Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rage Against The Vending Machine

Dear Designated Outside Contractor Food Supplier:

I must give you high marks for the excellent selection of above-average foodstuffs in our cafeteria. The portions are sensible, the service is wonderful, and the prices generally reasonable, except when it comes to snacky bits. $1.25 is not market rate for a bag of M&Ms. A brace of PopTarts at $1.29 is overpriced by almost 40%. This sort of madness drives me to our building's vending machine emporia... which in turn are driving me to madness, and to authorship of this screed.

Who is the crack-smoking numbnuts incapable of competent repetition in the maintenance of a vending machine?

I'm not talking about keeping the damn things online (although the snack vendy just around the corner from the cafeteria is suspiciously "out of service" frequently). I'm also not complaining about the slings and arrows of outrageous Fort.: the bag of chips stuck against the glass, the HoHos clinging, mockingly, to the wire spool exp'lled them. These are merely the manifestations of bad karma which we all experience, the dark cloud which only reveals its silver lining when additional coins are inserted to knock free said HoHos with the resounding thunk of a descending MilkyWay bar. Satisfaction, and twice the snacks.

No, my complaint, thunderous, and my indignation, righteous, is aimed at the methadone sampler whose job is simply to restock the machine with snacky bits and change. Let us start with the change, for as everyone knows, change is good.

If it were me, which it is not, I would value every snack in multiples of 25 cents. Acknowledging that candy prices have risen ridiculously since I was a lad*, surely chips could be 50 cents, candy bars 75, and the Big Hangover Cures (PopTarts, Pound Cake, Danish) a dollar. This sort of price management would mean Quarters-only change. The US Quarter-Dollar being the only reasonably sized and weighted coin o' th' realm, it makes sense to only stock the change mechanism thusly. But no. This being The Big Fancy City, you will have your premium, won't you? 85-cent candy bars. Now you have to involve dimes and nickels... hell, why not just invite the pennies? Or do you have a problem with coins of color?

Having all this Numismatic Affirmative Action going on just results in a bloated system* filled with jams and errors. Many times I have found the vendy on the second floor demanding exact change. Many times I have been so craving a Twix that I have crammed in a dollar bill, here, take it you fiend, keep the extra 15 cents, it's worth it! And been denied. Then there's the fifth floor vendy, which simply lets the dimes fall through, like a hot lesbian sitting alone in a bar. "Nope," says fifth floor vendy, "you can go. My candy is not even for sale."

And that's even assuming the stupid labels are right. I've noticed they're on a little wheel... so that your Depleted Uranium Cranium simply has to turn the price to match the price programmed into the machine. Why then, do the vending machines take on a slot machine air when I buy my Butterfingers? Why is the price 85 cents on one day, and 95 cents on another? Sure, one day it was 45 cents, but that was the day I helped the old lady cross the street AND I think someone else just forgot their change. Probably because they were injured bashing their skull into the glass in frustration.

While I'm discussing labels, why is the burden on me to determine the row and number of my selection? The cafeteria machine, you know, the one that rarely works? Several of the labels are missing... specifically E3, F5, and H0. And why is there a "zero" column, anyway? Are you planning a Vending Expansion that will jeopardize your supply of positive whole numbers? Or are you just showing off your integers, but think negatives would be audacious?

The fifth floor vendy even has some labels misapplied. Yes, I should be able to deduce F3's position between F2 and F4, but it has a E3 sticker on it and goddamn it, I eat out of vending machines... I'm probably hungover and need coffee. Throw me a fucking bone! There is nothing less savage than spending your last 85 (?) cents on a 3Musketeers, only to be rewarded with Good N Plenty.

Why does bottled water cost more than soda?

Isn't water a component of soda? Doesn't it cost more to process that water, add cancerous qualities and caramel color to it, and bottle it under pressure? Whither the price of sugar? Doth it not be high?*

Read more

I've got tears in my eyes and an achy stomach from laughing so hard.

Read more "Best of Craigslist..."

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

The Dark Knight...

Which Action Hero Would You Be? v. 2.0
created with
You scored as Batman, the Dark Knight

As the Dark Knight of Gotham, Batman is a vigilante who deals out his own brand of justice to the criminals and corrupt of the city. He follows his own code and is often misunderstood. He has few friends or allies, but finds comfort in his cause.

Batman, the Dark Knight


Captain Jack Sparrow


Indiana Jones




Neo, the "One"


The Amazing Spider-Man


Lara Croft


James Bond, Agent 007


The Terminator


William Wallace


El Zorro


Heh. Just so happens that he is my favourite (yes, I spell favourite with an "e") super-hero.
He's all human.
He's flawed.
Hence why he's completely believable.

Might come in handy someday...

Nicht es?

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Not what I was expecting at all

I just got home from vacation.

It wasn't a vacation.

At all.

Well sort off.

I saw a cousin get married. To a wonderful, wonderful, wonderful guy. It was a wonderful, happy time.
Marriages back home are a HUGE event.
Literally thousands of people attend the function. The entire function itself spreads many days. Fantastic food! (I've probably gained 10 lbs just from the 5 days of wedding food alone! It's impossible to resist I tell you!) Plus, the added bonus is that since the extended family gets together, you get to meet everybody - from great aunts and uncles and grandparents to the tiny tots (I discovered to my everlasting astonishment that I was an "Uncle" to half a dozen kids... ME! At my tender young age! An Uncle! Holy smokes! When did I get that old! LOL!) There was a good deal of humor over the fact that so many people assumed that I was my brother! I literally had to produce ID cards and drag my Father in to prove my identity! I had changed so much in six years - folks couldn't recognize me! Haha!

And then, the other HUGE plus point was that I finally got to meet my sister-in-law (my brother got married almost 2 and 1/2 years ago... but I was unable to attend the wedding because of nursing school). My sister-in-law is adorable - I'm so happy she is a part of our family. I even got to enjoy the hospitality of the in-laws. They have some 'characters' in their family too - all the more fun now! I had a great time! :-)

But on the other hand....

I had an acute attack of Gastroenteritis for about four days.
Preceded by the "head cold from hell" for about four days. All I could feel, smell and taste was phlegm. It was horrible.

My Mother was sick for half the time I was home - mostly stress related. Yet she refused to take time off from life in general - insisting that she couldn't. From her PoV she was right, and I knew it... but I hated it no less. I detested the pressures that "life" put on my Mother. My Mother has sacrificed a lot for many people... and many a time, I feel that she is not been acknowledged nor appreciated for that. My desire is for both my parents to retire and live a life of comfort - all the while knowing that such a desire is foolish... both my parents are work-a-holics. They'd go crazy if they had nothing to do!(and it seems like I have inherited some of it!)

My grandma passed away (my Father's mother. My maternal grandma passed away when I was in nursing school and I couldn't attend her funeral. As of now, my maternal grandpa is the only grandparent I have alive - my paternal grandparent having passed away years before I was even born).

My Father didn't take the news well (hell, is there ever a right time to lose your parent?) He has been sick on and off for a while now. I'm worried about him. My dear Father is a reserved man, he doesn't speak often... especially on matters of the heart. He is calm, quiet and reserved [the exact opposite of my dear Mother!] But he is a very sensitive man. Very loving. His anguish at the loss of his Mother was hard for me to bear - I may have lost a loving, dear grandmother, but he had just lost his beloved Mother. In the wee hours of the morning, I was called upon to be a nurse again. My Father had recently lost a mother-in-law and an elder sister. Outwordly, he attempts to be calm and measured - but I know he's hurting. They are a close knit bunch, my Father's family.

Did I mention that I needed 3 root canals? Yep, not one not two... three.

In the midst of all this chaos, I missed the comfort and company of some of my dearest friends. While I am a very friendly, approachable person by nature, I don't make friends that easily (sure, everybody is a "buddy" to me. But true "friends", I'm pretty selective). Despite uprooting my life and relocating half the world away in my teens, I adamantly spent a fortune keeping in touch with my friends. Yeah, I managed to meet some of them... but I missed seeing a couple.

And they hurt.
Because they hadn't seen me in many years.
And I hurt too - for the same reason.
There is still a longing in my heart.

*sigh* I need a vacation to get over this vacation...

Monday, December 24, 2007

Working Christmas

Every year, at Christmas time; I always volunteer to work.

I'm not a "believer" and hence don't celebrate the holiday.

To me, it's a simple equation - since I don't honor/celebrate the holiday anyway, why not let the person who does... have the night of so that s/he can spend it with their loved ones?

I've noticed that Thanksgiving and Christmas are two VERY special holidays in the United States (Easter comes close ) ...... despite the overtly crass commercialized versions on display .... and I always figure: "These are the only few times when families get together once a year. Be it religious or otherwise - why not help them at this time?"

Hence why I volunteer to work these holidays.
My only caveat? (I want 4th of July and New Year's off! ;-))

But when all is said and done ...

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas. :-)
This coming year - may we all see a new era of peace amongst all mankind.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

Takin' a break...


Nearly missed a flight at O'Hare. Had to make a mad dash through Heathrow...

.... but I made it all.

It's technically day 5 of my 3 week break.
I'll try and play catch up while I can...