This is Epth Nation

Epth is a state of mind, not a place. Reading this will give you a virtual drivers license in that state, but you'll still need to be 21 to purchase alcohol. And you can't get any there anyway, so stop asking.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Things I Saw Tonight

I'm just thankful I didn't look over and see this driving that truck.
(picture found in a google search for "horse-face.")

-- A man in a bathrobe who stiffed me, but needed to make sure he got his credit card receipt back to "keep the book up to date." He will now have a record of his cheapness forever.

-- A freaky girl-faced woman. Seriously, I looked over at the truck on my right and I saw this woman with Jonbenet Ramsey's face and hair. I had to do a double-take, because if I found Jonbenet alive (and driving a truck in Texas!) I could definitely have 15 minutes of fame, and you know I crave that soooo much. But alas it was just a fat woman with a little-girl face driving a generic dude to some place nobody cares about. I kept staring at her because she was freaking. me. out. I've got enough stuff going through my head without being forced to think about the ramifications of this. Did her face naturally stay the same as it was when she was a child? Did her girth just make her less wrinkly? How old was she? Did she discover a fountain of youth? Is she like a timelord, getting younger as she goes through time? Is anyone nerdy enough to get that reference? Will she stay like that forever? Is she immortal? If so, why is she just driving around Dallas with some dude? Shouldn't she be famous?
...and then the light turned green, and she was gone.

-- Ok, so I didn't see this per se, but I realized that 90% of the people I work with at Papa John's annoy me so much that I will take great pains to not be around them. For example, if they're folding boxes, I go to the back of the store and do nothing. If they follow me back there (because their minds tend to wander a bit), I'll go up front and read the paper. This is not a good situation. What's wrong with me? It's a good thing I'll be getting out of there soon.

-- I'm tired of Papa John's being so slow. The overcharging experiment failed, Papa -- time to bring the common man back into our customer base. Yeah, nobody wants to pay $14 bucks for a large pizza with a $1.30 delivery charge. Go figure. Better ingredients? Arguable. Better Pizza? At these prices, the question is moot. Which brings up another point, a far more general one about the US economy: Why do the Powers That Be think that people have money? The fed keeps raising interest rates, Bush keeps crowing about economic growth, and inflation fears abound. Does nobody else notice 90% of the country is struggling with less income and more expenses? Who are these rich people, and why aren't they hiring me to fix their computers or write their copy points?

Anyway, Papa John's gambled and failed, and hurt every single one of their employees in the process. But hey, if the stockholders are happy (which they aren't), I guess at least somebody gets a merry fricking Christmas.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Weird Deaths and Me

Disgraced former Enron CEO Ken Lay is deceased. I don't know how I feel about this, since he had just been convicted of securities fraud and was facing jail. I think I wanted him to die in jail, and not on his own terms. Of course, that's not a good thought on my part, is it? You know what makes me mad about this whole thing, really? I shouldn't know who Ken Lay is.

If you would have asked me who Kenneth Lay is in 2000, I would have guessed the heir of 1/2 of the Frito-Lay empire. I had no idea he was busy destroying employee's lives to prop up a company that should have never been as big as it was. Enron should never have happened. This guy Lay formed his company on bad ideas, got in good with the Bushes, and systematically covered up the results of those bad ideas while tons of employees unsuspectingly marched towards their financial doom. Nobody could have seen this coming because he took steps to make nobody see this coming. And when it all crashed down, he wrapped himself in the Lord. I wonder what would have happened had he put on that Lord coat a few years earlier. But that rarely happens.

Here's the thing: I never put on the Lord coat until its too late, either. You know how in the song John Wayne Gacy by Sufjan Stevens, he sings "on my best behavior I am really just like him." Well, that's what has me bothered this morning. It's not like I'm committing massive crimes, but put into that Enron situation with the money and the white people and the affluent background and the Bushes and the power and the pressure, I hope I would have the good sense and Lord Coat to let the business naturally shrink or die, but I'm not sure I would. Thankfully, I will never get that chance. I'll never be a CEO of anything except my dog.

Ken Lay and I both need grace to keep from falling -- his fall just happened to be spectacular and public. I wish I had never heard of that guy, and I'm glad I haven't heard of all those other CEO's that aren't ripping everyone off. Let's keep it that way, shall we?

God is calling all of us right now, not with jail and death but with grace. Jesus died for us because we needed saving. That by itself is enough reason to put on the Lord Coat right this minute, isn't it?

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Reasons to Love the USA

I love the USA, and so should you. There are so many great things about this country, I can't even begin to list them all. So I'll just list some.

Side July 4th Note: "Born in the USA" by Spring-Steen is not a patriotic song. It's all about the dark side of America and how Bruce was sent by the USA to "a foreign land to kill Spongebob" or whatever. I know it's cool to like Spring-Steen, and it's only natural to want to play his all-american rock-n-roll on this most American of days. But stop playing this particular song, because you're just embarassing yourself and all US citizens who know better.

Great Things About the USA.

1) The Space Shuttle didn't blow up this time.

2) We're moving to a totally awesome apartment in a swanky neighborhood.

3) People can stay alive long enough to recover from devastating brain injuries.
4) We aren't threatened by "rebel warlords," whatever they might be.

5) We can have an entire sub-section of people who feel like they're being opressed, and yet no revolution happens because the oppressed have enough stuff to be considered rich in most of the world, and deep down they know it.

6) Prominent windbags can say, "We're not eating until we lose this war!" and go on a fake hunger strike, and everybody just kind of rolls their eyes and gets back to work. Other countries wouldn't tolerate this kind of crap, let me tell you.

7) On a related note, the other members of New Edition haven't killed Bobby Brown, either.

8) Our young people have been literally drinking themselves stupid for decades, and yet we're still around.

9) "Stars & Stripes Forever" is awesome.

10) This is Epth Nation is coming upon it's second anniversary, and I haven't gotten fired from Papa John's yet. As Yakov Smirnoff would say, Vaht a Contree!

Having said all that, my writing career really needs to grow this year, because I'm tired of not being able to take vacations without feeling guilty about the money I'm leaving on the table. I'm tired of watching movies and feeling like they have to be good or I'm wasting my precious time. I'm tired of not being able to read a fricking book once in a while. America is beautiful, but it's really kicking my butt right now.

Beer makes me sweat. This can't be a good sign.

House Hunting = A Failure

It seems we're giving up our house hunt for the year. You Milwaukee people who want us to move back have won this battle, at least for now. Our last real effort was a week ago, and those lovely homeowners decided they were going to sell their house to someone that wasn't us. That makes them our enemy, but of course we've been taught to love our enemy, even when that enemy causes hours of effort to go for nothing. Kinda like the Mavs and the NBA refs. Anyway, we're out of this apartment at the end of the month, so we now have the opportunity to move wherever the heck we want with no mortgages or 80/20 loans or foundation problems. So we asked ourselves, "Where do we want to live?" The answer was always the same:

By white people.

Just kidding. The answer we came up with turned out to be none other than the exploding area of Valley Ranch in Irving, home of the Dallas Cowboys team office (at least until the grandiose new stadium gets built in accursed rich Arlington). The area is expanding, the apartments are 6 years old, and the people around us will be clean and fresh like a just-wiped newborn. The location is insane: Check out the things that will be within walking distance (1/2 mile or so): A brand-new movie theater, a Sam's Club, a Super Wal-mart, several newly built restaurants, Office Max, a Fry's Electronics, a very rare Taco Bell/Pizza Hut/KFC combo ("Yes, I'd like a personal pan pepperoni with a five-piece original recipe, and a chillito on the side."), and some other semi-useless things I can't think of right now.

It's also in very close proximity (under 2 miles) to more restaurants, a Kroger, a Barnes/Noble, a Target, and practically everything 2 people need to get by in this world.

And going up to a radius of 10 miles, we have 2 big malls, 2 lakes, the busiest airport in the world, the shiny new buildings of Las Colinas (think an extra-new downtown area built in the middle of nowhere for no reason. If you remember, Lawrence in Office Space had to do the drywall of a McDonalds there, requiring him to get his a** up at 6am every day.). It's amazing what moving 12 miles West will do for you. Y'all should try it, unless you live in Benton Harbor or something.

We're also way closer to Fort Worth than we used to be, while not being that much further from Dallas. If you lived here, you'd understand why that's good. In fact, it might be easier to get to the AAC (where the Mavs play) from this direction.

Oprah is currently allowing American Idol failures to pollute our 4th of July American airwaves with bad renditions of Stevie Wonder songs. The weird part? My wife's watching it. This is against everything she stands for.

Some astute observers out there will recognize that our first apartment in Dallas was within walking distance of a Fry's, a Sam's Club, and a movie theater. But that one also came with gang fights, Friday night "Fast and the Furious" re-enactments, complimentary move-in crap on the floor and painted-over roaches in the kitchen, and neighbors that silmutaneously break their toilet and start their apartment on fire. I don't think our new place has any of that. I'll have to remember to ask the Manager.

We move the 23rd-30th of this month. Addresses will change, and will be forthcoming to those of you who deserve it.

Of course I'll have to get a different pizza job (maybe at a super-rich Papa John's in Las Colinas!), so I'll be out from under the thumb of Man Bob Bill and Underwear Guy and the Curves Nazi...what will this blog do without them?

In closing, three words: Indoor basketball court.