The Grocery Checkout Donation Dilemma

There’s a grocery food chain called Tom Thumb on the other end of the block of my apartment complex. Until you live this close to a grocery store, you have no idea what convenience is. Should the milk ever run out mid-pour, I’m literally two minutes away from more. In fact, it takes longer to put on a more acceptable shirt and walk down to my truck than it does to get from my apartment complex to the sliding front doors.

Recently, Tom Thumb linked up with the Support for People with Disabilities fundraising campaign to benefit Easter Seals, Special Olympics and an array of organizations that help people with disabilities live fuller, more independent lives. At the end of each transaction, the cashier asks the customer if they’d like to donate money for the cause. On the customer transaction screen, there are donation options of $1, $5, $10 and $20. Any amount you donate is conveniently added to the total of the grocery amount. Continue reading “The Grocery Checkout Donation Dilemma”

Life Without Internet – A Memoir

If you’re getting this message, please send help. This is day four without the internet. Time Warner says they’ll be out today, but sometime between 12 and 4 pm feels a lot like anytime between alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, childbirth to deathbed.

Note to self: If you’re moving in the next six months, please, by all means, for the sake of everything good and holy, give Time Warner plenty of notice.

Ask any geneticist and they’ll tell you, something about being disconnected from the world prompts the DNA to default into strands of Ted Kaczynski. My hair looks like it’s been combed with the ribs of a fish, I tend to wear aviator sunglasses all day, and the first thing I’ve pulled out of any moving box is a hoodie. I mean, I didn’t even have to spell check his name. DNA. Continue reading “Life Without Internet – A Memoir”

Meow Mix

*Meow Mix commercial plays in the background*

Katie: I’m going to start feeding you cat food.

Me: Noooooo.

Katie: It has salmon in it.

Me: Oh, okay.

Milk, Cookies, and Delirium

One of the great things about adulthood is being able to get out of bed at 4 in the morning, walk into the kitchen, grab some cookies, and pour a giant glass of milk. I mean, these are the kind of liberties that we should take advantage of more often. We should just plan out a morning, once every six months, and get up early to do something we would have gotten into trouble doing when we were kids. That, in a very small sense, is freedom. Of course, there’s the consequence of not being able to go back to sleep once the demands of the day are upon you. And I can’t really help you there.

I didn’t really sign up for this. I woke up from a dream four hours ago with my pulse racing and haven’t been able to fall back asleep. It wasn’t even that bad of a dream, which is sort of frustrating. After tossing and turning for hours, I came into the kitchen for a glass of milk and remembered the cookies that we had bought yesterday. Katie’s laptop was on the table and here I am. I feel like Santa Claus post Christmas.

Speaking of Santa Claus, imagine all of the crap that gets left out for him to eat and drink on Christmas Eve. Think about being Santa. You go into all of these houses and find all kinds of crazy food that someone thinks is cute. You’re already beaten by the chimney thing, and now you have to write a note and lie to little kids, which would really make you the bad guy and create this black hole of judgement, so you end up having to eat what’s on the plate. If Santa knows if you’ve been naughty or nice, he surely knows that you’re leaving things out for yourselves and not him. Stick to milk and cookies, but make sure the milk stays cold, because there’s an expiration on milk in room temperature. Lukewarm milk is a bad choice.

Wedding Table Ideas

This afternoon, Katie and I were sitting on the couch, each with a laptop in our lap, doing completely different things. Like any woman in the year 2012, I was looking at Pinterest. Kidding. Katie was the one looking at Pinterest, among other websites (I’m just trying to drive Google traffic this direction). Her goal was to try and pin down a color scheme for our wedding. After asking for my opinions about many different ideas, she showed me a table centerpiece that looked like a tree. I really liked the centerpiece because it sparked a lot of other ideas that I had.

Since Katie no longer wanted to listen to my ideas, I thought that I would bring them here. My first idea is to have a centerpiece like the picture above, but with a bird’s nest in it. Not just any bird’s nest, but a nest with baby birds inside. I want all of the birds to have on tuxedos (with top hats), which could be an issue if there are female baby birds, but I don’t really think anyone would know the difference.

Feeding guests at the table would be rude if we didn’t include the birds, so we’ll make the momma bird a baby plate. She can then baby bird the food to the chicks in tuxedos once we give them the sign to break bread. This will drive up the costs a little, but it will be worth it. Pretty soon we’ll be the talk of the town. Best wedding ever.

I can’t wait until my incredible ideas open the door for more of my valuable opinions.

Exit Through the Gift Shop

With all of the time that I now have on my hands, I can finally catch up to some of the documentaries that I have wanted to watch over the past few months. One of these was Exit Through the Gift Shop.

Had I not heard from numerous sources that this was a great documentary, I may not have ever seen it. The subject is about street art, but more importantly the documentary illustrates the story of a French shop keeper’s journey from amateur film maker to what essentially amounts to his rapid rise in the art industry.

It’s a really good documentary. These artists are amazing, and they  inspired the creative part of me. Sadly, the side of my brain that is the catalyst for art and creativity needs a tune-up, new registration/inspection stickers, and an engine overhaul. For those reasons alone, I don’t anticipate opening a studio any time soon.

Exit Through the Gift Shop underlined a social observation that I’ve seen play out time and time again. And it leaves me asking the question: What makes somebody famous? What makes something worth money? And how do both of those things shape the dynamics of the human relationship?

It may be difficult to get the picture of what I am saying if you haven’t seen this movie, but what essentially happened was Thierry Guetta, a Frenchman who owned his own clothing store, had a hobby of videotaping everything. He began videotaping street artists as they vandalized beautified buildings throughout the city. Eventually, his hobby found him with the best and most elusive street artist, Banksy. After a period of time, Banksy convinced Thierry to go out on his own adventure and make a name for himself, advice that Banksy would soon after regret.

With a new warehouse, a few one line promotions from the most popular street artists out there, and the help of people who knew what they were doing, Guetta made millions of dollars in his first art show. The problem is that a lot of what he did was a copied from those who put in the time and effort of making that genre of art popular in the first place.

The movie goes through the process of how that show was put together and captures how Guetta randomly assigned dollar amounts to his paintings. Celebrities and non-celebrities alike lined up for his show and “Mr. Brainwash”, as he’s now known, became an overnight celebrity.

The story is truly fascinating.

2012

My first blog post in 2012. Let me just say, for the record, that personifying a year drives me crazy. With the advent of facebook, the world of personification has grown beyond measurable proportions. For example, a facebook status that reads:

“Bring it on, 2012!” or “Oh 2012, do I have big plans for you!”

2012, or any year for that matter, exists merely as a measure of time. In fact, in a few months, you’ll look at your life and evaluate it in the present, not from a certain point, like let’s say Jan 1, 2012. Nobody says, “I’m unhappy today, but the past two months of 2012 I was happy, so that means that on average, I’m a little more than happy, after all.”

What if 2012 really does bring it? What if by June you’re having car trouble, you lose your job, and your partner broke up with you through a text message? (Btw, I just used you, you’re, and your in the same sentence and didn’t skip a beat. It is possible!) I can’t bear to see those “fml” posts from the same people in a few weeks.

According to the Mayans, 2012 will bring it, so there’s that…By the way, I know that nobody takes the Mayan calendar seriously (at least, I think), but maybe if the Mayans weren’t as concerned with when the world end and concentrated more on when their civilization would, they’d still be around. Boom. Roasted.

*End rant*

A couple of things I’d like to accomplish this year (mainly writing down for posterity):

  1. I want to read the Bible from beginning to end. – I’m looking at you, Old Testament.
  2. I want to read at least 12 books, one a month. – I need to spend less time reading current events that drive me crazy.
  3. I want to pay off my truck. – I owe $6,700ish.
  4. I want to write more. – Which means less tv.
  5. I want to be a better giver. – Monetarily, gifts, and with my time (volunteer).

Number two will be the most difficult to accomplish. I always start books with the best of intentions and then never finish them. I get sidetracked really easily and I hate that. I admire those who dig into a book and don’t put it down until it’s finished. A lot of what I read are online articles that take up hours of my day.

I haven’t forgotten about my leukemia. Obviously, I hope for a really good year. I hope that my trial is effective, that the DCC-2036 drug works for me, or that it will buy me time until something else comes around that does. However, I’ve learned that these are all things that I can’t control. That’s why I didn’t include them in my goals. Every day is a new day, and I have to react to those changes. To try and control those things will leave me frustrated and mentally fatigued. I’ll grow because of it, but I wanted to focus on things that I can do to encourage growth in this new year.

I’m curious as to what some of your goals are. What would you like to accomplish in 2012 and which ones will be the most difficult? And why?

A guest appearance by…me

Sometimes I come to my blog, open it up, brew a cup of coffee, sit in front of my computer screen, and just stare at the blinking cursor. I never write anything. I want to, but I never do. Somehow I’ve tricked my mind into believing that there is a threshold for what other might find interesting and that I could never reach it.

In fact, I left my blog post after I wrote that, only to come back and eventually finish (or try to). It’s weird how being away from my blog for a while feels similar to asking a stranger to dance. It’s unfamiliar and lends me self-consciousness.

It’s not by choice that I haven’t written. In fact, not too long ago I was sitting on my porch and wrote a blog about inconsiderate birds and their audacity to be loud all of the time. After I wrote it, I realized how dumb it was. It’s still in draft form because I never had the courage to publish it. Unfamiliarity. I’ve never been afraid to post stupid stuff. That’s why I started this blog to begin with. 

My schedule has been crazy. School and work have occupied all of my time. School in the morning, work in the evening, with a little overtime sprinkled in. I haven’t had a weekend where I haven’t had something to prepare, study for, write, etc. The feeling of being behind all of the time has become so normal that I have no idea what it is like to sit and do “nothing”, even though that’s where I excel. I can’t excel. I want to excel.

Anyway, I feel like I have some big events coming around the corner. Big, life altering events. Here’s a little hint. Immature white blood cells have made their way back into my blood. It’s possible that my medicine is no longer working, again. I had an appointment at MD Anderson last week and the results were preliminary, but next week we’ll have more test results and will be able to see the big picture.

I knew beforehand that it wasn’t going well. I’m starting to become so fatigued. I feel like I can never get enough sleep or rest. My chest is heavy when I breathe, my eyelids are heavy when I wake and go to bed, and my brain seems preoccupied all of the time. It’s just not a very fun place to be. It’s disappointing at best, annoying at worst. I hope to have a lot to say soon, when I reach that place where time is once again an ally.

Suck Cuts

I hate going to get my haircut. I guess it’s a small price to pay for having hair to cut, but as a loather of small talk, sitting in a chair and finding myself between a figurative wall of forced conversation and awkwardness is not anything I’d choose to do in my spare time. Events like today don’t make it any easier.

I should know that in most cases, you get what you pay for. This is especially true in the service industry. If you’re okay with that, then you’ll probably end up saving a lot of money. Today, I attempted that approach to no success. Here’s the backstory:

There are three walk-in haircut places in my vicinity: Great Clips, Pro-Cuts, and Sports Clips. The last time I got my haircut, I went to Sport Clips because it was the first place I saw when I was driving down the road. Sports Clips is a nice place to go, especially for guys who like sports. They have a tv at every station and is tuned into some sporting event at any given time. The previous time I went, they were showing a Rangers game. Perfect ($20). Great Clips is your average haircut place. I’ve been before, nothing special. My brother said that he went to some other place and paid around ($13) for a haircut so I thought I would go there to save some money. Pro-Cuts.

I’ve been into a Pro-Cuts before at some point, but the decor made me feel like I was walking into the early 1990’s. They had two people working, one was an old man and the other was a lady who was working on highlighting a customer’s hair. I’m not real high maintenance, but if there weren’t a few hair products on the outdated shelves, it wouldn’t be difficult to convince me that two hairdressers conspired to break into a vacant building and start a business. This business really needed to do some investing into their own product.

I sat in the waiting room, convinced that I didn’t want to be there, but feeling too bad to just walk out, especially after I had already put my name down. I sat there, staring at my phone, thinking of elaborate ways to exit without anyone noticing. The old man was working on cutting a child’s hair and had his back to the door for a minute, but I was too unresolved to take that opportunity to leave. He had greeted me when I walked in and I didn’t want him to turn around to greet what he would think was a new customer, only to see me walking out the door. A minute later, he began working on the other side of the child’s head and he was facing the door. My opportunity was squandered.

I sat there for a second, thinking back to the Prison Break marathon I saw on tv a few weekends ago. I began looking for tools to cut a hole into the wall big enough for me to climb into the air conditioning duct and on my way to freedom, but none were available. The kid’s haircut was finished and his dad went up to pay. I sat and waited. I knew it would get even more awkward the longer I waited. Still two more people to go, I knew I didn’t have long. He started cleaning up his station and made a trip to the back. Out the door I went. Freedom.

I had long decided that Sports Clips was where I needed to go. I would end up paying more, but I would get to watch tv, get my hair shampooed afterward, and simultaneously have a warm towel placed on my face. It cost about 80% more than it would have had I stayed in that janitor closet, but it was worth it.

I overcame. Until next time.

Bouncing around some ideas

I think we all agree that our most everlasting hope in this world is that we share a peace, unity, and kinship with all of humanity. As a country, we spend hundreds of billions of dollars a year on education, social policy, and other things that induce comas and make our heads spin, yet we still yearn for happiness. There is a constant search to find a lasting fulfillment that no amount of money has ever been able to suffice. Why is this? The answer is clearly in front of us. We need more bounce houses.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear “bounce house”, my fun radar spins uncontrollably off the charts. I think of kicking off my shoes, jumping through the entrance net head first, and bouncing around in an equal state of delirium and carelessness. However, one thing remains the same: All is right in the world. Walk by a bounce house and tell me that I’m wrong. Forget poverty, crime, or things we dread to think about, the only aversive thing about a bounce house is having to get out and go home.

I don’t want to be president, but if I did, I’d spend less money on bombs and more on bounce house stations all around the world. We could use our military men and women as bounce house ticket takers. They will guard your shoes and other pocket valuables. America will take a leap from being despised and demonized to loved and admired. Domestically, we’ll implement a policy where every block is required to have a bounce house of some sort, every business the same, and instead of HOV lanes, major roads will have a bounce house lane so people can bounce home. I’m just doing my part to make this world a safer place.