Friday, March 26, 2010

Gov't Docs

I did our taxes yesterday & before that, I stood & was counted by filling out the census form. Here are some quick thoughts.

* The racial option included "Black/African American/Negro"
Are there still be self-identifying as "Negro"? And if so, how come I didn't get "Cracker" or Honky" as an option? It reminded me of some sort of Paul Mooney word association sketch.
* There's been a lot of talk from the Right Wing Crazies about not wanting to give this info to Big Brother. (As if they don't already have it in one way or another for most of us anyway.) However, it seems like this kind of info is precisely the info they'd want to the Gov't to have. They're always crying about White people's dwindling numbers, so one would think those racist fucks would be happy to place another tally in the column for their proud heritage.

* The Feds wanted to know if any of my income came from the railroad industry. I don't know if that meant they wanted to know if I was some sort of robber baron like Crocker or Vanderbuilt, if I was an engineer like Casey Jones, or if w/in this economy, I'd taken to riding the rails like Woody Guthrie & my grandfather. Since none of these were options that relate to me, I clicked no & moved on w/o giving it another thought until I came to the state form.
* The state wanted to know if any of my income came from seafaring. Granted, "Seafaring" is a cool word, but seeing as I neither pilot a ferry to Wisconsin, work as a deck-hand on a freighter, nor make a living as a Great Lakes fisherperson, again I clicked no & moved on.

* My real concern here, though, is that I'm curious about why the Feds want to know about my railroading & the state wants to know about my seafaring, but not the other way around. It's like someone in the IRS woke up one day & said "I demand to know about everyone's connection to the railroads! What? Their connections to boating? Fuck boating!" Of course, the state's person, who may very well sound like Ricky Gervais, woke up & said, "I demand to know about everyone's seafaring! Railroads? Are you 'avin' a laugh? Bullocks!"
Why would one want one set of info and the other a totally unrelated set of info? It seems like if it's important to one, it should be important to the other.

* The feds suggested the money I spent on Isaiah's adoption would be deduct able, but then they claimed to have no record of him. As it turns out, he's on record w/ his old last name... still.

* In the section where they needed to know if I'd received my "Stimulus Check," it claims the info about Stephanie's would be filled in automatically, but of course, that didn't happen & I had to go back in today & override the IRS system in order to correctly enter her data.

* All in all, the refund is a little bigger than last year, which is pretty cool.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Verde FC

In the ever-widening family of Visions of Ypsi related bogs, I'd like to introduce you to the one for our new team. Dan & I went to the MUSL office yesterday to register. We're still short a few people, but it seems to be coming together pretty well. If you know of people over 30 w/ some skills & the desire to play for a sweet, sweet team, pass on my info! In the mean time, dig our sweet, sweet shirts:

Friday, March 19, 2010

My New Phone... if you can call it that or "Damn, It Feels Good to be a Gangsta"

When I got my last phone, in May of 2008, I was excited about the mp3 capabilities, but in general, I was also well aware that I wanted something simple, w/ few bells &/or whistles. However, it quickly became apparent that the phone sucked the proverbial donkey balls. A few months later, I placed it in my soccer bag during a match, & the unexpected storm/hail/tornado conditions cried havoc & let slip the dogs of war upon the shitty little thing. Since then, the texting/typing/basic usefulness of a phone has been problematic. while typing (or entering a phone number), the delete button would often get stuck down & I would be left for days on on w/o he ability to proceed. This also effected my ability to have a conversation as the same button was responsible for muting my voice... causing people to inadvertently become unable to hear what I was saying & assume we were disconnected. It came to a head yesterday while I was attempting to pay a bill over the phone, but it kept "pushing" the wrong #s which then connected me w/ the wrong departments.

In frustration, I went to the AT&T place by Target to determine my options, options, as it turned out that were much greater than I expected. While settling on a new phone, the 3 people working there also greatly lowered my bill as 2 of them pretended to be Stephanie & me & called the billing people w/ major complaints. They hooked us up w/ an extra 1,000 roll-over minutes & after they fought for an hour, halved the bill.. for a few months anyway. Plus, the woman may join the Green Team! She played in college, is supposedly a decent striker & is a Liverpool fan (& you thought this would be a soccer-free post... HA... not-bloody-likely).I settled on the Motorola Backflip, which does exponentially more than the old phone, has the best camera I've ever had, & has proven to be super-fun. As I then went straight to Nicola's, Stephanie proceeded to take the kids up & procured 1 for herself. This, in turn, allowed her to give her old one to them... & will allow me to go all Office Space on my shit-ass piece of shitty shit.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Rock & Roll: ABBA... WTF?

We've only been to the Hall of Fame once; for our honeymoon, we drove to Vermont, stopping for a night in Niagara solely for the ironic-hip factor (just like Lois & Clark in Superman II) & then on through up-state New York before getting to our B&B, The Northfield Inn, in Northfield. We spent 2 nights there, which included a day trip to the Ben & Jerry's plant & an afternoon in Burlington before heading south to Hancock were we spent 2 nights (including the Thursday of the final Seinfeld episode) @ The Sweet Onion Inn, a vegan B&B right in the middle on the Nat'l Park. On our trip home, we decide to go south of Erie, through New York, Pennsylvania, & Ohio which meant we were passing through Cleveland. We've been there many times (perhaps you recall when a few of us took Cleveland by the Balls), but only on this, our 1st trip to that glorious city, did we hit the Hall.
In honor of our honeymoon trip & because I wanted to see Phish perform the Genesis tunes, we watched the Induction Ceremony last night on Fuse. Trey gave the speech inducting Genesis which was clearly the speech of a man who loves music. It was like listening to Quinten Tarentino talk about films. He even went so far as to call out the people in the audience who had never listened to Selling England By the Pound... I'm included in that, a fact I guess I'll have to remedy soon.

Billie Joe Armstrong then inducted The Stooges which was pretty cool... & then The Stooges played "Search & Destroy" & "I Wanna be Your Dog," during which he asked all the rich people (the execs, not the musicians) to join him on stage... as if asking if they had the balls to get on stage w/ The Stooges. They didn't. They clearly didn't know how to react as he stood between their table w/o a shirt on screaming the chorus in their ears. It was funny. Well played, Mr. Pop.

After David Geffen came Jimmy Cliff who was sporting some ridiculous glasses. Wyclef Jean inducted him & then he played "You Can Get it if You Really Want It," some slow song I don't know, & then "The Harder They Come" (w/ Wyclef).

Little Steven inducted The Hollies w/w a really long & tangential speech, but it was also really cool. The Hollies then played a slew of songs, starting w/ my fav, "Bus Stop," all of which were great. They played "Carrie Ann," & "Tall Cool Woman in a Black Dress"... & 1 or 2 other songs, & I was reminded that we'll have to get some Hollies from the library soon... they're so fucking good.

On the flip side, a group whom I've never thought was "so fucking good" was inducted next. A few years ago, people were upset when Madonna was inducted, but I was cool w/ that. I'm not saying they aren't important in music history, but ABBA? WTF? I just don't get it. Are people who claim to like them being ironic? Is liking them some sort of hip in-joke for people who deep-down know they suck? Roger Corman got a Lifetime Achievement Oscar this year, so maybe we're now handing out prestigious awards w/ tongue in cheek. I guess that's a possibility... otherwise, WTF?

Finally, Carol King inducted a series of song-writers from New York.
* Barry Mann & Cynthia Weil who wrote "Make Your Own Kind of Music," "On Broadway," & "We Gotta Get Out of this Place."
* Ellie Greenwich & Jeff Barry who wrote "It's My Party," "Da Do Run Run," & "Do Wah Dtty Ditty."
* Jesse Stone who wrote "Shake, Rattle, & Roll" & "Don't Let Go."
* Mort Shuman wrote "Save the Last Dance for Me," "Viva Las Vegas," & "A Teenager in Love."
* Otis Blackwell who wrote "Fever," "Great Balls of Fire," "All Shook Up," & "Don't Be Cruel."

A slew of musicians joined Paul Shaffer & his band to perform these songs. the best of which were Chris Issac doing "Don't Be Cruel" & Peter Wolf doing "Money, Honey." all in all, it was cool... as was the concert in general. if only I understood ABBA... WTF?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Cops & Pork

I was heading to Nicola's yesterday morning, knowing full-well that the guy w/ whom I'm supposed to open was going to be late so my mood was rocking from the start. As I was heading West on I-94, just before I got to Briarwood, a State Cop had someone stopped on the shoulder. I slowed down, gave my basic "I'm sorry for ya brother, but it's better you than me" look @ the guy, & kept on cruising @ posted speeds. The cop then pulled back onto the road & sped up right behind me. I thought, "Fuck! this dude is going to pull me over... What the hell???" No sooner do I think this than his light goes, & I have to stop. Of course, he comes up to the passenger side window which doesn't go down properly so I roll down the rear window which makes him have to stand towards the back of the car & talk to me over the seats which was actually kind of funny. I ask what's up & he says, "Let me see you identification & once I know who you are I'll tell you." (I know... you're dieing for an Obi-wan quote here, but I balked.) After he read it, he asked me if I knew the law in Michigan that concerns the act of passing a police officer who has someone pulled over. I doubt that's how he phrased it... but you get the point.

At this point I was shocked. Who knew there was a law about that? I said, "I suppose one should slow down & be careful, but I don't know that we need a law that confirms that. You were on the other side of the car like you are now, so there was clearly no danger." This is basically the same logic Maverick used for going below the "Hard-Deck" to get Jester. He proceeded to inform me that 8 years ago a law was passed obliging drivers to move to the other lane so long as the other lane is available. Hmmm... he pulled me over for that shit? Wow!

After asking me about my driving record & hearing about the old yellow Escape, he goes back to his car & runs my info on his little handy-dandy cop-puter. when he returned, he came back to the driver's side... I don't know why... & asked if I was aware I was driving w/ a suspended licence. Neither knowing what the fuck he was talking about, nor thinking too clearly, I asked, " My licence plates are suspended? How is that possible? Is that a thing that happens?" He obviously says, "No, your driver's licence." Apparently, when I totaled my car, I got some $200 driver responsibility fee from the state & when I didn't pay it w/in 30 days, my licence was suspended. He said most people are unaware of this & don't find out until they are in a situation just like I was in. He then said he was going to let me go, but I shouldn't be driving until I pay the fine which will clear up the suspension.

And like a fool I persisted. "But my licence has been suspended... can't you arrest me for driving?" Why? why can't I keep my mouth shut? I'll tell you why. I was shocked & honestly wanted to know what the rule was. "Yep," he said, "I could take you in. It's only a misdemeanor though, & it's Sunday morning so I'm not going to bother you w/ that. Just be careful."

I don't mean to look a gift-horse in the mouth, but why did he bother pulling me over for such a stupid thing if not to check my record in the hopes of finding something exactly like he found? What was he expecting? Warrants for my arrest as an axe murderer? As it turns out, I was able to keep that part of my life a secret. How he went from douchey stickler for the rules to letting me go after a nice public-service explanation of what I'd done wrong, I have no idea. Perhaps he didn't feel comfortable dragging a dude in a kilt to the hokey... for fear of the pokey. I'll tell you what... I was certainly fearing that.In other pig news, I tried a bite of Aiden's bacon a couple days ago . I hadn't had bacon since 1993, but w/ all the hub-bub about it lately, I figured I'd give it a go. It wasn't bad, but the way middle-class white people shit their pants for it is ridiculous. It's just meat, people. Relax! I've said it before & I'll say it again, "Bacon is to the bourgeoisie as cocaine is to the aristocracy & meth to the proletariat."

Sunday, March 7, 2010

A few videos before the State Police story

The 2012 prophecy @ it's worst!

Werner Herzog reads Madeline???

Barry and Levon w/ sock puppets???

Thursday, March 4, 2010

A thought while running today

There's a little breaking news, but before we get to that, I need to clear something up. While running (I made it 5.7 miles today @ a good pace), I was thinking about the old llama farm on Superior which in turn got me thinking about llamas in general & my interest in them. People often wonder what it is about them that I dig. So here's the thing... in Plymouth there was a llama farm that I always loved & on 1 occasion, Stephanie & I even got a chance to meet them. That alone isn't really enough though. Of course, that isn't enough to make the llama my #1 favorite animal. There's also the Phish song, which is obviously a cool tune (you can hear a a good version from 1992 here), but that isn't really it either. I think my love for these animals is down to their basic personality. They have a sort of have a slacker-chic situation going on. Perhaps you're not aware of this, but I kind of do too. I know there are other, more slackerish animals, but they're too showy. Take the possum (another Phish song); their very name is "possum." Their name is a synonym for being lazy.. that's going to far. They're sort of slacker attention whores. I may be a slacker, & I may be an attention whore, but I'm not an attention whore about my slacking. The llama may be a slacker, but they also know how to party when necessary, that's the other thing I dig about them. They will even get up on their hind legs and sing... that's pretty awesome. They're not like drunks sing Neil Diamond in a bar though... they're subtle about it. So many animals are stinky or obnoxious, or showy... llamas aren't like that @ all, llamas just are.

Oh... & I promised a little new news.... come back tomorrow & I'll lay it on you w/ photos & everything.