I Must Be Adopted

I am truly hopeful that I am adopted, and thus not as messed up as the rest of my family.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

I Hate When That Happens

Traci arrived home from work last evening and made the following statement:

"I could have gotten my client off, except for the fact that he had a picture of himself holding the gun in question on his cell phone."

Oh, darn... I Hate When That Happens.

In her defense, until she found out that little fact, there really wasn't a lot of evidence connecting her client to the crime/charges in question. She was truly unaware of this little piece of information until yesterday.

DirecTV Billing Hell

Both Traci and I are football fans, and happen to not like any of our local teams. The teams we do like (such as the Bills and the Saints) happen to be typically bad enough to not make the national broadcasts. Hence for the past several years, we've been getting the NFL Sunday Ticket from DirecTV.

The service is fine... I've never had any issues weather related, and I've experienced heavy rain and snow while watching the games.

HOWEVER, the same thing cannot be said about customer service and billing at DirecTV.

To set the stage, let me first inform you that the account is not actually in my name. Starting a couple of years ago, DirecTV no longer allowed people to subscribe to only the NFL package. They were forcing people to sign-up for regular service in addition to the NFL package.

Anybody that had previously subscribed to the NFL package, however, was grandfathered in and allowed to continue this practice. A friend decided that he was no longer going to get the NFL package, and told me that I could have (purchase for a very good price) his equipment, and use his account to get the games.

Our deal is that I call sometime in August, and ask DirecTV to activate my equipment for the season, and bill the credit card already on the account. I ask DirecTV to charge the card the ENTIRE amount one time, up front for the whole season, rather than their preferred method of monthly billing. I then send my friend a check for this amount, and the deal is done.

Up until this year, things have worked smoothly.

Starting this year, DirecTV has decided to turn my service off at the end of each month (Sept., Oct., Nov.) because of an "overdue" amount.

September and October, while frustrating, were easily fixed. I called customer service, and had them look at my account. They would see I was paid in full, and they would turn the account back on.

This past weekend, however, was different. My frustration level was well ABOVE normal. The lady I spoke with was literally the most imcompentent CSR that I have ever spoken with.

In her defense, back in late September, DirecTV decided to bill my friend's credit card again, but this time for only half of the total price. His wife noticed this, and my friend called DirecTV to ask for a refund of this amount -- this happened the first week of October.

Turns out they refunded the TOTAL amount (the day after he called in), and not the 2nd charge (half the amount). Subsequently, Yes, I did owe them money, but it wasn't my fault.

However, since the credit card used to pay for this account is not mine, I didn't have access to the statements to see what had happened.

My only source of information was what I knew had happened (I asked that the full amount be charged to the card in August) and what this REALLY incompetent CSR was trying to figure out. Since then I had spoken to DirecTV at the end of every month asking that they turn my account back on, and at the beginning of November asking them to activate a second box for my brother (told them it was a box in my bedroom). I even asked the rep helping me add the box "Is my account paid in full?" "Yep."

It was so bad that Traci got uncomfortable enough that she went up stairs to get away from me as I was speaking with Customer Service. She told me she had never seen me so mad.

I got the account turned back on, and as it turns out I think I confused/bullied them enough to give me my service at a discount of what I actually should have paid -- though in my defense I didn't realize this until the following day when I was able to speak with my friend and figure out what went wrong where.

We'll see what I do next football season. I might not be a cable employee then, and might actually need television service from somebody. Unfortunately, DirecTV has me by the short and curlys with their exclusive NFL contract.

I, however, have the knowledge that DirecTV has no way of physically tracking where boxes on the same account are actually located. They could be in the same house (their assumption) or in a different state. They just don't know.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Stupid Legal Stuff

Anybody remember the whole McDonald's coffee and pickle lawsuit?

Here's a site that lists stupid lawsuits and warning labels found on products.

As a preview, here are a couple of choice warning labels:

Warning on fireplace log:
Caution -- Risk of Fire. - DUH!

On a string of Chinese made Christmas lights:
For indoor or outdoor use only. - What are my other choices? Other Dimensions?

On Sainsbury's peanuts:
Warning: Contains nuts. - No Shit!

On Nytol Nighttime Sleep-Aid:
Warning: May cause drowsiness. - Good!

Baby stroller warning:
Remove child before folding. - Chuck/Sean/Brett Please pay attention.

A fireplace lighter cautions:
Do not use near fire, flame or sparks. - Where should I use it then?

Toilet bowl cleaning brush warns:
Do not use orally. - Oh Crap... Literally!

An electric cattle prods warns:
For use on animals only. - I suppose I should stop using mine on Traci then.

Monday, November 27, 2006


In honor of my dealings with DirecTV yesterday...


Leftover Pockets

Thanksgiving is over, and perhaps for some of us, the leftovers are as well.

But for those of you who still have leftovers, you may want to try this recipe -- it's really quite good.

First, purchase some Pillsbury crescent rolls -- you'll need 4 rolls for each pocket. A container of the the original rolls will yield 2 pockets.

Once the container is open, the rolls are basically large rectangles, with a perforation diagonally, creating 2 triangles per rectangle. Using 1 rectangle for the bottom of the pocket, knead the perforation over so that you have 1 complete rectangle.

Put on your leftovers -- turkey, stuffing, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, etc... basically anything that can be baked in the oven, except cranberry sauce. While I haven't tried cranberry sauce (I don't like it), I can't imagine it does good when baked.

How much you can put on each pocket, depends on how good you are at kneading dough. Traci and I usually get full from eating 1.5 pockets each, so they are a pretty good meal.

create the top of the pocket, using the same method you did for the bottom, and place the new piece of dough on top.

Knead the bottom and top together, and bake according to the crescent roll directions.

A friend of mine came up with the idea last year, but never tried it. Traci and I tried it last year, and they were great!

Monday, November 20, 2006


It's my blog and I'll do what I want.

With that said, I've decided to start a new weekly segment. I'm sure we've all seen those inane Motiviatonal pictures that get framed and hung up in your office somewhere.

Well, in a tribute to those who suffer through, I've decided to post a De-Motivational poster every Monday for the forseeable future.

Today's is also a tribute to Michigan Wolverine football players and fans.


Saturday, November 18, 2006

One More To Go!!

Ohio State 42 - Michigan 39

Friday, November 17, 2006

Because they wouldn't let us go for three

Tomorrow is the BIG showdown between Ohio State and Michigan.

This will be the 3rd time in 103 meetings that the two teams meet with unbeaten records. Without a doubt the winner will play (and deserves the right) for the National Title.

Go Buckeyes!

This is arguably one of the biggest rivalries in college football. And here are some interesting facts I have discovered about this rivalry (got them all from the same source):

- In the 1946 game, Michigan, leading 55-0 late in the game, lined up and kicked a field goal.

- In 1950, the teams played through a blizzard with 29 inches of snow and more than 50,000 fans sat through it. Michigan's Chuck Ortmann punted 24 times, and the Wolverines won 9-3, despite failing to make a first down. Buckeyes coach Wes Fesler quit a few days later. Ohio State hired the little-known Hayes away from Miami (Ohio).

- In 1970, a local judge in Columbus dismissed a charge of obscenity against a defendant arrested for wearing a T-shirt that said, "F--- Michigan" because the message "accurately expressed" local feelings about the university and the state.

- Woody Hayes sometimes bunked his team in Toledo on the night before a game in Ann Arbor so the Buckeyes could sleep on Ohio ground.

- Woody Hayes refused to buy gasoline in the state of Michigan.

- By state law, the Franklin County (Ohio) Board of Elections is supposed to begin counting the provisional ballots cast in this month's 15th Congressional District race on Nov. 18, 2006. Rep. Deborah Pryce leads challenger Mary Jo Kilroy by 3,536 votes. However, the board will not begin to count the votes until Nov. 19 so that the counters may watch the Ohio State-Michigan game.

But the most amusing fact and the statement that best sums up the rivalry and level of dislike between these two teams comes from none other than Woody Hayes.

In 1968, already leading late in the fourth quarter, Ohio State scored their final touchdown of the game. Instead of kicking the PAT, they went for and scored the 2 point conversion. Final score of that game 50-14.

When asked after the game why they went for 2, Hayes replied:

"Because they wouldn't let us go for three."

Unfortunately, Bo Schembechler won't be watching tomorrow's game.
Rest in peace Bo.

This Just In...

My Official Marriage Certificate has an error on it.

Does this mean I'm not married?

I discovered the error while filling out paperwork to get Traci's name changed on things like the bank account, credit cards, etc...

I don't have to go through this again, do I?

I told Traci I was only getting married once, so I suppose this means I'm a free man!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Family Update

Some of you may have noticed that I have been suspiciously quiet about information pertaining to my family... specifically my sister.

That's because the situation has moved well beyond the "This is so funny, I must tell my friends" stage and into "I am so embarrassed to admit I'm related to this" stage.

Briefly (remember Laura and Chet were just boyfriend/girlfriend living together) --

- Lawyers are now involved.
- Chet is living with Grace and Denny (my parents).
- My name is being mentioned in court documents.
- Shannon (biker guy) is indeed living with Laura.
- Laura skipped my Grandmother's actual burial to attend Bike Week in Myrtle Beach, S.C. She used the excuse that she had a court appearance against Chet to attend, but we've since found out she skipped the appearance, thinking Chet wouldn't show.
- Laura has applied for a couple of jobs in North Carolina.
- Laura is building a "cat house" to house her 20+ cats out back from her house.

On a MUCH brighter note, my brother has moved out on his own, once again. He's doing very well this time. Hopefully the stars will align, and nothing will go wrong this time.

Have I mentioned recently that the name of my blog is "I Must Be Adopted"?

Respect the Turkey

It's that time of year -- The holiday season, and time for one of my biggest pet peeves.

I REALLY dislike how people rush past Halloween and Thanksgiving and concentrate on Christmas. I've seen several houses already decked out in their Christmas decorations with lights ablaze. I have my own personal Christmas light show with my neighbors across the street -- I'll post pictures soon, but Traci and I refer to this house as "Christmas Candy Lane I" -- Candy Lane II is another house in our neighborhood, but not on our street.

And now one of the local radio stations has started their 24 hours of Christmas music already. I haven't done the math myself, but a friend has posted his calculation on his blog. He estimates that 13% of the year he will be wished a Merry Christmas.

Where's the love for Halloween and Thanksgiving? I'm not suggesting I want 24 hours of Thanksgiving music for the month of November (I'm not even sure there is any Thanksgiving songs), but if as a society we are constantly complaining about how fast paced things are, and how rushed we feel, let's not add to that feeling by rushing past the other holidays...

Slow down, enjoy each holiday in turn. As a male, I only have on average 75 holiday seasons in my life. The first couple I can't remember, and I'm sure the same will probably happen with the last couple. I figure I've got 70 good holiday seasons to enjoy. I plan on enjoying each holiday in turn.

Don't get me wrong, I love Christmas and what it represents:

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
-Luke 2:8-14

But, Let's give some respect to the Turkey.

Monday, November 13, 2006

I've officially changed my name

Well, at least at the Giant grocery store.

I apparently lost my bonus card a couple of weeks ago -- I removed all non-essential items from my wallet before I went on the honeymoon. I have no idea where the bonus card went.

So, yesterday I went and got a new one. I'm not a big fan of these loyalty programs everyone is creating. I don't see why they need your contact info, just so they won't overcharge you when you do them a favor and shop at their store and purchase the products they sell that keep them in business.

My solution? I simply put down false information. Last time, my name was Marko Ramius (anybody know where I got that one from?). This time...
Pink Floyd.

The lady at the courtesy counter, briefly challenged me...

Employee: Your name isn't Pink Floyd.
Me: You can't prove it's not, and I don't have to show you any ID to get the card.

After examining the form for a minute (I assume seeing if that was true), she gave me my new card.

As for the other info such as address, phone, and email... I make up an address, and leave the others blank.

I think next time my name will be Tommy Tutone, and my phone number will be 415.867.5309.

P.S. Traci refused to accompany me to the courtesy counter, as she knew what I was going to be doing.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Veteran's Day

For The Fallen
by Laurence Binyon

With proud thanksgiving, a mother for her children,
England mourns for her dead across the sea.
Flesh of her flesh they were, spirit of her spirit,
Fallen in the cause of the free.

Solemn the drums thrill; Death august and royal
Sings sorrow up into immortal spheres,
There is music in the midst of desolation
And a glory that shines upon our tears.

They went with songs to the battle, they were young,
Straight of limb, true of eye, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted;
They fell with their faces to the foe.

They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning
We will remember them.

They mingle not with their laughing comrades again;
They sit no more at familiar tables of home;
They have no lot in our labour of the day-time;
They sleep beyond England's foam.

But where our desires are and our hopes profound,
Felt as a well-spring that is hidden from sight,
To the innermost heart of their own land they are known
As the stars are known to the Night;

As the stars that shall be bright when we are dust,
Moving in marches upon the heavenly plain;
As the stars that are starry in the time of our darkness,
To the end, to the end, they remain.

College Football and the BCS

I really don't want to start the whole college football playoff debate thing. So I apologize up front to anybody who reads this, and then winds up in a lengthy argument with a cubemate/co-worker/friend over the justifications, etc... of a playoff format.

Whew! Glad that's outta the way.

I watched the No. 15 Rutgers Scarlet Knights play the No. 3 Louisville Cardinals last night. What a game!!! If you are a college football fan (no matter what team), and you missed this game, you missed one heck of a game.

Having no legitimate interest in either team, I was routing for the underdog -- Rutgers. At halftime, it looked as though Louisville had the game well in hand. But then the 2nd half started and Rutgers took over, and kicked the game winning field goal with 12 seconds remaining.

So... Here's my question/dilemma/conundrum: Louisville and Rutgers were both undefeated and from the Big East. Louisville was No. 3, but obviously now has a loss. Reading the pundits today, most are talking about one-loss teams that are thankful now and will start lobbying for their chance to make the title game.

If Louisville was the No. 3 team, and had a shot at the title game, the fact that Rutgers (still undefeated as of right now) beat them, shouldn't they now be part of the title game talk?

Rutger's win over Louisville wasn't some fluke... The Rutgers defense completed shutdown Louisville (the 2nd ranked offense in the nation) in the second half.. Louisville had 20 yards in it's first five 2nd half possessions.

I've heard arguments that the Big East is a weak football conference, but West Virginia (Big East) was just beaten for the first time last week, by Louisville. West Virginia is currently ranked No. 10 with 1 loss. If WV should win this weekend, I would imagine that all 3 of those teams would be in the top 10, or at least should be. 30% of the 10 top would come from the Big East... Doesn't sound like a weak conference to me.

I've heard arguments that because Rutgers has been a traditionally BAD football program, they won't get the ranking that other teams in their place would get. I think this argument (while probably true) is CRAP! It shouldn't matter if a given team is a perennial powerhouse or joke... They only thing that should matter is their performance that season.

Rutgers still has yet to play West Virginia, so they may yet lose... BUT if they should end up undefeated, I would have a hard time not thinking they deserve their chance to lose to my Ohio State Buckeyes in the BCS Title Game.

Should Rutgers and the winner of the Ohio State/Michigan (Go Buckeyes!) game win out, there will only be 2 undefeated teams that are part of the BCS in the nation. In my mind, short of a playoff system, how can you NOT have those 2 teams play for the national title?

My favorite pundit quote so far comes from Mike Celizic:

You can bet your house, your wife, your kids, your dog, your truck, your Harley and your beer-can collection that the boys from the BCS are at this moment lighting candles in front of the shrine of Amos Alonzo Stagg praying their hearts out that somebody beats Rutgers before the regular season is done.

You Have Got to Be Kidding Me...

I suppose this was a botched YouTube type of incident... Perhaps the video will still make the rounds on the Net, but the guy who did it, got exactly what he deserves...

I sometimes marvel at the stupidity of others.

Man lights firecracker in his rear