The thoughts of a writer.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Gas Pump

I wanted to top off my gas tank on the car this morning since we're going back in the "deep-freeze." I was holding the pump handle and watching the readout and thinking it should stop since I didn't need that much gas--when suddenly gas started shooting out because the pump wouldn't stop! Now I "get to" smell like gasoline...

Fun with Carl

My coworker Carl sits on the other side of this window. Carl is extremely fond of over-ripe bananas; so I was taunting him with this one. The post-it notes resulted...


At 3:57 PM yesterday I got news that will change my life.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Nitti Sanitation

Since Garbage Haulers and the Mob Have Long History, I found it interesting that Frank Nitti's last name appears on this dumpster right here in the Twin Cities.


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Data and Ice

Yesterday I inadvertently deleted a bunch of data from a co'op when deleting records from one of the members. This created a headache and extra time at work. My boss says it's a good lesson in my job. To me, it is something that keeps me away from my wife and son--which is never a good thing.

This morning we have ice. Ice on the roads, ice in the parking lots and ice on the sidewalks. I like snow better.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Butt Sign

This sign about butts was at Target.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Superfly Dragonfly

Dave from my band, EFS, put video to a song (we recorded) that I wrote a long time ago. Yes, that's me singing...

CLICK HERE to see and hear, Superfly Dragonfly

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Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Subzero Crunch

Here is the sound of snow at the current temperature of -11 degrees Fahrenheit.

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-17 Degrees F

Currently the Twin Cities is at -10 degrees Fahrenheit (-23.33 Celsius). The prediction is -17 before we gradually warm up to a high of 0 degrees. Yesterday the high was -2.

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Monday, January 21, 2013


Made with 'White Chicken' huh?


We're at -9 degrees Fahrenheit and predicted to go to -10 and then stay below zero all day. Tomorrow morning is supposed to be -14.

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Friday, January 18, 2013

What Sets Humans Apart?


Islamic Terrorists take Hostages in Algeria

It was finally determined today, that the reason the militant Islamic terrorists took Westerners as hostages in Algeria, was because 'someone' called them "a big stupid doo-doo head."


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Tough Talkin' Trucks

Did you ever notice the voices for those "tough truck" commercials? I guess if you drive a "tough truck" you have to have a low voice with a built-in sneer...

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Craig's List Scrap Metal Guy

I have a large used appliance that I replaced. It still works; but it is old and for some reason in this state, in this country, we have to pay money to do the right thing and recycle. Just for the heck-of-it, I put it on Craig's list and sure enough in about two minutes some guy wanted it for scrap metal!

Unfortunately, the guy wanted it immediately, so I had to drop what I was doing and drive home to move it out in the driveway so he could get it. Fine, I lost half an hour and a gallon of gas to save $30 and a trip to the dump. Unfortunately (again), the thing was still in the driveway when I got home!

I'll call the guy "Norby," because I think there might be some special circumstances. Norby doesn't drive in traffic, so he won't go out during rush hour. His previous 'project' took extra time so he wasn't going to be able to come until later. Then Norby called back and said his mom was mad at him and wouldn't let him use the van!" Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that he told me he picks up scrap metal with his mom. This dude must be a 'chick magnet!'

I hope Norby picks it up today, but since it is snowing, he probably can't use the van...

Update: Three days later, "Norby's" mom must have finally let him use the van. I was resigned that I was going to move the old appliance back into my garage (for disposal later) and when I looked for it, it was gone!


Recording "Glider Bird"

Our on-again-off-again bass player, Tony, likes a song I wrote when I was about 13, called, "Glider Bird." Last night we attempted to record it. We haven't recorded for awhile and I remember now that it is 'work.' I generally don't care to play the same song twice in a night of jamming; and with recording, you only play one song all night.

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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Great News! Vets Can Work at Walmart!

How exciting! Any U.S. soldier who was deployed in a recent overseas war now has even more to look forward to when he or she returns home to the states: a job in retail at Walmart!


Monday, January 14, 2013


My little boy started walking over the weekend!

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

I Hold onto My Dreams...

I have this dream that someday I might be able to make a living by hiking in the woods and writing.

Monday, January 07, 2013


The other day because either the forwarding ran out or because the post office neglected to forward, a letter addressed to the previous owner of our house arrived at our address--with the trash company return address. It got me wondering--since we haven't received a bill and others on our block seemed to know the altered schedule over the holidays...

Apparently even though my wife set things up with the city (who bids the trash contract) and the trash company, that information was never used and the trash company was adding late charges while simultaneously receiving the bills back "undeliverable."

Things would go more easily if everything didn't have to be done twice...

Friday, January 04, 2013

What Happened to my Paycheck?

Funny... I'm 'making' the same amount I was making in 2012, but I'm getting less money...

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Dashing Through the Snow... a "one dad open sleigh..."

Can the Vikings Beat the Packers Saturday?

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Business Reviews by Kevin

Soderlin Plumbing & Heating

Rainbow Foods


Jeff Budzisz, Realtor

St. Paul Plumbing & Heating


Allied Waste

Arden Hills Tire & Service Center

TCF Bank

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Is it 'Ray' yet?


Wednesday, January 02, 2013

KARE 11 - Mason & Jiena

Click here to view video

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Happy New Year!

Buying a Water Heater

Periodically I review a business that I've had dealings with; sometimes it is positive, but often it is not. With the Internet, companies should be careful how they treat their customers--as word can get out. I've found that many companies will try to "make things right" if you contact the right person. Before I write a negative review, I always give the company the opportunity to "make it right," and so avoid being shown in a negative light in my blog. Some will do so, and some will not.

I was pricing water heaters on Monday. Ours is old and needs to be replaced. Roto-Rooter came over and gave a free estimate of $1253.74. I've priced water heaters and they run around $400. I thanked the technician and said I would let him know.

I saw an ad in the phone book for Soderlin Plumbing and Heating. I was attracted to the ad because it said they had flat rate pricing. Anyone who has done business with one of these contractors may know that the price can change considerably over the course of a job depending on how fast the technician works and what parts he/she needs along the way. The ad also said they were fair and had been in business for 98 years.

When I called, I was told that they charge $69 to come to your house and though I asked, I was not given any price range. I should have probably hung up the phone then, but the service charge is often waived if work is actually done. Had I been told it would cost over $1,000 I would have said "good-bye" right then. So, when the technician from Soderlin arrived, he looked at my water heater (which I already told them over the phone--was 40 gallons and natural gas) and produced an estimate for $1,556.00 that had a $135 built in service contract! To opt out of the service contract actually cost slightly more--and this price was shown to me on a separate sheet of paper. This (any plumbing related) service contract is simply a way to lock you in, so you always contact their company for service--and subsequently lock you into their inflated prices.

I had no alternative but to refuse service and I put the $69 charge on my credit card. I later called Soderlin Plumbing and Heating to let them know I felt cheated. The man let me know he had told me about the $69 charge--which indeed he had. However, the part of their ad about being fair, was completely ignored. I let the man from Soderlin who is the only one I spoke to by phone, know I would be reviewing his company negatively--and if he wanted to credit my credit card the $69, I would no longer feel I was cheated and would not write the review. He said he did not give in to blackmail (which actually insinuates wrong-doing on his part) and said he was keeping the $69.

Later, I called Warner's Stellian who could provide the water heater, and installation by a company called Drain Pro (Drain Pro by the way, told me they would install a water heater I buy myself for $325) for just under $800. That is almost half of my other estimates!

So, in the future I would be leery of paying a service charge--whether or not you have the company fix your stuff. I know, sometimes it is unavoidable if something breaks and you need someone to come and fix it. For an install of a new water heater, I guess I expected they should know about how much installation of a new one would cost. Shame on me for believing that Soderlin Plumbing & Heating was going to actually be fair. Of course, if you asked them, they would no doubt say they were. In fact, the ”nice” man on the phone said he could tell me lots of companies who charge more than he does.

One other note about a company being "family owned for 98 years..." The Internet didn't exist 100 years ago. If you keep treating customers unfairly, you will get bad publicity. Having worked for a few family owned companies years ago, I also found that the people who inherit companies from their parents, are sometimes too far removed from building the business to worry about being good to other people. My opinion of course, but it appears true to me.

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