Friday, November 17, 2017

Bonus!



Working until late at night, I'll get up in the morning (without the benefit of much sleep) and head out to whatever project I have without stopping to grab breakfast. Usually this isn't much of a problem. Vut there are days I'm famished and need something to power me through to my next decent meal.

Those times call for a big old Monster Bisquit from Carl's Jr. With its bacon, sausage, egg and cheese all on a bisquit, it often does the trick.

This particular morning, however, I wasn't anywhere near a Carl's. McCrappage was all that was en route. I decided I could live with an Egg McMuffin, sadly lacking though they may be. But ... put a little mayo and mustard one one and it's actually edible.

I pulled into the drive thru (I was the only one frequenting the place at that time) and, to my surprise, I discovered a couple sausage with egg sandwiches were only $3.00. I ordered two. 

"Anything else with that, sir?" I was asked.

"No, thank you. That'll do" I replied.

I paid at one window and drove up to the next to retrieve my order.

A girl handed me a bag. She looked to be about 14 years old if she was a day. 

"Excuse me ... I forgot to ask: Could I get some mayonnaise and mustard too, please?"

"For your order?" she asked me.

Now, sarcastic old me had a couple zippy barbs at the ready, the first of which was "No ... I like to simply open the packets and down them individually, mayo first." But, by the look of this girl, it appeared if I hit her up with something unexpected like that she might break into tears. 

I mean ... what else would the condiments be for? I hadn't ordered anything else. But I decided to be nice and stay on the level. "Yes, they're for my sandwiches, thank you," I confessed.

She disappeared and reappeared just as quickly with my requests. Immediately following, she handed me a large drink and straw.

"Don't forget your Dr. Pepper!" she told me.

This time I couldn't resist. 

"Thank you! Is there a promotion going on I don't know about?"

She looked at me quizically. "Excuse me, sir?"

"Well, you know ... order two Sausage McMuffins, get a free large Dr. Pepper. Is that the deal?"

"Uhm ... no. You didn't order a Dr. Pepper?"

"Nope" I responded. "Maybe the guy behind me ..." I looked in my rear view mirror. "Oh ... look at that. I'm the only one in line here." I handed the drink back to her.

She looked confused. 

"Thank you for my order! Have a good day!" I said as I pulled away.

Where do they get these youngsters?



.......... Ruprecht ( STOP )




It's! Still! Sideways!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Genetic Failure





I tried.

I really did.

But I failed. Miserably.

Not that it was any big deal.

But I learned a valuable lesson: I can't multi-task. Not insofar as having the television on in the background while attempting a physical task.

Still, now that I really think about it, that's not completely true. I can have a baseball game on while doing something, listen and comprehend what's going on without any problem at all. Is it because I've been attuned to such a big part of my life, because I've grown up with it? Since I was a kid I've had Dodger games blaring on the radio while I was outside doing chores or putting a model together or what have you. No problem. Multi-tasking in that particular manner wasn't an issue in the least.

But this morning? A complete and total failure.

I had pulled out several boxed Christmas trees, time for them to make their annual appearance. (Hey! Don't judge! There are as many trees as rooms in this household and every one of them gets one. With that many you have to start somewhere and if that means assembling them before Thanksgiving has arrived? So be it.) I was in the middle of the living room and a little background noise seemed appropriate. I flicked on the television. Already on some random movie channel, Scent Of A Woman was playing ... good enough. I've seen it a few times so good distraction fodder.

Little did I know.

I kept finding myself gravitating from fluffing tree branches to watching the television screen and back again. Over and over and over. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn't do both simultaneously. I tried willing myself to do so with superhuman concentration. Nope. Unable.

So ... how do women do so well at multi-tasking? Understand, I'm not trying to pigeonhole the fairer sex with the ability. It's just a well known fact they're more proficient than men at it. And I'm not pulling this stuff out my ass; there are plenty of sources out there. (Here. Are. Three.)

Look: I can walk and chew gum at the same time. But when it comes to television (ballgames excepted) and doing something else? I can't. Much as I'd like to. 

And I don't see that as a failure per se. I see it as devotion to a singular task at hand without compromising or negating the importance of one or the other.

Yeah ... that's the answer I'm going with. 


.......... Ruprecht ( I STOPped trying to multi-task almost the moment I started ... )




Hey ... why is this sideways ... !???

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Passive-Aggressive Apple Cake



What have we here?

A little apple cake recipe. Terrific!

Now ... if only one could read it, you know, where you could see the measurements in order to prepare this Fall delight ...

... instead of simply gaze at what little you can actually see of the recipe and wish ...



.......... Ruprecht ( STOP drooling already ... )




Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Peeves, Part 2



Deception. Plain and simple.

That definition above is pretty clear. This packaging is not:




It's a play on words. And a downright contradiction of terms to the unwary.

This fryer is not "oil-less" if it claims to "use little to no oil."

Even more disturbing is the fact the Good Housekeeping label is attached to it. Part of the Good Housekeeping Institute's duties include "reviewing product effectiveness as well as packaging and marketing claims." Granted, it may be an approved product but it's got a suspect feel with that bon mot.

Kind of feels like it doesn't exactly hold water, huh? 

*sigh*


.......... Ruprecht ( STOP with the contradictory packaging )




Monday, November 13, 2017

I'm Monday. Too Bad For You



Hokay, People: Listen up. 

Monday here. Yes ... Monday. The first day of the week.

That particular day many of you have decided to ridicule. Scorn. Chide. Vilify. Thumb your nose at. And generally complain about to exactly zero effect.

Let me reiterate: "TO EXACTLY ZERO EFFECT"

Because - and you need to understand this completely and deal with it - no matter where you are in the week there's a Monday you're going to have to contend with in your immediate future.

Maybe not tomorrow, maybe not in a couple days. But within six at the outside there'll be a Monday looming.

Because for the rest of your life you're going to have a Monday to live through every seventh calendar day. And there are about 52 of them on average in any given year. 

So my question to you is this: How's that whining about me working for you? Because there's nothing you can do about it. And you sound like a big, fat whiner when you do.

Want to hear a few of my benefits you don't take into consideration because you're too busy griping about me? Maybe by listing a couple it might curb your incessant, useless bellyaching. I'm the first day of the week as noted. If you didn't have me around, how could you begin your week? Answer: You couldn't.

But I'm also that extra day off during Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Jr. Day, President's Day and Labor Day weekends. Yeah ... you like me then, don't you? Rather hypocritical if you ask me.

Holidays that fall on a Tuesday? Many of you get me off as a bonus four day weekend. If you didn't have me around, lots of you would extend your weekend interminably, irresponsibly ... and that would just end up killing you. (You know the saying ... "too much of a good thing ...")

In Canada? Kind of difficult to have Easter Monday on any other day of the week, you follow?

You've heard of The Mamas And The Papas, right? That seminal American folk rock vocal group of the '60s? They liked me. Even wrote a song about me:

"Monday, Monday, so good to me ... Monday mornin', it was all I hoped it would be ... oh Monday mornin', Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee ... that Monday evenin' you would still be here with me ..."

Yep. Sublime stuff right there. And that's not the only song I'm in. "Fell In Love On Monday" by Fats Domino. "Thank God It's Monday" by NOFX. Jimmy Buffet's "Come Monday."  The Cure couldn't have written "Friday I'm In Love" without yours truly. And tons more, immortalizing me, Monday, in music.

You know ... I could go on and on and on. And on. And freakin' ON about me.

But the bottom line is this: A wise friend of mine once told me if you whine about something and don't do anything about it, you're just a whiner. And the fact of the matter is there's not a single thing you can do about me. And that's too bad for you.

You're either smack dab in the middle of me, worrying about me coming up or grousing and causing other people to join in your misery. Because, you know, misery loves company. 

Me? I'm not miserable in the least. In fact, to those who bemoan my existence? That actually please me and makes me involuntarily smirk your way. So if that whining thing works for you and you're happy with it? You just keep on doin' whatcher doin', Bonzo. 

Because I'll be back again real soon. And again. And again. 

And yet again after that. 




.......... Ruprecht ( STOP moaning about Monday, you big, fat whiner )





Sunday, November 12, 2017

Yes, I Have A Mote



A little history first, so hunker down and work with me here. (It'll be worth it in the end. Plus, you'll be all the smarter, trust me.)

Fact: Rainfall totals for Placerville, California have been maintained since 1873, a whopping 144 years worth of data.

Fact: Placerville's yearly average rainfall is 39.5 inches, the rainfall season beginning July 1st and ending June 30th of the following year.

Fact: Last season's rainfall total topped out at 66.55 inches, the third heaviest on record. Only the freakish years of 1889-'90 (78.13 inches) and 1982-'83 (72.85 inches) were wetter.

Fact: Given last season's sodden state, the house in which I reside came close to flooding.

In the five years I've been in Placerville, the first four have had below average rainfall totals. So last season's eye-opener was just that. Especially when you see ground level planters refusing to drain, waterfalls miraculously appear from the middle of block walls and water beginning to seep into the concrete floor of the garage. 

Translation: There's a lot of water that needs to go somewhere when it's wetter than usual come the rainy season. 

In the midst of one rain-persistent and dreary morning, all the above was discovered of a sudden. It started when I happened to note the garage floor seemed to be absorbing water but with no indication of any physical leaks. The accumulation wasn't bad but it was concerning. Where was the water coming from?

I put on boots and a raincoat and investigated the property. It didn't take long to find out the riddle of the garage floor. The answer: Water, water, everywhere.

Lakes had begun forming around the house fed from the backyard where there is a steep incline from the upper reaches of the property. Rain was naturally draining down from these climbs straight toward the back of the house. Luckily, most of it was diverted to one side and then toward the front. But all that saturation seemed to be settling beneath the house, thus water coming directly up through the cement floor of the garage. Further inspection found a mini reservoir had formed in the driveway and flowerbeds had filled to overflowing with rain, threatening to invade the house proper.

Much to my chagrin - and with lots more inclement weather threatening in the coming week - I was forced to do something drastic to divert the water. It was abundantly clear if I didn't act there could be dire consequences. I was going to have to start digging spillways and mini rivers in order to shift any further water from coming at the house. Not exactly my first choice to spend a weekday morning.

So, armed with a hoe, a shovel and steely determination, I began reconfiguring waterflow.

The result, after lots of huffing and puffing and being subjected to continuous rain for half a day - was an impromptu mote surrounding one side and the entire front of the abode. Or, more succinctly, there was now a mote around the house.

The good news was it did the trick. The water saw fit to accommodate my efforts, the garage dried out before any damage could arise, rooms at the back of the house were safe and any future rainfall would be redirected into the front yard were it would eventually make its way to the street.

Success.

Fast forward to this weekend: I've spent the last couple days digging and fortifying the "mote" in the front of the house with river rock. I've tested it out and it appears to be sound and ready for action.


Now? It's just a matter of hurrying up and waiting for the deluge to hit to verify if it "holds water" ... so to speak. 

(I know, I know. You're a bit jealous you don't have a mote surrounding your house. Call me. Maybe we can work out a plan.)



.......... Ruprecht ( There's no STOPping water, let me tell you ... )




Saturday, November 11, 2017

Two Social Examples




Variety is the spice of Life, they say.

I couldn't agree more.

To the point, it's people - common, everyday people - who make it that way.

I'm providing a couple examples from just last evening of a few such people.

I was at Kohl's department store. An item return and a little shopping were the order of the evening. Little did I know there would be such a smörgåsbord of personalities there. The place was packed for a Friday evening. Apparently I didn't get the memo Kohl's was the go-to meeting place on Veteran's Day for the in crowd. (I'll have to make note of that for free and future entertainment dates.)

At any rate, outside the woman returning a bevy of items at one counter (who will forever now be referenced as "She With The Newborn Ugly Duckling Hairdo"), the nappy-headed little girl plopped unceremoniously at the base of a mannequin watching a Peppa Pig episode on her mother's smart phone and the patron with the most insane, mismatched clothing, shoes and jewelry ever to grace Folsom, California, there were two conversations in the place of note. One of which I was involved in, because I'm a people person who not only likes to stick my nose in where it probably shouldn't belong but to also inject a little interminably-long-checkout-line humor. Because I could.

Two women were in line behind me. They were discussing everything under the sun. The fact of the absurdity they were waiting in a half hour long line to purchase a simple $5.00 item ... how hot it was in the store ("... or maybe it's my hot flashes, I don't know") ... the permission of the one to the other if it was okay if she looked at that rack of clothing right over there while they were in line and not moving much any way ... the revelation of each one's various pass codes to many of their personal personables. (Seriously: At the conclusion of the wait when it was finally time to check out and a Kohl's employee called out she was ready for the next customer in line, I had gleaned all sorts of information from the two women. And it wasn't because I was clandestinely eavesdropping; their decibel level was well above average.)

Nearing the end of the line wait and having been audience to many of their dealings and comments and blather, suddenly one of the women said "Damn I'm hot. I think I've lost a couple pounds just waiting in line sweating. If they don't hurry it up up there, I may just go postal." Naturally, I took this as a cue to instill a little humor into the situation. I quite obviously and animatedly inched forward at a comical shuffle to indicate it would probably be best if I put some distance between me and the ladies. My efforts were not lost on them.

"I'm not really going to go postal!" one of them said as she good naturedly smacked me on the shoulder with something while chuckling. 

I responded with a slight turn of my head over my shoulder: "Nowadays? You just never know ..." Both women chuckled. "I mean ... hot women can be unpredictable," I further insinuated.

They immediately recognized the double entendre and this time cackled in earnest.

Then one stated "He's probably heard everything we've said while in line. He probably knows your Infinity account password you said out loud a minute ago!" she joked to her friend.

"I do have a pretty good bead on the both of you," I turned and confessed. "After all, we've been in line for 20 minutes or so. That's a good amount of time to learn a pretty good history about someone sometimes."

"You're funny. Maybe we should all go out for drinks afterward."

"I've had worse offers," I jested. 

"We'll take that as a compliment!" I was told.

And then a register opened up and our ways parted ...

Earlier in the store, I was in line to conduct a return and this "interesting" conversation occurred. I overheard a man and woman practically shouting back and forth to each other. I didn't catch the first part of what they said but, as the woman turned to face the man, their exchange became abundantly clearer to anyone within earshot. And they hadn't a care in the world who heard them:

She: "Who would have nipples on their knees?"

He: "Did you say 'nipples'?"

"No! I said who would have nipples on their knees."

"You just said it again!"

"What?"

"Nipples!"

"Why would I say nipples?!?'

"I don't know!"

"And why would they be someone's knees?!? That's just dumb!"

The man ultimately decided it was better to remain quiet after that. Probably a wise choice.

People. You just never know what you're going to get.



.......... Ruprecht ( People. They never STOP being interesting ... )




Friday, November 10, 2017

The Phone Is Smart. Me? Not So Much ...



You know ... I used to remember things.

Lots of things.

Names. Dates. Anniversaries. Addresses. Phone numbers. Specific times of the year when things were planned. Future plans on particular Fridays. When things were due in 3 months.  

Not so much anymore.

But it's not me. It's my phone, my smart phone. 

You see, I input important things into it out of convenience and so I don't have to remember. Why should I when my phone can do it for me? It can remind me at any interval I set of tons of things - at 10 minutes prior, a day, a week, 2 months before - and I can forget all about it. Because my phone will remind me. Brilliant!


But that only works if I load whatever I want to remember into the phone on the proper date. At the proper time. 

I n
oticed a particular event approaching Saturday. (Actually, I've known about it for a couple months.) Come to find out, however, I was off by a week. A week. An entire week. Translation: The event took place last Saturday. Last week.

There's a reason they're referred to as "smart phones." The phones are smart because they inversely make you dumb. 

Or ... maybe it's just me it makes dumb ...




.......... Ruprecht ( needs to STOP relying on his smart phone )




Thursday, November 9, 2017

I Can't Explain ...




I am a musicologist. Granted, an amateur musicologist ... but a musicologist nevertheless.

Why amateur? Well, if I was a professional musicologist I'd know a lot more about music. As a professional, I like to think I would be teaching somewhere or at least have some sort of music degree. I do not.

Still, I consider myself such. Because I know a lot about music. Artists, bands, members, theory, titles, lyrics, trivia, eras, trends, history.

The thing about music, however, is there's always more to learn, so much more to glean. (Note: Did you see that? That was a proper use of the word "always." See yesterday's post.) In fact, there's so much musical knowledge out there it's impossible to absorb and know all there is about the subject.

Still ... I know a lot. 

Yesterday, though, I came across a couple musical items I did not know, a few exacting details in fact.


I was reading an article about Jimmy Page (member of The Yardbirds, founder and guitarist of Led Zeppelin) when I happened across an item that surprised me. It came out of the blue, as surprise information often does: Page played rhythm guitar on The Who's "I Can't Explain." Now, I knew he had a history of session work but I don't mind admitting I was a bit gobsmacked by the revelation about this particular item of news. If I was a bigger fan of The Who, or had previously delved into more of the history of Page himself, I probably would have known this news a long, long time ago. But the fact I wasn't and didn't gave me a head tilt at the discovery. A nice little nugget of information there. Interestingly, I also noted there is some question as to whether or not Page was actually included playing rhythm guitar on that seminal track when it was eventually released. There was some reluctance on Pete Townshend's (The Who's guitarist) behalf about letting Page's parts be committed to the final recording. (Because I'm more than curious about this little seductive morsel, I'm going to have to delve into it further.)

Immediately, right in the middle of reading the article, I put on "I Can't Explain" and listened intently for a couple spins at the various guitar parts. I couldn't determine for certain if Page's signature style was what I was actually hearing or otherwise. I wouldn't have questioned it at all but the fact it was raised in the article gives me pause.


And then a name came up as I was listening to the track: Yvonne Elliman. Not knowing anything about her, I sought out her history. Apparently, Elliman was quite the popular artist in her own right back in the day, as an original artist and member of Jesus Christ Superstar, first recording and then joining the original stage cast of the production, and later in the 1973 film version. (Note: Her performance in the film led to a Golden Globe nomination.) One of her biggest recorded hits - "If I Can't Have You" - is instantly recognizable from the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. (And had I ever seen Jesus Christ Superstar or paid attention to the track listings on Saturday Night Fever I would have known of Elliman.) But it was the little side step I saw about her having her own version of The Who's "I Can't Explain" that drew my attention.

And, of course, I listened to that almost immediately on reading such. And it's not a bad version of the song, so there's that.

The Page article consumed, the ear candy listened to, the historical snacks and trivia firmly tucked away in my noggin, I went on with the rest of my day.

Little did I know "I Can't Explain" would crop up yet again.

At work I often have music playing. I get in moods: A 1950s bevy of hits here, some classical there, various soundtracks, rattle-your-brain rock and roll, oddities, particular artists' catalogs, et cetera. Last evening it was David Bowie. I'd never heard his 1973 cover versions album "Pinups" all the way through, just bits and pieces. So, "Pinups" it was.

Lo and behold, there was "I Can't Explain" for a third time, the sixth track on the album. And, honestly, it was the least attractive of the versions I'd heard that day, not a good piece of work. In fact, its slow pace threatened to put me to sleep on my feet. But I weathered through it because I had committed to doing so.

Now, why this specific The Who track meandered 'round my vicinity this particular Wednesday I don't rightly know. But it wouldn't have surprised me in the least if yet another reference had popped up to close the day out. (It didn't.) Additionally, why I didn't know all that information above - musicologist that I am - just goes to prove my point: There's always more to learn about music. That's a constant.

As to the coincidences well, really, I can't explain ...

Because I'm an all-around nice guy, below I've provided all three versions of "I Can't Explain" for your dining and dancing pleasure. Please enjoy as you see fit.







.......... Ruprecht ( You can't STOP the music ... )




Wednesday, November 8, 2017

Peeves, Part 1



There are times when inspiration comes from the most unlikely of sources.

For example, today's post was inspired from something a buddy of mine mentioned earlier this morning on social media. From that, I decided to expound on one of my regular mantras:


"Never use never, never use always."



And, yes, I'm fully aware of the fact that statement is a contradiction of terms. Just putting it out there violates its very nature. Still, it's something I strive for on a daily basis. 

If I was more exacting in my phrasing I would instead say something to the tune of "people need to be detailed and selective when using the words 'always' and 'never' during their everyday commonalities."

Now, if I'm being honest with myself, this really isn't a mantra I go around chanting to every Tom, Dick and Harry I come across on the street. No, it's more a pet peeve of mine, especially when people use the words as casual flips of their tongues without care or concern.

Because I consider both distinctive words, words which convey unquestionable absolutes. And by that I mean there is exactly nil when it comes to grey area in their meanings.

For example, when you say you've "never" done something, the meaning (to me at any rate) is clear cut - you have exactly zero experience in that particular action. You haven't done it previously. You have no point of reference. There's not a hint of grey area.

The same goes for the word "always." It's never's exact opposite, its corollary.

Look: I'm not a word snob.

But I am ... a little bit.

More so, I'm big on words. And on the English language in particular. The language, used as vocabulary or in written form, is a goldmine of opportunity when it comes to illustrating an idea or an object or action or emotion. And it's ultra-effective when used properly. (That's not to say I use it properly or effectively most of the time, not by any stretch of the imagination. I'm flawed and imperfect in its use. But at least I try. At least I'm willing to continually learn.)

It's simply that there are so many instances of the language's bastardization, maltreatment and slash and hack usage it curls my toes. And the proliferation of emoticons and abbreviations and bullshit word conservation for brevity's sake (especially in social media) are in direct violation of the nature of English. And that's a crying shame.

No, I'm not a word snob. I just appreciate it being used correctly. Always correctly. And never with any mistakes.

*snort*

P.S. That inspiration from my buddy in case you're wondering?

"PSA: If you use 1000% or 110% to describe something, I put you in the same category as people who use 'literally' for conceptual things and the phrase 'the dumbest thing I've ever seen' on a daily basis."

- Soren Jacobsen
(*pssssst* Visit the link)




.......... Ruprecht ( STOP using "always" and "never" incorrectly )




Tuesday, November 7, 2017

The Doctor Is NOT In ...





This is how the conversation should have gone down ...


"You're done? Already?"

"The doctor wasn't in ..."

"Not in? Did you get the date wrong? Today was your appointment, wasn't it?"

"Yes. The nurse said he just wasn't in."

"Why not?"

"I didn't ask."

"Then we need to go back in."

"Why?"

"To get you're money back."

"What money? I didn't pay anything ..."

"How much did this appointment cost you?"

"Nothing. Because he wasn't in."

"How much would it have cost you had he been in?"

"I don't know. About $90.00, I guess ..."

"Well, we're going back in to get $45.00, half of what it would have cost you."

"I don't understand ..."

"Did the nurse apologize for the doctor not being in?"

"No. She just made "I can't do that." another appointment for tomorrow."

"And he's going to be in tomorrow? Because an appointment was made for today and he wasn't in today. So ... what we're going to do is go in and get $45.00 for you."

"Why?"

"For the time it took you to get here, for the trouble it's caused by the doctor not being her, for the fact the doctor's office didn't contact you to let you know he wouldn't be here, for your effort and for the fact they didn't even have the wherewithal to apologize. At $45.00, I think that's a bargain."

"I can't do that."

"Not a problem. Because I can. Come on ... let's go back in."


Oh ... waitaminnit. That's how the conversation actually did go down.

And on top of that, I made the nurse assure me she'd contact any other patients who hadn't yet showed up and let them know the doctor wouldn't be in for them, either.

I didn't get the $45.00. But I did get the point across.

And that was worth the effort.



.......... Ruprecht ( STOP )