Fifty Shades of Dave


Photo Jan 29, 3 06 29 PMI don’t know what things are like in your state but in California, a trip to the DMV – Department of Motor Vehicles – is always an adventure.

And after taking my motorcycle exam a few times over the last few years, I thought I was through with my DMV visits. How wrong I was.

Here’s what happened. Ann’s birthday is in March and she got her driver’s license renewal letter in the mail well in advance. With my birthday only weeks away, I had yet to receive anything and time was running out so a call to the DMV was in order. And if you’ve ever tried calling the California DMV you know it’s a real pain to get anywhere. So what did I do?

Got on the Tweeter and asked @CA_DMV my question, naturally. I had an answer and phone number in a matter of hours. Ain’t technology grand?

I called and got through right away – this was their main office in Sacramento, I believe. I told the clerk my situation and she asked for my information so she could see what was going on.

It turns out that there was a hold on my regular Class C license after I failed to convert my motorcycle permit into a full-blown endorsement, meaning I didn’t renew or take the skills exam. And because of that hold, the renewal forms weren’t sent to me.

I told the clerk I wasn’t riding anymore and I wasn’t interested in the endorsement. She then cancelled the hold so that I could go to the DMV and fill out the forms to renew my license.

The problem there: getting an appointment. Ann tried for days to get one at our local office in Long Beach and couldn’t. She’s going to one in Orange County later in the month. She has time still. Me? Not so much.

After the call, I headed back to my work desk and immediately went to the DMV website in the hopes of snagging an appointment before my birthday/expiration date. No chance, I figured.

I ended up getting one a few days later – in Long Beach, no less. I had to text Ann and gloat about it. She replied with nasty Bitmojis.

Monday comes around and I leave work for a bit to take care of this business. I managed to find a parking spot no problem and since I had an appointment, didn’t have to wait with the garlic-eating masses outside who didn’t have an appointment.

When I was called I told the clerk the nature of my business. She gave me the form and I filled it out with only one notable change: my weight. I added a few pounds to it. Hell, I’m honest.

I went back and she double-checked it, then issued me a number to see another clerk. I waited maybe 10 minutes before I was called to another booth.

The clerk who helped me was a younger guy and rather affable, more than most others at the DMV. We chit-chatted as he went over my renewal form. All was going well until he spoke up about one detail.

“Hmm. On the computer, it has your hair listed as gray,” he said, pointing at his monitor with a black Paper Mate pen.

Strange. My current license has my hair as black. Then again when I renewed it I still had black hair. Then it occurred to me that when I went for my motorcycle permit, I must have written in “gray” for my hair color. He continued.

“So which one do you want me to use?” I was writing out a check for the renewal fee at the time. I put the pen down.

“Well, being I plan on letting nature take its course, let’s go with gray. I’m not bald and I’ve no plans to dye it. In fact I just had an inch-and-a-half trimmed off. Shit was past my shoulders.”

He was cool. Casual profanity didn’t phase him.

“Really? No way!”

We then chatted a bit more, mostly about aging, as he continued to process my information. He had to be in his early 30s and I gave him a little advice (as if my being nearly 49 qualifies me to be an expert on growing old).

“Man, just enjoy yourself. Stay young at heart. That alone will keep you going. And when your hair starts turning gray, embrace it and be glad you have it.”

And with that, he thanked me and sent me to the photo booth for my picture. Oh, and I had to take the written exam – again – and then wait about 10 days for my new license.

It arrived a few days ago. And although I’m thinner than I was in my previous license photo, the adjusted weight is definitely closer to reality.

And the hair? Proudly abbreviated as GRY.

Because this head will never see a drop of Just For Men.

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Friday Five – Groundhog Day


27332728_10155534282559118_3082583756623170160_nHeadphones on. White noise playing. Candle burning. Flux capacitor…fluxing. Time for another Friday Five – on time this week!

The topic for today is Groundhog Day and before I get to the list, I’d just like to say that I think this is one of the dumbest traditions still going. Come on, a bunch of guys in silly hats and gloves waiting for a rodent to emerge from his home in the hopes he’ll predict the length of winter.

Don’t be silly. The whole thing smacks of stupidity. Even meteorologists with satellite maps can’t get things right most of the time. This is why aliens don’t visit us, and the fucker probably just wants a carrot for being awakened so damn early.

Oh. And it takes place in Gobbler’s Knob. I’ll just leave things there.

Ahem. So…

Friday Five: Groundhog Day

What’s your favorite Bill Murray performance?

I’ve only seen a handful of Bill Murray movies, not including Groundhog Day. There’s Stripes, Ghostbusters, Lost in Translation, Caddyshack, and I even saw Meatballs for crying out loud. While I thought he had an interesting role in Lost in Translation, my vote would have to go Caddyshack when he played Carl Spackler. Classic, quotable role.

IT'S IN THE HOLE!

What’s been a highlight of your winter so far?

Win…ter? I don’t know what you’re talking about. We had a few days of very light rain but as for the rest of our so-called winter, let this image sum things up for you. This is First Street in downtown Long Beach, a transit mall reserved for buses and the Metro train.

File Feb 02, 9 29 12 PM

Aside from the warm weather, I’d say the two photo excursions to Los Angeles – one solo and one with the kid – were definitely fun. I didn’t blog about them; all the pics are on Instagram. It was just easier that way.

What’s there to look forward to in the next six weeks?

There are a lot of birthdays this time of year. The wife and kid are both in March and mine is somewhere between February 1-28. As a big communal celebration, we’ll pick a place we all want to eat and go there for dinner. Last year was Benihana which we thought was fun but definitely not worth the price. In 2016 we went to a Korean BBQ which was also fun but much more affordable. This year? I’m thinking Mongolian. There’s a killer place nearby.

Too early for flapjacks?

NEVAH! I will eat them any time of day. But flapjacks are one of those things that always seem like a good idea and once you get them, you never finish them. You can go a week without eating and have two plates of them shoved in front of you, and you’ll only finish one. Diabolical bastards. Speaking of flapjacks, I’m looking forward to my free Denny’s birthday Grand Slam breakfast, too. (Last year I took the day off work and went to every single place that was offering free birthday food — and it was fuuuuun!)

If someone in a bar asks to buy you a drink (and let’s just say for the sake of the question you are amenable), what do you order?

The only time I’m in a bar is for my monthly karaoke gathering with my former coworkers. In the odd instance that this would happen to me in the first place (HA!), my choice would be easy: White Russian. Because The Dude, and because I can’t name any others. Maybe a raspberry Smirnoff Ice because nobody carries Bartles & James.

084ebd899c41023a9a94ca8709b70280--the-big-lebowski-beverages

Okay then. That’s two blog posts since I decided to take a break. I’ve been getting better but it comes and goes, and right now it’s coming back. Time to go relax the eyes again.

I’m out!

Friday Five (Late Edition) – Returns


I was on Facebook for a bit today and noticed that one of the humor pages I follow had sold out and was starting to post clickbait and crap stories, the latter with the formulaic, millennial-appealing headlines of  “[noun] [verb] [something potentially outlandish], and [group reacts].”

Gag. That’s the last act of someone who cares more about the revenue those stories might generate as opposed to having a human element tied to their page. For me, it’s easier to unfollow those pages than them getting anything from my clicks. And while I may have ads on here, believe me when I say that I’ve earned zero from them. You’re free to ignore them or not click on them – don’t care either way!

Anyway, I can promise you that as long as I’m around to keep this dog-and-pony show alive that there is indeed a human behind it, one who just lit a fruity scented candle on his desk and is using that and the illumination from the monitor as his only light sources. I like it this way.

Now that that little diatribe is done, I thought I’d use the old Friday Five standby to get myself blogging again. And I thought the topic would be fun so let’s get to it.

Friday Five: Returns

What was the last item you returned or exchanged at a store?

I am a notorious non-gift-returner because I just think it’s rude (even if the giver never finds out). The only time I will return something is when it’s an article of clothing that looked better on the mannequin or just didn’t fit right. Other than that, I don’t care how bad the gift is, I will not part with it and most likely end up giving it away years later. That was until one of our White Elephant gift exchanges at work last Christmas (oh, George!) when I “won” this:

Saved-by-the-Bell

I have never been more pissed off about a gift in my life – seriously, I was not happy. Yes, I understand the purpose of the White Elephant. Yes, I should be grateful. But fucking hell! A Saved By the Bell fucking board game? I was not “so excited” to play it because I didn’t and since it had a “Target exclusive” label on it, took it right back the next day. I didn’t get full credit since I didn’t have the receipt but it’s a small price to pay for not having the likeness of Screech in my home. I ended up buying an exercise ball with the gift card credit. Lesson learned: always steal at White Elephants. At least you might end up with something good.

When did you last leave the house and then turn right back around and go back inside?

Sadly, I almost do this on a daily basis. It’s like I have OCD about checking to make sure the doors are locked and the toaster unplugged, even if nobody used it that day. Wanna know what’s weird about the toaster thing? I have no problem with Ann leaving the crock pot on all day while we’re at work. Go figure that shit out. I’ll go back inside if I’ve forgotten something (rare occasion) but I do go back to check the doors.

What’s the latest you’ve ever returned a library book?

Li…brar…y? Oh. I’ve got it. I visit them so infrequently that I’ve forgotten how it’s pronounced. But when I have I can assure you that I returned the books on time, all the time, and sometimes sooner than their return date – like a week sooner. I’m such a solid reader [insert strong arm emoji here]. Besides, punctuality is one thing I’m a stickler about.

What location among places you’ve traveled would you most like to see again?

Having flown a grand total of two times in my life, I’m anything but a jet-set traveler. In fact, outside of the the states I’ve driven to (Arizona and Nevada), the only other two states I’ve visited have been Arkansas and Missouri, and Missouri was only hours at St. Louis Airport. But I have taken a cruise to that beautiful shithole country of Mexico and I would love to go back and explore a little deeper than our cruise destination of Ensenada. It’s where my heritage lies and visiting would mean a lot.

What’s an unlikely movie sequel you’d like to see?

One of my all-time favorite movies is The Big Lebowski so regardless of how horrible the trailer for its unlikely sequel might be, I’d more than likely catch it first-run. This Dude would abide.

And that Friday 5 is done.

Oh! I can’t believe it’s here already but February 1st marks my second anniversary at NR (or Not Ralphs as I referred to it in this post). It’s my official hire date although if you count my freelance time, I’ve been there for closer to 2.5 years. Either way, I’m still incredibly happy, fortunate, and thankful to be there.

Alright. Time to hit the exercise ball. Or nap…maybe on the exercise ball…

Really Quick…


Okay folks, there are a few things I’ve gotta say but I’ll be quick about it so I won’t take up much of your time.

  • The blog domain has been renewed. Yes, I’ve gone ahead and renewed this stupid domain of mine for the umpteenth year, for whatever reason. I was hoping maybe some dedicated SpongeBob fan would pony up some bucks for it but it hasn’t happened yet. So you’ve got me for another year, which leads to…
  • I’m sort of taking a break. I do this now and then so it really shouldn’t come as a surprise to anybody, but the reason this time is simply because my eyes can’t take it. This last week at the office has been pretty brutal on them so I think I need a new prescription and until then, I need less time straining my eyes whether it be on a tablet, phone, monitor, or a book (because y’all know how much I love to read). And considering that I’m staring at a monitor all day proofreading and editing disclaimers that nobody ever reads, you can imagine how my eyes feel. It’s been fun.

If there is anything good about the last few weeks it’s that I’ve avoided catching the flu that has taken down so many people at the office. There are still people coughing and wheezing, plus a few that are still out. It’s been crazy.

That’s the update. I’ll be back around when I think my eyes can do the job without watering or when I get my arse to the oculist for an exam and then new glasses.

All In Vein


American-Red-Cross-Logo-VerticalA few posts ago I had mentioned how humble bragging is a pet peeve of mine. But for the sake of writing a blog post and telling a story, there’s really no other way to talk about it without saying what I’ve been doing so let’s get to it.

Since last year, I’ve been making regular blood donations to my local chapter of the American Red Cross. It started at a time of need and but decided to make it a regular part of my life shortly afterward. Plus, you get unlimited chocolate chip cookies and orange juice – the only time it’s acceptable to consume such a combination – when you’re done.

The process is relatively simple and expedited if you fill out the questionnaire online prior to your visit, otherwise you’ll be sitting at a computer in an exam room doing it. The questions range from recent places traveled to medications taken to sexual activity – mostly revolving around prostitution and homosexual experiences, an immediate disqualification if any answers are “yes.” The latter has been a controversial practice for some time.

In the exam room, you’re verbally asked even more questions – name, address, etc. – to ensure that you’re in the right state of mind. They also check blood pressure, heart rate, and poke your finger for a sample to test for iron content. Once that’s done, you sign the form and off you go to the chair where they ask you one last time your name and address.

And that’s when my problems started.

Before they begin, naturally the nurses have to find a vein. I usually stick with my right arm since it’s my dominant and can squeeze the heck out of that little foam-rubber propane can they make you squeeze every 10 seconds after the needle is in your arm.

But there was a problem last night.

When the nurse started to check for a vein, they couldn’t quite pinpoint its location. Veins will move and it seemed my was dancing like The O’Jays during this exam. It was that difficult to locate. But after a few more tries the vein was found, site marked with a pen, area prepped with iodine, sphygmomanometer tightened, propane can squeezed three times, and needle inserted.

I’ve never looked at the needle. I don’t want to see it.

There’s a little discomfort when it’s inserted but it goes away once it’s in the right place. They’ll know this because the blood will immediately start flowing down the tube and into the bag. But there was no blood last night.

The nurse asked if they could move the needle around a little bit and see what was going on. I agreed since they had a little difficulty finding it last time. After a few minutes of trying, a second nurse noticed and asked the first one if she could help. He agreed and asked if she could try, to which I said yes.

She couldn’t find it either, and my arm was getting a little tender with all the poking and prodding.

Enter the third nurse. She came by and asked if she could try. By now with all the previous insertions and relocating of the needle, things were becoming much more uncomfortable. Then she moved the needle a little too deep there was so much pain.

I winced and said that it hurt – there’s only so many ways I can pretend to hide my discomfort and I had had enough.

“Do you want me to keep trying or pull it,” she asked. I answered without hesitation.

“Pull it.” It was then that, for the first time, I saw the needle and it’s a pretty good size. I’m not sure why I looked, maybe just because I getting a little anxious and wanted this to be over.

And so it was. The needle was pulled and all the nurses who tried to get blood from me apologized for not being able to get the job done. The site was cleaned, bandaged, and I was on my way.

I was truly disappointed. According to Red Cross literature, one donation can help save up to three lives and last night I wasn’t able to do that.

I’ll be back to try again but much like my dental appointments, of which I still have a few left to fulfill, I need a break for the time being.

Hopefully then we will have success and my efforts will not have been in vein.

Yeah. I went there.

 


 

Just because it didn’t work for me doesn’t mean it won’t for you. Disaster or not, the American Red Cross is always in need of donors and blood of every type. If you’re a regular donor, thank you. If it’s been a while since your last donation, schedule an appointment online or through their app. And if you’ve never done it before, see if you meet the criteria and if you do, schedule an appointment to get the ball rolling. Thanks.