Sunday, December 28, 2008

And what did YOU do over your Christmas break . . .

I accidentally did THIS . . .



Once again, that film degree is paying off . . .

C.T.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Can you even fathom 30,000 pairs of shoes?

Well, I can. And I'll tell you why.

If you'll recall, my newest favorite thing is TOMS shoes. For every pair of shoes or item of TOMS apparel that is purchased, they give a pair of shoes to a child who needs shoes.

This month, right now, they are nearing the mark of providing 30,000 shoes for 30,000 children in Ethiopia. And what's even cooler than a big ol' pile of 30,000 shoes is that they've done this in 30 days.

30,000 shoes in 30 days. Almost . . .

If you're looking for last-minute gift idea for a friend or loved one, go buy a pair of TOMS and help reach that goal of 30,000 shoes for kids in Ethiopia.

I have two pairs of TOMS now, and they have quickly become my favorite shoes. If you don't know how big your friends's feets are, get them a gift card. Or a hat. Or a hoodie. Everything is the same as a pair of shoes for a child.

Then, take the money your grandma sends you for Christmas and do some shopping for yourself at TOMS. T-shirt, shoes, tiny shoes for a tiny person that you may know . . .

See how close to 30,000 pairs of shoes? But not close enough . . . yet.

www.tomsshoes.com

Now.

C.T.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Ok, about the guy who threw the shoe . . .

Anyone who saw the story about the guy who threw the shoe at President Bush and who did not immediately think of Austin Powers . . . "I mean, who throws a shoe? Who DOES that!?!?" . . . I don't even want to know you.

Now, I'm failing to understand this whole shoe-throwing thing. I understand this Iraqi guy wanted to disgrace Bush. But . . . I'm pretty sure that's not what he accomplished.

I did, however, learn that throwing a shoe is the best and most culturally accepted way to disgrace someone. Who knew?

I mean, how did he really expect this to play out? For one thing, after throwing two shoes, you are now shoeless . . . which probably makes it harder to run away from cops and Secret Service, I would imagine.

I have no idea, however, from personal experience . . .

I mean, if for no other reason, he would stand out as being the only guy in the room without shoes. I wasn't there, but I'm pretty sure everyone else in the room had not one, but two shoes on.

And I'd be willing to put money on the fact that there would likely also be a foot odor of some sort following him as he tried to make his escape, thusly drawing even more attention to his shoeless getaway.

So, was his plan really to show up at the press event, no less, full of cameras and reporters, throw some shoes, then expect to make a clean getaway, only to read about himself the next day as a Mysterious Shoe-Throwing Superhero who successfully disgraced that American President Bush when no one else could?

Maybe a little more thought should have gone into that plan, seeing as how he's now in jail for tossing his shoes . . . He maybe should have just mailed his shoes to the White House with a nasty note or something. Or perhaps e-mailed a picture of a shoe with a harsh limerick?

Whatever. Next time I need to disgrace anyone, I'm definitely throwing one or both of my size 9.5s. I'm pretty fast in just my socks. I think I could make it.

C.T.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

I'm apparently not mean enough

Today a friend told me that I'm too nice and I should not do nice things for her because it might be weird that I'm so nice.

I can honestly say this is the first time anyone has said this to me. I am thoroughly confounded. I wonder if she's actually met me.

I mean, I guess it's better than, "Hey you're really mean and you should quit doing mean things to me, jerk." So, I guess it's a good problem to have, being too nice.

But, I've never thought of myself as all that nice.

I mean, I like to do nice things for people. But usually when it's convenient for me, like, I'm already going that way or something. Or, if I need one, too, then sure, I'll get one for you, too, but I might charge you for gas.

If I have to get up too early to help you, I'll more likely fake a seizure and leave you high and dry. If you need me to do something I don't normally do, I'll probably weasel out of it because I'm "sick."

If I have to drive too far to help you, or if I don't already have what you need, chances are I won't answer the phone when you call.

If it's an emergency and I'm busy napping or watching T.V. but you really need my help, unless I can DVR whatever I'm watching or nap while I'm helping you, you're probably out of luck. And if you wake me from a nap, well, you don't want to deal with that angry mess anyway. It's nicer of me to stay here and leave you somewhere on the side of the road.

I have no shame in making fun of whatever you're wearing or making snarky comments behind your back if your hair looks weird. I've been known to not open doors for old people or people in wheelchairs . . . without even thinking twice. I will not hesitate to cut you off in traffic or tailgate you until you get out of my way.

If I'm really annoyed by you, I won't even make eye contact. If that results in me running into you and knocking you down because I refuse to look at you, it's not my fault. You got in my way.

So, basically telling me to not be so nice is the same as asking me to punch you in the face for no good reason at all. Everyday. When you're not expecting it.

But since you insist, so be it.

Get out of my way.

C.T.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

I do everything to the best of my abilities.

This includes getting sick.

This weekend's illness event was a fun combination of laryngitis, what I think was a cold, plus an eye infection that started in one eye and then moved to the other one. I like to think it was what it was like to be Helen Keller, except I could still hear. Mostly.

Not only was it fun, but I looked good, too.

I give 100% to everything I do. Even germs.

C.T.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

People are idiots

I found this Miss Manners in the paper this morning. I kind of want to punch this reader in the face for being an idiot.

DEAR MISS MANNERS: Very often, when making a purchase with our credit card, we are asked by the sales associate to show a picture ID. This is something we find highly offensive, as it is basically a request to prove that we are not attempting to use a stolen card.

When we complain to the clerk (or the manager, who usually gets involved) that the request is offensive, we are invariably told that it is for our own protection. Most of the time, they just don't seem to understand how it is offensive. Is there anything that can be said to let them know that I really don't like being treated like a criminal when I'm trying to enhance their profit margin? I feel like I'm being rude to the clerks when I complain. I know it's not usually their fault (company policy), but that doesn't lessen the affront.

GENTLE READER: Here is how to lessen your feeling of offense:

Leave your credit card lying around some place where there are likely to be disreputable strangers. Then examine your next credit card bill. After that, Miss Manners suggests that you might want to make a sheepish apology to that insulting company.


This Gentle Idiot Reader should only use cash. Always.

Personally, I'm offended when stores DON'T ask for my I.D. I'm also offended when people steal my credit card number and use it to buy ipods at Best Buy.

Sincerely,
Offended by Credit Card Theft in Texas

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Remembering to give thanks

Holidays are hard since I don't have my sister anymore. That just takes the wind of the sails for my holidays.

It's not that I have to force myself to be thankful. Sometimes I just have to make myself focus on what I am thankful for so that I don't focus on what is missing.

This year I am thankful for a lot of things, and here are a few . . .

  • I'm thankful that Mamaw could get on a plane and come visit us for Thanksgiving this year. I am so glad to have this time to spend with her, having her all to ourselves.
  • I am thankful for my parents, that both of them are healthy and doing well. They are wonderful, thoughtful, generous, and they both make me very proud. I raised them well.
  • I'm thankful for my parents' dogs, Duke and Daisy, who are currently at Doggie Boot Camp learning how to be properly behaved dogs that don't embarrass us. I miss having them to play with for the holiday, but I'm glad they are learning good things, like not taking running, flying leaps at me when I walk in the door.
  • I am very thankful for my job. First, I am glad to have it in light of current economic situations when many folks do not have jobs. But, I'm also very thankful that it is a MUCH better situation than this time last year when I was working 60-70 hours a week with a lot of stress and very little appreciation. I can actually enjoy my four days off for Thanksgiving with peace and without stress. I worked at home last year for Thanksgiving. NO MORE.
  • I am thankful for flannel pajama pants. I've bought several pairs this year to restock my tired old pants, and these new ones make me very, very happy.
  • I am thankful for friends, new and old. I've gotten to know some fantastic people this year, and I've had more time to spend with old friends. I am continually amazed and blessed by the people God puts in my life. I learn so much from them. They take good care of me. They make me laugh and they put up with my craziness and silly antics. They make me feel as though I have a place of importance in their world. For this, I am thankful.
  • I am thankful for my house and everything in it, and for the financial stability at this time to be able to stay in my house and live comfortably.
  • I am thankful to have enough so that I can give to help others who have needs.
  • I am thankful that I don't have to spend my weekend doing chores or de-leafing. I can truly relax this weekend, which is fantastic!
  • I am thankful for fabric softener, without which I would never be satisfied by how my clothes smell. If I could bathe in fabric softener, I would.
  • I am thankful to be in a good, peaceful place in my world.
  • I am thankful for some of my favorite men in my life, without which my feet would never be comfortable or fun: Chucks and TOMS
  • I'm thankful for Jumbalaya Jeep, who is paid off and running well at the ripe old age of 6 years old.
  • I am thankful for pizza.
I am thankful for so much more than I am sad and missing Miriam during the holidays. But it would be so wonderful to share these things that I am thankful for . . . with her.

I am thankful that I still miss her.

Thankful wishes to all of you!

C.T.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Tyrant's Favorite Things

If Oprah can have Favorite Things, so can I.

My new favorite thing is for a good cause, plus it addresses my like of fun, comfy shoes . . . a necessity to realize the full potential of The Tyrant.

I recently came to know about TOMS Shoes:


If any of you watch The Amazing Race, Blake from the second place team a few season's ago started this company. But that's not the best reason to buy these shoes.

The best reason to buy the shoes is that for every pair of shoes, t-shirt, hat, whatever sold, they give a pair of shoes to a child.

So, you buy these:

. . . and a child gets those, too. But in their size, of course.

I bought those shoes above a couple of weeks ago, and I fell in love with them. Comfy, simple, fun, and (this may sound silly) but when I put them on I remember that I just gave a pair of shoes to a child who needs some shoes.

So, I bought another pair of shoes. And a shirt. That's two more pairs of shoes for two more children. No tax, no shipping. Just shoes.

For this holiday season, TOMS is hoping to provide 30,000 shoes in Ethiopia. I think that's fantastic.

So, go buy yourself some TOMS. It's the holidays. Make it a present for yourself or a friend or your family . . . and for a kid who really needs some shoes just like yours.

www.tomsshoes.com

C.T.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Tyant is Winterized.

It takes very little cold to send me into winterizing mode. I just can't handle being cold.

This weekend was the first real taste of colder temperatures, so it sent me into a cold-be-gone frenzy.

  • I broke out the flannel sheets and electric blanket this weekend. The flannel sheets were so warm and delightful, I didn't even need to turn on the blanket.
  • I finally let myself turn on the heat this morning. I've since turned it back off because it warmed up again . . .
  • I bought new space heaters. I've been using the ones my parents bought for my sister and me when I was in highschool. I decided this year . . . they might be old enough that I should consider them a fire-hazard.
  • I bought sweaters, hoodies, and sweatpants. Everything was on sale this weekend!
  • I washed pretty much every blanket and jacket that I own and that I haven't used since last cold season. I can't help it. I really love fabric softener . . . and snuggling.
  • I stocked up on hot chocolate and all of the ingredients for our family spice tea concoction to make my first batch of the season.
And, for the pinnacle of The Tyrant's winterization . . . I bought this.


Yes, that's a fire pit. I decided this year that I need fire.

Don't worry, I also bought a fire extinguisher . . . but just to be safe, someone should probably put 911 on their speed dial and keep the phone handy for the next few months.

Fire, y'all!

C.T.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

De-Leafing 2008

I was able to document my day of de-leafing the yard yesterday.

First, I took my family photo in and amongst the fall leavery.


Then I was momentarily lost behind a giant pile of leaves.


Eventually, I collapsed in exhaustion at the conclusion of the de-leafing.


I wrangled 14 bags of leaves.


Also, the bread war continues. I noticed this sitting on top of the fence. But since this fence is not on the side of the yard closest to the bread-throwing neighbor, I can only assume a squirrel put it there, setting it gingerly in a place that I would be sure to find his bread-taunting tactics.


Today, my body hurts. And I am boycotting Yard Bread.

C.T.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

My expectations for the "change."

Now that the election is over and we have our new President-elect, it's time to hunker down accept what is to come. But more important, it's time to hold our future President to the promises he has made that won him his place in our history as the 44th President.

My expectations are the same as they would be even if McCain had won. I voted for McCain (pause for all of my liberal friends to freak out, ridicule, point and laugh, and gloat . . .). But accepting the outcome of yesterday's election, I hold the next President of my country to the same standards as any other President: to lead with integrity and to serve the citizens of this country in such ways that only improve on the situation he has been given.

Even though I did not vote for Obama, I am a huge supporter of coming together as a country, Republican and Democrat status aside, to work together for the greater good. We don't always get what we want, but we must work together to make our country the best it can be and a place to be proud of.

The big selling point for the Obama campaign was "change." But, in all reality, we will always see change in this country, regardless of if we vote for what is labeled as "change" or not. No two presidencies are the same. But we must adapt as a country to whatever change comes our way.

And the true reality is . . . the Commander-in-Chief is not in control. Even if Paris Hilton told us to vote for him, bitches.

But, to gain my full support and the support of fellow Republican voters, Obama and his Democrats have quite a challenge ahead. Yes, it is up to all of you to prove to every one of us that the choice you made is the best choice for our country, not just for a liberal agenda. You've won your change, now prove to the rest of us that we were wrong to vote against your brand of change.

It's time to stop gloating (24-hours is more than enough) and to end the partying and celebrating, and get down to business. The gloating is divisive, so get over it and embrace your fellow countrymen in the name of Obama. You need to rally the country around this change you have chosen for us. You need to reach out across the aisle and help us understand why you are a good change and something that this country needs.

Prove to us that it wasn't just the cool thing to do to vote for our first black President. Throughout this whole campaign, Obama was the hip and cool thing to do, the anti-Bush. The promise of change struck a chord with our GAP Red, MTV, Hollywood-engrossed generation. If the celebrities think he's the right choice, then that should definitely influence my vote, right?

The next four years are not the "cool thing to do." The President is not a popularity contest. The next presidency is not a fad, or a chance to do everything the opposite of the way Bush did it, just because Bush did it. Voting for change is a huge responsibility, and now that we've got the change, the responsibility lies with you to make it work. Again, for the best.

Obama has won a bad situation for himself. He has some huge holes to dig us out of. I do not envy the job he has ahead of him. But, his campaign was full of promises of change and improvement for our situation. I'll agree, some of those promises sound really good. "Sound" being the key word.

He has essentially promised the opposite of the Bush administration's blunders and turmoil, which seems to be what the country wants and has voted to support. However, I doubt Obama wants his presidential legacy to be The Anti-Bush. It's time to rise to the occasion and be the next President.

The majority of the country voted on your promises and on their belief that you can make them happen. Do not let us down.

So, of my next President, I expect the following:

  • Keep your promises and do not stop until you have fulfilled what you promised this country to earn the majority vote. 'Nuff said.
  • Fix the debt. Even just a little bit. $1 trillion is a lot for a first-timer. Do what you can.
  • Don't touch my paycheck. If you can't make it happen for me to bring home more money, I'll be happy if you just don't touch my check at all. Especially in these tough economic times, I need my money and the freedom to choose who I help with it. Let me spread my own wealth.
  • Fix the economy. Be sure to keep in mind the fixing of the debt and the non-touching of my paycheck while you fix our economy.
  • Improve healthcare. I think the word here has been "fix" healthcare. But I challenge you to improve it.
  • Improve the war situation. I know the popular idea (and your promise) is to quickly remove our troops from Iraq. Everyone thinks they know what is best for Iraq. Except me, I don't claim to have any idea. Don't do what is popular, do what is best.
  • Don't make America an easy target for the crazy world around us. It's not necessarily important for us to be popular among the cool countries. It is, however, necessary for us to survive, thrive, and help those we can help. In that order.
  • Fix us first. We can't be of much help to the rest of the world if we are circling the drain ourselves.
Above all else, don't un-do just for the sake of un-doing.

The journey isn't over - it has just begun. Gaining the presidency isn't the real accomplishment. Leading this country out of a bad situation and into a new phase of prosperity, peace, and hope is the real accomplishment that has yet to be realized.

Yes, we can. But . . . will we?

C.T.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

My latest talent seems to be pumpkin art.

I call this one . . . Pimp-kin.


He has been entered in a contest. I will let you know when he wins tomorrow.

C.T.

UPDATE: Pimp-kin won!

Monday, October 27, 2008

I have early voted.

And due to my early voting, I have also ended my interest in hearing any more about the election, campaigns, candidates, issues, and bickering until we have a new president and something to actually talk about.

C.T.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A pretty much perfect day . . .

Well, except that I had to get up and going on a Saturday while it was still dark outside, and it was dark by the time I got home. But everything in between could not have been more perfect.

Yesterday, a fantastic group of people that I am proud to call my friends held a benefit garage sale for some dear friends of ours. He suffers from Cystic Fibrosis. He and his wife are fantastic. So, we made some money for them.

Aren't they cute?


We had lots of donations from lots of friends and family plus lots of helpers throughout the sale, and at the end of the sale we made a good chunk of change that should put a dent in some medical bills for that handsome young couple you see above.

At the end of a very long day of garage sale haggling, hard work, and time spent with good friends for a good cause, I came home completely worn out. But despite the aches and pains and fatigue, I was so full of joy and peace about what we accomplished yesterday and about the people I got to spend my day with.

I'll tell you this, helping others is genius. Selfishly, it did as much for me yesterday as I hope we were able to do for them.

We had SO MUCH FUN selling our wares. In fact, rumor has it that I may or may not have put on a wedding dress for some bridal portraits. You know, just in case I need them one day.


We laughed, we bartered, we stuffed our pockets with cash (which we later took OUT of our pockets to count and give to our friends). We shopped amongst the treasures for our own prized used goods to call our own. We entertained the kids. The kids entertained us.

Then, no sooner had we shut everything down and bagged up the leftovers, we were standing in the driveway trying to figure out how to get the leftover stuff hauled off and to Goodwill or something, when a truck with a trailer came by and offered to haul it all off for free.

See? Perfect.

We counted the loot and our blessings and it was awesome. We shared a meal and more laughs. And at the end of the night, we sat once again on the driveway (where we'd been pretty much all day) and talked of God and life.

It was a long day with a lot of activity and a lot of people that I was blessed to share my day with. And at the end of the day to be thinking of God with those folks, well, that's why were really there anyway doing what we can to help those we love.

If anyone doubts that church can happen on a driveway in the Boonies, I'm here to tell you I was there yesterday. And it put a peace in my heart that I don't quite understand right now, but that I've needed. I wasn't expecting the blessing I would come away with.

Thank you, friends, for letting me help and spend the day with you and your families, all for our dear friends. You all know who you are.


And thanks for the free bridal portraits. Fingers crossed that they woo me a husband!

C.T.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Dinner is sometimes more like just a snack

I hardly ever skip dinner. Maybe if I'm sick. But most days, I'm starving by the time I get home from work that following changing into comfy clothes, the next immediate activity has to be dinner.

And not just a light supper. I need food.

So, I eat the food. Then five minutes later, I'm hungry again. Not because I'm not eating enough for dinner. But sometimes I think my body thinks that dinner was just a snack.

So I usually have an after dinner snack, after dinner. But sometimes I look forward to the snack more than my actual dinner.

In fact, sometimes I create my dinner selection in order to make sure it doesn't interfere with what I'm planning to eat after dinner.

So is dinner the snack? Or is the snack still the snack.

I really don't know. But I'm definitely hungry. And I already had dinner.

C.T.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Another year, another Fair Gang Adventure

We went by all the rules.



That guy peeing in the bushes did not go by the rules.


C.T.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Another Grievance

Seriously, people. I'm not kidding. Anger me and I will publicly "grievance" you.

Dear Best Buy-
You are the scene of the crime. Whoever stole my credit card number used it fraudulently at no less than two of your stores in the Pasadena, CA area. Yet, you do not seem to care that your store was used to commit at least two crimes.

I've filed a number of reports, spent quite a bit of time on the phone - all to piece together what happened to my poor credit card number and to fix the damage caused by thieves.

I do appreciate your prompt response to the email I sent you last night, inquiring about your store policy about asking for ID when a credit card is used, specifically in relation to two purchases in two of your stores using my card, neither of which I authorized.

You called today, and you almost had me at "hello." You seemed interested in my concern, probably because I may or may not have mentioned that I will no longer be shopping at Best Buy if you can't be trusted to recognize and fight fraudulent purchases.

You asked what you could do for me today. I asked for as much info as possible on the two transactions that took place on 9/27, using my card number, each in the amount of about $865.

You said, "Yes, I can help you with that today." You gave the impression that you heard me, that you understood my need, that you wanted to be helpful. You offered to send me copies of the receipts to help me dispute the charges with my credit card company.

But then, you failed. You bombed. You tanked.

You found the two transactions. You had all of the information in front of you. You had me on the phone, seeking answers. You offered more than I actually asked. My privacy was violated and exploited in your store, and I turned to you for help.

But then, suddenly, all you would tell me is that they were two transactions of ipod Nanos.

You had the transactions right in front of you. You could see that my card number had been used, twice, at two store locations, on the same day . . . and that the names on the card transactions weren't mine. And suddenly, you can offer no more information. You decide you can't send me the receipts after all, since my name was not on the transactions. Only my card number.

Suddenly, you decide that you can't legally give me any more information. You tell me that Best Buy's policy is to protect the private information OF YOUR CUSTOMERS.

So, you're now telling me that your "customers" can steal someone else's credit card number, make their own cards using their name with the fraudulent number so that it matches their ID, stock up on a couple thousand dollars worth of ipod Nanos with the card number that isn't theirs, and Best Buy reserves the right to protect those "customers"?!?!?!

You know that it's a fraudulent purchase. I am the victim and I am asking for your help. And you choose to protect the criminals instead? It may be a legal store policy issue. But it's a crappy store policy.

Then you tell me you can't even tell me if it's one name on both transactions, or two different names on each transaction. So, I still don't know if I'm dealing with one thief, or two. Even though you are looking at the info while you are talking to me on the phone.

You insist that Best Buy checks IDs for credit card purchases. Fantastic. So, two large purchases of a bunch of ipod Nanos on the same day at two different stores using the same credit card number doesn't raise a red flag to anyone, regardless of if the ID matches the card?

No one needs that many ipod Nanos in one day.

And you insist that without a police report, you can't give me any further information. Your "Fraud" department works only with police.

So, this tells me only one thing. Since fraud of this nature doesn't cost you anything (in fact, you sold a lot of ipod Nanos that day), you don't care. And you do nothing to protect your actual customers. I'm sorry, but fraud thieves are not customers. Doesn't your "Fraud" department also want to cut down on fraudulent purchases in your store?

Now having been a victim of credit card fraud, I will be very careful where I spend my money using my credit card. Only at places that I feel are truly "fraud conscious" and actively fighting fraud.

Best Buy, since it's clearly not safe to make purchases in your stores, you no longer have my business. I've given you a lot of business over the years (far more than the couple thousand dollars you made recently selling a bunch of ipod Nanos to one or more thieves using my card). But, I will be taking my business elsewhere from now on.

It's worth it to me to potentially spend more at a place that is probably paying more attention to fraud than it is to find better deals at a company that doesn't care about it's true customers.

I know this only puts a potential minor dent in your company profits. But, it's the principle of the matter. I am the voice of the people.

I will be filing that police report. If all that stands between me and the names of the people who used my card that day is a police report, then you will get your police report. And I will get those names. And I will pursue tracking them down. Credit card fraud may be a common occurrence these days, but it's a big deal to me and I won't put up with it.

Also, I might be buying a bunch of ipod Nanos later on eBay for a fraction of the cost that I could get them in your store.


C.T.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Sometimes, I leave a paperclip in the middle of my floor.

Just to see if anyone will pick it up.

It annoys me when someone picks up the paperclip.

And yet, I prefer not to have a floor full of paperclips.

C.T.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

More Grievances

I warned you.

Dear Local Grassroots Democratic Party Volunteers-
Do not ring my doorbell at 9:30 in the morning on a Saturday morning.

For one thing, I have had a very long and stressful week (see post below). The one thing I have looked forward to all week is sleeping in on my Saturday morning and enjoying a day of leisure.

So, imagine my, um, displeasure to have barely rolled out of bed and started my Saturday morning coffee (which I look forward to every week, enjoying it in the peace and quiet of my Saturday morning after a week of hard work), when the doorbell rings and you are standing on my front porch.

I am still in my pajamas. I am not yet functioning beyond "need coffee . . . " I do not know you. I am not going to open the door and listen to anything you have to say. And you are lucky I wasn't coherent enough to throw open the door in my disheveled state and chase you off of my porch with a broom. Or a Swiffer, whichever I grab first.

Now, I have to ask. Is it really the best way to secure votes for your Democratic party by harrassing people on Saturday mornings? Do you really have much success annoying people in the morning to convince them to vote for you?

I consider myself a responsible young adult. I've paid attention to the debates and the candidates and the issues. I care about the election and the future of our country during the next presidency. I am informed.

I also care about sleep. And peace and quiet for my weekend mornings. And not having to deal with strangers first thing in the morning while I am still groggy and disheveled.

I will go so far as to say that I applaud the grassroot efforts of our political parties. The whole campaign and election event intrigues me. I like that people are out there, encouraging the vote, and talking to people about what is important to them about our country and our government.

But, regardless of if the one thing I was waiting for was someone to come to my house and personally talk me into voting for your candidate (nevermind which party), you've probably done a pretty good job this morning of pushing me to the other side, due to sheer annoyance with you.

Unless Obama himself shows up at my door at 9:30 in the morning, with donuts and coffee, and with Biden mowing my lawn while we chat so that I don't have to mow later today, some local nobody disturbing me that early on a Saturday is actually going to do much more harm for your campaign than good.

I wasn't on your side to begin with. Now you've lost me at doorbell ring . . .

Sincerely,
The Cynical Tyrant

Grievances

To avoid appearing as a Grievance here, don't anger me.

Dear Insensitive Credit Card Company Phone Person-
(not the credit card that was recently hacked - a different one)

When I call to cancel your card because I never use it and I haven't used it in years, why must you argue with me? Even after I explain that I've had a recent issue with credit card fraud on another card and I want to cancel your card because I don't want it out in the world for thieves to use, you continue to try to convince me to keep your card.

You launch into your pitch about you rewards and awards, none of which even matter to me if my card is compromised. You launch into a series of questions about why I haven't used your card, why I prefer other cards, and my general credit card habits - none of which I want to answer because I know it is all for research.

You make it clear that you are not listening to me, nor that you care about me as a very long-time customer. This actually perpetuates my problem and my annoyance with credit cards at this time.

I know before calling you that you are going to try and convince me to stay, even though I never intend to use your card anyway. I dread calling you people because instead of listening to me and accommodating my needs as your customer, you will try to upsell me on things that I do not want or need. I am spending my Friday night trying to repair of the work of thieves and head off any potential issues that could still be out there, checking credit reports and filing fraud reports. Do you think I want to argue with you about a card I haven't used in years?

Instead, you should be promoting responsible credit card use, applauding my actions to put a stop to what could be a seriously damaging situation, not knowing the full extent of the breach of my personal information. You should sympathize with my situation and cooperate without bullying me into what I clearly do not want: extra credit cards out there just waiting to be hacked and used. At this time, I am paranoid about my credit cards and personal information.

So, you should know that after my call to you last night for help, you convinced me to never use your card again, now or in the future when I am past this annoying ordeal. Even after you finally canceled the card and said, "We look forward to getting you back as a customer sometime in the future."

You forced me to say no less than SIX TIMES, "I just want to cancel the card." Why would I come back? I'll stick with the card that was compromised because at least that company has helped me with the problem and rewarded me for my pain and suffering.

Jerks.

Sincerely,
The Tyrant

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's possible that I killed Mr. Clean

Last night, I'm sitting here watching T.V. A commercial for Mr. Clean comes on.


I'm watching the cartoon Mr. Clean on T.V., and I began to wonder why Mr. Clean is a cartoon. I've never really thought about Mr. Clean, cartoon or otherwise. But for some reason last night, I was really intrigued by the mystery of Mr. Clean.

I thought I remembered once upon a time when Mr. Clean was a real, live human. I began to wonder when he turned into a cartoon. Or if he had ever really been real at all.

Then, today I read that Mr. Clean died.

Seriously, what are the odds?

C.T.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Damn: A Public Service Announcement

So, this morning I get a call from my credit card company about some suspected fraudulent charges on my card. Apparently someone tried to purchase $1,800 worth of stuff at Best Buy in Pasadena on Saturday using my credit card number.

Funny that, since I was in Austin, WITH my card, on Saturday.

Not funny ha-ha. Funny The Tyrant is Mad.

Thank goodness for my credit card company recognizing the ridiculous charges and taking quick action. It's an inconvenience, but they've canceled my card and a new one with a different number is on the way. Unfortunately I'm without a credit card for about a week.

Although . . . I was just thinking this weekend I need to quit spending so much money. Without a card in my hand, that will help.

Weird way to go about that, but whatever.

And, I'm not responsible for the charges. But, I'd kinda like to see what I bought. Hopefully I have good taste.

Needless to say, I'm pretty mad. And I feel a little violated. I'm super careful with things like credit cards, bank information, etc. I don't like the thought that some petty thief has outsmarted me, even as careful as I am.

Also, the timing on it sucked because the call came this morning a few minutes before my clients arrived at my office. Hard to take them to lunch without a credit card . . .

Of course, I've been obsessed with figuring out how this person, this Frauder, got my card number. And yes, I will find you. Mark my words. I'm very resourceful.

I have a few ideas already:

  • If you are a reader of my blog and it was you, I will hunt you down and, of course, expose you mercilessly on my blog. Plus, shame on you. Don't come here into my world then steal from me.
  • It might be an angry David Blaine. It's possible he read the post below, magically read my card number while recovering from his Dive of Death, then bought himself a present at Best Buy. Just to spite me.
Ok, on a serious note, here are my thoughts:
  • We had possibly the worst waitress ever on Friday night. We were as patient as we could be, but after sitting there for 25 minutes before our drinks even arrived, we had to say something. Another waiter ended up taking our cards to run the transaction. I'm always nervous when folks have to take my card to where I can't see it to run transactions. You never know if they are also keeping the number for themselves. If she was not only a bad waitress, but a spiteful one, maybe she (or the other waiter who actually took the cards) snuck my card number.
  • I went to dinner the week before with my girls and the waiter was probably the worst waiter ever. Maybe he's related to the waitress above. He took off with our credit cards for an unreasonably long amount of time, to the point that we were all wondering what he was doing with them.
  • I recently made some purchases online for some fundraisers for kids of some of my friends. I'm not saying it was them, but they raise my suspicions because they are not well-known companies and I have never purchased through those companies.
To anyone who has been with me in the past couple of weeks and used your card at places where I used my card, you might want to check your credit card statements for any purchases you did not make. This is my Public Service Announcement for you. Because I care.

To anyone who was with me in the past couple of weeks, STOLE MY CARD NUMBER, then went to Pasadena to buy some presents for yourself at Best Buy, we are no longer friends. You are dead to me now.

I make the jokes because it's how I deal with stress. But it's not a laughing matter. It's a fairly common occurrence these days, and honestly as long as I've had that credit card, it's only a matter of time until Frauder struck. Let this be a lesson to all of you that if it can happen to The Tyrant, it can happen to you.

As soon as I get my new credit card, I'll check my credit report. (Yeah, without a valid credit card, I can't even check my credit report!). I recommend you do the same.

Damn.

C.T.

P.S. I came home today and found that someone made off with the fence on half of my yard.



What the heck is going on today?!?!? Everything is falling apart . . .

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dear David Blaine,

You just took up two hours of primetime television performing a "stunt" I had never heard of until yesterday.

Of course, the "stunt" took up maybe 20 minutes of those two hours. We periodically saw you hanging upside down for "the past 60 hours," even though we know you weren't upside down that entire time (thank you, FOXNews, for busting Blaine on your web site today with the important news of his "cheating" by standing upright periodically throughout his "stunt").

I can't blame you for needing a few upright breaks. But, don't call that 60 hours of hanging upside down. It's like calling a bike event a 100 mile Century, but only marking out 85 miles. If it's not 100 miles, it's not 100 miles, and therefore it's not a century. Don't tell me that it is.

That didn't happen to me, by the way. I swear.

Anyway, for the rest of the two hours we watched you do the same card trick to random people all over the country. And then you "caught" a bullet in a tin can in your mouth. That was sort of exciting, until we watched 15 minutes of footage of all the prep work that went into it. Then it was kinda like you'd be an idiot to mess that one up after all the precautions.

Granted, I will probably never attempt to hang upside for MOST of 60 hours. Nor will I travel the country blowing people's minds with a card trick. Nor will I attempt to catch a bullet in my mouth, with or without a tin can.

But damn you, Blaine. If you insist on taking up prime time TV and wooing me into watching you, I insist that actually do something remarkable. I watched those card tricks years ago when you first showed us that you can levitate. I'm over it.

But yes, once again, I kept the TV on tonight while America waited, and waited, and WAITED for something to actually happen. That "something" being this Dive of Death we heard about all the livelong night.

I mean, we're on the verge of an economic collapse that could happen mere seconds after you Dive to Death. David, we turn to you in this hour of need to doing something spectacular to remind us that we're all just Americans trying to make it in this world of Wall Street types who seem to need my meager income to keep their six-figure incomes, retirement portfolios, and penthouses intact.

So, imagine my disappointment when the time came for this death-defying leap from 44 feet above ground, but all I saw was you take a step off the platform, then float gingerly toward the ground, not actually getting close to the ground, mind you, before you were hauled away by a cable, slowly, ever-so-slowly . . . while the commentator seemed not to now what to say, and while the crowd that watched was underwhelmed into silence, as well.

What, pray tell, was that supposed to be? It would be more of a Dive of Death for me to stand on a chair then jump onto my soft carpet stack high with pillows and a snuggly blanket.

In fact, I tripped in the hallway last week and I'm pretty sure now that walking down the hall is more dangerous than what I saw as your dive of "death" tonight. I don't have any cables attached to keep me from falling to the ground, flat on my arse.

I mean, I'm not going to attempt a dive from 44 feet off the ground. I don't even jump off my step ladder, for goodness sakes.

But to think, I put my DVRed America's Next Top Model on hold when I turned on the TV and saw you hanging from some sort of contraption. I thought that maybe this time, this would be the time you actually do something exciting. Something perilous. Something, I don't know, that Cirque de Soleil doesn't do every night of the week.

But, no. I took a Dive of Death by laying here on my couch, watching you stretch a coin for folks holding plastic cups of what I'm guessing was not just water. That would impress me, too, if I were sipping the trashcan punch.

I know Tyra will forgive me for my lapse in good judgement. However, forgiving myself for this poor use of my time and energy, well, I only hope I can be as forgiving as Tyra is.

Your power lies in your ability to make me watch, even though with every fiber of my being and sanity, I fight you and your "stunts."

Damn you, Blaine. Damn you.

C.T.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

It's not that I'm against Bread.

But I'm against picking bread out of my yard.

For the five years that I've lived in my house, from time to time I will see the old asian man who lives behind me come out of his house into his backyard with what's left of a loaf of bread. He then proceeds to throw it about his yard for the birds to eat.

At first glance, this could be a beautiful ritual from a kindly neighbor who enjoys feeding birds.

But, for the five years I've lived in my house, after the man throws the bread into his yard, for the next few days I will find disgusting, moldy, soggy bread scattered about my yard.

Apparently after the birds have the bread feast, they deposit their leftovers into my yard as though I am the busboy.

The other day, I found an entire half of what looked like it once was maybe a pumpernickel loaf, or perhaps some pumpkin bread. This is the hunk of bread that put me over the edge. I put some gloves on (because it was disgusting), picked it up and threw it over my fence, across the alley, and back into my neighbor's yard.

I am sick of his soggy bread leftovers.

I found a squirrel eating the remnants of the loaf back in my yard just a little while ago.

I don't want my yard to be made of bread.

C.T.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunkered down for Hurricane Ike

Of course, by the time Ike gets up to my part of Texas, it will likely just be lots of wind and rain. But, I'm ready, nevertheless.

I can literally stay in here for days, should it come to that. And intend to stay in here for at least the next two days.

Cheese . . . check
Ice cream . . . check
Cokes . . . check
Books . . . check, check and check
Two Netflixes . . . check
DVR full of crap . . . check
No desire to shower . . . check
Oatmeal . . . check
Yard freshly mowed and ready for tons of rain . . . check
Unfortunately, if the power goes out, I will go hungry and be bored out of my mind.

It's all part of being hunkered down.

C.T.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sarah Mclachlan Divorce

Today must be the day that Sarah Mclachlan's divorce was announced because my blog has gotten a bazillion hits today from people searching for that very thing.

All because I wrote a blog a couple of years ago about a Sarah Mclachlan Christmas song that I put on my ultimate Christmas mix.

Sorry, folks. No news about the big divorce here.

But you'll keep arriving, now that I've typed it.

C.T.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Two-year-olds selling cookie dough

It's that time again. That time when I, having no children, have to financially support the children of all of my friends.

It's that time when I think my friends make up children I never knew they had just to get money out of me.

It's school fundraiser season.

I used to think I had a handle on this. It was a simpler time of Girl Scout cookies at the office. Coworkers would bring the order forms up to the office, I place my order for my Samoas. Then a few weeks later, the cookies show up at my desk.

No problem.

Then last year, my friend's two-year-old was raising money for her nursery school by selling tubs of cookie dough. I mean, cute as can be. I couldn't resist.

But since when do two-year-olds need money? How do they know how to sell cookie dough? They can't even SAY cookie dough.

This year it's the online stores. Seriously, the children's fundraising has hit the interweb. I mean, back in my day it was the boxes of candy bars that took forever to sell, and only sold when my dad would take them to work.

Now, the kids don't even have to personally ask me for money. Their moms send an email with a link to a web store. They don't even send a photo of their cute kids to woo me.

But so far, it works. It's terrible. I will spend more money on more kids this way because I don't even have to leave my couch to support their causes. Why are the children so smart these days?!?!

I blame our education system.

So far, I'm in for a magazine subscription for one kid, and probably some gift wrap for another kid. I can't help it.

I buy something from one kid, I pretty much have to buy something from all of the kids.

For the next month, I will be eating only Samoas while reading my new subscription to Entertainment Weekly while wrapping gifts and looking at my free gym bag that came with the magazines but that I don't intend to actually use. I'll put it next to the pansies that I told my boss I'd buy for her kid's drill team.

I'll be too poor to do anything else.

But, it's a sacrifice I'm willing to make. It's for the kids . . . who better pay me back by supporting me one day when I'm old.

C.T.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Scotch Guard: the most elusive product ever invented

I can never find Scotch Guard at the store.

If I'm looking for it, it's nowhere to be found. If I'm NOT looking for it and I don't need it, that's when I find it. But then I can never remember where I saw it the next time I need it.

Sometimes it's in Fabric Care. Sometimes it's by the camping equipment (which is the best kind because it's heavy duty for outdoors and mildew).

But I'm pretty sure it's never in the same place twice. In fact, I'm pretty sure it moves around the store when it knows I'm looking for it.

This weekend I was able to find Scotch Guard cleaner. This is not what I need.

Then I found Scotch Guard carpet protector. Also, NOT what I need.

Next time I find it, I'm buying all of it.

C.T.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

I am obsessed with oatmeal.

I haven't always been obsessed with oatmeal. But over the past few weeks, oatmeal is pretty much my life.

Not the kind in a serving-size packet to which you add water and stick it in the microwave. I'm talking the real stuff. Comes in that cylindrical container and cooks for a whole five minutes on the stove.

The best part is that I've been obsessed with the oatmeal . . . for dinner. I've eaten it almost every night for almost three weeks.

I can't explain why. I have no idea. I just know that even though it's been summer and super hot, I have to have my oatmeal for dinner.

A couple of nights ago, I decided that I needed something new. Not because I was tired of the oatmeal, but because it might be a little bit weird that I'm eating so much oatmeal without getting tired of it. Even though that's the way I tend to roll. I will eat something everyday for, like, ever, and then one day I pretty much don't want it ever again.

So, a couple of nights ago I had hot dogs for dinner. I also really love hot dogs. So, this was a good change.

But, last night it was back to oatmeal.

Tonight? Hot dogs.

But I'm kinda sad that I didn't have oatmeal.

Don't judge me.

C.T.

Monday, September 01, 2008

Tyrant through the years . . .

I recently received a letter about my 10 year College Homecoming festivities. I can hardly believe I've been out of college for 10 years. . .

Today I spent some time looking through old photos. I found some of my yearbook photos, more than I remember ever taking. Some more embarrassing than others . . .

Here's the first photo I found, from my 1952 yearbook. Don't laugh!


In 1960, I looked remarkably like my mother did as a teenager!


By 1968, I'd lost those lame glasses. Much better!


1978 was a good year for my hair. I'm actually not really sure how I got it to do that, but it worked!

By 1984, I'd toned down the 'fro and opted for more feather.


In 1986, someone talked me in to experimenting with gerry curl. It was a bad decision.


By 1992, I was back to lots of feather, and lots of Aqua Net! And a really tan neck, apparently.


Halfway through college, I experimented with blonde. It worked, but it was too hard to keep up.

By 1998, the year I graduated college, I was back to something normal to go with my really tan neck.


But, I'm sure glad I'm past that now! Man, 10 years really makes you glad you don't look as ridiculous as you did back in college . . .


That's hot.

C.T.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I didn't do it.

In lieu of the Olympics that are no longer on T.V., I've maybe watched too many episodes of CSI via CSI marathons.

Today, as I re-stained the wood edges of my flower beds in the yard, I was worried that I don't have anyone to collaborate my alibi if, for some reason, the red stain that dripped onto my clothes as I painted was to be mistaken for blood.

I swear I didn't do it. I was painting red stain onto my flower bed edges all afternoon.

It's red stain, I tell you.

C.T.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Frogs

I have a lot of frogs around here lately. I'm puzzled by the whole thing.

A few years ago, I had one frog. He and I were friends. He hung out by my water spigot. Then one day I was weed-whacking near the air-conditioner and I noticed a trail of blood . . . that led to what was left of my frog friend's dangling leg.

In my defense, the frog neglected to let me know that he was vacationing near the air-conditioner so that I would know to watch out for him.

So, last week I was mowing in my backyard, and I saw several frogs scatter in the grass as I went by with the mower. My first thought was that I had slaughtered an entire family of frogs with the mower, and that I would never get back into the good graces with the frogs.

Turns out, the frogs I saw were all of the frogs and they fled before I got there with the mower. So, no frogs were lost during the mowing of my yard.

But then I wondered . . . why all the frogs?

I'm a little rusty on my frog knowledge, but I'm pretty sure frogs come from tadpoles, which have to live in water. And as far as I can tell, there are no ponds, lakes, rivers, streams, oceans, or swimming pools in my yard.

Then, tonight I was out front moving the sprinkler and I saw two more frogs hopping around.

So, on the one hand I'm glad the frogs seem to have forgiven me for their friend's leg and they have returned to my land to once again make their home.

But on the other hand, where do they come from?

I will do my best not to hurt them. But on mowing day, they'd best find other places to be than in the path of the weed-whacker or the mower.

C.T.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Tyrant Can Read

One of my new re-favorite things to do these days is read.

I used to LOVE to read as a kid. I read all the time. Every summer, my mom would take my sister and me to the library to get involved in the summer reading program. We'd go each week and pick out our books. I'd pick more than I thought I could read, but I was usually finished with all of my books before it was time to go back to the library to return them and get more books.

We'd keep track of our books throughout the summer. It was fun at the end of the summer to see how many books we'd read. I was always a fast reader. I could read for hours. I could read while watching TV or listening to music and still absorb whatever I was reading. I loved it.

Then reading became schoolwork, and I was bored and not really interested in learning from reading. It's fun to read before they trick you into actually learning from the reading.

I think for a long time I also lost my attention span for sitting and reading. Even now, it tends to put me to sleep, no matter where I am.

Life also got really busy with too much information and stress filling up my brain. I don't think my brain could hold anything else that involved intentional intake.

But, life is much less stressful these days. I work normal hours. Which, I've discovered, is directly related to my stress levels and my brain's capacity to absorb more through activities, including reading. My brain no longer rebels at intentional information input that is purely for fun.

I read five books on my vacation a couple of weeks ago. This is huge for me. It might mean thhat I'm truly back to being a reader again. Of course, yhere were times on vacation when I would start to read and fall instantly to sleep (including once in a coffee shop). But by the end of my vacation, I gradually built up my reading stamina to where I could read and watch TV and keep up with both things at once.

It's entertainment multi-tasking, if you will.

In fact, these days one of my favorite activities is curling up on the couch, turning on the Olympics, and reading a book . . . all at the same time. It's genius. I watched all of Phelps's golds while reading about a childhood on an African farm.

I'm really into memoirs these days. I like stories of lives told by the people who lived them.

Of course, none of them are as awesome as my memoir will be. But, it's good to keep up with the competition.

This is something I've learned from my Olympics-watching.

It's pretty much a Summer Reading Olympics Program.

C.T.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Heavy heart

My heart has been heavy today. It's the ninth anniversary of my sister's death.

Nine years since I had a sister. Hard to believe.

It's a day like any other day, but with a twist that I carry around for the day. Unbeknownst to many who don't know about it. And forgotten by many who have known.

I never forget. Every year.

I go to work like a normal day, expected to perform like a normal day, but it's not really a normal day for me.

Each year, I hear from less people. It's noticeable. This year, no one asked how I am. No hugs. No one to talk to. No knowing looks that comfort by communicating, "I know."

A few still remember and they let me know. I'm very thankful and appreciative for that.

It sucks being sad and feeling alone about it.

Good thing tomorrow is another day.

C.T.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Olympic Blogging

If table tennis, trampoline, badminton, and speedwalking can be Olympic sports, I truly believe that in 2012, blogging should make it's Olympic debut as a sport.

But, in the meantime, I will blog my thoughts on table tennis. Incidentally, I will watch just about anything they call a sport for these Olympics. I'm not ashamed to say I watched trampoline finals tonight.

That's right.

Anyway, I do love what I know as ping-pong. I'm pretty good, if I do say so myself.

However, as an Olympic sport, it seems, well, not of the same level of glory and prestige in winning a gold medal as say . . . any one of Phelps's golds.

For instance,

  • There are 7 people in the stands watching the table tennis match that I'm watching right now.
  • Is it even called a "match?" No one knows.
  • The U.S. player is 44 years old. Compare that to the 12-year-old Chinese gymnasts who were probably on the uneven bars before they could walk. Did he have a real job and then one day decide to pursue his life-long dream of being Forrest Gump?
  • The two guys calling the match keep referring to one of the player's injuries. He has a back injury and a leg injury. Um, how do you get injured in ping-pong? Or was he moving his Lazy Boy recliner at home to make room for his new solid-gold ping-pong table when he threw his back out.
  • The players spend more time chasing down that tiny ping-pong ball than they do actually playing. Why don't they get ball boys like the tennis players do?
  • The U.S. team didn't even bother to send the real coach. They sent some other guy, who just had to help track down the tiny ping-pong ball for the players.
  • The players just broke the official game ball, which as the commentators just mentioned, is supposed to last the entire match. Do they not understand how many balls I can go through while playing with my friends? Those suckers are hard to find after I smash them on the table with extreme force and awesomeness. Fortunately, the Olympics pre-chooses a back-up ball for the rare cases that the original ball can't make it through a match.
  • These guys actually go over and towel off between points.
  • How do you train to become an Olympic Table-Tennis athlete? Is there a special diet? Weight-lifting? Cardio? I kinda feel like I could lay on the couch all day, eat a hunk of cheese and drink a Red Bull, then go down to the Rec Center and beat a few old people and some small children and call that a workout.
Don't get me wrong, those guys play faster than I can keep up with. I admire their skills.

Do I get a medal for staying up late to watch them play? I feel like I should.

C.T.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Can't blog

Obsessed with Olympics.

C.T.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

It's a good thing I don't live in China . . .

. . . because there are a whole lot of people out there cuter than I am.


I'd never get to do anything.

C.T.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Well, my luggage finally made it here.


Seriously. This is how it ended up at my house, two days after I got back to my house.

When your luggage is "delayed," as the airlines call it, you have to file a claim. At that time, they have literally no information about where your bag might be or when (or if) you will ever see it again.

They ask you what it looks like (black, like every other bag in the entire world).

They ask you to describe a few items that might be inside the bag (which means they open it up and dig around in it to make sure it's yours).

They ask you when you last saw the bag (um . . . when I gave it to your people yesterday and they put a tag on it and sent it down that belt to where bags are then lost).

Then they give you a piece of paper with a record locater number on it and a phone number to call if you haven't heard anything by the next day. And you leave the airport feeling like you've left your child behind with a sketchy babysitter. This very personal thing that is yours and that contains some of your very personal things is completely at the mercy of people who mislabeled and misplaced your bag in the first place.

They are your only hope of recovering every pair of underwear you own and your most favoritest jeans in the whole world. And the only assurance they can offer you is "we'll do our best to get your bag back."

So, when I hadn't heard from them the first afternoon or at all the first night, I called them Sunday morning to get an update. The lady was very nice but said they had no new information. They still had not located my bag. But they might have an update later in the day.

I then discovered that you can check the status of your "delayed" bag online. So I obsessively checked online about every 30 minutes all day on Sunday. When the day had passed and I still had no indication from the airline that my bag was any closer to being found than it was the day before, I called them again.

Still no update. So I asked the lady what was her best thought on what happened to my bag. I've had "delayed" bags many, many times before (it seems to be a curse), but never for over 24 hours missing.

She rattled off, like, 10 things that could have "delayed" my bag. She said that since it was an international bag, it might be stuck in Customs somewhere. Apparently Customs can pull a bag and hold it for 24 hours for no good reason and without having to tell anyone.

I find it curious that luggage rules are so very, very strict. They dictate what you can take on the plane with you, how big your bags can be, how much they can weigh. They don't let you leave a bag unattended, for security reasons. They scan and x-ray your bags. Sometimes they open them and search them by hand. They don't even let your bag on your flight if you are not also on your flight.

BUT, should they decide they want to hold your bag while you fly away, they don't even have to tell you, the airline, security, NO ONE. Which means that in order to get your bag to you later, they have to put it on flight that you are not on.

This seems contrary to that whole rule that your bag can't fly on a flight that you, yourself, are not also partaking of.

Not only can they pull a bag and not tell anyone, there is no way to track that the bag has been pulled or kept. They can't even track if the bag made it to your first destination before being "delayed" before getting to your connecting flight.

You literally hand them your bag when you check in for your flight, then no one can tell you where it is until it is in your hands again at some point in time after you arrive at your new destination.

In fact, ALL bags are essentially lost the second they leave your control and become the responsibility of the airlines, until they arrive back in your hands.

Anyway, the lady concluded her "helpful" information by mentioning that 98.6% of all "delayed" bags are found and returned to their owners, and most of them are not missing any belongings.

That's really not as reassuring as I think she meant it to be.

So, after no actual news yesterday, I got a call this morning on my office line. It went something like this:

Me: Hello
Phone: Yes, hello. Is this The Tyrant?
Me: Yes
Phone: Ok. Are you missing a bag?
Me: YES. I am.
Phone: Ok, did you file a claim?
Me: YES. I did.
Phone: Ok, well I have a bag. What's the claim number?
Me: 123XYZ
Phone: Ok. I just needed to verify that this is the right bag. They put the wrong ticket on it when you checked it, so it doesn't match the luggage claim ticket they gave you when you checked the bag.
Me: Well, it must be my bag since you called my office line and I filed the claim with my cell number. The bag identification tag is my business card.
Phone: Oh.

Phone: Ok, we'll have this sent out to you today.
Me: Fantastic. When?
Phone: The driver will call you 30 minutes before he gets to your house.
Me: Fantastic. Thank you!

So, right after lunch I got a call on my cell phone, but I didn't recognize the number and the call cut off before anyone said anything. I tried to call it back but it wouldn't let me.

I called the "delayed" baggage number again to see if they could tell me if the delivery service had called because I would need to run home to meet my long lost suitcase. This guy was NOT helpful and it went something like this:

Me: Hi, I got a call that was cut off and I'm waiting for a call from the delivery service to give me 30 minutes notice that they will be delivering my bag to my house. Do you know if they called me?
Phone Guy: Do you have a claim number?
Me: 123XYZ
Phone Guy: M'aam, the bag was picked up this morning and they deliver within 6 hours, but the driver will call you 30 minutes ahead of time.
Me: Yes, I know. I got a call but it was cut off. I'm wondering if you can tell if the delivery service called so that I know if I should go home to be there when he gets there.
Phone Guy: I don't know if he called.
Me: There's no way to contact the delivery company and check?
Phone Guy: No, I can't do that. You should have your bag later today.
Me: Thanks.

Once again, they have NO IDEA WHERE MY BAG IS and no way to find out. Sheesh.

Fortunately, a little while later the delivery service called and asked if I could be home at 4:30 because they would be there at 4:30 with my bag. Done and done.

My bag was SO CLOSE to being home.

However, I come back from a meeting at 3:45 to find this message on my cell phone:

"Uh, hi. I'm from the delivery service and I have your bag. It's 3:30 and I got here a little earlier than I expected and I can't get anyone to come to the door. So, I'm just gonna leave the bag behind the fence on the right side of the house."
Did I mention that it has been raining most of the day today? And now my poor suitcase has been heaved over my fence into my soggy backyard.

So, I got in the car and hurried home to put my suitcase in the house. And this is what I found when I got home:


It's just the saddest long-lost luggage picture ever.

Oh well. At least I have my bag. And everything seems to still be in it that was originally in it, and there are no extra things that were not originally in it. I guess my bag is one of those 98.6%.

There's no real indication of what all my bag has been through during the past three days when I last saw it in Capetown. I hope it had a happy adventure.

But, I've certainly never been so happy to do laundry in my whole life.

C.T.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Been around the world . . . again.

Sadly, I am back home after my vacation to South Africa. Not sad in the sense that I hate my home. But it's always sad to end one of my big trip vacations.

I just really, really love vacation. And I really, really, REALLY love seeing the world.

Regrettably, my luggage has gone rogue and decided to stay on vacation. Or maybe it's being held hostage somewhere by a group of rebels who enjoy stealing small suitcases full of dirty underwear and t-shirts.

Whatever the case may be, it's not here. And according to American Airlines, it is somewhere between Capetown and here . . . probably.

Hopefully it gets here. Otherwise, no presents for anyone. All of my shopping is also in that bag. With the dirty underwear.

More on vacation later. For now, enjoy this photo of me on an ostrich.


This photo also documents the last time I wore that outfit. I hope to see it again someday. Those are my most favorite jeans in the whole world . . . apparently lost somewhere around the world.

C.T.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

I'm pretty sure Bath & Body Works is the most ridiculous store ever.

I went to the mall yesterday. I hate the mall.

There is one reason I go to the mall, and that is to wait on the Jeep while the guys at Sears change the oil and rotate her tires. You might laugh because I go to Sears. But, I've gone there for years. The same guys work there as the when I first took the Jeep. They do a fantastic job, they're very nice, they never try to upsell me on anything, and they answer my questions without talking to me like I'm stupid.

For those reasons, they continue to earn my business. I've bought four tires and a car battery there. And when I need brakes for the Jeep, I'll get them there too.

So, while I wait on the Jeep for about an hour, I run my mall errands. This usually involves a trip to Bath & Body Works to get my shower gel. However, I HATE Bath & Body Works. So I try to buy as much shower gel as is reasonable considering I'm not very big, or I get the minimum to get whatever is included in whatever random sale they've got going that day so that I don't have to come back for a very, very long time.

I hate most of the stuff in the store. I hate being overwhelmed the second I walk in the door by way too many aromas all in one place. But they do have one scent that I like.

All you need to know is that it smells like me. It is Tyrant. Simple, yet unoffensive.

But what I hate MOST about the store is that it's hardly ever busy when I'm there (granted I try to go early in the day before it gets busy), but there are always at least 10 girls working in the store with pretty much nothing to do. And their sole job (for ALL of them) is to hunt you down and explain all of the sales and specials, and to give you one of their big shopping bag for all of your purchases.

I never get hit with just one girl. I usually get hit with at least three or four of them, all of which seem to not have seen one of the other girls who just talked to me. It's not like it's a big store. And it's not like I'm not in and out of there as fast as is humanly possible. AND it's not like they don't wear those ridiculous headsets to communicate with each other, because they do.

But I have a feeling their secret headset communication goes something like this:

BBW Girl 1: Uh, girls. I just talked to the girl in the bright yellow t-shirt and the Chucks. Caught her on the way in the store. I told her about all of the specials on the west wall. I offered her a bag, but she declined. Susie, you're up.

BBW Girl 2: Ok, I tracked her to the "Specials" section in the middle and I told her about the "buy 4 get 1 free" for the products on the middle and lower left shelf. She still didn't want a bag. Muffie, she's headed your way.

BBW Girl 3: I let her know about the 2 for $47 sale on face and foot items. But I forgot to offer her a bag. It's my third day. Please don't fire me.

BBW Girl 4: Muffie, one more "failure to offer shopping bag" and I'm sticking you over in White Barn to keep an eye on the scented wall plugs and to sort potpourri. This is your last warning. WAIT, does anyone have a "twenty" on Yellow T-shirt?

BBW Girl 5: I've got her in hand lotions and tanning creams. Should I tell her about the Buy 5 get 1 free on Tanning Lip Balm? Or should I push the Buy 10 get $5 off your 11th tub of body butter.

BBW Girl 6: We need to sell more body butter and she looks like she could use some. Like, for reals. Her elbows look like they've never been introduced to a tube of lotion . . .

BBW Girl 7: Y'all, she only has two things in her hand and she's making an escape for the register! Distract her with the tub of $1.50 tiny bottles of hand sanitizer! She only needs to buy 7 bottles to get the free denim bag with minimum purchase of $35!

And . . . scene. All of which takes place in the span of one minute, thirty-six seconds.

I hate that store.

C.T.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Behold, my geniusery

Today, I said the following and was then told that I should coin it on my blog because it's just that brilliant:

Technology is not your friend when you need it most, like on the day you have to print stuff for a client presentation.
Learn it, live it, love it.

C.T.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

This guy is my new hero.

Seriously.



C.T.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Coming Soon: The greatest achievement of my life.

This is big.

Sure, I've had plenty of other big achievements:

  • Graduated college, with honors
  • Bought a house
  • Fixed the soffit on said house
  • Wrote a novel
  • Produced a CD
  • Was nominated for a Webby award
  • Survived Russia in winter
  • Survived LASIK surgery . . . twice
  • Fixed broken power windows on my Jeep by myself
  • Figured out how to Sudoku
  • Got up before noon this morning
But this next one blows all of those major accomplishments away. It is a MAJOR award, folks.

Due to all of the fantastic travel I have coming up in the next few weeks, I have signed up for the American Airlines Platinum Challenge. And I confirmed yesterday that in just a few short weeks . . .

I will be a PLATINUM level traveler.

People, this kind of status is a dream come true. The sun will shine a little brighter. The lines I wait in at the airport will be much, much shorter.

In fact, I full expect all lines everywhere to simply go away for me. The checkout line at the grocery store, lines at the State Fair, wrinkle lines that appear on my face as I move deeper into my 30s . . .

GONE. Because I have Platinum status.

It is a far-reaching status that I will take full advantage of in every area of my life.

Get ready for the Platinum Tyrant. Coming soon . . .

P.C.T.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Apparently working too many hours can literally kill you.

Overtime kills, y'all.

Read about it here.

Good thing I have a job now that doesn't make me work crazy hours anymore.

New job saved my life . . .

C.T.

When lightning strikes once . . .

. . . it apparently strikes my office building and lets me sleep in and stay home from work.

When your boss calls you at 7:45 a.m., my first thought is that I either overslept and she's wondering why I'm not at work. Or, something more along the lines of "don't bother coming in to work ever again."

This morning was sort of like that, but was more like, "don't bother coming in to work . . . until later today because the office was hit by lightning last night and we have no power."

This translates into, "Tyrant, you have the morning off. Please roll over and go back to sleep until we tell you that the office is working again."

Who am I to argue with my boss? I got off the phone and rolled over to go back to sleep.

I've also conducted some business via text message today. And I've decided that from now on, I will ONLY work via text message.

The extra sleep was much-needed to complete my recovery from my whirlwind trip to D.C. for July 4th weekend.

God bless America. And my extra sleep this morning.

C.T.