Some of you may have noticed I’ve not been posting the last two weeks or so. It’s a combination of being busy with life, school and work paired with burnout. (Not the game, if it were, the ‘B’ would be capitalized. Besides, it has been forever since Burnout Paradise was released.) I’ve never thought of myself as someone prone to depression, but I do have occasional bouts of ‘meh.’ I just don’t feel like doing anything or interacting with anyone. I know, it’s hard to tell since I’m so antisocial. I suppose that’s what depression is, although I have a hard time with the negative connotation associated with the word ‘depression.’
* * *
Yesterday, after picking my daughter up from school, she innocently asked from the back seat. “Daddy, what’s dot-dot-dot mean?”
I replied, “Do you mean an ellipsis, like in writing?”
“Yeah, I wrote a story in class, but the teacher told me I couldn’t use the dot-dot-dot…”
“Yeah, ellipsis. She said I couldn’t use the ellipsis unless I knew its name and how to use it. She made be erase all the ellipsis from my paper.”
Most of the twenty-plus minute drive home, the conversation was us giving examples of the proper usage of the ellipsis. I know, we’re dorks. The conversation eventually steered towards different points of view (she wrote her story in first person past-tense limited perspective.)
When we got home, she and I read my dialog only story, trading parts. Eventually she got bored and went outside to play.
Overall, yesterday was a great day. Erika and I are going to watch The Winter Soldier before we get the kids from school and after the lunch buffet at Peter Piper Pizza (I have a coupon!)
….For ice cream! I think I’ve mentioned it in this blog before, but using that search thingy is just too much effort. We love ice cream. Years ago, we received, as a gift, an ice cream mega ball. It’s a blast rolling the ball and burning those calories to offset the ice cream calories. I wouldn’t use this thing on concrete or anything and you can see the pillow protecting my shins. I mandate that only those that participate in the rolling are allowed to partake in the resulting ice cream.
If you find yourself in possession of one of these contraptions, here’s some free advice: Make half the recipe. I have the 1 quart, “Mega” ball and halving negates the need to scrape the ice cream and replenish the ice and rock salt halfway through the process. We just roll this thing for forty minutes and enjoy.
Here’s my recipe for the 1 quart version:
1 pint of milk product (I use 2% milk for the convenience)
1 teaspoon of flavoring (I picked up a four pack somewhere – check your flavor instructions)
half a cup of stevia or sugar.
Add any additional items (shredded coconut is nice with chocolate flavoring. Don’t use full-sized chocolate chips, they’ll break your teeth.)
I put all the ingredients in, seal it, then shake it. Next I add ice and half a cup of rock salt to the other side. Next, forty minutes of rolling. Finally, I scrape the sides down with a wooden spoon and serve. Protect your shins!
The wall of text from yesterday was about books and stuff, so today’s wall of text will be about not-book stuff.
It’s gonna be a busy week. Normally I work at a gaming store one day a week. The company has been jerking people around for like five months. A coworker finally got fed up and left to pursue other opportunities, so the manager asked if I would pick up extra shifts this week. I’m a total sucker so I acquiesced. Then another coworker asked if I could cover his shift. Since the other person working a parallel shift is a writer and we have great conversations about the craft, I accepted. So I work my “real” job from 7:30 – 2:00 and my gaming store job from 2:00 – 9:15. You can see the obvious issue of being in two places at once at 2:00, but alas the big problem is going to be working almost 14 hours on Monday and Tuesday. I keep telling myself the extra money this week will be great…
The kids start school this week. I don’t start until the 18th. I’m only taking one three-credit class for the next three semesters. I’ll be graduating with my Bachelor’s of Science in the Fall of 2015. My degree will be in Applied Human Behavior and my certificate will be in Community Development and Sustainability. I’ve already paid my tuition for this semester and I’m hoping I can get financial aid for the next two. I keep reminding myself it’s only nine credits to go…
A photographer was participating in a charity event so the family had some photos done to support that charity. The photographer took about 1,600 photos. Some photos from that photo shoot are in this post.
I have a confession to make. I’m often skeptical when my wife is excited about something. It could be a television show or a restaurant or a song or something. I usually question her taste – after all, look who she married! I find myself pleasantly surprised regularly. You’d think after fifteen years of marriage, I would trust her judgment, but… ::looks around:: and don’t tell her I said this, but she’s usually right. Nope, my account was hacked; I wouldn’t ever say something like that. Maybe I can rescue this post…
I came home from work on Saturday and my wife was raving about this little yogurt shop she discovered while looking for a garage sale. She basically informed me it was the best and all other yogurt and ice cream shops were crap. I’m paraphrasing, but that was the general idea. She proceeded to drive the thirty minutes to go to the shop again with her mother the following day. She and my son demanded we drive in again on Monday to visit the shop again. I refused, indicating it was too far to drive for some, gasp, yogurt.
There was some trickery today. She took us all to my second favorite Mexican restaurant for lunch. Then, we went to the mall to look at replacement exercise bikes. Next I found myself on Willow Creek Road on the way to the yogurt shop. It’s next to Safeway. The shop is called Yogurt Fantasy.
Here’s the deal: You get a cone or a cardboard cup and get as much of the ten flavors of yogurt you want. Then you load it up with as many toppings as you want. Finally, you pay forty-nine cents an ounce.
I love it! It totally reminds me of Fudruckers or Coldstone Creamery. There are always two sugar-free options (Erika loves this), plus gluten-free and lactose-free flavors. Anyway, for those who live in the Arizona central highlands, you should check it out.
This post will feature, among other things, a complaint about the United States Postal Service, a high-five for Amazon and my favorite new “Weird Al” Yankovic song. Ready? Let’s go!
I preordered the new Weird Al CD a month ago. There are only two musical groups I still buy actual CDs of: Weird Al Yankovic and Metallica. I have them all. Most of them have been purchased on tape, CD and digitally. Anyway, I preordered it from Amazon with guaranteed release day delivery. Today was release day… yep, no CD. This wouldn’t have been an issue if, like Alpocalypse, Amazon “auto rip” was enabled. For those of you who couldn’t ascertain this from context clues, basically, you buy the CD and Amazon gives you free MP3 downloads from the Amazon Music store.
I called Amazon when my mail was delivered (sans CD) and they did some checking and told me USPS lost my package. I’m like whiskey-tango-foxtrot. I’m off work today and I wanted to listen to the new album and then subject my family to the 1989 cult classic, UHF. Amazon offered to get another one in the mail, but damn it, I want to listen today! I asked for them to reship my CD and hook me up with an Amazon download so we could listen today. After some hold time, some supervisor conversations and an accidental disconnect, they credited my Amazon Music account the $9.99 so I could purchase it right now – like while I’m talking to supervisor person. I’ve subscribed to Amazon Prime pretty much from the beginning, before they had music or videos. Between the free shipping, Prime Music and Prime Video, I have no problems with the rate increase to $99 a year.
I’ve been a Weird Al fan since the late 80s. My wife didn’t care either way before we got together, but now she proclaims she would leave me for Al in a heartbeat. Back in 2009, Weird Al was in town on tour and the tour occurred around our 10th wedding anniversary. We got tickets as soon as they were on sale and got second row center. I had been to a few Weird Al shows in the past, but my wife had never been to a live adult show. It was a lot of fun. The picture of Al at the beginning of this post was from that show.
The new album has been listened to and the polka amalgams are always favorites, but the best song on the album has to be Word Crimes. My wife and I always cringe when we hear the English language mangled. I constantly have to remind people there is no letter ‘s’ in the word ‘anyway.’ I swear Al is channeling my pet peeves. As writers and readers, I’m sure you all will appreciate this song:
I’ve mentioned this in the past: I collect and play Skylanders. My wife and daughter occasionally play with me when I whine loud enough. There are three games with game number four coming out in October. Activision has several tablet games that we (my daughter and wife included) play. Last week, my daughter’s iPad deleted her game. I called Activision and as of this coming Tuesday, they haven’t offered any solution. I know of at least one other instance that this sort of thing happened, and Activision was able to do something for him. He had a Skylanders information website, so maybe he has more clout than I do. I know he hasn’t played the game or updated his site in months though. I hope Activision figures something out…
In other Skylanders news, I have completed my Skylanders: Spyro’s Adventure collection. Well, not really. I’m still missing a Volcanic Vault, but I don’t care. Once I win the lottery, I’ll spend the $30 to get one on Amazon. I’m disinclined to pay $30 for a figure that unlocks a battle arena since I don’t really do battle arenas. Continue reading
I’m by no means a fitness expert. I’m not a foodie either. I’m overweight and my back, knees and ankles hurt a lot. My job has me sitting in a chair for eight hours a day. What I do love is biking. I try to ride thirty minutes a day with the family. We try to stay at the community pool for an hour a week. I (sometimes) walk the dogs with my wife. Before my injury, (can you believe its been over a year?) I would average about 15 miles a month hiking and rock climbing. (My wife would routinely do 30 miles a month. She still averages ten miles a day between walking and biking.) Anyway, I encourage you all, but especially those overweight, to get biking. All the major U.S. retailers are discounting their bicycles because for them, the summer retail period is almost over. I’m still 50 pounds overweight with bad knees and back. I can do it, you can to.
This was the worst Disneyland trip in the ten years we’ve been going. It seemed that more than half of the Magic Kingdom was closed for refurbishment. Each of our favorite rides were closed. The Connie thing wasn’t resolved. A Disney manager offered to downgrade our 4-day park hopper to a 3-day park hopper and refund the $120 difference, but we would have to leave the park immediately. The other thing they were willing to do was to offer us some fast passes. Since it was our last day on property, we reluctantly accepted the fast passes. Erika is going to write a letter to Disney Corp complaining about the situation. I refused to reenter the parks based on the poor customer service I experienced. I did want one of those cool looking “cone cups” from Cars Land, but they were like $12! I expected it to be overpriced, but $12? Totally ridiculous.
Enough of the bad stuff. We did have some good times. I managed to complete my USA map on the built-in 3DS puzzle swap game. I’m also completely up-to-date on all the puzzles. Homewood Suites was awesome as always. I picked up another ‘Disney Dollar’ for the pile on my dresser. I had a $1, $5 & $10 Disney dollar framed for Erika a few years ago when one of them featured Pirates of the Caribbean (It’s her favorite ride.) The frame still hangs somewhere in the house. I met quite a few interesting people and heard a lot of dialog while waiting in line. I think I’ll try to do a flash fiction that’s all dialogue in the near future – should be an interesting challenge.
We left before 5AM because Erika was missing her dogs. We managed to retrieve them about ten minutes before the people at Doggie Dude Ranch went to lunch. The rest of the day is laundry (you gotta wash the California out.) I managed to come away with only two blisters and a new pair of shoes await me when I get home. Finally, we got a rare smiling picture of Anthony.
My daughter and I went back to our favorite hotel, Homewood Suites, to play in the pool while my wife, son and mother-in-law stayed in the park. My wife encountered a woman at the security theater checkpoint named Connie. She was an older woman with dark brown hair and glasses. My wife described her as “having a grumpy face.” She was occupying the security checkpoint on the Harbor Blvd side of the park. She inquired where the child was who was supposed to be in the stroller. My wife advised her she wasn’t currently with us and that’s when the complete failure of customer service occurred. Connie decreed that she would grant my family an exception and allow park admittance without a child to accompany the stroller. My wife questioned why this was an issue. Connie then called for a “runner” to escort my wife out of the park. The “runner” was confused as to why my wife needed an escort and then simply left. Next, a “security guard” tried to explain the reason for banning strollers was to prevent theft; my wife dismissed the lame explanation. My wife was so upset, she wanted to cut our vacation short and drive back to Arizona. We decided to stay for the sake of the children, but I had to blog about this as I got nowhere with Disneyland customer service. This has been the worst Disneyland vacation we have ever been on. This wasn’t the only poor customer service situation, but was just so egregious; I had to blog about it. I’ll call Disneyland Executive Services tomorrow if I can glean the number from the internet. Otherwise, I’ll file a better business bureau complaint. Anyone know any good phone numbers to get someone who can resolve my complaint?