Monday, August 30, 2004


Best Job I Ever Had, Part 2

Note: The particular truck I rode was not actually built from Lego blocks.

So I reached the end of my first day of work, at about 3pm. I had gotten to work that day at 12:30pm, only noone else showed up until 1pm because they were all on lunch break. So I worked for 2 hours that day, and then I discovered the good news. When you work for city sanitation, you get paid for 8 hour days whether you work 8 hours or not. If you finish the route early, you get to go home. There's no need for me to explain why this was so awesome.

So the next day I arrived at about 7:30am and we're all standing around talking amongst ourselves. Trash talking, literally. One guy told about this lady who had recently complained because they didn't put the recycling bin back on her porch when they emptied it. He said in a low-whispery-shifty-eyed-garbageman kind of voice, kind of like he was making sure noone was eavesdropping, "You know, I know it wouldn't be good for business. But some days I'd just like to tell that lady to take that bin and stick it square up her a#@." This was met with much laughter and approval from the others. It's funny because it's true.

Later on that morning, we were back at the transfer station to empty the truck before we finished our route. One guy stormed into the little office extremely upset. Apparently, he had just noticed that some sunnuvab%#$ had taken a grease gun and run a GD MF'ing bead of grease down one side of his sweet 70's Corvette with a paint job that cost three F'ing grand. So he informed us that if one of us didn't come clean, he was going to start taking a baseball bat (which he was holding in his hand) to every car in the parking lot until one of us confessed. It was a very tense and dramatic moment, like sands through the hourglass. Noone confessed, and the only thing that kept him from bashing windows was that someone may have done it at his house and he hadn't noticed because it was on the passenger side.

Five minutes later, I rode with him in the truck. He was sorry I had to see that.

On my third and last day, it was a short day on the route, so I finished up by helping out in the recycling center. My job was literally just to unscrew the caps off of pop bottles and throw them in a separate bin. They're different kinds of plastic, you see, so they're recycled differently. I did that for about two hours and, because of the unnoticed prizes under bottle caps, I got four or five free 20oz sodas out of the deal. I was instructed to throw all the Pepsi product bottles into a different bin, to be sorted later by the guy running the recycling center. He was collecting Pepsi points. He had earned two jean jackets, three beach towels, five t-shirts, two sweatshirts, six hats, and a number of other Pepsi prizes. That guy must live like some kind of king.

So as you can see, this was clearly the best job I ever had, or will ever have.

There was a downside. At a trailer park in town, for some reason they seem to put out their trash way way in advance of trash day, so it's been sitting there in the Arkansas summer heat for days. Much of it is food trash, too, so it smells a bit. This wasn't as awful as it sounds. The awful part was when we tossed one bag into the truck which we found out contained a half-full gallon jug of milk that had been fermenting in the sun. When the crusher deal on the truck comes down to push the trash back, it pressurized the milk jug and it squirted everywhere. I got a little bit on my shirt and jeans, and it nearly made me vomit. My partner however was not so lucky, as he was pretty muched dowsed by it, some right in the face. To my surprise he did not vomit, but he made that motion like he was on the verge. I lost a little bit of my innocence that day.

I only add this so nobody mistakenly jumps into a career as a garbageman expecting no downsides, based on my blog.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Best Job I Ever Had

I've been unemployed now for a few months, and it's great. When I continue the search to find something that I really want To Do For a Living, it causes me to reflect back on my employment experience so far.

The best job I ever had was being a garbageman for three days.

Note: This is like the truck I rode on, only there were fewer children.

It was the first summer that I lived in Siloam Springs AR, the city where I went to school, and where I still live. I had just finished up my junior year in college, and I had wasted a month trying to get a drafting job that had seemed like a sure thing. Anyway, I swallowed my pride, and went to the temp agency to see if I could get on at the Dayspring greeting card company where my friends worked. It's basically a warehouse job.

So on a Tuesday morning I went to the temp agency. The lady there said "We can start you on Dayspring next Monday, but if you want to earn some money, we need someone at the City Sanitation Dept today."

"What would I do there?"

"Ride on the back of a truck and pick up trash, probably."

I almost said no, but the need to eat and pay rent was getting to me, so I said yes, and I went to the Sanitation building at about 1pm.

I got on the truck to go out picking up trash. The guy driving the truck asked me, in a voice you would expect from a trashman in a southern state, "You ever haul trash before?"

"Umm, no."

Then he said "Do you know how to pick up a bag?"


"That's about all there is to it."

To be Continued...

Thursday, August 26, 2004


Fun in Public Restrooms

Want to turn heads in a public restroom, men? Try standing at a urinal with your pants and underwear dropped all the way to the floor. When a five year old does it, it's cute. When a thirty-one year old man does it, it's creepy. When a group of thirty-one year old men do it, it's very funny to see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


I am the Best

My friend Jamey had told me about this, and I hadn't even seen it and just thinking of his description of it made me laugh out loud. If I ever work in an office again, I'm definitely getting one of these to keep on my desk.

In case it's not clear in the picture, the caption reads "I Am the Best."

Tuesday, August 24, 2004


Denny's + Lifejacket = Fun

So back in the day, I traveled with some friends to Dallas to visit other friends, go sailing, waterskiing, etc... We arrived late and decided a late night hot tub soak would be a nice way to wind down after a long drive. Hunger set in at about 2am, and it was decided we would go to Denny's, one of the few eateries open at that hour.

Since we were going to be on the water the next day, the car I was riding in had some of the waterskiing equipment in the back. As we were getting out, my friend Matt grabbed a lifejacket out of the back and put it on and zipped it up as we walked into the restaurant. Of course everyone was looking when we walked in, but Matt showed no self-consciousness or showed any sign that he was fooling around.

So the waitress got to our table to take drink orders. Matt was last and he said "I'll have a glass of water, but let's keep it shallow."

She, of course, rolled her eyes as far back as they would go. Matt looked right into her eyes without smiling and said, "Water safety is no joke, my friend."

The waitress' shift apparently ended before we were done eating, because she never brought us a check.

And that's what happened at Denny's in Dallas.

Monday, August 23, 2004


Plastic Jesus Cup

Normally, I'm not big on buying cheap plastic products with Bible verses and pictures of Jesus on it. Technically, I didn't buy this, my parents bought it or acquired it somehow.

This was my favorite cup as a little kid... If I was in bed already and I was thirsty, I wanted water out of this particular cup. Looking back, what a good lesson to be taught so young.

John 4:13-14 - Jesus answered, "Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life."

Of course, I used to also like to drink water out of the honey-bear container, so who knows if I really learned a lesson or not.

Sunday, August 22, 2004


Big Texan Steak Challenge

For those of you traveling along Route 66 as you pass through Amarillo TX, you need to see two things.

The first thing you'll need to do is head out to the Cadillac Ranch on the west side of town. Don't forget your spraypaint.

The second place you'll need to go to is The Big Texan restaurant, home of the 72oz Steak Challenge. The challenge is to eat a 72oz steak and the meal that accompanies it, which consists of a baked potato, a salad, cocktail shrimp and a roll. If you complete the meal within an hour, you get the meal for free, and a T-shirt proclaiming your victorious eating of so much food. If you lose, you get to shell out $50 for your dinner. They put you up on a platform at the front of the restaurant, and people will come up and cheer you on as you eat.

I and two of my friends (that's me on the right) decided we were up for such a challenge. Our other friends with us had even ponied up some money, offering a grand total of $90 to whoever could not only finish the meal, but finish it first.

We are all failures.

I learned a few things though, and I'd like to share my thoughts on how I could have won, looking back. Most of these lessons I learned from Kirk, who was able to eat the whole steak, but none of the meal. I was the only one who completed most of the side items. The steak you see on my plate is what I couldn't finish.

1.) Drink a lot. You'll find that the hard part about eating that much is not that you become so full (even though you do)... The hard part is that you get dehydrated. I was only sipping occasionally on water, not even half of the plastic boots that they gave us to drink out of. After a while, you get dehydrated and you can't make spit, which makes it very very hard to chew and swallow the steak. When it's so dry going down, it gives you a gag reflex which is something you don't want, at least until after the contest is over. Kirk downed three or four boot fulls of Diet Coke and was able to eat the whole steak.

2.) Don't eat gristle and fat. Don't eat anything you don't have to. You don't have to eat the gristle and fat on the steak. You'll need to have the kitchen verify it at the end.

3.) Make sure they give you your salad dressing on the side. That's the way I ordered it, but they didn't bring it out that way, and it made the salad very filling.

4.) Ask for your drink in a regular glass... That plastic boot is kind of sharp around the edges and will scrape up your lips.

5.) Be friendly with the crowd, you'll have time to talk, and they'll cheer you on which makes it pretty fun.

6.) Clean out your system well in advance of when you arrive. Every extra bit of space you can muster will help.

7.) Bring a toothbrush, so you can go back in and brush your teeth after you puke in the parking lot.

I hope this helps lead someone else to victory in the 72oz Steak Challenge.

Saturday, August 21, 2004


Robot Emotion

It's hard to be a robot.

Friday, August 20, 2004


Neon Sign Graveyard - Las Vegas

If you ever happen to be in Vegas, make an effort to visit the Neon Sign Graveyard. This is the place where all the cool old Vegas hotel and casino signs from the 50's-present go to die. There was one company that made all those signs, and instead of selling them to the hotels and casinos, they leased them. So when they redecorate or re-theme the hotels, the signs all go back to one place, and this is it. It's just a big fenced lot full of these old signs.

This place is not open all the time. You have to call and make an appointment, and they like to do tour groups of 10 people at $5 each. If you're nice, you can talk them into coming out for $50 for a smaller group. We had four guys and split the cost, it was worth it. If you call way ahead, you can probably get in on a tour that's already scheduled. The tour guides were great, and very knowledgable about the history of the signs, and Las Vegas.

One interesting thing we talked about... We stayed at the Treasure Island hotel, which we were disappointed to find out had been stripped of all the pirates and the hotel has been renamed "TI." The pirate show out in front of the hotel was replaced with the "Sirens of TI" show, which is basically a big midriff-baring dance routine with horrible music, kind of like a Britney Spears concert. We were talking about this with the tour guides. They said that the big "family-friendly" push in Vegas was basically a failure, as their casinos were quickly filling up with people pushing strollers just looking at everything and not gambling. The new buzzword now is "sexy." The neon sign graveyard has the giant skull that used to watch over the Treasure Island hotel.

For an interesting read about Pirates in Advertising, check this out:
or go to and click on the Pirates in Ads button.

Thursday, August 12, 2004


A Christmas greeting

Yeah, I should be saving this for December.

A few years ago my friend Jim sent me a Christmas card, and he had scribbled the following message inside. I talked to him a few months later, and he didn't remember what he had written.

Dear Jon,
Remember: Whenever we say "Christmas," Christ always comes first. And whenever we say "X-mas," X comes first. Not many people know that Jesus Christ's real name is "Jesus Little." He changed His name to "Jesus X" to show that He was His own person and didn't need the white man's slave name... He was His own man. Which explains the meaning behind X-mas. It's just short for "X-Man's." Because the X-Men had superpowers... just like Jesus.

Monday, August 09, 2004


Clueless Boldness

So there I was sitting on the steps of the engineering building at the small private college where I attended in the mid-90's. My friends and I often sat on these steps between classes, people watching. It proved to a great spot for people watching, as it was kind of a main thoroughfare through the central part of campus, so there was a lot of traffic between classes.

That day I saw what was probably the most inspiring thing I've ever seen. There was this guy who was a classic nerd. If there would have been tape on his glasses, you'd think it was some kind of joke. He was walking alongside this pretty girl with long blonde hair, talking very excitedly about something... Or at least it was obvious he was excited he was talking to her. We noticed that her pace was quickening, and she was looking straight ahead, never making eye contact. Of course, he quickened his pace to keep up with her. As they were passing in front of us, he made his big move... He reached out and put his arm around her. As soon as his hand touched her shoulder, she bolted. She ran straight for about thirty feet over to two of her friends and started shaking uncontrollably as they consoled her. The would-be suitor never broke the smile on his face. He raised his hand goodbye and yelled "Welp... See ya later!" and did a 180 and walked off in the opposite direction.

So what's the lesson in all of this?

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