My Burnt Sauconys

August 1, 2006

I sent a white box down the chute to the loaders today… an otherwise completely normal box like all the others we process, albeit a little heavy. It was tattered and dirty, like a group of Mexican children had used it as a soccer ball and then drove a small moped over it or something. The norm. But a couple minutes after sending it down the chute, a strange smell filled the air. I had no idea what it was at first. I looked around but couldn’t figure it out. Was someone cooking? What the hell?

It had kind of a spicey scent to it, but mostly it just smelled like burnt hair. As my colleague Matt would later say, “It smells like my grandma’s perm.” I guess that sums it up.

Eventually they yelled up at me to stop the conveyor belt, and I glanced down to see Matt come walking out of the truck with the box, which was by then seeping a blackish-brown liquid. He placed it below me on a ramp where I throw down these plastic crate things filled with small packages that can’t be sent on the conveyor, like envelopes, etc., and then our supervisor came over to bitch at us because the belt was stopped, and then the terminal manager came out, and then once everyone had seen what all the fuss was about, they all just left and went back to work, with this strange box left sitting there leaking and smelling. Nobody seemed to give a crap about fumes or anything, so I just assumed it was Soy Sauce or some other benign liquid. Hey, it’s happened before. Wine, Soy Sauce, whatever.

So I just stood there on my perch for about an hour, 8 feet or so away from the stuff, inhaling its special scent and that was that. It had also spilled in the truck, so those guys were exposed to it too. I asked them what it was and they said they didn’t know, but they weren’t going to touch it. OK.

Later on that night, we were running late and needed to close the trucks and get the drivers on their way, so I jumped down to sort the small packages. One of the 18 wheeler drivers, this big black guy that sounds like Shaft, was standing there in dismay as we ran around like the circus act we are, screaming at each other and throwing boxes and scanning things and narrowly avoiding the strange liquid that had collected in a large puddle on the floor. He’s always pissed off because we’re always running late, but he’s a pretty cool guy.

Anyway, I was scrambling around in a hurry trying to get everything done so that he could leave and in my haste I snatched an envelope off of the ground without looking at it. It wasn’t anywhere near the puddle, so I had no reason to. Then, as I went to look at the address and scan the barcode, I noticed that my fingers were burning. It’s one of those sensations that puts a quizzical look on your face and makes you sort of stare into the air with your head tilted like, “What exactly is it that am I feeling?” Kind of like a spider crawling on your arm or something. It was a strange burn though; faint at first, and then just genuinely painful.

I looked down and, low and behold, the mysterious brownish liquid was all over my fingers, searing its happy little way underneath my nails. I looked up at the trucker and he just looked back at me with an unimpressed look on his face, like he expected us clowns to do something stupid and die at any moment anyway, and it wasn’t a big surprise that I had a mysterious flesh devouring liquid all over my hands.

I couldn’t tell if I was imagining the burn or what, so I gave it a second.

Yep, definitely burning.
“I don’t know what this is, but it’s burning me.”
Shaft just stared at me.
I left him there to shake his head and I walked over to the bathroom, rinsed it off, and went back to work.

Now, imagine if this was something dangerous that wasn’t supposed to be shipped, or if it was a Hazmat (I didn’t see a damn Hazmat label..) and via a freak accident it had leaked all over the place and now we were sitting there inhaling the fumes from the stuff and burning ourselves with it. What then? What if…let’s say, the box fell onto the puddle of liquid on the floor and splattered all over our faces and got in our eyes and we all ran around screaming bloody murder until we went blind. What then? But nobody said anything and we weren’t blinded, so we just continued on working. Then Matt burnt his leg on the stuff and his hair fell off. Then we laughed about it.

Then, being responsible adults, we got kinda worried.

The whole “eating of flesh” thing piqued our interest, so we decided to check the box out. It was disfigured, but we could make out BUSTER in large red letters, and a description in small print. It read something along the lines of “Turns solids to froth” and “dissolves grease, hair, paper, food, rags and other organic obstructions.”

“Like our flesh!” I shouted excitedly.

We read a little closer. “Handle with extreme caution.” Warped and black. Wonderful!

Here’s what Wikipedia says about industrial drain cleaners:

The fourth and final type are the liquid solutions that contain sulfuric acid, usually in concentrations around 93-95 percent. These can be very hazardous products if misused, and often create intense heat that can cause the water in the drain to boil, creating a violent eruption from the drain. On the other hand, they are the only products that will effectively dissolve paper, rags, sanitary napkins, and similar blockages. Many of these products are intended for professional use by plumbers and janitors, but they are legal to sell to the general public. Whether or not they should be has been the subject of much debate during the last few decades. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recently decided not to ban these products for general use by the public. Proponents of the ban argued that it was necessary to protect the public from harm, while opponents said it is just a ploy by the plumbing industry to make more money from increased maintenance calls, and would overly burden a responsible homeowner. Now that they will remain legal, consumers should understand that these products are extremely hazardous and should be treated with respect.

All products should always be used with caution, following all directions.

So here we are breathing in sulfuric acid for an hour and then dripping it all over ourselves, and nobody does a god damn thing about it. It was left in the truck to fester until it reaches its destination where THOSE guys will breathe it in, and it was left to fester in the terminal, where it had also managed to destroy some smaller packages ALONG WITH MY SHOE. This is the important part about this post: as I walked out into the parking lot to sit down and wait for my ride, I looked down and noticed I had holes in my Saucony. The liquid had apparently dripped down off of the shelf onto my shoes and had burnt right through so that I could see my sock.

ripsaucony.jpgI’ve always assumed that my Sauconys would be dragged out to sea by the mighty Poseidon himself, as he has tried so many times before, but it seems that their fate would instead be sealed by the god of Corrosive Chemicals instead. I am in mourning. And I have no other shoes for now, so I guess I’ll just have to deal with it.In conclusion, god save us lowely package handlers.

RIP, my beloved Sauconys.

Dear KCSOFTLLC,

Fuck you.

Sincerely,

Drew

I logged in to check my bank account on the 24th to find that I had a charge to my card for $9.95 from a KCSOFTLLC COM. It was a POS withdrawal from Rochester, New York. I haven’t spent 9 bucks on anything in the past few days, so it was pretty obvious to me right then and there that something was askew. I contacted my bank about the unauthorized charge and was told I had to fill out an affidavit, which meant I had to take time to run over there today and fill out the paperwork and to put a hold on my card. Now I get to wait two weeks for another card… all of this lest I receive more fraudulent charges to my account. Beautiful! How they got my card info, I don’t know. I’ve never been naive enough to fall for a phishing e-mail, so in all likelihood they simply hacked into Amazon, Paypal, or any other “online merchant” I’ve used my card on, and stole my information. I’ll not be using my debit card for online purchases any more, to say the least (stupid me).

Here’s the interesting part: I did a search for the company name once I saw the charge and came up with all sorts of results on Google, from all sorts of people complaining about the same charge, dating back several years. The charge is so low that credit companies and banks will not go after the people doing this — it just isn’t worth it, so the scammers keep on doing it and they keep on making money.

Then I found something that made me laugh. Seems the Democrats can’t unite to to achieve anything these days, including balancing their checkbooks. One of the Google search results was from a website detailing the Democratic Party expenditures for 2006. It lists all the money they’ve spent and who they’ve purchased things from. Well, guess who is on their bill as well? KCSOFTLLC for $9, and the reason for the charge is “Wire Services On Line Svcs”. Yeah, I bet. On line services. Hey, Senator Kerry! Get your men to check their credit card bills! You’ve been had… and this time it wasn’t the American voters that screwed you. Hee.

Oh, and lay off the sub sandwiches, guys. $283 on Quizno’s and $1,000 at Subway? Truly un-American! Try some cheese burgers and Freedom Fries for once, ya damn commies! (Could be worse; if you look at the Republican expenditures you’ll find very little spent on food. My guess is they just feed their supporters human babies. Poor people’s babies. You heard it here first.)

ALLAHUAKBAR! Is it a good thing or a bad thing that “Chicken lays mystery Allah egg” is one of the “Most Viewed Articles” on Reuters right now? I’m not sure if that’s the best thing I’ve ever heard, or if it’s proof of a significant decline in news media and in our world in general. I’ll go with the first.

ALMATY (Reuters) – A chicken in a Kazakh village has laid an egg with the word “Allah” inscribed on its shell, state media reported Thursday.
“Our mosque confirmed that it says ‘Allah’ in Arabic,” Bites Amantayeva, a farmer from the village of Stepnoi in eastern Kazakhstan, told state news agency Kazinform.
“We’ll keep this egg and we don’t think it’ll go bad.”
The news agency said the egg was laid just after a powerful hail storm hit the village.
Kazakhstan is a large, thinly populated Central Asian state where Sunni Islam is a dominant religion.

And rather than comment on it, I’ll just paste the IM conversation I had with Mark, which was funnier anyway:
drew says:
ALMATY (Reuters) – A chicken in a Kazakh village has laid an egg with the word “Allah” inscribed on its shell, state media reported Thursday.
drew says:
ALLAH IS IN AN EGG
Mark says:
wow
Mark says:
scrambled allah!
drew says:
“We’ll keep this egg and we don’t think it’ll go bad.”
Mark says:
poached allah
drew says:
even allah has an expiration date, folks
drew says:
just make sure theres plenty of cheese and pepper on my allah
Mark says:
allah is shy, when will he come out of his shell?
drew says:
hyahahhahaah
drew says:
agh, got me to choke on that one
drew says:
i was going to name my post about allah “ALLAH UP!”
drew says:
like order up
drew says:
but i don’t think anyone would get that
drew says:
sigh
Mark says:
Allah Side Up
Mark says:
Allah High In Cholesterol
drew says:
if you’re trying to gain muscle mass, is it true or false that eating raw allah will bulk you up?
drew says:
i’ve seen people do it

Dear FIFA World Cup players,

You are not being payed 20 mil a year for your acting skills. You are not Pierce Brosnan. When you are fouled, please don’t roll around on the ground dramatically like someone kicked you in the vagina. You look like a bitch and I lose respect for the game and the players each time I see it happen.

People wonder why soccer isn’t as popular in America yet. Well, as much as I respect the game, I can’t sit down to watch a match without throwing my hands in the air and screaming “GROW A PAIR!” at my television. Crying like a child should not be a part of any athletic endeavor. It should not be encouraged. The referee isn’t there to kiss it and make it better.

Flail around on the turf all you want in your “professional football club” games with your locals cheering you on (people who might forgive you for being a weakling), but when you’re at the World Cup playing in front of the world, you could try and act like a man for once. Give it a shot, you may like it! There’s honor, integrity… gritting your teeth in pain rather than spazming like a twat and pretending someone shot you in the leg with a Dirty Harry Magnum. That kinda stuff!

Just get up and play, I promise you’ll be OK. There’s a lollipop waiting for you in the locker room if it doesn’t work out. 😉

I think that’s about it.

Oh, and team USA — fire your players. It’s embarrassing. Really.

oregontrail-1.gif
Celinda Hines would later drown and be torn apart by Grizzlies. Simultaneously.

I love Oregon Trail.

Not just because it’s useful in airplanes (see below), but, well, it’s a good memory. Most people my age would probably admit to having at least one fond memory of traveling that pixelated trail, the only difference between them and myself being that they’re not still playing the game or writing about it in their blogs. Losers.

It was one of those rainy day games you’d play on the shitty Apple II computers supplied to your elementary school, but it was the best of those games. Screw the Moon Landing or the Multiplication Game with fuzzy monsters or whatever — there were bears and squirrels to be hunted! You’d load that wagon up with 5 of your best friends or some of your family (my dog accompanied me on quite a few trips to Oregon), and you’d do your damndest to keep them all alive. If it didn’t work out, you would mourn over their measled bodies and then continue on down that trail, knowing they were forever looking down on you and ushering you forward into that dream, that dream of OREGON!

Nowadays, I like to fill my wagon with people I hate, feed them meager rations, and then shoot across the wilderness at a grueling pace, throwing everyone into unimaginable peril at every given opportunity. Limbs are broken, snake bites are acquired, and there are drownings. Oh, there are drownings!

It’s all highly therapeutic, of course (or incredibly unhealthy, I’m not sure which). In fact, it would probably be a great game to keep around on your laptop. Load up the Apple II emulator while you’re sitting in the middle row of that cramped 747 and create your own scenario: you’re the leader, “Bastard” is the guy to your left in the window seat hording the arm rest, “Old Hag” is the sleeping grandmother in the aisle seat blocking you from taking a pee, Whore is the flight attendant who cut you off from liquor, “Bitch” is the flight attendant that agreed with her, and “Hellbeast” is the child sitting behind you that won’t stop screaming and kicking your seat.

oregontrail-2.gif
Jacob Hofsteader would later watch helplessly as
his entire family is scalped and burned alive by indians.

Now watch them DIE. I assure you that a sudden calm and peacefulness will come over you when you learn that “Hellbeast” has drowned in a river fording accident, and that all of your worries will float away down that river with his bloated body. Never will Southwest Airlines have seemed so relaxing.

Fun, fun, fun!

The only problem is when people survive — how are you supposed to vent your frustrations on The Trail if nobody dies from typhoid fever like the stinking shits they are? I guess that’s where the ol’ “vodka in a water bottle” comes in handy. Hey, I didn’t say the game was perfect.

Relavent links:
Oregon Trail Disk Image (courtesy of my bandwidth)
AppleWin Emulator (courtesy of some dude)

“Modern man, a pathetic example of Earth’s organic heritage.”
– Bad Religion

The News says it’s hot. Really, News? You don’t have to tell me that, nor any of the construction workers here in the gulf coast, nor any of my coworkers over at Fed Up. I’d say the buckets of sweat dripping from our dehydrated bodies kinda gave it away. But the thing is:

Earth Hottest It’s Been in 2,000 Years
The Earth is running a slight fever from greenhouse gases, after enjoying relatively stable temperatures for 2,000 years. The National Academy of Sciences, after reconstructing global average surface temperatures for the past two millennia, said Thursday the data are “additional supporting evidence … that human activities are responsible for much of the recent warming.”

I don’t know what to say to that. Wait, I do. WHAT THE FUCK DID YOU THINK WAS GOING TO HAPPEN? I can’t believe there’s even a debate about it. It couldn’t be the 700 million motor vehicles shooting exhaust into the atmosphere, or just the overall pollution caused by our extremely overpopulated societies that’s causing the earth to warm up, could it? That would be crazy. After all, it’s a planet. You can’t hurt a planet. Planets are BIG!

Gah.

Mutants

June 6, 2006

Hollywood must burn, for this is the last straw:

The Standard reports that Hong Kong action star Donnie Yen is set to lead in the Hollywood remake of Japanese classic “The Seven Samurai”, alongside George Clooney and Chinese starlet Zhang Ziyi, a film company said.

Why anyone would let these assholes defile one of the best movies ever made with a cheap, trashy remake, I cannot even begin to fathom. This reaks of a pathetic attempt at another “Last Samurai” of sorts, except with Clooney instead of Tom Cruise. Because we all know white American guys are great at playing medieval Japanese samurais. Next up, Bradd Pitt plays an aging Japanese man with cancer in IKIRU!

Speaking of movies, I toured the Crestview theaters today with my friend Gilberto. The theaters don’t take credit cards, so we got to use the ATM. The ATM didn’t work, so we had to run to a gas station. The gas station wouldn’t give us cash back, so we had to go to another gas station across the street. By the time we got into the movies we were sweaty and a little pissed off, but I can’t say that it mattered. Consisting of one trash and popcorn strewn hallway and two or three “theater” rooms with about 30 chairs in each of them, what looked like a whopping 30 inch screen, and a sound system that would rival the hi-fi stereo on your grandmother’s Zenith circa 1972, the Crestview Cinema 3 is a place to behold.

What a catastrophe — and in that way it represents just about everything that is wrong with this town. The ass backward people willing to accept the ass backward hillbilly haunts; it’s all typical. Ah — but this is their den, Drew, and you live in it. Accept your fate.

I think next time I’ll just bring a flask. Maybe I could class the place up a bit by getting really drunk and vomitting on a small child or something.

The point of this, though, is that I went to see X-Men 3 (as if there weren’t enough mutants to cast my eyes upon in this town) and I have to say, man, as a kid who grew up with X-Men comic books and cartoons, these X-Men movies are kinda crappy.

Bet you didn’t see that one coming! You were waiting for a glowing movie review, because that’s what I do on my website. I talk about how nice things are!

My big complaint about sci-fi movies is that there are no rules whatsoever. And I’m curious as to why people choose to hype the X-men movies when there are so many flaws. I’ll forgive the flaws in the comic book, cause that’s a fucking comic book, but these are movies and that means new scripts. So, for instance:

Why does every mutant have an incredibly useful power? What if someone’s only special ability was that they could tell you what time it was without ever needing a watch? I want to see a totally benign mutant.
“Magneto is hurling cars at us! Storm, you send in fog! Wolverine, you attack him with your razor sharp claws! TimeMan… uh, will I make it to my nine o’clock appointment?!”
“Provided you aren’t killed by a flying Suburban, I estimate you might even be early enough to stop by Starbucks for a Frappucino!”
“AND A MUFFIN?”
“That would be cutting it close.”

Or better yet, a mutant whose only power is that he can open soup cans. Imagine Xavier trying to reassure that douchebag when he shows up at the mansion looking for support, and all he can do with his telekinetic powers is “open shit up”. He couldn’t really convert to the dark side either, because nobody there would want him. He’d be left to mope around Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters all day opening cans of Chunky Soup for people with his brain.
“Anybody seen the can opener? It’s time for some Spaghettios!”
“Why don’t you just go ask Can Opener Boy to open it for you?”
“He always makes such a big deal out of it, though. Last time it was ‘What do I look like to you, a kitchen appliance? And don’t tell me it’s ok! You can shoot lightning out of your god damn fingertips!’ And then he stormed off to his room. Forget that, I’ll just pick one up at Wal-Mart.”
“I need some things too, mind if I come along?”
“That’s cool. Meet me in our super flying jet thing.”

The jet. That technological wonder of a jet that got shot down in the second X-Men movie because it didn’t have any flares to divert the heat-seaking missiles. That one — what the hell is with that thing? The whole ending of that movie was based around their torn up jet, and yet if it wasn’t such a piece of shit, it could have dodged a missile or two and everyone would have been fine. That Rogue chick wouldn’t be buried beneath a billion cubic tons of water and she wouldn’t be a psycho bitch in the third movie.

San Francisco in X3. Would flying across on a trolley or something be asking too much of Magneto? Maybe the reason he decided to rip the ENTIRE GOLDEN GATE BRIDGE out of the middle of the ocean and plow it into the island as a means of transportation was because he was pissed off that a pharmaceutical company turned one of our beloved National Parks into a pill factory. I would be angry, too. I was more upset over the destruction of Alcatraz than I was about the slaughter that took place there.

My last gripe is reserved for the thing that bewildered me the most. Apparently, when someone dies in an X-Men movie, it’s inevitable that they will come back to life. You can’t care about the well being of a character if you know they’re immortal… isn’t that a given? Who cares if they die when at any given moment, they could be resurrected with a flash of light? All it takes is a huge and mysterious explosion that looks like a cross between Christ’s supposed resurrection and aluminum foil in the microwave, and your favorite character is back in the movie, just in time for the sequel! Yay!

I’m waiting for Al Pacino to be cast as Xavier in the next movie. They really could do that, and no one would call their bluff. All they’d have to do is say that Xavier took on the form of an aging Italian with obvious plastic surgery after being blown into little particle bits by Rogue.

“KIDS, DON’T MISUSE YOUR POWERS. HOO-HAH!”

People would accept that, too. Cause they’re mutants, man… mutants.