happen. That would have been good TV!

A couple things about the show. I am a bit cynical, I admit, but I'm thinking this show is not so reality as they claim. I'm pretty sure they look for people with the worst background stories to work with the bosses. Obviously it make for better TV and generates sympathy from the CEO. Also, I think these people know what is going on now. I'm talking about the workers that get paired up with the CEO. At least this episode it seemed like it. I mean, if you've worked with someone for one day are you going to give up all of your deep, dark secrets?

I was glad to see that every worker mentioned how they had to take pay cuts to keep the airline going and would like to get that back. More on that later.

At the end of the show Bryan met with each of the workers he was paired up with and gave them some interesting presents, for lack of a better term. One lady got to have an aircraft named after her son who passed away and a vacation. One guy was given $20,000 to help put his many kids through college. And, someone elses was given money to give to a charity of her choice. Not bad, but some of the other episodes I've seen the workers were given new jobs and new salaries. Way to be cheap, Bryan.

At the very end of the show, Bryan came out and showed a group of employees a video of his time working with the common man. Also, he mentioned how he realized that the 10% paycuts they all gave is making it tough on everyone, so they know the right thing to do is give it back. Here is the thing that killed me; they are getting it back over three years! So, essentially they are going to get minor pay increases over the next three years to bring them to the pay that they had 5 years ago which was probably too little to begin with. Now, this stuff obviously kills me as an airline employee who has given up much more than 10% several years ago and is still waiting to get that back. Of course, our CEO is not out here working with us and he has made millions in various stock and other incentives over the last few years so you'll have to excuse me if I'm a little pissed for these people on TV. Sure, they are getting back their old pay eventually, but they will still be behind the curve.

They may have been clapping on TV, but I'm here pissed off for them. I imagine some of them are pissed now after the cameras are off. I hope.

Sorry for the rant, I know I'm not the only one out there who has taken paycuts to help out their company, or other type of employer, only to never see it come back when things are better. Meanwhile the fat cats are lighting their cigars with 100 dollar bills. At least in my head that is what they do.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Weekend Assignment #338: Space Truckin'

This week Karen wants to know if we would like to visit Goldilocks. Seems like a fun question.

Even as astronomers discover planets that may be capable of supporting life, such destinations remain out of reach of would-be human colonists, even if the world is "only" twenty light years away. But if some science fictional technology were discovered in the next year or two (warp drive, matter transmission or whatever) that made it possible to leave Earth behind and go live on another planet, would you be tempted to do so? If you choose not to relocate, would you be interested in just visiting the place instead?
If you asked me this question as a kid, there would be no doubt, I would have been on the first ship. I'd probably sleep out for tickets. I assume that would be necessary if we really could go out there. The tickets would sell out in 26 seconds and all be bought by brokers who then sell them on Space-Hub for 1000% more than face value. Am I right?

But, yes, as a kid I would have jumped on that right away. Like most boys, I wanted to be an astronaut. I think I grew up in the perfect wedge of time for that aspiration. We had already been to the moon a few times, and in grade school the shuttle started flying. But my mom smashed my dreams. As far as I knew, the best way to be an astronaut at that time was be in the Air Force as a pilot then work your way into the astronaut program. Well, since I needed glasses, as I still do, my mom always told me I couldn't be an Air Force pilot. Another dream smashed.

For a time in high school I wanted to be an astronomer and go to MIT. Well, I found out they don't make a whole lot of money and I wasn't smart enough. Again, astronomical dream smashed.

Now, as an adult with a family, I don't know if I would go to stay on another planet, but I think it would be cool to visit. Maybe like a long vacation or something like that. Or a sabbatical. After reading Packing for Mars, however, I'd be a little nervous. They don't make dramamine strong enough for space flight. Not yet, at least. Not to mention the hundreds of other things that could go wrong.

Extra Credit: If you did go, whether on vacation or as a colonist, and you were only allowed to bring one small suitcase with you, what would be in it?

I would bring a my iPad, for entertainment, and a shotgun. And maybe some underwear. We've all seen the Alien movies. A gun is definitely needed for any planetary visit, I don't care what the sensors say.