Monday, June 30, 2008

Treading Water

While Wifey was fighting her way into the DMV to finally get her South Carolina license (so she can get unemployment benefits) I went to the pool to get a work out and cool off after packing all day. My back was hurting and I was hoping to stretch my back out. I was wandering back and forth across the pool, rotating my back, and water jogging. I looked like an idiot.

It occurred to me that no matter what public pool you're at, there are always the same people. There's always the parent that brings like 18 kids with them, but doesn't watch them. They usually sit on the side sunbathing or reading, while their kids take over the pool. When I did start swimming, I had to bob and weave in and out of kids splashing, wrestling, and throwing noodles everywhere. I wanted to choke each and everyone of the kids ruining my laps, but again it was a public pool. They were having fun and childhood is short.

Another person is the overly tanned, slightly burned person, laying out in the sun. There's a reason why skin cancer numbers are on the rise, its these people. In the winter they hit the tanning booths and turn their skin orange. In the summer they lay out all day. They might look tan, but definitely not attractive. There were two of these types of people, turning their skin to leather.

The third person, is the one that has no shame even though they should. The thing is, today this person was hitting on me. She was about forty five or fifty years old, was well overweight, (not quiet obese) had from what I could tell had at least one child, and had nasty burned skin peeling. I could tell she had been out of the dating game for a while because she approached with, "Do you live in the apartment complex?" I said "yes" and she excitedly said, "Me too." This would've been a valid question and response if it were some sort of coincidence that we lived in the same complex had it not been for the fact that we were currently in said apartment complexes pool. Unless I was an outsider that went out of my way to swim in this pool, I lived here. She pointed to her building which was on the other side of the complex from where I lived and continued talking in her high pitched, sorority girls, flirty, excited voice as if our lives were one large similar coincidence.

The ladies kid eventually jumped in the pool and lost one of her arm floaties causing half of her body to fall below the water level. The mom broke off my conversation to grab her toddler and then yell at the toddler all the way out of the gates. My first though was, "Am I this attractive and approachable that this lady felt comfortable enough to approach me with obvious intentions?" Then almost immediately my brain jumped the other way and I thought, "Am I I looking out of shape and old enough to be approached by ugly 45 year old moms?" I immediately picked up the pace doing twice as many laps, in double the amount of time, wanting desparately to tighten up enough to possibly fit into my own age group. I even resorted to doing push ups on the pool deck and vowed never to stray to this pool again without my wife in tow.

Him VS Her- A Classic Deathmatch

Sallie and I had the brilliant idea to have a joint blog where we comment on things in pop culture such as videogames, movies, TV shows, or even just observations about stupid things and people. Honestly if we had a website and a way to record a podcast, we would rather do that. Anyone who knows how to hook that up, lemme know. The combined blog effort will be void of spelling errors and will follow strict AP style, thanks to my copy editing wife, and will feature hilarious commentary thanks to my most awesomeness sense of humor. This blog is about to have its first post. You can't check it out here. We will try to update often.

Go here to read our first posting

If you want to get added to the automatic email service for that blog let me know and I'll add you. Any ideas of topics you wish for us to discuss, let us know. We're open for anything.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Advertisments... a new low

Tonight Sallie and I went to the theater to see "Wanted" (Which is a great comic adaptation movie, go see it if you don't mind cursing and obscene violence) and the advertisements before the movie were possible some of the worst I've ever seen.

First on the chopping block was an ad for the new season of "Saving Grace." Anyone that watches the show probably was excited when they saw their heroine (I'm assuming it was Grace, they didn't explain it) walking through a desert for thirty seconds until she comes upon a menacing looking Native American. They look each other in the eyes and then smile. End of advertisement. Like I said before, the fan base probably loved the ad, but they're going to watch the show anyway. The reason for having an ad in the first place is to convert new customers.

Next was ABC's newest golden egg laying goose called "Dirty Sexy Money." Yes, the title says it all. ABC ran a 45 second trailer of gorgeous looking, bad actors rubbing on each other and expensive cars. Soft core porn will only bring in a certain crowd... and that certain crowd won't watch for long if there can't be nudity. I want to see the desperate higher ups at ABC that approved that piece of trash.

Third was a company that is notorious for horrible commercials. You might know their television ads from the close up on the "Vitamin Water" bottle while a guy with a megaphone screams at you to drink "Vitamin Water." Their theatrical debut featured an old Russian coach trying to get American athletes in shape by training them and making them drink their high calorie sugar water. (That's the Vitamin Water I'm referring to for those that didn't get it. Check the nutrition facts.) Eventually the athletes were able to overcome this angry Russian, essentially telling potential customers that drinking "Vitamin Water" will help you overcome the elderly... or perhaps drinking "Vitamin Water" will make you want to compete with the elderly.

All three of these commercials reminded me of a piece of graffiti I saw on the way back to Myrtle Beach. In the middle of nowhere South Carolina (literally like 100 miles from the nearest major city in the middle of the Smokie Mountains) scribbled in poor cursive, it merely said "Pretzel." I don't know who "Pretzel" is, but he trekked out into the middle of the woods to claim his "turf" where I'm sure the bare minimum of gang warfare happens. Essentially he preached to a crowd that either didn't care or didn't understand, and didn't even make his mark beautiful. My point is, the producers of "Saving Grace," "ABC," and "Vitamin Water" could've hired Pretzel to do the same job, and he would've done it for much cheaper. A can of spray paint might cost a couple bucks compared to the thousands of dollars spent to make the short adverts and then buy the space at the Cinemark movie theaters.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Human Re"sore"ces

Sallie had to fill out her "We're giving you the boot, please don't sue us" paperwork today. I, the loving and supporting husband I am, sat outside the HR department offices in a fairly comfy leather chair, playing Nintendo DS. I'm fairly sure to all those adults who passed by, I must've appeared to be 13 and waiting for my mom to feed me peanut butter sandwiches with the crust cut off.

Anyway I had the pleasure of briefly meeting the HR rep. She asked if I was Dan, and how the job search was going, and for some reason I thought answering her with the hurt puppy dog face saying, "I was laid off too, and can't find work" would somehow make this irritating situation disappear and the Storys would wake up on a bed of $500,000 in $1 bills.

After she left me to my touch screen gaming I started thinking about how awful of a job being the HR person would be. I don't know about the rest of you, but I kind of feel like its that part of church where you're supposed to shake hands with the people around you and introduce yourself or say "peace be with you." Its a great idea, and wishing someone peace is about the greatest thing you could wish for someone, but I always felt like it was forced. I was always more concerned with "Did that old man sneeze into his hand?" or "What if this person is a criminal?" The only reason I stuck my hand out to strangers I would more than likely never talk to again was because everyone else was doing it and I didn't want to be that jerk with my arms crossed, looking straight ahead, pretending like the priest was still saying something.

I actually always felt that church communities always felt really artificial and temporary. I don't really know why, but as soon as church was done, my main concern was getting home, not making friends. I never wanted to stay behind for the donut socials for the social part, gimme a snack cake with sprinkles on it in a to-go bag and let me be on my way. And I sure as heck didn't go to the carnivals for the friendly conversations, I wanted on the ferris wheel... not the normal one... the one that spins the cage upside down. The only reason I felt any community with my church was because of the organized sports leagues the Catholics had. Yes, us Catholics have at least that one thing on the rest of you. While you were organizing your third pot luck dinner of the month, I was tearing up the field in the Mayor's Cup final, screaming obscenities at those rival heathen churches.

Anyway, back to my original point. Being an HR person, to me, seems like one long church forced handshake. Keep that smile on your face and hope that you can wash your hands soon. I felt bad for her...

Until Sallie came out and said not only were we denied any sort of moving allowance from corporate, but the HR lady cut Sallie off, seemed to take offense that she was even being asked, and bluntly said, "You're getting no money." Then when Sallie told her how much it was going to cost to break our lease, the honorable HR rep said "Why don't you just leave without telling them?" Oh, that's smart. Might've worked forty years ago before the age of computers. Let's just ruin our credit score by scamming out of our apartment complex who has been extremely accommodating thus far. I'm sure they won't come after us... they only have our social security numbers, phone numbers, and credit card numbers. I'm sure that won't bite us in the butt.

So, my empathetic feelings toward the HR rep were soon erased by shortness and stupidity. Perhaps by tomorrow I will have calmed down enough to chalk it up to her having a bad day, but as of right now, HR stands for Humanity Retarded, because she obvious has a humanity handicap.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

I've got nothing to write about

Sallie and I started packing some of our stuff up today, mentally taking note of what we can throw away once we're finished living here. Its kind of sad, things we once were so into now end up in the trash pile because we don't feel like moving them and we can't sell them on Ebay. I guess it shows how fragile a human's love for material objects can be.

The local brewery released their new summer flavor of beer today and had a tap party for members of their club. Sal and I are members, and it appears most of Myrtle Beach's retirement community also are. We witnessed so many, very drunk old people. It was kind of hilarious. The beer was pretty good. We each got two free drinks, lots of free appetizers, and ate a real meal. Came home around 8, watched a television show, and then decided to fall asleep for the night. Problem is, when you have that much beer and food in you, you tend to sweat a lot. This proved to be an issue. I woke up feeling like I was 110 degrees around 10. I also felt disgustingly full. I went for a swim to cool down and now feel alright. The real kicker is, I took a two hour nap and now can't fall asleep, or even feel tired.

My Xbox has officially died. It lasted a little over five and half months. After spending thirty minutes on the phone with an Indian with a lisp, I finally got him to send a repair box. Microsoft is going to fix it for free, but it will be six weeks before I have it back. Meanwhile my Wii is on Ebay, and I have no job for a PS3, and I only have one or two computers games. Essentially my videogame life will be contained on the DS for the next two months.

I've been watching a show called "Dead Like Me" for the past two hours. The premise is a slacker, apathetic girl is hit with a toilet seat from a space station and killed. Upon death, she discovers she is a grim reaper. Thus far the show is decent. It touches on deeper meanings and inner conflict of "can I take the soul of a little girl or why does the criminal get away and the innocent person dies" but it doesn't quite give enough for me to justify telling anyone to check it out.

Another show we've been watching lately is Dexter, which I will recommend. Its about a forensic, CSI, type officer with a catch... he's a serial killer. This means he knows how to cheat the system and work everything. Very interesting. It'll pull you in. Netflix it, and we'll talk about it.

Well I suppose I was just trying to fill my boredom well into the night, but I'm out of stuff to write about, and I don't like just blogging for the sake of blogging much. I'll see most of you in a couple weeks back in St. Louis.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Summer Bathroom Reading List

I figured its time to lighten the mood in these blogs. As of late they've been filled with ridiculous adventures, censored curse words, and fire breathing dragons. Today I will chronicle great bathroom reads.

First on my list is Nick Horby's "Songbook" which is a collection of essays about pop music since the seventies all the way to about four years ago. Horby obviously knows much about music (he wrote High Fidelity) and he has an interesting take on the industry and formulas accompanying pop stars. The chapters are about three-ten pages long. Some might require several toilet sessions to finish.

Second on the list is either Kevin Smith book, "My Boring Ass Life" or "Silent Bob Speaks." Both books are essentially a collection of his blogs. These are both recommended for the heavy sitters. (I said "sitters" not the other one. I'm still trying to keep this blog PG) Silent Bob Speaks is written more in an essay form and flows a little bit easier. He talks about his man crush on his good friend Ben Affleck, his love for Jersey, and his hate for Reese Witherspoon. Although the chapters are a bit longer, something like 10 pages on average, you'll want to continue to sit on the pot to finish it. "My Boring Ass Life" is much long, give a lot more information about the man, but it also follows him day by day and sometimes you just don't have anything to say. You might get a chapter that essentially says "I woke up, played online poker, went to bed." Let me tell you the sweet irony of reading about him taking a dump while you are. And if you are a heavy sitter, his stories about his anal fissure will definitely have you forcing your business out to get off the pot.

Third is this series of books call "Weird.... (Insert State Here)" where a local author of that state travels around looking for strange houses, crazy lawn ornaments, hauntings, farmers who claim to be abducted by UFOs, abandoned houses, and strange monuments. I've read "Weird Illinois" and "Weird Carolinas" and I must say Illinois is a much stranger and interesting place. Each story is about 1-3 pages long which allow plenty of time to finish. The large pictures of the anomalies will cause you to pause, and enjoy what you're looking at.

Comic books are also a great read. I suggest some anthonlogy of a Sunday comic strip like "The Far Side," "Zits," "The Boondocks," or my favorite "Calvin and Hobbes." Calvin and Hobbes will leave you laughing while you do your business, which might slow down the process, but trust me its well worth it.

Finally this young up and comer Dan Story I hear is pretty good. His stuff is rare and pricey, but his humor and insight will make you want to poop twenty times a day. His witty characters and top ten lists will keep you coming back for more.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Like a Wagon Wheel

After all the traveling I've done in the past year I've noticed a couple things.

Your travel partner is one of the toughest choices you can make. For the most part Sallie is a good travel compatriot. She's a conversationalist, she doesn't have to pee every 10 minutes (except for yesterday), and she can take a 14 hour shift in a car. Besides her some times questionable musical taste and her random coma's she falls into, Sallie is a great travel buddy. I am also a great travel buddy. I'm goal oriented so I'm wanting to hit the destination as quickly as possible. It takes a while for me to complain for real. My only downfall is I can sometimes get car sick. this also helps people because as long as I'm in the front seat watching the road, I'm fine, which means I normally volunteer to drive.

What I noticed about states I've traveled through:
Impressed by: Tennessee is actually a beautiful state and fairly easy to drive through even though its about 1,400 miles long. For about 50 miles though, the state is one lane for construction purposes even though there wasn't one construction crew on the side of the road. The state has rolling hills and the foothills of the smokies.

Missouri has actually been missed by me. I never thought I would say it, but the state is fairly solid. It prepares you to live anywhere with its extreme seasons. You have the complete redneck, preparing for the race war, machine gun totting idiots living among the people that make fun of them. (I'm the second type of person before Al Sharpton starts yelling racist.)

States I was underwhelmed/ hated:
Even though I've tried to convince more than a couple friends to move to South Carolina, Sallie losing her job has opened our fantasy world eyes to realize that Myrtle Beach is ugly as sin and the state is horrible to drive through. Half the state is backroads that Googlemaps haven't quite figured out, while the other half is the exact same highway with trees on either side.

Our neighbor Illinois can be burned to the ground. Besides Chicago and Highland (I think I only like this area because I have friends there and you can drink rum from buckets) the rest of Illinois is horrible flooded backroads where the deer roam free ( destroy your car) or there are hundreds of miles of farm land to bore your way through.

North Carolina tries to be Tennessee and South Carolina rolled into one. Its a highway running through the Smokies with trees on either side. I didn't hate it, but it was more of something I had to pass through.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's like the Odyssey... only longer

So this week as everyone knows has been a bit rough. Sallie lost her job. She hit a pole at a gas station with the car. Our lease is going to eat up her entire severance package. You know, normal stuff. Well we decided that we should pack up some of our stuff and make the drive back to Missouri to attend a friends marraige. That way we aren't burning money out of boredom in Myrtle Beach while all our friends are working. This is the story of that trip home all the way up until this morning.

We spent most the night Tuesday night cleaning stuff, making it cat proof, packing boxes, and clearing out Sallie's desk at her former work. We went to be around three, but neither of us really slept. There was this anxious, nervous, excitedness (plus my back was screaming in pain) that cause us to maybe each get four good hours of sleep. I woke up, loaded the car, got the oil changed and on the road we went. We were making great timing all the way into a South Carolina national forest at the base of the Smokie Mountains when we felt like the car was vibrating a bit violently. We pulled over, inspected the wheels, and found nothing wrong. I get back on the road and a loud, metal getting shreded sound filled the car. I pulled over again and half our tire has been shreded. We must have picked up some sort of tool that was about eight inches long and was the diameter of a fat pencil. The thing spun around the wheel well tearing the back corner bumper off, scraping the wheel well, and then tearing the metal on the front part of the frame while tearing the outer ten or so layers of the tire off. We found a piece of whatever it was we rolled over lodged deep into the tire.

I prayed that there was a spare and after unloading all of our luggage and boxes from the back of the car, found the spare... but it was flat. I wrestled with one of the lug nuts for the better part of an hour because it was on the tire so tight. We called everyone we knew for advice, only to get decent advice from my brother and Sallie's father. Eventually with all of my weight on the tool after hammering the crap outta the nut, it came loose. We had no way to get out of our situation without putting the flat tire on and making our way to the next rest stop, which thank God was only a mile away. At the rest stop we discovered a Wal Mart that was supposed to have a tire center was about ten miles up the road. By this point we'd lost two and a half hours of our travel time and it was 4:30. I made Sallie call the Wal Mart to make sure they were open past five before we got there only to find out that this Wal Mart did not have a tire center. I pulled off at the first gas station I saw, figuring its time to suck it up and call a tow truck only to have a Goodyear Tire building appear out of nowhere. It was owned by one man that you couldn't understand, but I didn't care. He fixed our tire in about fifteen minutes and only charged us for the tire.

We got back on the road wanting to just get out of South Carolina. The next issue that came up was our directions from Google maps. We were looking for exit 32b in South Carolina so we could start heading to Tennessee. Problem is I passed it. The next exit so we could turn around was at exit 14, almost twenty miles down the road. I turned around and low and behold no exit 32b. We cruise by where it should be only to find the next exit to turn around on that side wasn't until mile marker 42. When we came back we again couldn't find it. I pulled over, grabbed the directions and in small print that didn't show up so well on the map it says "Enter North Carolina." Essentially we had to drive another 100 miles before we were at this exit 32b we were supposed to take.

Tennessee was surprisingly friendly besides the amount of one lane roads we ended up driving through. It wasn't until South Illinois that we ran into trouble again... or rather it ran into us.

We were directed to take some back country roads and as we entered them Sallie says "watch out for deer." As she says this I look left and there is a fairly large doe running head down trying to ram us. She would've hit about where the front wheel was, but I swerved in time and she smashed her head on our mirror, breaking the glass, banded her head on the door denting it and smeared deer snot all over the side of the car. I spend the next five minutes breathing hard, honking my horn, and flashing my blinders down the road scaring away any wildlife.

Its now about 3:30 in the morning our time. We've been working on getting home (an 11 hour drive) since 9 a.m. running on little sleep from the night before. We're sweaty, tired, and fed up. Google maps decides to fail us again on these back roads. We spend almost an hour trying to navigate to their route only to find that some of the streets they want us to turn on to either don't have signs or don't exist. Sallie finds a way on my atlas, and we eventually get home at what was 4:30 eastern time. I was so tired I started seeing shadow men and phantom animals out of my peripheral vision.

We sleep like dead people... until 8:30 this morning. I get a call from my boss. I was supposed to work all next week for a sweet $25 an hour to help pay some of our bills. My boss informs me that yesterday, while Sallie and I were constantly toying with death, the schoold distict dropped funding for the school I taught at. This means not only would I not have a job in the fall like I was supposed to, but I also can't work at all next week. So, two stories in one family were both laid off this week. Our next plan is to move back to St. Louis, live cheaply with my mom, and try to find real jobs again, to once again start paying off debt.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Throwing a rock at the hornets nest

The Sun News is just one paper in a larger corporation called McClatchy. McClatchy owns such papers as "The Miami Herald," "The Charlotte Observer,""The Kansas City Star," and spread as far as the "Anchorage News." Within this corporation, there are many failing papers. (Actually is country wide for every industry right now) By failing I mean papers that aren't hitting quite enough people or aren't selling as much advertising as needed to run what is quickly becoming the dead art of the newspaper. "The Sun News" however is one of the papers within this larger company that actually does make money. Essentially the paper pays for failing papers to stay in business.

Yesterday McClatchy restructured (Thats a fancy word they came up with for the press release to trick stock holders into thinking everything is OK) their business by cutting 1400 jobs. The job cuts weren't equally felt around the country. It seems that McClatchy did do one thing right and seemed to cut more staff at papers that weren't doing so well or papers that were already small. For instance, "The Sun News" in Myrtle Beach only had to cut back 3.6% of its workforce which roughly translates into about 9-10 jobs. Other papers such as "The Miami Herald" saw a 17% decrease in staff. Some papers weren't affected at all, like the D.C. branch which survived this round of cuts... well uncut. (

We all understand that sometimes businesses have to be cut in order to say some money. Honestly at any place of business there is at least one or ten people that should be fired. These are the types that constantly complain about their job, don't try to be friendly to co-workers, don't pull their weight, and I don't have to continue describing them because I know everyone of you is picturing that person right now. Cutting Sallie's job however makes no sense. I know for a fact (and I don't even work at the paper) that there were about five to ten other people in the newsroom that deserve to be fired and there are probably fifteen people that they could've done without more easily than the ones they cut. In all honesty, Sallie was probably the lowest paid person in the newsroom. What has the company saved by getting rid of her? Piece of mind I'm guessing. Some number cruncher probably saw a person with no seniority in a section of the newsroom that had six people working in it. The bosses see lay off happen, and they are happy without asking questions. The thing is, the copy desk was already stretched thin.

Now, I've alluded to these mysterious CEOs. Who are they? Here's a list with pictures of each of them.

Now excuse the language... but these guys all look like whiny, trust fund, assholes. (Miss Dickerson's name says it all.) The only guy in the bunch that looks like I would hang out with (yes judging a book by its cover) is Howard Weaver. I think its a brotherhood all bald men feel, especially when people like me and Howard look awesome with a shaved head.

Now that I've put names and faces on the higher ups lets look at a salary. Gary Pruitt got a nice 4.8% raise last year bringing his yearly salary up to a smooth 1.1 million dollars. This essentially means his raise was only like $52,800. (If I've done my maths right) That's not very much. I think Gary is worth much more than that. According to McClatchy's website in 1999 all the board members received 3.5% to 12% increase in their salaries. This means Gary must have only hit a couple of the many goals set forth by the committee for board members to get raises.

McClatchy has published on its website the salaries of all the board members from 1999. Mr. Pruitt was making a slap in the face $725,000 with a bonus of only $525,000. (No, you read that right, his bonus was around 75% of his already awesome salary) Gary's loyalty to the company is obvious here cause I know I wouldn't stay with a bonus that small. Everyone else on the board at this time were only making $360,000. Assuming that their percentage of pay increased the same as Gary's, most of the officers should be making around $532,800 now. With a conservative estimate, that means the board makes something around $5,000,000 a year with another couple million in bonuses. (Assuming the trend is the same as it was in '99)

So was Gary's meager $52,800 raise last year enough to motivate him to cut jobs, to save money, to get yet another raise. I mean that is the American dream isn't it. More money, more American. If we think about this in terms of the little people that are now jobless in the company, the raise Gary's buddies gave him last year essentially equals two Sallies. The bonus he got was worth somewhere around 10 other employees. Add in the bonuses of all the other board members and you just saved close to 25 (and these are high salary employees, this is probably closer to 50 jobs that were cut) jobs within your company. Now thats not a lot of jobs, but think about this. Some of the papers haven't lost money. Some are actually making money. (cough cough "The Sun News" cough) Why not put your bonuses toward keeping some of the papers going. Maybe put an ad campaign out about advertising with McClatchy papers. Hell, maybe they could even afford to upgrade the ancient software (and hardware for the most part) filling their building here in Myrtle Beach. Oh and those estimates are only taking into account the Senior officers, there's also a 14 person board of directors that I'm sure make a pretty penny as well. (Their pictures are in black and white which means their classier.

To me this seems like the classic example of the rich versus the poor. (As a disclaimer however, I know Sallie and I aren't poor, we're just poorer than the CEOS of McClatchy.) I feel that there are so many other ways they could've saved money before they did mass cuts across the company. The scary thing is the cuts they made had no real reason to them. They were seemingly random cuts and now the entire newsroom is on eggshells wondering who's next. Yes there are to be more cuts in the future... uh sorry... there will be more RECONSTRUCTION in the future. I truly worry about the friends I have made here and their positions' safety. They're going to have to work much harder longer weeks, and in a month they might find out the company is giving them the boot. If McClatchy actually believed their statement that they are defenders of the values of the community, then the board would've taken a wee pay cut to save some money and some jobs and also save the paper. (Yes in an effort to save more money, the paper here has been cut down a bit)

In conclusion I've probably not accomplished anything here with anyone that can change the situation. However, with my number crunching I hope that a couple of you at least got a bad taste in your mouth. The economy is in bad shape right now and lay offs are to be expected, but if the CEOs do nothing else with all of their money, pay someone to figure out that the economy is in a downturn and hiring someone for 5.5 months to pick up her life, significant other, and sick cat to come across the country the day after Christmas is not the best idea.

Where'd I get all my numbers and figures and fancy talk:
To read about Gary's raise last year

To read their ever so stagnant MNI Proxy Statement

Monday, June 16, 2008

Wii would like to sell

I'm selling my Wii. If anyone would like to buy it since its still so hard to find, make an offer. I can get close to $300 on ebay for it, but I would much rather make someone I know happy. Let me know by Wednesday please

Blue Monday

As of today at 9:00 A.M. Mrs. Sallie Story has been laid off. This means in the Myrtle Beach Story household there are two unemployed louses on society. Anyone know where I pick up my unemployment/welfare checks?

Its one of those things where you just feel so helpless and doubt yourself. You get the message that the boss wants to talk to you and for twelve hours you know what its about, but you convince yourself it could be something else. Your stomach is in knots, you don't really sleep, and you dress up nice for essentially your own funeral.

There was no rhyme and reason for Sallie's lay off. It appears to be the decision of some number cruncher because not only is the copy desk going to struggle now, but the two other people we know that got the ax were very important parts of the staff and had been with the company for many loyal years.

I've always had this fantasy, and I've had it since Noodles demoted me that everyone at the place of employment starts a Spartacus like revolution. One by one exhausted, underpaid newsroom folk stand on their old beaten up office chair saying to the boss "I am laid off." "No, I am laid off." One by one people leave while the boss gets the same look of helplessness imposed on Sallie earlier in the day. Then they urgently call Sal up and offer her more money... and a party with cake. (The food and perhaps the band) Everyone is invited back to their jobs and the boss packs up his/hers office and walks out quietly. Everyone laughs about it and enjoys a beer at Ron Jons.

In the end we aren't pissed at the paper. Maybe confused and frustrated, seeing how we picked up our life and moved across country for five and half months of employment. The job market here is worse off than most places, so we know we can't stay, which means we have to break our lease and take a penalty from them. We only recently found friends and started hanging out with them properly. And darn it, I just got a South Carolina license on Friday. For Christ's sake... I'm registered out here for three days before we're ready to leave again.

Anyway, at least temporarily we'll be moving back to Missouri and living under the protection of our folks. We're happy we get to see everyone again, but its hard to finally feel like you're making it as an adult only to have real adult like stuff happen. I know this is one of those things that twenty years from now we'll laugh about living at the beach for such a short time, and having to drive a mo-ped around as transportation, but can't we have that twenty years now, while we're young. I want to immediately start laughing about this.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

I Miss Being Tired?

Yes, the title of this blog would initially confuse or at least peak the curiosity of most. (That's what writers do, they pull you in with cryptic titles and first sentences. Worked didn't it?)

I've been unemployed for only one week and I have to say besides obviously the paycheck, I miss being tired. Its an unexplained claustrophobic feeling. I miss coming home from work and sitting in front of the television or Xbox, too tired to do anything else for a little while. Now I wake up when I wake up, sit in front of the TV waiting for Sallie to wake up. Watch some stuff with her until she goes to work and then I'm stuck in front of the television again. If you would've asked me if I would like this set up two weeks ago, I would've undeniably said yes!

The symptoms of this unemployment seem to be this need to get out of the apartment. However, everything I want to do outside the apartment requires money. We have ourselves a classic case of Catch 22 here. I also get these weird like greasy feeling sweats. I guess since I'm not doing anything to active my body has to force itself to sweat to get rid of toxins or something. I feel disgusting. I want to shower more now than I did when I was working. I also find that I get bored doing the things I normally would do after work. Videogames (unless playing with someone else) tend to bore me after about 45 minutes or so. Movies I can't only half pay attention to while I do other things. Reading... well I'm reading an awesome book called "How to be Good" by one of my favorite authors Nick Hornby, and I rarely finish a chapter in a sitting.

I have however put this extra energy to use. I've been getting a lot of writing done the past week. I'm almost to the point where I'm ready to send my "novel" off to some people whom I know will be honest about it and tear it apart.

I've also been working out everyday and have once again dropped my body down to a good 194lbs. (I was at 213 right before I graduated) I'm feeling fit, my fat is disappearing, but I'm also giving myself more energy, which in turn creates more of these problems.

And lastly, I've finally had the time and energy to talk to old friends and family more often on the phone. Two weeks ago there was about a 50% chance I would turn my phone on vibrate and leave it in another room only because I was too exhausted to deal with the mental discipline it takes me to focus on the phone conversation. Now I'm catching up with people and its wonderful. The only thing that is going to come back and bite me in the butt is how I'm fairly sure Sal and I have used all if not most of our months minutes by now. Our bill will be outrageous. So please, no phone calls during peak hours for the next couple weeks. Together we can beat the phone companies extra charges.

So after one week of what feels like constant job searching, I've heard nothing back from anyone. I don't expect to this soon, but I am starting to get stir crazy enough to where I've considered working at the one place I hate more than all the others... Wal MART! (Cue dramatic music, and you might want to gasp in fear while reading it)

We'll see what happens. I'll update you all.

Have a wonderful Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I'm selling some of my games and a couple books and DVDs on Ebay starting Monday. I thought I'd give you all the chance of a lifetime to scoop some stuff up at a discount price. (or what its going for on Ebay, minus the shipping cost and rounded down)

Starting off Xbox 360 Games:
Grand Theft Auto IV $50
Lost Odyssey $45
Gears of War $28
Project Gothem Racing $10
Marvel Ultimate Alliance/Forza Motosport Racing 2 $15

Nintendo Wii Games:
Super Smash Brother Brawl $40 (Highest rated Wii game currently)
Super Paper Mario $25
I'm considering selling Super Mario Galaxy for $45 so if anyone is interested lemme know

High Fidelity $5
1408 $5

A couple books on Mythology are up for grabs if anyone is interested

I will be posting these items on Monday afternoon/night. Let me know by then if you're interested.
Also if anyone has something they would like posted by me, I will do it for a small couple dollar fee. Only people who will mail their items within two days of payment, because this reflects on me.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Feeling a surge of rebellion

How do people turn themselves into shots heard round the world?

Yes, Gavrilo Princip literally shot a gun and assassinated the archduke Franz Ferdinand to start World War I. That obviously is the historical example of the shot heard round the world.

First off I suppose you must decide what it is you wish to accomplish? Do you want to fight for the poor, or perhaps a race of people, or victims of a genocide?

What about the Clash? Simonon crushing his bass guitar against a stage in New York on the cover of London Calling has been ingrained into the minds of millions. Something about that image captures a generation of pissed off youths. Joe Strummer had one goal in mind, education. He knew that music reaches an incredibly wide audience of willing listeners. Whether its "Rock the Casbah" in response to the banning of rock music in Iran or "Know you Rights" where the guitar rips a heavy hitting chord accompanying Strummer screaming "This is a public service announcement... with guitars."

According to him, the three rights are as follows
  • The right not to be killed (unless done by a policeman or an aristocrat).
  • The right to food money (provided you are willing to submit to harassment and humiliation).
  • The right to free speech (as long as you're not dumb enough to actually try it).
That to me is a shot heard round the world.

What about Maya Angelo and Tupac Shakur? People think they are in two very different classes, but are they? Maya Angelo wrote the poem "Still I Rise" about the unfair nature of stereotyping not only as an African American, but was a woman. She doesn't care what people say or think about her. She just smiles and continues on, cause she knows she isn't just a woman, or an African American, she's an educated African American woman, and I can't think of a more powerful combo. Her ability to let the stupid stuff roll off her shoulders is a trait most people lack I feel. I've included an exert below.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs? Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Then you have Tupac Shakur, thug, gangster rapper, and all around criminal. But he was an educated gangster. In "Changes" he pleads that we try to change this hate.

I see no changes all I see is racist faces
Misplaces hate makes disgrace to races
We under I wonder what it takes to make this
One better place, let's erase the waster
Take the evil out the people they'll be acting right
Because both black and white is smokin' crack tonight
And only time we chill is when we kill each other
It takes skill to be real, time to heal each other

Both these people have similar messages. Both of them are fighting for change. They're shooting and hoping that people hear this shot in China, England, Canada, Zimbabwe, and America.

Before I fill more and more pages with examples, I'd like to just make my point. Change comes from people willing to fight, willing to educate, to the point of death. It's hard to fire a shot heard round the world without someone or some ideal dying. This is part of the reason I want to be a teach so much. Actually this is the entire reason I want to be a teacher.

Instead of being the shot, I'd rather turn myself into the gun shooting those shots that echo into the hearts of the world.

Jurassic Park

Sal and I had a very relaxing day cut off from the outside world yesterday. The highlight being watching Jurassic Park.

I forgot how absolutely amazing that movie is and I don't feel I've given it enough props in the past. I remember seeing it in theaters and the moment Dr. Grant (who I realized last night could pass off for Indiana Jones) sees the brontosaurus eating from the trees. With the theater speakers blaring the music and thundering clads of the dinosaur's feet crashing to the ground after getting an exceptionally high branch, you can't help but get goose bumps. Or what about the part where Dr. Sattler sticks her hands into a five foot tall pile of stegosaurus poop. Or when the lawyer runs to hide in the bathroom and Malcom says, "When you got to go, you go to go."

I realized two other things whilst watching it last night. First, Samuel L. Jackson was in the movie as the computer tech. I've never in the fifty or so times I've watched the movie noticed he's the one that says, "Hold on to your butts" as he kicks the power off.

The second thing I realized is the park ranger is the man. I wish he would get to use his combat shotgun against the raptors, but he's too in love with them. All he can utter is one of my favorite lines, "clever girl."

Anyway, we have JP fever and are promptly going to move the other two movies up in our Netflix cue. I anticipate the forth one with a renewed vigor. (Yes there will be a forth one, its currently in the works)

Tomorrow I will turn my phone back on. Anyone that has calmed down and still wants to discuss drama can. If you don't talk to me within the next two days, I expect that any drama there once was has melted away, and life is good again.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Going underground

Just wanted to let everyone know that my phone is going off for the next several days. I'm dropping out of the public eye. Since Thursday to today there has been tons of drama and stress and irritations that honestly make me feel like I'm in college again. (Which originally made me feel like I was in highschool, when made me feel like I was in middle school and so on) I'm not mad at anyone. I'm not trying to run from anything. I just need to take a couple days off to recoup, write, and come back with a fresh slate.

If you need to get ahold of me you can email me. I won't guarantee a response, but I will at least read it. If there is an emergency, which I know there could be and worried mothers would immediately ask that question, I will leave my old phone on. This phone is still in service for a couple more days so in the event of emergency, and only in the event of an emergency, call that phone. 636-578-5327

I will talk to you all in a couple days.

Friday, June 6, 2008

I am the most popular teacher at Lighthouse

Today we had our year end awards ceremony at Lighthouse Care Center. I made out awards to some of the kids like "best performance," "best improvement," "most supportive," and for one kid "typing beast." (He started the semester at about 30 words per minute and ended with 83WPm.)

I didn't know it but I ended up having to give speeches. I just went up, made things up as I went along, and I killed. I had the entire place laughing. I couldn't even try to recite most of it to you right now. Maybe after a day or two of reflection.

The killer part of the day though was when the kids presented awards. None of the teachers knew they were making them, they just did it on their own. My obliviousness showed when I found all the awards had been printed on my computer, during my class period. I had just assumed it was another teach printing them out.

Anyway, I was almost in tears when they called my name out. I was actually under a table trying to fix some wires and I heard my name, totally unexpected, and my head just kind of popped up and looked around frantically for a second and then my natural reaction was to throw a fist pump into the air. Why did I throw a fist pump into the air in response to my award? I don't know, it just felt right. I even heard someone say in the background, "man, he really does steal the show." Anyway, in two and a half short months I won the "Most Popular Teacher Award." I was so happy. Its things like that, that make me want to go back next year.

I will be framing that award so you all can see it when you come and visit.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Loved Monroe, hated Castro, and was too cool for school

Today was I was looking at one of those standard school posters that had all the official painted portraits of all the presidents since Washington's wooden teeth remained hidden behind his lips. Most of them were stiff, rich, old white men. Most of them stand up, in their straight I haven't had fun since I sold my soul poses. A couple took seats like Tyler, (probably because he was just as bored by his presidency as the rest of us) Cleveland, (because of that morbid obesity thing) and Franklin Roosevelt. (Because of that darn nuisance called Polio) Then you have Lincoln who's sitting down, but being classy about it. He's got the hand on the chin thinking about freeing the slaves and pretty much being the man. One stood out more than the other though. The cool Catholic playboy John F. Kennedy. See left.

Look at him. He doesn't even care that someone is painting him. He's just like "whatever. The Soviets want to go at it? I'll go knife to knife, nuke to nuke with you freezing communist bearded freaks. This is America! Don't mess with me, SON!"

Well... I'm not really sure why I was thinking about that today, but I couldn't help but look at all the portraits. Some didn't fit the president at all. Nixon for instance should be holding a bloody knife and a dead puppy. Instead he's holding some generic important document. Then Clinton had his portrait done after his hair went white. Where's that fun loving, cordial drinking president that brought the economy into the positive for the first time in... well I think ever. Then you have good ole Thomas Jefferson and James Madison who both had George Clinton (I'm assuming of the Parliament Funkadelic) as vice president... yet I'm not getting any funk flavor from their portraits.

Anyway, thoughts on your favorite presidential portraits are most welcome. Here's a good listing of all of them.

Oh wikipedia how I love thee

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

My Trip to the Zoo with Criminals

Today we went to the zoo for a school field trip. Surprisingly most the kids were well behaved.

Funniest part of the day I think was this smart ass kid that I had to escort to the restroom. (Since I was the only male staff I had restroom duty all day) Two or three kids went through and one was still in there obviously pooping. One of the kids (Kid O, I'll explain that one next) started making fun of kid P (I'll call him that for future stories. Just remember Kid Poop) for his ability to poop in the most disgusting places. Kid P is normally a quiet person, but something about the fresh air woke his mind and he shot back with a "we all sh*t at Lighthouse. Any public bathroom is a step up." Kid O just laughed and said "Word" and walked out. Then it was just me and Kid P. There was dead silence for about 5 seconds. Then I hear giggling coming from the stall and Kid P says, "Mr. Dan, there's a black snake in here." He started dying, I lost control, and after he washed his hands I had to high five him for that.

Now, Kid O's story. I call him Kid O because he decided it would be funny to throw his apple from his lunch to the king orangutan. Guess what? He was right. Although you're not supposed to feed the animals outside food I couldn't help but look away as he threw a second one. This zoo had one of those old style wire link fence cages. The apple wouldn't fit between the links. The baboon nibbled bites out of it, spinning the apple until it was small enough to fit through the links. He then chomped it up in one bite. Then the orang followed Kid O around the perimeter. Kid O thought it was great. He started rapping to the primate and wouldn't you know it, that orangutan bobbed his head up and down to the beat.

Next story involved a Lion and a Lioness. There was no one kid involved in this one, so I will just have to call them all Group L on this one. So you can get literally within three feet of the lions if they come to the front of the cage. The lioness roared deep enough to make your lungs tighten up. Then all the kids started roaring and yelling back at her. I look right above their heads and see a sign that says "Don't irritate me, I may spray you." Assuming spray meant pee on you, I took about 9 steps back and told the kids to stop and back off unless they wanted to smell like lion pee the rest of the day. About half of them listened.

Good ole' Kid P tried to stick his finger in every pen that said "Don't Bite." It was funny, until he was sticking his shirt through the Mountain Goat pen. Then I essentially had to poke him onto each exhibit.

The last story I have is one of justicely delicious irony. One of the hardest, toughest, most thuggilicious kids in the program wore all yellow to the zoo. Granted he didn't know he was going to the zoo, but immediately he started worrying that he was going to get attacked by animals because of his bright colors. I told him not to worry, but as soon as we entered a peacock started following us. This kid hid behind me, pulled his shirt off, handed it to me and asked if I would hold it until we passed all the wild peacocks. I thought he was going to cry. I took a peacock feather from the zoo and next time he gets out of line in my class, I'm just going to put the feather on the desk in front of him. Just to let him know that I have dirt that could make his stay at lighthouse very uncomfortable.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Lots of tech stuff

First off, as most of you know now, I have a South Carolina phone number now and a sweet new phone. It's green and has one of those slide out keyboards. Surprisingly enough it was only $50. Sallie wants my phone over her Blackberry. She thinks its cooler and its a hell of a lot cheaper. (Well, hers would've been cheap had the rebate gone through)

Now onto how I wasted and have been wasting my life. First, let me explain why I would let things get to this point. Not only have I been busting my butt at work, but every break I get I'm on careerbuilder looking for a job. I come home from work and I work my Sun news job for a half hour, jump on Careerbuilder, Monster, classified ads, and Craigslist all desperately look for some employment. My back has been in intense pain for about four days and I haven't slept a good night any of those nights. I woke up this morning literally looking like a zombie, dark eyes and pale face, and for a brief moment my brain said awesome, but then it realized it had never fallen asleep and started cursing me and my back out. Yes, my mind has a mind of its own. Don't ask how, it just has a duel core processor. (Anyone who gets that is a fellow tech nerd, and I thank you for continually reading my blogs) Those are the reasons for what I've about to tell you. Anyone that is a non-gamer won't understand.

I've been literally playing videogames for 6-7 hours straight a night until Sal comes home, when we watch a movie and I somewhat pass out. Now, 6-7 hours is really nothing for a true gamer. We've all had those 10 hours sessions (Allan, I'm ePointing at you) where we play until 4 in the morning eating pizza, BBQ, chips, and soda. However, I'm trying to force myself to finish games that aren't fun anymore. Tonight, I came home from dinner with Sallie at 7:30 and sat down to play "Lost Odyssey" (The massive 4 disk game I talked positively about before) and just finished 5 minutes ago at 12:35. Its not because I wanted to keep playing it. Its because they wouldn't give me a save point. And because I hate not beating games so I trudge through this poop swamp of a Role Playing Game.

Now let me explain why I'm trooping through a couple of not so great games right now. As stated before, I hate to leave games unfinished. However, I need money. I need money to pay off our TV. I also need money for one of the greatest gadgets for a gamers health... WiiFit. Yes it has gotten to the point that I must be tricked into exercising via Videogame. For those of you who don't know, Nintendo has created an amazing exercise program for their already physical Wii system. It essentially is one of the most amazing scales on the consumer market. Sallie likes to tell me I'm an overhyping fanboy, but it has been stated that outside of the doctor's office or some sort of science lab that measures things, this is the most accurate scale. It supposedly can tell if you're holding a glass of water from one time to the next. It also must ask if you're wearing shorts or pants when you get on because it'll throw its readings off. The game that comes with the balance board has over 40 activities in yoga, muscle building, and aerobic activities. It sets up an exercise program for you, tells you if you're over weight, stores your body mass index, and does all kinds of cool things. The Nintendo editors at IGN (entertainment site) have been working out for 15 days and one of them has lost 16.9 lbs. Don't believe me, read it for yourself. ( So yes, I do need this piece of equipment to keep me in shape. Sad, but true.

Other than that, today has been a high school flashback day. I've been listening to Blink 182 and playing Tomb Raider in between cursing "Lost Odyssey." If anyone wants to ship me hardcore pain medicine for my back or lots of money to alleviate either of my pains, I would love you more than any of the others.