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6/30/11

Hating on Gay Marriage is so 2008...

Leviticus 18:22 - You shall not lie with a male as with a woman; it is an abomination.

You've probably heard this before. It's what people use when denouncing gay marriage. It's a sin. It's not natural.

The reason I'm bring this up is because of New York passing a law allowing gay marriage. The locals here in Idaho are up in arms, and bible verses are being tossed around left and right...

My personal opinion is this: I'm for gay marriage. All US citizens should have equal rights. Gay, straight, pick any skin color, IQ of 56 or 156, we are all equal.  How is this different than passing a law saying that people without a High School Diploma are not allowed to vote?  Discriminating against gays is ok, but we can't discriminate against the stupid?  The poor?  The people who listen to bluegrass?

But...but... the BIBLE!!! You can't defy the word of God!

Well, I think this whole 'homosexuality is a sin' thing is getting passe. Let's pick another abomination from the bible and start rabblerousing, shall we?

  • Shellfish are sinful (Leviticus 11:9-12) "Of the animals that live in the sea or in a river, if the animal has fins and scales, you may eat it. But whatever lives in the sea or in a river and does not have fins and scales -- including the things that fill the water and all other things that live in it -- you should hate. You must not eat any meat from them or even touch their dead bodies, because you should hate them. You must hate any animal in the water that does not have fins and scales."
  • Dog Breeds like Labradoodles, farming diverse crops, or wearing a cotton/poly blend will send you to hell (Leviticus 19:19) "Keep my decrees. Do not mate different kinds of animals. Do not plant your field with two kinds of seed. Do not wear clothing woven of two kinds of material."
  • Eating your steak rare is going to make God angry (Lev. 19:26) "Do not eat any meat with the blood still in it."
  • Shaving your beard (ladies, I'm looking at you...) (Lev. 19:27) "Do not cut the hair at the sides of your head or clip off the edges of your beard."
  • Tattoos are taboo (Lev 19:28) "Do not cut your bodies for the dead or put tattoo marks on yourselves. I am the LORD."
  • Sorry conservatives, no more poo-pooing illegal immigration (Lev. 19:33-34) "When a foreigner resides among you in your land, do not mistreat them. 34 The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself, for you were foreigners in Egypt. I am the LORD your God."
Let's mix is up a bit, ok?  Society has been homo-bashing long enough.

I say let's go protest Red Lobster for marketing sin and filth to the innocents of this world.

Or maybe the next time you get a haircut, and the stylist asks you if you want your sideburns trimmed, smack them with a bible and tell the heathen what's what...

Debating with family one night, one said "Well you can't take everything the Old Testament says as law anymore.  Jesus came to Earth, and wrote a new set of rules we follow.  Essentially the Old Testament is obsolete."

Oh really?  Cool.  All those laws above (including the gay stuff) is from the same book in the O.T.  If we're saying wearing blended fibers is ok, and planting more than one crop in the field, why are we still hanging on to the belief that homosexuality is evil?  The bible doesn't say sin A is worth 5 points and sin B is worth 12... why do we hang on to some but dismiss others?

Now the fun part... I open up the discussion to you.

What are your thoughts on this?  I'm not gay, but I think they should have equal rights.  I'm not Atheist, but I think some parts of the bible are just as absurd as the people who quote it.  What do YOU think??


6/29/11

Wordless Wednesday - A modern fairy-tale


Hey Disney, do THIS story!

6/28/11

The Politics Behind July 4th in this Town (and much much more)

If a post were ever to get me sued or whacked, this would be it.

You see, this town more or less lives and dies by one central corporation, and the corporation lives and dies by the man in charge.

This town, to me, seems like it's run by Melaleuca.

Melaleuca is a MLM business centered on tea-tree oil, and all-natural eco-friendly products.  Think of it like a 'greener' Amway.  Well, it's based in this town, and it plays as the cornerstone of the local economy.

The man in charge is Frank Vandersloot.  Depending on who you ask, he is one of the most loved (or reviled) men in this town.

Why?

Well, the local baseball team plays at Melaleuca Field.

The annual fireworks show is sponsored by Melaleuca (and they like to remind you as often as possible).

Most of the top radio stations in the area are owned by Mr. V.

Melaleuca buys full-page spreads in the local paper whenever they wish to share their message with the world.

In recent elections, Melaleuca bought ad time on television and radio to make fun of the candidates they didn't like, even though some major bending of the rules were made (link, and it's a doozie)

In a nutshell, from the point of view of someone that's relatively new to the area, Melaleuca owns this town, and probably a good chunk of Eastern Idaho.

I guess when you have the money, you can more or less make the rules.  You don't like the kind of music they're playing on the radio?  Buy the radio stations.  

Don't agree with a development project?  Spend as much money as you need to in order to thwart your opponents.

It goes into the "If I had enough money to do whatever I want, what would I do?" mentality.  Would I try to have the entire community under MY thumb like he appears to be doing?  I don't know.

I personally don't like the company because I don't like the guy who is running it.  If you want to be influential in your community, there are more noble ways of doing it than buying as much of the town as you can.  I have my religious and political beliefs too, but if I had millions to burn I still wouldn't impose my values on others as Mr. V seems to do.

If I were sponsoring events, sports teams, or just being philanthropic in general, I wouldn't do it with such a "LOOK AT ME, AREN'T I GENEROUS???" attitude.

It's almost like they want you to worship them.  Oh glorious and generous Melaleuca, if I pray to you will you provide?  If I drink your koolaid, will you shelter me?  Death to the non-believers!!

I'm spouting off my opinions to you in a way he does to others, but I'm not simply saying "believe what I say because I'm saying it."  Look at this piece from a local news station, and see if he gives you bad vibes as well...


Don't sue me, oh righteous and all-powerful Melaleuca.  I'm poor.

So this 4th, I'm not sure what I want to do.  Sure, fireworks are nice, but by watching the show I feel like I'm supporting the Evil Empire, or validating their causes by showing them I appreciate it when they 'give back to the community.'  In my eyes, those fireworks come with a price, and not just the Chinese child-labor factories from whence they came.

6/27/11

Mini Monday Post (Playing Wargames as a Child & Loving the Ultra-violence)

Keeping today's post short and sweet, because I want to send most of the viewers to my Mammo T-shirt Giveaway.  If you love boobs, you need this shirt.

I discovered this video while in California.  Since I couldn't see my boys on day one, I improvised.  I went to a local pub and hung out with an old HS friend and her BFF.  We drank, we joked, we amused ourselves by watching Jersey-Shore-Wannabes and Sabre-tooth-tigers (older than cougars, get it?) on the dance floor.

The DJ was spinning some mad tunes, and there was a video screen showing the corresponding music vid.  THIS was the vid to one of the songs:


YES!  AWESOME!  All the males that ever played war know what I'm talking about.  When you're 10 and have a vivid imagination, THIS is how the shit goes down!

I hope you enjoyed the video.  Now go tell me how much you love boobs, so you can win a t-shirt!

6/26/11

Sometimes It's Just All About Me (plus a giveaway)

Don't worry.  This isn't as egotistical a post as the title may lead you to believe.  This post *IS* all about me, but other people are involved as well.

Over the course of 8 days, between visiting my boys and my first week as a traveling salesman, I have put about 3600 miles on my car.  It's taking a much-deserved break in my driveway, recovering from the chaos, and prepping for a Monday drive.

Life on the road has been fun these past few days, and I think I'm going to really enjoy this job.  More to come on it later.   While I was gone, some interesting me-centric things happened.

Over at A Beer For the Shower I was immortalized in animated awesomeness.  My nightmares of being abducted my LDS Extremists and brainwashed/converted has somewhat become a reality.  I am now a Missionary going door-to-door preaching about 'The Book of Idaho.'

And I love it.  If you're not reading that blog, you're missing out on some good stuff.  And 'The Book of Idaho?'  If I ever publish myself, that's the name of Book 1.  Props will be given, of course.

Continuing my courtship with Lady E, I ordered a Mammo shirt from her online store a few weeks back.  I mean, I love boobs and want to do whatever I can to support them (heh) so I saw this as a good cause.

After a month of waiting (and a strongly-worded email to Cafepress) it finally came.  Actually... two came.  It's an awesome shirt, and I love being an advocate for women keeping their ta-tas healthy, so I'm going to share the lovin!

The shirt in question is a Charcoal color, size XL.  If interested, please leave a comment of "I LOVE BOOBS!" below.  Limit one entry per person this way.  To get a second entry, please tweet a link to this post and include the hashtag #Mammo in the tweet.  I'll close the contest on June 30, and announce the winner July 1st.

Example:  I love boobs!  Come support the #Mammo cause, and maybe win a t-shirt from @Spud_slinger!  http://bit.ly/lyaoIE

Yay for boobies! Yay for ABftS! And yay for me!

p.s. - If you want a different color/size, please go to Lady E's Cafepress site.  They also have shirt designs for women, and much much more!!!

6/25/11

It's All About the Spelling. (guest post)

I am off camping (joy...) so please enjoy a guest post today from Lady Estrogen.  You can find her and her amazing stories at Adventures in Estrogen.  I warn you though.... once you go there, you'll never be the same.  But in a good, slightly more twisted way.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Over the past couple weeks, I have become privy to a magical bit of information – which is that Tori Spelling is my hero.

Now, I would never have thought that before, nor did I go searching for this epiphany like I was some sad second-rate version of that Laura Croft be-yatch. Besides, I’m much more of an Indiana Jones girl, but I digress.

So, I was searching for a quality image to use for a post that eloquently discusses crotch sweat. Like any logical “Googler” I typed in: crotch sweat… low and behold, Tori Spelling appeared on page 6.


I thought that was mildly humourous – after all, she’ll be the original 90210 grenade for all time. 

I had a giggle and moved on.

Next, I thought I’d try searching for: boob sweat.
Wha-pow! Hello there, again! Not first over-all, but first on page 4. Look at those boobs – I’m sure daddy Spelling paid handsomely for those. Mmmm, sweaty.


Then, my laughter grew and it was evident that Google was truly entertaining me… during work hours, of course.

A few days had passed and I was on to my next project. Of course, I’m back on the image hunt, but this time the key words are: dumb blonde. Well, duh! Perhaps this wasn’t exactly ground-breaking news, but it was nice to see her familiar face pop up, and on page 2, nevertheless. Once again, I chuckled and stored that tidbit of information away in the ‘poor taste archives’ of my brain.


Finally, just the other day, I was searching for a fantastically cruel and bitchy photo for myself to use in lieu of my own pregnancy photo. I typed in: ugly & pregnant. Done. Hi Tori!


But wait! She’s only 4th on page 1? That shit just ain’t right. She’s so close yet so far. Google and your quirky word-arrangement glitches – surely we could do better than that! So, I typed in: pregnant & ugly. Voila! BAM! Numero uno on page 1. What a fucking accomplishment, truly.


Although it did take some unplanned research over a span of time, I am extremely happy with this realization that I have stumbled upon. Perhaps one day, I too, could have my photo emerge on such a plethora of key words and phrases.

But then again, that’s the shit only my dreams are made of.

6/24/11

I have a confession to make: I tried to conform.

Unless you've lived in a hole for the past 10 years, you know what American Idol is.  Well, I just tried to become the blogging equivalent to it...


...and failed...


I'm saddened, but I'm not as surprised as I thought I would be.


I auditioned for Blogger Idol.  It is a writing contest where bloggers could test their chops against other bloggers in a battle for supremacy.  11 judges looked at 52 entries, and the top 12 make it into the competition.


Tweeted from @Bloggeridol:  "The total possible score was 405. The highest score was 367, lowest was 166. All of the top 12 was above 339."


Now I'm kind of hoping I was the 166...


I didn't make it, and I have had that feeling since I auditioned.  You see, most of the judges were mommy/daddy/family bloggers.  They would get edgy from time to time, but it's mostly good wholesome stuff.  When they announced the top 12, most of the finalists fit into that category as well. There were some exceptions, but not a lot.


If you're comparing BI to AI, the most marketable, mainstream people made the cut.  This is not a show designed for anti-heroes, and that's how I kind of saw myself in this competition.


I poke at religion, society, race, culture, and the politically ignorant.  You'd never see a TV version of my blog on ABC Family channel.  You'd never see my opinions echoed on Dr. Phil.


My ribbing about how annoying it is that Mormons pray before they do anything?  PR nightmare.  


Any 'Freaky Friday' post of mine would ruin the image of a contest that is trying to become a big thing.  After all, I don't think Blogher would be happy about me chatting it up about Balloon fetishes on THEIR website...  (I'm stewing a 'What would Blogher do?' t-shirt design, mocking the happy wholesome bloggers.  I smell gimmick infringement, but it would be funny...)


So yes, I felt a little like the Anarchist trying to get a show on the Disney channel, but I tried anyway.  When the person in charge hinted I "would make an excellent JUDGE" I didn't see the writing on the wall that I would be a lousy contestant, but meh.


I'll just keep doing what I'm doing, because I'm me.  This blog is who I am, and you, my followers, are who I cater to.  You 631 (and growing) are what makes me Blogger Idol, with or without an official title.


Congrats to the top 12.  I'll be rooting for the one who goes against the grain more than the rest.  After all, who wants another Clay Aiken in their life??

6/23/11

How to market your pet business

Everyone who has pets knows you have to feed them.  With the exception of the pet rock from the 70's, those animals have to eat.

Which is where a pet or feed store comes into play...

I mean, sure, you can buy food from a grocery store, but most of the time they only sell garbage.  You know the old saying "garbage in, garbage out?"  Well, if you've ever cleaned up dog poo from your back yard, you know the concept all too well.

I sell good quality food to pet stores, feed stores, and some chain accounts.  THIS is where you should go to buy food.  Not the grocery store, not the big red bullseye, not Wallyworld.   Why?  Because that is where you buy better food for a good price.

But, sometimes it's not a pleasant experience to go into these stores...

Some stores are clean, organized, and well-run.  You are greeted when you enter the door.  All of your questions are thoughtfully and completely answered.  They are there to help you in any way imaginable.  These are the stores I love, because they have a passion for what they do.

Try doing into the big W and asking someone in the pet section the difference between crap A and crap B.  "Well this bag is $15.99, and this one is $17.99..."  That's about all they can offer.

A good store will tell you which food is ideal for your animal, your budget, and your lifestyle.  They will be able to educate, inform, and (if done right) keep you as a customer for life.

But there are stores that don't quite get the message.  Their store is cluttered, and smells like ass.  They're not helpful.  They sell a limited amount of styles, so it's their way or the highway.

So far after 3 days, we have visited mostly good stores.  People know what they're doing in Idaho.  There was one store in my hometown that wasn't on the company's customer list, so I wanted to visit...

I mean, hey... first week and I can sign up a new customer?  Sounds fun.  Let's do this.

We walk into the store, and immediately we are overpowered by the smell of old dirty balls.  This store smells awful.  We were in and out in 30 seconds, because the owner only sells "high premium, high margin items" to his customers....  funny, we sell those items too... and your shelves look pretty empty.

It made me wonder how he stayed in business.  There was only one customer in the store, and she walked out empty-handed.  The building was run down, hasn't been cleaned up in ages, and it smells like geriatric man-berries.

Oh well.  He had a competitor down the street who was much more receptive.  His loss.

6/22/11

So what have I been up to?

I have had a dizzying 5 days.  My head is still spinning, and I am not yet caught up on sleep.  I am now in outside sales, and 'fast-paced' is an understatement.


As I mentioned in yesterday's post, I got about 5 hours of sleep before I was back on the road, and heading 250 miles away to start my new job.  I have been going almost non-stop since that morning, and am enjoying a few moments to breathe.


What do I do?  I sell pet food.  Serious business.


The first thing that made me laugh is how quickly my clean, empty car was filled to the gills.  Not only my suitcase, but my boss' as well (doing a ride-along training for the first week) as well as a crapton of samples, brochures, catalogs, etc.  I am happy to tell the world:  I have junk in my trunk.


Don't get me wrong.  I think the cache of stuff I have is pretty cool.  I have already utilized it in half a dozen pet stores, and heard amazing things.  Sometimes plopping down a big bag and saying "you have GOT to see this!" is just the best way of doing things.


Next was the travel.  I haven't been to every inch of Idaho yet, and that's going to change soon.  I have been into small cities with populations in the hundreds.  I have seen so many pick-up trucks in camouflage paint that my eyes are seeing 'shrubs on wheels' all over the place.  So many bluejeans, so much country music.  And here I am, in my bright red compact car, wearing slacks and a nice shirt.  

Some towns just blow your mind.  You drive into the main area, and I swear you can hear the banjo music kick in...


There's sticking out like a sore thumb, and then there's me.  But when I tell people who I am and what I do, they understand.


This job definitely has its advantages.  On day 1, we met with a few of the drivers and all went to dinner.  We found an amazing barbeque joint and ate like KINGS.  I'm not sure if my boss was just trying to 'wow' me on the first day, or if it was just a 'hey let's go here' moment.  Either way, I was in awe.


So here I am.  I have survived two days, and about to start day three.  SOOOO much blogging material is being plopped in my lap, since I'm seeing so much more of Idaho.   This is definitely going to be an adventure, and I think you're going to love the stories I share.


Cheers.  If you need me, I'll be on the road.

6/21/11

Father's Day Weekend: The Recap

What. A. Weekend.

If you follow me on twitter, and/or read my post Friday night, you know it was a rollercoaster of a weekend.

The original plan was to drive down Friday, spend some time that night with the boys if possible, do stuff all day Saturday, and breakfast Sunday before hitting the road.

Well, that didn't happen.

Friday was full of drama, arguments and miscommunication.  Saturday morning was filled with sorrow, which changed instantly when I got to spend time with the kids.  Granted, it wasn't a full day of adventures like I hoped, but it was just good to get hugs and kisses again.

We wrestled, we chatted, we played Angry Birds (yeah... I know...).

We even discovered a dinosaur egg!

My oldest found this egg in his room (after excavating, of course) and wanted to hatch it.  Apparently the best way to hatch a dinosaur egg is to submerge it for a day or so?

So he jacked mommy's water cup, and plopped the egg in.  At first, they told me it only takes 5 minutes.  5 turned into 20, then "oh yeah, it takes a day (after some corrections from mom)."

I laughed a little when, 20 minutes later, she turned to the boys and goes "HEY... did you use MY cup for the egg???"  The oldest smiled and said "yup."

Sunday morning was a Father's Day breakfast, cooked by the ex.  My mom came, and the 5 of us chatted, played with the boys, and had lots of fun.  (yes, I used the terms 'ex' and 'fun' in the same paragraph...)  More wrestling (with the kids, not the ex), playing tag in the middle of the street, and other fun shenanigans ensued.  Overall the weekend wasn't what I planned, but it was still really nice.

Best of all, two really good things came from the weekend:

1 - My kids are like my drug.  I missed them.  I went through major bouts of depression over the last few months because of the separation, and this visit recharged my batteries.  They still remember me, even though I'm 858 miles away (from doorstep to doorstep.  The oldest LOVED that fact).  They still love me, even though we don't see each other as often as I'd like.  I moved to Idaho, and life still goes on.  I'm still their daddy, and the validation is what I needed more than anything else.

2 - The ex.  As you read in previous posts, communication between her and I isn't always that great.  We talked, and I think we have come to a good mutual understanding.  She hears what I am saying, and vice versa.  This is great news, and I hope it becomes the norm.  While her and I will never have the relationship we had as husband and wife, we still need to keep a level of rapport and respect for the children's sake.  Besides... it's always better to be on someone's good side.

I rolled back into my driveway at 11:30 Sunday night, only to drive back out at 6am Monday.  Monday was day 1 of the new job, and meant a 260 mile drive to Boise.  I am currently typing this from a Super 8 motel in Caldwell, ID.  I have put over 2000 miles on my car in the past few days, and I'm smiling.

What an adventure.  I can't wait to see how I'm going to top this for Dad's Day 2012...

6/20/11

Tales from the car lot - my stint as a car saleman (and what you need to know about car sales)

Since I am starting a new job this week, I would like to share with you a story from a previous career.  While I was getting ready to move to Idaho, and when I first arrived, I worked as a car salesman.  I was fortunate enough to experience the sales environment in a California dealership as well as an Idaho dealership.  While sales strategies differed, one thing is clear:

Being a crook is universal.

I got the job at a Southern California dealership (rhymes with "Breast" Chevrolet...) because my friend's dad worked there.  I was told if I worked hard, and was good at what I did, I'd make a lot of money.  What I didn't learn, until after a few weeks, that "what I did" was try to scam people out of as much money as possible for sub-standard cars.  It doesn't matter if you're selling Toyota, Chevrolet, Ford, etc.  The car itself doesn't matter.  Cars don't sell cars, salesmen do.

One movie I would recommend for everyone to watch is Suckers.  It's a horrible 90's movie, but it rings fairly true about what goes on at a car dealerships.  Used cars are marked up thousands of dollars.  You can talk them down $3,000 and they're still fleecing you.  Dealerships prey on people who don't do their research, don't know how to negotiate, and don't know how to simply walk away, even when they know they're getting taken advantage of.

Salesmen are taught from the beginning: commission is king.  The more profit you make on the car, the more you get paid.  Sell high, get a big paycheck.  I was put into training classes to learn how to doubletalk, how to answer questions without really answering them, and clouding a customer's judgement enough where they think THEY actually one-upped YOU and got the best deal possible.

My former workplace: Aug-Sep 2010
I went to a bar after work one night, and ran into my SoCal sales manager.  After a few drinks, he told me something I will never forget:

"Brandon, one thing you have to understand about selling cars:  We club baby seals for a living.  It's a horrible profession, but damn those lil pelts sell for a lot of money.  Just get over it, live with it, and club away."  He toasted 'to clubbing baby seals' and I turned in my resignation the next day.

I'm all about making money, but I don't want to take advantage of others in order to make a living. 

When I moved to Idaho, jobs were scarce.  I applied to the local Chevy dealership up here, since I had a good knowledge of selling cars.  This place had a good reputation, and seemed more interested in building long-lasting relationships instead of drugging and raping ever wallet that entered the door like the SoCal dealership did.

This Idaho dealership focused more on building repeat customers.  Yes, they still made a LOT of money on every car they sold, but were slightly less sleazy about it.  Gone were the days of selling a $20k car that's only worth $10k.  Now they were only $15k...  "Because we care."  (ha)

The main thing I learned from this dealership was the art of goofing off.  When assigned to go to a women's convention to hand out roses (and business cards), two of the other three salesman decided to flirt instead of work.  One went as far as getting a facial from a cute girl, just so he can sit and talk to her for 10 minutes.  Instead of using his charms to sell a car, he used his charms to get a phone number.

Or maybe he's just into getting facials and eyebrow waxing.  There were talks about that amongst some of the other salesman, and this guy was a few steps beyond the normal metrosexual...

Another fun activity to pass the time was 'decorating' some of the newer salesman's cars.  When you have 5 salesman on a lot, and only one has a customer, the 4 "bored" people would often find #5's car and decorate it with things laying around.  I can't tell you how many times I could find Vaseline on my door handles, or one of my tires missing.

Oh, don't get me wrong.  We worked too.  When we had customers, we would hustle, and say all the right things to make them think THIS was the car for them.  Yes, you're looking for a fuel-sipping car that seats seven, but this little hatchback has A NINE-SPEAKER SURROUND SOUND SYSTEM!!!!  Oooohhh...

We also tried to stay efficient while goofing off.  To your right, you can see two salespeople fooling around, but also talking about techniques to downplay the value of a customer's trade-in vehicle.  (The way dealerships make the most money is by offering you $7,000 for your car that's worth $10,000, and then selling it for $12...)

"Oh, but it needs work.  Look how dirty it is under the hood..."

"The tires aren't wearing at an even rate.  We can't sell it like this (BS), we are going to need to put a brand new set of tires on it..."

"Do you smoke in the car?  Have you ever let anyone smoke in your car?  I smell a smoker.  We are going to need to overhaul the interior..."

If you let them, car salesman will snake and hustle every dime they can get out of you.  I should know, I was one.  I didn't like the job, but it puts food on the table.  Even when the food tastes like shame, it still fills your stomach.

I'm glad my new career is more honest.  More worthwhile.  One where I'll be able to sleep at night...

6/19/11

Happy Father's Day: To the real father-figure in my life

When I think about Father's Day and who I consider to be the real father-figure in my life, I don't think of my actual dad.  If you read yesterday's post, I'm sure you can understand why.

The person I call 'dad' and smile about is my ex-wife's dad.  And here's why.

I met my ex when I was 18, dated when I was 19, and married when I was 20.  Yes, I was legally considered an adult, but I really wasn't 'grown up.'  My dad really wasn't the lesson-teaching type, so everything I had learned from this point was pretty much self-taught.  That is, until Boyd stepped in.

Boyd accepted me with open arms, and treated me like a son from the get-go.  He gave advice, answered questions, and kicked my butt when it needed to be kicked.  He was everything my dad wasn't, and I loved him for that.

He was also a Freemason.  When I turned 21, I joined the local lodge, not only because of the messages Boyd gave me (Masons take great men and make them better) but also as another way to bond with him.  It was something we could have in common, talk about, and share with each other.

Masonry wasn't all it was cracked up to be, and I grew tired of the political posturing that a lot of members focused on.  I learned a lot while I was a member, but I just didn't see it as a good fit.  Maybe I'm just not the secret society type?

Over the years Boyd took me under his wing, and helped teach me skills that every man should know.  We worked on home projects together, fixing cars, doing taxes, and many other 'adult' things.  He answered all of my questions candidly, and treated me like a peer instead of a nuisance.

I never had these types of bonding with my dad.  His version of bonding was watching sports together, and him screaming at the TV in hopes the referee or Quarterback will be able to hear him, and "get their act together..." 

When I look back at my youth, I don't see a lot of 'warm and fuzzy' memories of my dad and I hanging out.  But in the short amount of time I spent with Boyd, he became the real dad in my life.

With good comes bad.  He wasn't a perfect man by any means.  He introduced me to PC games like Starcraft, Star Wars Galaxies, and World of Warcraft.  We bonded over gaming addictions as well as cars and business-talk. 

I look back at the causes that made my marriage dissolve, and video games are on that list.  I was addicted, and it cause a major rift in my relationship.  I was a bad husband and a bad father, because I 'had to make raid times.'  I have noone to blame but myself, but part of me wishes that Boyd never introduced me into that world.  He would buy me all the games, just so I could play with him... we both would spend countless hours online, ignoring our real worlds and living in fantasy.  We both, at times, put the game before our marriages...  I don't play anymore, because I never want to fall down that rabbit hole again.  Boyd never made that decision, and continued to be a hardcore player until the end.

Sadly, Boyd passed away in 2008.  He died of Heart Failure, in a fairly quick fashion.  My youngest was born, and in less than 2 months grandpa had passed on.  It was a devastating loss to the family, and my first experience with death for someone I loved deeply, and mourned intensely. 

Though dead, he will never truly be gone.  His lessons linger in my heart, and I will always remember him and all the good times.  My youngest will never remember being held in papa's arms, but I will make sure he knows about this great man, and what he did for me.

Happy Father's Day, Boyd.  You're missed, and will never be forgotten.

6/18/11

It's funny...

I just spent an hour with the boys before they took their nap.  The smiles, the wrestling, the hugs and kisses, they made all my sorrows disappear.

Still doing breakfast with them tomorrow.  Even five minutes with them made this trip worthwhile.

Next time, better communication, better coordination, so everything goes off without a hitch.

But even with the hitches, I'm in a much better mood.

Thanks, baby momma.  You just picked up my spirits.

Father's Day Weekend - Why I'm Not Sending My Dad a Tie This Year...

Actually, if anything, I'll be sending this coffee mug to him instead.  It sends a message of "I love you dad, but that doesn't mean I have to like you."

But then again, I doubt he's expecting anything from me.  We haven't talked since early 2009.

Why?  Well, if you ask him, it's because I'm ungrateful.

If you ask anyone else in the world that knows him, it's because he's a grade-A jerk.

I blogged earlier about my mom, and how she is finally living a life of a promiscuous 20-something at the age of 49.  Well a lot of it was because she married my dad young, and he was a d-bag from day 1.  When she turned 16, she bought her own car.  A 1977 Trans-Am, brand new, all the bells and whistles.  It was her dream car, and she loved it.  She married my dad in 1980, and the first thing he did was sell her car.  Why?  In his opinion, "it wasn't the car a married woman and mother should be driving."  Did he consult her?  Nope.  He just did it.

And that's how he lives his life.  He knows best, and he's always right.

Dad hasn't worked a consistent job since about 1995.  But he plays the lotto on a daily basis.  He plays all the different types:  Draw 3, draw 5, the big lotto, and he keeps a log.  He has hundreds of pages of graph paper with lotto results from the last 15 years, and LOVES to talk at length about how the California lottery is monitoring HIM, and making sure his numbers never come up.

Yes, I'm completely serious.  The California State Lotto is watching my dad like a hawk.  If he plays 2-7-2 on a pick 3, they will make sure he's always 1 number off.  Even if the number drawn is 8-4-5, he can find a way to justify it SHOULD HAVE BEEN his number.

See, folks?  This is what happens when you don't work.  You go crazy.  It completely made sense when my mom left him about 5 years ago.

Another big issue I have with my dad is his racism.  He's a hard-line Democrat, and I was raised in a neighborhood where I was pretty much the only white boy on my block.  Racism doesn't thrive well in those scenarios, but my dad finds a way.

According to dad, all the bad drivers on the road are Mexican.  Ok, ok, in Southern California that's a safe bet statistics-wise, but still... when you're 15, and you're dad his hanging his head out the window of the car yelling "CHOCO LOCO!!!" it's a bit of an embarassment.

Speaking of car stories, he's a chain smoker.  He smokes in his car, with the windows rolled up.  Growing up, I was definitely a somewhat addicted second-hand smoker.  When I cough, I sound like I've been smoking a pack a day since I was 12... Thanks dad, for fucking up my lungs and not caring.

He was finally evicted from the home I was raised in, and is now living with his parents in Arizona.  I feel sorry for Grandma and Grandpa.  Talking to them, he's pretty close to being homeless, because dad is treating them like dirt... even though they are giving him a place to stay rent-free.  Go fig.

Dad only cares about himself.  He has gotten TV and phone service in my name by using my Social Security Number, because his credit is so screwed up.  His solution was to take advantage of his boys... first my brother and then me.  Isn't he great?

On the bright side, dad has taught me a valuable lesson:  Don't be like him.  I make an effort every day to be as NOT like him as possible.  I don't judge, I don't exploit, and I try to put others first.  So, in a way, thanks dad for being such an asshole.

6/17/11

Worst. Fathers day. Ever. (and a message to my ex)

I am writing this from California.

I am currently in a parking structure.

Tears are streaming down my eyes.  I've been like this for a while.

Why?

My ex wife.

On  June 5, I sent her a text message and told her of my intentions to come down and visit my boys for fathers day weekend (key word: weekend...).

I told her I would be driving down Friday.  I wanted to do an all-day thing with them Saturday, and breakfast Sunday before I left.  This was about two weeks ago, and she ripped into me for telling the boys.  She thought I was just going to get their hopes up again and not come down, but here I am.

I arrived in Cali at 430.  Told her I was here, and asked if I could visit some today, read them a bedtime story, etc.

"Oh.  I didn't expect you til Sunday...."

The boys are with a babysitter tonight, and they "have plans" all day tomorrow.  I get to see them Sunday, for about two hours before I start my drive back to Idaho.

Two. Hours.

I just spent thirteen hours on the road.  I drove 900 miles.  This trip is costing me $250 in gas, round trip.
...and I get two hours with my boys...  That's it.

She conveniently forgot, and I suffer.  She isn't bending, and is trying to blame me.  I'm crushed, I want to die, and she relishes it all.

Being the dad, in a divorce, is the epitome of getting the short end of the stick.  Everything is in her favor.  She knows she has all the power, and this is her way of reminding me.

Does anyone know a good pro-bono family attorney?  I don't want to have an epic court battle, I just want to make sure I still have rights, and can't be brushed off when I make the long trek to California.  I have a good job starting Monday, but as of right now I'm still piss-poor.  So poor, in fact, that if a tire pops, I won't have enough money to get home....

Worst. Fathers day. Ever.

To my ex - Hi.  I know you read my blog, and I know your mom does too (hi to you too, can we talk?).  I want to work with you.  I'm tired of fighting you, and I'm tired of you fighting me.  When we talk, you twist, manipulate, and don't let me make my point.  So I'm doing it here where you can't interrupt or make me feel guilty for my sins of the past. 

This isn't healthy for the kids, and I know they were looking forward to spending time with me this weekend.  They told me themselves, and were super excited every time we talked about it...  They wanted me to take them to a puppet show, the park, maybe the beach, and they wanted to see grandma too.  They wanted to play blocks with me, and fireman, and ambulance.  You had to have heard this when they were talking to me.  How am I supposed to do this in 2 hours?  This trip is going to leave them in heartbreak when I say goodbye, because I'll be saying it way too soon.

Work with me.  Please.  I did everything in my power to see the boys this weekend.  My car shouldn't be making this kind of trip, yet here I am.  I miss them, and I know they miss me.  For you to 'misremember' what I told you weeks ago is inexcusable, but I'm willing to put this trip behind me and work toward making the next one more positive.  I should have sent you an email, with an itinerary, so you had it in writing, because apparently that's what it takes.

Us fighting does the boys no good, and I don't want to do anything that's going to put them in more duress.

For me to be spending a day and a half in town this close to the boys, and not being able to see them, is heart-wrenching.  You went to a bbq with your friends today.  Your friends see them more than I do, and I'm sure would understand if you said "Their dad drove 900 miles to spend father's day weekend with them.  They haven't seen him since September, so I'm here, they're with daddy."  It took everything in my power not to immediately turn around and go home when you knocked the wind out of my sails.  I'm still fighting this feeling, because being in California without access to my kids is killing me.

I start a new job Monday.  This job will let me catch up on Support, fix my car, and allow me to visit the boys more often.  I'm finally going to make a livable wage.  THIS IS A GOOD THING for you, me, and the boys.  But I'm going to get home at midnight Sunday, be up at 5am Monday, and back to the road for me.  As distraught as I am, I shouldn't be driving home, let alone burning the candles at both ends.  I made this trip to see my kids.   I'm messing up my car, and exhausting myself before I start a new (important) job to see my kids.  And you tell me no?  Why??

I admit, I haven't been the perfect dad.  I moved to Idaho out of necessity, not because I was abandoning my kids.  I call when I can, but sometimes I can't.  I pay child support when I'm working, but when I wasn't, I couldn't.  That's just how it is.  I am sorry.  I am working on being a better dad, a better ex husband, and keeping things more stable.  Please let me.  I want to make things right, but I can't do it with you putting up walls, playing games, and acting like I'm the deadbeat dad.

Marketing in Idaho - Why Facebook isn't in their vocabulary

As I mentioned in my very first post, Idaho feels like traveling back in time.  One medium that makes me feel like I'm still stuck in the 20th century is the marketing in this town.  You don't see a lot of new-thinking.  You don't see a lot of 'find us on facebook.'  What you do see a lot of are old-fashioned lettered signs, flyers left on cars, and ads in the local paper.

One of the more 'modern' companies in the area is a local car dealership (more on them in a post next week...).  They not only have a LARGE INFLATABLE DINOSAUR chilling in their car lot, but they have this billboard, talking about the dinosaur, mere feet away from the actual dealership and the actual dinosaur.

Giant inflatable animals selling cars?  How forward-thinking.  (pffffff...)

This dealership also tried a 'facebook giveaway' when I worked for them.  If you test drove a car, and liked them of Facebook, you could win a free 6-month lease on a new Chevy Camaro.  When they finally drew for the prize, they had about 150 facebook friends.  30 of those 50 were dealership employees.

There are 50,000 people in this town.  They advertised the crap out of that promotion.   And they only had 120 people enter?  Lame...

I know I've said it before, but this is a very conservative town.  Traditions, values and faith are BIG in Eastern Idaho.  This bank takes that idea and sells you on their services.

"They are the kind of bank you date.  We are the kind of bank you marry."

Ok, which one is the kind of bank I casually fool around with, when I'm in the mood?

I'm sorry, I don't want to be 'married' to my bank.  When I think of financial institutions, the term 'til death do us part' is not something I want in my head.  Also, if I decide to switch banks, I don't want you to get half my assets...

Between these companies and business names like Two Guys Plowing, I'm not sure if I would ever be successful as a freelance marketer in this town.  I'm too young, and don't think on the same wavelength as this community...

6/16/11

WHARRGARBL... The Sequel to UREMDURDRDURDURDRDRDUR

After the positive response of my UREMDURDRDURDURDRDRDUR post yesterday, I wanted to revisit the topic of funny sounds you hear in the real world, and the fun ways to spell them out.

The main reason this idea went from one simple post into a theme was because of this picture:


When I first saw this picture, I laughed for a long, long time.  Tears were streaming from my eyes.  My girlfriend thought I was delirious... (and she didn't think it was as funny as I did...)  I had flashbacks of my dog Ozzie doing this when I was 5 years old.  I could see him in my imagination, attacking the sprinklers, and what better way to describe the noise than WHARRGARBL?

Now, WHARRGARBL isn't just for poochy anymore.  Anyone who has ever driven in a convertible has probably had a WHARRGARBL face like Mr. Jeremy Clarkson over there.  Granted, he's probably close to 200mph in this picture, but you get the idea.

WHARRGARBL can also be used to illustrate the sound one makes while gargling mouthwash, but there is no way to make an attractive picture of that.  You can just remember this when you're swishing and about to gargle.  Try not to choke too much...

You could pretty much take any action from a dog, and turn it into a funny spelling in one way or another.  For example:

BRRRGRBLRBLRGLRBLRRGL!  When a dog is drying off, or just shaking to loosen up his fur, the poor pup's face definitely looks like a
BRRRGRBLRBLRGLRBLRRGL. 

To all the doggies out there, beware of humans with a camera and a twisted sense of humor.  We will exploit your funny faces, and turn you into demotivational posters.  This is especially true for pugs or other cockeyed canines...

Sometimes it's not what you hear at the moment, but what you see.  When I watch Fox News and listen to the pundits who love to hear themselves talk, and cater to idiots who will believe any conspiracy theory you throw at them, I see this:

I don't care what you're saying, because it makes just about as much sense as fgsfds.  In fact, you may make even more sense if you simply said "fgsfds fgsfds fgsfds" over and over again.  Don't worry.  The simpletons that actually believe what you say won't be able to tell the difference...

Lastly, sometimes actual words are funnier than the ones we can make up.  In 2010, an Icelandic volcano named Eyjafjallajökull made headlines in the news.  As you can see, it also became a pop culture topic on "Who wants to be a millionaire." I wonder if this was the million-dollar question, or one of the lower-level ones? Either way, I doubt this dude progressed beyond this stumper.

That is, unless he's from Iceland. For some reason, I'm doubting it.

What other fun non-word words can you think of? Please feel free to share with the community by leaving a comment below.

6/15/11

Reason #25,846 I love my Children

My kids have the uncanny ability to make me laugh, even when I know I'm not supposed to.

Last week I was talking to them on the phone.  Their mom tried to interrupt to tell me something, and my 3yo pipes up and goes "NO mommy!  I'm on the phone with daddy.  Chill out and wait your turn."

I chastised him a little bit, because you're not supposed to talk to mom like that, but I was laughing my ass off.

My oldest, since he could crawl, was always finding ways to make daddy crack up.  His favorite toy that got me every time?  The door stops in our apartment.

He'd smack that thing over and over, and he had this infectious giggle.  If you remember the show Webster from the 80's, it was kind of like that.

Hearing the UREMDURDRDURDURDRDRDUR... followed by him rolling on the floor laughing.  This was one of my fondest memories of him as an infant.

And he still knows how to get me going.  Earlier this week, he stops mid-conversation and goes "Hey dad, guess what?"

"What is it?"

UREMDURDRDURDURDRDRDUR...  he has doorstops at mommy's house, and still loves to make them boing.


Like father, like son.  Always entertaining, always trying to get a laugh out of people...

6/14/11

Bite off more than you can chew, then chew it.

There's a storm a-brewin' and it's of my own creation.

Thursday I will be leaving my current job at a non-profit agency, and leaving 4 months of fun experiences behind.  You have seen me vent about old people, coworkers with personal space issues, and how I was helping move the agency in the first weeks instead of learning my job.  It's been a fun ride, people, but it's time for something new and exciting.

And wow, what a way to dive in...

I am taking a long 3-day weekend before starting my new job.  Friday, I plan on getting up and hitting the road around 4am, on my way down to California.  I'm determined to spend Father's Day weekend with my boys, and I'm not going to let another financial hiccup stop me.  It's an 1,800 mile round trip, but will be well worth it. 

Monday I will start my job as an outside sales rep selling various products to feed & farm stores in a 4-state area.  My first week will be a ride-along training with my new boss, and he has already planned a route that will cover about 1,000 miles in 5 days.  I could essentially go in for an oil change today, and need another one by the end of next week.

Why am I doing this, you may ask?  Because it's what I have wanted to do for years.

When I was in California, I worked at a pet food company for nearly 8 years.  I sat in practically every seat, and was considered "the glue that held the company together."  (My boss' words, not mine, but I loved to repeat them as often as possible) One position I never did but wanted to do was be a sales rep.  Not only did they make amazing money, but it looked like a lot of fun.

So now, I'm getting my chance.  Sure, if I had the job in Cali, the territory would cover 4 counties and not 4 states, but what better way to familiarize myself with the area than driving the roads and seeing the sights?  I haven't blogged a lot about Wyoming or Montana yet, but will have the opportunity as I meet Idaho's whacked-out neighbors.

So yes.  I'm overwhelmed.  I'm biting off more than I think I can possibly chew.  But chew I will, and I will survive.  I will succeed.  I will conquer.

Most of all, I will blog.  This position is going to take its toll on me at first, but writing is my passion.  It's my release.  If I lose this, I'll lose my sanity.

Besides, I have to keep my Idahomies entertained.  It's what I do.

As the illustrious Aunt Becky would say, eye of the motherfucking tiger.

Allright chums, let's do this...