Friday, October 27, 2006

Back from paradise, again! Consumer discount suggestions, Misc

After returning from my second trip to paradise(that's what they call it) on the Big Island of Hawaii I am more than glad to be back in West Texas. Even though I have been greeted by colder weather, wind and a sand storm, I believe that West Texas is paradise. My own definition of paradise is anywhere you enjoy being. In the fall of the year I love the scent of the changing season and the feel of the air. Before leaving for Kona I did a bicycle ride(the one where that little demon dog bit me) and during that ride I passed the Acuff Co-Op cotton gin. They were just getting the ginning season going and it was great to have the scent of cotton ginning. While I don't know why this is very cool to me, since it makes me sneeze, I have always enjoyed that scent and the busy times it represents. During my 30 years in the industry as a supplier of equipment I always enjoyed going into the gins to watch them process the raw cotton bowl. In Hawaii the weather is basically the same all the time unless of course you throw in a torrential rain or earthquake, which they did. We actually missed the quake by two days, but did get to witness the torrential(that's what they called it in the newspaper)rainfall, during the Ironman triathlon event. There was really nothing different, from West Texas rain, or special about this rain, it fell from the sky and was wet. So, there paradise, we have the same of what you got but we can also do the wind and sand storm thing that you can't do. One thing I did learn about paradise is that because of the consistent hot and humid weather bacteria grows in abundance, and because of that my dog bite I experienced before leaving got infected. A local looked at it for me and said, "hey bubba you had better put something on that or you will have some big trouble." He recommended some triple anti-biotic stuff, over the counter, with a complete bandage to cover it. I followed his advice and it is nearly gone.

Over the past 45 years of constant travel throughout the USA and other parts of the world I have seen some really weird things, but I think I witnessed one of the most disgusting things I have seen yet, in the Honolulu airport restroom. While I have always thought urinals were about the most disgusting things, even when clean, I have had to deal with in my lifetime this took the cake. Before entering the men's room I saw this young guy(30-35), probably from Alabama or Louisiana, standing by the trash can with a hamburger from Burger King, an order of french fries, and a Coke. The burger was a single patty with every thing on it, but he was taking the pickles and tomatoes off of it. Well this was all well and good and very normal, even though you can order from Burger King and not have this stuff on it to start with, but he elected to do it this way. So, I go on into the restroom to utilize the urinal and I was happy to see that there were 5 urinals available with no one else there. That is always refreshing to me, since I don't like to share my urinal time and I can get on with business and get out of there in a hurry. I take the one closest to me on the North end. While I am standing there minding my own business getting things done, the Burger King dude comes in and takes the urinal on the very South end. Needless to say that was a relief(no pun intended) to me, but then I noticed that he had taken his essentials out to take a leak, and in the same time he was eating his burger(with he left hand,he was obviously right handed with a loose zipper), with the fries and coke sitting next to the urinal handle. No reflection on Burger King here, but there is a time and a place for everything. While I have watched guys take a leak and talk on their cell phone at the same time I have never seen anyone eat while doing the same. Another first in my list of travel experiences. Actually this one kind of made me want to throw up a little, but I refrained. Two gross actions in one place doesn't make for a pretty site in a public place.

The Ironman triathlon was another outstanding event and our own Lubbock, Texas dude, John Pryor was there to compete. John is a valued employee of Alliance Federal Credit Union and was competing in the 20-24 age group. He had a great race and learned a lot about racing on the Big Island. He is a very nice young man and worked very hard in his preparation for this event. We were proud to be there with he and his wonderful(and beautiful) friend Misty(you can't miss with that name). They were fun to be with and to celebrate his victory over the Ironman distance. We were proud to be part of the volunteer group, Marti in the physically challenged area and me on the rented Road King Hog.

As I have mentioned in previous posts I get tired of the current retail so-called modernization, especially relative to the check out situation in most major stores. You know the gig, walk up to 24 check out lanes and only 2 are manned, etc. But, the new one that is gagging me now is the "self" checkout gimmick. You know the one where you step up to this robot machine that says, put your bag there, put your stuff in it, your bill is, put you credit card here, put your cash here, your change is here, BUTTTTT WAIT A MINUTE!!!!It usually never works like that for me and the person who was supposed to be replaced by this wonderful machine has to come and help me check out. But, let's say it does work for all(but me)I think we should be given an automatic 15% discount for doing the job of the employee that used to be doing this. After all we are doing their job for them, so we should be paid for it. The airlines are the same, we go up to the e-ticket machine, put in all our data, get the boarding passes, get the jacket to put the boarding passes in, put the baggage on the scale, put the baggage claim tickets in our jacket, put the baggage over on the inspection area and then we get to do the strip tease thing, then put our clothes back on and then we get to board. In the past for long flights such as the 8 hour flight to Hawaii they would feed us every 2 hours(even in coach class), now they don't throw an empty peanut shell at you. You are advised that you can purchase your own food and take it on or you can purchase their little cold boxes of something for $5.00 after you are in flight. We elected to grab a deli sandwich and drink the free drinks on the plane. While I don't think the discount idea is going to be adopted anytime soon I can only hope, but I think it is a good idea.

Big weekend in Lubbock, the University of Texas Longhorns will be coming to town to play the Texas Tech Red Raiders and it should be quite a game. Of course you never know which team the Raiders will put on the field, but I think they have been getting to know each other a little better over the past few weeks and they will make a good show. I mention they are getting along better since Coach Leach had said they just were showing much family spirit in knowing and liking each other. This guy is a classic and anyone who lists pirates as his heroes can't be all bad.

Tomorrow I am heading to the canyons of Post, Texas to offer my Hog as the lead vehicle for a 78 mile bicycle tour. It is for a charity and should be somewhat chilly, can't wait to hear the roar.

The Governor's race is getting tight, Kinky has made some verbal mistakes over the past few weeks and it will cost him. Mr. Bell, Democrat, is moving up and Strayhorn put her foot in her mouth again. For a person to say, "George G.H. Bush" the elder was born with a silver foot in his mouth, she should know.

Movie to see, but don't break your neck: "The Guardian"****, prime time viewing with Kevin Costner. Typical hero movie script, but what it does teach you is what the mission of the US Coast Guard is. Something I really didn't know for sure. I thought they went up and down the coast teaching water skiing, turns out they save a bunch of lives and are tough as Navy seals.



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