Monday, September 27, 2010

That's Not The Fonz! That's A Blond Guy With A Mullet!

  It may just be me, but after seeing last night's episode of Venture Bros. I'm starting to think that the series has already reached its peak.  It's still good, but I spent most of last season confused, and it looks like that type of storytelling is going to continue.  That's not necessarily bad, but it requires an awful lot of concentration which  I can't manage late at night.  (I gave up Battlestar Galactica for the same reason.)  

  The inside jokes are still funny, but they will have to start being careful not to wind up like the orgy of self-congratulation that used to be Family Guy.  Also, projects with Ben Edlund can have a streak of the very darkest black humor; sometimes insanity just isn't funny, and I don't think Sergeant Hatred's pedophilia, no matter how bravely he fights it, can be dressed up as humorous. 


Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Sparkle Fairy Blesses You.

  "Handcrafted"  Christmas ornaments caked in glitter.  There is some serious wastage back in the factory.  Everyone is coated with the stuff and being extra careful to share with those not fortunate enough to be working the holiday isle.  

  I'll have to send it up the ladder.  Customers kept asking where they could get some or if I could sprinkle some on them.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Stocking Speed!

  Finished up the last remodel today.  Remodels are thankfully few and far between, but this year it was our turn.  Since HQ is situated where summers are pleasant, they decided that summer is the perfect season to have Chris climbing in and out of roasting shipping containers.  Since it was the last one and my store wasn't on the list, I asked the Remodel Specialist if it was Ok to take some pictures so everybody back home would have a general idea of what was involved.  She gave her blessing, so I took some video with my cell phone.

Think the naked dude was late or something.   Note the smooth efficiency of the shift change.  Put everybody in matching polo shirts and have them grouch about their mandated breaks, and it would be a strikingly accurate portrayal.  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Rock Me Dr. Zaurus

  After blogging about my PDA that I had sold, I realized that I still needed a small word processing device that was cheap enough that I could leave it in a hot car or drop it without major wailing and gnashing of teeth.  After a few minutes of searching, I had found something in the "For Parts Or Not Working" section and paid my two dollars.  I was feeling lucky or arrogant enough to think I could fix it...  and I was right!  I'm going to start a new business:  Buy crapped out PDA.  Change batteries.  Profit.  Or, Buy crapped out PDA.  Press reset button.  Profit.

  Oddly enough, when I flipped the unit over to get to the battery compartment I noticed that it came from The University of X Medical Center.   There were deep scratches around the battery case, as if the other batteries had tried to save their trapped comrades or someone had tried to pry open the case instead of using the screwdriver to take out the screw holding the battery case in place.   

  It bothers me that I've never seen one of these machines in real life, much less held one on my hand, yet I knew from looking at a cellphone picture what needed to be done.  More importantly, I knew that it has a back-up battery (it's mid 90's HPC) to keep all your patient's medical data safe and sound.  (Note "Press reset button" above.)  I hope enough of these are being left in airports and hotel rooms around the globe labeled "Sekret Joo Data" to offset all those who assume they are dead and put them on eBay.

Monday, September 20, 2010

I'm Not Selling It To You. I Know You.

  Since I was dropping off shelves anyway, the manager asked me to give the new girl some quick pointers about where to place all of the Christmas merchandise; leave some written instructions or something.  Since Shannon was at lunch, and since I was doing this for free, I ran around the section with a notebook and pink highlighter taping quick notes on the shelves:  MOVE NUTCRACKERS UP with a helpful arrow, ADD ANOTHER SHELF, CHRISTMAS TREES HERE, DISHES HERE and so on.  You know those stand up Santa and snowmen which are kept  inflated by an air blower?    BLOW UP DOLLS HERE   


Saturday, September 18, 2010

Is It Dated Already?

  We got all of our new fixtures built, then noticed that we didn't have enough base shelves.  They are the very bottom shelf, and they have a different way of attaching than regular ones.  I happen to know who has a whole stack,  so I run over to get some.  Everyone trades stuff back and forth all the time, so it's no big deal.   

  I walk in, find the person in charge and announce  "All of your base shelfs are belonging to us!"   She had no clue.  Kind of sad, because she plays X-Box all the time.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

That Is One High Paid Monkey

  The powers at corporate decided long ago that because it's Texas, everybody in Texas spends all their time grilling something on the BBQ.  Ergo, they always send out far too many grills every spring to join the heaps that exist in countless store rooms across the state.  We've had some around so long they rusted out while waiting for someone to take them home.

  Anyway, District has come by to give a hand moving furniture around in order to make space for all the Christmas which is backing up in a bad way.  He's putting shelving together and notices that a piece is missing, so we go into the back to find it.  He's about to give up hope when I spy one. Hanging from the ceiling, naturally.  He asks why a twenty pound piece of metal is stuck  in amongst all the girders, pipes and whatnot.  I shrug and go looking for the ladder.  When I get back, he's already made one.  More like stairs actually, out of a stack of grills.  Thing is, all the ones he is stepping on have been crushed.  He look at me and says,  "They are standing grills."

  At least he didn't do the Mentos thumb up thing, I thought as I went looking for the rubber mallet.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Yes. It Is Necessary For Me To Cover You With Cat Litter.

  Got back from exile to discover that there was not one, not two, not three, but four accident reports on the office desk. I investigated by standing around until someone came running to tell me what happened.  Apparently, a customer knocked a bottle of dish soap on to the floor and didn't tell anyone.  Another customer noticed the spill and told an employee.  While she was getting a wet floor sign, a third customer came along and fell in the puddle of soap.  When the employee heard the scream, she came running, then slipped and fell while helping the other customer up.  They are lying there in a tangle when yet another customer of the old lady type comes along, picks up and moves the wet floor sign, then walks into them and slips herself while the customer and employee shout "Nooooo...!"   No one is hurt until the employee stands up and cracks her head on the old lady's shopping cart.  She complains about nausea and dizziness, so she gets an ambulance ride.  

  My first question was  "Did you get a picture?"   Our last accident was in February when a delivery man ran over my foot with a loaded cart.  I took a picture of my foot, but I first took a picture of the driver as he stood off to the side looking at my squished toes.  (Lucky for me, it was so cold nothing swelled up to any alarming degree.)   Second question was "Did you reset the accident clock, or are we even bothering?"


Thursday, September 9, 2010

Sorry Buddy. You're Not Even A Chordate.

  District manager gets a call from someone in some way off town in Blight County saying there is a problem.  He asks who the person is, then asks what he can do for the caller.  She comes in at night to help clean up and she tells District that almost the whole staff has walked out.  He congratulates her on her promotion to manager, then consults his map before heading over.  He finds out that the staff hadn't done any work in months, so he starts rounding up crew to help.  Since I'm only 80 or so miles away, I'm "Real close."  I protested for a while, but after promising  a free meal at the Blight County Dairy Queen I jumped in the car.

  This area is pretty flat, but there is a rocky region where the New Deal decided to put up a dam.  Considering the trickle of water it had to work with, it made a nice lake.  Driving by it on the way back, the contrast between the lush greenery by the water and the bone dry scrub around it couldn't have been greater.

  I've noticed that dams haven't figured much in any discussion about energy policy.  I know there are not many places left to build dams, but if clean energy is really the goal, we should be repairing dams, not celebrating when another gets taken out.  Wind power may be the going thing now, but you can never tell when  "PIG!" 

  There were about a dozen just wandering around the road, completely unafraid.  Had to stop the car because they wouldn't move.  When I rolled down the window to shout at them, a couple came over and looked up, then wandered back and started biting the rear wheels.  That wasn't going to happen, so I drove on through and kept the car at a much slower speed.  A few hundred yards on, there was a crossroads.  Came to a stop, then noticed there was a leaf moving steadily across the intersection, contrary to the wind.  I looked closer, and noticed that the leaf was a crayfish, and it had turned to challenge me.  I rolled the window down again and shouted "Watch out!  There are wild pigs coming this way!"   The crayfish just stood his ground with claws extended.  I was overcome by the sheer moxie of the little creature, so I got out and carefully picked it up.  Looking around for water, I saw the ditch it was heading for, so I walked over carrying my armored adversary.  Man is more than just an animal, I mused.  We alone respond to valor, and my act might enable and there is a little raccoon.  He's smaller than most raccoons and he has a horrible wound along his back.  He's terribly thin, but he seems alert and active.  "Want a crawdad?"  I ask.   Thump Thump Thump  "Here you go little fellow, come and get it"  I say as I toss the stunned crayfish at his little raccoon  hands.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

I Would Like To Buy A Vowel, Please.

 No Pets Or Mimes.  We Welcome Service Animals. 

A  VIP decided to visit the stores in Outremer today for reasons only known to himself and the three other people who outranked me during the visit.  After store and district, the terms get fuzzy; region, area, division, and so forth, but I knew this guy was up there.  I kind of had an idea he was on his way, but I'm kind of a no-notice, so I just blow it off.  The two who came with him were clearly intimidated though.  He was waiting when I got to the store, walked up and introduced himself.  Pretty nice, I thought.  Older fellow, slightly stooped with a pair of reading glasses perched on his head.  He then takes a rapid march through the isles with three managers in lockstep behind him.  All of two minutes later he's back.

  "So Chris, can you tell me the five areas we zone?"  Blast!  I knew I should have studied.  My manager does a facepalm as I stutter "Well... um..."   I then look to see the two other managers who haven't left their places behind him jump into action.  District is making quick chopping motions with his hands as he mouthes the words.  Regional is going all out.  He puts his hands in him armpits and shivers.


  District catches on.  He mimics eating as Regional pretends to open a can.

  "Canned goods!"

  District leans his head over and scratches rapidly.


 Regional is pretending to swallow something.  District pretends to stab his inner elbow.

 "Medicine...  Right?" 

  Last he moves his index finger like he is pulling a trigger while making a circular motion with his other hand.  Chemicals.  But chemicals is too far away from the front where I am posted.  Could he mean automotive?  It's a high loss area.  Could he mean paper goods?  It's not really something you have to pay attention to.

 "What is paper goods?"  I say with conviction.

  "This is a well disciplined team" Says the  VIP and marches right out.  Regional follows on his heels.  District is right behind them checking his pulse.

  I look at my manager.  "What were they all about?  See that?"

Friday, September 3, 2010

My Dragon Flames Your Butterdactyl

  Or, has Anne McCaffrey cashed her check yet?  I'm never going to let it go.  There is just too much easy material, and it makes such a good introduction.

  I thought the flying lizards from Avatar did look very good, but I remembered another one from nearly thirty years ago which combined good looks with a pure menace which I think hasn't been equaled yet.   That would be Vermithrax  Pejorative, the dragon from 1981's Dragonslayer.

  There is a movie that should have done everything right.  It had Englander thespians doing their best for a Hollywood sized check, villages which looked Dark Age-y but not hip deep in mud, and best of all, a dragon that didn't look like someone put bat wings on their pet iguana.  There has been a lot of suggestions about what went wrong; most rotate around Disney being unable to detach their family name from a more serious film, leading to audience confusion.

  I disagree.  What kept Dragonslayer from being a blockbuster was it's unrelenting message that cowardice is the best option, and trying will only get you killed.  It's one of the most depressing movies I've ever seen, and this is coming from someone who sat through The Plague Dogs.(If you haven't, don't.  Just don't.)  To prove, let's just examine all character's actions.

  Ulrich, the sorcerer: 

   Brave Act:  Challenges Tyrian to stab him.   Result:  Death.

   Brave Act:  Comes back to life to kill Vermithrax.  Result:  Blowed up, resulting in death. 

 Galen, the apprentice:

  Brave Act:  Tries to bury dragon underneath a pile of rubble.  Result:  Dragon burns down village.

  Brave Act:  Tries to stab dragon.  (With his magic superhard spear.) Result: Angrier dragon.

  Brave Act:  Does as Master commands.  Result:  Blows up Master.

  Cowardly Act:  Hides in hole under anvil.  Result:  Lives.


  Cowardly Act:  Dresses daughter as a boy.  Result:  Daughter lives.

  Cowardly Act:  Makes dragon killing spear, but hides it.  Result: Blacksmith lives.

  Brave Act:  Lets daughter dress like girl.  Result:  Daughter runs off with Galen, leaving him alone. (Holding a broken spear.)

 Princess Elspeth:

  Brave Act:  Rigs the dragon sacrifice lottery to make up for her father keeping her out.  Result:  Gets chosen.

  Brave Act:  Walks into dragon den.  Result:  Eaten.

  Tyrian, official thug:

  Cowardly Act:  Stabs helpless old man.  Result: Lives.

  Cowardly Act:  Shoots helpless old man from ambush.  Result:  Lives. 

  Cowardly Act:  Beats up Galen while others hold him down.  Result:  Lives.

  Brave Act:  Tries to do the right, if evil, thing and stop Galen from making the dragon even more angry.  Result:  Skewered by a first level magic-user!  (With superhard magic spear.) Death.

 Hodge, the manservant.

  Brave Act:  Tries to carry ashes of Ulrich to burning lake so he can magically come back to life.  Result:  Shot.  

 Brother Jacopus.

  Brave Act:  Tries to defeat dragon by calling it hellspawn.  Result:  Horrible burning death.

 Casiodorus, the king:

  Cowardly Act:  Holds lottery choosing girl to be fed to the dragon.  Result:  Everyone else lives.

  Cowardly Act: Keeps daughter out of lottery.  Result:  Daughter lives.

  Cowardly Act:  Steals Galen's magic D-8.  Result: Minor burns.

  Cowardly Act:  Shows up after the party, claims to have killed dragon.  Result:  Casiodorus Rex, Dragon Slayer.


  There is a little stiffness in the movements and some obvious bluescreen, but Disney flat out has the best design house in the world when it comes to ships, creatures, aircraft and such.