Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Dogs On A Plane

For those of who know us, know that Brock and I love our dogs and with the holidays coming up, its decision time on what to do with them when we travel. Most holidays they spend at the Pet Smart Hotel but this year Brock had another thought........

Brock: I wish we could fly the dogs home with us.
Me: I know, but that's pretty expensive plus they would have to be in the cargo bin.
Brock: No, I mean fly with us, next to us in the cabin.  
Me: You can't take dogs that size in the cabin. (Goose is 95lbs and Maverick is 80lbs)
Brock: Hey, what if we got them service vests and said they were our service dogs. They would have to let them on the plane then.
Me: But technically speaking, we aren't disabled.
Brock: We'll just say I'm prone to panic attacks and you....well, you have red hair.
Me: Red hair is not disability.
Brock: It kind of seems like it might be.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

Disgusted that they would have to work Thanksgiving, several Target employees took matters into their own hands and formed a petition. The petition demanded that Target close for the day so they could enjoy the holidays with their family and friends. After collecting over 100,000 signatures, the employees presented their petition to the corporate office only to have Target say they would remain open. 

OK, I can go a couple different ways here.

1) I could rant on and on about being thankful you have job.
2) I could could one-up the retailers with skin crawling accounts of working the holidays in the restaurant business. Not midnight of the holidays, actually getting up at 3:30am on Thanksgiving day, going to work, and spending the next 12-14 hours getting yelled at because we were 10 minutes late on a reservation, cleaning up vomit, getting a 7% tip on a 20 top, unclogging the toilet, and bussing a diaper off a table.
3) I could pontificate about greed in American.

I could discuss that although the petition was well meaning, it was directed at the wrong people. As long as people are willing to leave their cozy house on Thanksgiving and risk life and limb for a chance at a discounted TV, I've got news for you......Target will stay open. Below I've listed the people that the employees should have petitioned, because if they had been doing their job, people would stay home and there would be no reason for Target to open early.

Network TV Executives:
I stay home on Thursday nights to watch Parks and Rec & The Office, not to watch Ice Age. Demand that they target their programming appropriately: Dancing with the Stars Finale, Game 7 of the World Series (it may be a delay from Game 6 but just think how much better they would be with all the extra practice), The Superbowl (granted it would be odd to hold this half through the season, but drastic times call for drastic measures) or a Very Gaga Thanksgiving.....oh, wait......

Makers of Pup Tents:
If you can create a tent home that looks nicer than most homes outside a Best Buy, why wouldn't you?
Demand that these company's go back to the old school tents that we set up in our back yard after many hours of hearing our parents curse the craftsmanship of the tent only to have the zipper rip within the first 8 minutes of our "camp-out", leaving us subject to 40 degree temperatures.

The Pilgrims:
How can we be expected to entertain ourselves for 16 hours with only the tradition of a 2-3 hour meal? What are we..animals? Demand they create more lengthier traditions that we can add to Thanksgiving. A few ideas might be: Church Service (1-2 hours), Renewal of Wedding Vows (1 hour), Renewal of Wedding Vow Reception (2-4 hours), Airing of the Grievances (1-3 hours depending on amount and severity of grievances), and Family Movies/Slideshows.

The Turkey:
The turkey is a well meaning and tasty bird, but lets face it, after a big helping of turkey and its nap inducing tryptophan you end up having a full nights sleep in the middle of the day and wake up at around 8pm ready to go. Demand that all Turkey become Caffeine Pizza.

Unfortunately, 90% of all family get togethers end early due fighting, disagreements, dissension, nuclear warfare, civil unrest, and TV disagreements. These family meals ending early result in 98% of Black Friday purchases. Demand that family's try harder, be funnier, more entertaining, more tolerant, less bossy and more giving up of the TV remote. Then and only then will people stay put.

Better luck next year, Target employees!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The American Music Awards

Thanks to my discerning taste in clothing, I present you my fashion likes and dislikes of the 2011 American Music Awards.**


Jenny McCarthy
I loved the dress, the color, the shoes, the pockets, the fact that she is almost 40. The make-up was little to severe for my taste.

Nicki Minaj
Considering that she is usually dressed in candy wrappers and tinsel, I thought this was a classy step in the right direction.

Taylor Swift
I seriously don't get her. I know she is extremely popular and inexplicably nice (Kanye West) albeit clingy to (ex) boyfriends. Generally, I don't find her look all that interesting but I thought the hair and dress looked nice together and I the green pop of jewelry was nice surprise (I know, that last sentence I wrote made me roll my eyes too).

Selena Gomez
I'm torn here. Although not a huge fan of metallics, I thought Selena Gomez looked nice. Unfortunately, I can't say the same for her lady servant. Whoever, advised her on the velvet suit should be ashamed of themselves.


Kraven (if that in fact is his real name)
I can't decide what's more obnox, the bedazzled suit or the douchey pose.

Chaka Khan
I will say after I realized this wasn't Diana Ross, I did find this look to be a little more likable....if that's even possible.

Jennifer Lopez
Usually, she looks stunning. I prefer her Fiat commercial look.

Pheobe Price
First of all, I don't know who this is. Second of all, I think this dress looks awful on her.  Thirdly, distracting us with that hat/fascinator was good in theory but poorly executed.

**I'm neither an expert in fashion or music. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Sexiest Man Alive

Well done, Bradley Cooper, well done. Kudos on a stellar year! Not only did your remake of The Hangover shatter box office records (made up fact) but you have now been named People Magazines Sexiest Man Alive. Although I agree your piercing blue eyes, your wavy hair and disheveled "not trying too hard" look make us all swoon, you are not the only hunk out there that could have walked away with this award.  Here are my picks.

Jason Bateman
First of all, he makes any TV show or movie better. Secondly, and probably most important, he is really polite. He once ate at my restaurant with his wife and baby and another couple who also had a kid. The kids made a mess and rather than leave it for the staff to clean up he and his wife swept it up themselves. They also chastised their guests for talking while the server was trying to hand out the food. The Bateman's said please and thank-you. If that's not sexy I don't know what is. I love you, Jason Bateman.


George Clooney
First and foremost he's a Humanitarian. Secondly, and more importantly, he's a stone cold fox.

Jim Bob Duggar
This one comes out of left field and might surprise you. But as he and his wife announced on the Today Show that they are pregnant with their 20th child, it became evident that at least one person finds Jim Bob sexy......very, very sexy.

Price Harry
I know the Ginger fellas get a lot of grief and aren't appealing to everyone, but he wears it well. Plus he all prince-y.

Other "Sexiest" Categories

Sexiest Woman Alive
But why should the women be left out? My pick for Sexiest Woman Alive-Young Adult Division would have to go to Ms. Justin Bieber. Wait...what? Oh.....really? This is awkward......hmmmmm, ok.
I stand behind my nominee.

****Warning! Danger! Danger! This next photo may not be suitable for everyone. Proceed at your own risk.****

Unsexiest Man Alive
Let's face it, we aren't all sexy and that's OK. But some of us really aren't sexy and my nomination for Unsexiest Man Alive goes to Tareq Salahi.

Sexiest Man Alive at the Hands of the Kardashians
Dear 1976 (date may or may not be correct) Olympic Champion Bruce Jenner, please come back to us.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Help Wanted

The good news is that several jobs became available the past few weeks. The bad news is that I probably won't get any of them. Here are the reasons why.

Oscar Host 2012: I'm pretty sure if you are hosting the Oscars you have to sit through the entire show. Deal-breaker.

Pippa Middleton's Boyfriend: Pippa recently broke up with her on-again, off-again beau, Alex Loudon. Let's face it, I'm no Alex Loudon (whoever that is) and this would be a long shot.

Oscar Producer 2012: Based on qualifications of previous producer, Brett Ratner, I'm not an asshole.

Penn State Head Coach: I'm against child abuse. Also, conflict of interest, would probably be in bad taste to wear an Iowa Hawkeye sweatshirt while on the Penn State sidelines.

Prime Minister of Italy: Might have a shot at this. With all the financial trouble that Italy is facing, my ability to live for 11 months without any discernable income may appeal to the Italians. My lack of Italian citizenship probably won't.

America's Got Talent Judge: With Piers Morgan leaving to focus on his CNN show, a judge's chair is left vacant.  Unfortunately, I refuse to believe that America has talent. Don't believe me, YouTube singing.

Mr. Kim Kardashian: Worst. Job. Ever.

Various Penn State Administrative Positions: I do like to set and enforce policy at the University level, however, seems like a big mess to clean up.

Ashton Kutcher's Tweeter: After a huge tweeting faux pas that had an uniformed Kutcher tweeting outrage about the firing of Joe Paterno to his 8 million followers, he apologized profusely and decided he could no longer assume the responsibility of communicating to  8 million people in a public forum and would look for outside help to manage his twitter account.  Fellow Iowan beside the point, I don't think its in my best interest or anyone else's for that matter to ensure 8 million people  have a positive image of Ashton Kutcher. Besides, I'm too busy stannding in line for a McRib.

Co-Host of Regis and Kelly: Biggest disadvantage is that my name is not Regis, assuming they are willing to change the name, logo and all the merchandise associated with the show I would still succeed to the front runner Jerry Seinfeld. I'm not sure who  this Jerry Seinfeld is, but I understand he has 3 children and probably needs the job more than I do.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dear Kim K

Dear Kim Kardashian,

The year was 1999 and I was living in Mclean, VA. I was working as a Kitchen Manager at Not Bucca (name has been changed to protect Maggiano's). This is how all my blogs are going to start from this point forward. As a KM (Kitchen Manager, Einstein) you have the pleasure of getting up at 5:30am, counting all the food in the walk-ins (Big refrigerators, Mensa Member) and deciding what you are going to prep for the day. 5:30am is cold. 5:30am is even colder inside a walk-in. 5:30am is even colder when you are inside a walk-in and you have to touch food product and the containers they are stored in. But I dressed the part: sweatshirt, coat, gloves, & boots.

One particular morning I was colder than usual. Realizing that we had a pretty abundant supply of clothing at the restaurant, known as the Lost and Found, I decided to do a little shopping. As I rummaged through my make shift Gap, there in the corner was exactly what I was looking for, a sweatshirt. A 1992 Planet Hollywood black sweatshirt. As it looked back at me, I imagined our life together. It was a whirl wind love affair. The minute I tried on that sweatshirt I felt protected and safe. Our world was bliss.

But as the hours in the day started to go by, employees started to show up, then customers started to arrive. Suddenly my sweatshirt and I were subject to their disapproval. I was told my sweatshirt was obnoxious and yes, it did have all the Planet Hollywood locations listed on the back. I was told my sweatshirt was loud, and yes those locations were listed in the shape of a Christmas Tree. I was told I could do better, that there were other sweatshirts out there that could keep me warmer.  But I didn't care for our love was stronger than the criticism.

But like any relationship between a girl and her sweatshirt, the newness started to wear off and the passion diminished. You start to questions what others are saying about your ill conceived union. And you know what I did, Kim Kardashian, once the flame of passion was merely a flicker? I held on. I held on to my Planet Hollywood sweatshirt with all my might. Sure there were ups and downs, but what did I expect? We came from two different worlds. I from Iowa and my sweatshirt from a lost and found box. But when everything was stacked against us that when our commitment become even stronger and that's when we relied on each other even more. Sure, my travels and my career took me to new places. No longer was a KM, I was the General Manager. There is no place for a sweatshirt in that world, but you know what? After arriving home after 12 hours of work, there was my sweatshirt...waiting for me. As soon as I put it on, everything was alright. The days problems were washed away.

Still goin' strong!
Kim, I'm not comparing Kris Humphries to my sweatshirt. I respect my sweatshirt too much for that. I'm also not comparing my relationship with your relationship. But where is my sweatshirt today, more than 72 days after we met?, you snidely ask. Right where it should be. In my closet next up in the rotation.

Moral of the story #1:
If I can commit to an outdated tattered sweatshirt for 12 years then you can certainly commit to a professional NBA millionaire basketball player for more than 72 days.
Moral of the story #2:
The Lost and Found is an excellent place to Christmas shop. Anyone receiving Christmas gifts from me between 1999-2001 probably noticed a lack of gift receipts.


Friday, November 4, 2011

El Norte Pants

They are happy because their pants fit.
I hate skinny jeans. I don't just kind of hate skinny jeans, I really hate skinny jeans. The kind of hate that is reserved for the Kardashians, Ugg Boots, and Vegans. I never quite understood why my hatred for skinny jeans was so intense until I was reminded by my friends, the Ridgways, of my El Norte pants. And here is how the story goes......

In 1998, I was living in Alexandria, VA and working at "Not Bucca" (name has been changed to protect Maggiano's) as a Banquet Sales Manager. Tired of sitting at a desk and  repeatedly explaining Family Style dining and describing what Rigatoni D was, I longed for the excitement of the dining room. After much pleading and even more sucking at the Banquet Sales job, I was offered a management position with Not Buca, a decision that would prove fateful years down the road. But I digress.

I entered Management Training with all the gusto of a bright eyed Iowan. The training was simple, spend most of your time working the different positions in the  FOH and BOH ("front of house" and" back of house" for those that are lucky enough to never have to use these words). This position training gave you a better understanding of each job and what each teammate employee went through, enabling you to manage them better, a" walk a mile in my shoes" type of training if you will.

As I entered the kitchen portion of the training program, I started first by watching the company video, "El Norte". "El Norte" described the tough conditions and the struggles that our neighbors to the south, the Mexicans, endured to create a better life for themselves as they came to States to look for work (I believe this video was filmed in the 70s). This population represented about 95% of the BOH staff. It was heart wrenching, but I watched and took notes and was determined to treat everyone with dignity and respect. As the video ended, I went to one of the training managers, Pappas, to get further instructions about my first day in the kitchen. Pappas was a big, fun loving Greek guy in his early 30s who specialized in wrestling co-workers, bear hugging co-workers and walking around with his hands in his pockets, that is until Ridgway (another manager) managed to staple his pockets shut on a day he appeared on TV to talk about Not Bucca. As we watched Pappas on live TV start to pontificate about the resurgence of Italian Food in the American diet, he leaned back, looked past the reporter, and put his hands in his pockets. And there he stood with hands in his pockets up to his second knuckle and an uneasy look on his face, as he discussed Southern Italian cuisine.......but I digress again as this is story about hating skinny jeans, not about how to break bad habits.

When I approached Pappas that day, I was full of optimism and eagerness to get started in the kitchen. But first he had to issue my kitchen uniform. As I stood in the managers office, he handed me a chef coat and a pair of checked chef pants. As I headed to the door, Pappas blocked my exit and asked, "Where do you think you are going?" I replied I was going to change. He stated, "El Norte, Baby. You change here, not everybody gets a warm bathroom to change in.". With that a small crowd started to gather near the office. Acting undeterred, I pulled out the chef pants, which appeared to be a size 4 toddler. I held them up for Pappas to see. His reply again, "El Norte, baby. Not everybody gets pants that fit, Princess." After managing to close the office door half way, I squeezed into my El Norte pants. As I emerged from the office, Ridgway and Pappas panned down at my feet, for there on my feet were my kitchen boots, then about 3 inches of sock showing, followed by about 4 inches of exposed skin and then just below the knee, my El Norte Pants hit. As they followed the pants up they had to look away. These El Norte pants were offensive and made hooker pants look like loose fit trousers. And there I stood, swaying back in forth, unable to tip over do the extreme tightness of my pants that kept me stable. As I "Frankenstein-ed" it down the stairs to the kitchen, I felt light headed and woozy mostly likely due to loss of circulation in my extremities. And then I worked. I'm not sure whether it was weight loss due to the kitchen heat or being in the weeds for 6 hours that made me forget about my El Norte pants and the numbness in my legs. When I got home that night I started to peel the pants off.  What I didn't realize then was that my El Norte pants were years ahead of their time, they were today's skinny jean. Sure, modern fashion has loosed them up and lengthened them to fall around the ankle and made them appear less vulgar than the pair I was wearing....but I hated them then and I hate them now.

Moral of the story: Skinny/El Norte jeans were stupid back in 1998 and they are still stupid today.