Sunday, July 31, 2011

Sunday Song.



My friend from Illinois sent me a tape of the show Phineas and Ferb , which is on the Disney Channel. They have done a movie, which is premiering soon. This song is from that movie. It was written by Slash of Guns N' Roses.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Darth Mario.


I will post more about my trip on Monday. One change had to be made in yesterday's post. As one of my friends on the Captain Comics Board pointed out to me, there are no crocodiles in Florida. I meant to say alligators, but I had a major brain fart and said crocodiles instead. Sheesh, what a maroon.

In case you been wondering about the prank phone calls, there haven't been any. I do know that one of the managers had threatened them so evidently they have given up. Of course, now that I've said that I will probably get four calls tonight.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Visiting a Swamp.


When I left Fernandina Beach, I was heading for Tallahassee and then on to the Gulf of Mexico. I pulled into a rest stop on I-10. While there I saw a sign that said there was a nature trail at the back end of the rest stop. According to the sign, the trail ran over a mile and led to a swamp area. The swamp area part of the trail was about a quarter of a mile long. The trail, which you can see in the picture above, was supposedly wheelchair accessible. You could get a wheelchair on it, but I really wouldn't recommend it. What you see was the nice part of the trail. It got a lot worse before you reached the boardwalk. It would've been a very rough road for someone who was wheelchair-bound.


These are some of the trees running along side of the path. I was surprised to find that I was the only one walking on the trail. The scenery was beautiful. Unfortunately a lot of the pictures that I took didn't turn out. Most of them were too dark to really tell what you are looking at.


This is the start of the boardwalk. There were signs showing what wildlife you could expect to see. They mentioned alligators, lizards and snakes and warned you should not get off of the boardwalk. It has evidently been very dry around that area because I do not see any standing water. Outside of a small blue lizard, a few birds, and a few spiders, I didn't see any living creatures. I really expect to see at least one snake, but they evidently took the day off. It still was a fascinating walk.



This is where the boardwalk ended. I spent over an hour walking through this and admiring the scenery. You can see the rest of the swamp pictures that I took here. Before I left here I made the decision that I was not going to go on to the Gulf of Mexico. I still want to see the Gulf, but that will be a trip for another time. I can make that trip on one of my  "weekends." My next stop was Tallahassee to see a friend that I had never met. I will explain all that on Monday.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Seeing the Ocean.


I left early Sunday morning with the only plan being to be in Kingsland, Georgia, by Sunday night. I took I-75 to Tifton, Georgia. At that point I got off the interstate and enjoyed the scenery, leading to Kingsland. When traveling, I am not one of those who gets behind the wheel and doesn't stop until you get to your destination. I try not drive more than an hour without stopping for a few minutes. I headed east until I came to Waycross, Georgia, where I turned south.  I considered making a little detour just south of Waycross when I saw the entrance to the Okefenokee Swamp. However, by then I was tired from driving and Kingsland was only about 20 miles away, so I went on. At some point I will go back there.

I asked at a gift shop in Kingsland, where the best place to go to see the ocean was. The lady there told me to go to Fernandina Beach, which is just across the Florida state line. I arrived at the beach at about eight o'clock in the morning. The sky had been overcast when I left Kingsland, but that was clearing up when I arrived at Fernandina Beach. There were not a lot of people there at that time. I spent a few minutes, just gazing at it, taking in as much as I could. Then I walked to where the water was rolling in. At that point I took my shoes off and stood in the water. The picture you see above was taken while I was in the water. I didn't go very far out, just enough to where the water was around my ankles. I really enjoyed doing that, and at some point will try and go back again.


The picture you see here is something that I didn't expect to find. Some poor crab out there in the ocean is missing one of his claws. Actually he's probably missing a whole lot more than that.


I never thought about people walking their dogs along the ocean, but I saw several of them there.


I believe the picture here is some kind of crab. I saw a couple of them on the beach. I spent about an hour there and was getting ready to leave when I checked the pictures that I had taken. The first picture that I checked said, the file wasn't formatted so I assumed that that the memory card that I was using was defective.
The card I was using was given to me by a friend. He'd given me two of them, so I inserted the other, and went took some more pictures. I checked and those came out fine so I went on. When I got home I checked the card that I thought was defective and found out only that last picture had been so I have plenty of pictures of the beach. I have opened a Flickr account and you can see all the pictures that I took here. If you notice when you see them that the date the pictures were taken was January 2005, ignore that. I have never set the date on the camera. When I left the beach my goal was to go to Tallahassee, and then on to the Gulf of Mexico. That plan was changed when I stopped at a rest stop on I-10 before I got to Tallahassee. I'll tell you about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

What I Did on My Summer Vacation.



For a long time, I have been talking about traveling. There are a lot of places that I want to see, but when the time comes to go I can usually find an excuse not to. The time has come to quit making excuses and get out and see things that I really want to see. Sunday I started making that a reality. Normally when I take a vacation, I will take three days off, and combine that with my two regular days off so that I get a five day break from work. The only exception to that is the week that Labor Day falls. At that time I take a full week because I go to Illinois.

For the last few years I have said I was going to go to Florida because I have never seen the ocean. When I talked about it, the intention that I had was to make it a two day trip. After thinking that through, I realized that basically all I would be doing was driving. I decided to add an extra day to the trip ended up enjoying it more. I am now really glad that I decided to do that.

When I left I had intentions of doing four things while there. I was going to see the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, meet a friend that I had never met, and see the Little White House in Warm Springs, Georgia. I achieved half of that list. The two things that I didn't do, will be achieved later. My posts for the next few days will be covering the trip. I took a lot of pictures, and will be showing a few of them here. Later today I will be starting a Flickr account, and when I do I will post a link to it. I didn't mention going to Florida before I left, because I wanted to surprise someone who I know reads this blog. That worked really well, and I will probably be talking about that on Monday. Tomorrow I will talk about the trip itself, and seeing the ocean for the first time.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Electronics.

I have waited a while before really discussing my new job. For one thing, I fully expected at least once to be pulled out of electronics and sent to work in frozen food or dairy. The jacket that I wore while working in those departments is still in the trunk of my car. I didn't want to bring it into my apartment until I was sure that I would not be sent back there. The jacket is coming inside later today.

I really enjoy going to work again. I never hated working frozen foods or dairy, but I was just getting physically worn out. The workload that I now have is no way near as demanding as before. Occasionally there are nights where I have a lot of freight deal with, but a majority of the time what I have to put out is very light weight. When I worked electronics for Kmart, the largest television that we sold was a 36 inch set. It took up almost an entire pallet by itself, and you needed two people to lift it. Now I can pick up a TV that size by myself and take it to the shelf.

The reason why I am fairly certain that I won't get pulled back to the grocery side, is that I am now trained to run a cash register. That is something they have wanted done for a while, but could not convince the person who worked the department before me. She is upset that they have taken her out of the department, but it is basically her own fault. She used to be friendly with me, but that has changed. I don't let it bother me, she is the one that has to deal with.

My duties now consist of stocking the department, straightening the department, putting back all the merchandise that managed to wander around the store, opening shoes, assisting customers, and answering the phone. With shoes, all I have to do is open the cases. Where the case is an assortment I have to take those out of the larger box and put them on a cart. As you can see, there is nothing there that is very strenuous.

Saturday night the prank caller was asking a lot of stupid questions about televisions. They wanted to know what size we carried and which one was best for their game system. I played along for a little bit with them, and then told him they just needed to come in and see what we had. A second caller wanted to be transferred to the fitting room in our fashion area. When I told her that there was no one there, she asked me what my name was. When I told her that she told me that I had a nice name, and that I had a sexy voice. I told her thank you and hung up on her. They tried again last night, but made the call while I was at break. They called three times. The first time they said they had an upset stomach and wanted to know what the largest bottle of Pepto-Bismol was that we had. They called back and asked about the largest bottle of Maalox that we had, and they described the discomfort that they were in. TMI. They then called a third time, and the person who was watching the department called the manager and had her pick up on on the phone. After our manager talked to them, there were no more calls.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Video Game Tales.



Yesterday I talked about video games. Today I ran across a list from Oddee.com, which listed 10 unbelievable video game stories. You can go here for the entire list, but I'm only going to comment on two of the stories. The first story involved the man from Hawaii who was suing the video game company for not telling him that video games are addictive. This falls back onto several comments I've made on this blog, including one that I made just last week about how people will sue over anything. The lawsuit was filed over a year ago and most of the complaint was dismissed in August of last year. I have searched and cannot find a follow-up to that story, so either it has been settled out-of-court, or is still active. I should find it amazing that the entire case was not dismissed, but I have seen too many things that are allowed to continue on long after they should have been dropped. If I find a follow-up to this, I will make mention of it at a later date.

The second story was from 2009. It concerned a mother who called the police because her 14-year-old son would not quit playing Grand Theft Auto. She had gotten into an argument with her son and felt that was the only way to get through to him. The police officers were able to get through to the boy, but as a person who has sold video games, I wonder how much his mother checks out what he is playing. Grand Theft Auto, is a video game that is rated M. That means her son would not have been able to purchase it by himself. Stores will not sell the game to anyone under 17. I realized that an older friend of his could've bought the game for him, but in my opinion, a 14-year-old should not be playing that game.

When I was working at Kmart, I had a lady who came in wanting to purchase a video game system for her eight-year-old daughter. X-box had not been out very long, and she asked me how good that would be for her little girl. She told me she had heard a lot about Grand Theft Auto, and if that would be a good game to purchase. I explained her a couple of things that took place in Grand Theft Auto, and she agreed it would not be an appropriate game. I also explained to her that X-box, was geared more for older game players. I sold her the Nintendo system that was available at that time, which was the Game Cube. At a different time, I had a young man who was 16 years old and wanted to purchase an M rated game. I told him that I could not sell it to him, but if his mother came over she could purchase the game for him. When she came over I explained to her about the game, and she turned her son and told him, "I told you I was not going to have that kind of thing in my house." The young man gave me a look, letting me know he was not very happy with me, but that I could live with. I didn't want his mother coming after me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Are You ready For Some Football?



Monday night I got my first taste of some of the fun that happens when you work electronics. The game NCAA Football 2012 was released at midnight. For the first time since I have worked electronics, I had to run a cash register. It has been almost 10 years since I last did that. I was a little rusty at first, but I quickly got back into the groove. It does make my job a lot easier, because now I can rang items up in the department, instead of having to walk certain things to the front of the store and hand them to a cashier up there. Most nights, there is not a lot of merchandise purchased that needs to be paid for in the department, but as we get closer to Christmas that will change.

There were actually six people who came in to purchase the game. Personally, it's not the kind of game that I play. I prefer role-playing games and puzzle games over the sports games. I had forgotten how popular NCAA game is. The last time that I sold it, I was electronics manager for Kmart, and it was a very strong seller then.

The prank callers must be on vacation. I have not heard from them in two days now. We will see what happens when I go back to work tomorrow night.

When I wrote about seeing the movie Thor, I said I wanted to wait until I had it on DVD and watch it back-to-back with Iron Man, so I could decide which movie is my favorite Marvel movie. I no longer have to wait for the DVD. I went and saw it again yesterday. It is playing in Calhoun, so it only cost me $1.50 to see it again. Thor is the winner. I will definitely be buying the DVD when it comes out on September 13.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The Dangers of Retail.


Normally working retail is not an extremely dangerous job. You sometimes deal with irate people, but you rarely have any physical altercations, unless you're dealing with a shoplifter. Then all bets are off. You never know how they are going to respond to the situation and you have to be prepared for anything. Even knowing that, an incident that happened at the store I work at a few days ago, was very surprising. A customer leaving the store set off the alarm system, and when asked to step back inside the store, they used a tazer on the person who asked them to stop. The employee who was stunned was a lady we will just say qualifies as a senior citizen. She is one of those who greets people as they come in the store and is one of the nicest people that we have working that area. Fortunately, she was not seriously injured. I truly hope that they catch the person that did this. According to company policy, if the person refuses you don't try and stop them yourself and I am sure that the lady did not make any physical attempt to bring that person back into the store. She simply asked them to return when she was attacked.

This is the worst assault that has happened to anybody that I have worked with. I've known of a few people who've been shoved and a few who a been punched, but those were loss control people trying to apprehend a shoplifter. When you have that job, that kind of activity goes with the territory. The worst that has ever happened to me is being called a few names. I never take name-calling personally, I simply chalk it up to people being upset and they are getting their frustrations out. There are better ways of handling it, but I am not going to judge what other people do. People seem to think that they are always right, but that is a topic for another day. I will be addressing that before this week is over.

Unfortunately, this kind of thing just simply seems to be a sign of the times in which we are living. Too many people want to use violence as their choice of dealing with situations. Usually something like this is more common in larger cities, and while Calhoun is not a large city, it still is a good-sized community. I find it funny when I hear people refer to Calhoun as being a small town. The town I grew up in was a small town. The other day I mentioned all the fast food places that you can find here, and that list was simply on one stretch of road. There are several other fast food places here, in addition to Walmart, Kmart, Home Depot, Office Depot, Kroger, an outlet mall, I could go on but I think you get the idea. There is not a lot of violent crime here, but it does happen. This isn't Mayberry, you do have to keep your doors locked at night.

Last night was one of those rare nights that I did not get a prank phone call. However, I did get one on Saturday night. The caller wanted to know about the size of part of my anatomy. This one didn't beat around the bush, I was asked that as soon as I answered the phone. Of course, I had a few lines that went to my head on how to respond to that, but to respond to these people would only encourage them to call more often. Had it not been for that, I would've simply replied," why don't you ask your girlfriend." I know, I'm bad. I forgot to mention about a call that I had a couple weeks ago. I think person must've been asthmatic, because all I could hear was them gasping for breath. Since I had no way of tracing the call, I couldn't call 911 to send an ambulance to them. I hope they recovered.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Sunday Song.



I just bought the remastered CD. This has always been one of my favorite albums.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Name Calling.


We all know that today in our politically correct world, you really need to watch what you say about other people, because they just might interpret that as name-calling, at which time, you might find yourself being sued. Personally, I don't believe in name-calling, but if somebody hurls an epitaph towards me, I just shrug it off and consider the source. I make myself the butt of many of my jokes. Some people really enjoy belittling others and you take all the enjoyment away from them when you do that. If I choose to use an ethnic joke, I tell it as a moron joke. I believe if you're offended by a moron joke, you deserve to be.

A woman has filed a $50 million lawsuit against the state of New York, for a name they have used in reference to her brother. I almost hesitate to use that word here, because I know that everyone who reads this are very kindhearted individuals, and I really would hate to upset you. However, in all honesty, I must use that word, so please brace yourselves and don't hate me for using it. That nasty word is inmate. I can sense everyone cringing as you read that word. Shocking, isn't it, and I apologize to anyone that I have offended.

Seriously, there is an actual lawsuit that has been filed over the word. The lady who filed the suit stated that the word, "implies that our brother is locked up for the purpose of mating with other men." I can see where he might be stigmatized by being called that. I also have never interpreted inmate in that manner. So why is this sensitive soul being incarcerated? He had a little disagreement with another gentleman over a business deal, involving drugs, where he ended the argument by putting a bullet in the other man's head. The other man did not survive. He was convicted of murder and sentenced to 25 years to life. I am not surprised that our renaissance man is offended by being called an inmate. He is eligible for parole in 2013.

In a move that I'm sure no one will find surprising, the woman who filed this lawsuit is also acting as her own attorney. We all know what is said about an attorney acting as his own client, and in order to avoid being sued, I will not use that phrase here. However, it truly does fit. Our courts today get bogged down with this kind of nonsense on a regular basis. There is no doubt in my mind that this suit will get thrown out, people in prisons will continue to be called inmates, and somebody will begin thinking upon the next ridiculous thing to bring before the courts. I am sure we will not have long to wait.

Weird Al Yankovic summed it up best in a song, I'll Sue Ya. You can watch it here.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Too Many Choices?


Two years ago Coca-Cola announced a new dispensing machine that could mix over 100 flavors. They have been used in several parts of the country, and are now coming into Chattanooga, Tennessee. A chain called Taco Mac, which I am not familiar with, is installing them in their restaurants. I think before the summer is over I will go to one just to check this machine out. Of course, this machine leads to the question, 'Just how many choices do we need when it comes to sodas?'

We live in a world today, where we have almost too many choices to make. If you have the full cable-television package, or a dish, you have a large selection of what channels you can watch. Growing up, we only had three major networks. Most people today would get upset if those were the only choices that they had. I'm not complaining about the multiple choices that we have, but sometimes it does feel like there is a sensory overload with the decisions that we have to make.

Fast food is another area where you have plenty of choices to make. Just using Calhoun as an example, there is one stretch where within half a mile you can find McDonald's, Arby's, KFC, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Chic-Fil-A, Checkers, Pizza Hut, Zaxby's, Subway and Bojangles. That doesn't count 2 Mexican restaurants, an Italian restaurant, a Chinese buffet, a Japanese restaurant, a sandwich shop, and a pizza buffet, not to mention 2 grocery stores. If you go hungry on that stretch of road, that is your fault.

When I was working frozen foods, there were many times you would see people just walking back and forth between the cases trying to decide what they wanted to eat. Several of them made the comment that they couldn't make up their minds, because there were too many choices. Having all of that is a good thing, but where do you draw the line at? Another part of the problem, especially when it comes to food, is that people seem to get bored with certain items and are always wanting to try something new. One of the problems that comes into play, when somebody succeeds with a product and then all of a sudden you have 10 copycats trying to grab a piece of the same pie.

Getting back to Taco Mac, they now have an extensive beverage assortment. In addition to all of the Coke flavors, they also serve 250 different types of beer. The place is a beer drinkers paradise, but unfortunately for them I do not drink beer. I will just stick with the exotic Coke flavors. Here is a video that has been posted on YouTube that demonstrates how this Coke machine works.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Baseball Card Tuesday.

Now that I have the Dragon program, I'm trying to get back into a routine with this blog. As I have mentioned before, my weekend is Tuesday and Wednesday. Tuesday is usually a fairly busy day for me so I want something that is easy to do, and quick to post. Therefore, this will be a day where I will post pictures of baseball cards using different themes each week. This weeks theme is my five favorite cards from the 2011 Topps series 2 set. The first card that I selected was Jason Heyward of the Atlanta Braves. I like the nonchalant attitude that he seems to have catching that ball.


Next up is José Valverde of the Detroit Tigers. That is an unusual position that he is in and it made me smile.


I enjoy shots of guys leaping and jumping so this card of Nyger Morgan of the Milwaukee Brewers made the cut.


A jumping shot, this time Troy Tulowitzki of the Colorado Rockies, avoiding a member of the Kansas City Royals and looking like he is having a great time on the field.


Another jumping card, Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs is getting out of the way of Geoff Blum of the Arizona Diamondbacks. I love the look on Barney's face.


I will be going through the sets that I have completed and will select five cards from the each of those and will be putting those here on Tuesdays.


I did have a prank call last night. I'm beginning to believe there is a small group who are getting together doing these. The call last night started out innocently enough as somebody asking about purchasing alcohol. Local regulations here make purchasing alcohol from 11 PM to 6 AM illegal. The caller was trying to get me to come up with a way to get around that for them. After I told him there was nothing that I could do since it was the law, the person then said that they were in the bathroom without toilet paper. I simply said, nice try, and hung up.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Overcharge?



Five weeks ago while at work I hurt my arm. It is much better now and only gives me slight pain when I use it, but considering I'm 54 years old that is nothing out of the ordinary. I have recovered fine and am able to do everything at work with no problems. The reason I bring this up, is last week I received the doctor's bill from the emergency room. That night I saw the doctor for about 5 minutes. His bill, which didn't count the rest of the emergency room bill, was $603. It did not cost me anything because Workman's Comp paid for the entire bill. What got me was the size of that bill, considering how short a period of time he actually spent with me. I know that insurance paid for it, but still, that is to me an outrageous amount to charge for 5 minutes of his time. I know there are a lot of reasons for the charges that go into these bills, but I think that overcharging is one of the problems with our medical care today, and why we have almost reached a crisis state concerning it. I have no idea how much the emergency room bill itself was, because I never got it, but I probably would be equally outraged if I had seen it.

Seeing that bill reminded me of something that happened after my wife had died. When I took her in I did not have my insurance card on me. While they were working on her I registered her and when I told told them that I did not have the card I was told that was no problem, they had the insurance card number on record. Imagine my surprise, a month later when I received a bill totaling almost $5000. It was an itemized bill and some of the charges amazed me. I realize that hospitals have to make money, and there are a lot of people who cannot pay their bill, but it is unfair to charge those who can pay. I took the bill into the hospital and told the person I handed it to that I should not have received this. She agreed with me and did apologize for it being sent out. I was supposed to pay $50 for the emergency room, but the hospital never charged me for that. The $5000 was for about 45 minutes in the emergency room.

There is no easy answer to the healthcare crisis that we're facing now, but these are two examples of things that need to be changed. Incidentally, this is not a rant about the doctor or the care that I received with my arm. I have no complaints at all about that. I am fairly certain that the doctor does not personally handle the billing of this. The rant is about the billing process itself.


On a lighter note, the prankster must be on vacation or just celebrating the holiday because for the second night in a row. There were no prank calls. We will see how tonight goes and then after that, I'm off for the next two days.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Song.




The prank caller took the night off.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Walken On Sunshine.



The prank caller last night asked for a Nintendo 360. When I told her that Nintendo made the Wii and X-box made the 360, she told me she wanted an X-box 720. I told her she needed to contact Bill Gates to make one and then I hung up.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Prank Phone Calls.


I am really enjoying my new job working in electronics. The physical work is no where near as hard as working frozen foods and dairy. One of the jobs that I have throughout the night is answering the phone. Usually at least once each night I get a prank phone call. Some people just don't seem to have anything better to do. Here are some examples of the calls I've had since I started working electronics:

"Do you sell chocolate? What kind do you have?"
I told that caller, "You'll just have to come in and see for yourself."

"Do you sell condoms? What sizes do you have?"
Once again I answered, "You will have to come in and see for yourself." I was nice and didn't say, "I'm sorry, we can't help you. We don't sell any that small."

"My name is Bond, James Bond."
I simply hung up on him.

"Do you have the phone number to Kmart?"
I mentioned earlier that I am not going to name my employer, even though if you read some past posts here, it's not very hard to figure out, but it definitely isn't Kmart. I simply answered no and after I hung up, it dawned on me that I had the perfect answer to that question. If I ever get asked again, I'm going to say, "I sure do. It's 411."

I was asked if somebody under the age of 17 could buy an M rated video game. The person asked me a couple of different questions and then asked, "What if it was my birthday?" At that point, I simply hung up on the person. Incidentally, most of the callers are the same person. He has a distinctive accent, so it's hard not to notice.

Last night I was asked, "I bought a $25 gift card at your store and they wouldn't accept it at JC Penney."
I told them, "I'll let you figure that out for yourself."

The first night that I worked in electronics I got a phone call from somebody who claimed to be in the bathroom in the back of the store. He told me he was in there and that we were out of toilet paper. I was skeptical, but I did call a maintenance person to go in there and take a roll with them. Of course, there was no one in there. About 20 minutes later the person called back asking where the toilet paper was. When I told him we had sent somebody in there and there wasn't anybody in the bathroom. They claimed that they were standing on the stool, so we would not have seen their feet. Again, I just simply hung up on him. About three hours later he called again with the same tale. That time I didn't say a word, I just hung up the phone.


I guess some people just are easily amused, and are trying to use me for a cheap thrill. I sometimes wonder if they're not recording these things. I've heard a lot of phone gags on the radio and maybe they are hoping that I will provide them some kind of entertainment that they can then use. Unfortunately for them, I'm on to their game, and I don't play along. From now on, every day that I get a prank call. I will post it here. As I mentioned the majority of the calls are being done by the same person. We will see how long it takes them to get tired of doing this.