Thursday, March 30, 2006

Rings....We Have Rings!

OK folks, we have officially purchased the rings (ok, let's be honest...they're financed). Here's a look at the new beauty:

They are white gold, satin finish in size 13.5 for me, and 8.5 for my hubby to be. Woohoo! Mine is engraved inside with his name and the date of our nuptials, and his has my name and the date. OK, everyone collectively now....awwwwwwwwwwww.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

The Penguins Win...And I'm VERY Glad

Both Luis and I saw March Of The Penguins, and I was thrilled to see it win Best Documentary. I was torn between it and Murderball, but the penguins just get me every time. And how can you not love an acceptance speech where all of the people are carrying stuffed penguins?

Three cheers to Wallace and Gromit for their win too. The dynamic claymation duo have been around for years now, but it's still funny, entertaining and a joy to watch. Glad to see them get their due as well.

Brokeback Loses...And In A Way, I'm Glad

Ye gads, the Oscars are finally over and with it, hopefully, goes a lot of the hype over Brokeback Mountain.

Yeah, that's right...a gay guy being indifferent about Brokeback. I have my reasons.

First of all, I saw Crash and I really liked it. Honestly. Did it deserve to win Best Picture? I definitely thought it deserved Best Original Screenplay and I haven't seen the other nominees for Best Picture to see how they measured up.

I've managed to avoid seeing Brokeback Mountain, and it's a movie I've been actively avoiding for a few reasons. Number one, the whole plot line just doesn't appeal to me. I don't care about cowboys, I don't care about cowboys shagging each other then getting married then pining away for their lost love. I just don't care. It doesn't interest me.

However, this puts me at odds with the rest of the gay community. See, there's tremendous pressure in the gay community to give up your personal identity and be exactly like every other gay person out there. You must wear Abercrombie and Fitch, you must go to the gym, you must shave your body, you must love certain music and certain actors and actresses otherwise you just aren't one of the REAL gay people. There's a complete mob mentality in the gay community that you must be like the Borg on Star Trek....resistance is futile, individuality is frowned upon and you must be part of the Gay Collective.

So when one of my favorite blogs to read each day, Towleroad, began running coverage every single day of whatever inane Brokeback Mountain factoid had shown up that day ("Shirts from movie auctioned off", "Read Heath's 12 millionth interview about Brokeback!"), I knew the gay community was off on another one of their rants. For some reason, the gay community had chosen Brokeback Mountain as its champion of all things good about gay love and damn you to hell if you didn't drink the Kool-Aid and lay down with the other Jonestown queers.

At first I laughed. After all, there were all these gay people falling in love with a movie written originally as a short story by a straight female author, adapted to the screen by two straight authors, directed by a straight director and starring two straight actors playing gay-for-pay. This was what they wanted to claim as their own? What's so gay about the movie? Just because two guys fall in love, have sex by a river and stay in love it's a gay movie?

So of course I experienced major backlash when I started talking about how I didn't care one big fig about the movie. My gay comrades were FURIOUS. How dare I turn my back on an IMPORTANT MOVIE. This movie was GAY and A POLITICAL STATEMENT and NECESSARY VIEWING. I said the movie was $8.50, had guys chasing sheep, cornholing each other and I'd still have to get up for work the next morning.

So when Brokeback lost tonight, I knew all hell was going to break loose, and boy did it ever. Everywhere I turn gay people are FURIOUS. The Academy supposedly deliberately ostracized and discriminated against this IMPORTANT MOVIE. It shows they hate GAY people and by voting against it they were making A POLITICAL STATEMENT that gay people will never be accepted, and that members of the Academy should have made Brokeback NECESSARY VIEWING. Kee-rist. Almost enough to make me want to go straight.

Guess what folks, it's a MOVIE. I'm glad you liked it, but you don't have to watch it just because you're gay, nor do you have to accept it for the same reason. It's called free will for a reason. Not all of us want to be gay clones. Some of us want to live our lives our way, enjoy the movies we want to enjoy and don't feel the need to have our lives justified on-screen. Every day I come home to a wonderful man who loves me and you know what? That's all the validation I need.

By the way, you notice how the NAACP isn't protesting because "Hustle and Flow" didn't win more Oscars? Are Katie Couric and Matt Lauer going to go on the Today show tomorrow morning and protest and say Hollywood is discriminating against news reporters because "Good Night and Good Luck" didn't win? Are the Israelis rising up in protest because "Munich" didn't win? Nope's just the gay people on a tear again about how awful it is to have THEIR film denied.

Guess what folks....when your movie is made by straight people, it ain't a gay film. And if you didn't pony up the bucks to finance it, it ain't YOUR film either. It's just a movie, like hundreds of other movies that will come out this year and the year after and so on. Forget the hype, be your own person.

On Tuesday, Luis and I are going to go to the movies. We haven't decided what we're going to watch yet, but I can tell you one thing for sure. It's going to be a movie we WANT to watch, not because we're pressured into watching it. And afterwards, I'm going to come home, snuggle up next to him, tell him I love him more than anything in the world and hold him all night. That's VERY IMPORTANT. That's GAY LOVE. That's my POLITICAL STATEMENT. And I don't need either straight actors or a gay mob to get my point across.

Perhaps others should learn to do the same.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Thanks For....Err...Welll....Just About Nothing

Well, I attempted to do what my grandmother would call a mitzvah, or good deed....

I was contacted by the San Jose branch of the Muscular Dystrophy Association recently and asked if I'd be willing to help out with their fundraiser. Local business people allow themselves to be "arrested" and "raise bail," with the proceeds going to help kids with MS attend a summer camp that's especially tailored to them and where they can feel like normal kids. I, of course, thought it was a wonderful idea and jumped at the chance to be a part of it. Besides, my store is located in an extremely affluent area of the peninsula, and I figured raising money would be as easy as drinking water.

Never underestimate a rich person's inability to part with their money except for expensive toys.

Getting money out of these people was ridiculously impossible. We kept asking every customer to donate anything they could towards the really great cause. We kept getting pathetic excuse after pathetic excuse as to why they couldn't/wouldn't contribute. Then, they'd take their $100-300 purchase out to their Beamer or Hummer or Jag and drive away.

You know who contributed? People who clearly barely had enough money to keep them going. Oh yeah...and my staff? ONE person donated out of a staff of 10.

Amount donated by customers over ONE MONTH: $23
Amount donated by staff in ONE MONTH: $1
Amount donated by me: $25
Total to MDA: $49

I was so embarassed, that I couldn't even bring myself to attend the special lunch/lockup for everyone that participated. Which in a way was really too bad, since the cop they sent to arrest me was kind of short, stocky, muscly and I was more than willing to be handcuffed by him...

Sorry Jerry's Kids....the wealthy would rather spend their money on trinkets. As Aerosmith said: "Eat the rich...there's only one thing that they're good for."

FOLLOWUP: When Good Employees Go Bad

Here's an amusing one for you....

Those who read my blog saw a couple days ago where I posted regarding "H" quitting and giving no notice. Now, it seems she's living in fear of running into me. She text messaged my assistant manager because she wanted to see if he was working since she had something to pick up in the store. When he told her he was off, she decided to not come in because she was "afraid of running into" me.

Afraid? Of what? That I'm going to hit her or something? Banish her to the Netherworld? Hey, she dug her own grave, burned her own bridge and built whatever other cliche you want to throw in here.

Needless to say, I've made it clear that the only person that can give her the final check due her is me. So, if she wants her money, she's going to have to deal with me after all.

Just think, all of this could have been avoided if she had just been professional and said "I'd like to give you one week's notice that I'm quitting." Oh yeah....and not being a twit to my District Manager. She's young, and maybe she'll actually learn in time.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Another S**tty Former Employee

Well, this one actually requires a little bit of history soooo....

When I took over this particular store, it was in a REALLY sorry state. Orders were hopelessly backlogged, the place was a mess, etc.. The previous manager and assistant manager had quit, but had basically hung out for the last month or two they were there and allowed the store to run itself into the ground. Only through the hard work of two other managers who came in to help out, plus myself and my team, were we able to get this store back in order and making money again.

The previous assistant was named "V" (hey, I try not to mention actual names here if I can help it). She had given notice, but was pretty much asked to leave since there were many unethical things happening in the store while she was running the place, along with some suspicious activity in the way customers were constantly being overcharged so that V and the manager would make their bonuses. They would also send returns to a nearby store so they wouldn't have to take the hit, although they got caught for that one.

At the same time they were running this place, the lead framer named "J" and the assistant framer "A" were busy screwing up orders left and right in the frame shop and carrying on with each other...if you know what I mean. We spent months trying to clean up their messes.

Last night, apparently V and A came into my store to visit with one of my leads and to see how things were going. Now V no longer works for the company, but A works at another location. For some reason, A took it upon herself to allow V to go into the frame shop, where V decided to post the following message on our board:

Now maybe it's just me, but what business does this former employee have a) coming in my backroom and b) leaving me snotty notes like this on the board? I don't even know her! The amusing part is that we are already making our number, so it's an immature and petty little thing to do.

Then, J called today asking if he could have a part-time position framing at our store again. I believe the term is "not on your friggin' life," but I was a bit more diplomatic. I also called the manager of A's store and told him I didn't want her anywhere near my store again, especially if she was going to let non-employees in my breakroom.

So I was of two camps on this one. One, I was really pissed off that some snotty, immature former employee I've never met would come in and do something so petty. Two....damn, my Nokia 6230 takes one helluva good picture for a cameraphone. Does even better than my regular camera. How about that? Who knew?