Super Hero Smack Down – Part 1

This is all Skyler's Dad's fault.

A while back, he posted a version of the below [LINK].  I cleaned up the lettering and the wording a little, and mailed it to a friend.  But it was a seed.

Finished-Captain America 01
Unfortunately, that seed turned into a KUDZU MONSTER this weekend.

Finished-Superman Finished-Thor


A Fool's QUEST – On Line Tech Support

facebook-icon One of the challenges with using a proprietary email account from a service provider is that if you change providers, the account becomes deactivated.

And if you used that account to sign up for your Facebook account, you are in a huge circle jerk. Facebook will disable your account, and will only deal with you from the old email account. So, you can't log in to Facebook to change the associated email account. You can't correspond with them from the old email account, since it's dead, and they won't deal with you from a different email account.

This is the situation my step-daughter was in this morning.

So I tried contacting Quest, where she'd had the account thru her grandma's service. First, I ended up on the phone with "Rose". She is your typical call center person. Obviously Indian. Reading from a script.


But I tried getting past her to maybe a supervisor or someone. All I need is this account to be recreated for a few days. Nothing.

So I then found a "live chat" button on the Quest website. Remember people, I work in IT. I am often the 3rd level support for user issues. I have a great deal of empathy for the people on the other side of my tech calls.

But that doesn't mean I won't try every single trick in the book to get them to do want.

Below is a slightly edited (spelling, names, etc.) of the live chat I had with Quest.

Tech Dave > All technical support chats may be recorded and used for training purposes.
Thank you for contacting the Qwest Technical Support Center in Boise, ID. My name is Dave.  Will you please verify the billing name and the primary phone number on this account?
Scope > I do not have a quest account.  The old phone # associated with it was 555-555-5555.
Tech Dave > Hi, Scope, and thank you.
Tech Dave > You do not have Qwest DSL service at this time?
Scope > Here is the circle I am in (and I've already spent 40 minutes with "Rose" in "Team India").  My wife had a Qwest account.  She married me and we moved to Illinois.  The email account my stepdaughter was using on Facebook was "GDWAG@Q.COM".  That account died.  Facebook won't let us change the email account unless the email account is active.
Scope > I would consider being a Qwest customer in the future if this issue could be resolved.
Tech Dave > Scope, I would like to have you back, for sure! A q.com email address cannot be created unless you are a Qwest customer. The q.com domain is proprietary to Qwest customers only.
Scope > Dave, I want to have faith and BELIEVE in you.  I understand that.  And I wouldn't care if the account expired in 30-60-90 days.  If you can't get us "GDWAG@Q.COM" know that you've made a 14 year old girl cry because she's been banished from Facebook.
Tech Dave > I tremble at the thought of losing Facebook connections! Seriously, though, Scope, we have no way to activate that old email address. I am very sorry.
Scope > To be specific, I don't need the account reactivated.  I do not need old email.  I do not need old contacts.  All I need is that "GDWAG@Q.COM" be active so that Facebook can send it the email procedures for changing her email account.  
Scope > Feel empowered today Dave.  Feel empowered!
Tech Dave > haha! I love your positive attitude, Scope.
Scope > (I work 3rd level IT phone support.  I'm trying every trick here, dude.
Tech Dave > However.... I cannot activate that account. I am sorry.
Scope > And that is why I want to throttle people who use these proprietary accounts.  HOTMAIL never expires.  I know it's not your fault.  I hope this doesn't make you feel utterly defeated and low down all day long, like a shadow upon your soul.  :-)
Tech Dave > haha!
Tech Dave > I'll get over it, Scope. I hope you can, too!
Tech Dave > I appreciate your humor, though, thanks. That will help me through the day1
Tech Dave > !
Scope > But now I have to tell the step-daughter.  (Oh, and you are also blog fodder for the day.)
Scope > Hey, I'm on the other side of this way too often not to have a sense of humor about it.
Tech Dave > I am sorry.
Tech Dave > You are wise.
Tech Dave > Good luck with the Facebook.
Scope > Signing out.

I think the line about "a shadow upon your soul" is a nice melodramatic touch. I stole that from Hamlet via "Renascence Man", I think.


All Hail Rahmesse The Great


Chicago has elected a new mayor, pharaoh, Rahmesse the Great.

Since I still disagree with the ruling on his residency (I don't care that he owns rental property in the City, he lived in DC people), I have just decided to think of it as hiring a city manager. You know, an outsider. A professional bureaucrat who is not beholden to any contingent within the city.

But my advice for my fellow peons in Chicago?

Keep your eyes on "the Pharaoh" when the going gets narrow.

[Link for bad joke.]


Your SPAM Blocker Can't Stop This

So the other week, I was JONES'N for a taste of my childhood.

The SPAM Salad Sandwich.

For you "Foodies" out there who like recipes…


1 – Pull the ring and remove the lid from the can.

2 – Splurp the SPAM into a bowl.

3 – Smash the SPAM back into it's more ground form, stirring in mayo and pickle relish.


4 – Place on bread with a slice of American cheese.

5 – Enjoy it's porcine goodness. Verily, the food of the gods!

Oddly, neither of the women in my household would come near it. I think they saw how much I was enjoying it, and didn't want to deprive me of the pleasure.

Although I think the term "stench" was uttered once or twice from the peanut gallery. Still not sure what THAT was all about.

Nor did I get a kiss until I brushed my teeth.


(Click HERE for my previous SPAM post.)


The New Normal – It's A SHAM… WOW!

Over the last few months or so, Cora's been having a bit of a "Goldilocks Issue".

One pillow was too thin.

One pillow was too thick and hard.

When my "Copperlocks" mentioned bringing in a some of the pillows from the sofa, I reached into my bag of trick. Technically, it was my SpaceBag of tricks. Back when I moved in, a friend gave me a bed set that had all kinds of decorative pillows and decorative pillow shams. And so I bought some big fluffy, square "European pillows" to fill some of those out. When Cora moved in, I packed all that up into a vacuum packed Spacebag, and stored them away. Now I put them to use.

After a few days, my beautiful bride proclaimed this pillow "just right". And face it, folks, when your spouse has had the spinal issues that mine has had, when she says that something is bothering her neck, you hop to it.

The only issue in my book was that the pillow didn't have a legitimate pillow case, just this pillow sham, which was not all that soft. (Cora didn't mention it. She was too happy with her new cushy pillow!)

So, last Thursday, I walked to the huge department store downtown. (This is just before I about got killed by the falling glass.)

I was in their bedding department, and had this conversation with a sales associate. We will call her, "MArCY".


MArCY – Can I help you?

Scope – Yes, I'm looking for a pillow case for a European style pillow. All I see are pillow shams for them.

MArCY – They don't make pillow cases for European style pillows. They would just fall out. You need to use a pillow sham.

Scope - (Then just make them like shams. Duh!) Well, then do you have any plain white simple SHAMS that we can use for pillow cases?

MArCY – Yes, here are some made out of our finest cotton.

Scope - $100! For one pillowcase?

MArCY – It's a pillow SHAM.

Scope – It certainly is! My wife would KILL me if I brought home $100 pillow SHAMS. Do you have anything more… economical.

MArCY – Well, the green trimmed ones are on clearance. They are on sale for $47, and then 50% off of that.

Scope – So, I'll take two. For… $47.

I'm still not sure on the logic of buying a pillow case that is twice as expensive as the pillow, but if it helps Cora sleep well at night, then it is well worth it.


Well, I'm Not Dead…

I was walking back from lunch (and that's another story), crossing the street at Madison & Dearborn (that's me in the crosswalk up there), I heard a CRACK and looked up and back to where the sound came from. And what I saw was glass raining down onto the corner where I'd just been standing. The newspaper guy who usually sits at the center of the bull's eye up there caught it pretty good. Luckily, it looked like most of it was little cubes like safety glass, but I did see some hand sized bits land in the intersection (the little explosion cloud.)

And, "Yes", when I looked at the rain of glass, I was relieved not to see a body in the middle of it.

Here's your action new reporter getting a shot of the glass in the intersection:


I hung around for a few minutes, and no one seemed to be hurt. The cops and emergency people were there right away.


And then I called my wife after lunch and said, "Well, I'm not dead…"

She was not amused.

(Here is a short news story about it. It confirms that no one was really hurt.)


The S.A.D. Season – Part 2

Happy Valentine's Day.  And it sure is for me.  My babies arrived home from a weekend in Washington (well, I'm writing this on Saturday, so they WILL arrive) Sunday night.  Today will be a fabulous "first Valentine's Day" for us as a family.  The plan is to do a little home cooking, enjoy a nice meal, and just relax and enjoy being together.

But, who doesn't love taking the piss out of Cupid a little?

Our first one is was one of my favorite commercials when it was in rotation.  And it reminds me that I need to get crackin' on those taxes.

And now things start to get a funky.  I think the dude in the "Members Only" jacket kind of deserves it.

And just when I thought that the cupid in the last video was one of the most disturbing images I'd seen in day, THIS rapping Cupid throws down the jams.  (And a couple of pizzas, it looks like, too.)

And just when I thought that the cupid in the last video was one of the most disturbing images I'd seen in day, THIS cross-eyed Cupid shows up, looking like some kind Phil Silvers cloning experiment gone horribly awry.

"I'm crazy cross-eyed…"  And I might not be able to sleep tonight after seeing that.


Slow Sunday

Just in time for Valentine's Day, Elizabeth Mitchell explores some of the complex, ethical dilemmas involving the "good clone / evil clone" paradox that our society will soon be facing.

From SplitSider


The S.A.D. Season – Part 1

No folks, I'm not talking about about Seasonal Affective Disorder where people get the winter time blues.  No, this is about a holiday I used to celibate celebrate:

Singles Awareness Day

The holiday can be celebrated on February 13, 14, or 15th.  I celebrated it almost everyday, for the better part of 20 year or so, until one day…


But I remember what it was like this time of year.  You have feelings like this:


You want to give Cupid a taste of his own medicine.

Cupid-05 But be warned, Cupid seems to enjoy his spankings a little too much.


I always suspected Cupid was a little accident prone.

Cupid-01Now this is more like it!

So, this goes out to the single and "single enough" ladies out there.  You know that guy who's "just a friend"?  Throw the poor guy a bone.  (Not like THAT, unless you want to be the BEST FRIEND EVER!)  Ask him out to a nice dinner @ Taco Bell, then spot the guy 5 minutes of light "slap & tickle" in the parking lot.  You can even pull out a kitchen timer so that he knows he's "on the clock."

As long as told him straight-up what's what, he'll be fine with it.  Plus, now you'll have someone you can call when you need someone to help you rearrange your furniture.  (No, that's not a euphemism for anything.)

Cupid-06 But this probably is…


Snow Day – Part 3

Many moons ago, I think it was around the late 70's, my parents took off for a little winter vacation, and left us 3 kids in the care of my grandparents. If memory serves, they took the train to Kansas City for some square dancing thing.

Since school was in session, my grandparents had to stay out at the farm, since, while they only lived 7 miles away, they were in a different school system. Our farm was 2.5 miles outside of a town of 250 people. Our road was a standard chip rock country road. Little traveled except by the people who live on it.

And not the highest priority to get plowed out.

You can guess where this is going?

Yup, it had been a snowy winter with the ditches filled with snow, and the road cut thru the drifts. Well, it didn't take much to drift the road closed. And we got more than enough. Way more.

Snowed in. For a couple of days. No big deal for us kids. There was plenty of food, and the power stayed on, so we were good. And the plow came by and cleaned out the street.

But that didn't help my grandparents.

Their car was parked in the garage.

Behind a 6' high drift.

At the end of a 40 yard driveway that was 3 feet deep in snow.

Oh, and did I mention that they were both pack-a-day smokers and had run out of cigarettes? 2 days ago.

By the time my parent's train pulled in to town, the nicotine withdraw was in full force. Grandma had cleaned the entire house. Top to bottom. Twice. Mom & Dad called from town (what's a "cell phone"?) to see if we needed anything. The only thing that they asked my parents to bring was cigarettes.

Mom & Dad made it home, and Dad used the front end loader to clear the drive.

And Grandma & Grandpa enjoyed the best cigarettes of their lives.


The New Normal – Food

As a bachelor living on his own for 20+ years, you might say, I had some… habits… routines. You know what I mean. Since getting married, some of them have started to change.

Like food:

That kind of describes my life pre-marriage. I could go 2 or 3 months without doing any serious grocery shopping. I mean, I ate breakfast @ McDonald's 3 times a week, ate out for lunch weekdays, and dinner out 4 or 5 times a week. What did I need food for? I needed pop, pasta, sauce. Maybe some hot dogs.

Now-a-days, I look into the fridge, and see bizarre things:

  • Eggs – I have undead chickens in my fridge!
  • Milk – Not only does the milk not resemble cottage cheese like it used to, there is a gallon of blue stuff called "skin milk" or "skim milk" or something. And there there's the "1% milk". (I wonder what the other 99% is?)
  • Fruit – I have deconstructed cans of fruit salad sitting around in it's natural state. What's up with that.
  • Cereal – Special K Red Berry, Honey Nut Cheerio's, Rice Chex, Fruit Loops (for the step daughter) and oatmeal. Well, I guess that explains the milk.
  • Frozen Vegetables – The closest I used to come to having vegetables on hand was a can of Le Sueur Peas in the cabinet.

And I'm eating meals at home. At the dinning room table. Talking to other human beings.

Man, that's so cool.


Super Bowl XLV

That 'XLV' up there is in Latin.  Sadly, that's the only part of this post that our friend MJenks over at Vita Brevis happy about this post.  See, my Steelers are going to do very bad things to his Packers.  Things that will make even Ben Roethlisberger blush. 

While trash talking the PACERS (sic) is fun, I try to be a positive fan, and celebrate my team.  And here's some video to pump you for a Steeler's victory:

The Immaculate Reception:  (John Madden is still crying about this catch.  He was the Raiders' coach.)

And since the game is in Dallas, here's Lynn Swann lighting up the Cowboys:

And while it's no "Super Bowl Shuffle", "Here We Go" works pretty well

The difference between winners and losers? Winners wave a yellow towel, not a white flag.  My towel is sitting right here, waiting for the big game!


Okay, one final bit of trash talking…



This chick?






Tony Mandarich

Yeah, I went Mandarich.


Snow Day – Part 2

With our snow day on Wednesday, Cora, Gwen and I dressed up in our winter clothes and went out to check out the snow. Correction, they went out in their winter clothes. I put on an extra pair of socks with my tennis shoes.

The first challenge was making it out of our breezeway.


And things didn't get much better out on the street either…


But then we trudged on to Gwen's school, where the girls took a romp thru the snow.


And while the city was making sure that it got the main roads plowed…


They really hadn't gotten around to doing the side streets yet.

But somehow, this guy made it out..


Speaking of digging out, after out walk, Cora and I took on the task of digging out that breezeway.


No, this isn't what I wore on the walk, or for the shoveling, just for the photo ops.


And while we were out walking, I pointed out to Cora an example of what we in Chicago call, "dibs". If you shoveled out the spot, you can claim it with "dibs" and no one is supposed to park there.


And woe unto he who violates the "dibs code".



Snow Day – Part 1

WInter-03SNOW-Bleepin-BlizzardsYeah, we've gotten a little weather in the Midwest. Here in Chicago, we've gotten plenty of snow. The last band of "lake effect" snow has some pretty solid whiteout conditions going on out there.

Gwen has a snow day off of school.

I have a snow day off of work!

Right now, we are hunkered up, watching the news coverage. Safe, and mostly warm.

(We'd be warmer is CERTAIN PEOPLE would leave the porch door closed!)

Last night, I left work a right at 5:00 and was one of the last people out. The good news is that the CTA did it's job, and the trains ran just fine. And with everyone skipping out of town early, I even got a seat. Now, the walk from the train station to my condo was a different story. Understandably, few people had cleared their walk, since it had really just started, so there was a good 3" – 4" inches with some 6" drifts most of the way. Not bad. But it was the wind that really sucked.

Just blasting the snow into your eyes which ever way you looked. So I put on my sunglasses to protect my eyes. They promptly fogged up and froze due to the scarf over my face pumping my humid breath right across them.

But, Annie is with us. The forecast says, the sun will come out tomorrow. (But temps will plummet.)

(We hope to venture out after lunch, so hopefully I'll have pictures and post them later.)