Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Something for nothing

I have grown up and grown old on the concepts that 1) you don't get something for nothing and 2) if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Add to that a well known cynical streak (part genetics, part surroundings) and I have my doubts about pretty much everything. That is why when I was told I won a FREE Macbook Air I had my doubts. Would I really get it? What was the catch? And if I didn't get it, could I really complain? Well, I did, there wasn't any, and no I didn't have to. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's backtrack a bit.

If you're like me then you are caught up in the world of online bargains. There is something gratifying about searching the web for short term, unbelievable deals that I love. In the course of pursuing this I've come across many website "portals" which are kind of a clearinghouse of all things bargains. However one stood out above the rest as the best and its (DealsPlus). This site rocks with tons bargains both online and offline for anything you can imagine. Basically stated, devoted bargain hunters post their discoveries here to share with other people. It is probably the website I visit most other then email. I've even posted many of the bargains I've found on this site to my Facebook page. I've saved tons on tons of stuff I've needed (and some stuff I didn't).

So recently, like it seems the whole world is doing, DealsPlus started to integrate more with Twitter the ultra addictive micro-blogging site. You do Twitter, right? Anyway to jump start their Twitter base, DealsPlus has been running promotions for varying prizes for either following them on Twitter, re-Tweeting their deals, or joining their Facebook fan page. Well, yada yada, I came home one day and checked my Twitter account and lo and behold, I was winner #5 of 10 free Apple Macbook Air!! It hasn't been the summer of my dreams (or winter of my discontent...sorry, got lost for a sec) so when I saw this I was like, no effin way!! All the winners would get instructions on how to claim this awesome prize once the 10th winner was picked. So now, the doubt started creeping in.

Well, after much internal fretting, my Apple gift card arrived which I used to buy a brand new Mac Book Air. No strings attached. Seriously. Apple was even running a promotion for a free Ipod Touch after a rebate. Seriously. I am totally stoked to own my first ever Mac.

So, yes Virginia, there is such a thing as something for nothing. I'd recommend checking out as it is an awesome site. Check out Twitter as well but be careful it can be addictive. And for those that think I'm shilling for the site, well, you don't know me very well. When I saw how easily it all went and literally no strings attached I felt compelled to write about it. This isn't one of those "wow, I made $10,000 filling out surveys" things. I've been using my Macbook for a little over a month now and have trouble switching back to my P.C. The Ipod Touch is the most addictive thing ever. So, once again, thank you for proving to me you can still get something for nothing with no strings attached! This blog proudly written on my Macbook!!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

5 Is The New 10

I've been thinking lately that Moses should not have stopped at 10 Commandments (this is not a religious discussion but rather my attempt at humor so please, all you former CCD teachers of mine, I know they were God's Commandments) and that these days there are at least 5 more, which resonate with modern society. So here are Rich's 5 New Commandments;

1) Thou Shalt Not Decide Anyone's Level of Happiness With Their Lives Other Then Your Own- From this point forward you will not decide who is happy with their lives and who is not based on your own level of happiness UNLESS they specifically tell you they are unhappy with their lives. Worry about yourself

2) Thou Shalt Not Tell Anyone Else How to Spend Their Money- You will not scold, shake your head, tsk tsk or otherwise make your point over someone else’s spending habits including, but not limited to, where hey live, where they send their kids to school, what they drive or whether or not they make more then they deserve

3) Thou Shall Give the Utmost Attention to Those Who Are With You at a Given Moment and Not Those Who Are Not There- This will include cell phone calls, texts, Tweets, IM's and the like to someone who is not physically there with you and you shall redirect that energy towards those that actually are present. Exceptions will be made for sick parents/kids/siblings/significant others and booty calls. Just kidding

4) Thou Shalt Not Tell Anyone Else How To Raise Their Family's- You will keep your mouth shut regarding how someone else rears their children. This goes for those who already have kids and goes double for those who don't (the exception being my mother cause she's pretty much right about everything). This covers both to the face and more importantly, behind the back (you know who you are)

5) Thou Shalt Not Make Cell Calls During the Times Rich Designates as Annoying- While driving (unless you have a headset), at a traffic light (it's f'n green...DRIVE), when out with friend's or family (see Commandment 3), in a public restroom (ewww), in the movie theater, in any line anywhere while other people are waiting to pay, on a plane up until the time you take off and the second you land, in the car with other people who are forced to listen to your inane drivel with no way to escape it, pretty much any place and anywhere it may annoy Rich (which is just about everywhere)

So, there you have it, my New Commandments. Each and every one of you shall embrace them from this point forward, so sayeth me. I should mention a couple that didn't quite make the list like "Thou probably shouldn't listen to a word Rich say" or "If thou thinks this has anything to do with actual religion and are offended go poundeth sand". Well, maybe when the list expands again

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Assumption Sumption What's Your Malfunction

The first time I recall the expression "don't assume or you'll make and ass of u and me" was probably the movie The Bad News Bears Breaking Training (how's that for an obscure memory) where the new coach spells it out for the Bears on a chalk board (I've since been told it originated with the show the Odd Couple). But the point resonates as clearly now as it did then. We all make assumptions about people based on how they dress, where they're from, their religion, their upbringing and on and on. But I'm talking mostly about making assumptions about those closest to us, which is dangerous. We all do it every day either consciously or subconsciously. Or someone is making assumptions about us. Either way its wrong, is a slippery slope and is completely unavoidable. It's simply human nature

Usually when we make assumptions about someone we justify it by saying we're thinking of them and their feelings when we really are only thinking of ourselves. We justify it with excuse after excuse. How often do you say "Well, let's not tell so and so as it would just upset them" when what you really mean is that telling them will make your life more complicated so by NOT telling them you're not sparing their feelings but simplifying your life. Or how about "I didn't ask you because I figured you'd say no" which really translates to you were not the person I wanted to do whatever it was I was doing with. It's simply the wimpy way out. Then there is "I didn't want to hurt you". This is the granddaddy of them all whether between lovers, siblings, friends or whomever. If you did something, made a decision or told a lie so egregious it would hurt someone, most likely you were thinking of you, not them. It's really all about being selfish and that's OK , just don't kid yourself

I've figured out after many years most people are stronger then we think, tougher then we give them credit for and generally speaking handle most things with a great degree of maturity and dignity. To avoid making our own lives more difficult, we simply make assumptions about those we care for, and care for us, to have the ultimate built in excuse. In the long run it's best to take these things head on, simply be 100% truthful and let the chips fall where they may as short term inconvenience, discomfort and hurt are far better then long term hard feelings, ill will and regret.

Is it easy to do? No, not at all. As I originally stated, it's human nature but I think if we try just a little harder we'll all make less of an ass of ourselves

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Greetings from the Snug Harbour Inn, Cape Cod, MA

A post-mortem on summer (yes, from the guy who wrote about "how's your summer"). I know I said I don't relish summer and all my best memories came from when I was a child but there is one memory or group of memories as a young adult that I do cherish which, because of seeing many of the people involved recently, has been in the forefront of my mind recently

From summer of 89' through summer of 94' (or there abouts) we spent all 3 summer long weekends down the Cape. You know, beaches, sand dunes, boating...nah, we stayed in the dumpiest, cheapest, crappiest motels we could find crushing 4 people to a room. These were motels with names like the Snug Harbor Inn and The American Host. So we chose these for their proximity to the beaches, right? Nope, we chose them for their proximity to the Mill Hill Club or the Improper Bostonian, the Cape's most prolific happy hours (OK, and because they were dirt cheap). For me it started with my post college friends and in Dennis then eventually, through a coupling within the groups, merged with one of my sister's group and moved on to Hyannis then eventually went on to include 2 of my other sisters and their friends. By the peak of craziness it seemed one giant, if dysfunctional, family. The days mostly consisted of drinking poolside all day, then hitting happy hour, then, if you could manage it, out to the clubs at night. It was a badge of honor to make it out but there was no shame if you didn't. This was how it went year after year. No beaches, no nice eateries, no family fun just lots of drinking and laughing. It was an eclectic group but the dynamic worked as there were few if any fights. I could go on for hours about some of the highlights but frankly, that would be telling. I'd have to change the names to protect the not so innocent.

The summer I remember most was following what was the worst event in my life. It was a tragedy as bad as you can imagine (think about bad then multiply it by 1000). We were worn to a frazzle, had no more tears to shed and frankly needed to smile some. The last thing on anyone’s mind was going away but with the encouragement of a couple of very courageous people, my parents, we rounded up the troops and headed to the Cape. We didn't laugh quite as much, cried a little and the mood was certainly more introspective then it had been previously. But, it worked. It helped. It started the healing process for friends and family. I'll never forget that summer and those people for as long as I live

It really was the time of our lives as we were forever young, indestructible, and were going to be like this forever. Well, as with most things, all things come to an end. That summer was kind of the end of the innocence and we were thrust into adulthood. We grew up (or grew old) and had families and the like. But there is still never an occasion when some or all of us are together where summers on the Cape and the Snug Harbour Inn doesn't come up. Do you remember, do you remember the times of your life??

Friday, September 11, 2009

Better to be pissed off then pissed on...

I have some good stuff coming up (well, that's a matter of opinion) but been a little busy and a little uninspired of late so rather then a cohesive blog on some random subject I decided to rant about things that just plain piss me off. Yes, I know you likely find this hard to believe but there are lots of things that piss me off. I know I've likely been through some of this before but hey, it's still pissing me off

-Being pounced on the second you walk into a retail store- I am constantly at loggerheads with my boss over this. I feel for every person who wants immediate help there are dozens of people who want to look first before asking for help. Most people want to decompress, browse, get their bearings even. Want to almost guarantee me walking out the door of a store? Just be standing at the front door asking me if I need help today

-Adults on those Razor scooter things- So, for kids, I get it. They're fun, they're cool (or they were 5 years ago) but as a mode of transportation? I saw a 30something guy near Government Center riding a scooter in his business casuals. Now, look, whatever works for you BUT damn, I don't see how these make transportation any easier. I mean, he was working up a lather with that kick and push leg and honestly not getting much further or going much faster then I was walking

-Cutesy internet terminology or "leetspeak"- OK, so LOL and LMAO are now part of common electronic society used by nearly everyone in texts, email, and instant messaging. I can live with that but I can't deal with grown adults using terms like "nom nom nom" to indicate eating yummy food or any other term used by someone half their age. L00zer, lus3r, kewl, k00l, and the like. Don't do it. I make one exception as it's terminology I've been using forever and that's "epic fail" (and it's counterpart, "epic win")

-Texting while driving- I mean, seriously, texting while driving? They're making a law against this? They have to? The thought never crossed my mind. I am a notorious lover of texting but while driving? Seriously? I won't even make phone calls while driving, I barely even like talking to someone in my car while driving, but TEXTING? If I ever get in an accident caused by someone texting while driving, if I can walk away, there will be a justifiable homicide.

-Anyone making a an analogy and getting it wrong- One of the favorite uses of analogy is the sports cliche. "going get tough", "4th and long", "2 outs in the 9th", etc. Honestly, for sports fans these really resonate. However, if you do use these, make sure the facts are straight. Don't say, for instance, don't say "you don't always need to hit homeruns, sometimes singles will get it done like Justin Pedroia" Justin Pedroia? He's the offspring of former Red Sox Justin Masterson and AL MVP DUSTIN Pedroia?? Whatever point was trying to be made was lost on me right then and there

-People playing lottery and scratch tickets in line in front of me- I know it's probably "old" bashing but I HATE being in line in back of someone playing lottery or buying scratch tickets. They ignore signs which say no verbal plays, they pester the counter person asking what denomination of scratch tickets they have even with a sign posted that says "we have $5 and $10 scratch tickets" and worst of all, you find their losing tickets strewn callously on the ground in front of the store where they bought them. I'm all set with these people

-People eating/drinking their purchases in checkout line- This just skeeves me out. Someone opening a bag or chips, cookies or a soda and consuming it while waiting to pay. I don't think it's trying to avoid paying for it but just because their hungry or thirsty. I guess I just don't like seeing people eating outside of established "eating zones" and HATE that the cashier is 100% going to have to deal with someone talking with a full mouth. Gross.

Hmmm, guess that's it...for now