Sunday, January 31, 2010

Oh, to eat again.

At the end of a good fulfilling Sunday, what better thing to do than sit down with your wife in front of the tele to watch a movie together, in front of the fire.  Dogs were pretty excited about it, because a movie in the human world equates to popcorn being thrown continuously to the doggies!  Fire up the sound system, for good audio effect, get into your comfies.  And!

Saturday night I got called into Kenai  for a service call.  After hours calls are money makers so I don't mind, and it looked to be a quickie anyways.  So Maryann came along for the ride.  We had a nice dinner out at the Uptown Motel and afterwards ran over to the video store to grab a couple of movies to watch over the next couple of nights.  Last night was the first and pretty good.  Fast forward to tonight.

So after popping the popcorn, and dialing in the sound system.  Did I ever tell you how Maryann and I got back together after being apart for several years?  It was back when the west coast had an epidemic breakout of ecoli, from tainted burgers with Jack In The Box, back around 1992/93.  Yup, I was an official statistic.  After slamming a couple of bad burgers, I found myself dieing in my apartment, completely laid out.  I had been puking all day, smelled of "sick" felt like death worn over, and as I laid on my couch with my sister keeping watch on my dieing ass, there hence comes a knock on my door.  As my sister opens the door and I roll my head to see who had come to bid me farewell, there was Maryann.  I had seen her briefly months before for the first time in 4 years, and tonight she came to see me because she had moved back to town.  Couldn't have picked a better night to stop by!  So love sprouted that night, despite Jack In The Box and mad meat!  Your wondering how this is relevant to the story I was telling, aren't you.

So as M loads the DVD in the player, after the coming features are previewed, on comes the show.  But this is no show.  Unannounced to me this would be the DVD that may well be the end of my eating.  If you ever wanted to go on a diet, and just can't seem to pull it off.....go out and get the DVD called "Food Inc".  If this doesn't change your mind about ever eating again, you are already in trouble anyways!

In all seriousness, for nearly a decade and a half, M and I have already been in tune to the shenanigans that the food industry is up to, where our real nutrition has gone, and how our government has allowed these injustices to continue.  It is absolutely sickening, and so many people including more than likely you, the reader, have not much of a clue how cheated you have been by an industry, and the government that is supposed to look out for us, our health, our safety.  You have a doubt.....go get the movie!  Read up on it, it is public is real!!

The relevance of my bout with ecoli and this post is simple.  As I was telling that brief story of one of the worst illnesses I ever had (until the tainted chicken episode a month and a half ago), I was watching the story of someone else who had ecoli from ol Jack the same time I did.  This little boy wasn't as fortunate as I.  His systems shut down and he died slowly.  I got to listen to his mother tell the story of her precious sons death, due to practices in the food industry.  An industry that seems normal, but is about as corrupt as any crime we have ever witnessed, yet is perfectly legal and unchecked because so many people are misinformed and/or clueless.  And we are wondering why so many people have so many illnesses and are dieing from cancer and other incurable diseases.

As I said, we have been on to this for a while.  But recently M has become more aware of the evolution of the food industry.  In many cases we are simply not eating food anymore.  It is literally chemicals and genetically engineered filler.  After watching this, I have lost my appetite.  We are so conditioned to eating out of habit, memories, and boredom that it may be really difficult to pass up what is bad for you.  And of course the fact that you think so many things are good for you, yet they really aren't doing your body or metabolism any justice.  Yes, this may be the night I never eat again!  This may have been the last supper for me.  Go get the movie.  "Food Inc".  It is sure to make you a little more weary the next time you go to get your favorite crap food!

Oh, and once again, NAFTA has bitten us in the ass!  Thanks Bill.  I hear your wife ol Hilary, our beloved Secretary Of State is working silently and diligently with anti gunners in the U.N. to put a worldwide ban on firearms and firearm trade, in an attempt to steal our second amendment rights from under us.  I dont really know.  Once is ignorance, twice is stupidity!

A footnote:  The movie just ended and I do have one thing to add.  There is hope despite my descriptive despair.  "We" can make a difference.  Much like the way so much power and influence was taken away from the cigarette industry for example, through education and our voices speaking out with what we choose to buy, we can change this.  We have the power to eat healthy!  Maryann has asked me if I want to go into Kenai and do a Mc Donalds run tonight before bed.  Twisted sick little monkey she is!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Red eyes, but happy happy joy joy!

Just thought I would update. Yes Erin, it is true.....this kind of thing does in fact happen all of the time according to the customer rep M spoke with at Alaska Air while she tried to straighten the mess out. Thus, I am convinced that the airline industry has found a niche to have fun and make coin at our expenses! I am surprised Peter Greenberg has never pinned this one! Or maybe he has and I have missed it.

In any event, John was rescheduled to leave Anchorage at 6:00AM on the 20th. He flew out of Kenai on Era, the small local company for in state Alaska travel, at 10:40PM on the 19th. Yes, if you have done the math, his penance was that he would be bored out of his pickin mind for nearly 7 hours in the Anchorage airport terminal! Remember, his own undoing. But there is a God and God did rein down upon our son mercy. When he checked in last night at Anchorage at 11:00PM or so, he was offered an early flight out at midnight. At no additional cost, he accepted and arrived in San Fransisco at about 8:00AM this morning as opposed to getting there at his original time of 2:30PM this afternoon. Still a whole day late, but nonetheless there. Woo-hoo, man!

His friends got the call at around midnight before he departed Anchorage that they would need to get up a little earlier than they expected to be able to pick him up when he got into SFO. But when I spoke to him this morning as he was getting his luggage, they were arriving in the parking lot to get him. So, he is there, sounded very happy and relieved and is more than likely right now as we speak having fun somewhere in San Fransisco, hopefully not in the Mission! We did try to rehearse him on where not to be in the city!!

So, all's well that ends well, hundreds of extra dollars later, and a head full of red eyes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

1:30AM on the 19th: The Plight Of The Red Eye

I have always suspected that the 'red eye' flight made available by most airlines is just a cleaver and creative way to screw most people out of money. This has always been just a suspicion, and will most likely never come out in the news headlines, nor be caught by any kind of consumer rights advocate group. But none the less I will personally always suspect!

Several weeks ago, John saved enough money to buy a plane ticket outside. (for those who have no idea, no, he isn't going outside in the yard, 'outside' is what Alaskans refer to the lower 48 and the rest of the world as) So Maryann went ahead and helped him find the best deal online, and of course paid online with "OUR" credit card because he is still in the process of doing the grown up duty of establishing credit. Which I have to commend him on because he always pays his debt and is getting a good standing in the eyes of the credit world. Upon completing the flight itinerary, she let him know that he would be flying out of Anchorage at 1:30AM on the 19th. This is where the airlines get you.

If you 'think' to yourself that line, 5 times fast...."departing at 1:30AM on the 19th" you will realize that in fact it means "departing at 1:30AM on the 19th". But if you are like 7 out of 10 people surveyed, you will in fact miss your flight! Because, you will not be at the departing gate at 1:30AM on the 19th, but rather 1:30AM on the 20th. Confused? Think about it. I admit, I am a dummy as well, because we both have had to re-check our past itineraries with that whole 'red eye', departing 12:00AM-1:30AM crap. Difference between John and us is...he didn't catch it. He never read his itinerary. It was emailed to him.....but he never checked it!!!!! Yes, John missed his flight this morning at 1:30AM! He was going to be there tonight, the 19th, at 1:30AM.

Not sure if this is a common issue amongst the masses of young people who have decided to take the world by the short hairs, and move out on their own, but my observation is that there is an invisible sign on the inside of the door leading to the outside (the outside of the house in this instance, not outside of Alaska). That sign states that 'You are now independent. You have to be responsible for yourself, your actions and how you affect those around you from now on. You will have to make your own way and provide successfully for yourself. You will hit ruts and in some cases potholes in the road along the way, but you have to buck up and brush off. You need to put a positive impression on all those around you so that they will look up to you and respect what you are doing for yourself. You will have to be able to make your own plans, back them or cancel them, and pay the consequences when and if you don't follow through. You have to make your own life, because nobody will make it for you.'

There is of course the fine print on that sign as well, that states something to the effect that 'if you stumble and have to fall, we will help you the best we can (as any parent). But you have to take your licks and learn your lessons. Once is a lesson.....twice is your own foolishness.' The fine print also says something about 'parents being there to help you, guide you, give you sound advice, and support you when you are at a loss.' Somewhere between sneaking his mattress out at 12:45 in the morning back in June and taking two weeks to move his personal possessions out of his bedroom.....our son missed that sign!

Then there is the BofD. The Bank Of Dad. I think we all have banked there at one time or another. This bank is good for a cheap loan, with low to no interest, and most of the time you are never declined a credit line. Here at the compound, BofD has a 24 hour customer access point. Our customer is always on time with reasonable payments, and always has paid his balance down to zero. He is an upstanding customer! Actually, I sometimes wonder if he knows how lucky he really is to have his own branch of BofD available to him. So many kids as well as adults dont!

In doing tonight what any reasonable parent would do, and that is setting him straight on what lesson there is to be learned from missing your flight due to your own negligence, some facts were brought to the table.

Fact 1: Mom bailed you out of this one. She spent 3 hours on the phone to make alternative arrangements so that you would only lose 1/2 of your plane fare. Mind you, it cost an additional $275.00 on top of the $530.00 that was already paid for the round trip fare. Fact 2: As always, the Bank Of Dad was there to make sure that $275.00 was readily available because you didn't have it. Fact 3: The statement; "when I move out it will be a piece of cake because I will always have extra money with my job" dont hold a squirt of piss when you never have enough money to handle "real life situations" and have to alternately pull withdrawals from the Bank Of Dad to do so. So you should really re-think what you mean when you state, "I am always giving all that I make to you (dad). If I wasn't always paying you (dad) back, I would have food in my fridge and the money I need for gas". Hmmmm. That makes sense. Fact 4: Dont crap on the hands that are there to catch you when you fall.....they may not be there one day when you are falling, because they went to wash off all of that crap and missed you!

Am I being hard? I dont think so. Growing up is hard enough. I have been there. Which one of us hasn't. But I think that learning from the school of hard knocks is supposed to build character. I hope it helps to make us more responsible. All in all I have to commend John on his journey through young adulthood. He is doing well so far. We only hope that he will continue to succeed and move forward with his dreams and desires. And for Pete's sake, that he will double check his itineraries in the future! For those of you fortunate enough to see him while he is down there this next 9 days, we hope you enjoy his company. He has alot to do and so little time to do it in. But let me not leave this post with any confusion. Even when your kid is out of the house, raising kids is frustrating as all get go at times, and does leave me talking to myself! He is a good kid that boy, but he has alot of growing up to do!!

A neat little footnote, our blog, Kenai Alaska Or Bust, Adventures On E (see link at the top of this page) was also mentioned: and Basecamp Nikiski all got honorable mentions of sort in the small local community paper last week, in an article about blogging on the peninsula. Hats off to the 3 of us!! Kudos.