Friday, May 29, 2009

The Great Equalizer

This could get dirty. I want to warn you up front, things will be said, subjects will be broached, images will be painted vividly in your mind's eye. If you are squeamish, prudish, or feel a need to share with my mother, wife or children... maybe you should stop reading now.

Still here? Cool! I was in the shower this morning, scrubbing away and thinking of weapons for some odd reason, when I recalled the old saying of the Sam Colt's revolving six shooter. It was called the great equalizer of men. No longer was it the biggest, meanest, toughest guy ruled. Now it was the fastest, most accurate, and sometimes... smallest target. The non traditional strong guy could now step forward into a leadership role. This trend continued to the point bigger, stronger, more capable men decided "right by might" sucked ass (something little guys had known for a LONGGGG time) and they decided it was high time for civilization, laws, rules, and codes of acceptable societal conduct that included "No Guns allowed" policy. Then much like political rezoning after a Republican majority victory, all the power went back to the big guys. The dudes allowed to walk among us acting like thugs were back in the driver's seat.

Once again they were powerful, beyond normal rules that apply to others. They were the exception because without the equalizer, might made right. ..... OK OK OK this is not a political rant nor a rant for against gun control. Nope, it is about AOL.

Yes the free CD people of AOL are still trying to do all they can to get customers to leave their browser and use the service for free. See, after losing the lead to free services like Google, Yahoo etc, AOL wants to revamp business in a follow the leader model. Since the others do well with free services, AOL tried to suck up their service so that paying customers will leave but come back to use the suckier service for free. I can't imagine why this strategy is not working.

But back in the day, AOL was the great equalizer only comparable to Sam Colt's deadly invention. On that service, short, fat, bald men were suddenly tall bronzed golden haired Andonis's. All men were 6 foot tall, slim wasted, full head of hair and packed an impressive wad in the pants. Men of all nerdy types were now surfing the MILF world of unrequited love. Amore bloomed all over this planet for a brief shining moment in time.

Then came web cams and the whole system got fucked back up.

I am just saying. You know?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


So with the job promotion came all new levels of work. Who freakin knew?!! I have not had any free time at my desk at work in months. Usually I can read over news, pass along information, keep up community contacts and get in a good game of Bookworm every now and again. NOT ANY MORE!!

Add to the normal Juggernaut of work load all new University policies and procedures and it is GRANT WRITING SEASON! So, the end result is I am not gone forever, but like the absent father that is common place in today's dysfunctional world, I am the absent blogger in your life. Yes, now when you are on food or alcohol binges, having unprotected sex with strangers and unwarranted shopping sprees with money you don't have, you can now lay all of your blame at my feet as a neglectful and absentee blogger. I have broad shoulders and evidently am willing to bear more responsibility than necessary. I can take it... til it kills me. Just don't expect any reader support checks from me!

On a sad note, I am mourning the passing of Flibbertigibbet. My old (I always intended to make you a drinking) buddy, Nina is dumping her blog in favor of Facebook. No, I am not happy about it. Yes, I can understand it. There just isn't enough of us to go around. So I understand her need to step back, but I will continue to keep my eye on her big, giving heart that is so full of love and promise. And really, I am looking at her heart and not her hooters, HONEST!! I AM NOT LYING!! Mostly.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Paint Worth the Price?

So here I am up and ready for the two hour commute to the State Capitol for a day of meetings. I get up a bit early to stretch out a nagging back problem that I am just positive will go away any day now, even though it has been nagging me for about a full year. I shuffle from room to room, giant coffee cup in hand and look for something of interest while I stretch. Stretching consists of sitting on the edge of an office chair and leaning forward, which lends itself to activities like reading or getting on the computer.

This morning I saw the newspaper. More importantly I saw the Farm and Ranch circular and the Sears tool book! OK, in case you were not aware I am a MAN! Grunt-Grunt! I have tools and I use them. I have responsibilities of caring for a household of helpless, defenseless people that need MAN skills to keep them from reverting back to the caveman times of living in holes in the ground and eating bugs for nourishment. I know, I know, it is an awesome responsibility for one as young as myself and I am sure it might even make me look WAYYYYY older than I should. It is a burden I gladly bear for my family because I love them.

ANYhow, I start thumbing through the SEARS Tool Book and I see a push lawnmower that costs about $100 more than one at Wal Mart. I see yard tools "On Sale" that still cost twice the price as everyday low prices at Wal Mart. And because I am a child of my time and state, I heard all the old wisdoms that were handed to me by MEN as I grew up. "Sure they cost more, (talking about John Deere Mowers) but that green paint is worth it!" or "Yeah a Craftsman tool cost about twice what others cost, but that red paint or name stamp makes it worth every cent."

So here I am looking at the paper while my stiffened muscles stretch out enough I can drive to Oklahoma City for a long day of meetings, and I am listening to the misty water colored memories of MAN talk. But then my current culture intercedes. I work with a bunch of women. Girly-Girl foo-foo gabbing chicks that don't understand or respect MAN world. When we end up near Tulsa they always have to stop at BRA WORLD or SOAP, OIL AND CANDLE FACTORY. But when I suggest we stop by Home Depot or just hang out at the flat tire changing garage, you would think I had just crashed landed from Mars and asked spoken in some cool alien language. Maybe with a ray gun in my hand and a light saber attached to my cool Martian utility belt... yeah SpaceMAN tools! Cool!!

...uh... I mean... NO WAY! They wont even consider MAN feelings! So my wife walks by me and I point out the price difference and say, "You know that painted-on Craftsman name is worth more," because I have been conditioned by birth to say such things. Then lacking the years of Operational Conditioning from MEN who looked down upon you and called you a pussy throughout your developmental years, my wife sniffed and asked, "Aren't they all made in China or Mexico nowadays anyway?"

She walked away, not really caring if I answered. To her it was a rhetorical question tossed out to feign interest in the hopes of not having another real discussion on tools and MAN responsibility. She did not have to concern herself with the awesome burden of mowing every week or two for nearly half a year, or replacing the roof every 25 years. Nope, she flittered around without a thought in her head doing her girly things like getting the kids up and fed and ready for school, checking homework and paying bills. Chick things that have no place or value in the real world. But I love her and will try to continue to provide the easy life she has, but never fully understands.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Rockwellian Moment

SO there I was driving along the old Highway 75 between Okmulgee and Tulsa. I say the old Highway, because they built a brand new one in the 1960s that is about a mile to the east. It has four lanes and almost no stops. It has bumper to bumper cars running 75 mph or faster, and they would cut off their own grandmothers if it meant they could get home from the jobs they hate a half minute earlier.

I was driving the old highway. It's a narrow two lane road. You have several small, backwater towns you drive through. From time to time you get stuck behind a farm truck driving 30 mph and you have to slow down and watch the country side. I prefer this road. It links me to where and how I grew up. That back highway is safer, more stable, more dependable, and you know what? Even though I drive slower, I kind of think I get where I want to go just as fast and with a hell of a lot more enjoyment than the ball of acid stress I get every time I drive on that freakin four lane road!

So today I am rounding a curve outside of Beggs Oklahoma. I drive by a collection of country homes and double-wides. Then, just like that, all of a sudden I am seeing a live-action Norman Rockwell Painting right there on the side of the road! It was so freakin cool I couldn't believe it!

If you don't know, Norman Rockwell was a famous painter of early to mid 20th century Americana. When you saw one of his paintings it was like a special look into a slice of Anywhere USA. The typical American experience with the typical American family. Assuming all typical Americans were middle class white people who owned their own homes and could afford Boy Scouts, Health Care, and Holiday feasts.

So today I am on the classic back road trip in rural ass Oklahoma when I look to the left, and there is a family gathered in the middle of a gravel driveway. Mom is prancing around with her arms windmilling about as she loses her cool. The older sister is standing in the middle of the drive with her arms crossed and glaring angrily at little sister, who is sitting next to her spilled bicycle and gently crying as she holds her scuffed knees. Dad, of course, is looking sheepish and ashamed he had not been able to catch his little girl and protect her from all the dangers that come from falling and getting hurt.

It was perfect. I saw the whole thing in a flash at 70 mph and then I was around the curve and they were gone forever. Picturesque America?... no... Picturesque Oklahoma.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Back a Little

So today, Mrs. Cris called Direct TV's Wild Blue. Hell was raised. Evidently she is way more scarier than I am. They "increased our bandwidth" and tonight I am on-line and running faster than ever. Of course I think they are now charging me for the next step up. So AM NOW PAYING $70 for a service that everybody else can enjoy with DSL or cable for $25-35.

WooHoooooo Life in the country is great. As soon as the boy is 16 years old we might just move back to town.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Your Heart Any Fonder?

OK here is the deal... Last Saturday afternoon it rained. My 14 year old son was stuck in the house and surfed the web and watched some streaming videos of Japanese cartoons. Monday our Internet pretty much quit working. My wife got an Email from Direct Satellite saying we had exceeded our bandwidth allowance with some massive downloads. .......?!!

It took us a bit of time to figure out what they were referring to and the anger I had built up already over the service not working since Monday has grown to a monumental burn. So I want to tell you about our experience with Direct Satellite's Wild Blue ISP and see if you agree with me, in the need to report these fuckers to our state Attorney General for "Bait and Switch" fraud.

We live in a rural part of our county in Oklahoma. Not a bad neighborhood, I mean there are two school board members across the street from me and the President of the local University is just down the road. The thing is, I am between two towns that have different phone systems. Neither wants to put in new equipment to provide DSL the extra half mile it will take to reach my house. In fact, phone service was so sporadic during wet weather, I finally decided to cancel a home phone and use only cellular phones.

With that decision I then needed to find a new Internet Service Provider (ISP). I decided to go with the local guy that offered wireless service. We had used his service at work years ago and it was not good. I had heard there had been improvements and at $35 a month it was only a bit more than DSL. The problem is, the service was not any better and on windy days, stormy days and sometimes sunny days the service disappeared. The ISP dude told me it was out computers so we actually bought two new ones. Still the problems continued. He said it was my kids, so we killed the kids and buried them in the back yard. Still the problems continued. He then said it was my web sites and that pissed me off so I canceled the Wireless and decided to give Direct TV's Wild Blue a shot.

There was an AD we found that said for $100 they would hook us up and give us a new wireless router. So they show up, the bill is $300 and they do not provide a router. I call and they tell me that the deal was only if we called a local Direct Network person and we had called the national number that had the local Direct Network guy come out. None of that seemed right to me, I mean a Direct Network representative that only used a Direct Network logo for identification seems to represent the same place... right?

OK MAYBE I made the mistake. MAYBE it was a fuck up on my part by calling a different number when I signed up. It didn't feel like it to me, but I let that go. The system is supposed to run at basic DSL speeds and it does have a bandwidth limit but the ads say it only applys to people that would make massive downloads, like loading a lot of movies. Not a problem for us, we mostly just have time for Email with maybe a little Facebook and my Google Blogoverse. I should be in good shape! Oh yeah and they charge $50 a month for the same serive DSL charges %25 - $30 and Wireless charged $35. That's ok, if I can do what I want to do, it is worth it... even if I do feel I was lied to about the hook up fees and installation of a router.

That was towards the end of February. Now in May we are pretty much without service for the past week because my son watched some streaming videos on a rainy Saturday. It couldn't have been much bandwidth because we can't access most videos due to the slower speed. SO I call Direct and the first words out of their mouth is trying to sell me the next more expensive package. If I go to $70 a month, I can REALLY get the same service everybody else gets for $25 - $30 or that Wireless provides at $35. It is not as good as the next tier of service that costs around $100 a month but it will be enough so I can check Email, look at Facebook, go on my Blogger reader and maybe on rainy weekends my kids can use it.

They told me I am "slowed" until the bandwidth returns to normal. That was most of a week ago. It took me four tries to get the post page on Blogger to load. This is not slow, it is not functional and I have no idea how long it is supposed to last because of some streaming videos. Every time I tried to explain we run three different businesses from home and need a service we can count on, they offered to upgrade up to the $70 package. And I am totally convinced that even if I did pay the $70 for the service every body else gets for $25 - $30 dollars and that Wireless provided at $35... they will say I exceeded the bandwidth and need the $100 a month package. It is insane!

Yes I am pissed. I am in a two year contract with a company that I honestly feel is corrupt. I really intend to send this same complaint to the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office Fraud Division, as well as complaints to the BBB and FCC.... except...


Monday, May 4, 2009

2 Blog Or Not 2 Blog

Ahhh That IS the question I have been asking myself for many months. See, I read a person's blog who said they use a reader and keep up with dozens of different blogs and begged people to PLEASEEEEEE not post everyday if they didn't REALLY have something to say. She said something along the line of, if you care at all about your readers, don't be the douche bag that posts every freakin day.

Mike over at Okiedoke told me the opposite. And he told it to me in person at one of his blogger awards things I never freakin win because he is just a big tease that never puts out! See, Mike said if you want to build a blog, you need to post every day and your writing will get better and you will build an audience. HA! Proved him wrong on BOTH counts, didn't I?!!

So from time to time I have a lull. I know, I know, you could never guess by the high volume of quality posts I make on a daily basis right? Sure I hit a peak when I was putting on a hard push to win me an Okie award* (See Mike fails to put out) but as all things in life have an ebb and flow, so does creativity, and well we are in grant writing season.

So I am faced with the question of "Do I blog or not blog?" I am rather proud of the fact that I have posted nearly everyday for the past year and a half. I am very pleased with the new readers. I am not too proud of the shiny new Okie Blogger Award that is NOT sitting on my sidebar... but you know... I am NOT one to hold grudges, even against a freakin tease like Mike.

So I sit here pondering and pondering about posting. The thing that keeps running through my mind was the last time I felt this way and shared it on my blog, kicked off about 8 months of uninterrupted posts. And face it, NONE of us wants to be the guy who throws a pity party and says I need a break, only to find I need an outlet WAYYYYYY more than I need down time.

In summation. Mike is a tease but I just can't stay away from him. I feel your need to not read crap and I am thinking about posting less, but no decisions have been made.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Summer 2009

OK So I was thinking about this summer. Like many in Oklahoma, I was holed up with the rain, flipping channels and wondering how I can spend so much freakin money on entertainment and never have anything to watch. All of that is about to change as we are reinvigorated with a new summer season of TV. As a result, I thought I would some of my personal favs.

1. The Great Outdoors: No matter if you love camping, fishing, swimming, or think you want to try sailing. You can't beat the great outside. OK now that I said the required bullshit everybody else says, here is the real entertainment.

2. Eureka : I can't help but love this show. It is smart, funny and nerdy all at the same time.

3. Monk: Yes the show is old and stale. But it has been a winner all these past years and I wont quit it now in its final season.

4. The Deadliest Catch: Yes it will almost be over by the time summer starts, but it is still edge of your seat tension and action. I never feel like I work so hard as I feel that hour sitting on my sofa watching a big TV in a climate controlled house. Life does NOT get any better than that!

5. Burn Notice: Michael Weston is bad ass fun as a spy working Earl Hickey's Karma theory.

6. Rock Solid: Yes it is a home improvement show... crawl off me dude! I like it! In 30 minutes I can feel like I hauled tons of stone and dirt and built a lasting thing of beauty... again, all while sitting on my sofa in a climate controlled house.

7. Psych: Probably better than Monk, definitely funnier than most shows on TV. Shawn and Gus are the USA Bromance to watch.

8. True Blood: Yes I read the Sookie Stackhouse series after Christmas, so that means the series dropped a bit in my evaluation. Other than that, still a kick ass series and a fun tale to follow.

9. Indoors Out: The boys who brought you Rock Solid also make this little show. It is a bit over the top for me... but what the hell, it is summer in Oklahoma. I can either watch this crap or go outside where it is 110 degrees. All things considered... I love these guys!

10. Hung: OK I don't know anything about this show except the guy turns his life around and makes a living off of the fact he has a big dick. Oh yeah, I can foresee many awkward and uncomfortable hours at the old Cris household as the kids horn in on my TV programs of choice.

And there you have it. The entire blueprint of my planed summer vacation while I wait inside, sipping ice cold drinks and awaiting the chilly weather of football season.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Overheard at the Office

They always said pigs would fly before we ever had a black man serve a full term as President of the United States of America.

And now, 100 days into office and it is all over the news. Swine Flue!

Friday, May 1, 2009


Long ago in the ancient Highlands of Caledonia there ruled a mighty warlord named Maesie. This battle scared warrior ruled with an iron fist and demanded the young men venture out bring him loot for his clan. The noble men of Caledonia would return with salvaged herds of cattle, sheep and birds of all kinds.

Maesie saw his kingdom grow and he was pleased. All the men knew their life was secure as long as they pleased Maesie by pilfering the land of all that was valuable. But in time the powerful king had taken all of the available goods. His neighbor's neighbors were without flock or herd. The spoils of conquest grew thin and the grizzled old warrior became angry.

He placed demands that could not be met by his subjects. When they failed he had them flogged in public as a warning to all others that failure to the King bears a high price. In time, all backs carried the marks of the old King's wrath.

One day the men were discussing how it was impossible to please the King. They began to fear for their lives and their families. When a young man named Diarmid suggested they honor the King with a celebration. He suggested they bring in musicians and erect a tall pole covered in vines and flowers. From the top of the pole they should attach many bolts of bright beautiful cloth. Then the cunning Diarmid suggested they have old King Maesie stand against the pole as beautiful maidens dance around him with the streaming cloth. In time the King would he bound and trapped by the streamers and the villagers could kill him or overthrow his Kingdom.

The people of Caledonia agreed to the idea and suggested a Spring celebration to the King. Feeling honored, the aging warrior agreed and was greatly pleased, in fact he was reportedly laughing with joy as the beautiful maidens carefully bound him to the pole as they danced around. Once trapped the villagers descended upon the helpless Maesie and killed the old King.

To this day the May Pole is recognized as a symbol of rebirth, freedom and a chance to watch hot chicks dance with each other.

Oh and Diarmid....? While the villagers were killing the bat shit crazy King, he was stealing back all the livestock stolen from the Highlands of Argyle.