Phone Fun

I had two experiences with telemarketers this past weekend. I'd like to think that I'm a little more patient than most, and feel somewhat bad for hanging up on people even though they are extremely annoying. That being said, I somehow managed to irritate both of them to the point that they hung up on me. Maybe they'll spread the word and I won't be getting any more calls from telemarketers. I won't hold my breath.

Among my other thoughts, both of my teams, the Packers and the Pokes registered L's for the weekend. UW was especially pathetic.


Other things

This post is just to prove that I do have a life outside of football. I write this however as Green Bay is losing to Dallas. Two days, two losses. Maybe I can't post unless sports are involved. With that being said, here are my non sports related thoughts for this coming week.

1. I'm excited for this coming weekend and the grape festival down in Naples. I can already taste that fantastic grape pie!

2. I like/dislike Sunday evenings. It's nice because they are generally relaxing, but I usually put off going to bed until late because I really don't want Monday morning to come.

3. I really like my job. I like working with numbers and statistics. Does that make me a nerd?

4. I'd like to either take a class/buy a book to learn PHP programming. I think that does make me a nerd.

5. My wife wants to put wallpaper up in the kitchen. I think I'm ok with that as long as it's not too busy. There you go Lisa, on-line proof that I am resigned to the fact that we'll be putting up wallpaper.

6. I really like autumn, but it is somewhat bitter sweet. I really like the leaves and the sports (that doesn't count as a sports comment) and the feeling in the air. The bitter part of it is that winter comes right after fall. Icky, not the shuffle, but the adjective.

7. Lisa is taking a quilting class through a local quilting shop. That makes her happy. Lisa happy makes me happy. Broken down, my life is like a very simple mathematical equation. If my wife is happy, so am I. If not, I'm not. Very simple. I still manage to mess that up sometimes.

8. Did I already mention that I'm excited for this coming weekend?

9. My parents are coming in a few weeks to visit. Part of the great thing about living so far away from family, is that it's always good to see them and they are always excited to see you.

10. Even though the Pokes showed their school colors running down their legs, I still can't help but cheer for them. Sorry, couldn't help putting in one comment about Wyoming.

Buona Notte.


Manure is the most polite word that comes to mind when I think of the horrendous event now known as the BYU vs. UW football game. I didn't have any real hope that Wyoming would win the game, but there is (or maybe was once upon a time) such a thing as Wyoming Pride. It just didn't appear anywhere yesterday. Maybe the pride was left at home to make room for all of the offensive firepower in the poke playbook. Not only did the pokes lose in such an ugly fashion, but I was forced to watch the game among the cougar faithful. Because the game is played on the Mountain Network, it is not available anywhere outside of the inter mountain west. Last weekend, we found out that all of the senior missionaries serving at the sites in the Palmyra area got access to the Mountain Network in the basement of the Hill Cumorah Visitor Center. So Lisa and I went and watched the game with all of these die hard BYU fans, who spent the whole game trying to "convert" me to cheering for BYU. They just couldn't quite grasp how I could possibly cheer for Wyoming, and there were some that thought I was almost a heretic for suggesting the bad guys won the game. Little did they know that even though it was several degrees south of awful for the pokes, I would rather suffer through hundreds of games like that than cheer for the Y. That being said, that was just a plain sad game for Wyoming. I mean, how hard is it to generate some offense. To date, Wyoming has scored 40 points through four games. That is a whopping ten points a game. It also must be said that 16 of those points come against a team playing in a lower division. Given that, the pokes are averaging eight points a game against FBS division teams. I don't think that Joe Glenn has been quite the rescue in the coaching department that so many had hoped. This game almost ruined my day, thank goodness it was Saturday, and I got to go to the temple with my wife.


The Resort at Louis Lake

Right after I graduated from the great and wonderful University of Wyoming, I worked for the family owned Resort at Louis Lake. Talk about a great job. I worked up in the mountains all day, and as soon as the work was done, I went fishing. Not that the fish in the lake had too much to fear from me. It was a great summer, and not only because I got to butter up my future in-laws and trick them into thinking that I would be a good catch for their daughter. In all of my great times during those halcyon days, one experience takes the cake. I come to this story as a follow-up to a recent post I made about quality customer service. This story is from the other side, dealing with customers and the amazing things they think they can get away with.

I was up on the mountain on a fabulous Sunday afternoon, holding down the fort and sitting on the porch, reading a book. I don't think I could script a better afternoon if I tried. As I was sitting there, a car pulled up and a lady got out with her young teenage son. She wanted to look the place over and possibly stay a few days. So I gave her the tour and started up a conversation about the area. During the conversation, she mentioned that she was from out east, specifically New Jersey and was enjoying a vacation with her son. She asked me where I was from and said that I was born and raised right down the mountain in Lander.
She turned to her son and said, "Look, (insert some goofy looking boy's name here) a real live Wyoming person!" I didn't quite know what to say, but I gave her the benefit of the doubt, I mean, she was from New Jersey. We continued the tour of the resort and looking in the different cabins, and she asked how old I was. I responded that I was 25 and she quipped, "Well have you graduated from high school yet?" Honestly, how does someone have the gall to say something like that?! I said that yes I did indeed graduate from high school, and thought she was back tracking as she said, "I mean, you don't sound like your uneducated." Nope. I wonder if I just looked dumb because my jaw was sitting on the ground! Wow. I had never been treated like that, not even as a missionary. I was beginning to be rather vexed, and so I said a few choice words to her in Italian. She didn't like that one bit and gave me a death look while hissing at me, "What are you saying to me?" So I said a few more nice little things, and that really got her ire up. She started shouting at me, so I said quite simply that where I grew up, we were taught different languages to help us understand other cultures better. I went on by saying something along the lines that when you understood other cultures and people better, you could be more patient with those not quite as educated as yourself. It was almost like baiting one my sisters growing up. She went off like a rocket. She got the owner's number (I gave it to her quite readily) and said that I would be out of a job by the end of the day, and didn't I know that the customer is always right, and how dare I treat her that way and insinuate the things that I did. It was great. I told her that I was sorry, we didn't have any vacancies, and so she would just have to get into her car and leave. You could track her fumes for miles. I told my boss later that day, and just warned him he might be getting a call from a crazy irate woman who would chew him out for employing such a mean spirited person. He thought the whole thing was pretty funny. She never did call.

il bosco sacro

We had a really great Sunday yesterday. We are quite lucky to live where we do, and so we took advantage of that and had a great sabbath with some guest speakers in the sacred grove. We then went to the Hill Cumorah and had lunch. Very nice. I think the highlight for me was singing "Joseph Smith's First Prayer" in the sacred grove.


Quality Service

We had someone give us a gift certificate to the Olive Garden (thanks Debbie) and so Lisa and I went and decided to make an evening of it. We weren't expecting too much, I've been accused of being a pasta snob and have turned Lisa into one as well. The food was pretty much what we've expected, the pasta was overcooked and the sauce was kind of blah. The best part of the meal is the salad, but it is pretty hard to mess up a salad. While we were prepared to put up with the so-so pasta, we weren't ready for the sub-par service. After we had finished our meal, we sat for a good 25 minutes before someone came back to see if we were doing ok, and then when Lisa asked for another Dr. Pepper (you have to feed the addiction) the waitress came back 5 minutes later with the bill and no drink. As we were walking out of the restaurant, it made me think about some of the more stellar customer service experiences in the food industry that have transpired in my lifetime. I must confess that I don't have too many bad experiences in this department, but there are two that come to mind.

The first happened to me when I was in high school and dining in the fine establishment known as Wendy's in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. I don't remember if we had already ordered or if we were waiting to order, but what I do remember, and what I think about every time I step foot inside of a Wendy's to this day, is that the manager and an employee got into a screaming match the spilled out into the dining area. There were four letter words flying all over the place. I'm guessing that Wendy's marketing division probably would prefer a different technique than the one employed on that occasion. I think my poor mother still might be scarred.

The other occasion was a one of a kind occurrence, I hope. We were living in Provo, Utah and went out to dinner with our great friends (who we still miss and can't believe that they are unwilling to move across the country to be around us, come on Kenyons, get with the program already!!!) the Kenyons, although from the statement in parenthesis, you should have already been able to guess that. Richard wanted to take us to a sushi place, and so we ended up going to the Happy Sumo. Before I get into the meat and potatoes of this story, I should throw it out there that I've since eaten at the Happy Sumo, and it was great food, but I guess the quality of the food was never the problem to begin with. As I sit here typing, I realize that this is a rather lengthy post, but I digress. We got in and seated and placed our orders. We ordered a variety of sushi to try as well as some other dishes. It was my first experience with sushi, and I really liked the tuna. So we sat and talked
and ate the other dishes as they came out, one at a time with about a 20 - 30 minute wait in between each dish. Lisa says that I'm not doing the story justice, we were eating mostly raw food, how much time does it take to prepare? The tempura veggies were great, but we were getting a little hungry waiting for the main courses to arrive. Finally after waiting for close to 90 minutes (I kid you not, there is no Packer factor involved in this memory) everyone's entree arrived except mine. So I tried to exercise some more patience, but it was getting worn a little thin. After waiting close to two and a half hours for my main dish, the waitress finally appeared and left us with the bill! I was flabbergasted. It was one of those situations that you just aren't prepared for, because you really can't imagine happening, and so you don't know how to react. I stammered something as to the whereabouts of my meal, the response that the waitress gave has become a classic line by now in the Packer home, and probably the Kenyon home as well. She said, and I quote, "Oh, were you still hungry, I didn't think that you wanted it anymore, and so I cancelled it." To which I said that I realize I'm a larger guy (I really didn't say that part, but the next part yes) but I hadn't really eaten anything yet except for a few sushi samples and appetizers off of everyone else's plates! Of course I was hungry, to which she stated, "Well I could have the kitchen fix it up for you real quick." We had already waited for almost three hours by this point, and were questioning their definition of quick and so I politely asked to speak to the manager. The waitress agreed and left to find the manager, but not before explaining to us, "Yeah, the manager will tell you how it is." Exactly how was the manager going to tell us how it was? She came up and explained that she was sorry for the delay, but they were short a chef that evening. To make up for the mishap, they would give us a discount on the dinner. We then explained to the manager that the reason I was still hungry is that I had never received my order because the waitress had canceled it. She paused for a second with a look of shock upon her face and then kindly explained that she really was so sorry and that the whole meal would be on the house, and to please not judge the restaurant by that one night. So in the long run, it was good because we got our meal for free, but I think we stopped at a drive thru on the way home so that I could get something to eat. Chris didn't leave the Happy Sumo, a happy sumo.


Randomnicity and other such splendiferousnesses

Here are my ten random thoughts for the day.
  1. Wyoming needs an offense, or at the very least, someone to lead the one that they already have. From the first two games, it seems that their defense is good, but that old saying that your coach always told you "Defense wins championships" is worth about the same amount that I get paid for writing these posts, if you can't put any points up on the board.
  2. Lisa really likes Project Runway, which is actually pretty funny (the show is funny, not it's funny that Lisa likes it, well maybe it is a little funny that Lisa likes it). In fact, she is watching it this very minute as I type away. My complaint is, who came up with this, and better yet, who did they get to back their idea, because I have a ton of them. Anyone out there with lots of money they don't know what to do with, because I have some great ideas on how to spend it for you.
  3. How can the Yankees not win the World Series every year when they are spending the combined GNP of several third world countries on an annual basis in order to staff the team with the best of the best?

  4. Speaking about money spent on professional athletes, how do they look themselves in the mirror on a daily basis when they pull in $30M a year, and there are people barely scraping by on minimum wage (about $19,000/year and that's with an average of 20 hours of overtime a week). That's roughly 1600 times greater. Even loving sports as much as I do, how can you justify that? How is anyone worth that much money? The really disgusting thing is that the everyday Joe, you and I, are the ones that are financing it. We buy the tickets, jerseys and other paraphernalia, pay for the tv access, etc... Sad.

  5. The college and professional football seasons are barely under way, and we are already hearing news about the upcoming basketball season. One thing at a time please. We all know (especially my wife) that I don't multi-task well. Let me enjoy the wondermicity that is football season before throwing in the boring basketball season. Everyone knows that the only good things about basketball season are a. march madness and b. the NBA playoffs, which occur in JUNE. Let's enjoy football while we can.

  6. I want to find a job in Italy. Anyone know of someone who would pay me good money to work in Italy for a few years. I know that it's even farther from family, but all the more reason for them to come and visit.
  7. I don't like the BCS. I'm not going to even start on the whole playoff vs. bowl game discussion. It's just in a year like this, when the MWC is easily better than the ACC and probably the Big East, we get no recognition unless someone runs the table. It's all about the money.
  8. Lisa wants to put wallpaper up in the kitchen, and she tries to rationalize it by saying that it's just going to be one wall, and she loves fabric and wallpaper is like fabric on walls. I just keep thinking . . . 1970s.
  9. I'm a pansy. My wife wasn't feeling well last week as she was taking massive amounts of hormones and getting ready for youth conference and going to the doctor twice and getting blood drawn. It was a rough week on her. Oh, I forgot to mention a busy week at work. I probably wasn't as sympathetic as I should have been. So I've been feeling sick the last couple of days, and naturally feel that the world should come to a screeching halt because I'm not well. It doesn't, and I'm not sure why. Lisa was working all day and had meetings at night, so I was left to fend for my poor, sad, helpless self. She didn't complain nearly as much as I feel like complaining. She is just tougher than I am.

  10. Back to project runway. I don't get fashion. I don't get "cutting edge" fashion ideas. I mean, you just can't go wrong with jeans and a t-shirt, or jeans and a button-up shirt. Notice the consistency of jeans. I've yet to see anything with jeans on project runway. Hmmm. I guess that's why they don't ask me to be on the show.


Anti-Labor Day

The title of this post might be somewhat misleading. It is not meant to say that I am against this fine holiday. Au contraire. It is meant to say, that is how I spent the day. Not laboring, I was doing the exact opposite of laboring. I was anti-laboring. It was great. The only negative thing that I can think of about that weekend was that it had to end, we had to come home, and everything that we had run away from was still waiting for us when we returned. Go figure. Anyhow, we found a little B&B it the town of Spencer, NY, and it was just far enough away to escape. If anyone is in/around the Spencer area, check it out, it was very nice and relaxing.

We went from not doing anything over the Labor Day weekend, to having to hit the ground running. We spent this last weekend with the stake youth, and it might be the first time that I have ever really felt like an adult. Staying up late and chasing kids back to their tents, telling them to put cell phones away and to pay attention, then mumbling under my breath when they had a smart remark to say to me. That was a response that my dad would have. Good grief.


Fall = Football

In moving to upstate NY, I have been able to somewhat atone to my wife for the almost unforgivable sin of not having our wedding in the fall. Lisa has always loved this time of year and the colors that accompany it, and those colors and beauty are quite evident around us in our new home of Rochester. That being said, I love the fall for a completely different reason. Football. Greatest of all sports, with the power to make grown men cry (honestly, of all of the times that I have shed a tear in my life, it is quite feasible that half of those occasions were sports related). There is something about the crisp autumn air, the heat of the game (my mother would say the stink of the game, but that is another story), and the sound of bodies crunching in ways that probably are not very healthy in the long term, but sure is satisfying in the here and now.
What really gets me excited about football this time of year, is the Wyoming Cowboys. I would say that most people who know me, are aware of my outspokenness for all things Wyoming, but most especially for the pokes (for those of you uneducated in cowboy isms, cowboy = cowpoke = poke). What makes my love for the pokes even that much greater, is the fact the I am almost utterly and completely alone in my poke adoration and must fight off the tide of blue that will forever surround me, thanks to religious associations. And that sea of (quite often self righteous and even sometimes oblivious) blue will always and forever be loathed (key the Wicked music, you know the song, but instead of blond, it would be blue - you all know that Galinda/Glinda is definitely a big haired with many highlights, overly tanned and now orange, happy valley girl) at least athletically (that clarification is necessary, because I actually do have friends that attended BYU, not to mention my wife, and the fact that I even lived in Provo for several years, not to worry, whenever I was on campus, I wore the beautiful colors of God's country - brown and gold!). Even in my optimism for Wyoming football, who barely managed to pull off a win at home over a not too terribly great Ohio team, I don't turn a blind eye towards reality. I am well aware that Wyoming will realistically finish somewhere between 4th and 6th in the MWC, unless a miracle occurs on offense (miracle meaning that Wyoming somehow manages to obtain an offense). I am also aware that BYU has a shot of winning the conference yet again, and possibly playing in a BCS bowl at the end of the year. Add to that the fact that Wyoming has to go to BYU and play, I don't have too much hope that the brown and gold will pull out a W at the Y. That doesn't mean I won't talk trash with the foaming sea of blue I interact with on a regular basis, nor does it mean that I won't be cheering my heart out in hopes that UW ruins the possibility of a perfect season/conference championship/major bowl game for those that bleed blue. It just means that I'll have to resort to some other means in order to try and weaken the blind faith and adoration of the cougar nation that is heaped upon all things BYU. That being said, nothing would make me happier than to see my beloved pokes waltz into happy valley and terrorize it's inhabitants. Have a great day.