30 April 2007

damien rice, earth day, random stuff...

I am posting this kind of late given the concert was Wednesday, but if you have been reading along with the rest of us you might have been wondering how it went. I will tell you now.

First off, Brett Dennon is great. I figured he would be but I guess I didn't realize how new he is. I mean in spite of his physical stature he looked incredibly intimidated by the mass of the spectators gathered to celebrate Earth Day (yeah right). Anyway, had I any doubts, he would have relieved them with the first song. He played four. All very good and a great way to open the show. I'm sure very soon he'll be able to beef up his touring band from 1 other member to at least 3 and begin establishing himself as a prick (more on that later).

I'm not going to give the rundown on the setlists folks and I didn't bring my camera or digital recording device for any bootlegging. I'm just there to enjoy myself and go home. If I cannot remember what was played and what wasn't, so be it!

Anyway, Damien Rice got up and to my chagrin was missing his former partner in crime. However, he has beefed up his band since 2003 and while the music is still moody and sentimental on the albums, it takes on another dimension live that I insist makes him a must-see-in-person artist. Trust me, I have scoured the internet and there are no versions of his music that measure up to what he did with songs like "Grey Room" at Bennaroya Hall. Also notable was a very edgy and extended version of "Woman Like a Man."

I was also pleased that he did keep several songs stripped down to the bare essentials, yet nearly every song had been given some attention beyond what was on the albums. The staging was subtle, yet impressive and the lighting was spectacular and somehow not overdone. Ok on one song I asked myself why I didn't bring my sunglasses and flashed back a smirk of disapproval, but that was all.

So if you don't know who Damien Rice is, shame on you. If you have some misconception that his music is depressing still, shame on you. Go google him and find out why women worship him and men would give an eye or even a testicle to be him, or just have his way with words I suppose. And yet he's still humble enough to beg women not to sing his praises between songs or he'll be even more a prick than he already is.

Well, in other news, on Saturday I finally got all my furniture moved in. If you have been keeping tabs, that was 3 months in the trailer and 5 more weeks of watching television from the floor of my new living room. Alas I am chilling on my good couch (more on the bad one later), blogging and ignoring the tube for now. Looking forward to Heroes tonight though, aren't you? Kind of irritated S60 isn't going to be back until late May and who knows when TBD will be back on television (though it is on nbc.com for those who miss it but didn't know where it went). If you don't know what those acronyms are for then you weren't fans enough to care!

So there is still a lot to do to get my house ready for guests, but sooner or later I'll get a day off and start plugging away at it. For now my bookshelf is in the middle of the living room, the dresser is next to the windows, the other bookshelf is upside down (but standing) next to a stack of boxes that is nearly blocking access to my bedroom and several other boxes are piled up near the bar in front of the kitchen just to give you a quick visual. Yet somehow everything I need for live is in its place already, go figure!

I estimate many boxes will not be unpacked, instead I'll stack them in my storage unit downstairs. I know that's where my golf clubs, camping and rock climbing gear will go, but I'm also sure there are boxes that have things I should've gotten rid of a long time ago that I suppose I'll just tuck away and see if I start wondering where something is for a few months before I let them go permanently.

Well, my boss is sending me to Seattle on Wednesday for some kind of seminar/training opportunity that a few of us were selected for. Maybe this is a good sign. I've been getting a lot of extra hours which is nearly turning this into a full time job, however so many of those hours have been on my weekends off that it's about to be 7 in a row for me that I'm working some part of the weekend. I said no more! I want early June weekend off to be turned into a mini vacation. I would only have to take 2 days off to make it nearly a full week so I'm going to see about that.

Not much else to say. I suppose I could do some laundry, watch the end of Regis and Kelly and the View and if I get really ambitious, I could get my books out of boxes and onto the shelves. I doubt I'll get that energetic today, but then again I have a bottle of Yerba Mate in the car still (from the concert). I'm afraid to drink it though because one of its major ingredients is a drug we routinely test for in the lab when it is being given to a patient (because it's dangerous... why else?). Why would they put that kind of drug in an energy drink and how much does it amount to? These answers and MORE on my next edition of random crap!



25 April 2007

"we don't have a button for that..."

OK, I'm going Spurlock today!

I haven't been to the worlds most notorious fast food joint in months, but after running a few errands (including picking up some medication I desperately needed to take... with food) after work I decided to pull in hoping to get some breakfast (no luck--I was three minutes too late after all).

Instead I ordered a couple burgers, a small fry and a large ice water. I never get any argument anymore when I order a large ice water. They used to try to sell me bottled water but I kept protesting that Dasani is far from what I desire to quench my thirst. However, when I pulled around to my disappointment I was handed a weird looking child size cup that didn't have the McDonalds logo or any of their contracted beverage suppliers (most likely a 12 oz cup).

Does anyone have any clue where I am going with this so far?

Anyway, I hardly enjoy discussing my tendency toward the fast-food establishments, especially this one. However, admittedly I do go more often than I should. Perhaps the only reason it hasn't killed me yet is that a few years ago I had an epiphany that just because I don't have the time to cook for myself 3 times a day doesn't mean that I have to conform to their system of caloric intake. I decided that I wouldn't drink anymore soda and while I have backed off slightly from making a religion out if it I still usually ask for water instead of soda for the sake of better health. For the sake of making the world a simpler place, and cleaner, I steer away from the bottled variety. Bottled water is shipped all the way across the country in most cases at great expense, not to mention the bottles will eventually end up in a landfill no matter how many times they are recycled.

So what, you ask?

I'm a big boy and when I am thirsty I am, for the lack of a better word, thirsty! Should I get served a 32 oz cup when I ask for a large cola, but a 12 oz cup when I ask for a large water? If you are ahead of me as I am sure you are you might be asking yourself why doesn't he just protest and ask for a bigger cup? Surely they'll cave in if you just hint at making an ass of yourself.

Way ahead of you. I always do. I always insist that I asked for a large water and whatever they are handing me is definitely not large. They usually say try to make some excuse but eventually cave in. Sometimes they will insist that they cannot give me a large but will give me a medium. I always consider this a small victory anyway.

However, at McDonnalds I was told I could have 2 water cups, but they would not give me a large cup of water. I laughed at the woman and asked why not and she said "because we don't have a button for that."

Can you believe it? I almost lost it, but realizing that McDonalds does not hold the highest standards even in the fast food industry for employee intelligence and/or competency (which is generally admirable because someone needs to offer theses people the opportunity to contribute to society) I did not want to point out how stupid she was.

At this point though I will point out how stupid you are if you haven't already figured out the solution to her little conundrum yourself (since I don't necessarily know you or if you fall into this category in the first place): she could have just pushed the button a few times until the cup was full!

So while I have now heard dozens of excuses for why they cannot give me a large ice water at this and other fast food restaurants, this one was perhaps the most ludicrous. I already know the real reason. Certain types of penny pinching managers feel that giving away free cups of water is contrary to their mission of profit seeking, so they push the sodas which have the highest profit margin of all the food served in fast-food restaurants. While you most certainly have the right to ask for a water in any restaurant, fast or not, it is never encouraged because short sighted individuals tend to assume it reduces their bottom line.

On the other hand, when I am out at a restaurant or bar and I ask for water, if the person serving it keeps on top of things and keeps the glass full (as I can put it away faster than anyone I know and I hate having to wait for them to come fill an empty glass), I will generally add 5-10% to what I normally tip. While the restaurant doesn't directly make any money in that situation, it still benefits them if their employees are making better money in tips they stick around longer and the overall staff turnover and customer satisfaction statistics are better which does help their bottom line.

I don't know if the fast food industry will ever get a clue, but the places I frequent the most know I usually order water and they never protest giving me a large cup. They know I'll be back and I'll order food again. Keeping the customer happy is still the best key to success and the difference in cost between a small cup and a large cup is never worth losing potential repeat business.



18 April 2007

any damien rice fans?

So with Earth Day approaching I have these tickets to see Damien Rice and Brett Dennon but true to form, I cannot think of anyone to bring along. Unless I'm missing something I don't have any friends who are fans--well locally at least.

So obviously if you think I should've thought of you, then speak up, otherwise I'll either put up an ad on Craigslist or have someone who would rather be at a tractor pull come along.

In other news (as I see it has been a month since my last post) I am nearly finally moved into my new place. I am missing some bits of furniture but it gives me time to think of what I'll do with them when I can finally get them here. I've even considered selling them and getting something more appropriate for the condo lifestyle (my couches are really big).

I do like this place and the view is incredible, but the weather has not cooperated much lately. Today is yet another rainy, overcast day that obscures Mt Rainier, but there is a rainbow over the Tacoma Dome. By the way, does anyone else think that is the ugliest building ever? I think they should tear it down and consider inviting the Sonics' to move down here and build something worth looking at.

So that's all I wrote. Tough, deal with it. More to come later.