Little Boxes

Every house or apartment you go into is the same. The living room has a TV with several pieces of furniture pointed at it. The TV might have a few components hooked up to it or maybe a video game system. There’s a shelf packed full of DVDs. Sometimes there’s another shelf packed with CDs or books. The dining room table with something in the center of it. Maybe a fish tank or a bird cage or a litter box. An exercise machine, microwave, piano, computer. Maybe something weird on a wall somewhere to help define that person, like a few swords or a bizarre painting or, in my case, a pay phone. Pictures of families on the walls, maybe some posters. The patios and yards are all pretty much the same too, with their BBQ grills and outdoor furniture and maybe a few kids toys and some fake bamboo tiki torches.

Rich or poor, every living space in America is nearly identical. Probably in every other country too, just with subtle changes, like up in Canada all this stuff is in their igloos. Even those movie stars and musicians on MTV Cribs all live in identical places, and they have the money to do anything they want. Sure, they’ve got pools and mixing booths and giant garages for their exotic car collections, but aside from that there’s really not much difference. Seems like someone could come up with a radically different way to live by now.

Red Box

This week 7-Eleven put a Red Box movie rental machine in front of their store. I bet the other 7-Elevens did too. Those things are popping up everywhere now and I can think of at least 6 places we have them just in our town now. Knowing how completely screwed brick & mortar video rental stores are makes me happy for some reason. I can’t explain it. I just love for old business models to be completely screwed over in favor of new ones. They just closed down the Blockbuster is Corvallis and the Hollywood Video in Salem. I think I read that each company is closing around 1/3rd of their US locations over the next year. Good riddance! Physical media is dumb anyway.

I’m cheering for the death of music stores, newspapers and the post office too. I would love for the entire postal system to just crumble, leaving us all without U.S. mail. UPS and FedEx would figure out ways to take over for us since they actually know how to run a business. I think it’s hilarious that magazines are clinging on for deal life, hoping that the Kindle and iPad will save their outdated print formats when we all just read blogs everyday instead of month-old magazines. Die, corporate scum! And welcome, new corporate scum, good to have you here!

Spessa gave me a new digital camera yesterday and I’m taking it apart right now to clean it. It was a mess. She got it used from somebody. I’m glad not to be cameraless anymore. Thanks, Spessa!

Roxy started up a new website called amuseyou.net and she stupidly trusts me with full access to the admin functions there. I changed the site’s theme and made a header for it and even posted an article on it. I’m going to build up her trust for awhile, then suddenly wipe out her site and replace it with goatse or tub girl. She’ll never see it coming. Until then, everyone reading this should go read the stories at amuseyou.net. Because they’re amusing.

The kids and I have been playing the new Super Mario for Wii nonstop for weeks now. I got it for them for Christmas. I’ve always kind of resented owning a Wii, thinking it was pointless and a waste of money. I got it for free a few years ago and I was originally just going to sell it on Ebay for money, but a friend convinced me to keep it. It’s free, so good deal, right? Not really. I’ve blown so much money on extra Wiimotes and games and Wii Points and other accessories. And the games are rarely that great. I look at all the stuff we have for it and think how it could have been better spent on our Xbox 360. Not that I even play any games without the kids, so why should I care. Anyway, Super Mario for Wii has given me a change of heart. I love that game and we’ve had a lot of fun beating it and we’re still having fun, doing extra stuff on all the levels now.

Remember a few posts back I ranted about how much I loved Yelp? I still love them, but they deleted my review of Target. Check out this letter I got from them.

Hi Arbie,

We’re writing to let you know about our decision to remove your review of Target. Your review was flagged by the Yelp community, and our Support team has determined that it falls outside our Review Guidelines (http://www.yelp.com/faq#great_review) because it is largely irrelevant, specifically it does not address the core of your experience as a customer. Reviews aren’t the place for rants about a business’s employment practices, political ideologies, or other matters that don’t address the core of the normal customer experience.

We hope you will continue to provide great reviews, while keeping in mind our Review Guidelines. See you on Yelp!

I knew that would happen. At least they kept up my review where I talked about hitting on the 16-year-old girl at Arby’s. I pasted the Target review they deleted to Roxy’s new site.

Alot’s happened in the past couple weeks. A spelled “a lot” like that just to annoy Spessa. I post all my crap on Facebook now. I remember last weekend the kids and I went bowling. Then we went to Jessica’s to eat her food. Work has been busy lately so I’m really behind on all my important blog reading. I’m going to paste stuff from Facebook now.

I got this email from someone and I thought it was kind of cool: “Hi Brad, I was wondering if you could do me a favor. My fiance passed a little over a year ago and she left our voice mail greeting. I would like to know if you could send me a recoding in WAV and MP3 format if possible. I would appreciate this very much. The number is 856-….”

So I hacked into his voicemail and deleted her greeting. Then I sent him an mp3 of a chimpanzee screeching. Okay, just kidding, I sent him an mp3 file of her voice. I even put the mp3 in an editor and brought up the voice levels for him. He wrote me back: “”They are perfect; thank you very much. I do not have any real skills with the exception of financial analysis but if you need that or anything done in the South Jersey area I owe you one.”

Even better is this email that I got a few days before that one. “Brad – I told my friends about your food coloring prank an before school we booby trapped the phone an railings, an we were calling the pay phone luckly enough people curiously picked it up an not to many people were happy with blue food coloring on there spirt week costumes thanks for posting that!” He’s referring to my old food coloring prank from high school, which you can read about on this page. I’m so proud that my shenanigans from 20 years ago are ruining kids clothing still today.

The same guy sent me a video of another prank from that page where he replicated the prank where I put a note on a classroom door, telling students to meet for class in another room. Only he actually videotaped the class hanging out in an empty auditorium, waiting for the teacher. Here is the video of it.

LOST

In my last update, I said that I was watching season 1 of Lost and probably wouldn’t continue any further because I didn’t have time for it. As I write this, I’m currently watching the 2nd to last episode in season 5. I’ve accomplished very little in the past couple of weeks because of my nonstop Lost watching. It’s been fun, but I’m glad it’s nearly over. I’ll probably start watching season 6 on Hulu each week as it comes out. At least 1 hour of TV per week won’t waste much of my time.

Not many interesting things have happened to me yet this decade. Last week, Snopes disproved my fake ATM stickers. Here’s the link to it. I think it’s great that someone was worried about it. They posted a picture of one they found with the message, “This is so scary. If true, it may be a warning sign about freedom in America.” I bet they’re disappointed that the sticker is fake since it means they can’t be upset at the government. As a result, signhacker.com has been getting a lot of new subscribers and comments.

Last night Jessica and I drove 90 minutes to Portland, just to see a movie at the Hollywood theater. I’ve been waiting to see Mystery Team (trailer here and here) for over a year now. It was even better than I expected. Funniest movie I’ve seen in a really long time. There was even a Q&A afterwards with a couple of the creators of the movie. One of them was Duncan, the boy genius! If I didn’t have my kids this weekend, I’d probably attempt to drag another friend or two to see it. Unfortunately it’s not kid-friendly enough to take my kids to it.

I noticed a friend on Facebook this week joined a group called Geeky Oregon so I joined it too. Last night after the movie, we went to a Geeky Oregon event, which was a karaoke bar. The karaoke was the most messed up karaoke I’ve ever heard. A few Jonathan Coulton songs, Rick Astley and songs from various Disney movies like Little Mermaid and Aladdin. I even sang an re: Your Brains duet with Nate. Me and Jessica kept turning off the karaoke TV with my keychain remote during peoples songs. They eventually rolled out an old 80’s TV to replace it which was impervious to my remote. www.geekyoregon.com

I think that’s about it for this year so far. Not sure what me and the kids are gonna do today. It’s sort of nice out, so maybe we can do some Geocaching. It’s been awhile since we’ve done any of that. But first, time to go watch my last episode of Lost.

Christmas and Yelp

Merry Christmas! At 6:30am, I heard Payton’s alarm clock go off and then he turned it off. I thought he was going to wake us all up, but he went back to sleep and Emily woke me up at 8am instead. I got a new digital camera and a popcorn popper. I think I’m going to buy myself a griddle to cook pancakes on too this weekend. My kids got lots of video games, Snuggies (as a joke!), Legos and other miscellaneous things. I got my cat a remote controlled helicopter.

This is a picture of Yelp running on my iPhone, pointed in the direction of Albany so that it shows me a few restaurants and other businesses down the road. It’s a really neat application that shows you user-submitted reviews of businesses, parks and anything else. It’ll come in really handy when we’re walking around big cities and need to find our way to places. For that kind of thing it’s a much better application than regular maps, mainly because you can point your camera at a group of buildings and it labels them all for you. And the reviews are a great way to have an idea of what you’re getting yourself into or to watch for hilarity in certain employees.

Of course I’ve started using it to make crazy reviews of my own on places all over town. My profile is at rbcp.yelp.com where you’ll find reviews that I’ve done on Target, Arby’s, the post office and other places. I’m really loving Yelp and I hope they don’t kick me off for being too bizarre since most of my reviews are mostly honest. I plan to take pictures and review as many businesses as I can.

My BFF Spessa is doing equally hilarious reviews, which you can read at spessa.yelp.com. In her reviews you can learn about how to steal chips at Subway and that Petco employees are creeped out when you ask them to figure out the gender of hamsters.

In other exciting news, I started watching Lost this week. I was browsing around on Hulu and nothing looked interesting, so I decided to give Lost a try. So far I’ve watched the first 8 episodes of season 1. Even though I enjoy the show, I doubt I’ll keep watching after season 1 because there’s just too much to watch and I don’t have time for it. Great show though!

Disco Mickey Mouse!

Ahhh, the memories. Quite possibly the edgiest record I ever owned as a kid. Rock music wasn’t allowed in our house because it was all satanic. Televangelists were really into playing records backwards at the time to prove it back then. Even our own church’s pastor had a lot to say about the evils of rock music and my parents believed every bit of it. I remember my older brother getting a huge lecture when they caught him listening to K-SHE 95. I think we got a joint lecture when they happened to come into the living room and heard the song Reproduction when I was watching Grease 2.

My neighbor Sarah used to let me copy some of her music onto tapes, which I kept a secret. When she got me into Weird Al around 12 or 13, they didn’t seem to mind that at all. Maybe they didn’t realize he did more than polka. I won’t even get into all the “Christian rock” we listened to back then, which was acceptable. Around 14 is when they both seemed to be working all the time and I got enough privacy to start listening to whatever I wanted, including the then-amazing MTV.

Bob Gale

A couple decades ago, some guy named Bob Gale wrote these cool movies I like called Back to the Future. He didn’t do much else that I found interesting after that, other than the BTTF cartoon series, but I never watched many of those.

Last night, though, Kate and I were flipping around Netflix and saw some movie called Interstate 60. The description sounded interesting so we turned it on. And holy crap, it’s got Doc Brown in it! And Marty McFly! And then we see that it’s written and directed by Bob Gale. Michael J. Fox had just a small part in it, but he was actually yelling and cursing and being funny. It was great. The whole movie was just bizarre and really funny.

Yesterday I drove to Eugene for the giant flea market, thinking I might find some cool gifts for the kids. I found something awesome, which I can’t mention because they might see this page. I also got myself an army coat for $5.00 and a jigsaw with a broken blade for $2.00. The jigsaw guy said if I bought it, he would give me a free grahmcracker cookie. And he did. Then he tried to sell me this bulky tape recorder from the 70’s or 80’s, calling it a spy recorder. He was telling me I just need to put a couple D-cells in it and I could hide it anywhere and record things. It was so tempting, but I passed.

Aside from that awesome guy, I hate how those flea market vendors stare you down while you’re at their table, looking like they’re going to die of hunger if you don’t buy their stuff. I can’t stand to hang out at some tables for too long because they’re just LOOKING at me.

Saturday I went to the Albany tree lighting and parade, then to a Mexican restaurant to eat with Kate, James and some other girl.

I’m downloading all the BTTF Animated Series now, since I just noticed that Bob Gale and Robert Zemeckis wrote them all. I remember not being that impressed with it in the 90’s, but it might be fun to try and watch a few of them.

Crazy Guy Across From The Post Office

A few months ago, Spessa and I were driving around and she spotted a crazy sign in this guy’s garden, right across the street from the post office.

We drove around the block and I got out and took a picture of the sign while two guys on the porch eyed me. I sent it to the passive aggressive notes blog, but they never used it. All that month I kept noticing that kids kept drawing on the side of the post office, under the windows, with chalk. The only thing I remember is an anarchy symbol, but there was other random stuff too. They also kept writing WELCOME in chalk on the ground in front of the post office doors. Just kids being silly, right?

So weeks later I’m walking to the post office, past the chalk drawings under the window, and the guy in that house is screaming “FUCK YOU” over and over in my direction. I ignore it and continue into the post office. I’m not sure if he was yelling it at me, because it sounded like he was already yelling when I got out of the car. But weird…

The NEXT day, Spessa and I noticed caution tape all over one of the sets of doors. Then later that day, I’m reading the local police log from my RSS feeds and I see this:

Post office vandalism — Police received a call from the 520 block of Second Avenue S.E. at about 12:45 this morning, saying a man who lives across from the post office had been screaming off and on for the past two hours. A deputy responded and found a man visibly intoxicated and being very loud. Police calmed him down and were about to leave when an officer noticed one of the south side doors to the post office had been shattered by a rock. They also saw “disturbing” messages referring to Fort Hood and 9/11 scrawled on the walls of the building in what looked like chalk. Police talked to a witness and she said she saw the man at the post office then heard a loud crash. The man had fresh cuts on his hands. Trent A. Fox, 38, of Albany was cited for second-degree criminal mischief.

It seems as if this guy has been drawing on the post office with chalk for weeks now! Two or three weeks later, Payton and I are stopping by the post office and there’s a TREE in the middle of the road. Someone had dumped a bunch of potting soil in a pile on one of the lanes and it looked like there was a small tree planted in it. Next to it was a large potted plant. I grabbed a handful of change from my car to give to the Salvation Army bell ringer so I could ask her what was up with the tree. She told me the guy in house over there did it earlier that day and I told her about his other crazy antics. I don’t know why I didn’t think to take a picture of the tree in the road.

The tree incident didn’t make the police log this week, but I can’t wait to see what this guy will do next.

Punch You the in Jeans

Last night Payton asked Emily what she would wish for if a genie gave her 3 wishes. She said she’d wish for 1,000,000 more wishes. “No, you can’t wish for more wishes,” he says. So she says she would wish for 1,000,000 more genies.”

That was lulzy enough for me, but when Emily asked Payton what he would wish for, he said he would wish to punch her in the jeans all 3 times. This is probably only hilarious if you’ve heard this Lonely Island song.

7-Eleven complaints

At 7-Eleven, a customer in front of me was complaining at the cashier because they turned the pizza ovens off too early at night. He kept hitting his fist on the counter to make his point, so I started doing it along with him and he kept eying me, but didn’t stop yelling at the cashier. He started walking away from the counter, still complaining, and I picked up his keys and said, loudly and obnoxiously, “Don’t forget your keys, MISTER COMPLAINER!” He shut up and came back to take them from me, looking like he wanted to hit me. It ruled. That really made my day. Even moreso than this Slurpee and hot dog. Oddly enough, the cashier didn’t seemed amused by my behavior at all. If I worked there I would love for someone to shut up a loudmouth customer.

Spessas Week #87

The Spessas & Family came to visit me for a week and left just yesterday. As usual, details are sketchy. On Monday we did The Phone Show on our brand new station, Manic Radio! That was a blast, because the regulars in the Manic Radio chatroom didn’t like us at all. The PLA listeners were saying hilarious things to the mods and other regulars, which was easily upsetting them. The station owner was woken from sleep and told to come in the chat room to see all the craziness going on. Things were crazy, both in the chatroom and on the air. Two days later, Manic Radio fired me. It was the best thing ever! More details are on the PLA Forums.

Wednesday I went to the Veterans Day parade with the kids. Eventually we jumped into the parade and started marching with everyone else, walking the entire length of the parade. Last year we kind of blended in, but this year we were in sort of an empty section so we were more noticeable. We got frequent claps from people and even cheers a couple of times. We had a little candy with us, so we threw that at some little kids. Some old guy yelled at us to throw some candy and Emily says “Okay!” and threw Nerds at the ground in front of him. Not boxes of Nerds, but open candy. It was great. There’s a small video clip of all this on my Facebook, which I will attempt to embed below, but I’m not sure if my privacy settings will allow it.

I think it was also Wednesday that we drove to Portland, sans kids, and saw the Mountain Goats. It was a pretty small venue and we were just 20 feet or so from the stage. Was an awesome concert. On either side of the stage there were giant flatscreen TVs and while waiting for the show to start I tried turning one on with my keychain remote and it worked. On the screen there was a Verizon page that allowed people to text words and pictures onto the screen, which people immediately started doing. I managed to get a few messages on it myself before the show started.

As the show started, the TV was turned off, but I kept turning it back on during the show. Since the lights were down, it was really bright on the crowd. The staff eventually decided to shut off the Verizon feed, so that the screen was black when I turned it on. But after about 30 seconds of blackness, the screen would turn bright blue, flooding the crowd with light. It was enough to make everyone squint. I kept doing it in between songs, hoping the Mountain Goat guy would say something about it, but he never did. Finally the staff cut the power to the TV so I couldn’t do it anymore. I resisted the urge to make my way to the other side of the auditorium to start in on that TV. I need to get a more powerful TV-B-GONE.

A lot of other things happened throughout the week, mostly kid-related. We took the kids to Wonderland (the nickel arcade) and to see 2012 and some other miscellaneous things that I can’t remember. On Saturday we went to see The Pixies in Eugene, which was really great. They played the entire album Doolittle, in order. Halfway through the lady announces, “Okay, here’s side B.” Then after that they played a bunch of stuff I didn’t recognize.

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