Friday, May 28, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

Idiot Travelers

Much of my week involved a business trip to Pennsylvania.  I don't travel often but even if I did, I don't think I would become one of those idiotic and jaded travelers that you see.  I love flying, how can you not?  When the plane starts moving on the runway and I can feel the acceleration in my chest and then the plane starts lifting off the ground way sooner than I would like was possible, I can't help but smile and feel giddy.  I'm fucking flying...that is SO awesome.

Even in my limited travels, I know that it can get be tiring and frustrating.  I've had to deal with lost luggage, missed connections, delays, sitting on the tarmac, confusion over booking, etc... I really don't let it get me down, it happens and it does no good to be a jerkhole to others because of it.

Here are a few of the people that annoyed me this trip.

  • People who stand up and crowd the aisle as soon as the plane stops at the gate.  I happened to be sitting in the back of the plane and knew it was going to be at least 20 minutes before we were able to deboard...even in front it takes about 10 minutes for them to open the doors and follow the security checklist to let people out.  So all these people stand up and start swinging their carry-on's around and then complain that the line isn't moving.

  • People who don't seem to wear deodorant.  A plane is hot and crowded and recycles the cabin air...any smell is just going to get worse and worse as the flight goes on.  Deodorant is a great invention of the 19th century, everyone should be using it by now.

  • People who take too large of carry-on bags.  I know, it sucks that most airlines now charge for checking a bag, but it actually makes sense to me since they are incurring all kinds of handling labor to get your bag to you.  It needs to be taken at check-in, given to security, scanned, searched, transported to the plane, loaded correctly (evenly distributed), unloaded, transfered to your connection flight, loaded, unloaded, and delivered to baggage claim.  That is a lot of handling and I agree that if I don't require that, then I shouldn't have to pay for it.  But I also think they need to have everyone test their carry-on and if it doesn't fit in the tester than it must be checked.  People were taking way too large of bags onto the plane...probably double the size or more of the test fixture.  And not just one, but two a laptop/briefcase/purse.  I know it isn't pleasant but I think the carry-on rules need to be enforced because it makes it very cramped for everyone else.

  • People who don't listen when the steward tells them that they need to turn off all electronics including cell phones.  Our flight had been delayed due to weather conditions at our destination and people were trying to make hotel plans since they missed their connections.  I am fine with that...but there was one jerk who was talking to American Express and having them make arrangements.  The problem was, he was not happy with the hotel that they tried to book him into (many hotels close to the airport were already full), so he kept going "check this hotel, check this hotel, how far away is that, how about this, what about that...."  For 10 minutes this idiot kept us all waiting because the plane wouldn't leave until he turned off his cell phone.  Everyone was pissed.  If we had been leaving a larger airport or flying on a larger plane (one with more than a single steward - and she was relatively small in stature), or if we weren't the last plane out for the day and the airport pretty much closed up...I think this guy would have been kicked off for not obeying the air staff.  He should have been, but I think all these factors made it difficult and probably would have taken more time in the long run.  It was a total dick move and I am sure I am not the only one that wanted to punch the guy in the couldn't have done this the other two and half hours we were delayed?  Turn off your just made us even more late and some are still hoping to catch our connections.

  • Clueless people.  Once we arrived in Chicago, there was not an open jetway.  In coming and out going traffic had all been delayed due to storms and now that it was clear everything was piling up.  We could have stayed on the plane for an hour until a jetway opened but they found a parking spot that was just a very short walk to the terminal.  I thought that was great, the weather was beautiful and it was neat to stand on the tarmac and watch the planes land and take off not too far away.  For people who had to check their carry-ons, they needed to wait and pick them travel partner had to wait and I was happy to wait with him to get a close up look at airport operations.  But I also realized that it was a working tarmac with baggage carts, mobile stairways, refueling trucks, and other planes moving in close proximity, plus with increased airport security it was just nice that they were even letting us do when you were told to stand somewhere and not move from the area, you would think everyone would stay put.  Never underestimate guy decided he wanted to go check out a parked baggage cart that was waiting to load another plane and later started to walk around by these large diesel holding tanks.  This during a wait that was a total of about 8 minutes.  He got yelled at by the ground crew, but they looked like he was being treated unfairly.
I hate all the security regulations like taking off your shoes and not being able to take more than 3oz sizes of liquids.  I am not sure these methods actually work...but it is something that you have to deal with.  I just wish I didn't also have to deal with all the other idiots in addition to this (and these are just a few...there are many more).

End Hate

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Derby Dilemma

This Saturday, both the Mid-Iowa Rollers and the Des Moines Derby Dames have a bout...on opposite sides of town. What to do?  Personally, I would like to see both bouts but that just isn't possible.  I will probably go to MIR, although that is not 100%.  The reasons would be mainly because I have been watching them longer, so know the players and the talent better.  That doesn't mean the DMDD won't be putting on a great show, I'm sure they will.  Is Des Moines big enough to host two derbies on the same night?  I am not sure.  I know each team does have it's own fans but there are many crossovers from all the t-shirts that I see at both team's bouts (plus I'm one).  This also happens next month on the 19th.  What to do?

It is probably too late for this season, but next year it would be nice if they could team up for double header when scheduling conflicts arise.  Start a little earlier, end a little later...get twice the roller derby and a huge group of fans.  I think that would totally be a win-win for everyone.  Expose all the fans to both teams, have a packed house and great atmosphere.  Double Derby = Double Awesome.

Quick recaps of the past couple weeks derby action.

On May 8th, the DM Derby Dames took on the Muddy River Nightmares.  It was good to see Syphiliz from MR Nightmares again...but I didn't get to see her without her helmet, so no Mohawk action.  It was my first time seeing the DM Derby Dames.  The Derby Dames put on a valiant effort but lost.  I thought they skated hard and with a lot of heart but didn't quite have the team work aspects down.  Better coordination with the blockers in the pack to prevent the other teams jammer from advancing and boosting our own jammer would help quite a bit.  All the dames seemed to have good potential and will do well with practice and time.  Skating was decent but need to work on speed, endurance, and side-to-side movement.  All in all, the Dames weren't bad for a team just a couple bouts into their inaugural season.  Special shout outs to Stella Italiana who always skated fast and loose and Cosmo Disco who skated well but was of smaller stature than most and was constantly being knocked to the ground (I'm sure she was black and blue by the end but she always got right back up and skated).  7 Flags Center could use better and more seating as many people had to sit on the concrete floor track side in the "suicide seats" which is not ideal for roller derby enjoyment.  Come see the Des Moines Derby Dames take on the Old Capital City Girls from Iowa City tomorrow night May 22nd, 7pm at the 7 Flags Events Center in Clive.

May 15th, the Mid Iowa Rollers took on the Mahaska Mayhem.  I was rushed when arriving to this bout and was never able to focus and really enjoy it.  MIR started off slowly with a lot of penalties.  So many penalties that I didn't think they would have a chance in the long run.  Great defense and blocking by the pack however, prevented the Mayhem from taking a large lead.  One example was when our jammer was in the penalty box at the beginning of a jam.  Mahaska had the opportunity to grab a huge lead.  Anna Killakova had a perfect strategy where she sped up the pack so that they were racing down the track with the opposing jammer barely able to catch up.   When the jammer did finally catch up she was perfectly blocked and checked to the ground.  Calmed down, MI Rollers were able to build and keep a lead throughout the rest of the bout.  Noticeable absences were cTAL faTAL and Fanny Firestarter, hopefully you will be back this weekend.  A couple new comers skated and held their own...although need a little work on strategy and calling off the jam at the appropriate time.  Come see the Mid Iowa Rollers take on the Sioux City Roller Dames tomorrow night May 22nd, 7pm at Hy-Vee Hall in Des Moines.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mascot Fight

 I should have known last fall when they unveiled the 2012 Olympic logo. Chunky, ugly, 1980's crap style and colors (surprised they aren't neon)...and I am not sure why but when I see it I think of Saved By the Bell (maybe it reminds me of Screech's t-shirt or something).  I should have known that the mascots would also be horrible.  I thought I was prepared...I was not prepared enough.  Meet Wenlock and Mandeville.

Creepy right?  Doesn't inspire good feeling in me.  I guess the one big eye is supposed to a camera lens...I assume it means something like "Broadcasting to the world" or something but all I can think of is Big Brother always watching.  Especially since it is in London which has one of the highest rates of surveillance cameras per capita in the world. Unblinking, silent (no mouth) and always there watching and judging.  I wouldn't want one of those things in my room...creepy.  Not to mention that Mandeville (the blue accented one) looks like he wet his pants.

Horrible, awful design...I feel bad for all the people in London that will have to see these weird things all over the place for the next couple years.

I loved Canada's Olympic mascots this year...cute, friendly, welcoming.  They made me want to buy t-shirts and stuffed animals and maybe even an art print.  Just when I think Olympic design committees might be on the right path, London goes and totally proves me wrong.

Congratulations London, I think your awfulness even outdid ol' Izzy from the '96 Atlanta Olympics...and that is saying a lot.  At least Izzy looked happy and not like a mute peeping tom. You might want to try to get some of  that £400,000 you spent coming up with the design for Wenlock & Mandeville back, you didn't get your money's worth.  I think the fact that this design came out of more than 40 focus groups kind of proves my point about meetings from last week.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

Swap Your Ride

I'm sure you've seen some of Ford's "Swap Your Ride" commercials.  I can't stand them.

The thing that annoys me the most is the ending of the commercials that say something like "Visit your local Ford dealer and swap your ride now...get the Ford for only $ per month."  What?  These people get to try a new car for a week just because but for me to do it, I have buy a new car?  That's not really a swap in line with the commercials.  

I also don't like how they don't tell you all the specifics of the car they are replacing...sure they say Toyota Camry but it could be a 1982 Toyota Camry for all you know.  Obviously their "friends and family" think they need a new car, I am going to go out on a limb and say that they aren't replacing a 2010 Camry.  Let's see, you replace a piece of shit car with a new car...I wonder which one they will like?  Even if your car is a few years old, it can feel like a POS when compared to a brand new car.  I am sure you could do this with any major auto maker and have similar results.

The people don't even usually like the car itself...they like the gadgets.  "I don't have navigation, I don't have blue tooth..."  That is not really the car.  Those are options that you can get on almost every new vehicle.  Again, if they were replacing a newer vehicle I don't think you would have these types of comments.  Technology changes every year, of course a newer car is going to have newer technology.

They don't show the people actually buying the car...they don't show the reaction shot to "Oh by the way, you now owe us $400 a month for the next five years."  If they do buy the cars, I'd like them to visit them again in a year and swap their ride with their new model to see what the person thinks...and to see if they are still thrilled with their purchase.  Eventually the newness is going to wear off.

End Hate

Friday, May 14, 2010

Music & Derby Notes

You may remember me talking about Ben Karis-Nix about a month ago during my Jupiter Sunrise is a great band you never heard of post.  He is on tour in Europe at the moment and offering his last EP as a free download for a limited time.  I've had it for quite a quite a while...and it is pretty decent.  More electronic than rock but the poetry of his lyrics are still there.  I encourage everyone to download it here.  The EP contains an alternate version of Steal Me, the video I embedded previously.  Free music...and no guilt about being a pirate.

On a Pale Horse, which is one my favorite local band and which I have previously mentioned here. Is playing a benefit concert on Grand Avenue outside House of Bricks on July 10th.  This is important for a couple reasons.  First, it is the first time in two years that Pale Horse has played a show (they broke up summer of 2008) and the first time this particular line up has played together in three plus years.  Second, it is to help raise money for two year old Bradley Allen who was been diagnosed with a rare brain cancer and is continually undergoing treatment.  Pale Horse is playing the second day of a two day event to help out Bradley and his family.  Please click to find out more about Bucks4Bradley.  Pale Horse is an awesome homegrown rock band...check them out for the last time (hopefully not).  Lots of other bands for your entertainment too.

Derby reminder for tomorrow night.  Mid Iowa Rollers will be skating in Hy-Vee Hall at the Bad Girls Ball.  The DM Derby Dames last weekend was a good time.  The Dames have a much needed week off, so MIR will have to be your derby fix. I hope to have a more detailed post on the Derby Dames soon.  If you are looking for something to do Saturday night, check it out.  Stop by and say hi, I'll be in the stands.

More posts with actual content next week.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Two Minutes Hate


Unfortunately, I get invited to meetings all the time at work.  Pretty much it is the biggest waste of time.  I would get more accomplished sitting at my desk and surfing the interwebicon.  Nothing gets accomplished, no consensus is ever reached, no useful information is ever given.
Here are just a few reasons I hate meetings:

  • Timeliness - No one (except me) shows up on time. I take the meeting start time as the start of the meeting...not the time that you should leave your desk and slowly make your way to the conference room.  10am means is should start at 10am.
  • Preparedness - No one comes prepared.  You should bring pencil, paper, and any other materials relating to the topics to be discussed to the meeting.  I hate when half of the answers are "I'll have to check on that and get back to you."
  • Repetitive - Regularly scheduled meetings (like a weekly 'progress' meeting) tend to rehash the same things ever single week.  I could take a transcript of a meeting from 2 months ago and it would have 95% of the same info as last weeks meeting.
  • Poor Presentation - Informational meetings are not usually that informational.  If you are going to pass out copies of your Powerpoint presentation, and your whole meeting is just you reading your Powerpoint presentation, lets just skip the meeting and give me the handouts.
  • No Decisiveness - Even if decisions are made, they are rarely followed.  Many times a week after a meeting something will come up and I will be like "That's not what was decided in the meeting..." only to be told that plans have changed.  If plans have changed without needing my consultation, why was I needed in the first place?  It is clear that you already knew what you wanted to do, you don't need to have a sham democracy for my benefit.
  • No Follow Up - People always say that they will look into something and get back to you.  They rarely do.
  • Attendees - Not everyone needs to come to be invited to every meeting.  I am expected to attend several meetings that do not pertain to me.  I have complained that I probably do need to be there but they want me there "just in case."  Waste of time.
  • No One Really Wants to be There - no other explanation needed.
  • People Don't Speak Up - In large meetings when people are asked their opinion they will often just go along with everyone else...even if they don't agree.  It happens all the time, after a meeting I will hear someone complain about something that they agreed to in the meeting.  Why did you agree if really don't?  Is there really that much peer pressure? No.

There are many more reasons...but I only have two minutes.  Just know that I would be happy to get rid of 99% of my meetings and would probably be more effective in my job...and happier.  In fact, I quit going to a couple weekly meetings over six months ago because I felt they were a waste of my absence has only recently been noticed.  You might say that I must not have been participating or just going along with the crowd - that was not the case, I was never listened too or the meeting had nothing to do with me.  So I stopped going and gained 2 hours of work time each week.  Well worth it.

A few years ago, I attached an 8x10 of the wonderful Demotivator pictured below to the back of the main conference room door.  That way everyone could see it and understand it's truth.  It made me smile at all meetings.  I expected there to be a hubbub about it every time there was a meeting held in that room.  It was up for about 8 months before the shit hit the fan.  I freely admitted that I hung it up and said that I believed it to be consequences because I think most people saw the truth in it too. 

I love all of's Demotivators

Meetings are terrible...but Webinars and Conference Calls are even worse.  Just let me do my job.  Seriously.

End Hate

Friday, May 7, 2010

Derby Dames Are Go

Tomorrow (Saturday) is the first chance that I will have to check out the other roller derby team in town, the Des Moines Derby Dames.  I have seen the Mid-Iowa Rollers many times but due to scheduling conflicts I have not been able to attend a Dames bout.  I am excited to see how it compares - both action-wise and show-wise.

I feel a little conflicted however because the Dames are skating against the Muddy River Nightmares from Clinton.  The same team that the MIRs skated against at the last bout I attended.  So, I am attending my second roller derby bout of the season with different home teams but the same opponent.  Maybe the Muddy River Nightmares should become my new home team?  I must admit that I am looking forward to seeing #666's awesome mohawk again...all though the whole punk attitude of 'Fuck the World' is really boring to me, I must admit to really enjoying their hairstyles.

Des Moines Derby Dames Roller Derby
7PM Saturday May 8th, 2010
7 Flags Events Center, Clive IA

If you are there, stop by and say hi.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Two Minutes Hate

...And a Half

I have been trying to eat healthier.  A lot of that has to do with eating the correct portion size.  For many years, I have been a one meal a day person.  I didn't worry about portion sizes too much since it was my only meal of the day, I could easily justify the excess.  A whole box of mac & cheese (spirals of course) or a whole frozen pizza...didn't really seem to matter too much.  Evidently this method of eating is not very healthy (who would have guessed?).  So now in my efforts to be overall more healthy and fit, I have been trying to eat more regularly throughout the day and eat appropriate amounts.

To get the correct amounts, I like to divide up the food into the correct number of portions before I take any for my plate.  If I make a recipe that says it feeds four people, then I divide the food into four equal portions - taking one for me and putting the rest in individual containers for later meals.  I also do this with canned fruits and vegetables.  For me this method works really well.  I can go to my refrigerator and grab one portion of entrĂ©e, one fruit, one veggie, etc... Makes meal time pretty easy and it really makes me stick to correct portion sizes and to keep track of calories (if I feel like it).

But then comes the food that doesn't have equal portions in the box.  Servings per box equals 2.5 or something similar.  What am I supposed to do with this half serving?  Do I make each of the other servings just a little bit bigger at 1.25?  A quarter serving more isn't going to hurt me is it?  It doesn't seem like much...but it definitely can hurt you.  Because it is not just going to be that one meal, it is going to be at least two that week.  What if other elements of your meal do the same thing?  Instead of your healthy amount that you should be eating, your meals could steadily grow by 25%.  If this happens every meal, all week long ((3*.25)*7) = 5.25 extra meals and their calories each week.  It is like can quickly make you the fat guy.

Why are they selling things in half servings anyways?  Do you buy anything else in half servings?  It just seems weird to me.  I am assuming that manufacturers are A) trying to make it seem like a bigger box on the store shelf, or B) cutting the size of their servings so that the calories don't see so terrible.  Either way, it pisses me off every time I am eating something that comes with an extra half serving.

End Hate