Bum or No Bum

January 12, 2008 at 4:58 PM | KCMO | No Comments

As Albert and I were on the way home from the Madrid last night, I turned and posed the simple question “Bum or no bum?” to him as we approached the exit ramp for 169 off of 35. I asked him this, because, this corner, right before you take a left onto Broadway and then proceed straight into 169, is where a homeless individual usually stands, cardboard sign in hand.

He pauses for a moment then says “No bum.”

“Ok, ok, we’ll see…”

So we come around the turn and approach the aforementioned corner, where sure enough, no bum was present. Where was (s)he?? This was such a popular location for bums that it was incredibly odd that no one was on the corner.

“Ahhhh man… I woulda totally lost that bet, had betting details been discussed prior! Maybe it’s too cold?”

“Yeah, yeah… could be. You know, I did take that into account.”

“Man, you sure called that one. There’s always a bum there!”

But then we I pulled up to the intersection with Broadway and stopped for the light, a bum steps out from behind the wall and lifts his sign up in anticipation. It was right on cue.

We were like “daaaaaaaaaaang!!” and proceeded to laugh and laugh about the hilarity of the situation we had just witnessed, something that I am sure was very confusing to the man on the corner.

“Mmm yeah, I guess I should have made you wager something on the bum or no bum.”

More laughter. The green left turn arrow lit and I pulled around the corner.

The Icy Hill

December 2, 2006 at 3:41 AM | KCMO, Site/Personal | No Comments

OK here’s a first.

2 days ago, Kansas City iced the fuck over. Prior to that, we were having perfectly charming weather. A jacket was necessary, but the temperature was pretty moderate. And I even made the comment “the weather sure is nice for winter.” That was when someone informed me that a cold front was coming in tomorrow and that real winter weather was here. It came in the form of frozen rain, coming everything in a sheet of ice. Accidents everywhere, schools and work letting people out. The following day, it snowed pretty heavy in the afternoon. I had had plans to go to Lawrence that day to see Lauren’s photography exhibition and pick up tickets for The Faint, but that got scrapped when the snow came down like a fog and we rolled out of work early. That and the thing was moved to a different date.

The weather that I just described above was NOT the “first” that I mentioned. I’m sure I’ve seen similar freezing rain/snow combinations before. I’m still getting to that.

So anyways, I was driving back home and at a certain point, the snow went from white fog to no snow at all. It seemed that the snow was only happening in a certain part of town. Up north, the highways were pretty clear, save for some ice that was refreezing on some off and on ramps. But the worst was when we got back to our neighborhood, where it was still completely covered in ice. Why nobody had come by to do something about it was beyond me. “That’s MO-DOT for ya… good for nothing.” The Missouri Depart of Transportation is worthless.

Well, driving around on this ice was alright. It should be noted that while I don’t have mad snow/ice driving skills like my brother, Tokyo-drifting around turns with the hand brake (something I’m sure comes with living in Alaska), I can usually get where I need to go despite the road conditions. All you got to do is take it slow and everything’s fine.

That is, until I came to this “hill” (I parenthesize because it was more of a slight incline in the road than an actual hill, Zack) in the neighborhood that I needed to go up to get back to the house. That thing was covered in a perfectly smooth sheet ice. I could not drive up this thing for the life of me. And what’s worse was there was actually a car at that point in the road which looked like it had hit something or something had hit it. Hard. So there was this car chilling on the side, all messed up. And there was this cop car right there in a driveway, overlooking the hill. I saw that cop just sitting in his car, watching me trying to get up this hill. I already hate the police as it is, so this wasn’t really helping them when he remained the silent observer on the side of the road. “Damn po-lice, I fucking hate them so much. Serve and protect huh? Pssh.” I’m not sure what he could’ve done, really, but I just really hate the police is all.

Sam suggested that I back the car up, get some momentum to get up the hill. No dice. As a matter of fact, we actually saw another car come around the way to come up the same hill. I watched in my car, seeing if this guy knew something about this hill that I did not. Apparently not… it couldn’t get up the hill either. But this guy, after one attempt, immediately proceeded to back up and drove back the way from which he came. I’m not sure where he was going, since I knew about the other ways back to the house, but they were all super hilly too.

Out of options, I parked the car in front of someone’s house, and we walked back to the house. That there was the “first”. Abandoning my vehicle because I couldn’t drive up a hill. It was ridiculous. Even the grass was slick. When we finally got home, I told Albert what I had just done, but that fool didn’t believe me… at least, not until he saw that my car wasn’t at the house. I recovered my car today after work, after the ice cleared up some. Hopefully that was also the last time that I’ll have to do something like that.

The Move

May 2, 2006 at 11:39 PM | KCMO, Site/Personal | 1 Comment

If you know me at all, you know that I’m not one for performing manual labor of any sort. I just can’t handle it. It’s not that I’m lazy, I’m just weak… or maybe I’m weak because I’m lazy? Hmmm… we could ponder this all day, but let me get back to the real subject of this post… One of the most intensive manual labor exercises that one can perform is moving. You gotta make countless runs up and down flights of stairs, carrying objects of all shapes and sizes… chances are if it’s not heavy, it’s large and awkward. More often than not, things are heavy, large, and awkward. Yes, moving is quite the task for a person such as myself: weak. But luckily for me, this time around, I get to move out into the new place weeks before the lease is up at my current apartment. This way, I get to move in much smaller increments. I’ll move like a carload a day, no problem.

The place that I’m moving into is Albert’s house. Sam is also going to move in there. My room at this house is going to be somewhat smaller than what I currently have, but on the whole, I’ll have a lot more space just because it’s a house with a full size kitchen, living room, family room, and basement. I’m basically trading personal space for more “community” space. Also, the house is pretty new, I’m not sure like what 2 or 3 years old? I forget. Anyways, it’s pretty nice and the neighborhood looks quite pleasant. Haven’t seen one cop car rolling around in there yet. Fucking police. I fucking hate em.

So I guess the big move is this weekend, when we’re renting a U-Haul and moving all the big stuff out. I’m pretty terrified of this, actually, as I can imagine it will be a lot of work, probably a lot of heavy lifting. We’ll see, though. I’m super excited to move up on out of here. It’ll give me a sense of a fresh start, something that I feel like I’ve been needing for a while, especially as of late.

Winstead’s

April 23, 2006 at 10:13 AM | Food, KCMO, Site/Personal | No Comments

Winstead'sAs you may or may not know, last Thursday was Holy Thursday, and thus the day when people of the Catholic faith officially consider Lent to be over. I don’t actually know the full details about my previous statement, but I am just repeating what I have heard. A girl on my team, Amanda, is Catholic and she and her boyfriend both decided to give up dining out for Lent. I’ve actually heard about this one before… Stacy told me about it and I recall telling her that I was giving up PCP and hookers. Seemed easy enough.

Anyways, for what seemed to be an eternity, Amanda stopped eating at the cafeteria and stopped going out to lunch with us. I found her determination to stick with her commitment very admirable. I probably could not pull off such a feat, for a number of reasons… I’m too lazy, I love The VC, and I love Taco Salad Tuesdays/Thursdays, just to name a few.

Naturally, at the end of Lent, we all had to go out for lunch and celebrate. She invited everyone in our teams and I guess this is when the debate of when Lent was actually done came up. Some said that it ended on Good Friday, others said that it was in fact Easter that marks its completion. Amanda, confident in her knowledge of Catholicism, said that it ended Holy Thursday. She looked it up on the internet and discovered that she was correct… but it ended at sundown. Her source on the internet could not be confirmed but I can’t be bothered with trying to cross reference her claim.

She was like “eh, you know what, it’s OK” and we made plans to eat out. After much indecision, we finally agreed upon this 50′s burger joint called Winstead’s, which was downtown, not too far from work.

It was me, Rob, and Amanda, meeting up with Tom and Chandrak at this place. Someone mentioned that they were notorious for their uncommonly bad service. I guess, it was part of the 50′s theme. Did service at restaurants really suck back in the 50′s? I have no idea, I never lived those days. Perhaps bad service would be a fun novelty to experience. Perhaps we would find it wildly entertaining and have ourselves a good laugh.

I have to kind of slip in this little side story at this point. The Winstead’s that we decided to go to was in some building downtown. Amanda, as we found out, was not the best city driver. I won’t go into the details of it, but let’s just say that I was a little fearful for my life on more than one occasion. And what ended up happening is we drove around the general area several times trying to find a parking spot. Tom and Chandrak, who left after us, had already found the place and were waiting on the corner. When we finally parked on the street, we found ourselves parked at a meter that had roughly six minutes left. None of us had coins, so Rob and Amanda went to get some change in the building where Winstead’s was at and we headed straight back to the car, only to find a metermaid already working on a ticket at her car. Amanda ran and called out but it was too late… the ticket had already been written. When a ticket has already been written, it’s too late–it’s a done deal. Because they number those things. Amanda plead her case to the metermaid, but there was really nothing that she could’ve done. The metermaid was all like “look, save your money, just leave the ticket on the car.” I felt really bad for her because all around her were other cars parked next to expired meters, but they had their hazard lights on so they didn’t get tickets. What does that even mean? It’s like “please don’t give me a ticket, I’m just around the corner… I’m on my way back!!” But it really doesn’t mean anything. That’s why if I were a metermaid (apparently, there is no masculine version of the name of the occupation… maybe “parking attendant”?), I’d give the cars with their hazards on the very first tickets. Amanda’s ticket was about $28. Not too bad I suppose… we were all worried that it’d be something on the order of $75 or so. So there was really nothing that could be done about it, so we just left the ticket on the windshield and we went in to find Windstead’s and eat. I threw out the idea that perhaps God was angry at her for dining out before sundown. But seriously, I felt bad for her.

So, it turns out the bad service thing was very real indeed. First of all, it took them forever for them to come to take our orders. And it’s not like they were busy or anything… there were maybe like 2 other tables there? And then when a waitress came by, I’m pretty sure that there was something wrong with they way she was taking orders. At first, I ordered a double Winstead, with all of the toppings except for bacon, some fries, and a small chocolate shake. As the orders start going around the table, people start ordering this item called the “fifty and fifty” which was basically half fries, half onion rings. This sounded like a wonderful idea because I wanted a sampling of both, so I decided to change my order of fries to the fifty and fifty. She was all like “I already have you down for the fifty and fifty.”

Now, I know for a fact that I did not order the fifty and fifty, but since she said that I was already put down for one, I was like, “OK…” I guess if she said that I was down for the fifty and fifty then all was well.

She comes back later with the food, and right away, I saw that she had messed the order up. There was only one dish of what I could only presume to be the “fifty and fifty,” mainly because the others were just plates of fries.

And then the burgers… my god. The waitress places a burger before me that clearly had bacon on it. And she gave Tom one that didn’t have bacon on it. Right away, I could tell that she had accidentally switched our orders. But then, she started making a big deal out of it, offering to move the bacon on my burger onto Tom’s burger. I was like “hold up… that burger is actually mine.” But she insisted on performing the bacon transplant. I was like “no listen, that burger is exactly what I ordered,” as I switched our burgers around. But she still didn’t get it… she was like “I could bring the burger back in to the kitchen and add some bacon for you.” I was like “but I don’t want bacon… this is exactly what I ordered.” This went on for what seemed like 2 or 3 minutes and I was starting to get a little irrate, but we finally got it sorted out.

I wasn’t too impressed with their burger actually. Their burgers were “steakburgers” which gave me the impression that they’d be the kind of handpacked big burgers that you might find at So Long Saloon… some really good shit. But nah, these burgers were not like that at all… these still looked like they were handmade burgers, but they were thin sheets of beef. Luckily, I was warned beforehand of what to expect… and that’s why I had to opt for the double. I will give them this though, their small shake was fucking delicious and not really that small at all. They also sold a shake called “The Skyscraper Shake,” a shake designed for anywhere from 2 to 4 people, I guess depending on how much shake each person can take down. Might have to go back to check that out sometime.

The Legends

April 23, 2006 at 9:40 AM | Concerts, KCMO, Music | No Comments

So last night, a group of us went out to The Legends, which is a new shopping mall out at Village West. I saw something about it on the news, I guess the place is going to be like part museum, part shopping center. The place is called Legends because it’s in honor of the historical figures of Kansas, something that I have grown to appreciate since living in the hellhole known as Missouri (known as “Misery” by many). Anyways, that area is just blowing up… they got Dave & Busters out there (which we’ve hit up a few times already), they got some pretty good restuarants out there, Nebraska Furniture Mart, the Speedway, Cabela’s, and now all these new stores. For their grand opening, they had a free Counting Crows concert. I’ve never seen the Counting Crows before, but I really dig their music… I find myself listening to them off and on quite a bit. The concert was outdoors, the weather was perfect, and they played a pretty good show. Afterwards, there was a fireworks display. And then it started raining and hailing pretty hard, but that was after we got back to the car, so I suppose it was alright.

Please RSVP

March 26, 2006 at 11:39 AM | Good Times, KCMO | No Comments

I haven’t gone bowling in a long time, so I thought it’d be a good idea to do so last night with some other people. But it turns out that Gladstone Bowl is so jumpin’ on a Saturday night at 11:30 that one must actually make reservations in advance. For bowling! Whatever happened to just showing up and checking if they got lanes open? So anyways, we just ended up going to Granfalloons for drinks.

Gas, Taxes, and Other Shit

March 24, 2006 at 8:05 AM | KCMO, Random, Site/Personal | No Comments

So I drive by about 6 gas stations every day on my way to work, so I’d like to think that I have a pretty good idea about what the current gas prices are in North Kansas City. I can spot trends and could tell you which gas station changes their prices when and what places are generally the cheapest places to get filled up.

Gas prices, to me, fluctuate in a way that is very much like how the IRS runs its income tax business. When oil prices drop, gas prices may or may not come down. When oil prices go up, that’s a guaranteed 15 cent spike per gallon of gas. In summary: occasionally they cut you a break, but all other times you’re gonna get the short end of the stick. I’m not really sure what the origin of that expression is, but it’s not a good thing. You do not want the short end of any stick under any circumstance.

With taxes, the government’s always there. They’re all like, heey, you just bought yourself a car/house did ya? And you paid the sales tax, huh? Right, but now you got to pay property tax. What the hell? Property tax?? You’re fucking taxing me for just having something? God dammn you. If you give/receive a gift, the government’s probably taxing you on that. If you win money at the casino, you get taxed. If you use gasoline, the government taxes you on that too. And we already talked about how fucked up how gas prices move. If you make too much money, you pay extra taxes. They’ve probably got it set up so that if you pay taxes, you probably get taxed for paying taxes.

This is the first year that I’ve done my taxes myself and while not a difficult task, I find it incredibly annoying that I have to even do it in the first place. If you owe the government taxes, and you don’t file, they’ll charge you interest and penalties, and come after you, dogs a’barking. If you are expecting a refund, and you don’t file… nothing. They don’t remind ya, they don’t say a damn thing. You see, the thing about taxes is… they already know how much you owe them or how much they owe you… so why do I got to fill out these forms in the first place? It’s like a trap. It’s like, if you miscalculate something to your benefit, bam, dogs a’barking. If you miscalculate something to their benefit… nothing. They love it. They fucking love it.

Somebody Gonna Get A-Hurt Real Bad

December 4, 2005 at 11:54 PM | Food, Good Times, KCMO, Site/Personal, Work | No Comments

The MajesticFriday night, I went to a poker party with Albert. This lady on his team was having a get-together at her house and she was making lasagna. I’d been eating pasta for every single meal of the week and I even passed up pho just to finish up the last bit of my pasta… but who could pass up free lasagna and poker? Eh… let me clarify… the poker wasn’t free, it was $20 to play. But yeah, can you believe that shit? I passed up pho!! Believe me, it was not easy.

Now, I enjoy a good game of poker, but $20 is pretty rich. A little too rich for me. I mean we used to play $5 buy-in games back at the house in Manhattan… so one time somebody invited me to go play poker and I was absolutely floored to hear that it was $10. I was like “Oh my godddd, how you gonna play it like that?? Nah, let me know if you do $5 sometime.” And then later that week, I heard that game had somehow turned into a $20 game. I was like “daaammmmn sonn.”

So yeah, I don’t really know why I decided to play this particular time… even though I knew well in advance that it was going to be $20. And especially since I have never ever won any money playing poker in a house game. Ever! I’ve never even made my money back! So that gets old pretty quick and towards the end I stopped playing. I just couldn’t hang with those guys, I guess.

Anyways, Albert and I rolled up in there and somehow I ended up taking third (out of 15), which got me $35. Not too bad. And I got to take home a plate of that lasagna, a loaf of garlic bread, and this box of holiday themed sugar cookies. It was a flat-out raging success if I’d ever seen one.

Saturday started off with a friendly couple of hours of ping pong as they usually do. Chandrak and I hit up an IHOP afterwards. Originally, we decided to go to IHOP because he had these coupons that were supposedly for buy one get one free. But these blasted coupons had so much fine print on them, you wouldn’t even believe. First of all, you can’t use them on the weekends, so that right there shot the whole plan down. Next, you couldn’t use them on the current specials. And it wasn’t buy one get one, it was actually buy one get the other for $1. And you had to buy two drinks. So… yeah. Well, we were already there, so we were like whatever and ate some breakfast. I feel like I’ve been eating IHOP a lot lately. And I dunno if that’s necessarily a good thing.

And then that night, we all went out to Granfalloon’s for Rob’s birthday, as organized by Summer. It was actually his birthday like a whole three weeks ago or so, but due to everybody going out of town and Thanksgiving weekend n shit, this was actually the first weekend that most everyone was in KC and able to go out. It was a grand ol time.

Tonight, a group of us went out to The Majestic to see Russell Peters at the Improv comedy club. I first heard of Russell Peters from this video clip of one of his comedy shows that circulates around work. If you haven’t heard of him, you should check out some of his stuff sometime, it’s hot shit. He’s an Indian from Canada and his material is “racially charged,” I think is what I read in one review. And it’s true. We were sitting right up in the front and Albert ended being the subject of some of his jokes. I’ve never been up in The Majestic before… it seems like a pretty “hip” place to be. I might have to check out some other shows there sometime.

Foiled Again

November 15, 2005 at 10:35 PM | Concerts, KCMO | 2 Comments

The Night The Buzz Stole Christmas #3I’ve missed concerts that I’ve wanted to go to before, no big deal. I mean, sure, it would’ve been cool to go to them, but sometimes things just don’t work out… like you can’t come up with the cash, the concert’s in another town impossibly far away… you know, these sorts of things I can understand.

Having a show sell out right in front of you, on the other hand, is not something that I can stomache too easily. And this isn’t the first time that this has happened to me, either. You think that I’d learn by now. Noooo.

I had a Death Cab show sell out on me. Death Cab is one of my top 10 bands of all time. OK, I said, they’re still a band, they’ll come back around these parts eventually. Then I had a Faint show sell out on me. The Faint is even higher up in the ranks, they’re like top 5. But I let it fly. OK, I said, I’ve seen them once before, it was a grand ol time… I guess I don’t have to see them again this time around. Maybe next time around. And then Death Cab came around KC again around the time that I started working in Kansas City. I missed that one too because it sold out. It was devastating.

What kills me about the show that just sold out on me (and just like the three aforementioned concerts) is that I know about them weeks in advance, I’ve got the money to go, and it’s at a reasonably close venue. All the variables are in place and it looks like there’s no way that I’m not going to go to these shows. The stars are aligned n shit. Until I try to buy the blasted tickets and TicketMaster tells me that it’s sold out.

And then get this!!: The show in question is “The Night The Buzz Stole Christmas #3″ featuring none other than Death Cab For Cutie!!! This is the third time that I’ve missed them! My GOD!! The show also features The Psychedelic Furs, Hot Hot Heat, Alkaline Trio, and Against Me. The show is going to be in KC on a Friday night. You couldn’t ask for a better time and place… Nevermind that I only care to see Death Cab and Hot Hot Heat… I reeeeally wanted to see this one because I just don’t think that I could die without seeing all of my favorite bands perform live at least once.

I understand that this is quite a feat, since I think it would be terribly difficult for me to see Love Psychedelico in concert. I actually missed their performance in Hong Kong by a few days, but who is to say that I could’ve even scored tickets to that one? Well, that’s another story I spose…

It kills me because just today, we were at work talking about getting tickets. Albert ordered some tickets along with 4 other people. Kyle bought a ticket. The image of me reclining in my chair telling Albert “naaah, it ain’t gonna sell out…” keeps running through my mind. It haunts me without end. I was waiting because I wanted to see if Sam was going to be able to go or not so I could order tickets all at once. I guess Sam’s parents are coming into town around then so he needed to see if he could even make it to the thing, so he was going to call them when he got home. Tickets must have sold out between that time and the when I checked again shortly after getting home. I’m not saying Sam is to blame… it’s actually TicketMaster, with their blasted “convenience” charges and “order processing” fees. It’s fucking ridiculous, these people at TicketMaster. Somebody needs to run up on them and shut down their whole operation with a competing service. I’ll burn that motherfucker down if I have to.

But yeah… Death Cab… they’re still a band, they’ll come back around these parts eventually…

Missouri Never Disappoints

August 22, 2005 at 11:32 PM | KCMO, Random, Site/Personal, Work | 1 Comment

Something that I have noticed about Missouri highways since I moved up here (other than the piss-poor quality of their streets in general) is the fact that there are often times numerous cars left along the sides of their highways. I’m talking about the cars that are left unattended on highway shoulders and median that have the bright neon-orange, neon-yellow, or neon-green sticker on them. Now, I’ve never seen one of these neon whatever stickers up close before, but I’m not certain what they are. Is it a ticket? A warning of some kind? Is there a fine for abandoning your vehicle on the highway? I mean, what if your car breaks down and you have no choice but to leave it behind? Should you be punished for that? I have no idea. I’ve never had that kind of experience, so I couldn’t tell you.

So yeah, I think I must spot on average 2 or 3 of these abandoned vehicles every day on my way to work. So Sam and I decided to make a game out of it, since we were discussing both this and my thing on gambling with gas prices recently. I guess he doesn’t gamble with gas prices anymore; he just fills up when he’s low on gas. Sure, that sounds like a logical, reasonable thing to do. But don’t you want to beat the system?? While I am mentioning it, I’d like to report that I failed miserably in my prediction of gas prices when it was $2.45. I finally had to get gas on Sunday and it was like $2.50-something. I’m guessing that it’ll be about the same for a while so I just went ahead and filled up. Luckily, I’m not gambling with stocks or anything, cuz I’d be broke right now. Maybe worse, maybe I’d be standing on the ledge of a building.

Anyways, the game is a simple bet of how many cars we can spot on the side of the road. Final counts are declared before getting on the highway and anything en route to work is fair game. The first day we did it, we came all the way down 169 (otherwise known as “breakdown alley”) without seeing a single car! I was shocked. Had I been mistaken? Maybe there really aren’t that many of these cars on the side of the road. You know how it goes… it’s hard to quantify something until you really start looking at it closely and realize that some of your assumptions were skewed or slightly exaggerated.

But then we merged onto the next highway. That’s when we saw 2 cars down that last stretch of highway. Missouri did not disappoint after all! After work that day, we even saw a car pulling off into the median with hazard lights flashing n shit. Sam called it from a distance. He was like “oh shit, that cars gonna break down.” And he was right. If the guarantee that cars were broken down alongside a Missouri road were some kind of quantifiable unit of time, you could set your watch to that shit. I mean, cars be breaking down like it’s clockwork around here! Later, I was like “wouldn’t it be ironic if while we were laughing and playing this game, that this very vehicle broke down?” As soon as I finished voicing my thought aloud, I wished that I hadn’t said it. There was no wood to knock. But thank God we got all the way home without a problem.

Oh yeah, and there was this other car that was pulled over to the side of the road, but there was someone sitting in the driver’s seat. For the sake of the bet, I needed that car to count as part of the total. But I guess the bet was not really on cars on the side of the road but rather abandoned cars. Because I suppose that guy could’ve been pulled over to the side for any number of reasons… he could’ve been looking at a map, or getting ready to get something from the trunk, talking on the cell phone… I dunno, there could’ve been a lot of reasons. Whatever.

OK, so then for a while, there really wasn’t any cars on the way to work anymore. But then, after making a drive down to Wal-Mart one day, I realized that the new popular spot for abandoning one’s vehicles is all along 152. In a short 5 minute’s worth of driving, I saw no less than three cars left along the side of the highway. I was like “aha” because for a second there, I was starting to think that Missouri had cleaned up its act. I should’ve known better.


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