So, Almost Did It

Today is, by my count, day thirty of the “30 posts in 30 days” challenge/contest. I managed to make 28 of the 30 posts, and would have had 29 had I properly scheduled a post a couple of Saturdays ago. I missed yesterday for a pretty simple reason: I just didn’t want to make one. I posted my Bravehearts awards and then decided instead of posting something here to go visit a friend I hadn’t seen in awhile.

Seemed like a better use of my time.

It wasn’t like I needed to go see him, odds are good I’ll see him on Thursday. It’s just that I got some depressing news about another friend and I just wanted to get out of the house for a bit. While it wasn’t late when I got back home I just decided to not post anything. Instead I caught up on some paperwork I’ve been avoiding, read some other blog posts, and then looking up how to make a pouting emoticon on Facebook (only one person gets that joke, but he’s laughing at it).

Barring something really odd happening I’m going to finish almost exactly in the middle of the pack in the “scoring” for this challenge/contest, which is a whole lot better than I figured would happen. But I didn’t do it to win, I did it to see if I could. And for the most part, I did. Doing this also pointed out to me a few things I thought were important that turned out mot to be, and how much a couple things i put aside to do this I really need to make time for.

So will there be a post tomorrow? Maybe. I’m not sure yet. But there will absolutely be more here posts than before I started the 30 for 30.

Sunday Funday: Recap and Tidbits 4

We’ve reached the fourth, and last, Sunday of my 30 in 30 challenge/contest. I plan on making posts here after the 30/30 is done, although I’m near certain they won’t be every day. That kind of posting schedule took away from doing a few of the little things I like to do. I’m not reading as often, and because I really like doing that I’m going to make sure I return to reading every day.

With the summer coming to a close that means my TV shows will start up again, so that will take a bit of time away. Although now that I have really gotten used to blogging from my phone perhaps I can squeeze a bit of time to blog using that. But I guess we’ll all find out how it works out as time moves on.

Now, on to a few tidbits…

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YouTube ads are really beginning to bore the heck out of me. I never buy products based on ads so there’s no chance they will be selling me anything. There are some ads for movies and TV shows, and while I do often seek out those ad/previews to decide if I’m going to watch I pretty much never pay attention to them on YouTube.

And while we’re on the subject, what makes websites think I’m interested in watching a 15 or 30 second ad to be able to watch a video that’s only a few seconds long? I’m more likely to boycott the product in the ad than buy it. I know websites aren’t free to run, but a long ad in front of a short video is a great way for people to give up on your site. Just sayin’…

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Not sure why two of this past week’s posts show the same posting date because they did go up on different days. I’m pretty sure I didn’t save either as a draft beforehand. If it was really an issue I would look into it, but I don’t care that much. I would edit the date to the right one but that changes the URL, and with me Tweeting and Facebooking the stories those links would end up on a dead page.

I’ll add that to the “someday I’ll figure it out” list with all the other things I wanted to know a tad more about but never got around to looking up.

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US Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte might be the dumbest athlete ever. Every interview with him, even before his latest stupidity, makes me wonder if the dude has a functioning brain cell. He graduated from the University of Florida, so in theory he has to have some sort of intelligence. And yet when he opens his mouth it’s like an underdeveloped seven year old is speaking.

Sally Jenkins, a columnist for The Washington Post who I read every chance I get, called Lochte “the dumbest bell that ever rang”. I wish I had said that. That’s nothing new, she says a lot of things I wish I’d said

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My favorite headline of the week: “Sex pigs halt traffic after laser attack on Pokemon teens” – TheLocal.se …Didn’t click as I didn’t want to ruin the hilarity of that headline.

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For last week’s recap, just in case you missed any of my posts from the last week…
Monday: Let The Chips Fall Where They May
Tuesday: Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday
Wednesday: HorhiroCon 2016
Thursday: Most Common Denominator: Food
Friday: The Walk Won’t Kill You
Saturday: Spoiler Alert: Some People Never Learn

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And finally, your moment of Zen…

Spoiler Alert: Some People Never Learn

A couple of years ago I blogged about spoilers, and while it was specifically about a TV show it really is about anything in this digital age. And now with the Olympics winding down the issue of “spoilers” has once again rearing its ugly head. I simply don’t understand how people can’t figure out this one easy rule to follow:

If you don’t want to know about an event (TV, sports, book, whatever) don’t go to websites where that event will likely be discussed.

It truly is that easy. You don’t want to know the results of a sporting event that was streamed live but will be shown on TV later, don’t visit ESPN, Yahoo, Facebook, Twitter, or any of those types of places because the information as to who won will likely be found there. You don’t want to know about a movie, going to websites that review and talk about movies seems like a place you should avoid.

I don’t get the arrogance of people who get angry when they go on social media or forums and find out things they didn’t want to know about. How about you show some willpower and don’t go to those sites. It’s different if you stumble into that information in a place where it probably shouldn’t have been, like someone you follow on Twitter that never talks about sports suddenly starts tweeting results. But to actively go to sites that talk about the very thing you’re trying to avoid is stupidity to the Nth degree.

You have a responsibility to avoid information that will spoil the enjoyment of watching an event, movie, or TV show. People don’t have any responsibility to avoid discussing those things, especially in places where discussions of those topics is what usually takes place. It’s one of the reasons I don’t follow on Twitter or “like” on Facebook many TV shows; they talk about those shows seconds after the episodes air. I tend to DVR stuff, so I need to avoid the places that talk about those shows until I get around to watching them.

Spoiler Alert: It’s so easy to do I never have an issue.

The Walk Won’t Kill You

At this very moment, or at least at the very moment I begin this blog post, I’m watching some of the second shift people arrive here in the parking lot at work. The jockeying for “prime” parking places is beyond comical. It should be noted that as they do this those spaces are still occupied by first shift people, and they won’t be leaving for over a half hour. And these second shifters are more than an hour away from beginning work.

They are queueing up to grab the parking spaces right near the door while there are empty spaces within seven spaces of them. Seriously, two spots are empty just seven parking spots away. How much time in their lives are they really saving if they have to show up at work over an hour early to save less than 15 seconds of walking? If it was raining I’d get trying to park as close as possible, but it’s a beautiful sunny day.

You see behavior like this everywhere. How many times do you see people circling parking lots looking for a space right near where they’re going. They have no problem walking for hours in a mall, but there’s no way they’ll walk for a minute to get through the door after parking.

Sure, if you have some medical condition that makes walking taxing and you don’t qualify for a placard I get wanting to park close. But what’s everyone else’s excuse? It’s not like they’re walking through hip deep snow or mud, or being pelted by hailstones, you see this silly behavior on even the most gorgeous of days.

And besides, if you park far away from the building very few people will know you aren’t a good enough driver to park your car correctly within the space.

Most Common Denominator: Food

Over the last couple of days the boys at work have given me a bit of the business over my hatred of Ruby Tuesday. Well, one of them was and a few others have joined him. It’s all in good fun.

But it was another post I made that inspires this one. I posted of my addiction to potato chips, and a few of us were having some laughs over that as well. They all often eat bags of chips at lunch and I’m occasionally threatening to steal them. One day the joking continued after lunch, and because the young kid I’m training wasn’t in on the joke I had to briefly explain. We then continued to talk about snack food, and when the subject of shelled peanuts came up the kid went wide-eyed. Turns out they’re his favorite.

I love shelled peanuts. I don’t buy them often, mostly because I possess enough willpower to not purchase them. But when I do it’s usually the huge two (or five!) pound bag. Once I bought a huge bag and sat in front of the TV and ate nearly the whole the whole thing. The only reason I stopped was Trish yelled from another room “you’re not eating the whole bag, are you?”. Truth was it was up until that point that’s exactly what was happening. So I put the rest away for later…like three hours later.

The kid, whose English is pretty good but not perfect, mentioned he loved a restaurant “near Tacoma St” where they bring you a huge bucket of peanuts before you order. I know the place he was talking about, it’s Texas Roadhouse. For the next half hour we talked about Texas Roadhouse. It’s one of my favorite restaurants, and one of his also. From the hot rolls with the cinnamon butter to the chicken and steaks between the two of us we’ve likely ordered everything on the menu.

It dawned on me later that day that food was probably the only thing we have in common. He’s closer to my grand-daughter’s age than mine, so we have essentially nothing in common musically, socially, or pretty much any other “ly” you can think of. But when it came to good food we were both squarely on the same page. And perhaps we’ve found a way to help people settle disputes.

Just share a big bag of shelled peanuts.

HorhiroCon 2016

This past weekend was the usual summer gathering in Belchertown of some of the Total Confusion Convention Battletech regulars. It’s always a great day of conversation, food, and gaming. This year was no exception.

Belchertown is an hour or so west of where I live, so Scott and I leave pretty early in the morning to get out there by 8am or so. After a stop for some ice for the cooler full of soda I bring every year we were off going west on Route 9. Our tradition is to stop for breakfast at the McDonald’s in Spencer. As happens every year, after having breakfast there I realize why I don’t eat breakfast at McDonald’s.

We’re usually among the first to arrive at the cookout, with only the contingent from southern New Hampshire consistently beating us there. The crew from NH was just one person this time, and he beat us yet again. Once everyone arrived we began the first game, which was a series of two-man team battles on random map boards. In each of the battles we had a different teammate, and in round one I was teamed with Scott on a canyon map against John and Adam. Adam was a new player but picked up on the game pretty quickly.

(All photos are clickable to show larger photos–or at least they should be, you may have to close the tab/window and click again for my free host to show the larger version)

In this picture I’m in the center of the map, hiding behind the pillar. Scott is the red ‘mech against the wall in the center, while John is in the open at the top and Adam is to the right using the level dip as cover. Putting Scott and I on the same team is unfair most of the time so we had no troubles beating the other pair.

This battle is the other round one matchup, which was brothers Mike and Tom against Merl and Dave. I was busy playing my match (and helping to teach Adam) so I’m not sure who is who on the map (and the opposite matches of mine in the other rounds will be the same below). I’m also not sure of the specifics of the map board, but I do know that red splotch is lava.

This is my round two battle, and I thought I had a full board picture but it appears I have just this one of the battle. Adam and I are the bluish ‘mechs toward the top, Adam’s has the d6 behind it. Our opponents were Tom (directly in front of us) and Dave (on the elevation trying to use the hill as cover). Adam and I played pretty well together considering it was his second game ever, but we couldn’t overcome Dave’s firepower. We did have a chance to win the battle early with me just needing to roll a “3” on two rolls of a d6 to eliminate Tom, but a 1 and a 2 rolled didn’t help much.

Again not sure who is who on this board, but the match was Scott and Merl against John and Mike. This is an interesting board to play on because wall rise and fall randomly making planning from turn to turn very difficult. If you’re an aggressive player you can do well on that board. If you’re not, you need to get lucky. Based on some of the things I heard coming from over there, Merl didn’t get very lucky.

My third round battle I was teamed with Mike against Tom and John. This board is a mud pit, and if you don’t have the perfect ‘mech selected to fight in it you’ve got issues. As luck would have it none of us had anything that would be good to fight on this board. In this pic Mike is in the blue ‘mech in the top center heading toward John in the upper right corner. I’m toward the left, moving toward the top hex lane as fast as I could (which wasn’t very fast). Tom is sniping at us from the right edge. By the time I got close enough it was all but over for my side.

I’m not even sure what the teams were in that other third round battle. I think it was Scott and Adam against Merl and Dave. Every map board has special rules, but I don’t recall ever playing on that board so I’m not sure what the hook is on that one. I do know that at the end of the battles and the scores tabulated Scott was the overall winner. I believe I was fourth, and considering I was only on the winning side once that’s pretty good.

We then took a break for lunch, and once again Mike killed it with the spread he put out. Bacon burgers, hot hogs with chili (and I think there was some sauerkraut too), potato salad, corn…I’m sure I’m forgetting some of the stuff that was there. If you walked away hungry from that spread it was your own fault.

In the afternoon we skipped what was supposed to be the second game, AeroTech. I have no idea how to play the game. We played it at TotalCon last February and I had great fun being totally lost as to what I was supposed to do to have any chance of doing well in the game. And I really didn’t care. Despite the stumbling and bumbling at TotalCon I suggested it again for HorhiroCon. But with the first battles running a bit long (it tends to happen when you see some of these folks only twice a year) it was voted that we instead play the other planned Battletech game.

The game was supposed to be on a board the players build, with each player given some terrain to place on an otherwise blank hex grid. I suggested we use an oversized “basic” map that Mike used once for a previous HorhiroCon battle. I thought it worked out perfectly, with the scenario Mike designed on the familiar basic board. Here are some pictures of the battle. My side (Merl, Tom, Dave, and I) with the red ‘mechs, and the other side (Scott, Adam, John, and Mike) with the green units. People familiar with the Battletech will know what each of these are as they all represent the actual units played.

Now it would appear from that last picture that my team was victorious. Well, that was not the case. Scott’s team came back and defeated my squad after we made a couple of silly errors.

After that battle the event broke up, but not before Mike claimed all the grape soda that was left. I’m not sure why I buy grape soda when it’s available, because with the exception of a can or two Mike drinks it all and then takes whatever is left in the cooler. On second thought, I’m actually very sure as to why I bring grape soda.

Thanks for a great event again Mike. Despite Scott talking of holding one here in the fall and knowing we’ll all get together next February, I’m already looking forward to next summer’s cookout…

Goodbye, Ruby Tuesday

I know, not exactly an original title. Last week it was announced that the restaurant chain Ruby Tuesday was closing a large number of their underperforming locations. That news didn’t shock me in the least. I’ve been to Ruby Tuesday twice, and each time the same thing happened…

They messed up my order.

It’s not like I wanted anything special. Both times I ordered a cheeseburger straight off the menu. In fact, both burgers had pictures of the item on the menu so it wasn’t like I misunderstood what I was ordering.

The first time I ordered some sort of multi-patty burger that was supposed to have a variety of toppings. What I got looked worse than a McDonald’s Quarter Pounder. What angered me the most was they insisted that was what I ordered despite it not matching the picture or description of the burger I ordered. They seemed oblivious to the fact someone else in our party ordered the same burger as me and ours didn’t look anything alike.

They did finally agree to take it off the bill when I told them to just throw it away. I guess up to that point they thought I just wanted a free meal by complaining.

The second time my mother took us there after a movie. I was not real happy she chose to go there, but she was paying so she gets to choose. And they messed up my order again. Having learned from the first time I ordered a basic bacon cheeseburger. I pointed to the item so the server would be totally clear what I wanted. I also ordered it “medium well”, which is more than I like but gives a wide margin of error.

It’s came rare and without bacon.

From that point on I’ve refused to set foot in their restaurants. There’s absolutely no excuse to mess up in either of those cases. If you can’t remember to add bacon to a bacon cheeseburger you’ve got issues. I won’t even get into how any person could confuse “rare” and “medium well” or make the wrong thing.

I’m not a complainer at restaurants. You can count the number of times in my life that I’ve complained about food served to me on one hand. I’ve always followed the comical mantra of diners, “order what you want, eat what they serve”, and it usually works itself out.

I was just recently reminded of a time at my favorite diner (Lou Roc’s on West Boylston St) when Trish and I were sitting at the counter joking with the waitress when I ordered a homemade hash and cheddar omelet and was served a meat lovers omelet. I have ordered that lots of time in the past, so I just dug in. I was about halfway through when the waitress suddenly realized she wrote the wrong thing down and she felt horrified. I just laughed and kept eating. To me it was no big deal.

To give me something that isn’t remotely compatible with what I ordered and to have it look like crap when I get it is certainly a situation where a polite “Hey, I think this is wrong” isn’t out of line to say. But to then say I’m the one that made the mistake and then ignore that someone else in my party ordered the same thing I did and our food looks completely different isn’t an issue with a server or cook, that’s an issue with management.

So while I feel badly for the hard working people that will lose their jobs over the closings I can’t help but hope the people that run the chain and who set policy like that manager said he was following also find themselves unemployed.

I like to end my posts with a humorous line, but Ruby Tuesday is such a joke I can’t think of anything funnier than them.