Thursday, December 20, 2007

I got carded!

Just a quick note before we head out. Last night I flew from Saint Loius to Dallas.

I ordered a beer at the Saint Louis airport last night and I got carded! I got freaking carded! Whoo hoo! The cute waitress was apologetic and my first response was to say, are you kidding? It’s the highlight of my week! I caught myself just in time though, lowered my voice and instead said, “No problem baby, I get carded all the time!”

When women roll their eyes that’s a good sign, right?

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

I Believe!

I am heading off on vacation with my son tomorrow so I may not post again before Christmas (depending on wi-fi access in Mexico and how much “fun” we have! :) ) so I wanted to post my Christmas story now.

One year when I was at about that age, eight or nine maybe, as Easter was approaching, I proudly announced to my parents that I no longer believed in the Easter Bunny. Since I was the oldest of the children my father said, “That’s fine son, just don’t spoil it for your little sisters, OK?”
“OK Pop”

So on that Easter Sunday morning when we all got out of bed there were only two Easter baskets in the front room instead of the usual three. Oh! So even then, being the little analyst, as my little sisters were tearing into their Easter baskets and I did not have one, I quickly began to re-think this whole not believing in the Easter bunny thing! :)

Fast forward several years; I was now 13 and it was December and Christmas was in the air. We were all gathered at the dinner table eating when my next youngest sister announced that she no longer believed in Santa Clause. I immediately jumped in and proclaimed, “Oh yes you do! You better believe in Santa Clause! He *is* real!” There was an uncomfortable silence that I did not understand and the topic changed rapidly.

Later that evening my father asked me to sit down with him. I could tell he was very uncomfortable which was unusual for him. He started off with, “You know son, you have, uh, reached, uh, an age where there are, uh, you know, uh, well there are things we need to talk about.”

OH NO! Suddenly it hits me! He is uncomfortable, stuttering, I am 13…OH NO! IT’S THE SEX TALK! I am NOT ready to talk about SEX with my Dad! My tummy curdles up, I start to panic and mentally I am huddled in the corner rocking back and forth muttering, “Oh no, oh no, oh no!”

Even still, Dad’s words continue to penetrate my panicked state, Dad is saying, “and you know, your mom and I are uh, getting worried because uh, frankly you, uh, you know, you are uh, just too old to believe in Santa!”

Huh? Santa? What? What the hell does Santa have to do with SEX? Wait a minute, calm down, replay that tape in your head, what did he say. OH THANK GOD! This is not THE TALK! Mom and Dad are just freaking out because they think I still believe in SANTA! Whew!

Since I was so relieved this was not THE TALK I blurted out, “I don’t believe in Santa Dad!”
“What? Well what was that thing with your sister tonight?”
“Oh... OH! Well, when I told you I did not believe in the Easter Bunny any more you stopped giving me Easter Baskets right?”
“Yes.”
“Well shoot Dad, Christmas is the big time, I was not going to mess with that and I did not want my little sister to miss out on it either!”
OK, so now Dad looks, shocked, guilty and relieved all at the same time. He said, “Oh son, you really had your mother and I very worried, we were really concerned that you were having mental problems still believing so forcefully in Santa at your age! I see what you were thinking now.” I can see the guilt in his face.

So, first off, crises averted! No sex talk! Second, I got what I wanted for Christmas that year, a gun steel blue 10 speed “English Racer” (I rode that bike until I bought my first car!) third, I did not have to pretend to believe in Santa anymore and best of all, the next Easter morning I had an Easter Basket with my sisters again and each Easter thereafter. Yeah baby!

In fact, a few years later I joined the Air Force and my mother continued to send Easter baskets to me at Air Force bases wherever I was stationed. All the guys in the barracks would always razz me about my "Easter basket from Mommy" so I always had to explain to them how important it is to believe!

Upsell?

Since several of you liked the insurance on one tire thing I thought I would quickly share another one along the same lines.

You know how when you get your hair cut and the stylist is always trying to sell you $50 bottles of shampoo or gel or what not and it is all ridiculously priced?

For me it was always a quandary, it does not take a genius IQ to realize you should not annoy the person or cooks your food or cuts your hair so my normal sarcasm super powers are rendered inert in those situations. Yet those stylists could be so darned pushy!

So I finally hit on the perfect solution. When they start trying to push all that pricy stuff on me I just say, "Sure I’ll take it all but I have one question first, do they test any of these products on animals?"

They will almost always feign shock and say, “Oh no! Jeanie Michelle has a very strict animal testing policy! They would never test their products on animals!”

Then with a perfectly straight face I will say, “Well, if their products are not good enough for a dog they certainly are not good enough for me.”

That's the end of the conversation every single time!

(Yes Melek, I really do say that! :) )

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Tire Store Scam

Stephanie over at Stephanie’s Soap Box made a post that reminded me of a story yesterday. She mentioned how she was sick of car shops trying to rip her off because she was a girl.

Now don’t get me wrong, they certainly do that. I remember last winter when our other room mate came home literally in tears because the shop said the noise she was hearing would cost $5,000 to repair and she was crying because she had no idea where she would get $5,000. She only paid $9,000 for the whole car!

Long story short I got involved and it ended up costing her $85. So I know it happens.

Still though, those unscrupulous bastards will try it on any one not just women! Before my now glorious career as a computer nerd ;) I was an aircraft mechanic and machinist. You can hand me most any aircraft part and I can duplicate it, no blueprints needed. Since many airplanes are pretty old there are many parts you just can’t buy anymore. That’s no problem if you have a Rob and a machine shop handy! :)

So, at the time of this story I worked for Braniff Airlines. Anyone remember them? They used to be a pretty big name. I used to volunteer to work the midnight shift since you could escape the Texas heat that way. I got off work at 8:00 AM.
Braniff also provided uniforms, dark blue pants and a light blue shirt with white ovals over each pocket, You know, one oval said “Braniff” and the other oval said “Rob”.

So my car needed new tires. I enjoyed working on airplanes for a living but it did not pay that well so I watched and waited and finally a big name tire store had a good tire sale. 30,000 mile all season radials for a mere 29.99 each! Oh yeah!

So after work early in the morning I am at the tire store just as they open with the sales flyer in hand. Since I just got off work I am in my ‘uniform’ and I am dirty and a little greasy. I mean this getup screams “mechanic” right?

I tell this guy I want these tires in the ad right here.

“Oh you don’t want those 30,000 mile radials what you want are the 80,000 miles radials for $90 each.”
“Well, the old T-bird already has 130,000 miles on her so I think 30,000 miles tires are all I will need.”
“Well, you know the 80,000 mile tires have lots better traction and maneuverability, blah, blah, blah” That was a lie because the harder, longer wearing compound does not grip the road as well as the shorter life tires do. Still I did not want to go down that road with him so I was still polite but I already had him mentally tagged as a liar. “No thanks I want these tires right here”

He just will not give it up! He just keeps trying and trying to get me to buy those higher cost tires. I finally had go, “Dude, NO, this is what I want, these RIGHT HERE”
“Ok, I see you are man who knows what you want, so can I interest you in a road hazard warrantee, only 14.99 per tire.”
“Why would I pay $14.99 insurance on a $30 tire?”
So we went round and round on that until I got fed up and said fine, “I’ll take one.“
“One?”
“Yes, I want to insure one tire.”
“But how will you know which one to insure. “
“It will be for whichever one is flat”
So he decided to drop that topic.

Customers are lined up behind me and they are getting frustrated waiting while I argue with this non stop champion of high pressure BS!
Then he starts in on high tech digital balancing for $10 a tire. It took 5 minutes to get him to give up on that. Then he started trying to sell me these super duper valve stems for like 8 bucks each. On each item he will not take no for an answer! Finally I started getting little anger dots floating before my eyes and I growled, “No, no no! Here, just throw the tires in the trunk and I will get someone else to mount them!”

So he FINALLY gets that I am not going to buy all that extra crap and he drops all the extras and just writes up the basics like I wanted to begin with. Seriously, this all took 10 minutes! People were lined up behind me and this doof took up their time when clearly I was not buying.
So, as I always do when I get new tires I wanted a front end alignment so he added that to the ticket.

“In about 15 minutes old slick called me back up to the counter. “Uh, Mr. Johnson, we have a little problem with your front end alignment”
I am already leery and weary so I said “Yeah?” with as much skepticism as I could put into the word thinking he may get the hint. Nope.
Oblivious he goes on, “You see, Ford built your car so that the front end was not adjustable. So in order for us to do your alignment we have to replace some parts so that your front end will be adjustable. It will run about $300”
Oh the anger dots are swimming now. Man I hate being lied too!
“Listen Slick, I have 130,000 miles on that car. Do you really think this is the first time the front end has needed alignment?”
Completely unfazed he flows right into anther line of absolute crap.
I finally said LOUDLY so that all the other customers could hear me, “Jeez man, LOOK AT ME! I am dressed in a mechanics uniform! Why don’t you save your clumsy lies for someone who does not understand EXACTLY what a liar you are? Forget the alignment - I will get it done at a reputable shop.” He is still not fazed! I saw him take in a breath to argue some more, can you believe it? Before he could speak again though I said with menace in my voice, "Do not say another word, ENOUGH!" The manager had heard me, (as did everyone else) so he came over and called off his attack dog. I told the manager the same thing, “Look at me! Why would you lie to someone dressed like me? Why? What is wrong with you?”

That was the most stressful money I ever saved.

So Stephanie I can really relate; if you do not know he is a liar that nonstop all encompassing BS must be persuasive, it must get to be overwhelming. If it is that stressful when you know precisely how much he is lying then I can only imagine how much worse it must be when you don’t really know about cars?

Monday, December 17, 2007

10 Things About Me Meme

Whelp, I was tagged by CrazyMama (Julie) to do a 10 random things no one knows about me meme.

I am not sure if some of these have slipped out or not but here goes anyway.

1) I sing or whistle ALL the time. If I can't do it out loud (like in a meeting) it is still going on in my head. Things in life make me think of certain songs so I will start playing them in my head. It’s like my life has a soundtrack.

2) Sometimes I get a little OCD with a particular song. It can get stuck in my head for days or even weeks. I was on a “Music is My Boyfriend” loop for a while (from that damned IPhone commercial!) Then I was seriously stuck on a “Sweep the leg Johnny” loop for about two weeks! At the moment I am currently loop free! (but still loopy!)

3) I don’t talk about it much here on the blog because there are already other online places to feed this obsession but I am crazy about airplanes and aviation.

4) I have insomnia a lot. I tend to think, think, think about things then I forget to sleep.

5) On that note- While I am thinking I tend to design things in my head. I have a full product line of aircraft designs up in my brain from a basic two seat, very low cost “first plane” to a very high performance higher cost aircraft oriented towards business travelers. Airplanes cost too much so most of my design emphases centers on cost reduction. I have created two different construction techniques that I think could radically lower the construction costs of airplanes.

6) Someday I would like to start an aircraft company and turn my designs into reality.

7) I am utterly amazed that people read my blog.

8) Sometimes I feel very, very alone. (this is normal I suppose)

9) I really enjoy my work. Which makes sense because I just played with computers for a few years before I decided to get a degree in them and do it for a living. (I will NEVER forget the thrill of POWER when I ran my first BASIC program on a Commodore 64. The machine bends to MY WILL! Bwuh ha ha ha!)

10) I swing from introvert to extrovert. Sometimes I just HAVE to be alone. Other times I just HAVE to be around other people.

Friday, December 14, 2007

I AM the Alpha Geek!

A company I sub-contract for had a Christmas Banquet last night. This company primarily provides computer support to a state government. In other words, almost everyone there was a computer geek. Furthermore, the male female ratio was insane. Out of roughly 30 people there only four were women and at least two of the women were geeks themselves who brought men with them.

The invitation said to bring a guest so Erika was kind enough to escort me! However, with her insane surgical resident hours she could not get there until late so it turned out she made quite an entrance. Ok, so lesson learned, do NOT bring a beautiful woman to a geek fest! They were all over her like white corpuscles on a bacterium! Like jackals on a dead giraffe! Like flies on a… You know I just can’t think of a pleasant metaphor to describe it but she was in the center of a swirling geek storm!

Poor Erika could barely eat as it was with everyone just gabbing away trying to get her attention so I just sat quietly to her left. The owner of the company hosting the shindig tried to throw a toast but he could not get anyone’s attention at our long table. I mean who cares if he signs our paychecks? Erika was the center of attention!

I am sure that right this instant I am the growing stuff of legends! Right now in computer rooms all across the region people are saying, “You know Rob Johnson? He brought a GIRL to the banquet last night. No man I am serious! Yes she was a REAL live girl, one you don’t have to tie to your ankles to dance with or anything! I swear!”

Ah fame! The interesting part is that Erika had already greatly raised my geek status in the nerd herd with her laser pen gift. (Read about it here) Now she has certainly put me over the top-

I am now the alpha geek!

I hereby vow to wield the ceremonial slide rule of power with wisdom and justice for all.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mr. Fix-it

I have been renting from Erika for 18 months now. She has a BIG two car garage with a door opener I have been using since day one. With her insane surgical resident hours she was always worried about waking up her room mates opening the garage door at all hours so she has always parked outside. As the weather has gotten cold and icy again I assured Erika that since the garage is on the opposite end of the house as the bedrooms there is no way she would disturb anyone so by all means she should park in the garage and keep her car warmer and ice free.

Now the garage door opener has two light bulb sockets on it but they have never worked. When I first moved in I tried two different compact florescent lights (CFL) in both of the sockets and they did not work and they would both work in other light sockets so clearly it was not a light bulb problem.

Say la vie, no big deal, I have excellent night vision plus walking around in the dark garage is a fun game I like to play. Can I put my hand exactly on the door handle the first try? If I touch any part of my car before the door handle I loose. (yeah, I find fun in this, I'm a nerd, so what's new? Leave me alone!)

Anyway, that was fine for me but now that Erika is parking in there I felt the manly need to solve the problem! I mean we can't let Erika walk around in the dark now can we? No we can not!

So with tool kit in hand and testosterone surging through my bloodstream I started disassembling the garage door opener yesterday. I figured that since garage door openers vibrate a lot it was probably a loose connection somewhere that would be very simple to find and fix. I had to pull some innards out to do it but I traced all the light wires and I could see that everything was connected. Hmmmm.

So I borrowed a multi-meter and put probes on leads. Ok, power comes OUT of the circuit board to excite the relay, good... The relay kicks on and power flows out the relay into the wire, excellent... and at the light bulb end of wire I have power. Huh? So I stick the multi meter probes into the light socket and I have power in the socket!? What?

I screw the CFL bulb in again and no light. A bad bulb? But I checked that before! Well, check it again. So I go to a nearby closet and unscrew the conventional bulb and screw in the CFL and it lights. What? It's not a bad bulb and I have power to the socket, how is this possible? In my highly testosterone charged state this is really starting to piss me off!

So, standing there in the closet in the garage with a conventional bulb in one hand and manly hormones charging through my system, a Zen-like state of oneness with the universe overcomes me and I contemplate the deep mystery of how a bulb that works in the closet won't work in the garage door opener.

Suddenly it dawns on me to try the conventional bulb in the opener.

Yeah, I had to think HARD to come up with THAT brilliant plan! :(

And voila! There is light!

So, I have been parking in the dark for a year and a half, I have the opener all pulled apart, multi meter intently probing circuit boards all because I never thought to try an ordinary bulb in the socket. Suddenly I have the overpowering urge to do my Forest Gump imitation. "I... do... so... know... what... love... is... Jen-ney". I feel so dense that nearby objects are being effected by my growing gravitational field. I feel sure light is beginning to bend around me.

Look at these bulbs.

On the CFL bulb in the foreground look right above the threaded portion that goes into the socket. See how it flares out and gets lots bigger? Now look at the conventional bulbs in the background. See how the area above the threads does not get much wider? On the CFL bulb that wide area hits the outer edge of the garage door opener's unusually deep socket before the end of the threaded portion gets all the way down to the contact.

Oh so simple. DUH.

I start putting the opener back together. There is no joy, no testosterone, no victory over the inanimate now. I just needed a new light bulb. That's all.

"ICE CREAM LIEUTENANT DAN! ICE CREAM!"

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

High Tech!

I am doing some consulting work for a state government. One recommendation I had made was to switch from pagers to cell phones. Cell phones only cost a little more than pagers and the pagee can return the call immediately instead of having to find one of the always fewer payphones.

A nice extra is that even "freebie" cell phones these days have camera's built in. Many state employee would find cameras extremely useful. For example State Troopers could take photos of suspects, accidents or crime scenes immediately. Health and social workers could take photos' of living conditions or suspected abuse on the spot. No more having to wait for the photographer to show up (The photographers union was not pleased though!)

The cost benefit ratio was very favorable too, for just a little more money they would get a lot more use and functionality from the product.

So they decided to implement my recommendation. They appointed a blue ribbon committee to select the best possible camera phone at the best cost. Here is what the committee came up with...



The good news is they only cost $12,000 per user! I love government committee decisions!

Monday, December 10, 2007

That Dog is Crazy!

I used to have a neighbor that had a crazy dog. I do mean crazy, like hallucinating insane crazy. It would stand out in the yard between our houses, start to growl and crouch, its hair would raise up on it’s back and then it would attack! There was no one out there! It would attack the air, it would attack a chain link fence, it would attack a tree or even a house! Seriously, I watched this dog growling and biting the neighbors HOUSE. This dog had serious issues. I mean it’s not every day you see a dog attacking a house!

It was not a very big dog though, less than knee high but seriously crazy!

So one day I had come home for lunch and as I went to leave I started to open my fence gate and there was Little Cujo lying across my sidewalk just outside my gate. Eeeep! He got out of his fenced in yard somehow. I stepped back, closed the gate and called the cops (smallish town).

The dispatcher was like, ”You are calling us because your neighbor’s dog is loose?”
“You don’t understand, this dog is crazy, if any kids come out to play he WILL bite them.”
I swear I could hear the dispatcher roll his eyes as he said he would send someone over.

In just a couple of minutes a cop pulled up out front. I was still standing inside the gate. This huge brawny cop gets out of the car and strolls over close to the gate, looks at the dog then looks at me and says, “I can not believe a big guy like you is scared of that little dog.”
“Officer, I know this dog and it’s NUTS. I have seen it attack a chain link fence before.”
“That little dog?”, with condescension dripping from his voice.
“Yes sir!”
OF COURSE, the stupid dog is setting there acting perfectly normal and looking like a normal cute and loving little doggie.
“Okaaay, I will call animal control.”
“Any idea how long they will take, I need to get back to work.”
Openly mocking me now he says in lilting baby talk way, “Well after I call Animal Control I will come back and protect you from the big bad doggie while you get in your car, OK?”
I really don’t see how he could protect me but all I can do at this point is try not to look like anymore of a total wimp than I already do so I say, “Ok.”

I used to feel bad for this dog, it clearly had issues, I don’t know if he was not breast fed or if his dad beat him in front of his friends or what but now I truly hate him for sitting there and acting so normal and lovable while this cop thinks I am just a total loser wimp.

The officer turns to go back to his car to call animal control and the instant he turns his back Little Cujo is like a master ninja assassin; silent and deadly little Cujo takes a few steps then lunges and gets the cop by the ankle from behind and starts shaking and growling and just really ripping into the cops ankle. It sounds like a dog fight!

The cop is jumping around on one foot and kicking but the dog has him from behind so he is really at a disadvantage. The cop pepper sprays little Cujo but even in pain the dog will not relent. His whimpers are mixed in with his growls as the pepper spray sets in but he keeps his grip!

The cop finally pulled his nightstick and whacked Little Cujo on the head a couple of times until he let go. Then the mace took over and Cujo Jr. laid there on the ground whimpering and rubbing his face with his paws.

The cop is standing there with his night stick in hand, ankle bleeding, his uniform pants are shredded and he is panting. He looks up at me with his eyes still a little wild from the mortal combat with Ninja Cujo and says to me, “That dog is crazy!”

My first instinct was to say, ”Yeah, no shit Sherlock!”, but an evil little imp whispered the perfect smart ass comeback into my ear. So with a little knot of fear in my belly for being a smart ass to a bleeding, adrenaline soaked cop, I slowly shook my head, put on a dead pan expression and in my best good old boy Texan drawl I said, “Well, hell partner, I just can’t believe a big ‘ol man like you let that itty bitty dog mess you up like that.”

I was able to hold it in for about a three count before we both burst out laughing!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

The Dough Boy

As I have been surfing around this week I have noticed the NaBloPoMo award on several sites. I thought it was odd to use the Pillsbury Doughboy as a blogger award but something caught my (admittedly bizarre) eye. In all of these years I never had noticed it before but now it’s clear to me.

I mean just look at these pictures… look at the scarf, look at the body language and posture, look at how the trim on his hat matches his eyes for goodness sake! The Pillsbury Doughboy is clearly gay! If he had feet you just KNOW he would have some very stylish color coordinated shoes!

Oh, OH! NOW I understand that whole “Poking the doughboy” thing in all the ads! OMG! All this time that whole ad campaign was just a big metaphor! Those brilliant and probably gay copy writers back in the 60’s were able to get all that sub text past the censors! No seriously think about it. We all know women love gay men so what better Icon to appeal to women than a gay doughboy? I mean you can even poke him now and then if you want too and he does not mind. It's all brilliant!

Ok, so you all think I am crazy right? Well here is proof. Here is the Doughboy living the gay lifestyle and trying to hook it up with the Jolly Green Giant. I know what you are thinking, "No way Jolly Green is gay!", right? Heck, just look at Jolly Green's face, clearly he knows the score here. Now look at those pecs and all the leg he is showing in that jungle man getup. Yep, clearly gay! (and don't get distracted by the butch lesbians in the background!) Now you may be wondering what someone would see in a green leafy guy but I have heard some folks say, he may be green but he is giant and sometimes giant is enough!


And here look at this... I know the other men in this picture probably just thought it was a good publicity stunt to pose with this American Icon. The old doughboy is no fool though. Just like Monica everyone wants to get freaky with people of power and the old Doughboy is no exception! Just look at where the Doughboy's hands are heading! My, those hands just have a mind of their own, don't they Doughboy? Rowwrr! Bad Doughboy Bad! {winky-winky}

You know, I don't have any inside information but I think it would be obvious that the Doughboy would be attracted to the Michelin man as well? Don’t you? They were made for each other, am I right?


Anyway, as we all know, sadly, there was a time in this country that you could not be an openly gay man in public life. So like many other great gay men before him Doughboy had to take on a sham wife to provide cover for his real lifestyle. Do you see that look on his face? See where his hands are? Clearly he does not know what to do with her!

Even though it was a sham marriage I can’t help but wonder if she ever caught any yeast infections from him?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

A Massager Story

Ok, Taj made a hilarious post the other day about some very unusual vibrators. That story popped a link in my mind that I had not thought about in years!

I was maybe 9 or 10 years old when I went over to my grandparent’s house with my mother. I really had no idea what the issue was at the time but I could tell by the very weird and excited way my mother was acting though that something was very wrong and that is why I remembered this story and only years later did it all come together in my mind. No one tells this story around the Thanksgiving table though. (I think I will have to correct that though since I am the only one that was there that is still alive)

My grandfather (paw-paw) was a huge and powerful yet very gentle man, a farmer until he retired. He was also very devoutly Catholic although he never let that stop him from flirting with waitresses a third of his age or cussing like a sailor (but only when there were no women about!) but I can see now how na├»ve he was about some things…

So we walked into the kitchen where my Paw-paw was sitting in his favorite chair drinking coffee (always!) and Grandma was puttering around the stove. (always!) When suddenly my mother said “Dad! What are you doing with that thing?”
“Rubbing my neck. My neck has been hurting lately; I think I slept wro-”
“Dad, you, you can’t rub your neck with THAT! Where did you get that thing?”
Clearly a little confused Paw-paw answered, “I got it at the drug store and I know the box says “facial massager” but it seems to work just fine on my neck anyway”
“Dad, that is NOT a facial massager”
“Sure it is, here, I still have the box, see?” I can still see the picture in my minds eye of the pretty model on the box rubbing the product on her cheek with a very happy look on her face. Even back then I was geek enough I was thinking, so, it’s made for the face but it should vibrate a neck just as well, what’s the deal? Why is mom acting so weird about it?

We immediately went up to the drugstore and bought a big vibrator thing that looked like a power sander that went over your hand and took that back to Paw-paw. It was bigger and more powerful so he liked it just fine.

Of course NOW I understand exactly what kind of vibrator it was Paw-paw had been using on his neck. And you know, sure, Mom was a human too but it used to bug me just a little that she *instantly* knew what it was!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Real Life 101

Ok, I was double teamed on this one! I was tagged by both Sauntering Soul and Melek to work out this little exercise.

The Rules are: Devise a list of 5 courses you would take to fix your life. It's more fun to be in classes with friends, so include one class from the person who tagged you that you'd also like to take.

So here we go. BTW: I just finished traveling from Dallas to Springfield today so that may have impacted my course choices just a tad, you be the judge...

Patience with Others - 105.
This course will help you develop coping skills with the 1000 little frustrations others impose up on you. When someone blocks two lanes of traffic then stops, learn how to merely roll your eyes and sigh instead of ranting thereby spraying your own windshield with saliva. Does the person in front of you in the express lane have 20 freaking items? Learn how to smile and forget about it. (Find a happy place!)

As a course addendum; slow learning students can learn how when calming exercises just won’t work, like when that jerk who just can’t get seem to get his car into the parking spot making at least one other spot unusable, EVERY - SINGLE - DAY, learn valuable “suburban guerrilla” techniques such as how to flatten his tires without being noticed. Also learn to nod sympathetically when he is complaining to you about how his tires keep going flat.

Airport Anger Management - 210.
Prerequisite: Patience with Others - 105.

When your plane pulls up to the Jetway and stops, does that guy that jumps up and runs down the isle to the front of the plane the millisecond the seat belt sign goes off raise your blood pressure? (I mean is that two minutes he saved going to make or break him?) Does the guy that carries on enough baggage to start a summer camp make “God’s little anger dots” swim before your eyes? Do people who still try to carry a gallon bottle of shampoo through security make your ears bleed? If so, here are some very useful techniques to help you not beat a man to death with a bottle of shampoo or his own laptop. If all else fails learn how no jury would ever convict you.

How to Speak to Women - 101.
Prerequisite: Melek’s Get Off Your Computer and Go Live Life course.

Does merely being in the presence of an attractive women mean your glands will drop approximately a quart of adrenaline into your bloodstream? Learn how Milt from Office Space was not a good role model for talking to women. Learn how insecurity and inane, endless muttering are, shockingly, not attractive to women! Learn practical techniques to help you NOT attempt to say the four thousand things that are racing though your adrenaline soaked mind simultaneously. In this way women you are trying to converse with will no longer think you are an escaped mental patient or mass murderer as you stutter and mumble on.

Just in case there is anyone else left in the English speaking world who does not know who Milt is, see the video. (42 seconds) Just imagine that office as a restaurant and Bill Lumbergh (the guy standing) as a pretty women and you will see Milt doing a spot on impersonation of me on a date!



Buying non-functional items - 101.
Have you heard rumors that nonfunctional things add something to life somehow? Do you ever lay awake at night wondering just what in the hell a knick-knack is?

If so, this course is for you! In this course learn how to buy crap that has no actually identifiable purpose in life. You know, like a picture that hangs on that wall or maybe a plant in the house? You have seen other people do this stuff now learn why and how! Learn how not everything you purchase has to be airplane, computer or tool related.

Bonus material for advanced students include learning to understand why the fairer sex seems to have an internal algorithm that says that the less functional a consumer item is the more desirable it becomes. E.g. flowers, jewelry and to a lesser degree knick-knacks.

I was tagged for this little meme by Sauntering Soul and Melek. So I would certainly have to attend Sauntering's course “Follow through for Beginners” and as already noted Melek’s “Get Off Your Computer and Go Live Life” is a required pre-req for my “How to Speak to Women” course.

If your last name starts with A through J please go to the left, H through Z please go to the right.