Friday, April 22, 2011

The world is full of perverts

The following screen captures are statistics from my blog. Specifically, they are the search words, terms, phrases that people have used that directed them to my blog. It's amazing how many people have visited since I put a few words and pictures to some attractive actresses.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Sunflower Market in Dallas

Last weekend the wife and I finally made it to the Sunflower Farmers Market. It's not a "farmer's market" like you (or I) would think. You know the one...every 'farmer' has a booth on an aisle on some outdoor parking lot or grassy knoll. It's essentially a grocery store, a small one, but one nonetheless.

A neighbor of ours was talking about it one day. We've seen the ads in the newspaper but have never been much less thought about going. I'm first a Kroger guy through and through. Kroger usually has the deals on the things I like and there is a store about two minutes across the highway. Most of the time I check all the ads from the three big grocers (Kroger, Tom Thumb, Albertson's) and compare their prices. If I can get milk and eggs cheaper at Kroger but bread and cereal cheaper at Tom Thumb, I make two different trips. If Albertson's has something to add to the mix, then I am making a third grocery trip. Luckily, Tom Thumb is about two to five minutes down the road and Albertson's is about five to ten minutes away. I love the convenience of where I live.

The neighbor likes to purchase what is considered "premium cuts" of steak like rib eye or prime rib. Most of the time for me, a steak is a steak as long as the taste and texture aren't like the sole of a shoe! A quarter inch thick is just as good as a half inch thick. Now don't get me wrong. I've had really, REALLY good steak that I can cut like butter from restaurants but that's once in a long while, a treat, for me and/or the wife. I'm talking outdoor grilling at home with the family and/or friends.

Anyway, this friend and neighbor said he got rib eyes from Sunflower Market for 40% off. I don't know what that meant in the sense of actual price but 40% off anything is a damn good deal. We planned on getting some rib eye ourselves and checking on other deals but we never made it. We are busy people and Sunflower Market is not 2-5 minutes down the street. It's more like 10-15 minutes south down US 75 to Haskell and then east on Haskell until about a block from Ross.

A week passed and I saw the newspaper advertisement again. I saw that they had $4.99/lb for rib eyes. This sounded like a fairly decent price so I decided, "I'm checking this place out this week no matter what!" The wife and I decided to go during my lunch hour on Friday of that week (that was two Fridays ago).

This particular time they had a few good deals on things like steak, certain beers my wife and neighbors drink, Boar's Head roast beef and a few others. For comparison, the Boar's head deli roast beef was two dollars cheaper than at Kroger as was the beer. I already talked about the steak. At the same time, there were items that were more, sometimes much more, than at Kroger. A dozen eggs was about twenty cents more (organic vs. organic). The bread was about the same (Mrs. Baird's whole grain white). Clementines were about a dollar more per pound compared to Kroger. So, basically, it's just like how I compare the ads from Kroger, Tom Thumb, and Albertson' have to know the prices acros the stores and find which one is best for the products you are wanting to buy.

I decided to purchase the rib eyes. Not knowing totally for sure how much of a deal I was getting, I rationalized by thinking that the rib eye (I bought three for no more than $4.99 each because they were either a pound or slightly under) was just like buying a fast food 'value' meal. If I spend something like $5-$6 on a #1 at Taco Bell, Wendy's or McDonald's, then $4.99 was a bargain on a thick, juicy steak.

After seasoning and grilling the rib eyes like I do a 'cheaper' cut, we decided once again that steak was steak. The rib eyes were great but I've made great skirt steak, fajita steak, and whatever other 'cheap' steak they have at the major brand grocery stores. I will continue to test and investigate price as well as taste of steaks from the many different stores but I don't think a rib eye or prime rib is necessarily the CHOICE steak.

But at a good price, it's doesn't hurt to purchase one and enjoy it...especially if your friends are impressed with such meaningless things.

Oh yeah, the point of the picture. I got a little off topic with the rib eyes instead of talking about the turkey bacon. While we were at Sunflower, I saw this display for bacon. It looked pretty good in the picture even though it said 'turkey.' I thought, "how bad could they mess up bacon?"

I decided to wake up Sunday morning to make breakfast for the wife and kids. I'm that kind of guy. I opened the pack to find the bacon to be sliced in neat little precise pieces. I sliced the pack in half as not to waste the other half if I didn't like it. I figured we could at least use it for baking beans or something.

Longer story shorter: the kids and I agree said, "It tastes alright but we prefer the 'pig' bacon. It's just better because it's crispy and fatty not just crispy like this. The turkey bacon is more like frying Spam but if I wanted Spam, I'd just eat Spam!"

Well said kids. Well said.

Email humor 04/20/11

Jumping On the Bed

Gotta love women...

A fifty-ish woman was at home happily jumping on her bed and squealing with delight.

Her husband watches her for a while and asks, "Do you have any idea how ridiculous you look?, What's the matter with you?"

The woman continues to bounce on the bed and says, "I don't care, I just came from having a mammogram and the doctor says I have the breasts of an 18 year-old".

The husband said, "What did he say about your 60 year old ass?"

"Your name never came up," she replied.

(Men, they just never know when to shut up, do they?)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Did I not say that they are glorifying teen pregnancy!?

Maybe not to the world, but I know I said it to the wife!

From a story here on The Superficial website.

That's all the time I've giving these stupid kids. Yes, they are stupid because they got knocked up in the first place. But...they must be smart because they turned that "mistake" into thousands of dollars in speaker fees or boob implants.

Guess, I should be encouraging people to farm out their teenage daughters for the 15-plus minutes of fame.


That's all I got to say about that!

Why are America's families failing?

There is an article in the Star-Telegram that talks about the city of Hurst. This city is part of the H-E-B (Hurst-Euless-Bedford) ISD that I grew up and went to school in.

Anyway, there is a part of this article that makes me wonder, WTF? I'm not an economist, accountant or whatever kind of person calculates what wages people should make. I'm just thinking that the national average should be more. From the article:
The city's per capita income, for instance, is $27,020 -- $21 off the national mark of $27,041.

Click here for article while it lasts.
I can understand the national average being $27K/yr if we mostly lived in rural areas or farmed or something. I guess it just goes to show you the huge separation in how much people are considered worth in various positions of corporate America.

The grunt like myself who does all the important work such as the shit that if I don't do it the people above me or beside me can't do their job doesn't get paid shit. But the person above me that does a few SIMPLE tasks triples my salary, gets all the accolades and is the last to be let go.

I'm not saying I'm worthless. I will be the last guy to be let go unless the company is shutting down because I can do 3+ people's jobs and probably the person's above me if they needed me to.

I'm just thinking about the work force in general. You know what and who I mean.

Anyway, to me $27K/yr is below the sustainable living line especially in cities such Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin, and even other cities within the nation (adjusting the average for the cost of living). This is why the housing bubble burst. No one making $27K/yer can pay for a $60K home no matter how the web is woven.

Oh well...

Friday, April 15, 2011

Case study discussion in my Leadership & Culture class (Pt 1)

I am taking a Leadership & Culture class this semester. It's a required core course for my management major. The professor is teaching this for the first time on our campus although he's taught it before. I was a little hesitant to take the class (although I have to eventually to graduate) because I did not know what to expect of the class and professor. Without going into further detail and losing the point of my post, I must say that I have thoroughly enjoyed this professor and the school would do the students a disservice by not keeping him around.

Now, he sent us a case from Darden as an introduction to our discussion of ethics. The case starts like this:
You are a senior executive in the sales department of a large manufacturing company. A competitor’s technological innovation has disrupted your company’s production and has plunged profits into the red for the last three quarters. Your boss has made it very clear that if you do not make your profit projections for this quarter, you will be out of a job. One of your staff members makes a suggestion to you about investing in new equipment to better monitor and service clients. After some research you realize that this investment, if enacted quickly, could increase sales and help the overall health of the company. Each quarter that you wait to implement this equipment will reduce its positive impact, but investing now will cause you to miss your profit projections and lose your job. What do you do?
It goes on to say
Most people have one of two reactions after reading a case like the one above. Either they have a strong moral intuition toward one of the options, or they experience conflicting moral intuitions and cannot decide between the two. Moral intuitions or sentiments (as Adam Smith called them) are our gut reactions to a situation as to what is right or wrong. They are developed over time from our past experiences and social interactions. We may regret decisions that are based just on moral intuition when we find they missed the mark. It is only when we do the hard work of analyzing a case and meshing intuition with reason that we can be confident that we are making better choices. This is because our intuitions are determined by past experiences, which may be of little help in new moral dilemmas. In addition, apart from following the stronger moral intuition, we cannot decide between two conflicting intuitions without a standard or some criteria for what is better or worse. In both of these cases, we need to turn to ethics.
So, what would you do?

A few of the kids said they would invest in the new equipment and "hope" that the boss would see that you have made a good decision and keep you around. Others said they would invest in the new equipment and plead their case with the boss to keep them around. These kids are so ignorant and lost to the realities of the real business world.

My response: I do not invest in the new equipment. My efforts are only recognized if I make my numbers not if I show improvement.

My reasoning based on the given/known facts of the case: It's me, the boss, the company and my impending doom or firing from the company:
  • Sometimes it's about self-preservation. I would use the last quarter I have with the company to find a job and make sure I have a plan/job to maintain my income after being let go by this company.
  • Why did it take three quarters for the boss to react to a competitor? Whose fault is it really, mine, my bosses or higher? Yet, I'm the one getting the shaft. Great company to work for!
  • I am getting fired no matter what if I don't hit my numbers. So, investing in the new equipment improves the numbers but does not make me reach my numbers. This benefits the company but it does nothing for extending my career with the company.
  • The company didn't take into consideration the importance of performance maintenance. I've missed my numbers for three quarters and just now at the start of the fourth does the boss give a crap about my work? I don't expect to be micromanaged but if I'm liable for missing my numbers so should my boss.
  • My boss not looking into performance numbers failures sooner makes me wonder what kind of boss/company I was working for to begin with. If the numbers were more important until someone complained to him, is this who I want to work under anyway?
  • If the company isn't going to invest in me to help me better the company as well as better myself, why would I invest in the equipment and better the company in the long run when I will no longer be with the company?
I guess that's a long enough list.

The professor says, "Really?"

I say, "Yes, based on the minimal information we are given in the case."

He says, "What about the group that works under you? Their kids? Others in the company and their kids?"

I say, "I would still NOT invest in the equipment. I'm bitter towards the boss and the company. I would not do it out of spite. As for 'the others,' unless I worked closely with them I have no real relationship with them and therefore less concern for them. It's my ass on the line and the company will probably continue after I'm gone! As far as anyone that worked under me, I would decide who would be the best fit to replace me and lead the group. I would tell him to bring the idea of investing in the equipment to the boss. That way he'd look like a savior with a fresh idea. He'll get promoted and the team will be okay. I would not invest my time and effort knowing that my situation would finalize in my dismissal."

He says, "Hm. Interesting? Anyone else?"

The young-uns in the class stuck with their "the boss will see I tried and reward me with retaining my employment." Or "there has to be a way to talk to the boss and keep my job."

Clouded their judgment is. In the ways of corporate America, untrained they are.

There's a bit more so I'll end for now since this post is lengthy.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Danny's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que

If you ever find yourself heading east on Hwy 175 in Athens, Texas, you should stop by this little place called Danny's Smokehouse Bar-B-Que. It's like a little country bumpkin dining hole. The people are courteous and friendly. The food is pretty good too.

It's been a few weeks since I had eaten there but, if I recall correctly, I'd suggest the special. I think it was like a two-meat deal. I think it was like $6.99 or $8.99. The other good deal was a full slab of the ribs. It was a lot of ribs for a low price of like $9.99. All these prices are guestimates but I think I'm pretty close. The point is that it was very reasonable for a lot of barbecue which isn't usually the case.

In case the link doesn't work here is the information for the restaurant.

Smokehouse Bar-B-Que
850 E Corsicana
Athens, Texas
(3/4 mile east of square on Hwy. 175)

That's all I got to say about that!

Tron: Legacy (2010)

Tron: Legacy (2010). Picked this up the same day I exchanged for Black Swan and just got around to finishing it last night. The wife and I started Sunday afternoon but I had to do something while she continued to watch.

Anyway, after all the promos, hype and waiting, I was looking forward to seeing this movie. I don't know if it was because I saw Tron back when as a kid or if it was all the fantastical lighting of the cars, the people, and the Grid.

I don't know if it's because I'm an adult now but this movie didn't do it for me like the original. Truthfully, I cannot recall being wowed by any part of the movie. I can't say that I didn't "like" the movie in its entirety. I just can't recall coming away after watching thinking, "Wow! That part where [insert part] was really cool!"

I actually can't fully or partly remember all of the original movie but I do remember that it made an impact on me. I remember parts of it like I saw it yesterday. I remember the graphics, probably considered horrible to today's, but it was actually very consistent with the way the video games looked at the time. I remember playing the video game at the local arcade.

Okay, back to the "Legacy." The wife hadn't seen the first movie so she sort of had some questions at the start. I feel like a person could watch this movie without actually having to see the first. They did a decent job of doing a sort of "previously on Tron" recap at the first of the movie. Then there were parts in the movie where more things are explained like the fight between Clu, Tron and Flynn that even weren't known to those who have seen the original.

Overall, I think they could have spruced it up a bit. I mean more cool lighting, graphics, races, flying, action, etc., etc. I just found the acting sort of lifeless, except for Zuse. He was memorable.

If you want to see pretty lights, then this movie is for you. If you want to see a fairly hot looking Olivia Wilde, then this movie is for you. If you want to see a pretty good sci-fi action movie, then The Fifth Element is a better option or even The Running Man or Cyborg.

A few other comments in no particular order of appearance:
  • I was sort of weirded out by the CGI of a young Jeff Bridges as Clu. He reminded me a lot of Prince Charming from Shrek that they can do it but still creepy.
  • I can understand how it's possible that Kevin and Sam Flynn are humans digitized into the Grid but how on earth can a created program exit the Grid into the real world? I just wasn't following that logic. Great that Sam has some really hot chick to explore...everything...with but is it really fathomable? I mean excluding some of what is truth and reality.
  • And how did Sam get cut and bleed if he has been digitized into the Grid? It's not like "Honey, I Shrunk the Kids." Sam went from 'real world' to 'computer world.'
  • Tron was a "superhero" in the original movie. How the hell did he fall to Clu or get "temporarily converted" to the dark side?
  • Bruce Boxleitner looks pretty good for his age. I'm impressed.
  • Ten years or whatever it was after Kevin disappeared, Allan still has a pager? Really, with the advancements in technology...even something as simple as cell phones?
  • Why the hell would the security guard take the risk of tight-roping the metal crane thingy at the first of the movie to try and capture Sam after he broke into the Encom Tower? I don't think that was within his pay grade. Seriously!
I guess that's enough ranting/babbling for now.

Verdict: worth a viewing especially if someone else picks up the cost.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Black Swan (2010)

Black Swan (2010). I picked this movie up on Friday for the wife and I to watch sometime this weekend. We were able to watch it Saturday afternoon/evening. We both were excited to see this movie. We've heard it was "fantastic" and "so good" and blah, blah, blah. I usually take people's comments about a movie with a grain of salt. No one knows what I will like or how much I'll like it.

My reasons for wanting to watch it is Natalie Portman is in it and Natalie and Mila Kunis have a lesbian scene (my comment on this to come).

I was surprised to see the movie start off so quickly with the "craziness" of Nina. I mean within the first few minutes or so she started seeing/imagining things. I thought this was going to occur due to the fact that she was so goody goody and the pressure of having to perform a good and bad character caused her metamorphasis. Now, she could have imagined things and turn "bad" because of her purging but that wasn't clear in the story line.

A lot of people told me this was a total mind fuck but I came away with more of a mind massage which caused slight confusion. I guess I didn't pay enough attention because I still don't know for sure if Mila Kunis' character was real or something made up by Nina. I mean there were scenes where she was seemingly real like when the director tells her thanks for showing up when she arrived late and then the scene where she was dancing for Nina after their too-short-lived lesbian night.

Even though the movie started off quickly with Nina's craziness. The movie itself was pretty slow in the beginning...well, just about to half of the movie. It dragged way too slowly and I started thinking, "Who the hell thought this was fantastic!?" The movie overall was okay for me but I do think Natalie did a fantastic job. But I didn't expect anything else from her.

I do have a Natalie crush and Mila was pretty hot too. I didn't get too excited by them though because I felt they both were too damn skinny. Yes, it goes with the characters of the movie but I felt kind of grossed out at times. Anorexia is NOT attractive at all and neither is just being that skinny for any reason.

I think Barbara Hershey did a great job at being a weird, overprotective, controlling mother. It was indicative of the craziness to come when you see that Nina's room is decorated like a 12-yr-old's and she was like what, 25?

I was left further confused by how Nina was able to perform an entire dance scene after the (supposed) fight with Lily and the mirror shiv in her gut. The wife and I guess that Nina was going to die after the final act but we were thinking more of the mattress missing when she jumped off the top of the stairs and hitting the floor, breaking her neck.

Verdict: If it wasn't so damn slow and boring at the start, I'd watch it again. I think there were some very good performances. I think Natalie desereve whatever awards she received for her dedication to her craft similarly the way Matt Damon did for Courage Under Fire and Tom Hanks did for Philadelphia/Cast Away. I was creeped out by the skinniness of Natalie and Mila as well as the way Natalie's skin would occasionally look like a plucked chicken's body.

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Netflix's availability

I have admitted that I am a Netflix virgin. I've been a member for only two months and one month was the trial period. I've already mentioned my dislikes about the system as well as some of my likes. Now, I must share my lack of understanding some terms in the Netflix system.

For instance, this screen capture of my Instant Queue.

What does this "available until" mean? My assumption is that they can only have a movie available for Watch Instantly for so long but then I wonder what is the point? I guess limited time availability is better than no availability but some of us don't have the time to watch every movie we put in the queue in a short time. Sometimes it takes a few weeks, months, or even longer.

What's worse is the movie listed in the capture isn't a well-known, or even sort-of-known, movie. So, what gives?

Monday, April 04, 2011

It's un-American!

I overheard a conversation at work that I thought was amusing between two men.

One guy...let's call him from Abilene, TX and is pretty much redneck through and through (very nice guy though) with a BIG 18x22 sized (I guess) framed Texas flag.

One guy...let's call him from Georgia, Alabama or some parts like that. He's a great guy/people person and seems like he could be a huge tailgating-type person because he loves to have fun and drink beer.

So, Kevin walks down the hall to Troy's office and stops in the doorway...
Kevin: How's it going Troy? You been watchin' any basketball?

Troy: No, I don't watch basketball.

Kevin: Well, that just un-American!
End of conversation that I paid attention to.

That's all I got to say about that!

Sunday, April 03, 2011

Women’s Auxiliary Annual Family Night at Six Flags

The parents of a friend of my oldest had free tickets to the Women's Auxiliary Family Night at Six Flags Over Texas on Friday, April 1st, 2011. Well, they gave them to us for free but I'm not sure if they were free for the parents.

Anyway, this even is for a good cause and it was a fairly priced event. They discount the tickets to $25 if you purchase them in advance at a Tom Thumb. If you purchase them at the gate, they were $50.

Thursday morning, the mother sold this as "they are closing the park for a private event." She said she could get six tickets for her son and some of his friends. He's a pretty good kid and he even invited my younger child to go along as well as the same-aged sister of one of his guy friends. They are all friends more or less even though there is a two-year age difference. I tried to see if they could get me a ticket because I'd go for free and I know my kids aren't the biggest fans of riding the roller coasters...just about ANY of them. To me, that defeats the purpose of going to Six Flags but my kids said they'd enjoy just hanging out with their friends and seeing them have fun. Again, the friends try to pressure them to ride but my kids usually stick to their guns and hold firm.

Anyway, come Friday morning I see a story line in my Google Reader feed of the Dallas News or maybe the Park Cities People mentioning the Family Night. I click the link and it turns out the park will indeed close for a "private" event but when anyone can get the tickets, it's not really private in my eyes.

The bonus part about this is that I could buy myself a ticket for $25 and tag along with my kids which they were so adamantly against the night before. I consider myself a great, fun dad but my oldest kid didn't want me to cramp their "style." What effin' style is the question but I held off pushing the topic until I found out this private event wasn't so private.

Anyway, longer story short, the night was pretty fun. It was interesting to see the dynamic of my kids' friends and siblings hanging out together as well as the interesting people that attended the event. My kids were glad I came along because I am fun and I didn't get into their business. I only step in when I need to and a couple of times the friend that invited them all was a little hyperactive so I had to tell him to "sit" a few times.

I didn't ride every ride but I did ride The Batman, The Flashback, The Judge Roy Scream, The Texas Chute Out, The Roaring Rapids and The Texas Titan. We did a lot of walking and I was plum tuckered by the time I got home around 10 after midnight.

I think I can say that I've had my fill of Six Flags for the season. I don't see any reason to return as a full-paying guest if at all...maybe another freebie. It's not that I didn't enjoy my time. I think it's more that the rides are still the same and I've already ridden them a buzzillion times. I can find much better things to do than drive for 30-45 minutes to the park and then ride/walk all day long. I'm too old for that shit...did I just type that? LOL.

Anyway, it was good times and thanks for the event Children's Medical Center.

Why would I subscribe to my local or paper?

I get the Dallas News through my Google Reader. I don't always click on the headlines to read them but occasionally a story does catch my interest.

I guess it's been a while since I have clicked on a story because today I saw this page after clicking on the "Read the rest of the story" link on the article page.

I'm already a registered member online from years ago but now they want to charge me for content. I didn't read everything but I figure they want me to subscribe to the physical paper and they'll include the online content. Again, I'm not sure but at just a glance that's what I prefer to assume.

I would not pay for information that I can get for free somewhere else.