Friday, May 27, 2016

"The Fallen Ones"

As you stoke your fires and enjoy your drink 
Take some time this weekend to stop and think
Of those who sacrificed it all for you and your family
To those who fought and died in our military
It's not about burgers and brats on the grill
It's about those who died for our free will 
At some point each day raise your beer or your tea glass
To honor and salute those who died protecting your ass
To the parents who mourn their child for our rights
And the children who lost parents fighting our fights
For those who gave everything for America's security
Salute them each day and let them not fade to obscurity. 

Monday, May 23, 2016

"This Memes War"

Lately my personal Facebook page has been inundated with these "I'm disabled and I bet no one will share my picture.." Or "little Timmy is sick. How many likes can he get.." Blah blah blah. C'mon, folks, seriously?! 
How come I've gotta be the heartless dude that doesn't "like" their pictures? It's not because they're disabled or facing an illness. I refuse to "like" them because I don't see what their condition has to do with the post. 

There's one going around with a picture of a woman in uniform stating if she gets enough "likes" her sergeant will send her back to the states and out of a war zone. Seriously?! Are people that stupid and gullible?! "I was at war but I got to come home because I'm popular..." 
Why don't we use that strategy for just ending the fight? We can post a meme that says "ISIS sucks and they're bad guys". If that post gets 100,000 "likes" then they'll just disband, go home and take up knitting. Sound realistic? I don't think so either but it's as realistic as the government sending a soldier home for meeting a "like" quota. 

Another of my favorites is this crap that LITERALLY says you're heartless if you don't share some stupid picture of a kitten or something. What's sharing a picture of a kitten gonna do?! Look, I happen to love cats. Slow roasted and basted in garlic butter maybe. With a side of cheesecake. Share it? Pfft... I want to trap it and eat it. 
"Little Billy has cancer. How many likes and shares can he get?" Seriously?! THAT'S the cure for cancer these days?! Knuckleheads. How about you just send him money for treatment? I bet that'd help him a lot more. 

"Share if you love Jesus. Keep scrolling if you love Satan..." So Buddhists don't get options now? It's either horns or halos. No middle ground for atheists or politicians, eh? 
I never know what to do there. I mean, I don't really hang out with Jesus or Satan so "love" seems a bit strong. Isn't there an option for "I'd hang out with?" Even then it's a tough choice. I mean, Satan is probably a hardcore partier but with Jesus if you run out of booze he can just magic some from some Aquafina. 
Seriously, though, you really think Jesus is up there checking out how many likes his meme got? "What's this? Susie from Omaha didn't type Amen?! Nah, this is some bs. Hey, Dad, take her name off the list." Then there's some discussion back and forth while they determine if little Susie should face eternal damnation or if she should just have a near death experience to get her thinking right again. It's stupid, folks. I've had satellite internet before, I know how crappy their connection has to be up there anyway. 

These memes just keep getting worse. There's usually one on my feed with a girl on it that's like "share if you'd hit that. Keep scrolling if you're gay..." Wait. What if she's just not my type? What if I'm already in a relationship? So you're telling me I've got to commit to cheating with some imaginary girl now? 
Every single meme demands a "like" a "share" or an "amen". Clearly I don't participate. Look, I'm all for social media but does it really have to turn into such drivel? God isn't counting "likes" before deciding who should live and die from disease. I'm pretty sure whether or not we share a picture isn't going to affect the outcome of the surgery. 

Which leads me to my next peeve. This "go fund me" thing. Some people set up a go fund me page to help with medical bills. To help with other legitimately important costs. Sure, I'm cool with that. After all, it's a liberal country where a large number of people think we should support everyone else anyway.  
Would I help people with medical bills? Sure. Legitimate ones. This "I want a sex change operation" stuff? I simply don't care. That's not life threatening. 

I've seen them all over the boards too. Like the chick who spent everything she had on lottery tickets and didn't win? She set up a page asking people to help her pay her bills because she wasted her money. Sorry, you're too irresponsible with money for me to give you some. Clearly. 
Another one? Oh, I loooove these... I've actually seen people set up pages to essentially fund their own stupidity or that of family members. Some dude in the Dakotas took out student loans become a massage therapist in a town with damn near no population. So he set up a page asking people to repay his student loans. Seriously? Nnnope.
Or the mother who set up a page asking people to pay her daughter's rent and other bills. Why? Because he daughter jumped off a roof, missed the pool and broke a bunch of bones. So now she's stuck in a wheelchair for 6 months. Poor thing. Should we help her? I think not. Bad choices don't deserve a reward. 

I thought about setting up a go fund me page and stating "because some of you people have more money than sense". But then that'd probably upset some people. Next thing you know I'm all depressed and have to go out drinking with Satan and Jesus to cheer up. Boy, I bet it'd be fun just to listen to them bicker over shots. 

Friday, May 20, 2016

"Trucking Healthy"

So here's the deal, being a truck driver I know how tough it can be out here to be healthy. Truck stops are bringing in more and more overpriced fast food joints. The "dollar menu" at a McDonald's in Pilot truck stops starts at like $3. For fatty, processed junk food. But, hey, it's quick and easy, right?
Truckers getting paid to sit still and stare out the window all day, dodging cars and dealing with general motorist assholery. It can be stressful; so sometimes we need to take a quick break and shove a Fatty McLardassburger in our facehole. 

But then one turns into two turns into a habit. Next thing you know you're getting winded trying to get out of the truck. Your pants seem to shrink by inches every time you put them on. You've gone from "svelte" (it's a real word, trust me) to "husky" to "planet with feet" and you start worrying about every DOT physical. 
Your blood pressure keeps rising with your waist size and the doctor is talking about "pre diabetes cautions". Every time you step on a scale people run thinking springs are going to fly out like shrapnel in a war zone. 

I've been there. My waistline grew steadily. I felt like a Macy's float. Hell, I LOOKED like one. I ended up with medical issues. My blood pressure started to look like a sketch of the Rockies. I knew something had to change or I was headed for trouble. Or the morgue. I'm pretty sure the morgue still qualifies as trouble though. 
After losing a fight to gravity I ended up being forced to get in shape. That gravity is one bad mother, I'll tell you that. Left me with a bunch of broken bones and shit. Surprised me, really, because I figured I had enough blubber to cushion my landing. Wrong. Nearly dead wrong. 

And that's the thing. We get out of shape easily in this sedentary life. Fast food slows us down and wrecks our bodies in invisible ways. It's like magic but tasty, dark, dark magic. Soda slowly kills us with its delicious sugars. 
Being on the road and hustling from city to city and state to state, we don't have time to stop in at the gym. And our vehicles don't fit in at a lot of places. So fitness and health take a back seat. And that's exactly where I found them; in my bunk on my truck. 

A little bit of innovation and I had a bench to work out on. I carry it on my truck along with weights and other items I use to go from obese to "oh, beast". A wee bit of tinkering with my food choices made that even easier. Am I a beast now? Nope. But I'm much healthier than before and steadily improving. 
Shortly after getting back on the road from my 6 month "you broke a buncha stuff" vacation I met my buddy, Robert. He was interested in getting in better shape too. So we worked together to develop and tweak a system that worked on our individual needs. We both got results and are on our way to our goals. We aren't overly concerned anymore about the new DOT rules coming out regarding physical fitness and what'll happen to our jobs. We both are living a healthier lifestyle. This means less ailments and, hopefully, more years with our families. 

Each of us have focused on different aspects regarding health and fitness. We've spent a couple of years working at it and getting results. Smaller waistlines, better blood pressure and general health. Being healthy you'll find you have more energy, you sleep better, you breathe better, you're happier in general and usually a little less stressed. See, being healthy isn't just about diet. It's about an entire lifestyle change. But I'm not supposed to tell you that. It scares people sometimes. They're all like "ermahgerd! He's going to banish our chocolates! He's going to make us eat shit we don't like! He's evil!" Then they want to chase me with sticks. And I'm all "hey, look! You're running! I'm so proud of you!" 
Relax, guys, it's not like that. Being healthier isn't a punishment and it shouldn't feel like one. I'm not out to steal Halloween and Easter candy from you. Although I wouldn't horribly mind if we put McDonald's out to pasture. 

Which leads us to the point of this post. See, we figured if we can help other drivers lose weight, get healthier and prolong their lives then it was important we do so. We decided to start simple for now. We started with a little group of drivers helping drivers with health goals. Healthy eating tips, exercise tips and ideas, best use of space and stuff like that. The beauty of it is that this can work with everyone because the concepts are all about simplicity and efficiency. 
In the fast paced world of today time is a precious commodity. We don't have much to spare and you probably don't either. Because the clock ticks go by so quickly, we've learned to make them count. So we created Trucking Healthy on Facebook. We're working on a website but I can barely figure out my phone, website building is not in my repertoire. It should be ready before too long though. In the interim, we invite you to check out our little group. Maybe it'll help you or motivate you. 
The obesity rate is climbing drastically. People are succumbing to blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes and other preventable illnesses all too quickly. Our goal is to slow that down. No matter what your job, your hours or your body goals, OUR goal is to help you get Trucking Healthy. If you aren't happy with what you see in the mirror then we want to help you. You can make excuses or you can make changes. We hope to help you make the changes you want. 

Monday, May 16, 2016

"Equally Screwed"

We live in a new America. One full of "equality and fairness". A progressively backward society wherein we have to be politically correct even when we don't know what that means. Just go with the flow and disregard the waterfall at the end of that river.
You know New York recently passed a law saying you can't call a guy "mister" if he feels he's female inside? It's a "transgender protection law". You can apparently actually be fined for addressing someone incorrectly. So that they can be treated "equally and fairly". 
We are all about "fair and equal" here in America. 
It's gotten to be absurd how "politically correct" we are. It's also ridiculous how worried we are about "being fair" when it's convenient. I'm so sick of the double standards. 

And now we've got this ludicrous "title 9" crap being shoved down our throat by Emperor Obama. Seriously?! Dude, just sit back, shut up and ride out the rest of your time until we finally replace your dumb ass, Obama. 
I'm sure you've heard of this stuff. Schools are being forced to supply bathrooms and locker rooms for "gender neutral" kids or lose their funding. These are kids, man. They can barely identify which CLASSROOM they belong in much less which gender they "identify" with. We're getting a bit carried away these days. 

What's worse is that everyone is so shortsighted. Has anyone considered the long term here? Look at the precedent being set. It won't be long before pedophiles use the defense "I'm just identifying with my inner child". Sound dumb? So does an 8 year old who barely learned to tie their shoes now demanding they are the opposite sex inside. 
Look, it's really simple. I've said it before. Look down. Which parts do you have? That's what sex you are. You're welcome. Once you become an adult, if you want gender reassignment surgery then save up and get it. Once you have the requisite parts then that's the bathroom you use. This isn't rocket science, people. 
I've heard people compare our practices to those in Europe. Didn't we have a revolution once because we aren't Europe? Coulda sworn that this was America. Oh wait... We've gotta try to be like Europe so everyone is equal. I forgot. So here's an idea: move to Europe. Then you won't have to fight for equality or anything. Europe's already got it all worked out and waiting for you. Go ahead, pack up and go. But just remember... Once you get there you no longer get those American freedoms and benefits you like so much. 

I see it all the time: people want everything America has to offer they just don't want it to be, you know, America. "Let's be like Canada, eh!" Or "look, let's be like Europe!" 
Well here's an idea, we already have a Canada and a Europe so go to whichever is your preference. Why try to turn America into NOT America? Why not just change your own citizenship instead of everyone else's? 

A few months back we had the Oscars and many people were upset over there not being enough minority actors nominated. Talent doesn't even factor in anymore apparently. Should we just nominate everyone that was in a movie? I'm pretty sure then people would bitch and moan over who wins too. Maybe they should all just get participation awards like they do for kids in sports these days. 
"You played a role in a movie? Well here's your little trophy. Run along now, Tiger." 

In the interest of "fairness" I propose we force MasterCard to change its name. We should call it something like "mediocrity card" now. Keep it middle of the road, ya know. 
Move into an apartment building? Everyone's locks should be the same. That way we get rid of a Master key and everyone is equal. MasterLock, sorry, you're gonna have to change your name too. Too many negative connotations in the word "master". 

All clothes will now need to be a standard beige color from now on. No more name brand labels. Can't let anyone feel bad that they can't afford a Michael Kors purse either. It's "not fair". Might make the non-affluent feel poor. 
While we're at it, let's make sure everyone earns the exact same wage. Keep everything equal. Doctors will make minimum wage. In fact, let's do away with degrees. Can't have the inequality of some people working harder for a good education and career than others. 

Am I getting carried away here? You betcha! But look at the direction we are going in. Everyone is constantly complaining about how unfair and unequal they get treated. Unless they actually get treated fairly. Then it's some kind of grand scheme against them. "No no, we should get special treatment. Don't just treat us like everyone else." Oh. So THAT'S what "fair and equal" is? My bad.

Instead of getting hired or not hired based upon your level of education, your abilities, appearance or qualifications you should get hired because to NOT hire you is discriminatory. Gotcha. But maybe my company just doesn't think someone with face tattoos and 8 inch holes in their ears is the image we want to portray professionally. 
Or maybe you didn't get hired to help people draw up contracts because you can't spell or speak proper English. 

Do I care if someone is gay, bi-sexual or transsexual? Nope. I really couldn't care less. Should they be denied an education or a right to work because of their sexual preference? Not at all. 
Should an employer be forced to hire unqualified people just to meet some stupid quota though? Nope. Should a baker be forced to make a cake for someone if he doesn't want to? Of course not. But that's what happens. Otherwise there's a discrimination issue. Yeah. That's why he started his own business, so he didn't have to be told what to bake. Good grief, people, stop your whining. Surely he's not the only person in town that can make a cake. Grab a damn box of Betty Crocker, go home, bake your own cake and shut the hell up already! 

I'm a truck driver. I haul freight. If I don't like the price I won't haul it. If I don't like where it's going I can turn down the offer. Shippers don't whine about it, "waaa...he doesn't like our cheap freight going to Oregon. He's such a meanie! We'd better scream discrimination and make him take it." Nah, they just hire another truck. Maybe someone who works cheaper. Maybe some truck driver who likes to hunt Bigfoot in his spare time. 
It really is just that easy. You think the Oscars are unfair? Watch Little House on the Prairie reruns instead. No one is forcing you to participate. Really, who cares? It's a trophy for being able to lie convincingly enough that people think you're someone else. Think about it. It's acting. It's basically professional lying. How do you know if they even care if they win? They might just be acting like they do. Most of them are even using fake names! 

Thursday, May 12, 2016

"I'm Trucking Sirius"

I've got SiriusXM radio. I've had it for a couple years now. I drive around all day listening to "the devil's music". High intensity rock and metal keeps me going on the road. I've been quite happy with them Sirius folks. 
But then things went a little sideways with them recently. I've been told that when I get irritated I can be a little condescending and snarky. And I was definitely irritated the other day so bare with me here. Let's start at the beginning and fast forward to today. 

(Scooby-Doo style flashback here): back when I first got Sirius I just bought one of those portable plug and play type deals. The Onyx, I think it was. I set it all up, ran the antenna wire outside and ran the aux cable to my stereo and called to set up my subscription. All was right with the world. 
Around November last year the wires started fraying for the power cord. But I didn't realize that right away. I just knew the power would come and go. So the portable docking station broke from being slammed violently into my dash repeatedly one day as I hurled obscenities. Ok, that part might've been my fault but I hate having my music interrupted.

December last year I decided just to buy a whole new stereo that had Sirius built in. By "built in" they meant I needed to by an adaptor for the back and a good antenna for outside. Ok. More stuff bought, no big deal. All set up and ready to go. 
I call in, deactivate the old radio and activate the new one. Woohoo! I'm in business now! 

Flash forward to today now. Stay with me; I know time travel can be disorienting but I've got faith in you. Space/time travel sickness bags are located 10 minutes behind you, though, if you need them. 
So today I call because I notice I've been paying twice what my subscription costs. Oh, it's because I apparently have 2 radios I'm paying for. Well how the hell did THAT happen?! 

So I end up on the phone with Art, an apparently entry level customer service drone. Here's the best account I can recall of the conversation as retold to me by my roommate who happened to be listening:

Art: well, sir, would you like to deactivate one device at this time?

Me: no. I'd like to deactivate it 5 months ago like I called in THEN to do. 

A: ok. And what else can I do for you?

M: well, we need to figure out what to do about the fact I've been overcharged for the last 5 months. 

A: let me check with my supervisor. (There's a 2 minute pause) yes, sir. We can refund you the overcharge for this month. 

M: excellent news, compadre. So what do we do about the other 4 months I was overcharged? Are they working on that? 

A: we can only refund one month, sir. We do understand you've been overcharged by $55 so we'd like to offer you 4 months for free. 

M: sweet! That'll work just fine for me. So how's that work, I just kick back and wait until the end of September to start paying again? 

A: you pay $41 today and that covers you for the next 6 months. 

M: wait. What?! Help me out here, Art. You just said you guys essentially owe me $55 and for the low low price of $41 MORE dollars I'll get service for free for another 4 months. You seem reasonably not stupid so riddle me this: how is me paying you MORE money "free"?

A: well, sir, you'd only be paying for 2 months and the other 4 are free. I think it's actually a pretty good deal. 

M: Art, your English is really good so I'm assuming you've got a good handle on the language. So I'm curious how you think me paying the $55 I've already paid plus another $41 seems like "a good deal". Maybe it's this new common core math tripping me up but by my calculations that's $96 I'll have paid for 6 months of service I'm supposed to be paying $18 for now. 
So, my understanding of the word "free" is that if I pay anything above, say ZERO, then it's not "free". See, where I come from "free" means gratis, at no charge, zero cost. You following me, Sparky? I reject your idea of "free".  Just refund me what you've overcharged me and we can start over. 

A: if we refund you the $55 then we won't be able to offer you this special. Besides, it was your responsibility to catch this on your bill months ago. 

M: I tried to be responsible by calling you guys in December. Good grief, I didn't call Time Warner to cancel my Sirius subscription. I called you guys thinking, I don't know, that maybe you guys would cancel my subscription; not double charge me.

A: and that's why we're trying to offer you this special. 

M: the one where I pay you guys more money  instead of getting a refund like I'm some retard. Right. So I'll tell ya what, we've clearly reached a point where we are miscommunicating. So this is the part where I ask for your supervisor and you tell me your supervisor won't do anything different. Then you and I bicker back and forth and I ultimately work my way up the ladder to someone who can. What say we skip all that aggravation and I just talk to the floor manager now? 

A: hold please. 

Then I get a supervisor named Sarah. Nice lady. She saw documentation where I called in to cancel the old subscription, agreed that I should just get the next 4 months at no charge and updated the system. So now I won't get a bill until November since she felt I should get a little extra time for my inconvenience and frustration. 
I'm still a satisfied customer who gets to continue getting his Nonpoint and Avatar fix. All it took was some polite communication with the nice folks at Sirius. 

Friday, May 6, 2016

"Jumping To Concussions"

Last weekend I took my kids to an indoor trampoline place called Rebounderz. It was our first time there and we had a blast. They have trampoline dodgeball, a foam pit, laser tag and an arcade. Sounds fun, right?!
I'd figured I'd take the boys, we'd play on the trampoline for a little bit then maybe play some laser tag. Sure, it'll be fun. Oh boy did I learn a lesson. 

Don't get me wrong, it was an enjoyable experience. We paid our admission and got our special, static free, grippy socks and headed to the jumpoline section. At a fast walk we dodged other kids and tried to not break into a run. We didn't want to get kicked out for starting a stampede or something. 
So there we were, two little kids and one big one, staring at about 1,000 square feet of jumpoline mats and walls. Yesss! A girl in a referee shirt explained the rules as we entered. "One person at a time per mat; walk on the green between mats..." I'm sure she said more but we were already off at a bounce. Looked like a triplet of Tiggers I bet.

And away we went, bouncing mat to mat. Literally bouncing off the walls and laughing. We get a full hour of this?! And we can go to the other mat and bounce as we play dodgeball?! Sweeeet! 
The kids were laughing and bouncing around like kangaroos on meth. I was laughing and bouncing around like a Poohbear with epilepsy. 
About 20 minutes in it hit me: I'm old. And big. Takes a lot of energy to get The Incredible Bulk! moving. I'm fighting gravity and inertia and starting to sweat like a hooker in church. 
A few minutes later I start to think I may be having a stroke. I work out regularly and I run but this kind of cardio? Pfft. I'm starting to think I should have the coroner on speed dial but by the time I'm going to need them they can probably just take their time getting there. 

"Daddy! Daddy! Let's go play dodgeball! Yay!" Oh dear god, child. You're trying to kill me already, aren't you? Wheez.."sure buddy. Let's go!" Wheez. 
Already there's a death metal band playing drums in my temples. How apropos. Death seems imminent already. How long's it been? Oh. 22 minutes. 

Quick break as we walk 20 feet to the "dodge the ball of death" arena. Another zebra-shirted employee lays out the rules. I take this opportunity to suck in air like a beached carp. 
Oh wait, there's good news. I'm the only adult in this section. "Excuse me, sir, are you playing too?", the ref asks. "No. I'd better not. Doesn't seem fair. I'll just stand here and watch." Mercifully I'll get a breather. 
And I can reason it out to myself that I'm just trying to keep things fair. I could see myself accidentally braining some kid with a fastball to the face. Then their parents would get all mad and there'd be a lynch mod and stuff. Nah. I'm cool just catching my breath. 

As it turns out they must not have dodgeball at my kids' school because they've no idea what they're doing. So there I am yelling encouragement for my offspring to damage people. "Hit him, Hunter! Bean the kid in the red shirt! Yeeeah! There ya go! No mercy! Kill kill kill! Cobra Kai!" Instead Hunter throws the ball at Logan. They're on the same team. And he throws it like he's tossing an infant a cupcake. Yeah, I've got some work ahead of me. 
The games are short so the boys play twice before we venture over to the foam pit. Don't worry, I'll show them how this is done. I'll do a couple of back handsprings then a double twist somersault into the foam pit. What really happens is I bounce twice, slip, land on my back where I bounce up and forward and bellyflop into the bits of foam as gravity reminds me of its firm grasp of me. I'm pretty sure I sank most of the way to the bottom. So I try to push off with my feet and swim towards the surface. I'm fairly certain they'd started to raise the alarm before I launched myself skyward like a great white going after a seal off the coast of Africa. 
Foam bits flying everywhere, kids screaming in terror, I'm looking like Jaws and The Blob's bastard mutant child. That's when I realize my hat's come off. Better swim back down and fetch it. These poor kids aren't ready for "The Creature From the Foam Lagoon" and shit. 

Next up is laser tag. I've never played before. Should be fun. So we get in line. A group of 12 parents gets in ahead then we wait until more people show up. Oh good... I'm now going to be the only adult in my group. 
First up, a safety meeting. Seems simple enough to follow the rules. We all agree not to pistol whip each other with the guns and stuff and get divided into teams. 
Kids have no sense of humor sometimes, I swear. They got all upset when I jumped off the stairwell screaming "grenaaaade!" It's not like I meant to land on 4 of them. They just happened to be where I was landing. Ok, I didn't really land on a bunch of kids. But I did scare them out of hiding as I lasered them all to fake death. 

A 30 minute game of laser tag, running around shooting kids and dodging invisible lasers. I was flat exhausted by the time we finished. Fortunately, this place has an arcade and...wait for it... A BAR! Yesss! I loaded the kids up with video game credits and sat on one of the many sofas with a Corona. That's when it occurred to me. I was the only parent on the jumpolines and playing laser tag with kids. You mean I could've sat here with a beer and let the kids run amok this whole time?! Eh. It was fun anyway. And the kids loved it. We built good memories for us and trauma for others. A perfect day. But I've had a few Coronas now. Maybe I'll let the boys drive home. It'll be fun.