Archive for the ‘rants’ Category

Shit Happens

Sunday, February 20th, 2011

As evidenced by discovering two relatively fresh piles on the parkway today while sweeping up the frontyard and sidewalk, either one dog-walker or more have become perfectly OK with their pooch pooping in front of our house and then failing to remove the fecal matter.

As such I’m mulling over the following options for signage and could use guidance among the following three I’m considering:

  1. Please scoop your dog’s poop
  2. If you’re not a dick, up the dogshit you will pick
  3. Circumstance and a dogged (no pun intended) sense of righteousness will eventually conspire to allow me to catch you not cleaning up your dog’s dungheap. So by all means, go ahead and let your pooch crap in front of my house — again. But be warned: when that glorious day of reckoning arrives, I shall race down like winged vengeance upon the steaming pile, palm it from where it lays and do my level best to decorate the back of your head with it.

No. 1 is respectful and direct, but I like No. 2’s Yoda-esque truth. No. 3, though, is very, very satisfying, but would require a pretty large piece of cardboard, hope that the offender isn’t too short-attention spanned, and probably a good lawyer to help get me acquitted of any assault charges. Thoughts?

This Gives Me An Idea

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

You might recall past blog posts of mine regarding driveway blockers and how I deal with them. Most get a page-long letter scolding them for their inconsideration. Some get cited, and the occasional superfail gets his or her car’s ass towed to the nearest impound yard.

Well, thanks to the internet, I have found a far more concise version to that correspondence option, courtesy a 1974 answer from Cleveland Stadium to a Browns fan and season ticket holder who wrote to complain about the frustrations forged by his fellow fans who deigned to fly paper airplanes during games:

Gentlemen:

I am one of your season ticket holders who attends or tries to attend every game. It appears one of the pastimes of several fans has become the sailing of paper airplanes generally made out of the game program. As you know, there is the risk of serious eye injury and perhaps an ear injury as a result of such airplanes. I am sure that this has been called to your attention and that several of your ushers and policemen witnessed the same.

Please be advised that since you are in a position to control or terminate such action on the part of fans, I will hold you responsible for any injury sustained by any person in my party attending one of your sporting events. It is hoped that this disrespectful and possibly dangerous activity will be terminated.

Very truly yours,
Roetzel & Andress
By Dale O. Cox

The hilarious response below is just about the best worst example of customer consideration I’ve ever encountered… but then again, in hindsight it’s somewhat par for the course given the giant fah-kyoo the Browns gave the entire city of Cleveland in relocating to Baltimore as the Ravens in 1996 (click it for a larger version):

And of course in my own twisted mind, I readily adapted such matter-of-factness to possibly pertain to the next person who flagrantly impedes our driveway ingress/egress:

Dear [Make] [Model]:

In case the tow truck gets here before you can leave, I felt you should be aware that some asshole is parking you like it’s OK to block me.

Very truly yours,
The Garage

Think of the amount of printer ink I’ll save!

How Much Is Too Much?

Monday, October 18th, 2010

I wonder at times about high-priced bicycles and the companies that make them. When the people involved decide upon the retail price, do they do it in all unblinking seriousness believing it an entirely valid amount, or do they nervously hunch over somewhat reflexively in wide-eyed incredulity, like they’re doubtful they’ll get away with such an outrageous thing.

Certainly I understand that R&D, and materials and manufacturing and design and components and craftsmanship and overhead and advertising all play important roles in bumping up that final figure. But when I see Cannondale’s Flash Hi-Mod 29’er profiled in the Health section of today’s L.A. Times and priced at five thousand eight hundred and ninety nine dollars, all my mild-mannered and rational understanding goes out the window and what I really want to do is storm their HQ, kicking all sorts of ass between the front door and the vault that keeps the documents showing the actual total per-unit cost as being $795.23. Or for the sake of argument let’s say it’s $1795.72.

For a bike. Not including the 200% mark-up. Or the sales tax.

Yet the folks there at Cannondale with the key to that vault in one collective corporate hand manage to staunch any snickering and straight-face you when they hold out their other collective corporate hand demanding payment of  five thousand eight hundred and ninety nine dollars for what I’m sure they pretend is the privilege of riding such an exceptionally state-of-the-science mountain bike.

And it may be. But it’s still just a bike, one that’s sporting a huge profit margin.

I’m sure there are people out there with that kind of scratch who will oblige. Just as there are those who’ll fork over amazing amounts for designer blue jeans.

Now, I don’t want to squelch the evolution of bike technology. Like I said, I understand that there’s a pricetag attached to the latest and greatest and I’m all for making bikes betterstrongerfaster. I just will never accept a figure so exorbitant. Because I come at it from an insulted perspective that probably insults Cannondale and any other company charging such sums. I rode a $300 track bike for more than 6,000 miles until the frame weakened a year ago. Then I sent the manufacturer the old frame and  $119 for a replacement frame, and I’ve been riding that ever since. Prior to that I put more than 5,000 miles riding a 1970s-era 10-speed someone had thrown away and that I invested a few hundred bucks returning to rideable condition.

My mountain bike: a $350 expenditure purchased over the internet more than seven years ago.

My most expensive bike? A 2000 Giant OCR-3 for which I paid $500.

The most expensive bike I ever bought: a $900 Klein that I returned less than a week later wondering how I could’ve been such a sucker.

Even if I had a spare five thousand eight hundred and ninety nine dollars hanging around and could get past the ridiculousness of making such an obscene purchase without having myself committed to an institution for the financially inane, do you think I would actually go up in the Verdugos or the San Gabes and actually ride the thing?

No, I wouldn’t. I couldn’t. At that price, it would be a far better thing to hang it on the wall as testament to wretched excess then to risk getting such a masterpiece dirty!

Crying Over Spoilt Milk

Sunday, June 6th, 2010

So I did route sign posting for today’s L.A. River Ride with my good friend Stephen yesterday and afterwards we met Susan for lunch  who was waiting for us at Blue Star and then after that we scooted over to bike around enjoying the West Adams House/Art tour. On our way home we stopped at a 7-11 local to us because I was craving a Coke Slurpee, and while we were there Susan picked up a half-gallon of milk.

Later on that evening after watching “It’s Complicated” (which would have been more appropriately titled “It’s Almost Embarrassingly Stupid”) and while washing up the dinner dishes, Susan cracked open the milk and took a quick chug and immediately rushed to the bathroom to spit it out.

How decomposed was the cow juice?

Pretty damn so: the “Best Used By” date read 05/19/2010. As in 2.5 weeks ago. How the fuck does that happen?

Susan, like me, is not in the habit of ignoring dates of foodstuffs that can go bad. But in this case she misread the 5 as a 6, which is a relatively easy thing to do.

Fortunately she suffered nothing more than psychological ill effects from the encounter and this morning I brought the carton back to the 7-11, where I set it on the counter and told the lady behind the cash register that I had purchased the milk yesterday afternoon, that it was rotten, and that I’d like to exchange it, preferably for a carton with a date that’s somewhere in the future.

“Do you have the receipt?” she asked.

I smiled because I had a feeling that question was coming.

“No, I was not given a receipt.”

And the lady shook her head while trying to find the least idiotic way to use that as a ridiculous reason why they couldn’t accord me my entirely reasonable request.

“Are you seriously about to tell me no?”

“I’m sorry,” she started, and I stopped her.

“Because if you do that, I’m going to pour this crap all over your store, then I’m going to file complaints with the police, the  city attorney’s office, Knudsen, the Better Business Bureau, 7-11 headquarters, and the California Milk Advisory Board!”

That last one just kinda snuck out… I’m not at all sure I would’ve contacted them or if they would’ve given a damn.

The lady quickly grabs the carton off the counter and looks at the date. She doesn’t say anything but her eyes go wide.

“May 19!?” I say.

Then she asks the next stupid question: “Do you remember who was at the register?”

That amazes me, because it implies she thinks I’m trying to rip them off.  That I’ve either bought this milk elsewhere — or worse, that I’ve actually held on to this carton of milk for 18 days.

“What does that have to do with anything?” I ask. Pointedly.

She just stares at me, waiting an answer.

“Male. Had a beard. Mumbled his speech.” That last part is true, it took three tries for me to get him to say the total clearly enough for me to give him the proper amount of cash.

So now she calls out to someone in whatever her native tongue is and in response a young man who was not the fellow I had described steps out from one of the aisles, crosses to her and the two engage in a conversation until the young man finally asks me in English  if all I want to do is exchange.

The look I give him is the equivalent of DUH!? “Yes, that’s all I want.”

And so he takes the carton from the lady, his eyes going wide also when he looks at the date. Then he sets it down and escorts me to the dairy section, pulling out a carton whose “Best Used By” date is 06/11/2010.

“Perfect!” I say.

People In Twitter Shouldn’t Throw Spoilers

Thursday, May 27th, 2010

My good man Jason DeFillippo, Metblogs cofounder and most decidedly one who does not mince words harshly took me to task after I tweeted who won “Survivor” following the finale’s conclusion a couple Sundays ago:

“Posting spoilers is like fucking someone’s kitten. You just don’t do it.”

And he was right to do so.

In my defense, I did the deed after the result was aired on the west coast, but still. It was an important reminder that beyond timezone differences we’re in an age of DVRs and delayed viewing. And it’s simply good and considerate practice to keep the beans unspilled. For how long? I don’t know that answer. I don’t care about that answer.

Fast forward to last night and I’m watching “American Idol.” Early on in the typically interminable finale, shortly after the Bee Gees sang “How Deep Is Your Love” with a couple of this season’s Top-10 finishers, I tweeted how seeing the surviving Brothers Gibb perform, made me smile. Sincerely so.

Not long thereafter came a response from a bike-minded enthusiast I follow whose Twitter name is cyclingnirvana:

“Yes, me too! But the power grab from Janet Jackson made me sick.”

Wondering what he was talking about, I tweeted back:

“Hmmmmm, I think I missed that… Or it hasn’t happened yet?”

And he came back with:

Sorry, it happens late in the show.

Ah, so now the two of us realize two things. I know he’s in a timezone east of me (turns out  way ahead of me in Florida), and he knows I’m in one behind him somewhere. I fleetingly toy with the idea of requesting that he keep any news of the winner to himself but give him the benefit of the doubt that he wouldn’t do such a silly thing.

Not more than a few minutes later while I’m transfixed by Christina Aguilera’s performance, he does:

“Really would have liked to see Crystal Bowersox win. She has an awesome voice and style. But I’m sure she’ll do well.”

I toyed with several harsh replies, such as a replay of Jason’s aforementioned reality check and  “Really would have liked to see you STFU,” but instead because I’m sure he’s a decent fellow who was just tweeting what happening around him I just admonished him with an entirely expletive- and animalporn-free:

“Dood. Way to spoil it for those of us who aren’t in your timezone.”

Which the guy completely ignored. Nirvana? More like some nerve.

UPDATE (11:52 a.m.): Strike that part about him ignoring me. I got a direct message from him this morning apologizing.

If You Can’t Beat Lazy Lame Hollywood, Join ‘Em

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

There’s a movie whose arrival is imminent that you may have heard of called The Karate Kid. It features an elderly man who happens to be a secret martial arts master who teaches a young punk transplanted far from home how to protect himself from big bad bullies at school who aren’t really down with him — and especially with him getting all  smitten with a pretty young classmate. Life lessons ensue,  a cross-generational friendship is forged, skills get honed, and it all ends up at a competition where the kid kicks ass.

Sound familiar? Of course it does. Who hasn’t seen the wonderful original from 1984 with Pat Morita and Ralph Macchio (or its sequels — yes even that last silly one with Hilary Swank).

But here’s the thing, and by “thing” I mean Idiocy That Pisses Me Off.  This version of the film should not be called The Karate Kid. It should be called The Kung Fu Kid since it takes place in China where that is the indigenous martial art — and indeed according to the film’s summary on IMDB is what the elderly gent (played this time by Jackie Chan) teaches the punk (played by Wil Smith’s kid Jaden).

But  everyone who made the movie seemed less intent on basic factual truth in titling and instead more desperately intent on greedily making bank by piggybacking on the franchise, which at a quarter century in age is old enough to engender nostalgia in those 30-somethings who were kids and teens during its originally release. Sure, the filmmakers could argue that they didn’t want any confusion/connection between this film and the far more recent Kung Fu Panda, but that’s just a buncha silly sauce. You want silly? I’ll argue that there should be a statute of limitations invoked prohibiting remakes of any kind — properly titled or not — from being made for a minimum of 40 years after the original’s theatrical release.

But since that day will never come, and nothing’s sacred, I’ve decided instead to offer up the following  list of films the studios should consider remaking (or in some cases re-remaking) under their original titles while also brainlessly changing crucial elements — the more the better:

Waterworld — The earth is covered by water sand. The remaining people travel the oceans deserts, in search of survival led over endless dunes by a uselessly gilled guy called Mariner for no reason.

Lawrence of Arabia — T.E. Lawrence Balthazar blazes his way to glory in the Arabian desert post-Katrina New Orleans.

Gone With The Wind — The epic tale of a woman’s life before, during and after the Civil War Woodstock, which she didn’t attend but said she did.

Goodfellas — The lowly, violent blue-collar side of New York’s Elvis Presley’s Italian Memphis mafia.

Nightmare on Elm Street — On Elm Street Maple Drive, a group of teens aging boy band members are tormented in their dreams during lunch by a clawed six-fingered killer nursing home janitor named Freddy Krueger Skippy Gunderson.

Jaws — A shark marmot makes a resort coal-mining town its private public feeding breeding grounds.

Towering Inferno — A skyscraper jumbo jet catches fire lands safely due to poor wiring an uneventful flight and competent pilots.

Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill! — Three wild women congressmen in fast cars on Segways take time off from stripping in clubs budget negotiations to go on a murder tax-and-spend rampage.

3:10 To Yuma — A rancher agrees to hold a captured outlaw who’s awaiting the 4:25 train to go to court in Yuma Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.

The Matrix — A computer phonebook hacker deliveryman learns about ignores the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against the controllers of it.

Citizen Kane — Following the death of an aged publishing tycoon astronomer, reporters colleagues scramble to discover hide the meaning proper spelling of his final utterance, “Beetlegeuse.” Or is it “Beetlejuice?” Or is it “Beetleguese?” “Beetlegoose,” maybe? No, Beetlegeese!”

Memento — A man, suffering from unaware of his short-term memory loss, uses notes smoke signals and tattoos disappearing ink to hunt for never find the man he thinks killed his wife his wallet, which is in his back pocket the whole fucking time.

Or as told in the film’s unique reverse timeline:

To hunt for never find the man he thinks killed his wife his wallet, which is in his back pocket the whole fucking time, a man uses notes smoke signals and tattoos disappearing ink  while suffering from unaware of his short term memory loss.

It’s A Wonderful Life — An angel out-of-work Angels Stadium groundskeeper prevents a compassionate heartless but despairingly frustrated and sociopathically fraudulent mortgage company executive from seeing what how much better everything would have been if he never existed.

The Man Who Knew Too Much — An American doctor idiot savant vacationing in Morocco accidentally stumbles onto an assassination plot.

The Poseidon Adventure — A group of passengers chefs struggle to survive serve dinner when their ocean liner Gordon Ramsay capsizes berates them at sea Ocean, a new eatery having its soft-open in Culver City with rumors that food writer Jonathon Gold is coming.

Plenty more where those come from, but I’d better quit while I’m behind.

Or make your own Madlib style:

Armageddon: When a giant asteroid [adjective] [noun] the size of  Texas [celebrity’s name; possessive] [thing or things] is discovered headed for Earth [place], hope for survival rests on the success of a misfit [adjective] team of deep-core drillers [specialized group of people or animals] sent to space [place] on a suicide mission [adjective] [noun] to nuke [verb] it.

Just What Every Cyclist Needs!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2009

bikemotorI love Google ads.  Lovelovelove ’em! It’s almost endearing how they can be so hamfistedly incorrect in their arrival, like the one above, showing up uninvited and unwanted on the YouTube page hosting my timelapse video of the LA Bike Tour —  not unlike (for want of a better metaphor) the way “Animal House’s” Bluto Blutarski might barge into an otherwise gentile social gathering hosted by the uptights at Omega House and grab a comfy chair with a belch and a smile near the finger sammiches. After spiking the punch. And then drinking all of it. From the bowl.

Because you know, given my sliiiiiiiiight predilection for pure pedal power, pretty much the last thing I’d promote in any way, shape, or form is some sort of goddam after-market internal combustion powerplant that can somehow be mounted to a perfectly good bicycle so that not only does it consume fossil fuels and emit noxious emissions, but it probably pollutes the air with something that sounds eerily like a lawn mower.

In short, I appreciate Google bringing BikeBerry.com to my attention as the LAST place on the world wide inturnip I’ll ever go shopping.