The New Capital of the World: Stockton.

August 28, 2010

I signed up for cable on Monday. They told me the earliest they could get out to hook it up is in three weeks.

It’s a freaking cable box. I plug the cables into the back and its done. Can’t I just pick the thing up? I know it’s HD, but I have a college degree, I can handle five cords.

There is no conceivable reason for this to take three weeks.   They do installs from 9-5, Monday through Saturday. Let’s say it’s one guy working all 48 hours, and that guy completes one install every half hour. That means I’m the 288th household in line.

The 288 new households equates to a population growth rate of 13.8% for the metro area. PER INSTALL GUY.

I saw three trucks on the street on Thursday. Now, it’s probably three people working a combined 96 hours for two install “guys” per week.  Which means there’s really 576 new households. That’s a population growth rate of 17.5%

That’s only like 63rd in the country. But those rates are over a 10-year period from 2000 to 2010. So, we’d really be at a 92.9% growth rate. Which is easily the highest in America and well over twice the growth rate of the Mormon capital of the world (of course, their households are limited to one new member per nine months).

So, what AT&T Cable is trying to tell me is that: A) they have three install guys and B) In 2020, the population of Stockton, California will go from 674,860 people in 2009 to 6.3 million.

Or maybe I have this all wrong and they have more install guys. If they have a team of say, 21 install guys, that means I’m 4032nd in line (which would make it easier to accept a three-week wait). But that means in 10 years we’ll have 39.9 million people and be 7 million people larger than Tokyo, the current largest city in the world.

I don’t even want to consider the ramification of the fact that we have TWO cable companies. All things being equal, this metro area would be the size of the 18th largest country in the world and over 1% of the world’s population would live here in 2020.  Hmmm. Maybe we could get our own MLB and NHL teams (Not that I could watch them on cable).

Just bring me the cable box already. I clearly need the entertainment.

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Nectar of the Gods

August 25, 2010

On this site, I once spoke of my morning coffee as if it were my lover. Creepy, yes. But also apt. You see, when I moved to New Orleans, I found out that New Orleans discovered the best coffee in the history of the world.

Brief history lesson: During the Civil War, coffee supplies were low. So they stretched their rations by adding ground up chicory root to the coffee. Instead of running out of coffee, they made a coffee/chicory blend that was much preferable to coffee-flavored water if they didn’t subsidize their coffee supply. Once coffee supplies normalized, they had acquired the taste for chicory, which also happened to be habit forming. So they simply adjusted the ratios, adding more coffee but not eliminating the chicory.

The result is pure deliciousness. And something that is quite difficult to live without. It’s like crack in a cup. It’s basically Powerthirst, or a new coffee-flavored Powerthirst2.

I just moved to California, and I brought three bags of New Orleans coffee with me. And I’ve bookmarked the site where you can order online and have them ship it to you.


Road Trip/Move: Part II

August 24, 2010

My first experience with racial profiling! And it was New Mexico, not Arizona.  The border patrol cones off the interstate and you have to pull into one of two lanes, like a small toll lane before EZ-Pass. When you roll down your window, they ask if you’re a U.S. Citizen and glance inside the car to see if anyone’s hiding. I assume if you’re brown, they ask for proof of your citizenship and actually look in the car. But I got a 2.4 second white person stop.

I don’t care for Starbucks overpriced burnt tasting coffee, but I suppose it’s a necessary evil since two-thirds of top 250 metro areas are completely devoid of places that can make a decent pot of coffee. Seriously, there’s 11 Starbucks in all of New Mexico. I think most airports have more

I cannot comprehend how I-5 from LA to Northern California is only two lanes wide for hundreds of miles. There’s ample room in the median area to resolve this and add a lane in each direction. There’s thousands of people on the road. At the same time. And almost everyone thinks they should be in the left lane. It took the same amount of time to drive 300 miles up California as it did to drive 600 in barren Texas.

I should have gotten language CDs for my drive. By the time it took me to get to California, I could have mastered Spanish and French, which would help me get a job in pro baseball or hockey in the future.


Road Trip/Move: Part I

August 21, 2010

I’m moving to California this weekend. Left the Austin area this morning and spent all day on I-10.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to drive from Austin to El Paso on I-10, you can replicate most the experience at home. Go to your laundry room, turn on the dryer and unfold your ironing board. Throw two pairs of khakis on it, one along each edge. Take a bag of green spice drops and pour those over the khakis. Pull up a lawn chair at the end of the ironing board and there for about eight hours.

The daytime speed limit from Junction, Texas, to El Paso is 80 mph. They should just put “Just Get Out of Here” on the sign. Realistically, that “limit” probably only limited me by about six miles an hour. I’d probably go about 93. Then again, it’s not every day you get to drive 100 mph. Naturally, I had to try it. It was the only time I touched the pedal between Junction and Ft. Stockton after setting the cruise at 87.

In a related note, Google Maps’ estimated distance really needs to consider that every one goes 7 mph over the speed limit. It doesn’t take 3:09 from Junction to Ft. Stockton. Even at the speed limit they missed by 40 minutes. I guarantee you someone out there has done it in under two hours.

I tend to look down on small-town America because I can’t imagine why people live some places. Like Fort Stockton and its two-pump gas station that has no covering (figures I show up on one of the few days it rains).  Or in Lordsburg, New Mexico cable system has 47 channels according to TV Guide.

Come to think of it, I-10 might be the U.S. D.O.T.’s  greatest achievement. Building an interstate has to be tough when there labor has to commute from Austin or El Paso. I’m pretty sure the four towns in the middle were built so the labor could finish the thing, and of course, to put gas stations there so you could actually use I-10.


The Ties That Bind

August 20, 2010

I was on a job interview a couple weeks ago. And as I was introduced to about 12 different people, 11 of them comment on my tie. One even asked if I wore the tie on purpose.

The tie, you see, was an orange tie. And I was interviewing for a job at a place whose logo and colors are well documented as black and orange. So what else would I wear with a black or gray suit but an orange tie?  Did I plan it? Of course I planned it. I actually went out and bought the orange tie specifically for that purpose once they invited me to interview.

I wore their colors because it shows I have awareness for who they are. It makes a visual connection with the interviewer. They see me in the orange tie and subconsciously, they think that I’m one of them.  “He’s part of the team already.”

So, of course I wore the tie on purpose. And now I work here.


I Think I Just Lost A Kidney

August 18, 2010

I moved from New Orleans to Texas March 1st.

The last week of February, as I was packing up my stuff, I got a message from a friend of mine from Ohio whom I hadn’t talked to in a while. It was sent via facebook to me and to a girl named Beth. Basically, it said:

KevFu, meet Beth.
Beth, meet KevFu.
Both of you are living in New Orleans as non-natives. I’m connecting you because fellow New Yorkers should have northern drinking buddies from time-to-time.
(A bit about the other one, and why she thought we’d be friends)

Since I was moving in three days, and being a smartass, I replied:

If you said something earlier, maybe Beth and I would be BFFs by now… inseparable pals with such a deep connection we are able to dominate at parlor games like Catch Phrase. Buddies so close we finish each others’ sentences. Or spend quality time riding one of those two-person bikes through Audubon Park wearing matching sweaters. We might even be such a perfect match we could donate organs to one another, and if she was on life support and needed one I’d gladly give up one of my kidneys or livers for my new bestest.

Congratulations, Jeanne. Your six months of silence just killed Beth.

We traded a couple messages, laughing over my response and the absurdity of two-person bikes. But we never met each other before I left town.

So tonight (after the Mets game in Houston), I get a message from Jeanne:

Remember when I sent you a note about my friend being in town [recap of what I said about the kidney]?
WELL, while she’s alive and not in need of a kidney, she DID just find out she only has ONE!!! How freaking crazy is that?! If it goes, I’m calling you, dude. You’re getting tested to give her one of yours. :)

I almost feel responsible. Well, not responsible because obviously it isn’t “my fault.” She isn’t a kidney short because I made the comment. She found out a second one just isn’t there and never was (how did this not come up when she was, like, in the womb? Isn’t that what sonograms are for?). But it’s not like the kidney was there a year ago and disappeared after my comment.

I have to feel that this is just way too freaky of a coincidence for me to make that comment and now have this come up. I mean, the odds of me making a comment and her actually needing a kidney are extremely long.

My friend tried to introduce us for a reason. The timing was off then (although, if we were drinking buddies in New Orleans, we might not have two working kidney’s between us!). I made a joke about how important this introduction might be; using her kidneys as an example. And the timing of the new development coincides with me moving again (oh yeah, I’m California bound. Check the Facebook for details), and getting health insurance again.

So, based on some kind of crazy karma/subconscious/psychic thing between the comment, the situation, and the timing, I pretty much have to put my money where my smart ass mouth is, right?

If she needs one, I’m going to have to be first in line to see if I’m a match. How could I live with myself if I didn’t?

I pretty much need to assume that someday, I can post a video here from some news site that did a feature on Beth and I, each with one of my working kidneys, riding a tandem bicycle in Audobon Park. (Why did I have to mention matching sweaters?).

Hopefully (for her sake more than mine), that never happen. But if you think I’m a great guy because I would go through with that, just remember what a cocky jerk I am. If that happens, I’m going to be a million times worse: “Oh, I don’t think I’m awesome because I saved someone’s life; Anyone would do that. I’m ridiculously awesome because I accurately identified that she needed my kidney, before any doctor, without performing any kinds of tests or even meeting her.”


Inappropriate!

August 16, 2010

One of the on-going jokes with my co-workers this summer is how our business is family entertainment, so we shouldn’t play the song that’s currently on.

I made the claim that every song is about something inappropriate. One co-worker argued. The other told a story of singing Afternoon Delight in his car with his in-laws, only to have it dawn on him what the song was about for the very first time (which, in case you’re not aware, is “railing the Missus in the day time”).

From that point on, I took great pride in making observations of what certain songs we played are about.

Half the time, it was obvious:

Welcome to the Jungle – “innocent girl corrupted in the big city…with heroin.”

Others, not as obvious:

Big Girls Don’t Cry –  “Fergie’s addiction to crystal meth and how she’s going to miss it.

Others required creativity

Rambling Man “failure to take responsibility for unwanted pregnancies around the country”

Louisiana Saturday Night “Neglecting your children for a marathon of dancing and sex.”

But any non-Christian song they threw at me, I playfully found a way to point out its immorality.

Try it, it’s fun.