Vegas Vacation

Can I have a taste?

Allow me to share a word with you that I coined back in August of 2001:

Dealbreaker: A vacation or journey with a friend that is so long, demanding, or epic in scope that you question whether you’ll still be friends with this person once the trip is over…

Now, imagine multiplying that Dealbreaker factor by eight people, adding in a Las Vegas coefficient, and raising it all to the Zillionth power… It was the first week of April 2003, and a brave fellowship set forth to get really wasted in the streets of Las Vegas. On the one-year anniversary of this trip, I’ve decided to share some of the highlights…

Thursday morning, approximately 10 am: Jeannette and I met up with the rest of the fellowship at SeaTac. Dave was weary after an all-nighter of Xbox, Julie arrived completely decaffeinated and lamenting the fact she had forgot to pack her lactaid, and Jace and Pete had spent the last two hours drinking margaritas in the airport bar. So far, so good…

As the plane was beginning to board, Dave decided it would be a good time to lay face down on a row of seats in the terminal. It was a full flight, and seats were filling up. Since Dave had neglected to get in line with the rest of us, he was among the very last to board the plane, and thus was forced to take a lone available seat several rows in front of us.

Normally, this seat wouldn’t be too bad, except Dave’s head now served as a target for wads of paper and airline peanuts for the next two hours of the flight. As the saying goes, it is all fun and games until someone loses an eye, or until Pete nails an air marshal with an errant wad of paper. (True story…) When the air marshal shot an angry glare in his direction, Pete adhered to the “drunken jackass school of etiquette” and challenged the guy to a fight. Fortunately, before a scene from Passenger 57 could be reenacted, a nearby flight attendant calmed tensions and informed us that the passenger Pete had chosen to antagonize was, indeed, an air marshal…

Since none of us were being detained by the FAA, we considered it a cause for celebration. Upon landing, we gathered our luggage and decided to take a limo from the airport to our hotel. The limo was fully stocked with alcohol, and naturally, we had to rectify that situation. In the fifteen minute drive to our hotel, the six of us liquidated every beer in the fridge and then began drinking whiskey and scotch directly out of the decanters. This probably goes without saying; moderation would not be the theme of this trip.

We were staying at the Sahara, probably a sweet hotel in 1965, but it simply lacked the pirate show, synthetic volcano or giant pyramid we’d come to expect in Vegas accommodations. However, this didn’t diminish Dave’s exuberance in the slightest, as he had never been in a casino before. In fact, he literally disappeared from the group for about 17 of the first 18 hours we were there. It was almost comical… The rest of us had at least a marginal interest in exploring the hotel, relaxing by the pool, and eating and sleeping. Not Dave, his first objective was to find a giant slot machine. When he located a ten-foot tall specimen, he pulled the handle and instantly won five dollars. Sadly, this initial stroke of luck would not last…

Friday Morning: Having little luck elsewhere in the casino, Dave and I decided to play something new, so we selected Pai-Gow poker. Thankfully, the table was empty and we figured it would be a good opportunity to learn the game. Unfortunately, our dealer, Bin, spoke only one word of English: “Ante.”

We’d turn over our hands, Bin would point at the cards, nod or shake her head, put on a sock-puppet show, basically anything to bridge the language gap and show us the proper way to arrange our hand. Needless to say, Pai-Gow soon became our game of choice.

Dave had some interesting logic when betting. After a few uneventful hands, he’d announce to me “Dude, this next hand is going to be a good one,” and he’d proceed to double his bet in anticipation of an unreal hand. Now, about half of the time, Dave would be dealt a winning hand and his premonition would pay off.

However, whenever he experienced a small losing streak, he would reach into his wallet, pull out $30, and announce with certainty that it’s “Time to win it all back!” In this scenario, Dave then bets it all on the next hand and unfailingly loses that as well. I watched him lose massive amounts of money quickly using this strategy, known henceforth as the “compounding losses method.”

Friday Afternoon: As is common in Vegas, our particular hotel had a roller coaster. The girls decided to do some shopping that afternoon, and so the dudes opted for some thrill seeking. The four of us stood in line behind a dozen 9-year old boys, waiting to buy tickets for the ride. While in line, Pete and Dave decided that a great deal could be had by purchasing the all-day ride pass instead of individual tickets.

Now, I am usually all about getting a volume discount with my purchase, but it seemed a little excessive to invoke this philosophy on roller coaster rides. When I objected, they attempted to explain the savings I would experience with the all-day pass instead of buying a massive allotment of individual tickets. I finally interrupted them and said, “Look, I understand the savings… I just don’t think we’re going to want to ride this low-budget roller coaster all afternoon.” Dave looked at me like it was Labor Day weekend and I was stonewalling an experience on the Gravitron.

So, I relented. We strapped on our “All-Day-Loser-Pass” bracelets, handed our beers to the ride operator, and proceeded to ride the roller coaster six times in succession. It was kind of extremely pathetic. First off, the roller coaster was called “Speed: The Ride,” apparently attempting to capitalize on the movie franchise from 8 years ago. However, the ride itself had no overt tie-in with the movie. Instead, I think they merely arrived at the most unimaginative name they could think of, essentially settling for a name slightly better than “Fun: The Ride,” or “Eight Bucks: The Ride.”

Anyway, each time the ride would end, we’d race around the turnstiles to get back in line, jockeying for position with the other juveniles wearing the All-Day-Loser-Pass. Sadly, Julie and Jeannette met up with us later that afternoon, and witnessed us still wearing our wristbands. Granted, the girls had never thought of us as paragons of maturity to begin with, but I think they legitimately wondered if our evening plans would somehow include playing with Transformers or having a water balloon fight.

Friday night, approximately 2am: I had been in bed for about a half hour, when a phone call awoke me from my passed-out state. Thinking it was yet another prank call from Bailes, I answered the phone thusly:

Matt (picking up the phone): “Dammit, this better be life or death…”
Hotel Security Guard: “Sir, sorry to bother you, we’ve detained a Mr. Kyle McPherson. He claims to be a member of your party. Do you mind if we escort him up to your room?”
Matt: “Sure, send him up.”

Turns out Krusty had arrived in Vegas a day early, and had tried to contact each of us, but due to the fact that we were in Roaming Territory, none of us bothered to have our cell phones on. So, Krusty made the most of the situation, drinking and gambling for about six hours in the casino. Unfortunately, he was doing all of this without any identification. Eventually, hotel security apprehended him and here we are. As he told me his tale, he rummaged around my hotel room, picking up half empty, lukewarm beers and downing them between pauses in his story. He explained that Maleah would be driving up the next day, and until then, he needed a place to stay for the night.

Being the loyal friend that I am, I immediately sought a place to ditch him. Figuring the janitor’s closet would be locked this time of night, I needed to find the next best alternative. Picking up the phone, I knew just who to call…

Matt: “Hey Julie, how’s it goin’?”
Julie (groggily): “What do you want?” she began, “It’s 2 am!”
Matt: “Krusty arrived here early, he needs a place to sleep. I’m going to drop him off at your place to sleep in Dave’s bed.”

I detected a slight whimper on the other end of the phone, but I hung up before she could protest. Within ten seconds we were pounding on Julie’s door. Krusty greeted Julie with a massive, drunken bear hug and then flopped loudly on Dave’s bed. Julie let out a sigh, and I excused myself, thinking that although it would have meant getting the worst night of sleep in my life, I wish I could have witnessed the sheer hilarity of Dave and Krusty sharing a bed.

Saturday Afternoon: We took to the streets, doing a walking tour of the various hotels on the strip. If you’ve ever been to Vegas, you know that there is a cottage industry for people to stand on street corners and intrusively pass out pornographic advertisements for strippers and hookers to all passersby. Personally, I’m convinced they have the greatest job in the world.

Anyway, after enduring the porn-barrage for several blocks, Dave has an epiphany. He begins collecting the ads from a few individuals as we’re walking. Once he had a healthy stack of pamphlets, he proceeds to redistribute them aggressively back to the peddlers on the sidewalk. Sadly, Dave’s attempt at teaching the porn-pushers a lesson in the Golden Rule (“Distribute pornography to others, as you would like to receive it yourself…) didn’t stick.

How the sexes differ:
Dave and I had just finished one of our many gambling sessions and Julie could tell Dave had lost big. Now the girls on our trip spent very little time gambling, and when they did gamble it was via a nickel-slot machine. Not wanting to embarrass Dave, Julie walked over to me and privately asked me how much he had lost.
Matt (shrugging it off): “About $100 or so…”
Julie and Jeannette had a look of shock.
Julie (putting it in girl-perspective): “That’s like two outfits!”

Since Dave had been losing so much money lately, I decided I would extend a helping hand to allow him to recoup some of his losses. We were standing next to a large potted plant in the Mirage, and I fished out a medium-sized piece of bark from the planter.
Matt: “I’ll give you a dollar if you eat this.”
Dave: “Do I have to swallow it?”
Matt: “Yes.”
Undeterred by this requirement, Dave snatched the bark from my hand, tossed it in his mouth and began pronounced chewing, occasionally opening his mouth to show us the progress he was making.

Krusty walked over, surveyed the scene, watched Dave struggle to swallow the bark, and offered the most classic quote of the entire trip:
Krusty (boasting) : “God, that’s nothing, I’ve eaten ass-loads of wood before.”

So, I paid him the dollar, he walked over to a slot machine and instantly won five dollars. True to form, he then proceeded to sit there and bet it until it was gone…

Saturday Evening: So, with all the free porn we were accumulating, I figured it wise to put it to good use. Julie had foolishly failed to lock down her personal belongings in some sort of safe or armored car. Sensing our opportunity, Krusty and I began stuffing the free porn we’d collected into every nook and cranny of her belongings. Throughout her purse, in the pockets of her clothes, stuffed into her shoes, and filed liberally amongst her study materials was a massive quantity of sleazy pornography. There was something especially satisfying about placing a topless picture of the stripper known as “Jade” in her Business Ethics book. With our handiwork complete, we left the scene praying that she’d get randomly searched by airport security the next morning… (no such luck.)
On a side note, Julie told me that as recently as a month ago, she was still finding pornography amongst her belongings. I had to smile with pride, because it’s rare that a practical joke has that kind of longevity.

For much of the trip, Maleah functioned as Krusty’s portable ATM and financial conscience. You see, Krusty knows how to live it up in Vegas. Drunken sailors marvel at his spending. However, usually on the hour, Krusty would find himself low on cash and immediately seek Maleah.

First, like any loan shark, she would ask the whereabouts of the last $40 she gave him. Knowing the routine, Krusty would recite 2 or 3 various legitimate expenses, (omitting the 20 or 30 frivolous ones) that he had responsibly spent some of the money on. Maleah would roll her eyes, knowing that the three dollars he spent on cab fare and a corndog was significantly dwarfed by the remainder spent on temporary tattoos and having the corndog bronzed into a necklace.

Cruelly, Maleah would ask what he intended to spend the money on. This was a trick question, as there was no possible right answer for Krusty to give. Everyone knows there isn’t a single responsible, worthwhile expenditure in Vegas; it’s like the entire city economy is based on the plot of Brewster’s Millions. (Personal note: Incorporating a reference to a Richard Pryor movie from 1985 is a landmark achievement.)

Eventually Maleah would relent, but as she fished money out of her purse, she would caution Krusty to “spend it wisely.” Of course, Krusty’s definition of conservative spending in Vegas meant that he shouldn’t “hit” on 20 in blackjack. With money in hand, Krusty would head towards the craps table to let it ride on “snake eyes,” while Maleah monitored his winnings, eager to perform the duties of a “repo-man” in case there were assets to be taken.

Saturday Night: Somehow, Pete always managed to be wearing a Mr. T-esque quantity of Mardi Gras beads wherever we went.
I’m pretty sure his daily morning routine went something like this:
1. Shower, get dressed.
2. Brush teeth.
3. Put on 14 strands of Mardi Gras beads.

Anyway, no matter where we went, he would proposition every female we passed with the opportunity to “earn some beads the hard way…” Being completely non-discriminatory, Pete solicited all walks of life, and was particularly insistent with the elderly. Essentially, walking the Strip with Pete was like participating in a never-ending skit from The Man Show.

Now, the entire trip was full of drunken mayhem, but Saturday night definitely will go down in infamy. I won’t go into all the details, mainly because I was too wasted to remember any of them. Anyway, we all stayed out until about three in the morning, and unfortunately had to get up at 6 am to catch a 9 am flight. There was one catch, daylight savings time kicked in that night, meaning we all lost a crucial hour of sleep. So, our three hours of sleep was reduced to two, on the most inopportune night possible. Up until that day, I don’t think I’d ever cursed the concept of daylight savings time.

Sunday Morning: Now, Jace happens to get a little uneasy during airline travel in general, and being extremely hung over with a bunch of jackassy friends doesn’t exactly help the situation. While most of us treat the flight attendants with as much respect as a substitute teacher, Jace is the type of nervous flyer that really takes the flight attendant warnings seriously and follows their instructions closely.

So, just to annoy Jace, Pete would make every attempt to do the exact opposite of whatever the pilot or flight attendant had instructed. His seat was always reclined, seatbelt unbuckled, and his tray was never in the upright, fastened position. During takeoff, he fired up every portable electronic device in his possession. I’m sure he would have disabled a smoking alarm had the opportunity presented itself. All of this behavior literally drove Jace nuts, and several times I witnessed him slugging Pete to make him comply with the flight attendant’s directions. (Moments like this are the genesis of the the term: Dealbreaker…)

Sunday Afternoon: Finally, consider this fair warning to all airline personnel, casino dealers, air marshals, limo drivers, elderly tourists, hotel security guards, roller coaster operators, pit bosses, street corner porn-peddlers, taxi drivers and the general public:

As we disembarked the plane, we said to each other, “We should do this again, real soon!…”

Cell Phone Contracts

Why is it that the cell phone contract, free CD club or gym membership is the most ironclad agreement in our society? I honestly think I’d have a better chance of breaking a pact with the devil himself than being able to freely opt out of a cell phone contract.

Satan: “In exchange for unlimited night and weekend minutes and a free phone, I demand eternal possession of your soul!”
Consumer: “Well, actually… those terms are more favorable than Verizon’s plan. Sign me up.”

Unfortunately, Satan would be far more reasonable and compassionate than the typical account representative at a cell phone company. These sadistic people actually enjoy telling customers they are locked into their cellular plan for the next decade. If you call to complain about your bill, they offer you a recitation of the fine print of the cell phone contract. Of course, if we wanted to know the contents of the contract, we would have read it as we were signing it in the first place. As a nation of people constantly seeking “do-overs,” these institutions really strike a nerve by making us abide by the ridiculous provisions we’ve foolishly agreed to. To add insult to injury, these industries seem to flaunt the fact that they’ve screwed us, and there’s nothing we can do about it…

The biggest problem with cell phone plans is the numerous restrictions placed on utilizing the “free” minutes included with your plan. For starters, your call has to take place within a narrow, gerrymandered region called your “Home Calling Area.” Naturally, this region is designed to somehow exclude major cities, roadways, and inhabited areas. Also, for good measure, it will usually be localized entirely within another state.

In cell-phone geography, the world can be divided into two regions: the “Home Calling Area” and the “Roaming Area.” If you are brazen enough to go into the uncharted roaming area, all bets are off… Will you get reception? Possibly. Will you be gouged for any calls you make? Definitely. The area designated as roaming territory is a rugged, savage, untamed land. Picture “Lord of the Flies” with spotty cell phone service. Venturing into the roaming area is a brave endeavor, and if you are lucky enough to make it back to your “Home Calling Area” alive, a staggering cell phone bill will be your only reward.

Of course, the premise of a “Home Calling Area” contradicts the whole purpose of the cell phone in general, which is to give enhanced freedom and flexibility in our active lives. Unless your lifestyle is that of a shut-in, or you happen to be among the bedridden or incarcerated members of our society, most of us would tend to venture outside of the “Home Calling Area” on occasion.

It gets worse. Even if you are fortunate enough to be immobilized within your “Home Calling Area,” don’t plan on placing a call to anyone that isn’t a night watchman or working the graveyard shift at a 7-11. You see, only calls made after 9 pm are included in your “free” minutes. So, essentially, to get any value out of your plan, you need to be nocturnal as well. Seriously, is anyone so frugal that they wait until nightfall to suddenly decide to communicate with the outside world? Do these individuals read by moonlight to save on their electric bill?

Anyway, if you happen to be extremely lethargic, especially during daylight hours, then you might have a sliver of satisfaction with your cellular phone plan. Otherwise, you are like the millions of us that pay handsomely for “free” minutes that are pretty much impossible to ever use. While it is tempting to be the cheapskate that calls people at 2am just because it is a free call, most of us choose to incur ridiculous roaming fees and pay for daytime minutes because we all know what will happen if we try to cancel the plan…

Account Representative (feigning sympathy): “I’m sorry sir, you have not fulfilled your ten-year contract agreement, you will be assessed an early cancellation fee.”
Consumer: “Ok… how much is this fee?”
Account Representative (restraining maniacal laughter): “Your regular bill for the duration of the remainder of your contract!! Bwaa Haa Haa Ha Haaaa!!!”

Not to be outdone, the CD clubs like Columbia House and BMG create their own unique headache. In comparison to the cell phone plan, what the CD club lacks in restrictions, it makes up for in endless hassles. Somehow it all looks so good on paper… “14 CD’s for a penny!!! How can I lose!?!” one thinks at the time. Nobody anticipates that this promotion will essentially ruin their life.

Based on your free CD selections, the staff at BMG will determine that your main musical taste happens to be whatever crap they need to liquidate from their warehouse. For the rest of your life, they will continue to send you movie soundtracks from the 80’s, Slash or Tommy Lee’s latest solo album, or anything featuring Shaq. Of course, you have a few days to return these selections, but unless you maintain Unabomber-like regularity to and from the post office, you’ll likely be stuck with a CD library heavily stocked with artists featured in VH1’s “Where Are They Now?”

Sadly, a CD club can destroy friendships and even tear a family apart. How do they do it? By offering a free CD to members that can convince a friend or loved one to join their CD club. The old saying “misery loves company,” was actually coined as their main marketing slogan. Let’s face it, only a depraved sociopath would sell out their family for a free CD. And simply put, anyone who asks you to join their CD club is not a true friend, as this person has pretty much determined that your friendship is worth about 15 dollars.

New, unwitting CD Club member: “Dude, this CD club you convinced me to sign up for is a total rip-off! It’s ruined my life!”
So-Called Friend (shrugging): “Yeah, it happens…”
New CD Club Member: “If you wanted to end our friendship, why couldn’t you just steal my girlfriend or something…”

Finally, the gym membership really takes it to a whole other level. They not only demand that consumers sign an outrageous contract, but also charge them a fee just to do so. Somehow, the gyms and health clubs convince people to pay a “registration fee” in exchange for being stripped of their consumer rights. This is the equivalent of paying a car-jacker for his services.

Shockingly, these “registration fees” are frequently hundreds, sometimes thousands of dollars. It’s really more like joining a cult instead of a gym. When you’re ready to join, they both make you sign over all your worldly possessions to their organization. The next thing you know, “24 Hour Fitness” is a joint owner of your bank account. Finally, both are virtually impossible to extricate oneself from. Although, at least if you wanted to leave the cult it would probably only involve a violent shootout with Federal agents.

Finally, there is a common thread to the cell phone plan, gym membership and CD club: Clearly, we really only have ourselves to blame. However, I’m still going to blame lawyers. The question is, who are these lawyers that can even put together such a loophole-free arrangement? If there’s one thing the legal profession has taught me, it’s that virtually any contractual obligation can be destroyed with semantics, legalese and technicalities. The one exception, of course, is the onerous contracts of cell phone companies…

Prison Inmate: “How’d the hearing go?”
Lawyer: “Well, I got the triple-homicide charges reduced to a jaywalking fine, but, unfortunately, you’re still locked into your Verizon contract through 2008. They just wouldn’t budge… I’m sorry.”
Inmate (dejected): “Is there still time to fire up the electric chair?”

There’s a heathen amongst us…

When my fiance moved to Spokane a few months ago she immediately transformed the kitchen from “The Room that the Microwave Is In” into a warm, functioning room of the house. For the first time ever, the freezer contained something other than ice, the cupboards stored food instead of sporting goods, and I began to eat meals that didn’t have the words “pizza” or “pocket” in them.

However, while it has been a welcome change, it hasn’t necessarily been an easy transition. One of the first items introduced into my environment was a “spoon rest.” For all the heathens out there that don’t know what this is, allow me to explain. It is a hand-crafted little piece of ceramic tile, usually with a charming little phrase like “A warm meal makes a happy home,” or some other flamboyantly domestic scripture printed on it. It’s function: After stirring the contents of a pot of food on the stove, the “spoon rest” provides a handy place to set your spoon until ready to stir again. Truthfully, she had to explain to me the use of such an item multiple times.

Now, prior to the spoon rest being presented into our home, I was simply setting the spoon on the counter like a barbarian. To her, I basically had the culture and couth of an unfrozen caveman living in modern times. So, our household is essentially a marathon viewing of the movie “Encino Man.” For instance, when she first showed me a spoon rest, I immediately grabbed it, stuffed it in my mouth, noisily chewed it up and swallowed it mostly whole.

Of course, when my fiance witnessed this display, her mind questioned my savage behavior, and she reasoned (correctly) that I probably wasn’t housebroken, either.

In light of the difficulties I had grasping the concept of a “spoon rest,” my fiance decided to slowly acclimate me to the rest of her kitchen supplies. First, she threw out all the rocks and sticks I had been using to prepare food and replaced them with shiny, metal objects. One by one I would hold them up to the light, each one shinier and more metallic than the last, gazing at them in amazement like a monkey being given a mirror.

My fiance has been patient and is working hard to introduce me into modern society. When I mess up, she gently reminds me that Roger Fouts has got Washoe and the other primates to use spoon rests in the Chimp Lab. So, there’s hope for us all…

Econ 101: Saving Money

After living with my fiance for a few months now, I’ve come to realize that men and women have a vastly different definition of saving money. For instance, my fiance will return from the mall every Sunday afternoon with several armloads of shopping bags, a car trunk full of more merchandise and a delivery truck idling in the driveway. I, being the designated curmudgeon of the household, raise a suspicious eyebrow when she enters the door. Before I say a word, she will instantly begin a defense of her extravagant spending and boast of all the money she saved

Now, unless those shopping bags are full of deposit receipts from our local bank, I fail to see how any saving has occurred. In my miserly book, spending money can ever be considered saving money. I learned quickly that when she’s eager to share the news of her “savings,” she’s not referring to her 401k. To my dismay, she instead held up an endless parade of jeans, sweaters, jewelry, makeup and dozens of other “necessities” that up to this point we had somehow miraculously managed to live without. Some people save for retirement by investing in bonds and stocks, we on the other hand, have our “savings” diversified in GAP clothing, Latte’s and extended warranties.

Tragically, this logic is lost on my fiance. She comes home expecting praise for all the “good buys” and “great sale prices” she found; instead she gets a microeconomics lesson from Professor Scrooge P. Pennypincher (a.k.a. Me). Somehow, in a form of girl-math I’ll never understand, a woman can empty her bank account in a shopping spree, yet still feel she is somehow coming out ahead. In fact, I wonder if women come home from shopping trips and worry about having to claim this new “income” on their tax return.

Sensing my initial frustration, my fiance is convinced that if she shows me all of her purchases and itemizes her spending aloud I’ll suddenly realize what a great deal we got on stuff we didn’t need. During this fashion show, sometimes she will treat me like a contestant on “The Price Is Right” and ask me to guess the “actual retail price” of her items. Since “Plinko” chips or a possible “Showcase Showdown” are not on the line, my enthusiasm is somewhat lacking. Of course, the grand finale comes when she announces the rock-bottom price she paid, and awaits my series of back flips while she reminds the audience to have their pets spayed or neutered…

Of course, this reaction doesn’t come. The saddest part of this struggle is the contrast in lifestyles we lead. My fiance makes Paris Hilton look frugal, while I’m basically living like an Amish street-urchin. I’m not ashamed to admit I still wear Homecoming ’94 T-shirts from high school and have hole-filled underwear on right now. It’s very frustrating, unlike my fiance, I can only dream of indulging in luxurious items like “bottled water” and having clothes “dry cleaned.”

Naturally, the stores and retail chains are complicit in this operation. This is especially maddening, as the stores know a woman will buy something she already has, or worse, doesn’t even need because it is On Sale! In fact, I think women’s clothing boutiques don’t even bother printing the total amount of their purchase, since women aren’t really concerned with that figure anyway. Instead, they boldly display a grand total of their “savings,” and bury the actual money spent somewhere in the fine print or on illegible carbon paper… Using a formula of inflated regular prices, tons of advertising, and fictitious “sales,” the stores have managed to transform shopping into an investment opportunity. Women leave the stores well dressed and penniless, yet somehow feeling shrewd over the dealings. Of course, when I point this out, I’m not being a savvy consumer, but rather, the cheapskatiest man on earth.

So, anyway, sorry if this got a little verbose, I just have a lot of time to think about these issues during my graveyard shifts at the second job I’ve taken to pay off our staggering bills. But fear not, I’ve decided to go on the offensive… This Sunday I plan to set my alarm for 4 am so I can race to the driveway and divulge the paper of its plentiful ads. And, if you’ll excuse me, I need to go rip all the cable jacks out of my house, as JC Penney launched a new commercial using the teaser: “The more you spend, the more you save!!!” God help us…

Acoustical Analysis (pun intended)

I’m convinced the best acoustics in the world are not at the Mormon Tabernacle in Utah, nor the Gorge Amphitheater, or even in the shower as is commonly believed. The best acoustics in the world are in the toilet bowl in the bathroom at my workplace. You can hear the activities in there for miles. I swear there is a hidden mic or something. The slightest puff of air sounds like twister is right outside the window. There is a printed out sheet of paper tacked above the toilet warning everyone of the extreme consequences of their actions, so to speak, but no one follows it because, apparently, I work with a stealth team of Mission: Impossible poopers. You know, the ones who think they can just sit and lower down their payload without triggering any of the acoustic or motion detectors expertly tucked inside the toilet bowl. Needless to say, they are wrong and the whole office is acutely aware of their misperception.

You would think the person who designs toilet bowls would probably put in some of that sound dampening material or something. Or not make it a perfect parabola that just bounces all the sound waves into one loud focal point. Come to think of it, if I designed toilet bowls I wouldn’t change a thing. How else would I get any “feedback” on my designs?