Thursday, June 25, 2009

Two weeks of pedding across the city

For those of you getting Moped envy, (Allyn) let me share with you some of the ridiculous parts of driving one of these.

First off, at work there is a stoplight to let you out of the garage. This stop light works on a sort of pressure plate. My moped isn't heavy enough to set this pressure plate off. I have to park, get off the moped, walk over to the crosswalk button, run back to the moped, knock the kickstand up, and drive off while all the angry cars stuck at the light scoff at me.

Second, because I'm not in a car people use it as an open forum to talk to me.

First time: "Dude where's your helmet?" I explained the nice apparent surfer that I just got the moped and haven't been able to purchase a helmet yet.

Second time: "Where'd you get that? I aint seem one of them before. That's neat." I answered him nicely, but then noticed that next to me was parked another moped, driving down the other lane was a moped, and two blocks from where we were was a moped dealership. I want to ask him, "How do you drive with your eyes closed?"

Third time: "Aye, you hear Michael Jackson is dead?" Well yes, and it's sad, but just because I don't have a steel frame around me that means we should converse at this stop light.

Then, not only do people talk to you, but those arseholes that pump their music beyond sane decibels and annoy the hell out of you in the car. Well its much worse when you're on a moped. When you give the person the dirty eye, they smile and turn it up.

I like the moped so far, but other people have no respect for 49ccs of raw power.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Royal Rumbles and Mopeds

I've been riding the moped for about a week now and I have to say it usually puts me in a pretty good mood before work. I guess its just the pure touch of the sun to my skin that I honestly don't ever get anymore.

Monday, the first day I had to ride the moped to work, obviously has to be pouring ran from the heavens. I didn't think it was going to be so bad, so I threw on an extra jacket and took off. Turns out, even when only going 35-40 mph, rain feels like piercing needles when it hits your eyes. The jacket did nothing except soak water into my work shirt. All day long, I was wet.

Tuesday: I woke up a bit earlier to check the weather situation. I figure if its really bad I can walk to work with an umbrella and at least not be wet all day. The weather was cloudy, but not really doing much. So I sat down and had a big bowl of Cheerios and worked out. I hopped on the moped, got around the corner, and saw a bolt of lightning streak across the sky. Rain fell as one giant wall on me and again I ended up being soaked for most of the day. At least this time I wore sunglasses to protect my eyes.

The rest of the week went smoothly. It was a little hot at times, but didn't feel like it as long as I was in motion. I think the moped will work out.

Tonight I hosted the Royal Rumble BBQ. Basically a bunch of us got together for BBQ and watching old late 80s early 90s WWF Royal Rumbles. We screamed at the screen, cheered for our favorites, and made fun of some of the horrible things the WWF tried to pull. All in all I think it was successful. At least the two Hickles passing out during the events means it was at least somewhat successful. I guess we'll have to see how they feel when they wake up in the morning.

As for me, I booted everyone out around 11:30, cleaned up all the party, cleaned myself, and logged onto the internet for the first time today to give everyone this, my gift, my blog.

Anyway, its time to go to bed now.

Peace, love, and empathy

Monday, June 15, 2009

Surviving the Pit

It was 5pm when I pulled into the muddy Pop’s parking lot. The sun was hanging in the sky with about 2 hours of sunlight left creating a gorgeous silhouette of the outdoor stage.

I stared at my ticket asking myself if this was going to be worth it. Rancid wasn’t even the headliner. Either way, I stepped out of the car and entered the venue by myself taking a comfortable position stage center about four people back.

The last time I saw Rancid was my birthday two years earlier at one of the last Mississippi Nights shows I was to see. Last year I was supposed to see them again in mid-June in Myrtle Beach, but somehow getting back to St. Louis became priority and I sold my ticket on eBay so we could take off.

I didn’t know how long of a wait I had before the Riverboat Gamblers took the stage, but my favorite pastime is picking people out of the crowd.

At every concert there are several types of people:

-Joe Beer/Smoke- This person either slams 15 beers in the middle of the crowd and gets pissed once the music starts and they spill everywhere or they smoke like a chimney making it impossible to breath in the close quarters. Usually scream “Whew!” a lot.

-Fat and or tall guy- No matter how tall you are, a guy four inches taller always ends up in front of you. Then to the side there is always the overweight guy that starts sweating before the show and will inevitably want to try to crowd surf, killing people in his wake.

-Shirtless guy- Opposite of you from the fat guy is the guy that thinks its cool that he takes off his shirt to show off his freshly shaved chest and trendy Coy Fish/Tribal/Kanji tattoos. No matter how hard you try to get away, this guy always comes back to you like a magnet.

-The “I’m hardcore” posers- These people are the ones that come to punk shows with The Clash t-shirts, sleeveless jean jackets with 14,000 anti-authority/obscure band patches, and talks about how they liked the band before they sold out and want to hear nothing but songs from their first cassette tape that only 15 people had.

-Highschool person- Then there’s always that one person that you went to high-school with that you didn’t really know, but they always want to come up and relive memories that you didn’t have together.

So how long was my wait? About two hours.
With these people all around me how long did it feel? Like an eternity.

The Riverboat Gamblers came on around 7pm and really surprised me at how great they were live. I made a mental note to check out some of their music later on.

Finally Rancid came on stage and blew… my… friggin’… mind.
Burning through songs that covered their entire 20 year catalogue, the ground became an ever changing organism. Strangers bounced off each other, hugged, sang, and jumped up and down without any weirdness. It was natural.

After every song I thought to myself, “I’m probably too old from this. I should get out.” Then Rancid would pull me back in with another song.

I saw comrades in the mosh pit leave one by one until by the end there were only about a half dozen of the original punks dancing around like idiots. I felt proud that even though I have a bum knee and am 24 years old I can still outlast most 16 year olds in the mosh pit. It was a sense of pride to come home that night with ears ringing and bruises forming singing with my hoarse voice “Ruby ruby ruby ruby soho…”

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Scooting into Greatness

I haven't really updated since the tragic arm hair burning of last week, but trust me much has happened.

A summarized version of what we've gone through in 1.5 weeks

by Dan Story

Sallie's job decided to terminate everyone's contracts and make them reapply for the same job they already have. After causing much unnecessary stress among all the employees (and a much unnecessary drinking problem among most of them) they had their re-interviews, and after much evidence to say Sallie was safe, she woke up early on Monday to drive 30 minutes to immediately be told she was being laid off. After biting her tongue and not saying what she really wanted to (and what I wished she would've said) she left with most of her self respect in tact, only telling them they should've called to save her the trip.

So, for the second time in a year, Sallie lost her job. She handled it much better this time and we knew we could survive on my salary for a while.

On Tuesday, thanks to Lacy, Sallie had an interview with America Equity Mortgage. It went well.

On Wednesday, she had an interview with the VP.

On Thursday, she woke up early, getting me to work late, to take a drug test. A few hours later, AEM called her back hiring her. For the first time in a year we will have insurance again.

Against all odds, Sallie Hickle was laid off in the worst economy since the Great Depression and was able to get a job paying similar rates within a few days. Could this be a sign of the economy getting better, or the absolute kick-ass abilities of Saldog.

We also bought a Mo-Ped today so I have transportation come Monday. Flashback to Myrtle Beach all the way. It was a steal.

Neil and my website ( seems to be gaining new fans everyday. Its an exciting time to have an opinion on the internet that people care about. (Or at least are entertained by) Sallie's only complaint is that I need an editor. I married one, but don't use her. It a deadly mixture of laziness and time constraints.

I've also made a couple posts to Lindsay's blog. Its pretty awesome. Its about songs and what they mean to you. Throw a post her way and she will put in on the internet if its worth it.

Other than that, we are doing pretty great right now. Still wish we had more free time in the week. Sometimes I think France has it right with the 35 hour workweek. I want more free time.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Cancelling a credit card and burning your hair off

About a year ago I was offered a credit card with a ridiculous credit line and 0% APR on balance transfers for 18 months. They automatically sign you up for credit protection (important for modern day theft) and a monthly statement with my credit score.

What they didn't tell me is that the credit protection costs $30 and the credit score costs $5 a month.

I tried canceling this after we left Myrtle Beach because obviously, no job, we don't need to pay for this crap.

After 15 minutes of convincing the people in charge of the credit score thingy that I didn't in fact need to know my credit score monthly. (And didn't press the fact that I never once got a statement) They finally canceled it and I asked for them to also cancel the credit protection only to be informed that I would have to surf another phone menu to get to a different department.

I got to the other department... and damn they're good. I nice gentleman convinced me to hang onto the protection for 3 months because I qualified for 3 months, no payments, no interest since I was unemployed and moved. Despite the fact that we can now map the human genome, somehow this Ace said that there was no way to cancel the credit protection automatically once the 3 months were up.

For three months I sat dormant and happy.

The statements came the past few months and we didn't look as closely as we should have at them. Its a decent sized balance, so we've just been paying it off as much as we can.

Sallie looked at this one and realized that they were now charging us $50 a month for credit protection. Essentially, in the past few months, we paid them $150 for nothing.

I called this morning to cancel. This is how that went.

"I need to cancel the credit protection."
"Why would you want to do that?"
"Because you're charging me $50 a month for something that I don't need."
"Do you realize that this protects your life. If you have hospital visits, unemployment, accidents..."
"Yeah yeah, that's great and all, but I don't need it."
"It also protects you from divorce, marriage, and children."
"Please, I don't need it. (And why do I need protection against marriage and children?)"
"I see here that you're due for a credit holiday. Should I go ahead and activate that for you."
"I DON'T WANT A FREAKING CREDIT HOLIDAY... please lady, I'm begging you, I have to go to work soon"
"I really think you should activate it. You would get one month no minimum balance due, in these rough economic..."
"I want to curse you right now... just cancel it."
"Alright, your cancellation number is..."

I hate credit cards and financial institutions for this very reason. It's like living in the DMV. There's always a form and 15 people to talk to before anything gets done.

The burning the hair off part is a much shorter story.

I bought cheap charcoal a week ago for a BBQ. I figured I would mix it in with the good stuff, spread it out a little. Well I got lazy and went full on for the cheap stuff.

I don't know if it was infused with gas and lighter fluid or if its the most pure charcoal ever created, but the flame was hanging 4 feet above the grill.

I shut the lid, figuring the fire will smother itself a bit. When I returned with hot dogs and opened the lid, a back draft the size of my apartment building rose into the air and burned all the hair off one of my arms. So now I'm the freak with hair on one arm.