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Posts from the ‘Rant’ Category

Last minute Donut Monday Dad Christmas gift ideas

Struggling to find a last minute Christmas gift that merits the awesomeness that Mr. Donut Monday delivers day in an day out? Never fear. I’ve compiled a list of ideas that meets such criteria

10. Someone to re-engineer my Comcast Home security system to no longer make an audible ping on the master console in our bedroom when the system detects a door being opened in our home. This crafty feature was intended to say “Alert –  Someone might be breaking into your home!!” but in reality its sole use to date has been for the sole benefit of Mrs. Donut Monday – “Alert – Mr Donut Monday is rolling in at 1:18am after a night boozing with friends who you don’t approve of!  Also he forgot to take out the trash”

9. A walk on role for Mad Men’s final season as Roger Sterling’s younger, better looking yet boozier brother who engage in hijinx with the secretary pool and bring in the biggest client to date for the ad firm, Scooter Tuna.

8. Someone to train my kids to no longer pee with the seat down and to flush when they go #2. I continually realize the importance of this wish being granted every time I sit on a wet toilet seat and look down.

7. A photoshopped picture me hoisting the Stanley cup over my head surrounded by the San Jose Sharks. I’ve been waiting 42 years for this moment. Time to take matters into my own hands

6. $10,000 cash to hire a team of analysts to determine how I found a way to miss my fantasy football playoffs this year with Peyton Manning, AJ Green, Marshawn Lynch and the Seattle Defense on my roster and form my draft war room for next years season.  If there is any money left over it can be used add metallic toilet seats to my home to instill electro shock therapy for any future peeing violations from the kiddos

5. A magical hockey stick that pulls me around the ice craftily with Sydney Crosby like prowess to unleash a slap shot that elevates my game above the wounded moose like skills I currently bring to the ice in my current state

4. A hired hit man to make my raccoon and gopher problems to go away quietly. Plus maybe one of my cats but don’t tell the wife.

3. A super sized bladder transplant with camel like prowess so I can actually make it through a sporting event, movie, or a full night of sleep without the need to go. This wish is sponsored by Flomax.

2. A hovercraft to take me to work daily and avoid the jackelopes who somehow found employment in this improved economy, thus wrecking my commute. Will also accept a transporter device

1. To be “freshly pressed” on WordPress yet again and inflate my already dangerously large ego.

Happy holidays

Leftover Wars – The Final Battle

It’s Donut Monday at  at 3pm and I’m on day 5 of staring at a single piece of bacon sitting in a clear plastic container in my fridge since it arrived late last week. It looks lonely and confused. It’s a class B felony to instill willful neglect on such a tasty morsel in the Donut Monday household with a minimum 1 day ban on chores during football and the option for me to eat aforementioned tasty morsel without repercussions. I could and should eat it right now like a ravenous hungry male lion king but I know this is a trap that has been carefully placed by the only other species that dare challenge his reign – the lioness aka Mrs Donut Monday who “claimed” to be full and brought this piece of bacon home from breakfast out last Thursday in the aforementioned to-go container. Not that this action is out of the ordinary for her.  I’ve seen her first hand drop kick any hovering waiter who dares to prematurely remove a plate and cross forearm windmill block an approaching fork from anyone else at the table she shares as long as there is a reasonable amount of food for later consumption. A single piece of bacon meets that threshold it seems but there’s much more at stake here. I could now see this  to go order was clearly a throw down test of wills between man and woman and the sweet elongated strip of meat goodness  that would ultimately decide the winner, and she had bet large money on the swine.

My track record up until that moment had not been strong. Since our initial courtship I have conservatively obliterated somewhere in the range of 30 meals that the wife had staked claim to for later consumption. I suspect this phenomenon occurs in most other relationships. It’s just one of the differences in the DNA between man vs woman that surfaces during long term co-habitation/aka marriage. A woman orders a meal based on a game-plan where crafty planning can stretch a doggie bag to make 3 additional meals over 7 days. A man takes a different approach and orders a meal based on 3 part rating system

If I order a meal and finish it will it be free and I’ll get my name on a plaque on a wall next to morbidly obese past customers?

If I don’t finish the meal will other men mock me in shame and will my wife start to wonder why I can’t get the job done?

If I don’t finish the meal and deny leftovers out of false bravado how much will  I hate myself when I stake claim on the leftovers my wife will leave unattended in the fridge later that evening?

At first any self inflicted food ownership violations were met with playful banter with minimal repercussions.  But as the violations stacked up over time and she realized no leftover was truly ever safe,  pity gave way to frustration, anger and ultimately threats of sewing my mouth shut. I quickly realized the negative reaction upon confessing to my sin was a direct correlation depending on the anticipation of the illegally consumed leftover multiplied by the complexity of replacement. I call it the Highly Anticipated Nourishment Detriment Syndrome or the HANDSoff effect.

For instance eating the last 2 slices of pie from our local pizza joint only scored a manageable 4 on the “You Suck” scale as I could quickly make amends within a quick call and 20 min drive to make a pick up. On the other end of the spectrum, consuming the remainder of a shrimp burrito recently hauled back all the way from her favorite burrito joint in her college hometown 100 miles away scores a solid 9 with a ten minute sustained stare-down like a man who was just caught clubbing a baby seal.

Back to the single piece of bacon in the present moment which has been tormenting me the last 5 days. I decided early on to to fight the good fight and represent manhood full on knowing that I’m a seasoned pro that is going to own the bacon situation and not let it own him. I document my journey along the way.

Thursday Day 1 – I check to see what the expiration date on cooked bacon under the notion that the threat of food poisoning will mitigate my primal urge to consume. No data exists. Studies show no bacon has lasted longer than 30 minutes before ultimate consumption in 150 years of studies in controlled environments.

Friday Day 2 – Bacon themed nightmares begin. I bolt up out of bed that night in a cold sweat when my wife won’t stop the car to pilfer free Premium Center Cut product from a jackknifed Oscar Meyer delivery truck on the side of the road.

Saturday Day 3 – During my daily refrigerated pork surveillance, the 9 year old asks if he can eat this last piece of bacon in the fridge and for a moment I contemplate letting him just to see what happens. I imagine poison darts shooting out to cut him down mid bite or a trap door opening up beneath him and I think better of it. I let the boy live atleast till Sunday and re-evaluate my options.

Sunday Day 4 – 37 minutes. Turns out that’s how long you can stare blankly into an open fridge before you permanently screw up the cooling system.

Monday Day 5 – I gather the family in the kitchen and announce there is no Santa Claus just a moment before I eat the singular piece of bacon in one bite. I figure better to embrace the role of scoundrel and control my destiny. On the plus side it’s one level higher than that of an accused baby seal clubber.

I am a weak yet fulfilled man

The Father’s Day All Dads Really Want

Father’s day is like Christmas morning for dudes over 35. It’s the one holiday I really look forward to now that I’m a dad, a husband and a worker bee (I mean consultant) And it’s placed at the perfect time of year, just before the wife and I run the gauntlet on a summer when the kids are home 23 hours a day during school break and just after 17 other occasions that are not centered around me. That Hallmark driven marathon starts with Valentine’s day which is a mere 2 days after my birthday (barely enough time to sober up) with a checkpoint at Mother’s day, 12 eight year old kid birthday parties and finally a sprint to the finish line with the wedding anniversary. Speaking of which I’m married to the most shizawesome wife in the world. She knows that while many of my crew of fellow dads get stuck going to expensive Father’s day brunches with the extended family or play dates with other families at the park I get the day off to do whatever I want with no contingencies or lectures after the fact. It doesn’t even have to be legal though she asks to keep it to misdemeanor level offenses

Each year she will ask me what I want to do for Father’s Day and I walk her through the most epic day ever. This would be the Mount Everest of Father’s Days and if I’m only able to achieve a fraction of this it would be a great day still. Let me walk you through it.

The morning starts with a true opportunity to sleep in rather than the daily ritual of a 5 year old projecting at 50 decibels “MORNING DADDY!” 3 centimeters from my eardrum at the side of my bed at 6:30am. The wife has pre-briefed the children the night before that they get 20 minutes of TV cartoon time for each pound of bacon they cook up to prepare for Daddy’s day and an extra 30 minutes if they hear the lock engaged on Mommy and Daddy’s bedroom door in the morning. That’s how I want to be woken up to on Father’s Day morning…the smell of bacon being cooked illegally by minors who earn 5 dollars a week and the bedroom door being locked by my wife.

Once the all clear sign has been given the wife and kids gather to formally present daddy with their father’s day presents. Mommy goes first with a trio of gifts. The first is a tribute to introducing more danger into my life. Up until now the most traumatic experience is whether or not I pull a hammy sprinting out to the curb every Wednesday at 6am to catch the garbage truck after forgetting to put the trash out the night before. So she rewards with me a  guest star appearance as a lowly deck hand who gets promoted to skipper after all the other deck hands are swept to sea on Deadliest Catch.  A spinoff series is being discussed. The second gift is absolute forgiveness for not reminding me that this is the 12 time I’ve forgotten to take out the trash in the last 13 weeks. The third gift is washing the seasick induced puke off my shirt after my guest appearance as a deck hand/turned skipper on Deadliest Catch goes horribly wrong and the spinoff series talks go south.

Then it’s time for the kids to present their gifts to me from youngest to snottiest. The first gift is a solemn oath to from this time forward to flush the toilet after taking a number 2, (an oath that will be broken a mere 20 minutes later) , the 2nd to grant me preemptive forgiveness for blowing they college 529 college money on a weekend bender in Vegas and the third for my oldest boy to commit to learning to drive by age 9 so I can have 24/7 DD access at all times. None of this is legally binding in the court of child rearing but I appreciate the effort and hustle.

Upon completion of the gift giving process and proper consumption of  mass quantities of illegally baked bacon I get dressed and walk outside to see Emma Stone washing my new Tesla Model S hybrid in a bikini. I immediately upgrade her to my caddy where she will carry my bag on a round of golf at Pebble beach with 3 of my heroes: Wayne Gretzky who brings a upgrade to my mad E level hockey skills, the dude who plays Don Draper on Mad Men who shows me how to be productive at work after 12 Scotch drinks accompanied by a power booze nap and a persistent scowl and my Dad who is the only man I know who can pull off a pink shirt and white trousers. Yes I said it. Trousers. It’s father’s day. I get to say whatever I want.

After golf I’m helicoptered into the final table on the World Series of Poker where I put on a clinic to capture my first of many WSOP bracelets, train with the Navy Seal equivalent of Canada (the Beaver Battalion) for an upcoming raid to get rid of the province of Saskatchewan (we’re just tired of having to spell Saskatchewan) and asked to write an op-ed piece in the New York Times on how donut consumption will ultimately save the world. Amen to that brother.

7 Easy Steps (and 180 Sleepless Nights) To Becoming Your Own Boss

This is the true tale of my transition from corporate mid level exec jockey to mid priced self employed business consulting dude and largely the reason why the Donut Monday has been on hiatus the last 6 months or 180 sleepless nights. Large bouts of joblessness and possible financial ruin strangely dulls my humor. Only the names and the companies have been omitted to protect the not so innocent starting with yours truly who doesn’t want to get his ass sued as I recount my journey.

Step 1 – Get Fat and (Un)Happy In the Corporate World

You blink and all of a sudden you’ve been at one company for 13 years. You didn’t plan on it but you figure out how to not only survive but thrive in the corporate matrix. The pay is good. The benefits even better and the 6 week sabbaticals downright intoxicating. You think about leaving but they toss in Sr into your title. You think about leaving again and then they start calling you Director and that’s got a nice ring to it. Now it’s business class bookings on corporate travel and a cute admin. At this point you’ve dodged atleast 6 or 7 company wide layoffs so you think you’re untouchable or just damn lucky but who cares. You made it through the gauntlet and you start buying into the hype. But even though you’ve built up a dream and become a delegation superstar you’re in meetings 8 hours a day and 200 daily emails is a regular occurrence so you catch up at night after the kids are in bed a couple (every) night a week. Your friends start calling you a lifer and you think maybe they just might be right.

Step 2 – Buy Into the Start Up Dream

The dirty little secret is that living in the bay area can be a grind. So much wealth abounds and even though you’re W2 would bring bring no sympathy to anyone else in any other part of the country you start to feel like you settled and the house starts to feel smaller. And you’re about to turn 40. So you start to put out feelers on making a move to a start up , kick your feet up and wait for the offers to pile in like high priced veteran ballplayer who has just become an unrestricted free agent. But no offers come in. Sure you’re great, wicked smart and you put in the hours but you’re a corporate guy and you’re best years are behind you. You don’t know how to work in an environment without process. Can you sell the vision and close when the company’s existence depends on it? Can you work in an environment where everyone is 20 something and that salt and pepper hair is not helping things. No one tells this to your face but that’s what’s going on.

But then all of a sudden an offer comes in from a start up. OK it’s a start up that has been a start up for 10 years and you’re not feeling good vibes about the founder/CEO but then again every start up founder is a bit of a mad scientist so you talk yourself into this being the one. Who cares if it’s the only one. You take the job. The wife is supportive but starts to update her resume just in case.  The company is not based in the bay area so you become a temporary road warrior but you can handle it until you see the hotel reservation the company made for you and you think the one star rating is a typo. It’s not.  Business class is a long way away from your new home in row 39 middle seat. But you’re a seasoned veteran who knows how to play hurt and you soldier on. And before you know it you’re living the dream. Deals are closing. Attaboys and high fives all around. You start sitting in the quarterly board meetings. Your confidence skyrockets and you’re already counting ways to spend your forthcoming start up stock option wealth. Life is good.

Step 3 – Get Fired

While you are hitting nice strides in your job the revenue numbers come up short and your team members are getting picked off one by one. Rationale thought is in short supply and then one day the mad scientist CEO sets his sights on you and next thing you know you’re fired. I’m not talking about one of those prolonged individual performance plan layoffs with a soft landing and a fat severance plan kind of terminations. Or  the  sorry that risky new direction we took the company in didn’t quite pan out so we need to perform a mass casualty slaughter set of terminations. No I’m talking about a coming out of no where-in your face-made for TV-you’re fired-no soup for you kind of terminations transacted in about 15 seconds at curbside pick up at the airport by your boss who you were there to meet and drive to the big customer meeting that you set up. So now you suddenly find yourself curbside and jobless. And the airport cop behind you telling you to pull forward right afterward is not helping the situation at all at the moment. Curbside and jobless.

Step 4 – Have the Sure Thing Job Offer Fall Through

You know you had not been happy in this job for sometime anyway so the feeling of shock is quickly replaced by relief and ultimately joy because another large company had been recruiting you for a few months leading up to this moment. You were hesitating up to this point about going back to the corporate life but after getting virtually gunned down in broad daylight you start thinking maybe this start up life is not for you. Collect a severance, sign a fat offer and walk away unscathed. But just as you’re pricing out a 4 star family trip to Hawaii to celebrate the hiring manager calls up says the open headcount has been pulled but let’s talk again in 6 months and that’s when you really start to sweat.

Step 5 – Consume Large Quantities of Humble Pie

You’re a survivor so you shake it off, fire up the laptop and make LinkedIn your default home page. You punch out some key words in the job search that are representational of who you are and what type of role you are looking for. “VP”… “Team Leader”….”Superstar”.. “Generous Compensation”.  A few weeks later you’re resetting your expectations to “Entry Level”…”Flexible Hours”…and “Free Uniform Cleaning” It’s not going so well. You become a networking mad man. Lunch meetings are your daily ritual and while you put on a good face for friends and former co-workers who actually answer your email or calls no good job leads are materializing and you start to wonder if in fact your shit maybe does stink afterall.  You sit and your home office and do the job math. One unemployed single household income earner times  2.5  months average interview to offer time divided by 6 weeks left of severance to the power of end of season/holiday no one hires this time of year. Don’t forget to carry the one.

Step 6 – Reinvent Yourself

You’re on the 48th coffee meeting when a wise man asks if you’ve considered consulting. You had not. You’re a one company kind of guy but maybe it’s time to reinvent yourself. It’s 10am on a Sunday morning and there is an industry trade show Monday where you know everyone. 2 hours later you’ve booked a flight on your dime and 10 minutes before your local Fed Ex store closes you’re printing out the last batch of home made business cards. JSW Consultants is born. You’re on the 7th hour walking the tradeshow floor when in fact one of your former business contacts says they could use your consulting help a few hours a week. That grows to a few days a week and as you’re filing your business license, installing QuickBooks and pondering what exactly you can and can’t write off on your taxes in your new self employed status an email comes through on a new consulting opportunity referred by one of those networking lunch contacts you thought might be a waste of time.

Step 7 – Remake the Dream

Now it’s 6 months later and you have multiple consulting projects going at once, a few more in the pipeline and atleast 2 intriguing job offers, both of which you turn down for now. You understand the perils of consulting and realize there is no job security and it could all go away in less than 30 days but for now you’re not just surviving your thriving. You are the salary man who only knew one way to earn a living consciously took an unchartered career path and in the end learned alot more about yourself along the way.

The Case For Rational Politics

As I turned off the election results of 2012 last night what resonated with me is that I lost any real interest in the presidential election many months ago. It was not because of over saturation of television ads, mailers and robocalls. Being in solidly blue California this state only served the role of being an open checking account for both parties looking to bankroll a $1B+ campaign expenditure. It was not because my personal beliefs are that each have some character flaws that prevent them from reaching a similar level of achievement from some of our great presidential leaders of the past. Rather it’s the fact that it became pretty clear that nearly every incumbent in the house of representatives and senate was on track to win re-election, thus ensuring the American people inherited the same dysfunctional congress that refuses to work together in any meaningful way and act in their own best interests to ensure future re-election and personal prosperity. Sub15% approval rating collectively for Congress does not deter each parties polarizing actions that promote an even greater divide and frankly why should it if we just keep re-electing them anyway? I no longer say shame on them. Rather shame on us, the constituents that they are allegedly representing for essentially endorsing their actions.

With the election over I want to make the case for a new era of rational politics. Where compromise, negotiation and deal making is not looked upon as being weak but rather a character trait that we not only strive for but demand in the policy makers we elect to office going forward. It’s a trait I rely on every day in my sales career. Hell my 5 and 8 year old sons have already mastered the trait as they trade off between what they want (treats and toys) and what they have to do to get it (chores and homework) Why can’t congress figure this out?

I propose over the next 2 years we focus more on the collective efforts of our congressional representatives (house and senate) and less on a singular leader who can influence but ultimately not write the policy that will greatly affect the future of our great country. In order to do that there has to be a rallying point that serves the best interests of all citizens. A call to action for congress to align on legislative policy that is simple to outline and easy to track for compliance of our congressional representatives and is non-partisan in nature. Consider this the Rational Congress Act of 2012

1. Congress shall pass a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution by end of the 2013 next congressional session and instill a long term debt reduction plan.

It is in every citizen’s collective best interests to get the U.S. pulled back from our fiscal crisis. This cannot be fixed with just spending cuts. This cannot be fixed with just tax increases. No program is sacred. No idea too stupid. Pass the amendment with no provision for breaking this without a supermajority. Then lock yourselves in a room and figure out a long term U.S. debt reduction plan that will span a 30-35 year horizon to pay off.  Given the absurd bill we’ve run up it’s going to take that long and possibly longer. Its time to sober up from a drunken generation of spending.

2. Congress shall pass stringent campaign finance reform.

Rarely if ever does corporate America nor high wealth individuals who invest heavily to influence legislative policy have the collective best interests of the average U.S. citizen in mind. Similarly congressional representatives are too weak to avoid the influence of these special interest groups and individuals. They are human afterall (allegedly) Congress will pass campaign finance reform that limits contributions of individuals and corporations and enact stringent firewalls with special interest groups and lobbyists to reduce if not eliminate policy making decisions. The reform will likely be far from perfect but it has to start somewhere and will symbolically represent that congress is aware they need to be regulated in this capacity when writing policy.

3. Invoke a Congressional member civility and bipartisan score index.

Can’t we all just get along? Its unfortunate that the extremely divided congress we have today is influencing the next generation of voters who think this is normal and acceptable behavior. It’s ok to disagree. It’s ok to be passionate. It’s not ok to insult, tell lies and stop acting in the best interests of their constituents and the U.S. population. It’s completely unenforceable but I propose the creation of a non partisan congressional behavior index. Each congressional member has a score based on traceable and straightforward metrics agreed upon by a panel of representatives from each house and each party. Metrics that measure both positive and negative score influencing acts. Things like attendance statistics in congress, votes cast across party lines, filibusters invoked (the opposite of negotiation) participation in committees that result in bipartisan policy passed into law, and anything else that promotes the collective best interests of this country. At the next election each congressional members score is identified and posted for all voters to see.

Every congressional member is given the benefit of the doubt from day one and will ultimately own their fate depending on their ability to execute to fulfill these 3 simple, straightforward but ultimately crucial policies to help get our country back on track to being more unified. Those who do not vote in favor of all three and maintain a minimum bipartisan score index are subject to being voted out office, regardless of party affiliation.

That’s it. It’s time to put congress on notice and tell them what we want for once. Or atleast what I want but I don’t think I’m alone.

If you like, pass along. 

FarFromGroovin – Down with Rental Car Companies

I put myself in the category of the classic business trip mid level exec grinder. Having not (yet) achieved superstar CEO status where access to private jets and town cars are at a moments notice and working for a start up, I pack my bags for each trip, kiss the wife and kids goodbye and prepare to go to battle. Flight delays, tight connecting flights that require full sweat maximizing sprints between terminals and surly flight attendants don’t phase me anymore. Bring on the excessive drinking repugnant customer who orders his 3rd last round on my tab at 1am the night before a 5:30am wake up call for an early morning flight home. No problem because I play hurt. Yet rental car companies cut me down at the knees. They are my kryptonite. While the world continues to evolve, the rental car industry embraces 40 year old practices with their proudest achievement in the last 5 years being the introduction of the flexible fueling option/wallet vaporizer, and super sized rental car lots that are outfitted with every imaginable type of car ever made except the one I actually reserved. A random sampling of their practices I find the most annoying

1. Forcing me to deal with actual humans

The airlines have taught me the less human interaction the better. I embrace a kiosk driven interactive business lifestyle. With exception of the frequently pleasant and borderline hygenic rental car shuttle drivers who pick me up to take me to the rental car lot located as far as possible from the airport, everything about a rental car experience can and should be automated so no one has to deal with an actual rental car company employee. That world does not yet exist and regretfully there are a few occasions when I actually have to walk in and talk to a customer service reservation agent. That usually instigates the official start of a shitty business trip day. Not that I have anything against the employees personally. They work exceptionally hard for minimal pay. Its the process they are forced to follow. The encounter typically starts with me queuing up at the end of a what resembles a depression era bread line with fellow customers at various stages of frustration. Your estimated wait time is 20 min (+1 day). When my turn finally arrives I present my drivers license and credit card used to secure my reservation to the service agent who proceeds to type uninterrupted into a computer screen I can’t see for a minimum of 20 minutes, supposedly processing my reservation. Its the most inefficient process I’ve ever encountered. I truly wonder at some point if the agent is Facebooking, or perhaps instant messaging with a friend to bet how long I will stand there blankly waiting before I loose my mind. My alternative theory is they are talking directly to the insurance arm of the rental car company to plot their strategy to see how much they can fleece me before I can leave the lot in the compact Ford Fiesta that oozes my “playa” status. Which leads me to my next gripe…

2. Enough of the hard sell on insurance

Suckers and grandmothers buy rental car insurance. Yet the world must be filled with the former because the rental car companies remain relentless in this practice. First it was the peace-of-mind tactic. “Sir why would you not consider protecting your company and person financial liability for a mere $15 a day.” Then the direct threat tactic. “Sir you will be charged a minimum of $1000 for any damage to the vehicle.” Now it’s a scare tactic. These words actually left the lips of a service rep recently. “Sir it’s 1000 times more likely you will get into a car accident than an airline crash so you should really consider liability coverage.” Well thank you for reminding me that my imminent death is mere moments away, knowing that you will be there to cover the cost of the burned out car that my unrecognizable charred remains will be scraped from after I’m t-boned by a gas tanker leaving the rental car lot.

3. Phantom daily rental rates

There is basic arithmetic. There is Calculus. And then there is rental car math. I have a PhD in rental car math yet even I’ve not completely figured out how my 2 day compact car rental comes to $232.34. The typical rule of thumb on calculating the real cost to rent a car is double any advertised daily rate and  pre-anticipate some additional hidden fees such as the  $5 “We bought too many Chrysler Sebrings and now we can’t unload them” fee, the $12 “Buying 150K shares in Facebook stock seemed like a good idea at the time” fee and the $15 “Reservation agent carpal tunnel syndrome epidemic from excessive typing producing unanticipated medical costs” fee.

4. Practicing IVU – (Inept Vehicle Up-selling)

it’s 8am. I’m in a business suit. I’m in Minneapolis. It’s February. Hmmm..do I want the Mustang Convertible upgrade? Fuck you.

5. Optional Safety Accessories

This one comes directly from Mrs. Donut Monday and falls more in the vacation rental scenario. Renting a baby car seat. This was when we still had some faith in rental car companies. Silly new sleep deprived parents. The first time we rented a seat and arrived to pick up our car the agent said they no longer had any available. Oh ok it’s 10pm and we’re an hour drive from our hotel but we’ll just put our 3 month old on my wife’s lap in the front seat and pretend it’s 1962 again. Can I also get a 6 pack of beer and a Jack Daniel’s chaser for the long ride since drunk driving is optional in this time warp universe you think we’re in? And come to think of it, yes I’ll take the fiery crash insurance option. The 2nd time (yes we did this twice) the rental car seat was covered with an inch of baby vomit and a belt restraint system that only worked with their higher end car models. Crafty

Logical conclusion – Rental car companies enjoy making babies cry

My only hope is a Virgin America equivalent of the airline industry breaks into the rental car market and shakes things up to reinvent the whole rental car experience. Already we’re seeing that with Zipcar and other similar start ups. Or I get that upgrade to CEO. Stay tuned….

The Loneliest Toilet On Earth

I’m all for innovation. The team that invented wrinkle free dress shirts, thus ensuring I never have to touch an iron in my life again is impressive. The man who invented the Umbrella hat should be knighted. And yet no one has figured out how to create a diaper that can properly contain the volume of pee produced from a 4 year old at night. I ask WHY? Having two aggressively hydrated boys and what is clearly an insufficient two bathrooms in my house, my wife and I find ourselves out gunned when it comes to containing the multiple pee perpetrators in our household. Until then our status remains at Code Yellow

Pee Perpetrator #1

This is the only known existing photo of our primary pee perpetrator, the 4 year old. The boy rarely stands still, likely too excited stalking out the next area to mark his territory. This ninja trained pee out warrior has mastered the art to refuse all liquids until the last 30 minutes before bed, at which point he consumes at a rate better than that of our best beer anchor man in my college fraternity days despite our efforts to limit his intake. This technique has increased his overall bladder storage capacity, thus increasing the damage he can do later that night. Night diapers never have a chance. Rather than being contrite, he’s actually proud of his achievements, typically entering our room at 3am with a big shit eating grin like he just broke the new pee out Olympic record. Averaging 1-2 “breaches” a week, we’ve also set a new record on how fast we can change the sheets in the dark…correction how fast “I” can change the sheets in the dark.

He’s also not one to be defined as solely a night pee out master. Freestyling with his finest Spiderman underoos during the day, his decision making process when the need to pee has reached Defcon 5 is made on a case by case basis.  Yes conceptually he could stop the Wi hockey game and go potty in the toilet after doing the pee dance for a solid 5 minutes straight but there is only 30 seconds left in the period, he’s up by a goal and the toilet is a mere 10 feet away so better to defer this decision for now as higher stakes are on the line. Envision the Wi victory dance moments later, hands held up with a big wet crotch and proud of it. That’s my boy

Pee perpetrator #2

This is our 8 year old and its impressive how he has mastered his craft. We’ve shielded his identity in order to avoid psychotherapy years from now when he realizes his Dad brazenly called him out in a desperate attempt to get his blog visitor count up. Diaper free for a few years now he rarely pees the bed but rather takes a more unorthodox approach of sleep walking and peeing in random locations which includes the closet, his clothes hamper and on one occasion his grandma who made the critical error of sleeping in his room once one night while visiting. Just once. My personal favorite is when he actually makes it to the bathroom during a sleep walking incident but forgets to actually lift the toilet lid. Forget the horse whisperer. My wife is the pee whisperer. She senses when he’s roaming the house in the middle of the night, dashes out of bed and brings him back from the brink of making our house his own personal urinal.

Pee perpetrator #3

This is Daisy our cat the most ruthless pee perpetrator of all. Her identity also protected because she is now in the cat witness protection program eluding the hitmen my wife has hired to eliminate her for good. Cats we found have mastered the art of carrying a grudge. After having our first child she was regulated to 2nd fiddle status and never truly forgave the wife or I, thus when her evil campaign of urinal redemption started. At first her acts were more like firing warning shots over our bow indicating she meant business. She would pee in random places without discrimination but when child #2 arrived she realized she needed to refine her game and make it personal. The wife was isolated as a key target to take out when she started peeing on her shoes in the closet. Apparently Daisy has an eye for fashion as she only went after the high end DKNY’s and the Mojo Moxy’s.  The $8.99 Ked slip ons purchased at Target on sale were surprisingly left alone. In a tactical move apparently taught to her by feline special forces, she next went after the primary shoe source, the shoe closet which is locate in our garage. After a merciless bombing campaign the shoe closet eventually collapsed when the weight bearing side walls were completely saturated with cat pee. I have to say I was most  impressed when she took the final nuclear option of peeing down the heater vent in our bedroom. It’s a real treat having hot cat pee smell emulating throughout the house on a hot August day.

Side note –  This is the industrial clothes washer we purchased. It’s been running 24 hours a day since about August 2010. I love this washer. This washer keeps our marriage intact.

Redemption will be mine in about 40 years assuming they don’t invent a way to contain pee outs from an 80 year old man who lost control of his bladder. I’m not holding my breath

How to Spot a Yoga Poser

It seems virtually everyone, including yours truly, is getting into yoga. Entire retail chains are dedicated to properly outfitting the truly committed “yogi” as well as those that want to lead a “yoga inspired” lifestyle – i.e. those who are inspired to not actually practice yoga. Perhaps that is best because I’ve come to the conclusion that there is a world shortage on yoga studios. I showed up to mine the other day and the line was out the door to get into class and around the block. I had to scalp tickets to get closer to the front of the line and mow down a nice lady just to grab one of the last spots. The mark from my It’sJustZen(R) new yoga sandals were still on her back when I left which seemed rather un-Zen like in retrospect.

In the 14 weeks since I started hot Yoga (which more than qualifies me as an expert on the subject in my warped protocol of written subject matter justification) I’ve come to the conclusion that mixed among any class there are the true Yoga disciples and then there are the Yoga posers.

Yoga Disciples – Dedicated, Disciplined, Spiritual. In other words..boring!

Yoga Posers are much more fun to observe because they come in various forms and almost assuredly provide delightful material for an observationalist like myself. I say this with the full disclosure  and humility that I’m a card carrying Yoga poser myself. Until I can actually sit in a lotus pose for more than 30 seconds without sobbing uncontrollably from pain and find enough mind discipline to not get distracted by the hairy guy in front of me who is wearing Yoga shorts atleast 2 sizes too small, I am far from disciple status. That said, regular class attendance has allowed me to observe that there are distinct classes of Yoga posers you’ll find in a studio at any given time. Surprisingly I have yet to find any of these types published in any yoga journals I’ve browsed so consider this an unofficial list until they are formally recognized. There’s a higher likelihood that I’ll be kidnapped by the Yoga secret police and put in Yoga jail and made to sit in a Lotus position for the entire term of my sentence. Here’s the list

The “Whoa I didn’t sign up for this!” Yoga Poser

There’s nothing easier to spot than someone in a hot Yoga studio that is not sure how they actually got there and clearly wants to leave immediately once the wave of heat hits them. My statistical calculations conclude that 37% are those who were talked into going by a friend, 17% went because they are trying to date the aforementioned friend and wanted to get them in bed to try all those poses that only yoga masters can accomplish, and 100% are male. You see a few of these guys come in and know they have no chance of survival just from the sheer look of terror in their eyes.  A few are blissfully ignorant like sheep being lead to the slaughter house but most accept the fate that awaits them and revert to the fetal position around the 2nd or 3rd pose and spend the next 87 minutes trying not to die.

The “Weapon of Mass Destruction” Yoga Poser

I think it was the 3rd yoga class I ever took I was in a forward bending position and a momentary lapse of strategic “clenching” resulted in the escape of a nano sized package of poisoned air from my backside. I was mortified and immediately tried to pass it off on the cute girl next to me who probably has never farted a day in her life and if she did it would smell like plumeria. WOMD Posers laugh at that. They live in a clench-free world where whatever escapes from their body is as its meant to be and typically park themselves in the first row of class to more efficiently distribute their fermented concoction to the already hot room. And they take pride in their output capabilities. The first time I experienced this I thought it was a joke until I saw the guy directly behind the culprit taking a direct hit and was mere seconds away from passing out due to oxygen deprivation. It was anything but a post yoga meditative state in the mens locker room after class when he confronted the violator who clearly forgot to check his weapon at the door. The only thing keeping this guy from body slamming guru McNoxious and put him in a savasana like coma were me and my posse of fellow posers holding him back.

The “I invented this pose” Yoga Poser

For every sport and other discipline that requires time and effort to master the craft there’s always the poser that wants to take the short cut. “Nice new impulsive $5000 road bike purchase bro. I’m sure that’s going to be the motivating key to finally getting rid of your beer gut” Yoga is not immune to these kind of swaggy bros. I’ve seen a few deviations but the proper recipe for this kind of yoga poser is 1 part loin cloth, 1 part male ponytail and 98 parts chutzpah. These posers walk into the studio like they are Bikram Choudhury himself, the pioneer of hot yoga and the reason you willingly plunk down $100+ per month to sit in a hot box for 90 min straight.  As a IITP poser they flaunt it like they have mad flexibility skill(z)s and could literally bend to kiss their own ass if they felt like they wanted to, but they don’t. The move is to work the room like they own it and slyly chant to themselves using sounds like resemble a 1st  century ancient language that only 3 people currently alive in the world can speak. Then they find a spot in the back of the class so they can minimize exposure on the fact that they really could care less about class, can’t hold the positions and spend the majority of the class transfixed on the hot girl they have strategically parked their mat behind.

I look forward to more yoga observational adventures once I come up for Yoga parole in 2020.

Namaste

United (Epic Fail)

It’s a sobering thought when you come to the realization that you are in a loveless marriage. After almost 15 years since we first consummated our love, travelled countless miles together, experienced many sleepless nights, endured crying babies and built up what I thought was ever lasting loyalty I’m packing my bags and leaving you my once beloved United Airlines. Not that you’ll miss me or my 760K of lifetime miles travelled. You only barely acknowledge my presence now anyway. I remember when we first started dating. I was still young and inexperienced..barely logging 20K miles a year but you saw the potential in me and gave me my first courtesy upgrade. They say you never forget your first time and that was never more true than for me. The flight attendant offering to take my coat. Sitting down in a plush seat and actually being able to cross my legs. Unlimited warm mixed nuts! I was drunk on that feeling, supplemented by 2 rather strong jack and cokes which were also on the house. I never wanted to go back to coach and it was at that moment that I pledged my love to you.

Things between us initially were great. After all it was our honeymoon. As my business trips became more frequent and my airline status increased, first to Premiere, then Premiere Executive and even that one year I hit 1K you spoiled me with love and attention. Courtesy passes to the Red Carpet Club. Frequent reward travel booked by real people on the phone. And who could forget that last minute trip around the world in 2005 where a mere 20K miles got me bumped from Business Class to First the entire trip. We were young and crazy and you were always ready to travel at a moment’s notice.

But then a few years ago I saw the first signs that things were in trouble. First there was the occasional missed upgrades with no explanation. I’d sit by my computer waiting for the confirmation email that never came. And when I confronted you about it you just played dumb like it was no big deal and said it would never happen again. And I believed you! But then I got stuck in coach in a middle seat bookended by 2 people that had not showered in days and thought that brushing twice a day meant their hair. How so passive aggressive of you. That’s when I knew you our best days were behind us.

I could never admit that our relationship was crumbling even though all the signs were there. I just didn’t want to see them. The more I tried the more you’d push me away. Charging me a hefty co-pay on seat upgrades that used to only cost me miles. Introducing a new intricate boarding process that put me in seating category 8 just above lepers and parolees. Scheduling me with the hot friendly flight attendant crew…if it were 1967! And I told you it was a bad idea to adopt that shady Continental family and bring them into our home with all their riff raff friends who would come between us and leech off you. You said things between us would not change but all my calls to you went to voicemail after hearing that you were experiencing higher than normal call volume. Must be all those slick Global Service guys calling you. I see how you look at them when you think I’m not looking. You’re so materialistic.

So I’m leaving you for good United. You should know I’ve met someone else. She’s so clean and beautiful unlike your tired and worn look. She likes all the cities that I like and we have plans to travel to new places together in the new year. She’s always available when I call and best of all she’s a Virgin, saving herself for just the right guy and I think we’ll be together forever.

Your Mama…

What’s up with all the Red Wing fans coming out of the woodworks when they come to town to play the Sharks? Haven’t see a Tiger fan at Oakland Collisium since Sparky Anderson still had dark hair.

Have to give it to the Sharks fans though. They channel their inner east coast die hard fan and step up in the playoffs. Best cat calls I heard last night at the sharks game when they clinched the Western Conference semi-finals to knock out the Wings

“Hey Lindstrom-Your mama face looks like she got hit with a Toyota with faulty brakes.

“Hey Babcock-You run a hockey team like GM manages a car company.

“Hey Draper – Shark fans think you suck but your boyfriend confirms you swallow”

“Hey Detroit – I hate you all and the entire east coast” (slight pause as the fan sitting next to him gives him an impromptu geography lesson) “and the midwest too”

Bring on the next victim.