The Matthew~rantings~

McDonalds Lottery (Monopoly) Finally Comes To A Close

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I had a discussion with one of my co-workers about bringing a lottery to Utah. Morally I’m opposed to a lottery because it’s just another way to waste money looking for a dream rather than saving money to get through leaner times (like now). Arguments against me include the need for the funding for schools, the fact that it’s the peoples choice to buy the tickets or not and it shouldn’t be up to me to say whether someone else can buy the tickets or not. Other arguments against my stand on the lottery are simply that I’m stupid and I don’t know what I’m talking about. That may be true, but I’m still not convinced a lottery would solve any problems and I’m confident it would create new problems. If you need to throw your money away you can go to Idaho.

Now, before you get your poison pen out and write to tell me how stupid I am let me tell you this. About a month ago the McDonalds Monopoly game came out. I didn’t know about it but I walked in to get a side salad for $1.00 and ended up getting a stupid Big Mac meal, super sized because it came with the most tickets. The girl behind the counter admitted to me that people (apparently myself included) go crazy for this Monopoly game. I decided it would be a good idea for me to not go back to McDonalds after that visit, at least not until after the contest was over so therefore I went back every day.

So the guy I work with made a comment concerning my stand on the Utah lottery after he noticed how I jumped straight into the McDonalds lottery. His claim was that I obviously support a lottery since I’m over at McDonalds trying to win every day. I can see the point he was making but I rebut that with the fact that I ended up spending on average $5/day at McDonalds where if they didn’t have the lottery I would have averaged $1 per visit and I would have only gone there at most 2 times a week. I’ll prove that next week when the lottery is over with. I also ended up gaining about 10 pounds because of the stupid game. Now I have to work hard to get down to my goal again. I have this goal to get down to 200 pounds. I don’t want to go less than 200. I just want to get on the scale and see my goal come on the screen. I should get a prize for achieving my goal, and I know what I want – and it’s not bacon.

The point of this blog is simple. I’m still against the Utah Lottery. My obvious weakness for the McDonalds lottery is evidence enough for me that I’m a sucker for the chance to win something. I knew I didn’t stand a chance at winning the $1,000,000 from McDonalds but that didn’t matter, I just wanted to peal the sticker off and see that I won a breakfast sandwich. I wanted to win something and I didn’t care what it was. Powers of persuasion have a strong pull on me – at least when it comes to food. No matter how content  I am, if I see a delicious hamburger on the TV I’ll instantly need to go get that hamburger. I know this feature about myself and I’m confident that I’m not the only person who came to life equipped with this ‘weakness’. Everyone is susceptible to persuasion. The lottery is just a giant persuasion telling you to give it your money. The difference is with McDonalds I at least get food out of it. Maybe if the lottery tickets had coupons on them I could find a justification for them. That’s not a bad idea actually.

So, this weekend marks the final week of the McDonalds lottery. To celebrate I’m NOT going to McDonalds all next week, or maybe I’ll get that side salad that I went in for originally. I can finally get off the Diet Coke, which I had to get because the medium drinks had the tickets on them. I can get away from the fries because the fries are deadly to diets. I can go back to my granola bar diet. I should tell you about that next. It’s the most effective diet plan ever.

I’m just glad that Burger King hasn’t figured out that they would have equal success if they were to play Life.

Finally Ran The Night of the Running Dead 5K Run. Redundant

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Last Saturday was the Night of the Running Dead 5K Race, finally. I say I hate running and I’m not kidding, but I do like running the 5k Races. I only have to run for 30 minutes and it’s over and it’s always like a party afterwards. This year I ran alone… that is if running alongside 350 humans and 950 zombies counts as being alone. However I was the only person that I knew in the race. Actually that’s not true either. I later found out there were a few other people I knew who ran the race but I didn’t see them while I was there. Anyway, the race was fun. This was the second year of the Undead 5k Race. I signed up last year but I ended up watching my kids and the kids we were fostering at the time rather than running.

This year I got to run! The event coordinators tried to break a world record of having the most zombies gathered together at once. They wanted to get at least 5,000 and they got… 1,000ish! Too bad for them, but they did it all wrong. I could have helped them with their organization. The 5K race, which had 950 zombies in it was at 3pm. The world record contest was at 1pm. This means if you wanted to run the race you had to get there 2 hours early. They also had a 1 mile creep/crawl at 2pm for all the kids and the people who just wanted to do a zombie walk. So you can guess where the world record contest should have been. Right before the 5k and right after the creep/crawl. This is when the most zombies were out. The creep/crawl would be about 30 minutes at the most (it was only a mile). Next year I’m sure they’ll have better coordination for this. Maybe they’ll ask me, I’m an amazingly proficient organizer…. if people would listen to me and follow my advice.

Let’s talk about the race. There were big glitches in the race, but overall it was a good time. This year the race was held at the Utah State State Fairgrounds. We ran around the parking lot and through the alleyways. There was a definite lack of organization with the track. So much so that two cars ended up parking on the course as we had to wait for them to be moved before we could start. Why were the cars able to get on the course to begin with? In the meantime, while we all waited for the cars to be moved I started talking with the person next to me who had those new running shoes with the toes cut out. I don’t like those shoes but I want to try them. Everyone I talk to insists they are so much better for running but they’re like $80 and they look like they’ll fall apart. They’re not good for anything else either. Right now when my running shoes aren’t good for running any longer I can still use them as my regular shoes, but not with those. Once they go bad they go to the garbage. The girl wearing the shoes insisted they have helped her knees and she can now run much further. This only caused me to want the shoes even more, but they still look stupid! Fortunately I have no money anyway so there’s no threat of me getting the shoes.

The race finally started, about 15 minutes late, and we all took off. I was in the first part of the pack and somehow they managed to put the slow people in a giant row across the track. People have to know when they’re not the fastest runner out there. Why do they get in the front of the race? Why do they insist on walking side by side and blocking the entire track? That is the most annoying thing about 5k races. It shouldn’t be about running around the other runners. The rules are clearly laid out. If you’re slow you need to get over to the side. It says that in all the documentation. But nobody follows that rule. It’s just like at my gym where the track plainly states for the slow people to go to the inner track, which only makes sense, but they all shift to the outer track where the people who want to run should go! You people are annoying.

Speaking of annoying, someone out there apparently decided that the tape that was marking the course was annoying in the way that it was blocking off part of the parking lot so they cut the tape. This led to the first 300ish people (myself included) running the wrong way and adding extra time to the race. The race people claim that it was only a tenth of a mile but I suspect it was closer to a quarter of a mile extra. It added about 2 minutes onto the run, which was the same time as the head-start that the survivors got on the zombies ( Let me take a moment to clarify: the course was a lap course. The plan was to run around twice. The cut in the tape led us back to the start, where the zombies were just starting out ). So, as we were passing the start line again we were also now running with the zombies, which meant even more slow people getting in my way. I really wanted to trip people, but instead I just focused on the ground and let my imagination take over. It’s fun to let my imagination control my thoughts while I run. You never know what’s going to happen and the run is over in no time if you do it right. We finally finished the race and my clock time was around 32 minutes. This means I came in around 30 minutes if you take off the extra time from the extra distance. The race coordinators managed to fix the course right near the beginning so it was only the first people that ran the extra distance. It’s not my best time ever, but I’m fine with it.

To sum this up, I’m definitely running the race next year and there’s no way I’ll be a zombie then also.

Night of the Running Dead 5k Race – I Hate Running!

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I last wrote about the benefits of using hot sauce as a way to avoid getting sick, which still is proving to work for me. I can’t remember the last time I got sick. However, all my comments were unfounded and based on my own observations. The other day I was visiting a neighbor and told them my theory and they gave me more undocumented affirmations that I’m onto something! I’ll take their comments as substantial evidence as both of them work in the medical field. As I mentioned, I’ll let you know of any illness I get this winter. I’m confident I’ll be as healthy, if not healthier, than my flu-shot receiving counter-parts.

Night Of The Running DeadThe next big thing coming up this year is the Night of the Running Dead. This is the second year for the event and I don’t think it’s very big right now, but hopefully it will be bigger year after year. I signed up last year but ended up watching the kids so I couldn’t run. This year I’m running the thing. The gimmick to this run is that there are those who dress as zombies and others that are survivors. The survivors get a 2 minute head start, then the zombies are released. I’m a survivor and I know I’m going to get run down by the zombies. If I was a fast runner I would sign up as a zombie. I’m not fast though, I average a 10 minute mile, and I have to walk a lot. I’m doing it anyway. The zombies aren’t allowed to touch anyone, it’s just a fun race.

There’s this other place that has a similar race to this that actually has flags attached to the survivors. The zombies can grab the flags, which represents killing the survivors. Everyone still gets to run the race but the zombies get something out of it. I think that’s a fabulous idea and I’m going to suggest it to this races promoter. I would certainly lose all my flags, but it would make the race that much better.

I’ve been running for around 6 years now and I still hate it. I hear these rumors from other people that once you start running you get addicted and you can’t stop. That hasn’t happened yet. I could actually stop at any time. The only reason I keep it up is because I want to complete my goal of being able to run a full 5k without walking. I could actually go the distance back when I lived in my good neighborhood and would run around Liberty Park. I just need to do it again while running around my lake. Then I suppose I could work towards a 10k. if I ever accomplish that I’ll tackle the half marathon, but that’s where I stop. I took a vow a long time ago that I would never run a marathon. Since it takes me a full summer to even come close to being able to handle a 5k I don’t think I’ll have any problem with keeping this specific vow.

Hot Sauce: Prevents the Cold, The Flu and Bland Taste!

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I’ve never been one to get sick easily. However, every year during the winter months I would get a cold that would last for at least a month. My annual Cold was never bad enough to shut me down or cause me to miss work, but I would prefer to simply not get sick if I could avoid it. The year before last I even came down with the Flu, which I’m confident led to me getting Cellulitis. If you don’t know what cellulitis is, it sucks. Don’t get it. It took about 6 months for my leg to not be so swollen and about a year for the remaining traces to be gone. Don’t even mention the Flu shot to me. The entire things a scam built by crooked thieves just looking to get rich. I know people who get the flu with the shot or not. You’re rolling the dice either way so I say save your money.

I deal with being sick in a way that is either pure genius or stupid; I pretend to not be sick. If I can get up and walk around, I will. I have to work, so I go to work. My co-workers get mad at me for bringing the cold into work, but I get my job done! If the Dudes I work with don’t want to get sick than they don’t need to be near me. Besides, it was probably one of them that got me sick in the first place so all I’m doing is returning the favor. If I am you and I don’t want to get sick, I would suggest not going near someone who’s sick. That’s just dumb. Don’t blame the sick person, you’re the one who went near them.

Tabasco Pepper SauceLast year I wanted to try an experiment. I grabbed a bottle of Tabasco Sauce and I proceeded to put it on everything. I put it on my Wheat Thins, I put it on my noodle salad, I put it on just about anything that looked like it might be better if it was spicy (which is just about everything). I had a constant hot sauce buzz. My role model was that guy on that Tabasco Sauce commercial from the Super Bowl a few years ago. You know the Tabasco commercial I’m talking about right? If this blog is working right you can watch it up near the top. It’s the only Tabasco commercial I’ve ever seen and it’s probably the most memorable commercial I can think of, even more so than those Budweiser commercials with the frogs, which I never understood. The Tabasco commercial is easily a contender for the Old Spice commercial… <sidenote>now that I’m thinking of it, my next topic is going to be on awesome commercials.</sidenote>.

I lost track. My point is that last winter I don’t remember getting sick, not even for one day. I was actually paying attention and I kept looking for the moment that my annual Cold kicked in. It never came and I just kept on dumping the Tabasco on everything. So, my hypothesis is that the Tabasco Pepper Sauce is what prevented me from getting the cold. That’s even better than those nasal sprays that promise to make the cold not last as long. My Tabasco Pepper Sauce prevented me from ever getting the cold. That’s awesome! I also haven’t been sick throughout this entire summer either.

Cholula Hot SauceI was at the Costco the other week and they had this deal on Cholula. I hadn’t tried Cholula before, but it seemed worth it. The price was less than Tabasco and I got 2 huge bottles! So the other day I ran out of Tabasco. I made an omelet and poured on the Cholula. I’m sad to say, but I like the taste of the Cholula more than Tabasco :(. I still love Tabasco and I’ll never turn my back on my Tabasco, but I have to give credit to Cholula for their awesome Hot Sauce! I’m wondering if part of the credit for Cholula being so awesome is that it seems to be a product of the Jose Cuervo team.

Anyway, I’ll continue putting my Cholula on everything (it even goes good on peanut butter sandwiches!) throughout this next year and I’ll keep watching for any illnesses. If I get sick than it’s not a perfect prevention, but it’s a lot better than nothing!

I Was Not Invited To The BBQ, So I Made My Own!!!

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I have a friend that had a BBQ last night, which I was not invited to! So in retaliation I had my own BBQ. Now, I’m not one of those fancy East-siders so I didn’t have anything special, like table cloths or guests, but I managed to have a good time anyway. It was just Natalie, my girls and I tonight, and my family doesn’t count since Natalie doesn’t eat meat (she believes the spirits of the animals will come back to eat her) and my girls split 1 hamburger, ate 5 bites and ran out to play with their friends without caring how incredible the hamburger was.

Royal Red Robin BurgerA while back I had this hamburger from Red Robin called the Royal Red Robin Burger. It was the best burger I had ever had in my life. They put a fried egg right in the middle of it. I wouldn’t have thought of putting a fried egg in it, but it was amazing!! I was that happiest man ever with that burger (it doesn’t take a lot to make me happy) until I got home and checked the Weight Watcher points. I was following the plan at that time and that one burger covered all my points for the entire day! That’s off topic…

The menu tonight was hamburgers (the pictures should have tipped you off on this), because I love a good burger. I don’t ever know what all I’m going to put in my burgers until I start making them, but I know the basics, which is really just the meat and Worcestershire Sauce. The last time I was experimenting with hamburgers I tried adding feta cheese to the meat and it was amazing. Today as I was at the store to get the feta I saw bleu cheese sitting there and decided to go with that instead. So, to start with I got the hamburger meat, bleu cheese and Worcestershire Sauce. My friend might have something to argue with here since I refuse to eat mushrooms because they’re gross and a fungus, but I’ll eat bleu cheese, which is essentially moldy cheese. I went through my cupboard and found a some other items I could add in the meat, but I don’t remember what I grabbed. One trick that I picked up a long time ago that helps to hold the burger together, oatmeal. I think the oatmeal adds body to the burgers and just makes them all that much better.

Bleu Cheese BurgerYou know what does NOT go on a burger, or anything: ketchup. Ketchup doesn’t go on fries, eggs, hamburgers, hot dogs, or meat loaf. Ketchup doesn’t go on ANYTHING. For my burgers, in the future I think I’m going to try adding sour cream in the meat. The Sour Cream Burger – sounds tempting doesn’t it? I’ll keep my eye’s open for other stuff I could try, like onion dip mix (the package says it’s good).

What I ended up with tonight was beautiful, a Bleu Cheese burger that was so good! I ended up with 5 perfect burgers and only myself to enjoy them. I even grilled onions for my private BBQ. After that I came down to my basement and wrote a blog about it while watching movies on my computer. Have you ever read a blog about a dude with a more exciting life that this?! I made a hamburger than I wrote a blog about it. Although, it was a burger worth writing about. Too bad I was the only one there to enjoy it.

My Bowling Failures Are Not My Fault. I’m Really Good!!

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I gave my old 16 pound bowling ball to my father-in-law because the holes were too big and I wanted a more controllable 14 pound ball. There’s a company in Logan, Storm, that makes a good ball so I went to my favourite pro-shop and got my new ball. The ball is nice with a marble texture and it’s aerodynamic in it’s roundness, the colours are shiny and marbly, and the finger holes double as speed holes (you have to be a Simpson’s fan to get that one).

A long time ago I learned to put a curve on the ball to get it to go right in the pocket to the right of the front pin and make such a perfect strike. I have a long way to go before I perfect the technique, but at least I know how to do it. So I took my new ball to a nice bowling alley and tried it out. I was playing with a bunch of novice bowlers who throw the ball straight, no curve, no style, no magic. I can say that because there’s a chance they’ll read this and I like starting lame arguments, it goes along with why I give Apple users a hard time. I used my skilled curve to get the ball to fall into the pocket. My ball hit the pocket once, maybe twice the entire night. No matter what I did I couldn’t get it to land right. I paid a lot of money for a reactive ball to make the curve just right and it would barely curve. I don’t think I can blame the ball entirely, or the user for that matter. The lanes were those of a night club/bowling alley. I doubt the 16 year old kid that oils the lanes understands the importance of the oil. The lanes are 60 feet and the oil should stop at around 40 feet. I swear they oiled the lanes the full distance. That leaves no break point! At the end of the game I had done awful. I need to find a smoky run down lane, I think that’s the only place I’m going to get a lane that’s run by someone who knows what they are doing.

In other excitement with my life my new job is going great. My employer is fantastic. My greatest fear is that I’m not doing enough fast enough. But they keep getting projects that are never ending projects. Most of those are cleaned up though. Another thing that’s awesome about my position at my company is that I can work when I want, meaning if I need to complete some work at home I can. I know it sounds stupid to want to work more than is required by the hours but I like doing the job until the job is complete, not until I’ve met my required hours. I also dont think its fair that my company needs to pay me more just because I’m not as fast as I could be, so I’m think its awesome that they put me on salary. Perhaps if my last work trusted the employees like my current work does they wouldn’t have run into the problems they did. Of course I knew many employees that were there to take advantage of the system. One person even made up stories about being sick so they could work from home. The problem was they did no work when they were home, but they demanded payment anyway.

A New Employer and The Boys Are Gone!

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I’ll start with the boys being gone. We had some foster kids in our home for about 9 months or so. I thought foster parenting would be similar to raising my own kids, except that the foster kids would respect us. I imagined us going out and doing fun things with the kids and hopefully making the transition to living with us easy. Instead they were just a bunch of kids running around ruining my house. I never got to keep the house clean, it was never quiet and winter sucked even more than normal. Unless you’re the most patient person ever I don’t recommend becoming a foster parent. It would help also if you had a really big house that you didn’t care about… and don’t take on 3 extra kids at once.

The parents were able to take the kids back a few months ago. I don’t think I’ve mentioned that so I am now. If I did mention it in a former post and you caught it than congratulations for returning to this blog a second time, you clearly don’t have much to do with yourself. I think it’s great that the parents got their kids back and it couldn’t have come at any better time, just as my employer was going belly up. I know I mentioned that, so did the news and a lot of other former employees. There are still employees, including those who quit before the place went under, who are still complaining about it. The place has been closed for close to 2 months and they just keep complaining, like it’s going to get them there money.

Enough of that, lets talk about my new job. It’s the most exciting thing I can talk about. First, the events that led me to my job, it deals with my history at HIT, but this is not about HIT. When I was asked to be the supervisor of the programing team it caused me to associate with the PM team more often. As the company began to die many of the members quit and got a position at another place. When HIT died I tried to help build up ISO but that didn’t take off so I quit there as well. It was then that I was offered a position by a friend I made at HIT.

The job is awesome. The management cares about the employees. It’s a laid back environment, but they push to get the work done. They have awesome health plans, I can wear shorts and sandals to work and I’m salary so I can work as much as I want and not feel like I’m taking advantage of the company. It knocks 30 minutes off my commute and if I need to I can work from my home (like if I’m sick or something).

My work is to customize  a variety of different websites on a lot of different platforms. So far some of the easiest jobs have turned out really confusing because of poor programming. Other stuff has been moderately easy, when I thought it would be difficult. I get to work in a lot of platforms that I’ve been hoping to get to know. Honestly, it’s just what I’ve been looking for for a long time. I get to learn what I’ve been hoping to learn and work in an environment that I’ve always wished I could.

The only thing that could make my situation nicer is if my former employers would pay me, or respond to my requests. Actually, there are other things that would be nice, like if the weather would make up it’s mind about just being summer already. Either way, I’m making turkey burgers tonight.

Sometimes You Know Stuff That You Can’t Tell Anyone

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A couple weeks ago the company I’ve been working for the past 4 years, HIT Web Design, went out of business. I was extended an invitation to join a small number of former employees from HIT to go work at a new company that my former VP had started, ISO Web Works. Nobody knows what ISO means. They just grabbed the letters. I think it’s great that I got the invitation to join the team, though it wasn’t a huge surprise to me. I had been working hard to be ready for that invitation. It was clear that my company was going down well over a year ago, though the owners might not have seen it.

We were a company with over 15,000 clients and a 10 year history in web development. A track record like that doesn’t ever really die. I had assumed that if the company got in trouble and went down they would take the customers and move them over to another company. If that happened I wanted to be at least considered to move over to the new company. That’s not what happened though. Instead my VP called me in his office and let me know he was starting his own business and asked me to join. The new business wouldn’t take the 15,000 customers or use any of the tactics that had been used at HIT.

The operation is kind of exciting. I feel like a pioneer of sorts as we set up this company. We spent the first week moving everything into the building. The new building didn’t have wiring ready, it wasn’t painted and there was no Macey’s next door (Macey’s had become the home away from HIT since everyone at HIT went there multiple times a day). It was really just starting a new business from the ground up, literally. There were around 20 people from HIT that were asked to join the new company. Being chosen to come to ISO was interesting. As it was explained to me Kevin had looked over all the employees at HIT and took the best and brightest, and me. Nobody has titles and we’re all working towards the same goal to make the business successful. My position in the company is as a developer, which is what I’ve been trying to get back to ever since I became the supervisor of my team. I thought supervisor would be a cool title to have but it turns out that nobody wants to hire a supervisor. Everyone wants a developer, someone who gets into the code.

The problem here is that I’m aware of what’s really going on with the ISO Web Works. The business is completely different from HIT Web Design. But too many of the former employees insist that it’s just a HIT reincarnate. The truth is that ISO Web Works (my new company) has no relation to HIT other than a few former employees. ISO Web Works had no funds to get started, or at least there were minimal funds. The owners have no money, in fact I’d say they’re worse off than I am.

Because I chose to move to ISO Web Works I have been included in a list of people that ex-employees have targeted. I think I should feel offended at this but it’s kind of amusing to me. I was never in a position of extreme authority at HIT. The most I ever did was come up with ideas and get them implemented into HIT, which was nice. My former employers wouldn’t listen to my ideas. I think that’s what I like about ISO Web Works, we’re all equals there and we all care about the success of the company. Because of the efforts that we’re all putting into the new company I have no doubt that we’ll be a success.