Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Peanut Butter Scare

So, I've seen the reports and they say get rid of all your peanut butter. Well, our peanut butter jar we've been eating out of for weeks so I didn't bother throwing that away. Nobody's been getting sick here so I am not too worried.

Today I got a letter from Sam's Club. Their records indicated that I had purchased some peanut butter zone bars and that if there are any left I should return them for a full refund; they're being recalled.

Then I started thinking... I've been having these nasty gassy nights lately where I'm just bloated and feeling like garbage. Normally by the next morning I'm okay but once it lasted into the afternoon the next day. Well, after a while of not eating them, I've taken up eating my zone bars! I'm starting to put two and two together! Ack!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Sealy Customer Support is Awesome!

Six years ago I purchased two pillows. While I was in a JCPenny they had a pillow sale. Sealy Pillows, buy one get one for a $1. The pillows were these Encompass Pillows. They were expensive but they have a 10-year warranty. Who the heck uses a pillow for 10 years? I figured I had two choices, buy a $5.00 pillow every year or spend $31 on two and keep them for 10. Why not?

Well, 6 years from now the pillow is pretty flat and I'm kind waking up with a neck ache. So, I decided to get my receipt out and contact Sealy Customer Support. I e-mailed them. A day later they asked me to send the pillows and they'd give me new ones. I asked if I could have them send me pillows first. They agreed.

I got the new pillows and, honestly, they were defective! The inner core that helps keep it shape was all shoved to one side making the pillow quite uncomfortable. So... I wrote them again. The woman, Beth, was very helpful! She said I could keep those defective ones and she would send me another set of pillows that didn't have an inner core but should still be good for me. In addition. I can continue to keep the old pillows if I wanted. (My children aren't picky and they would welcome the old pillows.)

The response time and the helpfulness of their support was just great. I just love them and will continue to buy Sealy pillows for the rest of my life. Thanks Sealy!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Had a Good Time

On Thursday two weeks ago I was notified that I wouldn't be able to keep both of my IT staff members; the budget just couldn't sustain two people this year. This was a major blow to me and the staffer I had to let go because she was really great. I thoroughly enjoyed working with her and she was really a saving grace there in the department.

Now it's been a week later and bunch of us took her out for a night out. It wasn't necessarily a night for us to commiserate but more of a celebration of who Charla is and an optimistic look at her getting a new job.

So, we went down to Tip Top on Gay Street and we all sat, ate and drank. We had a great time talking about everything from fat cats on leashes to Jesus Christ saving the world. I sprinkled in there my tragic Guinness story and some others.

I had this blackened tilapia that was delicious but the rice that came with it was so spicy I think I lost some taste buds. I love spice and heat but man, that was overwhelming. It was good for the first 10 or so bites, after that I stopped eating it.

Before I left I needed to use the bathroom, of course, three beers will do that to you. I headed to the doors, entered the bathroom; the same one I entered earlier in the night. After coming out everyone was cheering and laughing at me! Not only at my table but others. I was wondering why. I couldn't understand it... then they told me to go back and look on the door...

Sure enough... I went into the women's bathroom.... twice. It never dawned on me that since there were no urinals in there I was in the wrong place. I also considered how there was someone using the stall next to me. whew. With that, I went home. I think I left on a high note.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Newspapers... Supply your carriers with cars!

My mother delivers newspapers for the Northwest Florida Daily News. She's 74 years old and has a great arm. She can toss a paper over the car and it can land on your doorstep.

So, this morning, she is delivering the papers as she has for the last 12+ years. She drives on the left side of the road to get to the newspaper box and deliver the paper. Now, she's normally delivering papers between 3am and 6am. So, there's nobody really on the road.

A police officer pulls her over and says she is not allowed to drive on the left side. She explained that this is the only way to do this efficiently but nonetheless he said, "You can't drive on the wrong side and this is a warning. If you do, I will give you a citation." So, she said okay and proceeded to go around him on what she always thought was a circle drive to get to this one box. He immediately turns on his lights and asks for her license, registration, the usual thing. She got a $133 ticket! She tried to tell him that she was trying to get back on the right side of the road but he would simply yell at her saying, "Tell it to the judge!"

So, this afternoon she calls the newspaper and they say there's nothing they can do for her. She got cited, too bad. She called the officer's boss and he said "You cannot drive on that side of the road." and even said that the US Postal Service drives on the correct side! DUH! They have cars with the driver on the right side. His response was that the Northwest Florida Daily News should supply cars to their paper carriers.

This is unbelievable. For 12 years she has been delivering papers and now she's going to have to take double the amount of time it normally takes her because every 10 feet she will have to stop and get out of her car to deliver papers across the street from her.

I told her the Daily News should do a story on this and put it into the public like a Op-Ed piece. It probably won't happen but I'm submitting this to them anyway. In my humble opinion, the paper should at least be supporting their carriers when they have ridiculous issues like this rather than telling them too bad.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Why have a personal website?

I have been exploring this for a while and I am not entirely sure what I think yet. I have had my own website for many years; since about 1999. I created a blog there before there was really even such a thing as a blog. I built the code and design myself (it's outdated, I need to update it).

The website was a way for me to keep family and friends updated with what was going on in our lives. Well, as you can see, it hasn't been updated since 2007 (as of this writing) and I don't forsee myself updating it anytime soon. At least not with more pictures.

Why? Why have it? With the coming of Web 2.0, now we've got facebook, flickr, youtube, twitter, friendfeed, you name it. There is no real reason to put your life up on one website anymore! That is, unless you simply want to make that one website combine the feeds from all your other websites and that would be a lot of work.

Right now, it's much harder for me to prepare pictures, crop them, resize them and upload them to my own site--the interface that I created to make it easier for myself--than to go into iPhoto and and choose "export to facebook".

Most of my family and friends are on facebook so it's easy to show them my pictures and activity. I can do regular updates of my status on twitter which propagates to facebook and flickr can be linked to facebook, etc.

So, I guess my question is, is there a reason anymore to have a personal website?

Friday, January 09, 2009


Bingo is an interesting thing. I never really knew what went on in a bingo hall other than smoking before I had to work it for my kid's school. Every two weeks I head to the bingo hall and sell "instants". In fact, my name is "instant" on Friday nights.

So, here's the basics... People buy the sheets in order to play the main bingo games, there are 20 of them. However, they also buy these instant win games as well. There are many types of instant win games. Their names are all catchy like "Break the Bank" and "Win on Diamonds" or "Banana Rama" and my personal favorite "Rednecks". When you get win with Rednecks, they have a "You might be a redneck" joke with it.

Now, in any given box of these instants there are more than 5,000 tickets and only a handful of real winners. Then there are "holds" which are also called "numbers". People hold onto them and after the entire box is sold (and believe me, they always sell out) then they "call the game". There is a pull-apart tab that the head guy opens and reveals the grand prize winner which could be up to $1,000. Normally it's like $500 bucks though they split up the winners.

So, my job is to put these instants into a utensil tray, the type you would put in your kithen drawer and walk around with hundreds of dollars in cash and sell these instants. People buy them 20, 30 at a time for a dollar a piece. I have seen people shell out over $300 on instants in one shot. These are people who don't have a lot of money! As you sell them, they pop them open and if you're not quick enough to get away fast, they will throw at you the $1 and $5 winners for you to give them more instants in return.

Sometimes you can be stuck at one table for 10 minutes while three or four people around you are yelling "INSTANT!" trying to get you to come to them so they can buy. Others will get up and come to you because you're not moving. Granted, there are 3 - 5 of us on the floor but it doesn't matter, there are never enough sellers on the floor.

Near the end of the night, it gets slow, nobody has any money left to buy so you try to push them on people so you can sell off the box so they can call the jackpot winner. You start looking for people who opened $1, $3, $5 winners and ask them if you want to trade them in for instants. They normally do. When they're down to 50 or so, then one person walks around with them in their hand calling them out "Last of the 33's" just wishing someone would buy them off you.

There are many who are obviously addicted. There are others who pay big to win big. I saw a woman tonight who won the $500 jackpot, an instant pay out of $55, $75 and $100. She was raking in the money! And she never even one a normal bingo game! She walked away a big winner.

Selling instants is back and feet breaking work. But it goes to a good cause. I put up with the people who try to scam me or the irate people who complain I'm scamming them. I put up with the cop that rags on me everytime I take a 5 minute break (once a night) or when I get something to eat since I haven't eaten dinner. In the end, there is terrible beer and not-so-great pizza, but there is good conversation. And it's great to see people win the grand prize.

So, next time you're out in Columbus, come on down to Mater Dei Bingo at St. Mary's on Napoleon avenue near Whitehall. It's smoke free!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

A scare at Mass today...

My two-year-old, Nicholas, today was running on the pew and when my 9-year-old grabbed him to stop him, he fell and banged his head full-on. I happened to be out of the pew at the time so I wasn't there to prevent it completely.

He was noticeably sluggish. I took him to the back and tried to see if his eyes were okay (looking for a concussion). He was very lethargic. I went back into the pew and I couldn't keep him awake. I saw my wife's OB/GYN so I grabbed him to look at my son. The doctor said he appeared okay but after I brought him back to the pew, he fell asleep completely; I couldn't keep him awake.

Well, I called my pediatrician and he said that after he wakes up just keep an eye on him and see how he's doing. After we got home, Nick was better and appears to be a normal two-year-old now! Thank the Lord!

Friday, January 02, 2009

A Computer in the Kids Room

I don't known about this. I got a computer from one of the priests at my parish and was going to give it to my Sons' school but I felt it wasn't powerful enough for them to use. It simply was too old. I did procure them another one though.

So, we had this computer, I was going to give it back to my priest to give to someone else but he said to keep it. So, here we are with a computer that perhaps the kids could use. Yeah? Well, my wife comes up with the idea that perhaps we could set it up in their room for them to do school work on and seriously restrict the Internet on it and such. I agreed. I thought it would be fine.

Today is the first day it's been completely operational in their room. I have restricted the Internet to lego.com and pbskids.org so far. This evening they spent more time in their room than they ever do. Could it be the veggietales movie they were watching? Yeah, that was part of it. And the fun they were having on Lego.com.

I dunno man. A computer in the room. This is big. I hope I don't regret it!