Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Even MORE Motivational Poster Madness.

Just received these from one of my father's friends...thought you'd enjoy them:

Monday, April 27, 2009

Men Are From Mac, Women Are From PC.

I know...I've not been posting in nearly two weeks. Usually there's nobody to blame for my paucity of posting but me. But this time I've got a great excuse...although - believe you me - I'd rather blame my lazy self.

My computer is dead. Or, to be more precise, is on life support, and the EEGs are flat-lining.

Two weeks ago I turned on my Mac and it made a noise that I can only describe as a cross between a butter churn and a 1950's pinball machine on perpetual "Tilt". Now I'm no computer genius, but I think that can be technically labeled a bad sound. I called my good friend, Graham, a self-professed computer geek who just so happens to work for Apple. Like all computer geeks, Graham's first question was, "when was the last time you backed up your data to your hard drive?" I suspect that they all know the answer, and that the answer is always some derivation of "never". I also suspect they ask this question for no other reason than it allows them to immediately create a sense of superiority over you.

So there. That's my excuse. And if you cared, you'd say a prayer that I am able to get most of the data off of my computer's hard drive. And, if you really cared, you'd by me a new Mac laptop. Oh, and a free-standing hard drive, too. In the meantime I am relegated to using Amie's computer. It's a PC. The experience has me thinking of writing a new book, "Men Are From Mac, Women are from PC".
In other news, have you ever wondered what full-blown A.D.D. feels like? Well, if you have, may I suggest you surf over to the Fox Business News channel? There really is only one reason to watch this channel...and that reason is Dave Ramsey. Tonight Amie and I tuned in about 10 minutes prior to his show, and caught the tail end of "Happy Hour". I'm convinced that if A.D.D. screwed me up more than ten minutes of this show did, I would be jumping out a window.

I can just image how the brainiacs over at Fox Business News pitched this one. "CNBC's kicking our ass...we need a amp'd up, high-energy, closing bell recap show of our own. Let's have three hosts! Let's make one of them a ex-jock looking guy, one a Gen Nexer who flips his hair more than Twiggy on a photo shoot, and the other some nonsensical eye candy. And let's make sure none of them have a clue about finance!"

Trust me, stay away from this unwatchable crapfest...unless you're pulling an all-nighter and have run out of both caffeine and sugar.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Number of THIS Beast.

16,756 is now my new lucky number. For the past four weeks the counter on my eBlogger Profile Visits has been stuck on - you guessed it! - 16,756. It would appear that once you've had 16,756 visitors, you've reached your limit. I'm okay with this.

Oh, and in case you were wondering...I despise heavy metal music.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Really Screwed Up.

In case you haven't figured it out yet, I'm really not much on pretense. This is especially true when it comes to wine. In fact, I have a theory that 99.9% of the men who proudly call themselves "Wine Experts" are the exact same kids who were routinely beaten up in high school*. It's the pretense and snobbery that permeates wine which makes it so difficult to convert non-wine drinkers. This is a widely known - and lamented - industry fact.
Another wine fact is that there's always someone trying to invent the next "cool" gadget to allow the wine lover to part with their money...over something other than a bottle of wine. I was reminded of both of these truths recently when I received an unsolicited sales pitch from a company known as Vimentis. To my surprise, it wasn't a solicitation for yet another medical means of male enhancement!

Vimentis is a Canadian business which markets a gadget that fills the void when one asks, "How can I class up the opening of a screwcapped wine bottle?" Well, if asked, my answer would be, "By getting a manicure?" Vimentis thinks the answer is, "By buying our product!" It seems that the fine folks over at Vimentis wants to remind us that selling wine is all about reinforcing pretense, romance...and gadgetry.

And dig their se-duc-tive ad copy! "There is something to be said about the ritual of cork removal..." I'll say there is. It detracts from your enjoyment of your wine, your meal and your table companions. "...and something subsequently lacking when a server presents your wine in a restaurant only to do a quick wrist twist and be done with it." Really? Isn't that a bit tantamount to complaining, "Sure, the movie was great...but the previews they showed before the movie totally ruined the evening", or, "the food at that restaurant was incredible, but the color of their menu covers!" "Vimentis - Bringing Ritual and Romance to the Wine Screw Cap." Is the public really screaming out about the lack of this?

Call me silly, but when it comes to wine, it should be about the wine.

Alas, Vimentis isn't the first company to try to sex up the opening of a screwcap. The first one I encountered was a device that is now known as the WineFritz. I encountered this device years back at a wine event in Vail, Colorado. The inventors - noticing that all the wines on my table were screwcapped - quickly approached me and laid on their well-rehearsed sales' pitch.

"We've invented a device which adds romance to opening a screwcap!" they proclaimed, to which I asked, "Why do you think there needs to be additional romance? Isn't part of the beauty of the screwcap the ease of its use?" They explained that, being owners of a very popular restaurant in neighboring Breckenridge, they knew (or believed they knew) that the addition of romance meant the addition of a heaftier tip for their servers. And, the couple in front of me reasoned, as many wineries provided promotional corkscrews to restaurant servers, perhaps I'd like to buy some of their screwcap devices - emblazoned with my logo - as giveaways?

I picked up their nifty, not-so-little device and asked them, "Have you given any thought to how impractical this is for repeated tableside service?" My comment was met with blank stares. "Think about it," I stated, "a corkscrew fits easily into a server's back pocket or apron. This think is so big, there's no way a server can walk around with it. I'll bet you they'll lose this thing within the first night of using it." Their jaws dropped simultaneously. "But," I added, "you're never going to lose my handy invention for opening screwcaps." Smiling, I held it up:

And they didn't cost me - nor you - anything. Thank goodness for my opposable thumbs. I never go anywhere without them!
*And I'm betting the remaining 0.10% just didn't hear the question correctly.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wherein My Annual Karen Black Quota is Met.

I have been around airplanes and aviation most of my life. And I'll admit that when I board a commercial airliner I replay a macabre fantasy (which I no doubt share with my fellow Aviators) that fleetingly rears its head as I make my way to my seat: that somehow the pilots would become incapacitated, and it would be up to me to land the plane.

It could a 'minor collision' with an errant private plane, like in Airport 1975. Or, it could be that the crew succumbed to food poisoning after eating fish, al la Airplane! Regardless of the reasons of how we get there, the end result is always the same: my uncanny abilities to fly any plane saves the day. Hey...I did say it was a fantasy!

And while I've only dreamt it, Doug White of Archibald, Louisiana has lived it. The lucky bastard.

Last Sunday, White and his family were flying from Marco Island, FL to Jackson, MS after attending funeral services for his brother. Okay, so he's not that has to be terrible to lose a brother. They were flying in a Beechcraft King Air, a nice turboprop, twin-engine plane to be sure, but certainly not a 747. And while the article didn't mention it, I imagine that this must've been a charter flight, because King Airs are not flown by any regularly-scheduled airline that I' aware of. That is, unless you're going to Hooterville.

Shortly after takeoff, White noticed the pilot was slouched over, and wasn't at all communicative. He quickly surmized the pilot was out (sadly, he later died), and communicated this information to air traffic control. How'd he know how to do that, you ask? Turns out Doug White is a pilot with a single-engine rating and about 130 hours. While that's not a whole lot of flying hours, it's about 100 more than you need to get your pilot's license. So he did have a fairly good - pardon the pun - grounding in landing airplanes.

Hmmm. So, while sad and something you don't read about everyday, this really wasn't so amazing. It's like asking your son, three months into having his driver's license, to parallel park your Porsche. Sure, it would elevate his stress (and yours), but it's not as if he's never parked a car before.

Well done, Doug White...but I take it back. You're not a 'lucky bastard' after all. As for me, I'm holding out for the Big Time. Only hope I don't throw a hissy fit like Karen Black did in Airport 1975.

Silence: The New "No".

Like anyone conducting a job search, I've gotten quite acclimated to hearing the word, "no". No jobs at the present time. No, thank you, we're not interested. Sorry, but no. It's a natural part of job prospecting.

But since when did silence come to substitute "no"?

It seems that in today's workplace there just isn't time for common, professional courtesy anymore. This in spite of the fact that we're bluetoothed to the gills with phones, faxes, multiple email accounts...plenty of opportunities for constant communication.

I know, I know...I'm griping. But it amazes me that potential employers will take the time to talk, interview, meet and follow up with you...up until that time they've made a decision. And, if that decision does not include you, there is seemingly no need for further discussion.

I guess I was taught to have better manners than that.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Best Gift I Ever Gave.

Posting about cheese in a can reminded me of a time long ago when I decided to make some special Christmas gifts for my closest friends. In retrospect, they were perhaps the greatest gifts I ever gave. And, if not "the greatest", then at least the most - um - original.

It's 1991. At that point in my life I was living in Gainesville, Georgia, working in my family's business. My father owned a company which produced a wide range of liquid and aerosol consumer goods; most notably, WD-40 and Barbasol Shave Cream. The company was, for some time, the world's largest manufacturer of shave creams and gels. Most weekends found me on a 60-foot houseboat (my home for a few years, but that's another story), usually sharing a few bottles of wine with some of my friends. On one of these weekends a friend of mine joked about the idea of wine in an aerosol can.

Uh-huh. You can see where this is going.

The following week I happened to be in the company research lab, inspecting a gel shave cream can. Now, shave gels are packaged in a aerosol can known as a 'barrier pack'. That is to say that the product is kept out of contact with the propellant used to dispense the product. This can be done via a plastic piston or plastic sleeve or bag. It wasn't long before I thought, "You know? I could easily put wine in the plastic bag, crimp a valve on it, and charge it with propellant. Then you'd have wine in a bag!"

So it was that I produced "¡Three Amigos! Wine-In-A-Can". The name, "¡Three Amigos!" referred to a fictitious winery owned by me and two buddies of mine (and, of course, a reference to one of my favorite movies of all time), and seemed a fitting name. The next weekend I presented my friends with a can of wine, and we enjoyed a chuckle or two.

With the approach of the Holiday season, I thought that my Wine-In-A-Can could be taken to it's next logical step. So was born the "Mat Garretson Cheap Date Kit"!:

In addition to the ¡Three Amigos! Wine-In-A-Can, there was a can of Cheese-In-A-Can, conveniently shrink-wrapped together. I tied a small bag of oyster crackers to the neck of the can o'cheese, and - TA-DA! - there you had it. The gift even came with a note instructing you to, "tilt your date's head back, ask her to open her mouth, spray equal parts wine and cheese, and drop in a cracker. No muss! No fuss! No dirty glasses or dishes!"

Sadly, I never kept a "Cheap Date Kit" package for myself...I gave them all away. If you happen to find one, let me know. They're incredibly valuable collector's items! Well, to me, anyway.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The Agony of Choice.

No. me. Any choice is painful. Still waiting for them to come out with a Pont-l'Évêque version.